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Author Topic: Engaged to be Married but I have a problem.  (Read 1034 times) Average Rating: 0
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mocca
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« on: August 02, 2010, 09:47:04 AM »

Hello,

The father of the woman I love has allowed me to become engaged to his daughter.  Her father and mother were very concerned because I am American (they are Egyptian nationals) and in America we have divorce. I explained with the help of an Arabic speaking friend that the Bible says no divorce except in the event of adultery (which I would never do). Therefore, there is no divorce regardless of where I'm from. After calming their fears they both agreed. We are very happy.

There is a second problem.  I am Protestant and I love God very much. She and her family are Orthodox and love God very much. For the most part I do not have a problem with Orthodoxy.  In fact, I would be orthodox if it was not for one thing: The veneration of Mary.  My family is Catholic and they almost worship Mary, so that may be the cause of my fears.  My now fiance (though not official yet) tried to explain that Jesus is #1 and Mary is #2.  I explained that there is no 1 or 2, there is only Jesus. We just smiled at each other, and knew that this would not be resolved in one conversation.

Can anyone help me resolve my issue?  I would never ask her to become protestant.  Like I said it is just this one thing.  I have read Pope Shenouda III "Comparative Theology" but still I cannot resolve this one last problem.  Could I even be part  of the Orthodox Church if I didn't venerate Mary? Should this one issue stop me from becoming Orthodox?
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2010, 10:39:12 AM »

Hello,

The father of the woman I love has allowed me to become engaged to his daughter.  Her father and mother were very concerned because I am American (they are Egyptian nationals) and in America we have divorce. I explained with the help of an Arabic speaking friend that the Bible says no divorce except in the event of adultery (which I would never do). Therefore, there is no divorce regardless of where I'm from. After calming their fears they both agreed. We are very happy.

There is a second problem.  I am Protestant and I love God very much. She and her family are Orthodox and love God very much. For the most part I do not have a problem with Orthodoxy.  In fact, I would be orthodox if it was not for one thing: The veneration of Mary.  My family is Catholic and they almost worship Mary, so that may be the cause of my fears.  My now fiance (though not official yet) tried to explain that Jesus is #1 and Mary is #2.  I explained that there is no 1 or 2, there is only Jesus. We just smiled at each other, and knew that this would not be resolved in one conversation.

Can anyone help me resolve my issue?  I would never ask her to become protestant.  Like I said it is just this one thing.  I have read Pope Shenouda III "Comparative Theology" but still I cannot resolve this one last problem.  Could I even be part  of the Orthodox Church if I didn't venerate Mary? Should this one issue stop me from becoming Orthodox?

Part of your problem is your "only Jesus."  The Bible doesn't teach it, so why should you believe it?

As long as you confess the Virgin Mary as Theotokos, the rest will folow.
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2010, 11:01:45 AM »

I would think that venerating Mary would not be a problem to any Christian who takes the Holy Bible seriously. Please reread Luke  Chapter One, Verses 26-56, where the Holy Spirit confirms this through Archangel Gabriel ("blessed are you among women"), Saint Elizabeth the mother of Saint John the Forerunner ("Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!"), and the Theotokos herself ("For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.").

Now, the blessedness of Mary is due to a most important thing: she consented to becoming the mother of the Son of God (Archangel Gabriel), as a result of which "...there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Saint Elizabeth) so that the Theotokos can sing in truth "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation."

It may also be useful for you to read the POV of a former campus Crusade for Christ Evangelical minister, now Orthodox Priest Peter Gillquist in a short essay called "Facing up to Mary," at http://silouanthompson.net/2008/06/facing-up-tomary/. This essay is published as a brochure by Conciliar Press and may be found on other Internet sites. The following article by Frederica Mathewes-Green, who is another excellent source for those who are considering joining the Church, may also be helpful:
"It is hard to see Mary clearly, beneath the conflicting identities she has borne over the centuries. To one era she is the flower of femininity, and to another the champion of feminism; in one age she is the paragon of obedience, and in another the advocate of liberation. Some enthusiasts have been tempted to pile her status so high that it rivals that of her Son. Others, aware that excessive adulation can be dangerous, do their best to ignore her entirely.

Behind all that there is a woman nursing a baby. The child in her arms looks into her eyes. Years later he will look at her from the cross, through a haze of blood and sweat. We do not know, could not comprehend, what went through his mind during those hours of cosmic warfare. But from a moment in the St. John’s account of the Crucifixion we know that, whatever else he thought, he thought about her. He asked his good friend John to take care of her. He wanted John to become a son to her—to love her the way he did.

It is not surprising that those who, in St. Paul’s words, put on “the mind of Christ” would discover that they loved her too. Though we may picture the love of Mary as a medieval development, it actually goes back to the faith’s early days. Those first generations of Christians did not include Mary in their public preaching of the gospel; they did not expose her to the gaze of the world. (Likewise, a celebrity today will object if reporters take photos of his family.) But when believers were gathered together in their home community, there Mary was cherished. As new members were brought into the Body of Christ, they would also begin to share in the love the Christ Child had for his Mother."
http://www.frederica.com/writings/the-lost-gospel-of-mary-who-was-she.html
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2010, 11:19:56 AM »

Could I even be part  of the Orthodox Church if I didn't venerate Mary? Should this one issue stop me from becoming Orthodox?
Welcome to the forum mocca!
Virgin Mary is venerated during the divine liturgy. If you can accept the level of veneration present during the liturgy then you can become Orthodox.

ialmisry wisely said "...confess the Virgin Mary as Theotokos, the rest will follow". I think that is the best advice you will ever get. Cheesy

NOTE: angryface  Angry at heretical [nestorian] spellchecker who do not recognise Virgin Mary as "Theotokos"
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2010, 11:32:51 AM »

I agree with what has already been posted.

What I want to add is that what you see in the Church is the results of years of personal experiences.  The reason your (potential) in-laws and us say and do what we do is because we have all built up, over years and years, an actual relationship with the Virgin Mary and other saints.  I want to emphasize that it really is relational, and so it takes years to develop.  Like you, I was very luke-warm about the whole 'hubub' about her.  It has taken years to grow into this relationship.  It is still growing.

One of the most fascinating aspects of her life is the amount of hatred that evil ones have for her.  This was one observation that drove me in her direction.  Numerous accounts of exorcisms where the demons screamed profanities at her while being wounded by her prayers pushed out the remaining doubts or hesitancy I had before.

You will also learn about her role, along with the angels and saints, in the death process.  Orthodoxy and Protestantism vary widely on this topic, especially since it is not clearly addressed in the Scriptures and so when Luther renounced medieval Roman doctrines, he filled in a lot of blanks with his own 'logical conclusions' that went against the common experiences of death in the Church.

Frankly, I don't recomment getting married until you two are settled on your religious questions.  Otherwise you will raise children who will not value your or your wife's religious values.  When they see you cannot agree, then they will assume it's is not about truth but opinion.



Hello,

The father of the woman I love has allowed me to become engaged to his daughter.  Her father and mother were very concerned because I am American (they are Egyptian nationals) and in America we have divorce. I explained with the help of an Arabic speaking friend that the Bible says no divorce except in the event of adultery (which I would never do). Therefore, there is no divorce regardless of where I'm from. After calming their fears they both agreed. We are very happy.

There is a second problem.  I am Protestant and I love God very much. She and her family are Orthodox and love God very much. For the most part I do not have a problem with Orthodoxy.  In fact, I would be orthodox if it was not for one thing: The veneration of Mary.  My family is Catholic and they almost worship Mary, so that may be the cause of my fears.  My now fiance (though not official yet) tried to explain that Jesus is #1 and Mary is #2.  I explained that there is no 1 or 2, there is only Jesus. We just smiled at each other, and knew that this would not be resolved in one conversation.

Can anyone help me resolve my issue?  I would never ask her to become protestant.  Like I said it is just this one thing.  I have read Pope Shenouda III "Comparative Theology" but still I cannot resolve this one last problem.  Could I even be part  of the Orthodox Church if I didn't venerate Mary? Should this one issue stop me from becoming Orthodox?
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2010, 12:20:24 PM »

Welcome to the forum!

The Copts and other Orthodox don't worship the Virgin Mary.  Rather, we honor her, as the Angel Gabriel and her cousin Elizabeth did in the Gospel of Luke, and we ask her to intercede for us, just as she interceded for the bride and groom at the Wedding of Cana.

There is a "Theotokos" tag at the bottom of this thread.  If you click on it, you'll get other threads about her which may be helpful to you.
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2010, 02:08:00 PM »

Can anyone help me resolve my issue?

I also come from a protestant background. As a Religious Studies major studying in a secular university, all I can tell you is Christians have always venerated Mary, the Mother of God-with-us. If you believe that Jesus is God, then Mary was the tabernacle of God, and deserves veneration. Sometimes you will hear very "strange" words applied to Mary in Orthodox services, like "Bride of God." These should be taken as metaphorical. Mary represents the Church, which is the "Bride of God." As Mary bore God in her womb, we are to bear Him in our hearts.

If you love Jesus, you will love His mother. Trust me. This former evangelical has been convinced  Smiley .


"Hail! Full of grace, the Lord is with you!" Luke 1:28

"All generations shall call me blessed." Luke 1:48

"When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold, your son!' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home." John 19:26-27
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 02:08:55 PM by samkim » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2010, 03:14:52 PM »

The icon of the Theotokos that I have next to the icon of the Christ in my prayer corner is The Annunciation. I chose this one specifically because to me it really exemplifies why we venerate Mary -- because she said "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word" the the angel that announced the incarnation. With these words, she's our model for proper response to God.  

As Protestants we didn't really understand that the incarnation really does call us to honor Mary so.  But Christ's physical body was made in Mary's -- he carried her blood in his body, you know?  There's really something to that and we honor Mary for her submission.  I asked our priest once how someone like me who resisted honoring Mary in the orthodox way for so many years learns to do so.  His one word answer was "Repent."  I.e., just start doing it.  As the person said above -- begin with accepting her as the Theotokos, the birth giver of God.  The rest comes a long.  
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 03:16:03 PM by Thankful » Logged

Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2010, 05:10:21 PM »

...all I can tell you is Christians have always venerated Mary, the Mother of God-with-us. If you believe that Jesus is God, then Mary was the tabernacle of God, and deserves veneration..

Indeed.

Mocca, I just want to leave you with something to consider. Not only your Roman Catholic relatives, but also all of the Christians of all the surviving ancient churches all honor the Virgin Mary and seek her prayers. This includes the Greeks, Copts, Syrians, Nestorians, Marionites, Latins, Slavs, Armenians, Ethiopians, and so forth in every such church, even those that are divided over doctrinal issues. Even some traditional Anglicans do.

Doesn't this at least make you wonder if this isn't some "Roman Catholic/Papal" peculiarity, but that it is rather the practice of the ancient and original Church? Or did the whole Church fall into total error for approximately 1500 years?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 05:12:11 PM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2010, 06:23:55 PM »

I am a little concerned for your situation, because, as far as I have read about the Coptic Orthodox position on this matter, that you will not be allowed to marry this woman unless you convert.
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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2010, 04:48:11 PM »

It's a wonderful thing, and part of God's good creation, to be in love. But it is a deeply sad thing when a married couple are divided in their religion and worship separately. After the period of 'le grand amour', the initial years of that wondrous torrent of emotion, life becomes a calmer living together, and if there is a rift between man and wife in this deepest of all parts of life, their faith and walk with God, it will bring sorrow. Sometimes even two Christians feel compelled to worship in different churches: I know of it in a number of homes, and it is always a sad situation. I would advise you to achieve union at that level of your relationship before committing yourselves to a life-long marriage.

May God guide and help you both, and may you receive his peace.
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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2010, 04:56:45 PM »

It's a wonderful thing, and part of God's good creation, to be in love. But it is a deeply sad thing when a married couple are divided in their religion and worship separately. After the period of 'le grand amour', the initial years of that wondrous torrent of emotion, life becomes a calmer living together, and if there is a rift between man and wife in this deepest of all parts of life, their faith and walk with God, it will bring sorrow. Sometimes even two Christians feel compelled to worship in different churches: I know of it in a number of homes, and it is always a sad situation. I would advise you to achieve union at that level of your relationship before committing yourselves to a life-long marriage.

May God guide and help you both, and may you receive his peace.

I must agree with David 100%.

Do not marry until this issue has been resolved. Speak with her priest, pray about it, and may God bless you both!
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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2010, 07:56:39 AM »

 [/quote]
pray about it, and may God bless you both!
[/quote]

That is the most important thing. My stepmother was raised by a Catholic mother and Dutch Reformed father. That part of the relationship was a bit strained, but they married until death
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 07:57:27 AM by sprtslvr1973 » Logged

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