Author Topic: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy  (Read 528 times)

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Offline NJC

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Here is my thesis:

The entire history and development of the Roman Catholic Church can be perfectly represented by Barlaam of Calabria. Likewise, the entire history and development of the Orthodox Church and its traditions can be represented by St. Gregory Palamas.

I spent 10 years studying Orthodox Christianity (as a Catholic) before becoming a Catechumen, and i wish i had of heard the life of St. Gregory Palamas 10 years ago as it would have saved me much time, pain and heartache (my journey has not been easy).

To any enquiring Orthodox or Catholic trying to compare and contrast the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, my advice is to study the life of St. Gregory Palamas and his debates with Barlaam in Calabria. On which side of that debate you fall is to which Church you should belong.

As for me, St Gregory Palamas's defence of Heyschasm, asceticism and fasting has confirmed for me like nothing else that i belong in the Orthodox Church.

For those who have not read the life of St Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki:
http://www.antiochian.org/gregory-palamas

Offline Cyrillic

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2016, 07:25:23 AM »
Barlaam's theology was extremely apophatic. The RCC's, not so much.

Barlaam is often misrepresented as some sort of scholastic, so I get where you're coming from.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 07:26:30 AM by Cyrillic »
At nunc desertis cessant sacraria lucis:
aurum omnes victa iam pietate colunt.
-Propertius, Elegies III.XIII:47-48

Ἀπ' ὃσα ἒκαμα κι ἀπ’ ὃσα εἶπα
νὰ μὴ ζητήσουνε νὰ βροῦν ποιός ἢμουν
-C.P Cavafy

Offline NJC

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2016, 09:35:29 AM »

Whithout getting into the details of exactly what he was and wasn't, it is clear that he was fundamentally a rationalist, who believed that God could only be approached intellectually.

The fact that heyschasm was so alien to his thinking says to me that the problems with the Roman Church started a long time ago, well before V2.

Anyway, I just feel as though the whole episode was a good symbolic example of the differences between East and West.

Online Iconodule

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2016, 09:52:38 AM »
Likewise, the entire history and development of the Orthodox Church and its traditions can be represented by St. Gregory Palamas.

Then you would have to account for the fact that Palamism was ignored or even contradicted in Russia, Ukraine, and even Greece for several centuries.

Also, Barlaam is a pretty minor figure in the Catholic Church; you would be better off looking at Aquinas, Bonaventure, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, etc.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 10:02:10 AM by Iconodule »

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2016, 10:03:44 AM »
Then you would have to account for the fact that Palamism was ignored or even contradicted in Russia, Ukraine, and even Greece for several centuries.

They got too busy in the following centuries burning people alive for making the sign of the cross wrong.

Offline Papist

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2016, 11:25:18 AM »
Likewise, the entire history and development of the Orthodox Church and its traditions can be represented by St. Gregory Palamas.

Then you would have to account for the fact that Palamism was ignored or even contradicted in Russia, Ukraine, and even Greece for several centuries.

Also, Barlaam is a pretty minor figure in the Catholic Church; you would be better off looking at Aquinas, Bonaventure, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, etc.

Like
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Cyrillic

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2016, 12:00:14 PM »
Whithout getting into the details of exactly what he was and wasn't, it is clear that he was fundamentally a rationalist, who believed that God could only be approached intellectually.

The exact opposite is true.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 12:04:58 PM by Cyrillic »
At nunc desertis cessant sacraria lucis:
aurum omnes victa iam pietate colunt.
-Propertius, Elegies III.XIII:47-48

Ἀπ' ὃσα ἒκαμα κι ἀπ’ ὃσα εἶπα
νὰ μὴ ζητήσουνε νὰ βροῦν ποιός ἢμουν
-C.P Cavafy

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2016, 12:26:08 PM »
New catechumen, so go easy.
Dear God, please force me to salvation and together with me as many people as possible.

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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2016, 02:23:56 PM »
New catechumen, so go easy.

Point well taken. I thought about this afterwards.

NJC - Welcome to Orthodoxy. I hope this time is fruitful and life-giving for you, and that the Orthodox church brings you closer to God and his love. It's a religion with a lot of blemishes and imperfections, but for me it touches on such a deep holiness beyond all other petty things in life, and it's worth fighting for. It's a beautiful religion and I hope you find a permanent home in it. I hope you find what you're looking for. Peace to you!
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 02:24:28 PM by Alveus Lacuna »


Offline NJC

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2016, 06:49:30 PM »
Whithout getting into the details of exactly what he was and wasn't, it is clear that he was fundamentally a rationalist, who believed that God could only be approached intellectually.

The exact opposite is true.

Not according to the link I provided....


Offline NJC

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2016, 07:34:31 PM »
Whithout getting into the details of exactly what he was and wasn't, it is clear that he was fundamentally a rationalist, who believed that God could only be approached intellectually.

The exact opposite is true.

Not according to the link I provided....

Thanks for the links. The book sounds interesting but not really my cup of tea. Most of my adult life has been a protracted attempt to understand Christianity intellectually, and I have no interest in continuing this trend.
I am blessed to live near a Monastery with Monks from Simono Petras and look forward to delving deeper into the heart of Orthodox spirituality rather than a study of theology.

I do understand your point however, that the line between Palamas and Barlaam is not as clear cut as I have made it out to be. I could be alone (judging by the critiques of other posters it appears that I am) but for me the debate between Barlaam and St Gregory is hugely symbolic and I will continue to think of that episode in this light.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2016, 01:07:25 AM »
St. Gregory Palamas's debate was also with Gregory Akindynos.
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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2016, 03:06:09 AM »

Whithout getting into the details of exactly what he was and wasn't, it is clear that he was fundamentally a rationalist, who believed that God could only be approached intellectually.

The fact that heyschasm was so alien to his thinking says to me that the problems with the Roman Church started a long time ago, well before V2.

Anyway, I just feel as though the whole episode was a good symbolic example of the differences between East and West.
This is a huge problem I think with the Calvinist/Reformed Churches, one they aren't even aware of, more so than with the RC Church. The RC Church is more scholastic and legalistic than the OC Church, and Orthodoxy is more mystical, as Palamism shows. But if you want to see rationalist materialism in action you would look to the Reformed more.

On one hand, they categorically label many Orthodox/Catholic teachings as "superstition", and then when they come to those teachings in the Bible, they either draw a circle around them and call them exceptions or else interpret them in a metaphorical way.

A simple example: John's gospel records an angel intermittently stirring the pool of Siloam where handicapped would gather to wait for the waters to stir and for them to get healed. In Orthodoxy and Catholicism, holy water is used, and there are traditions of regional holy, healing springs in Catholic and Orthodox countries. But in the Reformed mentality, these kinds of phenomena are all inconceivable, so they draw an exception around the pool of Siloam, because it's in the Bible. But even in that case there are some skeptical Reformed who claim that the story of the pool of Siloam isn't "really" in the Bible, but was a later insertion.

I think it's more reasonable to be consistent- either the beliefs of early Christians in the pool angel were wrong, or the beliefs were right and God could still use waters to heal people. Don't you agree?

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: One example that shows the contrast between Rome and Orthodoxy
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2016, 03:25:46 AM »

Whithout getting into the details of exactly what he was and wasn't, it is clear that he was fundamentally a rationalist, who believed that God could only be approached intellectually.

The fact that heyschasm was so alien to his thinking says to me that the problems with the Roman Church started a long time ago, well before V2.

Anyway, I just feel as though the whole episode was a good symbolic example of the differences between East and West.
This is a huge problem I think with the Calvinist/Reformed Churches,
Go easy on him, dude! 8) When did he ever ask about the Reformed churches? ???
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 03:26:54 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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