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Author Topic: Donatism and Sacraments  (Read 1530 times) Average Rating: 0
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Dart
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« on: September 18, 2010, 03:05:28 PM »

Why does the Orthodox Church recognize some sacraments from priests in some other denominations/jurisdictions but not others? I would think that if a priest is legitimate to perform a baptism he would also be legitimate to perform other sacraments.
I guess this is leading me down the road of asking what makes a priest a priest? A sacrament is Grace from God. Ordination is a sacrament. The Holy Spirit carries out the sacrament regardless of the sinful condition of the Priest. So what does the Priest matter?
Can a sacrament occur without a Priest? Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace of God through the Holy Spirit?
Church tradition had the appointment of Bishops through a lottery as it was not important which member fulfilled the role.

My current understanding is that it depends on the Faith of the individual just like touching the hem of Jesus' clothing.
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2010, 03:11:48 PM »

Why does the Orthodox Church recognize some sacraments from priests in some other denominations/jurisdictions but not others? I would think that if a priest is legitimate to perform a baptism he would also be legitimate to perform other sacraments.
I guess this is leading me down the road of asking what makes a priest a priest? A sacrament is Grace from God. Ordination is a sacrament. The Holy Spirit carries out the sacrament regardless of the sinful condition of the Priest. So what does the Priest matter?
Can a sacrament occur without a Priest? Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace of God through the Holy Spirit?
Church tradition had the appointment of Bishops through a lottery as it was not important which member fulfilled the role.

My current understanding is that it depends on the Faith of the individual just like touching the hem of Jesus' clothing.
I think you're missing the doctrine that the sacraments are fundamentally salvific acts of the Church.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2010, 03:17:59 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2010, 03:20:14 PM »

Why does the Orthodox Church recognize some sacraments from priests in some other denominations/jurisdictions but not others? I would think that if a priest is legitimate to perform a baptism he would also be legitimate to perform other sacraments.
I guess this is leading me down the road of asking what makes a priest a priest? A sacrament is Grace from God. Ordination is a sacrament. The Holy Spirit carries out the sacrament regardless of the sinful condition of the Priest. So what does the Priest matter?
Can a sacrament occur without a Priest? Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace of God through the Holy Spirit?
Church tradition had the appointment of Bishops through a lottery as it was not important which member fulfilled the role.

My current understanding is that it depends on the Faith of the individual just like touching the hem of Jesus' clothing.
I think you're missing the doctrine that the sacraments are fundamentally salvific acts of the Church.
My reference to the scripture of the woman being healed upon touching the hem of Christ's clothes I thought was the scriptural reference for this doctrine. My observation is that just as Jesus did not perform the healing but rather merely felt the power flow out of him, similarly the Priest/Church need not perform anything for the Grace of God to act. It was the woman's faith that was critical.
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2010, 03:23:45 PM »

Why does the Orthodox Church recognize some sacraments from priests in some other denominations/jurisdictions but not others? I would think that if a priest is legitimate to perform a baptism he would also be legitimate to perform other sacraments.
I guess this is leading me down the road of asking what makes a priest a priest? A sacrament is Grace from God. Ordination is a sacrament. The Holy Spirit carries out the sacrament regardless of the sinful condition of the Priest. So what does the Priest matter?
Can a sacrament occur without a Priest? Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace of God through the Holy Spirit?
Church tradition had the appointment of Bishops through a lottery as it was not important which member fulfilled the role.

My current understanding is that it depends on the Faith of the individual just like touching the hem of Jesus' clothing.
I think you're missing the doctrine that the sacraments are fundamentally salvific acts of the Church.
My reference to the scripture of the woman being healed upon touching the hem of Christ's clothes I thought was the scriptural reference for this doctrine. My observation is that just as Jesus did not perform the healing but rather merely felt the power flow out of him, similarly the Priest/Church need not perform anything for the Grace of God to act. It was the woman's faith that was critical.
You do recognize how exceptional was the particular healing of which you speak, particularly considering all the other healings Jesus performed?
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2010, 03:35:26 PM »

Why does the Orthodox Church recognize some sacraments from priests in some other denominations/jurisdictions but not others? I would think that if a priest is legitimate to perform a baptism he would also be legitimate to perform other sacraments.

No. A heretic is not a legitimate minister for baptism. If an Orthodox took their child for baptism to, say, the Episcopal minister and not the Orthodox priest, the child would not have a legitimate baptism, would not be a member of the Orthodox Church, and his parents are excommunicated from the Orthodox Church.

If it is done out of ignorance (i.e. early immigrants to the New World witout a priest), the Lord's hand is not shortened that He cannot save, but the proper thing to do as soon as possible would be to receive chrismation to make whole what is deficient (i.e. the baptism). In fact, the Orthodox layman is, in the absence of an Orthodox priest, more a valid minister of baptism than the pope of Rome.

If done willfully, the doors of repentence and chrismation are always open.

I guess this is leading me down the road of asking what makes a priest a priest?

Preserving the Orthodox Faith he received in the laying on of hands from an Orthodox bishop who has been elevated to the Orthodox episcopacy by Orthodox bishops in communion with the Orthodox Church's diptychs.

A sacrament is Grace from God. Ordination is a sacrament. The Holy Spirit carries out the sacrament regardless of the sinful condition of the Priest. So what does the Priest matter?

Hebrews 5: 1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. 3 Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. 4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

Luke 9:1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority...2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God....4 “Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”
10: 1 After these things the Lord appointed seventy-two others also, and sent them two by two...16 He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”


Can a sacrament occur without a Priest?
Only baptism, and even then it is imperfect (but can be perfected).

Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace of God through the Holy Spirit?
No.

Church tradition had the appointment of Bishops through a lottery as it was not important which member fulfilled the role.
Not according to Scripture, nor the Tradition of the Church:
Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples[c] (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; 17 for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.” 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms:


      ‘ Let his dwelling place be desolate,
      And let no one live in it’;

   and,


      ‘ Let another take his bishoprick."

21 “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen 25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” 26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

My current understanding is that it depends on the Faith of the individual just like touching the hem of Jesus' clothing.
Then your understanding is incorrect (and Protestant).  Think of Uzzah touching the Ark. (II Kigdoms/Samuel 6:6-7). The power is there regardless of the Faith of the individual touching it. How it touches the individual, for life or for death, depends on the Faith of the individual.
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2010, 03:37:12 PM »

let me try again with my understanding. God gives his grace to ALL people and it is we that deny him. It was the Faith of the woman that healed her and not any specific action of Christ as Christ was unaware of who had even touched his garment. What if any role does the Priest/Church play in the sacraments? 1. Intermediary between the individual and God. 2. To bolster the faith of the individual.

How can I better formulate the above mentioned thought?

Saying this is an exceptional event and should be discarded is not helpful to me. The next logical step would be to discount the resurrection as an anomaly and that is not acceptable to me.
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2010, 03:50:20 PM »

let me try again with my understanding. God gives his grace to ALL people and it is we that deny him. It was the Faith of the woman that healed her and not any specific action of Christ as Christ was unaware of who had even touched his garment. What if any role does the Priest/Church play in the sacraments? 1. Intermediary between the individual and God. 2. To bolster the faith of the individual.

How can I better formulate the above mentioned thought?

Saying this is an exceptional event and should be discarded is not helpful to me. The next logical step would be to discount the resurrection as an anomaly and that is not acceptable to me.
You're missing the logic of my recognition of the exception.  It is the many actions of Christ that make the specific healing you cite truly exceptional.  There is no logical way to proceed from this to a discounting of the Resurrection.  Besides, I'm not counseling you to discard anything, just to see it in its larger context.
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2010, 03:51:41 PM »

Do you really believe that Christ WAS UNAWARE? That His power acts without His knowledge and control?
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2010, 05:10:07 PM »

Why does the Orthodox Church recognize some sacraments from priests in some other denominations/jurisdictions but not others? I would think that if a priest is legitimate to perform a baptism he would also be legitimate to perform other sacraments.
I guess this is leading me down the road of asking what makes a priest a priest? A sacrament is Grace from God. Ordination is a sacrament. The Holy Spirit carries out the sacrament regardless of the sinful condition of the Priest. So what does the Priest matter?
Can a sacrament occur without a Priest? Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace of God through the Holy Spirit?
Church tradition had the appointment of Bishops through a lottery as it was not important which member fulfilled the role.

My current understanding is that it depends on the Faith of the individual just like touching the hem of Jesus' clothing.
As I understand it, the Church's teaching on the sacraments is that they are first the sacraments of the Church.  They have no foundation whatsoever in the personal ministry of the bishop or priest.  It is the Church that mediates the sacramental grace of the Holy Mysteries, yet she does so only through the priestly office of her bishops and presbyters.

As to the priests and bishops, they are ordained within the context of the Church's sacramental ministry for service within the Church.  They derive no particular personal grace or charism from the ordination that they can continue to exercise should they be removed from the ranks of the clergy and expelled from the Church.  The Orthodox Church does not believe that ordination places on the ordained any kind of indelible mark.  There is no concept of "once a priest, always a priest".  Bishops and priests are ordained by the Church for ministry within the Church, and it is only within the Church and their role as Eucharistic ministers therein that their ministry has any life or salvific value.
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2010, 06:21:47 PM »

thank you for your responses, I wish I could speak to you in person as my thirst only increases with your answers.

A few more questions:

Can a sacrament occur without a Priest?
Only baptism, and even then it is imperfect (but can be perfected).

Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace of God through the Holy Spirit?
No.

My current understanding is that it depends on the Faith of the individual just like touching the hem of Jesus' clothing.
Then your understanding is incorrect (and Protestant).  Think of Uzzah touching the Ark. (II Kigdoms/Samuel 6:6-7). The power is there regardless of the Faith of the individual touching it. How it touches the individual, for life or for death, depends on the Faith of the individual.

Jesus was in a crowd and being touched by many people but it was only the woman that received "power" from Christ (something different then Uzzah touching the Ark).
But let us look at Acts 19:11-12. Here the handkerchief and apron of Paul was sufficient to bring about healing without any touching at all. Or Acts 5:15-16 when Peter's shadow is implied to facilitate healing. I believe there are many miracles which have conferred the Grace of God with an intermediary (not Protestant Wink ) and without a Priest ( not Roman Catholic Wink ).
Example: a lay person prays through an Icon to a female Saint (not a priest) to intercede for them and because of their great Faith God confers Grace upon them. (very Orthodox Smiley )
(Maybe replacing Grace with Energies would be more precise.)

Once a Priest always a Priest is a Roman Catholic doctrine from the Council of Trent, 1545 AD. But then, what is the Orthodox teaching in regards to Donatism? If I am not mistaken it is that the authority is in the office and not the person. Therefore couldn't we have any person fulfill the office? ie a child molester can still perform valid sacraments. My response is yes but it does nothing for the second role of a Priest: to bolster the Faith of others. As I believe an individual cannot be saved through the prayers of the Priest alone but requires their own Faith also.

hmmmm... am I missing anything still?
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2010, 06:27:07 PM »

Why does the Orthodox Church recognize some sacraments from priests in some other denominations/jurisdictions but not others? I would think that if a priest is legitimate to perform a baptism he would also be legitimate to perform other sacraments.
I guess this is leading me down the road of asking what makes a priest a priest? A sacrament is Grace from God. Ordination is a sacrament. The Holy Spirit carries out the sacrament regardless of the sinful condition of the Priest. So what does the Priest matter?
Can a sacrament occur without a Priest? Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace of God through the Holy Spirit?
Church tradition had the appointment of Bishops through a lottery as it was not important which member fulfilled the role.

My current understanding is that it depends on the Faith of the individual just like touching the hem of Jesus' clothing.

The Church actually does not recognize any rites from any sects to be Sacraments.
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2010, 06:30:08 PM »

Why does the Orthodox Church recognize some sacraments from priests in some other denominations/jurisdictions but not others? I would think that if a priest is legitimate to perform a baptism he would also be legitimate to perform other sacraments.
I guess this is leading me down the road of asking what makes a priest a priest? A sacrament is Grace from God. Ordination is a sacrament. The Holy Spirit carries out the sacrament regardless of the sinful condition of the Priest. So what does the Priest matter?
Can a sacrament occur without a Priest? Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace of God through the Holy Spirit?
Church tradition had the appointment of Bishops through a lottery as it was not important which member fulfilled the role.

My current understanding is that it depends on the Faith of the individual just like touching the hem of Jesus' clothing.
I think you're missing the doctrine that the sacraments are fundamentally salvific acts of the Church.
My reference to the scripture of the woman being healed upon touching the hem of Christ's clothes I thought was the scriptural reference for this doctrine. My observation is that just as Jesus did not perform the healing but rather merely felt the power flow out of him, similarly the Priest/Church need not perform anything for the Grace of God to act. It was the woman's faith that was critical.

That actually is more like the Sacramental action of the Church than you might think. Grace is intrinsic to the Lord Jesus in a way that it is not to any mere human. The woman in her faithful relation to the Lord Jesus came into access to the intrinsic source of grace. A Priest does the same thing when he prays the epiclesis. He prays to the Holy Spirit (an intrinsic source of grace, being God) in faith and his faithful prayer is what initiates God's grace through the Holy Spirit coming upon him and the congregation.
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2010, 07:28:45 AM »


Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace
Jesus was in a crowd and being touched by many people but it was only the woman that received "power" from Christ (something different then Uzzah touching the Ark).

She was the only one who had needed it. And Jesus used her as an example of great faith. No self-concius "powers" that act without the knowledge of God.

Quote
Once a Priest always a Priest is a Roman Catholic doctrine from the Council of Trent, 1545 AD. But then, what is the Orthodox teaching in regards to Donatism?

In the Orthodox Church Priest can be laicised.

Quote
But then, what is the Orthodox teaching in regards to Donatism? If I am not mistaken it is that the authority is in the office and not the person. Therefore couldn't we have any person fulfill the office? ie a child molester can still perform valid sacraments.

Non-defrocked Priest can perform sacraments no matter what sins he has. Defrocked one cannot.

Read that also: http://anglicanhistory.org/orthodoxy/khrapovitsky_orders1927.html
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2010, 11:21:45 AM »

thank you for your responses, I wish I could speak to you in person as my thirst only increases with your answers.

A few more questions:

Can a sacrament occur without a Priest?
Only baptism, and even then it is imperfect (but can be perfected).

Can a Priest perform a sacrament which does not confer the Grace of God through the Holy Spirit?
No.

My current understanding is that it depends on the Faith of the individual just like touching the hem of Jesus' clothing.
Then your understanding is incorrect (and Protestant).  Think of Uzzah touching the Ark. (II Kigdoms/Samuel 6:6-7). The power is there regardless of the Faith of the individual touching it. How it touches the individual, for life or for death, depends on the Faith of the individual.

Jesus was in a crowd and being touched by many people but it was only the woman that received "power" from Christ (something different then Uzzah touching the Ark).
She received healing, but it doesn't state no one else received "power." Touching holy men/things to get "barakah" (blessing) is an old custom in the Middle East. Outside the Middle East I've seen customs like touching the chalice after DL. Many, no doubt, gave no thought to touching Him, touching any rabbi that came by. Hence why He usally telss those He heals not to tell anyone: many followed just to see miracles (like Herod, Luke 23:Cool.  She properly prepared herself. Just like there is going to be a difference between those who receive communion because it's Pascha and everyone is and those who prepare themselves regularly.  The Eucharist is the same, but the ability to receive is different.

But let us look at Acts 19:11-12. Here the handkerchief and apron of Paul was sufficient to bring about healing without any touching at all.
Huh
They touched the handkerchief and apron. Remember the woman touched the hem of His garment, not Him. Btw, during the Great Entrance we touch the priest's phelonion in imitation and remembrance.

Or Acts 5:15-16 when Peter's shadow is implied to facilitate healing. I believe there are many miracles which have conferred the Grace of God with an intermediary (not Protestant Wink ) and without a Priest ( not Roman Catholic Wink ).
Huh
St. Peter was initiated into the priesthood of Christ.
Example: a lay person prays through an Icon to a female Saint (not a priest) to intercede for them and because of their great Faith God confers Grace upon them. (very Orthodox Smiley )
(Maybe replacing Grace with Energies would be more precise.)
That lay person and that female Saint share in the Royal Priesthood, which comes with Christianing. That does mean they can confer grace. That doesn't mean they can consecrate the Eucharist.

Once a Priest always a Priest is a Roman Catholic doctrine from the Council of Trent, 1545 AD. But then, what is the Orthodox teaching in regards to Donatism?

It is a heresy.

If I am not mistaken it is that the authority is in the office and not the person.
No, the office is discharged in the service of the Church and by her authority.

Therefore couldn't we have any person fulfill the office? ie a child molester can still perform valid sacraments.
Not if the Church defrocks him, which it should.

My response is yes but it does nothing for the second role of a Priest: to bolster the Faith of others.
Which is why, among many reasons, the Church would defrock him.

As I believe an individual cannot be saved through the prayers of the Priest alone but requires their own Faith also.
You are swerving more into the question of intercessory prayer.

hmmmm... am I missing anything still?
Where does the Church teach the believer need not believe?
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2010, 05:40:15 PM »

So we may approach the Father directly through the Royal Priesthood as we share in the nature of Christ but only through the authority of the Church.

The Church being the assembly of God's people.

But we are infants quarreling amongst ourselves each following their own Bishop. 1 Corinthians 3



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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2010, 06:24:36 PM »

So we may approach the Father directly through the Royal Priesthood as we share in the nature of Christ but only through the authority of the Church.

The Church being the assembly of God's people.

But we are infants quarreling amongst ourselves each following their own Bishop. 1 Corinthians 3




I don't understand what you mean.  Could you please clarify?
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« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2010, 06:43:43 PM »

It was the Faith of the woman that healed her and not any specific action of Christ as Christ was unaware of who had even touched his garment.
Christ was fully aware of who had touched His garment, as many other scriptures testify He even knew the thoughts of those around Him.
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« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2010, 06:47:26 PM »

Slightly off topic, but on another forum it was pointed out that the Catholic Churches' position on marriage and annulments leans heavily towards Donatism, where the validity of the marriage sacrament depends on the intent of the celebrants.
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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2010, 07:23:46 PM »

Slightly off topic, but on another forum it was pointed out that the Catholic Churches' position on marriage and annulments leans heavily towards Donatism, where the validity of the marriage sacrament depends on the intent of the celebrants.

Interesting point.   I don't think its off topic at all.  Is it or is it not a form of Donatism?
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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2010, 07:52:58 PM »

The validity of the sacrament depends on the genuine intent of the couple conferring the sacrament (the bride and groom) which sounds pretty much like Donatism to me.

I get the impression that marriage in the West grew out of a purely legal understanding while in the East it is viewed sacramentally. How else can the difference between the priest conferring the sacrament, and the bride and groom conferring the sacrament through the exchange of vows be explained. The Latin view sounds very much like the way lawyers would determine if a contract was valid or not.

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« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2010, 09:54:50 PM »

So we may approach the Father directly through the Royal Priesthood as we share in the nature of Christ but only through the authority of the Church.

The Church being the assembly of God's people.

But we are infants quarreling amongst ourselves each following their own Bishop. 1 Corinthians 3


I don't understand what you mean.  Could you please clarify?
It goes to how you define Church. Especially as to its practical administration on Earth.
"For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task."
Protestants appoint their own Bishop, Roman Catholic Bishops are not servants but kings, and we Orthodox quarrel amongst ourselves I follow Demetrios, I follow Jonah, etc.

""Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another."

Christ is my Bishop. How does he fit in amongst the many Bishops in the Orthodox Church? How do I fit in within the Church?

Bishop quarrels with Bishop, laity quarrels with Priest, and the Christian stays home. Where is the Love?

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« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2010, 11:04:50 PM »

So we may approach the Father directly through the Royal Priesthood as we share in the nature of Christ but only through the authority of the Church.

The Church being the assembly of God's people.

But we are infants quarreling amongst ourselves each following their own Bishop. 1 Corinthians 3


I don't understand what you mean.  Could you please clarify?
It goes to how you define Church. Especially as to its practical administration on Earth.
"For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task."
Protestants appoint their own Bishop, Roman Catholic Bishops are not servants but kings, and we Orthodox quarrel amongst ourselves I follow Demetrios, I follow Jonah, etc.

""Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another."

Christ is my Bishop. How does he fit in amongst the many Bishops in the Orthodox Church? How do I fit in within the Church?

Bishop quarrels with Bishop, laity quarrels with Priest, and the Christian stays home. Where is the Love?


You see the Church and all you see is in-fighting?  I'm sure as long as there are sinners in the Church, there will be quarrels, but is this individual combativeness part of the very nature of the Body of Christ?  Is this fighting all there is?  What of this command from St. Ignatius of Antioch that we regard the bishop as Christ Himself?  Why look at our bishops and priests and fail to see that, with all their warts and shortcomings, they are, by virtue of their sacerdotal office within the Church, still icons of Christ?

I have heard it said that the only thing that makes the stench inside the Church bearable is the fact that the stench outside the Church is even worse.  Think about Noah's ark.  I'm sure the stench inside there must have been overpowering with all the animal poop.  But the ark was the means of salvation for Noah and his family.  So it is with the Church.
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« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2010, 11:35:32 PM »

The validity of the sacrament depends on the genuine intent of the couple conferring the sacrament (the bride and groom) which sounds pretty much like Donatism to me.

I get the impression that marriage in the West grew out of a purely legal understanding while in the East it is viewed sacramentally. How else can the difference between the priest conferring the sacrament, and the bride and groom conferring the sacrament through the exchange of vows be explained. The Latin view sounds very much like the way lawyers would determine if a contract was valid or not.

John

Actually, after having read Cyril of Jerusalem's Procatechesis, I very much got the sense that he was teaching that on top of a Sacrament having to be an Orthodox rite within the Church administered by a Priest to an Orthodox Christian with certain fundamental forms, it actually must also involve the "genuine intent" of the person receiving it for it to be effective. I don't think that this is Donatist. Proper intent as a requirement appears to be Orthodox.
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« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2010, 11:44:27 PM »

So we may approach the Father directly through the Royal Priesthood as we share in the nature of Christ but only through the authority of the Church. The Church being the assembly of God's people. But we are infants quarreling amongst ourselves each following their own Bishop. 1 Corinthians 3
I don't understand what you mean.  Could you please clarify?
It goes to how you define Church. Especially as to its practical administration on Earth. "For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task."
Protestants appoint their own Bishop, Roman Catholic Bishops are not servants but kings, and we Orthodox quarrel amongst ourselves I follow Demetrios, I follow Jonah, etc.""Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another."
Christ is my Bishop. How does he fit in amongst the many Bishops in the Orthodox Church? How do I fit in within the Church?  Bishop quarrels with Bishop, laity quarrels with Priest, and the Christian stays home. Where is the Love?
  In all fairness, we are trying to fix this.  I only hope that you can weigh the things being done wrong with the things being done right.   We all recognize Christ as the sole universal Bishop of Bishops, the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls.   Look at it this way:  the Lord knows more than we do, and knows more about what we are doing wrong than you or I do.  But He does not give up on us, so neither should you, as He is the Bishop of Bishops and Great High Priest of His Holy Orthodox Church, no matter how much the rest of us--Bishops, Priests, other clergy and laity are messing things up.  

  
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« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2010, 10:18:14 AM »

So we may approach the Father directly through the Royal Priesthood as we share in the nature of Christ but only through the authority of the Church.

The Church being the assembly of God's people.

But we are infants quarreling amongst ourselves each following their own Bishop. 1 Corinthians 3


I don't understand what you mean.  Could you please clarify?
It goes to how you define Church. Especially as to its practical administration on Earth.
"For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task."
Their followers may have been divided, but SS Paul and Apollos were not. They were fellow Apostles.

Protestants appoint their own Bishop, Roman Catholic Bishops are not servants but kings, and we Orthodox quarrel amongst ourselves I follow Demetrios, I follow Jonah, etc.
Archb. Demetrios and Met. Jonah are not quarreling among themselves.

""Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another."
Quote
So long as there was need of expressions as harsh as these, he refrained from drawing up the curtain, and went on arguing as if he were himself the person to whom they were addressed; in order that the dignity of the persons censured tending to counteract the censurers, no room might be left for flying out in wrath at the charges. But when the time came for a gentler process, then he strips it off, and removes the mask, and shows the persons concealed by the appellation of Paul and Apollos. And on this account he said, “These things, brethren, I have transferred in a figure unto myself and Apollos.”
And as in the case of the sick, when the child being out of health kicks and turns away from the food offered by the physicians, the attendants call the father or the tutor, and bid them take the food from the physician’s hands and bring it, so that out of fear towards them he may take it and be quiet: so also Paul, intending to censure them about certain other persons, of whom some, he thought, were injured, others honored above measure, did not set down the persons themselves, but conducted the argument in his own name and that of Apollos, in order that reverencing these they might receive his mode of cure. But that once received, he presently makes known in whose behalf he was so expressing himself.
Now this was not hypocrisy, but condescension (συγκατάβασις) and tact (οἰκονομία). For if he had said openly, “As for you, the men whom ye are judging are saints, and worthy of all admiration;” they might have taken it ill and (κἂν ἀπεπήδησαν) started back. But now in saying, “But to me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you:” and again, “Who is Paul, and who is Apollos?” he rendered his speech easy of reception.
This, if you mark it, is the reason why he says here, “These things have I transferred in a figure unto myself for your sakes, that in us ye may learn not to be wise above what is written,” signifying that if he had applied his argument in their persons, they would not have learnt all that they needed to learn, nor would have admitted the correction, being vexed at what was said. But as it was, revering Paul, they bore the rebuke well.
[2.] But what is the meaning of, “not to be wise above what is written?” It is written, (St. Matt. vii. 3.) “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brothers’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” and “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” For if we are one and are mutually bound together, it behooveth us not to rise up against one another. For “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted,” saith he. And (St. Matt. xx. 26, 27; St. Mark x. 43; not verbatim.) “He that will be first of all, let him be the servant of all.” These are the things which “are written.”
“That no one of you be puffed up for one against another.” Again, having dismissed the teachers, he rebukes the disciples. For it was they who caused the former to be elated.
And besides, the leaders would not quietly receive that kind of speech because of their desire of outward glory: for they were even blinded with that passion. Whereas the disciples, as not reaping themselves the fruits of the glory, but procuring it for others, would both endure the chiding with more temper, and had it more in their power than the leading men to destroy the disease.
It seems then, that this also is a symptom of being “puffed up,” to be elated on another’s account, even though a man have no such feeling in regard of what is his own. For as he who is proud of another’s wealth, is so out of arrogance; so also in the case of another’s glory.
And he hath well called it “being puffed up.” For when one particular member rises up over the rest, it is nothing else but inflammation and disease; since in no other way doth one member become higher than another, except when a swelling takes place. (So in English “proud flesh.”)  And so in the body of the Church also; whoever is inflamed and puffed up, he must be the diseased one; for he is swollen above the proportion of the rest. For this [disproportion] is what we mean by “swelling.” And so comes it to pass in the body, when some spurious and evil humor gathers, instead of the wonted nourishment. So also arrogance is born; notions to which we have no right coming over us. And mark with what literal propriety he saith, be not “puffed up:” for that which is puffed up hath a certain tumor of spirit, from being filled with corrupt humor.
These things, however, he saith, not to preclude all soothing, but such soothing as leads to harm. “Wouldest thou wait upon this or that person? I forbid thee not: but do it not to the injury of another.” For not that we might array ourselves one against another were teachers given us, but that we might all be mutually united. For so the general to this end is set over the host, that of those who are separate he may make one body. But if he is to break up the army, he stands in the place of an enemy rather than of a general.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf112.iv.xiii.html

Christ is my Bishop.
Only if you are under the omophorion of a bishop in the diptychs of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

How does he fit in amongst the many Bishops in the Orthodox Church?
Through their hands He exercises His High Priesthood.

 
How do I fit in within the Church?
Don't know. Don't know you.

Bishop quarrels with Bishop, laity quarrels with Priest, and the Christian stays home. Where is the Love?
Not at home staying alone.

The disciples quarreled while Christ was among them. What perfect church are you looking for?
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2010, 07:02:44 PM »

I have experienced the perfect Church, with a perfect Priest, assistant Priest, Chanter, Choir, and Parish Council. And even Bishop although I only met him for one day. This is not to say we did not have problems or challenges but, we worked together to overcome whatever came up as a team.

The parish is only slightly smaller than it was then, 15-20 years ago. Mostly the same families. Financially we are fine. Our priest of over 20 years has passed away and now we get a different one sent to us every few years. We are older but physically not much has changed.

The parish is almost dead spiritually. Can't say when it happened or how. Only the Priest and Chanter say the Creed and Lord's Prayer much less sing the hymns as before, there is a Masonic symbol on the stain glass, the Choir snacks on grapes during Liturgy, the Priest leaves much to be desired, no one strives to improve things rather there is a general acceptance that things are bad and that is just the way things are.

In everything that happens within the parish to the most trivial things we must ask and gain approval from the Priest first. Some will say maybe we should go together and speak to him or talk to the Chancellor. Others say it is the Bishop that has done this.

We are outsiders within our own Church.

I was wrong before when I said there is quarrelling. The quarrelling has ended and we are polite to one another discussing the weather and children. There is a generally acceptance that things will not improve. My wife asks if we are giving up too easily. What can be done? The Clergy Laity Congress is just a Priest's reunion now. The Bishop won't listen to the Parish Council. And the Priest says the Protestants have done this and we must fast more.

The Sunday School Director asks the entire Sunday School class pre-k to 12th grade what happened on the day of Annunciation. Only one student raised their hand to say that was the day Greece won their independence from the Turks. None of them knew what the Annunciation was or atleast cared enough to answer. I guess that is one positive thing. Our Greek School is still effective.

I don't think anyone's relationship to God has changed but we certainly do not see the Church as being significant in our lives anymore. Even weddings, baptisms, and funerals seem to focus around the reception. Outside of Church the parish seems to be more active and successful then ever in regards to civic mindedness, charities, and service. College buildings, Boy's Clubs, political offices all bear the names of parishioners. Someone seems to always be returning from some mission to Guatemalla, Korea, the Phillipines, Africa, or Jerusalem.

I would like to think this is just an anomaly but what news I hear from places like Salt Lake City, Utah or Charlotesville, Va does not seem any better.

So what is the Church? And why must we go through the Church to love our neighbor and worship God?
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2010, 09:56:18 PM »

^Charlottesville Virginia is doing wonderfully with regard to Orthodoxy.   Of course, I cannot speak for all parishes there, but St. Nicholas is certainly doing well, its faithful are top of the line and its priest is a good priest:
http://stnicholasorthodoxchurch.org/
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« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2010, 01:44:10 AM »

^Charlottesville Virginia is doing wonderfully with regard to Orthodoxy.   Of course, I cannot speak for all parishes there, but St. Nicholas is certainly doing well, its faithful are top of the line and its priest is a good priest:
http://stnicholasorthodoxchurch.org/

I was referring to the Greek Orthodox Churches only. I have no knowledge of the other jurisdictions.

What standards does your jurisdiction use to measure the performance of a Priest and to retrain or relocate as necessary? Are Priests held responsible for the faith and leadership of their parish or are the Protestants responsible for any disorder?
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« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2010, 12:14:53 PM »

^Charlottesville Virginia is doing wonderfully with regard to Orthodoxy.   Of course, I cannot speak for all parishes there, but St. Nicholas is certainly doing well, its faithful are top of the line and its priest is a good priest:
http://stnicholasorthodoxchurch.org/
I was referring to the Greek Orthodox Churches only. I have no knowledge of the other jurisdictions.
What standards does your jurisdiction use to measure the performance of a Priest and to retrain or relocate as necessary? Are Priests held responsible for the faith and leadership of their parish or are the Protestants responsible for any disorder?

Yes, the Priests are held responsible for the faith and leadership of their parish.   I would say that no, protestants are generally not blamed for disorder.    Priest retraining happens every year at the mandatory clergy retreats.   Relocation happens on a case by case basis.   The standards include the priest being responsible for the moral and religious education of the parish, for its good order, for encouraging the people to attend and participate in the liturgical services, to squelch infighting and political divisiveness, to promote the living of a the life in Christ including the daily prayer life and reading of Scripture, to fight apathy and lukewarmness in preaching and by general interaction with the parishioners, and to uphold the standards of the Orthodox faith.   A failure to do this results in correction by the hierarchs and, if these things go unheeded, may be subject to removal.   
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« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2010, 12:50:51 PM »

The closest UOC parish to me is a two hour drive. sigh...
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