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Author Topic: The Eastern Orthodox Christian Catechism book... where is it?  (Read 2208 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: November 08, 2010, 02:32:16 AM »


 Hey y'all,

 My housemate and I were discussing the fact that we Eastern Orthodox Christians seem to be lacking a centralized (maybe that's the wrong word) book where one could turn to with questions about the faith.  If you're wondering, "Like the Roman Catholics have?", my answer is yes, just like they have.  If all Eastern Orthodox Christians believe the same thing (and I assume that if we're gonna call ourselves Orthodox [correct/right belief/worship] then we do) then why can't we come up with a Catechism book agreed upon by all the Autocephalous and Autonomous churches?  It's really a disappointment.   

 I think it would work if we touched upon all the main things we all believe and maybe have footnotes where appropriate when speaking about little 't' traditions that each of the national churches have.  What say all y'all?

 As a sidenote, I wasn't sure where to put this topic.  It didn't really seem to fit anywhere really. 
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 02:44:17 AM »

You can find several.  One that I know is called "These Truths We Hold" printed by St Tikhon's press.  Another is the catechism written by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion.  There are also some by the Church Fathers.  One is by St Philaret of Moscow.  I have never seen or read any others, but I know they exist.

As to your general sentiment: I echo the sentiment of His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh about it.  ~"Salvation is personal, so it's an individual thing.  It happens individually."  I don't think a one-sized-fits-all formula is beneficial, and I think the Church agrees.
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 02:49:20 AM »

^^Thanks, authio.  Smiley I suppose I'm speaking here of one Catechism book that we all can agree upon and touches upon all that we believe.  Why don't we have one central Catechism book?  As for the quote by His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, I like it but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my concerns regarding a book that teaches what Eastern Orthodox Christians believe.
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 03:09:53 AM »

^^Thanks, authio.  Smiley I suppose I'm speaking here of one Catechism book that we all can agree upon and touches upon all that we believe.  Why don't we have one central Catechism book?  As for the quote by His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, I like it but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my concerns regarding a book that teaches what Eastern Orthodox Christians believe.

One, although the CCC is all the rage now, that is only the last decade or so: before 1992, the Vatican didn't have one (the Roman catechism wasn't so used).  In the past, the ones in Orthodoxy (St. Peter Movila's Orthodox Confession of the Catholic Church, St. Philoret's Longer Catechism) was produced in one Church and was adlopted by the others in time.  Since Orthodoxy isn't a confessional denomination, it doesn't lend itself to a synopsis in a catechism.
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2010, 03:13:11 AM »

^^Thanks, authio.  Smiley I suppose I'm speaking here of one Catechism book that we all can agree upon and touches upon all that we believe.  Why don't we have one central Catechism book?  As for the quote by His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, I like it but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my concerns regarding a book that teaches what Eastern Orthodox Christians believe.

One, although the CCC is all the rage now, that is only the last decade or so: before 1992, the Vatican didn't have one (the Roman catechism wasn't so used).  In the past, the ones in Orthodoxy (St. Peter Movila's Orthodox Confession of the Catholic Church, St. Philoret's Longer Catechism) was produced in one Church and was adlopted by the others in time.  Since Orthodoxy isn't a confessional denomination, it doesn't lend itself to a synopsis in a catechism.

 Thanks, Isa.  Smiley  What do you mean by 'confessional denomination'?  You can PM me if you like.
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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2010, 07:23:33 AM »

In the past, the ones in Orthodoxy (St. Peter Movila's Orthodox Confession of the Catholic Church, St. Philoret's Longer Catechism) was produced in one Church and was adlopted by the others in time.  Since Orthodoxy isn't a confessional denomination, it doesn't lend itself to a synopsis in a catechism.

What's wrong with these catechisms? Why couldn't just use those?

And since I'm not a native English speaker, what is a confessional denomination?
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2010, 08:46:03 AM »

Recently the Russian Orthodox Church announced that they would compile a comprehensive catechism.

Currently, we have the Law of God by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy- a large and comprehensive volume. For shorter catechisms, my favorite of the ones I've seen is St. Nikolai Velimirovich's The Faith of the Saints.
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2010, 09:32:36 AM »

^^Thanks, authio.  Smiley I suppose I'm speaking here of one Catechism book that we all can agree upon and touches upon all that we believe.  Why don't we have one central Catechism book?  As for the quote by His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, I like it but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my concerns regarding a book that teaches what Eastern Orthodox Christians believe.

One, although the CCC is all the rage now, that is only the last decade or so: before 1992, the Vatican didn't have one (the Roman catechism wasn't so used).  In the past, the ones in Orthodoxy (St. Peter Movila's Orthodox Confession of the Catholic Church, St. Philoret's Longer Catechism) was produced in one Church and was adlopted by the others in time.  Since Orthodoxy isn't a confessional denomination, it doesn't lend itself to a synopsis in a catechism.

The Catechism of Trent was in popular use prior to the CCC.  That was the universal Catechism.  There were also systematic theology texts and local catechisms.  They did not all coincide and there were local idioms passing for universal, after a time, and so the presentation of the CCC became increasingly necessary for the common man to know the teachings of the Church.
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2010, 04:15:17 PM »

^^Thanks, authio.  Smiley I suppose I'm speaking here of one Catechism book that we all can agree upon and touches upon all that we believe.  Why don't we have one central Catechism book?  As for the quote by His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, I like it but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my concerns regarding a book that teaches what Eastern Orthodox Christians believe.

One, although the CCC is all the rage now, that is only the last decade or so: before 1992, the Vatican didn't have one (the Roman catechism wasn't so used).  In the past, the ones in Orthodoxy (St. Peter Movila's Orthodox Confession of the Catholic Church, St. Philoret's Longer Catechism) was produced in one Church and was adlopted by the others in time.  Since Orthodoxy isn't a confessional denomination, it doesn't lend itself to a synopsis in a catechism.

The Catechism of Trent was in popular use prior to the CCC.  That was the universal Catechism.  There were also systematic theology texts and local catechisms.  They did not all coincide and there were local idioms passing for universal, after a time, and so the presentation of the CCC became increasingly necessary for the common man to know the teachings of the Church.
We still use the old Baltimore Catechism at my parish for instructing our confirmation students.
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2010, 05:25:01 PM »

Recently the Russian Orthodox Church announced that they would compile a comprehensive catechism.

How is this coming? Will they make an English translation? I heard about this a while ago. Nothing since then.
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2010, 05:35:23 PM »

Part of the problem is that every other line would be "And past that, it's a mystery!"  Tongue

Seriously though, I like not having one set resource for such things. It reminds me that Orthodoxy (and Christianity generally) isn't about easy solutions or just knowing and believing X, Y, and Z. It's about understanding on a deeper level, and more importantly, doing Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2010, 05:37:55 PM »

We can't agree on one calendar and you want us to agree on a catechism book?! You're funny!  laugh   laugh
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2010, 12:26:47 AM »

^^Thanks, authio.  Smiley I suppose I'm speaking here of one Catechism book that we all can agree upon and touches upon all that we believe.  Why don't we have one central Catechism book?  As for the quote by His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, I like it but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my concerns regarding a book that teaches what Eastern Orthodox Christians believe.

His Grace is responding exactly to your sentiment.  Salvation is not uniform, so a unified catechism is not needed.  Salvation is personal, and is taught as such.  One person to an individual, or a group that shares the same concerns.  I doubt you and I have the same concerns in this life, so I doubt a "uniform catechism" would satisfy both you and I.

Since Orthodoxy isn't a confessional denomination, it doesn't lend itself to a synopsis in a catechism.

Yes!

I like not having one set resource for such things. It reminds me that Orthodoxy (and Christianity generally) isn't about easy solutions or just knowing and believing X, Y, and Z. It's about understanding on a deeper level, and more importantly, doing Orthodoxy.
Yes! Yes!!
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2010, 01:49:50 AM »

^^Thanks, authio.  Smiley I suppose I'm speaking here of one Catechism book that we all can agree upon and touches upon all that we believe.  Why don't we have one central Catechism book?  As for the quote by His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, I like it but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my concerns regarding a book that teaches what Eastern Orthodox Christians believe.

His Grace is responding exactly to your sentiment.  Salvation is not uniform, so a unified catechism is not needed.  Salvation is personal, and is taught as such.  One person to an individual, or a group that shares the same concerns.  I doubt you and I have the same concerns in this life, so I doubt a "uniform catechism" would satisfy both you and I.
I don't mean to be contentious, but I still don't see Salvation and a unified catechism as the same thing.  One is from God while the other teaches us what The Eastern Orthodox Christian believes.  Undecided
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2010, 07:46:24 AM »

Recently the Russian Orthodox Church announced that they would compile a comprehensive catechism.

How is this coming? Will they make an English translation? I heard about this a while ago. Nothing since then.

I don't think I know anything more than you do.
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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2010, 07:52:52 AM »


Seriously though, I like not having one set resource for such things.


And evidently, God likes to do things that way too.  Instead of giving us one universal Gospel, he gave us four of them.   laugh
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« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2010, 08:35:36 AM »

Part of the problem is that every other line would be "And past that, it's a mystery!"  Tongue

Seriously though, I like not having one set resource for such things. It reminds me that Orthodoxy (and Christianity generally) isn't about easy solutions or just knowing and believing X, Y, and Z. It's about understanding on a deeper level, and more importantly, doing Orthodoxy.
I agree entirely. We've seen the problems that arise with non-Orthodox who believe that their faith is all packaged in one book. Learning about my faith is a delightful journey. I enjoy stumbling across a new hymn or prayer that clarifies and enlightens my faith. I'd hate to say, "Everything you need to know is in this book."

Yes, we need guides to get us started, and perhaps as a reference for some symbolism - but even there we have to be careful that we don't limit the work of the Holy Spirit within our Tradition.
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« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2010, 09:14:52 AM »

We've seen the problems that arise with non-Orthodox who believe that their faith is all packaged in one book.

And what catechisms has to with problems of heterodox denominations? Clown masses and Lesbian bishops are caused by catechisms?

St. John of Damascus must be laughing while reading this thread.
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« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2010, 09:23:57 AM »


St. John of Damascus must be laughing while reading this thread.

Excellent exposition of the orthodox faith.    It is true that he teaches consubstantiation, but that is not a problem.  And glory to God, not a toll house in sight. 
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« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2010, 09:46:49 AM »

We've seen the problems that arise with non-Orthodox who believe that their faith is all packaged in one book.

And what catechisms has to with problems of heterodox denominations? Clown masses and Lesbian bishops are caused by catechisms?

St. John of Damascus must be laughing while reading this thread.
Sorry about being less than clear. What I had in mind was Sola Scriptura. We've had several "lively" threads elsewhere recently on that topic. "Here - just read the book. It'll answer everything for you. If it's not in this book, it isn't true. You can decide for yourself what it really means."

Reliance on a single, isolated authority - no matter how well intentioned - cannot replace Holy Tradition.
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« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2010, 10:53:53 AM »

Sorry about being less than clear. What I had in mind was Sola Scriptura. We've had several "lively" threads elsewhere recently on that topic. "Here - just read the book. It'll answer everything for you. If it's not in this book, it isn't true. You can decide for yourself what it really means."

Reliance on a single, isolated authority - no matter how well intentioned - cannot replace Holy Tradition.

Your comparison is a little silly. Catholics hardly believe in Sola Scriptura even though they have the CCC.
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« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2010, 11:03:50 AM »

We've seen the problems that arise with non-Orthodox who believe that their faith is all packaged in one book.

And what catechisms has to with problems of heterodox denominations? Clown masses and Lesbian bishops are caused by catechisms?

St. John of Damascus must be laughing while reading this thread.

No, the problems caused by reliance on a single authority (whether written or otherwise) go far beyond the issues you mention, to the very roots of the groups who take that route. Truth is manifested in the Bible, the Church Fathers, other written documents such as statements and creeds, hagiography and the lives of saints, the liturgy and other prayers, canon law, oral tradition, and other sources. History has shown that when you tell people, and when you believe, that a single authority has all the answers, that there are terrible consequences.
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« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2010, 11:06:02 AM »

^^Thanks, authio.  Smiley I suppose I'm speaking here of one Catechism book that we all can agree upon and touches upon all that we believe.  Why don't we have one central Catechism book?  As for the quote by His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, I like it but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my concerns regarding a book that teaches what Eastern Orthodox Christians believe.

One, although the CCC is all the rage now, that is only the last decade or so: before 1992, the Vatican didn't have one (the Roman catechism wasn't so used).  In the past, the ones in Orthodoxy (St. Peter Movila's Orthodox Confession of the Catholic Church, St. Philoret's Longer Catechism) was produced in one Church and was adlopted by the others in time.  Since Orthodoxy isn't a confessional denomination, it doesn't lend itself to a synopsis in a catechism.

 Thanks, Isa.  Smiley  What do you mean by 'confessional denomination'?  You can PM me if you like.

LOL. No, I can go on the record.

Confessinalism is like US Constitutionalism (in the broad, not originalist/strict constructionist sense, although there is a relation): there are authoratative statements of the confession upon which the confession is predicated and to which all the members, to use the Vatican's words, "must give Full Assent of Faith" "a religious assent [which] religious submission of mind and will must be shown" and "must be firmly accepted and held." (Lumen Gentium, Code of Canon Law, Donum Veritatis). Both a confessional denomination and the US government are codified, and all members must subscribe to that codification. In constrast Great Britain has an uncodified government and does not subscribe to entrenchment (the idea that the constitution can be modified only by extraordinary means: in GB any monarch and the parilament, who are fully sovereign, can change any aspect of the Constitution).  Paradoxically, the British system is the more conservative one than the US.

Thus Lutheranism is predicated to the Augsburg Confession (most confessional Lutherans subscribe to the Book of Concord, but all Lutherans, confessional or "non-confessional," subscribe to the Augsburg Confession); Presbyterianism (at least when it was consolidated as a seperate denomination) was predicated on the Westminster Confession of Faith; etc. Anglicanism went into a crisis when the granting of independence to the American colonies (which still had and has Anglicans) and the crown granting of the right to those loyal to the Vatican as the head of the church in England to sit in parliament: Anglicanism was (and ultimately is) predicated by the Supremacy Act of the English crown.

The Vatican now predicates itself on the CCC, something here and elsewhere some of them have tried to deny (though not explaining how, if the Vatican's teaching is not predicated on the CCC, how is the lack of something comparable in Orthodoxy a "lack"). The Roman had a similar role, but since it was intended only for priests and not the general consumption.  It is this general intent of the CCC (including to those who don't subscribe to the Vatican's dogma) which has created this "need."

St. John of Damascus would be the first to admit that his "Exact Expostion of the Orthodox Faith" does not draw the line down the center of the road on which we must toe, but rather the crenelations on both sides of the road which tell you, when your drive on them and they make that rumbling sound, that you are going off the road and warn you to get back on.  This is shown by it being the third part of one work "the Font of Knowledge," starting with the "Philosophical Chapters"-which tell you how to detect truth from falsehood-to the "On Heresies"-which gives examples to flee from-proceeding to the "Exact Exposition"-which gives examples to cling to. He is not codifying dogma for the basis of the Faith, he is providing an overview for the practice of that Faith based on the experience of membership in the One, Holy, Catholic and Orthodox Church.



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« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2010, 11:08:33 AM »

Sorry about being less than clear. What I had in mind was Sola Scriptura. We've had several "lively" threads elsewhere recently on that topic. "Here - just read the book. It'll answer everything for you. If it's not in this book, it isn't true. You can decide for yourself what it really means."

Reliance on a single, isolated authority - no matter how well intentioned - cannot replace Holy Tradition.

Your comparison is a little silly. Catholics hardly believe in Sola Scriptura even though they have the CCC.

How the CCC is used, at least in the US, does not differ from what genesisone says as you might think.
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« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2010, 11:41:50 AM »

Sorry about being less than clear. What I had in mind was Sola Scriptura. We've had several "lively" threads elsewhere recently on that topic. "Here - just read the book. It'll answer everything for you. If it's not in this book, it isn't true. You can decide for yourself what it really means."

Reliance on a single, isolated authority - no matter how well intentioned - cannot replace Holy Tradition.

Your comparison is a little silly. Catholics hardly believe in Sola Scriptura even though they have the CCC.

How the CCC is used, at least in the US, does not differ from what genesisone says as you might think.

False attribution.  Total lack of understanding of Catholic teaching and praxis.  Ignorance writ large.
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« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2010, 11:53:50 AM »


 Hey y'all,

 My housemate and I were discussing the fact that we Eastern Orthodox Christians seem to be lacking a centralized (maybe that's the wrong word) book where one could turn to with questions about the faith.  If you're wondering, "Like the Roman Catholics have?", my answer is yes, just like they have.  If all Eastern Orthodox Christians believe the same thing (and I assume that if we're gonna call ourselves Orthodox [correct/right belief/worship] then we do) then why can't we come up with a Catechism book agreed upon by all the Autocephalous and Autonomous churches?  It's really a disappointment.   

 I think it would work if we touched upon all the main things we all believe and maybe have footnotes where appropriate when speaking about little 't' traditions that each of the national churches have.  What say all y'all?

 As a sidenote, I wasn't sure where to put this topic.  It didn't really seem to fit anywhere really. 

St. John Damascus
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« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2010, 12:07:24 PM »

St. John of Damascus clearly excludes the deuterocanonicals from his canon of the Bible... and yet, from Met. Kallistos to the Orthodox Study Bible, from Fr. John Breck to Fr. Theodore Stylianopoulus, from Archbp. Chrysostom to your average informed lay person, I have not seen any Orthodox today who would accept that as the definitive answer to the question of the canonicity of those books. That's just one example. The works of St. John of Damascus are invaluable, but they aren't definitive (not even one with an authoritative-sounding title like "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith")
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« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2010, 12:46:12 PM »

That's just one example. The works of St. John of Damascus are invaluable, but they aren't definitive (not even one with an authoritative-sounding title like "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith")

He might mistake on various points but at least he tried. His attittude is rather different that we've seen in this thread. St. John apparently saw a need for sort of catechism even though God gave us four gospels instead of just one, even though Orthodoxy is not a confessional denomination, even though Salvation is not uniform etc.

I can understand the idea that we don't have a need for universal catechism or that we can use those catechisms or other expositions of Faith that already exist. What I found weird is that an idea of catechism seems to arouse negative reactions. What's so bad about it?

I am of that opinion that an universal catechism could be useful but we can also live without it. But at least an idea of a catechism is not something that should be vehemently opposed.
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« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2010, 02:11:44 PM »

Sorry about being less than clear. What I had in mind was Sola Scriptura. We've had several "lively" threads elsewhere recently on that topic. "Here - just read the book. It'll answer everything for you. If it's not in this book, it isn't true. You can decide for yourself what it really means."

Reliance on a single, isolated authority - no matter how well intentioned - cannot replace Holy Tradition.

Your comparison is a little silly. Catholics hardly believe in Sola Scriptura even though they have the CCC.

How the CCC is used, at least in the US, does not differ from what genesisone says as you might think.

False attribution.  Total lack of understanding of Catholic teaching and praxis.  Ignorance writ large.
Then you better get to work corralling them back onto the reservation.
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« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2010, 03:24:35 PM »

^^Thanks, authio.  Smiley I suppose I'm speaking here of one Catechism book that we all can agree upon and touches upon all that we believe.  Why don't we have one central Catechism book?  As for the quote by His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, I like it but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my concerns regarding a book that teaches what Eastern Orthodox Christians believe.

One, although the CCC is all the rage now, that is only the last decade or so: before 1992, the Vatican didn't have one (the Roman catechism wasn't so used).  In the past, the ones in Orthodoxy (St. Peter Movila's Orthodox Confession of the Catholic Church, St. Philoret's Longer Catechism) was produced in one Church and was adlopted by the others in time.  Since Orthodoxy isn't a confessional denomination, it doesn't lend itself to a synopsis in a catechism.

 Thanks, Isa.  Smiley  What do you mean by 'confessional denomination'?  You can PM me if you like.

LOL. No, I can go on the record.

Confessinalism is like US Constitutionalism (in the broad, not originalist/strict constructionist sense, although there is a relation): there are authoratative statements of the confession upon which the confession is predicated and to which all the members, to use the Vatican's words, "must give Full Assent of Faith" "a religious assent [which] religious submission of mind and will must be shown" and "must be firmly accepted and held." (Lumen Gentium, Code of Canon Law, Donum Veritatis). Both a confessional denomination and the US government are codified, and all members must subscribe to that codification. In constrast Great Britain has an uncodified government and does not subscribe to entrenchment (the idea that the constitution can be modified only by extraordinary means: in GB any monarch and the parilament, who are fully sovereign, can change any aspect of the Constitution).  Paradoxically, the British system is the more conservative one than the US.

Thus Lutheranism is predicated to the Augsburg Confession (most confessional Lutherans subscribe to the Book of Concord, but all Lutherans, confessional or "non-confessional," subscribe to the Augsburg Confession); Presbyterianism (at least when it was consolidated as a seperate denomination) was predicated on the Westminster Confession of Faith; etc. Anglicanism went into a crisis when the granting of independence to the American colonies (which still had and has Anglicans) and the crown granting of the right to those loyal to the Vatican as the head of the church in England to sit in parliament: Anglicanism was (and ultimately is) predicated by the Supremacy Act of the English crown.

The Vatican now predicates itself on the CCC, something here and elsewhere some of them have tried to deny (though not explaining how, if the Vatican's teaching is not predicated on the CCC, how is the lack of something comparable in Orthodoxy a "lack"). The Roman had a similar role, but since it was intended only for priests and not the general consumption.  It is this general intent of the CCC (including to those who don't subscribe to the Vatican's dogma) which has created this "need."

St. John of Damascus would be the first to admit that his "Exact Expostion of the Orthodox Faith" does not draw the line down the center of the road on which we must toe, but rather the crenelations on both sides of the road which tell you, when your drive on them and they make that rumbling sound, that you are going off the road and warn you to get back on.  This is shown by it being the third part of one work "the Font of Knowledge," starting with the "Philosophical Chapters"-which tell you how to detect truth from falsehood-to the "On Heresies"-which gives examples to flee from-proceeding to the "Exact Exposition"-which gives examples to cling to. He is not codifying dogma for the basis of the Faith, he is providing an overview for the practice of that Faith based on the experience of membership in the One, Holy, Catholic and Orthodox Church.





While the Orthodox Church does not have one comprehensive and authoritative catechism, she does have a common credal statement that functions as the basic, foundational "confession." Along with the pre-communion confession of faith, the Credo of the Divine Liturgy is functionally equivalent to any other confession. Indeed, the acceptance and reverence of the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God is another such confessional expression, as are various commandments of the Lord in the New Testament that are put into practice through the Holy Mysteries. Furthermore, the seven Ecumenical Councils also attempted to draw protective fences around the basics of our faith and thus are also part of our "confession,' especially when it comes to dogmatic statements. Thus, while our confession may not be neatly put together in a single, organized document, we are also confessional to a degree.
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« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2010, 03:46:25 PM »

There is no single authoritative catechism.  The interesting thing about the historical catechisms is they often contradict what is currently espoused as being the beliefs of the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2010, 03:59:50 PM »

There is no single authoritative catechism.  The interesting thing about the historical catechisms is they often contradict what is currently espoused as being the beliefs of the Orthodox Church.

May be because we posit Holy Tradition as our confession? Some of us take everything that we now believe and do as being authoritative and others try to discern what is real tradition and what is merely pious custom. If we were to compare our Church to a ship, I am convinced that the Church is not what she once was and yet I think that she has remained essentially the same, while also having undergone changes to the superstructure, accumulated barnacles and covered under numerous layers of paint. Therefore, our problem is the differing approaches to our ship; some love her the way she is and would not dream of removing the barnacles, the numerous layers of paint and the changes in her external appearance; others are confident that doing so would not materially change her. It is no wonder that we have no common, comprehensive and authoritative catechism or confession. However, like basic law or a Constitution, we all hold certain confessional expressions to be irreducible and common to all.
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« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2010, 08:51:50 PM »

There is no single authoritative catechism.  The interesting thing about the historical catechisms is they often contradict what is currently espoused as being the beliefs of the Orthodox Church.

Possibly because they were written by men whose education had been in Protestant and Catholic institutions in Western Europe.  They even wrote their catechisms in Latin  - so what use was that to the ordinary Greek or Bulgarian?

Please do more research, and you will also discover that these catechisms were corrected and then published by Orthodox synods.
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« Reply #33 on: November 09, 2010, 09:13:30 PM »


Seriously though, I like not having one set resource for such things.


And evidently, God likes to do things that way too.  Instead of giving us one universal Gospel, he gave us four of them.   laugh

Good point
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« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2010, 10:39:51 PM »

There is no single authoritative catechism.  The interesting thing about the historical catechisms is they often contradict what is currently espoused as being the beliefs of the Orthodox Church.
Such as?
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« Reply #35 on: November 16, 2010, 10:59:02 AM »

I also have "these truths we hold" and it's just grand. I really love the one published by (Saint) Bishop Nicolai Velimerovic, of the Serbian Church.  it's really wonderful.  I have a quite an old copy, so I'm not sure if it's still published.
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« Reply #36 on: November 16, 2010, 11:17:03 AM »

^^Thanks, authio.  Smiley I suppose I'm speaking here of one Catechism book that we all can agree upon and touches upon all that we believe.  Why don't we have one central Catechism book?  As for the quote by His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, I like it but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my concerns regarding a book that teaches what Eastern Orthodox Christians believe.

One, although the CCC is all the rage now, that is only the last decade or so: before 1992, the Vatican didn't have one (the Roman catechism wasn't so used).  In the past, the ones in Orthodoxy (St. Peter Movila's Orthodox Confession of the Catholic Church, St. Philoret's Longer Catechism) was produced in one Church and was adlopted by the others in time.  Since Orthodoxy isn't a confessional denomination, it doesn't lend itself to a synopsis in a catechism.

 Thanks, Isa.  Smiley  What do you mean by 'confessional denomination'?  You can PM me if you like.

LOL. No, I can go on the record.

Confessinalism is like US Constitutionalism (in the broad, not originalist/strict constructionist sense, although there is a relation): there are authoratative statements of the confession upon which the confession is predicated and to which all the members, to use the Vatican's words, "must give Full Assent of Faith" "a religious assent [which] religious submission of mind and will must be shown" and "must be firmly accepted and held." (Lumen Gentium, Code of Canon Law, Donum Veritatis). Both a confessional denomination and the US government are codified, and all members must subscribe to that codification. In constrast Great Britain has an uncodified government and does not subscribe to entrenchment (the idea that the constitution can be modified only by extraordinary means: in GB any monarch and the parilament, who are fully sovereign, can change any aspect of the Constitution).  Paradoxically, the British system is the more conservative one than the US.

Thus Lutheranism is predicated to the Augsburg Confession (most confessional Lutherans subscribe to the Book of Concord, but all Lutherans, confessional or "non-confessional," subscribe to the Augsburg Confession); Presbyterianism (at least when it was consolidated as a seperate denomination) was predicated on the Westminster Confession of Faith; etc. Anglicanism went into a crisis when the granting of independence to the American colonies (which still had and has Anglicans) and the crown granting of the right to those loyal to the Vatican as the head of the church in England to sit in parliament: Anglicanism was (and ultimately is) predicated by the Supremacy Act of the English crown.

The Vatican now predicates itself on the CCC, something here and elsewhere some of them have tried to deny (though not explaining how, if the Vatican's teaching is not predicated on the CCC, how is the lack of something comparable in Orthodoxy a "lack"). The Roman had a similar role, but since it was intended only for priests and not the general consumption.  It is this general intent of the CCC (including to those who don't subscribe to the Vatican's dogma) which has created this "need."

St. John of Damascus would be the first to admit that his "Exact Expostion of the Orthodox Faith" does not draw the line down the center of the road on which we must toe, but rather the crenelations on both sides of the road which tell you, when your drive on them and they make that rumbling sound, that you are going off the road and warn you to get back on.  This is shown by it being the third part of one work "the Font of Knowledge," starting with the "Philosophical Chapters"-which tell you how to detect truth from falsehood-to the "On Heresies"-which gives examples to flee from-proceeding to the "Exact Exposition"-which gives examples to cling to. He is not codifying dogma for the basis of the Faith, he is providing an overview for the practice of that Faith based on the experience of membership in the One, Holy, Catholic and Orthodox Church.

I see what you mean, now.  Thanks Isa.  Smiley
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