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Author Topic: National flags in Sanctuary?  (Read 3467 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 01, 2010, 12:46:02 AM »

Some friends and I had a good-natured debate about national flags in churches where the Liturgy takes place. Should the national flag be in Church? In America, where the flag represents a Protestant/ secular republic, should the stars and stripes be displayed?

Is there any official rubrics or guidelines, or a common opinion, on flags in churches?

I realize certain jurisdictions, in and out of their native homeland, may differ.
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 02:28:37 AM »

Some friends and I had a good-natured debate about national flags in churches where the Liturgy takes place. Should the national flag be in Church? In America, where the flag represents a Protestant/ secular republic, should the stars and stripes be displayed?

Is there any official rubrics or guidelines, or a common opinion, on flags in churches?

I realize certain jurisdictions, in and out of their native homeland, may differ.

I asked My Late Mom that question when i was Younger because of the Serbian  and the American Flag in church, She Said there was nothing wrong with it ,God Ordained it....When the lord commanded moses to gather the 12 tribes under there banners , for the great census ....So Flags Banners are ok,it would seem....
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 02:46:19 AM »

There is neither Jew nor Greek ... nationalistic expressions, even respected symbols such as national flags, have no place within the walls of an Orthodox Church.  Angry
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2010, 03:36:40 AM »

There is neither Jew nor Greek ... nationalistic expressions, even respected symbols such as national flags, have no place within the walls of an Orthodox Church.  Angry

I think the same.
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2010, 04:09:59 AM »

The symbol is what you make of it. Personally I believe we should have a flag in the sanctuary and likewise carry our faith with us outside of the church also. If you seperate the two, then you are not living as a christian when you leave the sanctuary and not a patriot when you are inside. I am both a patriot and a christian. How can you divide the two in America? America is a country founded on Faith. In God We Trust.

I can understand how a second ethnic flag could be an issue in a pan-orthodox church. Maybe one day my grandchildren will remove the Greek flag from the sanctuary or maybe they will had a few. I know they certainly will not argue over such a trivial issue for didn't Moses order the twelve tribes to carry their banners.

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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2010, 04:16:40 AM »

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for didn't Moses order the twelve tribes to carry their banners.

But were tribal banners ever permitted in the Temple at Jerusalem, or in synagogues? If they were not permitted, then using this "precedent" is irrelevant.
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2010, 04:27:22 AM »

Well let's see why the flags show up in American sanctuaries. The United States fought a bloody civil war in which about 70,000,000 Americans died. That's 70 million. That is like the entire nation of Greece times 7. I could go on with how many 70 million is but on top of that President Abraham Lincoln was assasinated. The hero of the day who kept the nation united. So after all of this killing the christians put flags in the sanctuary so that such a gruesome war which pitted brother against brother would not happen again.

That being said do you really want to remove the American flag and lesson the sacrifice of 70 million Americans?

No it wasn't 70 million it was 700,000 but you still get the point right?
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2010, 04:44:32 AM »

Well let's see why the flags show up in American sanctuaries. The United States fought a bloody civil war in which about 70,000,000 Americans died. That's 70 million. That is like the entire nation of Greece times 7. I could go on with how many 70 million is but on top of that President Abraham Lincoln was assasinated. The hero of the day who kept the nation united. So after all of this killing the christians put flags in the sanctuary so that such a gruesome war which pitted brother against brother would not happen again.

That being said do you really want to remove the American flag and lesson the sacrifice of 70 million Americans?

But what does the display of a secular symbol (respected and revered, but still a secular symbol) in an Orthodox church have to do with the Orthodox faith? I also make no distinction between countries or Orthodox jurisdictions. No national flag should be present within the walls of an Orthodox church - it is an expression of ethnophyletism, even if it is an American flag being displayed. The same would be the case for the national flags of other emigrant nations, such as Canada, Australia, the British Isles, New Zealand, etc.

The fallen of any war (civil or otherwise) are properly commemorated in war memorials designed and set aside for that purpose. Your attempt to justify the presence of the Stars and Stripes in Orthodox churches by invoking secular history is sadly mistaken. An Orthodox church is not the venue for political statements, but for the worship and glorification of God.

Like I said: There is neither Jew nor Greek, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. And when we stand in church during a divine service, we stand as Orthodox Christians. Ethnicity or national allegiance is of no consequence there.

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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2010, 04:48:04 AM »

The Church is a venue for healing and coming together after a conflict. But, let's try it a different way.
Do you want to remove the flag from the funeral services of Orthodox service men?

Do you want to remove the flag from the uniforms of Orthodox Chaplains as they perform the Divine Liturgy?

John 5:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Think of it as a right of personal privilige for those who have died to give you the freedom to worship.
In other words if you die for me I will take down the flag.
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2010, 05:15:33 AM »

What sort of uniform do Orthodox chaplains in the US wear?

Do they not simply wear the appropriate vestments for the jurisdiction they belong to?

I am very much an English patriot but I could not wear either the flag of St George or the Union flag on my vestments. It would feel most odd. When I stand at the altar I transcend my nationality however much I love and pray for my country.

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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2010, 06:13:28 AM »

What sort of uniform do Orthodox chaplains in the US wear?

Do they not simply wear the appropriate vestments for the jurisdiction they belong to?

I am very much an English patriot but I could not wear either the flag of St George or the Union flag on my vestments. It would feel most odd. When I stand at the altar I transcend my nationality however much I love and pray for my country.

Father Peter
A chaplain wears the same uniform as any other serviceman only he has a cross to signify his branch, can wear a white collar under their jacket, and carries a stole (Epitrachelion) and antimension for services. Chaplains also do not carry a weapon but are assigned an assistant who provides personal security to the chaplain. Some chaplains wear a red cross arm band to signify themselves as non-combatants but others do not wear them since the taliban shoots the priests the same as the soldiers and the red cross just makes for a better target.

A US chaplain is an officer. Although they do not fight directly, they do advise and help to win the battle.

"When I stand at the altar.." Why only when you stand at the altar, are you not a priest 24 hours a day wherever you go. How can you say you transcend nationality at the altar but not the rest of the day? Likewise if you are a patriot do you stop being a patriot when you pray to God. I understand that if there were a conflict between the two you would serve God first. But, can't you serve both your God and country at the same time. Do you pay taxes? Does God confer less grace to you if there is a flag in the sanctuary?

I hope the next thing will not be aramaic only services since any other language would be showing phyletism.

Get rid of the flags, get rid of the ethnic Saints, get rid of the language, and then what? Did God say to love everyone or to make everyone the same? Get rid of the ethnic skin color, facial features, etc.

Let's not call Jesus a Jew that may be offensive. Because Jesus was without national origin right? We are all one in Christ but that does not change what we are. Or do you think men and women are both the same in Christ also?
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2010, 06:39:51 AM »

LOL!

I am a priest but I am also other things and at different times different aspects of who I am become more or less appropriate.

I am a patriot but I am also a husband and father. I don't wear union jack pajamas for instance.

And the flag says nothing about patriotism. It is generally to do with the state. I am patriotic in the sense of loving my people and history not supporting the modern political state. This is in fact why the flag of St George is popular in England so much rather than the national Union flag.
If I were to display even the flag of St George in my Church, which I would not, it would dis-fellowship all those who worship with us who are not English.

When I stand at the altar I am representing all of them. When I am cheering the England football team I am certainly still a priest and this must impact on my behaviour, but I am also a husband, father and subject of Her Majesty.

You would not say, if you are a football fan why don't you wear your team colours at the altar?

It is obvious to all that at different times different responsibilities and aspects of personhood come to the fore.

But in my opinion the national flag should not be kept in the sanctuary. We belong to a different kingdom which always moderates our patriotism.
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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2010, 07:25:53 AM »

What sort of uniform do Orthodox chaplains in the US wear?

Do they not simply wear the appropriate vestments for the jurisdiction they belong to?

I am very much an English patriot but I could not wear either the flag of St George or the Union flag on my vestments. It would feel most odd. When I stand at the altar I transcend my nationality however much I love and pray for my country.

Father Peter
A chaplain wears the same uniform as any other serviceman only he has a cross to signify his branch, can wear a white collar under their jacket, and carries a stole (Epitrachelion) and antimension for services. Chaplains also do not carry a weapon but are assigned an assistant who provides personal security to the chaplain. Some chaplains wear a red cross arm band to signify themselves as non-combatants but others do not wear them since the taliban shoots the priests the same as the soldiers and the red cross just makes for a better target.

A US chaplain is an officer. Although they do not fight directly, they do advise and help to win the battle.

"When I stand at the altar.." Why only when you stand at the altar, are you not a priest 24 hours a day wherever you go. How can you say you transcend nationality at the altar but not the rest of the day? Likewise if you are a patriot do you stop being a patriot when you pray to God. I understand that if there were a conflict between the two you would serve God first. But, can't you serve both your God and country at the same time. Do you pay taxes? Does God confer less grace to you if there is a flag in the sanctuary?

Food for thought:

The Church commemorates as saints various kings, queens, emperors, empresses, and others who were leaders of their people in a temporal sense, such as Sts Vladimir and Olga of Kiev, Tamara and Nina of Georgia, Alexander Nevsky, Daniel of Moscow, Constantine and Helen. It is instructive to examine the hymnography written for these saints - the emphasis is on their fidelity to the Orthodox faith, and, in the case of those who are enlightener-saints, their diligence in promoting the spread of Orthodoxy in their lands. Nationalistic patriotism in the sense is absent in these texts, and so it should be.

Quote
I hope the next thing will not be aramaic only services since any other language would be showing phyletism.

Get rid of the flags, get rid of the ethnic Saints, get rid of the language, and then what? Did God say to love everyone or to make everyone the same? Get rid of the ethnic skin color, facial features, etc.

Let's not call Jesus a Jew that may be offensive. Because Jesus was without national origin right? We are all one in Christ but that does not change what we are. Or do you think men and women are both the same in Christ also?

The shrillness of this outburst is hardly edifying.  Kiss

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You would not say, if you are a football fan why don't you wear your team colours at the altar?

Excellent point, Fr Peter.
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« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2010, 08:05:51 AM »

No it wasn't 70 million it was 700,000 but you still get the point right?

Is your point that Americans are the only ones who have suffered national tragedies?

The way to avoid bloodshed and war isn't to erect national flags, but to recognize that all human beings, regardless of nationalities, are brothers in Christ.

I don't think flags should be in the Church, period, but if they are, they should be as far from the sanctuary as possible. Putting them in the sanctuary itself (I hope no Orthodox Church really does this) is bordering on idolatry.
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« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2010, 08:24:22 AM »

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The Church commemorates as saints various kings, queens, emperors, empresses, and others who were leaders of their people in a temporal sense, such as Sts Vladimir and Olga of Kiev, Tamara and Nina of Georgia, Alexander Nevsky, Daniel of Moscow, Constantine and Helen. It is instructive to examine the hymnography written for these saints - the emphasis is on their fidelity to the Orthodox faith, and, in the case of those who are enlightener-saints, their diligence in promoting the spread of Orthodoxy in their lands. Nationalistic patriotism in the sense is absent in these texts, and so it should be.

Good point LBK.

It seems to me that where we do think highly of a ruler it is not in a nationalistic and statist sense (which is generally anachronistic anyhow) but in regard to their role as defender of the people. St Edmund, one of the ancient patron saints of the English, preferred death rather than to act as a puppet for pagan invaders. Blessed King Alfred is remembered as a pious and learned ruler, who made every effort to improve the spiritual education of his people and the Church. In none of these cases, and the others we could think of, was their a great interest in defending a politcal state, rather the reponsibility was to a people.

A state may easily use a flag as its emblem, and insist on allegiance to it as a political act. Something which is absolutely foreign to English people. It seems to me that the English are more reserved in their patriotism because it is not political but is a deep rooted love of land and people. So we do not need a flag to remind us that we are English, although we are also proud to use the flag of St George. And in any case our state uses the Union flag which does not represent my patriotism at all. I am English not British in the modern political sense.

Within the Church and especially the sanctuary it would seem to me to be much more appropriate to have icons of the national patrons, seeking their heavenly intercession, rather than political symbols of political states. In my Church we have a large icon of St Alban, and icons of St George and we keep those festivals. There is perhaps some secondary place for the flag of St George in that it does represent to some small degree a remembrance of our patron saint. But I would prefer either a flag or banner which properly represented St George iconically in some way than anything which could be understood as being nationalistic or political.

I love my country very much, not the state, but I would not want to erect anything in Church at all which might make the many visitors and members of the congregation from other countries feel unwelcome.

Father Peter
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« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2010, 09:14:22 AM »

I was actually very shocked when I entered an Orthodox Church that had national flags in the nave of the Church. To me it almost felt like I was back in a Protestant Church.

In my opinion, National Flags have no place in an Orthodox Church, I have no problem with flying them outside on a flagpole, or even maybe in a social hall/parish hall. But they should never be inside the Church itself.
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« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2010, 09:21:54 AM »

One of the reasons I eventually left Evangelical Protestantism was because of the melding of zealous patriotism with the Christian Faith. I became sickened by the ostentatious display of the American flag in the church. One can be a patriot and a Christian, but Christianity is not patriotism!

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« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2010, 09:41:47 AM »

I guess that is what makes America special. America is not just a political state but an ideal. Many foreigners regard America as a melting pot but we are not. We are a mosaic like the Church is with many parts forming one body. The flag is the embodiment of our Faith just as much as it is an embodiment of the people. Similarly Greece also embodies their Faith on their flag as represented by the cross. Doing away with the flag is the equivalent of doing away with religion.

I understand your point of view and how you may equate patriotism for your country with support for a soocer team but it is not the same thing in America. In America patriotism for your country is comparable to our Faith in God. This is more along the lines of the medieval monarchies in which the king was a divine ruler so is America today led by the Grace of God. In God We Trust. One nation under God.

There is a political debate in America which is seeking to remove the Judeo-Christian ethic our country was founded on from the government. That is to remove God from schools and government. To not start government meetings with a prayer, to remove the ten commandments from the courts, to remove God from our pledge and from our currency. The churches in America are opposed to this seperation because God plays an integral role in our government, schools, courts, military, and politics. Likewise we would never remove our flag from our Church as it also is integrated into the fabric of our Faith.

I am sorry your country is not founded on Faith in God but this does not mean you should try to remove God from my country or remove my country from my Faith as the two are linked just as it is shown on the Byzantine flag.

Maybe when the Patriarch removes one head and the orb from the Byzantine flag and seperates God from secular politics, or when our theology seperates the material from the spiritual, or when Jesus is no longer a man of this world and only of divine spirit, then I could concur with you that country and religion are seperate.
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2010, 09:46:14 AM »

The Prophet Isaiah says:
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

When I walk into a church and see a flag, I feel like it is a house of prayer especially for Greeks, or Russians, or Americans. The only banners in a church should be processional banners.

All these things will pass away, even nations, and we will live together in the kingdom of God. Why don't we start doing that now while in worship?
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« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2010, 09:59:42 AM »

Lol!

The US was founded by slave-owning deists, not Christians. It was certainly not founded on faith in Christ. It was founded in bloody and violent rebellion. Just as England was founded on war between the Heptarchy over many years. All political states have been established in blood. We do not support political states, we serve and love people.

And which US flag is the embodiment of your ideal? There have been rather a lot. Doing away with the flag is the same as doing away with the faith? Surely only if, as you seem to do, you equate support of the state and faith.

You say that you would not remove the flag from your Church, yet most posters here seem to indicate that they do not have the flag in their Church and would be uncomfortable to do so? Which Church do you belong to?

It is rather laughable that you should suggest that England is not founded on faith in God. My own patron saint is buried 18 miles from where I am sitting. 20 miles in the other direction are the remains of a 1700 year old Church. Britain and England have been Christian for about 6 times longer than the US has existed.

But this is not about the US or England. It is to do with the confusion of politics and faith which you seem to espouse rather aggressively. There is something seriously wrong with the idea that the symbol of a political state is the same as the substance of the Christian Faith. The US could quite easily become a number of smaller states and it would not affect the Orthodox Church at all. It could choose a new flag and it would not affect the Orthodox Church at all. It could even cease to exist and North America could become tens of competing small states each with their own flag. None of it matters at all in terms of the mission and life of the Church. What matters is how we live the Christian life not which flag the state we belong to uses. And we live the Christian life in relation to people and communities not in relation to a state. I am English because I belong to the English people, and because being English means something heart-stirring. I am not British because Britain is only a political construct, just as the USA is a political construct.

If you really do equate patriotism, especially in terms of support for a state, with the Christian faith then there is something seriously wrong.

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« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2010, 10:00:42 AM »

I guess that is what makes America special. America is not just a political state but an ideal. Many foreigners regard America as a melting pot but we are not. We are a mosaic like the Church is with many parts forming one body. The flag is the embodiment of our Faith just as much as it is an embodiment of the people. Similarly Greece also embodies their Faith on their flag as represented by the cross. Doing away with the flag is the equivalent of doing away with religion.

I understand your point of view and how you may equate patriotism for your country with support for a soocer team but it is not the same thing in America. In America patriotism for your country is comparable to our Faith in God.

As an American, I've heard and read many ridiculous expressions of nationalism, but I have never heard such blatantly idolatrous words in my life as these.

The United States is not a Christian country. It was not founded on Christian principles, but on the man-made ideology of the Enlightenment. Those who attempt to conflate this ideology with Christ are perverters of the Gospel, just like the heretic Thomas Jefferson.

Nations come and go. In time, the United States will pass the way of all the others. The Church will remain.  

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« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2010, 10:00:51 AM »

I guess that is what makes America special. America is not just a political state but an ideal. Many foreigners regard America as a melting pot but we are not. We are a mosaic like the Church is with many parts forming one body. The flag is the embodiment of our Faith just as much as it is an embodiment of the people. Similarly Greece also embodies their Faith on their flag as represented by the cross. Doing away with the flag is the equivalent of doing away with religion.

I understand your point of view and how you may equate patriotism for your country with support for a soocer team but it is not the same thing in America. In America patriotism for your country is comparable to our Faith in God. This is more along the lines of the medieval monarchies in which the king was a divine ruler so is America today led by the Grace of God. In God We Trust. One nation under God.

There is a political debate in America which is seeking to remove the Judeo-Christian ethic our country was founded on from the government. That is to remove God from schools and government. To not start government meetings with a prayer, to remove the ten commandments from the courts, to remove God from our pledge and from our currency. The churches in America are opposed to this seperation because God plays an integral role in our government, schools, courts, military, and politics. Likewise we would never remove our flag from our Church as it also is integrated into the fabric of our Faith.

I am sorry your country is not founded on Faith in God but this does not mean you should try to remove God from my country or remove my country from my Faith as the two are linked just as it is shown on the Byzantine flag.

Maybe when the Patriarch removes one head and the orb from the Byzantine flag and seperates God from secular politics, or when our theology seperates the material from the spiritual, or when Jesus is no longer a man of this world and only of divine spirit, then I could concur with you that country and religion are seperate.


America was not founded by God, nor on Christian principles. This country was founded upon slavery, genocide, Protestant rebellion, and deist enlightenment philosophy. That's not to say that some of the "founding fathers" were not sincere Christians. Perhaps a few were. But it takes a callous response to the historical and current atrocites perpetrated by this country, and a dim view of Christ, to call America a "Christian nation." The Constitution is idolatrously extolled as if it came down with Moses from Mt. Sinai. It has been interpreted and used to promote and justify horendous evils such as slavery, genocide, and abortion. And yet, many Christians glorify the Cosntitution as if it were as divinely inspired and the Bible itself.

Now, it is one thing to pray for our nation and to work to make it a country which is deeply shaped by the Orthodox Christian Faith. But it is nothing short of idolatry and ignorance to place the flag next to the Cross and say the pledge of allegiance along with our prayers. Patriotism leads to professing Christians fighting and killing one another because they have elevated nationalistic interest above Christian unity and brotherhood. I condemn such idolatry without apology.


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« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2010, 10:02:52 AM »

Lol!

The US was founded by slave-owning deists, not Christians. It was certainly not founded on faith in Christ. It was founded in bloody and violent rebellion. Just as England was founded on war between the Heptarchy over many years. All political states have been established in blood. We do not support political states, we serve and love people.

And which US flag is the embodiment of your ideal? There have been rather a lot. Doing away with the flag is the same as doing away with the faith? Surely only if, as you seem to do, you equate support of the state and faith.

You say that you would not remove the flag from your Church, yet most posters here seem to indicate that they do not have the flag in their Church and would be uncomfortable to do so? Which Church do you belong to?

It is rather laughable that you should suggest that England is not founded on faith in God. My own patron saint is buried 18 miles from where I am sitting. 20 miles in the other direction are the remains of a 1700 year old Church. Britain and England have been Christian for about 6 times longer than the US has existed.

But this is not about the US or England. It is to do with the confusion of politics and faith which you seem to espouse rather aggressively. There is something seriously wrong with the idea that the symbol of a political state is the same as the substance of the Christian Faith. The US could quite easily become a number of smaller states and it would not affect the Orthodox Church at all. It could choose a new flag and it would not affect the Orthodox Church at all. It could even cease to exist and North America could become tens of competing small states each with their own flag. None of it matters at all in terms of the mission and life of the Church. What matters is how we live the Christian life not which flag the state we belong to uses. And we live the Christian life in relation to people and communities not in relation to a state. I am English because I belong to the English people, and because being English means something heart-stirring. I am not British because Britain is only a political construct, just as the USA is a political construct.

If you really do equate patriotism, especially in terms of support for a state, with the Christian faith then there is something seriously wrong.

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You and Iconodule beat me to the punch!


Selam
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« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2010, 10:04:53 AM »

Do you all not realize that the flag of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is of the Byzantine Empire the state flag of its time? Answer me why has the Patriarch flown a state flag for over 1500 years.
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« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2010, 10:10:56 AM »

Lol!

The US was founded by slave-owning deists, not Christians. It was certainly not founded on faith in Christ. It was founded in bloody and violent rebellion. Just as England was founded on war between the Heptarchy over many years. All political states have been established in blood. We do not support political states, we serve and love people.

And which US flag is the embodiment of your ideal? There have been rather a lot. Doing away with the flag is the same as doing away with the faith? Surely only if, as you seem to do, you equate support of the state and faith.

You say that you would not remove the flag from your Church, yet most posters here seem to indicate that they do not have the flag in their Church and would be uncomfortable to do so? Which Church do you belong to?

It is rather laughable that you should suggest that England is not founded on faith in God. My own patron saint is buried 18 miles from where I am sitting. 20 miles in the other direction are the remains of a 1700 year old Church. Britain and England have been Christian for about 6 times longer than the US has existed.

But this is not about the US or England. It is to do with the confusion of politics and faith which you seem to espouse rather aggressively. There is something seriously wrong with the idea that the symbol of a political state is the same as the substance of the Christian Faith. The US could quite easily become a number of smaller states and it would not affect the Orthodox Church at all. It could choose a new flag and it would not affect the Orthodox Church at all. It could even cease to exist and North America could become tens of competing small states each with their own flag. None of it matters at all in terms of the mission and life of the Church. What matters is how we live the Christian life not which flag the state we belong to uses. And we live the Christian life in relation to people and communities not in relation to a state. I am English because I belong to the English people, and because being English means something heart-stirring. I am not British because Britain is only a political construct, just as the USA is a political construct.

If you really do equate patriotism, especially in terms of support for a state, with the Christian faith then there is something seriously wrong.

Father Peter

I am sure the Ecumenical Patriarch agrees with you a hundred percent and loves the freedom of religion in Turkey because faith and politics are not connected at all.

If you do not love your country please feel free to join the Patriarch or would you prefer the thriving Orthodox Church in China or perhaps Iran.
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« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2010, 10:16:22 AM »

You say the Church will out last the state. Where is the Church in Antioch? Oh yeah it moved to Damascus because it did not survive. What is the strength of the Church in Alexandria and the Holy Lands? How many are left in Constantinople?
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« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2010, 10:16:53 AM »

I guess that is what makes America special. America is not just a political state but an ideal. Many foreigners regard America as a melting pot but we are not. We are a mosaic like the Church is with many parts forming one body. The flag is the embodiment of our Faith just as much as it is an embodiment of the people. Similarly Greece also embodies their Faith on their flag as represented by the cross. Doing away with the flag is the equivalent of doing away with religion.

I understand your point of view and how you may equate patriotism for your country with support for a soocer team but it is not the same thing in America. In America patriotism for your country is comparable to our Faith in God. This is more along the lines of the medieval monarchies in which the king was a divine ruler so is America today led by the Grace of God. In God We Trust. One nation under God.

There is a political debate in America which is seeking to remove the Judeo-Christian ethic our country was founded on from the government. That is to remove God from schools and government. To not start government meetings with a prayer, to remove the ten commandments from the courts, to remove God from our pledge and from our currency. The churches in America are opposed to this seperation because God plays an integral role in our government, schools, courts, military, and politics. Likewise we would never remove our flag from our Church as it also is integrated into the fabric of our Faith.

I am sorry your country is not founded on Faith in God but this does not mean you should try to remove God from my country or remove my country from my Faith as the two are linked just as it is shown on the Byzantine flag.

Maybe when the Patriarch removes one head and the orb from the Byzantine flag and seperates God from secular politics, or when our theology seperates the material from the spiritual, or when Jesus is no longer a man of this world and only of divine spirit, then I could concur with you that country and religion are seperate.

It should be noted that, at least for those in the United States, the origins of Orthodoxy on the North American continent are ethnic in  background. That is history, for better or worse. While the Church has, or is, progressing beyond the 'ethnic ghetto' mentality we can not forget the turmoil of the 20th century and the difficulties that those immigrants faced in a new country. Hence reasons for the display of the American flag being displayed within the Church proper may include:

          a.) Thanksgiving for being able to express their faith in a free country,
          b.)  In the face of anti-immigrant sentiment ( common thoughout American history) a desire to show the the members were
                'truly' American.
          c.)  Anti-Bolshevism.

While there reasons may no longer resonate in the way they did in past generations, the removal of the flag today may not be readily understood. Frankly, to describe the American flag as a symbol of a "... Protestant/ secular republic..." dishonors the blood, sweat, tears and sacrifices of ALL groups who came to these shores in search of a better life - be they hard working men and women who toiled in the fields and factories or who gave their lives for that banner as the 'last full measure of devotion."

ISTM that many spend of us far too much time speculating and worrying about the 'externals' in one parish, diocese or another and not enough about the 'internals' within each individuals heart and soul.

BTW, I can't speak for the presence of 'foreign' flags such as in many of the Greek or Ukrainian parishes, as the Rusyn people never had a nation of their own, with a unique emblem; but I would not presume to judge the motives of those who do so.
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« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2010, 10:21:45 AM »

The United States is not a Christian country. It was not founded on Christian principles, but on the man-made ideology of the Enlightenment. Those who attempt to conflate this ideology with Christ are perverters of the Gospel, just like the heretic Thomas Jefferson.

Yet many of us would have never become Orthodox had we not lived in a country that had those principles of the "man-made ideology of the Enlightenment".
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« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2010, 10:30:25 AM »

This discussion has missed a big point as to why the America (and other nationalistic) flags are found in churches here in America.

After World War II there was a great fear of communism and anything related to it. Anything Russian was consider to be communist and to combat this those churches of Russian heritage started to place the American flag in the church so that anyone who entered would see that they were American. They even went as far as to carry the American flag in the front of any processions they did so that outside people would see that they were not communist.

As Eastern bloc countries fell to the Soviets you would see those countries heritage flags along with the America flag in the churches, such as the Serbians.  

The tradition goes back even further with the Greek parishes. The flag in the church would indicate which party the parish supporting in the Royalist controversies. Once the Greek Archdiocese was united and then put under Constantinople those flags were replaces by the double headed eagle on gold background.

There are still people alive from these controversial eras were these flags mean something holy to them. They represent freedom, and unity and removing them at this point would be hurtful to that generation.
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« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2010, 10:34:00 AM »

The United States is not a Christian country. It was not founded on Christian principles, but on the man-made ideology of the Enlightenment. Those who attempt to conflate this ideology with Christ are perverters of the Gospel, just like the heretic Thomas Jefferson.

Yet many of us would have never become Orthodox had we not lived in a country that had those principles of the "man-made ideology of the Enlightenment".

How could you possibly know that?

You know what? I first started looking into Orthodoxy when I was studying in China. Thanks to the PRC's gracious policy of allowing me to freely read about Orthodox Christianity on the internet, I was able to ask an Orthodox priest some questions by email. I guess I should be putting Chinese flags and pictures of Mao up on my icon corner?
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« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2010, 10:35:36 AM »

You say the Church will out last the state. Where is the Church in Antioch? Oh yeah it moved to Damascus because it did not survive. What is the strength of the Church in Alexandria and the Holy Lands? How many are left in Constantinople?

You confuse local churches with the Church as a whole, which thrives worldwide.

Also, these churches still exist, however small they are.
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« Reply #31 on: November 01, 2010, 10:45:21 AM »

I guess that is what makes America special. America is not just a political state but an ideal. Many foreigners regard America as a melting pot but we are not. We are a mosaic like the Church is with many parts forming one body. The flag is the embodiment of our Faith just as much as it is an embodiment of the people. Similarly Greece also embodies their Faith on their flag as represented by the cross. Doing away with the flag is the equivalent of doing away with religion.

I understand your point of view and how you may equate patriotism for your country with support for a soocer team but it is not the same thing in America. In America patriotism for your country is comparable to our Faith in God. This is more along the lines of the medieval monarchies in which the king was a divine ruler so is America today led by the Grace of God. In God We Trust. One nation under God.

There is a political debate in America which is seeking to remove the Judeo-Christian ethic our country was founded on from the government. That is to remove God from schools and government. To not start government meetings with a prayer, to remove the ten commandments from the courts, to remove God from our pledge and from our currency. The churches in America are opposed to this seperation because God plays an integral role in our government, schools, courts, military, and politics. Likewise we would never remove our flag from our Church as it also is integrated into the fabric of our Faith.

I am sorry your country is not founded on Faith in God but this does not mean you should try to remove God from my country or remove my country from my Faith as the two are linked just as it is shown on the Byzantine flag.

Maybe when the Patriarch removes one head and the orb from the Byzantine flag and seperates God from secular politics, or when our theology seperates the material from the spiritual, or when Jesus is no longer a man of this world and only of divine spirit, then I could concur with you that country and religion are seperate.
If this is what having a national flag in the church means, then I'm totally against the idea.

It sounds as if you're saying Christianity=US patriotism; US patriotism=Christianity (any brand will do). Please explain the Christian symbolism on the US flag. You mentioned the Greek flag which features a cross, so you should be able to do the same with the stars and stripes.

I have a major issue with your use of the word "embody", a synonym for "to incarnate". See where this can take us?

By all means, be patriotic! Pray for your president and others in authority. Be thankful for what you enjoy as a US citizen. But don't fuse or confuse your patriotism and your Christian faith.

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« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2010, 10:46:31 AM »

There are still people alive from these controversial eras were these flags mean something holy to them.

My local parish has a US flag in the nave, and far enough away from any focus of worship or veneration. I don't like it, but I'm never going to make an issue of it. That said, distancing oneself from communism, so as to ward off the cold war prejudices of ignorant Americans, is not "holy", however necessary or admirable it may have been.
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« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2010, 10:48:04 AM »

Do you all not realize that the flag of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is of the Byzantine Empire the state flag of its time? Answer me why has the Patriarch flown a state flag for over 1500 years.

You said "The flag is the embodiment of our Faith." You have essentially placed the American flag in the same position as the Holy Cross. I defy you to find any similar statement made by the EP for the Byzantine flag.
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« Reply #34 on: November 01, 2010, 10:48:25 AM »

I understand the reason, but that could apply to anything which is frankly wrong, and un-Orthodox. We should not do things just because someone else might be upset if it was stopped.

If there are those who remember that the US flag was introduced because of fears of being seen as communist then it should be explained that this is not the case any more and the Orthodox communities are fully integrated into US life.

If England had fallen under the Nazi yoke I could well imagine that on being liberated the flag of St George would have been prominent. But that does not mean that it should have been carried into Church and into the altar. It is perhaps a blessing to be living in a land of outward freedoms, but all that we receive is from God, not from a state, so a person would be mistaken if they thought that blessings they received were due to a political entity.

The fact is that Britain and her Empire did stand alone for much of the Second World war, and many brave men gave their lives for others. Nevertheless, the same Britain has also done many things for which it could be ashamed. We do not blindly support any political estabishment, even while we may love a particular people and heritage, and perhaps be grateful for having been given asylum. All states have a mixed history.

We love our neighbour (community) but we do not love a state (political entity).

Dart, there were Orthodox Christians worshipping near where I am sitting 1700 years ago. When the empire crumbled and the Angles and Saxons invaded they carried on worshipping as Orthodox Christians. When the Kingdom of Kent was established they worshipped as Orthodox Christians. When the Kingdom of Kent was eventually defeated and absorbed into the Kingdom of Wessex they continued to worship. When I drive over the Thames into Kent I still feel a thrill. We have the same flag of a White Horse rampant which goes back 1500 years. Yet the political government of the Kingdom of Kent has come and gone, and even the Kingdom has been taken by others. But the Church remained the same. Only a romantic would imagine trying to recreate the old Kingdom. But Kingdoms do come and go. The true Kingdom of God remains. The sign of this Kingdom is the cross, and it is by this sign, not that of any political state, that every Church building is identified.

Father Peter
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« Reply #35 on: November 01, 2010, 10:59:18 AM »

I guess that is what makes America special. America is not just a political state but an ideal. Many foreigners regard America as a melting pot but we are not. We are a mosaic like the Church is with many parts forming one body. The flag is the embodiment of our Faith just as much as it is an embodiment of the people. Similarly Greece also embodies their Faith on their flag as represented by the cross. Doing away with the flag is the equivalent of doing away with religion.

I understand your point of view and how you may equate patriotism for your country with support for a soocer team but it is not the same thing in America. In America patriotism for your country is comparable to our Faith in God. This is more along the lines of the medieval monarchies in which the king was a divine ruler so is America today led by the Grace of God. In God We Trust. One nation under God.

There is a political debate in America which is seeking to remove the Judeo-Christian ethic our country was founded on from the government. That is to remove God from schools and government. To not start government meetings with a prayer, to remove the ten commandments from the courts, to remove God from our pledge and from our currency. The churches in America are opposed to this seperation because God plays an integral role in our government, schools, courts, military, and politics. Likewise we would never remove our flag from our Church as it also is integrated into the fabric of our Faith.

I am sorry your country is not founded on Faith in God but this does not mean you should try to remove God from my country or remove my country from my Faith as the two are linked just as it is shown on the Byzantine flag.

Maybe when the Patriarch removes one head and the orb from the Byzantine flag and seperates God from secular politics, or when our theology seperates the material from the spiritual, or when Jesus is no longer a man of this world and only of divine spirit, then I could concur with you that country and religion are seperate.
If this is what having a national flag in the church means, then I'm totally against the idea.

It sounds as if you're saying Christianity=US patriotism; US patriotism=Christianity (any brand will do). Please explain the Christian symbolism on the US flag. You mentioned the Greek flag which features a cross, so you should be able to do the same with the stars and stripes.

I have a major issue with your use of the word "embody", a synonym for "to incarnate". See where this can take us?

By all means, be patriotic! Pray for your president and others in authority. Be thankful for what you enjoy as a US citizen. But don't fuse or confuse your patriotism and your Christian faith.



The stars are a symbol of heaven and the divine goal to which man has aspired to since the beginning of time. America was founded by christians who were fleeing the persecution of their religious beliefs in Europe. They came to America inorder to express their faith and thus chose stars to represent their faith in a heavenly God. They did not choose a cross out of respect for the other faiths also represented in the founding of the nation. The stripes are symbolic of the rays of the sun a symbol of God's Grace. White for purity, red for bravery, and blue for justice.

So what do you oppose about the flag. Heaven, God's Grace, purity, bravery, or justice.
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« Reply #36 on: November 01, 2010, 11:10:35 AM »

Flags are political/cultural/ethnic statements of identification in my experience. In Istanbul, our Bulgarian churches had no flags; to display the Turkish flag would have been looked as as sacrilegious by the parishioners (all of whom were Turkish citizens), while displaying the Bulgarian flag would have risked the continued existence of the Exarchate (the Turks have indeed no sense of humor in these matters). In the United States, my first church had the U.S. flag, as well as the banner of the Macedonian Patriotic Organization--for our parish was a Macedono-Bulgarian Orthodox parish at that time. As we looked at it, we were no different than the local Greek church. There was a price to pay of course; our relationship with the Greek parish was frosty at best and manifested itself in some ridiculously petty snubs at public gatherings. To put things into perspective, that was 40 years ago. Today, even though I am politically conservative and a military veteran, I do not openly display my patriotism because to do so would be self-serving.

Regarding display of flags in the church, I think that it is simply the wrong thing to do.
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« Reply #37 on: November 01, 2010, 11:13:19 AM »



The stars are a symbol of heaven and the divine goal to which man has aspired to since the beginning of time. America was founded by christians who were fleeing the persecution of their religious beliefs in Europe. They came to America inorder to express their faith and thus chose stars to represent their faith in a heavenly God. They did not choose a cross out of respect for the other faiths also represented in the founding of the nation. The stripes are symbolic of the rays of the sun a symbol of God's Grace. White for purity, red for bravery, and blue for justice.

So what do you oppose about the flag. Heaven, God's Grace, purity, bravery, or justice.
You are quite right that many settlers to the New World (not limited to the current USA!) left their homelands in search of religious freedom. That still happens today - and not all refugees are Christian.

However, the nation known as the United States of America (and its flag) was NOT founded for religious reasons. Your explanations could easily have come from any New Age practitioner which would make the flag's presence in an Orthodox church not merely inappropriate but abhorrent. You have not yet shown me that the US flag is a Christian flag.
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« Reply #38 on: November 01, 2010, 11:13:59 AM »

I understand the reason, but that could apply to anything which is frankly wrong, and un-Orthodox. We should not do things just because someone else might be upset if it was stopped.

If there are those who remember that the US flag was introduced because of fears of being seen as communist then it should be explained that this is not the case any more and the Orthodox communities are fully integrated into US life.

If England had fallen under the Nazi yoke I could well imagine that on being liberated the flag of St George would have been prominent. But that does not mean that it should have been carried into Church and into the altar. It is perhaps a blessing to be living in a land of outward freedoms, but all that we receive is from God, not from a state, so a person would be mistaken if they thought that blessings they received were due to a political entity.

The fact is that Britain and her Empire did stand alone for much of the Second World war, and many brave men gave their lives for others. Nevertheless, the same Britain has also done many things for which it could be ashamed. We do not blindly support any political estabishment, even while we may love a particular people and heritage, and perhaps be grateful for having been given asylum. All states have a mixed history.

We love our neighbour (community) but we do not love a state (political entity).

Dart, there were Orthodox Christians worshipping near where I am sitting 1700 years ago. When the empire crumbled and the Angles and Saxons invaded they carried on worshipping as Orthodox Christians. When the Kingdom of Kent was established they worshipped as Orthodox Christians. When the Kingdom of Kent was eventually defeated and absorbed into the Kingdom of Wessex they continued to worship. When I drive over the Thames into Kent I still feel a thrill. We have the same flag of a White Horse rampant which goes back 1500 years. Yet the political government of the Kingdom of Kent has come and gone, and even the Kingdom has been taken by others. But the Church remained the same. Only a romantic would imagine trying to recreate the old Kingdom. But Kingdoms do come and go. The true Kingdom of God remains. The sign of this Kingdom is the cross, and it is by this sign, not that of any political state, that every Church building is identified.

Father Peter
The sign of the cross was not a symbol of the Church during the Old Testament period. A star has always been a symbol both in the Old Testament and the New and is still used as a symbol in the Liturgy today.
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« Reply #39 on: November 01, 2010, 11:14:46 AM »

I guess that is what makes America special. America is not just a political state but an ideal. Many foreigners regard America as a melting pot but we are not. We are a mosaic like the Church is with many parts forming one body. The flag is the embodiment of our Faith just as much as it is an embodiment of the people. Similarly Greece also embodies their Faith on their flag as represented by the cross. Doing away with the flag is the equivalent of doing away with religion.

I understand your point of view and how you may equate patriotism for your country with support for a soocer team but it is not the same thing in America. In America patriotism for your country is comparable to our Faith in God. This is more along the lines of the medieval monarchies in which the king was a divine ruler so is America today led by the Grace of God. In God We Trust. One nation under God.

There is a political debate in America which is seeking to remove the Judeo-Christian ethic our country was founded on from the government. That is to remove God from schools and government. To not start government meetings with a prayer, to remove the ten commandments from the courts, to remove God from our pledge and from our currency. The churches in America are opposed to this seperation because God plays an integral role in our government, schools, courts, military, and politics. Likewise we would never remove our flag from our Church as it also is integrated into the fabric of our Faith.

I am sorry your country is not founded on Faith in God but this does not mean you should try to remove God from my country or remove my country from my Faith as the two are linked just as it is shown on the Byzantine flag.

Maybe when the Patriarch removes one head and the orb from the Byzantine flag and seperates God from secular politics, or when our theology seperates the material from the spiritual, or when Jesus is no longer a man of this world and only of divine spirit, then I could concur with you that country and religion are seperate.
If this is what having a national flag in the church means, then I'm totally against the idea.

It sounds as if you're saying Christianity=US patriotism; US patriotism=Christianity (any brand will do). Please explain the Christian symbolism on the US flag. You mentioned the Greek flag which features a cross, so you should be able to do the same with the stars and stripes.

I have a major issue with your use of the word "embody", a synonym for "to incarnate". See where this can take us?

By all means, be patriotic! Pray for your president and others in authority. Be thankful for what you enjoy as a US citizen. But don't fuse or confuse your patriotism and your Christian faith.



The stars are a symbol of heaven and the divine goal to which man has aspired to since the beginning of time. America was founded by christians who were fleeing the persecution of their religious beliefs in Europe. They came to America inorder to express their faith and thus chose stars to represent their faith in a heavenly God. They did not choose a cross out of respect for the other faiths also represented in the founding of the nation. The stripes are symbolic of the rays of the sun a symbol of God's Grace. White for purity, red for bravery, and blue for justice.

So what do you oppose about the flag. Heaven, God's Grace, purity, bravery, or justice.


If it represents what you claim, then I oppose it for the gross hypocrisy. You say grace, I say genocide. You say bravery, I say slavery. You say purity, I say a land soaked with innocent blood sacrificed to filthy demons of lust, materialism, and greed. In my opinion, America is much more reflective of hell than heaven. But let's pray and labor for that to change.


Selam
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« Reply #40 on: November 01, 2010, 11:25:36 AM »

The original Grand Union flag had the stripes for the colonies and the crosses of the Union flag in the top left corner.

Since you wish to be very allegorical we might well ask what it means to say that the rebellious colonies removed the cross from the flag and replaced it with stars? We could easily argue, using your methodology that the colonies had been founded on faith in Christ, but that after the bloody rebellion they removed the cross from their flag and replaced it with the pagan symbol of stars, reflecting their belief in astrology and the founding fathers membership of the Masonic movement.

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« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2010, 11:32:53 AM »

I guess that is what makes America special. America is not just a political state but an ideal. Many foreigners regard America as a melting pot but we are not. We are a mosaic like the Church is with many parts forming one body. The flag is the embodiment of our Faith just as much as it is an embodiment of the people. Similarly Greece also embodies their Faith on their flag as represented by the cross. Doing away with the flag is the equivalent of doing away with religion.

I understand your point of view and how you may equate patriotism for your country with support for a soocer team but it is not the same thing in America. In America patriotism for your country is comparable to our Faith in God. This is more along the lines of the medieval monarchies in which the king was a divine ruler so is America today led by the Grace of God. In God We Trust. One nation under God.

There is a political debate in America which is seeking to remove the Judeo-Christian ethic our country was founded on from the government. That is to remove God from schools and government. To not start government meetings with a prayer, to remove the ten commandments from the courts, to remove God from our pledge and from our currency. The churches in America are opposed to this seperation because God plays an integral role in our government, schools, courts, military, and politics. Likewise we would never remove our flag from our Church as it also is integrated into the fabric of our Faith.

I am sorry your country is not founded on Faith in God but this does not mean you should try to remove God from my country or remove my country from my Faith as the two are linked just as it is shown on the Byzantine flag.

Maybe when the Patriarch removes one head and the orb from the Byzantine flag and seperates God from secular politics, or when our theology seperates the material from the spiritual, or when Jesus is no longer a man of this world and only of divine spirit, then I could concur with you that country and religion are seperate.
If this is what having a national flag in the church means, then I'm totally against the idea.

It sounds as if you're saying Christianity=US patriotism; US patriotism=Christianity (any brand will do). Please explain the Christian symbolism on the US flag. You mentioned the Greek flag which features a cross, so you should be able to do the same with the stars and stripes.

I have a major issue with your use of the word "embody", a synonym for "to incarnate". See where this can take us?

By all means, be patriotic! Pray for your president and others in authority. Be thankful for what you enjoy as a US citizen. But don't fuse or confuse your patriotism and your Christian faith.



The stars are a symbol of heaven and the divine goal to which man has aspired to since the beginning of time. America was founded by christians who were fleeing the persecution of their religious beliefs in Europe. They came to America inorder to express their faith and thus chose stars to represent their faith in a heavenly God. They did not choose a cross out of respect for the other faiths also represented in the founding of the nation. The stripes are symbolic of the rays of the sun a symbol of God's Grace. White for purity, red for bravery, and blue for justice.

So what do you oppose about the flag. Heaven, God's Grace, purity, bravery, or justice.


If it represents what you claim, then I oppose it for the gross hypocrisy. You say grace, I say genocide. You say bravery, I say slavery. You say purity, I say a land soaked with innocent blood sacrificed to filthy demons of lust, materialism, and greed. In my opinion, America is much more reflective of hell than heaven. But let's pray and labor for that to change.


Selam

The door is open. If it is so bad you are welcome to leave. You can poo poo about slavery all you want but the fact is we have a 1st generation black African as President. Greed like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who have given their wealth to charity. No nation is as charitable as America. Ofcourse no nation is as productive as America. We are twice as productive as the next closest nation Japan. I am sorry you are bitter but with prayer maybe your heart can be healed. God Bless you.
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« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2010, 11:39:24 AM »

I think your last post illustrates what is wrong with your view of patriotism.

True Christian patriotism is well aware of all the failings of a nation and works and prays for its renewal. False un-Christian patriotism will not allow any criticism to be made.

I think there are huge problems with England, but I am not going anywhere. I am praying and working to try and allow God to heal our nation. I am sure that Gebre has expressed the same view in regard to the US. When we love our families it does not mean that we cease to see clearly the grave deficiencies which might exist. But to love a family means not leaving when it gets tough or disappointing.

I think there are huge problems with England but as a Christian and patriot I am here to the end, unless God calls me to serve somewhere else. Indeed my family has been here for at least 2000 years. Where would I go. To criticise is not to cease to be a patriot. But equally to reject all criticism is not the mark of a true patriot at all.
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« Reply #43 on: November 01, 2010, 11:41:19 AM »

The original Grand Union flag had the stripes for the colonies and the crosses of the Union flag in the top left corner.

Since you wish to be very allegorical we might well ask what it means to say that the rebellious colonies removed the cross from the flag and replaced it with stars? We could easily argue, using your methodology that the colonies had been founded on faith in Christ, but that after the bloody rebellion they removed the cross from their flag and replaced it with the pagan symbol of stars, reflecting their belief in astrology and the founding fathers membership of the Masonic movement.

Father Peter

You and your pagan christmas trees. Church steeples which represent the phallic symbols of fertility Gods. No wonder you wear a dress as a sign of your homosexuality.

Please we can both play this game. Let's be candid and not make up fairy tales. The issue is plain. Tolerance versus conformity. If you can find it in your heart to accept a christmas tree why are you so hardened not to accept a Judeo-Christian star as a symbol of heaven. Will you regulate which Saint I can pray to next?
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« Reply #44 on: November 01, 2010, 11:47:09 AM »

Sorry?

Are you saying that all Orthodox clergy are homosexuals?

Which Church do you belong to?

The original US flag DID have a cross on it. Two crosses in fact. That of St George and that of St Andrew. Then the crosses were removed and replaced by stars. That is a fact. That seems significant to me. At least as significant as the interpretation you give to the present version of the US flag. You say the cross was taken off the flag out of respect for other religions? That itself seems dangerously pan-religious, but I can't see which other religions were represented in a major way in the colonies in 1776? So it does seem that the cross was deliberately removed. And you now seem to be saying that the stars are a better symbol for the Church than the cross?

This just sounds way too new-agey for me.

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