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TristanCross
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« on: November 14, 2010, 09:55:28 PM »

Hey, again!

I'm in the process of becoming Catholic (in the RCIA program) but a lot of things in Catholicism have me questioning what I'm doing. I love Orthodox theology, but I've watched videos of Orthodox masses in other countries and I'm not really fond of them. I also don't like the higher clergy wearing those HUGE crowns  Cheesy

I was raised a Lutheran, but I know now that it's likely false and I loved Catholicism but some things (like purgatory, most Catholics thinking Mary is like the only thing or person that can help us to Jesus, their doctrines of venial and mortal sins, how we obtain forgiveness, etc) just nag at me. Orthodoxy seems to be the best of both worlds. It has all the elements from both Churches that I love and weeds out the things I don't really like. Thing is, the Orthodox Church doesn't seem to universal, but more restricted to certain areas. Also, I don't hear much about Orthodox missions and stuff for 3rd world countries and all that. Jesus said the gospel had to be preached to the whole world, yet the Orthodox gospel seems to have restrictions primarily to the East.

Please help. I talked to an Orthodox man on YouTube (davidpwithun) and I'd like to share what has been said so far.

David (responding to me):

Rob,

First, please let me apologize for taking so long to get back to you; I know it's been about a week and a half since I received your questions and I apologize to you for that delay.

Now, responding to your questions:

>>>1) Do the Orthodox have a similar position as Catholics do on sin (venial, mortal, etc).<<<

No; we view all sins all equal because each is equally a violation of the law of God.

>>>Do you also believe, like Catholics, that the only way for sins to be forgiven is through confession and you can't get forgiveness by praying?<<<

No; while we do believe that Repentance (the act of confessing one's sins in the presence of a Priest and receiving a blessing) is a Sacrament, we also beleive that praying for forgiveness in your own home or elsewhere is effective for the forgiveness of sins. It is very common for Orthodox Christians to pray Psalm 51 each evening as part of their daily prayer rule. The way in which we perform the Sacrament of Repentance is also different from the way Roman Catholics do it. Unlike them, we do not confess TO the Priest, but in his presence. While Roman Catholics generally stand in front of their priest and tell their sins directly to him, Orthodox stand in front of an Icon of Christ and the Priest stands either beside or behind the person giving their confession, acting as a support and encouragement, reminding the person confessing that God is all-forgiving. Whereas the Roman Catholic priest gives the blessing at the end of the confession, saying "I forgive..." the Orthodox Priest, in his blessing, says "God forgives..." It is a very different approach.

>>>2) Do Orthodox Christians believe Protestants and/or Catholics will go to hell simply because they aren't Orthodox, or do they believe that these groups are imperfectly in the Church (note: imperfectly)?<<<

We do not believe that Protestants and Roman Catholics will go to hell for not being Orthodox; rather we rejoice in their love for the Lord Jesus Christ while mourning the fact that they do not have the Church and all of the tools established by Christ for our salvation.

>>>3) What about Orthodox Christians who leave the Church for Protestantism or Catholicism? What shall we say of them? Will they be accepted by God as true Christians? Or will they be denied since they left the Church to try to follow Jesus elsewhere?<<<

Of course, it is for God to judge and not for us -- however, apostasy from the Church is a sin. To have the True Faith and then abandon it is much worse than to have not had the True Faith at all.

>>>4) What do the Orthodox believe happens after death? I understand Orthodox Christians deny purgatory, so what exactly happens?<<<

For the most part, we allow that to remain a mystery and trust in the mercy of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I hope I was able to help with your questions; please let me know if there are any further questions I can address or if there is anything here I can further clarify.

God bless,

David

Me:

Man, this kinda scares me. I'm going through RCIA to become Catholic, but I feel like some parts of Orthodox and some parts of Catholicism are both right. I like the sound of forgiveness in the Orthodox Church, as opposed to Catholicism. I don't know what to do really. I kinda think I should be neither. If I become Catholic, for instance, and then convert to Orthodox, and then when I die and find out Catholicism is right, I'm supposedly going to hell (and vice versa with Orthodox to Catholic). I hate this "leave me or die" attitude. I just don't get it...

Please help me
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2010, 10:54:51 PM »

Dear Tristan,

My first piece of advice would be to not hurry into anything.  I sounds like you feel pressured.  Stop and take the time to think through what you want to do.

My second piece of advice would be to listen to what the other posters will have to say to you.  There are many devout Orthodox Christians here on this forum who will be happy to give you sound advice.

Take your time and listen to why we believe the Orthodox Church is the Church established by Christ.  Forget about the Bishop's crowns and extraneous things of that nature.  Orthodoxy is about doctrine more than it is about externals.  I have read about Orthodox Christians worshiping in prisons under Communism.  They did not have vestments, icons etc.  These are part of the Tradition, but are not the core of what Orthodoxy is about.

If you are having reservations about the Catholic Church then you need to listen to your heart.  Find out as much as you can about Orthodoxy first before you take the plunge into the Tiber. :-)

I will keep you in my prayers.

In Christ,

Peter
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2010, 11:04:48 PM »

Thanks for your post.

Should I continue going to RCIA in case I do choose Catholicism (I would have to wait until September until next year to resume, with my confirmation and all that in Easter of 2012).
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2010, 11:06:27 PM »

P.S.

You answered one of your own concerns already.

"We do not believe that Protestants and Roman Catholics will go to hell for not being Orthodox; rather we rejoice in their love for the Lord Jesus Christ while mourning the fact that they do not have the Church and all of the tools established by Christ for our salvation."

What David said is spot on.  As to leaving the Church, if you know that the Orthodox Church is the true Church and abandon it, of course that is a problem, as he stated.  

As to the separated Christians, we know that God is just and it is up to him to deal with those that are outside the Orthodox Church. It is not our place to judge them.
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2010, 11:11:15 PM »

While I hate to give you advice in that area, as an Orthodox Christian, in good conscience, I would not tell you to continue to with the RCIA.  To me, they would be teaching you things that I, as an Orthodox Christian do not believe.  It is up to you of course. 

You really need to talk to a priest.  Find an Orthodox Church in your area and make the call.  If you feel that the priest is to busy, or not open to meeting with you, (that happened to me when I was investigating Orthodoxy) then call more than one priest.  You will find one that will be happy to help you.
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 12:07:33 AM »

I don't know how the RCIA program is, but the Orthodox catechism process at our Church is open to inquirers; that is you can attend them even if you aren't actively pursuing entrance into the Church. If I were interested in both Churches, I would attend both catechism sessions merely as an inquirer (if I were allowed to do so). It's a good way to learn alot about both churches and the differences between them first-hand without feeling the pressure to "convert" so to speak. Again, YMMV.
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2010, 10:53:28 AM »

I say go with the Ancient Holy Orthodox Church Where Christ Is Still Head Of His Church He Establish and Guided Lead By The Most Holy Spirit ,And Not Lead or Replaced By A Infallible Man Pope, Like what the catholic church Did....

The children Of Israel Replaced God As there Head, Leader ,So  The Holy Prophet Samuel Annonted a Infallable Man Saul as there King ,Leader ,head ....
The Prophet Samuel Was Very Offended and upset ,that he took it personally,But God Told Samuel The Offence wasn't toward him the Prophet but toward his Person God.....
Ever since that Time the Troubles The Children Of Israel have experienced Hasn't ceased, even in  this time and Place Because they Chose Fallible Man over Infallible God .....

Holy Orthodoxy all the way,Because there's nothing Else.....
 
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2010, 11:21:37 AM »



Don't let the tall hats of our patriarchs scare you off...the Catholic's look scarier to me!
Smiley

As for liking the Orthodox "mass"...once you understand it, the Orthodox Liturgy is absolutely beautiful and awe-inspiring.  Give it a chance.
The hymns and prayers are absolutely beautiful.

Mostly, take your time. 

However, before you commit to RC, give Orthodoxy a good, honest look. 
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 05:44:36 PM »

In the RCIA program, you can leave at anytime (even the day before the Easter Vigil). I'll continue going, as I do feel like I'll end up Catholic. I just want to give Orthodox a chance (I wish Catholicism had things like forgiveness through prayer instead of condemning people who are in a state of "mortal sin" until they are able to confess; not that I'm opposed to confession, though).

Jimmy Akin (Catholic Senior Apologist) seems to have a good, clear view on some things, though. His article, Why I Am Not Eastern Orthodox, is helping me a bit with this.

Quote from: Jimmy Akin
Which of the following is easier to accept?

1. Church A is the true Church of Christ despite being a small, ethnically limited, and internally fractured communion that does not possess the admittedly divine institution of the papacy, while church B is a schismatic church despite it being far larger, having evangelized far more cultures, not having internal full communion problems, and having the institution of the papacy.

2. Church B is the true Church of Christ, and its just-mentioned characteristics are signs of God’s providential guidance, while church A is the body in schism.
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2010, 05:49:56 PM »

How was that evangelization of cultures facilitated, Tristan?
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« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2010, 06:38:53 PM »

How was that evangelization of cultures facilitated, Tristan?

Let's see... for years R. Catholic Church has had men and women ministering to the sick and poor all around the world and winning souls over to God through their example, much to how St Francis of Assisi taught.

Though I'm sure that's not the picture you're trying to impress. After all, Orthodox countries have an immaculate past, right?

Edit: I just realized this is on the convert forum. I'm not sure if I've breached forum rules. Please delete if I have.
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« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2010, 06:43:07 PM »

Tristan,

"admittedly divine institution of the papacy"

There's the problem.  If you approach Orthodoxy from a Roman Catholic perspective, where such assumptions are accepted as facts, then you will not be able to clearly contrast Orthodoxy will Roman Catholicism.  That's sort of like reading a book by the KKK to understand African-Americans and their culture.  

Admittedly, most Orthodox books will also view things from an Orthodox perspective.  That's were you will have to examine the positions of each side objectively, while guided by the Holy Spirit in prayer.  Have you read "What are the differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism?" by Fr. Azkoul?

Here is the link:

http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/ortho_cath.html
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« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2010, 06:50:08 PM »

How was that evangelization of cultures facilitated, Tristan?

Let's see... for years R. Catholic Church has had men and women ministering to the sick and poor all around the world and winning souls over to God through their example, much to how St Francis of Assisi taught.

Though I'm sure that's not the picture you're trying to impress. After all, Orthodox countries have an immaculate past, right?
My point was rather that it is presumptuous to assume a Divine Mandate that opened those territories to Catholicism vs. Orthodoxy, and disingenuous to remove the end result (more catholics today) from a leading historical cause (global conquests). I was not trying to imply that the RCC itself ordered these conquests.
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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2010, 06:56:02 PM »

How was that evangelization of cultures facilitated, Tristan?

Let's see... for years R. Catholic Church has had men and women ministering to the sick and poor all around the world and winning souls over to God through their example, much to how St Francis of Assisi taught.

Though I'm sure that's not the picture you're trying to impress. After all, Orthodox countries have an immaculate past, right?
My point was rather that it is presumptuous to assume a Divine Mandate that opened those territories to Catholicism vs. Orthodoxy, and disingenuous to remove the end result (more catholics today) from a leading historical cause (global conquests). I was not trying to imply that the RCC itself ordered these conquests.


Perhaps we are reading it differently, however, in my similar position, this has never been the assumption.

The lack of evangelization is the troubling aspect of Orthodoxy, even down right objection to inquirers for not belonging to the right ethnic group. I think this is where he was directing his comment.
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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2010, 07:56:54 PM »

The lack of evangelization is the troubling aspect of Orthodoxy, even down right objection to inquirers for not belonging to the right ethnic group. I think this is where he was directing his comment.
This does occur, but in the 2000 year history of the Orthodox Church, this attitude is but a blip on the radar. If we judged the normative state of the nation of China, for example, by its strength in the 1800s and early 1900's, we would have to assume it to be a weak, decentralized state throughout history. This is clearly not the case.

The remaining sedentary ethnic ethos in the Orthodox West will pass soon enough, God Willing.

I've watched videos of Orthodox masses in other countries and I'm not really fond of them.
I've noticed that, through video, something is taken away from both Orthodox and Catholic services and it can make them look rather gaudy and arcane to the observer. So I'd have to agree with you. It seems like the more services I attend, the more I can see past that when watching such a video.
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2010, 08:07:55 PM »

Tristan, I think the article you quoted may be a little older. It cites ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) as an "internally fractured communion". ROCOR has been officially restored to communion with the Russian Orthodox Church since 2007.

As for other "fractured communions", both the RC and the EO have them. They split with the Oriental Orthodox and the Assyrian Church of the East before the Schism of 1054. The RC has Protestantism and the Old Catholics. Eastern Orthodoxy has the Old Believers and other uncanonical schism groups.

Therefore I don't think one can hold up "internally fractured communion" as a difference between RC and EO.
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2010, 08:34:14 PM »

Protestantism is completely separate from Catholicism. That's more like "externally fractured communion"...
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« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2010, 08:54:20 PM »

Protestantism is completely separate from Catholicism. That's more like "externally fractured communion"...
Its fracture came from the internal, and then formed many more fractures once external. Tongue

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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2010, 10:43:01 PM »

Dear Tristan,

I would urge you not to convert to Roman Catholicism. When I was your age I made that step (in fact I even spent time studying as a seminarian), believing I had found the apostolic truth. The system, however, is faulty, built on a lump of sand. Because of her innovations and departure from the faith of the fathers, you will find no salvation within the Church of Rome. The Roman Church as reduced the great mystery of salvation to a mere legal transaction between the creator and the created (consequently subjecting God to a greater cosmic justice). In addition to this, Rome has devised the theory of created grace. This denies man's ability to truly know and experience God. Sanctification becomes merely the growing of holiness within the context of remaining free from mortal sin.

The Orthodox (and patristic) view is much richer. Through the divine, uncreated energies of God, man can truly know his creator. We experience deification and through this change and recapitulation to Christ we are saved. Salvation is not a legalistic system in which man must appease a "just" (and according to some, angry) God. It is the reorientation of our hearts, properly disposing them to experience the all encompassing love of God. Roman Catholicism, instead clinging to its rationality, has destroyed any system by which man may truly become divine. Inside of her, there is no glorification.

I would urge you to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2010, 11:12:25 PM »

Dear Tristan,

I would urge you not to convert to Roman Catholicism. When I was your age I made that step (in fact I even spent time studying as a seminarian), believing I had found the apostolic truth. The system, however, is faulty, built on a lump of sand. Because of her innovations and departure from the faith of the fathers, you will find no salvation within the Church of Rome. The Roman Church as reduced the great mystery of salvation to a mere legal transaction between the creator and the created (consequently subjecting God to a greater cosmic justice). In addition to this, Rome has devised the theory of created grace. This denies man's ability to truly know and experience God. Sanctification becomes merely the growing of holiness within the context of remaining free from mortal sin.

The Orthodox (and patristic) view is much richer. Through the divine, uncreated energies of God, man can truly know his creator. We experience deification and through this change and recapitulation to Christ we are saved. Salvation is not a legalistic system in which man must appease a "just" (and according to some, angry) God. It is the reorientation of our hearts, properly disposing them to experience the all encompassing love of God. Roman Catholicism, instead clinging to its rationality, has destroyed any system by which man may truly become divine. Inside of her, there is no glorification.

I would urge you to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church.

I wish you would expound on this more.
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« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2010, 12:09:25 AM »

Perhaps we are reading it differently, however, in my similar position, this has never been the assumption.

The lack of evangelization is the troubling aspect of Orthodoxy, even down right objection to inquirers for not belonging to the right ethnic group. I think this is where he was directing his comment.



I have to post this info at least once a month in response to a Catholic saying that the Orthodox Chruch is not a missionary Church. Perhaps I'll just save it on my desktop to make it easy to post it in the future.  Grin


First of all we have to remember the role the Byzantines played in evangelizing the Slavic peoples. Most of those areas are Orthodox to this day.


Historically there were fewer Orthodox missionaries because of a number of circumstances. The great world powers when the Age of Exploration began were all Western European, Catholic nations. Most of the Orthodox world was under Muslim domination or, in the case of Russia, grossly underdeveloped compared to their Western counterparts.

Despite that, the Russian Church has always been active in missionary activity. They evangelized the Tartars, the Mongols and sent missionaries to China, to Alaska, to Japan. Currently the Orthodox Christian Mission Center has active missionaries in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Albania, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Guatemala.

Also recently some 5,000 Mexican Indians were received into the OCA and, even more impressively, some 500,000 Guatemalans were received under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  Cool
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« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2010, 12:42:14 AM »

Dear Tristan,

I would urge you not to convert to Roman Catholicism. When I was your age I made that step (in fact I even spent time studying as a seminarian), believing I had found the apostolic truth. The system, however, is faulty, built on a lump of sand. Because of her innovations and departure from the faith of the fathers, you will find no salvation within the Church of Rome. The Roman Church as reduced the great mystery of salvation to a mere legal transaction between the creator and the created (consequently subjecting God to a greater cosmic justice). In addition to this, Rome has devised the theory of created grace. This denies man's ability to truly know and experience God. Sanctification becomes merely the growing of holiness within the context of remaining free from mortal sin.

The Orthodox (and patristic) view is much richer. Through the divine, uncreated energies of God, man can truly know his creator. We experience deification and through this change and recapitulation to Christ we are saved. Salvation is not a legalistic system in which man must appease a "just" (and according to some, angry) God. It is the reorientation of our hearts, properly disposing them to experience the all encompassing love of God. Roman Catholicism, instead clinging to its rationality, has destroyed any system by which man may truly become divine. Inside of her, there is no glorification.

I would urge you to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church.

I wish you would expound on this more.
Any part in particular?
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« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2010, 01:47:54 AM »

Plenty of Orthodox saints have seen fit to make the distinction between mortal and venial sins.

Also, I have always been taught that confession and absolution are an essential part of repentance, so it would be inaccurate to say that Orthodox "don't have to confess to a priest." We should want to do this.
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« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2010, 10:19:54 AM »

Dear Tristan,

I would urge you not to convert to Roman Catholicism. When I was your age I made that step (in fact I even spent time studying as a seminarian), believing I had found the apostolic truth. The system, however, is faulty, built on a lump of sand. Because of her innovations and departure from the faith of the fathers, you will find no salvation within the Church of Rome. The Roman Church as reduced the great mystery of salvation to a mere legal transaction between the creator and the created (consequently subjecting God to a greater cosmic justice). In addition to this, Rome has devised the theory of created grace. This denies man's ability to truly know and experience God. Sanctification becomes merely the growing of holiness within the context of remaining free from mortal sin.

The Orthodox (and patristic) view is much richer. Through the divine, uncreated energies of God, man can truly know his creator. We experience deification and through this change and recapitulation to Christ we are saved. Salvation is not a legalistic system in which man must appease a "just" (and according to some, angry) God. It is the reorientation of our hearts, properly disposing them to experience the all encompassing love of God. Roman Catholicism, instead clinging to its rationality, has destroyed any system by which man may truly become divine. Inside of her, there is no glorification.

I would urge you to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church.

I wish you would expound on this more.
Any part in particular?

- time in seminary that changed your point of view

- "Sanctification becomes merely the growing of holiness within the context of remaining free from mortal sin." How growing in holiness differs from 'climbing the ladder'

- the lack of glorification by the R. Catholic approach
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« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2010, 09:09:30 PM »

Dear Tristan,

I would urge you not to convert to Roman Catholicism. When I was your age I made that step (in fact I even spent time studying as a seminarian), believing I had found the apostolic truth. The system, however, is faulty, built on a lump of sand. Because of her innovations and departure from the faith of the fathers, you will find no salvation within the Church of Rome. The Roman Church as reduced the great mystery of salvation to a mere legal transaction between the creator and the created (consequently subjecting God to a greater cosmic justice). In addition to this, Rome has devised the theory of created grace. This denies man's ability to truly know and experience God. Sanctification becomes merely the growing of holiness within the context of remaining free from mortal sin.

The Orthodox (and patristic) view is much richer. Through the divine, uncreated energies of God, man can truly know his creator. We experience deification and through this change and recapitulation to Christ we are saved. Salvation is not a legalistic system in which man must appease a "just" (and according to some, angry) God. It is the reorientation of our hearts, properly disposing them to experience the all encompassing love of God. Roman Catholicism, instead clinging to its rationality, has destroyed any system by which man may truly become divine. Inside of her, there is no glorification.

I would urge you to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church.

I wish you would expound on this more.
Any part in particular?

- time in seminary that changed your point of view

- "Sanctification becomes merely the growing of holiness within the context of remaining free from mortal sin." How growing in holiness differs from 'climbing the ladder'

- the lack of glorification by the R. Catholic approach
My time in seminary more or less allowed me delve further into the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. I questioned many of the church's attempts at modernization, which caused me to look into the early church for answers. The overt Ecumenism, the Protestantization of the Mass, and the implied belief that the church today somehow has a fuller grasp of the original truth greatly troubled me. While these reasons are not in of itself grounds for becoming Orthodox, the exposure to the fathers changed everything I believed.

Roman Catholicism does not lead to glorification because the theology created by her has erected a barrier between God and mankind. I do not wish to imply that I believe in universal damnation for the non-Orthodox, rather all systems outside of Orthodoxy are insufficient for saving souls. The west has rejected the notion that God is composed of both essence and energies – this is the foundational brick in the wall of salvific divide. In an attempt to avoid the heretical notion that man can know the essence of God, the west has created the idea that the saving grace of God is created by Him, rather than being one with the God himself. The problem with this lies in the fact that while created grace could make one holy, it does not make men into gods (which is the quintessential point of salvation). Lets look at St. Peter's second epistle (1:1-5) :

Quote from: St. Peter
Simon Peter, servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained equal faith with us in the justice of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace be accomplished in the knowledge of God and of Christ Jesus our Lord: As all things of his divine power which appertain to life and godliness, are given us, through the knowledge of him who hath called us by his own proper glory and virtue. By whom he hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature: flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world. And you, employing all care, minister in your faith, virtue; and in virtue, knowledge;

To become divine, one must experience divinity itself. Within Roman theology, there is no partaking in divine nature, only mankind's hope to obtain a greater degree of holiness. From a Roman Catholic perspective, I could receive actual grace (via the sacraments) and remain free from mortal sin. Following these two guidelines, I am saved – which makes the idea of growing in holiness lesser, in fact, a side-effect. Sanctification (sanctifying grace) is merely the result of an external change (actual grace) in the way that God views the sinner (i.e. the forgiveness of sins). Internal change is salvation. It is not about justifying ourselves before God, rather preparing our hearts to receive his all encompassing love. In dividing grace into two, Roman Catholicism has further legalized salvation, reducing it to the essential act of receiving actual grace (and thus becoming righteous before God). Sanctification becomes, while good, fundamentally nonessential. For man to have a proper and truly salvific experience, grace must be understood as one – becoming god. Salvation is sanctification through knowing and partaking in the divine nature of God.
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« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2010, 10:49:00 PM »

The whole venial/mortal sin question is very interesting to me here. I had always assumed that the concepts of mortal and venial sin were the same in the OC as they are in the RCC. There seem to be different ideas about this from different posters...

Also, is what the fellow who responded to the OP's original questions said with regard to confession correct? How vital is confession to/with a priest to one's salvation in Orthodoxy? Is the idea of a "state of grace" one that is present in Orthodoxy?

Sorry to hop in, but I'm in a similar spot to the OP, I just did my RCIA/confirmation 8 years ago.  Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2010, 10:59:58 PM »

Quote
The west has rejected the notion...

So now Greeks and Russians are Easterners if I may ask?
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« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2010, 11:32:55 PM »

Quote
The west has rejected the notion...

So now Greeks and Russians are Easterners if I may ask?
Depends. Direction is subjective, entirely based on perspective.
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« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2010, 12:11:53 AM »

Dear Tristan,

I would urge you not to convert to Roman Catholicism. When I was your age I made that step (in fact I even spent time studying as a seminarian), believing I had found the apostolic truth. The system, however, is faulty, built on a lump of sand. Because of her innovations and departure from the faith of the fathers, you will find no salvation within the Church of Rome. The Roman Church as reduced the great mystery of salvation to a mere legal transaction between the creator and the created (consequently subjecting God to a greater cosmic justice). In addition to this, Rome has devised the theory of created grace. This denies man's ability to truly know and experience God. Sanctification becomes merely the growing of holiness within the context of remaining free from mortal sin.

The Orthodox (and patristic) view is much richer. Through the divine, uncreated energies of God, man can truly know his creator. We experience deification and through this change and recapitulation to Christ we are saved. Salvation is not a legalistic system in which man must appease a "just" (and according to some, angry) God. It is the reorientation of our hearts, properly disposing them to experience the all encompassing love of God. Roman Catholicism, instead clinging to its rationality, has destroyed any system by which man may truly become divine. Inside of her, there is no glorification.

I would urge you to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church.

This is exactly my experience. I converted to Roman Catholicism at age 17 from being a Protestant and discovered Orthodoxy at a Catholic University (where I am still a student, but that is another story altogether). I was very disillusioned with the modern RCC because it was no different from my Methodist church in so many respects. I bolded the part above because that is how I felt about the RCC's approach to salvation. Without sounding flippant, I see it as going around in circles and never progressing upward. At age 20 I was received into Holy Orthodoxy (this past January). I have met many others who were in our position: disillusioned Protestants become Roman Catholic, find out that the RCC is not what she claims to be, and then find Orthodoxy.

I have had incredible peace since becoming Orthodox. That is not to say that I still don't struggle with many things. I do, but Holy Orthodoxy gives us the tools that Rome cannot give us.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2010, 01:04:31 AM »

The whole venial/mortal sin question is very interesting to me here. I had always assumed that the concepts of mortal and venial sin were the same in the OC as they are in the RCC. There seem to be different ideas about this from different posters...

Also, is what the fellow who responded to the OP's original questions said with regard to confession correct? How vital is confession to/with a priest to one's salvation in Orthodoxy? Is the idea of a "state of grace" one that is present in Orthodoxy?

Sorry to hop in, but I'm in a similar spot to the OP, I just did my RCIA/confirmation 8 years ago.  Smiley

Hello Jim,

In Orthodoxy when a teaching has not been dogmatically defined, individual opinions (theologoumena) are permitted.  If you spend any amount of time on an Orthodox forum you will witness some heated discussions on a variety of topics, and each side will quote Fathers, Bishops, Saints to support their claims.  The problem is that some will insist that a personal opinion is dogma no matter how many authorities have disagreed with the authorities they cite.

The Orthodox Church has not attempted to define as many areas of doctrine as the RCC has.  There are Orthodox that have rejected the RCC's views regarding mortal and venial sins, while some have held views that are very similar.  I try to hear all sides in such circumstances and usually, for me, it comes down to a preponderance of authorities, i.e., if the majority of the Fathers, Saints, etc. have held a particular view, than I am comfortable with that.

In any case, regarding theologoumena, these are not issues that effect our salvation according to the Church (though some would disagree with that as well, depending on the issue that is being debated).
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« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2010, 02:06:18 AM »

Jim,

I am no theologian, so I apologize in advance if I make an incorrect statement here.  Confession is important, but is only part of the entire process of salvation.  I am quoting from Fr. Michael Pomazansky's book, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology:

 "The Orthodox Church takes a maximalist approach to salvation, seeing it as a process which ends in deification (theosis)." (italics in the original) P.199

The next quote is in the footnotes on the same page of Fr. Pomazansky's work:

"For the Orthodox Church, salvation is more than the pardon of sins and transgressions.  It is more than being justified and acquitted for offenses committed against God...For the Fathers of the Church salvation is the acquisition of the Grace of the Holy Spirit.  To be saved is to be sanctified and to participate in the life of God-indeed, to become partakers of the Divine Nature." Italics in original, (Harry Boosalis, Orthodox Spiritual Life according to St. Silouan the Athonite p.19)

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« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2010, 11:47:59 AM »

The whole venial/mortal sin question is very interesting to me here. I had always assumed that the concepts of mortal and venial sin were the same in the OC as they are in the RCC. There seem to be different ideas about this from different posters...

Also, is what the fellow who responded to the OP's original questions said with regard to confession correct? How vital is confession to/with a priest to one's salvation in Orthodoxy? Is the idea of a "state of grace" one that is present in Orthodoxy?


Try thinking of sin and confession as the Orthodox tend to do - sin as illness rather than specific bad actions (though sins are certainly those as well) and confession as medicine or treatment.

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« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2010, 11:54:28 AM »

The whole venial/mortal sin question is very interesting to me here. I had always assumed that the concepts of mortal and venial sin were the same in the OC as they are in the RCC. There seem to be different ideas about this from different posters...

Also, is what the fellow who responded to the OP's original questions said with regard to confession correct? How vital is confession to/with a priest to one's salvation in Orthodoxy? Is the idea of a "state of grace" one that is present in Orthodoxy?


Try thinking of sin and confession as the Orthodox tend to do - sin as illness rather than specific bad actions (though sins are certainly those as well) and confession as medicine or treatment.


In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick, and unless he takes medicine, he will die. Even so in the spiritual life, a man is sick on account of sin. For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health; and this grace is bestowed in the sacrament of Penance.

- St. Thomas Aquinas (hissss  Cheesy)
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« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2010, 12:01:51 PM »



Don't let the tall hats of our patriarchs scare you off...the Catholic's look scarier to me!
Smiley

As for liking the Orthodox "mass"...once you understand it, the Orthodox Liturgy is absolutely beautiful and awe-inspiring.  Give it a chance.
The hymns and prayers are absolutely beautiful.

Mostly, take your time. 

However, before you commit to RC, give Orthodoxy a good, honest look. 


This. Like Orthodoxy intellectually for a while. But I couldn't believe when I heard a convert talk about their first desire to become Orthodox was due to the Liturgy. I just found it boring, confusing, repetitive, and annoying, except for the homily.

Then after a while, I started to get it, if just barely. First with Vespers. It was just easier to digest. As strange as it is to type these words (no way I would have just a year ago), I can't wait for Great Vespers every week and am glad as the Nativity Fast has begun, the church I go to begins to have Vespers throughout the week more.

I might not understand 90% of what happens at Vespers and yet it works in me.

The Divine Liturgy is still pretty much a tilt-a-whirl including the long wait in line..

For me, Great Vespers is where getting the Liturgy started, if just a little. And that little counted for a lot.

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« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2010, 04:01:26 AM »

Sorry to barge in, but I just joined this forum today, and I am completely shocked by the fact that so many other people have experienced the same thing I am: the transition from protestantism to Catholicism and then eventually to Orthodoxy. I am a recent Catholic convert (confirmed this year) who has already started to have questions about our religion - especially the notion of mortal sin. I am comforted by the notion of asking God for forgiveness and receiving it - much more pleasant than having to wait, especially for days, until the next time confession is being offered. Thank you all for your personal accounts of this.
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« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2010, 05:25:26 AM »

Sorry to barge in, but I just joined this forum today, and I am completely shocked by the fact that so many other people have experienced the same thing I am: the transition from protestantism to Catholicism and then eventually to Orthodoxy. I am a recent Catholic convert (confirmed this year) who has already started to have questions about our religion - especially the notion of mortal sin. I am comforted by the notion of asking God for forgiveness and receiving it - much more pleasant than having to wait, especially for days, until the next time confession is being offered. Thank you all for your personal accounts of this.

Welcome!  Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2010, 12:01:33 PM »

Sorry to barge in, but I just joined this forum today, and I am completely shocked by the fact that so many other people have experienced the same thing I am: the transition from protestantism to Catholicism and then eventually to Orthodoxy. I am a recent Catholic convert (confirmed this year) who has already started to have questions about our religion - especially the notion of mortal sin. I am comforted by the notion of asking God for forgiveness and receiving it - much more pleasant than having to wait, especially for days, until the next time confession is being offered. Thank you all for your personal accounts of this.

No need to apologize! Welcome! Smiley

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2010, 12:14:37 PM »

I'm obviously a little biased Smiley, but based on what you've said Tristan, and depending on where you live, have you ever considered Western Rite Orthodoxy?  It has all of the Orthodox theology and spirituality you find in the East but is expressed in the traditional Western manner you'll likely find familiar and comfortable.
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« Reply #38 on: November 19, 2010, 06:04:15 PM »

Sorry to barge in, but I just joined this forum today, and I am completely shocked by the fact that so many other people have experienced the same thing I am: the transition from protestantism to Catholicism and then eventually to Orthodoxy. I am a recent Catholic convert (confirmed this year) who has already started to have questions about our religion - especially the notion of mortal sin. I am comforted by the notion of asking God for forgiveness and receiving it - much more pleasant than having to wait, especially for days, until the next time confession is being offered. Thank you all for your personal accounts of this.
Welcome!

Interesting name choice. Tongue
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« Reply #39 on: July 27, 2011, 02:55:00 AM »

Dear Tristan,

I would urge you not to convert to Roman Catholicism. When I was your age I made that step (in fact I even spent time studying as a seminarian), believing I had found the apostolic truth. The system, however, is faulty, built on a lump of sand. Because of her innovations and departure from the faith of the fathers, you will find no salvation within the Church of Rome. The Roman Church as reduced the great mystery of salvation to a mere legal transaction between the creator and the created (consequently subjecting God to a greater cosmic justice). In addition to this, Rome has devised the theory of created grace. This denies man's ability to truly know and experience God. Sanctification becomes merely the growing of holiness within the context of remaining free from mortal sin.

The Orthodox (and patristic) view is much richer. Through the divine, uncreated energies of God, man can truly know his creator. We experience deification and through this change and recapitulation to Christ we are saved. Salvation is not a legalistic system in which man must appease a "just" (and according to some, angry) God. It is the reorientation of our hearts, properly disposing them to experience the all encompassing love of God. Roman Catholicism, instead clinging to its rationality, has destroyed any system by which man may truly become divine. Inside of her, there is no glorification.

I would urge you to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church.

Sorry to resurrect this old thread, but I found it funny to read this in light of other Orthodox Christians on here saying that anyone can obtain salvation, Orthodox or not (Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc).
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« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2011, 11:56:59 PM »

Dear Tristan,

I would urge you not to convert to Roman Catholicism. When I was your age I made that step (in fact I even spent time studying as a seminarian), believing I had found the apostolic truth. The system, however, is faulty, built on a lump of sand. Because of her innovations and departure from the faith of the fathers, you will find no salvation within the Church of Rome. The Roman Church as reduced the great mystery of salvation to a mere legal transaction between the creator and the created (consequently subjecting God to a greater cosmic justice). In addition to this, Rome has devised the theory of created grace. This denies man's ability to truly know and experience God. Sanctification becomes merely the growing of holiness within the context of remaining free from mortal sin.

The Orthodox (and patristic) view is much richer. Through the divine, uncreated energies of God, man can truly know his creator. We experience deification and through this change and recapitulation to Christ we are saved. Salvation is not a legalistic system in which man must appease a "just" (and according to some, angry) God. It is the reorientation of our hearts, properly disposing them to experience the all encompassing love of God. Roman Catholicism, instead clinging to its rationality, has destroyed any system by which man may truly become divine. Inside of her, there is no glorification.

I would urge you to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church.

Sorry to resurrect this old thread, but I found it funny to read this in light of other Orthodox Christians on here saying that anyone can obtain salvation, Orthodox or not (Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc).

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« Reply #41 on: August 22, 2011, 10:09:53 AM »

THIS TOPIC HAS BEEN SPLIT.

I split  this topic at this point for two reasons:
1) it was an old topic and the information was diverting from the original purpose
2) what was developing was a discussion of why an Orthodox person was thinking about leaving the Orthodox church due to issues within their own parish and jursidiction. This belongs in the Faith Issues Forum not in the Convert Issues forum.

You may follow this split topic under the Faith Issues Forum Topic entitled " Problems in an Orthodox Parish result in looking other places".

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