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Offline Ebenezer

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Have No Idea Where To Begin
« on: December 12, 2010, 08:45:16 PM »
So, I guess introductions are in order. Yes, that's my real first name, I have never really been religious but I most definately have always believed in God, my grandparents are orthodox Jews (ashkenazi) but my parents don't really practice and I guess I've considered myself culturally Jewish but I've never really been frum (observant). This is my background, with this being said, I have slowly developed a keen interest in Christianity particularly orthodox Christianity because, I mean, if anything is worth doing, it's worth doing right and through my research I feel as though this is what I believe or could believe however I just don't know where to begin. All I know about Christianity comes from books and the internet, which is to say, I really don't know to much, I think I have the basics down but I don't know. I haven't visited a church yet because I don't know if that would be alright or not, I don't know how that works. I bought this Orthodox Study Bible 'by' Thomas Nelson and I really like it. I really like the message of Christianity, I just have no idea where to begin. So hello forum and perhaps you can help me out.
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 08:53:46 PM »
Welcome, Ebenezer.  :)
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Offline Red A.

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2010, 08:57:43 PM »
Welcome Ebenezer! I'm new to Orthodoxy myself, but there will be a some informed folks here shortly. Do you have a church nearby you could check out?

Offline Quinault

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2010, 08:59:47 PM »
Welcome! Our priest Fr. A. James Bernstein was raised as an Orthodox Jew before her converted to Christianity. He wrote a book about his journey that you may find interesting;

http://www.surprisedbychrist.com/

Fr. Alexander Winogradsky is a priest in Israel that is also Jewish;

http://abbaaw.blogspot.com/


Both men consider themselves Jewish and Christian.


If you are anywhere near the Pacific NW we would love to have you stop by the parish.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 09:01:12 PM by Quinault »

Offline Ionnis

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 09:00:59 PM »
Welcome!  I encourage you to visit a nearby Orthodox parish, if you are able.  If you haven't already read it, I encourage you to pick up a copy of "The Orthodox Church" by Kallistos Ware, as well as his book entitled "The Orthodox Way".  I hope that you find what you are looking for!
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2010, 09:13:48 PM »
Welcome!

Offline Ebenezer

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 09:17:09 PM »
Welcome!  I encourage you to visit a nearby Orthodox parish, if you are able.

I am able and want to, I just didn't know if it was proper to just show up for service or show up to talk to someone if I wasn't already Christian or Orthodox or something. Not to mention, the orthodox parishes (?) that I have passed by seem to be immigrant specific, like the Ukrainian parish and all this, I don't know if this makes any difference or not. Which, kind of adds to the intimidation factor I already feel considering the only languages other than English that I speak are Yiddish, German and some Hebrew. Is there any appropriate times that a would be convert should go? Or is anytime fine?

Quote
If you haven't already read it, I encourage you to pick up a copy of "The Orthodox Church" by Kallistos Ware, as well as his book entitled "The Orthodox Way".  I hope that you find what you are looking for!

Will do and thanks! Also thanks to other members for the welcome, didn't expect so many replies so quickly.  :)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 09:18:04 PM by Ebenezer »
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Offline Ebenezer

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2010, 09:17:36 PM »
multiple post, plz delete.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 09:18:47 PM by Ebenezer »
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Offline Ebenezer

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2010, 09:21:42 PM »
Welcome! Our priest Fr. A. James Bernstein was raised as an Orthodox Jew before her converted to Christianity. He wrote a book about his journey that you may find interesting;

http://www.surprisedbychrist.com/

Fr. Alexander Winogradsky is a priest in Israel that is also Jewish;

http://abbaaw.blogspot.com/


Both men consider themselves Jewish and Christian.


Interesting thank you.  :)
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Offline Ionnis

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2010, 09:36:07 PM »
If you are not comfortable just walking into an Orthodox parish, try looking up the parish website, if they have one, and email the priest.  It might ease your anxiety. 

If you live in the US, here is a website that will help you track down phone numbers, physical locations, and email addresses. 

http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php?geo_region=us

If you don't, hopefully other members will have some resources for you.


« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 09:36:49 PM by Ionnis »
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2010, 09:38:56 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Ebenezer.

As a member of a Ukrainian Orthodox church, I can tell you that many of our churches conduct services in English, as well as Ukrainian.  There actually are a few which are strictly English.  

Feel free to stop and visit at any time.

Everyone is welcome, regardless of their "nationality".

Which ever church you visit, I truly hope they will make you feel welcome.

Once again, welcome to the forum, and hopefully to Orthodoxy.

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Offline Ebenezer

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2010, 09:59:23 PM »
Thanks for all the advice and links and info. Good to know that presumably any church I go to will be welcoming to a new prospect.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2010, 10:24:41 PM »
I don't think anyone has mentioned this, and not to confuse you, but you should know that generally speaking there are two different communions which call themselves the Orthodox Church: Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox. So if you just go to any Orthodox church in your area, it might not be what you think it is. So just to keep it really simple here's the deal:

Eastern Orthodox: Greek, Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Antiochian, Finnish, Georgian, Orthodox Church in America, etc.

Oriental Orthodox: Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox, Ethiopian/Eritrean Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic Church, Syriac Orthodox (Jacobites), etc. Am I missing any?

Anyway, these churches split 1500 years ago over some doctrinal issues, about 500 years before the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox split apart.

Again, I hope this isn't confusing as you're just looking into it. I'm just trying to be helpful in your search. Most of us on here are Eastern Orthodox, and the Eastern Orthodox Church is the larger communion of the two, with roughly 250 million to 300 million members. I don't know the rough numbers on the Oriental Orthodox.

May God guide your steps.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 10:26:18 PM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Cognomen

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2010, 10:55:32 PM »
Welcome, Ebenezer.

I will echo the advice on contacting priests at local parishes.  Additionally, they may offer classes for inquirers.  These can be helpful and are frequently obligatory for those officially converting.  The classes I attended primarily reviewed or supplemented reading materials, but they also provided an opportunity to learn more about the faith directly from the clergy.

I hope your inquiry and journey goes well.
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Offline Marc1152

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2010, 10:56:31 PM »
Where do you live?
Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2010, 11:03:12 PM »
Welcome, Ebenezer (really like your name, BTW!)  :)

 Before I had the guts to just show up at church, I can tell you I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (that's pretty nervous!!).  What I did was to just call up the priest, introduce myself, and tell him that although I wasn't a Christian at the time, I am gravitating towards Orthodoxy but still have a lot of questions.  Fr. A. was/is extremely amiable and helpful, and I can't imagine the priests' in your area won't be just as nice.  

 Have you read anything yet about Eastern Orthodoxy?  I'd like to recommend a few books, but don't want to recommend something you may have already read.  And please feel free to ask as many questions as you wish!  :)
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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2010, 11:31:52 PM »
Welcome to the Forum :D
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Offline Ebenezer

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2010, 11:40:43 PM »
I don't think anyone has mentioned this, and not to confuse you, but you should know that generally speaking there are two different communions which call themselves the Orthodox Church: Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox. So if you just go to any Orthodox church in your area, it might not be what you think it is. So just to keep it really simple here's the deal:

Eastern Orthodox: Greek, Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Antiochian, Finnish, Georgian, Orthodox Church in America, etc.

Oriental Orthodox: Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox, Ethiopian/Eritrean Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic Church, Syriac Orthodox (Jacobites), etc. Am I missing any?

Anyway, these churches split 1500 years ago over some doctrinal issues, about 500 years before the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox split apart.

Again, I hope this isn't confusing as you're just looking into it. I'm just trying to be helpful in your search. Most of us on here are Eastern Orthodox, and the Eastern Orthodox Church is the larger communion of the two, with roughly 250 million to 300 million members. I don't know the rough numbers on the Oriental Orthodox.

May God guide your steps.

Not confusing at all mate, very informative actually, I was primarily looking into the Eastern-Orthodox movement (I don't know what you goyim call various sects :P). Again, I'm only familiar with Judaism, so I don't really know the correct terminology to use here so bare with me but I am interested in the Eastern-Orthodox sect/movement within Christian Orthodoxy proper.
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Offline dcommini

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2010, 11:44:45 PM »
Welcome to the forum! I hope that you find Orthodoxy (Christianity) to be very welcoming. I would just like to reiterate what others have said...

When I first looked into Orthodoxy I emailed the local priest to let him know that I was a potential convert and that I was interested in attending a Liturgy. He was very nice and we carried on a dialogue and he let me know a little of what to expect. He was always very helpful and recommended books for me to read that expounded on Orthodoxy (two of those being the books mentioned by Timothy (Kallistos) Ware).

Before I went to a church I did a lot of research online through orthodoxwiki.org and various other websites (of course I couldn't attend a church since I was serving in Iraq so I really had no other choice). I knew that sometimes the churches could be culturally identified and I had my reservations on going to a Greek church as I am Italian and knew very little Greek. After my first service a little old lady - who was from Greece - asked my if I was Greek, when I replied in the negative she said it was very nice to see other people coming to an Orthodox Church. Over all the congregation received me very openly.

So I guess what I am trying to say in my long ramblings is contact a local priest so you know what to expect, and don't expect too much of a cultural divide (but don't be surprised if there is some). And there is no experience like the Liturgy.
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Offline Ebenezer

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2010, 11:46:58 PM »
Welcome, Ebenezer (really like your name, BTW!)  :)

Thank you! I get alot of jokes and questions about it, especially around this time of year.

Quote
Have you read anything yet about Eastern Orthodoxy?  I'd like to recommend a few books, but don't want to recommend something you may have already read.  And please feel free to ask as many questions as you wish!  :)

Not really, currently the only Christian books I own are, the Orthodox Study Bible by Thomas Nelson, The Inferno by Dante Aligheiri and Interior Castles by St. Teresa of Avila (I just grabbed the last two out of general interest), past that I've read some wiki articles on Christianity, some articles online, but past this, nothing really, so any suggestions would be helpful.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 11:56:21 PM by Ebenezer »
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Offline Ebenezer

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2010, 11:52:19 PM »
Before I went to a church I did a lot of research online through orthodoxwiki.org and various other websites (of course I couldn't attend a church since I was serving in Iraq so I really had no other choice). I knew that sometimes the churches could be culturally identified and I had my reservations on going to a Greek church as I am Italian and knew very little Greek. After my first service a little old lady - who was from Greece - asked my if I was Greek, when I replied in the negative she said it was very nice to see other people coming to an Orthodox Church. Over all the congregation received me very openly.

So I guess what I am trying to say in my long ramblings is contact a local priest so you know what to expect, and don't expect too much of a cultural divide (but don't be surprised if there is some). And there is no experience like the Liturgy.

That's good to know, but speaking of cultural divide and differences how are Jews typically recieved or whatever? Cany you or anyone comment on this?
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Offline dcommini

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2010, 11:57:04 PM »
Before I went to a church I did a lot of research online through orthodoxwiki.org and various other websites (of course I couldn't attend a church since I was serving in Iraq so I really had no other choice). I knew that sometimes the churches could be culturally identified and I had my reservations on going to a Greek church as I am Italian and knew very little Greek. After my first service a little old lady - who was from Greece - asked my if I was Greek, when I replied in the negative she said it was very nice to see other people coming to an Orthodox Church. Over all the congregation received me very openly.

So I guess what I am trying to say in my long ramblings is contact a local priest so you know what to expect, and don't expect too much of a cultural divide (but don't be surprised if there is some). And there is no experience like the Liturgy.

That's good to know, but speaking of cultural divide and differences how are Jews typically recieved or whatever? Cany you or anyone comment on this?

I see no reason why a Jew or anyone of Jewish descent should not be welcomed especially if they are seeking to convert (or entertaining the idea), but I do not know of any Jewish converts in my parish so I can not tell you how they were received... Sorry  :(
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Offline Quinault

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2010, 12:02:46 AM »
I would not suggest that you attend Holy Week services until you are fully comfortable with Orthodoxy. Some of the readings are extremely harsh if not interpretted in the proper context.


Here is an essay that Fr. James wrote on the church;
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/whichcamefirst.aspx

Offline Ebenezer

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2010, 12:06:34 AM »
Side question, not to offend anyone here but I am curious, I know that the Catholic and Luthern churches (if I'm not mistaken) have since retracted the charge of deicide against the Jewish people, has the Orthodox church (both Eastern and Oriental) done so also?
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Offline Ebenezer

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2010, 12:07:15 AM »
Here is an essay that Fr. James wrote on the church;
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/whichcamefirst.aspx

Thanks for the link mate.
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Offline dcommini

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2010, 12:41:46 AM »
This thread might also be of interest to you...
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,3081.0.html

Some posters (forum type, not wall type <-- via my wife) recommending books to read for converts.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 12:42:06 AM by dcommini »
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Offline Trevorthodox

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2010, 12:50:39 PM »
Take a virtual flash tour of an Eastern Orthodox Church at http://acrod.org/prayercorner/church-tour

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2010, 04:05:51 PM »
Our priest also is a Jewish convert. I have met several and they tell me that they find Orthodoxy feels "natural." In some parishes, you might be a curiosity, but nothing else.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2010, 12:16:37 AM »
So, I guess introductions are in order. Yes, that's my real first name, I have never really been religious but I most definately have always believed in God, my grandparents are orthodox Jews (ashkenazi) but my parents don't really practice and I guess I've considered myself culturally Jewish but I've never really been frum (observant). This is my background, with this being said, I have slowly developed a keen interest in Christianity particularly orthodox Christianity because, I mean, if anything is worth doing, it's worth doing right and through my research I feel as though this is what I believe or could believe however I just don't know where to begin. All I know about Christianity comes from books and the internet, which is to say, I really don't know to much, I think I have the basics down but I don't know. I haven't visited a church yet because I don't know if that would be alright or not, I don't know how that works. I bought this Orthodox Study Bible 'by' Thomas Nelson and I really like it. I really like the message of Christianity, I just have no idea where to begin. So hello forum and perhaps you can help me out.

Looks like you did know how to begin. shalom!
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Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2010, 01:43:45 AM »
Oriental Orthodox: Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox, Ethiopian/Eritrean Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic Church, Syriac Orthodox (Jacobites), etc. Am I missing any?

Yeah. The Malayali OO, who are ecclesiastically identified with the term "Malankara".

I don't know the rough numbers on the Oriental Orthodox.

About 75 million, I believe.
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Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2010, 01:48:46 AM »
Side question, not to offend anyone here but I am curious, I know that the Catholic and Luthern churches (if I'm not mistaken) have since retracted the charge of deicide against the Jewish people, has the Orthodox church (both Eastern and Oriental) done so also?

In the Eastern Christian liturgies, you will hear much more anti-Judaic language in the rubrics than in the West. We haven't really gone out of our way to edit them out. A lot of us view the reaction against "anti-Semitism" in the West to have gone too far. I don't know that there is or ever was any position laying guilt on the Jewish people as a whole of killing the Lord, however.
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2010, 02:20:07 AM »
Ebenezer, firstly I am not Orthodox, yet anyways.  Secondly, what I am about to say is something of a guess based on what I have read.

I would guess that Orthodoxy does not lay any guilt for the death of Christ on any Jews living today.  My reasoning for this belief is that, in Orthodoxy, there is not the Catholic belief of inherited guilt (such as a guilt that all people have from Adam by birth).  Because Orthodoxy does not believe in inherited guilt from Adam, I would have a hard time believing it says that Jews have inherited guilt for the death of Christ.  If that was they case, I have a feeling that those members of the board who are Jews that converted to Orthodoxy, would not have done so (though I can't speak for them I suppose).
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2010, 02:21:04 AM »
I don't know the rough numbers on the Oriental Orthodox.

About 75 million, I believe.


http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24144.0.html


The Oriental Orthodox have been greatly decimated by religious persecution and genocide.  We may be a minority here on earth, but I would like to think our martyrs make up a large number of those who stand under the altar in heaven.  (Revelation 6:9-11)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2010, 02:29:48 AM by Salpy »

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2010, 03:04:14 AM »
Side question, not to offend anyone here but I am curious, I know that the Catholic and Luthern churches (if I'm not mistaken) have since retracted the charge of deicide against the Jewish people, has the Orthodox church (both Eastern and Oriental) done so also?

In the Eastern Christian liturgies, you will hear much more anti-Judaic language in the rubrics than in the West. We haven't really gone out of our way to edit them out. A lot of us view the reaction against "anti-Semitism" in the West to have gone too far. I don't know that there is or ever was any position laying guilt on the Jewish people as a whole of killing the Lord, however.
It should also be noted that this language treats Judaism as a competing faith, a "heresy" rather than a race or an ethnicity. In that sense the Jews are no more condemned than the gnostics.
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Offline Alpo

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Re: Have No Idea Where To Begin
« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2010, 06:46:33 AM »
I've always thought that accusations against the Jews in our liturgical texts are against those Jews who were personally responsible for the death of Our Lord and certainly not against all Jews. Am I correct?

Anyway, welcome to the forum, Ebenezer!



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