OrthodoxChristianity.net
October 21, 2014, 04:47:32 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: A prayer that I'm having difficulty with...  (Read 3698 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« on: January 26, 2011, 08:25:21 AM »

Ok, so I was scrolling through my little red prayer book, and I came across this one. I am having difficulty reconciling it in my mind, and I was hoping that someone could provide me with some insight on how to better understand it.

It starts like this:

"O all holy lady Theotokos, light of my darkened soul, my hope, my shelter, my refuge, my consolation, and my joy: I thank thee that thou has accounted me worthy, although unworthy, to be a partaker of the immaculate Body and precious Blood of thy Son..."

What I put in bold is what I'm having a problem understanding. I guess I don't understand in what way we are counted worthy by the Theotokos to receive her Son in communion. The way I'm seeing it, it is almost as if she determines our worthiness before God, which I know isn't right. Perhaps someone could provide me with a different perspective here?  Undecided
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 08:26:16 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
recent convert
Orthodox Chrisitan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian (N.A.)
Posts: 1,917


« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 08:39:22 AM »

I agree that this seems faulty at best and personally I just ignore stuff like this. I just stick to faith basics & realize there is ignorable baggage in some areas.
Logged

Antiochian OC N.A.
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 08:53:43 AM »

I hinknthis is about the Communion of the Saints. No one is worthy of Communing, meaning, it is not something we "earn a right to receive. But God, in His limitless mercy "counts. Us worthy". In giving you Communion, your Priest "counts you worthy" to receive. Every time we Commune, we are united in fellowship with the Communion of the Saints in Christ, so the Saints "count us worthy" to share fellowship in Christ with them. When you receive the deifying Body and Blood of Christ, you receive Him Who the Theotokos carried in her womb. To be "counted worthy" to Commune is a fearsome thing when we are so unworthy.
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
JLatimer
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 1,202



« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 11:02:16 AM »

I agree that this seems faulty at best and personally I just ignore stuff like this. I just stick to faith basics & realize there is ignorable baggage in some areas.

Wow.
Logged

1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
Father H
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian--God's One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: UOCofUSA-Ecumenical Patriarchate
Posts: 2,611



« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 11:25:06 AM »

I hinknthis is about the Communion of the Saints. No one is worthy of Communing, meaning, it is not something we "earn a right to receive. But God, in His limitless mercy "counts. Us worthy". In giving you Communion, your Priest "counts you worthy" to receive. Every time we Commune, we are united in fellowship with the Communion of the Saints in Christ, so the Saints "count us worthy" to share fellowship in Christ with them. When you receive the deifying Body and Blood of Christ, you receive Him Who the Theotokos carried in her womb. To be "counted worthy" to Commune is a fearsome thing when we are so unworthy.

Right, because of our unworthiness due to sin, the Lord makes us worthy by synergizing with the repentent soul.  The priest and the Theotokos just follow suit by acknowledging this, who though they were unworthy, are now counted among the worthy, due to the synergy with the One who is Worthy, and thus allowed to take communion.   It is actually a statement, not so much about the Theotokos' power, but about her perfectly acknowledging the divine will of her Son.

Think of the following situation:  "The king said this man who was not previously allowed to approach the throne (because of his transgressions against the king) is now permitted to approach...if the king declares him worthy to approach," states the soldier who is guardian of the throne, "then I too count him worthy to approach."   The king's mother sitting at the king's right hand concurs that if the king counts him worthy, then she does also, and orders the guards to bring forth the man to approach the king.        
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 11:26:19 AM by FatherHLL » Logged
Paisius
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Wherever the wind blows......
Posts: 1,076


Scheherazade


« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 01:35:37 PM »

I agree that this seems faulty at best and personally I just ignore stuff like this. I just stick to faith basics & realize there is ignorable baggage in some areas.

Wow.

Double wow. That's one of the more frightening things I've read on this forum in a while. The "basics"? Who decides what the "basics" are?  Huh
Logged

"Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else." - Frédéric Bastiat
recent convert
Orthodox Chrisitan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian (N.A.)
Posts: 1,917


« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2011, 01:45:33 PM »

I agree that this seems faulty at best and personally I just ignore stuff like this. I just stick to faith basics & realize there is ignorable baggage in some areas.

Wow.

Double wow. That's one of the more frightening things I've read on this forum in a while. The "basics"? Who decides what the "basics" are?  Huh
Honestly, i did not think my post was volatile and for that I am most sorry and ask forgiveness. I just thought the Nicene Creed and 1st Timothy 2:5 "fot there is one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ" would be an approach to avoid confusion over what seems a most confusing prayer ( i do not get it, sorry).
Logged

Antiochian OC N.A.
podkarpatska
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 8,572


Pokrov


WWW
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2011, 01:48:42 PM »

I agree that this seems faulty at best and personally I just ignore stuff like this. I just stick to faith basics & realize there is ignorable baggage in some areas.

Wow.

Double wow. That's one of the more frightening things I've read on this forum in a while. The "basics"? Who decides what the "basics" are?  Huh

Father's response is right on the money. I have to suggest that the OP needs to meet with his or her pastor to discuss the comment about 'ignorable baggage' as 'stuff like that' is rather basic to Orthodox understanding. Please don't take offense, I am trying to be helpful. Your priest undoubtedly gets asked questions like this all of the time, that is one of the things they are there to do.
Logged
Punch
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Body of Christ
Posts: 5,567



« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2011, 01:52:33 PM »

Ok, so I was scrolling through my little red prayer book, and I came across this one. I am having difficulty reconciling it in my mind, and I was hoping that someone could provide me with some insight on how to better understand it.

It starts like this:

"O all holy lady Theotokos, light of my darkened soul, my hope, my shelter, my refuge, my consolation, and my joy: I thank thee that thou has accounted me worthy, although unworthy, to be a partaker of the immaculate Body and precious Blood of thy Son..."

What I put in bold is what I'm having a problem understanding. I guess I don't understand in what way we are counted worthy by the Theotokos to receive her Son in communion. The way I'm seeing it, it is almost as if she determines our worthiness before God, which I know isn't right. Perhaps someone could provide me with a different perspective here?  Undecided

I have to say that this particular prayer bothers the old Protestant in me, too.  That and the “Holy Theotokos save us”.  I don’t say the above prayer because I simply do not believe in its words.  While I believe that the Virgin Mary is the greatest of the Saints, and the supreme of all of God’s creation, it is the God – Man Jesus Christ who died for my sins and conquered death, and it is His Body and Blood that I consume.  I also find most of the explanations justifying such a prayer to be rather weak and contrived.  However, I don’t fully reject these things since I am sure that, if they are truly Orthodox, I have not been enlightened to understand them.  Add it to the list of imperfections that I will have to account for one day.
Logged

I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.
Punch
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Body of Christ
Posts: 5,567



« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2011, 02:03:01 PM »

I agree that this seems faulty at best and personally I just ignore stuff like this. I just stick to faith basics & realize there is ignorable baggage in some areas.

While I have sympathy for the way you feel, I do not believe that there is ignorable baggage in out Faith.  There are things that I do and do not believe.  However, when I say I do not believe them, that does not mean that I reject them.  One cannot expect an African from the deepest parts of the Congo jungle to comprehend the terms "snow cone", and "snow drift" and "blizzard" when they have never seen snow.  Likewise, it is difficult for someone like me to understand something like the prayer in the OP.  When I admit that I do not believe in such things, I am saying that I cannot believe in such things in my current condition.  I am not saying that they do not exist.  I hope that makes sense.  Now as to the term "ignorable", I wonder if we are really that far apart on this matter either.  While I don't think that we should totally ignore these matters, I do believe that there are far more important things that I need to come to grips with regarding Orthodoxy, and Christianity in general.  Perhaps one day I will reach the level that I can discuss whether or not the Theotokos really saves us, or whether or not I care whether or not anyone other than Jesus finds me worthy.
Logged

I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,917



« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2011, 02:03:16 PM »

That and the “Holy Theotokos save us”.

That one doesn't bother me anymore. Just think of it as "rescue" and not "give me salvation in the ultimate sense."

Orthodox piety is full of people asking saints to "save" them from drowning or the sword, etc. And they do save us by God's power, because they are deified.
Logged
JLatimer
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 1,202



« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2011, 02:05:40 PM »

I agree that this seems faulty at best and personally I just ignore stuff like this. I just stick to faith basics & realize there is ignorable baggage in some areas.

Wow.

Double wow. That's one of the more frightening things I've read on this forum in a while. The "basics"? Who decides what the "basics" are?  Huh
Honestly, i did not think my post was volatile and for that I am most sorry and ask forgiveness. I just thought the Nicene Creed and 1st Timothy 2:5 "fot there is one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ" would be an approach to avoid confusion over what seems a most confusing prayer ( i do not get it, sorry).

This podcast might help with understanding Christ as Mediator.
Logged

1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
Melodist
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: The Faith That Established The Universe
Jurisdiction: AOANA
Posts: 2,523



« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2011, 02:10:45 PM »

I hinknthis is about the Communion of the Saints. No one is worthy of Communing, meaning, it is not something we "earn a right to receive. But God, in His limitless mercy "counts. Us worthy". In giving you Communion, your Priest "counts you worthy" to receive. Every time we Commune, we are united in fellowship with the Communion of the Saints in Christ, so the Saints "count us worthy" to share fellowship in Christ with them. When you receive the deifying Body and Blood of Christ, you receive Him Who the Theotokos carried in her womb. To be "counted worthy" to Commune is a fearsome thing when we are so unworthy.

Right, because of our unworthiness due to sin, the Lord makes us worthy by synergizing with the repentent soul.  The priest and the Theotokos just follow suit by acknowledging this, who though they were unworthy, are now counted among the worthy, due to the synergy with the One who is Worthy, and thus allowed to take communion.   It is actually a statement, not so much about the Theotokos' power, but about her perfectly acknowledging the divine will of her Son.

Think of the following situation:  "The king said this man who was not previously allowed to approach the throne (because of his transgressions against the king) is now permitted to approach...if the king declares him worthy to approach," states the soldier who is guardian of the throne, "then I too count him worthy to approach."   The king's mother sitting at the king's right hand concurs that if the king counts him worthy, then she does also, and orders the guards to bring forth the man to approach the king.        

So what you are saying is that Christ makes us worthy, and everyone else "counts us worthy" by recognizing what Christ has given us?

I can see the context that you afre getting at here, even though the I find the phrase to sound unusual.

What language was this prayer originally written in, what is the word that is used there, and how is that word usually used? (just curious)
Logged

And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God
JLatimer
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 1,202



« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2011, 02:11:12 PM »

That and the “Holy Theotokos save us”.

That one doesn't bother me anymore. Just think of it as "rescue" and not "give me salvation in the ultimate sense."

Orthodox piety is full of people asking saints to "save" them from drowning or the sword, etc. And they do save us by God's power, because they are deified.

In addition, we also ask the saints to save us from spiritual troubles. And many prayers to the saints end with, "pray to God that He save our souls"; if we pray to the saints in this way, they really are participants in God's saving activity towards us. Salvation is of the Lord, and God alone saves; yet He does it by cooperating with us, and He does it in community.

The Theotokos and the saints do everything they do by the power of God, as Alveus said. If we compare "Most Holy Theotokos save us" to other prayers, such as, "cleanse me by the hyssop of thine intercessions", "O Bride of God, by thy prayers, release me from the bonds of sin", "O Bearer of God the Lifegiver, revive me who am deadened by passions", etc., we see that the Theotokos' power to save us has to do with her intimate relationship with God and is expressed through her prayer and intercession for us.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 02:20:23 PM by JLatimer » Logged

1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
recent convert
Orthodox Chrisitan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian (N.A.)
Posts: 1,917


« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2011, 02:15:25 PM »

I have a saints calendar that has a quote from St Gregory Palamas that said something to the effect that we must virtually pray to the Theotokos so she can pray for us to the Son (I do not have this with me so I may be (very?) off in some way). I found that quote deeply confusing also & if I can remember I will provide it tomorrow. I guess these 2 things really threw me for a loop & i imported some subconscious confusion into my post. I am not trying to say what the faith is or whatever but sometimes I just want to feel I can't think straight & articulate. I should not have posted what I did.
Logged

Antiochian OC N.A.
podkarpatska
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 8,572


Pokrov


WWW
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2011, 02:16:05 PM »

That and the “Holy Theotokos save us”.

That one doesn't bother me anymore. Just think of it as "rescue" and not "give me salvation in the ultimate sense."

Orthodox piety is full of people asking saints to "save" them from drowning or the sword, etc. And they do save us by God's power, because they are deified.

Some of this misunderstanding can be traced to linguistic nuance in translating these prayers from their original source languages. Alveus is correct and that is how this has been taught over the years using American Orthodox Church School curricula. I never envisioned the Blessed Mother or any other Saint as 'saving' me or anyone in the sense of the ultimate grant of salvation. By both Scripture and Tradition, that is solely the prerogative of Our Lord and Saviour.The analogy of interceding as a rescuer is right on the money.
Logged
podkarpatska
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 8,572


Pokrov


WWW
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2011, 02:17:48 PM »

I have a saints calendar that has a quote from St Gregory Palamas that said something to the effect that we must virtually pray to the Theotokos so she can pray for us to the Son (I do not have this with me so I may be (very?) off in some way). I found that quote deeply confusing also & if I can remember I will provide it tomorrow. I guess these 2 things really threw me for a loop & i imported some subconscious confusion into my post. I am not trying to say what the faith is or whatever but sometimes I just want to feel I can't think straight & articulate. I should not have posted what I did.

Please, take my advice and consult your priest. I know from the 'family business' (my father, brother and uncles were priests) that your concerns are common and your priest will best know how to guide you. The intercessory role of the Saints is so intrinsically fundamental to Orthodoxy and her prayer life, that it is difficult for me to understand how others within Orthodoxy have a problem with it
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 02:19:47 PM by podkarpatska » Logged
Father H
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian--God's One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: UOCofUSA-Ecumenical Patriarchate
Posts: 2,611



« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2011, 02:39:21 PM »

I have a saints calendar that has a quote from St Gregory Palamas that said something to the effect that we must virtually pray to the Theotokos so she can pray for us to the Son (I do not have this with me so I may be (very?) off in some way). I found that quote deeply confusing also & if I can remember I will provide it tomorrow. I guess these 2 things really threw me for a loop & i imported some subconscious confusion into my post. I am not trying to say what the faith is or whatever but sometimes I just want to feel I can't think straight & articulate. I should not have posted what I did.
Please, take my advice and consult your priest. I know from the 'family business' (my father, brother and uncles were priests) that your concerns are common and your priest will best know how to guide you. The intercessory role of the Saints is so intrinsically fundamental to Orthodoxy and her prayer life, that it is difficult for me to understand how others within Orthodoxy have a problem with it

I agree, talk with your priest.  This is a fundamental issue.  We see that Saints as having finished the race as members of the Body of our Savior.  They are members of Christ, and as such they have a role of our salvation, as do even those of us who still run the race as members of Christ.       
Logged
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2011, 02:41:10 PM »

The intercessory role of the Saints is so intrinsically fundamental to Orthodoxy and her prayer life, that it is difficult for me to understand how others within Orthodoxy have a problem with it

Protestant baggage. That's the excuse I use, anyways...
Logged
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2011, 02:43:04 PM »

I hinknthis is about the Communion of the Saints. No one is worthy of Communing, meaning, it is not something we "earn a right to receive. But God, in His limitless mercy "counts. Us worthy". In giving you Communion, your Priest "counts you worthy" to receive. Every time we Commune, we are united in fellowship with the Communion of the Saints in Christ, so the Saints "count us worthy" to share fellowship in Christ with them. When you receive the deifying Body and Blood of Christ, you receive Him Who the Theotokos carried in her womb. To be "counted worthy" to Commune is a fearsome thing when we are so unworthy.

Right, because of our unworthiness due to sin, the Lord makes us worthy by synergizing with the repentent soul.  The priest and the Theotokos just follow suit by acknowledging this, who though they were unworthy, are now counted among the worthy, due to the synergy with the One who is Worthy, and thus allowed to take communion.   It is actually a statement, not so much about the Theotokos' power, but about her perfectly acknowledging the divine will of her Son.

Think of the following situation:  "The king said this man who was not previously allowed to approach the throne (because of his transgressions against the king) is now permitted to approach...if the king declares him worthy to approach," states the soldier who is guardian of the throne, "then I too count him worthy to approach."   The king's mother sitting at the king's right hand concurs that if the king counts him worthy, then she does also, and orders the guards to bring forth the man to approach the king.        

So what you are saying is that Christ makes us worthy, and everyone else "counts us worthy" by recognizing what Christ has given us?

I can see the context that you afre getting at here, even though the I find the phrase to sound unusual.

What language was this prayer originally written in, what is the word that is used there, and how is that word usually used? (just curious)

I do not know which languages these prayers were translated from. This prayer is contained in the red AOCA pocket prayer book (pg. 57, #6).
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 02:43:46 PM by Ortho_cat » Logged
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2011, 08:28:12 PM »

I hinknthis is about the Communion of the Saints. No one is worthy of Communing, meaning, it is not something we "earn a right to receive. But God, in His limitless mercy "counts. Us worthy". In giving you Communion, your Priest "counts you worthy" to receive. Every time we Commune, we are united in fellowship with the Communion of the Saints in Christ, so the Saints "count us worthy" to share fellowship in Christ with them. When you receive the deifying Body and Blood of Christ, you receive Him Who the Theotokos carried in her womb. To be "counted worthy" to Commune is a fearsome thing when we are so unworthy.

Right, because of our unworthiness due to sin, the Lord makes us worthy by synergizing with the repentent soul.  The priest and the Theotokos just follow suit by acknowledging this, who though they were unworthy, are now counted among the worthy, due to the synergy with the One who is Worthy, and thus allowed to take communion.   It is actually a statement, not so much about the Theotokos' power, but about her perfectly acknowledging the divine will of her Son.

Think of the following situation:  "The king said this man who was not previously allowed to approach the throne (because of his transgressions against the king) is now permitted to approach...if the king declares him worthy to approach," states the soldier who is guardian of the throne, "then I too count him worthy to approach."   The king's mother sitting at the king's right hand concurs that if the king counts him worthy, then she does also, and orders the guards to bring forth the man to approach the king.        

I appreciate this explanation, Father. However, I still dislike the wording of the prayer, as it believe it has probably confused many who do not recognize the important distinction between being acknowledged as worthy by the Theotokos and being made worthy by her.
Logged
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2011, 09:00:57 PM »

Thanks for posting your concern, Ortho_Cat; I'm having similar concerns with the wording of certain prayers as well (hopefully you're further along than I am though). 
I assume that a lot of this does have to do with linguistic and translation inconsistencies, but that still remains a barrier for me.

An example that I encounter is from the Daily Prayer for Orthodox Christians, taken from the Synekdemos: "I place all my hope in you, Mother of God, Keep me under your protection."  I am unsure how this could be correct and I cannot bring myself to pray this.  I mean this as no disrespect the the Theotokos, but rather, that I try to place all my hope in God.

The mediation issue has certainly been discussed, but it doesn't help that in books such as Praying with the Orthodox Tradition, where Bishop Kallistos, at the end of the forward, quotes 1Timothy on mediation, and then the very first prayer reads "...through the mediation of the Holy Mother of God and all the Saints."

I'm trying to grasp the correct understanding of "save us," but Fr. Hopko's podcast on the subject was surprisingly unhelpful to me.  JLatimer, I do look forward to listening to the one you've linked for us though.

My apologies if this post overly widened the scope of the thread.
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2011, 09:21:29 PM »

Think of the following situation:  "The king said this man who was not previously allowed to approach the throne (because of his transgressions against the king) is now permitted to approach...if the king declares him worthy to approach," states the soldier who is guardian of the throne, "then I too count him worthy to approach."   The king's mother sitting at the king's right hand concurs that if the king counts him worthy, then she does also, and orders the guards to bring forth the man to approach the king.        

Thank you, Father, for this explanation.  This better clarifies the role to me.  Still, I admittedly have a difficult time accepting this role, which seems to be in contrast to the example of prayer given by Jesus, and later explained by 1 Timothy.  Not that we cannot or should not direct prayer towards the Theotokos or the Saints, but that there is, essentially, a guard standing between us and God.

Unfortunately I can't blame my issues on Protestant baggage.  Smiley
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Melodist
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: The Faith That Established The Universe
Jurisdiction: AOANA
Posts: 2,523



« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2011, 09:26:30 PM »

Thanks for posting your concern, Ortho_Cat; I'm having similar concerns with the wording of certain prayers as well (hopefully you're further along than I am though). 
I assume that a lot of this does have to do with linguistic and translation inconsistencies, but that still remains a barrier for me.

An example that I encounter is from the Daily Prayer for Orthodox Christians, taken from the Synekdemos: "I place all my hope in you, Mother of God, Keep me under your protection."  I am unsure how this could be correct and I cannot bring myself to pray this.  I mean this as no disrespect the the Theotokos, but rather, that I try to place all my hope in God.

The mediation issue has certainly been discussed, but it doesn't help that in books such as Praying with the Orthodox Tradition, where Bishop Kallistos, at the end of the forward, quotes 1Timothy on mediation, and then the very first prayer reads "...through the mediation of the Holy Mother of God and all the Saints."

I'm trying to grasp the correct understanding of "save us," but Fr. Hopko's podcast on the subject was surprisingly unhelpful to me.  JLatimer, I do look forward to listening to the one you've linked for us though.

My apologies if this post overly widened the scope of the thread.

There are a few passages where "save" is used in a context where it is one person "saving" another by bringing them closer to God. St James says that one who corrects his brother saves him, St Paul became all things to all men so that he might save some, and also said that a believing spouse can save their unbelieving spouse. That being said, good things come from Christ to us through the saints. Christ saves us by trampling down death by death, while Mary saves us in the same way she provided wine at the wedding at Cana, she helps us to make our requests for our needs, and then tells us to do what Christ says. Also part of believing that Christ is the Head of the Church, which is His Body, is that the Head is not seperate from the Body and works in and through the Body. The members of the Body that have left this life, are still members of the Body and still alive in Christ.
Logged

And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God
stavros_388
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: +
Posts: 1,253



« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2011, 10:07:51 PM »

I have a saints calendar that has a quote from St Gregory Palamas that said something to the effect that we must virtually pray to the Theotokos so she can pray for us to the Son (I do not have this with me so I may be (very?) off in some way). I found that quote deeply confusing also & if I can remember I will provide it tomorrow. I guess these 2 things really threw me for a loop & i imported some subconscious confusion into my post. I am not trying to say what the faith is or whatever but sometimes I just want to feel I can't think straight & articulate. I should not have posted what I did.

Don't worry about it.  It certainly isn't the most frightening thing I've read on the forum recently!!  Roll Eyes

Anyway, when something doesn't make immediate sense to me, I, too, stick to "the basics" (aka the stuff that does make sense to me and I feel is bringing me closer to God).
Logged

"The kingdom of heaven is virtuous life, just as the torment of hell is passionate habits." - St. Gregory of Sinai

"Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him." - Thomas Merton
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2011, 10:10:28 PM »

Thanks very much for your reply, Melodist; it helped explain the differentiation.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 10:11:03 PM by Cognomen » Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,865



« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2011, 11:26:55 PM »

I too have shied away from prayers that did not make sense to me or seemed contrary to Orthodox tenets. In Orthodoxy there really are core beliefs and many prayers to the Holy Theotokos may seem to be in contravention or in opposition to those core beliefs.

(I will not even attempt here to differentiate real Holy Tradition from pious customs, beliefs and practices being accepted as part of Holy Tradition. Nonetheless, the mindset of those of us who uncritically accept all as equally valid would not comprehend why some of us would have problems with some of these prayers.)

Back on the subject, it seems to me that an analogy is in order. When we are born, we stay on a liquid diet for a while and progress through various foods until, at some point, we are able to eat, savor and digest a much greater variety of foods. It is the same with these prayers as they are much more complex than what we can digest at first. Let's look at the three that were pointed out.

"Holy Theotokos save us." Of course, the Theotokos cannot save us by herself; of course, we really mean to say that she, as the Theotokos, could/would intercede for us with her Son, who only can save us.

"I place all my hope in you, Mother of God." Of course, we cannot, should not, and must not put ALL our hope in the Theotokos. Of course, we understand this to be poetic exuberance and that we really mean to say "I place my hope in you, Mother of God, that you will indeed intercede for me."

"I thank thee that thou has accounted me worthy, although unworthy, to be a partaker of the immaculate Body and precious Blood of thy Son." Of course, the Holy Theotokos cannot judge us worthy for that is the prerogative of our Lord. On the other hand, of course, we think that the prayer means something different than what it seems to be saying, as so ably explained by many previous posts.

So, two problems. First, a beginner can have problems with understanding such prayers. Second, some folks may understand them differently and start worshiping the Theotokos--certainly an eventuality that we should all guard against, no? Thus, I am actually encouraged, rather than shocked by the Cognomen, Punch and others who have struggled with these prayers.
Logged

Michal: "SC, love you in this thread."
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,917



« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2011, 01:19:49 AM »

An example that I encounter is from the Daily Prayer for Orthodox Christians, taken from the Synekdemos: "I place all my hope in you, Mother of God, Keep me under your protection."  I am unsure how this could be correct and I cannot bring myself to pray this.  I mean this as no disrespect the the Theotokos, but rather, that I try to place all my hope in God.

I know people have said it on here a thousand times, and it used to annoy me, but I'm starting to believe that it's true: Many of our prayers use ridiculously flowery language that is way over the top, just like the bloated titles of some of our hierarchs. The line you mention is in my Jordanville Prayerbook, and I might have had some troubles with it if the very next prayer wasn't "My hope is the Father, my refuge the Son, my protection is the Holy Spirit. O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee."

So it's pretty obvious that not all of anyone's hope is exclusively in the hands of the Mother of God. So I believe in a technical sense one could say that this prayer is factually inaccurate, but I don't have any issues praying it because I know what the intention of the prayer is.
Logged
NicholasMyra
Avowed denominationalist
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 5,968


When in doubt, you lack the proper φρόνημα


« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2011, 02:37:37 AM »

That and the “Holy Theotokos save us”.

That one doesn't bother me anymore. Just think of it as "rescue" and not "give me salvation in the ultimate sense."

Orthodox piety is full of people asking saints to "save" them from drowning or the sword, etc. And they do save us by God's power, because they are deified.

Plus, in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, there is an intercession to the Lord for "captives and their salvation". The implication certainly isn't one of eternal salvation. The word salvation can mean several different things in English and Greek.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 02:38:29 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2011, 03:43:32 AM »

I was told that one of the main reasons for using a prayer book and other prayers prescribed by the Church is because they are theologically sound prayers that we can use without risk of falling into doctrinal error. This, however, seems to still be a problem even with prayers that are 'approved by the Church' for private or liturgical use. Obviously, there is no doctrinal basis for some of these petitions (and sometimes they even appear to fly in the face of established doctrine and theology) which I must admit gives me pause.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 03:44:16 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,094


Goodbye for now, my friend


« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2011, 04:07:31 AM »

Obviously, there is no doctrinal basis for some of these petitions (and sometimes they even appear to fly in the face of established doctrine and theology) which I must admit gives me pause.

"Obviously"? I admit that I have paused and wondered at times when I first came upon certain prayers. However, I can't recall any particular prayer that I would still have an issue with. The way I look at it is--and I suppose I have Chesterton and Met. Kallistos to thank for this--traditional Christianity tends to take seemingly disparate ideas and combine them. The concept of salvation came up earlier, but think about how many different ways Christianity talks about it, how many different angles it approaches the subject from: salvation by grace, salvation by having or professing faith, judged by deeds ("what you did to the least of these..."), salvation via sacraments such as baptism, salvation via cooperation with God, salvation as deification, salvation as spiritual healing, salvation as bridging a chasm, salvation as christification, salvation via the preaching of the word, and so forth. There is some overlap, and these ideas sometimes express different phases or aspects of the salvation process, but the point is that they all sort of look at things from a different angle. And if you used only one or two of these and thought salvation was entirely encapsulated in them, you would miss a lot of the the picture.  So when I come across prayers asking, for example, for the Theotokos to save us, I just remember what the Bible says about man being used by God as instruments of salvation (1 Tim. 4:16; James 5:19-20), and try to keep the larger picture in mind.
Logged

Paradosis ≠ Asteriktos ≠ Justin
synLeszka
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Roman Catholic
Posts: 532


« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2011, 05:44:48 AM »

People have very different problems..
There is a common prayer Catholics , Under thy Patronage, Mother of God. Also here in Poland, there is a common hymn we sing "Under thy Patronage, o heavenly Father".. I just feel awkward singing under thy patronage, o heavenly father.
It's just a fact of life that Marian devotion in Eastern Europe is stronger than in Protestant America. Taking into fact that in the past the family of Eastern European was typically matriarchal. Compare an American woman to an Eastern European woman.. An American or Swedish woman promotes ideological feminism, but knows that she is bound by the patriarchal design of society. In Eastern Europe, ideological feminism is the butt of many jokes, but women do not feel that they are oppressed by society, and they do things that are unthinkable in Western Europe.
Yes, converting to Orthodoxy means accepting a matriarchal culture, which is foreign to French, Germans or Englishmen.
Logged
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2011, 08:08:50 AM »

Obviously, there is no doctrinal basis for some of these petitions (and sometimes they even appear to fly in the face of established doctrine and theology) which I must admit gives me pause.

"Obviously"? I admit that I have paused and wondered at times when I first came upon certain prayers. However, I can't recall any particular prayer that I would still have an issue with. The way I look at it is--and I suppose I have Chesterton and Met. Kallistos to thank for this--traditional Christianity tends to take seemingly disparate ideas and combine them. The concept of salvation came up earlier, but think about how many different ways Christianity talks about it, how many different angles it approaches the subject from: salvation by grace, salvation by having or professing faith, judged by deeds ("what you did to the least of these..."), salvation via sacraments such as baptism, salvation via cooperation with God, salvation as deification, salvation as spiritual healing, salvation as bridging a chasm, salvation as christification, salvation via the preaching of the word, and so forth. There is some overlap, and these ideas sometimes express different phases or aspects of the salvation process, but the point is that they all sort of look at things from a different angle. And if you used only one or two of these and thought salvation was entirely encapsulated in them, you would miss a lot of the the picture.  So when I come across prayers asking, for example, for the Theotokos to save us, I just remember what the Bible says about man being used by God as instruments of salvation (1 Tim. 4:16; James 5:19-20), and try to keep the larger picture in mind.

Well, when I say that, I am referring to petitions like those quoted in Alveus' post. Obviously, Orthodoxy does not teach that we are to put all our hope in the Theotokos. In fact, depending on what it meant by 'hope' here, it could be argued whether any hope or trust should be placed in one of God's creatures, if we are referring to hope in eternal life.
Logged
recent convert
Orthodox Chrisitan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian (N.A.)
Posts: 1,917


« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2011, 08:23:19 AM »

I just wanted to add (& apologies for misdirecting the thread yesterday) that I had read a quote attributed to St Gregroy Palamas, "No one can approach God, but only through the intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos, through the One who gave birth to the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ." I had read this about 2 days before reading this thread & the two concepts dovetailed & deeply confused me. I know the intercessions of the saints are for us to be made worthy of grace but the understanding of the man Jesus Christ as only intercessor (1 Timothy 2:5) became muddled for me in this context. The quote to St Gregory is from a really good church calendar that our parish priest gave me. The idea of calling something "ignorable baggage" was too subjective & in it is thought I mean  it to be the aspect of discarding something that might not be worth the time of distraction from overall faith. Peace.
Logged

Antiochian OC N.A.
podkarpatska
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 8,572


Pokrov


WWW
« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2011, 10:22:45 AM »

People have very different problems..
There is a common prayer Catholics , Under thy Patronage, Mother of God. Also here in Poland, there is a common hymn we sing "Under thy Patronage, o heavenly Father".. I just feel awkward singing under thy patronage, o heavenly father.
It's just a fact of life that Marian devotion in Eastern Europe is stronger than in Protestant America. Taking into fact that in the past the family of Eastern European was typically matriarchal. Compare an American woman to an Eastern European woman.. An American or Swedish woman promotes ideological feminism, but knows that she is bound by the patriarchal design of society. In Eastern Europe, ideological feminism is the butt of many jokes, but women do not feel that they are oppressed by society, and they do things that are unthinkable in Western Europe.
Yes, converting to Orthodoxy means accepting a matriarchal culture, which is foreign to French, Germans or Englishmen.

This is true regarding the role of Mary in the hearts of Eastern Europe - both Catholic and Orthodox. The feast of Pokrov, known in English as the Protection of the Virgin, is one of the most revered Marian holy days in the Slavic Orthodox world, as least to the Ukrainians, Russians and Rusin peoples. (I don't know about the south Slavs, perhaps Stashko could weigh in on that.)

This excerpt from orthodoxwiki explains this well:

"According to Eastern Orthodox Sacred Tradition, the apparition of Mary the Theotokos occurred during the 10th century at the Blachernae church in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) where several of her relics (her robe, veil, and part of her belt) were kept. On Sunday, October 1 at four in the morning, St. Andrew the Blessed Fool-for-Christ, who was a Slav by birth, saw the dome of the church open and the Virgin Mary enter, moving in the air above him, glowing and surrounded by angels and saints. She knelt and prayed with tears for all faithful Christians in the world. The Virgin Mary asked Her Son, Jesus Christ, to accept the prayers of all the people entreating Him and looking for Her protection. Once Her prayer was completed, She walked to the altar and continued to pray. Afterwards, She spread Her veil over all the people in the church as a protection.
St Andrew turned to his disciple, St. Epiphanius, who was standing near him, and asked, "Do you see, brother, the Holy Theotokos, praying for all the world?" Epiphanius answered, "Yes, Holy Father, I see it and am amazed!"
An icon of the Virgin Mary praying, surrounded by people, was said to be kept in the Blachernae church. It is said to reproduce the events as St Andrew saw them that day.
The Feast of the Intercession is a religious holy day or feast day of the Russian Orthodox Church,[1] which "commemorates an event when an elderly man from the congregation suddenly envisioned the Virgin Mary who stood above the praying people in the air and spread her shroud over them in protection against a Slavic army besieging Constantinople."[2] Some, but not all, regions of the Russian Federation celebrate the Feast of Intercession as a work holiday."


One of the most beautiful hymns to Mary sung by the Ukrainians and Rusyns at pilgrimage is "Pod Tvoj Prokrov' or "we come to you for protection." http://www.saintmichaels.info/music/pdfs/Hymn-for-Protection.pdf  Clearlly the use of the word 'save us' in the context of the hymn is in relation to the manner and nature of  the appearance of the Theotokas at Blachernae to the besieged faithful of Constantinople.

It is in the context  of Pokrov that many of us regard the language in the prayer in question by the OP. Numerous Churches around the world, including in the American Northeast are named in honor of this event and it is common for an Icon of the Theotokas, holding her veil in like manner is a common devotional icon among Slavs. Never were we taught or did we believe that we sought salvation from her as that is reserved to our Lord and Savior. I hope this helps clarify the question.

I do have to say that to many 'cradle' Orthodox, the reluctance of converts from Protestant denominations to accept the role of the Theotokas in our prayer and liturgical lives is indeed a 'stumbling block' to our willingness to be as fully open and welcoming as we ought to be. I think I understand the problem, but it still causes me pain.
Logged
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,917



« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2011, 11:39:11 AM »

I just want to state that I am completely over any issues with the Mother of God from my Protestant past, and that I have a deep love and devotion to her now. I have also met many other converts from Protestant backgrounds who, after overcoming hurdles, became extremely devoted to the Theotokos. Of course, perhaps it started feeling natural after a while because I was raised half Roman Catholic.
Logged
recent convert
Orthodox Chrisitan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian (N.A.)
Posts: 1,917


« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2011, 12:49:20 PM »

A couple of days before reading the prayer on this thread I read a quote from St Gregory Palamas that stated, "No one can approach God, but only through the intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos, through the One who gave birth to the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ." Perhaps the quote is slightly inaccurate or not, I do not know; it is on a saints calender that our parish priest gave me & it is a good calendar & i never considered any of its info to be wrong. I routinely sing the refrains "Most Holy Theotokos save us" in choir & share in the veneration there. I have been to many akathists & strongly believe that some of Romanus' hymnography is influenced by the descriptions given to the martyred mother in 4th Maccabees (2 maccabees 7). I have understtod since catechesis that the saints prayers are for us to be found worthy of grace & prayed for the departed before becoming Orthodox.

I did find the prayer & the quote I listed above to be deeply confusing (& still do). My use of the term "ignorable baggage" is too subjective & I would better mean to say that some things can perhaps be bypassed and not let one's overall faith suffer on what may not be a big deal.
Logged

Antiochian OC N.A.
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2011, 01:12:21 PM »

I just want to state that I am completely over any issues with the Mother of God from my Protestant past, and that I have a deep love and devotion to her now. I have also met many other converts from Protestant backgrounds who, after overcoming hurdles, became extremely devoted to the Theotokos. Of course, perhaps it started feeling natural after a while because I was raised half Roman Catholic.

So how long did it take for you to overcome issues you had with the MoG? How is such a devotion cultivated and strengthened?
Logged
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2011, 02:27:05 PM »

Recent Convert, have you had a chance to listen to the Fr. Hopko podcast JLatimer posted (but probably got buried in the thread).  It did help to explain the context of 1 Timothy and some other issues. 

This podcast might help with understanding Christ as Mediator.
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
JLatimer
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 1,202



« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2011, 02:55:57 PM »

An example that I encounter is from the Daily Prayer for Orthodox Christians, taken from the Synekdemos: "I place all my hope in you, Mother of God, Keep me under your protection."  I am unsure how this could be correct and I cannot bring myself to pray this.  I mean this as no disrespect the the Theotokos, but rather, that I try to place all my hope in God.

I know people have said it on here a thousand times, and it used to annoy me, but I'm starting to believe that it's true: Many of our prayers use ridiculously flowery language that is way over the top, just like the bloated titles of some of our hierarchs. The line you mention is in my Jordanville Prayerbook, and I might have had some troubles with it if the very next prayer wasn't "My hope is the Father, my refuge the Son, my protection is the Holy Spirit. O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee."

So it's pretty obvious that not all of anyone's hope is exclusively in the hands of the Mother of God. So I believe in a technical sense one could say that this prayer is factually inaccurate, but I don't have any issues praying it because I know what the intention of the prayer is.

You already know my views on so-called flowery language, I think; so no comment there.  Smiley

But thank you, thank you, for putting this prayer in context.

Orthodoxy is a whole. As Asteriktos put it on this thread, it combines many disparate ideas. This is because Orthodoxy is Incarnational. Difference does not imply division or opposition or subjugation. Through the Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and Second and Glorious Coming of Christ, we are all invited into the wholeness of God.

Furthermore, we are the Israel of God, those who struggle with God. If ideas and concepts are important to us, there's going to be some ideas and concepts that we struggle with. IMO, we should resist the temptation to ignore them. Rather we should learn from and grow in the struggle.

We should put prayers we are having difficulty with in the context of the Divine Liturgy, of the Scriptures, of the Fathers, of the other prayers, and try to understand how they fit. We should want them to fit. If we ignore or dismiss them, we are assuming that disparate=opposed, and that assumption cuts against the whole loving, unifying movement of traditional Christianity.

Probably none of us would have a problem saying, 'all my hope I place in Thee O Holy Spirit', even though someone could say, 'well, what about the Father and the Son'. We know that in no way does the distinction of the hypostases diminish the unity of the Godhead (and vice versa). But Jesus came to make us by Grace, everything He is by nature. Allow me to go out on a limb, then, and say that in an analogous way to what I said about the Holy Spirit, when we commit ourselves to the protection of the Mother of God, we commit ourselves to God's protection.

Jesus Christ Himself became the one Mediator precisely to share this ministry with all. And His sharing of it in no way diminishes its unity.

Quote
Broken and distributed is the Lamb of God; broken but never divided; ever eaten, yet never consumed, but hallowing those who partake.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 03:12:06 PM by JLatimer » Logged

1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2011, 03:11:50 PM »

Obviously, there is no doctrinal basis for some of these petitions (and sometimes they even appear to fly in the face of established doctrine and theology) which I must admit gives me pause.

"Obviously"? I admit that I have paused and wondered at times when I first came upon certain prayers. However, I can't recall any particular prayer that I would still have an issue with.

I agree that it's important to try to come to a greater understanding of these prayers, and that eventually some of the qualms may fade away.  This has frequently been the case with my inquiry into Christianity and Orthodoxy.

It seems though, that some phrases in these prayers are a bit off, possibly just due to translation.  I know that sounds terribly arrogant or presumptuous, but that's not my intent.  Rather, like Ortho_Cat stated, they don't seem to accurately reflect Orthodox theology.  So, while we may attempt to better understand the true meaning behind them, it remains difficult for some of us to get past this barrier.

It's one thing to accept teachings and beliefs that may contradict our personal or traditional understanding, but it's quite another to recite prayers that contradict the teachings of the church. 

The line you mention is in my Jordanville Prayerbook, and I might have had some troubles with it if the very next prayer wasn't "My hope is the Father, my refuge the Son, my protection is the Holy Spirit. O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee."

Thanks for pointing this out; mine is immediately preceded by the same.  Perhaps a topic for a different thread, but why do we have prayers that contain false phrases?  In some ways, it reminds me of the RC church's attachment to the Vulgate, and I wonder why they remain unaltered/corrected in approved prayers. 
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
recent convert
Orthodox Chrisitan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian (N.A.)
Posts: 1,917


« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2011, 03:12:36 PM »

Recent Convert, have you had a chance to listen to the Fr. Hopko podcast JLatimer posted (but probably got buried in the thread).  It did help to explain the context of 1 Timothy and some other issues. 

This podcast might help with understanding Christ as Mediator.
No, I have not but I will try to somewhere and I am thakful for the link. I only post during break time at work or on Lunch & do not have internet at home. i can be on this website for hours a day but  really just sometimes forget to log out & am on a spreadsheet or something.

Sometimes I just have too many thoughts at one time. Other things creep in like a person from Georgia (the nation) telling me that in some remote areas the people do not know Christ from the saints & hear of evangelicals trying to 'save" people there. A former subdeacon I know reverted back to Protestantism (I do not think ill of Protestamtism of course) , a son of a Crimean woman (Hebrew descent) converted to Judaism because of anti semitism. I have long been influenced by an urgent essay by St Maria Skobtsova who said the church must descend to embrace the common people (hence my reference to "faith basics'). perhaps I should have said a simple faith of which I mean the creed,  2 great commands, Beatitudes., 10 commandments, etc. which are actually the framworkof an old Antiiochian catechism (out of print) I carry.  Maybe I just need to slow down a bit.
Logged

Antiochian OC N.A.
JLatimer
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 1,202



« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2011, 03:27:45 PM »

Obviously, there is no doctrinal basis for some of these petitions (and sometimes they even appear to fly in the face of established doctrine and theology) which I must admit gives me pause.

"Obviously"? I admit that I have paused and wondered at times when I first came upon certain prayers. However, I can't recall any particular prayer that I would still have an issue with.

I agree that it's important to try to come to a greater understanding of these prayers, and that eventually some of the qualms may fade away.  This has frequently been the case with my inquiry into Christianity and Orthodoxy.

It seems though, that some phrases in these prayers are a bit off, possibly just due to translation.  I know that sounds terribly arrogant or presumptuous, but that's not my intent.  Rather, like Ortho_Cat stated, they don't seem to accurately reflect Orthodox theology.  So, while we may attempt to better understand the true meaning behind them, it remains difficult for some of us to get past this barrier.

It's one thing to accept teachings and beliefs that may contradict our personal or traditional understanding, but it's quite another to recite prayers that contradict the teachings of the church.  

The line you mention is in my Jordanville Prayerbook, and I might have had some troubles with it if the very next prayer wasn't "My hope is the Father, my refuge the Son, my protection is the Holy Spirit. O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee."

Thanks for pointing this out; mine is immediately preceded by the same.  Perhaps a topic for a different thread, but why do we have prayers that contain false phrases?  In some ways, it reminds me of the RC church's attachment to the Vulgate, and I wonder why they remain unaltered/corrected in approved prayers.  

I don't think you sound arrogant or presumptuous; you sound pretty normal. All of have to deal with issues of understanding.

Nevertheless, I would suggest you do three things:

1) don't assume you understand the teaching of the Church. In order to compare prayers we have issues with to the Church's teaching, we would have to have a comprehensive and accurate understanding of that teaching. The teaching is simple, but we are not. There is always something to learn.
2) give the prayers the benefit of the doubt. Assume they fit and you just don't get it. Then try to figure out how they fit. And consider praying it in the meantime, rather than ignoring it.
3) if you're persistently having trouble with it, or it seems like a really grievous error, ask your priest, or some wise person, etc. Maybe whoever you ask will be able to explain it, or maybe they'll agree it is erroneous, or maybe you'll find out it was indeed a translation issue.

It could be that the prayer doesn't fit. People debate all that stuff about tollhouses, for example. That's okay. The only point I want to make is that we shouldn't be quick to assume something is amiss just because we don't get how it fits.

I hope I'm being helpful. Not trying to pick on you.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 03:29:36 PM by JLatimer » Logged

1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2011, 03:42:21 PM »

Thanks very much for your response, JLatimer.  Please don't think I simply extracted points of contention.  I intend to contemplate the entirety of your post.

You already know my views on so-called flowery language, I think; so no comment there.  Smiley

Is it really so much about flowery language though, or about inaccurate statements of faith?

Quote
We should put prayers we are having difficulty with in the context of the Divine Liturgy, of the Scriptures, of the Fathers, of the other prayers, and try to understand how they fit. We should want them to fit. If we ignore or dismiss them, we are assuming that disparate=opposed, and that assumption cuts against the whole loving, unifying movement of traditional Christianity.
This is wonderful advice and what I am trying to do.

Quote
Probably none of us would have a problem saying, 'all my hope I place in Thee O Holy Spirit', even though someone could say, 'well, what about the Father and the Son'. We know that in no way does the distinction of the hypostases diminish the unity of the Godhead (and vice versa). But Jesus came to make us by Grace, everything He is by nature. Allow me to go out on a limb, then, and say that in an analogous way to what I said about the Holy Spirit, when we commit ourselves to the protection of the Mother of God, we commit ourselves to God's protection.
While there is a great difference, at least in my mind, between placing all hope on one person [apologies if incorrect] of the Godhead and a human, even if most blessed, I will try to focus and contemplate the last sentence, which I made bold.

Also, apologies to Ortho_Cat if I've cut in on the thread.  I thought my concerns were similar and my posts were relevant.
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2011, 03:45:36 PM »

I hope I'm being helpful. Not trying to pick on you.

You are, and I didn't think you were.   Smiley
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,917



« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2011, 03:59:49 PM »

So how long did it take for you to overcome issues you had with the MoG? How is such a devotion cultivated and strengthened?

Maybe a year or so. Once I figured out she was bothering me I started reciting an akathist to her every night. That did the trick after a couple of months.
Logged
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #46 on: January 27, 2011, 09:58:38 PM »

So how long did it take for you to overcome issues you had with the MoG? How is such a devotion cultivated and strengthened?

Maybe a year or so. Once I figured out she was bothering me I started reciting an akathist to her every night. That did the trick after a couple of months.

What other types of devotional tools are there besides the akathist hymn?

I found this website:

http://aggreen.net/theotokos/devotions/queen_of_all_creation.html
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 10:02:35 PM by Ortho_cat » Logged
LBK
Toumarches
************
Online Online

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 11,140


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #47 on: January 27, 2011, 10:11:50 PM »

Quote
What other types of devotional tools are there besides the akathist hymn?

Prayers. Supplicatory canons, including to many of the icons of the Mother of God.
Logged
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,917



« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2011, 01:20:56 AM »

What other types of devotional tools are there besides the akathist hymn?

Is that an insufficient recommendation, or did you just not particularly like it? If you want more to do I assure you that praying the same akathist every night for a while, I would recommend 40 days as a great period, will be sufficient in terms of devotional action. By the way, don't allow yourself to be selective in what you pray. Pray everything that is written there, every night. I found illumination come through praying the prayers rather than externally analyzing them. Also, if you have an icon of the Theotokos then I recommend burning a vigil lamp before her during this entire 40 day period. Tending to the wick throughout the day as well as keeping the oil filled will keep you focused on your spiritual task.

Don't expect this to work like a magic formula. It might have no effect. All I know is that it was a revelation for me on the heart level.
Logged
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2011, 01:25:53 AM »

What other types of devotional tools are there besides the akathist hymn?

Is that an insufficient recommendation, or did you just not particularly like it? If you want more to do I assure you that praying the same akathist every night for a while, I would recommend 40 days as a great period, will be sufficient in terms of devotional action. By the way, don't allow yourself to be selective in what you pray. Pray everything that is written there, every night. I found illumination come through praying the prayers rather than externally analyzing them. Also, if you have an icon of the Theotokos then I recommend burning a vigil lamp before her during this entire 40 day period. Tending to the wick throughout the day as well as keeping the oil filled will keep you focused on your spiritual task.

Don't expect this to work like a magic formula. It might have no effect. All I know is that it was a revelation for me on the heart level.

No that is all good and well, I was just asking out of curiosity. Thanks for the recommendation.

Is this a good translation? It was the first I pulled up on google:

http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/m_akathist_e.htm
« Last Edit: January 28, 2011, 01:26:58 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,917



« Reply #50 on: January 28, 2011, 01:33:14 AM »

Seems like the translation I have. If finances are an issue, then sure just print it offline, but the whole thing is available along with tons of other prayers in the Jordanville Prayerbook. Using the prayerbook always just seems more personal to me, as you stay connected to it over time much like well-worn Bible of the past. So I would also recommend getting a Jordanville Prayerbook and praying the akathist from that. Watch the pages change color over the years from all of your praying. Or not. Either way, the akathist is a true blessing.
Logged
Rdunbar123
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 161


« Reply #51 on: January 28, 2011, 05:36:03 PM »


I am taking instruction in the Orthodox church. I am a cradle Roman Catholic and if I am not wrong one of the strenghts of Orthodoxy is that the "have to believes" are issues defined by the Councils or agreed to by the whole church. This way no one other than the whole body of Christ is infallible, even a saint or Church Father. I have just begun my inquiry so please tell me if I am off base.
A couple of days before reading the prayer on this thread I read a quote from St Gregory Palamas that stated, "No one can approach God, but only through the intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos, through the One who gave birth to the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ." Perhaps the quote is slightly inaccurate or not, I do not know; it is on a saints calender that our parish priest gave me & it is a good calendar & i never considered any of its info to be wrong. I routinely sing the refrains "Most Holy Theotokos save us" in choir & share in the veneration there. I have been to many akathists & strongly believe that some of Romanus' hymnography is influenced by the descriptions given to the martyred mother in 4th Maccabees (2 maccabees 7). I have understtod since catechesis that the saints prayers are for us to be found worthy of grace & prayed for the departed before becoming Orthodox.

I did find the prayer & the quote I listed above to be deeply confusing (& still do). My use of the term "ignorable baggage" is too subjective & I would better mean to say that some things can perhaps be bypassed and not let one's overall faith suffer on what may not be a big deal.
Logged
JLatimer
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 1,202



« Reply #52 on: January 28, 2011, 06:29:24 PM »


I am taking instruction in the Orthodox church. I am a cradle Roman Catholic and if I am not wrong one of the strenghts of Orthodoxy is that the "have to believes" are issues defined by the Councils or agreed to by the whole church. This way no one other than the whole body of Christ is infallible, even a saint or Church Father. I have just begun my inquiry so please tell me if I am off base.
A couple of days before reading the prayer on this thread I read a quote from St Gregory Palamas that stated, "No one can approach God, but only through the intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos, through the One who gave birth to the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ." Perhaps the quote is slightly inaccurate or not, I do not know; it is on a saints calender that our parish priest gave me & it is a good calendar & i never considered any of its info to be wrong. I routinely sing the refrains "Most Holy Theotokos save us" in choir & share in the veneration there. I have been to many akathists & strongly believe that some of Romanus' hymnography is influenced by the descriptions given to the martyred mother in 4th Maccabees (2 maccabees 7). I have understtod since catechesis that the saints prayers are for us to be found worthy of grace & prayed for the departed before becoming Orthodox.

I did find the prayer & the quote I listed above to be deeply confusing (& still do). My use of the term "ignorable baggage" is too subjective & I would better mean to say that some things can perhaps be bypassed and not let one's overall faith suffer on what may not be a big deal.

Yes, I think it would be correct to say that in Orthodoxy the Church as a whole, as Christ's Body, is infallible, rather than any particular saint or ecclesiarch.
Logged

1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
augustin717
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: The other ROC
Posts: 5,635



« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2011, 11:37:13 PM »


I am taking instruction in the Orthodox church. I am a cradle Roman Catholic and if I am not wrong one of the strenghts of Orthodoxy is that the "have to believes" are issues defined by the Councils or agreed to by the whole church. This way no one other than the whole body of Christ is infallible, even a saint or Church Father. I have just begun my inquiry so please tell me if I am off base.
A couple of days before reading the prayer on this thread I read a quote from St Gregory Palamas that stated, "No one can approach God, but only through the intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos, through the One who gave birth to the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ." Perhaps the quote is slightly inaccurate or not, I do not know; it is on a saints calender that our parish priest gave me & it is a good calendar & i never considered any of its info to be wrong. I routinely sing the refrains "Most Holy Theotokos save us" in choir & share in the veneration there. I have been to many akathists & strongly believe that some of Romanus' hymnography is influenced by the descriptions given to the martyred mother in 4th Maccabees (2 maccabees 7). I have understtod since catechesis that the saints prayers are for us to be found worthy of grace & prayed for the departed before becoming Orthodox.

I did find the prayer & the quote I listed above to be deeply confusing (& still do). My use of the term "ignorable baggage" is too subjective & I would better mean to say that some things can perhaps be bypassed and not let one's overall faith suffer on what may not be a big deal.

Yes, I think it would be correct to say that in Orthodoxy the Church as a whole, as Christ's Body, is infallible, rather than any particular saint or ecclesiarch.
Ecclesiarch is a rank within a cathedral, kind of the boss of the clergy there.
Logged
JLatimer
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 1,202



« Reply #54 on: January 29, 2011, 02:41:43 PM »


I am taking instruction in the Orthodox church. I am a cradle Roman Catholic and if I am not wrong one of the strenghts of Orthodoxy is that the "have to believes" are issues defined by the Councils or agreed to by the whole church. This way no one other than the whole body of Christ is infallible, even a saint or Church Father. I have just begun my inquiry so please tell me if I am off base.
A couple of days before reading the prayer on this thread I read a quote from St Gregory Palamas that stated, "No one can approach God, but only through the intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos, through the One who gave birth to the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ." Perhaps the quote is slightly inaccurate or not, I do not know; it is on a saints calender that our parish priest gave me & it is a good calendar & i never considered any of its info to be wrong. I routinely sing the refrains "Most Holy Theotokos save us" in choir & share in the veneration there. I have been to many akathists & strongly believe that some of Romanus' hymnography is influenced by the descriptions given to the martyred mother in 4th Maccabees (2 maccabees 7). I have understtod since catechesis that the saints prayers are for us to be found worthy of grace & prayed for the departed before becoming Orthodox.

I did find the prayer & the quote I listed above to be deeply confusing (& still do). My use of the term "ignorable baggage" is too subjective & I would better mean to say that some things can perhaps be bypassed and not let one's overall faith suffer on what may not be a big deal.

Yes, I think it would be correct to say that in Orthodoxy the Church as a whole, as Christ's Body, is infallible, rather than any particular saint or ecclesiarch.
Ecclesiarch is a rank within a cathedral, kind of the boss of the clergy there.

Clearly, I am not using the word in that sense.
Logged

1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #55 on: February 03, 2011, 10:59:09 AM »

A thought just came to me, regarding my OP, which I thought I would share.

Take the analogy where I meet the mother of my hypothetical wife-to-be and she gives me the blessing to marry her daughter.

This can be be similar to how the Theotokos considers us worthy to partake of her Son in the eucharist.

Of course, my wife-to-be is more than competent to decide for herself whom she wants to marry, but it is comforting and reassuring nevertheless to have the blessing from her mother; to know that she considers you 'worthy' of her daughter, so to speak  Smiley

« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 11:01:22 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
Father H
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian--God's One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: UOCofUSA-Ecumenical Patriarchate
Posts: 2,611



« Reply #56 on: February 03, 2011, 05:42:28 PM »

Back to the op.  Scripture tells us that we are fellow laborers with God.  Fellow laborers with what?  With the salvation of mankind.  If that is true of those of us who are still running, how much moreso those who have finished the race, above all the Theotokos. 
Logged
Rufus
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: leet


Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.


« Reply #57 on: February 03, 2011, 09:32:15 PM »

Although cradle Orthodox, I was brought up by my Protestant mother (not a believer, but ardently pro-Protestant), and I basically grew up with a lot of Protestant theological ideas without knowing it. (Side note: the old edition of the OSB ironically fueled this.) As a result, I complained in middle school that Catholics pray to saints. (Our church did everything in Greek, so I didn't understand anything.) I have thus always been uncomfortable with prayers to saints, especially when I began to read the "real" Orthodox prayers out of books.

I've prayed the post-Communion canon in the OP, I beg the Mother of God to "save us/me," and I "place all my hope" in her. I also feel deeply offended when anybody says the slightest irreverent thing about her. How do I understand these prayers?

I think the theological ways that people try to explain away these verses by claiming that they don't mean what they say are off-base. On the one hand, all Eastern hymns, prayers, and even stories about saints are bursting with hyperbole. The Apostles' sound did not go forth into all the earth, nor did their words reach the end of the world. It's a truth told in hyperbole. At the same time, it's still profoundly true. Same thing with the prayers to the Mother of God: hyperbole, yet profoundly true in a way we should never downplay.
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1 2 All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.207 seconds with 84 queries.