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Mor Ephrem
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« on: May 11, 2004, 10:27:18 PM »

Dear Friends,

Reading the various threads in which Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox have gone back and forth over the past few months has led me to ask a question which I cannot answer for myself (and I have a feeling I already know the answer to it, but decided it would be nice to ask the rest of you).  Basically, the immediate impetus for starting this thread is a couple of remarks Ben and, I think, Edwin made, perhaps in different threads.  

This doesn't necessarily apply to "cradle" Orthodox.  

One would assume that converts to the EO, reknowned on the internet for their knowledge of church history, teaching, praxis, etc. (often the result of years of study before joining the Church), would have considered the Oriental Orthodox before making a decision, and in choosing EO over OO, would have a well-reasoned defence for that decision.  However, it is my perception from reading these boards for about four years that this is not the case.  It seems that when they are lucky enough to find Orthodoxy, the local parish (and "local" can mean five minutes down the street or twelve hours away by car) is, more often than not, Eastern Orthodox.  If there are multiple parishes in a given town, chances are that converts will avoid the more ethnic parishes, and Oriental Orthodox parishes inevitably wind up in this group.  So they join the local parish, convert, live Orthodoxy for a while, and then when they learn about the Oriental Orthodox, two reactions can surface--"Wow, we believe the same things after all, I hope our bishops and yours will fix the situation" or "Anathema!"  After this, they may learn more about Oriental Orthodoxy, but the latter group is prone to learning more in order to prove their heretical status.

I have no problem with any of this.  I am glad that they have found Orthodoxy in the Church of the Chalcedonians, now that we are for the most part sure that they are Orthodox as we are, and I am glad that they want to learn more about their Faith and the beliefs of other groups in order to properly compare and contrast.  

But what I do wonder is how much of one's feeling toward another group (in the case I've laid out above, it is Oriental Orthodoxy, but theoretically this could apply to any "other" group, e.g. Roman Catholics) is actually based in historical facts and data used to demonstrate a point and how much of this is parochialism ("I know I'm in the right Church, and you are not with me, so I know you must be wrong, and I'm gonna show you")?  And, since the "historical facts and data" we are talking about deal primarily with matters of faith, how do  you ever really know?

I could ask every EO in here who thinks my Church is heretical how they can prove that their Church is not.  Invariably, they will point to their own doctrines and their own interpretation of what they have received.  But what if it's wrong?  What if that group you are preaching against now actually has the Truth, and yours is lacking?  Surely this scenario is not impossible--many converts find themselves in just such a position in their past denominational affiliation.  I am of the opinion that EO and OO believe the same things, and anything that seems to go against that, when properly understood, can be demonstrated to not go against that, and so the "rightness" of belief in this case is demonstrated by both of these sides saying substantially the same thing; whether this can be extended to other Christian groups I do not know--it's possible, but I don't know.  Is the basis of our faith that we are right (and the basis upon which we tell others they are wrong) really so shaky, since it seems we ultimately decide what we think is right and wrong, and we are prone to error?  

How do you ever really know?
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2004, 12:10:45 PM »

I tend to agree with you, Mor, that converts don't look into all the issues before converting. When I converted to Catholicism, I knew very little about Eastern Orthodox and nothing about the Oriental Orthodox. Since then, I've learned a lot more about the EOs and want to learn more about the OOs.

Should someone know everything before joining a church? I'm not so sure. Infants don't study before being baptised. I think our faith in Christ is not merely intellectual but sacramental, so if you're not in the Church to begin with, then you really can't understand everything. While trying to live a Christian life, though, it's important to learn more instead of just putting down "those heretics and schismatics." I really don't like it when people are knee-jerk about what they believe without showing any understanding of it. Of course, there are also converts who get so hung up on the issues that they rush to join another jurisdiction and neglect living a Christian life.  In the end, though, I think there should be a balance between "parochialism" on the one hand and intellectualism on the other.

Of course, it can be hard to explore the issues when your own church could call you a heretic or an unbeliever for having doubts, and one would tend to be biased toward the church they were received in. But nonetheless, I think it's more important to be going to church first before looking into possible differences between RCC, EO, and OO or what you will. You just have to be open-minded and become friends with people in various churches and jurisdictions and ask them questions about stuff.

Matt

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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2004, 07:48:37 PM »

My view of conversion is that one does not and should not start out considering, in the abstract, which of the possible claimants to the title is in fact the true Church. While there is one truth, our way to that truth always lies through our own experience, and I don't think there is any way around that. Most of us  naturally start out by assuming that the tradition we have been taught is the true one. If we come to doubt this, we will naturally be drawn to the tradition or traditions from which our own has historically diverged on whatever point or points is bothering us. For Protestants seeking a clearer hold on historic Christianity, this frequently means Catholicism (though it may mean a more traditional form of Protestantism such as Anglicanism). The only valid reason, IMHO, for Protestants to consider conversion to Orthodoxy is that there are important points on which Protestants have historically criticized Catholicism which are also points of difference between East and West.

This is not the case with regard to Oriental Orthodoxy. Protestantism is staunchly Chalcedonian--indeed in many cases it is quasi-Nestorian. The points at issue between Eastern and Oriental Orthodox are not points that Protestants would generally think of raising (with the notable exception of Robert Jenson, who is quite critical of Leo's Tome and somewhat more cautiously of Chalcedon). There is simply no good reason for us to get involved in that issue--unless perhaps the case could be made that Oriental Orthodoxy, being historically persecuted by the Empire, is freer than Chalcedonian Orthodoxy from the subservience to the state that some of us find troubling. That is, personally, the only reason why becoming non-Chalcedonian has ever crossed my mind, and I have not entertained the idea very seriously.

Furthermore, I think that the ethnic particularism of the NC churches is a valid reason for us not to consider conversion. And yes, I know that this would have been the case with regard to Eastern Orthodoxy a few centuries ago--and rightly so. I have never encountered a serious reason to see NC Orthodoxy as other than the particular tradition of certain Middle Eastern cultures. I have encountered serious reasons to see Chalcedonian Orthodoxy as more than that. In other words, it is your job to make the case (by words or deeds) that you should be considered as an alternative. It is not our job to seek out all possible alternatives. That is not the way the search for truth ought to work, IMHO.

In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2004, 08:25:39 PM »

Furthermore, I think that the ethnic particularism of the NC churches is a valid reason for us not to consider conversion. And yes, I know that this would have been the case with regard to Eastern Orthodoxy a few centuries ago--and rightly so. I have never encountered a serious reason to see NC Orthodoxy as other than the particular tradition of certain Middle Eastern cultures. I have encountered serious reasons to see Chalcedonian Orthodoxy as more than that. In other words, it is your job to make the case (by words or deeds) that you should be considered as an alternative. It is not our job to seek out all possible alternatives. That is not the way the search for truth ought to work, IMHO.

Dear Edwin,

I would appreciate it if you would explain this a little further.  If your only reason for saying that Chalcedonian Orthodoxy is more than a particular tradition of certain Mediterranean/Slavic cultures is that it has become more commonplace in the West, then the only thing I can say is that, if God wills it, so will Non-Chalcedonian Orthodoxy.  But if there is more to it than just that, I'd like to know.  Also, I did not really intend to make this about any particular Christian group; it's more of a general question, even though I had to refer to several in order to try and express what I was getting at.  Even so, I was not talking about anything other than purely doctrinal considerations, considerations which, in my experience, Western Christians do not care about to the extent that Eastern Christians do, for better or worse.
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2004, 01:31:26 AM »

Good questions.....I will answer, but the choir concert Peter was so kind to mention is this week so I will not have much spare time until this weekend....
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2004, 01:22:39 PM »

I don't just mean that Orthodoxy is more prevalent in the West in the form of ethnic diasporas, but that a case has been made for why Orthodoxy is of universal relevance and has the answers to the questions Westerners are asking. I have never heard such a case for the Non-Chalcedonians. I know no good reason to question Chalcedonian christology, and therefore it seems to me that either you guys are wrong theologically or the differences are mostly political and historical (in the absence of detailed knowledge of the issues, I assume the latter). In other words, your distinctives are either heresy (in which case obviously you are not an option) or an unfortunate historical division that has isolated certain national/ethnic churches from the rest of Orthodoxy.

Give me a positive argument _for_ the Non-Chalcedonian vision of Christianity over against the Chalcedonian one, and I will listen to it. But until then, I'll worry about the issues I have inherited as a Western Chalcedonian Protestant!


In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2004, 04:55:35 PM »

Hi Edwin

If the Chalcedonian vision is different in substance then it is heresy. I don't believe it is therefore I do not believe there is a substantial difference.

If there is a difference in style I think this is because Oriental Orthodoxy has preserved unity in diversity while the EO in the Middle Ages eliminated diversity in favour of uniformity. Of course there is still diversity to a degree in EO but we still have churches with their own historic liturgies for instance. There is perhaps a little less of the Imperial arrogance which I sometimes sense in both Byzantine and Roman churches. (I don't mean that in relation to any particular people).

I think, for instance, that there is more prospect of a Western Rite in OO than EO. And you only have to look at how the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate has successfully united to herself a Church of French folk and my own Church of British folk, without requiring us to become ethnically Coptic or Arab speaking.

These are just observations not the result of too much thought.

Peter
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2004, 07:22:43 PM »

I don't just mean that Orthodoxy is more prevalent in the West in the form of ethnic diasporas, but that a case has been made for why Orthodoxy is of universal relevance and has the answers to the questions Westerners are asking. I have never heard such a case for the Non-Chalcedonians. I know no good reason to question Chalcedonian christology, and therefore it seems to me that either you guys are wrong theologically or the differences are mostly political and historical (in the absence of detailed knowledge of the issues, I assume the latter). In other words, your distinctives are either heresy (in which case obviously you are not an option) or an unfortunate historical division that has isolated certain national/ethnic churches from the rest of Orthodoxy.

Give me a positive argument _for_ the Non-Chalcedonian vision of Christianity over against the Chalcedonian one, and I will listen to it. But until then, I'll worry about the issues I have inherited as a Western Chalcedonian Protestant!

Dear Edwin,

I must admit being at a loss to answer this question.  As someone who believes that EO and OO profess the same faith, I cannot say how the Non-Chalcedonian vision of Christianity differs from that of the Chalcedonians from what I believe is the only really important perspective: faith--I don't think it does.  Therefore, I can only say that any difference is liturgical/historical*.  

Does that make the Copts any more foreign to a "Westerner" than the Greeks?  Fundamentally, I don't think so, although because the Greeks have been "out and about" longer and more than the Copts, I suppose one could argue that Greeks are less foreign.  The solution to that, though, is time.  I guess I just don't see this difference that you do, or am still not really understanding the point you are trying to make.  




*As you rightly point out, heresy is not an option, so if any difference is to be sought, I suppose one should demonstrate that it exists.  But we already have threads for that.  Tongue
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2004, 10:59:30 PM »

Here's my point:

If the differences between Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians are liturgical and historical, and there is no intrinsic reason, in the abstract, to become one rather than the other, then it makes sense that we heterodox Christians of the Chalcedonian side of the divide would return to Orthodox churches on our _own_ side of the divide.

A Coptic or Armenian or Ethiopian or Syrian Catholic (am I right in thinking that the Chaldeans are the Catholic equivalent of the Assyrians and so would be in a different category?), or perhaps a Maronite, who came to the conclusion that the claims of "Rome" are false would perhaps most naturally become non-Chalcedonian. But for Westerners whose liturgical and historical traditions are Chalcedonian, there would simply be no reason to join a non-Chalcedonian church. We are very happy at the prospect of the schism being healed, but it simply isn't our issue, _unless_ you can show us that Chalcedon was doctrinally wrong.

In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2004, 06:30:27 AM »

I think that the OOs confess the same faith in substance as the EOs do, based on the statements released by the official dialogue between the OO and EO churches.  I think the remaining obstacles are significant but surmountable.  I have had occasion to spend some time in OO churches, and have found them, in North America at least, less ethnically diverse than many EO parishes, but one must remember that the diversification of North American Eastern Orthodoxy is a relatively recent phenomenon (Peter, we don't have anything that is similar to the British Othodox Church here).  I can remember, for example, the Divine Liturgy in the Armenian Church being 100% in liturgical Armenian, and I know that for some younger Armenians this is an issue (not to say that we don't have a similar issue in some parts of the EO church in North America as well!).  They are also a much smaller group in North America ... as small as EOs are here, they are much more numerous than OOs are, it's even harder to find an OO church than it is an EO church here, which probably reflects the level of interest among converts.  I think that in many ways the OOs are "off the radar screen", even more so than EOs are, in North America.
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2004, 06:47:44 AM »

Hi Brendan

I think that it depends a bit on WHERE in the world we/you are. In the US for instance I have Evangelical friends who are likely to convert to the Coptic Orthodox Church but whose nearest church is 2 hours away at present. But it is a large church with lots of English and youth and activity and is very attractive in a missionary sense. In the South-West US there are perhaps 20 active churches with bishops, and in Canada in some areas there are many churches. So it depends a bit where you are, though I do take your point.

But I am in contact with an increasing number of converts to OOxy from the Western traditions, and even transfers from the EO to the OO.

Here in the UK the OO have many churches and bishops and converts, and in the US I know that the Copts have just set up an English language church for English speaking converts and 2nd/3rd generation Copts in the LA area.

I would agree with you about the national level of awareness, but I think at local levels evangelism is going on and making a difference, especially as the communities become increasingly English language.

My own bishops in the UK are present at most ecumenical gatherings and at important church events such as the Requiem of Cardinal Hume. I think even the visibility is improving.

Edwin I take your point but I don't think most Protestants think of themselves as Chalcedonians, I didn't. It may influence an RC, perhaps, but I know RC's who have converted and are converting to OOxy, as well as Anglicans and a wide variety of Protestants.

Peter
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2004, 09:18:26 AM »

Peter, weren't you Anglican? Your statement that you didn't identify yourself with Chalcedon surprises me. Anglicans have historically seen the first four councils as authoritative, particularly Nicea and Chalcedon. At least that's my own experience as an Anglican and my strong impression of historic Anglicanism.  Furthermore, Western Christianity generally, as you have pointed out, leans toward the Nestorian side of the scale if anything. I don't mean that we go around thinking about it all the time, but that all our assumptions and our history and for that matter our horrendous divisions among ourselves have all taken place within a framework defined by Chalcedon (among many other things).

I am still interested in hearing an explanation of why a Western Christian _would_ convert to Oriental Orthodoxy. The East-West split involved the Chalcedonian churches. They are the ones we sinned against, and they are the ones we should return to, barring some excellent reason to the contrary. (This is precisely why I have generally considered Catholicism as more of a life option for me than Orthodoxy--but after several attempts to become Catholic I'm coming to the conclusion that in fact there are  compelling doctrinal reasons not to, which now frees me to consider Orthodoxy.)

In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2004, 09:53:20 AM »

Peter --

Points taken.  I will say that even here in North America the Copts do seem to stand out among the OOs (to me at least) as being more open to outsiders than, say, the Armenians do.

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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2004, 10:24:06 AM »

I think that the Armenians have needed to preserve their national, ethnic identity recently. Think of the genocide in Turkey for instance just 100 years ago. And so language is closely tied up with identity.

My experience of Coptic brethren leads me to suggest that they are less committed to Arabic than to Coptic and therefore in the diaspora Arabic has a necessity for new immigrants but is not the liturgical language of choice.

At the same time Coptic is enjoying a renewal, but many English speaking younger people are learning Coptic the same way I would need to.

So there is a space for diversity since Arabic is not a preferred language.

Also I have found the Copts to be wonderfully welcoming, devout, conservative, intelligent, filled with energy. (of course that is a generalisation) But it is a pleasure to correspond with someone who expresses themselves like a 40 year old serious student of the faith and then discover he is 15.
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2004, 10:44:21 AM »

Peter, weren't you Anglican? Your statement that you didn't identify yourself with Chalcedon surprises me. Anglicans have historically seen the first four councils as authoritative, particularly Nicea and Chalcedon. At least that's my own experience as an Anglican and my strong impression of historic Anglicanism.  Furthermore, Western Christianity generally, as you have pointed out, leans toward the Nestorian side of the scale if anything. I don't mean that we go around thinking about it all the time, but that all our assumptions and our history and for that matter our horrendous divisions among ourselves have all taken place within a framework defined by Chalcedon (among many other things).

I am still interested in hearing an explanation of why a Western Christian _would_ convert to Oriental Orthodoxy. The East-West split involved the Chalcedonian churches. They are the ones we sinned against, and they are the ones we should return to, barring some excellent reason to the contrary. (This is precisely why I have generally considered Catholicism as more of a life option for me than Orthodoxy--but after several attempts to become Catholic I'm coming to the conclusion that in fact there are  compelling doctrinal reasons not to, which now frees me to consider Orthodoxy.)

Hi Edwin

I was evangelical - Plymouth Brethren. Although there are lots of ex-Anglicans in the British Orthodox Church. I don't quite follow the logic of saying that you need to join Eastern Orthodoxy because Roman Catholicism split from it? When I started looking at Orthodoxy I was just looking for a church that was part of the Orthodox communion and didn't really give a thought to which Church my forebears in the distant past may or may not have belonged to.

How do you become Oriental Orthodox? Read quite a bit. Visit some churches. Become convinced in your heart about what you are doing. Pray. Seek the intercession of the saints.

In my own circumstances I wrote off as an ex-Evangelical belonging nowhere to several Orthodox churches in the UK. The Russians had told an Anglican friend of mine that it would be very difficult for him to become Orthodox. The Greeks told me that I should join the Anglican Church since that was the Orthodox Church for England. At the end of the list I contacted which I did not know at the time but was the independent, vagante even, church the Orthodox Church of the British Isles.

I was invited with my Dad to have dinner one evening with their senior bishop, and a relationship developed in which I was never put under any pressure to join them, but was slowly catechised.

I never joined them when they were independent because I wanted to join something universal and it wasn't clear what God was doing in the UK. I went to some meetings with Pilgrimage To Orthodoxy (an Anglican group) and met some of the leading ex-evangelical Antiocheans from the US. In the end it was the reunion of the Orthodox Church of the British Isles with the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate which convinced me that this was the way forward.

Since then I have met many people all over the world who have joined the Coptic Orthodox, the Malankaras, the Armenians, all from Western backgrounds. I also know people who have left EOxy and committed themselves to OOxy. One of our priests was with the Antiocheans and is now a British Orthodox - Coptic Orthodox priest. A lovely man.

I don't really follow the idea that to be true to my Western roots I need to become a Greek Orthodox or a Russian Orthodox. It strikes me that they are as foreign as Coptic or Armenian Orthodoxy.

I think that Chalcedon has been irrelevant in the West really. I certainly don't think our history over the last few hundred years has been defined by any reference to the councils.

YOU didn't leave anyone. I am at a loss to see why that should make you go anywhere. Actually YOU (as an Anglican)left Roman Catholicism, but you have said you can't end up there. So you seem to actually be denying your point. You SHOULD become a Roman Catholic - THEY are the ones you left. Not Eastern Orthodoxy.

But actually you are a free agent in some respect and must rather follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

It was no harder joining the OO in the UK than the EO. I know and know of lots of the EO convert folk. They all have stories like mine of seeking and finding, just the same as the many converts to OOxy in the UK. If you don't look at OOxy then how do you know that you don't fit?

I have friends I have been used a little in their conversions. Some end up in the EO, I am glad. Others end up in the OO. I am glad.

I do wish you every blessing in your search for a real spiritual home.

Peter
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2004, 08:16:35 PM »

The Greeks told me that I should join the Anglican Church since that was the Orthodox Church for England.

Good grief!!
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2004, 11:46:11 PM »

The Greeks told me that I should join the Anglican Church since that was the Orthodox Church for England.

A Greek Orthodox priest told me basically the SAME thing here in the United States when I first wanted to become Orthodox.  Good thing I found the OCA, huh?
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2004, 12:35:45 PM »

Yikes!!!  Those Greek priests should be reported to their bishops.  Peter, you should write a letter to bishop KALLISTOS (Ware) saying how you were unwelcomed by his priests.  Obviously you have found a home in the OO Church, but if this type of activity goes unreported, these phyletist priests will continue down the road of marginalizing the Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2004, 01:08:23 PM »

Hi Theodore

There is a bigger problem. When folk started wanting to convert to EOxy the Greeks and Anglicans formed a Committee to deal with groups wanting to convert by basically preventing them. An Encyclical appeared, from the Greeks warning against any attempts at proselytism/evangelism in the UK.

The Greeks are beholden to the Anglicans for many borrowed buildings and seem rather in awe of the C of E as an 'established' Church.

It was not a Greek priest who directed me to the Anglicans but the office of the Greek Church in Great Britain.
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« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2004, 01:30:00 PM »

Hi Theodore

There is a bigger problem. When folk started wanting to convert to EOxy the Greeks and Anglicans formed a Committee to deal with groups wanting to convert by basically preventing them. An Encyclical appeared, from the Greeks warning against any attempts at proselytism/evangelism in the UK.

The Greeks are beholden to the Anglicans for many borrowed buildings and seem rather in awe of the C of E as an 'established' Church.

It was not a Greek priest who directed me to the Anglicans but the office of the Greek Church in Great Britain.
I think that's even worse.  Better to rent or purchase facilities than to be beholden to another Church.  Sounds like the C of E found a way to neuter the Greek Orthodox.  Sad  Of course there's no reason for that type of behavior in the United States other than the heresy of phyletism.  From what I've seen of the Greeks in the US, that type of recommendation would be a minority view, but still unexcusable.  Another good reason for a unified Orthodox Church in America.
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« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2004, 01:39:57 PM »

It makes it very hard to issue statements against problems in society such homosexuality and women priests and bishops since you always feel a bit impolite raising issues that your 'hosts' are struggling with.
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« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2004, 02:00:35 AM »

I know that back home, in spite of the ecumenical differences that everyone is always talking about (of which I know little, not being a theologian), the OO and EO get along fine in Washington.  We used to have a Coptic famliy come and visit us at certain times of the year (I think that they might have been on vacation), but I couldn't say what my priest's approach was (other than the fact that he was very warm and welcoming to them).  I drop into St. Mark's here in Monterey every now and then, because the Liturgy is in Arabic as well as Coptic, and the Divine Liturgy is a pretty decent way of learning a language, and a lot of my teachers go there, too (well, the Egyptian ones).  It also helps that the services are on Saturday because it's a mission, so it doesn't interfere with my ability to get my family up to Saratoga.  The only reservation my Spiritual Father had was that I not take communion, which I don't think is unreasonable as he's adhering to the authority of his diocese I do really hope that it all gets cleared up eventually, but as I have said and shall reiterate, I don't know a lot about this sort of thing.
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« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2004, 01:06:44 PM »

I don't have time to post a suitably lengthy answer to the post that began this thread.

But isn't the basic question - "How do you know?" - one that could be (and is) expanded beyond the whole NC/EO issue into the realm of religion in general?

How does one know that Buddhism isn't right?

Much of it is very reasonable and appealing.

I do disagree with the idea promoted in this thread that EOs and NCs share the same faith.

We have many things in common, that is true, but there are important differences.

The differences involve some issues that are very complex, which is why most of us would rather avoid them.
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« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2004, 03:14:55 PM »

The Greeks told me that I should join the Anglican Church since that was the Orthodox Church for England.

This suprises me (though, to be sure, I take Peter at his word), since one of their most prominent hierarchs, Bishop Kallistos, left Anglicanism, IIRC, specifically to become Eastern Orthodox.  In The Orthodox Church, he writes that he was initially especially attracted to the Russian Orthodox Church, but linguistic issues made it more feasible to join the Greek Orthodox (he was already literate in Classical and Koine Greek, and had begun developing some facility in Modern Greek during trips to Mount Athos and Greece).

Here in the US, the Greek Orthodox, and other Orthodox, too, tended to look at the Anglicans as orthodox, I know, through the 50s.  But, that attitude has nearly died out, in the wake of the issues of women's ordination, writings of Bishop Spong and other heterodox hierarchs, consecration of Bishop Robinson, etc.
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« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2004, 06:53:42 PM »

In 95, when I moved up to NorCal away from home in SoCal, a couple of people told me to find an Anglican parish if I couldn't find an Orthodox parish.  I just have to laugh in hindsight, since the people still stuck in their AEOM mindset at the time and didn't even bother to think a possible GOA or OCA parish in the area.
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« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2004, 08:53:37 AM »

None other than Bishop Kallistos + has said that when he first approached the Greek Orthodox in England he was told to remain in the Anglican church as "Anglo-Orthodox leaven".  Obviously he didn't take no for an answer, but it's interesting that this seems to be a fairly common attitude among Greek Orthodox in Britain.
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« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2005, 02:25:00 AM »

*BUMP*

Thought I'd bring this thread back into focus since I brought this up in another thread.

 Afro
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« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2005, 02:49:44 AM »

If there are multiple parishes in a given town, chances are that converts will avoid the more ethnic parishes, and Oriental Orthodox parishes inevitably wind up in this group.

I love the ethnic diversity in my church. Rougly half the congregants are Caucasian converts, and the other half is divided among Ethiopians, Asian Indians, and Coptics.
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« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2005, 02:57:03 AM »

I know no good reason to question Chalcedonian christology, and therefore it seems to me that either you guys are wrong theologically

What you "know" may not necessarily be what is.
I have good reason in believe in the one nature of Christ. In believing that Christ is of two natures, divine and human, one could confuse the Christology to assume that one nature overpowers or is more important than the other, such as the gnostic heresy. Or one could assume that the human nature and the divine nature are two distinct persons, like modalism.

I believe that Jesus, through the incarnation, is of one nature that is both fully divine and fully human.

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« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2005, 12:23:00 PM »

In believing that Christ is of two natures, divine and human, one could confuse the Christology to assume that one nature overpowers or is more important than the other, such as the gnostic heresy. Or one could assume that the human nature and the divine nature are two distinct persons, like modalism.

And in confessing He is of one nature, one could confuse the Christology to assume that one nature subsumes the other, a la Eutyches (sp?), or one could confuse the Christology to assume that one nature composes half of Christ, the other the other half, making Him a half-breed.

We shouldn't confirm our Christology based on how the other argument could be seen. As you well know, Chalcedonians do not believe either of the things you posted; for you to be non-Chalcedonian based on heretical possibilities of Chalcedon's decision is nonsensical.  Your own confession has heretical possibilities if pushed too far as well, yet these would be no reason, in and of themselves, for me to profess Chalcedon.

Rather, I profess Chalcedon because I see it to be the clearest vision of the inseparable hypostatic union of Christ's two natures which nonetheless remain distinct...not because NC positions could be misinterpreted.

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« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2005, 03:38:19 PM »

I've been told that I need to confess my "heresy" before on this forum.

We should be able to have a sense of humor on this issue, especially since it is rather trivial to hold grudges over semantics.
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« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2005, 03:48:24 PM »

The words homousia and homoiusia were "semantic" differences, too.
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