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Author Topic: Is Orthodoxy as State Religion Unfair? (Rant + Questions seeking answers)  (Read 8264 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: March 06, 2011, 10:06:07 AM »

As some may know, I had a discussion with another Orthodox Christian a couple weeks ago about various issues. One of the questions he posed to me has been bugging me for a while. I hold a point of view, that a nation should have Orthodoxy as it's "state religion" and that there needs to be an active, working relationship between Church and State based roughly/relatively on either the Byzantine Model or the Russian Model.
He posed to me that this is extremely unfair to those who aren't Orthodox and that it is wrong to "persecute" or "limit" these people simply because they hold a different faith...

Last week, a teacher (not the person I had talked with previously) was talking to us about Greek history (a Greek) told us (for some reason) about a Pagan named Hypatia, who was killed by Christians. However, she said it was Patriarch (and Saint) Cyril I who had her killed, and she then cited that this was a trend that would occur in the Church repeatedly through it's history. This astounded me and I wondered if this teacher was even an Orthodox Christian.

It got me to wondering if Greece allows Atheists (and non-Orthodox) to teach in their universities. I felt it was extremely unfair to the Orthodox (and to the non-Orthodox in the case of my classes) to have people like this teaching, as they will teach things that many youth won't understand is either factually wrong, or even at times, outright lies. (for example, St. Cyril wasn't responsible for Hypatia's death, it was a Christian mob, not the Patriarch's goons)

I also hold a position that Atheists and non-Christians should never... ever be commissioned to design Churches. It horrified me to learn that Le Corbusier was commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church to design a Church as well as a monastery. (both of which are horrific examples of Christian architecture, even though the architecture community idolizes them)

In our Western Society, we are taught that secularism should rule the day, and that there should be a thick brick wall separating Church and State. To break through this wall is extremely unfair, unjust and oppressive to individuals of different faiths. Models of the past, whether they be the Roman Empire, the Russian Empire, or others, are held as primitive, barbaric and oppressive. Our modern ways instead are held up as being the only way, and as being much more advanced.

It simply sickens me to think that some of these young, impressionable Greek Orthodox Christians here in Greece (who often aren't active in their Church lives, at least until they get married and have kids) might be influenced by non-Orthodox in these universities. Frankly, I regard it as completely unfair to the Orthodox that they possibly have people teaching them that will be teaching them falsehoods and sometimes outright lies.

So I would like to pose a question to other Orthodox Christians on here...
Do you think it is very unfair to non-Orthodox to have a country that has a working relationship between the Church & State?
Should we move past the Byzantine and Russian Empires, or are they models that we should continue to improve on and strive for?
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2011, 12:35:51 PM »

You can probably guess my view on the matter.  I don't know about "fair" or "unfair", the are both useless words in my opinion.  However, I see nothing in the Scriptures upholding Democracy as an ideal form of government, nor do I see anything requiring a separation between Church and State.  When such a separation exists, we are to "render unto Caesar" the things that are his, but I see nothing that prevents an Orthodox Theocracy.  So, to answer your question, the ideal situation for me would be a pious Orthodox ruler and an Orthodox state that, while not physically persecuting the non-Orthodox, also did nothing to encourage them either.
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2011, 03:11:01 PM »

Thank you for your reply...

... and bump
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2011, 03:29:26 PM »

Do you think it is very unfair to non-Orthodox to have a country that has a working relationship between the Church & State?

Pretty much. As long as there isn't a state where everybody is a practising EO there shouldn't be an Orthodox state.
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2011, 04:00:23 PM »

Do you think it is very unfair to non-Orthodox to have a country that has a working relationship between the Church & State?

Pretty much. As long as there isn't a state where everybody is a practising EO there shouldn't be an Orthodox state.

Agreed.
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2011, 04:35:56 PM »

You can probably guess my view on the matter.  I don't know about "fair" or "unfair", the are both useless words in my opinion.  However, I see nothing in the Scriptures upholding Democracy as an ideal form of government, nor do I see anything requiring a separation between Church and State.  When such a separation exists, we are to "render unto Caesar" the things that are his, but I see nothing that prevents an Orthodox Theocracy.  So, to answer your question, the ideal situation for me would be a pious Orthodox ruler and an Orthodox state that, while not physically persecuting the non-Orthodox, also did nothing to encourage them either.

I agree.
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2011, 04:36:11 PM »

Does this come out of a Western view though, or is this a view formed by being in the Orthodox Church?

I think we need to be very wary about what the West feeds us.

Just exactly would be so wrong about an Orthodox State?
Right now, Greece, Russia and others have Orthodoxy as their State Religion (well, for the most part) and it is supported by the State. Is this unfair to the 10% of those countries that aren't Orthodox?

In the Byzantine Empire, was it unfair to the Nestorians and Arians (and by extension to the Jews & Pagans) that the Empire was Orthodox?
Or in Russia, was it unfair to the Muslims and Pagans (and the very few Catholics) that Russia was Orthodox and had a working relationship?

Is our modern Western concept of democracy better than the structure of the Byzantine & Russian Empires? If so, then why?
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2011, 04:48:27 PM »

Does this come out of a Western view though, or is this a view formed by being in the Orthodox Church?

The Orthodox Church and "a Western view" (whatever that might be) are not mutually exclusive.

Quote
I think we need to be very wary about what the West feeds us.

I'm not quite sure what's implied by this blanket statement/sweeping generalization.

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Just exactly would be so wrong about an Orthodox State?

Not too much, probably, but one thing would be that Orthodoxy is the Mystical Body of Christ and should not be forced upon anyone. I could envision a real problem where people think they are "Orthodox" simply because of their nationality. In fact, is this not a common problem today, even in those two countries you mention below?

Quote
Right now, Greece, Russia and others have Orthodoxy as their State Religion (well, for the most part) and it is supported by the State. Is this unfair to the 10% of those countries that aren't Orthodox?

Yes.

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In the Byzantine Empire, was it unfair to the Nestorians and Arians (and by extension to the Jews & Pagans) that the Empire was Orthodox?

I suppose it depends.

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Or in Russia, was it unfair to the Muslims and Pagans (and the very few Catholics) that Russia was Orthodox and had a working relationship?

Possibly.

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Is our modern Western concept of democracy better than the structure of the Byzantine & Russian Empires? If so, then why?

It depends on the people being governed. One system could work for one people, while the other one wouldn't.
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2011, 05:07:12 PM »

Does this come out of a Western view though, or is this a view formed by being in the Orthodox Church?

I don't think that the Church teaches much about politics. "Render unto Caesar" etc. is pretty much all that I've encountered and I don't find that contradictory with the Western view.

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I think we need to be very wary about what the West feeds us.

And we need to be very wary about what the East feeds us.

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Is our modern Western concept of democracy better than the structure of the Byzantine & Russian Empires? If so, then why?

Yes. Since states consists of people and are created for the people I don't think states should promote that kind of views that the people doesn't uphold.
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2011, 05:08:49 PM »

Does this come out of a Western view though, or is this a view formed by being in the Orthodox Church?

The Orthodox Church and "a Western view" (whatever that might be) are not mutually exclusive.

Quote
I think we need to be very wary about what the West feeds us.

I'm not quite sure what's implied by this blanket statement/sweeping generalization.

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Just exactly would be so wrong about an Orthodox State?

Not too much, probably, but one thing would be that Orthodoxy is the Mystical Body of Christ and should not be forced upon anyone. I could envision a real problem where people think they are "Orthodox" simply because of their nationality. In fact, is this not a common problem today, even in those two countries you mention below?

Quote
Right now, Greece, Russia and others have Orthodoxy as their State Religion (well, for the most part) and it is supported by the State. Is this unfair to the 10% of those countries that aren't Orthodox?

Yes.

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In the Byzantine Empire, was it unfair to the Nestorians and Arians (and by extension to the Jews & Pagans) that the Empire was Orthodox?

I suppose it depends.

Quote
Or in Russia, was it unfair to the Muslims and Pagans (and the very few Catholics) that Russia was Orthodox and had a working relationship?

Possibly.

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Is our modern Western concept of democracy better than the structure of the Byzantine & Russian Empires? If so, then why?

It depends on the people being governed. One system could work for one people, while the other one wouldn't.

How are you so ready to declare that the modern countries of Greece and Russia are being unfair to a minority when the Church-State relations currently in existence aren't even close to that of Byzantium & Russia of the past?

You could say it's a problem that people think they are Orthodox because of their nationality. But the thing is, EVERYONE is baptized. Therefore, you and I cannot judge whether or not they are/are not Orthodox.
Here in Greece, something like 95-98% of the population are Orthodox Christians. I would venture to say that almost all of those are baptized. Therefore, they ARE Orthodox Christians.

In Greece, about .5% are Protestant, .5% are Roman Catholic, and 1% are Muslim. These make up the majority of religious minorities, there is also a small amount of Atheists as well.

It is very unfair to the 98% of Greeks that are Orthodox that their government should be subject to the evils of secularism and so-called "fairness".

Is there a reason we cannot say that the models of the Byzantine Empire & the Russian Empire aren't better simply because they are Orthodox?
What makes these Protestant/Roman Catholic and Secular models of governance any better than models that were possibly inspired by God?
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2011, 05:12:10 PM »

Does this come out of a Western view though, or is this a view formed by being in the Orthodox Church?

I don't think that the Church teaches much about politics. "Render unto Caesar" etc. is pretty much all that I've encountered and I don't find that contradictory with the Western view.

Quote
I think we need to be very wary about what the West feeds us.

And we need to be very wary about what the East feeds us.

Quote
Is our modern Western concept of democracy better than the structure of the Byzantine & Russian Empires? If so, then why?

Yes. Since states consists of people and are created for the people I don't think states should promote that kind of views that the people doesn't uphold.

So if 90% of the population is Orthodox, does that not allow for a closer Church-State relationship? Or do the 10% hold the majority say? (that is, does the minority rule, or the majority?)

If the models of Byzantium & Russia were inspired by God (possibly) then what makes the models invented by Roman Catholics, Protestants (and even Atheists) any better?
If anything, can't we argue that the non-Orthodox models may in fact be subject to less-than-holy powers?
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2011, 05:29:31 PM »

So if 90% of the population is Orthodox, does that not allow for a closer Church-State relationship? Or do the 10% hold the majority say? (that is, does the minority rule, or the majority?)

No. States should be based on those views that are shared by all.

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If the models of Byzantium & Russia were inspired by God (possibly)

Do we have any reason to believe this?


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...then what makes the models invented by Roman Catholics, Protestants (and even Atheists) any better?

Reason.
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2011, 05:50:28 PM »

So if 90% of the population is Orthodox, does that not allow for a closer Church-State relationship? Or do the 10% hold the majority say? (that is, does the minority rule, or the majority?)

No. States should be based on those views that are shared by all.

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If the models of Byzantium & Russia were inspired by God (possibly)

Do we have any reason to believe this?


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...then what makes the models invented by Roman Catholics, Protestants (and even Atheists) any better?

Reason.

What makes reason so special? Especially since the way it's used in the West has absolutely destroyed Western Theology and the Christian faith in the West?

While the Byzantine Empire had problems, we can look at it's whole history and see that the relationship between the Church & the State actually worked relatively well. (again, ignoring a few bad points) Not to mention the structure of the Church itself.
Also, consider how many Emperors, Empresses and others in the Roman government are Saints. Are we just going to say that the Church was wrong in making them Saints?

Again, I pose the question to you... Was it wrong to "subject" the pagans, Nestorians, Arians and others to an Orthodox Government (as well as Church?)?

Remember that one of the jobs of the Emperor was to be the "enforcer" of some of the canons and decisions of the councils. He had the ability to exile the guilty parties.

In today's secular society, we would cry out that such behavior is closed minded and oppressive. Yet such behavior is an act of protection of the Orthodox Christians, who should be protected by both the Church and the State from heretics.

While I've been asking if it's unfair, I should instead be asking which is right. Christianity isn't based on fairness, so that is kind of the wrong question to be asking.

Are the Byzantine/Russian models right? Or are the secular, Western models right? Which is more Christian and based on our Orthodox faith?
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2011, 06:10:39 PM »

What makes reason so special?

It is the God-given faculty with which we solve many of our problems and evaluate the world around us.

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Especially since the way it's used in the West has absolutely destroyed Western Theology and the Christian faith in the West?

Therein lies the rub; the way reason is used is the issue, not reason itself. You're utilizing reason merely in trying to work out this topic, aren't you? It's inescapable.

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While the Byzantine Empire had problems, we can look at it's whole history and see that the relationship between the Church & the State actually worked relatively well.

For the specific people being governed in a specific time and place, yes.

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Also, consider how many Emperors, Empresses and others in the Roman government are Saints. Are we just going to say that the Church was wrong in making them Saints?

Not necessarily, but some things do have to be questioned Wink


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Again, I pose the question to you... Was it wrong to "subject" the pagans, Nestorians, Arians and others to an Orthodox Government (as well as Church?)?

It depends. In some cases maybe, in some cases maybe not. It appears with your understanding of "the West" and history in general, that you prefer things to be black and white, which is understandable, but rarely the case.

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In today's secular society, we would cry out that such behavior is closed minded and oppressive. Yet such behavior is an act of protection of the Orthodox Christians, who should be protected by both the Church and the State from heretics.

And who protects those that do not believe what we believe? Do you really think the State should be the protectors of doctrine?

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Are the Byzantine/Russian models right? Or are the secular, Western models right?

It depends on the people being governed.

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Which is more Christian and based on our Orthodox faith?

Does the Orthodox faith have a set position on political governance?
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2011, 06:25:19 PM »

What makes reason so special?

What a weird question. I think reason's value is self-evident. Do you have any other methods to distinguish true from untrue?

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While the Byzantine Empire had problems, we can look at it's whole history and see that the relationship between the Church & the State actually worked relatively well. (again, ignoring a few bad points) Not to mention the structure of the Church itself.

Well that depends of what we mean by "well". That's purely a matter of opinion. I think that Western model of religiously neutral state works relatively well.

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Especially since the way it's used in the West has absolutely destroyed Western Theology and the Christian faith in the West?

I don't think it's reason which has destroyed Western Theology and the Christian faith in the West. For example I don't find Roman Catholicism or Atheism as reasonable options. I converted to Orthodoxy because I thought ( and still think ) it was a perfectly reasonable option.

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Are we just going to say that the Church was wrong in making them Saints?

No. We say that the Church declared them as Saints because they repented for their sins and loved their enemies, not because of their position in society.

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Again, I pose the question to you... Was it wrong to "subject" the pagans, Nestorians, Arians and others to an Orthodox Government (as well as Church?)

Yes, if that meant violation of their rights. For example I don't think that states has right to expel someone from their homelands just because of his/her religious belief.
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2011, 06:30:47 PM »

I'm not suggesting that the Church have a position on governance.

Is it not entirely possible that the past often is more right than the present?

Isn't one of the errors of Western society the belief that with time, with more reason, more facts, more technological advancement, that our society itself improves?

While the Church doesn't really have a position on governance. I would say that the most "Biblical" and most "Orthodox" of systems are a Monarchy/Empire and Democracy (though not the American style of Democracy necessarily).

Is it not one of our goals as Orthodox Christians to work to turn the whole world to Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2011, 06:34:35 PM »

What makes reason so special?

What a weird question. I think reason's value is self-evident. Do you have any other methods to distinguish true from untrue?

Quote
While the Byzantine Empire had problems, we can look at it's whole history and see that the relationship between the Church & the State actually worked relatively well. (again, ignoring a few bad points) Not to mention the structure of the Church itself.

Well that depends of what we mean by "well". That's purely a matter of opinion. I think that Western model of religiously neutral state works relatively well.

Quote
Especially since the way it's used in the West has absolutely destroyed Western Theology and the Christian faith in the West?

I don't think it's reason which has destroyed Western Theology and the Christian faith in the West. For example I don't find Roman Catholicism or Atheism as reasonable options. I converted to Orthodoxy because I thought ( and still think ) it was a perfectly reasonable option.

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Are we just going to say that the Church was wrong in making them Saints?

No. We say that the Church declared them as Saints because they repented for their sins and loved their enemies, not because of their position in society.

Quote
Again, I pose the question to you... Was it wrong to "subject" the pagans, Nestorians, Arians and others to an Orthodox Government (as well as Church?)

Yes, if that meant violation of their rights. For example I don't think that states has right to expel someone from their homelands just because of his/her religious belief.

The concept of "rights' is really just been invented. If you think about it, we really don't have rights. We have privileges.
We have a right to live and not to be killed/tortured. (and in the case of with God, the right of free will) Other than that, everything else is pretty much just a privilege.
So what rights did the Nestorians and Arians have? What rights did they deserve when they actively and knowingly brought outright disgusting heresy to the Orthodox?

You are simply imposing modern Western viewpoints onto the past. That, my friend, is what is wrong. We need to judge our present on our past. We should NOT judge our past based on our present.

(hmm... this is getting pretty darn close to politics, if not over that line... would it be possible to get this moved there if it is?)
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« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2011, 06:38:30 PM »

you should add a poll onto this...
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« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2011, 06:39:13 PM »

I wouldn't be oposed to an orthodox theocracy if it didn't abuse its power, the question is this however, how much religious freedom is given to the non orthodox religions? Are the protestants, muslims and Jews allowed to have their houses of worship and freely speak what they believe without the fear of persecution or silence? Because that was one of the key criticisms of the ancient fathers against Pagan Rome that they were being persecuted for merely speaking what they believed, as well as being silenced, I think it would be hypocritical to then do the samething that the fathers accused the pagans of. Then of course however there is the problem that by allowing non orthodox to speak they could effect the political system in an attempt to get rid of it. I'm not an expert on the Byzantine empire by any means, but even then the church and the state weren't completely connected, rather they operated like partners with a common belief (correct me if wrong), the church deciding theological matters and the state deciding how best to rule based on the principle truths of the church or some sort of system like this. In that same way I think it would be best to adopt that sort of model, and possibly include new elements (not contradicting orthodoxy of course) such as freedom of speech and practice of religion though not letting them have a place in the government. Of course im not orthodox as of yet, so this is just my uneducated opinion.

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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2011, 06:40:08 PM »

you should add a poll onto this...

What should the options be?

Yes?
No?
Other? (Specify)
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« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2011, 06:42:00 PM »

I wouldn't be oposed to an orthodox theocracy if it didn't abuse its power, the question is this however, how much religious freedom is given to the non orthodox religions? Are the protestants, muslims and Jews allowed to have their houses of worship and freely speak what they believe without the fear of persecution or silence? Because that was one of the key criticisms of the ancient fathers against Pagan Rome that they were being persecuted for merely speaking what they believed, as well as being silenced, I think it would be hypocritical to then do the samething that the fathers accused the pagans of. Then of course however there is the problem that by allowing non orthodox to speak they could effect the political system in an attempt to get rid of it. I'm not an expert on the Byzantine empire by any means, but even then the church and the state weren't completely connected, rather they operated like partners with a common belief (correct me if wrong), the church deciding theological matters and the state deciding how best to rule based on the principle truths of the church or some sort of system like this. In that same way I think it would be best to adopt that sort of model, and possibly include new elements (not contradicting orthodoxy of course) such as freedom of speech and practice of religion though not letting them have a place in the government. Of course im not orthodox as of yet, so this is just my uneducated opinion.

This is a great summary, and I agree.
I'm not saying that we should persecute these other faiths. I'm just saying that Orthodoxy should be dominant. They should have their houses of worship and be allowed to practice also. But that doesn't mean they should be supported by the state.
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« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2011, 06:55:52 PM »

The concept of "rights' is really just been invented. If you think about it, we really don't have rights. We have privileges.
We have a right to live and not to be killed/tortured. (and in the case of with God, the right of free will) Other than that, everything else is pretty much just a privilege.

So you are saying that we have rights only in case that we deserve them? The starting point of your view is not individual but society in which individuals have rights only in case they conform to society's rules?

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So what rights did the Nestorians and Arians have?

Since state consists of individual human beings why some individuals would be entitled to dictate other individual's lives? Why would an individual Orthodox Christian should be entitled to govern, say, an individual Nestorian's life?

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You are simply imposing modern Western viewpoints onto the past. That, my friend, is what is wrong. We need to judge our present on our past. We should NOT judge our past based on our present.

Why?
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« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2011, 06:57:57 PM »

Devin, I come from the Republic of Ireland another small country (and also like Greece another ongoing economic disaster zone, but that's another story) the population there is over 85 percent Catholic. Therefore by your logic we should establish a closer state Church relationship.Further following your example as I understand it we would be justified in limiting rights regarding religious freedom to minorities. That would include the members of various Orthodox Churches who now comprise the fourth largest Christian group in the state. In fact to an extent the Irish state and Catholicism did become intertwined both pre and post independence. Just like Russia or Greece the results were (as always when fallible human beings are involved) rather mixed.

 You are using special pleading* and distorting history markedly. Seperation between Church and state has never been an essential part of Catholic thinking as many here both Catholic and Orthodox will be aware. Democracy as a modern ideal is the result of many historical forces and Catholics, Orthodox, Jews, atheists etc. have all played parts in that process. However a seperation between Church and state as a fundamental good is not something Catholicism has ever taught.

*Now you may argue that and say of course from your viewpoint Orthodoxy is guide by God but I have heard similar arguments to your own from the Catholic side of the fence in which the arguments are very similar and only the various nations used as examples and other terminology changes.
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« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2011, 10:46:22 PM »

To the OP
So, you'd like your non-Orthodox family to live in a ghetto and be subject to humiliating, but legal, discrimination for their salvation, of course?
Man, that's really f%$$#u@%.
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« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2011, 04:31:57 AM »

Orthodoxy is technically not the state religion of Greece.  Since PASOK (the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement) has held office for better than 2/3rds of the past 30 years, they have whittled down the government's close association with the Church.  The revised religion recognition law PASOK passed in the late '80's, uses terminology other than "state religion," in their recognition of the Greek Orthodox Church's prominent role in Greek society.  Clergy remain on the public payroll, though, and the Archbishop of Athens, vested, continues to swear in the prime minister an president.  I saw a video of an "Agiosmos"-"Blessing of the Waters" ceremony for the parliament, and female representatives (PASOK, no doubt) were laughing while His Beatitude was sprinkling the Holy Water upon them and the assembly.  In answer to an earlier inquiry, I'm sure atheists teach in the state universities, these days.
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« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2011, 07:20:14 AM »

Atheists,Christians and members of numerous other faiths no doubt teach in Greek universities just as they do in Irish and other universities. That is not liable to change. In Ireland the Catholic Church too held a special position under the constitution until the mid 1970's when an ammendment was made via referendum to end that status. Certainly members of the govt. laughing while an Archbishop engages in a solemn duty is disrespectful and deeply rude and not reflective of the dignity of their own posts.
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« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2011, 07:47:02 AM »

To the OP
So, you'd like your non-Orthodox family to live in a ghetto and be subject to humiliating, but legal, discrimination for their salvation, of course?
Man, that's really f%$$#u@%.

I don't really understand where you got that from...

I don't think the non-Orthodox live in ghettos in either Greece or Russia.

Also, I'm going to have to say that my belief is that the most important thing in society is the community and the whole, not the individual.

Therefore, I would say that Orthodoxy itself would benefit society more than any other faith. Additionally, I would conclude that having a working relationship between the Church & the State (whether as "light" as modern Greece/Russia or as "heavy" as ancient Byzantium/Russia) would also benefit society and the community as a whole.

I recognize that such a relationship would technically be "unfair" to non-Orthodox. But I would say that it's also not a situation where they are persecuted for their beliefs.

What I'm wondering is if we should believe that such a relationship is wrong. We are taught by Western Culture & Society (especially in the United States) that having any relationship between Church & State is wrong, and that even bringing religion into politics is wrong and oppressive.

I simply cannot, and will not accept this point of view. But I would like to know if other Orthodox Christians feel the same way as I do, or whether they feel like the Orthodox Church was in the wrong in having a relationship with the Byzantine Empire and the Russian Empire.
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« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2011, 07:53:13 AM »

Orthodoxy is technically not the state religion of Greece.  Since PASOK (the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement) has held office for better than 2/3rds of the past 30 years, they have whittled down the government's close association with the Church.  The revised religion recognition law PASOK passed in the late '80's, uses terminology other than "state religion," in their recognition of the Greek Orthodox Church's prominent role in Greek society.  Clergy remain on the public payroll, though, and the Archbishop of Athens, vested, continues to swear in the prime minister an president.  I saw a video of an "Agiosmos"-"Blessing of the Waters" ceremony for the parliament, and female representatives (PASOK, no doubt) were laughing while His Beatitude was sprinkling the Holy Water upon them and the assembly.  In answer to an earlier inquiry, I'm sure atheists teach in the state universities, these days.

My argument would be that the atheists that teach in the Universities should be severely restricted in what point of view they teach.

Currently we have a professor who is Greek, but has said some things that aren't very flattering about both Christ's Church, and the Byzantine Empire. I can tolerate the stuff about the Empire, but it legitimately angered me when she spoke about the Orthodox Church in the same manner I've heard some Westerners talk about the Roman Catholic Church.

This professor (in my opinion) should not be allowed to teach such views, because now, there are many students who (and I can tell from their own comments) think about the Orthodox Church in the same way they think about the Roman Catholic Church. I've been working really hard to try to show them the truth, and in one class period, because this teacher has a position of authority, she undermined all I've been trying to do.
Personally, if in fact this teacher happens to be an atheist (or even non-Orthodox), this professor should be reprimanded and some sort of action should be taken.

We are taught to look at all sides, which is okay. But this professor's side is not the truth, the Orthodox Church holds the full truth. People need to learn all points of view, but in Orthodox Countries, we need to teach our students what the truth really is, and show everything else to be either distortions or even outright lies.
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« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2011, 07:54:59 AM »

The concept of "rights' is really just been invented. If you think about it, we really don't have rights. We have privileges.
We have a right to live and not to be killed/tortured. (and in the case of with God, the right of free will) Other than that, everything else is pretty much just a privilege.

So you are saying that we have rights only in case that we deserve them? The starting point of your view is not individual but society in which individuals have rights only in case they conform to society's rules?

I also don't completely accept a lot of American values. I don't believe we should have the right to complete freedom of speech. There are certain groups and people that should have no rights to publicly express their views.
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« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2011, 10:31:48 AM »

Christ came and established the Church, not a earthly kingdom or government.  If Christ's kingdom is not of this world, the Church has nothing to do with this world either.  On the subject of politics being mingled with religion, that is an opinion based on worldly philosophies.  On the subject the Church being mingled with politics would be a blasphemy.  No Orthodox empire was successful, and always incorporated unChristian methods.  Have you noticed how the Church is at her best in fact when it was suppressed by the government, and worse when it controls government?

The murder of Hypatia is a good example, but I would argue St. Cyril had nothing to do with it and couldn't control it.  As I explained to my sister, who's also studying Hypatia, a bunch of Christians whose fathers and grandfathers were tortured by pagans, felt they wanted to return the favor, but St. Cyril taught to love your enemies and never was accused of the crime, only shamed by it.
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« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2011, 10:38:17 AM »

I would definitely support an Orthodox Christian state.  Unfortunately, I don't think that such a state would ever exist in the US so the next best thing is a separation of Church and state and a fiercely defended Freedom of Religion.  If things work properly, the same law that allows Moslems, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and others practice their religions should support mine as well.  The problem that I see with our current system is that it more rigorously defends the separation of Church from state than it does the Freedom of Religion.  You don't have to remove every vestige of religion from government to have a separation of Church and state, you just have to make sure that the state doesn't support one religion more than an other.  I don't see a school in a majority Christian area having a prayer at a graduation to be state support of religion.  I see a majority of the people living their life - the basis of Democracy.  If the state said that Synagogues are tax-exempt but Mosques are not - that is state support of religion.
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« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2011, 11:31:41 AM »


Last week, a teacher (not the person I had talked with previously) was talking to us about Greek history (a Greek) told us (for some reason) about a Pagan named Hypatia, who was killed by Christians. However, she said it was Patriarch (and Saint) Cyril I who had her killed, and she then cited that this was a trend that would occur in the Church repeatedly through it's history. This astounded me and I wondered if this teacher was even an Orthodox Christian.

Do you believe an Orthodox Christian must always tow the "party line" of Church history and not call a spade a spade when we see corruption, brutality or wrong doing in the Church? Or do you "really" believe the Church and no saint has ever done anything wrong? I'm curious what sort of view of Church history you actually have because it seems to me that you think and feel the Church and no saint has ever done anything seriously wrong.

As for the Hypatia thing, while Cyril himself wasn't technically involved, it was his monks and loyalists fired up by Cyril's youthful passionate sermons that actually committed the murder. (this isn't Cyril's fault, however I do think his youthful zeal at times got the best of his preaching early in his life) Contrary to Christian apologetics, the Christians who murdered Hypatia were not merely a "mob" going on a rampage and Hypatia merely a bystandard who got caught in the cross fire of some riot. That apologetic has no basis in any of the historical accounts we have of these events. She was actively sought out for the sole purpose of being murdered because Cyril's loyalists felt it was she that prevented the governor from being reconciled to Cyril. (that doesn't make it true only that this is how they perceived it) There are as far as I know 2 historical accounts by Christians; where the earlier historian, Socrates Scholasticus, a contemporary of the events says Cyril wasn't directly involved and he even says such actions are contrary to the spirit of Christianity. However he was involved in the sense that he was at center stage of the controversy that actually lead up to her murder and it was a well known Reader named Peter who lead the group to murder her.  As far as I know Cyril never excommunicated any of the people involved either, at least we have no records of that.

The later account by a  bishop named john of Nikiu in his histories actually gives Cyril "credit" for destroying "the last remains of idolatry in the city." He actually glories in the murder and says Peter, was a Christian perfect in every way. See http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/nikiu2_chronicle.htm

Of course the later account is full of spin doctoring and demonization that the contemporary account doesn't have. I believe there is another later account by a Pagan historian which says Cyril was directly involved, but I have yet to verify that with my own research. Just because a Pagan wrote it doesn't make it bad history, just as just because a Christian wrote it doesn't make it good history. (unless you think murdering  60 year old philospher who actually had good relations with many Christians was a "perfect" thing to do like John of Nikiu did?)


Quote

I also hold a position that Atheists and non-Christians should never... ever be commissioned to design Churches.

how do you feel about the Emperor Constantine commissioning the building of Churches BEFORE he was a Christian then? granted, he didn't design it so it's not quite the same thing, but still . . . .

Quote
So I would like to pose a question to other Orthodox Christians on here...
Do you think it is very unfair to non-Orthodox to have a country that has a working relationship between the Church & State?

Ask yourself that same question but replace the word Church with the word Islam and see how you answer it. Many Muslims feel just as strongly as you do about the unity of their faith with the state. A separation of religion and state is the ONLY safeguard we have against many of the dangers that such unity poses. Idealistically, church and state union would be ideal, but that only works if everyone is honest and pure; since that will NEVER be the case some other safeguard must be put into play not only to protect non Christians but to protect the Church as well. If Church and state had never been united in the ancient world half the heresies we know of would never have gotten off the ground. it was the union of Empire and Church that made heresies possible to gain large followings because they were enforced. The Church wasted too much time fighting heresies and each other because of the unity of Church and state when such energy could have been better spent doing lots of other things.

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« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2011, 12:17:57 PM »

To the OP
So, you'd like your non-Orthodox family to live in a ghetto and be subject to humiliating, but legal, discrimination for their salvation, of course?
Man, that's really f%$$#u@%.

I don't really understand where you got that from...

I don't think the non-Orthodox live in ghettos in either Greece or Russia.

Also, I'm going to have to say that my belief is that the most important thing in society is the community and the whole, not the individual.

Therefore, I would say that Orthodoxy itself would benefit society more than any other faith. Additionally, I would conclude that having a working relationship between the Church & the State (whether as "light" as modern Greece/Russia or as "heavy" as ancient Byzantium/Russia) would also benefit society and the community as a whole.

I recognize that such a relationship would technically be "unfair" to non-Orthodox. But I would say that it's also not a situation where they are persecuted for their beliefs.

What I'm wondering is if we should believe that such a relationship is wrong. We are taught by Western Culture & Society (especially in the United States) that having any relationship between Church & State is wrong, and that even bringing religion into politics is wrong and oppressive.

I simply cannot, and will not accept this point of view. But I would like to know if other Orthodox Christians feel the same way as I do, or whether they feel like the Orthodox Church was in the wrong in having a relationship with the Byzantine Empire and the Russian Empire.

To try to look back across the pages of history regarding the relationship between the church and state in former imperial times and ask if the Orthodox Church was 'wrong' in having such a relationship is really just a hypothetical, collegiate, time-passing exercise. That being said, I never grew out of enjoying such conversations!

There is a distinction between the unrealized 'ideal' relationship between the two and the actual 'real world' history that did occur.

I would argue that one can construct an 'ideal' nation-state where a benevolent Church ruling with a benevolent civil authority (either democratically chosen or regal) COULD, and probably would be a beneficial thing. This is hardly a unique or a new notion, its roots tracing back to Blessed Augustin and the City of God.

However, history teaches us, as Lord Acton so precisely observed that "Power corrupts and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely." The overall history of the Church and its relationship to the state when the Church was a state religion prior to modern times is hardly one of benign goodness and abhorrence of temporal power and greed. During those periods when wise and spiritually complete men ruled the Church, she flourished and the rights of all citizens, regardless of faith, were generally respected. (By norms that would not likely be acceptable in modern times, but which were understood as fair in their own times.)

However, when the Church was ruled by men who were zealots, greedy, revengeful or power hungry - well, things were not so good - even for the pious Orthodox who were not in the right 'camp.'

Some of us tend to forget that while the Church is God's vehicle, it is driven by men. who like all of us are by nature subject to temptation and are hence, incomplete.

The problem in the post-religious West is that those who call for a 'Berlin Wall', if you will, of absolute separation of Church and State have created their own anti-faith theology which was unknown to most of the thinkers and philosophers of the Enlightenment, the Restoration and the American Revolution.

So, in answer to your question, in the realm of the real world, I reluctantly would have to argue that if any faith is so intertwined with the secular powers, Orthodoxy being no exception, those who do not profess the State religion will inherently be at risk.

In America, there is a rising belief among Evangelicals that Christianity (as they define it) ought to be a semi-state religion. Well then, for example, if that is so, whose prayer will open the local school board meeting? A non-trinitarian 'Jesus' prayer common among evangelicals? A Rosarian plea to the Virgin written by a traditionalist Catholic? A Unitarian plea? A troparion from the day from our tradition? I think you know the answer and it is an answer that would make minority Christian denominations feel even more alone than we already do in this country. That, I think, provides the answer to your original question.

(And by the way, Jews did live in ghettos in Russia and east Europe.)
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« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2011, 12:55:55 PM »

A separation of religion and state is the ONLY safeguard we have against many of the dangers that such unity poses.
The militant secularism if not down right atheism going on demosntrates that that is no safeguard.



Quote
Idealistically, church and state union would be ideal, but that only works if everyone is honest and pure; since that will NEVER be the case some other safeguard must be put into play not only to protect non Christians but to protect the Church as well. If Church and state had never been united in the ancient world half the heresies we know of would never have gotten off the ground. it was the union of Empire and Church that made heresies possible to gain large followings because they were enforced. The Church wasted too much time fighting heresies and each other because of the unity of Church and state when such energy could have been better spent doing lots of other things.
Many heresies and schisms florished before Constantine, and many more afterwards.  The Nestorians have survived, yet never having been a state church.  A State Church does not cause such problems, just presents new opportunities.  Where there is no state Church, heretics and schismatics take advantage of that as well.
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« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2011, 01:14:38 PM »

I'm going to say that the Church has never, ever persecuted or killed anyone for their faith. The Church is the absolute perfect, unblemished bride of Christ.
People within the Church may do these things, but it's wrong (and blasphemous in my opinion) to attribute these to the Church.

In the words of my Priest's spiritual father... (this may not be EXACT, but it's the point)
"You must remember to never speak badly about the Church. We might dress her up and make her to look like a prostitute. But remember that she is the pure and unblemished bride of Christ"

So to speak of the Church as being responsible for the deaths of persecuted peoples is just wrong. Yes, Bishops, Monastics, or even Laypeople may be responsible, but just because they participate doesn't mean we get to attribute that to the whole Church.

______

Regarding history... I'm going to say that the Orthodox sources are MUCH more reliable than the non-Orthodox. For example, if there are accounts of the Crusades, I'm going to trust the sources from the Byzantine Empire before I ever would trust those coming from either the Muslims or the Roman Catholics.

Or in the case of the Council of Florence, I would say that the account of St. Mark of Ephesus and others on his side are the correct accounts, and other accounts that contradict them are either simply incorrect, or are outright lies.

Modern scholarship will tell us that belief in Angels, Demons, etc... is a detestable relic of the Middle Ages and Antiquity. How then, can we possibly trust this same modern scholarship when it speaks on other issues?
If a "historical account" or anything "discovered" by modern scholarship contradicts our faith and the account of the Church. It has to be rejected.

Another example, is that modern scholarship would say that St. George never ever fought a dragon. If the hagiography of the Church says it happened, then it did.
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« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2011, 01:26:44 PM »

I'm going to say that the Church has never, ever persecuted or killed anyone for their faith. The Church is the absolute perfect, unblemished bride of Christ.
People within the Church may do these things, but it's wrong (and blasphemous in my opinion) to attribute these to the Church.

In the words of my Priest's spiritual father... (this may not be EXACT, but it's the point)
"You must remember to never speak badly about the Church. We might dress her up and make her to look like a prostitute. But remember that she is the pure and unblemished bride of Christ"

So to speak of the Church as being responsible for the deaths of persecuted peoples is just wrong. Yes, Bishops, Monastics, or even Laypeople may be responsible, but just because they participate doesn't mean we get to attribute that to the whole Church.

______

Regarding history... I'm going to say that the Orthodox sources are MUCH more reliable than the non-Orthodox. For example, if there are accounts of the Crusades, I'm going to trust the sources from the Byzantine Empire before I ever would trust those coming from either the Muslims or the Roman Catholics.

Or in the case of the Council of Florence, I would say that the account of St. Mark of Ephesus and others on his side are the correct accounts, and other accounts that contradict them are either simply incorrect, or are outright lies.

Modern scholarship will tell us that belief in Angels, Demons, etc... is a detestable relic of the Middle Ages and Antiquity. How then, can we possibly trust this same modern scholarship when it speaks on other issues?
If a "historical account" or anything "discovered" by modern scholarship contradicts our faith and the account of the Church. It has to be rejected.

Another example, is that modern scholarship would say that St. George never ever fought a dragon. If the hagiography of the Church says it happened, then it did.

I don't think that an Orthodox Christian scholar should be afraid of critical analysis and honesty when studying history. Such a reaction is more typical of many Muslims in this world. Their faith rejects critical studies and look what you have.

If you simply rely on one view of history and discount the analysis of opposing points of view you can never present an argument that anyone not of your belief system can ever accept or understand. Some of the most useful and sympathetic writings and knowledge of the ancient Church comes from sources outside of Orthodoxy and even Christianity.

If you only studied design and architecture and structural engineering from sources that you were attracted to and refused to acknowledge that competing schools of thought and design may have some insight that can allow you to better understand and perfect your own knowledge, you would be selling yourself short. You might never learn the structural weaknesses of a failed project or understand how one technique might lead you to the same result if you don't study it.

I am not arguing that you can find another path to salvation, but I think you want to put blinders on from the rest of the world in the hopes that your own faith isn't challenged. Just my opinion.
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« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2011, 04:01:25 PM »

I'm going to say that the Church has never, ever persecuted or killed anyone for their faith. The Church is the absolute perfect, unblemished bride of Christ.
People within the Church may do these things, but it's wrong (and blasphemous in my opinion) to attribute these to the Church.

In the words of my Priest's spiritual father... (this may not be EXACT, but it's the point)
"You must remember to never speak badly about the Church. We might dress her up and make her to look like a prostitute. But remember that she is the pure and unblemished bride of Christ"

So to speak of the Church as being responsible for the deaths of persecuted peoples is just wrong. Yes, Bishops, Monastics, or even Laypeople may be responsible, but just because they participate doesn't mean we get to attribute that to the whole Church.

______

Regarding history... I'm going to say that the Orthodox sources are MUCH more reliable than the non-Orthodox. For example, if there are accounts of the Crusades, I'm going to trust the sources from the Byzantine Empire before I ever would trust those coming from either the Muslims or the Roman Catholics.

Or in the case of the Council of Florence, I would say that the account of St. Mark of Ephesus and others on his side are the correct accounts, and other accounts that contradict them are either simply incorrect, or are outright lies.

Modern scholarship will tell us that belief in Angels, Demons, etc... is a detestable relic of the Middle Ages and Antiquity. How then, can we possibly trust this same modern scholarship when it speaks on other issues?
If a "historical account" or anything "discovered" by modern scholarship contradicts our faith and the account of the Church. It has to be rejected.

Another example, is that modern scholarship would say that St. George never ever fought a dragon. If the hagiography of the Church says it happened, then it did.

I don't think that an Orthodox Christian scholar should be afraid of critical analysis and honesty when studying history. Such a reaction is more typical of many Muslims in this world. Their faith rejects critical studies and look what you have.

If you simply rely on one view of history and discount the analysis of opposing points of view you can never present an argument that anyone not of your belief system can ever accept or understand. Some of the most useful and sympathetic writings and knowledge of the ancient Church comes from sources outside of Orthodoxy and even Christianity.

If you only studied design and architecture and structural engineering from sources that you were attracted to and refused to acknowledge that competing schools of thought and design may have some insight that can allow you to better understand and perfect your own knowledge, you would be selling yourself short. You might never learn the structural weaknesses of a failed project or understand how one technique might lead you to the same result if you don't study it.

I am not arguing that you can find another path to salvation, but I think you want to put blinders on from the rest of the world in the hopes that your own faith isn't challenged. Just my opinion.

Actually that is also (kind of) what I do for architecture. I really greatly dislike modern architecture. I only study traditional architecture and traditional methods of Urban Design and architecture. I've learned about modern architecture extensively here in school. I'm actually kind of sick of it.

In my viewpoint, it is the past that holds the direction for the future. It's not just some sense of utopia or something. The people of the past did honestly do things better than us. Just because we have technology and the ability to do something doesn't make us any better.

This goes the same way for faith. I don't denounce critical analysis, I believe it should happen. Personally I try to learn the other points of view. But I don't let them influence my own. I keep my own viewpoint shut in within Orthodoxy. I learn about other faiths and other points of view. But there is absolutely no way I'm going to ever let them influence my own religious views.

I understand where a lot of the things come from in the West, especially in historical analysis. But they are imposing their own standards and views onto the past. They aren't simply taking the past for what it's worth. They automatically hold the Holy Fathers as being wrong.

And yes, I do recognize certain points about Islam. But i'm not talking about adopting a fanaticism. I'm talking about retaining our faith, retaining our mysticism and retaining our faith in our own Church. Our Church is not, and cannot be wrong because she is guided and protected by the Holy Spirit, God himself.

Also, yes, things are often more black/white than some may admit. The World wants to give you a paintbrush, and with it, a swatch of grey. It then tells you to paint everything around you with that grey, whatever you want. The World calls the grey good, and tries to use it to "unify" us, yet while it's unifying us, it's dividing us from God and his Church.
Sure, not everything is black and white, but many, many things are that we often aren't willing to admit because our own world and society says it's wrong and calls us closed-minded and ignorant when we refuse the paintbrush.
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« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2011, 04:27:23 PM »

I'm going to say that the Church has never, ever persecuted or killed anyone for their faith. The Church is the absolute perfect, unblemished bride of Christ.
People within the Church may do these things, but it's wrong (and blasphemous in my opinion) to attribute these to the Church.

In the words of my Priest's spiritual father... (this may not be EXACT, but it's the point)
"You must remember to never speak badly about the Church. We might dress her up and make her to look like a prostitute. But remember that she is the pure and unblemished bride of Christ"

So to speak of the Church as being responsible for the deaths of persecuted peoples is just wrong. Yes, Bishops, Monastics, or even Laypeople may be responsible, but just because they participate doesn't mean we get to attribute that to the whole Church.

______

Regarding history... I'm going to say that the Orthodox sources are MUCH more reliable than the non-Orthodox. For example, if there are accounts of the Crusades, I'm going to trust the sources from the Byzantine Empire before I ever would trust those coming from either the Muslims or the Roman Catholics.

Or in the case of the Council of Florence, I would say that the account of St. Mark of Ephesus and others on his side are the correct accounts, and other accounts that contradict them are either simply incorrect, or are outright lies.

Modern scholarship will tell us that belief in Angels, Demons, etc... is a detestable relic of the Middle Ages and Antiquity. How then, can we possibly trust this same modern scholarship when it speaks on other issues?
If a "historical account" or anything "discovered" by modern scholarship contradicts our faith and the account of the Church. It has to be rejected.

Another example, is that modern scholarship would say that St. George never ever fought a dragon. If the hagiography of the Church says it happened, then it did.

I don't think that an Orthodox Christian scholar should be afraid of critical analysis and honesty when studying history. Such a reaction is more typical of many Muslims in this world. Their faith rejects critical studies and look what you have.

If you simply rely on one view of history and discount the analysis of opposing points of view you can never present an argument that anyone not of your belief system can ever accept or understand. Some of the most useful and sympathetic writings and knowledge of the ancient Church comes from sources outside of Orthodoxy and even Christianity.

If you only studied design and architecture and structural engineering from sources that you were attracted to and refused to acknowledge that competing schools of thought and design may have some insight that can allow you to better understand and perfect your own knowledge, you would be selling yourself short. You might never learn the structural weaknesses of a failed project or understand how one technique might lead you to the same result if you don't study it.

I am not arguing that you can find another path to salvation, but I think you want to put blinders on from the rest of the world in the hopes that your own faith isn't challenged. Just my opinion.

Actually that is also (kind of) what I do for architecture. I really greatly dislike modern architecture. I only study traditional architecture and traditional methods of Urban Design and architecture. I've learned about modern architecture extensively here in school. I'm actually kind of sick of it.

In my viewpoint, it is the past that holds the direction for the future. It's not just some sense of utopia or something. The people of the past did honestly do things better than us. Just because we have technology and the ability to do something doesn't make us any better.

This goes the same way for faith. I don't denounce critical analysis, I believe it should happen. Personally I try to learn the other points of view. But I don't let them influence my own. I keep my own viewpoint shut in within Orthodoxy. I learn about other faiths and other points of view. But there is absolutely no way I'm going to ever let them influence my own religious views.

I understand where a lot of the things come from in the West, especially in historical analysis. But they are imposing their own standards and views onto the past. They aren't simply taking the past for what it's worth. They automatically hold the Holy Fathers as being wrong.

And yes, I do recognize certain points about Islam. But i'm not talking about adopting a fanaticism. I'm talking about retaining our faith, retaining our mysticism and retaining our faith in our own Church. Our Church is not, and cannot be wrong because she is guided and protected by the Holy Spirit, God himself.

Also, yes, things are often more black/white than some may admit. The World wants to give you a paintbrush, and with it, a swatch of grey. It then tells you to paint everything around you with that grey, whatever you want. The World calls the grey good, and tries to use it to "unify" us, yet while it's unifying us, it's dividing us from God and his Church.
Sure, not everything is black and white, but many, many things are that we often aren't willing to admit because our own world and society says it's wrong and calls us closed-minded and ignorant when we refuse the paintbrush.

Thank you as your response was reassuring as you sometimes come across as being overly enthusiastic and unquestioning about many things. I can see that is not really the case.

A couple of comments from my point of view.

I don't agree with your blanket statement that people from the past necessarily did things better than we do and I don't think that is what you mean. For example, I am constantly amazed by the Brooklyn Bridge. Roebling was able to calculate loads, flexibility and structural stresses for a bridge without the benefit of a.) knowing what types of weights, stresses and vibrations and pollutants that the future would bring and b.) doing all of the algorithms, geometry, physics and trig without a computer or calculator. We would NEVER step foot on a modern bridge that was designed and constructed using those techniques and i doubt that there are any designers who would be so audacious today to even think they could do what Roebling did.

Another example is the Apollo space program. We each have computing power in front of us at our desks which exceeds the entire available computing power of the entire Apollo program by an exponential factor. I laugh when I see the movie Apollo 13 and see all of the engineers with slide rules computing the trajectory for the return. Could we do that today? Maybe, but perhaps not.

However, I have an eye condition that would have left me blind in just my grandfather's time. Due to modern medicine my situation can be controlled and stabilized. That is just one example. Keep those blood sucking leeches off of my arms if I get the flu, that's for sure.

I think that you are perhaps romanticizing the past and accepting some of the populist pablum being fed to the public these days by both the political right and left. The 'it's my way or the highway' mentality inevitably leads to societal dysfunction or worse.

I don't view morals as situational, I don't view truth as something that can be parsed, I believe that Evil exists in this world and that we are compelled to fight it. I have learned over the years that there are more people out there in this culture who hold those basic truths than the popular media (again left or right from their own points of view) would want you to believe.

Keep on searching, keep on learning and if your faith is well formed, you should never be afraid that searching or learning will destroy you or the Church. (Please accept the 'old guy' observations for what they are worth. Things seemed different to me thirty five years ago in many ways than they do today as well, but as the French say, the more things change, the more they stay the same!)

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« Reply #38 on: March 08, 2011, 04:46:00 PM »

you should add a poll onto this...

What should the options be?

Yes?
No?
Other? (Specify)

sounds good to me
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« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2011, 04:56:46 PM »

Kevin--Podkarpatska has given you a most reasonable explanation of why a close alliance between the state and the church is not a panacea. I am guessing that you are a college student, so I am not surprised that you look at things in starkly black and white terms. Here is my not so black-and-white input:

- Quit being scared by the existence of atheist and agnostic teachers. Challenge them; that is one of the reasons why you are getting an education. Faith is not supposed to come or be easy, but it is supposed to be charitable. So, chin up and be brave, OKAY?

- The opposite of church and state working in cahoots is not the unconstitutional rewriting of the US Constitution by the US Supreme Court. The Constitution does not provide for a brick wall; it merely prohibits the US Congress from establishing a state religion.

- If we are to be guided by the Scriptures, we are to tolerate Caesar and not to prop him up or to let him use us for his purposes.

- Romantic notions of a glorious past are hardly ever adequate substitutions for a realistic look at history. History teaches us that, by and large, church-state collusion does not work and corrupts the essence of the Church, that is to be in but not of this world.

- I have long marveled at folks who at the same time bemoan the sinfulness of human nature and somehow expect our Patriarchs and Tsars not to be tainted by human nature.
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« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2011, 05:13:38 PM »

I think that if the population is primarely orthodox then it should be an orthodox state but the church have to be careful when working closely with the government. In my country Denmark church and state are not seperated. This means that in pracise it is the state which is ruling the church. This have led to a number of hightly debated events. for example right now there is a huge debate going on whether or not the church should legalize marriage between homosexuals. Also there have been some talks abvout changing the creed ( the danish lutheran chruch uses the apostolic creed) making it sound more "modern".
Just the fact that the state have the power to change the churchs teachings makes me fearing of the future of Christianity in Denmark. already now most danes are either atheist, agnostics or pagans. This is one of the reasons why I want to be an orthodox christian.

P.S. I am sorry if I have misspelled some words. I need to improve my english Smiley
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« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2011, 05:35:49 PM »

There are going to be problems and corruptions either way, state religion or no.

Nothing is a utopia, not on this side of the Kingdom. I do not advocate a secular society, nor do I believe that the church should be a part of the state (Russia proved this to be a HORRIBLE idea).

However, I do support an Orthodox state, in which the government loves and supports the Church, and in which the Church has a place in serving the state through prayer and service (opening assemblies in prayer, swearing into office, etc.).

And yet, the Church cannot force the government to do anything, and likewise the government cannot force anything upon the Church. The Church should act as it is meant to act...a hospital. Nations are full of sinful people, sick from their passions, which need treatment. We are saved collectively in the Church, and so why shouldn't a majority Orthodox country endorse the Church as the religion of the land? Why not give the Church the platform to instruct, admonish and care for the people of the nation?

It would be silly to contemplate a minority Orthodox nation affirming the Church as the state religion...that would not happen for obvious reasons. But, if the state is majority Orthodox...shouldn't said state recognize the place the Church should have in the life and culture of the state and foster that? I would say so.
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« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2011, 05:42:51 PM »

Quote
t would be silly to contemplate a minority Orthodox nation affirming the Church as the state religion...that would not happen for obvious reasons. But, if the state is majority Orthodox...shouldn't said state recognize the place the Church should have in the life and culture of the state and foster that? I would say so.
But that IS the case already in Greece, the Balkans, Russia and Romania.
The OC has a favoured position, at least de facto, within those states.
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« Reply #43 on: March 08, 2011, 05:50:31 PM »

Quote
t would be silly to contemplate a minority Orthodox nation affirming the Church as the state religion...that would not happen for obvious reasons. But, if the state is majority Orthodox...shouldn't said state recognize the place the Church should have in the life and culture of the state and foster that? I would say so.
But that IS the case already in Greece, the Balkans, Russia and Romania.
The OC has a favoured position, at least de facto, within those states.

Just as does the COE in Great Britain and others throughout Europe.

I am American with a unique perspective. My ethnic group was a small minority within the Hungarian empire. The faith of my ancestors was compromised by the state church in Austria Hungary  and the 'Orthodox' hierarchs who complied with the state's wishes through the imposition of the Unia upon my people. Hence, I look askance at the supposed benevolence or worthwhileness of a 'state' church. My Ukrainian brothers and sisters likely share that point of view given their history as well as do many of Augustin's co-nationals due to the experience of the Unions. My grandfather could have told you people just how well a minority was tolerated where there was a state church. You could ask the descendants of St. Maxim Sandovich how well that worked out in the 20th century prior to the first world war - or the Old Believers for that matter.
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« Reply #44 on: March 08, 2011, 05:52:45 PM »

Quote
t would be silly to contemplate a minority Orthodox nation affirming the Church as the state religion...that would not happen for obvious reasons. But, if the state is majority Orthodox...shouldn't said state recognize the place the Church should have in the life and culture of the state and foster that? I would say so.
But that IS the case already in Greece, the Balkans, Russia and Romania.
The OC has a favoured position, at least de facto, within those states.

That's not quite what I mean.

I'm referring to a current minority Orthodox state deciding to become Orthodox...like the U.S. or Australia. Yeah. Not happening.

In the places you mentioned, Orthodoxy has historically been a strong cultural force in those states and continues to have a large following and impact.
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« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2011, 05:57:05 PM »

Back in the thirties, when Baptists started to make the first inroads among Romanians, they were persecuted by the state with the full support of the hierarchy. In one of my grandparent's village the priest himself would beat those two or three kids whose parents became Baptist since they wouldn't make the sign of the Cross anymore . That would happen during the religion classes taught by the priest,  that they had  to attend, anyways.
So, yeah, things like these happened within quite recent times.
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« Reply #46 on: March 08, 2011, 11:08:09 PM »

The later account by a  bishop named john of Nikiu in his histories actually gives Cyril "credit" for destroying "the last remains of idolatry in the city." He actually glories in the murder and says Peter, was a Christian perfect in every way. See
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/nikiu2_chronicle.htm

From what I've read about John of Nikiu, this man was a very violent man towards his monks.  He later was deposed for torturing one of his monks to the point of death.  His writings (at least in the case contra heretics and non-believers) seem to reflect his tolerance for violence.

His most reliable historical writing is probably about the Islamic invasion of Egypt via Amr ibn el Aas.
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« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2011, 11:38:14 PM »

No. States should be based on those views that are shared by all.

Essentially what you are espousing is the core attribute of democracy, or at least something along those lines. But what reason do you have to believe that God intends for States to be run in this manner?
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« Reply #48 on: March 08, 2011, 11:45:26 PM »

Do you really think the State should be the protectors of doctrine?

Forgive me if you were wondering solely about Devin's opinion:

Well, it depends on what you mean by it. Primarily when we think of "the protectors of doctrine" I would think either the laity in general or the Bishops in particular.

However, yes, I do believe that the State should take up at least some role in protecting the Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #49 on: March 08, 2011, 11:49:49 PM »

I would say that the most "Biblical" and most "Orthodox" of systems are a Monarchy/Empire and Democracy (though not the American style of Democracy necessarily).

What exactly is Biblical or Orthodox about Democracy? Undecided
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« Reply #50 on: March 08, 2011, 11:52:40 PM »

We have a right to live and not to be killed/tortured. (and in the case of with God, the right of free will) Other than that, everything else is pretty much just a privilege.

Why do you distinguish protection of life as a right from other very basic kinds of care?
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« Reply #51 on: March 08, 2011, 11:57:35 PM »

I wouldn't be oposed to an orthodox theocracy if it didn't abuse its power, the question is this however, how much religious freedom is given to the non orthodox religions? Are the protestants, muslims and Jews allowed to have their houses of worship and freely speak what they believe without the fear of persecution or silence? Because that was one of the key criticisms of the ancient fathers against Pagan Rome that they were being persecuted for merely speaking what they believed, as well as being silenced, I think it would be hypocritical to then do the samething that the fathers accused the pagans of.

I have a feeling if the propagation of heterodox beliefs (Rome didn't really draw the line simply at actual propagation of Christianity, if you think about it) was suppressed by means nowhere near as vicious as those of Rome that the Fathers might not be inclined to complaining about the situation.
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« Reply #52 on: March 09, 2011, 12:02:50 AM »

Devin, I come from the Republic of Ireland another small country (and also like Greece another ongoing economic disaster zone, but that's another story) the population there is over 85 percent Catholic. Therefore by your logic we should establish a closer state Church relationship.Further following your example as I understand it we would be justified in limiting rights regarding religious freedom to minorities. That would include the members of various Orthodox Churches who now comprise the fourth largest Christian group in the state.

*Now you may argue that and say of course from your viewpoint Orthodoxy is guide by God but I have heard similar arguments to your own from the Catholic side of the fence in which the arguments are very similar and only the various nations used as examples and other terminology changes.

OK. But just because two groups claim the same attribute (political dominance) for themselves for the same reason (claiming to be the true religion) doesn't mean it is unreasonable to side with one of these groups, given that one of them actually is true about being the true religion. So the individual may or may not be justified based on whether or not he/she has reasonably determined the true religion.
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« Reply #53 on: March 09, 2011, 12:04:23 AM »

I saw a video of an "Agiosmos"-"Blessing of the Waters" ceremony for the parliament, and female representatives (PASOK, no doubt) were laughing while His Beatitude was sprinkling the Holy Water upon them and the assembly.

Good grief.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #54 on: March 09, 2011, 12:08:55 AM »

I recognize that such a relationship would technically be "unfair" to non-Orthodox. But I would say that it's also not a situation where they are persecuted for their beliefs.

What I'm wondering is if we should believe that such a relationship is wrong. We are taught by Western Culture & Society (especially in the United States) that having any relationship between Church & State is wrong, and that even bringing religion into politics is wrong and oppressive.

I simply cannot, and will not accept this point of view. But I would like to know if other Orthodox Christians feel the same way as I do, or whether they feel like the Orthodox Church was in the wrong in having a relationship with the Byzantine Empire and the Russian Empire.

I'm inclined to agree with you. Certainly I will admit that Rome and Russia went too far in certain cases. But generally I'm inclined to agree that the State (and ideally society as a whole) should be converted and lend at least some "light" form of support to the Church.
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« Reply #55 on: March 09, 2011, 12:12:50 AM »

This professor (in my opinion) should not be allowed to teach such views, because now, there are many students who (and I can tell from their own comments) think about the Orthodox Church in the same way they think about the Roman Catholic Church. I've been working really hard to try to show them the truth, and in one class period, because this teacher has a position of authority, she undermined all I've been trying to do.
Personally, if in fact this teacher happens to be an atheist (or even non-Orthodox), this professor should be reprimanded and some sort of action should be taken.

We are taught to look at all sides, which is okay. But this professor's side is not the truth, the Orthodox Church holds the full truth. People need to learn all points of view, but in Orthodox Countries, we need to teach our students what the truth really is, and show everything else to be either distortions or even outright lies.

In what situation, in what course/lesson, really, would it be appropriate for the curriculum of a public school in an Orthodox State to involve attacks on the Orthodox Church?
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« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2011, 12:18:23 AM »

Christ came and established the Church, not a earthly kingdom or government.  If Christ's kingdom is not of this world, the Church has nothing to do with this world either.  On the subject of politics being mingled with religion, that is an opinion based on worldly philosophies.  On the subject the Church being mingled with politics would be a blasphemy.  No Orthodox empire was successful, and always incorporated unChristian methods.  Have you noticed how the Church is at her best in fact when it was suppressed by the government, and worse when it controls government?

I think there is some misunderstanding here. I agree that the life of the Church should not be dependent upon civil powers. I agree that it is at the very least dangerous if not totally unacceptable for Church officials to wield political power. But the Church's role in the State in this way is not really what we are addressing here. Rather, we are addressing the State's role in the societal propagation of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #57 on: March 09, 2011, 12:23:02 AM »

Ask yourself that same question but replace the word Church with the word Islam and see how you answer it.

It's different because Muhammadenism is a false religion.
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« Reply #58 on: March 09, 2011, 12:27:36 AM »

The Nestorians have survived, yet never having been a state church.

Well, for a little while I think they received some sort of support from the Persian State, particularly in contrast to other Christian groups present in the Empire.
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« Reply #59 on: March 09, 2011, 12:28:05 AM »

I think that if the population is primarely orthodox then it should be an orthodox state but the church have to be careful when working closely with the government. In my country Denmark church and state are not seperated. This means that in pracise it is the state which is ruling the church. This have led to a number of hightly debated events. for example right now there is a huge debate going on whether or not the church should legalize marriage between homosexuals. Also there have been some talks abvout changing the creed ( the danish lutheran chruch uses the apostolic creed) making it sound more "modern".
Just the fact that the state have the power to change the churchs teachings makes me fearing of the future of Christianity in Denmark. already now most danes are either atheist, agnostics or pagans. This is one of the reasons why I want to be an orthodox christian.

P.S. I am sorry if I have misspelled some words. I need to improve my english Smiley
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« Reply #60 on: March 09, 2011, 12:39:05 AM »

Christ came and established the Church, not a earthly kingdom or government.  If Christ's kingdom is not of this world, the Church has nothing to do with this world either.  On the subject of politics being mingled with religion, that is an opinion based on worldly philosophies.  On the subject the Church being mingled with politics would be a blasphemy.  No Orthodox empire was successful, and always incorporated unChristian methods.  Have you noticed how the Church is at her best in fact when it was suppressed by the government, and worse when it controls government?

I think there is some misunderstanding here. I agree that the life of the Church should not be dependent upon civil powers. I agree that it is at the very least dangerous if not totally unacceptable for Church officials to wield political power. But the Church's role in the State in this way is not really what we are addressing here. Rather, we are addressing the State's role in the societal propagation of Orthodoxy.

The State can do whatever it wants, but what we can learn from history is the Church's readiness in some places to hail victorious and "ordain" Orthodox leaders when Orthodoxy becomes state religion.  So, while the State can do whatever it wants, when it touches Orthodoxy, the Church undoubtedly mingles with it.
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« Reply #61 on: March 09, 2011, 12:45:39 AM »

In my country Denmark church and state are not seperated. This means that in pracise it is the state which is ruling the church.

That is because the Magisterial Reformers (versus the Radical Reformers) came up with the novel idea that the State is the authority of its regional/national church, and its head of state the supreme head of the regional/national church, an idea that had little place among the Orthodox, only really coming close in Russia beginning with Peter "the Great".
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« Reply #62 on: March 09, 2011, 12:48:25 AM »

Christ came and established the Church, not a earthly kingdom or government.  If Christ's kingdom is not of this world, the Church has nothing to do with this world either.  On the subject of politics being mingled with religion, that is an opinion based on worldly philosophies.  On the subject the Church being mingled with politics would be a blasphemy.  No Orthodox empire was successful, and always incorporated unChristian methods.  Have you noticed how the Church is at her best in fact when it was suppressed by the government, and worse when it controls government?

I think there is some misunderstanding here. I agree that the life of the Church should not be dependent upon civil powers. I agree that it is at the very least dangerous if not totally unacceptable for Church officials to wield political power. But the Church's role in the State in this way is not really what we are addressing here. Rather, we are addressing the State's role in the societal propagation of Orthodoxy.

The State can do whatever it wants, but what we can learn from history is the Church's readiness in some places to hail victorious and "ordain" Orthodox leaders when Orthodoxy becomes state religion.  So, while the State can do whatever it wants, when it touches Orthodoxy, the Church undoubtedly mingles with it.

I'm not sure that the sort of "mingling" you are talking about is actually wrong (though we haven't gotten into great detail).

P.S. I understand that there is a long-standing tradition of the Coptic church resisting mingling with the State, particularly beginning with Pope Saint Dioscoros I, but this happened largely because of the State falling away from Orthodoxy, and when the State actually was Orthodox, the Coptic church was much warmer with the government.
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« Reply #63 on: March 09, 2011, 12:52:25 AM »

There are going to be problems and corruptions either way, state religion or no.

Nothing is a utopia, not on this side of the Kingdom. I do not advocate a secular society, nor do I believe that the church should be a part of the state (Russia proved this to be a HORRIBLE idea).

However, I do support an Orthodox state, in which the government loves and supports the Church, and in which the Church has a place in serving the state through prayer and service (opening assemblies in prayer, swearing into office, etc.).

And yet, the Church cannot force the government to do anything, and likewise the government cannot force anything upon the Church. The Church should act as it is meant to act...a hospital. Nations are full of sinful people, sick from their passions, which need treatment. We are saved collectively in the Church, and so why shouldn't a majority Orthodox country endorse the Church as the religion of the land? Why not give the Church the platform to instruct, admonish and care for the people of the nation?

It would be silly to contemplate a minority Orthodox nation affirming the Church as the state religion...that would not happen for obvious reasons. But, if the state is majority Orthodox...shouldn't said state recognize the place the Church should have in the life and culture of the state and foster that? I would say so.

I think this is a really good summation of my own views.
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« Reply #64 on: March 09, 2011, 03:02:57 AM »

This professor (in my opinion) should not be allowed to teach such views, because now, there are many students who (and I can tell from their own comments) think about the Orthodox Church in the same way they think about the Roman Catholic Church. I've been working really hard to try to show them the truth, and in one class period, because this teacher has a position of authority, she undermined all I've been trying to do.
Personally, if in fact this teacher happens to be an atheist (or even non-Orthodox), this professor should be reprimanded and some sort of action should be taken.

We are taught to look at all sides, which is okay. But this professor's side is not the truth, the Orthodox Church holds the full truth. People need to learn all points of view, but in Orthodox Countries, we need to teach our students what the truth really is, and show everything else to be either distortions or even outright lies.

In what situation, in what course/lesson, really, would it be appropriate for the curriculum of a public school in an Orthodox State to involve attacks on the Orthodox Church?

I don't think it would be appropriate in ANY course. It would be beneficial to offer courses teaching students about other faiths. But no course should ever be used as a soap box for an atheist (or anyone else) to speak out against the Church.
(of course, that is in an Orthodox State, not a minority Orthodox state)

Also, when I talk about the US being an Orthodox State, I'm saying that in the possible (and hopeful) future event that Orthodoxy dominates the United States, then I would feel it would be appropriate for the United States to adopt it as a state religion. Our goal as Orthodox is to turn society, and the world upside down and turn it towards God, as well as to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #65 on: March 09, 2011, 04:05:43 AM »

As some may know, I had a discussion with another Orthodox Christian a couple weeks ago about various issues. One of the questions he posed to me has been bugging me for a while. I hold a point of view, that a nation should have Orthodoxy as it's "state religion" and that there needs to be an active, working relationship between Church and State based roughly/relatively on either the Byzantine Model or the Russian Model.
He posed to me that this is extremely unfair to those who aren't Orthodox and that it is wrong to "persecute" or "limit" these people simply because they hold a different faith...

Last week, a teacher (not the person I had talked with previously) was talking to us about Greek history (a Greek) told us (for some reason) about a Pagan named Hypatia, who was killed by Christians. However, she said it was Patriarch (and Saint) Cyril I who had her killed, and she then cited that this was a trend that would occur in the Church repeatedly through it's history. This astounded me and I wondered if this teacher was even an Orthodox Christian.

It got me to wondering if Greece allows Atheists (and non-Orthodox) to teach in their universities. I felt it was extremely unfair to the Orthodox (and to the non-Orthodox in the case of my classes) to have people like this teaching, as they will teach things that many youth won't understand is either factually wrong, or even at times, outright lies. (for example, St. Cyril wasn't responsible for Hypatia's death, it was a Christian mob, not the Patriarch's goons)

I also hold a position that Atheists and non-Christians should never... ever be commissioned to design Churches. It horrified me to learn that Le Corbusier was commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church to design a Church as well as a monastery. (both of which are horrific examples of Christian architecture, even though the architecture community idolizes them)

In our Western Society, we are taught that secularism should rule the day, and that there should be a thick brick wall separating Church and State. To break through this wall is extremely unfair, unjust and oppressive to individuals of different faiths. Models of the past, whether they be the Roman Empire, the Russian Empire, or others, are held as primitive, barbaric and oppressive. Our modern ways instead are held up as being the only way, and as being much more advanced.

It simply sickens me to think that some of these young, impressionable Greek Orthodox Christians here in Greece (who often aren't active in their Church lives, at least until they get married and have kids) might be influenced by non-Orthodox in these universities. Frankly, I regard it as completely unfair to the Orthodox that they possibly have people teaching them that will be teaching them falsehoods and sometimes outright lies.

So I would like to pose a question to other Orthodox Christians on here...
Do you think it is very unfair to non-Orthodox to have a country that has a working relationship between the Church & State?
Should we move past the Byzantine and Russian Empires, or are they models that we should continue to improve on and strive for?

I agree with you! However, in a situation with no Monarchy, I think the best governmental system to us would be the one from Iran. We could have the Patriarch as the spiritual ruler similar to the one they have. And the President, courts, and legislators under him.

But yes, I agree about the schools. The Atheists in the school system need to be exposed and neutralized. They shouldn't be allowed to use the class room to evangelize. Nor should they be allowed to use the class room to criticize Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #66 on: March 09, 2011, 04:55:37 AM »

As some may know, I had a discussion with another Orthodox Christian a couple weeks ago about various issues. One of the questions he posed to me has been bugging me for a while. I hold a point of view, that a nation should have Orthodoxy as it's "state religion" and that there needs to be an active, working relationship between Church and State based roughly/relatively on either the Byzantine Model or the Russian Model.
He posed to me that this is extremely unfair to those who aren't Orthodox and that it is wrong to "persecute" or "limit" these people simply because they hold a different faith...

Last week, a teacher (not the person I had talked with previously) was talking to us about Greek history (a Greek) told us (for some reason) about a Pagan named Hypatia, who was killed by Christians. However, she said it was Patriarch (and Saint) Cyril I who had her killed, and she then cited that this was a trend that would occur in the Church repeatedly through it's history. This astounded me and I wondered if this teacher was even an Orthodox Christian.

It got me to wondering if Greece allows Atheists (and non-Orthodox) to teach in their universities. I felt it was extremely unfair to the Orthodox (and to the non-Orthodox in the case of my classes) to have people like this teaching, as they will teach things that many youth won't understand is either factually wrong, or even at times, outright lies. (for example, St. Cyril wasn't responsible for Hypatia's death, it was a Christian mob, not the Patriarch's goons)

I also hold a position that Atheists and non-Christians should never... ever be commissioned to design Churches. It horrified me to learn that Le Corbusier was commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church to design a Church as well as a monastery. (both of which are horrific examples of Christian architecture, even though the architecture community idolizes them)

In our Western Society, we are taught that secularism should rule the day, and that there should be a thick brick wall separating Church and State. To break through this wall is extremely unfair, unjust and oppressive to individuals of different faiths. Models of the past, whether they be the Roman Empire, the Russian Empire, or others, are held as primitive, barbaric and oppressive. Our modern ways instead are held up as being the only way, and as being much more advanced.

It simply sickens me to think that some of these young, impressionable Greek Orthodox Christians here in Greece (who often aren't active in their Church lives, at least until they get married and have kids) might be influenced by non-Orthodox in these universities. Frankly, I regard it as completely unfair to the Orthodox that they possibly have people teaching them that will be teaching them falsehoods and sometimes outright lies.

So I would like to pose a question to other Orthodox Christians on here...
Do you think it is very unfair to non-Orthodox to have a country that has a working relationship between the Church & State?
Should we move past the Byzantine and Russian Empires, or are they models that we should continue to improve on and strive for?

I agree with you! However, in a situation with no Monarchy, I think the best governmental system to us would be the one from Iran. We could have the Patriarch as the spiritual ruler similar to the one they have. And the President, courts, and legislators under him.

But yes, I agree about the schools. The Atheists in the school system need to be exposed and neutralized. They shouldn't be allowed to use the class room to evangelize. Nor should they be allowed to use the class room to criticize Orthodoxy.


Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.
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« Reply #67 on: March 09, 2011, 09:47:19 AM »

I'm not a fan of secularism, but you are actually scaring me.
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« Reply #68 on: March 09, 2011, 09:50:45 AM »

As some may know, I had a discussion with another Orthodox Christian a couple weeks ago about various issues. One of the questions he posed to me has been bugging me for a while. I hold a point of view, that a nation should have Orthodoxy as it's "state religion" and that there needs to be an active, working relationship between Church and State based roughly/relatively on either the Byzantine Model or the Russian Model.
He posed to me that this is extremely unfair to those who aren't Orthodox and that it is wrong to "persecute" or "limit" these people simply because they hold a different faith...

Last week, a teacher (not the person I had talked with previously) was talking to us about Greek history (a Greek) told us (for some reason) about a Pagan named Hypatia, who was killed by Christians. However, she said it was Patriarch (and Saint) Cyril I who had her killed, and she then cited that this was a trend that would occur in the Church repeatedly through it's history. This astounded me and I wondered if this teacher was even an Orthodox Christian.

It got me to wondering if Greece allows Atheists (and non-Orthodox) to teach in their universities. I felt it was extremely unfair to the Orthodox (and to the non-Orthodox in the case of my classes) to have people like this teaching, as they will teach things that many youth won't understand is either factually wrong, or even at times, outright lies. (for example, St. Cyril wasn't responsible for Hypatia's death, it was a Christian mob, not the Patriarch's goons)

I also hold a position that Atheists and non-Christians should never... ever be commissioned to design Churches. It horrified me to learn that Le Corbusier was commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church to design a Church as well as a monastery. (both of which are horrific examples of Christian architecture, even though the architecture community idolizes them)

In our Western Society, we are taught that secularism should rule the day, and that there should be a thick brick wall separating Church and State. To break through this wall is extremely unfair, unjust and oppressive to individuals of different faiths. Models of the past, whether they be the Roman Empire, the Russian Empire, or others, are held as primitive, barbaric and oppressive. Our modern ways instead are held up as being the only way, and as being much more advanced.

It simply sickens me to think that some of these young, impressionable Greek Orthodox Christians here in Greece (who often aren't active in their Church lives, at least until they get married and have kids) might be influenced by non-Orthodox in these universities. Frankly, I regard it as completely unfair to the Orthodox that they possibly have people teaching them that will be teaching them falsehoods and sometimes outright lies.

So I would like to pose a question to other Orthodox Christians on here...
Do you think it is very unfair to non-Orthodox to have a country that has a working relationship between the Church & State?
Should we move past the Byzantine and Russian Empires, or are they models that we should continue to improve on and strive for?

I agree with you! However, in a situation with no Monarchy, I think the best governmental system to us would be the one from Iran. We could have the Patriarch as the spiritual ruler similar to the one they have. And the President, courts, and legislators under him.

But yes, I agree about the schools. The Atheists in the school system need to be exposed and neutralized. They shouldn't be allowed to use the class room to evangelize. Nor should they be allowed to use the class room to criticize Orthodoxy.


Hospodi Pomiluj! Unless you think you are being funny that is crazy talk. Think about what you are saying.
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« Reply #69 on: March 09, 2011, 10:11:46 AM »

A separation of religion and state is the ONLY safeguard we have against many of the dangers that such unity poses.
The militant secularism if not down right atheism going on demosntrates that that is no safeguard.
As if we needed an example:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,34181.msg540405.html#msg540405

Of course, the odd thing is that England and Scotland have state churches  (Wales, by the way, has no state church which is how it escaped having to have women bishops when the British Parliament mandated them for the Church of England).
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« Reply #70 on: March 09, 2011, 10:48:17 AM »

Devin, I come from the Republic of Ireland another small country (and also like Greece another ongoing economic disaster zone, but that's another story) the population there is over 85 percent Catholic. Therefore by your logic we should establish a closer state Church relationship.Further following your example as I understand it we would be justified in limiting rights regarding religious freedom to minorities. That would include the members of various Orthodox Churches who now comprise the fourth largest Christian group in the state.

*Now you may argue that and say of course from your viewpoint Orthodoxy is guide by God but I have heard similar arguments to your own from the Catholic side of the fence in which the arguments are very similar and only the various nations used as examples and other terminology changes.

OK. But just because two groups claim the same attribute (political dominance) for themselves for the same reason (claiming to be the true religion) doesn't mean it is unreasonable to side with one of these groups, given that one of them actually is true about being the true religion. So the individual may or may not be justified based on whether or not he/she has reasonably determined the true religion.


An argument curiously reminscent of many a one I've heard traditionalist Catholics make on this very topic.
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« Reply #71 on: March 09, 2011, 11:10:36 AM »

Our goal as Orthodox is to turn society, and the world upside down and turn it towards God, as well as to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy.

I don't remember learning that in my catechumen class.
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« Reply #72 on: March 09, 2011, 11:13:36 AM »

What I read here is reminiscent of jihad.
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« Reply #73 on: March 09, 2011, 11:22:13 AM »

I would suggest that those of you who have expressed strong personal opinions about the efficacy of a state religion and how you would envision it should seek some time with your local priest to discuss the subject at length. By your local priest, I do not mean some Elder or Starost, I mean them no disrespect, but often they speak and write allegorically and people misunderstand their words as being literal in intent. Talk to your priest to sort things out. He won't bite.
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« Reply #74 on: March 09, 2011, 11:26:20 AM »

What I read here is reminiscent of jihad.
Workers of the World, Unite!
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« Reply #75 on: March 09, 2011, 11:35:56 AM »

I would suggest that those of you who have expressed strong personal opinions about the efficacy of a state religion and how you would envision it should seek some time with your local priest to discuss the subject at length. By your local priest, I do not mean some Elder or Starost, I mean them no disrespect, but often they speak and write allegorically and people misunderstand their words as being literal in intent. Talk to your priest to sort things out. He won't bite.

That is pretty presumptuous.  I have had conversations regarding Orthodoxy as a State Religion with three different priests, one ROCOR and two Serbian, and neither oppose such.  In fact, our views on the matter are identical.  The ROCOR priest was a convert, but both Serbs were old country, and one was old enough to remember an Orthodox King.  So the ones that I have spoken certainly did bite.
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« Reply #76 on: March 09, 2011, 11:43:54 AM »

Orthodoxy as a state religion and the opinions expressed in this thread are two different things. Orthodoxy as a state religion does not (necessarily) imply enshrining the catechism into the law, as our enthusiastic convert would like.
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« Reply #77 on: March 09, 2011, 12:01:28 PM »

I would suggest that those of you who have expressed strong personal opinions about the efficacy of a state religion and how you would envision it should seek some time with your local priest to discuss the subject at length. By your local priest, I do not mean some Elder or Starost, I mean them no disrespect, but often they speak and write allegorically and people misunderstand their words as being literal in intent. Talk to your priest to sort things out. He won't bite.

That is pretty presumptuous.  I have had conversations regarding Orthodoxy as a State Religion with three different priests, one ROCOR and two Serbian, and neither oppose such.  In fact, our views on the matter are identical.  The ROCOR priest was a convert, but both Serbs were old country, and one was old enough to remember an Orthodox King.  So the ones that I have spoken certainly did bite.

You misunderstand, I meant 'bite' as in he won't bite you for asking and he could help you understand the concept and better frame the question. Sometimes Elders and spiritual fathers are obtuse and not direct, that is all I meant. I felt that a pastor might give a better and more practical ear to the topic in order to provide guidance. I was not assuming any particular answer from any particular priest's own experience or world view. I am not that naive as I know full well that there is wide ranging, legitimate field of varying opinions on the topic within Orthodoxy.

As Augustin has inferred, part of the issue is how you define a state church in the modern context - not the imperial one of centuries past. That's all I was saying. I didn't mean to be presumptuous. Under the Serbian Kings there was a history of greater tolerance for Jews for example than was typically so in the history of Russia. So the context is important.
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« Reply #78 on: March 09, 2011, 12:26:58 PM »

Our goal as Orthodox is to turn society, and the world upside down and turn it towards God, as well as to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy.

I don't remember learning that in my catechumen class.

Orthodoxy is about redemption for the whole of creation, restoring it to what it was intended to be. Humanity, and therefore human society, is part of creation (it's the pinnacle, actually!). I think Devin's makes a good point here, and that it fits perfectly into the redemption of creation. To cite a modern theologian on this subject, Vladimir Lossky speaks about it in his Orthodox Theology: An Introduction.


Orthodoxy as a state religion and the opinions expressed in this thread are two different things. Orthodoxy as a state religion does not (necessarily) imply enshrining the catechism into the law, as our enthusiastic convert would like.

I wouldn't support going that far with it, mind you. No one should be forced into any religion (or lack thereof) even if it is the state religion. If our Lord permits free will in His creatures, then the Church (or the State) should as well. I would support courses in state schools that favorably teach the doctrine and history of the Church, but not to the exclusion of learning about other world religions and general worldviews. The center for religious learning, however, should always be the Church, in the Temple of God and not a classroom, as well as in the life of the family unit.

We also need to be aware of the world and those who disagree with us, and be able to interact with them. We aren't very functional beings without them. I even would not mind having members of those religions and believers in those worldviews teach those classes, especially at the collegiate level. It allows for a fair platform to them to speak on their beliefs. Yet, the rest of the system would uphold Orthodox teaching, and if the Church is doing its job in instructing the children (and the parents are doing the same) we shouldn't be scared about our children taking a World Religions course from an atheist or a Muslim.
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« Reply #79 on: March 09, 2011, 01:05:09 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink
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« Reply #80 on: March 09, 2011, 01:13:19 PM »

As some may know, I had a discussion with another Orthodox Christian a couple weeks ago about various issues. One of the questions he posed to me has been bugging me for a while. I hold a point of view, that a nation should have Orthodoxy as it's "state religion" and that there needs to be an active, working relationship between Church and State based roughly/relatively on either the Byzantine Model or the Russian Model.
He posed to me that this is extremely unfair to those who aren't Orthodox and that it is wrong to "persecute" or "limit" these people simply because they hold a different faith...

Last week, a teacher (not the person I had talked with previously) was talking to us about Greek history (a Greek) told us (for some reason) about a Pagan named Hypatia, who was killed by Christians. However, she said it was Patriarch (and Saint) Cyril I who had her killed, and she then cited that this was a trend that would occur in the Church repeatedly through it's history. This astounded me and I wondered if this teacher was even an Orthodox Christian.

It got me to wondering if Greece allows Atheists (and non-Orthodox) to teach in their universities. I felt it was extremely unfair to the Orthodox (and to the non-Orthodox in the case of my classes) to have people like this teaching, as they will teach things that many youth won't understand is either factually wrong, or even at times, outright lies. (for example, St. Cyril wasn't responsible for Hypatia's death, it was a Christian mob, not the Patriarch's goons)

I also hold a position that Atheists and non-Christians should never... ever be commissioned to design Churches. It horrified me to learn that Le Corbusier was commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church to design a Church as well as a monastery. (both of which are horrific examples of Christian architecture, even though the architecture community idolizes them)

In our Western Society, we are taught that secularism should rule the day, and that there should be a thick brick wall separating Church and State. To break through this wall is extremely unfair, unjust and oppressive to individuals of different faiths. Models of the past, whether they be the Roman Empire, the Russian Empire, or others, are held as primitive, barbaric and oppressive. Our modern ways instead are held up as being the only way, and as being much more advanced.

It simply sickens me to think that some of these young, impressionable Greek Orthodox Christians here in Greece (who often aren't active in their Church lives, at least until they get married and have kids) might be influenced by non-Orthodox in these universities. Frankly, I regard it as completely unfair to the Orthodox that they possibly have people teaching them that will be teaching them falsehoods and sometimes outright lies.

So I would like to pose a question to other Orthodox Christians on here...
Do you think it is very unfair to non-Orthodox to have a country that has a working relationship between the Church & State?
Should we move past the Byzantine and Russian Empires, or are they models that we should continue to improve on and strive for?

I agree with you! However, in a situation with no Monarchy, I think the best governmental system to us would be the one from Iran. We could have the Patriarch as the spiritual ruler similar to the one they have. And the President, courts, and legislators under him.

But yes, I agree about the schools. The Atheists in the school system need to be exposed and neutralized. They shouldn't be allowed to use the class room to evangelize. Nor should they be allowed to use the class room to criticize Orthodoxy.


You are being sarcastic, right?
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« Reply #81 on: March 09, 2011, 02:12:22 PM »

Orthodoxy as a state religion and the opinions expressed in this thread are two different things. Orthodoxy as a state religion does not (necessarily) imply enshrining the catechism into the law, as our enthusiastic convert would like.

Did I ever say that? I don't think I ever did...

In my honest opinion, we definitely do need to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy. This definitely doesn't mean that you convert by force.

It seems today that we aren't actively trying to evangelize in non-Orthodox nations. (of course, a few exceptions like Central America) It seems Orthodox Churches refuse to touch Western European nations, or even Islamic Nations. (or even Hindu/Buddhist ones)
From what I've seen, it seems that our Orthodox Churches even have "deals" with other Christian groups like the Roman Catholics where we agree not to actively proselytize in their countries. I say to heck with those deals (if they actually exist), they aren't bringing anyone to Orthodoxy.

Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, "Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved."

When Noah was building the Ark, did he just sit around and refuse to warn others? Did he focus on only saving himself? No he didn't.
The Church is the Ark of Salvation, if people won't listen to her message, then that's their problem. But it is our job (with the help of the Lord) to bring as many people to the Ark as possible.

No one can deny that the world is not getting better, it's getting worse. The waters are rising fast, and many of us are drowning. If we are on the Ark, we need to help pull them aboard, not just sit around and stare at them while they drown, that is just sadistic.

As for the Church & State thing. As I said, I don't think it should occur in non-Orthodox majority states. But even so, it should be our job to make those countries Orthodox (or more Orthodox).
This anti-Church/State idea comes from the West, and more specifically from the United States, which is NOT a Christian nation, and many of it's ideals were more founded in deism than Christianity.

Should a nation founded by Freemasons and Deists be a model for Orthodox Christians? Or should we follow the model of nations/empires founded and run by Orthodox?

Regarding the whole issue of the government "enforcing" certain "laws"... You must recognize that in the Byzantine Empire, it was often the Emperor who called the Councils. If someone violated the canons or doctrines of the Church, the Church can excommunicate them, but it was the Empire that handed out further "punishment" which often included exile, which the Church couldn't do.

You also cannot use the argument that "a few bad apples makes the whole orchard rotten". Just because there were some Emperors that were evil doesn't make the whole idea of an Orthodox State wrong. That is just stupid. Using that argument, you could further argue that the Orthodox Church shouldn't have hierarchy because there are often evil and heterodox Bishops (and even Priests). It makes no sense to argue with that.

It is admirable that in Russia today, Orthodoxy HAS to be taught in the schools. They also encourage the teaching of Islam and Judaism. They can also teach about Roman Catholicism and others. But they are required to teach Orthodoxy to the students.

I think it is also good that the Patriarch of Moscow is an advisor to the President & Vice President. It is also good that both are seen regularly at Church services, and regularly with the Patriarch. Are they honest in their faith? We don't have any right to judge that. But it shows that Russia truly is Orthodox, and that Orthodoxy is truly the right faith, and others are not even close to equal with it.

In the Byzantine Empire, the Church & the State were close, but the Patriarch didn't (or wasn't supposed to) meddle in political affairs, and the Emperor wasn't supposed to meddle in Church affairs.

Are we declaring a jihad? No... Are we declaring war? No... Why is that? Because war has already been declared on us. The world wants to destroy us, and the world is commanded by it's master. To quote the famous Orthodox publication, we seek "Death to the World". We wish to slay the passions. The powers of evil are warring against us, and wish to annihilate us. They use violence, deceit, hatred, and many other methods (including secularism) against us to lead us away from God.

Of course, I think all of us know this, and I'm probably just preaching to the choir, but I'm trying to make a point here.
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« Reply #82 on: March 09, 2011, 02:13:53 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?
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« Reply #83 on: March 09, 2011, 05:48:54 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

After reading your last two posts, I would highly encourage you to move to Russia, become a citizen and enjoy the benefits of living in an Orthodox state. Good luck.
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« Reply #84 on: March 09, 2011, 06:45:19 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

After reading your last two posts, I would highly encourage you to move to Russia, become a citizen and enjoy the benefits of living in an Orthodox state. Good luck.

Well right now i'm residing (temporarily) in Greece. I have to say it's pretty nice, of course, except for the one instance with the teacher... (well, and the "atheists/anarchists", but they are usually just rebellious kids who return to the Church when they grow up)
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« Reply #85 on: March 09, 2011, 07:02:21 PM »

I agree with you! However, in a situation with no Monarchy, I think the best governmental system to us would be the one from Iran. We could have the Patriarch as the spiritual ruler similar to the one they have. And the President, courts, and legislators under him.

I don't see how that protects the clergy from being political powers.
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« Reply #86 on: March 09, 2011, 07:05:16 PM »

I have a severe mistrust of the state, so why would I trust it in terms of anything relating to religion?

That's the only reason that I kind of believe in a separation of Church and state, because if the state gets involved, it's going to mess up the Church. The state leaders will just use it as a tool for their own policies and agenda. Let's look at Soviet Russia and how Stalin temporarily brought in the Church to strengthen patriotism.

I'd just rather not touch this with a 10 foot pole. There are benefits, but it can get pretty dicey.
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« Reply #87 on: March 09, 2011, 07:07:27 PM »

Devin, I come from the Republic of Ireland another small country (and also like Greece another ongoing economic disaster zone, but that's another story) the population there is over 85 percent Catholic. Therefore by your logic we should establish a closer state Church relationship.Further following your example as I understand it we would be justified in limiting rights regarding religious freedom to minorities. That would include the members of various Orthodox Churches who now comprise the fourth largest Christian group in the state.

*Now you may argue that and say of course from your viewpoint Orthodoxy is guide by God but I have heard similar arguments to your own from the Catholic side of the fence in which the arguments are very similar and only the various nations used as examples and other terminology changes.

OK. But just because two groups claim the same attribute (political dominance) for themselves for the same reason (claiming to be the true religion) doesn't mean it is unreasonable to side with one of these groups, given that one of them actually is true about being the true religion. So the individual may or may not be justified based on whether or not he/she has reasonably determined the true religion.


An argument curiously reminscent of many a one I've heard traditionalist Catholics make on this very topic.

OK.... So? Pretty much all religious groups have some of the truth, and some of them have even gotten these truths from the Orthodox Church, Traditionalist Romanists included in that.

BTW, in a number of cases I probably would prefer certain heterodox Christian confessions being the ("light") state religion rather than society being secular. They would probably accomplish more towards the defense of certain Orthodox principles.
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« Reply #88 on: March 09, 2011, 07:08:31 PM »

Our goal as Orthodox is to turn society, and the world upside down and turn it towards God, as well as to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy.

I don't remember learning that in my catechumen class.

It seems to me like quite an obvious truth.
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« Reply #89 on: March 09, 2011, 07:10:25 PM »

I have a severe mistrust of the state, so why would I trust it in terms of anything relating to religion?

That's the only reason that I kind of believe in a separation of Church and state, because if the state gets involved, it's going to mess up the Church. The state leaders will just use it as a tool for their own policies and agenda. Let's look at Soviet Russia and how Stalin temporarily brought in the Church to strengthen patriotism.

I'd just rather not touch this with a 10 foot pole. There are benefits, but it can get pretty dicey.

Well, the Church wasn't messed up by the Byzantine or Russian Empires... Sure there were some hard times, but they were always overcome.
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« Reply #90 on: March 09, 2011, 07:11:28 PM »

So the ones that I have spoken certainly did bite.

LOL. I think you two are meaning two different things by "bite", one like a dog biting a person and one like a fish biting a hook.
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« Reply #91 on: March 09, 2011, 07:14:21 PM »

I have a severe mistrust of the state, so why would I trust it in terms of anything relating to religion?

That's the only reason that I kind of believe in a separation of Church and state, because if the state gets involved, it's going to mess up the Church. The state leaders will just use it as a tool for their own policies and agenda. Let's look at Soviet Russia and how Stalin temporarily brought in the Church to strengthen patriotism.

I'd just rather not touch this with a 10 foot pole. There are benefits, but it can get pretty dicey.

Well, the Church wasn't messed up by the Byzantine or Russian Empires... Sure there were some hard times, but they were always overcome.
Ehh, sorry, let me put this another way. The CHURCH itself wasn't messed up, but leaders can just take it or leave it at their own convenience, using it to suit their agenda. That's all. I don't like the idea of the Church being used as someone's political platform, especially when they in their hearts do not believe in the faith.
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« Reply #92 on: March 09, 2011, 07:14:35 PM »

No one should be forced into any religion (or lack thereof) even if it is the state religion.

I don't think anyone in this thread has suggested otherwise, so I don't know what augustin's problem is.
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« Reply #93 on: March 09, 2011, 07:16:26 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

I will repeat a question I asked before that went unanswered:

I would say that the most "Biblical" and most "Orthodox" of systems are a Monarchy/Empire and Democracy (though not the American style of Democracy necessarily).

What exactly is Biblical or Orthodox about Democracy? Undecided
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« Reply #94 on: March 09, 2011, 08:06:51 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

I will repeat a question I asked before that went unanswered:

I would say that the most "Biblical" and most "Orthodox" of systems are a Monarchy/Empire and Democracy (though not the American style of Democracy necessarily).

What exactly is Biblical or Orthodox about Democracy? Undecided

Democracy is neither Biblical nor Orthodox.

When the Greeks voted to reject the foreign imposed monarchy in 1975, they did not vote to reject Greek Orthodox Church as State Religion.
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« Reply #95 on: March 09, 2011, 08:11:28 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).
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« Reply #96 on: March 09, 2011, 08:39:18 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force, especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.
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« Reply #97 on: March 09, 2011, 09:41:39 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.
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« Reply #98 on: March 09, 2011, 09:46:54 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.


The EU can "shove it" in my opinion. It doesn't matter what they say or ask Greece to do. It would be better for Greece (or any EU state) to fall into ruin or foreign rule than to sacrifice it's faith or submit to secularism.
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« Reply #99 on: March 09, 2011, 09:56:40 PM »

Orthodoxy as a state religion and the opinions expressed in this thread are two different things. Orthodoxy as a state religion does not (necessarily) imply enshrining the catechism into the law, as our enthusiastic convert would like.

Did I ever say that? I don't think I ever did...

In my honest opinion, we definitely do need to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy. This definitely doesn't mean that you convert by force.

It seems today that we aren't actively trying to evangelize in non-Orthodox nations. (of course, a few exceptions like Central America) It seems Orthodox Churches refuse to touch Western European nations, or even Islamic Nations. (or even Hindu/Buddhist ones)
From what I've seen, it seems that our Orthodox Churches even have "deals" with other Christian groups like the Roman Catholics where we agree not to actively proselytize in their countries. I say to heck with those deals (if they actually exist), they aren't bringing anyone to Orthodoxy.

Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, "Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved."

When Noah was building the Ark, did he just sit around and refuse to warn others? Did he focus on only saving himself? No he didn't.
The Church is the Ark of Salvation, if people won't listen to her message, then that's their problem. But it is our job (with the help of the Lord) to bring as many people to the Ark as possible.

No one can deny that the world is not getting better, it's getting worse. The waters are rising fast, and many of us are drowning. If we are on the Ark, we need to help pull them aboard, not just sit around and stare at them while they drown, that is just sadistic.

As for the Church & State thing. As I said, I don't think it should occur in non-Orthodox majority states. But even so, it should be our job to make those countries Orthodox (or more Orthodox).
This anti-Church/State idea comes from the West, and more specifically from the United States, which is NOT a Christian nation, and many of it's ideals were more founded in deism than Christianity.

Should a nation founded by Freemasons and Deists be a model for Orthodox Christians? Or should we follow the model of nations/empires founded and run by Orthodox?

Regarding the whole issue of the government "enforcing" certain "laws"... You must recognize that in the Byzantine Empire, it was often the Emperor who called the Councils. If someone violated the canons or doctrines of the Church, the Church can excommunicate them, but it was the Empire that handed out further "punishment" which often included exile, which the Church couldn't do.

You also cannot use the argument that "a few bad apples makes the whole orchard rotten". Just because there were some Emperors that were evil doesn't make the whole idea of an Orthodox State wrong. That is just stupid. Using that argument, you could further argue that the Orthodox Church shouldn't have hierarchy because there are often evil and heterodox Bishops (and even Priests). It makes no sense to argue with that.

It is admirable that in Russia today, Orthodoxy HAS to be taught in the schools. They also encourage the teaching of Islam and Judaism. They can also teach about Roman Catholicism and others. But they are required to teach Orthodoxy to the students.

I think it is also good that the Patriarch of Moscow is an advisor to the President & Vice President. It is also good that both are seen regularly at Church services, and regularly with the Patriarch. Are they honest in their faith? We don't have any right to judge that. But it shows that Russia truly is Orthodox, and that Orthodoxy is truly the right faith, and others are not even close to equal with it.

In the Byzantine Empire, the Church & the State were close, but the Patriarch didn't (or wasn't supposed to) meddle in political affairs, and the Emperor wasn't supposed to meddle in Church affairs.

Are we declaring a jihad? No... Are we declaring war? No... Why is that? Because war has already been declared on us. The world wants to destroy us, and the world is commanded by it's master. To quote the famous Orthodox publication, we seek "Death to the World". We wish to slay the passions. The powers of evil are warring against us, and wish to annihilate us. They use violence, deceit, hatred, and many other methods (including secularism) against us to lead us away from God.

Of course, I think all of us know this, and I'm probably just preaching to the choir, but I'm trying to make a point here.

I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"

If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.
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« Reply #100 on: March 09, 2011, 10:43:45 PM »

Christ came and established the Church, not a earthly kingdom or government.  If Christ's kingdom is not of this world, the Church has nothing to do with this world either.  On the subject of politics being mingled with religion, that is an opinion based on worldly philosophies.  On the subject the Church being mingled with politics would be a blasphemy.  No Orthodox empire was successful, and always incorporated unChristian methods.  Have you noticed how the Church is at her best in fact when it was suppressed by the government, and worse when it controls government?

I think there is some misunderstanding here. I agree that the life of the Church should not be dependent upon civil powers. I agree that it is at the very least dangerous if not totally unacceptable for Church officials to wield political power. But the Church's role in the State in this way is not really what we are addressing here. Rather, we are addressing the State's role in the societal propagation of Orthodoxy.

The State can do whatever it wants, but what we can learn from history is the Church's readiness in some places to hail victorious and "ordain" Orthodox leaders when Orthodoxy becomes state religion.  So, while the State can do whatever it wants, when it touches Orthodoxy, the Church undoubtedly mingles with it.

I'm not sure that the sort of "mingling" you are talking about is actually wrong (though we haven't gotten into great detail).

P.S. I understand that there is a long-standing tradition of the Coptic church resisting mingling with the State, particularly beginning with Pope Saint Dioscoros I, but this happened largely because of the State falling away from Orthodoxy, and when the State actually was Orthodox, the Coptic church was much warmer with the government.

I'm not placing a blame on an EO/OO thing.  Yes, I'd say that the EO/OO split seemed to solidify my firm belief that the Church mingling with the state is blasphemy, but even before the split.  Take Constantine for instance.  It's apparently necessary that an emperor has to convene religious councils, and Constantine was the first.  Can we not convene a council on the merits of it being a holy council among clergy?  No, we had to depend on the emperor.  And for conduct, imperial judges.  And we even encouraged and sought out the banishing and punishing of heretics.  It may sound a bit anachronistic, but to be honest, the Milan announcement was of a freedom of religion, not an establishment of religion.  In any case, the idea was there, but a lot of clerics seem to have wanted more.

In addition, Constantinople allowed the emperor (and empress) places in the altar (except St. John Chrysostom).  The emperor seemed to have held a very special "equal to clerical" position that merited their places inside the altar.  To me, the emperor is nothing but a layman who has no right to enter the altar.

When the government begins to acquire a way to form a state religion, the church seems to look to the state to become a major leader.

Now, forgive me for sounding as if this is an anti-EO comment, but when I hear EO's praying for "Orthodox Russian empire" to return, the way the emperor for an EO sounds no different in power than the Pope of Rome for RC's.  Of course, not all EO's are like this (OCA and Antiochian Orthodox I believe hold a very anti-state view), but it kinda bothers me a bit that the emperor seems to hold a very important theological place in history.  We should learn from history that if anything, the Holy Spirit is inspiring us that Orthodox governments are failures and border-line heretical.
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« Reply #101 on: March 09, 2011, 10:52:48 PM »

There have been great Orthodox emperors but I think it is very much a matter of the individual ruler's choice. The institution of monarchy does nothing to ensure the sovereign's Orthodoxy and in fact has also been a conduit for the virulent spread of heresies. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as an ideal Christian political system. We can have ideal rulers, but the talk of holy monarchies is simply utopian. Of course, democracy is utopian too; really existing democracy does not live up to the fairy tales.
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« Reply #102 on: March 09, 2011, 10:59:59 PM »

There have been great Orthodox emperors but I think it is very much a matter of the individual ruler's choice. The institution of monarchy does nothing to ensure the sovereign's Orthodoxy and in fact has also been a conduit for the virulent spread of heresies. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as an ideal Christian political system. We can have ideal rulers, but the talk of holy monarchies is simply utopian. Of course, democracy is utopian too; really existing democracy does not live up to the fairy tales.

I always thought, if each and every one of us act like true Orthodox Christians, where we are taught that we are but sojourners in this world, guests of the world, we would be thankful of the government that cares for us, not seek to take over it.
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« Reply #103 on: March 09, 2011, 11:46:39 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.


The EU can "shove it" in my opinion. It doesn't matter what they say or ask Greece to do. It would be better for Greece (or any EU state) to fall into ruin or foreign rule than to sacrifice it's faith or submit to secularism.

Ask your friends why they don't pay taxes and then ask them if their attitude is consistent to that in the Bible....
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« Reply #104 on: March 09, 2011, 11:53:09 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.


The EU can "shove it" in my opinion. It doesn't matter what they say or ask Greece to do. It would be better for Greece (or any EU state) to fall into ruin or foreign rule than to sacrifice it's faith or submit to secularism.

Ask your friends why they don't pay taxes and then ask them if their attitude is consistent to that in the Bible....

Huh? what??? I never said anything about taxes.
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« Reply #105 on: March 09, 2011, 11:54:00 PM »

Our goal as Orthodox is to turn society, and the world upside down and turn it towards God, as well as to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy.

I don't remember learning that in my catechumen class.

Orthodoxy is about redemption for the whole of creation, restoring it to what it was intended to be. Humanity, and therefore human society, is part of creation (it's the pinnacle, actually!). I think Devin's makes a good point here, and that it fits perfectly into the redemption of creation. To cite a modern theologian on this subject, Vladimir Lossky speaks about it in his Orthodox Theology: An Introduction.

I didn't take Devin to mean redemption of creation so much as violation of the intent and letter of the Establishment Clause, as he says here:

Also, when I talk about the US being an Orthodox State, I'm saying that in the possible (and hopeful) future event that Orthodoxy dominates the United States, then I would feel it would be appropriate for the United States to adopt it as a state religion. Our goal as Orthodox is to turn society, and the world upside down and turn it towards God, as well as to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy.

Maybe I misunderstood him. Thank you for the book suggestion.

Our goal as Orthodox is to turn society, and the world upside down and turn it towards God, as well as to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy.

I don't remember learning that in my catechumen class.

It seems to me like quite an obvious truth.

You must be standing on a higher rung on the ladder of divine ascent, since you can see farther and appreciate more.
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« Reply #106 on: March 09, 2011, 11:56:56 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.


The EU can "shove it" in my opinion. It doesn't matter what they say or ask Greece to do. It would be better for Greece (or any EU state) to fall into ruin or foreign rule than to sacrifice it's faith or submit to secularism.

Ask your friends why they don't pay taxes and then ask them if their attitude is consistent to that in the Bible....

Huh? what??? I never said anything about taxes.

If Greece was an utopian Orthodox Country, there would be no tax evasion as an alternative state religion.   Wink
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« Reply #107 on: March 10, 2011, 09:18:52 AM »

There have been great Orthodox emperors but I think it is very much a matter of the individual ruler's choice. The institution of monarchy does nothing to ensure the sovereign's Orthodoxy and in fact has also been a conduit for the virulent spread of heresies. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as an ideal Christian political system. We can have ideal rulers, but the talk of holy monarchies is simply utopian. Of course, democracy is utopian too; really existing democracy does not live up to the fairy tales.

I always thought, if each and every one of us act like true Orthodox Christians, where we are taught that we are but sojourners in this world, guests of the world, we would be thankful of the government that cares for us, not seek to take over it.

"We are not nationalists for in Christ and in His Church there are no nations. As Russians and Tartars and Jews and Americans we have become one new people of the Covenant. We pray and worry so as to lead as many people as possible into the Celestial Home. We are not patriots of the earth, for we remember the words of St. Gregory the Theologian. “And these earthly countries and families are the playthings of this our temporary life and scene.  For our country is whatever each may have first occupied, either as tyrant, or in misfortune; and in this we are all alike strangers and pilgrims, however much we may play with names” (Oration 33). We are striving for the New Jerusalem and only with its interests in mind do we bring our actions into correlation.

"Uranopolitans are members of the Body of Christ, which exceeds kinship of language and unity according to citizenship by state, and that is why the interests of the Universal Church are more important for us than any remaining interests. Only the one who has become a true citizen of heaven is capable of true freedom, about which the Savior said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). We are no longer obliged to think in unison with this passing world. We should not consider that society, the nation, or the state is more important than an individual. This is not so; when all the nations disappear, when all the kingdoms of the world collapse, we will live in the flesh in our Homeland. The state is created by God for us and not us for the state. The nations, the result of the condemnation of Babylon, will vanish, but all those people that they are composed of will remain, those whom our Heavenly Father commanded us to love as ourselves." - Fr. Daniel Sysoyev

Hieromartyr Daniel, pray for us!

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« Reply #108 on: March 10, 2011, 09:50:36 AM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.


I concur just as I am OK if the Brits want the COE to be the state church. However, if the state faith is akin to that of Shia Islam in  Iran, i.e. by how it acts and controls, that is not OK.
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« Reply #109 on: March 10, 2011, 10:00:51 AM »


I concur just as I am OK if the Brits want the COE to be the state church. However, if the state faith is akin to that of Shia Islam in  Iran, i.e. by how it acts and controls, that is not OK.
But it's not okay because they're Islam, duh!  Roll Eyes

I agree - regardless of the faith. That is why I kind of lean libertarian. Give me the Church. Let man have his state and let it interfere in my life as little as possible. God will judge.

Now, I know that there's imperfections in that way of thinking - but aren't there in any type? I realized (which is pretty depressing for a political science student) years ago that there is no perfect government. It can all work in a utopia, but that's not going to happen here.
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« Reply #110 on: March 10, 2011, 10:19:49 AM »

There have been great Orthodox emperors but I think it is very much a matter of the individual ruler's choice. The institution of monarchy does nothing to ensure the sovereign's Orthodoxy and in fact has also been a conduit for the virulent spread of heresies. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as an ideal Christian political system. We can have ideal rulers, but the talk of holy monarchies is simply utopian. Of course, democracy is utopian too; really existing democracy does not live up to the fairy tales.

I always thought, if each and every one of us act like true Orthodox Christians, where we are taught that we are but sojourners in this world, guests of the world, we would be thankful of the government that cares for us, not seek to take over it.

"We are not nationalists for in Christ and in His Church there are no nations. As Russians and Tartars and Jews and Americans we have become one new people of the Covenant. We pray and worry so as to lead as many people as possible into the Celestial Home. We are not patriots of the earth, for we remember the words of St. Gregory the Theologian. “And these earthly countries and families are the playthings of this our temporary life and scene.  For our country is whatever each may have first occupied, either as tyrant, or in misfortune; and in this we are all alike strangers and pilgrims, however much we may play with names” (Oration 33). We are striving for the New Jerusalem and only with its interests in mind do we bring our actions into correlation.

"Uranopolitans are members of the Body of Christ, which exceeds kinship of language and unity according to citizenship by state, and that is why the interests of the Universal Church are more important for us than any remaining interests. Only the one who has become a true citizen of heaven is capable of true freedom, about which the Savior said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). We are no longer obliged to think in unison with this passing world. We should not consider that society, the nation, or the state is more important than an individual. This is not so; when all the nations disappear, when all the kingdoms of the world collapse, we will live in the flesh in our Homeland. The state is created by God for us and not us for the state. The nations, the result of the condemnation of Babylon, will vanish, but all those people that they are composed of will remain, those whom our Heavenly Father commanded us to love as ourselves." - Fr. Daniel Sysoyev

Hieromartyr Daniel, pray for us!

Thank you for this.  I just glanced at an Orthodoxwiki article about him.  May he indeed pray for us.
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« Reply #111 on: March 10, 2011, 10:23:09 AM »

Keep the state out of religion, and religion out of the state.
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« Reply #112 on: March 10, 2011, 11:07:51 AM »


I concur just as I am OK if the Brits want the COE to be the state church. However, if the state faith is akin to that of Shia Islam in  Iran, i.e. by how it acts and controls, that is not OK.
But it's not okay because they're Islam, duh!  Roll Eyes

I agree - regardless of the faith. That is why I kind of lean libertarian. Give me the Church. Let man have his state and let it interfere in my life as little as possible. God will judge.

Now, I know that there's imperfections in that way of thinking - but aren't there in any type? I realized (which is pretty depressing for a political science student) years ago that there is no perfect government. It can all work in a utopia, but that's not going to happen here.

Dear IsmiLiora--Islam is not like a Christian denomination. Freedom of religion in Islamic countries is simply: You are free to choose Islam but if choose not to continue, you are wrong and the penalty (depending on where you live) may be as severe as being chopped to small pieces. Islam is the context for slavery, gross oppression of females (to include stoning for being raped, genital mutilation, being divorced and thrown into the the street at the whim of the husband, and honor killings), economic and political stagnation, etc...

Nope, no equivalences that I can think of.
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« Reply #113 on: March 10, 2011, 11:32:50 AM »

Orthodoxy as a state religion and the opinions expressed in this thread are two different things. Orthodoxy as a state religion does not (necessarily) imply enshrining the catechism into the law, as our enthusiastic convert would like.

Did I ever say that? I don't think I ever did...

In my honest opinion, we definitely do need to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy. This definitely doesn't mean that you convert by force.

It seems today that we aren't actively trying to evangelize in non-Orthodox nations. (of course, a few exceptions like Central America) It seems Orthodox Churches refuse to touch Western European nations, or even Islamic Nations. (or even Hindu/Buddhist ones)
From what I've seen, it seems that our Orthodox Churches even have "deals" with other Christian groups like the Roman Catholics where we agree not to actively proselytize in their countries. I say to heck with those deals (if they actually exist), they aren't bringing anyone to Orthodoxy.

Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, "Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved."

When Noah was building the Ark, did he just sit around and refuse to warn others? Did he focus on only saving himself? No he didn't.
The Church is the Ark of Salvation, if people won't listen to her message, then that's their problem. But it is our job (with the help of the Lord) to bring as many people to the Ark as possible.

No one can deny that the world is not getting better, it's getting worse. The waters are rising fast, and many of us are drowning. If we are on the Ark, we need to help pull them aboard, not just sit around and stare at them while they drown, that is just sadistic.

As for the Church & State thing. As I said, I don't think it should occur in non-Orthodox majority states. But even so, it should be our job to make those countries Orthodox (or more Orthodox).
This anti-Church/State idea comes from the West, and more specifically from the United States, which is NOT a Christian nation, and many of it's ideals were more founded in deism than Christianity.

Should a nation founded by Freemasons and Deists be a model for Orthodox Christians? Or should we follow the model of nations/empires founded and run by Orthodox?

Regarding the whole issue of the government "enforcing" certain "laws"... You must recognize that in the Byzantine Empire, it was often the Emperor who called the Councils. If someone violated the canons or doctrines of the Church, the Church can excommunicate them, but it was the Empire that handed out further "punishment" which often included exile, which the Church couldn't do.

You also cannot use the argument that "a few bad apples makes the whole orchard rotten". Just because there were some Emperors that were evil doesn't make the whole idea of an Orthodox State wrong. That is just stupid. Using that argument, you could further argue that the Orthodox Church shouldn't have hierarchy because there are often evil and heterodox Bishops (and even Priests). It makes no sense to argue with that.

It is admirable that in Russia today, Orthodoxy HAS to be taught in the schools. They also encourage the teaching of Islam and Judaism. They can also teach about Roman Catholicism and others. But they are required to teach Orthodoxy to the students.

I think it is also good that the Patriarch of Moscow is an advisor to the President & Vice President. It is also good that both are seen regularly at Church services, and regularly with the Patriarch. Are they honest in their faith? We don't have any right to judge that. But it shows that Russia truly is Orthodox, and that Orthodoxy is truly the right faith, and others are not even close to equal with it.

In the Byzantine Empire, the Church & the State were close, but the Patriarch didn't (or wasn't supposed to) meddle in political affairs, and the Emperor wasn't supposed to meddle in Church affairs.

Are we declaring a jihad? No... Are we declaring war? No... Why is that? Because war has already been declared on us. The world wants to destroy us, and the world is commanded by it's master. To quote the famous Orthodox publication, we seek "Death to the World". We wish to slay the passions. The powers of evil are warring against us, and wish to annihilate us. They use violence, deceit, hatred, and many other methods (including secularism) against us to lead us away from God.

Of course, I think all of us know this, and I'm probably just preaching to the choir, but I'm trying to make a point here.

I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"

If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.

I am not quite a senior citizen, albeit qualified to join AARP. Second Chance is giving you some sound advice.

You have to expand your knowledge of history and the science of politics if you want to make a persuasive argument.  Please read the recent post from one of the most insightful and brilliant minds in today's Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. He speaks truth from the center of today's Russian Orthodox Church as he writes about pre and post Soviet Orthodoxy in Russia. http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_8

The history of the state making a binding 'deal' with the Church does not shine with exemplars of conscience prevailing over temporal whims. Yes, there certainly are some in the 1600 years or so of state sponsored and endorsed Christianity, but they are not the norm. Either you will find quiet subservience or active cooperation as the norm. For every Thomas Becket you will find legions of Woolseys, Borgias, Cramners and Cromwells (and Rasputins) who seek the favor of the crown or are deluding into thinking that the temporal power of the state will somehow purify the Church and bring a heavenly kingdom to the realm.

I will close with the sorrowful words of the Metropolitan and ask that you pray and consider his point carefully before you extoll the history of the church as a state institution. Utopia my friend does not exist in this existence, the only path is that of personal theosis and salvation through the Church. Put not your trust in princes.


From Metropolitan Hilarion:  "It has been said that Russia was baptised but not enlightened. Indeed, as far as the 19th century is concerned, it is clear that enlightenment was very often in conflict with religion: the masses of illiterate peasants kept their traditional beliefs, but more and more educated people, even from a purely religious background, rejected faith and became atheists. Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov are classic examples: both came from clerical families, both became atheists after studying in theological seminaries. For people like Dostoyevsky religion was something that had to be rediscovered, after having been lost as a result of his education. Tolstoy, on the other hand, came to a certain type of faith in God but remained alien to the Orthodox Church. It is clear, when one
looks at the pre-revolutionary period, that there was a huge gap between the Church and the world of educated people, the so-called intelligentsia, and this gap was constantly growing.

But on the eve of the revolution it became more and more clear that atheism had also invaded the mass of ordinary people. Berdyaev wrote at that time that the simple Russian baba, who was supposed to be religious, was no longer a reality but a myth: she had become a nihilist and an atheist. I would like to quote some more from what this great Russian philosopher wrote in 1917, several months before the October revolution:

"The Russian nation always considered itself to be Christian. Many Russian thinkers and artists were even inclined to regard it as a nation which is Christian par excellence. The Slavophils thought that Russian people live by the Orthodox faith, which is the only true faith containing the entire truth... Dostoevsky preached that. the Russian nation is a bearer of God... But, it was here that revolution broke out, and it...revealed a spiritual emptiness in Russian people. This emptiness is a result of a slavery that lasted too long of a process of  egeneration of the old regime that went too far, of a paralysis of the Russian Church and moral degradation of the ecclesiastical authorities that lasted too long. Since long ago the sacred has been exterminated from the people's soul both from the left side and the right, which prepared this cynical attitude towards the sacred that is now being revealed in all its disgust." "
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« Reply #114 on: March 10, 2011, 11:33:57 AM »

Dear IsmiLiora--Islam is not like a Christian denomination. Freedom of religion in Islamic countries is simply: You are free to choose Islam but if choose not to continue, you are wrong and the penalty (depending on where you live) may be as severe as being chopped to small pieces. Islam is the context for slavery, gross oppression of females (to include stoning for being raped, genital mutilation, being divorced and thrown into the the street at the whim of the husband, and honor killings), economic and political stagnation, etc...

Nope, no equivalences that I can think of.
Please forgive me, Second Chance. I was being sarcastic. I studied Muslim countries in college and I work for an organization that relates to Middle Eastern affairs. I do not support the current Iranian theocracy in any way and I know that there is a marked difference between that and a Christian theocracy.

But my statement about the Church and state stands.
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« Reply #115 on: March 10, 2011, 12:05:11 PM »

Dear IsmiLiora--Islam is not like a Christian denomination. Freedom of religion in Islamic countries is simply: You are free to choose Islam but if choose not to continue, you are wrong and the penalty (depending on where you live) may be as severe as being chopped to small pieces. Islam is the context for slavery, gross oppression of females (to include stoning for being raped, genital mutilation, being divorced and thrown into the the street at the whim of the husband, and honor killings), economic and political stagnation, etc...

Nope, no equivalences that I can think of.
Please forgive me, Second Chance. I was being sarcastic. I studied Muslim countries in college and I work for an organization that relates to Middle Eastern affairs. I do not support the current Iranian theocracy in any way and I know that there is a marked difference between that and a Christian theocracy.

But my statement about the Church and state stands.

No need to forgive; it was my fault as I failed to catch the sarcasm, perhaps because of my strong feelings on this subject. BTW, I do believe that you and I are in full agreement regarding Church and state.
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« Reply #116 on: March 10, 2011, 12:15:44 PM »

Dear IsmiLiora--Islam is not like a Christian denomination. Freedom of religion in Islamic countries is simply: You are free to choose Islam but if choose not to continue, you are wrong and the penalty (depending on where you live) may be as severe as being chopped to small pieces. Islam is the context for slavery, gross oppression of females (to include stoning for being raped, genital mutilation, being divorced and thrown into the the street at the whim of the husband, and honor killings), economic and political stagnation, etc...

Nope, no equivalences that I can think of.
Please forgive me, Second Chance. I was being sarcastic. I studied Muslim countries in college and I work for an organization that relates to Middle Eastern affairs. I do not support the current Iranian theocracy in any way and I know that there is a marked difference between that and a Christian theocracy.

But my statement about the Church and state stands.

No need to forgive; it was my fault as I failed to catch the sarcasm, perhaps because of my strong feelings on this subject. BTW, I do believe that you and I are in full agreement regarding Church and state.

Me too.
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« Reply #117 on: March 10, 2011, 12:18:30 PM »


...I'm trying to make a point here.

I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"

If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.

I am not quite a senior citizen, albeit qualified to join AARP. Second Chance is giving you some sound advice.

You have to expand your knowledge of history and the science of politics if you want to make a persuasive argument.  Please read the recent post from one of the most insightful and brilliant minds in today's Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. He speaks truth from the center of today's Russian Orthodox Church as he writes about pre and post Soviet Orthodoxy in Russia. http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_8

The history of the state making a binding 'deal' with the Church does not shine with exemplars of conscience prevailing over temporal whims. Yes, there certainly are some in the 1600 years or so of state sponsored and endorsed Christianity, but they are not the norm. Either you will find quiet subservience or active cooperation as the norm. For every Thomas Becket you will find legions of Woolseys, Borgias, Cramners and Cromwells (and Rasputins) who seek the favor of the crown or are deluding into thinking that the temporal power of the state will somehow purify the Church and bring a heavenly kingdom to the realm.

I will close with the sorrowful words of the Metropolitan and ask that you pray and consider his point carefully before you extoll the history of the church as a state institution. Utopia my friend does not exist in this existence, the only path is that of personal theosis and salvation through the Church. Put not your trust in princes.


From Metropolitan Hilarion:  "It has been said that Russia was baptised but not enlightened. Indeed, as far as the 19th century is concerned, it is clear that enlightenment was very often in conflict with religion: the masses of illiterate peasants kept their traditional beliefs, but more and more educated people, even from a purely religious background, rejected faith and became atheists. Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov are classic examples: both came from clerical families, both became atheists after studying in theological seminaries. For people like Dostoyevsky religion was something that had to be rediscovered, after having been lost as a result of his education. Tolstoy, on the other hand, came to a certain type of faith in God but remained alien to the Orthodox Church. It is clear, when one
looks at the pre-revolutionary period, that there was a huge gap between the Church and the world of educated people, the so-called intelligentsia, and this gap was constantly growing.

But on the eve of the revolution it became more and more clear that atheism had also invaded the mass of ordinary people. Berdyaev wrote at that time that the simple Russian baba, who was supposed to be religious, was no longer a reality but a myth: she had become a nihilist and an atheist. I would like to quote some more from what this great Russian philosopher wrote in 1917, several months before the October revolution:

"The Russian nation always considered itself to be Christian. Many Russian thinkers and artists were even inclined to regard it as a nation which is Christian par excellence. The Slavophils thought that Russian people live by the Orthodox faith, which is the only true faith containing the entire truth... Dostoevsky preached that. the Russian nation is a bearer of God... But, it was here that revolution broke out, and it...revealed a spiritual emptiness in Russian people. This emptiness is a result of a slavery that lasted too long of a process of  egeneration of the old regime that went too far, of a paralysis of the Russian Church and moral degradation of the ecclesiastical authorities that lasted too long. Since long ago the sacred has been exterminated from the people's soul both from the left side and the right, which prepared this cynical attitude towards the sacred that is now being revealed in all its disgust." "


I must return the compliment and tel you Devin that Podkarpatsa's advice is not merely sound but also wise.

I would like to also refer you to another article by Metropolitan Hilarion, Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism, that addresses many of the issues that concern you. This is the conclusion but you should read the whole thing at http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_11

"The Orthodox Church insists on the neutrality of secular politicians and authorities in matters of religion and world views, and on the inadmissibility of governments to interfere in church matters. Calling on secular authorities to respect its internal regulations, the Church at the same time is ready to co-operate with secular authorities in matters that serve the good of the Church itself, of the individual and of society. The Church respects the principle of the secular state but it refuses to interpret this principle as implying that ‘religion should be radically forced out of all spheres of people's lives, that religious associations should be excluded from decision-making on socially significant problems’.

Unfortunately, there are European politicians who are attempting to destroy the traditional, churchly way of life because this is precisely how they view the function of the secular state – to divorce the Church from the social arena. It is this attitude that the Orthodox Churches must combat, joining their efforts with all who are ready today to defend traditional against the liberal attitudes, the religious against the ‘common human’ values, uniting with those willing to defend the right of religions to express themselves in society.

 In my paper I concentrated mostly on the processes which take place in contemporary Europe. However, I will not be surprised if what I said is equally relevant to Australia, America and other territories, where secular Weltanschauung attempts to present itself as the only legitimate system of values. It may well be the case that the entire Western civilization, not only in Europe but also elsewhere, is becoming radically anti-Christian and anti-religious. In this case there is a need of not only a pan-European but also of a universal common front formed by traditional religious confessions in order to repel the onslaught of militant secularism."

So, doers this mean that the Metropolitan would favor a Christian theocracy? His answer is contained in the article that Podkarpatska cited above:

"At the present time our Church is struggling to find its new identity in post-Communist and post-atheist Russia. There are, it seems to me, two main dangers. The first is that of a return to the pre-revolutionary situation,when there was a State Church which became less and less the Church of the nation. If, at some stage in the development of society, such a role would be offered to the Church by the State, it would be a huge mistake to accept, it. In this case the Church will be again rejected by the majority of the nation, as it was rejected in 1917. The seventy years of Soviet persecution were an experience of fiery purgatory for the Russian Church, from which it should have come out entirely renewed. The most dangerous error would be not to learn from what happened and to return to the pre-revolutionary situation, as some members of the clergy wish to do nowadays.

The second danger is that. of militant Orthodoxy, which would be a post-atheist counterpart of militant atheism. I mean an Orthodoxy that fights against Jews, against masons, against democracy, against Western culture, against enlightenment. This type of Orthodoxy is being preached even by some key members of the hierarchy, and it has many supporters within the Church. This kind of Orthodoxy, especially if it gains the support of the State, may force Russian atheism to withdraw temporarily to the catacombs. But Russian atheism, will not be vanquished until the transfiguration of the soul and the need to live according to the Gospel have become the only message of the Russian Orthodox Church."

So, Devin, it is possible to be for Christ and Orthodoxy, against secularism, and yet also against a state Church.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2011, 12:22:05 PM by Second Chance » Logged

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« Reply #118 on: March 10, 2011, 03:01:25 PM »

This thread is getting painfully close to a Politics based discussion (what with talk of modern Greek Politics, the EU etc). Let's keep the thread on the topic and in context of Religious/theological views of state/religion, and if this is a good thing or not within the context of Religion.  Otherwise it will be moved to the Politics board.

Northern Pines, Religious Topics Forum Moderator





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« Reply #119 on: March 11, 2011, 06:44:22 AM »


...I'm trying to make a point here.

I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"

If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.

I am not quite a senior citizen, albeit qualified to join AARP. Second Chance is giving you some sound advice.

You have to expand your knowledge of history and the science of politics if you want to make a persuasive argument.  Please read the recent post from one of the most insightful and brilliant minds in today's Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. He speaks truth from the center of today's Russian Orthodox Church as he writes about pre and post Soviet Orthodoxy in Russia. http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_8

The history of the state making a binding 'deal' with the Church does not shine with exemplars of conscience prevailing over temporal whims. Yes, there certainly are some in the 1600 years or so of state sponsored and endorsed Christianity, but they are not the norm. Either you will find quiet subservience or active cooperation as the norm. For every Thomas Becket you will find legions of Woolseys, Borgias, Cramners and Cromwells (and Rasputins) who seek the favor of the crown or are deluding into thinking that the temporal power of the state will somehow purify the Church and bring a heavenly kingdom to the realm.

I will close with the sorrowful words of the Metropolitan and ask that you pray and consider his point carefully before you extoll the history of the church as a state institution. Utopia my friend does not exist in this existence, the only path is that of personal theosis and salvation through the Church. Put not your trust in princes.


From Metropolitan Hilarion:  "It has been said that Russia was baptised but not enlightened. Indeed, as far as the 19th century is concerned, it is clear that enlightenment was very often in conflict with religion: the masses of illiterate peasants kept their traditional beliefs, but more and more educated people, even from a purely religious background, rejected faith and became atheists. Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov are classic examples: both came from clerical families, both became atheists after studying in theological seminaries. For people like Dostoyevsky religion was something that had to be rediscovered, after having been lost as a result of his education. Tolstoy, on the other hand, came to a certain type of faith in God but remained alien to the Orthodox Church. It is clear, when one
looks at the pre-revolutionary period, that there was a huge gap between the Church and the world of educated people, the so-called intelligentsia, and this gap was constantly growing.

But on the eve of the revolution it became more and more clear that atheism had also invaded the mass of ordinary people. Berdyaev wrote at that time that the simple Russian baba, who was supposed to be religious, was no longer a reality but a myth: she had become a nihilist and an atheist. I would like to quote some more from what this great Russian philosopher wrote in 1917, several months before the October revolution:

"The Russian nation always considered itself to be Christian. Many Russian thinkers and artists were even inclined to regard it as a nation which is Christian par excellence. The Slavophils thought that Russian people live by the Orthodox faith, which is the only true faith containing the entire truth... Dostoevsky preached that. the Russian nation is a bearer of God... But, it was here that revolution broke out, and it...revealed a spiritual emptiness in Russian people. This emptiness is a result of a slavery that lasted too long of a process of  egeneration of the old regime that went too far, of a paralysis of the Russian Church and moral degradation of the ecclesiastical authorities that lasted too long. Since long ago the sacred has been exterminated from the people's soul both from the left side and the right, which prepared this cynical attitude towards the sacred that is now being revealed in all its disgust." "


I must return the compliment and tel you Devin that Podkarpatsa's advice is not merely sound but also wise.

I would like to also refer you to another article by Metropolitan Hilarion, Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism, that addresses many of the issues that concern you. This is the conclusion but you should read the whole thing at http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_11

"The Orthodox Church insists on the neutrality of secular politicians and authorities in matters of religion and world views, and on the inadmissibility of governments to interfere in church matters. Calling on secular authorities to respect its internal regulations, the Church at the same time is ready to co-operate with secular authorities in matters that serve the good of the Church itself, of the individual and of society. The Church respects the principle of the secular state but it refuses to interpret this principle as implying that ‘religion should be radically forced out of all spheres of people's lives, that religious associations should be excluded from decision-making on socially significant problems’.

Unfortunately, there are European politicians who are attempting to destroy the traditional, churchly way of life because this is precisely how they view the function of the secular state – to divorce the Church from the social arena. It is this attitude that the Orthodox Churches must combat, joining their efforts with all who are ready today to defend traditional against the liberal attitudes, the religious against the ‘common human’ values, uniting with those willing to defend the right of religions to express themselves in society.

 In my paper I concentrated mostly on the processes which take place in contemporary Europe. However, I will not be surprised if what I said is equally relevant to Australia, America and other territories, where secular Weltanschauung attempts to present itself as the only legitimate system of values. It may well be the case that the entire Western civilization, not only in Europe but also elsewhere, is becoming radically anti-Christian and anti-religious. In this case there is a need of not only a pan-European but also of a universal common front formed by traditional religious confessions in order to repel the onslaught of militant secularism."

So, doers this mean that the Metropolitan would favor a Christian theocracy? His answer is contained in the article that Podkarpatska cited above:

"At the present time our Church is struggling to find its new identity in post-Communist and post-atheist Russia. There are, it seems to me, two main dangers. The first is that of a return to the pre-revolutionary situation,when there was a State Church which became less and less the Church of the nation. If, at some stage in the development of society, such a role would be offered to the Church by the State, it would be a huge mistake to accept, it. In this case the Church will be again rejected by the majority of the nation, as it was rejected in 1917. The seventy years of Soviet persecution were an experience of fiery purgatory for the Russian Church, from which it should have come out entirely renewed. The most dangerous error would be not to learn from what happened and to return to the pre-revolutionary situation, as some members of the clergy wish to do nowadays.

The second danger is that. of militant Orthodoxy, which would be a post-atheist counterpart of militant atheism. I mean an Orthodoxy that fights against Jews, against masons, against democracy, against Western culture, against enlightenment. This type of Orthodoxy is being preached even by some key members of the hierarchy, and it has many supporters within the Church. This kind of Orthodoxy, especially if it gains the support of the State, may force Russian atheism to withdraw temporarily to the catacombs. But Russian atheism, will not be vanquished until the transfiguration of the soul and the need to live according to the Gospel have become the only message of the Russian Orthodox Church."

So, Devin, it is possible to be for Christ and Orthodoxy, against secularism, and yet also against a state Church.

I must say that I am willing to learn history, but ONLY from an EO perspective. I am willing to learn about other perspectives, but if they aren't Orthodox, then they won't effect my views whatsoever.
It seems to me that the anti-Church/State attitude is coming from people that are effected by the United States and her values. What I'm arguing, is that for the most part, the values held forth in the "establishment" clause are wrong.
We hold up this establishment clause like it's beneficial, yet we don't realize it was a reaction to the excesses of the Church of England, and if you think about it, also a reaction to Roman Catholic power. Neither of which holds the model for Orthodox relations between Church & State.

What has this clause led to? An extreme diversity in religion among Americans. We hold this to be a virtue of the United States. Yet, that simply is not so. It would be much better for a country to be majority Orthodox, with few other religions, than for the nation to have an equal distribution of world religions. We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Again, yes, historically there were some points in history where the Church & the State's relations (in Orthodox) didn't lead to good results. And I recognize your point that the Church-State relations isn't the "norm", but you must recognize that for the majority of the history of our Church, there were nations & empires with our faith as the "state religion".
The Roman Empire lasted from 27 BC - 1453 AD... From 380 AD - 1453 AD, that Empire was of the Orthodox faith.
The various Russian/Slavic empires, kingdoms, etc... Lasted from 862 - 1917 AD. From about 988 - 1917, those various kingdoms/empires and their successors were all Orthodox.
In 337 AD, Orthodoxy was declared the "official" religion of Georgia...
In 301 AD, Armenia declared it the "official" religion.

So, from at least 301 to 1917, there was ALWAYS a nation that had Orthodoxy as it's "state religion", and from at least 380-1917, there was a nation/empire that had close relations between the Church and State.
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« Reply #120 on: March 11, 2011, 08:07:38 AM »


What has this clause led to? An extreme diversity in religion among Americans.

It's the other away around. The clause was the only way the constitution would be accepted by colonies that were settled by Calvinists, Quakers, Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, and Anglicans. The diversity of the colonies was a result of the enforced uniformity of England and other European states.

Quote
We hold this to be a virtue of the United States. Yet, that simply is not so. It would be much better for a country to be majority Orthodox, with few other religions, than for the nation to have an equal distribution of world religions. We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Of course Orthodoxy is the one true faith. I hope no one here is denying that, or is praising diversity for its own sake. But we must recognize that such diversity exists and it is therefore a moot point to talk about an Orthodox confessional state in most countries. In countries that are majority Orthodox I daresay it is utopian. The ideology of the Enlightenment and the Founding Fathers is nonsense, I agree. But, speaking in terms of real history and ideals, I can't say that democracy has proven necessarily worse than Orthodox confessional states. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but what comes through clear in history is that any human attempt to found God's kingdom on earth will fail. And we should always remember how Saint Lazar, Czar of Serbia, sacrificed his earthly kingdom for the heavenly one.

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« Reply #121 on: March 11, 2011, 08:25:08 AM »

Maybe we should have blasphemy laws.
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« Reply #122 on: March 11, 2011, 08:58:07 AM »


What has this clause led to? An extreme diversity in religion among Americans.

It's the other away around. The clause was the only way the constitution would be accepted by colonies that were settled by Calvinists, Quakers, Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, and Anglicans. The diversity of the colonies was a result of the enforced uniformity of England and other European states.

Quote
We hold this to be a virtue of the United States. Yet, that simply is not so. It would be much better for a country to be majority Orthodox, with few other religions, than for the nation to have an equal distribution of world religions. We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Of course Orthodoxy is the one true faith. I hope no one here is denying that, or is praising diversity for its own sake. But we must recognize that such diversity exists and it is therefore a moot point to talk about an Orthodox confessional state in most countries. In countries that are majority Orthodox I daresay it is utopian. The ideology of the Enlightenment and the Founding Fathers is nonsense, I agree. But, speaking in terms of real history and ideals, I can't say that democracy has proven necessarily worse than Orthodox confessional states. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but what comes through clear in history is that any human attempt to found God's kingdom on earth will fail. And we should always remember how Saint Lazar, Czar of Serbia, sacrificed his earthly kingdom for the heavenly one.



I'm sorry if I haven't been clear about my point of view. I don't believe such a government would be perfect, nor do I believe we should attempt to found God's kingdom on earth.
I'm simply suggesting that a government (in a majority Orthodox country) should have closer relations with the Church itself, and should use the faith to guide it's decisions.

Even the people in the Church aren't perfect, but that doesn't mean that we should do away with our hierarchy or the entire Church itself.
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« Reply #123 on: March 11, 2011, 08:58:19 AM »

Maybe we should have blasphemy laws.

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« Reply #124 on: March 11, 2011, 09:21:52 AM »


Quote
We hold this to be a virtue of the United States. Yet, that simply is not so. It would be much better for a country to be majority Orthodox, with few other religions, than for the nation to have an equal distribution of world religions. We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Of course Orthodoxy is the one true faith. I hope no one here is denying that, or is praising diversity for its own sake. But we must recognize that such diversity exists and it is therefore a moot point to talk about an Orthodox confessional state in most countries. In countries that are majority Orthodox I daresay it is utopian. The ideology of the Enlightenment and the Founding Fathers is nonsense, I agree. But, speaking in terms of real history and ideals, I can't say that democracy has proven necessarily worse than Orthodox confessional states. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but what comes through clear in history is that any human attempt to found God's kingdom on earth will fail. And we should always remember how Saint Lazar, Czar of Serbia, sacrificed his earthly kingdom for the heavenly one.


Word! So much word! (I'm not 13, I promise.)

Whether we think that Orthodoxy is the true faith, for the sake of this argument, is moot. Most of us on this board think so.

And I don't celebrate diversity, but it's a natural consequence of having choices. I celebrate that as Christians, while we spread the message of our faith, we can be loving towards those of other religions and faiths (the individuals, not the religions themselves). While a Christian theocracy may be the most benevolent and the closest to perfect, we already know that perfect is not going to happen on this earth (see: Revelation). I'll leave God to tend to His own Kingdom and man to his.
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« Reply #125 on: March 11, 2011, 11:09:39 AM »


...I'm trying to make a point here.

I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"

If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.

I am not quite a senior citizen, albeit qualified to join AARP. Second Chance is giving you some sound advice.

You have to expand your knowledge of history and the science of politics if you want to make a persuasive argument.  Please read the recent post from one of the most insightful and brilliant minds in today's Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. He speaks truth from the center of today's Russian Orthodox Church as he writes about pre and post Soviet Orthodoxy in Russia. http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_8

The history of the state making a binding 'deal' with the Church does not shine with exemplars of conscience prevailing over temporal whims. Yes, there certainly are some in the 1600 years or so of state sponsored and endorsed Christianity, but they are not the norm. Either you will find quiet subservience or active cooperation as the norm. For every Thomas Becket you will find legions of Woolseys, Borgias, Cramners and Cromwells (and Rasputins) who seek the favor of the crown or are deluding into thinking that the temporal power of the state will somehow purify the Church and bring a heavenly kingdom to the realm.

I will close with the sorrowful words of the Metropolitan and ask that you pray and consider his point carefully before you extoll the history of the church as a state institution. Utopia my friend does not exist in this existence, the only path is that of personal theosis and salvation through the Church. Put not your trust in princes.


From Metropolitan Hilarion:  "It has been said that Russia was baptised but not enlightened. Indeed, as far as the 19th century is concerned, it is clear that enlightenment was very often in conflict with religion: the masses of illiterate peasants kept their traditional beliefs, but more and more educated people, even from a purely religious background, rejected faith and became atheists. Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov are classic examples: both came from clerical families, both became atheists after studying in theological seminaries. For people like Dostoyevsky religion was something that had to be rediscovered, after having been lost as a result of his education. Tolstoy, on the other hand, came to a certain type of faith in God but remained alien to the Orthodox Church. It is clear, when one
looks at the pre-revolutionary period, that there was a huge gap between the Church and the world of educated people, the so-called intelligentsia, and this gap was constantly growing.

But on the eve of the revolution it became more and more clear that atheism had also invaded the mass of ordinary people. Berdyaev wrote at that time that the simple Russian baba, who was supposed to be religious, was no longer a reality but a myth: she had become a nihilist and an atheist. I would like to quote some more from what this great Russian philosopher wrote in 1917, several months before the October revolution:

"The Russian nation always considered itself to be Christian. Many Russian thinkers and artists were even inclined to regard it as a nation which is Christian par excellence. The Slavophils thought that Russian people live by the Orthodox faith, which is the only true faith containing the entire truth... Dostoevsky preached that. the Russian nation is a bearer of God... But, it was here that revolution broke out, and it...revealed a spiritual emptiness in Russian people. This emptiness is a result of a slavery that lasted too long of a process of  egeneration of the old regime that went too far, of a paralysis of the Russian Church and moral degradation of the ecclesiastical authorities that lasted too long. Since long ago the sacred has been exterminated from the people's soul both from the left side and the right, which prepared this cynical attitude towards the sacred that is now being revealed in all its disgust." "


I must return the compliment and tel you Devin that Podkarpatsa's advice is not merely sound but also wise.

I would like to also refer you to another article by Metropolitan Hilarion, Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism, that addresses many of the issues that concern you. This is the conclusion but you should read the whole thing at http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_11

"The Orthodox Church insists on the neutrality of secular politicians and authorities in matters of religion and world views, and on the inadmissibility of governments to interfere in church matters. Calling on secular authorities to respect its internal regulations, the Church at the same time is ready to co-operate with secular authorities in matters that serve the good of the Church itself, of the individual and of society. The Church respects the principle of the secular state but it refuses to interpret this principle as implying that ‘religion should be radically forced out of all spheres of people's lives, that religious associations should be excluded from decision-making on socially significant problems’.

Unfortunately, there are European politicians who are attempting to destroy the traditional, churchly way of life because this is precisely how they view the function of the secular state – to divorce the Church from the social arena. It is this attitude that the Orthodox Churches must combat, joining their efforts with all who are ready today to defend traditional against the liberal attitudes, the religious against the ‘common human’ values, uniting with those willing to defend the right of religions to express themselves in society.

 In my paper I concentrated mostly on the processes which take place in contemporary Europe. However, I will not be surprised if what I said is equally relevant to Australia, America and other territories, where secular Weltanschauung attempts to present itself as the only legitimate system of values. It may well be the case that the entire Western civilization, not only in Europe but also elsewhere, is becoming radically anti-Christian and anti-religious. In this case there is a need of not only a pan-European but also of a universal common front formed by traditional religious confessions in order to repel the onslaught of militant secularism."

So, doers this mean that the Metropolitan would favor a Christian theocracy? His answer is contained in the article that Podkarpatska cited above:

"At the present time our Church is struggling to find its new identity in post-Communist and post-atheist Russia. There are, it seems to me, two main dangers. The first is that of a return to the pre-revolutionary situation,when there was a State Church which became less and less the Church of the nation. If, at some stage in the development of society, such a role would be offered to the Church by the State, it would be a huge mistake to accept, it. In this case the Church will be again rejected by the majority of the nation, as it was rejected in 1917. The seventy years of Soviet persecution were an experience of fiery purgatory for the Russian Church, from which it should have come out entirely renewed. The most dangerous error would be not to learn from what happened and to return to the pre-revolutionary situation, as some members of the clergy wish to do nowadays.

The second danger is that. of militant Orthodoxy, which would be a post-atheist counterpart of militant atheism. I mean an Orthodoxy that fights against Jews, against masons, against democracy, against Western culture, against enlightenment. This type of Orthodoxy is being preached even by some key members of the hierarchy, and it has many supporters within the Church. This kind of Orthodoxy, especially if it gains the support of the State, may force Russian atheism to withdraw temporarily to the catacombs. But Russian atheism, will not be vanquished until the transfiguration of the soul and the need to live according to the Gospel have become the only message of the Russian Orthodox Church."

So, Devin, it is possible to be for Christ and Orthodoxy, against secularism, and yet also against a state Church.

I must say that I am willing to learn history, but ONLY from an EO perspective. I am willing to learn about other perspectives, but if they aren't Orthodox, then they won't effect my views whatsoever.

It seems to me that the anti-Church/State attitude is coming from people that are effected by the United States and her values. What I'm arguing, is that for the most part, the values held forth in the "establishment" clause are wrong.


Three points. First, the EO perspective is not monolithic (not that you said that, I am trying to make a point): For each Metropolitan Hilarion, you will have an Alexander Vasiliev, who in his History of Byzantine Empire extols the Byzantine theoretical approach to state church relations, the symphonia. But, then you have a modern theologian like Father Stanley Harakas who calls symphonia an ideal that is impossible to achieve.

My second point is that you are making two mistakes in saying that heterodox perspectives will not affect your views whatsoever. First, saying this in the presence of the heterodox would be like a death sentence on any good thing that they may learn from you. Second, that statement cannot be operative when a heterodox view actually strengthens your Orthodox beliefs.

Finally, when you said "the values held forth in the "establishment" clause are wrong," I am not sure if you mean the actual wording of the clause or what ordinary folks think that it says? The clause itself is quite simple and very restricted: "(the United States) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." So, this is a clause that also provides for religious freedom, which I think is a good thing, making it possible for me to exercise my religious freedom, even though as an Orthodox, I am part of a very small minority in the United States (2% of the population). In any case, you must know that the Golden Rule is the basis on which all social relations are ultimately based on. How is it equitable and just that we would make the heterodox second class citizens in a majority Orthodox state if we would not like being second class in a state where Protestants, Catholics or others are in the majority?
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« Reply #126 on: March 11, 2011, 11:19:59 AM »

You said:

"I must say that I am willing to learn history, but ONLY from an EO perspective. I am willing to learn about other perspectives, but if they aren't Orthodox, then they won't effect my views whatsoever."


You are not willing to learn history at all if you are only willing to learn it from what you perceive to be an Eastern Orthodox perspective.

In order for you to reach the point where you can present your arguments from an intellectually honest 'Eastern Orthodox perspective' you have to understand and be able to provide a counter-argument to other points of view. Your argument pervades the very western culture that you constantly decry. We see this in politics in America, we see it in academia and we are now even seeing it in science. All of this will inevitably lead to a decline in our civilization as we lose the ability to form perspective and understand those nuances that that we face in the challenges that we address in life.

For example, if I as a lawyer only accept and argue from case law and commentary in law review articles that support my client's position, I would not be a good advocate for my client. In order to successfully argue a case you have to understand the position of your adversary and be able to anticipate its thrusts and counters as well as any weaknesses in the structure of your own argument. I have seen that happen over and over again to young, intelligent, inexperienced lawyers (I was once in that position so I speak from personal experience as well.)

The same applies to military strategists and intelligence analysts and any other number of professions which require subjective analysis. The last Christian emporers of Constantinople put their trust in the walls which had protected them for centuries. They failed to understand the power of artillery and failed to plan how to counter it. The city, and the Christian empire fell. If you Google this phrase 'fall of byzantine empire books' you will  find hundreds of scholarly and popular histories, most of which were not written by Orthodox believers. You will find some written by Orthodox believers who reach conclusions critical of both the institutional Church and the Empire. Likewise you will find many analyses which are sympathetic to either the institutional Church and even the last of the Emperors. Will you simply 'reject' these and not permit them to influence you in any way?

You can be, and in the case of the Church, should be convinced of the truth within, but you have to understand, and in some cases accept, opposing points of view in order to best defend your own point of view.

History written by the side your find yourself on will most likely paint your side in the best possible view. This is a common mistake of authoritarian cultures, you refuse to learn about your enemy, you refuse to understand their critiques of your defenses and your philosophy, you refuse to admit that the history of your power base and institutions can ever have done wrong to your people. When you think in that manner  you have education as presented in the USSR or any other such state.

No serious person will take you or your profession of faith seriously if you make such statements as you post here to someone questioning you or mocking Christianity and Orthodoxy in particular.  Don't sell yourself short by being afraid to encounter other points of view. You will be stronger for the experience.

BTW. I concur with Second Chance as well regarding the Establishment Clause. It seems to me that we, as a minority group in this country, should not automatically assume that those who would reinterpret or redefine the clause have motives that are designed to benefit all forms of Christianity and other religions or only the form that they espouse. However, these constitutional points may best be left to a political forum, albeit they are interlinked with Faith.
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« Reply #127 on: March 11, 2011, 11:55:41 AM »


You will find some written by Orthodox believers who reach conclusions critical of both the institutional Church and the Empire. Likewise you will find many analyses which are sympathetic to either the institutional Church and even the last of the Emperors. Will you simply 'reject' these and not permit them to influence you in any way?




The bolded sentence should read as follows:

"Likewise you will find many analyses  written by either non-Orthodox, but Christian believers and even by non-believers, which are sympathetic to either the institutional Church and even the last of the Emperors."

I'm sorry that I didn't catch it before the post was locked.
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« Reply #128 on: March 11, 2011, 11:59:17 AM »

I must say that I am willing to learn history, but ONLY from an EO perspective. I am willing to learn about other perspectives, but if they aren't Orthodox, then they won't effect my views whatsoever.

As am amateur historian I find this statement astounding and at the same time fascinating. In essence, you are admitting that you've already made up your mind about history (based on what the Church tells you) and no amount of evidence contrary to your preconceived notions and beliefs could ever possibly change your mind? That's kind of putting the cart before the horse, isn't it?  

If this is what you're intending to convey, (and it may not be) at least you are honest about this, which is more than many Christians are willing to do. No one is entitled to their own facts. The problem with having our own version of history filtered through the lenses of the Church is that it's way to easy to turn right from wrong upside down, backwards and every which way all because 'the Church says so'! If I had done that in my conversion process I NEVER would have become Orthodox because I set out to "prove" to myself that the early Church had no such thing as Sacraments, Liturgy, Icons, and all sorts of "pagan idolatry" like Orthodoxy did. (that was my view) However the facts of history proved otherwise because I decided before hand that history should speak for itself, and no Church should do the speaking for history.  But had I at the outset decided that my then Protestant understanding of history was correct, (which I believed it was) and that any history to the contrary could just be cast aside or reinterpreted in a Protestant way I'd still be an Evangelical Protestant.




Quote
We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Because if God has given us free will to choose, who are we to take away our fellow human's free will to choose?

 If God really wanted only one religion on earth HE could have done this; what you're saying is that we are to do what God did not do, that is to make sure there is only one religion. In a way, you're suggesting that the power of God is to be usurped by man, which I find very odd.


Quote
Again, yes, historically there were some points in history where the Church & the State's relations (in Orthodox) didn't lead to good results.

You mean like the Crusades? The Inquisitions? Witch Hunts? Wait you probably think those are only Western problems . . . okay, how about some Eastern problems like the persecution of heretics, pagans, Jews, murders, riots, forced Baptisms, force feeding heretics Communion, the razing of ancient temples, Iconoclasm, Emperors deciding what was and was not orthodox doctrine, Emperors claiming to be "God on earth" etc. Just "some" stuff like that?


Quote
And I recognize your point that the Church-State relations isn't the "norm", but you must recognize that for the majority of the history of our Church, there were nations & empires with our faith as the "state religion".

For the majority of the history of the Church, people thought earthquakes were caused because God got angry, this doesn't make it so. I don't think anyone is denying for much of Church history the Church and State were one; what people are saying is that this was wrong. Christianity did not invent the union of Church and state, it was inherited from Pagan Rome where the Emperor was the head of the Roman Imperial Cult. Just because the Church inherited this model from a culture where no other worldview even existed doesn't make it the best world view. Other ancient models have been left behind, why not this one?

« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 12:02:12 PM by NorthernPines » Logged
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« Reply #129 on: March 11, 2011, 03:20:32 PM »

There is no obligatory Orthodox catechism lessons in Russia. To respect the secularist doctrine of the Russian Federation, the Orthodox Church did not ask to preach Orthodox theology/catechism but the basics of Orthodox culture. The basics of Orthodox culture is not Orthodox catechism. These classes are not obligatory but the parents decide if their children want to participate.
Oh yeah, in Orthodox Russia do not expect that the Russian State will respect your marriage in the Orthodox church. In the eyes of the State, if you are married in an Orthodox church, not in a government office you are concubines.

Yes, I know that the line of this forum is anti-Polish but the Orthodox Church in Poland has more rights here than in Russia or Ukraine.
Orthodox Church marriages are recognised by the state as valid and binding, the Orthodox Church provides catechism classes for its adherents in public schools.
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« Reply #130 on: March 11, 2011, 03:23:04 PM »

Yes, I know that the line of this forum is anti-Polish

So the only one moderator that is not the USA citizen is the citizen of Poland. It's a discrimination! All moderators should have Polish passports!
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« Reply #131 on: March 11, 2011, 04:16:30 PM »

I must say that I am willing to learn history, but ONLY from an EO perspective. I am willing to learn about other perspectives, but if they aren't Orthodox, then they won't effect my views whatsoever.

As am amateur historian I find this statement astounding and at the same time fascinating. In essence, you are admitting that you've already made up your mind about history (based on what the Church tells you) and no amount of evidence contrary to your preconceived notions and beliefs could ever possibly change your mind? That's kind of putting the cart before the horse, isn't it?  

If this is what you're intending to convey, (and it may not be) at least you are honest about this, which is more than many Christians are willing to do. No one is entitled to their own facts. The problem with having our own version of history filtered through the lenses of the Church is that it's way to easy to turn right from wrong upside down, backwards and every which way all because 'the Church says so'! If I had done that in my conversion process I NEVER would have become Orthodox because I set out to "prove" to myself that the early Church had no such thing as Sacraments, Liturgy, Icons, and all sorts of "pagan idolatry" like Orthodoxy did. (that was my view) However the facts of history proved otherwise because I decided before hand that history should speak for itself, and no Church should do the speaking for history.  But had I at the outset decided that my then Protestant understanding of history was correct, (which I believed it was) and that any history to the contrary could just be cast aside or reinterpreted in a Protestant way I'd still be an Evangelical Protestant.




Quote
We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Because if God has given us free will to choose, who are we to take away our fellow human's free will to choose?

 If God really wanted only one religion on earth HE could have done this; what you're saying is that we are to do what God did not do, that is to make sure there is only one religion. In a way, you're suggesting that the power of God is to be usurped by man, which I find very odd.


Quote
Again, yes, historically there were some points in history where the Church & the State's relations (in Orthodox) didn't lead to good results.

You mean like the Crusades? The Inquisitions? Witch Hunts? Wait you probably think those are only Western problems . . . okay, how about some Eastern problems like the persecution of heretics, pagans, Jews, murders, riots, forced Baptisms, force feeding heretics Communion, the razing of ancient temples, Iconoclasm, Emperors deciding what was and was not orthodox doctrine, Emperors claiming to be "God on earth" etc. Just "some" stuff like that?


Quote
And I recognize your point that the Church-State relations isn't the "norm", but you must recognize that for the majority of the history of our Church, there were nations & empires with our faith as the "state religion".

For the majority of the history of the Church, people thought earthquakes were caused because God got angry, this doesn't make it so. I don't think anyone is denying for much of Church history the Church and State were one; what people are saying is that this was wrong. Christianity did not invent the union of Church and state, it was inherited from Pagan Rome where the Emperor was the head of the Roman Imperial Cult. Just because the Church inherited this model from a culture where no other worldview even existed doesn't make it the best world view. Other ancient models have been left behind, why not this one?



Most of what I read in your post are simply opinions that I view as being VERY informed by Western society, Western culture, etc...

We believe in Angels and Demons don't we? Yet why is it that you think we have the right to pick and choose what we get from Western Society and what we reject of our own Orthodox heritage?
You reject the Church/State relations, yet accept other things (like Angels & Demons) that our own society deems as ancient and crude.

I'm saying that I accept only Church perspectives, because I believe that the perspective the Church gives on history is A LOT more accurate than any perspective brought about by modern scholarship.
Modern scholarship would argue that St. Constantine strong-armed the Nicene Council and acted as it's head and used it to force "Nicene Christianity" on the Arians. Yet this was NOT the case, and that is simply an outright lie.
Some modern scholars would also argue that the Great Schism was based primarily upon secular and church politics rather than theology, and again, this is an outright lie. (yes politics played a part, but there would be no schism without theological differences)
Some would also argue that much of Orthodox hagiography didn't really occur as reported, and many miracles were misunderstandings. What do you do with that?
Many Western scholars regard Peter I of Russia as a real benefit to the nation and regard him almost like a historical saint for turning the "backwards" Russia into a wonderful "modern" society. They really don't care how much damage he caused to the Church or even the harm he caused to Russia itself. Western scholars have gone so far to attribute to him the title of "the Great", which he was far from being. Do you let their analysis of history speak for you?

Yes, there was a time where I would have been against letting the Church speak for me. That was when I was a Protestant and it came naturally, but I am Orthodox now, and this is the one, true Church, guided by Christ himself and protected by the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes it makes me really sad when people ignore the monastics and Saints (and others) who are speaking pretty plainly and calling today's culture soul-destroying and dangerous.

How can you trust a lot of the historical (and scientific) research coming out of a society that is willing to publicly deny God himself and is also willing to defecate on his Holy Church?

The historical research you are trying to prop up over Orthodox sources is historical research that says things that would be blasphemy/heresy in our own faith. They would go so far as to argue that Christ was merely just a human man and the exact same as everyone else.
How can you possibly put your trust in this? How can you possibly hold it up higher than any historical research or sources coming from within the Orthodox Church?

I'll take St. Luke, Eusebius, Procopius (and no, I don't believe he wrote "Secret Histories"), and other Byzantine/Christian Historians over secular ones anyday.
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« Reply #132 on: March 11, 2011, 04:40:33 PM »

I just realized I may have been leaving out one important detail about my views...

I reject Western Historical Views when the they contradict Orthodox sources regarding Church History and anything pertaining to the Orthodox Church.

Right now I'm reading Steven Runiman's book entitled: "The Great Church in Captivity". He is not Orthodox, but his book has been pretty good so far. However, there have been some points where it has contradicted things I've read elsewhere in Orthodox sources, so I've chosen to reject those parts of his book. (for example, he's one who speaks of St. Constantine "strong-arming" the Church at Nicaea)
That doesn't mean I'm not willing to read what he has to say, nor that I reject everything he says.

Also, it's not like I'll accept someones writing just because they are Orthodox. If someone were to write a history today that says that the American Revolution took place in the 19th Century and the Civil War took place in the 20th, that doesn't mean I'll automatically trust it and say it's history.
But likewise, if a modern scholar were to come forward with "evidence" and claim that he had solid evidence that Constantine strong-armed the Church at Nicaea, that doesn't mean I'll trust him either. Or if he were to claim that he had solid evidence that the Holy Sepulchre isn't the burial place (nor the place of crucifixion) for Christ, then he is either lying, or is simply wrong.
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« Reply #133 on: March 11, 2011, 05:02:09 PM »

I just realized I may have been leaving out one important detail about my views...

I reject Western Historical Views when the they contradict Orthodox sources regarding Church History and anything pertaining to the Orthodox Church.

Right now I'm reading Steven Runiman's book entitled: "The Great Church in Captivity". He is not Orthodox, but his book has been pretty good so far. However, there have been some points where it has contradicted things I've read elsewhere in Orthodox sources, so I've chosen to reject those parts of his book. (for example, he's one who speaks of St. Constantine "strong-arming" the Church at Nicaea)
That doesn't mean I'm not willing to read what he has to say, nor that I reject everything he says.

Also, it's not like I'll accept someones writing just because they are Orthodox. If someone were to write a history today that says that the American Revolution took place in the 19th Century and the Civil War took place in the 20th, that doesn't mean I'll automatically trust it and say it's history.
But likewise, if a modern scholar were to come forward with "evidence" and claim that he had solid evidence that Constantine strong-armed the Church at Nicaea, that doesn't mean I'll trust him either. Or if he were to claim that he had solid evidence that the Holy Sepulchre isn't the burial place (nor the place of crucifixion) for Christ, then he is either lying, or is simply wrong.

Devin, I still say your zeal is misplaced and will lead you down an intellectual rabbit hole to despair. It seems to me that you have brought over something from your Protestant past and transferred it unquestioningly to Orthodoxy.  The Protestant variation on the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy coupled with 'sola scriptura'  has apparently led you to a belief that any writing of Church history from Orthodox sources, any Patristic text, any Canon out of context, all statements of any Saint can not be scrutinized, can not be in error and must be true beyond any doubt. This is a Canon of Infallibilty that even the most ardent Papist would find hard to swallow if it came the Pope himself.

As you grow in your knowledge of the Faith, the inherent inconsistencies and contradictions that such an approach will lead you will undoubtedly test your Faith and perhaps lead you to despair. I have been around long enough to have seen that path be taken time and time again. Work with your priest, take advantage of the online Orthodox resources from multiple Orthodox sources and broaden your outlook and strengthen your knowledge.
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« Reply #134 on: March 11, 2011, 05:08:43 PM »

I just realized I may have been leaving out one important detail about my views...

I reject Western Historical Views when the they contradict Orthodox sources regarding Church History and anything pertaining to the Orthodox Church.

Right now I'm reading Steven Runiman's book entitled: "The Great Church in Captivity". He is not Orthodox, but his book has been pretty good so far. However, there have been some points where it has contradicted things I've read elsewhere in Orthodox sources, so I've chosen to reject those parts of his book. (for example, he's one who speaks of St. Constantine "strong-arming" the Church at Nicaea)
That doesn't mean I'm not willing to read what he has to say, nor that I reject everything he says.

Also, it's not like I'll accept someones writing just because they are Orthodox. If someone were to write a history today that says that the American Revolution took place in the 19th Century and the Civil War took place in the 20th, that doesn't mean I'll automatically trust it and say it's history.
But likewise, if a modern scholar were to come forward with "evidence" and claim that he had solid evidence that Constantine strong-armed the Church at Nicaea, that doesn't mean I'll trust him either. Or if he were to claim that he had solid evidence that the Holy Sepulchre isn't the burial place (nor the place of crucifixion) for Christ, then he is either lying, or is simply wrong.

Devin, I still say your zeal is misplaced and will lead you down an intellectual rabbit hole to despair. It seems to me that you have brought over something from your Protestant past and transferred it unquestioningly to Orthodoxy.  The Protestant variation on the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy coupled with 'sola scriptura'  has apparently led you to a belief that any writing of Church history from Orthodox sources, any Patristic text, any Canon out of context, all statements of any Saint can not be scrutinized, can not be in error and must be true beyond any doubt. This is a Canon of Infallibilty that even the most ardent Papist would find hard to swallow if it came the Pope himself.

As you grow in your knowledge of the Faith, the inherent inconsistencies and contradictions that such an approach will lead you will undoubtedly test your Faith and perhaps lead you to despair. I have been around long enough to have seen that path be taken time and time again. Work with your priest, take advantage of the online Orthodox resources from multiple Orthodox sources and broaden your outlook and strengthen your knowledge.

I'm not saying some of these things are infallible. There are certainly contradictions within Orthodoxy.
What I'm trying to say is that secular history, when compared to Orthodox history (that is, when it speaks about the Church) is, well, incomparable.

Again, I'm not saying such information is infallible, but it's more accurate than secular history, no matter how that history is reached.

As I mentioned, there are some Orthodox sources, that certainly aren't the truth. There are some who even deny the existence/accuracy of the story of St. Peter the Aleut, I frankly don't trust them and our hagiography is far higher than any research that contradicts it. (that doesn't mean it's completely infallible)
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« Reply #135 on: March 11, 2011, 06:29:49 PM »

Yes, I know that the line of this forum is anti-Polish

So the only one moderator that is not the USA citizen is the citizen of Poland. It's a discrimination! All moderators should have Polish passports!
I thought that you immigrated to Belarus, I am confused. Belarus doesn't allow for multiple citizenship. "I am not a Pole", and all that stuff it is very confusing. A Pole is someone who poses citizenship of the Republic of Poland, but you write that you are not a Pole.
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« Reply #136 on: March 11, 2011, 06:30:58 PM »

I'm a citizen of Poland of Belarusian nationality.
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« Reply #137 on: March 11, 2011, 07:41:48 PM »

I just realized I may have been leaving out one important detail about my views...

I reject Western Historical Views when the they contradict Orthodox sources regarding Church History and anything pertaining to the Orthodox Church.

Right now I'm reading Steven Runiman's book entitled: "The Great Church in Captivity". He is not Orthodox, but his book has been pretty good so far. However, there have been some points where it has contradicted things I've read elsewhere in Orthodox sources, so I've chosen to reject those parts of his book. (for example, he's one who speaks of St. Constantine "strong-arming" the Church at Nicaea)
That doesn't mean I'm not willing to read what he has to say, nor that I reject everything he says.

Also, it's not like I'll accept someones writing just because they are Orthodox. If someone were to write a history today that says that the American Revolution took place in the 19th Century and the Civil War took place in the 20th, that doesn't mean I'll automatically trust it and say it's history.
But likewise, if a modern scholar were to come forward with "evidence" and claim that he had solid evidence that Constantine strong-armed the Church at Nicaea, that doesn't mean I'll trust him either. Or if he were to claim that he had solid evidence that the Holy Sepulchre isn't the burial place (nor the place of crucifixion) for Christ, then he is either lying, or is simply wrong.

Devin, I still say your zeal is misplaced and will lead you down an intellectual rabbit hole to despair. It seems to me that you have brought over something from your Protestant past and transferred it unquestioningly to Orthodoxy.  The Protestant variation on the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy coupled with 'sola scriptura'  has apparently led you to a belief that any writing of Church history from Orthodox sources, any Patristic text, any Canon out of context, all statements of any Saint can not be scrutinized, can not be in error and must be true beyond any doubt. This is a Canon of Infallibilty that even the most ardent Papist would find hard to swallow if it came the Pope himself.

As you grow in your knowledge of the Faith, the inherent inconsistencies and contradictions that such an approach will lead you will undoubtedly test your Faith and perhaps lead you to despair. I have been around long enough to have seen that path be taken time and time again. Work with your priest, take advantage of the online Orthodox resources from multiple Orthodox sources and broaden your outlook and strengthen your knowledge.
Excellent.
That's how I see it too: he will either, hopefully, outgrow this simplistic phase or he will burn out. I see this mode of thinking as a relic of fundamentalist protestantism, mutatis mutandis, of course.
There is far more space for rational inquiry, doubt, disagreement ann common sense in the Church than Devin seems to realize at this moment.
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« Reply #138 on: March 12, 2011, 10:33:09 AM »


People who did not accept the state version of Orthodoxy were quickly done away with by the Cossacks, as above.

The common fate of Old Believers, Pentecostals, and Poles in Tsarist Russia.
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« Reply #139 on: March 12, 2011, 12:12:44 PM »


People who did not accept the state version of Orthodoxy were quickly done away with by the Cossacks, as above.

The common fate of Old Believers, Pentecostals, and Poles in Tsarist Russia.


your point? no one (not even I) ever said things were ever perfect.

as for augustin, how in the world can you possible think that you have the right or ability to assume anything about who I am, where I come from, what I used to believe or what I believe now?
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« Reply #140 on: March 12, 2011, 12:30:53 PM »

The way I see Orthodoxy as "working" is this...

Imagine (just for purposed of illustration) there is a line...

_____________________________________________

Now, imagine that the far left side is extreme conservative "orthodoxy", and the far right side is extreme liberal "orthodoxy".

Now, "Orthodoxy", (as I see it) is somewhere in the middle.

____Radical Conservativism____|_______Orthodoxy_______|____Radical Liberalism____

It is extremely hard (and maybe almost impossible) to judge where those "outer limits" of Orthodoxy are (that is, except for the real boundaries of communion), but I would place groups like certain non-canonical Old Believers and Old Calendarists on the left side. Whereas I would also place Ecumenists (that is, not ecumenists, but Ecumenists, who are guilty of heresy), unionists, reformists, etc... on the right side.

What purpose does this have? Well, during the discussion, we came up with a discussion on "black & white" vs. "grey". And in my view, things within the middle, within Orthodoxy, can be "grey" (that is, save for certain doctrines) and considered "theological opinions". However, things on the right or the left are black & white, and we cannot stray to far to one direction (or another).

Now... Think about Orthodoxy vs. heterodoxy. It is true that we can say who is in the Church, but we cannot say who isn't in it. It is also true that whatever is true, and whatever is good, is ours to claim.
As it relates to things like the "Enlightenment" and the "Age of Reason", I would say that the movements helped on some levels, and hurt on many others. I don't regard this issue as "grey", but rather black and white. Some things are good, and some things are bad depending on how they are used and defined.
Take separation of Church and state as an example (since that is our main topic). It is good that it allows "free will" and allows people to freely practice their respective religions. But, when it encourages secularism and actively pushes religion out of the public realm and contains it within the private, then it turns to something bad and harmful to our very souls.
I'm willing to admit that the separation can be a good thing, as long as you don't get pushed over the edge into secularism and polarization between Church & State.

As for keeping Church & State working with one another. It can be good or bad depending on how it's used and how it works.
I would argue that much of the time, in the Roman Empire and in the Russian Empire, it was good.
But, there are times, when the leaders become either apostates, or end up persecuting dissenters, that it becomes bad.
It also becomes bad if the Church directly effects or participates in the State, or vice versa.

However, once you create a government and a nation, it's entire existence is going back and forth between the two spectrums, between good and bad. Some leaders will be good, some will be evil. Look at Democracy... There are times where it works well... (look at our own Church, and the elements of democracy within it) But then there are times when Democracy doesn't work so well, and actually could be considered evil.

I'm not, and I don't think I ever have argued that such a relationship between Church & State is going to be perfect. But we must recognize that while such a relationship isn't perfect, neither is anything else. It is our job to sift through and find what is best for Orthodoxy, and what can help bring the most people to the Church, and what can help change the culture/society of an entire nation into being Orthodox.
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« Reply #141 on: March 12, 2011, 12:57:08 PM »

Most of what I read in your post are simply opinions that I view as being VERY informed by Western society, Western culture, etc...

Assuming you are right, this is wrong because?Huh


Quote
We believe in Angels and Demons don't we? Yet why is it that you think we have the right to pick and choose what we get from Western Society and what we reject of our own Orthodox heritage?

Now you're confusing two totally different things and merging them into one. Culture and society are not the Orthodox Church.  

My cultural heritage IS Western. I will not be told I have to give up my cultural heritage to become a "true Orthodox Christian". I don't have to start eating baklava, attend middle eastern dances, sing Russian Christmas hymns, or buy into eastern beliefs like the "evil eye" or putting garlic in Churches to ward of evil spirits. (yes I know of a priest who actually saw that in a Greek Church once, upon being made head priest at that parish he immediately took down all the garlic and his family was FROM Constantinople....he couldn't have been any more "Eastern" unless he had been born in Japan!)

Yet I am thoroughly Eastern Orthodox, theologically, metaphysically, philosophically etc.


Quote
You reject the Church/State relations, yet accept other things (like Angels & Demons) that our own society deems as ancient and crude.

You're confusing theological and metaphysical realities which the Church can speak to, with how the Church functions in the world. Surely you can see the difference between saying "I believe angels exist" and "the Church should have temporal power?"

Quote
I'm saying that I accept only Church perspectives, because I believe that the perspective the Church gives on history is A LOT more accurate than any perspective brought about by modern scholarship.

Do you reject ANY Church perspectives? If so, which ones? If not, why not?


Quote
Modern scholarship would argue that St. Constantine strong-armed the Nicene Council and acted as it's head and used it to force "Nicene Christianity" on the Arians. Yet this was NOT the case, and that is simply an outright lie.

What you've done here is dumb down and caricaturized the historical perspective on Constantine to be barely recognizable by any scholar or historian who has actually studied his life and the Council of Nicea. If you want to argue against a topic, ANY topic you better be informed on the opposing view points and express the opposing view point as accurately as possible. Then you need to come up with your own evidence that supports your hypothesis. Instead you just reject something and give no reason as to why you reject it other than "I think this goes against the Church"...don't you see that this is no different than a Protestant Evangelical rejecting evidence that the early Church had iconography or Sacraments because such things "go against the Bible"?



Quote
Some modern scholars would also argue that the Great Schism was based primarily upon secular and church politics rather than theology, and again, this is an outright lie. (yes politics played a part, but there would be no schism without theological differences)

And which theological difference do you think was the main cause of the Great Schism?


Quote
Some would also argue that much of Orthodox hagiography didn't really occur as reported, and many miracles were misunderstandings. What do you do with that?

I go with history. If Christianity in any form we're familiar with is true, then it is a faith within history. If history proves that a saint didn't do some miracle then I go with history. You of course can choose to accept it, however it doesn't make you "more Orthodox" because you do. The acceptance of certain Hagiographies is not a prerequisite to being an Orthodox Christian. It is a common human trait to take a preconceived notion then accept all evidence that supports it and reject all evidence that denies it then to claim "evidence proves my idea" when in fact you've just ignored a whole bunch of contrary evidence. It's part of human nature and our desire to always be right and to always have certitude in everything. However we must struggle against this part of ourselves because Christ is the way the TRUTH and the life . . . which makes me think truth is pretty darn important.





Quote
Many Western scholars regard Peter I of Russia as a real benefit to the nation and regard him almost like a historical saint for turning the "backwards" Russia into a wonderful "modern" society. They really don't care how much damage he caused to the Church or even the harm he caused to Russia itself. Western scholars have gone so far to attribute to him the title of "the Great", which he was far from being. Do you let their analysis of history speak for you?

I let the history speak for itself and try to come up with my own conclusions. However I am a historian, albeit not one with a degree, or a piece of paper that says I am, but I know the historical method and I try and read EVERYBODY; Eastern and Western, Christian and non Christian, ancient and modern and try to come up with my own conclusions. Of course I'm am influenced by others and my own biases however I try to be honest and fair and not hold anything as a pet theory that must be defended at all costs. If God is God and the Church is the Church, then they don't need me to defend them.



Quote
Yes, there was a time where I would have been against letting the Church speak for me. That was when I was a Protestant and it came naturally, but I am Orthodox now, and this is the one, true Church, guided by Christ himself and protected by the Holy Spirit.

So you believe being Orthodox means you must accept everything the Church says about every subject? Where is THAT idea found in the teachings of Christ?

Do you think the Church has ALWAYS been right about everything? If not, where do you think the Church has erred?

 I thought the Church was the ark of Salvation that gives us the Sacraments, the Liturgy and when necessary gives us theological definitions, albeit sparingly and only to protect people from false beliefs . . . since when is the Church a political institution and a cosmic history department? This ironically is a VERY Western attitude that the Church doesn't just preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but that it can and does speak on everything infallibly including what did and did not happen in history. Can you find ANY reference by any Church father or Church Canon that declares this to be the case?


Quote
How can you trust a lot of the historical (and scientific) research coming out of a society that is willing to publicly deny God himself and is also willing to defecate on his Holy Church?

So, now the Church is also the arbiter of science as well?

You seem to truly "fear" Western culture and society, the society that gives you the right to say that you fear it. Why do you feel the need to be "anti Western"....what makes the West "bad" to begin with? I ask that in all sincerity actually . . . I know what it was for me in my anti Western phase as a convert, but I'm curious what it is for you. (if you don't want to share that publically feel free to PM me, I will not argue that point with you but would like to know why you come to these conclusions)


Quote
The historical research you are trying to prop up over Orthodox sources is historical research that says things that would be blasphemy/heresy in our own faith. They would go so far as to argue that Christ was merely just a human man and the exact same as everyone else.

We're not talking about Jesus though, we're talking about the Church and it's ability to err or not err etc.

BTW, Jesus was "exactly the same" as everyone else....that's the whole point! It is the very definition of Chalcedonian Christology. He was not a superman, he was 100% man. Yes, 100% God too but what do you think that means? If you could travel back in time and run a DNA test on Jesus, what do you think his DNA would look like? Would it be any different than any other 1st century Jew? Would he glow in the dark? Would he walk 3 feet above the ground? Did he not catch colds, get a runny nose, etc?

Quote
How can you possibly put your trust in this? How can you possibly hold it up higher than any historical research or sources coming from within the Orthodox Church?

Because the Church] is not a history professor, nor is it a science professor. The Church does not do historical research! People IN the Church do and people can and do make mistakes especially if they have an ax to grind. (or are fearful of the power structure)

The Church contains within it historians and scientists, but the Church itself does not speak on such things in any "infallible" way. The idea it does is a Western medieval idea. The Eastern Church has never done this; some members of the Church claimed to do so, but that doesn't make it so.

 The Church has never spoken with one voice as to history. And it is certainly not a political power, "My Kingdom is NOT from this world" Jesus told Pilate, the representative of the earthly Kingdom on earth. Half of Paul's letter to the Romans is pointing out that "Jesus is Lord" and "Caesar is not".

http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Paul_Caesar_Romans.htm

While this is called a "New" perspective on Paul, it's actually not "new" at all, it is rather a rediscovery of what the early Church taught and believed.

Quote
I'll take St. Luke, Eusebius, Procopius (and no, I don't believe he wrote "Secret Histories"), and other Byzantine/Christian Historians over secular ones anyday.

Why don't you believe he wrote Secret Histories? What reasons do you have for this? "The Church says so" is not a reason . . . first the Church doesn't say so, and even if it did, the Church has said all sorts of things in the past that are patently false. (miscarriages are caused by personal sin for example) Certainly you don't believe that.




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« Reply #142 on: March 12, 2011, 01:11:36 PM »

Yes Devin, you're right St. Constantine didn't strong-arm Arians to accept Nicea.  The Arians later one the day and St. Constantine tried to strong-arm the Orthodox to accept Arianism, or at the very least tried to capture St. Athanasius as if he was the most wanted criminal heretic of the empire.  Only when St. Constantine died is when St. Athanasius was (temporarily!!) free to show himself again.
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« Reply #143 on: March 12, 2011, 01:12:06 PM »

This is all such a pointless argument.  Political secularism and protection of minorities is what keeps us from engaging in vicious wars of religion, a lesson that was learned a long time ago.  The genius of our founding fathers was that they enshrined government as having one principle role - protect individual rights.  That means protecting property and maintaining public safety and order.  That is it.  That is all government should do.

Anyone who wants a theocracy or an established religion should consider immediately relocating to Pakistan.  They're on their way back to resurrecting the "good old days" when the two were joined at the hip.

The problems with state religion and the EO Church should be obvious.  Namely identification of religion with nationality and the propensity to further compromise and corrupt an already corruption prone hierarchal system.
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« Reply #144 on: March 12, 2011, 01:12:34 PM »

Well, I was about to reply to Devin until I read Northern Pines response. After reading that, and I agree with most, if not everything he said, I can only make one point.

The east's rejection of St. Anselm's and St. Thomas Aquinas' methodology and approach to philosophy and through it, academics, does give any Orthodox the foundation to take a rejectionist approach to intellectual inquiry, critical analysis and revisionism, as it applies to history (including Church history as well as secular history) - not dogma.

Anti-scholasticism is not equivalent to anti-academia or anti-intellectualism. We don't waste time or energy attempting to posit the existence of God through theorems or logical proofs. However, unlike many contemporary Evangelical Protestants, we don't reject science or history simply because we are afraid that it might challenge us to better understand our Church and our world. Faith is what makes us strong.

Please, check back in ten years and reread what you are saying today and see if your views haven't developed as you grow in your understanding of the Church. Good luck and please, keep up the journey and the search.
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« Reply #145 on: March 12, 2011, 01:46:56 PM »

This is all such a pointless argument.  Political secularism and protection of minorities is what keeps us from engaging in vicious wars of religion, a lesson that was learned a long time ago.  The genius of our founding fathers was that they enshrined government as having one principle role - protect individual rights.  That means protecting property and maintaining public safety and order.  That is it.  That is all government should do.

Anyone who wants a theocracy or an established religion should consider immediately relocating to Pakistan.  They're on their way back to resurrecting the "good old days" when the two were joined at the hip.

The problems with state religion and the EO Church should be obvious.  Namely identification of religion with nationality and the propensity to further compromise and corrupt an already corruption prone hierarchal system.

Ya, well unfortunately, the so-called Orthodox are not satisfied with the Church only concept and want a heretical theocracy to be part of a dogmatic goal.
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« Reply #146 on: March 12, 2011, 01:59:41 PM »

Yes, I know that the line of this forum is anti-Polish

So the only one moderator that is not the USA citizen is the citizen of Poland. It's a discrimination! All moderators should have Polish passports!
I thought that you immigrated to Belarus, I am confused. Belarus doesn't allow for multiple citizenship. "I am not a Pole", and all that stuff it is very confusing. A Pole is someone who poses citizenship of the Republic of Poland, but you write that you are not a Pole.
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« Reply #147 on: March 12, 2011, 02:04:14 PM »

I just realized I may have been leaving out one important detail about my views...

I reject Western Historical Views when the they contradict Orthodox sources regarding Church History and anything pertaining to the Orthodox Church.

Right now I'm reading Steven Runiman's book entitled: "The Great Church in Captivity". He is not Orthodox, but his book has been pretty good so far. However, there have been some points where it has contradicted things I've read elsewhere in Orthodox sources, so I've chosen to reject those parts of his book. (for example, he's one who speaks of St. Constantine "strong-arming" the Church at Nicaea)
That doesn't mean I'm not willing to read what he has to say, nor that I reject everything he says.

Also, it's not like I'll accept someones writing just because they are Orthodox. If someone were to write a history today that says that the American Revolution took place in the 19th Century and the Civil War took place in the 20th, that doesn't mean I'll automatically trust it and say it's history.
But likewise, if a modern scholar were to come forward with "evidence" and claim that he had solid evidence that Constantine strong-armed the Church at Nicaea, that doesn't mean I'll trust him either. Or if he were to claim that he had solid evidence that the Holy Sepulchre isn't the burial place (nor the place of crucifixion) for Christ, then he is either lying, or is simply wrong.

Devin, I still say your zeal is misplaced and will lead you down an intellectual rabbit hole to despair. It seems to me that you have brought over something from your Protestant past and transferred it unquestioningly to Orthodoxy.  The Protestant variation on the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy coupled with 'sola scriptura'  has apparently led you to a belief that any writing of Church history from Orthodox sources, any Patristic text, any Canon out of context, all statements of any Saint can not be scrutinized, can not be in error and must be true beyond any doubt. This is a Canon of Infallibilty that even the most ardent Papist would find hard to swallow if it came the Pope himself.

As you grow in your knowledge of the Faith, the inherent inconsistencies and contradictions that such an approach will lead you will undoubtedly test your Faith and perhaps lead you to despair. I have been around long enough to have seen that path be taken time and time again. Work with your priest, take advantage of the online Orthodox resources from multiple Orthodox sources and broaden your outlook and strengthen your knowledge.
Excellent.
That's how I see it too: he will either, hopefully, outgrow this simplistic phase or he will burn out. I see this mode of thinking as a relic of fundamentalist protestantism, mutatis mutandis, of course.
There is far more space for rational inquiry, doubt, disagreement ann common sense in the Church than Devin seems to realize at this moment.
I wasn't aware that Alexander Cuza and the Athonites were fundamentalist Protestants.
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« Reply #148 on: March 12, 2011, 02:06:25 PM »

Yes Devin, you're right St. Constantine didn't strong-arm Arians to accept Nicea.  The Arians later one the day and St. Constantine tried to strong-arm the Orthodox to accept Arianism, or at the very least tried to capture St. Athanasius as if he was the most wanted criminal heretic of the empire.  Only when St. Constantine died is when St. Athanasius was (temporarily!!) free to show himself again.
And your opinion of the Emperor Theodosius at Ephesus?
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« Reply #149 on: March 12, 2011, 02:17:03 PM »

Yes Devin, you're right St. Constantine didn't strong-arm Arians to accept Nicea.  The Arians later one the day and St. Constantine tried to strong-arm the Orthodox to accept Arianism, or at the very least tried to capture St. Athanasius as if he was the most wanted criminal heretic of the empire.  Only when St. Constantine died is when St. Athanasius was (temporarily!!) free to show himself again.
And your opinion of the Emperor Theodosius at Ephesus?

Fully disagree with his actions.  I agree in condemning heresy and to drive it out of our churches, not in condemning the heretic.

That man got confused at the anti-council of Ephesus, that Memnon and Cyril were temporarily jailed.  Shows how emperors should lay off theology from their actions.  But no; we have a precedence continued in Marcion, Leo (the emperor), Justinian, etc. to thank for the downfall of the Orthodox Church and the dawn of Islam.
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« Reply #150 on: March 12, 2011, 03:19:44 PM »

I'm interested to hear what you guys think about my reply #140 above...

Also, I have never, and will never say that we should force everyone to accept that a working Church-State relationship is part of dogma, you know, and I know that it isn't a part of any Church declaration. Nor have I ever suggested that it should be.

I think we are all thinking about different things when talking about a government that works with the Church. Some of you seem to think that I'm suggesting our Bishops should be political leaders... That would be uncanonical and wrong.
Some of you seem to think I'm suggesting that the government and church should be intertwined... Again, that would be uncanonical and wrong.

I'm saying there needs to be a separation of Church and State de facto. But not in the modern sense of the term. I'm saying that the State should be Orthodox. Her leaders should be Orthodox, her laws should be Orthodox, and her decisions should be influenced by Orthodoxy. The leaders should be informed, counseled and advised by the Church. But the Church will have absolutely nothing to do with the State's decisions, nor will the State have anything to do with the decisions of the Church.

What do I see that is good in a Church-State relationship in today's world?

Greece:
a. The President of Greece takes this oath:
"I swear (in the name of the Holy, Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity) to safeguard the Constitution and the laws, to ensure their faithful observance, to defend the national independence and territorial integrity of the Country, to protect the rights and liberties of the Greeks and to serve the general interest and the progress of the Greek People."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Greece#Oath_of_Office (yes I know, Wikipedia, bleh)
b. The Prime Minister is sworn in by the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Greece.
c. The Priests and other Clergy are paid their salary by the government, not by individual Parishes.
d. Every year, Orthodox Priests go to the schools to bless the children at the beginning of the school year.

Russia:
a. The Primate of the Russian Church and others serve as advisors to the Prime Minister & President
b. The Prime Minister & President are regularly seen at Church services
c. The State has helped to pay for the reconstruction and construction of Orthodox Churches in Russia. (this has led to 20,000 new Churches in Russia since 1990) Including the reconstruction of Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
d. The State has also continued to return the property of the Church to the Church.

I have discovered a term that reflects my ideas well... A "symphonia".

Again, I'm not suggesting this is the ONLY way, and I'm not suggesting this is the only Orthodox way, nor that the Church should be tied to any political power. (a symphony/cooperation is not a tying together) I'm saying I believe this is the most ideal form.
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« Reply #151 on: March 12, 2011, 03:48:16 PM »

Sounds like the perfect way to make the church just like the Department of Motor Vehicles.
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« Reply #152 on: March 12, 2011, 03:49:57 PM »

Ya, well unfortunately, the so-called Orthodox are not satisfied with the Church only concept and want a heretical theocracy to be part of a dogmatic goal.

Well, it's a fantasy world.  It's about that simple.  But a lot of what passes for Orthodoxy is just that.  Imagination church.
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« Reply #153 on: March 12, 2011, 04:04:49 PM »

I just realized I may have been leaving out one important detail about my views...

I reject Western Historical Views when the they contradict Orthodox sources regarding Church History and anything pertaining to the Orthodox Church.

Right now I'm reading Steven Runiman's book entitled: "The Great Church in Captivity". He is not Orthodox, but his book has been pretty good so far. However, there have been some points where it has contradicted things I've read elsewhere in Orthodox sources, so I've chosen to reject those parts of his book. (for example, he's one who speaks of St. Constantine "strong-arming" the Church at Nicaea)
That doesn't mean I'm not willing to read what he has to say, nor that I reject everything he says.

Also, it's not like I'll accept someones writing just because they are Orthodox. If someone were to write a history today that says that the American Revolution took place in the 19th Century and the Civil War took place in the 20th, that doesn't mean I'll automatically trust it and say it's history.
But likewise, if a modern scholar were to come forward with "evidence" and claim that he had solid evidence that Constantine strong-armed the Church at Nicaea, that doesn't mean I'll trust him either. Or if he were to claim that he had solid evidence that the Holy Sepulchre isn't the burial place (nor the place of crucifixion) for Christ, then he is either lying, or is simply wrong.

Devin, I still say your zeal is misplaced and will lead you down an intellectual rabbit hole to despair. It seems to me that you have brought over something from your Protestant past and transferred it unquestioningly to Orthodoxy.  The Protestant variation on the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy coupled with 'sola scriptura'  has apparently led you to a belief that any writing of Church history from Orthodox sources, any Patristic text, any Canon out of context, all statements of any Saint can not be scrutinized, can not be in error and must be true beyond any doubt. This is a Canon of Infallibilty that even the most ardent Papist would find hard to swallow if it came the Pope himself.

As you grow in your knowledge of the Faith, the inherent inconsistencies and contradictions that such an approach will lead you will undoubtedly test your Faith and perhaps lead you to despair. I have been around long enough to have seen that path be taken time and time again. Work with your priest, take advantage of the online Orthodox resources from multiple Orthodox sources and broaden your outlook and strengthen your knowledge.
Excellent.
That's how I see it too: he will either, hopefully, outgrow this simplistic phase or he will burn out. I see this mode of thinking as a relic of fundamentalist protestantism, mutatis mutandis, of course.
There is far more space for rational inquiry, doubt, disagreement ann common sense in the Church than Devin seems to realize at this moment.
I wasn't aware that Alexander Cuza and the Athonites were fundamentalist Protestants.
Your point being what?
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« Reply #154 on: March 14, 2011, 02:32:20 AM »

Yes Devin, you're right St. Constantine didn't strong-arm Arians to accept Nicea.  The Arians later one the day and St. Constantine tried to strong-arm the Orthodox to accept Arianism, or at the very least tried to capture St. Athanasius as if he was the most wanted criminal heretic of the empire.  Only when St. Constantine died is when St. Athanasius was (temporarily!!) free to show himself again.

I agree. Why NorthernPines wants Devin to doubt what the Church says in favor of what the secularists, modernists, and atheists say is beyond me.
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« Reply #155 on: March 14, 2011, 02:51:06 AM »

Well, I was about to reply to Devin until I read Northern Pines response. After reading that, and I agree with most, if not everything he said, I can only make one point.

The east's rejection of St. Anselm's and St. Thomas Aquinas' methodology and approach to philosophy and through it, academics, does give any Orthodox the foundation to take a rejectionist approach to intellectual inquiry, critical analysis and revisionism, as it applies to history (including Church history as well as secular history) - not dogma.

Anti-scholasticism is not equivalent to anti-academia or anti-intellectualism. We don't waste time or energy attempting to posit the existence of God through theorems or logical proofs. However, unlike many contemporary Evangelical Protestants, we don't reject science or history simply because we are afraid that it might challenge us to better understand our Church and our world. Faith is what makes us strong.

Please, check back in ten years and reread what you are saying today and see if your views haven't developed as you grow in your understanding of the Church. Good luck and please, keep up the journey and the search.

Protestants don't reject science either. They(along with Roman Catholics and Jews) were the main ones to mostly advance it. For the longest time protestants took it for granted that science was on their side and that there would never be a conflict between science and faith. That all changed in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, but by that time it was too late. It's not too late for us. We can learn from their mistakes.

You don't want it to affect dogma, but you can't control where this stuff will go. It will eventually affect dogma. If Protestants, Jews, and Roman Catholics weren't able to control it, then what makes you think we will? We won't! We will fall and become modernist, secular liberal atheists just like many of them(why do you want us to be like the Church of England is today? That is what we will be if we don't have discernment. If we don't criticize modernism). But we don't have to go that way. We can stop it now before it gets out of hand! Western society is gonna fall any way and so why be loyal to it's poison?

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« Reply #156 on: March 14, 2011, 08:09:58 AM »

Well, I was about to reply to Devin until I read Northern Pines response. After reading that, and I agree with most, if not everything he said, I can only make one point.

The east's rejection of St. Anselm's and St. Thomas Aquinas' methodology and approach to philosophy and through it, academics, does give any Orthodox the foundation to take a rejectionist approach to intellectual inquiry, critical analysis and revisionism, as it applies to history (including Church history as well as secular history) - not dogma.

Anti-scholasticism is not equivalent to anti-academia or anti-intellectualism. We don't waste time or energy attempting to posit the existence of God through theorems or logical proofs. However, unlike many contemporary Evangelical Protestants, we don't reject science or history simply because we are afraid that it might challenge us to better understand our Church and our world. Faith is what makes us strong.

Please, check back in ten years and reread what you are saying today and see if your views haven't developed as you grow in your understanding of the Church. Good luck and please, keep up the journey and the search.

Protestants don't reject science either. They(along with Roman Catholics and Jews) were the main ones to mostly advance it. For the longest time protestants took it for granted that science was on their side and that there would never be a conflict between science and faith. That all changed in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, but by that time it was too late. It's not too late for us. We can learn from their mistakes.

You don't want it to affect dogma, but you can't control where this stuff will go. It will eventually affect dogma. If Protestants, Jews, and Roman Catholics weren't able to control it, then what makes you think we will? We won't! We will fall and become modernist, secular liberal atheists just like many of them(why do you want us to be like the Church of England is today? That is what we will be if we don't have discernment. If we don't criticize modernism). But we don't have to go that way. We can stop it now before it gets out of hand! Western society is gonna fall any way and so why be loyal to it's poison?



Did you really just say that if we accept science, we're going to all wind up like liberal Protestants?
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« Reply #157 on: March 14, 2011, 11:08:51 AM »

Yes Devin, you're right St. Constantine didn't strong-arm Arians to accept Nicea.  The Arians later one the day and St. Constantine tried to strong-arm the Orthodox to accept Arianism, or at the very least tried to capture St. Athanasius as if he was the most wanted criminal heretic of the empire.  Only when St. Constantine died is when St. Athanasius was (temporarily!!) free to show himself again.

I agree. Why NorthernPines wants Devin to doubt what the Church says in favor of what the secularists, modernists, and atheists say is beyond me.

I'm not sure if you got my drift from that post.  I was simply proving that an Orthodox Christian government was never a good idea, and St. Constantine was the first among them that showed how much of a bad idea it was.  His edict of Milan was great.  But his ignorance of theology and his resulting Arianism to support the arrest and banishment of St. Athanasius teaches us that an "Orthodox" Christian government never existed and will never successfully exist.

So if anything, I'm more in agreement with NorthernPines than with Devin.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 11:09:18 AM by minasoliman » Logged

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