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Author Topic: Bulgaria's Chief Rabbi Daniel Zion- a Believer  (Read 3200 times) Average Rating: 0
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rakovsky
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« on: November 08, 2010, 01:07:51 AM »

I am somewhat confused by the story of Daniel Zion, Bulgaria's chief Rabbi. He had sincere faith in Christ, for which an Israeli rabbinical court stripped him of his rabbinical title. Yet the Orthodox church told him to stay as the chief rabbi. Why? Perhaps to lead Jews to Christ?

Quote
http://www.jewishvoice.org/site/PageServer?pagename=JewishBelievers_RabbiDaniel

Rabbi Daniel Zion was invited in the early 1930s to visit Dunnov, who was a teacher of a mystical type of Christianity, mixing mysticism, Christianity, vegetarianism, and a form of Yoga exercise.

Dunnov spoke of Jesus as the Messiah and Savior—and of the simple lifestyle of the early disciples of Jesus. These subjects were eye-openers for Rabbi Daniel, and he began to think about most unorthodox subjects for an Orthodox Jewish rabbi. However, according to Rabbi Daniel Zion, the major change came into his life when, as he was praying watching at the sunrise, a vision of Yeshua appeared to him. He did not know what this vision meant, so he asked some of the other rabbis what he should do about it. After the third time that the same vision reappeared, Rabbi Daniel turned toward the figure and spoke to him. The figure was scintillating right out from the sun, and Rabbi Daniel received the impression that he spoke to him, identifying himself as Yeshua...

At this point Rabbi Daniel went to the patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Sofia to see the Archimandrite Stephen, with whom he had a close friendship, and had a frank exchange of ideas on spiritual subjects including Jesus and the early church. The patriarch, who understood the delicate relationship between Jews and Christians, only encouraged the rabbi to forget about Christianity and concentrate on Yeshua himself.
Rabbi Daniel never officially “converted to Christianity;” however, he began to believe in Yeshua




Quote
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Zion
After emigrating to Israel Rabbi Zion was accused of having an interest in Dunovism, a Bulgarian mystical Christian teaching which combined Orthodox Christianity with local Bulgarian religious practices led [by] Peter Deunov, and calling for a retrial of Jesus.

Awesome. Maybe he was a holy person after all.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 01:11:28 AM by rakovsky » Logged
ag_vn
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 06:09:47 AM »

I'm not familiar with the story of Daniel Zion, but Dunovism or the Universal White Brotherhood is certainly not a Christian teaching, it is rather a forerunner of the New Age religions.
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mattymoo
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 08:52:31 AM »

Wow, what an interesting character! If anybody comes along additional info regarding Rabbi Daniel let us know. I have no idea why the Patriarch would have advised against official conversion, if such a dialogue actually happened that way.

Maybe during the discussion the Patriarch realized that the Rabbi's faith was not yet in accordance with Orthodoxy since the Rabbi may have still held some of the heterodox ideas from Dunnov. The crisis in Orthodoxy throughout the communist world during the 1930s may have also contributed to the Patriarch's advice that Daniel continue to develop his relationship with Jesus before tacking what was at the time a decision fraught with dire implications that the Rabbi may not have been ready for?

Or there is the possibility that he became a "crypto-Christian" of sorts? I am not a big fan of Ecumenism - at least how it seems to be currently defined and put into practice by many today but I do believe that "The Holy Spirit blows where he wishes" and that Rabbi Daniel will "be judged by the light he was given" and that is never our right to make judgments about the decisions of God in regards to the "mysterious ways that The Holy Spirit works." It would be interesting to talk to him in the afterlife if God decides in his mercy to grant Daniel eternal life Smiley
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mattymoo
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 09:05:28 AM »

I did a quick Wikipedia search on Rabbi Daniel Zion. It's an interesting read:

Quote
Daniel S. Zion, (Tsion, Tzion or Ziyon), (דניאל ציון),(Salonika, 1881 - Jaffa, Israel, 1976), was an Orthodox rabbi, Kabbalist[1] and a political activist. He was one of the two senior rabbis of Sofia, Bulgaria during the Second World War.

The Holocaust in Bulgaria

In May 1943 alongside Chief Rabbi Dr. Asher Hananel (1895–1964) he helped prevent the 800 Jews of Sofia from being deported and handed over to the Nazis to be sent to the extermination camps. He did so by appealing to the Metropolitan bishop of Sofia Metropolitan Stefan the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Sofia. Bishop Stefan then appealed to the Tsar, King Boris III of Bulgaria.

On May 24, 1943, Rabbi Zion addressed a gathering at a synagogue. He then participated in a mass street demonstration against the anti-Jewish Law for protection of the nation. This law was in effect between 23 January 1941 to 27 November 1944.

Bishop Stefan gave him refuge from the Nazis. However on May 26, 1943, he and many demonstrators were arrested by the police. He was then sent to a concentration camp for Jews at Somovit on the bank of the Danube.

On September 9, 1944, he was appointed as one of Sofia's senior rabbis. In 1949 Rabbi Zion emigrated to Jaffa, Israel where he lived until his death in 1976 or 1979 as incorrectly noted by some sources. His duties were assumed by Asher Hananel.

Relationship with Christianity

After emigrating to Israel Rabbi Zion was accused of having an interest in Dunovism, a Bulgarian mystical Christian teaching which combined Orthodox Christianity with local Bulgarian religious practices led Peter Deunov, and calling for a retrial of Jesus.

Because of these allegations in May 1949 a conference of rabbis in Tel-Aviv declared him "insane" (emphasis mine) and he was relieved from his duties as a judge on a Beth Din. Some 'Messianic Jewish' and Protestant missionaries state that Rabbi Zion was stripped of his post and then left the rabbinate as he secretly, and later more openly, held the view that Jesus was the Messiah after having a vision of him. They state that Rabbi Zion gave an interview for the United Protestant Service on 14 Sept 1952 in Jerusalem broascast on Kol Yisrael Radio, the national Israeli radio station, in which he expressed his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and served as the President of the Union of Messianic Jews in Israel (Ichud Yehudim Meshihiim Be-Israel) founded by Abram Poljak.

Some info on Dunnovov as a sect:

Quote
The Universal White Brotherhood is a New Age-oriented new religious movement founded in Bulgaria in the early 20th century by Peter Deunov and established in France in 1947 by Mihail Ivanov (1900–1986), one of his followers, then renamed Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov. The group proposes a Christian esoterism characterized by a number of practices, including prayer, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga of nutrition and paneurhythmy. A person can be both member of the group and of another religion. In France, the group achieved notability in the media in 1971. It has two centers located in Sèvres and Fréjus and 2,000 followers in France, and is present in many countries, including Canada, Switzerland and Belgium. The 1995 and 1999 reports established by the Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France, as well as the 1997 reports issued by the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission in Belgium listed the group as a cult. The main criticisms by anti-cult associations are the alleged harmful effects of the doctrine on the psyche of some followers, the diet that can lead to nutritional deficiencies, and the authoritarian nature of education.

The members of the Brotherhood may be known as the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom or the Ascended Masters.[1] Various people have said they have received messages from these beings, including most notably Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, (Theosophy), Aleister Crowley (Thelema), Alice A. Bailey (New Group of World Servers, Guy Ballard ("I AM" Activity), Elizabeth Clare Prophet (Church Universal and Triumphant) and Benjamin Creme

A clarification of what Paneurhythmy is:

Quote
It is practiced in the early mornings in open air from the day after the Spring equinox until the Autumnal equinox (i.e. for the Northern Hemisphere from 22 March until 22 September). The number of participants is not restricted. Paneurhythmy is danced in pairs forming a circle – there may be more than one concentric circle if necessary. One person of the pair represents the masculine principle; the other one represents the feminine principle. The musicians (and if there is a choir) are in the center of the circle. The participants move in a counter-clockwise direction while performing the dance.
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rakovsky
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2010, 05:58:57 PM »

The crisis in Orthodoxy throughout the communist world during the 1930s may have also contributed to the Patriarch's advice that Daniel continue to develop his relationship with Jesus before tacking what was at the time a decision fraught with dire implications that the Rabbi may not have been ready for?

I see what you mean, although that particular reason wasn't the case, since Bulgaria was still non-Communist, and the Orthodox church played such a strong role in the government that it was able to save many Jews!

God bless.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2010, 06:00:00 PM by rakovsky » Logged
mattymoo
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2010, 06:09:08 PM »


I see what you mean, although that particular reason wasn't the case, since Bulgaria was still non-Communist, and the Orthodox church played such a strong role in the government that it was able to save many Jews!

God bless.

Oh right, my timelines were way off on that one! Wink
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rakovsky
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2011, 12:08:16 PM »

AG_VN,

Hello, I have some doubt about your words:
I'm not familiar with the story of Daniel Zion, but Dunovism or the Universal White Brotherhood is certainly not a Christian teaching, it is rather a forerunner of the New Age religions.
, because from what I read, Dunovism involved prayer, possibly some kind of connection between Christ and the sun, and worship of Christ. In a metaphysical way, Christ is connected to the sun, at least because Christ is everywhere. It seems more likely to me that Dunovism is a Christian heresy than being non-Christian, although it seems that such a Christian heresy could also be a forerunner for New Age religions, which developed further and became actually nonChristian.

Regards




Mattymoo,

You wrote:

Quote
Wow, what an interesting character!

Yes, he is an interesting character because of the role he played in helping the Jews of Bulgaria to avoid the Holocaust with his connections to Bulgaria's Tzar in WWII.

You asked:
Quote
If anybody comes along additional info regarding Rabbi Daniel let us know.
Michael Bar-Zohar's book "Beyond Hitler's Grasp", which is nearly 300 pages, about how Bulgaria's Jews avoided the Holocaust, doesn't mention Daniel Tzioni. It only mentions that the Tsar and/or one of his ministers had relations with Dunovists, and that Dunovism existed among the Jewish population. It mentions one time where a government leader met with one of their leaders, but says that it didnt amount to much on that occasion. If Bar-Zohar left the Chief Rabbi Tzioni out of as big and thorough book as his, then I assume Tzioni receives little if any mention in similar books.

However, I somewhat remember that in the book series "Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus", Michael Brown writes that soon before Jews were to be deported to camps, Chief Rabbi Tzioni had a vision of Christ who said to protect the Jews, and Tzioni told the Tzar about it, and it motivated the Tsar to prevent the deportation. In my mind, a thorough book about why Bulgaria's Tsar chose to protect Bulgaria's Jews should mention the relationship between Bulgaria's Tsar and its chief rabbi. Other similar, detailed books probably have a similar silence about Tzioni, since he isn't mentioned alot on the internet.


I guess that the explanation you proposed is right, when you said:
Quote
I have no idea why the Patriarch would have advised against official conversion, if such a dialogue actually happened that way.

Maybe during the discussion the Patriarch realized that the Rabbi's faith was not yet in accordance with Orthodoxy since the Rabbi may have still held some of the heterodox ideas from Dunnov.


You asked:
Quote
Or there is the possibility that he became a "crypto-Christian" of sorts?
I am not sure how secret the Rabbi's Dunnovism was. However, after the war he emigrated to the State of Israel and was offered a position on a Rabbincal Court if he would agree to avoid publicizing his Christianity. He replied that he would give up all his earthloy titles for Christ, and then the Rabbinical Court stripped him of his title as a rabbi. Certainly at that point his Christianity was no longer secret. However, the Bulgarian Jewish community in Israel continued to allow him to teach in their synagogue, and after the services he would lead a Christian study group.

I share your beliefs when you write:
Quote
...I do believe that "The Holy Spirit blows where he wishes" and that Rabbi Daniel will "be judged by the light he was given" and that is never our right to make judgments about the decisions of God in regards to the "mysterious ways that The Holy Spirit works." It would be interesting to talk to him in the afterlife if God decides in his mercy to grant Daniel eternal life

However, while I am not a "big fan" of Ecumenism, I am a fan of it, "at least how it seems to be currently defined and put into practice by many today"  Tongue Although I see that Ecumenism does carry a risk, and shouldn't be placed as more important than the Church itself.

Thanks for sharing the information from Wikipedia: you're right it's interesting.

I note that it shows he was only one of two chief rabbis in Bulgaria at that time. It mentions that he appealed to the Bulgarian Metropolitan to prevent 800 Jews of Sofia from being deported. But I vaguely remember from Michael Brown's book that he also contacted the Tsar.

It sounds like a strong step Rabbi Zion took when:
"On May 24, 1943, Rabbi Zion addressed a gathering at a synagogue. He then participated in a mass street demonstration against the anti-Jewish Law for protection of the nation. This law was in effect between 23 January 1941 to 27 November 1944."


His alleged "calling for a retrial of Jesus" sounds like a good idea, something to set the record straight. And wow that, "a conference of rabbis in Tel-Aviv declared him "insane"", apparently for his religious beliefs sounds intense in a bad way. I mean, it shouldn't be the job of a religious body to declare someone sane or insane. Absent certification by a mental health institue, it seems like slander.

Also, regarding the quote that:
Quote
"Some 'Messianic Jewish' and Protestant missionaries state that Rabbi Zion was stripped of his post and then left the rabbinate as he secretly, and later more openly, held the view that Jesus was the Messiah after having a vision of him. They state that Rabbi Zion gave an interview for the United Protestant Service on 14 Sept 1952 in Jerusalem broascast on Kol Yisrael Radio, the national Israeli radio station, in which he expressed his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and served as the President of the Union of Messianic Jews in Israel (Ichud Yehudim Meshihiim Be-Israel) founded by Abram Poljak."
, I dislike that the quote has the alleged facts amount merely to statements by missionaries, since the facts stated shouldn't be too hard to verify, especially whether he was the Messianic union's president.


Regarding the quote from Wikipedia: "The Universal White Brotherhood is a New Age-oriented new religious movement", I note that being oriented toward New Age isn't the same as being new age, and in my mind some Christian heresies can confusingly seem New Age if they have new, mystical ideas like New Age does.

OK, so none of this seems anti-Christian to me, and seems ok as a merely Christian-oriented secular movement:
Quote
The group proposes a Christian esoterism characterized by a number of practices, including prayer, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga of nutrition and paneurhythmy. A person can be both member of the group and of another religion. In France, the group achieved notability in the media in 1971. It has two centers located in Sèvres and Fréjus and 2,000 followers in France, and is present in many countries, including Canada, Switzerland and Belgium. The 1995 and 1999 reports established by the Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France, as well as the 1997 reports issued by the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission in Belgium listed the group as a cult. The main criticisms by anti-cult associations are the alleged harmful effects of the doctrine on the psyche of some followers, the diet that can lead to nutritional deficiencies, and the authoritarian nature of education.
It is practiced in the early mornings in open air from the day after the Spring equinox until the Autumnal equinox (i.e. for the Northern Hemisphere from 22 March until 22 September). The number of participants is not restricted. Paneurhythmy is danced in pairs forming a circle – there may be more than one concentric circle if necessary. One person of the pair represents the masculine principle; the other one represents the feminine principle. The musicians (and if there is a choir) are in the center of the circle. The participants move in a counter-clockwise direction while performing the dance.

The YMCA, for example, allows members to belong to other religions, has exercize and nutrition ideas. Also, the Paneurhythmy is strange, and reminds me of pagan customs, but on the other hand, dancing is ok, and alot of pagan dancing customs seem to exist in Eastern Europe. Also, the male and female principles are at best a pscyhological construct, but still at least rational, that is, that some traits are emphasized more in men vs women, and the variance of the traits in them can be called male and female principles.

However, it would be outside Christianity, and sounds contradictory to it, if part of the religion was that "The members of the Brotherhood may be known as the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom or the Ascended Masters.[1] Various people have said they have received messages from these beings,", although here the word "may" sounds like it isn't clear whether this is part of their movement or not. The word "may" here sounds weak. It sounds unlikely that "Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, (Theosophy), Aleister Crowley (Thelema), Alice A. Bailey (New Group of World Servers, Guy Ballard ("I AM" Activity), Elizabeth Clare Prophet (Church Universal and Triumphant) and Benjamin Creme" would be getting messages from a movementof Dunovists who, besides this claim the above, sound less intense and New Age than the recipients of the messages.

Regarding the photo of Daniel Zioni.

He looks like a nice person, his hat reminds me of Rabbinic dress. Perhaps it is from reading about his Dunovism, but his round eyes, white beard, and peaceful smile and features remind me somewhat of the yoga image presented.

Thanks for sharing.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 12:18:05 PM by rakovsky » Logged
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