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Author Topic: Is Orthodoxy as State Religion Unfair? (Rant + Questions seeking answers)  (Read 8252 times) Average Rating: 0
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augustin717
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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.
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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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