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Author Topic: A bit of an issue with ethnicity in the Church...  (Read 2050 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 26, 2011, 06:06:30 PM »

This past Sunday I visited a Greek Orthodox Cathedral and the Bishop was present, along with a few other priests. So after Holy Communion took place, this Cathedral had Greek children almost in this parade like fashion waving Greek flags, dressed up in I assume Greek dancing outfits, etc. Anyway it was to support some sort of Greek event.

My issue is why is this allowed in the Church of God? I feel it reduces the Holiness of the Body of Christ by instituting these sort of things. Am I wrong?
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 06:08:28 PM »

This past Sunday I visited a Greek Orthodox Cathedral and the Bishop was present, along with a few other priests. So after Holy Communion took place, this Cathedral had Greek children almost in this parade like fashion waving Greek flags, dressed up in I assume Greek dancing outfits, etc. Anyway it was to support some sort of Greek event.

My issue is why is this allowed in the Church of God? I feel it reduces the Holiness of the Body of Christ by instituting these sort of things. Am I wrong?

March 25th is Greek Independence Day, which, not coincidentally, is on the same day as Annunciation.  That might have had something to do with it.
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 06:08:35 PM »

This past Sunday I visited a Greek Orthodox Cathedral and the Bishop was present, along with a few other priests. So after Holy Communion took place, this Cathedral had Greek children almost in this parade like fashion waving Greek flags, dressed up in I assume Greek dancing outfits, etc. Anyway it was to support some sort of Greek event.

My issue is why is this allowed in the Church of God? I feel it reduces the Holiness of the Body of Christ by instituting these sort of things. Am I wrong?

Yes .......
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2011, 06:11:50 PM »

Ah I see, sorry I do not attend this particular Greek Church on a consistent basis. The reason why I stopped attended this particular Church was because I felt it was more of an ethnic club based upon its members and certain events they do which seemed Pharasaical to me.
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2011, 06:19:54 PM »

Ah I see, sorry I do not attend this particular Greek Church on a consistent basis. The reason why I stopped attended this particular Church was because I felt it was more of an ethnic club based upon its members and certain events they do which seemed Pharasaical to me.

Are you going to church to worship God or to spy on other people??
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2011, 06:20:41 PM »

Ah I see, sorry I do not attend this particular Greek Church on a consistent basis. The reason why I stopped attended this particular Church was because I felt it was more of an ethnic club based upon its members and certain events they do which seemed Pharasaical to me.

Are you going to church to worship God or to spy on other people??

Not this argument again, sigh.

Worship God, and what do you mean by spying on other people?
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2011, 06:22:49 PM »

March 25 is also the Freedom day of Belarus Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2011, 06:42:51 PM »

Curious ....Why do you want all ethnic Orthodox to get rid of our traditions...It traditions that binds us togeather...So where suppose to change to please the converts....

Why don't you attend a english speaking Orthodox Church and create your own Traditions and as soon as you do , I'll condem them on  this forum.... Grin



This past Sunday I visited a Greek Orthodox Cathedral and the Bishop was present, along with a few other priests. So after Holy Communion took place, this Cathedral had Greek children almost in this parade like fashion waving Greek flags, dressed up in I assume Greek dancing outfits, etc. Anyway it was to support some sort of Greek event.

My issue is why is this allowed in the Church of God? I feel it reduces the Holiness of the Body of Christ by instituting these sort of things. Am I wrong?
« Last Edit: March 26, 2011, 06:46:24 PM by stashko » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2011, 06:46:27 PM »

Give the Greeks a break on March 25th. The Greeks won their independence from four centuries of the yoke of Ottoman Muslim oppression.The significance of the date coinciding with the great feast of the Annunciation can not be understated nor can it be fully understood by contemporary Americans just how perilous the fate of the Orthodox faith was with the Turks. Just look at the post World War 1 treatment of the Greek minority by the Turkish republic.Many American Protestant sects have made the day of American independence almost a religious-like holiday and that war had little, if anything, to do with religion. So celebrate with our Greek friends and rejoice in their joy and their deliverance from oppression.
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2011, 06:49:40 PM »

Curious ....Why do you want all ethnic Orthodox to get rid of our traditions...It traditions that binds us togeather...So where suppose to change to please the converts....
Binds the certain ethnicities together, but not all. I think these various ethnicities of the Orthodox Church divides people rather than bind.

Quote
Why don't you attend a english speaking Orthodox Church and create your own Traditions and as soon as you do , I'll condem them on  this forum.... Grin
I have no desire to create my own traditions.
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2011, 06:57:01 PM »

I love the differences in customs, music and food and other things that we have in Holy Orthodoxy, I never looked upon it as seperation
but a discovery in the awesomeness of Holy Orthodoxy .....  police


Curious ....Why do you want all ethnic Orthodox to get rid of our traditions...It traditions that binds us togeather...So where suppose to change to please the converts....
Binds the certain ethnicities together, but not all. I think these various ethnicities of the Orthodox Church divides people rather than bind.

Quote
Why don't you attend a english speaking Orthodox Church and create your own Traditions and as soon as you do , I'll condem them on  this forum.... Grin
I have no desire to create my own traditions.
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2011, 08:17:53 PM »

I love the differences in customs, music and food and other things that we have in Holy Orthodoxy, I never looked upon it as seperation
but a discovery in the awesomeness of Holy Orthodoxy .....  police


Curious ....Why do you want all ethnic Orthodox to get rid of our traditions...It traditions that binds us togeather...So where suppose to change to please the converts....
Binds the certain ethnicities together, but not all. I think these various ethnicities of the Orthodox Church divides people rather than bind.

Quote
Why don't you attend a english speaking Orthodox Church and create your own Traditions and as soon as you do , I'll condem them on  this forum.... Grin
I have no desire to create my own traditions.

I will have to say that the OP has done something I thought was impossible.

I am not Greek and I think that there are many Greeks who do equate Hellenism with Orthodoxy. However......

With his comments he united all so-called 'ethnics' with his arrogance and his lack of understanding that the independence of the Greek nation and the Greek people is one of the great historical triumphs of the second millennium for all Orthodox Christians. In the face of fierce and unrelenting Muslim pressure, our Orthodox faith was kept alive for four centuries by the Greeks. Let them have their day.
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2011, 08:19:45 PM »

I love the differences in customs, music and food and other things that we have in Holy Orthodoxy, I never looked upon it as seperation
but a discovery in the awesomeness of Holy Orthodoxy .....  police


Curious ....Why do you want all ethnic Orthodox to get rid of our traditions...It traditions that binds us togeather...So where suppose to change to please the converts....
Binds the certain ethnicities together, but not all. I think these various ethnicities of the Orthodox Church divides people rather than bind.

Quote
Why don't you attend a english speaking Orthodox Church and create your own Traditions and as soon as you do , I'll condem them on  this forum.... Grin
I have no desire to create my own traditions.

I will have to say that the OP has done something I thought was impossible.

I am not Greek and I think that there are many Greeks who do equate Hellenism with Orthodoxy. However......

With his comments he united all so-called 'ethnics' with his arrogance and his lack of understanding that the independence of the Greek nation and the Greek people is one of the great historical triumphs of the second millennium for all Orthodox Christians. In the face of fierce and unrelenting Muslim pressure, our Orthodox faith was kept alive for four centuries by the Greeks. Let them have their day.

So they can have their day, not in a Church setting.
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2011, 08:20:39 PM »

I love the differences in customs, music and food and other things that we have in Holy Orthodoxy, I never looked upon it as seperation
but a discovery in the awesomeness of Holy Orthodoxy .....  police


Curious ....Why do you want all ethnic Orthodox to get rid of our traditions...It traditions that binds us togeather...So where suppose to change to please the converts....
Binds the certain ethnicities together, but not all. I think these various ethnicities of the Orthodox Church divides people rather than bind.

Quote
Why don't you attend a english speaking Orthodox Church and create your own Traditions and as soon as you do , I'll condem them on  this forum.... Grin
I have no desire to create my own traditions.

I will have to say that the OP has done something I thought was impossible.

I am not Greek and I think that there are many Greeks who do equate Hellenism with Orthodoxy. However......

With his comments he united all so-called 'ethnics' with his arrogance and his lack of understanding that the independence of the Greek nation and the Greek people is one of the great historical triumphs of the second millennium for all Orthodox Christians. In the face of fierce and unrelenting Muslim pressure, our Orthodox faith was kept alive for four centuries by the Greeks. Let them have their day.

So they can have their day, not in a Church setting.

Lighten up and enjoy the show. It's harmless.
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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2011, 08:34:01 PM »

As much as some may want to 'strip' national traditions and differences away from Orthodoxy in America, this is an error filled path to take. Yes, those traditions should never stand before the Faith or become an object of 'worship' as some misguided souls have attempted. However, the historical reality of our faith is that Orthodoxy has been organized upon national lines and borders since its inception. When it came to these shores it came in the hearts and souls of the immigrants who brought it here.

Sometimes I sense that some converts are so full of zeal that they would just like us 'ethnics' to go away. With attitudes like that of the OP I really have to wonder. Will some Greek speak up here? Don't leave it to the Slavs to defend you!  Wink
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2011, 08:35:25 PM »

Greek independence is tied to Orthodoxy pretty tightly. If you have an issue with ethnic parishes, don't attend one. You can't expect an entire parish to cater to you. Even if you were the priest the parish wouldn't cater to you! Grin If you want to determine these things, join a church board!
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2011, 08:43:32 PM »

I understand your concern, however, it was after the Divine Liturgy, and most likely they were also thanking God that their nation was independent.

You have to remember that for the "ethnic" crowd, their nationality is part of their religion.  The two are bound together.

It's hard for Americans to understand, as Orthodox are the minority.  Here we celebrate our holidays, when the majority have already celebrated.  The Orthodox crowd is like an island, amidst a sea of diversity.

Back "home", everyone celebrates and rejoices together!  They all speak the same language, celebrate the same holidays, keep the same traditions.

As long as they don't put Country before Christ, don't worry too much about it.  Christ created all this diversity, all the languages, all the nations.  

Besides, most churches also have flags in them - U.S. and Motherland.


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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2011, 08:46:45 PM »

I attend a large Greek Cathedral and these types of cultural activities are conducted in a hall that is well away from the nave and after the Divine services. I presume that you are addressing activities that were in the nave. Our priest admonishes parishioners for loud chatter in the nave before or after services. I have learned from other discussions on this board that all parishes are not the same in regard to small traditions (small t). So it is not surprising to find various policies.
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« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2011, 09:16:21 PM »

Horrifying.  These children might actually end up viewing church as an enjoyable place to be.  This must be stopped.
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« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2011, 10:02:52 PM »

I attend a large Greek Cathedral and these types of cultural activities are conducted in a hall that is well away from the nave and after the Divine services. I presume that you are addressing activities that were in the nave. Our priest admonishes parishioners for loud chatter in the nave before or after services. I have learned from other discussions on this board that all parishes are not the same in regard to small traditions (small t). So it is not surprising to find various policies.

Excellent point. The nave should be used only for Divine Services and treated at all times with the respect due to God. However, it may not be possible in some churches, even cathedrals, to accommodate large crowds for this sort of celebration.
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« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2011, 10:47:48 PM »

And that's my exact problem. This Cathedral has a huge hall in the next door building, just do that there.
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« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2011, 11:50:43 PM »

I love the differences in customs, music and food and other things that we have in Holy Orthodoxy, I never looked upon it as seperation
but a discovery in the awesomeness of Holy Orthodoxy .....  police


Curious ....Why do you want all ethnic Orthodox to get rid of our traditions...It traditions that binds us togeather...So where suppose to change to please the converts....
Binds the certain ethnicities together, but not all. I think these various ethnicities of the Orthodox Church divides people rather than bind.

Quote
Why don't you attend a english speaking Orthodox Church and create your own Traditions and as soon as you do , I'll condem them on  this forum.... Grin
I have no desire to create my own traditions.

I will have to say that the OP has done something I thought was impossible.

I am not Greek and I think that there are many Greeks who do equate Hellenism with Orthodoxy. However......

With his comments he united all so-called 'ethnics' with his arrogance and his lack of understanding that the independence of the Greek nation and the Greek people is one of the great historical triumphs of the second millennium for all Orthodox Christians. In the face of fierce and unrelenting Muslim pressure, our Orthodox faith was kept alive for four centuries by the Greeks. Let them have their day.

So they can have their day, not in a Church setting.
The Church was where it was set:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanos_of_patras
and you can always celebrate the Fourth of July:Chicago Tribune on July 5, 1892:

Quote
Probably the most unique celebration of the day, as it was one of the most earnest, took place in the Graeco-Slavonian Church, No. 20 North Peoria street, yesterday afternoon. Members of the Greek faith in this city gathered there at 11 o’clock and with a monk of high order in picturesque vestments at the altar the mass or liturgy of Servian freedom was recited and applied to the natal day of American independence. The religious features of the services throughout were the same as those employed in Servia to commemorate the independence of that country, and the vestments worn by the celebrant were white and gold, symbolic in Slavonian churches of freedom won and enjoyed.

The church is known as that of St. Nicholas, but externally has nothing to indicate that it is a sacred edifice. The building is a two-story and high basement frame and the first floor is the church. On the end fronting the street the altar is placed, and in its symbols and decorations, resembles that of a modest Catholic church. When services are not in progress it is hidden by curtained partitions extending some distance from each wall, and in the center, where the altar steps begin, are two swinging doors, surmounted with a golden cross, and over that a silken curtain depending from near the ceiling. Except this altar space or sanctuary, the church is simply furnished, there being nothing to relieve its plainness and lack of suggestiveness but a few religious pictures on the walls.

The pastor of this church, the celebrant of yesterday’s services, which were in the nature of a Te Deum, is Fermillian, an Archmandrite of the Graeco-Slavonian Church, or a monk of high order, of which he was at one time the head or chief. He is a man of about 40 years, with a strong face and high forehead, framed in a heavy head of hair and full black whiskers. His eyes are kindly and his manner dignified and courteous. He speaks several languages fluently, but not English. He was rector of a theological school in Belgrade and had charge of the education of young King Alexander of Servia and resided in the royal palace. Being a monk he is not married. Priests of the Greek Church are permitted to marry, but by doing so are debarred from reaching any higher clerical dignity than that of the priesthood.

After the conclusion of the services, which were in the Slavonian language, the Archmandrite delivered an address, in which he spoke enthusiastically of the freedom of this country and the benefits it confers upon those of his own and other races who were the victims of oppression. He drew a parallel between the struggles of the United States and Servia. This happy land had won its liberties in one war, while Servia had been fighting for over 500 years and yet only a portion of the Slavic race was free. Bosnia, Herzegovinia, Macedonia, Dalmatia, and other States are still the victims of Turkish and Austrian tyranny. Only 3,000,000 Slavs are free in Servia and Montenegro and 4,000,000 are still in bondage. But he had hopes that a united Slavic nation would yet be like the United States, free and independent and happy. It was a glorious privilege, he said, to live in a land of liberty like this.

This Greek church on Peoria street is the first one of that faith established in Chicago, and it has been in existence scarcely two months. The Slavonians and Greeks here organized the Christian Orthodox Association about a year ago and sent a petition to the Metropolitan of Servia for a pastor. He complied with their request and sent them Fermillian the Archmandrite. The church now numbers about 175 members, and every Sunday additions are made to the roll. The intention is to begin the erection of a new and handsome church before long, and the expectation is that, at any rate, it will be completed for the World’s Fair and will be open for the reception and worship of Greek Chrsitians from every quarter
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« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2011, 02:16:18 AM »

I know what you're referring too, last Sunday I also witnessed their celebration of Greek Independence.  They could not have it on March 25, as it coincided with the Annunciation and they were having Divine Liturgy that day.  I felt slightly awkward myself, having food that I've never seen or had before -- and witnessing clothes and dance that I don't typically see.

  Honestly, I sometimes feel equally as out of place when celebrating my own Scottish heritage.  But I look past all of these things, and realize they are a people far older than I or this country ever was.  The current Greek nation may not stretch back that far, but their culture most certainly does.  Everytime I go to my parish, often I'll hear rapid fire Greek being spoken back and forth.  That's fine with me, it's just something more to get used to!  Maybe one day I'll even learn some Greek outside of "Kyrie eleison"!
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« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2011, 05:03:37 AM »

I love the differences in customs, music and food and other things that we have in Holy Orthodoxy, I never looked upon it as seperation
but a discovery in the awesomeness of Holy Orthodoxy .....  police


Curious ....Why do you want all ethnic Orthodox to get rid of our traditions...It traditions that binds us togeather...So where suppose to change to please the converts....
Binds the certain ethnicities together, but not all. I think these various ethnicities of the Orthodox Church divides people rather than bind.

Quote
Why don't you attend a english speaking Orthodox Church and create your own Traditions and as soon as you do , I'll condem them on  this forum.... Grin
I have no desire to create my own traditions.

I will have to say that the OP has done something I thought was impossible.

I am not Greek and I think that there are many Greeks who do equate Hellenism with Orthodoxy. However......

With his comments he united all so-called 'ethnics' with his arrogance and his lack of understanding that the independence of the Greek nation and the Greek people is one of the great historical triumphs of the second millennium for all Orthodox Christians. In the face of fierce and unrelenting Muslim pressure, our Orthodox faith was kept alive for four centuries by the Greeks. Let them have their day.

So they can have their day, not in a Church setting.

I think you are failing to realize the importance of the Feast of the Annunciation to Greek Independence. The Greeks specifically chose a religious feast day to declare their independence from the Ottomans as a way of saying "You tried to strip us of our faith, you tried to suppress our beliefs, and yet through four centuries of oppression, our faith has endured! On the day which the Lord announced that the Word shall become flesh, we announce our independence to you"

March 25th wasn't just a random day on the calendar the way July 4th was.

When you understand the meaning behind it, it becomes less about nationalism and more about the Church triumphing against the gates of Hades, or in this case, the Turks.
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« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2011, 08:46:22 AM »

I know what you're referring too, last Sunday I also witnessed their celebration of Greek Independence.  They could not have it on March 25, as it coincided with the Annunciation and they were having Divine Liturgy that day.  I felt slightly awkward myself, having food that I've never seen or had before -- and witnessing clothes and dance that I don't typically see.

  Honestly, I sometimes feel equally as out of place when celebrating my own Scottish heritage.  But I look past all of these things, and realize they are a people far older than I or this country ever was.  The current Greek nation may not stretch back that far, but their culture most certainly does.  Everytime I go to my parish, often I'll hear rapid fire Greek being spoken back and forth.  That's fine with me, it's just something more to get used to!  Maybe one day I'll even learn some Greek outside of "Kyrie eleison"!

Personally, I have never felt awkward at my Greek parish. The food at the coffee hour is very tasty, or is just that I am hungry after the total fast from the night before? I take part in every activity (Divine or otherwise) that I can. Yes, I helped out at the Greek festival which is a huge fundraiser for our parish, and that is part of my stewardship plan for the year. I particularly enjoy the Wednesday evening Presanctified Liturgies during Lent where maybe twenty attend compared to the 800 or more communicants on a Sunday. By doing more than just attending Divine Liturgy, I learn more about my brothers and sisters of the parish, and they get to know me. In other words, I am attempting to communicate that one can serve, worship, and glorify the Lord as part of a ethnic parish while of a different ethnic background than many others of the parish. Besides, as a dear yiayia reminds me, we are all American.
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« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2011, 12:02:14 PM »

Hi,

A lot of times ethnicity works due to jurisdiction issues. 

ie - Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Georgian Orthodox, etc.

Many of the jurisdictions kind of tend to "lean" towards the culture.  However, they are in communion with one another (usually but off topic).

So while "Greeks" may practice the Greek cultures more in their church, they'll see the Russian Orthodox just as they see themselves - as Orthodox Christians.

But I have seen people directly walk out of church service to start prepping meals, festivities, and activities that were culture backed.   I do believe it can become a distraction of worship and create a redirect of the point of being at church sometimes. 
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« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2011, 09:34:03 PM »

I have no desire to create my own traditions.

Surely not every tradition or custom that Orthodox follow came down straight from the apostles. Cannot the Church baptize customs and traditions over time, while allowing old customs and traditions to fall into disuse when their time is up? Cheer up, take heart, don't worry, be happy Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2011, 10:39:22 PM »

Maybe listening to Archbishop Demetrius and President Obama celebrate the day will help http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcyp7Dud3cM. In essence, the day is seen as God's hand giving justice on Earth as you may have read about over and over again in the Old Testament.
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« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2011, 11:24:28 PM »

When I attended St. Nicholas ACROD in NYC a couple weeks ago, they sang "God Bless America" while an usher held aloft an American flag...in the nave...after Divine Liturgy.  It struck me as odd and a bit nationalistic, but I know and understand those are my hang-ups and the very good people whose church I was visiting had no problem with it, including the new priest.  As a visitor, and as a relatively new Orthodox Christian, it is not my place, my job, nor, frankly, my business to tell anyone how to run their church, particularly when the "important" part (eg DL) was all well and good.

God will not be mocked and, frankly, he doesn't need you or me to go around and tell people how wrong they are. 

If the Church needs anything from its new members, it's some old fashioned humility.
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« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2011, 09:49:52 AM »

When I attended St. Nicholas ACROD in NYC a couple weeks ago, they sang "God Bless America" while an usher held aloft an American flag...in the nave...after Divine Liturgy.  It struck me as odd and a bit nationalistic, but I know and understand those are my hang-ups and the very good people whose church I was visiting had no problem with it, including the new priest.  As a visitor, and as a relatively new Orthodox Christian, it is not my place, my job, nor, frankly, my business to tell anyone how to run their church, particularly when the "important" part (eg DL) was all well and good.

God will not be mocked and, frankly, he doesn't need you or me to go around and tell people how wrong they are. 

If the Church needs anything from its new members, it's some old fashioned humility.

It certainly differs from parish to parish, we are in ACROD and we don't do that. I do recall that we sang God Bless America the Sunday after 9/11.

Keep in mind that the church Schultz referred to is on the lower East Side of Manhattan not far from Ground Zero and several of the police officers from the nearby precinct (which has a long cooperative history with the parish and her pastors over the decades - the late Metropolitan Nicholas was their chaplain while he was pastor in the 1970's) and firefighters from the Station House were killed during 9/11.
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« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2011, 10:21:26 AM »

Yes I would find that highly inappropriate for the choir of the church to sing "God Bless America".

The separation of church and state works both ways in my opinion.  This is a church choir dedicated to the worship of God, not singing songs basically meant for a country.

It's kind of like "pro country", which I have no problem with, however, it can be translated as "spiritual propaganda".  (ie - "we sang it in church so why question the government") 

Yeah I can see why that was not right.
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« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2011, 10:32:26 AM »

Yes I would find that highly inappropriate for the choir of the church to sing "God Bless America".

The separation of church and state works both ways in my opinion.  This is a church choir dedicated to the worship of God, not singing songs basically meant for a country.

It's kind of like "pro country", which I have no problem with, however, it can be translated as "spiritual propaganda".  (ie - "we sang it in church so why question the government") 

Yeah I can see why that was not right.

In the choir's defense, how is singing "God Bless America" any different than the petitions for the country, the government, et al in the litanies?  If they had been singing the National Anthem, then, yes, I would agree with you, but at the very least they were singing what is, ultimately, a religious song.

And to riff on what podkarpatska said, the other local ACROD church in NYC, St. Mary's (just a few blocks from St. Nicholas) does nothing of the sort after DL, so, as he points out, it's certainly not an ACROD-wide thing.  I would not be surprised if this practice started after 9/11 but, likewise, would also not be surprised if it was older than that.  I've certainly seen similar things in Catholic and Orthodox parishes elsewhere, particularly those whose congregation boasts a large number of civil servants and military personnel.
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« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2011, 11:18:57 AM »

March 25 is like many other Orthodox feasts, where the spiritual and historical, ecclesiastical and civic aspects of Orthodox life meet in symphony. We celebrate freedom from the tyranny of sin, brought about by the Incarnation of our Lord, and freedom from the tyranny of Muslim oppression, brought about by a revolution blessed and maintained by the Orthodox Church.

This is nothing new. We have many such feasts. The Akathist Hymn itself was created to celebrate the Empire's defeat of the Avars in the 7th century. That's an entire category of liturgical worship, and a good number of feasts, that have their origin in a "secular" independence story (although there is no such thing as "secular" in the Byzantine mind). There are other such events in the ecclesiastical calendar, ranging from battles, to earthquakes, to fires. We commemorate the losses and celebrate the victories.

Such is also true in the other Orthodox churches. There are too many to name, but the biggest include the Battle of Kosovo (producing St Lazar the Great Martyr of Kosovo) and Stephen the Great in Romania (Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt).

Theologically, this presumes a firm belief in God's providence. History, culture, civil society, etc. are not separate from the Church, since Christ is King of all. That's a very different way of thinking than the liberal, French-inspired point of view prevalent in the American popular psyche, so it takes some time and experience to understand.
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« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2011, 11:26:14 AM »

Yes I would find that highly inappropriate for the choir of the church to sing "God Bless America".

The separation of church and state works both ways in my opinion.  This is a church choir dedicated to the worship of God, not singing songs basically meant for a country.

It's kind of like "pro country", which I have no problem with, however, it can be translated as "spiritual propaganda".  (ie - "we sang it in church so why question the government")  

Yeah I can see why that was not right.

In the choir's defense, how is singing "God Bless America" any different than the petitions for the country, the government, et al in the litanies?  If they had been singing the National Anthem, then, yes, I would agree with you, but at the very least they were singing what is, ultimately, a religious song.

And to riff on what podkarpatska said, the other local ACROD church in NYC, St. Mary's (just a few blocks from St. Nicholas) does nothing of the sort after DL, so, as he points out, it's certainly not an ACROD-wide thing.  I would not be surprised if this practice started after 9/11 but, likewise, would also not be surprised if it was older than that.  I've certainly seen similar things in Catholic and Orthodox parishes elsewhere, particularly those whose congregation boasts a large number of civil servants and military personnel.

I wouldn't be so hard or judgmental when it comes to these matters. A little knowledge of history can go a long way in understanding things.

Just as many are questioning the loyalties of many Americans of Muslim origin these days, both the Slavic Orthodox and Slavic Greek Catholic faithful within the United States were viewed with suspicion from the peak of the immigration beginning with the post World War 1 of the 'Red Scares', continuing through the depression and the influence of the International Workers of the World (IWW or the 'wobblies') during the depression, to   through World War 2 and into the McCarthy era of 'communist witch hunts.' In an attempt to bolster their "American-ness" many parishes in that era resorted to the placement of American flags in the nave and singing American religious hymns on special occasions, placing flagpoles in the front of the Church and building monuments in memory of their war dead and in honor of their service men and women. In many communities these acts became, over time, local traditions.

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« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2011, 11:30:17 AM »

March 25 is like many other Orthodox feasts, where the spiritual and historical, ecclesiastical and civic aspects of Orthodox life meet in symphony. We celebrate freedom from the tyranny of sin, brought about by the Incarnation of our Lord, and freedom from the tyranny of Muslim oppression, brought about by a revolution blessed and maintained by the Orthodox Church.

This is nothing new. We have many such feasts. The Akathist Hymn itself was created to celebrate the Empire's defeat of the Avars in the 7th century. That's an entire category of liturgical worship, and a good number of feasts, that have their origin in a "secular" independence story (although there is no such thing as "secular" in the Byzantine mind). There are other such events in the ecclesiastical calendar, ranging from battles, to earthquakes, to fires. We commemorate the losses and celebrate the victories.

Such is also true in the other Orthodox churches. There are too many to name, but the biggest include the Battle of Kosovo (producing St Lazar the Great Martyr of Kosovo) and Stephen the Great in Romania (Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt).

Theologically, this presumes a firm belief in God's providence. History, culture, civil society, etc. are not separate from the Church, since Christ is King of all. That's a very different way of thinking than the liberal, French-inspired point of view prevalent in the American popular psyche, so it takes some time and experience to understand.

Likewise the Battle of Borodino and the halt of Napoleon's advance outside of Moscow is noted by the Russian church both liturgically and in the construction of both the original Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour and the renewed Church in Moscow. The assassination of Tsar Alexander II is noted by the Church of the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg.
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« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2011, 11:34:15 AM »

Yes I would find that highly inappropriate for the choir of the church to sing "God Bless America".

The separation of church and state works both ways in my opinion.  This is a church choir dedicated to the worship of God, not singing songs basically meant for a country.

It's kind of like "pro country", which I have no problem with, however, it can be translated as "spiritual propaganda".  (ie - "we sang it in church so why question the government")  

Yeah I can see why that was not right.

In the choir's defense, how is singing "God Bless America" any different than the petitions for the country, the government, et al in the litanies?  If they had been singing the National Anthem, then, yes, I would agree with you, but at the very least they were singing what is, ultimately, a religious song.

And to riff on what podkarpatska said, the other local ACROD church in NYC, St. Mary's (just a few blocks from St. Nicholas) does nothing of the sort after DL, so, as he points out, it's certainly not an ACROD-wide thing.  I would not be surprised if this practice started after 9/11 but, likewise, would also not be surprised if it was older than that.  I've certainly seen similar things in Catholic and Orthodox parishes elsewhere, particularly those whose congregation boasts a large number of civil servants and military personnel.

I wouldn't be so hard or judgmental when it comes to these matters. A little knowledge of history can go a long way in understanding things.

Just as many are questioning the loyalties of many Americans of Muslim origin these days, both the Slavic Orthodox and Slavic Greek Catholic faithful within the United States were viewed with suspicion from the peak of the immigration beginning with the post World War 1 of the 'Red Scares', continuing through the depression and the influence of the International Workers of the World (IWW or the 'wobblies') during the depression, to   through World War 2 and into the McCarthy era of 'communist witch hunts.' In an attempt to bolster their "American-ness" many parishes in that era resorted to the placement of American flags in the nave and singing American religious hymns on special occasions, placing flagpoles in the front of the Church and building monuments in memory of their war dead and in honor of their service men and women. In many communities these acts became, over time, local traditions.



Yep, and that's why I learned to keep my mouth shut and keep my personal political opinions to myself, especially when I'm in someone else's house, be it private or one of worship! Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2011, 12:39:22 PM »

I would be more uncomfortable in the US with a sign of American national pride (in the positive sense) than Greek, Arabic or Slavic pride (again, in the positive sense) because the latter cultures are steeped in Orthodoxy. They have centuries of relationship, and its something we should all be very proud of. American culture, on the other hand...is not steeped in Orthodoxy (although hopefully it will be one day!) Why not let the Greeks wave their flags in the nave? The Greek culture is so intermingled with Orthodoxy, what's wrong with it? I, actually, must be ultimately thankful to them. As a member of the OCA, my church has received the Faith from the Russians...who received it from the Greeks!

Greek Independence Day is a vary important cultural holiday, let them give thanksgiving to God for their independence from the Ottoman yolk and show pride in the Orthodox nation they have. Nothing wrong with that. I would celebrate with them!

The problem of ethnicity in the Church is when a single ethnicity is expected across the board. By that, I mean the Church cannot expected to always be Russian, always be Arabic, always be Greek, always be Serbian, etc. It should always be all of these insomuch as they reflect the heritage and culture of the local church. So, when you go to a Greek church...expect Greek things. To a Slavic church...expect Slavic things. To an Arabic church...Arabic things, etc. It's a beautiful display of the Catholicity of the Church across the world in various culture incarnations. It's beautiful and should be encouraged, but never required and enforced.
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