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Author Topic: what to do with these rosaries?  (Read 2110 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: March 29, 2011, 10:11:54 PM »

hello, all.  my father and his sisters are cleaning out my grandmother's home.  she is in a nursing home, and probably won't leave it.  my aunt is VERY anti religous.  she gave me all of her mother's rosaries and medals (her statues, I'm afraid, she has already thrown away).  I am happy to have saved the rosaries.  one of them is my great, great grandfather's. 

what can I do with them?  is it apropreate to put them in my icon corner?

I saved them from a dumpster, so I don't want to shove them in a drawer. 
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 10:14:33 PM »

You can have them blessed and use them. Rosaries themselves are not "not Orthodox" it is the prayers/promises associated with the Rosary prayers that are questionable.
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 10:34:06 PM »

You can use them as prayer ropes to pray the Jesus prayer. They are merely aids to prayer; they have no spiritual significance aside from that.

Or there are Orthodox forms for the rosary, which have varying levels of acceptance in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 11:43:09 PM »

thanks, bogdan.

also, among the things given me was this picture of Joseph holding Christ.  it was my great grandmothers, and alost went into the trash.  can I hang it in my icon corner?  it seems like a western-style icon (if such a thing existed)

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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 11:43:50 PM »

sorry about the blurriness.  my camera is not cooperating tonight. 
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2011, 01:02:12 AM »

You can have them blessed and use them. Rosaries themselves are not "not Orthodox" it is the prayers/promises associated with the Rosary prayers that are questionable.

What's wrong with saying the Apostle's Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory Be?  The Fatima Prayer, the Salve Regina, and other specifically Latin customs can be left out.  Also, meditating on the Mysteries is not required.  I sort of shift into a freeform meditation mode when I say the Rosary.  I don't care to focus on any set regime of "mysteries" or thoughts.

Or, use a Rosary as a prayer rope.  Still, I don't see what's so bad about saying the Catholic form of the Rosary if certain prayers are just left out.

I think it'd be kind of sad if Orthodox were to spurn the Rosary out of hand just because it's very common in Roman Catholicism. 
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 01:06:47 AM by jordanz » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 01:11:21 AM »

The promises associated with saying the rosary are extremely incompatible with Orthodox theology

Quote
1.   Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive powerful graces.
2.    I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
3.    The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies
4.   It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of people from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5.   The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
6.   Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
7.    Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
8.   Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the Saints in Paradise.
9.   I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10.    The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
11.   You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
12.   All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13.    I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death
14.    All who recite the Rosary are my children, and brothers and sisters of my only Son, Jesus Christ.
15.   Devotion of my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 01:23:48 AM »

The promises associated with saying the rosary are extremely incompatible with Orthodox theology

Quite true.  Not all Romans say the rosary for "promises" -- I certainly don't.  I say the rosary because it is a means of meditation and spiritual preparation.  I don't believe that anything besides worthy preparation in the Sacraments and a life of penance and charity will prepare one's soul for everlasting life. 

Nevertheless, I could see why an Orthodox believer would not want to say the rosary simply because Catholics often attach a talisman-like significance to the rosary (they shouldn't).  Also, some Catholics place an exaggerated emphasis on the the notion of "promises" and imagination.  Just know that there are Catholics who say the rosary in an Orthodox mindset and don't pay attention to the peripherals. 

I'm not saying you, or any Orthodox believer, should say the rosary.  Stick to the prayer rope.  However, the Apostles' Creed, the Hail Mary, the Our Father, and the Gloria Patri are not heretical prayers in themselves.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 01:24:58 AM by jordanz » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2011, 01:28:04 AM »

We really don't use the apostles creed, though...the rosary of St. Seraphim is pretty popular amongst western Orthodox I hear...
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2011, 01:31:03 AM »

St. Seraphim of Sarov practiced a modified version of the rosary. As Orthodox Christians we modify the practice of the rosary. I added a tag "rosary" to the thread. If you want to learn more about the Orthodox view of the rosary, the tag can lead you to other threads on the subject.
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2011, 01:59:33 AM »

I would keep the one from your great great grandfather, perhaps display it somewhere in your home, or even keeping it in your prayer area would be ok (just don't use it), but I would call a Roman Catholic Church and ask them if they have somewhere to recommend to you; perhaps a Roman Catholic homeless shelter would be able to make use of them.
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2011, 02:38:44 AM »

Take them to a Catholic church ,leave them in a pew and run for the door....... Grin

When i was younger i had two pet mice ,they kept multiplying and multiplying that increased to about 60 mice...I didn't want to drown them ,so what to do, what to do ,,I took them to a pet shop put them on the counter and ran for the door,the pet shop owner hollered at me ,hey your mice, i hollered back  not my mice and i took off ..... Try That ...... Grin
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2011, 03:46:48 AM »

We really don't use the apostles creed

The Byzantine churches might not use it but since it was written by the Orthodox it's still a completely legitimate Orthodox prayer.

also, among the things given me was this picture of Joseph holding Christ.  it was my great grandmothers, and alost went into the trash.  can I hang it in my icon corner?  it seems like a western-style icon (if such a thing existed)

I'm not saying you shoudln't hang it in your icon corner. For me that doesn't seem all that different from icons that one can see in Russian and Finnish churches. However even if you dont't hang it there perhaps you could hang it somewhere else? It's after all a beautiful and pious painting and reminds you of your relatives. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2011, 06:10:18 AM »

I have several Catholic rosaries at home (most of them purchased in Orthodox monasteries btw). I use them to say the Jesus Prayer. It's just a question of beads vs. knots (or leather steps) - provided you use them for Orthodox worship, I don't see the big deal.
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2011, 08:30:52 AM »

thanks, bogdan.

also, among the things given me was this picture of Joseph holding Christ.  it was my great grandmothers, and alost went into the trash.  can I hang it in my icon corner?  it seems like a western-style icon (if such a thing existed)

I don't see a problem with it. It may not be "canonical", but there are thousands of Orthodox churches filled with such icons and so long as we don't get any funny ideas based on them, it's more important that we pray. Since it is a part of your family tradition, I think that makes up for deficiencies in the painting style. If your grandmother had a relationship with St Joseph, there's no reason not to develop one yourself.

If there's anything problematic about it, it may be the subject matter. I dont want to derail the thread into another Orthodox vs Catholic conversation, but I've heard that there are issues with Catholic theology relating to St Joseph, and it's not proper to depict him revealing Christ like icons of the Theotokos do. But still, he is a saint and we should pray to him.
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2011, 08:52:44 AM »

thanks, bogdan.

also, among the things given me was this picture of Joseph holding Christ.  it was my great grandmothers, and alost went into the trash.  can I hang it in my icon corner?  it seems like a western-style icon (if such a thing existed)

I don't see a problem with it. It may not be "canonical", but there are thousands of Orthodox churches filled with such icons and so long as we don't get any funny ideas based on them, it's more important that we pray. Since it is a part of your family tradition, I think that makes up for deficiencies in the painting style. If your grandmother had a relationship with St Joseph, there's no reason not to develop one yourself.

If there's anything problematic about it, it may be the subject matter. I dont want to derail the thread into another Orthodox vs Catholic conversation, but I've heard that there are issues with Catholic theology relating to St Joseph, and it's not proper to depict him revealing Christ like icons of the Theotokos do. But still, he is a saint and we should pray to him.

St Joseph the Betrothed holding the Christ-child is acceptable in the Roman Catholic church, but is completely unacceptable according to Orthodox liturgical, theological, doctrinal and iconographic tradition. It is not the painting style that is the problem, but its content. Even if such an image were painted in a  non-naturalistic, "iconographic" style, it would still be a false icon, not suitable for Orthodox veneration.

It is beyond question that St Joseph should be venerated as any saint of the Orthodox Church should, but it would be better to donate this picture to a RC recipient where such imagery conforms with the teachings of their church.

Trevor, it would be better to get yourself a proper, canonical Orthodox icon of St Joseph and hang it in your icon corner in memory of your grandmother.
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2011, 09:04:13 AM »

St Joseph the Betrothed holding the Christ-child is acceptable in the Roman Catholic church, but is completely unacceptable according to Orthodox liturgical, theological, doctrinal and iconographic tradition. It is not the painting style that is the problem, but its content. Even if such an image were painted in a  non-naturalistic, "iconographic" style, it would still be a false icon, not suitable for Orthodox veneration.

Any particular reason for this?
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2011, 09:30:35 AM »

St Joseph the Betrothed holding the Christ-child is acceptable in the Roman Catholic church, but is completely unacceptable according to Orthodox liturgical, theological, doctrinal and iconographic tradition. It is not the painting style that is the problem, but its content. Even if such an image were painted in a  non-naturalistic, "iconographic" style, it would still be a false icon, not suitable for Orthodox veneration.

Any particular reason for this?

Yes, many reasons. PM me, and I'd be happy to send you a thorough analysis.
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2011, 09:56:31 AM »

you could keep a couple as momentos, give the rest to RC friends.
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2011, 10:08:39 AM »

The promises associated with saying the rosary are extremely incompatible with Orthodox theology

Quite true.  Not all Romans say the rosary for "promises" -- I certainly don't.  I say the rosary because it is a means of meditation and spiritual preparation.  I don't believe that anything besides worthy preparation in the Sacraments and a life of penance and charity will prepare one's soul for everlasting life. 

Nevertheless, I could see why an Orthodox believer would not want to say the rosary simply because Catholics often attach a talisman-like significance to the rosary (they shouldn't).  Also, some Catholics place an exaggerated emphasis on the the notion of "promises" and imagination.  Just know that there are Catholics who say the rosary in an Orthodox mindset and don't pay attention to the peripherals. 

I'm not saying you, or any Orthodox believer, should say the rosary.  Stick to the prayer rope.  However, the Apostles' Creed, the Hail Mary, the Our Father, and the Gloria Patri are not heretical prayers in themselves.

Quite correct, if we were to attribute pious misconceptions, even ones spread over the years by various Catholic laity, priests, nuns and even Bishops, as being representative of actual Catholic teaching, we need to be prepared when similar misconceptions and misconstructions of our Orthodox faith are spread by our own.

Trevor, please treasure your grandmother's precious Holy cards, icons and religious accessories like her beloved Rosary.  Don't become an 'Orthodox iconoclast'.

For example,if you review the beautiful videos posted on youtube by the Patriarchate of Moscow, you will see His Holiness celebrating Liturgy and other services in ancient Churches which survived the Communist era and are full of icons painted in the style of your grandmother's pictures. Check out this one, for example  from on Moscow, March 17, 2011. On , Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch Kiril observed the day of memory of the Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow as he celebrated the Presanctified Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral of St. Daniel Monastery. At 1:11, you will see on the rear wall of the Church there is even a carved crucifix with the Body of Christ.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a03uniwp4Y&feature=more_related There are similar crosses in many old Russian Orthodox parish cemeteries in the northeast erected by immigrants in the early 20th century.
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« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2011, 10:24:39 AM »

The promises associated with saying the rosary are extremely incompatible with Orthodox theology

Quote
1.   Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive powerful graces.
2.    I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
3.    The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies
4.   It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of people from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5.   The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
6.   Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
7.    Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
8.   Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the Saints in Paradise.
9.   I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10.    The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
11.   You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
12.   All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13.    I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death
14.    All who recite the Rosary are my children, and brothers and sisters of my only Son, Jesus Christ.
15.   Devotion of my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

Quinault, I would agree with you that those particular promises are problematic. The problem is that your use of the phrase "the promises associated with saying the rosary" makes it sounds like the promises alledgely revealed to Blessed Alan de Rupe have some kind of official connection with the rosary.
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« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2011, 10:25:54 AM »

My priest told me that these heterodox Christian items of devotion are sanctified by Orthodox Christians using them.  I would keep whatever you can.  I have pictures on my Icon shelf that are not so called canonical.  My priest also told me that there is no typicon in the home.  There is a painting of Joseph hoilding the Christ in an art museum here in Omaha.  I pray before it whenever I go to the museum.  It is the only painting in that place that evokes a strong emotion in me, and it has since I first laid eyes on it 20 years ago.  I could not see your photograph on my computer, but if it is a print of the painting in this museum, I would be happy to have it in my house, and would display it in a place of honor.
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« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2011, 10:35:25 AM »

Quote
For example,if you review the beautiful videos posted on youtube by the Patriarchate of Moscow, you will see His Holiness celebrating Liturgy and other services in ancient Churches which survived the Communist era and are full of icons painted in the style of your grandmother's pictures. Check out this one, for example  from on Moscow, March 17, 2011. On , Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch Kiril observed the day of memory of the Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow as he celebrated the Presanctified Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral of St. Daniel Monastery. At 1:11, you will see on the rear wall of the Church there is even a carved crucifix with the Body of Christ.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a03uniwp4Y&feature=more_related There are similar crosses in many old Russian Orthodox parish cemeteries in the northeast erected by immigrants in the early 20th century.

I'll say it again: It is not just the artistic style which defines an icon, but its content.

An image of God the Father as a bearded old man, or a picture of St Joseph holding the Christ-child is still wrong, even if it is in the grandest of Orthodox cathedrals. Iconography is not about decorating churches, or about pious impressions or sentimentality - they are nothing less than the pictorial equivalent of what is said, read and sung in Church, and their integrity, like that of scripture and hymnography, must be diligently guarded and defended. It is iconoclasm to continue to defend false or deficient images on the basis of pious sentimentality.

Trevor's grandmother's rosary can be used as a prayer rope, as others have suggested; he can replace the picture of St Joseph with a proper icon and still honour his grandmother through praying to the saint.
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« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2011, 12:33:42 PM »

Sorry about this, but the as I read the comment about the 'bearded old man' and iconography, I remembered that our priest put a photo he took of at the monastery Church of the Holy Cross in the Old City of Jerusalem's icon screen. I know that we have had this discussion before but note at the top of the icon screen that there is a depiction which includes God the Father as the 'bearded old man.' While the Church was built by Athonite monks in the 11th century, I doubt that the entire iconography is that old, but that depiction shows up again. I know that it is both uncommon in modern times and probably theologically unsound, but none the less, there it is and I am sure that it is reverenced by the holy monks at that Monastery as well as the pilgrims who come daily.  

For some reason I couldn't post mypicture from Flickr...here is the link...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27563686@N03/5574644904/

I guess that I am less troubled by such things as are others, and I respect and understand their point of view, but I just don't come down on 'pious' constructions unless they are clearly heretical in nature. So, again, I reiterate my advice to Trevor.

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« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2011, 01:30:18 PM »

I think this video is appropriate for what's going to come up next:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh99A86HraY
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« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2011, 11:21:12 PM »

During a church tour I was conducting during my parish's festival, when I mentioned St. Joseph the Betrothed, in the Nativity of Christ Icon, a Roman Catholic interupted me to advise that RC's (are taught), via a quote I can't recall, that St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary were married?  Is this correct, do Roman Catholics believe that St. Joseph and the Theotokos were married?  If so, any idea when this RC teaching was developed?
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« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2011, 11:37:48 PM »

When a dear RC woman died, who I love(d), her grand-daughter gave me a medallion from one grandmother's rosaries. She put into a lovely and charming container which is a an old Irish keepsake from my Irish RC grandmother (a four leaf clover, shines green and gold).

I ain't into sentimentality. And I was given it before I could have cared much for any Christianity. But the thought put into and history of that container and the well worn medallion have accompanied me throughout some years. It is the only "bric-a-brac" I have.

Since I tend to live in the rougher parts of places I inhabit, her grand-daughter gave it to me for "protection".

I am glad my cynical, jaded disposition didn't toss it or refuse it. Wasn't quite sure what to do with such a thing.

It now it sits on the sill of one of my windows with southern exposure and gleams in the sun during the day. The exposure which show the decay and promise of the city I live in. I open it occasionally and wonder how many times that medallion was touch and prayed over to make it practically indiscernible.

Orthodox or not, you can't tell me that the years of tears, joy, and reverence in which that medallion was cared for is for nothing, whether it ever found its way into the hands or the home of an Orthodox or not.

Anna, Memory Eternal!
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« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2011, 12:18:37 AM »

The prayers of the rosary are ancient and without question Orthodox. I have a rosary in my prayer corner. My great-grandmother was Roman Catholic. One of her crucifixes are also in my prayer corner.While the meditative aspect of the rosary is questionable, the prayers aren't. It is a beautiful and Orthodox devotion. I would encourage you in it...it's part of your family heritage!

I would also encourage you to keep the icon of St. Joseph. I'm not sure what the theological problems behind Joseph and Christ being depicted together are. He certainly isn't the "director" in the sene we speak of the Theotokos as the Directress, but, he played a big part in the life of our Lord as his earthly father.

Cherish your heritage, and remember your grandmother. May her memory be eternal.

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« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2011, 12:57:22 AM »

Quote
I'm not sure what the theological problems behind Joseph and Christ being depicted together are. He certainly isn't the "director" in the sene we speak of the Theotokos as the Directress, but, he played a big part in the life of our Lord as his earthly father.

I would be happy to provide a comprehensive analysis on the iconography of St Joseph the Betrothed in PDF format to anyone who is interested. You're welcome to PM me.
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« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2011, 01:09:22 AM »

Orthodox don't believe that St Joseph wasn't married to the Holy Mother?  That's news to me?  I always assumed that they were married, but lived a celibate lifestyle.

I guess whether they were married officially or not is just a matter of semantics in the end. 
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« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2011, 01:17:48 AM »

Orthodox don't believe that St Joseph wasn't married to the Holy Mother?  That's news to me?  I always assumed that they were married, but lived a celibate lifestyle.

I guess whether they were married officially or not is just a matter of semantics in the end. 

It is no coincidence that the Orthodox refer to St Joseph liturgically as "the Betrothed", not "the Husband" or "the Spouse" of the Virgin. He was engaged to her, to be married, but there is no mention in scripture or liturgical tradition of them later undergoing any matrimonial ceremony. Even if they had done so, such a marriage would never have been consummated in the usual way.
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« Reply #31 on: March 31, 2011, 08:19:59 AM »

Orthodox don't believe that St Joseph wasn't married to the Holy Mother?  That's news to me?  I always assumed that they were married, but lived a celibate lifestyle. 

I thought the same.  can anyone back this claim up, scripturally?
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« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2011, 08:57:09 AM »

What were the Jewish practices of the day regarding the betrothed?  Was it seemly and lawful for a betrothed couple to live together for the rest of their lives w/o being married? 
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« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2011, 10:40:00 AM »

Orthodox don't believe that St Joseph wasn't married to the Holy Mother?  That's news to me?  I always assumed that they were married, but lived a celibate lifestyle.

I guess whether they were married officially or not is just a matter of semantics in the end. 

From what I have read and studied, after the marriage, the husband and wife would immediately go to a bedroom and consummate the marriage, while all their guests waited outside. (If I recall correctly, there was even a witness, who came out of the bedroom and announced the moment of consummation, to the celebration of the guests...crazy.) There was really no concept of a celibate marriage.

To be married, they would have to had consummated it, by definition. If Mary and Joseph didn't consummate, then there is no way they would have been considered married.
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« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2011, 11:03:22 AM »

My priest told me that these heterodox Christian items of devotion are sanctified by Orthodox Christians using them.  I would keep whatever you can.  I have pictures on my Icon shelf that are not so called canonical.  My priest also told me that there is no typicon in the home.  There is a painting of Joseph hoilding the Christ in an art museum here in Omaha.  I pray before it whenever I go to the museum.  It is the only painting in that place that evokes a strong emotion in me, and it has since I first laid eyes on it 20 years ago.  I could not see your photograph on my computer, but if it is a print of the painting in this museum, I would be happy to have it in my house, and would display it in a place of honor.

I changed my avatar to the particular painting mentioned above.
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« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2011, 11:19:12 AM »

What were the Jewish practices of the day regarding the betrothed?  Was it seemly and lawful for a betrothed couple to live together for the rest of their lives w/o being married? 

A betrothal is an alliance and a promise to protect.  They could, and did, live together without ever consummating the betrothal.  The betrothal promise is no less strong than the marriage itself. 
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« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2011, 11:54:20 AM »

Was it common at all for a man and a woman to be betrothed and living together for at least 12 years and not be married?  Would not such an arrangement, especially in the backwater of Nazareth, be scandalous?

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« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2011, 12:13:00 PM »

What were the Jewish practices of the day regarding the betrothed?  Was it seemly and lawful for a betrothed couple to live together for the rest of their lives w/o being married? 
A betrothal is an alliance and a promise to protect.  They could, and did, live together without ever consummating the betrothal.  The betrothal promise is no less strong than the marriage itself.   

{Nitpick}
You don't consummate a betrothal.  You get married, then you consummate the marriage.
{/Nitpick}
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« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2011, 12:17:58 PM »

Was it common at all for a man and a woman to be betrothed and living together for at least 12 years and not be married?  Would not such an arrangement, especially in the backwater of Nazareth, be scandalous?

Mary would have been understood to be living under Joseph's protection.  It would have been obvious that her quarters were not his quarters and the arrangement would have been seen to be for her material benefit, and not for Joseph's sexual benefit.  Would they have thought it odd, or given Joseph a hard time by ribbing him...I don't know.  Maybe behind his back.  In the first place he was much older.  And then he does not seem to have been the sort of man who backed away from difficulty easily, so confronting him head on might not have been a good idea.  I expect people knew that about him.  Also he was a craftsman and that would give him a great deal of standing in the community, not to mention the resources to take care of his entire family without having to ask for help.  That always gives one a fair chance at being their own persons.
 
I think this is the most reasoned approach that I've ever heard in my Church.
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« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2011, 12:18:51 PM »

Agree.  I also think that Matthew 1:18-25 should take care of the question as to whether or not they were married.  The angel did not tell Joseph to take her for his significant other, and it says that Joseph did what the angel told him to do.


What were the Jewish practices of the day regarding the betrothed?  Was it seemly and lawful for a betrothed couple to live together for the rest of their lives w/o being married? 
A betrothal is an alliance and a promise to protect.  They could, and did, live together without ever consummating the betrothal.  The betrothal promise is no less strong than the marriage itself.   

{Nitpick}
You don't consummate a betrothal.  You get married, then you consummate the marriage.
{/Nitpick}

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« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2011, 12:22:31 PM »

What were the Jewish practices of the day regarding the betrothed?  Was it seemly and lawful for a betrothed couple to live together for the rest of their lives w/o being married? 
A betrothal is an alliance and a promise to protect.  They could, and did, live together without ever consummating the betrothal.  The betrothal promise is no less strong than the marriage itself.   

{Nitpick}
You don't consummate a betrothal.  You get married, then you consummate the marriage.
{/Nitpick}

That may be today but in the ancient world and in the medieval world a betrothal was a social contract that was no less potent than a marriage.
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« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2011, 12:53:04 PM »

Was it common at all for a man and a woman to be betrothed and living together for at least 12 years and not be married?  Would not such an arrangement, especially in the backwater of Nazareth, be scandalous?

Mary would have been understood to be living under Joseph's protection.  It would have been obvious that her quarters were not his quarters and the arrangement would have been seen to be for her material benefit, and not for Joseph's sexual benefit.  Would they have thought it odd, or given Joseph a hard time by ribbing him...I don't know.  Maybe behind his back.  In the first place he was much older.  And then he does not seem to have been the sort of man who backed away from difficulty easily, so confronting him head on might not have been a good idea.  I expect people knew that about him.  Also he was a craftsman and that would give him a great deal of standing in the community, not to mention the resources to take care of his entire family without having to ask for help.  That always gives one a fair chance at being their own persons.
 
I think this is the most reasoned approach that I've ever heard in my Church.

I can buy this if weren't for the fact of the little boy Jesus.  Was not Joseph assumed to be his father (cf John 6:42) and, therefore, the betrothal to be consummated?
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« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2011, 01:05:54 PM »

Was it common at all for a man and a woman to be betrothed and living together for at least 12 years and not be married?  Would not such an arrangement, especially in the backwater of Nazareth, be scandalous?

Mary would have been understood to be living under Joseph's protection.  It would have been obvious that her quarters were not his quarters and the arrangement would have been seen to be for her material benefit, and not for Joseph's sexual benefit.  Would they have thought it odd, or given Joseph a hard time by ribbing him...I don't know.  Maybe behind his back.  In the first place he was much older.  And then he does not seem to have been the sort of man who backed away from difficulty easily, so confronting him head on might not have been a good idea.  I expect people knew that about him.  Also he was a craftsman and that would give him a great deal of standing in the community, not to mention the resources to take care of his entire family without having to ask for help.  That always gives one a fair chance at being their own persons.
 
I think this is the most reasoned approach that I've ever heard in my Church.

I can buy this if weren't for the fact of the little boy Jesus.  Was not Joseph assumed to be his father (cf John 6:42) and, therefore, the betrothal to be consummated?

Yes!!  That was silly of me.  Nonetheless it would have been strange to the neighbors,and extended family,  knowing that Mary and Joseph seemed to live separate lives and there were no more children.  One might speculate about how they survived the scrutiny, in the way that I suggested.  Thanks for the redirection  Smiley   
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« Reply #43 on: April 03, 2011, 10:40:20 PM »

What were the Jewish practices of the day regarding the betrothed?  Was it seemly and lawful for a betrothed couple to live together for the rest of their lives w/o being married? 
I'm not sure but I'm thinking not since betrothal is a promise to marry.
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