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Author Topic: Christ's Passion in Orthodoxy Vs. Christ's Passion in Catholicism  (Read 1614 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ben
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« on: May 23, 2004, 07:00:15 PM »

I could be wrong, but from my study and expirence I have found that the Roman Catholic Church focusses much much more on Christ's passion and death than Orthodoxy does, while Orthodoxy seems to be more focussed on the Resurrection.

Now, I really don't want to start a debate over which one is better, I am just wondering why this difference exists and much it is tied into the theological differences between Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2004, 07:00:54 PM by Ben » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2004, 10:30:01 PM »

Hi Ben,
I don't think The Orthodox Church ignores the passion, if you ever have a chance to attend Holy Week services there is a great emphasis upon it. What you will probably not see, is a dissection of each small event in the  passion that certain strains of Catholicism seem to have done.  

I think it is very much tied to a difference in overall theological approach, espcecially how we encounter Truth. Father Ted Pulcini, an Orthodox priest who wrote a little book comparing and contrasting Orthodoxy and Catholicism, writes that a fundamental difference between east and west is the west's need to analyze the particulars.  He uses the analagy of Christianity as a glass of water-A western Christian would more likely do a chemical analysis of the water, to see how it works; an eastern Christian would dive in or drink the water.  ( an unrelated question for you-do Catholics commonly drink Holy Water, as do the Orthodox?)

A comparision between Orthodox Great and Holy Friday and Catholic Stations of The Cross, would be a good case of the overall difference. In the former, the emphasis  is on the cosmic dimensions of this event-that "He who hung the stars is hung on a tree" (Actually that hymn may be from the evening before). In a Catholic service I notice each event is painstakingly recounted-"Jesus falls a second time, etc"

I would take a wild guess that much of this difference began with the particularism of Thomas Aquinas in the West. Hope this helps and was not too polemical.
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2004, 10:41:54 PM »

I could be wrong, but from my study and expirence I have found that the Roman Catholic Church focusses much much more on Christ's passion and death than Orthodoxy does, while Orthodoxy seems to be more focussed on the Resurrection.

Now, I really don't want to start a debate over which one is better, I am just wondering why this difference exists and much it is tied into the theological differences between Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy.
Yes I agree with this and the 2nd post too. Where Orthodox view Christ's crucifiction and suffering as necessary for the resurrection. Many Roman Catholics place a great deal of signifigance on Christ's suffering...as much perhaps as the actual ressurection. (as evididenced by Mel Gibson's film and his and other Catholics referring to being healed by "Christ's wounds") There is also in Catholicsm a penchant for blood in some of it's less-modern icons.

I can remember as a small child being scared by crucifixes and statues of Jesus where the artists had Christ literally dripping in blood.

Given the influence that St. Auguatine has had on the West, I would suspect that these different focuse perhaps can be traced back to St. Augustine and how his writings are viewed by east and west. St. Augustine was the first person to have been known to have received the Stygmata.
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Ben
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2004, 10:50:31 PM »

Thank you both very much.

It just seems, to me at least, that Orthodoxy is much more centered on the Ressurection, and on good Friday Christ's agony isn't the main foccuss of attention. While in Roman Catholicism there are so many saints with the name "N. of Jesus Crucified." And there is of course a well devloped tradition in Catholicism of saints with the stigmata, and those doing penance in such an extreme matter that they inflict upon themselves Christs wound, for example many RC saints wipped themselves, stood in freezing water, stood in fires, slept on rough wood and bricks, the list goes on and on. And if I had a dollar for every time I've heard a Catholic sermon on Christ's agony and how we must meditate on it, I'd be rich! I could be totally wrong, but it just seems Roman Catholicism is much more centered on Christ's passion.

In Christ,
Ben

PS - Roman Catholics, to my knowledge, don't drink holy water, with the exception of miraclous springs at places like Lourdes.
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2004, 10:51:07 PM »

Spartacus...

St. Augustine of Hippo had the stigmata?
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2004, 11:23:07 PM »

Yes, I understand he was the first recorded to have received it. I read his "confessions" ...very "interesting"...and mostly "boring".  I think I read about his stygmata somewhere else though....

And Ben, there are Orthodox who choose to live what we might view as very "uncomfortable lives". Here again the focus in the East iis different from the West though.

Where Roman Catholics might do this to be closer to Christ and his suffering. Orthodox do this to deny earthly passions (passions for food, comfort, sex, etc.) so they learn to master their mortal body rather than their mortal body mastering them.

I do not think though that Orthodox historically go so far as to crucificy or flail themselves....that does not seem too "orthodox" to me.... but using a board for a blanket...yes some of the first Orthodox Christian monks in North America went to what we might consider extremes to deny their earthly passions for warmth, comfort and food.
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2004, 11:25:46 PM »

It's true the Roman and Byzantine rites have slightly different emphases here but to exaggerate that difference ISTM is a trite, invalid argument. Last time I looked, Roman Catholics celebrate Easter and Eastern Orthodox enthusiastically use the crucifix.
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2004, 11:27:40 PM »

Spartacus...

I would love to know more about St. Augustine of Hippo and the stigmata, because not to long ago an Orthodox priest told me that the stigmata was not Orthodox, and only showed up in Roman Catholicism long after the split in 1054.
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2004, 01:33:40 AM »

Ben,

If you look at the idea of theosis (which was present in Blessed Augustine's writings and is still present, albeit in a truncated form, in the RCC), the focus on the Resurrection only makes sense, as that, ultimately, is what we are called to share in.  It was in the East where this idea flourished and, though the West did partake of it, the theotic proclamations of predominantly eastern councils consistently back up this resurrection-focused, eastern view of Christ's first advent.  Through the cross, according to eastern thought, Christ takes suffering and even death, and renews it for all mankind, defeating death for us.

The West, however, gradually became concerned with the forensic and legal (not necessarily legalistic) transaction aspect of salvation.  Although that is present in the Scriptures, the eastern fathers never saw it as the dominant, let alone the only, metaphor for the point of the cross.  The West has a certain grasp of Christ conquering death by death, but it is mostly oriented towards a payment of sin and death which we owe to God, and not to the Evil One.  Therefore, Christ paid for us what we never could, thereby being able to rise from the dead...which paves the way for us to do the same.

All that to say: in the East, the Resurrection is the point of Calvary in the first place.

In the West, the Resurrection is made possible by Calvary.

The two really can and do complement each other, but these are the two emphases which both sides of historic Christendom eventually stressed.
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2004, 08:07:34 AM »

Well, the Orthodox give more attention to the Resurrection after the example of the Apostles, who preached more about it than the Passion. Just check the New Testament.


In the Lord's Resurrection, as in a lens, the greatest proofs of Christian Truth are concentrated. Gospel preachers, let the Resurrection of the Lord be the center of your teaching. Refer to it constantly.

Do you want to preach about the holiness, the sinlessness of Christ? Preach about His Resurrection. This is the greatest tangible proof of His blameless, sinless life; for, being impure and guilty through original sin and our own sin, everyone without exception falls under the penalty, the sword of death. Death is the reward of sin, but there is One who committed no sin, who was without guile. He is outside original sin, free of any sin of His own, devoid of sin. Proof? The Resurrection.

Death could not hold the sinless One. It had no power over Him. Do you want to preach that the sacrifice on Golgotha was unique, that it was offered to remit the sins of the world, and that the Blood of Jesus Christ purifies us of every sin? Use the Lord's Resurrection. This is the answer of Heaven, that the sacrifice on the Cross was accepted.

This is like another fire which once descended from the sky and consumed the sacrificial offering of the prophet Elijah and certified that the sacrifice was accepted. Do you want to console those who are grieving the death of a loved one? Show them the empty tomb. Just as the Lord rose from the dead, so the dead will arise and on their tombs will be written, "they are not here." Do you want to show that the power of evil and deception is temporary, that the victory ultimately belongs to purity and truth? Use the Resurrection. It is the triumph of the Righteous One.

Do you have before you sinners -- and who isn't? -- who can groan under the heavy burden of their sins, and who cannot, with all their knowledge and philosophy, budge this burden, who live a wretched life, worse than a thousand deaths in their multifarious graves of sin? Do you find yourself before sinners? Ah, then, above all preach with all your lungs' power, with all the vehemence of your believing heart, the Resurrected Lord. He who rose from the dead can raise those dead in transgressions from their graves of sin. He "grants resurrection to the fallen."

Gospel workers, open your Bibles. See how the prophets and Apostles preached, above all the Apostle to the Nations, St. Paul. Study the appropriate New Testament passages which extol the magnificence of the Resurrection and see how priceless a diadem comes from this foundation of truth (Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20 and 21; Acts 3:15, 5:30, 10:40-41; Romans 1:4, 4:25, 5:1-11, 6:4; 1 Corinthians 15; Phillipians 2:7-11; Col 3:1-4; I Thessalonians 4:14; Hebrews 13:20-21; I John1:1-4; Revelation 1-18). - "Follow Me," by Bishop Augoustinos N. Kantiotes

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Resurrection Day! O peoples, let us brilliantly shine! * Pascha, the Lord's Pascha! * For Christ our God has out of death * passed us over into life, * and likewise from earth * to heaven, as we now sing * unto Him a triumphal hymn. - Katavasies of Pascha, First Ode
« Last Edit: May 24, 2004, 08:35:35 AM by icxn » Logged
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