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Author Topic: Orthodox visiting Catholic churches  (Read 5082 times) Average Rating: 0
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LittleFlower
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« on: May 04, 2011, 02:06:51 PM »

Hi,

I'm Catholic, and my family is Eastern Orthodox. My parents don't go to church regularly. Would it be wrong, from the Orthodox perspective, if they ever visited Mass with me - not all the time but maybe once or twice? Or is this not allowed for the Orthodox?

thanks
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 03:07:55 PM »

The question is: what for? To assist you in some important moments of your life? Just of curiosity? To pray? To take Sacraments?

IMO the first two reasons are OK, the last one is a no-no. I would also not pray there.
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 12:19:51 AM »

what if it's just for the sake of convenience?

why can't they pray there though?
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 12:44:38 AM »

They can't pray there because we don't hold a common faith with the Roman Catholic Church. The idea behind the Orthodox stance of not being allowed to pray with anyone who is non Orthodox is that, in order to pray correctly in unity, one must hold to a common faith. At the same token, we welcome the non Orthodox to attend Orthodox services and the Divine Liturgy, however you musn't partake of the sacraments or mysteries, or receive the blessed bread which is distributed at the end of the Liturgy.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 12:47:46 AM »

They don't go to church regularly? Are they actually committed to their faith?
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 05:41:45 AM »

They can't pray there because we don't hold a common faith with the Roman Catholic Church. The idea behind the Orthodox stance of not being allowed to pray with anyone who is non Orthodox is that, in order to pray correctly in unity, one must hold to a common faith. At the same token, we welcome the non Orthodox to attend Orthodox services and the Divine Liturgy, however you musn't partake of the sacraments or mysteries, or receive the blessed bread which is distributed at the end of the Liturgy.

As far as the blessed bread is concerned, I have been given(handed to me while sitting) when I have attende the church I intend to join. Is this a mistake they know I am catholic
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 06:01:02 AM »

however you musn't partake of the sacraments or mysteries, or receive the blessed bread which is distributed at the end of the Liturgy.

I was told antidorion is OK for schismatics.
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 06:38:25 AM »


 however you musn't partake of the sacraments or mysteries, or receive the blessed bread which is distributed at the end of the Liturgy.

If your bishop is so strict on this matter of antidoron only for the baptized who have not communed that day,  he really should, logically, forbid the non-Orthodox to even be in the temple at the time the antidoron is being distributed.
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 09:44:48 AM »

Correct, a non-Orthodox person shall not recive any of the body or blood of our saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is also sin to attend a service of another faith i.e. Catholic Church as it is unjust to pray in the house of a non-Orthodox faith.

It would be like an Orthodox praying at a Mosque.
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 12:31:24 PM »

It depends what you mean by 'attending'. If you go there to pray IMO it's a sin, if you go there for some social circumstances - IMO it's OK.
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2011, 12:53:46 PM »

This is actually a very interesting topic. Although I was not raised Roman Catholic, I do come from a traditionally Roman Catholic country. I have attended mass several times for weddings, funerals and just for regular mass when I was in secondary school. I never took communion since I was never baptized into the RCC but I usually did recite the Nicene Creed and Our Father along with the Catholic celebrants. Having made the choice to become Orthodox, I've decided no longer to recite the Catholic version of the Nicene Creed, for obvious reasons. However, would it be wrong to join in praying the Lord's Prayer? I've tended to join out of respect and because the Lord's Prayer is the same in all Christian denominations.
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2011, 02:01:33 PM »

They can't pray there because we don't hold a common faith with the Roman Catholic Church. The idea behind the Orthodox stance of not being allowed to pray with anyone who is non Orthodox is that, in order to pray correctly in unity, one must hold to a common faith. At the same token, we welcome the non Orthodox to attend Orthodox services and the Divine Liturgy, however you musn't partake of the sacraments or mysteries, or receive the blessed bread which is distributed at the end of the Liturgy.

As far as the blessed bread is concerned, I have been given(handed to me while sitting) when I have attende the church I intend to join. Is this a mistake they know I am catholic

Most Orthodox I have encountered tend to think that the it is fine for the faithful to give the antidoron to just about anyone as a sign of fellowship.
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2011, 02:02:35 PM »

Correct, a non-Orthodox person shall not recive any of the body or blood of our saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Assuming that it even is that.
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2011, 02:04:23 PM »

However, would it be wrong to join in praying the Lord's Prayer? I've tended to join out of respect and because the Lord's Prayer is the same in all Christian denominations.

You won't really get one answer on this one. There are plenty of Orthodox who think that praying in the services of the heterodox is unacceptable and also plenty who think it is fine as long as the contents of the prayers are not heterodox.
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2011, 07:17:47 PM »

They can't pray there because we don't hold a common faith with the Roman Catholic Church. The idea behind the Orthodox stance of not being allowed to pray with anyone who is non Orthodox is that, in order to pray correctly in unity, one must hold to a common faith. At the same token, we welcome the non Orthodox to attend Orthodox services and the Divine Liturgy, however you musn't partake of the sacraments or mysteries, or receive the blessed bread which is distributed at the end of the Liturgy.

I see... I agree about not sharing Communion, but if someone is non Orthodox comes to DL aren't they praying there?
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« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2011, 07:18:09 PM »

They don't go to church regularly? Are they actually committed to their faith?

I dont know about the second question as I don't know their hearts, but no they don't attend church
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2011, 07:19:24 PM »

Correct, a non-Orthodox person shall not recive any of the body or blood of our saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is also sin to attend a service of another faith i.e. Catholic Church as it is unjust to pray in the house of a non-Orthodox faith.

It would be like an Orthodox praying at a Mosque.

a Mosque? I respect your beliefs, but Catholics aren't like Muslims - we are Christians also.. I'm not saying you should break your rules and pray with us, I'm just saying that it's strange to compare Catholics to non Christians.
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2011, 07:21:39 PM »

However, would it be wrong to join in praying the Lord's Prayer? I've tended to join out of respect and because the Lord's Prayer is the same in all Christian denominations.

You won't really get one answer on this one. There are plenty of Orthodox who think that praying in the services of the heterodox is unacceptable and also plenty who think it is fine as long as the contents of the prayers are not heterodox.

is there an official teaching on this? it's just that one poster here said that it's a sin to go to a Catholic church to pray there, - yet others are saying that some Orthodox believe it's acceptable...

what if an Orthodox person just walks into a Catholic cathedral, not during a service, but when it's empty, and just says a few of their own prayers there? is that a sin?
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2011, 07:22:38 PM »

It depends what you mean by 'attending'. If you go there to pray IMO it's a sin, if you go there for some social circumstances - IMO it's OK.

is this a personal opinion or the official teaching? I'm not attacking you or anything, just wondering because you said 'IMO' Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2011, 07:35:55 PM »

However, would it be wrong to join in praying the Lord's Prayer? I've tended to join out of respect and because the Lord's Prayer is the same in all Christian denominations.

You won't really get one answer on this one. There are plenty of Orthodox who think that praying in the services of the heterodox is unacceptable and also plenty who think it is fine as long as the contents of the prayers are not heterodox.

is there an official teaching on this? it's just that one poster here said that it's a sin to go to a Catholic church to pray there, - yet others are saying that some Orthodox believe it's acceptable...

what if an Orthodox person just walks into a Catholic cathedral, not during a service, but when it's empty, and just says a few of their own prayers there? is that a sin?
An official teaching? That's actually rather hard to come by in Orthodoxy on a lot of matters. And a forum like this is exactly where all the possibilities come out. That's why you so often see us saying "Ask your priest". Orthodoxy is a living faith meant to be lived out in the context of the Church community. Variations will happen. Sort of like everyone on your street obviously lives on the same street. The houses may be more or less similar, but how households are run will show a great deal of variation in spite of a whole list of similarities. In the same way what constitutes behaving as a good Orthodox Christian may vary slightly even from one parish to another.

I don't see a problem with saying a prayer if I just happen to be in a RC or Protestant church as a visitor for a family event, or as a tourist in any one of many architecturally or historically significant buildings, just as it's not wrong to say a prayer in a park, while driving on a highway, or sitting it the dentist's chair! However, to say to oneself: "I want to go to pray somewhere. I think I'll choose that nice RC church on the other side of town." That's an entirely different situation. I would wonder why that choice is being made when other more usual (for an Orthodox Christian) options are available.
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« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2011, 07:45:30 PM »

They can't pray there because we don't hold a common faith with the Roman Catholic Church. The idea behind the Orthodox stance of not being allowed to pray with anyone who is non Orthodox is that, in order to pray correctly in unity, one must hold to a common faith. At the same token, we welcome the non Orthodox to attend Orthodox services and the Divine Liturgy, however you musn't partake of the sacraments or mysteries, or receive the blessed bread which is distributed at the end of the Liturgy.

I see... I agree about not sharing Communion, but if someone is non Orthodox comes to DL aren't they praying there?

It is usually understood to be acceptable for non-Orthodox to come individually to pray in an Orthodox context. That is very different from Orthodox going to pray in non-Orthodox contexts.
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« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2011, 07:51:15 PM »

They don't go to church regularly? Are they actually committed to their faith?

I dont know about the second question as I don't know their hearts, but no they don't attend church

If they just don't bother to attend church, from an EO perspective where the mystical experience of the religion is so connected to choosing to attend church, it's likely that they are not all that serious about their religion, and therefore probably not that big of a deal if they choose to participate in other religions.
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« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2011, 07:52:24 PM »

Correct, a non-Orthodox person shall not recive any of the body or blood of our saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is also sin to attend a service of another faith i.e. Catholic Church as it is unjust to pray in the house of a non-Orthodox faith.

It would be like an Orthodox praying at a Mosque.

a Mosque? I respect your beliefs, but Catholics aren't like Muslims - we are Christians also.. I'm not saying you should break your rules and pray with us, I'm just saying that it's strange to compare Catholics to non Christians.

Neither are united to Christ through His Body, the Church, so yes, there is definitely room to compare any non-Orthodox group in this way.
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« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2011, 07:54:27 PM »

is there an official teaching on this?

Not exactly. IIRC, there is a canon that forbids praying in the services of heathens, Jews, pagans, or heretics. But I don't remember the exact nature of that canon and how it is to be applied.

what if an Orthodox person just walks into a Catholic cathedral, not during a service, but when it's empty, and just says a few of their own prayers there? is that a sin?

Obviously it would be much less likely that that would be sinful.
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2011, 07:59:11 PM »

It depends what you mean by 'attending'. If you go there to pray IMO it's a sin, if you go there for some social circumstances - IMO it's OK.

is this a personal opinion or the official teaching? I'm not attacking you or anything, just wondering because you said 'IMO' Smiley

What it is is an interpretation of the official teaching. So if his interpretation is correct, then yes, it is the official teaching.
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« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2011, 08:08:54 PM »

However, would it be wrong to join in praying the Lord's Prayer? I've tended to join out of respect and because the Lord's Prayer is the same in all Christian denominations.

You won't really get one answer on this one. There are plenty of Orthodox who think that praying in the services of the heterodox is unacceptable and also plenty who think it is fine as long as the contents of the prayers are not heterodox.

is there an official teaching on this? it's just that one poster here said that it's a sin to go to a Catholic church to pray there, - yet others are saying that some Orthodox believe it's acceptable...

what if an Orthodox person just walks into a Catholic cathedral, not during a service, but when it's empty, and just says a few of their own prayers there? is that a sin?
An official teaching? That's actually rather hard to come by in Orthodoxy on a lot of matters. And a forum like this is exactly where all the possibilities come out. That's why you so often see us saying "Ask your priest". Orthodoxy is a living faith meant to be lived out in the context of the Church community. Variations will happen. Sort of like everyone on your street obviously lives on the same street. The houses may be more or less similar, but how households are run will show a great deal of variation in spite of a whole list of similarities. In the same way what constitutes behaving as a good Orthodox Christian may vary slightly even from one parish to another.

thanks for the reply, I guess I just don't really understanding,how an can something be a sin if there's no official teaching on it and the guidance of priests varies?

Quote
I don't see a problem with saying a prayer if I just happen to be in a RC or Protestant church as a visitor for a family event, or as a tourist in any one of many architecturally or historically significant buildings, just as it's not wrong to say a prayer in a park, while driving on a highway, or sitting it the dentist's chair! However, to say to oneself: "I want to go to pray somewhere. I think I'll choose that nice RC church on the other side of town." That's an entirely different situation. I would wonder why that choice is being made when other more usual (for an Orthodox Christian) options are available.

in the case of my family, the Orthodox church is in another city, and my dad's company makes him work on sundays. Sometimes when we've visited other cities as tourists, we visited cathedrals that were Catholic. Other times, I went to Mass and couldn't get there on my own and needed a ride, and invited my parents too because otherwise they would just be in the parking lot. does the EOC consider this a sin? my parents had nothing against being inside a Catholic church so they prayed there as they would pray anywhere, but they don't see it the same as on the street, etc, cause it is a church with holy images etc. According to the Orthodox church are we all sinning?
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LittleFlower
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« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2011, 08:11:33 PM »

They don't go to church regularly? Are they actually committed to their faith?

I dont know about the second question as I don't know their hearts, but no they don't attend church

If they just don't bother to attend church, from an EO perspective where the mystical experience of the religion is so connected to choosing to attend church, it's likely that they are not all that serious about their religion, and therefore probably not that big of a deal if they choose to participate in other religions.

I can't comment on my family and their spiritual life, I know they do believe in God, and I know my dad reads the Bible etc.. but let's say if a person weren't serious about their faith, as an Orthodox, would it be less serious for them to visit a Catholic church and pray there?
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« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2011, 08:12:25 PM »

They don't go to church regularly? Are they actually committed to their faith?

I dont know about the second question as I don't know their hearts, but no they don't attend church

If they just don't bother to attend church, from an EO perspective where the mystical experience of the religion is so connected to choosing to attend church, it's likely that they are not all that serious about their religion, and therefore probably not that big of a deal if they choose to participate in other religions.

I can't comment on my family and their spiritual life, I know they do believe in God, and I know my dad reads the Bible etc.. but let's say if a person weren't serious about their faith, as an Orthodox, would it be less serious for them to visit a Catholic church and pray there?

Of course it doesn't matter as much if the person wasn't serious about Orthodoxy in the first place.
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« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2011, 08:14:26 PM »

Correct, a non-Orthodox person shall not recive any of the body or blood of our saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is also sin to attend a service of another faith i.e. Catholic Church as it is unjust to pray in the house of a non-Orthodox faith.

It would be like an Orthodox praying at a Mosque.

a Mosque? I respect your beliefs, but Catholics aren't like Muslims - we are Christians also.. I'm not saying you should break your rules and pray with us, I'm just saying that it's strange to compare Catholics to non Christians.

Neither are united to Christ through His Body, the Church, so yes, there is definitely room to compare any non-Orthodox group in this way.

I see... can't say that I agree though Sad
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« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2011, 08:15:12 PM »

It depends what you mean by 'attending'. If you go there to pray IMO it's a sin, if you go there for some social circumstances - IMO it's OK.

is this a personal opinion or the official teaching? I'm not attacking you or anything, just wondering because you said 'IMO' Smiley

What it is is an interpretation of the official teaching. So if his interpretation is correct, then yes, it is the official teaching.

how can we tell which one is correct?

thanks for answring all my questions btw Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2011, 08:17:30 PM »

Of course it doesn't matter as much if the person wasn't serious about Orthodoxy in the first place.

I don't really understand why that is important.. but okay Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2011, 08:20:23 PM »

However, would it be wrong to join in praying the Lord's Prayer? I've tended to join out of respect and because the Lord's Prayer is the same in all Christian denominations.

You won't really get one answer on this one. There are plenty of Orthodox who think that praying in the services of the heterodox is unacceptable and also plenty who think it is fine as long as the contents of the prayers are not heterodox.

is there an official teaching on this? it's just that one poster here said that it's a sin to go to a Catholic church to pray there, - yet others are saying that some Orthodox believe it's acceptable...

what if an Orthodox person just walks into a Catholic cathedral, not during a service, but when it's empty, and just says a few of their own prayers there? is that a sin?
An official teaching? That's actually rather hard to come by in Orthodoxy on a lot of matters. And a forum like this is exactly where all the possibilities come out. That's why you so often see us saying "Ask your priest". Orthodoxy is a living faith meant to be lived out in the context of the Church community. Variations will happen. Sort of like everyone on your street obviously lives on the same street. The houses may be more or less similar, but how households are run will show a great deal of variation in spite of a whole list of similarities. In the same way what constitutes behaving as a good Orthodox Christian may vary slightly even from one parish to another.

thanks for the reply, I guess I just don't really understanding,how an can something be a sin if there's no official teaching on it and the guidance of priests varies?

Quote
I don't see a problem with saying a prayer if I just happen to be in a RC or Protestant church as a visitor for a family event, or as a tourist in any one of many architecturally or historically significant buildings, just as it's not wrong to say a prayer in a park, while driving on a highway, or sitting it the dentist's chair! However, to say to oneself: "I want to go to pray somewhere. I think I'll choose that nice RC church on the other side of town." That's an entirely different situation. I would wonder why that choice is being made when other more usual (for an Orthodox Christian) options are available.

in the case of my family, the Orthodox church is in another city, and my dad's company makes him work on sundays. Sometimes when we've visited other cities as tourists, we visited cathedrals that were Catholic. Other times, I went to Mass and couldn't get there on my own and needed a ride, and invited my parents too because otherwise they would just be in the parking lot. does the EOC consider this a sin? my parents had nothing against being inside a Catholic church so they prayed there as they would pray anywhere, but they don't see it the same as on the street, etc, cause it is a church with holy images etc. According to the Orthodox church are we all sinning?

Dear Little Flower,

I believe you are having difficulty understanding the Orthodox point of view because your understanding of the concept of "sin" is very typically Catholic (or, being fairer to our Catholic friends, stereotypically Catholic).

You are conceiving of a sin as an offence against God's moral code. It's kinda like, murder is a sin because it breaches section 67 of God's Crimes Act aka the Bible. There is no room for "grey" in this kind of assessment: whether the sin has been committed or not is a matter of fact. Orthodoxy doesn't conceive of sin in that way.

In the Orthodox conception, sin is whatever is harmful to your spiritual state. God has revealed certain "laws" which we are bound to follow, but those laws themselves are given to us for our spiritual benefit. Not only that, sometimes the laws are not "thou shalts" or "thou shalt nots", but are ambiguous spiritual principles which must be applied to varied and shifting facts. So, what is spiritually harmful for me might not be spiritually harmful to you, depending on the circumstances. This is why we Orthodox always fall back on "ask your priest".

Can I give you an example? Say, for instance, person A is very well-grounded in Orthodox Christianity, having a sound understanding of the scriptures and a deeply patristic-influenced mindset. For person A to attend a Catholic church and sit through the Mass, privately praying, is probably not spiritually harmful to him/her. But, for person B, who is not particularly well-grounded in Orthodox Christianity and could very easily fall into the trap of thinking Orthodoxy is little more than Catholicism-without-a-Pope or Catholicism-with-funnier-hats, attending the Catholic mass (especially often) could be of great spritual detriment.

Try not to think about your actions in terms of black and white categories. Try to assess your actions like this: "is what I am doing spiritually harmful in some way?". Remember, things that appear innocuous can actually be causing you to take a wrong spiritual path. That is why spiritual fathers and mothers are so important in Orthodoxy -- they serve to put us back on the right path when we go wandering.

I apologise if this post is a bit of a Orthodoxy 101, but I think it will help you to get your mind around the Orthodox understanding of sin.
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« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2011, 08:21:48 PM »

Correct, a non-Orthodox person shall not recive any of the body or blood of our saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is also sin to attend a service of another faith i.e. Catholic Church as it is unjust to pray in the house of a non-Orthodox faith.

It would be like an Orthodox praying at a Mosque.

a Mosque? I respect your beliefs, but Catholics aren't like Muslims - we are Christians also.. I'm not saying you should break your rules and pray with us, I'm just saying that it's strange to compare Catholics to non Christians.

Neither are united to Christ through His Body, the Church, so yes, there is definitely room to compare any non-Orthodox group in this way.

I see... can't say that I agree though Sad

I'm not at a point right now where I am totally gung-ho about Orthodoxy; I'm just telling you that the Orthodox teaching is that the Orthodox Church is the Church of Christ, and therefore those outside of it are not Christian in the same mystical sense.
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« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2011, 08:26:33 PM »

Not exactly. IIRC, there is a canon that forbids praying in the services of heathens, Jews, pagans, or heretics. But I don't remember the exact nature of that canon and how it is to be applied.

There are actually half a dozen canons that say the Orthodox shouldn't go to Jewish/heretical/schismatic services, shouldn't pray with them, etc., though how strictly these canons should be applied seems much debated. Also, there is a canon (6th of Laodicea) that says that heretics cannot enter an Orthodox church, but I've never heard of any Orthodox (even the most traditionalist) turning away people who want to attend a service.
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« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2011, 08:33:15 PM »


Dear Little Flower,

I believe you are having difficulty understanding the Orthodox point of view because your understanding of the concept of "sin" is very typically Catholic (or, being fairer to our Catholic friends, stereotypically Catholic).

You are conceiving of a sin as an offence against God's moral code. It's kinda like, murder is a sin because it breaches section 67 of God's Crimes Act aka the Bible. There is no room for "grey" in this kind of assessment: whether the sin has been committed or not is a matter of fact. Orthodoxy doesn't conceive of sin in that way.

Hi, thanks for your reply... well in Catholicism, - it's not always black and white either, I mean something could be grave matter but not be a mortal sin if the person didn't know it's sinful, or didn't have a free choice about it, etc. What I was talking about is not personal guilt, but more like grave matter.. do the Orthodox have a concept of this? if so, then is Orthodox praying in non Orthodox churches grave matter, or a matter of discipline? I ask because there are those canons.. don't the canons apply to all Orthodox? does a priest have the authority to dispense a person from following a canon like this?

Quote
In the Orthodox conception, sin is whatever is harmful to your spiritual state. God has revealed certain "laws" which we are bound to follow, but those laws themselves are given to us for our spiritual benefit. Not only that, sometimes the laws are not "thou shalts" or "thou shalt nots", but are ambiguous spiritual principles which must be applied to varied and shifting facts. So, what is spiritually harmful for me might not be spiritually harmful to you, depending on the circumstances. This is why we Orthodox always fall back on "ask your priest".

Can I give you an example? Say, for instance, person A is very well-grounded in Orthodox Christianity, having a sound understanding of the scriptures and a deeply patristic-influenced mindset. For person A to attend a Catholic church and sit through the Mass, privately praying, is probably not spiritually harmful to him/her. But, for person B, who is not particularly well-grounded in Orthodox Christianity and could very easily fall into the trap of thinking Orthodoxy is little more than Catholicism-without-a-Pope or Catholicism-with-funnier-hats, attending the Catholic mass (especially often) could be of great spritual detriment.

Try not to think about your actions in terms of black and white categories. Try to assess your actions like this: "is what I am doing spiritually harmful in some way?". Remember, things that appear innocuous can actually be causing you to take a wrong spiritual path. That is why spiritual fathers and mothers are so important in Orthodoxy -- they serve to put us back on the right path when we go wandering.

I apologise if this post is a bit of a Orthodoxy 101, but I think it will help you to get your mind around the Orthodox understanding of sin.

thanks for the description.. would you say that it could ever be spiritually beneficial for an Orthodox to visit a Catholic church to pray there? for example, if there are no Orthodox churches nearby at all, or if they are not really practicing and at least this way they are going to a church.. (rather than none)
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« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2011, 08:34:31 PM »

Correct, a non-Orthodox person shall not recive any of the body or blood of our saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is also sin to attend a service of another faith i.e. Catholic Church as it is unjust to pray in the house of a non-Orthodox faith.

It would be like an Orthodox praying at a Mosque.

a Mosque? I respect your beliefs, but Catholics aren't like Muslims - we are Christians also.. I'm not saying you should break your rules and pray with us, I'm just saying that it's strange to compare Catholics to non Christians.

Neither are united to Christ through His Body, the Church, so yes, there is definitely room to compare any non-Orthodox group in this way.

I see... can't say that I agree though Sad

I'm not at a point right now where I am totally gung-ho about Orthodoxy; I'm just telling you that the Orthodox teaching is that the Orthodox Church is the Church of Christ, and therefore those outside of it are not Christian in the same mystical sense.

well I guess the Catholics believe similarly.. except we do believe non Catholics are Christians too, but we don't view them being part of the Body of Christ in the same way either. So I do get the logic.. Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2011, 08:47:36 PM »

Hi, thanks for your reply... well in Catholicism, - it's not always black and white either [..]

You're right, of course, Catholicism is more complicated than I painted it, but I decided to rely on the stereotypes of the two traditions to illustrate my point. I hope I haven't said anything offensive.

I mean something could be grave matter but not be a mortal sin if the person didn't know it's sinful, or didn't have a free choice about it, etc. What I was talking about is not personal guilt, but more like grave matter.. do the Orthodox have a concept of this? if so, then is Orthodox praying in non Orthodox churches grave matter, or a matter of discipline?

I will be lame and let a cleverer person answer this one!

I ask because there are those canons.. don't the canons apply to all Orthodox? does a priest have the authority to dispense a person from following a canon like this?

It is the bishop's prerogative to tighten or loosen the canons, and the parish priest acts on the bishop's authority. Our understanding of how canons are to be applied differs from the Catholic understanding, which I will be bold enough to say (again, hoping not to cause offence!) is more legalistic.

thanks for the description.. would you say that it could ever be spiritually beneficial for an Orthodox to visit a Catholic church to pray there? for example, if there are no Orthodox churches nearby at all, or if they are not really practicing and at least this way they are going to a church.. (rather than none)

My own belief is yes, it could be spiritually beneficial in such circumstances, depending on the spiritual state of the person involved. My bishop might take a different view, though.
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« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2011, 08:52:12 PM »

Thanks for the reply Smiley and no I'm not offended, no worries!
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« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2011, 09:03:23 PM »

It very Hard For me to accept that your Parents are Eastern Orthodox and you their daughter Happens to be Roman Catholic how does that happen....Something isn't right or doesn't sound right ......Are you sure their not Orthodox in Communion With Rome as some Eastern Catholic Like to Call themselfs....Even the Most Lack's Cradle Eastern Orthodox would more than likely have there Child / Children Baptised Orthodox ,plus there are aunts ,uncles other members of the Orthodox Family that would insist on it......
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« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2011, 09:35:11 PM »

It very Hard For me to accept that your Parents are Eastern Orthodox and you their daughter Happens to be Roman Catholic how does that happen....Something isn't right or doesn't sound right ......Are you sure their not Orthodox in Communion With Rome as some Eastern Catholic Like to Call themselfs....Even the Most Lack's Cradle Eastern Orthodox would more than likely have there Child / Children Baptised Orthodox ,plus there are aunts ,uncles other members of the Orthodox Family that would insist on it......

No, they are Eastern Orthodox, not Catholic, and I am Catholic. I converted to Catholicism.
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« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2011, 09:43:17 PM »

Oh! Ok ...But really Not Ok..... Grin


It very Hard For me to accept that your Parents are Eastern Orthodox and you their daughter Happens to be Roman Catholic how does that happen....Something isn't right or doesn't sound right ......Are you sure their not Orthodox in Communion With Rome as some Eastern Catholic Like to Call themselfs....Even the Most Lack's Cradle Eastern Orthodox would more than likely have there Child / Children Baptised Orthodox ,plus there are aunts ,uncles other members of the Orthodox Family that would insist on it......

No, they are Eastern Orthodox, not Catholic, and I am Catholic. I converted to Catholicism.
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« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2011, 02:25:32 AM »

At the same token, we welcome the non Orthodox to attend Orthodox services and the Divine Liturgy, however you musn't partake of the sacraments or mysteries, or receive the blessed bread which is distributed at the end of the Liturgy.
I attended an Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy and the priest knew that I was Roman Catholic. I did not go up for Holy Communion, but remained in my seat. At the end of Communion, as the Orthodox priest instructed him, the usher came to my seat with the blessed bread (not Holy Communion) and offered it to me.  Do you mean then, that I am supposed to tell the usher that I don't want the blessed bread which is being offered to me, and that I would be committing a sin by accepting his offer of the blessed bread?
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« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2011, 02:29:38 AM »

^ I'm not sure what Chtets Ioann is talking about...at least at my church I can take the blessed bread (as we call it, the "antidoron"). It's especially okay if someone from the church hands you a piece of bread.

It's sacred, but it's not the sacrament of Holy Communion. If you take it and eat it respectfully, you should be okay.
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« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2011, 06:35:30 AM »

what if an Orthodox person just walks into a Catholic cathedral, not during a service, but when it's empty, and just says a few of their own prayers there? is that a sin?

If I ever happen to be in Bari, Italy, I will certainly try to do my outmost to visit the Roman Catholic Basilica of Saint Nicholas in order to pray at the relics of Saint Nicholas. I would prefer to do this when no formal service is going on.
Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_San_Nicola

I will also happily walk in to any church building of any type as a tourist to take photos of magnificent architecture, but I would not go there to pray really.
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« Reply #44 on: May 09, 2011, 08:33:16 AM »


what if an Orthodox person just walks into a Catholic cathedral, not during a service, but when it's empty, and just says a few of their own prayers there? is that a sin?


Here is a statement on this question from the Russian Orthodox Church:

"Orthodox believers can visit
Catholic or Protestant churches, attend non-Orthodox service without
voiced or inner prayer, Orthodox prayer before all-Christian shrines
is also acceptable while public or private prayers with non-Orthodox
are inadmissible for Orthodox believers."


For the full statement please go to message 169
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21720.msg330843.html#msg330843
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