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Author Topic: Does the Orthodox Church "change?"  (Read 7887 times) Average Rating: 0
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Volnutt
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« on: June 19, 2011, 12:21:27 PM »

And if so, how?

As I understand it, Holy Penance did not exist until the 4th Century when it was introduced as a "compromise" for receiving back the lapsi without some sort of "re-baptism." Did it have some kind of equivalent beforehand? If not, does this mean First-Third Century Christians could be saved without confessing to the Church? Similarly, how is the switch from congregational to private justified, as an economia based on the weakness of the laity in general?

Also, how can the pre-sixth century absence of iconstases be explained? I know they are a continuance of the something from the Jewish Temple, but still it seems like the Church was absent this tradition for the first several centuries (and for that matter, if icons are so essential to proper worship, how are we to account for them not being widely venerated until the iconoclasm)?

Finally, how does this relate to the Roman Catholic concept of doctrinal development? This really sounds like "development" to me if not innovation.
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2011, 12:45:00 PM »

And if so, how?

The Church is not locked in stone. She has grown like a child grows up. But the Church has always been the same "person". She has not undergone destructive surgeries like other segments have.

One way is the standardization of rubrics. This stems from St Paul's command to do everything in an orderly fashion. It was not possible to do this during the Roman persecution, so after the Edict of Milan we see the Church make a lot of progress as far as standardizing practices. This is both for the sake of order, and to make it easier for priests and bishops to concelebrate. This is not a change in the liturgy, because it is still in essence the same thing. Rather it is a clarification of the existing accepted truth for the sake of clarity. That is what kind of change we have.

As I understand it, Holy Penance did not exist until the 4th Century when it was introduced as a "compromise" for receiving back the lapsi without some sort of "re-baptism." Did it have some kind of equivalent beforehand? If not, does this mean First-Third Century Christians could be saved without confessing to the Church? Similarly, how is the switch from congregational to private justified, as an economia based on the weakness of the laity in general?

In the early church, people confessed openly to the congregation. This came to be viewed as scandalous, not the least of which for the sake of the children present, so sacramental confession became private. However, AFAIK it has always been tied to the sacramental absolution, and that has never changed. Only the means has changed from public to private.

Interestingly, the Church has never condemned public confession, and it is still canonically permissible. Generally there is no need for it, but I could see circumstances where a person could have hurt the entire parish community and such a thing would be healing for all involved.

Also, how can the pre-sixth century absence of iconstases be explained? I know they are a continuance of the something from the Jewish Temple, but still it seems like the Church was absent this tradition for the first several centuries (and for that matter, if icons are so essential to proper worship, how are we to account for them not being widely venerated until the iconoclasm)?

The Iconostasis, the Rood Screen, the Altar Rail, and all other similar liturgical barriers have a common ancestor in the Templon. This was essentially a low wall surrounding the altar area. Larger churches may have used a freestanding row of pillars, topped with a beam or arches. These walls have been found in the earliest churches and presumably have always been used.



This was partially inspired from a device from Greek theatre, the proscenium:



(Note even the central and outer doors on either side.)

This was a feature of Churches in both East and West.

After Iconoclasm, which hit the East particularly hard, they began hanging icons between the pillars. The church at New Skete (below) is designed this way. This likely is what an Eastern Church looked like around the 800s or so:



This became so commonplace that eventually they were built as solid walls instead of spaced pillars. In the West, the Templon continued to exist in various forms as well. One of these is the Rood Screen, which is especially associated with traditional English churches:



During the Counter-Reformation, the Roman Church removed many of these to erase the perceived barrier between the priest and the people, though it continued to exist in some form as the altar rail.



Finally, how does this relate to the Roman Catholic concept of doctrinal development? This really sounds like "development" to me if not innovation.

This describes actual changes in belief. In Orthodoxy, we believe that every teaching we hold today is present in the ancient Church. Things have become better-defined, understood, and described, but there are no changes. The development of the Iconostasis shows this. That feature has always been present, but it took some 1500 years to grow into its current form. And it may well continue to develop in the future. But all the while, nothing has truly changed.

On the other hand, we believe that Rome has indeed changed her beliefs over time.
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2011, 01:28:03 PM »

Oh ok, sort of like how the exact idea of the Trinity was not in the early church but they still knew Father, Son, and Spirit were all the One God.

I can dig that. Thanks!
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2011, 01:31:46 PM »

Since we're already talking about the iconostasis, I have a related question. How does the idea of the iconostasis relate to the torn Temple veil and the believer being able to "go boldly before the Throne of Grace?"
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2011, 02:01:07 PM »

And if so, how?

As I understand it, Holy Penance did not exist until the 4th Century when it was introduced as a "compromise" for receiving back the lapsi without some sort of "re-baptism." Did it have some kind of equivalent beforehand? If not, does this mean First-Third Century Christians could be saved without confessing to the Church? Similarly, how is the switch from congregational to private justified, as an economia based on the weakness of the laity in general?

Also, how can the pre-sixth century absence of iconstases be explained? I know they are a continuance of the something from the Jewish Temple, but still it seems like the Church was absent this tradition for the first several centuries (and for that matter, if icons are so essential to proper worship, how are we to account for them not being widely venerated until the iconoclasm)?

Finally, how does this relate to the Roman Catholic concept of doctrinal development? This really sounds like "development" to me if not innovation.
I think you just asked questions that would constitute three different ph.d dissertations Smiley  Liturgy changed, but the originial teachings haven't.
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2011, 02:05:16 PM »

Oh ok, sort of like how the exact idea of the Trinity was not in the early church but they still knew Father, Son, and Spirit were all the One God.

I can dig that. Thanks!

Yes. The way I tend to think about it is this:

I don't know that St Paul personally had condensed the essence of Christianity into something like the Nicene Creed. The heresies had not yet arisen to make such a clear definition of the faith necessary. But if you were a time traveler and gave St Paul a copy of the Nicene Creed, he would certainly agree with every word. Conversely, he would certainly recognize Arianism or Origenism as heresy, even though it did not yet exist.

Since we're already talking about the iconostasis, I have a related question. How does the idea of the iconostasis relate to the torn Temple veil and the believer being able to "go boldly before the Throne of Grace?"

Someone else might like to take a stab at this, but I view it similarly to the priesthood of all believers.

We believe that all Christians are priests, by virtue of their anointing with Holy Chrism. But we still have a sacramental priesthood, for those who are authorized to perform certain special actions on behalf of the community. In the same way, the entire Church—the entire Universe—is sacred, but we still set aside a portion of the Church specifically for the altar and celebrating the divine services.

We can all go boldly before the Throne of Grace because we have Christ living within us, and we can pray anywhere. And certainly the Iconostasis is not meant to keep us away from God's holiness, because that is one point of the veil—to keep people from getting killed by God's sheer glory. But indeed today God comes into us, and makes us all into the Holy of Holies when we take His Body and Blood.

But in the context of liturgical worship, we still set aside certain spaces as holy. In the earliest times, I imagine this was more of a practical consideration than anything else. The priest had to carry out his duties without tripping over people, so a wall was built to make sure he was free to move about unencumbered. But with time, the Iconostasis has also gained theological meanings, representing Heaven and so forth.

That's not the most satisfactory answer, and I'm sure someone else can explain it better, but that's what makes sense to me.
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2011, 02:15:56 PM »

Well, I thought it was a very good answer. Thanks.
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2011, 02:29:25 PM »

Bogdan- thank you for the pictures. They are beautiful, and explain a lot.  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2011, 02:48:51 PM »

I think you just asked questions that would constitute three different ph.d dissertations Smiley  Liturgy changed, but the originial teachings haven't.
Yeah, I'm sure there's quite a lot of nuance, but nutshell answers are alright for me. Actually, what Bogdan said what was I had an inkling the answers were.
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2011, 03:12:34 PM »

Taking the issue of liturgical architecture, an example of actual change in theology would be when Protestants (especially the more radical ones) went from something like this:



To something like this:



The altar was replaced by the pulpit. The Sacrifice of the Eucharist was replaced by sophistry and philosophy. The living Body and Blood of Christ were replaced by a Book and the knowledge thereof.

That is not to denigrate the Bible and preaching—both of which are prominent in the Liturgy. But it becomes heresy when something is overemphasized beyond its proper place, and especially at the expense of other things.

Of course, there is nothing new under the sun. The heresies of today are always betrayed by the heresies of old. Compare this altar-less and image-less Protestant church with the iconoclastic-era Hagia Irene:





I don't want to send the thread astray, but these are examples of how changes in liturgical architecture can be heretical, compared with natural changes like the Templon I explained above.
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2011, 03:34:46 PM »

I see what you mean.

I'm surprised the Eastern iconoclasts even allowed a Cross. The grandaddy of Western iconoclasm, Claudius of Turin, taught the Cross was a graven image as well.
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2011, 04:29:25 PM »

Finally, how does this relate to the Roman Catholic concept of doctrinal development? This really sounds like "development" to me if not innovation.

About development of doctrine ---- take a look at what Saint Vincent of Lerins writes about this in the 5th century.  He expresses it beautifully and exactly.

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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2011, 04:31:06 PM »

No.  She changes to remain the same.
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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2011, 05:22:04 PM »

And if so, how?

As I understand it, Holy Penance did not exist until the 4th Century when it was introduced as a "compromise" for receiving back the lapsi without some sort of "re-baptism." Did it have some kind of equivalent beforehand?
Of course. James 5:14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters [i.e. bishops/priests] of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer of Faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

If not, does this mean First-Third Century Christians could be saved without confessing to the Church?
According to the Gospel, no.  Matthew 18:17-8"...tell it to the Church...Amen, I say to you, whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." John 20: 21 J"esus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you." 22 And when He had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Similarly, how is the switch from congregational to private justified, as an economia based on the weakness of the laity in general?
Christ Himself counseled it so: Matthew 18:15.

Also, how can the pre-sixth century absence of iconstases be explained? I know they are a continuance of the something from the Jewish Temple, but still it seems like the Church was absent this tradition for the first several centuries
Just to add to Bogdan's excellent post, the synagoue had a bimah, an elevated place when the Torah was read, and an ark, where the Torah scrolls were keep (which were put in the direction of Jerusalem).  In the ancient city of Sardis we see the bimah

and the arks:

Usually these features were combined into a sanctuary, and were seperated only when it wasn't feasible to orientate the synagogue towards Jerusalem the right way. Similarly, Churches were orientated East, and if that were impossible, there was a Cross or some marking for the East, in which direction the congregation would pray, for instance, the Lord's prayer.

(and for that matter, if icons are so essential to proper worship, how are we to account for them not being widely venerated until the iconoclasm)?
People don't know what they have until it is taken from them.  We have icons in the catacombs and in the house Churches before Nicea.

Finally, how does this relate to the Roman Catholic concept of doctrinal development? This really sounds like "development" to me if not innovation.
Let's go further back (I've dealt with this before):
I think you mean sewn up. Look at my post above, about the antibodies.
Yeah, I thought it was sewn after I posted it but wasn't sure. Good thing this is a theological discussion and not grammar class.  Wink

Op cit. Viz supra. The inability of the Vatican to see clearly on the issue is a very large part of its problem.
If you mean that the Church is a stagnant organization that has no use for the Holy Spirit because everything has already been revealed and needs no further clarification, of course the Vatican isn't going to "see" that because that notion is false.
Didn't read my post above, did you?

Now I look like my baby picture, despite I'm taller, weight more, right now have a 5 o'clock (actually more) shadow. That's development.

I also have a cross tattoo on my wrist which you will search in vain for on my baby pictures.  You call that developement but its not quite that: no matter how old I got, that tattoo wasn't going to appear until I had them apply it with the needle.

My best friend has four kidnies, from two kidney transplants. Not quite development there either.  He looks like his baby picture, though, too.

I have my doubts about those who have a "sex change," that they resemble their baby picture in specific ways, but I concede that their faces are probably the same.  You would have to get plastic surgery to change that, like Michael Jackosn.

I remember when he married Miss Presley, someone said they would believe it when she had a baby that looked like he used to look. Not like this:


But that's the problem: ya'll at the Vatican can't make a distinction between growing and radical plastic surgery, because it's all change=development.  So you appropriate it as a license to attribute the most outlandish things to the "deposit of Faith."
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2011, 05:46:05 PM »

Woah there Bogdan... Hagia Irene was NOT iconoclastic.

It was constructed prior to the Second Ecumenical Council in the 4th Century, and that council was held in this church. It was the same church that St. John Chrysostom preached in. (it was the hierarchical church prior to the construction of the current Hagia Sophia)
The reason it doesn't have mosaics/frescoes are varied... It, like other churches in Constantinople, lost a lot of it's icons due to earthquakes. The cross in the apse, is due to the heretical iconoclasts, but there were severe earthquakes prior to iconoclasm that contributed to it's icon-less state. One could also expect that the Muslims probably also contributed to it's state. It was eventually turned into an armory by the Turks, and today serves as a concert hall.

I've been inside of this church. There are mosaics that still exist, but they are unrecognizable and are barely visible (normally in dark, unlit corners).

The iconoclasts weren't the main reason for it's current appearance. The blame rests on mother nature, and probably also the Muslim Turks.

_______________________________________________

The mosaics in Hagia Irene (Holy Peace) probably were similar to those in other churches of the same era...

Mosaics in the St. George Rotunda (Thessaloniki), this was a Roman rotunda converted into a church and embellished with many icons...
Entryway mosaics:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Saint_George_Rotunda_%28Thessaloniki%29_mosaic_medallions.jpg
Dome mosaics from a distance:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ae/Agios_Georgios_Rotunda_interior.jpg
(there are icons of saints & angels that are still visible in the dome)

Mosaics in San Lorenzo in Milan, these also date to the 4th Century...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1398_-_Milano_-_S._Lorenzo_-_Cappella_S._Aquilino_-_Traditio_Legis_-_Dall%27Orto_-_18-May-2007.jpg

Mosaics in Santa Costanza:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Santa_Costanza._Mosaic_del_S._VII_%E2%80%9CTraditio_Legis%E2%80%9D.JPG
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Santa_costanza_mosaic.jpg

Access to most of Hagia Irene is restricted, this is one mosaic remnant i was able to find...
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/27/hagiaireneicon.png/



So the early Christian Churches certainly were richly adorned with icons and beautiful mosaics. Churches like Holy Wisdom in Constantinople, and Holy Wisdom in Thessaloniki also used marble to great effect.

But certainly those early churches weren't covered floor to ceiling in frescoes like Orthodox Churches of today.
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2011, 05:49:06 PM »

And if so, how?

As I understand it, Holy Penance did not exist until the 4th Century when it was introduced as a "compromise" for receiving back the lapsi without some sort of "re-baptism." Did it have some kind of equivalent beforehand? If not, does this mean First-Third Century Christians could be saved without confessing to the Church? Similarly, how is the switch from congregational to private justified, as an economia based on the weakness of the laity in general?

Also, how can the pre-sixth century absence of iconstases be explained? I know they are a continuance of the something from the Jewish Temple, but still it seems like the Church was absent this tradition for the first several centuries (and for that matter, if icons are so essential to proper worship, how are we to account for them not being widely venerated until the iconoclasm)?

Finally, how does this relate to the Roman Catholic concept of doctrinal development? This really sounds like "development" to me if not innovation.

The Orthodox Faith does not change.   As for the Church, the same little tree in your back yard is the same tree.  It has not changed into another tree.  In that sense, it has not changed.  It has grown and developed.  In that sense, it has changed. 
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« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2011, 05:59:21 PM »

How does the idea of the iconostasis relate to the torn Temple veil and the believer being able to "go boldly before the Throne of Grace?"

When the curtain is pulled back, those doors open up, and the very Body and Blood of God leaves the Holy of Holies and enters into our bodies. In a sense the imagery is even greater because we do not merely go before the Throne of Grace, but our very bodies become the Throne of Grace.
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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2011, 10:51:16 PM »

88Devin12, looks like I may have been wrong. I thought I read that somewhere, but your explanation makes sense too.

I think it does illustrate the concept at least, though, because there certainly were churches built that had no images. But I dare not slander an orthodox church.
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2011, 12:36:09 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagia_Irene

Quote
The building reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple. It ranks, in fact, as the first church built in Constantinople. Roman emperor Constantine I commissioned the first Hagia Irene church in the 4th century. From May to July 381 the First Council of Constantinople took place in the church. It was burned down during the Nike revolt in 532. Emperor Justinian I had the church restored in 548. It served as the church of the Patriarchate before Hagia Sophia was completed in 537.

Heavily damaged by an earthquake in the 8th century, it dates in its present form largely from the repairs made at that time. The Emperor Constantine V ordered the restorations and had its interior decorated with mosaics and frescoes. Hagia Irene is the only example of a Byzantine church in the city which retains its original atrium. A great cross in the half-dome above the main narthex, where the image of the Pantocrator or Theotokos was usually placed in Byzantine tradition, is a unique vestige of the Iconoclastic art; presumably it replaced earlier decoration. The church was enlarged during the 11th and 12th centuries.
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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2011, 01:23:08 AM »

Again, I'm really surprised iconoclasts would allow a Cross  laugh.

Thanks for all the helpful responses!
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« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2011, 01:29:45 AM »

Finally, how does this relate to the Roman Catholic concept of doctrinal development? This really sounds like "development" to me if not innovation.

About development of doctrine ---- take a look at what Saint Vincent of Lerins writes about this in the 5th century.  He expresses it beautifully and exactly.

See message 306
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29681.msg470869.html#msg470869
So when Saint Vincent says the Faith is what has been believed always, everywhere, and by all-the idea is the current teachings of the Church are the more defined versions of what was believed earlier.
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« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2011, 01:31:11 AM »

lol, Chuck Norris.
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« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2011, 02:17:44 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagia_Irene

Quote
The building reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple. It ranks, in fact, as the first church built in Constantinople. Roman emperor Constantine I commissioned the first Hagia Irene church in the 4th century. From May to July 381 the First Council of Constantinople took place in the church. It was burned down during the Nike revolt in 532. Emperor Justinian I had the church restored in 548. It served as the church of the Patriarchate before Hagia Sophia was completed in 537.

Heavily damaged by an earthquake in the 8th century, it dates in its present form largely from the repairs made at that time. The Emperor Constantine V ordered the restorations and had its interior decorated with mosaics and frescoes. Hagia Irene is the only example of a Byzantine church in the city which retains its original atrium. A great cross in the half-dome above the main narthex, where the image of the Pantocrator or Theotokos was usually placed in Byzantine tradition, is a unique vestige of the Iconoclastic art; presumably it replaced earlier decoration. The church was enlarged during the 11th and 12th centuries.

The bolded part is basically what I think is the case. Every other church from that era, and obviously, later, had icons in the apse and around the church. There were definitely mosaics in the church (as I illustrated above, only a tiny amount remain).

from what I've learned, it seems the iconoclasts did destroy the icons in churches and replace them with either nothing, or just crosses. There is a "side-chapel" in the "Church of the Saviour in the Country" (aka Savior in Chora) in Constantinople that has similar crosses. Most of the church has frescoes/mosaics from the 14th Century. But this side-chapel is an older part that probably dates to it's construction (early 5th Cent.); but the side-chapel is very bare, with only a couple crosses similar to Hagia Irene's. So the crosses may date to iconoclasm.

You also can notice, that in Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) in Constantinople, there are also more similar crosses, but they apparently were covered up by later floral work. I think modern restorations show both the crosses and the more modern decorative work.
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« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2011, 03:59:53 AM »

And if so, how?

Is it not true that in the past, the Orthodox Church taught that women should obey the commandment of St. Paul that they should wear headcovering while in Church? Would this then be a situation where the Orthodox Church has introduced an innovation in its teaching so that women are allowed to neglect the Scriptural reference on the appropriateness of headcovering for women in Church?
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« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2011, 04:03:47 AM »

And if so, how?

Is it not true that in the past, the Orthodox Church taught that women should obey the commandment of St. Paul that they should wear headcovering while in Church? Would this then be a situation where the Orthodox Church has introduced an innovation in its teaching so that women are allowed to neglect the Scriptural reference on the appropriateness of headcovering for women in Church?

Speaking as a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church I can state that in our churches women cover their heads and men uncover theirs.
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« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2011, 04:15:01 AM »

And if so, how?

Is it not true that in the past, the Orthodox Church taught that women should obey the commandment of St. Paul that they should wear headcovering while in Church? Would this then be a situation where the Orthodox Church has introduced an innovation in its teaching so that women are allowed to neglect the Scriptural reference on the appropriateness of headcovering for women in Church?

Speaking as a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church I can state that in our churches women cover their heads and men uncover theirs.
Thank you Father.
Right. So, that is how it has been for almost two thousand years, that women are to obey this commandment of St. Paul, and that is how it is today in the Russian Orthodox Church. However, my observation is that  many other Orthodox Churches, in the USA for example,  have introduced the innovation  that women are free to disregard Scripture on this point. And this innovation  is allowed to continue ?
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« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2011, 04:24:11 AM »

And if so, how?

Is it not true that in the past, the Orthodox Church taught that women should obey the commandment of St. Paul that they should wear headcovering while in Church? Would this then be a situation where the Orthodox Church has introduced an innovation in its teaching so that women are allowed to neglect the Scriptural reference on the appropriateness of headcovering for women in Church?

Speaking as a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church I can state that in our churches women cover their heads and men uncover theirs.
Thank you Father.
Right. So, that is how it has been for almost two thousand years, that women are to obey this commandment of St. Paul, and that is how it is today in the Russian Orthodox Church. However, my observation is that  many other Orthodox Churches, in the USA for example,  have introduced the innovation  that women are free to disregard Scripture on this point. And this innovation  is allowed to continue ?
Didn't we strain this gnat out already?
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36975.msg587891.html#msg587891
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« Reply #27 on: June 20, 2011, 10:33:01 AM »

And if so, how?

Is it not true that in the past, the Orthodox Church taught that women should obey the commandment of St. Paul that they should wear headcovering while in Church? Would this then be a situation where the Orthodox Church has introduced an innovation in its teaching so that women are allowed to neglect the Scriptural reference on the appropriateness of headcovering for women in Church?
I don't know that I'd consider this a change, more of an application of economy at local levels, or at most individual jurisdictions or dioceses simply being wrong. When the Orthodox Church as a whole starts teaching it to be sin for a woman to cover her head, then I'll cry foul.
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« Reply #28 on: June 20, 2011, 10:55:05 AM »


from what I've learned, it seems the iconoclasts did destroy the icons in churches and replace them with either nothing, or just crosses.

Not necessarily. Fr. Schmemann says during one of the iconclastic periods, "there was also a widespread destruction of icons themselves, which were replaced by worldly art: hunting scenes, decorative designs, and the like." Source.
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« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2011, 12:20:52 PM »

Again, I'm really surprised iconoclasts would allow a Cross  laugh.

Thanks for all the helpful responses!

 Huh The non-figural Cross was the symbol of Iconoclasm. Iconoclastic emperors replaced images of Christ on coins and, at least according to some of the Byzantine sources, took down the image of Christ on the Chalke gate and replaced it with a Cross. The Cross was at the center of the doctrinal dispute. The Iconoclastic polemics and councils argued that the Cross and the stamped prosphora used for the Eucharist were the only acceptable symbols worthy of Christian veneration. Anything with a human figure (as opposed to a design) was unscriptural, not traditional, and led to idolatry.
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« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2011, 12:28:57 PM »

I know. It just strikes me as illogical is all. What is a Cross if not a symbol of Christ?
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« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2011, 12:51:07 PM »

I know. It just strikes me as illogical is all. What is a Cross if not a symbol of Christ?

Iconoclasts still believed in Christ. But they didn't believe it was right to depict him, or anyone else in imagery, they believe it is idolatry to do so. The cross is an inanimate object, therefore it can be depicted.

I would say the iconoclasts were heavily influenced by the Muslims, whose mosques even today are devoid of any human imagery.
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« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2011, 01:14:53 PM »

Iconoclasts still believed in Christ. But they didn't believe it was right to depict him, or anyone else in imagery, they believe it is idolatry to do so. The cross is an inanimate object, therefore it can be depicted.
True, but without Christ, the Cross would have no reason to be depicted. Same reason the Orthodox venerate the true Cross, right?
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« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2011, 02:29:05 PM »

Iconoclasts still believed in Christ. But they didn't believe it was right to depict him, or anyone else in imagery, they believe it is idolatry to do so. The cross is an inanimate object, therefore it can be depicted.
True, but without Christ, the Cross would have no reason to be depicted. Same reason the Orthodox venerate the true Cross, right?

Well yes, but like I said, the iconoclasts believed in the Trinity, they believed Christ was truly God, they believed (almost) everything that Orthodox believed. However, they believed that any depiction of human beings for veneration, and any depiction of Christ was idolatry.

This is one of the declarations of one of the iconoclast councils:

Quote
"Supported by the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers, we declare unanimously, in the name of the Holy Trinity, that there shall be rejected and removed and cursed one of the Christian Church every likeness which is made out of any material and colour whatever by the evil art of painters.... If anyone ventures to represent the divine image (χαρακτήρ, charaktēr) of the Word after the Incarnation with material colours, let him be anathema! .... If anyone shall endeavour to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colours which are of no value (for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, let him be anathema!"

This is a good summary of the beliefs of the iconoclasts:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Iconoclasm#Issues_in_Byzantine_iconoclasm

So it isn't that they deny Christ, but that they deny his depiction. Which, as an Orthodox Christian, we must say that to deny his depiction is to deny his incarnation.
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« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2011, 02:35:42 PM »

I agree.
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« Reply #35 on: June 20, 2011, 02:51:23 PM »

Btw, how does Orthodoxy respond to these two points?

Quote
For iconoclasts, the only real religious image must be an exact likeness of the prototype -of the same substance- which they considered impossible, seeing wood and paint as empty of spirit and life. Thus for iconoclasts the only true (and permitted) "icon" of Jesus was the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, according to Catholic doctrine.

Any true image of Jesus must be able to represent both his divine nature (which is impossible because it cannot be seen nor encompassed) and his human nature (which is possible). But by making an icon of Jesus, one is separating his human and divine natures, since only the human can be depicted (separating the natures was considered nestorianism), or else confusing the human and divine natures, considering them one (union of the human and divine natures was considered monophysitism).
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« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2011, 03:30:26 PM »

   Confession was heavily influenced by monasticism.  In the West Irish monastic practices in the 7th-8th century eventually lead it to becomming routine for laity.  Prior to the late Middle Ages and the Reformation, Christians did not necessarily take a rigorist position towards sacraments, including penance and confession.  Auricular confession was one method to remit sins, but it was by no means the only way.   Then the Roman church started emphasizing a more transactional view of salvation based on mert and this lead to the rigorist position typcal of Roman Catholicism and which later influenced Eastern Orthodoxy as well.

   Penance in the early Church was a seperate matter.  Penance had to do with making satisfaction to the community, not to God.   Sometimes the penances could be quite severe depending on the whim of the bishop but it had little to do with the idea of God forgivng people and everything to do with community discipline and bounndaries.  That existed since quite an early time in the Church.
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« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2011, 03:40:29 PM »

Btw, how does Orthodoxy respond to these two points?

Quote
For iconoclasts, the only real religious image must be an exact likeness of the prototype -of the same substance- which they considered impossible, seeing wood and paint as empty of spirit and life. Thus for iconoclasts the only true (and permitted) "icon" of Jesus was the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, according to Catholic doctrine.

Any true image of Jesus must be able to represent both his divine nature (which is impossible because it cannot be seen nor encompassed) and his human nature (which is possible). But by making an icon of Jesus, one is separating his human and divine natures, since only the human can be depicted (separating the natures was considered nestorianism), or else confusing the human and divine natures, considering them one (union of the human and divine natures was considered monophysitism).

I think it's shown just below those two:

Quote
Further, in their view idols depicted persons without substance or reality while icons depicted real persons. Essentially the argument was "all religious images not of our faith are idols; all images of our faith are icons to be venerated." This was considered comparable to the Old Testament practice of only offering burnt sacrifices to God, and not to any other gods.

Regarding the written tradition opposing the making and veneration of images, they asserted that icons were part of unrecorded oral tradition (parádosis, sanctioned in Orthodoxy as authoritative in doctrine by reference to Basil the Great, etc.), and pointed to patristic writings approving of icons, such as those of Asterius of Amasia, who was quoted twice in the record of the Second Council of Nicaea. What would have been useful evidence from modern art history as to the use of images in Early Christian art was unavailable to iconodules at the time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Iconoclasm#Issues_in_Byzantine_iconoclasm
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« Reply #38 on: July 02, 2011, 07:05:31 PM »


   Penance in the early Church was a seperate matter.  Penance had to do with making satisfaction to the community, not to God.   Sometimes the penances could be quite severe depending on the whim of the bishop but it had little to do with the idea of God forgivng people and everything to do with community discipline and bounndaries.  That existed since quite an early time in the Church.

Please back up this statement with proof.
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« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2011, 11:46:12 PM »

Quote from: pensateomnia
Huh The non-figural Cross was the symbol of Iconoclasm. Iconoclastic emperors replaced images of Christ on coins and, at least according to some of the Byzantine sources, took down the image of Christ on the Chalke gate and replaced it with a Cross. The Cross was at the center of the doctrinal dispute. The Iconoclastic polemics and councils argued that the Cross and the stamped prosphora used for the Eucharist were the only acceptable symbols worthy of Christian veneration. Anything with a human figure (as opposed to a design) was unscriptural, not traditional, and led to idolatry.

Very interesting. That fills in a few things about which I hadn't known. Thanks.  Smiley
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« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2011, 06:32:42 AM »

I have another question. How does this relate to chiliasm? It seems like it went from "acceptable option" to "damnable heresy."
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« Reply #41 on: July 03, 2011, 08:36:30 AM »

I have another question. How does this relate to chiliasm? It seems like it went from "acceptable option" to "damnable heresy."
Orthodoxy hasn't changed but chiliasm has.
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« Reply #42 on: July 03, 2011, 09:10:18 AM »

the answers given here are very well written and informative. Thank you
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« Reply #43 on: July 03, 2011, 09:58:36 AM »

I have another question. How does this relate to chiliasm? It seems like it went from "acceptable option" to "damnable heresy."
Orthodoxy hasn't changed but chiliasm has.
I don't understand. You mean Papias, et al. held to a certain form of chiliasm that if believed today would be permissible in Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #44 on: July 03, 2011, 11:02:32 AM »

I have another question. How does this relate to chiliasm? It seems like it went from "acceptable option" to "damnable heresy."
Orthodoxy hasn't changed but chiliasm has.
I don't understand. You mean Papias, et al. held to a certain form of chiliasm that if believed today would be permissible in Orthodoxy?
Heresy arises when a relative truth is taken as the absolute core of Truth.  Put aside Papias for the moment, but SS. Justin Martyr and Irenaeus had such ideas, and their works are read by the Orthodox to this day.
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