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Author Topic: Is it necessary upon reception into the Orthodox Church to renounce the errors of Rome?  (Read 15239 times) Average Rating: 0
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stanley123
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« on: June 16, 2011, 01:48:29 AM »

After a few months of being an Orthodox Catechumen starting on November 21, 2010. I was received into the  Holy Orthodox Catholic Church by Chrismation on May 15, 2011 with the Archangel Raphael as my Patron Saint.
Just out of curiosity, and you don't have to answer, but I was wondering about it: When you converted by chrismation to the Orthodox Church, was it required to renounce the errors of the Roman Church, such as papal infallibility, purgatory, etc.?
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stanley123
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2011, 01:53:42 AM »

I was a Catholic formerly and I converted to Orthodoxy last year. I was finally received into the Orthodox Church by the sacrament of Chrismation on Holy Saturday.
I had a question but don't feel like you have to answer it. Anyway, when you converted by chrismation to the Orthodox Church, was it asked to renounce the errors of the Roman Church, such as papal infallibility, purgatory, etc., or was it just a simple prayer? I heard that some Orthodox require it, whereas others don't. Also, was there a general or particular  confession, and was this confession before or after the chrismation, if there was a confession?
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2011, 09:23:14 AM »

I had a question but don't feel like you have to answer it. Anyway, when you converted by chrismation to the Orthodox Church, was it asked to renounce the errors of the Roman Church, such as papal infallibility, purgatory, etc., or was it just a simple prayer? I heard that some Orthodox require it, whereas others don't. Also, was there a general or particular  confession, and was this confession before or after the chrismation, if there was a confession?

FWIW, I have attended quite a few chrismations, both of former RCs and others, and the individuals have only been asked if they renounce Satan and unite themselves to Christ. They also recite the unaltered Nicene Creed. Generally speaking, a confession prior to the service is customary. There is also an absolution during the service and prayers to "Remove far from him his former delusion and fill him with the faith, hope and love which are in Thee; that he may know that Thou art the only true God with Thine Only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and Thy Holy Spirit."
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2011, 11:43:39 PM »

I had a question but don't feel like you have to answer it. Anyway, when you converted by chrismation to the Orthodox Church, was it asked to renounce the errors of the Roman Church, such as papal infallibility, purgatory, etc., or was it just a simple prayer? I heard that some Orthodox require it, whereas others don't. Also, was there a general or particular  confession, and was this confession before or after the chrismation, if there was a confession?

FWIW, I have attended quite a few chrismations, both of former RCs and others, and the individuals have only been asked if they renounce Satan and unite themselves to Christ. They also recite the unaltered Nicene Creed. Generally speaking, a confession prior to the service is customary. There is also an absolution during the service and prayers to "Remove far from him his former delusion and fill him with the faith, hope and love which are in Thee; that he may know that Thou art the only true God with Thine Only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and Thy Holy Spirit."
Thanks for this information. In which Orthodox Church was this?
I found out that there was at least one Orthodox Church which required a converting  Catholic to renounce specific errors of the Roman Church.
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2011, 09:35:20 AM »

Thanks for this information. In which Orthodox Church was this?
I found out that there was at least one Orthodox Church which required a converting  Catholic to renounce specific errors of the Roman Church.

That may be part of the process with the priest - I wouldn't know, since that would be a private conversation between the catechumen and the priest. But I have attended chrismations primarily in the OCA, and a couple in the Antiochian and GOA.
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2011, 09:56:23 AM »

I had a question but don't feel like you have to answer it. Anyway, when you converted by chrismation to the Orthodox Church, was it asked to renounce the errors of the Roman Church, such as papal infallibility, purgatory, etc., or was it just a simple prayer? I heard that some Orthodox require it, whereas others don't. Also, was there a general or particular  confession, and was this confession before or after the chrismation, if there was a confession?

FWIW, I have attended quite a few chrismations, both of former RCs and others, and the individuals have only been asked if they renounce Satan and unite themselves to Christ. They also recite the unaltered Nicene Creed. Generally speaking, a confession prior to the service is customary. There is also an absolution during the service and prayers to "Remove far from him his former delusion and fill him with the faith, hope and love which are in Thee; that he may know that Thou art the only true God with Thine Only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and Thy Holy Spirit."
Thanks for this information. In which Orthodox Church was this?
I found out that there was at least one Orthodox Church which required a converting  Catholic to renounce specific errors of the Roman Church.

According to the canons, heterodox Christians must always renounce the errors of their previous confessions (see especially Constantinople 7 and Trullo 95). In the ancient and medieval period, they were very formal about the renunciation and required one to sign an actual libellus. In fact, in some cases, all one had to do to become Orthodox was sign the libellus. No sacramental rite was necessary.

Nowadays, the convert often renounces these previous errors in less formal ways. I think the difference in practice you mention is pure accident. It all boils down to the book the priest happens to own. If it's a complete Euchologion/Trebnik, then it will include something like the rite of reception called for by the Great Synod of Constantinople in 1484, which has the priest ask the convert from Roman Catholicism a number of doctrinal questions. (Such is the case in Hapgood's famous English translation.) If it is a less complete Euchologion, the priest is likely to just look up the rite of Chrismation and follow that. Technically speaking, the rite of Chrismation is distinct from the rite of reception of a heterodox, although their similarity creates an equivalency in many people's minds.

In other words, it all boils down to the books, not official policy, in most cases. For example, I have seen both options performed scores of times in the same jurisdiction, sometimes even in the same parish depending on the priest. In general, though, I think this multiplicity of practice is far, far more common in the diaspora, where there are fifty or sixty different editions and translations of every liturgical book. In a place like Greece or Russia, for example, where ecclesiastical publishing is more centralized, there is not as much variety.
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2011, 01:58:01 PM »

I had a question but don't feel like you have to answer it. Anyway, when you converted by chrismation to the Orthodox Church, was it asked to renounce the errors of the Roman Church, such as papal infallibility, purgatory, etc., or was it just a simple prayer? I heard that some Orthodox require it, whereas others don't. Also, was there a general or particular  confession, and was this confession before or after the chrismation, if there was a confession?

FWIW, I have attended quite a few chrismations, both of former RCs and others, and the individuals have only been asked if they renounce Satan and unite themselves to Christ. They also recite the unaltered Nicene Creed. Generally speaking, a confession prior to the service is customary. There is also an absolution during the service and prayers to "Remove far from him his former delusion and fill him with the faith, hope and love which are in Thee; that he may know that Thou art the only true God with Thine Only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and Thy Holy Spirit."
Thanks for this information. In which Orthodox Church was this?
I found out that there was at least one Orthodox Church which required a converting  Catholic to renounce specific errors of the Roman Church.

According to the canons, heterodox Christians must always renounce the errors of their previous confessions (see especially Constantinople 7 and Trullo 95). In the ancient and medieval period, they were very formal about the renunciation and required one to sign an actual libellus. In fact, in some cases, all one had to do to become Orthodox was sign the libellus. No sacramental rite was necessary.

Nowadays, the convert often renounces these previous errors in less formal ways.
At my reception into the Church, I had to renounce all former errors and delusions (I paraphrase somewhat). I think that sort of blanket statement covers "everything that falls outside the scope of Holy Orthodoxy."
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2011, 05:13:39 PM »

welcome, rar padre pio.
i don't remember (coptic orthodox church) renouncing anything except the devil and all his works. which i suppose includes any heresies. maybe others can correct me if my memory is at fault.
many years  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2011, 06:05:31 PM »

This raises a question for me, I hope it isn't too off topic.

Since Orthodoxy does not teach that we are saved by our merits, which was the real aim of the Reformers to deny with Sola Fide, does this mean it is not a heresy which must be renounced at baptism? Does anyone have access to the long form text for Protestants being received into the Church or is there no single version?
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« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2011, 06:18:26 PM »

This raises a question for me, I hope it isn't too off topic.

Since Orthodoxy does not teach that we are saved by our merits, which was the real aim of the Reformers to deny with Sola Fide, does this mean it is not a heresy which must be renounced at baptism? Does anyone have access to the long form text for Protestants being received into the Church or is there no single version?
Sola Fide is still heresy, even if what we believe was not what was in the reformers' gunsights.

EDIT: Here is an Orthodox response (to Evangelicals) about the Orthodox view of Sola Fide.
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2011, 07:21:39 PM »

This raises a question for me, I hope it isn't too off topic.

Since Orthodoxy does not teach that we are saved by our merits, which was the real aim of the Reformers to deny with Sola Fide, does this mean it is not a heresy which must be renounced at baptism? Does anyone have access to the long form text for Protestants being received into the Church or is there no single version?
Sola Fide is still heresy, even if what we believe was not what was in the reformers' gunsights.

EDIT: Here is an Orthodox response (to Evangelicals) about the Orthodox view of Sola Fide.
Well thanks a lot for tearing that wound open, pal!

I was just starting to make peace with the whole faith/works issue LOL!

I kid, I'm not mad at you. Just... frustrated.  laugh
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2011, 06:45:35 AM »

i think if u join an OO church u don't have to denounce anything.
i looked up the baptism service and there is no denouncing except of the devil.

as for the orthodox - protestant debate, the main thing to understand is that we orthodox consider salvation as a 'life long' activity, not a 'one off' experience.
so if you are 'being saved' it no longer makes sense to ask if you can 'loose' your salvation. protestants discuss this interminably between themselves whether or not you can 'loose your salvation'.
but as we know it is a process, not something we 'have' and can keep or can loose.

if i am still studying at college, i don't worry if i can 'loose' my degree, it is still something, i am working on, and i can get better at it as i study.

if u read romans and james, it is clear both faith and works are needed. so it is not necessary to debate which is more important.
when you make a cake, is it more important to add flour, or more important to add sugar? surely without both flour and sugar, it is not a cake!

i don't know if this will help, but hopefully it won't make u more confused  Wink
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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2011, 06:12:56 PM »

^Most Orthodox jurisdictions do not require specific renunciations (other than heresy in general).  However, as a professor of mine at St. Tikhon's once told us, he regrets not bringing in others into Orthodoxy without the specific affirmations and renunciations in many years of his pastorate.   They have to know what they are getting into and what they are subscribing to, and also affirm it.   I recall years ago (early to mid-1990's) a person who told me that, after 10 years of being Orthodox, he still did not subscribe to the Orthodox understanding of predestination.   He went into some detail.  I suppose I was just in shock.   There is room to roam in the pasture so long as you are still within the bounds set by the fathers, but not outside of these bounds.
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stanley123
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2011, 06:25:43 PM »

^Most Orthodox jurisdictions do not require specific renunciations (other than heresy in general).  However, as a professor of mine at St. Tikhon's once told us, he regrets not bringing in others into Orthodoxy without the specific affirmations and renunciations in many years of his pastorate.   They have to know what they are getting into and what they are subscribing to, and also affirm it.   I recall years ago (early to mid-1990's) a person who told me that, after 10 years of being Orthodox, he still did not subscribe to the Orthodox understanding of predestination.   He went into some detail.  I suppose I was just in shock.   There is room to roam in the pasture so long as you are still within the bounds set by the fathers, but not outside of these bounds.
thank you Father.
BTW, what is the Orthodox understanding of predestination?
Anyway, as a Roman Catholic, there are a whole lot of things that I like about the Orthodox Church, but I would not renounce a belief in Purgatory. It just seems reasonable to me that for lesser sins, there would be a punishment lesser than eternal fire in hell.
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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2011, 06:38:17 PM »

i think if u join an OO church u don't have to denounce anything.
i looked up the baptism service and there is no denouncing except of the devil.

as for the orthodox - protestant debate, the main thing to understand is that we orthodox consider salvation as a 'life long' activity, not a 'one off' experience.
so if you are 'being saved' it no longer makes sense to ask if you can 'loose' your salvation. protestants discuss this interminably between themselves whether or not you can 'loose your salvation'.
but as we know it is a process, not something we 'have' and can keep or can loose.

if i am still studying at college, i don't worry if i can 'loose' my degree, it is still something, i am working on, and i can get better at it as i study.

if u read romans and james, it is clear both faith and works are needed. so it is not necessary to debate which is more important.
when you make a cake, is it more important to add flour, or more important to add sugar? surely without both flour and sugar, it is not a cake!

i don't know if this will help, but hopefully it won't make u more confused  Wink
I guess what bothers me most is the sense I get that Orthodoxy sees works as existing independently of faith (for example the references in the article linked to by Agabus to Patriarch Jeremias II's teaching that the virtues in the Sermon on the Mount can exist without faith and to the quote from Saint Basil that only the virtuous receive grace). If all pleasing of God flowed ultimately from faith, if works were just some sort of "product" or essential result of faith-I'd be fine... though I'd also consider that Sola Fide in all but name.
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« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2011, 08:41:03 PM »

i think if u join an OO church u don't have to denounce anything.
i looked up the baptism service and there is no denouncing except of the devil.

as for the orthodox - protestant debate, the main thing to understand is that we orthodox consider salvation as a 'life long' activity, not a 'one off' experience.
so if you are 'being saved' it no longer makes sense to ask if you can 'loose' your salvation. protestants discuss this interminably between themselves whether or not you can 'loose your salvation'.
but as we know it is a process, not something we 'have' and can keep or can loose.

if i am still studying at college, i don't worry if i can 'loose' my degree, it is still something, i am working on, and i can get better at it as i study.

if u read romans and james, it is clear both faith and works are needed. so it is not necessary to debate which is more important.
when you make a cake, is it more important to add flour, or more important to add sugar? surely without both flour and sugar, it is not a cake!

i don't know if this will help, but hopefully it won't make u more confused  Wink
I guess what bothers me most is the sense I get that Orthodoxy sees works as existing independently of faith (for example the references in the article linked to by Agabus to Patriarch Jeremias II's teaching that the virtues in the Sermon on the Mount can exist without faith and to the quote from Saint Basil that only the virtuous receive grace). If all pleasing of God flowed ultimately from faith, if works were just some sort of "product" or essential result of faith-I'd be fine... though I'd also consider that Sola Fide in all but name.

Of course virtues can be acquired independently of faith -- haven't you witnessed this yourself in others?

I think it is completely Orthodox for me to say that to the exent that we struggle, the grace within us is manifested enabling greater virtue. Virtue, however, is not salvation -- to equate the two would be Pelagianism, wouldn't it? Even the most virtuous person needs a saviour, because we are called to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect, to be partakers of the divine nature and to taste of the living waters of everlasting life. None of these are possible except through faith and by grace.

I don't think it's right to reduce virtue to a mere "symptom" of faith/grace. Remember, in the sermon on the mount, the Lord said "blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God", not "blessed are those that have seen God, for they shall become merciful". Same deal with the rest of the beatitutdes. You're right -- as far as I can see, to say that virtues are mere signs of faith is tantamount to confessing sola fide.

The grace becomes active in us to the extent that we struggle to bring it out and live in accordance with the divine power.

It helps to always bear in mind that grace is God's activity in us and, since his energies are uncreated, grace is our experience of God himself. The virtues are our struggle to co-operate with that saving grace, through faith.

Does this help?
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« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2011, 11:02:50 PM »

^Most Orthodox jurisdictions do not require specific renunciations (other than heresy in general).  However, as a professor of mine at St. Tikhon's once told us, he regrets not bringing in others into Orthodoxy without the specific affirmations and renunciations in many years of his pastorate.   They have to know what they are getting into and what they are subscribing to, and also affirm it.   I recall years ago (early to mid-1990's) a person who told me that, after 10 years of being Orthodox, he still did not subscribe to the Orthodox understanding of predestination.   He went into some detail.  I suppose I was just in shock.   There is room to roam in the pasture so long as you are still within the bounds set by the fathers, but not outside of these bounds.
thank you Father. BTW, what is the Orthodox understanding of predestination? Anyway, as a Roman Catholic, there are a whole lot of things that I like about the Orthodox Church, but I would not renounce a belief in Purgatory. It just seems reasonable to me that for lesser sins, there would be a punishment lesser than eternal fire in hell.
The Orthodox understanding of predestination is that God sees all things simultaneously, including our decisions.   There is no determinism, but rather omniscient knowledge ("foreknowledge" from our point of view). 

Regarding Purgatory, there is no specific renunciation of it.  Only, in the broader renunciations the "doctrines of the Latin confession" that are "contrary ot the Word of God, and to the true Tradition of the Church, and to the decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils." 
 it may seem like a hair-splitting difference to some.  But the Orthodox position is that the Biblical Hades was transformed into purgatory.  The Orthodox do not believe that there are any specially created temporal fires--all fires that transform are God's energy, not created fire, as is the RC position.   

So I would only ask if what you really believe when you say "purgatory" is the older Orthodox-Catholic understanding of Hades:

Council at Constantinople of 1772:
"We the pious, following the truth and turning away from such innovations, confess and accept two places for the souls of the dead, paradise and hades, for the righteous and sinners, as the holy Scripture teaches us. We do not accept a third place, a purgatory, by any means, since neither Scripture nor the holy Fathers have taught us any such thing. However, we believe these two places have many abodes."  It continues:   
"None of the teachers of the Church have handed down or taught such a purgatory, but they all speak of one single place of punishment, hades, just as they teach about one luminous and bright place, paradise. But both the souls of the holy and the righteous go indisputably to paradise and those of the sinners go to hades, of whom the profane and those who have sinned unforgivably are punished forever, and those who have offended forgivably and moderately hope to gain freedom through the unspeakable mercy of God. For on behalf of such souls, that is of the moderately and forgivably sinful, there are in the Church prayers, supplications, liturgies, as well as memorial services and almsgiving, that those souls may receive favour and comfort. Thus when the Church prays for the souls of those who are lying asleep, we hope there will be comfort for them from God, but not through [created] fire and [expiative] purgatory, but through divine love for mankind, whereby the infinite goodness of God is seen."

When we speak of hell, we have to be specific.  Before the general resurrection, there are two "places" (place-states):  Paradise and Hades, but as it says, there are many "abodes" of Hades.   But strictly speaking, eternal "hell" (Gehenna) is a "place" of the post resurrectional state.   We are not there yet.  Incidentally, the Orthodox call what the bible calls the deepest part of Hades:  Tartarus.  This is where the wicked are confined until the General Resurrection.     
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« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2011, 11:12:44 PM »

The Orthodox understanding of predestination is that God sees all things simultaneously, including our decisions.   There is no determinism, but rather omniscient knowledge ("foreknowledge" from our point of view).      
The Roman view on the omniscient knowledge of God, is, I think, the same, but I don't think it goes under the name of predestination.
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« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2011, 11:13:18 PM »

i think if u join an OO church u don't have to denounce anything.
i looked up the baptism service and there is no denouncing except of the devil.

as for the orthodox - protestant debate, the main thing to understand is that we orthodox consider salvation as a 'life long' activity, not a 'one off' experience.
so if you are 'being saved' it no longer makes sense to ask if you can 'loose' your salvation. protestants discuss this interminably between themselves whether or not you can 'loose your salvation'.
but as we know it is a process, not something we 'have' and can keep or can loose.

if i am still studying at college, i don't worry if i can 'loose' my degree, it is still something, i am working on, and i can get better at it as i study.

if u read romans and james, it is clear both faith and works are needed. so it is not necessary to debate which is more important.
when you make a cake, is it more important to add flour, or more important to add sugar? surely without both flour and sugar, it is not a cake!

i don't know if this will help, but hopefully it won't make u more confused  Wink
I guess what bothers me most is the sense I get that Orthodoxy sees works as existing independently of faith (for example the references in the article linked to by Agabus to Patriarch Jeremias II's teaching that the virtues in the Sermon on the Mount can exist without faith and to the quote from Saint Basil that only the virtuous receive grace). If all pleasing of God flowed ultimately from faith, if works were just some sort of "product" or essential result of faith-I'd be fine... though I'd also consider that Sola Fide in all but name.

Yes, but the context is that Patriarch Jeremiah ultimately pointed out that works apart from faith and faith apart from works could not save.  Only synergy with God's grace can save, and this synergy manifests itself, as St. Paul says, in "faith working though love," of which love is the summation of all virtue and commandment, as our Lord taught.  St. Paul spoke of works of the (Mosaic) law in contrast to grace, not works of grace in contrast to grace.  
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« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2011, 11:15:08 PM »

The Orthodox understanding of predestination is that God sees all things simultaneously, including our decisions.   There is no determinism, but rather omniscient knowledge ("foreknowledge" from our point of view).      
The Roman view on the omniscient knowledge of God, is, I think, the same, but I don't think it goes under the name of predestination.

Predestined is a Scriptural word.  It must be dealt with.  I am sure that the CCC deals with it.  
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« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2011, 11:23:09 PM »

The Orthodox understanding of predestination is that God sees all things simultaneously, including our decisions.   There is no determinism, but rather omniscient knowledge ("foreknowledge" from our point of view).      
The Roman view on the omniscient knowledge of God, is, I think, the same, but I don't think it goes under the name of predestination.

Predistined is a Scriptural word.  It must be dealt with.  I am sure that the CCC deals with it. 
Yes, you are right. I was thinking of the term as used by the Calvinists.
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« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2011, 11:42:34 PM »

^Most Orthodox jurisdictions do not require specific renunciations (other than heresy in general).  However, as a professor of mine at St. Tikhon's once told us, he regrets not bringing in others into Orthodoxy without the specific affirmations and renunciations in many years of his pastorate.   They have to know what they are getting into and what they are subscribing to, and also affirm it.   I recall years ago (early to mid-1990's) a person who told me that, after 10 years of being Orthodox, he still did not subscribe to the Orthodox understanding of predestination.   He went into some detail.  I suppose I was just in shock.   There is room to roam in the pasture so long as you are still within the bounds set by the fathers, but not outside of these bounds.
thank you Father. BTW, what is the Orthodox understanding of predestination? Anyway, as a Roman Catholic, there are a whole lot of things that I like about the Orthodox Church, but I would not renounce a belief in Purgatory. It just seems reasonable to me that for lesser sins, there would be a punishment lesser than eternal fire in hell.
The Orthodox understanding of predestination is that God sees all things simultaneously, including our decisions.   There is no determinism, but rather omniscient knowledge ("foreknowledge" from our point of view). 

Regarding Purgatory, there is no specific renunciation of it.  Only, in the broader renunciations the "doctrines of the Latin confession" that are "contrary ot the Word of God, and to the true Tradition of the Church, and to the decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils." 
 it may seem like a hair-splitting difference to some.  But the Orthodox position is that the Biblical Hades was transformed into purgatory.  The Orthodox do not believe that there are any specially created temporal fires--all fires that transform are God's energy, not created fire, as is the RC position.   

So I would only ask if what you really believe when you say "purgatory" is the older Orthodox-Catholic understanding of Hades:


You are confusing the anthropology of a pious belief with the formal theology of the Catholic Church.

That is unfortunate for both of us because it ends the conversation when you or Father Ambrose, NZ or others insist.
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« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2011, 12:23:58 AM »

i think if u join an OO church u don't have to denounce anything.
i looked up the baptism service and there is no denouncing except of the devil.

as for the orthodox - protestant debate, the main thing to understand is that we orthodox consider salvation as a 'life long' activity, not a 'one off' experience.
so if you are 'being saved' it no longer makes sense to ask if you can 'loose' your salvation. protestants discuss this interminably between themselves whether or not you can 'loose your salvation'.
but as we know it is a process, not something we 'have' and can keep or can loose.

if i am still studying at college, i don't worry if i can 'loose' my degree, it is still something, i am working on, and i can get better at it as i study.

if u read romans and james, it is clear both faith and works are needed. so it is not necessary to debate which is more important.
when you make a cake, is it more important to add flour, or more important to add sugar? surely without both flour and sugar, it is not a cake!

i don't know if this will help, but hopefully it won't make u more confused  Wink
I guess what bothers me most is the sense I get that Orthodoxy sees works as existing independently of faith (for example the references in the article linked to by Agabus to Patriarch Jeremias II's teaching that the virtues in the Sermon on the Mount can exist without faith and to the quote from Saint Basil that only the virtuous receive grace). If all pleasing of God flowed ultimately from faith, if works were just some sort of "product" or essential result of faith-I'd be fine... though I'd also consider that Sola Fide in all but name.

Of course virtues can be acquired independently of faith -- haven't you witnessed this yourself in others?

I think it is completely Orthodox for me to say that to the exent that we struggle, the grace within us is manifested enabling greater virtue. Virtue, however, is not salvation -- to equate the two would be Pelagianism, wouldn't it? Even the most virtuous person needs a saviour, because we are called to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect, to be partakers of the divine nature and to taste of the living waters of everlasting life. None of these are possible except through faith and by grace.

I don't think it's right to reduce virtue to a mere "symptom" of faith/grace. Remember, in the sermon on the mount, the Lord said "blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God", not "blessed are those that have seen God, for they shall become merciful". Same deal with the rest of the beatitutdes. You're right -- as far as I can see, to say that virtues are mere signs of faith is tantamount to confessing sola fide.

The grace becomes active in us to the extent that we struggle to bring it out and live in accordance with the divine power.

It helps to always bear in mind that grace is God's activity in us and, since his energies are uncreated, grace is our experience of God himself. The virtues are our struggle to co-operate with that saving grace, through faith.

Does this help?
Ironically, this is a point where on a Protestant once accused me of heresy.

I believe that the works of unbelievers can be good relative to those of other people-giving to charity is better than murder, etc. but before God's eyes all our righteousness is still as filthy rags. Truly good works can only be done by faith and by the Spirit.

I agree, virtue is not salvation though in the practical sense it impacts it by helping or hindering our closeness to God.
i think if u join an OO church u don't have to denounce anything.
i looked up the baptism service and there is no denouncing except of the devil.

as for the orthodox - protestant debate, the main thing to understand is that we orthodox consider salvation as a 'life long' activity, not a 'one off' experience.
so if you are 'being saved' it no longer makes sense to ask if you can 'loose' your salvation. protestants discuss this interminably between themselves whether or not you can 'loose your salvation'.
but as we know it is a process, not something we 'have' and can keep or can loose.

if i am still studying at college, i don't worry if i can 'loose' my degree, it is still something, i am working on, and i can get better at it as i study.

if u read romans and james, it is clear both faith and works are needed. so it is not necessary to debate which is more important.
when you make a cake, is it more important to add flour, or more important to add sugar? surely without both flour and sugar, it is not a cake!

i don't know if this will help, but hopefully it won't make u more confused  Wink
I guess what bothers me most is the sense I get that Orthodoxy sees works as existing independently of faith (for example the references in the article linked to by Agabus to Patriarch Jeremias II's teaching that the virtues in the Sermon on the Mount can exist without faith and to the quote from Saint Basil that only the virtuous receive grace). If all pleasing of God flowed ultimately from faith, if works were just some sort of "product" or essential result of faith-I'd be fine... though I'd also consider that Sola Fide in all but name.

Yes, but the context is that Patriarch Jeremiah ultimately pointed out that works apart from faith and faith apart from works could not save.  Only synergy with God's grace can save, and this synergy manifests itself, as St. Paul says, in "faith working though love," of which love is the summation of all virtue and commandment, as our Lord taught.  St. Paul spoke of works of the (Mosaic) law in contrast to grace, not works of grace in contrast to grace. 
Ok, thanks for clearing this up.
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« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2011, 05:46:22 PM »

^Most Orthodox jurisdictions do not require specific renunciations (other than heresy in general).  However, as a professor of mine at St. Tikhon's once told us, he regrets not bringing in others into Orthodoxy without the specific affirmations and renunciations in many years of his pastorate.   They have to know what they are getting into and what they are subscribing to, and also affirm it.   I recall years ago (early to mid-1990's) a person who told me that, after 10 years of being Orthodox, he still did not subscribe to the Orthodox understanding of predestination.   He went into some detail.  I suppose I was just in shock.   There is room to roam in the pasture so long as you are still within the bounds set by the fathers, but not outside of these bounds.
thank you Father. BTW, what is the Orthodox understanding of predestination? Anyway, as a Roman Catholic, there are a whole lot of things that I like about the Orthodox Church, but I would not renounce a belief in Purgatory. It just seems reasonable to me that for lesser sins, there would be a punishment lesser than eternal fire in hell.
The Orthodox understanding of predestination is that God sees all things simultaneously, including our decisions.   There is no determinism, but rather omniscient knowledge ("foreknowledge" from our point of view). 

Regarding Purgatory, there is no specific renunciation of it.  Only, in the broader renunciations the "doctrines of the Latin confession" that are "contrary ot the Word of God, and to the true Tradition of the Church, and to the decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils." 
 it may seem like a hair-splitting difference to some.  But the Orthodox position is that the Biblical Hades was transformed into purgatory.  The Orthodox do not believe that there are any specially created temporal fires--all fires that transform are God's energy, not created fire, as is the RC position.   

So I would only ask if what you really believe when you say "purgatory" is the older Orthodox-Catholic understanding of Hades:


You are confusing the anthropology of a pious belief with the formal theology of the Catholic Church.

That is unfortunate for both of us because it ends the conversation when you or Father Ambrose, NZ or others insist.

Huh?  Fr. Ambrose does not even agree with me on this point.  He is confused altogether on the topic.  My point is that, if "purgatory" (temporal fires, expiation, etc.) is indeed a theologoumenon (not a dogma) from the Vatican's POV, then there may be less of a gap than otherwise thought.   If indeed, "purgatory" is not temporal fires and expiation, but simply just a term in the Latin language to refer to that "part" of Hades in which the sinners who are not wicked are indeed being purified by God's very energy, then now we are in a different place of relations than was St. Mark of Ephesus who was under the impression that temporal fires and expiation was indeed a necessary doctrinal part of the equation from Rome's point of view.     
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« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2011, 12:11:10 AM »

So I would only ask if what you really believe when you say "purgatory" is the older Orthodox-Catholic understanding of Hades:

Council at Constantinople of 1772:
"We the pious, following the truth and turning away from such innovations, confess and accept two places for the souls of the dead, paradise and hades, for the righteous and sinners, as the holy Scripture teaches us. We do not accept a third place, a purgatory, by any means, since neither Scripture nor the holy Fathers have taught us any such thing. However, we believe these two places have many abodes."  It continues:   
"None of the teachers of the Church have handed down or taught such a purgatory, but they all speak of one single place of punishment, hades, just as they teach about one luminous and bright place, paradise. But both the souls of the holy and the righteous go indisputably to paradise and those of the sinners go to hades, of whom the profane and those who have sinned unforgivably are punished forever, and those who have offended forgivably and moderately hope to gain freedom through the unspeakable mercy of God. For on behalf of such souls, that is of the moderately and forgivably sinful, there are in the Church prayers, supplications, liturgies, as well as memorial services and almsgiving, that those souls may receive favour and comfort. Thus when the Church prays for the souls of those who are lying asleep, we hope there will be comfort for them from God, but not through [created] fire and [expiative] purgatory, but through divine love for mankind, whereby the infinite goodness of God is seen."

When we speak of hell, we have to be specific.  Before the general resurrection, there are two "places" (place-states):  Paradise and Hades, but as it says, there are many "abodes" of Hades.   But strictly speaking, eternal "hell" (Gehenna) is a "place" of the post resurrectional state.   We are not there yet.  Incidentally, the Orthodox call what the bible calls the deepest part of Hades:  Tartarus.  This is where the wicked are confined until the General Resurrection.     
Are the souls in the lighter part of Hades guaranteed to get out and go to Heaven at some point or is it just hoped they will? My understanding is that RC Purgatory is only for the saved awaiting Heaven, so even if the Orthodox view is just "the temporary part of Hell" I don't think that's really equivalent.
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« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2011, 04:10:50 AM »

The renunciations pronounced by Roman Catholics are given in

message 54
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http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,31882.msg504317.html#msg504317
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« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2011, 04:14:36 AM »

Huh?  Fr. Ambrose does not even agree with me on this point.  He is confused altogether on the topic.

What is it that I am confused about?
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« Reply #27 on: June 20, 2011, 04:20:37 AM »

The renunciations pronounced by Roman Catholics are given in

message 54
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http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,31882.msg504317.html#msg504317
But I thought  it was said above, that not every Orthodox Church requires these renunciations. Some would, others would not. Or did I misunderstand and it is true that every Orthodox Church would require them of a converting Catholic?
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« Reply #28 on: June 20, 2011, 04:29:24 AM »

The renunciations pronounced by Roman Catholics are given in

message 54
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,31882.msg504317.html#msg504317
But I thought  it was said above, that not every Orthodox Church requires these renunciations. Some would, others would not. Or did I misunderstand and it is true that every Orthodox Church would require them of a converting Catholic?

To avoid any appearance of generalising I can say that these are the renunciations required in the Russian Orthodox Church when a Catholic is received by Chrismation.

I know they are not required in the local Greek Diocese since the Metropolitan receives all Catholics by Baptism.
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« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2011, 04:33:14 AM »

The renunciations pronounced by Roman Catholics are given in

message 54
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,31882.msg504317.html#msg504317
But I thought  it was said above, that not every Orthodox Church requires these renunciations. Some would, others would not. Or did I misunderstand and it is true that every Orthodox Church would require them of a converting Catholic?
The Service Book directs that the bishop/priest can ask for a general or a specific renunciation
http://books.google.com/books?id=fBk9AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA455&dq=%22without+specific+renunciation%22&hl=en&ei=9wT_Tf-EOOLa0QG0mJCuAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22without%20specific%20renunciation%22&f=false
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« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2011, 05:43:49 AM »

This Pascha, a young man was recieved into the church. He had to renounce specific lutheran dogmas before the chrismation.
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« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2011, 09:11:01 AM »

The renunciations pronounced by Roman Catholics are given in

message 54
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http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,31882.msg504317.html#msg504317
But I thought  it was said above, that not every Orthodox Church requires these renunciations. Some would, others would not. Or did I misunderstand and it is true that every Orthodox Church would require them of a converting Catholic?

I thought everyone was quite clear. There have been many practices over the years, depending on the location and time.

Such is also true of how the Roman Catholic Church has received former Orthodox (sometimes by rebaptism, sometimes by signing a libellus, sometimes by confession, sometimes by incardination, sometimes by a kind of quasi-conversion arranged through political agreements, e.g. in the Latin Kingdom of Cyprus).

If you look across history, you can never speak in terms of monolithic policies but only in trends conditioned by time and place.

That said, I think it's safe to say that something like what Fr. Ambrose linked to has been the norm across the Orthodox world for about the last 500 years. The norm meaning over 50% of the time.
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« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2011, 10:04:01 AM »

So I would only ask if what you really believe when you say "purgatory" is the older Orthodox-Catholic understanding of Hades:

Council at Constantinople of 1772:
"We the pious, following the truth and turning away from such innovations, confess and accept two places for the souls of the dead, paradise and hades, for the righteous and sinners, as the holy Scripture teaches us. We do not accept a third place, a purgatory, by any means, since neither Scripture nor the holy Fathers have taught us any such thing. However, we believe these two places have many abodes."  It continues:   
"None of the teachers of the Church have handed down or taught such a purgatory, but they all speak of one single place of punishment, hades, just as they teach about one luminous and bright place, paradise. But both the souls of the holy and the righteous go indisputably to paradise and those of the sinners go to hades, of whom the profane and those who have sinned unforgivably are punished forever, and those who have offended forgivably and moderately hope to gain freedom through the unspeakable mercy of God. For on behalf of such souls, that is of the moderately and forgivably sinful, there are in the Church prayers, supplications, liturgies, as well as memorial services and almsgiving, that those souls may receive favour and comfort. Thus when the Church prays for the souls of those who are lying asleep, we hope there will be comfort for them from God, but not through [created] fire and [expiative] purgatory, but through divine love for mankind, whereby the infinite goodness of God is seen."

When we speak of hell, we have to be specific.  Before the general resurrection, there are two "places" (place-states):  Paradise and Hades, but as it says, there are many "abodes" of Hades.   But strictly speaking, eternal "hell" (Gehenna) is a "place" of the post resurrectional state.   We are not there yet.  Incidentally, the Orthodox call what the bible calls the deepest part of Hades:  Tartarus.  This is where the wicked are confined until the General Resurrection.     
Are the souls in the lighter part of Hades guaranteed to get out and go to Heaven at some point or is it just hoped they will?

I was wondering the same thing.
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« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2011, 10:14:13 AM »

Anyway, as a Roman Catholic, there are a whole lot of things that I like about the Orthodox Church, but I would not renounce a belief in Purgatory. It just seems reasonable to me that for lesser sins, there would be a punishment lesser than eternal fire in hell.

It's truly a great gulf that seperates Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

If I ever leave the Catholic Church (not that have any intention of doing so, I'm just speaking hypothetically) I expect that I'll join the PNCC or a Continuing Anglican jurisdiction, not the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2011, 11:14:48 AM »

Anyway, as a Roman Catholic, there are a whole lot of things that I like about the Orthodox Church, but I would not renounce a belief in Purgatory. It just seems reasonable to me that for lesser sins, there would be a punishment lesser than eternal fire in hell.

It's truly a great gulf that seperates Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
Actually Catholicism=Orthodoxy.  There is a great gulf between it and Scholasticism (as rationalizing Purgatory into existence).
If I ever leave the Catholic Church (not that have any intention of doing so, I'm just speaking hypothetically) I expect that I'll join the PNCC or a Continuing Anglican jurisdiction, not the Orthodox Church.
you can't leave the Catholic Church to join the Orthodox Church.  As for your choices, I don't see the PNCC continuing to go it alone (IIRC its Canadian diocese already has run down the path to catch up with the New Old Catholics and the Episcopalians), so either it will have more churches like the Nordic Catholic Church, will end up Orthodox, submit to the Vatican, or slide down with the New Old Catholics into Protestantism with all that entails.  As for the Continuing Anglican jurisdiction, what really are they continuing?
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« Reply #35 on: June 20, 2011, 11:28:55 AM »

This raises a question for me, I hope it isn't too off topic.

Since Orthodoxy does not teach that we are saved by our merits, which was the real aim of the Reformers to deny with Sola Fide, does this mean it is not a heresy which must be renounced at baptism? Does anyone have access to the long form text for Protestants being received into the Church or is there no single version?
Sola Fide is still heresy, even if what we believe was not what was in the reformers' gunsights.

EDIT: Here is an Orthodox response (to Evangelicals) about the Orthodox view of Sola Fide.
Well thanks a lot for tearing that wound open, pal!

I was just starting to make peace with the whole faith/works issue LOL!

I kid, I'm not mad at you. Just... frustrated.  laugh

Just curious: what did you think of Fr. Ernesto Obregon's article on justification?
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« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2011, 11:37:49 AM »

Just wondering, why the emphasis on what former Roman Catholics have to accept or publicly 'renounce' but never any parallel interest on what former Protestants have to accept or renounce? It seems to me that many who join us from the Protestant world have as big a problem in shedding heterodox views that stem from the Reformation (such as the Solas and other doctrines)  as do Romans who have problems shedding views on issues like purgatory or the Immaculate Conception?
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« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2011, 11:52:09 AM »

This raises a question for me, I hope it isn't too off topic.

Since Orthodoxy does not teach that we are saved by our merits, which was the real aim of the Reformers to deny with Sola Fide, does this mean it is not a heresy which must be renounced at baptism? Does anyone have access to the long form text for Protestants being received into the Church or is there no single version?
Sola Fide is still heresy, even if what we believe was not what was in the reformers' gunsights.

EDIT: Here is an Orthodox response (to Evangelicals) about the Orthodox view of Sola Fide.
Well thanks a lot for tearing that wound open, pal!

I was just starting to make peace with the whole faith/works issue LOL!

I kid, I'm not mad at you. Just... frustrated.  laugh

Just curious: what did you think of Fr. Ernesto Obregon's article on justification?
He makes some good points, but I think the crux (every time I say that word relating to theology, the irony really gets to me...) of my problem is summed up by his quote of Saint Philaret
Quote
Question 1. What must the orthodox-catholic Christian do to gain eternal life?
Response. Right faith and good works. For whoever has these two is a good Christian and has certain hope of eternal salvation, as Scripture says: “You see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” A little later in the same place: “For even as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” Elsewhere St. Paul says the same thing: “Having faith and a good conscience, which some rejecting have made shipwreck concerning the faith.” The same thing in another place: “Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience. ”

Q. 2. Should a Christian first believe and then do good works in life
R. Since “without faith it is impossible to please God”, as St. Paul teaches, “he that comes to God must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him.” Therefore, so that a Christian may please God and his works may be accepted by him, first it is necessary that he have faith in God and then he must form his life according to this faith.
If faith is required for works, but both are required for salvation, then to me this really just says that "Calling upon the name of the Lord" doesn't actually save us. What saves us is really our works and faith is just part of doing them correctly.

I can appreciate the distinction between forensic and medicinal models of salvation, but the forensic is also present in Scripture and when you try to introduce works into that, we lose big time.
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« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2011, 11:54:44 AM »

Just wondering, why the emphasis on what former Roman Catholics have to accept or publicly 'renounce' but never any parallel interest on what former Protestants have to accept or renounce? It seems to me that many who join us from the Protestant world have as big a problem in shedding heterodox views that stem from the Reformation (such as the Solas and other doctrines)  as do Romans who have problems shedding views on issues like purgatory or the Immaculate Conception?
This thread broke off from a thread in the Convert Issues forum regarding Catholic renunciations.
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« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2011, 12:33:31 PM »

Just wondering, why the emphasis on what former Roman Catholics have to accept or publicly 'renounce' but never any parallel interest on what former Protestants have to accept or renounce? It seems to me that many who join us from the Protestant world have as big a problem in shedding heterodox views that stem from the Reformation (such as the Solas and other doctrines)  as do Romans who have problems shedding views on issues like purgatory or the Immaculate Conception?
This thread broke off from a thread in the Convert Issues forum regarding Catholic renunciations.

I know that, but I think my question is valid, we seem to obsess on the Papacy while not much is said about the doctrinal baggage of others.
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« Reply #40 on: June 20, 2011, 12:43:27 PM »

Just wondering, why the emphasis on what former Roman Catholics have to accept or publicly 'renounce' but never any parallel interest on what former Protestants have to accept or renounce? It seems to me that many who join us from the Protestant world have as big a problem in shedding heterodox views that stem from the Reformation (such as the Solas and other doctrines)  as do Romans who have problems shedding views on issues like purgatory or the Immaculate Conception?
This thread broke off from a thread in the Convert Issues forum regarding Catholic renunciations.

I know that, but I think my question is valid, we seem to obsess on the Papacy while not much is said about the doctrinal baggage of others.
Stress related to the whole attempted-reconciliation-palooza? I've seen a lot of a harping on Anglican issues here too and it seems like it's for similar reasons.
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« Reply #41 on: June 20, 2011, 04:44:15 PM »

 There is a great gulf between it and Scholasticism (as rationalizing Purgatory into existence).
It seems better to go to Purgatory for a lesser sin, than to go to eternal damnation in hell. At least in Purgatory, you get to go to some place in heaven eventually. Of course, the Roman teaching is that you would go to hell for serious (mortal) sins which you did not repent of.
  
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« Reply #42 on: June 20, 2011, 04:59:01 PM »

 There is a great gulf between it and Scholasticism (as rationalizing Purgatory into existence).
It seems better to go to Purgatory for a lesser sin, than to go to eternal damnation in hell. At least in Purgatory, you get to go to some place in heaven eventually. Of course, the Roman teaching is that you would go to hell for serious (mortal) sins which you did not repent of.
  
But if you die unbaptized (as an adult) you're going to Hell even if all you had were minor sins, correct?
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« Reply #43 on: June 20, 2011, 06:18:49 PM »

But if you die unbaptized (as an adult) you're going to Hell even if all you had were minor sins, correct?
Says who?
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« Reply #44 on: June 20, 2011, 07:54:29 PM »

After a few months of being an Orthodox Catechumen starting on November 21, 2010. I was received into the  Holy Orthodox Catholic Church by Chrismation on May 15, 2011 with the Archangel Raphael as my Patron Saint.
Just out of curiosity, and you don't have to answer, but I was wondering about it: When you converted by chrismation to the Orthodox Church, was it required to renounce the errors of the Roman Church, such as papal infallibility, purgatory, etc.?

When my mother was received into the Church by chrismation, she was not required to make any renunciation but to recite the creed without the filioque.
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