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Orthodoc
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« on: June 27, 2004, 06:00:14 PM »


The other day while driving in a car I came across the following sign on a thrift shop -

LIGHTHOUSE THRIFT SHOP
 
Underneath it says -
 
"supporting the ministry of "THE CHURCH OF THE WHATSOEVER GOSPEL"!
 
I kid you not!  Only in America!  


And then they can't understand why so many Orthodox countries who suffered so much under communism t preserve the faith are amking laws to stop the spread of this type of lunacy!

Orthodoc
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2004, 07:09:16 PM »

Dear Orthodoc,

What really got me was the Episcopalian Gene Robinson Homosexual moving into a position of leadership. What a sick notion. I actually remember hearing on the news all sorts of people some of them with children supporting it and submitting for consideration the idea the God loves all of us and it is ok to be a homosexual. I could not believe what I was hearing. How can that possibly be considered a "Church" by any reasonable mind. It's going to get worse much worse. The sad thing is that people are ok with it now and it is only a matter of time until any strange doctrine or notion is acceptable with the heterodox. Some heresies appeal to intellectually base rationalization others to emotional acceptance under the distortion of love the sin as well as the sinner. When the two are combined as often happens nowadays, it's time to get to an Orthodox Church as much as possible. I was reading the Recent events at Fatima thread over on the Byzantine Catholic forum and found myself scratching my head again. I did that often over there. The other day my mother who is now a older BaBa / YaYa mentioned to me that we have been blessed by God to be Orthodox and that I should always remember that.

I have heard people some in communion with Rome suggesting that the Patriarch of Moscow is wrong for not allowing freedom of religion or even paranoid for banning the Jehovah Witnesses. That is another example of how sincere people can be and are wrong. It's a western idea. The notion that any deceptive concoction should be allowed because it is not physically hurting anyone is spiritual blindness. I had mentioned that as Orthodox or those in communion with Rome we are not free to believe whatever we want, that is the antithesis of the Orthodox faith. So the question is how could they believe that? Certainly a Patriarch has the God given responsibility to protect the flock from the heterodox. It is a very serious responsibility. It occurred to me that perhaps some of those people would just prefer to criticize Moscow. Perhaps it is some sort of reaction for not being in communion with Rome, I don't know. I must say they are hard to figure out. Perhaps, I'm not capable of understanding or just not as loving as they are.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2004, 07:21:10 PM »

The ultimate solution in Russia, and in the west itself, is for the Orthodox Church to get out of it's "ghetto" and actively missionize those in Her midst.  This is certainly the mind of Christ, but does not seem to be a very high priority for many Orthodox Christians (and more lamentably, heirarchs.)

Ecumenism has been a devil's bargain, and if it wasn't clear a few decades ago, it should be glaringly clear now that it's a waste of time if one still has an attachment to the truth, and a real interest in seeing other confessions brought to the Orthodox faith (which was and is the only legitimate reason for involvement in ecumenical congresses; everything beyond this is certainly a part of the heretical ecumenism which sadly is not in short supply, and which the ROCOR rightly anathematized in 1983.)

While I sympatize with the defensive efforts of Orthodox lands to keep heterodox pseudo-missionaries out of their midst, this is not good enough.  I know in Russia efforts are being made in many places to re-educate the Russian people of their spiritual roots. Obviously, however, more needs to be done.  In addition, I think the Russian people themselves would be helped, if the Church took a more "aggresive" (not in the bad sense, but in terms of getting out there and doing the work of God with zeal) posture towards the conversion of the western, post-Christian nations.

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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2004, 11:36:46 PM »

I recollect a long time ago (20yrs+) when I was living in Germantown (a section of Philadelphia) that there was a "Whosoever Gospel Mission" as in "Whosoever believeth...." from the N.T.  I think they had a thrift store too just north of Germantown Ave.  

But that was in the dim-times.

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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2004, 01:06:57 AM »

The ultimate solution in Russia, and in the west itself, is for the Orthodox Church to get out of it's "ghetto" and actively missionize those in Her midst.  This is certainly the mind of Christ, but does not seem to be a very high priority for many Orthodox Christians (and more lamentably, heirarchs.)  [It would be good] if the Church took a more "aggresive" (not in the bad sense, but in terms of getting out there and doing the work of God with zeal) posture towards the conversion of the western, post-Christian nations.

Amen, Augustine!  Grin
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2004, 03:05:36 AM »

Rather than slamming others in America it would be best to look at the sorry state of the Orthodox churches in America first?
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2004, 09:49:56 AM »

[Rather than slamming others in America it would be best to look at the sorry state of the Orthodox churches in America first?]

All of which are united in doctrine and dogma.  And none of which follow the 'whatsoever Gospel'!

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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2004, 10:09:23 AM »

Quote
And none of which follow the 'whatsoever Gospel'!

What does this mean?  Did you bother to find out what it meant?
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2004, 11:00:20 AM »

[The ultimate solution in Russia, and in the west itself, is for the Orthodox Church to get out of it's "ghetto" and actively missionize those in Her midst.  This is certainly the mind of Christ, but does not seem to be a very high priority for many Orthodox Christians (and more lamentably, heirarchs.)]

[Amen, Augustine!  ]

You know I'm always amazed when I hear comments like the above made by christians here in the west.  Many of hem even Orthodox.

After 70+ years of some of the most severe persecution ever suffered by a religious group the Russian Orthodox Church suddenly found itself free again.  During that time of persecution thousands of churches were demolished, thousands more converted into secular buildings, and thousands more abandoned and in deplorable states.  This is what the the church was left to build from.  

----------
This article was released by the Religious News Service on
November 27,1995.  These statistics are taken right from the KGB files -

MOSCOW [RNS} - Some 200,000 clergy, many crucified, scalped, and otherwise
tortured, were killed during the communist era in the former Soviet Union, a
Russian commission reported here on November 27, 1995. Millions were martyred, jailed, exiled, or put in mental institutions for their faith. Over 40,000 churches were destroyed between 1922 and1980,  others were either abandoned or turned into secular buildings the report said.

"Clergymen were crucified on churches' Holy Gates, shot scalped, and
strangled.," said Alexander Yakovlev, head of the Commission for the
Rehabilitation of the Victims of Political Repression which prepared the
report for Russian president Boris Yeltsin.  "I was especially shocked by
accounts of priests turned into columns of ice in winter, "Yakovlev
continued, adding that the commission unearthed documets showing that as
early as 1918, Vladimr Lenin had odered a campagn of "merciless terror
against priests."

----------

Once the Orthodox Church was free it found itself with the task of trying to rebuild from the ashes faced with a lack of finances, without easy access to material like paper, ink, printing press, book binding,  etc. and many of the basic utilities needed to teach that we in the west take for granted.

It also found itself without the help and support it expected from its christian brothers and sisters from the west who came in droves to undermine and compete against it.  Considering the tools available to both sides at the time, it was like Home Depot coming in and building a huge store to compete with the mom & pop hardware store that was on the block forever.  But, in spite of all those odds it has accomplished the following since the fall of communism -

Taken from the Moscow Patriarchate Website -

http://www.russian-orthodox-church.org.ru/today_en.htm

Since 1990 the Russian Church has been led by His holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia,. the 15th patriarch in its history, who governs together with the Holy Synod.  

In the Russian Orthodox Church today there are 128 dioceses (for comparison, there were 67 diocese in 1989), 19000 parishes (6893 in 1988), and nearly 480 monasteries (18 in 1980). These figures point vividly to an all-round revival of church life taking place under the primatial leadership of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.  

The pastoral service is carried out by 150 bishops, 17500 priests and 2300 deacons.  

The network of educational Orthodox institutions is directed by the Education Committee. At present there are 5 theological academies (there were 2 in 1991), 26 seminaries (there were 3 in 1988), and 29 pre-seminaries, which did not exist at all till the 90s. There are two Orthodox universities, a Theological Institute, a women's pre-seminary, and 28 icon-painting schools. The total number of theological students including those of the correspondence departments is about 6000 people. Educational institutions have been established to develop religious education among the laity. This important work is coordinated by the Department for Religious Education and Catechism.  

There is a variety of forms in which religious education and catechization of lay people are carried out, including Sunday schools at churches, circles for adults, groups for preparing adults for baptism, Orthodox kindergartens, Orthodox groups in state-run kindergartens, Orthodox gymnasia, schools, lyceums, and Orthodox courses for teachers of catechism. Sunday school has been the most popular form of catechism.  

In the field of charity the work is carried out on all-church level through the Department for Church Charity and Social Service.  

It is necessary to mention in the first place a number of successfully functioning medical programs. A special mention should be made of the Moscow Patriarchate's Central Hospital of St. Alexis the Metropolitan of Moscow. In the situation where healthcare is becoming commercial, this medical institution is one of the few clinics in Moscow which provide free medical check-up and treatment.  

A psychiatric service has been set up at the Mental Health Center of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. It gives free help to persons sent by parishes in the Moscow diocese.  

These are only a few examples of concrete work carried out by the above-mentioned Department.  

In December 1990 the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to establish a church youth organization. This decision led to the First Congress of Orthodox Youth which set up an All-Church Orthodox Youth Movement as an official youth organization established by the Russian Orthodox Church. The tasks which the Movement set itself at that time were to attract children, adolescents and young people who sought their way to church in the fold of the Russian Orthodox Church and to unite groups of young Orthodox Christians under programs of social service, restoration of monasteries and churches, pilgrimages and contacts with young Christians in other countries.  

The external contacts of the Russian Orthodox Church are supervised by the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. It tasks include the following:  

- to provide hierarchical and financial administration over dioceses, monasteries, parishes and other institutions of our Church in far abroad;  

- to prepare decisions for the church authorities concerning church-state and church-society relations;  

- to maintain relations of the Russian Orthodox Church with Local Orthodox Churches, non-Orthodox Churches and religious associations, non-Christian religions, religious and secular international organizations, public, political, social, cultural, academic, economic, financial and other institutions, as well as mass media.  

Since 1989 the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate has been chaired by Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad Kirill.  

After gaining true freedom the Russian Orthodox Church has set itself the task to revive its mission. Faithful to the commandments of the Early Church and continuing the apostolic cause, the Russian Church used to bear witness to Christ "even to the end of the earth" (Acts 18), spreading the Good News of the Word of Life. The missionary achievements of our Church and the very scale of its educational work - from Poland and the Baltic in the west to Alaska and California in the east, from Murmansk and Kamchatka in the north and the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the Middle East and China in the south - demanded all its spiritual, material and human resources. The names of Russian missionaries are ranked by right among the greatest missionaries of Christendom. Suffice it to mention St. Stephen of Perm, St. Triphon of Pechenga and monks of what is known as the Russian Thebaid - the Valamo and Solovki Monasteries, as well as St. Nikolay Equal to the Apostles, the Archbishop of Japan, St. Innocent, the Apostle of America, Archimandrite Makary Glukharev the Apostle of the Altai.  

In the later 19th century, an Orthodox Missionary Society was established to help the Russian Church in its missionary work. The missionary and educational work of the Russian Church was interrupted by the 1917 Revolution, when we, according to the Prophet, "received of the Lord's hand double for our sins" (Is. 40:2).  

Now when the time of repression and restrictions is past and the Church can again freely bear witness to Christ, the need to revive mission has become the most urgent task for us as the Church and an acute need for society.  

In recent years the Russian Orthodox Church has developed close contacts with the Russian Armed Forces. To maintain these contacts the Patriarch and the Holy Synod have established a Synodal Department for Cooperation with the Armed Forces and Law-enforcement Agencies.  
 ==========

Quite an accomplishment considering the odds.  Especially when you compare it with the statistics coming from the west in countries that were never under communism and operated in complete freedom where seminaries are being closed for lack of students, and churches are being closed for lack of parishioners!



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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2004, 11:09:20 AM »

What does this mean?  Did you bother to find out what it meant?

Why would I care?  The title speaks for itself!

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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2004, 11:47:14 AM »

Apparently you care enough to tell us all about it without bothering to find out anything more.  

Gee, thanks.
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2004, 11:57:27 AM »

The ultimate solution in Russia, and in the west itself, is for the Orthodox Church to get out of it's "ghetto" and actively missionize those in Her midst.  This is certainly the mind of Christ, but does not seem to be a very high priority for many Orthodox Christians (and more lamentably, heirarchs.)

I would argue that the Orthodox Church in America (not meaning the OCA per se) IS in fact getting of the 'ghetto'.  It's just that we here in America want change to happen overnight and don't have the patience for 'Orthodox time' which moves slowly and cautiously.  As Orthdoc's link suggests, much progress has been made in Russia and I'm sure we can point to much progress in America as well (i.e. Antiochians w/ the EOC, many converts in other jurisdictions,etc.).  Again, patience everyone.
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2004, 12:18:24 PM »

Dear Orthodoc,

I certainly understand your quote referenced below. As Orthodox Christians we have historically witnessed the gates of hades being unleashed against the Orthodox Church. It continues to this day. I read news of the recent destruction of 38 or so Orthodox Churches and monastaries in Serbia with much dismay.  I was particularly offended when our Latin friends had in dialog questioned the status of Orthodox Christianity in Russia relative to how many people are really praticing Orthodoxy. It was a very sad read indeed. I found my self thinking after all that the Orthodox have gone through surely a little patience could be exercised to allow the restoration of traditional orthodoxy in traditional lands. Sadly it seems I was wrong again.  I read some of the commentaries regarding many of these events from others with dismay as well.

"You know I'm always amazed when I hear comments like the above made by christians here in the west.  Many of them even Orthodox."

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2004, 02:23:20 PM »

I would argue that the Orthodox Church in America (not meaning the OCA per se) IS in fact getting of the 'ghetto'.

But which ghetto? It has always seemed to me that a lot of converts from the West, for instance, are in hiding from the liberals in their own denominations. One could view this as trying to get into the ghetto.
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2004, 02:27:59 PM »

But which ghetto? It has always seemed to me that a lot of converts from the West, for instance, are in hiding from the liberals in their own denominations. One could view this as trying to get into the ghetto.


Well, IMO, I don't think that many are really "hiding", as opposed to just hanging on to too much baggage from their former denomination.  I really think that most are converting for the right reasons.
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« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2004, 02:29:42 PM »

You know I'm always amazed when I hear comments like the above made by christians here in the west.  Many of hem even Orthodox.

As I look back at my previous post, I see it was a insufficiently-explained one.  Sorry...the persecutions of of Russian Christians -- which was, without a doubt, tragic and severe -- in no way makes Orthodox in this country exempt from evangelization.

As for Russia (and anywhere else) -- like I said, the persecution was severe, but all one really needs to evangelize are two lips, a message, and leaders (and followers) with a desire to spread the faith.
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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2004, 05:25:08 PM »

Well, IMO, I don't think that many are really "hiding", as opposed to just hanging on to too much baggage from their former denomination.  I really think that most are converting for the right reasons.

"Right" and "wrong" don't really figure in what I said. The point is that they do consider Orthodoxy to be a refuge from the problems of their former church; this refuge, it seems to me, continues to exist at the expense of having to exclude intellectual intercourse with the outer world. Whether one thinks of this as a loss as well as an expense is left to the reader.
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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2004, 06:19:37 PM »

The title does not speak for itself if it more then one possible meaning can be thought of.

I mentioned the "Whosoever Gospel Mission" as an example of a religious group whose name was based on a passage of scripture.  I suspect that what Orthodoc saw was the same. I doubt very much that it was meant to indicate any lackadaisical attitude toward the Gospel or Jesus.  It is common for Gospel Mission and other types of churches to have names taken from Bible portions or attributes or promises from God.  Examples from my local Yellow Pages include:

Greater Grace Christian Church
New Creations Christian Church and Ministries
Shield of Faith Christian Center
Guiding Light Ministries
Abundant Life Community Christian Church

There are more, but all of the names can be drawn from things in the Bible.

I would guess that the thrift shop is to help support the ministries of the organization.  Many of these churches can be found in poor sections of cities, offering some help to the inhabitants.

I fail to see how a church supporting itself with a thrift shop is somehow wrong.  Nor how just because a Christian group has a name not like those of the viewer's denomination it shows that it doesn't care about Christianity.  

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« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2004, 02:35:58 AM »

Quote
All of which are united in doctrine and dogma.  And none of which follow the 'whatsoever Gospel'!

The serious issues of ecumenism and modernism are rampant in SCOBA, even to the point of communing (openly and knowingly) monophysites.  I think we should clean out our own house first.
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