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Author Topic: Praying to the Saints.  (Read 10879 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: January 19, 2010, 12:38:54 AM »

Saint Gregory Palamas underwrites your worthy thoughts in his glorious
sermon in praise of the All-Holy on the festival of her Dormition...

...since thou hast become the steward of the treasury of divine gifts and their vault, and this, not in order to keep them for thyself, but so that thou mightest make created nature replete with grace.

"Indeed, the steward of those inexhaustible treasuries watches over them so that the riches may be dispensed; and what could confine that wealth which wanes not? Richly, therefore, bestow thy mercy and thy graces upon all thy people, this thine inheritance, O Lady! Dispel the perils which menace us. See how greatly we are expended by our own and by aliens, by those without and by those within. Uplift all by thy might: mollify our fellow citizens one with another and scatter those who assault us from without-like savage beasts. Measure out thy succor and healing in proportion to our passions, apportioning abundant grace to our souls and bodies, sufficient for every necessity.

"And although we may prove incapable of containing thy bounties, augment our capacity and in this manner bestow them upon us, so that being both saved and fortified by thy grace, we may glorify the pre-eternal Word Who was incarnate of thee for our sakes, together with His unoriginate Father and the life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto the endless ages. Amen."



And here we have the "treasury house of merit" become manifest.  I've certainly learned alot about Orthodox theology in this thread!  Tongue

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_House_of_Merit
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« Reply #91 on: January 19, 2010, 12:58:09 AM »

Saint Gregory Palamas underwrites your worthy thoughts in his glorious
sermon in praise of the All-Holy on the festival of her Dormition...

...since thou hast become the steward of the treasury of divine gifts and their vault, and this, not in order to keep them for thyself, but so that thou mightest make created nature replete with grace.

"Indeed, the steward of those inexhaustible treasuries watches over them so that the riches may be dispensed; and what could confine that wealth which wanes not? Richly, therefore, bestow thy mercy and thy graces upon all thy people, this thine inheritance, O Lady! Dispel the perils which menace us. See how greatly we are expended by our own and by aliens, by those without and by those within. Uplift all by thy might: mollify our fellow citizens one with another and scatter those who assault us from without-like savage beasts. Measure out thy succor and healing in proportion to our passions, apportioning abundant grace to our souls and bodies, sufficient for every necessity.

"And although we may prove incapable of containing thy bounties, augment our capacity and in this manner bestow them upon us, so that being both saved and fortified by thy grace, we may glorify the pre-eternal Word Who was incarnate of thee for our sakes, together with His unoriginate Father and the life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto the endless ages. Amen."



And here we have the "treasury house of merit" become manifest.  I've certainly learned alot about Orthodox theology in this thread!  Tongue

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

My personal opinion?  Saint Gregory would not have had any concept of the Roman Catholic treasury of merits (Christ's and the Saints') anywhere in his mind.   I think that would be reading into it something he did not intend.  Saint Gregory's words (sometime very effusive ands simply drenched in his love for her) on the Mother of God have not been dogmatized by the Church but remain, as do nearly all thoughts on Mary, within the realm of personal theological opinions (theologoumena.)   You may accept them, you may reject them.

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« Reply #92 on: January 19, 2010, 01:10:05 AM »

Also from Saint Gregory Palamas...

"No divine gift can reach either angels or men, save through her mediation.
As one cannot enjoy the light of a lamp … save through the medium of this lamp, so every
movement towards God, every impulse towards good coming from Him is unrealizable save
through the mediation of the Virgin. She does not cease to spread benefits on all creatures."


What is this particular quote taken from?

What is the general context of the passage from which this was taken?

http://www.voxpopuli.org/b1_ch4.php

in Miravelle, ibid., p. 136; Ed. of Sophocles Oikonomos, Athens, 1861, 159; PG 151, 472A

I *think* this comes from a Palamas sermon on the Annunciation.   But Saint Gregory wrote so many wonderful sermons on the Mother of God that it is hard to keep them all straight in your head.  Now and again he comes up with some ideas totally unique to himself such as how she was purified from sin.

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« Reply #93 on: January 19, 2010, 01:16:56 AM »

Also from Saint Gregory Palamas...

"No divine gift can reach either angels or men, save through her mediation.
As one cannot enjoy the light of a lamp … save through the medium of this lamp, so every
movement towards God, every impulse towards good coming from Him is unrealizable save
through the mediation of the Virgin. She does not cease to spread benefits on all creatures."


Where is the apostolic or scriptural basis for this teaching? Surely we can't just rely on the fact that it was supposedly preserved within the "secret tradition" of the Church until St. Gregory decided to reveal it to us?

I agree that it seems unlikely.  But, for example, there is no apostolic or scriptural basis for a belief in the Dormition and Assumption of the Mother of God and for the first 400 years of the Churchs life nobody had any idea about it.  It was kept a secret, known only to the clergy of Jerusalem.  I'll find the details and post them.

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« Reply #94 on: January 19, 2010, 01:23:02 AM »

You might say this is a case of knowing how to keep a secret. The history of
the end of Mary's life was genuinely new to most of the Church when it was
made public in the fifth century. The facts of the matter were kept private
among the clergy of the Jerusalem Church, and only became public during the
Council of Chalcedon. At that time the Emperor and Empress demanded  that
her body be sent from Jerusalem to Constantinople;  they belived it was in a tomb
in Jerusalem.

This was a case where there was a Tradition - a
passing-along of knowledge - that was intentionally kept private. I
personally suspect the remarkable near-silence of Scripture about the Mother
of God was deliberate on the part of the Apostles; St John (her guardian)
and the rest of the Evangelists kept her privacy.

The more picturesque details of the "transitus Mariae" literature had yet to
be developed, but in the mid-400's some basic information was revealed by
the Jerusalem clergy. I'm attaching a quote from the "Euthymiac History"
quoted by St John of Damascus, for details.


In his second homily on the Dormition of the Mother of God, Saint John of
Damascus refers to events recounted in the 40th chapter of the Life of St
Euthymios:

"It was said above that Saint Pulcheria erected many churches for Christ in
Constantinople. One of these is the church in Blachernae, built at the
beginning of the reign of the divinely-appointed Emperor Marcian [who
acceded to the throne August, 450]. When the two of them built a worthy
house there for the all-glorious and all-holy Mother of God, the ever-virgin
Mary, and adorned it with every sort of decoration, they hoped to find her
holy body, which had been the dwelling-place of God. And summoning Juvenal,
the Archbishop of Jerusalem, and those bishops from Palestine who were
staying in the capital because of the synod then being held in Chalcedon
[October, 451], they said to them: We have heard that the first and most
outstanding church of the all-holy Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, is
in Jerusalem, in the place called Gethsemane, where her life-giving body was
put in a coffin. We now wish to bring this relic here, to protect this royal
city."

"Juvenal answered on behalf of them all: "There is nothing in the holy,
inspired Scripture about the death of Mary, the holy Mother of God; but we
know from ancient and wholly reliable tradition that at the time she so
gloriously fell asleep, all the holy Apostles who were traveling the world
for the salvation of the peoples were lifted up in a single instant of time
and were gathered at Jerusalem. And as they stood by her, they saw a vision
of angels, and heard the divine chanting of the higher powers. So it was
that she gave her soul in an ineffable way into God's hands, surrounded by
the glory of God and all heaven.

"Her body, which had been God's dwelling place, was brought for burial
amidst the singing of the angels and the Apostles, and laid to rest in a
coffin in Gethsemane; and the angelic dancing and singing continued without
pause in that place for three days. But after three days the song of the
angels ceased; the Apostles were there, and since one of them - Thomas - had
not been present [for her burial] and came at he end of three days, and
wished to reverence that body which had housed God, they opened the coffin.
And they could not find her body, which had been the object of such praise;
all that they found were her burial wrappings. And being overcome by the
ineffable fragrance that came out of the wrappings, they closed the coffin
again. Amazed by this miraculous discovery, they could only draw a single
conclusion: The one who had deigned to become flesh in her own person and to
take his humanity from her, the one who willed to be born in human flesh as
God the Word, the Lord of glory, and who had preserved her virginity intact
even after childbirth, now chose, after her departure from this world, to
honour her pure and immaculate body with the gift of incorruptibility, and
with a change of state even before the common, universal resurrection."

"When the imperial couple heard this, they asked Archbishop Juvenal to send
them the holy coffin, properly sealed, with the funeral garments in it of
the glorious, all-holy Mary, Mother of God. And when he had sent it, they
placed it in the church of the holy Theotokos that had been built at
Blachernae."


"There is nothing in the holy, inspired Scripture about the death of Mary,
the holy Mother of God; but we know from ancient and wholly reliable tradition
that at the time she so gloriously fell asleep, all the holy Apostles who were
traveling the world for the salvation of the peoples were lifted up in a single
instant of time and were gathered at Jerusalem. And as they stood by her,
they saw a vision of angels, and heard the divine chanting of the higher powers.
So it was that she gave her soul in an ineffable way into God's hands, surrounded
by the glory of God and all heaven.

"Her body, which had been God's dwelling place, was brought for burial amidst
the singing of the angels and the Apostles, and laid to rest in a coffin in
Gethsemane; and the angelic dancing and singing continued without pause in
that place for three days. But after three days the song of the angels ceased;
the Apostles were there, and since one of them - Thomas - had not been present
and came at he end of three days, and wished to reverence that body which had
housed God, they opened the coffin. And they could not find her body, which had
been the object of such praise; all that they found were her burial wrappings. And
being overcome by the ineffable fragrance that came out of the wrappings, they
closed the coffin again. Amazed by this miraculous discovery, they could only
draw a single conclusion: The one who had deigned to become flesh in her own
person and to take his humanity from her, the one who willed to be born in human
flesh as God the Word, the Lord of glory, and who had preserved her virginity intact
even after childbirth, now chose, after her departure from this world, to honour her
pure and immaculate body with the gift of incorruptibility, and with a change of state
even before the common, universal resurrection."

When the imperial couple heard this, they asked Archbishop Juvenal to send them
the holy coffin, properly sealed, with the funeral garments in it of the glorious, all-holy
Mary, Mother of God. And when he had sent it, they placed it in the church of the
holy Theotokos that had been built at Blachernae.
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« Reply #95 on: February 19, 2010, 08:50:17 PM »

With respect to the OP and the discussion as it has unfolded, permit me a shotgun response to the points and issues raised so far.

Support for the worship/veneration of the Saints: The most fundamental support is the Tradition. We do not go to the Scriptures to shift through it to find what we will to prove, disprove, proof-text, or decry any practice of the Church. The Scripture is a reflection of the Church, an early record of the Life of the Spirit moving and teaching in the Church, not a fundamentally foreign external systematically calibrated barometer and balance for us to use as an instrument of personal judgement concerning the Church and its faith.  That is a totally unorthodox and inappropriate use of Scripture. We do not understand the Church in its light, rather we understand it in the light of the Church. Glad to get that caveat off at the start.  

That said, the Scripture most definitely informs our faith individually and as a Body and we can find much in it to offer a great deal of support for the relationship the Church knows it has with God's Saints.  Consider this from the Letters of St. Paul. He says the Church is the Body of Christ. He says that the Body is joined together in the Spirit by those bonds which every joint supplieth. Elsewhere in the Scripture the Apostles teach we understand the spiritual by way of the natural. So tell me what natural body has no communion with itself? What body has members that are not members of each other? Does not St. Paul teach us that this is the very case with the Body of Christ that we as members of His Body are in fact members of each other.  The last time I checked disattached members equal dead or soon to be dead members? My right hand is not my left, but left my left hand be injured and you may bet that through the direction of my head and its gifts my right hand is right there tended to my left hand.  Further, all the other members of my body adjust to ease any jarring or discomfort to my injured member.  If these things are true of a natural body, how much more are they true of the Body of Christ, whose bonds and forged by the very Spirit of God? Did or did not Christ conquer the power of Hell, Death, and the Grave? Did He or did He not make a show of them openly? If He did, then tell me, where has Death now found the power to sunder the Body of Christ, to dissever member from member, to unjoin what the Spirit Himself unifies? Or do you say that either we, or those now with the Lord are not anymore members of Christ's Only Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?  

So how can the Church not know, experience, and persevere in the knowledge of her own members whether here or with the Lord? The bond of the Spirit is unbroken. And if the bond between us is in the Spirit, then how else is that union of member to member not realized and communicated in that most fundamental activity of the Spirit...prayer?

And speaking of communication, does not nature teach us by analogy this as well.  Life in God and thus life in the Church is experiencial.  My left thumb does not "know" about my right thumb in any objective sense.  Rather they know each other as mutual members of the same body, the same blood and nervous system, in the insensible (unless disturbed) bond of being the same flesh and of the acts of one thumb coordinated with and for the other. They move and work together in union with same governing head (mine), as does the Church with its head Christ. My body communicates itself to itself.  So it is with us in Christ together with His Saints.  They do not communicate about Christ as some distant disconnected party. They communicate Christ just as water communicates itself as water and fire communicates fire. Touch a dry cloth to a wet sponge and the cloth also becomes wet. Touch a candle wick to a glowing coal and it will catch fire. Touch a Saint in prayer and receive the grace of the Holy Trinity.

This last illustration answers the question of how do they hear/answer so many requests.  What are words when there is simple presence? No lit match ever wrote an essay to convince a piece of paper to burn. Touch one sheet of paper to a flame or touch ten thousand at the same time...makes no difference to flame.  All that is required is that what touches fire is able to receive fire.

With respect to Mary and Scripture. There is of course nothing explicit. But it is interesting to Note in the last book of Scripture, the only book composed after her repose, we are given an image of a glorious woman who gave birth to the Manchild, the ruler of nations. She is then caught away.  The next thing we are shown is the Ark in Heaven. And who does the Church teach the Ark to be. Finally who is it speaking jointly with the Spirit at the end of the Book, who together with the Spirit calls, "Come."  It is not without cause the Church sings, "Rejoice, Unwedded Bride."

With respect to Mary or any of the saints saving us, we are taught by both God's books, the Holy Scripture and His creation. Do not St. Paul and the Apostles enjoin us each one to endeavor to save our brother? How then should the blessed Theotokos or any of the Saints fall short of that exhortation? The rub is we who are of Protestant extraction are still thinking of "salvation" in forensic terms...as in save us from Judgment, help us be not guilty.  But the Church teaches the heart of salvation is not forensic justification, but salus...health from whence the word "salvation" is derived.  And isn't the type of healing we need also a function of the Body.  Consider if one member is injured or infected, does not the rest of the body labor through its immune system to purge any foreign germ and knit back together any breach?  How is this different when we who are wounded and ill with our passions call upon our healthy members to share their life with us...to heal us by their communion with us, to make us more like them, more like Christ?  How can we who yet labor and struggle in the world not cry out Holy Theotokos, Save us!

« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 09:06:49 PM by Seraphim98 » Logged
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« Reply #96 on: February 19, 2010, 11:35:56 PM »

With respect to the OP and the discussion as it has unfolded, permit me a shotgun response to the points and issues raised so far.

Support for the worship/veneration of the Saints: The most fundamental support is the Tradition. We do not go to the Scriptures to shift through it to find what we will to prove, disprove, proof-text, or decry any practice of the Church. The Scripture is a reflection of the Church, an early record of the Life of the Spirit moving and teaching in the Church, not a fundamentally foreign external systematically calibrated barometer and balance for us to use as an instrument of personal judgement concerning the Church and its faith.  That is a totally unorthodox and inappropriate use of Scripture. We do not understand the Church in its light, rather we understand it in the light of the Church. Glad to get that caveat off at the start.  

That said, the Scripture most definitely informs our faith individually and as a Body and we can find much in it to offer a great deal of support for the relationship the Church knows it has with God's Saints.  Consider this from the Letters of St. Paul. He says the Church is the Body of Christ. He says that the Body is joined together in the Spirit by those bonds which every joint supplieth. Elsewhere in the Scripture the Apostles teach we understand the spiritual by way of the natural. So tell me what natural body has no communion with itself? What body has members that are not members of each other? Does not St. Paul teach us that this is the very case with the Body of Christ that we as members of His Body are in fact members of each other.  The last time I checked disattached members equal dead or soon to be dead members? My right hand is not my left, but left my left hand be injured and you may bet that through the direction of my head and its gifts my right hand is right there tended to my left hand.  Further, all the other members of my body adjust to ease any jarring or discomfort to my injured member.  If these things are true of a natural body, how much more are they true of the Body of Christ, whose bonds and forged by the very Spirit of God? Did or did not Christ conquer the power of Hell, Death, and the Grave? Did He or did He not make a show of them openly? If He did, then tell me, where has Death now found the power to sunder the Body of Christ, to dissever member from member, to unjoin what the Spirit Himself unifies? Or do you say that either we, or those now with the Lord are not anymore members of Christ's Only Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?  

So how can the Church not know, experience, and persevere in the knowledge of her own members whether here or with the Lord? The bond of the Spirit is unbroken. And if the bond between us is in the Spirit, then how else is that union of member to member not realized and communicated in that most fundamental activity of the Spirit...prayer?

And speaking of communication, does not nature teach us by analogy this as well.  Life in God and thus life in the Church is experiencial.  My left thumb does not "know" about my right thumb in any objective sense.  Rather they know each other as mutual members of the same body, the same blood and nervous system, in the insensible (unless disturbed) bond of being the same flesh and of the acts of one thumb coordinated with and for the other. They move and work together in union with same governing head (mine), as does the Church with its head Christ. My body communicates itself to itself.  So it is with us in Christ together with His Saints.  They do not communicate about Christ as some distant disconnected party. They communicate Christ just as water communicates itself as water and fire communicates fire. Touch a dry cloth to a wet sponge and the cloth also becomes wet. Touch a candle wick to a glowing coal and it will catch fire. Touch a Saint in prayer and receive the grace of the Holy Trinity.

This last illustration answers the question of how do they hear/answer so many requests.  What are words when there is simple presence? No lit match ever wrote an essay to convince a piece of paper to burn. Touch one sheet of paper to a flame or touch ten thousand at the same time...makes no difference to flame.  All that is required is that what touches fire is able to receive fire.

With respect to Mary and Scripture. There is of course nothing explicit. But it is interesting to Note in the last book of Scripture, the only book composed after her repose, we are given an image of a glorious woman who gave birth to the Manchild, the ruler of nations. She is then caught away.  The next thing we are shown is the Ark in Heaven. And who does the Church teach the Ark to be. Finally who is it speaking jointly with the Spirit at the end of the Book, who together with the Spirit calls, "Come."  It is not without cause the Church sings, "Rejoice, Unwedded Bride."

With respect to Mary or any of the saints saving us, we are taught by both God's books, the Holy Scripture and His creation. Do not St. Paul and the Apostles enjoin us each one to endeavor to save our brother? How then should the blessed Theotokos or any of the Saints fall short of that exhortation? The rub is we who are of Protestant extraction are still thinking of "salvation" in forensic terms...as in save us from Judgment, help us be not guilty.  But the Church teaches the heart of salvation is not forensic justification, but salus...health from whence the word "salvation" is derived.  And isn't the type of healing we need also a function of the Body.  Consider if one member is injured or infected, does not the rest of the body labor through its immune system to purge any foreign germ and knit back together any breach?  How is this different when we who are wounded and ill with our passions call upon our healthy members to share their life with us...to heal us by their communion with us, to make us more like them, more like Christ?  How can we who yet labor and struggle in the world not cry out Holy Theotokos, Save us!



I must say, I really enjoyed reading what you wrote.
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« Reply #97 on: February 20, 2010, 11:56:26 AM »

Thank you Seraphim98 for your thoughts. You captured the sense and tone of what I had been taught from youth regarding the Saints, the Theotokos and Scripture. It brought to mind the type of explanation of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition that a long deceased priest I knew frequently used in retreats and Lenten missions that I attended over the years. Do not burden yourself with the comment you made about your background and 'forensic' salvation, I fear that is an American affliction that impacts us all.
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« Reply #98 on: February 21, 2010, 12:48:50 PM »

You might say this is a case of knowing how to keep a secret. The history of
the end of Mary's life was genuinely new to most of the Church when it was
made public in the fifth century. The facts of the matter were kept private
among the clergy of the Jerusalem Church, and only became public during the
Council of Chalcedon.

I hate to play the devil's advocate here, but while this is a very honest interpretation, and I certainly appreciate that, as opposed to proclaiming everyone knew all about Mary in the year 120AD, (because I don't think history shows that) this raises a lot of questions about the trustworthiness of the clergy in general. What other "secrets" might the Church have kept or still keep? and in fact, isn't it possible for basically anyone to argue a radically new doctrine and just say "well, we really knew all about it since Apostolic times, we just didn't tell anyone outside of an inner circle of people until now"? How would we know what they say is true or not? Would we be forced to accept said doctrine on blind faith and trust in the clergy? How trustworthy can they really be if they're keeping secrets for 500 years? What else might they be keeping secret? (Secret Gospel of Mark???)

Granted in Orthodoxy we're not really required to have an opinion one way or the other on Mary's death. In a way it's an esoteric doctrine, (not dogma) which I think is appropriate given the circumstances. So I guess that makes my points/question moot. I guess I'm just thinking out loud as it were. Smiley
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« Reply #99 on: February 21, 2010, 04:39:27 PM »

Quote
isn't it possible for basically anyone to argue a radically new doctrine and just say "well, we really knew all about it since Apostolic times, we just didn't tell anyone outside of an inner circle of people until now"?


Doctrines are best expressed through the Church's liturgical and iconographic deposit, derived from scripture, patristic writings, rulings of ecumenical councils, etc. Bit hard to disguise a "radical new doctrine" within them without folks finding out pronto, and acting accordingly.
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« Reply #100 on: February 21, 2010, 04:46:58 PM »

If I am not mistaken, St. Basil the Great, or perhaps another of his generation spoke about things that were once kept private among the baptized but were only in his time being committed to writing and to more open disemination...primarily because it was safe to do so.  For example, it was not until just before baptism that some things concerning Christ were taught to catechumens, and other things such as the Holy Eucharist were only fully discussed with them after baptism. In its early days the Church was very careful to guard its most precious things to keep them out of the eye of scorners and out of the mouth of mockers.  This is why little was made public during Mary's natural life, to preserve her privacy and safety. Only when society had largely become Christian or at least Christian friendly did the Church openly speak of these things.  Some things were always to share with whosoever will, and others belonged to the Holy, just as the priest still intones to this day, "Holy Things for Holy", which invitation is not given before the Deacons issue the instruction to seal the meeting with , "The doors, the doors."  And the faithful before communion still say, "I will not speak of Thy Mysteries to thine enemies..."  As you can see this sense of caution about Holy things among us is very deep and very ancient.

I do not balk at all at the idea that certain information concerning the Theotokos was not widely reported or known in those early times. Such guardianship of precious information was and is entirely consistent with the needs and practices of the times, and the ethos of the Church concerning the Holy at all times.

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« Reply #101 on: February 21, 2010, 04:58:17 PM »

Quote
If I am not mistaken, St. Basil the Great, or perhaps another of his generation spoke about things that were once kept private among the baptized but were only in his time being committed to writing and to more open disemination...primarily because it was safe to do so.

Perhaps you are thinking of On the Holy Spirit, 27 by St. Basil? I believe St. Cyril of Jerusalem said similar things about the sacraments, though more briefly, somewhere in his Catechetical Lectures.
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« Reply #102 on: February 21, 2010, 05:28:32 PM »


Granted in Orthodoxy we're not really required to have an opinion one way or the other on Mary's death. In a way it's an esoteric doctrine, (not dogma) which I think is appropriate given the circumstances. So I guess that makes my points/question moot. I guess I'm just thinking out loud as it were. Smiley

Is the body of the Mother of God buried in a grave in Palestine?

Dear NP,

I cannot agree with you.  Speaking as a priest I would deny communion to a person who denied the dormition and bodily assumption of the holy Mother of God.   If it were some newly awakened doubts and hopefully transient ones, we could be lenient for a time but if it was a firm and settled denial communion would be withdrawn.

Can you imagine a situation where a priest believed he had the freedom to deny it as you have said.  The priest could stand in front of his parish and say:  'I don't believe in this so we won't we celebrating the services for the assumption during the two week fast, in fact you don't have to fast at all, and we won't be having any celebration on the 15th to honour her bodily assumption.  Her body was not taken to heaven, it is mouldering away in a grave somewhere in Palestine.'  

Such a priest would find himself called to his bishop's office and sharply rebuked.  If he did not learn the error of his opinion I imagine he would be dismissed from the priesthood.

So yes, you are required to have an opinion and a belief, and that must be the tradition of the Church,  And no, it is not an "esoteric doctrine" which you may reject, not without forfeiting communion and even, in the case of a priest, being defrocked.
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« Reply #103 on: February 22, 2010, 06:26:44 AM »


Granted in Orthodoxy we're not really required to have an opinion one way or the other on Mary's death. In a way it's an esoteric doctrine, (not dogma) which I think is appropriate given the circumstances. So I guess that makes my points/question moot. I guess I'm just thinking out loud as it were. Smiley

Is the body of the Mother of God buried in a grave in Palestine?

Dear NP,

I cannot agree with you.  Speaking as a priest I would deny communion to a person who denied the dormition and bodily assumption of the holy Mother of God.   If it were some newly awakened doubts and hopefully transient ones, we could be lenient for a time but if it was a firm and settled denial communion would be withdrawn.

Can you imagine a situation where a priest believed he had the freedom to deny it as you have said.  The priest could stand in front of his parish and say:  'I don't believe in this so we won't we celebrating the services for the assumption during the two week fast, in fact you don't have to fast at all, and we won't be having any celebration on the 15th to honour her bodily assumption.  Her body was not taken to heaven, it is mouldering away in a grave somewhere in Palestine.'  

Such a priest would find himself called to his bishop's office and sharply rebuked.  If he did not learn the error of his opinion I imagine he would be dismissed from the priesthood.

So yes, you are required to have an opinion and a belief, and that must be the tradition of the Church,  And no, it is not an "esoteric doctrine" which you may reject, not without forfeiting communion and even, in the case of a priest, being defrocked.

I've been told something quite different by a ROCOR archpriest. I'd rather not name him on a public forum, but he told me that there were certain things in Orthodoxy which aren't essential doctrines but instead fall under the category of theological opinions which are optional, but not necessary to be of the Orthodox faith. He used the dormition of the Theotokos as an example of this.
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« Reply #104 on: February 22, 2010, 07:37:51 AM »


Granted in Orthodoxy we're not really required to have an opinion one way or the other on Mary's death. In a way it's an esoteric doctrine, (not dogma) which I think is appropriate given the circumstances. So I guess that makes my points/question moot. I guess I'm just thinking out loud as it were. Smiley

Is the body of the Mother of God buried in a grave in Palestine?

Dear NP,

I cannot agree with you.  Speaking as a priest I would deny communion to a person who denied the dormition and bodily assumption of the holy Mother of God.   If it were some newly awakened doubts and hopefully transient ones, we could be lenient for a time but if it was a firm and settled denial communion would be withdrawn.

Can you imagine a situation where a priest believed he had the freedom to deny it as you have said.  The priest could stand in front of his parish and say:  'I don't believe in this so we won't we celebrating the services for the assumption during the two week fast, in fact you don't have to fast at all, and we won't be having any celebration on the 15th to honour her bodily assumption.  Her body was not taken to heaven, it is mouldering away in a grave somewhere in Palestine.'  

Such a priest would find himself called to his bishop's office and sharply rebuked.  If he did not learn the error of his opinion I imagine he would be dismissed from the priesthood.

So yes, you are required to have an opinion and a belief, and that must be the tradition of the Church,  And no, it is not an "esoteric doctrine" which you may reject, not without forfeiting communion and even, in the case of a priest, being defrocked.

I've been told something quite different by a ROCOR archpriest. I'd rather not name him on a public forum, but he told me that there were certain things in Orthodoxy which aren't essential doctrines but instead fall under the category of theological opinions which are optional, but not necessary to be of the Orthodox faith. He used the dormition of the Theotokos as an example of this.

True, the Dormition/Assumption is not an essential doctrine for salvation since it does not fall within the essential christological scheme of our salvation.   But it is not an optional belief.  Your ROCA archpriest is indeed a heretic if you have understood him correctly and he has told you that a Christian may deny that the body of the Mother of God was taken into heaven but remains somewhere in Palestine.  Although you understandably do not wish to name him, you may if you wish name me and relay to him what I have written.

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« Reply #105 on: July 28, 2011, 06:28:47 AM »

Wrong thread
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« Reply #106 on: July 28, 2011, 12:02:26 PM »

Christianus,

I'll be honest--and I speak as one who used to be Orthodox but is not formally an Orthodox Christian at the moment--I think this issue largely boils down to Church authority. I don't think this doctrine can be traced from the Bible, through the early centuries, through the later Church Fathers, down to our time. Yes, Orthodoxy can make a case for it, and show that the doctrine doesn't violate any important Scriptural or Patristic precepts... but at the same time, there is no smoking gun, so to speak. Fwiw, what I said in this thread is probably similar to what I'd say to you... so rather than just repeating it, I'll just give you the link.

Asterikos,

I am bumping this older thread because we are obviously starting to run over the same issues in the new thread.
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« Reply #107 on: July 28, 2011, 12:17:44 PM »


Granted in Orthodoxy we're not really required to have an opinion one way or the other on Mary's death. In a way it's an esoteric doctrine, (not dogma) which I think is appropriate given the circumstances. So I guess that makes my points/question moot. I guess I'm just thinking out loud as it were. Smiley

Is the body of the Mother of God buried in a grave in Palestine?

Dear NP,

I cannot agree with you.  Speaking as a priest I would deny communion to a person who denied the dormition and bodily assumption of the holy Mother of God.   If it were some newly awakened doubts and hopefully transient ones, we could be lenient for a time but if it was a firm and settled denial communion would be withdrawn.

Can you imagine a situation where a priest believed he had the freedom to deny it as you have said.  The priest could stand in front of his parish and say:  'I don't believe in this so we won't we celebrating the services for the assumption during the two week fast, in fact you don't have to fast at all, and we won't be having any celebration on the 15th to honour her bodily assumption.  Her body was not taken to heaven, it is mouldering away in a grave somewhere in Palestine.'  

Such a priest would find himself called to his bishop's office and sharply rebuked.  If he did not learn the error of his opinion I imagine he would be dismissed from the priesthood.

So yes, you are required to have an opinion and a belief, and that must be the tradition of the Church,  And no, it is not an "esoteric doctrine" which you may reject, not without forfeiting communion and even, in the case of a priest, being defrocked.

This assumes the priest survives the wrath of God or the congregation. Smiley
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« Reply #108 on: July 28, 2011, 09:45:28 PM »

So, the things that were proclaimed upfront in evangelism were the deity of Christ, His saving death, and the Resurrection.

Everything else-the Trinity, Eucharist, Mary, baptism, the Saints-these were what was only told to catechumens, right?

On topic, I think of the Saints directly helping us as being just an extension of earthly miracles done through Prophets and Apostles. All of it is done "by the Finger of God." Clearly the liturgy also speaks of their intercession though, so it's a both/and not an either/or.
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« Reply #109 on: July 28, 2011, 11:39:45 PM »

In my inquirer's class last year when we were discussing this issue about prayer to the saints I asked my priest point blank how this worked out in reality.  I asked if the faithful are only seeking prayers, or if they are asking for direct action on the part of the saints.  He seemingly reluctantly told me that yes, the faithful pray for the saints to act in their lives directly, not merely to petition God for them.  It wasn't the answer I was looking for, but at least I knew the reality of the situation.

It would be interesting to know if there are Orthodox Christians here who have been told by their priest or catechist that they should not pray to the Mother of God and the Saints?
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« Reply #110 on: July 28, 2011, 11:49:32 PM »

In my inquirer's class last year when we were discussing this issue about prayer to the saints I asked my priest point blank how this worked out in reality.  I asked if the faithful are only seeking prayers, or if they are asking for direct action on the part of the saints.  He seemingly reluctantly told me that yes, the faithful pray for the saints to act in their lives directly, not merely to petition God for them.  It wasn't the answer I was looking for, but at least I knew the reality of the situation.

It would be interesting to know if there are Orthodox Christians here who have been told by their priest or catechist that they should not pray to the Mother of God and the Saints?

Do you mean not to pray to them asking for direction intervention (as opposed to just intercessory prayers on our behalf)? For my part I don't don't really recall being given specific instructions on that point, though I could be forgetting.
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« Reply #111 on: July 29, 2011, 12:02:18 AM »

Do you mean not to pray to them asking for direction intervention

Yes.  For example two monthss ago we learnt that our youngest brother has terminal cancer.  We now pray the Akathist to the Mother of God the Queen of All (Pantanassa) for him.  It contain dozens of prayers to her such as " Heal thine ailing people, All Merciful Queen" and "Say the word that my soul may be healed and my weakened body strengthened, for you have unconquerable power.." and "Send down your healing upon your servants who run to you..."

Are there priests telling their people not to use such prayers?
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« Reply #112 on: July 29, 2011, 12:15:42 AM »

I can't recall a priest telling me that... my own reluctance is probably the result of non-Orthodox baggage I still carry.
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« Reply #113 on: July 29, 2011, 01:51:08 AM »

So when do you pray to the Saints and when to God? Jesus is the Great Physician, after all.
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« Reply #114 on: July 29, 2011, 02:39:17 AM »

So when do you pray to the Saints and when to God? Jesus is the Great Physician, after all.

When do you pray to Jesus for his intercessions to the Father, and when do you pray directly to the Father?

When do you ask your friends to pray for your healing, and when do you just skip all the extras and do it yourself?

These kinds of questions aren't necessarily the best angle to tackle this from.
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« Reply #115 on: July 29, 2011, 10:24:01 AM »

I suppose you have a point.

So, the things that were proclaimed upfront in evangelism were the deity of Christ, His saving death, and the Resurrection.

Everything else-the Trinity, Eucharist, Mary, baptism, the Saints-these were what was only told to catechumens, right?

On topic, I think of the Saints directly helping us as being just an extension of earthly miracles done through Prophets and Apostles. All of it is done "by the Finger of God." Clearly the liturgy also speaks of their intercession though, so it's a both/and not an either/or.
Thinking about it more, the "to/through" thing is perhaps in some ways a false dichotomy. I can't recall any miracle performed by a Saint in Scripture which was not itself accompanied by prayer.
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« Reply #116 on: July 29, 2011, 12:25:35 PM »

Why shouldn't we ask the departed Saints for their prayers? We ask each other for their prayers and it is comforting to know that others are praying for us.

When you ask for the prayers of the departed Saints, the first thing you are doing is acknowledging that "Christ is risen!" and these Saints are alive in Him because He has trampled Death and bestowed Life upon those in the tombs.

Virtually every prayer we say is imbued with a bold statement of Christ's Resurrection and His promise of Eternal Life for all that believe in Him.
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« Reply #117 on: July 29, 2011, 12:53:12 PM »

The Canon of Prayer to our Guardian Angel....

People here who follow the Russian way of preparing for Holy Communion will know very well the Canon to the Guardian Angel since we have to read it in the days before we receive Holy Communion.

Here it is
http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm

If you look at it you will see it is an intertwining of all the types of prayer we have been talking about.
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« Reply #118 on: July 29, 2011, 01:05:50 PM »

That's very nice, thanks.  Smiley Of course, if I wasn't such a ninny and would actual sit down and pray these more often, my doubts would probably vanish.  Undecided laugh
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« Reply #119 on: July 29, 2011, 04:17:40 PM »

So when do you pray to the Saints and when to God? Jesus is the Great Physician, after all.

You think when you pray to a saint, God isn't listening, or to God that the saints aren't listening? Or that the saints, who by God's grace have become like Him have no power to heal in imitation of Christ? No, they are all working together for the glory of God, and God honors and glorifies those who have honored and glorified Him.
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« Reply #120 on: July 29, 2011, 04:21:27 PM »

So when do you pray to the Saints and when to God? Jesus is the Great Physician, after all.

When do you pray to Jesus for his intercessions to the Father, and when do you pray directly to the Father?

When do you ask your friends to pray for your healing, and when do you just skip all the extras and do it yourself?

These kinds of questions aren't necessarily the best angle to tackle this from.

The intercessions of God the Word and of the Holy Spirit are of a different nature than the prayers of the saints. So, we don't ask Christ to pray for us, that just seems odd.

We pray for ourselves, and we ask for the prayers of others and the saints. In many cases, if we don't pray for ourselves, how much healing can we expect? We pray in community.
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« Reply #121 on: July 29, 2011, 09:57:47 PM »

So when do you pray to the Saints and when to God? Jesus is the Great Physician, after all.

You think when you pray to a saint, God isn't listening, or to God that the saints aren't listening? Or that the saints, who by God's grace have become like Him have no power to heal in imitation of Christ? No, they are all working together for the glory of God, and God honors and glorifies those who have honored and glorified Him.
I agree... And let's leave it at that, since I just found myself typing the same old things I have here a thousand times.

I'm just going in circles.
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« Reply #122 on: July 30, 2011, 12:46:43 AM »

What Does It Mean To Believe In The Church? Thoughts About the Church and the Orthodox Divine Services
By St. John of Kronstadt

"Acknowledge that all the saints are our elder brothers in the one House of the Heavenly Father, who have departed from earth to heaven, and they are always with us in God, and they constantly teach us and guide us to eternal life by means of the church services, Mysteries, rites, instructions, and church decrees, which they have composed—as for example, those concerning the fasts and feasts—, so to speak, they serve together with us, they sing, they speak, they instruct, they help us in various temptations and sorrows. And call upon them as living with you under a single roof; glorify them, thank them, converse with them as with living people; and you will believe in the Church."
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