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Author Topic: Difference in Orthodox Churches....  (Read 1196 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 08, 2011, 12:02:56 PM »

So is there a difference in saying "Orthodox Church" and saying "Eastern Orthodox Church?"  I was reading another thread about communing in different Orthodox Churches and it kind of had me confused.  If I were to join a OCA church, would I be able to take communion in a Greek Orthodox church if I were traveling? Of if I joined a Russian Orthodox Church, could I commune in a Antiochian church if I simply wanted to visit or go with a friend?

It seems a lot of Eastern Orthodox people wouldnt want to commune in an Oriental Orthodox church. Why is this? I guess I just thought all the names (Greek, Antiochian, Russian, Oriental, etc.) had more to do with the geographical origins of that particular church rather than them being different.  Can someone clear this up for me?
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2011, 12:07:17 PM »

There are two groups of the Orthodox Churches: 'Eastern' and 'Oriental' which are now in schism and outside of communion with each other. Members of the local Churches in one group however are free to participate in sacraments of the other local Church from the same group. For example a member from the Russian Church participating in sacraments in the Greek Church is OK but in Syriac Church it would not be OK.
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2011, 12:13:58 PM »

Cool. Thats what I originally thought. 

And just to make sure I am 100% clear, the OCA is in communion with the Eastern Orthodox right?
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2011, 12:14:49 PM »

And just to make sure I am 100% clear, the OCA is in communion with the Eastern Orthodox right?

Yes.
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2011, 12:29:24 PM »

I might be wrong on this, but it seems to me that there 5 major branches in Christianity today (I do not equate Christianity with Church in modern usage, so no branch theory here. Christianity, as I use it here, is a human phenomenon, the set of societies, cultures and civilizations that directly or indirectly come from the Church).

The One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church per se, materially a confederation of mutually recognizing jurisdictions, presided in its collegiate by one of the confederates, today, the Patriarch of Constantinople.

And several heretic fallen branches (in order of schism): the Pre-Chalcedonians (aka Oriental "Orthodox" a politically correct but misguiding name that makes the word "orthodox" just a stereotype for "not Roman"); the Catapapics (aka, Romans or Latins); the Anglicans; the Catabiblic (aka, Protestants).

Under that view, the fact that someone one day started calling the Pre-Chalcedoneans miophisites "Oriental Orthodox" is a diplomatic, politically correct naming. Their theology is different from that of the Church. Modern miophisites say it's just a problem of misunderstanding in words, but I'd rather believe the people of that time to whom these languages were alive and in use, than in specialists born 1,500 years after and biased toward a culture of chronocentrism that believes people today understand everything better than people yesterday in their own age. If both parts at that time say they meant different things, I believe it.

As for the mutually recognized churches, here is a good list from Wikipedia:

The autocephalous Orthodox churches
(ranked in order of seniority, as per year of autocephaly(except Constantinople))
The Church of Constantinople, under the Ecumenical Patriarch
The Church of Alexandria
The Church of Antioch
The Church of Jerusalem
The Church of Cyprus (est. 431)
The Church of Georgia (est. 486)
The Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai (est 527)*[clarification needed]
The Church of Bulgaria (est. 919)
The Church of Serbia (est. 1219)
The Church of Russia (est. 1448)
The Church of Greece (est. 1833)
The Church of Romania (est. 1872)
The Church of Albania (est. 1922)
The Church of Poland (est. 1924)
The Church of Czech and Slovak lands (est. 1951)
The Orthodox Church in America* (est. 1970)
*Autocephaly is not universally recognized.

The four ancient patriarchates are most senior, followed by the five junior patriarchates. Autocephalous churches whose leaders are archbishops follow the patriarchates in seniority, with the Church of Cyprus being the only ancient one (AD 434). From the Orthodox point of view there would be five ancient patriarchates had the Great Schism not occurred, dividing the Church of Rome from the Orthodox Churches in the 11th century.


The autonomous Orthodox churches under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
The Finnish Orthodox Church
The Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church*
The Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe*

under the Patriarchate of Antioch
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

under the Patriarchate of Jerusalem
The Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai (see above)[clarification needed]

under the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia
The Estonian Orthodox Church*
The Latvian Orthodox Church
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church
The Moldovan Orthodox Church
The Japanese Orthodox Church*
The Chinese Orthodox Church*
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia*

under the Patriarchate of Peć and All Serbia
The Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric*

under the Patriarchate of Romania
The Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia
The Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas
* Autonomy not universally recognized.

The Orthodox churches without autonomy under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy
The Korean Orthodox Church
The Philippine Orthodox Church
The American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA

Notice that although some have their autocephaly or autonomy questioned, this refers to bureaucratic organization, if they can walk on their own, or should still report to a more senior church. They still recognize each other as canonic, spiritually alive churches.
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2011, 01:24:58 PM »

The One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church per se, materially a confederation of mutually recognizing jurisdictions, presided in its collegiate by one of the confederates, today, the Patriarch of Constantinople.

And several heretic fallen branches (in order of schism): the Pre-Chalcedonians (aka Oriental "Orthodox" a politically correct but misguiding name that makes the word "orthodox" just a stereotype for "not Roman"); the Catapapics (aka, Romans or Latins); the Anglicans; the Catabiblic (aka, Protestants).

No.
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2011, 01:36:01 PM »

Cool. Thats what I originally thought. 

And just to make sure I am 100% clear, the OCA is in communion with the Eastern Orthodox right?
I have personally communed in Constantinople itself when I was a member of the OCA, and my membership wasn't a secret.
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2011, 01:42:13 PM »

There are two groups of the Orthodox Churches: 'Eastern' and 'Oriental' which are now in schism and outside of communion with each other. Members of the local Churches in one group however are free to participate in sacraments of the other local Church from the same group. For example a member from the Russian Church participating in sacraments in the Greek Church is OK but in Syriac Church it would not be OK.

Except in the EO Patriarchate of Antioch, i.e. the homeland of the OO Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate, patricipation of EO in the Syriac Orthodox Church are OK (I speak from experience).  Ditto the EO Patriarchate of Alexandria and the OO Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.

Yes, there is a range of disagreement over that in the other autocephalous EO Churches, ranging from unofficial acceptance amongst some elements of practially all the autocephalous Churches to absolute condemnation (to the point of calling for the deposition of the EO Pope of Alexandria and the EO Patriarch of Antioch).  But I'll hold off going further into that until the OP comments.
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2011, 01:50:27 PM »

The Orthodox, or simply Christian Church is a bunch of local churches all connected together by the same belief and communion (the actual taking of communion).  In the USA/Canada all the adjectives to describe the noun Orthodox are in communion.  It is a problem that we hope is to be solved someday soon. This leads to people thinking that the Russian Orthodox and the Greek Orthodox aren't the same churches.  Well, they are.  They just sing a little different and sometimes use different languages but they teach the same thing and share communion with each other. 
What we strive for is for all the various jurisdictions to come under one organisation. 
When people came to the USA/Canada they set up their own structures under their own homeland bishops.  So we have the Romanians, the Bulgarians, Russians, Ukrainians, Serbians, Greeks, Arabs, etc... and most have their own structural organisations. 
So, like if you see anything like, Serbian, ACROD, Greek, Russian, Orthodox, Antiochian, Ukrainian, chances are they're all part of the one, holy catholic and apostolic church.
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2011, 02:17:31 PM »

I guess I am trying to understand all of the divisions (diocese, archdiocese, etc.).  The Greek church is closest to me, but I didnt know if it would be better for me to drive a little bit further for the OCA.  I guess it really doesnt matter.  Ive just gotten real serious about converting, so I may be starting to over-analyze. I just want to be sure before deciding which type to begin my journey in!
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2011, 02:19:52 PM »

"...In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church..."
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2011, 02:40:24 PM »

"...In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church..."

well... i guess that settles it!
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2011, 02:41:04 PM »

I guess I am trying to understand all of the divisions (diocese, archdiocese, etc.).  The Greek church is closest to me, but I didnt know if it would be better for me to drive a little bit further for the OCA.  I guess it really doesnt matter.  Ive just gotten real serious about converting, so I may be starting to over-analyze. I just want to be sure before deciding which type to begin my journey in!
Why not attend both? You don't have to commit on the first visit.
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« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2011, 04:31:52 PM »

I guess I am trying to understand all of the divisions (diocese, archdiocese, etc.).  The Greek church is closest to me, but I didnt know if it would be better for me to drive a little bit further for the OCA.  I guess it really doesnt matter.  Ive just gotten real serious about converting, so I may be starting to over-analyze. I just want to be sure before deciding which type to begin my journey in!
Why not attend both? You don't have to commit on the first visit.

My OCA parish isn't all that far anyway. We have several folks who live in Marietta.
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« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2011, 10:16:55 PM »


Quote
My OCA parish isn't all that far anyway. We have several folks who live in Marietta.

Do you always have the DL during the week? Or is it just this week?
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« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2011, 10:48:35 PM »

And several heretic fallen branches (in order of schism): the Pre-Chalcedonians (aka Oriental "Orthodox" a politically correct but misguiding name that makes the word "orthodox" just a stereotype for "not Roman")
Isn't it against the rules to call the Oriental Orthodox heretics on the public fora? Not to butt into the moderator's job, but I don't like it when my Church is called "a heretical fallen branch" on the public forum.
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« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2011, 11:14:55 PM »

And several heretic fallen branches (in order of schism): the Pre-Chalcedonians (aka Oriental "Orthodox" a politically correct but misguiding name that makes the word "orthodox" just a stereotype for "not Roman")
Isn't it against the rules to call the Oriental Orthodox heretics on the public fora?

Yes.
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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2011, 01:09:18 AM »

to make it short,
the oriental and eastern orthodox churches split in/after (depending on one's exact understanding) 451 AD. it was, in theory, about the definition of the nature(s) of Christ, but actually got very political.
however in 1990 (sorry, we move slowly!) we agreed that we are all 'orthodox'.
because the favourite saints of one church got into physical fights with the favourite saints of the other church and it all got nasty around 400 - 800 AD, some people are a little slow in forgiving.

that is why some people (my orthodox brothers in Jesus Christ who i would love to take Holy Communion with) call the oriental orthodox 'heretics'. their patriarchs have accepted we all believe basically the same thing, but there are plenty of clergy who have not stepped into line yet.
so we are not yet all able to take communion in each other's churches, but there are plenty of exceptions as people yearn for more unity and love each other dearly.

we also don't use the term 'monophysite' (believing in only one nature of Christ to the extent of saying His divine and human natures were totally swallowed up) about the oriental orthodox churches, because the oriental orthodox do believe in the importance of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ having both divine and human natures. he 'took on' our human nature from saint mary and so can be described as fully divine and fully human.

and that's as short as i can make it!
we are very very happy if you join an eastern orthodox church as they have great theology and many wonderful traditions to bring you closer to our awesome God.
just remember we're orthodox too!
 Smiley

for more info:
www.orthodoxunity.org
it's not updated often but there is lots of useful archived information.

off topic:
ismiliora, why r u a 'bad catechumen', did u bring a hotdog into church during the fast?
did u say yr favourite saint was calvin?
did u fast ramadan instead of saint mary's fast?
i'm sure it was nothing so serious, but yr status update got me wondering...
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« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2011, 01:17:19 AM »

Quote
did u bring a hotdog into church during the fast?
did u say yr favourite saint was calvin?

this made me laugh. haha.
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« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2011, 01:18:23 AM »


off topic:
ismiliora, why r u a 'bad catechumen', did u bring a hotdog into church during the fast?
did u say yr favourite saint was calvin?
did u fast ramadan instead of saint mary's fast?
i'm sure it was nothing so serious, but yr status update got me wondering...
LOL! I am just being creative and changing my status as I feel fit about my spiritual life, very tongue-in-cheek. I haven't had time to engage in prayer and read because all of the stuff that's going on in my life (you know!). So right now, I am a bad catechumen. Hopefully I will return to my "catechumen of the year" status soon enough....or finally Orthodox in a few months. Wink
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« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2011, 01:21:52 AM »

go pray now!
if u r working on computer, try
www.agpeya.org
or any other site that has prayers on it.
am gonna go pray too (especially that people can get home after night shift considering the night of rioting in my city).
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« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2011, 01:24:25 AM »

I am going through the prayers on my Droid*, now that I've finally finished work! If I start praying in at the icon corner in our bedroom with the light on, my husband will definitely wake up and be Grumpy Mr. Ismi for the next week.  Wink

*Advertisement for the PrayDaily and PilgrimApp Apps. Yes, I got my Droid. I know I'm behind the game. But these are awesome!
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« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2011, 01:25:57 AM »

yea, well done!
how good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity
 Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2011, 01:37:34 AM »

\am gonna go pray too (especially that people can get home after night shift considering the night of rioting in my city).

I heard about that.  I hope you are OK.
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« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2011, 01:40:19 AM »

It seems a lot of Eastern Orthodox people wouldnt want to commune in an Oriental Orthodox church. Why is this? I guess I just thought all the names (Greek, Antiochian, Russian, Oriental, etc.) had more to do with the geographical origins of that particular church rather than them being different.  Can someone clear this up for me?

This thread may be helpful:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36721.0.html
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« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2011, 04:16:10 AM »

Please, remember that starting polemic discussions about EO - OO divisions outside the Private Fora, calling them as 'heretics' and so on are forbidden (if you don't have an access there, ask FrChris).

Following attempts to start such a discussion here will result in dots.
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« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2011, 05:28:35 AM »

I'm going to take a stab at explaining what the inquirer is asking about in the original post. First, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the so called Oriental Orthodox Churches, do not at present have a canonical relationship, mostly due to differing understandings of doctrinal issues debated during the middle of the 5th century.  These differences are explained in a link above.  

Since its inception, the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church has maintained the administrative tradition of the early Apostolically established churches, which became known as the Pentarchy, the Ancient Patriarchates of the Roman Empire, led by the Church of Rome, the capital of the Empire; two other provincial capitals, Alexandria, (Egypt); Antioch; then Jerusalem; and since 335, New Rome, Constantinople.  It can be considered as a model of local control. Bishops held exclusive authority over teaching in their diocese. Bishops (or archbishops, if they were in larger cities) were bound together by Provincial (Eparchial) Synods for matters of common concern, which were under the authority of the Holy Synods of these Patriarchates.  Matters of doctrine and other matters of common concern which may have been in dispute, were addressed by Ecumenical Synods (Councils), assemblies of all the hierarchy of the church.  None of the churches could interfere in the affairs of the other patriarchates, except appeals of substantial matters in dispute could be heard by Rome and later Constantinople. This is the essential pattern of governance, or church order, observed even today by the Eastern Orthodox Christan Churches.  

As the church expanded into central Europe and later Ukraine and Russia, a church would become autocephalos, the ability to elect its own primate or first hierarch (and all its hierarchs) and it was no longer subject to the authority of its Mother Church.  Give this tradition of internal governance, some practices developed in isolation within each of these churches, that today are viewed as cultural variances, but all the churches hold to the same doctrine of Faith and share Holy Communion.  

Church unity is expressed in many ways.  One of them is heard when a primate of an autocephalos church celebrates a Divine Liturgy.  At the petition, "Among the first, be mindful Lord...," where the bishop is commemorated, when a primate of an autocephelos church celebrates, he (or his archdeacon) commemorates each of his fellow primates, likewise, so does the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the "First Among Equals."  Also, when a primate is newly enthroned, he will visit all of the autocephelos churches, and the primates of those churches, will later return a reciprocal visit, concelebrating the Divine Liturgy typically.

Fr. John Meyendorff has written that the appellations "Greek," Bulgarian," "Romanian," etc. began in the churches which were under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire, during the 18th century, when revolutionary movements for the independence of these provinces were forming.  He noted that even in these lands, in their native languages, when someone was asked, to which religion do you belong, the response was, "I am Orthodox."  Note too, liturgically, you will never see the ethnic appelation used in reference to the church, "Again we pray for the pious and Orthodox Christians."  

On the First Sunday of the Great 40 Day Lenten Fast, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the same affirmation of Faith (Synodikon) from the 7th Ecumenical Synod (787), is read in all the churches worldwide, "...as Christ has awarded...thus we declare...This is the Faith of the Apostles, this is the Faith of the Fathers, this is the Faith of the Orthodox..."

My Reply specific to the American ecclesial phenomenon follows below.
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« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2011, 05:29:11 AM »

The situation you are encountering in North America is an anomaly to the structure I have outlined above.  This is due to various relatively unique circumstances. It is an anomaly because the church is not structured within the canonical tradition of the church as outlined above.

There is a beautiful history of the Orthodox Church in North America which was initiated by the Church of Russia and began in the Russian Empire's province of Alaska circa 1794, which I will not explain in detail herein due to its length. After Russia sold Alaska to America, the Church of Russia transferred the seat of the ruling bishop to San Francisco in 1870. Several of the bishops of this young diocese attempted to serve as the authority for the Orthodox Church in North America, but became overwhelmed with dealing with the mass conversions of Byzantine Rite Roman Catholics who were returning to Orthodoxy via this diocese. He was also impeded in serving as the Eastern Orthodox canonical authority in North America by the secular federations of the various ethnic immigrant groups who were bringing priests from their country of origin, and who would essentially employ these priests to perform church services. In addition, these federations or societies would provide ethic activities, the church services were only an aspect of these group's efforts. They were not affiliated with a church authority. Not-with-standing this statement, there were some non-Russian groups, especially the Syro-Arabs who were under a Syrian-American priest, later the first priest ordained an Orthodox bishop in North America, St. Rafael of Brooklyn. who was to some extent subordinate to the Russian Orthodox Bishop for North America.  The exemplary missionary efforts to serve all Orthodox Christians in North America, of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and Enlightener of North America, who served as the Archbishop for the Russian- Archdiocese of North America at the turn of the 20th century, and transferred the seat of the church to New York, must be noted in this discussion, but the fact remains that there were perhaps 250 communities in that era that had Orthodox Priests serving their faithful, who did not recognize the canonical authority of the Russian-American Archbishop. This problem was further complicated by the Bolshevik Revolution of November, 1917, which eliminated financial support for this missionary archdiocese and plunged it into chaos administratively. By 1918, following the actions of the Church of Greece to serve the Greek immigrants who overwhelmingly would not submit to the Russian-American Archbishop, established an Archdiocese of North and South America, in New York (in 1922 this archdiocese submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarch, today's Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.) The other Orthodox ethnic groups organized themselves into ecclesial entities and became affiliated with their Mother Churches abroad, not-with-standing the canonical prohibitions of having more than one bishop in a city.

The Russian Archdiocese organized itself as a metropolitan district of the Church of Russia, but soon after (1920's) declared itself "temporarily self-governing," whereupon, the Church of Russia, under the influence of the Communist government, broke relations with the archdiocese, by this time known as the "Metropolia."  In 1970 the relationship between the Church of Russia and the Metropolia was regularized, and the Moscow Patriarchate unilaterally declared the Metropolia as the "Autocephalos Orthodox Church in America," the "OCA." This act was not recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the majority of Orthodox Churches, so while canonical relations were never broken, progress toward unified administration of the Church in North America was stalled until the early 1990's.  Most the Orthodox churches in America maintained membership in the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops (SCOBA) in the Americas, but the work of this body was largely symbolic. In 2008, the Holy Orthodox Churches representatives met at the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Orthodox Centre, in Chambessy, Switzerland, and unanimously agreed to a process to be developed by Regional Episcopal Assemblies for administrative unification and the unified work of the Orthodox jurisdictions which exist in the situation such we experience in America, primarily in Western Europe, the entire Western Hemisphere, and Australia. Much hope is placed on the success of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North America, for facilitating the unification of the church's work here.

It is acknowledged that the promoters of the OCA's autocephaly, among others, dispute the history of the late 19th and early 20th century, as presented in the second paragraph above, arguing that the Metropolia was the duly established canonical church in North America and no matter what the claim, per a church canon, neither the Ecumenical Patriarch nor any of the Holy Orthodox Churches had the authority to establish jurisdictions on a territory which had been claimed by the Church of Russia for more than 30 years, without an objection, and this position is not in error.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 05:47:52 AM by Basil 320 » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2011, 09:39:38 AM »

And several heretic fallen branches (in order of schism): the Pre-Chalcedonians (aka Oriental "Orthodox" a politically correct but misguiding name that makes the word "orthodox" just a stereotype for "not Roman")
Isn't it against the rules to call the Oriental Orthodox heretics on the public fora? Not to butt into the moderator's job, but I don't like it when my Church is called "a heretical fallen branch" on the public forum.

Let me rephrase then... people today, who don't speak the languages that were spoken back then, think they understand what those people were saying better than themselves.  They were very clear about the fact that they believed different things and that, therefore they were...er.. heterodox from each one points of view. But because the word they used at that time is "offensive" today, people know they have much stronger love than the saints and fathers of their respective churches and are up to correct their mistakes. Sort of the same line of thinking of literary critics who couldn't care less about an author's aim, opinion and interpretation over his own work and reveal the "real" meaning of the piece.

Either that, or they know very well that there was a difference, and maybe one side has repented from that difference, but simply doesn't want to say "sorry, our ancestors were wrong back then, we understood it now, let's move on".  But, to avoid saying "sorry" they do violence, if that's the case, they do violence to their own intelligence by pretending not to know what they know. (and by they I mean even the Orthodox who fall into this kind of duality: either an arrogant presentocentric assumption about the past or self-violence of the soul).

So, in our happy family, not only nobody is wrong, nobody ever *was* wrong. Ever! We are all "heterodox", there are no real divisions, we, the superior elite love more, understand better, we hug more than saints, scholars and philosophers! We even know what they meant in their own languages, social and existential contexts better than they did! Ah, the peace these heights bring!

But, it's the rule of the forum. I shall not use the "h" word anymore. Ok.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 09:54:23 AM by Fabio Leite » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2011, 11:24:17 AM »

@Fabio Leite ^Well, it's a bit more complicated than that, but thank you for being reasonable and dropping this topic while your ahead.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 11:31:11 AM by Severian » Logged


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« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2011, 11:29:50 AM »

Thank you so much for all the responses everyone! All of it was very helpful.
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