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Author Topic: The Giving Of Words  (Read 487 times) Average Rating: 0
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Dyhn
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« on: August 09, 2011, 04:04:49 PM »

I would like to know about words of knowledge, wisdom and discernment. The service you have is not set up to entertain people giving 'words' to each other, if indeed you consider this to be a correct practice, I don't know. I do know that it has been a practise by which I've been hurt and a situation I avoid if I can.

Is there any such thing in Orthodoxy?

~ Dyhn
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2011, 04:21:12 PM »


I have read the phrase "give me a word" used in Orthodox literature, specifically that of the "Sayings of Desert Fathers [and Mothers]". Specifically the phrase is used by a young monk or nun asking an elder for "a word". I suppose it would be more common in monastic communities, where the relationship between a monastic and his/her elder is cultivated, but from what I've seen in Orthodoxy, a "word" is only ever given if it is asked for - so avoiding such a situation should be easy.  Smiley

You're probably referring to something completely different, so excuse me for assuming something else from the title of your post. If "words of knowledge, wisdom and discernment" refer to some kind of unsolicited advice from people in church, then I think this concept is alien to what I know of Orthodoxy. Someone putting themselves forward as having specific knowledge about revelation is big sign that perhaps that person is deluded.

He who has his mind under control when he prays, and is careful in what he says, keeps away from demons. He, however, who elevates himself is deluded."
-St Ephraim the Syrian
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2011, 04:25:22 PM »

I may be misinterpreting the OP, but the question seems to center around the concept of a "prophetic word" or some other such action that is often found in more charismatic Protestant circles.

Such a concept is quite foreign to Orthodoxy.
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Dyhn
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2011, 04:55:53 PM »

Yes, please excuse me, a prophetic word, given without request, is quite common in charismatic churches.

~ Dyhn
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2011, 05:15:28 PM »

Yes, please excuse me, a prophetic word, given without request, is quite common in charismatic churches.

~ Dyhn

Yes, it is. Such unsolicited, random "words" given to people as in the charismatic churches is completely foreign to Orthodoxy.

While we believe that the Holy Spirit is active in the life of the Church, it is not anything like this. The Spirit works through the Church Her miracles and Her mysteries. Receiving spiritual advice, for example, is something that is common in Orthodoxy, given to one who seeks it, from whom he or she seeks. Spiritual counsel is given most often to a person by their spiritual father (or mother). For most of us regular Orthodox, our spiritual father is our parish priest, although some may have spiritual fathers that are priests in monasteries (or even lay monastics). It is also not uncommon for someone, particularly a woman, to have a spiritual mother who is a monastic. These are people to whom we look for spiritual direction and often go to for the mystery of reconciliation (commonly referred to as "confession").

We may also occasionally embark on a pilgrimage to seek the advice of another, sometimes at the urging of our spiritual father/mother, and sometimes requesting to do so ourselves. It is also not uncommon to seek advice from multiple such sources, although there is a strong understanding within Orthodoxy to have one person designated as your spiritual father/mother, and with whom you share even what you discussed with another person, like if your spiritual father is a hieromonk (i.e., a priest that is also a monk) and you confess to your parish priest because you haven't been able to get to the monastery for awhile, you share what happened at the other confession with your spiritual father.

I hope that made sense...Grin
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 05:15:42 PM by Benjamin the Red » Logged

"Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life. Here we already have contact with the divine..." -St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily On the Sunday of Orthodoxy
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011, 05:25:09 PM »

Yes thank you both, it's quite a relief I can tell you.

My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She spoke to her cell group leader about this and was given a 'prophetic word' that if she would not confess such negativity but respond in faith, her sickness would not be unto death. I recall the phrase vividly as I heard it from her cell group leader's mouth at my mother's funeral. She never once confessed this diagnosis to any of her seven children. Consequently, none of us got to say goodbye and that we loved her.

I'm very relieved this practise is foreign to Orthodoxy.

~ Dyhn
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2011, 05:28:43 PM »

Dyhn, I have been in those types of churches for about 3 - 4 years. I express my deepest regrets for your mother. I find the practice of giving "prophetic words" absolutely deplorable, and I became quite rude to people in church who told me that I would be healed if I just "believed," that I shouldn't do this or say this...I was on the defensive. That behavior only serves to gratify the person who is telling you the prophecy.

Sad I am really sorry, and from what I have studied and experienced, this does not happen in Orthodoxy AT ALL. I really hope you find peace in the church.
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