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Author Topic: Inquirers/catechumens, prayer rules & "traditional Orthodoxy"  (Read 1438 times) Average Rating: 0
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TheodoraElizabeth3
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« on: September 15, 2011, 01:31:46 PM »

My average suburban parish gets a lot of visitors (we're the only parish that offers services completely in English for many miles in several directions). These folks are beginning to stay, and a decent number are inquirers. We're beginning to get a number from what is called "traditional Orthodoxy." I won't be more specific than that. If you want to know, PM me. I've no problem talking to strangers, so I'm one of the unofficially designated folks who will chat with newcomers. And they often reveal a lot.

Anyway, I've begun seeing something that disturbs me, in the inquirers/catechumens who've come from "traditional Orthodoxy." In families where only one parent/spouse is interested in Orthodoxy (usually the husband/father), this person has been given an excessive prayer rule. We're talking hours a day. As a result, marriages are strained because the Orthodox inquirer is spending a great deal of time shut away from the spouse and small children.

I know my priest (and many others), if dealing with an inquirer/catechumen who has a spouse not interested in Orthodoxy (or actively hostile to it) will be pastorally sensitive to the home situation - a prayer rule that's reasonable (10-15 minutes am/pm), maybe even suggesting things like prayers before meals being said while preparing the meal so as to not aggravate the situation if the spouse is hostile to Orthodoxy.

But in the home situations I'm encountering, the traditional Orthodox priests are not showing any sort of pastoral sensitivity to the home situations at all.  The inquirers, when asking if they could reduce the prayer rule, were told no. Period.

For those of you who converted in “traditional Orthodox” parishes, especially if you had a spouse not interested or hostile to Orthodoxy, was your priest sensitive to the situation and give you work arounds (for example, reading part of the prayer rule morning/evening if you took public transit to work) or were you told to just keep with a very long prayer rule and the family would have to deal with it?

This is only about married couples, not single folks. I’m disturbed at the lack of regard for spouses not interested in Orthodoxy, and young children who are seeing a lot less of one parent. The “one size fits all” prayer rule seems to be rather prevalent

I have nothing against “traditional Orthodox parishes.” In fact, if I lived near an English-language ROCOR parish, I might very well consider joining it. However, none is close, and my priest, whom I love, doesn’t do any funky weird stuff, so I’m good.  Wink
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 01:33:04 PM by TheodoraElizabeth3 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2011, 10:39:05 AM »

I know our Antiochian prayer book has 3 the three daily times of prayer given which are about 10 minutes each time. There are extensive extra prayers provided that one can apply as they feel fit for personal situations (departed, healing etc.). We are instructed & urged to cultivate a part of our life to prayer according to our prayer books but it is left to the individual to decide to define their devotion after that unless one seeks further priestly counsel. The Didache only states that the Lord's prayer be said three times daily so I don't know. Sorry to be vague.
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2011, 10:54:56 AM »

You might be very interested to read this article: http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Articles_files/Sveshnikov-Morning%20&%20Eve%20prayer.pdf

I believe the author is a ROCOR priest.
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2011, 12:05:54 PM »

Sadly, because our bishops are spread so thin and rarily check up on clergy, we have probably a lot more freedom than is healthy for us.  So, these types of abuses happen.

Generally, I have to tell my converts with mixed marriages that part of their askesis is to be a good spouse and to not provoke conflict.  Many couples get into religious wars, and the Orthodox spouse will try to use the 'teachings' of the Church as a weapon in order to gain the upper hand in the power struggle.  As best I can, I try to convince them not to do this, since it will alienate the heterodox spouse away from the Church.

As a result, these marriages are on good footings and the children/heterodox spouses come regularly and are now starting to ask questions.

We win souls to Christ by being merciful and compassionate, and sacrificing our desires to be 'really' Orthodox for the sake of bringing our whole family into the Kingdom.



My average suburban parish gets a lot of visitors (we're the only parish that offers services completely in English for many miles in several directions). These folks are beginning to stay, and a decent number are inquirers. We're beginning to get a number from what is called "traditional Orthodoxy." I won't be more specific than that. If you want to know, PM me. I've no problem talking to strangers, so I'm one of the unofficially designated folks who will chat with newcomers. And they often reveal a lot.

Anyway, I've begun seeing something that disturbs me, in the inquirers/catechumens who've come from "traditional Orthodoxy." In families where only one parent/spouse is interested in Orthodoxy (usually the husband/father), this person has been given an excessive prayer rule. We're talking hours a day. As a result, marriages are strained because the Orthodox inquirer is spending a great deal of time shut away from the spouse and small children.

I know my priest (and many others), if dealing with an inquirer/catechumen who has a spouse not interested in Orthodoxy (or actively hostile to it) will be pastorally sensitive to the home situation - a prayer rule that's reasonable (10-15 minutes am/pm), maybe even suggesting things like prayers before meals being said while preparing the meal so as to not aggravate the situation if the spouse is hostile to Orthodoxy.

But in the home situations I'm encountering, the traditional Orthodox priests are not showing any sort of pastoral sensitivity to the home situations at all.  The inquirers, when asking if they could reduce the prayer rule, were told no. Period.

For those of you who converted in “traditional Orthodox” parishes, especially if you had a spouse not interested or hostile to Orthodoxy, was your priest sensitive to the situation and give you work arounds (for example, reading part of the prayer rule morning/evening if you took public transit to work) or were you told to just keep with a very long prayer rule and the family would have to deal with it?

This is only about married couples, not single folks. I’m disturbed at the lack of regard for spouses not interested in Orthodoxy, and young children who are seeing a lot less of one parent. The “one size fits all” prayer rule seems to be rather prevalent

I have nothing against “traditional Orthodox parishes.” In fact, if I lived near an English-language ROCOR parish, I might very well consider joining it. However, none is close, and my priest, whom I love, doesn’t do any funky weird stuff, so I’m good.  Wink

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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2011, 01:48:49 PM »

You might be very interested to read this article: http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Articles_files/Sveshnikov-Morning%20&%20Eve%20prayer.pdf

I believe the author is a ROCOR priest.

Yes, the author is a ROCOR priest. Very interesting article, thank you!

On a side note, I've read elsewhere that within Greek Orthodox, at least in the past, it was common to use the Midnight Office and Compline at home for private prayer.
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2011, 05:25:03 PM »

It is a common convert pathology to want to jump in headfirst to "traditional" Orthodoxy -- because that's best right? -- but not to know heads or tails what is in fact traditional and what is simply masochistic. Some elder somewhere did something so that's probably what you should do. Oh, and Toll Houses. Also, ATHOS! PRAYER ROPES! PROSTRATIONS! DEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSEEEEEERRRRRTTTT FFFAAATTTHHHEEERRRSSSSSSS!
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2011, 06:57:03 PM »

It is a common convert pathology to want to jump in headfirst to "traditional" Orthodoxy -- because that's best right? -- but not to know heads or tails what is in fact traditional and what is simply masochistic. Some elder somewhere did something so that's probably what you should do. Oh, and Toll Houses. Also, ATHOS! PRAYER ROPES! PROSTRATIONS! DEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSEEEEEERRRRRTTTT FFFAAATTTHHHEEERRRSSSSSSS!
Traditional orthodoxy is the laxest thing.  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2011, 07:14:33 PM »

Traditional orthodoxy is the laxest thing.

Indeed. Maybe go once a year for Pascha and pay the village priest for a blessing to keep away werewolves.

Actually, the most traditionally Orthodox are those who never converted and are still pagan. You can tell they are real Old World Orthodox because they cast spells and work the fields with Rodi's help.
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2011, 07:22:00 PM »

Traditional orthodoxy is the laxest thing.

Indeed. Maybe go once a year for Pascha and pay the village priest for a blessing to keep away werewolves.

Actually, the most traditionally Orthodox are those who never converted and are still pagan. You can tell they are real Old World Orthodox because they cast spells and work the fields with Rodi's help.

OK, you got me . . . Who is Rodi?
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2011, 07:31:14 PM »

Traditional orthodoxy is the laxest thing.

Indeed. Maybe go once a year for Pascha and pay the village priest for a blessing to keep away werewolves.

Actually, the most traditionally Orthodox are those who never converted and are still pagan. You can tell they are real Old World Orthodox because they cast spells and work the fields with Rodi's help.

Don't forget joining internet forums to post about how much they don't care.
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2011, 07:38:02 PM »

Dažbog's nephew.

Traditional orthodoxy is the laxest thing.

Indeed. Maybe go once a year for Pascha and pay the village priest for a blessing to keep away werewolves.

Actually, the most traditionally Orthodox are those who never converted and are still pagan. You can tell they are real Old World Orthodox because they cast spells and work the fields with Rodi's help.

OK, you got me . . . Who is Rodi?
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2011, 07:46:23 PM »

Dažbog's nephew.

Traditional orthodoxy is the laxest thing.

Indeed. Maybe go once a year for Pascha and pay the village priest for a blessing to keep away werewolves.

Actually, the most traditionally Orthodox are those who never converted and are still pagan. You can tell they are real Old World Orthodox because they cast spells and work the fields with Rodi's help.

OK, you got me . . . Who is Rodi?

Thanks Father.

Wow.

That's inside baseball.
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2011, 09:16:08 PM »

Traditional orthodoxy is the laxest thing.

Indeed. Maybe go once a year for Pascha and pay the village priest for a blessing to keep away werewolves.

Actually, the most traditionally Orthodox are those who never converted and are still pagan. You can tell they are real Old World Orthodox because they cast spells and work the fields with Rodi's help.

Don't forget joining internet forums to post about how much they don't care.
At this point i do not even care enough to wake up and make it to church on most Sundays, but I enjoy the  talk here. It's a petit-bourgeois vice, I know.
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2011, 09:26:17 PM »

Traditional orthodoxy is the laxest thing.

Indeed. Maybe go once a year for Pascha and pay the village priest for a blessing to keep away werewolves.

Actually, the most traditionally Orthodox are those who never converted and are still pagan. You can tell they are real Old World Orthodox because they cast spells and work the fields with Rodi's help.
i can't cast spells myself, but used to know a few old women that could "Cruce-n masa, cruce-n casa..." (Cross on the table, cross inside the house..."), that's how it goes.
I can hook you up, for a small donation.
A funny anecdote: I have a couple of relatives that, because they kept having all sorts of problems at home went to the village priest for help (unction, exorcisms and all that). When nothing visibly improved the priest (also a relative of theirs and mine too, albeit more distant) put them in his car and drove them to a wise woman, o whatever you call them.
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2011, 10:07:12 PM »

Traditional orthodoxy is the laxest thing.

Indeed. Maybe go once a year for Pascha and pay the village priest for a blessing to keep away werewolves.

Actually, the most traditionally Orthodox are those who never converted and are still pagan. You can tell they are real Old World Orthodox because they cast spells and work the fields with Rodi's help.

Don't forget joining internet forums to post about how much they don't care.
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2011, 10:52:35 PM »

It is a common convert pathology to want to jump in headfirst to "traditional" Orthodoxy -- because that's best right? -- but not to know heads or tails what is in fact traditional and what is simply masochistic. Some elder somewhere did something so that's probably what you should do. Oh, and Toll Houses. Also, ATHOS! PRAYER ROPES! PROSTRATIONS! DEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSEEEEEERRRRRTTTT FFFAAATTTHHHEEERRRSSSSSSS!

Aw, come on, no need to completely condemn the fervor of the nascent. With the widespread dissemination of information that has taken place via the internet, people are naturally going to have questions about subjects that appear to make sense of a confused modern world. The sincerity will vary within each individual case, I imagine.

For the record, I find people asking what the 'Orthodox' stance, opinion, or perspective on such subjects as movies, video games, television programs, etc. far more tedious than an inquiry, whether honest or dishonest, into Orthodox practice.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 10:54:45 PM by Tgebar » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2011, 11:30:11 PM »

Come on, you are OCA!  You are supposed to obsess over obscure Slavic folklore!   laugh



Dažbog's nephew.

Traditional orthodoxy is the laxest thing.

Indeed. Maybe go once a year for Pascha and pay the village priest for a blessing to keep away werewolves.

Actually, the most traditionally Orthodox are those who never converted and are still pagan. You can tell they are real Old World Orthodox because they cast spells and work the fields with Rodi's help.

OK, you got me . . . Who is Rodi?

Thanks Father.

Wow.

That's inside baseball.
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2011, 11:37:04 PM »

Aw, come on, no need to completely condemn the fervor of the nascent.

Get with the times, man.  Mocking the enthusiastically interested is all the rage on here these days.   
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« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2011, 09:26:04 AM »

It is a common convert pathology to want to jump in headfirst to "traditional" Orthodoxy -- because that's best right? -- but not to know heads or tails what is in fact traditional and what is simply masochistic. Some elder somewhere did something so that's probably what you should do. Oh, and Toll Houses. Also, ATHOS! PRAYER ROPES! PROSTRATIONS! DEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSEEEEEERRRRRTTTT FFFAAATTTHHHEEERRRSSSSSSS!

Aw, come on, no need to completely condemn the fervor of the nascent. With the widespread dissemination of information that has taken place via the internet, people are naturally going to have questions about subjects that appear to make sense of a confused modern world. The sincerity will vary within each individual case, I imagine.

For the record, I find people asking what the 'Orthodox' stance, opinion, or perspective on such subjects as movies, video games, television programs, etc. far more tedious than an inquiry, whether honest or dishonest, into Orthodox practice.
No worries, me too. I don't have any problem with someone trying to be traditional, but like I said, there's a serious distinction between traditional and masochistic that many inquirers cannot distinguish.

About three years ago I was guilty of the same.
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« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2011, 10:29:44 AM »

It is a common convert pathology to want to jump in headfirst to "traditional" Orthodoxy -- because that's best right? -- but not to know heads or tails what is in fact traditional and what is simply masochistic. Some elder somewhere did something so that's probably what you should do. Oh, and Toll Houses. Also, ATHOS! PRAYER ROPES! PROSTRATIONS! DEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSEEEEEERRRRRTTTT FFFAAATTTHHHEEERRRSSSSSSS!

Aw, come on, no need to completely condemn the fervor of the nascent. With the widespread dissemination of information that has taken place via the internet, people are naturally going to have questions about subjects that appear to make sense of a confused modern world. The sincerity will vary within each individual case, I imagine.

For the record, I find people asking what the 'Orthodox' stance, opinion, or perspective on such subjects as movies, video games, television programs, etc. far more tedious than an inquiry, whether honest or dishonest, into Orthodox practice.
No worries, me too. I don't have any problem with someone trying to be traditional, but like I said, there's a serious distinction between traditional and masochistic that many inquirers cannot distinguish.

About three years ago I was guilty of the same.

Well, it's a rather well-known elder who has influenced a great many people. The things I was told - yikes!
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« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2011, 11:28:19 AM »

I know our Antiochian prayer book has 3 the three daily times of prayer given which are about 10 minutes each time. There are extensive extra prayers provided that one can apply as they feel fit for personal situations (departed, healing etc.).

Speaking of which, do you have a good link for the little Antiochian red prayer book? I wanted to show it to the inquirers at church as an example of a common prayer rule, but the link on the Antiochian website itself doesn't work.

If you go here and scroll down to Prayer and Devotional http://www.antiochian.org/liturgicalresources the link for The Little Red Prayer Book takes me to a page asking for a login. http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-prayers

Anyone have a better link?

ETA: Yes, I did send an email off to the contact email for the Antiochian website, telling them about the broken link.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 11:34:48 AM by TheodoraElizabeth3 » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2011, 12:30:00 PM »

If it is the elder I am thinking it is, much of what is said about him is malicious slander. Also there are those anxious to submit to the elder for prideful reasons and act one way with the elder and then act like tyrants when they leave the monastery.  That goes for some of those who are "dedicated" and those who leave bitter. Why are people exposing their prayer rules to others and complaining against their spiritual fathers in the first place? This is unbecoming to say the least. There is an appropriate way to go about resolving the situation, including going to the bishop.  

TheodoraElizabeth, none of that was directed towards you personally. I just get frustrated because I don't think people handle issues regarding the elder appropriately.



It is a common convert pathology to want to jump in headfirst to "traditional" Orthodoxy -- because that's best right? -- but not to know heads or tails what is in fact traditional and what is simply masochistic. Some elder somewhere did something so that's probably what you should do. Oh, and Toll Houses. Also, ATHOS! PRAYER ROPES! PROSTRATIONS! DEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSEEEEEERRRRRTTTT FFFAAATTTHHHEEERRRSSSSSSS!

Aw, come on, no need to completely condemn the fervor of the nascent. With the widespread dissemination of information that has taken place via the internet, people are naturally going to have questions about subjects that appear to make sense of a confused modern world. The sincerity will vary within each individual case, I imagine.

For the record, I find people asking what the 'Orthodox' stance, opinion, or perspective on such subjects as movies, video games, television programs, etc. far more tedious than an inquiry, whether honest or dishonest, into Orthodox practice.
No worries, me too. I don't have any problem with someone trying to be traditional, but like I said, there's a serious distinction between traditional and masochistic that many inquirers cannot distinguish.

About three years ago I was guilty of the same.

Well, it's a rather well-known elder who has influenced a great many people. The things I was told - yikes!
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« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2011, 04:45:50 PM »

If it is the elder I am thinking it is, much of what is said about him is malicious slander. Also there are those anxious to submit to the elder for prideful reasons and act one way with the elder and then act like tyrants when they leave the monastery.  That goes for some of those who are "dedicated" and those who leave bitter. Why are people exposing their prayer rules to others and complaining against their spiritual fathers in the first place? This is unbecoming to say the least. There is an appropriate way to go about resolving the situation, including going to the bishop.  

TheodoraElizabeth, none of that was directed towards you personally. I just get frustrated because I don't think people handle issues regarding the elder appropriately.

I like the summation on this page about those "seeking" spiritual father in the hyperdox sense.

Quote
As mentioned above, in this relationship [with a spiritual father], the obedience is total. This is why extreme care is necessary, and one should NEVER enter into such a relationship with anyone who does not have an outstanding reputation for this kind of ministry. Of course, the blessing of one’s pastor is mandatory, and indeed, it may be wise to receive the blessing of one’s bishop as well. False “elders” and spiritual fathers do exist, and the potential for abuse is enormous when one offers total obedience to such a person. It is critical to recognize, however, that not only must the spiritual father be of impeccable reputation, a person must be spiritually prepared to enter such a relationship. For most of us living in the world, it is entirely unnecessary. In fact, the desire for a “spiritual father” may be an indication of “prelest,” (spiritual lust) - that a person imagines himself to be far more “spiritual” than he actually is.

This is the sorta response someone is going to get from folks I've heard speak on the subject (Not that I have ever asked . . .  once I am 2% obedient, I'll worry about it). If more followed the above and admitted the part I emphasized, then there would probably be fewer "rumors" flying around.


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« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2011, 05:03:45 PM »

If it is the elder I am thinking it is, much of what is said about him is malicious slander. Also there are those anxious to submit to the elder for prideful reasons and act one way with the elder and then act like tyrants when they leave the monastery.  That goes for some of those who are "dedicated" and those who leave bitter. Why are people exposing their prayer rules to others and complaining against their spiritual fathers in the first place? This is unbecoming to say the least. There is an appropriate way to go about resolving the situation, including going to the bishop.  

TheodoraElizabeth, none of that was directed towards you personally. I just get frustrated because I don't think people handle issues regarding the elder appropriately.


These people have now left that parish. I'm not going to say anything more on this situation. I've made my point.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 05:07:03 PM by TheodoraElizabeth3 » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2011, 05:07:02 PM »

Here's an interview with Fr. Meletios Webber, the abbot of St. John's Monastery in California that addresses some of these issues:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/stevethebuilder/fr._meletios_webber_on_priesthood_and_spiritual_fathers_part_one


If it is the elder I am thinking it is, much of what is said about him is malicious slander. Also there are those anxious to submit to the elder for prideful reasons and act one way with the elder and then act like tyrants when they leave the monastery.  That goes for some of those who are "dedicated" and those who leave bitter. Why are people exposing their prayer rules to others and complaining against their spiritual fathers in the first place? This is unbecoming to say the least. There is an appropriate way to go about resolving the situation, including going to the bishop.  

TheodoraElizabeth, none of that was directed towards you personally. I just get frustrated because I don't think people handle issues regarding the elder appropriately.

I like the summation on this page about those "seeking" spiritual father in the hyperdox sense.

Quote
As mentioned above, in this relationship [with a spiritual father], the obedience is total. This is why extreme care is necessary, and one should NEVER enter into such a relationship with anyone who does not have an outstanding reputation for this kind of ministry. Of course, the blessing of one’s pastor is mandatory, and indeed, it may be wise to receive the blessing of one’s bishop as well. False “elders” and spiritual fathers do exist, and the potential for abuse is enormous when one offers total obedience to such a person. It is critical to recognize, however, that not only must the spiritual father be of impeccable reputation, a person must be spiritually prepared to enter such a relationship. For most of us living in the world, it is entirely unnecessary. In fact, the desire for a “spiritual father” may be an indication of “prelest,” (spiritual lust) - that a person imagines himself to be far more “spiritual” than he actually is.

This is the sorta response someone is going to get from folks I've heard speak on the subject (Not that I have ever asked . . .  once I am 2% obedient, I'll worry about it). If more followed the above and admitted the part I emphasized, then there would probably be fewer "rumors" flying around.



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« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2011, 05:52:14 PM »

Here's an interview with Fr. Meletios Webber, the abbot of St. John's Monastery in California that addresses some of these issues:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/stevethebuilder/fr._meletios_webber_on_priesthood_and_spiritual_fathers_part_one


If it is the elder I am thinking it is, much of what is said about him is malicious slander. Also there are those anxious to submit to the elder for prideful reasons and act one way with the elder and then act like tyrants when they leave the monastery.  That goes for some of those who are "dedicated" and those who leave bitter. Why are people exposing their prayer rules to others and complaining against their spiritual fathers in the first place? This is unbecoming to say the least. There is an appropriate way to go about resolving the situation, including going to the bishop.  

TheodoraElizabeth, none of that was directed towards you personally. I just get frustrated because I don't think people handle issues regarding the elder appropriately.

I like the summation on this page about those "seeking" spiritual father in the hyperdox sense.

Quote
As mentioned above, in this relationship [with a spiritual father], the obedience is total. This is why extreme care is necessary, and one should NEVER enter into such a relationship with anyone who does not have an outstanding reputation for this kind of ministry. Of course, the blessing of one’s pastor is mandatory, and indeed, it may be wise to receive the blessing of one’s bishop as well. False “elders” and spiritual fathers do exist, and the potential for abuse is enormous when one offers total obedience to such a person. It is critical to recognize, however, that not only must the spiritual father be of impeccable reputation, a person must be spiritually prepared to enter such a relationship. For most of us living in the world, it is entirely unnecessary. In fact, the desire for a “spiritual father” may be an indication of “prelest,” (spiritual lust) - that a person imagines himself to be far more “spiritual” than he actually is.

This is the sorta response someone is going to get from folks I've heard speak on the subject (Not that I have ever asked . . .  once I am 2% obedient, I'll worry about it). If more followed the above and admitted the part I emphasized, then there would probably be fewer "rumors" flying around.




Thank you Father.

The second part was especially apropos to this thread:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/stevethebuilder/fr._meletios_webber_on_priesthood_and_spiritual_fathers_part_two

I've had high regard for Fr. Meletios Webber as he played a not insignificant role in the life of someone I know who has been very helpful to me.
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« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2011, 11:34:08 PM »

Yes, I suggested the first part hoping folks would stick around for all three...

Here's an interview with Fr. Meletios Webber, the abbot of St. John's Monastery in California that addresses some of these issues:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/stevethebuilder/fr._meletios_webber_on_priesthood_and_spiritual_fathers_part_one


If it is the elder I am thinking it is, much of what is said about him is malicious slander. Also there are those anxious to submit to the elder for prideful reasons and act one way with the elder and then act like tyrants when they leave the monastery.  That goes for some of those who are "dedicated" and those who leave bitter. Why are people exposing their prayer rules to others and complaining against their spiritual fathers in the first place? This is unbecoming to say the least. There is an appropriate way to go about resolving the situation, including going to the bishop.  

TheodoraElizabeth, none of that was directed towards you personally. I just get frustrated because I don't think people handle issues regarding the elder appropriately.

I like the summation on this page about those "seeking" spiritual father in the hyperdox sense.

Quote
As mentioned above, in this relationship [with a spiritual father], the obedience is total. This is why extreme care is necessary, and one should NEVER enter into such a relationship with anyone who does not have an outstanding reputation for this kind of ministry. Of course, the blessing of one’s pastor is mandatory, and indeed, it may be wise to receive the blessing of one’s bishop as well. False “elders” and spiritual fathers do exist, and the potential for abuse is enormous when one offers total obedience to such a person. It is critical to recognize, however, that not only must the spiritual father be of impeccable reputation, a person must be spiritually prepared to enter such a relationship. For most of us living in the world, it is entirely unnecessary. In fact, the desire for a “spiritual father” may be an indication of “prelest,” (spiritual lust) - that a person imagines himself to be far more “spiritual” than he actually is.

This is the sorta response someone is going to get from folks I've heard speak on the subject (Not that I have ever asked . . .  once I am 2% obedient, I'll worry about it). If more followed the above and admitted the part I emphasized, then there would probably be fewer "rumors" flying around.




Thank you Father.

The second part was especially apropos to this thread:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/stevethebuilder/fr._meletios_webber_on_priesthood_and_spiritual_fathers_part_two

I've had high regard for Fr. Meletios Webber as he played a not insignificant role in the life of someone I know who has been very helpful to me.
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« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2011, 12:28:17 AM »

Yes, I suggested the first part hoping folks would stick around for all three...

Here's an interview with Fr. Meletios Webber, the abbot of St. John's Monastery in California that addresses some of these issues:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/stevethebuilder/fr._meletios_webber_on_priesthood_and_spiritual_fathers_part_one


If it is the elder I am thinking it is, much of what is said about him is malicious slander. Also there are those anxious to submit to the elder for prideful reasons and act one way with the elder and then act like tyrants when they leave the monastery.  That goes for some of those who are "dedicated" and those who leave bitter. Why are people exposing their prayer rules to others and complaining against their spiritual fathers in the first place? This is unbecoming to say the least. There is an appropriate way to go about resolving the situation, including going to the bishop.  

TheodoraElizabeth, none of that was directed towards you personally. I just get frustrated because I don't think people handle issues regarding the elder appropriately.

I like the summation on this page about those "seeking" spiritual father in the hyperdox sense.

Quote
As mentioned above, in this relationship [with a spiritual father], the obedience is total. This is why extreme care is necessary, and one should NEVER enter into such a relationship with anyone who does not have an outstanding reputation for this kind of ministry. Of course, the blessing of one’s pastor is mandatory, and indeed, it may be wise to receive the blessing of one’s bishop as well. False “elders” and spiritual fathers do exist, and the potential for abuse is enormous when one offers total obedience to such a person. It is critical to recognize, however, that not only must the spiritual father be of impeccable reputation, a person must be spiritually prepared to enter such a relationship. For most of us living in the world, it is entirely unnecessary. In fact, the desire for a “spiritual father” may be an indication of “prelest,” (spiritual lust) - that a person imagines himself to be far more “spiritual” than he actually is.

This is the sorta response someone is going to get from folks I've heard speak on the subject (Not that I have ever asked . . .  once I am 2% obedient, I'll worry about it). If more followed the above and admitted the part I emphasized, then there would probably be fewer "rumors" flying around.




Thank you Father.

The second part was especially apropos to this thread:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/stevethebuilder/fr._meletios_webber_on_priesthood_and_spiritual_fathers_part_two

I've had high regard for Fr. Meletios Webber as he played a not insignificant role in the life of someone I know who has been very helpful to me.

Sweet, it actually comes with transcripts, now (I had tried listening to this when it came out last year). I tend to not have enough time to listen to podcasts, but I can always knock out a quick transcript reading.
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« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2011, 01:05:38 AM »

Fr. Meletios makes a lot of good points about 'traditional' clergy.  When I was in Romania a few years back, I got a chance to meet 'real' Orthodox priests... most of them farmers during the week.  They were very humble compared to their American brethren.  To be honest, I found them much easier to relate to than American Orthodox clergy.  It might be partly because I never really got into religion in the US until I was received into the Church, and so the American 'clergyman' has always been rather creepy to me, even if he wears a cassock.  American Orthodox clergy are definitely shaped by popular culture, even if it is subconsciously so.  With so many convert clergy (like me), it seems almost unavoidable that the priesthood and our parishes manifest Protestant influences from the general society.

Thank you Father.

The second part was especially apropos to this thread:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/stevethebuilder/fr._meletios_webber_on_priesthood_and_spiritual_fathers_part_two

I've had high regard for Fr. Meletios Webber as he played a not insignificant role in the life of someone I know who has been very helpful to me.
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