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Author Topic: Communing Non-Chalcedonians  (Read 9968 times) Average Rating: 0
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dllwatkins
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« on: August 02, 2004, 07:49:45 PM »

I have always thought the Russian Church does not commune Coptic Orthodox because they are Non-Chalcedonian, or monophysite, and not considered truly Orthodox.

Am I mistaken, or is this really the case?  Has something changed, ecumenically speaking, to allow the communion of Coptic Orthodox?  Is it a case by case basis, according to economia?

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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2004, 08:29:19 PM »

Is there a reason you are asking? I don't think the Church of Russia has much contact with Coptics.
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2004, 08:38:09 PM »

Yes, the reason is this past Sunday the priest at my church ministered confession to a Coptic couple, and was going to commune them; however, they had a small child and left early so as not to disturb the service, and so, did not actually receive communion (their first visit - they didn't realize we have small children wreaking havoc during the services and it's generally okay).

They had previously contacted the church by phone and came to bring something to the priest.  As far as I know they were not being "received."  I wonder now if they had some kind of news about intercommunion, but I don't think so.  They had come early to talk with the priest and told him they were Coptic Orthodox.

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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2004, 08:50:50 PM »

It is straightforward.  Coptic Christians are not Orthodox Christians; hence may not receive mysteries (sacraments) in an Orthodox Church.  

Back when our city had no church to serve Christians from Eritrea, our archbishop allowed Eritrean infants to be baptized as Orthodox Christians, from his pastoral discretion and concern that the babies needed life-bestowing baptism and Holy Communion.  Only these Orthodox babies could receive Holy Communion.  Their parents had to convert to Orthodoxy if they wanted to receive Communion.  Now that our city has an Eritrean church, we have only a few of the families still with us.
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dllwatkins
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2004, 08:57:27 PM »

It is straightforward.  Coptic Christians are not Orthodox Christians; hence may not receive mysteries (sacraments) in an Orthodox Church.
4Truth,
This is what I've always understood.  I was really shocked and disturbed Sunday (this past weekend) when this happened.  Even Confession is a sacrament, and they did in fact receive it.  I attend a Patriarchal (MP) parish in the US, with a priest from an OCA seminary.  After service, during trapeza, someone asked the priest if we could commune Copts, and he said yes.  No one at the table said anything, it was silent, till a comment was made on a different topic.
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2004, 09:04:58 PM »

Whatever transpires, just don't let it become a "scandal" among the parish.  Get to know the people for themselves (if they return); don't think of them as "labels" (i.e. "Copts").  You can voice your concerns privately to the priest and, if your concerns continue, quietly approach your bishop.  If a loving welcome is given to the family, as you all get to know them, you all gently can raise the relevant issues.  Most likely, they are not aware of how matters really stand, from never having been told.
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Ben
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2004, 11:58:46 PM »

I have personally seen large groups of Non-Chalcedonians communed at a GOA Cathedral and an AA parish. It happens.....I don't know if it should, but it does happen.
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2004, 12:04:46 AM »

P.S. An OCA priest once told me that NCs are "recieved" into the Eastern Orthodox Church by confession *only*, and under some extreme circumstances, he could hear their confession, and commune them, even without them being first "recieved" into the Church.
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« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2004, 03:39:54 AM »

so what is the difference between Copts and Easter Orthodox exactly?
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« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2004, 12:21:00 PM »

While I don't think things like this should become the norm (on both sides...I don't think we should commune EO regularly either, since we regard ourselves as the Orthodox Church) until various issues are resolved, reality is often less "straightforward" than we'd like to admit.
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dllwatkins
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« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2004, 05:27:26 PM »

I don't think we should commune EO regularly either, since we regard ourselves as the Orthodox Church
I was going to ask about this; I assumed this would be the case on "the other side" also.

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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2004, 06:51:19 PM »

Quote
have always thought the Russian Church does not commune Coptic Orthodox because they are Non-Chalcedonian, or monophysite, and not considered truly Orthodox.

Am I mistaken, or is this really the case?  Has something changed, ecumenically speaking, to allow the communion of Coptic Orthodox?  Is it a case by case basis, according to economia?

Russians are probably among the few Orthodox who categorically refuse to commune Copts and other Oriental Orthodox. This is done frequently, however, in violation of the Holy Canons and with the blessing of both the respective Eastern and Oriental Orthodox bishops.

Many Orthodox theologians and hierarchs believe that all theological differences between the Eastern Orthodox and Orientals have been overcome, but this is far from the truth. And even if it was the truth, our two churches remain separated; therefore, until administrative and ecclesial unity is achieved, only Eastern Orthodox should be communed or confessed within Eastern Orthodox Churches.
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« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2004, 07:24:33 PM »

I had submitted a post in another thread on this topic, more or less;

... specifically, what if an "EO" such as myself wished to be united to, for instance, The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (and its Sister Churches, such as the Coptic, Indian Orthodox, Syrian, Armenian...) -

How would one go about thus "converting" from the Eastern Orthodox to the Oriental Orthodox fold, if this was decided upon as a matter of Faith, conscience, or whatever ...

?
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2004, 07:43:57 PM »

Russians are probably among the few Orthodox who categorically refuse to commune Copts and other Oriental Orthodox. This is done frequently, however, in violation of the Holy Canons and with the blessing of both the respective Eastern and Oriental Orthodox bishops.

Many Orthodox theologians and hierarchs believe that all theological differences between the Eastern Orthodox and Orientals have been overcome, but this is far from the truth. And even if it was the truth, our two churches remain separated; therefore, until administrative and ecclesial unity is achieved, only Eastern Orthodox should be communed or confessed within Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Eactly!  And I think almost everyone here is in agreement.  Too bad Linus and Joe flew off the deep end and left the board.
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« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2004, 08:58:02 PM »

dllwatkins

Perhaps you should research the issue from both sides of the debate, and then talk to your priest if you are still concerned?
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dllwatkins
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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2004, 09:51:25 PM »

dllwatkins

Perhaps you should research the issue from both sides of the debate, and then talk to your priest if you are still concerned?
Yes, I should talk to the priest.  I wonder if it's something to leave a parish over.  There are four Orthodox churches in town and this one is the most traditional.  I would think if they're doing it, the others probably are, too.  I can think of a parish 2 1/2 hours from here that I'm certain is not doing this.

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« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2004, 09:54:59 PM »

If you did, I could sympathise (I left the Antiochians over the issue).
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« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2004, 11:08:50 AM »

Do most people take Communion in other churches when they are far from home?

Being in another country I attend a church of a different heirarchy. I love the church here and have no problems with it whatsoever, however I do not confess (nor obviously take communion). At this church it is normal to sometimes receive oil on the head- in my particular church we don't receive this on a usual basis, therefore I too abstain from this act. Being the only Orthodox church within the entire province of Madrid, there are many people who follow this manner. Until now I didn't think that it would have bothered people from the Church if I abstained, or if others (e.g from EO churches) DID partake in Holy Communion.

Should people who aren't in Communion stay away and should people who are in Communion accept all the practices of the host Church? I am used to prostrating to the ground after the 'Doistone Est' prayer, and I am usually the only one who does this. Ought I to just cross and bow forward in line with the other parishoners? Or are my particular idiosyncracies (sic) OK?

Am not trying to be devil's advocate here... just would like to know out of pure (innocent and friendly) interest. Cheers all.

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« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2004, 11:14:16 AM »

If you're in communion with the church you're attending, why wouldn't you do what they do, and receive the Sacraments there?    Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2004, 11:25:53 AM »

Quote
I am used to prostrating to the ground after the 'Doistone Est' prayer, and I am usually the only one who does this. Ought I to just cross and bow forward in line with the other parishoners? Or are my particular idiosyncracies (sic) OK?

"When in Rome..."

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« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2004, 11:43:06 AM »

I agree with Schultz; you should follow the customs of the parish you are attending.

I used to not kneel on Sundays, but at my GOA Church everyone does so (even the Priest) .... so I started to do it so I do not set myself apart from the other parishoners nor appear "overly pious" to them.
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« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2004, 11:50:33 AM »

When in Rome.. true... unless you are literally in ROME. Smiley

I don't know, I just think that if I have always prostrated fully after certain prayers, or for example do not move during the trisagion or Cherubic Prayer, I should (or at least have the right) to maintain that stance in any church I go to. In my church here everyone sits down when the Bishop signals for us to, yet I don't. I cannot bring myself to sit down in a church. When we go to venerate the Gospel, I prostrate twice, make the sign of the cross, kiss it, and prostrate again. Maybe this annoys some people who have to wait behind me (hehehe) but this is my tradition. It's as important to me (and my identity as an Orthodox Christian) as is crossign from right to left. being in Spain there are many converts who still cross left to right. I don't mind, live and let live. No?
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« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2004, 11:56:20 AM »

.... so I started to do it so I do not set myself apart from the other parishoners nor appear "overly pious" to them.
 

wow.  Shocked we ought to be concerned abotu appearing overly pious? what? seeming too orthodox? i most certainly wouldn't want to change my beliefs out fo fear of seeming too pious nor not pious enough. i do the things i do because it is how i demonstrate my faith. i don't kneel during the amen amen amen, but do prostrate after the presentation of the mysteries to the church 'vsegda inine i prisno, i vo veki vekom' - it's what i know.

unfortunately many of the parishoners have mobile phones on in church - AND ANWSER THEM!!!!  Angry even though the priest and bishop have asked for them to not do so on many occasions. in order to fit in should i switch mine on when i enter church?

(ok that's a bit over the top, i just don't necessarily think that total conformity is necessary).
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« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2004, 05:41:04 PM »

Linus left the board?? really? when and did he ever leave a post as good-bye?
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« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2004, 07:13:56 PM »

I'm a 'hardliner' and only prostrate at weekday Divine Liturgies, even at my home GOA parish, and "never on Sunday". My fellow parishoners at my wife's ACROD parish noted this also about me and questioned the priest at their last 'Adult Education Class'; he replied that ole' Demetri was being proper - to their great surprise.
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« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2004, 08:39:43 PM »

Demetri,

it's the exact same rule in the Coptic Church, but it's normal practice here, can you explain the reason behind that tradition in the Greek Church?

yours,
mourad
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« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2004, 11:40:20 PM »

Michael,

I do not agree with what Tom is saying in this particular thread, but I do agree with the jist of what he said. Being humble means doing that which will draw the least attention to yourself... and standing (or even sitting) even as everyone else is kneeling is not exactly a way to remain "below the radar".
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« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2004, 12:44:58 AM »

I think that it is cool to partake of the sacraments in any of the Eastern Orthodox churches, as long as the churches are real Orthodox churches in communion with each other. It doesn't matter if it is greek, russian, antiochian, ect.....  If the sacraments are there, then I'm there; for there is only one Church.

We are not in communion with only one jurisdiction, but with Christ and His holy Church. We need to be on guard not to be  "religious".

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« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2004, 05:09:31 AM »

Demetri,

it's the exact same rule in the Coptic Church, but it's normal practice here, can you explain the reason behind that tradition in the Greek Church?

yours,
mourad

I know we're letting this topic wander a bit but, mourad, I'm not sure here. The best I can come up with is that we really were one church at one time - not two churches which broke communion- and must have common shared traditions.

To explore our meandering topic a little further, I do understand how, and maybe why, the Greek parishes here began to kneel or prostrate on Sundays as explained to me. Historically Divine Liturgy was celebrated daily and many faithful attended, prostrating appropriately. When in the US the Greek parishes were limited for many reasons to only Sunday Divine Liturgy, it was seen as acceptable to prostrate on Sunday because the faithful were denied this devotion during the week. A rather weak argument to me.

Demetri
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« Reply #29 on: August 05, 2004, 04:32:24 PM »

I wonder now if they had some kind of news about intercommunion, but I don't think so.  I could hear parts of the conversation as I attended to the lamps before the Hours.  They had come early to talk with the priest.



SHAME ON YOU!!! Shocked

A family comes to your temple and has confession-like conversations with your priest and you eavesdrop?! I strongly suggest the next time you "overhear" private conversations with a priest, that you begin praying loud enough so your ears are not tempted to sin again.

How your priest ministers to this family is between the family, your priest, the bishop and God. Your only job is to love and accept them as Christ commanded.

Not only do you eavesdrop, but then you have the aduacity to gossip about it on the internet! And shame on the rest who responded without also recognizing this sinful behavior yourselves! Shocked

Rather than gossip further here....you need to confess to your priest that you are a nosy, eavesdropping, busy body who gossips on the internet about what you hear during others' confessions. Perhaps if your priest is aware of your weakness he will insure you are no longer tempted.

You do not know this family. You do not know their situation (despite what you think). Shame on you for passing judgement!

I pray your eavesdropping has not driven them away.

I pray in the future you will mind well to not put yourself in situations where you "overhear" private conversations with a priest again....try praying when these opportunities to sin are presented....it works!
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« Reply #30 on: August 05, 2004, 04:54:04 PM »

My apologies...but I was angered but what I saw posted here. I stand by my preceding post but wanted to end on a more positive note.

I am truly blessed to be a member of a parish that welcomes all to Christ's love as expressed by the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church -- the true faith.

We have Ethiopians, Eritreans, Greeks, Albanian, Romanians, Ukranians, Pols, Russians, Slavs, Irish, ENglish, Mexicans, AMericans, Cambodians...you name it we have them all. We exclaim "Indeed He is Risen!" in more than 12 languages. We have the wealthy, the poor, the educated, the homeless, the celibates and the whores....all are welcome.

Rather than pickk nits about who is more Orthodox than whom, in general we try to express our love for each other as God intended and Christ taught us. We have a fun parish. I have never heard gossip there. Everyone comes together. There is no concern among the laity about who is entitled to receive confession and Holy Communion...that is for the indivuals, the priests, the archbishop and God.

I pray one day you can all be as blessed as I am to be a part of a community of faith that is like mine.

Christ wants us all in one Church...and yet here and elsewhere we all too often see people who keep cutting up his body in little bits while passing judgement on others.

May Jesus Christ, Son of God, forgive us all and have mercy on us sinners.
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« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2004, 05:12:25 PM »

Quote
Christ wants us all in one Church...and yet here and elsewhere we all too often see people who keep cutting up his body in little bits while passing judgement on others.

Yeah, like those Church Fathers guys. What audacity! Like when most of the world was semi-Arian, why couldn't they just go along with the program? Oh, that unloving and sectarian Athanasius!
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« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2004, 05:14:58 PM »

Quote
Christ wants us all in one Church...and yet here and elsewhere we all too often see people who keep cutting up his body in little bits while passing judgement on others.

Yeah, like those Church Fathers guys. What audacity! Like when most of the world was semi-Arian, why couldn't they just go along with the program? Oh, that unloving and sectarian Athanasius!

I feel sorry for you....

Your post strikes me as being written by one who will never see the horizon ahead because you are too busy concerning yourself with where you have been.
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« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2004, 07:16:40 PM »

Indeed, even add to your daily prayers "O Lord make me like the wonderful spartacus"
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« Reply #34 on: August 05, 2004, 07:57:57 PM »

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A family comes to your temple and has confession-like conversations with your priest and you eavesdrop?! I strongly suggest the next time you "overhear" private conversations with a priest
Hello Spartacus,

It was not a "confession-like" conversation at all.  They were talking openly in the nave.  If there is someone in confession and I am the only one there I say the Jesus prayer to myself while I am trimming lamps or doing other duties.  Otherwise I read the pre-communion prayers.  The couple did go to Confession, but that I did not hear.

Quote
You do not know this family. You do not know their situation (despite what you think). Shame on you for passing judgement!
I am unaware of how I passed judgment or in what way I think I know their "situation."

Quote
I pray in the future you will mind well to not put yourself in situations where you "overhear" private conversations with a priest again
I did not put myself in any situation.  We have a small church and a priest that talks with people openly in the nave unless it is private.  Anyone reverencing icons, lighting candles, filling out names with prosphora, trimming wicks, preparing service materials, etc, is going to hear these conversations.
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« Reply #35 on: August 05, 2004, 08:09:45 PM »

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We have a fun parish.
Yes, this is more important than councils and dogmas.

Quote
I have never heard gossip there.
If you have never heard it then it must not exist.

Quote
There is no concern among the laity about who is entitled to receive confession and Holy Communion
We are never "entitled" to receive the grace of God.  What are you talking about here?

Quote
I pray one day you can all be as blessed as I am to be a part of a community of faith that is like mine.
Are you quoting the Bible where it says "Thank you, Lord, that I am not like this man."
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« Reply #36 on: August 06, 2004, 10:58:20 AM »

Well again, forgive me if I came about harshly but Gossip is one of my pet peeves. No good ever comes of it.

Given the nature of our temples we often overhear conversations between parishioners and priests. I think it is absolutely critical that what is said between parishioners and priests remains strictly confidential between them even if it is not in the context of a formal confession.

If your priest decides to hear a confession or give Holy Communion to someone you do not know, that is between the person, your priest, the Bishop and God. Should you become unsettled by what you see your priest doing, you should address those matters with your priest...not on the internet or among other parishioners. I suspect you will often find your priest has valid reasons for doing what he does.

When you discern, make your discernments based only on facts...not on parts of overheard conversations, heresay (gossip) or mere impressions. If you have concerns or questions about what your priest is doing. Give him the respect you yourself would want, and ask your questions directly of him.

For many years I would spread and share in gossip (I was in the newspaper business and it is part of the craft). My wife still does unfortunately. But then I started thinking before opening my mouth...asking myself "What good will come about by my mentioning this?"

Please allow me to share a universal defense to use when one hears gossip and is aksed to participate. My pat response is always "I will not argue with you." Say this enough times to even the densest of peole and they get the message -- you are unwilling to participate in gossip even when asked. You are neither agreeing or disagreeing with what they say, you are merely abstaining.

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« Reply #37 on: August 06, 2004, 11:03:35 AM »

Yes, this is more important than councils and dogmas.

Having a fun parish more important than councils or dogmas? -- no...but having  a fun, friendly parish where all are welcome is a sign that people "get it". It is a sign that the parishioners understand the spirit behind all the Councils and Dogmas...and Christ's greatest commandment to love each other. It is not hard to have a fun parish when everybody loves and respects each other and starngers are welcomed as family. In fact it is impossible not to have a fun parish when everybody "gets it".

I ask everyone here....are we more concerned with being "Orthodox" or "Orthodox Christians"?
« Last Edit: August 06, 2004, 11:05:18 AM by spartacus » Logged
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« Reply #38 on: August 06, 2004, 11:09:19 AM »


I ask everyone here....are we more concerned with being "Orthodox" or "Orthodox Christians"?

Those terms mean the same thing, spartacus- Christian.
Hence, we don't judge others (or are not supposed to).

Demetri
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« Reply #39 on: August 06, 2004, 11:11:10 AM »

FWIW, the Antiochians regularly communicate Syrian Orthodox in the Middle East, this is widely known and noone is breaking communion over it (well, at least noone who is in communion with Constantinople Smiley).  I have also seen Ethiopian Orthodox receive the Eucharist in SCOBA parishes in the USA.  As far as I'm concerned, it's not my issue, it's the Bishop's issue, and if it's okay with him then it's okay with me on issues like this one.
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« Reply #40 on: August 06, 2004, 11:31:25 AM »

FWIW, the Antiochians regularly communicate Syrian Orthodox in the Middle East, this is widely known and noone is breaking communion over it (well, at least noone who is in communion with Constantinople Smiley).  I have also seen Ethiopian Orthodox receive the Eucharist in SCOBA parishes in the USA.  As far as I'm concerned, it's not my issue, it's the Bishop's issue, and if it's okay with him then it's okay with me on issues like this one.

Yes, and several others have said stuff like this before.  I don't doubt it is happening, but be careful what you say.  There are parishes like mine (and I guess spartacus's) where the Ethiopian/Eritereans ARE Orthodox Christians.  You don't want to scandalize, but especially something that is not scandalous to begin with.

spartacus,
I realize you love your parish and I'm sure it's a great one, but I'm not surprised at the response(s) you got as you came as pharasaical whether you intended to or not.  Have a nice weekend.
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« Reply #41 on: August 06, 2004, 11:44:25 AM »

spartacus,
I realize you love your parish and I'm sure it's a great one, but I'm not surprised at the response(s) you got as you came as pharasaical whether you intended to or not.  Have a nice weekend.

I am greatly saddened when I see and hear laity who seem more concerned with matters best discussed among priests and Bishops than they are about living their own lives as Christ told us.

"pharasaical"? From my perspective people who bicker and debate about just who is in communion with whom and who can receive which sacrements based on private conversations overheard in the temple....without even first discussing the matter with their priest....are the ones who are "pharasaical".

And no I was not surprised by the reponses I saw either....saddened but not surprised. Orthodox Christianity is not a set of rules on a checklist -- that is Roman Catholicism. The Holy SPirit moves within our Church and we all need to be more willing to accept that many times the Holy Spirit does not manifest in ways we expect.
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« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2004, 02:30:48 PM »

I pray one day you can all be as blessed as I am to be a part of a community of faith that is like mine.

spartacus,
Again, this was the phrase that I'm talking about - one of the two points people are jumping on you for.  You may be meaning this in all humility, but it certainly didn't come across that way to several of the posters here.  As I've advised others in the past (and have been jumped on myself when I made quick retorts), think and read over what you type before you click on submit.  TGIF.
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« Reply #43 on: August 06, 2004, 02:33:01 PM »

I stand by my statement....
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« Reply #44 on: August 06, 2004, 04:54:17 PM »

I think it should go without saying that those who are not members of the local Church, or members of other local Churches in communion with them (if they are travelers) should not be communed.  This is a principle that has theological/ecclessiological underpinnings, and it is abundantly reflected in the canonical tradition of the Church.

Saying this, there is a danger in letting every perceived misdeed of a Priest be grounds for scandal.  While it is eminantly up to the Priest himself to avoid causing scandal, if he fails in this, we should try to rise above it and not pour oil on the flames.  Spartacus has a point, in so far as there could be things about the situation brought up at the begining of this post which are not apparent, and butting one's nose into it without invitation is not called for.  There is going to be much, both good and bad, which was not apparent to us in this life.

At the same time, the phenomenon of communing non-Chalcedonians has become something of a pandemic in some parts of the Orthodox world.  I wouldn't say this is due (mostly) to an overtly syncretistic ideology on the part of those Priests doing this (or the Bishops who let it happen), but due to profound misunderstanding on the part of those allowing this.  There are some Orthodox academics and Bishops (and unfortunately clergy in the parishes influenced by the banter eminating from these) who really believe that the "non-Chalcedonian" situation has been setteled, and that all that is left are formalities still being sorted out.  In other words, the Priests who allow this (typically OCA and Antiochians, but this is not at all unknown in the GOA as well), often genuinely believe that the non-Chalcedonians are "Orthodox Christians" without any qualification.  This is carelessness on their part, and they are playing with fire - they are certainly violating the rules of the Church in proceeding in this way.

Unfortunately the problem is being irritated on a much larger scale by the activities of the Patriarch of Antioch himself.  The various agreements signed between his representatives and the non-Chalcedonians basically amount to saying formally what the errant Priests who commune non-Chalcedonians tacitly believe - that this is all an issue of semantics (and more to the point, always has been which I think is the truly false conclusion), and as such "we" (in this case the Patriarchate of Antioch) can proceed as it see's fit.

I can sympathize to some extent with this thinking, since in terms of praxis the non-Chalcedonians are not a problem (as far as I'm aware).  Also, my experience is that the non-Chalcedonians I have spoken to, in many words materially do believe in the faith of Chalcedon.  What I think is manifestly not true, is that this always has been and universally was the case even going back to the events which caused the non-Chalcedonians to be seperated from the Orthodox Church, and that it is not necessary for these "materially" Orthodox believing modern non-Chalcedonians to be in unity with the Church while remaining precisely this - non-Chalcedonians!  The Holy and Ecumenical Councils rightly divide the faith - thus, even granting to our modern non-Chalcednian friends that they materially (even if talking in circles and using different terminology) agree with the Church, there can be no visible formal unity with them, if they do not visibly, formally profess the same faith.  Even the most liberal, "economia" receptions of seperated communities into the Church (such as is evidenced in long standing Russian practice) involve at least one thing - repudiation of falsehood and a clear, unambiguous confession of the Orthodox faith, whole and entire, including an affirmation of the Ecumenical Councils and the traditions of the Church.

To simply say that such an affirmation in so many words is not necessary, is to put to a lie the idea that any real "visible unity" exists!  What "unity"?!  Such a union is bogus - what you have maybe is "agreement" (even in large part), but not the visible, canonical unity of the Church which is what any unia should be working to effect.

Orthodoxy is not Papism - She does not appeal to "communion with this or that Patriarchate(s)" as the litmus test of authenticity.  Fundamentally it is a fidelity to truth, and the confession of it, which effects and manifests this unity.  Thus, from an Orthodox p.o.v. simply "concelebrating" and effecting an administrative unity is meaningless.  Not only does this not effect unity, but it actually drags those Orthodox who involve themselves in it out of the Church, by creating schism.  And I fear this is precisely what is going to happen if the Antiochians do not put a stop to this and reconsider - the Patriarch of Jerusalem has already written strongly worded letters to the Patriarch of Antioch, adominishing him to stop this.  We need this kind of mischief (that the Antiochians are up to) like we need a hole in the head.  Such ill advised pandering to heterodoxy has already caused divisions in the Church, and very painful enduring ones at that.

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