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Author Topic: The golden mean  (Read 1729 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 04, 2003, 03:02:31 PM »

On one thread Orthodoc observed:

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The whole purpose of the Liturgy is centered around the Eucharist.  Since that is the case, then why even go to Church at all, or attend the Liturgy at all if you do not intend to partake?

To receive the graces flowing from the Holy Sacrifice simply from being present and from the real, sacramental presence of God, in His throne room, if you will. Not as good as receiving but worth something.

Quote
It's like the Greek Orthodox Church I've seen with the sign outside that says - Divine Liturgy at 10:00.  Communion at 11:00!  Like they were two separate and disctinct events.  Not to mention when the vast majority of the people in that parish show up!

Indubitably.

When you make the Liturgy overlong and pile one monastic-like practice on top of another as requirements to receive, you end up driving people away from Communion, period.

Quote
The whole purpose of the Liturgy is, once again, the Eurcharist, which is prepared so we can once again be reconciled with God through our partaking of it.

Yes!

And in practice we have gone so far off course. The Greeks never recovered from Turkish rule, practically losing Confession in the process (as has been discussed on another thread), reinforcing infrequent Communion as well. (And only a tiny minority of Greeks, in the world’s only officially Orthodox country, regularly go to church.) I understand Athonite monks commune, if at all, Saturdays, and not Sundays, the Lord’s Day, because of all the fasting rules getting in the way. (No, I am NOT advocating getting rid of the midnight Communion fast.) Sorry, but that’s wack. I know I do the same thing (not receive on Sunday) when I know there will be a marathon of services Sunday. It keeps me away from the Sacrament.

And on another thread, Hypo-Ortho complained about the other extreme as seen among some Catholic congregations, bowdlerizing and uneasternizing the Byzantine Rite:

Quote
I watched a Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Rite online this past week, and I noticed some significant departures from Orthodox rubrics, but these departures were very much in line with Latin Rite "Novus Ordo" practice, i.e., "Latinizations."

Instead of the priest giving the deacon from the chalice to drink of the Precious Blood, the deacon took the chalice off the altar himself and communed himself thereof.  The lay boy altar servers were all communed within the altar instead of outside the altar, as is proper for anyone below the order of deacon according to Byzantine Orthodox rubrics.  But these Ruthenian departures are all in line with Latin Rite rubrics.

(I know these don’t demonstrate the opposite example to infrequent Communion but do show an approach to the Byzantine Rite we don’t want to take.)

To both extremes I say there has to be a better, orthodox, workable way.

A modest proposal: one can benefit from a practical approach and yet remain Eastern. Teach people about when they need to confess (mortal vs. venial sin, for example — not unknown in Russian Orthodox manuals), then have Vespers every Saturday night with Confession afterwards (which a lot of US Orthodox churches already do). Then have a ‘lean, mean’ Divine Liturgy on Sunday that starts on time, at a reasonable hour (9 or 9.30 am?) and lasts about 90 mins. Lose the -+-¦-¦-+ -+ -+-¦-¦-+ litanies. (Have Orthros starting about 8 for those congregations in the Greek tradition, or Third and Sixth Hours the half-hour before Liturgy for those in the Russian.)

Bottom line: if you are in the state of grace (no mortal sin) and have kept the midnight fast (unless dispensed by your father confessor), receive. ‘Approach with the fear of God and with faith.’
« Last Edit: January 07, 2003, 09:32:28 AM by Serge » Logged

sinjinsmythe
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2003, 03:47:50 PM »

What is a venial sin?  What constitutes a mortal sin?  To me a mortal sin would be something like murder, suicide, harming someone seriously.
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Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2003, 07:58:18 PM »

What is a venial sin?  What constitutes a mortal sin?  To me a mortal sin would be something like murder, suicide, harming someone seriously.

One Orthodox priest told me that "sin is sin."  We Orthodox don't differentiate between mortal and venial sins.  We go to Confession to be healed of our spiritual diseases.  It doesn't happen with one Confession--the process is ongoing, so we can't possibly confess all our sins in a single Confession: we hit the ones that are affecting us most deeply at the time, and then let our Father Confessors take it from there.

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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2003, 09:08:42 PM »

Mortal vs. Venial Sins: (according to my early RC upbringing, which of may now be subject to the contemporary RC beliefs in what is serious and what is not.)

A Mortal Sin is any serious offense against the Law of God.  The act must have forethought and carried out in spite of knowing it is serious.  Mortal Sins need to be confessed to a priest prior to receiving Holy Communion.

A Venial Sin is any sin that is not serious. Should be confessed but would not keep you from communing if you didnt confide in a priest at confession time.

eg
Mortal Sin:  Commiting murder.
Venial Sin:  Cursing when you hit your thumb when trying to hit a nail.

Very legalistic, in that, it takes in the gravity as well as the act itself.   One could argue ones self out of a Mortal Sin if for the "right" reasons.  (eg I was hungry and stole a dollar off a street person. )

Rule of thumb, the capital Sins: Pride, Lust, Envy etc. fit the Mortal Sin mold.

I agree with the Eastern churches that sin is sin no matter what.

But what do I know.  Any former RC'rs out there have a more up to date teaching on what makes a sin Mortal? Huh

JoeS


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Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2003, 12:10:00 AM »

AFAIK, the concept of "mortal sins" came into vogue from the Old Testament.  Mortal sins were those that were punishable by death under Mosaic Law in the OT.  Therefore, they affected a sinner's "mortality" in more ways than one.  Stoning, anyone?

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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2003, 01:39:38 AM »

I John 5:17
Every kind of wrongdoing is sin, but not all sin is deadly


Of course the Latin legalistic concept of the above is skewed, but Saint John does seem to indicate there is a division.  To me the general idea is that something ver very minor and not done with much forethought is wrong and harmful for the sould, but will most likely not bring eternal condemnation.  On the other hand doin something very serious with much forethough is VERY deadly to the soul.  In the end it is up to the spiritual father to go through this and help his spiritual child and not a matter for lists of what's mortal and what's venial.  This is my opinion only, and I would love to see some patristics on this concept since I have not yet read any on it.
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2003, 05:35:15 PM »

I remember two priests, both converts to the GOA and AOA respectively, discuss confession and the frequency of communion. To make a long story short, both talked in terms of venial/mortal sin, but of course didn't use those terms exactly. Holy Communion is for the remission of sins, and I think to a certain degree the venial/mortal distinction is useful.

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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2003, 09:16:08 AM »

Dearest brother Serge, you said:
Quote
And in practice we have gone so far off course. The Greeks never recovered from Turkish rule, practically using Confession in the process (as has been discussed on another thread), reinforcing infrequent Communion as well. (And only a tiny minority of Greeks, in the world’s only officially Orthodox country, regularly go to church.) I understand Athonite monks commune, if at all, Saturdays, and not Sundays, the Lord’s Day, because of all the fasting rules getting in the way. (No, I am NOT advocating getting rid of the midnight Communion fast.) Sorry, but that’s wack. I know I do the same thing (not receive on Sunday) when I know there will be a marathon of services Sunday. It keeps me away from the Sacrament.
I doubt you have been to Greece, let alone Mt. Athos, yet you have a tendancy to speak as though you are somewhat of an authority on these matters. You have your own opinion on what you think is the best practice regarding confession and communion and to a certain extent I agree with you. What I cannot agree with is your attitude towards other practices which you do not agree with such as what you allege regarding practice on Mt. Athos. Orthodoxy is not about rules, but rather freedom. There are clearly defined boundaries but within those boundaries there is great freedom and a large range of practices that can all be considered orthodox. Otherwise we would all be following one strict text for the liturgy, there would be no triphonic or tetraphonic singing as all would follow the byzantine form of singing etc. Mt. Athos is a universe away from America. What works for you does not necessarily work for the Athonites and you should not judge their practices which have slowly come about over centuries through much prayerful consideration.

Getting back to the first part of your statement, Greece survived as a culture and nation under Turkish rule solely because of the church. I believe far more damage has been done to Greece by the influx of Western culture in recent times than anything that happened under the Turks. Greece may have suffered terribly under the Turkish yoke but the church thrived.
Me, I'm one of that tiny minority that has to squeeze through the crowd with my children so they can have communion each week. Perhaps all of the minority are gathered at this one church and all the others are empty, but no, I've been to other churches and they have all been close to full too. I'm also seeing a lot more young people in church these days too. It is possible that the situation is different down in Athens, since I can only speak for Thessaloniki.

I'm sorry if I come across a little harsh, diplomacy is not one of my strong points. I hope that you will be gracious enough to point out my own flaws as I am sure they are many. Perhaps I do not readily perceive the problems in my own church since it is through the church in Greece that I came to orthodoxy and I may look at it through rose coloured glasses. If this is the case then I ask your forgiveness.

Your brother, who thinks he is making progress when in reality he remains the least of all, John.
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sinjinsmythe
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2003, 03:07:38 PM »

Prodomos thank you for your excellent post.   You said it right.
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2003, 12:20:25 PM »

The Church of Greece admits to an average attendance rate of about 20% which, for Europe, is quite good. Huh

Still, domestically, Orthodoxy has a strong and positive influence in the life of the average Greek family. If you have ever lived in Greece, you will understand what I mean.

Jude













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