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sinjinsmythe
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« on: January 06, 2003, 05:48:56 PM »

LET'S KEEP OUR DISTANCE

For Orthodox leaders to engage in dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church is both futile and dangerous


Frank Schaeffer
 
Until the Orthodox get good answers to two questions we have no reason to even consider reunion with Rome. These questions are: What authority will the pope have within a newly "unified" church? And what would our worship be like after reunion? Our Orthodox day-to-day relationship with the Roman Catholic community should be the same as it is with all other people of goodwill, one of love and shared common human aspirations. But this love and these shared goals must be rooted in an honest recognition of the very real differences we have. I do not believe Christian love needs to be expressed by formal declarations of reunion. We have the right to ask, reunion with what?

Roman Catholic identity is bound up with papal authority. Talk of the church having "two lungs" (East and West) aside, the truth is that at no time in the foreseeable future is Rome about to relinquish its claim to headship of the Universal Church. (For a complete study see "Two Paths: Papal Monarchy - Collegial Tradition" by Michael Whelton.)

Speaking of union without addressing the issue of papal authority is like two governments trying to negotiate union when one is a democracy and the other a dictatorship. Rome is not about to renounce the bishop of Rome's authority to pronounce "infallibly" on matters of faith and life, a dogma not adopted till 1870. Indeed, as the pope uses his authority to call for unity between Catholics and Orthodox, he handily illustrates our biggest difference: papal-monarchy vs. collegial tradition. What Orthodox bishop could presume to speak for all the bishops, or be in a position to impose "unity" on the whole Orthodox community? We make decisions as a collegial body, in council; no single leader holds exclusive power.

"Reunion" is a misleading word to use anyway, because it implies we Orthodox would be "coming back" to something we left. But the Roman church today is not the one that separated from us in 1054, over this very issue of papal monarchism, as well as the pope's authority to add a new doctrine to the Nicene Creed. Even Western Christians of 1054 would not recognize their church today. Ironically, they would feel more at home in the Orthodox Church than their own, particularly when it comes to worship. This is because Orthodoxy, despite its diverse jurisdictions, has done a far better job of maintaining liturgical integrity and historic practice than have the Roman Catholics within their centralized papal monarchy.

Worship is the one area that should matter most to us. If the Orthodox were drawn into the liturgical chaos of the modernized Roman Church, it would be tragic.

The Roman liturgical tradition has disintegrated aesthetically, and as the beauty of worship disappears, so does awe. Prayer is a teacher, and minimized, modernized prayer fails to teach very much. It is our rich, historic, and theologically packed liturgical tradition that is the treasure of Orthodoxy. How might that change if we blended with a church that has rejected so many ancient traditions of Christian worship--fasts, rites, mystery, and poetry?

Eastern-Rite Catholics may be secure behind the doors of their buildings, but how does it impact them when their sister Roman Rite church down the street has jettisoned ancient tradition? What kind of theological or spiritual "bleed through" occurs? Could we Orthodox retain our fasts, vigils, and liturgies in communion with a body that for decades now has been thoroughly Protestantized and that has replaced a sense of the sacred with trivial entertainment values? Will we Orthodox be merely tolerated in an "I'm OK, you're OK" climate of liturgical relativism? Is there no right way to worship? If there is not, then why do we bother now to fast and pray as did our forefathers?

Drop in on your local Roman Rite parish and witness hand-waving "praise" masses, cookies for children during the Eucharist, interpretive dancers fluttering down the aisles, lame "Peter, Paul and Mary"-style folk music, and all similar trappings of post-Vatican II worship. It's not something we Orthodox want to go near. Nor do some Catholic churches' New Age-flavored classes in Zen meditation and enneagram spirituality have much appeal to people who call themselves "Orthodox" for a reason.

Disneyland exists, but do we all want to move there? Unity with what? That's what we need to ask.

The Orthodox liturgical tradition is too precious to be squandered to satisfy the ecumenist ambitions of any pope, Orthodox bishop, or committee of theologians. Years of fruitless "dialogue" won't be redeemed by a disastrous reunion. As traditional Roman Catholics openly say, modern innovation has destroyed the sense of the sacred in contemporary Roman worship. Traditional Catholics often drive many miles to find one of the few remaining Roman churches that worship in a way that they think can even be called Catholic.

Let us Orthodox count our blessings! Why squander our great treasure of liturgical worship and betray our collegial tradition? Why join ourselves to Rome, when Rome herself can hardly tell us what her worship is or should be, and when it will clearly not renounce the authority it wrongly claimed at the beginning of the second millennium? Orthodoxy has preserved crucial elements of worship without a papal monarchy. And if church is not about worship, what is it about?

 
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2003, 06:19:10 PM »


sinjinsmythe:

Bravo!  You have expressed it much more understandably then I ever could.  I am 100% in agreement with you.
Thanks for this post!

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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2003, 06:35:23 PM »



 Frank Schaeffer may be a good polemicist but it does not mean that his viewpoints are accepted by many Orthodox people.


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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2003, 06:42:47 PM »

Sinjinsmith,

I suppose I would be much more inclined to become Orthodox if I saw a united Orthodox front against homosexual perversion and abortion.  Who in Orthodoxy could have done what Pope JPII did against the rising tide of world infanticide?

Dan Lauffer
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2003, 07:19:58 PM »

I think that he makes a very good point when he mentions the problem of the liturgy (however, I disagree with him in other possitions, that look a little bit protestantized), which will probably be the most important obstacle to full unity in the next years. The liturgical tradition cannot get jeopardized because of Ecumenism, however, I believe that a dialogue is necessary. the interesting thing here is that, in the serious ecumenical dialogues between Rome and the Orthodox, the issue of liturgica devastation has never been brought to discussion by the Orthodox leaders. I think that it is desirable that this issue is discussed too, as soon as possible. Father alexander Schmemann also mentioned this problem.
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2003, 07:29:57 PM »

Sinjinsmith,

I suppose I would be much more inclined to become Orthodox if I saw a united Orthodox front against homosexual perversion and abortion.  Who in Orthodoxy could have done what Pope JPII did against the rising tide of world infanticide?

Dan Lauffer


Dan,

I don't think anyone in Orthodoxy could have done what JPII did, certainly not with an ex cathedra mandate.  Being that Orthodox tradition maintains that all bishops are equal in authority(though there are some more influential than other) we cannot have a mandate "from on high" without having a council, which is one of the reasons that modern Orthodoxy exists in its fragmented state.  While not having a central authority figure can help prevent error from creeping into the church, this central authority figure also has the power to do incredible good if he is a holy man.  

I hold JPII in the highest regard, and believe that he is more of a holy man than a bureaucrat.  He has done so much for the downtrodden all over the world, and I will say Axios to myself when and if he is elevated by the Magisterium at some future date.  For orthodoxy to have such works is dependant on a council of the churches to meet these and other issues of the day.  I pray that we may see such a council.  Until then, we do what little we can, but it will not compare to the power that the Vatican wields.  
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2003, 08:23:00 PM »

Sinjinsmith,

I suppose I would be much more inclined to become Orthodox if I saw a united Orthodox front against homosexual perversion and abortion.  Who in Orthodoxy could have done what Pope JPII did against the rising tide of world infanticide?

Dan Lauffer

Unfortunately, the Pope's efforts have failed to put much of a dent in "the rising tide of infanticide," especially in his own backyard--Western Europe--and in North America, though there seems to have been a bit of a culture shift on the issue of the horrors of abortion. And maybe a decrease in babies aborted?

On the issue of homosexuality, I do not know of any canonical Orthodox Church that DOES NOT adhere to the traditional Christian position on the sinfulness of homosexual relations.

The reality is: Roman Catholicism has neglected  to enforce the traditional position--on homosexuality-- of orthodox Christianity among both the clergy and the laity and she has suffered the evil consequences of rampant homosexual activity among the clergy; certainly not the Orthodox.

On the issue of homosexuality, you should be pointing your finger at your own church.

On the issue of abortion, the Orthodox seem to be seriously and ethically challenged, for the most part.

Jude
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2003, 08:36:00 PM »



 Frank Schaeffer may be a good polemicist but it does not mean that his viewpoints are accepted by many Orthodox people.




I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I would bet you that the majority of Greek Orthodox clergy, monks, seminarians, theological students (male and female), catechists, and active laypersons--in America, Europe, and Africa-- would agree with Frank, if not in all the details, but at least philosophically.

I am not sure about the Slavs, or converts.

Jude
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2003, 08:38:12 PM »

Sinjinsmith,

I suppose I would be much more inclined to become Orthodox if I saw a united Orthodox front against homosexual perversion and abortion.  Who in Orthodoxy could have done what Pope JPII did against the rising tide of world infanticide?

Dan Lauffer

Dan,

I understand your concern about "homosexual perversion."  I feel compelled to ask you how does the rampant sexual misconduct and child abuse scandal among the RC clergy and the cover-up by RC bishops  affect you?   Using your argument, doesn't this make you want to leave the RC communion?   I am 100% anti-abortion but it is also horrendous to save a child's life to only abuse it beyond nightmares in life.


I guess it boils down to this:  perhaps the RC faithful are practicing less abortion (not other forms of "artificial contraception" though), but JPII's moral message seems to have failed to reach some of his own priests and bishops.  

Tony
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2003, 11:17:41 PM »

Quote
I suppose I would be much more inclined to become Orthodox if I saw a united Orthodox front against homosexual perversion and abortion.  

On the outside JPII stamps and pounds his feet at homosexuality (keeps the conservites from leaving the church) but looking at teh problem of a homosexual seminary system has he done anything in reality to the problem or just written a statement.  The local RC parish my sister attends is VERY pro-gay/lesbian, Dan (as are many others I have had expierence with).  

Regarding the abortion issue what is to stop you (if you became Orthodox) from asking your priest if your church could do an all night vigil for the un-born.  Starting with little things at the local level just may get the Orthodox more active.  Still there is no wavering on the church's abortion stance even if she is not nearly as active as she should be.  I understand though where you are coming from on this, as I did talk to my spiritual father about this issue a lot before my chrismation.

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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2003, 07:10:17 PM »

Sinjinsmythe wrote:

>>>For Orthodox leaders to engage in dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church is both futile and dangerous   Frank Schaeffer<<<

Very sober words that should be taken to heart.  A few examples of some of the liturgical experimentation (from an art perspective) can be found at the following sites:

An "icon" of Christ can be found at St. Joseph’s Catholic Mission--which was written by Robert Letnz entitled "Apache Christ":
http://members.aol.com/chloe5/pueblos14.html

The Assumption of the BVM province of the Franciscan Order has its own "iconographer."  Their site Franciscan Order—Assumption of the BVM Province (http://ofm-usa.com/assumption/) has an artist Brother Andrew who has an "icon" shop (Holy Dormition Friary in Sybertsville PA):
http://ofm-usa.com/assumption/Icons/index.html

In this "icon" shop, the Franciscans provide us with some rather (ahem) "interesting" icons:

“Sophia Christ”:
http://ofm-usa.com/assumption/Icons/NB12image.html
“Celtic Trinity”:
http://ofm-usa.com/assumption/Icons/NB9image.html
“Holy Wisdom”:
http://ofm-usa.com/assumption/Icons/BB2image.html

There is another Roman Catholic "iconographer" by the name of Father John Giuliani, who learned some iconographical techniques from Orthodox (like Robert Lentz) and then took it in his own "unique" direction:

“Fr. John B. Giuliani was ordained in 1960, after studying at St. John Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts. In addition, he holds master's degrees in theology, classical studies and American intellectual history. Fr. John resumed an early interest in art at the Benedictine Grange, a small monastic community which he established in 1977 in West Redding, Connecticut.  He studied icon painting under a master in the Russian Orthodox style in New York in 1989, before he began the Native American icons which are on display at The Marian Library. Fr. John's work is meant to ‘celebrate the soul of the Native American as the original spiritual presence on this continent, thus rendering his images with another dimension of the Christian faith.’"  http://www.udayton.edu/mary/gallery/exhibits/oldshow7.html

Some of his "icons" can be viewed at the same site.

Another "iconographer" that received acclaim from the National Catholic Reporter:

“Congratulations to Janet McKenzie for winning The National Catholic Reporter's Jesus 2000 competition.  Her entry, Jesus of the People, beat out almost 1,700 entries from all over the world.  We are pleased to announce that Bridge Building Images is now distributing reproductions of this fantastic work” (http://www.bridgebuilding.com/news.html)
This "icon" can be viewed at: http://www.bridgebuilding.com/narr/jmjep.html

It is examples like these that as a former Roman Catholic who witnessed a lot of the happy-clappy, anything goes, all is groovy, when growing up as a Roman Catholic that I have to concur with Mr. Schaeffer's assessment.  The scary part is that some of these "iconographers" learned some of their technique from Orthodox iconographers and then took their skill and applied to some very questionable applications.

Stephen
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2003, 09:17:40 PM »

Sinjinsmythe quoted Frank Schaeffer:

>>>Eastern-Rite Catholics may be secure behind the doors of their buildings, but how does it impact them when their sister Roman Rite church down the street has jettisoned ancient tradition? What kind of theological or spiritual "bleed through" occurs? Could we Orthodox retain our fasts, vigils, and liturgies in communion with a body that for decades now has been thoroughly Protestantized and that has replaced a sense of the sacred with trivial entertainment values? Will we Orthodox be merely tolerated in an "I'm OK, you're OK" climate of liturgical relativism? Is there no right way to worship? If there is not, then why do we bother now to fast and pray as did our forefathers?
Drop in on your local Roman Rite parish and witness hand-waving "praise" masses, cookies for children during the Eucharist, interpretive dancers fluttering down the aisles, lame "Peter, Paul and Mary"-style folk music, and all similar trappings of post-Vatican II worship. It's not something we Orthodox want to go near. Nor do some Catholic churches' New Age-flavored classes in Zen meditation and enneagram spirituality have much appeal to people who call themselves "Orthodox" for a reason.<<<

I have a question for the Byzantine Catholics of the forum.  I have a pretty good recollection of the havoc that was heaped on the Roman Rite during the years that I grew up as a Roman Catholic in the 1970s and early 1980s.  However, I am not aware or familiar with the affect that the post-Vatican II program had on the faith and practice of Eastern Catholics.  The question is: Did your Liturgy and Services and practice get tampered with to a greater/lesser degree than in the Roman Rite, or did you escape unscathed?

Stephen
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2003, 02:13:23 AM »


I have a question for the Byzantine Catholics of the forum.  I have a pretty good recollection of the havoc that was heaped on the Roman Rite during the years that I grew up as a Roman Catholic in the 1970s and early 1980s.  However, I am not aware or familiar with the affect that the post-Vatican II program had on the faith and practice of Eastern Catholics.  The question is: Did your Liturgy and Services and practice get tampered with to a greater/lesser degree than in the Roman Rite, or did you escape unscathed?

Stephen

Stephen,

I am a former Byzantine Catholic (seminarian) and I would like to offer something on this.  To be fair, most of the "tampering" with the liturgy happened long, long before Vatican II.  If anything Vatican II gave an impulse toward restororation of  most aspects of outward liturgical life, an impulse which waxes and wanes.  

Tony
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2003, 06:43:55 PM »

Stephen:

The icon of Holly Wisdom is amazing! Wink
Only in the Novus Ordo! Cool

If you want to see the miracle of "inculturation" and "expermiental roman masses" you should come here Grin

I agree with what Schaeffer said. The byzantine catholics, and the few people who can attend the Fraternity of St Peter's masses, may feel safe in their chapels, but they're surrounded by the kind of things you've described before. There are many places where the greek-catholic clergy is scarce, and novus ordo priests are asked to celebrate masses there. The VaticanII "spirit" will sure arrive to those parishes too.
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2003, 09:54:54 PM »

Frank Schaeffer wrote:

Quote
Eastern-Rite Catholics may be secure behind the doors of their buildings, but how does it impact them when their sister Roman Rite church down the street has jettisoned ancient tradition? What kind of theological or spiritual "bleed through" occurs? Could we Orthodox retain our fasts, vigils, and liturgies in communion with a body that for decades now has been thoroughly Protestantized and that has replaced a sense of the sacred with trivial entertainment values? Will we Orthodox be merely tolerated in an "I'm OK, you're OK" climate of liturgical relativism?

The treatment of me on another board, which identifies with Byzantine Catholicism, a year ago answers this question. (Summary: I made the same points as Schaeffer, without attacking the Catholic Church as such, and the movers and shakers on the board told me to get lost and basically ran a smear campaign against me, posting and e-mailing people telling them I was a mentally disturbed Roman Catholic.) Underneath the orthodox surface the bleed-through is there*. Even though many Eastern Catholics are personally orthodox. Fact is the folks behind all the changes are calling the shots for these people too and won’t stand for any criticism. (The emperor’s starkers, folks.)

*And, to be fair, in the wacky world of the Internet there are liberal trolls such as gays who mock the Orthodox, too, by posing as the latter.

Quote
Robert Lentz

He has gone off the deep end. In fact, he changed the name of his company from Bridge-Building Icons to Bridge-Building Images after Orthodox complained about his wacky ‘icons’.

Quote
The Assumption of the BVM province of the Franciscan Order has its own "iconographer."  

Agreed. Goofball stuff.

Quote
There is another Roman Catholic "iconographer" by the name of Father John Giuliani, who learned some iconographical techniques from Orthodox (like Robert Lentz) and then took it in his own "unique" direction

And now I’m going to surprise some people. I actually like some of his American Indian-theme icons. They seem orthodox. Traditional iconic poses.

If they’re orthodox AND authentic for the tribe they’re meant for, why not?

The only caveat I can think of is if you’re going to try to inculturate like that, do your homework about the culture whose symbols you are appropriating to 1) ensure orthodoxy and 2) avoid sending the wrong message to your target (tribal) viewership. I read once of an non-Indian ‘iconographer’ like these folks who was commissioned to paint the inside of a Catholic church on an Indian reservation and majorly fouled up. He painted his native version of Our Lady inside a circle, which in the iconography of the tribe said she was a fallen woman or something like that.

The composite ‘Christ’ Lentz’s outfit made looks like an idol: literally making God in one’s own image. An idol to PC. Reminds me of the ethnically ambiguous logo lady Betty Crocker hired some company to make for them a few years back.

Quote
The question is: Did your Liturgy and Services and practice get tampered with to a greater/lesser degree than in the Roman Rite, or did you escape unscathed?

I agree with TonyS:

Quote
To be fair, most of the "tampering" with the liturgy happened long, long before Vatican II.  If anything Vatican II gave an impulse toward restororation of  most aspects of outward liturgical life, an impulse which waxes and wanes.  

In short, Vatican II did not hurt the Byzantine Catholic Liturgy the way it did the Roman Catholic Mass. In fact that Liturgy retained the same objective, iconic, Godward character as both the ‘old’ Mass and the unlatinized Eastern rites. Which is why it has attracted a notable number of refugees, some of whom remain Roman, others of whom actually change their rite.
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2003, 02:09:46 AM »

What you say is true. It's probable that many abuses that became "official" under Vatican II's Mass had already happened.

Priest facing the congregation appeared in Germany, borrowed from the Lutherans in the 1920's. In France 1948, the Cathedral of Lyon, for christmas, celebrated the whole mass in vernacular for the first time.

According to what elder people say, Mexican catholics started having most of the liturgy in vernacular long before Vatican II. The civil authorities also encouraged that practice. This is also confirmed by what happened in the 1970's when the modern mass was made mandatory. The "inspectors" closely watched those priests who celebrated the old mass, and the ones who celebrated the new one were left alone.

About the "tribal" icons, I think it's good for the Church to be misinary aming the native population, but I believe that this must be done by teaching the true faith and eliminating the false one, and not by "mixing" them. Certain aspects of these icons encourage syncretism (and as a Mex boy I-+ve got enough sycretism Tongue)
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2003, 12:17:48 PM »

Remie wrote:
Quote
What you say is true. It's probable that many abuses that became "official" under Vatican II's Mass had already happened

I wasn't aware of this fact.  I knew that during Vatican II, they started tampering with the Latin Rite Mass (in many parishes the priest started facing the people and the "Prayers At the Foot of the Altar" were in many places cut out, and the Mass began with "In nomine Patris...Amen, Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini...Qui fecit caelum..."), but I was not aware that long before Vatican II they were doing experiments.  I certainly support a vernacular Liturgy if that Liturgy is faithfully represented in the vernacular.  Of course the Novus Ordo is not a translation of the Tridentine Rite, but a re-writing of the entire Mass--including the Roman Canon.

Why was Mexico so concerned about making sure priests celebrated the new rite?  What was at stake for government officials?

Serge wrote:
Quote
And now I’m going to surprise some people. I actually like some of his American Indian-theme icons. They seem orthodox. Traditional iconic poses.

You bring out some good points that I had not previously given much thought to.  This inspires a couple of questions:

1) What is the history of Orthodox praxis on this issue?  IOW, what have we done in the past?  When Russia was evangelized by Constantinople and imported the Liturgy and iconography--did Russia develop its iconography such that Christ looked and dressed like a Russian?  I know there are features in iconography that make a certain style unique to a given tradition or place, but how far does that go?  Which leads me to my next question:

2) In the Pre-Columbian American imagery written by Fr. John Giuliani, Christ and the Theotokos are dressed in clothing that is peculiar to the tribe which the artist was trying to identify Christ and the Virgin with.  Is there precedent for this type of approach in history?  Also, how far does one take this?  For example, if someone were to write icons for a newly Christianized tribe in New Guinea or Polynesia, would those icons depict the Theotokos in the local style of dress (if you know what I mean).  What about Christ?

I can see perhaps a certain level of inculturation.  For example you mentioned the bit about the Theotokos being encircled.  Yeah...that's a good point that I can certainly agree.  We would want to make sure that we're not stepping into a taboo of sorts.  But, also if we go too far into inculturation (and I'm not implying that you have proposed this) there is also a danger of losing an accurate depiction of the Christ of history into an abstraction of trying to make Him "relevant" for this or that local situation.  This is perhaps a challenge for missionaries to various tribes.  IIRC, St. Herman, before embarking on the mission to Alaska, spent years studying the culture and native religions so that he could present the Gospel in a context that would facilitate a heartfelt conversion rather than a white-boy's conquering of native customs and religion.

Stephen
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2003, 12:27:47 PM »

It would be nice to study the Japanese Orthodox.  Is there anything in iconography that has imbibed some of their cultural influence?

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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2003, 12:57:10 PM »

[When Russia was evangelized by Constantinople and imported the Liturgy and iconography--did Russia develop its iconography such that Christ looked and dressed like a Russian?]

Well I can take you to a local Ukrainian Church where on the Iconostasis the Theotokos is dressed in a Ukrainian cross stitch peasant blouse, and the Christ Child as a little cossack!

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