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Author Topic: The Christian East  (Read 3962 times) Average Rating: 0
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Peter J
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« on: May 18, 2012, 10:44:42 AM »

We often hear about the Christian East and Eastern Christianity -- in fact, two of the forums I'm most familiar with are "The Christian East and West" and "Eastern Christianity" respectively.

I'm wondering if anyone would care to share what these two terms, the Christian East and Eastern Christianity, mean to you? (Also, do the two terms mean the same thing?)
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2012, 11:48:22 AM »

We often hear about the Christian East and Eastern Christianity -- in fact, two of the forums I'm most familiar with are "The Christian East and West" and "Eastern Christianity" respectively.

I'm wondering if anyone would care to share what these two terms, the Christian East and Eastern Christianity, mean to you? (Also, do the two terms mean the same thing?)

When I hear about Eastern Christianity, I usually think of the Eastern Orthodox Church or Eastern-rite Catholicism. The Christian East could be associated with three different groups: Orthodox Christians in Eastern and Southern Europe, Middle Eastern Christians, and Oriental Orthodox Christians in the East.
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 01:42:03 PM »

P.S. There's also another forum called  "East & West". (It's composed of two sub-forums called "E&W: Catholic Eastern Churches" and "E&W: Orthodox Eastern Churches", which makes me wonder why the overarching name is "East & West" and not "East & East". )
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 01:51:51 PM »

The "Christian East" is...

1) Heavily influenced or descended from a Church in which Greek is the primary language
2) Holds as central the tradition of funny hats
3) Has "Orthodox" or "Catholic" in the name
4) Is currently not under the Pope of Rome in some form
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 03:03:26 PM »

I don't like that term. So phyletic.
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 04:09:54 PM »

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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 04:36:44 PM »

We often hear about the Christian East and Eastern Christianity -- in fact, two of the forums I'm most familiar with are "The Christian East and West" and "Eastern Christianity" respectively.

I'm wondering if anyone would care to share what these two terms, the Christian East and Eastern Christianity, mean to you? (Also, do the two terms mean the same thing?)

When I hear about Eastern Christianity, I usually think of the Eastern Orthodox Church or Eastern-rite Catholicism. The Christian East could be associated with three different groups: Orthodox Christians in Eastern and Southern Europe, Middle Eastern Christians, and Oriental Orthodox Christians in the East.

Curious ... so, for you, "the Christian East" doesn't include Eastern Catholics?
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2012, 09:17:51 PM »

I don't like that term. So phyletic.

Me, too.

There is orthodox Christianity and there is heresy: it doesn't matter how funny the hats are.
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 10:56:29 AM »

I'm wondering if anyone would care to share what these two terms, the Christian East and Eastern Christianity, mean to you? (Also, do the two terms mean the same thing?)

P.S. Personally, I don't see a difference between "the Christian East" and "Eastern Christianity"; but I do think a distinction should be made between Eastern and Neteastern (just as I would distinguish between Orthodoxy and Netodoxy, or between Catholicism and Netholicism).
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2012, 11:15:38 AM »

To me, "Christian East" refers to geography, and "Eastern Christianity" refers to theology and ecclesiology.

There is orthodox Christianity and there is heresy: it doesn't matter how funny the hats are.

Agree.
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2012, 11:59:46 AM »

The terms "Christian East" and "Eastern Christianity" are expressions of ecclesiological ignorance that are often used by those who wish to ignore and deny the reality of existing schisms and the serious dogmatic differences which resulted in these schism.  The terms are often used in an attempt to ignore truth to promote the deception that schisms are merely the byproduct of geography and ethnicity.
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2012, 12:18:12 PM »

The terms "Christian East" and "Eastern Christianity" are expressions of ecclesiological ignorance that are often used by those who wish to ignore and deny the reality of existing schisms and the serious dogmatic differences which resulted in these schism.  The terms are often used in an attempt to ignore truth to promote the deception that schisms are merely the byproduct of geography and ethnicity.

Same thing with saying something like: "It's the 6th largest city in the United States east of the Mississippi." It's all just a conspiracy to deny the truth by hiding behind geographical divisions! Why do they want to count cities like Los Angeles and Houston out? I'll tell you why! Beause they have an evil, wicked agenda to make the east the only important part of the country and to deny our true unitedness of states!
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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2012, 09:03:49 AM »

BTW, I should probably mention that I've been a parishioner at  Eastern Christian churches (Melkite to be specific) since 2002, even though I haven't done an official "change of rite". (I realize many of you know this already, but some may not and I don't want anyone to think that I'm trying to "bash" Eastern Christianity.)
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« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2012, 06:55:20 PM »

The "Christian East" is...

1) Heavily influenced or descended from a Church in which Greek is the primary language
2) Holds as central the tradition of funny hats
3) Has "Orthodox" or "Catholic" in the name
4) Is currently not under the Pope of Rome in some form

What if it doesn't?
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« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2012, 07:00:17 PM »

The "Christian East" is...

1) Heavily influenced or descended from a Church in which Greek is the primary language
2) Holds as central the tradition of funny hats
3) Has "Orthodox" or "Catholic" in the name
4) Is currently not under the Pope of Rome in some form

What if it doesn't?

All 4 are negotiable, but I am the final authority who decides what exceptions are allowed.  Cool
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2012, 07:28:30 PM »

The "Christian East" is...

1) Heavily influenced or descended from a Church in which Greek is the primary language
2) Holds as central the tradition of funny hats
3) Has "Orthodox" or "Catholic" in the name
4) Is currently not under the Pope of Rome in some form

What if it doesn't?

All 4 are negotiable, but I am the final authority who decides what exceptions are allowed.  Cool

Hmm, and what does the final authority say about the Assyrian Church of the East? Are they part of Eastern Christianity?
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2012, 07:39:33 PM »

Hmm, and what does the final authority say about the Assyrian Church of the East? Are they part of Eastern Christianity?

They are hairy ticks, but they get a pass since their official name has the word Catholic in it.
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2012, 06:48:28 AM »

Hmm, and what does the final authority say about the Assyrian Church of the East? Are they part of Eastern Christianity?

They are hairy ticks, but they get a pass since their official name has the word Catholic in it.

IC. I guess I should have expected this sort of legalism.  Tongue
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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2012, 06:53:35 AM »

The "Christian East" is...

2) Holds as central the tradition of funny hats

They're not "funny".

video:Orthodox
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« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2012, 07:02:42 AM »

The "Christian East" is...

2) Holds as central the tradition of funny hats

They're not "funny".

video:Orthodox

I'm crying.

edit:

BTW What church is in the beginning?
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 07:11:41 AM by Michał Kalina » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2012, 07:58:22 AM »

The "Christian East" is...

2) Holds as central the tradition of funny hats

They're not "funny".

video:Orthodox

I'm crying.

See? I told you they're not funny.

BTW What church is in the beginning?

Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Our Lord,  228 N. 12th Street, Brooklyn NY

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« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2012, 08:06:20 AM »

Another question (that I don't want to start a separate thread for): is "easternness" a real word? Or should that be "easternicity"?
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« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2012, 10:28:16 AM »

Hmm, and what does the final authority say about the Assyrian Church of the East? Are they part of Eastern Christianity?

They are hairy ticks, but they get a pass since their official name has the word Catholic in it.

IC. I guess I should have expected this sort of legalism.  Tongue

Orthodox are very juridical in how they approach life!

But Seinfeld... it's hard to argue with Seinfeld...
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« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2012, 10:47:55 AM »

Thanks, Peter J.
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« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2012, 09:28:50 AM »

You're welcome. BTW, is it "Eastern Christian" or "eastern Christian"? I've always used the former, but I never really thought about it.

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« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2012, 07:40:30 AM »

Something was said to me a couple days ago, that I think is one of the most helpful things I've heard regarding terms like Eastern Christian and Eastern Christianity. This is from the Administrator (John) at The Byzantine Forum:

Quote from: Administrator
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Excerpt from Board Rules you agreed to at Registration:
The Byzantine Forum welcomes all newcomers to our on-line community. This forum is mainly a community of Byzantine and other Eastern Christians who share a common historical and theological heritage. As such, it is an Eastern Christian forum and not specifically a Catholic forum. Roman Catholic and other Western Christians who have come here to learn about how we express our faith in Christ are warmly invited to participate, but we make clear that the primary purpose of this forum is to exchange information and ideas and not to engage in heavy apologetics. If you have come to overload us with apologetic quotes to test how "Catholic" we really are, please don't bother to register - that is simply not how we live out our lives of faith.
If you would like to read the whole thing, then log out and take the first step to register.

Put it this way. Eastern Christians - both Catholic and Orthodox - are the hosts and the immediate family members of this community. Roman Catholics, Protestant and other Christians are our cherished brothers living next door. Non-Christians are our neighbors who live across the street. All are welcome.
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« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2012, 08:30:57 AM »

Does anyone here include the Assyrians under "Eastern Christianity," and if not, why not?
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« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2012, 06:44:26 AM »

Does anyone here include the Assyrians under "Eastern Christianity," and if not, why not?

That's one of the things I'm wondering. (Asteriktos is saying that they are.)
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« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2012, 05:29:29 PM »

Basically repeating what I already said, but I likewise don't recall ever hearing 'being an Eastern Christian' held up as relevent goal/status of any kind.

This ^^ is from another thread, but my response to it seems more appropriate to this thread. I think the following quotes, while not seeking to define Eastern Christianity, do indicate that it's a meaningful term:

Quote from: maqhth
I am glad you are here, Father...  We made a good run with you...  And some of those Eastern Christians are here too, even though the ones remaining are suffocating under the weight of the Roman Catholic presence...  I hear Ghosty, bless the radiant integrity of his soul, is about to pull out...  It is just too shameful...

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Quote
Quote from: Apotheoun on November 12, 2007, 02:05:20 AM
I was sorry to see the closing of the Eastern Christianity forum at CAF.

Almost all of my posts have been deleted.
 
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Quote
Quote from: Apotheoun on November 12, 2007, 04:37:52 AM
Sad to say, but the new Eastern Catholicism forum appears to be designed to force Eastern Catholics -- like me -- to conform to Latin doctrinal formulations.
I have the highest regard for your depth of knowledge.

I am sad to see what has happened at CAF, but very glad to see your posts again. I detect a sense of muted response from many now. It's sad because the first exposure people have to Eastern Apostolic Christianity should be eyes wide open, for their sake. 

Welcome here, and good luck everywhere you post.

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(Emphasis added.) Those are both from the thread catholic answers forum bars orthodox dicussion -- which, oddly enough, was about the closure of the Eastern Christianity Forum at CAF. (I imagine there are tons of other such quotes, but I don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time searching for them.)
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« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2012, 09:09:52 PM »

This ^^ is from another thread, but my response to it seems more appropriate to this thread. I think the following quotes, while not seeking to define Eastern Christianity, do indicate that it's a meaningful term:

Another example to illustrate the meaningfulness of the term Eastern Christian, also from OCnet but more recent (much more in fact -- less than 11 minutes after I posted the above!) is this from the discussion of the Immaculate Conception:

[snip]
As I have repeatedly argued on this forum, Orthodox polemicists need to stop accusing Catholics of being guilty of "original guilt."  It's just irresponsible.  See this series of blog articles on original sin that I wrote several years ago when I was Catholic.  

May I also suggest that the real question here is one with which both Latin and Eastern Christians have struggled, namely, the salvific necessity of Holy Baptism.  Thus we read in the Orthodox Confession of Dositheus:
[snip]

(boldface added) This manner of speaking is highly familiar to me (see below) but what's noteworthy is that the above is from an EO (and EO priest in fact).

-------------------------------------

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
But for us Eastern Christians the person that is most perfectly configured to the person of Christ is not the priest, but the monk.

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
For Eastern Christians I would phrase it differently,

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
A big part of the underlying psychology between the Eastern and Western Churches is that Roman Catholics see their priests in the same light that we Eastern Christians see our monks.

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
Eastern Christianity has traditionally seen canon law as

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
As a general rule, all Eastern Christians do not use the word "Purgatory." This includes both Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians. The word "Purgatory" is specific to the Latin tradition, and carries some specific historical baggage that makes Eastern Christians uncomfortable.

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
There are two terms used in the definition that are completely foreign to Eastern Christian theology: "merits" and "stain." Both of these terms are of very late origin, and came to mean very specific things in the scholastic system. But to us Eastern Christians, who still use only the theological expressions of the Church Fathers, these terms are completely alien. So is this a problem, or isn't it?

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
Traditionally Eastern and Western Christianity have arrived at very different definitions of "original sin," which means that we approach Mary's immaculate state from different perspectives.

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
It is necessary for the Catholic Church to demonstrate a real and tangible respect for Eastern Christianity, which has been happening more and more during the past century.

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
The draw toward Orthodoxy never vanishes, because it is in reality the draw toward the fullness of our Eastern Christian tradition.

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
This difference in no way ruptures our communion with the Latin Church. Rather, it highlights what is distinctive about Eastern Christian theology: a heavy emphasis on mystery.

Quote from: Dr. Anthony Dragani
However, the deeper aspects of the renewal, including a personal intimacy with the Holy Spirit and charismatic gifts, are found in Eastern Christianity. Eastern Christian spirituality has always placed a tremendous amount of emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit.

(Boldface added. All quotes taken from the East To West website.)
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« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2012, 08:30:02 AM »

Does anyone here include the Assyrians under "Eastern Christianity," and if not, why not?

That's one of the things I'm wondering. (Asteriktos is saying that they are.)

Just to clarify, I was mostly joking earlier in the thread, though I do think there is some utility in using terms like "Eastern Christian." I agree that they are imprecise at best, and probably in some ways misleading. However, I think they also help to make a point that would be difficult to make otherwise. If you speak to many Christians in the US, Canada, Australia, etc. about the ancient Church, what springs to mind is probably the group that is now usually called the Roman Catholic Church. If you try to say Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox, it probably doesn't mean much: it's just one among thousands of Christian groups, at best it probably just seems like some nationalistic variation. But by introducing a term like "Eastern Christianity" you can, hopefully, begin to hint at the fact that there was more diversity than people often realise. Diversity not just in language, but in custom and culture, in theological approach, in ecclesiastical government, in biblical interpretation, etc.* Admittedly, the term does violence to the fact that the "east" and "west" were generally unified, and even when there wasn't unity it wasn't simply a matter of east vs. west. And of course it also relies on a fairly subjective and debatable idea of what constitutes east and west to begin with. Still, I think, with most people, that the terminology is more helpful than not.


*And of course, this diversity is not just between east and west, but between various places in the east, various places in the west, etc., but one step at a time...
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« Reply #31 on: June 05, 2012, 08:37:01 AM »

I'm wondering if anyone would care to share what these two terms, the Christian East and Eastern Christianity, mean to you? (Also, do the two terms mean the same thing?)

For me those are basically historical and geographical terms. It means EOs, OOs, Eastern Catholics and Nestorians.
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« Reply #32 on: June 05, 2012, 01:37:17 PM »

I'm wondering if anyone would care to share what these two terms, the Christian East and Eastern Christianity, mean to you? (Also, do the two terms mean the same thing?)

For me those are basically historical and geographical terms. It means EOs, OOs, Eastern Catholics and Nestorians.

What I get from Peter J's quotes is that it is a vague term which can mean different things in different contexts, such that the original general question is largely unanswerable.

In some contexts (actual geography, historical circumstances of dealing with Muslim conquest) the ACoE are Eastern Christians, while I (American convert) am not. But in other contexts (when 'Eastern Christian' is being used to refer to the theological tradition running from St. Athanasius through the Cappadocian Fathers to St. Maximus and St. John of Damascus down to St. Gregory Palamas--i.e., as primarily expressed in Greek and contrasted with the developments in the West), I am an 'Eastern Christian' while they are not.

In the same way, there are certain senses where a 'cradle' Byzantine Catholic born and raised in Pittsburgh is definitely an 'Eastern Christian'; certain senses in which he is definitely not, and certain senses in which whether he is or is not is disputed (i.e., when 'Eastern Christian' is being used as a historically understandable but theologically weak synonym for "Orthodox).

As such, when a question such as "should I be an Eastern Christian" is asked without context, it's impossible to answer.
"Do you mean a Christian living in Eastern Europe or the Middle East?" Answer: I don't know, do you *want* to live somewhere in the east? (nothing to do with religion)
"Do you mean a Christian with family and cultural ties to the Eastern Europe or the Middle East?" Answer: unless you are born that way, you can't be. don't be silly.
"Do you mean an Orthodox Christian". Orthodox Answer: Yes. Latin/Byzantine Catholic answer: No or "you can be without actually joining an Orthodox Church"
"Do you mean a Christian that uses a liturgy historically associated with the East?" Orthodox answer: if you aren't going to adopt the theology that goes with it, then it's irrelevent.
etc, etc.
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« Reply #33 on: June 29, 2012, 09:29:40 AM »

I'm wondering if anyone would care to share what these two terms, the Christian East and Eastern Christianity, mean to you? (Also, do the two terms mean the same thing?)

For me those are basically historical and geographical terms. It means EOs, OOs, Eastern Catholics and Nestorians.

What I get from Peter J's quotes is that it is a vague term which can mean different things in different contexts, such that the original general question is largely unanswerable.

In some contexts (actual geography, historical circumstances of dealing with Muslim conquest) the ACoE are Eastern Christians, while I (American convert) am not. But in other contexts (when 'Eastern Christian' is being used to refer to the theological tradition running from St. Athanasius through the Cappadocian Fathers to St. Maximus and St. John of Damascus down to St. Gregory Palamas--i.e., as primarily expressed in Greek and contrasted with the developments in the West), I am an 'Eastern Christian' while they are not.

In the same way, there are certain senses where a 'cradle' Byzantine Catholic born and raised in Pittsburgh is definitely an 'Eastern Christian'; certain senses in which he is definitely not, and certain senses in which whether he is or is not is disputed (i.e., when 'Eastern Christian' is being used as a historically understandable but theologically weak synonym for "Orthodox).

As such, when a question such as "should I be an Eastern Christian" is asked without context, it's impossible to answer.
"Do you mean a Christian living in Eastern Europe or the Middle East?" Answer: I don't know, do you *want* to live somewhere in the east? (nothing to do with religion)
"Do you mean a Christian with family and cultural ties to the Eastern Europe or the Middle East?" Answer: unless you are born that way, you can't be. don't be silly.
"Do you mean an Orthodox Christian". Orthodox Answer: Yes. Latin/Byzantine Catholic answer: No or "you can be without actually joining an Orthodox Church"
"Do you mean a Christian that uses a liturgy historically associated with the East?" Orthodox answer: if you aren't going to adopt the theology that goes with it, then it's irrelevent.
etc, etc.

Another aspect of this issue, which for some reason didn't occur to me when I started this thread, is where does the term the Eastern Lung fit in? Does it mean the same as Eastern Christianity? Does it mean the same as the Christian East? Or is it synonymous with neither?
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« Reply #34 on: June 29, 2012, 11:36:02 AM »

"Eastern Lung" is the non Latin tiny minority of the Vatican communion.
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« Reply #35 on: June 29, 2012, 12:29:59 PM »

"Eastern Lung" is the non Latin tiny minority of the Vatican communion.
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« Reply #36 on: June 29, 2012, 01:48:21 PM »

We often hear about the Christian East and Eastern Christianity -- in fact, two of the forums I'm most familiar with are "The Christian East and West" and "Eastern Christianity" respectively.

I'm wondering if anyone would care to share what these two terms, the Christian East and Eastern Christianity, mean to you? (Also, do the two terms mean the same thing?)

They're sometimes synonymous, sometimes not.  For example, Eastern Catholics, though they use the word 'East', are not Eastern in their phronema.  They are Latin with an Eastern veneer.
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« Reply #37 on: June 29, 2012, 04:50:12 PM »

For example, Eastern Catholics, though they use the word 'East', are not Eastern in their phronema.  They are Latin with an Eastern veneer.

Is this the whole "You're not really Eastern unless you're Orthodox" business? If so, I've heard it before and so far I'm not terribly impressed by it.
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« Reply #38 on: June 29, 2012, 05:11:55 PM »

For example, Eastern Catholics, though they use the word 'East', are not Eastern in their phronema.  They are Latin with an Eastern veneer.

Is this the whole "You're not really Eastern unless you're Orthodox" business? If so, I've heard it before and so far I'm not terribly impressed by it.

Wasn't trying to impress anyone; you asked a question and I responded in truth.  Wink
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« Reply #39 on: June 29, 2012, 05:13:29 PM »

For example, Eastern Catholics, though they use the word 'East', are not Eastern in their phronema.  They are Latin with an Eastern veneer.

Is this the whole "You're not really Eastern unless you're Orthodox" business? If so, I've heard it before and so far I'm not terribly impressed by it.

Wasn't trying to impress anyone; you asked a question and I responded in truth.  Wink

Hey don't make me come over there!
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2012, 05:33:12 PM »

For example, Eastern Catholics, though they use the word 'East', are not Eastern in their phronema.  They are Latin with an Eastern veneer.

Is this the whole "You're not really Eastern unless you're Orthodox" business? If so, I've heard it before and so far I'm not terribly impressed by it.

Wasn't trying to impress anyone; you asked a question and I responded in truth.  Wink

Hey don't make me come over there!

 Smiley
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« Reply #41 on: June 29, 2012, 07:02:39 PM »

For example, Eastern Catholics, though they use the word 'East', are not Eastern in their phronema.  They are Latin with an Eastern veneer.

Is this the whole "You're not really Eastern unless you're Orthodox" business? If so, I've heard it before and so far I'm not terribly impressed by it.

More properly, you're not really orthodox unless you're orthodox.
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« Reply #42 on: June 29, 2012, 07:42:33 PM »

But those are really 2 completely different statements

Quote
You're not really Eastern unless you're Orthodox

Quote
you're not really orthodox unless you're orthodox.
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« Reply #43 on: June 29, 2012, 07:46:40 PM »

But those are really 2 completely different statements

Quote
You're not really Eastern unless you're Orthodox

Quote
you're not really orthodox unless you're orthodox.

Agreed. As far as I'm concerned, being eastern is neither here nor there.
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« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2013, 10:01:02 PM »

Not trying to restart this thread, but I was just thinking: It seems like the terms "Eastern Christianity" and the like are becoming elusive.  This is just based on my limited experience, but I just don't seem to hear those terms nearly as much now as a few years ago; and when I do hear them, usually they just seem to be dropped into conversation without any standing-behind.
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