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Author Topic: Spiritual father gave up on me...  (Read 2531 times) Average Rating: 0
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TristanCross
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« on: October 02, 2012, 12:27:15 AM »

My spiritual father (an Archimandrite who has only been Orthodox for a few years), whom I only know from the internet (was introduced to him on Facebook a year ago) and I have been having problems lately. The recent episode between me and him was over me asking him about friendship with non-believers, specifically my best friend.  He told me to look at Luke 18:29. I looked up the verse in my Orthodox Study Bible, and then quoted it back to him. Then I quoted the parallel verse from Matthew (I looked at the Matthew verse because the Bible said to go there for commentary and explanation). He then asked what verse he told me to read. I responded with "Luke 18:29". He then said that he can no longer advise me anymore and that he is wasting my time.

So now I have no spiritual father. Though, my parish priest will obviously fill that role now. My spiritual father is very traditionalist, and actually comes from the Milan Synod. He joined ROCOR recently though. He got mad at me when I questioned the belief in toll houses, and he believes television and rock music are demonic forces to be shunned. Perhaps this is for the best. But his traditionalist thinking that "it must be this way and no other way" and black-and-white thinking has been a burden on me.

He claims that I am disobedient, yet I have given everything up. I quit my band, stopped listening to all secular music, have been avoiding TV, wear my kombiskini on my wrist and pray the Jesus prayer at night, say my morning and evening prayers (sometimes short sometimes long), have read what he told me to read (and had me go back and wanted me to reread The Orthodox Church after I got to page 60 because I asked him a historical question to which he responded, "Go back and read pages 1-59 because you missed some mad sh*t"...-that's an actual quote)...

I'm distraught over all this. He never sees my efforts.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 12:32:57 AM by TristanCross » Logged

"Let the mouth also fast from disgraceful speeches and railings. For what does it profit if we abstain from fish and fowl and yet bite and devour our brothers and sisters? The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbor. "
— St. John Chrysostom
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2012, 12:29:59 AM »

The internets will provide the next SF no worries.
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Thomas
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2012, 12:30:09 AM »

When God closes a door he opens a window---look for  another spiritual father with more experience and insight.
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2012, 12:36:51 AM »

Forgive me, but pesonally I would not call him a spiritual father if I only know him through the Internet and have not met with him in person. Communication is not 100 percent through the Internet, even if you Skype. There's much to be said for meeting in person and the spiritual relationship.

Was he telling you to stop being friends? That seems like crossing the line. A true spiritual father would not give advice like that, it seems to me. It's one thing if your friend was creating difficulties for your spiritual life. At some point, depending on how strong you are, you may have to tell off your friend to stop interferring in your spiritual life. But I can't imagine telling someone to break the relationship just because the person wasn't Orthodox. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding.

The key to the spiritual relationship is freedom. A spiritual father must not impinge on the spiritual freedom of his spiritual child. If he does so, he is overstepping and can do more harm than good.

Now, I'm not saying you're doing this, but many converts it seems gravitate to having a spiritual father, but they don't really know what a spiritual father is. They want something more like a guru--someone to tell them what to do (whether they acknowledge this or not). But this is not at all what a spiritual father is. Rather, he is someone who, after a manner of speaking, takes you to Christ. He decreases, so to speak,so that Christ may increase in the relationship. In other words, it's not about the spiritual father, but about Christ. For an example of this, see Elder Porphyrios.

Real spiritual fathers are a rarity. I've tried looking for one, but one did not materialize. One could have; I was with several, but God in His wisdom did not provide one. He sends them when needed, and they are not always needed by everyone all the time. So, a solid parish priest who will witness your confession and provide encouragement is just what is needed most of the time.
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2012, 12:40:56 AM »

He claims that I am disobedient, yet I have given everything up. I quit my band, stopped listening to all secular music, have been avoiding TV, wear my kombiskini on my wrist and pray the Jesus prayer at night, say my morning and evening prayers (sometimes short sometimes long), have read what he told me to read (and had me go back and wanted me to reread The Orthodox Church after I got to page 60 because I asked him a historical question to which he responded, "Go back and read pages 1-59 because you missed some mad sh*t"...-that's an actual quote)...

I'm distraught over all this. He never sees my efforts.

Lord have mercy.

Following this program, how do you feel? Burdened or free?

It just seems to me that maybe this wasn't a spiritual father for you. Forgive my presumption.
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2012, 12:42:31 AM »

No offense but he looks like a hyperdox herman-type inappropriate word removed-hat. I'd seek out a more experienced spiritual father.

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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 12:50:11 AM »

I feel like he doesn't understand that I am not a monk. Nor am I a novice, nor even a formal member of the Church. Furthermore, obedience is not required for a spiritual son (I've done a little research on the duty of a spiritual father because of this incident. Obedience is not a must; ie: im not bound to believe in toll houses no matter what he says).

I am no fan of him anymore. I've learned more about him in these last few weeks. One such thing would be that he was a part of the milan synod and joined ROCOR bc his parishoners didnt understand why they couldnt commune with other Orthodox Christians. Hes also told me things that are completely against Orthodoxy: such as his belief that Orthodoxy is not for everyone. He believes Orthodoxy is only for intelligent individuals and shouldnt become Orthodox if u cant fathom every single aspect of the faith (he said Orthodoxy has too many intellectual ideas that simple people can't understand).

Shanghaiski,

I don't know what he was trying to tell me. All he did was quote Luke 18:29 and gave no explanation. But that isn't my concern as of now.

You are right in what you say about looking for a guru. He was expecting complete obedience for me, and I frequently was sorrowful over my lack of it (Lord forgive me but understand I am not even chrismated yet!).

I feel burdened that I lost him and feel like I no longer have direction, but free from his bondage at the same time.
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 12:51:36 AM »

Are you a monk?

Since I believe the answer is no, why are you looking for a monastic spiritual father in the first place? The most appropriate spiritual father for neophytes is always your parish priest. The whole 'absolute obedience' thing is something monks embrace--if you aren't ready to embrace that calling (or don't have it in the first place), it's completely inappropriate to be looking for that kind of spiritual father--and if he was more experienced he'd have known that and sent you back to your parish priest in the first place.
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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 12:56:36 AM »

Witega: I never sought a monastic spiritual father. I stumbled upon him though as I was introduced to him from another Orthodox facebook friend (who I maintain a relationship over the phone with now and who was one of my greatest helpers when I began inquiring into Orthodoxy)
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 12:59:35 AM »

Witega: I never sought a monastic spiritual father. I stumbled upon him though as I was introduced to him from another Orthodox facebook friend (who I maintain a relationship over the phone with now and who was one of my greatest helpers when I began inquiring into Orthodoxy)

It's all right. This is common. What convert here, for example, has not run into Fr. Elias of the Sacred Penitentiary of the Burning Bush online? Only to discover that he's, uh, unique. Very, completely, unique. And then one discovers that, for spiritual direction, one does not need or want uniqueness, but stability, serenity, and sanity.
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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 01:08:42 AM »

My spiritual father (an Archimandrite who has only been Orthodox for a few years)
Inappropriate abbreviation removed- Thomas, Convert Issues Moderator

Tristan,

You are not even Orthodox yet. You don't need to seek out a "Spiritual Father". What you need is called a Father Confessor. That's what 98% of normal practicing Orthodox Christians have.

What you experienced was cultism. Fr. Thomas Hopko said people who "want someone to tell them when to go to the bathroom" seek out that sort of thing. You don't have any need of it.

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« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2012, 01:49:44 AM »

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He believes Orthodoxy is only for intelligent individuals and shouldnt become Orthodox if u cant fathom every single aspect of the faith (he said Orthodoxy has too many intellectual ideas that simple people can't understand).

Put this so-called SF in a room full of "simple" yiayies and babushki! They'd soon sort him out, him and his egotism and hubris! Is he full of himself, or what??
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« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2012, 11:02:16 AM »

Are you a monk?

Since I believe the answer is no, why are you looking for a monastic spiritual father in the first place? The most appropriate spiritual father for neophytes is always your parish priest. The whole 'absolute obedience' thing is something monks embrace--if you aren't ready to embrace that calling (or don't have it in the first place), it's completely inappropriate to be looking for that kind of spiritual father--and if he was more experienced he'd have known that and sent you back to your parish priest in the first place.

what he said above!

Luke 18:29 "So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, "
think hes trying to tell you to abandon friend for God?

U not a monk dont act like one-U WILL burn out!
Go to church
receive comunion (if a convert)
read bible
be good person
my pet peve-dont ask soooo many questions

none Orthodox friends are ok as long as they dont pull yo in the wrong direction. btw: u/we dont need to duscuss Orthodoxy with no orthodox. u can mention you faith if it naturally comes up in coversation but dont make a point of it. or try to convert someone>u r a beginer convert right>who does not know everything>so look after your self. dont discuss orthodoxy with ppl who know little abtit they can lead you in the wrong direction.

No spiritual father is needed! be closer to you parigh priest and follow his advice.
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« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2012, 12:11:21 PM »

Are you a monk?

Since I believe the answer is no, why are you looking for a monastic spiritual father in the first place? The most appropriate spiritual father for neophytes is always your parish priest. The whole 'absolute obedience' thing is something monks embrace--if you aren't ready to embrace that calling (or don't have it in the first place), it's completely inappropriate to be looking for that kind of spiritual father--and if he was more experienced he'd have known that and sent you back to your parish priest in the first place.

what he said above!

Luke 18:29 "So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, "

think hes trying to tell you to abandon friend for God, like a monk that abandons family for monastery?

you are not a monk don't act like one - U WILL burn out!
Go to church
receive comunion (if a convert)
read bible
be good person
my pet peeve - don't ask soooo many questions

none Orthodox friends are ok as long as they don't pull yo in the wrong direction. btw: u/we don't need to discuss Orthodoxy with no orthodox. u can mention you faith if it naturally comes up in conversation but don't make a point of it. or try to convert someone>u r a beginner convert right>who does not know everything>so look after your self. don't discuss orthodoxy with ppl who know little about it they can lead you in the wrong direction.

No spiritual father is needed! be closer to you parish priest and follow his advice.

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« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2012, 12:57:38 PM »

My spiritual father (an Archimandrite who has only been Orthodox for a few years), whom I only know from the internet

Nothing more needed to be said after this sentence.  It is the perfect start to a disasterous story.  You have hopefully now learned your lesson and can move on. 

Flee cyber-startzy like the plague.  We need spiritual fathers, and monastic spiritual fathers can be of great help, but great discernment must be exercised in this.  Monasticism does not impart charisms automatically, and many who become monastics remain spiritually sick and unable to properly guide others.  To the extent possible, try to live a real Orthodox lifestyle in the real world, with a real parish, speaking with real clergy, going through a real catechism, being received actually into the Church, partaking of the mysteries, fasting, praying, struggling against the passions, and striving to acquire the virtues. If you make progress as a member of the Church and you find that you need additional guidance, or you wish to visit a monastery, then do so then. 
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« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2012, 01:44:50 PM »

I agree with him about television and rock music being of the devil 100%.

Toll houses were taught by most of the Early Christians.  I don't see a problem with it.
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« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2012, 02:51:07 PM »

Witega: I never sought a monastic spiritual father. I stumbled upon him though as I was introduced to him from another Orthodox facebook friend (who I maintain a relationship over the phone with now and who was one of my greatest helpers when I began inquiring into Orthodoxy)

It's all right. This is common. What convert here, for example, has not run into Fr. Elias of the Sacred Penitentiary of the Burning Bush online? Only to discover that he's, uh, unique. Very, completely, unique. And then one discovers that, for spiritual direction, one does not need or want uniqueness, but stability, serenity, and sanity.

I didn’t know that most converts run into Fr. Elia online.  He is a very dear friend.
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« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2012, 02:55:12 PM »

Dear TristanCross,

Sounds like you're going through an emotionally rough time  Embarrassed. But you're getting lots of good responses on this thread Smiley, especially jah777's. Let's take a look at this point-by-point:

My spiritual father (an Archimandrite who has only been Orthodox for a few years),

If he's a new convert, why does he think he is a spiritual father?

St. Paul told the Corinthians that they had many instructors in Christ, but few fathers. An instructor is someone who can tell you about Christ. Even I can do that. A spiritual father is someone who can say, like Paul, "Be imitators of me, even as I am an imitator of Christ." Do you know anyone who can say that? To my knowledge, I've never met such a person.

The reason priests are called "Father" is not that they are spiritual fathers. With experience, you will see that priests are mortal human beings like you and me.

Quote
whom I only know from the internet (was introduced to him on Facebook a year ago) and I have been having problems lately. The recent episode between me and him was over me asking him about friendship with non-believers, specifically my best friend.

We do not shun non-believers.

Quote
He told me to look at Luke 18:29. I looked up the verse in my Orthodox Study Bible, and then quoted it back to him. Then I quoted the parallel verse from Matthew (I looked at the Matthew verse because the Bible said to go there for commentary and explanation). He then asked what verse he told me to read. I responded with "Luke 18:29". He then said that he can no longer advise me anymore and that he is wasting my time.

So now I have no spiritual father.

A spiritual father is very advanced stuff. You do not need one. This is not Hinduism. Maybe someday (=many years). Most Orthodox will never have a spiritual father.

Quote
Though, my parish priest will obviously fill that role now.

See my first comment.

Quote
My spiritual father is very traditionalist, and actually comes from the Milan Synod.

Do not confuse traditional with traditionalist. One is traditional, the other is not.

Quote
He joined ROCOR recently though.

Your jurisdiction field says you're OCA. Is he currently your parish priest?

Quote
He got mad at me

red flag.

Quote
when I questioned the belief in toll houses,

red flag.

Quote
and he believes television and rock music are demonic forces to be shunned. Perhaps this is for the best. But his traditionalist thinking that "it must be this way and no other way" and black-and-white thinking has been a burden on me.

He claims that I am disobedient,

red flag.

Quote
yet I have given everything up. I quit my band,

unless there's something specifically evil about your band...red flag.

Quote
stopped listening to all secular music,

Does he know that many of the great Church composers were also composers of secular music? This includes composers of chant.

Quote
have been avoiding TV, wear my kombiskini on my wrist and pray the Jesus prayer at night,

The Jesus Prayer with the prayer rope is an advanced practice that I personally would never recommend to someone who was still trying to nail the basics down.

Quote
say my morning and evening prayers (sometimes short sometimes long), have read what he told me to read (and had me go back and wanted me to reread The Orthodox Church after I got to page 60 because I asked him a historical question to which he responded, "Go back and read pages 1-59 because you missed some mad sh*t"...-that's an actual quote)...

So you're not allowed to watch TV, but he's allowed to swear.

How old is he?

Quote
I'm distraught over all this. He never sees my efforts.

God does. Smiley

Ruf
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« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2012, 03:11:40 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!]

When God closes a door he opens a window---look for  another spiritual father with more experience and insight.


In truth, ALL the clergy are mutually our spiritual fathers, so in this regard if you are having too much static on a personal level it would not be a problem to seek another.  I was transferred to another confessor by my first father because he had too many people on his roster, and at first I was crushed! Now, I adore my new confessor all the more.  It doesn't mean you have to be mean or scoff your initial father, in fact, I would still at least take his words to heart, even if you don't understand them.  I would ask this, do you know this father directly or personally aside from online, or is that exclusively a digital relationship?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

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« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2012, 03:44:53 PM »


Wow!

Tristan, I'm sorry you had to go through all this.

Remember the Church is pure, but, not all of her followers are.  This priest may be having his own personal issues to deal with and may not be the "one" best suited to for you to seek guidance from.

As was said, try your parish priest.  If you are uncomfortable with him, find another....but, try to find one you can look at when you speak to him.  If he actually sees you, he can judge your earnestness and be able to help you more.

I've never had anyone I labeled a "Spiritual Father".  I obey my parish priest and my bishop....and if I have a real issue or question that dogs at me, and the esteemed members of this Forum haven't answered to my satisfaction, I will turn to these two first, as I trust their judgment.

You don't know anything about a priest you've only "met" on the Internet...there are a lot of unsavory people out there.  Be careful in whom you put your trust.  Wolves in sheep's clothing, false prophets, etc...

I've trusted priests before, whom I wish I hadn't.  Our trust in them is a strong tool they can use to destroy us....because we are open and believe everything they say.

Clergy participating on this Forum are of course exempt from such a dubious status - and are completely trustworthy!  Cheesy

Tristan, don't let this be a stumbling block to you.

If you have questions concerning the Faith, and need actual guidance, go to your parish priest who knows you and cares for you.

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« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2012, 04:01:53 PM »

Quote
He joined ROCOR recently though.
Your jurisdiction field says you're OCA. Is he currently your parish priest?

Redact this part. I thought the second part of the OP was talking about your parish priest (since you said he would be your new spiritual father).
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« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2012, 04:06:26 PM »

Tristran, I hope you find some peace in this matter. The danger for converts to Orthodoxy is that there are lots of exciting (and inspiring) books about describing incredible events and incredible people. Guess what - most of us are called to be ordinary Christians. Don't chase after extremes of any kind, don't imagine yourself capapable of great feats of ascetiscism. Just fast when the Church calls you to fast, feast when she calls you to feast, and keep saying your prayers. There are millions of faithful "ordinary" Christians around the world living with God. It's enough - don't imagine you have to be an extra special kind of Christian - this thinking will cause you great harm. Take the pressure off yourself, and know that unless you are a monk God doesn't demand more of you than He does of any of those other ordinary Christians you meet in church. Being an ordinary Christian is hard enough for most of us and takes a long time to achieve. Let your priest guide you, befriend people in your parish, and rememeber that those people who do not yet confess Christ are created in God's image and are not evil.
God bless you.
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« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2012, 04:09:47 PM »

"Go back and read pages 1-59 because you missed some mad sh*t"

How old is this guy again?

I think you're best finding a flesh and blood spiritual advisor at an actual church, and not the sort who expects some monastic-style obedience from you.
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« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2012, 04:11:17 PM »

Rufus covered most of it, but I just want to add one other thing that struck me as a major red flag (I know I'm new, but still):

He's an "Archimandrite" after only being Orthodox a few years? Shouldn't it take that long just to become a monk, let alone an Archimandrite? And I have it on good authority that most monasteries don't take new converts anyway. So this is very odd.

The statement that he's from the Milan Synod also worried me a bit at first because I'd never heard of it, and then I found out it started as an Old Calendarist group, but apparently they're back in the Orthodox Church now, so I guess I can't go after them. Still, if his claim to being "traditional" is based on the fact that he's in a group that was in schism until fairly recently, that would bother me.
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« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2012, 04:38:35 PM »

Rufus covered most of it, but I just want to add one other thing that struck me as a major red flag (I know I'm new, but still):

He's an "Archimandrite" after only being Orthodox a few years? Shouldn't it take that long just to become a monk, let alone an Archimandrite? And I have it on good authority that most monasteries don't take new converts anyway. So this is very odd.

Nice catch.
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« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2012, 04:41:12 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Tristran, I hope you find some peace in this matter. The danger for converts to Orthodoxy is that there are lots of exciting (and inspiring) books about describing incredible events and incredible people. Guess what - most of us are called to be ordinary Christians. Don't chase after extremes of any kind, don't imagine yourself capapable of great feats of ascetiscism. Just fast when the Church calls you to fast, feast when she calls you to feast, and keep saying your prayers. There are millions of faithful "ordinary" Christians around the world living with God. It's enough - don't imagine you have to be an extra special kind of Christian - this thinking will cause you great harm. Take the pressure off yourself, and know that unless you are a monk God doesn't demand more of you than He does of any of those other ordinary Christians you meet in church. Being an ordinary Christian is hard enough for most of us and takes a long time to achieve. Let your priest guide you, befriend people in your parish, and rememeber that those people who do not yet confess Christ are created in God's image and are not evil.
God bless you.

Thank you Father, beautiful advice.  Many converts come into the Church with fanciful and ambitious plans and interpretations.  We read books, literature, the Fathers, and the Canons and we get confused by converts zeal.  We idealize monasticism and the monastic approach.  We make Orthodox a hyperbole rather than a healing life by Grace.  This is not just good advice for converts, but cradles as the come to age in adulthood and start in-depth reading the same materials, and getting similarly wrong ideas.  While converts don't always have the ontological or experiential frame-work to understand the Canons and such in the proper context, cradles still can develop a bit of this romantic convert's zeal.  This is all the more why converts and cradle alike need a consistent, challenging, and deeply personal relationship with a spiritual-father, preferably a Confessor, to help assist us all by the Holy Spirit to better understand exactly how, what, and when to implement the subtleties and nuances of the Tradition Smiley

stay blessed,
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« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2012, 04:46:13 PM »

Rufus covered most of it, but I just want to add one other thing that struck me as a major red flag (I know I'm new, but still):

He's an "Archimandrite" after only being Orthodox a few years? Shouldn't it take that long just to become a monk, let alone an Archimandrite? And I have it on good authority that most monasteries don't take new converts anyway. So this is very odd.

Nice catch.

Apparently a lot of priests and such are given the title "Archimandrite" nowadays even if they aren't monastic. I'm not entirely sure why. It's become something like an honorary title.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 04:46:42 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2012, 05:21:11 PM »

He's an "Archimandrite" after only being Orthodox a few years? Shouldn't it take that long just to become a monk, let alone an Archimandrite? And I have it on good authority that most monasteries don't take new converts anyway. So this is very odd.

He was propably received by vesting.

Quote
The statement that he's from the Milan Synod also worried me a bit at first because I'd never heard of it, and then I found out it started as an Old Calendarist group, but apparently they're back in the Orthodox Church now,

No, they are not.
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« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2012, 05:31:21 PM »

Tristran, I hope you find some peace in this matter. The danger for converts to Orthodoxy is that there are lots of exciting (and inspiring) books about describing incredible events and incredible people. Guess what - most of us are called to be ordinary Christians. Don't chase after extremes of any kind, don't imagine yourself capapable of great feats of ascetiscism. Just fast when the Church calls you to fast, feast when she calls you to feast, and keep saying your prayers. There are millions of faithful "ordinary" Christians around the world living with God. It's enough - don't imagine you have to be an extra special kind of Christian - this thinking will cause you great harm. Take the pressure off yourself, and know that unless you are a monk God doesn't demand more of you than He does of any of those other ordinary Christians you meet in church. Being an ordinary Christian is hard enough for most of us and takes a long time to achieve. Let your priest guide you, befriend people in your parish, and rememeber that those people who do not yet confess Christ are created in God's image and are not evil.
God bless you.
Thank you for this, Father. As always your posts are edifying. Peter said the same thing in what to avoid as a convert, which is extremism.
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« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2012, 05:36:12 PM »

No, they are not.

They aren't? No, looks like they aren't. I thought I read they were, on Wikipedia, and then again on an Old Calendarist site (they united themselves to "World Orthodoxy," it said). In that case I'm concerned about that too.
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« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2012, 05:41:24 PM »

I'm sorry about your situation, TristanCross. Hopefully things will get better.

The danger for converts to Orthodoxy is that there are lots of exciting (and inspiring) books about describing incredible events and incredible people. Guess what - most of us are called to be ordinary Christians. Don't chase after extremes of any kind, don't imagine yourself capapable of great feats of ascetiscism.

Gosh, I wish I took this advice 2 years ago during my rebellious SNR-Christian psuedo-mystic phase.  Sad
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« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2012, 05:42:53 PM »

No, they are not.

They aren't? No, looks like they aren't. I thought I read they were, on Wikipedia, and then again on an Old Calendarist site (they united themselves to "World Orthodoxy," it said). In that case I'm concerned about that too.

The former Milan Synod has split into two factions. The one in Europe is now in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate (I think they may even have been absorbed into the MP). The one in America is now known as the Autonomous Metropolia, but I believe they in communion with one True Orthodox jurisdiction in Greece and one in Russia.
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« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2012, 05:44:16 PM »

No, they are not.

They aren't? No, looks like they aren't. I thought I read they were, on Wikipedia, and then again on an Old Calendarist site (they united themselves to "World Orthodoxy," it said). In that case I'm concerned about that too.

There was some kind of schism between the American and European branches of the Milan Synod due to alleged plans of receiving the latter into the Moscow Patriarchate. However such has not happened yet.

It's not the first such schism. In 1989 it's primate alongside 3 or 4 bishops was received into my Church.
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« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2012, 05:52:33 PM »

My spiritual father (an Archimandrite who has only been Orthodox for a few years), whom I only know from the internet (was introduced to him on Facebook a year ago) and I have been having problems lately. The recent episode between me and him was over me asking him about friendship with non-believers, specifically my best friend.  He told me to look at Luke 18:29. I looked up the verse in my Orthodox Study Bible, and then quoted it back to him. Then I quoted the parallel verse from Matthew (I looked at the Matthew verse because the Bible said to go there for commentary and explanation). He then asked what verse he told me to read. I responded with "Luke 18:29". He then said that he can no longer advise me anymore and that he is wasting my time.

So now I have no spiritual father. Though, my parish priest will obviously fill that role now. My spiritual father is very traditionalist, and actually comes from the Milan Synod. He joined ROCOR recently though. He got mad at me when I questioned the belief in toll houses, and he believes television and rock music are demonic forces to be shunned. Perhaps this is for the best. But his traditionalist thinking that "it must be this way and no other way" and black-and-white thinking has been a burden on me.

He claims that I am disobedient, yet I have given everything up. I quit my band, stopped listening to all secular music, have been avoiding TV, wear my kombiskini on my wrist and pray the Jesus prayer at night, say my morning and evening prayers (sometimes short sometimes long), have read what he told me to read (and had me go back and wanted me to reread The Orthodox Church after I got to page 60 because I asked him a historical question to which he responded, "Go back and read pages 1-59 because you missed some mad sh*t"...-that's an actual quote)...

I'm distraught over all this. He never sees my efforts.

I absolutely cringe when I read a post like this one. I don't doubt the sincerity of the OP but I have to call him out on naivete. My gripe is with the gentleman with whom he was communicating.

Others have touched on the oddity of being a 'spiritual father' online only, of being an 'Archimandrite' so few years after being received into Orthodoxy and to his being a 'floater' with no firm roots. All of these are warning signs to the would be inquirer.

As to being 'traditionalist' - that term has been coopted by the super-zealous to mean that none of the rest of us Orthodox practice the traditional faith of our fathers. They are more aptly called 'rejectionists' meaning that they reject the legitimacy of others and they purport to reject all aspects of the modern world in which we live. (Apparently some exempt Youtube and internet forums from their rejectionist beliefs....)  Rejectionists have been out there since Apostolic times and are a threat, in my  estimation, to the spiritual well being of the average person of Faith. Frankly these types reject all of the love, compassion and empathy towards others which our Saviour teaches us are the keys to our salvation along with our love for and service to God.

Look up an Orthodox priest attached to a real parish community. If there are several in your area, check them out, meet with each of them and find one with whom you sense a level of personal connection. That priest is your best spiritual guide and mentor.

Get to know the people of the Orthodox faith community he serves, for after all we are also commanded that wherever two or more are gathered in His Name, He is there in our midst. Don't despair and remember that not all are called to the ascetic life, not all are called to the monastery - most of us have to deal with daily life, its ups and downs, its joys and sorrows, its pleasures and its pains. They are all part of the equation. It is to the example of the lowly Publican, the Prodigal Son and the sisters of Lazarus to which we are charged to emulate- not the High Priests of the Temple of olden times.....
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« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2012, 06:08:59 PM »

I agree with him about television and rock music being of the devil 100%.

I guess Larry Norman is burning in Hell.
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« Reply #35 on: October 02, 2012, 07:06:34 PM »

who has only been Orthodox for a few years

Even if he's not some wannabe internet guru, but the priest of a well established parish, how could he possibly be in a position to act as a spiritual father if he has only been Orthodox for a few years? What experience could he possibly pass on to you or draw from?

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« Reply #36 on: October 02, 2012, 07:14:55 PM »

As to being 'traditionalist' - that term has been coopted by the super-zealous to mean that none of the rest of us Orthodox practice the traditional faith of our fathers.

Balance and discernment have always been part of Tradition, there is nothing traditional about imposing unreasonable burdens on people too spiritually immature to bear them. Sadly, due to such people the term "traditionalist" has become synonymous with "fundamentalist", an attitude quite alien to Orthodoxy. Even more regrettably, those who are truly traditional in their Orthodoxy get lumped together with the fundies and, rather than being a light in the darkness, become a laughingstock for those who relegate anything antithetical to worldly life, anything that involves sacrifice, asceticism or genuine faith to a bygone and backward era. It's a very unfortunate situation that presents people only with lax indifference or rigid fundamentalism. Given that the former will always be unpalatable to someone serious about the faith, they inevitably fall into the latter.
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« Reply #37 on: October 02, 2012, 11:39:41 PM »

my parish priest will obviously fill that role

This should have been your starting point.
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« Reply #38 on: October 03, 2012, 12:33:03 AM »

I can assure you this kind of pastoral malpractice would be equally condemned in as traditionalist a jurisdiction as mine is. As podkarpatska says, pastoral discernment is itself an integral part of Tradition. There's even a canon (can't recall at the moment which) which explicitly states that bishops are not to apply canons to the letter, but must exercise discretion.

Even someone as "super-zealous" as V Moss wrote some valuable pieces on the danger of false eldership.

http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/250/-phenomenon-false-eldership/
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« Reply #39 on: October 03, 2012, 09:26:13 AM »

I can assure you this kind of pastoral malpractice would be equally condemned in as traditionalist a jurisdiction as mine is. As podkarpatska says, pastoral discernment is itself an integral part of Tradition. There's even a canon (can't recall at the moment which) which explicitly states that bishops are not to apply canons to the letter, but must exercise discretion.

Even someone as "super-zealous" as V Moss wrote some valuable pieces on the danger of false eldership.

http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/250/-phenomenon-false-eldership/

I do want to clarify that I am not equating traditionalist with being a fundamentalist or a rejectionist. Frankly, if you do not at least view yourself and your parish community of Orthodoxy Christians as being 'traditionalist', you are probably in the wrong 'pew.' The notion of traditionalism and the degree of the same is oftentimes in the eye of the beholder!

Just as there may be 'false elders' among the ultra-traditionalist Orthodox, they lurk among the rest of us as well and present a danger to any of our souls.
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« Reply #40 on: October 03, 2012, 09:40:14 AM »

I can assure you this kind of pastoral malpractice would be equally condemned in as traditionalist a jurisdiction as mine is. As podkarpatska says, pastoral discernment is itself an integral part of Tradition. There's even a canon (can't recall at the moment which) which explicitly states that bishops are not to apply canons to the letter, but must exercise discretion.

Even someone as "super-zealous" as V Moss wrote some valuable pieces on the danger of false eldership.

http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/250/-phenomenon-false-eldership/

I do want to clarify that I am not equating traditionalist with being a fundamentalist or a rejectionist. Frankly, if you do not at least view yourself and your parish community of Orthodoxy Christians as being 'traditionalist', you are probably in the wrong 'pew.' The notion of traditionalism and the degree of the same is oftentimes in the eye of the beholder!

Just as there may be 'false elders' among the ultra-traditionalist Orthodox, they lurk among the rest of us as well and present a danger to any of our souls.

If you have pews you are in the wrong 'pew.'
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« Reply #41 on: October 03, 2012, 09:50:06 AM »

I can assure you this kind of pastoral malpractice would be equally condemned in as traditionalist a jurisdiction as mine is. As podkarpatska says, pastoral discernment is itself an integral part of Tradition. There's even a canon (can't recall at the moment which) which explicitly states that bishops are not to apply canons to the letter, but must exercise discretion.

Even someone as "super-zealous" as V Moss wrote some valuable pieces on the danger of false eldership.

http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/250/-phenomenon-false-eldership/

I do want to clarify that I am not equating traditionalist with being a fundamentalist or a rejectionist. Frankly, if you do not at least view yourself and your parish community of Orthodoxy Christians as being 'traditionalist', you are probably in the wrong 'pew.' The notion of traditionalism and the degree of the same is oftentimes in the eye of the beholder!

Just as there may be 'false elders' among the ultra-traditionalist Orthodox, they lurk among the rest of us as well and present a danger to any of our souls.

If you have pews you are in the wrong 'pew.'

If you are not being ironic you have made my point my friend.
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« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2012, 11:17:49 AM »

I belong to a listserve maintained by my parish priest and get multiple emails each and every day having to do with the day's readings, saints, and quotes from our Fathers, ancient, old and contemporary. Yesterday I received the following quote and it impressed me how humble the most accomplished monastics are:

"Know then, and never forget, that neither all our capacities and good features, whether natural or acquired, nor all the gifts freely given us, nor the knowledge of all the Scriptures, nor the fact that we have for long worked for God and have acquired experience in these labors, nor all this together will enable us to do God’s will rightly, if at every good deed pleasing to God, which we are about to undertake, at every affliction we wish to avoid, at every cross we have to bear according to God’s will, if, I say, on all these and similar occasions a special divine help does not inspire our heart and does not give us strength to accomplish it, as the Lord said: ‘Without Me ye can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5).  So for the duration of our life, every day and at every moment, we must keep unchanged in our heart the feeling, conviction and disposition, that on no occasion can we allow ourselves to think of relying on ourselves and trusting ourselves."

Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain (ed) and Theophan the Recluse (revision), “On disbelief in oneself,” Chapter Six of Unseen Warfare (derived from ‘Spiritual Combat’ and ‘Path to Paradise’ of Lorenzo Scupoli), Kadloubovsky and Palmer (trs), Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 1987, pp. 88-89.
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« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2012, 11:23:37 AM »

Here is another pearl of wisdom I received today. It may be useful in that it seems to complement Father Spyridon's wonderful advice.

"Just as it is necessary to guard the mind (nous) from ignorance, so is it equally necessary to protect it from the opposite, namely from too much knowledge and curiosity.  For if we fill it with a quantity of information, ideas, and thoughts, not excluding such as are vain, unsuitable and harmful, we deprive it of force, so that it is no longer able to understand clearly what is useful for our true self-correction and perfection. 

Therefore in relation to the knowledge of earthly things, which is not indispensable, even if it is permissible, your attitude should be as of one already dead.  Always collect your mind within yourself, with all the concentration you can, and keep it free of thoughts about all worldly things....Listen to what Saint Basil says: ‘Let listening to worldly news be bitter food for you, and let the words of saintly men be as combs filled with honey.’ 

Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain (ed) and Theophan the Recluse (revision), “On guarding the mind from too much knowledge and curiosity,” Chapter Nine, Unseen Warfare, derived from
‘Spiritual Combat’ and ‘Path to Paradise’ of Lorenzo Scupoli), Kadloubovsky and Palmer (trs), Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 1987, pp. 93-93."

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« Reply #44 on: October 03, 2012, 12:09:28 PM »

Tristran, I hope you find some peace in this matter. The danger for converts to Orthodoxy is that there are lots of exciting (and inspiring) books about describing incredible events and incredible people. Guess what - most of us are called to be ordinary Christians. Don't chase after extremes of any kind, don't imagine yourself capapable of great feats of ascetiscism. Just fast when the Church calls you to fast, feast when she calls you to feast, and keep saying your prayers. There are millions of faithful "ordinary" Christians around the world living with God. It's enough - don't imagine you have to be an extra special kind of Christian - this thinking will cause you great harm. Take the pressure off yourself, and know that unless you are a monk God doesn't demand more of you than He does of any of those other ordinary Christians you meet in church. Being an ordinary Christian is hard enough for most of us and takes a long time to achieve. Let your priest guide you, befriend people in your parish, and rememeber that those people who do not yet confess Christ are created in God's image and are not evil.
God bless you.

Father S. is right! If you are not seeking monasticism, there is no need to follow such rigidity.
God bless your efforts, brother. Seek out your parish priest and get up again.
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