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Author Topic: minimum Orthodox church life ?  (Read 824 times) Average Rating: 0
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Феофан
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« on: December 30, 2012, 10:43:20 PM »

I'm reading "Father Seraphim Rose - His Life & Works" with great interest and it makes me realize how far beneath traditional Orthodox practice I am.  On page 611 (in the second edition) Father Seraphim describes what he considers to be the minimum of any normal church life today for the inculcation and preservation of Orthodox piety for laity.  I'm going to discuss this with my priest to figure out what exactly this might mean for me personally but in the mean time I thought I'd ask you all what you think the minimum normal church life should be for laity in order to inculcate and preserve Orthodox piety?
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2012, 10:48:57 PM »

Could you post what Fr. Seraphim said? Perhaps it is quoted online already somewhere (e.g. orthodoxinfo)?

[Obligatory Disclaimer] We really shouldn't talk of "minimum" stuff in Orthodoxy, or just doing "enough." We should always want to do more, and it should be a joy! [/Disclaimer]

Now that that's out of the way. I'd say... morning and evening prayers, pre-communion prayers of some type, fasting when appointed, liturgy attendance regularly, participation in the sacraments as per the norm in your parish, a willingness to cultivate the virtues (humility, etc.) and engage in spiritual practices (almsgiving) to some extent or other, an attempt to lead a good Christian life (e.g. not being a jerk to people at work or school).
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2012, 11:08:04 PM »

 ‘Do all the good you can; do not speak evil of anyone; do not steal from anyone; do not lie to anyone; do not be arrogant towards anyone; do not hate anyone; do not be absent from the divine services; be compassionate to the needy; do not offend anyone; do not wreck another man's domestic happiness, and be content with what your own wives can give you. If you behave in this way, you will not be far from the Kingdom of Heaven.’”
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2012, 11:20:13 PM »

A few things come to mind. First and foremost, Orthodoxy is NOT a minimalist religion; ie, it is not just "what's the least amount of effort I have to make in order to be good?" or like Protestantism, "What's the least amount of effort I have to make to 'be saved' etc". You are called to be perfect (Mat. 5:48)--with God's help of course. You have to try to go to as many services as you can, pray as much as you can and worship God in everything at everytime as much as you possibly can until you are down to your last breath. That being said, however, you also need the guidance of your spiritual father to start you on the course and guide you along the way. So I would recommend speaking to him. Thirdly, I wouldn't consider everything Fr. Seraphim Rose says to be authoritive--no offense to him, but he has also said some very controversial, downright weird things that are not true. So read Seraphim Rose with a grain of salt.
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2012, 11:27:11 PM »

According to the Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Article 18 Section 1:

"The religious, moral and social duties of a parishioner are to apply the tenets of the Orthodox Faith to his/her life and to: adhere to and live according to the tenets of the Orthodox Faith; faithfully attend the Divine Liturgy and other worship services; participate regularly in the holy sacraments; respect all ecclesiastical authority and all governing bodies of the Church; be obedient in matters of the Faith, practice and ecclesiastical order; contribute towards the progress of the Church's sacred mission; and be an effective witness and example of the Orthodox Faith and Traditions to all people."
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2012, 12:49:19 AM »

yes to all, I don't think there was anything so far I didn't agree with... that said, I'd like to clarify my intent was not to reduce effort to a minimum but raise my efforts to the traditional normal practice of Orthodox Christians.  Father Seraphim Rose may not be a saint (yet!) but I have great confidence in his knowledge of Orthodoxy (at least Russian Orthodoxy for sure).  I'm also in no doubt the current practice of many western Christians might be just a dim shadow of what would have been considered normal a few hundred years ago.  I've also come to believe the standards are no lower for us than they ever were just because we have smart phones and an attitude.  I fear we probably need to raise our game considerably.
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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2012, 01:08:42 AM »

In my Parish we are expected to attend the Vigil every Sat. as well and also make a confession each week.
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« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2012, 01:45:55 AM »

In my Parish we are expected to attend the Vigil every Sat. as well and also make a confession each week.
and your vigil is about 2.5 hours long ?   Do you attend similar vigils before every great feast day ?  Do you follow the Jordanville prayer book for morning & evening prayers ? 
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2012, 02:50:54 AM »

The bare minimum for the Orthodox is to do as much as we possibly can.
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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2012, 04:12:16 AM »

The bare minimum for the Orthodox is to do as much as we possibly can.

+1

Basically a good principle. For example some are able to attend services more than others.
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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2012, 07:21:38 AM »

The bare minimum for the Orthodox is to do as much as we possibly can.
+2


I can add that there is also another important rule: we have to constantly develop our spirituality. If we do all the time the same in this are and nothing "improve", we fall back, because in spiritual life theere is no place for stagnation. So all the time we should slowly extend the minimum
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« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2012, 12:17:50 PM »

There's no minimum. There's no maximum actually.  Smiley
Orthodoxy is true and freely chosen love, so how can there be anything in the way of it?
Anyway, I am not saying you should be superman.  Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2012, 12:51:42 PM »

This is one of the things that attracts me to Orthodoxy. As those who know me know, I love my EC parish, but it does seem that we are too often told what the "bare minimum" requirements are for fasting, prayer, etc. rather than what the ideal goal is we should strive for. I know that's not true of every EC church (or RC for that matter), but it does seem to be the norm.
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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2012, 01:19:47 PM »

The minimum, I'm told,  is to become as God created me to be. I am told to try to become the image of God.

This may be an unreachable task, but the minimum is to try to do better that before. So, I think the minimum keeps changing. Although it may not mean more services, but it may mean to get more out of the services I now attend.
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Феофан
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« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2012, 05:39:56 PM »

Although it may not mean more services, but it may mean to get more out of the services I now attend.
I think about this with morning & evening prayers.  When I'm not making an effort to put myself 'inside' the words sometimes I can be reading the prayers with my mouth and simultaneously thinking something totally unrelated with my mind. which is both wierd & useless !   Wink
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« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2012, 06:45:12 PM »

Although it may not mean more services, but it may mean to get more out of the services I now attend.
I think about this with morning & evening prayers.  When I'm not making an effort to put myself 'inside' the words sometimes I can be reading the prayers with my mouth and simultaneously thinking something totally unrelated with my mind. which is both wierd & useless !   Wink

Same here.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2013, 12:42:39 PM »

Although it may not mean more services, but it may mean to get more out of the services I now attend.
I think about this with morning & evening prayers.  When I'm not making an effort to put myself 'inside' the words sometimes I can be reading the prayers with my mouth and simultaneously thinking something totally unrelated with my mind. which is both wierd & useless !   Wink

I've been told that that is very common, and I can relate very well.
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Феофан
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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2013, 03:40:08 PM »

Although it may not mean more services, but it may mean to get more out of the services I now attend.
I think about this with morning & evening prayers.  When I'm not making an effort to put myself 'inside' the words sometimes I can be reading the prayers with my mouth and simultaneously thinking something totally unrelated with my mind. which is both wierd & useless !   Wink

Same here.  Embarrassed
The real Theophan suggests memorizing parts or all of the morning & evening prayers and I find that really helps.  I haven't memorized very much but when I close my eyes and repeat those parts it's much easier to be connected somehow.  I didn't memorize for this reason but because I liked some things so much I wanted to be able to recall them during the day.  You probably have parts like that too... why not make them your own? 
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