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Author Topic: To Oriental or Eastern Orthodoxy?  (Read 3835 times) Average Rating: 0
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gueranger
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« on: January 14, 2013, 10:19:31 AM »

If communion with Rome is not the guarantee of orthodoxy, I find myself at a loss. There are schisms within Orthodoxy. Why should one convert to Orthodoxy as opposed to Oriental Orthodoxy? Do the Oriental Orthodox consider the other Orthodox Churches schismatic?

Please, enlighten me.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 10:19:47 AM by gueranger » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 10:27:26 AM »

If the Oriental Orthodox Churches were named "Non-Chalcedonian Churches of the East", would it still bother you?

Be honest. It bothers you because both have the name Orthodox in them, doesn't it? Isn't that a little goofy?

You have no problem with the Anglicans or Lutherans being different churches because they don't have the name Orthodox in them.
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 10:31:45 AM »

If the Oriental Orthodox Churches were named "Non-Chalcedonian Churches of the East", would it still bother you?

Be honest. It bothers you because both have the name Orthodox in them, doesn't it? Isn't that a little goofy?

You have no problem with the Anglicans or Lutherans being different churches because they don't have the name Orthodox in them.

I think you might be misunderstanding my intention. I'm seriously contemplating converting to Orthodoxy. I live near both an Eastern Orthodox and a Coptic Orthodox Church. If I convert I want to make the right decision... doctrine wise.

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http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-banished-heart-9780567442208/
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 10:36:11 AM »

Don't you also live near an Anglican or Lutheran church? Would they also pull you toward them if they were called the Anglican Orthodox Church and Lutheran Orthodox Church?
« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 10:37:00 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 10:40:51 AM »

Not at all. Whatever you call them, they are the fruit of the Protestant Reformation. I want to be part of the true Church... I used to be certain that was the Roman Catholic Church. Now I'm not so sure. I'm looking East... but not sure where to go.
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http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-banished-heart-9780567442208/
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 11:00:16 AM »

Not at all. Whatever you call them, they are the fruit of the Protestant Reformation. I want to be part of the true Church... I used to be certain that was the Roman Catholic Church. Now I'm not so sure. I'm looking East... but not sure where to go.

Then I think there's no alternative but to look into Chalcedon. Do you agree with the Chalcedonian or non-Chalcedonian position? If like some of us (myself for instance) you think that both sides are effectively saying the same thing, then I think you still have to work out who you think is in schism from whom. It's messy, it's ugly and it's tragic, but if you really are in a quandary, I can't see any way of avoiding taking a good hard look at it.

James
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 11:11:54 AM »

Do you have any good sources to recommend?
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2013, 11:16:16 AM »

Do you have any good sources to recommend?

Acts of the Council of Chalcedon by Richard Price and Michael Gaddis. The whole Chalcedon-issue is disturbing, you'd better just visit both parishes instead of reading up on Chalcedon.
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2013, 11:18:21 AM »

Do you have any good sources to recommend?

Actsof the Council of Chalcedon by Richard Price and Michael Gaddis. The whole Chalcedon-issue is disturbing, you'd better just visit both parishes instead of reading up on Chalcedon.

Interesting. I think I'll have to read and visit.
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http://www.amazon.com/His-Broken-Body-Understanding-Catholic/dp/0615183611

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-banished-heart-9780567442208/
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2013, 11:20:12 AM »

Do you have any good sources to recommend?

For an OO perspective, I highly recommend Fr. V.C. Samuel's book: The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined. Though I'm not sure how easy it will be to procure nowadays.
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2013, 11:45:52 AM »

Do you have any good sources to recommend?

For an OO perspective, I highly recommend Fr. V.C. Samuel's book: The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined. Though I'm not sure how easy it will be to procure nowadays.

Its available for $33.
http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/father-vc-samuel/the-council-of-chalcedon-re-examined/paperback/product-194480.html
« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 11:46:13 AM by dhinuus » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2013, 12:19:37 PM »

Interesting. I think I'll have to read and visit.
I am cradle OO. I visit OO and EO Churches and feel at home at both. I usually don't partake of communion at EO Churches. But I have taken communion from EO Churches when I was at locations without OO churches, ofcourse with the blessings of my OO priest and the EO priest. When I asked the EO priest if I could approach for communion; he lovingly told me "where else would you go ?"

Reading upon Chalcedon is not going to be easy. I tried and gave up. I am still confused about the differences between hypostasis (qnuma), essense (ousia), nature (physis/ kyana), and essense. I am hoping that you have a better mind to be able to comprehend that.

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we must confess the two natures from which the one Christ is, and avoid the cutting into two, and extol one Son and Christ, and one incarnate nature of God the Word...

It is blasphemous to call the one Christ, two natures use the name 'nature' in place of 'individual designation', saying that the ‘Word of God’ is one nature, and the man from Mary another
St Severus of Antioch
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 01:57:38 AM »

Do you have any good sources to recommend?

Acts of the Council of Chalcedon by Richard Price and Michael Gaddis. The whole Chalcedon-issue is disturbing, you'd better just visit both parishes instead of reading up on Chalcedon.
Or both.
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 02:09:26 AM »

If communion with Rome is not the guarantee of orthodoxy, I find myself at a loss. There are schisms within Orthodoxy. Why should one convert to Orthodoxy as opposed to Oriental Orthodoxy? Do the Oriental Orthodox consider the other Orthodox Churches schismatic?

Please, enlighten me.
Dear OP,

Look up the differences between chalcedonian and non-chalcedonian Orthodoxy.  Which do you like better?  Pick that one.

I'm sorry that I can't offer a complex answer with theology, teaching, and this-is-why-they're-wrong words. 

If I were you, I would chose chalcedonian Orthodoxy, or "Orthodoxy" as you've called it.  The simple reason being that there are more EOs in the USA than OOs, and that you're more likely to find an EO Church if you were to move or whatever.

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of who's right and who's wrong, do that, but I'm not getting into it.  If that type of stuff matters so much to you, I don't know if you'll ever be happy with simply attending Church and taking from it what you can.
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 09:39:07 AM »


Dear OP,


OP? Are you assuming that I'm a Dominican? lol

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of who's right and who's wrong, do that, but I'm not getting into it.  If that type of stuff matters so much to you, I don't know if you'll ever be happy with simply attending Church and taking from it what you can.

 I'm just trying to investigate everything I can right now. If it's a fault to be concerned about what is true, then I guess I'm at fault. I'll read some books, visit some churches, talk to some priests. See where the Holy Spirit leads me. Pray for me.

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“Hold firmly that your faith is identical to that of the ancients, deny this and you dissolve the unity of the Church.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

http://www.amazon.com/His-Broken-Body-Understanding-Catholic/dp/0615183611

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-banished-heart-9780567442208/
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2013, 01:44:45 PM »

gueranger, don't feel like you need to take the "make an arbitrary decision" approach some here are recommending. Do what you can to study the issue.
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2013, 03:16:54 PM »

If you study Chalcedon, make sure to:

1) Study the following EO councils as well
2) Study Pope St. Leo's Christology in general, and not just his Tome (which apparently, may or may not have even been written by him) to understand what he means and doesn't mean
3) Read what each of the various sides teach before taking anathemas at face-value - they are almost always inaccurate to some degree
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« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2013, 03:36:59 PM »

Pray for God's guidance on the matter.  I think its hard and to a certain extent silly for us to make a decision on a matter that seasoned theologians for centuries haven't been able to resolve.  God will lead you where He wants you to be, pray for it.
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« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2013, 03:48:29 PM »

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OP? Are you assuming that I'm a Dominican? lol

Original Post[er]
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2013, 03:53:29 PM »

I would recommend also Price and Gaddis on the 5th Ecumenical Council (Constantinople II).  It hammers down St. Cyril's view of the whole matter, and affirms the Alexandrian tradition of sometimes calling hypostasis physis, and that this is legitimate so long as one is not confusing hypostasis with ousia.  It demonstrates the continuity of the Fathers, both Alexandrian and otherwise, with the horos of Chalcedon.      

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« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2013, 04:03:01 PM »

Quote

OP? Are you assuming that I'm a Dominican? lol

Original Post[er]

Exactly.   Wink
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« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2013, 10:41:21 AM »

Another good book on the topic: http://www.lulu.com/shop/father-peter-farrington/orthodox-christology/paperback/product-10969273.html
or in pdf: http://www.lulu.com/shop/father-peter-farrington/orthodox-christology/ebook/product-17565035.html
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« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2013, 01:07:36 AM »

I don't know if this helps or not, but for me one of the reasons
I decided for EO over OO is the distribution and numbers of both churches.
It seems likely to me that Christ's church would have expanded  
beyond Egypt and Ethiopia which are the only two countries where there
are large numbers of OO relative to the rest of the population. As Christ said:
"by their fruits you shall know them".Catholics.  I am not saying that the OO are bad fruit
just that they are not as fertile(in the sense of growing in church membership) as the EO or RC churches. The lack of diversity and stagnation of church membership growth is a
evidence(not a proof) that the church is not catholic.

« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 01:25:06 AM by sheep100 » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2013, 02:36:10 AM »

I don't know if this helps or not, but for me one of the reasons
I decided for EO over OO is the distribution and numbers of both churches.
It seems likely to me that Christ's church would have expanded  
beyond Egypt and Ethiopia which are the only two countries where there
are large numbers of OO relative to the rest of the population. As Christ said:
"by their fruits you shall know them".Catholics.  I am not saying that the OO are bad fruit
just that they are not as fertile(in the sense of growing in church membership) as the EO or RC churches. The lack of diversity and stagnation of church membership growth is a
evidence(not a proof) that the church is not catholic.



Forgive me, brethren, but I had to come out of my extreme, intergalactic hibernation when I read this.  Greetings to all, whether I know you from the past or not.  :-) 

I think those posters who have emphasized the need for studying the Christological issues, becoming familiar with concrete communities, and praying for God's guidance in determining where he wants one to be are on the right track. 

The "numbers" approach described above surely cannot be correct, else Western Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism trump all forms of Christian Orthodoxy.  Is it "numbers plus distribution"?  Even so, the problem remains.  Israel, from which came Christ, has always been a small bit of humanity compared to the rest of the planet, yet we don't discount their "correctness" regarding matters of faith relative to the other nations just because they were not as numerous or well represented across the globe.  They were "right" because they were "right", because God revealed his Word--his truth--to them in a way he didn't to the other nations.  And the Church is the Church because it, too, is "right": what God has revealed and handed down she has kept and passed on without change.  That's what you have to look for, not simply a few vital statistics.   

Is the numerically limited membership and distribution of the OO Churches, whether at present or throughout history, simply an "infertility" issue, or are there other historical factors at play?  Might it, in some way, be an element of divine providence, a "faithful remnant" whom God has seen fit to keep small for whatever reason?  We could ask the same, obviously, regarding the EO Churches, larger than us but smaller than others.  After all, from an Orthodox perspective, the larger numbers and distribution of the Roman Catholic Church have nothing to do with the fact that their beliefs on certain key issues are just plain heretodox (leaving aside for now other factors, like reproduction, wars, relative freedom or oppression, forced conversions and other bad missionary methods, etc.).             

The Church was one, holy, catholic, and apostolic when it was just a hundred and twenty people coming out of their "upper room" hide-out in a city on the borders of the Roman Empire on the Pentecost following Christ's resurrection.  If it maintains that same Orthodox faith, it still remains all of those things two thousand years later, even if it is just forty million or so Egyptians, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Armenians, Syriacs, and Indians in their "homelands" or scattered "abroad".  It's about the faith; don't get distracted by math.       

 
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« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2013, 02:54:38 AM »

IIRC we have an (EO) poster here who translates medieval Arabic OO texts about Christology in his blog. I wonder what was the address? That could interest the OP.
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« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2013, 03:03:04 AM »

WELCOME BACK, MOR EPHREM!!!


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« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2013, 03:03:31 AM »

People can tell I'm happy he's back, right?
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« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2013, 03:07:53 AM »

I find it hard to stomach the idea that the EO are somehow "more catholic" than the OO just because there are more of them in different places. Maybe it's because I'm an ex-RC, but that kind of reasoning leaves a bad taste in my mouth (and betrays a lack of knowledge as to the history of the OO, too; just as the Romans had churches in North Africa or the EO at one time in Christian Sudan, there used to be Syriac Orthodox dioceses in Herat, Afghanistan and other now seemingly-unlikely places). There is also the historical reality of liturgical Byzantinization, which hardly seems like a point in favor of the diversity of the EO. Note that I am not saying that the EO are not diverse, but I don't think the idea that they are somehow more diverse than the OO stands up to scrutiny. Trying to look at it dispassionately, we can say that both churches include European and non-European native churches. The major difference that might broach the question of culture or universality is in their relative distribution: EO is generally more European (in that the majority of its native churches are the national churches of European people), while OO is more non-European (" " non-European people). But so what? Both have also expanded greatly in the world relative to where they were just 100 years ago, and don't show any signs of tempering their commitment to the missionary imperative. There are OO and EO churches in many, many parts of the world now. 400+ native Bolivians now attend weekly at the Coptic cathedral in La Paz, up from 1 Copt (yes, one person, and he wasn't even a Bolivian) who was there to greet Fr. Youssef when he arrived in the country on December 14, 2000. I am sure there are similar stories that the EO can tell.
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« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2013, 03:08:35 AM »

IIRC we have an (EO) poster here who translates medieval Arabic OO texts about Christology in his blog. I wonder what was the address? That could interest the OP.

If I recall correctly, that poster had some rather inaccurate notions about what the OO's believe.  I think this was the topic of at least one thread in the private forum.  

My advice to the OP is to read sources written by OO's about what the OO's believe, and read sources written by EO's about what EO's believe.

Stay away from polemics, especially about Chalcedon.  That can be poisonous to one's faith.

And if numbers were important, we should all be Roman Catholic.
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« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2013, 03:18:18 AM »

sheep100, there are a few in Armenia as well, and I wonder how many OO there would've been "relative to the rest of the population" if it wasn't for persecution, since I believe Syriacs and Copts have been persecuted more than any other Christians through history, easy. Just if the genocide in Ottoman Turkey didn't take place us Syriacs would've been a much larger number today. Let's not even mention Timur Lane and the Mongols in the 14th century...

Quote
The 14th century AD massacres of Timur in particular, devastated the Assyrian people. Timur’s massacres and pillages of all that was Christian drastically reduced their existence. At the end of the reign of Timur, the Assyrian population had almost been eradicated in many places. Toward the end of the thirteenth century, Bar Hebraeus (or Bar-Abraya), the noted Assyrian scholar and hierarch, found “much quietness” in his diocese in Mesopotamia. Syria’s diocese, he wrote, was “wasted.”

The Syriac Orthodox is the largest Orthodox Church here in Sweden as well, and non-ethnic Syrics are converting (just the other day one was baptised).

To the OP, I say read, visit, pray, etc. Even something like listening to hymns, which sounds the "best" to you?
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The Tur Abdin Timeline - A timeline of Tur Abdin (Syriac for "the Mountain of the Servants [of God]"), the heartland of the Syriac Orthodox Christians, a hilly region located in upper Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates.
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« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2013, 03:23:43 AM »

It seems likely to me that Christ's church would have expanded  
beyond Egypt and Ethiopia which are the only two countries where there
are large numbers of OO relative to the rest of the population.


Not that it matters for purposes of this thread, but OO's in Egypt make up about ten percent of the population, whereas OO's in Armenia make up more than 90 percent of the population.

I like to say that percentage-wise we may have small numbers in the world, but our faithful make up a large percentage of the martyrs in heaven.  The experience of the OO's has been one of almost constant persecution and martyrdom in the name of Christ.  We are the Church of Martyrs, which would be one reason why we are not so numerous or powerful in the world.
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« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2013, 03:43:16 AM »

And also, in the case of the Syriacs and the Copts in particular, OOs could not count on government patronage to protect them or aid the spread of the faith. I mean, reading Coptic history...sheesh...never a moment's peace, it seems! From Diocletian, the aftermath of Chalcedon, the raids of the Berbers, the invasion and permanent occupation of the Arabs, etc. Even if the Copts are somehow doctrinally wrong (which obviously I do not believe they are  Smiley), it would seem that God sure wants them to survive, seeing as He has preserved them through 2,000 years of intense persecution. Not only that, at least according to some sources I have read (e.g., Attwater), as recently as the WWII period there were less than 1 million Coptic faithful in Egypt. Today there are about 8-12 million (depending on whose figure you believe).
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« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2013, 03:59:53 AM »

This is a good article about the Genocide mentioned earlier by Suryoyutho:

http://www.serfes.org/orthodox/memoryof.htm

It unfortunately doesn't go into as much detail about the Syriac Orthodox Christians who were decimated during that time, but it gives a good idea about the persecution suffered by Orthodox Christians (both OO and EO) during the 20th century.

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« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2013, 04:12:43 AM »

Yes, the total for "Syrians and Nestorians" in that event should probably be more like 250,000 to 750,000.

We also have around 25,000 just before, in the late 1800's, in the Massacres of Diyarbakir. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacres_of_Diyarbakir_(1895)

etc.
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« Reply #34 on: January 17, 2013, 04:28:50 AM »

Why should one convert to Orthodoxy as opposed to Oriental Orthodoxy?
Oriental Orthodoxy *is* Orthodoxy.

Anyway, I'd suggest you earnestly seek God and ask Him to guide you to the truth. I don't think it's right for us to try and guide you either way.
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« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2013, 04:29:29 AM »

I don't know if this helps or not, but for me one of the reasons
I decided for EO over OO is the distribution and numbers of both churches.
It seems likely to me that Christ's church would have expanded  
beyond Egypt and Ethiopia which are the only two countries where there
are large numbers of OO relative to the rest of the population. As Christ said:
"by their fruits you shall know them".Catholics.  I am not saying that the OO are bad fruit
just that they are not as fertile(in the sense of growing in church membership) as the EO or RC churches. The lack of diversity and stagnation of church membership growth is a
evidence(not a proof) that the church is not catholic.



Forgive me, brethren, but I had to come out of my extreme, intergalactic hibernation when I read this.  Greetings to all, whether I know you from the past or not.  :-) 

I think those posters who have emphasized the need for studying the Christological issues, becoming familiar with concrete communities, and praying for God's guidance in determining where he wants one to be are on the right track. 

The "numbers" approach described above surely cannot be correct, else Western Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism trump all forms of Christian Orthodoxy.  Is it "numbers plus distribution"?  Even so, the problem remains.  Israel, from which came Christ, has always been a small bit of humanity compared to the rest of the planet, yet we don't discount their "correctness" regarding matters of faith relative to the other nations just because they were not as numerous or well represented across the globe.  They were "right" because they were "right", because God revealed his Word--his truth--to them in a way he didn't to the other nations.  And the Church is the Church because it, too, is "right": what God has revealed and handed down she has kept and passed on without change.  That's what you have to look for, not simply a few vital statistics.   

Is the numerically limited membership and distribution of the OO Churches, whether at present or throughout history, simply an "infertility" issue, or are there other historical factors at play?  Might it, in some way, be an element of divine providence, a "faithful remnant" whom God has seen fit to keep small for whatever reason?  We could ask the same, obviously, regarding the EO Churches, larger than us but smaller than others.  After all, from an Orthodox perspective, the larger numbers and distribution of the Roman Catholic Church have nothing to do with the fact that their beliefs on certain key issues are just plain heretodox (leaving aside for now other factors, like reproduction, wars, relative freedom or oppression, forced conversions and other bad missionary methods, etc.).             

The Church was one, holy, catholic, and apostolic when it was just a hundred and twenty people coming out of their "upper room" hide-out in a city on the borders of the Roman Empire on the Pentecost following Christ's resurrection.  If it maintains that same Orthodox faith, it still remains all of those things two thousand years later, even if it is just forty million or so Egyptians, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Armenians, Syriacs, and Indians in their "homelands" or scattered "abroad".  It's about the faith; don't get distracted by math.       

 
Thank you for your reply. I do not intend to demean in any way the Oriental Orthodox. My post only has bearing for a person who has narrowed down their decision to OO or EO as the true Church of Christ after careful study of the Scriptures and Church history and the testimony of the Fathers.
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« Reply #36 on: January 17, 2013, 09:33:03 AM »

a person who has narrowed down their decision to OO or EO as the true Church of Christ
I think it's acceptable to say both-and instead of either-or regarding the EO and OO being the Church of Christ. Many people do on both sides, and I'm one of those people. Wink
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« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2013, 10:14:09 AM »

I will also add one more point:

It is important to understand that there are two ambiguities in the dogmatic traditions and not to stumble because of this.   

In the Alexandrian tradition, sometimes "physis" is used to mean hypostasis and sometimes to mean ousia.  Both are fine, but need to be read in context.  In the Roman and Asia Minor traditions, "physis" always means "ousia."

Similarly, (but with a different word) In the Roman and Asia Minor tradition, "Word" (Logos) is sometimes used to refer to the hypostasis of the Son, and at other times is used with reference to the divine essence of the Son.  Again, each is ok, so long as read correctly and in context.  In the Alexandrian tradition, "Word" (Logos) almost always exclusively refers to the hypostasis (person) of the Son. 
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« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2013, 10:59:13 AM »

If I recall correctly, that poster had some rather inaccurate notions about what the OO's believe.  I think this was the topic of at least one thread in the private forum.  

My advice to the OP is to read sources written by OO's about what the OO's believe

IIRC the idea of that blog was exactly that. Just translations from medieval Arab OO Fathers without his/her interpretation
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« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2013, 11:50:42 AM »

I don't know if this helps or not, but for me one of the reasons
I decided for EO over OO is the distribution and numbers of both churches.
It seems likely to me that Christ's church would have expanded  
beyond Egypt and Ethiopia which are the only two countries where there
are large numbers of OO relative to the rest of the population. As Christ said:
"by their fruits you shall know them".Catholics.  I am not saying that the OO are bad fruit
just that they are not as fertile(in the sense of growing in church membership) as the EO or RC churches. The lack of diversity and stagnation of church membership growth is a
evidence(not a proof) that the church is not catholic.



Forgive me, brethren, but I had to come out of my extreme, intergalactic hibernation when I read this.  Greetings to all, whether I know you from the past or not.  :-) 

I think those posters who have emphasized the need for studying the Christological issues, becoming familiar with concrete communities, and praying for God's guidance in determining where he wants one to be are on the right track. 

The "numbers" approach described above surely cannot be correct, else Western Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism trump all forms of Christian Orthodoxy.  Is it "numbers plus distribution"?  Even so, the problem remains.  Israel, from which came Christ, has always been a small bit of humanity compared to the rest of the planet, yet we don't discount their "correctness" regarding matters of faith relative to the other nations just because they were not as numerous or well represented across the globe.  They were "right" because they were "right", because God revealed his Word--his truth--to them in a way he didn't to the other nations.  And the Church is the Church because it, too, is "right": what God has revealed and handed down she has kept and passed on without change.  That's what you have to look for, not simply a few vital statistics.   

Is the numerically limited membership and distribution of the OO Churches, whether at present or throughout history, simply an "infertility" issue, or are there other historical factors at play?  Might it, in some way, be an element of divine providence, a "faithful remnant" whom God has seen fit to keep small for whatever reason?  We could ask the same, obviously, regarding the EO Churches, larger than us but smaller than others.  After all, from an Orthodox perspective, the larger numbers and distribution of the Roman Catholic Church have nothing to do with the fact that their beliefs on certain key issues are just plain heretodox (leaving aside for now other factors, like reproduction, wars, relative freedom or oppression, forced conversions and other bad missionary methods, etc.).             

The Church was one, holy, catholic, and apostolic when it was just a hundred and twenty people coming out of their "upper room" hide-out in a city on the borders of the Roman Empire on the Pentecost following Christ's resurrection.  If it maintains that same Orthodox faith, it still remains all of those things two thousand years later, even if it is just forty million or so Egyptians, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Armenians, Syriacs, and Indians in their "homelands" or scattered "abroad".  It's about the faith; don't get distracted by math.       

 
Thank you for your reply. I do not intend to demean in any way the Oriental Orthodox. My post only has bearing for a person who has narrowed down their decision to OO or EO as the true Church of Christ after careful study of the Scriptures and Church history and the testimony of the Fathers.

Dear Sheep, I think as a christian it is imperative that you understand that when Christ spoke about fruits  he was not talking about numbers. and if you understand the depth of what He meant when he spoke of fruits, then you understand that numbers, bank accounts, political influence mean nothing to the Son of God Son of Mary, as much as the heart of the one that has found Union with the Holy Spirit and bears His Fruit. The Holy Spirit is the Treasure and the Treasurer of All Gifts, and He dwells in, measures and judges  not in number of heads but the heart. neither smallness nor being plenty is not by itself an evidence of Truth.so if the whole world was to apostasies and you alone were to stand in The Faith, in that very moment you are the Church of Christ The Victorious! I am not speaking this in regards to being OO or EO, but to emphasizes one important point to your spiritual life as a Christian my friend your perception of Truth should never rely on Numbers, besides In Seeking the Way the Truth  and the Life ,you should know you are seeking the Narrow Gate and the Strait Way. and the encounter is very Personal.

In Christ,
Hiwot.
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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2013, 11:56:04 AM »



Forgive me, brethren, but I had to come out of my extreme, intergalactic hibernation when I read this.  Greetings to all, whether I know you from the past or not.  :-) 


Welcome back my dear brother!!!  Grin  how good it is to see you post again! I have been reading your previous posts and have been much edified by them.May God bless you!

In Christ,
Hiwot.
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To God be the Glory in all things! Amen!

Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2013, 12:16:40 PM »

some good points, esp. by father h and salpy.
i would add one more;
as we are all a bit wrong (even some of our church fathers!), then read, visit, pray and ask God Himself to guide you. He will do that.

i spent most of my free time for 3 or 4 years (before and just after i became orthodox 4 years ago) reading up on these subjects from all angles, and i also have been to several EO and many OO liturgies (and catholics too; once i decided to become orthodox, i spent lots of time in catholic churches just to be sure!)
i (and i am not a priest or teacher) realised that the most important thing God needed to do with me was to teach me humility, and that the coptic (OO) church i had found contained many humble people (some are really like angles, but don't tell them, they may become proud!) who could help me massively on my spiritual journey.
of course, on the way, i learnt a lot of good theology.

so, if i was in a place where the only OO church contained many proud people who just liked having fun, and the EO church contained humble monks and married people and people who had left behind many things to follow Jesus Christ, then i would feel like joining the EO church. of course, there would then be a risk that i could spoil it!
(don't look for the 'perfect' church, you may spoil it!)
what i am trying to say, is that theology is very important, but it is not 100% important, and you should ask God to guide you (and your family / friends who may follow you) to the right place (very likely it will be EO or OO church) on your spiritual journey.

may God give u peace and direction.
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« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2013, 12:46:21 PM »

If I recall correctly, that poster had some rather inaccurate notions about what the OO's believe.  I think this was the topic of at least one thread in the private forum.  

My advice to the OP is to read sources written by OO's about what the OO's believe

IIRC the idea of that blog was exactly that. Just translations from medieval Arab OO Fathers without his/her interpretation

You're right, the blog was only translations. Here it is: http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2013, 12:50:10 PM »

I agree with Mabsoota's sentiment.

I personally think that it is more important the find a good priest who is well rooted in Orthodox spirituality, who is saintly, and who is able to raise up others in Orthodoxy, who is surrounded by people who are following Christ with him, in obedience to him, growing in virtue (whether there are many other people in the parish there for cultural reasons or not), and to strive to become integrated into that community, and learn and grow towards Christ with them, than to find a parish that is part of the Eastern Communion or part of the Oriental Communion. If you find an island of Orthodoxy among the ethnic and pseudoprotestant parishes, that's the main thing, in my opinion. I know many people will disagree strongly with that opinion, but that is what I feel.

That said, I believe that my being in the Coptic tradition was not my choosing, and it would take a sever lack of options with that communion and rite for me to consider going elsewhere in Orthodoxy. If you pray and seek God's will, He will reveal to you the place He's chosen for you. That doesn't mean we don't need to work to understand and learn to overcome whatever obstacles are stumbling blocks to our feeling comfortable, home, and secure in a final parish, but have trust that if you do that work the choice of location (whether pleasant or not) is His and not ours...
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« Reply #44 on: January 17, 2013, 01:18:06 PM »

I don't know if this helps or not, but for me one of the reasons
I decided for EO over OO is the distribution and numbers of both churches.
It seems likely to me that Christ's church would have expanded  
beyond Egypt and Ethiopia which are the only two countries where there
are large numbers of OO relative to the rest of the population. As Christ said:
"by their fruits you shall know them".Catholics.  I am not saying that the OO are bad fruit
just that they are not as fertile(in the sense of growing in church membership) as the EO or RC churches. The lack of diversity and stagnation of church membership growth is a
evidence(not a proof) that the church is not catholic.



Forgive me, brethren, but I had to come out of my extreme, intergalactic hibernation when I read this.  Greetings to all, whether I know you from the past or not.  :-) 

I think those posters who have emphasized the need for studying the Christological issues, becoming familiar with concrete communities, and praying for God's guidance in determining where he wants one to be are on the right track. 

The "numbers" approach described above surely cannot be correct, else Western Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism trump all forms of Christian Orthodoxy.  Is it "numbers plus distribution"?  Even so, the problem remains.  Israel, from which came Christ, has always been a small bit of humanity compared to the rest of the planet, yet we don't discount their "correctness" regarding matters of faith relative to the other nations just because they were not as numerous or well represented across the globe.  They were "right" because they were "right", because God revealed his Word--his truth--to them in a way he didn't to the other nations.  And the Church is the Church because it, too, is "right": what God has revealed and handed down she has kept and passed on without change.  That's what you have to look for, not simply a few vital statistics.   

Is the numerically limited membership and distribution of the OO Churches, whether at present or throughout history, simply an "infertility" issue, or are there other historical factors at play?  Might it, in some way, be an element of divine providence, a "faithful remnant" whom God has seen fit to keep small for whatever reason?  We could ask the same, obviously, regarding the EO Churches, larger than us but smaller than others.  After all, from an Orthodox perspective, the larger numbers and distribution of the Roman Catholic Church have nothing to do with the fact that their beliefs on certain key issues are just plain heretodox (leaving aside for now other factors, like reproduction, wars, relative freedom or oppression, forced conversions and other bad missionary methods, etc.).             

The Church was one, holy, catholic, and apostolic when it was just a hundred and twenty people coming out of their "upper room" hide-out in a city on the borders of the Roman Empire on the Pentecost following Christ's resurrection.  If it maintains that same Orthodox faith, it still remains all of those things two thousand years later, even if it is just forty million or so Egyptians, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Armenians, Syriacs, and Indians in their "homelands" or scattered "abroad".  It's about the faith; don't get distracted by math.       

 

Semmasen!  Welcome back, hopefully for a more frequent manner Smiley
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If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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