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Author Topic: Is Christ of one nature or two?  (Read 4510 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 09, 2005, 03:47:38 AM »

In the Oriental Orthodox Churches, we believe that in the incarnation of Christ, the divine and human nature became one nature that is both fully divine and fully human; the natures being united without separation, without confusion, and without change.
How does the miaphysite Christology we adhere to make us "anathema"?
I would say that the contraversy is really nothing more than a matter of semantics.

I humbly await a response.
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2005, 09:29:49 AM »

There's a WHOLE bunch of threads on that in the "Oriental Orthodox" sub-forum.  Some folks from both sides -- that is, those who were Non-Chal and asking the same question you are, and those who were staunchly on the "Chal" side and openly (and repeatedly) harped against the Non-Chals -- were really getting into it a while back.  The main posters from each side, Linus7 and peterfarrington, actually both quit the site around the same time because they got so disgusted, either with each other or the "ecumenical-ness" of this forum.

You can read about it there.
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2005, 11:54:26 AM »

If people want to go through this issue, that's fine with me, but Phil and I will instantaneously edit out any personal attacks that spring forth.  We won't be having a repeat of last year.

Anastasios
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2005, 04:51:19 PM »

The main posters from each side, Linus7 and peterfarrington, actually both quit the site around the same time because they got so disgusted, either with each other or the "ecumenical-ness" of this forum.

My point here is that there really is no contraversy. Whether one believes that Jesus has one nature that is both fully divine and fully human or that Jesus has two natures that are united in the incarnation is really just a matter of semantics.
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2005, 03:16:23 AM »

I changed the name of the thread in case some may not know what "Chalcedonian" means.
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2005, 07:41:14 PM »

My priests recently discussed thsi issue.  Seems that there was a meeting recently of SCOBA and SOOCH theologens who compared notes on the belief systems, and they found out they were talking about the same things.  According to what was discussed, the exact same belief exhists in both the Chalcedonian and Non Chalcedonian churches.  The only differences are really jursdictional now. Also, my priests explained to me that the circumstances of the council (Chalecdon) were irregualr.  I hope that this gap can soon be solved and that once again we might return to full communion.
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2005, 11:19:06 PM »

My priests recently discussed thsi issue. Seems that there was a meeting recently of SCOBA and SOOCH theologens who compared notes on the belief systems, and they found out they were talking about the same things. According to what was discussed, the exact same belief exhists in both the Chalcedonian and Non Chalcedonian churches. The only differences are really jursdictional now. Also, my priests explained to me that the circumstances of the council (Chalecdon) were irregualr. I hope that this gap can soon be solved and that once again we might return to full communion.

Anastasios, are you reading this?!  Grin

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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2005, 12:00:28 AM »

The Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox have less barriers to keep them from reuniting with eachother than either the Oriental or Eastern Orthodox Church have with the Roman Catholic Church.

In Christ,
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2005, 12:20:08 AM »

The Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox have less barriers to keep them from reuniting with eachother than either the Oriental or Eastern Orthodox Church have with the Roman Catholic Church.

In Christ,
Aaron

I understand that and I do not believe that we should reuinite under Rome.

It upsets me that when Ethiopian Orthodox Christians first moved to my town, before an Oriental Orthodox Church was built here, that the Greek Orthodox Church would not accept them for communion unless they confessed their "heresies".
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2005, 12:30:07 AM »



Anastasios, are you reading this?! Grin



That is one point of view.  It is not the point of view of the majority of Eastern Orthodox, however.  I personally would be in favor of a reunification between Chalcedonians and Non-Chalcedonians but only if the issues separating us are resolved in truth, not in ecumenistic double-speak.  I am aware of the dialogue in its details (I have the documents sitting right here on my bookshelf) and know some of the players involved in the ecumenical dialogue personally.  I do not believe that union will happen in this lifetime, although it would be nice.

I furthermore do not believe that we should commune in each other's church until we are officially reunited.

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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2005, 12:39:00 AM »


I do not believe that union will happen in this lifetime, although it would be nice.


We do not need to become united under juristiction, we need peace and understanding. The autonomy between Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches should remain but not the intolerance and misunderstanding.

I furthermore do not believe that we should commune in each other's church until we are officially reunited.

Why not? We accept Eastern Orthodox Christians to receive communion in to our Church.

My father's parents were Greek immigrants; his father fought for Greece in World War II. As an infant, I was baptized in to the Greek Orthodox Church but later on, my father converted to Roman Catholicism because that is the faith of my mother.

My last name is so Greek that no one can pronounce it! Grin

Well, anyways. What I am getting at is that when I go to the Greek Orthodox Church to recieve communion, I am not denied it. Maybe it is because I was originally baptized in to the Greek Church or because they now accept Oriental Orthodox Christians to receive communion.

We (all the Orthodox Churches in my town, including both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches) had a very fun Christmas party together on Sunday and no one seemed to nit-pick about any Chalcedonian heresies.

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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2005, 12:43:33 AM »


I furthermore do not believe that we should commune in each other's church until we are officially reunited.


Unfortunately, I think this is right.
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2005, 12:44:28 AM »

Quote
It upsets me that when Ethiopian Orthodox Christians first moved to my town, before an Oriental Orthodox Church was built here, that the Greek Orthodox Church would not accept them for communion unless they confessed their "heresies".

You cannot fault the Greek Orthodox priest(s) for sticking to the Church's position regarding those that are not in communion with them. They did what they are supposed to do when an Oriental Orthodox approaches for the Holy Mysteries - unless those Oriental Orthodox visitors intended to become a part of the Church's community and chose to embrace the Church then the Eucharist is not to be distributed to them. I believe the same applies to Eastern Orthodox who would approach an Oriental priest for the Holy Mysteries.

Regardless of the fact that you think it's wrong and it goes against your personal opinion, the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches are not yet united and until that day they cannot freely commune in each other's Churches.

In Christ,
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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2005, 12:49:06 AM »

Quote
Well, anyways. What I am getting at is that when I go to the Greek Orthodox Church to recieve communion, I am not denied it. Maybe it is because I was originally baptized in to the Greek Church or because they now accept Oriental Orthodox Christians to receive communion.

Or maybe it's because the priest does not know that you are no longer a member of the Greek Orthodox church?

Because you honestly shouldn't be communing because you think it's okay.

Quote
We (all the Orthodox Churches in my town, including both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches) had a very fun Christmas party together on Sunday and no one seemed to nit-pick about any Chalcedonian heresies.

Getting together and having a party is much different than approaching the Holy Mysteries in each other's Churches.

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2005, 12:53:29 AM »


Regardless of the fact that you think it's wrong and it goes against your personal opinion, the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches are not yet united and until that day they cannot freely commune in each other's Churches.


This is not merely a matter of my opinion. Eastern Orthodox Christians can and do freely receive communion in my Church.
All I am asking for is quid pro quo.
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« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2005, 12:57:57 AM »

And it demonstrates a lack of understanding about the Orthodox view of communion to refer to denying someone it as "intolerance" or "misunderstanding." Refusing Communion to someone who is not wholly in total belief with the Church isn't intolerant.

Hopefully the issues that separate us will be resolved, but it includes problems such as acceptance of the Ecumenical Councils after Chalcedonean, not just the wording or intended meaning of one nature comprised of 2 equal and complete natures or 2 natures met in one person with no confusion or lessening. The steps are starting to take place toward reunification, but one should not place sacramental communion before doctrinal communion.

Also, just because your particular church will commune Eastern Orthodox doesnt mean that is what is taught or widely practiced by the Oriental Orthodox. It's like how the RCC will welcome Orthodox to commune with them, but the Orthodox cannot and should not do so just because the RCC says they can.
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« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2005, 01:00:09 AM »

Quote
This is not merely a matter of my opinion. Eastern Orthodox Christians can and do freely receive communion in my Church.

Which may be the way that things are practiced in your individual Church, which you go to, but it is not necessarily that way throughout the Malankara Church, or any of the other Oriental Orthodox Churches for that matter.

Quote
All I am asking for is quid pro quo.

You don't always get what you ask for, as any childhood experience with Sancta Clause should prove. Wink

In Christ,
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« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2005, 01:04:06 AM »



This is not merely a matter of my opinion. Eastern Orthodox Christians can and do freely receive communion in my Church.
All I am asking for is quid pro quo.

But they are not allowed by their church to do so.

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« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2005, 01:05:43 AM »



We do not need to become united under juristiction, we need peace and understanding. The autonomy between Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches should remain but not the intolerance and misunderstanding.



Why not? We accept Eastern Orthodox Christians to receive communion in to our Church.

My father's parents were Greek immigrants; his father fought for Greece in World War II. As an infant, I was baptized in to the Greek Orthodox Church but later on, my father converted to Roman Catholicism because that is the faith of my mother.

My last name is so Greek that no one can pronounce it!  Grin

Well, anyways. What I am getting at is that when I go to the Greek Orthodox Church to recieve communion, I am not denied it. Maybe it is because I was originally baptized in to the Greek Church or because they now accept Oriental Orthodox Christians to receive communion.

We (all the Orthodox Churches in my town, including both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches) had a very fun Christmas party together on Sunday and no one seemed to nit-pick about any Chalcedonian heresies.



We already have peace and understanding. A union means we believe the same things (they can be expressed differently if they really are the same) and that we will come together visibly, as one jurisdiction in the sense that our bishops' synods would meet together and work together as one church.  We can't just establish communion with each other and hope things work themselves out.

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« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2005, 01:07:21 AM »

Refusing Communion to someone who is not wholly in total belief with the Church isn't intolerant.

Given that we are fellow Orthodox Christians, I and other members of my Church would consider it intolerant.


Hopefully the issues that separate us will be resolved, but it includes problems such as acceptance of the Ecumenical Councils after Chalcedonean

How can we accept them if we were excommunicated from them?

not just the wording or intended meaning of one nature comprised of 2 equal and complete natures or 2 natures met in one person with no confusion or lessening.

As far as Father Michael and Deacon Gabriel have told me, our differences on the nature of Christ are mostly just a matter of semantics.

The steps are starting to take place toward reunification

Why have reunification? I believe it is better that our churches remain autonomous.

but one should not place sacramental communion before doctrinal communion.

Why not? Quid pro quo.


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« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2005, 01:08:29 AM »



But they are not allowed by their church to do so.

Anastasios

They are allowed to in my Church. When I first started attending St. Gregorios, Father Michael believed that I was still Greek Orthodox.
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« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2005, 01:09:46 AM »



They are allowed to in my Church. When I first started attending St. Gregorios, Father Michael believed that I was still Greek Orthodox.

No, I am saying that even though your church allows it, THEIR church does not allow it. If I as an Eastern Orthodox go to communion in your Church I WILL be excommunicated from the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2005, 01:12:36 AM »


If I as an Eastern Orthodox go to communion in your Church I WILL be excommunicated from the Eastern Orthodox Church.


That is unfortunate. I am sorry to hear that.
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« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2005, 01:17:58 AM »

WHY NOT put sacramental before doctrinal?

Because then open communion for anyone would be the practice. If it doesn't matter that we do not agree on doctrine in order to receive communion, then what does it matter what the doctrine is at all? We might as well be protestant then ( no offense to our protestant friends Wink)

reunification in terms of sacramental and doctrinal unity. I could care less if the bodies that already exist continued to govern themselves.

"How can we accept them if we were excommunicated from them?"
That's a good question Matt, and one that must be answered before our 2 churches can be united.

I believe it's semantics as opposed to meaning too. But not everyone thinks so, and they are more learned than I. It's a problem to solve, not to ignore.


If you were communed in an Oriental church with the priest still thinking you were Eastern Orthodox, then that was a failure on the part of the priest. Any Eastern Church that communes you now as an Oriental Orthodox fails in the same way. Unless the bishop makes some allowance, no one should be offering communion to those who are outside it.

Also, not everyone is offended by this. Some people recognize it as necessary until/if the 2 are united. We have Coptic converts in my parish, and they do not receive. They are not insulted, and I would not be insulted to not receive in a Oriental church.
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« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2005, 01:21:48 AM »

Quote from: Anastasios on Today at 12:09:46 AM

If I as an Eastern Orthodox go to communion in your Church I WILL be excommunicated from the Eastern Orthodox Church.


Quote from Matthew: That is unfortunate. I am sorry to hear that.



The same is true of your Church as a whole, also of the other Oriental churches. Whether or not your parish abides by this rule is another matter.
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« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2005, 01:24:39 AM »


Because then open communion for anyone would be the practice. If it doesn't matter that we do not agree on doctrine in order to receive communion, then what does it matter what the doctrine is at all?

It is not a disagreement in doctrine, it is a matter of linguistics.

 

If you were communed in an Oriental church with the priest still thinking you were Eastern Orthodox, then that was a failure on the part of the priest.

Not a failure, a blessing of tolerance between Orthodox Christians.

They are not insulted, and I would not be insulted to not receive in a Oriental church.

I would be rather insulted. Excluding fellow Orthodox Christians from communion simply for semantical differences in Christology makes little sense.
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« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2005, 01:28:03 AM »

Matthew,

No offence, but your replies to choirfiend shows that you have a really confused ecclesiology. You cannot seriously say in the same breath that our respective Churches should remain separate (you use the word "autonomous") AND that we should go to communion in each other's Churches.  It is very hard to discuss issues like this with you, as I'm not sure if you're understanding what we're trying to say. Sorry if I am wrong, but that's how I see it.

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« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2005, 01:37:35 AM »

Matthew,

No offence, but your replies to choirfiend shows that you have a really confused ecclesiology. You cannot seriously say in the same breath that our respective Churches should remain separate (you use the word "autonomous") AND that we should go to communion in each other's Churches.  It is very hard to discuss issues like this with you, as I'm not sure if you're understanding what we're trying to say. Sorry if I am wrong, but that's how I see it.

Bob

Autonomous: Of or relating to a self-governing entity: an autonomous legislature. Not controlled by others or by outside forces; independent: an autonomous judiciary; an autonomous division of a corporate conglomerate.

I understand well. It just hurts me that some would allow semantic differences to prevent them from receiving the Eucharist.
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« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2005, 01:54:02 AM »

Not some. ALL. For the last 1500 years.

I agree with Bob. You're coming at this from an entirely foreign position.
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« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2005, 01:58:09 AM »

RCC says that the Filioque doesn't change any meaning about the persons of the Trinity, but that our rejection of it is just a matter of semantics. We think otherwise. So here, where in essence the meaning may now be the same between Oriental and Eastern in regards to Christology, each Church finds the difference in wording important enough to break communion over.

Just because you have experienced a rebel parish (rebel only assuming the priest does not have permission from his bishop to commune EO--if he does, that's an unusual bishop) does not mean this is what your Oriental communion or the Eastern Orthodox communion have taught, believed, and practiced for the last millenia and a half.
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« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2005, 02:04:11 AM »

Not some. ALL. For the last 1500 years.

Things are becoming different today between Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Christians from how they were 1500 years ago. The contraversy between us in Chalcedon was due to linguistic differences.

Please, let us not act like Pharisees toward one another.

Matthew 23 - "23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!"

Where is the love?

1Cr 13:13 - "And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 

 Smiley

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« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2005, 02:36:43 AM »

Right here, man. *Commence the double-chest-thump with the fist, followed by kissing my first two fingers and finishing with the peace sign*


Love is here. I just adore the Coptic Orthodox members of my parish. I hope they like me. During ForgivenessVespers I will be asking their forgiveness the same as anyone. Unity is currently lacking, though. Pretending that doesn't matter isn't what Love is. Love is recognizing our current differnces and working to fix them, which is what is happening. When that happens (O! Let me live to see it!) our Love for each other won't have changed, but our differences will have ceased.
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« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2005, 03:30:27 AM »


Things are becoming different today between Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Christians from how they were 1500 years ago. The contraversy between us in Chalcedon was due to linguistic differences.


This is the opinion of some. Your attitude, however, seems to be lacking in charity towards the many who believe that the issue is much more than mere semantics. Thus your love only appears to extend towards those who believe as you do.

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« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2005, 01:22:10 PM »



 Thus your love only appears to extend towards those who believe as you do.

John.

I also love those who brand me a heretic due to my Oriental Orthodox faith.  Grin
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« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2005, 02:08:07 PM »

Quote
I also love those who brand me a heretic due to my Oriental Orthodox faith.

Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger!

Internet martyr alert!  Internet martyr alert!

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« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2005, 02:30:10 PM »



Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

Internet martyr alert! Internet martyr alert!



I am not trying to be a martyr. We should just be able to have a sense of humor about this issue.
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« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2005, 05:06:10 PM »

Dear Matthew,

Others have addressed your points, and so I hesitate to enter this discussion.  However, we belong to the same Church, and so maybe reiterating a few things will help.

1.  The Oriental Orthodox Churches generally don't allow intercommunion with the Eastern Orthodox.  Since the "findings" of the joint dialogue between our Churches are more accepted by people in our Church, you will find more who are willing to receive Eastern Orthodox to communion, provided that their own Church would allow it.  Since the EO by and large would not allow such intercommunion, even if they did receive those "findings" for the most part, it shouldn't be done, and I've never seen it done.  This is not mean: this is just how our Church(es) works.  This much is not an opinion.   

Now, would I object to EO receiving the Eucharist in Orthodox churches?  No.  Would I object to receiving in their churches?  No, provided they would allow it.  Do I find it offencive if I'm not allowed to commune in their Churches?  No, I only get offended if something else is going on at the same time.  This is not unfair, it's just the Orthodox way, the way we have both inherited.  These are my personal opinions on the matter: in general, I prefer to follow the usual discipline of our respective Churches because it's a lot easier canonically speaking.       

2.  It is important for our Churches to work toward reconciliation.  However, after 1500 years of separation, I think it is silly to expect that this is going to happen in our lifetimes (read: warp speed, in church time).  I've told EO friends who think it will happen in 25 years as much.  At the very least, human sinfulness will keep it from happening.  I'd like for it to happen soon, but I know it probably won't.  That doesn't bother me: Christ is leading His Church, and if he leads Her to unite with the Eastern Orthodox, He'll see to it.  Until then, it shouldn't surprise us to meet not only those who are in favour of reunion, but those opposed, both EO and OO.  God willing, by the witness of our lives and the Orthodox faith we confess, we may hope to win these over.  God's in charge.

Now, regarding the case above of the Greeks who required the conversion of Copts/Ethiopians to EOxy in order to commune.  While I have no problem with EO requiring people to join their Church before being allowed to commune, I take exception to the rite provided in the Euchologion (at least the Slavonic one, as translated by Saint Tikhon's Seminary) by which this is done.  It requires us to reject something which we didn't/don't teach, and thus is inaccurate.  If it is only a matter of rejecting Monophysitism like one would reject Arianism (for example), without necessarily implying one formerly believed that, that's one thing: bishops are required to do as much.  The text of the rite makes it very clear, however, that the person is rejecting Monophysitism as something which was/is taught by his former church, and I would, in all honesty, have a hard time swearing that before God, knowing that such is not the case by my years of study and real, lived experience in OOxy.  The renunciations for other Christian denominations are, to the best of my understanding, accurate in their depiction of the beliefs of the other group, but not with regard to OO.  Perhaps that is not the only rite by which they can be received, but it's the only one I've seen, and it is inaccurate.         

Edit: Anastasios may be right that the majority of EO are not in favour of reunion with the OO, I'm not sure.  I don't know how many actually care, and I think there is a big difference there.
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« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2005, 11:11:15 PM »

Brothers,

It is sometimes discouraging to see this situation from a lay point of view. It is discouraging to see people that are so close in their beliefs, semanitics aside, so separated from one another. At times I wish we had an emperor around to solve the matter by bringing all sides together. But this is not the reality of our situation. We must take it as it comes, one day at a time, one year at a time ,even 1500 years at a time. We needs must embrace eachother with love and pray that our bishops and priests be guided by the will of God in all things. If it is God's will that we come together as one, then we must allow our hearts and minds to bend in that direction, and let whatever is obstructing aught be cast fom us. If it is not, then so be it. Yet, alot of things point to serious consideration of it. Lets cross ourselves Azn. His will be done.

Amen.  
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« Reply #38 on: January 15, 2005, 11:17:13 PM »

At times I wish we had an emperor around to solve the matter by bringing all sides together. 

Our emperor is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

If it is God's will that we come together as one, then we must allow our hearts and minds to bend in that direction, and let whatever is obstructing aught be cast fom us. 

The hearts and minds of the Orthodox Christians in my own town are bending in that direction, if not close to being completely bent. Smiley

We are a religious minority in this country so we might as well stick together.

Galatians 3:23-29
3:23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed.
3:24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.
3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian,
3:26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.
3:27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
3:28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.


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