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Author Topic: The Benedictine Order and me  (Read 14150 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 15, 2005, 01:21:43 AM »

Hello, my brethren and sistren in Christ. As you may know, I am a convert from Roman Catholicism who found the fullness of liturgical life within the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
What you may not know is that from the age of forteen, I have longed to join a religious order. My parents are both graduates of Gonzaga University (this is where they met) and we have lived near campus for fifteen years.
Through the Jesuits, I have been exposed to religious life from an early age and some of the greatest spiritual guides I've ever encountered have been members of the Society of Jesus.
When I converted to Orthodoxy, I felt the need to pursue the vocation but through an Orthodox monastic community. However, the only Orthodox monastery in my state is Vashon Island, which has only a membership of two monks, and is of the Russion Orthodox Church, a tradition which I am unfamilier with outside of reading The Way of the Pilgrim.

I have to become college educated, this is a must. But if I finish college and am in debt, I do not know of any way I could pay for my student loans while living in a monastery.
Therefore, another option should be considered in order to solve this dilemma.
Saint Martin's is a Benedictine monastery and college in Olympia, Washington.
I am quite fond of the Gregorian mass and am impressed by the Benedictine order's dedication to restore the Catholic Church through the propagation of this ancient liturgy.
Deacon Gabriel of my church and his wife both attended St. Martin's University, before they converted to Orthodoxy from Catholicism, and they reccomended that if I visit Vashon Island and do feel it is right for me, that I should consider joining St. Martin's.

I know this may sound shocking to some that a committed Orthodox Christian would consider joining a Roman Catholic monastery.
However, considering the circumstances, this could be the best option.
I have visited St. Martin's before and I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Gregorian mass and witnessing the communal life of the friars.

St. Martin's is not only a monastery but also a university. If I were accepted to join St. Martin's, my education would be top notch and paid for.
Please don't get me wrong, getting a full ride to college alone is not good reason to join the monastic life. However, this seems like a better option than joining an Orthodox monastery that cannot pay for my education and where I'd have thousands of dollars of college debt with no way of paying for it.

Not only would my education be paid for, but I'd be given the most excellent opportunity to work at a Catholic university.
To quote their website, "Continuing this tradition, the monks of Saint Martin's Abbey, together with their lay colleagues, are involved in a wide variety of work in Saint Martin's College, serving as administrators, teachers, auxiliary personnel, and counselors. Several monks are also actively engaged in pastoral work in archdiocesan parishes and hospitals. Their responsibilities include celebrating the sacraments, preaching, and organizing and conducting parish activities."

If after a few years at the monastery, I realize that this is not what God is calling me for in life, I would petition to be allowed to join another monastery instead, perhaps even an Orthodox monastery, perhaps even Vashon Island.

The Benedictine Order is an ancient monastic tradition and out of all the Roman Catholic orders I know of, this is one of the most "Orthodox" in liturgy, practice, and doctrine.

For a summary of what St. Martin's is like, this is from their website:

"Who we are
The Benedictine Abbey of Saint Martin's, founded in Lacey, Washington in 1895 as a monastery of the American Cassinese Congregation, is a community of Roman Catholic men dedicated to providing Christian witness in the Pacific Northwest through its monastic life of prayer and work, education and service to the Church.

Saint Martin's Abbey fulfills its mission through liturgical prayer and worship, through its support of Saint Martin's College and through its pastoral service to the local Church.

The basic principles and beliefs that guide its communal life are: (1.) prayer, (2.) hospitality, (3.) listening to others, and (4.) service to others particularly through education.

(1.) PRAYER: We seek God especially through our common prayer as well as in private meditation and spiritual reading.

(2.) HOSPITALITY: We seek to provide a welcoming openness to pilgrims and other visitors who come to our monastery seeking a place of prayer and peace.

(3.) LISTENING TO OTHERS: We strive to gently and respectfully listen to the voice of God as conveyed by our fellow monks, campus associates, and visitors.

(4.) SERVICE TO OTHERS PARTICULARLY THROUGH EDUCATION:       Sponsorship of Saint Martin's College is our principal activity and we participate in our school in a variety of ways.What we do
Monks seek God and respond to Him through prayer. Prayer makes the monk aware that: God is not only found within ourselves... but also in our daily encounters with others. As men of faith, we recognize the mystery of Christ's coming; and through our monastic prayer, we welcome Him into our lives.

Our prayer life expresses itself most explicitly in community prayer: what St. Benedict calls the "Work of God." We unify all aspects of our daily lives in a humble response to God at morning prayer, midday prayer, Eucharist, and evening prayer. This prayer is filled with praise, adoration, and thanksgiving to God, celebrating the mysteries of His wondrous deeds in Christ Jesus. Communal prayer serves as a springboard for our individual, private prayer. Traditionally, monastic prayer has always been rooted in the Psalms.

It is in community that we express our consciousness of being God's creatures called to the glorious destiny of the Kingdom. At the Eucharist, our community celebrates the deepest dimensions of its existence and purpose, while confessing and experiencing the mystery of faith and hope in Christ.

Our lives are stamped with the mark of pilgrims. We know that at times our prayer will be distracted, but, nonetheless, we continue to "put on the new man," longing to bring the whole world to Christ's life and service. We realize that our prayer is not simply a matter of praying from time to time, alternating with other activities, but rather a matter of directing our whole lives to this end. By our presence at public prayer and our attention to our individual prayer lives, we remind one another of what God has done, proclaim what He is doing, and announce what He will accomplish in the future.

In step with today's profoundly human and radically Christian concerns, the monk takes up his daily work: tasks full of hope and promise, service to his brothers in community, and to the Church and the world at large. A monastic community is not, by its nature, bound to specific endeavors. However, work has always been essential to the lives of monks.

The Rule of Benedict reminds us that our work is not a career or profession but a holy service. Work forms an integral part of our lives. In it, we praise God, help bring creation to completion, and support our community and the needy.

The apostolate of education has for centuries been one principal work of Benedictine communities. Continuing this tradition, the monks of Saint Martin's Abbey, together with their lay colleagues, are involved in a wide variety of work in Saint Martin's College, serving as administrators, teachers, auxiliary personnel, and counselors. Several monks are also actively engaged in pastoral work in archdiocesan parishes and hospitals. Their responsibilities include celebrating the sacraments, preaching, and organizing and conducting parish activities."
http://www.stmartin.edu/abbey

Discuss...
« Last Edit: January 15, 2005, 01:29:40 AM by Matthew777 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2005, 01:29:32 AM »

No offense man, but I'll be real and shoot straight here. I don't think an Orthodox monastery would even consider taking you for a second, you are much too confused right now. I don't think they would doubt your sincerity, just your thought process. I would suggest just living your life in your Church for a few years, maybe working your way through college (start at community college--right there you'll have 2 years for a couple thousand dollars, if not less if you get grants). Provided you don't handle your finances negligently, within a couple years of graduating college you should be able to pay off your debts. Then you'll have a few years of living in the real world under your belt, you'll have years of experience with a particular parish on a regular basis under your belt, and you'll have a few years more or maturity on which to reflect and discern the proper course. And you won't have to worry about unlearning any potentially harmful things you'd learnt (and friend, I think you need to unlearn some stuff already! Smiley ). That'd be my plan if I were you. And to be completely honest (=biographical), that's pretty much my own plan for my life at this point.
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2005, 01:35:47 AM »

I don't think an Orthodox monastery would even consider taking you for a second, you are much too confused right now.

I'm sure that Vashon Island would take me in but one must live there for three years and then become approved before undergoing the monastic vows.
Please remember that if I enjoy Vashon Island when I visit there, I will most likely not consider joining St. Martin's.
And I wouldn't be considering to join a Catholic monastery anyway if an Orthodox priest and deacon hadn't spoken favorably of it.

Then you'll have a few years of living in the real world under your belt...

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:18-19)




« Last Edit: January 15, 2005, 01:45:24 AM by Matthew777 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2005, 01:44:35 AM »

Matthew,

I would encourage you to join the Roman Catholic monastery/religious order, because it is clear from your posts that you are still Roman Catholic in thought, even if you don't like papal authority. There are many Roman Catholics who would share that opinion, so you would be in good company.

If you are going to stay Orthodox, then I would suggest you develop an Orthodox mindset. These articles will assist you: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/index.aspx

Switching between Orthodoxy and Catholicism as if it is the difference between Coke and Pepsi really doesn't do either tradition justice. I'm also sorry to say that by worrying so much about financial things and even considering leaving Orthodoxy because of these concerns, you are having a very worldly attitude. If God wants you to be a monk he will provide.

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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2005, 01:57:09 AM »

I would encourage you to join the Roman Catholic monastery/religious order, because it is clear from your posts that you are still Roman Catholic in thought, even if you don't like papal authority.

Perhaps I should think of myself as an Orthodox Catholic. Wink

If you are going to stay Orthodox, then I would suggest you develop an Orthodox mindset. These articles will assist you: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/index.aspx

Thank you. I visit the Orthodox Christian Information Center on a regular basis and I consider it to be an excellent resource to learn and share with others the Orthodox faith.

Switching between Orthodoxy and Catholicism as if it is the difference between Coke and Pepsi really doesn't do either tradition justice.

My father is from a Greek Orthodox family, a child of Greek immagrants. My mother was the youngest of a devoutly Catholic family with twelve children. I have grown up surrounded by a Catholic university, have grown in faith through over the years through Catholic CCD to vacation Bible school to the Catholic youth group that I still attend to this day. But I have been a member of the Orthodox Church for two years and in it I find the fullness of both liturgical life and Christian fellowship.
Perhaps I do justice to both by bridging the gap between them within my own self.

I'm also sorry to say that by worrying so much about financial things and even considering leaving Orthodoxy because of these concerns, you are having a very worldly attitude. If God wants you to be a monk he will provide.

Paying for college is only a secondary consideration, not even worth too much of my concern. Working for a Catholic university, on the other hand, is an greatly more important opportunity.

Thank you for the response.
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2005, 02:40:40 AM »



Perhaps I should think of myself as an Orthodox Catholic.  Wink

You better duck because you just hit the pet peeve of fellow poster Orthodoc Wink LOL.

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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2005, 03:20:13 AM »

Being sympathetic toward certain Catholic traditions and authors does not necessarily make me Catholic in thought; My rejection of papal supremacy and the liturgical "renewal" shows this.
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2005, 03:54:43 AM »

Being sympathetic toward certain Catholic traditions and authors does not necessarily make me Catholic in thought; My rejection of papal supremacy and the liturgical "renewal" shows this.


It runs deeper than this. You approach the issues in a western way. You have to learn to undue the very methodology you and I and most of us imbued as children being reared in Western denominations. The only way this can happen is through prayer, fasting, reading the lives of the Orthodox saints, and the writings of the Church Fathers.  It takes time.

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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2005, 04:21:22 AM »

It runs deeper than this. You approach the issues in a western way.

I don't want to accuse you of ethnocentrism but that is what this statement sounds like to me.

In converting to Orthodoxy, I didn't close my mind to western thought. I'm really digging Blaise Pascal right now even though I am also reading The Way of the Pilgrim.
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2005, 07:37:14 AM »

Matthew,

I don't know where to begin. I'd select and insert several quotes here - ones from you (both from this as well as other threads) , Dustin, and Paradosis, but it would take me about an hour that I don't have just to arrange them, before I could even begin replying. So, I think I'm going to just start typing instead.

Let me start by telling you from where I'm coming. I am a cradle Latin Catholic who transferred my ecclesial membership to the Melkite Catholic Church almost 40 years ago. I firmly believe that the fulness of God's Church is contained in the Churches of the Catholic and Orthodox Communions, and by that I mean to include those of the Latin, Eastern, and Oriental traditions, and that the separations among us are made of man, are amenable to being unmade by man with God's help, and are displeasing to God, to Whom we shall all one day have to answer for their continuance.

You haven't said anywhere that I recollect (and I've gone back and read virtually all your posts) how old you are, but I'm guessing very late teens or barely twenty, relatively recently graduated from high school (? Jesuit). You've come from a mixed Latin Catholic and (ethnic) Greek Orthodox family, with your religious upbringing in the Latin Catholic Church.

Somehow, you discovered the Syro-Malankara Orthodox Church and entered into communion with it (I don't remember reading how long a period elapsed between your first encounter and that decision, but I suspect it was short). You now believe that you may have discerned in yourself a vocation to the monastic life and, I'm a bit uncertain, but perhaps also to the priesthood. The options, as you see them (since your Church has no seminary or monastic foundations in the US) are to enroll in St. Vashon's, a Russian Orthodox community (aren't 3 members a requisite to be formally designated a monastery?) or St. Martin's, a Latin Catholic monastery of the Benedictine Order.

You are concerned that you need to obtain a college education, but doing so would mean incurring substantial debt that you would be unable to repay while living a monastic existence; thus, your interest in St. Martin's, which would offer the educational opportunity without the debt. You see, as a post-degree option, "transferring" to St. Vashon's, cowl on head and degree in hand, if you don't find St. Martin's to your theological taste in the long-run. I think that about sums up your historical background, present state, and future plans, as you've laid them out here and in other threads (I skipped the Brown Scapular and a few other incidentals).  

I don't think you're a troll, unless you're incredibly dedicated to the role, because you have devoted enormous energies to painting a picture of a theologically confused individual, although it's interesting that you chose here to do so. Presenting the picture that you have, you would long since have been run off any Latin board or any other Eastern or Oriental Orthodox or Catholic board except here or the Byzantine Forum, which (despite the occasional sniping at both sites by folks from the the other) are by far the two most tolerant environments of their genre.

What I do think is that you are a prime example of one ensnared, enthralled, enraptured, enthused (pick your verb of choice) by the "smells and bells" of Eastern and Oriental liturgical praxis. Were this pre-Vatican II, with the full panoply and beauty of a Solemn High Tridentine Mass available, you would likely never have ventured outside the confines of the Latin Church in which you were raised. But, it's not and you have.

You express doubt about Petrine supremacy, but are considering enrolling in a religious congregation which is fully loyal to the Catholic Magisterium. What makes you think that they would consider enrollment of a Syro-Malankara Orthodox Christian who proposes to revert to Latin Catholicism but cannot, in all honesty, fully commit himself to belief in the dogma and doctrine of their Church? Or, were you not going to tell them? Does it strike you as opportunistic at best, and dishonest at worst, to enroll under the pretense of becoming one with them, even taking orders under them, when your sole reason for doing so is to obtain the benefit of a free education? Does that type of subterfuge sound to you like a premise that would be God-pleasing?

Go back and re-read your posts. Confusion is their name. You talk about a monastic vocation, express the need to obtain an education, voice concern about paying for it, then dismiss the financial concerns (and maybe the commitment to Orthodoxy, but who can tell?) as secondary to the opportunity to teach at a Catholic institution of higher learning. Matt, I pride myself on my ability to write clearly and succinctly on any topic and in response to anything, however your shotgun approach to life in general and to your theological life in particular defies my ability to address it rationally. That scares the hell out of me!

I agree with Dustin that you have a Western mindset. And don't bother to dismiss me as ethnocentric. You have no idea what you want from life, theologically or otherwise. In that respect,you are, at least spiritually, immature and, with no intent of disrespect, I believe you also to be intellectually and emotionally immature. While no one who has ever been a young adult expects that the average young adult is capable of deciding their entire future in the time it takes to complete a college application, it isn't unreasonable to expect a bit less vacillation than you've exhibited in the short time that you've been posting here.

Frankly, I'm with Paradosis, no Orthodox monastery should be willing to accept you, and I'd go further - nor should any Catholic monastery. You would do a disservice to either in seeking to enroll at this point in your life - before you undertake any such step, you need to establish what your spiritual identity is - and that is something you don't know. Protestations to the contrary, you do not appear to be a committed Orthodox - and I do not say that because you comment sympathetically on various Catholic theology or dogma.

Although many here will disagree with me, disavowal of any good or truth in Catholicism is not and should not be the hallmark of sound Orthodoxy, just as the obverse is equally repugnant - both attitudes are part of the reason why our Churches are where they are today. It is possible to be a good Orthodox Christian or a good Catholic Christian and have respect for, appreciate, and recognize all that is good and holy in the other's Church. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that one cannot be a good Orthodox or Catholic Christian without doing so, as such works against the unity which one must imagine is God's desire.

You may say to me, "that's me, I am the witness to bridging that chasm". Well, Matt, unfortunately, in my opinion, you aren't. Whether you will ultimately embrace Catholcism or Orthodoxy, I don't know. Right this minute, I don't see you as "embracing" either. You are flitting, intellectually and in reality, between the two, with no real commitment to either and doing nothing that will help to afford you a touchstone in reaching peace between the two (and with all due respect to your clergy, I don't see any indication that they are helping this situation, rather they appear to be contributing to it).

You need to get off the net, pray, and attempt some type of commitment in your day-to-day life to one Church and I don't care which one - only that you get yourself comfortable with God. Frankly, at the risk of adding further confusion to your existence, I'm not sure that your East-West Catholic-Orthodox schizophrenia might not be well-served by the Western Rite of the Antiochian Orthodox, where you'd have a mix of praxis, smells and bells, and a quasi-Latin Catholic atmosphere in an Orthodox Church (apologies to any of my Western Rite Antiochian brothers or sisters here, that description was not intended to sound dismissive, disrespectful, or patronizing and I hope it didn't).

Right this minute, were I a priest of any Church, I wouldn't allow you to do anything more than come and participate in Liturgy, without communing, for a long time before I would consider enrolling you in my parish. You need to find a Spiritual Director, Orthodox or Catholic. Someone with sound judgement and honest enough to be committed to helping you find your way, whichever way that is - not someone who is intent on pointing you, kicking and screaming, in one or the other direction. In kindness to your own clergy, I think they sense the ambivalence in you and are being too kind in not pointing it out - it's the only explanation that I can come up with for their seeming complicity in aiding and abetting your dance between Churches.

I apologize if this post has sounded harsh or uncaring. It isn't intended to be either. For forty years, I have watched people come and ago among the Churches, much like Dante's "Neutrals". You're young enough to hopefully avoid this and discover who you want to be, until such time as we are all one.

My prayers for you in coming to grips with your conflicts.

Many years,

Neil

PS I just read a fascinating piece on Concilair Press. Your particular issues aren't addressed there, but I think it's worth you reading it:

The temptations of monastic maximalism - By Hieromonk Jonah (Paffhausen) of the Monastery of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco

Edited to add post-script
« Last Edit: January 15, 2005, 01:46:07 PM by Irish Melkite » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2005, 12:41:31 PM »

I don't want to accuse you of ethnocentrism but that is what this statement sounds like to me.

In converting to Orthodoxy, I didn't close my mind to western thought. I'm really digging Blaise Pascal right now even though I am also reading The Way of the Pilgrim.

Ethnocentrism? Wouldn't that require Anastasios being of a non-Western ethnicity? He is a Western convert, no? He is talking about the Orthodox phronema, not cultural differences. It is part of Orthodox belief that everything connects to everything, and what we see as deviations in Catholic belief come from a (maybe just slightly) erroneous Catholic worldview.

As for reading Pascal, that is good! Any Orthodox can (and in my opinion should) read Catholic authors and love them. St. Th+¬r+¿se of Lisieux will always be one of my favorite figures of modern history. Yet I am careful to dismiss whatever Catholic authors say that goes against Orthodox teaching. St. Basil the Great said that we should approach sources outside of the Church like a bee approaches a flower-- take only the honey, leave what is not good where it is.

That's not ethnocentrism-- that's just the understanding of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. When we become Orthodox (and I have yet to do this, so take everything I say with a grain of salt), we must also change our minds-- as Paul says in Romans 12:2, there is a "renewing" of our minds-- we see everything differently, not according to our culture but according to the revelation of God.

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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2005, 01:43:39 PM »

I highly agree with Paradosis, Anastasios & Neil, it appears that Matthew is over loaded with many confusing thoughts that conflict with each other.

I can speak from much experience, it takes time, prayer and many discussions with knowledgeable spiritual people, and one must have patience.

Speaking for myself, I rely on my advice from a Benedictine(Roman Catholic) & Romanian Orthodox sources, which came about accidently.

I have not changed my affiliation due to being very fragmented in thought, though I do see progress in my journey.

It just takes time, patience and understanding friends.

Oh I forgot, having a thick skin !

Matthew, I wish you "God's speed" on your journey.

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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2005, 02:05:47 PM »

I agree with the above posters and have to quote this, the likes of which you have said several times:

"But I have been a member of the Orthodox Church for two years and in it I find the fullness of both liturgical life and Christian fellowship."

How about the fullness of truth? The fullness as Christ's Church on earth? That's what is to be found and treasured; if you just like the liturgical life and the fellowship, there is nothing to hold you there as opposed to Catholicism.  Hence the confusion and intermingling of Catholic and Orthodox and the view that either and both are acceptable.
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2005, 02:10:11 PM »



I don't want to accuse you of ethnocentrism but that is what this statement sounds like to me.

In converting to Orthodoxy, I didn't close my mind to western thought. I'm really digging Blaise Pascal right now even though I am also reading The Way of the Pilgrim.

You are missing the point, again, my friend. When talking about the Orthodox mindset (phronema) it's not WHAT you read, but HOW you approach it.  And the only way to develop that mindset is to read the lives of the saints and fathers and pray.  It develops over time. The articles on orthodoxinfo.com explain how to aquire this mindset.

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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2005, 02:13:34 PM »

I am new here, but I have been lurking a little while. One thing I have noticed in these discussions, however, is that there seems to be no differentiation made between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox, though people are open about the differences between Roman Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox.

We are converts to the Orthodox faith as well and out of curiosity, I have visited various Oriental Orthodox websites. I do tend to find myself most uncomfortable with those websites in the Nestorian communion. Some of them do seem to have a flavor very different from Eastern Orthodoxy. Their position seems much softer regarding their relationship with other Christian faiths. Some even seem very New Age to me. I realize many Oriental Orthodox post here and I do not want to cause offense. I have a very high respect for the Coptic Church because though we do have a significant doctrinal difference separating us, they have not built anything up around it over the ages. In addition, they seem more firm in the idea of maintaining a sense of 'orthodoxy,' something I sense lacking in the Nestorian church and most definitely throughout western Christianity.

It seems today, that a very sentimental, 'warm-fuzzy' and emotional approach to Christianity is most popular. Truth takes a back seat to these emotional feelings. It seems it is these emotional feelings and lack of commitment to sound doctrine (which is biblically essential) that is what is causing so much confusion with Matthew.
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2005, 02:14:22 PM »

Neil,

Great words.

Matthew and other new posters,

Dustin = my secular name in case anyone was confused.

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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2005, 02:22:44 PM »

I am new here, but I have been lurking a little while. One thing I have noticed in these discussions, however, is that there seems to be no differentiation made between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox, though people are open about the differences between Roman Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox.

We are converts to the Orthodox faith as well and out of curiosity, I have visited various Oriental Orthodox websites. I do tend to find myself most uncomfortable with those websites in the Nestorian communion. Some of them do seem to have a flavor very different from Eastern Orthodoxy. Their position seems much softer regarding their relationship with other Christian faiths. Some even seem very New Age to me. I realize many Oriental Orthodox post here and I do not want to cause offense. I have a very high respect for the Coptic Church because though we do have a significant doctrinal difference separating us, they have not built anything up around it over the ages. In addition, they seem more firm in the idea of maintaining a sense of 'orthodoxy,' something I sense lacking in the Nestorian church and most definitely throughout western Christianity.

It seems today, that a very sentimental, 'warm-fuzzy' and emotional approach to Christianity is most popular. Truth takes a back seat to these emotional feelings. It seems it is these emotional feelings and lack of commitment to sound doctrine (which is biblically essential) that is what is causing so much confusion with Matthew.

Hello!

Firstly, the website has an official policy of tolerance to both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox because substantial numbers of both communions count one another as "two families of the one Orthodox Church." But we also recognize that many people do NOT believe that (as I have pointed out numerous times to the poster Matthew). Basically, we allow either opinion to be expressed since Orthodox hierarchs at this time are found espousing both viewpoints, although this expression must be non-polemical.

Nestorians are not Oriental Orthodox, by the way. They do not accept the Council of Ephesus and they are in full communion with no one but share communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Their refusal to call St Mary "Theotokos" is what separated them from the rest of the Church. So if you have stumbled upon their websites, they are not "Oriental Orthodox" just to be clear.

You also say you have found some websites that are New Age-sounding. You probably stumbled upon the websites of some of the American cultists who at the present time are doing "Oriental Orthodox drag." In the 1800's these "vagantes" got off doing Tridentine; in the early 20th they liked Eastern Orthodox (witness the numerous vagante fake Eastern Orthodox "Churches" listed at www.ind-movement.org). Now it's Malankara that is their style. "Mor Enoch" and "Mor Elijah" are two examples of this group.

Traditional Oriental Orthodox praxis, Lizabeth, is identical to Eastern Orthodox. I have much experience in the matter. Now I am not one to say we can just unify without solving the issue of Chalcedon, but I do have hope that some day the two churches can be reunited. If you want to field websites to our Oriental Orthodox bretheren here, that would be an excellent idea; they can tell you whether they are legit or "vagante."

Welcome to the site!!

Anastasios

(vagante = Latin for "wandering" as in "wandering bishops")
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« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2005, 03:14:21 PM »

I do tend to find myself most uncomfortable with those websites in the Nestorian communion. Some of them do seem to have a flavor very different from Eastern Orthodoxy. Their position seems much softer regarding their relationship with other Christian faiths. Some even seem very New Age to me.

Lizabeth,

I'm a bit confused by your reference to "websites in the Nestorian communion", in part as there isn't really what I would call a Nestorian communion. Unlike the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Catholic Churches, there aren't multiple Churches classed as Nestorians or, as they prefer to be called, Assyrians. The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, their formal name, is the larger of two bodies that split back in the late 60's over issues related to their Patriarchy; the other group is the Ancient Church of the East a/k/a the Baghdad Patriarchate.

As to a "New Age" aspect, I'm unfamiliar with seeing that kind of aura (no pun intended) displayed with regard to the Assyrians. There are any number of episcopi vagante ("wandering bishops"), a phrase that has its origins in the late Middle Ages but is used today to describe a style of ministry that purports to be mainstream by associating itself in various ways with established Churches with which it has no real connection. Both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are plagued by such and there is a particular genre of this phenomenon which does have a New Age aspect to it; these are frequently recognizable when viewing a list of their "parishes" and seeing that among them is something akin to "Mar Timotheos' Holistic Centre for Healing" and other institutions of that ilk. A number of these in particular use names, phrasing, vestments, etc. that suggest an affiliation with Oriental Orthodox or Catholic Churches, particularly the Syro-Malabarese and Syro-Malankarese, and occasionally the Syriac Orthodox. These groups are a particular interest of mine and I could probably provide you with a list of links that you would recognize and immediately say "yep, those are the ones I was talking about!" Should you have questions about any in particular, please fel free to post their website address or pm me and I'll be happy to tell you what I know about them.

Many years,

Neil

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« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2005, 03:48:52 PM »

I am not so certain Lizabeth means the Assyrians when reference is made in her posts to "Nestorians". Why don't we just ask if she means Eastern Orthodox, which is how I read the posts, or the Assyrians?

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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2005, 03:50:10 PM »

Dear Demetri,

I'm sure she will clarify her post.  I certainly didn't read her as you did. 
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« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2005, 03:55:47 PM »

Dear Matthew,

It is with some sadness that I find myself agreeing completely with Neil's comments.   
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2005, 04:23:36 PM »

Ethnocentrism? Wouldn't that require Anastasios being of a non-Western ethnicity?

Ethnocentrism is the tendency to evaluate other groups according to the values and standards of one's own ethnic group, especially with the conviction that one's own ethnic group is superior to the other groups. One can be ethnocentric in terms of east vs. west, even if a Latin convert.

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« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2005, 05:13:45 PM »

Thank you for the response. I will adress your points in the best way I can.

You haven't said anywhere that I recollect (and I've gone back and read virtually all your posts) how old you are, but I'm guessing very late teens or barely twenty, relatively recently graduated from high school (? Jesuit).
Edited to add post-script

I am a freshman at a community college turning nineteen in three days. I did not attend private school.

Somehow, you discovered the Syro-Malankara Orthodox Church and entered into communion with it (I don't remember reading how long a period elapsed between your first encounter and that decision, but I suspect it was short). You now believe that you may have discerned in yourself a vocation to the monastic life and, I'm a bit uncertain, but perhaps also to the priesthood. Edited to add post-script

I have been a member of the Malankara Church for two years. I was introduced to it by a girl in high school whose father is a deacon there.
Since, Father Michael, the man who founded the church, went to college with my parents at Gonzaga University, they were more or less happy with my decision. It took me five months between leaving leaving the Latin Church and visiting St. Gregorios before I felt called to convert to Orthodoxy.
As I have said before, I have been interested in the religious life since seventh grade. I would rather be a brother than a priest. I do not feel called to the priesthood.

I don't think you're a troll, unless you're incredibly dedicated to the role, because you have devoted enormous energies to painting a picture of a theologically confused individual, although it's interesting that you chose here to do so.
Edited to add post-script

I do not blame anyone for seeing me as theoligically confused but I am not.


What I do think is that you are a prime example of one ensnared, enthralled, enraptured, enthused (pick your verb of choice) by the "smells and bells" of Eastern and Oriental liturgical praxis. Edited to add post-script

To reduce my love for Orthodoxy to merely "smells and bells" would be an insult.

You express doubt about Petrine supremacy, but are considering enrolling in a religious congregation which is fully loyal to the Catholic Magisterium. What makes you think that they would consider enrollment of a Syro-Malankara Orthodox Christian who proposes to revert to Latin Catholicism but cannot, in all honesty, fully commit himself to belief in the dogma and doctrine of their Church? Or, were you not going to tell them? Does it strike you as opportunistic at best, and dishonest at worst, to enroll under the pretense of becoming one with them, even taking orders under them, when your sole reason for doing so is to obtain the benefit of a free education? Does that type of subterfuge sound to you like a premise that would be God-pleasing?
Edited to add post-script

As I said before, college debt is only a secondary consideration. I am visting Vashon Island during spring break and if I fall in love with it, I'll surely find a way to pay for college and I'll pray for God's help along the way.
As a man of theoligical and intellectual mind, infinitely more important than a full ride to college would be the opportunity to work at a Catholic university for the rest of my life. This is not a matter of what I can get from the university but what I could potentially give to it through the help of God.


You have no idea what you want from life, theologically or otherwise. In that respect, you are, at least spiritually, immature and, with no intent of disrespect, I believe you also to be intellectually and emotionally immature.

Edited to add post-script

I have wanted to do this for five years and if anything has been consistent in my life, it has been my sense of calling to join a religious order.
And even if you are afraid that my intellectual and emotional maturity are lacking, wouldn't I gain much more of this from the time I join Vashon Island to the time I take my vows? Three years under the guidence of a monk is a prime opportunity to become intellectually, spiritually and emotionally mature.

Frankly, I'm with Paradosis, no Orthodox monastery should be willing to accept you, and I'd go further - nor should any Catholic monasteryEdited to add post-script

It takes three years of living at Vashon before becoming accepted.


In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that one cannot be a good Orthodox or Catholic Christian without doing so, as such works against the unity which one must imagine is God's desire.

Edited to add post-script

Excellent

You may say to me, "that's me, I am the witness to bridging that chasm". Well, Matt, unfortunately, in my opinion, you aren't. Edited to add post-script

No one on this forum knows enough about me to arrive at that opinion.

(and with all due respect to your clergy, I don't see any indication that they are helping this situation, rather they appear to be contributing to it).

Edited to add post-script

You do not know enough about my clergy to arrive at that opinion.


Frankly, at the risk of adding further confusion to your existence, I'm not sure that your East-West Catholic-Orthodox schizophrenia
Edited to add post-script

I wouldn't relate my sympathy to both Catholicism and Orthodoxy to a mental disorder, many Catholic converts to Orthodoxy feel the same or similar to the way I feel.

Right this minute, were I a priest of any Church, I wouldn't allow you to do anything more than come and participate in Liturgy, without communing, for a long time before I would consider enrolling you in my parish. You need to find a Spiritual Director, Orthodox or Catholic. Someone with sound judgement and honest enough to be committed to helping you find your way, whichever way that is - not someone who is intent on pointing you, kicking and screaming, in one or the other direction. In kindness to your own clergy, I think they sense the ambivalence in you and are being too kind in not pointing it out - it's the only explanation that I can come up with for their seeming complicity in aiding and abetting your dance between Churches.

Edited to add post-script

I have been receiving communion at St. Gregorios since I became a member two years ago and to deny me the Holy Mysteries would break my heart.
My spiritual directors are the priests and deacons of St. Gregorios, some just happen to be converts from Catholicism and therefore sympathetic to the Catholic Church. I did not even think of joining St. Martin's until Deacon Gabriel, a convert from the Latin Church, reccomended it.
To accuse me of ambivelence due to my sympathy for Catholicism, you would also have to accuse Father James, Father Michael, and Father Michael for the same.
And I am not dancing between churches. I am thoroughly committed to my own church, thank you very much. I can honestly tell you that St. Gregorios is the most important part of my life besides Christ himself.

No ill will intended.
May the peace of Christ be with you and your spirit.

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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2005, 05:14:53 PM »

I know this may sound shocking to some that a committed Orthodox Christian would consider joining a Roman Catholic monastery.

Well, YEAH. But I thought we were talking about you? Grin

Based on what you have posted since coming to this board - you are still more Roman Catholic in your beliefs and certain praxis than Orthodox.

I have to become college educated, this is a must. But if I finish college and am in debt, I do not know of any way I could pay for my student loans while living in a monastery.

Why do you HAVE to go to college? If your parents are inisting on it - then they should pay for it. Otherwise , do what YOU want to do.

I don't want to accuse you of ethnocentrism but that is what this statement sounds like to me.

No. Anastasios is correct. The absolute HARDEST thing for me is to undeerstand Orthodox theology because it is not at all like Western theology.
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2005, 05:19:33 PM »



Ethnocentrism is the tendency to evaluate other groups according to the values and standards of one's own ethnic group, especially with the conviction that one's own ethnic group is superior to the other groups. One can be ethnocentric in terms of east vs. west, even if a Latin convert.

Exactly, and that has nothing to do with Anastasios's comment.

a) It is not about an ethnic group or ethnic differences-- it is about the Orthodox way of approaching things. Not a cultural difference, but a difference between the Orthodox and Catholic religions.

b) Even if it were cultural, Anastasios did not "convert" to being Greek or "Eastern." He converted to a religion, not an ethnicity.

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« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2005, 05:23:14 PM »


Why do you HAVE to go to college? If your parents are inisting on it - then they should pay for it. Otherwise , do what YOU want to do.


At this point in my life, graduating from college is more important than joining a monastery. An uneducated Brother Matthew is a dissapointed monk indeed.
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« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2005, 05:25:07 PM »


No. Anastasios is correct. The absolute HARDEST thing for me is to undeerstand Orthodox theology because it is not at all like Western theology.


It does sound a little ethocentric to insist that Eastern thought is superior to Western thought in everything and anything, not that I am accusing anyone of this.

I'd rather have a balance between Eastern and Western thought than insist that one is superior to the other.
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« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2005, 05:28:40 PM »

At this point in my life, graduating from college is more important than joining a monastery. An uneducated Brother Matthew is a dissapointed monk indeed.

Then I also would suggest you go the first 2 years at a Community College - study to finish with as close to a 4.0 average as you can - and then apply for scholarships or grants based upon prioir academic achievement.

It does sound a little ethocentric to insist that Eastern thought is superior to Western thought in everything and anything, not that I am accusing anyone of this.

Now, I didn't say SUPERIOR. It is more mystical than analytical when it pertains to theology. And the Eastern Orthodox believe that God cannot be understood utilizing our analytical mindset. He must be approached from a different mindset.

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« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2005, 05:31:17 PM »



Then I also would suggest you go the first 2 years at a Community College - study to finish with as close to a 4.0 average as you can - and then apply for scholarships or grants based upon prioir academic achievement.


With the favor of God and the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that is what I am praying to achieve.
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« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2005, 05:42:00 PM »

I'm sure she will clarify her post.  I certainly didn't read her as you did. 

Here is a website on the Malabar Independant Syrian Church:
http://www.malabar.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/

I do not have any idea if this is Matthew's church, but if it is, I can understand his confusion. If on one hand it claims to be Orthodox, yet, on the other, it is in communion with the Anglicans, then it obviously is something quite different from what we think of as 'Orthodox.' Traditional Anglicanism has a lot in common with Eastern Orthodox, but their 'inclusivity' is what has made it impossible for discussions of our recognizing them as a part of the "One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" from going very far. This is what I was attempting to refer to in my previous post: a lack of a real sense of orthodoxy. This may not be a problem in many of the Oriental churches, I am no expert to say one way or the other, but it does seem to be a problem in some (maybe they are psuedo Oriental Orthodox churches, but either way, this should be clearly differentiated for the purpose of discussion and for those of us who may be misled).
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« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2005, 05:43:31 PM »



It does sound a little ethocentric to insist that Eastern thought is superior to Western thought in everything and anything, not that I am accusing anyone of this.

I'd rather have a balance between Eastern and Western thought than insist that one is superior to the other.

While I do believe that Orthodox theology (drop the Eastern, it doesn't matter) is true and Catholic theology is not on the points that differ, no one is arguing that one is superior to the other here. We are arguing that they are DIFFERENT.

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« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2005, 05:44:50 PM »



Here is a website on the Malabar Independant Syrian Church:
http://www.malabar.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/

I do not have any idea if this is Matthew's church, but if it is, I can understand his confusion. If on one hand it claims to be Orthodox, yet, on the other, it is in communion with the Anglicans, then it obviously is something quite different from what we think of as 'Orthodox.' Traditional Anglicanism has a lot in common with Eastern Orthodox, but their 'inclusivity' is what has made it impossible for discussions of our recognizing them as a part of the "One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" from going very far. This is what I was attempting to refer to in my previous post: a lack of a real sense of orthodoxy. This may not be a problem in many of the Oriental churches, I am no expert to say one way or the other, but it does seem to be a problem in some (maybe they are psuedo Oriental Orthodox churches, but either way, this should be clearly differentiated for the purpose of discussion and for those of us who may be misled).


Lizabeth,

That church is not Oriental Orthodox. It is a split-off sect.

Anastasios
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« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2005, 05:46:29 PM »

Quote
Here is a website on the Malabar Independant Syrian Church:

The key word in that name of their "church" is independant, which means it is not legit, and it's independance is what assures it of being neither Orthodox or a part of the Church.

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« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2005, 05:52:50 PM »

Here are some links for the REAL Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church:

http://www.indianorthodoxchurch.org/

http://www.orthodoxsyrianchurch.com/

Hope these links are helpful.   Smiley

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2005, 05:56:34 PM »



Lizabeth,

That church is not Oriental Orthodox. It is a split-off sect.

Anastasios

I guess I need to assume then that Matthew is in a legitimate Syrian Orthodox Church. Forgive me, I didn't understand exactly what his jurisdictional affiliation is. I need to talk to my spiritual father about all of is, since this discussion is quite confusing.
Thank you for your patience.
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« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2005, 06:07:49 PM »



Now, I didn't say SUPERIOR. It is more mystical than analytical when it pertains to theology. And the Eastern Orthodox believe that God cannot be understood utilizing our analytical mindset. He must be approached from a different mindset.


From studying Kierkegard and Pascal's attacks on Thomist rationalism, I am becoming more and more aware of how much the analytical is insufficient and inadequate in approaching the mystical. It is ironic that these men of the West could have realized the foolishness of Western thought in terms of theology.
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« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2005, 06:08:58 PM »

Here are some links for the REAL Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church:

http://www.indianorthodoxchurch.org/

http://www.orthodoxsyrianchurch.com/

Hope these links are helpful. Smiley

In Christ,
Aaron

The site for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in America is
www.malankara.org
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« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2005, 06:28:11 PM »



The site for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in America is
www.malankara.org

That is an unofficial site, Matthew, and probably not for the Church in America as much as it is for H.G. Mar Makarios' pastoral activities.  There used to be an official website for the Diocese, but I'm not sure if it is up again. 
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« Reply #38 on: January 15, 2005, 06:29:17 PM »

Looks like the first of Aaron's links is a good candidate for "official".  Will have to ask around. 
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« Reply #39 on: January 15, 2005, 06:33:11 PM »

MISC is not in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches.  I would not classify them as vagante, personally, given what I know of their history.  They have, in recent times, had close contacts with the Anglican Communion, and have taken in certain "vagante" characters, though.   
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« Reply #40 on: January 15, 2005, 06:42:38 PM »



That is an unofficial site, Matthew, and probably not for the Church in America as much as it is for H.G. Mar Makarios' pastoral activities. There used to be an official website for the Diocese, but I'm not sure if it is up again.

"Please send e-mail to FrDanielGeorge@malankara.org or call Tel.(773)478-0374 for additional information's, questions or comments about this web site."

It's rather strange that the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Malankara Archdioecese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in America (www.malankara.com) are two different churches. I could be mistaken though.


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« Reply #41 on: January 15, 2005, 07:47:57 PM »



"Please send e-mail to FrDanielGeorge@malankara.org or call Tel.(773)478-0374 for additional information's, questions or comments about this web site."

It's rather strange that the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Malankara Archdioecese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in America (www.malankara.com) are two different churches. I could be mistaken though.




Why would I email an unofficial website and ask them if they represent the official church? It seems that Metropolitan Mar Makarios is trying to make it look like he is still in charge in the USA. He's not and hasn't been for some time. Mar Barnabas is the bishop of the Indian Orthodox Church in America.

As for the two groups, Matthew, one is the patriarchal faction and one is the catholicos faction.

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« Reply #42 on: January 15, 2005, 07:53:51 PM »


It seems that Metropolitan Mar Makarios is trying to make it look like he is still in charge in the USA. He's not and hasn't been for some time. Mar Barnabas is the bishop of the Indian Orthodox Church in America.


What are you talking about? Mar Makarios consecrated our Church in September. Every time we talk about who is bishop, it is Bishop Makarios.

And if you would like validation of this truth: http://www.indianorthodoxchurch.org/americanDiocese.html

Mar Makarios is the Malankara Senior Metropolitan of America.


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« Reply #43 on: January 15, 2005, 08:02:59 PM »



What are you talking about? Mar Makarios consecrated our Church in September. Every time we talk about who is bishop, it is Bishop Makarios.

And if you would like validation of this truth: http://www.indianorthodoxchurch.org/CanadaEurope.html

"Diocesan Metropolitan:

HG Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios"





Right, it says right there for Canada and Europe, NOT America. He was transferred OUT of America and to Canada and Europe.  Look here: http://www.indianorthodoxchurch.org/america.html  ---> Mar Barnabas is Metropolitan of the USA.

It seems that Mar Makarios was allowed to keep the three or four American priests that he converted under his personal jurisdiction. But the other 70 Indian Churches in the USA are under Mar Barnabas.

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« Reply #44 on: January 15, 2005, 08:04:36 PM »

Right, it says right there for Canada and Europe, NOT America. He was transferred OUT of America and to Canada and Europe.

Do you know why?
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