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Author Topic: The Benedictine Order and me  (Read 13980 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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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
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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

Whoops, I see Dustin already told you much the same thing. Oh well, shouldn't start a post and pause for lunch, I guess Wink
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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,
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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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« Reply #45 on: January 15, 2005, 08:06:31 PM »



Do you know why?

I don't know the details but I believe Phil does.  It isn't anything really juicy; mostly just a routine change of administration.

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« Reply #46 on: January 15, 2005, 08:11:02 PM »



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.


http://www.indianorthodoxchurch.org/americanDiocese.html
 
Just look at his picture and its caption and tell me who my bishop is.

"In 1975 Rev. Fr. K.C. Thomas was elevated as a bishop by name His Grace Thomas Mar Makarios. In 1976 the parishes in America and Canada were brought under a new Diocese called "Bombay Diocese". The Managing Committee and the Holy Episcopal Synod declared establishment of the
American Diocese in January 1979. His Holiness Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews I, Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan came to America in July 1979, and the American Diocese was established officially by His Holiness presiding over the enthronement ceremony of His Grace Thomas Mar Makarios as the first Metropolitan.
During the 1980s, several parishes purchased their own church buildings for their worship services and other activities. Currently, about half of our parishes own their church buildings. The American Diocese is one of the 22 Dioceses of the Indian Orthodox Church with headquarters in Kottayam, Kerala in India and His Holiness Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II as the supreme head of the Church."




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« Reply #47 on: January 15, 2005, 08:16:04 PM »

From the very website you just linked me to:

"Currently, there are about ten thousand Indian Orthodox Christians in the United States. There are 66 parishes assisted by 78 priests and 9 deacons in the American Diocese. The head of the American Diocese, also known as the Diocesan Metropolitan is His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas."

Repeat: your parish seems to be in a SPECIAL circumstance whereby you commemorate Mar Makarios and not the Metropolitan of America, Mar Barnabas.

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« Reply #48 on: January 15, 2005, 08:17:12 PM »

Further proof: http://www.indianorthodoxchurch.org/DiocesanNews.html
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« Reply #49 on: January 15, 2005, 08:17:29 PM »

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.
It isn't anything really juicy; mostly just a routine change of administration.

Making a false website to claim false authority would be rather "juicy" to me.
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« Reply #50 on: January 15, 2005, 08:17:58 PM »

http://indianorthodoxchurch.photosite.com/Album1/ad-barnabas.html
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« Reply #51 on: January 15, 2005, 08:19:05 PM »




Making a false website to claim false authority would be rather "juicy" to me.


No, he was the legitimate bishop, and it appears that he simply never took the website down and never updated it after he was transferred.  Maybe it was made by one of his priests under him and he doesn't even know about it.

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« Reply #52 on: January 15, 2005, 08:19:51 PM »

Repeat: your parish seems to be in a SPECIAL circumstance whereby you commemorate Mar Makarios and not the Metropolitan of America, Mar Barnabas.

But I seriously doubt that Mar Makarios would do this against the will of the diocese.
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« Reply #53 on: January 15, 2005, 08:22:44 PM »



But I seriously doubt that Mar Makarios would do this against the will of the diocese.

Which I did not even SUGGEST. I said it was in a SPECIAL circumstance, not that it was ILLEGITIMATE. He probably made a deal with the catholicos based on his special relationship with the convert parishes, and this was probably accepted by all.

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« Reply #54 on: January 15, 2005, 08:26:11 PM »

I'm sorry if I rashly read in to your posts. I just love Mar Makarios enough that it is hard for me to tolerate anything that even sounds like an accusation of scandal.

As far as I know, you are right about his special relationship to us as a convert church. Grin
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« Reply #55 on: January 15, 2005, 08:39:33 PM »

I'm sorry if I rashly read in to your posts. I just love Mar Makarios enough that it is hard for me tolerate anything that even sounds like an accusation of scandal.

As far as I know, you are right about his special relationship to us as a convert church. Grin

The situation in America is difficult and tumultuous. It's not really a wonder that there is confusion in these times.  I certainly have nothing against Mar Makarios, a courageous bishop who "thinks outside of the box." Smiley

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« Reply #56 on: January 15, 2005, 08:43:26 PM »

a courageous bishop who "thinks outside of the box." Smiley

What do you mean?
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« Reply #57 on: January 15, 2005, 08:43:44 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.

It's not Eastern thought. It's Orthodox thought-- and Orthodoxy can be Western, too. The Western Church Fathers had the same approach to things.

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« Reply #58 on: January 15, 2005, 10:00:10 PM »

I'm somewhat offended by the 'tone' of some of the admonishments of Matthew here.  None of us know him.  We've just read a few things he's written.  We certainly can't say that he shouldn't be allowed to receive the Eucharist. 

Basically it is not the place of anyone here to 're-educate' Matthew.  That is not the purpose of an internet discussion forum.  No one here is entitled to give him spiritual direction. 

Matthew will sort all of this out with the help of real people in his life.   

BTW, if these kinds of lectures had been directed at me (and they have been in the past) I would regard them as a kind of religious bullying.  He's obviously at a place in his life when he's trying to sort things out and believe me, none of us have been 'sent by God' to 'set him on the straight and narrow.' 

So let's let him be. 
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« Reply #59 on: January 15, 2005, 10:02:10 PM »

I'm somewhat offended by the 'tone' of some of the admonishments of Matthew here. None of us know him. We've just read a few things he's written. We certainly can't say that he shouldn't be allowed to receive the Eucharist.

Basically it is not the place of anyone here to 're-educate' Matthew. That is not the purpose of an internet discussion forum. No one here is entitled to give him spiritual direction.

Matthew will sort all of this out with the help of real people in his life.

BTW, if these kinds of lectures had been directed at me (and they have been in the past) I would regard them as a kind of religious bullying. He's obviously at a place in his life when he's trying to sort things out and believe me, none of us have been 'sent by God' to 'set him on the straight and narrow.'

So let's let him be.

Thank you for your kindness and slowness to judgement. May peace be upon you and with thy spirit.
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« Reply #60 on: January 15, 2005, 10:25:19 PM »

I'm sorry Jennifer, I thought Matthew had asked for our opinions. Is there some other meaning to the word at the end of his first (lengthy, autobiographical) post, "Discuss..."?
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« Reply #61 on: January 15, 2005, 10:59:22 PM »

I'm sorry Jennifer, I thought Matthew had asked for our opinions. Is there some other meaning to the word at the end of his first (lengthy, autobiographical) post, "Discuss..."?

The topic of this discussion is intended to be the Benedictine Order itself, not the supposed foolishness of my decision making. Wink

My intention is to have the members of the board share their view of the Order from an Orthodox perspective.

I, for one, am impressed by how "Orthodox" the Order really is.
But then again, I'm an Orthodox Christian and not an Orthodox triumphalist. (No offense intended to any of the members of this board.)
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« Reply #62 on: January 15, 2005, 11:07:02 PM »

What sense does it make to discuss the Benedictine Order if you are a member of the Orthodox Church now ?

Posting it in this board makes little sense to me, unless there is a agenda to be pursued.

JB

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« Reply #63 on: January 15, 2005, 11:09:32 PM »

Posting it in this board makes little sense to me, unless there is a agenda to be pursued.

The agenda is to probe the Order from an Orthodox perspective to find what we share in common.
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« Reply #64 on: January 15, 2005, 11:13:14 PM »

Then request it to be relocated to the Orthodox/Catholic discussion board.

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« Reply #65 on: January 15, 2005, 11:19:53 PM »

Then request it to be relocated to the Orthodox/Catholic discussion board.

james

But then it would be moderated.
If that would be best then that is my request.
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« Reply #66 on: January 16, 2005, 12:59:42 AM »

I'm somewhat offended by the 'tone' of some of the admonishments of Matthew here. None of us know him. We've just read a few things he's written. We certainly can't say that he shouldn't be allowed to receive the Eucharist.

You're right, his priest should determine that.

Quote
Basically it is not the place of anyone here to 're-educate' Matthew. That is not the purpose of an internet discussion forum. No one here is entitled to give him spiritual direction.

Sorry, I couldn't disagree more. Leaving matters of opinion aside, he has stated several errors of fact. Those should be corrected. Matthew makes claims. We don't agree with his claims, so we disagree. This is what a message board is for.  We all need more education.

Quote
Matthew will sort all of this out with the help of real people in his life.

We are real people. I have made many friendships online that have carried over to the "real world." I find your dichotomy between internet life and real life to be too extreme. Certainly we shouldn't rely solely or primariily on internet advice, but it can be helpful.

Quote
BTW, if these kinds of lectures had been directed at me (and they have been in the past) I would regard them as a kind of religious bullying. He's obviously at a place in his life when he's trying to sort things out and believe me, none of us have been 'sent by God' to 'set him on the straight and narrow.'

I find your use of the term "bullying" to be so all-pervasive as to be unuseful. Certainly there is such a thing as using religion to bash people but that has not happened here. Matthew has made statements that are factually incorrect and solicited opinions. He has gotten those. And no, I don't believe you that God doesn't send people online to help others get straightened out because I credit some people that I have met online to helping me a great deal.  You are limiting God.  People have questions, and we are real people who can give some advice.  Sometimes it's dangerous to rely solely on your parish because frankly one's parish could be the problem.

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So let's let him be.

So we should let him continue believing things that are factual errors or could be leading him down the wrong path (as determined by the Church, not us individually)?

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« Reply #67 on: January 16, 2005, 01:07:19 AM »

Jennifer,

Could you please expand on what you think the purpose of a religious discussion forum should be? And also, if you were in someone else's shoes, and saw that someone was posting things that are contrary to the teachings of Orthodoxy as you understood them, what would you do? Leave it be?  Don't we have an obligation to point things out to people if they are espousing something that is incorrect?

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« Reply #68 on: January 16, 2005, 02:44:11 AM »

OK, here's my $0.02:
If you are truly intersted in a monastic vocation, work your way through at least 2 years of junior college. Follow this with a year or two of living on your own, supporting yourself and being responsible for for your own schedule, living expenses, home, and paying off any debts you incured in school.
Technically you're old enough to enter a religious community, but any community that has a clue wouldn't accept a candidate who didn't have some "life experience" after high school. If any community is willing to accept an 18 year old novice who just graduated high school, turn around and RUN (fast!). Spending some time just living on your own is how you will get to know yourself, and honestly discern whether or not you are called to a religious community ( and if so, what type of community).
Remeber, religous life isn't all enlightened theological conversation, flawless liturgy and wise superiors. It's also hours of hard work; scrubbing floors, raking leaves, washing dishes etc.
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« Reply #69 on: January 16, 2005, 02:39:26 PM »

Sorry, I couldn't disagree more. Leaving matters of opinion aside, he has stated several errors of fact. Those should be corrected. Matthew makes claims. We don't agree with his claims, so we disagree. This is what a message board is for. We all need more education.

It's possible to disagree without 'judgment,' e.g. without commenting on his "foolishness" or "spiritual immaturity."  if he says something wrong, inform him that his position is not that of the Orthodox Church but leave out the personal remarks. 

Quote
We are real people. I have made many friendships online that have carried over to the "real world." I find your dichotomy between internet life and real life to be too extreme. Certainly we shouldn't rely solely or primariily on internet advice, but it can be helpful.

You're not real people to him as no one here has a friendship with him online, let alone real life. 

Quote
I find your use of the term "bullying" to be so all-pervasive as to be unuseful. Certainly there is such a thing as using religion to bash people but that has not happened here. Matthew has made statements that are factually incorrect and solicited opinions. He has gotten those. And no, I don't believe you that God doesn't send people online to help others get straightened out because I credit some people that I have met online to helping me a great deal. You are limiting God. People have questions, and we are real people who can give some advice. Sometimes it's dangerous to rely solely on your parish because frankly one's parish could be the problem.

It's possible to believe that God might send someone on-line to 'guide' someone, however, we get in trouble when we believe that we are sent by God to straighten people out. 

If he asks questions, answer them and leave out the personal judgment. 

When I use the term "bullying" what I mean is that there is a personal judgment involved.  Bullying is all about tearing people down.  It's not simply, "you're wrong," but "you're stupid and spiritually immature." 

One of the things I've learned in life is that good sincere people can be wrong.  They're not wrong because they're stupid or immature or not good people.  On religious boards, too often it's assumed that being "wrong" is a personal failing. 

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So we should let him continue believing things that are factual errors or could be leading him down the wrong path (as determined by the Church, not us individually)?
Anastasios

"Let him continue believing things..."  Do you see the problem with that statement?  "Let him believe" as if you get to dictate what he believes.  We don't get to decide what he believes. 
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« Reply #70 on: January 16, 2005, 02:43:52 PM »

Jennifer,

Could you please expand on what you think the purpose of a religious discussion forum should be? And also, if you were in someone else's shoes, and saw that someone was posting things that are contrary to the teachings of Orthodoxy as you understood them, what would you do? Leave it be? Don't we have an obligation to point things out to people if they are espousing something that is incorrect?

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The purpose of discussion forum is to *discuss* things.   It's not to pass spiritual judgment on people we only know from a few hundred words they've written.
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« Reply #71 on: January 16, 2005, 04:50:12 PM »

The novice period is at least three years so that would enough time for me to get to know myself, even for me to change my mind if I find that it is not the right vocation for me.

Now about all the work involved: To work is to pray.
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« Reply #72 on: January 16, 2005, 05:11:33 PM »

Jennifer, thank you for your open-mindedness and slowness to judgement.

I honestly hope that there is an Orthodox "equivalent" to this statement in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. "He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters."
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« Reply #73 on: January 16, 2005, 05:43:38 PM »

"Orthodoxy is primarily liturgical. It informs and enlightens the people not so much by sermons and the teaching of norms and laws but by liturgical services themselves which give a foreshadowing of transfigured life. It likewise teaches the people through the examples of saints and instills the cult of holiness. But the images of saints are not normative; to them is granted the graceful enlightenment and transfiguration of creation by the action of the Holy Spirit. This, not being the normative type for Orthodoxy, makes it more difficult for the ways of human life, for history; it makes it less attractive for any kind of organization and for cultural creativity. The hidden mystery of the Holy Spirit's activity upon creation has not been actually realized by the ways of historical life. Characteristic for Orthodoxy is FREEDOM. This internal freedom may not be noticed from the outside but it is everywhere present. The idea of freedom as the foundation of Orthodoxy was developed in Russian religious thinking of the XIX and XX centuries. The admission of the freedom of conscience radically distinguishes the Orthodox Church from the Catholic Church. But the understanding of freedom in Orthodoxy is different from the understanding of freedom in Protestantism. In Protestantism, as in all Western thought, freedom is understood individualistically, as a personal right, preserved from encroachment on the part of any other person, and declaring it to be autonomous. Individualism is foreign to Orthodoxy, to it belongs a particular collectivism. A religious person and a religious collective are not incompatible with each other, as external friend to friend. The religious person is found within the religious collective and the religious collective is found within the religious person. Thus the religious collective does not become an external authority for the religious person, burdening the person externally with teaching and the law of life. The Church is not outside of religious persons, opposed to her. The Church is within them and they are within her. Thus the Church is not an authority. The Church is a grace-filled unity of love and freedom. Authoritativeness is incompatible with Orthodoxy because this form engenders a fracture between the religious collective and the religious person, between the Church and her members. There is no spiritual life without the freedom of conscience, there is not even a concept of the Church, since the Church does not tolerate slaves within her, but God wants only the free. But the authentic freedom of religious conscience, freedom of the spirit, is made evident not in an isolated autonomous personality, self-asserted in individualism but in a personality conscious of being in a superpersonal spiritual unity, in a unity with a spiritual organism, within the Body of Christ, i.e. the Church. My personal conscience is not placed outside and is not placed in opposition to the superpersonal conscience of the Church, it is revealed only within the Church's conscience. But, without an active spiritual deepening of my personal conscience, of my personal spiritual freedom, the life of the Church is not realized, since this life cannot be external to, nor be imposed upon, the person. Participation in the Church demands spiritual freedom, not only from the first entry into the Church, which Catholicism also recognizes, but throughout one's whole life. The Church's freedom with respect to the State was always precarious, but Orthodoxy always enjoyed freedom within the Church. In Orthodoxy freedom is organically linked with Sobornost', i.e. with the activity of the Holy Spirit upon the religious collective which has been with the Church not only during the times of the Ecumenical Councils, but at all times. Sobornost' in Orthodoxy, which is the life of the Church's people, never had any external juridical signs. Not even the Ecumenical Councils enjoyed indisputable external authority. The infallibility of authority was enjoyed only by the whole Church throughout her whole history, and the bearers and custodians of this authority were the whole people of the Church. The Ecumenical Councils enjoyed their authority not because they conformed with external juridical legal requirements but because the people of the Church, the whole Church recognized them as Ecumenical and genuine. Only that Ecumenical Council is genuine in which there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit; the outpouring of the Holy Spirit has no external juridical criteria, it is discerned by the people of the Church in accordance with internal spiritual evidence. All this indicates a nonnormative nonjuridical character of the Orthodox Church. Along with this the Orthodox consciousness understands the Church more ontologically, i.e. it doesn't see the Church primarily as an organization and an establishment, not just a society of faithful, but as a spiritual, religious organism, the Mystical Body of Christ. Orthodoxy is more cosmic than Western Christianity. Neither Catholicism nor Protestantism sufficiently expresses the cosmic nature of the Church, as the Body of Christ. Western Christianity is primarily anthropological. But the Church is also the Christianized cosmos; within her, the whole created world is subject to the effect of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Christ's appearance has a cosmic, cosmogonic significance; it signifies somehow a new creation, a new day of the world's creation."
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« Reply #74 on: January 16, 2005, 06:59:47 PM »

Jennifer,

Thanks for clearing up your position. I can agree with what you say.

Anastasios
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« Reply #75 on: January 16, 2005, 07:11:31 PM »

Jennifer, thank you for your open-mindedness and slowness to judgement.

I honestly hope that there is an Orthodox "equivalent" to this statement in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. "He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters."

Well of course Orthodoxy is against coercion. But no one here is coercing you... no Catholic would say that it goes against the Catechism to attempt to convince someone of something. Coercing you would be physically forcing you to go to the ROCOR monastery or so on. Stating an opinion is not. But I do agree that some of what has been said has been spiritual judgment on you that is not kosher, IMO. That's also un-Orthodox, but because we shouldn't judge-- not because we shouldn't coerce people.

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« Reply #76 on: January 16, 2005, 07:18:16 PM »

Whatever....

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« Reply #77 on: January 16, 2005, 07:32:48 PM »

Matthew, the quote you posted is absolutely correct... this distinction between the non-Orthodox Western view of freedom and the Orthodox view of freedom is best seen, IMO, in the difference between "The Grand Inquisitor" of Ivan Karamazov and the discources of Fr. Zossima, both from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky. Ivan, with his Western education, sees a dichotomy between individual freedom, without guidance or help from anyone, the individual self choosing between easy darkness and difficult goodness, and totalitarianism, overpowering authority, where no one is given the choice to make and instead accepts bread, miracles, and authority. Fr. Zossima, on the other hand, does not see this polarity-- because he has an Orthodox phronema. He sees freedom not as the choice of the individual between bread, comfort, and happiness and 'the right choice,' where most are left behind-- a cold world of individual choice and the test of the individual-- but instead he sees freedom in self-renunciation and self-emptying (kenosis) for the sake of all Creation and all mankind. Not the rejection of bread for the ascent of the self, but the call of the self to obedience and self-denial so that one might live for all Creation and take bread as a gift of God and not an entitlement. Not an uphill battle against evil, where one is left alone and cold, with a choice between comfort and goodness, but a joyous proclamation of the freedom from SELF, the freedom IN others, the freedom not of choosing between good and evil (that is only license, not liberty) but the freedom of living in Christ's good. Fr. Zossima's is a world where miracles do not bring faith (and therefore are an impediment to pure 'freedom'), but faith brings miracles, where a living communion of bread and God feeds our hunger and our souls and teaches us to lose ourselves in God and each other, where the cross we each must carry is not one of a constant choice between cold truth and warm falsehood, but one of perpetual self-giving and obedience-- which is to say, love-- for the good of all of God's cosmos. And that's why I love Dostoevsky. Cheesy

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« Reply #78 on: January 16, 2005, 09:16:45 PM »

The author of the quote I provided was a Russian communist:

"Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev was born at Kiev in 1874 of an aristocratic family. He commenced his education in a military school and subsequently entered the University of Kiev. There he accepted Marxism and took part in political agitation, for which he was expelled. At twenty-five he was exiled from Kiev to the north of Russia and narrowly escaped a second period of exile shortly before the Revolution. Before this, however, he had broken with Marxism in company with Sergius Bulgakov, and in 1909 he contributed to a symposium which reaffirmed the values of Orthodox Christianity. After the October Revolution he was appointed by the Bolshevists to a chair of philosophy in the University of Moscow, but soon fell into disfavour for his independent political opinions. He was twice imprisoned and in 1922 was expelled from the country. He settled first in Berlin, where he opened a Russian Academy of Philosophy and Religion. Thence he moved to Clamart near Paris, where he lectured in a similar institution. In 1939 he was invited to lecture at the Sorbonne. He lived through the German occupation unmolested. After the liberation, he announced his adhesion to the Soviet government, but later an article by him published in a Paris (Russian) newspaper, criticising the return to a policy of repression, was tantamount to a withdrawal of this. He died at Clamart March 24, 1948."
http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Sui-Generis/Berdyaev/essays/allenbio.htm.

However, that doesn't make his words any less truthful or meaningful.
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« Reply #79 on: January 16, 2005, 09:34:08 PM »

Yes, I am familiar with Berdayev... no one challenged the truth of the quote, so why the rush to defend it?

Marjorie
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« Reply #80 on: January 16, 2005, 09:44:01 PM »

Matthew you write:

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

Then immediately contradict it by stating -

[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.]

A committed Orthodox could never make a statement such as this. Monasticism is not based on education or tuition fees.  It's a way of life centered in prayer and solitude.

The Orthodox definition of Monasticism -

A way of life that leads one to greater perfection than is possible in secular surroundings.  A monk or nun seeks personal sanctification in monasticism, which began sometime in the third century when hermits went into the Egyptian desert.  Later, St Anthony introduced a simple rule of life among the desert dwellers.  Monasticism was introduced into the west sometime after the fourth century.

Monasticism in the Orthodox Church - men and women who enter monastic life in Orthodoxy devote their entire lives to God.  The word 'monastic' means solitary, and in the monastery one focuses primarily on union with the Almighty God.  Monastics follow what is called the "Angelic Life".

Monasticism is seen as the 'jewel' of Orthodoxy and it would be unthinkable to imagine the church without its witness.  Monasticism allows the church to regain her focus and remember what is important in life and what it means to live for God alone.

Monks are traditionally the guardians of the faith, and even priests in secular life regularly go to monastics for spiritual guidance because they understand the value of their witness.

Your reasoning regarding entering a Monastery or anything but the Orthodox concept of what a monk and a monstic life is.  So I have to question your classifying yourself as a committed Orthodox.  Or an Orthodox Catholic for that matter.

Orthodoc

   
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« Reply #81 on: January 16, 2005, 11:10:58 PM »

Do you really want to know why I am a little hesitant to join an Orthodox monastery with two people?

Firstly, I do not want to confess a "monophysite" heresy that I do not even believe to be heresy.

Secondly and worsely, living the rest of my life with them, that would be hard.
If it were a larger monastery, I could just blend in. But only two? They'd be so close to me that they could look in to my soul and see the scars of sin. And that is scary.

However, if I visit Vashon and fall in love with it, there is no chance that I would even think of joining St. Martin's.
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« Reply #82 on: January 16, 2005, 11:13:56 PM »

Yes, I am familiar with Berdayev... no one challenged the truth of the quote, so why the rush to defend it?

Marjorie

When I quoted Kierkegaard, someone said something along the lines of, "That isn't an Orthodox source. Why do you cloud your mind with non-Orthodox thought? etc. etc. etc."

I am not referring to you though. Smiley
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« Reply #83 on: January 16, 2005, 11:26:35 PM »

I remember one Berdayev quote I heard in a lecture by Fr. Thomas Hopko I quite like.  Something along the lines of "Bread for yourself  is a material problem, but bread for your brother is a spiritual problem."
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« Reply #84 on: January 17, 2005, 02:25:56 AM »

Quote
However, if I visit Vashon and fall in love with it, there is no chance that I would even think of joining St. Martin's.

my 2 cents: i dont know that much about monasticism, to be sure, but something tells me there is more to joining a monastery and choosing that life than "falling in love" with a specific monastery, or getting the right feeling when visiting...it isnt like choosing a college, which ironically seems to be the obvious parallel i see for how u are approaching it. i feel like the call to monastacism is something that occurs, and then a period of discernment should take place (i.e. you live in the "real" world for a while to test the feeling you think may be a calling, to see if it lasts), and THEN you look for the kind of monastic community that suits the type of work for God you are called to do. i could be wrong, but i feel like such a calling would be all consuming, and the considerations you are describing to us, that you have, would not exist. that, at least, is how i have always viewed monasticism, at least how i figured such a calling would occur for me (for the record, i havent had the calling, but these are just my wayward thoughts on the matter).

granted, visiting a monastery for a short period of time, and living the life as the monastics do, i do believe has great value, both for people who sense they may have the calling and for those who think they probably dont. i am not discouraging you from such a visit - but seeking to join is a different story, and in my opinion (which of course u dont have to take) requires a lot more than falling in love with a specific monastery. i do believe the period of discernment is key, tho.
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« Reply #85 on: January 17, 2005, 02:37:17 AM »



my 2 cents: i dont know that much about monasticism, to be sure, but something tells me there is more to joining a monastery and choosing that life than "falling in love" with a specific monastery, or getting the right feeling when visiting...

I already know in my heart that the religious life is right for me, and have known this since eighth grade. This may change once I experience it but right now, my heart is set on it as my God-given vocation.

By falling in love, I mean with the Russion Orthodoxy of the monastery, a Church that I have no experience in.
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« Reply #86 on: January 17, 2005, 03:59:19 AM »

Quote
I already know in my heart that the religious life is right for me, and have known this since eighth grade.

You may feel it is right for you, but as others have said, you need true spiritual discernment and guidance from a spiritual director, which I hope that you seeking, because spiritual direction is a necessity before you commit the rest of your life to monasticism.

Quote
By falling in love, I mean with the Russion Orthodoxy of the monastery, a Church that I have no experience in.

Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy, whether it be Greek, Russian, Serbian, or Ukrainian, etc., but perhaps you just meant Orthodoxy as it is practiced in a monastery, where it envelops every aspect of your life.

Have you ever worshipped with an Eastern Orthodox community? If not, you should visit a few churches (especially ones of the ROCOR), as the monastery that you are so enamoured with is under it's jurisdiction.

Does your spiritual father know about your inclinations to monasticism?

In Christ,
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« Reply #87 on: January 17, 2005, 05:07:19 AM »


If it were a larger monastery, I could just blend in. But only two? They'd be so close to me that they could look in to my soul and see the scars of sin. And that is scary.


This is precisely what a monk should desire. Becoming a monk should not be a case of "blending in" as if you give up being a person and become an individual among a mass of individuals. Rather, it is for the perfecting of the person, each of whom is unique and worthwhile.

John
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« Reply #88 on: January 18, 2005, 11:17:26 AM »

One might suggest that one cannot truely know the Monastic life until one has lived it.  Rather like marriage there is the fantasy of what it is like and then there is the day-to-day *living* it that isn't all sweetness and easy and glowing.  It's like the difference that C. S. Lewis writes about between Love and "Being in Love".  The Romance of something is not the Reality in living it.   

I have also read the saying re the Religious Life that "The House chooses the nun/monk" not the other way around.

Some suggested reading:  "A Right to be Merry" and "Forth and Abroad"  by Sister Mary Frances, a cloistered Poor Clare
"I Leap Over the Wall" by Monica Baldwin (who was a nun for ove 20 years in the first half of the 20th century)
"In this House of Brede" by Rumer Godden, fiction, but based on a real monestary of Benedictine nuns
Thomas Merton's autobiography

And for a source for others to look for: "Veil and Cowl: Writings from the World of Monks and Nuns" edited by James B. Simpson, an
Episcopal Priest

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« Reply #89 on: January 18, 2005, 12:05:08 PM »

Thomas Merton's autobiography

Great book!
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« Reply #90 on: January 18, 2005, 04:10:28 PM »



Great book!

I gave my mother The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton for Christmas.
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« Reply #91 on: January 18, 2005, 05:16:21 PM »

But have you read it yourself? Have you read any other works by monastics about looking for a call to be a monk or nun, about the difficulties of the life?  The work of prayer and obedience? 

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« Reply #92 on: January 19, 2005, 02:32:53 AM »

I'm borrowing a book from Deacon Gabriel that is on Orthodox monasticism from a Roman Catholic monastic perspective.
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« Reply #93 on: January 19, 2005, 03:47:55 AM »

A suggestion. Try volunteering at a home for the elderly, or a home where they care for mentally handi-capped people. By "volunteer" I don't mean escort them to a baseball game, I mean do the work that no one else likes to do but nonetheless has to be done by someone. You'll learn more about monasticism volunteering a week in such a place than you would in reading books for an entire year. A lot more.
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« Reply #94 on: January 19, 2005, 01:18:33 PM »

Good suggestion brother Paradosis, many should try visiting & helping at a Children's Hospital, it will bring tears of love and compassion.

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« Reply #95 on: January 19, 2005, 01:21:34 PM »

The greatest form of prayer is to volantarily perform the lowest form of work for the greater glory of God. 
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« Reply #96 on: January 19, 2005, 10:32:31 PM »

Matthew,

Hello all I am new here.  You have a great board. 

There is a Benedictine monastery near me.  The men in that community are brilliant and I mean intelectually.  One was an MD and left his career to join the Benedictines.  There is another there who is very respected in philosophy.  What I am getting at is, how are you going to join such an organization where you are, if you have left the Catholic Church (Latin)?  Are you going to be up front and tell them that you really are Orthodox and just need them to get what you need so you can later go back to the Orthodox?  I think they are going to figure out what you are up to.  I am not saying this in a mean way or trying to pass judgement.  Please consider these men are very sincere and in the name of Jesus you will need to be very upfront with your intentions.  I doubt they will admit you based off what you are telling us in your opening comments.

I am sorry if someone has already posted a similar response there were too many pages to read through.

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« Reply #97 on: January 20, 2005, 01:18:51 AM »

Please consider that this is a rather difficult situation.

Vashon Island is the only Orthodox monastery in the state. What if when I visit, I end up greatly disliking the monastery itself but still feel that monastic life is right for me? I'd very well have to consider a different option and it seems that the Benedictine Order would be the most suitable out of what is available from the Latin Church.

I would not consider St. Martin's, or any Catholic monastery for that matter, if Deacon Gabriel and Father Michael hadn't spoken favorably of it from their own experience. Please remember that they are both former Catholics and Deacon Gabriel went to college at St. Martin's.
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« Reply #98 on: January 20, 2005, 01:25:43 AM »

I'm borrowing a book from Deacon Gabriel that is on Orthodox monasticism from a Roman Catholic monastic perspective.

What book? Is it the one by M. Basil Pennington? Because I read that.

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« Reply #99 on: January 20, 2005, 01:27:24 AM »



Great book!

The Seven Storey Mountain was probably the first book I read from a Christian perspective. Thomas Merton played a major part in helping me see orthodox Christianity as something beautiful.

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« Reply #100 on: January 20, 2005, 01:32:53 AM »

Please consider that this is a rather difficult situation.

Vashon Island is the only Orthodox monastery in the state. What if when I visit, I end up greatly disliking the monastery itself but still feel that monastic life is right for me? I'd very well have to consider a different option and it seems that the Benedictine Order would be the most suitable out of what is available from the Latin Church.

I would not consider St. Martin's, or any Catholic monastery for that matter, if Deacon Gabriel and Father Michael hadn't spoken favorably of it from their own experience. Please remember that they are both former Catholics and Deacon Gabriel went to college at St. Martin's.

Why not go to St Anthony's Coptic monastery in California? That's close enough to Washington that your family could still visit you.
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« Reply #101 on: January 20, 2005, 01:37:02 AM »

Is that really close enough?
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« Reply #102 on: January 20, 2005, 01:47:59 AM »



What book?

Eastern Monasticism and the Future of the Church by Archimandrite Boniface
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« Reply #103 on: January 20, 2005, 01:52:20 AM »

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I would not consider St. Martin's, or any Catholic monastery for that matter, if Deacon Gabriel and Father Michael hadn't spoken favorably of it from their own experience. Please remember that they are both former Catholics and Deacon Gabriel went to college at St. Martin's.


But from what you said, they (or was it only one of them? I cant recall) only lived at the monastery BEFORE becoming Orthodox...I dont think it is presumptious for me to say that the normal Orthodox Christian, convert or otherwise, would not willingly join up at a Roman Catholic monastery, no matter the logistical circumstances. Your priests' experience(s) with the monastery were very important for their respective spiritual journeys, which ultimately led them to Orthodoxy, but as someone who has been communing in the Orthodox Church, no matter your background, you shoud not feel the pull to a monastery that is not of your Church. Just my thoughts.
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« Reply #104 on: January 20, 2005, 02:00:47 AM »

St. Martin's is a Benedictine monastery and college, and Deacon Gabriel and his wife attended college there.

His own words were along the lines of, "This is a very ancient monastic tradition and it wouldn't hurt to consider joining it."
He realizes how serious I am about Orthodoxy and I doubt that he would reccomend a Catholic monastic order that isn't comparable to Orthodoxy. This is exactly why I asked on this forum for an Orthodox view on the Order itself.

I'd rather pull my own hair out than join a less traditional order, like the Jesuits.
I'm no "liberation theologist"!

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« Reply #105 on: January 20, 2005, 12:36:26 PM »

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He realizes how serious I am about Orthodoxy

What is Orthodoxy to you?  How do you define in?
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« Reply #106 on: January 20, 2005, 01:55:57 PM »

Matthew,

I live in New York and my family lives in North Carolina. I do wish that I lived closer, and am moving to DC in the summer, but the past three years that I have been in New York, I have had no problem visiting my family as often as I need. I simply hop in the car and make an eight to ten hour drive.  Even if the monastery in California is 14 hours from where you live, it's still manageable.  It would be harder if you had kids but if you are going to be a monk you aren't really going to have that much time to hang out with your family anyway; you of course are still allowed to see them but it's not like they are going to be able to just drop in anytime if you are at a monastery in Washington anyway.  And maybe being away from your former life at least for a while will be helpful in your monastic development.

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« Reply #107 on: January 20, 2005, 02:25:49 PM »



What is Orthodoxy to you? How do you define in?

I do not have to define it, I believe and experience it. Orthodoxy is the fullness of spiritual and liturgical life.
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« Reply #108 on: January 20, 2005, 02:27:01 PM »

And maybe being away from your former life at least for a while will be helpful in your monastic development.

Anastasios

But I'd miss my mother.  Grin
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« Reply #109 on: January 20, 2005, 05:21:37 PM »

But I'd miss my mother. Grin

Ultimately, whether or not you see your parents while in the monastery, wherever the monastery is located, will be up to your spiritual father. Monasticism, strictly speaking, represents a radical break with the world. A monk has died to the world, his only parents are Jesus and the Mother of God. So this may be a way to test if you really do have a monastic vocation. Although I know that it is not usaully nowadays this cut and dry.
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« Reply #110 on: January 20, 2005, 06:01:10 PM »

A suggestion. Try volunteering at a home for the elderly, or a home where they care for mentally handi-capped people. By "volunteer" I don't mean escort them to a baseball game, I mean do the work that no one else likes to do but nonetheless has to be done by someone. You'll learn more about monasticism volunteering a week in such a place than you would in reading books for an entire year. A lot more.

Your suggestion is good. But the books I mentioned don't sugar-coat monastic life or portray it as easy.  They are quite clear that it is not an escape from the world to a private heaven as it were.

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« Reply #111 on: January 20, 2005, 06:19:57 PM »

Please consider that this is a rather difficult situation.

Vashon Island is the only Orthodox monastery in the state. What if when I visit, I end up greatly disliking the monastery itself but still feel that monastic life is right for me?

What if?  It might be that Vashon Island is not the monastery you are meant to go to.  Or it might mean that your feelings are not correct.  What if Vashon Island told you that you did not have a call to be there?  Sometimes a person's ideas of what is the right thing for them are not actually in line with the rest of the world.  "What I want or like" is not always the same as "What is Good or True or even "God's Will for my life".  Being able to step away from our own egos is a difficult but important step.

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I'd very well have to consider a different option and it seems that the Benedictine Order would be the most suitable out of what is available from the Latin Church.

Meaning no disrespect, but this reads like you would *use* them to futher your own desires.  Other people and groups are not here for us to use.    I also suspect that the Benedictines would be able to figure out if you were not desirous of being a Benedictine for the long haul.


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« Reply #112 on: January 20, 2005, 06:35:18 PM »



I do not have to define it, I believe and experience it. Orthodoxy is the fullness of spiritual and liturgical life.

Orthodoxy is then your personal experiences and likes?  And if you cease to "experience" it?  If the feelings go away? If you go to a parish where there are difficulties or a priest you don't communicate well? 

The religious life is not one of all high points and brightness.  There are dry times and valleys.  What then?

(Lewis writes of these in "The Screwtape Letters" btw.  just another recommendatoin.)

Ebor
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« Reply #113 on: January 20, 2005, 06:52:53 PM »


I also suspect that the Benedictines would be able to figure out if you were not desirous of being a Benedictine for the long haul.
Ebor

I happen to like the Benedictine order and I wouldn't join it if I didn't intend on staying there. However, monks can and do change their minds after a while. A remember a priest who became a Franciscan and then he changed his mind and decided he wanted to be a Jesuit instead.
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« Reply #114 on: January 20, 2005, 07:00:43 PM »

The religious life is not one of all high points and brightness. There are dry times and valleys. What then?

The hard times would only make me stronger in my faith.

By saying that you must experience Orthodoxy in order to understand Orthodoxy, I mean that you just can't read some nineteen year old kid's opinions on this church to really take it in. Find a good Orthodox Church in your town and attend Holy Liturgy. Then perhaps you will understand how I feel.

As I said, Orthodoxy is the fullness of spiritual and liturgical life. You will never understand this without experiencing it. Wink
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« Reply #115 on: January 20, 2005, 07:05:55 PM »



I happen to like the Benedictine order and I wouldn't join it if I didn't intend on staying there. However, monks can and do change their minds after a while. A remember a priest who became a Franciscan and then he changed his mind and decided he wanted to be a Jesuit instead.


As a Benedictine you would then be associated with the Roman Catholic Church, not the EO.  Yes, monks can change their mind.  But I doubt that they go into their postulancy with future changes in mind. 

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« Reply #116 on: January 20, 2005, 07:11:03 PM »

If I actually desired to become a Benedictine, I wouldn't have any future changes in mind because it would be a last resort. Wink
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« Reply #117 on: January 20, 2005, 07:22:21 PM »



The hard times would only make me stronger in my faith.

They might...or they might break it or at least wound it. It is easy to talk of hard times when they have not be known. People may not truly know what would happen in a crisis but can hope that they would be strong enough. We cannot not know for certain what *will* be.

Quote
By saying that you must experience Orthodoxy in order to understand Orthodoxy, I mean that you just can't read some nineteen year old kid's opinions on this church to really take it in. Find a good Orthodox Church in your town and attend Holy Liturgy. Then perhaps you will understand how I feel.

As I said, Orthodoxy is the fullness of spiritual and liturgical life. You will never understand this without experiencing it. Wink


I have experieced EO in my life. I have been to EO liturgies in my time (I am 48 now): Antiochian, OCA, ROCOR, Serbian. I try not to speak without any knowledge. As I have written in other places on the forum, I cannot worship in a Byzantine milieu. I have found deep worship in the Anglican Litugy, but I do not believe or say that it is perfect for every other human being. My experieces are not the Rule of the Universe; an important thing to realize.

I have also been enwrapt with a glow of surety that something is the Right Thing for me that turned out to be my own personal desires and not what was actually the right thing.

Ebor
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« Reply #118 on: January 20, 2005, 07:29:00 PM »

The Anglican Church in America...Gene Robinson, Shelby Spong, danger, danger, alert, alert.

...I'm sorry, man. I just had to get that out of my system. Smiley

I dig C.S. Lewis though.
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« Reply #119 on: January 20, 2005, 07:53:01 PM »

The Anglican Church in America...Gene Robinson, Shelby Spong, danger, danger, alert, alert.

...I'm sorry, man. I just had to get that out of my system. Smiley

I dig C.S. Lewis though.

Those are people you have read of (and it's John Shelby Spong, now mercifully retired). They are not the *only* Anglicans in this country or the world. One should not judge all on the notoriety of one or two.

No disrespect, but I submit that your experience with Anglican Christianity is limited. There are Benedictines in the Episcopal Church, for instance, as well as many devout Christians who are not showing up in the papers.

What works of Lewis have you read, if I may ask?

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« Reply #120 on: January 21, 2005, 03:12:25 AM »

Matthew,

Grow up.  Until you do you won't understand that the world doesn't revovle around you and your silly conception of it. 
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« Reply #121 on: January 21, 2005, 12:49:36 PM »

That there are 9 pages devoted to this thread give it a credibility that is amazing, considering that the premises and contradictions being espoused by Matthew are among the most bizarre that I have ever read on any EO/OO/EC or even RC board.

Having already been accused by Jennifer of "bullying" Matthew, I won't belabor the point, but this young man continues to demonstrate that he has no concept of who he is or what he wants to be, only that he wants to "have it all" and do so on his terms, the remainder of the Christian world be damned. Those here who know me from elsewhere on the net can, I hope, attest to the fact that bullying is not my stock in trade, but I don't mince words either.

Let's see,

Matthew is a Syro-Malankar Orthodox, who is considering joining a Russian Orthodox monastery, although he has no experience with Constantinoplian/Byzantine Orthodoxy and doesn't want to confess as a heresy that which he doesn't believe to be a heresy and is concerned that a community of 3 might be too intimate, but it's close to home and he'll otherwise miss his mother

Matthew is a Syro-Malankar Orthodox, who is considering joining a Latin Catholic monastery, although he doesn't believe in all of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, but it would afford the opportunity of a degree without the onerous financial burdens of doing so through ordinary means and might give him the eventual opportunity to teach in a Catholic university setting, and besides, it's close to home.

Uncharitable as anyone may view it, I repeat my earlier belief that Matthew is emotionally and theologically immature.  He has no idea what he wants to be or how he wants to go about it and he is in definite need of spiritual direction.  Alternatively, Matthew is a user and/or an opportunist.  He is prepared to use the Russians, the Benedictines, and even his own Church to obtain for Matthew what Matthew wants from life, whenever he finally decides what that will be.  Meanwhile, he is using this forum and its members as a sounding board to toss out his continuously vacillating opinions and priorities, like floating test balloons, to see what will fly as he tries to piece together not his life but a plausible argument that he can advance to whichever monastic institution he ultimately decides to bless with his presence.

I, for one, see no useful purpose in continuing this dialogue, which mainly seems to be about how Matthew can justify himself in the world's eyes as a Catholic/Orthodox hybrid.  There are other folks out there who, in their own minds, have successfully accomplished this.  We of both Churches know them.  They found their own little ecclesiastical jurisdictions, serve obscure liturgies in their family rec room, wear elaborate vesture, anoint themselves with titles that would make the Ecumenical Patriarch or the Pope of Rome look like street-corner preachers by comparison, and style their ecclesia with any combination of nomenclature that suggests their ambivalence of belief, commitment to everything and nothing.  We call them vagante.

My apologies for the diatribe, but this is beyond the point of logical discussion.  I second Nectarios in his suggestion that Matthew grow up.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #122 on: January 21, 2005, 01:22:42 PM »

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That there are 9 pages devoted to this thread give it a credibility that is amazing, considering that the premises and contradictions being espoused by Matthew are among the most bizarre that I have ever read on any EO/OO/EC or even RC board.

I must agree with you Neil. Despite what may seem to be 'bullying', Matthew777's quest is unreal.
I really do not think that any monastic order could take him in, Oriental, EO, or RC. I do not think he understands that his acceptance in orders is not like being accepted at a college. I have a friend who is preparing to enter an ROCA monastery; he has been in preparation for over a year and has longer to go yet.

Our friend should be discussing this (ALL of this) with his priest first.

Demetri
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« Reply #123 on: January 21, 2005, 01:26:50 PM »

Given that this thread is 9 pages long and not really worth discussing publicly anymore, I am going to shut it. However, given that some people have made some final observations about Matthew, I think it's only fair that we let him respond, and then I will close the thread.

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« Reply #124 on: January 21, 2005, 02:05:34 PM »

I agree 101%, there are many confused thoughts and logic floating about.

And I thought I had issues......

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« Reply #125 on: January 21, 2005, 02:41:56 PM »

What works of Lewis have you read, if I may ask?

The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity.

I love the Anglican Church but not what liberal Anglicans desire it to be.
Before I converted to Orthodoxy, I considered joining an Anglican church but was afraid that there would be too much influence of liberal theology.

I hear there may be a schism of conservative Anglicans and I sincerely wouldn't blame them.
The rise of liberal theology is not unique to the Episcopalian Church but is a problem prevailing in other mainline Protestant denominations as well, especially the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.
The attempts of liberal thinkers to replace Christian morality with "liberated" sexuality and the deity of Christ with an "enlightened" theism does not and should not make the honest Christian faith of the traditionalist members of these churches any less worthy of my respect.

I understand that the trend of liberal theology in the American Anglican Church is a minority in world Anglicanism and that as a whole, this is a good church that deserves my respect.
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« Reply #126 on: January 21, 2005, 02:49:06 PM »

Mathew777,

One thing confuses me.  You say that you are afraid of the influence of "liberal theology", yet much of what you have espoused to believe here falls under that very category, particularly your own little brand of Universalism.

I'm confused as to what you consider to be "liberal" versus "conservative" theology.
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« Reply #127 on: January 21, 2005, 02:52:52 PM »

Mathew777,

One thing confuses me. You say that you are afraid of the influence of "liberal theology", yet much of what you have espoused to believe here falls under that very category, particularly your own little brand of Universalism.

I'm confused as to what you consider to be "liberal" versus "conservative" theology.

I was thinking the same thing!
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« Reply #128 on: January 21, 2005, 02:58:43 PM »

You say that you are afraid of the influence of "liberal theology", yet much of what you have espoused to believe here falls under that very category, particularly your own little brand of Universalism.

I do not believe in universal salvation, salvation comes only through the atoning blood of Christ.
However, I am willing to give the members of non-Christian religions the benefit of the doubt in their own religious experience and respect and appreciate what we do share in common.
I will tell them that the truth they experience in their faith is fully revealed in ours but I do not find it productive to tell such a man that his belief arrives from Satan.

Mathew777,
I'm confused as to what you consider to be "liberal" versus "conservative" theology.

The distinction isn't as much between the words "liberal" and "conservative" as it is between "traditionalist" and "revisionist".
That which is traditionalist is the Christian faith that is taught in the New Testament and the fathers of the church and has been passed down without corruption from the beginning of the faith.
That which is revisionist seeks to find a new understanding of our ancient beliefs that does nothing more than replace them entirely. The two great examples of revisionist thinking floating in the world today is that Jesus was merely a revolutionary Jewish peasant instead of the Son of God and that the sexual morality of the Bible is outmoded by the "moral complexities" of 21st century life.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2005, 03:03:13 PM by Matthew777 » Logged

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« Reply #129 on: January 21, 2005, 03:38:00 PM »

That there are 9 pages devoted to this thread give it a credibility that is amazing, considering that the premises and contradictions being espoused by Matthew are among the most bizarre that I have ever read on any EO/OO/EC or even RC board. 

I understand that my line of thinking may sound contradictory, I am actually getting rather confused myself.  Smiley

Having already been accused by Jennifer of "bullying" Matthew, I won't belabor the point, but this young man continues to demonstrate that he has no concept of who he is or what he wants to be

The truth is that at this point, I do not know who I am or who I want to be but I just started college and I have plenty of time to find out.

only that he wants to "have it all" and do so on his terms, the remainder of the Christian world be damned. 

It is not my desire to take advantage of people for my own personal gain. I would rather conform to a group and work toward the betterment of the whole than to worry about my own self.

Matthew is a Syro-Malankar Orthodox, who is considering joining a Russian Orthodox monastery, although he has no experience with Constantinoplian/Byzantine Orthodoxy and doesn't want to confess as a heresy that which he doesn't believe to be a heresy

If they gave me proof of it to be heresy, I would confess my "monophysite" heresy.

is concerned that a community of 3 might be too intimate, but it's close to home and he'll otherwise miss his mother

My only concern is that the monks would judge me for my past, but I trust that whatever decision they make concerning me will be the right one.
Now concerning my mother, it is not the fact that I would miss her too much. It is the fact that I should always be close enough to take care of her if she ever needs me. One thing you do not know is that my father is an alcoholic and a rather dangerous person. But then again, this is perhaps too personal to share with you. Wink


Matthew is a Syro-Malankar Orthodox, who is considering joining a Latin Catholic monastery, although he doesn't believe in all of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, but it would afford the opportunity of a degree without the onerous financial burdens of doing so through ordinary means and might give him the eventual opportunity to teach in a Catholic university setting, and besides, it's close to home.

As I have said before, if I feel after visiting Vashon that it is the right path for me, I will work to pay for the rest of my schooling. I am already paying my way for college right now and I am doing just fine.
However, if I do not happen to like Vashon, I will consider joining Saint Martin's because
A. I have visted the monastery before and I was rather impressed.
B. Father Michael and Deacon Gabriel have spoken favorably of this as a possiblity.

Furthermore, this isn't a matter of what I can get from St. Martin's but what I could potentially give.

Uncharitable as anyone may view it, I repeat my earlier belief that Matthew is emotionally and theologically immature. 

Four years of college and three years of the novice period should be enough time to become emotionally and theologically mature.

Meanwhile, he is using this forum and its members as a sounding board to toss out his continuously vacillating opinions and priorities, like floating test balloons, to see what will fly as he tries to piece together not his life but a plausible argument that he can advance to whichever monastic institution he ultimately decides to bless with his presence.

This is not my way of crafting an elaborate plan to take advantage of people.
This is just one avenue to help me make sense of my thoughts.

I, for one, see no useful purpose in continuing this dialogue,

Given that the purpose of this dialogue, to probe the Benedictine Order from an Orthodox perspective, has not been followed, I see no useful purpose in continuing this dialogue either.  Wink

this is beyond the point of logical discussion.

Agreed. But that is not necessarily my fault.

Thank you and have a nice day.
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« Reply #130 on: January 21, 2005, 04:18:03 PM »

Having already been accused by Jennifer of "bullying" Matthew, I won't belabor the point, but this young man continues to demonstrate that he has no concept of who he is or what he wants to be, only that he wants to "have it all" and do so on his terms, the remainder of the Christian world be damned.  Those here who know me from elsewhere on the net can, I hope, attest to the fact that bullying is not my stock in trade, but I don't mince words either.


It's "bullying" because telling him off makes you feel good.  Your real intention in telling him he is spiritually and emotionally immature is not to help him.  It's to "smite the sinner," i.e. make yourself feel better. 

Really, why does everything in these discussions have to be about tearing people down? 
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« Reply #131 on: January 21, 2005, 04:19:47 PM »

Quote
Your real intention in telling him he is spiritually and emotionally immature is not to help him. It's to "smite the sinner," i.e. make yourself feel better.

I don't get that at all from Neil's posts, Jennifer. I get exactly what I expect from him, pure and honest words that pull no punches. 

He just has the cajones to say what many of us are already thinking in public, and, while that may not be exactly charitable from your point of view, if Matthew is allowed to post what he considers to be the Truth, surely Neil can post what he considers to be the truth?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2005, 04:21:32 PM by Schultz » Logged

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« Reply #132 on: January 21, 2005, 04:39:10 PM »



It's "bullying" because telling him off makes you feel good. Your real intention in telling him he is spiritually and emotionally immature is not to help him. It's to "smite the sinner," i.e. make yourself feel better.

Really, why does everything in these discussions have to be about tearing people down?


That is your perception and it would be fine if you said, "it seems to me that you enjoy tearing people down" or "it seems from your posts that you feel good smiting the sinner" but instead you make a direct claim that cannot be substantiated.

On the other hand, I can see the wisdom in your position that we should not tell people they are theologically lost or immature in that that is probably not the best way to help people along, and you might even argue that it's not our job to help people along (although I probably wouldn't go that far).

All in all, this thread has wondered enough. I'm closing it now. Have a good day everyone.

Anastasios
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