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« on: March 15, 2013, 01:06:56 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?

Here in Australia the Catholic church has allowed Aboriginal 'smoking ceremonies' into the mass. These 'smoking ceremonies' involve a cleansing smoke that chases out bad spirits.

Do you think it's a good idea?


"The Smoking Ceremony is one of the oldest living traditions celebrated by Aboriginal people. Our ancestors handed down to us the belief that ceremonies should begin with the smoking away of evil spirits, followed by the reception of good spirits. Many Liturgies prepared by the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry begin with a Smoking Ceremony."
http://www.cam.org.au/acmv/Invisible-no-more.aspx

I'm assuming that this site is linked to the church, if not I can provide other references
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 01:08:24 AM by montalban » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2013, 01:11:43 AM »

Sounds quite traditional, though the Orthodox wouldn't say they "allow pagan elements," they'd say that they "baptized non-Christian elements, transfiguring them for Christian use" Wink
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2013, 01:12:25 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?

Here in Australia the Catholic church has allowed Aboriginal 'smoking ceremonies' into the mass. These 'smoking ceremonies' involve a cleansing smoke that chases out bad spirits.

Do you think it's a good idea?


"The Smoking Ceremony is one of the oldest living traditions celebrated by Aboriginal people. Our ancestors handed down to us the belief that ceremonies should begin with the smoking away of evil spirits, followed by the reception of good spirits. Many Liturgies prepared by the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry begin with a Smoking Ceremony."
http://www.cam.org.au/acmv/Invisible-no-more.aspx

I'm assuming that this site is linked to the church, if not I can provide other references


If Catholics are detouring from the one true faith delivered by Christ to His Apostles for all peoples, everywhere, and for all times, then ANATHEMA.

In Orthodoxy, we would introduce the Native Peoples to incense, and encourage them to substitute their smoke for sacred incense. After all, many of the Native Peoples of Alaska converted to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2013, 01:14:53 AM »

Sounds quite traditional, though the Orthodox wouldn't say they "allow pagan elements," they'd say that they "baptized non-Christian elements, transfiguring them for Christian use" Wink

I think that you're oversimplifying in an attempt to be contrarian.
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2013, 01:29:09 AM »

Sounds quite traditional, though the Orthodox wouldn't say they "allow pagan elements," they'd say that they "baptized non-Christian elements, transfiguring them for Christian use" Wink

I think that you're oversimplifying in an attempt to be contrarian.

Possibly, but someone has to fill in when orthonorm isn't posting, right?  Besides, oversimplifying aside (and aren't 99% of our posts oversimplifications?), I think my point is generally accurate.
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2013, 01:30:24 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?

Here in Australia the Catholic church has allowed Aboriginal 'smoking ceremonies' into the mass. These 'smoking ceremonies' involve a cleansing smoke that chases out bad spirits.

Do you think it's a good idea?


"The Smoking Ceremony is one of the oldest living traditions celebrated by Aboriginal people. Our ancestors handed down to us the belief that ceremonies should begin with the smoking away of evil spirits, followed by the reception of good spirits. Many Liturgies prepared by the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry begin with a Smoking Ceremony."
http://www.cam.org.au/acmv/Invisible-no-more.aspx

I'm assuming that this site is linked to the church, if not I can provide other references
This is an interesting question and I guess that there might not be a clear cut yes or no answer. For example, from time to time we see incense being used in Catholic and Orthodox services. So if this is an example of using more incense, then i don;t see the problem.
But to the question as to whether or not pagan ideas have  crept into Catholic or Orthodox services, it seems like they have.  For example, take the custom of men removing their hats while praying in Church. This is not the Jewish custom, which is for men to wear some sort of hat or yarmulke while praying. I thought i read that this was a custom of pagans in Greece, to remove their hats indoors as a sign of respect. But for the Jews, the sign of respect was to have your head covered with the yarmulke. Priests and bishops sometimes cover their heads as the Jews do, but the lay men follow the pagan custom or removing their hats.
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2013, 01:33:51 AM »

It would depend on what significance the custom took on in a Christian context.
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 03:12:56 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?

Here in Australia the Catholic church has allowed Aboriginal 'smoking ceremonies' into the mass. These 'smoking ceremonies' involve a cleansing smoke that chases out bad spirits.

Do you think it's a good idea?


"The Smoking Ceremony is one of the oldest living traditions celebrated by Aboriginal people. Our ancestors handed down to us the belief that ceremonies should begin with the smoking away of evil spirits, followed by the reception of good spirits. Many Liturgies prepared by the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry begin with a Smoking Ceremony."
http://www.cam.org.au/acmv/Invisible-no-more.aspx

I'm assuming that this site is linked to the church, if not I can provide other references
I've seen this on youtube from some sort of Catholic Youth Conference in LA. They danced up to the altar with flowing white garments and stone bowls offering up what I assumed was incense. Seems more like what you've described.

Ick.
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 09:43:20 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?

Here in Australia the Catholic church has allowed Aboriginal 'smoking ceremonies' into the mass. These 'smoking ceremonies' involve a cleansing smoke that chases out bad spirits.

Do you think it's a good idea?


"The Smoking Ceremony is one of the oldest living traditions celebrated by Aboriginal people. Our ancestors handed down to us the belief that ceremonies should begin with the smoking away of evil spirits, followed by the reception of good spirits. Many Liturgies prepared by the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry begin with a Smoking Ceremony."
http://www.cam.org.au/acmv/Invisible-no-more.aspx

I'm assuming that this site is linked to the church, if not I can provide other references
I've seen this on youtube from some sort of Catholic Youth Conference in LA. They danced up to the altar with flowing white garments and stone bowls offering up what I assumed was incense. Seems more like what you've described.

Ick.

I tend to agree with your "ick".  Kinda makes me squirm a little.  Then I remember Scripture passages (don't recall precisely which at the moment, though I could look them up) of David dancing before the Lord, dancing before the Ark of the Covenant, etc.  But, the "ick" remains. Sad
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2013, 03:23:18 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?

Here in Australia the Catholic church has allowed Aboriginal 'smoking ceremonies' into the mass. These 'smoking ceremonies' involve a cleansing smoke that chases out bad spirits.

Do you think it's a good idea?


"The Smoking Ceremony is one of the oldest living traditions celebrated by Aboriginal people. Our ancestors handed down to us the belief that ceremonies should begin with the smoking away of evil spirits, followed by the reception of good spirits. Many Liturgies prepared by the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry begin with a Smoking Ceremony."
http://www.cam.org.au/acmv/Invisible-no-more.aspx

I'm assuming that this site is linked to the church, if not I can provide other references
This is an interesting question and I guess that there might not be a clear cut yes or no answer. For example, from time to time we see incense being used in Catholic and Orthodox services. So if this is an example of using more incense, then i don;t see the problem.
But to the question as to whether or not pagan ideas have  crept into Catholic or Orthodox services, it seems like they have.  For example, take the custom of men removing their hats while praying in Church. This is not the Jewish custom, which is for men to wear some sort of hat or yarmulke while praying. I thought i read that this was a custom of pagans in Greece, to remove their hats indoors as a sign of respect. But for the Jews, the sign of respect was to have your head covered with the yarmulke. Priests and bishops sometimes cover their heads as the Jews do, but the lay men follow the pagan custom or removing their hats.

I'm not sure incense is used to ward off evil spirits
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 03:35:42 AM »

But to the question as to whether or not pagan ideas have  crept into Catholic or Orthodox services, it seems like they have.  For example, take the custom of men removing their hats while praying in Church. This is not the Jewish custom, which is for men to wear some sort of hat or yarmulke while praying. I thought i read that this was a custom of pagans in Greece, to remove their hats indoors as a sign of respect. But for the Jews, the sign of respect was to have your head covered with the yarmulke. Priests and bishops sometimes cover their heads as the Jews do, but the lay men follow the pagan custom or removing their hats.

It sure wasn't Jewish custom in St. Paul's day for men to pray with heads covered. It became so later:

"Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head." (1 Cor. 11:4)
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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2013, 03:49:39 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?
I notice that the Orthodox Christians here don't say too much about  the  pagan elements that have been brought into the Orthodox Church.
I mentioned already the pagan custom of ancient Greece where a male removes his hat when entering a building as a sign of respect. This is contrary to the traditional Jewish custom for a male to wear a yarmulke in a religious setting.
As a second example of where Orthodox have introduced pagan elements into their Church I have noticed that around Christmastime, some of the Orthodox Churches have a Christmas tree inside the Church. But honoring a tree is a pagan custom.  According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2013, 04:04:05 AM »

It sure wasn't Jewish custom in St. Paul's day for men to pray with heads covered. It became so later:

"Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head." (1 Cor. 11:4)
This was the pagan custom of the Greeks, not the Jews of that time:  As we read in Kiddushin 31a:
ב הונא בריה דרב יהושע לא מסגי ארבע אמות בגלוי הראש אמר שכינה למעלה מראש
The Talmud says that wearing a yarmulke is to remind us of G-d, who is the Higher Authority “above us”
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2013, 08:12:29 AM »

It sure wasn't Jewish custom in St. Paul's day for men to pray with heads covered. It became so later:

"Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head." (1 Cor. 11:4)
This was the pagan custom of the Greeks, not the Jews of that time:  As we read in Kiddushin 31a:
ב הונא בריה דרב יהושע לא מסגי ארבע אמות בגלוי הראש אמר שכינה למעלה מראש
The Talmud says that wearing a yarmulke is to remind us of G-d, who is the Higher Authority “above us”


The Talmud came some 500 years after St. Paul. Rabbi Huna ben Joshua was an Amora of Babylon who died in 410 AD. That he "wouldn't walk four cubits bear headed" because of the Shekhina (Presence of G-d) does not prove that Jews would have prayed with their heads covered 300 years earlier. The passage you "read" says nothing of Jewish vs. Greek prayer customs in the 1st century AD. It doesn't even tell us how R. Huna prayed.
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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2013, 09:36:17 AM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card. 
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant. 
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« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2013, 09:00:20 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card. 
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant. 
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?
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« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2013, 09:18:33 PM »

It sure wasn't Jewish custom in St. Paul's day for men to pray with heads covered. It became so later:

"Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head." (1 Cor. 11:4)
This was the pagan custom of the Greeks, not the Jews of that time:  As we read in Kiddushin 31a:
ב הונא בריה דרב יהושע לא מסגי ארבע אמות בגלוי הראש אמר שכינה למעלה מראש
The Talmud says that wearing a yarmulke is to remind us of G-d, who is the Higher Authority “above us”


The Talmud came some 500 years after St. Paul. Rabbi Huna ben Joshua was an Amora of Babylon who died in 410 AD. That he "wouldn't walk four cubits bear headed" because of the Shekhina (Presence of G-d) does not prove that Jews would have prayed with their heads covered 300 years earlier. The passage you "read" says nothing of Jewish vs. Greek prayer customs in the 1st century AD. It doesn't even tell us how R. Huna prayed.
The Mishna is a written compendium of the Oral Law of Judaism and was written down at about 200 AD. This does not mean that these laws were not in effect until 200 AD, it only means that they were written down about 1800 years ago. And we read in Shabbat 156b: 'Cover your head so that the fear of heaven may be upon you, and pray'
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« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2013, 10:31:09 PM »

The Mishna is a written compendium of the Oral Law of Judaism and was written down at about 200 AD. This does not mean that these laws were not in effect until 200 AD, it only means that they were written down about 1800 years ago. And we read in Shabbat 156b: 'Cover your head so that the fear of heaven may be upon you, and pray'

You did not quote from the Mishna.  Wink

A Talmudist of your calibre should know that much.

The story you allude to is about another Babylonian Amora, Rabbi Nahman bar Isaac (d. 356):

Quote
It is also the position of R. Nahman bar Isaac that Israel is not subject to the stars.

For to the mother of R. Nahman bar Isaac the Chaldaean said, “Your son will be a thief.” She didn’t let him go bareheaded, saying, “Keep your head covered, so fear of Heaven may be upon you, and pray for mercy.”

He didn’t know why she said that to him. One day he was in session, studying under a palm tree. His head covering fell off. He lifted his eyes and saw the palm tree, and was overcome by temptation; he climbed up and bit off a cluster of dates with his teeth.

Both quotations describe instances of individual piety (or lack thereof) - they do not formulate a general prayer rule for all Jews. I would say they prove nothing.
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« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2013, 10:38:53 PM »

Shabbat (Hebrew: שבת‎) is first tractate (book) in the Order (Mishnaic section) of Moed, of the Mishnah and Talmud. The tractate consists of 24 chapters. Folio 156b of Shabbat appears in chapter 24.
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« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2013, 11:05:32 PM »

The Mishna is a written compendium of the Oral Law of Judaism and was written down at about 200 AD. This does not mean that these laws were not in effect until 200 AD, it only means that they were written down about 1800 years ago. And we read in Shabbat 156b: 'Cover your head so that the fear of heaven may be upon you, and pray'

You did not quote from the Mishna.  Wink

A Talmudist of your calibre should know that much.

The story you allude to is about another Babylonian Amora, Rabbi Nahman bar Isaac (d. 356):

Quote
It is also the position of R. Nahman bar Isaac that Israel is not subject to the stars.

For to the mother of R. Nahman bar Isaac the Chaldaean said, “Your son will be a thief.” She didn’t let him go bareheaded, saying, “Keep your head covered, so fear of Heaven may be upon you, and pray for mercy.”

He didn’t know why she said that to him. One day he was in session, studying under a palm tree. His head covering fell off. He lifted his eyes and saw the palm tree, and was overcome by temptation; he climbed up and bit off a cluster of dates with his teeth.

Both quotations describe instances of individual piety (or lack thereof) - they do not formulate a general prayer rule for all Jews. I would say they prove nothing.
The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 2:6) states as a ruling that one may not walk 4 cubits without a head covering i.e. yarmulke.
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« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2013, 11:08:17 PM »

Shabbat (Hebrew: שבת‎) is first tractate (book) in the Order (Mishnaic section) of Moed, of the Mishnah and Talmud. The tractate consists of 24 chapters. Folio 156b of Shabbat appears in chapter 24.



The Mishna is the bit in the middle - the Rabbis who produced it by interpreting ("repeating") Tora are called Tannaim and they lived up to 200 AD. Surrounding it is the text of the Gemara ("completion"), consisting of expositions of the Mishna by the Amoraim (later generations of sages - such as the two you quoted - often from Babylon).

 
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« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2013, 11:17:45 PM »

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 2:6) states as a ruling that one may not walk 4 cubits without a head covering i.e. yarmulke.

Oy! The Shulchan Aruch & Rabbi Joseph Caro are from the 16th century AD. This is clearly based on the saying about Rabbi Huna ben Joshua from Kiddushin 31A (he wouldn't walk the 4 cubits bear headed and so on).

What Rabbis do is "build a fence around the Tora" by taking a case of extreme piety (always walking with one's head covered) and turning it into a rule for everybody. This is how some prescriptions of Leviticus, originally intended for Priests and Levites only, were extended in later ages (by rabbinic authorities) to apply to all of Israel ("a kingdom of Priests" etc.).     
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« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2013, 12:23:13 AM »

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 2:6) states as a ruling that one may not walk 4 cubits without a head covering i.e. yarmulke.

Oy! The Shulchan Aruch & Rabbi Joseph Caro are from the 16th century AD. This is clearly based on the saying about Rabbi Huna ben Joshua from Kiddushin 31A (he wouldn't walk the 4 cubits bear headed and so on).

What Rabbis do is "build a fence around the Tora" by taking a case of extreme piety (always walking with one's head covered) and turning it into a rule for everybody. This is how some prescriptions of Leviticus, originally intended for Priests and Levites only, were extended in later ages (by rabbinic authorities) to apply to all of Israel ("a kingdom of Priests" etc.).     
According to an article written by By J. Immanuel Schochet
Published and copyrighted by Kehot Publication Society
"Since the days of old it was the Jewish custom to keep the head covered at all times. Thus, the skull cap became a familiar part of the Jew's attire."..."Covering the head has been strictly observed by all Jews.[see footnote]. It is stated in the Talmud that covering the head is associated with Yirath Shomaim (piety). The story is told of a boy who was a kleptomaniac by nature, but by virtue of keeping his head covered always and being extra careful about it, his evil nature did not assert itself. However, when the wind once blew his headgear off, he immediately became the victim of his kleptomania (Talm. B. Sabbath 156b)."
Footnote refers to:Mogen Dovid (TAZ) one of the chief exponents of the Shulchan Aruch, and one of the Poskim Achronim (last codifiers), Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, ch. 8. (3)
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/110371/jewish/Introduction-The-Basis-of-All-Precepts.htm
Do you disagree with my belief that it was a custom of pagan Greeks and Romans (free men, not slave) to remove their hats as a sign of respect?

If so, there is still the pagan custom of honoring the tree during the wintertime which has become incorporated into Orthodox Christian practice. I have been to houses where Orthodox Christians set up and decorate a tree inside their house during Christmastime. They will put ornaments of various kinds and electrical lights on their trees inside their houses. I have even seen such trees in Orthodox Churches.  Now, why are some Orthodox going around questioning or condemning Roman Catholics for their pagan practices when Orthodox Christians appear to do the same by adopting the  pagan custom of bringing  trees into the house as part of a holiday celebration?
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« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2013, 12:50:53 AM »

"Since the days of old it was the Jewish custom to keep the head covered at all times.

Those "days of old" cannot be older than St. Paul (1st century AD). He sure didn't introduce any pagan (non-Jewish) custom in the early Church as far as head (un)covering was concerned. Quite the contrary - he tries to impose the Jewish custom of his day (men pray uncovered, women - covered) on the Gentile Christians from Corinth.

Do you disagree with my belief that it was a custom of pagan Greeks and Romans (free men, not slave) to remove their hats as a sign of respect?

Until you bring some evidence to support it - it's just that: your belief. The burden of proof is on your side.  Wink

Now, why are some Orthodox going around questioning or condemning Roman Catholics for their pagan practices when Orthodox Christians appear to do the same by adopting the  pagan custom of bringing  trees into the house as part of a holiday celebration?

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it. 
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« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2013, 01:20:54 AM »


Those "days of old" cannot be older than St. Paul (1st century AD). He sure didn't introduce any pagan (non-Jewish) custom in the early Church as far as head (un)covering was concerned. Quite the contrary - he tries to impose the Jewish custom of his day (men pray uncovered, women - covered) on the Gentile Christians from Corinth.
I am sorry to report that the Jewish encyclopedia disagrees with you on this point. According to the Jewish encyclopedia it was customary among the Greeks to offer sacrifices with uncovered head—"capite aperto" and this was the  form adopted by Paul for the Christians in his first Epistle to the Corinthians (xi. 2 et seq.).
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« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2013, 01:25:39 AM »

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it. 
If the Orthodox custom of following a pagan practice of celebrating a holiday by cutting down and decorating a tree and placing it in Church is a petty issue, then the same holds true when Catholics use smoke instead of incense in Church. 
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« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2013, 03:29:16 AM »

a pagan practice of celebrating a holiday by cutting down and decorating a tree and placing it in Church
Not pagan.
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« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2013, 05:21:16 AM »

a pagan practice of celebrating a holiday by cutting down and decorating a tree and placing it in Church
Not pagan.
I am sorry to report that in addition to the Encyclopedia Brittannica referenced above
(see reply  #11 - "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans...."), the History channel also disagrees with you. According to the History channel:
"Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness....Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.
The ancient Egyptians worshipped a god called Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death....Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. In Northern Europe the mysterious Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder..."
http://www.history.com/topics/history-of-christmas-trees


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« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2013, 07:54:34 AM »

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it. 
If the Orthodox custom of following a pagan practice of celebrating a holiday by cutting down and decorating a tree and placing it in Church is a petty issue, then the same holds true when Catholics use smoke instead of incense in Church.

How many Christmas trees have you seen in Orthodox churches?
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« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2013, 08:02:38 AM »

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it. 
If the Orthodox custom of following a pagan practice of celebrating a holiday by cutting down and decorating a tree and placing it in Church is a petty issue, then the same holds true when Catholics use smoke instead of incense in Church.

How many Christmas trees have you seen in Orthodox churches?

Maybe three or four. My former parish has one during Chrismastide.
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« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2013, 08:07:21 AM »

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it. 
If the Orthodox custom of following a pagan practice of celebrating a holiday by cutting down and decorating a tree and placing it in Church is a petty issue, then the same holds true when Catholics use smoke instead of incense in Church.

How many Christmas trees have you seen in Orthodox churches?

Maybe three or four. My former parish has one during Chrismastide.

In Greece you won't see one. Ever. Either inside or out. No evergreen decorations either. Yuletide paraphernalia are for the home.
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« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2013, 08:18:24 AM »

In Greece you won't see one. Ever. Either inside or out. No evergreen decorations either. Yuletide paraphernalia are for the home.

I guess it's not part of Greek culture then. Finns on the other hand are very fond to their Christmas trees.
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« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2013, 08:23:58 AM »

In my 50 years in Orthodoxy, across several jurisdictions and ethnicities, never have I seen any Christmas trees in any church. The closest I've seen is the Yolka in Russian tradition, but the celebration that it is associated with is always held in the church hall. It's a folk custom, not a liturgical one.
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« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2013, 08:52:33 AM »

In Greece you won't see one. Ever. Either inside or out. No evergreen decorations either. Yuletide paraphernalia are for the home.

I guess it's not part of Greek culture then. Finns on the other hand are very fond to their Christmas trees.

Orthodox Finns do live among Lutherans - the latter invented the "Christmas" tree...
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« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2013, 09:15:28 AM »

I am sorry to report that the Jewish encyclopedia disagrees with you on this point. According to the Jewish encyclopedia it was customary among the Greeks to offer sacrifices with uncovered head—"capite aperto" and this was the  form adopted by Paul for the Christians in his first Epistle to the Corinthians (xi. 2 et seq.).

Explain this then: why did St. Paul need to instruct Greek women to cover their heads like Jewish women and Greek men to uncover their heads like pagan Greek men would? Does it make sense to you?

There is no ancient Jewish text that attests to the custom of men praying with their head covered in Antiquity. What you quoted from the Talmud so far doesn't do it either... 

May I suggest that the Jewish Encyclopedia (which edition?) might want to make St. Paul and Christians in general look less Jewish and more pagan? Rabbis did occasionally try to ascribe the weight of antiquity to some of their more recent beliefs and practices - e.g. all things Kabbalah.   
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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2013, 10:53:10 AM »

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« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2013, 11:06:12 AM »

a pagan practice of celebrating a holiday by cutting down and decorating a tree and placing it in Church
Not pagan.
I am sorry to report that in addition to the Encyclopedia Brittannica referenced above
(see reply  #11 - "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans...."), the History channel also disagrees with you. According to the History channel:
"Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness....Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.
The ancient Egyptians worshipped a god called Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death....Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. In Northern Europe the mysterious Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder..."
http://www.history.com/topics/history-of-christmas-trees



Those are two real, real bad sources, Stanley.
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« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2013, 11:57:05 AM »

May I suggest that the Jewish Encyclopedia (which edition?) might want to make St. Paul and Christians in general look less Jewish and more pagan? Rabbis did occasionally try to ascribe the weight of antiquity to some of their more recent beliefs and practices - e.g. all things Kabbalah.   
1906 edition.
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« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2013, 12:01:29 PM »

May I suggest that the Jewish Encyclopedia (which edition?) might want to make St. Paul and Christians in general look less Jewish and more pagan? Rabbis did occasionally try to ascribe the weight of antiquity to some of their more recent beliefs and practices - e.g. all things Kabbalah.   
1906 edition.

Wow. I wonder if that edition caused the San Francisco earthquake?  Roll Eyes

The Lutheran Hymnal of 1906 contained almost the same wording as originally used in the infamous Novus Ordo Missae (NO mass). I had a copy, but my former Catholic priest tossed it in the fireplace and burned it when he discovered the Roman Catholic NO Creed in that Lutheran Hymnal.  After reading that Lutheran Hymnal of 1906, he never said another NO mass, but either celebrated the Tridentine Latin Mass or the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as he was a biritual priest.
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« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2013, 12:06:59 PM »

I have started a new thread on headcoverings - why don't men cover their heads?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,50556.new.html#new
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« Reply #40 on: March 17, 2013, 03:40:03 PM »

In my 50 years in Orthodoxy, across several jurisdictions and ethnicities, never have I seen any Christmas trees in any church. The closest I've seen is the Yolka in Russian tradition, but the celebration that it is associated with is always held in the church hall. It's a folk custom, not a liturgical one.






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« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2013, 03:47:49 PM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?

Here in Australia the Catholic church has allowed Aboriginal 'smoking ceremonies' into the mass. These 'smoking ceremonies' involve a cleansing smoke that chases out bad spirits.

Do you think it's a good idea?


"The Smoking Ceremony is one of the oldest living traditions celebrated by Aboriginal people. Our ancestors handed down to us the belief that ceremonies should begin with the smoking away of evil spirits, followed by the reception of good spirits. Many Liturgies prepared by the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry begin with a Smoking Ceremony."
http://www.cam.org.au/acmv/Invisible-no-more.aspx

I'm assuming that this site is linked to the church, if not I can provide other references

I don't see why some sort of rite of blessing using incense and prayers for God's protection/presence couldn't be developed and incorporated into the beginning of a liturgy. Orthodox liturgies already begin with the priest asking the Holy Spirit to "come and abide in us and cleanse us from every impurity" and the invocation of the Trinity (Blessed is the kingdom...). Also, there are western liturgies that begin with a rite of blessing with holy water.

I don't think it would be that hard to "baptize" it into a traditional Christian context, but that's just my opinion.
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« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2013, 03:49:28 PM »

I don't see why some sort of rite of blessing using incense and prayers for God's protection/presence couldn't be developed and incorporated into the beginning of a liturgy.

I thought deacon or priest censes the church during proskomede. Your doesn't?
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« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2013, 04:34:19 PM »

Explain this then: why did St. Paul need to instruct Greek women to cover their heads like Jewish women and Greek men to uncover their heads like pagan Greek men would?    
I don't think that  Greek men of ancient times wore anything on their heads in public or for prayer. However, I thought that Greek women did wear headcovering and it had nothing to do with the Jews.



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« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2013, 05:11:47 PM »

Fashion abhors the stereotypes of tradition. City dwellers (such as the Corinthians) often tended to be more fashionable than traditional. So much so that Duris of Samos reports that at one time the men of Athens κόμας ἐφόρουν, αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες ἐκείροντο ("wore long hair, but the women were close cropped"). This is, of course, exactly the opposite of what St. Paul recommends.

There's another Apostle that asks Christian women to imitate the (Jewish) "holy women of old" in stead of the hairstyles and fashion of contemporary Greek ladies:

Quote
Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; 4 rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God's sight. 5 It was in this way long ago that the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by accepting the authority of their husbands. 6 Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. You have become her daughters as long as you do what is good and never let fears alarm you. 7 Husbands, in the same way, show consideration for your wives in your life together, paying honor to the woman as the weaker sex, since they too are also heirs of the gracious gift of life--so that nothing may hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:3-7)


 
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« Reply #45 on: March 17, 2013, 05:36:42 PM »

Fashion abhors the stereotypes of tradition. City dwellers (such as the Corinthians) often tended to be more fashionable than traditional. So much so that Duris of Samos reports that at one time the men of Athens κόμας ἐφόρουν, αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες ἐκείροντο ("wore long hair, but the women were close cropped"). This is, of course, exactly the opposite of what St. Paul recommends.

There's another Apostle that asks Christian women to imitate the (Jewish) "holy women of old" in stead of the hairstyles and fashion of contemporary Greek ladies:

Quote
Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; 4 rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God's sight. 5 It was in this way long ago that the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by accepting the authority of their husbands. 6 Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. You have become her daughters as long as you do what is good and never let fears alarm you. 7 Husbands, in the same way, show consideration for your wives in your life together, paying honor to the woman as the weaker sex, since they too are also heirs of the gracious gift of life--so that nothing may hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:3-7)


 
My guess is that it had to do with a Greek showing respect. Greek men showed respect with their heads uncovered, whereas Greek women showed respect with their heads covered.
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« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2013, 06:08:07 PM »

My guess is that it had to do with a Greek showing respect. Greek men showed respect with their heads uncovered, whereas Greek women showed respect with their heads covered.

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter. Their instructions to Gentile Christians clearly go against the Hellenistic culture of the day.

This doesn't mean that Greek ladies wouldn't have worn any kind of covering or that all Greek men had long hair and covered their heads inside temples. It just means that what could have been fashionable (though extravagant) among the pagans back then was not acceptable in "the Churches of God" which "did not have such customs". 
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« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2013, 06:17:25 PM »

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter.
However, Corinth was capital of Greece at that time?
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« Reply #48 on: March 17, 2013, 06:23:19 PM »

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter.
However, Corinth was capital of Greece at that time?

It was the capital of the Roman Province of Achaea.
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« Reply #49 on: March 17, 2013, 08:30:26 PM »

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter.
However, Corinth was capital of Greece at that time?

It was the capital of the Roman Province of Achaea.
In her book: Graecia Capta: The Landscapes of Roman Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, Susan Alcock says that Achaea is the area of the northern Peloponnese, but Achaia is the Roman province.
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1993/04.06.14.html
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« Reply #50 on: March 17, 2013, 08:49:31 PM »

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter.
However, Corinth was capital of Greece at that time?

It was the capital of the Roman Province of Achaea.
In her book: Graecia Capta: The Landscapes of Roman Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, Susan Alcock says that Achaea is the area of the northern Peloponnese, but Achaia is the Roman province.
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1993/04.06.14.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaea_%28Roman_province%29

Achaia and Achaea are alternative transliterations of Ἀχαΐα - in Latin the diphtong αι is usually transliterated ae.

It is true that both pre-Roman and modern Achaia are smaller than the Roman Province with the same name and do not include Corinth.
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« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2013, 07:36:12 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?
I notice that the Orthodox Christians here don't say too much about  the  pagan elements that have been brought into the Orthodox Church.
I mentioned already the pagan custom of ancient Greece where a male removes his hat when entering a building as a sign of respect. This is contrary to the traditional Jewish custom for a male to wear a yarmulke in a religious setting.
As a second example of where Orthodox have introduced pagan elements into their Church I have noticed that around Christmastime, some of the Orthodox Churches have a Christmas tree inside the Church. But honoring a tree is a pagan custom.  According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[

To my way of thinking it doesn't matter, for e.g. if pagans had pews in their temples and that Orthodox now have pews in church and you or others might say that we've now got 'pagan elements' in the church.

It's not in any way comparable to the example I gave in the OP.

In Catholic churches they allow smoking ceremonies to purify the air and ward off evil spirits - THIS is according to Aboriginal lore, not (as I see it) Christian lore.

We use English which has pagan roots for words such as "Easter". Sunday is the 'day of the sun'. There are always going to be 'pagan' elements with us.

The chief difference as I see it would be if I went to church on Sunday BECAUSE it was the 'day of the sun'

Allowing Aboriginal rites into a church is quite worrying.


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« Reply #52 on: March 19, 2013, 07:43:25 AM »

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it. 
If the Orthodox custom of following a pagan practice of celebrating a holiday by cutting down and decorating a tree and placing it in Church is a petty issue, then the same holds true when Catholics use smoke instead of incense in Church.

How many Christmas trees have you seen in Orthodox churches?

It is, as I noted above, irrelevant UNLESS they're saying "Worship this tree" or "This church is now more holy because of the tree"

Several people are confusing things here, I believe.

It's akin to the same mistake as if someone wears the clothes of a multi-national (with brands on them) to church and people saying "Orthodox churches are now being influenced by big business"

The clothes are incidental (practical, but incidental) to being Orthodox and Orthodoxy

The example I gave in the OP is where a pagan ceremony is let into a Catholic church where the purpose of that ceremony is to make the church 'pure' by ridding it of evil spirits.

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« Reply #53 on: March 20, 2013, 10:43:25 AM »

I don't see why some sort of rite of blessing using incense and prayers for God's protection/preence couldn't be developed and incorporated into the beginning of a liturgy.
I thought deacon or priest censes the church during proskomede. Your doesn't?
He does.
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« Reply #54 on: March 20, 2013, 04:25:32 PM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?
I notice that the Orthodox Christians here don't say too much about  the  pagan elements that have been brought into the Orthodox Church.
I mentioned already the pagan custom of ancient Greece where a male removes his hat when entering a building as a sign of respect. This is contrary to the traditional Jewish custom for a male to wear a yarmulke in a religious setting.
As a second example of where Orthodox have introduced pagan elements into their Church I have noticed that around Christmastime, some of the Orthodox Churches have a Christmas tree inside the Church. But honoring a tree is a pagan custom.  According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[

To my way of thinking it doesn't matter, for e.g. if pagans had pews in their temples and that Orthodox now have pews in church and you or others might say that we've now got 'pagan elements' in the church.

It's not in any way comparable to the example I gave in the OP.

In Catholic churches they allow smoking ceremonies to purify the air and ward off evil spirits - THIS is according to Aboriginal lore, not (as I see it) Christian lore.

We use English which has pagan roots for words such as "Easter". Sunday is the 'day of the sun'. There are always going to be 'pagan' elements with us.

The chief difference as I see it would be if I went to church on Sunday BECAUSE it was the 'day of the sun'

Allowing Aboriginal rites into a church is quite worrying.



If so, it is then equally disturbing that the Orthodox Christians use incense in their services as did the pagans thousands of years ago. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_use_of_incense#Buddhism.2C_Taoism_and_Shinto_in_Asia
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« Reply #55 on: March 20, 2013, 05:33:22 PM »

It's almost as if someone were writing in the Roman alphabet.

Oh...  Huh   Tongue
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« Reply #56 on: March 20, 2013, 07:12:30 PM »

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter.
However, Corinth was capital of Greece at that time?

It was the capital of the Roman Province of Achaea.
In her book: Graecia Capta: The Landscapes of Roman Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, Susan Alcock says that Achaea is the area of the northern Peloponnese, but Achaia is the Roman province.
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1993/04.06.14.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaea_%28Roman_province%29

Achaia and Achaea are alternative transliterations of Ἀχαΐα - in Latin the diphtong αι is usually transliterated ae.

It is true that both pre-Roman and modern Achaia are smaller than the Roman Province with the same name and do not include Corinth.

Romaios is for real.
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« Reply #57 on: March 23, 2013, 09:49:10 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?
I notice that the Orthodox Christians here don't say too much about  the  pagan elements that have been brought into the Orthodox Church.
I mentioned already the pagan custom of ancient Greece where a male removes his hat when entering a building as a sign of respect. This is contrary to the traditional Jewish custom for a male to wear a yarmulke in a religious setting.
As a second example of where Orthodox have introduced pagan elements into their Church I have noticed that around Christmastime, some of the Orthodox Churches have a Christmas tree inside the Church. But honoring a tree is a pagan custom.  According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[

To my way of thinking it doesn't matter, for e.g. if pagans had pews in their temples and that Orthodox now have pews in church and you or others might say that we've now got 'pagan elements' in the church.

It's not in any way comparable to the example I gave in the OP.

In Catholic churches they allow smoking ceremonies to purify the air and ward off evil spirits - THIS is according to Aboriginal lore, not (as I see it) Christian lore.

We use English which has pagan roots for words such as "Easter". Sunday is the 'day of the sun'. There are always going to be 'pagan' elements with us.

The chief difference as I see it would be if I went to church on Sunday BECAUSE it was the 'day of the sun'

Allowing Aboriginal rites into a church is quite worrying.



If so, it is then equally disturbing that the Orthodox Christians use incense in their services as did the pagans thousands of years ago. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_use_of_incense#Buddhism.2C_Taoism_and_Shinto_in_Asia

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.

The example you give doesn't address this topic
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« Reply #58 on: March 23, 2013, 09:50:08 AM »

It's almost as if someone were writing in the Roman alphabet.

Oh...  Huh   Tongue

I already noted that our days of the week have pagan elements in their name.

You might want to read that post
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« Reply #59 on: March 23, 2013, 09:54:33 AM »

It's almost as if someone were writing in the Roman alphabet.

Oh...  Huh   Tongue

I already noted that our days of the week have pagan elements in their name.

You might want to read that post

Not in all languages, they don't.
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« Reply #60 on: March 23, 2013, 12:53:15 PM »

To be fair, pagans did give us a couple nice things. Take the pre-monotheist Egyptians, for example. Beer and flush toilets! I imagine not a coincidence, either. Wink
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« Reply #61 on: March 23, 2013, 03:42:03 PM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?
I notice that the Orthodox Christians here don't say too much about  the  pagan elements that have been brought into the Orthodox Church.
I mentioned already the pagan custom of ancient Greece where a male removes his hat when entering a building as a sign of respect. This is contrary to the traditional Jewish custom for a male to wear a yarmulke in a religious setting.
As a second example of where Orthodox have introduced pagan elements into their Church I have noticed that around Christmastime, some of the Orthodox Churches have a Christmas tree inside the Church. But honoring a tree is a pagan custom.  According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[

To my way of thinking it doesn't matter, for e.g. if pagans had pews in their temples and that Orthodox now have pews in church and you or others might say that we've now got 'pagan elements' in the church.

It's not in any way comparable to the example I gave in the OP.

In Catholic churches they allow smoking ceremonies to purify the air and ward off evil spirits - THIS is according to Aboriginal lore, not (as I see it) Christian lore.

We use English which has pagan roots for words such as "Easter". Sunday is the 'day of the sun'. There are always going to be 'pagan' elements with us.

The chief difference as I see it would be if I went to church on Sunday BECAUSE it was the 'day of the sun'

Allowing Aboriginal rites into a church is quite worrying.



If so, it is then equally disturbing that the Orthodox Christians use incense in their services as did the pagans thousands of years ago. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_use_of_incense#Buddhism.2C_Taoism_and_Shinto_in_Asia

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.

The example you give doesn't address this topic
You are being overly legalistic and not looking at the whole picture.
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« Reply #62 on: March 23, 2013, 09:36:20 PM »

You are being overly legalistic and not looking at the whole picture.

What 'whole picture'?

As far as I see the Catholic church is allowing aboriginal smoking ceremonies into their church IN ORDER to ward off evil spirits - that' the purpose of these ceremonies.

They are not just merely burning incense.

Instead of dealing with this example there's been a raft of attempts at tu quoque argument (which is a logical fallacy).

Please tell me what 'whole picture' you're talking about.
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« Reply #63 on: March 23, 2013, 10:52:08 PM »

As far as I see the Catholic church is allowing aboriginal smoking ceremonies into their church IN ORDER to ward off evil spirits - that' the purpose of these ceremonies.

They are not just merely burning incense.

Instead of dealing with this example there's been a raft of attempts at tu quoque argument (which is a logical fallacy).

Please tell me what 'whole picture' you're talking about.
The whole picture is that your objection makes no sense at all because according to St. Spyridon Greek  Orthodox Church, 24301 Greater Mack Avenue, St. Clair Shores, Michigan, USA 48040 tel # 586-773-9750, Orthodox use incense to signify prayer lifted up to God and to drive off the influence of demons.  So I am not buying any attempt by an Orthodox Christian to condemn Catholics or any other religious group for doing the same.
See: My Orthodox Notebook: Question of offering incense in the home:
“Do we offer incense at home as well as in Church?
YES! It is important to realize that not only do we offer incense in Church, but we also offer incense in our homes, to sanctify our homes and daily activities, to lift up our minds to God, to calm family members when they are upset by problems and disagreements, and to drive off the influence of demons. “
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« Reply #64 on: March 24, 2013, 07:39:20 AM »

As far as I see the Catholic church is allowing aboriginal smoking ceremonies into their church IN ORDER to ward off evil spirits - that' the purpose of these ceremonies.

They are not just merely burning incense.

Instead of dealing with this example there's been a raft of attempts at tu quoque argument (which is a logical fallacy).

Please tell me what 'whole picture' you're talking about.
The whole picture is that your objection makes no sense at all because according to St. Spyridon Greek  Orthodox Church, 24301 Greater Mack Avenue, St. Clair Shores, Michigan, USA 48040 tel # 586-773-9750, Orthodox use incense to signify prayer lifted up to God and to drive off the influence of demons.  So I am not buying any attempt by an Orthodox Christian to condemn Catholics or any other religious group for doing the same.
See: My Orthodox Notebook: Question of offering incense in the home:
“Do we offer incense at home as well as in Church?
YES! It is important to realize that not only do we offer incense in Church, but we also offer incense in our homes, to sanctify our homes and daily activities, to lift up our minds to God, to calm family members when they are upset by problems and disagreements, and to drive off the influence of demons. “


So your argument is that Catholics are justified in doing one thing because Orthodox are doing something you think is similar? Is that correct - you're continuing with tu quoque?

Your argument further rests on trying to draw a parallel I don't see :

Orthodox Christians using smoke in a Christian setting with no direct correlation to any pagan ceremony with Catholic Christians importing a pagan ceremony - performed by 'medicine men' into a church to chase bad spirits. The Aborigines doing these ceremonies aren't necessarily Catholic, and are garbed in their traditional sacred paint.

I think that covers it.

For people interested in this; the Catholic church also offers a "welcome to country" acknowledgement in some places.

The "welcome to country" acknowledges the Aboriginal people as the 'traditional' owners of the land and as the sacred custodians of it.

One such welcome to country is worded:
"I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, the ______ people, and call on the Spirit Ancestors to walk with us today as we share and learn together."
http://www.jim.org.au/faq/

What some are trying to confuse are two DIFFERENT things. Note I am not criticising the Catholic Church for the burning of incense. It's a different matter.

Here's one site trying to show the 'similarities' between Aboriginal and Catholic ceremony
http://geckos.ceo.wa.edu.au/geckos/pdfs/symbols.pdf

Note they are similar; not the same.

Catholics importing a similar (but pagan) ceremony in is NOT the same as the burning of incense
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« Reply #65 on: March 24, 2013, 11:12:36 AM »

As far as I see the Catholic church is allowing aboriginal smoking ceremonies into their church IN ORDER to ward off evil spirits - that' the purpose of these ceremonies.

They are not just merely burning incense.

Instead of dealing with this example there's been a raft of attempts at tu quoque argument (which is a logical fallacy).

Please tell me what 'whole picture' you're talking about.
The whole picture is that your objection makes no sense at all because according to St. Spyridon Greek  Orthodox Church, 24301 Greater Mack Avenue, St. Clair Shores, Michigan, USA 48040 tel # 586-773-9750, Orthodox use incense to signify prayer lifted up to God and to drive off the influence of demons.  So I am not buying any attempt by an Orthodox Christian to condemn Catholics or any other religious group for doing the same.
See: My Orthodox Notebook: Question of offering incense in the home:
“Do we offer incense at home as well as in Church?
YES! It is important to realize that not only do we offer incense in Church, but we also offer incense in our homes, to sanctify our homes and daily activities, to lift up our minds to God, to calm family members when they are upset by problems and disagreements, and to drive off the influence of demons. “


So your argument is that Catholics are justified in doing one thing because Orthodox are doing something you think is similar? Is that correct - you're continuing with tu quoque?

Your argument further rests on trying to draw a parallel I don't see :

Orthodox Christians using smoke in a Christian setting with no direct correlation to any pagan ceremony with Catholic Christians importing a pagan ceremony - performed by 'medicine men' into a church to chase bad spirits. The Aborigines doing these ceremonies aren't necessarily Catholic, and are garbed in their traditional sacred paint.

I think that covers it.

For people interested in this; the Catholic church also offers a "welcome to country" acknowledgement in some places.

The "welcome to country" acknowledges the Aboriginal people as the 'traditional' owners of the land and as the sacred custodians of it.

One such welcome to country is worded:
"I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, the ______ people, and call on the Spirit Ancestors to walk with us today as we share and learn together."
http://www.jim.org.au/faq/

What some are trying to confuse are two DIFFERENT things. Note I am not criticising the Catholic Church for the burning of incense. It's a different matter.

Here's one site trying to show the 'similarities' between Aboriginal and Catholic ceremony
http://geckos.ceo.wa.edu.au/geckos/pdfs/symbols.pdf

Note they are similar; not the same.

Catholics importing a similar (but pagan) ceremony in is NOT the same as the burning of incense

Both the Orthodox Church and pagans have used incense in their religious celebrations. Pagans used incense a lot earlier than the Orthodox. Should we criticise the Orthodox Church for borrowing a practice that was used by pagans?
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« Reply #66 on: March 24, 2013, 11:27:34 AM »

Both the Orthodox Church and pagans have used incense in their religious celebrations. Pagans used incense a lot earlier than the Orthodox. Should we criticise the Orthodox Church for borrowing a practice that was used by pagans?

Jews used incense too. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias while he was incensing in the Temple. The Book of Revelation speaks of angels with censers when describing the heavenly liturgy, etc. 



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« Reply #67 on: March 24, 2013, 12:24:40 PM »

Early Christian (both Eastern and Western) Liturgies were very influenced by Roman/Hellenic/etc. symbolism and rituals, it's our heritage to be cared, not scared of.

What's really worth attention is carnival elements allowed into Catholic Mass.
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« Reply #68 on: March 24, 2013, 09:05:52 PM »

Both the Orthodox Church and pagans have used incense in their religious celebrations. Pagans used incense a lot earlier than the Orthodox. Should we criticise the Orthodox Church for borrowing a practice that was used by pagans?

Jews used incense too. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias while he was incensing in the Temple. The Book of Revelation speaks of angels with censers when describing the heavenly liturgy, etc. 




The Egyptians used incense about 1500 years before the archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias. Their kings are depicted holding censors.
Hindus or Chinese were perhaps the first to use incense in their religious services. After that came the Egyptians and several hundred years later, the Jews.
Approximate Timeline (not exact, very approximate):
Chinese use of incense: 4000 BC
Hindu use of incense: 3000 BC
Egyptian use of incense: 1200 BC
Isaiah and Jeremiah, mentioning incense:        700 BC
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« Reply #69 on: March 24, 2013, 09:14:39 PM »

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it.  
You say it is a petty issue, but not so according to a Jewish rabbi here. Let me explain. Nearby on the university campus, there is a religious center for students. At the center there is a chapel and this chapel is used by Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and other relgious groups including infrequently the Orthodox. The Orthodox generally use a location off campus. During Christmastime the Catholic group got together and setup a Christmas tree in the chapel. As we were setting up the tree, the Jewish rabbi came by and objected to its location. He demanded that we place it far off in a corner where he could hide it by a screen during his services. He said that he did not want any pagan symbols to be visible during his religious services. BTW, there was no objection from the Muslim group or anyone else AFAIK.
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« Reply #70 on: March 24, 2013, 09:54:56 PM »

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it.  
You say it is a petty issue, but not so according to a Jewish rabbi here. Let me explain. Nearby on the university campus, there is a religious center for students. At the center there is a chapel and this chapel is used by Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and other relgious groups including infrequently the Orthodox. The Orthodox generally use a location off campus. During Christmastime the Catholic group got together and setup a Christmas tree in the chapel. As we were setting up the tree, the Jewish rabbi came by and objected to its location. He demanded that we place it far off in a corner where he could hide it by a screen during his services. He said that he did not want any pagan symbols to be visible during his religious services. BTW, there was no objection from the Muslim group or anyone else AFAIK.

I also agree it is a petty issue.  One has to remember using and "interdenominational" chapel to respect other denominations belief systems.  If something offends one party then you 'screen' it off, otherwise it would be wise to seek another venue.
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« Reply #71 on: March 24, 2013, 11:42:54 PM »

the whole belief that the profane is cleansed to make one sacred again is pagan. 
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« Reply #72 on: March 25, 2013, 03:33:31 AM »

Both the Orthodox Church and pagans have used incense in their religious celebrations. Pagans used incense a lot earlier than the Orthodox. Should we criticise the Orthodox Church for borrowing a practice that was used by pagans?

Yours is at least the fourth post missing the point on this thread.

Catholics use incense. Orthodox use incense. Pagans use incense.

That they all do doesn't mean that they use it in the same context as each other.

However an Aboriginal 'Smoking Ceremony' is a pagan ceremony being used in their church.

It remains a pagan ceremony.

Try this from another angle: The Dalai Lama is invited to speak at a Catholic mass. He goes away at the end. Did he become Catholic during the time he was in the mass or did he remain non-Catholic, despite being in the church?

The smoking ceremony is the same thing, it remains 'pagan' and has NOTHING TO DO with incense.

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« Reply #73 on: March 25, 2013, 03:36:07 AM »

I also agree it is a petty issue.  One has to remember using and "interdenominational" chapel to respect other denominations belief systems.  If something offends one party then you 'screen' it off, otherwise it would be wise to seek another venue.

Interestingly ; near where I live is a major hospital that had an interdenominational prayer room. A group of Moslems wanted a separate venue, because they perceived the whole prayer room as 'Chrisitan'

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« Reply #74 on: March 25, 2013, 03:38:10 AM »

the whole belief that the profane is cleansed to make one sacred again is pagan. 

So if I use the word "Sunday" then it's pagan, therefore having Divine Liturgy then is pagan?

Where, to you, does the paganness of it end?
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« Reply #75 on: March 25, 2013, 03:43:01 AM »

Both the Orthodox Church and pagans have used incense in their religious celebrations. Pagans used incense a lot earlier than the Orthodox. Should we criticise the Orthodox Church for borrowing a practice that was used by pagans?

Jews used incense too. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias while he was incensing in the Temple. The Book of Revelation speaks of angels with censers when describing the heavenly liturgy, etc. 




The Egyptians used incense about 1500 years before the archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias. Their kings are depicted holding censors.
Hindus or Chinese were perhaps the first to use incense in their religious services. After that came the Egyptians and several hundred years later, the Jews.
Approximate Timeline (not exact, very approximate):
Chinese use of incense: 4000 BC
Hindu use of incense: 3000 BC
Egyptian use of incense: 1200 BC
Isaiah and Jeremiah, mentioning incense:        700 BC


So what? Are you now going to say, for eg. that because there's similarities drawn between Horus and Jesus that you're not worshiping Jesus, but Horus?

Where does the pagan-ness end?

For me, if the Catholic Church adopted an aboriginal smoking ceremony as part of the church, and removed the idea that it was to ward off evil spirits, it would cease being pagan

And when I say 'evil spirits' it's not the same as Christians praying to remove evil, because the Aboriginal belief system is DIFFERENT.

It'd be like saying "I wear this charm to ward of Loki" and you thinking "Well, he's evil, we have Satan, therefore it's really to ward off Satan"

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« Reply #76 on: March 25, 2013, 03:46:13 AM »

Early Christian (both Eastern and Western) Liturgies were very influenced by Roman/Hellenic/etc. symbolism and rituals, it's our heritage to be cared, not scared of.

What's really worth attention is carnival elements allowed into Catholic Mass.

This is it.

Many here, I believe, fail to understand a difference between a Christian adopting something and in effect making it Christian to allowing into the church fully pagan things, that remain pagan.

We all use incense.

But if you, for e.g. were to say "I burn incense so that my gods are appease by its aroma" and I use incense to say something else then the fact we both burn incense is not the same at all.

It's all to do with 'intent'.

If Orthodox here don't believe that then we should allow statues into worship.
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« Reply #77 on: March 25, 2013, 08:51:13 AM »

I also agree it is a petty issue.  One has to remember using and "interdenominational" chapel to respect other denominations belief systems.  If something offends one party then you 'screen' it off, otherwise it would be wise to seek another venue.

Interestingly ; near where I live is a major hospital that had an interdenominational prayer room. A group of Moslems wanted a separate venue, because they perceived the whole prayer room as 'Chrisitan'



When the Muslims have a problem they make it our problem.  What can I say?  Muslims have not heard the word "no" enough from our side.
If they want a separate room for their service then let them pay for it.
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« Reply #78 on: March 25, 2013, 02:13:10 PM »

I also agree it is a petty issue. 
Well, then you disagree with those Jewish rabbis who take the time and effort to preach against Christmas trees. As Christianity spread across the world, it has incorporated and adopted  many pagan symbols. According to John H. Newman (Essay on the Development of the Christian Doctrine  1878):
"The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holy days and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin..."
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« Reply #79 on: March 25, 2013, 03:55:36 PM »

I also agree it is a petty issue.
Well, then you disagree with those Jewish rabbis who take the time and effort to preach against Christmas trees. As Christianity spread across the world, it has incorporated and adopted  many pagan symbols. According to John H. Newman (Essay on the Development of the Christian Doctrine  1878):
"The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holy days and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin..."

So, whats your problem.  I don't have a problem with our church's traditions......Im not the one fighting this...
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« Reply #80 on: March 25, 2013, 04:04:15 PM »

I also agree it is a petty issue.  One has to remember using and "interdenominational" chapel to respect other denominations belief systems.  If something offends one party then you 'screen' it off, otherwise it would be wise to seek another venue.

Interestingly ; near where I live is a major hospital that had an interdenominational prayer room. A group of Moslems wanted a separate venue, because they perceived the whole prayer room as 'Chrisitan'



When the Muslims

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« Reply #81 on: March 25, 2013, 05:40:52 PM »

I also agree it is a petty issue.
Well, then you disagree with those Jewish rabbis who take the time and effort to preach against Christmas trees. As Christianity spread across the world, it has incorporated and adopted  many pagan symbols. According to John H. Newman (Essay on the Development of the Christian Doctrine  1878):
"The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holy days and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin..."

So, whats your problem.  I don't have a problem with our church's traditions......Im not the one fighting this...
Why are you on this thread which concerns pagan elements? You imply  that mentioning the pagan origin of Christmas trees is petty.  In the discussion, I give my opinion that  the question of what is and what is not petty is in the eye of the beholder.
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« Reply #82 on: March 25, 2013, 08:28:38 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card.  
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant.  
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
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« Reply #83 on: March 25, 2013, 10:39:03 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card. 
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant. 
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
See reply #27. 
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« Reply #84 on: March 25, 2013, 11:12:36 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card.  
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant.  
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
See reply #27.  

The history channel is not a reputable source. A glaring example of how they get it wrong is there is nothing from ancient times (which are the only sources that could accurately describe what was happening then) saying anything about Celts or Norsemen decorating with wreaths or trees (and there is definitely no record of them decorating their temples with them, there's no written record of the Celts/Druids even having temples at all, we only know they had temples because we found them within the past 50 years - as for what went on there we know literally nothing). They certainly revered trees, however there is no record of them bringing them inside, or decorating them, or anything like that. I've read everythingthat is recorded of their religious practices and its not there. If you don't believe me, do it, you can do it in a week or less. All anyone can do is point back to someone else who claimed it, going back a few hundred years at most.
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« Reply #85 on: March 25, 2013, 11:25:01 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card. 
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant. 
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
See reply #27. 

The history channel is not a reputable source. A glaring example of how they get it wrong is there is nothing from ancient times (which are the only sources that could accurately describe what was happening then) saying anything about Celts or Norsemen decorating with wreaths or trees. They certainly revered trees, however there is no record of them bringing them inside, or decorating them, or anything like that. I've read everythingthat is recorded of their religious practices and its not there. If you don't believe me, do it, you can do it in a week or less. All anyone can do is point back to someone else who claimed it, going back a few hundred years at most.
Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (King James Version).
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« Reply #86 on: March 25, 2013, 11:41:12 PM »

Catholics use incense. Orthodox use incense. Pagans use incense.
Did God approve of the use of incense? It seems like He did not like it at least in the OT:

"[7] For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharao king of Egypt, and they worshipped strange gods. [8] And they walked according to the way of the nations which the Lord had destroyed in the sight of the children of Israel and of the kings of Israel: because they had done in like manner. [9] And the children of Israel offended the Lord their God with things that were not right: and built them high places in all their cities from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. [10] And they made them statues and groves on every high hill, and under every shady tree:
[11] And they burnt incense there upon altars after the manner of the nations which the Lord had removed from their face: and they did wicked things, provoking the Lord."
2 Kings 17
Also there is reference to making groves, which I am not sure what exactly it means?
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« Reply #87 on: March 25, 2013, 11:41:21 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card. 
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant. 
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
See reply #27. 

The history channel is not a reputable source. A glaring example of how they get it wrong is there is nothing from ancient times (which are the only sources that could accurately describe what was happening then) saying anything about Celts or Norsemen decorating with wreaths or trees. They certainly revered trees, however there is no record of them bringing them inside, or decorating them, or anything like that. I've read everythingthat is recorded of their religious practices and its not there. If you don't believe me, do it, you can do it in a week or less. All anyone can do is point back to someone else who claimed it, going back a few hundred years at most.
Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (King James Version).


What we know of Canannites/Phoenician religion, this describes the creation of pillars that they worshipped. If cutting all the branches off a bole and wrapping it in precious metals is a Christmas tree to you, then you had a unique up bringing.
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« Reply #88 on: March 25, 2013, 11:48:46 PM »

Catholics use incense. Orthodox use incense. Pagans use incense.
Did God approve of the use of incense? It seems like He did not like it at least in the OT:

"[7] For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharao king of Egypt, and they worshipped strange gods. [8] And they walked according to the way of the nations which the Lord had destroyed in the sight of the children of Israel and of the kings of Israel: because they had done in like manner. [9] And the children of Israel offended the Lord their God with things that were not right: and built them high places in all their cities from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. [10] And they made them statues and groves on every high hill, and under every shady tree:
[11] And they burnt incense there upon altars after the manner of the nations which the Lord had removed from their face: and they did wicked things, provoking the Lord."
2 Kings 17
Also there is reference to making groves, which I am not sure what exactly it means?

It is quite obvious from this passage that God did not like the children of Israel worshipping idols, not the fact that they used incense.
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« Reply #89 on: March 26, 2013, 12:17:30 AM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card.  
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant.  
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
See reply #27.  

The history channel is not a reputable source. A glaring example of how they get it wrong is there is nothing from ancient times (which are the only sources that could accurately describe what was happening then) saying anything about Celts or Norsemen decorating with wreaths or trees (and there is definitely no record of them decorating their temples with them, there's no written record of the Celts/Druids even having temples at all, we only know they had temples because we found them within the past 50 years - as for what went on there we know literally nothing). They certainly revered trees, however there is no record of them bringing them inside, or decorating them, or anything like that. I've read everythingthat is recorded of their religious practices and its not there. If you don't believe me, do it, you can do it in a week or less. All anyone can do is point back to someone else who claimed it, going back a few hundred years at most.
In addition to the Encyclopedia Britannica and the History channel, there are other sources which claim the pagan origin of Christmas trees. For example:
http://www.prevailmagazine.org/the-origins-of-the-christmas-tree/
"The Nordic pagans and the Celtic Druids revered the evergreen tree as a symbol of everlasting life and hope for the return of spring. While other plants and trees died, the evergreen trees remained alive continually; hence, they were revered as manifestations of deity. As a symbol of prosperity, the Druids decorated the evergreen outdoors. It was the Scandinavian pagans who were the pioneers in bringing the decorated trees indoors; and the Saxons, a Germanic pagan tribe, who were the first to use candles to illuminate the tree....."
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« Reply #90 on: March 26, 2013, 02:05:35 AM »

In addition to the Encyclopedia Britannica and the History channel, there are other sources which claim the pagan origin of Christmas trees. For example:
http://www.prevailmagazine.org/the-origins-of-the-christmas-tree/
"The Nordic pagans and the Celtic Druids revered the evergreen tree as a symbol of everlasting life and hope for the return of spring. While other plants and trees died, the evergreen trees remained alive continually; hence, they were revered as manifestations of deity. As a symbol of prosperity, the Druids decorated the evergreen outdoors. It was the Scandinavian pagans who were the pioneers in bringing the decorated trees indoors; and the Saxons, a Germanic pagan tribe, who were the first to use candles to illuminate the tree....."

Which is all irrelevant
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« Reply #91 on: March 26, 2013, 02:09:44 AM »

Catholics use incense. Orthodox use incense. Pagans use incense.
Did God approve of the use of incense? It seems like He did not like it at least in the OT:

"[7] For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharao king of Egypt, and they worshipped strange gods. [8] And they walked according to the way of the nations which the Lord had destroyed in the sight of the children of Israel and of the kings of Israel: because they had done in like manner. [9] And the children of Israel offended the Lord their God with things that were not right: and built them high places in all their cities from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. [10] And they made them statues and groves on every high hill, and under every shady tree:
[11] And they burnt incense there upon altars after the manner of the nations which the Lord had removed from their face: and they did wicked things, provoking the Lord."
2 Kings 17
Also there is reference to making groves, which I am not sure what exactly it means?

Your best argument is "We're doing wrong, but so are you"

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« Reply #92 on: March 26, 2013, 02:13:57 AM »

So far a great number of responses (by Catholics) is to suggest the pagan origins of other things seen in church. At best this is to say "Sure, we're letting pagan stuff in, but so are you."

This is not an excuse; tu quoque is a logical fallacy

Unfortunately the further responses have been to simply repeat this illogical argument.

As I've pointed out now at least four times, even if something has pagan ORIGINS it doesn't make it pagan if it were adopted by Christians. HOWEVER this is not the same as Christians inviting into their church pagan elements that remain pagan - because in essence they are 'just visiting'.

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« Reply #93 on: March 26, 2013, 02:52:30 AM »

Catholics use incense. Orthodox use incense. Pagans use incense.
Did God approve of the use of incense? It seems like He did not like it at least in the OT:

"[7] For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharao king of Egypt, and they worshipped strange gods. [8] And they walked according to the way of the nations which the Lord had destroyed in the sight of the children of Israel and of the kings of Israel: because they had done in like manner. [9] And the children of Israel offended the Lord their God with things that were not right: and built them high places in all their cities from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. [10] And they made them statues and groves on every high hill, and under every shady tree:
[11] And they burnt incense there upon altars after the manner of the nations which the Lord had removed from their face: and they did wicked things, provoking the Lord."
2 Kings 17
Also there is reference to making groves, which I am not sure what exactly it means?

Your best argument is "We're doing wrong, but so are you"


Catholics in Australia were concerned with the many Aborigines there and the possibility that they could find a welcome in the Church. The question that was being asked was: 'What was Mother Church doing to show care for her many Aboriginal children, who treasured their Baptism but did not find a place in her churches and liturgy?' Was the European culture a bit too foreign for them to accept?  Pope John Paul II said: "The Church invites you to express the living words of Jesus in ways that speak to your Aboriginal minds and hearts. All over the world people worship God and read his word in their own language, and colour the great signs and symbols of religion with touches of their own traditions. Why should you be different from them in this regard, why should you not be allowed the happiness of being with God and each other in Aboriginal fashion?"
As I tried to point out above, in the past, symbols from pagan religions have been adopted and modified and incoporated into Christian worship. Why should the Aborigines be any different?

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« Reply #94 on: March 26, 2013, 03:32:29 AM »

As I tried to point out above, in the past, symbols from pagan religions have been adopted and modified and incoporated into Christian worship. Why should the Aborigines be any different?

Accomodationism/inculturation has always been a controversial issue, even inside the RCC: see the scandal of the Chinese Rites or the more recent attempts at "indianising" the Mass. Should priests offer Mass wearing headcovering in China or bear-breasted with a sacred thread attached in India? Some might take offense... St. Paul would not allow such things in Corinth, arguing that "the churches of God have no such custom".
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« Reply #95 on: March 28, 2013, 05:22:30 AM »

Catholics in Australia were concerned with the many Aborigines there and the possibility that they could find a welcome in the Church. The question that was being asked was: 'What was Mother Church doing to show care for her many Aboriginal children, who treasured their Baptism but did not find a place in her churches and liturgy?' Was the European culture a bit too foreign for them to accept?  Pope John Paul II said: "The Church invites you to express the living words of Jesus in ways that speak to your Aboriginal minds and hearts. All over the world people worship God and read his word in their own language, and colour the great signs and symbols of religion with touches of their own traditions. Why should you be different from them in this regard, why should you not be allowed the happiness of being with God and each other in Aboriginal fashion?"
As I tried to point out above, in the past, symbols from pagan religions have been adopted and modified and incoporated into Christian worship. Why should the Aborigines be any different?



Except I've already drawn the distinction (probably now eight times) on this thread between

a) pagan elements that are Christianised by being used by Christians - such as incense; with,
b) pagan elements that are used in Christian churches by non-Christians and/or to perform some non-Christian function

I don't believe in ancestral spirits walking the earth. I don't think that it is a part of Christian worship to believe so. You and others have failed to address this difference in your responses.

I have repeatedly given examples of this; and it's completely ignored; a preference for simple repeating the statements you make.

I am happy to go over this again:

Drinking wine/blood of Christ is Christian. If the priest said "We drink this blood in order to appease Baal" then it would not be Christian despite any superficial similarities between

a) drinking blood
and
b) drinking blood

When a) is Christian and b) is not Christian

Once your argument moves beyond the superficial, you'd perhaps have a point.

Smoke, incense - it's not all the same because of 'intent'.

I have also demonstrated from a Catholic site one of the statements that can be used to give thanks to the Australian indigenous population.

So far, after three pages of posts people choose to support the Catholic use of this by claiming a) = b) because there are other similarities of a) and b) in the church.

I don't believe Australian Aborigines have an inherent spiritual bond with the land. Certainly it's their belief that they do.
"Aboriginal people learned from their stories that a society must not be human-centred but rather land centred, otherwise they forget their source and purpose.... humans are prone to exploitative behaviour if not constantly reminded they are interconnected with the rest of creation, that they as individuals are only temporal in time, and past and future generations must be included in their perception of their purpose in life."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Aboriginal_mythology
or
"You and the land are one" is not a Christian concept.


Bending to their beliefs just so they feel included is a bad way of presenting Christianity.

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« Reply #96 on: March 28, 2013, 05:25:21 AM »

As I tried to point out above, in the past, symbols from pagan religions have been adopted and modified and incoporated into Christian worship. Why should the Aborigines be any different?

Accomodationism/inculturation has always been a controversial issue, even inside the RCC: see the scandal of the Chinese Rites or the more recent attempts at "indianising" the Mass. Should priests offer Mass wearing headcovering in China or bear-breasted with a sacred thread attached in India? Some might take offense... St. Paul would not allow such things in Corinth, arguing that "the churches of God have no such custom".

This is an excellent post.

The use of smoke in churches by Aborigines is a totally different idea to incense.

If it were the same, then how in fact is Aboriginal culture made to feel welcome?

Catholics simply can't have all arguments at once.

They either recognise that the church has allowed for something different IN ORDER to accomadate Aborigines, or they haven't
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« Reply #97 on: March 28, 2013, 07:21:55 AM »

The use of smoke in churches by Aborigines is a totally different idea to incense.
Who-in-the-heck are you to say?
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« Reply #98 on: March 28, 2013, 07:27:28 AM »

The use of smoke in churches by Aborigines is a totally different idea to incense.
Who-in-the-heck are you to say?


IIRC montalban is Australian, so he might know what he's talking about.
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« Reply #99 on: March 28, 2013, 04:11:17 PM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.
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« Reply #100 on: March 28, 2013, 05:22:13 PM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
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« Reply #101 on: March 28, 2013, 05:50:58 PM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.
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« Reply #102 on: March 28, 2013, 05:55:51 PM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
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« Reply #103 on: March 28, 2013, 06:16:18 PM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
Does it make sense to condemn Catholic Aborigines who do the same?
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« Reply #104 on: March 28, 2013, 06:19:43 PM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
Does it make sense to condemn Catholic Aborigines who do the same?

Since the influence of demons and demons themselves are not the same thing, neither is the practice.
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« Reply #105 on: March 28, 2013, 06:38:19 PM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
Does it make sense to condemn Catholic Aborigines who do the same?

Since the influence of demons and demons themselves are not the same thing, neither is the practice.
I didn't know that this type of scholastic distinction was prevelant in Orthodoxy. I thought that  influence of demons would presuppose that demons are themselves present. You can't have influence of demons without there being demons in the first place. So let's see: the Orthodox Church is against influence of demons, but the Catholics are  against demons. So the aborigine Catholics must  be condemned because the aborigine Catholics  are not against the influence of demons, but they are instead against the demons?
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« Reply #106 on: March 28, 2013, 11:02:39 PM »

The use of smoke in churches by Aborigines is a totally different idea to incense.
Who-in-the-heck are you to say?


I evidenced this. Aboriginal mythology is totally distinct from Christian belief. I evidenced this too by way of a wording of a 'welcome to country' that Catholics are encouraged to use.

Here (though not in a 'Mass') is a blessing for Catholic schools

"Guidelines for Planning the Blessing Ceremony of New School Facilities
Revised May 2010"
http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CDgQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fri.bne.catholic.edu.au%2Free%2FRE%2FREL%2FCollaborativeSite%2FShared%2520Documents%2FGuidelines%2520for%2520Planning%2520the%2520Blessing%2520Ceremony%2520of%2520New%2520School%2520Facilities.docx&ei=KQRVUaaCJsqMkwWJxoCwBg&usg=AFQjCNFsaG_C5jL95n20b0zK5ARz8_LlyA&sig2=_atbUmWPwL5EdYvdeyEehQ&bvm=bv.44442042,d.dGI
(sorry for the long link)

This includes
Welcome and Acknowledgement of / Welcome to Country
    A Welcome to Country is where the traditional Aboriginal custodian or Elder welcomes people to their land. The local Aboriginal custodians or traditional owners conduct the ceremony and this may be done through a speech, song, ceremony or a combination of these things.

It thus incorporates Aboriginal traditional ceremony (which is DISTINCT FROM Christian belief)

Appendix A of that site includes a suggested wording for one such welcome
    We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians who have walked and cared for this land for thousands of years and their descendants who maintain these spiritual connections and traditions.
    Let us observe a moment of silence to reflect on the millions of footprints that travelled the Dreaming pathways and our own loved ones who have gone before us.

the "Dreaming" specifically refers to Aboriginal belief about the creation. And yes, we too believe in 'creation' but we don't believe that the world was created by rainbow serpents etc.

Furthermore, I addressed this by way of logic.

IF it's no different from incense then how is it 'inclusive' of Aborigines and their culture? It's a case of one can't have both arguments at once.

It is either different, and including it is a sign of 'inclusiveness' for Aborigines because it brings to the table some of their culture, or it is not different and simply a farce to deceive Aborigines into thinking that their being especially included.

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« Reply #107 on: March 28, 2013, 11:05:33 PM »

Here's another "Welcome to Country" catholics can use

    Welcome to Country


    Brothers and sisters

    As we gather here today, we ask that the Land and the Great Ancestral Spirits welcome each of you to the scared land of the ……………… people (nation).

    May the Great Ancestral Spirits of the Land, the waters and the rivers protect and guide us as we gather for this sacred/special ceremony ………….. …….  (name the occasion e.g. funeral, baptism)

    On behalf of my family and our relations I especially welcome you here today
http://www.acmlismore.org.au/welcomeToCountryDetail.php?English-1

Do you think Christians believe in 'Great Ancestral spirits'Huh
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« Reply #108 on: March 28, 2013, 11:07:25 PM »

Keep up the good work, montalban. Stuff like this needs to be aired, even if some can't or won't see the points you make.
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« Reply #109 on: March 29, 2013, 02:17:14 AM »

Keep up the good work, montalban. Stuff like this needs to be aired, even if some can't or won't see the points you make.

Thank you. I'm sure the Catholic church adopts other pagan cultures elements in other parts of the world. It's the 'watered-down' version in order to be 'relevant' that drove me away from the RCC
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« Reply #110 on: March 29, 2013, 04:36:11 AM »

It's actually depressing to see people so confused as to think that incense and pagan smoking ceremonies are the same.

The RCC so long separated from the church has fostered this confusion
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« Reply #111 on: March 29, 2013, 05:06:51 AM »

I like this back and forth between stan and romeo. Most of everything else is noise.

For the lack and imprudent use of source material, stan does raise some interesting and relevant points.

Keep it up guys.

And romeo, what on earth did you study, good grief.
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« Reply #112 on: March 29, 2013, 05:08:16 AM »

Here's another "Welcome to Country" catholics can use

    Welcome to Country


    Brothers and sisters

    As we gather here today, we ask that the Land and the Great Ancestral Spirits welcome each of you to the scared land of the ……………… people (nation).

    May the Great Ancestral Spirits of the Land, the waters and the rivers protect and guide us as we gather for this sacred/special ceremony ………….. …….  (name the occasion e.g. funeral, baptism)

    On behalf of my family and our relations I especially welcome you here today
http://www.acmlismore.org.au/welcomeToCountryDetail.php?English-1

Do you think Christians believe in 'Great Ancestral spirits'Huh

This is the most damning element by far. I am trying to find a great line you also contributed . . .
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« Reply #113 on: March 29, 2013, 05:10:46 AM »

I don't believe Australian Aborigines have an inherent spiritual bond with the land. Certainly it's their belief that they do.
"Aboriginal people learned from their stories that a society must not be human-centred but rather land centred, otherwise they forget their source and purpose.... humans are prone to exploitative behaviour if not constantly reminded they are interconnected with the rest of creation, that they as individuals are only temporal in time, and past and future generations must be included in their perception of their purpose in life."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Aboriginal_mythology
or
"You and the land are one" is not a Christian concept.


Bending to their beliefs just so they feel included is a bad way of presenting Christianity.

Well said. I can't say much about folks who grow up with this stuff but for white folks in the "first world" it is absolutely goofy, dangerous, and incredibly unChristian.

Thanks for pointing this out.
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« Reply #114 on: March 29, 2013, 05:26:26 AM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
Does it make sense to condemn Catholic Aborigines who do the same?

Since the influence of demons and demons themselves are not the same thing, neither is the practice.
I didn't know that this type of scholastic distinction was prevelant in Orthodoxy. I thought that  influence of demons would presuppose that demons are themselves present. You can't have influence of demons without there being demons in the first place. So let's see: the Orthodox Church is against influence of demons, but the Catholics are  against demons. So the aborigine Catholics must  be condemned because the aborigine Catholics  are not against the influence of demons, but they are instead against the demons?

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered. Don't confuse reality with Hollywood.

And since when is differentiating between presence and influence 'scholasticism'? Do you need someone whispering in your ear constantly in order to be influenced by them? Have you never been influenced, say, by an author you have never even met?
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« Reply #115 on: March 29, 2013, 05:31:45 AM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
Does it make sense to condemn Catholic Aborigines who do the same?

Since the influence of demons and demons themselves are not the same thing, neither is the practice.
I didn't know that this type of scholastic distinction was prevelant in Orthodoxy. I thought that  influence of demons would presuppose that demons are themselves present. You can't have influence of demons without there being demons in the first place. So let's see: the Orthodox Church is against influence of demons, but the Catholics are  against demons. So the aborigine Catholics must  be condemned because the aborigine Catholics  are not against the influence of demons, but they are instead against the demons?

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered. Don't confuse reality with Hollywood.

And since when is differentiating between presence and influence 'scholasticism'? Do you need someone whispering in your ear constantly in order to be influenced by them? Have you never been influenced, say, by an author you have never even met?

Stanley has you here though if for possibly wrong reasons. The underlying ontology you are using is gravely suspect. But no one cares about that stuff anymore. Definitely not Greeks or more properly Grurks for sometime.

The Germans had to take over that work. Gott sei dank! (stan, is that pagen?)
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« Reply #116 on: March 29, 2013, 05:43:07 AM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
Does it make sense to condemn Catholic Aborigines who do the same?

Since the influence of demons and demons themselves are not the same thing, neither is the practice.
I didn't know that this type of scholastic distinction was prevelant in Orthodoxy. I thought that  influence of demons would presuppose that demons are themselves present. You can't have influence of demons without there being demons in the first place. So let's see: the Orthodox Church is against influence of demons, but the Catholics are  against demons. So the aborigine Catholics must  be condemned because the aborigine Catholics  are not against the influence of demons, but they are instead against the demons?

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered. Don't confuse reality with Hollywood.

And since when is differentiating between presence and influence 'scholasticism'? Do you need someone whispering in your ear constantly in order to be influenced by them? Have you never been influenced, say, by an author you have never even met?

Stanley has you here though if for possibly wrong reasons. The underlying ontology you are using is gravely suspect. But no one cares about that stuff anymore. Definitely not Greeks or more properly Grurks for sometime.

The Germans had to take over that work. Gott sei dank! (stan, is that pagen?)

Suspect all you will. I've never been to, or even heard of, a church building that had problems with demonic presences. If you have, feel free to share. Haven't heard of a good haunting in donkey's years.
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« Reply #117 on: March 29, 2013, 05:56:47 AM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
Does it make sense to condemn Catholic Aborigines who do the same?

Since the influence of demons and demons themselves are not the same thing, neither is the practice.
I didn't know that this type of scholastic distinction was prevelant in Orthodoxy. I thought that  influence of demons would presuppose that demons are themselves present. You can't have influence of demons without there being demons in the first place. So let's see: the Orthodox Church is against influence of demons, but the Catholics are  against demons. So the aborigine Catholics must  be condemned because the aborigine Catholics  are not against the influence of demons, but they are instead against the demons?

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered. Don't confuse reality with Hollywood.

And since when is differentiating between presence and influence 'scholasticism'? Do you need someone whispering in your ear constantly in order to be influenced by them? Have you never been influenced, say, by an author you have never even met?

Stanley has you here though if for possibly wrong reasons. The underlying ontology you are using is gravely suspect. But no one cares about that stuff anymore. Definitely not Greeks or more properly Grurks for sometime.

The Germans had to take over that work. Gott sei dank! (stan, is that pagen?)

Suspect all you will. I've never been to, or even heard of, a church building that had problems with demonic presences. If you have, feel free to share. Haven't heard of a good haunting in donkey's years.

The two bolded portions point to my issue. Not stuff like demons.
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« Reply #118 on: March 29, 2013, 06:03:05 AM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
Does it make sense to condemn Catholic Aborigines who do the same?

Since the influence of demons and demons themselves are not the same thing, neither is the practice.
I didn't know that this type of scholastic distinction was prevelant in Orthodoxy. I thought that  influence of demons would presuppose that demons are themselves present. You can't have influence of demons without there being demons in the first place. So let's see: the Orthodox Church is against influence of demons, but the Catholics are  against demons. So the aborigine Catholics must  be condemned because the aborigine Catholics  are not against the influence of demons, but they are instead against the demons?

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered. Don't confuse reality with Hollywood.

And since when is differentiating between presence and influence 'scholasticism'? Do you need someone whispering in your ear constantly in order to be influenced by them? Have you never been influenced, say, by an author you have never even met?

Stanley has you here though if for possibly wrong reasons. The underlying ontology you are using is gravely suspect. But no one cares about that stuff anymore. Definitely not Greeks or more properly Grurks for sometime.

The Germans had to take over that work. Gott sei dank! (stan, is that pagen?)

Suspect all you will. I've never been to, or even heard of, a church building that had problems with demonic presences. If you have, feel free to share. Haven't heard of a good haunting in donkey's years.

The two bolded portions point to my issue. Not stuff like demons.

Influence is in the mind of the influencee, not the presence of the influencer.
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« Reply #119 on: March 29, 2013, 06:04:45 AM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
Does it make sense to condemn Catholic Aborigines who do the same?

Since the influence of demons and demons themselves are not the same thing, neither is the practice.
I didn't know that this type of scholastic distinction was prevelant in Orthodoxy. I thought that  influence of demons would presuppose that demons are themselves present. You can't have influence of demons without there being demons in the first place. So let's see: the Orthodox Church is against influence of demons, but the Catholics are  against demons. So the aborigine Catholics must  be condemned because the aborigine Catholics  are not against the influence of demons, but they are instead against the demons?

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered. Don't confuse reality with Hollywood.

And since when is differentiating between presence and influence 'scholasticism'? Do you need someone whispering in your ear constantly in order to be influenced by them? Have you never been influenced, say, by an author you have never even met?

Stanley has you here though if for possibly wrong reasons. The underlying ontology you are using is gravely suspect. But no one cares about that stuff anymore. Definitely not Greeks or more properly Grurks for sometime.

The Germans had to take over that work. Gott sei dank! (stan, is that pagen?)

Suspect all you will. I've never been to, or even heard of, a church building that had problems with demonic presences. If you have, feel free to share. Haven't heard of a good haunting in donkey's years.

The two bolded portions point to my issue. Not stuff like demons.

Influence is in the mind of the influencee, not the presence of the influencer.

Hence the suspect ontology informing your epistemology.
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« Reply #120 on: March 29, 2013, 06:12:16 AM »

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.
This is not true, as I noted above. Apparently,  you don't know what some Orthodox teach about incense.

I don't know either. Please enlighten us.
Please see reply #63. Thanks.

Oh please. The 'influence of demons' is nothing more (and nothing less) than the distractions that stop us from concentrating in prayer, and incense provides both a symbol and a tangible focus. Have you heard any tales of shadowy beings driven screeching out of people or the building? Didn't think so.
Does it make sense to condemn Catholic Aborigines who do the same?

Since the influence of demons and demons themselves are not the same thing, neither is the practice.
I didn't know that this type of scholastic distinction was prevelant in Orthodoxy. I thought that  influence of demons would presuppose that demons are themselves present. You can't have influence of demons without there being demons in the first place. So let's see: the Orthodox Church is against influence of demons, but the Catholics are  against demons. So the aborigine Catholics must  be condemned because the aborigine Catholics  are not against the influence of demons, but they are instead against the demons?

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered. Don't confuse reality with Hollywood.

And since when is differentiating between presence and influence 'scholasticism'? Do you need someone whispering in your ear constantly in order to be influenced by them? Have you never been influenced, say, by an author you have never even met?

Stanley has you here though if for possibly wrong reasons. The underlying ontology you are using is gravely suspect. But no one cares about that stuff anymore. Definitely not Greeks or more properly Grurks for sometime.

The Germans had to take over that work. Gott sei dank! (stan, is that pagen?)

Suspect all you will. I've never been to, or even heard of, a church building that had problems with demonic presences. If you have, feel free to share. Haven't heard of a good haunting in donkey's years.

The two bolded portions point to my issue. Not stuff like demons.

Influence is in the mind of the influencee, not the presence of the influencer.

Hence the suspect ontology informing your epistemology.

Sorry, I never felt like looking over my left shoulder.

Before we wander too far off-target with the -ologies, the meat of the matter is: Aboriginal smoke rituals aim at driving away actual evil spirits. Do we believe that there are such spirits in the church building, that the worship offered there cannot drive away? I say no.
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« Reply #121 on: March 29, 2013, 08:26:22 AM »

Before we wander too far off-target with the -ologies, the meat of the matter is: Aboriginal smoke rituals aim at driving away actual evil spirits. Do we believe that there are such spirits in the church building, that the worship offered there cannot drive away? I say no.

I say 'no' as well. We don't believe in ancestral spirits walking the land either.

I half expect someone to say again it's like incense
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« Reply #122 on: March 29, 2013, 08:28:11 AM »

I like this back and forth between stan and romeo. Most of everything else is noise.

For the lack and imprudent use of source material, stan does raise some interesting and relevant points.

Keep it up guys.

And romeo, what on earth did you study, good grief.

Stan and Romeo?
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« Reply #123 on: March 29, 2013, 08:44:13 AM »

I like this back and forth between stan and romeo. Most of everything else is noise.

For the lack and imprudent use of source material, stan does raise some interesting and relevant points.

Keep it up guys.

And romeo, what on earth did you study, good grief.

Stan and Romeo?

stanley123 and Romaios.
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« Reply #124 on: March 30, 2013, 12:54:54 AM »

I like this back and forth between stan and romeo. Most of everything else is noise.

For the lack and imprudent use of source material, stan does raise some interesting and relevant points.

Keep it up guys.

And romeo, what on earth did you study, good grief.

Stan and Romeo?

stanley123 and Romaios.

Ah! Ta!
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« Reply #125 on: March 30, 2013, 02:10:44 AM »

I like this back and forth between stan and romeo. Most of everything else is noise.

For the lack and imprudent use of source material, stan does raise some interesting and relevant points.

Keep it up guys.

And romeo, what on earth did you study, good grief.

Stan and Romeo?

stanley123 and Romaios.

Ah! Ta!

I don't read well or something. Romaios looks like Romeos just about every time I see it.

How I see Isa's screen name is a hoot . . .
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« Reply #126 on: March 30, 2013, 11:16:06 PM »

Do you think Christians believe in 'Great Ancestral spirits'Huh
I don't know about Christians, but Catholics offer Masses for the Dead. In fact, Catholics have a special day: All Souls Day Nov 2, on which they remember and pray  for their deceased ancestors (mother, father, grandmother, grandfather) and other deceased relatives and friends. So Catholics do believe in heaven and hope that each spiritual soul of their ancestors will find peace there.
However, there are other problems:
"Since white people arrived in Australia it has always been difficult for them to understand Aboriginal culture. Ignorance led to many thousand Aboriginal people being killed by white settlers, and attempts were made to “breed out” their culture through assimilation.
Aboriginal people continue to feel misunderstood by white Australian politics. They claim that many legislative acts reflect a white point of view where at least a dual view would be necessary. Some activists even speak of “genocide” still going on in Australia today...."
http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/racial-discrimination-in-australia
BTW, how many aborigines are there who are members of the Orthodox Church? How successful have the Orthodox been in bringing the message of Christ and the teachings found in the New Testament to the aborigine people? After all, did not Christ ask us to go forth and teach all nations?
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« Reply #127 on: March 31, 2013, 12:01:36 AM »

Do you think Christians believe in 'Great Ancestral spirits'Huh
I don't know about Christians, but Catholics offer Masses for the Dead. In fact, Catholics have a special day: All Souls Day Nov 2, on which they remember and pray  for their deceased ancestors (mother, father, grandmother, grandfather) and other deceased relatives and friends. So Catholics do believe in heaven and hope that each spiritual soul of their ancestors will find peace there.
However, there are other problems:
"Since white people arrived in Australia it has always been difficult for them to understand Aboriginal culture. Ignorance led to many thousand Aboriginal people being killed by white settlers, and attempts were made to “breed out” their culture through assimilation.
Aboriginal people continue to feel misunderstood by white Australian politics. They claim that many legislative acts reflect a white point of view where at least a dual view would be necessary. Some activists even speak of “genocide” still going on in Australia today...."
http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/racial-discrimination-in-australia
BTW, how many aborigines are there who are members of the Orthodox Church? How successful have the Orthodox been in bringing the message of Christ and the teachings found in the New Testament to the aborigine people? After all, did not Christ ask us to go forth and teach all nations?

There is at least one Orthodox mission to Australian aboriginals. Their priest is himself Aboriginal:

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2009/7enmhganning.html
http://eorthodox.wordpress.com/2009/07/16/aboriginal-parish-in-australia/
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« Reply #128 on: March 31, 2013, 07:38:13 AM »

I don't know about Christians, but Catholics offer Masses for the Dead.

Which is still not the same thing; unless you believe your ancestral spirits walk the earth/are part of the environment
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« Reply #129 on: March 31, 2013, 07:50:46 AM »

BTW, how many aborigines are there who are members of the Orthodox Church? How successful have the Orthodox been in bringing the message of Christ and the teachings found in the New Testament to the aborigine people? After all, did not Christ ask us to go forth and teach all nations?

I thought I'd deal with this separately - as it's a different issue.

Orthodoxy in this country (and perhaps the USA too, I'm not sure) came here through immigration rather than missions. Further to that most of this immigration has happened only after WWII

There is unfortunately a small trend at present for Aborigines to head towards Islam - as a misguided belief that if one rebels against the dominant 'Anglo' culture, one should do the same with one's religion. A high profile convert, boxer Anthony Mundine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Mundine) is one such.

A draw-back for this (as far as I see) is that the churches are divided on ethnic lines. My church - EVERYONE bar myself is of Arabic speaking background. And, as I introduced myself to the church (as opposed to a friend drawing me along) I began very much as an outsider socially as well.

However missions are being established. The Russian church has begun one in the country town of Gunning (NSW)
http://www.rocor.org.au/?p=1405#more-1405

Orthodoxy is a minority in Australia (2.6% of the population).* The Australian Aboriginal population makes up 3% of Australia's population. Thus a minority is missioning to a minority. So, it is happening.

*- http://orthodoxwiki.org/Statistics_of_Orthodoxy_in_Australia
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« Reply #130 on: March 31, 2013, 07:54:58 AM »


There is at least one Orthodox mission to Australian aboriginals. Their priest is himself Aboriginal:

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2009/7enmhganning.html
http://eorthodox.wordpress.com/2009/07/16/aboriginal-parish-in-australia/

Oops! I see I'm evidencing the same fact as you.

Orthodoxy is a tiny group, relatively recent to Australia's history. Although the church had its foundation here in 1898, the majority of Orthodox came here after WWII - particularly the 1950s and 1960s when Australia offered assisted migration.

My own family arrived here in the 1840's. But, up until myself were generally all Presbyterian.
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« Reply #131 on: March 31, 2013, 04:26:36 PM »

Do you think Christians believe in 'Great Ancestral spirits'Huh
I don't know about Christians, but Catholics offer Masses for the Dead. In fact, Catholics have a special day: All Souls Day Nov 2, on which they remember and pray  for their deceased ancestors (mother, father, grandmother, grandfather) and other deceased relatives and friends. So Catholics do believe in heaven and hope that each spiritual soul of their ancestors will find peace there.
However, there are other problems:
"Since white people arrived in Australia it has always been difficult for them to understand Aboriginal culture. Ignorance led to many thousand Aboriginal people being killed by white settlers, and attempts were made to “breed out” their culture through assimilation.
Aboriginal people continue to feel misunderstood by white Australian politics. They claim that many legislative acts reflect a white point of view where at least a dual view would be necessary. Some activists even speak of “genocide” still going on in Australia today...."
http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/racial-discrimination-in-australia
BTW, how many aborigines are there who are members of the Orthodox Church? How successful have the Orthodox been in bringing the message of Christ and the teachings found in the New Testament to the aborigine people? After all, did not Christ ask us to go forth and teach all nations?

There is at least one Orthodox mission to Australian aboriginals. Their priest is himself Aboriginal:

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2009/7enmhganning.html
http://eorthodox.wordpress.com/2009/07/16/aboriginal-parish-in-australia/
In total, how many aborigines are members of the Orthodox Church? How successful has the Orthodox Church been in bringing the message of Christ to the aborigines?
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« Reply #132 on: March 31, 2013, 08:08:24 PM »

Do you think Christians believe in 'Great Ancestral spirits'Huh
I don't know about Christians, but Catholics offer Masses for the Dead. In fact, Catholics have a special day: All Souls Day Nov 2, on which they remember and pray  for their deceased ancestors (mother, father, grandmother, grandfather) and other deceased relatives and friends. So Catholics do believe in heaven and hope that each spiritual soul of their ancestors will find peace there.
However, there are other problems:
"Since white people arrived in Australia it has always been difficult for them to understand Aboriginal culture. Ignorance led to many thousand Aboriginal people being killed by white settlers, and attempts were made to “breed out” their culture through assimilation.
Aboriginal people continue to feel misunderstood by white Australian politics. They claim that many legislative acts reflect a white point of view where at least a dual view would be necessary. Some activists even speak of “genocide” still going on in Australia today...."
http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/racial-discrimination-in-australia
BTW, how many aborigines are there who are members of the Orthodox Church? How successful have the Orthodox been in bringing the message of Christ and the teachings found in the New Testament to the aborigine people? After all, did not Christ ask us to go forth and teach all nations?

There is at least one Orthodox mission to Australian aboriginals. Their priest is himself Aboriginal:

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2009/7enmhganning.html
http://eorthodox.wordpress.com/2009/07/16/aboriginal-parish-in-australia/
In total, how many aborigines are members of the Orthodox Church? How successful has the Orthodox Church been in bringing the message of Christ to the aborigines?

Go back and read montalban's posts, and the links he and I have provided. Compare the history and size of the Orthodox church in Australia with that of the RCC, and the length of time of European settlement of that country. Then come back to us.

One thing which I'm completely certain of: There's no way in the world a pagan smoking ceremony, or other such non-Christian ritual, would be allowed to take place within any Orthodox church, either as part of a service, or outside of it. Montalban has nailed why such things are wrong to be incorporated into Christian worship, but you cannot, or will not, see the point.
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« Reply #133 on: March 31, 2013, 08:12:01 PM »

In total, how many aborigines are members of the Orthodox Church? How successful has the Orthodox Church been in bringing the message of Christ to the aborigines?

I believe you're asking in order to try to demonstrate an excuse for Catholic use of pagan elements.

You've already been provided information on the church in this country - just how small, and relatively how recent it is.

The Catholic Church is by far and away a much larger and widespread organisation that had missions to Aborigines - where in fact they took a role in what's called here the "Stolen Generation"
http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/politics/stolen-generations-timeline

Which the previous pope has apologised for
"November: Pope John Paul II issues a formal apology on behalf of the Vatican to the affected Aboriginal families for the actions of any and all Catholic authorities or organisations in connection with the Stolen Generations."
(Ibid.)

Therefore numbers of Aborigines who are Catholic can be based upon the fact that they were taken from their families and culture and forcibly converted. I'm not saying this happened to all or even most. But your idea of a comparison of churches to ascertain 'success' needs to take into account all these factors.

I understand how the mind of the Catholic apologist works. Rather than address the point of the OP an attempt to show either the success of the RCC and/or a perceived failure of the EOC takes place.

Some may be interested in this snippet of Catholic mission work allowing for Aboriginal custom:
IN 1900, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Western Australia, Matthew Gibney, travelled to Beagle Bay, north of Broome, to inspect the mission conducted by the German order of Pallottine monks. During the visit, he officiated at the wedding ceremony of a 9-year-old girl to an old Aboriginal man. At the time, the strategy of the monks was to bring Christianity to the Aborigines but to do this with as little disruption to the customs and beliefs of the tribes as possible. This meant they accepted a number of aspects of traditional Aboriginal culture, especially polygamy, child brides and the consummation of such marriages, which in any other society would have broken all their moral codes.
http://www.stolengenerations.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=154&Itemid=128

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« Reply #134 on: March 31, 2013, 08:14:34 PM »


Go back and read montalban's posts, and the links he and I have provided. Compare the history and size of the Orthodox church in Australia with that of the RCC, and the length of time of European settlement of that country. Then come back to us.

One thing which I'm completely certain of: There's no way in the world a pagan smoking ceremony, or other such non-Christian ritual, would be allowed to take place within any Orthodox church, either as part of a service, or outside of it. Montalban has nailed why such things are wrong to be incorporated into Christian worship, but you cannot, or will not, see the point.

I thought I had answered it! Less than 3% compared to 26.6%*, and in effect more than 220 years compared to 70


*
http://www.catholicaustralia.com.au/page.php?pg=austchurch-survey
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« Reply #135 on: March 31, 2013, 10:16:22 PM »


Go back and read montalban's posts, and the links he and I have provided. Compare the history and size of the Orthodox church in Australia with that of the RCC, and the length of time of European settlement of that country. Then come back to us.

One thing which I'm completely certain of: There's no way in the world a pagan smoking ceremony, or other such non-Christian ritual, would be allowed to take place within any Orthodox church, either as part of a service, or outside of it. Montalban has nailed why such things are wrong to be incorporated into Christian worship, but you cannot, or will not, see the point.

I thought I had answered it! Less than 3% compared to 26.6%*, and in effect more than 220 years compared to 70


*
http://www.catholicaustralia.com.au/page.php?pg=austchurch-survey
I don't see the number of aborigines who are members of the Orthodox church. The number of Orthodox may constitute 3% of the population of Australia, but that does not tell me how many of those are aborigines. The link you give says that 26.6% of the Australians are Catholics. "According to the 2001 Australian Census, the Catholic population was 5,001,624 or 26.6% of the total Australian population."
How many of the aborigines are members of the Orthodox Church?

 
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« Reply #136 on: March 31, 2013, 10:21:17 PM »

http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/INCENSE.HTM
 You are warned for a week for not providing me with a synopsis of the link you posted. It is against oc.net rules to post links without an explanation.  I asked you for this days ago and you have not responded.
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« Reply #137 on: March 31, 2013, 11:10:31 PM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?

Here in Australia the Catholic church has allowed Aboriginal 'smoking ceremonies' into the mass. These 'smoking ceremonies' involve a cleansing smoke that chases out bad spirits.

Do you think it's a good idea?


"The Smoking Ceremony is one of the oldest living traditions celebrated by Aboriginal people. Our ancestors handed down to us the belief that ceremonies should begin with the smoking away of evil spirits, followed by the reception of good spirits. Many Liturgies prepared by the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry begin with a Smoking Ceremony."
http://www.cam.org.au/acmv/Invisible-no-more.aspx

I'm assuming that this site is linked to the church, if not I can provide other references
I must correct you, it's not the Catholic Church that is allowing these pagan practices, but the vatican 2 sect with their heretical popes that are doing it, they are Catholic in name only, the new mass instituted by Pope Paul V1 in 1969 was done with the aid of 6 protestant ministers, their goal was to remove what was too catholic from the mass, it's imperative for you to investigate this your self for your salvation
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« Reply #138 on: April 01, 2013, 12:57:30 AM »


I don't see the number of aborigines who are members of the Orthodox church. The number of Orthodox may constitute 3% of the population of Australia, but that does not tell me how many of those are aborigines. The link you give says that 26.6% of the Australians are Catholics. "According to the 2001 Australian Census, the Catholic population was 5,001,624 or 26.6% of the total Australian population."
How many of the aborigines are members of the Orthodox Church?

 

You've already been answered several times. I indulged your question, but it's off-topic.

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« Reply #139 on: April 01, 2013, 01:01:11 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?

Here in Australia the Catholic church has allowed Aboriginal 'smoking ceremonies' into the mass. These 'smoking ceremonies' involve a cleansing smoke that chases out bad spirits.

Do you think it's a good idea?


"The Smoking Ceremony is one of the oldest living traditions celebrated by Aboriginal people. Our ancestors handed down to us the belief that ceremonies should begin with the smoking away of evil spirits, followed by the reception of good spirits. Many Liturgies prepared by the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry begin with a Smoking Ceremony."
http://www.cam.org.au/acmv/Invisible-no-more.aspx

I'm assuming that this site is linked to the church, if not I can provide other references
I must correct you, it's not the Catholic Church that is allowing these pagan practices, but the vatican 2 sect with their heretical popes that are doing it, they are Catholic in name only, the new mass instituted by Pope Paul V1 in 1969 was done with the aid of 6 protestant ministers, their goal was to remove what was too catholic from the mass, it's imperative for you to investigate this your self for your salvation

I provided evidence of the Catholic church allowing Aboriginal custom even earlier.

But Vatican 2 only accelerated this.

I felt some of the effects of Vatican 2 as a child. I recall going to my church (St. Josephs, Enfield; suburban Sydney) and seeing on Mass where a long-haired guy looking like Jesus sat at the front of the church with an acoustic guitar. Instead of the old hymns he lead us in new 'hymns' such as the Beatles' "Let it Be"!
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« Reply #140 on: April 01, 2013, 01:06:29 AM »

I felt some of the effects of Vatican 2 as a child. I recall going to my church (St. Josephs, Enfield; suburban Sydney) and seeing on Mass where a long-haired guy looking like Jesus sat at the front of the church with an acoustic guitar. Instead of the old hymns he lead us in new 'hymns' such as the Beatles' "Let it Be"!

Well, what was it that John Lennon once said that got him in the soup?  laugh laugh laugh
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« Reply #141 on: April 01, 2013, 01:15:47 AM »

I felt some of the effects of Vatican 2 as a child. I recall going to my church (St. Josephs, Enfield; suburban Sydney) and seeing on Mass where a long-haired guy looking like Jesus sat at the front of the church with an acoustic guitar. Instead of the old hymns he lead us in new 'hymns' such as the Beatles' "Let it Be"!

Well, what was it that John Lennon once said that got him in the soup?  laugh laugh laugh

In a sad sense he was right - youth today (whilst not necessarily following the Beatles) follow things other than Christ.

Our church mistook the song as a hymn because of lines like "Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom" - but it's about Paul's mother Mary. And Paul had given up on Catholicism. Interestingly his reasoning is quite spurious. I've just finished reading The Beatles (Updated Edition) by Hunter Davies. In it McCartney basically says that he really needed God, and he prayed and God didn't answer, therefore he gave up on God! I remain a huge Beatles fan. The Beatles themselves are disappointing people.

Another sign of the state of the Catholic church is the way of Catholic apology. Instead of being able to address why they allow pagan elements into the church we're being segued into examining Orthodoxy in Australia.

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« Reply #142 on: April 01, 2013, 04:06:17 AM »

Stanley, you wrote in post #93:

Quote
Catholics in Australia were concerned with the many Aborigines there and the possibility that they could find a welcome in the Church. The question that was being asked was: 'What was Mother Church doing to show care for her many Aboriginal children, who treasured their Baptism but did not find a place in her churches and liturgy?' Was the European culture a bit too foreign for them to accept?  Pope John Paul II said: "The Church invites you to express the living words of Jesus in ways that speak to your Aboriginal minds and hearts. All over the world people worship God and read his word in their own language, and colour the great signs and symbols of religion with touches of their own traditions. Why should you be different from them in this regard, why should you not be allowed the happiness of being with God and each other in Aboriginal fashion?"
As I tried to point out above, in the past, symbols from pagan religions have been adopted and modified and incoporated into Christian worship. Why should the Aborigines be any different?

Here are examples of "icons" painted by a Catholic artist to deliberately reflect "cultural relevance" and to "speak to" various peoples in their own "cultural language".

Apache Christ:



Celtic Trinity



Quetzalcoatl Christ



Tell me, Stanley, do you find these images acceptable? Would you welcome their presence in your church? If not, why not?
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« Reply #143 on: April 01, 2013, 06:25:46 AM »

Yikes!
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« Reply #144 on: April 01, 2013, 09:09:35 AM »

Please don't seriously suggest that there is any kind of general acceptance of Robert Lentz's crazy images in Roman Catholicism.
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« Reply #145 on: April 01, 2013, 09:18:34 AM »

Please don't seriously suggest that there is any kind of general acceptance of Robert Lentz's crazy images in Roman Catholicism.


I'm holding back my answer to this, pending stanley123's response to my earlier post.
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« Reply #146 on: April 01, 2013, 01:46:11 PM »


I don't see the number of aborigines who are members of the Orthodox church. The number of Orthodox may constitute 3% of the population of Australia, but that does not tell me how many of those are aborigines. The link you give says that 26.6% of the Australians are Catholics. "According to the 2001 Australian Census, the Catholic population was 5,001,624 or 26.6% of the total Australian population."
How many of the aborigines are members of the Orthodox Church?

 

You've already been answered several times. I indulged your question, but it's off-topic.


Not really. No one seems to know the number of aborigines who are members of the Orthodox Church. You say 3%. But that could be 3% of 90 or 3% of 9000.
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« Reply #147 on: April 01, 2013, 03:34:13 PM »

Please don't seriously suggest that there is any kind of general acceptance of Robert Lentz's crazy images in Roman Catholicism.


Yeah, cause laser guided doves hurtling at saints ain't crazy at all.
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« Reply #148 on: April 01, 2013, 03:53:06 PM »

Please don't seriously suggest that there is any kind of general acceptance of Robert Lentz's crazy images in Roman Catholicism.


Well, I'm no "Roman" Catholic, but the first and only place I've ever encountered his goofy images was on.........................orthodoxchristianity.net.  Go figure. Wink  Never seen them anywhere else that I can recall, and I hope I don't  angel.
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« Reply #149 on: April 01, 2013, 04:30:33 PM »

Here are examples of "icons" painted by a Catholic artist to deliberately reflect "cultural relevance" and to "speak to" various peoples in their own "cultural language". ....
....Tell me, Stanley, do you find these images acceptable? Would you welcome their presence in your church? If not, why not?

Here is an example of a reflection of cultural relevance in an Orthodox Church:
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« Reply #150 on: April 01, 2013, 04:32:00 PM »

I read a book by Lentz. Most of it is, yes, pretty bizarre. I was Roman Catholic for a lot of years, and I must say I never saw his paintings in any of the parishes I went to. I think they'd only be popular with dissenters and those who aren't even in the RCC or ECC. Never saw them in my relatives' homes, either. They always had standard stuff (for them), like the Sacred Heart or a saint.
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« Reply #151 on: April 01, 2013, 04:39:15 PM »

Here are examples of "icons" painted by a Catholic artist to deliberately reflect "cultural relevance" and to "speak to" various peoples in their own "cultural language". ....
....Tell me, Stanley, do you find these images acceptable? Would you welcome their presence in your church? If not, why not?

Here is an example of a reflection of cultural relevance in an Orthodox Church:


Good for you stan.
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« Reply #152 on: April 01, 2013, 05:11:24 PM »

Please don't seriously suggest that there is any kind of general acceptance of Robert Lentz's crazy images in Roman Catholicism.


Well, I'm no "Roman" Catholic, but the first and only place I've ever encountered his goofy images was on.........................orthodoxchristianity.net.  Go figure. Wink  Never seen them anywhere else that I can recall, and I hope I don't  angel.

Certainly it's here that I first encountered this 'icon'. However one can purchase this (I loathe to mention this as I'm not promoting it; just evidencing it exists) here
https://www.trinitystores.com/store/search/art?keys=apache+christ

However I am NOT saying this site is affilated with the RCC

In saying that it did come up on a Catholic debate site http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=485082 as being located in a Catholic church

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« Reply #153 on: April 01, 2013, 05:14:37 PM »

Please don't seriously suggest that there is any kind of general acceptance of Robert Lentz's crazy images in Roman Catholicism.


Well, I'm no "Roman" Catholic, but the first and only place I've ever encountered his goofy images was on.........................orthodoxchristianity.net.  Go figure. Wink  Never seen them anywhere else that I can recall, and I hope I don't  angel.

Also, you're not likely to come across these icons as you probably don't attend an Apache church!

However, try google search by "Apache Christ" and "St Joseph Mission Church at Mescalero, New Mexico" Wink
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« Reply #154 on: April 01, 2013, 06:18:24 PM »

Please don't seriously suggest that there is any kind of general acceptance of Robert Lentz's crazy images in Roman Catholicism.


Well, I'm no "Roman" Catholic, but the first and only place I've ever encountered his goofy images was on.........................orthodoxchristianity.net.  Go figure. Wink  Never seen them anywhere else that I can recall, and I hope I don't  angel.

Also, you're not likely to come across these icons as you probably don't attend an Apache church!

However, try google search by "Apache Christ" and "St Joseph Mission Church at Mescalero, New Mexico" Wink

Its important to keep in mind that not all Icons are approved by the Church.  Writing an Icon of anyone can be made but will it be acceptable to the parish is a different story.
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« Reply #155 on: April 01, 2013, 06:24:07 PM »

Re OP: Things like these were one of many reasons why I became interested in Orthodoxy over Catholicism.
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« Reply #156 on: April 01, 2013, 06:39:12 PM »

Here are examples of "icons" painted by a Catholic artist to deliberately reflect "cultural relevance" and to "speak to" various peoples in their own "cultural language". ....
....Tell me, Stanley, do you find these images acceptable? Would you welcome their presence in your church? If not, why not?

Here is an example of a reflection of cultural relevance in an Orthodox Church:


This image is, at best, a small panel in a larger "life" icon of St Matrona of Moscow. There was indeed a meeting between Stalin and St Matrona at some stage in her life, and this is all that this picture is representing. These small panels surrounding a larger central panel of the saint are illustrations of episodes in the saint's life, and are not intended for veneration as stand-alone icons.

Be that as it may, it is instructive that Stalin is shown without a halo, and is seen stridently walking away from St Matrona, because she has told him something he didn't want to hear. The image in no way promotes Stalin as some sort of holy figure.

Try again, Stan. You still haven't answered my question on the Robert Lentz paintings I posted.
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« Reply #157 on: April 01, 2013, 07:39:27 PM »

Please don't seriously suggest that there is any kind of general acceptance of Robert Lentz's crazy images in Roman Catholicism.


Well, I'm no "Roman" Catholic, but the first and only place I've ever encountered his goofy images was on.........................orthodoxchristianity.net.  Go figure. Wink  Never seen them anywhere else that I can recall, and I hope I don't  angel.

Also, you're not likely to come across these icons as you probably don't attend an Apache church!

However, try google search by "Apache Christ" and "St Joseph Mission Church at Mescalero, New Mexico" Wink

Its important to keep in mind that not all Icons are approved by the Church.  Writing an Icon of anyone can be made but will it be acceptable to the parish is a different story.

This is very true. And I know that Robert Lentz has made up a 'gay' icon for Sts. Sergius and Bacchus - complete in pink togas!
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8f/SerBac.jpg

Hopefully some of the Catholics on this thread can shed more light on this 'Apache Christ'

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« Reply #158 on: April 01, 2013, 07:51:18 PM »

Its important to keep in mind that not all Icons are approved by the Church.  Writing an Icon of anyone can be made but will it be acceptable to the parish is a different story.
Is the Stalin icon with St. Matrona approved by the Church? It was placed in an Orthodox Church by a priest.
What about other icons of Stalin, such as:
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« Reply #159 on: April 01, 2013, 08:11:25 PM »

I suggest forgetting about the pagan  icons for a moment and look at the elephant in the room,

At the notorious interfaith “ecumenical prayer gatherings” – the most well-known occurring at Assisi in 1986 and 2002 – religious leaders from all the major false religions were invited to pray alongside John Paul II at a “Catholic” church. 

the Vatican II Sect on Islam

 

Then we have the Vatican II sect’s teaching on the false religion of Islam, which rejects the Holy Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus Christ.  Benedict XVI and John Paul have praised Islam, a false religion of the devil.  Here we see John Paul II in the Temple of infidelity (the mosque), endorsing their false religion.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Basel, Session 19, Sept. 7, 1434:

“Moreover, we trust that with God’s help another benefit will accrue to the Christian commonwealth; because from this union, once it is established, there is hope that very many from the abominable sect of Mahomet will be converted to the Catholic faith.”

 

The Catholic Church teaches that Islam is “an abominable sect” of infidels (unbelievers).  An “abomination” is something that God abhors; it is something that He has no esteem for and no respect for.


The Catholic Church teaches that there is only one true religion and the rest are false.  The Catholic Church teaches that pagan religions (such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Voodooism, etc.), which worship various “gods,” actually worship demons, since all the gods of the heathen are the devils.

 Each religion was invited to offer its own prayer for peace – blasphemous prayers, for instance, as the Hindu prayer said: “Peace be on all gods.”  But their gods are devils, as we saw above, so peace was being prayed for all the devils (who created these false religions) at the Vatican-sponsored World Day of Prayer for Peace.  The Vatican II religion wants you to be in communion with devils.

Psalms 95:5- “For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils…”

 

1 Cor. 10:20- “But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God.  And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils.”

 

St. Paul says that when the pagans worship their gods they are worshipping devils, and he doesn’t want you to be in communion with devils.  The Vatican II sect, however, endorses these false religions which commit idolatry and worship devils.  This is unspeakably evil; it is a total rejection of the teaching of the Gospel and the Catholic Church, and it is condemned as apostasy by Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos.

It's time you left thevatican 2 sect and became a catholic.

http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/VaticanII_mainpage.php
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« Reply #160 on: April 01, 2013, 08:34:57 PM »

Its important to keep in mind that not all Icons are approved by the Church.  Writing an Icon of anyone can be made but will it be acceptable to the parish is a different story.
Is the Stalin icon with St. Matrona approved by the Church? It was placed in an Orthodox Church by a priest.
What about other icons of Stalin, such as:


I'd be very interested to see your answers to LBK
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« Reply #161 on: April 01, 2013, 08:47:01 PM »

Its important to keep in mind that not all Icons are approved by the Church.  Writing an Icon of anyone can be made but will it be acceptable to the parish is a different story.
Is the Stalin icon with St. Matrona approved by the Church? It was placed in an Orthodox Church by a priest.
What about other icons of Stalin, such as:


I'd be very interested to see your answers to LBK
I am also very interested to see the number of aborigines in Australia who are members of the Orthodox Church. Would it be about 50 souls?
Also, concerning speaking to people in their cultural language, how many Greek Orthodox Churches would have an icon of Stalin with St. Madrona? How many Romanian Orthodox Churches would have such an icon?  If it is wrong to reflect reflect "cultural relevance" and to "speak to" various peoples in their own "cultural language" then why do you see icons of Stalin only in Russia and not in the Greek Orthodox Churches ?
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« Reply #162 on: April 01, 2013, 10:40:16 PM »

I am also very interested to see the number of aborigines in Australia who are members of the Orthodox Church. Would it be about 50 souls?
Who knows? It's off-topic, you've been addressed
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« Reply #163 on: April 01, 2013, 10:44:14 PM »

I don't think a 'my church is bigger than your church' discussion helps. However if one were to have this, one could address the topic, which might explain the relative 'success' of the RCC, that they are prepared to compromise their faith in order to win converts - which is surely self-defeating - unless 'nominal' converts is what matters.

I noted earlier a citation from a book surveying the RCC's missionary work in Western Australia. It exampled where a great many customs were allowed.
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« Reply #164 on: April 01, 2013, 11:28:51 PM »

I don't think a 'my church is bigger than your church' discussion helps. However if one were to have this, one could address the topic, which might explain the relative 'success' of the RCC, that they are prepared to compromise their faith in order to win converts - which is surely self-defeating - unless 'nominal' converts is what matters.

I noted earlier a citation from a book surveying the RCC's missionary work in Western Australia. It exampled where a great many customs were allowed.
Has the Orthodox faith been compromised by allowing evergreen trees in Church or by allowing icons of Stalin in Church? Putting an icon of Stalin in an Orthodox Church is an obvious example of speaking to Russians who admire Stalin.
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« Reply #165 on: April 01, 2013, 11:44:36 PM »

Has the Orthodox faith been compromised by allowing evergreen trees in Church or by allowing icons of Stalin in Church? Putting an icon of Stalin in an Orthodox Church is an obvious example of speaking to Russians who admire Stalin.

You were already answered re: Stalin icon. You may have missed it Wink

A difference between the EOC and RCC regarding apologetics is EOC are not worried about dealing with subjects. Readers can make up their mind if RCC apologists avoid answering questions.

Despite this being off-topic, and despite the fact it's already been addressed I'm happy to state a few things.

a) Stalin is in the icon, but is not the subject of worship. The idea that he is would be akin to me stating that in a Catholic icon appears a set of keys, therefore the keys are being worshipped. Cows, clouds etc are also covered by this. It shows the level of silliness of Catholic apologetics.

The picture here...
http://www.asianews.it/files/img/STALIN_(f)_1023_-_Icona.jpg

...does not show Stalin with the traditional halo - which would be a massive clue for anyone examining this seriously.

A further distinction can be made is that there are many articles that talk of this icon (even having Stalin in it) is a subject of controversy within the church. If Catholic apolgists wish to bring forth evidence of Catholic concern for smoking ceremonies in their church, they'd have a point.

But, alas...
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« Reply #166 on: April 01, 2013, 11:47:36 PM »

I don't think a 'my church is bigger than your church' discussion helps. However if one were to have this, one could address the topic, which might explain the relative 'success' of the RCC, that they are prepared to compromise their faith in order to win converts - which is surely self-defeating - unless 'nominal' converts is what matters.

I noted earlier a citation from a book surveying the RCC's missionary work in Western Australia. It exampled where a great many customs were allowed.
Has the Orthodox faith been compromised by allowing evergreen trees in Church or by allowing icons of Stalin in Church? Putting an icon of Stalin in an Orthodox Church is an obvious example of speaking to Russians who admire Stalin.

Here is a Catholic picture showing Jesus and the devil


By your 'logic' because the devil is featured in the picture he is a subject of veneration ergo Catholics worship Satan (according to your reasoning)

If such a picture appears in a Catholic church it would only confirm stanley123's theory that the Catholic church worships evil.

If you'd like I'm sure I can dig up such a pic from the Vatican itself

(it matters not who is more evil, Stalin or Satan even though it is clearly Satan)
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« Reply #167 on: April 01, 2013, 11:49:53 PM »

Has the Orthodox faith been compromised by allowing evergreen trees in Church or by allowing icons of Stalin in Church? Putting an icon of Stalin in an Orthodox Church is an obvious example of speaking to Russians who admire Stalin.

Evergreen trees do not compromise the Orthodox faith any more than other botanical decoration would.

Quote from: The Babylonian Talmud
The sages while in Rome were asked, “If [God] does not want avoda zara (idolatry) why does He not abolish it?” They replied, “Had they [the idol worshippers] been worshipping things the world does not need He would have done so. They, however, are worshipping the sun, moon, stars and signs [zodiac]. Should the world be destroyed because of fools?” They [the questioners] said, “Let Him destroy the [worshipped] things that are not necessary for the world leaving those that are.” They replied, “That would further strengthen their worshippers. That would further strengthen the legitimacy of the ones that were not destroyed, as gods.”

Avoda Zara 4

An icon depicting Stalin as a Saint would be a mockery of the Orthodox faith and an obvious contradiction of everything sacred to it. I hope for your sake that you can distinguish between that and an icon where Stalin is depicted without a hallo - we have icons where devils are depicted, too, but no icons of the devil. The one you posted first was ok, the second anathema.

Edit: montalban beat me to it.
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« Reply #168 on: April 01, 2013, 11:51:46 PM »


Edit: montalban beat me to it.

No worries! Smiley

In soccer they would call Stanley123's attack an 'own goal'
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« Reply #169 on: April 02, 2013, 12:06:29 AM »

Also, concerning speaking to people in their cultural language, how many Greek Orthodox Churches would have an icon of Stalin with St. Madrona? How many Romanian Orthodox Churches would have such an icon?  If it is wrong to reflect reflect "cultural relevance" and to "speak to" various peoples in their own "cultural language" then why do you see icons of Stalin only in Russia and not in the Greek Orthodox Churches?

If a local Orthodox Saint is indeed a Saint, he/she is recognized as such in all the Orthodox Churches in communion with each other, even if he/she would be honoured more in his/her country or where his/her relics are kept. No one can be a Saint in Russia and a scandal in all the other Churches of God.   
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« Reply #170 on: April 02, 2013, 12:23:44 AM »

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered.
Can an icon with Stalin stand in a place in Church?
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« Reply #171 on: April 02, 2013, 12:56:12 AM »

However if one were to have this, one could address the topic, which might explain the relative 'success' of the RCC, that they are prepared to compromise their faith in order to win converts - which is surely self-defeating - unless 'nominal' converts is what matters.
I don't think that taking note of local customs is compromising faith. For example, painted eggs are  handed out after Orthodox Easter services. Is the Orthodox faith compromised when red colored eggs are passed out after Pascha services at the Orthodox Church? "The book Celebrations says: Eggs were said to be dyed and eaten at the Spring festivals in ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The Persians of that time gave eggs as gifts at the vernal equinox. From these references, it is clear that the colored eggs originated in the ancient springtime fertility rites."
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_did_the_Easter_egg_hunt_originate
"Eggs were a primitive symbol of fertility; but Christians saw in them a symbol of the tomb from which Christ rose, and continued the [pagan] practice of coloring, giving, and eating them at Easter. "(New Age Encyclopedia.,Vol 6. China: Lexicon Publications, 1973, p.190)
"Eggs were hung up in the Egyptian temples.....Dyed eggs were sacred Easter offerings in Egypt, as they are still in China and Europe. Easter, or spring, was the season of birth, terrestrial and celestial." (James Bonwick, Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, pp. 211-212)
"...the egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians, who had also the custom of colouring and eating eggs during their spring festival." (Encylopaedia Britannica, article: Easter)
"The Persians and Egyptians colored eggs and ate them during their new year's celebration, which came in the spring." (The New Book of Knowledge, Danbury: Grolier, 1991, p.44)
"In northern Europe, Eostre, the Teutonic-Anglo-Saxon goddess of dawn, evolved from Astarte in Babylon and from Ishtar from Assyria. Eggs, dyed blood-red and rolled in the newly sown soil at spring equinox, ensured fertility of the fields. The Moon Hare, sacred animal totem of Eostre, laid more colored eggs for children to find. From the name, Eostre, Astarte, and Ishtar, we derive the scientific terminology for the female hormone and reproduction cycle: estrogen and estrus. Easter also derives from Eostre." (D. Henes, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles and Celebrations, New York: Perigee Book)
"The egg, as a symbol of New Life is much older than Christianity and the coloring of it at the spring festival is also of very ancient origin. The Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans used it this way." (George William Douglas, The American Book of Days, article: Easter)
So it appears then , that the pagan/non-Christian element of the painted egg has been allowed into Orthodox practice and custom.

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« Reply #172 on: April 02, 2013, 01:05:41 AM »

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered.
Can an icon with Stalin stand in a place in Church?

Yes - as long as it's not an icon of Stalin.
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« Reply #173 on: April 02, 2013, 01:09:26 AM »

However if one were to have this, one could address the topic, which might explain the relative 'success' of the RCC, that they are prepared to compromise their faith in order to win converts - which is surely self-defeating - unless 'nominal' converts is what matters.
I don't think that taking note of local customs is compromising faith. For example, painted eggs are  handed out after Orthodox Easter services. Is the Orthodox faith compromised when red colored eggs are passed out after Pascha services at the Orthodox Church? "The book Celebrations says: Eggs were said to be dyed and eaten at the Spring festivals in ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The Persians of that time gave eggs as gifts at the vernal equinox. From these references, it is clear that the colored eggs originated in the ancient springtime fertility rites."
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_did_the_Easter_egg_hunt_originate
"Eggs were a primitive symbol of fertility; but Christians saw in them a symbol of the tomb from which Christ rose, and continued the [pagan] practice of coloring, giving, and eating them at Easter. "(New Age Encyclopedia.,Vol 6. China: Lexicon Publications, 1973, p.190)
"Eggs were hung up in the Egyptian temples.....Dyed eggs were sacred Easter offerings in Egypt, as they are still in China and Europe. Easter, or spring, was the season of birth, terrestrial and celestial." (James Bonwick, Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, pp. 211-212)
"...the egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians, who had also the custom of colouring and eating eggs during their spring festival." (Encylopaedia Britannica, article: Easter)
"The Persians and Egyptians colored eggs and ate them during their new year's celebration, which came in the spring." (The New Book of Knowledge, Danbury: Grolier, 1991, p.44)
"In northern Europe, Eostre, the Teutonic-Anglo-Saxon goddess of dawn, evolved from Astarte in Babylon and from Ishtar from Assyria. Eggs, dyed blood-red and rolled in the newly sown soil at spring equinox, ensured fertility of the fields. The Moon Hare, sacred animal totem of Eostre, laid more colored eggs for children to find. From the name, Eostre, Astarte, and Ishtar, we derive the scientific terminology for the female hormone and reproduction cycle: estrogen and estrus. Easter also derives from Eostre." (D. Henes, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles and Celebrations, New York: Perigee Book)
"The egg, as a symbol of New Life is much older than Christianity and the coloring of it at the spring festival is also of very ancient origin. The Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans used it this way." (George William Douglas, The American Book of Days, article: Easter)
So it appears then , that the pagan/non-Christian element of the painted egg has been allowed into Orthodox practice and custom.



Considering most of those books, when looked up, were published over 100 years ago (the more recent dates ascribed to them are reprints) and none of them have references or bibliographies they are worthless at best.
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« Reply #174 on: April 02, 2013, 01:16:54 AM »

Can an icon with Stalin stand in a place in Church?

If it is part of a life icon of St Matrona of Moscow, depicting the encounter between St Matrona and Stalin, and where Stalin does not bear a halo, (and, as the image you posted shows, shows him obviously rejecting what she has had to say to him), then, yes. The subject of veneration in such an icon is St Matrona, not Stalin.

Such a depiction would be no different to showing the devil in an icon in the examples others have given here, or showing the executioners and torturers of saints, as long at their depiction is dispassionate, not inciting anger and hatred towards them. Even RC religious art is full of such imagery, so your attempt to smear the Orthodox has failed again.

If the icon shows Stalin with a halo, the answer is a resounding NO!! Not only has he never been proclaimed a saint by any Orthodox synod, the fact that innumerable New Martyrs and Confessors are glorified by the Church for their staunch defense of their faith in the face of Soviet oppression and brutality proves that there is no way he will ever be proclaimed a saint. The existence of images of him sporting a halo proves nothing, other than the complete delusion of those who wish to have him canonized.

I'm still waiting for your answer, as are others, on the Robert Lentz images I've posted.  police
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« Reply #175 on: April 02, 2013, 01:30:57 AM »

I don't think that taking note of local customs is compromising faith. For example, painted eggs are  handed out after Orthodox Easter services. Is the Orthodox faith compromised when red colored eggs are passed out after Pascha services at the Orthodox Church?

Christmas trees and Easter eggs are by now benign folk customs. Even if they might have had pagan roots, those are inactivated like dead virus stems, since most people would not attribute any sort of spiritual or magical powers to them. Moreover, they are not in any way inherent to the Christian faith or the liturgical/sacramental life of the Church. 
 
I'm not so sure that's the case with Aboriginal customs. What if this develops into some syncretic religion like Santería? Could the Aboriginals continue to practice their old rituals, like the "Catholic" peoples of the Andes continue to bring sacrifices and libations to the Pachamama ("Mother earth") right after or - even worse - while attending Mass? Would this be inculturation or "biritualism"? Another instance of failed missionarism? The "abomination of desolation standing in the sacred place"?     

Quote
In order to preserve their authentic ancestral and traditional beliefs, the Lukumi people had no choice but to disguise their orishas as Catholic saints. When the Roman Catholic slave owners observed Africans celebrating a Saint's Day, they were generally unaware that the slaves were actually worshiping one of their sacred orishas. Due to this history, in Cuba today, the terms "saint" and "orisha" are sometimes used interchangeably.

This historical "veil" characterization of the relationship between Catholic saints and Cuban orisha is made all the more complicated by the fact that the vast majority of santeros in Cuba today also consider themselves to be Catholics, have been baptized, and often require initiates to be baptized as well. Many hold separate rituals to honor the saints and orisha respectively, even though the faith's overt links to Catholicism are no longer needed.

Source
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« Reply #176 on: April 02, 2013, 02:16:24 AM »


Christmas trees and Easter eggs are by now benign folk customs. Even if they might have had pagan roots, those are inactivated like dead virus stems, since most people would not attribute any sort of spiritual or magical powers to them. Moreover, they are not in any way inherent to the Christian faith or the liturgical/sacramental life of the Church. 
 
I'm not so sure that's the case with Aboriginal customs.
How many Catholic liturgies designed for the aborigine peoples have you actually attended?
I don't see anything wrong in the prayers in the Catholic liturgies designed for the aborigine peoples. In obedience to the command of Our Divine Lord and Savior to teach all nations, Catholic missionaries have studied the aborigine culture and religion in an attempt to avoid the tensions and misunderstandings which arose between the white settlers and the aborigines and to create an atmosphere in which the aborigines would be receptive to hearing the good news of the New Testament. As you know, the Australian aborigines have perhaps the world's oldest continuous culture and religion. They did not know how to write, but did paint complicated beautiful murals in caves. In aboriginal belief the spirits of the dead were present everywhere, guiding the living.
Here are a few prayers from a Catholic liturgy on
National Aboriginal
And Torres Strait Islander Sunday:
[As you know, Water to Aboriginal people is always a sign of God’s peace and fulfillment in everything that is good; the promise of food, of harmony with ourselves, and the bush around us.]

Lord, make us feel your invitation to ‘come to the water’. At the very beginning you blessed the water, your great gift to us, and now we ask that your blessing be renewed in this water here today. We ask that through this water blessing we will all be renewed with your love, and protection, and your power to love one another as true Christians. Lord, this truly is a sign of the new life in Christ, which in Baptism we have all received.

We ask this through Jesus the Wise One.

All: Amen
Holy Father, God of Love, You are the Creator of this land and of all good things.
Our hope is in you because you gave your son Jesus to reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace to forgive, accept and love one another, as you love us and forgive and accept us in the sacrifice of your son.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen
Holy Father, God of Love
You are the Creator of this land and all good things
We acknowledge the pain and shame of our history
And the suffering of our peoples.
And we ask your forgiveness.
We thank you for the survival of Indigenous cultures
Our hope is in you because you gave your son Jesus
To reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace to forgive,
Accept and love one another,
As you love us and forgive and accept us
In the sacrifice of your Son.
Give us the courage to accept the realities of our history
So that we may build a better future for our nation.
Teach us to respect all cultures.
Teach us to care for our land and waters.
Help us to share justly the resources of this land.
Help us to bring about spiritual and social change
To improve the quality of life for all groups in our communities,
Especially the disadvantaged.
Help our young people to find true dignity and self esteem by your Spirit
May your power and love be the foundations
on which we build our families, our communities and our Nation.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

 Hymn: “How great thou art”
http://www.sydneycatholic.org/works/acm/
http://www.natsicc.org.au/

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« Reply #177 on: April 02, 2013, 02:25:58 AM »

I wonder if the Russian Orthodox missionaries to the Aleuts involved creating prayers with seals and whales?

What if I want to start an Orthodox mission in an inner city?  Do I modify Orthodox prayers to include heroin, crack, guns, Jerry Springer & Maury Povich?

Or do I stick with the existing prayers of the church and teaching people how to use them, like driving a car?

There's proper cathechesis and, as in the example of the Roman Catholic example of the Aborigines, improper cathechesis.
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« Reply #178 on: April 02, 2013, 02:33:00 AM »

I wonder if the Russian Orthodox missionaries to the Aleuts involved creating prayers with seals and whales?

What if I want to start an Orthodox mission in an inner city?  Do I modify Orthodox prayers to include heroin, crack, guns, Jerry Springer & Maury Povich?

Or do I stick with the existing prayers of the church and teaching people how to use them, like driving a car?

There's proper cathechesis and, as in the example of the Roman Catholic example of the Aborigines, improper cathechesis.
This of course is vicious anti-Catholic propaganda to imply that Catholics have modified their prayers to include heroin, crack, guns and Jerry Springer. There is no such thing.
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« Reply #179 on: April 02, 2013, 02:40:19 AM »

Stanley, you wrote in post #93:

Quote
Catholics in Australia were concerned with the many Aborigines there and the possibility that they could find a welcome in the Church. The question that was being asked was: 'What was Mother Church doing to show care for her many Aboriginal children, who treasured their Baptism but did not find a place in her churches and liturgy?' Was the European culture a bit too foreign for them to accept?  Pope John Paul II said: "The Church invites you to express the living words of Jesus in ways that speak to your Aboriginal minds and hearts. All over the world people worship God and read his word in their own language, and colour the great signs and symbols of religion with touches of their own traditions. Why should you be different from them in this regard, why should you not be allowed the happiness of being with God and each other in Aboriginal fashion?"
As I tried to point out above, in the past, symbols from pagan religions have been adopted and modified and incoporated into Christian worship. Why should the Aborigines be any different?

Here are examples of "icons" painted by a Catholic artist to deliberately reflect "cultural relevance" and to "speak to" various peoples in their own "cultural language".

Apache Christ:



Celtic Trinity



Quetzalcoatl Christ



Tell me, Stanley, do you find these images acceptable? Would you welcome their presence in your church? If not, why not?


*BUMP*
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« Reply #180 on: April 02, 2013, 02:42:48 AM »

How many Catholic liturgies designed for the aborigine peoples have you actually attended?

None, nor would I attend any. They are way too ridden with modern politically-correct language for my taste.

I don't see anything wrong in the prayers in the Catholic liturgies designed for the aborigine peoples. In obedience to the command of Our Divine Lord and Savior to teach all nations, Catholic missionaries have studied the aborigine culture and religion in an attempt to avoid the tensions and misunderstandings which arose between the white settlers and the aborigines and to create an atmosphere in which the aborigines would be receptive to hearing the good news of the New Testament. As you know, the Australian aborigines have perhaps the world's oldest continuous culture and religion. They did not know how to write, but did paint complicated beautiful murals in caves. In aboriginal belief the spirits of the dead were present everywhere, guiding the living.

Things were done improperly in the first place - colonialism, forced conversions, kids separated from their parents and brought up in Catholic boarding-schools where they were forbidden to use their language or otherwise abused, etc. etc. Now, there's an 180o shift. Catholics felt like the best way to make amends is to alter their liturgy so as to include apologies for their past mistakes. I'm really sorry for these poor souls, but this watered-down Christianity is not helping anybody.  
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« Reply #181 on: April 02, 2013, 02:45:04 AM »

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered.
Can an icon with Stalin stand in a place in Church?

Yes - as long as it's not an icon of Stalin.
OK, So you want to bring an icon with Stalin into the Orthodox Church. How many Orthodox Churches in Romania would have such an icon? Or is it something designed to appeal to those Russians who have a love for Stalin?
Here are some more examples of prayers which are said at Masses of Reconciliation for the Aborigines:

God of justice and forgiveness,
Guide us as we continue on our pathways to Reconciliation. Grant us the courage to speak out against the injustices that our Indigenous brothers and sisters continue to suffer. Help us to see with new eyes, to listen to the stories of our Indigenous brothers and sisters and to feel with a heart of compassion. Help us to build right relations with each other based on truth and justice. We ask this prayer through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Creator of all things,
Both seen and unseen.
Speak to us in your great wisdom.
Make us strong as we seek
Your help and guidance.
Teach us to love all people
Regardless of race or colour or belief.
Almighty and loving God,
you who created ALL people in your image,
Lead us to seek your compassion
as we listen to the stories of our past.
You gave your only Son, Jesus,
who died and rose again so that sins will be forgiven.
We place before you the pain and anguish
of dispossession of land, language, lore,
culture and family kinship
that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
have experienced.
We live in faith that all people
will rise from the depths of despair and hopelessness.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
have endured the pain and loss of loved ones,
through the separation of children from their families.
We are sorry and ask God’s forgiveness.
Touch the hearts of the broken, homeless
and afflicted and heal their spirits.
In your mercy and compassion
walk with us as we continue our journey of healing
to create a future that is just and equitable.
Lord, you are our hope.
Amen.

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« Reply #182 on: April 02, 2013, 02:53:06 AM »

OK, So you want to bring an icon with Stalin into the Orthodox Church. How many Orthodox Churches in Romania would have such an icon? Or is it something designed to appeal to those Russians who have a love for Stalin?

Do go back and read the posts where the presence of Stalin in icons is discussed. You either can't, or won't, see the point, and it has absolutely nothing to do with "cultural appeal".
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« Reply #183 on: April 02, 2013, 03:02:53 AM »

OK, So you want to bring an icon with Stalin into the Orthodox Church. How many Orthodox Churches in Romania would have such an icon? Or is it something designed to appeal to those Russians who have a love for Stalin?

You apparently don't want to make the distinction between a depiction of Stalin in an icon and an icon of Stalin as a Saint.

In Romania St. Matrona is greatly revered by many Orthodox, especially since books about her life have been translated and many go on pilgrimages to her tomb. I've seen icons of her in churches - true, none where Stalin was depicted so far, but I would not be in any way outraged unless he was depicted with a halo.  

An icon of Stalin as a Saint would be equally outrageous in a Russian or Romanian Orthodox Church. The Russian Church canonized Saints who were martyred by Stalin. The second "icon" you posted I believe does not come from an Orthodox church where it is revered by the faithful - it's probably the equivalent of the Lentz icons produced by some nostalgic and misguided Communist soul.

Here are some more examples of prayers which are said at Masses of Reconciliation for the Aborigines:

I find them weird and unfit for liturgical use. Even if they speak the truth and have the noblest of intentions.    
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« Reply #184 on: April 02, 2013, 03:39:08 AM »

No demons can stand in a place where the name of the Lord is invoked and the sacraments offered.
Can an icon with Stalin stand in a place in Church?
I already answered you.

Can an icon with Satan be on a wall of a church?
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« Reply #185 on: April 02, 2013, 03:43:01 AM »

How many Catholic liturgies designed for the aborigine peoples have you actually attended?
How many have you?
I don't see anything wrong in the prayers in the Catholic liturgies designed for the aborigine peoples. In obedience to the command of Our Divine Lord and Savior to teach all nations, Catholic missionaries have studied the aborigine culture and religion in an attempt to avoid the tensions and misunderstandings which arose between the white settlers and the aborigines and to create an atmosphere in which the aborigines would be receptive to hearing the good news of the New Testament. As you know, the Australian aborigines have perhaps the world's oldest continuous culture and religion. They did not know how to write, but did paint complicated beautiful murals in caves. In aboriginal belief the spirits of the dead were present everywhere, guiding the living.

Not just 'guiding' but walking the earth, and interacting with nature. It's very much a 'nature' based belief system

Here are a few prayers from a Catholic liturgy on
National Aboriginal
And Torres Strait Islander Sunday:
[As you know, Water to Aboriginal people is always a sign of God’s peace and fulfillment in everything that is good; the promise of food, of harmony with ourselves, and the bush around us.]

Lord, make us feel your invitation to ‘come to the water’. At the very beginning you blessed the water, your great gift to us, and now we ask that your blessing be renewed in this water here today. We ask that through this water blessing we will all be renewed with your love, and protection, and your power to love one another as true Christians. Lord, this truly is a sign of the new life in Christ, which in Baptism we have all received.

We ask this through Jesus the Wise One.

All: Amen
Holy Father, God of Love, You are the Creator of this land and of all good things.
Our hope is in you because you gave your son Jesus to reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace to forgive, accept and love one another, as you love us and forgive and accept us in the sacrifice of your son.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen
Holy Father, God of Love
You are the Creator of this land and all good things
We acknowledge the pain and shame of our history
And the suffering of our peoples.
And we ask your forgiveness.
We thank you for the survival of Indigenous cultures
Our hope is in you because you gave your son Jesus
To reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace to forgive,
Accept and love one another,
As you love us and forgive and accept us
In the sacrifice of your Son.
Give us the courage to accept the realities of our history
So that we may build a better future for our nation.
Teach us to respect all cultures.
Teach us to care for our land and waters.
Help us to share justly the resources of this land.
Help us to bring about spiritual and social change
To improve the quality of life for all groups in our communities,
Especially the disadvantaged.
Help our young people to find true dignity and self esteem by your Spirit
May your power and love be the foundations
on which we build our families, our communities and our Nation.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

I'm not sure how ignoring the evidence I presented is addressed by you presenting a different prayer.
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« Reply #186 on: April 02, 2013, 03:43:45 AM »

OK, So you want to bring an icon with Stalin into the Orthodox Church. How many Orthodox Churches in Romania would have such an icon? Or is it something designed to appeal to those Russians who have a love for Stalin?

Do go back and read the posts where the presence of Stalin in icons is discussed. You either can't, or won't, see the point, and it has absolutely nothing to do with "cultural appeal".

Nor to the fact that Catholics must, according to his logic, worship Satan!
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« Reply #187 on: April 02, 2013, 03:46:22 AM »

I wonder if the Russian Orthodox missionaries to the Aleuts involved creating prayers with seals and whales?

What if I want to start an Orthodox mission in an inner city?  Do I modify Orthodox prayers to include heroin, crack, guns, Jerry Springer & Maury Povich?

Or do I stick with the existing prayers of the church and teaching people how to use them, like driving a car?

There's proper cathechesis and, as in the example of the Roman Catholic example of the Aborigines, improper cathechesis.
This of course is vicious anti-Catholic propaganda to imply that Catholics have modified their prayers to include heroin, crack, guns and Jerry Springer. There is no such thing.

The problem is in your reading of the post. It was a hypothetical put to you. And, why don't you modify things for these groups if you're arguing for the justification of doing so in dealing with Aborigines?

Are you saying God values drug addicts less than Aborigines?
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« Reply #188 on: April 02, 2013, 06:05:50 AM »

To get back to the original question of this post may I offer my humble opinion.

I am a Roman Catholic, and I hope a faithful one.  I find the "alteration" of the liturgy, as discussed in this thread, to be misguided and perhaps borderline heretical.  In the US where there are large Mexican populations some churches incorporate "Aztec" iconography. I always shuddered when I saw that sort of thing and in my own mind asked WHY. Is it really necessary to "pander" to race, or culture to get people to come to the mass is another question that has bothered me for a very long time.

Where I live now in Japan the liturgy is "simplified" and watered down.  When I asked my priest he said that Japan is considered a "mission" territory, and as such the local Bishops decide what liturgy is best to approach the population.  I once provided a traditional missal to a Japanese member and she was shocked at how strong the prayers were when compared to the Japanese. But, when compared to many masses that I have attended in the US the ones offered at my parish are 100 times more reverent.

All that said, I DO understand why cultural norms are incorporated, if for no other reason to make it all a bit more understandable to a culture to which Christianity is a weird otherworldly philosophy that has no counter in their own Shinto based culture.  There is no sin, or grace, for instance, and the concepts are difficult to explain, let alone convince people of their truth.

BUT this is the problem.  The original missionaries to Japan, the Jesuits and Franciscans who came here 400 years ago were quite traditional, and quite successful.  The modern missionaries not so much.  I think my church had 4 baptisms this year, so clearly catering to cultural sensitivities doesn't help much does it!

I think that my church should stop trying to be all things to all men and just be what they should be.  Present the truth and let it fall where it may.  People are not really looking for more of the same, but rather a truth greater than themselves and what they are comfortable with.  I am old enough to remember the pre Vat II mass, and although incomprehensible to me at the time it was beautiful and "divine" meaning not of my everyday world.  THAT is why tradition appeals to me, and perhaps others, The liturgy of 500 years should not be "tossed" to make it easier for the missions or to entertain those who have no sense of their own divine natures and cant be bothered to attend the sacrifice of the mass without it being "culturally" hip, cool, or up to date in their own minds.

Just my 2 cents, if it even amounts to that much.

W.Unland  
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« Reply #189 on: April 02, 2013, 06:40:47 AM »

To get back to the original question of this post may I offer my humble opinion.

I am a Roman Catholic, and I hope a faithful one.  I find the "alteration" of the liturgy, as discussed in this thread, to be misguided and perhaps borderline heretical.  In the US where there are large Mexican populations some churches incorporate "Aztec" iconography. I always shuddered when I saw that sort of thing and in my own mind asked WHY. Is it really necessary to "pander" to race, or culture to get people to come to the mass is another question that has bothered me for a very long time.

Where I live now in Japan the liturgy is "simplified" and watered down.  When I asked my priest he said that Japan is considered a "mission" territory, and as such the local Bishops decide what liturgy is best to approach the population.  I once provided a traditional missal to a Japanese member and she was shocked at how strong the prayers were when compared to the Japanese. But, when compared to many masses that I have attended in the US the ones offered at my parish are 100 times more reverent.

All that said, I DO understand why cultural norms are incorporated, if for no other reason to make it all a bit more understandable to a culture to which Christianity is a weird otherworldly philosophy that has no counter in their own Shinto based culture.  There is no sin, or grace, for instance, and the concepts are difficult to explain, let alone convince people of their truth.

BUT this is the problem.  The original missionaries to Japan, the Jesuits and Franciscans who came here 400 years ago were quite traditional, and quite successful.  The modern missionaries not so much.  I think my church had 4 baptisms this year, so clearly catering to cultural sensitivities doesn't help much does it!

I think that my church should stop trying to be all things to all men and just be what they should be.  Present the truth and let it fall where it may.  People are not really looking for more of the same, but rather a truth greater than themselves and what they are comfortable with.  I am old enough to remember the pre Vat II mass, and although incomprehensible to me at the time it was beautiful and "divine" meaning not of my everyday world.  THAT is why tradition appeals to me, and perhaps others, The liturgy of 500 years should not be "tossed" to make it easier for the missions or to entertain those who have no sense of their own divine natures and cant be bothered to attend the sacrifice of the mass without it being "culturally" hip, cool, or up to date in their own minds.

Just my 2 cents, if it even amounts to that much.

W.Unland  

I appreciate your frank post.

However to me the approach of the RCC that you talk of smacks of deception. People are being lured into the church and not being told upfront truly what proper worship is required.

I have believed for many years that the main goal of the RCC is to gain in numbers, only. That having the most Catholics (even if only nominal Catholics) is the end in itself.

To this end the RCC has made treaties with easterners and brought them into its church, allowing for married clergy it denies its own Roman rite adherents.

The worst aspect of this is allowing for 'pagan' elements into the church which is flirting with dangerous forces.
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« Reply #190 on: April 02, 2013, 09:24:43 AM »

I am also very interested to see the number of aborigines in Australia who are members of the Orthodox Church. Would it be about 50 souls?

Why don't you take your request to the Census Bureau? Strangers on the internet are not going to know more than the appropriate government agency.

The Orthodox Church arrived in Australia with immigrants, itself poor and persecuted, and concentrated in comforting its own uprooted people first. Charity begins at home. Plus, the Orthodox style of evangelising is much more 'Come and see' than 'Hear ye, hear ye!'
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« Reply #191 on: April 02, 2013, 10:17:38 AM »

To get back to the original question of this post may I offer my humble opinion.

I am a Roman Catholic, and I hope a faithful one.  I find the "alteration" of the liturgy, as discussed in this thread, to be misguided and perhaps borderline heretical.  In the US where there are large Mexican populations some churches incorporate "Aztec" iconography. I always shuddered when I saw that sort of thing and in my own mind asked WHY. Is it really necessary to "pander" to race, or culture to get people to come to the mass is another question that has bothered me for a very long time.

Where I live now in Japan the liturgy is "simplified" and watered down.  When I asked my priest he said that Japan is considered a "mission" territory, and as such the local Bishops decide what liturgy is best to approach the population.  I once provided a traditional missal to a Japanese member and she was shocked at how strong the prayers were when compared to the Japanese. But, when compared to many masses that I have attended in the US the ones offered at my parish are 100 times more reverent.

All that said, I DO understand why cultural norms are incorporated, if for no other reason to make it all a bit more understandable to a culture to which Christianity is a weird otherworldly philosophy that has no counter in their own Shinto based culture.  There is no sin, or grace, for instance, and the concepts are difficult to explain, let alone convince people of their truth.

BUT this is the problem.  The original missionaries to Japan, the Jesuits and Franciscans who came here 400 years ago were quite traditional, and quite successful.  The modern missionaries not so much.  I think my church had 4 baptisms this year, so clearly catering to cultural sensitivities doesn't help much does it!

I think that my church should stop trying to be all things to all men and just be what they should be.  Present the truth and let it fall where it may.  People are not really looking for more of the same, but rather a truth greater than themselves and what they are comfortable with.  I am old enough to remember the pre Vat II mass, and although incomprehensible to me at the time it was beautiful and "divine" meaning not of my everyday world.  THAT is why tradition appeals to me, and perhaps others, The liturgy of 500 years should not be "tossed" to make it easier for the missions or to entertain those who have no sense of their own divine natures and cant be bothered to attend the sacrifice of the mass without it being "culturally" hip, cool, or up to date in their own minds.

Just my 2 cents, if it even amounts to that much.

W.Unland  

I appreciate your frank post.

However to me the approach of the RCC that you talk of smacks of deception. People are being lured into the church and not being told upfront truly what proper worship is required.

I have believed for many years that the main goal of the RCC is to gain in numbers, only. That having the most Catholics (even if only nominal Catholics) is the end in itself.

To this end the RCC has made treaties with easterners and brought them into its church, allowing for married clergy it denies its own Roman rite adherents.

The worst aspect of this is allowing for 'pagan' elements into the church which is flirting with dangerous forces.

If I may add: The RCC also allowed them to keep their own beliefs about opposing doctrines, eg IC, Essense/Energies, transubstantiation, to name just a few. (parallel theologies)
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« Reply #192 on: April 02, 2013, 02:16:35 PM »

Is the Stalin icon with St. Matrona approved by the Church? It was placed in an Orthodox Church by a priest.

The priest in question was later deposed or at least suspended for that. Answer for your yourself.

I wonder if the Russian Orthodox missionaries to the Aleuts involved creating prayers with seals and whales?

I've read somewhere "seal meat" replaced "bread" in Lord's prayer in some Aleuta languages because they didn't know what bread is. Not sure if this was for real, though.
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« Reply #193 on: April 02, 2013, 03:01:05 PM »