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NotAnHourGoesBy
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« on: May 31, 2013, 08:51:46 AM »

Hello,

I'm a Protestant looking to convert either to the Roman Catholic Church or Orthodox Church.  I can't form a firm decision -- one day, the RCC seems right and the next day, the OC seems right.

Anyway, if there are converts from Protestantism or Catholicism, were there things you had to give up (e.g., certain religious music with too much drums and guitar, praying to post-schism Catholic saints)? 

What was the hardest thing in terms of adjusting to a whole different mindset?

On a similar note, do any of the Orthodox members here listen to non-Orthodox Christian music or pray to or have icons of Catholic saints?

Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2013, 09:57:12 AM »

Welcome to OC.net! Smiley

Your situation sounds confusing; I hope our motley crew around here doesn't confuse you worse! Grin

Speaking only for myself as a cradle Orthodox, I love non-Orthodox Christian music. Gregorian chant is high among my favourite music genres. Also, my patron saints are St Brigid of Ireland and St Benedict. They are both Orthodox saints, as they are well pre-schism, but their Western popularity makes many people forget that.
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2013, 09:58:54 AM »

On a similar note, do any of the Orthodox members here listen to non-Orthodox Christian music or pray to or have icons of Catholic saints?
There's no rule that says you can't listen to non-Orthodox Christian music. I don't, but it's not like there's some canon anathematizing Stryper.

As for the second question, people here have been trying to hash that one out for years.
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2013, 10:01:57 AM »

I enjoy listening to catholic and anglican music.

I especially enjoy gregorian and mozarabic chant.
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2013, 10:08:19 AM »

I listen to all kinds of music except for the so-called contemporary Christian - can't stand most of the lyrics.

There were several things that I wrestled with: the all-male priesthood, for one, sola scriptura for another, and the notion that I was a fairly good Christian who knew a lot of stuff. The latter the most difficult to give up, btw.
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2013, 10:15:20 AM »

On a similar note, do any of the Orthodox members here listen to non-Orthodox Christian music or pray to or have icons of Catholic saints?

I listen to Ravi Zacharias as an apologist. I like his stuff. I listen to Latin/Gregorian chant at times but not CCM. Too weepy/sentimental, as a friend said like a bunch of bad Coldplay covers and very dated by about 10 years in terms of sound. Only Catholic saints which were Orthodox and before the schism. I can't connect with the few I've encountered after the split. Just so very different.
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2013, 10:41:48 AM »

Hello,

I'm a Protestant looking to convert either to the Roman Catholic Church or Orthodox Church.  I can't form a firm decision -- one day, the RCC seems right and the next day, the OC seems right.

I haven't converted to either, but I've recently realized that the RCC and the OC are the best two choices for Christians. Some background: I've been a Protestant for nearly 30 years now, and lately I have become pretty convinced that it is too much of a stretch to believe that both the East and the West had it wrong on crucial doctrines for the first 1,500 or so years of church history. Thus, for me, any honest inquirer into the question of which church is the one, holy, catholic, apostolic church will ultimately, inevitably be reduced to these two possibilities: Rome or Constantinople. Last year I did an intensive exploration of the Catholic Church, and now I am doing the same with the OC.

More to your question: What is keeping me leaning more toward the OC (as opposed to continually fluctuating between the OC and the RC) is primarily the OC's attitude toward apostolic teaching, namely, that they prefer to go only so far in explaining doctrine. To me, this ensures a closer adherence to apostolic teaching and much less of a tendency to add unnecessary teachings to what the apostles originally handed down. The way I see it, this is an essential attribute of any church that is apostolic.

Example:

The OC does not accept the idea of merit in salvation, whereas the Council of Trent specifically taught that our works merit salvation, even though they are themselves the grace of God. That is troubling to me because it essentially says that God's grace enables us to earn our salvation. Since the OC does not go so far in trying to explain such things, it has held to the apostolic view of salvation, IMO.

The issue of how we are saved is the most important one for me as I examine possible conversion to the OC.

Regarding the music issue, that does not factor into my decision at all--unless the OC plays rock music during divine liturgy and turns it into a rock concert. :-)
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NotAnHourGoesBy
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2013, 11:46:26 AM »

Thanks everyone for your replies.  Smiley

I guess the other thing is papal primacy/supremacy.  Is it really only a place of honor or jurisdiction?

Jesus singled out Peter, so he was special in that sense...but I'm not sure how I feel about papal infallibility in matters of faith and morality.

(I've been asking and inquiring the same thing on a Catholic web forum as well.)

And I happen to like St. Catherine of Siena and St. Francis of Assisi... But not all Orthodox believers seem to agree... Undecided

And lastly, the RCC makes a distinction between latria and hyperdulia --- I honestly cannot see the difference in how both the RCC and OC venerate, but not worship, the BVM/Theotokos.  I know the prayers are poetic exaggerations but it's sort of unsettling at first.

I do like the iconography of the OC more than that of the RCC...but I hear veneration of icons is prominent in the OC, and I'm terrified of attending my first Divine Liturgy and looking like a fool for not doing it properly...maybe I'll just sneak in quietly.
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2013, 11:52:55 AM »

And lastly, the RCC makes a distinction between latria and hyperdulia --- I honestly cannot see the difference in how both the RCC and OC venerate, but not worship, the BVM/Theotokos.  I know the prayers are poetic exaggerations but it's sort of unsettling at first.

I have to admit that this bothers me, too, but I suppose it depends ultimately on whether one is required to pray to saints/icons. If not, perhaps one could still become Orthodox but avoid venerating icons, not out of rebellion but out of sincere doubt/still exploring the issue/willing to learn.

Quote
I do like the iconography of the OC more than that of the RCC...but I hear veneration of icons is prominent in the OC, and I'm terrified of attending my first Divine Liturgy and looking like a fool for not doing it properly...maybe I'll just sneak in quietly.

I haven't been to many OC divine liturgies, but in the ones I went to, I never venerated an icon, and I never felt out of place for not doing so. I simply walked into the church and sat down and attended the liturgy. During the Liturgy itself I never (nor did anyone else, as I recall) had to venerate an icon.
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2013, 11:56:00 AM »

Dear NAHGB,

The Orthodox Church will not dictate your taste in music, or the people you ask for intercession during private prayer.  

Of course, during Church services you will not experience instrumental music or hear prayers asking for the intercession of saints not recognized by the Church.

When visiting an Orthodox Church you will not be compelled to venerate icons.  But if you wish to do so, that's fine.  Looking like a fool means you will look like everyone else and fit right in!  

Love, elephant
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2013, 02:38:18 PM »

I guess the other thing is papal primacy/supremacy.  Is it really only a place of honor or jurisdiction?

IIRC, St. Peter was the first Bishop of Antioch and Linus the first Bishop of Rome. I think both St. John Chrysostom and the Apostolic Constitutions mention that, but I can look up the references, if you wish.
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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2013, 02:48:34 PM »

Anyway, if there are converts from Protestantism or Catholicism, were there things you had to give up (e.g., certain religious music with too much drums and guitar, praying to post-schism Catholic saints)? 

Myself. That is I don't determine my own faith and religious practice anymore.

I still swear, drink beer, smoke and listen to Metal music though.
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2013, 04:09:56 PM »

I'm in roughly the same boat as you, OP. It seems like a very tough journey that we're in the middle of.

One thing that really gets under my skin is that we, as laypeople, have to pick a side in a dispute that's 1000 years old and hope to God we pick the right one. It's absolutely criminal that the leaders of both churches just let the schism go on and on and on. But, I guess we just have to keep slogging through.
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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2013, 04:17:52 PM »

It's absolutely criminal that the leaders of both churches just let the schism go on and on and on.

It's not about just letting the Schism go on. It's about theological differences that won't go away simply by snapping fingers or singing Kumbaya.
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2013, 04:22:35 PM »

Hi OP.
I've been in the exact same situation as you where I studied both catholicism & orthodoxy to the best of my abilities to A: find out which one contains the most reverent worship & deep practical spiritual tools for my spiritual needs & B: to find out which of the 2 churches has the best shot at being the "One true Church".

Concerning A: for me, orthodoxy is simply the best branch of christianity for a serious spiritual voyager just searching for the best teachings on how to reach our ultimate goal if one tries to look at the 2 traditions with some kind of distance to the obvious bias we all have towards the fact that it's christian. What I mean with this is that in todays world many westerners view religion as just another service to help one reach specific goals, wether it's inner peace or theosis, & I honestly believe that only orthodoxy can offer a serious alternative to eastern oriental methods of spirituality (such as yoga & buddhist meditation etc) in the form of basic practical methods for spiritual advancement. Thus it has a serious potential to be able to evangelize our culture by offering individuals these practical teachings as well as what should be (but unfortunately is not these days) the real function: a genuine relationship with God.

B: i personally am not sure if there is such a thing as "One True Church" in the sense that it's One visible organisation on earth because of the fact that the orthodox was split into 2 factions at the council of Chaldeon over what seems to me to be a combination of theological issues & political issues. I just don't know how to decide if the copts or byzantines are the "truest" of the bunch.
However, it has become pretty clear to me that the catholic church is unable to live up to it's extraordinary claims of divine authority, infallability etc.

For example the Catholic Church claims that it is protected by God to teach error & that this protection applies to all statements made by the Pope "ex cathedra" ie. official dogmatic statements. Just this last week pope Francis (an honorable man btw) claimed in front of an audience that everyone has been redeemed by Christ's sacrifice & tht even atheists, with no connection what so ever to the church of Rome can get to heaven by simply doing good deeds. The same teaching have been expressed in the official documents of the vatican II council & the reason they become problematic for the credibility of the vaticans claim of infallability is that there are Papal Encyclicals (official teachings by former popes) that specifically states that unless you are a member of the catholic church you will go to Hell! (Google it. I dont remember the exact encyclical but can find out if you want)

I brought this up on a famous catholic forum during my own investigations & asked the apologetics how one can harmonize a statement that offers as an official teaching of the catholic church that "all who are bot part of te catholic church go to Hell after death" with the later official teachings of the vatican 2 that states that muslims, jews & people who have never heard of catholicism can enter heaven. I was told to "read it in context" but that seems to me to imply nothing less than moral relativism which is officially condemnded by the catholic church. This resulted in me being banned forever for "wrongfully based contempt of the faith".

I really dont have anything against the catholic church but I think they are tying themselves up in a labyrinth where they ultimately have to act as lawyers on behalf of themselves to use whatever philosophical means available to avoid stating what to me seemed obvious: that a mistake was made. Either in the distant past Or in the relative past
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2013, 05:35:46 PM »

Hi OP.
I've been in the exact same situation as you where I studied both catholicism & orthodoxy to the best of my abilities to A: find out which one contains the most reverent worship & deep practical spiritual tools for my spiritual needs & B: to find out which of the 2 churches has the best shot at being the "One true Church".

Concerning A: for me, orthodoxy is simply the best branch of christianity for a serious spiritual voyager just searching for the best teachings on how to reach our ultimate goal if one tries to look at the 2 traditions with some kind of distance to the obvious bias we all have towards the fact that it's christian. What I mean with this is that in todays world many westerners view religion as just another service to help one reach specific goals, wether it's inner peace or theosis, & I honestly believe that only orthodoxy can offer a serious alternative to eastern oriental methods of spirituality (such as yoga & buddhist meditation etc) in the form of basic practical methods for spiritual advancement. Thus it has a serious potential to be able to evangelize our culture by offering individuals these practical teachings as well as what should be (but unfortunately is not these days) the real function: a genuine relationship with God.

B: i personally am not sure if there is such a thing as "One True Church" in the sense that it's One visible organisation on earth because of the fact that the orthodox was split into 2 factions at the council of Chaldeon over what seems to me to be a combination of theological issues & political issues. I just don't know how to decide if the copts or byzantines are the "truest" of the bunch.
However, it has become pretty clear to me that the catholic church is unable to live up to it's extraordinary claims of divine authority, infallability etc.

For example the Catholic Church claims that it is protected by God to teach error & that this protection applies to all statements made by the Pope "ex cathedra" ie. official dogmatic statements. Just this last week pope Francis (an honorable man btw) claimed in front of an audience that everyone has been redeemed by Christ's sacrifice & tht even atheists, with no connection what so ever to the church of Rome can get to heaven by simply doing good deeds. The same teaching have been expressed in the official documents of the vatican II council & the reason they become problematic for the credibility of the vaticans claim of infallability is that there are Papal Encyclicals (official teachings by former popes) that specifically states that unless you are a member of the catholic church you will go to Hell! (Google it. I dont remember the exact encyclical but can find out if you want)

I brought this up on a famous catholic forum during my own investigations & asked the apologetics how one can harmonize a statement that offers as an official teaching of the catholic church that "all who are bot part of te catholic church go to Hell after death" with the later official teachings of the vatican 2 that states that muslims, jews & people who have never heard of catholicism can enter heaven. I was told to "read it in context" but that seems to me to imply nothing less than moral relativism which is officially condemnded by the catholic church. This resulted in me being banned forever for "wrongfully based contempt of the faith".

I really dont have anything against the catholic church but I think they are tying themselves up in a labyrinth where they ultimately have to act as lawyers on behalf of themselves to use whatever philosophical means available to avoid stating what to me seemed obvious: that a mistake was made. Either in the distant past Or in the relative past

To be honest, this is the impression that I got when I was struggling with this question as well. Rome has set up a perfect system for itself, with a distinct leader (the pope) and decisive rules on modern issues like contraception. You could spend your life studying the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, or even the Catholic Catechism, and grow into a powerful apologist with tons quotes from scripture and the Fathers at your disposal. You would not need to worry about who had final authority, because you could turn to a single, living person for that authority.

It was all just... too logical for me. I looked into the history of the Early Church and did not see the sort of locked-tight structure that the Roman Catholic Church has today. I did not see a "supreme pontiff" in the bishop of Rome. Rather, I saw a more natural collection of bishops who, united in their Faith and guided by the Holy Spirit, formed the inerrant Church that Christ founded.

However, at the end of the day, I chose Orthodoxy because I felt drawn to it more than I did to Catholicism. God had put various events in my life (such as running into an Orthodox priest at the airport) that influenced my eventual decision to become Orthodox.

I still love Catholics, especially the priest and deacon who helped me out during the first stage of my journey. I can understand why someone would choose Catholicism after debating this question, and I don't blame them. Schism is a terrible thing, but this is not a perfect world. Follow Christ, and you'll find his Church.
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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2013, 09:58:04 PM »

I almost feel as though my faith (within the Protestant church) has been a mirage.  What I thought was real, what I thought I understood as truth, what I thought was a path Christ was leading me on....it's almost like it's been taken away.

Looking back, I'm wondering, whenever we praised God, did He even listen or care?  When I took communion (crackers and grape juice), was it completely null and void?  When I got baptized, was the Holy Spirit present?

And I'm not sure I can fully get into the chants...
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2013, 11:57:10 PM »

I almost feel as though my faith (within the Protestant church) has been a mirage.  What I thought was real, what I thought I understood as truth, what I thought was a path Christ was leading me on....it's almost like it's been taken away.

Looking back, I'm wondering, whenever we praised God, did He even listen or care?  When I took communion (crackers and grape juice), was it completely null and void?  When I got baptized, was the Holy Spirit present?

And I'm not sure I can fully get into the chants...

I don't think that you should view your Protestant past so negatively. I think the healthiest converts to Catholicism and Orthodoxy have a strong appreciation and respect, in spite of disagreement, for the backgrounds they came from where they first encountered Christ and learned to love and seek after him.

I think the often repeated idea around here rings true: if God doesn't listen and give grace to those who are earnestly trying to seek him, however could they become a part of the Church?
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« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2013, 12:20:10 AM »

I almost feel as though my faith (within the Protestant church) has been a mirage.  What I thought was real, what I thought I understood as truth, what I thought was a path Christ was leading me on....it's almost like it's been taken away.

Looking back, I'm wondering, whenever we praised God, did He even listen or care?  When I took communion (crackers and grape juice), was it completely null and void?  When I got baptized, was the Holy Spirit present?

And I'm not sure I can fully get into the chants...

Your Protestant faith is what got you where you are today. Don't disregard it. This is just another chapter in your journey, and Christ has been there with you since the very beginning.

Technically speaking, the "communion" that you took was not sacramental, but that doesn't mean that it was useless. Also, if you were baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, then your baptism is valid and most Orthodox jurisdictions will receive you via chrismation (annointing).

God was always listening, and now you're beginning to hear his answers.
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2013, 01:38:44 AM »

I recommend reading this:

http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Church-New-Timothy-Ware/dp/0140146563

"This is the best single-volume introduction to Eastern Christianity currently available. Bishop Ware's approach covers virtually all aspects of the Eastern Church -- history, theology, sacramentality, church organization, and the Orthodox diaspora with a special emphasis on rendering Orthodoxy comprehensible to Western Christian readers. Ware's approach is very ecumenical, and he frankly and even-handedly addresses the issues that unite and divide the Christian East and West. Because of his own dual background as a Westerner (he teaches at Oxford) who chose to become Orthodox, Ware is particularly well-situated to explain the wondrous and beautiful mysteries of Eastern Christianity to Westerners. While the book is in the nature of a broad overview, it actually covers the issues addressed in an impressive level of depth. The bibliography is also a great starting point for further reading and research, broken down helpfully by topic. This book is a must-read for anyone wishing to acqaint themselves with the riches of the Eastern Christian tradition. "
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« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2013, 01:45:14 AM »

It's absolutely criminal that the leaders of both churches just let the schism go on and on and on.

It's not about just letting the Schism go on. It's about theological differences that won't go away simply by snapping fingers or singing Kumbaya.

Never said it'd be easy. But it seems like the two sides aren't really even trying that hard. Last I heard, the RCC and some representatives from the EO meet once a year or so to discuss things. Gimme a break. Why aren't people on this full time? I've even seen people (on this very forum, I believe) say that there was "no pressing need" to hurry for reunification at this time. Lovely.

In the meantime, I feel like I have to slog through the weeds of church history while these two groups both are busy congratulating themselves for being the "One True Church." It's very frustrating and it seems an absurd position to be in.
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2013, 01:51:28 AM »

It's absolutely criminal that the leaders of both churches just let the schism go on and on and on.

It's not about just letting the Schism go on. It's about theological differences that won't go away simply by snapping fingers or singing Kumbaya.

Never said it'd be easy. But it seems like the two sides aren't really even trying that hard. Last I heard, the RCC and some representatives from the EO meet once a year or so to discuss things. Gimme a break. Why aren't people on this full time? I've even seen people (on this very forum, I believe) say that there was "no pressing need" to hurry for reunification at this time. Lovely.

In the meantime, I feel like I have to slog through the weeds of church history while these two groups both are busy congratulating themselves for being the "One True Church." It's very frustrating and it seems an absurd position to be in.

Granted this is a poor analogy, but it is sort of like asking the United States to reunify with Great Britain.  It COULD be done, but there is so much difference now and neither side would want to do so without the other conforming. 
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« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2013, 07:19:31 AM »

I almost feel as though my faith (within the Protestant church) has been a mirage.  What I thought was real, what I thought I understood as truth, what I thought was a path Christ was leading me on....it's almost like it's been taken away.

Looking back, I'm wondering, whenever we praised God, did He even listen or care?  When I took communion (crackers and grape juice), was it completely null and void?  When I got baptized, was the Holy Spirit present?

And I'm not sure I can fully get into the chants...

I can understand these feelings, but just as I accept the Mysteries of the Church, neither do I attempt to explain how God works outside of the Church. I had rather focus on what the Orthodox Church is and not what these others are not.

As far as chants, Christos Anesti is my favorite this time of year as it is sung until the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. Just search youtube for Christos Anesti, and there are many recording available there.

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« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2013, 09:36:47 AM »

One beautiful lecture, from a video that I can´t remember, really stroke me hard on my journey towards the orthodox church.

The priest talked about the early church and how it in times of heretical attacks got so defensive in its teaching, that it concentrated much of it, and spread it out in monastic form. When i saw videos from mount athos, or any other lecture, by a monk. The teaching of Christ was so deep and life changing through faith. That made me change my entire attitude, a glimpse of orthodoxy in our everyday life, and Matthew 16:24 is really at hand. The same monks I once though were so "religous" in a bad matter, because of my previous westernized attitude, are the same monks that I now see bring true life to their heart just by one Jesus prayer. Or the ones who humble themselves to a level I never thought was able before. The orthodoxy church brings Gods grace, power, love in Jesus Christ to a level unknown to westerners, that even among many bishops, patriarchs, may they all remember me in their loving prayers.

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« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2013, 11:56:08 AM »

Hello everyone. (First post here!)

NotAnHourGoesBy, I am a pretty recent convert from the Protestantism. I was brought into the Orthodox Church (through Baptism and Chrismation) last September after inquiring for over a year. If I may ask, what denomination are you currently in? I grew up and remained Southern Baptist until September, though I also attended a Methodist church as a pianist/organist throughout college.

Users here have already provided great support, comments, and advice, and I only hope to add on to it.

Though it has been a lot of spiritual work, and continues to be, I feel more open to living and life since becoming Orthodox. Through my inquiring period, I came to realize many obstacles that faced my experience as a Christian that were innate simply by being Baptist. Put one way, there are some good things about Protestantism, but those things that are good and true stem from the living presence and tradition of Orthodoxy that has existed long before which accounts for it all. I realized that, as a Baptist, I was only getting a small sliver. For one aspect of many, as a Baptist, I somewhat felt like I was being kept in the shadows. We had the Bible, and that's all that was needed. We never talked, and I certainly never knew, about other Christian authors outside the Bible that provided living witness and truth to what the Bible stated. Why, I thought, are these writings and authors who bear witness being ignored? In my reading and journey, it seems there has been much written and experienced that we Baptists simply ignored. So, if all of this was being kept away and/or ignored, either on purpose or otherwise, what else could be? I won't go so far as to say I was being swindled, but in my heart and soul I just knew that Christ still had a living impact on the world that was richer and fuller than I was receiving, and I had to find it. These thoughts then naturally brought about other thoughts and questions, but the historicity of it all was an initial basic one that led me on my path. I won't go into more detail unless asked, but needless to say, my questions, concerns, and cares were all answered through Orthodoxy.

Related to what was "given up" in the conversion, I feel like I gained so much more, likely more than I will ever get to fully appreciate and know in my life. All the writings alone could take one lifetime, much less intense disciplined prayer. From a more "practical" perspective, differences include the music, lack of "mysteries," long sermons (often meant to be the showstopper, the main event, where lay people would switch churches based on who gave more energetic sermons), spontaneous prayers that basically anyone could lead, invitations (I went to some churches that did altar calls, but my usual experience was with pastors urging people to rededicate their lives to Christ, if you're lost to "come back home," and so on, publicly), and bluegrass tent revivals! Of everything, the music was missed the most. While I find some of the music very nice and still listen to it occasionally, I never found that it aided or participated in worship beyond emotional connections anyways. In contrast, the beautiful chants I get to hear in church now play a role in the worship and are very much connected, such as the whole multitude coming together in one voice to proclaim the love and word of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Hence, why I find instruments not necessary. It needs to be voices with words. In Revelation, even the animals sing instead of making their animal noises!) The services are also very melodic and if one counts chanting and all, there is a lot more music present in the Orthodox service.

Others earlier addressed your concerns about it all being a "mirage," and they provided good answers. We all come from different backgrounds, are raised certain ways, and have access to different things. It is a part of your story, everything that you experienced, and this story is leading to your realizations. I found it very fruitful to consider my past as I was inquiring because it gave me a measure to compare. It's also not my place to say what was good and "true" in God's eyes or not as I cannot judge, but in Matthew 7:21 it is written, "Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." Let us all try to do His will to the fullest.

I wish you all the best luck in your search! There's a lot of great posts on this forum to sieve through, as well as helpful individuals. Please keep updating on your thoughts and progress!
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« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2013, 06:06:55 PM »

some great posts here.
hi to all our new friends!

off topic:
agabus; stryper? really?
are you showing your age?!
(and i have to make the point that i was very, very young when i used to listen to that!)
 Wink

on topic:
we are all on a spiritual journey. finding one church has really amazing theology and a much deeper spiritual life doesn't mean that everything else was fake.
it just means that (some of) it was shallow.

have a look through the convert issues for some of the other topics we have discussed recently
like this, for example:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,50709.0.html

keep up your prayer and Bible study and keep searching until you find what you need.
may God guide you.
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« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2013, 02:15:25 AM »

There seems to be multiple jurisdictions.  Do I just go to a parish that's nearest me?  (Assuming they have the Divine Liturgy in English.)
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« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2013, 02:58:54 AM »

Start with that dear brother, talk to the priest in your closest orthodox jurisdiction and ask for the help you need.
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« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2013, 03:22:58 AM »

I know this will sound silly, but it's at least a half-serious question:  why do most of the icons look very stern and angry, especially icons of Jesus?

Every time I see one, I feel like a hopeless sinner who's being sternly rebuked by an angry look of a parent who's always disappointed.  Is that the purpose and part of the tradition/canon of writing iconography?

I almost get overtaken by shame when praying in front of them.

Does that feeling ever subside?
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« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2013, 03:45:58 AM »

I know this will sound silly, but it's at least a half-serious question:  why do most of the icons look very stern and angry, especially icons of Jesus?

Every time I see one, I feel like a hopeless sinner who's being sternly rebuked by an angry look of a parent who's always disappointed.  Is that the purpose and part of the tradition/canon of writing iconography?

I almost get overtaken by shame when praying in front of them.

Does that feeling ever subside?

Really? I'll admit, there are some icons that look a little stern, but personally, I have seen many icon (also of Christ) that looked very neutral or even compassionate.
Maybe, it's a matter of perception.

Anyway, just remember that God is good and merciful and the saints are our friends who pray for us all.
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« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2013, 03:53:13 AM »

I know this will sound silly, but it's at least a half-serious question:  why do most of the icons look very stern and angry, especially icons of Jesus?

Every time I see one, I feel like a hopeless sinner who's being sternly rebuked by an angry look of a parent who's always disappointed.  Is that the purpose and part of the tradition/canon of writing iconography?

I almost get overtaken by shame when praying in front of them.

Does that feeling ever subside?

Think awe and reverence. The Byzantine style is very old and reflects a pre-Renaissance way of looking at art. The icon is supposed to represent the "inner" self of the person being depicted, which often translates to a somber, peaceful expression. The depictions of Christ are often more "assertive" than some of the more modern interpretations (e.g. "the bearded lady," or "hippy Jesus"), so I can see how you might be perturbed by his stern expression. It's important to see Christ as our Judge, but we should never misconstrue his expression as one of anger or disappointment. Christ wants us to succeed in the spiritual battle, and the only way we will succeed is with His help. Still, there's that reverence that I think the icon conveys better than other artwork.

There is a surprising amount of heterogeneity within Orthodox icons. For example, here are two renditions of "Christ the Pantocrator" with very different feels:



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« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2013, 04:06:30 AM »

Definitely less frightful of the second icon.

Am I supposed to confide in the maternal love of the Theotokos?  Running to the Blessed Virgin Mary/Theotokos because Jesus is/looks angry doesn't seem like the right reason...Kind of like running to one parent because the other one scolded you...Although I guess God is our Father, and God the Father is not depicted, but if you have seen the Son you have seen the Father...[Cannot grasp the mystery of the Holy Trinity]
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« Reply #32 on: June 03, 2013, 05:45:09 AM »

Definitely less frightful of the second icon.


Many of the best icons of Christ show Him with a slightly different expression in each eye: one stern and majestic, reflecting Him as the Righteous Judge and God; the other reflecting His infinite compassion and mercy. This duality, however, must be kept subtle, almost imperceptible, so as not to make Him look grotesque.

Here are two of the finest historic icons which have survived to this day, which show this duality:





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« Reply #33 on: June 03, 2013, 02:07:56 PM »

My input would be that the icons doesn´t become an icon of how it looks, but of what truth is seen through it. Tremendous joy and huge smileys are often things linked with Jesus out of a western perspective. One might ask, If Jesus on the last day comes on the clouds of heaven, with the peaceful and still look many icons depict him with, wouldn´t we recognize his true and loving mercy? Smile doesn´t equal joy, which Jesus otherwise is full of in more  than our humans ways of just smiling Cheesy
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« Reply #34 on: June 03, 2013, 02:21:46 PM »

coptic icons seem to be less scary to me. don't know if anyone else holds that opinion.
but since becoming orthodox, i appreciate the eastern orthodox icons more, and realise they are serious, not meant to be scary.
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« Reply #35 on: June 03, 2013, 09:58:15 PM »

NotAnHourGoesBy, icons were kind of tough with me at the beginning too, so I understand. Other posters have provided great responses! Icons bring about greater emotional responses than paintings (at least to me) because they touch us quite deeply by their style. The style of iconography, of which I'm in no way versed, through the physical elements of painting and drawing, go deeper than our eyes and to our hearts and souls. Not to degrade icons spiritually, but if you think of symbolism in a book, often deeper meanings can arise from a well done symbol than simply just stating the thing/event obviously. Art operates this way too, but with icons, this meaning really strikes your soul.

Compare these two, since you mentioned the Theotokos:





In the first, they are merely people, no matter how fine a painting it is. The icon, however, is quite striking if you look at it deeply. You experience something holy with it, you experience a mother's compassion and protection, and you can sense they are quite beyond our lowly selves. Icons are very powerful, and I'm so glad to have them as part of my life and faith now. Maybe take some time as people have said and look at various icons. You are feeling something from them already, which is great, so continue exploring them deeper and take note of your responses and feelings. You may learn a lot about your inner being from this practice, especially looking at icons of Christ. We can certainly confide in the Theotokos; what a wonderful and pure example of holiness we have in her! I admit, like you admitted, to initially also having to "sort out" things such as the Trinity and Mary's place. (We only mentioned her on Christmas, at most. Often, she was just Jesus' mother done in a Christmas play who, more often than not, didn't even have a line.) Talking to a priest will help with that, though you will also find some great help here as well!

I think Coptic icons are less "scary" as well, but I am not familiar with that tradition of iconography. It is rather unique and I find them beautiful as well, but they are different to what I normally see!

The Pantocrator icons are so amazing to me.
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« Reply #36 on: June 05, 2013, 03:32:00 PM »

I have been on a very similar journey to the OP and others in this thread.  As a life long Southern Baptist I seriously explored Eastern Orthodoxy (and Roman Catholicism, to a lesser extent) for a few years about 7 years ago. Ultimately, however, when I arrived at the fork in the road at 1054, I took it.  Grin
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« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2013, 08:37:56 PM »

I know this will sound silly, but it's at least a half-serious question:  why do most of the icons look very stern and angry, especially icons of Jesus?

Every time I see one, I feel like a hopeless sinner who's being sternly rebuked by an angry look of a parent who's always disappointed.  Is that the purpose and part of the tradition/canon of writing iconography?

I almost get overtaken by shame when praying in front of them.

Does that feeling ever subside?

This is a problem that I've encountered numerous times in real life--people thinking icons are sad, or scary, or something like that.

I myself have never felt that way.

I've even heard people make some rude comments about icons because they didn't look "happy."

NotAnHourGoesBy, I'm sorry you feel this way. Do you think there's a reason why you perceive the icons of Christ as putting you down?
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« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2013, 06:44:11 AM »

I know this will sound silly, but it's at least a half-serious question:  why do most of the icons look very stern and angry, especially icons of Jesus?

Every time I see one, I feel like a hopeless sinner who's being sternly rebuked by an angry look of a parent who's always disappointed.  Is that the purpose and part of the tradition/canon of writing iconography?

I almost get overtaken by shame when praying in front of them.

Does that feeling ever subside?

This is a problem that I've encountered numerous times in real life--people thinking icons are sad, or scary, or something like that.

I myself have never felt that way.

I've even heard people make some rude comments about icons because they didn't look "happy."

NotAnHourGoesBy, I'm sorry you feel this way. Do you think there's a reason why you perceive the icons of Christ as putting you down?

Not putting me down per se, but how can I not feel shame and guilt when praying in front of an image of Jesus?

And I would imagine an Orthodox parish is full of icons --- I know God is everywhere, but the visual reminder that He is present is a heavy burden.
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« Reply #39 on: June 06, 2013, 07:58:44 AM »

Dear NAHGBY,

Saint Issac of Syria said that it is a spiritual gift from God for a man to perceive his sins.  Our Lord came to save repentant sinners. I'm sure our perception of the Church, of Scripture , of icons, of prayer changes over time as we are healed from the wounds of sin. 

Love, elephant
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« Reply #40 on: June 06, 2013, 09:51:55 AM »

I have recently started reading some of the posts in this forum an have been so impressed with the knowledge of participants! (Hate to post anything knowing that!). I grew up Catholic, went to the Baptist church, then converted to Orthodoxy 25 years ago. 

What helped me is knowing that the farther away the faith went from Jesus Christ, the more the thoughts and desires of man to "humanize" the workings of the Holy Spirit came into play.  Finding the faith most like that of the apostles is what I believe to be the most important consideration. Of course Orthodoxy is the oldest and most adherent to the early apostolic church but even we have added teachings and changes to the liturgy.  I really desired to feel the zeal, love, and knowledge expressed by St Athanasius when he wrote "On the Incarnation".  But.....Orthodoxy is so very hard to convert to successfully.  It is not just a change in worship but a change in your inherent belief system.  If the church is Coptic, Greek etc, you will find difficulties merely making friends and social circles due to your conversion.  These churches can be superficially welcoming but somewhat closed socially due to language and culture unless one considers an American Orthodox Church. 

Your music question is interesting as I daily instruct my teenager to shut off the "junk" he listens to! Even I have some pretty cool playlists for my run or workout.  I love a bit of jazz and motown. It's just too hard for me to get the adrenaline going for a good run listening to "thok te ti ghom"!

I'm sure the Holy Spirit will guide you in your quest.  Good luck...
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« Reply #41 on: June 06, 2013, 10:06:03 AM »

Dear haddoxmd,

Welcome! 

I have found the members of my parish to be far from superficially welcoming and would not discourage anyone from visiting. 

Love, elephant
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« Reply #42 on: June 06, 2013, 10:21:24 AM »

It's just too hard for me to get the adrenaline going for a good run listening to "thok te ti ghom"!


Now that is an image...   Cool
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« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2013, 12:50:59 PM »

About the icons of Christ looking stern.
In western christianity I believe the human side if Jesus is more emphasized: the suffering, the self-sacrifice, the compassion etc. I believe paintings in the western tradition show this too.
In the eastern tradition the Kingship of Christ seem much more emphasized, the fact that Christ is the ruler of the whole universe who incarnated on earth. If you look at the face of Jesus on the orthodox icons you can see that one eye looks compassionate/forgiving while the other eye can look more firm/just/judging. The small mouth also has a meaning (which I don't remember)
If you try to look at the icons from the perspective that this is the King of the Cosmos who humbled himself to take on human flesh it might make you feel different?
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« Reply #44 on: June 06, 2013, 06:35:27 PM »

I was raised Protestant, converted to Roman Catholic at 17, and then to Orthodoxy at 23 (I think?).

My years as a Protestant were only not wasted because I learned two things as a Protestant: To love God, and to do whatever He tells me to do. I don't say everything else was a waste because of Protestantism, but because of myself. I didn't realize how bad a Protestant I was until I met and married my wife, who is a convert to Orthodoxy from devout Protestantism. She knows classic hymns, can recite long tracts of Scripture from memory, knows Protestant theologians, theological theories, and can still navigate different Protestant views on things like salvation, dispensationalism, and all those rapture theories. I know none of that. At 17 when I decided that I needed to figure out the finer details of my faith, I very, very quickly became frustrated with just the Bible, discovered Tradition, and realized it came down to Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism.

Faced with those two choices I disregarded Orthodoxy almost out of hand, because I had by that point learned (from the Roman Catholics) that the early church regarded itself as Catholic, and I thought the Orthodox church was divided ethnically, and didn't pursue it beyond that.

For my time as a Roman Catholic I was very devout. I was a Youth Group Leader, a CCD teacher, attended Latin Mass, could pray the basic prayers in Latin, said the rosary often, and really knew my faith. I think I missed Mass a handful of times. My problems there were the disregard of beauty in the Liturgy, the practical hatred of tradition and history, and, worst of all, the rampant liberalism among the hierarchy and religious. One day I was complaining to my only Orthodox friend about the Pope rolling over and apologizing for having defended the faith yet again, and he said "all I'll say is find me papal infallibility in the early church."

I thought that would be easy, so I went to get the exact quotes from the Early Church Fathers and realized that they didn't necessarily say what I had always been told they said. The Orthodox interpretation made sense also. I dug deeper and eventually came to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church is the preserver of the faith of the apostles. I was Chrismated on Pentecost.
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« Reply #45 on: June 07, 2013, 06:59:08 AM »

Dear NAHGBY,

Saint Issac of Syria said that it is a spiritual gift from God for a man to perceive his sins.  Our Lord came to save repentant sinners. I'm sure our perception of the Church, of Scripture , of icons, of prayer changes over time as we are healed from the wounds of sin. 

Love, elephant


Even non-believers would be appalled by the sins I have committed in the past...I don't think I need spiritual discernment to realize the state of my soul...  Cry

The memory of my sins still haunt me every day...which is why I feel kind of drawn to St. Mary of Egypt --- if only I can attain 3% of her contrition and repentance...

On a similar note, I feel as though Protestantism does a disservice by ignoring the lives of the saints of the past --- we can learn and be inspired by them.
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« Reply #46 on: June 07, 2013, 07:38:11 AM »

Dear NAHGBY,

St. Mary of Egypt is my patron saint.  She is an awesome example for me, and a great comfort.  It took 17 years for grace to overcome her memories of past sins - while she was living in the desert at that! - we need to be patient and not despair.  Grace works in ways you can not recognize. 

Love, elephant
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« Reply #47 on: June 08, 2013, 10:26:43 AM »

How does one "obtain" a patron saint?  Is one given to you by a priest or do you pick one with consultation with your priest?

Does the saint have to be the same gender as you?
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« Reply #48 on: June 08, 2013, 10:31:59 AM »

The traditional practice you have a patron saint whose name you share and whose feast is the closest to your birthday (best - you are named after the saint whose feast is on your birthday), or the most popular saint with that name.

I know in America it's popular to "chose" a patron saint thanks to some other reasons, sharing the name (or even sex) being put to second place. I cannot say I see much sense in such a practice.
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« Reply #49 on: June 08, 2013, 10:40:50 AM »

The traditional practice you have a patron saint whose name you share and whose feast is the closest to your birthday (best - you are named after the saint whose feast is on your birthday), or the most popular saint with that name.

I know in America it's popular to "chose" a patron saint thanks to some other reasons, sharing the name (or even sex) being put to second place. I cannot say I see much sense in such a practice.

The above is Slavic practice. Greek practice allows for a patron saint of the opposite sex, which allows for feminine baptismal names derived from a male saint's name, and, less commonly, masculine names from a female saint.

This is why names such as Georgia, Dhimitra, Vasiliki, and Nikolia are common among Greeks, but non-existent among Slavs.
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« Reply #50 on: June 08, 2013, 12:13:27 PM »

^actually those names are quite commom with a slavic version of such names. For example, Serbian variations are Georgia (Djurdjica), Dhimitra (Mitra), Vasiliki (Vasilija), Nikolia (Nikolina). There are other variations of those same names but I figured one example of each is enough. You should be able to verify this online easily.
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« Reply #51 on: June 08, 2013, 12:25:14 PM »

^actually those names are quite commom with a slavic version of such names. For example, Serbian variations are Georgia (Djurdjica), Dhimitra (Mitra), Vasiliki (Vasilija), Nikolia (Nikolina). There are other variations of those same names but I figured one example of each is enough. You should be able to verify this online easily.

Only for Balkan Slavs, because of the Greek influence. These names are not found in Russia, at least where and when established tradition was observed, other than Vasilissa, which is not quite the same name as Vasiliki. Also, Serbs have the Slava tradition, which is another variant of choice of a patron saint, and it lends itself to baptismal names which don't fit the "patron saint" criterion.
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« Reply #52 on: June 08, 2013, 03:52:34 PM »

The above is Slavic practice. Greek practice allows for a patron saint of the opposite sex, which allows for feminine baptismal names derived from a male saint's name, and, less commonly, masculine names from a female saint.

This is why names such as Georgia, Dhimitra, Vasiliki, and Nikolia are common among Greeks, but non-existent among Slavs.

They still share the name with their patron saints. It does not explain the situation why a convert named eg. John would chose St. Innocent of Alaska as his patron saint.
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« Reply #53 on: June 08, 2013, 03:56:17 PM »

Perhaps he really admired the saint's life? Or he lived somewhere that had a connection to the saint? Just some thoughts.
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« Reply #54 on: June 08, 2013, 04:09:25 PM »

Some cradle RC's I met took names of saints (I assume patron saints at their Chrismation?) as an extra name regardless of their birth names. One that I can think of was Canadian, if that makes a difference. She had her three birth names, and had adopted another separate name as her saint name. Maybe this practice has some traditional root with ties to Orthodoxy?

While I may be biased since my first name isn't Christian, I don't see the problem with converts taking a saint with a different name. It's not like anyone named Luke goes around calling himself Asyncritus outside of a church setting, with very few hyperdox exceptions. What harm does it cause if their name used in church is different from their legal birth name?
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« Reply #55 on: June 08, 2013, 04:16:30 PM »

Maybe this practice has some traditional root with ties to Orthodoxy?

I don't see how.

Quote
It's not like anyone named Luke goes around calling himself Asyncritus outside of a church setting, with very few hyperdox exceptions.

What's wrong with "Luke" in the first place?

Quote
What harm does it cause if their name used in church is different from their legal birth name?

It has no sense for me.
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« Reply #56 on: June 08, 2013, 04:20:40 PM »

What's wrong with "Luke" in the first place?

See biro's post for an example.
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« Reply #57 on: June 08, 2013, 04:41:51 PM »

I know in America it's popular to "chose" a patron saint thanks to some other reasons, sharing the name (or even sex) being put to second place. I cannot say I see much sense in such a practice.

Maybe because you could find a Saint you truly relate to and have much in common with? It's hard to develop a relationship with a Saint who's entirely different. But when you find someone similar to you, you develop a stronger bond with them and look to their life for inspiration.

Personally, I don't see what's so sensible about choosing a patron just because of your name and birthday. That seems kinda lazy to me, tbh.
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« Reply #58 on: June 08, 2013, 05:09:53 PM »

Personally, I don't see what's so sensible about choosing a patron just because of your name and birthday. That seems kinda lazy to me, tbh.

It seems to work for cradle Orthodox all right.
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« Reply #59 on: June 08, 2013, 05:50:25 PM »

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What harm does it cause if their name used in church is different from their legal birth name?

It has no sense for me.

Well that solves that.  Tongue

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« Reply #60 on: June 08, 2013, 06:30:58 PM »

Personally, I don't see what's so sensible about choosing a patron just because of your name and birthday. That seems kinda lazy to me, tbh.

It leaves the part when you make a talent show for saints to find the one who "fits" you most. Converting is not a RPG game when you create your character from the start and can choose a fancy magical name that sounds nice.

You have many options to chose from. Old calendar vs. New calendar, Russian polyphony vs. Byzantine chant, English vs. a dozen of funny elvish languages, pews vs. no pews, priest with beard vs. no beard etc. but it isn't like that for 90% of the Orthodox now (and all yet 80 year ago or so). They have one church to chose from, one name to chose from, one patron saint to chose from and it worked.
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« Reply #61 on: June 08, 2013, 06:46:48 PM »

It leaves the part when you make a talent show for saints to find the one who "fits" you most. Converting is not a RPG game when you create your character from the start and can choose a fancy magical name that sounds nice.

You have many options to chose from. Old calendar vs. New calendar, Russian polyphony vs. Byzantine chant, English vs. a dozen of funny elvish languages, pews vs. no pews, priest with beard vs. no beard etc. but it isn't like that for 90% of the Orthodox now (and all yet 80 year ago or so). They have one church to chose from, one name to chose from, one patron saint to chose from and it worked.

Who in the real world, and not OCnet, treats conversion like you described? I don't know anyone.

And I chose my own saint, but did that mean I was treating conversion any more or less like a RPG than anyone else just because I didn't already have a Christian name?
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« Reply #62 on: June 08, 2013, 06:50:51 PM »

Personally, I don't see what's so sensible about choosing a patron just because of your name and birthday. That seems kinda lazy to me, tbh.

It seems to work for cradle Orthodox all right.

I have a family patron saint whom I have inherited from my father and would pass on to my son (or daughter if I don't end up having sons) and also have individual patron saint whose name I share.  Before Serbs used to celebrate namesdays very often (even instead of birthdays), but lately it's just Slava (family patron saint) and birthdays as well.
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« Reply #63 on: June 08, 2013, 06:51:40 PM »

And I chose my own saint, but did that mean I was treating conversion any more or less like a RPG than anyone else just because I didn't already have a Christian name?

I am writing about people who already have Christian names.
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« Reply #64 on: June 08, 2013, 06:53:01 PM »

I know that some (cradle) Orthodox choose the saint whose name they share while others choose the one being celebrated on their birthday.  I am not sure if there is a written rule how one should choose an individual patron saint.
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« Reply #65 on: June 08, 2013, 07:45:36 PM »

The OC does not accept the idea of merit in salvation, whereas the Council of Trent specifically taught that our works merit salvation, even though they are themselves the grace of God. That is troubling to me because it essentially says that God's grace enables us to earn our salvation. Since the OC does not go so far in trying to explain such things, it has held to the apostolic view of salvation, IMO.

The OC comes far closer to semi-pelagianism than the RCC. Not that I think it's a bad thing.

I haven't been to many OC divine liturgies, but in the ones I went to, I never venerated an icon

Just give it a try.
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« Reply #66 on: June 08, 2013, 09:19:14 PM »

And I chose my own saint, but did that mean I was treating conversion any more or less like a RPG than anyone else just because I didn't already have a Christian name?

I am writing about people who already have Christian names.

I think people who want to choose a saint, even if they already have a Christian name, should be able to do so.  While I do share the concern about people who have a name like David, choose something exotic like Evstathios, and begin leading a "double life", that's really a separate issue.  We need not regard all cases like those cases.   
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« Reply #67 on: June 08, 2013, 09:25:29 PM »

I haven't been to many OC divine liturgies, but in the ones I went to, I never venerated an icon

Just give it a try.

Yes.  And don't worry too much about what other people are doing.  I wasn't used to the type of icon veneration I experienced in EO churches, as we do not practice it exactly the same way in our Church, but eventually I learned how to do it and venerated the main icon (of the church or the feast) and maybe a couple of others that were nearby.  But when I went with some friends to a ROCOR church for the first time and saw that the parishioners venerated any and every icon within reach of one's lips or hands (this process taking about ten to fifteen minutes per person per "round", two or three of which were done in the course of a Vigil)...well, I just did what I was comfortable with, and it wasn't a big deal. 
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« Reply #68 on: June 09, 2013, 06:26:38 AM »

Hello,

I'm a Protestant looking to convert either to the Roman Catholic Church or Orthodox Church.  I can't form a firm decision -- one day, the RCC seems right and the next day, the OC seems right.

Anyway, if there are converts from Protestantism or Catholicism, were there things you had to give up (e.g., certain religious music with too much drums and guitar, praying to post-schism Catholic saints)? 

What was the hardest thing in terms of adjusting to a whole different mindset?

On a similar note, do any of the Orthodox members here listen to non-Orthodox Christian music or pray to or have icons of Catholic saints?

Thank you.

Hi NotAnHourGoesBy. I'm not Orthodox or a catecumen, so I mostly come to the Convert Forum to read rather than post. (Most of my posts are in the Catholic-Orthodox Discussion Forum.) But even if you had asked your question in the other section, I wouldn't twist your arm and try to get you to become Catholic, because I myself doubt that I would become Catholic if I wasn't already.

Maybe I'm some kind of "branch theorist", I'm not sure. But frankly, I think the Eastern Orthodox may well be the best single candidate for "the one true church".
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« Reply #69 on: June 09, 2013, 06:29:48 AM »

I almost feel as though my faith (within the Protestant church) has been a mirage.  What I thought was real, what I thought I understood as truth, what I thought was a path Christ was leading me on....it's almost like it's been taken away.

Looking back, I'm wondering, whenever we praised God, did He even listen or care?  When I took communion (crackers and grape juice), was it completely null and void?  When I got baptized, was the Holy Spirit present?

And I'm not sure I can fully get into the chants...

I don't think that you should view your Protestant past so negatively. I think the healthiest converts to Catholicism and Orthodoxy have a strong appreciation and respect, in spite of disagreement, for the backgrounds they came from where they first encountered Christ and learned to love and seek after him.

I think the often repeated idea around here rings true: if God doesn't listen and give grace to those who are earnestly trying to seek him, however could they become a part of the Church?

I don't think I've heard that before.
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« Reply #70 on: June 09, 2013, 01:10:31 PM »

I don't think I've heard that before.

I may have phrased it a bit differently, but the idea comes up often in "is there grace outside the Orthodox Church?"-type threads. It's often said that there has to be grace outside the church since faith itself is by grace, and nobody outside the church would ever be able to acquire faith/join the church if there's literally no grace outside it.
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« Reply #71 on: June 09, 2013, 06:18:26 PM »

Personally, I don't see what's so sensible about choosing a patron just because of your name and birthday. That seems kinda lazy to me, tbh.

It leaves the part when you make a talent show for saints to find the one who "fits" you most. Converting is not a RPG game when you create your character from the start and can choose a fancy magical name that sounds nice.

You have many options to chose from. Old calendar vs. New calendar, Russian polyphony vs. Byzantine chant, English vs. a dozen of funny elvish languages, pews vs. no pews, priest with beard vs. no beard etc. but it isn't like that for 90% of the Orthodox now (and all yet 80 year ago or so). They have one church to chose from, one name to chose from, one patron saint to chose from and it worked.

Doesn't seem to be working right now, considering the fact that the Cradle Orthodox are dwindling and lapsed, whereas the converts are flourishing...
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« Reply #72 on: June 09, 2013, 06:35:26 PM »

Personally, I don't see what's so sensible about choosing a patron just because of your name and birthday. That seems kinda lazy to me, tbh.

It leaves the part when you make a talent show for saints to find the one who "fits" you most. Converting is not a RPG game when you create your character from the start and can choose a fancy magical name that sounds nice.

You have many options to chose from. Old calendar vs. New calendar, Russian polyphony vs. Byzantine chant, English vs. a dozen of funny elvish languages, pews vs. no pews, priest with beard vs. no beard etc. but it isn't like that for 90% of the Orthodox now (and all yet 80 year ago or so). They have one church to chose from, one name to chose from, one patron saint to chose from and it worked.

I highly doubt that Prince Vladimir chose his baptismal name based on the calendar.
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« Reply #73 on: June 09, 2013, 07:27:15 PM »

I highly doubt that Prince Vladimir chose his baptismal name based on the calendar.

He chose his name (Basil) out of respect for his brother-in-law. Obviously there weren't any St. Vladimirs at that time. Actually, some scholar's claim he was baptised on Theophany and it's pretty close to the fest of his patron saint (5 days only)

Doesn't seem to be working right now, considering the fact that the Cradle Orthodox are dwindling and lapsed, whereas the converts are flourishing...

Yeah, promiles of converts are increasing... Wake me up when you ccross the 1%.
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« Reply #74 on: June 09, 2013, 08:34:28 PM »

What's a promile?
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« Reply #75 on: June 09, 2013, 08:52:51 PM »

What's a promile?
I'll second that.
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« Reply #76 on: June 09, 2013, 10:41:30 PM »

If there is only one Church established by Christ, doesn't the Roman Catholic Church have a better "claim" to being one church, since there are no "jurisdictions" and everyone is under the pope under Christ?

How does Orthodoxy understand the idea of "one holy apostolic church" when there are geographical divisions and even some are/were not in communion with one another?
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« Reply #77 on: June 09, 2013, 11:14:40 PM »

What's a promile?
I'll second that.

I would guess in English the most common and closest rendering would be per mil.
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« Reply #78 on: June 09, 2013, 11:15:49 PM »

Personally, I don't see what's so sensible about choosing a patron just because of your name and birthday. That seems kinda lazy to me, tbh.

It leaves the part when you make a talent show for saints to find the one who "fits" you most. Converting is not a RPG game when you create your character from the start and can choose a fancy magical name that sounds nice.

You have many options to chose from. Old calendar vs. New calendar, Russian polyphony vs. Byzantine chant, English vs. a dozen of funny elvish languages, pews vs. no pews, priest with beard vs. no beard etc. but it isn't like that for 90% of the Orthodox now (and all yet 80 year ago or so). They have one church to chose from, one name to chose from, one patron saint to chose from and it worked.

Brutal!
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« Reply #79 on: June 09, 2013, 11:23:40 PM »

If there is only one Church established by Christ, doesn't the Roman Catholic Church have a better "claim" to being one church, since there are no "jurisdictions" and everyone is under the pope under Christ?

How does Orthodoxy understand the idea of "one holy apostolic church" when there are geographical divisions and even some are/were not in communion with one another?
The Church was from early times organized geographically. It may have started one local bishop to one local church church such as in Antioch. But, as the number of Christians grew and more became Christian in the city than would fit into a single building at once it became necessary to have multiple buildings to the point where the bishops couldn't be get to all the churches in a day and the bishops appointed priests to be where they could not. As things continued to grow so did the structure and you had bishops over regions and eventually in the primary centers patriarchs.

The bishop of Rome was one of these. One of 5 along with Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. In the great schism in essence the Patriarch of Rome decided that he should be in charge of the other 4. Since it had never been that way before naturally the other 4 disagreed with him and Rome split with the east. The other 4 Patriarchs retained the same relationship with each other they had before and as the church continued to grow they eventually established churches in other areas governed by other patriarchs equal in authority to themselves.

The church is united by faith. The governance was not intended to be universal, that's why the other patriarchs didn't do things that way. In fact I think that is one of the best arguments for why the eastern way was the original way, that when Rome, the 1, separated from the other 4 if the original intent of church governance had been for one patriarch to be in charge of the others, the other 4 now being without their leader should have appointed a new universal leader to take the place of what they lost and not set up new patriarchs to be equals, but set them up to report to the new universal leader.
This is way overly simplified but hopefully it makes sense to you.
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« Reply #80 on: June 09, 2013, 11:28:16 PM »

If there is only one Church established by Christ, doesn't the Roman Catholic Church have a better "claim" to being one church, since there are no "jurisdictions" and everyone is under the pope under Christ?

How does Orthodoxy understand the idea of "one holy apostolic church" when there are geographical divisions and even some are/were not in communion with one another?

A few random thoughts...

St. Paul said things like "The Church of God in Ephesus" and "The Church of God in Corinth," and so forth, so that from the beginning we can see that there were sort of self-contained Churches, identified according to geographical locations/names, which were in communion through belief and practice and sacraments, and not based on some central administrative person/group/church.

The Orthodox would argue--rightly in my opinion--that the Bible and early Church didn't say that the Church was supposed to be this top-down system in which Christ, acting through one bishop and Church, would guide the rest of the Church. That the early Christians looked to the Roman Church in many cases for support is undeniable. That those same Christians ignored Rome when they didn't like what Rome said is also true.

Temporary breaks in communion are unfortunate, but not uncommon. For example, the 2nd Ecumenical Council had, if I remember correctly, three presidents: Meletius, Gregory, and Nektarios. I believe Rome was out of communion with all of them at various points, and certainly was not much in favor of Meletius, since Rome supported a rival bishop for the throne of Antioch. Eventually Rome came around and accepted the Council, and considered Gregory a saint. In the East all three came to be considered saints, and the East did not wait for (nor particularly care about) whether Rome accepted the Council, or whether Rome was in communion with those involved. Breaks in communion were regrettable, but things didn't come to a grinding halt just because of them, even if it was a break with Rome.
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« Reply #81 on: June 09, 2013, 11:51:59 PM »

I haven't been to many OC divine liturgies, but in the ones I went to, I never venerated an icon

Just give it a try.

Yes.  And don't worry too much about what other people are doing.  I wasn't used to the type of icon veneration I experienced in EO churches, as we do not practice it exactly the same way in our Church, but eventually I learned how to do it and venerated the main icon (of the church or the feast) and maybe a couple of others that were nearby.  But when I went with some friends to a ROCOR church for the first time and saw that the parishioners venerated any and every icon within reach of one's lips or hands (this process taking about ten to fifteen minutes per person per "round", two or three of which were done in the course of a Vigil)...well, I just did what I was comfortable with, and it wasn't a big deal. 
Mor,

How are Icons venerated in the Syriac tradition?
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« Reply #82 on: June 10, 2013, 12:05:33 AM »

Thanks for your replies!

I also frequent a Catholic forum, and they seem to believe that "upon this Rock" refers to Peter and papacy as being the leader of the Church.

It seems so strange/confusing that Church doctrines (Roman/papal primacy/infallibility and all the dogmas that must be adhered to by Catholics) rely on an interpretation of a verse in Scripture that apparently is not as straight-forward as they think it is...

Is it possible both the RC and OC are true churches and that they constitute "The Church"?

Does Orthodoxy have a Magisterium-equivalent that interprets Scripture or have the Apostolic writings and patristic interpretations come to an end and the only responsibility now is faithful transmission?
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« Reply #83 on: June 10, 2013, 12:32:51 AM »

Thanks for your replies!

I also frequent a Catholic forum, and they seem to believe that "upon this Rock" refers to Peter and papacy as being the leader of the Church.

It seems so strange/confusing that Church doctrines (Roman/papal primacy/infallibility and all the dogmas that must be adhered to by Catholics) rely on an interpretation of a verse in Scripture that apparently is not as straight-forward as they think it is...

Is it possible both the RC and OC are true churches and that they constitute "The Church"?

Does Orthodoxy have a Magisterium-equivalent that interprets Scripture or have the Apostolic writings and patristic interpretations come to an end and the only responsibility now is faithful transmission?
Rome has new doctrines papal infallibility for example only became dogma in the late 1800s. The Orthodox Church hasn't set any new doctrine since the last ecumenical counsel.

As to RC and OC being together the one true church, while I'm no final authority my understanding is that we haven't had an ecumenical counsel for over a thousand years because Rome is not with us. Draw what conclusion you will from that, you will find many people with many conclusions here. We do of course consider Rome to be in error. Apostate?

A piece of advice on reading the forum. As I said you will find many people with many different conclusions. How I have handled this is to look for truth in a way similar to the way I understand the OC does. What do most people agree is the truth? Discard fringe opinions and look to the middle ground and then before you finalize anything consult a priest. Smiley
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« Reply #84 on: June 10, 2013, 06:41:17 AM »

If there is only one Church established by Christ, doesn't the Roman Catholic Church have a better "claim" to being one church, since there are no "jurisdictions" and everyone is under the pope under Christ?

I see others have already responded to this; but I'd just like to add that if the Roman Catholic Church didn't have jurisdictions, then that would greatly hurt, not help, our claim.
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« Reply #85 on: June 10, 2013, 09:39:38 AM »

Mor,

How are Icons venerated in the Syriac tradition?

I don't know how it's done in the Middle East, but I can describe what happens among Indians.  The biggest difference with EO practice would be that there isn't a lot of the "bowing" and "kissing".  What I've seen in a variety of contexts is that people will stand in front of them, pray in front of them, often bowing and/or with their hands clasped together in the manner of the traditional Hindu greeting, light candles before them, adorn them with flower garlands, etc. 

In many ways, I think we've retained a sort of "pre-iconoclast" piety regarding icons, we have some in the churches and people venerate them as they wish, but it's nothing like what you find in the EO Churches.  And there's clearly a difference in how icons are venerated and how the Cross (or relics, for that matter) is venerated.  The latter is more native to our tradition, and so is done more uniformly.  Because of the close links between the Churches in India and Persia (where images were not used), there's no necessity to have icons in a church (although you must have the Cross).  At the same time, due to the links with Syria, the RC influence, and perhaps also Hindu practices, images of some sort have been around for centuries, even in the old churches.     
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« Reply #86 on: June 10, 2013, 11:14:18 AM »

Is it possible both the RC and OC are true churches and that they constitute "The Church"?

No, it's not.

my understanding is that we haven't had an ecumenical counsel for over a thousand years because Rome is not with us.

Or because there was no need?
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« Reply #87 on: June 10, 2013, 11:18:58 AM »

Is it possible both the RC and OC are true churches and that they constitute "The Church"?

No, it's not.


Agreed. They both teach different beliefs and doctrines, so it's difficult to see how both of them could be right.
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« Reply #88 on: June 10, 2013, 11:20:01 AM »

my understanding is that we haven't had an ecumenical counsel for over a thousand years because Rome is not with us.

I think it's more accurate to say that we haven't had an ecumenical council because we haven't had an emperor... Someone may come in soon and explain that ecumenical is in reference to empire, hence ecumenical patriarch, ecumenical council, etc.
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« Reply #89 on: June 10, 2013, 11:29:31 AM »

Consider that there was an empire/emperor for six and a half centuries after the last ecumenical council, yet no Ecumenical Council was had during those times. Orthodoxy was also in communion with Rome for centuries after the last one, but still one wasn't had. With this in mind, I think that we could look at the 7 Ecumenical Councils as being about certain Christological/Trinitarian heresies, and that once those were dealt with, the Church decided not to use Ecumenical Councils to deal with other doctrinal disputes.

Having said that... if you subtract the date of the last ecumenical council (787) from the date that Constantinople fell (1453), you get the number 666. Beware!  Cool
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« Reply #90 on: June 10, 2013, 01:57:59 PM »

Both sides (RC and OC) vehemently claim to be the true apostolic Church.  Both sides "produced" saints that proclaimed the Gospel and worked miracles.  Both sides have online resources to keep me informed (AFR and EWTN), and after listening to them, I sway that direction...until I listen to the other side.

I do feel that OC is more true to the original faith, but who's to say the Holy Spirit cannot guide the Church into newer understanding and clarification (e.g., various Catholic doctrines)?

 Huh  Undecided
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« Reply #91 on: June 10, 2013, 02:02:51 PM »

I find it hard to believe that the Apostles, who were in the physical presence of the God Man Christ would have missed something that would need some new teaching 800 or 1,000 or 1500 or 2,000 years later. Jesus didn't ascend until he knew the Apostles "got it" IMO.
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« Reply #92 on: June 10, 2013, 02:24:35 PM »

Didn't Jesus say something to the effect that there are other things to know but that He had to return to the Father or He could not send the Holy Spirit who would guide them/the Church into all truth?
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« Reply #93 on: June 10, 2013, 02:30:55 PM »

I find it hard to believe that the Apostles, who were in the physical presence of the God Man Christ would have missed something that would need some new teaching 800 or 1,000 or 1500 or 2,000 years later. Jesus didn't ascend until he knew the Apostles "got it" IMO.

Honestly, I know we often say that the Orthodox Church teaches nothing new that wasn't handed down to the apostles, but I don't think we're that different from the RC's in terms of "clarifying" what we believe to be doctrinal truths. After all, did the apostles profess the essence-energies distinction or teach various trinitarian/christological formulations with talk of essence, hypostases, persons, etc.?
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« Reply #94 on: June 10, 2013, 02:34:10 PM »

Didn't Jesus say something to the effect that there are other things to know but that He had to return to the Father or He could not send the Holy Spirit who would guide them/the Church into all truth?

You have noticed something that people rarely notice. It's very important.
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« Reply #95 on: June 10, 2013, 02:37:10 PM »

I find it hard to believe that the Apostles, who were in the physical presence of the God Man Christ would have missed something that would need some new teaching 800 or 1,000 or 1500 or 2,000 years later. Jesus didn't ascend until he knew the Apostles "got it" IMO.

Honestly, I know we often say that the Orthodox Church teaches nothing new that wasn't handed down to the apostles, but I don't think we're that different from the RC's in terms of "clarifying" what we believe to be doctrinal truths. After all, did the apostles profess the essence-energies distinction or teach various trinitarian/christological formulations with talk of essence, hypostases, persons, etc.?

Honestly, when I first read about this, I thought it sounded New Age-ish...(please don't stone me). 

And people being God-bearers...I was like...what....?
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« Reply #96 on: June 10, 2013, 02:46:32 PM »

Honestly, when I first read about this, I thought it sounded New Age-ish...(please don't stone me). 

And people being God-bearers...I was like...what....?

In case you don't already know, teachings related to deification greatly predate the essence-energies distinction and are part of the shared East-West heritage. It isn't something peculiar just to post-schism Eastern Orthodoxy, even if others don't use the essence-energies language.
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« Reply #97 on: June 10, 2013, 03:14:35 PM »

I find it hard to believe that the Apostles, who were in the physical presence of the God Man Christ would have missed something that would need some new teaching 800 or 1,000 or 1500 or 2,000 years later. Jesus didn't ascend until he knew the Apostles "got it" IMO.

Honestly, I know we often say that the Orthodox Church teaches nothing new that wasn't handed down to the apostles, but I don't think we're that different from the RC's in terms of "clarifying" what we believe to be doctrinal truths. After all, did the apostles profess the essence-energies distinction or teach various trinitarian/christological formulations with talk of essence, hypostases, persons, etc.?

Honestly, when I first read about this, I thought it sounded New Age-ish...(please don't stone me). 

And people being God-bearers...I was like...what....?

It ain't, although there are some Orthodox people out there (I'm not insinuating about anyone here) who will make it seem that way.

To say that someone like St. Ignatius is a God-bearer is just a concrete metaphor for something spiritual. Unless you mean "Theotokos."

As for things like essences and energies, you have to do some homework to understand these terms, which originally come from Greek philosophy. Most people who say them only have a vague idea of what they mean.
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« Reply #98 on: June 10, 2013, 03:26:23 PM »

Where's the best (online) Orthodox resource for interpreting "upon this rock" as a rock of faith and not Apostle Peter, and the binding/loosing on earth and heaven?

I need to clear my conscience about this to fully commit to the Orthodox faith and not Catholicism, which is kind of where I have to be by default.
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« Reply #99 on: June 10, 2013, 03:31:26 PM »

If there is only one Church established by Christ, doesn't the Roman Catholic Church have a better "claim" to being one church, since there are no "jurisdictions" and everyone is under the pope under Christ?

Not necessarily. The Roman Catholic Church is not as united as they would like you to believe. Ask them about the Old Catholics, Melkites, Eastern Rite, etc. Many of them don't even consider the others to truly be Catholic.
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« Reply #100 on: June 10, 2013, 03:36:11 PM »

Or because there was no need?

Or because there is no longer any Roman/Byzantine Empire, therefore an "Ecumenical" Council is impossible by its very nature?
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« Reply #101 on: June 10, 2013, 03:50:39 PM »

hi, dear notanhourgoesby,
did u visit churches yet?
visit catholic and protestant churches and ask questions.
pray a lot.
it will become clear to you.
don't panic; it's not like you have to decide by tomorrow
(unless you are terminally ill, in which case, feel free to send a personal message).
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« Reply #102 on: June 10, 2013, 04:02:12 PM »

Where's the best (online) Orthodox resource for interpreting "upon this rock" as a rock of faith and not Apostle Peter, and the binding/loosing on earth and heaven?

I need to clear my conscience about this to fully commit to the Orthodox faith and not Catholicism, which is kind of where I have to be by default.

There are innumerable resources, but this one sums it up pretty succinctly:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/papal_supremacy.aspx

I hope you find it useful. I can try my best at any further clarification, however limited my knowledge may be. Try to keep in mind that the Bible alone is not the final word in all matters, but that we must look towards the lived experiences of the Church, Tradition, the fantastically great wealth of writings from the early Church and beyond, etc. As the above link shows, translations can bring about many errors. We have to have other resources and bases to complement and help complete our understanding.
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« Reply #103 on: June 10, 2013, 04:22:16 PM »

If there is only one Church established by Christ, doesn't the Roman Catholic Church have a better "claim" to being one church, since there are no "jurisdictions" and everyone is under the pope under Christ?

Not necessarily. The Roman Catholic Church is not as united as they would like you to believe. Ask them about the Old Catholics, Melkites, Eastern Rite, etc. Many of them don't even consider the others to truly be Catholic.

 Huh

Your mention of the Old Catholics seems like a complete non-sequitor. Why would you ask us about them and not e.g. the Anglicans or the Lutherans?
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« Reply #104 on: June 10, 2013, 04:32:14 PM »

Hello,

I'm a Protestant looking to convert either to the Roman Catholic Church or Orthodox Church.  I can't form a firm decision -- one day, the RCC seems right and the next day, the OC seems right.

Anyway, if there are converts from Protestantism or Catholicism, were there things you had to give up (e.g., certain religious music with too much drums and guitar, praying to post-schism Catholic saints)? 

What was the hardest thing in terms of adjusting to a whole different mindset?

On a similar note, do any of the Orthodox members here listen to non-Orthodox Christian music or pray to or have icons of Catholic saints?

Thank you.

Hi NotAnHourGoesBy. I'm not Orthodox or a catecumen, so I mostly come to the Convert Forum to read rather than post. (Most of my posts are in the Catholic-Orthodox Discussion Forum.) But even if you had asked your question in the other section, I wouldn't twist your arm and try to get you to become Catholic, because I myself doubt that I would become Catholic if I wasn't already.

Maybe I'm some kind of "branch theorist", I'm not sure. But frankly, I think the Eastern Orthodox may well be the best single candidate for "the one true church".

P.S. After further thought, I guess it would be more accurate to say that these days I neither post nor read much on the Convert Forum. (Although technically I'm still an "inquirer" even though I removed the word from my profile.)
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« Reply #105 on: June 10, 2013, 04:56:33 PM »

I hate to be so shallow, but what "sealed the deal" for me was that St. Peter was not even the first Bishop of Rome. He was Bishop of Antioch first. ISTM if St. Peter was indeed the Rock upon which the Church was founded, wouldn't he have been Bishop of Rome from the get-go?

And even if he was the aforesaid Rock, wouldn't that make Antioch the #1 and not Rome?
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« Reply #106 on: June 10, 2013, 05:35:40 PM »

I hate to be so shallow, but what "sealed the deal" for me was that St. Peter was not even the first Bishop of Rome. He was Bishop of Antioch first. ISTM if St. Peter was indeed the Rock upon which the Church was founded, wouldn't he have been Bishop of Rome from the get-go?

And even if he was the aforesaid Rock, wouldn't that make Antioch the #1 and not Rome?

Doesn't His Beatitude John X, Supreme Pontiff and Successor of the Prince of the Apostles have a nice ring to it? Wink
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« Reply #107 on: June 10, 2013, 05:37:30 PM »

Doesn't His Beatitude John X, Supreme Pontiff and Successor of the Prince of the Apostles have a nice ring to it? Wink

Like these one: http://www.orthodoxrings.com/ ?

I hope he doesn't.
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« Reply #108 on: June 10, 2013, 05:50:58 PM »

Papal infallibility does not appear on the historical map until the late first millennium, and if Matthew 16:18 were to be interpreted as catholics want it , then they actually have to admit that it took Christ (1054 - 33) years to establish it.

I would just suggest you NotAnHourGoesBy, if the papal infallibility was as clear as it were, then history needs to speak of that as it does today. Your point on Peter first being in Antioch is a clear one. But he was first called to council in Jerusalem, when the jews pressed the point of circumcision. The council was led by Peter, but decided in total unity from all apostles and elders. read acts 15, might help =D

Please forgive and pray for me dear brothers and sister, a sinner.
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« Reply #109 on: June 10, 2013, 06:03:23 PM »

I hate to be so shallow, but what "sealed the deal" for me was that St. Peter was not even the first Bishop of Rome. He was Bishop of Antioch first. ISTM if St. Peter was indeed the Rock upon which the Church was founded, wouldn't he have been Bishop of Rome from the get-go?

And even if he was the aforesaid Rock, wouldn't that make Antioch the #1 and not Rome?

Doesn't His Beatitude John X, Supreme Pontiff and Successor of the Prince of the Apostles have a nice ring to it? Wink
Worthy!  laugh
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« Reply #110 on: June 10, 2013, 06:32:52 PM »

On a similar note, do any of the Orthodox members here listen to non-Orthodox Christian music or pray to or have icons of Catholic saints?
There's no rule that says you can't listen to non-Orthodox Christian music. I don't, but it's not like there's some canon anathematizing Stryper.

As for the second question, people here have been trying to hash that one out for years.

I always found it bizarre that some have the view that they can listen to hideous secular music but won't listen to Christian music (i.e. music composed even by non-Orthodox with lyrics that are compatible with Orthodoxy).  Basically, in that view, heathenism is ok but orthodoxy written by someone who is not Orthodox is not ok...   HuhHuhHuhHuhHuh??  
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« Reply #111 on: June 10, 2013, 06:47:23 PM »

On a similar note, do any of the Orthodox members here listen to non-Orthodox Christian music or pray to or have icons of Catholic saints?
There's no rule that says you can't listen to non-Orthodox Christian music. I don't, but it's not like there's some canon anathematizing Stryper.

As for the second question, people here have been trying to hash that one out for years.

I always found it bizarre that some have the view that they can listen to hideous secular music but won't listen to Christian music (i.e. music composed even by non-Orthodox with lyrics that are compatible with Orthodoxy).  Basically, in that view, heathenism is ok but orthodoxy written by someone who is not Orthodox is not ok...   HuhHuhHuhHuhHuh?? 

We do not pretend to pray when we just want some entertainment. That's the difference.
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« Reply #112 on: June 10, 2013, 07:01:37 PM »

I always found it bizarre that some have the view that they can listen to hideous secular music but won't listen to Christian music (i.e. music composed even by non-Orthodox with lyrics that are compatible with Orthodoxy).  Basically, in that view, heathenism is ok but orthodoxy written by someone who is not Orthodox is not ok...   HuhHuhHuhHuhHuh??  

I wish I could have been at Christendom College the day the organist played "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God".  Grin (Do the Orthodox ever use that song?)
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« Reply #113 on: June 10, 2013, 07:13:28 PM »

On a similar note, do any of the Orthodox members here listen to non-Orthodox Christian music or pray to or have icons of Catholic saints?
There's no rule that says you can't listen to non-Orthodox Christian music. I don't, but it's not like there's some canon anathematizing Stryper.

As for the second question, people here have been trying to hash that one out for years.

I always found it bizarre that some have the view that they can listen to hideous secular music but won't listen to Christian music (i.e. music composed even by non-Orthodox with lyrics that are compatible with Orthodoxy).  Basically, in that view, heathenism is ok but orthodoxy written by someone who is not Orthodox is not ok...   HuhHuhHuhHuhHuh?? 

We do not pretend to pray when we just want some entertainment. That's the difference.

Some Orthodox do.

When Father H spoke of listening to Orthodox music, I don't think he meant necessarily in church.
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« Reply #114 on: June 10, 2013, 07:14:05 PM »

I always found it bizarre that some have the view that they can listen to hideous secular music but won't listen to Christian music (i.e. music composed even by non-Orthodox with lyrics that are compatible with Orthodoxy).  Basically, in that view, heathenism is ok but orthodoxy written by someone who is not Orthodox is not ok...   HuhHuhHuhHuhHuh??  

I wish I could have been at Christendom College the day the organist played "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God".  Grin (Do the Orthodox ever use that song?)

Is that a song?
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« Reply #115 on: June 10, 2013, 07:37:46 PM »

I always found it bizarre that some have the view that they can listen to hideous secular music but won't listen to Christian music (i.e. music composed even by non-Orthodox with lyrics that are compatible with Orthodoxy).  Basically, in that view, heathenism is ok but orthodoxy written by someone who is not Orthodox is not ok...   HuhHuhHuhHuhHuh??  

I wish I could have been at Christendom College the day the organist played "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God".  Grin (Do the Orthodox ever use that song?)

Is that a song?
That it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NRJHKzU_t1M#at=27
Come to think of it, I didn't know it myself back when my friend told me about the scandal of it being played at Christendom.
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« Reply #116 on: June 10, 2013, 08:01:57 PM »

Why was it such a scandal that it was played at Christendom?
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« Reply #117 on: June 10, 2013, 08:21:47 PM »

Why was it such a scandal that it was played at Christendom?
It was written by Martin Luther. :p And Christendom is super traddie.

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« Reply #118 on: June 10, 2013, 08:44:43 PM »

Why was it such a scandal that it was played at Christendom?
It was written by Martin Luther. :p And Christendom is super traddie.

In Christ,
Andrew

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« Reply #119 on: June 10, 2013, 10:27:21 PM »

hi, dear notanhourgoesby,
did u visit churches yet?
visit catholic and protestant churches and ask questions.
pray a lot.
it will become clear to you.
don't panic; it's not like you have to decide by tomorrow
(unless you are terminally ill, in which case, feel free to send a personal message).

I've been to Catholic Mass but not to a Divine Liturgy.
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« Reply #120 on: June 10, 2013, 10:31:44 PM »

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/francis_sarov.aspx

Orthodoxy doesn't seem to like Francis very much...Francis was humble for the sake of being seen as humble and thus not really humble.

"The sad fact is that the attainment of a true spiritual relationship with Christ was never a possibility for Francis, for being outside the Church of Christ, it was impossible that he could have received Divine Grace, or any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. His gifts were from another spirit."

That seems like a strong, sweeping statement.  Is this Orthodox belief that anyone outside of the OC cannot receive grace?  I thought Orthodoxy does not make statements about where the Holy Spirit can or cannot be...
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« Reply #121 on: June 10, 2013, 10:43:04 PM »

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/francis_sarov.aspx

Orthodoxy doesn't seem to like Francis very much...Francis was humble for the sake of being seen as humble and thus not really humble.

"The sad fact is that the attainment of a true spiritual relationship with Christ was never a possibility for Francis, for being outside the Church of Christ, it was impossible that he could have received Divine Grace, or any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. His gifts were from another spirit."

That seems like a strong, sweeping statement.  Is this Orthodox belief that anyone outside of the OC cannot receive grace?  I thought Orthodoxy does not make statements about where the Holy Spirit can or cannot be...
I don't know about Francis of Assisi. He was after Rome went its own way and isn't really our concern as to whether or not he is recognized as a saint in Rome. As Orthodox we know that the Bride of Christ is the Holy Orthodox Church and that she possesses all that is necessary for salvation. That being said, we do not recognize the mysteries of other sects. God can, however, and does keep us all by His grace. No man on earth is without His grace. Without it, we couldn't breathe, for instance. Without His grace, I never would have found Orthodoxy.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #122 on: June 10, 2013, 10:52:04 PM »

...
That seems like a strong, sweeping statement.  Is this Orthodox belief that anyone outside of the OC cannot receive grace?  I thought Orthodoxy does not make statements about where the Holy Spirit can or cannot be...

There are several views on a number of things you mention here. What you read was a more traditional (or traditionalist) view. Others would be much more irenic, and praise St. Francis rather than speak negatively of him. Regarding grace, it's a bit of a sticky and intricate web of ideas, but a few things... sacramental grace is often distinguished from, say, the type of grace that leads one to repent or to wish to follow God. One Orthodox person might say that God gives grace to all. Another might say that God gives grace to all who are receptive. But whether either of these people believe that there is sacramental grace outside the Church is a separate issue.

The idea that "we can know where the Holy Spirit/Church/grace is, but not where it is not" seems to be a fairly new idea--or, at least, if it was held in earlier times it wasn't mentioned. A. Khomiakov and some others seem to have said it in the 19th century, but most English-speaking people were probably introduced to it by Met. Kallistos (Ware) I would suspect. Whether it is accurate or not I don't know. It seems to be cautious, but to be optimistic (some would say overly optimistic), very much like the notions that we hope all will be saved tries to walk a similar tight rope.
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« Reply #123 on: June 10, 2013, 11:00:31 PM »

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/francis_sarov.aspx

Orthodoxy doesn't seem to like Francis very much...

As someone put it, "if he is indeed a Saint, he will understand why we cannot venerate him and take no offence."
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« Reply #124 on: June 10, 2013, 11:01:58 PM »

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/francis_sarov.aspx

Orthodoxy doesn't seem to like Francis very much...Francis was humble for the sake of being seen as humble and thus not really humble.

"The sad fact is that the attainment of a true spiritual relationship with Christ was never a possibility for Francis, for being outside the Church of Christ, it was impossible that he could have received Divine Grace, or any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. His gifts were from another spirit."

That seems like a strong, sweeping statement.  Is this Orthodox belief that anyone outside of the OC cannot receive grace?  I thought Orthodoxy does not make statements about where the Holy Spirit can or cannot be...

Honestly, I'd take orthodoxinfo with a large grain of salt. Some of what they say is informative, but a lot is just polemical rubbish. They are not an authoritative voice for Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #125 on: June 10, 2013, 11:30:14 PM »

Is it possible both the RC and OC are true churches and that they constitute "The Church"?

No, it's not.

my understanding is that we haven't had an ecumenical counsel for over a thousand years because Rome is not with us.

Or because there was no need?

Yeah, good point, I don't know.  Undecided Still its not that we haven't had counsels just that we don't consider them ecumenical. Even the upcoming and up coming and still upcoming Pan Orthodox counsel is being labeled "Pan Orthodox" not "Ecumenical" and I've seen people argue back and forth about rather an emperor is required to make a counsel ecumenical too.

The other place I've seen the argument that we're not whole without Rome is regarding why we don't have an Orthodox Patriarch of Rome and I've seen it argued both that we actually do and that we don't too. -shrug- are we having fun yet?  laugh
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« Reply #126 on: June 11, 2013, 06:58:00 AM »

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/francis_sarov.aspx

Orthodoxy doesn't seem to like Francis very much...Francis was humble for the sake of being seen as humble and thus not really humble.

"The sad fact is that the attainment of a true spiritual relationship with Christ was never a possibility for Francis, for being outside the Church of Christ, it was impossible that he could have received Divine Grace, or any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. His gifts were from another spirit."

That seems like a strong, sweeping statement.  Is this Orthodox belief that anyone outside of the OC cannot receive grace?  I thought Orthodoxy does not make statements about where the Holy Spirit can or cannot be...

Honestly, I'd take orthodoxinfo with a large grain of salt. Some of what they say is informative, but a lot is just polemical rubbish. They are not an authoritative voice for Orthodoxy.

I was hoping one of you would say that.  Smiley
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« Reply #127 on: June 11, 2013, 07:18:08 AM »

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/francis_sarov.aspx

Orthodoxy doesn't seem to like Francis very much...

As someone put it, "if he is indeed a Saint, he will understand why we cannot venerate him and take no offence."

Nice one ^
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« Reply #128 on: June 11, 2013, 11:38:33 AM »

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/francis_sarov.aspx

Orthodoxy doesn't seem to like Francis very much...Francis was humble for the sake of being seen as humble and thus not really humble.

"The sad fact is that the attainment of a true spiritual relationship with Christ was never a possibility for Francis, for being outside the Church of Christ, it was impossible that he could have received Divine Grace, or any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. His gifts were from another spirit."

That seems like a strong, sweeping statement.  Is this Orthodox belief that anyone outside of the OC cannot receive grace?  I thought Orthodoxy does not make statements about where the Holy Spirit can or cannot be...
I don't know about Francis of Assisi. He was after Rome went its own way and isn't really our concern as to whether or not he is recognized as a saint in Rome. As Orthodox we know that the Bride of Christ is the Holy Orthodox Church and that she possesses all that is necessary for salvation. That being said, we do not recognize the mysteries of other sects. God can, however, and does keep us all by His grace. No man on earth is without His grace. Without it, we couldn't breathe, for instance. Without His grace, I never would have found Orthodoxy.

In Christ,
Andrew

That was put very well Andrew.

Honestly, NotAnHourGoesBy, you can find plenty of useful and good things in the lives of many people (even Gandhi). But, the words, actions, and lives of true Orthodox saints (untainted by matters such as being post-schism Catholic or whatever) present more reliable witnesses to the presence of God on His people. We can dig through the lives of many non-Orthodox and find some jewels here and there, but why bother with all the digging and possibly do more damage to oneself in such a search? We are dealing with large amounts of time and many people, but also the true Word of God working through individuals which is always present and steady. Many teachings and actions are repeated over and over, East and West, that I personally feel no need to expel a lot of time and resources to hunt down Catholic saints for "verification" when I can find the same more easily in Orthodoxy, especially in the early fathers of our Church. (There's a reason they are stressed so much.) I have other views as well, but they too are my own based on my current state. In all ways in our life and veneration, we must be humble towards what God gives us, and personally, I don't feel humble dragging "things" (persons, practices, etc.) into the Church, my worship, etc. in a haphazard manner when God has already given more than I can ever comprehend or repay. I'm fine with the saints I've been given.


Honestly, I'd take orthodoxinfo with a large grain of salt. Some of what they say is informative, but a lot is just polemical rubbish. They are not an authoritative voice for Orthodoxy.

I was hoping one of you would say that.  Smiley

What's so polemical about that resource? I agree they are not an end-all resource, but I can't think of any individual one that exists in the world, much less on the internet. We have to do much work, prayer, church participation, spiritual readings, etc. so that everything can come together into a more cohesive whole. This is a truer voice than any one place. I just doubt that one complete single resource would ever be enough. I mean, different dioceses in the Church disagree in some ways too, so which one is authoritative? Again, we have to do personal filtering with the guidance of our spiritual father, our lived experience, and most importantly the grace of God aiding us. (I'm not directing this at anyone, just stating this generally.) We are but fallible man, and I only hope through God's will to become more clear of what is "right" and "true." I do find many of the articles on there (namely the ones taken directly from the words of saints) to be quite good and useful, as you stated, but I am just curious about what is seen as so polemical. I hope I am not derailing the thread in any way and I ask in all humbleness as someone new to Orthodoxy. God bless!
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« Reply #129 on: June 11, 2013, 03:02:58 PM »

What's so polemical about that resource? I agree they are not an end-all resource, but I can't think of any individual one that exists in the world, much less on the internet. We have to do much work, prayer, church participation, spiritual readings, etc. so that everything can come together into a more cohesive whole. This is a truer voice than any one place. I just doubt that one complete single resource would ever be enough. I mean, different dioceses in the Church disagree in some ways too, so which one is authoritative? Again, we have to do personal filtering with the guidance of our spiritual father, our lived experience, and most importantly the grace of God aiding us. (I'm not directing this at anyone, just stating this generally.) We are but fallible man, and I only hope through God's will to become more clear of what is "right" and "true." I do find many of the articles on there (namely the ones taken directly from the words of saints) to be quite good and useful, as you stated, but I am just curious about what is seen as so polemical. I hope I am not derailing the thread in any way and I ask in all humbleness as someone new to Orthodoxy. God bless!

Like I said, some of what they have is useful. Other articles, however, are an extremely pejorative. Take the article on St. Francis as an example - it's one thing to deny the authenticity of his mystical experiences, but IIRC they say he was either insane or demonic because he wasn't within the visible boundaries of canonical, intercommuning Eastern Orthodoxy. It's unnecessary poo-flinging, I say. They could've left it at "we don't believe his mystical experiences were authentic" without adding speculation to defame his person.

That said, some of their views border on hyperdox with most of Orthodoxy taking a softer approach.
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« Reply #130 on: June 11, 2013, 03:13:45 PM »

Take the article on St. Francis as an example - it's one thing to deny the authenticity of his mystical experiences, but IIRC they say he was either insane or demonic because he wasn't within the visible boundaries of canonical, intercommuning Eastern Orthodoxy. It's unnecessary poo-flinging, I say. They could've left it at "we don't believe his mystical experiences were authentic" without adding speculation to defame his person.

That said, some of their views border on hyperdox with most of Orthodoxy taking a softer approach.

I take it you haven't read St. Ignatius Brianchaninov's On prelest. It's not just about "the visible boundaries of canonical, intercommuning Eastern Orthodoxy" or slander. I wouldn't dismiss him as "hyperdox".
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« Reply #131 on: June 11, 2013, 03:43:43 PM »

I take it you haven't read St. Ignatius Brianchaninov's On prelest. It's not just about "the visible boundaries of canonical, intercommuning Eastern Orthodoxy" or slander. I wouldn't dismiss him as "hyperdox".

The comments regarding St. Francis and my comment regarding hyperdoxy were meant to be separate. I wasn't calling the author of the Francis-Seraphim article hyperdox, but I was saying many of the articles take a border-hyperdox view (IIRC, e.g. applying certain canons).

Further, just because prelest is a legitimate concern does not necessarily and immediately mean that Francis was victim to it or deceitful/insane, unless it is indeed about "the visible boundaries of canonical, intercommuning Eastern Orthodoxy."
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« Reply #132 on: June 11, 2013, 04:13:49 PM »


Like I said, some of what they have is useful. Other articles, however, are an extremely pejorative. Take the article on St. Francis as an example - it's one thing to deny the authenticity of his mystical experiences, but IIRC they say he was either insane or demonic because he wasn't within the visible boundaries of canonical, intercommuning Eastern Orthodoxy. It's unnecessary poo-flinging, I say. They could've left it at "we don't believe his mystical experiences were authentic" without adding speculation to defame his person.

That said, some of their views border on hyperdox with most of Orthodoxy taking a softer approach.

Thank you very much Nephi for the clarification. I believe we are in agreement then, as I don't think we should be "demonizing" any other figure, or anyone rather, for not being Orthodox. It can certainly get out of hand when God simply wants all people to worship Him in the way He has presented to us.

That said, I understand the need to point out practices and sayings inconsistent with Orthodoxy in people, and we have many saints who have confessed for this. Slandering another person, though, is a bit extreme. Love must temper such matters because it is easy, as faulty humans, to get competitive and "pick sides."

I understand traditionalism and all, and it is one of the reasons I entered the Church. But, I do see how it can get out of hand ("hyperdox"). Plus, the Church is living as Christ is Life. We must respect this and act as this is so. Maybe it's hokey, but "What Would Jesus Do?" isn't a bad thought to keep in mind sometimes, much less dealing with those of other faiths. We should correct, not "battle."
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« Reply #133 on: June 11, 2013, 04:57:25 PM »

Both sides (RC and OC) vehemently claim to be the true apostolic Church.  Both sides "produced" saints that proclaimed the Gospel and worked miracles.  Both sides have online resources to keep me informed (AFR and EWTN), and after listening to them, I sway that direction...until I listen to the other side.

I do feel that OC is more true to the original faith, but who's to say the Holy Spirit cannot guide the Church into newer understanding and clarification (e.g., various Catholic doctrines)?

 Huh  Undecided
Hi dear.
I have gone through a similar discerning process and what finally seals it for me is the orthodox vs catholic theology. Orthodox/eastern theological thinking favours a theological principle generally called "apophatic" or "negative" theology whereas catholic theological thinking tends to favour cataphatic theology. Apophatic seeks to explain God by way of negation ie:
Quote
"We do not know what God is. God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being." - John Scot Erigena (9th century)
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophatic_theology
The catholic church has historically resorted to a philosophical speculation wherein theologians through reason and logic can reach certain conclusions by positive affirmation. A great example of this in catholicism is the dogma of the "Immaculate Conception" of the Virgin Mary which is a logical conclusion from the catholic point of view considering the catholic dogma on "Original Sin" being a kind of personal guilt shared by all individuals for the sin of Adam & Eve which is transmitted by conception.
This is an unnecessary dogma from the orthodox point of view, who generally seeks to explain God by way of negation, only using the dogmas / information which God himself has revealed ie. the Trinity.
A good book on the theology of orthodoxy is "The mystical theology of the eastern church" by Vladimir Lossky.

Regarding Rome's claim to being "protected from teaching error" & this being a justification for claiming infallability for the Popes' statements on teachings: this is problematic because there are instances where the catholic church has affirmed things to be true in papal encyclicals or council documents which they've later issued teachings that contradict. An example of this is that for all of the history of the Catholic Church it has taught that it is completely impossible for any individual outside of the church to be saved but in the Vatican II council it is stated in one of the documents that "God uses other religions for means of salvation" such as islam, buddhism, judaism etc. (I don't remember the exact documents name right now but can find out if you want or you can google it). Both of these claims holds the status of official church teaching & the fact that the later contradicts the earlier. To harmonize these 2 claims with eachother I was told to "read them within the context of continuity" (hermeneutic of continuity), but the way I see it only relativism can harmonize 2 contradictory statements & relativism is condemned by the catholic church. Since the catholic church say that these statements hold the same authority as other revelations do it pretty much forced me to reach the conclusion that the claim of having a divinely ordained authority for interpreting the teaching of the christian faith is false.

The roman-catholic church may look more organized for an outsider because it is so extremely centralized & have ONE official of "everything" & everything is appointed by the hierarchy above up until the Pope himself. The Orthodox church is more organically structured but used to be more centralized than it is today before much of its most important centers were occupied by the Ottoman Turks. This is the way I've understood it at least.

Remember that what we in the west, from protestant cultures (often literalist churches) percieve as "new-age'y" today is actually very often deeply rooted language within the christian tradition of theology & spirituality whose terminology has often been borrowed or "hi-jacked" by modern new-age or gnostic groups. I'd say you cant get a more full path to christian perfection than you can get from the teachings of the fathers of the Orthodox Church or a more honorable, glorious & spiritual public worship than from the "Divine Lithurgy" in an Orthodox Church.

God Bless you & may He show you His path & make you willing to follow it.

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« Reply #134 on: June 11, 2013, 05:27:38 PM »

visit catholic and protestant churches and ask questions.
pray a lot.
I've been to Catholic Mass but not to a Divine Liturgy.

oops, i meant catholic and orthodox churches!
must remember not to post when tired... sorry.
go to a vespers service or divine liturgy in the orthodox church.
while u are waiting to have time for it, look up the words of the service and listen to the music.
once you meet the people at the church and experience a church service, you should have a beeter idea which direction to go in.
may God guide u.
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« Reply #135 on: June 11, 2013, 05:30:35 PM »


Remember that what we in the west, from protestant cultures (often literalist churches) percieve as "new-age'y" today is actually very often deeply rooted language within the christian tradition of theology & spirituality whose terminology has often been borrowed or "hi-jacked" by modern new-age or gnostic groups.

I'd say you cant get a more full path to christian perfection than you can get from the teachings of the fathers of the Orthodox Church or a more honorable, glorious & spiritual public worship than from the "Divine Lithurgy" in an Orthodox Church.


i agree, especially the parts in bold.
and welcome!
 Smiley

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« Reply #136 on: June 11, 2013, 08:41:00 PM »

Like I said, some of what they have is useful. Other articles, however, are an extremely pejorative. Take the article on St. Francis as an example - it's one thing to deny the authenticity of his mystical experiences, but IIRC they say he was either insane or demonic because he wasn't within the visible boundaries of canonical, intercommuning Eastern Orthodoxy.

This isn't really my fight, of course, but I'd like to add that the fact that Francis lived before the Council of Florence would, I assume, be taken into account as well.
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« Reply #137 on: June 11, 2013, 09:22:20 PM »

Why was it such a scandal that it was played at Christendom?
It was written by Martin Luther. :p And Christendom is super traddie.

In Christ,
Andrew

Don't forget the radically anti-Catholic verses!  Shocked

Well, not really.
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« Reply #138 on: June 11, 2013, 09:28:19 PM »

Like I said, some of what they have is useful. Other articles, however, are an extremely pejorative. Take the article on St. Francis as an example - it's one thing to deny the authenticity of his mystical experiences, but IIRC they say he was either insane or demonic because he wasn't within the visible boundaries of canonical, intercommuning Eastern Orthodoxy.

This isn't really my fight, of course, but I'd like to add that the fact that Francis lived before the Council of Florence would, I assume, be taken into account as well.

But don't you know that God's grace completely vanished from the West the very second the Papal representative left that letter of excommunication for the Patriarch of Constantinople? No need to consider the Council of Florence. Wink
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« Reply #139 on: June 11, 2013, 09:40:44 PM »

But don't you know that God's grace completely vanished from the West the very second the Papal representative left that letter of excommunication for the Patriarch of Constantinople?

Well yeah! What do you take me for?

P.S. That was in 1450 right? (Or was that 1504?)
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« Reply #140 on: June 11, 2013, 10:34:30 PM »

It seems like a "my saint is better than your saint" type of deal.

By written accounts, many people were inspired by St. Francis' vow of poverty, helping the needy, and the preaching of the Gospel.

Even Jesus told the disciples not to stop the other non-disciples from preaching/driving out demons/etc.

It seems like there's a belief that if something did not exist "back in the Apostolic days", it's not from a divine source (e.g., stigmata).

Even by Eastern Orthodoxy standards, isn't there a saying by a Desert Father where there are two different "ways" and both are acceptable to the Holy Spirit?  (I forget which father it was...but he had a vision of two boats or rafts.)  Maybe for one saint, sitting on a pillar is their path.  Maybe for another, it's preaching and serving as an example for the masses to give glory to God.
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« Reply #141 on: June 11, 2013, 10:38:50 PM »

Well yeah! What do you take me for?

P.S. That was in 1450 right? (Or was that 1504?)

Close, but pretty sure it was 1540. Cool
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« Reply #142 on: June 12, 2013, 04:17:24 AM »

It seems like a "my saint is better than your saint" type of deal.

By written accounts, many people were inspired by St. Francis' vow of poverty, helping the needy, and the preaching of the Gospel.

Even Jesus told the disciples not to stop the other non-disciples from preaching/driving out demons/etc.

It seems like there's a belief that if something did not exist "back in the Apostolic days", it's not from a divine source (e.g., stigmata).

Even by Eastern Orthodoxy standards, isn't there a saying by a Desert Father where there are two different "ways" and both are acceptable to the Holy Spirit?  (I forget which father it was...but he had a vision of two boats or rafts.)  Maybe for one saint, sitting on a pillar is their path.  Maybe for another, it's preaching and serving as an example for the masses to give glory to God.
In my humble opinion you should ignore the claims of western saints being illegitimate or even "demonic" just because of the fact that they belong to the roman-catholic church.

Another example would be the Coptic church.
There are many martyrs and saints that from the Coptic church of Egypt that has been under islamic oppression since AD 700. Now the coptic and orthodox church has reached some kind of theological consensus where they do agree on the nature on the "christology" of the faith but that the different traditions have used differing terminology to specify their theological viewpoints and we can't disgard the possibility that there were political interests that played into the fact that what we now call the "Oriental Orthodox" churches rejected the council of chalcedon.

There will always be people that that claim that it's impossible to be saved withouth "my" church so eventually one has to reach ones own conlcusion or opinion wether salvation is or is not limited to one specific christian denomination.
Considering the holiness and piety of saints from the catholic, oriental- and eastern-orthodox churches I personally don't believe salvation is necessarily limited to specific denominations but that it's a question of which one provides the apostolic succession, theological continuity, teaching enviroment, spirituality and valid sacraments that should be the main concerns when trying to find the most authentic church of Christ. The lives of the saints serve as witnessess to the authenticity of said churches.

However, when it comes to the catholic church teachings it can become a question of personal conscience because of the dogmatic inventions (immaculate conception, papal infalliability etc.). I have met very few catholics that have'nt told me "you don't need to accept ALL the church teachings as truth" and this to me highlights the fact that there has been invention that are sufficiently far away from the apostolic teaching & christian revelation that they are hard to accept for all christians
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« Reply #143 on: June 12, 2013, 07:18:55 AM »

It seems like a "my saint is better than your saint" type of deal.

By written accounts, many people were inspired by St. Francis' vow of poverty, helping the needy, and the preaching of the Gospel.

Even Jesus told the disciples not to stop the other non-disciples from preaching/driving out demons/etc.

It seems like there's a belief that if something did not exist "back in the Apostolic days", it's not from a divine source (e.g., stigmata).

Even by Eastern Orthodoxy standards, isn't there a saying by a Desert Father where there are two different "ways" and both are acceptable to the Holy Spirit?  (I forget which father it was...but he had a vision of two boats or rafts.)  Maybe for one saint, sitting on a pillar is their path.  Maybe for another, it's preaching and serving as an example for the masses to give glory to God.
In my humble opinion you should ignore the claims of western saints being illegitimate or even "demonic" just because of the fact that they belong to the roman-catholic church.

Another example would be the Coptic church.
There are many martyrs and saints that from the Coptic church of Egypt that has been under islamic oppression since AD 700. Now the coptic and orthodox church has reached some kind of theological consensus where they do agree on the nature on the "christology" of the faith but that the different traditions have used differing terminology to specify their theological viewpoints and we can't disgard the possibility that there were political interests that played into the fact that what we now call the "Oriental Orthodox" churches rejected the council of chalcedon.

There will always be people that that claim that it's impossible to be saved withouth "my" church so eventually one has to reach ones own conlcusion or opinion wether salvation is or is not limited to one specific christian denomination.
Considering the holiness and piety of saints from the catholic, oriental- and eastern-orthodox churches I personally don't believe salvation is necessarily limited to specific denominations but that it's a question of which one provides the apostolic succession, theological continuity, teaching enviroment, spirituality and valid sacraments that should be the main concerns when trying to find the most authentic church of Christ. The lives of the saints serve as witnessess to the authenticity of said churches.

However, when it comes to the catholic church teachings it can become a question of personal conscience because of the dogmatic inventions (immaculate conception, papal infalliability etc.). I have met very few catholics that have'nt told me "you don't need to accept ALL the church teachings as truth" and this to me highlights the fact that there has been invention that are sufficiently far away from the apostolic teaching & christian revelation that they are hard to accept for all christians

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« Reply #144 on: June 12, 2013, 09:14:42 AM »

It seems like a "my saint is better than your saint" type of deal.

By written accounts, many people were inspired by St. Francis' vow of poverty, helping the needy, and the preaching of the Gospel.

Even Jesus told the disciples not to stop the other non-disciples from preaching/driving out demons/etc.

It seems like there's a belief that if something did not exist "back in the Apostolic days", it's not from a divine source (e.g., stigmata).

Even by Eastern Orthodoxy standards, isn't there a saying by a Desert Father where there are two different "ways" and both are acceptable to the Holy Spirit?  (I forget which father it was...but he had a vision of two boats or rafts.)  Maybe for one saint, sitting on a pillar is their path.  Maybe for another, it's preaching and serving as an example for the masses to give glory to God.
In my humble opinion you should ignore the claims of western saints being illegitimate or even "demonic" just because of the fact that they belong to the roman-catholic church.

Another example would be the Coptic church.
There are many martyrs and saints that from the Coptic church of Egypt that has been under islamic oppression since AD 700. Now the coptic and orthodox church has reached some kind of theological consensus where they do agree on the nature on the "christology" of the faith but that the different traditions have used differing terminology to specify their theological viewpoints and we can't disgard the possibility that there were political interests that played into the fact that what we now call the "Oriental Orthodox" churches rejected the council of chalcedon.

There will always be people that that claim that it's impossible to be saved withouth "my" church so eventually one has to reach ones own conlcusion or opinion wether salvation is or is not limited to one specific christian denomination.
Considering the holiness and piety of saints from the catholic, oriental- and eastern-orthodox churches I personally don't believe salvation is necessarily limited to specific denominations but that it's a question of which one provides the apostolic succession, theological continuity, teaching enviroment, spirituality and valid sacraments that should be the main concerns when trying to find the most authentic church of Christ. The lives of the saints serve as witnessess to the authenticity of said churches.

However, when it comes to the catholic church teachings it can become a question of personal conscience because of the dogmatic inventions (immaculate conception, papal infalliability etc.). I have met very few catholics that have'nt told me "you don't need to accept ALL the church teachings as truth" and this to me highlights the fact that there has been invention that are sufficiently far away from the apostolic teaching & christian revelation that they are hard to accept for all christians


It always included either the immaculate conception of mary or the bodily assumption of Mary into Heaven. But then again, I live in a highly secularized society (70% agnostic) so it might be an anomaly. When I visited the catholic church and told the cathecist about my problems of truly accepting these dogmas he said that he himself didn't accept the dogma of the bodily assumption and the immaculate conception along with other church teachings about sexuality, condoms & abortions but that we should try our best to accept whatever the church teaches as truth
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« Reply #145 on: June 12, 2013, 09:17:38 AM »

Quote
he himself didn't accept the dogma of the bodily assumption and the immaculate conception along with other church teachings about sexuality, condoms & abortions but that we should try our best to accept whatever the church teaches as truth
Maybe this guy shouldn't be a priest then.......

PP
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« Reply #146 on: June 12, 2013, 09:21:24 AM »

Quote
he himself didn't accept the dogma of the bodily assumption and the immaculate conception along with other church teachings about sexuality, condoms & abortions but that we should try our best to accept whatever the church teaches as truth
Maybe this guy shouldn't be a priest then.......

PP
He was not a priest in the catholic church but he taught people who wanted to convert. Maybe he was an extreme case? I don't know because I havent been to any other catholic churches to speak about church teaching and he expressed a general wish for the church to "get with the times" even though he was above 70 years of age and had previously been a Lutheran priest
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« Reply #147 on: June 12, 2013, 09:34:50 AM »

It seems like a "my saint is better than your saint" type of deal.

By written accounts, many people were inspired by St. Francis' vow of poverty, helping the needy, and the preaching of the Gospel.

Even Jesus told the disciples not to stop the other non-disciples from preaching/driving out demons/etc.

It seems like there's a belief that if something did not exist "back in the Apostolic days", it's not from a divine source (e.g., stigmata).

Even by Eastern Orthodoxy standards, isn't there a saying by a Desert Father where there are two different "ways" and both are acceptable to the Holy Spirit?  (I forget which father it was...but he had a vision of two boats or rafts.)  Maybe for one saint, sitting on a pillar is their path.  Maybe for another, it's preaching and serving as an example for the masses to give glory to God.
In my humble opinion you should ignore the claims of western saints being illegitimate or even "demonic" just because of the fact that they belong to the roman-catholic church.

Another example would be the Coptic church.
There are many martyrs and saints that from the Coptic church of Egypt that has been under islamic oppression since AD 700. Now the coptic and orthodox church has reached some kind of theological consensus where they do agree on the nature on the "christology" of the faith but that the different traditions have used differing terminology to specify their theological viewpoints and we can't disgard the possibility that there were political interests that played into the fact that what we now call the "Oriental Orthodox" churches rejected the council of chalcedon.

There will always be people that that claim that it's impossible to be saved withouth "my" church so eventually one has to reach ones own conlcusion or opinion wether salvation is or is not limited to one specific christian denomination.
Considering the holiness and piety of saints from the catholic, oriental- and eastern-orthodox churches I personally don't believe salvation is necessarily limited to specific denominations but that it's a question of which one provides the apostolic succession, theological continuity, teaching enviroment, spirituality and valid sacraments that should be the main concerns when trying to find the most authentic church of Christ. The lives of the saints serve as witnessess to the authenticity of said churches.

However, when it comes to the catholic church teachings it can become a question of personal conscience because of the dogmatic inventions (immaculate conception, papal infalliability etc.). I have met very few catholics that have'nt told me "you don't need to accept ALL the church teachings as truth" and this to me highlights the fact that there has been invention that are sufficiently far away from the apostolic teaching & christian revelation that they are hard to accept for all christians


It always included either the immaculate conception of mary or the bodily assumption of Mary into Heaven. But then again, I live in a highly secularized society (70% agnostic) so it might be an anomaly. When I visited the catholic church and told the cathecist about my problems of truly accepting these dogmas he said that he himself didn't accept the dogma of the bodily assumption and the immaculate conception along with other church teachings about sexuality, condoms & abortions but that we should try our best to accept whatever the church teaches as truth

He was not a priest in the catholic church but he taught people who wanted to convert. Maybe he was an extreme case? I don't know because I havent been to any other catholic churches to speak about church teaching and he expressed a general wish for the church to "get with the times" even though he was above 70 years of age and had previously been a Lutheran priest

Well, I admit it find it weird; but I don't want to say very much (unless you want to start a thread about the topic). So let me just offer some words from people I greatly respect:

"We are not fishing in the Anglican pond"
- Cardinal Kasper (responding to questions about the Anglican Ordinariates)

"Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Eastern, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other"
- the Balamand Statement
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« Reply #148 on: June 12, 2013, 09:50:20 AM »

It seems like a "my saint is better than your saint" type of deal.

By written accounts, many people were inspired by St. Francis' vow of poverty, helping the needy, and the preaching of the Gospel.

Even Jesus told the disciples not to stop the other non-disciples from preaching/driving out demons/etc.

It seems like there's a belief that if something did not exist "back in the Apostolic days", it's not from a divine source (e.g., stigmata).

Even by Eastern Orthodoxy standards, isn't there a saying by a Desert Father where there are two different "ways" and both are acceptable to the Holy Spirit?  (I forget which father it was...but he had a vision of two boats or rafts.)  Maybe for one saint, sitting on a pillar is their path.  Maybe for another, it's preaching and serving as an example for the masses to give glory to God.
In my humble opinion you should ignore the claims of western saints being illegitimate or even "demonic" just because of the fact that they belong to the roman-catholic church.

Another example would be the Coptic church.
There are many martyrs and saints that from the Coptic church of Egypt that has been under islamic oppression since AD 700. Now the coptic and orthodox church has reached some kind of theological consensus where they do agree on the nature on the "christology" of the faith but that the different traditions have used differing terminology to specify their theological viewpoints and we can't disgard the possibility that there were political interests that played into the fact that what we now call the "Oriental Orthodox" churches rejected the council of chalcedon.

There will always be people that that claim that it's impossible to be saved withouth "my" church so eventually one has to reach ones own conlcusion or opinion wether salvation is or is not limited to one specific christian denomination.
Considering the holiness and piety of saints from the catholic, oriental- and eastern-orthodox churches I personally don't believe salvation is necessarily limited to specific denominations but that it's a question of which one provides the apostolic succession, theological continuity, teaching enviroment, spirituality and valid sacraments that should be the main concerns when trying to find the most authentic church of Christ. The lives of the saints serve as witnessess to the authenticity of said churches.

However, when it comes to the catholic church teachings it can become a question of personal conscience because of the dogmatic inventions (immaculate conception, papal infalliability etc.). I have met very few catholics that have'nt told me "you don't need to accept ALL the church teachings as truth" and this to me highlights the fact that there has been invention that are sufficiently far away from the apostolic teaching & christian revelation that they are hard to accept for all christians


It always included either the immaculate conception of mary or the bodily assumption of Mary into Heaven. But then again, I live in a highly secularized society (70% agnostic) so it might be an anomaly. When I visited the catholic church and told the cathecist about my problems of truly accepting these dogmas he said that he himself didn't accept the dogma of the bodily assumption and the immaculate conception along with other church teachings about sexuality, condoms & abortions but that we should try our best to accept whatever the church teaches as truth

He was not a priest in the catholic church but he taught people who wanted to convert. Maybe he was an extreme case? I don't know because I havent been to any other catholic churches to speak about church teaching and he expressed a general wish for the church to "get with the times" even though he was above 70 years of age and had previously been a Lutheran priest

Well, I admit it find it weird; but I don't want to say very much (unless you want to start a thread about the topic). So let me just offer some words from people I greatly respect:

"We are not fishing in the Anglican pond"
- Cardinal Kasper (responding to questions about the Anglican Ordinariates)

"Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Eastern, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other"
- the Balamand Statement
I don't really understand what you mean by this but the way I see it is that secularization has affected many christian churches as well and for at least 20 years there have been countless of high quality production documentaries etc. specifically aimed at discrediting key elements of the christian revelation & sometimes also specifically the catholic church: "The Davinci Code", "Banned from the Bible" etc. etc. and I believe this has affected many christians negatively

but as you said this probably belongs in a different topic altogether Smiley
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« Reply #149 on: June 13, 2013, 02:33:35 PM »

I'm browsing a Catholic forum (won't name it but you can guess), and one poster has stated that the gates of Hades prevailed against the churches in Antioch and Alexandria (emergence of heresies) but that the church in Rome resisted.

Is this an example of triumphalism?

What's the Orthodox response to this?

It seems like a rather...interesting...definition of "gates of Hades"...

I mean...what about the past blemishes of the church in Rome (e.g., selling of indulgences, less than ideal popes)...? 
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« Reply #150 on: June 13, 2013, 02:43:06 PM »

Gates of hades meant numerous things to the Fathers:

- The most common interpretation was indeed heresy
- Another common one was sin and corruption (on a corporate level)
- A few spoke of worldly persecution
- A few also spoke of individual sin

However, when they spoke of heresy they did not mean that if, at any time, a local church or her leadership fell into heresy, that it was the end for that church. Each major local church, or perhaps I should say the majority and/or the leadership, has fallen into heresy at one point or another, Rome included. What the prophecy means is that the Church as a whole will not fall... that individual communities might go astray, even 95% of the Church at one time might go astray, but that there will always be God-inspired Christians holding down the fort until the heresy can be overcome.


EDIT--For some quotes, see here...
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« Reply #151 on: June 13, 2013, 02:48:43 PM »

 Roll Eyes
yeah, right!
[edit: the rolling eyes is at forum quoted, not at asteriktos who posted while i was writing]

just a briefest of glances at the history of the church in alexandria and antioch will tell you about the strong commitment to the true faith (as agreed by all at Jerusalem, Nicea and Constantinople in the first few centuries), the brave and Godly martyrs who fought peacefully with only their words, good deeds and miracles as their 'weapons' and the missionary outreach that spread Christianity across north africa and asia.

some further reading (coptic orthodox church only, sorry, i don't know that much about the other) is here:
http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/thecopticchurch/index.html
http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/thecopticchurch/church1.html
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« Reply #152 on: June 13, 2013, 05:27:53 PM »

I'm browsing a Catholic forum (won't name it but you can guess), and one poster has stated that the gates of Hades prevailed against the churches in Antioch and Alexandria (emergence of heresies) but that the church in Rome resisted.

Was that the first time you encountered a nut on the internet? If so, I can't tell you how much I envy you.
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« Reply #153 on: June 13, 2013, 08:10:50 PM »

Either the gates of hades prevailed against Rome when they accepted the first Nicene creed which every church did at 325 and 381. Or the gates of hades prevailed over Rome in the late sixth century when the filoque was added.
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« Reply #154 on: June 14, 2013, 12:19:55 AM »

I know everyone wants to defend "their" church, but I was kind of surprised that that poster accused some Orthodox churches of being fallen.

It seems *some* Catholics have this very...rosy...picture of the Catholic Church. 

But I guess if your Church is protected from error, it must be perfect in every way...?

Some Catholics accuse Protestants of worshipping the Bible.  Is it possible to replace God with church as an institution?

And someone else mentioned that Peter only helped established the church in Antioch and wasn't a bishop of Antioch.  Is this true?

Why can't we just get along???  Huh
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« Reply #155 on: June 14, 2013, 12:25:13 AM »

And someone else mentioned that Peter only helped established the church in Antioch and wasn't a bishop of Antioch.  Is this true?
This is simply untrue. Most Latin Catholic sources I've seen have no problem saying that St. Peter was the first bishop of Antioch, and Melkite Catholics definitely (from what I've seen) believe it. IIRC the RCC even used to(?) have a feast honoring St. Peter's Chair in Antioch.

I think the person is denying the teachings of their own church to push a point.
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« Reply #156 on: June 14, 2013, 02:07:00 AM »

What about the idea that the deposit of faith needs to be unveiled over time (by the Catholic Magisterium) because knowledge of truth is too much to be revealed at once?

Does that go against the Orthodox belief that all that had been handed down by the Apostles are necessary and sufficient?
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« Reply #157 on: June 14, 2013, 02:40:11 AM »

Either the gates of hades prevailed against Rome when they accepted the first Nicene creed which every church did at 325 and 381. Or the gates of hades prevailed over Rome in the late sixth century when the filoque was added.

Or neither one, as even Rome itself agreed with the non-filioque version as being the Universal Creed at Constantinople IV. I'm all for honest distinction between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, but with an emphasis on honest. Let's leave the gates of hell prevailing over Rome in the 11th Century where it belongs.

The West has long had other creeds (the Apostles' Creed, for one), and a simple phrase is fine for a local definition- just not the prescribed creed for one Holy and Apostolic Church.
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« Reply #158 on: June 14, 2013, 03:07:14 AM »

Does Orthodoxy hold Holy Tradition with equal authority as Scripture as Catholicism does?

What I have reservations with Catholicism is that the Church is right, cannot err, etc.

And I don't mean in an ecumenical council setting.  I mean in everyday issuance of the Orthodox equivalent of encyclicals and whatnot.
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« Reply #159 on: June 14, 2013, 03:28:13 AM »

There are various ways of answering this. And answering it in various ways is perhaps the best answer. That is, in many areas, including the process of salvation, the afterlife, the interrelationships between authorities (Bible/Church/Tradition), etc., it is not in one systematic explanation that we find the truth, but in a multiplicity of views. Think of it as a huge statue in the middle of a valley, with the Orthodox approach being not to give one really detailed account from one perspective, but rather many accounts from many perspectives. And sometimes those perspectives do not seem to harmonize completely and totally. And that's ok. Consider how many ways there are to think about salvation, from being healed of a sickness, to God becoming man to save us, to salvation as a process in which we respond of our own free will and participate, and so forth. Christian authorities are somewhat similar, in that we can speak of them in different ways, and rather than making things murkier by the multiplicity of explanations, this multiplying of views actually makes things richer and deeper.

I'll give a couple possible views though, just to help get towards an answer. One way of thinking about it is that Scripture and Tradition are two sides of the same coin: they are both about God revealing truth to us. It doesn't matter whether that truth is revealed in Genesis, or Matthew, or the work of some Church Father. Truth is truth, regardless of course. The main difference here is just that some sources are more sure than others. The Church, then, would merely be the context in which this truth was discovered, and would act as a sort of tool or process or mechanism for sifting out the bad stuff so we are left only with that which we were after.

Another way to view things is that Scripture is the foundation, or at least the written foundation. Then there is oral traditions, which St. Paul spoke of, and various Church Fathers (e.g. St. Basil) elaborated on down through the centuries. What we call tradition would be, with each new generation, the discovery and learning of God's truths, the working out and practicing of those truths, and the passing on to the next generation of them. The Church could be seen as the protector, like a protective fence (to use a Chestertonian image), making sure that this process, over the course of centuries, did not go out of bounds, and stayed where it needed to be. Not that it insisted on a dogmatic and rigid path (usually not that, anyway), but rather that it kept things within a playing field of tenable beliefs.

Fwiw some of the posts in this thread might be of interest to you. And I apologize if I've somewhat repeated myself there in what I've said on this thread.
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« Reply #160 on: June 14, 2013, 07:54:30 AM »

Thank you, Asteriktos! 

I wonder when my journey between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church will come to an end... Embarrassed

But whichever Church I end up joining, I don't think I can ever believe that Church is the *only* true Church...that would mean I have to believe that half the holy saints who have gone before us were somehow "on the wrong side".
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« Reply #161 on: June 14, 2013, 08:15:50 AM »

Remember that the church does not become the only church because of any hierarchical structure or historical tradition, but as Asteriktos pointed out so well, by truth. Christ always referred to his church as THE church, not A church, as he knew that its followers would follow and worship the Father by truth and spirit.

Therefore, both the catholic and orthodox church may claim authority by its historical context, as both may probably prove an unbroken apostolic succession. But both can´t be correct in its teachings, and therefore in its truth.

With all due respect and love my dear brother NotAnHourGoesBy, please forgive me a sinner if it sounds negative in any way, but the option is only that there is one true church by its teachings and truth. We can´t as true Christians afford people to treat the truth without any authoritative context(The church). Or else we may end up as many people in the philippines. They literally crucify them to "remember" how Christ love us and suffered for us. The same challenge stands between the catholic, orthodox and protestant church. Measure and chose the true church by its truth, not only by structure or history.

Forgive me brother, and pray for me, a sinner.
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« Reply #162 on: June 14, 2013, 09:45:18 AM »

Let's leave the gates of hell prevailing over Rome in the 11th Century where it belongs.

Um ... [file:Looks-around-and-sees-where-he-is.jpg not found] okay.
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« Reply #163 on: June 14, 2013, 10:34:29 AM »

Let's leave the gates of hell prevailing over Rome in the 11th Century where it belongs.

Um ... [file:Looks-around-and-sees-where-he-is.jpg not found] okay.

Ah, those not found files. Mine was missing "tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek.bmp"
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« Reply #164 on: June 15, 2013, 06:25:04 AM »

i firmly believe God is working in all the churches.
that is very different to the 'branch theory' or 'unity of heart' theory which says that all (protestant, catholic and orthodox) churches are simply different and equally valid ways of worshipping the same God.

the orthodox church (and here i include eastern and oriental orthodox churches, as we have agreed on the same doctrine) is the place where the theology makes sense, the sacraments are correct and the clergy (generally speaking) will help you to have a closer relationship with God.
in other churches you can relate to God, but this is usually despite, not because of, the theology and practices of the church.
in churches which are not orthodox, you can learn a lot about God, but also be confused by wrong theology.
i believe you won't find a really deep relationship with God outside of orthodox baptism, chrismation and Holy Communion.

when i was protestant, i was a sincere Christian believer, but i lacked a deep and sure faith and a deep peace.
now, as an orthodox Christian, all that i hear in church makes sense (i don't understand everything yet!) and i don't have to 'screen out' annoying doctrines or practices and close my eyes and just pray in the services. (i used to think it was 'normal' to have to do that in all churches!)
i am free to look and explore, because i have the writings of the early church fathers, the sacraments of the church and the lessons learnt from the life of the saints to guide me.
(see hebrews 13:7-8).
i found a community whose living faith guided all their decision making and taught them how to stay strong and forgiving despite all the troubles they went through.

so, dear friend, these are some principles to help you find your way.

i didn't join the catholic church because i could not find enough evidence in the life of the early church fathers or in the Bible to support purgatory or the immaculate conception of saint mary (without the inherited sin that they and the protestants think we all get). i also found, in my personal experience, that many of the people in the church i attended for a while did not have a deep personal experience of God. they saw church as a 'sunday' thing, and, although they were sad that they didn't have the desire to learn more about God, they didn't see how to resolve that problem. i had some interesting discussions with some of them, as i joined the orthodox church (meeting on saturdays in a rented building) during that period of several months that i attended the catholic church most sundays (and often the anglican church, but that's another story!)
i even asked the catholic priest at one stage why i couldn't be catholic, as i believed more of the shorter catechism than most of his parishioners did! (i was wondering at the time if the branch theory could be true, and the priest's wise refusal was one of the markers that i was on the wrong path!)

i slowly realised that the catholic and orthodox theology was not the same, and that i believed orthodox theology, so i joined the orthodox church (with the help of a very wise orthodox priest, who patiently waited for me to get my head sorted).
i believe God was leading me before i was orthodox.
God wants everyone to be closer to Him, and if there is not a strong and loving orthodox church that a person can get to, i think God leads people through other churches as part of their spiritual journey.
it was much better for me being protestant for most of my childhood, than being an atheist in a stressful personal situation with plenty of immoral and illegal distractions available for me. i think without my early non orthodox experiences of God, i could have easily been a prostitute or on drugs, and that would have given me much pain and heart ache.

i believe that many of the catholic and protestant 'saints' were close to God in their lives, using the resources they had available to them (sometimes they were not able to access the orthodox church). God rewards them based on their motives (only He knows) and what they did with what they had available.
i believe some of them are there in heaven with the orthodox saints, praying that people make wiser choices and asking God to guide us.
even john calvin repented on his death bed, so perhaps he is there too, praying for those who have made an even worse mess of his doctrines than he did, and asking God to guide people into the orthodox church.

on the other hand, some orthodox churches (eg the official churches in communist times in russia) drifted so far from orthodox beliefs as to not be useful to the people who went there.
so it is not a simple answer, nor a short answer!
it is also only my experience, and not a postgraduate view from a brilliant scholar.
sorry!

but i pray God will guide you, and please take time to make your decision.
you can get closer to God every day, not matter which church you are in currently, and as you do this, He will guide you to the right place. (obviously i think this is the orthodox church, but i think the advice holds true, even ignoring my bias).

during this time, study the Bible, read the lives of the pre schism church fathers and saints and pray.
and don't rush!
 Smiley
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« Reply #165 on: June 18, 2013, 09:57:09 AM »

I came across this website today...

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_roman_catholics_pope_as_christ.shtml

Are they zealots or are the viewpoints common among the Orthodox?
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« Reply #166 on: June 18, 2013, 10:06:32 AM »

I came across this website today...

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_roman_catholics_pope_as_christ.shtml

Are they zealots or are the viewpoints common among the Orthodox?
Seems Old Calendarist to me. As soon as I saw "World Orthodoxy" I knew. I would not use this website as a guide to Orthodoxy.

PP
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« Reply #167 on: June 18, 2013, 10:30:43 AM »

I came across this website today...

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_roman_catholics_pope_as_christ.shtml

Are they zealots or are the viewpoints common among the Orthodox?

That is by the group under Gregory of Colorado, a person most old calendarists wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. Actually he's been excommunicated by several of them.
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« Reply #168 on: June 18, 2013, 11:26:52 AM »

I came across this website today...

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_roman_catholics_pope_as_christ.shtml

Are they zealots or are the viewpoints common among the Orthodox?

That is by the group under Gregory of Colorado, a person most old calendarists wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. Actually he's been excommunicated by several of them.

Here's Al Green's history of the bishop, which is now dated:

Gregory George (Bishop Gregory of Colorado). He was an Antiochian. He decided the Antiochians were ecumenists, so he went to ROCOR. He decided the ROCOR was populated with ecumenists, so he went to the Old Calendarists under Chrysostomos II. He decided the Old Calendarists were ecumenists, so he went to another Old Calendarist sect under Kallinikos. Kallinikos decided they wouldn't make George a Bishop, so he went to ROAC, and got made a Bishop.


To say that they're fanatics is sort of mild. They claim to be the only true Orthodox jurisdiction in North America, kind of the OC equivalent of the alternative Pope conclaves you see in some Catholic sedevacantist circles.

So I guess I am saying consider the source.
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« Reply #169 on: June 18, 2013, 12:34:36 PM »

So....these are like Orthodox denominations?  Don't like one, so go to a different jurisdiction until you find one you like...?
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« Reply #170 on: June 18, 2013, 12:38:33 PM »

So....these are like Orthodox denominations?  Don't like one, so go to a different jurisdiction until you find one you like...?
No. They are not Orthodox. They can call themselves that all they want. Thats like me, starting a baptist church, but teaching Orthodoxy...I can claim to be a baptist, that doesn't make it so.

PP
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« Reply #171 on: June 18, 2013, 02:05:15 PM »

people in communion with the eastern orthodox churches (eg. ecumenical patriarch in istanbul, greek orthodox, russian orthodox (including russian orthodox church outside of russia (ROCOR) which started during communism), and the others in communion with them are orthodox.
also people in communion with the oriental orthodox churches are orthodox (coptic, syriac orthodox, ethiopian, eritrean, indian (two churches there, both orthodox) and armenian).
these two groups are not (yet) in communion with each other, but consider each other orthodox.

anyone else who labels themselves orthodox but is not linked to either of these groups is not orthodox, so best ignore them as it gets confusing and you can be led astray.
there are probably a few small groups that had to split from the big groups for genuine reasons (i.e. not just wanting their own small empire), but these will eventually get sorted out and join one of the 2 officially orthodox groups above.
even the ROCOR and russian orthodox (moscow patriarchate) are in communion, and they have had very big historical differences due to communism, persecution etc. so any group that can't integrate has fundamental problems that you may not be able to sort out as an inquirer.

if you meet any of these small groups, it is safest to stay away. then if you need to go on a mission to 'save' them and reintegrate them into the universal orthodox church, you can do that after you know more and are orthodox (or catholic, if that's what you decide) yourself.

may God guide you and protect you from wolves in sheep's clothing.
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« Reply #172 on: June 18, 2013, 03:40:18 PM »

I came across this website today...

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_roman_catholics_pope_as_christ.shtml

Are they zealots or are the viewpoints common among the Orthodox?

That is by the group under Gregory of Colorado, a person most old calendarists wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. Actually he's been excommunicated by several of them.

That guy is awesome, in an I-wouldn't-touch-him-with-a-ten-foot-pole kind of way.
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« Reply #173 on: June 18, 2013, 03:52:52 PM »

The best part is that the whole site is just condemning every other religious group.  Then, at the bottom of the page, there is a link to click on to get "authentic" information on "True Orthodoxy".  Once you click on it, nothing is there.  Cheesy
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« Reply #174 on: June 18, 2013, 04:08:12 PM »

The best part is that the whole site is just condemning every other religious group.  Then, at the bottom of the page, there is a link to click on to get "authentic" information on "True Orthodoxy".  Once you click on it, nothing is there.  Cheesy

It reminds me of the sedevacantists and other Catholic schismatic groups, who are all competing for the title of true Catholicism while smearing their rival claimants as guilty of ecumenism, heresy, etc. In fact, Most Holy Family Monastery seems to be almost a direct parallel to this website/group.
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« Reply #175 on: June 19, 2013, 06:19:41 AM »

I don't know much about Orthodox history, but in school, we were taught about the Catholic Church, including the not very ideal popes, corruption, Inquisition, indulgences, etc.

Does the Orthodox church have such blemishes on her record?

I'm not trying to defame her --- I just don't know where to even look, since you don't have popes or centralized authority.

I figure it's better to know now than later and be shocked and disappointed.
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« Reply #176 on: June 19, 2013, 06:35:45 AM »

Yes, everyone has.
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« Reply #177 on: June 19, 2013, 12:01:57 PM »

I don't know much about Orthodox history, but in school, we were taught about the Catholic Church, including the not very ideal popes, corruption, Inquisition, indulgences, etc.

Does the Orthodox church have such blemishes on her record?

Well, it depends what you're asking about, but the short answer is yes.  Not to put it too irreverently, but any organisation that starts with a traitor, a denier, and nine or ten cowards is bound to keep messing up as time goes on.  It's a miracle that the Church survives and even grows in spite of ourselves...Someone Else really is in charge. 
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« Reply #178 on: June 20, 2013, 02:35:22 PM »

Just something I wanted to get off my chest.

I also peruse/post on a Catholic forum, and right now, I'm struggling with Marian dogmas.

There's such great emphasis on her being mediator of many (all?) graces, how prayers to her are effective, how she's the queen of heaven, etc. (OK, those aren't dogmas...but Mariology in general)

Then there are statues of Mary and various saints.

Then I think about papal infallibility...well, what else are novel innovations?

I come from a place where Scripture is necessary and sufficient for salvation.

If praying to Mary is so important and beneficial, why no mention *at all* in Scripture?  Did the Apostles go to Mary while she was physically living on earth to petition her prayers?

When did Marian devotion begin in the first place?

If the Catholic Church is capable of developing things like papal infallibility, and another Apostolic church (OC) does not believe in it, what else are innovations?

Scripture:  prayers to God.  petitions and supplications to God.  nothing about praying to Mary on our behalf.

Sorry.  This is sort of a confused rant  Lips Sealed Huh

(Also, if you can just say a quick prayer for me, as I feel anxious/disturbed, I would greatly appreciate it.  I suppose I can pray to Mary, but she might be upset with me at the moment...)
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« Reply #179 on: June 20, 2013, 03:17:49 PM »

When did Marian devotion begin in the first place?

Lk 1.
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« Reply #180 on: June 21, 2013, 03:51:29 AM »

Dear NotAnHourGoesBy

I would like to post a part of a reply Mor Ephrem did once on the issue of Mary. I really like the information and spirit of the answer, and I could not in any way answer it better. It was originally a reply to a long thread, so forgive me if things may sound out of context.

" He is impressed when a woman cries out in a crowd "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed", and rather than contradict those words, he amplifies them by declaring blessed those who hear the word of God and keep it (cf. Lk. 11.27-28).  No one in Scripture heard the word of God and kept it better than Mary, who heard God's word with the ears and heart of faith and brought it forth in her manner of life even before she heard God's word through the angel with the same ears and heart of faith, bringing forth God's Son made flesh, flesh of her flesh, bone of her bone, blood of her blood.  It was because there was no one who heard the word of God and kept it better than Mary that God chose her to be the mother of his Son; he didn't just scour the world looking for an incubator and say "That Jew will do."   

LBK and others have given you a lot of Scripture and a lot of ideas from Scripture to consider.  If you are really interested, interact with that material, as others in this thread have, who may not understand at first but are willing to ponder and learn.  No one expects you to understand or believe immediately, but there's a way to seek understanding and then there's simply the obstinate refusal to believe nothing but your own wisdom.  Don't do the latter.

When LBK wrote about the role of the Queen Mother in the OT, I couldn't help but think of the Wedding at Cana (cf. Jn. 2.1-11).  When Mary approaches Jesus with the problem of the lack of wine, he at first doesn't seem disposed to do anything about it: he tells her that it's not their concern, and that his hour has not yet come.  But Mary's insistent plea for her Son's help takes on another form, as she prepares the servants to "do whatever he tells" them.  And Christ, even though his hour had not yet come, advances that hour--alters his schedule and plan, as we might say--to provide wine for a wedding (relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things), because it meant so much to his mother that he help.  He advanced his approach to Calvary in order to answer the seemingly insignificant request of his mother.  Are we to believe that he won't listen to her when she asks for even more important things? 

And at Calvary, on the cross, he thought of his mother: "When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold, your son!'  Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!'  And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home" (Jn. 19.26-27).  Now, we believe that this "beloved disciple" was John himself, but it's surely not an accident, but the intention of the Holy Spirit, that he is not named, but is simply "the disciple whom Jesus loved".  Jesus gives his mother another son: his beloved disciple.  And the beloved disciple receives a mother: Jesus' own mother.  If we would be another of Jesus' beloved disciples, how can we ignore the gift he gave us in his mother, his dying gift to us from the cross?  If we would be another of Jesus' beloved disciples, how can we not but take his mother into our own homes and lives as immediately as that beloved disciple did? "

- And please, both Mor Ephrem and NotAnHourGoesBy, pray for me a sinner. May God bless you all on your journeys and discussions Smiley
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« Reply #181 on: June 21, 2013, 08:00:01 AM »

Hi Jovan,

Thanks for the reply! 

What I have most trouble with is not Mary's role as intercessor -- though I did not grow up believing in praying to saints and Mary, I can give it a try, I suppose...

It's the very...flowery...language and "attention" given to Mary (mostly on the Catholic side, only because I'm more familiar with them) --- basically, it *appears* that what can only be attributed to God is attributed to Mary. 

It's hard to differentiate between exaggerated language and what is actually meant in the heart and intent.

When Jesus was in the temple when He was 12, did Mary know that He was God the Son, the Messiah?

Also, why didn't any written record of Mary's intercession make it into Scripture?

Lastly, if we pray to Mary for her intercession, are prayer requests granted that they normally would not be?  If a request is not according to God's good will, wouldn't it be not granted regardless of who asks no matter how humbly requested?
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« Reply #182 on: June 21, 2013, 08:04:26 AM »

When Jesus was in the temple when He was 12, did Mary know that He was God the Son, the Messiah?

She knew.

Quote
Also, why didn't any written record of Mary's intercession make it into Scripture?

It did

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« Reply #183 on: June 21, 2013, 08:35:31 AM »

Put simply would you ask someone here on earth to pray for you?  Why? Aren't our prayers to God directly good enough?  Same reason we ask our pastor or friends for prayers we ask Mary and the saints.
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« Reply #184 on: June 21, 2013, 09:15:40 AM »

When Jesus was in the temple when He was 12, did Mary know that He was God the Son, the Messiah?

She knew.

Quote
Also, why didn't any written record of Mary's intercession make it into Scripture?

It did



But when Jesus said He was in His Father's house, Mary and Joseph did not seem to know exactly what He was talking about, according to the account.

Ah, I meant intercession as in someone asking Mary to pray for him/her.  None of the Apostle's contributions to Scripture mentions anything about asking Mary, before or after her Assumption/Dormition.
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« Reply #185 on: June 21, 2013, 09:23:32 AM »

Put simply would you ask someone here on earth to pray for you?  Why? Aren't our prayers to God directly good enough?  Same reason we ask our pastor or friends for prayers we ask Mary and the saints.

The difference is that I get the impression that if Mary asks, it will be done.  Period.  That because she is the Mother of God, her requests must be granted.

The Trinity still boggles my mind.  Mary is the Mother of Jesus-God, but she's not the mother of God the Father (right...?), even though God the Father and God the Son are One.

When Jesus gave us an example to pray, He prayed "Our Father who art in heaven". 

So does Mary ask Jesus or God the Father when she intercedes for us?

When we ask for things in the name of Jesus, is it Jesus who grants or God the Father who is the ultimate source and through Our Lord (and through Mary?) our supplications are heard?

"To thee [Mary] do we cry" (I know that's not Orthodox but perhaps the sentiments in Orthodoxy is the same) --- Do we not cry to God...?  If we cry to Mary first, does she take up our prayers and present them in a manner that would provide greater mercy from God?
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« Reply #186 on: June 21, 2013, 09:30:52 AM »

Put simply would you ask someone here on earth to pray for you?  Why? Aren't our prayers to God directly good enough?  Same reason we ask our pastor or friends for prayers we ask Mary and the saints.

The difference is that I get the impression that if Mary asks, it will be done.  Period.  That because she is the Mother of God, her requests must be granted.

The Trinity still boggles my mind.  Mary is the Mother of Jesus-God, but she's not the mother of God the Father (right...?), even though God the Father and God the Son are One.

When Jesus gave us an example to pray, He prayed "Our Father who art in heaven". 

So does Mary ask Jesus or God the Father when she intercedes for us?

When we ask for things in the name of Jesus, is it Jesus who grants or God the Father who is the ultimate source and through Our Lord (and through Mary?) our supplications are heard?

"To thee [Mary] do we cry" (I know that's not Orthodox but perhaps the sentiments in Orthodoxy is the same) --- Do we not cry to God...?  If we cry to Mary first, does she take up our prayers and present them in a manner that would provide greater mercy from God?

Let me confuse you even further - what about the prayers of a righteous man availing much? Does that mean that the prayers of a righteous man will be granted no matter what?
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« Reply #187 on: June 21, 2013, 09:59:17 AM »

Put simply would you ask someone here on earth to pray for you?  Why? Aren't our prayers to God directly good enough?  Same reason we ask our pastor or friends for prayers we ask Mary and the saints.

The difference is that I get the impression that if Mary asks, it will be done.  Period.  That because she is the Mother of God, her requests must be granted.

The Trinity still boggles my mind.  Mary is the Mother of Jesus-God, but she's not the mother of God the Father (right...?), even though God the Father and God the Son are One.

When Jesus gave us an example to pray, He prayed "Our Father who art in heaven". 

So does Mary ask Jesus or God the Father when she intercedes for us?

When we ask for things in the name of Jesus, is it Jesus who grants or God the Father who is the ultimate source and through Our Lord (and through Mary?) our supplications are heard?

"To thee [Mary] do we cry" (I know that's not Orthodox but perhaps the sentiments in Orthodoxy is the same) --- Do we not cry to God...?  If we cry to Mary first, does she take up our prayers and present them in a manner that would provide greater mercy from God?

Let me confuse you even further - what about the prayers of a righteous man availing much? Does that mean that the prayers of a righteous man will be granted no matter what?

Much -- yes.  But everything?  I've read some people saying that Jesus does not refuse Mary.

I get the veneration part, but did the righteous people in Scripture or the Apostles ask Mary or pray to Mary for intercession? 

Does Orthodoxy have apparitions of the Theotokos saying Country X should be consecrated or that the Rosary-equivalent should be prayed to her and that she is interceding on our behalf so that Jesus would delay/assuage His wrath and punishment?
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« Reply #188 on: June 21, 2013, 10:02:12 AM »


Does Orthodoxy have apparitions of the Theotokos saying Country X should be consecrated or that the Rosary-equivalent should be prayed to her and that she is interceding on our behalf so that Jesus would delay/assuage His wrath and punishment?

No.
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« Reply #189 on: June 21, 2013, 10:09:54 AM »

Does Orthodoxy have apparitions of the Theotokos saying Country X should be consecrated or that the Rosary-equivalent should be prayed to her and that she is interceding on our behalf so that Jesus would delay/assuage His wrath and punishment?

We have apparitions of the Theotokos, but definitely not like that. We also don't tend to think of her intercessions keeping away Christ's wrath like the apparitions of Fatima and others teach, and none of our apparitions that I'm aware of begin to portray something of that sort.
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« Reply #190 on: June 21, 2013, 04:19:28 PM »

I think that a basic understanding to take into consideration when it comes to Mary is that she as a person before Christ, cannot do anything by herself. All the way back to Abraham and even further, untill the time of Mary. What made these persons so wonderful and loving in their being is just the fact that Gods grace has worked through them. The difference between these persons, and the rest of humanity, is that they totally submitted their living and will to let God work through them. So when we Orthodox regard Mary as the Queen and the most holy Theotokos, it is not because she did something by herself. But it is because 1: God gave her an opportunity to say Yes or No to fulfill the ultimate grace of God by giving birth to the Christ. And lastly 2: She submitted her total will to let Gods grace work through her.

Now when we ask of her intercession, or a saint that God in any way gave an opportunity to say Yes or No. We don´t do it because of them being special in their nature. But because Gods grace worked through them in accordance to the persons free own will. If Mary would say no to the angel, she wouldn´t keep her status. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that she probably is one of the few on planet earth that God knew would answer yes to his merciful offer. Even though every single Christian may claim that: "Yes God, I would also say yes to the offer you gave Mary." Then we just lie and the truth is not in us Smiley She took an very important decision and God granted her, not by scriptural sense, but by a truthful and logical one, a status through whom we might gain a lot.
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« Reply #191 on: June 21, 2013, 04:23:29 PM »

Therefore, intercession from Mary is ultimately of course a grace from God. But Gods grace works in union with Marys will when she in a most loving and humble spirit prays for us in heaven, all the time. It´s always about Gods grace + the persons full own will on a matter. Exclude the latter from Mary and God maybe would have to wait much much longer for a person like her to say Yes to the Christ.
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« Reply #192 on: June 27, 2013, 07:42:56 AM »


Does Orthodoxy have apparitions of the Theotokos saying Country X should be consecrated or that the Rosary-equivalent should be prayed to her and that she is interceding on our behalf so that Jesus would delay/assuage His wrath and punishment?

No, but we do have the glorious Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God when she appeared and Constantinople was spared from the attacks of the (then-pagan) Rus'.
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