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Author Topic: Considering converting from Protestantism  (Read 4640 times) Average Rating: 0
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NotAnHourGoesBy
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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. 

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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.

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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?

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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.
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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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