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Author Topic: The Sign of the Cross: Roman Catholic vs. Orthodox/Byzantine Catholic  (Read 3983 times) Average Rating: 0
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Maria
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« on: June 03, 2013, 03:54:16 PM »

I hope that you will be open to the Coptic Orthodox Church, not merely because you love a man who is Coptic, but because you really believe that the Jesus is our Lord, God, and Savior, and that He established our Holy Faith to share His Sacred Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.

Ask the Priest to help instruct you, but only accept Baptism if you truly believe.


Please forgive me, I apologize if my tone may be misunderstood; but this quote above raises a very serious question for me.
I'm not directing this toward the original poster, but perhaps to someone more advanced who could help me understand better.

There is an article I just read today about "Worshiping God in Spirit and Truth" that causes me some concern.
http://www.pravmir.com/worshiping-god-in-spirit-and-truth/

I have attended both Orthodox and Roman Catholic services, and even though I am not Orthodox yet,
I cross myself the Orthodox Way at BOTH services, even when going up for Catholic Communion.

I had a Catholic Priest tell me it was okay to do this, and they even approach me and offer me Catholic Communion
KNOWING that I am going to Cross Myself the Orthodox Way, in the Catholic Church, in front of everyone.

I will explain that I was raised Roman Catholic, I made my first communion at age 7, and it was all forced on me.

When I started attending the Orthodox Church, the right to left way of crossing oneself seemed more natural to me.
So, I always do it that way, even when I'm with Roman Catholics who all cross themselves from left to right.

I will admit that I have NEVER seen anyone cross themselves the Roman Catholic Way in the Orthodox Church,
however, I have witnessed others crossing themselves the Orthodox Way in the Catholic Church on occasion, also.

Internally, I feel so strongly about crossing myself the Orthodox Way, that I'm incapable of doing it the Catholic Way anymore.

If I were to ever go up for Catholic Communion and cross myself the Catholic Way, that would be an extreme act of hypocrisy
on my part, because I would be doing it only out of intimidation for how it "looks", or out of "fear"; instead of any kind of sincerity.


I'm not necessarily interested in the technical issues about Orthodox receiving Catholic Communion, here.
I have the desire to become Orthodox eventually, but it hasn't happened yet.
When I attend Orthodox services, the Roman Catholic services become much more interesting to me.
So, I either go to both of them, or neither of them, at the current moment.
But, since I made my Catholic Communion at age 7, I feel entitled to receive Catholic Communion,
until I actually become Orthodox; and since they freely offer it to me,
even though I already told several Catholic Priests that I plan to become Orthodox,
and I openly cross myself the Orthodox Way; and they are okay with it, I still accept Catholic Communion when I go there.

My only point here, is that if a Catholic Priest refused me communion, or told me I had to cross myself the Catholic Way;
then I would rather not receive Catholic Communion, instead of crossing myself the Catholic Way.
But, instead they freely offer it to me, and even say it is okay to cross myself the Orthodox Way, so I still accept it.


What I am trying to do here, is to address the issue of Crossing Myself the Orthodox Way in a Catholic Church;
and the way I would feel if someone insisted I must cross myself the Catholic Way, because "that will upset a lot of people".

So, now we have someone converting in order to get married and be accepted into an Orthodox Family;
and then someone says:

"If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people."

So, now it is not enough to merely "Convert" to try and please your future husband and his family;
but now you have to take it to the next level.

Not to say this would happen, but if this engagement broke up and this person met a protestant,
do you really think they would still go through with the conversion and become Orthodox to marry a protestant?


Now please, I mean this as a very serious question, not as a joke.

If you are converting just to please an Orthodox Family, why isn't that enough?
You could just refuse to convert, and have a divided household.

Why the necessity to say something that is not true, because "that will upset a lot of people"?
Isn't it worse to go through all of this pretending; than to be honest about why you are converting?

And, please, I'm not addressing the sincerity of the first poster here.
I'm saying, why the intimidation?
Isn't it enough to convert to be accepted into a family?
Can't the faith part come later?

Roman Catholics make communion at 7, and confirmation at 13; and yet even the confirmation is forced.
If you are from a strong Roman Catholic family, you do not have a choice to leave until you are 18.

I see Orthodox giving Communion to infants.
Do you not primarily become Orthodox because your family is Orthodox?

Why do you also have to fake some kind of sincerity, just because you were not "born" into an Orthodox family?

Honestly, I only say this because if a protestant wanted to convert to RC to marry a Catholic,
the issue I would have is "why do you want to do that to yourself"?  Why not stay protestant?
I could never question their sincerity; because I do not know any "sincere" Roman Catholics.
I only know "forced" Roman Catholics, and the ones who went to Parochial Catholic Schools
seem much less enthused about being Catholic, than the ones who escaped to Public School.

The alternative is to require all Orthodox to become a certain age, before ANY of them get baptized.
Then, you can start questioning converts sincerity.

So my issue is, why is it that if you come from an Orthodox family,
you are seemingly exempted from any sincerity requirements;
but if you are a protestant, it is not enough to just convert to become accepted;
but now you MUST prove that you are "sincere" as well;
or you will "upset a lot of people"?

How sincere are these "people" being about their Christianity, to get "upset" about someone's motives for converting?
Especially when the only main reason "they" are Orthodox is because they were born into it?

I'm not denying the reality that this may be true.
Maybe it is not enough to convert, but you also have to prove you are "sincere" about it as well.
But, my concern is:  "How is that Christian?"

According to this article about "Worshiping in Spirit and Truth"
it would seem to be better to be honest about converting because you want to get married?


I will cross-reference this with another article from http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/46642.htm


True worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth [Jn 4:23].

True worshipers worship in Truth. We can be bad, we can be much more sinful than the Samaritan woman, but we cannot be liars, we should not be liars. God is capable of saving every person, but He is powerless before our lies, when we become enmeshed in lies, when we lie before ourselves, lie before people, lie before God. Christ can save the repentant sinner, but He cannot help the sham righteous person, as we like to represent ourselves.

Now, when people are exhausted by spiritual thirst, sick and poisoned by the rubbish of toxic atheistic teachings, modern Samaritans and pagans seek the true water of life in order to revive their dying spirits and to strengthen their weakened bodies, everyone needs to find within themselves the truthfulness and strength to see themselves without embellishment and lies. For only then can the Lord—the Truth, Righteousness, and Life—respond to our bitter truth and teach us to worship Him in spirit and truth.



According to this, isn't it better to be honest about why you want to convert,
even it is "just for marriage"; than to be forced to take it to the next level, so as "not to upset people"?

Again, I'm not denying that this might be true, and that people might be upset with someone converting just for marriage.
But, why should your motive for converting have to respond to this kind of intimidation?

Did the Samaritan Woman in the article need to face intimidation before being "allowed" to accept Christ
or was it simply enough for her to believe?


I'm just not sure why the "fear of upsetting people" should be the motive for anything to do with the church
outside of a sincere desire to join it?

How are you "Worshiping in Spirit and Truth" if your main motive is to avoid "upsetting people"?
I guess I'm just troubled because the first two posts on this thread were honest, and the rest seems questionable.


And I had just finished reading this article which I will quote again:

True worshipers worship in Truth. We can be bad, we can be much more sinful than the Samaritan woman, but we cannot be liars, we should not be liars. God is capable of saving every person, but He is powerless before our lies, when we become enmeshed in lies, when we lie before ourselves, lie before people, lie before God. Christ can save the repentant sinner, but He cannot help the sham righteous person, as we like to represent ourselves.



These two points are contradictory.
Either it is better to just admit you want to convert to be married and leave it at that;
and it is unacceptable for these people to become upset
or this article is wrong,
and being a Christian is all about intimidation and not upsetting people, rather than
"Worshiping in Spirit and Truth".


Why defend this idea of people being upset and intimidating people into telling you what you want to hear?

I guess it would be helpful if someone could explain how to make church attendance more about Worshiping God
rather than all about being afraid of "upsetting people"?

Any assistance that could be provided in this direction would be very helpful.
Thank you.

Dear Robotron 2084

I am starting a new thread where this topic may be addressed.

There are Byzantine Catholics who make the Sign of the Cross in the same manner as do Orthodox Christians. Since Byzantine Catholics do visit Roman Catholic Churches, and RC priests have been instructed not to refuse them communion, you should not worry.

I will pray that you might receive the grace to convert to Holy Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2013, 04:08:10 AM »


If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.


I guess it would be helpful if someone could explain how to make church attendance more about Worshiping God
rather than all about being afraid of "upsetting people"?


There are Byzantine Catholics who make the Sign of the Cross in the same manner as do Orthodox Christians. Since Byzantine Catholics do visit Roman Catholic Churches, and RC priests have been instructed not to refuse them communion, you should not worry.

I will pray that you might receive the grace to convert to Holy Orthodoxy.


Dear Maria,

Thanks so much for your well-informed response.

I never would have known about Byzantine Catholics or their attendance/acceptance at Roman Catholic Churches.
I only would have guessed they were Orthodox Visitors, so thanks for enlightening me about that.


Sorry for the delay, but I had an emotional response to the first topic, and went into too much detail.
I didn't necessarily want this to be about the sign of the cross, but more about the worry of upsetting people.

However, the sign of the cross example first came to mind, and so I will try to make that one work.
I am speaking of attending the RC church I was raised in and attended all my life with my family.

It does seem awkward to my family members, when I cross myself the opposite way that they do;
but like I said I already talked to the Priests about it, and they never objected or said it even mattered to them.

But, since I was raised in this Church as a "cradle Roman Catholic"; I'm not really worried if it "upsets people" or not,
mostly because I know the "reality" of being a Roman Catholic, and intuitively understand what the expectations are.


I won't remark here about what I might say to an Orthodox Visitor who would be afraid of "upsetting people" and trying to adapt, but,
there is a difference in your confidence level when at your home church; or a visitor thinking of converting to a different belief system.

As a visitor to an Orthodox Church and not knowing anything at all about what to do there, I'm only concerned about safety.
So, the idea that someone would become upset at me for something that I could never possibly know, is extremely intimidating.

There should be a form of special consideration given to visitors who don't know anything, and unknowingly make mistakes there.
Perhaps also, if you could try to teach or instruct a new inquirer about what they don't know, would seem helpful too.


However, when you attend a church full of cradle orthodox, who learned everything from birth or their families;
they sometimes expect you to automatically know what they know, without teaching you anything;
and then often "get upset" at you for things you could never possibly know or guess.
After awhile, it no longer becomes about merely Worshiping God or Praying anymore.

Your statement of "only accept Baptism if you truly believe" does not match my actual experience of attendance there.
Your personal "beliefs" don't seem to have anything to do with it. 
You can walk into an Orthodox Church already knowing about the bible and having the most sincere beliefs,
but the only thing most Orthodox seem to care about is ritual observance, venerating icons,
and innumerable other mysterious incomprehensible things.


You cannot imagine how strange everything looks to an outsider who wasn't raised Orthodox.
Having sincere beliefs alone isn't enough to overcome the barriers present.
The only way to convert, seems to be if you are joining a family.

What difference does it make how sincere you are or what you believe, if that is your goal?
As long as you can perform the rituals correctly, and venerate icons the right way,
it doesn't seem to matter what your personal beliefs are at all?


Thanks for the new thread.  I'm sorry if what I've said upsets you, but these are genuine concerns that I currently have.
I greatly appreciate your saying: "I will pray that you might receive the grace to convert to Holy Orthodoxy."

Hopefully someday, but I only wish I knew how to make it happen, you know?
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2013, 11:26:18 AM »

You can walk into an Orthodox Church already knowing about the bible and having the most sincere beliefs,
but the only thing most Orthodox seem to care about is ritual observance, venerating icons,
and innumerable other mysterious incomprehensible things.

Venerating icons IS a part of belief.
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2013, 11:27:53 AM »

You can walk into an Orthodox Church already knowing about the bible and having the most sincere beliefs,
but the only thing most Orthodox seem to care about is ritual observance, venerating icons,
and innumerable other mysterious incomprehensible things.

Venerating icons IS a part of belief.

Indeed it is. There is even a feast of the Church dedicated to it, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, on the first Sunday of Great Lent.
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2013, 02:10:05 PM »

You can walk into an Orthodox Church already knowing about the bible and having the most sincere beliefs,
but the only thing most Orthodox seem to care about is ritual observance, venerating icons,
and innumerable other mysterious incomprehensible things.

Venerating icons IS a part of belief.

Indeed it is. There is even a feast of the Church dedicated to it, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, on the first Sunday of Great Lent.
Something the RC's celebrate, do they not?

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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2013, 02:18:07 PM »

No, they don't.
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2013, 02:55:48 PM »


If you mention that you are only converting in order to get married, that will upset a lot of people.


I guess it would be helpful if someone could explain how to make church attendance more about Worshiping God
rather than all about being afraid of "upsetting people"?


There are Byzantine Catholics who make the Sign of the Cross in the same manner as do Orthodox Christians. Since Byzantine Catholics do visit Roman Catholic Churches, and RC priests have been instructed not to refuse them communion, you should not worry.

I will pray that you might receive the grace to convert to Holy Orthodoxy.


Dear Maria,

Thanks so much for your well-informed response.

I never would have known about Byzantine Catholics or their attendance/acceptance at Roman Catholic Churches.
I only would have guessed they were Orthodox Visitors, so thanks for enlightening me about that.


Sorry for the delay, but I had an emotional response to the first topic, and went into too much detail.
I didn't necessarily want this to be about the sign of the cross, but more about the worry of upsetting people.

However, the sign of the cross example first came to mind, and so I will try to make that one work.
I am speaking of attending the RC church I was raised in and attended all my life with my family.

It does seem awkward to my family members, when I cross myself the opposite way that they do;
but like I said I already talked to the Priests about it, and they never objected or said it even mattered to them.

But, since I was raised in this Church as a "cradle Roman Catholic"; I'm not really worried if it "upsets people" or not,
mostly because I know the "reality" of being a Roman Catholic, and intuitively understand what the expectations are.


I won't remark here about what I might say to an Orthodox Visitor who would be afraid of "upsetting people" and trying to adapt, but,
there is a difference in your confidence level when at your home church; or a visitor thinking of converting to a different belief system.

As a visitor to an Orthodox Church and not knowing anything at all about what to do there, I'm only concerned about safety.
So, the idea that someone would become upset at me for something that I could never possibly know, is extremely intimidating.

There should be a form of special consideration given to visitors who don't know anything, and unknowingly make mistakes there.
Perhaps also, if you could try to teach or instruct a new inquirer about what they don't know, would seem helpful too.


However, when you attend a church full of cradle orthodox, who learned everything from birth or their families;
they sometimes expect you to automatically know what they know, without teaching you anything;
and then often "get upset" at you for things you could never possibly know or guess.
After awhile, it no longer becomes about merely Worshiping God or Praying anymore.

Your statement of "only accept Baptism if you truly believe" does not match my actual experience of attendance there.
Your personal "beliefs" don't seem to have anything to do with it.  
You can walk into an Orthodox Church already knowing about the bible and having the most sincere beliefs,
but the only thing most Orthodox seem to care about is ritual observance, venerating icons,
and innumerable other mysterious incomprehensible things.


You cannot imagine how strange everything looks to an outsider who wasn't raised Orthodox.
Having sincere beliefs alone isn't enough to overcome the barriers present.
The only way to convert, seems to be if you are joining a family.

What difference does it make how sincere you are or what you believe, if that is your goal?
As long as you can perform the rituals correctly, and venerate icons the right way,
it doesn't seem to matter what your personal beliefs are at all?


Thanks for the new thread.  I'm sorry if what I've said upsets you, but these are genuine concerns that I currently have.
I greatly appreciate your saying: "I will pray that you might receive the grace to convert to Holy Orthodoxy."

Hopefully someday, but I only wish I knew how to make it happen, you know?

Dear friend,

I was a cradle Roman Catholic and remained in the RCC for most of my life. When the now retired Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony, started his liturgical revolution and published his little book on that subject, my family had had enough.

We started attending the Melkite Eastern Catholic Church (aka Orthodox Catholics) and occasionally visited the Byzantine Catholics (Ruthenian Eastern Catholics). We had no trouble making the Orthodox Sign of the Cross. However, when we visited a Roman Catholic Church once, and made the RCC Sign of the Cross so as not to confuse the Roman Catholics, then we became confused. Upon our return to the Melkite Church the next day, we accidentally inserted the "filioque" and then crossed ourselves several times the wrong way. The Melkite Bishop almost choked.

After three years of attending the Eastern Catholic Churches and attending inquiry classes at the local Orthodox Church, we finally took the plunge and became catechumens in the Orthodox Church.

Even though we had studied and read widely about Eastern Orthodox Christianity during our time in the Melkite Church, it was very difficult learning the Orthodox Christian ethos, customs, and traditions.We had already fallen in love with icons, architecture, vestments, the smells and bells, byzantine chant, the Divine Liturgy, and Vespers. It was quite different dealing with the "evil eye" and other superstitions we encountered among the Orthodox faithful.

However, our priest assured us that most Orthodox faithful do not know their faith because they grew up under Communism or at a time when the Orthodox Church did not have catechism classes for their youth. Therefore, the priest insisted that we really needed to know our faith so that we could help educate the adults. The priest had good intentions. Occasionally, we do get asked questions that we can readily answer, but most of the time we encounter Orthodox Christians who assure us that they know more by their living the faith (even though they curse, drink, gamble, and follow ancient superstitions).
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 03:03:10 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 06:43:17 PM »

Dear Maria,

All I can say is, "Wow!"  You certainly have a great deal of insight about this topic.
Thank you so much for this post, you cannot possibly know how truly helpful it was for me.
I will try to respond to each part, below:

I was a cradle Roman Catholic and remained in the RCC for most of my life. When the now retired Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony, started his liturgical revolution and published his little book on that subject, my family had had enough.

I admit to not knowing any specifics about the liturgical revolution you mentioned, but the extent of my family's commitment to Roman Catholicism involves 45 minutes of church attendance every week, and not eating an hour before communion.  They have little interest in the bible, except what is read in church, and live mostly secular lives for the other 167 hours of the week.

We started attending the Melkite Eastern Catholic Church (aka Orthodox Catholics) and occasionally visited the Byzantine Catholics (Ruthenian Eastern Catholics). We had no trouble making the Orthodox Sign of the Cross. However, when we visited a Roman Catholic Church once, and made the RCC Sign of the Cross so as not to confuse the Roman Catholics, then we became confused. Upon our return to the Melkite Church the next day, we accidentally inserted the "filioque" and then crossed ourselves several times the wrong way. The Melkite Bishop almost choked.

I always use the Orthodox Sign of the Cross, because it feels "right" to me as a form of outward expression.  
Most Roman Catholics don't seem to mind all that much which way I do it, anyway.  

After three years of attending the Eastern Catholic Churches and attending inquiry classes at the local Orthodox Church, we finally took the plunge and became catechumens in the Orthodox Church.

Even though we had studied and read widely about Eastern Orthodox Christianity during our time in the Melkite Church, it was very difficult learning the Orthodox Christian ethos, customs, and traditions.We had already fallen in love with icons, architecture, vestments, the smells and bells, byzantine chant, the Divine Liturgy, and Vespers. It was quite different dealing with the "evil eye" and other superstitions we encountered among the Orthodox faithful.

I've attended/visited the Orthodox Church a few years longer than that, but I understand less now than when I first started.
I read most of the catechism book and that's straightforward, so it is not necessarily about knowledge or reading anything.

Where you mention the Orthodox ethos, customs and traditions; perhaps that is more of what the problem is?
What is this "evil eye" superstition you have encountered among the Orthodox faithful?    

However, our priest assured us that most Orthodox faithful do not know their faith because they grew up under Communism or at a time when the Orthodox Church did not have catechism classes for their youth. Therefore, the priest insisted that we really needed to know our faith so that we could help educate the adults. The priest had good intentions. Occasionally, we do get asked questions that we can readily answer, but most of the time we encounter Orthodox Christians who assure us that they know more by their living the faith (even though they curse, drink, gamble, and follow ancient superstitions).

You hit this one right on the bulls-eye.  I have no doubt that Communism is a major factor here, but I don't know what to do about it?
While it would clearly never be my place to ever attempt to "educate" any older adults;
this is a very interesting idea when you say most Orthodox faithful may not even know their own faith?

The major problem I have is that I've studied the bible extensively and run into many contradictions about it.
The bible is right there in the front of the church; yet few seem to know what it says, or grasp even the basics.

I'm not overly concerned about anyone who might have personal weaknesses;
and it is actually comforting to know that Orthodox Christians can curse, drink, gamble whatever,
and not be thrown out of the church for doing so.  

Perhaps you have answered my question in saying they may be doing it out of ignorance;
instead of out of knowledge; but it all hurts the same, regardless.
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2013, 06:49:12 PM »

we encounter Orthodox Christians who assure us that they know more by their living the faith (even though they curse, drink, gamble, and follow ancient superstitions).

That describes me pretty well. OK, maybe not that gambling thing.
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2013, 07:03:48 PM »

Venerating icons IS a part of belief.

Venerating icons looks like Idolatry to a protestant, so you are not necessarily on solid ground here.
It is also an action, rather than a belief.

If you mean "belief" in some other way; that is a mystery and still undefined to me.
"Belief" could be anything in that context.
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2013, 07:46:06 PM »

Venerating icons IS a part of belief.

Venerating icons looks like Idolatry to a protestant, so you are not necessarily on solid ground here.
It is also an action, rather than a belief.

If you mean "belief" in some other way; that is a mystery and still undefined to me.
"Belief" could be anything in that context.

The existence of a specific feast of the Church dedicated to icons and their veneration, which, at their core and essence, are proclamations of the Incarnation, means that their veneration is, indeed, a belief. Not only this, but those who actively rejected the veneration of icons, the iconoclasts, are singled out as heretics and anathematized.

Here are some of the hymns from the Sunday of Orthodoxy:

Uncircumscribed, Master, in Your divine nature, and incarnate in the last times, You were pleased to be circumscribed; for in assuming flesh, You also took on all its properties. Therefore, depicting the form of Your likeness, we give it a relative salutation and are exalted to love of You, and following the godly traditions of the apostles, we draw from it the grace of healings.

The Church of Christ has received a precious adornment: the radiant restoration of the venerable and holy icons of Christ the Savior, of God’s Mother and of all the saints. Through this she is made bright and resplendent with grace, and rejects the throng of heretics as she drives them out and joyfully gives glory to God who loves humankind, and who for her sake endured His voluntary sufferings.

The grace of truth has shone out; the things prefigured in shadows in times of old have now been openly fulfilled. For behold, the Church is clothed in a beauty that surpasses all earthly beauty, the physical icon of Christ, as she displays the type of the Tent of Witness and maintains the Orthodox faith, so that, holding fast to the icon of Him who we worship, we may not go astray. Let all who do not believe like this be covered with shame; but our glory is the form of the One made flesh, which is devoutly venerated but not made a god. As we kiss it, let us believers cry aloud, ‘O God, save Your people and bless Your inheritance’.

Advancing from false religion to true, and illumined with the light of knowledge, let us clap our hands, as the psalm says, offering praise and thanksgiving to God; and with fitting honor let us venerate the sacred icons of Christ, of the all-pure Virgin and all the saints, whether depicted on walls, panels or sacred vessels, rejecting the impious religion of the heretics; for, as Basil says, the honor shown to the icon passes to the prototype, as we ask that at the prayers of Your immaculate Mother, Christ our God, and of all the saints, we may be granted Your great mercy.

No one could describe the Word of the Father; but when He took flesh from you, O Mother of God, He consented to be described, and restored the fallen image to its former state by uniting it to divine beauty. We confess and proclaim our salvation in word and images.


Lex orandi, lex credendi. We pray as we believe, we believe what we pray.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 07:56:31 PM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2013, 03:33:45 AM »

I ask this not to be grumpy, but in genuine confusion. What's everyone getting worked up about and changing the sign of the cross depending on what church you attend? I saw my friends do it when they visited my parish, and in Catholic school it was a source of bemusement for a small amount of my teachers, but I do not change how I make the sign of the cross regardless of where I am. Has anyone actually ever seen an Orthodox priest react badly to someone making the sign of the cross the Latin way?
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2013, 10:45:00 AM »

Has anyone actually ever seen an Orthodox priest react badly to someone making the sign of the cross the Latin way?

I haven't. I believe the Ethiopians at our parish cross themselves that way as well.
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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2013, 09:24:10 AM »

For what it's worth, veneration of icons is part of the practice and integral to the theology of Eastern Catholics. In their Triodon, the First Sunday of the Great  Fast commemorates the restoration of icons and the Triumph of Orthodoxy. Likewise, they make the Sign of the Cross in the Orthodox fashion.
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« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2013, 09:47:49 AM »

Venerating icons IS a part of belief.

Venerating icons looks like Idolatry to a protestant, so you are not necessarily on solid ground here.
It is also an action, rather than a belief.

If you mean "belief" in some other way; that is a mystery and still undefined to me.
"Belief" could be anything in that context.

The existence of a specific feast of the Church dedicated to icons and their veneration, which, at their core and essence, are proclamations of the Incarnation, means that their veneration is, indeed, a belief. Not only this, but those who actively rejected the veneration of icons, the iconoclasts, are singled out as heretics and anathematized.

LBK,

This thread was a spin-off from a Protestant wanting to Convert to Orthodoxy for Marriage.
Some posters objected to that, and said you must believe (in the Lord) first, before you convert;
and that converting just for Marriage would "upset" people.

This crossing thread came from an apparently bad example where I said that I would find it
insincere to change the way I cross myself to avoid "upsetting" people; and if your real goal
is to Convert for Marriage, perhaps it is better to be honest about that, rather than
worrying about proving the sincerity of your beliefs, just to avoid "upsetting" people.

I said this in reference to an Orthodox Article about "Worshiping God in Spirit and Truth."


I'm not a protestant, but I've been to bible studies where I've asked their opinions about Icons,
and I've had several tell me (from the Podium) that they most definitely considered Venerating
Icons to be a form of Idolatry, and recommended against doing so.

I'm aware of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, but all that tells me is the Worship of Icons is controversial.
If it were a source of belief as you say, then there would be no need for a Sunday of Orthodoxy;
as Icons would be automatically accepted by everyone without question.

Roman Catholics pray to Statues of Mary and Crosses on the Wall;
and that could also be seen as Idolatry from the Protestant perspective as well,
so I'm not necessarily saying that I have a dog in this fight.


However, from your comment above, it seems that believing in the Lord is irrelevant,
compared to the act of Venerating Icons, and someone who is uncomfortable with doing that
is to be "singled out as a heretic and anathematized?"

I appreciate your saying this, so then let us go back to that Protestant and tell her
that instead of worrying about expressing "belief in the Lord";
she is now going to be forced to Venerate Icons,
which may be condemned as Idolatry by her current religion.

And now during the process of Conversion to Orthodoxy
she can expect simultaneous condemnations from the Protestants
for committing Idolatry by Venerating Icons in the Orthodox Church;
and then from the Orthodox merely for questioning the legitimacy of this practice;
and risk being singled out as a heretic and anathematized, for any hesitation in doing so?


I'm not necessarily familiar with Jesus condemning people for failure to Venerate Icons
in the bible; so perhaps a Protestant may not be aware of the necessity to do this
in the Orthodox Church?   
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« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2013, 10:05:34 AM »

I'm aware of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, but all that tells me is the Worship of Icons is controversial.
If it were a source of belief as you say, then there would be no need for a Sunday of Orthodoxy;
as Icons would be automatically accepted by everyone without question.

Does that mean divinity of Christ is also not a part of belief since it hadn't been universally accepted?
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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2013, 10:46:58 AM »

I'm aware of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, but all that tells me is the Worship of Icons is controversial.
If it were a source of belief as you say, then there would be no need for a Sunday of Orthodoxy;
as Icons would be automatically accepted by everyone without question.

Does that mean divinity of Christ is also not a part of belief since it hadn't been universally accepted?

Or, indeed, the ever-virginity of the Mother of God? As for protestants denouncing the veneration of icons, they are mistaken, just as the iconoclasts were. Orthodoxy maintains and proclaims its beliefs and teachings, most visibly and accessibly through hymnography and iconography. The opinion of protestants is irrelevant in establishing and proclaiming Orthodox doctrine.

Sure, there are some matters of faith with which prospective converts might have difficulty in accepting, and a good priest or catechist should be able to guide such people to accepting these beliefs. However, the Church will not alter her beliefs or teachings to pander to the whims or errors of the non-Orthodox.
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« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2013, 11:38:46 AM »

Does anyone know of some article or the reason why East and West make the sign of the Cross differently? I hear a lot of people say the West used to make the sign in the Orthodox way and changed at some point in Medieval Times. Does anyone confirm that information? What are the sources for that?
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2013, 11:52:55 AM »

Does anyone know of some article or the reason why East and West make the sign of the Cross differently? I hear a lot of people say the West used to make the sign in the Orthodox way and changed at some point in Medieval Times. Does anyone confirm that information? What are the sources for that?

It's been my understanding that the Orthodox way is a newer way of doing it. Someone else can bring in sources to confirm one way or the other.
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« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2013, 01:56:20 PM »

Does anyone know of some article or the reason why East and West make the sign of the Cross differently? I hear a lot of people say the West used to make the sign in the Orthodox way and changed at some point in Medieval Times. Does anyone confirm that information? What are the sources for that?

There's a book I'd recommend: The Sign of the Cross: the Gesture, the Mystery, the History, by Andreas Andreopoulos.  I didn't "LOVE!!!!!" it the way I love other books, but it was a very nice introduction to the subject.  He goes into the history of the various ways the Cross has been signed in East and West.  The one thing that seems certain is that there was no particularly universal way of signing the Cross, it's been done differently in different places even before the major schisms.  Even today, in the various "communions" (RC, EO, OO), there are different ways of crossing oneself that are accepted, even if one or the other form predominates. 

I've heard that Pope Innocent III wrote about the Cross, saying that what's now the Byzantine way is the traditional way, but even in the quote, he admits that it's done differently...the direction of movement from the shoulders depends on what interpretation is given to the movement.  For example, most interpretations agree that the movement from the forehead to the navel indicates the descent of the Son from heaven to earth, but then go on to justify the next movement by saying he came to "save and not to condemn" (right to left), to take those who were condemned and lead them to salvation (left to right), or even that he came first to the Jews, and then for the Gentiles (right to left).  When invoking the Trinity, it also is said to depend on the position of the word "Holy" in "Holy Spirit"..."Holy" being the right, and "Spirit" being the left, closer to the heart.  In Greek, that's right to left, in Syriac and Latin, that's left to right, etc. 

Originally, the Cross was just traced on the forehead...if anything, that seems to have the best claim on universality.  Even now, our (Syriac) canonical offices retain hymns for the Cross in which we say among other things "We trace [the Cross] on our foreheads".  The full form Cross was a later development.     
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« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2013, 02:21:56 PM »

I honestly go back and forth between making it right to left/left to right depending on my surroundings and I know several former Catholics in my parish who still make it left to right with open hand(which represent the five wounds of Christ is I remember right)
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« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2013, 11:53:57 AM »

I'm aware of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, but all that tells me is the Worship of Icons is controversial.
If it were a source of belief as you say, then there would be no need for a Sunday of Orthodoxy;
as Icons would be automatically accepted by everyone without question.

Does that mean divinity of Christ is also not a part of belief since it hadn't been universally accepted?

Dear Michal,

The issue of "belief" as you say seems to be related more to ideology, than the difference between "beliefs" and "actions".
It is one thing to be raised Orthodox from birth, and quite another to encounter it as an adult, and attempt to make sense of it.

The statement of "divinity of Christ" is meaningless to me; because that is an internal state of belief.
You can say whatever you think is right at the time, but your inner beliefs are not openly exposed to public examination.

For someone new to the Orthodox Church; and being seriously and severely forewarned (from your own prior religious faith)
that the Veneration of Icons either appears to be Idolatry or actually could be; this is a little different from every other issue.

There is a point in the Orthodox Services where everyone in Church goes up to Venerate an Icon.
Without getting any further explanation or justification of this practice, or even being told the proper way to do it;
that puts an Observing Visitor into an extremely precarious position.

Your ideological beliefs can be molded to fit the demands of the moment;
but if you are told that Venerating an Icon is a very serious sin by your prior religious group;
now you have several hundred witnesses that you just went up and Venerated an Icon.

Now you will be severely judged by God for doing so, because YOU know better,
even if everyone else attending the Church does not,
or is clueless about the specific Bible scriptures your initial belief is based on.

Whatever your ideological predisposition is: whether Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, etc...
the act of going up and publicly Venerating and Icon; is much more than just BELIEF.


My personal statement to you Michal is: how do you know that you are right?
What proof do you have that your Ideological understanding is superior to the Protestants?


I'm not saying this to provoke argument or to question the Orthodox belief system.
I'm saying this from not knowing or understanding Orthodoxy at all; and now being forced to publicly Venerate an Icon
after being told by my prior religious group that doing this is a grave and serious sin.

Because you are raised Orthodox, it is no skin off your back to Venerate an Icon because you have been doing it from birth.
But, what if my studies of the bible have brought me into a close personal relationship with God, and I don't want to lose it;
or even better, I'm terrified of jeopardizing it?

Can you prove to me that God will not severely punish me, for Venerating an Icon in the Orthodox Church;
when I have been specifically told by my bible teachers, that this is Idolatry and a grave sin?

How do you know that you are right?
What if I listen to you, and start publicly Venerating Icons straight away;
and then something terrible happens to me as a result of that?

I'm not saying this to doubt you or question your beliefs.
I'm just asking you to explain your beliefs to me,
to try and overcome these bible based objections from the Protestants or whoever else.


If all you can do is pretend it is part of Ideology, or threaten with heresy and anathema;
then you are proving yourselves wrong from the very outset.
You cannot threaten someone into believing what you want them to believe,
and none of you on this board has even attempted to give a valid defense of
why there is such a necessity of venerating icons in the first place?


Please explain to me: Why it is necessary to publicly Venerate an Icon in Church,
and try to make it good enough for me to feel comfortable taking the risk of offending God by doing so.

There is a lot of fear to overcome in doing this publicly, and I need something better than Ideology
because I am being asked to take a public action here, that cannot be undone,
not merely a statement of beliefs, as you proclaim.
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« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2013, 12:02:11 PM »


Sure, there are some matters of faith with which prospective converts might have difficulty in accepting, and a good priest or catechist should be able to guide such people to accepting these beliefs. However, the Church will not alter her beliefs or teachings to pander to the whims or errors of the non-Orthodox.

Dear LBK,

The issue is not about asking the Orthodox Church to alter their beliefs or teachings.
I'm only asking you to explain and justify or defend them, and you cannot seem to do so.

Any ideology can be imprinted on a child, but how do you justify taking a public action like Venerating an Icon in Church,
when someone has been told and shown scriptural proof, that this may be a questionable practice? 
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« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2013, 01:42:19 PM »

There is a point in the Orthodox Services where everyone in Church goes up to Venerate an Icon.
Without getting any further explanation or justification of this practice, or even being told the proper way to do it;
that puts an Observing Visitor into an extremely precarious position.

Your ideological beliefs can be molded to fit the demands of the moment;
but if you are told that Venerating an Icon is a very serious sin by your prior religious group;
now you have several hundred witnesses that you just went up and Venerated an Icon.

I think I understand the points you were making in your post.  I just wanted to single this out because I don't think it's necessarily true.  Yes, there are points where the faithful in EO services will venerate icons.  But if you're a non-Orthodox visitor, I don't think anyone will necessarily expect you to fall into line and do everything you see the faithful doing.  For example, if the entire church goes up for Communion, you wouldn't be expected to do so (actually, you'd be expected not to). 

The non-Orthodox visitor should not feel any pressure to engage in practices like icon veneration with which they are not yet comfortable due to a difference in faith.  At the same time, if you're really interested in learning about the faith, you'll have to learn about the theology behind the painting and veneration of icons, since it flows from the Incarnation.  If you want to become a member of the Church, you'll have to accept this as part of the faith.  You don't necessarily have to venerate every icon in every church, some people are more minimalists and others more maximalists in this regard, but in principle you should accept the practice as legitimate, Orthodox, supported by Scripture, Tradition, etc.   

So if you're not comfortable with it because it goes against everything you've ever been taught, that's OK, just don't do it when you visit.  But if you're interested in learning about Orthodoxy on its own terms, you'll have to learn what we believe about it and why.  If you're interested in learning because you might want to convert, then you'll have to accept that there are some things you learned from your youth that may be wrong, that your previous Bible teachers, pastors, and leaders could've been wrong, and then consider the issues for yourself.  I don't see how you make a jump from Protestantism to Orthodoxy without at least some of that (even if you're not required to be a jerk about it).  Smiley 
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« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2013, 06:03:30 PM »

OK, Convert Issues again. Sorry.
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« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2013, 04:38:07 AM »

Yes, there are points where the faithful in EO services will venerate icons. 
But if you're a non-Orthodox visitor, I don't think anyone will necessarily expect you to fall into line and do everything you see the faithful doing.  

I'm specifically talking about Vespers or the All-night Vigil from 6-9pm.
At around 7:30pm, everyone goes up and venerates an Icon in the center of the church.

I don't have a clue about what to do when this happens, but usually I try to run out of the church,
right before 7:30, and then come back 15-20 minutes later, when it's all over with.

However, sometimes I lose track of the time, and get trapped in there.
Usually, a lot of people show up right before 7:30, just to venerate the Icon, and then they leave.
If I don't make it out in time, all these people block the exit, and I am trapped in the church.

Then, everyone else goes up the to front and Venerates the Icon, and I am the only one who doesn't.
So, then the priest is upset with me, for just standing there; and everyone else is looking at me, too?
It got to the point, where I never entered the church anymore; and now I cannot even stand outside.

The non-Orthodox visitor should not feel any pressure to engage in practices like icon veneration with which they are not yet comfortable due to a difference in faith. 

Wishful thinking on my part. 
Can I quote you to them, maybe hold up a sign saying,
"Visitors shall not be pressured to engage in practices with which they are not yet comfortable?"
I'm sure they'll respond to that positively?

The first time I went up to kiss the cross after Liturgy, the priest pulled the cross away
and started waving his arms around screaming at me that I had to cross myself first.

Who knows what he will do if I go up there and try to Venerate the Icon incorrectly?
I'm not willing to take that chance yet, but now they get upset at me for just standing there, too?

At the same time, if you're really interested in learning about the faith, you'll have to learn about the theology behind the painting and veneration of icons, since it flows from the Incarnation.  If you want to become a member of the Church, you'll have to accept this as part of the faith.  You don't necessarily have to venerate every icon in every church, some people are more minimalists and others more maximalists in this regard, but in principle you should accept the practice as legitimate, Orthodox, supported by Scripture, Tradition, etc.   

It would be helpful for someone to give an alternate explanation to the specific bible verses quoted against Venerating Icons.
But, I need some kind of explanation for it.  Monkey see monkey do, just doesn't work for me.
I'm from the generation where everyone who caved in to peer pressure, ended up becoming alcoholics and drug addicts.
I'm not going to do anything that hasn't been thoroughly explained to me in advance, and why do I need to apologize for that?

So if you're not comfortable with it because it goes against everything you've ever been taught, that's OK, just don't do it when you visit. 

So you're saying that I should stand my ground and stare right back at them?
200 against 1 sounds like fair odds.  Okay, no problem.

But if you're interested in learning about Orthodoxy on its own terms, you'll have to learn what we believe about it and why.  If you're interested in learning because you might want to convert, then you'll have to accept that there are some things you learned from your youth that may be wrong, that your previous Bible teachers, pastors, and leaders could've been wrong, and then consider the issues for yourself.  I don't see how you make a jump from Protestantism to Orthodoxy without at least some of that (even if you're not required to be a jerk about it).  Smiley 

Of course I'm interested in learning about Orthodoxy.
It is not about believing in my previous bible teachers. 
I've rejected about 45% of everything they've ever said to me.
The problem is with the other 45% that is straight out of the bible,
that cannot easily be refuted.
I need someone to at least defend the Veneration of Icons with something out of the bible,
if that is even possible?
Or just some kind of explanation to overcome the objections that I've been previously taught.

However, at this point, I'd just like to be able to attend church,
without feeling reviled as a heretic or worse, by everyone else in there?
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« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2013, 04:56:36 AM »

The non-Orthodox visitor should not feel any pressure to engage in practices like icon veneration with which they are not yet comfortable due to a difference in faith.

But Robo is Roman Catholic. There should be no difference in faith on this point.
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« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2013, 05:07:16 AM »

But Robo is Roman Catholic. There should be no difference in faith on this point.

Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.

Even though I was taught to pray to Mary statues and crosses on the wall from birth,
there is no REQUIREMENT to do so, in the Roman Catholic church.

Perhaps it would be easier if I never studied the bible, but there is a bible in the Orthodox church, you know?
Why should reading and studying the bible be regarded as a negative?

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« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2013, 05:15:12 AM »


Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.


You can't be serious!

I've yet to set foot inside a Roman Catholic church, traditional or modern, which didn't have an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in a prominent place, and bristling with votive candles. And I've been inside many RC churche, of traditional and modern architecture and style.
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« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2013, 05:18:08 AM »

Why should reading and studying the bible be regarded as a negative?

Where did I claim that reading the bible is negative?
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« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2013, 09:18:30 AM »

But Robo is Roman Catholic. There should be no difference in faith on this point.

Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.

Even though I was taught to pray to Mary statues and crosses on the wall from birth,
there is no REQUIREMENT to do so, in the Roman Catholic church.

Perhaps it would be easier if I never studied the bible, but there is a bible in the Orthodox church, you know?
Why should reading and studying the bible be regarded as a negative?



Wrong. Negative. No.

What do you think happens on Good Friday services when the faithful line up to venerate the crucifix?  I've been to places where it is a 2-D icon as opposed to a 3-D representation.

Tell a Polish Catholic that he doesn't venerate Our Lady of Czestochowa and we'll see how far you get.

The feet of many a statute of saints in an RC church are highly polished now because of the veneration it receives.

You have no idea what you're talking about.

See The Catechism of the RCC, section 2131 which explicitly confirms the Seventh Ecumenical Council.
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« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2013, 10:41:57 AM »

But Robo is Roman Catholic. There should be no difference in faith on this point.

Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.

Even though I was taught to pray to Mary statues and crosses on the wall from birth,
there is no REQUIREMENT to do so, in the Roman Catholic church.

Perhaps it would be easier if I never studied the bible, but there is a bible in the Orthodox church, you know?
Why should reading and studying the bible be regarded as a negative?



Wrong. Negative. No.

What do you think happens on Good Friday services when the faithful line up to venerate the crucifix?  I've been to places where it is a 2-D icon as opposed to a 3-D representation.

Tell a Polish Catholic that he doesn't venerate Our Lady of Czestochowa and we'll see how far you get.

The feet of many a statute of saints in an RC church are highly polished now because of the veneration it receives.

You have no idea what you're talking about.

See The Catechism of the RCC, section 2131 which explicitly confirms the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

Amen. It is good to see, however, that poor catachesis and religious confusion is apparently not unique to Orthodoxy. 
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« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2013, 11:46:38 AM »

I'm specifically talking about Vespers or the All-night Vigil from 6-9pm.
At around 7:30pm, everyone goes up and venerates an Icon in the center of the church.

Yeah, I know what you're talking about.  In general, I stand by my advice.  I've done it myself on occasion.   

Most of your description of your situation sounds very "tense".  Have you tried to talk to the priest and maybe explain where you're coming from, how you don't want to appear disrespectful but you're not "there yet"?  I haven't encountered a parish where the priest was so harsh toward visitors or inquirers, no matter how "strict" the parish was.  If you haven't talked to the priest, he might just assume you are an Orthodox visitor and wonder why you're not "falling in"; once you explain it to him, I can't imagine it being a problem. 

Regarding the other parishioners, you have to understand that they are people; not all people will be welcoming of visitors at first contact, they may be more cautious, more curious, etc., and any "difference" will register in their consciousness.  That's just human behaviour.  I experienced it, for example, when I moved to W. PA and walked into the local Applebee's for dinner and was the only non-white person in the entire restaurant (and I swore at the time, one of maybe ten in the entire town!): I could've sworn it was like those old Westerns where someone walks into the saloon, the music stops, and everyone freezes their gaze upon you.  Tongue  But it settled down eventually, and some people even came up to say hi and get to know me (and that NEVER happens where I'm from).  It would be nice if people, especially "church" people, could be more open and welcoming, but there are a number of reasons why that's not often the case.  You might just have to be ready for a stare or a quizzical look here and there.  But I don't think anyone's going to notice you enough to grab you by the shoulders and start pushing you toward the icon...if they did that to me, I wouldn't accept blame for what I did next.  Tongue     


Quote
The first time I went up to kiss the cross after Liturgy, the priest pulled the cross away
and started waving his arms around screaming at me that I had to cross myself first.

Who knows what he will do if I go up there and try to Venerate the Icon incorrectly?
I'm not willing to take that chance yet, but now they get upset at me for just standing there, too?

The only time I've ever seen a priest "correct" someone on the proper procedure for venerating icons or crosses was when he knew it was an Orthodox person who was being lazy (e.g., a member of his parish).  The same priest, when dealing with visitors, would "do his thing" and let them "do theirs".  Some people just walk by without doing anything and he'll introduce himself and ask them to stay for a few minutes so he can chat with them when he's done, and others are from other Orthodox traditions and do what they're used to, which throws him off a bit, but it's all good. 

Are you sure the priest doesn't think you're just a visiting Orthodox from somewhere else? 

Quote
It would be helpful for someone to give an alternate explanation to the specific bible verses quoted against Venerating Icons.
But, I need some kind of explanation for it.  Monkey see monkey do, just doesn't work for me.
I'm from the generation where everyone who caved in to peer pressure, ended up becoming alcoholics and drug addicts.
I'm not going to do anything that hasn't been thoroughly explained to me in advance, and why do I need to apologize for that?

You don't.  If you're interested, there are a number of threads dealing with icon veneration, including at least one or two that are active now.  Try looking through those and see if they answer your doubts; if not, join in and ask your questions. 

Quote
So you're saying that I should stand my ground and stare right back at them?
200 against 1 sounds like fair odds.  Okay, no problem.

Um, I don't think you need to stare right back at anyone.  I don't think you ought to be compelled to do things you don't feel comfortable with before converting, so if that means you want to attend church without venerating icons, I think that's fine.  But it might make you stick out in the group.  If the priest knows you and your "story", it really should not be a problem with him (I've received some of the best treatment in parishes where the priests and people actually believe I'm a heretic and maybe just slightly better than a Hindu).  If you get to know some people, that helps too, because people talk, and eventually even people who haven't met you know you're an inquirer.  But you can't always please everyone, so if you get some stares or looks, you might just have to put up with it a little.  Again, that's not a uniquely Orthodox problem, it's a human problem.

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« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2013, 11:56:44 AM »

Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.

Even though I was taught to pray to Mary statues and crosses on the wall from birth,
there is no REQUIREMENT to do so, in the Roman Catholic church.

Perhaps it would be easier if I never studied the bible, but there is a bible in the Orthodox church, you know?
Why should reading and studying the bible be regarded as a negative?



I'm not bothered so much by the assertion that Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.  Technically, it's not true as others have demonstrated, but you can't say that they venerate them as universally and ritually as EO do, it's very much a matter of personal devotion except for something like Good Friday's veneration of the Cross.  So it does appear as a difference to some extent. 

I'm more concerned with the idea of being taught to pray TO statues and crosses.  Pray BEFORE them, fine, but TO?  I don't know even one Catholic who thinks they pray to objects.  The Catholic Church certainly doesn't teach people to pray to objects.  Someone somewhere was/is wrong...
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« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2013, 01:24:15 PM »


Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.

You can't be serious!

I've yet to set foot inside a Roman Catholic church, traditional or modern, which didn't have an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in a prominent place, and bristling with votive candles. And I've been inside many RC churche, of traditional and modern architecture and style.

This is entirely irrelevant to the discussion but:
Yes, I'm absolutely serious.
 
There is no requirement (that I'm personally aware of) to Venerate an Icon during a Roman Catholic Mass.
I've lit candles in with my father (for a quarter) when I was a child, but that was something entirely different from what you are talking about.
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« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2013, 01:49:49 PM »

Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.
Wrong. Negative. No.

What do you think happens on Good Friday services when the faithful line up to venerate the crucifix?  I've been to places where it is a 2-D icon as opposed to a 3-D representation.

Tell a Polish Catholic that he doesn't venerate Our Lady of Czestochowa and we'll see how far you get.

The feet of many a statute of saints in an RC church are highly polished now because of the veneration it receives.

You have no idea what you're talking about.

Wow!  This is interesting?  Am I required to be polite here?
My family forced me to go to Catechism or CCD classes the first 8 years of Grammar school, until I made my Confirmation.

Everyone in the neighborhood I grew up in was Roman Catholic.
There is no Roman Catholic example to follow in Venerating Icons the way the Orthodox do.
Roman Catholics do not venerate icons during Mass, at least not during the 2000+ ones I've been forced to attend.

My only example of Roman Catholic belief is 45 minutes a week of church attendance and fasting an hour before Communion.
Outside of that, almost anything goes.

Whatever Roman Catholics choose to do outside of mass is their business, but there is a lot of freedom of choice
with what you are required to believe, or who you can disagree with.

I don't know if you misunderstood me, but perhaps if I reword it as:
Roman Catholics are not required to Venerate Icons, and not a single one at the parish I've attended has ever done so, during my entire life.
There is no possible example to follow from Roman Catholicism, with how to Venerate Icons in an Orthodox Church.

I don't even remember what happens on Good Friday, except for being bored to death;
but Venerating Icons does not happen there, I can tell you that for sure.

Why are you telling me "You have no idea what you're talking about",
when I'm honestly relating my real Roman Catholic experiences with you.

Why are you disagreeing with my Roman Catholic experiences when you say you are OCA?
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« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2013, 02:02:52 PM »

The problem is extrapolating from your individual experience a generalization about all Roman Catholics which is false.
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« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2013, 02:08:55 PM »

Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.
Wrong. Negative. No.

What do you think happens on Good Friday services when the faithful line up to venerate the crucifix?  I've been to places where it is a 2-D icon as opposed to a 3-D representation.

Tell a Polish Catholic that he doesn't venerate Our Lady of Czestochowa and we'll see how far you get.

The feet of many a statute of saints in an RC church are highly polished now because of the veneration it receives.

You have no idea what you're talking about.

I don't even remember what happens on Good Friday, except for being bored to death;
but Venerating Icons does not happen there, I can tell you that for sure.

So you admit you have no idea what you are talking about.  Veneration of the Cross is the centerpiece of the Good Friday service.  You know what you do?  You get in line like you're going to communion, cross yourself, get on your knees, and kiss the feet of the corpus on the crucifix held before you.  

that is the definition of veneration of an icon.

Quote
Why are you telling me "You have no idea what you're talking about",
when I'm honestly relating my real Roman Catholic experiences with you.

No.  You said, "Roman Catholics do not venerate icons".  That's not a statement of personal experience, that's a general statement that is demonstratively false.  

Quote
Why are you disagreeing with my Roman Catholic experiences when you say you are OCA?

Because I know what I'm talking about.  I grew up RC, went to a parochial school for six years, then continued my RC education via CCD classes (gladly, I might add) through high school graduation.  I was arguably the leading altar server from sixth grade through ninth grade when I turned the reins over, so to speak.  I considered RC seminary.  I have nothing but fond memories of my RC upbringing and formation.  I do not have an axe to grind.  I became Orthodox because I believe that is where the fullness of the Truth lies.

I will give that veneration of icons is not as much of the RC liturgical experience as in the Orthodox Church.  But your pronouncements on what RCs believe and practice is not only colored by your admittedly limited experience but also, apparently, by the chip on your shoulder about your upbringing.

The EO venerate icons.  It's very much a part of our corporate and personal piety.  If you don't like it or can't, don't.  The answers as to why are right in front of you and easy to discover.  
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« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2013, 03:54:56 PM »

The problem is extrapolating from your individual experience a generalization about all Roman Catholics which is false.

You are taking what I said out of context.
Roman Catholics are not required to Venerate Icons as part of the Sunday Mass,
and they do not do it as a part of the Sunday Mass (at least where I attended).
So, there is no example from the Roman Catholic Church to follow,
in knowing how or why the Orthodox Venerate Icons, the way that they do it.

I feel I can extrapolate my experience as a Roman Catholic because I was raised that way from birth.
I'm not making any statements about what Roman Catholics may do on their own private time,
I'm just saying there is no example to follow with understanding Orthodox Icon Veneration,
merely from attending the Roman Catholic Sunday Mass.
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« Reply #39 on: June 19, 2013, 03:58:34 PM »

The problem is extrapolating from your individual experience a generalization about all Roman Catholics which is false.

You are taking what I said out of context.
Roman Catholics are not required to Venerate Icons as part of the Sunday Mass,
and they do not do it as a part of the Sunday Mass (at least where I attended).
So, there is no example from the Roman Catholic Church to follow,
in knowing how or why the Orthodox Venerate Icons, the way that they do it.

I feel I can extrapolate my experience as a Roman Catholic because I was raised that way from birth.
I'm not making any statements about what Roman Catholics may do on their own private time,
I'm just saying there is no example to follow with understanding Orthodox Icon Veneration,
merely from attending the Roman Catholic Sunday Mass.

I too was a cradle Roman Catholic and was educated at a Catholic university.

Both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians venerate relics especially the Relics of the Holy Cross on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, unless Rome has changed that date.
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« Reply #40 on: June 19, 2013, 04:24:01 PM »

Save your fingers, Maria.  Robotron doesn't want to read about your opposite experiences as a Roman Catholic.  His own coerced low church experience is what is the de rigueur for all Roman Catholics.
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« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2013, 04:30:38 PM »

Save your fingers, Maria.  Robotron doesn't want to read about your opposite experiences as a Roman Catholic.  His own coerced low church experience is what is the de rigueur for all Roman Catholics.

I am giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Perhaps he has forgotten about venerating the relics of the Holy Cross.
Or perhaps he has never been to church on the feast of the Holy Cross.
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« Reply #42 on: June 19, 2013, 05:02:42 PM »

Veneration of the Cross is the centerpiece of the Good Friday service.  You know what you do?  You get in line like you're going to communion, cross yourself, get on your knees, and kiss the feet of the corpus on the crucifix held before you.  

that is the definition of veneration of an icon.

I have no memory of anything like that ever, in the Roman Catholic Church that I attended; but it doesn't matter anyway.
There are no examples from the weekly Latin mass that will ever tell you how the Orthodox Venerate Icons.

No.  You said, "Roman Catholics do not venerate icons".  That's not a statement of personal experience, that's a general statement that is demonstratively false.  

The context of that statement was the implication that being Roman Catholic means you already know how the Orthodox Venerate Icons.
There is nothing from the Roman Catholic Mass that prepares you for how the Orthodox Venerate Icons.
I meant it as a statement of personal experience, that I cannot be expected to know how the Orthodox Venerate Icons,
just from my experiences with attending the Latin Catholic Mass.

In the context of how it is required to be done during the Orthodox all-night Vigil,
"Roman Catholics do not venerate icons" during the Latin Mass, 
in a way that could ever possibly prepare them, for understanding how the Orthodox do it,
just from Roman Catholic Church attendance alone.

I never meant it as a general statement.  I meant it that merely attending the Roman Catholic Mass,
does not prepare you for understanding how the Orthodox will Venerate Icons during an All-Night Vigil.

Because I know what I'm talking about.  I grew up RC, went to a parochial school for six years, then continued my RC education via CCD classes (gladly, I might add) through high school graduation.  I was arguably the leading altar server from sixth grade through ninth grade when I turned the reins over, so to speak.  I considered RC seminary.  I have nothing but fond memories of my RC upbringing and formation.  I do not have an axe to grind.  I became Orthodox because I believe that is where the fullness of the Truth lies.

I will give that veneration of icons is not as much of the RC liturgical experience as in the Orthodox Church.  But your pronouncements on what RCs believe and practice is not only colored by your admittedly limited experience but also, apparently, by the chip on your shoulder about your upbringing.

The EO venerate icons.  It's very much a part of our corporate and personal piety.  If you don't like it or can't, don't.  The answers as to why are right in front of you and easy to discover.  
I cannot offer you an honest opinion about your first paragraph, without being banned from this forum.

My personal attendance at the Roman Catholic Church I was raised at,
gave me no preparation or understanding whatsoever,
about how the Orthodox at the Church I have specifically attended, Venerate Icons.

The answers are impossible to find at this point.
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« Reply #43 on: June 19, 2013, 05:13:02 PM »

Why should reading and studying the bible be regarded as a negative?

Where did I claim that reading the bible is negative?

Sorry, that comment wasn't directed at you.

Apparently a firestorm has erupted where Icon Veneration is now required in every Roman Catholic Church,
except for the one that I attended.
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« Reply #44 on: June 19, 2013, 05:23:03 PM »

Why should reading and studying the bible be regarded as a negative?

Where did I claim that reading the bible is negative?

Sorry, that comment wasn't directed at you.

Apparently a firestorm has erupted where Icon Veneration is now required in every Roman Catholic Church,
except for the one that I attended.

No. The Eastern Catholic Churches have Icon veneration, but few Roman Catholic churches did when I was a Roman Catholic and member of a Melkite Eastern Catholic parish.

I did mention the veneration of the relics of the Holy Cross. Have you ever venerated these relics?
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« Reply #45 on: June 19, 2013, 05:26:53 PM »

Robotron doesn't want to read about your opposite experiences as a Roman Catholic.
His own coerced low church experience is what is the de rigueur for all Roman Catholics.

I've been severely abused by "Good Catholics" throughout my life, and apparently it never ends.
Honestly, I'd rather be regarded as a bad Catholic than a good one. 
Am I required to be a Catholic Altar Boy, to be accepted into the Orthodox faith?
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« Reply #46 on: June 19, 2013, 06:26:56 PM »

Sorry, I should have responded to this post first. 

Most of your description of your situation sounds very "tense".  Have you tried to talk to the priest and maybe explain where you're coming from, how you don't want to appear disrespectful but you're not "there yet"?  I haven't encountered a parish where the priest was so harsh toward visitors or inquirers, no matter how "strict" the parish was.  If you haven't talked to the priest, he might just assume you are an Orthodox visitor and wonder why you're not "falling in"; once you explain it to him, I can't imagine it being a problem. 

Thank you for saying this.  I don't understand Orthodoxy at all, but what you said never occurred to me before.
Perhaps that is what happened, and the priest thought I was an Orthodox Visitor. 
That's explains it in a very positive light.

There is a language barrier present; but my initial response was to try and take it in a positive sense,
that the Orthodox at this particular church, take their religion very seriously.
While it was a frightening experience, for this to happen right out in front of the entire church without any warning;
it motivated me to take this form of Orthodoxy very seriously.

I had previously attended (briefly) another Orthodox Church where nobody crossed themselves before kissing the cross;
so this "error" on my part was inevitable.  However, it made me fearful of taking any additional risks. 

I cannot really address the "talking with the priest" issue yet.
I was hoping for an explanation about Venerating Icons, that would either allow me to do it,
or to feel okay with not doing it.  But, that is hard to come by.

Regarding the other parishioners, you have to understand that they are people; not all people will be welcoming of visitors at first contact, they may be more cautious, more curious, etc., and any "difference" will register in their consciousness.  That's just human behaviour.  I experienced it, for example, when I moved to W. PA and walked into the local Applebee's for dinner and was the only non-white person in the entire restaurant (and I swore at the time, one of maybe ten in the entire town!): I could've sworn it was like those old Westerns where someone walks into the saloon, the music stops, and everyone freezes their gaze upon you.  Tongue  But it settled down eventually, and some people even came up to say hi and get to know me (and that NEVER happens where I'm from).  It would be nice if people, especially "church" people, could be more open and welcoming, but there are a number of reasons why that's not often the case.  You might just have to be ready for a stare or a quizzical look here and there.  But I don't think anyone's going to notice you enough to grab you by the shoulders and start pushing you toward the icon...if they did that to me, I wouldn't accept blame for what I did next.  Tongue     

That's pretty close to how it is sometimes.  If someone grabbed me and started pushing me toward the Icon, I'd view that as being helpful.
Something else entirely happened, which is almost beyond belief.  I can't even explain it.
For several months (years) I thought I was anonymous; but then an event occurred that showed me I never was.
There is nowhere to hide. 

Quote
The only time I've ever seen a priest "correct" someone on the proper procedure for venerating icons or crosses was when he knew it was an Orthodox person who was being lazy (e.g., a member of his parish).  The same priest, when dealing with visitors, would "do his thing" and let them "do theirs".  Some people just walk by without doing anything and he'll introduce himself and ask them to stay for a few minutes so he can chat with them when he's done, and others are from other Orthodox traditions and do what they're used to, which throws him off a bit, but it's all good. 

Are you sure the priest doesn't think you're just a visiting Orthodox from somewhere else?

There is a chance that was possible in the beginning.  I honestly don't know what the issue is now.
I'd just like to know how to Venerate the Icon properly, and not feel bad about it later.
Or else, how to endure a church service, without being required to do it.

Quote
If you're interested, there are a number of threads dealing with icon veneration, including at least one or two that are active now.  Try looking through those and see if they answer your doubts; if not, join in and ask your questions. 

I might have to ask some specific questions, but I would be interested in a helpful thread about it, too.

Quote
Um, I don't think you need to stare right back at anyone.  I don't think you ought to be compelled to do things you don't feel comfortable with before converting, so if that means you want to attend church without venerating icons, I think that's fine.  But it might make you stick out in the group.  If the priest knows you and your "story", it really should not be a problem with him (I've received some of the best treatment in parishes where the priests and people actually believe I'm a heretic and maybe just slightly better than a Hindu).  If you get to know some people, that helps too, because people talk, and eventually even people who haven't met you know you're an inquirer.  But you can't always please everyone, so if you get some stares or looks, you might just have to put up with it a little.  Again, that's not a uniquely Orthodox problem, it's a human problem.

Thank you for saying this.  I would rather not Venerate any Icons until it has been thoroughly explained to me,
and I can feel comfortable doing it.

I'm sort of in a Catch-22 where the priest won't talk to me until I attend the services regularly.
However, the more I do attend, the more negative pressure I feel about not venerating the icons.
Then, it gets to the point where I can't deal with it, and have to leave for awhile.
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« Reply #47 on: June 19, 2013, 06:43:06 PM »

I'm not bothered so much by the assertion that Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.  Technically, it's not true as others have demonstrated, but you can't say that they venerate them as universally and ritually as EO do, it's very much a matter of personal devotion except for something like Good Friday's veneration of the Cross.  So it does appear as a difference to some extent. 

I'm more concerned with the idea of being taught to pray TO statues and crosses.  Pray BEFORE them, fine, but TO?  I don't know even one Catholic who thinks they pray to objects.  The Catholic Church certainly doesn't teach people to pray to objects.  Someone somewhere was/is wrong...

I wasn't making a technical statement, just saying that at the weekly RC church services, there is no Icon Veneration (at least the way the Orthodox do it) whatsoever, so there is no way for a Roman Catholic to intuitively know how to Venerate and Icon the Orthodox Way.

Somehow, this got turned into something it was never meant. 

When I was little, I was told to kneel down and pray to the Mary statue (or the Cross on the Wall)
and that was like a substitute for praying to God.

I've since abandoned that practice after looking into the bible a little; but there is no requirement for any of that
at a Roman Catholic weekly mass; so it's not my concern anymore.
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« Reply #48 on: June 19, 2013, 08:10:09 PM »

I'm not bothered so much by the assertion that Roman Catholics do not venerate icons.  Technically, it's not true as others have demonstrated, but you can't say that they venerate them as universally and ritually as EO do, it's very much a matter of personal devotion except for something like Good Friday's veneration of the Cross.  So it does appear as a difference to some extent. 

I'm more concerned with the idea of being taught to pray TO statues and crosses.  Pray BEFORE them, fine, but TO?  I don't know even one Catholic who thinks they pray to objects.  The Catholic Church certainly doesn't teach people to pray to objects.  Someone somewhere was/is wrong...

I wasn't making a technical statement, just saying that at the weekly RC church services, there is no Icon Veneration (at least the way the Orthodox do it) whatsoever, so there is no way for a Roman Catholic to intuitively know how to Venerate and Icon the Orthodox Way.

Somehow, this got turned into something it was never meant. 

When I was little, I was told to kneel down and pray to the Mary statue (or the Cross on the Wall)
and that was like a substitute for praying to God.

I've since abandoned that practice after looking into the bible a little; but there is no requirement for any of that
at a Roman Catholic weekly mass; so it's not my concern anymore.

You inadvertently presented one of the problems visitors to an Orthodox church often encounter. There no uniform answer to "What is THE Orthodox Way." The manner in which to approach the Cross, to approach the Chalice, to approach the priest, to address the priest varies widely. There are regional, ethnic and pastoral differences. People can be cruel and oftentimes they don't realize that their local penitential or pietic practices are neither the norm nor "THE" correct ones. Talk to the priest. If he is a good pastor, there will be no "stupid questions." If not, try another parish. Good luck and keep an open mind.
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« Reply #49 on: June 19, 2013, 08:34:48 PM »

No. The Eastern Catholic Churches have Icon veneration, but few Roman Catholic churches did when I was a Roman Catholic and member of a Melkite Eastern Catholic parish.

I did mention the veneration of the relics of the Holy Cross. Have you ever venerated these relics?

Thanks Maria. 
That's all I was trying to say, that the Roman Catholic churches I've attended have never done any Icon Veneration.
So, there is no intuitive example to follow from Roman Catholicism with how to Venerate Icons in an Orthodox Church.

Sorry, but I've never heard of the relics of the Holy Cross. 
My coerced low church experience has left me entirely Ignorant of that.
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« Reply #50 on: June 19, 2013, 08:41:55 PM »

You should try another Orthodox church where the priest doesn't flip out at people.
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« Reply #51 on: June 19, 2013, 08:50:20 PM »

You inadvertently presented one of the problems visitors to an Orthodox church often encounter. There no uniform answer to "What is THE Orthodox Way." The manner in which to approach the Cross, to approach the Chalice, to approach the priest, to address the priest varies widely. There are regional, ethnic and pastoral differences. People can be cruel and oftentimes they don't realize that their local penitential or pietic practices are neither the norm nor "THE" correct ones. Talk to the priest. If he is a good pastor, there will be no "stupid questions." If not, try another parish. Good luck and keep an open mind.

Thanks.  Yes, I am hoping to join a specific jurisdiction; but there is little information available about their requirements; apart from a large catechism book that I only recently read most of the way through.

Fortunately, this book did give me the specifics on Icon Veneration that I needed (at least the physical ones of how to do it properly);
however, I kind of need a little bit of Bible Support for it also, to be able to actually go and do it in the church, for real.

There is a priest in another Orthodox jurisdiction that I could try talking to;
and I may have to resort to that, but certain things he did in his own church
would have received severe lectures from some of the older ladies in the other church.

I don't necessarily have the strength to go to any church at the moment;
but it would still be helpful to learn some biblical justifications about Icon Veneration.
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« Reply #52 on: June 19, 2013, 08:55:11 PM »

Does anyone know of some article or the reason why East and West make the sign of the Cross differently? I hear a lot of people say the West used to make the sign in the Orthodox way and changed at some point in Medieval Times. Does anyone confirm that information? What are the sources for that?

It's been my understanding that the Orthodox way is a newer way of doing it. Someone else can bring in sources to confirm one way or the other.

The ancient way of making the sign of the Cross is with two fingers from right to left as attested by Blessed Theodoret of Cyrus and Pope Innocent III (1200). Three fingers and left to right came later.
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« Reply #53 on: June 19, 2013, 08:55:50 PM »

You should try another Orthodox church where the priest doesn't flip out at people.

Unfortunately, that's not really a good solution.
I'm totally committed to joining this particular jurisdiction and it's either them or nothing.

There is another jurisdiction that I could try to get limited information;
but I really prefer the one I've been going to; even if the priests are a little challenging to deal with;
there are other peripheral issues that make it all about this one particular jurisdiction.
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« Reply #54 on: June 19, 2013, 10:28:08 PM »


I'm totally committed to joining this particular jurisdiction and it's either them or nothing.

Why? 
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« Reply #55 on: June 19, 2013, 10:35:43 PM »


I'm totally committed to joining this particular jurisdiction and it's either them or nothing.

Why? 

So he can have something to complain on the internet about, apparently.
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« Reply #56 on: June 20, 2013, 01:14:42 AM »

Schultz,

Back off.
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« Reply #57 on: June 20, 2013, 02:27:16 AM »


I'm totally committed to joining this particular jurisdiction and it's either them or nothing.

Why? 

Why, indeed? How can a specific jurisdictional affiliation be the criterion for conversion? One should be converting because one recognizes Orthodoxy as the true apostolic faith, which is the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions.
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« Reply #58 on: June 20, 2013, 02:36:11 AM »

The ancient way of making the sign of the Cross is with two fingers from right to left as attested by Blessed Theodoret of Cyrus and Pope Innocent III (1200). Three fingers and left to right came later.

Pope Innocent III speaks of three fingers. The fragment from Bl. Theodoret of Cyrus printed in the Old Orthodox Prayerbook might be spurious. 
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« Reply #59 on: June 20, 2013, 06:35:15 PM »

You should try another Orthodox church where the priest doesn't flip out at people.

Unfortunately, that's not really a good solution.
I'm totally committed to joining this particular jurisdiction and it's either them or nothing.

There is another jurisdiction that I could try to get limited information;
but I really prefer the one I've been going to; even if the priests are a little challenging to deal with;
there are other peripheral issues that make it all about this one particular jurisdiction.

Just found this orthodox-crossing smilie and thought you might enjoy it:

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« Reply #60 on: June 20, 2013, 08:04:04 PM »

Robotron:

Hopefully this article on icons will be of assistance.    http://www.antiochian.org/content/no-graven-image-icons-and-their-proper-use

I will keep you in my prayers that you will be able to resolve your issues.

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« Reply #61 on: June 22, 2013, 11:12:44 AM »

Robotron:

Hopefully this article on icons will be of assistance.    http://www.antiochian.org/content/no-graven-image-icons-and-their-proper-use

I will keep you in my prayers that you will be able to resolve your issues.

Viking

Dear Viking,

Thanks.  That was a really good article for explaining the reasons in favor of Icon Veneration.

I especially like the part where it said:
"Could this mean there are in the Bible two classifications of image—true images and false images?
Appropriate images and inappropriate images? If so, how do we distinguish between them?"

Just putting it in those terms, makes the point very well.
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« Reply #62 on: June 22, 2013, 11:29:41 AM »

Quote
See The Catechism of the RCC, section 2131 which explicitly confirms the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

This is a very good link that I wanted to thank you for.

I talked to an RC priest a few days ago, and he reminded me that Roman Catholics aren't all that enthused about studying the bible
and it was mostly about the catechism for them, so this quote is more important than I'd initially realized.


2131 Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified against the iconoclasts the veneration of icons - of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new "economy" of images.

2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it."70 The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone:

Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.71



For me, this clearly shows there are no Roman Catholic objections toward Venerating Icons,
and that's an important point in and of itself.
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« Reply #63 on: June 22, 2013, 04:01:47 PM »


I'm totally committed to joining this particular jurisdiction and it's either them or nothing.

Why? 

Why, indeed? How can a specific jurisdictional affiliation be the criterion for conversion? One should be converting because one recognizes Orthodoxy as the true apostolic faith, which is the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions.

Why is it so wrong for me to want to attend a particular jurisdiction?
Why are you telling me the reasons why I should be converting?
Isn't that supposed to be my own personal decision?
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« Reply #64 on: June 22, 2013, 04:07:53 PM »

Why is it so wrong for me to want to attend a particular jurisdiction?

Because the Church is the same whatever jurisdiction you want to join. If you join one that means de facto you join all of them and such reasoning has no sense.
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« Reply #65 on: June 22, 2013, 04:33:32 PM »

Why is it so wrong for me to want to attend a particular jurisdiction?

Because the Church is the same whatever jurisdiction you want to join. If you join one that means de facto you join all of them and such reasoning has no sense.

I know you don't know what you are talking about, but do you know you don't know what you are talking about?
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« Reply #66 on: June 22, 2013, 07:16:42 PM »

Why is it so wrong for me to want to attend a particular jurisdiction?
Why are you telling me the reasons why I should be converting?
Isn't that supposed to be my own personal decision?

Well, you put out there that you were "totally committed" to joining that particular jurisdiction, and "it's either them or nothing".  Especially given your description of less than lovey dovey treatment at that parish, it makes sentient beings wonder why.  That's all.  Smiley
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« Reply #67 on: June 22, 2013, 07:44:52 PM »

Well, you put out there that you were "totally committed" to joining that particular jurisdiction, and "it's either them or nothing".  Especially given your description of less than lovey dovey treatment at that parish, it makes sentient beings wonder why.  That's all.  Smiley

Dear Mor,

Sorry, I didn't get a chance to answer your "why?" question yet.
It is very difficult for me to know how to explain it in a public forum.

The shortest possible answer is that I've always wanted to learn the language spoken there
and I also hope to emigrate to that particular country, sometime in the remote future.

I guess that might upset some people who believe Orthodoxy is the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions;
but that hasn't necessarily been my experience, even with the few jurisdictions I've already visited.
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« Reply #68 on: June 22, 2013, 08:28:47 PM »

The shortest possible answer is that I've always wanted to learn the language spoken there
and I also hope to emigrate to that particular country, sometime in the remote future.

I guess that might upset some people who believe Orthodoxy is the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions;
but that hasn't necessarily been my experience, even with the few jurisdictions I've already visited.

If I may, I think you're conflating things. 

When people say that "Orthodoxy is the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions", what they primarily mean is that the faith is the same.  All sorts of cultural differences are there, differences in how we celebrate the services, languages, etc., but they don't touch upon the essence of the faith.  In that sense, Orthodoxy really is the same everywhere.  That's why some of us wondered why it was that you were so insistent that it's "this jurisdiction or nothing". 

You don't owe anyone personal information, so if the most you want to say is that you have an interest in the language and in emigrating to the country represented by the jurisdiction you're interested in, that's fine.  But understand that if that's all you want to tell us about your motives, then people are naturally going to wonder, for example, if you're choosing "Serbia" over "Jesus", or "educational and travel opportunities" over "Jesus".  And if that's the case, then your priorities are messed up.       
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« Reply #69 on: June 22, 2013, 11:05:30 PM »


I'm totally committed to joining this particular jurisdiction and it's either them or nothing.

Why? 

Why, indeed? How can a specific jurisdictional affiliation be the criterion for conversion? One should be converting because one recognizes Orthodoxy as the true apostolic faith, which is the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions.

Why is it so wrong for me to want to attend a particular jurisdiction?
Why are you telling me the reasons why I should be converting?
Isn't that supposed to be my own personal decision?

It might have remained your own personal decision had you not publicized it.
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« Reply #70 on: June 22, 2013, 11:18:48 PM »

When people say that "Orthodoxy is the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions", what they primarily mean is that the faith is the same.  All sorts of cultural differences are there, differences in how we celebrate the services, languages, etc., but they don't touch upon the essence of the faith.  In that sense, Orthodoxy really is the same everywhere.  That's why some of us wondered why it was that you were so insistent that it's "this jurisdiction or nothing". 

You don't owe anyone personal information, so if the most you want to say is that you have an interest in the language and in emigrating to the country represented by the jurisdiction you're interested in, that's fine.  But understand that if that's all you want to tell us about your motives, then people are naturally going to wonder, for example, if you're choosing "Serbia" over "Jesus", or "educational and travel opportunities" over "Jesus".  And if that's the case, then your priorities are messed up.       

Dear Mor,

From what I've observed, 99.9% of Orthodoxy is about Venerating Icons.
If I don't go up and Venerate the Icons; nobody seems to care what I think about "Jesus" or anything else for that matter.

I'm not a protestant, so I cannot spew out any nonsense about believing in "Jesus".
I honestly can't comprehend how this (< 0.1%) concern about "Jesus" could matter so much?
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« Reply #71 on: June 22, 2013, 11:31:35 PM »

One should be converting because one recognizes Orthodoxy as the true apostolic faith, which is the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions.
Why are you telling me the reasons why I should be converting?
Isn't that supposed to be my own personal decision?
It might have remained your own personal decision had you not publicized it.
Doesn't every Religious Group believe they are the One True Faith?
It takes something a little more than that to convince me.
You gave me the most worthless possible reason to convert, in my opinion.
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« Reply #72 on: June 23, 2013, 12:05:29 AM »

From what I've observed, 99.9% of Orthodoxy is about Venerating Icons.
If I don't go up and Venerate the Icons; nobody seems to care what I think about "Jesus" or anything else for that matter.

I'm not a protestant, so I cannot spew out any nonsense about believing in "Jesus".
I honestly can't comprehend how this (< 0.1%) concern about "Jesus" could matter so much?

I'm sorry to say it, but if that's your math, you're not adding up. 

Look a little deeper.  Even in the most ethnic Russian "hyperdox" church I've ever visited, this wouldn't be the ratio I would've come up with.  If you hope to learn this people's language and move to their country one day, you'd do well to actually get to know them better than this.       
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« Reply #73 on: June 23, 2013, 04:13:02 AM »

Look a little deeper.  Even in the most ethnic Russian "hyperdox" church I've ever visited, this wouldn't be the ratio I would've come up with.  If you hope to learn this people's language and move to their country one day, you'd do well to actually get to know them better than this.       

Okay, if you insist?  I'll dig a little deeper if the moderators will allow it?  I have 2 examples:

I once studied the bible with a group of people who had the same experience in every meeting place throughout the entire world.
No matter where you attended; they all studied the same material during the same time period.

There came a time where they decided to rearrange the territories and split up the group I attended, and send 80% of them to a
different location.  I didn't necessarily like the new group of people that much, and I missed my friends from the old group.
Technically, I was supposed to attend the group that I lived in; but I instead decided to attend the group further away, where my friends were.
Now, this was never regarded as a "faith issue" because all the meetings were the same no matter where you went.
It could only be regarded as a "personal preference"; and had no bearing on matters of faith at all.

My 2nd example, with the RC church.  You have Irish Catholic, Italian Catholic, Lithuanian Catholic, Polish Catholic, ect...
Let's say I'm raised in a Lithuanian Catholic church; and I move to a new neighborhood;
and now my choices are to go to either a Polish Catholic or an Irish Catholic Church.
I say, well maybe I'd rather go to the Irish Catholic Church, than the Polish Catholic Church;
so I go to that one instead.

Now, honestly, I cannot see how deciding to attend an Irish Catholic Church over a Polish Catholic Church;
could ever be regarded as a matter of faith; since all Roman Catholic Masses are mostly the same;
at least with where I've attended.  So, this would only be seen as a personal preference.

So, now you tell me the following:
Quote
When people say that "Orthodoxy is the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions", what they primarily mean is that the faith is the same.  All sorts of cultural differences are there, differences in how we celebrate the services, languages, etc., but they don't touch upon the essence of the faith.  In that sense, Orthodoxy really is the same everywhere.  That's why some of us wondered why it was that you were so insistent that it's "this jurisdiction or nothing". 

Really???  Are you sure???   You don't sound too convincing here.  If Orthodoxy truly was the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions; like you say it is; then why would you ever regard my desire to attend a specific jurisdiction as anything other than a personal preference?

How on earth does it become a matter of faith (or lack thereof) to prefer one jurisdiction over another?
Do you see the logical hole you've dug for yourself here? 
"In that sense, Orthodoxy really is the same everywhere."
In what sense could it "really be the same everywhere";
if my preference for a specific jurisdiction causes you to question my reasons for converting?

Do you understand what's going on here?  You are doubting me because you don't seem to believe that yourself.
What are you hiding here?  Why does a personal preference for a certain location or language of services;
cause you to doubt my reasons for wanting to convert; if they truly are the same and jurisdictions really don't matter?
Are you able to see the logical fallacy in your arguments here?
 
Quote
so if the most you want to say is that you have an interest in the language and in emigrating to the country represented by the jurisdiction you're interested in, that's fine.  But understand that if that's all you want to tell us about your motives, then people are naturally going to wonder, for example, if you're choosing "Serbia" over "Jesus", or "educational and travel opportunities" over "Jesus".  And if that's the case, then your priorities are messed up.

Oh really?  And why are they going to wonder that?  What are YOU choosing over Jesus?
Are YOUR priorities messed up?  Honestly, I don't understand where you come up with this stuff;
just because I prefer to attend a specific type of church.
And this in response to telling me I should leave this church and move to another one?
If they were really all the same; then it wouldn't matter if I moved or not, would it?

How does wanting to attend a specific jurisdiction lead to negative accusations about my motives and beliefs?
How do you even define having a belief in Jesus?
How can you have a belief in Jesus, if you don't know anything about him?
Where do you get information about Jesus except from the bible?
Do the Orthodox have a monopoly on the bible, or can anyone read it?
How much do you have to read, to have the background for an accurate belief in Jesus?
Have you read the bible enough to have an accurate understanding of Jesus?
How much does it take?

Every scripture I've ever heard quoted in an Orthodox Church, I've already read hundreds of times before.
I honestly don't think you need to study every scripture 1000's of times to express a belief in Jesus.
Don't the Orthodox know anything about the bible at all?
How can it be possible to attend the Orthodox Church and NOT believe in Jesus?
What are you saying here, by accusing me of this? 
Does nobody in the Orthodox Church believe in Jesus?

When someone says to me:  "One should be converting because one recognizes Orthodoxy as the true apostolic faith"
my response is: Well, they'd better be or else why would I be converting?
But, how is that called into question by my desire to attend a specific jurisdiction?
It does't sound to me like the person who said that, believes it himself?
Do you understand what I'm saying?  This doesn't sound good.

Why is your default position to assume that people converting don't recognize Orthodoxy as the true apostolic faith?
Why is your default position to assume that someone expressing a jurisdictional preference, has no belief in Jesus?

What difference does it make to the country whose language and culture I want to learn; what church I attend?
Why are you being so judgmental about everything I post here?
I'm only asking for information and I don't know very much about Orthodoxy.

What are you hiding from me? 
What are you not telling me about Orthodoxy, to have such a negative set of default assumptions about people
who are already attending an Orthodox Church and are just asking for more information about it?

I'm starting to get very nervous about where these questions are going?
Why are you passing such a negative judgement on me for desiring to attend a specific jurisdiction?
Are you sure all jurisdictions are the same, because it doesn't sound like it by what you've said so far?
Can you please tell me what the Real issues are with jurisdictions, then?
I'd really like to know if I could, okay?

Also, I apologize if what I've said here might sound a bit harsh.  I honestly don't mean it that way.
But, it seems like my motives for converting are being endlessly accused of something;
and I do not know what; but the initial assumptions of the accusers are more of a concern
than ANY possible motive I could ever have to convert; so please explain yourselves, okay?
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« Reply #74 on: June 23, 2013, 04:22:35 AM »

Why is it so wrong for me to want to attend a particular jurisdiction?

Because the Church is the same whatever jurisdiction you want to join. If you join one that means de facto you join all of them and such reasoning has no sense.

I know you don't know what you are talking about, but do you know you don't know what you are talking about?

Just wanted to apologize for this, especially in light of recent posts. I just thought you were oversimplifying things, but I should have been civil and explained what I meant--though since this is in convert issues, I probably shouldn't have said anything at all I guess.
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« Reply #75 on: June 23, 2013, 06:13:22 AM »

You gave me the most worthless possible reason to convert, in my opinion.

No, Sir. You did.

Really???  Are you sure???   You don't sound too convincing here.  If Orthodoxy truly was the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions; like you say it is; then why would you ever regard my desire to attend a specific jurisdiction as anything other than a personal preference?

It's not about your preference. You did not write: "I prefer tradition than the Y one". You wrote: "I only consider X tradition to be the right one" and this is wrong attitude.

Today I've attended a church were music and sermon made me cry. Both were terrible. But that did not change the fact that is was the Divine Liturgy and mine personal tastes are not important at all.
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« Reply #76 on: June 23, 2013, 07:03:53 AM »

Philhellenism is a bad reason to convert.
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« Reply #77 on: June 23, 2013, 02:25:01 PM »

Also, I apologize if what I've said here might sound a bit harsh.  I honestly don't mean it that way.
But, it seems like my motives for converting are being endlessly accused of something;
and I do not know what; but the initial assumptions of the accusers are more of a concern
than ANY possible motive I could ever have to convert; so please explain yourselves, okay?

No, but thanks for asking.  Good luck and God's blessing on your journey to and with him.   
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« Reply #78 on: June 24, 2013, 04:25:45 AM »

Hi Robotron,
Prior to my conversion to Orthodox Christianity from Roman Catholicism 17 years ago, I remember at every Mass, prior to the reading of the Holy Gospel, the priest and people always made three tiny crosses, on their forehead, lips and heart. As cited in Andreopoulos' book in the first page of this thread, this was amongst the first recorded ways of Christians signing themselves with the Cross. This is, I think, the ONLY thing I regret not being practised by Orthodoxy that I would like to have continued to practise, and this before I read Andreopoulos' history of the Sign of the Cross. I also remember observing as a RC the priest kissing the Holy Gospel on his completion of the reading. This is still practised in Orthodoxy, as the Holy Gospel, the Cross, and Holy Icons are all physical reminders of our Faith in Jesus Christ and His Church.
During the All-night Vigil of Sunday and Feasts, the Gospel and/or Icon of the day is placed there for the faithful to venerate. Unfortunately, it seems that some people in the parish, including the priest, do not understand the difficult journey a person makes in coming to a new Faith.
It is regrettable that the priest at your chosen Orthodox jurisdiction has reacted so negatively to your efforts in learning about Orthodoxy; he is, after all, a human sinner the same as we are. Would it be possible for you to ask him personally yet again for an appointment to talk about this and ask his advice on why the Orthodox venerate as we do? If he has received a modicum of seminary education, he should at least be able to steer you towards a Scripture which could explain our strange ways!
God help and protect you on your journey!
Adelphi
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« Reply #79 on: June 25, 2013, 08:57:12 PM »

Dear Adelphi,

Thanks for your polite response.  I'll try to answer below:

I remember at every Mass, prior to the reading of the Holy Gospel, the priest and people always made three tiny crosses, on their forehead, lips and heart.

That's one of the few things I was never taught.  I get caught off-guard each time and forget to imitate it even.

Quote
During the All-night Vigil of Sunday and Feasts, the Gospel and/or Icon of the day is placed there for the faithful to venerate.  Unfortunately, it seems that some people in the parish, including the priest, do not understand the difficult journey a person makes in coming to a new Faith.
It is regrettable that the priest at your chosen Orthodox jurisdiction has reacted so negatively to your efforts in learning about Orthodoxy; he is, after all, a human sinner the same as we are. Would it be possible for you to ask him personally yet again for an appointment to talk about this and ask his advice on why the Orthodox venerate as we do? If he has received a modicum of seminary education, he should at least be able to steer you towards a Scripture which could explain our strange ways!
God help and protect you on your journey!
Adelphi

I'm having a difficult time, to say the least.  I don't really have the strength or assertive abilities to press the issue anymore.
I miss the singing and perhaps I can eventually talk myself into going back, just to listen to that and ignoring everything else.
I seriously doubt I will ever be able to become Orthodox.  This church won't accept me, and I see no point in going to another one.
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« Reply #80 on: June 25, 2013, 09:04:22 PM »

You gave me the most worthless possible reason to convert, in my opinion.

No, Sir. You did.

Really???  Are you sure???   You don't sound too convincing here.  If Orthodoxy truly was the same everywhere, in all jurisdictions; like you say it is; then why would you ever regard my desire to attend a specific jurisdiction as anything other than a personal preference?

It's not about your preference. You did not write: "I prefer tradition than the Y one". You wrote: "I only consider X tradition to be the right one" and this is wrong attitude.

Today I've attended a church were music and sermon made me cry. Both were terrible. But that did not change the fact that is was the Divine Liturgy and mine personal tastes are not important at all.

If you don't like the reason I gave you, then you certainly won't like the real reason; as that one's even worse.

You are correct!  I only consider X tradition to be the real one. 
I cannot leave a "real" church to go join a "fake" church.

But, you also have it completely backwards. 
If the "real" church won't accept me; how can joining a "fake" church possibly help anything?
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« Reply #81 on: June 26, 2013, 07:48:09 PM »

Here Catholics also venerate icons. However quite strangely:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqdmmC3YX08
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« Reply #82 on: June 26, 2013, 07:55:02 PM »

Here Catholics also venerate icons. However quite strangely:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqdmmC3YX08

Woah, at 31 seconds that made me jump. Strange indeed.
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« Reply #83 on: June 26, 2013, 08:30:21 PM »

What is this ? !!!!!!!!!

Viking
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« Reply #84 on: June 26, 2013, 08:35:43 PM »

The only explanation I could think of is that they could be using the icon to bless the four corners of the earth.  Could that be it?  Michal, do you know?
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« Reply #85 on: June 26, 2013, 08:40:55 PM »

What is this ? !!!!!!!!!

Viking
Liturgical dancing in its Polish form?

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« Reply #86 on: June 26, 2013, 08:42:32 PM »

The only explanation I could think of is that they could be using the icon to bless the four corners of the earth.

Some people explain it like that.
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« Reply #87 on: June 26, 2013, 09:19:57 PM »

Here Catholics also venerate icons. However quite strangely:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqdmmC3YX08

All right, you got me.  I take back my last post.

I cannot imagine anything like this ever going down too well,
if the Poles tried to import this to my own city.

And the people on this video look too happy, anyways.

You made your point.
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« Reply #88 on: June 26, 2013, 09:42:21 PM »

You are correct!  I only consider X tradition to be the real one. 
I cannot leave a "real" church to go join a "fake" church.

But, you also have it completely backwards. 
If the "real" church won't accept me; how can joining a "fake" church possibly help anything?

I haven't really been following this thread, but are you saying that you only consider one Church within the Orthodox Church to be truthful about something, and that all the other Churches within our communion are incorrect about something?
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« Reply #89 on: June 26, 2013, 10:02:17 PM »

Here Catholics also venerate icons. However quite strangely:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqdmmC3YX08

Strange is right. I can't say I ever would've expected to see that.

EDIT: I see there are a lot of negative votes. Are there people in Poland that don't like it or something?
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« Reply #90 on: June 27, 2013, 07:17:22 AM »

Liturgical dancing in its Polish form?

Actually, they are Kashubians.

EDIT: I see there are a lot of negative votes. Are there people in Poland that don't like it or something?

It's a local tradition . Most people are not aware of it and consider it bizarre at least.
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« Reply #91 on: June 27, 2013, 11:23:53 AM »

You are correct!  I only consider X tradition to be the real one. 
I cannot leave a "real" church to go join a "fake" church.

But, you also have it completely backwards. 
If the "real" church won't accept me; how can joining a "fake" church possibly help anything?

I haven't really been following this thread, but are you saying that you only consider one Church within the Orthodox Church to be truthful about something, and that all the other Churches within our communion are incorrect about something?

Dear KostaC,

Not exactly.  I'm not in a position to make any conclusions about Orthodoxy.  Just relating personal beliefs: right or wrong?
I'm trying to be brief and contextual instead of academically formal.  I'm a visiting (lowly) enquirer, not a member of the clergy.

Michal Kalina poked serious holes in my argument with that video post.
If RC's actually do that in other parts of the world; it invalidates my jurisdictional issue about Orthodoxy, but not their's.

The issue started where I said I ran into problems with Icons at a certain Orthodox Church.
Someone on here told me to go to another church, and I said no, I want to go to this Church,
despite whatever superficial issues there seem to be with certain personality traits there.
 
Then someone said that because I'm not willing to go to another church,
that I'm converting for the wrong reason; my faith/belief in God is questionable;
because all Orthodox jurisdictions are Equal, and my unwillingness to abandon this church;
means that I'm questioning this Equality; and that is to be regarded as a faith issue, rather than as a personal preference.

My point is that I shouldn't be required to switch to another church,
just to prove the ideological purity of the statement that "All Orthodox Churches are Equal."
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« Reply #92 on: June 27, 2013, 11:36:50 AM »

You are twisting posts of others here.

You weren't adviced to go to a church that does not venerate icons (since there are not such) but to church that's priest might be less intimidating:

You should try another Orthodox church where the priest doesn't flip out at people.
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« Reply #93 on: June 27, 2013, 12:12:38 PM »

Michal Kalina poked serious holes in my argument with that video post.
If RC's actually do that in other parts of the world; it invalidates my jurisdictional issue about Orthodoxy, but not their's.

Seriously?  A video of a "break-dancing" "icon" was all it took?

If that video demonstrated to you that RC's venerate icons like the EO, then I'd love to visit your church...  Smiley
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« Reply #94 on: June 27, 2013, 12:57:46 PM »

Michal Kalina poked serious holes in my argument with that video post.
If RC's actually do that in other parts of the world; it invalidates my jurisdictional issue about Orthodoxy, but not their's.
Seriously?  A video of a "break-dancing" "icon" was all it took?
If that video demonstrated to you that RC's venerate icons like the EO, then I'd love to visit your church...  Smiley

Dear Mor,

This thread is turning into that Saturday Night Live Episode where they brought together the Great Minds of the world
from different time periods: like Aristotle, Moses, Galileo, etc..; and none of them could comprehend each other.

I don't know how legitimate that RC parish is, but that opens the door for other parts of the world doing things differently.
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« Reply #95 on: June 27, 2013, 01:40:13 PM »

You are twisting posts of others here.

You weren't adviced to go to a church that does not venerate icons (since there are not such) but to church that's priest might be less intimidating:

You should try another Orthodox church where the priest doesn't flip out at people.

Well, saying it that way, "advised to go to a church where the priests might be less intimidating" is a very positive spin on it.
You are the first person to state it that way; and I might be forced to resort to that, unfortunately.

But I really don't want to.
I've been told to go to another church over 100 times now,
but if I do that, I'd be doing it for the wrong reasons.

I feel like if I give up and go to another church, then I lose.
If I can't be accepted at the church I want to go to,
then what good does it do to go to a church that I don't want to go to?
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« Reply #96 on: June 27, 2013, 01:59:59 PM »

Another interesting icon veneration by Roman Catholics is that of Weeping Madonna of Poc, taken to Vienna in the 17th century from Mariapoc. It remains the most visited pilgrimage church in Hungary. http://www.mariapocskegyhely.hu/?q=en/node/322
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« Reply #97 on: June 27, 2013, 03:28:49 PM »

But I really don't want to.
I've been told to go to another church over 100 times now,
but if I do that, I'd be doing it for the wrong reasons.

I feel like if I give up and go to another church, then I lose.
If I can't be accepted at the church I want to go to,
then what good does it do to go to a church that I don't want to go to?

You are not being not accepted in that church. It's you who can't accept that parish.
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« Reply #98 on: June 27, 2013, 04:13:40 PM »

I don't know how legitimate that RC parish is, but that opens the door for other parts of the world doing things differently.

Sure, I just think it's funny.  I mean, there were Orthodox in this thread who were formerly Roman Catholics who testified of their experiences within the RCC in the United States, and (presuming you're in the US) that didn't seem to open any doors in your thinking about the matter.  But a Youtube video from Poland was the clincher. 
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« Reply #99 on: June 27, 2013, 06:07:13 PM »

Dear KostaC,

Not exactly.  I'm not in a position to make any conclusions about Orthodoxy.  Just relating personal beliefs: right or wrong?
I'm trying to be brief and contextual instead of academically formal.  I'm a visiting (lowly) enquirer, not a member of the clergy.

Michal Kalina poked serious holes in my argument with that video post.
If RC's actually do that in other parts of the world; it invalidates my jurisdictional issue about Orthodoxy, but not their's.

The issue started where I said I ran into problems with Icons at a certain Orthodox Church.
Someone on here told me to go to another church, and I said no, I want to go to this Church,
despite whatever superficial issues there seem to be with certain personality traits there.
 
Then someone said that because I'm not willing to go to another church,
that I'm converting for the wrong reason; my faith/belief in God is questionable;
because all Orthodox jurisdictions are Equal, and my unwillingness to abandon this church;
means that I'm questioning this Equality; and that is to be regarded as a faith issue, rather than as a personal preference.

My point is that I shouldn't be required to switch to another church,
just to prove the ideological purity of the statement that "All Orthodox Churches are Equal."

Well, I think that changes a bit of things, then. I can say, though, that I've had a similar experience with the second church that I attended in my life as more than a visitor.

I am a Greek speaker, I like Greek-speaking churches. Obviously, then, when I moved to D.C. (seasonally) for school, I picked a Greek-speaking church in the area. It was even right off a bus route that picked me up about a block or two down from my dorm (even though it was always late and that was the designated break area for the bus drivers so I had to wait an additional 12 minutes each Sunday before we sped off).

Well, literally every church usher (all but one), everyone parishioner, everyone at that church was cold, rude, and difficult to deal with. Even this squat, gorilla-looking old troll who dealt with the candles in the narthex accused my Mother of stealing from his money area on Easter night. Having it up to here with that church, I vowed to never return and I decided to attend the OCA church down the road. Everyone there is incredibly nice and will go up to introduce themselves to me because they haven't seen me before, one of the priests there used to be stationed at a Greek-speaking church and says the confessional prayers for me in Greek, and I have invited to literally the nicest Easter meal I have ever been to at a parishioner's house. So, I feel your pain, some churches can be absolutely monstrous, other churches seem like a little foretaste of what Heaven's going to be like.

I can understand that you like one congregation over another. I just would like to plead with you that you do not hypothesise that because one church has a rotten congregation, the entire Church it belongs to is like that. Sometimes, we just get (un)lucky.
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« Reply #100 on: June 27, 2013, 07:40:25 PM »

Quote
I can understand that you like one congregation over another. I just would like to plead with you that you do not hypothesise that because one church has a rotten congregation, the entire Church it belongs to is like that. Sometimes, we just get (un)lucky.

True enough, but Robotron has said that he regards one particular jurisdiction as proper and correct, and rejects the others. He has also said that he will only join that "correct" jurisdiction, and no other, if he is to convert. This is hardly a proper basis for becoming Orthodox.
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« Reply #101 on: June 28, 2013, 01:27:02 AM »

I don't know how legitimate that RC parish is, but that opens the door for other parts of the world doing things differently.
 
I mean, there were Orthodox in this thread who were formerly Roman Catholics who testified of their experiences within the RCC in the United States, and (presuming you're in the US) that didn't seem to open any doors in your thinking about the matter. 
But a Youtube video from Poland was the clincher. 

I was raised a Roman Catholic, so I don't need other Roman Catholics to tell me what it's like to be Roman Catholic.
The neighborhood that I grew up in doesn't hold Poland in high esteem to begin with,
but if they saw that video; it would throw them over the edge.

However, if they are RC, then who am I to judge differences in Orthodox jurisdictions?

This is sort of like the Karl Donitz defense, where he exonerated himself by showing the other side used the same tactics that he did.

Okay, so if I look at differences between Orthodox jurisdictions and then someone points out unknown RC deviations from Poland
not that that really matters (consider the source) but the mere existence at least gives pause to second-guess things.
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« Reply #102 on: June 28, 2013, 01:31:10 AM »

I don't know how legitimate that RC parish is, but that opens the door for other parts of the world doing things differently.
 
I mean, there were Orthodox in this thread who were formerly Roman Catholics who testified of their experiences within the RCC in the United States, and (presuming you're in the US) that didn't seem to open any doors in your thinking about the matter. 
But a Youtube video from Poland was the clincher. 

I was raised a Roman Catholic, so I don't need other Roman Catholics to tell me what it's like to be Roman Catholic.
The neighborhood that I grew up in doesn't hold Poland in high esteem to begin with,
but if they saw that video; it would throw them over the edge.

However, if they are RC, then who am I to judge differences in Orthodox jurisdictions?

This is sort of like the Karl Donitz defense, where he exonerated himself by showing the other side used the same tactics that he did.

Okay, so if I look at differences between Orthodox jurisdictions and then someone points out unknown RC deviations from Poland
not that that really matters (consider the source) but the mere existence at least gives pause to second-guess things.

Haven't you made enough excuses and beat around the bush long enough?  Unless the nearest Orthodox Church in the jurisdiction that you prefer is 500 miles away, you need to make the necessary adjustments to the situation at hand.  It's not going to occur overnight; I realize that.  If nothing is moving you towards Orthodoxy, then that's where you are.
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« Reply #103 on: June 28, 2013, 01:48:44 AM »

This is hardly a proper basis for becoming Orthodox.

That statement discredits the Orthodox Church because you are saying there is an improper basis for becoming Orthodox.

Also, it is would seem to be wrong to exclude someone from the "One True Faith";
so you are saying it is not;
but some exclusive social organization that gives you a superior rank.
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« Reply #104 on: June 28, 2013, 01:52:11 AM »

This is hardly a proper basis for becoming Orthodox.

That statement discredits the Orthodox Church because you are saying there is an improper basis for becoming Orthodox.

Also, it is would seem to be wrong to exclude someone from the "One True Faith";
so you are saying it is not;
but some exclusive social organization that gives you a superior rank.

There is no improper basis for becoming Orthodox.  Either you follow the guidelines of the priest at the church you're interested in joining or you simply do nothing.  It's that simple.  Why continue to exercise unnecessary mental gymnastics?
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« Reply #105 on: June 28, 2013, 02:19:23 AM »

Dear KostaC,

Thanks, I appreciate your polite response.  It was very helpful to me.

I can understand that you like one congregation over another. I just would like to plead with you that you do not hypothesise that because one church has a rotten congregation, the entire Church it belongs to is like that. Sometimes, we just get (un)lucky.

I apologize if it seems like I'm saying that, but I never meant to.

When I said these certain things happened there,
I meant them as a reason for me to be hesitant and risk averse
about taking initiative or being assertive there;
not about passing judgement about the parish or complaining.

I really love this particular church; that's why I put up with these things.
But, I don't necessarily judge the parishioners there; it's just that they seem to unfairly judge me
and expect me to know things without teaching them to me; and I'm not a mind reader;
so without someone to teach me; I cannot possibly know what right or wrong is, there. 

I am a Greek speaker, I like Greek-speaking churches. Obviously, then, when I moved to D.C. (seasonally) for school, I picked a Greek-speaking church in the area. It was even right off a bus route that picked me up about a block or two down from my dorm (even though it was always late and that was the designated break area for the bus drivers so I had to wait an additional 12 minutes each Sunday before we sped off).

Well, literally every church usher (all but one), everyone parishioner, everyone at that church was cold, rude, and difficult to deal with. Even this squat, gorilla-looking old troll who dealt with the candles in the narthex accused my Mother of stealing from his money area on Easter night. Having it up to here with that church, I vowed to never return and I decided to attend the OCA church down the road. Everyone there is incredibly nice and will go up to introduce themselves to me because they haven't seen me before, one of the priests there used to be stationed at a Greek-speaking church and says the confessional prayers for me in Greek, and I have invited to literally the nicest Easter meal I have ever been to at a parishioner's house. So, I feel your pain, some churches can be absolutely monstrous, other churches seem like a little foretaste of what Heaven's going to be like.

It is interesting that you say this. 
I once had someone from the church I was attending tell me to go to a Greek church instead.
Now, you've just discredited what they've said.

Also, people from this church have called the prior Orthodox Church I attended a "fake" church, though not with those exact words.

So, I've heard both people tell me to go to another Church,
not liking my reasons for wanting to convert,
telling me the prior Orthodox Church I went to, wasn't a "real" church like theirs is.

People are discrediting themselves trying to maintain this ideology of
"All Orthodox Churches are Equal" when they don't believe it themselves?


Sorry, that last sentence wasn't directed at you.
Thanks for understanding my position, and I will try not to judge Orthodox by personality alone.

I only have an interest in attending this one jurisdiction;
so when they tell me to go somewhere else,
it is not that I'm disobeying them;
but I just have no interest in going anywhere else;
so I stay home, instead.
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« Reply #106 on: June 28, 2013, 02:41:53 AM »

Haven't you made enough excuses and beat around the bush long enough? 
Unless the nearest Orthodox Church in the jurisdiction that you prefer is 500 miles away,
you need to make the necessary adjustments to the situation at hand. 
It's not going to occur overnight; I realize that. 
If nothing is moving you towards Orthodoxy, then that's where you are.

There is no improper basis for becoming Orthodox. 
Either you follow the guidelines of the priest at the church you're interested in joining or you simply do nothing. 
It's that simple.  Why continue to exercise unnecessary mental gymnastics?

I don't have a choice.  I cannot be too specific on a public forum, sorry.
I've burned myself out trying to join this church; and nothing I do works.
I learned a few things on this thread about icons,
but I've been so severely damaged that blaming me further doesn't work.

I blamed myself first with everything that went wrong; and tried my best to fix things;
but everything I've tried has failed; so I can only blame myself so much;
until I have to turn it around and ask:
How can ANYONE possibly join this church, with the hurdles I've been put through?

If you have to be born Orthodox to join a church; then that defies it being a true faith.
It's just a birth accident and nothing more.


Some people come out of the blue; and seem to understand what I'm going through
and have said very nice and helpful things to me, on this thread.

I'm hoping someone can cut through something that I cannot see; and give me a better perspective
on how to improve my current situation, so I can get the courage to try attending church again.

I ran into a type of conflict last time; where I flipped the OFF switch on church attendance.
I haven't even tried to go for several weeks; and I have no regrets either; I'm in such a state of shock.
Something tells me that it shouldn't be like this; but it is and I cannot do anything about it.
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« Reply #107 on: June 28, 2013, 02:52:25 AM »

That statement discredits the Orthodox Church because you are saying there is an improper basis for becoming Orthodox.

Yeah, plenty of. Trying to adopt some cultural cosplaying is one of them.
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« Reply #108 on: June 28, 2013, 03:08:33 AM »

That statement discredits the Orthodox Church because you are saying there is an improper basis for becoming Orthodox.
Yeah, plenty of. Trying to adopt some cultural cosplaying is one of them.

I'm not able to separate Orthodoxy from the culture that it came from.
Doing that seems more false to me than what you are accusing me of.
Maybe I'm looking at it from a deeper level than you are
but I need something that feels real to me.
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« Reply #109 on: June 28, 2013, 07:38:23 AM »

Dear KostaC,

Thanks, I appreciate your polite response.  It was very helpful to me.


I apologize if it seems like I'm saying that, but I never meant to.

When I said these certain things happened there,
I meant them as a reason for me to be hesitant and risk averse
about taking initiative or being assertive there;
not about passing judgement about the parish or complaining.

I really love this particular church; that's why I put up with these things.
But, I don't necessarily judge the parishioners there; it's just that they seem to unfairly judge me
and expect me to know things without teaching them to me; and I'm not a mind reader;
so without someone to teach me; I cannot possibly know what right or wrong is, there. 


It is interesting that you say this. 
I once had someone from the church I was attending tell me to go to a Greek church instead.
Now, you've just discredited what they've said.

Also, people from this church have called the prior Orthodox Church I attended a "fake" church, though not with those exact words.

So, I've heard both people tell me to go to another Church,
not liking my reasons for wanting to convert,
telling me the prior Orthodox Church I went to, wasn't a "real" church like theirs is.

People are discrediting themselves trying to maintain this ideology of
"All Orthodox Churches are Equal" when they don't believe it themselves?


Sorry, that last sentence wasn't directed at you.
Thanks for understanding my position, and I will try not to judge Orthodox by personality alone.

I only have an interest in attending this one jurisdiction;
so when they tell me to go somewhere else,
it is not that I'm disobeying them;
but I just have no interest in going anywhere else;
so I stay home, instead.

I'm sorry, I don't actually think you understand what I said. I didn't discredit anything that some parishioners have told you to do, in fact, my point of writing this was to do literally the exact opposite. How can you say you understand my response if you want to throw away multiple opinions because some schmuck on the Internet says that he dislikes a parish. If I let one congregation sour an entire Church, then I would've abandoned my own home parish just because an OCA church took me in 700 miles away.

I think you keep conflating the behaviours of one individual parish for the behaviours of their respective Church as a whole. You need to rid yourself of that misconception.

Literally no one here disbelieves in the unity of Orthodoxy just because we have personal preferences and attitudes. I like churches that use Byzantine chanting and notation. Does that mean that I hate Russian churches? No, absolutely not! One lady on a train in Boston said she disliked my Church (not my church, mind you; there is an enormous difference) because we used the Revised Julian calendar. Does that me that Moscow hates me? Again, no, not in the slightest!

Far be it from me to say, but if you're going to act like this, then keep doing what you're doing and stay home. Or, if you prefer a denomination that encourages slavish devotion to one particular religious leader, I hear Benny Hinn Ministries is accepting new converts now. 
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« Reply #110 on: June 28, 2013, 08:29:19 AM »

Robotron:

I will be blunt.  Everyone here has given you good advice and yet you choose to ignore it. Why did you ask for it in the first place?  It seems that you have an ax to grind.   I do not understand your thinking that the particular Orthodox Church you wish to attend is the ONLY one you will have anything to do with. I happened to end up with Antioch but that does not mean I think the others such as OCA or the GOA, etc are invalid or not correct.   Sorry if I sound nasty I am not trying to be but you are driving yourself down a spiritual rabbit hole and I am concerned about your well being. I also would think it safe to say that everyone else on this forum cares as well.   I will continue to pray for you.


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« Reply #111 on: June 28, 2013, 12:41:19 PM »

I'm sorry, I don't actually think you understand what I said. I didn't discredit anything that some parishioners have told you to do, in fact, my point of writing this was to do literally the exact opposite. How can you say you understand my response if you want to throw away multiple opinions because some schmuck on the Internet says that he dislikes a parish. If I let one congregation sour an entire Church, then I would've abandoned my own home parish just because an OCA church took me in 700 miles away.

I think you keep conflating the behaviours of one individual parish for the behaviours of their respective Church as a whole. You need to rid yourself of that misconception.

Literally no one here disbelieves in the unity of Orthodoxy just because we have personal preferences and attitudes. I like churches that use Byzantine chanting and notation. Does that mean that I hate Russian churches? No, absolutely not! One lady on a train in Boston said she disliked my Church (not my church, mind you; there is an enormous difference) because we used the Revised Julian calendar. Does that me that Moscow hates me? Again, no, not in the slightest!

Far be it from me to say, but if you're going to act like this, then keep doing what you're doing and stay home. Or, if you prefer a denomination that encourages slavish devotion to one particular religious leader, I hear Benny Hinn Ministries is accepting new converts now. 

Dear KostaC,

No, what you said about Greek Churches was very helpful actually.
What you discredited for me was the idea that it would be easier to adapt to a Greek Church than the one I was going to.
I'm not Greek and have limited interest in Greek Culture, (please don't take this the wrong way)
so this wasn't a wise thing for this parishioner to suggest to me.

I find it interesting that expressing a preference for a particular Orthodox Jurisdiction has now led to a suggestion
that I convert to a non-Orthodox church?   
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« Reply #112 on: June 28, 2013, 01:06:14 PM »

No, what you said about Greek Churches was very helpful actually.
What you discredited for me was the idea that it would be easier to adapt to a Greek Church than the one I was going to.
I'm not Greek and have limited interest in Greek Culture, (please don't take this the wrong way)
so this wasn't a wise thing for this parishioner to suggest to me.

I find it interesting that expressing a preference for a particular Orthodox Jurisdiction has now led to a suggestion
that I convert to a non-Orthodox church?   

No one is advocating you join a non-Orthodox church.  What people are saying is that if you're going to join the Orthodox Church, it ought to be for the right reason.  That's not just for you in particular, but for people in general. 

You should believe that what this Church teaches about Christ and practices in light of that teaching is true.  If that's the starting point, then of course individuals will have preferences, but those preferences will be subjugated to this main point, the preferences will not be elevated over it, because this Church does not operate in that way.  You make a statement about joining the Church through one particular jurisdiction or not joining at all, and then make comments about how insufferable the particular parish is and how bad your experiences there were...you can't expect Orthodox to hear that and wonder what the thought process behind all that is.  Again, it's not directed toward you personally so much, it's directed more to the ideas.       

These "Greek" comments are another example.  You think the parishioner who suggested you try a Greek parish was not wise to suggest it because you're not Greek and have limited interest in Greek culture.  But it's more likely they suggested it because there are more converts there, or there is more use of English there, or the priest has more experience with working with converts, or any number of reasons that don't have to do with "if you're not born as one of us, don't bother trying".  I once visited a church near my home, for example, and one of the parishioners suggested I might like prefer the parish twenty miles away because it was a bigger parish, more people my age, more established immigrants vs. people who just came to the US, etc.  They weren't trying to kick me out or anything, they were looking out for what they thought might be a better fit for me.  As it turned out, I liked the parish, so I became a frequent visitor, and I've never been anything but warmly welcomed. 

If you're identifying Orthodoxy with particular cultures and your ability to take on the culture as your own, that's the wrong way of looking at it.  No one will require you to become Russian to be Orthodox.  You have to become Orthodox to be Orthodox.  You have to believe in Christ and in his gospel and commit to living it out in your life to the best of your ability.  That is burden enough without adding the pressure of trying to be ethnic.     
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« Reply #113 on: June 28, 2013, 01:14:18 PM »

I will be blunt.  Everyone here has given you good advice and yet you choose to ignore it. Why did you ask for it in the first place?  It seems that you have an ax to grind.   I do not understand your thinking that the particular Orthodox Church you wish to attend is the ONLY one you will have anything to do with. I happened to end up with Antioch but that does not mean I think the others such as OCA or the GOA, etc are invalid or not correct.   Sorry if I sound nasty I am not trying to be but you are driving yourself down a spiritual rabbit hole and I am concerned about your well being. I also would think it safe to say that everyone else on this forum cares as well.   I will continue to pray for you.

Dear converted viking,

Actually, this thread went much better than I ever could have possibly expected.
I started out questioning why worrying about upsetting people should be a greater factor
than Worshiping God in Spirit and Truth; which is a phrase used by other religious groups too.

Then I got some good answers to the Icon question, both from the RC perspective that they don't oppose it;
and also a really good article explaining the difference between good images and bad images (whatever)
that I hadn't thought of before.


I think some people are getting locked into this idea that my preference for a specific jurisdiction
has a larger meaning attached to it; and that is a mystery to me.
Logically speaking, if they are all the same, then preferring one over the other shouldn't matter.
Yet, I'm being told that expressing a preference means I shouldn't covert at all
or even now people telling me to go to a non-Orthodox church?

That's pretty extreme denial of something?  I don't know what, but preferring a specific jurisdiction can only
be regarded as a matter of faith; if the jurisdictions are inherently un-equal; or the church is deeply divided on something?

I don't know what the church is divided on.  I see people there, just because they were born into it.

I'm not saying any Orthodox Church is invalid or not correct for other people who choose to be a part of that jurisdiction.
I'm only saying that for me personally; I'd mainly want to be a part of one particular jurisdiction.

It seems that people on this forum are telling me that my preference for a specific jurisdiction
means that I'm no longer eligible to convert; because I refuse to maintain some party line?

Not merely saying it, but demonstrating it by being willing to leave for another jurisdiction
that I'm not interested in attending?

Okay, then why do you proclaim jurisdictions on this board with the screen name?
Everyone go change your own jurisdiction first, before telling me that I'm required to
or I'm converting for the wrong reason?

This doesn't make any logical sense to me?  I show up to a church desiring to convert;
and I'm driven out for wanting to convert for the wrong reasons?

Sorry I ever showed up.  I won't do it ever again, I promise.
That kind of makes it had to return again, you know?


However, I thank you and everyone else for your helpful advice so far;
and many people on this forum have said some very helpful things to me;
much more so, than I'd have ever anticipated beforehand.

Sorry I'm so difficult; but I'm just that type of person.
I need things to logically make sense too.
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« Reply #114 on: June 28, 2013, 01:56:45 PM »

Rule #1, never attempt to learn about Orthodoxy from the Internet.  Half the people are heretic and the other half are hyperdox and nothing you do will satisfy either category.  Find an Orthodox priest, it doesn't matter what jurisdiction, and have a sit down talk with him.  You will get far more from that than you will from 5 years of being on this forum.
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« Reply #115 on: June 28, 2013, 02:08:13 PM »

Rule #1, never attempt to learn about Orthodoxy from the Internet.  Half the people are heretic and the other half are hyperdox and nothing you do will satisfy either category.  Find an Orthodox priest, it doesn't matter what jurisdiction, and have a sit down talk with him.  You will get far more from that than you will from 5 years of being on this forum.

Thankfully since you are giving him this advice on the internet he must disregard it. Smiley
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« Reply #116 on: June 28, 2013, 02:10:43 PM »

Rule #1, never attempt to learn about Orthodoxy from the Internet.  Half the people are heretic and the other half are hyperdox and nothing you do will satisfy either category.  Find an Orthodox priest, it doesn't matter what jurisdiction, and have a sit down talk with him.  You will get far more from that than you will from 5 years of being on this forum.

Thankfully since you are giving him this advice on the internet he must disregard it. Smiley

lol, I'm not trying to teach him about Orthodoxy.  I didn't say all advice on the internet is bad.  It can be quite helpful if you are looking to do, say, small engine repairs or how to make a birdhouse.
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« Reply #117 on: June 28, 2013, 02:41:52 PM »

Rule #1, never attempt to learn about Orthodoxy from the Internet.  Half the people are heretic and the other half are hyperdox and nothing you do will satisfy either category.  Find an Orthodox priest, it doesn't matter what jurisdiction, and have a sit down talk with him.  You will get far more from that than you will from 5 years of being on this forum.

Thankfully since you are giving him this advice on the internet he must disregard it. Smiley

lol, I'm not trying to teach him about Orthodoxy.  I didn't say all advice on the internet is bad.  It can be quite helpful if you are looking to do, say, small engine repairs or how to make a birdhouse.

What I mean is that IMO telling someone to "ask a priest" is unhelpful if you don't actually know the situation. I've had both good and bad experiences with clergy; I think one priest I know is the bees knees, another was rude and obnoxious and frankly harmful, and the others fell in some middle zone between the two.
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« Reply #118 on: June 28, 2013, 02:50:21 PM »

Rule #1, never attempt to learn about Orthodoxy from the Internet.  Half the people are heretic and the other half are hyperdox and nothing you do will satisfy either category.  Find an Orthodox priest, it doesn't matter what jurisdiction, and have a sit down talk with him.  You will get far more from that than you will from 5 years of being on this forum.

Thankfully since you are giving him this advice on the internet he must disregard it. Smiley

lol, I'm not trying to teach him about Orthodoxy.  I didn't say all advice on the internet is bad.  It can be quite helpful if you are looking to do, say, small engine repairs or how to make a birdhouse.

What I mean is that IMO telling someone to "ask a priest" is unhelpful if you don't actually know the situation. I've had both good and bad experiences with clergy; I think one priest I know is the bees knees, another was rude and obnoxious and frankly harmful, and the others fell in some middle zone between the two.

Probably, even if he sat down in person with most of the people here and had a serious conversation, they would probably be helpful, but there is something about forums and the interactions therein that kind of destroy helpful, earnest counsel.
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« Reply #119 on: June 28, 2013, 03:01:50 PM »

Off Topic and inappropriate postings on this tiopic have forced me to close the topic.

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