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Author Topic: Conversion and RC Saints  (Read 1342 times) Average Rating: 0
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gueranger
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« on: July 23, 2013, 05:47:56 PM »

Have any converts from Roman Catholicism had a difficult time embracing Orthodoxy because of the sense of loss when it comes to "parting ways" with post-schism Roman Catholic saints? Is it necessary to part with them? Does anybody still privately venerate RC saints?

For instance I have had a great devotion to Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, Elizabeth of Hungary, Rita of Casscia, Padre Pio, etc.

I feel deeply saddened at the prospect of giving away the relics, books, and holy pictures of them that I have been devoted to.
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 06:26:45 PM »

Have any converts from Roman Catholicism had a difficult time embracing Orthodoxy because of the sense of loss when it comes to "parting ways" with post-schism Roman Catholic saints? Is it necessary to part with them? Does anybody still privately venerate RC saints?

For instance I have had a great devotion to Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, Elizabeth of Hungary, Rita of Casscia, Padre Pio, etc.

I feel deeply saddened at the prospect of giving away the relics, books, and holy pictures of them that I have been devoted to.

Hello Gueranger.

My family and I were received into Orthodoxy this last Pascha from the Roman Catholic Church (sspx). Instead of thinking of what you are giving up, try to think about what and who you will embrace. I have found St. John of Kronstadt, St Seraphim of Sarov, the New Martyrs of Russia, Elder Paisios etc.

Having said that, I still say the rosary (omitting the Fatima Prayer) and retain a devotion to such individuals as Alphonsus Liguori (his 12 Steps to Holiness is great) and Pope Pius X for his personal holiness and humility.

God be with you and please let me know if I can in any way be of service in your quest.

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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 10:21:58 PM »

Have any converts from Roman Catholicism had a difficult time embracing Orthodoxy because of the sense of loss when it comes to "parting ways" with post-schism Roman Catholic saints? Is it necessary to part with them? Does anybody still privately venerate RC saints?

For instance I have had a great devotion to Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, Elizabeth of Hungary, Rita of Casscia, Padre Pio, etc.

I feel deeply saddened at the prospect of giving away the relics, books, and holy pictures of them that I have been devoted to.

I'm not sure what the general guideline is on this, but I know of a Catholic priest who became an Orthodox priest and who still venerates St. Francis and St. Dominic, privately of course.
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2013, 11:29:09 PM »

If they have been instrumental in your faith, then there is no problem venerating them after you become Orthodox. There are quite a few Roman Catholic Saints that I have a special devotion for; such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross, and St. Theresa of Avila. I also occasionally pray the Rosary and have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 12:06:22 AM »

Some of our members will object to the veneration of those deemed "heterodox." I would discuss these matters with your Orthodox priest (that's a catch phrase around these parts). While there is nothing inherently wrong with privately venerating someone who has not been canonized, and I've heard of some respectable (read: non-ecumenical) Orthodox of our day who held such private devotions for Roman Catholic saints, it's best to seek spiritual guidance. This is a common issue for Roman Catholic converts, so I'm certain your priest is aware of it, if he hasn't directly encountered it before.
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 12:25:09 AM »

I've heard of some respectable (read: non-ecumenical) Orthodox of our day who held such private devotions for Roman Catholic saints

Who are you referring to?
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 12:30:47 AM »

Many in my parish seem to hold St. Francis of Assissi to be a true Saint; there was an actual icon of him with his prayer on it that IIRC a gift to our pastor (who was a RC priest before becoming Orthodox).
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 12:41:29 AM »

I've heard of some respectable (read: non-ecumenical) Orthodox of our day who held such private devotions for Roman Catholic saints

Who are you referring to?


I can recall neither the devotees nor the saints (or their pairings), and I don't want to spread misinformation. Take my account as you will.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 12:41:39 AM by lovesupreme » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2013, 08:29:26 AM »

If they have been instrumental in your faith, then there is no problem venerating them after you become Orthodox. There are quite a few Roman Catholic Saints that I have a special devotion for; such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross, and St. Theresa of Avila. I also occasionally pray the Rosary and have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Many of these saints are considered deluded by Orthodox Christians.  Many of us come to Orthodoxy from different backgrounds and may be at first shocked by how Orthodox saints and elders understand the faiths and teachers that formed us from an early age.  When shocked, we can either dig deeper to understand why the Orthodox believe as they do, or we can turn back out of feeling "offended".  When one studies the lives of the Desert Fathers and the pre-Schism saints, and then studies the lives of the post-Schism Roman Catholic and Orthodox saints, the matter becomes quite clear.  Nevertheless, there are some articles that can be helpful to read in the beginning, such as:

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/7174.htm

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

Of course, it will not be clear unless you study the lives of the Desert Fathers and of the Post-Schism Orthodox saints.

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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2013, 09:09:10 AM »

If they have been instrumental in your faith, then there is no problem venerating them after you become Orthodox. There are quite a few Roman Catholic Saints that I have a special devotion for; such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross, and St. Theresa of Avila. I also occasionally pray the Rosary and have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Many of these saints are considered deluded by Orthodox Christians.  Many of us come to Orthodoxy from different backgrounds and may be at first shocked by how Orthodox saints and elders understand the faiths and teachers that formed us from an early age.  When shocked, we can either dig deeper to understand why the Orthodox believe as they do, or we can turn back out of feeling "offended".  When one studies the lives of the Desert Fathers and the pre-Schism saints, and then studies the lives of the post-Schism Roman Catholic and Orthodox saints, the matter becomes quite clear.  Nevertheless, there are some articles that can be helpful to read in the beginning, such as:

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/7174.htm

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

Of course, it will not be clear unless you study the lives of the Desert Fathers and of the Post-Schism Orthodox saints.


or many don't. I once heard our metropolitan specifically say that St. Seraphim of Sarov and St. Theresa of Avila are part of the same church.
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2013, 09:18:56 AM »

As an RC, I had a strong devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux. 

As an Orthodox, I consider her a strong role model of faith and continue to take what I can from her writings and example of life. 
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2013, 09:21:22 AM »

Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon is said to have said, "If St. Bonaventure is not a saint, then I don't know who is."
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2013, 10:12:10 AM »

As an RC, I had a strong devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux. 

As an Orthodox, I consider her a strong role model of faith and continue to take what I can from her writings and example of life. 

Common sense, as exemplified above, need not and should not be the exclusive domain of the non-Orthodox. 
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2013, 08:45:57 PM »

It's not just the saints that you leave behind, but an entire concept about the saints, or your entire life as you knew it. Saints in the Orthodox Church are normal people who were healed by God, purified by sin and united with Him through The Grace of The Holy Spirit (theosis). So, this is a humble and existential approach to the saints, religion and God, as opposed to the idolatrous version (seeing the saints as people who are better than everybody through their own powers, unattainable, etc.)

As far as the saints themselves, you don't have to leave them behind as people, but to the contrary, you love them even more. But your whole concept about life and sainthood changes.
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2013, 01:12:55 AM »

If they have been instrumental in your faith, then there is no problem venerating them after you become Orthodox. There are quite a few Roman Catholic Saints that I have a special devotion for; such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross, and St. Theresa of Avila. I also occasionally pray the Rosary and have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Many of these saints are considered deluded by Orthodox Christians.  Many of us come to Orthodoxy from different backgrounds and may be at first shocked by how Orthodox saints and elders understand the faiths and teachers that formed us from an early age.  When shocked, we can either dig deeper to understand why the Orthodox believe as they do, or we can turn back out of feeling "offended".  When one studies the lives of the Desert Fathers and the pre-Schism saints, and then studies the lives of the post-Schism Roman Catholic and Orthodox saints, the matter becomes quite clear.  Nevertheless, there are some articles that can be helpful to read in the beginning, such as:

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/7174.htm

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

Of course, it will not be clear unless you study the lives of the Desert Fathers and of the Post-Schism Orthodox saints.

I have read the lives of the Desert Fathers, as well as the works and writings of many Catholic Saints. Its not like I had baggage that I didn't want to get rid of. I came into Orthodoxy at a very young age. Its really all I know, practically speaking. I came into these Catholic writers as an Orthodox Christian. I've read many of the accusations many Orthodox writers like to levy against Roman Catholic Saints but oftentimes, I see it as unfounded and tainted with triumphalism (and often fueled by ethnocentrism).
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« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2013, 10:32:00 PM »

It's not just the saints that you leave behind, but an entire concept about the saints, or your entire life as you knew it. Saints in the Orthodox Church are normal people who were healed by God, purified by sin and united with Him through The Grace of The Holy Spirit (theosis). So, this is a humble and existential approach to the saints, religion and God, as opposed to the idolatrous version (seeing the saints as people who are better than everybody through their own powers, unattainable, etc.)

As far as the saints themselves, you don't have to leave them behind as people, but to the contrary, you love them even more. But your whole concept about life and sainthood changes.

If what I put in bold is how you think Catholics view saints, you are terribly mistaken. Catholics share the same view of saints you just expressed the Orthodox as having. So, I don't need to change my entire concept of saints. And honestly, reading things like this on Orthodox sites is much of the reason I didn't give Orthodoxy a second look years ago. I'm sorry if that was uncharitable, but I feel it needed to be said. 
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« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2013, 10:40:45 PM »

It's not just the saints that you leave behind, but an entire concept about the saints, or your entire life as you knew it. Saints in the Orthodox Church are normal people who were healed by God, purified by sin and united with Him through The Grace of The Holy Spirit (theosis). So, this is a humble and existential approach to the saints, religion and God, as opposed to the idolatrous version (seeing the saints as people who are better than everybody through their own powers, unattainable, etc.)

As far as the saints themselves, you don't have to leave them behind as people, but to the contrary, you love them even more. But your whole concept about life and sainthood changes.

If what I put in bold is how you think Catholics view saints, you are terribly mistaken. Catholics share the same view of saints you just expressed the Orthodox as having. So, I don't need to change my entire concept of saints. And honestly, reading things like this on Orthodox sites is much of the reason I didn't give Orthodoxy a second look years ago. I'm sorry if that was uncharitable, but I feel it needed to be said. 

I agree.  There are plenty of Orthodox who have the same view of the saints that IoanC seems to portray as the Western view.  In fact, because they view the saints as so completely "other", they feel justified in not trying so hard.  They have the same view of the clergy.  "Those are the holy people, so they have to do X, Y, and Z...I'm just a normal guy, I don't have to do all that" is just another way of saying "I could never be like them". 
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« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2013, 12:09:06 AM »

I agree.  There are plenty of Orthodox who have the same view of the saints that IoanC seems to portray as the Western view.  In fact, because they view the saints as so completely "other", they feel justified in not trying so hard.  They have the same view of the clergy.  "Those are the holy people, so they have to do X, Y, and Z...I'm just a normal guy, I don't have to do all that" is just another way of saying "I could never be like them".

Right. We're all called to be saints, and God wouldn't call us to be something that's impossible. I think the saints probably had the same sorts of doubts we all do; what separates them from the rest is that they fully trusted in God's plan for them even when the situation looked hopeless.

And honestly, reading things like this on Orthodox sites is much of the reason I didn't give Orthodoxy a second look years ago. I'm sorry if that was uncharitable, but I feel it needed to be said.

Don't take anything said here to heart. Wink
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« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2013, 04:37:42 AM »

I can only speak for myself, but I don't feel any affinity towards the saints I used to venerate.   My separation from Rome truly felt like a divorce and part of me moving forward was severing any links I had with my former communion.

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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2013, 04:03:57 AM »

I am depressed to not be able to say Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
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« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2013, 12:52:27 PM »

I am depressed to not be able to say Saint Bernard of Clairvaux


See this post:

Can you prove to me that all the pre schism saints venerated by WRO today believed in the Orthodox faith without any Romnan additions or any western theological understanding added to it?  After all, by historical admission the entire West suddenly didn't just "fall away" over night in 1054, but it was a gradual estrangement that took centuries and had its roots well before the ten hundreds came along.  Are you sure that the pre schism Western saints were 100% Orthodox in all things just because the schism didn't officially happen when they reposed?  You don't think that, being western clergy under the Roman patriarch didn't mean that they were at risk, if not actually under the developments of Roman theology, liturgy, and pr axis that were occurring during these times?  Can you just magically declare them all to be "officially" OC because they lived and died before a certain date on the calendar?

This is the reason that the Russian Commission on the Saints of the British Isles and Ireland is working its way through the Lives of these Saints.  A few of them, Irish missionaries working on the Continent or closely associated with the court of Charlemagne (the Carolingians in general) were strong supporters of papal supremacy or of the filioque.    Decisions will have to be made about these Saints - were they simply innocent children of their day whose holiness was not affected by these errors?


Could you not say the same thing about many of the post schism Western saints as well (men s such as Anthony of Padua or Bernard of Clairvaux)?  They did their best to live holy lives and preach the Gospel in lands which were dominated by the Papal supremacy and really had little if any choice to embrace Orthodoxy 9Assuming that they really knew much about it in the first place beyond polemics).


Many Orthodox regard Bernard of Clairvaux as the last of the Fathers in the West, the last theologian to live and think within a fully patristic mindset before it was replaced by scholasticism (a movement which Bernard despised.)  I have a place in my heart for him.

None the less, his preaching of the Second Crusade makes him a bit iffy, although I imagine that he never had in mind the horrors which it would bring upon the Eastern Christians.

As for other post-schism saints, as a former Catholic I have to agree with jah that there's a definite disconnect between them and the spirituality of the early Fathers. I don't venerate them.
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« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2013, 01:54:50 PM »

I am depressed to not be able to say Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

This only means that you have not spent enough time studying the lives of the early saints or the lives of the post-Schism and contemporary Orthodox saints and elders.  There is no need to feel "depressed".  You have to recognize where you are in your journey and not expect to develop a patristic and Orthodox "phronema" or mindset by just a bit of engagement with Orthodoxy.  Do not feel that you need to convert tomorrow before coming to terms with these things; but diligently apply yourself to reading, asking questions, and praying so that you do not waste time in coming to terms with such all-important issues. 
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« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2013, 02:19:02 PM »

I am depressed to not be able to say Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

This only means that you have not spent enough time studying the lives of the early saints or the lives of the post-Schism and contemporary Orthodox saints and elders. 

I disagree. People can miss things even if they convert to Orthodoxy and believe in everything that the Church teaches.
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