Author Topic: Catastrophes in Orthodox History  (Read 1736 times)

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Offline Hinterlander

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Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« on: November 04, 2013, 04:15:27 PM »
Have the Orthodox ever interpreted catastrophes, especially military defeat, as God's judgement upon Orthodox lands for their infidelity, idolatry, heresy, etc? 

How have events, like the Fourth Crusades and the Fall of Constantinople, been understood by Orthodox society? 

Related question, are there any Orthodox Saints who are considered Cassandra, i.e., unheeded prophets know for portending doom?

Offline Hinterlander

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2013, 06:42:55 PM »
Sorry for the typos.  I shouldn't post on my lunch break.

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2013, 06:50:35 PM »
Have the Orthodox ever interpreted catastrophes, especially military defeat, as God's judgement upon Orthodox lands for their infidelity, idolatry, heresy, etc? 

How have events, like the Fourth Crusades and the Fall of Constantinople, been understood by Orthodox society? 

Related question, are there any Orthodox Saints who are considered Cassandra, i.e., unheeded prophets know for portending doom?

Google the correspondence of the Orthodox patriarchs with the Scottish churchmen who were exploring union with the Orthodox during the first quarter of the 18th century.  Google books has digitized an early English translation of their correspondence.  In there the Orthodox hierarchy write that the Ottoman rule is a visitation upon them for their sins. 

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2013, 06:53:37 PM »
Have the Orthodox ever interpreted catastrophes, especially military defeat, as God's judgement upon Orthodox lands for their infidelity, idolatry, heresy, etc? 

How have events, like the Fourth Crusades and the Fall of Constantinople, been understood by Orthodox society? 

Related question, are there any Orthodox Saints who are considered Cassandra, i.e., unheeded prophets know for portending doom?

Google the correspondence of the Orthodox patriarchs with the Scottish churchmen who were exploring union with the Orthodox during the first quarter of the 18th century.  Google books has digitized an early English translation of their correspondence.  In there the Orthodox hierarchy write that the Ottoman rule is a visitation upon them for their sins. 

I too would be interested to know if anything similar was said about post 1917 Russia. 

Offline Gamliel

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2013, 07:08:37 PM »
Military defeats resulted in the emperor at the time beginning the iconoclast controversy.

Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2013, 07:14:33 PM »
Military defeats resulted in the emperor at the time beginning the iconoclast controversy.

Partly so. There were some natural disasters at the time and there was a rumor that Leo, as a young man, had Jews and Muslims as friends who influenced him.

Have the Orthodox ever interpreted catastrophes, especially military defeat, as God's judgement upon Orthodox lands for their infidelity, idolatry, heresy, etc? 

Yes. The most famous example is the Fall of Constantinople. Many said that Constantinople fell because of the Union of Florence.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 07:15:59 PM by Cyrillic »
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2013, 10:00:40 PM »
Have the Orthodox ever interpreted catastrophes, especially military defeat, as God's judgement upon Orthodox lands for their infidelity, idolatry, heresy, etc? 

How have events, like the Fourth Crusades and the Fall of Constantinople, been understood by Orthodox society? 

Related question, are there any Orthodox Saints who are considered Cassandra, i.e., unheeded prophets know for portending doom?

Google the correspondence of the Orthodox patriarchs with the Scottish churchmen who were exploring union with the Orthodox during the first quarter of the 18th century.  Google books has digitized an early English translation of their correspondence.  In there the Orthodox hierarchy write that the Ottoman rule is a visitation upon them for their sins. 

I too would be interested to know if anything similar was said about post 1917 Russia. 

Fr. Arseny, IIRC, laid the blame for the October Revolution in part on the failings of the clergy.

The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople is often blamed on the Union of Florence. (Allegedly, Mehmet II was going to give up. Then the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics celebrated Liturgy together in Haghia Sophia, and an angel came to Mehmet and pointed to a weak spot in the walls saying, "Attack here.")

But I haven't found a theological reason for every disaster. Usually it's just a general "for our sins," which is sort of based in Scripture. Reference the Song of the Three Youths in the Greek Book of Daniel.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2013, 10:05:19 PM »
Military defeats resulted in the emperor at the time beginning the iconoclast controversy.

Partly so. There were some natural disasters at the time and there was a rumor that Leo, as a young man, had Jews and Muslims as friends who influenced him.


Iconoclasm was not an exclusively imperial movement. There were also several bishops, mainly from Anatolia, who possessed iconoclastic leanings, even before iconoclasm gained momentum. By and large, they were (rightly) offended by certain excesses with regard to icons.
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Offline augustin717

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2013, 10:27:02 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: blame it on the West/Rome if possible at all.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 10:31:20 PM by augustin717 »

Offline brastaseptim

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2013, 10:29:07 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: ascribe it to the West/Rome if possible at all.

Whereas for the Latin West, it's- ascribe it to the Communists, liberals, hippies, or atheists, if possible at all.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 10:30:05 PM by brastaseptim »
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2013, 10:30:47 PM »
At least we assign blame in the same way: to the left. 
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Offline PoorFoolNicholas

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2013, 11:22:53 PM »
Wrong forum Mor...

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2013, 11:51:26 PM »
Do you know geography? 
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Offline Gamliel

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2013, 11:53:20 PM »
My former boss would figure out a way to make it my fault. :-X

Offline brastaseptim

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2013, 12:17:09 AM »
My former boss would figure out a way to make it my fault. :-X

So would my 11th-grade Theology teacher. "So, you think it might be a good idea to chant some Latin at the next class Mass?"

"Well yes, I think it might introduce my fellow classmat-"

"Well, you're not getting it- these are kids, they don't know what the heck mumbo jumbo's being said. This is just like your altar crucifix idea last week- and those are expensive. Now go clean up the chapel."

"Gladly. I might leave an icon in there, in case you might want one-"

"Out!"
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Offline TheMathematician

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2013, 12:26:41 AM »
Do you know geography? 
except, in a map facing east, the blame always goes down to the bottom, and not the left :-P

Offline Santagranddad

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2013, 02:05:05 AM »
The Daily Mail and several other national newspapers here always appear to blame:

The EU
Immigrants
Welfare benefit claimants
Left wing politicians/activists

Conspiracy theorists have their scapegoat favourites

In Greece every Forest fire seemed to be blamed on the Turks

Offline LBK

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2013, 02:13:12 AM »
In Greece every Forest fire seemed to be blamed on the Turks

.... even though a very large number of them were arson, the fires set on behalf of property developers who then acquired the land to build their mansions.
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Offline Santagranddad

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2013, 02:22:06 AM »
In Greece every Forest fire seemed to be blamed on the Turks

.... even though a very large number of them were arson, the fires set on behalf of property developers who then acquired the land to build their mansions.

Spot on. Easier all round to blame the scapegoat.

Offline LBK

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2013, 02:24:40 AM »
In Greece every Forest fire seemed to be blamed on the Turks

.... even though a very large number of them were arson, the fires set on behalf of property developers who then acquired the land to build their mansions.

Spot on. Easier all round to blame the scapegoat.

Something Greeks (those who are not emigrants), are particularly renowned for.  :P ::)
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Offline hecma925

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2013, 10:18:57 AM »
Do you know geography? 
Hmmm, I knew the Pacific was acting fishy.
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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2013, 10:24:35 AM »
At least we assign blame in the same way: to the left. 

+1
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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2013, 10:32:50 AM »
At least we assign blame in the same way: to the left. 

Doesn't it depend on which way you're facing??
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Offline J Michael

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2013, 10:33:26 AM »
Do you know geography? 
Hmmm, I knew the Pacific was acting fishy.


Exactly!
"May Thy Cross, O Lord, in which I seek refuge, be for me a bridge across the great river of fire.  May I pass along it to the habitation of life." ~St. Ephraim the Syrian

"Sometimes you're the windshield.  Sometimes you're the bug." ~ Mark Knopfler (?)

Offline J Michael

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2013, 10:34:12 AM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: ascribe it to the West/Rome if possible at all.

Whereas for the Latin West, it's- ascribe it to the Communists, liberals, hippies, or atheists, if possible at all.

Or a bush.
"May Thy Cross, O Lord, in which I seek refuge, be for me a bridge across the great river of fire.  May I pass along it to the habitation of life." ~St. Ephraim the Syrian

"Sometimes you're the windshield.  Sometimes you're the bug." ~ Mark Knopfler (?)

Offline brastaseptim

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2013, 04:27:41 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: ascribe it to the West/Rome if possible at all.

Whereas for the Latin West, it's- ascribe it to the Communists, liberals, hippies, or atheists, if possible at all.

Or a bush.

Or the Bush.
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Offline Papist

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2013, 04:59:49 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: ascribe it to the West/Rome if possible at all.

Whereas for the Latin West, it's- ascribe it to the Communists, liberals, hippies, or atheists, if possible at all.

Or a bush.

Or the Bush.
True. Ol' George W. is responsible for the sack of Constantinople.
You are right. I apologize for having sacked Constantinople. I really need to stop doing that.

Offline J Michael

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2013, 05:05:05 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: ascribe it to the West/Rome if possible at all.

Whereas for the Latin West, it's- ascribe it to the Communists, liberals, hippies, or atheists, if possible at all.

Or a bush.

Or the Bush.
True. Ol' George W. is responsible for the sack of Constantinople.

LOLOLOLOLOL!

I knew we'd get there eventually!! ;D
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Offline brastaseptim

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2013, 05:06:18 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: ascribe it to the West/Rome if possible at all.

Whereas for the Latin West, it's- ascribe it to the Communists, liberals, hippies, or atheists, if possible at all.

Or a bush.

Or the Bush.
True. Ol' George W. is responsible for the sack of Constantinople.

LOLOLOLOLOL!

I knew we'd get there eventually!! ;D

Of course we would. I just speeded up the process.
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Offline J Michael

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2013, 05:14:37 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: ascribe it to the West/Rome if possible at all.

Whereas for the Latin West, it's- ascribe it to the Communists, liberals, hippies, or atheists, if possible at all.

Or a bush.

Or the Bush.
True. Ol' George W. is responsible for the sack of Constantinople.

LOLOLOLOLOL!

I knew we'd get there eventually!! ;D

Of course we would. I just speeded up the process.

Thank you!  We must exercise a modicum of caution, however, as this could easily end up in the cess-pit of OC.net, i.e. "Politics". ;)
"May Thy Cross, O Lord, in which I seek refuge, be for me a bridge across the great river of fire.  May I pass along it to the habitation of life." ~St. Ephraim the Syrian

"Sometimes you're the windshield.  Sometimes you're the bug." ~ Mark Knopfler (?)

Offline brastaseptim

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2013, 05:25:20 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: ascribe it to the West/Rome if possible at all.

Whereas for the Latin West, it's- ascribe it to the Communists, liberals, hippies, or atheists, if possible at all.

Or a bush.

Or the Bush.
True. Ol' George W. is responsible for the sack of Constantinople.

LOLOLOLOLOL!

I knew we'd get there eventually!! ;D

Of course we would. I just speeded up the process.

Thank you!  We must exercise a modicum of caution, however, as this could easily end up in the cess-pit of OC.net, i.e. "Politics". ;)

And that is why we're keeping this light-hearted and on topic, precisely to avoid that outcome, right;)
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Offline Hinterlander

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2013, 05:29:23 PM »
Do Orthodox STILL interpret these historical events in this manner?

Offline J Michael

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2013, 05:34:24 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: ascribe it to the West/Rome if possible at all.

Whereas for the Latin West, it's- ascribe it to the Communists, liberals, hippies, or atheists, if possible at all.

Or a bush.

Or the Bush.
True. Ol' George W. is responsible for the sack of Constantinople.

LOLOLOLOLOL!

I knew we'd get there eventually!! ;D

Of course we would. I just speeded up the process.

Thank you!  We must exercise a modicum of caution, however, as this could easily end up in the cess-pit of OC.net, i.e. "Politics". ;)

And that is why we're keeping this light-hearted and on topic, precisely to avoid that outcome, right;)

RIGHT!! :angel: :angel:
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"Sometimes you're the windshield.  Sometimes you're the bug." ~ Mark Knopfler (?)

Offline Aedificare

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2013, 05:34:55 PM »
Do Orthodox STILL interpret these historical events in this manner?

Yeah, why not?

The fall of Constantinople is the beggining of the end.

Quote
Andrew is depicted as predicting that the world's end would fall shortly after Constantinople's fall; in those times "shortly" could be a period of 100 to up to 1,000 years.

Offline Hinterlander

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2013, 06:33:37 PM »
Do Orthodox STILL interpret these historical events in this manner?

Yeah, why not?

The fall of Constantinople is the beggining of the end.

Quote
Andrew is depicted as predicting that the world's end would fall shortly after Constantinople's fall; in those times "shortly" could be a period of 100 to up to 1,000 years.

I see Orthodox blaming these events for weakening Orthodoxy and limiting it's ability to influence the West.  I don't see Orthodox accepting these events as God's chastisement. 
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 06:33:57 PM by Hinterlander »

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2013, 10:33:51 PM »
Do Orthodox STILL interpret these historical events in this manner?

Yeah, why not?

The fall of Constantinople is the beggining of the end.

Quote
Andrew is depicted as predicting that the world's end would fall shortly after Constantinople's fall; in those times "shortly" could be a period of 100 to up to 1,000 years.

I see Orthodox blaming these events for weakening Orthodoxy and limiting it's ability to influence the West.  I don't see Orthodox accepting these events as God's chastisement. 

Okaaaay.
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2013, 01:14:45 AM »
I recommend you order a book called "On Wealth and Poverty" by St. John Chrysostom. During the days close to his sermons, there were earthquakes and he speaks about God and disasters.

If you want I can type things out for you from his sermons, but it would be a lot of work and i am not sure about copyright for holy fathers... LOL

about other questions such as military defeats, as another pointed out an emperor turned towards Iconoclasm because he thought God was angry at the empire for allowing icons, since there were so many military defeats against the heathens who did not use icons. at least that is what some historians think

with the fall of the entire empire, sometimes it is blamed on the union of florence and the traitorous people who accepted it in order for a hope of secular protection, sometimes on the joint prayers in hagia sophia with the latins

I have also read though that the fall of the empire was already fortold in the city, such as a statue of Constantine pointed east, which tradition said the conqueror of Constantinople would come from the east and the moon would turn red. It just so happens there was a lunar eclipse during one of the days of the seige of Constantinople by the Turks

Generally I think in those times these occurances did seen to be happening by the will of God, including natural disasters. I believe as well that there disasters happened for a reason, although I will not try to choose one to believe. I simply believe it was God's will for these things to happen.

Today, generally more secular scholars and seminary professors do not really care for such explanations, but instead prefer a more scientific approach to these matters of history, to not say God was punishing this or that or showing this or that, but intead this event occured because of x y z historical circumstances. It just depends on who you ask

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Offline Math lover

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2013, 05:56:04 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: blame it on the West/Rome if possible at all.

And me who used to think only people in the Mid-East do this.

BTW, you forgot a common scapegoat, the Muslims...

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2013, 11:38:18 PM »
The rule of thumb for everything gone wrong in the East is: blame it on the West/Rome if possible at all.

And me who used to think only people in the Mid-East do this.

BTW, you forgot a common scapegoat, the Muslims...

Well, the Muslims are a problem, but a problem that got worse thanks to the Latins and their spawn--the British, French, and Americans.
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Offline Rufus

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2013, 12:50:43 AM »
Do Orthodox STILL interpret these historical events in this manner?

Yeah, why not?

The fall of Constantinople is the beggining of the end.

Quote
Andrew is depicted as predicting that the world's end would fall shortly after Constantinople's fall; in those times "shortly" could be a period of 100 to up to 1,000 years.

I see Orthodox blaming these events for weakening Orthodoxy and limiting it's ability to influence the West.  I don't see Orthodox accepting these events as God's chastisement. 

That's out of fashion these days. Now, catastrophes in Orthodox history are seen as signs of how rotten Turks and Catholics are.

Offline brastaseptim

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Re: Catastrophes in Orthodox History
« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2013, 01:34:11 AM »
Do Orthodox STILL interpret these historical events in this manner?

Yeah, why not?

The fall of Constantinople is the beggining of the end.

Quote
Andrew is depicted as predicting that the world's end would fall shortly after Constantinople's fall; in those times "shortly" could be a period of 100 to up to 1,000 years.

I see Orthodox blaming these events for weakening Orthodoxy and limiting it's ability to influence the West.  I don't see Orthodox accepting these events as God's chastisement. 

That's out of fashion these days. Now, catastrophes in Orthodox history are seen as signs of how rotten Turks and Catholics are.

Strange that we're so rotten, and we don't get the catastrophes nowadays.
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