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Author Topic: Conversion and Ecumenism  (Read 1381 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: February 22, 2005, 01:49:43 PM »

Patrick Barnes recently added some very good articles to Orthodoxinfo.com. One of them was Contours of Conversion and the Ecumenical Movement: Some Personal Reflections by Hieromonk Alexios Karakallinos. This was "A talk presented at the September, 2004 conference 'Ecumenism: Origins, Expectations, Disenchantment,' sponsored by the School of Pastoral Theology, The Aristotelian University, Thessaloniki, Greece." Here's an excerpt...

Quote
...It is “pain of heart” that enables those in heterodoxy to no longer trust their own reasoning, views and emotions, so that they can take the claims of Orthodoxy seriously, critique their own beliefs, and ask themselves what matters most in life. In fact, Saint Barsanuphios the Great says, “without pain of heart no one receives the gift of discerning thoughts.” And this applies to the entire spectrum of discernment. The trials, the tribulations, the sorrows, the crises that bring about this pain of heart are among the greatest blessings from God, for they bring about that due season in which views can be reexamined and a turning towards Orthodoxy can take place...

Humbly seeking in turn gives way to humbly submitting to the Truth, once the Truth has been found. Frank Schaeffer puts it in this way: “I no longer believed it was my duty to stand in arrogant judgment over the historical ChurchGǪ as if it were merely a matter of personal taste, amusement, or comfort. Rather I began to see that it was the Holy Tradition of the historic Church that stood in judgment over meGǪ This is no theoretical or theological assertion, but a very practical one, since as a moral cripple I need the crutches —this historical certainty—offered by the historic community of belief."...

It should not be surprising that those formerly heterodox Christians who have converted to the Church are the fiercest opponents of ecumenism. For ecumenists, converts to Orthodoxy are clearly an embarrassment, since conversion denies the existence of some middle ground between the Church and heterodox confessions. For converts, their involvement in ecumenism would be the fulfillment of the proverb “as a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” Converts are intimately familiar with the spiritual sickness and suffering caused by infidelity to the teachings of Christ and His Church in heterodox communities. They cannot be duped by soothing words about love that sacrifice the Truth or empty words about a unity that in reality does not and cannot possibly exist. Their repentance over what is wrong in those communities was by the grace of God a fount of knowledge leading to salvation. They will not let ecumenism deny this knowledge to themselves or to others...
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"But science is an inferential exercise, not a catalog of facts. Numbers, by themselves, specify nothing. All depends upon what you do with them" - Stephen Jay Gould
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2005, 02:03:08 PM »

A very interesting read...thank you!   Smiley
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epektasis
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2005, 10:13:57 PM »



A Retreat from Ecumenism in Post-Communist Russia and Eastern in Europe?
  :'(  www.harriman.columbia.edu/j_erickson.pdf  Angry


    Roll Eyes Let's here it for kwazy konverts!
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2005, 12:39:02 AM »

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Some would take Orthodox claims to be the one true Church in an exclusive rather than an inclusive sense, so that outside the canonical limits of the Orthodox Church as we currently perceive them there is simply undifferentiated darkness, in which the pope is no better than a witchdoctor. How are we to evaluate these
conflicting views? The exclusive view today claims to represent true Orthodoxy, traditional Orthodox... It has developed in the West, and it has thrived in the West, indeed here in the United States, especially in Greek Old Calendarist circles (including several monasteries in the United States) and in the closely allied Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (headquartered on East 93rd Street in New York City).


Poppycock. Name me one official ROCOR document--quote me even one priest currently in ROCOR for that matter!--who believes that "the pope is little better than a witchdoctor" or anything of the like! This is polemical nonsense, plain and simple. It's like Met. Herman's (OCA) recent comment that ROCOR was not in communion with any Orthodox Church, when he knows full well that we concelebrate and commune with both the Serbs and Jerusalem Patriarchate (besides 3 other Orthodox bodies). How can educated people make these types of claims!? Sad Patrick Barnes' The Non-Orthodox is a good exposition of what traditionalist Orthodox (like those in ROCOR, anyway) really believe. The thing is, it's this type of article that gets traditionalists all fired up, because it is so amazingly inflamatory and rude, not to mention intellectually dishonest. Unfortunately, all people seem to notice is the fiery traditionalist rebuttal, not the original article which prompted the rebuttal. Thus Orthodoxinfo continues to get ridiculed today, even though they've taken down probably more than half of the confrontational material, and they have put new calendar saints/readings up on the site for each day. No matter--their reputation proceeds them, they are just one of those nasty traditionalist sites ran by a crazy convert in that quasi-canonical, but pretty-much-schismatic ROCOR group.


PS. I just want to add that, one of the reasons this has me so fired up is exactly because I don't think ROCOR and other so-called (or self-called) traditionalist bodies are the only "true Orthodox" bodies. I look foward to the day that ROCOR is in communion with the OCA, Antiochians, etc. I imagine all Christians want such unity. But this will be hard to come by with all the polemics in the air. And I dislike people attributing to me beliefs I don't hold. I've held to A LOT of DUMB things over the years, but I have NEVER looked at my Catholic Grand Mother or Uncle and considered them little more than pagans. Quite the contrary, I've always considered my now-deceased Catholic Grand Father to have been the best man I have ever known.

PSS. I edited some things out that I shouldn't have made, because they were uncharitable (sarcastic and accusatory). Perhaps now is a good time to at least attempt to take time off for Lent.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2005, 01:28:21 AM by Paradosis » Logged

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Sabbas
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2005, 05:59:16 PM »

Quote
Patrick Barnes' The Non-Orthodox is a good exposition of what traditionalist Orthodox (like those in ROCOR, anyway) really believe. The thing is, it's this type of article that gets traditionalists all fired up, because it is so amazingly inflamatory and rude, not to mention intellectually dishonest. Unfortunately, all people seem to notice is the fiery traditionalist rebuttal, not the original article which prompted the rebuttal. Thus Orthodoxinfo continues to get ridiculed today, even though they've taken down probably more than half of the confrontational material, and they have put new calendar saints/readings up on the site for each day. No matter--their reputation proceeds them, they are just one of those nasty traditionalist sites ran by a crazy convert in that quasi-canonical, but pretty-much-schismatic ROCOR group

I agree entirely with you Paradosis. I am always amazed when I read people posting about how 'ultra-traditional' the orthodoxinfo is. It makes me wonder if they are aware that the website and the Greek Synod in Resistance are viewed by the ROAC, Matthewites and others as just as much 'Ecumenist Heretics' as mainstream 'canonical' Orthodox for recognizing Ecclesial Grace as being present in mainstream Orthodox. It really upsets me because www.orthodoxinfo.com is probably the best site I have been to for those interested in Orthodoxy.

I just read the article by Erickson and I also agree that it makes me angry and sad. The author sites the Encyclical of 1920 as if it represented Orthodoxy. He seems to be completely unaware just how shocking and upsetting that encyclical was for both laity and monastics. The abbot of Sihastria, where Elder Cleopa would eventually be tonsured a monk a few years later, locked himself in a room with the psalter and some antidoron saying not to be disturbed after he heard the news about the New Calendar. He was in the room for several days before one scared monk disobeyed and found him half dead on the floor. If only the author would take Orthodoxy's claim to be the One True Church seriously then maybe he'd see where he is wrong. I think his main problem is he thinks Dogmatic differences are somehow separate from the Sacraments. I also am suprised he thinks he could go on about how Orthodoxy has only recently adopted an 'Exclusive' Ecclesiology. What about the Nestorians? Did the Church continue to recognize their Sacraments as valid? Is the author even aware of the long standing split between Orthodoxy and the Non-Chalcedonian churches?
This article was very upsetting to say the least.
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2005, 05:09:47 PM »

Poppycock. Name me one official ROCOR document--quote me even one priest currently in ROCOR for that matter!--who believes that "the pope is little better than a witchdoctor" or anything of the like! This is polemical nonsense, plain and simple.

Well, these things don't come out of a vacuum. Do you think Professor Erickson just woke up one day and said "hmm, I think I'll write provocative polemical statements about ROCOR"? Granted, it seems that he should be much more careful and humble about what he writes. It's very unfortunate that he would lump all of ROCOR into one basket. The fact is, in my own personal experience, i have met some wonderful ROCOR people. I have also met some who are VERY intolerant and uncharitable towards any who are not of a "traditionalist" communion of one kind or another. I hope that these people are a minority. I'm sure that you know of what I speak. I don't really know why we should make an issue out of this. Are you going to tell me that people in ROCOR have never written polemical things about the OCA or other jurisdictions? Brothers, why can't we try to stop being "shocked and appalled" by polemical things written or spoken against each other, and let cooler heads prevail now and again? Forgive me for any intemperence I display here brothers.

Bob
« Last Edit: March 07, 2005, 05:10:33 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

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Pravoslavbob
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2005, 05:22:50 PM »

Sabbas and Epektasis,

I read the Erickson article a while ago.  At the time, I remember thinking that he made some good points, but that I took issue with him on some issues, or that I was undecided about some things.  I will read it again later.  However, why are you letting it make you be upset and angry?  My gut feeling is that if you feel this way about something like this, you need to step back and take a deep breath.  Far be it from me to advise anyone about their spiritual life.  But to let anger creep into your life, especially over issues like this, just can't be right, brothers.  We can't trust our anger, and we have to struggle to forgive at all times.  If we give in to our anger, then we have lost and the evil one has won.  I am not one to talk, so forgive me. 

Bob
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