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Author Topic: Review of Orthodox Way by Hieromonk Patapios  (Read 1730 times) Average Rating: 0
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Sabbas
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« on: March 07, 2005, 07:35:08 PM »

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/review_tow.aspx

I was wondering if anyone has read this review? I think it accurately expresses how I feel about Bishop Kallistos book. I was wondering if anyone found it helpful, interesting, etc. If you are going to read it for the first time I think you read the Conclusion first and keep it in mind when you read the article incase you think it might upset you. I know there are many here who adore Bishop Kallistos. The Conclusion says
 
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In spite of all that we have said, The Orthodox Way is, on the whole, a valuable book. If we have expressed ourselves somewhat harshly in places, it is only out of concern both for the author and for his readers. Bishop Kallistos is, to quote my review of The Orthodox Church, "a Christian gentleman of the highest caliber and an Orthodox scholar who has done much to make our Faith better known in the West" (p. 39); and I stand by this judgment. It is precisely for this reason, however, that I find it painful to see a man so eminently well-equipped to write excellent books and articles on Orthodoxy making careless lapses on elementary points of theology— and especially when they smack of the odious influence of the religious relativism so beloved of the ecumenism in which his ecclesiastical jurisdiction is mired. Should His Grace choose to share his more adventurous speculations with colleagues over a glass of port in the Senior Common Room, no one can object. But one must be more cautious, and especially if he is a Shepherd of the flock, when presenting a popular account of the Faith for Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike, lest he "offend one of these little ones which believe in" Christ; "for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!" (St. Matthew 18:6-7). We can, and do, expect more of an author to whom we are forever indebted for his superb and pioneering contributions to an understanding of Orthodox theology in the West, including such liturgical classics as the Festal Menaion and the Lenten Triodion.

Also keep in mind I am not bashing or against Bishop Kallistos by posting this. I think he has gone way too far with recent comments he has made about female ordination to the priesthood among other things but I think much of what he writes is highly beneficial. I just read Chapter 5 of Orthodox Way this morning and enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time.
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2005, 04:25:17 AM »

Sabbas,

I've read this review of the Orthodox Way and I also own Bishop Kallistos' book. I agree with you about both the review and the views of Bishop Kallistos. I also agree with you that the Orthodox Way is a valuable book, so long as you bear in mind that it has some problems. Even the Fathers were not always entirely correct in every particular so how could we expect that Bishop Kallistos could be? Personally, I found the Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Way to be very valuable when I was first considering Orthodoxy - they helped me decide to enter the catechumenate. Since I entered the Church, I've tended to concentrate more on 'weightier' books and on the Fathers, but I certainly owe Bishop Kallistos a debt of gratitude for the part his books played in my journey to Orthodoxy.

James
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2005, 05:34:20 AM »


I think he has gone way too far with recent comments he has made about female ordination to the priesthood among other things but I think much of what he writes is highly beneficial.


It has been my understanding that his comments regarding the ordination of women are simply along the lines of the church having a council and putting forward a statement of Orthodox belief in this regard. He is not in support of the ordination of women, he is in support of the church making a definitive statement so as to put the issue to rest once and for all. Can you imagine an Orthodox council approving women's ordination? Cheesy Neither can I.

John
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2005, 01:20:34 PM »



It has been my understanding that his comments regarding the ordination of women are simply along the lines of the church having a council and putting forward a statement of Orthodox belief in this regard. He is not in support of the ordination of women, he is in support of the church making a definitive statement so as to put the issue to rest once and for all. Can you imagine an Orthodox council approving women's ordination? Cheesy Neither can I.

John

Where did you get your information? I am not being sarcastic. I would seriously like to know because I recently saw on http://www.goarch.org/en/multimedia/video/ the "Conversation with Bishop Kallistos" and between 57:36-1:04:43 Bishop Kallistos made a few statements that just seem to make the question open ended. I particularly couldn't understand why Bishop Kallistos seemed insistent that it is important we know why women should not be ordained. As I see it does not matter whether we know why or not but to follow what has been handed down to us.
But I would also like to say that the video "Conversation with Bishop Kallistos" shows Bishop Kallistos telling about his conversion to Orthodoxy and is very touching. It made me wonder what would have happened had he joined the Russian Orthodox church instead of the Greek Orthodox church; his books might have been much different. Who knows?

Sabbas,

I've read this review of the Orthodox Way and I also own Bishop Kallistos' book. I agree with you about both the review and the views of Bishop Kallistos. I also agree with you that the Orthodox Way is a valuable book, so long as you bear in mind that it has some problems. Even the Fathers were not always entirely correct in every particular so how could we expect that Bishop Kallistos could be? Personally, I found the Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Way to be very valuable when I was first considering Orthodoxy - they helped me decide to enter the catechumenate. Since I entered the Church, I've tended to concentrate more on 'weightier' books and on the Fathers, but I certainly owe Bishop Kallistos a debt of gratitude for the part his books played in my journey to Orthodoxy.

James

I think that the problem is that Bishop Kallistos is making errors about central aspects of our Faith. These errors are intentional in Chapter 4. He writes that Jesus Christ assumed fallen human nature in a way that is at odds with Orthodoxy. This is very sad because Bishop Kallistos is sowing these errors into impressionable inquirers, catechumens, and Orthodox in such a way that they will go on believing the Bishops words to be the Orthodox Truth rather than Bishop Kallistos private ideas. This saddened me and confused me quite a bit because Bishop Kallistos is a Patristic scholar of great reknown and yet a cursory reading of the Fathers will show where Bishop Kallistos errors. Consider this from the article
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His Grace correctly points out the Christ was not Himself sinful, but goes on to maintain that "in his solidarity with fallen man he accepts to the full the consequences of Adams sin" (ibid.). Now by "consequences" he understands not only the physical kind, such as weariness, bodily pain, and, eventually, death, but also the moral variety, "the loneliness, the alienation, the inward conflict" (ibid., p. 100). But alienation from whom or from what? From God? In the next section, he goes so far as to say, on the basis of Christs words on the Cross, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (St. Matthew 27:46), that Jesus truly experienced "the spiritual death of separation from God" (ibid., p. 106). As we shall see, this is wholly at odds with Orthodox teaching, and all the more astounding for the fact that it comes from the pen of an Orthodox Hierarch and a renowned Patristic scholar. That our Lord experienced some degree of loneliness is undeniable. Perhaps the best example of this is the episode in the garden of Gethsemane, where He chided the three chief Apostles for their inability to stay awake: "And He cometh unto the Disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with Me one hour?" (St. Matthew 26:40). We can hardly begin to imagine what Christ underwent during those anxious moments, when He permitted His human will to give expression to its feelings of weakness in the midst of the unfolding drama of His Passion: "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt" (St. Matthew 26:39). This kind of loneliness is not only perfectly understandable, but it is, more importantly, innocent; it is not sinful. There is another kind of loneliness, however, which is either sinful, or which at least has the potential to become sinful; and that is when someone who makes no effort to interact with other human beings indulges in self-pity over what he perceives as abandonment by his fellow men. Christ did not experience this kind of loneliness. He deliberately sought solitude so that He could devote Himself to prayer, away from the crowds that habitually followed Him wherever He went.

Bishop Kallistos assertion that Christ experienced "inward conflict" is without any foundation in the New Testament. Worse still, it is something that we encounter in the blasphemous novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ, which aroused such a furor in the late 1980s, when a film based on the novel was released to an international audience. Among the scenes that caused the greatest offense to traditional Christians, Orthodox or otherwise, were those in which Jesus was portrayed as undergoing sexual temptations and entertaining serious doubts about His Messianic calling. Some of the same ideas were espoused by the heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia, whose name was frequently raised in theological circles in connection with the aforementioned film. According to Father Georges Florovsky, Theodore taught that Christ "struggled trying to overcome passion and even lust," in which He was "assisted by the Spirit with Its "moral influences." The Spirit "illuminated Him and strengthened His will in order to destroy sin in the flesh, to curb its lust with a light and noble force." Only in death did Christ attain "perfect purity and unalterability of thoughts." (See The Byzantine Fathers of the Fifth Century [Vaduz: Bchervertriebsanstalt, 1987], p. 208.)


and this from St.Gregory the Theologian's 4th Theological Oration
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V. Take, in the next place, the subjection by which you subject the Son to the Father. What, you say, is He not now subject, or must He, if He is God, be subject to God?20 You are fashioning your argument as if it concerned some robber, or some hostile deity. But look at it in this manner: that as for my sake He was called a curse,21 Who destroyed my curse; and sin,22 who taketh away the sin of the world; and became a new Adam23 to take the place of the old, just so He makes my disobedience His own as Head of the whole body. As long then as I am disobedient and rebellious, both by denial of God and by my passions, so long Christ also is called disobedient on my account. But when all things shall be subdued unto Him on the one hand by acknowledgment of Him, and on the other by a reformation, then He Himself also will have fulfilled His submission, bringing me whom He has saved to God. For this, according to my view, is the subjection of Christ; namely, the fulfilling of the Father's Will. But as the Son subjects all to the Father, so does the Father to the Son; the One by His Work, the Other by His good pleasure, as we have already said. And thus He Who subjects presents to God that which he has subjected, making our condition His own. Of the same kind, it appears to me, is the expression, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"24 It was not He who was forsaken either by the Father, or by His own Godhead, as some have thought, as if It were afraid of the Passion, and therefore withdrew Itself from Him in His Sufferings (for who compelled Him either to be born on earth at all, or to be lifted up on the Cross?) But as I said, He was in His own Person representing us. For we were the forsaken and despised before, but now by the Sufferings of Him Who could not suffer, we were taken up and saved. Similarly, He makes His own our folly and our transgressions; and says what follows in the Psalm, for it is very evident that the Twenty-first25 Psalm refers to Christ.

VI. The same consideration applies to another passage, "He learnt obedience by the things which He suffered,"26 and to His "strong crying and tears," and His "Entreaties," and His "being heard," and His" Reverence," all of which He wonderfully wrought out, like a drama whose plot was devised on our behalf. For in His character of the Word He was neither obedient nor disobedient. For such expressions belong to servants, and inferiors, and the one applies to the better sort of them, while the other belongs to those who deserve punishment. But, in the character of the Form of a Servant, He condescends to His fellow servants, nay, to His servants, and takes upon Him a strange form, bearing all me and mine in Himself, that in Himself He may exhaust the bad, as fire does wax, or as the sun does the mists of earth; and that I may partake of His nature by the blending. Thus He honours obedience by His action, and proves it experimentally by His Passion. For to possess the disposition is not enough, just as it would not be enough for us, unless we also proved it by our acts; for action is the proof of disposition.

I am sure Bishop Kallistos knows what the Fathers have always written and so he should have qualified his statements for the sake of those new to Orthodoxy. The particular error of saying our Lord experienced inner conflict is very common in Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in modern times and is used as a way of 'psychoanalyzing' Christ as if he is not God! They particularly say this of the Forty days and the tempting of the Devil. If you truly believe Jesus Christ is God He cannot have inward conflict which results from being created and not knowing all that is and will be. It comes from separation from God. Jesus Christ is God and so to impute inward conflict is a very grave error and very problematic for those trying to come to the Orthodox faith! This is what I have referred to in the past as semi-Arianism and I think it is part of why many Protestants are fond of referring our Lord as the 'Righteous guy who died for our sins.' He is relocated to the role of being the best man who ever lived and not our God and King and Saviour among us.
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2005, 01:33:15 PM »

It made me wonder what would have happened had he joined the Russian Orthodox church instead of the Greek Orthodox church; his books might have been much different. Who knows?

According to this another review by the same Hieromonk Patapios, Bishop Kallistos converted to Orthodoxy through ROCOR, and he was a ROCOR lay member when The Orthodox Church was first published. He had left ROCOR and joined EP later.
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2005, 02:58:50 PM »

I read that as well and am still trying to find a biography of Bishop Kallistos to explain this. Bishop Kallistos said that when converted the parish was Greek. This could just be one of the Greek parishes that were in ROCOR? I really don't know except I remember cases in which ROCOR has had within its jurisdiction Greek parishes as well as Romanian parishes. What I was thinking of is if Bishop Kallistos had immersed himself in Russian Orthodox monasticism, Church Slavonic, etc. what would he have been like. I thought of this because Bishop Kallistos first encountered Orthodoxy when wandering into a Russian Orthodox Church one day and listening to the service in Church Slavonic.
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2005, 07:18:34 AM »

I think that the problem is that Bishop Kallistos is making errors about central aspects of our Faith. These errors are intentional in Chapter 4. He writes that Jesus Christ assumed fallen human nature in a way that is at odds with Orthodoxy. This is very sad because Bishop Kallistos is sowing these errors into impressionable inquirers, catechumens, and Orthodox in such a way that they will go on believing the Bishops words to be the Orthodox Truth rather than Bishop Kallistos private ideas.


As one of those impressionable inquirers, I did not find the material in "The Orthodox Way" to be as problematic as you suggest.  From my Roman Catholic background, it is very clearly taught that Christ was like us in all ways but sin.  So, on the one hand, Jesus did not sin and He was never separated from God and was never not God.  On the other hand, Jesus is a man; and, in Jesus, God assumed human nature in order to redeem it.  How to understand this?  I don't know.  I don't know if *can* be fully understood.  The nonsense from "The Da Vinci Code" or "The Last Temptation of Christ" shows the dangers of an uniformed or unthinking or imprecise understanding.  On the other hand, I did not get a sense of that kind or level of unorthodoxy in Bishop Ware's book.  Instead, I think he was trying to emphatically state that God, in Jesus, really is trying to restore humanity to Himself by assuming our human nature while also maintaining His Divine nature. 

The author of the review (Hieromonk Patapios)  made an interesting inquiry into a question I had never considered before to any depth:  Did Jesus assume our unfallen or our fallen human nature?  From the review, I can see that this is both an interesting and important distinction.  Yet, in my reading of Bishop Ware's book, I can honestly say that the question never arose in my mind.  Instead, as I noted above, I interpreted Bishop Ware's remarks as an emphatic proclamation that God, in Jesus, is indeed with us in all our sufferings and that He is there to help us overcome them.

Yes, “The Orthodox Way" is not complete.  For example, it does not discuss much about participating in the liturgical life of the Church or the need for personal ascetic practice and prayer with the help of a spiritual director.  However, I did not approach this book as a complete resource.  Instead, I regarded it as a supplement to his "The Orthodox Church," which introduces Orthodoxy historically and religiously.  There are other books (and personal experience) which delve into the other dimensions of Holy Orthodoxy.

Finally, the other criticisms which Hieromonk Patapios raises in his review simply did not register with me as an inquirer.  For example, the use of non-Orthodox, questionably Orthodox and non-patristic sources for quotes was completely beyond my scope because I don't know most of the authors being cited.  Instead, I looked at the quotes to see if they had anything worthwhile to say to me.  And, if it is any consolation, one person quoted had a huge effect on me: Vladimir Lossky.  As a Catholic, I did not know too much about the Holy Spirit.  Bishop Ware's discussion of the Holy Spirit and then his quote of Vladimir Lossky so impressed me that I bought and read Vladimir Lossky's "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church."  I have nowhere near mastered that book because it is so rich, broad, complex and profound.  However, Vladimir Lossky's book has and continues to open my mind and soul to (Orthodox) ideas about God, most especially about the Holy Spirit, to my immense benefit and happiness.  So, as you can see, some of the quotes in "The Orthodox Way" have done, at least for me, much good.

Overall, I find "The Orthodox Way" one of the most useful discussions of Orthodoxy that I have encountered.  It is neither complete nor perfect.  But, it is very, very useful for making elementary concepts of Orthodoxy to be intelligible to this inquiring, non-Orthodox reader.
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2005, 08:35:01 AM »

I missed this thread first time 'round...

This book was THE book that sealed the deal for my becoming a catechumen, so it obviously holds a special place in my life.  Like arjuna, the issues quoted by the good heiromonk didn't even register with me.

I've read the OI.com review of Church, but have yet to read (and was not aware of the existence of) this review of Way.  I have to say that, based on the part quoted by Sabbas, I'm not impressed going into it.  My question is: if Christ did NOT receive our fallen human nature, are we indeed saved and healed?  If "that which is not assumed is not healed," then if the fallenness is not assumed, then we are still in our sins.

As to the loneliness of Christ: I truly don't see the difference between the "inward conflict" of "Eloi, Eloi" and that of Gethsemane.  If He's God (and thus, according to Sabbas, not supposed to question in His omniscience), why would He ask either thing?  True, in both instances, He turns right around and says "Into thy hands" and "Nevertheless.." respectively (thus showing His--and thus our--redeemed humanity), but the revelation of a naturally weak humanity is there.  One of the Trinity suffered, was lonely, and even questioned the Father, in His humanity, which was in every way weak like ours, save the taint of sin.  In no way is this noble questioning and suffering on par with The Last Temptaion of Christ or "someone who makes no effort to interact with other human beings indulg[ing] in self-pity over what he perceives as abandonment by his fellow men."

Thanks for the link, though.  I'll look it over.
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2005, 06:20:46 PM »

It has been my understanding that his comments regarding the ordination of women are simply along the lines of the church having a council and putting forward a statement of Orthodox belief in this regard. He is not in support of the ordination of women, he is in support of the church making a definitive statement so as to put the issue to rest once and for all. Can you imagine an Orthodox council approving women's ordination? Cheesy Neither can I.

John

This has also been my own understanding (and no... I'm afraid I can't give you a specific quotation since I'm both too lazy to go back and check it out AND I've no intention of trying to defend such a great man who does not require my defense). Frankly, I find it a bit obscene to be throwing about such veiled accusations ("Oh... his works have helped me immensely...they've assisted in bringing me into the Church BUT... BUT"). Why do we do this? Why do we love to publically castigate our brothers and sisters... particularly those of the calibre of Bp Kallistos? This is so wrong and frankly I would be extremely careful in this regards, lest you find that you who are so ready to judge your brother are rendered the same exacting judgment by the Lord Almighty. I would NOT care to be in your shoes at such a time. Lips Sealed
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2005, 09:07:18 AM »

Having almost completely read this book (up until this thread I wasn't really on planning to read it) I have to say that the real issue he has with HG seems to be that HG is simple, yet profound in his personal Orthodoxy, and his walk with Christ appears to be so intimate, that he has no need for the weakness of fundamentalism. Whereas Hieromonk Patapios seems to depend on it, albeit calling it traditionalist.

For what its worth a damning critique could also be made of some of the erroneous assumptions Hieromonk Patapios makes, by a similar misconstruction of facts as he has applied to HG Kallistos.

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