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irene
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« on: March 22, 2005, 07:11:06 AM »

Hi there!

All of my family and friends celebrate Easter this coming Sunday. 

Since I've started studying Orthodoxy, and attending Services, I have had my focus on May 1st.  (and experiencing Lent).
I actually forgot it was Palm Sunday for many people this past Sunday.   That is a major change in my life because I was always involved Easter Week at the RCC.    I believe the Orthodox Church is the True Church, so I am following them.   

I was curious how others deal with this---the fact the majority of people in their lives (if it is like mine), are gearing up for this Sunday.   Do you acknowledge their Easter, but in your heart, don't agree with it?   Or is it really not an issue?   Accept them for what they believe, and celebrate Orthodox. too?   

Also, why is there such a discrepancy between the Western and Eastern Churches on the date?

THX!
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2005, 10:08:36 AM »

Since my parents are just getting used to the idea, very carefully.  My parents, although knowing we have a different date of Easter, have something prepared for our kids.  It's so secular (easter eggs and bunnies) and my parents have been so kind and understanding this year, we're letting it slide . . . THIS year.  I'm not going to make my parents, who have actually started to come to some of our church functions - an absolute, no doubt about it miracle - angry and disaffected because I'm sticking to my guns.  I'm not going to ruin the chances of another miracle in order to be technically correct.  It's hard, but my folks have made huge strides and I'm not going to mess that up.

There is a lot of info out here on the board if you run a couple of searches.  I think you will find your questions answered and maybe you'll end up with some new ones. 
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2005, 12:33:53 PM »

Quote
Also, why is there such a discrepancy between the Western and Eastern Churches on the date?
The decision to change the calendar in the west was put into effect under Pope Gregory XIII though plans to change the calendar had been in consideration a long time before that. The papal bull of February 1582 decreed that 10 days should be dropped from October 1582 so that 15 October should follow immediately after 4 October, and from then on the reformed calendar should be used.
This was observed in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. Other Catholic countries followed shortly after, but Protestant countries were reluctant to change, and the Greek orthodox countries didn't change until the start of this century. Note that countries who delayed the change-over beyond 1700 AD had to add eleven days as they had inserted an extra leap year.

Along with this change the Paschalion was also changed under Pope Gregory XIII which is why we celebrate Pascha at a different time.

This is a rather thorny issue in Orthodoxy today as I am sure you know. There were two years in Romania during the 1920's, I forget what they were, when people were forced to use the Gregorian Paschalion. The Church in Finland uses the Gregorian Paschalion for tax reasons which is rather sad. There was also the Quarto-Deciman Controversy of the early Church.

Quote
I was curious how others deal with this---the fact the majority of people in their lives (if it is like mine), are gearing up for this Sunday.   Do you acknowledge their Easter, but in your heart, don't agree with it?   Or is it really not an issue?   Accept them for what they believe, and celebrate Orthodox. too?

Well the rest of my family follows the Gregorian Easter and I do not go up to them and tell them they got the wrong date. I just acknowledge that while my sister goes Easter Vigil Mass I will be saying my prayers preparing for St.Gregory Palamas Sunday. She and my niece and nephews are coming by this weekend and I will still tell them Happy Easter and watch them eat chocolates and easter eggs. It does not bother me. However for families who have an Easter dinner, we did a few years in my family, I can see why this would cause some problems. Really I would just ask them to come to Pascha with you on May 1. As far as I know Catholics are no longer forbidden to enter other churches so they should be able to come. I only say this because my father grew up pre-Vatican II and told me about this. Though keep in mind it is forbidden for Orthodox to pray with non-Orthodox in their churches.
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2005, 01:03:11 PM »

From the Antiochian website, http://www.antiochian.org/1290 , gives a quick explanation.
The GOAA website has a much more indepth (and confusing) piece.

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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2005, 01:08:22 PM »

Irene,

    I was born and raised in the Serbian Orthodox Church and I was always taught that we celebrated Easter (and Christmas) according to the Julian Calendar.

    In as much as you say "their" Easter, I can only say that it has always been my thinking that their can only be "one" Easter.  Therefore, in the strictest sense of the word, "they" are not celebrating Easter at all.

    Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done because (as a child), growing up in the west, with all of it's mass marketing about Easter and Christmas (ie: Easter bunny and Santa), my parents and our priest always did well to inform us that the "other" days were "Western Holidays", not religious holidays.

    My parents re-inforced this idea, by keeping us home from school on all of the most significant days. 
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2005, 01:44:05 PM »

The reason why the discrepancy is so big this year is that this is one of the years in which the Paschal full moon (i.e., the calculated full moon falling immediately after the equinox) falls before the (incorrect) Julian equinox date. In this case the full moon is on the 25th so that Julian Easter falls about a month "late".

It's already an issue that most "minor" religious observances are ignored in the West. Keeping lent? Ha! For years I had to explain to people that I wasn't going to be available on Easter weekend because I was going to be busy the whole time.

The thing to avoid is turning this into an expression of contempt-- or condescension. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" loses its merit when you end it with, "but *I* do."
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2005, 01:53:50 PM »

SouthSerb,

You're right! They celebrate Easter, while we celebrate Pascha. My parents' Protestant church will mention the resurrection, but that's about it. To them it just never seems like a big deal. To us (my wife and family) it's way bigger than Christmas. It's almost impossible to compare the two.

However, we have to keep in mind that the Finns, with whom we are in communion, celebrate Pascha on the Gregorian Calendar.  I'm not saying they should, but I'm not willing to go so far as to say that they don't celebrate Pascha at all.
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2005, 02:16:20 PM »

cizinec please keep in mind that there are still a lot of Catholics who take the Lord's Resurrection seriously and celebrate it as a New Passover. Also keep in mind that only in Germanic languages is it Easter or Ostern. In predominantly Catholic countries like Italy and Spain it is called Pasqua, in Latin it is Pascha, in French it P+óques, etc. I see what you are saying about Easter in America and how most Catholics and Protestants here celebrate it though I do not think this is true for the rest of the Catholic and Protestant world.
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2005, 02:38:29 PM »

It's already an issue that most "minor" religious observances are ignored in the West. Keeping lent? Ha! For years I had to explain to people that I wasn't going to be available on Easter weekend because I was going to be busy the whole time.


Back when I was in college, some of the girls in my sorority wanted to have our spring party on Good Friday.  There were several of us who are just appalled but we couldn't get the others to understand why a party on Good Friday was completely inappropriate.  BTW, this school was in the Bible belt and most of us were Christians, at least in name. 

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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2005, 02:41:24 PM »

A few years ago, my old band was offered a gig on Good Friday.  I declined and got all kinds of flak from my bandmates, all of whom could not understand why I, as a practicing Catholic, would be adverse to performing on such a day. 

Ironically enough, it was the atheist of the band who was on my side.  The two who were raised Catholic didn't get it.
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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2005, 05:01:12 PM »

My parents re-inforced this idea, by keeping us home from school on all of the most significant days.

My parents did the same - provided we spent those days at church.
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« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2005, 05:27:36 PM »

My parents did the same - provided we spent those days at church.

Yes... I left that part out.  As a kid, I never liked the latter part, but now realize the importance of re-inforcing the difference.
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2005, 07:59:04 PM »

There are also plenty of Anglicans who take Easter seriously. 

And reading the religion notices in the paper, there are lots of churches in the Methodist/Presbyterian/Baptist model who are having major worship services this Sunday as well.

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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2005, 01:11:32 AM »



Some interesting information on the calendar topic. The Orthodox Theological Society in America
reviewed the calendar issue and after extensive review of the early church and Ecumenical council rulings,
concluded that the current method of setting the date for Pascha
doesn't follow the EC guidelines of the past and recommended going
back to the EC guidelines ...  The OTS consists of faculty and scholars from both St. Vlads and Holy Cross.
Perhaps this is why the topic is being considered for the agenda of the next 'Ecumenical meeting' the OC's are planning to have. You can read their assessment at:  http://www.otsamerica.org/news.html

Archpriest Father John Dresko also has an interesting review, I
pasted a few paragraphs below, (his full article can be found at this
link: http://www.dneoca.org/articles/dateofpascha0593.html) Father
Dresko points out that while both West and East use the same formula
for calculating Pascha,(first Sunday after First full moon, after the
Vernal Equinox) the vernal equinox(Julian calendar) we use is not
the accurate equinox, which was later identified correctly in the
Gregorian calendar. He also notes that the decision for use of the
Julian calendar for calculating Pascha alone was because some
Orthodox groups did not adopt the Gregorian calendar and there was a
desire for consistency.

Fr. Dresko's excerpt:
"The canons really are telling us not to concern ourselves at all
with the Jewish paschalia. Professor Ogitsky goes on to say that the
most correct formula for determining the date of the Christian Pascha
would be that it fall on the first Sunday after the 14th of Nisan
(the first full moon after the vernal equinox), which would ensure
that it fall between the 12th and 18th of April each year (assuming
we calculate the astronomical reality of the vernal equinox, instead
of an artificial "Julian Calendar" date) with a few occasional
variances, the latest being April 26th. As our current tradition
stands (concerning ourselves with the Jewish paschalia), the latest
day we can celebrate Pascha is May 8th.

It would seem, after some reflection, that we may be celebrating
Pascha on the incorrect date. Both Orthodox and non-Orthodox Churches
use the exact same formula to calculate the date of Easter. However,
the Western Christians use the actual vernal equinox when calculating
the date. We Orthodox use a calendar that was proven to be
astronomically incorrect generations ago. That calendar grows more
incorrect with the turn of the century, as the difference between the
two calendars grows from 13 days to 14 days (even Christmas will no
longer be January 6th it will be January 7th on the "old calendar").

My personal opinion? It seems logical to me that we calculate the
date of Pascha being faithful to the intent of the canons (by
ignoring the Jewish paschalia, the date of which, coincidentally, is
currently debatable as a different system for calculating that date
is being used by the Jews compared to centuries ago) and also by
using a realistic calendar a calendar that we use to schedule
literally everything else in our lives. This would, at least, allow
us to celebrate on the same day as the rest of the world. That of
course, is not my decision to make, nor even a decision the Orthodox
Church in America could make. It would have to come as a corporate
decision of the Orthodox world."-¡Fr. John Dresko

 The GOA article explains that when the OC's met to review the calendar in the early 1900's, some of the churches didn't make it to the meeting and these are the ones that stayed with the old calendar. At the meeting the decision had been to use the Gregorian Calendar for everything, including Pascha. HOWEVER, since not all churches were there, there was an agreement that Pascha would be kept on the Julian calendar, for consistency among all the OC's. 

Based on the  assessments of the OTS and the others, I am not as much of a die hard 'old calendar' person as I used to be. 

In XC, Kizzy
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2005, 05:44:57 AM »


...GOA article explains that when the OC's met to review the calendar in the early 1900's, some of the churches didn't make it to the meeting and these are the ones that stayed with the old calendar. At the meeting the decision had been to use the Gregorian Calendar for everything, including Pascha. HOWEVER, since not all churches were there, there was an agreement that Pascha would be kept on the Julian calendar, for consistency among all the OC's.

Which then begs the question: Why are these churches still on the Julian calendar? This point does not wash.

Quote
Based on the assessments of the OTS and the others, I am not as much of a die hard 'old calendar' person as I used to be.

It fails to impress me. This topic has been on the fabled next council since 1977, I think. There is more to this than being in common with "everyone else", astronomical accuracy, or the Jewish Passover.
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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2005, 01:14:39 PM »

Traditional Orthodox will be celebrating Pascha on 1 May this year.  His Holiness Patriarch Irenaeos will enter the Holy Sepulchre and by God's grace receive the Holy Fire of Pascha.  This will be distributed among the people gathered.  The Holy Fire does not burn. People wash themselves with the flame from the candles.
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« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2005, 02:39:57 PM »

Should Orthodox take the annual Holy Fire miracle as confirmation of Julian Calendar?
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« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2005, 05:53:42 PM »



Which then begs the question: Why are these churches still on the Julian calendar? This point does not wash.

 Some of the orthodox churches just didn't make the meeting at the time...and stayed on doing things as before.


It fails to impress me. This topic has been on the fabled next council since 1977, I think. There is more to this than being in common with "everyone else", astronomical accuracy, or the Jewish Passover.


Seems to me that whatever else the calendar issue is based on,according to the Orthodox Theological Society,  it's apparently not fidelity to the Nicene Fathers, which is disturbing for a church that claims to be the only church true to the Nicene Fathers.  If it's not astronomy or passover, then the only thing left is resistance to recognize the discrepancy in the date we use- because no one wants to say 'oops we should do it different, we're ignoring the true equinox, which our forefathers wanted to use but did not have the skills to accurately determine.' Remember astronomy is the calendar guide, it is how one monitors and marks the earth's trips around the sun. I think we need to consider that when we pray, marry, baptize or die, on any given day, the Lord recognizes it as that very day.
 
OTS statment:
"Fidelity to the Nicene Fathers on the calculation of the date of Pascha implies a fidelity to astronomy. This means respecting the vernal equinox and the full moon when these actually occur in our solar system.

e. Fidelity to the Nicene Fathers does not imply that Pascha must fall after the Jewish Passover. The Council forbids celebrating "with the Jews" with the intention of avoiding their calculations of the date of Passover, which the Nicene Fathers deemed inaccurate.

f. The understanding of the Christian Pascha as the fulfillment of the old Passover is unquestionably retained whether its date falls before or after the Jewish Passover in any given year. "

In XC, Kizzy

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« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2005, 07:06:11 PM »



 Some of the orthodox churches just didn't make the meeting at the time...and stayed on doing things as before.

Huh? They have had over 80 years to accept this NC change; clearly the vast majority of Orthodoxy HAS rejected the calendar change. You dodged the question.

Quote
Seems to me that whatever else the calendar issue is based on, according to the Orthodox Theological Society,  it's apparently not fidelity to the Nicene Fathers, which is disturbing for a church that claims to be the only church true to the Nicene Fathers.  If it's not astronomy or passover, then the only thing left is resistance to recognize the discrepancy in the date we use- because no one wants to say 'oops we should do it different, we're ignoring the true equinox, which our forefathers wanted to use but did not have the skills to accurately determine.' Remember astronomy is the calendar guide, it is how one monitors and marks the earth's trips around the sun. I think we need to consider that when we pray, marry, baptize or die, on any given day, the Lord recognizes it as that very day.
 
OTS statment:
"Fidelity to the Nicene Fathers on the calculation of the date of Pascha implies a fidelity to astronomy. This means respecting the vernal equinox and the full moon when these actually occur in our solar system.

e. Fidelity to the Nicene Fathers does not imply that Pascha must fall after the Jewish Passover. The Council forbids celebrating "with the Jews" with the intention of avoiding their calculations of the date of Passover, which the Nicene Fathers deemed inaccurate.

f. The understanding of the Christian Pascha as the fulfillment of the old Passover is unquestionably retained whether its date falls before or after the Jewish Passover in any given year. "


This 'committee' is nothing but a non-canonical ad hoc study group expressing an opinion. Unless and until a full Ecumenical Council blesses this, I will not accept it. If it is so accepted. Fine.
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« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2005, 08:46:44 PM »

Quote
Should Orthodox take the annual Holy Fire miracle as confirmation of Julian Calendar?

We shouldn't.  Let's not cheapen the Holy Fire miracle by attributing its coming to be a confirmation of the Julian Calendar...

I'm sure if the Orthodox world decided to do Pascha on the Gregorian Calendar, if the Patriarch of Jerusalem went into the tomb on that day with the faithful packed into the church of Christ's Tomb, then the Fire would come on that day.  The Fire has more to do with the faith of the people and the Church.
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« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2005, 09:40:10 PM »

When we break with Holy Tradition then we have to resort to all kinds of rational arguments to prove we are right. The Calendar is only part of the problem i.e. the Gregorian. Check out what the descendants of Meletios are trying to achieve - no fasting (or minimum), shorter services, priests without cassocks and beards, women deacons..anything that fits in with the demands of changing social values. The list goes on. If you are happy with McOrthodoxy, then what can those faithful to Tradition say? We'll be arguing over these differences until the end of Time.

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« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2005, 10:51:27 PM »

The office of the deaconess is actually traditionally sound.
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« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2005, 01:52:53 AM »



Huh? They have had over 80 years to accept this NC change; clearly the vast majority of Orthodoxy HAS rejected the calendar change. You dodged the question.
 
 
Since  Pascha was kept on the Julian calendar for them... why would they change ?   I also don't believe that just because people accept something, that makes it correct.  Remember it took an Emperor to unify a kingdom on one Christian faith, and establish councils when there were things to discuss.  We don't have that situation anymore- we have churches in different geographies, cultures, and governments- some under government funding, some not.  Sounds to me that if ever there were a need for an EC, it's now... but I wonder if it will ever happen.  I don't think there is serious interest in  discussing the issues..like the homework assignment you dread and put on the backburner until you can't wait any longer. To me, if there is a weakness in the Orthodox church, it is that.

This 'committee' is nothing but a non-canonical ad hoc study group expressing an opinion. Unless and until a full Ecumenical Council blesses this, I will not accept it. If it is so accepted. Fine.

While we must respect the current calendar practice, we should also understand the issue with it.   The OTS statement  is an  opinion,but a well-researched one- and  it deserves more 'respect' than being called 'non-canonical'. If we call the faculties of our two Orthodox seminaries, who make up the group,  non-canonical, then that calls into question all clergy who have studied with them.   In fact the value of such a committee is to take a neutral perspective,researching everything without taking sides of a particular group- such as a perspective of one Orthodox group vs. the other... which is far more political than this 'group' would be. It as a valued well researched opinion by Orthodox scholars. Of course we cannot do anything based on its recommendation. But I would hope the leaders of the church would review  their recommendation with seriousness.

  I think the bigger overriding issue is that while our Bishops are said to be  'equals' and the Patriarch in Constantinople currently  'first among equals', there are those that would prefer it other ways...so the politics are a factor. The fact that they can't get together for an 'ecumenical' meeting represents a hesitancy to come together... and as time passes on, the list of  things not discussed grows longer, making any attempt to discuss things and reach any consensus  astronomically difficult. Orthodox unity is one such topic that will never be addressed for that reason.. more important than the calendar issue...  Not that I'm an advocate of Emperial rule of the church, but when it was under one Emperor,  issues did get discussed in council. The hierarchical structure we have depended in the beginning  on a unifying government head who identified issues in the populace that needed to be addressed, and asked the church to address it.   
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« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2005, 02:27:01 AM »

Obviously, Kizzy, you are missing my point. There is no discrepancy in our date of the celebration of Pascha at this time. At leat not within Orthodoxy. And until an Ecumencial Council changes the date, I will continue to ignore these efforts. MY point was that this is just a continuation of the FAILED "Pan-Orthodox" council which created the so-called Revised Julian Calendar. I am not opposed to any calendar change made with full Church agreement. That did not happen with the NC. Local semi-local council authorizing the RJC has in point of fact been rejected virtually by the majority of the Church. Hence, it, to me is an error. The fact that it created schisms is even worse (and I fault both sides in this schism). Further, I see the revision of Pascha dating to be a symptom of the same mindset that caused the first problem, especially if motive is based in rationalizations of how we can be 'like the west'.

Just because you like an opinion doesn't require me to 'respect' it. If the Church worked as it should (but won't, fearing full councils), these silly sub-group studies would dissappear. In fact I see these study groups as a means to defeat equal councilarity and overly press only certain views; hence your point is well taken in that respect. In council, the bishops ARE equal.
I have been in the GOA a long time. But every week (or twice a week) I drive right by a ROCOR parish on my way to church; and I'm beginning to tire of the stress of the Americanization of the GOA...it gets in the way, so to speak. If my own monk/priest did not think as I do, I would already have switched.
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« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2005, 11:00:13 AM »

I love a good half-cocked answer..... especially when it tries to place more influence on the Ecumenical Throne than what is right (I will just direct this answer to the issues within the GOA, since that's what I perceive observer is getting at, since I believe he is in America, and since he referenced the "descendants of Meletios"):

When we break with Holy Tradition then we have to resort to all kinds of rational arguments to prove we are right.  The Calendar is only part of the problem i.e. the Gregorian.  Check out what the descendants of Meletios are trying to achieve - no fasting (or minimum),
C'mon - its not the Patriarchs who don't encourage fasting.  The assault on fasting comes from three sources: 1. A minority of the priests, who think that fasting (in its older form) is too restrictive or monastic, and who encourage light fasting (if at all).  Again, a cast minority of the priests.  2. Many people, who only see fasting as abstention of food, and thus do not acknowledge the spiritual benefit, but rather chalk up fasting as some sort of hokey practice that is outdated.  This isn't their fault- its the result of not being properly educated about fasting in the first place, which is our fault (clergy, seminarians, those laypeople with good background in Church history and theology, etc.).  3. Western society, which does not see our spiritual discipline of fasting for what it's worth, and thus either only supports it as a means of losing weight (in this Atkins world), or it opposes it (much of Protestantism).  It doesn't help us that the other major group that holds on tightly to fasting is the Moslems.

shorter services,
Okay, here you can blame the bishops a little bit, but some of it is practical as well.  For the 400+ years of the Turkish occupation, there were no catecumens in the Church - so the catecumenal parts of the DL were cut.  As far as other prayers and litanies, the people don't want to spend a long time in services, especially if they don't understand the services.  That's why many in the GOA show up late/drop their kids off/come twice a year.  When we leave their spiritual development only to grandma and grandpa and mom and dad, then that's what happens (not that grandma isnt a good influence on their spirituality - she is; but she'll also talk to them about the evil eye and all this other superstitious garbage as well, which hurts her credibility).


priests without cassocks and beards,
A uniquely American problem.  In Turkey, they can't wear cassoks because it is against the law (so that discussion is over).  In America, the Greeks had a problem, like most other immigrant groups - we were being persecuted when we came over by various groups here (most notably the KKK in the South).  The people were gathering into ethnic neighborhoods and isolating themselves.  There were two efforts, then, to combat this.  The first was the AHEPA (American Hellenic Education Progression A - I don't remember all of it) which promoted the better education of Greeks to allow them to move up the social ladder in this country (which ended up being an excellent initiative - the Greeks for years now have been in the top 3 ethnic groups in this country in both per capita education and wealth), and the second was an effort by the people to make their culture seem less strange.  That's a big reason why you had a generation of priests who were told to be clean-shaven and wear the collar - so they wouldn't seem like aliens to the Western culture that saw clean-shavenness as a sign of manhood and beards as being barbarian.  Now, of course, since this stigma is lessened in society and the hierarchy isn't as afraid, you see less of an emphasis - and thus more priests in the GOA who are growing beards and wearing their Anderi's in public.  (with few exceptions - there are still one or two of our bishops who want the beards to be nearly non-existant, and who do not permit the anderi under any circumstances).


women deacons..anything that fits in with the demands of changing social values. 
Women deacons... I still think it should be called "deaconess" instead, just because I think: 1. there are enough differences between the offices of deaconess and deacon to avoid saying "women deacons" and thus implying that they are filling the same role as a "male deacon".  2. Deaconess is the proper Liturgical title, and has more dignity to it as a divine office, rather than "women deacon" which has the implication that the women are just trying to catch up with the "male deacons".
That said, its not the "the descendants of Meletios" who are promoting this - the EP has nothing to do with it.  Its the Church of Greece.

The list goes on.  If you are happy with McOrthodoxy, then what can those faithful to Tradition say? We'll be arguing over these differences until the end of Time.
"Yes, I'll take two McBaptisms, one McChrismation, three McCommunions, and a side of McAntidoron."  If this doesn't sound like a good line to you - then don't mock the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church by making the implication that this is what is happening.  If you don't like what is going on within the church, stop complaining and start working to change things from within.  The more hot air we throw out there without any work towards fixing the situation in the context of a united Church, the more sin we heap upon ourselves.  This is all a discussion for another thread, though.

Also, don't speak so broadly about the "descendants of Meletios" - first of all, he has no descendants, it's the nature of the episcopacy; he has successors.  Secondly, not all the EP's throughout time have been the same.  Perfect example: +BARTHOLOMEW is completely different from +DEMETRIOS the Second; its like night and day.  +DEMETRIOS was extremely humble; there was a substantive difference in his presence in the room - he exuded peace and tranquility; he promoted unity on this continent; he was seen as a spiritual man.  These are all qualities that are missing from our current EP.  Instead of railing against him, we should be praying for him to gain a change of heart from the Holy Spirit.  But since we ourselves do not pray enough, (myself included to the maximum), then we are just as guilty as anyone else for disregarding Church tradition.

-- Jeez, I still like to ramble, don't I
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« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2005, 12:37:18 PM »

If the Church worked as it should (but won't, fearing full councils), these silly sub-group studies would dissappear. In fact I see these study groups as a means to defeat equal councilarity and overly press only certain views; hence your point is well taken in that respect.

That is my point...I think we are saying the same thing... the church doesn't work as it should.... it fears full councils and as such is not able to address issues in a manner consistent with  tradition... And while it prides itself on tradition, it misses this most important one... It's like it was left 'floating' when the original structure of being under the Emperor fell apart, and now it is incapable (or capable but unwilling) to get together and discuss things like unity, calendar, etc. ... If ever there were a need for a council, it is more so now as the faith spreads to other countries and cultures.  As a long time diehard GO I am most discouraged by the politics of the issue, and the inability of the OC to get it's act together as One Church.... It's like a marriage in which both spouses avoid all the difficult issues for fear of having to 'give in' to the other side in the discussion.  And we know that this practice leads to separation and divorce, and not unity....  My understanding from what I've read is that only Patriarch of Constantinople can call an EC....and there is dissent on this... The other thing is , while I don't advocate the RC claim of  'infallibilty' of the Pope, I also don't advocate our claim of 'decision in council' when we have  a church leadership of 'political adversaries' who will likely never meet in council... It becomes just another falsehood...   

In XC, Kizzy

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« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2005, 12:51:12 PM »


 In America, the Greeks had a problem, like most other immigrant groups - we were being persecuted when we came over by various groups here (most notably the KKK in the South). 

Most here are unaware of this; but I certainly remember these times.

Quote
-- Jeez, I still like to ramble, don't I

But a good ramble  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2005, 01:36:31 PM »

I have been fortunate in that I have been able to talk with a man who was part of the long information-gathering process started in the 70's for the "Great and Holy Pan-Orthodox Council."  He talks about how one of the major reasons why the preparations have stalled is the continuing ego battle between the EP and the MP - where both seem to want to always pull out the "measuring tape" and compare their power.  Until the two of them are able to co-exist peacefully, even if they don't agree, we won't have the "Great and Holy Council."

But, the bright side to all this is that the preparations have not stopped; there is still the information that was gathered, and there are still those who hold out the hope of it going forward.  The problem is that most of the laity don't know it was in the works to begin with; if they did, then their pressure upon the hierarchs to push it through would be of the greatest benefit to the process.

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{Edit} - I had originally typed "RP" instead of "MP."
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« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2005, 02:16:48 PM »

My understanding from what I've read is that only Patriarch of Constantinople can call an EC....and there is dissent on this...

Technically speaking, as the Oecumenical Patriarch the Archbishop of Constantinople has the right to summon an Oecumenical Synod and set the Agenda, the problem is in the realm of practiciality. Practically speaking, if anyone other than an Emperor of Rome (and the respect that a future Emperor would receive is questionable) were to summon an Oecumenical Synod, there would be serious doubt as to the legitimacy of the Synod. If a bishop summons the Synod, the other bishops will accuse him of trying to undermine their authority, if a non-Roman monarch summons a synod, it will probably be rejected by the mediterranean world. The Patriarchate of Constantinople has tried, over the years, to continue the governance of the Church through Synods; first under the turkokratia the Endemousa Synods were used to fill this void created by the lack of Imperial authority, fortunately the Patriarchate of Constantinople was given enough Political Authority over the Christians by the Turks to enforce these Decision, making them viable. After the fall of the turkokratia the Political authority of the Patriarchate was diminished, but she tried again to fill the need for synods with the 'pan-orthodox' synods, such as the synod in 1923; unfortunately without the appropriate Imperial Powers to enforce the decisions of the Synod, the Synod almost split the Church. In times past, the decision of the Synod would have stood, and those who opposed it would have been either exiled to a place where they couldn't cause problems or pursuaded to change their allegiance by the imperial authorities; instead the dissenters threatened to split the Church, forcing the Council, which was without temporal power, to come to the conclusion that they did on such issues as the calendar, which preserved the communion of the Church, but ensured that we would no longer share common practices such as the same calendar. This Synod should be compared with the decision of the First Oecumenical Synod on the dating of Pascha, where, on account of the Imperial Authority, specifically in the form of St. Constantine's support for the Synod, the dissenters simply accepted the will of the Synod.

With these concerns, it is easy to understand why the Oecumenical Throne is Cautious in summoning any 'pan-orthodox' synods, and insists on all issues being solved before the synod is summoned. For if there is dissent in the Synod, the Oecumenical Throne knows that there is a great danger that the Russians will Schism against the Church, and a second Great Schism is too big of a risk to take inorder to address issues that, relative to the Communion of the Church, are fairly minor.
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« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2005, 03:14:50 PM »

With these concerns, it is easy to understand why the Oecumenical Throne is Cautious in summoning any 'pan-orthodox' synods, and insists on all issues being solved before the synod is summoned. For if there is dissent in the Synod, the Oecumenical Throne knows that there is a great danger that the Russians will Schism against the Church, and a second Great Schism is too big of a risk to take inorder to address issues that, relative to the Communion of the Church, are fairly minor.

Greekchristian, you summarized the issue very well.  I do find  the fact that the church can't have a synod without schism to  be it's greatest weakness ...And I completely understand why the RC church pressed on for a clear ruling on the role of the Pope.  Working on issues outside of a synod is somewhat like preparing for a major meeting in any institutiion... coming to consensus offline, understanding and answering issues posed by the various stakeholders, so that once an official meeting takes place there will hopefully be agreement.  In general , this is a good approach.  I'm not sure however, that the OC church is even effective in these 'pre-synod' discussions...and that is what is frustrating... basically it is unable to continue on the conciliar tradition of the early church, and that flies right in the face of it's claim to be a continuation of the traditions of early church...I have met many people who, while they like the theology and dogma of Orthodoxy, and when I discuss with them conversion, this issue emerges as a falsehood to its claim... and it is one reason they have not converted  to the Orthodox church... From the outside  the church structure is perceived  as a confused mess of hierarchs 'protecting their turf'.   Note that the situation is  mostly pronounced in America where all the Orthodox groups worship in one country... and the issues are very divisive... In a sense it already is a church in an unofficial 'schism'.... The calendar issue should have been a simple one, as the calendar itself is somethiing that humans have been working to 'get right' through history...and religion has adjusted it's calendar to be consistent with the more accurate calendar for equinox, and this would have been just an adjustment to the evolution of the correct marking of time in terms of the sun, earth, and moon relationships...

An interesting tidbit, my dad was born within days of his parents coming off the Gul Jamal ship from Constantinople in 1921.  My grandmother had  said he was born New year's... but his birth certificate said Jan 11. As a child, that story was my first exposure to the notion of calendar, and time....When I searched for the ship records, I used the Gregorian calendar to find it's port date... Even though everyone on the ship used the Julian calendar...It's date of entry was noted Gregorian.   
 Interesting, to come off a ship and find a different , more correct marking of time in existence...it truly must have been entering a new world...  In XC, Kizzy



 





 



     

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« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2005, 04:55:24 PM »

These problems go a long ways in demonstrating the importance of synergy between Church and State, and explain why the Church and State had such a close relationship in the Empire, they needed each other. With that said, our current situation in the Church is not substantially different from the early Church, what it does differ rather dramatically from is the Imperial Church (for lack of a better term). The first Oecumenical Synod was not held until A.D. 325 and was summoned by a Roman Emperor, St. Constantine the Great; prior to this, all the Synods had been local, and problems were dealt with and solved at the local level, without appeal to the Church as a whole. It simply was not possible for all the bishops of the world to get together in council, at that time, without the support of the State. Today our Bishops have the financial and practical means of getting together, but now we have considerable cultural and political differences within the Church, thus the Church is inclined to decide problems at the local level once again, where the political and cultural differences are minimized.

We should also keep in mind that even during the Imperial Era of the Church, the Councils and decisions were not without cost, to this day there are Christian Sects that exist seperate from the Church as a result of the Third and Fourth Oecumenical Synods; but while Christology was an important enough issue to risk splitting the Church, we must ask ourselves, 'is the calendar issue, and other minor issues of discipline, this important?' I believe the opinion of the Oecumenical Throne is, no...which is why they have avoided summoning a Pan-Orthodox Synod (that and everytime the Patriarchate starts asking around about how the various Orthodox Churches feel about having a Council, Moscow always threaten to boycott it). So for the time being, we will probably be required to govern ourselves more in the manner of the early Church, unless everyone actually agrees on all the issues needing to be discussed, or a heresy that is actually serious enought to risk spliting the Church comes up.

It also seems to me that Moscow, not Constantinople, is the reason that we do not have pan-Orthodox Synods. On more than one occasion, everyone but Moscow has agreed on having the Synod, but it was called off because Constantinople does not want to increase the already present division between herself and the Russians. The problem is that Moscow wants to use these Synods not to try and solve pressing issues of Administrative and Pastoral concern in the Church, but rather to try and maneuver herself into a posistion of honour that is greater than she has a right to under the Canons of the Oecumenical Synods. If the MP would realize that these pan-Orthodox Synods are secondary in authority to the Oecumenical Synods and would not have the Authority to Change the rankings of Honour of the Patriarchates, and certainly not to Challenge the Primacy of Honour that is due to the Oecumenical Throne, perhaps Moscow could take her proper posistion, we could actually have a synod, discuss the issues that need to be discussed, and come up with some solutions to the problems that the Church is currently facing.
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« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2005, 11:10:02 PM »

Greekchristian.. you hit the nail on the head as the saying goes...I recall Peter the Great wanted to make Moscow the third Rome and this is probably where this issue with Russia come s from, at least in part...   May the Lord bless the hierarchs and give them wisdom and humility to help bring them closer together...
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« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2005, 12:39:08 AM »

Greekchristian.. you hit the nail on the head as the saying goes...I recall Peter the Great wanted to make Moscow the third Rome and this is probably where this issue with Russia come s from, at least in part... May the Lord bless the hierarchs and give them wisdom and humility to help bring them closer together...
In XC, Kizzy

Peter the Great never claimed Russia to be the Third Rome. If anything , he tried to move away from, as Berdyaev calls it, Russia's "Messianic Consciousness". The idea of Russia as the Third Rome came after the fall of Constantinople(the 2nd Rome) when Russia's first native Metropolitan Ilarion proclaimed Rus' to be the Third Rome, after the fall of which, another would never arise. This proclamation implied a new global missionary importance for Russia. This new Symphonia, it came to be believed, could only be safeguarded by the faithfulness of the Russian people. Obviously, the Third Rome fell...as did the second.

GreekisChristian,
Have you considered that possibly Moscow would rather not get involved with an Ecumenical Synod because the stance of the Russian Church on certain matters(namely the calendar) would do nothing but help further divisions within the Church? If a Synod were to come about which addressed this question, I highly doubt that Moscow would be won over to the new calendar. Maybe they realize this and would rather avoid the issue altogether than create public dischord over the topic.
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« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2005, 04:29:37 PM »




Have you considered that possibly Moscow would rather not get involved with an Ecumenical Synod because the stance of the Russian Church on certain matters(namely the calendar) would do nothing but help further divisions within the Church? If a Synod were to come about which addressed this question, I highly doubt that Moscow would be won over to the new calendar. Maybe they realize this and would rather avoid the issue altogether than create public dischord over the topic.

This may be true, but it  just underscores why the tradition of decisions made in EC has been lost... because in that each 'church' would need to come together as one church... and not separate groups. If the majority consensus of hierarchs agreed to do something, whatever the topic, then all must abide....  If the church of Moscow feels it would not do this, then it is against Ecumenical tradition... Avoiding public dischord just camouflages this....

Interesting today our Archimandrite, who also has  a key role in our Metropolis,  extended his blessings to the Roman Catholics in their Easter celebration, since we have interfaith couples in our parish. and prayed for the continued progress of discussions between the two churches so that once again we can be one church undivided and celebrate Easter on the same date.
It was a beautiful statement which touched everyone's heart...

In XC, Kizzy



 

 

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« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2005, 04:37:29 PM »

Having two Easter dates is taking a bit getting used to--------the majority of people i know celebrated yesterday.

It seems like Jesus goes through the Cross and Resurrection twice.   Although, I know that isn't true, the unity would be so much better, imho.       

 
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« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2005, 08:16:12 AM »

This came up with us..my husband (Lutheran, but basically non caring) said so what is up, are we getting easter stuff for the kids or what? I myself was looking forward to the half off sales (snicker Grin) but really I had already got it through to my girls that in our new church we celebrate Easter on a different day, so they weren't expecting anything til may 1 anyway!  I swear the hub is more of a problem than the kids in all of this.  A lot of folks at church were like "cant stay, have to go to the in laws or the step parents or whatever , they have easter today" So no biggie.  In my opinion anyway.
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« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2005, 09:42:02 AM »

I actually like our date for Pascha! In most cases, the Orthodox date of Pascha is not the same as the western church so I do not have to fight "Easter " Holiday  Traffice to travel the 52 miles to church during Holy Week and "Easter". I have time to pray in quietude as there are no  Ester Parties going on around me (In Texas these can become quite loud and people become quite intoxicated). I get chocolate candy at greatly reduced prices and get to eat roasted lamb at reduced prices because the local grocery store overbought for "Easter" Dinner. All in all both secularly and spiritually it is a winner.

In Christ,
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« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2005, 10:06:42 AM »

Thomas may be Antiochian, but he thinks like a Greek.  Smiley
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« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2005, 02:03:17 PM »

"If the majority consensus of hierarchs agreed to do something, whatever the topic, then all must abide.... "

That's not always the case. You aren't describing an ecumencial council. If an "eighth" council was to be held, which I'm not even certain is possible, and I was a betting man, I'd put my money on the Old Calendarists. Partly because the argument for the "revised Julian Calendar" is based on nationalism and convenience.

Concerning the date of Easter and celebration with others, this decision was reached in the First Council. It was done to ensure we didn't need the Jews to calculate the date and that we all celebrated together. If one patriarch pulled out of the picture I don't see a need to revisit the decision. Sure it was messy and yes there were hold outs and exceptions for whatever reason, but in general the decision was made and accepted. I do not see a compelling reason for us to change to satiate the heterodox, no matter how inconvenient that may be for us.

Even the idea of putting the date of Easter on the negotiating block with Rome or Protestants makes me shudder.  Our discussion should be, "This is how the date of Easter is reached.  There are no exceptions."  Not even Finland.

No offense to the Byzantine Catholics here, but I came from there and think that if you give Rome a hair's width on any subject they'll try to take the whole galaxy.
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