With respect to the charismata, I think even a cursory read through the lives of Orthodoxy's holy elders and saints will reveal that these things are with us still as they have been since the time of the Apostles. The difference is in the Orthodox faith, these gifts are tightly associated with profound holiness. No popcorn prophets allowed. Those among us who are recognized as having such gifts and as well or better known for their holiness and lives of unbroken prayer. Those who have such gifts have without exception (to my knowledge) had such giftings tested and approved by their own spiritual mothers and fathers who were likely so gifted as well. You might call it a charismatic tradition of disciples, age to age. The fruit of this caution is that when a holy elder/living saint gives a prophecy, it will happen as they say 100% just as in Apostolic times. This is something that occurs deep in the heart of the Church...no lone rangering because one "feels" inspired.
Part of the problem with the protestant charismatic movement is not in that they believe God to be eminent, active and interested in our lives, and willing to work wonders. Orthodox certainly agrees with this in principle. The thing is Protestants approach the gifts of the Spirit they way they do salvation...that is in terms of a type of contractual event. Say the sinners prayer sincerely, ask Jesus into your heart and bam you're saved. Want gifts, ask for them and just believe, and bam, their yours. Just have faith. In Orthodoxy salvation is not just about being let in the door, but about browning in grace, being transformed to be like Christ. That transformation is the content of salvation. Likewise with the Holy Spirit. He is holy and until we have been made holy by the outworking of God's grace it is not appropriated for us to receive or try to exercise gifts of the Holy Spirit as if they were part of the swag that comes with being Christian. Consider perfumes and incense are compounded from a number of fragrant substances together with binders. These elements are ground together very finely mixed with the binders and let cure for weeks or months. Then their perfume/fragrance is ready to be shared upon burning coals in the Church. So are the souls of the holy. They raw goodness they have received, lovely as it may be on it own, is united with other lovely good things, ground together...refined, made small (humbled), then it is bound together and cured, like holy ones who live in seclusion and obedience for many years, then in the presence of God's people this holy soul is touched by fire, and the the scent and beauty of holiness is revealed.
Fr. Seraphim Rose correctly observed that much of what passes as modern Charismatic practice in the Protestant world is effectively a form of Christian Shamanism. It may be well intentioned...may even by God's merciful grace do a good turn now and again, but it is an ultimately dangerous practice as its occasional successes are untempered by hiddenness, humility, and submission to the mind of the Church. This opens such souls (and their followers) to a condition known as Prelest/plany (delusion). And it can get very bad (take a look at The Arena by St. Ignati Brianchaninov). Because of this we understand the true full gifts of the Holy Spirit are invested with those who are mature and actively holy, not just theoretically/potentially holy in their day to day walk.
As for glossolalia, I speak as one who practiced it for 21 years...and could still if I wanted. Over time I came to regard "tongues" as mostly a psychological phenomenon/trick called psychomotor disassociation. The conscious control of the the speaking mechanism is sort of let go to run on its own. There may be subconscious control/modeling but the mind does not directed any intelligible speech. I was taught this was "praying in the Spirit" and true enough the focus of my attention could be deeply immersed in pray about a person/situation for which I knew needed help but about which I did not know how to pray. But...I could also let my mind wander to this and that while my mouth kept rattling on. The conclusion I eventually came to was that at times when focused I was indeed praying in my Spirit...or at least as well as I could without words. That is to say my heart lifted a petition of need to the Lord without articulating the need...sort of like the woman touching the hem of Christ's garment. It was just a wordless reaching out to God for help. The "tongues" at best kept me from telling God what to do to handle things, at worst they were just a pleasant noise.
I've not missed them in Orthodoxy. The Jesus prayer and it's variants serve every need I once used "tongues" for. Do I need to pray for myself, well then a few mindful repetitions of "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner" do fine. Is someone else in need, then "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon Thy servant (name)." Of I can called upon a saint or the blessed Theotokos for their prayers, "Blessed Theotokos open to me the doors of repentance." "Holy St. (name) speedy helper and intercessor pray for (me) (someone else). Feeling challenged by dark spiritual forces, "Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered. Let them flee from before His face. As wax vanishes before the fire, so let them vanish." Quick simple prayers in which to immerse the mind and its attention....the so called "praying in the Spirit" tongues are just not missed. That doesn't mean this gift does not exist or find place anymore. I've read of holy elders ignorant of each other's native tongue speaking to one another each in his own language yet being perfectly understood by the other. I've read of monks who cannot readily understand ancient Greek, yet can compose beautiful, profound hymns in it.
Long story short...all the charismatic gifts are alive and well in Orthodoxy, but they are tied to and expressed in conditions of profound holiness by those who have through holy labor and obedience become vessels of living prayer.
Thank you. More than you know.
Ah, I could (and wish I had the chance) talk for hours on these kinds of things.
I do not disagree with anything you have said, by the way, though there are things beyond what I know that I couldn't say.
It was actually the discovery of "prelest" that led me to do some very deep soul-searching, and to really, really examine what happened in my life.
I do NOT hold myself up as anyone holy, or approaching what the monastics know and practice, or what they have developed.
But when I first came to God, He was simply gracious to me. I had no guidance, no knowledge to speak of, nothing. But for some months I prayed. It varied, but I probably prayed 8, 10 hours most days. Sometimes more. Not exaggerating. I was simply in love, and caught up so much in Him. It was the first thing I did in the morning, and it stretched on for hours. I had things I had to do in life, but I prayed during. Would sneak away for any minutes I could be alone, pray some more. And into the night, when it was quiet, I would stay up into the wee hours and pray alone for another 4, 6 hours.
It did have a very profound effect on me. And I did read some books by some monastics, desert hermits I think, mystics. I didn't have names for what they were, I just read the books. I learned some new types of prayer and practiced them. I think what happened was a result of that.
Without guidance, I think this is not a good idea! God let me know in no uncertain terms that I was to go to Church! I wish it had been the Orthodox Church, but I probably was not ready then. Baptist (which I found before long did not align well with what I gained from all that prayer, but I went there for a year or two). Various Pentecostal denominations seemed reasonable to go along with the "gifts" I was believing in.
And actually, I think it was the Pentecostal teaching that led to my downfall, yes. There was a seed of pride planted. That was always something God dealt with in me, from the first. Spiritual pride is an ugly, ugly thing. I wept bitterly when I first saw what was in me, and how ugly it was. But getting rid of it is another matter, I suppose. Or else the churches I ended up in caused it to sprout anew again and again.
When I read what prelest was, it started to make sense. I have been told that it is impossible I had prelest, and apparently it is prideful even to think I did. LOL, I do not know. What I know is that I was led into error, and I became unable to discern what was from God, and what was something else.
As a result, I went through years of suffering. 5+ years of error on my part, that caused suffering of others. And 5+ years of repentance for my mistakes, that caused suffering for me.
I pray that has laid me low enough to keep me from that kind of mistake again, God willing. I pray He will keep me from it.
That is enough.
I have a lot to learn. These things are important to me. I am thankful to have been brought to the Orthodox Church.
Thank you for the reply, very much.