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Author Topic: New Pope causes fear  (Read 10611 times) Average Rating: 0
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Kizzy
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« Reply #45 on: April 21, 2005, 08:47:14 PM »



I'm sorry, Kizzy, no disrespect is intended, but I must object to including the Amish with the JW's, Mormons and Unity (non-trinitarian and not Christian in the ordinary sense, though Mormons would I think disagree with that) The Amish and Mennonites are Trinitarian. They come from the Anabaptist movement from Switzerland orignally:

Ebor

Ebor, My only point in mentioning the Amish is that, from what I learned at an Amish educational center in PA,  their faith forbids being involved  in anything outside of their community and their faith..Hence I do not believe that either the EO or RC would try to meet with them... Even their appliances are not powered by anything that is connected to the outside world... it is  a closed society with stiff penalties for not following the rules...However, I have assumed that all Amish communities are the same as the ones in Lancaster County Pa,  and perhaps this is not true. 
In that community,  the Leader of the community is selected in the following way: Bibles are placed on a table, one of which has a special note hidden inside. All of the eligible men then pick up a Bible and whoever selects that Bible is the new leader of the community and their faith teaches that  he was selected by God...

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« Reply #46 on: April 21, 2005, 11:15:46 PM »

Very good points.  However, having been Roman Catholic and now Orthodox, I can tell you that the unity the Roman Catholic Church seeks is for everyone to realize how wrong they were for "breaking away" from Roman Catholicism.  They believe that everyone, Orthodox and Protestant, broke away from them.  Hence, they need to come "by the grace of God" back to the "true" Church - Catholicism.    They seem to think that the early church had the same understanding of things like papal infallibility, purgatory, indulgences and other things they've added over the years.  They keep talking about wanting unity, but it's a unity that will require Roman Catholic doctrine as a prerequisite.  They don't seem to be able to comprehend that most of their problems are a direct result of having abandoned Orthodoxy.  Because of their pompous, arrogant, miserable understanding of papal authority they can never have true "collegiallity" among their bishops.  As long as they adhere to their ridiculous "papal infallibility" doctrine, true collegiallity is impossible.  Catholic bishops are nothing more than local adminstrators and paper pushers for the pope.  As long as they continue to insist on their celibacy rule, in complete opposition to common sense and early church practice (and current orthodox practice), they'll continue down the road they're on - waiting for all of us to "come back" after realizing the errors of our ways.

If they're waiting for me, it'll be a cold day you know where.  Orthodoxy, with all its flaws, still guards pure doctrine and early church practice that should make the Romans take notice.  Unfortunately, they never will - except by a miracle from God.
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« Reply #47 on: April 22, 2005, 12:14:37 AM »

Very good points. However, having been Roman Catholic and now Orthodox, I can tell you that the unity the Roman Catholic Church seeks is for everyone to realize how wrong they were for "breaking away" from Roman Catholicism. They believe that everyone, Orthodox and Protestant, broke away from them. Hence, they need to come "by the grace of God" back to the "true" Church - Catholicism.

This is a common perception of the RC church...I tend to believe that the churches parted ways equally... It started with iconoclasm... during which time the East was in a despicable mess and the western church  tried to help  restore icons, and keep the saints relics from being tossed in the river. There were many centuries during iconoclasm and then after with much confusion:   the east then went through all kinds of shenanigans to get people to come back to the church... like using actors in the church to act out the liturgy  ( this gave birth to the staged ecclesiastical play, which had never been seen in the west).. This went on for several centuries. So all during iconoclasm and the 2 centuries or so after,  the east was a mess... anything but traditional...and during this time Rome ended up being the traditionalist and carried on the faith... That the east finally got it's act straight after centuries of unrest is terrific...and it is too bad that Rome got carried away with itself while the east was straightening itself out... but we were not the traditional church continuously from inception to today...and saying to Rome "oh we're back now and all straightened out..took us awhile but here we are" after centuries of being amess didn't automatically mean that everyone was going to drop everything so we could be involved again and then tell them what they were doing wrong...

 I note that the new Pope mentinoned that looking at history  is an important part of understanding why things are as they are...  it will be interesting if he does...because while we celebrate the return of the icons, I don't think people appreciate the role that whole era had in removing the church from the 'circle of equals'  with Rome... and how the schism really started then... and culminated in 1054...

As to non-celibate clergy... while I strongly believe that priests should be married, as a practical matter it makes for an incredible financial requirement of the parish... kids, college education,etc... all end up in the salary of the priest... If the RC were to have married priests, their entire financial structure would need to change...and that will not be easy to do in one fell swoop... My understanding is RC priests don't get a salary per se, but room and board...so the bulk of the parish contribution goes elsewhere...I'm not sure the RC church sees having more priests that no one can pay as a benefit..

Kizzy

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« Reply #48 on: April 22, 2005, 12:46:45 AM »

Hi Kizzy..
Roman Catholic  do have some married priests ...if they happen to be married and want to come into the faith.R.Catholic....
Also the news last night they did say that there might be exceptions to what can be done .......depending now on what this Pope wants and does......
I guess we have to wait and see....
Glory be to God..
helen

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« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2005, 07:32:05 AM »




And what really annoys me, is that people who follow the "love not doctrine" basis for unity, dont even seem to realise that Our Lord's teachings on Love are only contained in the Apostolic Tradition they seek to replace with their brand of "love".

The reality is, the  Church has never been divided. Christ cannot have two or more Bodies. There can only be one Body, One Church, as St. Paul puts it: "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism". The prayer of Christ in John 17 shows us that the Icon of the Trinity- "that they may be one, even as We are One". This prayer has already been answered.

To say that this prayer is not answered yet tis to say that the"One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" does not exist now  but will exist in the future- clearly a false teaching.

Dear OzGeorge,

I do not believe in a Love that ignores Truth. As I wrote in my post: God is Love AND God is Truth (because Jesus said He is the Truth)

Speak the Truth in Love.

Truth without Love is a clanging cymbol. Love without Truth is something else, because Love rejoices in the Truth.

In fact, IMO Truth without Love is not Truth either, because how can something be Truth if it misses the point entirely? We all know of cased where people have used Scripture or the Fathers to promote something that is contrary to Orthodoxy. People can be fooled into thinking what they have is Truth, while it is just what they think is Truth and is contrary to Tradition.

Imagine a coin where heads is Truth and tails is Love. Place the coin so that Truth has Love on the floor and give it a push. It won't go very far. Try it the other way round where Love has Truth on the floor, it won't go far either.

Place the coin on its edge so Love and Truth are balanced, give it a shove, and it will roll.

Quoting St John Chrysostom or other Ancient Fathers will not do for me, regarding the world, because their view of the world was not as extensive as ours. In the NT, Paul writes that the Gospel had been preached in the whole world, but the Greek is not Kosmos, neither is it Aion (age) it is the Greek word for the Empire. I do not know if St John said the word for Empire, or world, but he didn't know about the Americas or Oceania. Jesus said Kosmos, the whole globe! There has never been a time when the whole globe has believed that Jesus was sent by the Father. Orthodoxy has yet to be taken into the whole globe.

To quote One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism as referring to Orthodoxy, has its limits I believe. If I am received into the Orthodox Church I will not be required to be baptised again. I was baptised into the Church of England, and confirmed. I will need to be chrismated. If the position was as you argue, OzGeorge, I think I would need to be baptised.

I have been taught that Orthodoxy can say where the Church is, but it cannot say where the Church is not. To say that Christians in the RC Church or Protestant churches are not really Christians, I think is an example of extremism. To say that those churches do not have the Faith in its fulness, I believe to be true. I know that when I first studied the Ecumenical Councils, I had no problem with their findings. I had a problem with 3D images in RC Churches, but for some reason, had never had a problem with icons. I've always liked icons.

Jesus prayed that the KOSMOS will believe as a result of unity, that has to be worldwide, not Roman Empire wide. Not a unity of love disregarding truth, because love rejoices in the Truth!

The present Pope is orthodox within his own Tradition, which means he believes in the developments of RCism over the last 1000 years. That is far from a position of anything goes. He cannot be wanting unity on that basis, unless he went back to his progressive days in the early 60s.

I did read something about him from his Cardinal days in which he believed that the Orthodox should stick with where they are now, but drop their statements against RC development, for unity to occur. The Orthodox, he wrote, should not be required to accept what RCs accept from the last 1000 years.

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« Reply #50 on: April 22, 2005, 08:12:52 AM »

I think you've read things into my post that aren't there.
What can I say?
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« Reply #51 on: April 22, 2005, 08:31:44 AM »

If we Orthodox are firmly rooted in our Faith, then nothing that Rome or any church does will affect us.  If we feel Rome is full of lies, then why even listen to them?  We need to pray for our hierarchs that they will listen to the Holy Spirit and not give in to these lies.  While we are at it, we should also pray for these other churches:  Rome and the like, so that they will also listen to the workings of the Holy Spirit, and come to the Truth.  There will never be true unity till it comes from God, then nothing will be able to stop it...not even the real Antichrist.  I know I'll never live to see that, but it will happen.  Glory to God for that.
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« Reply #52 on: April 22, 2005, 09:46:24 AM »

I do not think Sabbas was exagerating or speaking immoderatly regarding the Latin Church.

If examined superficially, there are of course many things common between Orthodoxy and Catholicism - though I would say that even this superficial similarity has diminished in the course of recent decades.

However, it's also fair to say (and more important to emphasize, for now we are speaking of the heart) that fundamentally Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism are different animals.  The Latin Church has made the "height of theology" that very method which, if we listen to the Holy Fathers, is actually rooted in the very foundations of our condition as fallen beings.  The Latins no longer have the means for "curing" what in fact ails man (all men) who come into this world.  Heresy, particularly when it touches upon what we say directly about God, is in fact simply a species (and a particularly devious one) of idolatry - for idols spring from the darkness of the fallen heart, and the imagination of unillumined minds (or minds not obedient and struggling under the guidence of those who are illumined - namely, the Holy Fathers, whether ancient or modern) - just as "Christian" heresies do.

I don't make any claims to sanctity - however, I think I can say as a dog chasing after those who are undoubtedly Saints, or greatly advanced in their struggle, that it is incredibly superficial for people in the Orthodox fold to believe we are remotely close to seeing the corporate reconciliation of the Latins with Holy Orthodoxy and the Body of Christ.  There is simply too great a chasm, and nothing has occured in all of the decades of "ecumenism" to make that gulf any smaller.  If anything, all that's happened, I think, is many Orthodox themselves have become marginal in their adherance to the faith and in terms of their identity as members of the Church (and some others, quite frankly, have said and done things which are worthy of censure.)

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« Reply #53 on: April 25, 2005, 10:29:02 AM »

If we Orthodox are firmly rooted in our Faith, then nothing that Rome or any church does will affect us. If we feel Rome is full of lies, then why even listen to them? We need to pray for our hierarchs that they will listen to the Holy Spirit and not give in to these lies. While we are at it, we should also pray for these other churches: Rome and the like, so that they will also listen to the workings of the Holy Spirit, and come to the Truth. There will never be true unity till it comes from God, then nothing will be able to stop it...not even the real Antichrist. I know I'll never live to see that, but it will happen. Glory to God for that.
You forget that when the end times come the great mass of people will truly believe they are unified spiritually. This will be the Great Falling away that is prophesied. We have to worry about Rome because those within Rome truly believe that they are doing the right thing when in fact they are spreading an evil pernicious ideology that threatens to take as many Orthodox in as possible. I pray for all people but I do not pray that the current organizational structure known as the Roman Catholic church or any Protestant churches will enter into some kind of unity with Orthodoxy. That would not be a true conversion to Orthodoxy as I know it and such an idea flies in the face of common sense.
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There will never be true unity till it comes from God, then nothing will be able to stop it
I think you are seeking an earthly paradise or dream of some perfect age for the Church that will someday exist in this world.
Alas you are falling into the heresy millenialism. The idea that somehow the goal of our Church is to establish some vast Ecclesiastical Empire of peace on earth in this world rather than seeking the other world. We are sojourners on this earth and have no lasting city. The Roman Catholic faith believes that they have a lasting city: Rome. And that this city, its bishop, and its empire are the Church for them. This is true throughout history. What did Vasco de Gama want? gold and more Roman Catholics. What did all the conquistadors want? gold, prestige, and more Roman Catholics. What did the Inquisition want? to coerce people and torture them till they fell in line with Rome. What are indulgences? a business deal so that more churches can be built. St.Peters Basilica is probably the greatest symbol of Simony in existence. Indeed the Roman Catholic church organization/business/empire is the best structure for the Antichrist to co-opt.
You see the unity from God you seek can only come in the Final Judgment when this world will no longer exist. Do not seek some half-baked Christian unity in this world or else you will find yourself duped by the Antichrist and not vigilant with a "watchful heart and sober mind waiting the coming of the bright and appointed day of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ who shall come in Glory to reward each according his deeds."
I do not think Sabbas was exagerating or speaking immoderatly regarding the Latin Church.

If examined superficially, there are of course many things common between Orthodoxy and Catholicism - though I would say that even this superficial similarity has diminished in the course of recent decades.

However, it's also fair to say (and more important to emphasize, for now we are speaking of the heart) that fundamentally Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism are different animals. The Latin Church has made the "height of theology" that very method which, if we listen to the Holy Fathers, is actually rooted in the very foundations of our condition as fallen beings. The Latins no longer have the means for "curing" what in fact ails man (all men) who come into this world. Heresy, particularly when it touches upon what we say directly about God, is in fact simply a species (and a particularly devious one) of idolatry - for idols spring from the darkness of the fallen heart, and the imagination of unillumined minds (or minds not obedient and struggling under the guidence of those who are illumined - namely, the Holy Fathers, whether ancient or modern) - just as "Christian" heresies do.

I don't make any claims to sanctity - however, I think I can say as a dog chasing after those who are undoubtedly Saints, or greatly advanced in their struggle, that it is incredibly superficial for people in the Orthodox fold to believe we are remotely close to seeing the corporate reconciliation of the Latins with Holy Orthodoxy and the Body of Christ. There is simply too great a chasm, and nothing has occured in all of the decades of "ecumenism" to make that gulf any smaller. If anything, all that's happened, I think, is many Orthodox themselves have become marginal in their adherance to the faith and in terms of their identity as members of the Church (and some others, quite frankly, have said and done things which are worthy of censure.)



Thank you for your post Augustine.
Quote
Heresy, particularly when it touches upon what we say directly about God, is in fact simply a species (and a particularly devious one) of idolatry - for idols spring from the darkness of the fallen heart, and the imagination of unillumined minds (or minds not obedient and struggling under the guidence of those who are illumined - namely, the Holy Fathers, whether ancient or modern) - just as "Christian" heresies do.

Indeed we see the idols of the Ecumenists. The pope and Patriarch of Constantinople exchanging kisses. Orthodox priest praying with Roman Catholic and Anglican Clergy. A lot of back slapping hugs and smiles as we all come together and indulge in a frenzy of false love. It is frightful for me to even imagine it. Yet a lot of people are duped by it and truly believe that this is what our Lord wants. Forget about what He has revealed to us and how he has led us and cleansed the Church of the illness of heresy many times before lets just get together and try to love one another. This is obviously a lot of balogna. I pray for every person I hear has died or is in need whether they are Orthodox or not. I sincerely care about the fate of every person that is living and has lived and I truly believe that I owe them more than just a hug I have the duty to tell them the Truth and if they won't except it I still have a duty to continue caring about them. To deny them the Truth of our Faith is to engage in a false love and a heresy that is truly what St.Justin of Chelije said,"A Pan-heresy because it encompasses all the heresies that have ever existed."

Quote
There is simply too great a chasm, and nothing has occured in all of the decades of "ecumenism" to make that gulf any smaller. If anything, all that's happened, I think, is many Orthodox themselves have become marginal in their adherance to the faith and in terms of their identity as members of the Church (and some others, quite frankly, have said and done things which are worthy of censure.)
This absolutely true! I can think of no one from Roman Catholicism who has been led to convert to Orthodoxy or decided to start demanding that the Roman Catholic church return to Orthodoxy due to ecumenical dialogue. At most it just leads Roman Catholics to demand that their priests be allowed to marry and that more joint prayer sessions occur with willing Greek Orthodox priests.
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« Reply #54 on: April 25, 2005, 12:06:29 PM »


I think you are seeking an earthly paradise or dream of some perfect age for the Church that will someday exist in this world.
Alas you are falling into the heresy millenialism.

You are mis quoting me here....I am not speaking of a world unity...a common government, but what Christ had said, "that all may be one".  We can try to unity the churches, and we will fail, but the worlding of the Holy spirit can and will unity the churches. 

I can't understand why Orthodoxy has this unhealthy fear and disgust for anything from Rome.  Remember it wasn't Rome that started the World Council of churches, it was the Protestants.  If we speak out against the "new" theology of the Protestants we are seen as religion bashing, but to call the Roman Church working with the antichrist is okay.  I am surprised that no one yet has called Rome the "Whore of Babylon".

I am more concerned what the Orthodox hierarchy is doing that is not "kosher", than what Rome or any of the Protestants are doing.  One example, that I fear to use because it causes so much fighting among the Orthodox, is the calendar.  When mainstream Orthodoxy calls Old Calendardist and Traditionalists "kooks" and "heretics" I tremble.  Yet no one throws anathemas at the Finish Church for using the same date for Pascha as the West.  Let's remove the board from our own eyes before trying to remove the splinter from others.  In other words, Orthodoxy should be more concerned with cleaning up its own house.
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« Reply #55 on: April 25, 2005, 01:18:07 PM »

Yes, we should all pray ...
monkvasyl.......Roman Catholisism shall fall ......she has no ROCK the true faith has gone....(many prophets have seen this)

As Orthodox Christians though, we should pray for them  to realise their mistake .......

We have many  examples of the Orthodox Martyrs who died for Orthodoxy.......

have mercy on me a sinner
helen

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« Reply #56 on: April 25, 2005, 01:34:03 PM »



You are mis quoting me here....I am not speaking of a world unity...a common government, but what Christ had said, "that all may be one". We can try to unity the churches, and we will fail, but the worlding of the Holy spirit can and will unity the churches.

I can't understand why Orthodoxy has this unhealthy fear and disgust for anything from Rome. Remember it wasn't Rome that started the World Council of churches, it was the Protestants. If we speak out against the "new" theology of the Protestants we are seen as religion bashing, but to call the Roman Church working with the antichrist is okay. I am surprised that no one yet has called Rome the "Whore of Babylon".

I am more concerned what the Orthodox hierarchy is doing that is not "kosher", than what Rome or any of the Protestants are doing. One example, that I fear to use because it causes so much fighting among the Orthodox, is the calendar. When mainstream Orthodoxy calls Old Calendardist and Traditionalists "kooks" and "heretics" I tremble. Yet no one throws anathemas at the Finish Church for using the same date for Pascha as the West. Let's remove the board from our own eyes before trying to remove the splinter from others. In other words, Orthodoxy should be more concerned with cleaning up its own house.

That all may be one does not refer to churches uniting in some future time into a giant Ecumenical Church. It is the will of our Lord that we all will be One in His own Body, His own Church. The unity that you are talking about is earthly and not real Christian unity at all but some heretical unity. If the Protestants and Roman Catholics want the True Faith they must become Orthodox and each individual must decide that, not their church hierarchs. Each individual has to choose to be Orthodox. They cannot simply be brought in because their hierarchs have decided to become Orthodox. These arguments alone show how little common sense Ecumenism has.

Quote
I can't understand why Orthodoxy has this unhealthy fear and disgust for anything from Rome.
I named specifics. I was not showing any unhealthy or indiscriminate digust for 'anything from Rome.' My fear and disgust for what has come out of Roman Catholicism seems justified but if you do not agree please don't tell me its unhealthy.
Quote
Remember it wasn't Rome that started the World Council of churches, it was the Protestants. If we speak out against the "new" theology of the Protestants we are seen as religion bashing, but to call the Roman Church working with the antichrist is okay.
Rome is now the most powerful Ecumenist organization and long before Ecumenism existed it did everything it could to force people into its churches. The Uniates are a good example of what happens when Orthodox sold their souls for the sake of 'Christian unity.'
Also, since when was I pro-Protestantism? I know that you may not have been referring to me but I cannot think of anyone on the board, other than TomS, who is Orthodox and supports Protestantism. Protestant theology is very evil and often semi-Arian if not entirely so. It is also Nestorian in its denial of the Mother of God and that the Body of Christ is visible and one. Protestantism is in many ways worse than Roman Catholicism but as I have said before at least it is honestly heretical. Trust me I have no Protestant leanings. I was brought up with many fiercely conservative Roman Catholic relatives and I disliked Protestantism long before I found out the truth about Roman Catholicism and its lies.

Quote
I am more concerned what the Orthodox hierarchy is doing that is not "kosher", than what Rome or any of the Protestants are doing. One example, that I fear to use because it causes so much fighting among the Orthodox, is the calendar. When mainstream Orthodoxy calls Old Calendardist and Traditionalists "kooks" and "heretics" I tremble. Yet no one throws anathemas at the Finish Church for using the same date for Pascha as the West. Let's remove the board from our own eyes before trying to remove the splinter from others. In other words, Orthodoxy should be more concerned with cleaning up its own house.
I think my avatar speaks for itself. I do think that the Finnish church should go back to being in line with the Russian Patriarchate using the Alexandrian Paschalion and the Julian calendar. The Valaam monks had to go through hell after the Revolution when they fell under Finland jurisdiction and had bishops trying to force the New Calendar on them. Many such as Elder Mikhail stuck to the Old Calendar and suffered for it.
I think that mainstream Orthodoxy may clean itself up. The Thessaloniki Conference was a step in the right direction but there is a heck of a lot that needs to be reversed and changed!
But I will say that you need to pull the wool from your eyes and look at what the Roman church has consistently done to our Orthodox brothers and sisters in the Balkans. The Roman church does affect us and we do have to be concerned.
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« Reply #57 on: April 26, 2005, 02:45:43 PM »

Sabbas,

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If the Protestants and Roman Catholics want the True Faith they must become Orthodox and each individual must decide that, not their church hierarchs. Each individual has to choose to be Orthodox. They cannot simply be brought in because their hierarchs have decided to become Orthodox. These arguments alone show how little common sense Ecumenism has.

Well, this isn't quite right - corporate re-unions have happened before, and I somehow doubt that every last man, woman, and child who went along with such re-unions to the Church from schism were completely clear on just what precisely differed between Orthodoxy and say, Uniatism (this kind of re-union has happened many times - both in the old world, and most conspicuously here in N.America.)

However, I think on a practical level you are probably right, in that there is just so much of a difference in outlook and so much in the way of "baggage" with the Latins, that any conversion to Orthodoxy would probably have to be a "individual" decision.  I suppose it would not be like the Uniates, where you could drop commemorating the Pope, and throw out some bad books, and hope that within a generation or so any remaining damage can be undone.  It's also worth noting that historically many of the sects/schisms restored to Orthodoxy "en masse" and by some very lenient form of economy, generally involved not only breaks which were (relative to the Papal Schism) not that old, but also groups who were in much of their practical religious life (praxis, etc.) not that far from the Church.  For example, way back, there was very little which would have indicated that a church was "Arian" - you'd have to listen to their creeds, or pose a few questions before that would have become obvious.

Suffice it to say, I'm quite certain you cannot say this about Orthodox Christianity and say, Roman Catholicism.  And less now than ever perhaps.  Even offering large groups of Latins some kind of "cleaned up" Latin rite Church as a means of making their conversion easier wouldn't do it these days, as precious few of them actually even worship in a way which is remotely "Orthodox" - they'd feel just as strange in say, a "Tridentine-like" temple as they would one using the Divine Liturgy of St.John Chrysostom.

However I would love for some miracle of grace to prove me wrong, and see a mass conversion, including Latin hierarchs, to Holy Orthodoxy.  I'd only ask others to forgive me for not seeing it as very likely.

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« Reply #58 on: April 26, 2005, 03:51:23 PM »

Perhaps it would be best if Christians from different traditions credited each other with the same level of love and sincerity that they themselves possess. As a Roman Catholic I have not the slightest doubt that the Holy Spirit in some way is present within not only the Catholic tradition but the Orthodox one also. I do not pretend either that there are first and second class Christians, God gives his Spirit with no miserly hand.

It is my belief that if we, all of us, listen humbly to the Spirit speaking in our hearts we will find one day that unity which God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit so clearly desires for his body the Church. Exchanging insults and going over ancient disputes is probably not the path that we should walk.

Through the prayers of the Mother of God may we become brothers and sisters indeed.
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« Reply #59 on: April 28, 2005, 08:27:01 AM »

Philokalia,

Quote
Perhaps it would be best if Christians from different traditions credited each other with the same level of love and sincerity that they themselves possess. As a Roman Catholic I have not the slightest doubt that the Holy Spirit in some way is present within not only the Catholic tradition but the Orthodox one also. I do not pretend either that there are first and second class Christians, God gives his Spirit with no miserly hand.

I beg your forgiveness, but this is one thing which drives me up the wall - the modern day confusion between "love" and "luv", or as Hieromonk Ambrose (formerly Fr.Alexey Young) said at a recent conference hosted by our parish, to be "loving" is not always the same as being "nice" or "well liked."

It's the zeitgeist right now, popularized by the excesses of the "ecumenical movement" to view Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism as somehow being "inches apart" from one another in terms of their doctrinal and spiritual life.  Unfortunately, this is not the case, and is only assumed to be such because many Roman Catholics (and not a few modernistic "Orthodox" it would seem) perceive Orthodox Christianity to be "Catholicism without the Pope", a sort of "Uniatism not in Communion with Rome".

Would it be "unloving" or could it be perceived as a callous attack on the "sincerity" of others, were a Roman Catholic to soberly recognize that he and a Jehovah's Witness do not share the same religion?  I mean, both use a lot of the same terminology, both have a lot of shared literature (Bible)...but none of that makes them the same thing.  Nor do I think you'd fault your Roman Catholic brother/sister if he were (at best) "agnostic" about the "grace" to be found in the Watchtower Society.

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« Reply #60 on: April 28, 2005, 11:03:32 AM »

Even offering large groups of Latins some kind of "cleaned up" Latin rite Church as a means of making their conversion easier wouldn't do it these days, as precious few of them actually even worship in a way which is remotely "Orthodox" - they'd feel just as strange in say, a "Tridentine-like" temple as they would one using the Divine Liturgy of St.John Chrysostom.

However I would love for some miracle of grace to prove me wrong, and see a mass conversion, including Latin hierarchs, to Holy Orthodoxy. I'd only ask others to forgive me for not seeing it as very likely.


Augustine, Change can happen slowly over time if the LC did in fact begin to focus more on ancient tradition in the church. It would not be immediate... just as the changes from Vat. II took quite awhile for the people to accept them... a change incorporating ancient tradition and doctrine over time is realistic, it is only our impatience to want something grander/ faster and people want to hear 'oh we've been wrong all along...' for self-righteousness... This is not necessary..children of the Lord can become closer to him an inch at a time...and appreciate each inch... One thing I have noticed is the greater focus on icons within all RC churches -not just Byzantine rite... and also discussion on the teachings of the early fathers of the church... while this is not 'sufficient' it is evidence of roots we share.

In XC, Kizzy
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« Reply #61 on: April 28, 2005, 11:14:49 AM »

Philokalia,



I beg your forgiveness, but this is one thing which drives me up the wall - the modern day confusion between "love" and "luv", or as Hieromonk Ambrose (formerly Fr.Alexey Young) said at a recent conference hosted by our parish, to be "loving" is not always the same as being "nice" or "well liked."

It's the zeitgeist right now, popularized by the excesses of the "ecumenical movement" to view Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism as somehow being "inches apart" from one another in terms of their doctrinal and spiritual life. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and is only assumed to be such because many Roman Catholics (and not a few modernistic "Orthodox" it would seem) perceive Orthodox Christianity to be "Catholicism without the Pope", a sort of "Uniatism not in Communion with Rome".

Would it be "unloving" or could it be perceived as a callous attack on the "sincerity" of others, were a Roman Catholic to soberly recognize that he and a Jehovah's Witness do not share the same religion? I mean, both use a lot of the same terminology, both have a lot of shared literature (Bible)...but none of that makes them the same thing. Nor do I think you'd fault your Roman Catholic brother/sister if he were (at best) "agnostic" about the "grace" to be found in the Watchtower Society.



While RC and EO are not identical... they are the closest theologically... that is even recognized by clergy... They both recognize the sanctity of saints, the Triune God, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist through the Holy Spirit, the intercessions of the Virgin Mary for us, and veneration by making the sign of the cross....The major tenets of the faith are the same and this is not true with other Christian groups...some may have one of these elements, but not all.  The differences we find between the two churches arose due to cultural differences between Rome and the East- and the different external challenges each of them faced-  and the way in which those differences lead to different wording to describe  the same thing.   


In XC, Kizzy



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« Reply #62 on: April 28, 2005, 11:37:23 AM »

is the Orthodox sense of uncertainty about Roman Catholics. The Orthodox, as I understand it, have no official stance as to whether Roman Catholics are part of the Church or not. Individuals are free to hold opinions one way or another.

Given that fact, it is hard to envision how any seious discussion of reunion could even begin. After all, reunion would imply that Roman Catholicism is a legitimate part of the "Church".

I'm not ciriticizing the Orthodox position at all. But no significant headway can be made until the Orthodox have wrestled with this issue.
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« Reply #63 on: April 28, 2005, 11:42:25 AM »

is the Orthodox sense of uncertainty about Roman Catholics.  The Orthodox, as I understand it, have no official stance as to whether Roman Catholics are part of the Church or not.  Individuals are free to hold opinions one way or another.

Given that fact, it is hard to envision how any seious discussion of reunion could even begin.  After all, reunion would imply that Roman Catholicism is a legitimate part of the "Church".

I'm not ciriticizing the Orthodox position at all.  But no significant headway can be made until the Orthodox have wrestled with this issue.

Uhhh...what?!?  Are you serious?  Every Orthodox statement has said that the Roman Church is outside the Church - not a part of the Body of Christ.  The Church can not be divided.  The only thing the Orthodox Church says for individuals is that the Holy Spirit blows where it wills and we can't say where He doesn't blow, but we know that He guides the Orthodox Church.

Btw, are you even Orthodox?
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« Reply #64 on: April 28, 2005, 12:00:35 PM »

"Every Orthodox statement has said that the Roman Church is outside the Church - not a part of the Body of Christ."

Not true.  The MP very recently made the statement that she believes the Catholic Church is a sister Church with valid sacraments.

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« Reply #65 on: April 28, 2005, 12:23:24 PM »

No, I am not Orthodox, but Roman Catholic.  I've read pretty extensively about Eastern Christianity and incorporate lots of Eastern Christian prayers in my prayer life, so I'm more than an idle observer.

It has been my impression that the Orthodox do not have a definitive statement about the validity of RC sacraments.  And I've seen enough discussion among the Orthodox to know that opinions vary widely on the subject.
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« Reply #66 on: April 28, 2005, 12:36:51 PM »

Would it be "unloving" or could it be perceived as a callous attack on the "sincerity" of others, were a Roman Catholic to soberly recognize that he and a Jehovah's Witness do not share the same religion? I mean, both use a lot of the same terminology, both have a lot of shared literature (Bible)...but none of that makes them the same thing. Nor do I think you'd fault your Roman Catholic brother/sister if he were (at best) "agnostic" about the "grace" to be found in the Watchtower Society.

NO, no, no, no Augustine, Watchtower has not a "shared literature(Bible)" nor they have "same terminology". They are using their own "Book" and their own terminology that is not even a religion.

I think you are drawing a parallel between two absolutely different "entities".
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« Reply #67 on: April 28, 2005, 12:37:41 PM »

ProfundoQ,

Actually we have a fairly simple and straightforward way to determine who's in the Church and who is not...they are called Dyptics. At every liturgy where the head of an Autocephalous Church presides, they list the people they are in Communion with. The Patriarchate of Rome is not listed in the Dyptics of ANY Orthodox Church, making our posistion on Rome quite clear, they are outside the Church.

As far as the validity of sacraments goes, this is not a question that is really even related to whether or not one is in the Church, but rather is related to how closely the customs of the ecclesiastical organization administering the sacraments are to the customs of the Church.

Technically speaking, only Orthodox Sacraments are valid in both Form and Essence; however, it is possible that the sacraments of those outside the Church can be valid in form, though never in Essence. Moreover, if we believe the sacrament to be valid in form, when one enters the Orthodox Church (perhaps through Chrismation, or by Confession of Faith/Renunciation of Heresy then partaking in the Eucharist), that sacrament (either Chrismation or the Eucharist) will, by virtue of making you a member of the Church, make up for the lack of essence in the Original Sacrament. So for example, if you are received by Chrismation, you may have gotten the form of baptism years ago, which the Church recognizes as a valid form, but you received the essence of Baptism at your Christmation along with both the form and essence of the Holy Chrism.
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« Reply #68 on: April 28, 2005, 01:25:01 PM »

"Every Orthodox statement has said that the Roman Church is outside the Church - not a part of the Body of Christ."

Not true. The MP very recently made the statement that she believes the Catholic Church is a sister Church with valid sacraments.

Fr. Deacon Lance

Fr. Deacon, ProfundoQ,
I'm going to have to *gasp* agree with GiC here.  From our POV, no matter what +Pat. Alexy II said - his statement is just one of charity and nothing else.  It is how GiC put it.


GiC,
As a side note, what is the practice from your experience in the GOA (and the EP as well if you have direct experience or have heard from someone else) regarding the OCA?  Is +Met. Herman not mentioned - because the OCA is viewed as still under the Omophor of Moscow?  From what I can tell, the diptychs are only actually said during certain Hierarchical services (like a consecration).
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« Reply #69 on: April 28, 2005, 01:37:07 PM »

Elisha,

Last time an OCA Metropolitan went to Constantinople, I believe he was received a the Metropolitan of the American Metropolia of the Patriarchate of Moscow, and given the same courtesy and privileges that any other Metropolitan UNDER Moscow would be given (which essentially means that if they con-celebrated the Liturgy, which I do not believe they did, he would not have been allowed to have been mitered as the head of a recognized Autocephalous Church would have been).

As far as the dyptics, I believe they are supposed to be said in the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy where the commemorations would usually go.
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« Reply #70 on: April 28, 2005, 01:41:23 PM »

"Every Orthodox statement has said that the Roman Church is outside the Church - not a part of the Body of Christ."

Not true. The MP very recently made the statement that she believes the Catholic Church is a sister Church with valid sacraments.

Fr. Deacon Lance
This was also stated at forums of EO and RC bishops and they agreed and recommended we should stop calling each other heretics and recognized each other as sister churches.. Name calling is where the 'hate' begins and what stops any full understanding of the other's plight... and it is a plight for which the church's were separated... starting with iconoclasm in the East, which put the Eastern church into a mess... and during that time of several centuries during and after Rome continued the faith.... We lost our connection with the Roman see starting with that and never fully regained it- going from one tragedy of rule to another....While we say we have a 2000 year old faith, it was not a continuous practice... there were several potholes on the path to today that the church got stuck in...

In XC, Kizzy
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« Reply #71 on: April 28, 2005, 02:23:37 PM »

ProfundoQ,

Actually we have a fairly simple and straightforward way to determine who's in the Church and who is not...they are called Dyptics. At every liturgy where the head of an Autocephalous Church presides, they list the people they are in Communion with. The Patriarchate of Rome is not listed in the Dyptics of ANY Orthodox Church, making our posistion on Rome quite clear, they are outside the Church.

As far as the validity of sacraments goes, this is not a question that is really even related to whether or not one is in the Church, but rather is related to how closely the customs of the ecclesiastical organization administering the sacraments are to the customs of the Church.

Technically speaking, only Orthodox Sacraments are valid in both Form and Essence; however, it is possible that the sacraments of those outside the Church can be valid in form, though never in Essence. Moreover, if we believe the sacrament to be valid in form, when one enters the Orthodox Church (perhaps through Chrismation, or by Confession of Faith/Renunciation of Heresy then partaking in the Eucharist), that sacrament (either Chrismation or the Eucharist) will, by virtue of making you a member of the Church, make up for the lack of essence in the Original Sacrament. So for example, if you are received by Chrismation, you may have gotten the form of baptism years ago, which the Church recognizes as a valid form, but you received the essence of Baptism at your Christmation along with both the form and essence of the Holy Chrism.

Thanks for the information. A couple of questions:

1. With regard to any potential reunion, what is the significance of the fact that the RC Church is not listed in any Dyptic? Does that ipse facto actively discourage dicsussion? Or is the kind of thing that would be revised should reunion ever take place?

2. I do know that Orthodoxy has no official stance on some aspect of RC legitimacy? Would it perhaps be the validity of the sacraments? Your post suggests that some Orthodox believe that RC sacraments may have valid form and othes not, but Orthodoxy officially states that all RC sacraments lack essence. Is this true?

Thanks,
Prof
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« Reply #72 on: April 28, 2005, 03:09:15 PM »

Sabbas,



Well, this isn't quite right - corporate re-unions have happened before, and I somehow doubt that every last man, woman, and child who went along with such re-unions to the Church from schism were completely clear on just what precisely differed between Orthodoxy and say, Uniatism (this kind of re-union has happened many times - both in the old world, and most conspicuously here in N.America.)

However, I think on a practical level you are probably right, in that there is just so much of a difference in outlook and so much in the way of "baggage" with the Latins, that any conversion to Orthodoxy would probably have to be a "individual" decision. I suppose it would not be like the Uniates, where you could drop commemorating the Pope, and throw out some bad books, and hope that within a generation or so any remaining damage can be undone. It's also worth noting that historically many of the sects/schisms restored to Orthodoxy "en masse" and by some very lenient form of economy, generally involved not only breaks which were (relative to the Papal Schism) not that old, but also groups who were in much of their practical religious life (praxis, etc.) not that far from the Church. For example, way back, there was very little which would have indicated that a church was "Arian" - you'd have to listen to their creeds, or pose a few questions before that would have become obvious.

Suffice it to say, I'm quite certain you cannot say this about Orthodox Christianity and say, Roman Catholicism. And less now than ever perhaps. Even offering large groups of Latins some kind of "cleaned up" Latin rite Church as a means of making their conversion easier wouldn't do it these days, as precious few of them actually even worship in a way which is remotely "Orthodox" - they'd feel just as strange in say, a "Tridentine-like" temple as they would one using the Divine Liturgy of St.John Chrysostom.

However I would love for some miracle of grace to prove me wrong, and see a mass conversion, including Latin hierarchs, to Holy Orthodoxy. I'd only ask others to forgive me for not seeing it as very likely.


Augustine I am aware of the large number of Uniates who returned to the Orthodox faith through the work of St.Alexis Toth and agree that this could happen again with the Uniates but as far as the Roman Catholics and Protestants are concerned I just do not believe that practically, as you pointed out, they could really just become Orthodox through a reunion enacted by their hierarchs because it requires to much of an individual change of mind and heart for a modern day Protestant or Roman Catholic to become Orthodox simply because their minister or bishop did. Perhaps a Latin Mass Roman Catholic would get Orthodox worship and theology a little quicker as seems to have been the case with Hieromonk Ambrose when he left Roman Catholicism after Vatican II but overall I just think it is inappropriate to even discuss some type of reunion between Roman Catholics and Orthodox when the Roman church no longer exercises the necessary discipline to maintain its faith and make sure everyone going to communion believes in that faith. The Roman church has chosen a worse path since Vatican II that denies absolute Truth, embraces modernism and relativism, and is simply not anywhere near Orthodoxy. You can say all you want about Pope Benedict XVI being 'conservative' but he is embracing the Ecumenism that destroys Christian Truth the same as Vatican II embraced it what more needs to be known?
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« Reply #73 on: April 28, 2005, 03:22:17 PM »



Thanks for the information. A couple of questions:

1. With regard to any potential reunion, what is the significance of the fact that the RC Church is not listed in any Dyptic? Does that ipse facto actively discourage dicsussion? Or is the kind of thing that would be revised should reunion ever take place?

2. I do know that Orthodoxy has no official stance on some aspect of RC legitimacy? Would it perhaps be the validity of the sacraments? Your post suggests that some Orthodox believe that RC sacraments may have valid form and othes not, but Orthodoxy officially states that all RC sacraments lack essence. Is this true?

Thanks,
Prof
With regards to number 1 I think you should remember that the late Patriarch Athenagoras did enter the name of the Pope, at this time Pope Paul VI, into the Diptych's in 1968. What happened? Nothing! If a reunion really did occur than yes the Pope would be inserted into the Diptych's assuming GiC is correct about Patriarch Bartholomew II not having the Pope in the Diptychs now.

Quote
2.  I do know that Orthodoxy has no official stance on some aspect of RC legitimacy?  Would it perhaps be the validity of the sacraments?  Your post suggests that some Orthodox believe that RC sacraments may have valid form and othes not, but Orthodoxy officially states that all RC sacraments lack essence.  Is this true?
Pan-Orthodox Synods have consistently denied that the Roman church is a part of the Church. The Roman Church does not have the Essence. It does not have the Ecclesial Grace of the Mysteries.
No, I am not Orthodox, but Roman Catholic. I've read pretty extensively about Eastern Christianity and incorporate lots of Eastern Christian prayers in my prayer life, so I'm more than an idle observer.

It has been my impression that the Orthodox do not have a definitive statement about the validity of RC sacraments. And I've seen enough discussion among the Orthodox to know that opinions vary widely on the subject.
Opinions are one thing the teaching of the Church is quite another.

A good book on the Orthodox position on Roman Catholics and others is the The Non-Orthodox by Patrick Barnes http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/status.aspx This is a good book and not something by an 'extremist' as some Ecumenists argue. When it was in print it was sold by Regina Press and how extreme are they?
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« Reply #74 on: April 28, 2005, 04:33:36 PM »

If I recall correctly, Sabbas, only ONE Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Pat Athenagoras with the Pope of Rome in the Dyptychs.
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« Reply #75 on: April 28, 2005, 04:48:50 PM »


A good book on the Orthodox position on Roman Catholics and others is the The Non-Orthodox by Patrick Barnes http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/status.aspx This is a good book and not something by an 'extremist' as some Ecumenists argue. When it was in print it was sold by Regina Press and how extreme are they?

I second this and would also point out that as harsh/critic as Patrick Barnes may be in the book, he ALSO includes an Appendix or Epilogue with a letter from St. Doritheus of Gaza on NOT judging others and another on the use of the word 'heretic'.  This gist of the discussion on the word 'heretic' meaning, that even though from an Orthodox POV we may be correct, it is uncharitable to needlessly/aimlessly/carelessly throw the word around in referring to non-Orthodox.
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« Reply #76 on: April 28, 2005, 05:29:26 PM »



I second this and would also point out that as harsh/critic as Patrick Barnes may be in the book, he ALSO includes an Appendix or Epilogue with a letter from St. Doritheus of Gaza on NOT judging others and another on the use of the word 'heretic'. This gist of the discussion on the word 'heretic' meaning, that even though from an Orthodox POV we may be correct, it is uncharitable to needlessly/aimlessly/carelessly throw the word around in referring to non-Orthodox.
I would not say he is a harsh critic just that he has to show where a lot of modern commentators are going way too far and not teaching what the Orthodox Church teaches. Since this has almost become an epidemic of sorts it is a necessary medicine to call people back in such a way.
Also anyone who has met Patrick Barnes knows he is a nice guy. If you think he is an extremist you will find yourself pleasantly suprised if you ever meet him.
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« Reply #77 on: April 29, 2005, 12:09:54 AM »

There is nothing about Patrick Barnes, his writings, or his websites, that indicates any kind of inordinate malice or lack of virtue.  People assume nonsense like this for one simple reason - because he has had the nerve to rain on the ecumaniacal "luv fest", by simply repeating what Church Teachers (old and new) have had to say on the topic of ecumenism, and the relationship of heresy to the Church.

For some reason, people seem to believe the only "jerk" these days is the "hard" or "intolerant" one; I guess liberal, permissive, modernistic "jerks" don't exist.

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« Reply #78 on: April 29, 2005, 01:35:21 AM »

There is nothing about Patrick Barnes, his writings, or his websites, that indicates any kind of inordinate malice or lack of virtue. People assume nonsense like this for one simple reason - because he has had the nerve to rain on the ecumaniacal "luv fest", by simply repeating what Church Teachers (old and new) have had to say on the topic of ecumenism, and the relationship of heresy to the Church.

For some reason, people seem to believe the only "jerk" these days is the "hard" or "intolerant" one; I guess liberal, permissive, modernistic "jerks" don't exist.



Exactly!  I said as harsh as he "may be" not is.  I'm meaning from the more "liberal" Orthodox mindset.
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« Reply #79 on: May 02, 2005, 05:46:15 PM »

Dcn. Lance,

Quote
Not true.  The MP very recently made the statement that she believes the Catholic Church is a sister Church with valid sacraments.

I'd be very interested in having a source for this.

Thanks in advance!

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« Reply #80 on: May 03, 2005, 08:57:53 AM »

It is somewhere on the MP website.
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« Reply #81 on: May 03, 2005, 09:40:24 AM »

Dcn. Lance,

Do you remember what the article was about?  Title?

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« Reply #82 on: May 03, 2005, 10:44:09 AM »

Augustine,

I am sorry I do not remember the title.  The subject of the document was relations bewteen the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.  Specifically I think the Synod was complaining about the erection of Latin Catholic dioceses in Russia and was referencing the previously friendly relations prior to the reestablishment of the UGCC.  In fact ,Patriarch Alexy, when he was a bishop, was in favor of communing Latin Catholics who did not recourse to a catholic priest.  Prior to the fall of communism there were only two functioning Latin parishes in Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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« Reply #83 on: May 03, 2005, 02:00:29 PM »

Fr Deacon Lance writes:

[I am sorry I do not remember the title. The subject of the document was relations bewteen the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church. Specifically I think the Synod was complaining about the erection of Latin Catholic dioceses in Russia and was referencing the previously friendly relations prior to the reestablishment of the UGCC. In fact ,Patriarch Alexy, when he was a bishop, was in favor of communing Latin Catholics who did not recourse to a catholic priest. Prior to the fall of communism there were only two functioning Latin parishes in Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg.]

Reply:

Fr Deacon, you are going to have to be a little more explicit than that. What you have to take into consideration is.... under what circumstances it is being used and exactly what he is addressing?

Example is this recent statement by the Russian Orthodox Church where they use the term 'sister churches' claim being used by Rome at the same time it is proseltyzing in the territory of this so called 'sister church'. It is used in a derogatory and mocking way showing the difference in what the RCC says publically and what it does privately. "By their deeds they shall be known!"
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From a recent article in 'Moscow News' addressing Orthodox Catholic/Roman Catholic relations where the term 'sister churches' is used -

There are two main problems marring the relationship between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. One of them is Catholic proselytism on the territory of Russia and the CIS, and the other is the conflict between Orthodox believers and Greek Catholics in Western Ukraine, Father Igor Vyzhanov told RIA Novosti.

The Moscow Patriarchate defines Catholic proselytism as activities by the Roman Catholic Church aimed at involving Russians, who historically and traditionally belong to the Orthodox Church, in Catholic Church practices and services. “This is exactly what the activities of many Catholic missionaries from abroad are aimed at,” Vyzhanov said.

These frictions between the two Churches ensured that Pope John Paul II’s long-cherished visit to Russia never happened, and the planned meeting of the Pope with Russian Patriarch Alexiy II in Graz, Austria in 1997 was cancelled.

According to Vyzhanov, there was a joint disclaimer project prepared for the meeting of 1997 that contained a refusal of 'uniatisim' as a means of reuniting the two Churches and a rejection of Catholic proselytizing in Russia and other countries of the CIS. However, at the very last moment authorities from the Roman Catholic Church decided to eliminate these two points from the document, which made the meeting senseless for the Orthodox side.

A spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate also recalled that last year, when the Vatican returned a copy of the Virgin of Kazan icon to Russia, Patriarch Alexiy stated firmly that “a meeting with the Pope must not be an event for the record, but a result of overcoming those conflicts that hurt all the believers”.

The conflict between the Orthodox and Greek Catholics in Western Ukraine is rooted deep in history, Igor Vyzhanov said. Its origins date as far back as the 16th century, when in 1596 in Brest some of the Orthodox bishops of Western Rus, then occupied by the Polish-Lithuanian state Rech Pospolitaya, set up a “Unia” - a union with the Roman Catholic Church.

As a result of the Unia, some Orthodox believers accepted the Pope as the Head of Church and adopted Catholic doctrine, maintaining the Orthodox ritual.

Those who set up the Unia with Rome received the name of Greek Catholics, or Uniates. With the total support of Polish authorities and the Catholic Church they started imposing the Unia on the territory of present-day Ukraine and Belarus.

“In the 18th century after Poland was divided, the previously Orthodox territories were once more part of the Russian Empire, and the believers could return to the Orthodox Church. The Unia only existed in the lands that were under Austria-Hungarian rule, and served as a constant weapon in the anti-Russian politics of the state,” Vyzhanov said.

“During World War II Ukrainian Greek Catholics cooperated with Nazi invaders. In 1946 the Soviet government prohibited Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church activities on the territory of the USSR,” he noted.

At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was legalized again. By that time a large Orthodox community had formed in the region, following the Moscow Patriarchate.

Immediately after the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was legalized, the Orthodox side offered to peacefully divide the church buildings and other possessions, according to the balance of Orthodox and Catholic believers in the region. In 1990 a board was formed with representatives of all the interested parties: Roman Catholics, Ukrainian Greek Catholics, the Russian Orthodox and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches.

“However, under pressure from radical nationalists, a weighty party in Ukraine at that time, representatives of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church left the board, depriving its work of all meaning,” the spokesman underlined.

Proclaiming “historical justice restoration”, with the full support of anti-Russian and anti-Orthodox local authorities, Greek Catholics captured churches by force. Finally in the Lvov, Ternopol and Ivano-Frank regions the Orthodox were deprived of almost all their churches and their civil rights.

The situation has not changed much since then. “Considering the fact that most Ukrainian believers are Orthodox, the Russian Orthodox Church cannot ignore the way its flock is being oppressed in these three regions. This is why we keep addressing the Vatican, in whose jurisdiction Greek Catholics rightfully belong,” Vyzhanov said.

He also pointed out that Ukrainian Greek Catholics keep trying to impose their influence on the Orthodox South and East of the country, where historically the Unia never set foot. “The plans of Ukrainian Greek Catholic officials are to move their headquarters from Lvov to Kiev and achieve the status of a patriarchate to be able to confront the Orthodox Church. But for the absence of formal approval from the Holy See, they would have acted long ago,” said the Patriarchy’s secretary.

Vyzhanov said there are several obstacles keeping the existing problems between the two Churches from being settled. “This is above all a certain inconsistency in the position of the Roman Catholic Church,” he said.

On the one hand, officials in the Vatican have never tired of demonstrating their peaceful intentions towards the Orthodox Church. When visiting Moscow in February 2004, Cardinal Walter Casper, head of the Pope’s council on Christian Union assistance, announced that Catholics see the Orthodox Church as a sister-Church and seek brotherhood with it. “Proselytism in Russia is not our policy, in fact it’s against the policy of the Vatican,” he assured.[/u]

Vyzhanov said that “there are lots of cases of good relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and certain episcopates, monasteries, universities and charity institutions belonging to the Roman Catholic Church”.

Despite this and the loudly proclaimed respect and love for Orthodoxy, there exist the “aggressive missionary activities” that Catholics carry out in Russia and other countries of the CIS, which the Orthodox Church can’t help seeing as unfriendly, he said.

Missionary activities on the territory of Russia are also carried out in spite of a document placing restrictions on them. It was published in 1992 by the Pope’s “Pro Russia” commission after a meeting between the Vatican and the Moscow Patriarchate in Geneva. The document was entitled “General principles and practical regulations to coordinate the evangelizing activities and ecumenical obligation of the Catholic Church in Russia and other countries of the CIS”. The paper obliges Catholic clergy to refrain from overly persistent missionary activities in the stated countries and possibly cooperate with the Russian Orthodox Church.

“However, since the paper was published, there wasn’t a single case of Roman Catholics obeying its demands,” Vyzhanov said.
He also said the mood among Catholics is quite contrary to the “Pro Russia” paper’s mood, which became especially obvious in 2002 when four Catholic eparchies were established without even consulting the Orthodox Church. “Most Russian believers belong to the Orthodox Church. The new Catholic structures are clearly too big for the small number of Russian Catholics that is overestimated by their authorities,” Vyzhanov said.

He added that in 2002 there were two more eparchies established in the traditionally Orthodox lands of Ukraine’s South and East. In May 2003 the Vatican announced the establishment of two new Catholic eparchies in Kazakhstan.

“It’s obvious that in both cases the Catholic establishments are oversized to fit the expected success of missionary activities. The Russian Orthodox Church, whose influence by far exceeds that of the Catholics in these countries, can’t help being troubled by such treatment by a ’sister-Church’,” Vyzhanov underlined.
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Oh Lord, Save thy people and bless thine inheritance.
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries.
And by virtue of thy Cross preserve thy habitation.
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