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Author Topic: His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on East-West Unity  (Read 4260 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 06, 2005, 09:08:57 AM »

Pope Benedict XVI (the then Cardinal Ratzinger) view on achieving East - West unity.

"Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium. When the Patriarch Athenagoras, on July 25, 1967, on the occasion of the Pope's visit to Phanar, designated him as the successor of St. Peter, as the most esteemed among us, as one also presides in charity, this great Church leader was expressing the essential content of the doctrine of primacy as it was known in the first millennium. Rome need not ask for more. Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while, on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox and legitimate in the form she has always had.”

Ratzinger, Joseph: PRINCIPLES OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGY, Ignatius, 1988, page 199-200


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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2005, 10:17:54 AM »

Yes, very interesting too...Pope Benedict XVI could use Jordan as an example...the only country in the world, mind you that has united Catholic & Orthodox...yes, Catholic Celebrate the Easter on the date of the Orthodox and in return, the Orthodox celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December, yep agreed upon between two Churches in Jordan...check it out. Only kind in the world. Smiley In the west and other countries don't get it, however, the 85% Orthodox Jordanians understand.

By the way, WELCOME Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2005, 10:42:24 AM »

Pope Benedict XVI advocates breaking up of the Church of Rome in Favour of
Orthodox Model of Ecclesiology


You can find the entire article at
http://www.georgetown.edu/centers/woodstock/reese/ec/ec-6komonch.htm

Comments by Fr. Joseph Komanchak, professor CUA, and member of the North
American Commission of Orthodox and Roman Catholics.  ( SCOBA / NCCB) .

Joseph Ratzinger, for example, pointed out the need to disentangle the
confusion between the patriarchal and primatial roles of the bishop of
Rome and to break up the Latin patriarchate, replacing it with a number of
"patriarchal areas," that is, regions with an autonomy similar to
that of the ancient patriarchates, but under the direction of the episcopal
conferences.

In an essay entitled "Primacy and Episcopacy," Ratzinger developed the theme
at greater length:

     "The image of a centralized state which the Catholic church presented
right up to the council does not flow only from the Petrine office, but from
its strict amalgamation with the patriarchal function which grew ever
stronger in the course of history and which fell to the bishop of Rome for
the whole of Latin Christendom. The uniform canon law, the uniform liturgy,
the uniform appointment of bishops by the Roman center: all these are things
which are not necessarily part of the primacy but result from the close
union of the two offices. For that reason, the task to consider for the
future will be to distinguish again and more clearly between the proper
function of the successor of Peter and the patriarchal office and, where
necessary, to create new patriarchates and to detach them from the Latin
church. To embrace unity with the pope would then no longer mean being
incorporated into a uniform administration, but only being inserted into a
unity of faith and communio, in which the pope is acknowledged to have the
power to give binding interpretations of the revelation given in Christ
whose authority is accepted whenever it is given in definitive form. "

After exploring the ecumenical implications of this vision, Ratzinger
concluded: "Finally, in the not too distant future one could consider
whether the churches of Asia and Africa, like those of the East, should not
present their own forms as autonomous "patriarchates" or "great
churches" or whatever such ecclesiae in the Ecclesia might be called in the
future."

-

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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2005, 11:35:11 AM »

It will never happen, for reasons that have nothing to do with Orthodoxy. There is a great fear that any changes to the Magisterium, for any reasons, would open the door to the wacko liberal bishops in America and elsewhere to push through radical changes.

Regardless, this

"Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development,"

is not reunion, it's conversion.
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2005, 12:01:43 PM »

 Pope Benedict XVI has been in office how many days ? And his installation as Bishop of Rome is on Saturday, give me a break, a bureaucracy is not revised/reformed within a matter of days, be it a religious or secular one.

It ain't Kansas Dorothy.

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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2005, 12:56:09 PM »

The Polish Pope was very commited also to seeking East-West Unity. It is something many desire ardently and pray for. It will however be no easy path as many Orthodox think of the Church of Rome as being deeply mired in heresy. Obviously Catholics do not believe that they are heretical. This seems on the face of it to be a stumbling block. Fortunately for God nothing is impossible.

John Paul wrote an Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen which touched on this issue

"In the study of revealed truth East and West have used different methods and approaches in understanding and confessing divine things. It is hardly surprising, then, if sometimes one tradition has come nearer to a full appreciation of some aspects of a mystery of revelation than the other, or has expressed them better. In such cases, these various theological formulations are often to be considered complementary rather than conflicting."

Pondering over the questions, aspirations and experiences I have mentioned, my thoughts turn to the Christian heritage of the East. I do not intend to describe that heritage or to interpret it: I listen to the Churches of the East, which I know are living interpreters of the treasure of tradition they preserve. In contemplating it, before my eyes appear elements of great significance for a fuller and more thorough understanding of the Christian experience. These elements are capable of giving a more complete Christian response to the expectations of the men and women of today. Indeed, in comparison to any other culture, the Christian East has a unique and privileged role as the original setting where the Church was born.

The Christian tradition of the East implies a way of accepting, understanding and living faith in the Lord Jesus. In this sense it is extremely close to the Christian tradition of the West, which is born of and nourished by the same faith. Yet it is legitimately and admirably distinguished from the latter, since Eastern Christians have their own way of perceiving and understanding, and thus an original way of living their relationship with the Saviour. Here, with respect and trepidation, I want to approach the act of worship which these Churches express, rather than to identify this or that specific theological point which has emerged down the centuries in the polemical debates between East and West.

From the beginning, the Christian East has proved to contain a wealth of forms capable of assuming the characteristic features of each individual culture, with supreme respect for each particular community. We can only thank God with deep emotion for the wonderful variety with which he has allowed such a rich and composite mosaic of different tesserae to be formed.
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« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2005, 01:01:52 PM »

["Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development,"

is not reunion, it's conversion.]

Not only that.  It's called 'Uniatism'!

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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2005, 03:28:01 PM »

["Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development,"

is not reunion, it's conversion.]

Not only that.  It's called 'Uniatism'!

Orthodoc

No, Uniatism requires acceptance of the authority of Rome. What the Cardinal was talking about was accepting as legitimate and orthodox. They are not the same thing. I think it might be nice if you thought even for a fraction of a millisecond that the Catholics are not evil heretics bent on conquest but genuine Christians who love and admire orthodoxy. I know there is history involved here and you are about to recite it to me at great length. But hey, these guys are dead now. Work with the Catholics youve got not the ones you used to have.
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2005, 03:49:06 PM »

I don't view individual Catholics as evil heretics.  I don't even think the church is interested in scooping up Orthodox believers anymore, at least not while people like Cardinal Kasper are in power.

I do think the RCC has taken erroneous doctrine and made it dogma.  No amount of papering over or ecumenical niceties is going to change that.  We're not talking about the same things in different ways, that is beyond even being called wishful thinking.

Somebody has to admit they're wrong.  That won't be a reunion, it will be a conversion.
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2005, 05:14:34 PM »

[I know there is history involved here and you are about to recite it to me at great length. But hey, these guys are dead now. Work with the Catholics youve got not the ones you used to have.]

Oh but we have been. The Quadripartite Agreement comes to mind. Only problem is that it was broken six weeks after it was implemented.

In any union the most logical thing to do is for both to go back to the way the Church was before the schism and build from there. Only problem with that is we Orthodox Catholics are already there. While the papal Catholics will have to eliminate the additions and changes they have made without benefit of the entire church since.

And as had been already stated the 'we are saying the same things in different ways does not get it.

I think from reports I am reading regarding the new Pope, he seems to be on the right track. Especially the recent report about adopting Orthodox Ecclesiology. That should be where it all starts.

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« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2005, 07:36:55 PM »

No, Uniatism requires acceptance of the authority of Rome. What the Cardinal was talking about was accepting as legitimate and orthodox. They are not the same thing. I think it might be nice if you thought even for a fraction of a millisecond that the Catholics are not evil heretics bent on conquest but genuine Christians who love and admire orthodoxy. I know there is history involved here and you are about to recite it to me at great length. But hey, these guys are dead now. Work with the Catholics youve got not the ones you used to have.

Good point. I agree: the past is the past. We don't have to dwell in it. Can you imagine how it is if people still dwell on old grudges? You saw it happen in places like Yugoslavia and in some countries in Africa. If we do so, we'll be wiping each other off the face of the Earth. We can build bridges, and I think the time for the laity to build those bridges has come, what with mass communication being fast and available to everyone, like the Internet.
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2005, 10:25:16 PM »

Let us not rush, rushing is an unOrthodox way.

Let us pray, praying is the Orthodox way.



I do wish and long for re-unification,
but there is ONLY ONE way that this can happen.

Rom HAS to denunce its heterodox beliefs.
Rom HAS to do it publicly.

This, above presented, is not IT.
It is an easy way to manouvre between responsibility making it look nice but making it awful.

Latin Christians DESERVE Right Faith, they deserve right glory, they deserve right worship, they deserve right honour, they deserve right service and they deserve the FULNESS of Faith.... But, if they want to stay under Rome, they will not have it... UNTIL the one that they follow as a MAXIMUS PONTIFEX, UNIVERSAL SHEPERD or whatever the 'cool' title is now... admits his/institutionalized heresy.

Orthodox Christians should keep their faith the way they received it. Incorrupted, unchanged, true, Orthodox. God help us if we are the ones that lapsed into heresy. God help is if we sold her for 'ecumenical heresy'.

God knows, that I do not like bosnian moslems for one reason and one reason only, and that reason is that they sold their Orthodox faith for a benefit of paying less tax, for a benefit of living better, for they became moslems in a period of 500 years of turkish occupation of the bakans. They become moslems so they would no be stuck on wood like on a spit the way Christians did, or that they firstborn male children would not be taken to turkey at the age of 7 as a 'blood tax'.... they lapsed when it was really hard on them... And, God, I dont like them for that.

How, then, damned will I be if I sell my faith when the times are not like that?
How damned will I be if I don't like those who sold their faith when it was hard if I sell it when it is 'easy'?

Devil knows that if he is killing us we grow
if he is destroying us we build. We have for 2000 years.

Do not be taken easily. This is a demonic work. The archdemon has just changed his tactics... Do not be taken easily.

Let us wait and pray by keeping what we were given, without adding nor taking away.

Orthodoxy or death!

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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2005, 01:44:14 AM »

Let us not rush, rushing is an unOrthodox way.

Let us pray, praying is the Orthodox way.



I do wish and long for re-unification,
but there is ONLY ONE way that this can happen.

Rom HAS to denunce its heterodox beliefs.
Rom HAS to do it publicly.

This, above presented, is not IT.
It is an easy way to manouvre between responsibility making it look nice but making it awful.

Latin Christians DESERVE Right Faith, they deserve right glory, they deserve right worship, they deserve right honour, they deserve right service and they deserve the FULNESS of Faith.... But, if they want to stay under Rome, they will not have it... UNTIL the one that they follow as a MAXIMUS PONTIFEX, UNIVERSAL SHEPERD or whatever the 'cool' title is now... admits his/institutionalized heresy.

Orthodox Christians should keep their faith the way they received it. Incorrupted, unchanged, true, Orthodox. God help us if we are the ones that lapsed into heresy. God help is if we sold her for 'ecumenical heresy'.

God knows, that I do not like bosnian moslems for one reason and one reason only, and that reason is that they sold their Orthodox faith for a benefit of paying less tax, for a benefit of living better, for they became moslems in a period of 500 years of turkish occupation of the bakans. They become moslems so they would no be stuck on wood like on a spit the way Christians did, or that they firstborn male children would not be taken to turkey at the age of 7 as a 'blood tax'.... they lapsed when it was really hard on them... And, God, I dont like them for that.

How, then, damned will I be if I sell my faith when the times are not like that?
How damned will I be if I don't like those who sold their faith when it was hard if I sell it when it is 'easy'?

Devil knows that if he is killing us we grow
if he is destroying us we build. We have for 2000 years.

Do not be taken easily. This is a demonic work. The archdemon has just changed his tactics... Do not be taken easily.

Let us wait and pray by keeping what we were given, without adding nor taking away.

Orthodoxy or death!

Now that's harsh. If this is everyone, or most people's attitude, unity will never happen. We'll stay fragmented instead of seeing that longed-for unity of Christendom. True, it's not easy, and it's not simple. There are a lot of things to work out, a lot of things that will still happen. But we should be hopeful, and we should not let that dream go.
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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2005, 02:42:04 AM »


In an essay entitled "Primacy and Episcopacy," Ratzinger developed the theme
at greater length:

[...]

To embrace unity with the pope would then no longer mean being
incorporated into a uniform administration, but only being inserted into a
unity of faith and communio, in which the pope is acknowledged to have the
power to give binding interpretations of the revelation given in Christ
whose authority is accepted whenever it is given in definitive form. "

That shows the biggest stumbling block to reunification of East and West. In the unified church of times past, the Bishop of Rome was a first among equals, not infallible nor an autocrat. In a reunified church under then scholar Ratzinger's model, the Orthodox Churches would be in a position vis-+á-vis Rome that isn't any different, essentialy, from the position in which the Byzantine Catholics of today find themselves vis-+á-vis Rome.

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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2005, 02:42:58 AM »

Now that's harsh. If this is everyone, or most people's attitude, unity will never happen. We'll stay fragmented instead of seeing that longed-for unity of Christendom.
How do you know this? If the Unity we long for comes from God, then all things are possible for Him. If, on the other hand, you seek a unity which comes from men, then compromising the truth of our doctrines is the only way to achieve this.
Orthodoxy is not a denomination. It is not a "society" which one can simply meld with another "society".
There are certain realities we have to face. It is always "harsh" to face realities as you put it, but unless we face them, unity will never be possible, because according to both Orthodoxy and Catholicism, Sacramental unity can only come if we believe the same doctrines. The Orthodox do not believe in the doctrine of the Eternal Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son (or as modern Roman Catholic Catechisms put it, that the Holy Spirit is the 'Love between the Father and the Son'). This is, and will always remain an UnOrthodox doctrine. The Orthodox do not believe in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, nor the Roman Catholic understanding of Original Sin carrying culpability to those who inherit it. This is, and will always remain an UnOrthodox doctrine. It is Orthodox doctrine that all bishops are equal, therefore Papal Infallibility and Supremacy are, and will always remain an UnOrthodox doctrines.
Just because something seems "harsh" does not make it "Unchristian". Our Lord Himself was accused of making "harsh statements" (John 6:60)
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2005, 06:15:00 AM »

God knows, that I do not like bosnian moslems for one reason and one reason only, and that reason is that they sold their Orthodox faith for a benefit of paying less tax, for a benefit of living better, for they became moslems in a period of 500 years of turkish occupation of the bakans. They become moslems so they would no be stuck on wood like on a spit the way Christians did, or that they firstborn male children would not be taken to turkey at the age of 7 as a 'blood tax'.... they lapsed when it was really hard on them... And, God, I dont like them for that.


You do know that the Muslims who made that choice some Centuries ago are now no longer withus. Today's Bosnian Muslims were, by and large, born into Muslim families of many generations standing. You are saying that you wish to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children. If you hate someone for what his great great grandfather did you may be many things but I doubt you are being theologically sound. Or loving.
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2005, 07:44:52 AM »

Now I am use to have words that I have not said been placed in my mouth by protestants... bute here, dear Fillokalia does it... I suppose it comes with the west? Smiley

Seriously, who said that I HATE THEM? The word HATE is so harsh. I said I DO NOT LIKE THEM. Without going into semantics, I do not hate them, that is way to strong, but I do dislike them. I mean I am a bosnian SERB so disliking bosnian MOSLEMS is a kind of normal thing where I stand at. But how am I to explain that to you. There is no theology in it, just the fact that some of my family are not hear because of THEM. So sorry, disliking them is the best I can do right now.

Bu the way, if you feel angry for me using this 'picture' in the context that I did, talking about Latin Pontiff, there is nothing I can do.

I just say it the way I see it.


P.S. "Theologicaly sound" you say.... hmm.. I'll bite my tongue... dont know you so I do not wish to offend you.
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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2005, 08:27:47 AM »


How do you know this? If the Unity we long for comes from God, then all things are possible for Him. If, on the other hand, you seek a unity which comes from men, then compromising the truth of our doctrines is the only way to achieve this.
Orthodoxy is not a denomination. It is not a "society" which one can simply meld with another "society".
There are certain realities we have to face. It is always "harsh" to face realities as you put it, but unless we face them, unity will never be possible, because according to both Orthodoxy and Catholicism, Sacramental unity can only come if we believe the same doctrines.  The Orthodox do not believe in the doctrine of the Eternal Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son (or as modern Roman Catholic Catechisms put it, that the Holy Spirit is the 'Love between the Father and the Son'). This is, and will always remain an UnOrthodox doctrine. The Orthodox do not believe in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, nor the Roman Catholic understanding of Original Sin carrying culpability to those who inherit it. This is, and will always remain an UnOrthodox doctrine. It is Orthodox doctrine that all bishops are equal, therefore Papal Infallibility and Supremacy are, and will always remain an UnOrthodox doctrines.
Just because something seems "harsh" does not make it "Unchristian". Our Lord Himself was accused of making "harsh statements" (John 6:60)


I second that.

ozgeorge has marked the core of the problem by saying that: "The Orthodox do not believe in the doctrine of the Eternal Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son (or as modern Roman Catholic Catechisms put it, that the Holy Spirit is the 'Love between the Father and the Son')."

The conception of The Spirit as "Love Proceeding" is based on Augustine's theory that: "The Holy Spirit is something in common with the Father and the Son...the same consubstantial and coeternal communion.... They are not more than three: one who loves the one who comes from him; one who loves the one from which he receives his origin; and Love himself" (De Trinitate, VI, 5, 7; CC 50, 295, 236) - you can find the official Vatican Thesis in this site: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/alpha/data/aud19901114en.html

From this misinterpretation of the truth, Vatican Church interprets even Orthodox Fathers like Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonika who spend all of his life fighting against Roman Catholic theology, supporting  that by his phrase "The Spirit of the supreme Word is like a certain kind of love which the Father has for the mysteriously generated Word; and it is that same love that the most beloved Word and Son of the Father has for the one who generated him" he also states the same Augustinian doctrine.  Now, this is the kind of unification the Vatican is talking about: to adopt Orthodox theology through Roman Catholic interpretation. In such a warped unification we are guided to take part as Orthodox.

Augustine used a model in his theory. He used the model of One Person the "Godhead” that has Wisdom. His Wisdom is His Son so the Godhead becomes a Father of his Wisdom. The Father-Son relationship has, in Augustine's theory, the need of a love - Father loves His Wisdom and His Wisdom loves The Father. There you are: the love between Father and Son is The Spirit. According to Augustinian theology the Spirit is "the consubstantial and coeternal communion” between the Father and His Son.

This Vatican theology as ozgeorge pointed out is the main problem. Vatican is following Augustine’s errors. Augustine conceived a God as one person that relates to his wisdom. Then he called the person as the Father, the wisdom as the Son and the relationship as the Spirit. This false doctrine has originated from two facts: A)from Augustine's inability to access the original Greek text of the Bible and other Greek writings of church Fathers because he did not know Greek. He used Latin translations of Greek texts so he was enforced to follow the concept of the translation instead of the original authentic meaning of the Greek text. B) from being influenced from his platonic foretime. So he could not follow the Christian Truth about Godhead of three Persons. If he could liberate himself from platonic influences, he would have not use a model of one person in his theory, but a model of three persons. By using a single person theory he had to follow a platonic path to give room for the other two persons.

“Augustine looked to man for his Trinitarian analogies since man was made in the image of God and must therefore have the imprint (vestigium) of the Trinity. Examples of vestigia Trinitatis are: being, knowing and willing; the mind, its self-knowing and its self-love; memory, understanding and will; and the mind remembering, understanding and loving God. Ultimately the triads do not form the basis for the construction of Augustine’s immanent Trinity. They are aids to understanding the insights obtained from the economy of salvation described in Scriputure and in particular the fourth gospel.” 

Nevertheless as John Zizioulas, Metropolitan of Pergamon says : "the Filioque at the level of the economy presents no difficulty whatsoever to the Orthodox, but the projection of this into the immanent Trinity creates great difficulties"

So we once again come to realise that the main and most important problem the Oriental Orthodox Church has with the Vatican Church and with her children of Protestantism is their confusion and inability to differentiate created realities from Uncreated realities.
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« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2005, 09:05:38 AM »

How do you know this? If the Unity we long for comes from God, then all things are possible for Him.

I would have to say that such negative attitude does not come from God, does it now? All things are possible, yes, but not when there is still animosity.

Quote
Our Lord Himself was accused of making "harsh statements" (John 6:60)

But He didn't carry any bitterness against those He admonished, did He now?
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« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2005, 09:42:47 AM »

[ In a reunified church under then scholar Ratzinger's model, the Orthodox Churches would be in a position vis-+á-vis Rome that isn't any different, essentialy, from the position in which the Byzantine Catholics of today find themselves vis-+á-vis Rome.]

Exactly!!!! 

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« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2005, 09:43:31 AM »

"I would have to say that such negative attitude does not come from God, does it now? All things are possible, yes, but not when there is still animosity."

It is a prime principle of Orthodox thought to be negative (apophatic). Smiley

Seriously now, Millardo, you may think whatever you wish, but being negative for the sake of keeping Orthodox faith Orthodox is something that I will be prefer to be charged with, rather then being positive and making Orthodox faith heterodox. We can not talk of attitude that comes from God in selling 'what was relayed unto Saint' for the sake of false unity either. Animosity is there towards devil not towards human. I love Latins but I can not love the heresy of Latins.



"But He didn't carry any bitterness against those He admonished, did He now?"

Lord knows better than me. I am a sinner. And if I am bitter, which I am not, it is because of love of Orthodoxy and not for the hate of Latins. Now, I am NOT saying that I hate them, I am sayin that If I am bitter, which I am not, It is for love of Orthodoxy. Whatever seems, it is not.
This holy faith was given to us to preserve it and relay to next generation, without taking away and without adding to, and in a process of doing so, by Gods great mercy we might get saved. Damned is he who does not do so, and damned is this generation if, for the sake of some politically correct and false, demonic and heretical unity, we loose the faith.

Now, if this is to harsh also, so be it. I can say this with my hand on my heart really meaning it without any hate or bitterness. This is what it is.

Orthodoxy or death.



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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2005, 07:47:26 PM »

But He didn't carry any bitterness against those He admonished, did He now?

Who is carrying bitterness?
Your charism must indeed be great if you can see into men's hearts as God does to uncover "bitterness".
I don't think that my words were bitter. I do not point out our differences in bitterness. I do not oppose a unity based on compromise of Orthodox doctrine because of bitterness, but for love of Truth.
These are common accusations against the Orthodox: "Harsh", "Bitter", "hateful"...blah, blah, blah...
What they actually translate as is "Unwilling to compromise Truth".
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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2005, 11:19:46 PM »

Seems to me that East - West unity is one thing, but hard to even think about when there is not complete unity within the EO.  By that I mean that on modern issues for which the faith needs to relate and guide its people, there is not a common understanding between the different Orthodox groups: issues such as contraception, in vitro fertilization , to name a few...are left for 'local interpretation'... And there is no way to achieve common guidance for the faithful since our various 'groups' don't attempt to bring a unified opinion forward 'for all orthodox'.  The church is not completely 'unchanged' from the beginning... the biggest change was the disintegration of the ability to have EC, a clear belief in the rights of the EP to call for such council.  No way to review the canons in terms of modern issues  for modern interpretation, nor write new ones relevant to today.  Without ability for dialogue and consensus on such issues, we are therefore unable to relate our faith and dogma to today... and thus cannot be 'teachers' for non-orthodox.... And the key to unity is for us to be 'teachers' of how the faith is not only true, but guides people today on issues of today as a unified church...

In XC, Kizzy

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« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2005, 07:12:37 AM »

New here... been lurking for a while. I am Orthodox... go to Greek parish, converted in an Antiochian parish from a long trip through Southern Baptist, Methodist and Episcopal lands. I am not ethnic other than pure 100% American Heinz 57.

Back on TOPIC:

Not to burst any happy unity bubbles  Wink for those who are inspired by the aforementioned quotes but the one problem with the quotes is that they are fairly old.

The first quote although taken from a book published in English for the first time in 1988 is actually a compilation of Pope Benedict's writings over quite a long period. I have actually requested this source book from our local interlibrary loan (getting it from a local divinity school) to source the original date of the article. I have heard estimates in the mid 1970's.

The second quote, from the Georgetown source is actual from another compliation work called "Das neue Volk Gottes" or "The New People of God" originally published in the German in 1972.

So we are talking about some works that were written well over a quarter of a century ago, prior to the his work at the Vatican as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. People change as they age and get more experience. His opinions might have moved in any direction since then so quotes are nice but like Momma says, the proof will be in the pudding. I have hopes for further reconciliation and good behavior on both sides. Why is it ever bad when Christians get together and talk to each other with respect? If God's will is in it... who am I to say otherwise.  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2005, 08:17:52 AM »


So we are talking about some works that were written well over a quarter of a century ago, prior to the his work at the Vatican as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. People change as they age and get more experience. His opinions might have moved in any direction since then so quotes are nice but like Momma says, the proof will be in the pudding. I have hopes for further reconciliation and good behavior on both sides. Why is it ever bad when Christians get together and talk to each other with respect? If God's will is in it... who am I to say otherwise.  Grin

Well a more recent quote from 25 April has the new Pope saying http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2005/april/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20050425_rappresentanti-religiosi_en.html

Dear Delegates of the Orthodox Churches, of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and of the Ecclesial Communities of the West, I greet you with joy a few days after my election. I particularly appreciated your presence in St Peter's Square yesterday, after we had lived together the sorrowful moments of the farewell to our late Pope John Paul II. The tribute of sympathy and affection that you expressed to my unforgettable Predecessor went far beyond a mere act of ecclesial courtesy. Much progress was made during the years of his Pontificate, and your participation in the mourning of the Catholic Church on his departure has shown how true and great the common eagerness for unity is.

In greeting you, I would like to thank the Lord who has blessed us with his mercy and instilled in us sincere willingness to make his prayer our own: ut unum sint. He has thus made us increasingly aware of the importance of moving forward towards full communion. With brotherly friendship we can exchange the gifts we have received from the Spirit, and we feel urged to encourage one another so that we may proclaim Christ and his message to the world, which often appears troubled and restless, uninformed and indifferent....

How can we not recognize in a spirit of gratitude to God that our meeting also has the significance of a gift that has already been granted? In fact, Christ, the Prince of Peace, has acted in our midst:  he has poured out friendship by the handful, he has mitigated points of disagreement, he has taught us to be more open to dialogue and in harmony with the commitments proper to those who bear his Name. Over and above what divides us and casts shadows on our full and visible communion, your presence, dear Brothers in Christ, is a sign of sharing and support for the Bishop of Rome, who can count on you to continue the journey in hope and to grow towards the One who is Christ, the Head.
On such a special occasion, when we are gathered together at the very beginning of my ecclesial service, welcomed with respect and trusting obedience to the Lord, I ask you all to join with me in setting an example of that spiritual ecumenism which, through prayer, can bring about our communion without obstacles.
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« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2005, 08:52:57 AM »

That is a very conciliatory statement... seems typical of many of his recent more general statements in regards to ecumenism. I think he was also addressing other non-Orthodox groups as well so it had to be more general.

I guess what I was refering to was those earlier statements go a bit more into the nuts and bolts of what reunion might be comprised of...  essentially the" if we do x then you do y" kinda stuff. I know he was probably writing all of that out as an acadamic and teaching exercise as well. His knowledge of Early church history is exceptional. He is a formidable scholar.
As to the vacacy of more recent writings, Pope Benedict said himself, I think in his interview with Raymond Arroyo, he has had very limited time to devote to personal writing, research, and thought since taking up his post at the Vactican in 1981. Understandable considering the well... problems that the misinterpretations of Vatican II have created. I sincerely look forwards to his encyclicals. He is a gifted scholar and his work is very approachable for a simple person like myself.

Though I am a very "conservative" Orthodox, I pray for the unity of the Church and hope for it. Plus I was a great admirer of Pope John Paul the Great  Smiley

Plus.. hey Pope Benedict really likes cats.  :cat:  LOL!! That makes my 5 feline house very happy.
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« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2005, 10:43:01 AM »

I hate to sound like a person bound to 'screw the party' by bringing beer instead of vodka but, I do not see the point of all this "lovey dovey" stuff.

Firstly, Orthodox Church is not just another 'out of communion with the Rome protestant denomination'.

Arguably (I am using this word, being nice, although there is nothing arguable about it) Orthodox Church IS THE CHURCH.

Back to 'lovey dovey', there is nothing to talk about for as long as the Bishop of Rome transcends the real issues of the division between Orthodox Church and lapsed See of Rome.

I am not attacking Latin Christians! I am not attacking you Philokalia. I am not attacking honest faith, humble faith of 1.000.000.000+ Latin Christians in the world, but I do think that false union is worse that true division. False union breeds relativism (to use words that Latins know), breeds contempt and etc.

Lets not pretend, the heresy expounded has to be declared null and void, and then we will all be so happy to see Bishop of Rome re-assume his place of First among equals.

I am at pain to undestand how this is not visible to all.

Or, am I wrong?
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« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2005, 12:07:32 PM »

You do know that the Muslims who made that choice some Centuries ago are now no longer withus. Today's Bosnian Muslims were, by and large, born into Muslim families of many generations standing. You are saying that you wish to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children. If you hate someone for what his great great grandfather did you may be many things but I doubt you are being theologically sound. Or loving.

Philokalia,

    This may well be the case, but don't we have an obligation to expect (or at least hope) that they will one day find The One True Church.  To me, that has always seemed simple (especially considering the example of the Bosnian Muslims).  They accepted Islam because it was the policitally correct decision (or politically convenient to be more accurrate).

     This relates to the current East-West dialogue because in the same vain, I don't believe anyone in the Orthodox world will be looking to simply overlook Papal Supremecy, Filioque, Imaculate Conception etc... because it is politically convenient.  These are absolute doctrinal differences that as far as I'm concerned, aren't up for "compromise".  I think in order for any *meaningful* dialogue to take place, certain RC dogmas have to be off the talbe to begin with.  I don't even view those beliefs as "bargaining points".
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« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2005, 12:12:39 PM »



Philokalia,

    This may well be the case, but don't we have an obligation to expect (or at least hope) that they will one day find The One True Church. 

Yes. But we still cannot blame them for the decisions of their ancestors.
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« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2005, 12:30:42 PM »

How can be a "united Church" when Vatican has a desorted view even in what faith is.

Here is Vatican's official opinion about "The Characteristics of Faith" that is so un-Orthodox that one could say it is Muslim's opinion.

The red and green empasis have been marked by me.

The green clauses are my comments.

With such a testimony of Vatican Faith, I dare to say that it is literally easier for Vatican to be united with the muslim faith than with Ortodox faith. (with the exception of article 160)

"III. The Characteristics of Faith

Faith is a grace

153 When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come "from flesh and blood", but from "my Father who is in heaven". Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. "Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and 'makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.'" (This alleged infusion of faith most definetely should trasform man into something that he was not before, assuming that other non-believers are somehow different and deficient from the faithful one)

Faith is a human act

154 Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions, or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to "yield by faith the full submission of... intellect and will to God who reveals", and to share in an interior communion with him. (This means that the Catholic Church is not living the fact that the Christian faith is not about the economy revelation of God as manifested through the incarnation of Christ, but it is about the faith in transcendent Life of Trinity)

155 In faith, the human intellect and will co-operate with divine grace: "Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace." (this is one of the main issues of St. Gregory Palamas has fought against Barlaam: the human intellect is not capable to participate in the Devine revelation. Man has to live the experience of revelation in his heart, which first must be cleaned. In his heart man sees (+++¦+¼-ä+¦+¦) the Glory of Lord as uncreated energy - this is deification (+++¡-ë-â+¦-é))

Faith and understanding

156 What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe "because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived". So "that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit." Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church's growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability "are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all"; they are "motives of credibility" (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is "by no means a blind impulse of the mind". (once again Vatican fails to realise the difference between the Christian truth of "economy" that refers to our human realities and the Christian Truth of the uncreated realities of God's eternal Life)

157 Faith is certain. It is more certain than all human knowledge because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie. To be sure, revealed truths can seem obscure to human reason and experience, but "the certainty that the divine light gives is greater than that which the light of natural reason gives." "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." (again Vatican applies comparativeness to incompatible realities - The "divine light" is absolutely incompatible with "the light of natural reason" and as such "the certainty that gives" cannot be "greater than that" - the comparison has no meaning at all)

158 "Faith seeks understanding": it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. the grace of faith opens "the eyes of your hearts" to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God's plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the centre of the revealed mystery. "The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood." In the words of St. Augustine, "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe." (The Augustinian doctrine that the knowledge of God's realities are gradually conceived by human mind has platonic origins, and unfortunatelly has been adopted by Vatican theology as true - the whole Agustinian doctrine is based on the model that human beings are in exact likeness of God, so his theology is modeled according to human realities stretched up to infinite values)

159 Faith and science: "Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth." "Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. the humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are." (Once again Vatican insists comparing created "things of the world" with the uncreated "things of faith". Vatican insists in using a theology that takes human realities, stretch them up to infinite values and then impress them to God's Life )

The freedom of faith

160 To be human, "man's response to God by faith must be free, and... therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will. the act of faith is of its very nature a free act." "God calls men to serve him in spirit and in truth. Consequently they are bound to him in conscience, but not coerced. . . This fact received its fullest manifestation in Christ Jesus." Indeed, Christ invited people to faith and conversion, but never coerced them. "For he bore witness to the truth but refused to use force to impose it on those who spoke against it. His kingdom... grows by the love with which Christ, lifted up on the cross, draws men to himself."

The necessity of faith

161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. "Since "without faith it is impossible to please (God) " and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life 'But he who endures to the end.'"] (They assume that faith serves the goal of God's satisfaction, like in human relations. Orthodox faith is not the mean to serve the goal of salvation. It is the result of salvation in the context that it is a living experience - the moment the experience runs out salvation vanishes. We hold the faith as a tautology to salvation, but in order to point out that salvation is a meeting with the otherness that God is, we say that we hold the faith and that Christ is our salvation. But both words refer to the same reality as lived from the created and the uncreated point of view. This is why the faith will stop in afterlife reality of being; inasmuch created realities will be deified.)

Perseverance in faith

162 Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: "Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith." To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be "working through charity," abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church. (Faith is described here as a impersonal "gift", Vatican fails to realise that "holding faith and a good conscience" is not referring to hold some gifts but rather is referring in being in a faithful and peaceful personal status)

Faith - the beginning of eternal life

163 Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below. Then we shall see God "face to face", "as he is". So faith is already the beginning of eternal life:
When we contemplate the blessings of faith even now, as if gazing at a reflection in a mirror, it is as if we already possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us we shall one day enjoy.(According to Orthodox faith, it is not as if we already possessed ..things which...we shall one day enjoy, nor we live the reality of faith as "the beginning of eternal life". Orthodox faith is living now, today, the eschatological realities of future afterlife that has no beginning because it was prepared before time by the Father - as strange as is it sounds humans without becoming themselves “without beginning” they taste the Uncreated realities that literally are without beginning through Christian faith)  

164 Now, however, "we walk by faith, not by sight"; we perceive God as "in a mirror, dimly" and only "in part". Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. the world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it. (Orthodox experience of faith testifies that faith can only be "shaken" by ourselves - nothing and noboby can "put our faith to the test". Our faith is not the result of our illuminated life and the result of the absence of evil and darkness from our world - we have not been promised a "metaphysical world" by faith, we have been promised a relation with the Trinity Persons - that we already experiencing as members of the Church)

165 It is then we must turn to the witnesses of faith: to Abraham, who "in hope... believed against hope"; to the Virgin Mary, who, in "her pilgrimage of faith", walked into the "night of faith" in sharing the darkness of her son's suffering and death; and to so many others: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith." (John Paul II, said that about the Virgin - nobody else has ever said that before)
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« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2005, 12:44:32 PM »



Yes. But we still cannot blame them for the decisions of their ancestors.



We didn't, if you check the posts you will see that the idea that someone blames these moslems for the decision of their ancestors is YOUR IMPLICATION. I used them in a context of loosing faith and how much more we are going to be damned if we do so. Trust me, Philokalia, the last thing we want do is to blame todays moslems for their amcestrors... there is so much of that what these moslems did themselves that for next 200 years we wont even have to think about their ancestors.

AGAIN YOU ARE PLACING WORDS INTO ONES MOUTH! (strike two Smiley )
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« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2005, 09:39:13 AM »

Yes. But we still cannot blame them for the decisions of their ancestors.

Forgive me, but I think this statement is a tad bit naive.  Much like optxogokcoc, I don't blame modern Bosnians for the errors of their ancestors, but why does that obviate the reality that they have strayed from the path.

However, I think it is naive because maybe you don't quite understand the reality of our people in the Balkans.  Like optxogokcoc, I am a Kosovo Serb.  I have had two family members murdered by Albanian Muslims.  Now, I don't blame EVERY Albanian for their murders, but I do blame the climate of Islam which allows for the murder of infidels, in the name of the survival of the fittest.  So, to a certain degree, the ancestors who began the move to Islam and the extremist undertones therein, are (at least partially) to blame for what led to the murder of my family members.
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« Reply #32 on: May 09, 2005, 09:56:03 AM »

Juzni Srbine, nisam znao za tvoju porodicu... zao mi je.
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« Reply #33 on: May 09, 2005, 03:26:36 PM »

Moje pradede su bili ubijeni tokom pedesetih godina proslog veka, siguran sam da se slicno dogadjalo hiljadama drugih porodica kod nas
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« Reply #34 on: May 09, 2005, 04:31:17 PM »

I hate to sound like a person bound to 'screw the party' by bringing beer instead of vodka but, I do not see the point of all this "lovey dovey" stuff.


Forgive me if I have TOO much love... but I would much rather come to those who wish to converse with my concerning this topic with too much love than too little.
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« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2005, 03:11:06 AM »

Juzni srbine, na zalost ima ih mnogo, i svakim danom ih ima sve vise. Djavo tjera svoje. Pomaze Bog.

Forgive me if I have TOO much love... but I would much rather come to those who wish to converse with my concerning this topic with too much love than too little.

I dont think that you should be forgiven for having too much love, God forbid! I see your point, but I do have tendency to argue. I am sorry. But with or without that tendency, I do feel that in some aspects it is better truthful argument that false agreement. I will stop arguing if it is uncharitable, or God forbid heterodox or if its offensive. However offense is not when one fights against false unity and false agreement.

I dont mind when people speak in terms of re-unification, that is not heterodox; but there are basics of that negotiation that have to be held. If that means that there is no reunification, so be it. Better division then heterodox union.

As far as love is concerned, well, I for one (and memebers of this forum in general) do not hate, but the heres, not the one hoding it, but the though that one is holding.

God have mercy.

Kyrie elseison!
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« Reply #36 on: May 10, 2005, 08:13:24 AM »

Forgive me if I have TOO much love... but I would much rather come to those who wish to converse with my concerning this topic with too much love than too little.

I think you might be talking about two different types of "love".  I'll quote from Father John Whiteford...

"this is not the love of the historical Church, but humanistic sentimentality. Love is the essence of the Church. Christ did not come to establish a new school of thought, but rather, He, Himself said that He came to build His Church, against which the gates of hell would not prevail (Matthew 16:17). This new community of the Church created "an organic unity rather than a mechanical unification of internally divided persons." This unity is only possible through the new life brought by the Holy Spirit, and mystically experienced in the life of the Church"

Now, Father Whiteford uses the distinction between "humanistic sentimentality" version of love, versus love as the essence of Church.  Often, love as the essence of Church leads many heterdox to believe Orthodox "don't have love", but this is just not the case.  This example is used specifically with Protestants, but I think it is also relevant here.
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« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2005, 10:16:09 AM »

Pomaze Bog Braco Srbi!

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« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2005, 10:22:55 AM »

Bog ti pomog'o junace.
Dobrodosao!

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« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2005, 11:25:49 AM »

Dobro si dosao zemljak!
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