Author Topic: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?  (Read 10840 times)

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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #90 on: September 12, 2014, 01:57:34 PM »
Well I know what he meant. I've heard the idea often. I just do not think it is sufficient; in fact, I think it is a bit of sentimentalism serving to free us from real responsibility.

I think the only ways to move -faster- than that...all involve some level of

'You shall believe thusly'


and I am no proponent of that, having grown up around such an environment/group
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #91 on: September 12, 2014, 01:59:41 PM »


Yes, one willing soul at a time, I think.

I don't think that works.

What I highlighted troubles me as it is an easy phrase to throw out there and it sounds great from a rhetorical perspective.

But ..... what then would you suggest short of forced conversion and state imposed and enforced moral standards as determined by (whom)?

I remember the late Bishop John of our diocese many years ago would state that if you were the only person to be saved on this planet that all of history and Christ's passion, death and Resurrection would still take place as it has done. So if one soul at a time is not sufficient - what is?

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #92 on: September 12, 2014, 02:00:04 PM »
Unless you are a clergyman, you are responsible for your own soul.  "Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved," says St. Seraphim of Sarov.  This is the Orthodox Church's approach to evangelism.

If you are looking for a movement to transform culture through governmental structures or by imposing sweeping social reforms, I don't think you will find it here.  It is true that the Church can baptize a culture, but this is generally an organic process which is the result of lived faith, witnessed in community.  But it is the role of each member of the community to do this, as St. Seraphim says.  And I don't wish to put words into the Ecumenical Patriarch's mouth, but I would suppose that he would say that love, which cannot exist apart from community, is the basis for all of this.  

But the community must be formed voluntarily, so to speak, or else the love, insofar as it is divine love, can't really be present there.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #93 on: September 12, 2014, 02:01:53 PM »
Why does discussion of the culture of man always become talk of coercion around here? :)

Shall I refrain to train up and organize my children because it would be to beat them?

Thank you for referring me to His All-Holiness's book. I think I've read an excerpt or two and shall try to get a copy of it.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #94 on: September 12, 2014, 02:04:16 PM »
Remember, too, that some of the most selfless (and effective) acts done to assist in the salvation of the world were taken by the holy monastics who repaired to the desert and cut themselves off from nearly all human communication.  From this act of love we benefit not only by their prayers but from the incredible theological riches they have bequeathed to us.

Christ says, "My Kingdom is not of this world," and the Orthodox Christian approach to such things is truly a completely different paradigm from the Dominionist philosophy critiqued in Arakaki's article.  As he, and others here over the years, have pointed out, Symphonia can be a beautiful thing when it is done right, but the effectiveness and triumph of the Orthodox Faith is not wedded to any particular political system.  

In fact, we sing this every week in our Divine Liturgy, "Put not your trust in princes and sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.  When his breath departs, he returns to his earth: On that very day his plans perish!  The Lord will reign forever; your God, O Zion, to all generations."
« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 02:04:37 PM by Yurysprudentsiya »

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #95 on: September 12, 2014, 02:04:36 PM »
Why does discussion of the culture of man always become talk of coercion around here? :)

Shall I refrain to train up and organize my children because it would be to beat them?

Thank you for referring me to His All-Holiness's book. I think I've read an excerpt or two and shall try to get a copy of it.


no.....but that is still one -soul-...ie yours....taking care of you and yours.


that's STILL the slower model we are talking about.


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Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #96 on: September 12, 2014, 02:06:13 PM »
Why does discussion of the culture of man always become talk of coercion around here? :)

Shall I refrain to train up and organize my children because it would be to beat them?

Thank you for referring me to His All-Holiness's book. I think I've read an excerpt or two and shall try to get a copy of it.

I will not tell you how to raise your children.  But you will surely agree that sometimes it is wise to let a child fall, that he might learn of his error in a small thing, and repent, than to preserve him, and he fall into a greater error.  It also recognizes their inherent worth so that they, being members, might be joined themselves to the body.  No fruit can be as sweet, nor as bitter, than one that is experienced personally.   

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #97 on: September 12, 2014, 02:13:16 PM »
Remember, too, that some of the most selfless (and effective) acts done to assist in the salvation of the world were taken by the holy monastics who repaired to the desert and cut themselves off from nearly all human communication.  From this act of love we benefit not only by their prayers but from the incredible theological riches they have bequeathed to us.

Christ says, "My Kingdom is not of this world," and the Orthodox Christian approach to such things is truly a completely different paradigm from the Dominionist philosophy critiqued in Arakaki's article.  As he, and others here over the years, have pointed out, Symphonia can be a beautiful thing when it is done right, but the effectiveness and triumph of the Orthodox Faith is not wedded to any particular political system.  

In fact, we sing this every week in our Divine Liturgy, "Put not your trust in princes and sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.  When his breath departs, he returns to his earth: On that very day his plans perish!  The Lord will reign forever; your God, O Zion, to all generations."


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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #98 on: September 12, 2014, 02:15:45 PM »


Yes, one willing soul at a time, I think.

I don't think that works.

What I highlighted troubles me as it is an easy phrase to throw out there and it sounds great from a rhetorical perspective.

But ..... what then would you suggest short of forced conversion and state imposed and enforced moral standards as determined by (whom)?

I remember the late Bishop John of our diocese many years ago would state that if you were the only person to be saved on this planet that all of history and Christ's passion, death and Resurrection would still take place as it has done. So if one soul at a time is not sufficient - what is?

POM Nominee!
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #99 on: September 12, 2014, 02:24:06 PM »
Why does discussion of the culture of man always become talk of coercion around here? :)

Shall I refrain to train up and organize my children because it would be to beat them?

Thank you for referring me to His All-Holiness's book. I think I've read an excerpt or two and shall try to get a copy of it.

I will not tell you how to raise your children.  But you will surely agree that sometimes it is wise to let a child fall, that he might learn of his error in a small thing, and repent, than to preserve him, and he fall into a greater error.  It also recognizes their inherent worth so that they, being members, might be joined themselves to the body.  No fruit can be as sweet, nor as bitter, than one that is experienced personally.   

This is becomingly modest, yet I think even you would not advise me to make the whole of my fatherhood allowing the children to fall.
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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #100 on: September 12, 2014, 02:25:26 PM »
Of course not; but there comes a time when people become men, and must put away childish things.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #101 on: September 12, 2014, 02:28:04 PM »


Yes, one willing soul at a time, I think.

I don't think that works.

What I highlighted troubles me as it is an easy phrase to throw out there and it sounds great from a rhetorical perspective. ...

It's a flat observation. Libertarianism is an attractive ideology, for whatever reason. (Altho, if you really think you are not being coerced every day, you are not observant.) However, look around us! How can we not be moved at the great suffering of bodies, souls, spirits? We inhabit a wasteland of sickness and death. The mind may find modern political theory gratifying, but the heart will cry out and know something different must be done.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #102 on: September 12, 2014, 02:29:48 PM »
Of course not; but there comes a time when people become men, and must put away childish things.

We stray from the question whether to enculture is necessarily to abuse.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #103 on: September 12, 2014, 02:30:26 PM »


Yes, one willing soul at a time, I think.

I don't think that works.

What I highlighted troubles me as it is an easy phrase to throw out there and it sounds great from a rhetorical perspective. ...

It's a flat observation. Libertarianism is an attractive ideology, for whatever reason. (Altho, if you really think you are not being coerced every day, you are not observant.) However, look around us! How can we not be moved at the great suffering of bodies, souls, spirits? We inhabit a wasteland of sickness and death. The mind may find modern political theory gratifying, but the heart will cry out and know something different must be done.

Yes, but it is called prayer, witnessing by your example, giving from your own to the poor (rather than organizing a program to remove the problem from our midst).  In this sacrificial self-giving we not only serve to ameliorate the problem, we do so in a way in which we encounter the "other," rather than having to "organize" them.  They are transformed from objects into the subject of an interpersonal relationship.  And thus both the giver and the recipient are blessed.  Christ did not call us to found social programs; that's what His disciples got wrong.  Christ called us to choose to enter into relationships, just as He chose to enter into relationship with us.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #104 on: September 12, 2014, 02:38:52 PM »


Yes, one willing soul at a time, I think.

I don't think that works.

What I highlighted troubles me as it is an easy phrase to throw out there and it sounds great from a rhetorical perspective. ...

It's a flat observation. Libertarianism is an attractive ideology, for whatever reason. (Altho, if you really think you are not being coerced every day, you are not observant.) However, look around us! How can we not be moved at the great suffering of bodies, souls, spirits? We inhabit a wasteland of sickness and death. The mind may find modern political theory gratifying, but the heart will cry out and know something different must be done.

Yes, but it is called prayer, witnessing by your example, giving from your own to the poor (rather than organizing a program to remove the problem from our midst).  In this sacrificial self-giving we not only serve to ameliorate the problem, we do so in a way in which we encounter the "other," rather than having to "organize" them.  They are transformed from objects into the subject of an interpersonal relationship.  And thus both the giver and the recipient are blessed.  Christ did not call us to found social programs; that's what His disciples got wrong.  Christ called us to choose to enter into relationships, just as He chose to enter into relationship with us.

Can you explain why I could not have prayer and relationship with brother in a virtuous culture? Why a vicious society is not to be condemned -- what -- for fear of losing prayer and relationship? Your sentiments are pious and unquestionably describe things of value, but they are also a little beside the point.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #105 on: September 12, 2014, 03:19:05 PM »
You could.  But many well-intentioned people have foundered on this point, focusing their energies on creating, as you put it, a virtuous culture, and losing sight of their own soul and the souls of their neighbors.  For a virtuous culture does not save.  It seems to me, rather, that it is the product of salvation, the end result of theosis.  If imposed externally it may, in some instances, be contrary to salvation, producing a nominal Christianity.

If I were a member of Congress, and a law were before the House concerning Sunday closures of stores, I would of course vote for it.  But if it were deemed to be unconstitutional, or a number of individuals rose up to oppose it, I would not be disheartened or feel led to fight to overcome them (except, perhaps, by moral argument and persuasion), because it is really not that important.  If a storekeeper wishes to set an example, he will close on Sunday and eat the expense; this is, on the whole, I think, far more virtuous than telling all storekeepers to close on Sunday regardless of whether they personally desire it or not.  

I would also condemn a vicious society, but I would rather condemn it by way of my life, and not by my words.  I would seek, by way of persuasion, to show others how a virtuous life might be lived -- may God allow me not to stumble or become proud! -- and I think that such would be a far more effective way to lead my neighbors to salvation.

Your "virtuous society" leads to a "Holy Russia," (using the term in the nominal, pejorative tense which is alluded in the writings of the again celebrated Met. Hilarion) wherein uneducated masses (and there will always be this, I think) conform to outward forms of piety because it is the norm, but when a Lenin comes along and promises them the moon, they will shake off these outward forms of piety, because they never really understood them anyway.  This seems, to me, to be the opposite of a community which is based on intentional love, where each knows the other and all grow together.  The Church provides leadership and guidance but, just as with salvation, he who wishes to reject it, may do so (albeit to his own peril).
« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 03:20:22 PM by Yurysprudentsiya »

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #106 on: September 12, 2014, 03:56:59 PM »
Why does discussion of the culture of man always become talk of coercion around here? :)

Shall I refrain to train up and organize my children because it would be to beat them?

Thank you for referring me to His All-Holiness's book. I think I've read an excerpt or two and shall try to get a copy of it.

You said one willing soul at a time is not enough, but apart from the bayonet, what else would you suggest?  I agree that one soul at a time is probably not going to cut is as if we touched one soul a day we'd need 822,000 years to fix this country.  Then again, I believe we are pretty well screwed anyways at fixing things without a lot of bloodshed or some kind of miracle.  Really, the one soul at a time is the best we can do.  Find those who will unscrew themselves and take every victory we can against the lord of this world.  I think that training up your children is one of the better starting points for you.  If a mighty fortress is our God then our families will have to serve as the barbican. 
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #107 on: September 12, 2014, 03:59:10 PM »
Remember, too, that some of the most selfless (and effective) acts done to assist in the salvation of the world were taken by the holy monastics who repaired to the desert and cut themselves off from nearly all human communication.  From this act of love we benefit not only by their prayers but from the incredible theological riches they have bequeathed to us.

Christ says, "My Kingdom is not of this world," and the Orthodox Christian approach to such things is truly a completely different paradigm from the Dominionist philosophy critiqued in Arakaki's article.  As he, and others here over the years, have pointed out, Symphonia can be a beautiful thing when it is done right, but the effectiveness and triumph of the Orthodox Faith is not wedded to any particular political system.  

In fact, we sing this every week in our Divine Liturgy, "Put not your trust in princes and sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.  When his breath departs, he returns to his earth: On that very day his plans perish!  The Lord will reign forever; your God, O Zion, to all generations."


I should have read more before responding.  I almost missed this good reply.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #108 on: September 12, 2014, 04:56:24 PM »
I am going to reply before reading all of the responses, because this topic is close to my heart.

My wife (cradle Orthodox) and I were wed in the ROCOR cathedral in Munich in 1997. I had been baptised Presbyterian as an infant, but had been a kind of indefinite Christian for a few years. When we asked Archbishop Mark for his blessing for the wedding, he asked me if I believed in God, and I said yes.
No questions about the Trinity or anything.

I was received into the Church by Chrismation on Holy Thursday of this year, thank God. Seventeen years of Orthodox marriage had their effect in the end. And we have brought our son up as an Orthodox, too.


Love it!  Thanks for sharing.  I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 7:16, the advice of the holy Apostle Paul:  "How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?"

I think it is a mistake to read this Scripture and justify the kind of economy that is being discussed in this thread.  Considering how early in the history of the Church we are when reading I Corinthians, I would venture to guess the situation St Paul has in mind is that of two non-Christians who, having already been married, now have to face the "problem" of one partner becoming a Christian.  It's not the problem of a Christian falling in love with a non-Christian and wanting to get married.  It's the problem of how one's new-found faith should affect an existing relationship.  And while we certainly regard I Corinthians 7 as the word of God, it is interesting that St Paul makes a distinction between his response in v. 16 ("I, not the Lord") and that in v. 10 ("not I, but the Lord"), as if giving us an example of the distinction between strictness and economy. 

While I certainly am happy for Georgii that all has worked out in the end, and I don't intend in any way to criticise him or his family or his bishop, I think it is a mistake to say that "Seventeen years of Orthodox marriage had their effect in the end" in the context of discussing conversion.  The Church doesn't marry interfaith couples as a missionary endeavour or as an extension of its mandate to preach the gospel.  Marriage is a mystery of the Church.  Those outside join through Baptism/Chrismation/Eucharist, not through Marriage-without-Eucharist and then perhaps Baptism/Chrismation/Eucharist later on.  To re-order the order of the sacraments in such a way is to render them nonsensical.  These are transformative actions and interventions of divine grace in the life of men, not merely rites of passage marking important stages in the life of men.       
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Offline Georgii

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #109 on: September 12, 2014, 05:55:07 PM »
I am going to reply before reading all of the responses, because this topic is close to my heart.

My wife (cradle Orthodox) and I were wed in the ROCOR cathedral in Munich in 1997. I had been baptised Presbyterian as an infant, but had been a kind of indefinite Christian for a few years. When we asked Archbishop Mark for his blessing for the wedding, he asked me if I believed in God, and I said yes.
No questions about the Trinity or anything.

I was received into the Church by Chrismation on Holy Thursday of this year, thank God. Seventeen years of Orthodox marriage had their effect in the end. And we have brought our son up as an Orthodox, too.




Love it!  Thanks for sharing.  I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 7:16, the advice of the holy Apostle Paul:  "How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?"

I think it is a mistake to read this Scripture and justify the kind of economy that is being discussed in this thread.  Considering how early in the history of the Church we are when reading I Corinthians, I would venture to guess the situation St Paul has in mind is that of two non-Christians who, having already been married, now have to face the "problem" of one partner becoming a Christian.  It's not the problem of a Christian falling in love with a non-Christian and wanting to get married.  It's the problem of how one's new-found faith should affect an existing relationship.  And while we certainly regard I Corinthians 7 as the word of God, it is interesting that St Paul makes a distinction between his response in v. 16 ("I, not the Lord") and that in v. 10 ("not I, but the Lord"), as if giving us an example of the distinction between strictness and economy. 

While I certainly am happy for Georgii that all has worked out in the end, and I don't intend in any way to criticise him or his family or his bishop, I think it is a mistake to say that "Seventeen years of Orthodox marriage had their effect in the end" in the context of discussing conversion.  The Church doesn't marry interfaith couples as a missionary endeavour or as an extension of its mandate to preach the gospel.  Marriage is a mystery of the Church.  Those outside join through Baptism/Chrismation/Eucharist, not through Marriage-without-Eucharist and then perhaps Baptism/Chrismation/Eucharist later on.  To re-order the order of the sacraments in such a way is to render them nonsensical.  These are transformative actions and interventions of divine grace in the life of men, not merely rites of passage marking important stages in the life of men.       

In retrospect I wish I had converted before marriage, but I wonder if those born Orthodox understand how strange the Faith can be to outsiders. I studied Russian language and culture for thirty years before converting, and it still wasn't easy to convert. Call me the most stubborn and obstinant of sinners.
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #110 on: September 12, 2014, 06:41:18 PM »
I don't have the verse, but I believe it's St. Paul who says a person who is in the faith can shine a light on a spouse who has not yet converted. If we never let that happen, a lot of people would be shut out of the church.
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #111 on: September 12, 2014, 07:52:30 PM »
In retrospect I wish I had converted before marriage, but I wonder if those born Orthodox understand how strange the Faith can be to outsiders. I studied Russian language and culture for thirty years before converting, and it still wasn't easy to convert. Call me the most stubborn and obstinant of sinners.

I don't think you're a stubborn and obstinate sinner, not anymore than I am anyway.  Certainly conversion, whether to Orthodoxy from some non-Orthodox religion or the personal conversion of life we are all called to daily, is a difficult task.  And I don't think there are any easy answers when it comes to "interfaith" couples.  But I do think that the acceptance of economy as "the new norm" presents difficulties when faced with a sacramental theology that has not changed, and we seem to be too comfortable making economy a new norm even when it affects how we understand and explain the faith.  Something about that is very wrong, even if the alternatives aren't all that great either.   
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #112 on: September 12, 2014, 07:55:22 PM »
I don't have the verse, but I believe it's St. Paul who says a person who is in the faith can shine a light on a spouse who has not yet converted. If we never let that happen, a lot of people would be shut out of the church.

Yes, the verse (discussed above) refers to spouses, not all X ChristianMingle.com potential matches. 
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #113 on: September 12, 2014, 08:08:39 PM »
Why does discussion of the culture of man always become talk of coercion around here? :)

Shall I refrain to train up and organize my children because it would be to beat them?

Thank you for referring me to His All-Holiness's book. I think I've read an excerpt or two and shall try to get a copy of it.

You said one willing soul at a time is not enough, but apart from the bayonet, what else would you suggest?

I find it harder and harder to believe that all of you can be serious in making this ridiculous appeal. What, can you really not envision solutions, corrections, educational systems, schemas, statements of position without blood splattering the screen? OC.netters perhaps watch too much cable TV.

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... Find those who will unscrew themselves and take every victory we can against the lord of this world.  I think that training up your children is one of the better starting points for you.  If a mighty fortress is our God then our families will have to serve as the barbican. 

Why is this all on me? Porter against the god of this world? What for, then, the Church?

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...Then again, I believe we are pretty well screwed anyways at fixing things without a lot of bloodshed or some kind of miracle.  Really, the one soul at a time is the best we can do.

A very realistic assessment in light of the bizarre ideological shackling in which all of you seem avid to bind good men.
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #114 on: September 12, 2014, 08:28:38 PM »
Certainly conversion, whether to Orthodoxy from some non-Orthodox religion or the personal conversion of life we are all called to daily, is a difficult task.  And I don't think there are any easy answers when it comes to "interfaith" couples.  But I do think that the acceptance of economy as "the new norm" presents difficulties when faced with a sacramental theology that has not changed, and we seem to be too comfortable making economy a new norm even when it affects how we understand and explain the faith.  Something about that is very wrong, even if the alternatives aren't all that great either.   

I wouldn't recommend interfaith couples as the new norm, either. Certainly I've overworked my Guardian Angel in my marriage, among other things. Maybe we can get our son married young to an Orthodox woman as recommended by Saint Theophan the Recluse.
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #115 on: September 12, 2014, 09:12:29 PM »
As to Porter's thoughts, I think that the best and the only way to redeem the American culture, as he seems to want to do, is to build more monasteries in America, to put them in prominent locations, and to encourage our faithful to make them sites of pilgrimage.

Within the parishes we should focus heavily on catechesis, including study groups, Sunday Schools for the youth, spiritual retreats, etc., and on making the riches of our liturgy and theological heritage accessible to the parishioners (i.e., in a language that they can understand, whatever that may be).

All of the social programs, statements of position, and all that other stuff has been tried ad nauseum and I don't see where it does much of anything.  I do think that church-supported public charities, such as soup kitchens and other assistance to the poor are wonderful ideas for their own sake. 

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #116 on: September 12, 2014, 09:18:48 PM »
As to the inter-confessional marriage which started all of this, I will state that I disagree with Mor Ephrem, but only in degree, not in kind.  I agree with him that inter-confessional marriages should not be the norm and should not be encouraged.  But I do feel that they should be permitted, after consultation with a bishop.

This seems to expose a gulf between (at least some) OO and EO thinking on this issue.  To my knowledge, we in the EO have nothing like what you stated about recognizing non-sacramental civil marriages entered into by an Orthodox Christian.  If an Orthodox Christian enters into a marriage that is not blessed by the Church, he excommunicates himself.  I know of one instance where this happened and a person was refused an opportunity to be a godparent because he had entered into a civil marriage outside the Church.  To my knowledge, the only way back "in" in such cases is a Church marriage.  At least, that was offered to the couple in this case to rectify the situation, but they refused it, so the spouse was denied the opportunity to serve as a godparent.

So I think you do apply economia in the OO in these cases, but you do it much differently than we do.  

And finally I do recognize that the verse I cited was not used in its original context; it does refer to spouses, not to intended consorts.  However, the spirit behind what St. Paul stated I believe is very much applicable in the case of Georgii's situation.  The canon within the canon, if you will -- and I agree with you, Mor, this is how we are to read the canons -- and only those who are very advanced should even attempt to interpret them; we should rely upon the interpretations provided to us, and should seek out interpretations from learned clergymen and theologians in cases of personal need.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 09:19:52 PM by Yurysprudentsiya »

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #117 on: September 12, 2014, 11:13:25 PM »
^Not unexpectedly,  I would second Yuri's  statement above.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #118 on: September 13, 2014, 01:44:20 AM »
As to the inter-confessional marriage which started all of this, I will state that I disagree with Mor Ephrem, but only in degree, not in kind.  I agree with him that inter-confessional marriages should not be the norm and should not be encouraged.  But I do feel that they should be permitted, after consultation with a bishop.

Why?

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This seems to expose a gulf between (at least some) OO and EO thinking on this issue.  To my knowledge, we in the EO have nothing like what you stated about recognizing non-sacramental civil marriages entered into by an Orthodox Christian.  If an Orthodox Christian enters into a marriage that is not blessed by the Church, he excommunicates himself.  I know of one instance where this happened and a person was refused an opportunity to be a godparent because he had entered into a civil marriage outside the Church.  To my knowledge, the only way back "in" in such cases is a Church marriage.  At least, that was offered to the couple in this case to rectify the situation, but they refused it, so the spouse was denied the opportunity to serve as a godparent.

I thought I made this clear in previous posts, but I guess I was wrong.  We, too, consider the Orthodox party marrying outside the Church in a non-Orthodox ceremony to be doing just that: marrying outside the Church, excommunicating himself, with similar "penalties" and losses of privileges as you described.  It's not that we recognise non-sacramental civil marriages as equal to an Orthodox marriage, only that such a thing is given the benefit of the doubt as being a natural, civil union that is not at the same time a permanent state of fornication.  Perhaps I'm wrong about the last bit, but if I am, "permanent fornication" doesn't seem to factor into the discussion in the cases with which I'm familiar: since they've left the Church, no one really sees the need to harp on that, if they believe it to be the case at all. 

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So I think you do apply economia in the OO in these cases, but you do it much differently than we do.
 

Perhaps, but our economia in this regard does not usually involve the selective administration of sacraments to the non-Orthodox who remain non-Orthodox.  In that, it is consistent with the sacramental theology and normative discipline of both our traditions.   

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And finally I do recognize that the verse I cited was not used in its original context; it does refer to spouses, not to intended consorts.  However, the spirit behind what St. Paul stated I believe is very much applicable in the case of Georgii's situation.  The canon within the canon, if you will -- and I agree with you, Mor, this is how we are to read the canons -- and only those who are very advanced should even attempt to interpret them; we should rely upon the interpretations provided to us, and should seek out interpretations from learned clergymen and theologians in cases of personal need.

Again, I'm not interested in judging any specific person's situation.  I would like to discuss general principles. 
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #119 on: September 13, 2014, 03:32:21 AM »
For better or worse, I am very interested in the specific situation that I, my wife and my son are in. Our wedding was blessed by a bishop, and we do our best as the sinners we are to live as Christians. I think that it is not for nothing that marriage is compared to the "podvig" of monasticism. Mosty we fail.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 03:39:45 AM by Georgii »
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #120 on: September 13, 2014, 11:50:02 AM »
I don't know if this addresses Mor's question but I have some non-theological points to make. If one looks to Eastern Orthodox metrical records prior to the Second World War, it was uncommon (never) for there to be what we call a 'mixed marriage'. (This holds true for the parishes which were Greek Catholic in the early twentieth century as well for marriages performed in the Greek Catholic church.) A Christian who was not Eastern Orthodox had to become Eastern Orthodox in order to be married. But...one must look to the nature of community life prior to the war. People lived in 'ethnic' enclaves in the large cities which were culturally not that distinct from where the immigrants lived in Europe. In the coal towns or rural outposts, life was rather the same as it was in the old world - down to the chickens wandering in and out of the yards.

The war changed everything. After the war the insularity of ethnic enclaves began to evaporate as returning GI's came home with their 'war brides' of different faiths and even nationalities. The 1950's brought about migration from the old regions as suburbs grew, jobs were moved and so on. The GI Bill and higher education of the day put even more pressures on the old social order.

So...economia was viewed as a means to an end - while the society had changed around the ethnic churches - the ethnic churches did not readily change. Many of us can recount family situations where language and culture was a real barrier. My uncle's family was an example of that, th ey were married in the Church in 1948, six kids and five moves later around the country, his wife tried to deal with those issues but by the early 1960's it was too much to deal with. I suspect the cradles of my generation are nodding in familiarity. That America did not welcome multi-cultural life as we try to do today. It was Americanize or die. So to judge the hierarchs and priests of the EO's harshly in this regard is easy to do in 2014 but looking at it from a 1954 or 1964 point of view is an entirely different matter.

We are still struggling with those issues in the EO today in America although the lingua franca so to speak is mostly English, the culture is still a barrier for many. Righty or wrongly so...

As for the OO's, for the MOST part, their immigration history is post world war two and even more recent. They arrived in a different multi cultural America.

Perhaps that explains much of what you ask.  

In reality, in my family, growing up when I did it was EXPECTED that you marry 'one of your own.' Some of us did (like me) and others did not. Some who married within the Church are now the best Evangelicals out there and others who entered into a mixed marriage are devout with a converted spouse and a thoroughly Orthodox family.  

Pardon me for rambling, but the topic is tough as there is the 'right answer' and the reality of other answers.

I suppose that's why we apply economia.

I for one am glad that my hierarchs have been as wise and judicious in their exercise of the same.

But I respect and understand those who disagree.

And I wish the title of this thread was changed to "Why do we allow Mixed Marriages between Eastern Orthodox and other Christians.'" Using the 'heretic' word turns my stomach - I agree with Santagrandad and Yuri in that regard.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 11:56:10 AM by podkarpatska »

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #121 on: September 13, 2014, 01:12:26 PM »
For better or worse, I am very interested in the specific situation that I, my wife and my son are in. Our wedding was blessed by a bishop, and we do our best as the sinners we are to live as Christians.

It's for this very reason that I do not want to speculate on your situation.  I'm not in a position to evaluate your specific situation, but your pastors are, and they seem to have evaluated it, and you are following their guidance.  As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing for me to be concerned about in your case.  That's why I'm limiting myself to general theological principles and not how they are applied in particular cases.         
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #122 on: September 13, 2014, 01:40:57 PM »
For better or worse, I am very interested in the specific situation that I, my wife and my son are in. Our wedding was blessed by a bishop, and we do our best as the sinners we are to live as Christians.

It's for this very reason that I do not want to speculate on your situation.  I'm not in a position to evaluate your specific situation, but your pastors are, and they seem to have evaluated it, and you are following their guidance.  As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing for me to be concerned about in your case.  That's why I'm limiting myself to general theological principles and not how they are applied in particular cases.         

I am always wary of the psychological type unwilling to deal with persons to the preference of principles. Most of the world's greatest catastrophes could attributed to such types acting en messe.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #123 on: September 13, 2014, 02:03:42 PM »
Podkarpatska,

I'm not quoting everything you wrote, but I did read it.

So...economia was viewed as a means to an end - while the society had changed around the ethnic churches - the ethnic churches did not readily change. Many of us can recount family situations where language and culture was a real barrier. My uncle's family was an example of that, th ey were married in the Church in 1948, six kids and five moves later around the country, his wife tried to deal with those issues but by the early 1960's it was too much to deal with. I suspect the cradles of my generation are nodding in familiarity. That America did not welcome multi-cultural life as we try to do today. It was Americanize or die. So to judge the hierarchs and priests of the EO's harshly in this regard is easy to do in 2014 but looking at it from a 1954 or 1964 point of view is an entirely different matter.

We are still struggling with those issues in the EO today in America although the lingua franca so to speak is mostly English, the culture is still a barrier for many. Righty or wrongly so...

As for the OO's, for the MOST part, their immigration history is post world war two and even more recent. They arrived in a different multi cultural America.

Perhaps that explains much of what you ask.  

Not really, because what I'm trying to limit myself to is a discussion of the theological basis for such applications of economy, and how it is or is not established on our fundamental sacramental theology and canonical discipline. 

I didn't grow up in the times you are describing, but I did grow up in an immigrant community which, even if the host country evolved, took/is taking its own time to evolve in a similar way.  Even so, we have maintained "strictness" in a way you haven't, even when faced with interfaith and interracial couples.  Our theological reasons for strictness are clear.  The theological reasons for the sort of economy we are discussing in this thread are not clear, at least not yet.  What I do see a lot of, on the other hand, is encouragement of economy, enthusiastic support of the bishops who allow it, appeals to changing cultural and societal realities, concern over retaining current members, and an implicit criticism of strictness.  Absent in all this is any consideration of how this form of economy can be justified based on our faith.  I would welcome that discussion.  As has been pointed out in this thread, even among OO, at least one of our Churches allows a similar practice, so my interest is not in scoring a point in the centuries old game of "us vs you", but how "we" justify X when "we" also believe Y and Z.     

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In reality, in my family, growing up when I did it was EXPECTED that you marry 'one of your own.' Some of us did (like me) and others did not. Some who married within the Church are now the best Evangelicals out there and others who entered into a mixed marriage are devout with a converted spouse and a thoroughly Orthodox family.  

We have examples of these in our communities too.  I have them in my own family.  The only difference is that the Orthodox Church only performed weddings when both the bride and the bridegroom were Orthodox, even if this required one person to "convert to marry".  Neither intermarriage nor "converting for marriage" are ideal, but one is more theologically sound than the other, at least as far as I can tell. 

As for "marrying one of your own", we have that dynamic in our community, but it is rarely invoked in terms of religion.  For example, an Orthodox priest in my jurisdiction for whom I have great respect was asked a question: if his son/daughter wanted to marry one of two people--a non-Indian OO or EO or an Indian Protestant--which would he choose for his child?  Without hesitation, he said he would choose the Indian Protestant, even though he himself is fiercely Orthodox and is a priest of the Church.  He had his reasons for that, and I could see his point of view regarding those reasons, but even he conceded that he was allowing his child to leave the Church by making such a choice, that he would not commune his child after the marriage took place, etc.  It didn't enter into his mind that he could appeal to a bishop and ask for a form of economy that basically allows what isn't allowed so that his child could remain in the Church while still keeping his new son/daughter-in-law out.

I don't know your community well enough to say whether "marrying one of your own" was primarily a religious or a cultural consideration, but if you are anything like us, the latter was at least as much a factor as the former.  Also, I'm not sure if your community had as much denominational diversity as ours.  We have/had everything from old calendarist Assyrians to Pentecostals that rival the best American snake-handlers, but IIRC I think your community only had "Orthodox" or "Catholic".  I would gladly settle for that and work with it instead of the all-you-can-pray-buffet we've had to endure for a few centuries.               

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Pardon me for rambling, but the topic is tough as there is the 'right answer' and the reality of other answers.

I suppose that's why we apply economia.

I for one am glad that my hierarchs have been as wise and judicious in their exercise of the same.

I would be glad to support them in this as well if I knew what solid theological foundation it was on which they established their decisions.  Really, that's all I'm after in this thread, whatever anyone else is after. 
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #124 on: September 13, 2014, 02:57:08 PM »
Mor: " I would be glad to support them in this as well if I knew what solid theological foundation it was on which they established their decisions.  Really, that's all I'm after in this thread, whatever anyone else is after.

It occurred to me that the point raised in your question is perhaps the same as the one raised by conservative Roman Catholic commentators when criticizing EO teachings on divorce and remarriage. In other words is the concept of "ekonomia" truly based on Patristic  theology or is it something quite different?

That's a question "above my pay grade" and I'm not really well versed or qualified to offer an opinion other than to restate what we've previously suggested.  But I am interested in serious attempts to answer it. I'm not at all certain many of us will be comfortable with the answers.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #125 on: September 13, 2014, 03:45:31 PM »
I am always wary of the psychological type unwilling to deal with persons to the preference of principles. Most of the world's greatest catastrophes could attributed to such types acting en messe.
I'd also rather not have anything to do with "psychological types", but as we are all descended from our prototypes, Adam and Eve, our only hope is the New Adam through the Theotokos. Save us.

Also in retrospect, interfaith marriages are kind of like throwing yourself down from the pinnacle in Matthew 4. You shall not tempt the Lord your God.
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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #126 on: September 13, 2014, 04:46:18 PM »
I don't know if this addresses Mor's question but I have some non-theological points to make. If one looks to Eastern Orthodox metrical records prior to the Second World War, it was uncommon (never) for there to be what we call a 'mixed marriage'. (This holds true for the parishes which were Greek Catholic in the early twentieth century as well for marriages performed in the Greek Catholic church.) A Christian who was not Eastern Orthodox had to become Eastern Orthodox in order to be married. But...one must look to the nature of community life prior to the war. People lived in 'ethnic' enclaves in the large cities which were culturally not that distinct from where the immigrants lived in Europe. In the coal towns or rural outposts, life was rather the same as it was in the old world - down to the chickens wandering in and out of the yards.

Podkarpatska, I think that I would disagree with this to some (slight) degree.  I have several instances of mixed marriages in my own ancestry, admittedly between Roman Catholics and Greek Catholics.  One might not think this is such a big deal, but when the Roman Catholics were regularly told in their parishes that the Greek Catholics worshipped the "Ukrainian God," rather than the "Polish God," it makes more of a difference than you might imagine.

Most of my early Orthodox references to intermarriage admittedly relate to Tsars and nobility and things such as that.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #127 on: September 13, 2014, 04:55:29 PM »
I think to get at Mor's question regarding what justifies this expression of economia, we can look at the fact that we (EOs) do not, as a rule, require rebaptism of converts to Orthodoxy from Trinitarian Christian confessions.  We recognize, on the basis of the Ecumenical Councils regulating baptism of heretics/heterodox and our Holy Tradition, that there is something in these heterodox baptisms which, while not complete, is more than nothing and less than the fullness that we have.

As Podkarpatska will tell you from personal experience, and I know from my readings and study, entire parishes of Greek Catholics were received into Orthodoxy solely by communion, not even via baptism or chrismation.  Not to mention the priests whom we receive by vesting, recognizing that there is something, albeit something imperfect, in their prior ordination which permits reception as a priest without an Orthodox ordination ceremony.

All of this serves as a theological basis to demonstrate that the person is in enough of a sacramental relationship already to the Orthodox Church to receive less than all initiatory sacraments, or even be authorized to serve as clergy, with their assent.  I think that a similar argument can be used, through economia, to apply the sacrament of matrimony to such a couple in cases of exceptional need -- there is already enough there which permits the non-Orthodox Christian to participate in the sacrament of matrimony without receiving other sacraments, he or she having received something (albeit less than perfectly) in his own confession.  It is not to say that these heterodox sacraments are equivalent, far from it, but that there is enough in them to qualify the person to receive the sacrament of matrimony without having an Orthodox baptism, chrismation, etc.  It is something to think about.  Hence I support leaving this decision to the bishops.

I have heard of mixed-confessional (Eastern Catholic v. Roman Catholic) marriages in the Old Country where the sons were baptized in the father's rite and the daughters were baptized in the mother's rite.  I also know of very early cases in North America, ca. 1910, where an Irish Catholic man married a Russian Orthodox girl.  The children were raised as Catholics but the mother remained an Orthodox Christian and was buried in an Orthodox cemetery with an Orthodox service.  So this puts such events well before World War II.

Now I have to get ready for Vespers.  To all who celebrate the glorious Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross tomorrow, I greet you with the feast!

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #128 on: September 13, 2014, 05:02:02 PM »
One final thought before I go.  Because my construction of the permissibility of administering the sacrament of matrimony in a Orthodox-heterodox marriages depends upon a considered recognition of a "something" in the Trinitarian sacraments already administered to the non-Orthodox partner which qualifies them to receive the sacrament of matrimony, I would not be comfortable with extending this economia to marriages involving an Orthodox Christian and a Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, Oneness Pentecostal, Jew, Muslim, etc.  And I think that is generally where our bishops have also drawn the line.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 05:02:38 PM by Yurysprudentsiya »

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #129 on: September 13, 2014, 07:34:35 PM »
I don't know if this addresses Mor's question but I have some non-theological points to make. If one looks to Eastern Orthodox metrical records prior to the Second World War, it was uncommon (never) for there to be what we call a 'mixed marriage'. (This holds true for the parishes which were Greek Catholic in the early twentieth century as well for marriages performed in the Greek Catholic church.) A Christian who was not Eastern Orthodox had to become Eastern Orthodox in order to be married. But...one must look to the nature of community life prior to the war. People lived in 'ethnic' enclaves in the large cities which were culturally not that distinct from where the immigrants lived in Europe. In the coal towns or rural outposts, life was rather the same as it was in the old world - down to the chickens wandering in and out of the yards.

Podkarpatska, I think that I would disagree with this to some (slight) degree.  I have several instances of mixed marriages in my own ancestry, admittedly between Roman Catholics and Greek Catholics.  One might not think this is such a big deal, but when the Roman Catholics were regularly told in their parishes that the Greek Catholics worshipped the "Ukrainian God," rather than the "Polish God," it makes more of a difference than you might imagine.

Most of my early Orthodox references to intermarriage admittedly relate to Tsars and nobility and things such as that.

I intentionally did not reference Greek Catholic/Roman Catholic marriages as they present a peculiar can of worms based on what I would call "weird" provisions of Roman church regulations (what they call "Canon law"). Such marriages presented and continue to present their own issues which are really more proper for discussion among Greek and Roman Catholics.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #130 on: September 13, 2014, 07:49:48 PM »
Just a bit more testimony. Today my wife gave me a medallion of the Theotokos with the Christ Child to hang on my neck chain together with my Cross. I kissed it tenderly. I am really, really thankful that our bishop blessed this marriage to this heretic.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 07:50:12 PM by Georgii »
my garment accuses me, for it is not a wedding garment

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #131 on: September 13, 2014, 11:17:08 PM »
This article may be a useful item regarding Mor's questions:

http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/marriage/interfaith/journal-articles-1/documents/patsavos-joanides-article.pdf

I may have read it a long time ago but will try to read it again when I have some time.

Offline Santagranddad

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #132 on: September 14, 2014, 08:38:04 AM »
It is good to see that there are contributors who take every step to try and understand what is a pastoral issue at a time were people live not in their spaces but were communities are very mixed, mixed in almost every sense. I for one am thankful for the contributions.

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #133 on: September 15, 2014, 04:48:10 PM »
This article may be a useful item regarding Mor's questions:

http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/marriage/interfaith/journal-articles-1/documents/patsavos-joanides-article.pdf

I may have read it a long time ago but will try to read it again when I have some time.

Thanks for the article, Yury.  I've read it and intend on responding soon. 
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Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Can of Worms Time: Why Do We Allow Marriage to Heretics?
« Reply #134 on: September 15, 2014, 08:02:01 PM »
Mor,

I look forward to what you have to say.  I must say that I was somewhat disappointed by the article in terms of its actual justification for the economia (modern trends and keeping people in the church seemed to be paramount with little talk of the theological justification for administering sacraments "out of order," so to speak), although it did give some helpful historical detail.

My explanation above, unofficial though it is, I personally believe is the best justification I've seen for why we do what we do, and I believe in it.  Can it be abused?  Surely.  Is it being abused?  Maybe. 

But it is all something to think about.