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Author Topic: Patrick Barnes and the Orthodox Information Center  (Read 5063 times) Average Rating: 0
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Keble
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« on: June 01, 2005, 02:49:04 PM »

Last time on OC.net:

But yet, somehow, in Internet fantasy land, people will actually believe that Mr.Barnes is some kind of "fringe nut."  Incredible, in the strictest sense of that word.

I'll agree that I injected too much personal opinion in that. Nonetheless, I have to take issue with reference with the site.

He says:
Quote
I am a convert to Orthodoxy from Anglicanism and a layman in the Orthodox Church. Often asked with which jurisdiction I am affiliated,  I am inclined to reply, out of principle, that it does not matter; for the truth presented on this Web site does not depend upon my jurisdictional affiliations. I am Orthodox. Greek, Russian, Serbian — it is all the same. Nevertheless, I will state that I am a member of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

It is all too clear that it is not the same; furthermore, your comment, Augustine, that "Orthodox Christianity is quite sickly and confused in the west" is in essence a statement that it is not the same.

In trying to find out what a church teaches, the first places I go to are undeniably official sources on undeniably official websites. The correctness of this as a starting point should not require defense. What is most notable here, though, is that as a rule I alone cite this type of source in the forum. Well, Ebor does too, but everyone else seems to prefer other sources. This wouldn't be that big a problem except that popular lay sites such as Barnes's tend to contradict the official websites. And it isn't as though the articles on (for example) the OCA site are impenetrable; on the contrary, these in particular seem models of clarity.

It's utterly important that Barnes is of ROCA and not, say, the Antiochians. The casting of ROCOR/ROCA as the traditionalist alternative to the "ecumenists" is readily observed in various fora, mailing lists, and newsgroups. I view Barnes as a participant in that struggle. Hence, I have no problem with him as a representative of one side, but it is inaccurate to protray him as a mouthpiece for the catholicos of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2005, 06:52:05 PM »

I find it interesting that the heterodox (be they protestant, Latin or monophysite) are so obsessed with Patrick Barnes.  Most of the information collected on orthodoxinfo.net is from a variety of "official" sources.  The three major pilgrimage photo collections are to places not under the jurisdiction of the Church Abroad nor bearers of the "walled off" mentality.  The information he presents is well respected across Orthodoxy - by many in the OCA, GOA etc.

The problem is that many people are obsessed by officialdom.  There is no pope in Orthodoxy - there is living tradition.  Where are the centers of living tradition?  The Holy Mountain, the saints, the fathers. 
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2005, 10:54:54 PM »

I find it interesting that the heterodox (be they protestant, Latin or monophysite) are so obsessed with Patrick Barnes.  Most of the information collected on orthodoxinfo.net is from a variety of "official" sources.  The three major pilgrimage photo collections are to places not under the jurisdiction of the Church Abroad nor bearers of the "walled off" mentality.  The information he presents is well respected across Orthodoxy - by many in the OCA, GOA etc.

It is true that much of the information on orthodoxinfo does indeed origniate from GOA, OCA--even AOAA if memory serves--sources.  But there is much coming from the likes of Chrysostomos, from Etna, CA, from other parts of the Church that are definitely not shared by all the Church.  These parts of the Church--which, really, are not just "obsessed about" by heterodox but also by many Orthodox who find themselves (I think unfairly) in the crosshairs of many of these articles--do indeed set up a very real distinction between (in Barnes' more extreme days) the "ecumenist" heretics and the "True Orthodox," not to mention between Orthodox and heterodox.

Quote
The problem is that many people are obsessed by officialdom.  There is no pope in Orthodoxy - there is living tradition.  Where are the centers of living tradition?  The Holy Mountain, the saints, the fathers. 

And who are the interpreters and the executors of living tradition?  The bishops, many of whom are in full communion with those who are in communion with the traditionalist sources writing many of the more objectionable articles.  To become a true traditionalist, one must wall himself off based on these issues from the most ancient patriarchates, for otherwise he has only become a step-sibling of the ones from whom he sought to separate himself.  Yes, the laymen have played a part in rebuking the bishops, but the bishops themselves have repented of their actions later.  No such "repentance" is forthcoming--nor, I might add, is any needed, really--and such a correction is only seen through 20/20 hindsight anyway.  Submission to one's bishop is thoroughly Orthodox, and unless one is willing to make certain cases the rule, no real need to separate from these ancient sees exists...a mentality shared by such traditionalists as Elder Cleopa, who is still in communion with Greece and the EP.
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2005, 11:13:06 PM »

I find it interesting that the heterodox (be they protestant, Latin or monophysite) are so obsessed with Patrick Barnes.

I am just not up to a statistical study of my posting patterns, but before this last outburst OIC was a site which showed up in a Google search I did. Before that, it was referred to as an authority by someone else.

Quote
The problem is that many people are obsessed by officialdom.  There is no pope in Orthodoxy - there is living tradition.  Where are the centers of living tradition?  The Holy Mountain, the saints, the fathers. 

But apparently, not the bishops.
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2005, 11:28:43 PM »

Patrick Barnes was recieved into the church - leaving the Etna schismatics.  Most of thier material is gone from his webpage as far as I can tell.  People may not like much of what he compiles... but people thought the Optina Elders were teaching a new heresy and Saint Nektarios was driven from his see by the other bishops.  Many bishops oppose the radical ecumenism espoused by some.... Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpatkos, Archbp. Artemije of Kosovo and Metr. Amfilohije of Montanegro for example.  We have had such saints as Saint Justin Popovich, Nikolai of Ohrid, Elder Philotheos Zervakos, Elder Cleopa et al. in recent times. 

Why certain long term trolls that seem to have no interest in Orthodoxy and whose intention appears to be to scream and shout anytime someone Orthodox professes belief in thier church (or intimidate prospective converts) are not banned is an enigma to me. 
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2005, 11:45:27 PM »

I find it interesting that the heterodox (be they protestant, Latin or monophysite) are so obsessed with Patrick Barnes.

Umm, that's a rather broad brush that is being swung.  "The heterodox"?  "Obsessed"? 

I fit under your...label.. and don't think of Patrick Barnes much at all.  I wouldn't know the man if I tripped over him.  Some may obsess.  But objection to something on his site is not the same as "obsessing". 

Quote
The problem is that many people are obsessed by officialdom. There is no pope in Orthodoxy

There is no single pope, no. But there are those in EO who may speak with authority "and not as the scribes".  If I wished to know what the OCA or ROCOR said about some point I would look to one of their books or sites or ask someone who was permitted (blessed by the Metropolitan maybe?) to give that information.  I would not ask just anyone, nor go to a source that was known to dislike that jurisdiction.  It would, shall we say, be likely to "colour" or slant the answer

Ebor.

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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2005, 11:53:16 PM »

Why certain long term trolls that seem to have no interest in Orthodoxy and whose intention appears to be to scream and shout anytime someone Orthodox professes belief in thier church (or intimidate prospective converts) are not banned is an enigma to me.

Trolls?  Huh

Saying things that one does not agree with does not automatically make one a troll.  And ones perception of another's "intentions" may not be accurate. Net posting can be a tricky thing to read.  Discernment and discretion are useful aids.


Ebor
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2005, 12:02:43 AM »

Why certain long term trolls that seem to have no interest in Orthodoxy and whose intention appears to be to scream and shout anytime someone Orthodox professes belief in thier church (or intimidate prospective converts) are not banned is an enigma to me.

That's a pretty hefty claim, and perhaps one unfitting of a moderator. I'm waiting for anyone to display troll behavior or post disrespectfully and it ain't happened yet.
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2005, 12:12:02 AM »



That's a pretty hefty claim, and perhaps one unfitting of a moderator. I'm waiting for anyone to display troll behavior or post disrespectfully and it ain't happened yet.

Yes, indeed, Choirfiend.  One may certianly disagree or hold a counter-view and that is not automaticaly disrespectful.  Unfortunately, there are poeple who at times may not deal well with other views.   Sad

Ebor
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2005, 12:13:11 AM »

Why certain long term trolls that seem to have no interest in Orthodoxy and whose intention appears to be to scream and shout anytime someone Orthodox professes belief in thier church (or intimidate prospective converts) are not banned is an enigma to me. 

I think it should be painfullly clear by now that my objection is to various people passing off their sect or flavor or subtradition as the whole thing. That's what Barnes's site does. As far as "intimidating prospective converts", I will be very blunt: you and Augustine were trying to sell Juliana a particular theory of rebaptism. An accurate picture of the current living tradition, based on consulting a variety of sources, is that there is a substantial difference of opinion on economy vs. rebaptism. Augustine's pitch about what would feel better in the long run was flatly heterodox; I say this in the full confidence of sharing in the catholic tradition on this one.

It is your disbelief in everyone else's church that's a problem here. Call me a heretic all you want; when you start calling Orthodox bishops heretics it's hardly unreasonable that I demand some justification. In this wise I refer back to my survey of sites and my observation that official sites agreed with the catholic position and Barnes's site dissented. It's only fair to those potential converts that they be aware that what is being said here often isn't what Orthodox churches teach.
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2005, 12:16:40 AM »

Quote
That's a pretty hefty claim, and perhaps one unfitting of a moderator. I'm waiting for anyone to display troll behavior or post disrespectfully and it ain't happened yet.

Now, now, we've had our share of highly entertaining trollish meltdowns on here. If the person who is not-quite-being-accused of trolling is actually trolling (which I don't think s/he is) it's a troll of the far more subtle and dangerous kind -- the kind that can go on for years, and that nobody even knows is a troll, even when random goats start to go missing, until one day s/he goes on a rampage and flattens the town and a party with a warrior, a mage, a cleric, a thief, and a bard who's absolutely useless but the dude insisted on playing one so it's his choice if he gets creamed the first time we see combat is formed to go slay the troll and amass exp and much gold and stuff and so that's why there's no trolls around here.
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2005, 12:20:33 AM »



Now, now, we've had our share of highly entertaining trollish meltdowns on here. If the person who is not-quite-being-accused of trolling is actually trolling (which I don't think s/he is) it's a troll of the far more subtle and dangerous kind -- the kind that can go on for years, and that nobody even knows is a troll, even when random goats start to go missing, until one day s/he goes on a rampage and flattens the town and a party with a warrior, a mage, a cleric, a thief, and a bard who's absolutely useless but the dude insisted on playing one so it's his choice if he gets creamed the first time we see combat is formed to go slay the troll and amass exp and much gold and stuff and so that's why there's no trolls around here.


LOL! Excellent one, Beayf!. Grin

*have* we noticed any goats missing?

(Dibs on being the Warrior, even if I only play on in World of Warcraft).  Maybe the Bard is the equivalent of the "red shirts" on Star Trek.
loot, loot, phat loot!  yeah  )

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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2005, 12:26:09 AM »

I do not call nor consider Orthodox bishops to be heretics. Only a synod of bishops can do such. I only follow what many of the bishops of the Orthodox church teach - that ecumenism is becoming increasingly dangerous. The recent confrence on the issue in Thessaloniki shows that plenty of bishops hold this opinion. Again, this has been my experience when encountering centers of living tradition opposed to solely academic centers of Orthodoxy. But this is a tradition that is utterly foriegn to those who live vicariously through the internet, protestants that hang around an Orthodox forum as trolls.
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2005, 12:37:25 AM »

Again, this has been my experience when encountering centers of living tradition opposed to solely academic centers of Orthodoxy.

One wonders how many "Solely academic centers of Orthodoxy" there are.  From reading what various seminarians on this forum have written (including Anastasios and Mor) the seminaries are not "solely academic".  But that is where the priests and theologians are being formed.

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But this is a tradition that is utterly foriegn to those who live vicariously through the internet

Live "vicariously"?!?  Through the internet?  I would suggest that you do not *know* how other people live just from posts on a forum. 

Quote
protestants that hang around an Orthodox forum as trolls.

And the definition of "Troll" is? 

Ebor
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2005, 01:21:03 AM »

Please see for my response which has been twice erased for no good reason:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php/topic,6306.msg81532.html#msg81532
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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2005, 03:46:19 AM »

Again, I can understand SOME disagreement with (less than charitable) articles on Orthodoxinfo.com, but have any of you who are criticizing Barnes actually read The Non-Orthodox?  How about criticizing the book itself and not him!

For the second or third time, the book is endorsed by Bishop Basil Essey of the AAOA, another Antiochian priest who wished to remain anonymous encouraged Barnes, endorsed by Frank Schaeffer and an OCA monk also helped during the writing of the book. 
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2005, 04:49:55 AM »

Again, I can understand SOME disagreement with (less than charitable) articles on Orthodoxinfo.com, but have any of you who are criticizing Barnes actually read The Non-Orthodox? How about criticizing the book itself and not him!

For the second or third time, the book is endorsed by Bishop Basil Essey of the AAOA, another Antiochian priest who wished to remain anonymous encouraged Barnes, endorsed by Frank Schaeffer and an OCA monk also helped during the writing of the book.

Well I read the book and found it pretty balanced. I can't see why any Orthodox would have a problem with it. It seems to me that most of the criticisms of Patrick Barnes seem to stem from somewhat less balanced articles that he's collected on his site. Perhaps he might have been wiser to not collect all of them there (I certainly don't agree with every article on there - not by a long way), but this rather strikes me as 'shooting the messenger'.

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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2005, 10:57:02 AM »

The Orthodox view of Baptism is not shackeled by legalism or weird metaphysics - Sacraments are prayers, the highest prayers, in which visible signs witness to and act as means for the grace of redemption (remission of sins, and assimilation to the likeness of God.)  Orthodox Sacraments are something the Orthodox Church does - they do not exist autonomously, related to Her only by accident or simple "lawfulness" when administered within Her.

If the Sacraments were to exist outside of the visible boundaries of the Church, that would mean that in some wise those persons are still parts of the Church, even if not in good standing or a disadvantageous position.  But that such exists, would be known only to God for sure.  The Church operates on what it does know - and as such, it can either receive all by Holy Baptism (which given what can be known, is normative), or judging by what can be known in terms of exsternals, can admit those heterodox/schismatics who have been baptized (or even baptized and ordained) with the right "forms" by a far more lenient means, with the understanding that whatever may be missing will be supplied by the Church.

Thus, hypothetically speaking, if it turns out that say, "Joe Roman Catholic" who becomes Orthodox had in fact really received the grace of Baptism when baptized by a Latin priest, the Orthodox Church is not guilty of sacrelige in Baptizing him, because it operated on the ostensible fact that he was baptized by someone who was not an Orthodox Priest, and not in a canonical manner.  It's the same situation as when there is doubt about a Baptism in a solely Orthodox context - and before anyone says anything, the practice of "conditional sacraments" is a relatively late western phenomenon; that's why it isn't done that I'm aware of, and certainly wouldn't have been attempted in previous ages.  After all, God doesn't need us to tell Him whether or not He will renew "Joe Roman Catholic" - He knows this.  It's His grace, it's His work - the Church is simply acting as His hands, and His witness, humbly working in synergy with Him.  The whole notion of a "conditional baptism" is rooted in the idea of created grace, and a way of understanding the Sacraments which Orthodoxy definately doesn't accept as Her own.  The sin of re-Baptizing someone, the sacrelige, is not in that one can actually do this or come close to doing this, but involves the malice and direspect of the wills involved.

OTOH, if it turns out (God knows) that "Joe Roman Catholic" in fact received something far less when he was "baptized", but is received by economia, then the Church knows that the unseen grace of Baptism will be bestowed when he is Chrismated, or perhaps even more leniently (since the traditional Russian books allowed for this), repents, receives canonical absolution, and is given Holy Communion.  In either case, grace is infused in the soul and God makes all well.

This is why, in a real sense, however much "what if" territory one wants to indulge, the right of the Church to excercise strictness or leniency in these matters rests on firm grounds.  Beyond this, it becomes a pastoral issue, which must be discerned with wisdom and for correct reasons.  However, fortunately for those coming to the Church, this is something which they will not be answerable for, however misguided the decision in this or that situation may be.  Which is why in the end, I'd recommend that those coming to the Church who are troubled by these issues...

a) speak honestly and respectfully to their Priest about this.
b) do their best to accept what he concludes on this matter, or as is really the case, what his (and your) Bishop concludes (since the Priest is ultimatly not an autonomous figure, but ministers on behalf of and by the authority of his Bishop.)

I have my own personal views on this matter.  Namely, I basically agree with ROCOR's rationale in their 1971 Ukaz on the topic of receiving converts.  I also think that it makes little sense for a practice which was intended to help people avoid being scandalized and make it easier for them to come into the Church, to become a stumbling block in and of itself.  But in the end, the wisdom or lack there of in the modern discipline, is something the pastors of the Church are responsible for, and they will be accountable for it.  Thus, in that sense, so long as something heretical isn't being done (which must always be resisted, no matter who is doing it), we ought to do our best to be humble and accept the authority of our Bishop.  For better or for worse, he's your man, until he either dies, clearly betrays the faith (and resists admonishment), or removed according to the canons and laws of his local Synod.

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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2005, 11:41:45 AM »

Quote
But this is a tradition that is utterly foriegn to those who live vicariously through the internet, protestants that hang around an Orthodox forum as trolls. 

Considerng that both Ebor and Keble have more than demonstrated that they are decideld not trolls, by contributing much to this forum in both time and money, I think this is a pretty poor and thinly veiled post from a moderator.

With that, and with the way EA has been villified after being called a term which the admins decided was not to be used by anyone, let alone a moderator, I think the time has come for this Roman Catholic to look for fellowship with Orthodox Christians elsewhere. 

This place has gone to hell in a handbasket.
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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2005, 11:50:43 AM »

With that, and with the way EA has been villified after being called a term which the admins decided was not to be used by anyone, let alone a moderator, I think the time has come for this Roman Catholic to look for fellowship with Orthodox Christians elsewhere.

This place has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Don't give them the satisfaction. FIGHT THE POWER!
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« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2005, 11:57:35 AM »

I will suggest that the "many" should read; "The Disease of Over Correctness". by Hiermonk Seraphim Rose

It may reduce some egos & head sizes here.


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« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2005, 12:46:16 PM »

It seems to me that most of the criticisms of Patrick Barnes seem to stem from somewhat less balanced articles that he's collected on his site.

That's basically my point. I can say neither good nor bad about his book.
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« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2005, 12:53:27 PM »

Keble,

His book is available free, in .pdf format or can be viewed as a series of .html pages - here.

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« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2005, 12:59:31 PM »

I will suggest that the "many" should read; "The Disease of Over Correctness". by Hiermonk Seraphim Rose

As it happens, I found something along those lines on, um, OIC: "Super-Correctness" - Chapter 63 from Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works. I have to say that, though I have never found much of value in his works on such topics as evolution and new-age religion, he seems to me to have had excellent antennae for the vagaries of believer attitude.

One thing about correctness: I think it is perhaps of all the spiritual difficulties, among the hardest to assess in ourselves.

Augustine, I'll look at that. I simply hadn't looked for it in that form.
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« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2005, 01:11:20 PM »

Well, fabulous.

We've called each other names, thrown around accusations, alienated non-Orthodox inquirers (possibly permanently in one case), and deleted posts without warning, all the while reacting in the most extreme manner possible to any challenges--perceived or otherwise!--to our personal beliefs.

Hopefully that's out of our system.

I'm gonna lock this, as we seem to have reached a stopping point--plenty to read in the meantime, apparently--could we all please just take some deep breaths (hopefully accompanied by some prayers) and come back here with a little more tact?

Thanks.  Christ is risen.

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