Author Topic: Old Believers and Orthodoxy  (Read 39646 times)

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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #405 on: July 06, 2016, 12:21:50 PM »
The general scholarly idea seems to be that the Old Rite practices were authentic even for Byzantine practice, and that, unluckily, Nikon's Greek consultants came to Russia soon after a new recension of rites and practices in Greece. All sides remained unaware of the bad timing, however; it's only been uncovered by much later research.

However, Orthodoxy is not defined by rites, or not by rites alone. Orthodoxy is holy, Apostolic, catholic. If one reads or listens to much Old Believer ecclesiology, one soon gets a strong impression of separatism for its own sake, of apocalyptic cynicism for the Church on earth at all, and of the elevation of the legal far above anything else -- and these are not the traits of Orthodoxy. (The evocation is rather that of Donatism.)

In sum, it is not enough, for the Christian Church, to be right as to fact in an instance of tumultuous disagreement; to be Christian is to be more than "right," but full of grace and truth.


And everything they did after the 'mistake' happens when your government decides to hunt you down like animals.....rather than allowing for the difference in practices.

What became of Old Believers is entirely understandable and excusable from a human standpoint. The religion I grew up in has a very similar history of use by the Western church (granted, in their case they really asked for it), and the outcome was much the same. It's human nature to respond to being beaten down with defensiveness and to become reactionary. Everyone I know has the greatest sympathy for the Old Believers and their history.

That said, if there is going to be progress toward Church unity, ecclesiology of the sort I was outlining above can never serve as the vehicle for it -- it is crafted for just the opposite purpose, to encourage and sustain a sect in disunity.

the OB were not upset they were not invited to the council....they in fact likely dont give a bleep bleep about the Orthodoxy you or I belong to.   

Maybe we could work on unity among those who profess to WANT it first.,....

What on earth does the Great and Holy Council have to do with this? I declare some of you will be bringing that into everything for years, won't you.
"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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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 DeniseDenise

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #406 on: July 06, 2016, 12:23:59 PM »
The general scholarly idea seems to be that the Old Rite practices were authentic even for Byzantine practice, and that, unluckily, Nikon's Greek consultants came to Russia soon after a new recension of rites and practices in Greece. All sides remained unaware of the bad timing, however; it's only been uncovered by much later research.

However, Orthodoxy is not defined by rites, or not by rites alone. Orthodoxy is holy, Apostolic, catholic. If one reads or listens to much Old Believer ecclesiology, one soon gets a strong impression of separatism for its own sake, of apocalyptic cynicism for the Church on earth at all, and of the elevation of the legal far above anything else -- and these are not the traits of Orthodoxy. (The evocation is rather that of Donatism.)

In sum, it is not enough, for the Christian Church, to be right as to fact in an instance of tumultuous disagreement; to be Christian is to be more than "right," but full of grace and truth.


And everything they did after the 'mistake' happens when your government decides to hunt you down like animals.....rather than allowing for the difference in practices.

What became of Old Believers is entirely understandable and excusable from a human standpoint. The religion I grew up in has a very similar history of use by the Western church (granted, in their case they really asked for it), and the outcome was much the same. It's human nature to respond to being beaten down with defensiveness and to become reactionary. Everyone I know has the greatest sympathy for the Old Believers and their history.

That said, if there is going to be progress toward Church unity, ecclesiology of the sort I was outlining above can never serve as the vehicle for it -- it is crafted for just the opposite purpose, to encourage and sustain a sect in disunity.

the OB were not upset they were not invited to the council....they in fact likely dont give a bleep bleep about the Orthodoxy you or I belong to.   

Maybe we could work on unity among those who profess to WANT it first.,....

What on earth does the Great and Holy Council have to do with this? I declare some of you will be bringing that into everything for years, won't you.


You are talking Church unity....a council is one of the symbols of that....

my point still stands.....perhaps working out unity with those who profess to want it.....is a better step than chasing after people who don't care....insisting they do what 'we' want.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #407 on: July 06, 2016, 12:27:49 PM »
I am talking about Orthodoxy. Unity, catholicity is one of the most important signs of it. So far the thread seemed to have been concentrating on doctrine and practice as what makes a church Orthodox or not, and this is not very pertinent, in my opinion, to what keeps the Old Believers, as you eloquently put it, not "giving a crap" about Orthodoxy. It is historically pertinent, of course, but taking only the historical view is precisely the problem.
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #408 on: July 06, 2016, 12:52:02 PM »
And whether you see it as uncanonical, crazy or stupid for the Popovsty/priested Old Believers to be 'poaching' their Priests, their access to the Mysteries for centuries no one can deny the state of the Official Russian Church from the late 17th century actively participating in the repressive measures of hunting down and brutally murdering Old Believers, destruction of villages and farms, and then especially the state of the official Russian Church from Tsar Peter I forward was certainly not canonical and was a sickly frail body compared to what Holy Russia had been and compared to what was clung to in peasant old rite communities then and to this day! The situation was dire, confusing and called for extreme measures to preserve Orthodoxy from all devout Russians whether they accepted the Nikonian Reforms or not!

The practice of poaching priests and bishops though does present a serious problem for the Old Believer narrative. Since they consider the Nikonian rites heretical in both form and content, how is it possible for the Nikonians to ordain real priests or bishops, or even fake priests and bishops with the empty for mof ordination? Velikago argued that the reception of Metropolitan Ambrose was an act of economia, filling an empty form of episcopal consecration, but this means he would have to accept that the new ordination rite is an acceptable form, including its faulty sign of the cross, beginning with the allegedly Latin invocation "In the name of the Father..." etc.
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Offline Lenexa

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #409 on: July 06, 2016, 07:16:25 PM »
Dear All,
I wish I could reproduce one of Fr.Matthew Raphael Johnson's essay's from the book I linked. He makes a distinction between the Popovsty and Bezpopovsty sects that is key! The fanatical Bezpopovsty sects were by no means the majority of Old Believers at that time and likely those involved would have left the Church even if the Nikonian Reforms had never occurred! The majority of those who resisted the reforms and later tyrannical and uncanonical anathemas against making the sign of the Cross and Blessing two fingered (Dvoeperstie) had not yet fallen into camps of popovsty or bezpopovsty. They were just Orthodox Christians who knew that Our Lord would never send foreign bishops to anathematize, that is condemn to hell those who followed in devotion and piety what His Church had passed down as Sacred means of self Transformation in Spirit anf Truth in His Body which is, we believe, infallible in it's pronouncements being quickened by God the Holy Spirit! They knew what was being done was wrong and in the spirit of the first Christians chose to resist unto martyrdom even! Those Old Believers who believed in the Mysteries and Apostolic Succession until the Apocalypse the Popovsty, never wanted to be relegated as schismatics and had hoped to reconcile with Official Church and wipe away the false anathemas which only finally happened in the 1970s!!! But after the brutal repressions and then the destructive uncanonical top down reform of the Russian Church to the Protestant Synodal structure under Tsar Peter I and the down right anti-Orthodox era of the Russian monarchs that followed during the 18th century with the exception of Tsar Paul made reconciliation impossible and meaningless! Of course the Hesychastic Revival and returning  of the Russian monarchy to Orthodox devotion and piety during the 19th century led to dialogue and the creation of the Edinoverie which I have never understood as at that time the Anathemas against the Old Rite remained in force!!? But by that time the rift was wide and old and repression and animosity for the peasant Popovsty Old Believers remained. Perhaps if Tsar Nicholas II had not been overthrown and the Bolshevik revolution never occurred resolution could have attained through the calling of a new Sobor!? Really it has only been the the past few decades that what should have happened 300 years ago has begun anew and dialogue is occurring.
Iconodule
I completely take responsibility for the misunderstaning of the Old Believer positions/Old Orthodoxy and this is why I am writing in English what the Old Orthodox, the Popovsty Old Believers, believe and state are the dogmatic departures fro. Orthodoxy found in the mainstream Orthodox world. But I want to point out NOW Popovsty have always viewed the mainstream Russian Church as having Grace in spite of the unorthodox and uncanonical Western style reforms/innovations allowed and instituted during the synodal period such as pouring baptism. Now let this sink in! A mainstream Russian Orthodox Christian wanting to join the Russian Orthodox Old Rite Church is accepted through Chrismation BUT several Old Calendarist/True Orthodox and this included some ROCOR dioceses in the past would rebaptize them! The assumptions I seem to identify at work in the minds of some commenters here, that Old Believers don't give a damn about your Orthodoxy is true with regards to most Priestless Bezpopovsty BUT Popovsty DO care! And it really is as I have already stated several times the intransigence of mainstream Orthodox Christians that has always been the source of the repression and disrespectful relations with the Old Orthodox! Just do what I did and find an Old Believer to co tact and be friends with!!! Isn't that what a true Orthodox Christian should do!?

P.S. Fr.MRJ also aptly pointed out the deception, manipulation, intolerant, ignorant and domineering motivation of the simoniac Phanar clergy who were the instigators of not only the Raskol but also the actions that led to in Syria the split with Orthodoxy and formation of the Melkite Unia over the phanars attempts to control and uncanonically dismiss the legitimately elected Cyril.

Offline Lenexa

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #410 on: July 07, 2016, 02:27:10 AM »
Let me first state that at this moment I will refrain from answering Iconodules last post and question as I am still asking questions about the more than 100 years of the Popovsty having no bishops, and receiving priests ordained by the official i.e. Nikonian Church. How did this happen in practice? Were there precedents in Church history for such?  and what is the justification and understanding of how a Greek Bishop of the Phanar could be accepted into the Old Orthodox Faith and community and then consecrate an Old Orthodox hierarchy? his is this explained and understood?
I could venture a response from what info and replies I received in the past but I think it would only raise more questions than it answers
I will respond to two issues brought up though:
Porter has referenced Old Believer Ecclesiology and I can only guess he is referring to the Bezpopovsty/Priestless Old Believers which sees all other Orthodox as first rank heretics devoid of grace and deny that any hierarchy/Apostolic Succession remains but that we are actually living under the reign of Antichrist. But I am no expert on the Priestess sects and have never read the Pomorian Answers explaining the Priestess Old Believers dogma. I had some limited dialogue with a Pomorian Priestless Old Believer but while I can't help feeling some admiration for them it is like what I feel for the Amish.
The Eccelsiology of the Popovsty particularly the Belayakrinitskaya Hierarchy (Lipovan and Russian Orthodox Old Rite Churches) is basically the same as the "Cyprianite" Greek Old Calendarist Synod in Resistance. The mainstream Orthodox have the Grace of the Mysteries but must be resisted and admonished for their acceptance of and promulgation of error/s
As far as some of Velikago's more idiosyncratic statements and recognizing the Bezpopovsty and Popovsty as both having the same Old Orthodox faith I will just offer my opinion and interpretation. I like the man and see him as a brother and in no way want to be disrespectful or dismissive of him but my chief criticism is that statements such as I just referenced confuse dialogue and are not what the Popovsty Old Orthodox believe. BUT such views are common amongst many Popovsty because many Popovsty communities today were only a generation or more ago Bezpopovsty and many of the old idiosyncratic beliefs remain as well as a sectarian mindset. Of course it is understandable as many Popovsty, particularly in Oregon have Bezpopovsty friends and family! But the core dogmatic differences between what the Popovsty Old Orthodox believe and what the Bezpopovsty Priestless Old Believers believe are massive! And Velikago has to know that! Try being a Popovsty and enter the Nave of a Bezpopovstu Church and vice versa!!! Compassion, love and friendship with others is great BUT the Truth is One!

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #411 on: July 07, 2016, 02:41:00 AM »
Compassion, love and friendship with others is great BUT the Truth is One!

Without the former, you don't get the latter: One Church means no permanent schisms, not each schism's willingness to claim, We are the only one, which logic and history show us quickly makes the One a Legion.
"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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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 wgw

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #412 on: July 07, 2016, 02:41:07 AM »
The general scholarly idea seems to be that the Old Rite practices were authentic even for Byzantine practice, and that, unluckily, Nikon's Greek consultants came to Russia soon after a new recension of rites and practices in Greece. All sides remained unaware of the bad timing, however; it's only been uncovered by much later research.

However, Orthodoxy is not defined by rites, or not by rites alone. Orthodoxy is holy, Apostolic, catholic. If one reads or listens to much Old Believer ecclesiology, one soon gets a strong impression of separatism for its own sake, of apocalyptic cynicism for the Church on earth at all, and of the elevation of the legal far above anything else -- and these are not the traits of Orthodoxy. (The evocation is rather that of Donatism.)

In sum, it is not enough, for the Christian Church, to be right as to fact in an instance of tumultuous disagreement; to be Christian is to be more than "right," but full of grace and truth.


And everything they did after the 'mistake' happens when your government decides to hunt you down like animals.....rather than allowing for the difference in practices.

What became of Old Believers is entirely understandable and excusable from a human standpoint. The religion I grew up in has a very similar history of use by the Western church (granted, in their case they really asked for it), and the outcome was much the same. It's human nature to respond to being beaten down with defensiveness and to become reactionary. Everyone I know has the greatest sympathy for the Old Believers and their history.

That said, if there is going to be progress toward Church unity, ecclesiology of the sort I was outlining above can never serve as the vehicle for it -- it is crafted for just the opposite purpose, to encourage and sustain a sect in disunity.

the OB were not upset they were not invited to the council....they in fact likely dont give a bleep bleep about the Orthodoxy you or I belong to.   

Maybe we could work on unity among those who profess to WANT it first.,....

I agree completely.  And indeed, many Old Believers have over the years decided they wanted unity; the Church of the Nativity is not the descendants of 19th century edinovertsy but a formerly priestless parish that decided to become a part of ROCOR and follow the practices of priested Old Orthodox.  One of the two Old Rite Metropolitans of Moscow by the way has begun a friendly personal relationship with Patriarch Kyrill and the thought is this is the beginning of a level of reconciliation.

By the way, it was suggested by another member elsewhere on the forum that I advocate "extreme liturgical reform" (I don't believe this is the case; what I do advocate is off topic and also my opinions on some things have changed; I will post a thread in liturgics to clarify my current views); what I am absolutely opposed to, based on the experience of the Old Believer and Old Calendar schisms, is a mandatory and enforced change to the established liturgical tradition of any autocephalous Orthodox church.  These almost invariably cause schisms; forcing a new way of worship on people is almost a surefire way to create a schism and it is impossible to blame the people who leave IMO.

We can see this is true outside of Orthodoxy as well; the 1969 Roman Missal and the 1979 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (in combination with the ordination of women, but the new prayerbook was a huge element of it) both caused schisms, so to this day you have the SSPX and Continuing Anglicans who adhere to the Tridentine and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer with some ferocity (the Continuing Anglicans would probably accept most of the old BCP editions; the SSPX is in an alliance with a Society of St. Josaphat which was created by the enforced de-Latinization of the modified Byzantine Rite liturgy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which had a similiarly alienating effect).  Another example: the Ancient Church of the East also partially emerged due to the Assyrian Catholicos who predeceased Mar Dinkha IV, memory eternal, changing the church forcibly to the Gregorian calendar (there were other factors I am told includinf some tribal politics, and since then the Ancient Church of the East also adopted the Gregorian Calendar in preparation for a reunion that so far has not happened; the main reason given for the schism however was the forced liturgical change).

I believe all of these changes taken together offer to us a general rule: forcing people, particularly the laity, to change the way they pray, making radical changes to the worship of the church, produces alienation, causes schisms and should be avoided.  So I am against these changes, in the Orthodox Church; any change in practice should be voluntary (ACROD, the OCA, and so far, ROCOR, O think have done a good job opat this; ROCOR hierarchs have consistently pushed for the restoration of traditional Russian chant and have often objected to the 19th/early 20th century Obikhod and other compositions of that sort, like the liturgical works of Thcaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and other composers, but they have not banned the use of the Obikhod, many parishes remaining attached to it for reasons of sentiment).
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Offline Lenexa

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #413 on: July 07, 2016, 04:51:09 PM »
Compassion, love and friendship with others is great BUT the Truth is One!

Without the former, you don't get the latter: One Church means no permanent schisms, not each schism's willingness to claim, We are the only one, which logic and history show us quickly makes the One a Legion.
I simply meant in the case of those Old Orthodox, Popovsty, who are related to and friends with priestless Old Believers that it is good to be friends and loving towards them but it is wrong to say that they have the same faith as the Old Orthodox Popovsty! I meant the same as when I spoke with an OCA priest who said during a sermon when I visited his parish for Sunday Liturgy ". . . Catholic Baptist Lutheran Orthodox . . . we are all Christians" anf I told him privately that I understood his sentiments and that I tend to feel that way about my relatives and friends in Traditionalist Catholic groups (SSPX and CMRI) but there is only one True Church! And the Popovsty Old Orthodox Faith and Lipovan and Russian Old Rite Churches Ecclesiology regards the mainstream Orthodox Churches as yet still having the Grace of the Mysteries and are thus part of the Church still! But the Bezpopovsty by their beliefs and actions reject and condemn as Antichrist all hierarchs and priests. My whole point before and now is that the Bezpopovsty are not Orthodox and they are not of One Faith with the Old Orthodox Popovsty by any stretch of imaginations or sentiments!

 But Porter the matter of the schism between the MP and the Russia Orthodox Old Rite inter Metropolitan Kornily and the general schism of the Old Orthodox is a sad and painful one! I can't speak for the Oregon Old Orthodox Popovsty and have not yet been able to talk to them about these issues but if you are saying they are not very open or loving and obstinate you have to remember they were not that long ago Bezpopovsty! The Old Orthodox in Romania Ukraine Russia and elsewhere who have always been Popovsty generally want to fix the split and many privately read and venerate new rite Saints particularly St.Seraphim of Sarov. But there still are real issues that remain and need to be resolved and many that have arose since the Raskol that need resolution.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #414 on: July 07, 2016, 05:00:17 PM »
And the Popovsty Old Orthodox Faith and Lipovan and Russian Old Rite Churches Ecclesiology regards the mainstream Orthodox Churches as yet still having the Grace of the Mysteries and are thus part of the Church still!

This is a striking claim. My impression, from the writings of Fr. Avvakum and what I've read of the history, is that the New Rite is undoubtedly heretical from the perspective of any of the Old Believers. You mention that Popovtsy receive members of the mainstream Russian church by chrismation- why would they do this if they considered the Nikonians part of the Church? Can you provide some sources for your claim?
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #415 on: July 07, 2016, 05:34:52 PM »
But Porter the matter of the schism between the MP and the Russia Orthodox Old Rite inter Metropolitan Kornily and the general schism of the Old Orthodox is a sad and painful one! I can't speak for the Oregon Old Orthodox Popovsty and have not yet been able to talk to them about these issues but if you are saying they are not very open or loving and obstinate you have to remember they were not that long ago Bezpopovsty! The Old Orthodox in Romania Ukraine Russia and elsewhere who have always been Popovsty generally want to fix the split and many privately read and venerate new rite Saints particularly St.Seraphim of Sarov. But there still are real issues that remain and need to be resolved and many that have arose since the Raskol that need resolution.

They are guileless, joyous folks for the most part for all I see. I said they become evasive if asked about their faith and culture.

You're shifting my blame of the Old Believer ecclesiological position to personalities, for some reason.
"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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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 Justin Kolodziej

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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #416 on: July 14, 2016, 09:45:41 PM »
Well, reading all that was an ordeal. But, I don't see why the inhabitants of Kitezh wouldn't have to repent, fight the passions, etc. the same as any other people, let alone be guaranteed salvation. As for no references from 1300 to 1800...maybe there were some but were destroyed by the Nikonians, Tsars, etc?

Like it was said before, the impossible happens regularly in the Bible, the Lives of the Saints, etc, because nothing is impossible with God. How are those Seven Sleepers of Ephesus doing anyway, aren't they due to wake back up near the end? Where is the Ark of the Covenant now? What's Enoch and Elijah's home addresses? Then why dismiss Kitezh so easily?

Oh well, probably babbling about nothing again. No Old Orthodox around for a thousand miles anyway, probably. And they wouldn't like me because I'm Polish and Slovak and don't know two words of Russian or Old Slavonic. Though the area of the village might have been in Kievan Rus or Halych at one point. Guess I'm doomed   :P
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Re: Old Believers and Orthodoxy
« Reply #417 on: June 17, 2017, 03:12:16 AM »
I cross myself with two fingers sometimes.  If my priest sees it, he smiles knowingly.
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