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« on: September 21, 2005, 11:49:47 PM »


Feel free to comment on this Icon.
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2005, 12:35:49 AM »

My personal reaction? It causes me to read over 1 Corinthians 13 and examine whether I (not the icon writer, but I) have a lot of work to do. I do.

http://bible.gospelcom.net/passage/?search=1%20Cor.%2013;&version=9;
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2005, 06:15:48 AM »

I don't really recall having seen anything like this in real iconography.  The closest that comes to it is a famous icon from Zographou of the Church as the ark of salvation showing the various enemies of the church by name outside the boat (i.e the Pope or Rome, some turks, Julian the Apostate and some others).  But the whole emphasis of that was that the Church will survive no matter who opposes it - this "icon" here seems to be more about vindictiveness.  I would be very startled to see this in use.
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2005, 11:20:49 AM »

I think it is a very cruel painting, I can not even call it an icon.  Met. Sergei has much to answer for, but it is not for us to compare him with satan, as this painting does.  He was a weak man, granted, but to depict him such is unchristian.
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2005, 11:40:17 AM »

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I don't really recall having seen anything like this in real iconography.


Council of Ephesus 431 (the figure cowering on the right is Nestorius I believe..I can't make out who it is on the left though):

 

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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2005, 12:23:44 PM »

Very interesting EA.  Do you know the history of this icon?  Still it does seem tamer than the one of Metr. Joseph.  That one just seems too personal and not about triumph over false teaching. 
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2005, 02:00:45 PM »

The 'ikon' seems typical of schismatics, not surprising at all. Those who tear asunder the Body of Christ would naturally have no difficulity in mocking Her Blessed Teachers and Hierarchs.
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2005, 03:26:32 PM »

The 'ikon' seems typical of schismatics, not surprising at all. Those who tear asunder the Body of Christ would naturally have no difficulity in mocking Her Blessed Teachers and Hierarchs.

Even most people I know who are in the "non-schismatic" Church you subscribe to would find Sergius's actions lamentable.ÂÂ  I don't condemn him for his attempt to keep churches open but he went too far in praising the Soviets and collaborating with them.ÂÂ  The catacomb Christians of this time are the ones to be commended, not Sergius, whom I think deserves to go down in history not as a heretic and not as a hero, but as someone who was sincerely misguided.ÂÂ  Let's not forget that Sergius usurped the rightful head of the Church in Russia, Met Peter, either.ÂÂ  That your former patriarch, Meletios, supported the living church against St Tikhon and Met Peter, is something we should also not forget. What a shameful blemish on the record of the Ecumenical Throne!

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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2005, 03:28:05 PM »

It should also be noted, GisC, that many of my "schismatic" friends are totally against this "icon."  And by the way, why are you mispelling icon? Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2005, 03:33:02 PM »

There have been plenty of poor pastors within the history of the Church - and different eras call for a different "fight" so to speak.  I.e some were called to valiantly march to their deaths, others to exile (i.e ROCOR) and still some to quietly endure within the USSR.  And while I share the opinion that Patriarch Sergius was may not have made the best descision (and this really is case of hindsight being 20/20) to imply that he himself was a Soviet or to trample on him like this is slanderous and un-Christian. ÂÂ
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2005, 11:27:18 PM »

Even most people I know who are in the "non-schismatic" Church you subscribe to would find Sergius's actions lamentable.ÂÂ  I don't condemn him for his attempt to keep churches open but he went too far in praising the Soviets and collaborating with them.ÂÂ  The catacomb Christians of this time are the ones to be commended, not Sergius, whom I think deserves to go down in history not as a heretic and not as a hero, but as someone who was sincerely misguided.

Metropolitan Sergius had the goal of maintaining the Church in Russia and preserving the faithful, His Beatitude accomplished this task sucessfully while maintaining Communion with the Orthodox Churches of the world, His Beatitude even attempted to heal the schism that had developed between the Church of Russia and the exile synod, insisting on only spiritual, not political, communion...unfortunatelly the schismatics rejected the mercy and grace of His Beatitude and separated themselves from the Orthodox Church. The Actions of Metropolitan Sergius are far from lamentable, rather they are most commendable, and dare I say saintly, for His Beatitude maintained not only the Church in Russia, but perhaps more importantly the Communion of the Orthodox Churches through His Beatitude's Wisdom and Prudence.

Quote
Let's not forget that Sergius usurped the rightful head of the Church in Russia, Met Peter, either.

Not exactly, Metropolitan Peter was the locum tenens of the Patriarchate of Moscow, as he had not been elevated to Patriarch he had no canonical right to the posistion, when, on account of persecution, he was unable to preform his responsibilities it is only reasonable that one capable of fulfilling the posistion maintain it, rather than allow it to be vacant; as the entire point of having a locum tenes is so that administrative affairs can be seen to in the absence of a Patriarch.

Quote
That your former patriarch, Meletios, supported the living church against St Tikhon and Met Peter, is something we should also not forget. What a shameful blemish on the record of the Ecumenical Throne!

It may have been an incorrect judgement at the time, but that's easy to say with 20/20 hindsight; His All-Holiness of Blessed Memory was trying to determine what Synod actually represented the Russian Church at the time, unfortunately an error was made in His All-Holiness' calculations, when this was determined to be an error and it was seen that what we now know as the Synod of Moscow would prevail they were promptly reinserted into the dyptics of the Great Church. If the Russians would like to avoid such confusions perhaps they should try to foster a more stable political enviroment; the blemish is Moscow's, not Constantinople's.
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2005, 11:55:40 PM »

It should also be noted, GisC, that many of my "schismatic" friends are totally against this "icon."ÂÂ  And by the way, why are you mispelling icon? Smiley

Ah, I almost forgot, in the Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary 'ikon' is listed as a recognized variant spelling of 'icon;' but if you prefer I could use 'εικων' Wink
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2005, 12:00:59 AM »

Metropolitan Sergius had the goal of maintaining the Church in Russia and preserving the faithful, His Beatitude accomplished this task sucessfully while maintaining Communion with the Orthodox Churches of the world, His Beatitude even attempted to heal the schism that had developed between the Church of Russia and the exile synod, insisting on only spiritual, not political, communion...unfortunatelly the schismatics rejected the mercy and grace of His Beatitude and separated themselves from the Orthodox Church. The Actions of Metropolitan Sergius are far from lamentable, rather they are most commendable, and dare I say saintly, for His Beatitude maintained not only the Church in Russia, but perhaps more importantly the Communion of the Orthodox Churches through His Beatitude's Wisdom and Prudence.

The Serbian Patriarchate and Jerusalem Patriarchates did not seem to think so.  If they were wrong to commune with ROCOR, then Constantinople was wrong to commune with them; Constantinople itself remained in communion with ROCOR until ROCOR broke with it when it fell completely and irrevocably into the heresy of ecumenism in 1965 with the lifting of the anathemas.  In fact, ROCOR was in communion with Constantinople as late as 1960 as I have seen letters from Archbishop Iakovos to Metropolitan Anastassy as a fellow concelebrant inviting him to dinner and discussing their churches' relations (I had access to ROCOR's archives for my thesis.)

At any rate, if you would read some material from the catacomb saints you would see what Sergius's betrayal did to them and how it allowed the KGB even further access into the Church. Hardly saintly.

Quote
Not exactly, Metropolitan Peter was the locum tenens of the Patriarchate of Moscow, as he had not been elevated to Patriarch he had no canonical right to the posistion, when, on account of persecution, he was unable to preform his responsibilities it is only reasonable that one capable of fulfilling the posistion maintain it, rather than allow it to be vacant; as the entire point of having a locum tenes is so that administrative affairs can be seen to in the absence of a Patriarch.

The idea that there can be a locum tenens to a locum tenens is already strange to me, and Met Peter was still alive, so Sergius had no right to take from him control of the Church.

Quote
It may have been an incorrect judgement at the time, but that's easy to say with 20/20 hindsight; His All-Holiness of Blessed Memory was trying to determine what Synod actually represented the Russian Church at the time, unfortunately an error was made in His All-Holiness' calculations, when this was determined to be an error and it was seen that what we now know as the Synod of Moscow would prevail they were promptly reinserted into the dyptics of the Great Church. If the Russians would like to avoid such confusions perhaps they should try to foster a more stable political enviroment; the blemish is Moscow's, not Constantinople's.

Hardly. Constantinople entered into communion with renovationist heretics because of its hasty actions, bringing further condemnation on the masonic patriarch resident therein.  No other Church entered into communion with these heretics, as they knew their renovationist leanings, so this leads me to believe that Meletios was content to commune with them based on an ideological kinship, until he was forced to restore communion with the Orthodox.

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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2005, 12:10:30 AM »

Ah, I almost forgot, in the Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary 'ikon' is listed as a recognized variant spelling of 'icon;' but if you prefer I could use 'εικων' Wink

Interesting. Our friends in Etna have a whole article in Orthodox Tradition some years back about how "writing 'icons'" and generally transliterating kappa as a k and not a c is illiterate, but I didn't find it totally convicing.  Yet given  your penchant for more ancient style I thought you would share these views.  BTW, how do you deal with the modern-translations of the GOA? LOL

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« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2005, 12:24:31 AM »

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Ah, I almost forgot, in the Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary 'ikon' is listed as a recognized variant spelling of 'icon;' but if you prefer I could use 'εικων'

Τι είναι <<εικων>>;  ÃƒÆ’ŽÂ¾ÃŽÂ­ÃÂÃâ€° εικόνα, αλλά όχι <<εικων>>.
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« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2005, 04:42:58 AM »

Τι είναι <<εικων>>;  ξέρω εικόνα, αλλά όχι <<εικων>>.

Πω πω Νεκτάριε. Δεν ξέριες κοινή ελλενική;
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« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2005, 08:13:45 AM »

The Serbian Patriarchate and Jerusalem Patriarchates did not seem to think so.  If they were wrong to commune with ROCOR, then Constantinople was wrong to commune with them; Constantinople itself remained in communion with ROCOR until ROCOR broke with it when it fell completely and irrevocably into the heresy of ecumenism in 1965 with the lifting of the anathemas.  In fact, ROCOR was in communion with Constantinople as late as 1960 as I have seen letters from Archbishop Iakovos to Metropolitan Anastassy as a fellow concelebrant inviting him to dinner and discussing their churches' relations (I had access to ROCOR's archives for my thesis.)

But even the communion with Serbia and Jerusalem has not been consistant if I recall properly; however, in the end Serbia and Jerusalem's recognition of ROCOR is a canonical abuse, since they have separated themselves from their Orthodox Synod, the Synod of Moscow, fortunately in the Orthodox Church we have Economy, though an Excommunication of Serbia and Jerusalem may be canonical on these grounds, it would not be benificial to the Church, and thus Communion is maintained, essentially ignoring their communion with ROCOR. Just how the situation with the OCA works, communion is maintained, ignoring their claim to autocephaly, they're still received as a Metropolia of the Patriarchate of Moscow. In neither case is this a condoning of uncanonical action, just an attempt to keep the peace, in the spirit of ecumenism, using economy.

Quote
At any rate, if you would read some material from the catacomb saints you would see what Sergius's betrayal did to them and how it allowed the KGB even further access into the Church. Hardly saintly.

There never was a catacomb church of any note in Russia, the future of the Church was in the hands of the only Legitimate Synod, a Synod Metropolitan Sergius did as good as any man could to protect.

Quote
The idea that there can be a locum tenens to a locum tenens is already strange to me, and Met Peter was still alive, so Sergius had no right to take from him control of the Church.

No, my point is that by virtue of being the posistion of locum tenens, no one person has a 'right' to it, if the Bishop maintaining the posistion is unable to fulfill the administrative responsibilities for any reason, then rationally someone else should take over, so that the administrative affairs of the Church can be maintained. It's not a canonical posistion like 'Patriarch,' it's only an Administrative Posistion that can change hands as often as the synod believes it necessary.

Quote
Hardly. Constantinople entered into communion with renovationist heretics because of its hasty actions, bringing further condemnation on the masonic patriarch resident therein.  No other Church entered into communion with these heretics, as they knew their renovationist leanings, so this leads me to believe that Meletios was content to commune with them based on an ideological kinship, until he was forced to restore communion with the Orthodox.

I haven't heard much about the Living Church, but from what I have heard they cannot be discounted as heretics too easily, yes they allowed the marriage of presbyters and bishops, but so did the early church, these are administrative matters, not dogmatic ones, they are issues that can change with the times depending on the needs of the Church. So, really, I'm not yet convinced that they were heretical; unconventional, yes, but heretical? And for a little while it seemed as though the Living Church would become the predominate Church of Russia, thus the actions of Patriarch Meletios, while a mistake, was most certainly an understandable one; the most important issue of the time was maintaining the Communion, which was Patriarch Meletios' primary goal.

Interesting. Our friends in Etna have a whole article in Orthodox Tradition some years back about how "writing 'icons'" and generally transliterating kappa as a k and not a c is illiterate, but I didn't find it totally convicing. Yet given your penchant for more ancient style I thought you would share these views. BTW, how do you deal with the modern-translations of the GOA? LOL

I fear I haven't read that article, I tend to avoid things that come out of places like that; though I do understand that the archbishop is actually far nicer in person than his writings would portray. In any case, while I do generally prefer traditional English style, the Hellenization of the English Language and Culture is of greater importance. As far as the modern GOA translations...I hate them; BUT, they provide us with a wonderful excuse to scrap english completely and use only Greek in our Services.
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« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2005, 08:37:25 AM »

Τι είναι <<εικων>>;  ξέρω εικόνα, αλλά όχι <<εικων>>.

from 'εικω' -- to be like; present active masculine participle 'εικων,' gen. 'εικοντος'

we get 'η εικων,' gen. 'της εικονος,' the accusative of which is 'την εικονα'

the ancient language is just so much richer than the modern one Wink
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« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2005, 01:39:18 PM »

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Δεν ξέριες κοινή ελλενική;

Όχι καλά - πω πώ.  Μαθαίνω νέο λόγο καθημέρα, σημερα <<εικων>>. 
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« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2005, 02:54:51 PM »

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But even the communion with Serbia and Jerusalem has not been consistant if I recall properly; however, in the end Serbia and Jerusalem's recognition of ROCOR is a canonical abuse, since they have separated themselves from their Orthodox Synod, the Synod of Moscow, fortunately in the Orthodox Church we have Economy, though an Excommunication of Serbia and Jerusalem may be canonical on these grounds, it would not be benificial to the Church, and thus Communion is maintained, essentially ignoring their communion with ROCOR. Just how the situation with the OCA works, communion is maintained, ignoring their claim to autocephaly, they're still received as a Metropolia of the Patriarchate of Moscow. In neither case is this a condoning of uncanonical action, just an attempt to keep the peace, in the spirit of ecumenism, using economy

ROCOR has always concelebrated with the Serbs throughout their history and Patriarch Diodoros of blessed memory had a very good relationship with the ROCOR.  And of course until the mid 60s ROCOR was in communion with the EP.  Even now concelebrations (usually not of Divine Liturgy) and inter-communion with ROCOR is the norm in Western Europe.  It is really only a group of liberal theologians in the United States that wish to perpetuate the myth that ROCOR is a pariah group. 

Quote
There never was a catacomb church of any note in Russia, the future of the Church was in the hands of the only Legitimate Synod, a Synod Metropolitan Sergius did as good as any man could to protect.

It was a time of utter chaos.  To fully understand their point of view (which is important) their writtings ought to be read.  This was not just a dry matter of semantics, it was litteraly life and death for them.

Quote
hey provide us with a wonderful excuse to scrap english completely and use only Greek in our Services.

What a wonderful idea.  Since Greek is so widely understood in America.  And actually there are very good English translations out there, ROCOR has some nice ones as does HTM.  While not perfect, I do like both of them.  But the greater issue is that it is 2005 not 300 - the κοινη γλωσσα of our day is English thanks to British and now American imperialism.  The church should capitalize on the large numbers of native English speakers and the fact that there are good numbers of ESL speakers in every corner of the world. 

Quote
the ancient language is just so much richer than the modern one

Only if one doesn't know how to express oneself in the modern language and must turn to a dead language. 


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« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2005, 04:09:24 PM »

ROCOR has always concelebrated with the Serbs throughout their history and Patriarch Diodoros of blessed memory had a very good relationship with the ROCOR.ÂÂ  And of course until the mid 60s ROCOR was in communion with the EP.ÂÂ  Even now concelebrations (usually not of Divine Liturgy) and inter-communion with ROCOR is the norm in Western Europe.ÂÂ  It is really only a group of liberal theologians in the United States that wish to perpetuate the myth that ROCOR is a pariah group.ÂÂ  

Constantinople and ROCOR were not in communion until the 60's, communion was broken when ROCOR arrogantly and impiously claime that the Church of Russia had fallen and that they were the only Authoritive Synod of the Church of Russia; any future concelebrations were canonical anomalies, but done for the sake of ecumenism, comprable to our 'concelebrations' with Rome. Concerning the History of ROCOR, specifically as it pertains to their interactions with the Oecumenical Throne, I just read a wonderful and informative article by the Late Archbishop Athenagoras of Thyateria and Great Britian called 'Ecclesiological Problems,' I would highly recommend it for a good history of the relationship between ROCOR and the Great Church of Christ. Ever since the ordination of Old Calendarist bishops in Greece by ROCOR, they seem to have been viewed as a few steps below the Latins in terms of their Orthodoxy by the Great Church.

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What a wonderful idea.ÂÂ  Since Greek is so widely understood in America.ÂÂ  And actually there are very good English translations out there, ROCOR has some nice ones as does HTM.ÂÂ  While not perfect, I do like both of them.ÂÂ  But the greater issue is that it is 2005 not 300 - the κοινη γλωσσα of our day is English thanks to British and now American imperialism.ÂÂ  The church should capitalize on the large numbers of native English speakers and the fact that there are good numbers of ESL speakers in every corner of the world.ÂÂ  

But the Liturgy was written in Greek and written to be Celebrated in Greek...it sounds hideous in English. If someone wants to 'understand' the liturgy, I recommend they read a book on liturgics, if one wants to celebrate the liturgy, I recommend they maintain the Ancient Beauty and Celebrate it in the Tongue in which it was written. How does Keats say it? 'Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty.'

Quote
Only if one doesn't know how to express oneself in the modern language and must turn to a dead language.ÂÂ  

Though communication may be sufficient to qualify something as a language (well, technically that's not even required, but I'll save the theoretical mathematics for another day), but there is so much more to it. Beauty and elegance are as important, if not more important, in the regarding of a language as rich, great, or worthy. And in my admitedly limited experience with indoeuropean languages, the general rule of thumb is that the more Ancient forms of the Language are greater than the later ones. A lone exception to this may be English which had it's golden age between Chaucer and Shakespear due to the magnificent merger of two distantly related languages with the norman conquest; but even then, though the wealth of the language increased it could be said that the eloquence of the language decreased.
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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2005, 05:07:11 PM »

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Constantinople and ROCOR were not in communion until the 60's, communion was broken when ROCOR arrogantly and impiously claime that the Church of Russia had fallen and that they were the only Authoritive Synod of the Church of Russia

You seem to be more excited to use terms like impious and arrogant and "Oecumenical Throne" than actual discussion of any issue.  The reality is the ROCOR was doing its best to keep the Russian Church alive in the diaspora, and the MP was trying under near impossible conditions to stay afloat in the USSR.  With the exception of a few idealouges on either side, I don't think many believed the other to be un- Orthodox.  And now that things have improved in Russia the two sides can meet again.  But just ranting about the ROCOR not being in communion with the EP shows that either you have no idea what you are talking about regarding the history of the Russian Church in the 20th century or simply don't care about the people within the Russian Church.

Quote
But the Liturgy was written in Greek and written to be Celebrated in Greek...it sounds hideous in English. If someone wants to 'understand' the liturgy, I recommend they read a book on liturgics, if one wants to celebrate the liturgy, I recommend they maintain the Ancient Beauty and Celebrate it in the Tongue in which it was written

Many great saints did just fine using the Roman Liturgy in Latin while the West was still united to the Church.  Saints Kyril and Mefodii didn't see it as a problem to translate the litrugy.  I'm very sorry that you think an English liturgy is hideous.  Self hatred is a real psychological problem I guess. 

To expect people to have to read many books to grasp the meaning of the liturgy is quite unnatural - it is only recently that the general population has had a high literacy rate, and only since the printing press has books even been affordable to most people.  So obviously that is not what the fathers had in mind as the ideal.  The liturgical texts were written in such a way as to be easily memorized and quickly become a part of one's daily life.  This doesn't happen when the liturgical language is entirely foriegn.  The point of Orthodoxy is to fulfill the great commision, not preserve a dead culture. 

Quote
Beauty and elegance are as important, if not more important, in the regarding of a language as rich, great, or worthy. And in my admitedly limited experience with indoeuropean languages, the general rule of thumb is that the more Ancient forms of the Language are greater than the later ones.

You would have to be a fool to assert that Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita... is inherently loss elegant than Arma virumque cano, troiae qui primus ab oris... simply because it is the modern language in which Dante wrote.  It is about the author's command of a language, not the language itself.  But what constitutes beauty?  Most of the people that I have seen ranting about greatness of archaic languages do so simply to use archaic words in an attempt to feign intelligence.  They seem to miss that every language has highly descriptive adjectives, curious idioms and other complexities that give it character. 


 

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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2005, 08:25:08 PM »

But the Liturgy was written in Greek and written to be Celebrated in Greek...it sounds hideous in English. If someone wants to 'understand' the liturgy, I recommend they read a book on liturgics, if one wants to celebrate the liturgy, I recommend they maintain the Ancient Beauty and Celebrate it in the Tongue in which it was written. How does Keats say it? 'Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty.'

What about the efforts of Sts Cyril and Methodius and St Stephen of Perm? The Church has spoken that the liturgy shall be translated into the languages of prostelytized peoples.
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« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2005, 09:23:44 PM »

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Constantinople and ROCOR were not in communion until the 60's, communion was broken when ROCOR arrogantly and impiously claime that the Church of Russia had fallen and that they were the only Authoritive Synod of the Church of Russia

Which was in what year and by which decree?

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But the Liturgy was written in Greek and written to be Celebrated in Greek...it sounds hideous in English.

That's silly. The liturgy sounds just fine in English.  I like Greek liturgy but much prefer liturgy in my native tongue.

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« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2005, 12:08:25 PM »

You seem to be more excited to use terms like impious and arrogant and "Oecumenical Throne" than actual discussion of any issue.ÂÂ  The reality is the ROCOR was doing its best to keep the Russian Church alive in the diaspora, and the MP was trying under near impossible conditions to stay afloat in the USSR.ÂÂ  With the exception of a few idealouges on either side, I don't think many believed the other to be un- Orthodox.ÂÂ  And now that things have improved in Russia the two sides can meet again.ÂÂ  But just ranting about the ROCOR not being in communion with the EP shows that either you have no idea what you are talking about regarding the history of the Russian Church in the 20th century or simply don't care about the people within the Russian Church.

My appologies if I dont see the 20th Century history of the Russian Orthodox Church in like manner. It seems to me that while people like Metropolitan Evlogios in (of?) Paris were trying to preserve the Orthodox Church in the Diaspora, the ROCOR Synod was busy betraying those who had first offered them aid and friendship and ordaining heretic-bishops in Greece.

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Many great saints did just fine using the Roman Liturgy in Latin while the West was still united to the Church.ÂÂ  Saints Kyril and Mefodii didn't see it as a problem to translate the litrugy.ÂÂ  I'm very sorry that you think an English liturgy is hideous.ÂÂ  Self hatred is a real psychological problem I guess.ÂÂ  

Ah, yes, the reason that I think the Liturgy should not be celebrated in English is because of self-hatred, despite the fact that I have often praised very highly the english language; it couldn't possibly be that the Liturgy was written in Greek and in Greek it has several nuances that are lost in translation, at times even having theological implications, nor could it be that in Greek the Liturgy is carefully constructed verse while in English it is little more than entoned prose. Somethings, like Shakespeare are best read and only fully understandable in English, likewise Virgil is best read in Latin, and Homer should be found in Greek; as our Divine Liturgy is no less in dingity than these Great secular works, why should we not give it the respect and honour due even to these secular works by only celebrating it in the tongue in which it was written, so that the full beauty and meaning that it was intended manifest can be portrayed.

Quote
To expect people to have to read many books to grasp the meaning of the liturgy is quite unnatural - it is only recently that the general population has had a high literacy rate, and only since the printing press has books even been affordable to most people.ÂÂ  So obviously that is not what the fathers had in mind as the ideal.ÂÂ  The liturgical texts were written in such a way as to be easily memorized and quickly become a part of one's daily life.ÂÂ  This doesn't happen when the liturgical language is entirely foriegn.ÂÂ  The point of Orthodoxy is to fulfill the great commision, not preserve a dead culture.ÂÂ  

First off, the Liturgy was not written in a simple form of the language, it was written in an artificially complex form of the Language. Though the spoken language of the time was probably somewhere half way between Classical Greek and Modern Greek, the Liturgy was written in Classical Greek, with extra scholarly complexities added in that would have made it difficult for Fourth Century Athenians to understand. Secondly, since we are blessed with a high literacy rate and a great opportunity to learn and gain information that people of all other ages lacked, it would seem that the vulgar celebration of the Liturgy should be of even less importance.

Quote
You would have to be a fool to assert that Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita... is inherently loss elegant than Arma virumque cano, troiae qui primus ab oris... simply because it is the modern language in which Dante wrote.

Well, then I am a fool, especially for the latin language. Plus, I think you could have come up with a better example, Dante vs. Virgil? Come on, there's no contest; when one says 'The Poet' one of two people will come to mind (depending on whether you're a hellenist or latinist), Dante is not one of those two Wink

Quote
But what constitutes beauty?

I, for one, view the beauty and efficiency of a language to be directly proportional, high levels of inflection, lack of articles or other understood/non-essential words, interchangability between nouns, adjectives, and verbs, et cetera. Then I would view the great Poet as one who can take this concise and efficient language, and use every linguistic element of it to say what needs said in as many lines as possible, while still keeping the language interesting.

Quote
Most of the people that I have seen ranting about greatness of archaic languages do so simply to use archaic words in an attempt to feign intelligence.ÂÂ  They seem to miss that every language has highly descriptive adjectives, curious idioms and other complexities that give it character.ÂÂ  

I pray you forgive my ignorance on such matters, yet oft I try to seek for beauty even where my comprehension fails. Every languge may have its own unique characteristics, and every language may even have something great unique to it, though I do not know all languages. Yet some are more elegant than others and, though with Indo-European languages the Ancient Tongues are probably preferable to the modern ones, this is not the case in all languages; from what I know of the Finno-Ugric languages, I would probably argue that the opposite is the case, many of these languages seem to actually improve with time, becoming more inflected and more efficient.
 I asked you politely not to call GOC bishops heretics on numerous occasions.
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« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2005, 12:15:39 PM »

Quote
My appologies if I dont see the 20th Century history of the Russian Orthodox Church in like manner. It seems to me that while people like Metropolitan Evlogios in (of?) Paris were trying to preserve the Orthodox Church in the Diaspora, the ROCOR Synod was busy betraying those who had first offered them aid and friendship and ordaining heretic-bishops in Greece.

The only person doing the betraying was Evloghios.  He submitted to the ROCOR Synod in 1935 and then pulled out only a few years later, creating a horrible division.

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« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2005, 12:21:55 PM »

A note on why I warned GisC:

Members are free to think and write whatever they want and as long as they are polite. Blanketly labelling groups with a status that is still undertermined as blanket heretics is wrong, however, and against the polite rules of discourse we try to enforce at this forum, which is comprised of several groups of people who claim the title Orthodox, some of whom do not extend such a title to the others (we are comprised of Eastern Orthodox "mainstream", Eastern Orthodox "traditionalists", and Oriental Orthodox members, the Indian members thereof are divided into two factions, one which does not recognize the other).ÂÂ  I respect GisC's right to think the GOC is heretical, but given that this is his opinion and not the consensus of the Orthodox Church, he will have to refrain from making such blanket statements.  If we are to have discussion, we have to facilitate it by not allowing blanket condemnations.

Some may object that I call the renovationists heretics but they have been condemned by the Orthodox Church so I feel competent to do so.ÂÂ  Some may object that I call Patriarch Meletios a mason but his name is listed on a Greek masonic website as a deceased member, and until someone takes his name off or shows me that the site is fake, I will believe the veracity of the claim.

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« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2005, 01:58:55 PM »

I think everyone here knows my position of the GOC (i.e that they are in either a schismatic or dubious state), but I don't think anyone could honestly state they are in heresy.  To me this is just seems to me one more case of GiC being more interested in using powerful sounding terms rather than reality. 
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« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2005, 02:48:56 PM »

Some may object that I call the renovationists heretics but they have been condemned by the Orthodox Church so I feel competent to do so.Î’ÂÂ  Some may object that I call Patriarch Meletios a mason but his name is listed on a Greek masonic website as a deceased member, and until someone takes his name off or shows me that the site is fake, I will believe the veracity of the claim.

My assessment of the 'GOC' as heretical is based on their own proclimations, proclamations that you reiterate. Let's use basic logic, with one axiom that I have long professed as a basis of my beliefs here and elsewhere (and incidently consonant with the faith of the Orthodox throughout the world) is that Constantinople, today, maintains the Fullness of the Christian Faith. By your own admission the 'GOC' regards the Great Church of Christ to be guilty of Heresy. Logically this would imply that the 'GOC' maintains doctrines that are inconsonant with the Proclamations of Constantinople and therefore Foreign to the Christian Faith (see above axiom). If maintaining doctrines foreign to the Christian Faith is not heresy, then perhaps we should commemorate 'Sts. Arius and Nestorius' this evening at vespers. Furthermore, Constantinople has made decrees to the effect that Old Calendarism IS a Heresy; it seems to me that you only object to people asserting the Faith of the Orthodox Church, but are more than happy to accept the slanderous statements of the pseudo-bishops of the 'GOC' (And no, it is not just my opinion that they are pseudo-bishops, lest someone try to libel me by such an accusation, for I know that both Constantinople and Athens, at the very least, have decreed that the Orders of the Old Calendarists to be invalid. This has been recently manifested by the fact that when His Excellency Metropolitan Paisios and His Grace Bishop Vikentios of St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery converted to Orthodoxy, the Great Church of Christ insisted on Ordaining them, for their previous 'ordinations' were invalid, thus they were laymen)).

So how about some consistency?
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« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2005, 04:19:54 PM »

Let's have harmony - Harmonia..... Roll Eyes Patriarch Meletios.
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« Reply #30 on: September 24, 2005, 05:22:30 PM »

My assessment of the 'GOC' as heretical is based on their own proclimations, proclamations that you reiterate. Let's use basic logic, with one axiom that I have long professed as a basis of my beliefs here and elsewhere (and incidently consonant with the faith of the Orthodox throughout the world) is that Constantinople, today, maintains the Fullness of the Christian Faith. By your own admission the 'GOC' regards the Great Church of Christ to be guilty of Heresy. Logically this would imply that the 'GOC' maintains doctrines that are inconsonant with the Proclamations of Constantinople and therefore Foreign to the Christian Faith (see above axiom). If maintaining doctrines foreign to the Christian Faith is not heresy, then perhaps we should commemorate 'Sts. Arius and Nestorius' this evening at vespers. Furthermore, Constantinople has made decrees to the effect that Old Calendarism IS a Heresy; it seems to me that you only object to people asserting the Faith of the Orthodox Church, but are more than happy to accept the slanderous statements of the pseudo-bishops of the 'GOC' (And no, it is not just my opinion that they are pseudo-bishops, lest someone try to libel me by such an accusation, for I know that both Constantinople and Athens, at the very least, have decreed that the Orders of the Old Calendarists to be invalid. This has been recently manifested by the fact that when His Excellency Metropolitan Paisios and His Grace Bishop Vikentios of St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery converted to Orthodoxy, the Great Church of Christ insisted on Ordaining them, for their previous 'ordinations' were invalid, thus they were laymen)).

So how about some consistency?

Yes, How about some konsistency?  Your argument may be logical If one akcepts your Axiom.  But why should they?  Bekause you Say so?   
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« Reply #31 on: September 24, 2005, 05:58:35 PM »

Yes, How about some konsistency?  Your argument may be logical If one akcepts your Axiom.  But why should they?  Bekause you Say so?  ÃƒÆ’‚Â

Concerning my spelling, there is a rhyme and reason to it...I noticed you were almost consistant in your using a 'k' for the 'k' sounding 'c,' except for in 'logical' Wink LOL...But back to the issue at hand. I dont expect everyone to accept or agree with my Axiom, but I do expect that it be recognized as a reasonable assumption for an Orthodox Christian under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, it's hardly a radical and fundamentalist posistion.

I've been called a heretic more than once on this form, it really doesn't bother me, provided you're willing to defend your posistion (and if you call me one, I'll probably call you one right back...lol). I enjoy my debates with EA, and especially like the frank honesty of Stavro, when he comes around, though God knows we rarely see eye to eye on anything, but we have generally debated on fair terms (though EA was probably unfairly targeted in one of our debates). When I ask for consistancy, I do not ask for agreement, I ask for an academic fairness, maintaining the same standards for both sides in a debate; in this particular case, as people on this forum have accused some New Calendarist Bishops of Heresy, without any official complaint, it should not be unreasonable for me to be able to accuse the Old Calendarist bishops of heresy...for it has already been established that our beliefs are not consonant with each other: Consistancy...Logical Consistancy.
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« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2005, 07:40:06 PM »

My assessment of the 'GOC' as heretical is based on their own proclimations, proclamations that you reiterate. Let's use basic logic, with one axiom that I have long professed as a basis of my beliefs here and elsewhere (and incidently consonant with the faith of the Orthodox throughout the world) is that Constantinople, today, maintains the Fullness of the Christian Faith. By your own admission the 'GOC' regards the Great Church of Christ to be guilty of Heresy. Logically this would imply that the 'GOC' maintains doctrines that are inconsonant with the Proclamations of Constantinople and therefore Foreign to the Christian Faith (see above axiom). If maintaining doctrines foreign to the Christian Faith is not heresy, then perhaps we should commemorate 'Sts. Arius and Nestorius' this evening at vespers. Furthermore, Constantinople has made decrees to the effect that Old Calendarism IS a Heresy; it seems to me that you only object to people asserting the Faith of the Orthodox Church, but are more than happy to accept the slanderous statements of the pseudo-bishops of the 'GOC' (And no, it is not just my opinion that they are pseudo-bishops, lest someone try to libel me by such an accusation, for I know that both Constantinople and Athens, at the very least, have decreed that the Orders of the Old Calendarists to be invalid. This has been recently manifested by the fact that when His Excellency Metropolitan Paisios and His Grace Bishop Vikentios of St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery converted to Orthodoxy, the Great Church of Christ insisted on Ordaining them, for their previous 'ordinations' were invalid, thus they were laymen)).

So how about some consistency?

The OCA received Archbishop Lazar as a bishop and lists his date of ordination as the day he was ordained by GOC bishops in Portugal.  When these GOC bishops joined the Polish Church, they were accepted as bishops as well.  ROCOR accepts the GOC bishops as Orthodox, as do some Serbian bishops.  The Jerusalem Patriarchate accepts GOC bishops as bishops and protested when Constantinople reordained Paisios and Vikentios.  Given that Orthodoxy is not papal, this shows that there is not a consensus as of yet on the state of the GOC.

None of this changes the fact that you were not warned for believing what you wrote above but for your polemical condemnation of Orthodox bishops.  This is a pan-Orthodox forum where people identifying themselves as Orthodox (i.e. Eastern Orthodox mainstream, traditionalists, and Oriental Orthodox of all Churches and factions thereof) are allowed to participate with no one being forced to accept the others necessarily although some would and do.  Because of the independent nature of this forum, polite rules of discourse are in order.  You simply cannot issue blanket condemnations; you could have easily expressed the same thought by ways of stating, "ROCOR's position is in doubt by the EP because of its ordinations of GOC bishops, which it considers schismatic"; and if you had done that, you would have been left alone.

You may in the end be proven right, but it won't matter if you don't learn how to express yourself without offending others unnecessarily.

For the record, if an Old Calendarist came here and preached that the EP is a psuedo-bishop he would be warned just the same as you, due to the guidelines I issued above. You are not going to label me inconsistent as I have and do continue to warn people even when they are my friends or I agree with them, if they break forum rules.

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« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2005, 07:44:09 PM »

Concerning my spelling, there is a rhyme and reason to it...I noticed you were almost consistant in your using a 'k' for the 'k' sounding 'c,' except for in 'logical' Wink LOL...But back to the issue at hand. I dont expect everyone to accept or agree with my Axiom, but I do expect that it be recognized as a reasonable assumption for an Orthodox Christian under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, it's hardly a radical and fundamentalist posistion.

I've been called a heretic more than once on this form, it really doesn't bother me, provided you're willing to defend your posistion (and if you call me one, I'll probably call you one right back...lol). I enjoy my debates with EA, and especially like the frank honesty of Stavro, when he comes around, though God knows we rarely see eye to eye on anything, but we have generally debated on fair terms (though EA was probably unfairly targeted in one of our debates). When I ask for consistancy, I do not ask for agreement, I ask for an academic fairness, maintaining the same standards for both sides in a debate; in this particular case, as people on this forum have accused some New Calendarist Bishops of Heresy, without any official complaint, it should not be unreasonable for me to be able to accuse the Old Calendarist bishops of heresy...for it has already been established that our beliefs are not consonant with each other: Consistancy...Logical Consistancy.

If this has happened, point it out, where someone is calling someone a heretic without justification and contrary to the norms that I have laid down, and we will warn them. The only reason I warned you is I happened to read your post. I don't read all posts and I don't really moderate much anymore anyway. But I do strive for consistency and so find the offending posts and report them. But if you go back through the archives, I have warned individuals who insulted your side as well.

I am so very much for consistency that I will go so far as to say if I myself have ever been guilty in recent history of calling your bishops heretics without explanation, then report my post and let Mor Ephrem warn me.

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« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2005, 09:03:09 PM »

The OCA received Archbishop Lazar as a bishop and lists his date of ordination as the day he was ordained by GOC bishops in Portugal.ÂÂ  When these GOC bishops joined the Polish Church, they were accepted as bishops as well.ÂÂ  ROCOR accepts the GOC bishops as Orthodox, as do some Serbian bishops.ÂÂ  The Jerusalem Patriarchate accepts GOC bishops as bishops and protested when Constantinople reordained Paisios and Vikentios.ÂÂ  Given that Orthodoxy is not papal, this shows that there is not a consensus as of yet on the state of the GOC.

There are also examples of us receiving Latin clergy without re(?)ordination; are the Latins now Orthodox. If I recall properly the First Oecumenical Synod even allows to receive Arian clergy without re(?)ordination, are we forbidden to regard them as heretics on this account? My Patriarch has made a statement by the aforementioned re(?)ordination, a statement that I will stand by as representative of the Orthodox Church as a whole, and even if some may have protested, I do not believe anyone saw it as cause to break communion, so their objections couldn't have been too strong.

Quote
You simply cannot issue blanket condemnations; you could have easily expressed the same thought by ways of stating, "ROCOR's position is in doubt by the EP because of its ordinations of GOC bishops, which it considers schismatic"; and if you had done that, you would have been left alone.

What about my saying 'ROCOR was too busy entering into Greece to ordain men who had been excommunicated from the Communion of the Orthodox Church as manifested by the Communion of the Several Patriarchates of the Orthodox, and who had adopted theological posistions (e.g. Old Calendarism) that are inconsonent with and contrary to the Orthodox Faith as Proclaimed by the aforementioned Communion.' Is it the expression of this very idea that is taboo, or are we just trying to be politically correct and avoid the 'h' word, even in a place that it would have, historically, been applied...this is done sometimes in ecumenical dialogue, but I was unaware that we were all such strong ecumenists as to be offended by a frank use of the 'h' word.

I am so very much for consistency that I will go so far as to say if I myself have ever been guilty in recent history of calling your bishops heretics without explanation, then report my post and let Mor Ephrem warn me.

I have my doubts, and generally dont like to complain about one's posts, but under this situation I'll make an exception and test the theory:

Some may object that I call the renovationists heretics but they have been condemned by the Orthodox Church so I feel competent to do so.

MOR EPHREM!!!

Ah, so all we 'reonvationists' are heretics? This would include, if you're using the word in the manner that most other Old Calendarists use it, which I believe to be a more than reasonable assumption, such Great Oecumenical Patriarchs as His All-Holiness Meletios of Blessed Memory, His All-Holiness Athenagoras of Blessed Memory, and His All-Holiness Bartholomew Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, and by extension all His loyal subjects who support the Policies of the Oecumenical Patriarchate over the last century (such as myself). Considering the fact that ALL the Autocephalous Churches have maintained Communion with the Great Church of Christ, it is hardly justifyable to say that the Orthodox Church has condemned our Blessed Oecumenical Patriarchs. Unless of course, you define the posistion of the Orthodox Church to be the posistion of the GOC synod, but if it is unacceptable for me to define the posistion of the Orthodox as the posistion of the Great Church of Christ, it should be equally unacceptable to claim that the posistion of the synod of the GOC represents the posistion of the Orthodox Church.

I believe this statement more than justifies my impression of inconsistancy in the moderating of this thread.
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« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2005, 09:33:06 PM »

When I use the term Renovationists, I only mean the ones who were condemned as such: the ones in Russia. Would you prefer I say "Living Church" exclusively? I would be more than happy to do so.

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« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2005, 09:35:48 PM »

Quote
What about my saying 'ROCOR was too busy entering into Greece to ordain men who had been excommunicated from the Communion of the Orthodox Church as manifested by the Communion of the Several Patriarchates of the Orthodox, and who had adopted theological posistions (e.g. Old Calendarism) that are inconsonent with and contrary to the Orthodox Faith as Proclaimed by the aforementioned Communion.' Is it the expression of this very idea that is taboo, or are we just trying to be politically correct and avoid the 'h' word, even in a place that it would have, historically, been applied...this is done sometimes in ecumenical dialogue, but I was unaware that we were all such strong ecumenists as to be offended by a frank use of the 'h' word.

That statement seems fine to me although you might have to address the fact that the Jerusalem and Alexandrian patriarchates accepted Old Calendarists and the latter still does.  Like I keep saying, I don't like blanket condemnations, that's all. You could even say "people who are heretics in the eyes of the EP" or "people whom I consider to be heretics" and I probably wouldn't mind.

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« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2005, 11:19:41 PM »

Concerning my spelling, there is a rhyme and reason to it...I noticed you were almost consistant in your using a 'k' for the 'k' sounding 'c,' except for in 'logical' Wink LOL...

Doh!  I read over my post a few times to see if I had missed anything too! 
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« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2005, 11:35:15 PM »

When I use the term Renovationists, I only mean the ones who were condemned as such: the ones in Russia. Would you prefer I say "Living Church" exclusively? I would be more than happy to do so.

Since when I generally see this term used by the Old Calendarists it refers not only to the Living Church in Russia, but also to various Oecumenical Patriarchs, I would think that such a qualifier should be necessary; or, at least, more necessary than me qualifying my statement of heretic/schismatic with the statement 'in the eyes of the Oecumenical Patriarchate,' since the fact that I believe the Oecumenical Throne to be the Standard of Orthodoxy has been long established on this forum. Thus, I really dont see how my statement is substantially different than the one you made following it up.
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« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2005, 11:45:46 PM »

Since when I generally see this term used by the Old Calendarists it refers not only to the Living Church in Russia, but also to various Oecumenical Patriarchs, I would think that such a qualifier should be necessary; or, at least, more necessary than me qualifying my statement of heretic/schismatic with the statement 'in the eyes of the Oecumenical Patriarchate,' since the fact that I believe the Oecumenical Throne to be the Standard of Orthodoxy has been long established on this forum. Thus, I really dont see how my statement is substantially different than the one you made following it up.

People come into this forum at different points, and many might not know you and your style.

In the interest of fairness, I will not use the term renovationist at all. If I wish to refer to the Living Church heretics, I will use that appellation each and every time.

Anastasios
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« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2005, 12:41:42 AM »

People come into this forum at different points, and many might not know you and your style.

In the interest of fairness, I will not use the term renovationist at all. If I wish to refer to the Living Church heretics, I will use that appellation each and every time.

Yet you did not qualify it at that time, and if I, who has been on this forum for quite some time, could confuse the usage, I'm quite certain that someone just comming in could make such a mistake quite easily. But then again, who comes to an internet forum, reads a thread, and is convinced that everything said is dogma?

As I was reading back through this thread, I also came across something else you wrote:

Quote
Constantinople itself remained in communion with ROCOR until ROCOR broke with it when it fell completely and irrevocably into the heresy of ecumenism in 1965 with the lifting of the anathemas.

Here you are Claiming that the Oecumenical Throne 'fell completely and irrevocably' into heresy, if that isn't an obvious and blatant accusation of heresy against Patriarch Athenagoras of Blessed Memory, Patriarch Bartholomew, and all under the Oecumenical Throne, I don't know what is. And we should note that you did not say 'fell completely and irrevocably into the heresy of ecumenism according to ROCOR' or 'fell completely...according to the GOC' or 'fell completely...in my Opinion,' rather it was stated as a unquestionable fact, despite the fact that the Vast Majority of people who even Call themselves Orthodox in the world (as this seems to be our new standard of Orthodox on this forum) would disagree that the patriarch did anything that could be regarded as heresy by virtue of their remaining in communin with the Great Church of Christ.

MOR EPHREM!!! We need some consistancy here! (or konsistancy, if you prefer Wink )
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« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2005, 01:08:52 AM »

OK GisC, You got me Smiley  I should have said, "Constantinople from ROCOR's point of view fell into the heresy of ecumenism."  I was pretty irked at you at the time though, so I fell out of my usually more sober posting style Smiley

I still think that it would be worse if I would just without qualification say "your ecumenist bishops."

At any rate, I think I am showing good will in agreeing not to use the term renovationist.  And I will attempt to be more careful myself in the future.

And since you found an instance where I posted short-sightedly, I will remove your warning to be extra fair.

Now can we please stop bickering about this stupidity?* LOL

Anastasios

*(the warning issue, not the issue of ecumenism and who is the church, which is certainly important!)
« Last Edit: September 25, 2005, 01:10:32 AM by Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2005, 05:23:44 AM »

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Ah, yes, the reason that I think the Liturgy should not be celebrated in English is because of self-hatred, despite the fact that I have often praised very highly the english language

Yes, I still believe it is self hatred to think your own native language is insufficent for liturgical worship.  And quite frankly you praise a very artificial form of English, so hardly real English. 

Quote
the Liturgy was written in Greek and in Greek it has several nuances that are lost in translation, at times even having theological implications, nor could it be that in Greek the Liturgy is carefully constructed verse while in English it is little more than entoned prose. Somethings, like Shakespeare are best read and only fully understandable in English, likewise Virgil is best read in Latin, and Homer should be found in Greek; as our Divine Liturgy is no less in dingity than these Great secular works, why should we not give it the respect and honour due even to these secular works by only celebrating it in the tongue in which it was written, so that the full beauty and meaning that it was intended manifest can be portrayed.

But Orthodox liturgical worship is not just poetry or literature, it is the common prayer of the people.  The history and practice of the church is not on your side in this - the vast majority of Orthodox Christians do not worship in Greek.  I would agree that a low or vulgar form of a language is not fit for liturgical language, or that something like the English is the King James Bible is the best choice for liturgical use. 

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Though the spoken language of the time was probably somewhere half way between Classical Greek and Modern Greek, the Liturgy was written in Classical Greek, with extra scholarly complexities added in that would have made it difficult for Fourth Century Athenians to understand

Even today the liturgy is not incomprehensible to Greeks.  But to an American hearing a Greek liturgy it is Greek to him.  Now in other discussions on this forum I have stated that I think it is wrong for converts to force a parish to loose their ethinic identity and that some Greek/Russian in the Liturgy is not a bad thing.  Finding a healthy balence isn't unreasonable.  There are several people I know personally thay would not be Orthodox today if there wasn't parishes that use almost all English. 

Quote
Well, then I am a fool, especially for the latin language. Plus, I think you could have come up with a better example, Dante vs. Virgil? Come on, there's no contest; when one says 'The Poet' one of two people will come to mind (depending on whether you're a hellenist or latinist), Dante is not one of those two

That is too bad that you don't appreciate the Divine Commedy, nor the fact that it is a great piece of literature written in the vernacular.  While classical literature is good and has it place, it would be very sad to overlook great modern literature.

Quote
I, for one, view the beauty and efficiency of a language to be directly proportional, high levels of inflection, lack of articles or other understood/non-essential words, interchangability between nouns, adjectives, and verbs, et cetera.

All very arbitrary and somewhat illogical.  French is oft considered one of the greatest literary languages and once upon a time was spoken by most of the educated in Europe.  Yet German retained more inflection and archaic grammar than French. 

But as I have been saying all along, eloquence, beauty and precision are much more related to the author's command of a language than the language itself.

Quote
Yet some are more elegant than others and, though with Indo-European languages the Ancient Tongues are probably preferable to the modern ones, this is not the case in all languages; from what I know of the Finno-Ugric languages, I would probably argue that the opposite is the case, many of these languages seem to actually improve with time, becoming more inflected and more efficient.

But how is more inflected, always better?  What you seem to not appreciate is that there are completely different means of expression.  What of a tonal system in the language that adds a whole new element of expression?  Or if you want beauty look at the Chinese writting system - dialects that are mutually unitelligible are written identically - and each word being such art? 

My point still being is that you have arbitrarily selected a culture and language to idolize and are trying to impose that on others to the detriment of the great commission. 
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