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BishopMark
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« on: December 01, 2005, 11:49:25 AM »

Hello all ...

First ...let me introduce myself. I am Archbishop Mark Pultorak, Patriarch of The American Orthodox Catholic Church - Propheta Jurisdiction.  We were formerly known as The national Orthodox Catholic Church. The post I am renewing discussion on is ... the OCA, what is it?

There was much gross misinformation in the post.  Yes, Mar Anthony was part of us at the time.  We have since separated, though we remain very close friends.

Secondly ... we are not vagantes ... we have active ministries and are growing.

Third ... we are in absolute direct Apostolic Succession to the foundations of the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States via Patriarch St. Tikhon through out founder ... Archbishop Walter Myron Propheta of Blessed Memory. I can prove this if anyone doubts it.

We are not the OCA.  The OCA is a completely separate Jurisdiction, though they have the same lines of succession.  They came about in a very different way than the AOCC.

Bishop Mark



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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2005, 12:05:23 PM »

Hello all ...

First ...let me introduce myself. I am Archbishop Mark Pultorak, Patriarch of The American Orthodox Catholic Church - Propheta Jurisdiction.ÂÂ  We were formerly known as The national Orthodox Catholic Church. The post I am renewing discussion on is ... the OCA, what is it?

There was much gross misinformation in the post.ÂÂ  Yes, Mar Anthony was part of us at the time.ÂÂ  We have since separated, though we remain very close friends.

Secondly ... we are not vagantes ... we have active ministries and are growing.

Third ... we are in absolute direct Apostolic Succession to the foundations of the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States via Patriarch St. Tikhon through out founder ... Archbishop Walter Myron Propheta of Blessed Memory. I can prove this if anyone doubts it.

We are not the OCA.ÂÂ  The OCA is a completely separate Jurisdiction, though they have the same lines of succession.ÂÂ  They came about in a very different way than the AOCC.

Bishop Mark

Dear Bishop Mark,

Welcome to the forum.  You state that, "Secondly ... we are not vagantes ... we have active ministries and are growing."  My question to you is: how many parishes do you have that have buildings and a clergyman for them (I am not concerned with the quantity per se but it figures into the picture of your jurisdiction), how many faithful do you have (again, I am not concerned with numbers per se but you are claiming the title patriarch), and do you have generational members more than 3 generations (i.e. do you have families that have been members of your church from great-grandparents to grandparents to parents to children)?

When you start to talk about apostolic succession, you get me worried though. You speak of it in very Roman Catholic terms, as if getting ordained makes you a bishop even if your ordainer has left the communion of the Church.  I don't doubt that you have a hands-on-head apostolic succession, but as you claim to be Orthodox I am sure that you know that the Orthodox Church does not believe in mere hands-on-head apostolic succession.  Espousing the Orthodox Faith and communion with other Orthodox--especially the Ecumenical Patriarchate, unless he is in heresy--are other factors in the equation.  Why are you separated from the other Orthodox Churches? I understand that from 1927 to 1950, times were very difficult, but now it is 2005 and it is pretty clear who the accepted Orthodox parties are.

I am not trying to be combative but I don't know many people in real life who herald from the Propheta heritage and so I am actually quite curious.

Anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2005, 04:32:00 PM »


I am not trying to be combative but I don't know many people in real life who herald from the Propheta heritage and so I am actually quite curious.

Anastasios

Ditto.  Never heard of them.  Who the heck are they?
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2005, 05:36:36 PM »

Regarding Archbishop Mark and his church, Anastasios and I largely agree.

I can respect something that has real congregations/real ministries, even if I don't agree with its religion. That respect goes up if you've got generational members. Three generations? Better still. (The way I respect the black Seventh-Day Adventist church across the street from my house, for example.)

But whilst most vagantes haven't got those things, one can have them and still be a vagante.

The 'lines of succession' argument alone doesn't fly with the Orthodox as A. explained. If a group that claims to be Orthodox uses that term, that's a clue that it isn't. The Orthodox believe it matters and claim it but, as A. said, their view of episcopacy doesn't begin with it or consider it the main point.

Who was Walter Propheta?

From what I've gathered, and I know a former Propheta-ordained priest, he was a born Orthodox of Ukrainian heritage. I think he was a priest with the then-uncanonical (in the 1930s) Ukrainian Orthodox Church (the one that's now under Constantinople) but later left them and became a vagante bishop. I think he was based in New York City.

Apparently after that he ordained a lot of different kinds of people so his name often comes up in vagante claims to apostolic succession (like that of Archbishop Mark's church), along with Arnold Harris Mathew (a former Old Catholic bishop), Joseph René Vilatte, Carmel Henry Carfora, Rudolph de Landes Berghes (an Austrian prince - all four of the men just named were ex-RCs) and Aftimios (Ofiesh, a quondam real Orthodox bishop who ordained several fellows who later turned vagante; he later married and after that was no longer active as a bishop).

The last is often why these groups claim to be Orthodox (they have his 'line') but A. has explained that it doesn't work that way with the Orthodox. And why they claim the same 'lines' as the OCA (the old Russian Orthodox dioceses of America - Aftimios was one of their bishops!).
« Last Edit: December 01, 2005, 05:41:24 PM by The young fogey » Logged

BishopMark
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2005, 11:33:07 PM »

Archbishop Propheta was actually a Mitred Archpriest with the UOCA began by Archbishop Joseph Zuk, and was its Chancellor under Archbishop Bodhan Schpylka, who was consecrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople for the UOCA after Archbishop Zuk's death.

Propheta left the UOCA after a rubrical disagreement with Archbishop Schpylka ... then was consecrated by two ARchbishops in absolutely valid succession to Aftimios Ofiesh ... Joachim Souris and Theodotus DeWitow.  Souris was consecrated by Peter Zhurawetsky who was under Archbishop Christopher Contogeorge of the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Also ... Propheta was validated as a valid and canonical Bishop by Ecumenical Patriarch Atenagoras at Propheta's Cathedral in the Bronx.  The Jurisdiction given me to lead has the last remaining Hierarch from the 1964 foundation of the AOCC ... so I have all this information verified.

There is much false information out there concerning Archbishop Propheta, and I have yet to find anyone that even realizes there is one remaining Bishop from the original church. he was my consecrator.

Bishop Mark
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2005, 12:20:24 AM »

The Orthodox church's understanding of Apostolic Succession includes the complementary elements of the succession of episcopacy (i.e. the approval of the current bishops for the ordination of the new one - manifested through the presence of 2 or more bishops at the ordination, each of whom must be in communion with the church), the succession of the community (i.e. the approval of the local community for the ordination of their new bishop, through the AXIOS at the ordination), and the succession of the living, breathing tradition of the Church as contained in the relationship between the community, their bishop, and the other bishops (through the maitnance of the faith without heresy, and through the continued communion with the rest of the Church).

I do not know the circumstances regarding the succession that you describe, or how they fit into the first two criteria; even if the succession you describe above is indeed true through the approval of the church and the people, it is still possible for one's community and bishop, while rightly ordained, to fall out of the Apostolic succession of the Church - through heresy, schism, etc.

Statements like "Propheta left the UOCA after a rubrical disagreement," as you have stated above, leave open the window for a falling out of the succession, since the conditions stated for leaving the communion of the Church don't fall into the description of conditions as set forth as permissable by the Holy Tradition of the Church as expounded through the Ecumenical Councils.  As stated in another thread (Patriarch Bartholomew vs Esphigmenou Monastery - http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=7635.75) ceasing commemoration for anything short of heresy - i.e. causing schism for non-doctrinal reasons - is explicitly condemned by the Church.

So I would probably re-state the full reasons for leaving the UOCA, other than just a "rubrical disagreement," unless you would like to leave this whole possibility out there for people's consideration.
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2005, 10:13:48 AM »

The rubrical disagreement stemmed simply from this ... Archbishop Propheta left the UOCA because the Parish pastored by Propheta - St. Mary's in Plainfield, NJ - sought to have English brought into the Divine Liturgy and Archbishop Bodhan Schpylka would not sanction a change from the traditional Church Slavonic.

Also FYI ... Propheta, with the approbation of Schpylka, worked on a national and international level in fighting tirelessly against communism.  That is documented in the New York Times.

Bishop Mark

P.S. And thank you for the welcome to this list.  We are here to try to break down walls rather than build new ones.
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2005, 11:01:21 AM »

Quote
Archbishop Propheta was actually a Mitred Archpriest with the UOCA began by Archbishop Joseph Zuk, and was its Chancellor under Archbishop Bodhan Schpylka, who was consecrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople for the UOCA after Archbishop Zuk's death.

So he used to be an Orthodox priest like I read. Also, I understand from Samer that 'Title Surname' isn't only Roman Rite usage but Arabic Orthodox as well, but isn't the Slavic Orthodox custom 'Title First Name' so it'd be 'Archbishop Walter' (Vladimir, Volodymyr)?

Quote
Propheta left the UOCA after a rubrical disagreement with Archbishop Schpylka ... The rubrical disagreement stemmed simply from this ... Archbishop Propheta left the UOCA because the Parish pastored by Propheta - St. Mary's in Plainfield, NJ - sought to have English brought into the Divine Liturgy and Archbishop Bodhan Schpylka would not sanction a change from the traditional Church Slavonic.

That would get a sympathetic reaction today and of course in this forum where many Orthodox speak only English. That schism seems to put Propheta in the category of people not exactly vagantes but in a grey area outside the recognised Orthodox but not really seen as 'other' either, like the Ukrainian Orthodox Church itself before going under Constantinople, or the Bulgarian Church after it initially broke with C'ople. (Nationalist splits, which often reconcile with the larger church and thanks to economy have their orders accepted without reordination etc.)

But the proliferation of vagante groups that claim him as a founding father confirms the stories I've been told - by an ex-priest of Propheta's and by Archimandrite Serge (Keleher), a Russian Catholic priest - that he ordained just about anything that moved. So if he was outside the recognised Orthodox communion and didn't act like an Orthodox bishop, then he wasn't an Orthodox bishop. He may have been a kind man, anti-Communist, etc., but that's not the issue.

And since most Orthodox in America have come around to accepting Propheta's use of the local vernacular, why have a separate Propheta group and not simply be Orthodox again?

Quote
then was consecrated by two Archbishops in absolutely valid succession to Aftimios Ofiesh

Please re-read Anastasios', my and cleveland's posts in this thread. Propheta may have been seen as a valid but irregular bishop by the Roman Catholic Church* but 'valid succession' by itself, outside the context of the recognised Orthodox communion, means bubkes to the Orthodox. Such might be received in his orders economically but outside that communion he's part of the great unknown ('we know where the church is; we can't speculate regarding where she is not'), as 'valid' or not as your town's Methodist minister. IOW, he was a non-Orthodox bishop of a non-Orthodox group.

Quote
And thank you for the welcome to this list.  We are here to try to break down walls rather than build new ones.

The moderators and regulars here, including those who represent the Orthodox, are in a position to answer your thanks but as an observer I think it's fair to expect to be welcome but with the understanding that here you are considered a non-Orthodox bishop. That's not an insult, simply a logical conclusion of the ecclesiology this site promotes (which I understand is what Orthodoxy teaches).

*And maybe/probably not because Fr Aidan Nichols says Rome holds that the Orthodox have the power of the keys over their own people, which applies to Propheta as a born Orthodox. Thus because the Orthodox don't recognise his episcopacy, neither does Rome.
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2005, 11:46:03 AM »

Dear Archbishop Mark,

I tend to agree with what Serge (The Young Fogey) wrote above.  I understand that Contageorge was eventually accepted as an Orthodox bishop and the exarch of Alexandria. Fine.  I understand that Fan Noli consecrated with him. Great.  I understand that at one time, Ofiesh was an Orthodox bishop and that some of his ordinations were authentic.  But as Serge points out, even if all of the above were real Orthodox bishops, at some point they began ordaining irresponisibly.  As someone who states he is an Orthodox patriarch no less, I am sure you are aware of the canonical tradition and that ordinations without the permission of the Metropolitan or patriarch are simply not authentic--they just didn't happen (invalid to use western terminology which is helpful on this point).  At some point, Ofiesh was deposed for marrying and ceased to be an Orthodox bishop.  Was Archbishop Walter Propheta ordained after this or before?  And even if he were ordained before, as we keep saying, at any point he could have lost his bishopric by acting uncanonically or in schism.

As Serge points out, this is now not then.  We have English in every jurisdiction from OCA to Greek Old Calendarist being used.  Isn't it time to come back into communion with the rest of the Orthodox? That's the only way we can really break down the wall you brought up.  Or are there other issues that separate us, that you feel warrent your separation from the other Orthodox?

Sincerely,

Anastasios
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2005, 01:02:46 PM »

Why not have a Patriarch on this board?  It's only a title after all.  These days you can join the United Orthodox Church of Timbuctoo or Milan Synod, become a bishop and then get recognized by a regular Orthodox Church. 
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2005, 02:13:29 PM »

Why not have a Patriarch on this board?ÂÂ  It's only a title after all.ÂÂ  These days you can join the United Orthodox Church of Timbuctoo or Milan Synod, become a bishop and then get recognized by a regular Orthodox Church.ÂÂ  

Somehow that strikes me as a bad idea. First someone claiming to be a Patriarch, then the Pope, and the next thing you know, Jesus will be posting here!ÂÂ  Tongue
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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2005, 02:23:57 PM »

... and the next thing you know, Jesus will be posting here!  Tongue

How do you know He doesn't already?   Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2005, 02:28:35 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=7667.msg99789#msg99789 date=1133547837]
How do you know He doesn't already?  ÃƒÆ’‚ Cheesy
[/quote]

Heh, yeah that would be a surprise for some people they way they post. What would the ISP be called? Heaven Online?  Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2005, 02:29:09 PM »

[quote author=ÃŽ‘ριστοκλής link=topic=7667.msg99789#msg99789 date=1133547837]
How do you know He doesn't already?   Cheesy   [/quote]

If He did, He'd probably be attacked constantly!
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2005, 02:31:56 PM »

If He did, He'd probably be attacked constantly!

Yeah, people would be like, where does this Dude get His beliefs? Tongue
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2005, 08:10:25 PM »

This is the last post I will make on this board.  I gave my hand in friendship and brotherhood and it was slapped.  Tell me something ... is this what our Savior would do?  Would He have reacted this way?  Somehow I think not.  And you call yourselves Orthodox ... where is the Christian Charity and Agape our Savior spoke of?  Obviously it is non-existent here.  Myself , my Clergy and my Jurisdiction will have nothing more to do with you.  I suggest you align yourselves with other judgemental groups like SCOBA.

Bishop Mark
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2005, 08:19:40 PM »

This is the last post I will make on this board.ÂÂ  I gave my hand in friendship and brotherhood and it was slapped.ÂÂ  Tell me something ... is this what our Savior would do?ÂÂ  Would He have reacted this way?ÂÂ  Somehow I think not.ÂÂ  And you call yourselves Orthodox ... where is the Christian Charity and Agape our Savior spoke of?ÂÂ  Obviously it is non-existent here.ÂÂ  Myself , my Clergy and my Jurisdiction will have nothing more to do with you.ÂÂ  I suggest you align yourselves with other judgemental groups like SCOBA.

Bishop Mark

I am sorry you are leaving so soon Sad

I am also sorry if I have said anything to offend you. If you can ever find it in your heart to forgive me, please come back.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2005, 08:24:21 PM »

Seems like with all orthodox its ... God help you if you don't agree with us.  I have found many to be no better than the Roman Catholic Church, so concerned about image that one cannot accept that there may be other Orthodox Churches that are not under Constantinople.  Well, I guess ignorance is bliss.
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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2005, 08:29:27 PM »

Seems like with all orthodox its ... God help you if you don't agree with us.ÂÂ  I have found many to be no better than the Roman Catholic Church, so concerned about image that one cannot accept that there may be other Orthodox Churches that are not under Constantinople.ÂÂ  Well, I guess ignorance is bliss.


Well maybe so, and maybe, not, it's not really my place to say, but I guess we should love everyone whether they are Orthodox or not, no?
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2005, 08:55:34 PM »

Seems like with all orthodox its ... God help you if you don't agree with us.   

It is really: God help you if you don't agree, and God help us, for we don't even practice what we preach.

I have found many to be no better than the Roman Catholic Church, so concerned about image that one cannot accept that there may be other Orthodox Churches that are not under Constantinople.  Well, I guess ignorance is bliss. 

You do realise that, for those who pay attention to the Tradition of the Church, even in the utmost state of Love and compassion for one's neighbors, Orthodoxy does not permit the existence of Orthodox Churches outside of the communion of the faith; those who are outside of the communion are simply not fully Orthodox.  That is why we put much effort into reunion talks with the OO - so that we can both acknowledge the other as fully Orthodox and so we can go back to the state of being one Church.

I'm sorry if this comes off as being stand-off-ish, or triumphalistic, or mean-spirited; it is not intended to be.  I am happy to hear that you are leading a ministry that is trying to reach out to people and bring them closer to Christ - we need more people doing that with a genuine heart in this world.  But as to the issue of the Orthodox Church acknowledging Orthodox Churches outside of the communion that it currently has, that would be to accept an oxymoron of sorts.
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« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2005, 09:00:54 PM »

You do realise that, for those who pay attention to the Tradition of the Church, even in the utmost state of Love and compassion for one's neighbors, Orthodoxy does not permit the existence of Orthodox Churches outside of the communion of the faith; those who are outside of the communion are simply not fully Orthodox.ÂÂ  That is why we put much effort into reunion talks with the OO - so that we can both acknowledge the other as fully Orthodox and so we can go back to the state of being one Church.

I'm sorry if this comes off as being stand-off-ish, or triumphalistic, or mean-spirited; it is not intended to be.ÂÂ  I am happy to hear that you are leading a ministry that is trying to reach out to people and bring them closer to Christ - we need more people doing that with a genuine heart in this world.ÂÂ  But as to the issue of the Orthodox Church acknowledging Orthodox Churches outside of the communion that it currently has, that would be to accept an oxymoron of sorts.

I guess I interpretted what he said incorrectly then. He said those under the EP, I thought that meant those not under direct authority of the EP, not meaning those who are in communion with th EP but aren't "under" him per say.
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« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2005, 09:03:37 PM »

I guess I interpretted what he said incorrectly then. He said those under the EP, I thought that meant those not under direct authority of the EP, not meaning those who are in communion with th EP but aren't "under" him per say.

Maybe it is I who misinterpreted... His statement directly says those under the EP, but I thought in my head that he meant to imply those who are in communion - but you may be right.
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« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2005, 09:06:38 PM »

Maybe it is I who misinterpreted... His statement directly says those under the EP, but I thought in my head that he meant to imply those who are in communion - but you may be right.

I doubt I am right. I am merely speculating, I don't really know. I guess the only way to find out what he meant is to ask him.
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« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2005, 12:30:26 AM »

I find it interesting that someone comes on our site, claims to be a patriarch, claims to be Orthodox, dodges questions, displays a total ignorance of the canonical tradition of the Church he claims to be a member of, gets offended at some people joking around and at some people questioning him and engaging him--politely, I may add--and then storms off, insulting the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church in the same breath as he leaves.

Maybe, Archbishop Mark, YOU should learn Christian charity.  And in addition, I don't think that Christ would want people to set up their own churches with no justification.  If you claim the titles and the positions, then you better stick around to answer for your actions, which you have not done.

Anastasios
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« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2005, 11:35:21 AM »

Maybe, Archbishop Mark, YOU should learn Christian charity.  And in addition, I don't think that Christ would want people to set up their own churches with no justification.  If you claim the titles and the positions, then you better stick around to answer for your actions, which you have not done.

Anastasios

Methinks he needs to be reminded of St. Stephen, who when questioned in the most hostile way, provided a biblical testimonial for his beliefs, and remained faithful to Christ in turmoil - allowing him to become a beacon of Christ...

Of course, if we do act like true Christians, then there is a great chance we'll get martyred... all for the cause ;-)
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2005, 10:20:10 AM »

Your  Grace, Archbishop Mark

I was able to go to your website and find it very attractive and informative. I was unsure from it, however, what your jursidictions policy was on the ordination of women, I noted that you do have a seminary within your jurisdiction.  Could you provide further information on your jurisdiction's stand on the ordination of women?

In Christ,
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2005, 03:47:17 PM »

I must reply to this thread

As an Orthodox Christian of the Greek Tradition, I have to wonder to myself, "Why is someone claiming to be a patriarch but doesn't have the slightest inkling of the Orthodox Tradition?"ÂÂ  Instead of claiming to be patriarch and perusing the internet fora, why don't you do something more monastic, say, constant prayer?!?!?

Rather than claiming the title patriarch, why don't you get a real job or go to a real monastery and lead a holy and angelic life while saving your own souls and those of others by your prayers?ÂÂ  I can't but be sad at the present jurisdictional crises in our church.ÂÂ  But this, friends, is ridiculous.ÂÂ  

I honestly don't think that this guy actually believes he is a patriarch.ÂÂ  Perhaps this is like a weekend thing for him.ÂÂ  

emmanuelmelo
« Last Edit: December 05, 2005, 10:42:20 AM by Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2005, 10:43:23 AM »

Emmanuel,

I had to remove the last line of your post because it could be construed as slander, even though I know you were probably being hyperbolic.

I agree with your general position though: living a life of incessant noetic prayer will do more.

Anastasios
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