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Author Topic: Sergianism and the Byzantine Empire  (Read 1224 times) Average Rating: 0
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minasoliman
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« on: September 30, 2005, 06:58:20 PM »

Dear all,

I really never understood why Sergianism was considered a heresy.  Was there something other than supporting the government that made Patriarch Sergius a "heretic"?

If not, then how is any different than the Byzantine and Roman empires who always showed great support for the Emperial government?

God bless.
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2005, 07:09:43 PM »

The difference is basically that the Soviets were killing millions of Orthodox Christians, but the Patriarch essentially agreed to look the other way, and make statements that made it sound like everything was perfectly fine. It would be like America today rounding up all the Jews and putting them in concentration camps that were designed to kill them while at the same time getting forced labor out of them, and murdering them in large numbers, and then the Jewish leaders of America, even though they knew what was going on, issuing statements talking about how they supported the American government. Basically, Sergius felt like he had two options:

1) Make a stand on principle, and be murdered like all the other ecclesiastics who didn't flee into exil or hide in the "catacombs".

2) Pretend like everything is ok, continue to live, and work for changing things and somehow holding Orthodoxy together.

So he chose option 2, and tried to hold the Church together by using some questionable tactics. I mean, obviously reality is much more complicated that I am saying here, but that's the long and short of why some consider Sergianism a heresy.
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minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2005, 08:24:07 PM »

Oh I see...

Did the Soviet government really directly show animosity to the Russian Orthodox, like let's say the Nazis in Germany did to Jews?  Or was it "Communist people" who happened to support the government, while the government would not vocally support these people?

In Egypt, I could have sworn the Egyptian President doesn't even care about Copts, but then again, our Pope seems to have supported him in the Presidential race, and Mubarak doesn't show any support to killings of Copts and destruction of their churches, even though it happens by those who "support" the government.

God bless.
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Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2005, 09:01:43 PM »

Unfortunately, the Soviest government itself was responsible for the stuff that went on, though admittedly there was a lot more playing into it than religion, especially the Soviet Leader's (Stalin, Lenin, etc.) fears that there would be a revolution which would overthrow them. The Soviet state tried a number of different things to destroy Orthodox Christianity, including setting up a modernist church that had the form but not the substance of Orthodoxy, and sometimes just plain old persecuting anyone who admitted to being Orthodox. Children, for example, were not allowed to attend Church. Sermons were supposed to be cleared with the local authorities before they could be delivered. Being Orthodox was excuse enough to run you into the Gulag and probably kill you (actually, according to what is said in The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn, just about any reason was good enough to throw you in the Gulag). In reality, Sergius' declaration had some effect, but not nearly as much as he had hoped (or was led to believe that it would have). It wasn't until the 2nd World War that the Soviet government lightened up considerably on Orthodoxy, and then only because, seeing that 3 decades of persecution had not destroyed the Church, it changed tactics and used the Church even more than it had before as a tool to further it's own aims.

I can't imagine what it would have been like to live in those times. I don't personally call Sergius a heretic. Not anymore anyway. That's not my call to make. I am sorry that there are still similar situations going on today as well. SadÂÂ  Fwiw, the introduction of the first book on Fr. Arseny had this to say about the Soviet government's treatment of Christians:

Quote
"...it has been revealed that six hundred bishops, forty thousand priests, and one hundred twenty thousand monks and nuns were killed during this period. Many of these died in the harsh conditions of prison or labor camp; others were shot or buried alive. By the end of Stalin's dictatorship, only some two hundred priests remained active in the Soviet Union. The scale of this martyrdom is unprecedented in the history of the Christian Church.

Those who attended church services were watched carefully; they often lost their jobs and other opportunities--their children could be refused entry to universities... religious education of any kind at home, in church, or at school was strictly forbidden, as was all religious literature." - Father Arseny: 1893-1973; Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father, (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2001), pp. vi-vii
« Last Edit: September 30, 2005, 09:04:54 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

"I haven't done anything wrong, and I won't be hounded by you and your soulless minions of orthodoxy! I haven't broken any laws... except perhaps the laws of nature." - Dr. Elias Giger
minasoliman
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2005, 09:16:26 PM »

Thank you.

I guess the situation is not the same like Egypt, since it's a very grey area, and we may never know the full story of support, except that it seems to us the Pope is concerned to keep alive for what is left in the Coptic Christian population.

Thank you for helping me out.  I appreciate it.

God bless.
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Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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