Author Topic: About the Amazing Stories of Saints  (Read 1335 times)

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Offline Αριστοτελης

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About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« on: February 13, 2018, 02:26:14 AM »
Dear brothers and sisters who have converted to the Orthodox Church,

Did you ever have trouble in accepting the stories of saints which mention dragons and stories such as these?

Did you come to accept them or have you rejected them while retaining the meaning of the stories?

I ask this also to potential converts.

Apparently also, the Catholic church wiped away the memory of certain saints because they deemed their stories false.
Arguing for the primacy of the Pope while he is in heresy is like saying to someone who wants to retain their health, "Go to the hospital even though the hospital no longer functions".

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018, 04:11:36 AM »
Trusting histories of saints is important, but one never knows the actual sources, so finding some dragons or shady kings here and there shouldn't shake our faith. Menologia don't fall ready from heaven. Even stories with dragons and shady kings are edifying and often even hide deep symbolism.
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Offline Αριστοτελης

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2018, 04:48:17 AM »
Trusting histories of saints is important, but one never knows the actual sources, so finding some dragons or shady kings here and there shouldn't shake our faith. Menologia don't fall ready from heaven. Even stories with dragons and shady kings are edifying and often even hide deep symbolism.

True. Personally I believe all the stories I read of the saints. Once I listened to an Orthodox monk undermine so much of these stories, saying much of the content is from gnostic sources. It not only shaked me but annoyed me since he was monk.
Arguing for the primacy of the Pope while he is in heresy is like saying to someone who wants to retain their health, "Go to the hospital even though the hospital no longer functions".

Offline LBK

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018, 04:51:16 AM »
Below is a comment by an Orthodox priest I greatly respect for his wisdom. While he is not specifically speaking of dragons and mythical creatures in the lives of saints, he is speaking on the life of St Mary of Egypt, whose life as recorded by the Church, and expressed in icons and hymns to the saint, could be seen as somewhat fanciful by some, who see such details as a "burden" to faith as described in Matt. 23:4:

"For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."

I am not sure what the Lord's words have to do with this discussion, as He is speaking to the lifeless following of the ancient Law as a proof-text for faith. This does not seem to me to be applicable. Being spiritually bound to Holy Tradition, including the Church services and its hymns, Church buildings and their iconography, Saints and their lives, in all its fullness, is not a burden being laid upon anyone. Certainly these things cannot be 'used' as a demonstration of faithfulness. But, they are a joy to the faithful heart, they are a sure guide in the darkness of this world, and I would hesitate to imagine with what sort of scalpel I might use to extricate what I might imagine to be the superfluous parts.

What is the meaning of "necessary for salvation", and who is to decide? Yes, the Councils, yes Holy Scripture -- and yes, Holy Tradition. It seems that our Lord, through His Body the Church has made, and continually makes, her offering to us: it is manifold and life-giving. I don't think any of us can consume all of it, because it is varied and endless in its scope. On the other hand, what part of it would I not wish to consume for my spiritual benefit? The Lord's burden is indeed light, and rejoicing in His Body the Church and all that it offers to us for the putting away of passions and the renewal of our minds seems to be worthwhile. I have never read a Saint of the Church speak otherwise.

A parishioner one time said to me, after hearing a sermon on the miraculous story of the life of St Mary of Egypt "Father, do you really believe that? Because I don't." I responded, "Yes, I do." To which he replied, "I don't think it is necessary for my salvation to believe that story." To which I said, "Possibly not for you, but it most certainly it is for me."

And I say so for many reasons, but chiefly I am overjoyed that the life of St Mary was indeed lived and has been given to the whole Church (and thus to me), to treasure in the many ways that it is treasured. I never considered it was conflated or untrue in its telling, because the Church sanctified it and gave it to us for the edification of our hearts. Are the stories from the life of the Most Holy Mother of God any different? I remember the first time I saw an icon of her first seven steps in Chora and was fascinated to learn the story, a story I had never heard, but which was clearly part of the Holy Tradition of the Church -- there in small glass tiles on the ceiling on an ancient Temple dedicated to the Living.


 
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline peacenprayer

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2018, 08:55:55 AM »
Dear brothers and sisters who have converted to the Orthodox Church,

Did you ever have trouble in accepting the stories of saints which mention dragons and stories such as these?

Did you come to accept them or have you rejected them while retaining the meaning of the stories?

I ask this also to potential converts.

Apparently also, the Catholic church wiped away the memory of certain saints because they deemed their stories false.

Of course. Some of them are gibberish and just over the top. I remember reading aboutbthe lifes of English and British Islands saintsand chuckling because so many were pagan fables with saints names inserted that I stopped reading.
Some I believe, some are allegorical, some are rubbish. Toss the silly ones to the side, hang onto the good ones more than gold and treasure.
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2018, 10:22:32 AM »
As Saint Porphyrios said, to be a Christian, you must be a poet. If you acquire this holy sense of poetry none of these saints' lives will trouble you; on the contrary, they will warm and lift up your heart.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2018, 02:57:59 PM »
and just sometimes.......fossils of creatures that could be considered 'fanciful' have been found....

so why assume that the world was precisely as it is now.......
All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2018, 03:14:31 PM »
thanks for sharing that, LBK.  :)

OP, sometimes they trouble me, yes.  Occasionally I've even thought, "This sounds crazy."  But then I remind myself that if I'm not discomfited by the things described in Scripture, I should probably not be discomfited by similarly fantastic-seeming stories from more recent centuries.  Did God change?  Or are the stories of these saints simply too close for my comfort? 
That's as far as the thought goes, though; I usually end up distracted.  :D
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 03:16:56 PM by Ainnir »
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no clue, so there's that.

Offline Αριστοτελης

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2018, 12:34:52 AM »
True Denise that's interesting.
Haha yes Ainnir I see what you mean
Arguing for the primacy of the Pope while he is in heresy is like saying to someone who wants to retain their health, "Go to the hospital even though the hospital no longer functions".

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2018, 12:38:35 AM »
As Saint Porphyrios said, to be a Christian, you must be a poet. If you acquire this holy sense of poetry none of these saints' lives will trouble you; on the contrary, they will warm and lift up your heart.
Beautifully put.
"Verily they that seek Thee, Lord, and keep the canons of Thy Holy Church shall never want any good thing.”
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Letter to Diognetus 11.4

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2018, 12:41:33 AM »
Dear brothers and sisters who have converted to the Orthodox Church,

Did you ever have trouble in accepting the stories of saints which mention dragons and stories such as these?

Did you come to accept them or have you rejected them while retaining the meaning of the stories?

I ask this also to potential converts.

Apparently also, the Catholic church wiped away the memory of certain saints because they deemed their stories false.
For what it’s worth, the Greek word for “dragon” (and, indeed, the older sense of the word in English) is synonymous with basically any scaled or serpentine creeping thing. At Mega Spilaion Monastery, for instance, the “dragon” from its foundation story is depicted iconographically as a large serpent.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 12:42:05 AM by Antonis »
"Verily they that seek Thee, Lord, and keep the canons of Thy Holy Church shall never want any good thing.”
St. John the Merciful

"This is the one from the beginning, who seemed to be new, yet was found to be ancient and always young, being born in the hearts of the saints."
Letter to Diognetus 11.4

Offline Αριστοτελης

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2018, 12:50:45 AM »
Dear brothers and sisters who have converted to the Orthodox Church,

Did you ever have trouble in accepting the stories of saints which mention dragons and stories such as these?

Did you come to accept them or have you rejected them while retaining the meaning of the stories?

I ask this also to potential converts.

Apparently also, the Catholic church wiped away the memory of certain saints because they deemed their stories false.
For what it’s worth, the Greek word for “dragon” (and, indeed, the older sense of the word in English) is synonymous with basically any scaled or serpentine creeping thing. At Mega Spilaion Monastery, for instance, the “dragon” from its foundation story is depicted iconographically as a large serpent.

Yeah once I learnt about the word dragon in Greek, it made things more understandable for me.
Arguing for the primacy of the Pope while he is in heresy is like saying to someone who wants to retain their health, "Go to the hospital even though the hospital no longer functions".

Online Volnutt

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2018, 01:16:02 AM »
Dear brothers and sisters who have converted to the Orthodox Church,

Did you ever have trouble in accepting the stories of saints which mention dragons and stories such as these?

Did you come to accept them or have you rejected them while retaining the meaning of the stories?

I ask this also to potential converts.

Apparently also, the Catholic church wiped away the memory of certain saints because they deemed their stories false.

For what it’s worth, the Greek word for “dragon” (and, indeed, the older sense of the word in English) is synonymous with basically any scaled or serpentine creeping thing. At Mega Spilaion Monastery, for instance, the “dragon” from its foundation story is depicted iconographically as a large serpent.

Yeah, St. George and the Dragon doesn't really bother me even if has to be taken more or less literally (and it's also one of my favorite Toto songs). St. George finds Libyan cult that feeds people to a crocodile or something. St. George kills crocodile and rescues maiden. Cult scatters, town converts to Christianity.

Now, lest I look like I'm talking down to anyone, for Saint stories that are kind of hard for me to take literally (not that I don't try)...
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Αριστοτελης

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2018, 01:22:40 AM »
Haha I didn't know it was a toto song
Arguing for the primacy of the Pope while he is in heresy is like saying to someone who wants to retain their health, "Go to the hospital even though the hospital no longer functions".

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Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Sharbel

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2018, 12:03:45 AM »
St. Sharbel lived in at the end of the 19th century, both as a monk and later as a hermit.  When the Vatican took up the cause for his canonization, the fellow in charge of his process in Rome was at first doubtful of the case.  It seemed to be straight out of hagiographies of old, especially those fantastic events in the lives of some Desert Fathers which he considered to be the fruit of exaggerated piety, if not outright fabrications.  So he saw it fit to rigorously investigate the stories and gathered dozens of living, first hand witnesses to tell about the events of his life.  Of course, it's great that he investigated thoroughly, but it's also sad that he, a priest, only did so because he himself didn't believe that the Lord's disciples "[would] do even greater things" than Him (Jn 14:12).
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Offline Al Masihi

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2018, 09:29:10 AM »
St. Sharbel lived in at the end of the 19th century, both as a monk and later as a hermit.  When the Vatican took up the cause for his canonization, the fellow in charge of his process in Rome was at first doubtful of the case.  It seemed to be straight out of hagiographies of old, especially those fantastic events in the lives of some Desert Fathers which he considered to be the fruit of exaggerated piety, if not outright fabrications.  So he saw it fit to rigorously investigate the stories and gathered dozens of living, first hand witnesses to tell about the events of his life.  Of course, it's great that he investigated thoroughly, but it's also sad that he, a priest, only did so because he himself didn't believe that the Lord's disciples "[would] do even greater things" than Him (Jn 14:12).
God bless you Mar Charbel may you drink wine in heaven ya ab Libnan ya sayyed Libnan. By the way are you Maronite?

Offline Sharbel

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2018, 12:40:32 AM »
God bless you Mar Charbel may you drink wine in heaven ya ab Libnan ya sayyed Libnan. By the way are you Maronite?
I am, but I also am a catechumen in the Eastern Orthodox Church, which I expect to soon join.

May God bless you in abundance, Al Masihi.
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Offline Al Masihi

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2018, 01:26:00 PM »
My attachment to the Maronite Church has been growing greatly these past few months and I learned to appreciate it more then ever before. Are you Lebanese if I may ask?
PS I was talking about the real mar Charbel in my previous post but God bless you in abundance aswell.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 01:27:00 PM by Al Masihi »

Offline Sharbel

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2018, 12:58:27 AM »
My attachment to the Maronite Church has been growing greatly these past few months and I learned to appreciate it more then ever before. Are you Lebanese if I may ask?
The Antiochian traditions are indeed very beautiful.  I took many months in my decision to come to the Orthodox Church from the Maronite Church, almost kicking and screaming.  But what can one do when the Lord calls but to resign to His will?

I am not Lebanese, but they are one of the greatest immigration groups in my home country and they greatly influenced our culture.
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Offline Arzelle

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2018, 02:20:23 AM »
I consider them on a case-by-case basis. I'm more interested in historical truth than in pious legends personally.

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Re: About the Amazing Stories of Saints
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2018, 03:58:10 AM »
Most of these have no meaning to me but maybe it’s just me.
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