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Author Topic: Hellenism, Romanity among other issues...  (Read 8131 times) Average Rating: 0
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Silouan
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« on: November 01, 2005, 04:04:02 PM »

Now that GreekisChristian is back to posting, hopefully he will respond to some of the questions he has evaded for awhile:

What precisely cannot be translated from the Divine Liturgy into English as you claimed was the case? 

But to my bigger question about certain people's stated obsession with Hellenistic things (not just GiC here).  Even from the start of the Church populations outside of the Empire flourished in the faith and made no attempt to have a nostalgia for the Empire.  This would include the Orthodox Church of Georgia which is still extant to this day. Today the vast majority of the land where the population is predominantly Orthodox was never under the jurisdiction of the Roman Empire. 

I fully understand the cultural signifigance of what was meant by saying civis Romanus sum.  The problem though of preaching an Orthodoxy filled with that nostalgia is that is misses the entire reason why the Greek language and thought was important to the Church at one time.  Greek was the lingua franca of much of the world - educated people from even outside the empire understood the language.  Hence one could preach to the whole world by using Greek.  The ideals of civilized living were held in the Greek culture and philosophy.  But this civilization is dead and has been dead for centuries.  President Kennedy was right in asserting that instead of saying civis Romanus sum we say Ich bin ein Berliner today.  If Orthodoxy used the main languages of Western Europe (primarily Enlgish, but also German and French) and dealt with modern philosophy they would be speaking to modern people in their own language and culture. 

But instead many Orthodox will insist on not becoming missionary.  They will insist on the importance of the Byzantine era and hellenistic thought while Orthodoxy remains a small and unoticed immigrant community in the West and the official Church of Eastern Europe that nobody really attends....

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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2005, 04:46:39 PM »

What precisely cannot be translated from the Divine Liturgy into English as you claimed was the case?ÂÂ
 

If it were up to me, everything but the homily.  English is a barbaric tongue.
 
The problem though of preaching an Orthodoxy filled with that nostalgia is that is misses the entire reason why the Greek language and thought was important to the Church at one time.ÂÂ  Greek was the lingua franca of much of the world

Even more importantly, Greek was the language spoken at the court of the Holy Emperors, who kept the faith shielded from heresy and barbarism.

ÂÂ  But this civilization is dead and has been dead for centuries.

A fact that should produce nothing but tears.  St. Constantine's sight of the Life-Giving Cross in the sky and his admonition to conquer in this sign have come to nought and now we Orthodox are at the mercy of Babylon!

ÂÂ
But instead many Orthodox will insist on not becoming missionary.ÂÂ  They will insist on the importance of the Byzantine era and hellenistic thought while Orthodoxy remains a small and unoticed immigrant community in the West and the official Church of Eastern Europe that nobody really attends....
 

To destroy God's given Empire in any form is a grave act without excuse.  The geo-political atomism that has resulted from the demolition of God's earthly kingdom is no excuse for spiritual atomism.
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2005, 05:04:18 PM »

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If it were up to me, everything but the homily.  English is a barbaric tongue.

Αν θέλεις, μπορούμε να γράψουμε στα Ελληνικά...

How is English any worse than Slavonic, Georgian, Romania or Serbian which the church has prospered in? 

Honestly where does this self-hatred come from?

Quote
Even more importantly, Greek was the language spoken at the court of the Holy Emperors, who kept the faith shielded from heresy and barbarism.

First off, do you have any knowledge of Byzantine history?  The imperial court was hardly free from heresy.  And FWIW Russian was the language of the Romanovs, who protected a much larger piece of territory for the Orthodox than empire did. 

Quote
A fact that should produce nothing but tears.  St. Constantine's sight of the Life-Giving Cross in the sky and his admonition to conquer in this sign have come to nought and now we Orthodox are at the mercy of Babylon!

Empires come and go, that is the reality of history.  Even the American empire will someday see its end.  But until then we might as well use what this empire has given us - free and realitively peaceful societies plus educated people around the world now speak English. 

Quote
To destroy God's given Empire in any form is a grave act without excuse.  The geo-political atomism that has resulted from the demolition of God's earthly kingdom is no excuse for spiritual atomism.

How precisely have I advocated destroying a "God given Empire" or "spiritual atomism"?


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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2005, 05:14:51 PM »

Now that GreekisChristian is back to posting, hopefully he will respond to some of the questions he has evaded for awhile:

Please forgive me for not taking time out from my midterms to engage in an online debate.

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What precisely cannot be translated from the Divine Liturgy into English as you claimed was the case?ÂÂ  

Much of the liturgy cant, especially the participles and subjunctives, a looses much of it's meaning if you change the mood in translation. But unfortunately few people are well enough versed in the English language to understand the use of the English Subjunctive (which has been in steady decline over the last century, especially in regular verbs, though thank God is not yet gone) and the literal translation of participles often sounds awkward and thus is avoided by translators. So while it may be theoretically possible to translate the liturgy literally into english, it will lose all of it's poetic nature. Of course, you could use some of these modern translations which seek to maintain the poetic nature (often poorly), but change the nuances of the meaning.

Quote
But to my bigger question about certain people's stated obsession with Hellenistic things (not just GiC here).ÂÂ  Even from the start of the Church populations outside of the Empire flourished in the faith and made no attempt to have a nostalgia for the Empire.ÂÂ  This would include the Orthodox Church of Georgia which is still extant to this day. Today the vast majority of the land where the population is predominantly Orthodox was never under the jurisdiction of the Roman Empire.ÂÂ  

The Church came to maturity under the Empire and after coming to maturity lived with it in a marriage as a common entity for over a thousand years, by the time of the turkokratia the concept of the existance of the Church appart from the Empire was foreign to the conscienceness of the Christian Church. And through that time the Church of Christ survived my maintaining, to the best of their ability, the institutions and form of the Empire while the Churches outside Ottoman Rule looked to their own states for the context of their Existance. The exceptions you state are just that, exceptions to the General rule, exceptions to the common conscienceness and understanding of the Church. I simply fail to see how your attempt to divorce the Church and the Culture of the Empire fits into the culture and conscienceness of our Church.

Quote
I fully understand the cultural signifigance of what was meant by saying civis Romanus sum.ÂÂ  The problem though of preaching an Orthodoxy filled with that nostalgia is that is misses the entire reason why the Greek language and thought was important to the Church at one time.ÂÂ  Greek was the lingua franca of much of the world - educated people from even outside the empire understood the language.ÂÂ  Hence one could preach to the whole world by using Greek.ÂÂ  The ideals of civilized living were held in the Greek culture and philosophy.ÂÂ  But this civilization is dead and has been dead for centuries.ÂÂ  President Kennedy was right in asserting that instead of saying civis Romanus sum we say Ich bin ein Berliner today.ÂÂ  If Orthodoxy used the main languages of Western Europe (primarily Enlgish, but also German and French) and dealt with modern philosophy they would be speaking to modern people in their own language and culture.ÂÂ  

While the might, power, and grandeur of Rome did lead to the initial alliance between the Church and the Empire, by 1453 there was far more to it than the political posistion of the Empire, the Church had become one with the Empire their weltanschuung had become one, and regardless of how the political winds would blow the Church was firmly established as an Imperial Church as a Greek (or, perhaps more properly, Roman) Church. The fall of the Empire did not alter this Ecclesiastical Culture which was established over the Course of a Thousand Years; in 1453 there was far more to the Relationship than flirting with Power.

Quote
But instead many Orthodox will insist on not becoming missionary.ÂÂ  They will insist on the importance of the Byzantine era and hellenistic thought while Orthodoxy remains a small and unoticed immigrant community in the West and the official Church of Eastern Europe that nobody really attends....

For better or worse, one of the results of the marriage between Christianity and the Empire was an interlinking of their fates to a certain Degree, since the fall of the Empire we have not been in a posistion to spread our Religion as the west has...western Christiantiy spread via the political support of Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy (Catholic) and Engliand and Holland (Protestantism), we simply lacked the means to compete on the the National Scale without the Empire. Russia did try, but because of the position of their country relative to the western powers during the Era of Imperialism they met with only limited success.
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2005, 05:18:24 PM »

But unfortunately few people are well enough versed in the English language to understand the use of the English Subjunctive.

Be that as it may.....lol
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2005, 05:26:08 PM »

First off, do you have any knowledge of Byzantine history?ÂÂ  The imperial court was hardly free from heresy.ÂÂ  

But who finally won in the end?  Was it the iconoclasts?  No.  Yes, there have been lulls in the reliability of the authority vested in the court.  But just because Dioscoros was once Patriarch of Alexandria, do we therefore nullify the honor accorded to its See?  Just because Nestorius once held the Constantinopolitan seat, do we strip that See of all prestige?  No.  Just because someone like Lyndon B. Johnson may temporarily hold the Presidency does not nullify the claim that the CiC's job is to protect personal and economic freedom.  Neither does the fact that there have been some bad apples on the throne nullify the fact that the Emperor's function was to protect spiritual integrity.
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2005, 05:34:21 PM »

President Kennedy was right in asserting that instead of saying civis Romanus sum we say Ich bin ein Berliner today.

Well, not precisely. He should have said "Ich bin Berliner"-- what he did say translates to "I am a jelly donut".

 Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2005, 05:41:27 PM »

Much of the liturgy cant, especially the participles and subjunctives, a looses much of it's meaning if you change the mood in translation. But unfortunately few people are well enough versed in the English language to understand the use of the English Subjunctive (which has been in steady decline over the last century, especially in regular verbs, though thank God is not yet gone) and the literal translation of participles often sounds awkward and thus is avoided by translators.

If that were the case, nobody would understand what I write. The thing is that the subjunctive mood is often as not a grammatical construct which requires no meaningful translation. The structure of the sentence either requires it or does not, and what has happened in English is that the general reduction and elimination of inflections has reduced the difference between "If I were you" and "If I was you" to little more than a class distinction. French by contrast requires it in cases where English (proper or im-) doesn't. It doesn't make translation from French to English any more difficult.
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Silouan
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2005, 11:56:07 PM »

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Well, not precisely. He should have said "Ich bin Berliner"-- what he did say translates to "I am a jelly donut".

No he didn't.  The indefinite article can be used in this instance to give a more emphatic tone to that statement. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ich_bin_ein_berliner
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2005, 12:59:36 AM »

I think these two threads contain the questions GiC has missed during his absence:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=7040.0

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=7242.0

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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2005, 01:48:50 AM »

There were several times while he was still posting regularly that he was asked to elaborate on his claims against an English liturgy.  His main argument was that Istanbul was opposed to using English. 

As to GiC's points - he still didn't provide any concrete examples of an untranslatable phrase.  Then complains that sutble nuances will be lost (which a good translator can avoid).  Yet the absurd part of that is most Greek people don't get the sutble nuances of liturgical Greek and obviously very very few Americans would.  So option 1 is do liturgy "correctly" in Greek so a handful of people get their nuances and the rest have almost no idea what is going on or option 2 is liturgy in a language in which the meaning is not lost and the people understand. 

Also what is a more egregious attack on the Liturgical life of the Church?  Translating liturgical texts into the language of the land, the language of modern academia and trade, a language understood by people in every nation.... OR the GOA's liturgical abuses: the abolition of vespers, loss of frequent confession, taking much of the Orthros texts out of Sunday Orthros, cutting the litany of the catechumens, shortening the litany after the consecration - don't you think you lost some meaning when you abolished all of that?

Quote
The Church came to maturity under the Empire and after coming to maturity lived with it in a marriage as a common entity for over a thousand years, by the time of the turkokratia the concept of the existance of the Church appart from the Empire was foreign to the conscienceness of the Christian Church.

Is that how the Orthodox Christians of Georgia believed at this time?  What about the pre-schism churches in the West - the British Isles, Gaul, Germany ? 

Quote
While the might, power, and grandeur of Rome did lead to the initial alliance between the Church and the Empire, by 1453 there was far more to it than the political posistion of the Empire, the Church had become one with the Empire their weltanschuung had become one, and regardless of how the political winds would blow the Church was firmly established as an Imperial Church as a Greek (or, perhaps more properly, Roman) Church. The fall of the Empire did not alter this Ecclesiastical Culture which was established over the Course of a Thousand Years; in 1453 there was far more to the Relationship than flirting with Power.

By the time the Empire was collapsing the Church was well established far outside of the Greek world and inculturated in Slavic life.  When these Slavs started their own missionary work in the far east (and eventually North America) they didn't preash a Russian or a Hellenic Christianity.  They preached what Christianity was in its essence - God becoming incarnate and rising from the dead.  They were able to preach to the Chinese in terms of Taoism - speaking of 道 rather than the λογος. 

Quote
For better or worse, one of the results of the marriage between Christianity and the Empire was an interlinking of their fates to a certain Degree, since the fall of the Empire we have not been in a posistion to spread our Religion as the west has...western Christiantiy spread via the political support of Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy (Catholic) and Engliand and Holland (Protestantism), we simply lacked the means to compete on the the National Scale without the Empire.

Precisely why it is important to not turn Orthodoxy into an ethnicity or mere cultural identity.  Now such nostalgia for the Byzantine era is hurting Orthodoxy - serving liturgy entirely in Greek in America is not helping Orthodoxy.  Saying that Christianity can only be understood through the lens of Hellenism isn't helping Orthodoxy. 


As a side note - since you believe imperialism is so vital to Orthodoxy you do believe Moscow is the third Rome, right?  Since you believe in Romanity and not just Greek ethnicity, as you have stated. 
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2005, 03:01:15 AM »

The Church came to maturity under the Empire and after coming to maturity lived with it in a marriage as a common entity for over a thousand years, by the time of the turkokratia the concept of the existance of the Church appart from the Empire was foreign to the conscienceness of the Christian Church. And through that time the Church of Christ survived my maintaining, to the best of their ability, the institutions and form of the Empire while the Churches outside Ottoman Rule looked to their own states for the context of their Existance. The exceptions you state are just that, exceptions to the General rule, exceptions to the common conscienceness and understanding of the Church. I simply fail to see how your attempt to divorce the Church and the Culture of the Empire fits into the culture and conscienceness of our Church.
You just explained it right here.  These "exceptions" have BECOME the common conscienceness the old Culture of the Empire is just that - OLD and a relic of the past.  Why doesn't it occur to you that the way Christ intends for the Church to spread is by baptizing cultures and having the Church present in His creation in whatever culture that is out there.  There is nothing particularly holy or superior about the old Culture of the Empire.  The Empire WAS and IS no more.  Remenisce all you want, but it is not coming back.

For better or worse, one of the results of the marriage between Christianity and the Empire was an interlinking of their fates to a certain Degree, since the fall of the Empire we have not been in a posistion to spread our Religion as the west has...western Christiantiy spread via the political support of Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy (Catholic) and Engliand and Holland (Protestantism), we simply lacked the means to compete on the the National Scale without the Empire. Russia did try, but because of the position of their country relative to the western powers during the Era of Imperialism they met with only limited success.
While you have a valid point of WHY (historically), it is no excuse for what is going on or should be going on NOW.  I would hate to have to make my case before the Lord on the Day of Judgement use Canoncial Process/Perogatives like you do as an excuse to not preach the Gospel to all nations.  All of this about the "Empire" is completely besides the point when compared to the parable of the Sheep and the Goats.
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2005, 07:50:56 AM »

Also what is a more egregious attack on the Liturgical life of the Church? Translating liturgical texts into the language of the land, the language of modern academia and trade, a language understood by people in every nation.... OR the GOA's liturgical abuses: the abolition of vespers, loss of frequent confession, taking much of the Orthros texts out of Sunday Orthros, cutting the litany of the catechumens, shortening the litany after the consecration - don't you think you lost some meaning when you abolished all of that?   

One walks a very thin line when they talk about "liturgical abuses" φίλε μου.  First, the assertion that they are "the GOA's" ignores that the aforementioned changes are largely due to practice on the local level, and not coming from some Archdiocesan directive. 

Vespers was never "abolished" - but rather fell into disuse; no matter how much either one of us would like it to be, the people may not have gone to vespers.  In the churches where they did, they still do vespers on a regular basis.  And methinks you should make the distinction between "Sunday and Festal Vespers," which is the only practice of Vespers you'll see in any other churches in this country, and just "vespers" - which is only done in monastic practice in this country (really - who besides the monks and seminarians goes to church every day in America?).

Loss of frequent confession is a sad reality, but not an institutional wish.  You did, though, have priests sent here from Greece in the early parts of the century who were not theologically educated enough for the bishops to trust them with confession - and they had good reasons not to.  That's why in the Greek Churches you have this idea of being "made" a Father Confessor (even though my bishop rightly states that the ability to administer the sacrament of confession is given at one's ordination to the Priesthood, not by some offikion later).  Well, after having a generation go without frequent confession, it is hard to get the people to do otherwise now.  Anecdote: my father's godfather was a priest for 41 years in a parish in Ohio.  He worked for 30+ years trying to get the families to go to confession; in fact, he would just come out and direct it for the kids ("this thursday the 4th graders will be coming here for confession after school; friday will be for the 5th grade; next week, we will move to the junior high and high school" - and he had enough respect from the people to pull it off!).  The only thing I wanted to demonstrate here is that the priests are aware of the problem, and are often doing what they can to fix it.

Okay, taking much of the Orthros text out of Sunday Orthros - I'm going to need you to be more specific on this one.  Are we talking about cutting out the Kathisma's and the Canon?  I'm not sure if I disagree with this for the parish - all this cutting does is re-establish a sort of "cathedral rite" without some of the helpful practices that are right now only benefitting the monasteries.  I'd love, though, to get a parish with people who would appreciate the readings from the Psalter.  If you are referring to anything else, then that is based probably on your observations of how they do things parish-to-parish; there has been no official movement to cut hymns or eliminate sections (other than the Canon and the readings from the Psalter).

As for shortening and cutting litanies: I may be going out on a limb, but if the litanies had already lost their meaning before they were cut, it could also explain their being cut.  Otherwise, they were probably cut for time purposes; while I find this an abhorrent reason, it is the right of the local church to do this - each local church maintains its own liturgical tradition.  So, if a bishop orders this done, the only group that can "correct him" would be the local synod; and if the local synod agrees with the change, then it would be the Patriarchal Synod; and if the Patriarchal Synod agrees with the change, then it would be an Ecumenical Synod.  That's how the system works.  Since this forum is not any one of those groups, then the best we can do here is educate one another and foster the hope that some day we can have a more full liturgical tradition.
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2005, 12:25:59 PM »

.....okay, I give up already.  I'm not really a senselessy provocative, ultra-Byzantine neo-Imperialist.  I was just trying to play devil's advocate.  Needless to say, I'm not very good at it. Embarrassed
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2005, 01:40:32 PM »

Vespers was never "abolished" - but rather fell into disuse; no matter how much either one of us would like it to be, the people may not have gone to vespers.  In the churches where they did, they still do vespers on a regular basis.  And methinks you should make the distinction between "Sunday and Festal Vespers," which is the only practice of Vespers you'll see in any other churches in this country, and just "vespers" - which is only done in monastic practice in this country (really - who besides the monks and seminarians goes to church every day in America?).

FWIW, Holy Cross in Linthicum, MD, has two weekday vespers (Tues/Thurs evenings), in addition to weekends and feasts. Not exactly every day, but still nice for someone like me who's exploring Orthodoxy while still maintaining regular attendance with my wife at another church.
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2005, 02:40:04 PM »

There were several times while he was still posting regularly that he was asked to elaborate on his claims against an English liturgy.ÂÂ  His main argument was that Istanbul was opposed to using English.ÂÂ  

It is true that the Great Church of Christ discourages the Americanization of the Liturgy, and that should be reason enough to avoid such things as english translations.

Quote
As to GiC's points - he still didn't provide any concrete examples of an untranslatable phrase.ÂÂ  Then complains that sutble nuances will be lost (which a good translator can avoid).

Because I am better versed in the theoretical elements of linguistics than the pragmatic elements, thus it is rational that I present my argument from such a perspective. It is unfortunate my Liturgical Greek professor isn't here for this argument, because she can point out elements in every prayer that demonstrate translations are and must be at least slightly different from the original. And if good translators can avoid these problems, I have yet to see a good translator, for example, one who can regularly demonstrate in their translation the differences between the usage of the present and the aorist in moods other than the indicative (continuous vs. one time action).

Quote
Yet the absurd part of that is most Greek people don't get the sutble nuances of liturgical Greek and obviously very very few Americans would.ÂÂ  So option 1 is do liturgy "correctly" in Greek so a handful of people get their nuances and the rest have almost no idea what is going on or option 2 is liturgy in a language in which the meaning is not lost and the people understand.

This is where we differ in opinions, as I have said before I don't believe it to be particularly important for everyone to understand every word said, the liturgy isn't about 'personal meaning and edification.' It is a communal act, and not only with the immediate community but with the Church Past, Present, and Future, in Heaven and on Earth.

Quote
Also what is a more egregious attack on the Liturgical life of the Church?ÂÂ  Translating liturgical texts into the language of the land, the language of modern academia and trade, a language understood by people in every nation.... OR the GOA's liturgical abuses: the abolition of vespers, loss of frequent confession, taking much of the Orthros texts out of Sunday Orthros, cutting the litany of the catechumens, shortening the litany after the consecration - don't you think you lost some meaning when you abolished all of that?

See Cleveland's post.

Quote
Is that how the Orthodox Christians of Georgia believed at this time?ÂÂ  What about the pre-schism churches in the West - the British Isles, Gaul, Germany ?ÂÂ  

Essentially a footnote to a Church that was Greco-Roman in Essence. The Germans understood this, this is why they tried to associate themselves with the Roman world, many of Charlemagne's reforms were directed towards making German culture more Roman and less German. Furthermore, the failure of the Council of Frankfurt demonstrates how insiginficant the Church in this part of the world was, it didn't even invoke significant concern in the Greco-Roman world, it was simply casually dismissed, it was no threat; in addition, this failure would insure that the pre-schism gremanic Church would never become a significant player in Christianity.

Quote
By the time the Empire was collapsing the Church was well established far outside of the Greek world and inculturated in Slavic life. When these Slavs started their own missionary work in the far east (and eventually North America) they didn't preash a Russian or a Hellenic Christianity.ÂÂ  They preached what Christianity was in its essence - God becoming incarnate and rising from the dead.ÂÂ  They were able to preach to the Chinese in terms of Taoism - speaking of 道 rather than the λογος.

The slavs adopted what was essentially Greek Christianity, and they understood the role and significance of the Roman Culture in the Church, this is why many of the Customs of the slavic Aristocracy came to mimic the Empire in addition to the Imperial Culture of the Church. It is also why the Russians tried to claim moscow as the Third Rome, somewhat how Charlemagne tried to claim to be a Roman Emperor, they both realized that this Roman Culture was central to Civilization in general and Christianity in particular.

Quote
Precisely why it is important to not turn Orthodoxy into an ethnicity or mere cultural identity.ÂÂ  Now such nostalgia for the Byzantine era is hurting Orthodoxy - serving liturgy entirely in Greek in America is not helping Orthodoxy.ÂÂ  Saying that Christianity can only be understood through the lens of Hellenism isn't helping Orthodoxy.ÂÂ  

Whether the influence of Hellenism is helping or not is irrelevant, because it is there, like it or not. Christianity after St. Constantine is essentially Greek, all the Oecumenical Synods were Greek in Thought and Culture; any attempt to change or alter this fact can lead to the corruption of our dogmas and heresy. Christianity can only properly be understood in the Context that it was established and defined through the Seven Oecumenical Synods, viewing it from any other perspective does the faith a great disservice.

Quote
As a side note - since you believe imperialism is so vital to Orthodoxy you do believe Moscow is the third Rome, right?ÂÂ  Since you believe in Romanity and not just Greek ethnicity, as you have stated.ÂÂ  

Imperialism is central to proselytism, regardless of religion, but I never said we needed to be proselytizing. We have enough of a task set out for us in the maintaining of the flock we already have; for us in the GOA, this is a Greek flock and their specific cultural and religious needs should be our greatest priority.

You just explained it right here. These "exceptions" have BECOME the common conscienceness the old Culture of the Empire is just that - OLD and a relic of the past. Why doesn't it occur to you that the way Christ intends for the Church to spread is by baptizing cultures and having the Church present in His creation in whatever culture that is out there. There is nothing particularly holy or superior about the old Culture of the Empire. The Empire WAS and IS no more. Remenisce all you want, but it is not coming back.

We baptize cultures by infusing them with the Culture of the Church, a Culture that happens to be Hellenic/Greek/Roman; it is this infusing with Christian (that is Greek) culture that you for some reason seem to oppose.

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While you have a valid point of WHY (historically), it is no excuse for what is going on or should be going on NOW. I would hate to have to make my case before the Lord on the Day of Judgement use Canoncial Process/Perogatives like you do as an excuse to not preach the Gospel to all nations. All of this about the "Empire" is completely besides the point when compared to the parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

It's a simple reason to why we were not as successful at spreading our Religion as the west during the era of discovery and colonization; today no Church is growing as radically as Churches did in those days because they lack the national support that is necessary for mass conversion. Our primary concern today should be to missionize our people and focus on the maintaining of our flock in the difficult situation we find ourselves with governments that are apathetic at best and hostile at worst.
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2005, 04:17:48 PM »

FWIW, Holy Cross in Linthicum, MD, has two weekday vespers (Tues/Thurs evenings), in addition to weekends and feasts. Not exactly every day, but still nice for someone like me who's exploring Orthodoxy while still maintaining regular attendance with my wife at another church.

I stand corrected and amend my previous statement to say "most other churches" instead of "all other churches."
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« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2005, 06:23:56 PM »

Cleveland, you failed to address my main point.  Are those liturgical failings I mentioned worse than loosing a few nuances in translating litrugical texts to English?

What is worse not catching the full nuance of the subjunctive or aorist tenst or not understanding any of the litrugy? 

Slavic languages also present difficulty to translate into from Greek.  The lack of an article immediantly looses the distinction between θεος and ο θεος.  Yet the Church blessed their translation efforts, and obviously the modern Slavs make up the majority of Orthodox Christians.

I think it is signifigant that the protestant reformation really only took off in countries speaking non-romance languages and hence had very little understanding of the daily worship of the Roman Catholic Church. 

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This is where we differ in opinions, as I have said before I don't believe it to be particularly important for everyone to understand every word said, the liturgy isn't about 'personal meaning and edification.' It is a communal act, and not only with the immediate community but with the Church Past, Present, and Future, in Heaven and on Earth.

What a superficial understanding of unity.  Our unity is in eucharistic unity.  The style of unity you describe is that of the Pre-Vatican II Tridentine mass - almost entirely superficial.

It is ironic you call the non imperial Churches a mere footnote, as that is what Greece is to Orthodoxy today.  The vast majority of Orthodox Christians are Slavic.  Even such centers of Orthodoxy as the Holy Mountain are only artificially Greek today - the Patriarchate has set limits on the number of ξενοι allowed at each monastery and worked very hard to destroy the ethnic diversity of a place that was less than half Greek only an hundred years ago.  The ironic part of this discussion is you don't even appreciate the great parts of the Greek Church.  You openly despise  the monastic revival that has happen in Greece and which has produced nurmurous saintly Elders.  Instead your obession with the "Hellenism" is a percied linquistic and cultural supieriorty while rejecting the ethos of the Hellenistic Church.


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« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2005, 07:28:25 PM »

It is true that the Great Church of Christ discourages the Americanization of the Liturgy, and that should be reason enough to avoid such things as english translations.
No, this just demonstrates the Phanar's perogative.  It has nothing to do with how out of touch and pastorally negligent the EP has become. ÂÂ

This is where we differ in opinions, as I have said before I don't believe it to be particularly important for everyone to understand every word said, the liturgy isn't about 'personal meaning and edification.' It is a communal act, and not only with the immediate community but with the Church Past, Present, and Future, in Heaven and on Earth.
While your second point is more important, it does not detract from the importance of the former.  I attended a Presanctified Liturgy last Lent at the OCA Cathedral on Green and Van Ness in SF.  During the opening Kathisma before the 'Lord I Have Cried...", the men and women of their choir alternated singing the verses.  They sang them so fast that they even stumbled over the words themselves, making them unintelligible - nevermind that when they DO get all their words it is extremely difficult to understand because of their breakneck speed.  While the most important concept of the Liturgy is the Communal act, I think every Church Father that precedes us would disagree that the the hymns and texts are not for the edification of the faithful.  I think you are forgetting that we celebrate TWO liturgies: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Faithful (forgive me if I have the name of the second wrong).  From your POV, we might as well just start the service with the Cherubic Hymn.

The slavs adopted what was essentially Greek Christianity, and they understood the role and significance of the Roman Culture in the Church, this is why many of the Customs of the slavic Aristocracy came to mimic the Empire in addition to the Imperial Culture of the Church. It is also why the Russians tried to claim moscow as the Third Rome, somewhat how Charlemagne tried to claim to be a Roman Emperor, they both realized that this Roman Culture was central to Civilization in general and Christianity in particular.
Yes the Slavs did, but that Russian (or Slavic) Culture is no longer Hellenic as it as organically developed into its own proper Orthodox Cultures.

Whether the influence of Hellenism is helping or not is irrelevant, because it is there, like it or not. Christianity after St. Constantine is essentially Greek, all the Oecumenical Synods were Greek in Thought and Culture; any attempt to change or alter this fact can lead to the corruption of our dogmas and heresy. Christianity can only properly be understood in the Context that it was established and defined through the Seven Oecumenical Synods, viewing it from any other perspective does the faith a great disservice.

Imperialism is central to proselytism, regardless of religion, but I never said we needed to be proselytizing. We have enough of a task set out for us in the maintaining of the flock we already have; for us in the GOA, this is a Greek flock and their specific cultural and religious needs should be our greatest priority.

We baptize cultures by infusing them with the Culture of the Church, a Culture that happens to be Hellenic/Greek/Roman; it is this infusing with Christian (that is Greek) culture that you for some reason seem to oppose.

It's a simple reason to why we were not as successful at spreading our Religion as the west during the era of discovery and colonization; today no Church is growing as radically as Churches did in those days because they lack the national support that is necessary for mass conversion. Our primary concern today should be to missionize our people and focus on the maintaining of our flock in the difficult situation we find ourselves with governments that are apathetic at best and hostile at worst.
As Silouan brought up before, the pagan culture at the time of Constantine (and before) may have been Greek Philosophy/Mythology/whatever.  But the prevailing (pagan if you will) cultures of the lands to be Baptized are not so and thus the Church and Creation must be properly exclaimed within the local culture.  There is nothing inherently unique or special about Hellenic Culture - it was just the prevailing local culture at the time.  To shrug off other examples as "exceptions" is elitism, pride and a denial of reality.

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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2005, 07:36:09 PM »

On the point that (Orthodox) Christianity can only be understood in Hellenistic terms - I'd encourage anyone who feels that way to look closely at Christian missions in China.  Why are thousands converting to Christianity there despite the government of the People's Republic of China?

The basic difference in our approach that leads to two dramatically different Christianities is that I believe the Fathers used the Greek language and Greek philosophical terms because that was way to effectively communicate with the most people.  You believe that they used Greek because it is was a inherintly better than any other language or culture. ÂÂ

The central point of Christianity is that God himself loved his creatures so much that he took the form of a servant, lived among men, was crucified for us and rose from the dead giving us the Holy Spirit until the end of the world.  One doesn't need Hellenism to understand that. ÂÂ
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« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2005, 08:20:00 PM »

Cleveland, you failed to address my main point. Are those liturgical failings I mentioned worse than loosing a few nuances in translating litrugical texts to English?

What is worse not catching the full nuance of the subjunctive or aorist tenst or not understanding any of the litrugy?   

I didn't address it because I never intended to at the time: I just wanted to use the time I had in sensitizing you to the implications of your statement, and correcting the suppositions that were either behind it or could be formed from it.

And as a general statement, I don't know if calling those changes "liturgical failings" is correct in this context; while I lament the loss of the various elements listed, we've also got to understand that the Liturgy is an organic thing, and that changes in it, while lamentable, may be for the best; we could lament the change from the Cathedral Rite to the Monastic Rite in Constantinople after the 4th Crusade (a major change that affected most of the Orthodox world at the time) - it was done for no better reason than "the monks were the ones who kept our Liturgy, so we have to do it their way."  But in doing so, we neglect the work of the Spirit inherent in the activity. 

(ASIDE: Who knows, maybe 5 centuries from now people will say "the liturgy is the way it is because the Americans were lazy" - but it may have survived 500 years?  Will they then say the Spirit wasn't working in it?)

So while you and I would like some of these elements to go back into the Liturgy, if the Spirit doesn't want them, who am I to argue?  Only time and prayer can tell.
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« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2005, 08:40:10 PM »

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I just wanted to use the time I had in sensitizing you to the implications of your statement, and correcting the suppositions that were either behind it or could be formed from it.

I am well aware of the litrugical situation of the GOA from personal experience.ÂÂ  And frankly I find it terrifying that none of the Holy Cross people here can emphatically say that it is better to do Liturgy in English (loosing sutble poetic nuances here and there) than to cut important parts of the liturgy but retain a language few Americans understand.ÂÂ  I've ran across so many just plain bizarre liturgical attitudes in the GOA....

The liturgical abuses present in the GOA are hardly normnative throughout Orthodoxy (even Orthodoxy in America).ÂÂ  To claim divine sanction upon them is absolutely ludicrious.ÂÂ  

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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2005, 08:57:48 PM »

I am well aware of the litrugical situation of the GOA from personal experience.  And frankly I find it terrifying that none of the Holy Cross people here can emphatically say that it is better to do Liturgy in English (loosing sutble poetic nuances here and there) than to cut important parts of the liturgy but retain a language few Americans understand.  I've ran across so many just plain bizarre liturgical attitudes in the GOA.... 

Is this Emphatic enough: It would be better in my opinion to see the Liturgy done properly in this country in English than to see it chopped and in Greek

Of course, what we're trying to do here at the Seminary (ahem, Holy Cross) is work up to that point - understand that many in our churches still need/want Greek, but know that the future holds English, and try to get the people to the point where they have a "liturgical consciousness" that is more full.  We're still fighting the nutjobs who want extremes on either sides (this is not directed at GiC) - but it is a long process.

I have also encountered bizzare liturgical attitudes amongst some people and priests in the GOA, but not "in the GOA" per se.

The liturgical abuses present in the GOA are hardly normnative throughout Orthodoxy (even Orthodoxy in America).  To claim divine sanction upon them is absolutely ludicrious.   

I never claimed divine sanction from above - I just stated it is within the realm of possibility.  And they don't need to be normative throughout Orthodoxy - there is no such thing as a Liturgical change throughout the "universal church" - that follows Catholic thinking.  What does need to happen is change within the local Church that the others aren't opposed to.

Of course, I am opposed to the changes... but my opinion doesn't count now, does it.
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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2005, 11:08:33 PM »

I see you still know how to use the larger fonts here.

It will be interesting to see if in a few Generations there is a GOA. 
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« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2005, 11:21:06 PM »

It will be interesting to see if in a few Generations there is a GOA.   

Let's hope and pray that it still exists in one form (GOA) or another (single US jurisdiction) - instead of providing veiled stabs at the viability of a brother Orthodox jurisdiction based on your personal experience or bias - that would be the Christian thing to do now, wouldn't it?  In my experience the GOA has in parts been vibrant and growing, and in parts stagnant, and in parts shrinking (just like every other jurisdiction in this country - go figure).
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« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2005, 07:03:40 PM »

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Let's hope and pray that it still exists in one form (GOA) or another (single US jurisdiction) - instead of providing veiled stabs at the viability of a brother Orthodox jurisdiction based on your personal experience or bias - that would be the Christian thing to do now, wouldn't it?

Right so realizing something is wrong with the GOA is un-Christian.  I forgot than only the GOA and the Patriarch in Istanbul are above criticism.  The reality is that the GOA has no idea what it is doing here.  Is it here to simply preserve Greek-American culture?  Is it a missionary presence?  Is it here simply to produce bishops that tell us they love desperate houswives and support gay marriages?  Or is it here to keep the cashflow to Istanbul going...

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« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2005, 07:47:29 PM »

Right so realizing something is wrong with the GOA is un-Christian. I forgot than only the GOA and the Patriarch in Istanbul are above criticism. 

Is that what I said?  Really, read what I said and what you said.  You said:

It will be interesting to see if in a few Generations there is a GOA.

You didn't say "the GOA has no sense of direction" or "they are risking extinction" - instead you used a phrase that can be commonly associated with someone who expecting and/or hoping for demise.  THAT is what I called un-Christian.  Criticism is necessary in order to force re-evaluation of mission - to keep the Church honest.

And the fact that you've taken another opportunity to stab at the Patriarch is another demonstration of un-Christian behavior.

The reality is that the GOA has no idea what it is doing here. Is it here to simply preserve Greek-American culture? Is it a missionary presence? 

Actually, if you talk to the Archbishop, or to most of Metropolitans, you'll get the answer of "both."

Is it here simply to produce bishops that tell us they love desperate houswives and support gay marriages?

What a riot.  You mean the bishop who says he watches evening TV and says that since the laws of the state permit them, there is no problem with state-sanctioned gay marriage - but you've forgotten to mention the fact that he also said the Church would have no part in allowing the Gay marriages.  All this demonstrates is that he knows exactly what the law is, and knows that he can't do anything about the law - he knows that as a matter of law he can't stop it, and the question that was posed of him was one of a legal nature.  But he made sure to state that spiritually he has a problem with Gay marriage.  If he's asked the same question in 10 years, and if at the time there is some sort of Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage, then his answer will be that there are problems with gay marriage legally AND morally.

Or is it here to keep the cashflow to Istanbul going...

Until you can back it up, keep it to yourself.
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« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2005, 08:00:36 PM »

And the fact that you've taken another opportunity to stab at the Patriarch is another demonstration of un-Christian behavior.
Being cynical and disagreeing with him is stabbing him in the back?  So I guess Holy Fathers, Theologians, Clergy, Professors and such just stab each other in the back constantly.

Actually, if you talk to the Archbishop, or to most of Metropolitans, you'll get the answer of "both."
And what pray tell is Greek American Culture?  I have a feeling that it may not really be that Christian or should I say not follow the life of the Church as intended.
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« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2005, 09:07:41 PM »

Being cynical and disagreeing with him is stabbing him in the back? So I guess Holy Fathers, Theologians, Clergy, Professors and such just stab each other in the back constantly. 

We are called to judge the actions of one another - not the persons or characters.  Making the statements about "the EP" rather than "his decisions" change the face of the criticism.  I have no problems with people criticizing what the EP does; if they want to argue points about that, that is fine - if I disagree, then I'll argue the point.  If I agree, then GiC will still argue the point (okay, I'm his friend, so I take my pokes at him too).

But that's not how things go down on this board when it comes to the EP - instead, we word things so that they become 3rd person ad hominems more than real criticisms of policy and praxis.  So I am just wanting the tone to change a little bit... maybe I'm a bit too sensitive?  I can deal with being criticized of that, too.  But in the end, I think we should tone down the personal rhetoric (or at least the appearance thereof) and keep the criticisms to actions, policies, and the like.

And what pray tell is Greek American Culture? I have a feeling that it may not really be that Christian or should I say not follow the life of the Church as intended.   

And what pray tell is American Culture?  While Greek culture in Greece is becoming less Christian, and American culture is going in God knows what direction, I can understand that the people of Greek heritage/descent in this country may be superficially uncomfortable with the options and may want to try to keep what they think is a better "Greek Christian culture" - and wherever it falls short, we should be right there to correct and to supplement and to perfect.

In truth, "Greek American Culture" at times is mostly Greek, partly Orthodox, minimally American; other times, its half Greek, almost half Orthodox, and minimally American; and at others its partly American, partly Orthodox, and not very Greek.  In short (I know, too late) it is almost as amorphous as "American Culture."

Of course, our observations, criticisms, and the like that go on here are worthless intellectual and academic self-pleasuring if they don't lead to our acting as agents of positive change either here or in the world.  I'd like to see a thread more about that then the quite cyclical threads of complaint and condemnation. 
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« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2005, 03:14:28 AM »

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You didn't say "the GOA has no sense of direction" or "they are risking extinction" - instead you used a phrase that can be commonly associated with someone who expecting and/or hoping for demise.ÂÂ  THAT is what I called un-Christian.

I also didn't say I wished for the GOA's demise.ÂÂ  From my perspective the demise of any mainline Christian group (unless they all convert to Orthodoxy!) would be horrible.ÂÂ  My comments more reflect that the GOA is making many of the same mistakes made by other Churches that are crumbling to pieces in Western Europe and America.ÂÂ  Also a primarily ethnic church is not going to last forever in America - despite that Greeks are horrible immigrants and don't assimilate very rapidly.ÂÂ  My feelings though on the matter aren't simply directed at the GOA here - I think all jurisdictions need to work towards having parishes that contain new immigrants, the descendants of immigrants and converts while ministering to all of them with English as the primary liturgical language ( but I am see no problem with the moderate use of another language, so long as English is primary).ÂÂ  

Quote
So I am just wanting the tone to change a little bit... maybe I'm a bit too sensitive?ÂÂ  I can deal with being criticized of that, too.ÂÂ  But in the end, I think we should tone down the personal rhetoric (or at least the appearance thereof) and keep the criticisms to actions, policies, and the like.

My issues with policies of Istanbul and the GOA's approach to Church in America are nothing compared to the blasphemies that GiC uttersÂÂ  (his condemnations of SAINT John).ÂÂ  And most of my point in bringing up all the liturgical and theological problems of the GOA was to ask loosing the nuance of a subjunctive is worse than those.ÂÂ  

Quote
Actually, if you talk to the Archbishop, or to most of Metropolitans, you'll get the answer of "both."

Innuendo regarding Orthodox Seminary deleted.ÂÂ  Please do not make any such statments in the future.   SS99

Quote
Until you can back it up, keep it to yourself.

Istanbul gets no money from the GOA - is that what you are saying?ÂÂ  

Quote
We are called to judge the actions of one another - not the persons or characters.ÂÂ  Making the statements about "the EP" rather than "his decisions" change the face of the criticism.ÂÂ  I have no problems with people criticizing what the EP does; if they want to argue points about that, that is fine - if I disagree, then I'll argue the point.

When I say EP I don't mean the person of Patriarch Bartholomew.ÂÂ  I mean his descision and the ofiice itself.ÂÂ  I could type it out each time, but there is no need since I thought this was the common understanding.

It is the policies of the EP and the GOA that I find disturbing.ÂÂ  My own spiritual father is in the GOA and so are many wonderful and holy priests, monks and laity.ÂÂ  Still tht doesn't mean there aren't serious problems.ÂÂ  As for the EP itself, the expansionist and power hungary policies and novel understranding of the canons of Patr. Bartholomew is indeed troubling.ÂÂ  I don't see anyway to justify what happened to Patriarch Diodoros at the hands of the EP....

And for a painful example of replacing Christ with Constantinople ... http://www.orthodoxa.org/GB/accueil_GB.htm  GiC should pack his bag and learn some Estonian, then he could go and fight those nasty Russians for the glory of Istanbul.  ÃƒÆ’‚  
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« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2005, 06:22:28 AM »

I also didn't say I wished for the GOA's demise. From my perspective the demise of any mainline Christian group (unless they all convert to Orthodoxy!) would be horrible. My comments more reflect that the GOA is making many of the same mistakes made by other Churches that are crumbling to pieces in Western Europe and America. Also a primarily ethnic church is not going to last forever in America - despite that Greeks are horrible immigrants and don't assimilate very rapidly. My feelings though on the matter aren't simply directed at the GOA here - I think all jurisdictions need to work towards having parishes that contain new immigrants, the descendants of immigrants and converts while ministering to all of them with English as the primary liturgical language ( but I am see no problem with the moderate use of another language, so long as English is primary).  ÃƒÆ’‚Â

I figured that you weren't actually wishing for the end of the GOA, but I hope that you understand that the tone of the post left the possibility for that impression...

Otherwise, I agree with much of what you have written here (not all).

My issues with policies of Istanbul and the GOA's approach to Church in America are nothing compared to the blasphemies that GiC utters (his condemnations of SAINT John).

Did I miss something?

Section deleted by moderator in original  ÃƒÆ’‚Â

I don't think it was as much that he wanted to be liked, but I'm not sure if he was ready to handle the political and press situation out there.ÂÂ  I know Metropolitan GERASIMOS fairly well, and I think his comments don't reflect his full views on the matter: he is actually far more conservative than what he came off as, but he is also very understanding of pastoral situations and how to handle things delicately (one of his degrees is in Psychology).

Istanbul gets no money from the GOA - is that what you are saying?  ÃƒÆ’‚Â

Again, I never said that they don't pay money, but the statement that maybe the GOA's only purpose now is to keep the "cash flow" going I think needs some evidence before it's thrown out there, that's all.

When I say EP I don't mean the person of Patriarch Bartholomew. I mean his descision and the ofiice itself. I could type it out each time, but there is no need since I thought this was the common understanding.

It is the policies of the EP and the GOA that I find disturbing. My own spiritual father is in the GOA and so are many wonderful and holy priests, monks and laity. Still tht doesn't mean there aren't serious problems. As for the EP itself, the expansionist and power hungary policies and novel understranding of the canons of Patr. Bartholomew is indeed troubling. I don't see anyway to justify what happened to Patriarch Diodoros at the hands of the EP....  ÃƒÆ’‚Â

Believe it or not, the Patriarchate does not normally put forward novel understandings of the canons - but this is a discussion that will bear no fruit here or anywhere else on the board, since it has already been hashed and re-hashed to no avail.ÂÂ  I will refer you to the final paragraph of my last post:

Of course, our observations, criticisms, and the like that go on here are worthless intellectual and academic self-pleasuring if they don't lead to our acting as agents of positive change either here or in the world. I'd like to see a thread more about that then the quite cyclical threads of complaint and condemnation.

This can apply to so much here and now.

GiC should pack his bag and learn some Estonian, then he could go and fight those nasty Russians for the glory of Istanbul.  ÃƒÆ’‚Â

Maybe I'll ask him this sometime today.ÂÂ  He's always up for learning a new language.
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« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2005, 10:00:03 AM »

My issues with policies of Istanbul and the GOA's approach to Church in America are nothing compared to the blasphemies that GiC uttersÂÂ  (his condemnations of SAINT John).ÂÂ  And most of my point in bringing up all the liturgical and theological problems of the GOA was to ask loosing the nuance of a subjunctive is worse than those.

It seems to me that you're just bitter in general and are growing to hate Hellenism in general, though are still conflicted because you like individual Greeks. Becareful, to hate hellenism is to hate Christianity, but I guess you dont like me because I say such things, but it is the truth as is seen in the history of the Church. Furthermore, regardless of the titular honours bestowed upon one, schism is not something I take lightly; and I fear I will not recant my previous statements on the issue, the more I read about the Karlovtsy Synod in general and Met. Anthony in particular, the less sympathy or understanding I have for any involved, suspicion of the diciples of this schismarch, who mocked and despised the honour of both the Great Sees of Constantinople and Moscow, is certainly warrented.

Quote
And for a painful example of replacing Christ with Constantinople ... http://www.orthodoxa.org/GB/accueil_GB.htm  GiC should pack his bag and learn some Estonian, then he could go and fight those nasty Russians for the glory of Istanbul.  ÃƒÆ’‚  

By the 28th Canon of the Fathers of the Fourth Holy and Oecumenical Synod the Great Church of Christ, which is New Rome, has every right to manage the barbarian nations beyond the boarders of the Empire, as they were established in A.D. 451, in the manner she deems appropriate; therefore, if the Great Church of Christ is to determine that Estonia should be a self governing Church, thus is her right, if at some future date she were to decide Estonia should be under Moscow, then let it be done, if she were to determine that all should come under the direct pastoral supervision of herself, this too is her Right as upheald by the Oecumenical Synods and by the interpretations of the Great Canonists.

As far as learning Estonian, no thank you; though I may have a great interest in the grammer, syntax, and other theoretical elements of the Fino-Urgic languages, I have no desire to attempt learning to speak one.
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« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2005, 12:14:37 PM »

It seems to me that you're just bitter in general and are growing to hate Hellenism in general, though are still conflicted because you like individual Greeks. Becareful, to hate hellenism is to hate Christianity, but I guess you dont like me because I say such things, but it is the truth as is seen in the history of the Church.
Ad Hominem removed.

You're wrong - they're not equitable.

By the 28th Canon of the Fathers of the Fourth Holy and Oecumenical Synod the Great Church of Christ, which is New Rome, has every right to manage the barbarian nations beyond the boarders of the Empire, as they were established in A.D. 451, in the manner she deems appropriate; therefore, if the Great Church of Christ is to determine that Estonia should be a self governing Church, thus is her right, if at some future date she were to decide Estonia should be under Moscow, then let it be done, if she were to determine that all should come under the direct pastoral supervision of herself, this too is her Right as upheald by the Oecumenical Synods and by the interpretations of the Great Canonists.

As far as learning Estonian, no thank you; though I may have a great interest in the grammer, syntax, and other theoretical elements of the Fino-Urgic languages, I have no desire to attempt learning to speak one.
Wasn't Estonia part of Russian just 20 or so years ago?ÂÂ  Do you just happen to have a world map in your back pocket that outlines every single Patriarchate's boundaries as they were when they were established in their respective time period?ÂÂ  I think not.
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« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2005, 12:31:46 PM »

Reminder to all... This is a moderated section.  Ad hominems will be removed and this thread will be locked if it continues.
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« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2005, 02:25:24 PM »

Ad Hominem removed.

You're wrong - they're not equitable.

awwww, my favourite part was removed, the ad hominem against me, and before I even got a chance to read it...come on SouthSerb99 you could have at least pm'd it to me Wink

In any case, I really dont see how the case for separating Christianity and Hellenism can be made when all of our Oecumenical Synods, the overwhelming majority of our fathers from the first millennium, and the cultural experience of Christianity was either Hellenic or steeped in Hellenic Culture.

Quote
Wasn't Estonia part of Russian just 20 or so years ago?ÂÂ  Do you just happen to have a world map in your back pocket that outlines every single Patriarchate's boundaries as they were when they were established in their respective time period?ÂÂ  I think not.

Not in my back pocket, but I can certainly look it up. And Estonia was not part of Russia c. 1590, the Russian influence really didn't start until the end of the 19th century. But that was not my point, my point was that even if Constantinople wanted to reclaim lands that were lawfully given to Russia (which she doesn't), she has the Right to by the 28th Canon of Chalcedon, so say she wanted to make autonomous or autocephalous a provence within Russia, she could reassert her rights over it and grant it autocephaly if she so desired, for her rights over these lands are the rights given by an Oecumenical Synod, and only revocable by another Oecumenical Synod.
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« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2005, 02:34:18 PM »

Ad Hominem removed. 

I know my friend GiC can get the blood boiling sometimes, but let's not kill the discussion quite yet, shall we?

You're wrong - they're not equitable. 

I think this all depends on your definition of "Hellenism" - if you're both operating under different presuppositions of "Hellenism," then that would explain the difference of opinion.

I know exactly how GiC defines "Hellenism" (because we've had this discussion 10+ times out here in the lounge on my floor) - he views it as the social/intellectual atmosphere of the Roman Empire, especially during the period between the mid 1st century (St. John's Gospel) and the 10th or 11th century; in this context, the Bishops and Priests and laymen who clarified our faith and doctrines through the decrees of the synods, letters to the churches, and other various writings were operating with a Hellenistic mindset; thus, it was this culture that was present for the explanation of the faith, and was integral in it.  Since that time, we have taken the faith to other different cultues (Asia, Northern Europe, America) and attempted to baptize their cultures; but our decision making as to what was good and holy in their cultures is ultimately dependent on our own understanding of the faith, which was clearly brought forth through a cooperation of the Holy Spirit with the Fathers - who used Hellenistic concepts and frameworks to describe the faith (and discarded the Hellenistic ideas that did not mesh with the faith).  It doesn't mean that the faith is intrinsically Hellenistic, but it does mean that our framework for understanding the faith is.

Of course, if you operate under a different definition of "Hellenic" - then the argument will seem justified.

Wasn't Estonia part of Russian just 20 or so years ago?  Do you just happen to have a world map in your back pocket that outlines every single Patriarchate's boundaries as they were when they were established in their respective time period?  I think not.   

It is for reasons like this that I hate automatically associating the Orthodox Church with nationalistic boundaries; it is getting us into trouble in the Balkans, it has contributed to problems in Greece, and it is causing problems here.  While I hate the "Estonia situation" - one must also point out that the same Fathers of the counsels also placed Constantinople as the seat for all appeals; so if the Estonians had a "beef" with Moscow, the only 3 places they can turn are: the Synod of the Church of Russia, the Ecumenical Patriarch, or an Ecumenical Synod (in rising order of precedence).  Their beef is that they were autonomous before, then when they were conquered by Russia it was removed, and now that they're not conquered, they want it back; this situation saw parallels in the Balkans during the span of the Empire; the Serbs and others had autonomy/autocephaly numerous times, then were re-absorbed numerous times, and finally ended up autocephalous (eventually).
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« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2005, 05:55:55 PM »

I know my friend GiC can get the blood boiling sometimes, but let's not kill the discussion quite yet, shall we?
I'm just calling it as it is. 

I think this all depends on your definition of "Hellenism" - if you're both operating under different presuppositions of "Hellenism," then that would explain the difference of opinion.

I know exactly how GiC defines "Hellenism" (because we've had this discussion 10+ times out here in the lounge on my floor) - he views it as the social/intellectual atmosphere of the Roman Empire, especially during the period between the mid 1st century (St. John's Gospel) and the 10th or 11th century; in this context, the Bishops and Priests and laymen who clarified our faith and doctrines through the decrees of the synods, letters to the churches, and other various writings were operating with a Hellenistic mindset; thus, it was this culture that was present for the explanation of the faith, and was integral in it.ÂÂ  Since that time, we have taken the faith to other different cultues (Asia, Northern Europe, America) and attempted to baptize their cultures; but our decision making as to what was good and holy in their cultures is ultimately dependent on our own understanding of the faith, which was clearly brought forth through a cooperation of the Holy Spirit with the Fathers - who used Hellenistic concepts and frameworks to describe the faith (and discarded the Hellenistic ideas that did not mesh with the faith).ÂÂ  It doesn't mean that the faith is intrinsically Hellenistic, but it does mean that our framework for understanding the faith is.

Of course, if you operate under a different definition of "Hellenic" - then the argument will seem justified.
This is ridiculous.  In this case, you (or he) is saying that "Hellinism" is a synonym for Christianity or should I say Orthodoxy.  That doesn't wash in the least.  It either deludes you into thinking every single Orthodox people must transform their society/culture into the 5 or so centuries of Byzantine Empire era or it spits in the face of the "non-Greek" Orthodox and says that they aren't really Orthodox.  It's living in some fantasy world that never was as great as it was cracked up to be in the first place - it still had it's problems with schisms, heresies/heretics, etc.  It really is missing the whole point of being an Orthodox Christian in the first place.


It is for reasons like this that I hate automatically associating the Orthodox Church with nationalistic boundaries; it is getting us into trouble in the Balkans, it has contributed to problems in Greece, and it is causing problems here.ÂÂ  While I hate the "Estonia situation" - one must also point out that the same Fathers of the counsels also placed Constantinople as the seat for all appeals; so if the Estonians had a "beef" with Moscow, the only 3 places they can turn are: the Synod of the Church of Russia, the Ecumenical Patriarch, or an Ecumenical Synod (in rising order of precedence).ÂÂ  Their beef is that they were autonomous before, then when they were conquered by Russia it was removed, and now that they're not conquered, they want it back; this situation saw parallels in the Balkans during the span of the Empire; the Serbs and others had autonomy/autocephaly numerous times, then were re-absorbed numerous times, and finally ended up autocephalous (eventually).
I liken this to the MOC situation - except that the EP has stuck their nose in another local Church's business and "approved" the disobedience. 
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« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2005, 06:36:33 PM »

Silouan wrote:

"English is a barbaric tongue."

Umm...no.  England has been an officially Christian country since the 800s, at the latest (Although it's very debateable whether England is still a Christian country). Hence, much (though perhaps not all) of the concepts of Orthodox Christianity are readily and easily translatable into English.

"Even more importantly, Greek was the language spoken at the court of the Holy Emperors, who kept the faith shielded from heresy and barbarism."

Umm...not at all! Much of the early heresies of the church (Arianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism), had their origins in the east and found proponents in some of the Patriarchs of Constantinople. In fact, much of the reason why the See of (Old) Rome gained such prestige in the early centuries of the church was that it defended orthodox (small o) Christianity against the heresies expounded by eastern bishops. Even Orthodox (large O) theologians will agree on this...(until about the time of the Photian schism).

GIC wrote...

"So while it may be theoretically possible to translate the liturgy literally into english, it will lose all of it's poetic nature."

Then I say that the solution is better translations of the Liturgy!

Similar arguments were put forth during the counter-reformation against translating the Vulgate out of Latin. The English responded with the King James Bible, a translation so liked that even many Orthodox Christians use a variant of it today.
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« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2005, 07:43:54 PM »

I'm just calling it as it is.

Well, ad hominems are against all the rules for this board; so if you want to keep the discussion up, don't "call it" at all.

This is ridiculous. In this case, you (or he) is saying that "Hellinism" is a synonym for Christianity or should I say Orthodoxy.  That doesn't wash in the least. 

Well, I never called Hellenism a synonym for Christianity/Orthodoxy.  And as for GiC, he'll probably answer this himself.

It either deludes you into thinking every single Orthodox people must transform their society/culture into the 5 or so centuries of Byzantine Empire era or it spits in the face of the "non-Greek" Orthodox and says that they aren't really Orthodox. It's living in some fantasy world that never was as great as it was cracked up to be in the first place - it still had it's problems with schisms, heresies/heretics, etc. It really is missing the whole point of being an Orthodox Christian in the first place. 

Nope.  No one needs to transform their culture into the 5 or so centuries of the Byzantine Era - we just need to acknowledge that our faith is expounded in the terminology of the era, and the Christian ethos embodies what it truly means to be "Hellenic."  I would argue that at very few points did even the majority Hellenes of the time exhibit true Hellenism; and the modern Greek state has nothing "Hellenic" about it (the name, impetus for independence, modern cultural mindset, and more all came from the French... I should call it Gallia Minor).  If you want the true "Hellenism" that is so integral to Orthodoxy, look at St. John Chrysostom, St. Photios, St. Maximos, St. Nicholas, et al.  Who cares about the way they dressed or the language they spoke; their thoughts and attitudes about God are what the true Hellenism is.

I liken this to the MOC situation - except that the EP has stuck their nose in another local Church's business and "approved" the disobedience.   

Well, all the bishops of Estonia had to do was ask for intervention - the canonical thing to do - and the Patriarch would be obliged to hear the appeal.  So "sticking their nose in" isn't really a correct way of describing it.  Now, if you don't like the final decision, I won't disparage you.  But the canons direct bishops who have problems with their own Metropolitans or Archbishops to appeal to Constantinople.
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« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2005, 07:48:53 PM »

The English responded with the King James Bible, a translation so liked that even many Orthodox Christians use a variant of it today.

The Septuagint is not readily available in English translation, and the translations which do exists in common circulation do not contain the Deuterocanonicals. Old Testament readings from the KJV are certainly not approved for Orthodox Liturgical use. So I think that English-speaking Orthodox have little choice on this matter, it was simply a choice for the lesser of evils.
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« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2005, 10:15:05 PM »

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Did I miss something?

Yeah. GiC claimed that Saint John Maximovitch wasn't a saint.  To say that someone who was officially glorified by ROCOR which has been de facto accept by the OCA and other jurisdictions is blasphemy.  To say that he wasn't a saint is to say the Holy Spirit didn't work in St. John. 

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It seems to me that you're just bitter in general and are growing to hate Hellenism in general, though are still conflicted because you like individual Greeks. Becareful, to hate hellenism is to hate Christianity, but I guess you dont like me because I say such things, but it is the truth as is seen in the history of the Church.

Look I have no problem with you having your little Greek fetish.  But this is a daily reality that family members and close friends of mine were driven from Orthodoxy by the operations of the GOA.  When my parents were insulted because they weren't Greek when they attended my old GOA parish - how do you think that made them feel about Orthodoxy?   It has taken years to begin to heal that damage.  I know two friends in particular that had their paths greatly slowed towards Orthodoxy becuase of the GOA.  So you can sit on your duff there at Holy Cross and be a yes man to the powers that be - and I'm sure you'll go far in life.  But I take Orthodoxy a little bit more seriously than that. 

Quote
Furthermore, regardless of the titular honours bestowed upon one, schism is not something I take lightly; and I fear I will not recant my previous statements on the issue, the more I read about the Karlovtsy Synod in general and Met. Anthony in particular, the less sympathy or understanding I have for any involved, suspicion of the diciples of this schismarch, who mocked and despised the honour of both the Great Sees of Constantinople and Moscow, is certainly warrented.

Apparently you didn't actualyl do any research.  ROCOR was in full communion with Istanbul through the 1960s when the Istanbul caused friction because of its ecumenical excesses.  Now ROCOR wasn't blameless and did IMO make some huge mistakes (getting involved with GOC mainly).  But throughout this ROCOR maintained communion with other local Orthodox Churches and is now close to re-uniting with Moscow. 

Quote
who used Hellenistic concepts and frameworks to describe the faith (and discarded the Hellenistic ideas that did not mesh with the faith).  It doesn't mean that the faith is intrinsically Hellenistic, but it does mean that our framework for understanding the faith is.

So if you keep repeating outright lies they become true?  Christianity was always preached in China as the fullfilment of 達 not the Logos.  While the concepts are similar, they still have their uniquness.  Hence why Chinese Bibles always translate "word" in the opening of Saint John's gospel as 道 and not è©ž.  The Chinese were given their own liturgical texts in classical Chinese translated from the Slavonic.  i.e they were never told they should worship in an unknown language.  Even if you look at the iconography in Chinese (ethnically Chinese, not Russian immigrant centers like Harbin) is done in the form of Chinese art.  I don't think GiC even would be so heartless as to question their Orthodoxy when you consider what they have been through from the Boxer Rebellion to now. 

Even if you look at the Church during the so called "golden era" there was plenty of non Greek activity going on.  If you look through some of the lesser known preschsim Western saints you'll see the full spirit Orthodoxy and (gasp) saints that spoke no Greek.

The whole charge that I am anti-Greek or anti - Hellenist or whatever is in itself absurd.  I very nearly stayed to become a novice on the Holy Mountain and once I finish school and get some other bussiness taken care of in the world I may very well end up back there.  We'll see.  I am pro-missionary though.  I will believe with all my heart until my last breath that Orthodox Christianity can be preached to average Americans in English. 
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« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2005, 11:18:49 PM »

Yeah. GiC claimed that Saint John Maximovitch wasn't a saint. To say that someone who was officially glorified by ROCOR which has been de facto accept by the OCA and other jurisdictions is blasphemy. To say that he wasn't a saint is to say the Holy Spirit didn't work in St. John.

Well, it is the perogative of each local church to maintain its lists of those saints it commemorates; it doesn't mean that we won't respect the fact that our brother churches have recognized people as saints, but if they're not in your local church's commemoration, then they're not saints in your local church.

Now I think St. John is, duh, a saint.  But then again, I wasn't the one who questioned that in the first place.

So if you keep repeating outright lies they become true? Christianity was always preached in China as the fullfilment of 達 not the Logos. While the concepts are similar, they still have their uniquness. Hence why Chinese Bibles always translate "word" in the opening of Saint John's gospel as 道 and not è©ž. The Chinese were given their own liturgical texts in classical Chinese translated from the Slavonic. i.e they were never told they should worship in an unknown language. Even if you look at the iconography in Chinese (ethnically Chinese, not Russian immigrant centers like Harbin) is done in the form of Chinese art. I don't think GiC even would be so heartless as to question their Orthodoxy when you consider what they have been through from the Boxer Rebellion to now.   

Okay, then you tell me: how did the missionaries, the bishops, and the Church know that the way the Chinese used 達 was acceptable?  They compared its usage and translation in the language that they were using to their existing concepts of the Logos.  Since 達 was close to their concept of the Logos, since the idea was the equivalant idea in the Chinese culture, they were able to use it - if it meant something completely different to the Chinese than what the Logos meant to the Fathers, they wouldn't have used it!  If 達 meant a temporally created demigod to the Chinese, and we didn't correct it, then it wouldn't mean anything close to the Logos of the Fathers, and we could never use it.

So, through the process, they use the existing framework as a rule or guide to determining what they can use in each culture.  And since the rule/framework was dictated in hellenic terms, you have hellenic influence in the Church wherever it goes.

I think maybe you are misunderstanding my position, or confusing it with GiC's - I am not trying to advocate the maitenance of the Greek language in the Liturgy regardless of the culture; I am just reinforcing the truth that the foundation of how we understand the faith was put forth during the hellenic time and in hellenic terms.

"I don't think GiC even would be so heartless" - THIS NEEDS TO STOP NOW.  I don't want this undercurrent to ruin a perfectly good thread.  So stop.
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« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2005, 11:50:38 PM »

"I don't think GiC even would be so heartless" - THIS NEEDS TO STOP NOW.  I don't want this undercurrent to ruin a perfectly good thread.  So stop.

Then why don't you tell him personally.  Remember, he enjoys his trollish writing style....and this isn't an ad hominem either - he admits that he enjoys his abrasiveness!
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« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2005, 12:33:09 AM »

Then why don't you tell him personally. Remember, he enjoys his trollish writing style....and this isn't an ad hominem either - he admits that he enjoys his abrasiveness! 

Whether or not it is an ad hominem as far as malicious intent or whatnot, the form is still ad hominem, and I would appreciate if it would stop.  Thank you!
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« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2005, 12:59:15 AM »

Re: Saint John

Apparently you didn't read what GiC wrote on that topic a few months ago.  It was quite provacative with the implication that Saint John was quite un-Holy.  It is really utterly absurd since of all the GOA priests that I've encountered not a single one has been opposed to venerating St. John.

Quote
Okay, then you tell me: how did the missionaries, the bishops, and the Church know that the way the Chinese used 達 was acceptable?  They compared its usage and translation in the language that they were using to their existing concepts of the Logos.  Since 達 was close to their concept of the Logos, since the idea was the equivalant idea in the Chinese culture, they were able to use it - if it meant something completely different to the Chinese than what the Logos meant to the Fathers, they wouldn't have used it!  If 達 meant a temporally created demigod to the Chinese, and we didn't correct it, then it wouldn't mean anything close to the Logos of the Fathers, and we could never use it.

My precise point all along is that the Fathers used Greek Philosophy because it was the commonly known way of thought throughtout the their world.  But had China been the cradle of Christianity they would have used that language and Philosophy.  If Holy Cross has a copy in its library Christ the Eternal Tao is worth reading on this subject.  Orther than the missionaries that are initially Orthodox and academic theologians there is not a need of knowing Hellenism.  And quite frankly no Chinese (and especially Japanese since we are talking Asian missions) would ever accept saying Hellenism is greater than their own society.
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