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Author Topic: Hellenism, Romanity among other issues...  (Read 8203 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: November 05, 2005, 05:25:49 PM »

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. 

No, I didn't read it... maybe I should be glad about that.

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. 

No arguments here.  I'm not going to claim that Hellenic thought was necessarily the best thought system at the time or whatnot - I haven't studied them enough to make that call - but I will say that since it was the way that the Fathers used to explain the faith, it is permanently ingraned (one way or another) into the Christian tradition.  We do have to recognize that, despite the presence of other cultures, Hellenism was used; we shouldn't be triumphalistic (or dismissive) of that fact - God chose to use people that operated within Hellenism.  Its fact.  Let's not use that to beat other people/cultures over the head (ahem, GiC). 

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.   

And I won't force them to claim Hellenism is greater.  As far as not knowing Hellenism - they do!  If they live a Christian life, and believe what has been used within Chinese culture to explain that faith, then they do know Hellenism, just with different terminology.  Real Hellenism, just like real Chinese Culture, is Theocentric, and is Orthodox to its core.  My earlier point was that there wouldn't be "Orthodox Chinese teaching" in their culture if the missionaries didn't have a standard for comparison - which was the faith as we have it.
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« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2005, 05:53:47 PM »

I'm just calling it as it is.

Perhaps if we spent more time addressing the issues and less attacking my character we might get some where...probably not, but we just might.

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This is ridiculous.ÂÂ  In this case, you (or he) is saying that "Hellinism" is a synonym for Christianity or should I say Orthodoxy.ÂÂ  That doesn't wash in the least.ÂÂ  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.ÂÂ  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.ÂÂ  It really is missing the whole point of being an Orthodox Christian in the first place.

No, I'm not saying Hellenism is a synonym for Christianity, rather I'm saying it's an essential element of Christianity...that Christianity cannot be fully understood outside a hellenistic context.

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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.ÂÂ  

Appealing to New Rome to solve an ecclesiastical dispute is not obedience, it is perfectly in line with the most holy Canons...the ones who are in disobedience, to the Fathers of the Church and the Oecumenical Synods, are those who object to such a canonical action.

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.

With my opinion (which is supported by many writings that have come out of both Constantinople and Moscow) of the Karlovtsy Synod, such an argument is somewhat less than convincing. Will I next be expected to accept those who are glorified as saints by the GOC? How about the Latins? The Protestants?...Where does it end?

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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.

Ah yes, the sob stories about the evils of the GOA. Unfortunately, I am not inclined to believe them, I have been to some of the more ethnic GOA parishes in this country and have never experienced this problem. I have been asked if I am Greek or even where in Greece I am from, but even when I answer that I am not Greek no one has ever been rude to me, even if a few have been disappointed. So you will forgive me if I am prone to dismiss these malicious stories about the GOA, since in my visiting of many diverse parishes I have never experienced anything even close to what you seem to imply occurs.

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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.

Actually I have researched ROCOR, granted not by Choice but as an assignment for my Canonical Aspects of the Diaspora Class this semester. I read several articles from various Bishops and Metropolitans of the Great Church of Christ on the issue, all of which stated that the Oecumenical Throne had been out of communion with ROCOR since the exiles had rebelled against their Patriarch in Moscow and falsely declared the Church of Moscow to have fallen. Neither Constantinople or Moscow could maintain communion with these radical schismatics after such an absurd statement, and for the preservation of the communion of the Church, especially the Communion between Constantinople and Moscow, the synod of exiles was excommunicated by both Sees.

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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 詞. 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.

As cleveland stated, the Chinese culture and understanding is only Christian insofar as it is consonant with the Hellenisitic culture and understanding. This is not a value statement of 'better' or 'worse' about any given culture, it's simply stating the fact that Christian doctrine was developed and defined in a Hellenistic context and that, accordingly, the Hellenistic context must be a standard by which all other Contexts are measured and Hellenism is the only Culture that is essential to our Christian thought. Oh, and btw, having gone through some hardships doesn't automatically make you Orthodox, I mean the Jews have gone through some hardships too; rather, the standard of their Orthodox is how consonant their understanding of the faith is with the faith of the Orthodox, which, as we have been discussing, will ultimately come down to how close their understanding of Christianity is to the Hellenic understanding of Christianity.

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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.

But all of our Oecumenical Synods and the overwhelming majority of our patristic theological texts are in Greek, it is the Language and Culture that Christian thought was centred around.

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!

WOW, that sure added alot to the debate, do you have any more gems of wisdom to edify us? I do have a rather agressive writing style and I do enjoy a good controversy (as it seems most people on this board do), but to say I have a 'trollish writing style'...LOL. Pray tell, what, other than not agreeing with you, have I done in my posts that so radically juxtaposes my methodology and that of others in this debate...like yourself, for example?

Re: Saint John

Apparently you didn't read what GiC wrote on that topic a few months ago. Î’ It was quite provacative with the implication that Saint John was quite un-Holy. Î’ 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.

Since this is a hot topic, I'll just reiterate what I said then...I'm still waiting for that encyclical from the Great Church of Christ telling me where in my Synaxarion to put him and how he fits in with the others in the Typikon. If you get such an instruction from His All-Holiness, please forward it to me and, after I validate its authenticity, I will happily eat my words.

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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. Î’ But had China been the cradle of Christianity they would have used that language and Philosophy. Î’ If Holy Cross has a copy in its library Christ the Eternal Tao is worth reading on this subject. Î’ Orther than the missionaries that are initially Orthodox and academic theologians there is not a need of knowing Hellenism. Î’ 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.

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts...the fact of the matter is that Christianity did not develop in a chinese context, it developed in a Hellenistic context, thus Hellenism and not Chinese culture is the standard of Orthodox Christian thought.

Well...that's probably enought beating people over the head with Hellenism for one post Wink
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« Reply #47 on: November 05, 2005, 07:38:19 PM »


[I have been asked if I am Greek or even where in Greece I am from, but even when I answer that I am not Greek no one has ever been rude to me, even if a few have been disappointed. So you will forgive me if I am prone to dismiss these malicious stories about the GOA, since in my visiting of many diverse parishes I have never experienced anything even close to what you seem to imply occurs.]

Oh, so we have a Greek wannabe.  That explains a lot of things!

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« Reply #48 on: November 05, 2005, 09:55:27 PM »

Re: Saint John Maximovitch

The OCA and other (unquestionably) Orthodox jurisdictions have churches named in his honor and baptize people after his name.  The fact that every single GOA priest I've met considers him one of the greatest modern saints shows they are mature enough to put politics aside and rejoice in a saint of the Church. 

Really when all is said and done with the ROCOR and by this time next year they are concelebrating again with Moscow you'll just again look like a sack of hot air.  If you look at the documents between ROCOR and Moscow you'll notice they view this as a union of two churches that had an administrative seperation.  The ROCOR is returning because its reason for existence alone is ending, not because the path she walked was wrong.  The sad part is the anti-ROCOR spirit is really an American thing.  The German version of SCOBA already has ROCOR as vital and active member. 

Re: Greeks

You may call me a liar on this, GiC to assuage your own guilty conscience but here are the facts from my experience.  Both of my parents, my sister and three friends that attended the GOA were treated poorly for their lack of Greekness (in two cases by a priest even).  The ultimate feeling though they walked away with was that Orthodoxy is fine for Greeks, but it is just their ethnic expression of Christianity - it is not the universal church.  These are real people whose perception of Orthodoxy has been deeply worsened by it appearing merely as an ethnic thing.  The most ridiculous thing though I've heard is when a GOA priest claimed to me that Greeks are a people of supior intelligence.  At least when the Nazi's made their racial claims they were based on the fact that many of the worlds leading scientists were German, many great athletes were German and Germany was a powerful nation.  Greece can't even make a plumbing system that flushes toilet paper. 

So bask away in your Hellenism while the VAST majority of the Orthodox Church is non Greek in practice and language.  While Orthodox missionaries struggle and die in China and Africa laboring to bring people the True Faith in a form they associate with and understand, keep up your ascesis of Hellenism at Holy Cross.  While priests in the ROCOR, OCA, AOA and other missionary jurisdictions struggle (working long hours at a secular job and being a priest) to reach out to ordinary Americans AND their immigrant communities, please make sure you keep boasting in your hellenism.  I'm sure one judgement day when Christ seperates the Hellenes from the Barbarians you'll do well (oh wait I don't think that is how the parable went...)

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Many Years!  It's nice to see you posting with your usual wit again!   
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« Reply #49 on: November 06, 2005, 02:22:41 AM »

SouthSerb: please close the thread... the inability of certain people to actually make rational arguments here is appaling, and the personal attacks and the ones that are borderline sicken me.  I'm sorry it came to this - you guys shouldn't need to take actions like this on a discussion form of adults.
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« Reply #50 on: November 06, 2005, 02:54:13 AM »

Typical of course.  Call my synod of bishops schismatics and say St. John isn't a saint and it is OK.  Point out the real faillings and of the GOA and look out. 
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« Reply #51 on: November 06, 2005, 03:28:41 AM »

SouthSerb: please close the thread... the inability of certain people to actually make rational arguments here is appaling, and the personal attacks and the ones that are borderline sicken me.  I'm sorry it came to this - you guys shouldn't need to take actions like this on a discussion form of adults.
Your opinion.  Should the Mod's just close any thread now for which anyone requests?  Sickened?  Whatever.  Get a thicker skin.  As the saying goes, you should be slower to anger and quick to forgive.


No, I'm not saying Hellenism is a synonym for Christianity, rather I'm saying it's an essential element of Christianity...that Christianity cannot be fully understood outside a hellenistic context.
Uhhh...yes you are.  You are redefining the term 'Hellenism' to fit your own Hellenophile tastes.  At any rate shouldn't you just be a Romanophile anyways since that is what the "Byzantine" Empire was - the Roman Empire?  Maybe it should be called Romanism...Romanity!

As cleveland stated, the Chinese culture and understanding is only Christian insofar as it is consonant with the Hellenisitic culture and understanding. This is not a value statement of 'better' or 'worse' about any given culture, it's simply stating the fact that Christian doctrine was developed and defined in a Hellenistic context and that, accordingly, the Hellenistic context must be a standard by which all other Contexts are measured and Hellenism is the only Culture that is essential to our Christian thought. Oh, and btw, having gone through some hardships doesn't automatically make you Orthodox, I mean the Jews have gone through some hardships too; rather, the standard of their Orthodox is how consonant their understanding of the faith is with the faith of the Orthodox, which, as we have been discussing, will ultimately come down to how close their understanding of Christianity is to the Hellenic understanding of Christianity.
Again, nope.  While "the original Christianized Hellenic Culture" of the Roman Empire was the original Christian Culture, it is a thing of the past.  Maybe the new term should be Romaniaism or Russiaism, after all, these two countries are probably more Orthodox in culture than Greece or it's surrounding area.  Christianity or an Orthodox Christian Culture is one that has been baptized and converted to The Way, to Christ and revolves around the life of the Church.  This can be done from the Scriptures and Apostolic (as in PRE-Nicean) Fathers, which have nothing to do with this concept of Hellenism.

WOW, that sure added alot to the debate, do you have any more gems of wisdom to edify us? I do have a rather agressive writing style and I do enjoy a good controversy (as it seems most people on this board do), but to say I have a 'trollish writing style'...LOL. Pray tell, what, other than not agreeing with you, have I done in my posts that so radically juxtaposes my methodology and that of others in this debate...like yourself, for example?
Again, isn't this what defines a "Troll" on internet message boards?  Shall I research your prior posts where you admit as such even more overtly?
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« Reply #52 on: November 06, 2005, 05:38:28 AM »

Another point about the whole Hellenism/Roman thing:  the church only took a small sliver of that culture.  They borrowed the language simply because it was ubiquitous.  They used philisophical terms from then because that was the academic speach of the time.  But lest we forget ancient Rome was primarily hedonistic.  Rampant homosexuality, prostitutes readily available (on the history chanel special recently aired it claimed that a session with a prostitute was the same price as a loaf of bread), rampant infanticide etc.   Really modern America and Western Europe look puritanical compared to this (especially America - could you image the sexual images of Pompei on public display in America?).  It is always convient to remember what we wish rather than seek a bigger picture.  Obviously these peccadillos didn't go away overnight when the empire converted - even in you golden era with your "pure" Hellenism you have a level of debauchery a modern civilized nation would not accept. 

Now for what I have been saying all along.  In order to be missionary today the Church must put forth people who speak the languages important today, understand modern philosophy and can show people the path to Christ even 2000 years removed from the historical Christ-event.  An example of this would be Metr. Amfilohije of Montenegro - he is fluent in German, having studied in Bern.  He is very holy and being near him you can easily sense this.  Despite his own shortcomings with the English language he has supported efforts to create and sustain misionary parishes in America under the Serbian Patriarchate. 

Another prime example of this is Fr. Seraphim Rose.  He was willing to deal with modern philosophy while most other Christians flee from it.  He translated so much Orthodox material into English and is responsible for so much of the missionary parts of the ROCOR today.

In the Greek Church there is Metr. Hierotheos Vlachos.  His writtings are simply awesome.  He can deal with modern philosophy.  He really gets the big picture across about what Orthodoxy is and what is the purpose of the Church - and it isn't an ethnic musuem either!
 
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« Reply #53 on: November 06, 2005, 06:22:00 AM »

I thought I’d quote Coptic Theologian Fr. Tadros Malaty’s book Alexandria and Christian Dogmas, which states in the section Dogma and Renewal:

“The Coptic Orthodox Church is well known for its conservatism, especially with respect to dogma and doctrines. At the same time, it developed not by embracing new doctrines or new “articles of faith”, but by explaining the same faith “once given to all saints” in the language of the contemporary world. Professor Maximos Agioghoussis, Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania asks: “Is there a possibility of so called 'development of doctrine' in the Orthodox Christian tradition?” He adds: “The west has by and large endorsed a development of doctrine, embracing along with it new doctrines or articles of faith, whilst the east opposes such a proliferation. The depositum fidei is always the same. Faith and truth as revealed to the saints and the faith of the saints in it, is essentially forever the same. The only possibility of change is in the formulation of it. But an interpretation of it is preferable for men of all times... Faith is always “contemporary,” answering the spiritual needs of people of all epochs…Let it not be forgotten, however, that the faith cannot always be fully harmonized with the “experience” of each epoch, notably if this “experience” is completely secularized…The Christian duty does not lie in conforming itself to the 'fallen' world, but in conforming [the world’s] intelligence to the 'mind of Christ' 1 Corn 2:16, and thereby transforming the world and saving it in Christ. The Christian message will always be a “stumbling-block” to the Jews and Judaizers (1 Cor. 1:23) of yesterday, today and tomorrow, just as it will be for all saved, both Greeks and Jews, 'the strength of God and the wisdom of God' (1 Cor. 1:24)"

I believe Bishop Maximos, of whom Fr. Tadros Malaty quotes above, is of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

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« Reply #54 on: November 06, 2005, 07:16:27 AM »

You are redefining the term 'Hellenism' to fit your own Hellenophile tastes.ÂÂ  At any rate shouldn't you just be a Romanophile anyways since that is what the "Byzantine" Empire was - the Roman Empire?ÂÂ  Maybe it should be called Romanism...Romanity!

huh???

Why is it that you insist on putting words in GiC's mouth......and then berate him for them!!??
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« Reply #55 on: November 06, 2005, 08:47:36 AM »

Typical of course. Call my synod of bishops schismatics and say St. John isn't a saint and it is OK. Point out the real faillings and of the GOA and look out.   



The OCA and other (unquestionably) Orthodox jurisdictions have churches named in his honor and baptize people after his name. The fact that every single GOA priest I've met considers him one of the greatest modern saints shows they are mature enough to put politics aside and rejoice in a saint of the Church.

Until a saint shows up on the list for your local Church, he may be an Orthodox saint recognized by some jurisdiction, but he isn't celebrated in your local church.  You can see honor in his celebration, and maybe not disparage his celebration, but you, as a local community, still haven't seen fit to celebrate his feastday.  Well: the Church of Constantinople hasn't said to celebrate his feastday, so obviously the voices here from the GOA aren't as loud as you're making them out to be.  The Patriarchate (once upon a time) added commemoration for St. Nektarios when he wasn't a saint of the local Church; the people called for it.  C'nople still hasn't added St Innocent, even though no one here will debate St. Innocent's saintliness.  Doesn't make him any less of a saint.

You may call me a liar on this, GiC to assuage your own guilty conscience but here are the facts from my experience. Both of my parents, my sister and three friends that attended the GOA were treated poorly for their lack of Greekness (in two cases by a priest even). The ultimate feeling though they walked away with was that Orthodoxy is fine for Greeks, but it is just their ethnic expression of Christianity - it is not the universal church. These are real people whose perception of Orthodoxy has been deeply worsened by it appearing merely as an ethnic thing. The most ridiculous thing though I've heard is when a GOA priest claimed to me that Greeks are a people of supior intelligence. At least when the Nazi's made their racial claims they were based on the fact that many of the worlds leading scientists were German, many great athletes were German and Germany was a powerful nation. Greece can't even make a plumbing system that flushes toilet paper. 

Let me provide you, then, with some facts of our experience: the (I think slight) majority of men studying for the priesthood here are not of Greek ethnic descent, but are rather from diverse backgrounds; similarly, a very high percentage were not even Orthodox as children.  So you have a large number of people who came into Orthodoxy in the GOA and have had great enough experiences that they have decided to indeed pursue Ordained ministry for the GOA.

My suggestion: do a wider statistical analysis than 2 or 3 parishes before making the generalization for the whole GOA.  In my (short) lifetime (24 years) I have traveled to over 50 GOA parishes at least; I can tell you that the attitudes you speak of (regarding rejection of non-Greeks, even by clergy) are in the minority; there are plenty of heavily ethnic parishes that don't display these tendencies.  And the GOA also has many parishes that use 50%+ english in their services (the majority of the parishes outside the NY, Chi metro areas, in fact).  Again, speaking from my personal experience, between the states of my diocese (I have visited the majority of the parishes in my diocese) there are maybe 8-9 of the 49 parishes that fit the description you seem to provide.

Now, the rub: 8-9 out of 49 are too many.  Yes, we need to love and teach our own people so they can have an open mind and an open heart, to fulfill the requests of scripture.  The fact that members of your family were turned away by superGreek parishes is shameful.  Just don't lump the rest of the GOA in with your condemnations, otherwise you lose credibility in your arguments.  I am sickened by the attitudes just as much as you are; ask the people I work with in the diocese house, they are too (Metropolitan Maximos has 3 people of non-Greek descent working for him in his office, and 1 of Greek descent, full-time; it's only when the summer arrives and the two interns show up - like me - that the numbers become 3 - 3, and we still despise the superGreek attitude).

Oh, and comparing the Greeks to the Nazi's might actually help destroy your credibility.  Because, of course, the Greeks are famous for taking their ethnic stereotypes and using them to justify genocide.

Of course, it seems that your post justifies the German racial attitude.  I don't think you personally believe that, but in the heat of pointless and attacking rhetoric, you've just come off that way.

So bask away in your Hellenism while the VAST majority of the Orthodox Church is non Greek in practice and language. While Orthodox missionaries struggle and die in China and Africa laboring to bring people the True Faith in a form they associate with and understand, keep up your ascesis of Hellenism at Holy Cross.   

Am I to glean from your post that you're saying that no Greeks/GOA/Greek-Americans are doing missionary work?  I'll ask Fr. Luke Veronis that question.  Or are you stating that no one who thinks that the Fathers fused their hellenistic/romanistic framework into the Church with the aid of the Holy Spirit does missionary work?  Hmmm.  GiC and I have made our completely rational points as to how, in the present reality, Romanistic/Hellenistic thought became foundational to the past and present formulation of the faith.  And when the missionaries went to CHina, they heard about the Dao, compared it to the Logos (for themselves) to make sure it was Orthodox, saw that it was okay, and spoke of the Dao of God.  No arguments there.

Oh, and the "askesis of hellenism" at Holy Cross, eh?  I'm sure some here would agree with you.  Others won't.  But my suggestion - come and experience it, otherwise don't speak as if you have.

While priests in the ROCOR, OCA, AOA and other missionary jurisdictions struggle (working long hours at a secular job and being a priest) to reach out to ordinary Americans AND their immigrant communities, please make sure you keep boasting in your hellenism.   

So, are you saying the GOA clergy don't struggle?  That's news to my family, my Godfather's family, my dad's godfather's family, most of the priests of the GOA that I know, in fact (I know many, trust me) - since we're using personal experience.  Just because they often don't struggle for money doesn't mean they don't struggle (oh, and they do struggle for money often...).  The solitary priests at Churches with 900 familes are not the rule, just the exception.  Making statements of fact from a position of relative ignorance is dangerous.

Or are you saying that the GOA priests don't reach out to "ordinary Americans?"  Who is an "ordinary American?"  Because, of course, people who have lived in this country for 40, 50, 60+ years, who have fought in wartime for the US Armed Forces, or have served in our Government, who have lived in rural America, or suburbia, or the cities - they're not "ordinary Americans" because they want to teach their kids how to speak Greek. 

And, of course, the majority of our priests must not care about those other non-Greek speaking people, because our parishes don't grow (oh, wait; 3 of the 4 parishes in Cleveland are growing despite the fact that the population is shrinking; and 4 of the 6 Pittsburgh area churches are growing, despite the fact that the population is shrinking.  The Atlanta Metropolis is growing fast enough they have a shortage of Priests.  Same with Denver. 

I'm sure one judgement day when Christ seperates the Hellenes from the Barbarians you'll do well (oh wait I don't think that is how the parable went...) 

I'll respond to this after Liturgy.
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« Reply #56 on: November 06, 2005, 12:48:18 PM »

Another point about the whole Hellenism/Roman thing: the church only took a small sliver of that culture. They borrowed the language simply because it was ubiquitous. They used philisophical terms from then because that was the academic speach of the time. 

That's right - I'm not saying that Hellenic thought processes were chosen because they were somehow holier; I am saying that you have to admit that the faith was explained, formulated, written in Hellenic terms and pholosophical models.  Since then, we have gone to other cultures (African, Norther European, Indian, Chinese, Hispanic) and taken the best of their cultures (determining this by using the faith as it has already been explained) and showing them how they fit into Christianity.  It is the same process that the Fathers used with Hellenism...

After that point, you have the faith fully present in philosophical terms in Slavic, Asian, African, and Hispanic dialects and cultures; and this is the way it belongs.  But we can't deny that at first it was explained in Hellenic terms, and if there is a serious theological debate that hinges of what our faith specifically says, then we need to trace back to those roots to make sure our translations are okay.

But lest we forget ancient Rome was primarily hedonistic. Rampant homosexuality, prostitutes readily available (on the history chanel special recently aired it claimed that a session with a prostitute was the same price as a loaf of bread), rampant infanticide etc. Really modern America and Western Europe look puritanical compared to this (especially America - could you image the sexual images of Pompei on public display in America?). It is always convient to remember what we wish rather than seek a bigger picture. Obviously these peccadillos didn't go away overnight when the empire converted - even in you golden era with your "pure" Hellenism you have a level of debauchery a modern civilized nation would not accept.

Rome was secondarily hedonistic; don't take the lifestyle of the rich and overgeneralize it to the whole culture.  Roman Culture, like our present American culture, had a dichotomy; for they saw the sexual deviance and hedonism as taboo, and were not to be done/seen/admitted in public.  The poorer classes didn't engage in the same debauchery as the rich ones.  Stating your point in modern terms would be like taking the example of the Hollywood or Professional Athlete lifestyle and stating that it is the "American Way" - when half the nation thinks this lifestyle is repulsive!

Anyway, the "pure Hellenism" that GiC and I speak of only existed in the context of the Church; in society at large it is very difficult to find "pure *insert culture here*."  This is evident throughout time; for Ancient Greece, you hear of how Socrates was probably at least bisexual, and that at the time it was not taboo to use young men as sex objects - but the common people lived a different life - most of the commonoers couldn't vote, and didn't have the resources the wealthy did.  Rome, Egypt, Israel, etc. - none of the cultures at large displayed the pure reality of their true nature!  So when we speak of "pure Hellenism" - we speak of it unpolluted by the "Byzantine Intrigue" and any residual hedonism and all other influences like that.

Now for what I have been saying all along. In order to be missionary today the Church must put forth people who speak the languages important today, understand modern philosophy and can show people the path to Christ even 2000 years removed from the historical Christ-event.

And guess what - we even have that in the GOA!  Who would've thunk it?  Bishop SAVAS is actually quite adept at proclaiming the gospel message to the under 30 crowd; some people who went to his "iPods and Icons" talk that was up here in Boston (St. John Damascus Church) said it was pretty good.  I have professors who emphasize the need to understand the cultural constructs and contexts that exist today, and know how to compare/contrast/purify them through Orthodoxy.  Didn't think it was possible, eh?

An example of this would be Metr. Amfilohije of Montenegro - he is fluent in German, having studied in Bern. He is very holy and being near him you can easily sense this. Despite his own shortcomings with the English language he has supported efforts to create and sustain misionary parishes in America under the Serbian Patriarchate.   

And I can (not again!) bring up my Metropolitan, who not only speaks 5 or 6 languages, but also supports his priests doing missionary work, going abroad, and has even tried to get a mission parish started in Belpre, OH (where the population is stagnant at best).

In the Greek Church there is Metr. Hierotheos Vlachos. His writtings are simply awesome. He can deal with modern philosophy. He really gets the big picture across about what Orthodoxy is and what is the purpose of the Church - and it isn't an ethnic musuem either! 

If GiC and I come across as saying Orthodoxy is an ethnic museum, then we've obviously been read incorrectly or we need to do a better job writing (probably the latter).
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« Reply #57 on: November 06, 2005, 02:54:18 PM »

Quote
If GiC and I come across as saying Orthodoxy is an ethnic museum, then we've obviously been read incorrectly or we need to do a better job writing (probably the latter).

That is exactly how GiC comes across - and it is a lot of people reading him that way.  You come across as more moderate and reasonable, and I really have enjoyed your input to this thread.  About the mentality of the GOA we'll just have to agree to disagree.  While I think there are many making some valient efforts in the GOA, they do so in spite of the GOA not because of it. 

Ταις πρεσβειαις του αγιου Ιαωννου της Σαν Φρανγσισκο, Σωτερ σωσον ημας. 
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« Reply #58 on: November 06, 2005, 06:15:46 PM »

About the mentality of the GOA we'll just have to agree to disagree. While I think there are many making some valient efforts in the GOA, they do so in spite of the GOA not because of it.   

I guess we will have to do so.  I hope your statement is not true; I know it doesn't apply to the environment that I work in at the Metropolis of Pittsburgh, but then again we may be the exception and not the rule.
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« Reply #59 on: November 06, 2005, 07:33:39 PM »

I guess we will have to do so.  I hope your statement is not true; I know it doesn't apply to the environment that I work in at the Metropolis of Pittsburgh, but then again we may be the exception and not the rule.

I am in the Metropolis of Pittsburgh as well and agree with cleveland's take here for parishes both large and small. And I don't think it's exceptional to our diocese - the rest of my family is in the NJ metropolis and my experiences there (in about 6 parishes, all large) seem the same as here.
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« Reply #60 on: November 06, 2005, 07:36:45 PM »

Typical of course.  Call my synod of bishops schismatics and say St. John isn't a saint and it is OK.  Point out the real faillings and of the GOA and look out. 

I am sure St. John will be commemorated in the Church of Constantinople when full communion is restored. Some here just want to argue  Undecided
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« Reply #61 on: November 06, 2005, 09:07:17 PM »

(yawn).....zzzzzzz....zzzzzzz
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« Reply #62 on: November 06, 2005, 10:00:44 PM »

[I have been asked if I am Greek or even where in Greece I am from, but even when I answer that I am not Greek no one has ever been rude to me, even if a few have been disappointed. So you will forgive me if I am prone to dismiss these malicious stories about the GOA, since in my visiting of many diverse parishes I have never experienced anything even close to what you seem to imply occurs.]

Oh, so we have a Greek wannabe.ÂÂ  That explains a lot of things!

Orthodoc

What?...How do you come to that conclustion from what you have bolded?

Re: Saint John Maximovitch

The OCA and other (unquestionably) Orthodox jurisdictions have churches named in his honor and baptize people after his name. The fact that every single GOA priest I've met considers him one of the greatest modern saints shows they are mature enough to put politics aside and rejoice in a saint of the Church.

Really when all is said and done with the ROCOR and by this time next year they are concelebrating again with Moscow you'll just again look like a sack of hot air. If you look at the documents between ROCOR and Moscow you'll notice they view this as a union of two churches that had an administrative seperation. The ROCOR is returning because its reason for existence alone is ending, not because the path she walked was wrong. The sad part is the anti-ROCOR spirit is really an American thing. The German version of SCOBA already has ROCOR as vital and active member.

I can, in theory at least, entertain the possibility that one who died outside the Church posessed a saintly grace, but I will refrain from making such a declaration on my own and will await the proclimation of the Synod of the Great Church of Christ. I fervently pray that ROCOR and the MP return to full communion, but even if they do that does not excuse the schism of the past, those who broke communion with their Patriarch, against the expressly stated posistion of Constantinople, the ultimate See of appeal, must still answer for their offences.

Quote
Re: Greeks

You may call me a liar on this, GiC to assuage your own guilty conscience but here are the facts from my experience. Both of my parents, my sister and three friends that attended the GOA were treated poorly for their lack of Greekness (in two cases by a priest even). The ultimate feeling though they walked away with was that Orthodoxy is fine for Greeks, but it is just their ethnic expression of Christianity - it is not the universal church. These are real people whose perception of Orthodoxy has been deeply worsened by it appearing merely as an ethnic thing.

I have had experiences with very ethnic parishes where people would refuse to speak english, even if they knew it, I have encountered people who did not even know that non-greeks could be priests, but never have I experienced what you claim happens. In the very ethnic parishes the people may be cold to non-greeks, but rarely have I heard of, and never have I seen, them go out of their way to be rude...and honest inquisitiveness should most certainly not be mistaken for rudeness.

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The most ridiculous thing though I've heard is when a GOA priest claimed to me that Greeks are a people of supior intelligence. At least when the Nazi's made their racial claims they were based on the fact that many of the worlds leading scientists were German, many great athletes were German and Germany was a powerful nation. Greece can't even make a plumbing system that flushes toilet paper.

Sieg Heil! Roll Eyes ...Stylistic advice for debating in the modern world: try not to glorify National Socialism in your polemics, this isn't the 1930's and it tends not to work (there some big disagreement in 1939, maybe you've heard about it?).

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So bask away in your Hellenism while the VAST majority of the Orthodox Church is non Greek in practice and language. While Orthodox missionaries struggle and die in China and Africa laboring to bring people the True Faith in a form they associate with and understand, keep up your ascesis of Hellenism at Holy Cross. While priests in the ROCOR, OCA, AOA and other missionary jurisdictions struggle (working long hours at a secular job and being a priest) to reach out to ordinary Americans AND their immigrant communities, please make sure you keep boasting in your hellenism. I'm sure one judgement day when Christ seperates the Hellenes from the Barbarians you'll do well (oh wait I don't think that is how the parable went...)

Quite to the contrary, slavic culture was Hellenized, which is why it is a Christian Culture, Hellenistic Thought and Philosophy were infused into the Culture inorder to make it consonant with the Christian Faith. We didn't change our theology and altered very little of our praxis when Christianity was spread to the slavs, rather they learned to understand the world and especially the faith in a very Hellenistic way, an example of a true baptism of a culture.

Your opinion. Should the Mod's just close any thread now for which anyone requests? Sickened? Whatever. Get a thicker skin. As the saying goes, you should be slower to anger and quick to forgive.

Please, let's try to make our points without resorting to ad hominem attacks or you are going to get the thread locked, SouthSerb99 has already posted one warning on this subject.

Quote
Uhhh...yes you are. You are redefining the term 'Hellenism' to fit your own Hellenophile tastes. At any rate shouldn't you just be a Romanophile anyways since that is what the "Byzantine" Empire was - the Roman Empire? Maybe it should be called Romanism...Romanity!

With the merger of Greek and Roman cultures, there comes a point in history when you can use the terms 'Hellenism' and 'Romanity' interchangably, this is probably the case by the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and definately by the time of the reigin of St. Constantine. And no I'm not saying that Hellenism and Christianity are interchangable, Hellenism is a cultural, lingiustic, and philosophical context in which many different religions could, and did, exist from neo-Platonic Pagansim to Mithraism to Christianity. While Hellenism is essential to all these religions, it is not by itself sufficient to be the totality of any of them.

To make it simple: (A => B) !=> (B => A)

Quote
Again, nope. While "the original Christianized Hellenic Culture" of the Roman Empire was the original Christian Culture, it is a thing of the past. Maybe the new term should be Romaniaism or Russiaism, after all, these two countries are probably more Orthodox in culture than Greece or it's surrounding area. Christianity or an Orthodox Christian Culture is one that has been baptized and converted to The Way, to Christ and revolves around the life of the Church. This can be done from the Scriptures and Apostolic (as in PRE-Nicean) Fathers, which have nothing to do with this concept of Hellenism.

And what exactly does modern Greek culture have to do with the definition of Hellenism? Furthermore, if you try to separate the Christian faith from the Cultural and Dogmatic context of the Oecumenical Synods, you do not have Orthodoxy you have some heretical bastardization that does not even diserve to be associated with the Christian faith. However, if you wish to do this I'm sure there are many protestants sects that are more than willing to indulge you. Finally, even if you do begin this endeavour to separate the 'Christian Faith' from the Oecumenical Synods, remember that the Canon of Scripture is in the Greek and that the Pre-Nicene Fathers were culturally hellenistic from St. Paul the Apostle to St. Ignatios of Antioch to St. Clement of Alexandria (who, along with the rest of the Catechical School of Alexandria, was amongst the most hellenized elements of the early Church, even going so far as to say that before Christ both the Law and the Philosophy were equal paths to God).

Quote
Again, isn't this what defines a "Troll" on internet message boards? Shall I research your prior posts where you admit as such even more overtly?

I shall quote myself in response to your initial ad hominem attack against me,

'Pray tell, what, other than not agreeing with you, have I done in my posts that so radically juxtaposes my methodology and that of others in this debate...like yourself, for example?'

Another point about the whole Hellenism/Roman thing: the church only took a small sliver of that culture. They borrowed the language simply because it was ubiquitous. They used philisophical terms from then because that was the academic speach of the time.

They only took the Hellenistic Language, Philosophy, Art, Music, and Mindset...what exactly other than the pagan religion did we leave behind (and it might be argued that even the religion was not entirely left behind, but that's a discussion for another day, and plus that's one of TomS' favourite topics so I'm sure we'll see more of it Wink )

Quote
But lest we forget ancient Rome was primarily hedonistic. Rampant homosexuality, prostitutes readily available (on the history chanel special recently aired it claimed that a session with a prostitute was the same price as a loaf of bread), rampant infanticide etc. Really modern America and Western Europe look puritanical compared to this (especially America - could you image the sexual images of Pompei on public display in America?). It is always convient to remember what we wish rather than seek a bigger picture. Obviously these peccadillos didn't go away overnight when the empire converted - even in you golden era with your "pure" Hellenism you have a level of debauchery a modern civilized nation would not accept.

You must have taken a different Roman Civ class than I did, but from what I can remember is that, despite the decadence of a few select emperors (and not all of them by any means), the Romans were actually very moral people, with a strong sense of agrarian family values, to the extend that their honour, and hence careers, were dependent on thier maintaining of these values.

Quote
Now for what I have been saying all along. In order to be missionary today the Church must put forth people who speak the languages important today, understand modern philosophy and can show people the path to Christ even 2000 years removed from the historical Christ-event. An example of this would be Metr. Amfilohije of Montenegro - he is fluent in German, having studied in Bern. He is very holy and being near him you can easily sense this. Despite his own shortcomings with the English language he has supported efforts to create and sustain misionary parishes in America under the Serbian Patriarchate.

Of course the faith was not developed in the context of the English language and Nietzschean Philosophy, rather it was developed in the context of the Greek language and neo-Platonic philosophy, which makes the latter two essential to the faith, not the former two. Can we translate things for evangelical purposes? Of course, but we cannot replace the significance of the Greek in our Church, it's still the language in which our dogmas and liturgy were developed. And if one wants to analyze the philosophical underlying of Christianity I would recommend they study neo-platonism, rather than rely on moder philosophical thought.
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« Reply #63 on: November 06, 2005, 10:35:05 PM »

Please, let's try to make our points without resorting to ad hominem attacks or you are going to get the thread locked, SouthSerb99 has already posted one warning on this subject.
Uhhh (see below)....pot, kettle?

I can, in theory at least, entertain the possibility that one who died outside the Church posessed a saintly grace, but I will refrain from making such a declaration on my own and will await the proclimation of the Synod of the Great Church of Christ. I fervently pray that ROCOR and the MP return to full communion, but even if they do that does not excuse the schism of the past, those who broke communion with their Patriarch, against the expressly stated posistion of Constantinople, the ultimate See of appeal, must still answer for their offences.
(and see above) I believe the first line above would be viewed as 'trolling' by definition.

Quite to the contrary, slavic culture was Hellenized, which is why it is a Christian Culture, Hellenistic Thought and Philosophy were infused into the Culture inorder to make it consonant with the Christian Faith. We didn't change our theology and altered very little of our praxis when Christianity was spread to the slavs, rather they learned to understand the world and especially the faith in a very Hellenistic way, an example of a true baptism of a culture.
It was Christianized, not Hellenized.  Again, to say otherwise is to redefine Hellenism in your own favorable terms.

And what exactly does modern Greek culture have to do with the definition of Hellenism? Furthermore, if you try to separate the Christian faith from the Cultural and Dogmatic context of the Oecumenical Synods, you do not have Orthodoxy you have some heretical bastardization that does not even diserve to be associated with the Christian faith. However, if you wish to do this I'm sure there are many protestants sects that are more than willing to indulge you. Finally, even if you do begin this endeavour to separate the 'Christian Faith' from the Oecumenical Synods, remember that the Canon of Scripture is in the Greek and that the Pre-Nicene Fathers were culturally hellenistic from St. Paul the Apostle to St. Ignatios of Antioch to St. Clement of Alexandria (who, along with the rest of the Catechical School of Alexandria, was amongst the most hellenized elements of the early Church, even going so far as to say that before Christ both the Law and the Philosophy were equal paths to God).
I believe the Orthodox Christian faith started in AD 33 and existed for quite some time before the Oecumenical Synods.

They only took the Hellenistic Language, Philosophy, Art, Music, and Mindset...what exactly other than the pagan religion did we leave behind (and it might be argued that even the religion was not entirely left behind, but that's a discussion for another day, and plus that's one of TomS' favourite topics so I'm sure we'll see more of it Wink )

To make it simple: (A => B) !=> (B => A)
To look at your "simple" logical construct, I believe it is you who has it backwards.

I was unware that the Russian Orthodox Church spoke Greek, performed mostly Byzantine Chant or used Greek instruments (a zither?) or built stone palaces with ornate column and such.

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« Reply #64 on: November 06, 2005, 10:58:13 PM »

After that point, you have the faith fully present in philosophical terms in Slavic, Asian, African, and Hispanic dialects and cultures; and this is the way it belongs.  But we can't deny that at first it was explained in Hellenic terms, and if there is a serious theological debate that hinges of what our faith specifically says, then we need to trace back to those roots to make sure our translations are okay.

Maybe you feel that way, but GiC has pretty clearly said that translations can't ever be "okay", attacking the English-language liturgy on a fairly frequent basis. This rejects the Tradition of the Church--for the liturgy was translated into languages like Old Church Slavonic and Komi which are just as distant from Greek as English--and that's why so many posters (well, I at any rate) take issue with him.
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« Reply #65 on: November 06, 2005, 11:18:47 PM »

Maybe you feel that way, but GiC has pretty clearly said that translations can't ever be "okay", attacking the English-language liturgy on a fairly frequent basis. This rejects the Tradition of the Church--for the liturgy was translated into languages like Old Church Slavonic and Komi which are just as distant from Greek as English--and that's why so many posters (well, I at any rate) take issue with him. 

He takes issue because he doesn't think the translations are okay... which was the point I made in the last sentence of the post you quoted: that we need to use what we already have to make sure what we're making is correct; I have caught it as well, that in many translations there are minor mistakes (and some not-so-minor)...

Now, if you proposed to GiC to take the liturgy and translate it into good 'ol KJV english, I'm sure he'd like that 100000% better than modern English - as long as it's gotten right the first time...  But, of course, as he has noted in some of our discussions on the subject here at school, the Liturgy, when translated, has always been translated into the purest form of the language that could be found in the culture and not the vulgar...
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« Reply #66 on: November 07, 2005, 01:05:46 AM »

the Liturgy, when translated, has always been translated into the purest form of the language that could be found in the culture and not the vulgar...

I'm afraid that that is a myth. The earliest Slavonic translations were into what was the normal everyday language of the Slavs of Thessaloniki, not some kind of made-up high language, and this is confirmed by comparison to the reconstruction of Common Slavonic. There is some aping of Greek syntax, but this is just a sign of the rush to provide liturgical materials as fast as possible to the Moravians when the apostles to the Slavs didn't take the time to revise their translation enough.

When St Stephen of Perm ministered to the Zyrians, he did so in their normal, everyday language.

The translation of Russian Orthodox materials into Mari is fairly everyday language.
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« Reply #67 on: November 07, 2005, 01:18:55 AM »

This thread has a point and is very useful.
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« Reply #68 on: November 07, 2005, 01:31:44 AM »

Uhhh (see below)....pot, kettle?

Though my statement may be construed as an ecumenistic ecclesiological and soteriological statement, I fail too see the ad hominem.

Quote
(and see above) I believe the first line above would be viewed as 'trolling' by definition.

Ecumenism may not be popular with everyone on this board, but it's hardly trolling, it's not like its on the fringes of the Church.

Quote
It was Christianized, not Hellenized.ÂÂ  Again, to say otherwise is to redefine Hellenism in your own favorable terms.

It was more than just Christianized, more than merely the religion changed, various cultural elements changed, including philosophy and mindset which became very hellenistic.

Quote
I believe the Orthodox Christian faith started in AD 33 and existed for quite some time before the Oecumenical Synods.

To try and define the Church outside the context of the Oecumenical Synods is heresy at best.

Quote
To look at your "simple" logical construct, I believe it is you who has it backwards.

I stated a logical axiom...how can it be backwards?

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I was unware that the Russian Orthodox Church spoke Greek, performed mostly Byzantine Chant or used Greek instruments (a zither?) or built stone palaces with ornate column and such.

They may not speak Greek but the use a Greek Liturgy (Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom), their chant was initially Byzantine Chant and their current music is derived from it (with an unfortunate degree of papist influence), and the Architecture and layout of a Russian Church is quite similar to, and clearly derived from, Byzantine Architecture (as can be said of their art). You are trying to bring up accidental differences, yet there is still a similarity in the essence.
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« Reply #69 on: November 07, 2005, 03:42:06 AM »

Though my statement may be construed as an ecumenistic ecclesiological and soteriological statement, I fail too see the ad hominem.

Ecumenism may not be popular with everyone on this board, but it's hardly trolling, it's not like its on the fringes of the Church.
I love how you deliberately obfusicate the matter and fail to make an actual point.  It's about respect - something you obviously have a problem showing to those deserving of it.

It was more than just Christianized, more than merely the religion changed, various cultural elements changed, including philosophy and mindset which became very hellenistic.

To try and define the Church outside the context of the Oecumenical Synods is heresy at best.
Considering that the Church had existed for over 300 years prior to an Oecumenical Synods says otherwise.

They may not speak Greek but the use a Greek Liturgy (Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom), their chant was initially Byzantine Chant and their current music is derived from it (with an unfortunate degree of papist influence), and the Architecture and layout of a Russian Church is quite similar to, and clearly derived from, Byzantine Architecture (as can be said of their art). You are trying to bring up accidental differences, yet there is still a similarity in the essence.
Again, having historic roots does equivocate, which you keep trying to do.  Furthermore, give me some concrete examples and show me the prevalence of the above or retract.  That was a clearly provocative statement that we can easily turn back on you.  Are you talking about Kievan chant?  Obikhod?  Valaam?  Kievan Caves?  Carpathian?  Old Russain?  Which areas use which, how prevalent and which has "papist influence"?

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« Reply #70 on: November 07, 2005, 06:11:27 AM »

I'm done with the specific points of this conversation as I fear my overall point was lost in all of this.

I loved my time in Greece and was devastated to not be able to study in Thessaloniki.  The time I spent at Philotheou discerning a monastic vocation was the best time in my life.  Ultimately I decided to leave (obviously) in order to obtain an education.  But I definetly haven't ruled out going back.  So to accuse me of being anti-Greek is simply silly. 

The attitudes of "super-greekness" that I and others have encountered from some in the GOA is not what I found in Greece (except in a few very rare cases).  Greeks simply lover thier heritage, thier culture, their language and ultimately the Orthodox faith.  At the same time they didn't expect anything differently from me.  While at our obediences at the monastery we would sometimes pass the time with little games (keep in mind the two monks I worked with spoke no English).  So I would chant (in the byzantine melody) something in English and they would guess what I was chanting just based off the melody.  On Pascha I sang "Christ is Risen" and a few other hymmns in English.  In general they were very interested to hear about missions in America, St. Herman, St. John, Fr. Seraphim Rose etc.  In fact my gift to a few friends when I left was St. John's life in Greek.  The night before I left one of the priestmonks who spoke not a word of English served paraklesis for me in one of the littler chapels - the catch was that he INSISTED I chant it in English, with just enough Greek so he knew what was going on.  That little gesture meant so much to me. 

The Greece I know is the Greece that has produced such men as Archbishop Anastasios of Albania and Fr. Kosmas of Grigoriou who have been probably the two greatest missionaries of the 20th century.  An Athonite hermit related this to me when I visited him...."You will of course find those who are intensely nationalist even here on the Holy Mountain.  These are the ones that have lost grace* and attempted to replace it with nationalism.  The only way to re-claim grace is repentance."  My frustration isn't with the Greek tradition at all; my frustration is Greek-American nationalism creeping into the Church.  Go ye therefore and baptize all nations.... that is the Greek tradition that I was taught from my contacts with Athonite monastics. 

*this refers to the common withdrawl of grace from a monastic to test him and is spoken of extensively in Elder Joseph's letters.     

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« Reply #71 on: November 07, 2005, 09:34:09 AM »

I'm leaving this open but if there is any more name calling and non-substantive discussion, I'm locking it.

I do not believe GiC  has made an ad hominem as suggested above.  You may disagree with his position and state your reasons for why you disagree, but needless name calling belittles us all.
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« Reply #72 on: November 07, 2005, 09:51:46 AM »

To try and define the Church outside the context of the Oecumenical Synods is heresy at best.

You know, this is the single most bizarre thing I hear stated about ecclesiology. How in the heck does one "define" the church? I'm not nearly so interested in what the word means as I am in the confidence that this meaning has something to do with the real church.

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« Reply #73 on: November 07, 2005, 01:54:25 PM »

I love how you deliberately obfusicate the matter and fail to make an actual point.ÂÂ  It's about respect - something you obviously have a problem showing to those deserving of it.

I thought I was being overly generous. I do show respect to those who diserve it, for example I have a great deal of respect for His All-Holiness; however my respect does have limits, one must earn it and there are certain actions (such as schism) that will result in my retracting it. But, of course, if I wasn't at least somewhat selective in who I believed to be diserving of respect, the word and notion would become somewhat meaningless.

Quote
Considering that the Church had existed for over 300 years prior to an Oecumenical Synods says otherwise.

Do you not see that the problems the posistion you have taken leads towards? In defence of your posistion you're even going so far as to try and remove the essential nature of the Oecumenical Councils from the Orthodox Church, which is, essentially, a protestant posistion. When the argument you're making reduces itself to this level of absurdity perhaps it would be wise to reconsider your presuppositions. Furthermore, as I pointed out in my last post, even the Ante-Nicene Church was a Hellenistic Church, so this entire assult against the essentiality of the Oecumenical Synods is still for naught.

Quote
Again, having historic roots does equivocate, which you keep trying to do.ÂÂ  Furthermore, give me some concrete examples and show me the prevalence of the above or retract.ÂÂ  That was a clearly provocative statement that we can easily turn back on you.ÂÂ  Are you talking about Kievan chant?ÂÂ  Obikhod?ÂÂ  Valaam?ÂÂ  Kievan Caves?ÂÂ  Carpathian?ÂÂ  Old Russain?ÂÂ  Which areas use which, how prevalent and which has "papist influence"?

Having the same source does imply a significant degree of essential equivalence; though you seem to be trying to raise the accidents above the essence. Concerning the western or papist influence on Russian music, though I am aware there are preservations of the more ancient forms of the music, my understanding is that the overwhelming majority of music used in the Russian Church is to varying, but notable, degrees influenced by the musical tendencies of the west. As I am not a musicologist I'll post a website that seems to have a moderately good history of Monophonic Chant, which is the least westernized of the Russian Chants, but, as demonstrated by the article, is still, in general, heavily influenced by the west.

http://www.synaxis.info/psalom/research/simmons/chant_history.html
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« Reply #74 on: November 07, 2005, 02:20:44 PM »

Considering that the Church had existed for over 300 years prior to an Oecumenical Synods says otherwise. 

There is no argument that the Church existed before the Ecumenical Synods; it is a fact.  But the Synods were the points in the Church's history when she came together and clarified the faith in order to edify the people and build up the body.  It was the same Synods that codified the scripture, which is a product of the tradition of the Church.  It was the same Synods who placed into formal writing and codification some of the principles that were in the consciousness of the Church but were left unsaid in scripture.

So, in the Orthodox perspective, while the Synods are not as essential as Christ (the Head) is to the Church (the Body), we also must believe that, as it has been revealed to us through time, the Spirit worked directly with the Fathers of the Synods to expound the faith, and thus the decisions of those synods have now become part of the foundation of the Church; and any who attempt to remove them (I'm not saying that anyone here is, mind you) will weaken the foundation and the Church will fall about them.
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« Reply #75 on: November 07, 2005, 03:26:56 PM »

I'm afraid that that is a myth. The earliest Slavonic translations were into what was the normal everyday language of the Slavs of Thessaloniki, not some kind of made-up high language, and this is confirmed by comparison to the reconstruction of Common Slavonic. There is some aping of Greek syntax, but this is just a sign of the rush to provide liturgical materials as fast as possible to the Moravians when the apostles to the Slavs didn't take the time to revise their translation enough.

Also, there is always going to be a tendency of translations to reflect the syntax/vocabulary of the original language.

Some time ago there was some belief that the Greek of the New Testament was somehow special, because it was noticeably a different dialect from that of most serviving Greek texts. Eventually troves of texts were found and it became clear that the Koine of the New Testament was nothing more than the commonplace non-U dialect of the day.
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« Reply #76 on: November 07, 2005, 08:24:20 PM »

I thought I was being overly generous. I do show respect to those who diserve it, for example I have a great deal of respect for His All-Holiness; however my respect does have limits, one must earn it and there are certain actions (such as schism) that will result in my retracting it. But, of course, if I wasn't at least somewhat selective in who I believed to be diserving of respect, the word and notion would become somewhat meaningless.

Removed for personal attack.

Do you not see that the problems the posistion you have taken leads towards? In defence of your posistion you're even going so far as to try and remove the essential nature of the Oecumenical Councils from the Orthodox Church, which is, essentially, a protestant posistion. When the argument you're making reduces itself to this level of absurdity perhaps it would be wise to reconsider your presuppositions. Furthermore, as I pointed out in my last post, even the Ante-Nicene Church was a Hellenistic Church, so this entire assult against the essentiality of the Oecumenical Synods is still for naught.
No there are no problems.ÂÂ  This concept of all true Chiristians being Hellenes is only true in some, academic, narrow sense.ÂÂ  I would further go as to say it is bad terminology that should be jettisoned, as it flies in the face of the Gospel declaring there to be neither Greek, nor Jew, etc. in the Gospel.ÂÂ  Anything else is dangerously close to Nationalism, the worst Heresy of the past century.ÂÂ  The definition of an Orthodox Christian has never been defined in terms relating to Hellenism, but right belief, praxis and worship.

Having the same source does imply a significant degree of essential equivalence; though you seem to be trying to raise the accidents above the essence. Concerning the western or papist influence on Russian music, though I am aware there are preservations of the more ancient forms of the music, my understanding is that the overwhelming majority of music used in the Russian Church is to varying, but notable, degrees influenced by the musical tendencies of the west. As I am not a musicologist I'll post a website that seems to have a moderately good history of Monophonic Chant, which is the least westernized of the Russian Chants, but, as demonstrated by the article, is still, in general, heavily influenced by the west.

http://www.synaxis.info/psalom/research/simmons/chant_history.html
While you have a point relating to the "Uncanonical" music mentioned in the link, it is very superficial and misleading in the actual point.ÂÂ  While it is lamentable the some of this "Uncanonical" music is used a lot, I know my parish rarely uses any as well as other local parishes.ÂÂ  Furthermore, the "Uncanonical" music is still just a small subset of the vast repertoire of Slavic Chant.
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« Reply #77 on: November 07, 2005, 09:02:58 PM »

Anything else is dangerously close to Nationalism, the worst Heresy of the past century.

While I agree that Nationalism has been the worst of the heresies, GiC has never spouted nationalistic ideas; while he has mentioned Hellenism/Romanity, he has also stated that he's not really impressed with the Greek state, etc.  In fact, I think the two of us would go so far as to say that much of what the modern Greek state has been founded on (the ideals and philosophy of the French Revolution/Enlightenment) is actually not Hellenic in the true sense, meaning the Greek state is falsely claiming a continuity with a heritage that they no longer espouse as true nor exhibit in praxis.  Of course, this is not to say all of Greece is un-Christian; I mean, the faith is still strong in areas like Thessaloniki; but in other areas (like Athens) you wouldn't see what either of us calls "true Hellenism" for miles.
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« Reply #78 on: November 07, 2005, 09:33:30 PM »

While I agree that Nationalism has been the worst of the heresies, GiC has never spouted nationalistic ideas; while he has mentioned Hellenism/Romanity, he has also stated that he's not really impressed with the Greek state, etc.  In fact, I think the two of us would go so far as to say that much of what the modern Greek state has been founded on (the ideals and philosophy of the French Revolution/Enlightenment) is actually not Hellenic in the true sense, meaning the Greek state is falsely claiming a continuity with a heritage that they no longer espouse as true nor exhibit in praxis.  Of course, this is not to say all of Greece is un-Christian; I mean, the faith is still strong in areas like Thessaloniki; but in other areas (like Athens) you wouldn't see what either of us calls "true Hellenism" for miles.

Still, the idea of taking Hellenism out of it's historical context is either a) trying to transplant some anchronistic society onto the modern era or b) redefine Hellenism to fit some ideal.  It just doesn't work is besides the point of being an Orthodox Christian.  Correct Hellenism was defined by the Church - not the other way around.  In this way, any culture can be baptized and be made part of the Church.

I fail to see how the Western Roman Empire (first Millenium), while entirely Orthodox, was Hellenic.
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« Reply #79 on: November 07, 2005, 10:48:36 PM »

I fail to see how the Western Roman Empire (first Millenium), while entirely Orthodox, was Hellenic.

Western Roman Empire (first Millenium)?
Yes, there was the Church in the west, and Orthodox, but the Western Roman Empire died in 476 and then only partially recovered by Justinian 75 years later. I don't count that bastard 'empire' Charles "the Great" and the Pope created much, much later.

Prior to 476, there wasn't much in the empire that wasn't Hellenized - the Romans were just better at being Greeks than the Greeks were at being themselves. Religion, pre- and post-Christian, art (sculpture), philosophy, architectural influences.
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« Reply #80 on: November 08, 2005, 02:47:34 AM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=7494.msg97843#msg97843 date=1131418116]
Western Roman Empire (first Millenium)?
Yes, there was the Church in the west, and Orthodox, but the Western Roman Empire died in 476 and then only partially recovered by Justinian 75 years later. I don't count that bastard 'empire' Charles "the Great" and the Pope created much, much later.

Prior to 476, there wasn't much in the empire that wasn't Hellenized - the Romans were just better at being Greeks than the Greeks were at being themselves. Religion, pre- and post-Christian, art (sculpture), philosophy, architectural influences.
[/quote]
Gaul?  Whatever France was called (forget which of Spain and France was Gaul if not both)?  British Isles?  They were hardly 'Greek'.  I sure wouldn't call St. Patrick a Hellene.
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« Reply #81 on: November 08, 2005, 04:32:07 AM »

Gaul?ÂÂ  Whatever France was called (forget which of Spain and France was Gaul if not both)?ÂÂ  British Isles?ÂÂ  They were hardly 'Greek'.ÂÂ  I sure wouldn't call St. Patrick a Hellene.

Personal comment removed.

Neither were Gaul (κελτοι) or the British Isles Roman, for that matter. The Romans held them, sort of -The Isles barely and only partially. The empire in the west was DEAD by 476. Where do you get that 'first milenium' stuff from? The FACT remains that what empire still existed was "Greek" - Hellenistic.

And one saint? Silly.

Hellenistic, not Hellenic, by the way. If you don't know the difference, it's no wonder you're confused (or just wrong).
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« Reply #82 on: November 08, 2005, 05:07:26 AM »

I fail to see how the Western Roman Empire (first Millenium), while entirely Orthodox, was Hellenic.

Huh?

In which language did St. Paul write his Epistle to the Romans? Why didn't he write it in Latin?
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« Reply #83 on: November 08, 2005, 06:07:45 AM »

I fail to see how the Western Roman Empire (first Millenium), while entirely Orthodox, was Hellenic. 

You have to remember that the Greeks had settled the Italian peninsula before the real "founding" of Rome; Romanity.org has a great article on the subject of the intimate relationship between early Rome and the Greeks that were there on the peninsula.

http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.21.en.the_ethnic_cleaning_of_roman_history.01.htm

But as far as Hellenistic thought permeating other areas, we also have to acknowledge that the whole of the East was Hellenistic even before Christ; the West gained Hellenistic thought with the rise of Rome and the spread of the empire.  Gaul, Hispania, and Britannia gained Hellenistic thought through the economy that the Roman garrisons brought with them; when the legions settled in each of these areas, towns and economies sprung up around their garrisons and the locals "got in" on the action; one needed to know how the Romans thought in order to get into their culture.  (This was, of course, later facilitated more readily to the granting of citizenship to all free men within the borders of the empire.)

BUt these "barbarian" peoples were in the end essentially forced to learn the Roman ways, including language, philosophy, and Religion (especially the Christian religion) in order to survive (hence why each of these areas spoke a Romance language - that is, until the conquest of England changed the face of Britannia forever.
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« Reply #84 on: November 08, 2005, 06:12:43 AM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=7494.msg97851#msg97851 date=1131438727]
Neither were Gaul (κελτοι) or the British Isles Roman, for that matter. The Romans held them, sort of -The Isles barely and only partially. The empire in the west was DEAD by 476. Where do you get that 'first milenium' stuff from? The FACT remains that what empire still existed was "Greek" - Hellenistic.   [/quote]

You can see that Britannia and Ireland were definitely influenced by the East and the Roman system of religion and thought in that, when the Normans invaded the Isles, you had an exodus of the wealthy, aristocratic young men to Constantinople, seeking fame and glory as knights in the armies fighting the Turks and others in the East.  And, of course, the presence of a distinctly Eastern form of Christianity in the 4th and 5th centuries explains how far the influence of the Hellenistic world really was; guys like St. Patrick and such had their praxis and system of thought closer to Constantinople despite their proximity to Rome.
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« Reply #85 on: November 08, 2005, 08:26:37 AM »

BUt these "barbarian" peoples were in the end essentially forced to learn the Roman ways, including language, philosophy, and Religion (especially the Christian religion) in order to survive (hence why each of these areas spoke a Romance language - that is, until the conquest of England changed the face of Britannia forever.

The Britons didn't speak a romance language (though the educated will have spoken Latin), and certainly not up until the Anglo-Saxon conquest (which is I guess what you're talking about). They did speak a slightly romanised Brythonic (Celtic) language, which is the ancestor of modern Welsh, Cornish and Bretton. I don't know if you're familiar with any of these languages but they are very far from romance.

Might I make a suggestion (sure to be ignored by GiC as he enjoys winding us non-Greek Orthodox up), that you cease to use the word Hellenism to describe what you're talking about? The average person, whether Orthodox or not, would understand you to mean Greek culture by that term and not Orthodox Christian culture. I don't in any way doubt the Hellenistic underpinnings of Orthodox Christian culture but to call it Hellenism is like calling my shoes cows because they're formed from bovine leather. Redefining the term Helenism to mean Orthodox Christian culture is daft and sounds offensive to many of us when we first hear it. I understand that neither of you are arguing in favour of phyletism and that your use of the word Hellenistic is not that of the average person, but it strikes me as counterproductive to even use the term when every time you do it necessitates umpteen pages of heated argument before your meaning is even clear. The purpose of language is, after all, communication, not obfuscation. GiC in particular seems frequently to lose sight of this.

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« Reply #86 on: November 08, 2005, 09:13:11 AM »

cease to use the word Hellenism to describe what you're talking about?

How ironic that someone from Britain should say this!!!!

It was the British who imposed the name "Greeks" on those who spoke "greek" and lived in the newly liberated country called "Greece", and the same British imposed the name "Hellenes" on those who spoke "greek" but lived outside of "Greece"......
Even more ironically, the "greeks" and "hellenes" both called themselves "Romans" ("Ρωμαίοι") and called their language "Romanish" ("Ρωμαϊκα")
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« Reply #87 on: November 08, 2005, 09:17:10 AM »

Thread locked for continuous uncharitable posts.  I won't let future threads go this far, please stay on point.
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