Author Topic: Weird Cacodox sects  (Read 347 times)

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Offline RaphaCam

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Weird Cacodox sects
« on: June 25, 2020, 08:37:34 PM »
In Portuguese/Spanish-language Orthodox internet, a very recurring topic is schismatics/heretics that pose as "normal" Orthodox Christians. I'm not even talking about mainstream Old Calendarists like GOC-K (although the smaller Avlona synod did make quite a mess in South America), but tiny "synods" with shady claims of apostolic succession.

They're very variable in nature. Some of those are barely distinguishable from their Orthodox counterparts, others have stuff like charismatic "gifts" and married "bishops", or even married "monks". Some trace their lineage exclusively to fallen Orthodox bishops like Aftimios Ofiesh, René Vilatte and the usual consecrators of Old Calendarists, while others include "independent Catholics" like Carlos Duarte Costa, Old Catholics and Episcopalians. People have listed about 30 of these groups in Brazil alone. There are four common traits I'd identify among them: a claim of being truly Orthodox on an Anglican-ish perspective of apostolic succession rather than on Old Calendarist sectarianism; and a tendency to threaten people who expose them with lawsuits (I've been there myself); huge bishops/priests and priests/laymen ratios; and little to no international presence.

What surprises me a bit is that this theme seems much rarer in English-language internet... On Facebook, I've only seen it being raised with scandalous examples like the "Universalist Orthodox Church" or Latin American synods themselves. In this forum, Fr. Peter has exposed the "British Orthodox Church" and some edgier posts by theorthodoxchurch seem to have included analogous groups. What I'm wondering is whether the US doesn't really have this problem or if you guys just don't pay as much attention to it. What's your experience with these groups?
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 08:42:17 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline noahzarc1

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Re: Weird Cacodox sects
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2020, 09:21:40 PM »
I received my prayer rope from what I later found out was an old calendarist/schismatic Orthodox Church. I thought they were very nice. When I met them, I knew very little about Orthodoxy. It was a small church on a small parsonage. I think the sisters and the priest were literal brother and sister (I also later found out.) It was a nicely kept Church, It had beautiful iconography and the liturgy was attended by just a handful of people. The sister who greeted me at the door gave me a prayer rope when I asked where I could find one. Like I said, I was so new to learning about Orthodoxy, I would've never known they were not in communion with anyone. Again, my experience was positive. Often time on the way to work, I'd go to that parsonage and sit outside the church looking at the small pond out back and spend time in prayer. That is my only experience with what would be considered a schismatic group like what you're describing.

I'm assuming because of the explosion of charismatic groups would explain the effect of those manifestations on some of these splinter groups there?
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Weird Cacodox sects
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2020, 10:48:56 PM »
What surprises me a bit is that this theme seems much rarer in English-language internet... On Facebook, I've only seen it being raised with scandalous examples like the "Universalist Orthodox Church" or Latin American synods themselves. In this forum, Fr. Peter has exposed the "British Orthodox Church" and some edgier posts by theorthodoxchurch seem to have included analogous groups. What I'm wondering is whether the US doesn't really have this problem or if you guys just don't pay as much attention to it. What's your experience with these groups?

I think the US had groups like these (perhaps we still do), but they were more visible in the past than they are now.  ¡Catch up, Latin America!
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Re: Weird Cacodox sects
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2020, 11:14:26 PM »
As far as the English-speaking Orthodox world goes, I'm not plugged-in enough with other places on the Orthodox internet to speak about the last few years, but I can give you my personal impressions from c. 2000-2015. During that time there was a lot of talk about various old calendarist groups, and much less talk about new agey or charismatic or mixed-denomination or what have you. Though just because they weren't talked about as much, that didn't mean they weren't around, as this resource from the old aggreen site demonstrated. There are tons of threads arguing over various old calendarist-related issues on oc.net, and (at least after a certain point) the Euphrosynos Cafe basically existed as a safe space for people interested in such things to go. Email/Yahoo lists were similarly prone to debating old calendarist issues. Of the non old calendarist examples, a couple that spring to mind are HOOM and Christ of the Hills Monastery (see this thread).
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 11:15:52 PM by Asteriktos »
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Weird Cacodox sects
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2020, 02:16:33 AM »
I received my prayer rope from what I later found out was an old calendarist/schismatic Orthodox Church.
Do you remember what exact denomination they were? My first visit to an Orthodox Church was almost to a bizarre denomination that claims to be the "Slavic Belarusian Orthodox Church", but is actually Ofiesh offspring and has no links to Belarus.

As far as the English-speaking Orthodox world goes, I'm not plugged-in enough with other places on the Orthodox internet to speak about the last few years, but I can give you my personal impressions from c. 2000-2015. During that time there was a lot of talk about various old calendarist groups, and much less talk about new agey or charismatic or mixed-denomination or what have you. Though just because they weren't talked about as much, that didn't mean they weren't around, as this resource from the old aggreen site demonstrated. There are tons of threads arguing over various old calendarist-related issues on oc.net, and (at least after a certain point) the Euphrosynos Cafe basically existed as a safe space for people interested in such things to go. Email/Yahoo lists were similarly prone to debating old calendarist issues. Of the non old calendarist examples, a couple that spring to mind are HOOM and Christ of the Hills Monastery (see this thread).
Yeah, I'm aware of Old Calendarist diversity, but the vast majority of Old Calendarists around the world is in a very small number of jurisdictions rather than in one of the many really tiny Old Calendarist(-ish) cults that may or may not LARP as the only true church.
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Offline noahzarc1

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Re: Weird Cacodox sects
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2020, 01:51:07 PM »
I received my prayer rope from what I later found out was an old calendarist/schismatic Orthodox Church.
Do you remember what exact denomination they were? My first visit to an Orthodox Church was almost to a bizarre denomination that claims to be the "Slavic Belarusian Orthodox Church", but is actually Ofiesh offspring and has no links to Belarus.
When I first discovered it I thought it was a Greek Orthodox Church, but that was because I was so new to Orthodoxy, I didn't know there was anything else besides the Greek Orthodox Church. Others who've attended felt it was an OCA parish, but they were not positive because nothing states what their affiliation is, it was based on the traditions they observed.  It was a standalone church building and is nestled away in a complex of other residences on the hermitage.  Due to the fact it is so small, you are not allowed to take communion unless you are known by the priest, despite whether or not you are prepared.  However, their Father was very friendly and inviting, and while incensing during the liturgy, he stopped to say hello to me and greeted me personally.

As I am not Orthodox, perhaps others here will know how to identify their affiliation. They had the deliberate swinging of the hanging lanterns over the alter and in front of icons, and the kissing of all the icons in the church and four direction bowing of the congregation prior to communion. Again, my understanding was that the priest and nuns were related. The nun who gave me the prayer rope told me the property was her parents and then they took it over and continued to run the hermitage. Apparently the nuns are allowed behind the icon screen, which I am not sure if this is a typical practice. My only experience with nuns honestly were in my Catholic upbringing so I do not know what the customs are for the Orthodox.

With all that said, it was the Western Rite Priest under the Antiochan Church who told me they were a schismatic sect and not in communion with any of the other Orthodox Churches in the area. However, I just do not recall what affiliation they claimed to have if he mentioned it at all. This was several years ago.
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Offline WPM

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Re: Weird Cacodox sects
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2020, 10:43:15 PM »
What's your experience with these groups?

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Offline The young fogey

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Re: Weird Cacodox sects
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2020, 08:57:10 PM »
All I'll say now about the Independent Sacramental Movement is the same thing I say about the Episcopal Church that formed me growing up, besides my gratitude to them for that: your service doesn't cover my Sunday obligation and I can't go to Communion at it, but if you have it faithfully, regularly, people go to it, and you minister to them, you are in a sense real and have my respect.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Weird Cacodox sects
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2020, 02:11:26 PM »
All I'll say now about the Independent Sacramental Movement is the same thing I say about the Episcopal Church that formed me growing up, besides my gratitude to them for that: your service doesn't cover my Sunday obligation and I can't go to Communion at it, but if you have it faithfully, regularly, people go to it, and you minister to them, you are in a sense real and have my respect.
The worst is dissimulation, though.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

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Offline The young fogey

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Re: Weird Cacodox sects
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2020, 05:57:34 PM »
All I'll say now about the Independent Sacramental Movement is the same thing I say about the Episcopal Church that formed me growing up, besides my gratitude to them for that: your service doesn't cover my Sunday obligation and I can't go to Communion at it, but if you have it faithfully, regularly, people go to it, and you minister to them, you are in a sense real and have my respect.
The worst is dissimulation, though.

But someone who believes and repeats an untruth isn't lying.

Sometimes not showing or saying something - dissimulation? - is just tact, a kind of charity.
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