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Author Topic: NBC on Saint Anthony's Monastery  (Read 5237 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justinian
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« on: February 17, 2006, 06:43:07 PM »

Something of interest: http://www.kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?s=4478780


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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2006, 07:31:01 PM »

THanks for the link.

I never like the tone from "the investigators" - especially the local newsmedia types that are always trying to get their names out there and make it to a bigger market, a bigger stage.  Unfortunately, they're hoping St. Anthony's can be another scalp.
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2006, 09:24:44 PM »

While the complaints of the parents are probably unjustified, they miss their children and are trying to go about getting them back in a round about way, if some of the accusations are true, there is a problem:

Quote
He says, he was told to live with his wife like brother and sister.

Quote
He told me I should cut the electrical cord, which I did, and he told me to do it on an inconspicuous part of my body. I chose, you know, my upper thighs.

Both of these matters, if true, would be serious canonical violations. The first issue deals with one that could possibly be regarded as Anathema under the canons of the synod of Gangra, and the second could certainly be interpreted as an excommunicatable offence under the canons of the Apostolic Canons and those of the First Oecumenical Synod. The Ephraimites have long been given too much leave on these matters. And these accusations combined with the blatant disregard for Episcopal authority some of these monasteries have demonstrated in the past, would more than justify the several metropolises taking a more active role in the administration of these monasteries.
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2006, 10:02:24 PM »

Quote
He says, he was told to live with his wife like brother and sister.

It may be un-canonical, but it is also one of the things that one should expect to hear from many monastics if one were to go to them for marriage counseling.  THere are some spiritual elders who are wonderful marriage counselors, and some who aren't.  But there should be a reasonable expectation from one going to a monastic elder for direction that s/he hear this kind of thing.  I wouldn't go into a room of conservative republicans to ask for a "good" abortion clinic (not that I would ever want or need one) - I think this applies to many, not all, of the spiritual elders.
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2006, 10:39:46 PM »

It may be un-canonical, but it is also one of the things that one should expect to hear from many monastics if one were to go to them for marriage counseling.  THere are some spiritual elders who are wonderful marriage counselors, and some who aren't.  But there should be a reasonable expectation from one going to a monastic elder for direction that s/he hear this kind of thing.  I wouldn't go into a room of conservative republicans to ask for a "good" abortion clinic (not that I would ever want or need one) - I think this applies to many, not all, of the spiritual elders.

Yes, but it's still Anathema.
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2006, 11:17:21 PM »

No doubts about that.
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2006, 11:31:42 PM »

That NBC report was so incomplete and biased.  First off, all of those "children" were adults who should be able to make their own decisions.  Additionally, I have read and talked with some who know of Mr. Smith.  He increasingly urged Elder Ephraim to give him more strict rules.  His marriage undoubtably suffered because of one of these rules "abstinence" that he requested himself.  After his wife left him he put the blame on the Elder.  In regards to the self flagellation, who knows how this counsel came about.  I am inclined to have more trust in Elder Ephraim, who I met and seems to be a kind and gentle soul.  My spiritual father is the abbot at Holy Archangels who was a monk on Mount Athos under the Elder.  And all I can say is that he has been so lenient and kind to me...if he errs it is in showing me too much mercy. 
The only thing I am not sure about is their so-called belief in the Protocols.  I have not read the Protocols but have heard others discussing about how they are racist.  I intend to talk to my spiritual father about them on my next visit.
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2006, 01:11:16 AM »

Quote
No doubts about that.

Actually I do have doubts about that. Smiley Or leastwise I doubt that we can speak so assuredly on the matter based simply on 2nd or 3rd hand gossip, which probably tells about 4% of the real story (but a good chuck of spin has probably been added in, intentionally or not I don't know). The first time I noticed GIC, he was talking about the canons of Gangra, and I disagreed with him then as well, though I wasn't willing to stick around for a debate so I held my tongue (and I'm still not willing to get into a lengthy debate). However, the canons at Gangra were written in a specific context, and that context was that 1) people were saying that clergy couldn't have sex, and 2) people were saying that everyone should stop having sex, because otherwise they couldn't be saved, or be pious.

The canons of Gangra use terms like "despise marriage". The point of the canons was that you could not put down marriage or sexual intercourse to such an extent that only celibacy/monasticism was the route to heaven. However, simply telling a couple that they should be celibate is not necessarily despising marriage or ridiculing it. For all we know, the same monastic who supposedly said this might be telling other people to have 12 children. Who knows (except what we know via gossip)? It would be up to the bishop to make the judgment as to whether the monk was in the right or wrong...

PS. For anyone who is interestined in reading the Canons from Gangra, here is a link

PSS. I hope I didn't offend anyone and no one here thought I was calling them a gossip. I know the specific people on this thread (GIC, Cleveland, etc.) are not gossiping, but legitimately tackling a tough issue. I might disagree, but I didn't mean to imply anything sinful was going on here.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2006, 01:29:26 AM by Asteriktos » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2006, 01:33:16 AM »

True.  The only thing that casts doubs on the accounts is the credibility of the source; of course, GiC takes that into account with his statements.  I don't think that there is a problem if a couple lives together as brother and sister in the marriage; there have been saints who have done so.  But to give such as a directive in confession, on the other hand, I think hits or crosses the line.  Then again, as I said earlier, advice such as that should be expected from many elders if one is to go to them for spiritual counsel.  Some of the elders give great advice to all, and some give great advice to monks (and others just don't give good advice).

So: IF the guy is telling the truth about his experience, and IF the counsel is an indication of a general tendency to counsel people against normal marriage relations, then it is true that it would be un-canonical; of course, we have very few cases in Orthodoxy that are "de-facto" excommunication/defrocking/anathema/etc.  Most of the time, someone or some body must formally make the decision.  So if a geronta in one of the monasteries is preaching that marriage is evil (which I don't think they are), he's not out until the Abbot, Bishop or Synod says he is.
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2006, 03:10:06 AM »

If you just want to start throwing around anathemas.... well there are plenty for new calendarists and ecumenists to go around - so I don't think you'd fare well playing that game. 

FWIW I do have a fair amount of experience with St. Anthony's and Philotheou for that matter.  I've never heard the brother - sister thing - ever.  And judging by the size of some of the families of those that are close to the monastery they definetly aren't living as brother and sister...  My question to David Smith would be, if he did hear anything a little off coming from the monastery, why not just talk to any of the priests in Phoenix?  Afterall Phoenix has several Orthodox parishes and many wonderful married priests in a variety of jurisdictions.  Not that I'm advocating "priest shopping" until you find what you want to hear - but if something seems off I don't think it is wrong to ask another (or multiple) priests about it. 

As for the parents of monastics... what is often the case, the parents tell the kid that they are weak minded, brainwashed, nothing that they value is important etc. and then are shocked when they kids take offense to that.  The fact is that many monastics maintain a relationship with their families.  In almost all of the cases that I personally know of family ties being severed under unfortunate circumstances it is the family saying to the monastic, "We'll never talk to you again until you get out of that cult."  Then the next day they complain to the media that their child doesn't want to talk to them. 

Another issue - there are some people that hang around the monasteries that are just plain weird.  They love to spread all sorts of gossip and sometimes downright weird stories.  I'd say most of the strange things one hears coming from St. Anthony's is coming from them - yet in my experience most monks do not agree at all with anything they are into (or else don't place much emphasis on it).  I've had to deal with more than my share of these types, alas... the most common thing is they are given some very personalized advice from one of the monastery's priests - they then go and tell this elaborate story of how "the Elder" says EVERYONE must do this. 

In the end I think there are some growing pains and kinks that do need to be worked out in the monasteries, but this is only natural.  When in the proper context the monasteries are wonderful.  Some of those monks and heiromonks have helped me through some very tough times....  Once things normalize though I think people will live "normal" Orthodox lives within their parish and perhaps make a few pilgrimages to the monasteries here and there, confess a couple times a year to a Geronda, and if some pressing spiritual issue needs to be addressed they'd go to the monastery - otherwise they'd leave the monks alone.  The problem now is that people are building houses right by the monastery and are there everyday!  People drive from phoenix to St. Anthony's every weekend and have no parish to belong to.  That situation is bound to have problems build up.  But time will take care of most of those, I hope. 
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2006, 03:31:01 AM »

Yes, but it's still Anathema.

You love to be so legalistic wrt the Canons.  Have you sung an ison before?  Have you taken Communion from a spoon as opposed to your hands?  Maybe you should be Anathametized to acording to the Canons.
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2006, 04:02:30 AM »

You love to be so legalistic wrt the Canons.  Have you sung an ison before?  Have you taken Communion from a spoon as opposed to your hands?  Maybe you should be Anathametized to acording to the Canons.

Oh come on Elisha! If it is true that Fr. E told this married guy to abstain from sex with his wife and flail himself whenever he thought of sex, you don't have to be a theologian to see that this is a gross heresy and contravenes not only the Canons, but the Law of God Himself: "What God has united, let no man put asunder." and "The marriage bed is undefiled."
The First Canon of the Synod of Gangra simply echoes this Divine Law:
"IF any one shall condemn marriage, or abominate and condemn a woman who is a believer and devout, and sleeps with her own husband, as though she could not enter the Kingdom let him be anathema."
God never said anything about singing isons or receiving Communion from a spoon.

My guess in this case is that we don't have the full information, and I doubt Fr. E. would be so stupid as to impose this. It could be that the guy wasn't married at all, except in his own mind.
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2006, 08:33:09 AM »

My experience with th Elder was only second handed but very positive.  My middle son at the age of 16 went on a trip to Greece and stayed at the  Monastery the Elder was then the Abbott of.  My son was so impressed by the monastic life and the Elder's spiritual counsel that he wanted to stay there.  According to Greek Law he could do so, however the Elder told him to return to the US and enter a monastery here if he wished to try the monastic life.  He he returned to the U.S.  and later entered a monastery as a novice. He returned home about 9 months later realizing that he was not called to that "angelic life". We were never not allowed to write  to him or visit him, and the monastery always allowed us to have access to him throughout his novitiate---indeed we were surprised when he chose to leave. Since then he has graduated from college and is happily married. 

My impression from his experience is that the Elder introduces the monastic life as a real choice from young men and women and has opened  monasteries in the United States so they can experience it> From there they can progress through the novitiate into monastic vows or realize that it is not for them and release them to serve the Lord through their life as a spiritual layman in a parish. The hardest part for most parents is that when their children choose the monastic way, unless the parents have prepared themselves for it, entails a change in how the parents view their children's future---no  grandchildren, no close contact, etc. I believe this is what underlie most parents who attack the monastic vision in the U.S. We really don't have that life as a model present in the US until very recently.

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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2006, 09:09:16 AM »

THE ONLY REASONE HE TOLD HIM TO STOP HAVING MARITAL RELATIONS WAS TO WAIT UNTIL HE WAS MARRIED IN THE CHURCH!!!

DUH!

EVERYONE READ THIS:

http://euphrosynoscafe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5083&start=0&sid=597af26114e7c29c1d46d22920fc5e78

May God forgive us all.

In Christ,
Tessa
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2006, 10:03:12 AM »

Like I said, if the guy's story panned out, then it would be bad; if the story of the guy refuting Mr Smith is correct, then the original "story" is just slander or purposefully taken out of context.

I don't think anyone here is trying to attack the elder or the establishment of monasticism in general; all I've seen so far are some people who are trying to be pragmatic.  It is true that a) monasteries and the monastic life are integral to Orthodoxy; b) that America without monasteries has a vaccuum of spirituality; c) that American culture and monastic culture will clash at every point (accept for the military guys, who understand obedience about as well as the monks do, even if only for a brief period while enlisted); d) that, since we haven't had monasticism in this country for so long, many people are not used to it yet; e) that many monks are holy men, and many others are devils working to tempt the holy men - Mt. Athos, the center of monastic spirituality, has this effect; not all of the monks there are holy men, but rather are misguided; f) my quote function isn't working, which is annoying; g) some people are manipulating the media to try and get across an agenda when it comes to the monasteries, whether they be paranoid parents or anti-monastic clergymen.

I don't think many (if any) of the above points are in dispute.  So I think it is unfortunate that the accusations in the media and on the 'net are being thrown around; if any are true, then shame on the perpetrators, and if they are false, then shame on the accusors.
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2006, 11:53:46 AM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8227.msg107886#msg107886 date=1140246606]
If you just want to start throwing around anathemas.... well there are plenty for new calendarists and ecumenists to go around - so I don't think you'd fare well playing that game. 
[/quote]

Most of those are from late local councils, without universal authority, I'd fare better than you think playing that game.

You love to be so legalistic wrt the Canons.  Have you sung an ison before?  Have you taken Communion from a spoon as opposed to your hands?  Maybe you should be Anathametized to acording to the Canons.

The issues arn't even related, disparaging marriage and marital relations has been condemned as a heresy by a synod that has been ratified by an Oecumenical Synod. The prohibition about taking communion with anything other than one's hands, on the other hand, is on account of that being the liturgical practice of the day and the council wanted to prevent the wealthy to with special boxes or other reciprocals, which would distinguish themselves at communion from the poor...and no Anathem is attached to the violation of this canon. It would be advisable to gain even the most basic understanding of the canons you're referencing before spouting off nonsense in relation to them. My statement deals with a the essence of the Canons and the real heresy they condemn, NOT some legalistic literal interpretation outside of historic and cultural context. And while I just referenced Gangera on this matter, as the strongest condemnation of this heresy, if necessary I could compile many pages of Canons, Scriptural References, and Patristic quotes, though I really dont think that should be necessary.

THE ONLY REASONE HE TOLD HIM TO STOP HAVING MARITAL RELATIONS WAS TO WAIT UNTIL HE WAS MARRIED IN THE CHURCH!!!

DUH!

First off, from the story, this fact was not self-evident, but the story was not very detailed, which is why I made a conditional statement. However, I read the link and it doesn't address an issue that is most fundamental to the matter at hand, did the civil marriage occur before or after the young man's Chrismation? If it occured after then the priest in question may have been justified in telling them to abstain from marital relations until an ecclesiastical marriage, though for pastoral reasons good sense would tell him that this should take place ASAP. If the civil marriage was before his Chrismation, however, while the advise to abstain from marital relations might not be able to be construed as heresy, as it could legitimately be a result of ignorance, but would still be a gross violation of our Theology of Marriage, to say nothing of going against St. Paul's instructions to converts about marriage. If the latter is the case, I hope His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos, corrects their practice and teachings before any more spiritual damage can be done.


However, even if the monastery is innocent of all the accusations that have been made against it, there is still a history with the Ephraimite Monasteries of being less than perfectly obedient to their Bishops, which is an issue that needs to be seriously dealt with before things get any more out of hand than they already have. I have nothing against monasticism in general, His Eminenece Metropolitan Maximos has done an excellent job of establishing monasteries in his Metropolis that appropriately fit into the context of the Church, they are under His Eminence's Obedience and are never the source of hardship or headache for His Eminence, all the while providing a benificial spiritual presence to the Metropolis at large.
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2006, 11:30:19 PM »

A letter of a couple of parents of a monastic to KVOA
Copied from the forum:
http://www.orthodoxforum.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=220

Madame:

My wife and I can not recall if you are one of the persons we met during our
short visit to your TV station, before the "Monastery Mystery" report aired.
I believe that we had a short meeting with you and Mr. Brad Stone. We
introduced ourselves as the happy parents of a very happy monastic. We
explained to you that we live in Arizona and we were shocked that a story
about or from monastic parents would be aired. Knowing some info about the
interviewees, we volunteered to be interviewed as well. We also informed
you that your story represents only the negative side which also happens to
be the absolute MINORITY! We also informed you that there are many other
parents, just like us, that can be here in a moment's notice, and would
gladly provide you with all kinds of un-prepared, un-practiced feedback.
You, of course, refused our offer and instead urged us to view your
so-called fair and unbiased report.

We did view it, but fair and unbiased it was not. We can emphatically and
categorically state that the story was greatly biased and extremely unfair.
First and foremost, the simple response which you received BEFORE it aired
should have caused you to raise your antennas. You did not stop to think
and then repeated your error on two different nights. I am certain that the
overwhelming response in support of the monasteries must have certainly
caused you some concern; if it did not, then I kindly suggest that you are
foregoing your fiduciary responsibility as journalists and reporters.

We, the happy parents of Greek Orthodox monastics, do not have a coalition
group, yet. However we are parents and we are human, just like you; thus,
when somebody attacks the very institution that our child is part of and
presents misinformation and slander of the type that you anxiously accepted
as de facto from David Smith, it causes great concern to say the least. It
is for this reason that we are writing to you to inform you of your report's
deleterious impact upon us, our children, and our fellow Orthodox
Christians. After all, when you attacked monasticism, you also attacked our
2000-year old religion in a manner that is unacceptable, prejudicial and
highly unethical.

You see, Ms. Choal,, you and your peers have no right to make my wife cry
with lies and innuendos; you have no right to accept the word of a character
like Smith and disregard the truth which the monastics presented to you,
along with Fr. Anthony. You did a masterful job of picking the worst
possible few seconds of Fr. Anthony's 2-1/2 hour interview so that you can
introduce your pre-determined agenda. You thus also condemned a retired
priest who dedicated his entire life to God. But then, you were worried
about ratings. oh those ratings, how quickly they make you all compromise
your integrity!

You also took the word of a troubled woman like Ms. Alec, whose own husband
did not participate in this fiasco report. Additionally, you accepted input
from a peculiar individual like Ashley Nivens who has made himself a prophet
and declares false truths to anybody who will give him a small amount of
time. As far as the Pantanizopoulos family, when you mentioned that their
child was back home, you did it briefly and never questioned how in the
world he "escaped" from this God-awful monastery prison, and why did he
leave with the help of the monastics who supposedly guarded him and
brainwashed for the last 9+ years. You did not even bring up that several
other monks and nuns have left the monasteries upon their expression of such
wish, even though you knew it and you knew it very well.

I can not help but ask: Do you consider yourselves ethical journalists (or
even just journalists) with such type of reports? Do you have any concept
how many parents shed tears because of your story? Do you know how many
Jewish-heritage monks (yes, there are several monastics of Jewish descent)
were not only perplexed but astonished and upset with your anti-Semitism
garbage? Yes, I call it YOUR garbage and not Smith's - anybody spending any
amount of time with him should be able to surmise that this is an extremely
unstable young man - and you knew MUCH more about him, yet you went with
this garbage! Do you also know how many siblings or nephews or other
relatives got confused because the place they go (i.e., St. Anthony's) is
NOT the place you described?

I will try in parent-talk to explain to you a couple of things about this
monastic "call" that you obviously neither understand nor took the time to
understand. I have three sons who, since their early youth, have been going
in and out of this or that monastery, off and on, for several years (and
much longer than Smith). Somehow, though, their brains were not washed away
by the monks and they selected to remain in the world and pursue a family
life. Their sister, on the other hand, who spent much less time than them
talking with or being around the monastics, decided to become a nun. And
even then, she was a novice for over five years! YES! Five years! Think
about that! Why would a brainwashing institution need five years to do
their KVOA-hypothesized brainwashing job? Could it be that KVOA has been
misled by those who are known polemics to the monasteries into a false
story?

You need to think about my words, you need to realize that all these people
that contacted you, they truly love the monastery for what it is, a unique
spiritual oasis that heals the soul and provides comfort and support to all
faithful Orthodox Christians; and I ask that you also take the time to
picture my wife crying, you need to consider that there were many tears shed
by many monastic mothers and many Orthodox faithful over the falsehoods of
your story, and when you get this picture clear in your mind, think for a
second that this could be YOUR mother. or YOUR wife. or YOUR sister.

How does it feel?

GC
Queen Creek, Arizona
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2006, 11:41:02 PM »

However, even if the monastery is innocent of all the accusations that have been made against it, there is still a history with the Ephraimite Monasteries of being less than perfectly obedient to their Bishops, which is an issue that needs to be seriously dealt with before things get any more out of hand than they already have. .
Do you mean that a monastic community should lick the bishop's boots so that it continues to exist? Cheesy Cheesy
Or that only a monastery founded by a bishop, as St Gregory Palamas in PA, is really a good monastery?? (since it has been founded not by a simple hieromonk but by a bishop of the EP! wow! Roll Eyes).
Sorry greekischristian (by the way, there are several Greeks who are not Christian at all Cheesy), but the way you cite the canons and you refer to the bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate - which I respect deeply, but not in your way - reminds me exactly the way were talking some colleagues in high school, in Greece, being members of the Communist Youth. It is called "wooden language". As far as the "Church wooden language" is concerned, there is a lot of it in some papers published by the numerous "Synods" and groups of Old Calendarists. But I see that you also love it. Interesting, very interesting. Kiss
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« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2006, 12:46:41 AM »

The issues arn't even related, disparaging marriage and marital relations has been condemned as a heresy by a synod that has been ratified by an Oecumenical Synod. The prohibition about taking communion with anything other than one's hands, on the other hand, is on account of that being the liturgical practice of the day and the council wanted to prevent the wealthy to with special boxes or other reciprocals, which would distinguish themselves at communion from the poor...and no Anathem is attached to the violation of this canon. It would be advisable to gain even the most basic understanding of the canons you're referencing before spouting off nonsense in relation to them. My statement deals with a the essence of the Canons and the real heresy they condemn, NOT some legalistic literal interpretation outside of historic and cultural context. And while I just referenced Gangera on this matter, as the strongest condemnation of this heresy, if necessary I could compile many pages of Canons, Scriptural References, and Patristic quotes, though I really dont think that should be necessary.

No, the difference is that you spout off about the Cannons as if the consequences you mentioned would happen....as if what you say carries any weight whatsoever.  
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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2006, 12:56:10 AM »

No, the difference is that you spout off about the Cannons as if the consequences you mentioned would happen....as if what you say carries any weight whatsoever.  

I quote canons as evidence for my statements...because my opinion alone does not carry any weight, but when backed with the force of logic or law it is at least something worth listening to, unfortunately many here many here are accustom to giving nothing more than their opinion and expecting everyone to fall in line. Perhaps one of these days you should try presenting evidence to support your opinion rather than one line ad hominem attacks...who knows, you might find you like it.
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« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2006, 01:57:48 AM »

I quote canons as evidence for my statements...because my opinion alone does not carry any weight, but when backed with the force of logic or law it is at least something worth listening to, unfortunately many here many here are accustom to giving nothing more than their opinion and expecting everyone to fall in line. Perhaps one of these days you should try presenting evidence to support your opinion rather than one line ad hominem attacks...who knows, you might find you like it.

What, you've never had to honk at someone while driving for almost causing an accident?
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2006, 02:13:51 AM »

I think GiC, like usual, is just demonstrating he has no real knowledge of the canons.  Canons are meaningless unless they are applied - and even then they can still be next to meaningless (was former Patriarch of Jerusalem really deposed for canonical reasons?).  If the proper ecclesiastical authorities use the previously mentioned canons against the actual statements of Fr. Ephraim, so be it.  But to quote them as if that by itself carries weight against Fr. Ephraim is ridiculous (and not a game worth playing, since the canons are much more explicit in condemning praying with heretics and even using the Gregorian Menaion).  Futhermore, even from the writtings of Blessed Elder Joseph and Elder Ephraim one can see that neither disdain marriage at all.  Both are very pro-monastic - but I know of several cases of someone wishing to become a monastic that Elder Ephraim directed towards married life instead.  So applying canons from the hip based on unsubstantiated claims from an unreliable source is reckless and even slanderous.  
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« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2006, 02:15:55 AM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8227.msg108369#msg108369 date=1140502431]
So applying canons from the hip based on unsubstantiated claims from an unreliable source is reckless and even slanderous.  
[/quote]

Thank you....to the point.

Of course, now GiC might just say, "But I'm a Canonist - that's what I study!".  Well good for you, but unless you can get your head out of the clouds and make your knowledge of Cannons more than some meaningless academic discussion, most of us will continue to disregard GiC's statements.
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« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2006, 03:56:03 AM »

What, you've never had to honk at someone while driving for almost causing an accident?
And did they almost cause an accident because they weren't obeying the road rules?  Cheesy
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« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2006, 07:14:11 AM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8227.msg108369#msg108369 date=1140502431]
So applying canons from the hip based on unsubstantiated claims from an unreliable source is reckless and even slanderous.  
[/quote]

And slamming someone for a conditional statement is pretty reckless; ahem - his original post:

While the complaints of the parents are probably unjustified, they miss their children and are trying to go about getting them back in a round about way, if some of the accusations are true, there is a problem:

Both of these matters, if true, would be serious canonical violations.

Wow, that's two conditional statements saying if the accusations are true.  So he is not being reckless or slanderous, he's being cautious.  And you're just taking your opportunity to slam the guy although you have no basis to refute his statements with fact; the fact that you really don't like GiC is fairly clear from the fact that you have a tendency to do that.

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8227.msg108369#msg108369 date=1140502431]
I think GiC, like usual, is just demonstrating he has no real knowledge of the canons.  Canons are meaningless unless they are applied - and even then they can still be next to meaningless (was former Patriarch of Jerusalem really deposed for canonical reasons?).  If the proper ecclesiastical authorities use the previously mentioned canons against the actual statements of Fr. Ephraim, so be it.  [/quote]

THe canons are guides by the Church that make explicit what the tenets of the faith as handed down by scripture and tradition are, and how they are to be applied; those canons made in local synod are only interprative and binding for that local church; those ratified by Ecumenical Synod are interprative of the tradition and binding for the whole Church.  By making the above statements that if the claims of this person are true in the context that he is implying then there are canonical violations, GiC is simply voicing an established opinion of the Church, an established interpretation of the scripture and tradition that the fathers of the Church considered important.  Ususally, if applicable, the canon was drawn up to deal with a similar situation, and this is not only applicable to the letter but also in the spirit of the situation.

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8227.msg108369#msg108369 date=1140502431]
But to quote them as if that by itself carries weight against Fr. Ephraim is ridiculous (and not a game worth playing, since the canons are much more explicit in condemning praying with heretics and even using the Gregorian Menaion).    [/quote]

First, you are admitting here that you have no interest in actually reading what GiC wrote; at no time did he say that Fr. Ephraim is directly involved in this.  Second, the canons will only carry weight insofar as they are applied - but at least they have the possibility of being applied, and are not just empty statements with no purpose.  Third, the fact that you are bringing up issues not related to the one at hand in order to attempt to dissuade one from using the canons is an admission that you cannot logically argue the point at hand.  It's not a game - these are people's lives we are dealing with.  And in the course of an academic discussion on an Orthodox discussion board that has no more ability to directly impact the situation than the Metropolitan of Buenos Aires does, someone brought up an aspect of the tradition that they admitted might apply here.

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8227.msg108369#msg108369 date=1140502431]
Futhermore, even from the writtings of Blessed Elder Joseph and Elder Ephraim one can see that neither disdain marriage at all.  Both are very pro-monastic - but I know of several cases of someone wishing to become a monastic that Elder Ephraim directed towards married life instead.  [/quote]

If you are correct, then that's fantastic.  But even if Elder Joseph and Fr. Ephraim's writings uphold the sanctity of marriage, if they have a monk/priest-monk who is not, then it is a problem.  Fr. Ephraim then needs to deal with that monk.  And if this is all blown out of proportion, or whatnot, then this guy needs to back off, because he is the one slandering the monastery.

Why don't you stick to writing like you did in your first post (after the first sentence); you provided helpful and much-needed context to the discussion at hand, instead of trying a round-about method of attacking a person...
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« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2006, 07:34:23 AM »

Of course, now GiC might just say, "But I'm a Canonist - that's what I study!".  Well good for you, but unless you can get your head out of the clouds and make your knowledge of Cannons more than some meaningless academic discussion, most of us will continue to disregard GiC's statements.    

But this whole discussion is an academic discussion of a) if something is going on, what should be done, or b) why isn't anything going on.  The discussion inherently has no bearing on the situation, since it involves no principles in the story, nor anyone of authority in the story; and the decisions/actions taken by people based on this discussion will have little if no bearing on the situation.  So from post 1 to now it has all been an academic discussion.

But the application of the canons that GiC is trying is a pastoral one: if the guy is married legitimately, and if he is being counseled to live with his wife as sister, then there is a problem, because someone is forcing a skewed vision of marriage on the person.  And if he is not "married legitimately" (i.e. only civilly, and only after his chrismation) and he is being counseled thus then the problem is with his claiming and implying the teaching in a false context.

GiC didn't even state that the preist needs to be defrocked or anathematized; he stated that the canonical penalty is anathema, but in the thread called upon Metropolitan GERASIMOS to deal with the issue, not himself.

And these accusations combined with the blatant disregard for Episcopal authority some of these monasteries have demonstrated in the past, would more than justify the several metropolises taking a more active role in the administration of these monasteries.

and (emphasis mine):

However, I read the link and it doesn't address an issue that is most fundamental to the matter at hand, did the civil marriage occur before or after the young man's Chrismation? If it occured after then the priest in question may have been justified in telling them to abstain from marital relations until an ecclesiastical marriage, though for pastoral reasons good sense would tell him that this should take place ASAP. If the civil marriage was before his Chrismation, however, while the advise to abstain from marital relations might not be able to be construed as heresy, as it could legitimately be a result of ignorance, but would still be a gross violation of our Theology of Marriage, to say nothing of going against St. Paul's instructions to converts about marriage. If the latter is the case, I hope His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos, corrects their practice and teachings before any more spiritual damage can be done.
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« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2006, 12:38:10 PM »

cleveland,
While GiC does qualify his statements to some degree, it really isn't enough.  Many of these statements are indeed presented as "shooting from the hip" and not backed up by any precedent.  If he would add that these alleged violations are rather serious and give some examples (RECENT preferred) as precedent, then there wouldn't be an issue.
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« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2006, 12:51:18 PM »

When taken in the context of GiC's disdain for traditional Greek Monasticism (consider that he has called many of the saintly elders of Greece to be cult leaders) the comments appear to be shooting from the hip.  He apparently has some axe to grind against Elder Ephraim and monasticism (outside of his narrow notion of it) in general.  
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« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2006, 01:50:54 PM »

While GiC does qualify his statements to some degree, it really isn't enough.  Many of these statements are indeed presented as "shooting from the hip" and not backed up by any precedent.

Ok, it seemed to me that my statement was extremly qualified, let's look at it again and see all the gramatical tools I used to qualify my statements.

While the complaints of the parents are probably unjustified, they miss their children and are trying to go about getting them back in a round about way, if some of the accusations are true, there is a problem:
...
Both of these matters, if true, would be serious canonical violations. The first issue deals with one that could possibly be regarded as Anathema under the canons of the synod of Gangra, and the second could certainly be interpreted as an excommunicatable offence under the canons of the Apostolic Canons and those of the First Oecumenical Synod. The Ephraimites have long been given too much leave on these matters. And these accusations combined with the blatant disregard for Episcopal authority some of these monasteries have demonstrated in the past, would more than justify the several metropolises (i.e. is sufficient reason for the Metropolitan Bishops OVER these Monasteries, not me, if they find appropriate) taking a more active role in the administration of these monasteries.

I count nine (9) qualifications to my statements in the above paragraph. I spent almost as much time qualifying it as making my points, it would be absurd to expect me to go the extent that I did in qualifying my statements, the initial if clause should have been sufficient, to say nothing of expecting me to go further.

Quote
If he would add that these alleged violations are rather serious and give some examples (RECENT preferred) as precedent, then there wouldn't be an issue.

Sorry, that's not how canon law works. Canon law is a system of civil law, not common law, it is based on codified laws not a combination of law and precedent. This was the system used in Roman law, which is the basis for our canon law, it can currently be seen in the laws of much of continental Europe, especially France, whose laws are based on the  Code civil des français (or Napoleonic Code) which is derived from the Code of Justinian; infact, in French law when a judge makes a decision he is not even allowed to reference past precedent, only the relevant laws in question. For more information about the differences between our legal system and that Orthodox canon law I would recommend you read one of the many resources out there on comparative french and english law (or for those interested in the interaction of these somewhat conflicting systems of law one can look at the interactions between state and federal law in Louisiana). Thus, I will generally not give precedent on canonical issues since it is tecnically not relevant. Now, with that said, there is an added dimension to our canonical system that separates it from other civil law systems, namely the theological element; but again, this is not served by precedent either, but rather by the merging of the fields of canon law and dogmatics.
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« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2006, 01:59:10 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8227.msg108403#msg108403 date=1140540678]
When taken in the context of GiC's disdain for traditional Greek Monasticism (consider that he has called many of the saintly elders of Greece to be cult leaders) the comments appear to be shooting from the hip.
[/quote]

I have a disdain for religious fundamentalism and those who advocate it, monastic or secular. What I noticed here were accusations of fundamentalist practices that happened to be contrary to the teachings of the Orthodox Church, so yes I believe such things to be inappropriate and hope that they are dealt with by the proper authorities (i.e. Bishops).

Quote
He apparently has some axe to grind against Elder Ephraim and monasticism (outside of his narrow notion of it) in general. ÂÂ

I have an 'axe to grind' with anyone who defies the authority of the Episcopacy, I dont know enought about Fr. Ephraim to say one way or another about him personally. Though I have heard of some of his monasteries acting inappropriately towards some of our Metropolitans, perhaps these situations resulted from the actions of others, but regardless of who is repsonsible, obedience to the bishop should be enforced and there should be consequences for those who do otherwise, regardless of what title they are known by.
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« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2006, 03:31:59 PM »

It should be noted that because of the principles of economia and akrivia (that is, variance and exactness), both of which specifically exclude precedent in their application, and preclude their application from becoming precedent-setting, the Orthodox canonical tradition does not include the concept of precedent - instead, in a pastoral way, it deals with each situation in and of itself, so that the authority, be it a bishop, spiritual father, or synod, has the ability to either apply the guidance of the canonical tradition exactly (akrivia) or with varience - either more harshly or less harshly (economia).

And thank the Lord that the Church doesn't use precedent in application of the canonical tradition, otherwise we'd be in serious trouble each time we went to confession...
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« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2006, 04:10:02 PM »

So establishing a new Church isn't part of "Canonical Tradition"?  GiC seems to use precedent when making arguments to abolish/establish existing/new Autocephalous/Autonomous Churches.
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« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2006, 04:40:22 PM »

Interesting... I suppose my paragraph can only be applied in instances regarding actual human beings, and not organs of the church itself... who knows - he's better at the canonical stuff than I am.
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« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2006, 05:18:13 PM »

So establishing a new Church isn't part of "Canonical Tradition"?  GiC seems to use precedent when making arguments to abolish/establish existing/new Autocephalous/Autonomous Churches.

No it really isn't, a methodology for how to establish a new Church is not part of our Canonical Tradition, we have no codified law that sets boundaries, procedures, or methods for this to occur. Thus, since the code of our law is silent on the matter, we must look to other means, with this particular issue since it is very rare in the history of the Church (and the rarer the better, as it always seems to tear the Church asunder), we can look at the very few examples of how it was actually approached. But if we had a codified law in our Church, that would over-rule all history, tradition, and custom and would be regarded as the standard by which all autonomies are measured.
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« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2006, 10:18:17 PM »

Telling people to be celibate is not automatically and in all cases despising marriage. It is actually a very long standing, if rare, tradition. It is recorded in the Life of St. Thomas the Apostle, for example, that soon after the marriage of two people he told them to live as brother and sister. The canons from Gangra do not say anything about somone counseling a couple about celibacy, they speak only of those who think that only celibates can go to heaven, those who think that priests who have sex or are married can't distribute communion, etc.
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« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2006, 01:30:00 AM »

After viewing the video here are some of my immediate thoughts.  First, as a former independent photojournalist in NYC, I remember times when it was a slow news day, we would find whatever story we could and build it up into a story, just to sell it to the newspapers and TV stations and make a sale.  I'm not saying we would lie, but when you spend the whole day in a car with 10 scanners in it, rushing from one possible story to another, hoping that we would convince the assignment editors to at least take a look at what we had.  Now it seems to me that the "Investigators" didn't give the whole story and should have spent more time on air explaining all the sides of the story, and maybe a little on our faith.  When a story is presented in the media of anything Orthodox, and the non Orthodox view it they can't really appreciate or understand the mysticism of our faith.  They see Clerics and monastics in long beards, black garments, some not able to speak very good English and right away they wonder who are these people.  We as Orthodox, both the Church leaders and the laity, need to be seen more in the mainstream media.  Other people see us as the ones that put on Greek festivals and the ones that don't celebrate easter with the rest of the world.  We seem to isolate ourselves.  The Church I go to is very good at not wanting to be part of the community.  We, as a Church, have to get out more.  If our neighbors knew a little more about our faith and about us as individuals, when stories like this one come out, they don't quickly form a negative opinion.  And by the way . . . why is it that whenever there is a news story that relates to Christianity, like the attack on Christmas, why do we never see an Orthodox cleric being interviewed???  We need to get out more.
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« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2006, 03:07:54 AM »

THe canons are guides by the Church that make explicit what the tenets of the faith as handed down by scripture and tradition are, and how they are to be applied; those canons made in local synod are only interprative and binding for that local church; those ratified by Ecumenical Synod are interprative of the tradition and binding for the whole Church.

Agreed.

I'm really glad that we're not applying canons that say that we can't share transport with Jews.....or many others that I won't mention.....Orthodoxy is not juridical.  We don't make NEARLY as big a deal of canons as the Latins do....in fact there's a lot of reasons why local canons should NEVER be applied elesewhere for reasons of "good housekeeping".   Even more important canons can lose their relevance over time.
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« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2006, 03:14:17 AM »

Quote
those ratified by Ecumenical Synod are interprative of the tradition and binding for the whole Church.

At what point do they stop being binding? If American hierarchs keep looking the other way regarding the breaking of Canon 20 of the First Ecumenical Council for the next three centuries, is it still just economia, or are we not, in a very real sense, going past and ignoring what the Ecumenical Council bound the Church to? Where is the line in the sand? It doesn't really matter to me, I'm not trying to make a huge issue out of it, I'm just using it as a practical example, because I wonder about the deeper issue.
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« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2006, 03:16:05 AM »

Nectarios,

Thanks for your pot-shots at us terrible "Gregorians" and "ecumenists", ie anyone not belonging to a "traditionalist" jurisdiction.  Sometimes posters on this board seem to forget that this is a pan-Orthodox zone.  If you feel so strongly about these things, perhaps you might like to start yet another thread outlining the sublime excellence and innate superiority of the old calendar.     Wink


I apologize for my sarcastic tone, but for me you are harping on things that are not relevant to the faith, except in cases where ecumenism goes too far.  
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« Reply #39 on: February 23, 2006, 06:52:22 AM »

At what point do they stop being binding? If American hierarchs keep looking the other way regarding the breaking of Canon 20 of the First Ecumenical Council for the next three centuries, is it still just economia, or are we not, in a very real sense, going past and ignoring what the Ecumenical Council bound the Church to?
You know, I wonder if the bishops and clergy are even aware that some people are kneeling on Sundays. The only time I see this is during the Consecration, when all the clergy are behind the closed doors of the Sanctuary. I can see what you are saying though, in that it could develop into a "custom". Unfortunately, I think this is in imitation of Roman Catholicism in which the rubrics call for the kneeling of the laity during Consecration.
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« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2006, 07:10:35 AM »

At what point do they stop being binding? If American hierarchs keep looking the other way regarding the breaking of Canon 20 of the First Ecumenical Council for the next three centuries, is it still just economia, or are we not, in a very real sense, going past and ignoring what the Ecumenical Council bound the Church to? Where is the line in the sand? It doesn't really matter to me, I'm not trying to make a huge issue out of it, I'm just using it as a practical example, because I wonder about the deeper issue.

The funny thing is, I think this kneeling thing has probably been a "problem" or issue off and on for the 17 centuries since that canon was written; maybe not always associated with the same time/place in the Liturgy, but the need for the canon in the first place, and the fact that the present condition of kneeling on sunday began quite a while ago, seem to indicate that this has almost never totally gone away.
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Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
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« Reply #41 on: February 23, 2006, 07:28:28 AM »

Agreed.

I'm really glad that we're not applying canons that say that we can't share transport with Jews.....or many others that I won't mention.....Orthodoxy is not juridical.  We don't make NEARLY as big a deal of canons as the Latins do....in fact there's a lot of reasons why local canons should NEVER be applied elesewhere for reasons of "good housekeeping".   Even more important canons can lose their relevance over time.

There are some of the canons that were ignored quite soon after their adoption, and some others that have enjoyed quite a long run.  Of course, we don't make as big a deal of them as the Latins, but they are important as guides and pastoral aids, especially to indicate to us how important the Church thinks some issues are.  Some of the local synods were never meant to have any scope past their own diocese (in which they are still binding); some local synods have been ratified ecumenically (Trullo had a few, I think in the second canon of the synod) and thus are to be used by the whole Church.  And while some canons do lose their importance over time (like the ones that presupposed that "acting" necessarily included some very tawdry scenes), some others are just as important today (ones regarding marriage, for example).

In the end, only the canons that are seen fit to be applicable in the moment are applied; the consciousness of the Church, guiding the bishops and spiritual fathers, acts in this way.  Go to one extreme, and we're strict constructionalists and most of Orthodoxy is condemned; go to the other, and it doesn't matter what we do, and we become like certain protestant sects who (in the words of a friend of mine) have such open minds "that their brains fall out."
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"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
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Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
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« Reply #42 on: February 23, 2006, 10:09:24 AM »

Quote
Nectarios,

Thanks for your pot-shots at us terrible "Gregorians" and "ecumenists", ie anyone not belonging to a "traditionalist" jurisdiction.  Sometimes posters on this board seem to forget that this is a pan-Orthodox zone.  If you feel so strongly about these things, perhaps you might like to start yet another thread outlining the sublime excellence and innate superiority of the old calendar.    


I apologize for my sarcastic tone, but for me you are harping on things that are not relevant to the faith, except in cases where ecumenism goes too far.  

I think you missed my point in posting.  I was pointing out that one need not be overly legalistic about the canons, since almos any group falls under some level of condemnation.  While I'm not a fan of the ecumenical movement, nor the new calendar - I still think those churches are entirely Orthodox.  
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Pravoslavbob
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« Reply #43 on: February 23, 2006, 12:25:07 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8227.msg108706#msg108706 date=1140703764]
I think you missed my point in posting.  I was pointing out that one need not be overly legalistic about the canons, since almos any group falls under some level of condemnation.  While I'm not a fan of the ecumenical movement, nor the new calendar - I still think those churches are entirely Orthodox.  
[/quote]

Thanks for clarifying and I'm sorry if I was too polemical in my tone.
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