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Author Topic: Orthodox objections to the Sacred Heart Devotion  (Read 18878 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 15, 2006, 11:43:05 PM »

I understand that there is an objection to the Sacred Heart devotion practiced by Catholics.

I would like to know what in particular are the objections.

Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 11:53:49 PM »

I think a big part of it is the reparation theology which is behind the devotions to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart as well, the idea that we must make reparations for what we or others have done to offend Jesus.  Also, Orthodox don't like the idea of isolating a body part of Jesus and worshipping just that part, since it' s not a part of Tradition to do so. 
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 11:55:24 PM »

Quote
Also, Orthodox don't like the idea of isolating a body part of Jesus and worshipping just that part, since it' s not a part of Tradition to do so.

Yes, I always felt it was strange. I really don't see how anyone can have devotion to a heart (not meant to be a swipe).
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2006, 12:14:01 AM »

Also, Orthodox don't like the idea of isolating a body part of Jesus and worshipping just that part, since it' s not a part of Tradition to do so. 

Reparation  (this is something I will really have to think about, but here are some thoughts)

I know that when I am hurting and can just share the pain I'm feeling with another who really cares,  their love, understanding and just simply accompanying me is so very comforting.  This has been my understanding of reparation, a kind of accompanying Christ in the bitter rejection He has felt and continues to feel each day.  It is our sharing in the suffering of Jesus, that makes up for so many who do not care, and for all the times that we did not care.

Is this concept against Orthodox theology? 


The Sacred Heart as a Symbol

But it seems to me that the Sacred Heart is merely a symbol for the attribute of the Love of God.  When I was first drawn to Catholicism, my very first devotion was to the Sacred Heart, I have to confess, I never really connected with the reparation,  although I felt great sorrow for the ingratitude of man, (my own especially).  Meditation on this symbol is never apart from the Presence of Christ in His whole physical form, it is more of a concentration on the furnace of His love and compassion. 

It seems an oversimplification to say that Catholics worship His Heart, this concept is very foreign to me and I have a hard time visualizing it.  Just like the cross has become a symbol representing so many aspects of His sacrifice,  so do I see His Heart.

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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2006, 12:18:00 AM »

I've heard it accused of being "semi-nestorian."  The allegation is that the Sacred Heart represents the human love of Christ, as opposed to His divine love.  In other words, it separates His human love apart from His divine love.  Of course I may have heard wrong.  I'm not an expert.  I know my priest has told me not to carry any depiction of the Sacred Heart in our church's bookstore, which I run.
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2006, 12:23:43 AM »

For me, these devotions (to the "Blessed Sacrament", to "The Sacred Heart of Jesus or Mary", the "First Fridays of the month" etc) are the weirdest part of the Catholic spirituality. I think I would feel more confortable with the extemporaneous prayers of the Protestants than with these Catholic practices.
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2006, 12:25:15 AM »

  In other words, it separates His human love apart from His divine love. 

I've never heard this.  To me, the flames coming from within the Heart represent the Divine Furnace of His love.  But I will look it up on the Catholic Forum site and see what they say.  Thanks for your input.
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2006, 12:29:47 AM »

For me, these devotions (to the "Blessed Sacrament", to "The Sacred Heart of Jesus or Mary", the "First Fridays of the month" etc) are the weirdest part of the Catholic spirituality. I think I would feel more confortable with the extemporaneous prayers of the Protestants than with these Catholic practices.

I understand your perspective.  But I don't think we should include the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament with the others, since this is the true Presence of Christ, and sitting with Him is different than reverencing an image of Him.   I would like to know what makes you uncomfortable with this particular devotion.

 Also, I didn't want to bring Theotokos, and Catholic devotions to her into this since that is a whole other topic.
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2006, 12:44:05 AM »

Here are a couple of things I just found,  they confirm what my uneducated impression was on the devotion.  It seems like the Nestorian objection is addressed as well.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has as its dogmatic foundation the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. On account of the hypostatic union*, every part of our Lord's Human Nature is worthy of adoration. Hence, therefore, we adore His bodily Heart, beating in His Bosom.

*Hypostatic Union
A theological term used with reference to the Incarnation to express the revealed truth that in Christ one person subsists in two natures, the Divine and the human.


 Hypostasis means, literally, that which lies beneath as basis or foundation. Hence it came to be used by the Greek philosophers to denote reality as distinguished from appearances (Aristotle, "Mund.", IV, 21). It occurs also in St. Paul's Epistles (2 Corinthians 9:4; 11:17; Hebrews 1:3-3:14), but not in the sense of person.

Previous to the Council of Nicæa (325) hypostasis was synonymous with ousia, and even St. Augustine (De Trin.,  avers that he sees no difference between them. The distinction in fact was brought about gradually in the course of the controversies to which the Christological heresies gave rise, and was definitively established by the Council of Chalcedon (451), which declared that in Christ the two natures, each retaining its own properties, are united in one subsistence and one person (eis en prosopon kai mian hpostasin) (Denzinger, ed. Bannwart, 148).

They are not joined in a moral or accidental union (Nestorius), nor commingled (Eutyches), and nevertheless they are substantially united. For further explanation and bibliography see: INCARNATION; JESUS CHRIST; MONOPHYSITISM; NATURE; PERSON.


We also honor the Heart of Jesus as a reminder, or symbol, of His love for us, and we are moved to make Him a return of love, because He has loved us and He is not loved by men.

Love, consecration, and reparation are the characteristic acts of this devotion. In this form it is now solemnly approved by the Church.

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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2006, 12:46:04 AM »

The Eucharist is meant to be consummed, in my oppinion, not to be adored outside the liturgy itself or carried in processions.
I just feel that this is something alien to the Orthodox spirituality.
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2006, 01:10:29 AM »

I just feel that this is something alien to the Orthodox spirituality.

I can see where you would have a hard time with that.  Now that I look back, I can see that was a difficult concept for me as well. Nontheless, we have retained this Catholic tradition since it has brought much comfort and peace, and seems to be pleasing to the Lord in the context of our Catholic tradition.   
We have also witnessed a Eucharistic miracle where the Face of Christ appeared in the Eucharist at a Mass we were attending.  This Host has been preserved for the faithful and has touched many hearts. 

I think of this manifestation of His grace and True Presence in much the same way as I see the uncreated light;   as a special sign and marvel of His providence.  Does this idea conflict with Orthodox belief?

I believe that God rejoices in the variety of His creation and in the variety of ways we of differing traditions are touched. 

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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2006, 01:24:41 AM »

Catholic Encyclopedia

Reparation is a theological concept closely connected with those of atonement and satisfaction, and thus belonging to some of the deepest mysteries of the Christian Faith. It is the teaching of that Faith that man is a creature who has fallen from an original state of justice in which he was created, and that through the Incarnation, Passion, and Death of the Son of God, he has been redeemed and restored again in a certain degree to the original condition.

Although God might have condoned men's offences gratuitously if He had chosen to do so, yet in His Providence He did not do this; He judged it better to demand satisfaction for the injuries which man had done Him. It is better for man's education that wrong doing on his part should entail the necessity of making satisfaction. This satisfaction was made adequately to God by the Sufferings, Passion, and Death of Jesus Christ, made Man for us. By voluntary submission to His Passion and Death on the Cross, Jesus Christ atoned for our disobedience and sin. He thus made reparation to the offended majesty of God for the outrages which the Creator so constantly suffers at the hands of His creatures.

We are restored to grace through the merits of Christ's Death, and that grace enables us to add our prayers, labours, and trials to those of Our Lord "and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ" (Colossians 1:24).   (Does this Scripture have a different connotation for you?)

We can thus make some sort of reparation to the justice of God for our own offences against Him, and by virtue of the Communion of the Saints, the oneness and solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ, we can also make satisfaction and reparation for the sins of others.  This was the concept I was trying to communicate earlier,  of accompanying the Lord in His sufferings with the ingratitude of man.

It seems to me that this is much like St. Mary of Egypt for instance going out into the desert, in repentance and prayer,  or the profound yet sweet sense of repentance that comes upon entering into the heart of the Jesus Prayer.

Am I missing something?
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2006, 01:32:49 AM »

I figured if we were going to be bringing up this discussion, we should see what the hub-bub was all about and post the devotions in question:
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Offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

MY LOVING Jesus! I [N.N.] give you my heart, and I consecrate myself wholly to you, out of the grateful love I bear you, and as a reparation for all my unfaithfulness, and with your aid I purpose never to sin again.

V. Heart of Jesus, burning with love of us,

R. Inflame our hearts with love of you.

Let us pray
Lord, we beseech you, let your Holy Spirit kindle in our hearts that fire of charity which Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, sent forth from His inmost Heart upon this earth, and willed that it should burn with vehemence. Who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

Amen.

Partial indulgence granted by Pope Pius VII, March 20, 1815.
________________________________________________________________________

An Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
(For the First Friday of the Month)

ADORABLE Heart of Jesus, glowing with love for us and inflamed with zeal for our salvation: O Heart! ever sensible of our misery and the wretchedness to which our sins have reduced us, infinitely rich in mercy to heal the wounds of our souls, behold us humbly prostrate before you to express the sorrow that fills our hearts for the coldness and indifference with which we have so long requited the numberless benefits that you have conferred upon us. With a deep sense of the outrages that have been heaped upon you by our sins and the sins of others, we come to make a solemn reparation of honor to your most sacred majesty. It was our sins that overwhelmed your Heart with bitterness; it was the weight of our iniquities that pressed down your face to the earth in the Garden of Olives, and caused you to expire in anguish and agony on the cross. But now, repenting and sorrowful, we cast ourselves at your feet, and implore, forgiveness. Adorable Heart of Jesus, source of true contrition and ever merciful to the penitent sinner, impart to our hearts the spirit of penance, and give to our eyes a fountain of tears, that we may sincerely bewail our sins now and for the rest of our days. Oh, would that we could blot them out, even with our blood! Pardon them, O Lord, in your mercy, and pardon and convert to you all that have committed irreverences and sacrileges against you in the sacrament of your love, and thus give another proof that your mercy is above all your works. Divine Jesus with you there are mercy and plentiful redemption deliver us from our sins, accept the sincere desire we now entertain, and our holy resolution, relying on your assistance of your grace, henceforth to be faithful to you. And in order to repair the sins of ingratitude by which we have grieved your most tender and loving Heart, we are resolved in the future ever to love and honor you in the most adorable Sacrament of the Altar, where you art ever present to hear and grant our petitions, and to be the food and life of our souls. Be you, O compassionate Jesus I our Mediator with your heavenly Father, Whom we have so grievously offended, strengthen our weakness, confirm these our resolutions of amendment, and as your sacred heart is our refuge and our hope when we have sinned, so may it be the strength and support of our repentance, that nothing in life or death may ever again separate us from you. Amen.
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An Act of Consecration and Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

MOST sacred Heart of Jesus! I adore you; I offer to you all that I am and all that I possess; I consecrate to you my soul with its faculties, my body with all its senses, my heart with all its affections, desiring in all things to honor, love, and glorify you; in thanksgiving for the numberless benefits that I have received from you, especially in the Holy Eucharist; in atonement for my own sins as well as in reparation for all the offenses that are committed against you in the sacrament of your love, and, finally, in humble supplication, that I may henceforth be faithful to you, that I may please you in thought, word, and deed, that I may suffer in patience and in perfect resignation to your holy will, that I may become like to you in meekness and humility, that I may persevere in your love and your grace to the end of my life, and that I may praise you and bless you with the saints and angels in eternity.

We beseech you, also, O good Jesus, by your sacred Heart, overflowing with sweetness and mercy, to bless our Holy Father, the Pope, and our Holy Mother, the Church; to take under your special protection this congregation [my parish], our homes, our country, our rulers, our legislators, our bishops, our priests, and all Religious Orders. We recommend to you all our concerns, our friends, relatives, benefactors, and all those who have asked us to pray for them; those who are sick and those who are dying, and all who are under any affliction. Cast an eye of compassion on obstinate sinners, [the mistaken], and unbelievers.

Give eternal rest to the faithful departed.

Bless in particular the apostolic labors of those who are engaged in giving missions and retreats, in propagating the Faith in [mission] lands, in spreading your kingdom on earth, and in fostering devotion to your most Sacred Heart and to the most holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.
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Form of Consecration

Issued with the Encyclical Letter of His Holiness, Leo XIII, dated May 25, 1899, on the consecration of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
 
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us, humbly prostrate before your altar. We are yours and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your most sacred Heart. Many, indeed, have never known you; many; too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your sacred Heart. Be you King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be you King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one shepherd. Be you King also of all those who sit in the ancient superstition of the Gentiles, and refuse not you to deliver them out of darkness into the light and kingdom of God. Grant, O Lord, to your Church, assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor forever. Amen.
___________________________________________________________________________

An Act of Consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

TO You, most sacred Heart of Jesus, I devote my life. To You I consecrate all my thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings. My whole being shall be employed henceforth in loving, serving, and glorifying You. Be Thou, most blessed and adorable Heart, the sole object of my love, the protector of my life, the pledge of my salvation, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be Thou my advocate at the throne of Divine Justice, and screen me from the wrath which my sins deserve.

I trust entirely in your mercy. I place all my confidence in You. Destroy in me all that is displeasing to You. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine. Imprint Thyself like a seal upon my heart in order that I may never be separated from You. May I be a victim forever consecrated to your glory - ever burning with the flames of your pure love in time and for eternity. This is my whole desire - to live, in You: This shall be my happiness, to live and die as your devoted servant. Sweet Heart of Jesus, I implore that I may love You more and more. Amen.

V. Heart of Jesus, burning with love for us.

R. Inflame our hearts with love of You.

Let us pray
Lord, we beseech You, let your Holy Spirit kindle in our hearts that fire of charity which Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, sent forth from His inmost heart upon this earth, and willed that it should burn with vehemence. Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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Prayer in Honor of the Passion of Our Savior
 

GOD, Who for the world's redemption was pleased to be born, circumcised, rejected by the Jews, betrayed by the kiss of the traitor Judas, bound with chains, led like an innocent lamb to sacrifice, and shamefully presented before Annas, Caiphas, Pilate, and Herod, accused by false witnesses, beaten with whips, buffeted, insulted, spit upon, crowned with thorns, smitten with a reed, blindfolded,, stripped of your garments, fastened with nails to the cross, and lifted up on high, reputed among thieves, and made to drink gall and vinegar, and wounded by a lance; oh, by these most sacred sufferings, which, unworthy as I am, I thus commemorate, and by your holy cross and death, deliver me, Lord, from the pains of hell, and deign to lead me where Thou did lead the penitent thief, who was crucified by your side; Thou Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc. five times.
_______________________________________________________________

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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2006, 02:16:37 AM »

I figured if we were going to be bringing up this discussion, we should see what the hub-bub was all about and post the devotions in question:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

MY LOVING Jesus! I [N.N.] give you my heart, and I consecrate myself wholly to you, out of the grateful love I bear you, and as a reparation for all my unfaithfulness, and with your aid I purpose never to sin again.

V. Heart of Jesus, burning with love of us,

R. Inflame our hearts with love of you

That is quite a bit!!  I can remember, remotely, saying these prayers at all night vigils in Maryland about twenty years ago. 

But there came a time when His Sacred Heart became simple and pure and the prayers were less about words and more about repentance, and offering Him a resting place in our hearts made tender by His grace.

A whole concept of yielding our imperfections to Him has come about in the simple exclamation, from Him to us,  "Put your hands on My Heart, and My love will work the miracles."    By miracles, we mean the miracle of living a holy life, seeing as how we are so poorly suited to do so.

Just as we would place our chotke on an icon to draw a blessing from it,  we place our hands, a symbol of our insufficient humanity, upon His perfect divine Heart, praying to receive from Him all the graces necessary to live a life of charity and service,  pleasing to Him. 

And in another analogy, like the woman with the issue of blood,  touching the hem of His garment, virtue went out of Him,  so do we place our hands over His Heart, that His virtue would enkindle us with the flames of Divine Love.

It seems that Orthodoxy is more simple, more from the heart than these lengthly prayers;  like  the Jesus Prayer, it is simple and pure. 

We do not encourage the lengthly written prayers to the souls that come here, rather we ask them to cultivate their hearts as His dwelling place and to be present to Him just as they are, offering Him a contrite heart for our lapses, and genuine sorrow for the lapses of others...comforting Him.

This is what reparation means to me.  Is there some thing unOrthodox about this concept?







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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2006, 05:30:27 AM »

For me, these devotions (to the "Blessed Sacrament", to "The Sacred Heart of Jesus or Mary", the "First Fridays of the month" etc) are the weirdest part of the Catholic spirituality. I think I would feel more confortable with the extemporaneous prayers of the Protestants than with these Catholic practices.
I also found it odd to devote one's prayers to a portion of Jesus.
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2006, 06:40:08 AM »

I understand that there is an objection to the Sacred Heart devotion practiced by Catholics.

I would like to know what in particular are the objections.

Thank you.
Personnaly,I like reading about those sacred traditions, although the're not a part of our orthodox tradition.
We may not have the devotion in some parts of the Body of Our Saviour's , but we do have respect to His Holy Mantle (Άγιον Μανδήλιον) or the Αγία Ζώνη of Our Blessed Mother.
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2006, 08:35:44 AM »

I would like to know what in particular are the objections.

"practiced by Catholics."

You answered your own question. The Roman Catholic church is OUTSIDE the Church.
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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2006, 10:13:51 AM »

Quote
We may not have the devotion in some parts of the Body of Our Saviour's , but we do have respect to His Holy Mantle (Άγιον Μανδήλιον) or the Αγία Ζώνη of Our Blessed Mother.

Yep yep. Just looking around, as well, I also see an Akathist to the Life-Bearing Tomb. Surely if it's acceptable to sing a hymn that on its face is a veneration of an inanimate object, it's ok to venerate part of Christ (or, in the case of the Blessed Sacrament, Christ Himself)? The Sacred Heart is an image or metaphor for Christ's love, not an attempt to venerate a body part in isolation, any more than the many many Byzantine feast days celebrating a particular icon are attempts to venerate a mere object, rather than what that object stands in for.
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2006, 10:25:17 AM »

This devotion is outside the Eastern traditions, Orthodox, Oriental or Assyrian. It comes from 17th-century France.

Because it happened outside their church the Orthodox don't rule either way on it: 'Who are you to judge another man's servant?', etc.

I understand that hearts as a metaphor for love (on that, Mother Anastasia, describing the Roman Catholic view, is correct) were big in the French culture, including piety, of the time.

Saying that the devotion is at least semi-Nestorian seems ignorant of the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church, which agrees with the Orthodox on the hypostatic union, and 'you worship a heart, you worship a body part' is a Protestant-like slur unworthy of the Orthodox that can easily boomerang: it's really the same as 'you worship* a piece of bread at Liturgy', 'you worship Mary', 'you worship the bones of saints' or 'you worship paintings'. I think you see the point.

So just as the Incarnation makes icons possible even though the Commandments forbid graven images, it makes possible the worship given the Sacrament during the Orthodox Liturgy and the use by Roman Catholics of Jesus' heart as a physical symbol of his love. (My opinion.)

It does not belong in the Orthodox churches liturgically and those churches' rules forbid it there. Their rite has its own native expression of Christ's love, calling him the one who loves mankind (Philanthropos, Человеколюбец) and does not need add-ons from another rite or church to 'make it better'.

How one prays outside of church is one's own business but I'm sure most here would agree that an Orthodox would talk to his parish priest and/or (if they are different priests) father confessor/spiritual father about that. Many priests would say not to use it.

I understand from an Orthodox priest who lived in Palestine that at home among the people this crossover - RC popular art in Orthodox homes, etc. - happens all the time.

Quote
Yep yep. Just looking around, as well, I also see an Akathist to the Life-Bearing Tomb. Surely if it's acceptable to sing a hymn that on its face is a veneration of an inanimate object, it's ok to venerate part of Christ (or, in the case of the Blessed Sacrament, Christ Himself)? The Sacred Heart is an image or metaphor for Christ's love, not an attempt to venerate a body part in isolation, any more than the many many Byzantine feast days celebrating a particular icon are attempts to venerate a mere object, rather than what that object stands in for.

Precisely.

*In the modern sense of latreia, the worship due to God, not the broader, older sense of reverence in general, like that given to the saints, holy things or even to one's king.

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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2006, 11:49:56 AM »

Another reason I seldom visit here and hardly recommend to others...too much Tom-foolery or should it be worded the opposite way...a sad momment for a forum that use to be decent.

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« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2006, 01:32:37 PM »

The Eucharist is meant to be consummed, in my oppinion, not to be adored outside the liturgy itself or carried in processions.
I just feel that this is something alien to the Orthodox spirituality.

It may be alien to EASTERN Orthodox spirituality, but it certainly has a place in western spirituality. I've heard of Western Rite parishes having Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2006, 02:37:06 PM »

This is a relatively late Western developement (13th century) and I think it is entirely unconsistent with the Orthodox understanding of the Eucharist.
The bread and the wine are consecrated in order to be eaten; now, to consecrate the bread IN ORDER TO BE ADORED OUTSIDE THE LITURGY ITSELF seems a sort of anomaly and a pietistic deviation to me. "The Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament" obscures the meaning of the Eucharist and the Liturgy itself. They have also developped the strange theory of the so-called "spiritual communion" which supposedly could replace in certain instances the sacramental communion.
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I've heard of Western Rite parishes having Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
I've never seen a Western rite Orthodox Church, and have only recently heard about their existence.
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« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2006, 04:24:20 PM »

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The bread and the wine are consecrated in order to be eaten; now, to consecrate the bread IN ORDER TO BE ADORED OUTSIDE THE LITURGY ITSELF seems a sort of anomaly and a pietistic deviation to me. [...] They have also developped the strange theory of the so-called "spiritual communion" which supposedly could replace in certain instances the sacramental communion.

You do know that for most of Orthodox history infrequent communion has been the norm? That until the middle of this century it was not uncommon for people to only commune once a year, and the rest of the time satisfy themselves with the benediction* and receiving antidoron, and that there are still many places where communion is only taken a few times a year? It seems rather silly to go on about the Orthodox understanding of the Sacrament being that It's supposed to be eaten, when most people do not in fact eat It.

* Yes, it's exactly the same thing as the WR benediction, i.e. blessing the congregation with the Sacrament
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« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2006, 04:30:26 PM »

You do know that for most of Orthodox history infrequent communion has been the norm? That until the middle of this century it was not uncommon for people to only commune once a year, and the rest of the time satisfy themselves with the benediction* and receiving antidoron, and that there are still many places where communion is only taken a few times a year? It seems rather silly to go on about the Orthodox understanding of the Sacrament being that It's supposed to be eaten, when most people do not in fact eat It.

* Yes, it's exactly the same thing as the WR benediction, i.e. blessing the congregation with the Sacrament

MOST? Certainly for many centuries, but MOST? I guess it's tough to determine, based on the sources, when exactly frequent communion fell out of vogue, but, around the the time of the Quinisext Council it was still frequently received, as the Council's canons make clear -- as does the introduction of the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy into Great Lent.

Do you know of a text older than, say, the Pedalion that advises infrequent communion?
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« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2006, 04:46:51 PM »

Quote
You do know that for most of Orthodox history infrequent communion has been the norm? That until the middle of this century it was not uncommon for people to only commune once a year, and the rest of the time satisfy themselves with the benediction* and receiving antidoron, and that there are still many places where communion is only taken a few times a year?
I come myself from such a tradition as you talk about, and yet even if there were few or no communicants, the Eastern piety has not devised an extra-liturgical service analogous to the "Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament".
I do not object in any way to the adoration and the benediction of and with the Eucharistic elements in the context of the Liturgy; what is unsettling to me is the fact that these take place outside the Divine Liturgy.
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« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2006, 04:47:04 PM »

Quote
MOST? Certainly for many centuries, but MOST? I guess it's tough to determine, based on the sources, when exactly frequent communion fell out of vogue, but, around the the time of the Quinisext Council it was still frequently received, as the Council's canons make clear -- as does the introduction of the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy into Great Lent.

OTOH, St. John Chrysostom railed against the habit of infrequently communing, and Pope Fabian (in the 3rd century) made it a rule that the faithful had to commune three times per year (confirmed later at the local Council of Agde).
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« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2006, 04:48:59 PM »

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I do not object in any way to the adoration and the benediction of and with the Eucharistic elements in the context of the Liturgy; what is unsettling to me is the fact that these take place outside the Divine Liturgy.

Why is benediction with the Sacrament acceptable when it takes place at the end of the Liturgy (after everyone who's going to commune has done so), and not when performed after the Liturgy? The Sacrament remains the Sacrament even after the Liturgy is finished, and is still worthy of adoration.
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« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2006, 04:57:52 PM »

I agree that the Sacrament remains a Sacrament even after the Liturgy.
But is it lawful to keep it after the Liturgy?
In the OC it is only allowed to keep the Eucharist for the purpose of communing the sick.
But in the case of the Roman office of "The Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament" the communion itself seems entirely out of its meaning and end.
You might hear about "spiritual communion" though.
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« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2006, 05:11:50 PM »

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But is it lawful to keep it after the Liturgy?

Evidently, as it's kept in almost every Orthodox church.

Quote
In the OC it is only allowed to keep the Eucharist for the purpose of communing the sick.

And for the Liturgy of the Presanctified. But is there an actual rule against venerating the Sacrament outside of the Liturgy, or is it only reserved for communion of the sick and at the Presanctified simply because that's all the Byzantine rite happens to do with the Sacrament outside the Liturgy?

Quote
But in the case of the Roman office of "The Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament" the communion itself seems entirely out of its meaning and end.

If the meaning and end of the Sacrament is only to be eaten, then the benediction at the end of the Divine Liturgy is equally as problematic as the WR benediction.

Quote
You might hear about "spiritual communion" though.

Which is no different than taking antidoron, i.e. not communing, and substituting some other practice instead.
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« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2006, 05:30:38 PM »

OTOH, St. John Chrysostom railed against the habit of infrequently communing, and Pope Fabian (in the 3rd century) made it a rule that the faithful had to commune three times per year (confirmed later at the local Council of Agde).

Ah. MOST in that sense. Well, for that matter, there are many ancient writings and canons that censure those who stay away from the chalice (including excommunication to whoever avoids the Eucharist for more than 3 Sundays in a row). Presumably, these indicate that many people did, in fact, abstain from the Eucharist. However, these texts also show that the Church in general preached against such practices.

Nevertheless, there are those in the modern Church who have made infrequent communion a point of quasi-doctrine, since, in their experience in the motherland, no one receives frequently (b/c of a belief that a non-cleric is unworthy of such activity and/or the belief that one must prepare with many prayers, confession and, possibly, an extended fast -- up to 3 days in some areas).

The difference between these two approaches is obvious. I am unaware of any text before the Turkokratia that advocates infrequent communion.
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« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2006, 05:47:45 PM »

Quote
then the benediction at the end of the Divine Liturgy is equally as problematic as the WR benediction.

The Western Rite is a fairly new experiment in the Orthodox Church (i.e the concept of a handful of Western usage parishes under Byzantine bishops and in the context of an almost entirely Byzantine Church - not the rite itself), so to use it as setting a precedent for Orthopraxis a bit of a stretch.  I think the better question is when and why did the practice of extra-liturgical Eucharistic Adoration come about in the West. ÂÂ

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« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2006, 05:53:31 PM »

I understand that hearts as a metaphor for love
In Scripture, the heart is not the seat of Love, the bowels are. In Matthew 9:36, it says:
"But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."
The word "compassion" is a translation of the original greek word "εσπλαγχνισθη" means "moved in his guts". So shouldn't they be venerating the "Sacred Guts"?
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« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2006, 06:10:52 PM »

Well, for that matter, there are many ancient writings and canons that censure those who stay away from the chalice (including excommunication to whoever avoids the Eucharist for more than 3 Sundays in a row). Presumably, these indicate that many people did, in fact, abstain from the Eucharist. However, these texts also show that the Church in general preached against such practices.

And which writings are these?  I'm not doubting - just want to know.  Thanks.
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« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2006, 06:16:35 PM »

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The word "compassion" is a translation of the original greek word "εσπλαγχνισθη" means "moved in his guts". So shouldn't they be venerating the "Sacred Guts"?

Considering that the Sacred Heart devotion arose in a non-Greek speaking culture, what does any of what you wrote have to do with anything?  Christianity can be expressed in vernacular idiom. 
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« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2006, 06:43:11 PM »

Why not the Sacred Guts? The same reason one wouldn't give one's significant other a card with a picture of one's colonoscopy for Valentine's Day. Please.

Both sides agree that the Sacrament exists primarily to be used - to be eaten and drunk.

One may not know it from watching EWTN but in fact the traditional, pre-Vatican II Roman Rite is very strict about use of the Sacrament outside of Mass and sick calls exactly for that reason. One has to get the bishop's permission to do those things.

Every consecrated Host, even those used for those devotions, is eventually eaten.

And yes, Eastern Orthodox believe in the abiding Real Presence and thus reserve the Sacrament.  And there is a kind of 'Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament' in the Liturgy after Communion.

So why no extra-liturgical devotions to the Eucharist in Eastern Orthodoxy?

Because there was no movement in Orthodox countries seriously threatening the people's belief in the Real Presence.

So those devotions weren't needed - they never developed.

In the West even before Protestantism there was such a threat so these practices sprang up in reaction. (The same reason Aquinas used Aristotle to try to explain belief in that Presence.)

Western Rite Orthodox use them. They aren't and don't claim to be re-enactors of pre-schism liturgy - they retain Western Catholic practices as there is no theological objection to them... according to Kallistos (Ware) in The Orthodox Church. He says the same thing about these practices related to the Eastern Orthodox - there is no historical or liturgical reason to change the early church's emphasis on the Sacrament's main use but there is no theological objection to the practices in themselves.
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« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2006, 09:18:23 PM »

And yes, Eastern Orthodox believe in the abiding Real Presence and thus reserve the Sacrament.  And there is a kind of 'Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament' in the Liturgy after Communion.
Let's not forget the Great Entrance at the Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts.  "Lo, the King of Glory enters."
So why no extra-liturgical devotions to the Eucharist in Eastern Orthodoxy?
Because there was no movement in Orthodox countries seriously threatening the people's belief in the Real Presence.
So those devotions weren't needed - they never developed.
In the West even before Protestantism there was such a threat so these practices sprang up in reaction.
The hymn sung at Roman Catholic Benedictions shows this.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
  Veneremur cernul,
Et antiquum documentum
  Novo cedat ritul;
Praestet fides supplementum
  Sensuum defectful
.

Down in adoration falling,
  This great Sacrament we hail;
Over ancient forms of worship
  Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith will tell us Christ is present,
  When our human senses fail.

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« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2006, 09:31:32 PM »

Quote
The Western Rite is a fairly new experiment in the Orthodox Church (i.e the concept of a handful of Western usage parishes under Byzantine bishops and in the context of an almost entirely Byzantine Church - not the rite itself), so to use it as setting a precedent for Orthopraxis a bit of a stretch.

When I say WR, I'm not referring specifically to those Orthodox who use a western rite, but rather the historical rites of the West.
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« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2006, 11:35:41 PM »

After reading everyone's posts, I am not hearing any objection to the concept of reparation, as I explained it and as it is presented in the formal prayers that were posted on page one.

And yet,  I have been hearing that the concept of reparation is un-Orthodox.

Was this just a simple misunderstanding of definitions or is there truly a theological error in the concept as it has been presented here?

Thank you for all your constructive input.  I am learning a great deal.
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« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2006, 06:40:24 AM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9055.msg121051#msg121051 date=1147817795]
Considering that the Sacred Heart devotion arose in a non-Greek speaking culture, what does any of what you wrote have to do with anything?  Christianity can be expressed in vernacular idiom. [/quote]
Oh good. So on that basis, you can have no objection to me promoting Devotion to the Sacred Guts of Jesus in Greece.
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« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2006, 06:57:16 AM »

After reading everyone's posts, I am not hearing any objection to the concept of reparation, as I explained it and as it is presented in the formal prayers that were posted on page one.

And yet,  I have been hearing that the concept of reparation is un-Orthodox.

Was this just a simple misunderstanding of definitions or is there truly a theological error in the concept as it has been presented here?

Thank you for all your constructive input.  I am learning a great deal.
Is this statement True or False people?:
Reparation is a completely Orthodox Dogma taught by the Orthodox Church. Every sin must be atoned for, because Christ's sacrifice was insufficient and imperfect. Only through our suffering can God forgive our sins, because His mercy is not freely given- but only to those who have merited it by making reparation for their sins (especially to the Sacred Guts/Heart of Jesus on the first Friday of every month for nine consecutive months as Jesus Himself has said in His Twelfth Promise).
May the Sacred Guts of Jesus have mercy on us.
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« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2006, 07:38:08 AM »

The Roman Catholic teaching of Reparation is not an Eastern Orthodox belief taught by the Eastern Fathers of the Church. Once again its basis is found in the teachings of Blessed Agustine and not the Eastern Fathers.  Reparation is deemed as unneccessary as the death of Jesus resolved all need to make further reparation.

There is however evidence that this RC belief arose as a method of comfort and private revelation for those who initially were confined to bed and sought a reason of justification for the suffering they were experiencing. Much like the teachings of post WW II Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's  "Logo Therapy" in which "Man's search for meaning" explains why good people suffer bad things and gain meaning behind their suffering. The private revelations and devotions involving Reparation arise out of this need to find meaning behind their suffering. The meaning that was found was that one could offer their suffering in reparation for the hurts that people of the world have done to Our Lord and Our Lady. This RC teaching has greatly helped people suffering from painful diseases, violent marriages, child abuse, spouse abuse, or in the process of dying a painful death---they are comforted that they may offer their pain and hurt to Jesus as a self sacrifice to allow him to know how sorry they are for the hurt that the world has done to He and his Most Holy Mother.

If one researches the earliest writings of Western Saints who developed the doctrine of Reparation doctrine, you will find them confined to the bed, suffering from a disability.  Some like Bernadette of Lourdes had Cancer or tuberculosis and found solace in Reparation  doctrine.  It is interesting to note that Sister Faustina of the Divine Mercy also suffered from Tuberculosis.  Many felt that their illnesses where allowed to them as a gift to help them make reparation for their sins and the sins of others. The doctrine of Reparations is similar to the RC doctrine of the Treasury of Merits that is tied to the RC belief of Purgatory.

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« Reply #41 on: May 17, 2006, 08:00:00 AM »

And which writings are these?  I'm not doubting - just want to know.  Thanks.
Canon LXXX of the Council of Trullo prescribed excommunication for anyone who missed three consecutive Sunday Liturgies without valid reason.
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« Reply #42 on: May 17, 2006, 09:45:40 AM »

Quote
Is this statement True or False, people?:

Reparation is a completely Orthodox Dogma taught by the Orthodox Church. Every sin must be atoned for, because Christ's sacrifice was insufficient and imperfect. Only through our suffering can God forgive our sins, because His mercy is not freely given- but only to those who have merited it by making reparation for their sins (especially to the Sacred Guts/Heart of Jesus on the first Friday of every month for nine consecutive months as Jesus Himself has said in His Twelfth Promise).

As Thomas says farther down in this thread Orthodoxy doesn't use that term nor has defined it as doctrine. As for the rest, of course that's horrible and heretical and if that's what Roman Catholicism teaches then to hell with it. But it's not. No sound Christian really believes that Jesus' sacrifice wasn't 'good enough'. That's a Jack Chick parody of Roman Catholicism. But sin does spiritual and psychic damage, which is why both RCs and Orthodox have ascesis like fasting and there is the intermediate state, however you want to define it, for souls forgiven by God and thus saved but 'not ready for prime time', not ready to enter heaven. (Pannikhida, anyone?)

Which relates to what Thomas said (thanks for the historical background behind the belief, which I didn't know about and which makes sense). I interpret all that as a colourful way of describing ascesis, by tying it into Jesus' one sacrifice, not treating it like a sacrifice separate from it.

As for the nine First Fridays, things like that are problematic. It can be twisted into something superstitious, much like Protestants' 'once saved, always saved', like 'I can do this and afterwards commit any sins I want because I know I'll be saved in the end!' (So bring on the nubile 20-year-old girls.) Not what the RC Church really teaches of course. The Protestant version ('I accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour so from now on it doesn't matter what I do') is just as wrong. God can't be manipulated like that. I think the orthodox (small o) spin on the First Fridays is if you stay away from sin and receive grace in Communion for nine months you grow in grace such that chances are better you'll be saved when you die.

Quote
May the Sacred Guts of Jesus have mercy on us.

Do you realise how bad Orthodoxy looks from making remarks like that? If a Roman Catholic on his own, in no way representing his church, made fun of icons on an RC board, how would you like it? AFAIK Orthodoxy believes in the Golden Rule.
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« Reply #43 on: May 17, 2006, 10:17:43 AM »

if that's what Roman Catholicism teaches then to hell with it. But it's not. No sound Christian really believes that Jesus' sacrifice wasn't 'good enough'. That's a Jack Chick parody of Roman Catholicism. But sin does spiritual and psychic damage, which is why both RCs and Orthodox have ascesis like fasting and there is the intermediate state.
I think I shall take a Roman Catholic priest's take on this over yours as to what the Roman Catholic Position on this is. A Jesuit Priest by the name fo Fr. John A. Hardon writes:
Quote

"
Why Penance and Reparation?


If we ask, why penance and reparation, the first answer is: Because God wants it.

But if we press the question: Why does God want it? Then we must say, because in His mysterious wisdom, His justice requires it. We may legitimately say, without really understanding it, that He has no choice. Having given us a free will, if we abuse liberty, we must use our freedom to repay to God the love we have stolen from Him (which is penance) and repair the damage we have done (which is reparation).

Notice, all along I have been using the first person plural, "we", because penance and reparation are owed to God not only because I have individually sinned, but because we human beings have sinned and are sinning, in our day, on a scale never before conceived in the annals of history.


We know better than Cain after he killed his brother, Abel. We are our brother's keepers. We are mysteriously co-responsible for what other people do wrong. There is a profound sense in which all of us are somehow to do penance and make reparation, not only for our sinful misdeeds, but for the sins of our country and, indeed, for the sins of the whole human race.

We return to our question: Why penance and reparation? Because, in Christ's words, "Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish".

Is it any wonder that on Pentecost Sunday, after Peter preached his sermon, and rebuked the people for their sins, and they asked him, "what must we do," his first word to the multitude was the imperative verb, "Repent!"

Is it any wonder that Our Lady of Fatima's message to a sinful world in our day, may be summarized in the same imperative, "Do penance."

Indeed, the calamities that we have so far seen in this present century: two world wars with more casualties than in all the previous wars of history, and the threat of a nuclear holocaust that hangs over us like a tornado cloud. All of this is God's warning to do penance and reparation. Why? Because God is not mocked.

You do not offend God with impunity. You do not sin without retribution. You do not ignore the will of the Almighty and expect the Almighty to ignore what you do.

What bears emphasis, however, is that this retribution is either to be paid willingly, with our penance and reparation, or will be paid unwillingly within the divine punishment.

The divine logic is simple, awfully simple, and all we have to do is learn what God is telling us. Either we do penance and reparation because we want to, or we shall suffer (against our will) the consequences of our sins in this life, and in the life to come.

But remember, this penance and reparation is to be done not only for what we have personally done wrong. It is for all the pride and lust, for all the cruelty and greed, for all the envy and laziness and gluttony of a sin-laden human family.

God is merciful and in fact as our Holy Father has told us, Jesus Christ is the Incarnation of divine mercy. But God's mercy is conditional. It is conditional on our practice of penance and reparation."

Hmmmmmmm...And you think this view is compatable to the Orthodox view of ascesis?...
And if this quote is not compatable with Roman Catholic dogma, why hasn't this Jesuit been slammed down by his bishop for publishing this nonsense on the internet?

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« Reply #44 on: May 17, 2006, 11:16:32 AM »

I think the question of whether Fr Hardon is claiming God's mercy is conditional or not depends on whether we're talking about eternal or, in RC terms, temporal punishment. Essentially Fr H agrees that sin does psychic and spiritual damage even when it's forgiven. A classic catechism-style example is: what if you steal a million dollars? You can repent and be forgiven in confession... but you still have to work to give the money back, turn yourself in to the police, etc. Does that mean Jesus' sacrifice was limited or God's forgiveness and mercy are? Of course not. I think that analogy works for either Orthodox or RCs.

Skimming the article I agree that Fr H infelicitously words things so that it looks like the Jack Chick parody: 'Y'all think you earn your way into heaven with your works-righteousness and don't really have faith in JEEEESUS!'
« Last Edit: May 17, 2006, 11:17:05 AM by The young fogey » Logged

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