I do understand the canonical ordinations and consecrations and the reasons for them, but I don't understand, for instance, how one minute a person could be so heartily condemned and then the next minute after their papers are examined they could be brought into SCOBA for instance, and be truly Orthodox, when what they believed hasn't changed, only their paperwork and standing.
In all humility, please consider the following thoughts: Christianity is all about relationships, both of the person with Christ, and of the person with other people, who are of course attempting to become the fulfillment and future of humanity, which is Christ.
So, the reason a sudden change can occur as you point out isn't just a paperwork issue, but what it reveals is that the relationship between the person and the Church has been corrected and renewed through the Holy Spirit as revealed through the Mysteries of the Church. That is how things can change--because now it is known that the Spirit has moved among them, instead of merely suspected or hoped for: the correction of the person's relationship to the Church has changed. This is the nature of Pentecost, which many of us will be celebrating this morning: the sudden arrival of the Spirit to form the Church changed the world in that moment, while to many others nothing visible changed other than some people wandered into the street to speak in languages they understood.
I guess that's my major misunderstanding with all this,ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š no one seems really interested in what we believe, or teach others, only in what group we belong to.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š And if Father consecrates the Eucharist, is it truly the Body and Blood in your eyes?ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Can the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist exist outside of SCOBA?
Well, to be honest with you, we are interested in what you teach, because frankly not all of it is Orthodox, but I think you realize that now while perhaps earlier you did not. And, frankly, it actually is important what 'group' you belong to, because the Church has always been an institution that has existed in a physical way.
The questions you pose--I have no answer for them, because while we know where the Church is, we do not know where the Church is not. We know that the Eucharist in the SCOBA-affiliated Churches are truly the Body and Blood of Christ. Because we are uncertain of your eucharist, we must be cautious and not receive it, since its reception would imply we agree with your teachings which are at odds with what we know to be Truth. Please respect the fact that this is our way, since this is the way taught us since Early Christian times.
Therefore, just be patient with us. Not one of us wishes you ill.
...And there seems to be little hope from your group if in order to be in the True Church, we have to condemn everything Catholic.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š
Perhaps you can understand my dilemna.
Nobody is saying you have to 'reject everything Catholic'; my wife, who was Catholic, noted that really she did not have to adjust her thinking much at all, and in fact Orthodoxy settled many of the questions she had been quietly asking herself about her former faith. Sometimes we on the Internet get a bit histrionic about things, and it truly can seem like you're getting beaten upon when you ask a question and 6 or 8 Orthodox posters all chime in in rapid succession with their opinions. The responses seem like a deluge of personal rejection, especially when many of the responders indulge their egos and try to outdo each other in hyperbole. Please forgive us for our offenses in that regard.
Really, I understand your dilemma, as my wife and I have walked that same path before. It is very hard, full of pain and anger, confusion and joy. This is because it is in fact a relationship!
If it is of any comfort to you, please know that I shall be praying for you as I assist near the altar in a few hours.