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Author Topic: Concerns about conversion & Orthodox church - The Ochlophobist comments  (Read 9814 times) Average Rating: 0
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KATHXOYMENOC
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« on: July 13, 2006, 11:06:06 AM »

Some interesting/provocative comments about conversion to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox church in general from The Ochlophobist's blog:
 
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/
 
Specifically this 4-part series "the überfromm snuggling up to the gates of hell, parts I-IV":

http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2006/06/berfromm-snuggling-up-to-gates-of-hell.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2006/06/berfromm-snuggling-up-to-gates-of-hell_26.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2006/06/berfromm-snuggling-up-to-gates-of-hell_27.html
http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/berfromm-snuggling-up-to-gates-of-hell.html

Any comments?
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2006, 11:22:47 AM »

Quote
there are 7 times more amish men than OCA

 Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2006, 12:15:32 PM »

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The Greek Orthodox Church depends on the Greek Archdiocese in North America to keep many operations within the Church in Greece financially afloat.

Really?  I thought the Greek government helped support the Church in Greece and the GOA in NA helped support the Phanar.
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2006, 12:23:51 PM »

Really?  I thought the Greek government helped support the Church in Greece and the GOA in NA helped support the Phanar.

I believe the Greek government supports BOTh the Churches of Greece and Constantinople. The GOAA gives very little to either with the EP relying more on donations from the wealthy in the US (that "archon"-thing)
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2006, 12:27:30 PM »

Really?ÂÂ  I thought the Greek government helped support the Church in Greece and the GOA in NA helped support the Phanar.

You're correct; the blog is incorrect. The blog author is in the OCA, however, and so his lack of understanding regarding the GOA's financial expenditures is understandable. Don't expect me to be at all accurate about the OCA's or Antiochian's budgets, for example...

I believe we have discussed elsewhere on this site the portion of the EP's budget that is contributed by the GOA. This amount has not increased much in the past ten years and actually is only a fraction of the EP's budget (I am thinking Cleveland may actually have the budget figures on hand).

While I don't remember the specific amount the GOA contributes, I was thinking it was in the low 6 figures. It shows that the 'common wisdom' that the EP will not "free the GOA due to the veritable treasure galleons of gold that America dumps into Constantinople's coffers" is not at all accurate.

Cleveland, do you have the information I referenced, or otherwise know where/how to obtain it?
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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2006, 12:28:11 PM »

Quote
The OCA has a renegade bishop who is clearly suffering from mental illness and has issued public statements that are an embarrassment to all Orthodox Christians. The OCA synod has no moral authority or administrative legitimacy to do anything about it. Interestingly, the auxiliary bishop in this same diocese is a known alcoholic who shows up to Church functions drunk.

This is a great one.  +Tikhon is not a "renegade"...well, I suppose it depends on how define what a "renegade" is.  (Btw, can someone give me a short synopsis on the debate of Clintion defining 'is'?  I never figured that one out.)  AFAIK, the OCA synod can depose/suspend/whatever to him if they so choose - they just have not chosen so.  Also, I thought that auxiliary just USED TO get drunk AFTER church functions...or at least drink enough to be over the legal limit.  Since the DUI incident, I'm pretty sure he has barely had a drop of alchohol outside of Communion.

Scanning further down this article, there seems to be loads of misleading, half-truth, outright lies and other statements.
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2006, 12:32:27 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=9507.msg127752#msg127752 date=1152807831]
I believe the Greek government supports BOTh the Churches of Greece and Constantinople. The GOAA gives very little to either with the EP relying more on donations from the wealthy in the US (that "archon"-thing)
[/quote]
gotcha.

Where can you find out who the blog author is (i.e. who the 'Ochlophobist' is)?
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2006, 12:47:37 PM »


Scanning further down this article, there seems to be loads of misleading, half-truth, outright lies and other statements.

Again, you and I agree.  Smiley

However, I was concerned that if I was the first person to write such a statement, it would be seen as me unfairly criticizing someone bashing my Archdiocese, or that my opinion was some sort of official proclamation of OC.net. It is not, and to clarify things OC.net cannot be held legally accountable in any way from something that is clearly only a personal opinion by me, and so should be deservedly ignored by all.

Thanks for being so attentive to that blog!  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2006, 12:56:30 PM »

Again, you and I agree.ÂÂ  Smiley

However, I was concerned that if I was the first person to write such a statement, it would be seen as me unfairly criticizing someone bashing my Archdiocese, or that my opinion was some sort of official proclamation of OC.net. It is not, and to clarify things OC.net cannot be held legally accountable in any way from something that is clearly only a personal opinion by me, and so should be deservedly ignored by all.

Thanks for being so attentive to that blog!ÂÂ  Wink

Oh, I just barely skimmed it!  At first, I thought the blog author might be an ex-member of my parish that gone off the deep end, but it is someone else (who I guess you are saying IS in the OCA currently who has gone off the deep end).
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2006, 01:09:47 PM »

Man, my first thought was the guy doesn't know how to keep it to the point, and my second point is he accepts a lot of stuff that are innuendos and lies as being clearly true.

Anastasios
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2006, 01:15:32 PM »

Man, my first thought was the guy doesn't know how to keep it to the point, and my second point is he accepts a lot of stuff that are innuendos and lies as being clearly true.

Anastasios

That's what some of the Comments on his Blog in response to his posts have said, though I think he defends what he writes as coming from reliable sources, IIRC (there are 54 or more replies to part IV alone).
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2006, 02:12:31 PM »

Well...

You're correct; the blog is incorrect. The blog author is in the OCA, however, and so his lack of understanding regarding the GOA's financial expenditures is understandable. Don't expect me to be at all accurate about the OCA's or Antiochian's budgets, for example...

I believe we have discussed elsewhere on this site the portion of the EP's budget that is contributed by the GOA. This amount has not increased much in the past ten years and actually is only a fraction of the EP's budget (I am thinking Cleveland may actually have the budget figures on hand).

While I don't remember the specific amount the GOA contributes, I was thinking it was in the low 6 figures. It shows that the 'common wisdom' that the EP will not "free the GOA due to the veritable treasure galleons of gold that America dumps into Constantinople's coffers" is not at all accurate.

Cleveland, do you have the information I referenced, or otherwise know where/how to obtain it?

I don't have the figures on-hand; but the contribution of monies from the GOA to the EP is public information to those who will be in Nashville and who will be part of the sessions where they distribute the Archdiocesan budget.  I'm not sure if it's online anywhere...

As for who supports what: I think the Greek government supports the EP to a certain degree, but that's not really much... in some ways, the fact that Athens administers the "New Provinces" on behalf of the EP is the biggest help they could count on.  The Greek government does not, however, support the GOA - the only times I've heard of money from Greece coming has been to help Hellenic organizations/events (I don't think AHEPA, but maybe some others) and the Greek gov't sponsors much of the Holy Cross senior class trip (airfare, some transportation, hospitality at any monastery of our chosing, and I think a couple of nights in a hotel/motel where necessary).

As far as where the EP gets its money: contributions from the lands within the Patriarchate, the contributions of the people within the Archdiocese of Constantinople, some amount from the nation of Greece, the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and I believe that there are estates/endowments that have been left to the EP.  There has been some rightful criticism that some of the hierarchs of the Patriarchal Synod waste the Patriarchate's money when traveling with the EP (anyone seen the HBO series Entourage?), but otherwise it's not like the EP lives an extravegant lifestyle.  There are lots of helpers/employees at the various Patriarchal institutions, but much of that is done to help employ Orthodox Christians in the area...
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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2006, 02:53:58 PM »

I have to say, I don't pay much attention to the inner dealings of the various jurisdictions, and I was never an evangelical, so my reaction to parts I and II was rather meh, but his part III and especially IV is absolutely spot-on with its description of the problem of "überfrommity", as he puts it. It's something I expect to be dealing with more and more as I assist in establishing a WR mission here in Houston. The lack of a "secular" (to use Latin terminology) form of Byzantine piety is one thing that I have always thought is a major weakness in Orthodoxy as it is practiced.
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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2006, 03:00:06 PM »

I think some good points were made about the lack of pastoral care to keep converts in the Church.... but some of this stuff is just over the top.... especially the part of those who are opposed to Fr. Ephraim suddenly showing up dead or in serious illness.  Sad to see what could have been productive get lost to all those stupid accusations. 
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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2006, 03:30:07 PM »

Some fairly detailed comments and rebuttals are at this weblog:

http://gabriel4580.blogspot.com/2006/07/ochlophobist.html
http://gabriel4580.blogspot.com/2006/07/contra-ochlophobist-part-1.html
http://gabriel4580.blogspot.com/2006/07/contra-ochlophobist-part-2.html
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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2006, 03:41:50 PM »

Quote
The lack of a "secular" (to use Latin terminology) form of Byzantine piety is one thing that I have always thought is a major weakness in Orthodoxy as it is practiced.

Could you quote what part of the document that is from? I'd like to read it in context. If I understand what you are saying correctly, I'd have to fundamentally disagree. A lack of "variety" and "style" in piety is one of Orthodoxy's greatest strengths in my opinion.  Where has all this variety gotten the Latins? It's like a smorgasboard.  How can there be a standard measurement of spiritual development? I don't know, maybe I am just taking it wrong, but when I see things mentioned like "blind liturgical conservatism", etc., it just makes me cringe.

Anastasios
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2006, 03:46:59 PM »

Anastasie,

I believe what is being refrenced is not so much the varied piety of Latins but that their Divine Office has retained a much simpler form that can be used by the laity and small groups/missions much more easily than the Byzantine Divine Office. 
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2006, 03:53:15 PM »

Well, you can simply not pray all the prayers, that's what I do! (with my bishop's blessing!).ÂÂ  I think we seem to think these things develop willy nilly. I'd say they developed because they work. Hesychasm, the mixed monastic/cathedral typikon we now use, these things simply work, and that's why they are here today. I know, I have a simplistic notion of things and betray all that wonderful liturgical theology I learned in seminary Wink

I don't know, as I've said before I think the WR and other varieties are ok, I just don't like the idea that there should be "monastic" and "secular" ways of doing things. The typikon now used by the Orthodox Church combines both together--laypeople never read long amounts of psalms in the Cathedral rite--that was what monks did. Monks just didn't have hymns.ÂÂ  Now monks have hymns and laypeple have psalms. It's balanced.ÂÂ  If someone can't pray all of it,t hen just cut stuff out as needed and blessed. I'm sorry if I am offending anyone who has struggled with this. I just don't see what the solution would be other than to keep things stable and allow variation on a person by person basis.

Anastasios
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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2006, 05:02:44 PM »

I mostly agree with what Anastasios wrote, mostly because despite a much simpler rite very few RC parishes have any portions of the Divine Office served.  Although the current Orthodox practice of the office isn't too spectacular.... low attendance, most the kathismata are cut anyway etc. 

Something else on this that I'm wonding about - I don't really follow OCA happenings... is the scandal THAT bad that? 
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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2006, 05:26:13 PM »

Quote
Could you quote what part of the document that is from? I'd like to read it in context.

It's not really about the Divine Office. Part IV really goes into this. This excerpt explains what I'm talking about pretty well:

Quote
The totalizing experience that we are all supposed to have, as far as Orthodox are concerned is one of ascesis. It is a ubiquitous saying within Orthodoxy that "we are all called to the ascetical life," whether clergy, monk, or layperson.

[...]

Prior to the überfromm takeover of the Church, there are many examples of extreme asceticism to be found. Many of the desert fathers competed with each 0ther in acts of extreme piety (Jacques Lacarrière’s Men Possessed by God has a whole chapter devoted to these competitions in which he points out the similarities between the similarities of the desert monks and athletes during the same period). One need only think of the stylites to recall that extreme asceticism is as old as post-constantinian Christianity. But prior to the überfromm there was a non-monastic spirituality alive and well in the East which was at times vigorous and healthy. This spirituality was reflected in the fact that it had its own liturgical practices that were much more suited for the lives of laymen and married clergy than were the monastic liturgies. This spirituality was much more literate, more urban, and much more associated with bishop and cathedral than abbot and monastery. After the advent of überfrommity all Orthodox spirituality is monastic spirituality. Many Orthodox writers believe that this is essential to Orthodoxy. I do not.

[...]

It is impossible to develop an authentic Orthodox culture as long as the Church is a monastic Church. Thus, when a lay Orthodox (or married priest) engages culture, he does so in a necessarily fragmented manner (here, Roman Catholics have a great advantage over us). He has his totalizing monastic bag of devotional tricks in one corner of his life, and then he has the rest of the world that must be fuddled about in manners which are adopted, stylistically, from other sources. I cannot pinpoint a manner of lay life and say of it -- "every aspect of that Basil's life is recognizably Orthodox" (this can only be said of Orthodox monks) in the manner that I can say that "every aspect of Henry's life is recognizably Catholic" or "every aspect of Ed's life is recognizably confessional Presbyterian." There is a cohesive and comprehensive nature to magisterially faithful Catholic and some confessional Protestant modes of life. These styles are rarely totalizing and fragmented. Instead they are embracing of every aspect of human nature (especially Catholicism). When Henry drinks beer, he does so in a manner that, well, seems Catholic (Catholics have an articulated theology of food and drink, and temperance with regard to them). When he watches movies, he does so in Catholic fashion (Catholics have an articulated theology of the purpose and telos of modern forms of media). When Henry has sex, he does so as a Catholic (his Church teaches him exactly what is and is not permitted within the bounds of marriage, and informs him of the purpose and telos of the sexual act -- ask 10 different Orthodox about sexual matters, i.e. contraception, the relation of sex to fasting, etc., and you will get 15 different answers). There can be recognizable Catholic and confessional Protestant styles of life because they are surrounded by enough definition and boundary to work on a comprehensible art of living. The lay Orthodox on the other hand must always revert back to a monastic style of life which is not really his and which he can never live up to. This distortion is hidden by the abstract (in the art sense of the word) uses of non-definition and active non-clarification. In the Orthodox Church, the whole ethos of the realm of personal holiness (righteousness) and a personal style of living is something like a cross between a Quaker meeting and the French Theatre of the Absurd. On the one hand, I find refreshing the Orthodox aversion to cookie-cutter Christian moralism. On the other hand, humans being the mimetic creatures that they are, the former moralism is often replaced with cookie-cutter ritualism (prayer ropes, beards, etc.), even if this is done on a very limited basis by busy, worldly laymen. Needless to say, I get a chuckle thinking about the (not a few) Orthodox friends I have who never cease to use the word ascesis, but who I know barely manage to get off one Our Father a day and crack open the Philokalia for 1/2 an hour per week. But hey, they are really rooting for those monks! They believe in the salvific efficacy of a system of which they only touch the dust on the surface.

[...]

 I have come to believe that there really isn't an Orthodox manner of living, and there cannot be as long a totalizing überfromm ritualism is the only manner of life offered. As long as that is the case lay Orthodox life will remain fragmented. Catholics are at an advantage because their religious orders contain both active and contemplative traditions. The active acts as a leaven to the contemplative, and vice versa (when self-destructive liberalism has not infected them). Furthermore devout, conservative Catholics have clearly established manners of living for celibate lay, married lay, religious, and clerical styles of life. Most of their bishops are not monks (like the Eastern Church of the first millennium). Monasticism should be a leaven in the Church; it should not be the Church. Christianity started without monasticism, and if need be, it can enter the Last Day without it as well. In confessional Protestantism all manner of life is essentially lay Christian life and there is a distinct style of lay life in some of the conservative confessional Protestant groups.
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« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2006, 05:26:59 PM »

Quote
The typikon now used by the Orthodox Church combines both together--laypeople never read long amounts of psalms in the Cathedral rite--that was what monks did. Monks just didn't have hymns.

I was under the impression that it was the Cathedral rite that had extended, sung psalmody (much like the Western office still does), and most of the Byzantine hymnody came out of the monasteries.
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« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2006, 07:54:26 PM »

I was under the impression that it was the Cathedral rite that had extended, sung psalmody (much like the Western office still does), and most of the Byzantine hymnody came out of the monasteries.

Sung psalmody with a refrain was indeed part of the Cathedral rite.  Recitation of psalms in their entirety as part of the kathisma was not.  In the Cathedral rite, the refrains between psalm verses became longer and longer until they overpowered the psalm verses and hence the beginning of hymnography.  Hymnody did not come from monasteries, where before the fusion of the two typika, services were mostly focused on psalm readings and scripture verses.

Anastasios
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« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2006, 08:06:32 PM »

yBeayf,

Thank you for quoting the relevant portions of the text in question. I must say that from my experience, nothing he says corresponds to what I see in my experience in Orthodoxy. I'm sure you'll disagree and I don't mean to lump you in with him and go on the attack.  So, the rest of this post should just be taken as my thoughts and not "directed" at you for any reason.


-------

Basically, I am one of those "wackos" who has a beard (although it is trimmed) and wears a prayer rope (a small one with no cross).  I pray a certain amount every day and read a certain amount.  I say my Jesus prayer frequently and I'm a happy camper.

I do believe there is an Orthodox way of life and it's something that I see lived in parishes in our jurisdiction and in ROCOR type parishes. Of course there are unhealthy outgrowths but there are in my opinion unhealthy outgrowths in the other direction, too.  When the article talked about "Roman Catholic ways of approaching sex" and talked about it actually being beneficial that there were rules and regulations about everything and it was clearly defined, I found myself thinking, "NO! NO! NO!" The Roman Catholic "holy sex" "theology of the body" stuff is so cheesy to me personally.  Sex is sex--I have a healthy relationship with my wife but I don't find anything remarkably "holy" about it just like I enjoy sharing a meal with her or with my friends but I don't find that spiritual even though it is emotionally connective.  I don't know, I just never found any of that stuff personally fulfilling.

Protestantism is full of ways of approaching life, all of them wrong in my opinion, and so I am just surprised that anyone would want Orthodoxy to try and develop some kind of restricting world view and automatic response to all life's problems. To me, this world is basically fallen, it has some good in it, we are supposed to pray, fast, be charitable, go to Church, and be kind to those around us and things are transformed one person at a time. I don't see how anything else could beat that.

I've been Protestant and I've been Catholic, I've tried the whole "world view thing" the whole "making life Catholic" thing, even the whole Chestertonian pipe and a cocktail version of Christianity and none of it worked for me. Orthodoxy has literally changed my life, one day at a time, by doing a few prayers and trying as best as possible to fast.  None of that extra fluffy "lay culture" Catholicism or Protestantism ever had the effect on me that simply, traditional Orthodoxy has had.  I worry when I see attempts to "create" the Orthodox equivalent of these things--I've seen it tried and fail several times (for instance at New Skete, at SVS, etc).  It just seems to take the emphasis away from God's work of purification, illumination, and deification in our lives and try to replace it with a humanism in religious trappings.

If I've been obtuse, offensive, or overbearing to anyone, please point it out to me. I'm just trying to sort out my thoughts on an issue I've thought a lot about inside but never really expressed outside, and I'm not always good at that.

Anastasios
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« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2006, 08:58:03 PM »

Quote
I worry when I see attempts to "create" the Orthodox equivalent of these things--I've seen it tried and fail several times (for instance at New Skete, at SVS, etc). 

To be fair the author of the linked blog articles was also critical of New Skete and those types. 
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« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2006, 09:00:33 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9507.msg127806#msg127806 date=1152838683]
To be fair the author of the linked blog articles was also critical of New Skete and those types. 
[/quote]

Yeah, I found it difficult to concentrate on the whole series, although I tried. So I missed that point. Still, what is the difference between what he suggests and New Skete? I have been to New Skete and talked to them, and they believe they are doing just what he suggests.  In fact, when asked why monks were dabbling with renewed "Cathedral" rites and "lay" spirituality, they said it was because the parishes WEREN'T doing it!

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« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2006, 11:05:58 PM »

Meh.  Whatever.  This guy has some valid points, but mostly I just don't get it.  At the end of the day, the only one who really matters is Jesus and He is the only one we can trust in- not our bishops, not our priests, not ourselves, and most certainly not some "reformer" who says everyone but himself is wrong.  Also, why does this man feel he has the right to criticize and label everyone like he does?  I'd like to know what category of convert he fits in. 

As for myself, I can say that my relationship with Jesus is real and alive now; before becoming Orthodox there honestly wasn't a lot there.  I would say that the Church has borne good fruits in my life, and it has proven itself to be the Truth by what has happened to me.

Also, I would say that my parish has an excellent sense of community and we  are most certainly not a bunch of ex-Evangelicals.  There's a few, to be sure, but mostly we're ex-mainline Protestants, ex-Catholics, and American cradle Orthodox with a few immigrant Orthodox thrown in for good measure.  Ok....so maybe we're pretty mixed actually, lol.  But seriously, my parish is great.  We all know each other and actually care about each other, and wonder of wonders, see each other outside of church and also we help each other when problems arise in our lives.   I know all parishes aren't like that, but the writer of that blog is insane if he is trying to say that Protestant churches are such wonderful communities.  Actually, after 17 years in the same Episcopal parish, I can honsetly say I didn't form any close relationships with anyone.  But in 11 months of attending the Orthodox church and almost 3 months of being a member, I have made several close friendships with people. 

But in the end, all that matters is Jesus, and do I know Jesus more deeply since becoming Orthodox? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!



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« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2006, 12:00:34 AM »

Dear all,
I very much appreciate the overall tone here.ÂÂ  I found many of the comments to be quite insightful.ÂÂ  I only wish to clarify two points at this time, if I may:
1.ÂÂ  I did not say that GOArch kept the Church in Greece itself afloat, I said, "The Greek Orthodox Church depends on the Greek Archdiocese in North America to keep many operations within the Church in Greece financially afloat."ÂÂ  The Church in Greece is state funded, but that does not mean that every operation within the parameters of the Church is entirely, or even mostly in some cases, state funded.ÂÂ  As one writer graciously mentions, I am OCA, and Greek finances are not those of which I am familiar.ÂÂ  What I have read of the Greek finances has largely been in the context of OCA writers comparing the Greek financial situation to our own.ÂÂ  If I am incorrect here, please let me know and I will change that line in my post.ÂÂ  Even if formal monies by GOArch amount to only low 6 figures per year, this is a considerable amount of money to the Greek Church.ÂÂ  Bear in mind that if they are receiving 6 figures from North America, they are also receiving considerable (though certainly lesser) sums from other Western dioceses.ÂÂ  Furthermore, if they were going to negotiate a permament end to a yearly gift of low 6 figures from GOArch, then I would think the pay-off would have to be in the 2-3 millions to make the pay-off worthwhile for Greece.ÂÂ  Thoughts?
2.ÂÂ  I did not write that Fr. Ephraim actually kills people, or spiritually has them killed in some way.ÂÂ  I wrote, "Those who oppose him are said to frequently die or get seriously ill." -- this line on my post provides a link to a website which describes how parents of current and former novices, monks, and nuns at the monasteries in question were told stories about these killings in order to intimidate them.ÂÂ  The whole thing is quite eerie, and is mentioned as a criticism.ÂÂ  I have no idea if Fr. Ephraim actually uses some sort of spiritual power to harm others.ÂÂ  I certainly hope not.
Warmest regards to all of you.
Thank you for your consideration of my posts.
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« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2006, 01:58:21 AM »

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2.  I did not write that Fr. Ephraim actually kills people, or spiritually has them killed in some way.  I wrote, "Those who oppose him are said to frequently die or get seriously ill." -- this line on my post provides a link to a website which describes how parents of current and former novices, monks, and nuns at the monasteries in question were told stories about these killings in order to intimidate them.  The whole thing is quite eerie, and is mentioned as a criticism.  I have no idea if Fr. Ephraim actually uses some sort of spiritual power to harm others.  I certainly hope not.

It is sad, because you have some good points to make.  There are some "rough edges" at Fr. Ephraim's monasteries, there are certainly many problems within all of Orthodoxy today.  When you make outlandish claims and link to webpages promoting the whole David Smith saga... you kill all of your credibility. 
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« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2006, 06:41:09 AM »

The phrase quoted above is the only one that has anything to do with the David Smith saga.  The rest of what I write concerning Fr. Ephraim is based on his own writings, which I also link to.   What some refer to as "rough edges" I refer to in other terms.  All I would ask is that persons spend just a few minutes to read a few different Fr. Ephraim texts, which are available online.  Then they can make their own determination as to whether we have here a phenomenon that is best characterized as "rough edges" or rather one more in keeping with the language I use to desribe it.
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« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2006, 08:29:18 AM »

I am lost on this one, I can't figure out why this was opened in the Convert Forum. I am locking this one and ask that if you wish to reopen it to do so in the Free For All.

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« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2006, 08:32:07 AM »

Instead of starting a new thread, I will just move this one to Free For All.

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« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2006, 09:58:21 AM »

I am lost on this one, I can't figure out why this was opened in the Convert Forum. I am locking this one and ask that if you wish to reopen it to do so in the Free For All.

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I originally posted it in the "Convert Issues" forum because a lot of Ochlophobist's comments related to issues facing converts, or issues that, in his opinion, converts were not being told or were being misled about.
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« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2006, 05:59:52 PM »

This is a long, complex denuciad, and I don't think picking at the details is going to help much.

As far as the numbers are concerned, I believe he is right. Everything I see indicates that in the USA orthodox bodies have demographics like mainline Protestants. And I think that part of what he refers to as the überfromm reflects a dynamic that I very much see in the Episcopal Church. Just as all Greeks should of course be Greek Orthodox and all Russians should be Russian Orthodox, all upper middle class educated Americans ought to be Episcopalians. And likewise, it suffices to be a member-- well, actually that part is even more accentuated on the Orthodox side because Episcopalians are still tainted by lingering traces of the Protestant obligation to go to church on the basis of what one believes. And I think his comparison of the two as far as how they relate to community is spot-on.

And as far as the various corruptions are concerned, it seems to me that he is also right, if perhaps somewhat exaggerated. The various discussions I've seen here and there are just more evidence that Lord Acton was right. I would guess that the Orthodox in this country have been spared the sort of scandals that have beset the Roman Catholics only because a largely married clergy greatly reduces the pool of possible offenders.

I think his thesis stumbles badly at the point where he includes the superpious in the überfromm. A lot of what he has to say about the superpious is more accurate than most people ehre would like to bleieve, I imagine, because superpiety is a little too close to the kind of interest we have for comfort. On the other hand, I see a lot of what I'll call theological Protestant converts falling into a "Orthodoxy can be no wrong" attitude that is the sister of superpiety, if not her twin. It's very common in converts to Catholicism too. The section in the first article about the fallen-out evangelical-to-Orthodox converts is very much to the point. It's why I don't see the various western rites surviving long-- unless the rest of Orthodoxy collapse about them. The implicit criticism of having a separate rite, coupled with the lack of hierarchical investment, guarantees that it will be neglected and then suppressed. (And if it's any consolation, I think the RC Anglican Use will be long gone by that point, because the criticism in that case is hardly so implicit.)
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« Reply #33 on: July 19, 2006, 05:03:49 PM »

Quote
The section in the first article about the fallen-out evangelical-to-Orthodox converts is very much to the point.

Yes, but beside the point - as the ORU convert experience doesn't illustrate his thesis (much unsaid about it, as it is still in progress, and its 'demise' has been exaggerated by some.) I don't think I can name any ORU converts who have 'read out of Orthodoxy'. Those who have primarily had difficulties, it has been related to personal issues which don't reflect on Orthodoxy itself ... or converts for that matter. Any other issues tend to be related to a small minority attracted by 'Puritan' type sects, or those who have undergone the same stresses that any Orthodox in America undergo: the weight of the world, lack of Orthodox ministry 'on the ground' in much of the USA, Canada, etc., reactions against demands on time, resources, expectations.

Whatever happened at Wheaton, with ORU it has still primarily been a success. The first wave includes not only more than a few priests, but a bishop, and a few theological professors. A few who converted between then (the late 1970s) and the second wave (early 21st c.) have variously had great success or setbacks (I can only think of a few who consider it a failure - usually because they became 'more Orthodox than the Orthodox' and reduced themselves to a Church of One). For the second wave, the difficulties have not been in the majority - they don't outweigh the successes. What difficulties have been relate to habits, relationships, the lack of strong parishes when one leaves Tulsa, or just generational tendency to laziness, materialism, or falling into a bit of nominalism due to unexpected personal freedom. All in all, the same stuff *every* convert deals with - and often temporary (though, in a bit of a funk, some might see it as an 'end'. Thank God, they don't stay that way.)

The problem is, one has to build stability. It takes work. Often with people younger than 60 years of age, there can be lifelong habits of cyclical behavior (from manic obsession, to burned out apathy) - Orthodoxy doesn't promise 'quick fixes' (though there might be a few Orthodox who do). It helps to have a priest who doesn't paint only the rosy picture (at ORU, we were blessed - Fr. George didn't. If any ORU convert had a rosy picture, they didn't get it from St. Antony's - maybe the internet?) So far, I don't see that there has been *any* attrition from the ORU conversion due to exaggerated claims of Orthodoxy, or 'buyer's remorse' due to a 'bait and switch'.

As for Keble on WRO's future - wishful thinking. Wink
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« Reply #34 on: July 20, 2006, 02:04:31 PM »

Yes, but beside the point - as the ORU convert experience doesn't illustrate his thesis (much unsaid about it, as it is still in progress, and its 'demise' has been exaggerated by some.)

Take pity on us non-Texans, and spell out "Oral Roberts Univerity" at least once, OK?ÂÂ  Tongue

Quote
Whatever happened at Wheaton, with ORU it has still primarily been a success.

Maybe because intellectual standards at Wheaton are higher?ÂÂ  Grin Tongue Grin Tongue (just being obnoxious)

Quote
Orthodoxy doesn't promise 'quick fixes' (though there might be a few Orthodox who do).

Welllllll, it's not that simple. People who are looking across from other denominations, out of dissatisfaction with their own, are very much prey for implied quick fixes. For Episcopalians bothered by heterodoxy at home, Orthodox churches offer a quick fix to "I want to be rid of Jack Spong". For evangelicals who are bothered by their churches' lack of liturgy and historical perspective, going to Orthodoxy offers a quick way to get both.

This type of person is prone to a rush of enthusiasm which puts them into a kind of hyper-orthodoxy. And what they seem to bump up against rather often is not just the ugly reality of Orthodox theological one-upmanship or liturgical inattention or skeletons in the closet. It's the dogged resistance to doing anything about these things, particularly when it is justified by reference to the perfection of Orthodox teaching, that drives these people out.
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« Reply #35 on: July 20, 2006, 03:15:18 PM »

I'm not a Texan, but an Oklahoman. ORU's academics have been rated pretty high in the past, though I worry about it now. It really has depended upon the department.

Quote
Welllllll, it's not that simple.

Which is *exactly* what I wrote - I didn't imply or infer any 'simple explanation'. Orthodoxy doesn't promise 'quick fixes' (verifiable by dogmatics) - but some Orthodox may (I could name a few ... and that includes converts who make implicit or assumed promises to themselves.) I haven't noted too many over-enthusiastic 'hyperdox' conversions out of ORU - a couple, really. But, overall the ORU convert experience has been worlds away from the Evangelical convert's experience, IMHO. So far I don't see so much as a tendency towards any of us being 'driven out', though there are certain parishes each convert seems to prefer (or prefer to stay away from.) The real problem being anecdotes as evidence: someone has a particular experience, hears a few rumors and reduces all of the above to a proposition. Having a broader picture would probably help, though I don't know many who would have a good enough perspective on everyone to offer such a proposition on the effects of all.

This can be particularly irksome when it is being used in such a way where Gen-X dialogue about struggles (in particular, dealing with the temporal realities of people in the Orthodox Church), are misunderstood and used as judgments against the Church itself, or against some segment of the Church (converts, WRO, former Evangelicals, Wheaton folk, ORU converts, former Episcopalians, etc.) An example would be St. Paul's talk about the Jews - used often out of context for Anti-Semitism, when really it was every bit an *internal* criticism, and an argument over legitimate authority in the 1st century. But, I understand some still will use anything to gleefully hope for the demise of what they consider a competition for converts (as if so many of us are so easily bought.)
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« Reply #36 on: July 20, 2006, 05:23:11 PM »

I don't think it's exactly what you wrote, but we need not debate that. Perhaps I'm not expressing myself well.

I am extremely wary of the dismissal of testimony as anecdotal. That is one of the chief defenses of institutional commitment to bad situations, and looking the Oral Roberts experience instead of the Wheaton experience is simply picking and choosing anecdotes. The testimony is both, not one or the other, and the institutional foible is to push off responsibility from the institution and onto the (bad) converts.

What I see in this area is on the one hand a lot of überfromm (or what Serge once called "a small, b*tched-up ethnic chaplaincy pretending to be a universal church"), and on the other hand a small set of convert churches with rushes of exuberant delusion. (Some of them parallel a phenomenon I see in Catholic parishes led by Tiber-crossing ex-Episcopal clergy: Orthodox liturgy conducted according to Anglican liturgical principles.) I won't name names, but I see books by some of these converts which make me wonder whether the bishop is really paying attention, because potential converts reading this not-to-well-disguised ad material are bound to run into trouble if they end up at a real (read: ethnic) parish.
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« Reply #37 on: July 20, 2006, 11:23:20 PM »

Quote
I don't think it's exactly what you wrote, but we need not debate that. Perhaps I'm not expressing myself well.

Well, it is what I wrote, though I agree that you might not have expressed yourself well.

Quote
I am extremely wary of the dismissal of testimony as anecdotal.

Except that hasn't happened in this case. The issue with the ORU anecdotes is that it was *entirely* lacking in testimony. It appeared to be based on a single post from David Bryan's blog, which really wasn't about the success or failure of the ORU conversions, but focusing on why some were nominal/disinterested at this point in time. Having been there, I can pretty much say that what Ochlophobist describes really doesn't apply to the ORU situation at all: different people, different problems. The war is different than the third hand perception of a half-heard war story.

Quote
That is one of the chief defenses of institutional commitment to bad situations, and looking the Oral Roberts experience instead of the Wheaton experience is simply picking and choosing anecdotes. The testimony is both, not one or the other, and the institutional foible is to push off responsibility from the institution and onto the (bad) converts.

You still aren't getting it. There is no 'instead' - I don't know about the Wheaton experience. I don't doubt the veracity of the testimony in that case, as I've seen it happen with other converts. I just can't relate. The ORU experience, however, is *my* experience, and a number of others - it isn't a 'bad situation' in any sense of the word. It has nothing to do with defending an institution or 'bad converts' (of which I would call none of them bad - only converts working out their salvation with the usual successes and failures on the way. If the ORU converts have had any great difficulty, it would be in finding an appropriate moral praxis, and in the usual things one recovering from religious abuse would go through - the abuse from the Charismatic movement, I should note.)

Quote
What I see in this area is on the one hand a lot of überfromm (or what Serge once called "a small, b*tched-up ethnic chaplaincy pretending to be a universal church"), and on the other hand a small set of convert churches with rushes of exuberant delusion.

My argument, then, hasn't been with the broader theme of Ochlophobist's essay. He's right where he's right (most of it), though the ORU inclusion was a problem. Otherwise, I'm still waiting for a definition of what 'uberfromm' is. I don't find the essay a difficulty though as I simply can't read my own experience of Orthodoxy in it, nor most Orthodox that I know. I suppose those who do get riled about it are 'stung'. I don't see the problems so existent in most Antiochian parishes (though that varies by diocese).

It should also be considered that it is quite unhealthy behavior on the part of those *outside* Orthodoxy looking for reasons not to believe, and that an apostate is probably not the best person to look to for criticisms on their former faith. Others are defending their own institutions (and their built-in delusions and abuses) which they are committed to, resigned to (or have apostasized to) and grasping at anything bad in or around Orthodoxy that can be held up as a sort of 'wolf's bane' for discouraging folk. But, then again, I don't 'get' making religious decisions based upon the criticisms of real-life 'Comic Book Guy' ("Worst episode/Church ever!")

I don't know that a resigned fideistic response is what is called for at the end of it all (I find it - inconsistent maybe?) as goes the essay on the 'Uberfromm'. Motes & beams. I suppose if I was invested emotionally in some of that, or involved in some of those dioceses, I'd sound as pessimistic. Beyond the ORU issue, and finding it mostly irrelevant to experience, the only parts I actually found bothersome was what seemed to be a bit of 'hero worship' of the St. Vlad's scholars and Abp. Lazar Puhalo's opinions (red-flags whenever someone harps on 'toll-house heresy' - no such heresy ever being condemned by the Church. One would have an easier time finding a real Monophysite - which at this time I think might be extinct ?)
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« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2006, 09:27:33 AM »

As for Keble on WRO's future - wishful thinking. Wink

I don't see how that is "wishful thinking".  While there are some WRO and "Anglican Use RC" they are still few and far between and young in the overall view of things.  And there are objections to those rites from others including Hierarchs. 

Not "wishful thinking" but perhaps more like "not counting chickens" or "wait and see".

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« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2006, 09:58:46 AM »

No, it is wishful thinking for their demise. The Old Rite Russians have objections from others (including Hierarchs), so do the liturgical uses of the Greek/Antiochian churches, etc. It is quite the opposite of well-wishing, and quite more negative than simple observation.
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« Reply #40 on: July 21, 2006, 03:06:19 PM »

As far as the various sorts of malign intent revolving around WRO, let me just say that it's hard for me to maintain complete equanimity towards a movement whose purpose would appear to be, in large part, to destroy my church.

In the larger picture: while apostates are clearly biased sources, ignoring them as a class is also an expression and source of bias. When outside criticism is rejected out of hand, serious and systematic sin is sure to be found.
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« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2006, 03:14:39 PM »

As far as the various sorts of malign intent revolving around WRO, let me just say that it's hard for me to maintain complete equanimity towards a movement whose purpose would appear to be, in large part, to destroy my church.

If you guys really want that lot, you're more than welcome to them; I'd personally wish people so disgruntled as to be willing to leave my church a good riddance. But if you really want them back, I doubt most Orthodox would object to you having them.
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« Reply #42 on: July 21, 2006, 06:29:48 PM »

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As far as the various sorts of malign intent revolving around WRO, let me just say that it's hard for me to maintain complete equanimity towards a movement whose purpose would appear to be, in large part, to destroy my church.

Which is plain silly. The purposes of the WRO are many, none of them have anything to do with destroying *any* Church. If your Church is undergoing a destruction, you'll have to look elsewhere for the causes than the WRO. Case in point - I'm WRO, and I've *never* been a member of "your church".

That some converts are disgruntled towards various groups they have belonged to before isn't any reason to judge them. Sure, it might entice some to become 'more Greek than the Greeks' (even to the point of taking on a new identity, name, culture, personality, etc.) But, 'disgruntled' isn't a term than can be attributed to Western Rite Orthodox as a whole or in general. A conversion towards fulfillment of one's faith isn't a disgruntled rejection.

Quote
In the larger picture: while apostates are clearly biased sources, ignoring them as a class is also an expression and source of bias. When outside criticism is rejected out of hand, serious and systematic sin is sure to be found.


Ah. Outside criticism = "destroy my church". Read you loud and clear. Wink  And, please - serious and systematic sin is *always* with us. That is part of the Christian struggle.  The problem with apostates isn't 'bias', but their falsifications. Or, is the bias of ignoring Alberto Rivera's claims about Roman Catholicism a fault? (Me - I don't believe a thing Alberto Rivera says about Rome.) Criticism is one thing - slander another.
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« Reply #43 on: July 22, 2006, 08:01:53 AM »

No, it is wishful thinking for their demise. The Old Rite Russians have objections from others (including Hierarchs), so do the liturgical uses of the Greek/Antiochian churches, etc. It is quite the opposite of well-wishing, and quite more negative than simple observation.

The Old Rite Russians have been in existance for a long time, if you mean the "Old Believers".  I know of the history that the Nikonian Reforms lead to the split.    WRO and Anglican Use RC are much more recent and have not been continuing for centuries.

There is more scope for person's opinions then only either active support or negative "wishful thinking".  I observe that the WRO and the Anglican Use RC exist now.  They are few and far between. Some of their members (most in the case of the RC) are former Anglicans or from other "western" non-EO/RC bodies.  Time will tell if they will be around in 10 years or 50 years or a century.

You have your opinion, others have theirs.  Wait and see seems to me to be reasonable.

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« Reply #44 on: July 22, 2006, 11:08:12 AM »

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The Old Rite Russians have been in existance for a long time, if you mean the "Old Believers".

Actually, the Old Rite within the Orthodox Church was only reestablished by Ukase in 1974. It had formerly been anathematized and condemned by the Russian Synod in 1667. Western Rite Orthodoxy was first reestablished by Ukase in 1870 (a century before, though there are multiple Ukases afterwards) and the rite itself was never anathematized or condemned by the Church. Continuity of Western rite tradition is the same as that of the Old Rite - a few centuries outside the Church, practiced by those who were anathematized and excommunicated from the Orthodox - only that Western Rite Orthodox (first implemented in 1890, continuously since 1926, 1932, and 1937 depending on the country) have been practicing longer in the Church than the Old Rite Russians have (first implemented in 1983). The two both depend on readmitting separated Christians to the Orthodox Church with their rights, and providing for them Orthodox clergy.

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Wait and see seems to me to be reasonable.

Negative predictions are not consistent with the position of 'wait and see', of which St. Gamaliel was the originator. *If* certain folk were legitimately taking such a position, then they wouldn't engage in speculation.
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« Reply #45 on: July 22, 2006, 04:59:58 PM »

Do you attend a WRO parish, if one may ask? 

How many WRO parishes are there that have been in existance since 1870 or shortly there after? Are th

The Old Believers came out of EO and their praxis is not as much different from the EO as the WRO is. 

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« Reply #46 on: July 23, 2006, 01:19:03 PM »

Do you attend a WRO parish, if one may ask?

We have a small dependency of a WRO monastery here, and go for the feasts to the chapel of a ROCA Western Rite hermitage. So - yes, though 'parish' isn't exactly the model. We also travel to both Byzantine and Western Rite parishes for the sacraments.ÂÂ  

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How many WRO parishes are there that have been in existance since 1870 or shortly there after?


I believe that this was followed by an incomplete sentence. However, I already covered the above. The 1870 Ukaze was the first for WRO (though not the only one) - it was first implemented twenty years later in the USA, in 1926 in Poland, in 1932 again in the USA (what became the AWRV), and in 1937 in France. The ROCOR Western Rite dates from the Russian implementation in 1965 (continuous.)

By contrast the Old Believers only had their anathema lifted for their liturgical practices in 1974, with implementation in 1983 (9 years later.)

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The Old Believers came out of EO and their praxis is not as much different from the EO as the WRO is.ÂÂ  

Everyone came out of EO - Christianity is Eastern, and even what we call Western is a continuation of that brought from Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and other Eastern places. The fact is that the Old Ritualists (Old Believer is a pejorative) have an ethos and praxis which is much more like the Western Rite (consider expected behavior in their Temple), or even the dress of their clergy. The Russian Old Rite, in fact, has *very* much in common with old Western liturgy. The Western liturgy itself has had use in the East (as Fr. John R. Shaw of ROCA has documented as regards the Roman Canon's use by some Old Ritualists up until the 1960's.) Orthodoxy is not a schism or splinter of Christianity - it is Christianity in the main. It is only consistent with those claims to see the restoration of not only the Russian Old Ritualists, but Western Old Ritualists (WRO) from schism - just as Donatists, Novationists, Monophysites and others returned from Schism. Sadly, the bulk of Western Christianity or most of the hierarchy has no real interest in doing what is necessary to heal their schism from Orthodoxy. But, we who do have a responsibility - just as JJ Overbeck wrote nearly a century and a half ago. Its another vision of Christian Unity than what has been proposed from the Western side - and that is what makes some uncomfortable (they would rather Orthodoxy be the Unia, or lose its strictness as regards dogma and practice.) So - Western Rite Orthodoxy is simply a different response to the claims of the Orthodox to be the Church - probably the only response that doesn't include triumphalism on the part of either East or West.
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« Reply #47 on: July 23, 2006, 01:44:19 PM »

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I believe that this was followed by an incomplete sentence. However, I already covered the above. The 1870 Ukaze was the first for WRO (though not the only one) - it was first implemented twenty years later in the USA, in 1926 in Poland, in 1932 again in the USA (what became the AWRV), and in 1937 in France. The ROCOR Western Rite dates from the Russian implementation in 1965 (continuous.)

By contrast the Old Believers only had their anathema lifted for their liturgical practices in 1974, with implementation in 1983 (9 years later.)

I don't believe that is what Ebor asked.

Ebor said, "How many WRO parishes are there that have been in existance since 1870 or shortly there after?"  That doesn't mean what ukases allowed their existence at which dates - it means how many actually communities of the WRO have been around any length of time, having had families with multiple generations in them?

You are playing games with the Old Believers here.  They have existed for hundreds of years - people are BORN Old Believers etc. 
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« Reply #48 on: July 23, 2006, 02:17:49 PM »

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I don't believe that is what Ebor asked.

Ebor said, "How many WRO parishes are there that have been in existance since 1870 or shortly there after?"ÂÂ  That doesn't mean what ukases allowed their existence at which dates - it means how many actually communities of the WRO have been around any length of time, having had families with multiple generations in them?

You are playing games with the Old Believers here.ÂÂ  They have existed for hundreds of years - people are BORN Old Believers etc.

He asked the wrong question. Implementation of the WRO Ukaze was delayed because of political-diplomatic action taken out of fear what Overbeck's fellow converts could mean. Much exists since the 1890 conversions - everything Villatte produced - though it is outside the Church. The seed planted with Overbeck continued, and one cannot often find names of those influenced by the predecessors (like Overbeck) who reappear in later attempts. The AWRV is the inheritor of the SSB - which has existed since 1932 (under Antioch since 1958, made canonical in 1961.) The Polish Western Rite still exists though tentatively (same with the French Western Rite - though I think both are reduced to a single parish at this point, the rest being made convert Byzantine.) There are still those living, and generational in Western Rite, though not all exists from that time. The important thing - what the Western Rite is, is a tradition also passed down but rejected by almost all Western confessions (one won't find any Anglicans/Episcopalians or Roman Catholics doing what we WRO do, though who do something similar are minorities in their own confessions - and the majority of their fellow Anglicans or Catholics are against it.) Sure, most of WRO has an Old Catholic background - but shares little with modern Old Catholicism. All of us Western Rite Orthodox though have a tradition that *has* been passed down since Overbeck's time. (For the Indian Orthodox, their parishes in Sri Lanka of Western Rite continue since the 19th c. as well - and have a nascent presence here in the West - more continuity and generational Western Rite Orthodoxy.)

And no - no game playing with the "Old Believers". Those in schism aren't Orthodox. There have only been *Orthodox Old Ritualists* since 1983. They were anathematized and excommunicated before 1974. It would only be game playing to suggest otherwise. They spent over 300 years as both anathematized and excommunicated - Old Believers then are as generational in Orthodox terms are as Old Catholics, etc. The WRO I'm involved with are 3+ generations - about the same or little more than Old Ritualists who became Orthodox in 1983. Another example would be the Greek Old Calendarists restored from Schism in 1998 to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (St. Irene in Astoria, NY and their attached metochia.)

As if that proves anything - there are generational members of the Assyrian Orthodox now - but from 431 til 1898 they were not Orthodox either. But, they continued a liturgical tradition that was correctable - just as WRO and Old Ritualists have. All three were outside the Church for a period of time, all three were allowed by the decision of the Church to reenter the communion without loss of their core tradition, but with accepting the full faith. And - all (whether Western Rite Orthodox, Assyrian Orthodox, or Russian Old Ritualist Orthodox) hold to the Orthodox faith, and not something other. They couldn't be anything else (whatever it is people think we should really be - I don't know a single WRO that the CoE communion, RCC, Utrecht union, or any other Protestant body would want with their theology, liturgy and praxis intact.)

Again - what makes folk uncomfortable is the existence of Western Rite Orthodoxy is the dual horror of a *Westerner* saying "Eastern Orthodox are right, and are the true Church" and that of internal criticism of Western Christianity (the real issue - "How dare you criticize *my* church!" - considered traitors from bodies we were never part of, because we cannot accept their errors.) What do those Old Calendarists, Old Ritualists, and Nestorian Assyrians think about those who are now in Orthodoxy? Probably the same as those Westerners complaining about the existence of us Western Rite Orthodox (hypothetically - if they did 'get us back', it would only be so long as to kick us back out - Orthodoxy is our only possible home.)
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« Reply #49 on: July 23, 2006, 02:40:50 PM »

And to get this back on track from WRO-bashing:

Ochlophobist's essay referred on a post by Ben Johnson of Western Orthodox blog on 'spooky religion' : http://westernorthodox.blogspot.com/2006/07/thirst-for-spooky-religion.html in reference to a post by Huw Raphael of Doxos blog on trends in Orthodox blogging: http://raphael.doxos.com/more.php?id=3602_0_1_0_M

The original post refers back to this post of Ben Johnson's http://westernorthodox.blogspot.com/2006/03/most-unique-orthodoxy-and-spiritual.html - all which have bearing on the validity of the same (I had a long blog post saying many of the same things, though probably more optimistic like Ben, in reference to a debate with Perennial Rambler - that post is gone due to blog reorganization.)

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« Reply #50 on: July 23, 2006, 03:02:38 PM »

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Another example would be the Greek Old Calendarists restored from Schism in 1998 to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (St. Irene in Astoria, NY and their attached metochia.)

From the ROCOR point of view, they were not in schism in the first place.  But yes, I am butting in. Sorry. Continue on... Smiley

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« Reply #51 on: July 23, 2006, 03:09:09 PM »

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From the ROCOR point of view, they were not in schism in the first place.

That depends - not all in ROCOR shared that view, and not a few of their bishops and priests weren't happy with the HTM Boston incident, nor with the agreement made in 1994 with Fili & Oropos. At this point, none of the Old Calendarist Greeks are in communion with ROCOR, and feeling towards them seems to run the gamut (from 'good riddance' to those who will commune their members without chrismation.) I should point out - the extreme views some associate with ROCOR are *not* ROCOR's views historically, nor officially. There is enough there to illustrate that point on the official Synodal website that I won't get into it. Fr. Hieromonk Ambrose (Young) had traced the more extreme positions to the influence of HTM Boston (now HOCNA) - ROCOR itself was not an 'Old Calendarist' jurisdiction, though the Old Calendar is the norm (as it is with the rest of the Russian Church.)
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« Reply #52 on: July 23, 2006, 03:32:30 PM »

While some bishops disagreed, all the ROCOR bishops signed the Tomos of Union in 1969 with the Greek Old Calendarists so said union was the official position of ROCOR.  The union in 1994 was a strange set up, I would say, and didn't work out for obvious reasons, although ROCOR is still in communion with the Romanian and Bulgarian Old Calendarists.  HTM was never a Greek Old Calendarist body so it would not be fair to equate them with the Greek Old Calendarists, whom they derided up until the year they suddenly joined the deposed Archbishop Auxentios for obvious reasons (he looked past their homosexual allegations).  I'm surprised you mentioned "communion without chrismation"--any ROCOR priest chrismating an Old Calendarist would surely be acting on his own accord as I have never seen the bishops issue such a statement, which would go against their usual practice.  Have you actually seen this occur?*

Any change in official practice would have to be very recent, given that they were in communion with the Cyprianite Greek Old Calenarists until February 2006 and given that Bishop Gabriel, Archbishop Hilarion, and Metropolitan Laurus are all on very good relations with my Metropolitan Pavlos, who was in the altar at the installation of Met Laurus in 2001 and who has celebrated non Eucharistic services with Bp Gabriel and Bp Agafangel as recently as 2004.  Of course, that does not also account for the canonical transfers that have occurred between ROCOR and the GOC even recently, etc., all of which suggest that while ROCOR may not support the GOC anymore, it still does not consider it schismatic and unOrthodox or "uncanonical."

ROCOR's support for extreme positions and ROCOR's support for the Greek Old Calendarists are actually different animals.  HTM did everything in its power to undermine ROCOR's communion with the GOC, because HTM wanted to be the only Greeks on the Old Calendar ("the only game in town.")  ROCOR was able to continue its official synodal stance of 1971--"the New Calendar is a grave error but only an ecumenical council can determine who has grace" while still supporting Greek Old Calenadrists.

I do not have anything positive to say about Fr Ambrose or his work so I will leave that one alone.  Needless to say, I am not someone who finds delight in extremist positions, but to trace it all to HTM is a bit extreme in and of itself. Let us recall that St John Maximovitch was a great supporter of the GOC, as was the Blessed Archbishop Leonty, neither of whom were extreme at all.

In case you are wondering (as would be your right) where I get my information, my thesis in seminary was on Met Petros of Astoria, the bridge between the GOC and the ROCOR in America, and as part of my thesis I entered the ROCOR Synodal Archives (with a blessing of course) and photocopied over 350 pages of archival materials pertaining to this issue.  Of course my work required interpretation, but I believe I have stuck faithfully to the sources in my analysis.  I realize your mentioning of the Greek Old Calendarists was anecdotal, but given that this issue is my pet issue I just had to butt in. Sorry if I annoyed you.

Anastasios

(*unless you are talking about the so-called Milan Synod and the case of Fr Aidan, but that is an entirely different animal since the Milan Synod is considered schismatic by ROCOR and the GOC alike, and Fr Aidan's "bishops" were Old Catholics whom the deposed Metropolitan Eulogios of Milan accepted into communion without reordination!)
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« Reply #53 on: July 23, 2006, 04:50:41 PM »

Well, you can simply not pray all the prayers, that's what I do! (with my bishop's blessing!).  I think we seem to think these things develop willy nilly. I'd say they developed because they work. Hesychasm, the mixed monastic/cathedral typikon we now use, these things simply work, and that's why they are here today. I know, I have a simplistic notion of things and betray all that wonderful liturgical theology I learned in seminary Wink

I don't know, as I've said before I think the WR and other varieties are ok, I just don't like the idea that there should be "monastic" and "secular" ways of doing things. The typikon now used by the Orthodox Church combines both together--laypeople never read long amounts of psalms in the Cathedral rite--that was what monks did. Monks just didn't have hymns.  Now monks have hymns and laypeple have psalms. It's balanced.  If someone can't pray all of it,t hen just cut stuff out as needed and blessed. I'm sorry if I am offending anyone who has struggled with this. I just don't see what the solution would be other than to keep things stable and allow variation on a person by person basis.

Anastasios

If I might add, the huge difference is that an Orthodox lay person is to look to a Spiritual Father to help develop a prayer rule (which I admittedly have not, as I don't have a Spiritual Father yet), but in the RC and elsewhere in the West, you do it yourself.
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« Reply #54 on: July 23, 2006, 05:54:33 PM »

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And no - no game playing with the "Old Believers". Those in schism aren't Orthodox. There have only been *Orthodox Old Ritualists* since 1983. They were anathematized and excommunicated before 1974

I'm assuming you're talking about Old Believers and this historical error repeated often in this thread has got my annoyance.  As I believe that you are talking about the Edinovertsy, they have actually been in communion with Moscow since the 19th Century.  Tsar Saint Nicholas II gave them the right for non-Edinovertsy to worship in 1905, along with the other freedoms.  Then the anathemas were lifted actually in 1971 from all Old Believers.  However, I believe it would be incorrect to call Old Believers non-Orthodox before 1971.  For that matter, I believe it would be incorrect to do so even before the 19th century with the introduction of Edinovertsy.  The Old-Believer Schism had more to do with politics and other matter than heresies in dogma, a difference not exactly reflected in much Western documents (in general).  Now it is true that many Bespopovtsy (priestless) groups  have and do come up with some very wierd and heretical things, this cannot be equivicated to the Old Believer movement as a whole.  Furthermore, the Old Believer Schism and modern usage is very different than the WRO, imho and it would be inaccurate to make comparisons.  Personally, the only example I can think of comparing them with would be modern Catholics and SSPX, obviously which is not occuring.
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« Reply #55 on: July 23, 2006, 08:05:24 PM »

Anastasios - no annoyance on my part, just detail I didn't want to get into myself.ÂÂ  Of course, I was referring to all the bodies altogether who refer to themselves as Greek Old Calendarists, and not just Cyprianites (some of those multitudinous groups have gotten into some odd theological corners).ÂÂ  The point being - the schism with the Western Catholics was not all that extreme to begin with either. We Westerners were only wrong on a few details (though, as time went on, some error was added to error.) Our position as Western Orthodox is that if anyone else can be corrected from heresy, and heal schism - we may as well. Obviously some Orthodox bishops have thought just so.

Re: so-called "Old Believers" and Old Ritualists - there are still bodies that are in schism from the Church, and yes, even some bodies believing heretical things (such as those Bespopovtsy who reject marriage and believe Christ's Church has failed, self-baptists, or even the dyrniki .)ÂÂ  For that matter, the schism with the West had much to do politics and other matters than heresies in dogma (to begin with) - and even for those things later identified as heresies in the West, they were not things universally held in the West. The analogy still stands. The 1971 date is from Moscow. The 1974 date I have is from ROCOR, with 1983 being the date of the reception of Vladyka Daniel of Erie's flock.ÂÂ  The 1905 date, however, is simply that of emancipation - basically the rights to practice their faith in the Empire, and to no longer be called raskolniki. Otherwise, the 1905 edict did not give Old Believers.

All the more since comparison has been made by Russian Orthodox clergy and hierarchs to our WRO position as being "Old Believers" of the West as well. RE: the Edinovertsy - still, over a hundred year schism of separation. (Much like the Georgian Church, which was monophysite for generations) - the ROCOR Old Ritualists, IIRC, were not continuity with the Edinovertsy who had communion with the Russian Orthodox Church in the 19th c. The term 'Old Ritualist' or 'Old Believer' does have a long use of referring to all groups (priestist or non-priestest.)

Also;

The idea that one just 'does what they want' in the West is mistaken. There was (and is) as much a tradition of having a spiritual father in Western Catholicism as in Orthodoxy. For that matter, many Eastern Orthodox have no spiritual father beyond their parish priest. And, many Westerners do have spiritual direction as to the formation of a prayer rule (us WRO especially, in particular Oblates.)

Also - the separation of rites into Cathedral, Parish, Monastic and Urban Monastic originated with the Byzantine rite. We have all four in use again as well in the Byzantine rite. In the Western churches, the Cathedral and parish uses were also used by monks or canons regular. So much so that 'secular' rite in the West does not denote 'non-monastic', simply that it wasn't the Benedictine use (the term 'Monastic use' in the West refers to the Benedictine use.) This was often the case with eremitic monks (hermits) who used the local use of the diocese rather than a special use.
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« Reply #56 on: July 27, 2006, 09:16:02 AM »

We have a small dependency of a WRO monastery here, and go for the feasts to the chapel of a ROCA Western Rite hermitage. So - yes, though 'parish' isn't exactly the model. We also travel to both Byzantine and Western Rite parishes for the sacraments.ÂÂ  

Would you explain what you mean by "small dependency of a WRO monastery" please?  Perhaps I was not totally clear in my question.  Are you saying that on Sundays and feasts you do not have one parish or congregation to attend?
 
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I believe that this was followed by an incomplete sentence.

Again, it seems that my writing is not clear.  I apolgize.  It was not an incomplete sentence. Nor was it the "Wrong Question" as you write in a later post.  It is the question that I asked, that I meant to ask.  It is the point that I would like to have some information on. 

It was my intention to ask what parishes, what congregations, if any, have been in existence since shortly after the WRO was permitted or perhaps dating from the earlier 20th century.  For example, I can find out that St. Mark's Denver has been part of an Orthodox jurisdiction since 1991.  While the congregation/parish existed before that time, they were part of the Anglican Communion.   My own parish (Anglican) has a history of over 140 years.  If you do not have this information, I understand.

Quote
The 1870 Ukaze was the first for WRO (though not the only one) - it was first implemented twenty years later in the USA, in 1926 in Poland, in 1932 again in the USA (what became the AWRV), and in 1937 in France.

By "implemented' do you mean parishes were established?  If so, are any of them still functioning without a break?

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The ROCOR Western Rite dates from the Russian implementation in 1965 (continuous.)

I know of the ROCOR WR monastery, though the details I would have to look up again.  Are there any other ROCOR WR? 

Thank you

Ebor
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« Reply #57 on: July 27, 2006, 09:20:08 AM »

If I might add, the huge difference is that an Orthodox lay person is to look to a Spiritual Father to help develop a prayer rule (which I admittedly have not, as I don't have a Spiritual Father yet), but in the RC and elsewhere in the West, you do it yourself.

Speaking as one (and knowing other Anglicans who have done the same) who has had one this is not accurate.  Often the term is "spiritual director" but it means a priest or monastic person who helps and guides someone in developing a prayer rule and other aspects.

With respect,

Ebor
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« Reply #58 on: July 27, 2006, 09:25:05 AM »

(one won't find any Anglicans/Episcopalians or Roman Catholics doing what we WRO do,

I have been to a WRO parish.  It was very familiar and like what Anglicans (or a least what some ANglicans) do and have done.

What things are done by WRO that aren't RC/Anglican please? 

Ebor
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« Reply #59 on: July 27, 2006, 05:02:45 PM »

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I have been to a WRO parish.  It was very familiar and like what Anglicans (or a least what some ANglicans) do and have done.
 What things are done by WRO that aren't RC/Anglican please? 

Which one, if I may ask?

What is different from Roman Catholicism? To begin with - the normative majority Revised Roman rite is not used amongst the WRO. Neither are the current Traditional Indult rites, nor the revised Mozarabic or Ambrosian rites (nor the Anglican Use). What Rome follows according to its Sacred Congregation of Rites, and Canon law is not what WRO do. There are differing matters of praxis, liturgy, ceremonial, ornamentation, and music.

For Anglicanism, the normative use of the majority (by the Canon law of each particular church) are the current Books of Common Prayer - Common Worship/1662 English, 1979 BCP, and those of Scotland, Canada, South Africa, etc. None of these are in use in Western Rite Orthodoxy. The Missal parishes (a very small minority in Anglicanism, not only liturgically but theologically) are also not identical with the use of Western Rite Orthodoxy, though similar (founded for the most part to make their worship more like the present Roman Catholic Church, or that of the 19th c./early 20th c., or in the smallest part - like Pre-Reformation or Pre-Schism Catholicism.) Again - not identical. Those who have the liturgy 'close' to WRO have unleavened bread (no WRO use unleavened bread), no WRO use the filioque, all WRO have the practice of the Pain Benit (consecrated bread after Medieval Monastic and Cathedral rites.) Where some Anglicans (outside of their own normative liturgical praxis) find WRO similar is in the same places where Anglicans have adopted the externals of Roman Catholicism (of whatever era or region.) Particular to Anglicanism is 'comprehensiveness' in the sense that one won't find in WRO forms or theology more like Anglican Evangelicals, Puritans, Broad Church, High Church, Aff Cath/Liberal, etc. WRO are all Orthodox - though how that might play out is similar to the 'diversity' one finds amongst the Byzantine rite (comparing liturgy, praxis, and ethos - of a East Coast GOA parish, a West Coast OCA parish, a Texas ROCOR parish, a Midwestern Antiochian parish, etc.)

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Would you explain what you mean by "small dependency of a WRO monastery" please?  Perhaps I was not totally clear in my question.  Are you saying that on Sundays and feasts you do not have one parish or congregation to attend?

Exactly what I said - there is no established Orthodox parish within an hours drive of where we temporarily live. The AWRV model has been that of parishes for the most part, the ROCOR Western Rite towards monasteries with associated parishes, missions, oblates and families. We fall in the latter category - traveling for the sacraments to missions, parishes, monasteries - and otherwise gather to pray the Office as directed on Sundays when we neither have a priest nor can travel. Not uncommon - either to have groups of individuals attached as Oblates (whether a Chapter, a family, or a few here and there), or even missions or families as 'paruchia' of the 'paruchiae' - the Western analogue of metochia/podvorje. 'Paruchia(e)' is a medieval Irish Latin term derived from Latin parochia(e) - the latter meaning 'parish', the former a derivation particular to Insular Medieval Latin referring to a monastic family - a head monastery, associated monasteries, hermits, clergy, parishes, missions, etc.

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Again, it seems that my writing is not clear.  I apolgize.  It was not an incomplete sentence.

Your second question was followed by the cryptic phrase "And ther".

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It was my intention to ask what parishes, what congregations, if any, have been in existence since shortly after the WRO was permitted or perhaps dating from the earlier 20th century.

Which I answered - first the canonical basis was established, then the implementation (foundation of parishes, monasteries, missions - reception of groups or individuals.) Not all of the *institutions* are continuous, though the tradition is - as people have relocated, things passed on from clergy to clergy, clergy to laity, laity to laity - that there are many new works indicates that WRO is growing (a healthy sign.) Do some of the institutions survive? A very few, though I'm lacking in exact details on some of them - my point, "the Wrong Question" - what one thinks such evidence might illustrate is likely not what it actually signifies. IOW, it sure looks like a leading question ... especially when the answer given is dismissed as 'not the answer...', which usually means 'not the one the questioner intended to extract'.

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By "implemented' do you mean parishes were established?  If so, are any of them still functioning without a break?

Yes, and yes. The continuity is mainly of a tradition - and of relationships (such as the relic we have care of - a fragment of a prayer rope. The prayer rope was St. Tikhon of Moscow's, then passed through the hands of ROCOR Metropolitans to St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco - twice blessed by contact with modern saints - then to Abbot Augustine (Whitfield), Abbot of Our Lady of Mount Royal (retired at the Chapel of the Holy Virgin), and on to his spiritual children (Christminster, Holyrood, etc. - including our family.) The chain of relationships illustrates a continuity of networks: Irenee Winnaert,  Bp. Jean-Nectaire (Kovalevsky), Fr. Luc Denis Chambault, Abbot Augustine, St. John the Wonderworker, etc. - something that crosses mere ritual.

The AWRV can look for continuity back to the same decade (the 1930's) for implementation or their specific works (the SSB, founded 1933, back under the Antiochians in 1961 with some encouragement and connection with the Russian WRO in Europe. The 1937 date for the Russian Orthodox WRO in Europe extends through to the same period to the USA (1960s) where we have local continuity to the present (though for WRO, like the Roman Catholic Church, there have been/are a few priests 'licensed' (blessed as we say) to celebrate in both rites.)

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I know of the ROCOR WR monastery, though the details I would have to look up again.  Are there any other ROCOR WR?

Which one? Our Lady of Mount Royal? Christ the Saviour? Saint Petroc? I'd be interested to see where you were 'looking up the details'. And to the last - yes.
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leiton = big public place with roof, ergon = work


« Reply #60 on: July 31, 2006, 02:43:59 PM »

Well, my thoughts:

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the überfromm snuggling up to the gates of hell,part I: The Greek Church is a cultural museum
-Throughout Greece, the Church maintains nearly 2,750 philanthropic institutions including 2,452 funds for daily needs of the poor, 42 orphanages, 123 boarding homes for poor students; 66 homes for the aged; 7 hospitals, and 50 summer camps. The philanthropic work of several dioceses is very impressive. For example, the diocese of Demetrias, with 124 parishes, maintains twelve charitable institutions. The diocese of Messenia, with a population of perhaps 100,000, supports fourteen philanthropic establishments. The diocese of Lesbos, with 60 parishes, supports twelve welfare institutions
-Even McDonalds here in Greece, during Great Lent, offer fasting dishes (talk about real fast-food)  Grin

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the überfromm snuggling up to the gates of hell, part IV: The Greek Orthodox Church in Greece is rocked by sex and fraud scandals. Bishops sleep with young men, bishops sleep with young women (and get photographed in the act), bishops embezzle millions of Euros
First allow me to share an assortment of details about the real issue concerning the so called 'scandals' of the Church in Greece. One must have a strong historical component: In 2000, the 'socialist' government, arbitrarily, decided to drop any reference to religion from state identity cards. I'm not here to judge whether this is wrong or right, I'm just presenting the facts. The church careered towards a head-on collision with the government, asking for a referendum. Whithin the next year (2001) the Holy Synod presented a petition with 3m signatures (over half of the country's active population). And that was followed by a declaration of war from the left. From the very beginning, leftist journalists (and when I'm talking about the Greek left, I'm talking about hardcored disciples of the 'État laïque'-if you're interested, read the 'La laicite' by Pierre Kahn-without taking under consideration the idiosyncrasy or distinctiveness of our being. Our left is ruthless, is like iron wrought in a bloody civil war & countless adversities-exiles & persecutions). One prominent journalist, stated: 'the collapse of neo-liberalism & marxism, compel some people by necessity, to find a new adversary in order to survive ideologically'. The easier opponent was the Church. Thus a harsh ideological war started, a war which according to our greatest modern philosopher Cornelios Kastoriades 'is led by people who act undemocratically, who aim to dictate their way of thinking, as if they are the enlightened autocrats who must englighten the poor people, whom they contemn and disdain to associate with'. Sexual 'scandals' were spread by the 'press' (that rest yet unproved), old-aged bishops, handicapped, unable to move without the aid of a nurse (who was approached by scandalmongers, who photographed her helping a poor old man,'on the act'). TV channels provided 'reality-based entertainment', with biased journalists exposing 'young men harrassed by priests' around the clock (without revealing names, accusations yet unconfirmed). And here I am, a Greek guy, a few thousand miles away from America, arguing against an 'Argumentum ad nauseam'...the 'scandals' of the Church of Greece...or as we say down here: 'It's better to lose an eye than to lose your reputation'
 
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« Reply #61 on: August 04, 2006, 12:32:32 PM »

Which one, if I may ask?

The one in the DC area, St. Gregory the Great.ÂÂ  It was some time ago.

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Exactly what I said - there is no established Orthodox parish within an hours drive of where we temporarily live.

Thank you. I was not sure if the phrase you used was some specific term such as someone being an oblate of a certain order in RC or the like.

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Not all of the *institutions* are continuous, though the tradition is - as people have relocated, things passed on from clergy to clergy, clergy to laity, laity to laity - that there are many new works indicates that WRO is growing (a healthy sign.) Do some of the institutions survive?

Well, so far, the WR parishes that I have found on like do not date much beyond 1990 and some are much newer.ÂÂ  

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my point, "the Wrong Question" - what one thinks such evidence might illustrate is likely not what it actually signifies. IOW, it sure looks like a leading question

You read it as that.ÂÂ  Yet it was my question and one asking for historical factual data.ÂÂ  I wanted to know if any WR parishs, bodies of people over a length of time, not some tradition, had existed for more then a couple of decades and a number of them come from former Anglican parishes.ÂÂ  

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Which one? Our Lady of Mount Royal? Christ the Saviour? Saint Petroc? I'd be interested to see where you were 'looking up the details'.

I know of the one in Rhode Island, though I have never been there.ÂÂ  I am also aware of Fr. M in Tasmania from the York Forum.

Ebor

edited to clean up a quote
« Last Edit: August 04, 2006, 12:33:15 PM by Ebor » Logged

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