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Fr. David
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« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2006, 02:41:28 AM »

Respect is earned.

Too true.  And since many of these traditions have made this country what it is--the country to which the ethnic Orthodox have immigrated for a better life--this says quite a lot about the need to respect American tradtions, as well.
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« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2006, 07:03:40 AM »

Too true.  And since many of these traditions have made this country what it is--the country to which the ethnic Orthodox have immigrated for a better life--this says quite a lot about the need to respect American tradtions, as well.

See, I think this is the problem. You are asking immigrant "cradles" to respect "American traditions" simply because they are American.
But the "cradles" are bringing traditions from societies and cultures which have been sanctified by the presence (and more importantly, the precedence) of Orthodox Christianity for centuies and millenia. Orthodoxy Christianity has existed on American soil for less than two centuries, and it almost certainly will never become the State religion, let alone have any impact on American culture and traditions. American culture and traditions were born form Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, and are now attending school where the teacher is Secularism. Has it occured to you that the cradles are resistant to them, not because the are "American" but because, they are not based in Orthodoxy?
And isn't it stange that you seem to wish to impose a culture on the Orthodox Church simply because it is a national culture- not because it is particularly Christian?
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« Reply #47 on: August 27, 2006, 03:16:35 PM »

See, I think this is the problem. You are asking immigrant "cradles" to respect "American traditions" simply because they are American.

No.  I respect Greek and Ukranian and Russian traditions because they are cherished traditions of people who are themselves worthy of respect.  I do not dismiss them out of hand just because they are foreign, and I do not accept them simply because they are now used within the Church and have been for years.  The Orthodox traditions observed today were originally pagan and not Christian at all, yet they were brought in, given a chance, baptized, and are now inseparable from the faith expression of millions of Orthodox Christians around the world.  My traditions, then, are not worthy of being dismissed out of hand just because they come from a land that is predominantly Protestant and Catholic.    It seems that once-pagan (!) traditions are worthy of a shot in the Church, but traditions from a culture that at least confesses Christ are to be immediately held under suspicion and relegated to second-class status.  I'm sorry; I don't buy it.

Quote
But the "cradles" are bringing traditions from societies and cultures which have been sanctified by the presence (and more importantly, the precedence) of Orthodox Christianity for centuies and millenia.

...cultures which today are every bit as secular as our own.  So much for that.

Quote
American culture and traditions were born form Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, and are now attending school where the teacher is Secularism. Has it occured to you that the cradles are resistant to them, not because the are "American" but because, they are not based in Orthodoxy?

Doubt it.  Most folks are simply comfortable with what they know.  I don't blame people for this; in fact, I understand the desire to be surrounded by the familiar, especially when living in a country when so much is unfamiliar.  Language, the octoechos, food, slavas, beverages, art, architecture...all of these things are familiar and comforting to ethnic Orthodox, but it is interesting that from one traditionally Orthodox country to the next, these things are radically different.  Apparently these traditions are merely regional variations on the one theme of Orthodoxy...many of which traditions had their base in paganism.  So again, if pagan practices can be baptized and used within the Church, it stands to reason that American culture (and those of other western countries like England and Australia, for example) can also be given a fair shake with regards to its food, drink, language, music, celebrations, art and architecture; the only difference between where American cultural expressions are now compared to the pre-Orthodox-union cultural expressions of Greece, Russia, etc, is that time (and the faithful) have been allowed to offer said expressions to the Lord in the Church and see them transfigured.  For some reason, westerners need not apply to this process.

Quote
And isn't it stange that you seem to wish to impose a culture on the Orthodox Church simply because it is a national culture- not because it is particularly Christian?

The nerve of those Americans...imagine...wanting to eat familiar food, speak a familiar language, celebrate a July 4th liturgy with a barbecue afterwards, have English- (or Spanish-!) language iconography in our churches...such radical, dogma-warping traditions would surely spell the end of Orthodoxy in this country.  Good thing so many folks fight tooth and nail against all of that...  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #48 on: August 27, 2006, 03:38:16 PM »

Please define "American Traditions". Beyond teepees, lodgehouses, wikkups, and the annual bison chase, most everything I see is of European origin - even language, anyway.
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« Reply #49 on: August 27, 2006, 03:56:08 PM »

Thanks Ozgeorge for opening up my eyes to how wonderful cultures with Orthodox people are.  Where would we be without a staggeringly high abortion rate in Greece, pornography all over the place, rampant alchoholism in Russia, vitriolic anti-semetism, xenophobia, militant nationalism etc...... yes it is good to preserve those cultures that are a bastion of Orthodoxy and not take anything from Heathen America.  Thank you all actually - these discussions have helped me see something I have long been contemplating.  Adieu!
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« Reply #50 on: August 27, 2006, 04:02:50 PM »

Tsk, tsk...still in a testy mood, I see.
I thought for a second you were describing American culture, Νεκτάριος.
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« Reply #51 on: August 27, 2006, 04:27:45 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=9819.msg133465#msg133465 date=1156707496]
Please define "American Traditions". Beyond teepees, lodgehouses, wikkups, and the annual bison chase, most everything I see is of European origin - even language, anyway.
[/quote]

I described some above.  And yes, it is (Western) Euro-American that I'm referring to.

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=9819.msg133468#msg133468 date=1156708970]I thought for a second you were describing American culture, Νεκτάριος.[/quote]

Nope...those are indeed the "societies and cultures which have been sanctified by the presence (and more importantly, the precedence) of Orthodox Christianity for centuies and millenia" that ozgeorge mentioned.  In such a light, it makes no sense to insist on preserving the traditions that come from those places, but not those that come from here, since there's not really a substantial difference in the societies at large...
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« Reply #52 on: August 27, 2006, 04:37:05 PM »


Nope...those are indeed the "societies and cultures which have been sanctified by the presence (and more importantly, the precedence) of Orthodox Christianity for centuies and millenia" that ozgeorge mentioned.  In such a light, it makes no sense to insist on preserving the traditions that come from those places, but not those that come from here, since there's not really a substantial difference in the societies at large...
Fine; now please enumerate the offensive traditions as found in our parishes so I can understand the rub here.

(Gotta' go to work now...bummer - see you guys tomorrow morn)
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« Reply #53 on: August 27, 2006, 05:13:49 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9819.msg133466#msg133466 date=1156708568]
Thanks Ozgeorge for opening up my eyes to how wonderful cultures with Orthodox people are.  Where would we be without a staggeringly high abortion rate in Greece, pornography all over the place, rampant alchoholism in Russia, vitriolic anti-semetism, xenophobia, militant nationalism etc...... yes it is good to preserve those cultures that are a bastion of Orthodoxy and not take anything from Heathen America.  Thank you all actually - these discussions have helped me see something I have long been contemplating.  Adieu!
[/quote]

Things like pornography and abortion were imported mainly through American influence. They come from the very same culture that some here say Orthodoxy in America should embrace.
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« Reply #54 on: August 27, 2006, 06:00:52 PM »

We just had our church picnin. Hamburgers and hot dogs and not a pirohi in sight  Grin
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« Reply #55 on: August 27, 2006, 06:29:44 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9819.msg133466#msg133466 date=1156708568]
Thanks Ozgeorge for opening up my eyes to how wonderful cultures with Orthodox people are.  Where would we be without a staggeringly high abortion rate in Greece, pornography all over the place, rampant alchoholism in Russia, vitriolic anti-semetism, xenophobia, militant nationalism etc...... yes it is good to preserve those cultures that are a bastion of Orthodoxy and not take anything from Heathen America.  Thank you all actually - these discussions have helped me see something I have long been contemplating.  Adieu!
[/quote]

You're not very good at sarcasm Nektarios! You really shouldn't attempt it until you have mastered delivering it with finesse! Cheesy
You and Pedro just don't get it. Read what I said again. What I said was that the immigrant cradles are bringing Orthodox Traditions form their cultures. Of course they reject Secular American Traditions just as they reject things which have seeped into the cultures of their countries of origin. It is they who are screening traditions and culture as being Orthodox or not before admitting it into the Church. On the other hand, you guys just want to impose a culture and tradition on the Church simply because it is "American" (or more correctly, white anglo-saxon protestant American). So, who is really being "ethnic" and "nationalist", and worst of all, "phyletist" when it comes to the Church?
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« Reply #56 on: August 27, 2006, 06:48:24 PM »

Things like pornography and abortion were imported mainly through American influence. They come from the very same culture that some here say Orthodoxy in America should embrace.

Pornography is as ancient as human civilization, found even in cave drawings that were made before written language, America can hardly be accused of being the source of pornography; America is simply the predominant of Culture for the latter part of the 20th Century, and which culture naturally comes pornography.
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« Reply #57 on: August 27, 2006, 07:43:22 PM »

Pornography is as ancient as human civilization, found even in cave drawings that were made before written language, America can hardly be accused of being the source of pornography; America is simply the predominant of Culture for the latter part of the 20th Century, and which culture naturally comes pornography.

The notion of freedom of press, which springs from the godless Enlightenment and is a key part of American society, is what has allowed pornography to boom in countries where formerly heavy penalties were placed on its production and dissemination.
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« Reply #58 on: August 27, 2006, 08:01:35 PM »

The notion of freedom of press, which springs from the godless Enlightenment and is a key part of American society, is what has allowed pornography to boom in countries where formerly heavy penalties were placed on its production and dissemination.

Of course, pornography still existed in those countries prior to our advocating that godless notion of human freedom; oh and, by the way, the Enlightenment began in FRANCE...not America Roll Eyes
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« Reply #59 on: August 27, 2006, 08:12:24 PM »

Of course, pornography still existed in those countries prior to our advocating that godless notion of human freedom;

But it was accessible to only an elite, and it certainly wasn't plastered on every billboard and sold off every magazine rack.

Quote
oh and, by the way, the Enlightenment began in FRANCE...not America Roll Eyes

Yes, but America was the first place where an entire society was built on its ideals. The French Revolution came over a decade after the American revolution. And America takes the lead in trying to export notions of licentiousness to every country on Earth.
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« Reply #60 on: August 27, 2006, 10:03:46 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=9819.msg133475#msg133475 date=1156711025]Fine; now please enumerate the offensive traditions as found in our parishes so I can understand the rub here.[/quote]

Sigh...

I knew this was going to happen...happens every time I try to defend something American; I'm accused of "not liking" or "being offended by" or "stifling" other countries' traditions.

Αριστοκλής -- they're not offensive to me in the slightest.  I love the food, the music, the language--I'm not about to insist that we whitewash our church experience.  But the Church is broad enough, I think, to keep these traditions from Greece/Russia/wherever and allow for uniquely American culture within the life of the Church, as well.  Notice again: everything I enumerated in my posts above has NOTHING to do with the Faith itself, but rather has to do with customs that differ greatly even in various traditionally Orthodox countries.  So these things CAN be different without altering or corrupting the faith.  The only difference is that Greek/Russian/Bulgarian/whatever belivers can have their food/music/language/liturgical customs/etc brought into the Church from without, but we cannot because we're "American," and somehow unbaptizeable.

Sucks to be us, I guess.


You and Pedro just don't get it. Read what I said again. What I said was that the immigrant cradles are bringing Orthodox Traditions form their cultures.

And how did they become Orthodox traditions?  Some Greek folks decided to take a cultural aspect and incorporate it into the life of the Church somehow, and this was accepted by all due to a common cultural understanding.  After a few generations, this became the norm, and it was an Orthodox tradition.  Ta da!  We, however, are automatically disqualified from ever even starting any kind of process like this, because we're pornographic to the core, apparently, incapable of contributing anything worthwhile to the Church from our own culture.

Thanks for that.

Quote
On the other hand, you guys just want to impose a culture and tradition on the Church simply because it is "American" (or more correctly, white anglo-saxon protestant American). So, who is really being "ethnic" and "nationalist", and worst of all, "phyletist" when it comes to the Church?

I'll say it again: We want to attempt to begin the process of baptizing our culture.  We are told by many in the Church that America is the great Satan and that the only hope for converts is to become Greek/Russian/whatever--eat the food, learn the language, don't rock the boat--because there's certainly nothing that America could actually offer the Church.  You tell me, George: what is so "unOrthodox" about wanting to eat familiar food in coffee hour, worship in a familiar language, celebrate an Independence Day liturgy or Akathist of Thanksgiving with a barbecue afterwards, have icons in our churches that state the names in our first language, or have a Bible study or a men's or women's support group?  These things are pooh-poohed, not because they have been weighed carefully and found wanting, but because they are either American/western (and therefore wrong), or because "that's what the Protestants do" (referring to the Bible study here--I had no idea the Orthodox tradition was to remain biblically illiterate, but apparantly some think so).

Someone, please, help me out: other than being a change from what was done before (and therefore being uncomfortable for those who're used to Church serving one, comfortable purpose), how are these things wrong, unworthy, or to be rejected?  Because when I talk about American traditions, these are the ones I mean!
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« Reply #61 on: August 27, 2006, 10:15:24 PM »

Look this whole post has gooten way off track and I probably was one of the initial posters that sent it off track. CommingHOme is Coming Home. Let us welcome him. Now he can see from our posts that we are not perfect and if he is looking for the perfect church it's not here.

I have onel ast thing to say. I predict that within 25 years that there will be a schism in the Orthodox Church in the US wherein churches that are primarily comprised of converts will break away with their own metropolitan, most likely taken from the ranks of the Antiochians.

Right here in SE PA there are two Antiochian churches less than 10 miles from each other. One is predominantly Arab - American and the otherly primarily mixed with converts and non-ARab-Americans.


WHY?. THEY BOTH draw parishoners from the same geographic area. Why can't they combine their parishes and draw on each others strengths. Because one wants English and no little "t" traditions and the other wants Arabic and Middle Eastern traditions. Why can't both bend.

Because it involves power and status and cash. Converts equal cash. If we offend either they may leave for the nearest Russian or Greek parish and cart their cash with them.

SIGH
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« Reply #62 on: August 27, 2006, 10:34:56 PM »

Yes, but America was the first place where an entire society was built on its ideals. The French Revolution came over a decade after the American revolution. And America takes the lead in trying to export notions of licentiousness to every country on Earth.

Well that credit we can accept, french philosophers may have helped begin the enlightenment of the human race, but we were the first to actually take that step out of the dark ages of ignorance and superstition and establish a new republic based on reason and enlightened philosophies. As far as the exporting of 'licentiousness,' what we have exported is freedom, the way people have used this freedom has varied substantially, and if they wish to use it for 'licentiousness,' we have not forced it upon them, but I thank God that we have given them the opportunity to pursue it if that is what they desire.

As far as the posistion of the Church, I do not believe the Church needs tyranny to get her way, rather she should respect the freedom of the human person and force nothing upon anyone, let all who come to the Church come of their own free will and let all who do not wish to come to the Church leave freely.
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« Reply #63 on: August 27, 2006, 10:40:19 PM »

As far as the posistion of the Church, I do not believe the Church needs tyranny to get her way, rather she should respect the freedom of the human person and force nothing upon anyone, let all who come to the Church come of their own free will and let all who do not wish to come to the Church leave freely.

So it's perfectly okay to be surrounded by smut and have to bring up our children in such an environment, just so that non-believers feel better? Please.
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« Reply #64 on: August 28, 2006, 12:05:31 AM »

So it's perfectly okay to be surrounded by smut and have to bring up our children in such an environment, just so that non-believers feel better? Please.

It is far more preferable than to bring up children in ignorance and tyranny; the faith is advanced through an increase in knowledge and freedom, not through ignorance, naivete, and autocracy.
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« Reply #65 on: August 28, 2006, 12:09:21 AM »

It is far more preferable than to bring up children in ignorance and tyranny; the faith is advanced through an increase in knowledge and freedom, not through ignorance, naivete, and autocracy.

The Fathers tell us to avoid every unbecoming thing. Saying that we have to expose ourselves to sin and temptation just to be pure reminds one of that sin-so-you-can-repent heresy so popular in late imperial Russian.
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« Reply #66 on: August 28, 2006, 12:23:22 AM »

The Fathers tell us to avoid every unbecoming thing. Saying that we have to expose ourselves to sin and temptation just to be pure reminds one of that sin-so-you-can-repent heresy so popular in late imperial Russian.

You are told to avoid temptation, not to enslave your neighbour in order that you may keep him from temptation. I seem recall something about a removing of a plank from our own eyes before removing specks from our neighbours.
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« Reply #67 on: August 28, 2006, 05:46:30 AM »

The only difference is that Greek/Russian/Bulgarian/whatever belivers can have their food/music/language/liturgical customs/etc brought into the Church from without, but we cannot because we're "American," and somehow unbaptizeable.

Pedro, I don't think this is the case. I don't think American culture is seen as "unbaptisable". I think there are two reasons why there may be reistence to it in the Church (as there is to "Australian culture" here in Australia):
Firstly, there is a problem that somehow it is expected to be considered "natural" that the Church should adopt American (and Australian) culture simply because it is present in those countires. "You are in this country, therefore you must adopt it's ways", well no, that doesn't work in the Church. Orthodoxy was not invited to America and Australia in order to enlighten them.  St. Herman of Alaska came to one of "the Americas", however, he did not come to "America", but rather to Russian Territory, so the first Orthodox Parish Church established on US soil was, in fact, Greek. The reality is that Orthodoxy arrived in America and Australia along with all the other "poor and huddled masses yearning to be free.", vulnerable yet hopeful, and was processed in Ellis Island and Villawood along with every other immigrant. So when people start saying things like "Orthodoxy must adopt American culture if it wants to stay in America", that is akin to raping a refugee which has sought refuge with you. Rape is the non-consensual forcing of oneself on a vulnerable victim, threatening them if they do not comply. And what is the Church being threatened with? The one thing she fears above everything else- schism. And not only has she been threatened with it, it has happened: the Oecumenical Patriarchate will not recognise, nor have communion with the OCA. Forcing things is not how we do things in the Church, and this is the result.
Secondly, people seem to speak of "American" and "Australian" culture as though they are monocultures. Here in Australia, even our politicians still use the turn of phrase "True Blue Aussie" to refer to someone the nation is proud of. However, "True Blue Aussie" is a phrase which originated in the dark days of the "White Australia Policy" in which people were refused entry into Australia based on the color of their skin and their ethnicity. "True Blue Aussie" meant "blue eyed and blonde haired", as though, only they could be truly considered "Aussies". And for all the lip service Australia pays to "multiculturalism", when Australia talks about "Australian Culture" it really means "True Blue Aussie Culture". Now that's fine, but why should "True Blue Aussie Culture" become the dominant culture in a supposedly multicultuaral Nation in which "True Blue Aussies" are in fact a minority, and in the Church in which "True Blue Aussies" are an even smaller minority? Is it simply because the "True Blue Aussies" are the one's who hold the vast majority of power in Australian Government thanks to the old school tie? So we have to give up one lie or the other. Either our societies are not the "multicultural melting pots" they claim to be, or the culture we are seeking to impose on the Church is not "American" or "Australian", but rather "Anglo-Saxon/Frankish".
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« Reply #68 on: August 28, 2006, 10:30:47 AM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=9878.msg133401#msg133401 date=1156642918]
Polish Orthodox Church
[/quote]

I was told by people who lived in Poland that there are not many actual Poles in the Polish Orthodox Church. In the South they are Ruyns/Lemkos and in the north Byelorussians and Great Russians.  Being the account of one person, I therefore ask if they are right, or mistaken.

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« Reply #69 on: August 28, 2006, 12:56:12 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=9878.msg133465#msg133465 date=1156707496]
Please define "American Traditions". Beyond teepees, lodgehouses, wikkups, and the annual bison chase, most everything I see is of European origin - even language, anyway.
[/quote]

Wait in line, buddy.  I asked it first on pg 1 when addressing Cowboy.  Tongue

Yes, people.  THESE are what we need to talk about.  I think the biggest misunderstanding for many WASPish converts though is that they mistakenly think "American" Culture is SOLELY defined BBQ, Apple pie, Capitalism, blah blah.  Anyone ever hear of "Fusion" cooking?  I like it that I can find a Thai Chicken California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizza in Safeway (or get one fresh at a restraunt).  (Cowboy, I hope this helps answer your question from pg 1 - I can expand more later, but I am posting from work like you.)
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« Reply #70 on: August 28, 2006, 01:19:10 PM »

As always, I come away from a thread like this a little bit offended and a little bit enlightened.

The only reason that we have such ethnically charged parishes is because folks came to these shores to escape persecution in their own countries, and brought the faith with them.  Many parishes were very insular and didn't care much for converts, and those type are still around today.  Orthodoxy remains all together too well hidden, covered in ethnic pride and the walls that places before others.  It's not the average American's fault that Orthodoxy took so dag blasted long to arrive on this land mass.  ORthodoxy tends to move at a dead snail's pace anyway.
We can't accurately pin pornography, or abortion or any other sin squarely on the American culture.  Pornography and abortive "birth control" methods have been around about as long as man has known about sex.  It's not limited to any one continent.  If any of you think that the rigidly controlled muslim man is automatically pure minded, simply because his culture regulates skin exposure-think again. 
All we have is one small Greek parish, and I welcome the exposure to Hellenic history and culture for my many children.  I will never be a Greek person though.  I probably won't learn Greek other than what I pick up, because I am busy teaching Spanish which they will actively use in America (it's our national language after all!  Angry )
I personally don't get bogged down in all the ethnic nonsense in Orthodoxy.  We are all born on soil God planned for us to be born on.  WE had no choice in that regard, so pretending superiority based on regions of the planet looks quite absurd. It's hard enough to be Orthodox in America as it is. 
And for the record, we grill burgers at our church picnics, make traditional greek desserts for the nativity bake sale, and traditional lamb feasts after Pasha.  But our little convert family will bring in some killer seven cheese mac/cheese to that event to fatten things up.
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« Reply #71 on: August 28, 2006, 04:36:36 PM »

I was told by people who lived in Poland that there are not many actual Poles in the Polish Orthodox Church. In the South they are Ruyns/Lemkos and in the north Byelorussians and Great Russians.  Being the account of one person, I therefore ask if they are right, or mistaken.

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I don't doubt it...I was teasing Νεκτάριος
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« Reply #72 on: August 29, 2006, 10:25:21 AM »

Pedro,

This thread has taken quite a turn since I last looked. One thing that I am having a difficult time understanding is why anyone feels it is necessary to link Orthodoxy with ANY culture. If anything, I feel that Orthodoxy is "counter-culture"--any culture, whether it be Russian(anybody remember communism?), Greek, Serbian, Macedonian, etc. Anytime the church has been officially linked to the secular state, nothing good has happened. Just look at how the dress of Bishops and Priests have been adapted from the dress of SECULAR Byzantine authority from ages past. The beards, long hair, hats and Bishops dressed up like Byzantine Emporers.

I agree with you that many Churches have become "comfortable" retreats for those who have founded them--it is like a club that has become so far removed from the Gospels and the mission of the Church to "build up the Body of Christ" as to be unrecognizable as Orthodoxy.

A few weeks ago I was invited to a local Greek Orthodox Church. One parishioner asked if I wanted to visit their bookstore. I was so disappointed to find posters of Greece, books on Greek culture, etc.--but not an Orthodox Study Bible, Icons or anything remotely resembling Orthodox materials. My wife joked (not funny--more sad) that it felt like being in a Greek travel agent's office.

The other thing that I am having difficulty understanding are the little t traditions that many reference do do not spell out--are we talking about head coverings/dresses for women, the "proper posture" for worship, Churches with pews--what exactly are the ethnic and American traditions that we are doing battle over?

I am also hardpressed to understand how anyone who uses English as a first language could state that they prefer the Divine Liturgy in Church Slavonic or Ancient Greek. The Liturgy is not a "performance" that we come to observe. We are supposed to participate in worship, to hear the Word of God, to respond in prayer and thanksgiving.

The growth of the Orthodox Church in America is hindered most, in my opinion, by cradles and converts who want Orthodoxy in America to be a mirror image of Orthodoxy in some other country or era. Just take a look at St. Tikhon's Seminary--on a recent visit there my wife and I weren't sure at times if we were in America or or in 18th Century Russia. Two seminarians from Uganda (who we know well and went to visit) related that they were being forced to learn Russian--to "help them with their eventual ministries in Uganda". This struck them and us as ridiculus. There is generation of priests being trained there who I sadly feel are attracted more to Russian culture than they are to Orthodoxy, who will be assigned to a church and make there first order of business the tearing out of pews, introduction of the curtain on the Iconostas where before there was none, introduction of Church Slavonic where previously only English was used, requiring women to wear head coverings and never to wear pants. This is not a hypothetical, this has already happened to a church in our deanery. The result--loss of about 60% of parishioners.

I think this site is invaluable in exchanging ideas and opinions. We should use it to understand each other more fully. I think we all want the same thing--to see Orthodoxy grow in numbers and depth of Faith. I guess if we can separate Orthodox Traditions from cultural traditions, we can go a long way toward spreading Orthodoxy in America.

Pedro, I don't know if this was the help you were looking for or not.

COWBOY


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« Reply #73 on: August 29, 2006, 11:18:51 AM »

Wait in line, buddy.  I asked it first on pg 1 when addressing Cowboy.  Tongue
I would think the elements of American culture that should be addressed in Church would include Thanksgiving Day, Fathers & Mothers Day. At my OCA Church, we commemorate September 11 with a litany for the dead.

I wonder if we could claim that Dunkin' Donuts at your coffee hour is the nose of the American cultural camel inside the tent.
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« Reply #74 on: August 29, 2006, 11:59:15 AM »

A few weeks ago I was invited to a local Greek Orthodox Church. One parishioner asked if I wanted to visit their bookstore. I was so disappointed to find posters of Greece, books on Greek culture, etc.--but not an Orthodox Study Bible, Icons or anything remotely resembling Orthodox materials. My wife joked (not funny--more sad) that it felt like being in a Greek travel agent's office.
And this thing is sad indeed!

The growth of the Orthodox Church in America is hindered most, in my opinion, by cradles and converts who want Orthodoxy in America to be a mirror image of Orthodoxy in some other country or era. Just take a look at St. Tikhon's Seminary--on a recent visit there my wife and I weren't sure at times if we were in America or or in 18th Century Russia. Two seminarians from Uganda (who we know well and went to visit) related that they were being forced to learn Russian--to "help them with their eventual ministries in Uganda". This struck them and us as ridiculus. There is generation of priests being trained there who I sadly feel are attracted more to Russian culture than they are to Orthodoxy, who will be assigned to a church and make there first order of business the tearing out of pews, introduction of the curtain on the Iconostas where before there was none, introduction of Church Slavonic where previously only English was used, requiring women to wear head coverings and never to wear pants. This is not a hypothetical, this has already happened to a church in our deanery. The result--loss of about 60% of parishioners.
Pews:  a Protestant innovation.  Should be jettisoned.
Curtain:  traditionally Orthodox.
Head coverings:  also traditionally Orthodox...remember that passage by St. Paul?
Pants:  agree with you there though.  No one has yet state a reasonable argument yet that a pants suit for women is not modest or is "crossdressing".
Slavonic:  agree again here...tough situation.  As far as having to learn it at St. Tikhon's, that surprises me.  I thought that would only be the case at Jordanville.

Cowboy,
You seem to be somewhat confused yourself on what you know is traditional Orthodox vs ethnic customs.  Besides, it is impossible to divorce Orthodoxy from all cultures, but to slowly, through a time-tested organic process to baptize new cultures to be Orthodox.  Try reading Fr. Michael Oleksa's book "Orthodox Alaska".
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« Reply #75 on: August 29, 2006, 12:24:47 PM »

Elisha,

I guess this is where we need more discussion. Is having pews or not having pews critical for proper Orthodox worship? Is an Iconostas without a curtain a bad thing? Can a woman not worship properly without a headcovering?

I would never say that I am without confusion, but I want to be clear on what are the "essential" elements of Orthodox worship and practice. My parish has pews, no curtain, and no women wear head coverings--even the "old country babas" are bare-headed. I guess some would say--"is abomination", but our parish is growing and thriving and I would have a hard time with someone trying to make the case that we are not true Orthodox Christians in worship and practice.

COWBOY
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« Reply #76 on: August 29, 2006, 02:01:11 PM »

Cowboy,
Maybe the question you need to ask yourself instead is if these deviations from traditional Orthodoxy are cultural (e.g. dress style, food, etc.) vs heterodox (i.e. Protestant - like pews).  The former can be reconciled/baptized a lot easier than the latter.
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« Reply #77 on: August 29, 2006, 02:05:49 PM »

I love it! Another pew thread. On one hand we read here so much the lack of an American tradition in Orthodoxy - but let one or two originally western (American) things show up in our parishes and it's "wall-off" time.
This from a "No pews/no organs" man.
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« Reply #78 on: August 29, 2006, 02:12:12 PM »

Firstly, there is a problem that somehow it is expected to be considered "natural" that the Church should adopt American (and Australian) culture simply because it is present in those countires.

Well, I think we may be talking past each other, and it might help to address specific issues (perhaps we could begin with the ones in my posts above, unless you'd prefer to talk about others) rather than just talking about "American culture" or "Australian culture" as a generality.

BTW...I'm sorry -- to you and to the rest of the readers of this thread -- for being so snappy in the other posts.  I get that way over some issues.  Need to watch that, 'specially as a mod...  Undecided

If anything, I feel that Orthodoxy is "counter-culture"

I agree, which is why I think what Elisha did--address specific issues one by one--is the way to go here, as we're judging custom X within the Church as the community of the Church, and not necessarily as members of a particular human culture.  I agree with you; I don't think any culture--American or otherwise--needs to be admitted wholesale to the Church, since the Church is a culture unto itself.

Anytime the church has been officially linked to the secular state, nothing good has happened.

Well...it DID fascilitate the spread of the gospel around the world a heckofalot more easily than if we had to do it underground, being persecuted....

Just look at how the dress of Bishops and Priests have been adapted from the dress of SECULAR Byzantine authority from ages past. The beards, long hair, hats and Bishops dressed up like Byzantine Emporers.

I listened to Fr. Thomas Hopko's lectures on the Apocalypse recently, and I agree that it would do us good to "reclaim" some of the original liturgical imagery that is present in that book...rather than reflecting the Imperial Court, our clergy/sanctuaries/etc. would reflect the heavenly worship much more directly.  We'll see what, if anything comes of that thought process within the Church.

A few weeks ago I was invited to a local Greek Orthodox Church. One parishioner asked if I wanted to visit their bookstore. I was so disappointed to find posters of Greece, books on Greek culture, etc.--but not an Orthodox Study Bible, Icons or anything remotely resembling Orthodox materials. My wife joked (not funny--more sad) that it felt like being in a Greek travel agent's office.

Shows you what people really care about and what they're there for, huh?  Sad....

I am also hardpressed to understand how anyone who uses English as a first language could state that they prefer the Divine Liturgy in Church Slavonic or Ancient Greek. The Liturgy is not a "performance" that we come to observe. We are supposed to participate in worship, to hear the Word of God, to respond in prayer and thanksgiving.

What was that thing that St. Paul said?  "Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue" (1 Cor. 14:19)...that goes for English-speaking (or whatever-speaking) American citizens, as well as recent immigrants, which is why allowances ought to be made when there's a legitimate immigrant population that honestly does not understand English, imo.

Two seminarians from Uganda (who we know well and went to visit) related that they were being forced to learn Russian--to "help them with their eventual ministries in Uganda".

Well, of course, because you know there are so many pockets of Serbians and Ukranians in EAST AFRICA.  Geez, oh man...<deep breath>...OK...calm....

The result--loss of about 60% of parishioners.

Even if this went the other way--all English intro'd, pantsuits, no head coverings, etc--I think there's wisdom in the adage, "No changes for at least a year when you arrive as a new priest."  People are people and don't take kindly to dramatic regime changes at the hands of the priest (or anybody else).
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« Reply #79 on: August 29, 2006, 02:14:43 PM »

Elisha,

Do you think the absence of pews is a BIG T Tradition? One essential for proper Orthodox worship? I am not being combative, I just really want to know what people consider to be BIG T Traditions versus little t ones.
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« Reply #80 on: August 29, 2006, 04:37:05 PM »

I know one thing.  No piece of wood except for the Cross is going to make or break my salvation.   Wink Grin

That means that I think its a little T.  Yes you can have a lot of spiritual help from not having pews.  But like I said...its not a question of Dogma.  Its a personal style of spiritual advancement.  If it helps you pray better to have them, then do.  If it hurts you, then don't. 
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« Reply #81 on: August 29, 2006, 05:07:59 PM »

Very well said and I couldn't agree with you more.
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« Reply #82 on: August 30, 2006, 02:13:50 AM »

Elisha,

Do you think the absence of pews is a BIG T Tradition? One essential for proper Orthodox worship? I am not being combative, I just really want to know what people consider to be BIG T Traditions versus little t ones.
COWBOY
I'm going to deliberately evade your question since I think it is loaded and from the wrong approach.  There is no reason to HAVE pews.  Again, it is a HETERODOX innovation - not even secular cultural item that could be considered.  Pews change how Orthodox services function.  They arrange people into neat rows, hindering the "active" part about worship that involves movement such as crossing oneself, metanias, prostrations and such.  They turn the service from active worship into a performance by the "pastor".

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« Reply #83 on: August 30, 2006, 03:19:53 AM »

speaking of languages and pews.I for one think the liturgy should be translated to the American Native Language. As for pews, that should be left up to the different jurisdiction. You have to at least have something to sit on for the Elderly and for people who can't stand for long periods of time.
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« Reply #84 on: August 30, 2006, 03:23:04 AM »

speaking of languages and pews.I for one think the liturgy should be translated to the American Native Language.

Which will increasingly be Spanish.

Quote
As for pews, that should be left up to the different jurisdiction. You have to at least have something to sit on for the Elderly and for people who can't stand for long periods of time.

Even the pew-less Orthodox churches have enough chairs scattered around the edges of the room for the infirm. As for the elderly, some do need to sit down, but in Romania they prefer to stand and don't look like they want to be coddled. The existence of either group is not a sufficient argument for introducing pews to Orthodox worship.
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« Reply #85 on: August 30, 2006, 07:56:27 AM »

speaking of languages and pews.I for one think the liturgy should be translated to the American Native Language. As for pews, that should be left up to the different jurisdiction. You have to at least have something to sit on for the Elderly and for people who can't stand for long periods of time.

Been done for the Aleuts. Which others have you in mind?
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« Reply #86 on: August 30, 2006, 08:24:36 AM »

Quote
Pews change how Orthodox services function.  They arrange people into neat rows, hindering the "active" part about worship that involves movement such as crossing oneself, metanias, prostrations and such.  They turn the service from active worship into a performance by the "pastor".

I've seen a lot of inactive worshippers in pewless churches. It's not the pew it's your heart. What is it with you people who think that you have to be ultra-orthodox to be Orthodox?
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« Reply #87 on: August 30, 2006, 08:36:21 AM »

What is it with you people who think that you have to be ultra-orthodox to be Orthodox?

I don't see going pewless as "ultra-Orthodoxy". It's pretty obvious that the Church had its worshipers stand for most of its history, and even Christ himself told us "When you stand praying...".
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« Reply #88 on: August 30, 2006, 10:23:22 AM »

I'm just curious. What do people do in pew-less churches during the sermon? Do they sit on the floor or remain standing? Or are there folding chairs for this purpose?
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« Reply #89 on: August 30, 2006, 10:27:24 AM »

Is having pews or not having pews critical for proper Orthodox worship? Is an Iconostas without a curtain a bad thing? Can a woman not worship properly without a headcovering?
Pews do get in the way of doing a prostration (when needed) or bowing to the floor when crossing one's self. This makes them a very bad thing IMHO because they subtract essential expressions of humility from Orthodox worship.

In contrast, I don't believe the curtain contributes much to worship.

On the covering of heads, it is an act of humility in certain cultures that does not translate into American culture. If a woman decides to adopt this practice during her spiritual journey, it's probably a good thing but just going along for appearance would be pretty meaningless.
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