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Tzimis
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« on: October 12, 2006, 01:38:00 PM »

Does one have to experience Theosis to be saved? Or is it strictly for monks, priests and bishops?
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2006, 02:09:14 PM »

Does one have to experience Theosis to be saved? Or is it strictly for monks, priests and bishops?
Is theosis different than divinization?
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2006, 02:17:55 PM »

I always took it as the same thing.
Demetrios,
Theosis is being saved in my understanding
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2006, 02:21:54 PM »

Does one have to experience Theosis to be saved? Or is it strictly for monks, priests and bishops?

Theosis is for everyone in the Church (actually, God is calling all of humanity to theosis; however, those outside of His Church do not have the regular contact with the grace and energies of God that is needed for our completion as images and likenesses of God).

I believe you are Orthodox; so you actually are undergoing theosis but the progress is hidden to our earthly vision. Just because you are not (yet) a miracle producing saint like St. Nektarios of Aegina, or cast light from your gaze as St. Seraphim, does not mean that you are not undergoing the process of theosis.

So, yes, theosis is needed for your salvation, because that's what salvation actually is. Some monks, priests, and bishops may be so far along in this process that it is apparent to us, or perhaps God may choose some of those vessels to manifest His Glory for us all to take heart from. However, laity also undergo theosis, sometimes clealry liek those just mentioned but often in a hidden way, just like most of those you mentioned experience it.

+Fr. Chris
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2006, 06:00:34 PM »

Quote
Quote
Theosis is for everyone in the Church (actually, God is calling all of humanity to theosis; however, those outside of His Church do not have the regular contact with the grace and energies of God that is needed for our completion as images and likenesses of God
).
I believe you are Orthodox; so you actually are undergoing theosis but the progress is hidden to our earthly vision. Just because you are not (yet) a miracle producing saint like St. Nektarios of Aegina, or cast light from your gaze as St. Seraphim, does not mean that you are not undergoing the process of theosis.

So, yes, theosis is needed for your salvation, because that's what salvation actually is. Some monks, priests, and bishops may be so far along in this process that it is apparent to us, or perhaps God may choose some of those vessels to manifest His Glory for us all to take heart from. However, laity also undergo theosis, sometimes clealry liek those just mentioned but often in a hidden way, just like most of those you mentioned experience it.

+Fr. Chris


Father Chris,

Theosis, our deification, becoming partakers of the Divine Nature in and through our adoption into Lord Jesus Christ   begins in baptism.  Since the Orthodox Church accepts Trinitarian baptism in other Churches (converts are not re-baptized) then all the baptized begin their theosis in baptism, not just Orthodox. 
Lord Jesus Christ, our God and only Saviour is NOT Orthodox Christian; He is NOT Christian.  He is God become Man, the Divine Jew.
Steve
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2006, 06:11:00 PM »

Since the Orthodox Church accepts Trinitarian baptism in other Churches....

Ummm....no....

The Orthodox Church never says any heterdox sacraments are such, but something like "fills in what was lacking" or something else for those that are Chrismated and not Baptized.  I think O-dox here need to get this "Re-"Baptized term out of their heads.
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2006, 07:56:47 PM »



Quote
I believe you are Orthodox;
Absolutely Father.

Quote
So, yes, theosis is needed for your salvation, because that's what salvation actually is.


I have read that there are levels of theosis. Let us assume we are stuck at level one for the rest of our lives. Or level one and growing. Are we still saved? Or do we have to see the Vision per say.

BTW: If anyone knows these levels can they post them here.

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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2006, 08:30:42 PM »

Ummm....no....

The Orthodox Church never says any heterdox sacraments are such, but something like "fills in what was lacking" or something else for those that are Chrismated and not Baptized.  I think O-dox here need to get this "Re-"Baptized term out of their heads.

"Heterodox sacraments"--no.  If they were such then those converts would have to be re-baptized.  They are not.  You can't get around this.  Obviously the Orthodox Church does recognize the baptism of Catholic and Protestant Churches if the person is baptized with water in the Name of the Trinity.  Therefore they are saying those baptisms are valid.  Are the unbapized chrismated ? No.  Are the unbaptized admitted to Holy Communion ?  No.
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2006, 08:33:20 PM »

"Heterodox sacraments"--no.  If they were such then those converts would have to be re-baptized.  They are not.  You can't get around this.  Obviously the Orthodox Church does recognize the baptism of Catholic and Protestant Churches if the person is baptized with water in the Name of the Trinity.  Therefore they are saying those baptisms are valid.  Are the unbapized chrismated ? No.  Are the unbaptized admitted to Holy Communion ?  No.

You are very ignorant of Orthodox teaching. Do you know what economy is? Do you have any familiarity with the canonical tradition of Orthodoxy? And no, not all Catholic and Protestant baptisms are "recognized"--when I and many other Catholics became Orthodox, we were baptized.  The Antiochians chrismate RC's--does that mean it recognizes their baptism but not their confirmation as valid? Hardly.

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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2006, 09:26:12 PM »

"Re-baptism" is a big misnomer. One can't redo what was not done (or MAY not have been done) before (echoing Elisha's thought above).
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2006, 09:30:36 PM »

You are very ignorant of Orthodox teaching. Do you know what economy is? Do you have any familiarity with the canonical tradition of Orthodoxy? And no, not all Catholic and Protestant baptisms are "recognized"--when I and many other Catholics became Orthodox, we were baptized.  The Antiochians chrismate RC's--does that mean it recognizes their baptism but not their confirmation as valid? Hardly.

Anastasios

Anastasios,

If I remember correctly aren't you an Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox ?
If you were re-baptized then your Church is not Orthodox.  From my exposure to that group, they tend to regard most of the Orthodox as heretical.  I pay no attention to such nonsense.
Yes, the Antiochian  Church does recognize the baptism but not the confirmation of Roman Catholics.  That's the general policy.
You can become Orthodox Christian; you cannot become Greek.  Whatever your ethnicity is, that's  an important aspect of who you are, as God created you ,and you can't change it anymore than you can change your gender.
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2006, 10:07:31 PM »

Steve,
You seem to misunderstand the concept of the Orthodox mysteries.  For example, I am a member of ROCOR and I was baptizied into the Church.  I have a few friends who are members of the Moscow Patriarch and they were baptized into it.  In fact, I believe that the Ecumenical Patriarch had a few Old Calendrists rebaptized into his jurisdiction.  I guess Antioch is the only true see of Orthodoxy on the planet. 
The thing is that baptism is a mystery of the Church.  It is the Holy Spirit work grace internally into an Orthodox Christian's soul.  There are no mysteries outside the Church.  Now a bishop can extend economy to some people to allow them to enter the Orthodox Church.  However, that is simply filling the substance into the form.  My RCC baptisim had the correct form, but my bishop did not extend economy to fill the baptism with grace.  That is the norm.
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2006, 10:09:43 PM »

Steve,
You seem to misunderstand the concept of the Orthodox mysteries.  For example, I am a member of ROCOR and I was baptizied into the Church.  I have a few friends who are members of the Moscow Patriarch and they were baptized into it.  In fact, I believe that the Ecumenical Patriarch had a few Old Calendrists rebaptized into his jurisdiction.  I guess Antioch is the only true see of Orthodoxy on the planet. 
The thing is that baptism is a mystery of the Church.  It is the Holy Spirit work grace internally into an Orthodox Christian's soul.  There are no mysteries outside the Church.  Now a bishop can extend economy to some people to allow them to enter the Orthodox Church.  However, that is simply filling the substance into the form.  My RCC baptisim had the correct form, but my bishop did not extend economy to fill the baptism with grace.  That is the norm.
Daniel
I have heard that there are differing oppinions through out the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Is that true?
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2006, 10:18:39 PM »

Steve,

You are being obtuse. The Jerusalem Patriarchate, the Church of Greece, the Ecumenical Patriarchate in some locations, the ROCOR, etc., all baptize converts from Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

To call my Church unOrthodox because it baptizes converts is asenine. If you want to argue about the canonicity of my Church, fine, but don't say it's unOrthodox because it baptizes when baptism of converts is ALWAYS an allowable option and is often PREFERRED.

I can only assume that you are a) not really Orthodox yourself but really just joking around with all of us or b) you were never catechized properly or c) you just believe in Steveodoxy.  Have you ever even heard of the book, "I Confess One Baptism" by Fr George Metallinos (Church of Greece, not Old Calendarist)? He makes the argument that all Catholics and Protestants should be baptized and cites the canons to prove it.  Now, his book is his opinion but my point is: you can say that it is not your preference that converts be baptized but to say that Churches that baptize converts are not Orthodox is untrue, unhistorical, ignorant, offensive, and heretical.

Anastasios
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« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2006, 10:19:51 PM »

Quote
You can become Orthodox Christian; you cannot become Greek.  Whatever your ethnicity is, that's  an important aspect of who you are, as God created you ,and you can't change it anymore than you can change your gender.

That part Steve is totally irrelevant to my point.
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« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2006, 10:25:58 PM »

Different on what?
It is not different on reception of converts.  It is Orthodox practice to baptize converts.  Only through economy are they received otherwise.  Now there is debate on some instances (i.e. is a Non-Chalcedonian a convert or a schismatic) but other wise it is pretty unanimous.  Some bishops just choose to exercise their right of economy more liberally than others.
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« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2006, 03:43:01 AM »

Since the Orthodox Church accepts Trinitarian baptism in other Churches (converts are not re-baptized) then all the baptized begin their theosis in baptism, not just Orthodox.

Chiming in with the rest: wrong, wrong, wrong!  I am a reader in the OCA, and have spoken one-on-one with Archbishop DMITRI on this matter, and he's said (and I quote) that "there are no sacraments outside the Orthodox Church."  He is a new-calendarist bishop and dictates that converts from other confessions be chrismated and not baptized, yet here he is saying that there are NO SACRAMENTS outside the Orthodox Church.  We DO NOT ACCEPT heterodox baptisms as valid in and of themselves.  We only "accept" them as empty shells which we can then fill with the grace of the Holy Spirit, "making up for that which is lacking"--and this grace is ONLY found within the Orthodox Church.  A so-called "baptism" outside the Church is seen as an empty shell, a farce of a sacrament, and nothing more.
 
Lord Jesus Christ, our God and only Saviour is NOT Orthodox Christian; He is NOT Christian.  He is God become Man, the Divine Jew.

And?  He established one Church: the Orthodox Church.  Your disagreement with this is directly in conflict with your bishop and the teaching of the entire Church you profess to be a part of.

If they were such then those converts would have to be re-baptized.  They are not.  You can't get around this.  Obviously the Orthodox Church does recognize the baptism of Catholic and Protestant Churches if the person is baptized with water in the Name of the Trinity.  Therefore they are saying those baptisms are valid.

I'm going to repeat myself, since we very much can "get around this": We DO NOT ACCEPT heterodox baptisms as valid in and of themselves.  We only "accept" them as empty shells which we can then fill with the grace of the Holy Spirit, "making up for that which is lacking"--and this grace is ONLY found within the Orthodox Church.  A so-called "baptism" outside the Church is seen as an empty shell, a farce of a sacrament, and nothing more.

Are the unbapized chrismated ? No.  Are the unbaptized admitted to Holy Communion ?  No.

Because not even a shell of anything similar to those things was done in their former confessions.  Honestly: who did your catechism, may I ask?

If you were re-baptized then your Church is not Orthodox.

You have just declared that 95% of the bishops in this world that claim to be Orthodox are, in fact, not.  Who do you think you are...??

Get your facts straight before spouting off nonsense like this.  Not even informed SCOBA folks believe in the existence of sacraments outside the Church...
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« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2006, 05:31:36 AM »

Quote
If I remember correctly aren't you an Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox ?
If you were re-baptized then your Church is not Orthodox.  From my exposure to that group, they tend to regard most of the Orthodox as heretical.  I pay no attention to such nonsense.
Yes, the Antiochian  Church does recognize the baptism but not the confirmation of Roman Catholics.  That's the general policy.

Before dismissing Anastasios as an "Old Calendarist" consider that he does have a degree from what is often disparged as the most "liberal" Orthodox seminary in America.  He is not some mere idealogue spouting off.  I'd advise reading the book cited by him which was written by a priest in good standing with the State Church of Greece. 

Quote
You can become Orthodox Christian; you cannot become Greek.  Whatever your ethnicity is, that's  an important aspect of who you are, as God created you ,and you can't change it anymore than you can change your gender.

And what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?  Anastasios has consistently been a proponent of Orthodox missionary activity in the United States.  While respecting cultures that have traditionally had large percentages of Orthodox people, he has never advocated forcing that upon converts. 
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« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2006, 07:37:58 AM »

he has never advocated forcing that upon converts. 
Absolutely. That's always been my job, and I'm in the EP....
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« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2006, 09:07:20 AM »

Chiming in with the rest: wrong, wrong, wrong!  I am a reader in the OCA, and have spoken one-on-one with Archbishop DMITRI on this matter, and he's said (and I quote) that "there are no sacraments outside the Orthodox Church."  He is a new-calendarist bishop and dictates that converts from other confessions be chrismated and not baptized, yet here he is saying that there are NO SACRAMENTS outside the Orthodox Church.  We DO NOT ACCEPT heterodox baptisms as valid in and of themselves.  We only "accept" them as empty shells which we can then fill with the grace of the Holy Spirit, "making up for that which is lacking"--and this grace is ONLY found within the Orthodox Church.  A so-called "baptism" outside the Church is seen as an empty shell, a farce of a sacrament, and nothing more.

Does God answer the prayers of the damned? I am Roman Catholic is there no hope for us? Am I and others lefts in our sins after confession?

Ugh! This is a heavy burden to hear.
 
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« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2006, 09:12:19 AM »

We recognize a distinction between sacramental grace and charismatic grace. We believe that God bestows his grace in a different (less full) way on non Orthodox in a charismatic way and gently tries to lead him where he wills (which is ultimately Orthodoxy).  Life is a journey and God knows that people are in different stations of life--follow the interior voice and call out to him for his guidance and if you do this with a true heart that will be taken into consideration.  But sacramentally we cannot state there is grace where it has not been revealed to us.

From my experience, I had a genuine basic spiritual progression as a Catholic, but when I was baptized Orthodox it all clicked, came together, was fulfilled, and increased tenfold etc.

Anastasios
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« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2006, 11:04:36 AM »

We recognize a distinction between sacramental grace and charismatic grace. We believe that God bestows his grace in a different (less full) way on non Orthodox in a charismatic way and gently tries to lead him where he wills (which is ultimately Orthodoxy).  Life is a journey and God knows that people are in different stations of life--follow the interior voice and call out to him for his guidance and if you do this with a true heart that will be taken into consideration.  But sacramentally we cannot state there is grace where it has not been revealed to us.

Okay........not to agree with Steve's arguments, but I have to in some ways question a few things that Anastasios and others have asserted here.  First of all, I think that this statement, Anastasios, might be a useful way to explain things in this instance, but it is an opinion, and not Orthodox doctrine.  When have we distinguished between different "types" of grace?  Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that this might be a very dangerous path to trod. 

Even though I believe that there are no sacraments outside Orthodoxy, I believe this statement in a different way than some of you.  I believe that we can say with certainty where the Holy Spirit is, but we cannot with certainty say where He is not.  An exception to this would probably be amongst the wilfully heretical or schismatic.    One view held by some Orthodox is that there might be varying degrees of Orthodoxy present in other ecclesial bodies.  It is my personal belief that there is grace present in the Latin Church.  But this is only my personal belief, and other Orthodox are not bound to agree with it.  Nor should they call me heterodox for holding such a belief.  There is no question for me in believing that the Latin and Orthodox Churches are "sister" Churches:  I find such a belief to be unacceptable in the face of an Orthodox understanding of ecclesiology.  For the same reason, we  should not entertain any notions concerning "validity" of sacraments in other ecclesial bodies.  This is a Latin concept foreign to Orthodox beliefs about the nature of the Church.

I don't know about the state of sacraments elsewhere.  I think that the economia approach is a good one to take in terms of saying that the Holy Spriit "heals that which is infirm, and fulfills that which is lacking", but to go so far as to say that all non-Orthodox sacramental actions are merely "empty shells"  might be going too far.  On the other hand,  I have no problem with baptising converts from any other Christian group who convert to Orthodoxy, if this is the route chosen. 

Archbishop Dmitri is perfectly within his rights to forcefully state his opinion that there are no sacraments outside the visible Orthodox communion.  Many saintly Orthodox people have held and continue to hold this view.  However, it is just that , an opinion.  It is not Orthodox doctrine.  I am also completely within my rights as an Orthodox believer to hold to the beliefs that I do.  To back this up, I would like to refer you to The Orthodox Church (1997 edition) by Timothy (Kallistos) Ware, pp. 307-10 and  pp. 245-8.

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« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2006, 11:08:26 AM »

Does God answer the prayers of the damned? I am Roman Catholic is there no hope for us?

Ignatius, don't despair or panic. You're not damned yet, and you're doing exactly what you should be doing...exploring Orthodoxy and asking questions, and being willing to go in the direction you need to follow God's call for you.

That being said, if memory serves Steve Dennehy is a convert from Catholicism, and that his past posts (in this thread and others) indicated a fundamental difference in understanding of the Church's Mysteries between his former spiritual home and where he is now.

As I was thinking about this onthe drive to work this morning, it occurred to me that really the big differences between us and the Roman Catholics lies more so in our different understanding of Pneumatology. From this different understanding comes the qualifications over authority, Mysteries, the Immaculate Conception, etc.

This is why the filioque matters---it set the stage for the Pneumatic differences that we have now.
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« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2006, 11:25:16 AM »

Anastasios,

If I remember correctly aren't you an Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox ?


Irrelevant.  I attend an OCA parish, and most new converts are Baptized.  I think that the only ones that are not are ones that can honestly and thoroughly explain to the priest that they had a trinitarian baptism with a valid form in their former confession.  None of this carte blanche "Yeah, I was RC/Lutheran/Episcopalian/whatever." and then they are automatically just Chrismated.  My priest is much more on the conservative end of this spectrum, but I think there is WAY too much assuming by the less conservative end about what the new convert's treatment was in their former confession.  I think I may have only seen a couple of non-Baptisms at my parish in the last 5 years and many of these people actually came from traditional backgrounds.
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« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2006, 11:35:20 AM »

Actually, Anastasios' comments basically summarize what you are also pointing out: that while we know that grace is communicated though the Mysteries of the Orthodox Church (Anastasios' term 'Sacramental Grace') we also take note that the Spirit will blow where He will (Anastasios' term 'Charismatic Grace').

Truly this is the doctrine that was drilled into my head at Holy Cross, and I'm certain if that was the understanding there that the other Orthodox seminaries teach the same.

Even though I believe that there are no sacraments outside Orthodoxy, I believe this statement in a different way than some of you.  I believe that we can say with certainty where the Holy Spirit is, but we cannot with certainty say where He is not. 

This is basically what Anastasios has been saying, and I think your understanding of this question is actually quite close to the Church's, only perhaps phrased differently.

Your own reference on this question states on pg. 309 a summarization from a 'rigorist':

Quote
Of course (so this stricter group add) divine grace may well be active among many non-Orthodox, and if they are sincere in their love of God, then we may be sure that God will have mercy upon them; but they cannot, in thier present state, be termed members of the Church...

This is an example of potential charismatic grace, where the Spirit may blow among those who He knows.

Your second reference again summarizes the same viewpoint, which is the teaching of the Church that sacraments only exist within the Orthodox Church, but the Spirit may still blow where He will to help in this process of theosis.

Quote
I don't know about the state of sacraments elsewhere.  I think that the economia approach is a good one to take in terms of saying that the Holy Spriit "heals that which is infirm, and fulfills that which is lacking", but to go so far as to say that all non-Orthodox sacramental actions are merely "empty shells"  might be going too far.

Actually the term 'empty shell' is the term I heard most frequently among our professors at school. It is a shell that must be filled with the Spirit for theosis to occur; while we know that the Spirit cooperates with and is conveyed through the Mysteries, perhaps the empty shell will also be filled thorugh the whim of the Spirit Himself, since He knows truly what is in the person's heart, and is merciful.

It is this acquisition of the Holy Spirit that St. Seraphim of Sarov used as the objective of every Christian. As you pointed out, we know the Spirit dwells in the Church and in our Mysteries. We may hope that the Spirit may blow to others, but we cannot determine that he Spirit truly knows that church body, or doesn't know that person.


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« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2006, 02:41:27 PM »

Ignatius, don't despair or panic. You're not damned yet, and you're doing exactly what you should be doing...exploring Orthodoxy and asking questions, and being willing to go in the direction you need to follow God's call for you.

That being said, if memory serves Steve Dennehy is a convert from Catholicism, and that his past posts (in this thread and others) indicated a fundamental difference in understanding of the Church's Mysteries between his former spiritual home and where he is now.

As I was thinking about this onthe drive to work this morning, it occurred to me that really the big differences between us and the Roman Catholics lies more so in our different understanding of Pneumatology. From this different understanding comes the qualifications over authority, Mysteries, the Immaculate Conception, etc.

This is why the filioque matters---it set the stage for the Pneumatic differences that we have now.

Okay chris you lost me at these two points. I don't even know what Pheumatology is so any differences are going to be difficult to grasp. Can you explain this for me please?
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« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2006, 04:52:56 PM »

I believe my question was overlooked. Please feel free to comment.
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« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2006, 05:38:11 PM »

I believe my question was overlooked. Please feel free to comment.

Demetrios G---

I have never heard of a codified 'system' indicating the number of levels present in theosis. We have St. Paul referring to being in the 'Third Heaven', which may or may not refer to this.

But what is important is this: think about what you are asking. Developing a system of 'levels' indicates that there is a definate beginning and end point for whatever has been divided.

So, to develop these 'levels' for theosis one will also have to indicate where God begins and where He ends. So, while I believe that there are levels in that many are closer to God than I, and so it is possible to say that many are therefore at a higher 'level' than I, I would argue it is impossible to have a system similar to indicating that I am at Level 1 stage of theosis, while Anastasios is at Level 5 and Nektarios is at level 3. Therefore, theosis is more like a continuum in my view.

But that's just my opinion. There may be a monastic elder somewhere who has adopted some kind of 'theosis level meter' indicating that certain saints are at certain levels due to certain behaviors or events that are made manifest through them. However, we're talking about infinity here, so any system of levels will always be incomplete and therefore inaccurate.

But more importantly, why do you ask?
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« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2006, 05:52:55 PM »

Okay chris you lost me at these two points. I don't even know what Pheumatology is so any differences are going to be difficult to grasp. Can you explain this for me please?

Ignatius---

Pneumatology is the study of the Holy Spirit.

It is interesting because the RC understanding of the Spirit really is different from the Orthodox---as an example, the RC is of the opinion that Orthodox Mysteries are fully 'valid' (their definition) despite the fact that we are not in communion with each other. However, it sounds absurd to us Orthodox to think that any Sacraments are 'valid' outside of Orthodoxy, mainly because the RCs are not in communion with us. This is despite the fact that the Roman Catholic church will still maintain that a Sacrament is  dependant on the operation of the Spirit.

Similarly, at least from the discussions I've had with Roman Catholic priests, the majority of masses said by them are when they are alone. The host is still considered to be Christ, even though they are alone. For us Orthodox, because we depend upon the descent of the Spirit to sanctify the bread and wine, no Liturgy can be conducted solely by an Orthodox priest---other Orthodox are needed since the guarantee of the Spirit's presence is to have 'two or three gathered in His name'.

This is also why we Orthodox cannot agree that any individual is infallible, yet we state that infallibility actually exists within the Church. Both churches hold that infallibility is guaranteed by the Spirit, but the difference lies in pneumatology.

I'm still sorting this one out in my mind, btw...I'm not sure I'm going to say yet that this pneumatology theory is universally correct, but I would say that this makes for an interesting point to contemplate the differences.

+Fr. Chris
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« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2006, 10:01:59 PM »

Steve,

You are being obtuse. The Jerusalem Patriarchate, the Church of Greece, the Ecumenical Patriarchate in some locations, the ROCOR, etc., all baptize converts from Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

To call my Church unOrthodox because it baptizes converts is asenine. If you want to argue about the canonicity of my Church, fine, but don't say it's unOrthodox because it baptizes when baptism of converts is ALWAYS an allowable option and is often PREFERRED.

I can only assume that you are a) not really Orthodox yourself but really just joking around with all of us or b) you were never catechized properly or c) you just believe in Steveodoxy.  Have you ever even heard of the book, "I Confess One Baptism" by Fr George Metallinos (Church of Greece, not Old Calendarist)? He makes the argument that all Catholics and Protestants should be baptized and cites the canons to prove it.  Now, his book is his opinion but my point is: you can say that it is not your preference that converts be baptized but to say that Churches that baptize converts are not Orthodox is untrue, unhistorical, ignorant, offensive, and heretical.

Anastasios

Anasstasios,

All those entities you list  together comprise less than  10% of the world's Greek Rite Orthodox.  This is a minority viewpoint and it completely goes against the Fathers of the Church.  In no Father   (up to St John of Damascus d. 749) do you  do you ever hear of converts who were baptized with water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, being re-baptized.  You read the exact opposite all over.  Do you read the New Testament ?  Do you read the Fathers ?

Do you accept Lord Jesus as your God, your Lord, your Saviour ?    I ask this because you never seem to refer to Him .He is NOT Orthodox; He is NOT Christian.  The Church is His Body; He is it's only Head.  The Church is subject to Him, not He to the Church.

Why did you become Orthodox ?
Why did you choose the Greek branch ?
Why did you become Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox ?
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« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2006, 10:20:23 PM »

Archbishop Dmitri is NOT infallible.  No bishop is infallible .  The Roman Catholics claim the Pope of Rome is infallible; they don't claim  any other bishop is.  You can find bishops saying anything; let's be more critical in our thinking.  Let's not get into the heresy of clergy worship.
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« Reply #31 on: October 14, 2006, 10:47:45 PM »

Why did you become Orthodox ?
Why did you choose the Greek branch ?
Why did you become Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox ?

Why is it any of your business?  I doubt he's expecting some sort of Stevish Inquisition.
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« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2006, 01:54:02 AM »

to go so far as to say that all non-Orthodox sacramental actions are merely "empty shells"  might be going too far.

Yes, and forgive me for coming on too strong and not clarifying...we treat the heterodox sacraments as nothing more than that because we can never really know if they are more than that.  We dare not treat them as more than that, yet neither should we dare to decree what God alone can know: that which he's done in the heart of a person.

All those entities you list  together comprise less than  10% of the world's Greek Rite Orthodox.

I'd just like to use this quote to apologize for getting my facts wrong as to who was being talked about (I'm 0 for 2 in this thread!) and throwing out the 90-something percent stat.  Forgive me.

Quote
This is a minority viewpoint and it completely goes against the Fathers of the Church.  In no Father   (up to St John of Damascus d. 749) do you  do you ever hear of converts who were baptized with water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, being re-baptized.

You hear it as early as St. Cyprian of Carthage, my friend.  He was in a debate against St. Stephen, Pope of Rome at the time.  This conflict is as ancient as they are, and has never been settled in any real manner within the Church.  Some baptize, some chrismate, but NONE see what they're doing as saying, "We do or do not say that non-Orthodox sacraments are valid in and of themselves."  We just know that we're the Church, so we're the one's who've got everything you need.

Quote
You read the exact opposite all over.

Not at all.  Greeks have chrismated while Russians have baptized, and vice versa throughout history.  To treat chrismation as THE way the Orthodox receive someone is as silly, imo, as treating baptism as THE way.  Neither is THE norm.

Quote
I ask this because you never seem to refer to Him .He is NOT Orthodox; He is NOT Christian.  The Church is His Body; He is it's only Head.  The Church is subject to Him, not He to the Church.

Why did you become Orthodox ?
Why did you choose the Greek branch ?
Why did you become Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox ?

You can't have a headless body, that's true.  But neither can you have a disembodied head.

Archbishop Dmitri is NOT infallible.  No bishop is infallible.

I'm aware of this, thank you.  He is, however, in agreement with every other Orthodox bishop I've ever heard talk about this subject that there are no grace-filled sacraments outside the Orthodox Church (that we can know about for sure).

Does God answer the prayers of the damned? I am Roman Catholic is there no hope for us? Am I and others lefts in our sins after confession?

I am not going to make that call.  Please forgive me, ignatius (what a noble name!) for seeming to judge definitively on something that is God's judgement call.

Why is it any of your business?  I doubt he's expecting some sort of Stevish Inquisition.

NOONE expects the Stevish Inquisition!!!  Grin Cheesy Wink
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« Reply #33 on: October 15, 2006, 02:31:09 AM »

Their cheif weapon is suprise, suprise and fear . . .
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« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2006, 04:00:40 AM »

Anastasios,

If I remember correctly aren't you an Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox ?
If you were re-baptized then your Church is not Orthodox.  From my exposure to that group, they tend to regard most of the Orthodox as heretical.  I pay no attention to such nonsense.
Yes, the Antiochian  Church does recognize the baptism but not the confirmation of Roman Catholics.  That's the general policy.
Steve is right. From my experiance of World Orthodoxy Roman Catholics and Anglicans are generally in Europe and the middle east (Syria and Lebanonn at least) recieved simply by confession, infact in many cases they do not even have to confess Orthodoxy to approach the Mysteries in World Orthodox churches. The EP parish in London allows Roman Catholics and possibly Anglicans to take Communion there without confession.

Things might be different in the USA due to the "convert zeal" of former protestants but world wide Steve is right. When I was in the MP even "conservitives" accepted that RCs and more Traditional protestants have the Grace of Baptism and marriage, the liberbals of course thought that their agnostic friends should be allowed access to the mysteries, I know things are not that different through most of the Orthodox world.

Anyway all members of the WCC offically accept each others Baptisms. If people take an Orthodox stand on this than they should not be in organizations that are in the WCC or confess that they share the same faith as members of it- anything else is simply playing Church. In many cases though this could be the Lord protecting people because due to other heresies such as those regarding evolution and redemption many of World Orthodox anti-ecumenists would be feeding on Him to their condemnation.

Theophan.
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« Reply #35 on: October 15, 2006, 08:51:04 AM »

World Orthodoxy
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« Reply #36 on: October 15, 2006, 10:05:00 AM »

There ain't no such animal. There's Orthodox or hetrodox. Nothing in between.

Right on the money...even including 'schismatics'  Wink
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« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2006, 03:09:49 PM »

Demetrios G---

I have never heard of a codified 'system' indicating the number of levels present in theosis. We have St. Paul referring to being in the 'Third Heaven', which may or may not refer to this.

But what is important is this: think about what you are asking. Developing a system of 'levels' indicates that there is a definate beginning and end point for whatever has been divided.

So, to develop these 'levels' for theosis one will also have to indicate where God begins and where He ends. So, while I believe that there are levels in that many are closer to God than I, and so it is possible to say that many are therefore at a higher 'level' than I, I would argue it is impossible to have a system similar to indicating that I am at Level 1 stage of theosis, while Anastasios is at Level 5 and Nektarios is at level 3. Therefore, theosis is more like a continuum in my view.

But that's just my opinion. There may be a monastic elder somewhere who has adopted some kind of 'theosis level meter' indicating that certain saints are at certain levels due to certain behaviors or events that are made manifest through them. However, we're talking about infinity here, so any system of levels will always be incomplete and therefore inaccurate.

But more importantly, why do you ask?

I'm trying to get an idea of what constitutes being saved.
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« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2006, 03:37:31 PM »

I'm trying to get an idea of what constitutes being saved.

Yes, this is what is known as theosis, which you have hit upon:

You have been saved through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ;
You are being saved in the present by living your life participating in the divine energies of His Church;
You will be saved in the future during that dread Day because by living your life in the Church you participated inthe Divine Energies imparted through the Mystreies of the Chruch.

I know you used to be Protestant---I think one of the best examples that some segments of Protestantism are basically a different religion of their own is how their understanding of salvation is very different than that historically taught by the Church of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps because your original catechesis was at the hands of these Protestants your initial conception of the understanding of being 'saved' is causing your frustration since you're not getting an answer that translates well into your past 'training'. However, the Church has always taught that salvation is a life-long process of theosis, where you immerse your life in the Church, rather than a single event of 'accepting Jesus as your personal savior', etc.

+Fr. Chris
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« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2006, 08:06:19 PM »

Why is it any of your business?  I doubt he's expecting some sort of Stevish Inquisition.

I'm interested and trying to understand him.  He certainly isn't obligated to answer.  Usually converts like to answer those questions.
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« Reply #40 on: October 16, 2006, 08:40:16 PM »

What is the Church ? It is the Body of Lord Jesus Christ.  To know the Church we have to know Him to some degree, though we can never completely know Him; we grow in Him forever.   If we grow In Lord Jesus our minds and hearts expand; they don't contract, so I can wallow in spirtual pride feeling superior to 99% of the human race.   We limit ourselves into increasingly smaller groups:  The Orthodox Church, then my branch of the Orthodox Church, then my sub-branch, until ultimately we end up as the Church and the only member of it. To say that Roman Catholics and Protestants who recieve Him as God, Lord and Saviour do not know Him is ridiculous.
Our Lord established His Church.  He did not, as I will repeat till they lower my cold corpse into the ground, establish a Greek Church, nor a Roman, nor a Syrian, Egyptian, etc.  It's His Church, which He established which began to experience ethnic/national breaks in 431.

When do you folks think Roman Catholics ceased being part of His Church ?
 1013 ? 1054 ?  What ? One day they were and the next day or year or whatever, they weren't ?  Did each and every one deny Him ? That doesn't make sense.  Do you really think everyone in the Oriental Churches overnght in 451 ceased being members of His Body ?  Did each and every one deny Him ?
Do you think no Baptist  or Pentecostal ever recieved Him ?   They may lack several means of grace but they have grace; they have Baptism, they have prayer , they have love, faith and hope. His grace is HIS grace; He offers His grace to all continuously.  It is NOT the Church's , any Church's , grace.

This confusion of Church with the Lord is idolatry.  Calling not-God (Church), God (Jesus) is idolatry.  Confusing my Church with the Lord is a form of self-worship.  I may believe my Church has kept a purer understanding of the faith
but I keep distinct realities within their place, I don't confuse them.

Allright, go gather the wood to burn me at the stake.
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« Reply #41 on: October 16, 2006, 08:46:28 PM »

What is the Church ? It is the Body of Lord Jesus Christ.  To know the Church we have to know Him to some degree, though we can never completely know Him; we grow in Him forever.   If we grow In Lord Jesus our minds and hearts expand; they don't contract, so I can wallow in spirtual pride feeling superior to 99% of the human race.   We limit ourselves into increasingly smaller groups:  The Orthodox Church, then my branch of the Orthodox Church, then my sub-branch, until ultimately we end up as the Church and the only member of it. To say that Roman Catholics and Protestants who recieve Him as God, Lord and Saviour do not know Him is ridiculous.
Our Lord established His Church.  He did not, as I will repeat till they lower my cold corpse into the ground, establish a Greek Church, nor a Roman, nor a Syrian, Egyptian, etc.  It's His Church, which He established which began to experience ethnic/national breaks in 431.

When do you folks think Roman Catholics ceased being part of His Church ?
 1013 ? 1054 ?  What ? One day they were and the next day or year or whatever, they weren't ?  Did each and every one deny Him ? That doesn't make sense.  Do you really think everyone in the Oriental Churches overnght in 451 ceased being members of His Body ?  Did each and every one deny Him ?
Do you think no Baptist  or Pentecostal ever recieved Him ?   They may lack several means of grace but they have grace; they have Baptism, they have prayer , they have love, faith and hope. His grace is HIS grace; He offers His grace to all continuously.  It is NOT the Church's , any Church's , grace.

This confusion of Church with the Lord is idolatry.  Calling not-God (Church), God (Jesus) is idolatry.  Confusing my Church with the Lord is a form of self-worship.  I may believe my Church has kept a purer understanding of the faith
but I keep distinct realities within their place, I don't confuse them.

Allright, go gather the wood to burn me at the stake.

I think what everyone is trying to defend here is the idea that there is only one Church and that those who choose to separate themselves from the Church are not members of the Church. That does not mean that people outside the Church are not Christians. It does not mean that such people do not have some experience of our Lord and Savior. It just means that there is only one Church. Now, as a Catholic, I believe it to be the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthdox believe it to be the Eastern Orthodox Church.  But we are not denying eachother the title of Christian.
Many blessings in Christ.
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« Reply #42 on: October 16, 2006, 10:26:01 PM »

Quoted by: Fr. Chris

Quote
You will be saved in the future during that dread Day because by living your life in the Church you participated inthe Divine Energies imparted through the Mystreies of the Chruch.


I don't believe this is all that is needed to be save. Just because we go to church and partake of the mystreies doesn't mean we are instintly transformed into a Christ like figure. My understanding is that one must try to conquer sin and lead a life closely resembling our savior Jesus Christ. Are we not in a spiritual struggle to become like Christ? My question was a simple one. At what point does an orthodox christian know if they are saved or not? Or do we ever know?
One example of saints being saved is their vision of uncreated light. Does one have to see this uncreated light to be saved?

Quote
I know you used to be Protestant

I have bin orthodox since the age of one. That was 36 years ago.




 


 


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« Reply #43 on: October 17, 2006, 12:47:32 AM »

Father Chris,

Actually, Anastasios' comments basically summarize what you are also pointing out: that while we know that grace is communicated though the Mysteries of the Orthodox Church (Anastasios' term 'Sacramental Grace') we also take note that the Spirit will blow where He will (Anastasios' term 'Charismatic Grace').

Truly this is the doctrine that was drilled into my head at Holy Cross, and I'm certain if that was the understanding there that the other Orthodox seminaries teach the same.

With all due respect, this is not a doctrine, but an opinion.  As I have already opined myself, Anastasios's categorization might be a useful way to discern different movements of the Spirit, but at this point I am inclined to see it as dangerous, since it seems to be making distinctions between different kinds of grace.  We do not define different kinds of grace.  We know that the grace of God is really God and not created, but beyond this, we do not know much.  I think that we should be very careful when we move to define things not already defined by the Church. 

Quote
This is basically what Anastasios has been saying, and I think your understanding of this question is actually quite close to the Church's, only perhaps phrased differently.

Again, the Church does not have an "understanding" about this issue.  Its members hold various theologoumena about it.  My position is perfectly Orthodox.

Quote

It is this acquisition of the Holy Spirit that St. Seraphim of Sarov used as the objective of every Christian. As you pointed out, we know the Spirit dwells in the Church and in our Mysteries. We may hope that the Spirit may blow to others, but we cannot determine that he Spirit truly knows that church body, or doesn't know that person.

Personally, I agree with this completely.

James
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« Reply #44 on: October 17, 2006, 01:12:58 AM »

Their cheif weapon is suprise, suprise and fear . . .

(And formerly,) an almost FANATICAL devotion to the Pope! Wink
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