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Who are the Old Calendarists?

Old Ritualists

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#1 Mina of Alexandria

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 07:41 PM

is there a greek church called old calender orthodox church?
is it orthodox? does it have a relationship with orthodox communion?
thanks in advance
en IC XC
Mina Mounir

#2 Kris

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 08:29 PM

is there a greek church called old calender orthodox church?
is it orthodox? does it have a relationship with orthodox communion?
thanks in advance
en IC XC
Mina Mounir


Dear Mina,

The Old Calendarists in Greece are those groups (there are many) that refused to accept the New Calendar when it was intruduced by the Church of Greece in 1924.

As a result of this refusal to accept the New Calendar, they suffered persecution at the hands of the Greek government (which deepened divides) and broke communion with the Church of Greece.

They are identical to other Eastern Orthodox churches in their faith and worship, and so are considered wholly Orthodox in this respect.

In XC,
Kris

#3 Peter Farrington

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 10:07 PM

Hi Kris

But since they are schismatic are they considered Orthodox by the EO?

If there is only One Church and it must be a visible unity then what is the status of the Old Calendarist groups who hold an Orthodox theology but believe that most/all of the mainstream EO are heretical? Does that make them outside the Church? If so, why? (That is a question).

Is there a need in EOxy for communion with the EP? If some local church chose to be in communion with one other local church but not with the EP then would they be in or out of the Church?

Peter

#4 Olga

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 06:57 AM

My understanding is that any church which calls itself Orthodox must be under the jurisdiction of a canonical patriarchate, or, in unusual cases such as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (which is on the verge of full communion with the Moscow Patriarchate), be under the jurisdiction of a Synod of Bishops, where the canonicity of the consecration of such bishops is beyond question.

Most, if not all, of these schismatic Orthodox (in Greece and in other countries), including the Old Calendarists, have set up their own hierarchies of bishops and, in a few cases, patriarchs, who are not in communion with any of the canonical patriarchates or synods. I find it difficult to believe it is sufficient for a breakaway church to conduct its rites and services in a manner identical to the church from which it cut its ties. The fact remains that such a church is disobedient to any canonical hierarchy, and, to put it briefly, this has enormous practical, doctrinal and sacramental implications.

A good analogy from the West would be the various Roman Catholic groups which have never accepted the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. These churches have their own bishops and pope, and promote themselves as the "true Catholic church", they have branded all the post-Vatican II popes as antichrists, and the established church of Rome as heretical. Sound familiar? :(

#5 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 06:44 PM

This is an interesting question of Ecclesiology - how is a Church Orthodox? If it is a question of being in communion with other Churches, then ROCOR and the OCA are not Orthodox (from our perspective) and likewise we are not (from their perspective).

Our understanding of who is Orthodox and who isn't is very subtle, it allows for people who aren't in communion and operate a jurisdiction which is extra-territorial which goes against what the view of the Church is from ancient times. Is there any formal definition?

With love in Christ

Alex

#6 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 12:03 AM

Dear Alex,

I think I'm right in saying that Moscow Patriarchate has just established canonical communion with ROCOR, and OCA must be in communion with MP; the church of St Catherine the Great Martyr in the centre of Moscow is definitely in communion with MP. My wife worshipped there for some years, and we went there just two years ago.

In Christ,

Andreas.

#7 Peter Farrington

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 08:42 AM

It is a wonderful thing that the ROCOR has been able to re-establish communion with the MP, but the question, in this thread, is whether or not the ROCOR was Orthodox when out of communion with the MP.

As has been said, if Orthodoxy is a matter of being in communion with someone else then ROCOR wasn't Orthodox. If Orthodoxy is to do with something else then it was.

In the first case this has implications for Orthodoxy apart from communion and visible unity. I don't think it is possible to say that because ROCOR was in communion with the Serbian Church then it was in communion with everyone else because on that basis when St Cyril was out of communion with the Antiocheans then actually he was in communion all the time through the communion exercised with other local Churches. I don't think he would have accepted that at all.

Peter

#8 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 11:27 AM

Dear Peter,

I was merely pointing out that Alex had referred to ROCOR's being out of communion with MP in the present tense. A debate about whether ROCOR was Orthodox before seems surely rather sterile now. As to others , such as the Old Calendarists in Greece and the Old Believers in Russia, I think Olga has put it very well.

In Christ,

Andreas.

#9 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 03:51 PM

It is a wonderful thing that the ROCOR has been able to re-establish communion with the MP, but the question, in this thread, is whether or not the ROCOR was Orthodox when out of communion with the MP.

As has been said, if Orthodoxy is a matter of being in communion with someone else then ROCOR wasn't Orthodox. If Orthodoxy is to do with something else then it was.

In the first case this has implications for Orthodoxy apart from communion and visible unity. I don't think it is possible to say that because ROCOR was in communion with the Serbian Church then it was in communion with everyone else because on that basis when St Cyril was out of communion with the Antiocheans then actually he was in communion all the time through the communion exercised with other local Churches. I don't think he would have accepted that at all.

Peter



Part of the problem is that "out of communion" can refer to different things. In the Orthodox Church we are not in communion with many other Christian groups. This refers to serious doctrinal points of division. But within Orthodoxy to be "out of communion" refers to serious matters but seen as not directly touching matters of doctrine.

Here a whole range of issues can come into play, everything from jurisdictional (as when the MP & EP were out of communion due to conflict over jurisdiction in the Baltics); to moral questions (priests have been known to not serve with other priests whom they consider to be flagrantly immoral- a possible solution to the RC problem if this had been canonically possible);issues seen as being of great importance but not quite touching doctrine (eg the Calendar, ecumenism, sergianism, etc).

The thing to see here is that to be "out of communion" in this situation means that despite the fact of canonical separation there is still a common recognition of each other's Orthodoxy. This recognition may be grudging since many of these separations are very acrimonious. In words one may get the impression that the other group is hardly even Orthodox anymore. But the thing to watch is how these groups interact pastorally.

Frequently the faithful still attend each others services and even receive the Eucharist in each others churches. Clergy don't concelebrate but often are received by the other church or jurisdiction just as they are; ie their orders are recognized.

As they say, 'actions speak louder than words'. But in the Church it's more that actions speak as loudly as words. In general I think we can gauge the Orthodoxy of separated groups by watching how the whole body of the Church relates to these groups when economia is called for.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#10 Peter Farrington

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 04:42 PM

Dear Father

So are you saying that in the situations you mention, because there is a degree of inter-communion (I am using that word just as short hand) of the laity who may be allowed to receive communion in either community that this points to a 'pastoral' lack of communion rather than a theological one?

I mean that if bishops and priests allow members of say, an Old Calendarist group to commune, then this points to a 'pastoral' breach of communion rather than a doctrinal one.

Thanks

Peter

#11 Father David Moser

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 05:36 PM

It is a wonderful thing that the ROCOR has been able to re-establish communion with the MP, but the question, in this thread, is whether or not the ROCOR was Orthodox when out of communion with the MP.


The problem here is one of terminology. It has become common to say the ROCOR was "out of communion" with the MP or OCA or GOA or other groups, but that just isn't an accurate statement. Yes, there was (and is in some cases) an administrative barrier such the clergy cannot or do not concelebrate or that there is no official interaction between the Church administrations - but there has never been the situation where we have been "out of communion" in the literal sense. People from born, baptized, communed and raised in ROCOR have throughout the years frequently received communion in other Orthodox Churches whenever they were away from their home parish. True, if there was another ROCOR parish nearby they would go there (kind of like you don't stay in a hotel or with strangers when you are visiting a town where you have family) but that still didn't prevent them from visiting (and communing in) the other parishes. This is particularly true between old line ROCOR and OCA parishes for historical reasons (kind of like having second cousins or something). By the same token, there has never been any barrier to people who are born, baptized, raised and communed in other Orthodox Churches receiving communion in ROCOR parishes. In fact much of my Russian ROCOR parish consists "new arrivals" from Russia who were born, baptized, raised and communed in te MP - when they came to our parish, they weren't rebaptized or rechrismated, they didn't have to renounce any heretical beliefs nor did they have to do anything out of the ordinary - they were and are fully members of the parish participating and communing without any hindrance.

I will certainly concede that in some parishes on both sides a particularly zealous priest will at times draw the line of separation a little more forcefully than others - but still the fact exists that ROCOR has never been "out of communion" with any of the other Orthodox Churches (in fact up until just recently ROCOR clergy were welcome to visit and serve and commune on the Holy Mountain while OCA clergy could visit but not serve or commune - all due to *political* and administrative situations within the Church. But this does not reflect on the OCA's or ROCOR's "canonical" status).

So we have to be careful with our choice of words here. A poor choice but commonly used phrase, "out of communion" which has been used for convenience to describe ROCOR's position has thus led to this chain of incorrect assumptions and conclusions.

Fr David Moser

#12 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 06:20 PM

Dear Father

So are you saying that in the situations you mention, because there is a degree of inter-communion (I am using that word just as short hand) of the laity who may be allowed to receive communion in either community that this points to a 'pastoral' lack of communion rather than a theological one?

I mean that if bishops and priests allow members of say, an Old Calendarist group to commune, then this points to a 'pastoral' breach of communion rather than a doctrinal one.

Thanks

Peter


Dear Peter,

Yes, this is how some describe the "out of communion" of some of the Orthodox groups. Even thought the clergy would not concelebrate this did not mean that the Orthodoxy of the other group was denied. Maybe call it a protest of some sort. In these situations even though strictly speaking the faithful also were not supposed to commune in each others churches- some in fact did.

For many years all through the most acrimonious relations between ROCOR & other jurisdictions one saw some faithful communing in each others churches. Also we saw the same thing in between the Greek New & Old calendrists.

I think what is at play here is how one sees the disagreement with the other group & what sort of disagreement it is. For example during the most difficult times there were very few in fact who communed in both ROCOR & parishes of other jurisdictions. But still it varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Often it depended as much on what the faithful felt about these separations as the clergy did. In any case, except in rare cases which I think arose from extreme animosity, what was more in question was how Orthodoxy was being put into practice rather than whether the other group was actually Orthodox. This is something like when we say, "that's not even Orthodox!" We mean something serious which affects ones Orthodoxy, but yet which means that one is still Orthodox. I guess it's some sort of tight rope we're often walking- and also something which shows our ecclesiology is very different from that of the west.

In any case, behind much of this I think is discernment which much of what we see in practice actually relies on.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#13 Sunny

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 03:38 AM

I know this is an older thread, but I have a question-I was reading about Patriarch Nikon changing the way the Russian Orthodox crossed themselves in the 1600's. Prior to this time they used their index and middle finger to make the sign. According to this information the Patriarch was trying to unify the Russians and Greeks and so wanted to switch to this way of signing the cross. Does Rocor sign in this ancient way or have they adopted the newer Greek alteration?
Thank you,
Sunny

#14 Father David Moser

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 04:10 AM

Does Rocor sign in this ancient way or have they adopted the newer Greek alteration?


Both, actually. A number of years ago, ROCOR made a point to reach out to the Old Believer communities and provide them with the opportunity to return to the Russian Orthodox Church. Some did and now both the old rite and the Nikonian rite exist side by side in the Russian Church. The Old Rite Cathedral is in Erie PA and Bishop Daniel holds the title "Protector of the Old Rite".

Fr David Moser

#15 Sunny

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:10 AM

Dear Father David, bless,
Thank you for answering my question, and I have another one. In many icons of Christ he seems to be positioning his hand of blessing in the way depicted by the Old Calendarists. Also I have seen many priests hold their hand in this way when the faithful go to them for a blessing. I thought that hand-finger position belonged to the priests alone to bless their congregation, and since they act in place of Christ to us that they were blessing as Christ is depicted doing. Am I wrong about this and can someone explain this to me? Is the finger position the same for all of us when pronouncing a blessing on ourselves?
thank you,
Sunny

#16 Paul Cowan

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 06:18 PM

Please correct me, but blessings can only come from someone greater. A lesser can not give a blessing to a greater. Since we are not greater than ourselves, we can not give ourselves a blessing. We can cross ourselves, but it is not the same as a blessing.

I saw in the monasteries the Abbott holding the blessing as we leave the trapezia with his right hand forming the ICXC as we pass under him.

Also I have seen many priests hold their hand in this way when the faithful go to them for a blessing. I thought that hand-finger position belonged to the priests alone to bless their congregation, and since they act in place of Christ to us that they were blessing as Christ is depicted doing.


I don't understand. It seems you are confirming the right doing of your question.

Paul

#17 Nina

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:06 PM

Does Rocor sign in this ancient way or have they adopted the newer Greek alteration?
Thank you,
Sunny


Dear Sunny, Please forgive me for not understanding, but can you please explain what is the newer Greek alteration? I have no idea what that means.

And certainly I am ignorant about what you share. I thought we all use three fingers (the three first ones of the right hand) to make the sign of the cross because they represent the Holy Trinity! And the rest of the fingers (the two last ones of the right hand) are to touch the palm because of the two natures of Christ who descended from Heaven (which is represented by the place where the three fingers gather that represent the Holy Trinity) on earth, which is represented by the palm of our hand.

#18 Sunny

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 06:32 AM

Hi Nina and Paul,

The newer Greek version I mentioned referred to the change made by Patriarch Nikon in the 1600's that I asked about in an earlier post. The current way we position our fingers was instituted by Patriarch Nikon according to the documents I read.

Forgive me for not being clearer in my question. The old calendarists seem to hold their hands the same way or in a similar way to how I've seen current priests pronouncing blessing on their congregation. Also in some old icons the saints are holding their fingers in this same way. Since the material I read referred to the Russian Old Calendarists I was hoping someone here could shed some light on this. It seems that the Russian Orthodox prior to Patriarch Nikon's change held the thumb, ring finger, and little finger together and the index finger was extending with the middle finger bent inward halfway. This looks like some of the finger positions in some old icons. I thought the finger position of Christ meant He was blessing us, but now wonder if the Russian iconographers were proclaiming the proper way to sign the cross on oneself.

Is this any clearer?

Sorry for any confusion, I have no one I know to ask to explain this.

thank you,
Sunny

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 22 March 2008 - 10:09 AM.
Added blank lines between paragraphs


#19 Kosta

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 08:24 AM

I think Sunny is confusing the old calendarists with the old ritualists (aka: old believers).

#20 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 10:44 AM

Old Calendarists, Old Believers and Old Rite are each different. I assume that Old Calendarists cross themselves as the majority of Orthodox, with thumb and first two fingers together and the other two fingers gathered in the palm. Old Rite people are those in the Russian Orthodox Church who largely follow the services as they were before the Reforms of Patriarch Nikon. They are within MP and we are in communion with them. My wife and I know an Old Rite priest who serves a small community just outside Moscow. He is loving and hospitable. Old Rite people do, though, form the cross in the same way as Old Believers. I have an Old Rite prayer book before me and it says that 'the thumb, the ring finger and the little finger' are joined together for this 'confesses the mystery of the three divine hypostases, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit . . while joining the other two fingers - the forefinger and the middle finger . . . signifies the mystery of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who is perfect God and perfect Man. Slightly bending the middle finger confesses the mystery that the Son of God bowed the heavens and came down upon earth and became man for our salvation. Thus, having joined these two fingers, we first place them on the head, or on the forehead; we confess that He Who is our one true and eternal Head gave Himself as head over all Churches; that is over His body. Next, we place them on the belly, confessing His descent to earth; we clearly proclaim His conception without seed in the most pure womb of the Mother of God and His dwelling there for nine months. Then, we place them on our right shoulder ; we confess that He sits at the right hand of the Father. Finally, we place them on our left shoulder, signifying that He will come again for judgment and will render unto those on the left everlasting punishment, but unto those on the right everlasting life.'

Old Believers will have nothing to do with anyone else. My wife went on a pilgrimage to Chechnya some years ago. They were not allowed in to an Old Believers church. Being hot, my wife asked for a glass of water. This was given in silence and the glass placed on a table and after picked up with a cloth so that the Old Believer would not be contaminated by touching what a non-Old Believer had touched!




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