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Non-Orthodox participation in the Mysteries


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#1 Algernon

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 11:05 AM

Why is it that non-Orthodox are permitted to participate in some Mysteries and not others?

 

My real question is: why is marriage allowed between Orthodox and non-Orthodox? If someone is not in the Church, how can the Mysteries be of any benefit to them?

 

Thanks,

A



#2 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 11:45 AM

The first question has been amply answered in a variety of forums here. To be clear, the major Mysteries or sacraments are Eucharist, Baptism, Chrismation, Confession, Marriage, Ordination, and Holy Unction. Nobody starts life as a member of the Orthodox Church, and so 'non-Orthodox' may participate in Baptism and Chrismation; thereafter, as Orthodox Christians, they may participate in the remaining sacraments.

 

Only Orthodox Christians may participate in the Eucharist, Confession, Ordination and Holy Unction. Only those in good standing with the Church may partake of the Eucharist because only those who confess the same Orthodox faith as the bishop who presides over the Eucharist, have been brought into the Fold which confesses that Orthodox faith, and have prepared themselves in the usual way may partake.

 

Marriage should be between an Orthodox man and an Orthodox woman but the Greek Churches in the west allow by economy marriage between an Orthodox person and one who is of a Christian denomination though not Orthodox. The Russian Church (at least in Russia) does not do this. Marriage between an Orthodox Christian and one who is not a Christian at all is not allowed. The non-Orthodox spouse should ideally intend to become Orthodox or at least agree that children of the marriage be raised in the Church. The non-Orthodox spouse of an Orthodox Christian may not participate in any other sacrament.



#3 Algernon

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 01:11 PM

It seems to me that "economy" is often used as a code word for "anything goes."



#4 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 01:21 PM

I don't think that's entirely fair but examples of it do raise eyebrows in some quarters. Thus mixed marriages are not universally accepted, whereas reception by Chrismation rather than Baptism and Chrismation of converts from a Christian denomination is very widely accepted, even in Russia (eg Grand Duchess St Elizabeth).



#5 Kosta

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 03:39 PM

Why is it that non-Orthodox are permitted to participate in some Mysteries and not others?

My real question is: why is marriage allowed between Orthodox and non-Orthodox? If someone is not in the Church, how can the Mysteries be of any benefit to them?

Thanks,
A


Before there was an established Christian service for marriage, St John Chrysostom explains that Christian marriage is a mystery in so much the couple dies not imitate the pagan practises and excesses.

The Orthodox wedding service is actually out of place in today's society. It was established in a time and place where virtually everyone was Orthodox, the service itself presupposes the couple marrying were born into the faith and are quite young.

When the Orthodox in a society are a minority the ideal can be set aside (ekonomia). St. Monica the mother of Augustine was married to a pagan, this was at a time when pagans were still numerous and father's of brides had more input on who their daughters married. I actually discussed this with a poster from this very forum. She lives in a region where there are no christians at all, eventually she will probably marry someone who is not Christian in accordance with the cultural customs of her country.

When heterodox christians marry an Orthodox person in the Church its with the understanding that any offspring will be raised Orthodox. If not, the Orthodox marriage service would be tendered nonsensical.

Edited by Kosta, 07 October 2014 - 03:45 PM.


#6 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 06:45 PM

I must say that I am surprised by some of Kosta's comments. To say that the 'Orthodox wedding service is actually out of place in today's society' cannot be right; marriage blessed by the Church has been going on since the late fourth century and is a sacrament of the Church and part of Holy Tradition. Who is to say that it could be set aside? We do not conform to the shiftings of society. We must conform to the Church, not allow any part of Tradition to be compromised by the world. And how else are Orthodox couples to be joined together in God's presence?


Edited by Reader Andreas, 07 October 2014 - 06:46 PM.


#7 Algernon

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 10:59 PM

Before there was an established Christian service for marriage, St John Chrysostom explains that Christian marriage is a mystery in so much the couple dies not imitate the pagan practises and excesses.

The Orthodox wedding service is actually out of place in today's society. It was established in a time and place where virtually everyone was Orthodox, the service itself presupposes the couple marrying were born into the faith and are quite young.

When the Orthodox in a society are a minority the ideal can be set aside (ekonomia). St. Monica the mother of Augustine was married to a pagan, this was at a time when pagans were still numerous and father's of brides had more input on who their daughters married. I actually discussed this with a poster from this very forum. She lives in a region where there are no christians at all, eventually she will probably marry someone who is not Christian in accordance with the cultural customs of her country.

When heterodox christians marry an Orthodox person in the Church its with the understanding that any offspring will be raised Orthodox. If not, the Orthodox marriage service would be tendered nonsensical.

 

Thanks Kosta. But my question is more about whether any non-Orthodox christian--today--can or should be permitted to participate in any Holy Mystery of the Church. It seems to me that they should not, with the exception of those that are specifically intended to bring them into the Church: Baptism and Chrismation. So, why are non-Orthodox Christians (even non-Christians...I've heard of local Orthodox Christians having married Muslims in the church) allowed to participate in the Holy Mystery of marriage. Why are we the Laity allowing this to happen?



#8 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 11:11 PM

Algernon, are you certain of your facts - that an Orthodox Christian was married to a Moslem in an Orthodox church? This is expressly forbidden.

 

The Church, in some places, tolerates a marriage in church with a non-Orthodox Christian in the hope that the non-Orthodox spouse will approach the Church. That doesn't always happen.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 07 October 2014 - 11:13 PM.


#9 Kosta

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 01:32 AM

Thanks Kosta. But my question is more about whether any non-Orthodox christian--today--can or should be permitted to participate in any Holy Mystery of the Church. It seems to me that they should not, with the exception of those that are specifically intended to bring them into the Church: Baptism and Chrismation. So, why are non-Orthodox Christians (even non-Christians...I've heard of local Orthodox Christians having married Muslims in the church) allowed to participate in the Holy Mystery of marriage. Why are we the Laity allowing this to happen?

This would be an egregious act. I'm sure you know the rule is if the person is non-Orthodox that they belong to a faith that baptised in the name of the Trinity, and this entails some resemblance to our understanding of the Trinity. In fact its quite nonsensical to allow such a thing. In the service you pledge to be yoked together in a common faith in Christ. Such an egregious act should be offensive to all involved.

This would be akin for me to be married in a Hindu ceremony and bow before a Hindu god even though I disbelieve in that god. It would be offensive for me to decieve the hindus and make a mockery of their service and it would be offensive for them to require me to marry in their service if they knew I rejected and mocked it.

If this was a Muslim, he may have used deceit to marry in the Church. In the Muslim concept of taqqiya one can use deciet if they think it can make a non-muslim come closer to Islam. If this marriage took place with full knowledge of the clergy, I would seperate myself immediately from that parish and eventually from that bishop if he sanctions such heresies.

Edited by Kosta, 08 October 2014 - 01:35 AM.


#10 Algernon

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 12:41 PM

Algernon, are you certain of your facts - that an Orthodox Christian was married to a Moslem in an Orthodox church? This is expressly forbidden.

 

Yes. Muslims are also communed in this church.



#11 Olga

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 01:11 PM

Yes. Muslims are also communed in this church.

 

Is this happening at your church, Algernon? Or have you seen it for yourself at another church?



#12 Algernon

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 01:42 PM

Is this happening at your church, Algernon? Or have you seen it for yourself at another church?

 

It is not happening at my church. I would never attend a church where this sort of thing takes place. And no I have not seen it myself; I know several people who have left this parish in disgust because of it.



#13 Olga

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 02:07 PM

I know several people who have left this parish in disgust because of it.

 

So have any of these people done anything more than simply leaving the parish? Have they taken their concerns to the priest or his bishop?



#14 Algernon

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 07:12 PM

So have any of these people done anything more than simply leaving the parish? Have they taken their concerns to the priest or his bishop?


I'm afraid I don't know that.

#15 Michał

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 10:55 AM

 whereas reception by Chrismation rather than Baptism and Chrismation of converts from a Christian denomination is very widely accepted, even in Russia (eg Grand Duchess St Elizabeth).

 

Russians most likely receive converts from Catholicism via confession (or vesting in case for priests). Greeks are more strict in that and use chrismation.

 

I must say that I am surprised by some of Kosta's comments. To say that the 'Orthodox wedding service is actually out of place in today's society' cannot be right; marriage blessed by the Church has been going on since the late fourth century and is a sacrament of the Church and part of Holy Tradition. Who is to say that it could be set aside? We do not conform to the shiftings of society. We must conform to the Church, not allow any part of Tradition to be compromised by the world. And how else are Orthodox couples to be joined together in God's presence?

 

Marriage is a sacrament and part of Tradition. As for the currently used rite? That is an interesting question.The rite itself was created at the times of Theodosius when the Church was forced to take over registry office duties. That's when allowing divorces and multiple marriages was instituted, when the rite was separated from the Liturgy, and when wine started to be given instead of Eucharist to accommodate mixed marriages. The current rite of marriage is a result of conforming to the society. I, for example, would love to see a return of marriage to liturgical context.

 

Algernon, are you certain of your facts - that an Orthodox Christian was married to a Moslem in an Orthodox church? This is expressly forbidden.

 

I wouldn't be very surprised if it were a norm in Arabic countries.

 

 The Church, in some places, tolerates a marriage in church with a non-Orthodox Christian in the hope that the non-Orthodox spouse will approach the Church. That doesn't always happen.

 

"In some places"? In what placed mixed marriages are not allowed? And I wouldn't say the intent is to convert the non-Orthodox spouse. All that is required is a promise that children will be raised Orthodox.

 

 If this marriage took place with full knowledge of the clergy, I would seperate myself immediately from that parish and eventually from that bishop if he sanctions such heresies.

 

gl/hf 

 

There are loads of things happening within the Church that are not really right. If anyone would like to start a schism because of every irregularity he gets to know from the internet there would be dozens of Orthodox Churches popping out every day.

 

BTW, must every thing we do not like be called heresy? Seriously, I think my rector's sermons are boring, does it make them heretical? Our choir sings badly (this is actually an opinion of many people), does it make the choir heretical? Back in time that word had some meaning.



#16 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 11:30 AM

"In some places"? In what placed mixed marriages are not allowed? And I wouldn't say the intent is to convert the non-Orthodox spouse. All that is required is a promise that children will be raised Orthodox.

 

I was told in Russia that mixed marriages are not done there.

 

The hope that a non-Orthodox Christian spouse may be drawn to Orthodoxy is stated by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on its web site.



#17 Michał

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 11:36 AM

I was told in Russia that mixed marriages are not done there.

 

In accordance with ancient canonical prescriptions, today, too, the Church does not sanctifies marriages contracted between the Orthodox and non-Christians, while recognising them as lawful and not regarding those who live in such a marriage as living in sinful co-habitation. Proceeding from considerations of pastoral oikonomiathe Russian Orthodox Church has deemed it possible, both in the past and present, to celebrate marriages between Orthodox Christians and Catholics, members of the Oriental Churches and Protestants who confess the faith in the Triune God, provided the marriage is blessed in the Orthodox Church and the children are raised in the Orthodox faith. Most of the Orthodox Churches have followed the same practice for the past centuries.

By its decree of June 23, 1721, the Sacred Synod permitted to celebrate marriages on the above-mentioned conditions between Swedish captives held in Siberia and Orthodox brides. On August 18 of the same year, this Synodal decision was give a thorough biblical and theological substantiation in a special Synodal Letter. This Letter was also used as reference subsequently when the Holy Synod had to make a decision on mixed marriages in provinces annexed from Poland and Finland (the Holy Synod Decrees of 1803 and 1811). In these provinces, however, it was permitted to choose freely the confessional affiliation of children (this practice was applied for some time in the Baltic provinces as well). Finally, the rules concerning mixed marriages for the whole Russian Empire were sealed in the Statute of the Religious Consistories (1883). Many dynastic marriages were mixed, and for their celebration it was not required of the non-Orthodox party to embrace Orthodoxy (with the exception of the marriage of an heir to the Russian throne). Thus, the Protomartyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, was married to Prince Sergiy Alexandrovich and only later embraced Orthodox by her own will.

 

http://orthodoxeurop.../page/3/14.aspx

 

 

 The hope that a non-Orthodox Christian spouse may be drawn to Orthodoxy is stated by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on its web site.

 

Hope, yes. But that hope is not a condition, requirement or a goal of a marriage.



#18 Michał

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 12:01 PM

And as for the question in the OP: because inbreeding does not end well.



#19 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 06:18 PM

Hope, yes. But that hope is not a condition, requirement or a goal of a marriage.
 

 Nobody said it was.
 



#20 Kosta

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 07:28 PM

And as for the question in the OP: because inbreeding does not end well.


I must say that I am surprised by some of Kosta's comments. To say that the 'Orthodox wedding service is actually out of place in today's society' cannot be right; marriage blessed by the Church has been going on since the late fourth century and is a sacrament of the Church and part of Holy Tradition. Who is to say that it could be set aside? We do not conform to the shiftings of society. We must conform to the Church, not allow any part of Tradition to be compromised by the world. And how else are Orthodox couples to be joined together in God's presence?

What I'm saying is that if anyone actually reads the marriage rite a few things become apparent. The rite is composed of many fertility prayers. Today the laity is so ignorant that quite a few of them are seeking this ceremony at old age. There is an age limit which modernist society simply cannot understand.

Secondly the rite is meant for those born into the faith not converts. That's why their is a prayer for the parents in the service. The rite presupposes a young couple whose Orthodox parents are alive and present at the ceremony. The prayer is one for commending the parents raising them in the faith and passing the traditions on.

The Orthodox marriage is a completely different animal than anything the secularists or Western Christianity or the government promotes. Its an insult to even equate modern unions to Orthodox marriage, its a completely different institution, resembles nothing with its supposed counterpart. Either the Church should get out of the marriage business or the state should. You cannot serve two Masters.

Edited by Kosta, 09 October 2014 - 07:33 PM.





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