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Non-Orthodox participation in the Mysteries


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#41 Loucas

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 01:11 AM


 

I'm way into this discussion so forgive my late entry; we
confess one God and one faith that means we believe the ancient faith. Catholic
is also a Greek word and refers to ALL being of the same belief, truth. Not
that all beliefs or interpretations are accepted. All the Holy Fathers and
Mothers of the Orthodox Church have kept and passed on the very same truth
taught by Christ to the Disciples and from them to the world. It seems to me
that it would be clear why the Sacraments be exclusive to Orthodox Christians.
Because they believe and confess the same faith. It would be as Christ himself
said, if the Holy Sacraments were made available to anyone just because they
assumed they were worthy, “like throwing pearls to the swine’s". Myself, I
find it hard to understand why someone would want to participate or partake of
the mysteries without completely accepting the One Holy Orthodox faith. I don't
think I even understand the point. Say for instance why not receives the Holy
Gifts and at the same time NOT believes they are Christ Body and Blood. All you
need to do is to do some reading on the Patristics and see what the sacred
faith meant to so many and still means today. The Orthodox Faith is not Ancient,
is not Modern it is Eternal. The Divine Mysteries are GIFTS, from GOD through
the BODY of CHRIST, and anyone who believes this will accept the Truth and
Faith that professes this. Oh, remember that the Apostle Paul said that if one person in the marriage was Christian, thier faith would save thier spouse who was not.



 



#42 Michał

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 04:10 PM

So I have a few questions:

- What is a 'sacrament"?

- How many sacraments are there and which one are they?

- What differs non-sacramental activities in Church from sacraments.?

- Why some non-sacramental activities are allowed for the non-Orthodox?



#43 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 05:42 PM


Michal said: 'Been Orthodox for 24 years as well as my entire family. Having a priest, a nun, and a deacon amongst family members. Coming from the area that has Orthododox [sic]presence since it was inhabited in XII century...'

 

Why, then, do you ask the questions posed in your post #42?



#44 Michał

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 10:45 PM

Why, then, do you ask the questions posed in your post #42?

 

If you find these questions easy, Andrew, then you could answer them.



#45 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 11:31 PM

In answer to the first two questions, I refer you to post #2 which is based on the GOARCH website, easily found by anyone who enquires. What do you mean by a non-sacramental activity? An instance is the distribution of antidoron which is available for non-Orthodox. Another is kissing the Cross. Non-Orthodox may do these things because they do not require a confession of the Orthodox faith.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 11 October 2014 - 11:35 PM.


#46 Michał

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 08:23 AM

In answer to the first two questions, I refer you to post #2 which is based on the GOARCH website, easily found by anyone who enquires.

 

 

Then why some theologians have mentioned different numbers, starting from 2 to 10 or more? When and why have the Orthodox Church so firmly adopted the Tridentine definition?

 

And assuming, 7 is a fine answer, do sacraments have variants, are there incomplete sacraments? For example, concerning the sacrament of orders: is subdeaconate/deaconate the same sacrament as presbyteriate/bishopric? Or is it incomplete sacrament? Or maybe an alternative form? Or maybe each grade starting from reader, ending on bishop is its own sacrament? Why not? For example, baptism and chrismation: why are they 2 sacraments as they are performed together and they are actually parts of one rite of initiation? Why then betrothal and crowning aren't two sacraments as well? Is the marital rite for widowers as sacramental as regular one?

 

 

 An instance is the distribution of antidoron which is available for non-Orthodox. Another is kissing the Cross. Non-Orthodox may do these things because they do not require a confession of the Orthodox faith.

 

These, as well as monastic tonsure, funeral, adoption, drinking holy water... Why are not these sacraments, especially the ones that are for Orthodox only?


Edited by Michał, 12 October 2014 - 08:28 AM.


#47 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 12:55 PM

Michal is correct: the numbering of the sacraments or Mysteries is an innovation from the Roman Church (and the scholarly west likes exact taxonomy). The Orthodox way was not to be so precise and was - and properly is - minded to see all actions by the Church and in the life in Christ as sacramental. Thus, not only all the works done by priests such as blessing objects, but all the actions of people in their lives may be sanctified by any Orthodox Christian who thereby fulfils his being of the 'royal priesthood' as when, for example, he blesses his meal before eating and drinking. The difference between any action done in Christ by an Orthodox Christian and others is that the Orthodox Christian is following and acting in accord with the 'Mind of the Church'. Non-Orthodox are specifically excluded from the 'major' sacraments because they demarcate, as it were, the boundaries of the Church, but in a sense they are excluded from everything because they do not participate in any sanctified activity as members of the Body of Christ.



#48 Phoebe K.

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 03:50 PM

Life is a mystery in as far as I understand the writings of the fathers, we have specific things we call Mysteries or sacraments which are the preserve of Orthodox Christians as the Royal Preisthood, these are presided over by those who have been set apart and sanctified by the Church to lead us in worship as members of clergy.

 

The differentiation in the Ordained clergy is as for as I understand is that they are set apart to serve on behalf of the people of God.  Readers and Sub-deacons are the minor orders having specific roles and duties within worship which they are ordained to for fill in the Altar and in leading the singing.  Deacons, Presbyters and Bishops compose the major orders and are set apart from the Royal Priesthood to enter the Altar and present the gift of the people not just on the earthly Altar but at the heavenly one.  We all participate in the Priesthood of Christ, those who are Ordained do this in a more visible way than the rest of us.

 

Once we take the view that life is a mystery or as sacramental, we can see it as a continuum form the great mystery of the Eucharist and those associated with it, the other principal Mysteries all happen in relation to this.  Initiation (baptism and crismation) originally happened predominantly in the preparation for the great pascal liturgy and almost every time someone is received they receive communion at the end of the service, Ordinations always happen in the context of the liturgy, and originally Marage happened within the context of the liturgy.  Monastic toncher happens in the context of the liturgy as it has a close relationship with baptism (though I am shore someone else who knows more about this can explain it better than I can). Of course Confession is also linked closely to the Eucharist in restoring us to the purity of baptism, and the anointing for healing (which was originally in the context of the liturgy) both help us on the path to Theoses which is the aim of all of our spiritual life.

 

Other things such as the blessing of breads, the blessing of coliva, churching of woman, adoptions, making of caticumins,  having our homes blessed and the like are all parts of our spiritual life which sanctify the whole of our life but not specifically related to the Eucharist, and can happen at any service not necceraly at the liturgy.  These do need a preist however which links them to the liturgy and the worship of the whole church.

 

We also have those things which we all do as the Royal Priesthood to sanctify our lives, starting with our prayer life, and including things such as consuming Holy water, fasting, blessing food and drink before we eat or drink, or even blessing ourselves with the sign of the cross.  These ones find there full meaning in the baptized, but can and are done by catachumins.

 

Between these too fall things like oil form lamps and myrrh form icons or relics which can be used by Priests to bless but can also be used by laity to bless themselves or family members, or the venerating relics or icons which we do both at church liturgically and in privet.  These things not being excusably for the baptized, however those outside the church gain little benefit form them long turm unless the grace bestowed soferns the heart to true repentance and being united tot he church.

 

As for numbering the mysteries that is a scholastic thing and although some use it as a short hand it dose not really speak of the sanctifying and transformation of our whole life which is what the Orthodox church calls us to.

 

As the Mysteries are a continuam so are how much we participate in them, for those outside the church only the things of sanctifying life and veneration of saints are fully open to them, this being deepened by becoming a caticumin, the only of the major mysteries open to those outside the church being initiation to receive them into the sacramental life of the Church.  As we grow in our faith we participate in the mysteries more deeply and fully, this process never ending as the mystery of God is never ending.

 

I hope this helps, and those of you who know these things better than I do feel free to correct me where I have got things wrong or explained them badly.



#49 Michał

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 04:07 PM

Interesting point you made. That would make 8 sacraments in the Orthodox Church: 7 + monastic tonsure then. 



#50 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 04:36 PM

Coronation of an Orthodox sovereign?



#51 Ben Johnson

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 05:05 PM

It would be better for the Orthodox to just say that we have Sacraments and not try to count them.



#52 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 05:05 PM

Indeed.



#53 Phoebe K.

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 06:10 PM

Michal

 

I think you missed the point I was trying to make that Life from creation to redemption and theses is a Mystery and all the mysteries reveal this too us.  How far we see life as the Mystery depends on how deeply we have allowed the Lord to tuch us.

 

The writings of the saints reveal this deeper understanding of Mystery and Life as liturgy if we can but open our eyes to see it.  This was even alluded to in the Gospels reading today (new calender) for the fathers of the seventh Ecumenical counsel, the parable of the sower.  As was pointed out in the sermon we had today we need to try and see Christ in everyone and not allow ourselves to be distracted by the things of the world.  

 

My point is God created us a unified being to be in communion with him, the split between sacred and secular is something of the fall, and the Church tries by the life she encureges us to lead to help us transcend this.  As many of the fathers put it, "A theologian is one who prays truly and one who prays truly is a theologian."  

 

As far as I understand it reason as we know it has very little to do with heavenly wisdom which comes from a living relationship with our Lord.  The reason some 'mysteries' are only for those who are initiated and some for all is because none can bare the true revelation of Christ without perpetration so the Church in her wisdom protects us from what would harm us.  It is a thing of prayer and experience rather than something words or reason can contain.



#54 Kosta

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 06:09 AM

There are many mysteries in the church. The well known 7 mysteries are for the living members of the Body. There are specific rites, and prayers for these mysteries, they aid both body and soul and are vehicles of grace. Then you have mysteries preformed by the Church militant on behalf of Her members who have passed away, this includes prayers for the dead, funeral services, etc. You have parakkesis and molebens service either to the Theotokos or a Saint to benefit the living, likewise glorifications. In prayers for the dead we interceed on behalf of our brethren that have passed to the other side. In moliebens we ask the glorified Saints to interceed on our behalf who remain on this side. Then you have those mysteries which are opened to all peoples.

Edited by Kosta, 13 October 2014 - 06:15 AM.





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