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'Seven sacraments'?


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#1 Kosmas Damianides

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 03:19 PM

I recently read this article on the internet (I won't say from where because I don't defame people behind their back) which said that the Orthodox Church believes in 7 major Sacraments but that it also believes in other services called Non-Sacramentals. What??? In all my years of studying Theology, I have never heard of such a separation of Sacraments (or Mysteries) into such classifications.

And we were taught that the only reason we say we have 7 Sacraments was in reaction to the Reformation which only proclaimed 2 Sacraments and 4 Ecumenical Councils.

The Mysteries of God are un-limited and so in reality cannot be counted. What is more upsetting is that there are books published from that are used in class rooms for Orthodox children and teach the same rubbish. (BTW they also call Joseph Jesus' earthly father and make certain other errors, like blame the Jews for crucifyig Jesus - these are books for little kids by the way).

Please pray for me.

Lots of Love to All

Kosmas


#2 Theopesta

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 06:25 PM

such thoughts had appeared in cairo but we refuse them, and we say there is difference between SACRAMENT which are always and for ever {7} and mysteries of GOd which is always many and wherever we go we know more and more


#3 Byron Jack Gaist

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 04:46 AM

Glad to hear that children are getting the right idea of what their faith is all about...Can something be done about the twaddle these young minds are fed, Kosmas? A letter to the editors of these books, perhaps?

Also Theopesta, can you explain a bit more about the difference between "sacrament" and "mystery"?

In Christ
Byron


#4 Theopesta

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 08:45 AM

as my weak knowledge I know that we have 3 words
SACRAMENT SECRET MYSTERY
in the ritual orthgodox life the orthodox tradation keep 7 sacrament.

according to rational and knowledgable religious and also secular life we have many secrets about the life many mysteries

sacrament: this word use ecclesiastically about invisible grace is gifted by GOD thu visible rite on the hand of ordained preist

e.g in the baptism: the invisible grace = the deathe of the old man and the recreation of the new man - i.e regeneration, renewing of the Holy Ghost ; the visible rite = the immersion in the water by ordained official priest so on in the remain sacraments

we cannot say the ordnaition of monks/ nuns is sacrament in the coptic church it is just a death prayer. also, the prayer on the death not sacrament it is a mere prayer

also consecration of churchs not sacrament it is under the anointing sacrament I don't know if this is the correct expression of this sacrament which made after baptism

the mystery: in the biblical and theological level this word used about many things we cannot know it by our natural reason

"great is the mystery of godliness " 1 tim iii: 16
also: rom 11: 25, 1co xv: 51, 52
1tim iii: 9, mar iv: 11, eph vi: 19

if I am mistaken in any thing it is a blessed chance to correct my

#5 Theopesta

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 08:58 AM

about the word secret:

I find in a learner's dictionary concise edition harpercollins publishers 1996, 2003 that: secret is a fact known by only a small number of people, and is not told or shown to anyone else.

the word sacrament: -in the same dictionary- is a christian religious ceremony

the word mystery: is somthing that is not understood or known about

#6 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 09:33 AM

Dear Kosmas and others,

There has been some discussion on this topic before in this forum. A few posts come to mind:

First, a post from me on the subject of 'seven sacraments'.

Then a response by Fr Averky on most Orthodox books listing seven.

Then my response.

There is also an older thread on the question of Sacraments or Mysteries.


INXC, Matthew


#7 Guest_Mina Monir

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 10:34 PM

dear dr. Steenberg , I was wondering if I can find Orthodox books answer the protestants on the sacraments ... it will be usefull. thnx in advance.

yours in Christ
Mina Monir

#8 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 12:17 PM

Dear Mina (please do call me Matthew),

I don't know off-hand of books that specifically speak to Protestant conceptions of 'sacraments' from an Orthodox viewpoint. I would recommend looking into the on-line resources of Fr John Whiteford in America (and perhaps contacting him thereby), as he is very adept at these sorts of topics and associated resources.

INXC, Matthew


#9 Guest_Mina Monir

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 02:42 AM

dear members ,

About the Prieshood sacrament , I have a useful book of HH pope Shenouda III

I hope it would be useful.
Mina

#10 Olga

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 03:58 AM

the radio program "Our Life In Christ" at www.ourlifeinchrist.com has run a long series recently called Trinity, Incarnation and Sacrament. Their programs are downloadable for direct audio streaming, or for storage on hard drive or other medium. As I've mentioned in other posts, the presenters are Orthodox converts from evangelical Protestant, and frequently address differences between Protestant and Orthodox views, doctrine and theology.


#11 Guest_Mina Monir

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 01:49 AM

thanks Olga , I found it very interesting - I heard a series about who is a saint , it was fruitful , and I hope pur protestant brothers could here that... thanks again.

#12 Guest_Mina Monir

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 01:54 AM

I sent a book about comparative theology , it discusses the differences between orthodoxy and protestantism , and answers the questions of and rejects of protestants ... written by HH pope Shenouda III . I hope u enjoy it


#13 Reader Andreas

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 12:02 AM

As we celebrate Pentecost and, very soon, the Day of the Holy Spirit, perhaps we should, as Father Raphael indicates, think not only in terms of the Eucharist but of all seven sacraments. Someone said that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. We know that (though not how) He works in all the sacraments, conferring, as Father Raphael said, the grace which is the fullness of the Life of (and in) Christ, a fullness which can only be exist where there is right belief. The Orthodox experience of the sacraments confirms this. Experience, not opinion. What we experience 'about the great Christian Mysteries is not an opinion of our own (if it were an opinion of our own, it would be worth nothing), but it is the repeated experience of the Apostles in the ancient days and of the saints up to our own days. The opinions of intellectual persons may be wonderfully clever and yet be false, whereas the experience of the saints is always true': St Nikolai Velimirovich.

Mark's last two posts appeared as I posted this. Not surprisingly, given what I posted in 'the other thread' (and I can add St Nikolai to St Nektarios as far as recent authority for belief in what the Eucharist is is concerned), I identify myself with what Mark says.

#14 Father David Moser

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 03:18 AM

As we celebrate Pentecost and, very soon, the Day of the Holy Spirit, perhaps we should, as Father Raphael indicates, think not only in terms of the Eucharist but of all seven sacraments.


And even further than this, remember that the Orthodox Church does not necessary enumerate the sacraments, but rather allows that everything that occurs within the Church is a sacrament. Thus whenever one member of the Church acts as a member of the Church, the grace of the Holy Spirit is present. Therefore if I, as an Orthodox Christian, give alms to a muslim beggar - it is a sacrament and the beggar is touched by grace even as I am. If I offer a meal blessing at a dinner where there are atheists present, it is a sacrament and everyone who partakes of that meal is touched by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Everything that the Church does - and everything that we do as members of the Church and in sympathy with the Holy Spirit is a sacrament.

Fr David Moser

#15 Nina

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 03:46 AM

And even further than this, remember that the Orthodox Church does not necessary enumerate the sacraments, but rather allows that everything that occurs within the Church is a sacrament. Thus whenever one member of the Church acts as a member of the Church, the grace of the Holy Spirit is present. Therefore if I, as an Orthodox Christian, give alms to a muslim beggar - it is a sacrament and the beggar is touched by grace even as I am. If I offer a meal blessing at a dinner where there are atheists present, it is a sacrament and everyone who partakes of that meal is touched by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Everything that the Church does - and everything that we do as members of the Church and in sympathy with the Holy Spirit is a sacrament.

Fr David Moser


Dear Father David,

Your Blessings!

This is so beautiful and so moving! Thank you!

#16 Tim Grass

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 07:58 AM

As we celebrate Pentecost and, very soon, the Day of the Holy Spirit, perhaps we should, as Father Raphael indicates, think not only in terms of the Eucharist but of all seven sacraments. Someone said that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. We know that (though not how) He works in all the sacraments, conferring, as Father Raphael said, the grace which is the fullness of the Life of (and in) Christ, a fullness which can only be exist where there is right belief. The Orthodox experience of the sacraments confirms this. Experience, not opinion. What we experience 'about the great Christian Mysteries is not an opinion of our own (if it were an opinion of our own, it would be worth nothing), but it is the repeated experience of the Apostles in the ancient days and of the saints up to our own days. The opinions of intellectual persons may be wonderfully clever and yet be false, whereas the experience of the saints is always true': St Nikolai Velimirovich.

Mark's last two posts appeared as I posted this. Not surprisingly, given what I posted in 'the other thread' (and I can add St Nikolai to St Nektarios as far as recent authority for belief in what the Eucharist is is concerned), I identify myself with what Mark says.


One of the signs of the Roman Catholic influence on Orthodox expression has been this idea of "seven Sacraments"....... I don't know of any Orthodox books saying it until after the influence of Jesuit handbooks.

--tim

#17 Reader Andreas

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 10:41 AM

I have read that the Church does not have it dogmatically that there are seven sacraments, but in books of catechesis (I have only Greek ones) it is said there are seven. These are instituted by the Church for specific reasons or occasions, but of course, given that these sacraments or mysteries are channels of the grace of the Holy Spirit, we would all acknowledge that He acts also non-institutionally through other means such as through the saints, relics, icons, scripture, and prayer, and further, as Father David tells us. I don't know about Jesuit manuals but it would be interesting if anyone knows if the Church does mention anywhere seven sacraments before the time of the Jesuits - though I don't feel it matters that much. There are, after all, things the Roman and Orthodox Churches hold in common.

#18 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 12:10 PM

Dear Andreas and others,

So far as I am aware (and I've nothing to hand by which I could check this at the moment), the numeration of specifically seven sacraments beings to appear in Orthodox handbooks at the same time of the rise in Jesuit influence in much of the Slavic Orthodox world. It became widespread very quickly, and could soon be found in Greek catachetical books as well as Russian - where it is often still found today (and in English: the 'Hapgood edition' of the service book has for the reception of converts the confession of belief in 'the seven sacraments of the Orthodox Church...').

Per se it is not incorrect, since certainly these seven sacraments are sacraments. But to delimit only these as sacraments is quite a late, western-influenced trend.

Fr David's recent comments on this are excellent. There is also some very good material on the same in the archives.

INXC, Matthew

#19 Fr Seraphim (Black)

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 01:10 PM

'In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, "If any man thirst..." [John 7:37]

Of great depth and vast riches are the following words of Fr. David:

Thus whenever one member of the Church acts as a member of the Church, the grace of the Holy Spirit is present.
Fr David Moser


Forgive me for speaking of an experience I had whilst staying at the Monastery of St. George the Great Martyr on the island of Prinkipos, off the coast of Constantinople in September of 2001.

I had arrived on Prinkipos from a kelli of the Holy Monastery of Xeropotamou on the Holy Mountain, Greece with three other Fathers.

We had taken the blessing of His Grace the Ecumenical Patriarch on September 3rd at the Phanar (the day on which we crossed the Greek/Turkish border) and we arrived at the Monastery of St. George the Great Martyr before Vespers.

Sometime after the shattering events of September 11th we received word that a mother and father were bringing their 12 year old son to the Monastery. They were a Muslim family and their Iman had instructed them thus, that the only place in Istanbul where this boy would receive healing was at the Monastery of St. George, before the Miracle working Icon of the Panagia within the Catholicon.

Before our only Hieromonk was free to come into the Church, it fell to this wretch to pray the Psalter over this young boy.

His mother held him and I read the Psalms in English.

Herein is the 'wind' the 'Church before all time' the furtherance of the ministry of the Apostles.

All I can say is that I can not find the words. Admidst the confusion, fear, uncertainty of those day of September 2001, here was this young Muslim boy, broken by illness, held by his mother, brought here by the express desire of their Iman.

The entire island was a Sacrament that day.

#20 John Charmley

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 02:27 PM

Dear Fr. Seraphim,

A story of our times - but of all time, which reminds us that He is Who is, and His mercy never fails.

For such edification, thank you.

In Christ,

John




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