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Fundamentals of Catholic Christianity


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#1 Christopher Dombrowski

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 03:01 AM

I'm just wondering what is regarded as absolutely fundamental to the Catholicity of the Church such that we would not share full communion with any other group that did not have these qualities.

I'm wondering primarily in terms of dogma. Are all ecumenically recognized beliefs fundamental to full communion? Or are certain areas characteristic of the Catholicity and others simply realms of theological speculation? Is it fundamental both for Christians we commune with to believe in the Orthodox explanation of the Holy Trinity as it is to believe it is appropriate for us to venerate saints, for instance? Or that the Holy Virgin was born with the ancestral curse? Or are there more core and fundamental beliefs that "trump" other areas of our faith? Finally, are there other areas fundamental to the Catholicity other than dogma and the 7 main Sacred Mysteries?

#2 Luke

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 01:40 AM

I think the fundamentals are the doctrine (the 7 ecumenical councils) and the practice of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Trying to explain this anymore or explain it "super specifically and in every scenario" as if theology changes over time is the problem, among other things, with other christian denominations.

#3 Olga

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:27 AM

I think the fundamentals are the doctrine (the 7 ecumenical councils) and the practice of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Trying to explain this anymore or explain it "super specifically and in every scenario" as if theology changes over time is the problem, among other things, with other christian denominations.


A simple but important elaboration on Luke's good and useful post: As well as what the ecumenical councils have to say, the doctrines and theology of the Orthodox Church are expressed most concisely, and universally (i.e. across all of the Orthodox world, irrespective of geographic or cultural variation), though the liturgical and iconographic deposit of the Church (the most accessible and visible forms of Orthodox practice).

Ultimately, all the ancient and modern heresies and deviations from the Orthodox faith are, at their essence and core, Christological. At risk of sounding irreverent, getting right the "who, what, where and when" of Christ is the first step, and then everything falls into place. The services of vespers and matins are the richest liturgical sources of Orthodox doctrine and theology.

#4 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 02:15 PM

Just to second Olga's post, the doctrine/dogma/theology of the Church are in the service books. Not all Orthodox, by any means, read the writings of the theologians or peruse the canons of the Councils, but you can hardly be called Orthodox if you don't go to church, and there you have the services.

#5 Ryan

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 02:20 PM

I wonder if anyone has ever considered putting together a book of "dogmatic hymnody," that is, a collection of hymns organized to exemplify all the major doctrinal points of the church, as an alternative to the more standard dogmatic theology texts in dry prose.

#6 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 10:29 PM

I wonder if anyone has ever considered putting together a book of "dogmatic hymnody," that is, a collection of hymns organized to exemplify all the major doctrinal points of the church, as an alternative to the more standard dogmatic theology texts in dry prose.


Yes, been done. It is called the Menaion, oh and Triodion, and don't forget the Pentecostarion!

Theology is evidently not simply to be studied, but to be sung!

Herman the hymning Pooh

#7 Ryan

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 03:07 AM

Well, I was thinking more of a single handy volume with selected hymns organized according to topic. Imagine if you took a book like Pomazansky's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology. You kept all the chapter headings and subtitles, but instead of blocks of prose, you had hymns appropriate to the subject, with perhaps some explanatory notes as well. Of course there is nothing like experiencing the hymns in the context of the services, but I think there is something to be said for studying the Church's hymnody in private as well. The doctrines, for me, tend to come out most vividly and dynamically as poetry.

#8 Olga

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 09:29 AM

Ryan, unfortunately Herman is right. I would add to his list the Ochtoicos/Okhtoik, the Trebnik/Euchologion, the Horologion/Chasoslov ... Unfortunately, Orthodoxy ain't too good at "potted" theology or dogma, outside of the Nicene Creed and the Hymn of St Justinian the Great (Only-begotten Son and immortal Word of God ...)

#9 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 02:32 PM

Like Ryan, I would like a collection of key extracts from the service books since reading through them all is too much to ask.

#10 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 04:22 PM

Like Ryan, I would like a collection of key extracts from the service books since reading through them all is too much to ask.


The best solution would be to attend as many non-Divine Liturgy services of the Church as possible throughout the year, providing they are available and served in a comprehensible language... ah but that is another thread...

Herman the Pooh

#11 Eric Peterson

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 07:45 PM

I think they want something they can reference, that is, a book. We reference the liturgy in a different way.

#12 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 09:19 PM

I think they want something they can reference, that is, a book. We reference the liturgy in a different way.


Yes. Where is the full cycle of services to be experienced? Nowhere around here! And a perusal of the texts would beneficial.

#13 Olga

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 09:49 PM

Yes. Where is the full cycle of services to be experienced? Nowhere around here! And a perusal of the texts would beneficial.


While few, if any, parishes conduct the full liturgical cycle daily, the richest source of the theology and doctrines of the Church are found in Vespers and Matins. Regarding liturgical texts, there is an abundance of them available online, with Greek and Slavonic texts being the most complete, however, there are good amounts of English materials available as well. If there's anything you need, Andreas, I'd be happy to help.

Let us also not forget the importance of canonical iconography in expressing and transmitting the truths of the faith.

#14 Owen Jones

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 03:10 PM

Boy, if such a book existed, I would gobble it up in a minute! Are we worried that people would just study the book and not go to Church????

#15 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 06:52 PM

Boy, if such a book existed, I would gobble it up in a minute! Are we worried that people would just study the book and not go to Church????


Liturgical Texts online

Herman

#16 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 08:12 PM

Let us also not forget the importance of canonical iconography in expressing and transmitting the truths of the faith.


I quite agree. In a church where canonical icons and wall paintings are to be seen, they do indeed complement and express the texts.

Certainly, as Olga says, when there is a feast, it is in the vespers and matins for the feast (the vigil service) that we find the fulness of liturgical expression.




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