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#21 Guest_Fr John Wehling

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 04:21 AM

Dear brother in Christ, Fr Averky,

Is is interesting that you mention the United Pentecostals. They actually are not Arians so much as they are Sabellians: they do not believe in the Holy Trinity, but rather in a form of modalism. And I understand, perhaps incorrectly, that they are the fastest growing Pentecostal denomination in the world. I do believe that evangelicals who are "in the know" recognize their heretical teaching and don't have any sort of communion (used loosely) with the UP's.

However, T.D. Jakes is, I believe, UP, and his books are carried in many Christian bookstores. so maybe there are many who are not "in the know."

If anybody has any corrections to make to my comments I am glad to hear them.

For what it's worth,
Fr John


#22 Fr Averky

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 07:26 AM

Dear in Christ Father John, my Brother

Thank ypu for the information. I happened to look at the information by the UPI which my friend was using for his paper, but that sounds pretty close to what I heard from Pentecostals over the years, but then, I would not know the "fine points" of thier beliefs. Never having been a Protestant of any kind, I really have no comprehension of their belief systems other than they are so varied.

Richard,

I will ask one of the monks who teaches in the seminary, my mind is too tired now, and I have not looked at some of these issues in years. I was not able to continue on in my studies because I was assigned as a secretary to a bishop, and my life became very busy in many areas after that.

I appreciate your considerations, for they are always thoughtful.

Sincerely

Fr.A.




#23 Moses Anthony

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 02:50 PM

Dear Rebecca,

In your post a day sgo you statedthat "The ehos of the world is so far from the ethos of God.", when you spoke about holy fools and the freedom they enjoyed. As a Protestant my best friend (here in Texas) and I tried unsuccessfully to define "freedom" in the context of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian church; "It was for freedom that Christ set you free, therefore do not become entangled again with a yoke of bondage." (Gal.6:1)

It was that search for a definition that pricked my interest, when at the local university library, I espied a book, Freedom of The Spirit, by Nicholas Berdeyev. I found the definition my friend and I had searched for all those years.

What an interesting thing it is, that unrestrained by the things so many consider as necessary, Holy Fools struggle - so far as thsy've travelled in deification - against the passions, which those blinded by the devil think of as commonplace, and no big deal.
Protestants, and Charismatics in particular, have defined "...the joy of the Lord is my strength..." to inculde as prominent, an outer manifestation of happiness. I think it was Edmund Burke who said, "Happy is he who has nothing to lock up!"

I know that I'm not a 'holy fool', but I know that I'm happiest when nothing restrains me from loving God whole-heartedly. THANKS!

the unworthy servant

#24 Guest_Donald Wescott

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 03:46 PM

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

It has become clearer to me all the time, that there are many Protestants, Evangelical and otherwise, who hold Arian type beliefs. There are a number of young men whom I work with who fancy themselves as Messianic Jews, or "Jews for Jesus" if you will. One thing that always stops conversation in it's tracks is when I ask the question Christ asked of his Holy Disciples and Apostles, "Who do you say that I am" They are willing to say that He is Messiah, Savior and Lord, but not to acknowledge that He is indeed God in the flesh. My parish priest sees the fundamental "battle" if you will, in American religion today as one between Incarnational theology and Arianism, I tend to agree.

His unworthy servant,
Donald Eusebios

#25 Arsenios

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 04:05 PM

Richard writes:

Father Romanides said:

"Following Augustine, the Franks identified revelation with the Bible and believed that Christ gave to the Church the Holy Spirit as a guide to its correct understanding.

This would be similar to claiming that the books of about biology were revealed by microbes and cells without the biologists having seen them with the microscope, and that these same microbes and cells inspire future teachers to correctly understand these books without the use of the microscope"
Franks, Romans, Feudalism And Doctrine; 1981; p.41.

Father Romanides' point is that Orthodox, according to the model of the Fathers, received such Theosis through the nous, or the heart of the soul.


Dear Richard -

I think his point is simply that if you want to know microbes, you go to microbes, so that you do not throw away the microscope [the means of knowing microbes] because you have a text-book ABOUT microbes...

And just because you have texts written by divinized [holy] Fathers *about* God [eg the Bible], you do not throw away your divine "microscope"... So that:

Likewise, if you want to know God, you go to God, and you do not throw away the means of knowing God because you have a text ABOUT God. And the means of knowing God is purification of the heart, prayer, fasting, entering into the Church, obedience to Christ's commandments, self-denial ["Let him deny himself, pick up his own cross, and be following me."] partaking of the Holy Mysteries, and did I mention prayer? And Prayer... Prayer without ceasing... A suffusion of prayer... And entry into God's theanthropic body on earth, the Church...

The Fathers do not have a "Models" of understanding about how theosis [divinization] works - They have descriptions...

The West has its 'models' of understanding -

The Eastern Orthodox Holy Fathers have theosis...

Encountering them is not to be taken lightly, nor as but an intellectual exercise in [western] model-making...

Arsenios

#26 Richard McBride

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 11:32 PM

Monochos: Romanides

Blessed of the Lord Arsenios

As always, I feel you speak with considerable understanding, and I doubt that Romanides would deny agreement with your points.

However, I don't get the same reaction as you have:
"Likewise, if you want to know God, you go to God, and you do not throw away the means of knowing God because you have a text ABOUT God ..."

Not that I deny your interpretation (in fact, I believe you are right). But Romanides is making a different point. His point concerning the texts "about" God was, I think, addressed to the problem of Protestant dependence upon the Bible as though it WERE the Word -- that is, treating the Bible as though it WERE the ontological Revelation itself, and being that which the Protestants seek.
Contrarily, he responds as you mention, that the Bible is ABOUT the Revealed Truth.

He is reducing this matter to the 'experience' itself, and removing from the equation all third party commentary.

Otherwise, I find this Second Lecture of Romanides' to be not only about his 'Empirical Theology", but about Protestant interpretation of the Bible. And somewhere, he makes the specific point that contrary to Protestants, Orthodox receive Revelation empirically, through the nous -- presumably NOT expecting illumination in the way in which Protestants expect it.

For myself, I haven't gone back to find this quote on the "nous"; but can you do better than I have, Arsenios, and reference your interpretations as springing from Romanides' quotes? -- in other words, from which passages in Romanides (not the Bible) do you draw your interpretations?

Thank you, Arsenios, for sharing your notions with me. Mine may simply be a slight difference in opinion on what is the focus of Romanides' words around p.40-42.
But my question is about his interpretation of the work of hte Holy Spirit:
"My question is:
A Does Romanides mean that the Holy Spirit works through the nous? ..." whereas for the Protestants, He does not, or only partially does so?
and:
"if he means 'A', then may it not be that the Pentecostals too are receiving some communications through their nous, but interpret this reception wrongly -- not having advantage of Orthodox effulgence in these matters? "

richard mcb





#27 Arsenios

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 03:20 AM

The following is from the goa website [Greek Orthodox Archdiocese] - My question might be: How many stories like this abound in RC or Pentecostal 'spiritual' literature? Orthodoxy is filled with them...

Several brothers went to Abba Antonios to relate to him certain visions which they beheld and to ascertain from him whether the visions were true or of demonic origin. They had along with them a small donkey which died on the way. Just as they reached Abba Antonios, he, expecting them, said: “How did the little donkey die on the road?”

“How did you know this, Abba?” they said to him.

“The demons revealed it to me.”

And they answered him: “It is for this reason that we came to see you, for fear of being deceived, since we see visions and many times they come true.”

Thus, with the foregoing example of the donkey, the elder made it known to them that their visions came forth from the demons.


Arsenios

#28 Richard Leigh

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 09:40 PM

Dear Donald,

Thanks for the heads up on "Messianic Jews," I learn from you to question them. It is important to our little Jewish Mission. We are Lutheran so we are Trinitarian (in the Augistinian sense, of course). Also, be careful about labels. I don't think Moshe Rosen, founder of the actual "Jews for Jesus" organization is anything besides western trinitarian, though it may bear futher study. OTOH, there are varieties of "Messianic Judaism" out there, and they certainly bear testing.

Fr. A., Father John is correct about the Sabbellian Modalism of the UPC (hence, it is not the Holy Spirit they are "baptized with").

Richard M. and everyone interested regarding "nous,"

Patristic psychology developed its terminology from Plato and the Stoics, and is naturally Hellenistic. "Nous" is understood to be the "organ" for recieving objectively spiritual data (which can only be from God -- [bear with me please, I knopw I'm oversimplifying]). The Fall caused the darkening of the nous such that it could no longer receive the input. It is gradually cleansed through exercise in ascetics.

All true spiritual observation/reception is through the nous including, of course, the inspiration of Scripture. It takes "Spirit" to recognize spirit, though, so, it is not enough to simply read scripture (though God can cleanse the nous through doing so if He chooses). I don't think the Fathers deny the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures.

Yours,

Richard

#29 Richard Leigh

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 02:35 PM

Dear Richard M. and Arsenios,

Protestants are currently divided as to whether the Bible is "The Word" of God or "a word ABOUT God." Those of them (us) who take the former view are what you might call the Fundamentalists (but I would say not necessarily) and those the other the Liberals.

Protestant Conservative concern for its original stance on Scripture is a recognition that the Spirit who had them written through the minds and hands of men speaks to us through them and what He says there is objective to us. The concern about receiving enlightenment through the nous is that this is seen as subjective, "nous" being interpreted solely as "mind," and thus interior to the individual. Seen as a human organ of perception, like the eye or ear (eye of the soul, no less), what it brings us, when purified will be objective. This is not yet understood in current conservative protestantism.

Arsenios,

Catholics are rife with stories like that as are Pentecostals and even Jews (not to menion Moslems).

Richard


#30 Arsenios

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 03:59 PM

Richard McBride writes:

I don't get the same reaction as you have:
"Likewise, if you want to know God, you go to God, and you do not throw away the means of knowing God because you have a text ABOUT God ..."

Romanides is making a different point. His point concerning the texts "about" God was, I think, addressed to the problem of Protestant dependence upon the Bible as though it WERE the Word -- that is, treating the Bible as though it WERE the ontological Revelation itself, and being that which the Protestants seek.



Dear Richard - Thank-you for unpacking that a little, yet we are saying the same thing... For Protestants, the Bible is the Word of God, and for Orthodox, Christ is...

He is reducing this matter to the 'experience' itself, and removing from the equation all third party commentary.



In a way, yes, for all of Orthodoxy seeks the union of God and man, and what third party would anyone want for commentary? [:-)] Yet do you really think that he is seeing the Bible as merely 'third party commentary'? And that he is "reducing this matter to the experience itself"? This understanding would deny the catholicity of the Church, the mind of which [remember Paul writing "We have the mind (nous) of Christ"?] does not understand by "reduction", and certainly not by reduction to individual experience, but by fatherhood, for we become sons in Christ of our Father, and Paul writes "Ye have many teachers of the Gospel, but few fathers."

And this would seem to mean that it is not merely 'experience' that somehow self-validates that the 'matter is being reduced'to, but that by entering into the Body of Christ, the Church, through baptism, we enter into the Life of Him as well, and that within this life, events take place, and that among these events, some may be categorized as "spiritual", but it is not the spiritual events that somehow 'validate' the Church, but the Church that births the penitent into the events...

Am I making sense here?

...Romanides... makes the specific point that contrary to Protestants, Orthodox receive Revelation empirically, through the nous -- presumably NOT expecting illumination in the way in which Protestants expect it.



I think we have all had "religious experience" at various times while reading the Bible, and this, I think, is mostly what Protestants expect, along with great personal and theological insights during sermons and in prayers of crisis...

Yet what Romanides stresses over and over is the crucial and fundamental role of the purification of the heart [ascetic repentance] in preparation for the illumination of the nous... So that while we all have "spiritual experiences", we cannot therefore say we know anything...

...from which passages in Romanides do you draw your interpretations?



Alas, I am not a Romanides scholar, and have not quotations from which to argue interpretation. He was really important in my approach to Orthodoxy several years ago, and I recall the blessed simplicity of his thinking, and it's didactic nature, repeating over and over the sequence of purification of the heart, illumination of the nous, and theosis [divinization of the person]... And how it is that these are found in the Orthodox Church, and are only now, since the emergence of Orthodoxy, even being acknowledged as core Christian understandings. [Although Catholics and MSLs both think they have taught them all along, just not in those specific words... Yet show me the divinized believers [eg the ascetic saints]! You can sure meet them in Orthodoxy!

"My question is: A Does Romanides mean that the Holy Spirit works through the nous? ...whereas for the Protestants, He does not, or only partially does so?

and: ...then may it not be that the Pentecostals too are receiving some communications through their nous, but interpret this reception wrongly -- not having advantage of Orthodox effulgence in these matters? "



I think you will find your answer in the understanding that what is crucial is purification of the heart within the Body of Christ, His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church...

Outside the Church, the Holy Spirit is active... Indeed, some of the "purest" experiences of the Holy Spirit may be those found in totally abject sinners, where a drunk is called from his vomit in the gutters of life to a life of holiness... Yet that drunk is not [yet at least] a saint, but a wounded sinner receiving healing... Once healed, he then has the course of a repentive life to live, entering the struggle with his self, which would like another drink, among many other things, which, if he struggles within the Church and struggles well, he will overcome, taking up his cross daily... And in this overcoming, he purifies his heart, preparing it for illumination of the nous...

There is also noetic experience that comes to unpurified hearts that are outside the Church, and for that matter to those inside Her, [like me], which while received by the nous, comes from the demons, who also operate noetically... Which is why a spiritual father is so important, for prelest [delusion] is a common theme of Orthodox spiritual writings... And an experienced elder is needed for those inexperienced to follow, that they grow in Christ, and not in delusion...

Repentance within the Orthodox Church where experienced elders are found is the key...

Sorry for the too long length of this post...

Arsenios

#31 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 08:56 AM

Reply to James A. Anthony - post no. 185

Your message made me think of something that has been troubling me for some time now.

The older you get the less you want ..... I think to be free we need to start with our possessions.
I have a beautiful home, full of lovely things that I have bought over the years. However, the last 2 or 3 years I find myself struggling under the weight of these things. I have been thinking of this a lot - and I fully understand what Jesus meant when he referred to the rich man and the kingdom of heaven.

The next step to freedom would be confronting our passions - our greed, our envy, our laziness, etc.

Or am I putting the horse before the cart?

Effie



#32 M. Rallis

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 09:21 PM

Dear Richard McBride:

I found a few quotes from an old friend of yours that are on topic, I think, in terms of Romanides discussion of the nous and experience of the Holy Spirit.

“Accordingly, as soon as he has attained this state, God dwells in him and becomes for him all that he desires, or, rather, more than he desires... So God who dwells in him teaches such a man about things to come and things present, not by word, but by action and experience and reality. As God removes the veil from the eyes of his mind he shows him what is His will and what is useful for him. As for other matters, He persuades him not to be inquisitive about them or seek them or be curious about them, for he cannot boldly look into even the things that God reveals to him and shows him. When he stoops low to inquire into the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God he immediately becomes dizzy and is struck with amazement as he thinks of himself and who he is to be counted worthy to behold such things... He is constrained by trembling, fear, and reverence to cry, "Who am I, Lord... that Thou shouldest reveal such mysteries to me, unworthy as I am, and has wondrously made me not only to have a vision of such things, but even to participate and share in them?"
("Symeon the New Theologian: The Discourses", pp. 190-191)

“Your mind will see {God} in the form of a spiritual light with deep calm and joy. This light is the prelude of the eternal and primordial light; it is the reflected brightness of everlasting blessedness . When this appears every passionate thought will vanish and every passion of the soul be dispelled, and every bodily disease healed. Then the eyes of the heart are purified and see that which is written in the Beatitudes (cf. Mt. 5:8). Then the soul sees, as in a mirror, even its slightest failures; it is brought down to the abyss of humility. As it perceives the greatness of the glory it is filled with all joy and gladness; it is struck with amazement at this wonder beyond all hope and flows with tears as from fountains. Thus the man is entirely changed; he knows God and is first known by Him. It is this alone of all things earthly and heavenly, of both present things and things to come, of things troublesome and joyful, that makes a man despise them all. At the same time it makes him a friend of God and a son of the Most High, and, as far as this is attainable to men, a god (cf. Ps. 82:6).”
("Symeon the New Theologian: The Discourses", p. 236


“{Christ says} "The lamp of the body is the eye". What else does He mean by "the eye" than simply the mind, which will never become simple, unless it contemplates the simple light? The simple light is Christ. So he who has His light shining in his mind is said to have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). When your light is thus simple, then the whole immaterial body of your soul will be full of light. But if the mind be evil, that is, darkened and extinguished, then this body of yours will be full of darkness (cf. Lk. 11:34). "Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness" (Lk. 11:35). So He tells us, take heed lest you think that you have what you do not possess (cf. Lk. 8:18). See how the Master Himself addresses us in the same way as His own servants, when He tells us, "Take heed that you do not deceive yourself and think that you have light within you, when it is not light but darkness." See to it that we too utter the same words as the Master to our fellow-servants and do not say anything that is perverted or false.”
("Symeon the New Theologian: The Discourses", pp. 340-341)

So in this last quotation, I see that the evangelist and St. Symeon both are pointing out that if our mind, nous, is still evil and full of darkness, then we are subject to self-deception, or being in a state of denial, thinking that we are communing spiritually with God, but in reality experiencing nothing of the kind. So,then, we have our life in the Orthodox Church, given to us as a blessing by our Lord, to be our unfailing guide for avoiding this state of deception.

“Angels do not have sensible voices, but mentally they offer up constant praise to God. This is their whole occupation; their entire life is dedicated to this. And you too, brother, when you enter your closet and shut the door, i.e. when your mind no longer wanders to and fro, but enters the inner recesses of your heart, and your senses are locked up and kept away from the things of the world, and in this manner you always pray, then you are like the holy angels, and your Father, seeing your secret prayer which you offer to Him out of the treasury of your heart, will bestow upon you openly great spiritual gifts.” (Pray without ceasing,St. Gregory Palamas, translated from the Russian Philokalia, Vol. 5)







#33 Richard McBride

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 06:25 PM

Thanks Arsenios

and to cover only one point, No, I am not speaking of the Bible as a 'their party' but of commentaries on the Bible. And then this raises other questions, but enough of that for now.

richard mcb



#34 Arsenios

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 03:24 AM

Richard Leigh writes:

Protestant Conservative concern for its original stance on Scripture is a recognition that the Spirit who had them written through the minds and hands of men speaks to us through them and what He says there is objective to us.



Thank-you, Richard. That is one of the things about Protestant theology that is problematic for me, because the Bible is seen as inerrant, and as written by the Holy Spirit through the minds and hands of men.

The simple way of stating the truth is that Holy men of God, who were pillars of the Church [having overcome - Rev.], who had in the Church the mind [nous] of Christ, wrote the Bible in the Holy Spirit. Christ's Church, begun by Him with these men, is the pillar and the ground of truth, and that is why these books, which now form the cannon of NT Scripture, having found the approval of the Church, which wrote them, ARE the Bible... Protestants never seem to make the connection between the historic Church, the holiness of the ones who overcome within Her, and the Bible - They always seem to see it as the Holy Spirit writing a book, using available resources [minds and hands of men, as you say...] to do the physical part...

"[...And we believe] in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church..." That is item #4 in the Symbol of the Faith... And the Holy Spirit has guided, and indeed guides this Holy Church, from Pentecost to the present...

The concern about receiving enlightenment through the nous is that this is seen as subjective, "nous" being interpreted solely as "mind," and thus interior to the individual.


If this is a real concern, you see, then one cannot claim Biblical inerrance, for the Holy Men of God who wrote the Bible wrote it with a very enlightened nous, and did not write it as stenographers of the dictation of the Holy Spirit. You see, by having this 'concern', they destroy the basis of their faith in the Bible, which they regard as inerrant.

Seen as a human organ of perception, like the eye or ear (eye of the soul, no less), what it brings us, when purified will be objective. This is not yet understood in current conservative protestantism.


That is not true. [eg - the objectivity of the perception of a purified heart] Purification of the heart is a function of repentance, and is in greater part ours to do, though not apart from God... Enlightenment of the nous is God's doing alone, not ours at all... And we have no control of when or how it may come... When it comes, objectivity and subjectivity are not applicable concepts. As Paul reports, "Whether in the body or in the Spirit, I do not know - God knows..." Nor is Paul curious to know... For he has the mind of Christ, together with the rest of the Church that has 'overcome'... It is the passions that are overcome, yes? So that the determining factors are human purity of heart, and God's purposing in His suffusion of us with His uncreated energies...

Paul's account, btw, was one of divinization, not just enlightenment, but according to Fr. Romanides, the suffusion of the uncreated energies is the same in both events, the difference being the condition of Paul's soul, which was a very con-firmed in the praxisa of the Faith soul, and was not merely a beginning penitential one, like me... [Me who may never be enlightened, at this rate!]

Arsenios

#35 Moses Anthony

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 03:25 AM

Dear Effie,

As you know I've not been in Holy Orthodoxy very long; therefore, I cannot speak with authority as to the Orthodox position on what we must be released from first, to enjoy freedom.

To my simple mind (sorry Herman), it would seem that the main point is, in which area does God require obedience from us. A thought: Which strong man is the strongest in each of us, passions or possessions? Regardless of the answer as the holy Apostle said, "...for the weapons of our warfare are mighty in God, for the pulling down of strongholds..."

As we age we begin to age we see the fleeting shadow of "things", for what they really are, empty smoke and shadows. We focus on those things which are of eternal value, justice, mercy, kindness, love, compassion, truth. What I really want now, is for my family and children to be godly people. And, since religion is more "caught than taught", that means it starts with me. I dislike/hate responsibility!

To step back from my digression, to your original question, I don't know. No doubt Fr. A, Fr. John, or His Grace Archbishop Constantine could more accurately answer you. I fear that I'm caught in both my slavery to possessions (either the ownership or lack of them), and the weakness of my flesh in resisting the passions. LORD HAVE MERCY!

the unworthy servant

#36 Fr Averky

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 07:08 AM

Dear Effie,

I know exactly how you feel. Over the years, knowing that I like "fine" things, many people have gifted me with very beautiful painted icons, some of them quite old, and have given me beauitiful rugs and fine furnishings, and many small antique items.

When I became so very ill a few years ago, I realized how, not wanting to hurt people by giving their gifts away ( I had done so in the past, but people complained), I had allowed myself to have too many things. Since the beginning of the year, I have been steadily giving things away, and I am thinking of giving the larger icons to mission parishes. Having begun to do this, I feel such a sense of "freedom," and the small room I sleep in and say my prayers is quite bare, and I feel very at peace in it.

Take care Effie, and thank you for your prayers and kindness.

In Christ,

Fr. A.


#37 Guest_Archbishop Constantin

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 06:07 PM

I direct this to the two Matthews: Panchisin & Steenberg! But also to al those who sincerely are seeking the truth...

Mr. Panchisin, I say to you that you have hit the nail on the head. No one can be "Catholic and Orthodox" at the same time. It is impossible to accept all the aberations of the bishop of Rome and at the same time renounce them, in order that you can be Orthodox. IMPOSSIBLE!

These people who call themselves "Byzantines" or "Orthodox under the Pope" are like the Genissaries during the days of the late Otoman Empire. The Genissaries were children of the Christians, made up of little babies that each village, town and city had to give to the Sultan as a special tax. The Genissaries were trained by the Turks, told that their father was the Sultan (does it sound like Pope?) and they were the elite of the armed forces and the fiercest persecutors of the Christians in the Otoman Empire. The group still exists (made up now of elite Turkish young men), according to a friend priest from Istanbul. He, at one time, was notified by the Patriarch (then Demetrios) not to come out in the street, because the Genissaries were looking for infidel priests to kill them. He had to hide under a table in their living room for four days... Likewise, these "Catholics-whatever" (Ukranian, Romanian, Carpathorussian, Ruthinian -a country made up by the Vatican to include all countries that were left out, also the Maronites and Melkites fall in that category, but they have an extremely rich heritage), with Orthodox Roots and Heritage they believed in certain lies. So, they are zealous to put it mildly and they would like to see themselves accomplish great things, like unite the Churches, just like the Protestants, that Father Averky realized that were amongst us, they are also amongst us to also...save us(!!!). One cannot be Orthodox and Catholic at the same time in the context and meaning attached to the word Orthodox, because the Roman Catholic Church is not orthodox (with small "o"). I think that they have to understand that Roman Catholics of the Byzantine, Maronite, Melkite and other minority rites in Catholicism are just Roman Catholics and they should be happy with that. I am of Greek heritage. I have many Italian friends, but that does not make me an Italian and Greek at the same time; even if you painted me purple, I will still be a purple Greek. In much simpler words: you cannot be a Republican and a Democrat at the same time; you cannot have the service of a funeral and a wedding at the same time. It is impossible to be a (Roman) Catholic and an Orthodox Christian at the same time. I think one has to be completely out of his/her mind to be able to accept all the additions of Rome to be Catholic and then renounce them AT THE SAME TIME, in order that he is Orthodox. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!

Also, it should be noted that Orthodoxy is not an opinion, like being a baseball club fan or belonging to a political party. Orthodoxy is not like Roman Catholicism, without the Pope or with married clergy. Orthodoxy is a whole new world for those who come into it. ORTHODOXY IS A WAY OF LIFE!!!

If you truly want to renounce all the Roman aberations, you can find them in an old book written by Isabel Hapgood: there is the part of "Chrismation of Converts" page 463 (this book is not used much because it is considered too compromising to the Romans). Are you ready to become a full human being? Are you ready to become the full and undefiled image of God? Then here is what you have to renounce (please excuse the old English, but Mrs. Hapgood was from England and translated the book from the Russian in the late 1800's):

"1) Dost thou renounce the false doctrine that, for the expression of the dogma touching the Procession of the Holy Spirit, the declaration of our Savior, Christ Himself: "who proceedeth from the Father" doth not suffice; and that the addition of man's invention: "and also the Son"; is required?

2) Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief that it doth not suffice to confess our Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of the Universal Church; and that a man, to wit, the bishop of Rome, can be the head of Christ's Body, that is to say the whole Church?

3) Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief that the holy Apostles did not receive from our Lord equal spiritual power and authority, but that the holy Apostle Peter was their Prince; And that the bishop of Rome alone is his successor; And the bishops of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Moscow and others are not, equally with the bishop of Rome, successors of the Apostles?

4) Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief of those who think that the Pope of Rome is superior to the Ecumenical Councils, and infallible in faith, notwithstanding the fact that several of the Popes have been heretics, and condemned as such by the Ecumenical Councils?

5) Dost thou renounce all other doctrines of the Western Confession, both old and new, which are contrary to the Word of God, and to the true Tradition of the Church, and to the doctrines of the Seven Ecumenical Councils?"

Just like the Lord Jesus Christ said to the rich young lawyer: "If you want to be as great as that, then give up everything and follow me!" (slightly edited to make it more meaningful). Another thing that the Lord said: "He who is not with me, he is against me!", and also:

LET, THEREFORE THOSE WHO HAVE EARS TO HEAR, HEAR!

Mr. Steenberg, we humbly ask your forgiveness for the length of this posting. THANK YOU!

In Christ's Holy Name,

+ Archbishop Constantin


#38 Guest_Byzcath1

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 12:32 AM

Every buddy posting, this is my last post for this specific thread, i dont appreciate being called "an insult to Orthodoxy and Catholicism" and all the other things that ive had to read on this Subject. So see you around the other messages.

Daniel


#39 Guest_Archbishop Constantin

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 04:21 AM

Byzcath1! You wrote: "Us byzantine catholics are in the same situation as the Episcoplians that converted to Orthodoxy and use a Western Rite Liturgy. Its not any different."


And I say to you: "My beloved ESTRANGED BROTHER IN CHRIST, your comment in regards to Western Orthodox Parishes being in a parallelism to the minority rites of the Church of Rome, is not quite a correct statement. Western Rite Orthodox Christians, may be worshipping using a western form of worship (which is and should be theologically correct), BUT THEY HAVE THE FULLNESS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH! Outside they appear western, but inside they are 100% Orthodox IN THE FULLNESS OF THE FAITH DELIVERED TO US (ORTHODOX) BY THE APOSTLES AND THE SAINTS! In the case of any minority rite Catholics, they celebrate their services in a form that could be "Orthodox" on the outside, but inside they are Roman Catholics accepting all the erroneous additions of Rome.

I am not very familiar with Roman Catholicism, except what I have read in the books, and what I observe, being a Missionary in Latin America, seeing the behavior of the Roman Clergy.

My impression of the Roman Theologians is that they do things like the old KGB agents did in the Soviet Union during the days of communism. I cannot get over how clumcy and inept they are. I am amused by their ungracefulness at the Altar and the dry 20 minute special. They were imposed the "filioque" by the Germans, but now they will fight and risk the loss of their souls to maintain it. They invented the celibacy of the Clergy, misunderstanding certain statements of Saint Augustine, and now they are depriving their young men of their basic and most important gift, so important, that God did not revoke it from our ancestors after the fall: the grace to be co-participants in God's creation, by having a loving wife. So, they make the whole marital situation appear like something sinful and look at women as the cause of it! I am a widower and I have three children; you cannot imagine the feeling I had when I went home after my wife delivered my first born son... It was a feeling that the grace of God was upon me and my loving wife, who left this world before us...

They are robing Christ of His Humanity to exult the All-Holy and Pure Virgin Mary. We exult her, we sing hymns to her, we call her Mother, because if God is our Father, then she is our Mother! But we do not deify her! She is the only human being that never disobeyed God's wishes until her death. She could have asked her beloved son to spare her the pain of death. But she did not! Because by dying, she gave proof that her Son is fully (100%) a Human Being and of course fully God! She already is rewarded for this by sparing her the Last Judgement; now she is with her Son! We also look at the Virgin Mary as a mighty General of the Angelic Hosts, fighting the Devil and protecting us humans. If you follow the Byzantine rite, look in your service book the Akathism Hymn to the All-Holy Theotokos (=Birthgiver of God=Bogoroditsa). In the Hymnology of the Akathist Hymn (and especially the Kontanion), she appears as a mighty General leading the hosts of the Angels against all the demonic powers. And there are so many other things, which you may not think about: they deprive so many baptized Christians of Holy Communion by descriminating against them because of their age. How can anyone dare refuse a Christian Communion based on his age? Once I gave a sermon, "Why are there no cry rooms in the Orthodox Churches". Because no one has the right to prohibit entrance into the Church to a baptized and chrismated Christian!

We have many well educated and capable people in Monachos.net and they should have given you the same answers I gave to you. But they are polite and don't want to hurt your feelings. But if you are here asking questions and you have not left yet, you must be ready to hear the true answers, not to be stroked and petted! I am sure of that!

Listen to Fr. Averky and Dr. Steenberg and the other brothers in Christ. They know what they are talking about! You have to pose your questions more defined and insistant!

I hope that I have not hurt your feelings, but I would rather have you mad at me, than to leave you "in your grace of ignorance" (I heard this, it was given to me as a suggestion by a Roman Catholic Priest), ignorant of what is the real truth...

I pray that the Lord will protect you and inspire you to find the right way. When you do that, please mention my name in your prayers. I need all the prayer I can get now, for my Ministry and, perhaps you might mention me to the All-Merciful God when I am not here any more. I am merely the humble servant of the Lord, who told you the truth, no matter what the consequences may be (Orthodox Bishops are not princes of the Church).

In Christ's Holy Name

+ Archbishop Constantin

#40 Fr Averky

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 05:51 AM

Dear Friends,

I have contacted Daniel privately.

My dear Elizabeth,

Allow me to clarify something for you. I do not know the religious climate in Brazil, but here in the U.S there is every possible manifestion of religous belief and practise conceivable: When I was a boy in the 50's, America was basically a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant country, with a large minority of Catholics, a small number of Jews, and but a smattering of non-Christian religionists.

In the last thirty years there has been a major population shift, and we now have millions of new citizens from  China, South East Asia, the Middle East, Sub-Sahran Africa, and Eastern Europe, and Spanish-speaking people now constitute our largest minority. Immigration from Western is but a tricle, as the quotas are small.The number of Muslims was all but insignificant, but now, like in all the world, it is growing rapidly in our country.

America used to be very conservative, but since the rise of the post Vagican II ecumenical movement of the 60's, has become very eclectic in its religious expressions. People have been very effected by New Age thinking, think of themselves as little gods, and if they have a certain belief, because it is "true" to them than it must certainly be true. The people will very boldly tell you, "I am a very spiritual person."

People will tell you that they "believe in Christ," or God, but they have no problem using aromatherapy, crystals, "cosmic massages," practise Hatha Yoga, have a personal "Angel," a kind of a demi-god, have interest in Eastern religions, say the Jesus Prayer, and happily eat at Indian vegetarian restaurants, not knowing, or more so, not caring, that somewhere in the place is a Hindu shrine with food that has been offered to an idols.

Even those who do practise Christianity, pick only those beliefs and disciplines to which they are attracted, rejecting that which does not suit them. Even Catholics in this country will tell you that they are "good"Catholics, but will at the same time openly tell you that they do not accept all of the Pope's teachings on faith and morals, choosing what is comfortable for them. The Magisterium, or teaching authority of the Pope, does not mean all that much to them.

So you see, when the remark about "supermarket shopping" was made, this is what was meant. Here, we call it "Salad Bar Christianity," for people slide their tray down the line, taking only what they like.

This is what makes it difficult to even embrace Orthodoxy, for people are touched by this mentality unwillingly, and bring part of that mentality with them. Our nation was founded by men who were unwilling to be forced to pay taxes to what they soon thought to be an unfair "foreign" government, in which they had no say. "No taxation withour representation!" was the incindiary cry. From that time on, we have been a nation of self-determination, very sensitive to our "rights." This has carried into religious thought as well. It is not easy to come into a Church in which people do not have "rights, as it were, but must be obedient to the Church in its teachings, episcopal authority. and practise.

I hope that this will help you to understand our situation as Orthodox, because we are surrounded by many people who see even their own Christian belief as arbitrary. Living in a country with only three million Orthodox Christians out of a population of two hundred eighty five million, we encounter not only lack of knowledge of Orthodxy, but live in an ever secularized society. Having grown up with such "freedom," and being urged from childhood to to "play to win." to be "first," to be "proud of yourself," it is difficult for Americans to grasp the concepts of humility and obedience, for it is not part of our national character. Thus, the vast majority of American Orthodox converts, bringing all that baggage with them, have to struggle to humble themselves before they can ever hope to attain spiritual insights. Until recently, there were but a handful of stable Orthodox monasteries, and they suffered from the narrowness of ethnicity, and Orthodx Christians are left to turn to spiritual books for education , guidance, and at times even for comfort. Yet we endure, and despite being "foreigners" in our own country, we love and fiercely defend that shich we hold so dear.

Daniel and Elizabeth, I humbly ask your forgivenss, for being too "correct," when I should show love and patience. However, as this thread progressed, I felt that there were misconceptions that simply needed to be cleared up, even though I knew it would be unpleasant for all.

I wish young Daniel and you my dear Elizabeth, all good things, especially salvation.

With love in Christ,

Unworthy
Fr. A.







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