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On relations with the Jewish people - Canon XI, Sixth Council


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#41 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 06:03 PM

This thread began as a question about Canon 6 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. Then, because someone defended Canon 6 as not antisemitic, someone brought up St. John Chrysostom's homilies against the Jews. Then, because someone defended Chrysostom as not antisemitic, someone else brought up the pogroms, making the demand that we should "own up" to ... what? Antisemitism?

The word antisemitism was invented in the 19th century as a weapon to be used against Christian resistance to growing Jewish influence in Europe. It is still used today for that general purpose. Its power lies in its unavoidable implication that opposition to Jews is inherently wrong. By using the word, we accept this implication and as much as admit that is is wrong to oppose the Jews. Ergo Canon 6 of the Sixth was wrong, St. John Chrysostom was wrong, and anyone who defends them is wrong, which is what we have seen expressed in this thread.

But if antisemitism is always wrong, then Christianity is itself wrong because it denies the value of being Jewish, of identifying with the Jewish people and their interests, and of following Jewish law.

So, you see, there is no way Christians can win by accepting and using the term antisemitism. The word itself denies the gospel truth that Christ is the standard of what is good, not the Jewish people. So long as we use the word, we will never escape the implication that we are antisemitic and therefore evil. Only by avoiding the word can we honestly come to grips with our own history and tradition. Only then will we be able to truly tell when we have been right from when we have been wrong.

Dn Patrick

#42 Owen Jones

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 02:17 PM

The whole point, Daniel, is that we do not succumb to certain spiritual/religious conceits ourselves, as you have pointed out in the excellent quote from Paul. The problem is not with Jews, it lies within ourselves. The term Jew, or especially the term Pharisee, is, for Christians, a typology, of any thought or action that can turn our religion into a burden and a curse, rather than something that sets you free. And of the tendency to literalize everything, which hampers the mind's ability to see the spiritual significance in events. The derivation of the term "anti-semitism" is simply a red herring with respect to the issues that really matter. Then I should ask myself (not the only question!) -- am I acting like a Jew in the observance of my religion? Am I only seeing the external realities and observing them, or am I working on the internals? Am I fixated on liturgical functions, are they being performed correctly? for example. Or am I working on my own inner condition as I participate in worship? Am I properly prepared inwardly to receive the Holy Mysteries? etc. By stressing that this is a typology, it should become clear that the use of the term Jew in this context is not a criticism or an attack on Jews as such. It is an attack on myself. Obviously there are many Jews who do understand their religion spiritually, and while I might lament the fact that there is another step that Judaism rejects, there is a whole lot of stuff going on the world that I can lament as well. Because of our history, and historical events in general, it seems to me to be important to watch our words and be clear as to their intended meaning.

#43 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 04:13 PM

The problem is not with Jews, it lies within ourselves. The term Jew, or especially the term Pharisee, is, for Christians, a typology, of any thought or action that can turn our religion into a burden and a curse, rather than something that sets you free. And of the tendency to literalize everything, which hampers the mind's ability to see the spiritual significance in events. The derivation of the term "anti-semitism" is simply a red herring with respect to the issues that really matter. Then I should ask myself (not the only question!) -- am I acting like a Jew in the observance of my religion? Am I only seeing the external realities and observing them, or am I working on the internals? Am I fixated on liturgical functions, are they being performed correctly? for example. Or am I working on my own inner condition as I participate in worship? Am I properly prepared inwardly to receive the Holy Mysteries? etc. By stressing that this is a typology, it should become clear that the use of the term Jew in this context is not a criticism or an attack on Jews as such. It is an attack on myself. Obviously there are many Jews who do understand their religion spiritually, and while I might lament the fact that there is another step that Judaism rejects, there is a whole lot of stuff going on the world that I can lament as well. Because of our history, and historical events in general, it seems to me to be important to watch our words and be clear as to their intended meaning.


Owen, you are trying hard to be anti-antisemitic, but the questions you say we should be asking ourselves presume that there is something wrong with being a Jew ("am I acting like a Jew" -- your words).

This thread is about how to understand Canon 6 of the Sixth, Chrysostom's homilies against the Jews, and other examples of Christian "antisemitism." Your lenten lesson about what we should learn from the Jews' failings and apply to our own lives is pious but beside the point.

#44 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 04:20 PM

I think you have a good point about the typology of our own selves. And I think everyone would do well to ask your questions themselves.

But I still think and the point I was trying to make with the quote that the Jews are also a literal group a people who God chose but they disobeyed him and eventually rejected him. And that they as Jews having the Scripture as the natural branches that would much easily be grated back should find it easier to become Christian but they do not.

I understand what you are saying about being careful what we say but I don't think we should demise the Fathers as they lived in a different time and what they say is still valid. We should not shout abroad Saint John Chrysostom's Homilies against the Jews but we should defend him.

#45 Nina

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 04:47 PM

Christians crucify Christ daily with their sins and they have the Church, the full Truth and still sin. Who will be more judged than us during the Last Judgment? Panagia and Christ Himself have appeared in several cases and told Christians that they were crucifying Him when they sinned.

It was not the Jewish people who crucified Christ. Jewish people followed Him in masses, did seek Him, thirsted for Him. He fed them, healed them, taught them, performed many miracles for them. Christ's crucifixion was more a conspiracy of a selected group of people who happened to be Jewish and Romans - there were some who were payed too, and about all of them Christ Himself asked the Father: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing."

#46 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:40 PM

Christians crucify Christ daily with their sins and they have the Church, the full Truth and still sin. Who will be more judged than us during the Last Judgment? Panagia and Christ Himself have appeared in several cases and told Christians that they were crucifying Him when they sinned.


Dear Nina,

You are right in say what you said. I am not arguing against that, what I am arguing in favour of is that this is a difference between Jew and Gentile outside of the Church. And also although many Jews believed most did not believe.

Yours Daniel,

Edited by Daniel R., 14 March 2011 - 06:19 PM.
added quote


#47 Jan Sunqvist

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:40 PM

Did Chrysostom really say the following?

""The Jews ... are worse than wild beasts ... lower than the vilest animals. Debauchery and drunkenness had brought them to the level of the lusty goat and the pig. They know only ... to satisfy their stomachs, to get drunk, to kill and beat each other up ... I hate the Jews ... I hate the Synagogue ... it is the duty of all Christians to hate the Jews."



I just read this thread for the first time. This is so extremely sad. I love reading the threads on here and am often impressed by posters' skill in explaining and justifying points of dogma, praxis etc., but how far are people willing to go with justification of absolutely EVERYTHING that comes from Tradition?
In my mind attempting to put this quote into any kind of 'perspective' is shameful. I am not sure I really understand the concept of righteous anger, but whatever it is, these words are not it. These are words of hate, regardless of whose mouth they come from. And to be honest, the concept of 'love the sinner but hate his sin' never seemed to me a useful one in practice. It almost always backfires.

#48 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 04:03 PM

First of all we need to say that not everything a saint says is part of Tradition. The Tradition is that of the Apostles hand down through the Church. What a saint says is not always part of that Tradition. Saints are not infallible.

Second I do not agree that putting it in to the context of the day is shameful.

Also to me it is clear that Saint John was talking of the Judaism not the Jewish people.

#49 Kosta

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 07:40 PM

I just read this thread for the first time. This is so extremely sad. I love reading the threads on here and am often impressed by posters' skill in explaining and justifying points of dogma, praxis etc., but how far are people willing to go with justification of absolutely EVERYTHING that comes from Tradition?
In my mind attempting to put this quote into any kind of 'perspective' is shameful. I am not sure I really understand the concept of righteous anger, but whatever it is, these words are not it. These are words of hate, regardless of whose mouth they come from. And to be honest, the concept of 'love the sinner but hate his sin' never seemed to me a useful one in practice. It almost always backfires.


These sermons were quite successful when they were delivered. Again these are the kind of homilies that are required in Palestine against the palestinian muslims. If such homilies were delivered in palestinie substituting islam for judaism, we would have not lost 70 percent of the palestinian population to the heresy of Islam. I can also guarantee you there would be no palestinian-israeli conflict today.

#50 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 06:05 PM

Antisemitism is racial. To an antisemitic Orthodox Christian, a Jew remains a Jew even if he converts to the Orthodox Church.
Antijudaism is religious, and all forms of Christianity must be, by their nature, antijudaic, just as we must be antiisalmic, antihindu, antishinto, antiatheist, etc.

#51 Kosta

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 11:04 PM

Antisemitism is racial. To an antisemitic Orthodox Christian, a Jew remains a Jew even if he converts to the Orthodox Church.
Antijudaism is religious, and all forms of Christianity must be, by their nature, antijudaic, just as we must be antiisalmic, antihindu, antishinto, antiatheist, etc.


You have a point there. I remember reading a study on orthodox antisemitism in Russia. As far as i remember of th study there wasnt a greater amount of antisemitism in the russian church compared to the other religions. But what they did find was a great suspicion amongst russian orthodox against those orthodox christians that converted from judaism, as if judaizers are still around and a danger. I believe Fr. Alexander Menn was subjected to this kind of discrimination.

You will have to explain further by what you mean that christianity must be 'anti' other religions. In Greece the extreme position taken up by groups such as the matthewites with regards to zionism and zionist conspiracies have backfired. Today the neo-pagan hellenic groups have seized on this to argue that the orthodox church is the supreme zionist conspiracy to take down western civilization. Afterall Jesus was a jew who founded a church in jerusalem. All this zionist nonsense have actually made people leave the church to start worshipping Zeus again!

#52 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 11:14 PM

I am not sure we have to "anti" anything, except that when we claim to be THE TRUTH, it certainly implies that anything else is something less, which might be interpreted as being "anti-whatever" because we do NOT deem that "whatever" to be comparable or equivalent or even "just as good as".

#53 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 04:06 PM

I am antijudaic--I oppose its incorrect doctrines.
I am antiislamic--I oppose its incorrect doctrines.
I am antiprotestant--I oppose its incorrect doctrines.
I am antiromanopapal--I oppose the incorrect doctrines of Rome.
etc.

Every Orthodox Christian must be all of these things and more. If we are to embrace the doctrines of Orthodoxy, we must reject (be anti-) those doctrines that oppose Orthodoxy.

#54 Nina

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 08:58 PM

No. We are not supposed to be anti but to embrace. Orthodoxy is what Christ is. He was not anti anything. Anti is only anti-Christ.

#55 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:21 PM

However you need to be careful what you embrace. The Ecumenical councils were anti-nestorian, anti-arius, anti-montanus,….

We don't embrace false teachings. We call them what they are.

#56 Nina

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:12 PM

However you need to be careful what you embrace. The Ecumenical councils were anti-nestorian, anti-arius, anti-montanus,….


We embrace Christ. Fathers were not anti nestorius/arius/montanus as a person but against the idea they introduced. All Fathers teach us to reject sin (heresy is a sin) and turn our "anti-ness" towards the demons and not towards other humans.

#57 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:27 PM

And this is different from what Bryan posted, um, well, how exactly?

#58 Nina

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 03:50 AM

And this is different from what Bryan posted, um, well, how exactly?


Who told you that I posted it in difference to Bryan's post?

#59 Jan Sunqvist

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 05:49 AM

I have always though that as Christians we ought not just not to be anti-Jewish or even anti-Judaic (whether in its ancient or less ancient forms), but ought to be grateful to the Jews. Because they worshiped the true one God and struggled to keep the commandments when the rest of us were pagan. Please forgive my scriptural quoting, I am no expert, but did not Jesus say that the salvation is of the Jews?
As for those of them who did not recognize Jesus Christ as their messiah, how can we feel anything but that it's the biggest tragedy of all?

#60 Paul Nurmi

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 06:15 AM

How was this supposed to witness to Jews? By treating Jews as people whom Christian priests could not get close to that was supposed to bring them to Christ? By having no familiar intercourse with people who don't believe in the Lord was that how the Church at that time fulfilled the Great Commision? What brought me to faith in the Lord Jesus was the love of Christians, not being treated like an untouchable.

In the risen Lord, Paul Nurmi




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