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Roman saints through eastern eyes


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#41 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 11:57 AM

Maybe both places? That's my point in asking the question, obviously if the Holy Spirit is in the Catholic Church, then so is Christ...or can the two be separated? If you claim such for Orthodoxy, then you have the question, could the blessed possibility that He exists in both be true? Certain of our clergymen seem to think so, and theirs (the Catholics).


Maybe, maybe not. Speculation is fun, but I wouldn't want to stake my salvation upon it. God exists, that is a given. He doesn't cease to exist because non-Orthodox worship Him. But is it true worship? Is it worship in truth? Are the admonitions of the Apostle Paul to be "of one mind" worthless? Has the Catholic Church rightly preserved the Apostolic Witness? How about the Methodists? The Moslems? You draw your line where you see fit I suppose. I will stay safely within the Ark of Salvation that is the Orthodox Church and leave the rest to a merciful God as St. Theophan the Recluse recommends. I will defend the hope that is in me as the Apostle Paul commands. And I will defend the Truth as my Church teaches it against all detractors.

As to your second paragraph...I used to be on board with you, especially when I was a Protestant, but that's something I'm realizing may not be so cut and dried. I would love to believe that was the case, but there were many times when basically the entire East fell into heresy, and the Pope came to save the day.


And there were Popes who were heretical and mere bishops and even laity saved the day. The Holy Spirit is NOT dependent on any single "point of failure", this is why we have a problem with the whole concept of infallibility, that is why we simply CANNOT accept it, because it is a fallacy, in the final analysis it is of no real worth, it adds NOTHING to the equation. Again we test all things and keep what is good and reject that which is not so much.

I will stay in my worshipping community, and encourage others to become a part of it. I will worry about MY salvation and becoming as Christlike as I can and let the men with the funny hats worry about the "big" stuff, that is not my paygrade.

Where do YOU find Christ? If you do not see Him in the Orthodox Church then perhaps you are indeed in the wrong place. If YOU find Him elsewhere, and you want to be with Him, then that is where you should be. I personally don't know where Christ isn't, but I know He is present in the worshipping community of the Orthodox and that is where I want to be. If others find Him elsewhere, that is between Him and them and simply not my concern.

Herman the not a roamin' Pooh

#42 Anna Stickles

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:37 PM

What really bothers me, though, is that certain men that we Orthodox acknowledge as having spoken with the Spirit we're supposed to trust, seemed to be all about Roman primacy. I believe the following could be said to have done so, though I understand it's open to debate (quotation wars): St. Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Augustine of Hippo, Pope St. Leo the Great....etc., and others who appealed to Rome as to a court of last appeal, against their own Eastern fellows....such as even St. John Chrysostom; and since when did an equal court ever appeal a case to another equal court, or a lower court? You could argue that it doesn't work that way in conciliarity...but I would then wonder why it had to be Rome to which to appeal such important things, as though they were a bastion of Orthodoxy over against the entire East in some cases. Neither one sounds good. So you say we must trust the Spirit, but what if those inspired by the Spirit endorse the Papacy you're discrediting? That's quite the pickle.


Rome was given a place of being "first among equals" because of its political importance. Because of our fallen nature, there has to be a system in place for solving disputes. In Orthodoxy, though, no one bishop (and "Pope" is just an alternative name for the Bishop of Rome) or group of people has the final say. Even the councils are not binding simply because they are convened and some agreement has been reached. There are councils that have been convened, and even better attended then the ones we now accept as definitive, that we do not accept as authoritative. Who has made the final decision as to which councils became authoritative and which did not? No one made that decision. It was the Church at large over time.

As to what the Fathers believe about the Pope, here at least is one quote from blessed Augustine, one of the most respected Latin Fathers, on what it means to be first among equals.


Sermon of the blessed Augustine, bishop of Hippo on the feast of Sts Peter & Paul

"On this present day the holy Church piously commemorates the passion of the holy, glorious and all praised Apostles Peter & Paul.
St Peter, the zealous follower of Jesus Christ, for his great confession of Christ’s divinity, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God”, was made worthy to hear from the Saviour in answer: “blessed art thou O Simon... I say unto thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church” (Mt. 16: 16-18).

Upon “this rock” ie as you have said: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God; on this your confession I will build My Church. For “thou art Peter”: ie from the ‘rock’ is Peter but not from Peter comes the ‘rock’ [ie Peter’s faith comes from Christ, not from himself]; exactly as the Christian comes from Christ and not Christ from the Christian.

Do you want to know from what ‘rock’ the apostle Peter was called/named? Listen to the apostle Paul: “ I do not want you to be unaware brethren- says the Apostle of Christ- how our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all in Moses were baptized in the cloud and in the sea. And all also ate spiritual food, and all also drank spiritual drink; drinking from the rock which followed them; and that rock was Christ”. (1Cor. 10-14). Behold from what ‘Rock’ Peter is from!

Our Lord Jesus Christ during the last days of His earthly life, and during the time of His ministry to the human race, chose from among His disciples, twelve apostles to preach the Word of God. Among them, the apostle Peter for his fiery zeal was accounted worthy to occupy the first place (Mt. 10: 2) and to be as it were the representative face of the whole Church. Therefore especially, it was said to him after his confession: “ I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you release on earth shall be released in heaven.” (Mt. 16:19).

For these ‘keys’, and the power to ‘bind and release’ was given not just to one person, but rather to the One universal Church. And that the Church indeed received this power, and not just exclusively one person, then pay attention in another place in the scripture, where the Lord says the same thing also to His apostles: “receive the Holy Spirit”, -which is followed by- “if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; and if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Jn. 20:22-23); or “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 18:18). So- the Church binds and the Church looses; the Church, founded on the Cornerstone- Jesus Christ Himself (Eph. 2:20), binds and looses. ...

...And after His resurrection, the Lord assigned the apostle Peter to shepherd His spiritual flock, not because among the disciples only to Peter was it granted to shepherd the flock of Christ, but rather Christ turned mainly to Peter because Peter was among the first of the Apostles and as it were represented the Church. Moreover, in addressing/turning in this instance only to Peter as the first of the Apostles, Christ thereby endorses the unity of the Church."

Edited by Anna Stickles, 12 July 2011 - 01:08 PM.


#43 Anna Stickles

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:05 PM

As to your second paragraph...I used to be on board with you, especially when I was a Protestant, but that's something I'm realizing may not be so cut and dried. I would love to believe that was the case, but there were many times when basically the entire East fell into heresy, and the Pope came to save the day. And regardless of who errs and who saves the day, the problem is that if we leave it entirely to the faithful, heresy will get mingled with truth. Even Orthodoxy recognized Ecumenical Councils to solve these problem...but the problem currently is that their ability to call these has been retarded, because Rome is out of the picture. In any case, the faithful alone aren't sufficient to quash heresy and falsehoods.

Peace,
Evan


Just to add to what I said above. What you note here is entirely true. The Pope can err, the people can err, the councils can err. There are many stories in the ascetical literature that even extremely holy men can err (there are some charming stories about this). - All these are within the Church but none of them is free from the forces of sin and corruption that are still at work in the world.

So we see historically that when one part gets out of balance then the others must step in to restore things. And that any change in the system that frees one part from being corrected by the others is a distortion of tradition as historically understood in the church.

And so within Orthodoxy we trust that within the confines of the entire Church God is working things out such that the Church herself, as Christ's body in all its members, is being freed from corruption and is always moving toward Christ's fulness through the resurrection power that is at work within Her.

#44 Evan Herberth

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 04:42 PM

Dear Fr. Raphael,

It's not unreasonable at all. Many have converted to Orthodoxy by finding the Source of good Who is Christ.

But in our day & age where good is seen everywhere (even where it definitely is not) there is a real risk.

This is because then everything becomes or potentially becomes a source of good, a path to salvation.

From this point on since commitment to Christ as the sole source of life as found within the Church gets lost, instead we find the affirmation of whatever we believe in at the moment.

Thus without our quite seeing it the needed focus of obedience first to Christ gets reversed to following what we believe to be true at the moment.

And there is real risk and danger in this course.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael


I'm trying to understand your counsel. So if I run far afield, say to Buddhism, or Taoism, where there are glimmers of truth, as you pointed out (I'm deducing from the principle you stated), then I'm leaving Christ to that as a "path to salvation." However, God help me, because I've not improved at all, I've left the true hosptial, the genuine article, for a mere shadow, at best. I get it. And obedience to Christ, the sole importance, as you pointed out, gets lost for our relative truth-seeking. However, here's where you're losing me. I'm not talking about occult divines, or Hinduism, or the angry deity of Islam; I'm referring to Roman Catholicism, which has a legitimate bishop. At one point, in fact, a bishopric well respected as a bastion of Orthodoxy, even a last resort in a time of crisis.

I'm a mere sinner, and idler, and certainly no theologian. I went through a journey in my youth to find the true Church--and I'm still only 22; getting old IMHO ;-). I'm not a cradle Orthodox or Catholic. I don't have the in-built prejudices that a lot of Orthodox and Catholics have, though I've temporarily empathized with both.

Are we conversing about the same thing? If so, it seems as though you're casting doubt as to whether a Roman Catholic (truly believing he/she belongs to the true Church that Our Lord founded on earth) can be obedient to Christ, rather than getting lost in a relative non-Jesus truth-seeking. I just don't even understand how that's a possibility to be considered. Jesus Christ is the Lord of both Churches. Am I completely misunderstanding what you meant to say?

Dear Herman,

Maybe, maybe not. Speculation is fun, but I wouldn't want to stake my salvation upon it. God exists, that is a given. He doesn't cease to exist because non-Orthodox worship Him. But is it true worship? Is it worship in truth? Are the admonitions of the Apostle Paul to be "of one mind" worthless? Has the Catholic Church rightly preserved the Apostolic Witness? How about the Methodists? The Moslems? You draw your line where you see fit I suppose. I will stay safely within the Ark of Salvation that is the Orthodox Church and leave the rest to a merciful God as St. Theophan the Recluse recommends. I will defend the hope that is in me as the Apostle Paul commands. And I will defend the Truth as my Church teaches it against all detractors.


First off, agreed, speculation would be a sandy foundation for our salvation. Secondly, the company in which you group the Catholic Church clearly indicates what you believe about their preservation of the Apostolic witness....I don't share your extreme cynicism and, if I may bring out the dirty word, anti-Catholicism anymore. I used to believe that the Papacy was the Antichrist, as any good follower of the Reformers should, but I'm not so convinced anymore. I've discovered that the modern Catholic Church has a more charitable view towards its Eastern brethren.

Dear Anna,

Rome was given a place of being "first among equals" because of its political importance. Because of our fallen nature, there has to be a system in place for solving disputes. In Orthodoxy, though, no one bishop (and "Pope" is just an alternative name for the Bishop of Rome) or group of people has the final say. Even the councils are not binding simply because they are convened and some agreement has been reached. There are councils that have been convened, and even better attended then the ones we now accept as definitive, that we do not accept as authoritative. Who has made the final decision as to which councils became authoritative and which did not? No one made that decision. It was the Church at large over time.


I used to be very on board with what you're saying. I very much bought into the theory of the Pentarchy, and Rome's being first among equals. However, I don't think it can be denied that this is a specifically Orthodoxy theory, partially justifiable by history, but not necessarily to a great extent than Rome's own contrary theory. One of the things I think most Orthodox don't respect is that both theories require some development of doctrine...the Catholics acknowledge this, while Orthodox try to act like it was plain as day since the beginning.

To respond to the Augustine quote (appreciate you sharing this, by the way): this reminds me of St. Gregory the Great castigating St. John the Faster for desiring the title "universal bishop." We Orthodox have occasionally used this as evidence that St. Gregory (a Pope of Rome) was denying any primacy. However, my understanding is that St. John wanted to actually be the sole authority of the bishoprics in question, literally reducing the other bishops to figure-head roles. However, even the most advanced form of papal primacy (papal infallibility) does not go this far. Bishops still retain their authority over their Sees; however, Rome remains as a final authority even over them. Big difference from what St. John the Faster was being reprimanded for desiring. It's the same with what St. Augustine is saying...of course all bishops, and not just St. Peter, hold the keys...my priest absolves (looses) me of my sins, and he's not even in communion with Rome. But nowhere do I see "first among equals" in this, just that all bishops have certain powers, and that Peter is first. No more is said.

Here is another quote from the same father:

If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said: Upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it. Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement, Clement by Anacletus, Anacletus by Evaristus .. .
(Letter to Generosus, 53, 1, 2 [c. 400]; Jurgens, FEF, vol. 3, 2)


This from St. Leo the Great (an Orthodox Saint), seems to suggest the opposite of "first among equals":

Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed Apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others . . .
The care of the universal Church would converge one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head.
(Letter to Bishop Anastasius of Thessalonica, 14, 11; Jurgens, FEF, vol. 3, 270)


And St. Maximus the Confessor:

All in every part . . . who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the most holy Roman Church and its confession and faith, as it were to a sun of unfailing light, awaiting from it the bright radiance of our fathers . . . For from the coming down of the Incarnate Word among us, all the churches in every part of the world have possessed that greatest church alone as their base and foundation, seeing that, according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell do never prevail against it, that it possesses the Keys of right confession and faith in Him, that it opens the true and only religion to such as approach with piety, and shuts up and locks every heretical mouth that speaks injustice against the Most High.
(Cited by James Likoudis in Robert Baram, Spiritual Journeys, Boston: St. Paul Books & Media, revised edition, 1988, 206-207; primary source from Migne, Greek Fathers, 91, 137 ff., bold text mine)


And you said:

And so within Orthodoxy we trust that within the confines of the entire Church God is working things out such that the Church herself, as Christ's body in all its members, is being freed from corruption and is always moving toward Christ's fulness through the resurrection power that is at work within Her.


So let us pray, and also that I may be freed from sin and corruption, Lord have mercy.

Thanks,
Evan

#45 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 05:26 PM

Justification of Catholic teaching is outside the scope of this forum, as has been mentioned in numerous threads that still sprout up from time to time.

Getting back to the original question, how does Orthodoxy see those who are declared saints by the Catholic Church: Saints recognized before the schism are recognized, those declared by Rome after the schism are not generally recognized in our menaion and are not officially commemorated. Whether they are indeed "saints" or not is between them and God. What more really needs to be said?

#46 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:02 PM

Evan Herberth wrote:

I'm trying to understand your counsel. So if I run far afield, say to Buddhism, or Taoism, where there are glimmers of truth, as you pointed out (I'm deducing from the principle you stated), then I'm leaving Christ to that as a "path to salvation." However, God help me, because I've not improved at all, I've left the true hosptial, the genuine article, for a mere shadow, at best. I get it. And obedience to Christ, the sole importance, as you pointed out, gets lost for our relative truth-seeking. However, here's where you're losing me. I'm not talking about occult divines, or Hinduism, or the angry deity of Islam; I'm referring to Roman Catholicism, which has a legitimate bishop. At one point, in fact, a bishopric well respected as a bastion of Orthodoxy, even a last resort in a time of crisis.



You're understanding me quite well. However if we place the source of truth outside of the Orthodox Church, because we believe this is a legitimate source of truth, (whatever this source is, be it a bishop or a good teaching or some sort of good action), then to stop at any point away from the Church is actually purely arbitrary, the result of personal taste. Why not, it could legitimately be asked, go further afield where others hold to 'other truths' just as genuinely as we do? Actually there is no reason not to- again except for personal inclination or taste. Meanwhile someone else who has experienced truth in another way also has equal justification to proclaim what they know as a source of truth.

Are we conversing about the same thing? If so, it seems as though you're casting doubt as to whether a Roman Catholic (truly believing he/she belongs to the true Church that Our Lord founded on earth) can be obedient to Christ, rather than getting lost in a relative non-Jesus truth-seeking. I just don't even understand how that's a possibility to be considered. Jesus Christ is the Lord of both Churches. Am I completely misunderstanding what you meant to say?


Continuing from my comments above, the problem here is that we are not yet talking of the Church. To do that we have to turn the entire ship around. Instead of looking for where truth is in a general sense (and it is in many places as long as people are present) we have to look to the Church and then follow Her way of life in loving obedience. That takes an assent of the heart more than anything else. For it is an assent towards the surest Source of life. At this point then the whole question of truth in general and where it is found becomes moot. It no longer requires clarification beyond a basic understanding that truth follows people around so as to hopefully inspire them.

On the other hand though there is nothing like the Source Himself to complete this inspiration and fulfill it. That's what is unique to the Church as the Body of Christ.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#47 Evan Herberth

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:17 AM

Dear Herman,

I apologize for going outside of its scope, thank you for making an exception and leaving it as it was. Also thanks for the observation.

Dear Fr. Raphael,

Thank you for your response. I read this a day or so ago and really let what you said sink in before responding...so as to be as straightforward and direct as possible in response.

From an objective standpoint, this is an assumption, however, and a Catholic could say precisely the same thing, only in reverse--though they wouldn't, because their view towards the Orthodox is quite [ecumenically] amicable.


You're understanding me quite well. However if we place the source of truth outside of the Orthodox Church, because we believe this is a legitimate source of truth, (whatever this source is, be it a bishop or a good teaching or some sort of good action), then to stop at any point away from the Church is actually purely arbitrary, the result of personal taste. Why not, it could legitimately be asked, go further afield where others hold to 'other truths' just as genuinely as we do? Actually there is no reason not to- again except for personal inclination or taste. Meanwhile someone else who has experienced truth in another way also has equal justification to proclaim what they know as a source of truth.



The real sticky wicket, then, seems to be if the Orthodox Church is the true Church...based on that assumption that you hold, your counsel is most obviously correct, and contains no error whatsoever. From an objective standpoint, this is an assumption, however, and a Catholic could say precisely the same thing, only in reverse--though they wouldn't, because their view towards the Orthodox is quite [ecumenically] amicable. Unlike you, I'm not sure, and I'm certainly not bragging or self-satisfied about being unsure. Please pray for me. Save for a couple stumbling blocks, I would probably become Catholic, but those blocks still offend my conscience; so even Pope Innocent III would probably tell me to remain Orthodox (when he was in his right mind) so long as my conscience keeps me here. I have problems with Orthodoxy, philosophically, but they are recent, and I don't want to be rash, young though I am.


At this point then the whole question of truth in general and where it is found becomes moot. It no longer requires clarification beyond a basic understanding that truth follows people around so as to hopefully inspire them.


I would like to point out that I sense a certain traditionalism in what you're saying. Rational as it may be, it seems to assume a certain negativity towards Catholicism that can't rightly be called Orthodox. I've noticed this strain of thought throughout ROCOR, and certainly in my parish (I love my parish family, certainly not dissing them, just observing). However, even Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew seems far more "all right" with Catholicism than your words express. Correct me if I'm wrong. Also Bishop Kallistos Ware--one of the reasons I joined the Church--seems a little more moderate also. I doubt they'd go as far as to tell me considering Catholicism would lead me into relativity, especially if I was coming to believe that Catholicism was in the right, so to speak.

Thanks,
Evan

Edited by Fr Raphael Vereshack, 15 July 2011 - 12:18 PM.
sorry evan! I hit the wrong button and deleted your original post. hopefully it is restored though in its basics.


#48 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:19 PM

From an objective standpoint, this is an assumption, however, and a Catholic could say precisely the same thing, only in reverse--though they wouldn't, because their view towards the Orthodox is quite [ecumenically] amicable.


I'm not so interested here in speaking of one particular confession. Instead I'm referring to the example of any confession at all maintaining that what they believe is correct.

For this is my exact point. I would expect anyone from any confession to maintain that what they believe- or what their confession maintains- is that which is most correct.

But then this is also exactly what everyone else believes too- those who believe in self help therapy, Oprah-ites, atheists, or whatever. Each maintains that what they believe is that which is most correct, or is correct. And it would be a mistake to not recognize that each of these also maintains some spark of good, even if it is only on the personal level.

But this is not yet the Church.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#49 Anna Stickles

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 02:02 PM

If out of the image of God within us we have some means to recognize where virtue lies and where there is a lack of virtue, then does to exercise this discernment imply a certain type of "negativity" toward that which we see is lacking?

But what does it really mean to be negative? This is where our culture tries to confuse us. To say that all things are equal, or that all have an equal portion of good is what our culture tries to teach us is the ultimate virtue. This way everyone can say that what they believe is best without appearing judgmental, nor opening themselves up to be judged. But if we already recognize distinctions between things, then we already recognize that this is false.

Rather as Christians we are taught that it is anger, envy, egoism and defensiveness, and other negative attitudes, thoughts and emotions are what distort discernment and change it into judgmentalism. But again in simply being "amicable", in "agreeing to disagree", without judgment or argument, we have not yet discovered the Church, since Christ asks us to go beyond this.

I think we have to ask, where do our convictions, beliefs and ability to discern come from? If they come from passions and ego then we get a mess of individualized beliefs about what is right and good. And to live in this mess without constant conflict our culture has taken the tact of promoting a certain type of non-judgmentalism that allows us to "have it my way" and yet still live together in peace. I can have my belief and you can have your belief, we agree to not argue or judge and then we will all be happy. We are all made with a hunger for peace and happiness - but is this type of peace a true peace?

However if our convictions, beliefs, and ability to discern come from the image of God within us, purified and enlivened, then unity of thought and belief will exist naturally. Christ is the image of God and when we are re-made in this image, then it is no longer about "our way"; all will be living in the one Way. There will no longer be conflicting visions of truth. All will be living in and seeing according to one Truth. This is the type of peace we are after. This is the Church.

This is why looking at miracles or some kind of "mystical experience" is not the criteria by which to judge someone a saint. A saint is someone in whom the image of God is restored. The real miracle is the grace within them which allow the fruits of the Spirit to be manifested continuously and without lagging under circumstances which would drive the normal person to break down in anger, grief, possessiveness, envy, anxiety or other symptoms of the sickness and weakness of a nature deprived of God's life-giving energy.

#50 Carolyn C.

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 02:53 AM

Dear Christina, I really enjoyed reading your message about St. Constantine. I often pray to St. Constantine because I feel that he can understand me as a sinner constantly trying to become a better Orthodox Christian. Thank you for your posting. Sincerely, Carolyn

#51 Dennis Justison

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 12:40 PM

I too struggle about which church I should belong to, Catholic or Orthodox. There are 4 Catholic churches within 4 miles of my home. The nearest Orthodox Church is over an hour away. The advice I have received from an Orthodox priest is to continue attending my Catholic Church but to incorporate as much Orthodoxy into my life, such as my prayer life and to fast etc. My Catholic priest is very understanding of my struggle and has said if I decided to move to Orthodoxy that he would actually be supportive. Sometimes we trap ourselves into "either-or" thinking or that one is good the other is bad, if one is true the other must be false. But the reality is that each church recognizes the validity of the other's priesthood, sacraments, and many other things. While each doesn't officially recognize the other's saints, I think we recognize holiness as holiness. For me, at this point in my life, I am content to plod along. My personal spiritiuality melds together east and west. One of my daily prayers is for unification between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Wow, wouldn't that be great! Until then, I will rejoice with all the saints, East and West, and follow our Lord as best I can, without fear and with great hope.

#52 Niko T.

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:14 PM

I wish that God will bless you and guide your path!

I do think that part of your post, however, requires comment:

Sometimes we trap ourselves into "either-or" thinking or that one is good the other is bad, if one is true the other must be false. But the reality is that each church recognizes the validity of the other's priesthood, sacraments, and many other things.


This has been discussed in many other places, but the Orthodox Church believes that the fullness of Orthodox dogma is the Truth of Christ, and that other Christians, though they may share many of the same beliefs, are nevertheless in error, and thus separate themselves from the Church. Otherwise, (if we shared the same faith) we would be in communion already.

"Of extraordinary importance is the following: in Christ's Orthodox Church, the Holy Tradition, ever living and life-giving, comprises: the holy liturgy, all the divine services, all the holy mysteries, all the holy virtues, the totality of eternal truth and eternal righteousness, all love, all eternal life, the whole of the God-man, the Lord Christ, the entire Holy Trinity, and the entire theanthropic life of the Church in its theanthropic fullness, with the All-holy Theotokos and all the saints."
-St. Justin Popovich

I don't mean to veer off too much from the topic of your personal struggle; I just wanted to make a few observations. May God enlighten us all to do His holy will!

Edited by Niko T., 31 August 2011 - 11:31 PM.


#53 Dennis Justison

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 12:05 PM

Thank you Niko for your comments and encouragement. Yes, there can only be ONE church that is the true church of Christianity. And truly, truly, as a person who attends a Roman Catholic parish, I believe that the Church existing today that most resembles the Church of the New Testament is no doubt the Holy Orthodox Church. By saying that our sacraments are valid, I did not mean to say that we are equal or "in communion." Only that most Orthodox would say that Eucharist in a Catholic Church is in fact Eucharist. That said, I don't think anything that we do in the Catholic Church can compare with Divine Liturgy. Wow. I am always touched in my heart when I go to the Divine Liturgy (and obviously without receiving Eucharist) in a deep way, a different way, that is really beyond words than I am when I attend Mass. There IS a difference. There IS a different feel or presense and reverence. "Wow" describes my thoughts and feelings as good as anything. Peace be with you.

#54 Ryan

Ryan

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 02:54 PM

You might be interested in a recent book (I haven't read it, only about it) called The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios. St. Gennadius was one of the most strident opponents of the Latin church but also an open admirer of Thomas Aquinas, from whom he borrowed readily.




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