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Confession and classification of sin


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#1 Felicissimus G.

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 09:13 AM

Greetings,

I was hoping to get an informed view about the Orthodox Church's practice of Confession.

What guidelines does the Orthodox Church use today (in comparison to the early Church, for example) to delineate sins that should be healed in the Sacrament of Confession from those that can be 'healed' by prayer? Is the 'mortal'/'venial' distinction in practical use nowadays?

Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

Yours in Christ,


Felix

#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 12:56 PM

We don't do "mortal/venal". Sin is sin and should be confessed. But we do view sin less like a crime to be punished and more like a sickness to be healed. That is why we go to confession. It is like going to the doctor and telling him what is wrong. The doctor then tells you what to do about it. The same thing goes for confession with a priest. What seems like a little niggling "sin" might be the symptom of something far greater that needs more serious treatment. There are several threads in the fora on this topic, I recommend you try "confession" in the search engine.

Herman the Pooh

#3 Kusanagi

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 09:55 PM

If you dont confess sins and treat some as trivial things then you will not realise, you will end up falling into more serious ones.
Though some Greek priests advise to people not to confess every small sins only the ones that are bothering their concious.
I tend to use the one called 20 torments which you can find on the following site: www.orthodox.net

#4 Felicissimus G.

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 09:45 AM

We don't do "mortal/venal". Sin is sin and should be confessed.."

Herman the Pooh


Thanks for your replies. I'm not sure I can agree with you however Herman, the reason being that I'm aware that one of the Canons of the 6th Ecumenical Council declared that "For all sins are not similar, but different and specific, and represent many aspects of harm from which evil develops and disperses further, unless it is stopped by the healing power."

From further reading, the existence of the Exomologetarion by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite also seems to support some method of categorisation of sin. I'm not saying that one is necessarily better than the other but we seem to have a diversity of practice.

#5 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 01:15 PM

Of course, if you cut somebody's arm off they will bleed to death quickly. If you only break the skin, surgery is not necessary. There are serious wounds and there are minor wounds. However, a wound is a wound. If it is not treated even a small wound may become infected and turn into something worse. A big hole in a boat will sink it quickly, like certain sins can destroy a person quickly. But even a small hole, if left alone, or if there are many small holes, the boat will still sink.

We acknowledge that certain sins are more serious than others, but we don't get hung up on classification or over-definition. We don't, as a rule, use "mortal" and "venal" like the Catholic Church so much. My point is that we can get hung up on the "serious" sins and just let the "little sins" go untreated, which can still cause sickness and death. But I am not a qualified or trained spiritual physician and gladly step aside for those who actually know what they are talking about.




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