Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Bishops' responsibility for guiding heterodox and non-Christians to Orthodoxy


  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 Clare G.

Clare G.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 46 posts

Posted 17 September 2011 - 04:28 AM

I'm struggling my way through Patristic Theology by Fr John Romanides, and came across this statement, made almost as an aside*:

. . . according to the canons of the Church, every bishop has the responsibility to guide heretics or non-Christians under his jurisdiction to Orthodoxy. He is obligated to do this. And according to the canons, any bishop who refuses to accept a repentant heretic into the Orthodox Church is to be deposed.



Can anyone point me to where I might find this canon? I have looked briefly at the various links to canons on this site, but can't work out how to start looking for this.

* p. 263 of the Uncut Mountain Press edition, 2008.

#2 Yannis

Yannis

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 17 September 2011 - 08:14 AM

Dear Clare G,
If this was true, the church would not have opened its doors for new members in the faith, a person joining the church must conform to all the laws of the Holy Orthodox church before they are accepted, if you are rejected by the Bishop after accepting the faith you must have commited some great misdomena towards the Church.
Remeber once you have been chrismated you will always be Orthodox.

Regards Rd Yannis

#3 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,581 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 17 September 2011 - 03:12 PM

I'm not sure what Yannis is saying as it seems like he's missing a "not" in that first phrase. Be that as it may, all bishops (as far as I know) do indeed take this responsibility seriously and like all good administrators, they frequently delegate this task to their parish priests who are closer to the situation. No bishop, at least in my experience, forbids his clergy to preach to and teach the heretics and non-Orthodox and to attempt to bring them into the Church. No bishop forbids the reception of converts who come to the Church seeking salvation no matter from whence they come. At least this is my experience in the Church.

Fr David

#4 Dimitris

Dimitris

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 176 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 17 September 2011 - 07:36 PM

Isn't that the very commandment of Christ to His apostles, as stated in Matthew 28:19-20?

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you"

#5 Clare G.

Clare G.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 46 posts

Posted 18 September 2011 - 05:38 AM

Thank you for the responses. I wasn't seeking to dispute the statement I quoted, but merely to identify the canon (and perhaps also its date and context).

#6 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 September 2011 - 12:37 PM

Establishing, building and guiding the Church is endemic to what a bishop is, there does not need to be a canon for that. I am not familiar with specific canons commanding the acceptance of repentant heretics. The canons that do exist are less about having to do it and more about HOW to go about doing it, that is, whether or not baptism is specifically required in the accepting of certain heretics into the Church.

The overarching "canon" is the Lord's command to his Apostles to build the Church and baptize in the name of the Trinity. The Apostles appointed bishops for no other purpose!

Or such is the limited understanding of this bear of little brain.

Herman the Pooh

#7 Yannis

Yannis

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 18 September 2011 - 12:55 PM

Dear Father,
thank you for that, the not should have been there.

Kind regards Rd Yannis

#8 Owen Jones

Owen Jones

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,341 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 25 September 2011 - 12:36 PM

I am sure that the historical context was that some Bishops refused to do this at times of intense conflict with heretical groups. The Donatists were certainly an example. Augustine argued they should be allowed to re-enter the Orthodox faith, but many if not most bishops of the day did not.

#9 Clare G.

Clare G.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 46 posts

Posted 26 September 2011 - 05:39 AM

Given that, as Father David Moser said above

Bishops . . . frequently delegate this task to their parish priests who are closer to the situation,

it can happen - especially when distances are very great and Bishops visit rarely - that tightly ethnic parish structures effectively exclude enquirers from both non-Christian and heterodox backgrounds who do not speak any of the languages of the Orthodox parishes in their city. Here, in Australia, services in English are rare, and the mindset appears to be that Orthodoxy is for those who are already Orthodox, even though the flow of migration from Orthodox countries has significantly slowed.

Where does that leave the English-speaking enquirer who is drawn to Orthodoxy, perhaps from their reading, or the migrant from a non-Christian country such as China who is seeking a faith community?

#10 Yannis

Yannis

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 26 September 2011 - 07:00 AM

Dear Clare,
I see the point you are making regarding the languages,it can be rather dificult,I help english speaking people by letting them do the Orthodox course called the Way.If you are interested you can get more info about the course at www.icos.cam.uk/theway ,in the UK and USA english is used in most services and I think the rest of the world will catch up.
I hope this will help you it is well worth getting this course if you are drawn to Orthodoxy.
Kind regards in Christ.
Rd Yannis

#11 Yannis

Yannis

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 26 September 2011 - 07:06 AM

Dear Clare,
The web address I sent you should read www.iocs.cam.ac.uk/theway or you can contact me at johnedward@ymail.com.
Kind regards Yannis

#12 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,581 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:38 PM

it can happen - especially when distances are very great and Bishops visit rarely - that tightly ethnic parish structures effectively exclude enquirers from both non-Christian and heterodox backgrounds who do not speak any of the languages of the Orthodox parishes in their city.


A couple of things. First, this may only be an initial impression - my experience has been that a non-(insert ethnicity of choice here) speaking person who comes into a very (ethnic) parish may initially feel out of place due to the language, however, as he persists, the person is embraced by the parish despite the language issue. In know a number of Slavonic only parishes with large non-Russian American contingents in them who are active and an integral part of the parish life.

Here, in Australia, services in English are rare, and the mindset appears to be that Orthodoxy is for those who are already Orthodox,



In Australia, you might try the Russian parishes. Although the language of the service is generally Slavonic, the ruling bishop (Metropolitan Hilaron) is very missionary minded and encourages his clergy to be open to non-Russians and converts to the Faith.

Where does that leave the English-speaking enquirer who is drawn to Orthodoxy, perhaps from their reading, or the migrant from a non-Christian country such as China who is seeking a faith community?


Come to the parish, talk with the priest, introduce yourself to the people there - you may be surprised at how easily you become part of the parish community. If you are drawn to the Orthodox Church because you believe it is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, you won't let a little thing like language get in your way.

Fr David Moser

#13 Clare G.

Clare G.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 46 posts

Posted 27 September 2011 - 07:05 AM

Thank you to Father David and Yannis for your responses.

With respect, Father David, I do not consider language to be "a little thing" in the context of worship. Why do we venerate the Saints who over the centuries have laboured to translate the services into the languages of the people to whom they were ministering. Surely, to make virtually no provision for the common language of the majority of the population of a country the size of Australia is tantamount to discouraging converts and failing to guide the heterodox and non-Christians to Orthodoxy.

My own situation is resolved, but I am concerned about others, such as people from Asian countries, for whom English is perhaps already a second language, yet the only language in which they can communicate in this very multicultural society. If Orthodoxy is communicated only in a Russian/Greek/Serbian/Romanian etc. context, how are they to understand the services and, through the services, the Faith.

Yannis, would The Way course be suitable for people in this situation, or is it more like a university extension course, aimed at well-educated native speakers of English?

#14 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,581 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 27 September 2011 - 01:17 PM

With respect, Father David, I do not consider language to be "a little thing" in the context of worship.


Let me suggest you read Matt. 13:44-46. Standing on its own, language can indeed be an issue, but when one considers the Church (i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven on earth) to be the pearl of great price - then perhaps language is only one of the many less significant or important barriers that there are to obtaining it. Is the true Church worth going through a little linguistic discomfort? Language may not seem like a "little thing" when it is considered in its own light - but in the context of the salvation of the soul, it is indeed a "little thing"

It is also my experience, at least among the Russians, that if the priest knows that there is a non-Russian speaker present, he will make some effort to include (in the case of English speaking nations) some English.

I do not mean to say that we should not make the effort to use the local language - we should. Not only is it important for evangelism, but it is also extremely important for the youth, keeping the Church as a integral part of their daily lives. But we can't make language the scapegoat or excuse for our own choice to walk away from the Kingdom of God.


Fr David

#15 Clare G.

Clare G.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 46 posts

Posted 27 September 2011 - 11:33 PM

I do not mean to say that we should not make the effort to use the local language - we should. Not only is it important for evangelism . . .


That's precisely the point, Father. In Australia there is no effort to use the local language (in fact, I know of one jurisdiction that has forbidden services in English), nor does any Orthodox bishop appear to see value in evangelism.

#16 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 27 September 2011 - 11:44 PM

That's precisely the point, Father. In Australia there is no effort to use the local language (in fact, I know of one jurisdiction that has forbidden services in English), nor does any Orthodox bishop appear to see value in evangelism.


In August I spent about 10 days in Adelaide. There are two English language missions/parishes in the city as well as an English language monastery outside of the city. Obviously this was all the result of hard work. But that's more use of English in a given area than anywhere else I've been in N America.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#17 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,821 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 28 September 2011 - 12:12 AM

In August I spent about 10 days in Adelaide.


To clarify, Adelaide is the capital of the state of South Australia, population of the city is about 1.2 million, the second-smallest state capital in the nation. The two most populous state capitals are Sydney (4.5 million) and Melbourne (4 million). So, for a small state, three Orthodox churches using only English is remarkable. And this does not include the longstanding practice (more than 35 years) in most other Orthodox parishes (of whatever jurisdiction) of conducting bilingual services as a norm, or, in some cases, holding regular English-only services.

#18 Clare G.

Clare G.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 46 posts

Posted 29 September 2011 - 11:52 AM

Thank you, Father Raphael and Olga. I stand corrected. Adelaide does indeed seem remarkably well provided for, especially given its relatively small size.

#19 Owen Jones

Owen Jones

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,341 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 02 October 2011 - 01:24 PM

I see nothing wrong with communities preserving traditional liturgical languages in their services, but the idea of an all Russian, or all Greek service in an English speaking country is criminal, IMHO.

#20 Phoebe K.

Phoebe K.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 278 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 09 August 2012 - 11:41 AM

In my parish the services tend to be in both Greek and English, the amount of English depends on the deacon as out priest speaks very little English. we also get English from some of the readers for parts of the service, but it can be rather patchy. There is a sisable minority of non Greeks in the congregation, this can be challenging but we manage.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users