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Secularism in the Church


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#1 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 10:31 PM

"If you want to see secularism in the Church you need only look at the bishop's crown and sakkos."

Any comments on this statement?

In Xp
Alexander

#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 04:14 AM

This has already been discussed. Please use the search feature.

#3 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 09:30 AM

Dear Paul

I am sorry that this has already been discussed - I did a search for "secularism sakkos" but the search did not yield any results so I created a new thread - would you be kind enough to point me in the right direction?

In Xp
Alexander

#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:09 PM

Secularism in general has been discussed in several threads, and the bishop's mitre has indeed come up. As to this specific comment, I would like to know the source of it. Some context would be very helpful in trying to figure out what is meant. Statements taken in isolation are very difficult to exegete. We Orthodox are very leery of proof-texting. As to the specifics of the comment, the sakkos was originally worn by the Christian Emperor of Constantinople as an imperial vestment, symbolizing the tunic of disgrace worn by Christ during his trial and mockery. It serves the same purpose for the bishop. But since it was worn by an emperor, it becomes a symbol of earthly authority, as does, obviously the mitre, or crown. During the Ottoman captivity, the Patriarch was the civil authority over the Rum millet, that is, the Christians, and his appointment had to be approved by the Ottomans. There for a time it often went to the highest bidder. I don't think you can get much more secular than that. But God can also work through sinners as well as saints (thank God!) and the Church survived the Ottoman captivity but obviously bears scars to this day.

I will be offline until after the new year, so I am afraid I won't be able to comment further for awhile. Hopefully better minds than mine will add to or correct my poor attempt at explanation once a little more context is provided? Text without context is pretext.

Herman the offline Pooh

#5 Paul Cowan

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 09:16 PM

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Pooh

#6 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 12:01 AM

I think that secularism of the Church cannot be a problem since the Church is the Body of Christ which cannot be in danger. Secularism in the Church must refer to the corruption of members of the Church including bishops. Secularism of members of the Church must mean the quenching of the Spirit in those who are beguiled by the attractions of the world and make our Orthodox faith a 'religion', an ideology, meaning the anthropocentric organisation of outward relgious observance, one social organisation among others. This can happen when the Church is closely allied to the state. Inevitably, bishops, particularly those who rise to high office as archbishops and metropolitans, can be appear to lead a life which appears to be a sanctified form of statesmanship, spending their time in meetings with various dignitaries, first-class foreign travel, being chauffered around in limousines, and living in lavish surroundings. They become remote from the people and then not only do not share but cannot understand their diffficulties. The temptations of high office are far more dangerous than merely the mitre and the sakkos unless what is meant is that these be but symbols of such temptations.

#7 Owen Jones

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 03:32 PM

Secularism is a modern ideology that states that a society can exist apart from God. Secular and Sacred is a time honored distinction in the Church and refer to two realms that should work in concert.

#8 Ryan

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 04:27 PM

"If you want to see secularism in the Church you need only look at the bishop's crown and sakkos."

Any comments on this statement?

In Xp
Alexander


Secularism and the secular are not the same thing. Obviously Christianity appropriates many things from the world without becoming worldly.

#9 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 04:46 PM

Secularism is a modern ideology that states that a society can exist apart from God.


In broad cultural terms, this is right. More specifically, secularism can mean that the state, especially in relation to law, seeks to be neutral with regard to religion rather than against it or dismissive of it. In other words, based on the ideas of Locke, the state supports freedom of worship. However much society seems to disregard religion, those people with a commitment to their faith are free to practise it as we (members of this forum) are in our respective countries. Since the collapse of communism, lack of freedom of worship is found, not in secular states such as France, but in those states which base themselves on one faith - we have to think of Islamic states - and put more or less constraint on other faiths.

#10 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 04:59 PM

In the USA and the majority of countries of the world, the secularism question boils down to this: Do we really crave martyrdom? In a non-secular state, there shall be one and only one religion. All other practices shall be punished by the power of government. Currently, as things stand, that would not be Orthodoxy in most countries that have Orthodox Christians. I understand that an oppressed Church may be a more zealous Church, but why should we crave oppression?

#11 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 09:22 PM

I don't think we crave martyrdom or oppression, nor should we: the question, which is likely for most of us to be purely academic, is how would we face up to martyrdom and oppression? Having spent Friday evening in the cathedral at Butovo, this question was emphatically not academic but all too brutally real even as recently as the late 1940s. Is the Church 'zealous' when oppressed? Was Christ 'zealous' for His crucifixion? The Gospel does not suggest this. Rather, those in the Church who suffer oppression and martyrdom do so in a Christ-like way. It may be said that some martyrs of old were zealous for mertyrdom - would it be more accurate to say that they were zealous to imitate His way and so be with Him?

#12 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:53 PM

Demanding that the USA be non-secular, for example, would mean that Orthodoxy would be illegal, here. Evangelicalism of some form would be the state religion. Why would we want that?

#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:50 PM

Demanding that the USA be non-secular, for example, would mean that Orthodoxy would be illegal, here. Evangelicalism of some form would be the state religion. Why would we want that?


A state's being non-secular does not necessarily mean that only the state religion is permitted. England is a non-secular state, i.e. it has a state religion, but other religions are, of course, allowed.

#14 Marie+Duquette

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 06:57 PM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/cofe/cofe_1.shtml

For those interested, I find that the above link is very interesting in that it does give a quick view of the connection of State and Religion in England, and a history of this fact.

This fact does not deny that secularism is rampant there as anywhere else in the world. It seems that
secularism as a mist can enter the Church imperceptibly; which is does so at time. This reality does emphasise that The Church, and Orthodox Christians need to constantly be vigilant in watchfulness and prayer, as Jesus, Himself says in the Gospel, if one is not to fall into the temptation of Secularism. Secularism is quite entising, and most often imperceptibly permeates our life-styles daily, these secular ways of doing replacing the Christ-like Way, as found in the Scriptures.

Edited by Marie+Duquette, 15 January 2012 - 07:12 PM.


#15 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 08:05 PM

Secularism in the sense of the displacement of religious observance by wordly pursuits or simply by apathy and disinterest is rampant everywhere, including Russia and, as we have heard, in Greece. Church attendance in Russia, in percentage terms, is about the same as in England.

#16 James Lawrence

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 01:00 PM

A state's being non-secular does not necessarily mean that only the state religion is permitted. England is a non-secular state, i.e. it has a state religion, but other religions are, of course, allowed.


Of course, the main problem with the USA becoming a non-secular state is just whose religion would "get the nod"? It would almost of a certainty be a Fundamentalist, Evangelical pop Christianity, complete with pre-Trib rapture, a list of new laws that would make Sharia law look like a girl scout picnic, and an outlawing of the "decieving works of satan", ie whatever is different from thier views - including othe rflavors of Christianity. If I come across as a little polemic, keep in mind I've spend the last seven years working for and with these very types of people - and this is exactly the kind of US they dream of. I had one "minister" even go so far as to tell me that the first few years of such a rule would feature a filling of prisons and enough executions to fill a score of graveyards.

I would much rather have a secular state that guarantees my right to be Orthodox than a non-secular state that insists I obey a watered down psuedo Christianity.

#17 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 04:48 PM

A state's being non-secular does not necessarily mean that only the state religion is permitted. England is a non-secular state, i.e. it has a state religion, but other religions are, of course, allowed.


To agree with James, what might float in the UK would sink here. The CoE is a child of political expediency, built to hold as many people as can be crammed into it. In the USA, the group with greatest political clout is not one for big tent approaches.

#18 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 05:01 PM

But in the USA, you have the 1st Amendment which guarantees freedom of religion . . .

#19 Kosta

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:20 PM

The right of freedom of religion in the US Constitution is demonic in my opinion. This has lead to missionaries being sent all over the world to proselytise with the help of the State Department. At the same time if 10,000 muslim missionaries landed in Tennessee there would be hell.
The United States desperately needs an official religion so we can know on what principles it stands on. Small villages now get sued for displaying a creche which they have done for centuries because some claim it violates seperation of powers. A town in the bible belt where the Gideons donate free bibles to the local school, to give to students upon request, now is being sued by a woman to also pass out wiccan literature to appease this stupid ammendment.

And if a country is hostile to Orthodoxy, then move. Orthodoxy is an immigrant church thats why it doesnt exist in Saudi Arabia because no one is stupid enough to emigrate there enmasse. Thats why China had a small Orthodox precense of russian immigrants but once they left not much remained.

#20 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:48 PM

I do not think that a state such the US having an official religion would prevent those things Kosta mentions if religious toleration still existed. In the UK, which has a mainstream Christian denomination as its offical religion, the Royal Navy, for example, has CoE chaplains yet it has to tolerate personnel following occult and pagan religions. The situation of Orthodoxy here, though, is very different because the Orthodox faith existed here for nearly 1,000 years (almost as long as it has existed in Russia), places of worship from those times still exist, and there are local Orthodox saints from Orthodox times. Current Orthodoxy, therefore, has a firm point of historical reference.




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