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"Holy Zeal" by late Archbishop Averky, ROCOR


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#21 Steve Roche

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 08:53 PM

Stick to the Patristic Fathers, Steve, and you will understand true Orthodox theology!


Thanks Mike,

Do you mean by Catacomb Church the ante-Nicene Fathers? It is difficult to find anyone conversant with the earliest Patristic fathers of the 2nd–4th centuries. Protestants are essentially ignorant; and Catholics too are mostly ignorant. I was hoping that the Orthodox Church might be the exception to ignorance on these primary fathers. So far people have been suspicious of me; but that is ok. I know that true brotherhood and “truth” comes at a cost, which I am more than willing to pay. That others here have actually read some of these authors is a beautiful sight. Praise God!

God Bless you dear brother
Steve

#22 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:03 PM

Do you mean by Catacomb Church the ante-Nicene Fathers? It is difficult to find anyone conversant with the earliest Patristic fathers of the 2nd–4th centuries.


I think you will find that there are some here who are very conversant with the Fathers of the 2nd to the 4th centuries. SS Irenaeus, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, and Clement of Alexandria come to mind. The Catacomb Church, however, refers to the way Christians met during the persecutions of the late 1st to 3rd centuries. They are of interest now especially as containing very early examples of iconography.

#23 Steve Roche

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:45 PM

The Catacomb Church, however, refers to the way Christians met during the persecutions of the late 1st to 3rd centuries. They are of interest now especially as containing very early examples of iconography.


Thanks

I know more about the Iconoclasts of later centuries, and a little of the Syrian Church’s references to icons through the portrait of Jesus (King Abgar, etc). The fish, too, which incorporated the name of Jesus. I would like to learn more about the meaning in the context you are referring.

Steve

#24 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 10:16 PM

The ancient Romans normally practised cremation. Where burial was practised, it had to be outside the city walls. Cremation was not permitted for early Christians, as it is still not for Orthodox. The Christians of the 2nd and 3rd centuries excavated the soft rock of the city of Rome and made burial chambers for their deceased. These chambers were decorated with frescos which give us our earliest glimpse of Christian iconography. In the East where Egyptian influence prevailed, Christians could bury their dead since that was the ususal practice in the East (as it was with Jews also). From these beginnings, the iconographic tradition of the Church developed, and we see this in those icons which survived iconoclasm such as the famous icons at St Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai. As you rightly say, the Church then suffered the heresy of iconoclasm until the holy icons were restored by the seventh ecumenical council at Nicea in 787. The greatest defence of icons was written by St John of Damascus (ironically safe from persecution under the rule of the Muslim caliph). The final victory over iconoclasm was achieved in 842 under the Empress Theodora. This is celebrated by the Orthodox each year on the first Sunday of Great Lent.

#25 Mike L

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 05:53 AM

Thanks Mike,

Do you mean by Catacomb Church the ante-Nicene Fathers? It is difficult to find anyone conversant with the earliest Patristic fathers of the 2nd–4th centuries. Protestants are essentially ignorant; and Catholics too are mostly ignorant. I was hoping that the Orthodox Church might be the exception to ignorance on these primary fathers. So far people have been suspicious of me; but that is ok. I know that true brotherhood and “truth” comes at a cost, which I am more than willing to pay. That others here have actually read some of these authors is a beautiful sight. Praise God!

God Bless you dear brother
Steve


Well, its twofold..The original Catacomb Church was the persecuted Christians of the 1st-early 4th centuries; but also the Russian Church during the reign of Communism as well. I love all the early Church Fathers, St John Chrysostom being one of my faves, but he was a Nicene era Father.. I was referring to those trained by the Apostles: Ss. Polycarp, Clement, Irenaeus, and Ignatius for example.

#26 Steve Roche

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:03 AM

Clement of Rome on Virginity (chasteness):

1 Clement 3:1
“For virgins are a beautiful pattern to believers, and to those who shall believe. The name alone, indeed, without works, does not introduce into the kingdom of heaven; but, if a man be truly a believer, such a one can be saved. For, if a person be only called a believer in name, while he is not such in works, he cannot possibly be a believer. "Let no one lead you astray with the empty words of error." For, merely because a person is called a virgin, if he be destitute of works excellent and comely, and suitable to virginity, he cannot possibly be saved. For our Lord called such virginity as that "foolish," as He said in the Gospel; and because it had neither oil nor light, it was left outside of the kingdom of heaven, and was shut out from the joy of the bridegroom, and was reckoned with His enemies. For such persons as these "have the appearance only of the fear of God, but the power of it they deny." For they "think with themselves that they are something, while they are nothing, and are deceived. But let every one constantly test his works," and know himself; for empty worship does he offer, whosoever he be that makes profession of virginity and sanctity, "and denies its power." For virginity of such a kind is impure, and disowned by all good works. For "every tree whatsoever is known from its fruits." "See that you understand what I say: God will give you understanding."”

Constitutions of the Apostles on Music (Book 5, Chapter 10):
“Now we exhort you, brethren and fellow-servants, to avoid vain talk and obscene discourses, and jestings, drunkenness, lasciviousness, luxury, unbounded passions, with foolish discourses, since we do not permit you so much as on the Lord's days, which are days of joy, to speak or act anything unseemly; for the Scripture somewhere says: "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto Him with trembling." Even your very rejoicings therefore ought to be done with fear and trembling: for a Christian who is faithful ought neither to repeat a heathen hymn nor an obscene song, because he will be obliged by that hymn to make mention of the idolatrous names of demons; and instead of the Holy Spirit, the wicked one will enter into him.”

Of course, we can do whatever we want to do in regard to music and entertainment…, we can listen to John Lennon, or Mozart, or any other heathen who corrupts through his song... but what is profitable to the Holy Spirit is another question. It is not only whether or not one is a heretic that decides whether or not we should listen to their music; but whether they are heathen or obscene. This includes heretics, but the scope is much broader. This has nothing to do with being secure or insecure in our faith… it has to do with obedience and understanding.

A discourse from 180 bishops on the subject of heretics, led by Cyprian, is much sounder advice to listen to on this matter. I would prefer to listen to the advice and direction of Cyprian, the Apostles and earliest church fathers who are much wiser on this matter than are the modern day counterparts.

Steve

#27 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:05 AM

Dear Steve,

A discourse from 180 bishops on the subject of heretics, led by Cyprian, is much sounder advice to listen to on this matter.


Sounder than whose? And are there ANY non-Orthodox, ie heretical, composers you would listen to?

Whilst this might be thought more suitable as a private message, I think many of us here would like to know what you mean by 'heretic'. The term is used especially of those famous early heresiarchs such as Arius. The Orthodox Church believes itself to be the only bearer of the fulness of the Christian faith, and so all who are not Orthodox are in some degree heretics. This being so, how do you view your own position since you describe yourself as 'other Christian'? No innuendo, no slyness - just asking.

Incidentally, the Church Fathers are read and respected by many Protestants. John Wesley was steeped in them. It is characterstic that such miss out much between the early Fathers and the start of their particular denomination. (Note that the Orthodox Church is not a denomination - it is the truth.)

Edited by Andreas Moran, 10 May 2012 - 08:21 AM.


#28 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:33 AM

St Peter of Damascus says that it is through man's artistic powers that people can appreciate created things and God's goodness and wisdom in having made them. (Ref: 'The Philokalia', vol 3, p 137.) This seems to refer to the visual arts but I see no reason why this should not extend to other arts as St Theophan the Recluse indicates.

#29 Steve Roche

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:05 PM

Dear Steve,how do you view your own position since you describe yourself as 'other Christian'?


Jesus is the only truth. I have heard your definition of “truth” presented by Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. They use the same logic, argument and wording that you have used. It is the language of sects. I do not become involved in sectarian language; I seek to follow Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, as the Apostles and disciples of the first three centuries understood Christianity to be. After that time Christianity became compromised; it was institutionalised and politically aligned with earthly governments. This is not my viewpoint; it is fact.

I have heard members of the Orthodox Church recommend homosexual composers (yourself), and others subscribe to modern day heresies, such as evolution and psychology. If you are the “only bearer of the fullness of the Christian faith”, then your definition of “fullness” needs explanation. Since you tolerate fools gladly, tolerate me. Although I might not be a genius, I am sure your secure faith will not be found wanting, since you are able to tolerate wife swappers (Mozart) and homosexuals (Tchaikovsky; Bach).

(For a fuller list of homosexual composers, see: http://en.wikipedia...._LGBT_composers)

...If you subscribe to the Apostolic teaching, as you say, then do so. If I am a heretic, yet I demonstrate greater apostolic purity than you, a “truth bearer”, than the shame lies on your shoulders, and the praise on mine. You think you can mix light with darkness based on the artistic value you place on the artist. This type of instruction is dangerous to all faith. It allows Satan to roam free among the sheep. Ironically, you allow these homosexuals and God deniers, yet you question me! You appear to be very confused.

The faith that I belong to is the oldest of faiths… It is not the faith of sects and denominations; it is the faith of our earliest fathers. It pre-dates the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. When it was formed it was simply called the Way. Later, when Christians fought for supremacy, as Pope Stephen fought against Saint Cyprian, it was broken up into institutions and given names for identification. Emperor Theodosius identified the first government approved institution, and he called it the Roman Catholic Church. Later, the Constantinople Christians fought for supremacy over the Roman Christians, and they are called the Orthodox Church.

No one owns these Patristic fathers; they are adopted into our spiritual life voluntarily. They belong to me just as much as they belong to you, John Wesley, Martin Luther or John Calvin. Our honesty and integrity in living the Way is an evidence of our faith being authentic… our faith is not made authentic simply because we belong to a denomination, as you have it. You have the cart pulling the horse!

I don’t think everyone here wanted to know this about me; but I am happy to identify myself for you all the same. Because you believe your religious label distinguishes you; I think you and I are polarized, as I previously stated. This is not the case with everyone here, because our denominations are merely a vehicle for us to demonstrate our love for God. They do not replace our love for God or our responsibility toward Him. Some here understand that, others do not.

God Bless
Steve

#30 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:56 PM

I see. Do please read posts correctly: I have not 'recommended homosexual composers' and I did not say that I 'tolerated' Tchaikovsky - I asked you if you would listen to his music since, although he was a sinner, he was not a heretic. Bach is not on the list of homosexual composers - I think he was too busy fathering children. If you reject anything created by sinners, you must reject everything ever done by everyone since 'all have sinned' (Romans 3:23) and 'there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not' (Ecc. 7:20).

#31 Steve Roche

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:21 PM

Bach is not on the list of homosexual composers - I think he was too busy fathering children. If you reject anything created by sinners, you must reject everything ever done by everyone since 'all have sinned' (Romans 3:23) and 'there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not' (Ecc. 7:20).


The question of Bach’s homosexuality is debated…, he wrote on homosexual topics, as did Mozart (http://www.gay-art-h...rotic-love.html). These are two of the composers whom you did recommend (suggest). That a person has a wife and children does not suggest that he cannot also be homosexual.

I did not say that we should reject everything done by sinners; I am saying that ‘along with entertainment from sinners comes a package of their philosophies and values, which should be avoided.’ These philosophies and values are anti-God, and they should be avoided for the purpose of recreation and entertainment. This is what the Apostles and fathers had taught us. This question came up often in regard to whether or not Christians should go to the games for entertainment…

The Constitutions of the Apostles (Book 2, 27:8)
“You are also to avoid their stadiums, and all their sports celebrated in them. A believer ought not to go to any of those public gatherings - unless they go to acquire services, to buy things for their necessities, or to save a soul. Therefore, avoid all stately vanity and pomp, all their public meetings, forums and stadiums; all their ceremonies, rituals and festivals; all their sports, theatres and shows – for all belong to demons.”

I am not perfected in obedience…; none of us are. With my error comes a thirst to do what is right. I am called to account by my conscience and seek opportunities to perfect my faith. Where I fail today I may succeed tomorrow. This is why our teaching must be above reproach… We should not abandon God’s values simply because we fail so often. We must not become complacent and give sanction to sin because of its prevalence.

Peter and Paul went through this tugger-war in Galatia…; Paul had cautioned Peter of his hypocrisy in front of all. Fortunately for all of us, Peter accepted this council and perfected his faith. He did not take exception to Paul and seek to undermine him; he graciously adjusted his behaviour to reflect the demands of our faith. We live in a time where we must all do this. This does not mean our doctrines are wrong, or that we must abandon our fellowship. It means that we must continually adjust to the greatness of the Word as servants of God and vessels of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings
Steve

#32 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:28 PM

I shall certainly avoid the stadiums.

#33 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 12:50 PM

The Constitutions of the Apostles (Book 2, 27:8)
“You are also to avoid their stadiums, and all their sports celebrated in them. A believer ought not to go to any of those public gatherings - unless they go to acquire services, to buy things for their necessities, or to save a soul. Therefore, avoid all stately vanity and pomp, all their public meetings, forums and stadiums; all their ceremonies, rituals and festivals; all their sports, theatres and shows – for all belong to demons.”

We should point out that all such 'rules' or canons are up to the Church in concert to determine as to their application. It should not be up to the individual on their own to determine this.

This is why for example we consult with our priest and spiritual father, look to what our fellow believers do, read, pray, etc.

In other words in Orthodoxy we try to determine such 'life style choices' in concert with the rest of the Church. This does not at all deny that each person has their distinctive path. But it does give us more assurance that the choices we have made, even seemingly to be correct, are not simply from indivdual impulse.

In Christ
-Fr Raphael

#34 Mary Lanser

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 01:42 AM

This latter part of this discussion is very confusing to me.

In Christ,

M.

#35 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 10:37 AM

What needs to be borne in mind here and generally is the Orthodox way of approaching all things. Whether we are considering an article such as that mentioned here, a concept such as zeal, scripture, articles of faith, praxis, or anything at all, we do not hold our own opinions. Take the reading of scripture. We do not read scripture and assume it has a plain meaning which we can understand. We do not place our own interpretation on it. The meaning of scripture is known from the Holy Tradition of the Church which includes the service texts, the holy icons and the writings and commentaries of the Holy Fathers. Reading scripture from outside the Church may take a person so far; it may lead a man to Christ (eg Starets Kyrill (Pavlov)). But to persist in reading and to suppose that one understands is likely to lead to error and even heresy: as Bishop Irenaeos once told me, all the great heresiarchs were great theologians. St Luke tells us that St Paul at Antioch told the people there that the rulers and others in Jerusalem read scripture ('the voices of the prophets') every day and yet did not understand that the scriptures told of Christ and so they themselves fulfilled scripture in condemning Him (Acts 13:27). From the story of Philip and the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40), and the Fathers of all ages (eg St Dorotheos of Gaza and St John of Kronstadt) we are told to read scripture with the help of reliable guides who are the Fathers who have commented upon them. Indeed, our clergy are told to explain scripture to their flock and that it 'should never be interpreted differently from the teachers and Fathers of the Church' (Sixth Ecumenical Council, canon 19).

As in scripture, so in all things. Without humility, obedience, and confession, even the apparently wise may fall into error, become deluded, and fall into prelest. Without guidance, we are in danger: 'We need assistance, we need guidance in addition to God's grace. No one is more wretched, no one is more easily caught unawares, than a man who has no one to guide him. Nothing is more grievous than to be one's own director' (St Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses, 5). St John Climacus says the same (The Ladder, 26). 'A man is beguiled by listening to himself' says St Silouan the Athonite.

It is all this to which Fr Raphael refers where he says:

This is why for example we consult with our priest and spiritual father, look to what our fellow believers do, read, pray, etc.

In other words in Orthodoxy we try to determine such 'life style choices' in concert with the rest of the Church. This does not at all deny that each person has their distinctive path. But it does give us more assurance that the choices we have made, even seemingly to be correct, are not simply from indivdual impulse.


We do all things in concert, in harmony with the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church. As Fr Raphael says:

We should point out that all such 'rules' or canons are up to the Church in concert to determine as to their application. It should not be up to the individual on their own to determine this.


This is so 'For we being many are one bread, and one body' (1 Corinthians 10:17). The faithful being one body, they should be in accord. This precludes holding to personal opinions and individual understandings.

#36 Steve Roche

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 09:30 PM

I will leave this subject for those of you who are more qualified to speak on Orthodox tradition. I was out of my depth from misjudging the current.

Steve

#37 Mike L

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 08:11 AM

I think the late +Bishop Averky was a very astute and Spirit-filled man! May his memory be eternal!




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