Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Evangelism


  • Please log in to reply
47 replies to this topic

#1 Owen Jones

Owen Jones

    Very Frequent Poster

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

Posted 26 July 2003 - 12:53 AM

It strikes me that there are some earthshaking events in the religious world that our Orthodox hierarchs ought to be paying close attention to but probably aren't. One is the disaster in the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S., relating to sex abuse, but which is the logical consequence of 50+ years of heretical teachings and practices in the seminaries. BEcoming Orthodox ought to be an option available to many disillusioned people in the Catholic Church, if they only knew about us. The Catholics evangelize in Orthodox Countries. Why can't we evangelize in the U.S.?

A more significant event is what is happening in the Anglican Communion. There is going to be a schism between the African/Asian bishops and the Anglo bishops, that have so crossed the line both in terms of theological teachings and on sex matters, that this split is now inevitable. It seems to me that the Patriarch ought to be visiting AFrica and meeting personally with Anglican Bishops in Africa to point out to them that they have an opportunity to come home to Orthodoxy, rather than creating their own denomination of Anglicanism.


#2 Guest_Elizabeth Hanson

Guest_Elizabeth Hanson
  • Guests

Posted 26 July 2003 - 01:22 AM

My dearest Owen:

Here in the USA, the SCOBA bishops feel bound by the Balamand Agreement (an international agreement signed between certain hierarchs in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Orthodox Church). Therefore, they will not evangelize Roman Catholics. When I converted to Orthodoxy from the Roman Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Bishop told me that I would never be able to return to the Catholic Church because of the Balamand Agreement. During my search of the Orthodox Church, I was told not to alienate myself from the Catholic Church. Only when the Orthodox Priest realized that I no longer believed in the Pope nor in Papal infallibility did he feel free to offer me instructions in the Holy Faith. That process took me three years.

I have known several Roman Catholics who looked into the Orthodox Church only to be refused instruction by the Orthodox Priest. In these cases, they were told about the Balamand Agreement. They were also told that unevenly yoked spouses suffer more divorces.

Hopefully this answers some questions.

Your sister in Christ,
Elizabeth


#3 Fr Averky

Fr Averky

    Former frequent poster (deceased)

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 672 posts

Posted 26 July 2003 - 03:55 AM

Dear Owen.

I am sure that you are aware that the Pope of Rome has within the last few years, especially within the last year, has set up twelve Catholic dioceses in Russia, and within the last two months, two in Kazahkistan.

On top of this, he has had the audacity to express the desire to return to Russia an icon of the Kazan Mother of God at first claimed to be the original-of course with the proviso that he can step onto Russian soil, making yet another papal conquest.

But how did this happen, and why? Because for forty years, at the behest of the Soviet authorites, the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate involved themselves in what the late Metropolitan Philaret of the Church Abroad termed the most dangerous of all heresies to ever attack the Church-the heresy of Ecumenism. Orthodox bishops have for years openly prayed with the Latins, and as Elizabeth mentions concerning the Balamand Agtrement, made concessions and compromised our precious Orthodoxy, while the Latins have essentialy made none. Both Roman Catholics and Orthodox have made concessions and compromised the integrity of their Churches to placate the Jews, who admirably have kept their own integrity. I am in no way being anti-semitic -no, I am saying that in their haste to proclaim "Universal Love," Christian bishops have crossed their own boundaries, which has gained them nothing.

The World Council of Churches (of Christ?) now includes and prays with Buddhists, Shintoists, and a whole array of other non-Christian groups. At the meeting held in Australia several years ago, delegates walked through Aborigianal ""sacred smoke" as they entered the meeting area. During a solemn community service, an Orthdodox bishop carried the Holy Gospel, surrounded by men and women offering bowls of incense, and a Korean woman burned paper as an offering to the "Spirits of the World," as drums beat and people chanted-she stated in an interview that "Christianity is my mother, and the Buddha is my father." At the most recent meeting with the Pope in Asissi, a small statue of Buddha was placed on a Catholic altar to accomodate the Buddhists, and many crucifixes were taken down in the famous Franciscan monastery so not offend the non-Christian "bretheren."

Until the Bishops of World Orthodoxy return to the Orthodoxy for which the maryrs died and which Holy Fathers and Hierarchs proclaimed and defended throughout the centuries, then more and more compromises will be made. Someone the other day mentioned how the calendar question and other innovations are "inconsequential,." I am sorry, but those which are deemed by some as being inconsequential have become a threat to the unity and purity of the Faith.

What are the faithful to believe when the most prestigious of all Orthdodox bishops presents a silver chalice to the openly homosexual archbishop of a major Protestant church in Sweden ( who recently did a service of union for his lesbian sister and her theologian partner) and states that he prays for the day when all Christians will commune from one chalice, and when at the end of the service, which includes loud Gospel music as the communicants swaying and dance on their way to communion, gives his Apostolic blessing along with the said archbishop and the Catholic cardinal?

I will say, that despite nearly eighty years of enslavement, and sometimes willing cooperation with godless authorities, the Church of Russia did not tamper with Orthodoxy even though if it had, it would have pleased its evil masters, who would have rewarded it greatly. The bishops were forced to join the Ecumenical movement, which was seen by the government as yet another means to undermine the Church. Sad to say, there were those who all to happily sold their souls for beautiful homes and hand-made limousines.

The Church of Russia is now breaking away from its imprisonment, but a price has to paid for the willing involvement of those bishops who were KGB operatives. They prayed with Protestants and Catholics and gave them rich gifts while it might have pleased their godless masters, it did not please God.. Did they think that Rome would treat them truly as "brothers?" when I was a high school boy, plans were already then being made for the "conversion" of Russia.

I am sorry that I have gone on so long, but Orthodoxy is so precious to me, and I am in anguish when I see Orthodox bishops, who vowed at the time of the consecration to uphold and protect the Orthdox Church, and then compromise those ideals in order to sit "at the head table." I was a Roman Catholic, and I well remember the contempt that the Catholics had for the Orthdodox. The original intention in sending delegates to ecemneical meetings was to witness that the Orthdodox Church is the Church, but lately, the Orthdodox have had to complainbitterly that they are all but totally disregarded, yet for many years they have signed documents which refer to the WCC as the "Church."

Fr. A.


#4 Guest_Hermit

Guest_Hermit
  • Guests

Posted 26 July 2003 - 04:51 AM

One is the disaster in the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S., relating to sex abuse, but which is the logical consequence of 50+ years of heretical teachings and practices in the seminaries.


Yes, there have been heretically leftist teachings denying the mainstays of Catholic and common Christian teachings in Catholic seminaries. Occasionally there is rot and corruption in any branch of Christianity (including the Orthodox). One big problem was that homosexuals were allowed to become priests as long as they vowed celibacy ... but what's a vow to someone used to lying ... many gay activists and pedophiles entered the priesthood with no intention whatsoever of keeping the vow of celibacy.

I was a Roman Catholic, and I well remember the contempt that the Catholics had for the Orthdodox.


I've never heard any single word of contempt for the Orthodox. I'm a cradle Catholic (although I left for many years to explore the New Age and Hinduism) and have listened a lot over the past couple of years to EWTN, the conservative Catholic satellite channel (and website). They say that the Orthodox have valid sacraments, priesthood, etc - something of course they generally deny Protestants with the exception of marriage. The Pope has stated that the Catholic Church and the Orthodox are the left and right lungs of Christianity.

There's no contempt, but a real desire to unite that I don't believe the Pope extends to Buddhism etc. I suppose we won't get over the issue of whether the leader of a united Church should have a lot of authority, or be first among equals, and of course there are the ridiculous little theological bickerings about who proceeds from whom. But eventually Jesus will return and set things right.

#5 Fr Averky

Fr Averky

    Former frequent poster (deceased)

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 672 posts

Posted 26 July 2003 - 06:25 AM

Dear hermit,
Please don't be offended, but even when I was in high school in the 60's, the priests teaching religion would say that Orthdoxy was stale and lifeless, living in the cumbersome and dead past of Byzantium. Our principal did not like ti when I went to Divine Liturgy at the local Greek Orthodox Church, warning me that "They are not in line with Catholic thought, and they have no respect for the Magreterium." When I was a Catholic seminarian in Canada, I came upon a shope in the Ukrainian section of Tornto which sold icons, three bar crosses, prayer ropes and the like. I bought some icons for my room, but the Dean of Discipline made me take them down from my wall, telling me to have such things could be "dangerous" for my soul. He told me to go to the chapel and say a rosoary, and to ask the Virgin's forgiveness for having offended her. We got into quite a row, because I refused to be "sorry" for praying before an icon of the Mother of God, rather than a statue. From then on, he let it know that I was "suspect."

When our seminary choir went to the cathedral to sing for a pontifical mass, at the dinner afterwards, the Latin rite priests completly ignored the Uniate priests in the most shameful manner.

Of course, much has changed since then, but I feel that on the part of Rome, while it is true that "union" is desired, I fear that in the end it would be "absorption," and the Eastern Orthodox at first would be treated with honor, but in time a new and larger Unia would arise, and the Pope would still be the Vicar of Christ, and the ancient patriarchates would be reduced to those like the Melkites whose Patriarch along with all of the other Uniate patriarchs were told by the present Pope that it is the cardinals who are higher in rank, even though the patriarchs represent far more ancient sees, and who during Vatican II were given a place of honor by Pope Paul VI. It is moments like this that the real attitude towards the Churches of the East is seen. Dear hermit, I try to base what I say on either what I have been taught, or from my own experience. I still have many wonderful memories from my days being a Catholic, but these are not among them.

Fr. A.


#6 Guest_Elizabeth Hanson

Guest_Elizabeth Hanson
  • Guests

Posted 26 July 2003 - 08:27 AM

Dear Father A. and fellow members:

In 1995, at a prominent Catholic Church in North Hollywood, the pastor told the parishioners that St. Anne's Melkite Greek Catholic Church was not in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and that they shouldn't go there. Talk about disinformation. Of course St. Anne's is not in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, it is in the Eparchy of Newton, Massachusetts, under the jurisdiction of the Melkites, and the Melkites are in communion with Rome.

Furthermore, I personally know a Melkite woman who was reconfirmed in order for her to get married in that same Roman Catholic Church because they did not recognize the Melkite Chrismation. Then there are the countless numbers of Melkite and Orthodox children who attend Catholic Schools and who are given "First Holy Communion" and "Confirmation" because the nuns don't want them feeling left out of these "coming of age" ceremonies. There is still a lot of ignorance about Eastern Catholics.

A thought just occurred to me. The people accuse the Orthodox of having many jurisdictions in America, but so do the Roman Catholics! There are the Roman Catholic Bishops of the Latin Rite, and then there are the Melkites, the Ruthenians, the Romanians, the Ukranians, the Armenians, the Syrians, the Chaldeans, and one from India -- all these Eastern Churches all have their own bishops with dioceses that overlap.

Just a little bit of confusion reigns in both East and West due to jurisdictional squabbles and bias.

Your sister in Christ,
Elizabeth


#7 Owen Jones

Owen Jones

    Very Frequent Poster

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

Posted 26 July 2003 - 01:15 PM

If the hierarchs refuse to evangelize, then the laity MUST do it.


#8 Guest_Katrina Delsante

Guest_Katrina Delsante
  • Guests

Posted 26 July 2003 - 04:40 PM

Isn't that how it should be done, through the laity?

Shouldn't we, by our example in humbly serving our local communities(both in America and abroad) in outreach programs and the like, be evangelizers this way?

And I don't mean evangelizing to those we help like a captive audience, but by living the life Christ told us to live. Being an example that others want to emulate. Being of calm disposition, not greedy, not gossiping, not flamboyant in any way.

I've been thinking about this a while now and maybe a month ago spewed out here what I thought was "zeal" for the Orthodox church to start our own TBN or EWTN. You know, take over the airwaves to contradict those heretics!! I don't know now if that is the best way at all, especially if done by the laity. Certainly we shouldn't hide ourselves away and claim "members only", but is "in your face, do it our way or the highway" going to convince anyone? The educational resources are out there for those interested. It is our job as Orthodox Christians to get people interested by our example and then lead them to the proper resources.

This in itself is frightening to me. I can think of dozens of times I have gone out into the world, boldly wearing my 3 bar cross, and then snapping at the lady in Customer Service or gossiping about so and so at work. And I want to evangelize? Is this the true face of Orthodoxy? As much as it pains me to watch TBN and the hogwash that they preach sometimes, I am NOT qualified to be an evangelizer to rebutt them. Truly, I want to evangelize more than anything else in the world. However, if I struggle every moment to save myself, how do I intend to save the world? Additionally, weren't we warned that the teachers of the Gospel are judged more harshly? Based on my life, my judgements are going to be hard enough. I don't need to compound the problem when I haven't been specifically called to teach by the Holy Spirit.

As far as protecting others from leaving Orthodoxy by the hands of other evangelizers, that is the duty of the clergy. It has been my personal experience that people leave Orthodoxy for no other reason than they don't know diddly about it. My brother and sister were swept away by the Baptist church because they were easily swayed by their arguments against Orthodoxy. Educating ourselves about our faith is so important!! Otherwise, as our parish priest put it to our youth a few weeks ago, "We are food for the wolves".

So now my daily struggle to evangelize is to watch my behaviour internally and externally. Forgive me for my ignorance in not knowing the source of the quote, but "save yourself and thousands around you will be saved" certainly applies here. This quote makes more sense to me every day!

I apologize for the ramble here. I seem to have drifted all over the place and it sounds like I have contradicted myself. I guess what I have been trying to say is that yes I think we are all called to evangelize, but this evangelization should come from our actions not our words or what we see as modern day "conventional" means of evangelization.

Did I make any sense? And please, anyone, correct me if I am wrong.

Forever trying to be "In Christ",
Katrina








#9 Guest_Elizabeth Hanson

Guest_Elizabeth Hanson
  • Guests

Posted 26 July 2003 - 07:37 PM

My dearest Katrina in Christ,

The quote you mentioned is from St. Seraphim of Sarov: "Acquire the Holy Spirit, and a thousand souls around you will be saved."

Your sister in Christ our God,
Elizabeth


#10 Guest_Katrina Delsante

Guest_Katrina Delsante
  • Guests

Posted 26 July 2003 - 08:23 PM

Thank you Elizabeth for the source and the correction of the quote!

My personal argument remains the same even with the correction. My daily struggle with acquiring the Holy Spirit and not offending Him by my selfish and prideful actions is an ongoing battle. I cannot be an example to others without the Holy Spirit. I wouldn't want to. It seems awfully dangerous!

Lord Jesus Christ, Son Of God, Have Mercy On Me A Sinner!

Katrina




#11 Guest_Elizabeth Hanson

Guest_Elizabeth Hanson
  • Guests

Posted 26 July 2003 - 11:36 PM

My dearest Katrina:

My Orthodox Priest told us to say nightly prayers as a family and to confess our sins to one another. At first my son would sneak into bed and fall asleep so that he could avoid this nervous ordeal. Then, my husband would say that he had some last minute work to do and asked to be excused, or he too would sneak off to bed without our saying prayers together. However, our priest persisted and corrected us whenever we mentioned that we had not prayed as a family.

Finally a good habit was formed. Our marriage has improved and our son has a very nice disposition. People come up to me tell me that they admire his good behavior.

Thank you Lord Jesus for blessing me with a good spiritual Father.

O Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through the intercessions of Thine Immaculate Mother, and of all Thy Saints have mercy upon me, and save me a sinner, for Thou art a merciful God, and lovest mankind. Amen.

Lovingly in Christ,
Elizabeth

(Message edited by chanterhanson on 27 July, 2003)


#12 Guest_Elizabeth Hanson

Guest_Elizabeth Hanson
  • Guests

Posted 28 July 2003 - 09:18 PM

Re: Recent Balamand Agreement violations

This is taken from the Internet:
http://209.157.64.20...on/950628/posts

Re: The Dominican Sisters of Nashville, TN

Last week, friends Katie Vaughan, 17, and Katherine Melton, 18, of Charleston, S.C., visited the Motherhouse. The recent high school graduates of Bishop England High School in Charleston, S.C., are contemplating entering the convent.

"I'm a convert. I came into the Catholic religion this year," Melton said, adding that she converted from Greek Orthodox.

"I've always been Catholic," Katie Vaughan said.


Comment -
Yet, the Orthodox seem to be strictly abiding by the Balamand Agreement.

This news was dated July 20, 2003


#13 Justin

Justin

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 28 July 2003 - 09:26 PM

Balamand is about word games. Very few people, except for professional ecumenists, cared about the Balamand agreement for the better part of the mid to late 90's. Many traditionalists, Mount Athos, and even not a small number of moderate Orthodox Christians spoke out against Balamand. Which is really quite amazing since probably something like 98% of the Orthodox in the world have never heard of the Balamand agreement. The only exceptions to these negative reactions are further statements made by the same type of ecumenical theologians that were responsible for the balamand agreement, the monophysite communion debacle, etc. to begin with. The joint Catholic-Orthodox statement on baptism from a few years ago, in which each Church recognizes the other Church's baptism, is one such example. Beyond this type of ecumenical discussion and word games, I've rarely heard of anyone giving any weight to the document (from both the Orthodox and the Catholic side).


#14 Justin

Justin

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 28 July 2003 - 09:52 PM

PS. I do apologize for the above, I realise that it was uncharitable. I'm just not sure what to call it other than word games. How many regular Orthodox Christians have ever heard of Balamand? How many know that some Catholics and Orthodox theologians recognized the baptism of the others? How many know that monophysites now commune in Orthodox Churches all over the world (including America), and that there may soon (or even now) be concelebrations between the monophysite and Orthodox bishops? Other than a few eggheads, a few gossipers, a few professional ecumenists, and the priests who are given orders "from above" to start communing heretics, how many Orthodox people know of such things? Please forgive me if it seems like games (albeit deadly games) to me.


#15 Guest_Elizabeth Hanson

Guest_Elizabeth Hanson
  • Guests

Posted 28 July 2003 - 10:56 PM

Dearest Justin and other members of this forum:

Ecumenism raises some very difficult questions but the poor catechumens do seem to get caught in the middle.

Re: Reception into Orthodoxy by Baptism or Chrismation

In the Antiochian, OCA and Greek dioceses, the Bishop of each diocese decides. However, it does seem to be a general rule that those Protestants and Catholics who were given a recognized Trinitarian Baptism are accepted into Orthodoxy through Chrismation, Holy Confession, and Holy Communion; they are not rebaptized.

Then there is the question of who can be a sponsor for baptism. In many parishes (Greek and Antiochian) the priest allows a Catholic to be a godparent as long as one sponsor is Orthodox. Now is this practice allowed by the bishops or is the priest just doing his own thing? Are the lifting of the anathemas done in the 1960s by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagorus recognized as valid now?

This practice really confuses the child who is raised up going to both churches. I know one child who was beaten up by some Orthodox youths when he responded that he was an Orthodox Roman Catholic who went to both Churches. That's sad. His mother pulled him out of the Orthodox church. Now he's Catholic.

Perhaps there is an Antiochian or Greek priest online who can shed some light on this controversial subject.

Almost every priest of the Antiochian and Greek archdiocese whom I have met is careful not to violate the Balamand Agreement. Some of these priests have even boasted that they have encouraged Catholic inquirers to return to the Catholic Church. However, it seems that Roman Catholic priests are being told that they can give Holy Communion to the Orthodox, so many do. There does seem to be some confusion here.

When people convert to the ROCOR, does the ROCOR automatically baptize all non-Orthodox Christians (Protestants and Catholics) who previously received a Trinitarian Baptism? Or is this decision left up to the individual bishop?

Your sister in Christ,
Elizabeth


(Message edited by chanterhanson on 28 July, 2003)


#16 George Hawkins

George Hawkins

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts

Posted 29 July 2003 - 05:25 AM

In response to Justin,
It is quite a worry that Monophysites may take Holy Communion in some Orthodox Churches, as they are, after all, not Orthodox, and their understanding of Jesus is different to ours. I remember in Japan there were some Ethiopian monophysites who while they attended the Orthodox Liturgy, were of course unable to take Communion, though some have, I understand had their children born in Japan Baptised into the Orthodox Church of Japan. The Ethiopians would always take off their shoes before entering Church.
George H


#17 Elizabeth

Elizabeth

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 39 posts

Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:18 AM

My dearest friends in Christ:

An acquaintance of mine was looking into Catholicism but is now becoming very discouraged with all the changes going on in the Catholic Church. He is now looking into Orthodoxy and here is his observation:

Well the Bible wasn't canonized, and then diminished, like the other practices I mentioned. However, priests were allowed to marry, and then they weren't. People were penanced for years, and then they weren't. Fasting was compulsory, and then it wasn't. This puzzles me.

Lovingly in Christ,
E. Hanson


#18 John Wilson

John Wilson

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 127 posts

Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:30 AM

You may be interested to know that it was originally the practise of all orthodox christians to take off their shoes before entering the church. Its one of the things that Mohammed copied from the church when he created Islam.

John


#19 Elizabeth

Elizabeth

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 39 posts

Posted 29 July 2003 - 07:04 AM

Dearest John:

The Coptic Christians still take their shoes off before entering their church as a sign of respect.

The Moslems took many of our customs: prostrations; fastings; feast days; we face East, they fact Mecca; praying at set times during the day; wearing the veil (but they carry it to extremes); church architecture (minus the icons); finally look at their Quran - it has many passages from the Old and New Testaments.


#20 Fr Averky

Fr Averky

    Former frequent poster (deceased)

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 672 posts

Posted 29 July 2003 - 08:24 AM

Dear Just,

Perhaps you are right; perhaps there are many people who have not heard of the Balamand Agreement, but its effect is being felt, and on many levels. As you know, our Church suffered a schism just a few years ago. Only a handlful of people left, but its effect on the life on our Church has been very great; Balamand was signed by representatives of several of the local Orthdodox Churches. As I think I pointed out, the Latins made no concessions or compromises, but the Orthodox did, and therein lies the danger. Agreements were also reached between Nestorian and Orthodox Christians, allowing for clergy of either Church to perform some of the Mysteries like baptisms and weddings. It might seem insignificant at the moment, but a foul seed has been planted, and I fear its dangerous harvest.

Fr. A.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users