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#21 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 12:39 PM

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.


Is this person commenting on the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church? It is difficult to tell from the way it is worded. If he is talking about Catholicism, we don't need to discuss it in this forum I think, we are not here to complain about Catholicism but to discuss Orthodoxy. If these comments pertain to Orthodox Churches then I am the one who is puzzled.

#22 Elizabeth

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 03:55 PM

My dearest Herman and fellow members of this forum:

Sorry for the confusion. It was very hot and humid over here with thunderstorms. I was not thinking clearly.

quote:

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.

The young man in question made the italicized statement concerning Catholicism. Please pray for him. He is now looking into Orthodoxy, but he cannot understand the canonical differences in the Catholic Church or in the Orthodox Church. Some Holy Canons rule on church discipline while others rule on dogmas. How can you tell the difference between tradition with a "big T" and a "little T" as the Catholics would say?

His main hurtle with Orthodoxy is the "whims" of the bishops in the reception of previously baptized Catholics: some mandating baptism while others mandate chrismation, or the reception of the candidate by reciting the Creed and receiving Holy Communion. On the other hand, Protestant candidates can be accepted by Baptism or Chrismation depending on the Bishop's decision.

Perhaps it boils down to this: the Orthodox hierarchs seem to be fighting among themselves calling each other heretics and excommunicating each other over Ecumenism and the poor catechumens are caught in the middle in their search for the truth.

I hope I have clarified the problem. He's asking me to explain all this and I don't really know the answer except that we are all sinners in need of God's mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us and save us.

Lovingly in Christ our God,

Mrs. Hanson

(Message edited by chanterhanson on 29 July, 2003)


#23 Elizabeth

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 04:02 PM

Perhaps I can put it bluntly:

How can we Orthodox evangelize the world if we are divided in the faith?


#24 Justin

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 04:11 PM

Father A.,

Yes, I'm sorry if it seems like I take the Balamand thing lightly... I don't take it lightly so much as worrying that it's mostly unknown. So are a lot of things done in the Orthodox world. The priest who married me (an Antiochian, a good man), for example, was told one day (essentially) "Patriarch Ignatius IV and Met. Philip require that you admit monophysites to communion if they need it" (of course they didn't call them monophysites). I've been in two Antiochian Churches where this was done in, in both Churches the people seemed like a typical congregation (certainly no lack of piety) and the priest were very nice, intelligent, fellows. Yet now they're told to commune monophysites, and most people in the Church probably have no clue that they're communing and praying with monophysites. When this stuff becomes so common place that to question it will be seen as an "attack by fringe extremists," then I'll really worry. For now, I'm just saddened (and don't take it lightly, of course).

Also, I must admit that I should not have made such sweeping generalisations as I did in the last two posts. ROCOR's 1983 anathema of ecumenism is probably unknown to 98% of Orthodoxy to, but that doesn't make it "word games". With that in mind, I apologize for using such a term. I still do think there is a great difference between the two documents (the 1983 anathema and the balamand agreement) in many ways, but having thought about it I should not have been so hasty with my words. I wonder if I'm falling into the same pit in this post. :-|


Mrs. Hanson,

For what it's worth, I've not seen any Orthodox hierach condemn or any council excommunicate any other hierarch or Church. I've seen sectarian bishops make bold claims, but nothing more.


#25 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 04:19 PM

How can we Orthodox evangelize the world if we are divided in the faith?


1 Corinthians 3:3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

Divisions happen. They have happened and they will continue to happen. Have there ever been any halcyon days of the Church? Some of what we perceive as "division" is often merely a tension, the pull and tug that helps keep the Church on the Path of Salvation. There will always be controversies and disagreements, sometimes they cause division. That is not my problem. I don't have to save the Church. According to the Holy Apostle, this is what I have to do:

"But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. 'And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.' But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed."
1 Peter 3:14-16


How can we evangelize the world if we are divided in our own hearts? We must show evidence of hope, to the point that those around us feel moved to ask us to defend it, and be ready at all times to do so, yes? Good conscience, meekness, fear. When I have those in myself, I will worry about sharing them with others, but that is just me.

Herman the simple

#26 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 04:43 PM

Truth is a fine thing. But it is NOT the whole picture. Is correctly defining "Truth" the greatest commandment? Is it not to love the Lord above all else and your neighbor as yourself?

You can explain and proclaim the "Truth" as much and as loudly as you want, but as St. Paul says:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:1


The only hope I have of convincing anybody of anything is if that person can see Christ in me. Beyond that I can only pray for that particular person that God send them Christ, if not through me then through some other Godly person.

<font size="-2">Your mileage may vary, not legal in all states, consult a physician/priest before taking any medication/advice.</font>

OK, I'm going to shut up for awhile, honest.


#27 Guest_A Desert Aspirant

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 02:23 AM

Removing shoes before entering a sanctuary, and a home, is customary in the East. India's sadhus often face east for their meditations. In a Philokalia chapter, A Discourse on Abba Philimon it says "... again he sat down, facing eastward, and alternately chanted psalms...."


#28 John P. Nasou

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 01:05 PM

To E. Hanson, post number 39

I agree with you that there is much high level confusion over what is = Dogma, Holy Tradition, and "tradition." These varied misconceptions are = the very basis for all the name calling, uncalled for "anathemas" and = "schisms." Moreover, many highly authoritarian hierarchs are arguing = over points that thorough historical and biblical exegesis shows that = are not true Orthodox practices or teachings. Many of the changes = wrought by Vatican II of the Latin Catholic church were corrections of = such invalid policies. Orthodoxy has been under great stress through the = past two millenia from its Graeco-Roman Emperors and heretical or = non-Christian conquerors that it has not been in a position to call = PanOrthodox councils to straighten them out. It is forced to depend on = the rulings of hundreds of local councils. Even some rulings of the = Ecumenical Councils are based entirely on then-current social = conditions. For example, the Julian Calendar on which our Paschal Date = is based was the only calendar available at that time, other than the = Hebrew Calendar which they did not even consider because of the then = prevalent antisemitic feelings of Rome. Yet history shows that = Mid-eastern prelates of the immediate postapostolic period followed the = Jewish Calendar and Passover "as had our Father St. John the Apostle". = If it was good enough for the Apostles, why was it not good enough for = us? Yet there are so many of our people who consider it anathema to = change our calendar and insist on using a pagan calendar which is = grossly out of line with God's creation of the seasons. Which is the = greatest sin: to change the calendar or to observe fictitious seasons by = ignoring what God has created? - John P. Nasou, M.D. =20


#29 Padraeg

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 06:00 AM

Having skimmed the many posts in this area, here is my initila post ever:
ALTHO I agree completely with the losses cited of original Christianity, eg, ordaining practicing homosexuals, I hope there is a better way to protect truth without animosity. I don't believe current pope is evil, and I do believe Pope JP2 was saintly, tho not necessarily infallible.

My impression is that Peter was chosen as the first 'Pope,' but that is a tilte that could reside in Moscow, or Athens as easliy as Rome. Perhaps under a differnet name, even 'first among equals.' So much semantics confuse me, I am interested in the truth, and the obligation of Christians to 'go forth and proclaim the word.' I am much more inspired by the first milennium of Christianity than the secend. That is my model, and HOPE, which clearly would put Orthodoxy in the lead. But I don't think anyone has a monopoly in proclaiming perfect truth completely, unless we have some true supernaturals in any hierarchy.

So, my question: Is there any particular link focused on what can be done to unite the 2 closest communions continuing Christianity?

I am frustrated that more open proseletyzing is not done by BOTH Orthodox and Latin, such that more error is spread than either Orth or Latin churches contain.

In Latin America, I'd love to see Orthodox take up some burden of proclaiming Gospels, but in Russian, where Evangelicals grow fastest, Orthodox should welcome any such contribution from Latin.

I am interesting in any response that will consider the fundamental statistical model that accepts that wherever a new church enters another's 'so-called' territory, the current residence will lose market share.

I belive that truth becomes more clear when subjected to the best competition. Hopefully we are beyond any more physical violence, and now must work to undo that burden from the past.

Your comments great appreciated.

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



#30 Nina

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:44 AM


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


Wow! I never knew about Balamand Agreement. What does it mean in the last sentence of the last paragraph 'yoked spouses'. I know what yoke is and what spouse is, but I do not understand. Can someone please explain?

#31 Paul Cowan

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:47 AM

Yoked spouses I believe refer to spouses of two different Faiths. I can't say for certainity, but I don't think the Balamand agreement is observed by all priests.

Paul

#32 Nina

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:56 AM

Yoked spouses I believe refer to spouses of two different Faiths. I can't say for certainity, but I don't think the Balamand agreement is observed by all priests.

Paul


Wow to belong to two different faiths means also to be yoked?

I do not obey to Balamand agreement anyway. ;) Daily I tell my fiance something about Orthodoxy.

#33 Paul Cowan

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 06:06 AM

No, it means you are not yoked if you are of two different faiths.

#34 Irene

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:52 PM

I can't say for certainity, but I don't think the Balamand agreement is observed by all priests.


The Balamand Agreement

The following delegates participated in the Seventh Plenary Session of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, held at Balamand School of Theology, Lebanon, 17-24 June 1993.

From the Eastern Orthodox Churches:

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople:
His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos of Australia Orthodox Co-President of the Joint International Commission

Patriarchate of Alexandria:
His Eminence Metropolitan Dionysios of Nubia
Professor Constantine Patelos

Patriarchate of Antioch:
His Eminence Metropolitan George of Byblos and Botrys
Father Archimandrite Youhanna (Yazigi)

Church of Russia: (Moscow Patriarch)
Father Hegumen Nestor (Zhilyaev)

Church of Romania:
His Eminence Metropolitan Antonie of Transylvania
Father Archpriest Dumitru Radu

Church of Cyprus:
His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysanthos of Morphou
Professor Macarius Papachristophorou

Church of Poland:
Father Hieromonk Barsanuphius (Doroszkiewicz)

Church of Albania:
Professor Theodoros Papapavli

Church of Finland:
His Grace Bishop Ambrosius of Joensocu

Executive Secretary:
His Eminence Metropolitan Spyridon of Italy

[The Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and the Churches of Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Czechoslovakia were not represented.]

Originally published in Eastern Churches Journal 1:1, pp. 17-27.



#35 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 01:24 PM

Wow! I never knew about Balamand Agreement. What does it mean in the last sentence of the last paragraph 'yoked spouses'. I know what yoke is and what spouse is, but I do not understand. Can someone please explain?


Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Two different faiths, two different (unequal?) yokes.

#36 Father David Moser

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 04:17 PM

Yoked spouses I believe refer to spouses of two different Faiths. I can't say for certainity, but I don't think the Balamand agreement is observed by all priests.

Paul


Actually I don't know of any Orthodox jurisdiction that officially views Balamand as binding. The Balamand document (for those unfamiliar it was the product of an ecumenical dialogue a few decades ago) was not formally adopted or approved by any Orthodox Synod that I know. (it was signed by the delegates to the conference - some of whom were Orthodox bishops - but that only reflects the personal opinion of the signer until and unless the document is adopted by the Synod of Bishops that sent him as a delegate) This is not to say that in some places and at some times the Balamand agreement did not have influence in the actions of individual priests or bishops (as Elizabeth noted, it does) however, whatever influence remains is waning fast. The most recent Orthodox/Roman Catholic dialogue in Ravenna has produced another document which likewise has not been adopted officially by any Orthodox Church and which in some Churches is being actively dismissed by the hierarchs.

Fr David Moser

#37 James Blackstock

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 07:53 PM

Actually I don't know of any Orthodox jurisdiction that officially views Balamand as binding. The Balamand document (for those unfamiliar it was the product of an ecumenical dialogue a few decades ago) was not formally adopted or approved by any Orthodox Synod that I know. (it was signed by the delegates to the conference - some of whom were Orthodox bishops - but that only reflects the personal opinion of the signer until and unless the document is adopted by the Synod of Bishops that sent him as a delegate) This is not to say that in some places and at some times the Balamand agreement did not have influence in the actions of individual priests or bishops (as Elizabeth noted, it does) however, whatever influence remains is waning fast. The most recent Orthodox/Roman Catholic dialogue in Ravenna has produced another document which likewise has not been adopted officially by any Orthodox Church and which in some Churches is being actively dismissed by the hierarchs.

Fr David Moser


Dear Fr David:

I am really curious, do the hierarchs of our church really ever consider the opinions of the laity? surely they must have staff who are familiar with the dialogue on various Orthodox forums. Do they not recognize the very strong opinions expressed in this genre? The people posting on these forums are people who in the main are saddened and confused by the actions of our Bishops regarding all the issues posted concerning chrismation without baptism, ecumenism, the Balamand Agreement, the apparent lack of respect and dialogue with monastic communities, etc., etc. ad nausem. I don't want to be unkind, but these issues are not some isolated little problem that has no effect on the Faith once given to the Apostles. It seems to me that these questions demand answers from our hierarchy that never come. I am aware that the wheels of the church grind slowly, but these issues are not new! What conclusions are we to draw from this apparent lack of response? That there are some in power who act in accordance with their own agendas? That these times will pass and all will be well some time in the future? I have always been a fan of Fr Seraphim Rose whose opinion was that it is later than we think! Frankly, I think we need to be concerned! The Greeks have a saying; "The fish rots from the head down" are they right? Perhaps it is unfair of me to ask these questions of you because from the many posts I have read by you, I am sure that you are one who cares and tries hard to say and do the right things, but frankly I don't think they send you emails on this stuff for your opinion. I am fervently praying for my Church!

INXC,
Seraphim

#38 Michael Stickles

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 07:54 PM

What does it mean in the last sentence of the last paragraph 'yoked spouses'. I know what yoke is and what spouse is, but I do not understand. Can someone please explain?


You need to look at the whole phrase: 'unevenly yoked spouses'. Spouses are already yoked together by the 'bonds of matrimony', but the yoke can be 'even' or 'uneven'. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 6:14, used "unequally yoked" to refer to "bound" relationships (such as marriage) between believers and unbelievers.

Think of two similarly-sized oxen yoked to a plow. The yoke will rest evenly across their "shoulders", and they can plow efficiently and in straight lines. Now, take out one ox and replace it with a donkey. The yoke will no longer rest evenly, and plowing a straight line will be very difficult (at best). So it is when one spouse is a believer and the other is not. I have, occasionaly, also seen "unequally yoked" used to refer to spouses who are members of different (and seriously differing) Christian churches.

I'm not sure (given the context) of the point of the warning about unevenly yoked spouses suffering more divorces, unless it was given to married Catholics investigating Orthodoxy apart from their spouses.

In Christ,
Mike

#39 Father David Moser

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 08:17 PM

Dear Fr David:

I am really curious, do the hierarchs of our church really ever consider the opinions of the laity? surely they must have staff who are familiar with the dialogue on various Orthodox forums.


Serpahim,

I note that you are in the GOA. It is hard for me to speak about the leadership of the GOA since it is generally outside my experience. My only real contacts are a couple of personal friends who are among the clergy. (Perhaps Fr Anthony could speak to the position of the GOA on this?) The Russian Church (of which I am a part) has not been unclear on its position - from the Patriarch on down. There is a delegation from Moscow that attends these meetings, but it is clear that they do not speak for the Church at large, but are present in order for the Holy Synod to be aware of what is going on.(Also there has been a significant shift in the visible position of the Russian Church away from ecumenical activities since the fall of their Soviet overseers) Sometimes things are signed by all present that are vague and general in meaning allowing every side to interpret it in its own light, but there is never any doubt on the part of the clergy or the people that if it goes up to the top and doesn't come back down through the hierarchy, it has no effect. Just because a document is produced and the Roman Catholic publication department report it in a certain way has no real meaning for Orthodox Christians. I choose to trust my hierarchs to "rightly divide the word of truth".

Fr David Moser

#40 Nina

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 10:08 PM

You need to look at the whole phrase: 'unevenly yoked spouses'. Spouses are already yoked together by the 'bonds of matrimony', but the yoke can be 'even' or 'uneven'. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 6:14, used "unequally yoked" to refer to "bound" relationships (such as marriage) between believers and unbelievers.

Think of two similarly-sized oxen yoked to a plow. The yoke will rest evenly across their "shoulders", and they can plow efficiently and in straight lines. Now, take out one ox and replace it with a donkey. The yoke will no longer rest evenly, and plowing a straight line will be very difficult (at best). So it is when one spouse is a believer and the other is not. I have, occasionaly, also seen "unequally yoked" used to refer to spouses who are members of different (and seriously differing) Christian churches.

I'm not sure (given the context) of the point of the warning about unevenly yoked spouses suffering more divorces, unless it was given to married Catholics investigating Orthodoxy apart from their spouses.

In Christ,
Mike


Dear Mike,

Thank you for your very good and thorough explanation. :) The example with the oxen was also in my mind last night when I was thinking about this. However what puzzled me is the 'unevenly yoked spouses' in a context of Catholics and Orthodox (since the talk here is about Balamand agreement and evangelism/proselytism). If the other person is Christian why would that be an uneven yoke? It is not that Catholics and Protestants are unbelievers. And Saint Paul in his advise distinguishes clearly between believers and unbelievers.




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