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Adoration?

Eruvande

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Ummed and ahhed about where to put this, and this section seemed most appropriate.

As some of you will know from my posts in the converts section, I have been exploring Catholic beliefs for a little while, and one of the striking features is their teaching on the Eucharist. I know the Orthodox teaching is similar. Where they appear to part ways is the necessary consequences of that belief in the true, real presence of Christ in the eucharist. Catholics have the practice of adoration, and the phenomena of Eucharistic miracles, wherein a host actually turns into flesh and so forth. But I don't think I have heard of anything similar in Orthodoxy, in terms of adoration or fleshy miracles. I would hazard a guess that this is because the actual communion with God is more significant than simply gazing at the means of communion, but obviously, I don't know. Anyone have anything helpful to enlighten me? Do the Orthodox actually have adoration, or holy hours before the sacrament?
 

Mor Ephrem

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I don't think this difference is really a parting of ways in terms of "the necessary consequences of that belief in the true, real presence of Christ in the eucharist".  Some forms of what RCs would regard as acts of Eucharistic adoration are already built into Orthodox liturgy and piety in more and less obvious ways.  I think the difference in practice results from the history of Eucharistic belief in East and West.  The West struggled with this a lot more than the East, and so Catholics tended to emphasise it more in teaching and in concrete actions.  The post-iconoclasm cult of icons is a good example of a similar trend in the East.  In both cases, the correct perspective regarding a contested issue was reinforced in teaching and through pious practices which took on more importance and themselves became signs of orthodoxy.

The difference in "Eucharistic miracles" flows from this as well.  In the West, the general trend seems to be that someone doubts/denies the reality of the Eucharist, a miracle happens, and then the miracle itself becomes an object of veneration and is considered a good thing.  In the East, the trend is to view these things more "negatively": it's not so much a positive thing that confirms the faith, but rather is a sort of punishment or warning for lack of faith.  There are rules for what to do in such circumstances, and they present such occurrences more as a problem to be dealt with than as a miracle to be hailed.     
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
I don't think this difference is really a parting of ways in terms of "the necessary consequences of that belief in the true, real presence of Christ in the eucharist".  Some forms of what RCs would regard as acts of Eucharistic adoration are already built into Orthodox liturgy and piety in more and less obvious ways.  I think the difference in practice results from the history of Eucharistic belief in East and West.  The West struggled with this a lot more than the East, and so Catholics tended to emphasise it more in teaching and in concrete actions.  The post-iconoclasm cult of icons is a good example of a similar trend in the East.  In both cases, the correct perspective regarding a contested issue was reinforced in teaching and through pious practices which took on more importance and themselves became signs of orthodoxy.

The difference in "Eucharistic miracles" flows from this as well.  In the West, the general trend seems to be that someone doubts/denies the reality of the Eucharist, a miracle happens, and then the miracle itself becomes an object of veneration and is considered a good thing.  In the East, the trend is to view these things more "negatively": it's not so much a positive thing that confirms the faith, but rather is a sort of punishment or warning for lack of faith.  There are rules for what to do in such circumstances, and they present such occurrences more as a problem to be dealt with than as a miracle to be hailed.   
thank you Mor, that's very helpful. I guess what I meant by necessary consequences was the idea that if something has become God, it should be worshipped, but as you say, the difference appears to be in the subtle difference in piety. As usual I am a little bit baffled and this is entirely my own issue.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Eruvande said:
I guess what I meant by necessary consequences was the idea that if something has become God, it should be worshipped, but as you say, the difference appears to be in the subtle difference in piety. As usual I am a little bit baffled and this is entirely my own issue.
I'd say the Eucharist is worshiped, but that worship is offered primarily within the Liturgy itself.  The Liturgy is the context for the Eucharist.   

Unlike in the Roman Catholic Church, it's not always the case that the Eucharist is reserved in our churches.  For example, I think the EO generally do so, but among the OO, it's less of a universal practice.  Where it is reserved, it is kept in case of emergencies, not as a sort of "regular feature" of churches.  Among the RCs, it is reserved for emergencies, as "extra" with which to commune people, and for its own sake.  That alone--availability--is a factor in how these devotional practices develop.     
 

Eruvande

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Mor Ephrem said:
Eruvande said:
I guess what I meant by necessary consequences was the idea that if something has become God, it should be worshipped, but as you say, the difference appears to be in the subtle difference in piety. As usual I am a little bit baffled and this is entirely my own issue.
I'd say the Eucharist is worshiped, but that worship is offered primarily within the Liturgy itself.  The Liturgy is the context for the Eucharist.   

Unlike in the Roman Catholic Church, it's not always the case that the Eucharist is reserved in our churches.  For example, I think the EO generally do so, but among the OO, it's less of a universal practice.  Where it is reserved, it is kept in case of emergencies, not as a sort of "regular feature" of churches.  Among the RCs, it is reserved for emergencies, as "extra" with which to commune people, and for its own sake.  That alone--availability--is a factor in how these devotional practices develop.   
Yes, that makes sense.
 

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LBK said:
From the Russian Sluzhebnik (Priest's Service Book):

"If after the consecration of the bread & wine a miracle is revealed, ie, if the bread manifests the appearance of a child or the wine the appearance of blood, and if in a short time this appearance does not change, ie, if they do not appear again under the form of bread & wine, but if they remain thus without change, then let the priest not take communion because it is not the Body & Blood of Christ, but a miracle from God manifest only because of the lack of faith or some other reason." (emphasis mine)

The instruction goes on to say that if the Body assumes another appearance then the priest must make another Lamb as he did at Proskomedia. He then resumes the Liturgy with the prayer "With these blessed hosts..." which is the prayer said at the Anaphora while the choir sings, "Holy, holy, holy..." If the Blood changes appearance, then he must pour new wine into the chalice. The purpose of this is so the faithful may still receive the Body & Blood of Christ at the Liturgy.
And, indeed, both Orthodox and RC Eucharistic miracle stories frequently involve someone's unbelief:
 

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Yes, Eucharistic adoration has taken different forms over the centuries, St. Augustine says, "No one eats that flesh without first adoring it and not only do we not commit a sin by adoring it, but we would be sinning if we did not do so" we adore the Sacred Body of Christ held aloft by the priest; we adore His body again before we receive Him in Holy Communion, we adore Him after Holy Communion when He is enthroned upon the Altar in Eucharistic adoration. Lex orandi, lex credendi, the law of prayer/worship is the law of belief. Even a famous Protestant once said something to the effect of, If I believed what the Catholic/Orthodox Church taught about the Eucharist (i.e. the Real Presence), I would fall to my knees before Him. Only the eyes of faith could see God Incarnate in a little Baby. Only the eyes of faith can see God Almighty present upon that Altar under the veil of Bread and Wine. Some Protestants believe the Bread and wine become the Body and Blood in some sense, but it is unclear whether they consider this to be an objective presence. To us Catholics, the Flesh and Blood of the Savior upon the Altar are no less real than they were at Calvary, and consequently are objects of our love and adoration, in the highest sense of worship or latria.

As for miracles, they can serve as an aid to faith on the part of those who are struggling with some doubts, hence they are not to be rejected, but it is a purer faith that doesn't require external signs but simply believes, on the Word of Christ or His Church. For a similar reason, Jesus said "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works (i.e. miracles) themselves." (Jn 14:11). Similarly, He appeared miraculously to St. Thomas the holy Apostle after the Resurrection, confirming his faith by this sign, but saying nevertheless "Blessed is he who has not seen, but yet believed". The link above describing the miracle at Lanciano "The Flesh is a "HEART" complete in its essential structure. The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin)." should aid in believing the Real Presence. Such miracles are undoubtedly helpful for many, and therefore need not be despised. There was a similar Eucharistic miracle, almost identical to the Eucharistic miracle in Lanciano so many centuries ago, in Pope Francis' former diocese in Buenos Aires. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RUvrSu6_CQ For Catholic Christians, the axiom of St. Thomas Aquinas in his great Eucharistic hymn sums it up, Credo quidquid dixit Dei Fílius; nil hoc verbo veritátis vérius (usually rendered "I believe everything the Son of God has spoken, Than Truth's own Word there is no truer token")
 

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Xavier said:
Yes, Eucharistic adoration has taken different forms over the centuries, St. Augustine says, "No one eats that flesh without first adoring it and not only do we not commit a sin by adoring it, but we would be sinning if we did not do so" we adore the Sacred Body of Christ held aloft by the priest; we adore His body again before we receive Him in Holy Communion, we adore Him after Holy Communion when He is enthroned upon the Altar in Eucharistic adoration. Lex orandi, lex credendi, the law of prayer/worship is the law of belief. Even a famous Protestant once said something to the effect of, If I believed what the Catholic/Orthodox Church taught about the Eucharist (i.e. the Real Presence), I would fall to my knees before Him. Only the eyes of faith could see God Incarnate in a little Baby. Only the eyes of faith can see God Almighty present upon that Altar under the veil of Bread and Wine. Some Protestants believe the Bread and wine become the Body and Blood in some sense, but it is unclear whether they consider this to be an objective presence. To us Catholics, the Flesh and Blood of the Savior upon the Altar are no less real than they were at Calvary, and consequently are objects of our love and adoration, in the highest sense of worship or latria.

As for miracles, they can serve as an aid to faith on the part of those who are struggling with some doubts, hence they are not to be rejected, but it is a purer faith that doesn't require external signs but simply believes, on the Word of Christ or His Church. For a similar reason, Jesus said "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works (i.e. miracles) themselves." (Jn 14:11). Similarly, He appeared miraculously to St. Thomas the holy Apostle after the Resurrection, confirming his faith by this sign, but saying nevertheless "Blessed is he who has not seen, but yet believed". The link above describing the miracle at Lanciano "The Flesh is a "HEART" complete in its essential structure. The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin)." should aid in believing the Real Presence. Such miracles are undoubtedly helpful for many, and therefore need not be despised. There was a similar Eucharistic miracle, almost identical to the Eucharistic miracle in Lanciano so many centuries ago, in Pope Francis' former diocese in Buenos Aires. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RUvrSu6_CQ For Catholic Christians, the axiom of St. Thomas Aquinas in his great Eucharistic hymn sums it up, Credo quidquid dixit Dei Fílius; nil hoc verbo veritátis vérius (usually rendered "I believe everything the Son of God has spoken, Than Truth's own Word there is no truer token")
Is it still the Catholic belief that the Bread and Wine not only change spiritually but physically as well, ie The bread is not bread anymore and the wine is not wine any more but the actual Body and Blood?  Being Orthodox we believe that the Holy Spirit is called upon the Bread and Wine but the physicals dont change.  Maybe someone can confirm this......
 

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Being Orthodox we believe that the Holy Spirit is called upon the Bread and Wine but the physicals dont change.  Maybe someone can confirm this......
I am not sure what you mean, i am pretty sure Christ is present physically, its His very flesh even though our senses report only bread.
 

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The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ. The Spirit is invoked not merely to add some grace to the Gifts, but to make (poiēson) or turn (metabalōn) them into the Body and Blood of Christ. They are physical as far as the Lord's body is physical of which we cannot say much, since the glorified Body of Christ is quite mysterious to us. So much the Orthodox can agree with Catholics - all physical properties of the Gifts remain the same, but the Gifts are truly changed into Body and Blood of Christ.
 

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Vanhyo said:
Being Orthodox we believe that the Holy Spirit is called upon the Bread and Wine but the physicals dont change.  Maybe someone can confirm this......
I am not sure what you mean, i am pretty sure Christ is present physically, its His very flesh even though our senses report only bread.
In the Orthodox church Christ resides in the Bread and Wine at Eucharist, but the physical evidence remains.
In the RC church it is believed that the Bread is not bread anymore and the wine is not wine anymore when the change takes place.
 

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JoeS2 said:
Is it still the Catholic belief that the Bread and Wine not only change spiritually but physically as well, ie The bread is not bread anymore and the wine is not wine any more but the actual Body and Blood?  Being Orthodox we believe that the Holy Spirit is called upon the Bread and Wine but the physicals dont change.  Maybe someone can confirm this......
The EO/Lutheran/RC common belief is that Christ's body is actually really objectively directly present in the physical space of the altar table.

It's true that in the RC Church there have been miracle claims where the food took on physical properties of blood and flesh. But otherwise the churches also agree that the food retains the physical properties of food, wine, bread, not of human skin et al.

Pre-schism Church fathers like Gelasius and Cyril can be found with very different ideas as to whether the substance of bread and wine remains at all.
Hence the EO Church does not have a dogmatic teaching on that question. My impression from some history and writings is that EOs would tend more often to hold to the Roman Catholic teaching.
 

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At the college/seminary where I teach, Eucharistic adoration is available in some form everyday, and it is having a profound influence on my own spiritual life. While I tend toward Byzantine spirituality in general, being able to spend time with the Lord in this particular way has been transformational for me.
 

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JoeS2 said:
Vanhyo said:
Being Orthodox we believe that the Holy Spirit is called upon the Bread and Wine but the physicals dont change.  Maybe someone can confirm this......
I am not sure what you mean, i am pretty sure Christ is present physically, its His very flesh even though our senses report only bread.
In the Orthodox church Christ resides in the Bread and Wine at Eucharist, but the physical evidence remains.
In the RC church it is believed that the Bread is not bread anymore and the wine is not wine anymore when the change takes place.
While we don't have it dogmatized, we do have prayers that we read before taking Holy Communion which are very definitive, for example:

Orthodox Priests say this prayer loudly before Holy Communion:
I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. I believe also that this is truly Thine own pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood. Therefore I pray Thee: have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance. And make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, for the remission of my sins, and unto life everlasting. Amen.

I don't remember reading a prayer that speak of Christ as "residing" in the bread...


 

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Vanhyo said:
JoeS2 said:
Vanhyo said:
Being Orthodox we believe that the Holy Spirit is called upon the Bread and Wine but the physicals dont change.  Maybe someone can confirm this......
I am not sure what you mean, i am pretty sure Christ is present physically, its His very flesh even though our senses report only bread.
In the Orthodox church Christ resides in the Bread and Wine at Eucharist, but the physical evidence remains.
In the RC church it is believed that the Bread is not bread anymore and the wine is not wine anymore when the change takes place.
While we don't have it dogmatized, we do have prayers that we read before taking Holy Communion which are very definitive, for example:

Orthodox Priests say this prayer loudly before Holy Communion:
I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. I believe also that this is truly Thine own pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood. Therefore I pray Thee: have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance. And make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, for the remission of my sins, and unto life everlasting. Amen.

I don't remember reading a prayer that speak of Christ as "residing" in the bread...
Christ is present..... no doubt..... a subject for the theologians to answer.
 
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I understand the Catholic teaching is that the bread and wine truly are transformed into the body and blood of Christ, but hold the 'appearance' of bread and wine; this includes physical attributes, no?.  So in form or essence it's bread and wine?  I think that is correct - it comes from Aquinas.  Easy enough to google (I get form and appearance mixed up sometimes unless I doublecheck it.  Ditto essence.  I need to reread it.)

I love Adoration.  I use it as a time of meditation and prayer.  Really just quiet, peaceful time in the Church.  I use the time for many forms of prayer.  I used to sit there with a little flashlight and read, Catechism, Fathers, whatever. (lights are dimmed).  Candles.  It's beautful.  Great time for the Jesus Prayer or rosary.

BTW - I have started reading my Philokalia again earlier today for about an hour.  I forgot how wonderful the Desert Fathers are.  It is very helpful to me in this difficult time in the RCC. 
 

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Christiane said:
I love Adoration.  I use it as a time of meditation and prayer.  Really just quiet, peaceful time in the Church.  I use the time for many forms of prayer.  I used to sit there with a little flashlight and read, Catechism, Fathers, whatever. (lights are dimmed).  Candles.  It's beautful.  Great time for the Jesus Prayer or rosary.
+1. Amen. My experience in Eucharistic adoration has been similar. It is an incredible gift to spend time before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and those who scruple to adore Him in His Sacred Eucharistic Flesh don't know what they are missing out on.

JoeS2 said:
Being Orthodox we believe that the Holy Spirit is called upon the Bread and Wine but the physicals dont change
Ah, ok. One of my favorite Orthodox confessions (which confesses doctrine with such exactitude in some places I would personally, as a Catholic, rank it second only to the Council of Trent in dogmatic precision concerning the Eucharist and general sacramental theology) is the Confession of the Patriarch Dositheus in the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672.

"[he is present] truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sits at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world. {John 6:51} Further [we believe] that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, there no longer remains the substance of the bread and of the wine, but the Body Itself and the Blood of the Lord, under the species and form of bread and wine; that is to say, under the accidents of the bread ... Further, that the Body Itself of the Lord and the Blood That are in the Mystery of the Eucharist ought to be honored in the highest manner, and adored with latria [Gk: adoration or worship*]. For one is the adoration of the Holy Trinity, and of the Body and Blood of the Lord." http://www.crivoice.org/creeddositheus.html Would you disagree with it, then?
 

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dogmatic precision concerning the Eucharist and general sacramental theology) is the Confession of the Patriarch Dositheus in the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672.
Ah well, i guess we do have this matter dogmatized then
 

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Vanhyo said:
dogmatic precision concerning the Eucharist and general sacramental theology) is the Confession of the Patriarch Dositheus in the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672.
Ah well, i guess we do have this matter dogmatized then
The same confession of Dositheus which forbade layman from reading Scripture? I wouldn't be so quick to dogmatize...
 

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Asteriktos said:
Vanhyo said:
dogmatic precision concerning the Eucharist and general sacramental theology) is the Confession of the Patriarch Dositheus in the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672.
Ah well, i guess we do have this matter dogmatized then
The same confession of Dositheus which forbade layman from reading Scripture? I wouldn't be so quick to dogmatize...
Where ? I don't see it...
 

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Question 1

Should the Divine Scriptures be read in the vulgar tongue [common language] by all Christians?

No. Because all Scripture is divinely-inspired and profitable {cf. 2 Timothy 3:16}, we know, and necessarily so, that without [Scripture] it is impossible to be Orthodox at all. Nevertheless they should not be read by all, but only by those who with fitting research have inquired into the deep things of the Spirit, and who know in what manner the Divine Scriptures ought to be searched, and taught, and finally read. But to those who are not so disciplined, or who cannot distinguish, or who understand only literally, or in any other way contrary to Orthodoxy what is contained in the Scriptures, the Catholic Church, knowing by experience the damage that can cause, forbids them to read [Scripture]. Indeed, it is permitted to every Orthodox to hear the Scriptures, that he may believe with the heart unto righteousness, and confess with the mouth unto salvation {Romans 10:10}. But to read some parts of the Scriptures, and especially of the Old [Testament], is forbidden for these and other similar reasons. For it is the same thing to prohibit undisciplined persons from reading all the Sacred Scriptures, as to require infants to abstain from strong meats.

Question 2

Are the Scriptures plain to all Christians that read them?

If the Divine Scriptures were plain to all Christians that read them, the Lord would not have commanded such as desired to obtain salvation to search them; {John 5:39} and Paul would have said without reason that God had placed the gift of teaching in the Church; {1 Corinthians 13:28} and Peter would not have said of the Epistles of Paul that they contained some things hard to be understood. {2 Peter 3:16} It is evident, therefore, that the Scriptures are very profound, and their sense lofty; and that they need learned and divine men to search out their true meaning, and a sense that is right, and agreeable to all Scripture, and to its author the Holy Spirit.

Certainly, those that are regenerated [in Baptism] must know the faith concerning the Trinity, the incarnation of the Son of God, His passion, resurrection, and ascension into the heavens. Yet what concerns regeneration and judgment — for which many have not hesitated to die — it is not necessary, indeed impossible, for them to know what the Holy Spirit has made apparent only to those who are disciplined in wisdom and holiness.
I suppose the criteria are vague enough that it could be argued that many laymen are qualified to read scripture.
 

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Question 1

Should the Divine Scriptures be read in the vulgar tongue [common language] by all Christians?

No. Because all Scripture is divinely-inspired and profitable {cf. 2 Timothy 3:16}, we know, and necessarily so, that without [Scripture] it is impossible to be Orthodox at all. Nevertheless they should not be read by all, but only by those who with fitting research have inquired into the deep things of the Spirit, and who know in what manner the Divine Scriptures ought to be searched, and taught, and finally read. But to those who are not so disciplined, or who cannot distinguish, or who understand only literally, or in any other way contrary to Orthodoxy what is contained in the Scriptures, the Catholic Church, knowing by experience the damage that can cause, forbids them to read [Scripture]. Indeed, it is permitted to every Orthodox to hear the Scriptures, that he may believe with the heart unto righteousness, and confess with the mouth unto salvation {Romans 10:10}. But to read some parts of the Scriptures, and especially of the Old [Testament], is forbidden for these and other similar reasons. For it is the same thing to prohibit undisciplined persons from reading all the Sacred Scriptures, as to require infants to abstain from strong meats.

Question 2

Are the Scriptures plain to all Christians that read them?

If the Divine Scriptures were plain to all Christians that read them, the Lord would not have commanded such as desired to obtain salvation to search them; {John 5:39} and Paul would have said without reason that God had placed the gift of teaching in the Church; {1 Corinthians 13:28} and Peter would not have said of the Epistles of Paul that they contained some things hard to be understood. {2 Peter 3:16} It is evident, therefore, that the Scriptures are very profound, and their sense lofty; and that they need learned and divine men to search out their true meaning, and a sense that is right, and agreeable to all Scripture, and to its author the Holy Spirit.

Certainly, those that are regenerated [in Baptism] must know the faith concerning the Trinity, the incarnation of the Son of God, His passion, resurrection, and ascension into the heavens. Yet what concerns regeneration and judgment — for which many have not hesitated to die — it is not necessary, indeed impossible, for them to know what the Holy Spirit has made apparent only to those who are disciplined in wisdom and holiness.
Given the state of education at the time, those who would have time, means and inclination to search the Scriptures and investigate the deep principles of theology, and those who could be trusted (ahead of time) to not misunderstand or misinterpret, the pool of people able to meet these requirements would basically be bishops, and perhaps some lower clergy. And I suppose my making it sound like all laymen were forbidden was an overstatement, as I'm sure rarely some very well-read ones could do so without rebuke (e.g., St. Nicholas Cabasilas, if he was indeed a laymen).
 

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Asteriktos said:
Given the state of education at the time, those who would have time, means and inclination to search the Scriptures and investigate the deep principles of theology, and those who could be trusted (ahead of time) to not misunderstand or misinterpret, the pool of people able to meet these requirements would basically be bishops, and perhaps some lower clergy.
I'm not sure if I can really disagree with this stance. Reading and interpretation are inseparable; it stands to reason that someone who reads scripture, untrained in the Church's general hermeneutic and ethos, will likely interpret it differently and wrongly. The Protestants were saying that the meaning of scripture is plain and self-evident, which is very clearly not true in many places.

Even now, in the age of mass literacy, most lay Protestants who read the scriptures do it in a very controlled way, sticking to certain passages and themes delineated by their confessional commitments. Huge portions of scripture, especially the Old Testament, are routinely ignored by pretty much all Christians, either because they are too obscure or discomforting. I can't say this approach is superior to simply hearing scripture read in liturgical context.
 

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Iconodule said:
I suppose the criteria are vague enough that it could be argued that many laymen are qualified to read scripture.
Here's the way I was thinking of it. If we look at today, at least in the west (I don't know about elsewhere) many people get 12-16+ years of education, have thousands of works of Church Fathers and writers available to them (many for free), concordances, dictionaries, etc., audio and video from priests/bishops/theologians explaining things, easy contact with many such people as well, and probably more free time than most in pre-industrial times, and so on. Yet even with all that, how many people could be described with the type of language used in the passage? And I would think things would be worse in the past. Even the way it is put is set up to limit people, in a chicken/egg sort of way, because how can you become adept at studying such things, learned in the deep things, sober in examining, or whatever language you want to use, unless you've already got a good deal of experience under your belt? It seems set up from the start to speak of allowing those specifically educated in some type of seminary or internship style situation, not some yokel like me or you doing things kinda haphazardly. Anyway, that was part of my reasoning for thinking it limiting things greatly.
 

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I don't quite read it that way. The terms are pretty vague and I think it could be argued that, with the enormous catechetical materials afforded us, it is very easy for us to read scripture with the Church rather than as isolated individuals having a printed Bible thrust in their hands with few other books or tools available. Even if I have not personally "with fitting research ... inquired into the deep things of the Spirit", I have ready at hand the guidance of those who have- commentaries of the fathers, hymn texts, etc.

And the way it sounds to me, the prohibition is really singling out "some parts of the Scriptures, and especially of the Old [Testament]". And it has to be admitted that there are parts of the Old Testament that are very, very difficult, so that even a fervent advocate of sola scriptura has to a) reach for a commentary, b) tortuously attempt his own unlikely interpretation, or c) pass over it in silence. Most people who generally read the Bible already do C. Those who do B often end up creating some weird theories.

Then there are the deeply morally ambiguous or- let's say it- repugnant passages.

Meanwhile the prescribed liturgical readings are okay to hear in Church. What really separates hearing them from reading them? The difference is in context; who reads alone, interprets alone, while the scripture read in church is saturated in interpretation in hymns, art, and preaching.
 
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A lot of Orthodox Churches/Cathedrals are really beautiful.  I wish you did have Adoration.  I bet people would go.  I would go.  (of course it's possible you would not let me in...)  I don't think it's too 'modern' or 'dissipated' as a practice.  Think about it!
 
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