Against Gebredoxy, the error of (name removed) (AKA Gebre Menfes Kidus)

Ioannes

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rakovsky said:
Ioannes said:
However using St. Basil is absurd because he wrote canons discussing this very issue.
I discuss St. Basil on page 2 of the thread, where I focused on these quotes:
rakovsky said:
Gebre said:
“I believe with St. Basil the Great that, “Although the act of violence may seem required for the defense of the weak and innocent, it is never justifiable.”
Basil... canons show (188th letter) [his opinion]. For instance canon 13 of the 92 considers war: “Our fathers did not consider killings committed in the course of wars to be classifiable as murders at all, on the score, it seems to me, of allowing a pardon to men fighting in defense of sobriety and piety. Perhaps, though, it might be advisable to refuse them communion for three years, on the ground that their hands are not clean.”
Basil's Canon 188 to which you refer also says:
On the other hand acts done in the attacks of war or robbery are distinctly intentional, and admit of no doubt. Robbers kill for greed, and to avoid conviction. Soldiers who inflict death in war do so with the obvious purpose not of fighting, nor chastising, but of killing their opponents.
Using St. Basil and his canons to support pacifism and avoidance of war is not absurd.
He says:
  • 1. Soldiers in war inflict death intentionally, as do robbers.
    2. Violence may sometimes seem required but it is never justifiable.
    3. The church fathers did not consider war murder.
    4. War is sometimes pardonable.
    5. Soldiers' hands are unclean.
    6. Maybe soldiers should be refused communion for three years

If you pardon someone it means they did something wrong, but you forgive them. The idea of something being ritually unclean means something is bad or very problematic about it. 3 years of uncleanness is a long time.

St. Basil's canon does not say war is ever necessary. He says it is an unjustifiable and very unclean act of intentional killing and that it can be pardoned in some cases.

St. Basil obviously takes a very negative view of war, and his negative view can be used to support pacifism. One can reasonably claim that if war is unjustifiable and very negative, then it is not something holy people - Christians - should ever do. You do not have to agree with this explanation, but it is hardly absurd either.

Regards.
St Basil clearly makes distinctions
Someone who kills willfully is a murderer, bus in self defence is not the same (Canon VIII)
Canon XIII, the fathers didn't see killing in war as Murder, but 3 years from communion should suffice.
go here http://www.incommunion.org/2006/02/19/st-basil-on-war-and-repentance/

Also, here are the canons http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.toc.html
 

Ioannes

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Kerdy said:
LBK said:
Kerdy said:
LBK said:
Kerdy said:
Still waiting for someone to reveal the official Church teaching which is accepted as dogma.  
There isn't one which has dogmatic status. The orthodox Church has declared dogmas on the Mother of God, Christology, the Holy Trinity, and a handful of other matters, but not this one.
Then it's all personal opinion based on personal interpretation.  I mean, I get it, attack and overwhelm the least desired opinion.  It's the bully mentality displayed here often by so many people, but my question is why no one sees the fault in claiming their opinion better than someone else's because they don't like it when it's done to them.  It's an idiotic exercise of "I know you are, but what am I?" or "He started it!"
You, like so many others on this thread, are missing the point: Gebre is making absolute pacifism a dogma of the Church, when the Church has declared no such thing. Pretty simple to understand what the OP is saying, at least to an old crock like me.  :)
Yes, I understand the OP, but that is Gebres understanding of the ECFs and the Church teachings and he stands by it.  Without clear guidance from the Church he is allowed to believe this in the same way many people post their beliefs here that make my head spin in circles.  People believe what they want to believe and find supporting evidence for it.  Many of the people here complaining about Gebres strong will for his opinion exhibit the exact same about their opinions, yet they complain about him doing it.  For them this is nothing more than "I'm right and you're wrong."  Without clear dogma, it all boils down to personal interpretation and whatever motivates that interpretation.  It's no different than someone saying its ok to smoke pot because Jesus turned water into wine (which was said).  I think it's ridiculous, but apparently it's ok to say that.  How is this different?
When the same fathers he quotes state the opposite of what he quotes, then it is not a matter of interpretation. The priest he quotes in the OP he completely takes out of context and misrepresents his stance, its pretty clear.
 

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Gebre is a friend of mine. He knows I'm not a pacifist. He has never once suggested I'm not orthodox. He asks me to pray for him, and I ask him to pray for me.  I have corresponded with him for years. He has always been respectful to me and my views, while strongly defending his own views. Yes, he can argue his points energetically, but I really think a lot of people just have thin skin and take things way too personally. Never once have I ever felt Gebre was speaking for the church.

Can someone show me a quote of his where he actually says, "unless you are a pacifist, you are not Orthodox."

If someone can find that quote I will understand their anger better, but even then, based on my interaction with Gebre, I wouldn't take it personally.

If you don't want to argue with him, don't argue with him. To say "people might think he is speaking for the church" is just ridiculous. Who on here really is worried that Gebre is seen as a "spokesmen" of the church and leading people astray. He is just a dude voicing his opinion and that is how he comes across. Now if he self-proclaims himself Bishop Gebre of Mississippi and starts putting out epistles, then maybe we blacklist him! :)

The critics on here just come across as personally not liking him and his views. Subjects like pacifism can spark a ton of emotion. Whether someone thinks a war is just or not, war is an evil thing. Men, women, children, soldiers, priests, etc. will die today in a war. Some bombs will hit their target, others will miss the mark and errantly hit a wedding, or a funeral, or a child walking home too young to even know "just" or "unjust". That is war. It doesn't matter if it just or not. That is what happens in any war. This is why while I disagree with Gebre on being a total pacifist, I'm in general against war and I applaud his consistent commitment to "life".

And if we are honest, one of the main reasons we talk about pacifism here is because of Gebre's "extreme" opinions, and so regardless of what we think about him, a thread like this is getting his point of view out there as much as any of his own posts. So for you all who don't like Gebre's approach, you are really doing him a favor with this continuing thread. Heck, the original post has probably done more to keep "pacifism" on the home page list of top posts than any of Gebre's own posts!
 

Opus118

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Quinault said:
Opus, your logic doesn't entirely match up. Have you heard the prayers said over a mother right after childbirth? They are pretty darn harsh sounding. I've heard them 3 times now, and it hasn't lost the shock value for me just yet.
Hi Quinault.

I didn't understand this.

I looked up two versions of the prayers.
OCA: http://www.stlukeorthodox.com/html/prayer/information/priestprayerbook.cfm
GOA: http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/birth

Maybe these are softened translations.

Can you point to me (via a link if necessary) what I should be reflecting on? There is no need to expound further, I should be able to figure it out once my assignment is clearer.
 

rakovsky

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LBK,

This sums up what I get from Gebre's writing that the Original Post above focuses on: Gebre (1) sees pacifism as a tradition in Orthodoxy, (2) sees pacifism as correct and important, and (3) thinks that Orthodox institutions cannot legitimately reject it.

So regarding your words:
LBK said:
Let me put it another way: Dogmatic teachings are immutable and inviolable, and a necessary belief of those within the Church, on pain of anathema to those who teach or preach otherwise. Absolute pacifism is not one of the inviolable teachings of the Orthodox Church, and it is wrong and deceptive for anyone to insist that it is.
I would say that some doctrines or beliefs are sometimes espoused by important people in the Church, but they are not necessary beliefs.

For example, numerous theologians and saints espouse a belief about tollhouses or other things that could happen after death. Another belief I think in the church is that the Virgin Mary not only avoided death (the Dormition), but was physically assumed into heaven. Obviously, like Gebre they believe their concepts are correct, yet those beliefs are not mandatory for all Orthodox on pain of anathema.

I understand your concern about the Church imposing anathemas. But in this case, it is Gebre who is worried about anathemas being declared, as his third point is that Orthodox institutions shouldn't ban it.

All the best.
 

rakovsky

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Ioannes said:
rakovsky said:
Using St. Basil and his canons to support pacifism and avoidance of war is not absurd.
He says:
  • 1. Soldiers in war inflict death intentionally, as do robbers.
    2. Violence may sometimes seem required but it is never justifiable.
    3. The church fathers did not consider war murder.
    4. War is sometimes pardonable.
    5. Soldiers' hands are unclean.
    6. Maybe soldiers should be refused communion for three years

If you pardon someone it means they did something wrong, but you forgive them. The idea of something being ritually unclean means something is bad or very problematic about it. 3 years of uncleanness is a long time. St. Basil's canon does not say war is ever necessary. He says it is an unjustifiable and very unclean act of intentional killing and that it can be pardoned in some cases.
Someone who kills willfully is a murderer, bus in self defence is not the same (Canon VIII)
Canon XIII, the fathers didn't see killing in war as Murder, but 3 years from communion should suffice.
go here http://www.incommunion.org/2006/02/19/st-basil-on-war-and-repentance
FYI Ioannes, what you have just posted does not contradict anything I said above.
 

LBK

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rakovsky said:
LBK,

This sums up what I get from Gebre's post that the OP opposes. Gebre (1) sees pacifism as a tradition in Orthodoxy, (2) sees pacifism as correct and important, and (3) thinks that Orthodox institutions cannot legitimately reject it.

So regarding your words:
LBK said:
Let me put it another way: Dogmatic teachings are immutable and inviolable, and a necessary belief of those within the Church, on pain of anathema to those who teach or preach otherwise. Absolute pacifism is not one of the inviolable teachings of the Orthodox Church, and it is wrong and deceptive for anyone to insist that it is.
Some doctrines or beliefs are sometimes espoused by important people in the Church, but they are not "necessary beliefs".

For example, numerous theologians and saints espouse a belief about tollhouses or other things that could happen after death. Another belief I think in the church is that the Virgin Mary not only avoided death (the Dormition), but was physically assumed into heaven. Obviously, like Gebre they believe their concepts are correct, yet those beliefs are not mandatory for all Orthodox on pain of anathema.

I understand your concern about the Church imposing anathemas. But in this case, it is Gebre who is worried about anathemas being declared: he said that Orthodox institutions could not anathematize pacifism.
You have completely misunderstood what I have said.

I have no concerns about anathemas.

Gebre has put forth his ideas on various matters and proclaimed them to be inviolable teachings of the Church, selectively quoting from the Fathers to suit his case. He is entitled to his opinion, but he has no right to go further and denounce as un-Orthodox anyone who believes otherwise, as he has indeed done on this forum, and, it seems, in his book.

And, the Church does indeed teach that the Mother of God physically died. She did not avoid death. This is expressed over and over in the hymns of the feast, and in the iconography. If she didn't die, then why is Christ shown holding her soul in His hands? The soul is parted from the body when someone dies.
 

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livefreeordie said:
Gebre is a friend of mine. He knows I'm not a pacifist. He has never once suggested I'm not orthodox. He asks me to pray for him, and I ask him to pray for me.  I have corresponded with him for years. He has always been respectful to me and my views, while strongly defending his own views. Yes, he can argue his points energetically, but I really think a lot of people just have thin skin and take things way too personally. Never once have I ever felt Gebre was speaking for the church.

Can someone show me a quote of his where he actually says, "unless you are a pacifist, you are not Orthodox."

If someone can find that quote I will understand their anger better, but even then, based on my interaction with Gebre, I wouldn't take it personally.

If you don't want to argue with him, don't argue with him. To say "people might think he is speaking for the church" is just ridiculous. Who on here really is worried that Gebre is seen as a "spokesmen" of the church and leading people astray. He is just a dude voicing his opinion and that is how he comes across. Now if he self-proclaims himself Bishop Gebre of Mississippi and starts putting out epistles, then maybe we blacklist him! :)

The critics on here just come across as personally not liking him and his views. Subjects like pacifism can spark a ton of emotion. Whether someone thinks a war is just or not, war is an evil thing. Men, women, children, soldiers, priests, etc. will die today in a war. Some bombs will hit their target, others will miss the mark and errantly hit a wedding, or a funeral, or a child walking home too young to even know "just" or "unjust". That is war. It doesn't matter if it just or not. That is what happens in any war. This is why while I disagree with Gebre on being a total pacifist, I'm in general against war and I applaud his consistent commitment to "life".

And if we are honest, one of the main reasons we talk about pacifism here is because of Gebre's "extreme" opinions, and so regardless of what we think about him, a thread like this is getting his point of view out there as much as any of his own posts. So for you all who don't like Gebre's approach, you are really doing him a favor with this continuing thread. Heck, the original post has probably done more to keep "pacifism" on the home page list of top posts than any of Gebre's own posts!
I have explained this myself to Gebre because he thought I was putting words into his mouth, fair enough. Gebre has never emphatically stated "This is a teaching of the church" so I had to explain to him that the way in which he often speaks would suggest that this IS what the church teaches. Sure, you can preface your book with "This is my opinion" but when you turn around and say in that same book "The church teaches this or that" it ceases to be opinion. He has stated several times how pacifism is "true Christian teaching" or that any other view "contradicts the Gospel and teaching of Christ" or "contradicts Orthodox teaching."

Has he said "This is a teaching of the church?" no, he has not, but he has said other things that would indicate to others that it might be. When you do not, or cannot, differentiate between your opinion and what the church actually teaches, then it becomes confusing for others. I have no problem with him stating that this is his belief and or his opinion, but he consistently words things to make it seem like it is not an opinion or personally held view, but a teaching of the church like "War is heresy" that is pretty clear to me that he does not believe this to be opinion but fact.
 

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LBK said:
rakovsky said:
LBK,

This sums up what I get from Gebre's post that the OP opposes. Gebre (1) sees pacifism as a tradition in Orthodoxy, (2) sees pacifism as correct and important, and (3) thinks that Orthodox institutions cannot legitimately reject it.

So regarding your words:
LBK said:
Let me put it another way: Dogmatic teachings are immutable and inviolable, and a necessary belief of those within the Church, on pain of anathema to those who teach or preach otherwise. Absolute pacifism is not one of the inviolable teachings of the Orthodox Church, and it is wrong and deceptive for anyone to insist that it is.
Some doctrines or beliefs are sometimes espoused by important people in the Church, but they are not "necessary beliefs".

For example, numerous theologians and saints espouse a belief about tollhouses or other things that could happen after death. Another belief I think in the church is that the Virgin Mary not only avoided death (the Dormition), but was physically assumed into heaven. Obviously, like Gebre they believe their concepts are correct, yet those beliefs are not mandatory for all Orthodox on pain of anathema.

I understand your concern about the Church imposing anathemas. But in this case, it is Gebre who is worried about anathemas being declared: he said that Orthodox institutions could not anathematize pacifism.
You have completely misunderstood what I have said.

I have no concerns about anathemas.

Gebre has put forth his ideas on various matters and proclaimed them to be inviolable teachings of the Church, selectively quoting from the Fathers to suit his case. He is entitled to his opinion, but he has no right to go further and denounce as un-Orthodox anyone who believes otherwise, as he has indeed done on this forum, and, it seems, in his book.

And, the Church does indeed teach that the Mother of God physically died. She did not avoid death. This is expressed over and over in the hymns of the feast, and in the iconography. If she didn't die, then why is Christ shown holding her soul in His hands? The soul is parted from the body when someone dies.
Exactly. Even though he prefaces his book with "This is my opinion" it is unacceptable to then say those things you mentioned. I even find his poetry denouncing soldiers to be a bit tactless. Was he also referring to St. George, St. Theodore, St. Felix, etc?
 

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LBK said:
Gebre has put forth his ideas on various matters and proclaimed them to be inviolable teachings of the Church, selectively quoting from the Fathers to suit his case. He is entitled to his opinion, but he has no right to go further and denounce as un-Orthodox anyone who believes otherwise, as he has indeed done on this forum, and, it seems, in his book.
Don't you do that when you post about icons? Doesn't everyone do that?
 

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LBK said:
I have no concerns about anathemas.

Gebre has put forth his ideas on various matters and proclaimed them to be inviolable teachings of the Church, selectively quoting from the Fathers to suit his case. He is entitled to his opinion, but he has no right to go further and denounce as un-Orthodox anyone who believes otherwise, as he has indeed done on this forum, and, it seems, in his book.
LBK,

I think it would be most helpful to see the actual quotes by Gebre that you most object to, since I can imagine things he said on the topic could be misinterpreted.

And, the Church does indeed teach that the Mother of God physically died. She did not avoid death. This is expressed over and over in the hymns of the feast, and in the iconography. If she didn't die, then why is Christ shown holding her soul in His hands? The soul is parted from the body when someone dies.
My point is that there can be a tradition in the church that you can disagree with and still be Orthodox. Another example is the Ring of Solomon. 4th and 6th century writers describe Jerusalem's Church leadership showing it to pilgrims on Good Friday next to the wood of the True Cross. At least one Orthodox moderator I talked with elsewhere proposed that it never happened, and many Orthodox think Solomon never even had a ring to control demons.

Apparently the Church of Jerusalem was promoting a belief in the ring and many people believed it, but it is hardly a required belief for Orthodox. Many, if not most, do not even know about it.
 

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rakovsky said:
LBK said:
I have no concerns about anathemas.

Gebre has put forth his ideas on various matters and proclaimed them to be inviolable teachings of the Church, selectively quoting from the Fathers to suit his case. He is entitled to his opinion, but he has no right to go further and denounce as un-Orthodox anyone who believes otherwise, as he has indeed done on this forum, and, it seems, in his book.
LBK,

I think it would be most helpful to see the actual quotes by Gebre that you most object to, since I can imagine things he said on the topic could be misinterpreted.

And, the Church does indeed teach that the Mother of God physically died. She did not avoid death. This is expressed over and over in the hymns of the feast, and in the iconography. If she didn't die, then why is Christ shown holding her soul in His hands? The soul is parted from the body when someone dies.
My point is that there can be a tradition in the church that you can disagree with and still be Orthodox. Another example is the Ring of Solomon. 4th and 6th century writers describe Jerusalem's Church leadership showing it to pilgrims on Good Friday next to the wood of the True Cross. At least one Orthodox moderator I talked with elsewhere proposed that it never happened, and many Orthodox think Solomon never even had a ring to control demons.

Apparently the Church of Jerusalem was promoting a belief in the ring and many people believed it, but it is hardly a required belief for Orthodox. Many, if not most, do not even know about it.
Rakovsky, I think that is an excellent point. I may not agree with pacifism and another agree with it, I do not think it is right for someone, who admittedly has not studied the fathers in depth, to throw out quotes as if that quote demonstrates the entirety of their belief or teaching. Which is why my issue is not with Gebres actual stance, it is with his misuse of church fathers, and in the one case demonstrated, the priest whom he clearly selectively embraced to suit his view without considering the rest of the article.

But honestly, that is a great point. I do not think, from what I have read on the matter, that the fathers have ever condemned pacifism or military service, war, violence. They have elaborated on them, when they may be necessary and such, but they have not taken a firm stance either way.
 

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Ioannes said:
I had to explain to him that the way in which he often speaks would suggest that this IS what the church teaches.

Has he said "This is a teaching of the church?" no, he has not, but he has said other things that would indicate to others that it might be.
When you do not, or cannot, differentiate between your opinion and what the church actually teaches, then it becomes confusing for others. I have no problem with him stating that this is his belief and or his opinion, but he consistently words things to make it seem like it is not an opinion or personally held view
When those situations arise it is best to ask the person what he means.

"War is heresy" is pretty clear to me that he does not believe this to be opinion but fact.
Heresy means a false religious teaching. If war itself is taught as a religious teaching, then perhaps that is true.

Personally I wouldn't choose those words because it allows for (1) the interpretation that it is his belief that all wars are an immoral act against "the" one teaching of the church.

On the other hand, the phrase is open enough to allow for someone to propose that (2) it is just their own belief, expressed in aggressive religious rhetoric, that wars violate important religious principles.

To make a better decision, perhaps you can show me the one paragraph Gebre has written anywhere that you most disagree with.

Anyway, Gebre is Ethiopian Orthodox, so why get bent out of shape? Do you know how many things in the Oriental Churches we could disagree with? They don't even accept many of our infallible(?) ecumenical councils. One of the largest recent conversions to Oriental Orthodoxy was the Ras Tafari group, and in mentioning this I am not downgrading them, but my guess is that Oriental Orthodox are less strict about things.

How many times could we read books by an Oriental Orthodox writer talking about the "Orthodox Church" and disagree? You are very incisive in your thinking, and I would like to see you use your good energy, thinking, and dedication to focus on issues for canonical Churches, like whether our churches should be split over calendars, or whether we should have 8 or more canonical jurisdictions in the US in the first place?

Now if you want to talk about animal sacrifice, circumcision, or Christology in Oriental churches, that's a different story. In fact, you are tempting me to go into the CONTINUANCE OF THE PENTAGONAL RING OF SOLOMON IN ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOXY.

;)
 

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Ioannes said:
But honestly, that is a great point. I do not think, from what I have read on the matter, that the fathers have ever condemned pacifism or military service, war, violence. They have elaborated on them, when they may be necessary and such, but they have not taken a firm stance either way.
Ioannes,

Maybe there is something to be said about negative views about war in Orthodoxy in general. The approval of wars you mentioned can be explained as fighting off nonChristian domination, while there are rules against clergy fighting in them.

Isn't this a contrast to the Crusades, where fighting in a non-Latin country on behalf of the Latin Church was seen as holy, and engaged in by a monastic order? The Crusaders, like Teutonic knights also sacked Constantinople and other Eastern cities in slavic lands. But Orthodox countries didn't launch "holy wars" against the west, as I understand it. The idea of "holy war" seems to be much more of a RC/protestant medieval idea.

So although the Church has even promoted wars (like against the Mongols and Turks) and the Byzantine emperor asked the canonical Roman church to intervene with a crusade, perhaps there is something valuable to be said about aversion to war or negative ideas about it in Orthodoxy in general.

Take care.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Michał Kalina said:
LBK said:
Gebre has put forth his ideas on various matters and proclaimed them to be inviolable teachings of the Church, selectively quoting from the Fathers to suit his case. He is entitled to his opinion, but he has no right to go further and denounce as un-Orthodox anyone who believes otherwise, as he has indeed done on this forum, and, it seems, in his book.
Don't you do that when you post about icons? Doesn't everyone do that?
Yes, but, not everyone accuses the apposing viewpoint of heresy.

LBK explains the symbolism and meaning of the icons, their canonicity or lack thereof, however, she never has accused someone who apposes her teaches of not being Orthodox because of their differing views.

 

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LizaSymonenko said:
Michał Kalina said:
LBK said:
Gebre has put forth his ideas on various matters and proclaimed them to be inviolable teachings of the Church, selectively quoting from the Fathers to suit his case. He is entitled to his opinion, but he has no right to go further and denounce as un-Orthodox anyone who believes otherwise, as he has indeed done on this forum, and, it seems, in his book.
Don't you do that when you post about icons? Doesn't everyone do that?
Yes, but, not everyone accuses the apposing viewpoint of heresy.

LBK explains the symbolism and meaning of the icons, their canonicity or lack thereof, however, she never has accused someone who apposes her teaches of not being Orthodox because of their differing views.
Yeah, she only accuses icons of being not-Orthodox.
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
...as some are not.
And is she an  ecumenical council to declare that? Isn't overauthority of some laymen the problem being discussed in this thread?
 

LizaSymonenko

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LOL!  I would be impressed to see proof that some of the icons in the Schlock icon thread are canonically Orthodox icons.

I believe, it would be easier to find sources to support her statements, than to refute them.

 

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LizaSymonenko said:
LOL!  I would be impressed to see proof that some of the icons in the Schlock icon thread are canonically Orthodox icons.

I believe, it would be easier to find sources to support her statements, than to refute them.
Nevertheless, there were some people, priests or bishops who consider them OK. That means it's their opinion vs. LBK's opinion.
 
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