Church Invisible

FountainPen

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biro said:
FP- why do you separate the idea of going to a service from something that can get you into Heaven? Are we not commanded to worship God?
Yes we are but it's more than that as well. Worship is more than an act (although it can be that) but it is evidenced by the trail that we all leave behind us as we go about our day or week. That will tell you what (or who) people worship, not what they do on a Sunday morning.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
What do you mean by 'in heaven'?  The reason I ask is that, Scripturally speaking, being 'in heaven' is a temporary estate prior to the Resurrection and return of all.  All are resurrected to live here in the New Jerusalem (c.f. Isaiah 66).

FountainPen said:
FatherGiryus said:
No, not quite... we see them as being part of the same reality, not separated.  This is where our disagreement comes: you separate what is visible from what is invisible, while we perceive them as part of the same reality.

FountainPen said:
No more than the Orthodox church with her visible sacraments and rituals would allow them to take precedence over the invisible nature of the church.
I speak of the different aspects of the church but it's all one church. It's just that some of the people in the visible church won't be in heaven where as all of the people in the invisible church will be.
#laughs

I knew when i clicked "post" that someone would pick up on that phrase.

For the purpose of just this post, i simply mean broadly speaking -- in that direction -- heavenward bound.

;D
 

FatherGiryus

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:D

Yes, but the same is true of 'heavenward bound'.

In Orthodox terminology, we tend not really to talk about salvation as a destination, but a process.  It goes something like this:

I often ask, 'Is Jesus the way to salvation?'  Most people reflexively answer, 'Yes.'

Then I say, 'No.'  After I get the puzzled look I am hoping for, I answer, 'Salvation is the way to Jesus Christ.'

There is a fundamentally different way of looking at what we are trying to accomplish: are we merely looking for Elysium or Valhallah, or are we seeking an eternal union with Christ?  The question of salvation isn't all that complicated when you think of it in that way.  It is not a place, but a union where God as He truly Is is no longer avoidable as it is now.

The problem with heresy is that it sets human expectations of God in a false manner, and can lead one to reject the True Christ, the one behind the name.  We do not want to forsake the truth of who He is and reduce His Name to a magic incantation.  It is all about content.


FountainPen said:
FatherGiryus said:
What do you mean by 'in heaven'?  The reason I ask is that, Scripturally speaking, being 'in heaven' is a temporary estate prior to the Resurrection and return of all.  All are resurrected to live here in the New Jerusalem (c.f. Isaiah 66).

FountainPen said:
FatherGiryus said:
No, not quite... we see them as being part of the same reality, not separated.  This is where our disagreement comes: you separate what is visible from what is invisible, while we perceive them as part of the same reality.

FountainPen said:
No more than the Orthodox church with her visible sacraments and rituals would allow them to take precedence over the invisible nature of the church.
I speak of the different aspects of the church but it's all one church. It's just that some of the people in the visible church won't be in heaven where as all of the people in the invisible church will be.
#laughs

I knew when i clicked "post" that someone would pick up on that phrase.

For the purpose of just this post, i simply mean broadly speaking -- in that direction -- heavenward bound.

;D
 
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FountainPen said:
HandmaidenofGod said:
So you may see our highly decorated vestments, the beauty of our temples and think that we are only focused on the physical, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Can i ask you a question then? What is the main focus of the OC regarding new believers, to go into the world and make disciples or is it to bring people into the church building for a service? I can answer that in the short time i've been on these forums i can count several times someone has encouraged me to attend a service. It's all about the physical church because the Eucharist is there -- i understand that and why it's important for Orthodox people to attend services. However, Jesus' ministry saw Him going out to where people gathered in their own communities and on their own terms to take the good news to them and quite probably in a language they understood too.
It's not either/or, but both.

Yes, we are to feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit those in prison, etc., however we are also to partake of the Eucharist and join in fellowship with one another.

Look at the Apostles. They went out into the world proclaiming the Good News, but they also came together and worshiped in the Temple. After Pentecost they proclaimed the Good News on Solomon's Portico because they were not allowed back in the Temple. Churches were established throughout the Mediterranean. We have Paul's letters to these Churches.

When St. Herman of Alaska evangelized the Aleut Native Americans during Russia's colonization of Alaska, one of the reasons they trusted him is because he would negotiate with the Russian fur traders on their behalf. He then used the Cyrillic alphabet to put the Aleut language into writing, and then translated the Gospel and all of the Service books from Russian and Greek into the Aleut language.

So he met the Native Americans where they were at as fur traders, helped them in their trade, and then brought them into the Temple.

Many Orthodox parishes in the US and throughout the world either have their own or work with different ministries to help those less fortunate. My parish has a food pantry to feed the hungry. Although Orthodox Christians, and Orthodox Christian Organizations such as the IOCC are happy to go out into the fields and "reap the harvest," (John 4:34-36) just as Philip invited Nathanial, so too do we invite all to "Come and See." (John 1:45-46)

I will leave you with a quote that a friend of mine who is a priest once said,

"Our faith is more than just a Sunday faith. It is not just something that we come once a week, or only at Christmas or Easter to participate in. But our faith is what permeates our lives. It is the glue that keeps our life together. And it is the fuel that keeps our life going. Our faith is not just a Sunday faith. It is a way of life for us. We don't just leave Christ at the door of the Church and visit Him only on Sundays. Yes, Sundays are important, but so is the rest of the week." Fr. Christos Mars, Annunciation Cathedral, Atlanta, GA
 

Marc1152

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FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.
My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through. To my thinking the historical question is pivotal. If the Original Church still exists it would have important implications for your theories.

I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  

And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
Yes, but the same is true of 'heavenward bound'.

In Orthodox terminology, we tend not really to talk about salvation as a destination, but a process.  It goes something like this:

I often ask, 'Is Jesus the way to salvation?'  Most people reflexively answer, 'Yes.'

Then I say, 'No.'  After I get the puzzled look I am hoping for, I answer, 'Salvation is the way to Jesus Christ.'
Without wishing to be in any way disrespectful Father this is a good example of why people like myself get very worried when we read statements like yours. Especially as scripture is held in such high regard that everything else is measured against it.

Jesus says "I am the way...". He is the one mediator (1 Tim 2:5) between God and man, The door (John 10:9), the bridge between Father God and sinful man is The Christ, Jesus.

I'm not meaning to be nit-picky either but i am a bit


There is a fundamentally different way of looking at what we are trying to accomplish: are we merely looking for Elysium or Valhallah, or are we seeking an eternal union with Christ?  The question of salvation isn't all that complicated when you think of it in that way.  It is not a place, but a union where God as He truly Is is no longer avoidable as it is now.
I agree completely, salvation isn't a place but more of a state of being. A union with Christ becoming joint heirs of the promise and a reconciliation to Father God.

The problem with heresy is that it sets human expectations of God in a false manner, and can lead one to reject the True Christ, the one behind the name. 
I can easily see how that can be the case.

We do not want to forsake the truth of who He is and reduce His Name to a magic incantation.  It is all about content.
Amen
 

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Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.
My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.

 

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HandmaidenofGod said:
FountainPen said:
HandmaidenofGod said:
So you may see our highly decorated vestments, the beauty of our temples and think that we are only focused on the physical, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Can i ask you a question then? What is the main focus of the OC regarding new believers, to go into the world and make disciples or is it to bring people into the church building for a service? I can answer that in the short time i've been on these forums i can count several times someone has encouraged me to attend a service. It's all about the physical church because the Eucharist is there -- i understand that and why it's important for Orthodox people to attend services. However, Jesus' ministry saw Him going out to where people gathered in their own communities and on their own terms to take the good news to them and quite probably in a language they understood too.
It's not either/or, but both.

Yes, we are to feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit those in prison, etc., however we are also to partake of the Eucharist and join in fellowship with one another.

Look at the Apostles. They went out into the world proclaiming the Good News, but they also came together and worshiped in the Temple. After Pentecost they proclaimed the Good News on Solomon's Portico because they were not allowed back in the Temple. Churches were established throughout the Mediterranean. We have Paul's letters to these Churches.

When St. Herman of Alaska evangelized the Aleut Native Americans during Russia's colonization of Alaska, one of the reasons they trusted him is because he would negotiate with the Russian fur traders on their behalf. He then used the Cyrillic alphabet to put the Aleut language into writing, and then translated the Gospel and all of the Service books from Russian and Greek into the Aleut language.

So he met the Native Americans where they were at as fur traders, helped them in their trade, and then brought them into the Temple.

Many Orthodox parishes in the US and throughout the world either have their own or work with different ministries to help those less fortunate. My parish has a food pantry to feed the hungry. Although Orthodox Christians, and Orthodox Christian Organizations such as the IOCC are happy to go out into the fields and "reap the harvest," (John 4:34-36) just as Philip invited Nathanial, so too do we invite all to "Come and See." (John 1:45-46)

I will leave you with a quote that a friend of mine who is a priest once said,

"Our faith is more than just a Sunday faith. It is not just something that we come once a week, or only at Christmas or Easter to participate in. But our faith is what permeates our lives. It is the glue that keeps our life together. And it is the fuel that keeps our life going. Our faith is not just a Sunday faith. It is a way of life for us. We don't just leave Christ at the door of the Church and visit Him only on Sundays. Yes, Sundays are important, but so is the rest of the week." Fr. Christos Mars, Annunciation Cathedral, Atlanta, GA
I realise that the OC does a lot for charity and you all have regular fasting times and for giving alms, which is again to your credit. I can't remember the last time our church fasted where the cause wasn't an issue over finances, even though the scripture says to do it regularly. To our shame.

It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.
 

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If the church were invisible, how would anybody know it was a church?  ???
 

Marc1152

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FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.
My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.
I think I understand. You are committed to fighting on your own ground. You want to play Scripture throw-down., shoot out at the Proof Text Corral. I get it.  We have a very different paradigm that we use as a lens.  Yours is a judicial approach with you as the sole judge/interpreter. It's like when the Catholics say, "with Protestants everyone is the Pope except the Pope"

This is why it didnt compute when some folks urged you to actually attend an Orthodox Liturgy. Authentic Christianity, the Original Form if I may be so bold as to say, is very experiential. Yours seems to be a laundry list of dictum's that you agree with and then you get some sort of spiritual seal as you mentioned. 

The issue is broader than the "Invisible Church". It's how you develop an internal logic that get's you to that conclusion. You do it by appointing yourself as sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of passages from Scripture. Our reaction is "Who are you again?"..

We approach Scripture much differently. We ask a simple question, how has this issue been understood over the two thousand year history of The Christian Church. It's hard to imagine that Saint after Saint, all the Doctors of the Church, Great ecumenical teachers, all the Councils,, Bishops, Monks and Patriarchs missed the question, only to come to 2012 and Bob on the internet does a re-reading and finds that The Church is really Invisible. 

You do have the luxury of having  many former Protestants here who know how to play in your sandbox and don't mind dusting off their skills. But at the end of the day your personal opinion, which runs counter to 2000 years of The Christian Church's understanding has no weight, no matter how logical or well crafted your arguments. Christianity did not grow out of the soil of American rugged individualism.

So again, the pivotal question remains, when did the Original Church cease to exist? If it never did ( and I realize that's news to most all Protestants who have only looked at Rome carefully) that fact has enormous implications for you.   

 

Marc1152

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FountainPen said:
HandmaidenofGod said:
FountainPen said:
HandmaidenofGod said:
So you may see our highly decorated vestments, the beauty of our temples and think that we are only focused on the physical, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Can i ask you a question then? What is the main focus of the OC regarding new believers, to go into the world and make disciples or is it to bring people into the church building for a service? I can answer that in the short time i've been on these forums i can count several times someone has encouraged me to attend a service. It's all about the physical church because the Eucharist is there -- i understand that and why it's important for Orthodox people to attend services. However, Jesus' ministry saw Him going out to where people gathered in their own communities and on their own terms to take the good news to them and quite probably in a language they understood too.
It's not either/or, but both.

Yes, we are to feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit those in prison, etc., however we are also to partake of the Eucharist and join in fellowship with one another.

Look at the Apostles. They went out into the world proclaiming the Good News, but they also came together and worshiped in the Temple. After Pentecost they proclaimed the Good News on Solomon's Portico because they were not allowed back in the Temple. Churches were established throughout the Mediterranean. We have Paul's letters to these Churches.

When St. Herman of Alaska evangelized the Aleut Native Americans during Russia's colonization of Alaska, one of the reasons they trusted him is because he would negotiate with the Russian fur traders on their behalf. He then used the Cyrillic alphabet to put the Aleut language into writing, and then translated the Gospel and all of the Service books from Russian and Greek into the Aleut language.

So he met the Native Americans where they were at as fur traders, helped them in their trade, and then brought them into the Temple.

Many Orthodox parishes in the US and throughout the world either have their own or work with different ministries to help those less fortunate. My parish has a food pantry to feed the hungry. Although Orthodox Christians, and Orthodox Christian Organizations such as the IOCC are happy to go out into the fields and "reap the harvest," (John 4:34-36) just as Philip invited Nathanial, so too do we invite all to "Come and See." (John 1:45-46)

I will leave you with a quote that a friend of mine who is a priest once said,

"Our faith is more than just a Sunday faith. It is not just something that we come once a week, or only at Christmas or Easter to participate in. But our faith is what permeates our lives. It is the glue that keeps our life together. And it is the fuel that keeps our life going. Our faith is not just a Sunday faith. It is a way of life for us. We don't just leave Christ at the door of the Church and visit Him only on Sundays. Yes, Sundays are important, but so is the rest of the week." Fr. Christos Mars, Annunciation Cathedral, Atlanta, GA
I realise that the OC does a lot for charity and you all have regular fasting times and for giving alms, which is again to your credit. I can't remember the last time our church fasted where the cause wasn't an issue over finances, even though the scripture says to do it regularly. To our shame.

It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.
Which Church do you belong to?
 

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Well, that's my fault for not being clearer: the Church does not teach salvation as a process without Jesus Christ.  I was not prepared for you to assume that salvation could ever be separated from the Christ given your experiences here.  The very fact that one begins the journey means that He is part of what we do because He is aiding us.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  This path of salvation, for us, necessitates the Holy Mysteries, foremost of which is the Eucharist, the real Body and Blood.  I forgot that you do not assume this in your definition, and so it was my error for not being clearer.

However, in all this talk about 'heaven' and 'salvation' without talking about this union with Christ is dangerous.  It leads to universalism or, worse yet, Calvinism.

But, I don't want to stray too far, so let's get back to the topic: salvation is the transformative process in which we gradually come into union with Christ through His Church.  It is not a goal or a place, but a verb.  You could even use it as a pronoun, but a pronoun for Christ (He is our Salvation).  But, as I mentioned before, the Orthodox do not use the word so much largely because we do not want people to forget that this salvation process is all about Jesus Christ.

This is why, when you do come to an Orthodox service, you will hear many hymns referencing the theology of the Councils defining Christ's personhood.  This is how important the proper definition of His personhood is to us: we give up having 'fun' hymns for theological ones precisely because this definition of who He is defines what direction the path will go.

When you boil your theology down to 'Jesus is the way to salvation,' it simply is too imprecise to be relied upon.  This 'Jesus' could be handing out tickets to the Happy Hunting Grounds.  The Islamic paradise has no Divine center: it is about receiving material rewards (i.e. virgins, etc.).  There are many people who theorize about whether Buddhists can be saved without wondering if the Buddhists would even want to be united with Christ.  This shows how far off of Christ this definition of salvation can get.

The path to Christ can only be trod with His help, just as God helped all those before us in their exoduses.  We can accomplish nothing without Him.  This is why we need to receive the Holy Mysteries, to strengthen us for this task, but even the strengthening itself is through union with Him.  Remember what we believe about the Eucharist.  It all ties together.

I think this proves that slogans ("No creed but Christ... and, er, this creed!") do not serve well to define what we mean.  This is why the Church itself, as a visible institution is necessary: there are simply too many opportunities for error without it.  If we cannot look at the Scriptures and automatically all come to the same conclusions, then this means that we need something greater than ourselves to accomplish the task.

If someone refuses to be part of this, what benefit is it to him?  So, someone decides to identify with an 'invisible church' because he does not like the institution... what does that mean if the institution is right?  The problem also is that if the institution is wrong, then Christ Himself was wrong and the gates of hell have prevailed in derailing the 'visible church' from the truth. 

FP, I have enjoyed our exchanges.  I have a lot of new converts and inquirers, and this exchange has helped me sharpen up my skills.  Thank you!  :)





FountainPen said:
FatherGiryus said:
Yes, but the same is true of 'heavenward bound'.

In Orthodox terminology, we tend not really to talk about salvation as a destination, but a process.  It goes something like this:

I often ask, 'Is Jesus the way to salvation?'  Most people reflexively answer, 'Yes.'

Then I say, 'No.'  After I get the puzzled look I am hoping for, I answer, 'Salvation is the way to Jesus Christ.'
Without wishing to be in any way disrespectful Father this is a good example of why people like myself get very worried when we read statements like yours. Especially as scripture is held in such high regard that everything else is measured against it.

Jesus says "I am the way...". He is the one mediator (1 Tim 2:5) between God and man, The door (John 10:9), the bridge between Father God and sinful man is The Christ, Jesus.

I'm not meaning to be nit-picky either but i am a bit


There is a fundamentally different way of looking at what we are trying to accomplish: are we merely looking for Elysium or Valhallah, or are we seeking an eternal union with Christ?  The question of salvation isn't all that complicated when you think of it in that way.  It is not a place, but a union where God as He truly Is is no longer avoidable as it is now.
I agree completely, salvation isn't a place but more of a state of being. A union with Christ becoming joint heirs of the promise and a reconciliation to Father God.

The problem with heresy is that it sets human expectations of God in a false manner, and can lead one to reject the True Christ, the one behind the name. 
I can easily see how that can be the case.

We do not want to forsake the truth of who He is and reduce His Name to a magic incantation.  It is all about content.
Amen
 
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FountainPen said:
I realise that the OC does a lot for charity and you all have regular fasting times and for giving alms, which is again to your credit. I can't remember the last time our church fasted where the cause wasn't an issue over finances, even though the scripture says to do it regularly. To our shame.

It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.
Fountain Pen, I'm really quite flabbergasted and don't know what to tell you.

You have said Orthodoxy focuses too much on the physical, and we have demonstrated to you how we focus on the physical and the spiritual.

You asked if the main focus was to draw people into a building or to make believiers out of them. I demonstrated how we do both, and you say our motivations are purely humanitarian in nature and have nothing to do with spirituality. Who are you to judge our motivations? Who are you to say that these efforts don't ultimately lead to the salvation of souls?

I am not sure how you can read the account I provided of St. Herman of Alaska, and say that his efforts to help the Aleuts were purely Humanitarian. The fact that you can attend an Orthodox service in Alaska today that is populated by the Aleut Native Americans and hear the service in the Aleut language is a testimony to the soul saving work that St. Herman did.

May I ask, have you ever attended an Orthodox service? Have you ever participated in Orthodox parish life?

I really feel like you are making many judgments about us without having ever experienced what Orthodox praxis is like. This is not some lure to have you come in just for the sake of coming in, but like anything else in life, until you experience it for yourself, you really can't make an accurate judgment. I can sit and tell you all day what it is like to commute from my home in New Jersey to my office in New York City, but until you were to do it for yourself, you wouldn't be able to really understand what a hassle it is to commute 2 hours each way, and take 4 trains to get to work.

Perhaps rather than judging the Orthodox Church on the merits that you believe to be true, perhaps you should start asking what God says is true.

When you read our history, educate yourself on our beliefs, read how the saints of the Church have lived the faith, I think you will see that both our beliefs and our praxis are in line with Christ and the Apostle's teachings of what the Church should be.

When I read your OP, you water down our beliefs to an "internal mess [that] seems remarkably similar to how the rest of Christendom claim to be guided by the Spirit and believe a multitude of different things backed up with the odd patristic quote or two from various denominations jurisdictions."

Frankly, that is insulting to us and our history. It also tells me that you really don't know much about our Church.

You provided an assortment of scripture quotes as to why you believe the Church is invisible, and have basically either argued or flat out refused to listen to our reasoning as to why we believe otherwise.

What is your motivation for coming on this board?

This is an obscure forum specific to the Eastern forms of Christianity.

Did you come on here to prove us all wrong? Or have you come here to listen and learn? Because frankly, if you've come to do the latter, it really does seem that you've come for the former.

I don't know that providing you with more proof of what our Church is and is not will do any good, as it seems to me your mind is already made up.

Am I wrong?
 

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[quote author=FountainPen] It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.
[/quote]

Mt. 25:34-46

  34Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

    35For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:

    36Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.

    37Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    38And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee?

    39Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee?

    40And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

    41Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.

    42For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink.

    43I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.

    44Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?

    45Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.

    46And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.
 

FatherGiryus

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  For us, alsm are a spiritual encounter with Christ.  From Matthew 25:

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’  Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’  Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


It is not described here as merely humanitarian (which is important enough if you love others as God loves you), but a mystical encounter with Christ!



FountainPen said:
I realise that the OC does a lot for charity and you all have regular fasting times and for giving alms, which is again to your credit. I can't remember the last time our church fasted where the cause wasn't an issue over finances, even though the scripture says to do it regularly. To our shame.

It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.
 

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Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.
My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.
I think I understand. You are committed to fighting on your own ground. You want to play Scripture throw-down., shoot out at the Proof Text Corral. I get it.  We have a very different paradigm that we use as a lens.   Yours is a judicial approach with you as the sole judge/interpreter. It's like when the Catholics say, "with Protestants everyone is the Pope except the Pope"

This is why it didnt compute when some folks urged you to actually attend an Orthodox Liturgy. Authentic Christianity, the Original Form if I may be so bold as to say, is very experiential. Yours seems to be a laundry list of dictum's that you agree with and then you get some sort of spiritual seal as you mentioned.  

The issue is broader than the "Invisible Church". It's how you develop an internal logic that get's you to that conclusion. You do it by appointing yourself as sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of passages from Scripture. Our reaction is "Who are you again?"..

We approach Scripture much differently. We ask a simple question, how has this issue been understood over the two thousand year history of The Christian Church. It's hard to imagine that Saint after Saint, all the Doctors of the Church, Great ecumenical teachers, all the Councils,, Bishops, Monks and Patriarchs missed the question, only to come to 2012 and Bob on the internet does a re-reading and finds that The Church is really Invisible.  

You do have the luxury of having  many former Protestants here who know how to play in your sandbox and don't mind dusting off their skills. But at the end of the day your personal opinion, which runs counter to 2000 years of The Christian Church's understanding has no weight, no matter how logical or well crafted your arguments. Christianity did not grow out of the soil of American rugged individualism.

So again, the pivotal question remains, when did the Original Church cease to exist? If it never did ( and I realize that's news to most all Protestants who have only looked at Rome carefully) that fact has enormous implications for you.    
Oh i used to love this game! This game is called -- If I Cover My Eyes That Means You Can't See Me -- and we all learn it when we're kids. We usually grow out of it though.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
Well, that's my fault for not being clearer: the Church does not teach salvation as a process without Jesus Christ.  I was not prepared for you to assume that salvation could ever be separated from the Christ given your experiences here.  The very fact that one begins the journey means that He is part of what we do because He is aiding us.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  This path of salvation, for us, necessitates the Holy Mysteries, foremost of which is the Eucharist, the real Body and Blood.  I forgot that you do not assume this in your definition, and so it was my error for not being clearer.
[size=12pt]Thank you for being patient and explaining further.

However, in all this talk about 'heaven' and 'salvation' without talking about this union with Christ is dangerous.  It leads to universalism or, worse yet, Calvinism.

But, I don't want to stray too far, so let's get back to the topic: salvation is the transformative process in which we gradually come into union with Christ through His Church.  
Being transformed by the renewing of our minds, yes. However, some aspects of salvation are process and some are firsts and instantaneous.

It is not a goal or a place, but a verb.  You could even use it as a pronoun, but a pronoun for Christ (He is our Salvation).  But, as I mentioned before, the Orthodox do not use the word so much largely because we do not want people to forget that this salvation process is all about Jesus Christ.
Right, i see what you mean.

This is why, when you do come to an Orthodox service, you will hear many hymns referencing the theology of the Councils defining Christ's personhood.  This is how important the proper definition of His personhood is to us: we give up having 'fun' hymns for theological ones precisely because this definition of who He is defines what direction the path will go.
I never cared for the 'fun' hymns as unless they are doctrinally accurate (hardly ever) there's a danger that you end up believing the lyrics to the songs you're humming during the day rather than actual scripture.

When you boil your theology down to 'Jesus is the way to salvation,' it simply is too imprecise to be relied upon.  
I agree, it never simply boils down to that.

This 'Jesus' could be handing out tickets to the Happy Hunting Grounds.  The Islamic paradise has no Divine center: it is about receiving material rewards (i.e. virgins, etc.).  There are many people who theorize about whether Buddhists can be saved without wondering if the Buddhists would even want to be united with Christ.  This shows how far off of Christ this definition of salvation can get.
Right.

The path to Christ can only be trod with His help, just as God helped all those before us in their exoduses.  We can accomplish nothing without Him.  
Amen

This is why we need to receive the Holy Mysteries, to strengthen us for this task, but even the strengthening itself is through union with Him.  Remember what we believe about the Eucharist.  It all ties together.
Yes, i mentioned to someone only today that i think i need to look at what you believe about the Eucharist. Other practices might not seem so alarming if i understand that more fully i'm sure.

I think this proves that slogans ("No creed but Christ... and, er, this creed!") do not serve well to define what we mean.  This is why the Church itself, as a visible institution is necessary: there are simply too many opportunities for error without it.  If we cannot look at the Scriptures and automatically all come to the same conclusions, then this means that we need something greater than ourselves to accomplish the task.

If someone refuses to be part of this, what benefit is it to him?  So, someone decides to identify with an 'invisible church' because he does not like the institution... what does that mean if the institution is right?  The problem also is that if the institution is wrong, then Christ Himself was wrong and the gates of hell have prevailed in derailing the 'visible church' from the truth.  

FP, I have enjoyed our exchanges.  I have a lot of new converts and inquirers, and this exchange has helped me sharpen up my skills.  Thank you!  :)
You're welcome and i appreciate very much you giving your time, thank you Father.



 

Marc1152

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FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.
My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.
I think I understand. You are committed to fighting on your own ground. You want to play Scripture throw-down., shoot out at the Proof Text Corral. I get it.  We have a very different paradigm that we use as a lens.   Yours is a judicial approach with you as the sole judge/interpreter. It's like when the Catholics say, "with Protestants everyone is the Pope except the Pope"

This is why it didnt compute when some folks urged you to actually attend an Orthodox Liturgy. Authentic Christianity, the Original Form if I may be so bold as to say, is very experiential. Yours seems to be a laundry list of dictum's that you agree with and then you get some sort of spiritual seal as you mentioned.  

The issue is broader than the "Invisible Church". It's how you develop an internal logic that get's you to that conclusion. You do it by appointing yourself as sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of passages from Scripture. Our reaction is "Who are you again?"..

We approach Scripture much differently. We ask a simple question, how has this issue been understood over the two thousand year history of The Christian Church. It's hard to imagine that Saint after Saint, all the Doctors of the Church, Great ecumenical teachers, all the Councils,, Bishops, Monks and Patriarchs missed the question, only to come to 2012 and Bob on the internet does a re-reading and finds that The Church is really Invisible.  

You do have the luxury of having  many former Protestants here who know how to play in your sandbox and don't mind dusting off their skills. But at the end of the day your personal opinion, which runs counter to 2000 years of The Christian Church's understanding has no weight, no matter how logical or well crafted your arguments. Christianity did not grow out of the soil of American rugged individualism.

So again, the pivotal question remains, when did the Original Church cease to exist? If it never did ( and I realize that's news to most all Protestants who have only looked at Rome carefully) that fact has enormous implications for you.    
Oh i used to love this game! This game is called -- If I Cover My Eyes That Means You Can't See Me -- and we all learn it when we're kids. We usually grow out of it though.
Ummm. .  huh ?

Lets try again then.. If you have an illness reading about the various treatments and medications will not cure you. Even though it is wise to learn all you can, you need to actually show up at the Hospital and have the surgery.

The nature of the Church is settled theology. Bob, musing on the internet, does not have enough weight to overturn what is long settled.

 

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HandmaidenofGod said:
Fountain Pen, I'm really quite flabbergasted and don't know what to tell you.

You have said Orthodoxy focuses too much on the physical, and we have demonstrated to you how we focus on the physical and the spiritual.

You asked if the main focus was to draw people into a building or to make believers out of them. I demonstrated how we do both, and you say our motivations are purely humanitarian in nature and have nothing to do with spirituality. Who are you to judge our motivations? Who are you to say that these efforts don't ultimately lead to the salvation of souls?
I apologise Handmaiden, it wasn't my intention to upset you at all. I didn't feel i was judging motives but actions. If i can explain -- when people feed the poor and it isn't a mission headed up with a preacher making a big fuss about saving the lost and telling them about Jesus, unless there is activity of people preaching and teaching the gospel, such as there is when our church has sent a group out to do a homeless soup run, then i am thinking it's purely (and rightly) humanitarian. We do all need to care for those less fortunate than ourselves and sometimes we are the less fortunate and need others to help.

I should have asked a clear question, I'm sorry.

I'm not saying the way our church did it was correct, i don't think it was and it doesn't matter anyway. I was simply trying to establish what happened in these activities and whether any preaching or witnessing happened.

I am not sure how you can read the account I provided of St. Herman of Alaska, and say that his efforts to help the Aleuts were purely Humanitarian. The fact that you can attend an Orthodox service in Alaska today that is populated by the Aleut Native Americans and hear the service in the Aleut language is a testimony to the soul saving work that St. Herman did.
Yes, and i agree.

May I ask, have you ever attended an Orthodox service? Have you ever participated in Orthodox parish life?
No, my first encounter with it was when a friend expressed an interest.

I really feel like you are making many judgments about us without having ever experienced what Orthodox praxis is like. This is not some lure to have you come in just for the sake of coming in, but like anything else in life, until you experience it for yourself, you really can't make an accurate judgment. I can sit and tell you all day what it is like to commute from my home in New Jersey to my office in New York City, but until you were to do it for yourself, you wouldn't be able to really understand what a hassle it is to commute 2 hours each way, and take 4 trains to get to work.
I appreciate that Handmaiden but your churches are not so accessible here as they might be where you are and even if i did have two hours to hop on a train into London on a Sunday morning, i don't think it's a good idea going along to something i know very little about.

Perhaps rather than judging the Orthodox Church on the merits that you believe to be true, perhaps you should start asking what God says is true.

When you read our history, educate yourself on our beliefs, read how the saints of the Church have lived the faith, I think you will see that both our beliefs and our praxis are in line with Christ and the Apostle's teachings of what the Church should be.
I am doing that and what is coming up in these threads is the result of my reading about the practice and beliefs of Orthodoxy. I'm trying to line the things i'm reading up to scripture to see if what i'm learning is true or not.

When I read your OP, you water down our beliefs to an "internal mess [that] seems remarkably similar to how the rest of Christendom claim to be guided by the Spirit and believe a multitude of different things backed up with the odd patristic quote or two from various denominations jurisdictions."

Frankly, that is insulting to us and our history. It also tells me that you really don't know much about our Church.
No i don't you're right. I was a little frustrated when i wrote that so i can only apologise again.

You provided an assortment of scripture quotes as to why you believe the Church is invisible, and have basically either argued or flat out refused to listen to our reasoning as to why we believe otherwise.

What is your motivation for coming on this board?
Well i'd be careful there if i were you. I can see i've been clumsy and will gladly apologise for that but my intention isn't to either argue or refuse to listen. Quite frankly i don't think i've done only that, so i don't think i am guilty as charged on that score.

This is an obscure forum specific to the Eastern forms of Christianity.
Yes it is and that's part of the attraction. Another part is the claim of Orthodoxy being rooted and unchanging in history and yet another is that my friend is heavily into all this which will eventually either validate my worries for her or eliminate them. Either way, i am compelled to either be wrong myself or prove Orthodoxy wrong -- i can't just leave it now.

I don't know that providing you with more proof of what our Church is and is not will do any good, as it seems to me your mind is already made up.

Am I wrong?
Well it's like this and i will be straight with you. Like i said before, i will apologise for causing offense and certainly accept responsibility for some poorly worded posts and answer your questions openly about my personal reasons for being here and the difficulties i am having with understanding Orthodox issues and beliefs. However, i would ask you to be careful with your tone as i don't mind being open to a point but i don't feel in any way that i have to answer to you, so i do so out of courtesy not obligation.
 

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This passage from Ephesians (4:23) using in English 'mind' is, in Greek, the word 'nous.'

We understand this to be more than the thinking part of a person, but rather his spiritual faculty, the 'eye of the soul' that sees God.  The purification of the nous is a process in which man repents and is healed by God.  Some of the progress can happen quickly, but it is most attained through years of repentance and asceticism, which we are all called to (i.e. taking up the cross).  However, this transformation is an eternal one, going on into the Resurrection and thereafter because we are being united to an eternal Being.


FountainPen said:
Being transformed by the renewing of our minds, yes. However, some aspects of salvation are process and some are firsts and instantaneous.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
  For us, alsm are a spiritual encounter with Christ.  From Matthew 25:

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’  Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’  Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


It is not described here as merely humanitarian (which is important enough if you love others as God loves you), but a mystical encounter with Christ!



FountainPen said:
I realise that the OC does a lot for charity and you all have regular fasting times and for giving alms, which is again to your credit. I can't remember the last time our church fasted where the cause wasn't an issue over finances, even though the scripture says to do it regularly. To our shame.

It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.
I've never quite looked at this like that before -- a mystical encounter with Christ. I suppose this is how you all see the Eucharist as well in some ways.
 

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Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.
My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.
I think I understand. You are committed to fighting on your own ground. You want to play Scripture throw-down., shoot out at the Proof Text Corral. I get it.  We have a very different paradigm that we use as a lens.   Yours is a judicial approach with you as the sole judge/interpreter. It's like when the Catholics say, "with Protestants everyone is the Pope except the Pope"

This is why it didnt compute when some folks urged you to actually attend an Orthodox Liturgy. Authentic Christianity, the Original Form if I may be so bold as to say, is very experiential. Yours seems to be a laundry list of dictum's that you agree with and then you get some sort of spiritual seal as you mentioned.  

The issue is broader than the "Invisible Church". It's how you develop an internal logic that get's you to that conclusion. You do it by appointing yourself as sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of passages from Scripture. Our reaction is "Who are you again?"..

We approach Scripture much differently. We ask a simple question, how has this issue been understood over the two thousand year history of The Christian Church. It's hard to imagine that Saint after Saint, all the Doctors of the Church, Great ecumenical teachers, all the Councils,, Bishops, Monks and Patriarchs missed the question, only to come to 2012 and Bob on the internet does a re-reading and finds that The Church is really Invisible.  

You do have the luxury of having  many former Protestants here who know how to play in your sandbox and don't mind dusting off their skills. But at the end of the day your personal opinion, which runs counter to 2000 years of The Christian Church's understanding has no weight, no matter how logical or well crafted your arguments. Christianity did not grow out of the soil of American rugged individualism.

So again, the pivotal question remains, when did the Original Church cease to exist? If it never did ( and I realize that's news to most all Protestants who have only looked at Rome carefully) that fact has enormous implications for you.    
Oh i used to love this game! This game is called -- If I Cover My Eyes That Means You Can't See Me -- and we all learn it when we're kids. We usually grow out of it though.
Ummm. .  huh ?

Lets try again then.. If you have an illness reading about the various treatments and medications will not cure you. Even though it is wise to learn all you can, you need to actually show up at the Hospital and have the surgery.

The nature of the Church is settled theology. Bob, musing on the internet, does not have enough weight to overturn what is long settled.
Pasadi? Is that you?

Oh i forgot, he's been stymied. ;)
 

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Oh, dear!  Not in 'some ways,' but as its primary!

This is what Orthodoxy is about: the spiritual experience of Christ within our neighbor and ourselves.  Everywhere there is the Image and Likeness of God there is an opportunity to encounter God through this Image and Likeness, just as we encounter the Father through the Son.

When we live according to love for others, we discover the love of God, which in turn provides us with love for others.  Yes, it is circular, but it is also hopeful!  God gives us the love to love others, which in turn allows us to experience His love.


FountainPen said:
I've never quite looked at this like that before -- a mystical encounter with Christ. I suppose this is how you all see the Eucharist as well in some ways.
 

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FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.
My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.
I think I understand. You are committed to fighting on your own ground. You want to play Scripture throw-down., shoot out at the Proof Text Corral. I get it.  We have a very different paradigm that we use as a lens.   Yours is a judicial approach with you as the sole judge/interpreter. It's like when the Catholics say, "with Protestants everyone is the Pope except the Pope"

This is why it didnt compute when some folks urged you to actually attend an Orthodox Liturgy. Authentic Christianity, the Original Form if I may be so bold as to say, is very experiential. Yours seems to be a laundry list of dictum's that you agree with and then you get some sort of spiritual seal as you mentioned.  

The issue is broader than the "Invisible Church". It's how you develop an internal logic that get's you to that conclusion. You do it by appointing yourself as sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of passages from Scripture. Our reaction is "Who are you again?"..

We approach Scripture much differently. We ask a simple question, how has this issue been understood over the two thousand year history of The Christian Church. It's hard to imagine that Saint after Saint, all the Doctors of the Church, Great ecumenical teachers, all the Councils,, Bishops, Monks and Patriarchs missed the question, only to come to 2012 and Bob on the internet does a re-reading and finds that The Church is really Invisible.  

You do have the luxury of having  many former Protestants here who know how to play in your sandbox and don't mind dusting off their skills. But at the end of the day your personal opinion, which runs counter to 2000 years of The Christian Church's understanding has no weight, no matter how logical or well crafted your arguments. Christianity did not grow out of the soil of American rugged individualism.

So again, the pivotal question remains, when did the Original Church cease to exist? If it never did ( and I realize that's news to most all Protestants who have only looked at Rome carefully) that fact has enormous implications for you.    
Oh i used to love this game! This game is called -- If I Cover My Eyes That Means You Can't See Me -- and we all learn it when we're kids. We usually grow out of it though.
Ummm. .  huh ?

Lets try again then.. If you have an illness reading about the various treatments and medications will not cure you. Even though it is wise to learn all you can, you need to actually show up at the Hospital and have the surgery.

The nature of the Church is settled theology. Bob, musing on the internet, does not have enough weight to overturn what is long settled.
Pasadi? Is that you?

Oh i forgot, he's been stymied. ;)
Alfred is that you?

Oh i forgot, he's been defeated and ran off.
 
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Fountain Pen,

Thank you for responding to my post and for clarifying your position on a number of issues. I apologize if my tone was curt.

While I understand getting to an Orthodox parish may be difficult, I would highly recommend ordering Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church." It is available on http://www.amazon.co.uk/ in both paperback and kindle format.

Timothy Ware (now +Metropolitan Kallistos Ware) does an excellent job explaining the history of the Orthodox Church, what we believe, and why. Admittedly, it can be a little dry at times. (He is after all, an Oxford scholar.) However, it has become a standard in most Orthodox catechism, and is a tried and true resource for information on the Church.

I am not trying to dismiss your questions or to stop you from asking them on the forum, but I think this will help you dive deeper into your inquiry of Orthodoxy and be able to ask more focused questions.

On a seperate note, I'd like to address one item you listed in your post to me:

FountainPen said:
If i can explain -- when people feed the poor and it isn't a mission headed up with a preacher making a big fuss about saving the lost and telling them about Jesus, unless there is activity of people preaching and teaching the gospel, such as there is when our church has sent a group out to do a homeless soup run, then i am thinking it's purely (and rightly) humanitarian. We do all need to care for those less fortunate than ourselves and sometimes we are the less fortunate and need others to help.

I should have asked a clear question, I'm sorry.

I'm not saying the way our church did it was correct, i don't think it was and it doesn't matter anyway. I was simply trying to establish what happened in these activities and whether any preaching or witnessing happened.
Obviously, I cannot address how every humanitarian action carried out by the Orthodox Church worldwide is done, but I would like to say this: sometimes, what seems like a humanitarian action on the outside is exactly what is needed to save souls. Let me give you a personal example:

A friend of mine has a mother who is a Russian Jew and a father who is an Egyptian Muslim. As a child, she attended Catholic school and had been exposed to Protestant Christianity through friends. Although she believed in a god, she didn't follow any particular faith tradition.

Two years ago, she started to date a man who happened to be Russian Orthodox. He brought her to Church with him and introduced her to some of his friends and the priest at coffee hour.

Now, my friend is a very open individual and will basically tell you her life story the first time you meet her.

During introductions, she mentioned she was going to be having surgery, and would be laid up for a few weeks, but would have no one to take care of her.

The people she had just met for the first time at Church set about making a schedule so that each of them would take turns bringing her meals, taking care of her animals, and making sure she was okay. Even the priest volunteered!

They did so without obligation that she ever return to the Church.

My friend was so impressed by the hospitality demonstrated by these individuals over the coming weeks that she did return. She began meeting with the priest and asking questions. Ultimately, a little over a year later, she was baptized and chrismated into the Church.

So what started out as a humanitarian mission turned out to be just what she needed to come to know Christ.

Hope this helps,

HofG
 

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HandmaidenofGod said:
Fountain Pen,

Thank you for responding to my post and for clarifying your position on a number of issues. I apologize if my tone was curt.

While I understand getting to an Orthodox parish may be difficult, I would highly recommend ordering Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church." It is available on http://www.amazon.co.uk/ in both paperback and kindle format.

Timothy Ware (now +Metropolitan Kallistos Ware) does an excellent job explaining the history of the Orthodox Church, what we believe, and why. Admittedly, it can be a little dry at times. (He is after all, an Oxford scholar.) However, it has become a standard in most Orthodox catechism, and is a tried and true resource for information on the Church.

I am not trying to dismiss your questions or to stop you from asking them on the forum, but I think this will help you dive deeper into your inquiry of Orthodoxy and be able to ask more focused questions.

On a seperate note, I'd like to address one item you listed in your post to me:

FountainPen said:
If i can explain -- when people feed the poor and it isn't a mission headed up with a preacher making a big fuss about saving the lost and telling them about Jesus, unless there is activity of people preaching and teaching the gospel, such as there is when our church has sent a group out to do a homeless soup run, then i am thinking it's purely (and rightly) humanitarian. We do all need to care for those less fortunate than ourselves and sometimes we are the less fortunate and need others to help.

I should have asked a clear question, I'm sorry.

I'm not saying the way our church did it was correct, i don't think it was and it doesn't matter anyway. I was simply trying to establish what happened in these activities and whether any preaching or witnessing happened.
Obviously, I cannot address how every humanitarian action carried out by the Orthodox Church worldwide is done, but I would like to say this: sometimes, what seems like a humanitarian action on the outside is exactly what is needed to save souls. Let me give you a personal example:

A friend of mine has a mother who is a Russian Jew and a father who is an Egyptian Muslim. As a child, she attended Catholic school and had been exposed to Protestant Christianity through friends. Although she believed in a god, she didn't follow any particular faith tradition.

Two years ago, she started to date a man who happened to be Russian Orthodox. He brought her to Church with him and introduced her to some of his friends and the priest at coffee hour.

Now, my friend is a very open individual and will basically tell you her life story the first time you meet her.

During introductions, she mentioned she was going to be having surgery, and would be laid up for a few weeks, but would have no one to take care of her.

The people she had just met for the first time at Church set about making a schedule so that each of them would take turns bringing her meals, taking care of her animals, and making sure she was okay. Even the priest volunteered!

They did so without obligation that she ever return to the Church.

My friend was so impressed by the hospitality demonstrated by these individuals over the coming weeks that she did return. She began meeting with the priest and asking questions. Ultimately, a little over a year later, she was baptized and chrismated into the Church.

So what started out as a humanitarian mission turned out to be just what she needed to come to know Christ.

Hope this helps,

HofG
That is an incredibly impressive account and a wonderful testimony of their faithfulness and love which resulted in salvation. That, to me, is a far more effective way of 'evangelising' than the leaflet distributing, event driven, hard sell, that i've experienced.

I'm glad we've come to an understanding as i really appreciate your posts and always try not to miss any.

And -- i'll get the book  ::)  ;D
 
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FountainPen said:
That is an incredibly impressive account and a wonderful testimony of their faithfulness and love which resulted in salvation. That, to me, is a far more effective way of 'evangelising' than the leaflet distributing, event driven, hard sell, that i've experienced.

I'm glad we've come to an understanding as i really appreciate your posts and always try not to miss any.

And -- i'll get the book  ::)  ;D
;D ;D ;D ;D
 
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FountainPen said:
I've never quite looked at this like that before -- a mystical encounter with Christ. I suppose this is how you all see the Eucharist as well in some ways.
I once read that if every mirror in the world was etched with the icon of Christ, we would all treat each other better, because we would be more mindful that we are each created in the image and likeness of God.
 

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FatherGiryus said:
Oh, dear!  Not in 'some ways,' but as its primary!

This is what Orthodoxy is about: the spiritual experience of Christ within our neighbor and ourselves.  Everywhere there is the Image and Likeness of God there is an opportunity to encounter God through this Image and Likeness, just as we encounter the Father through the Son.

When we live according to love for others, we discover the love of God, which in turn provides us with love for others.  Yes, it is circular, but it is also hopeful!  God gives us the love to love others, which in turn allows us to experience His love.


FountainPen said:
I've never quite looked at this like that before -- a mystical encounter with Christ. I suppose this is how you all see the Eucharist as well in some ways.
What other biblical echoes are there that would suggest the bread and wine to be more than a symbolic memorial?

As far as the fathers of the church go, has any one of them written extensively on this that i would find useful to read?
 

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As far as the fathers of the church go, has any one of them written extensively on this that i would find useful to read?

The Pre- and Post Communion Prayers are a good place to start. And, their content (as is the case of so much Orthodox hymnography and prayer) is stuffed full of Scripture.

Pre-Communion Prayers:

PREPARATORY PRAYERS
FOR HOLY COMMUNION

In the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good gifts and Giver of Life, come and abide in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, wash away our sins. O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy Name's sake.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from the evil one.

For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (12 times).

O come let us worship God our King.
O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and God.
O come let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and our God.

Then the following Psalms: 23, 24, 116: 10-19 (King James text); 22, 23, 115 (Septuagint).

Psalm 22.

The Lord is my Shepherd, and will deny me nothing. He has settled me in a green pasture, and nourished me beside refreshing water. He has converted my soul, and led me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake. For even though I walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff have comforted me. Thou hast prepared a table before me in the face of those who trouble me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil. And Thy chalice which inebriates me, how glorious it is! And Thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord throughout the length of my days.

Psalm 23.

The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world and all who dwell in it He has set it on the seas, and prepared it on the rivers. Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord, or who will stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not set his mind on vanity or sworn deceitfully to his neighbour. He will receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Saviour. These are the kind who seek the Lord, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your gates, you princes, and be lifted up, you eternal doors, and the King of Glory will enter. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your gates, you princes, and be lifted up, you eternal doors, and the King of Glory will enter. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

Psalm 115.

I believed and so I spoke; but I was deeply humiliated. I said in my madness: every man is a liar. What shall I give in return to the Lord for all that He has given me? I will receive the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints.

O Lord, I am Thy slave; I am Thy slave and son of Thy handmaid. Thou hast broken my bonds asunder. I will offer Thee the sacrifice of praise, and will pray in the Name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the Lord's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. Glory to Thee, O God. (Thrice) Lord, have mercy (Thrice). And then the following prayers:

Overlook my faults, O Lord Who wast born of a Virgin, and purify my heart, and make it a temple for Thy spotless Body and Blood. Let me not be rejected from Thy presence, O Thou Who hast infinitely great mercy.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

How can I who am unworthy dare to come to the communion of Thy Holy Things? For even if I should dare to approach Thee with those who are worthy, my garment betrays me, for it is not a festal robe, and I shall cause the condemnation of my sinful soul. Cleanse, O Lord, the pollution from my soul, and save me as the Lover of men.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Great is the multitude of my sins, O Mother of God. To thee, O pure one, I flee and implore salvation. Visit my sick and feeble soul and intercede with thy Son and our God, that He may grant me forgiveness for the terrible things I have done, O thou who alone art blessed.

On Holy and Great Thursday the following is read:

When Thy glorious Disciples were enlightened at the Supper by the feet-washing, then impious Judas was darkened with the disease of avarice, and he delivered Thee, the Just Judge, to lawless judges. See, O lover of money, this man through money came to hang himself. Flee the insatiable desire which dared to do such things to the Master. O Lord, Who art good towards all, glory to Thee.

Lord, have mercy. (40 times)

Prostrations as desired. Then these prayers:

First Prayer of St. Basil the Great

O Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ our God, source of life and immortality, Who art the Author of all creation, visible and invisible, the equally everlasting and co-eternal Son of the eternal Father, Who through the excess of Thy goodness didst in the last days assume our flesh and wast crucified for us, ungrateful and ignorant as we were, and didst cause through Thy own Blood the restoration of our nature which had been marred by sin: O immortal King, accept the repentance even of me a sinner, and incline Thine ear to me and hear my words. For I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee, and I am not worthy to gaze on the height of Thy glory; for I have provoked Thy goodness by transgressing Thy commandments and not obeying Thy orders. But Thou, O Lord, in Thy forbearance, patience, and great mercy, hast not given me up to be destroyed with my sins, but Thou awaitest my complete conversion. For Thou, O Lover of men, hast said through Thy Prophet that Thou desirest not the death of the sinner, but that he should return to Thee and live. For Thou dost not will, O Lord, that the work of Thy hands should be destroyed, neither dost Thou delight in the destruction of men, but Thou desirest that all should be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth. Therefore, though I am unworthy both of heaven and earth, and even of this transient life, since I have completely succumbed to sin and am a slave to pleasure and have defaced Thy image, yet being Thy work and creation, wretch that I am, even I do not despair of my salvation and dare to draw near to Thy boundless compassion. So receive even me, O Christ Lover of men, as the harlot, as the thief, as the publican, and as the prodigal; and take from me the heavy burden of my sins, Thou Who takest away the sin of the world, Who healest men's sicknesses, Who callest the weary and heavy laden to Thyself and givest them rest; for Thou camest not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. And purify me from all defilement of flesh and spirit. Teach me to achieve perfect holiness in the fear of Thee, that with the clear witness of my conscience I may receive the portion of Thy holy Things and be united with Thy holy Body and Blood, and have Thee dwelling and remaining in me with the Father and Thy Holy Spirit. And, O Lord Jesus Christ, my God, let not the communion of Thy immaculate and life-giving Mysteries be to me for condemnation nor let it make me sick in body or soul through my partaking of them unworthily; but grant me till my last breath to receive without condemnation the portion of Thy holy Things, for communion with the Holy Spirit, as a provision for eternal life, and as an acceptable defense at Thy dread tribunal, so that I too with all Thy elect may become a partaker of Thy pure joys which Thou hast prepared for those who love Thee, O Lord, in whom Thou art glorified throughout the ages. Amen.

First Prayer
of St. John Chrysostom

O Lord my God, I know that I am not worthy or sufficient that Thou shouldest come under the roof of the house of my soul, for all is desolate and fallen, and Thou hast not with me a place fit to lay Thy head. But as from the highest heaven Thou didst humble Thyself for our sake, so now conform Thyself to my humility. And as Thou didst consent to lie in a cave and in a manger of dumb beasts, so also consent to lie in the manger of my unspiritual soul and to enter my defiled body. And as Thou didst not disdain to enter and dine with sinners in the house of Simon the Leper, so consent also to enter the house of my humble soul which is leprous and sinful. And as Thou didst not reject the woman, who was a harlot and a sinner like me, when she approached and touched Thee, so also be compassionate with me, a sinner, as I approach and touch Thee, and let the live coal of Thy most holy Body and precious Blood be for the sanctification and enlightenment and strengthening of my humble soul and body, for a relief from the burden of my many sins, for a protection from all diabolical practices, for a restraint and a check on my evil and wicked way of life, for the mortification of passions, for the keeping of Thy commandments, for an increase of Thy divine grace, and for the advancement of Thy Kingdom. For it is not insolently that I draw near to Thee, O Christ my God, but as taking courage from Thy unspeakable goodness, and that I may not by long abstaining from Thy communion become a prey to the spiritual wolf. Therefore, I pray Thee, O Lord, Who alone art holy, sanctify my soul and body, my mind and heart, my emotions and affections, and wholly renew me. Root the fear of Thee in my members, and make Thy sanctification indelible in me. Be also my helper and defender, guide my life in peace, and make me worthy to stand on Thy right hand with Thy Saints: through the prayers and intercessions of Thy immaculate Mother, of Thy ministering Angels, of the immaculate Powers and of all the Saints who have ever been pleasing to Thee. Amen.

Prayer
of St. Symeon the Translator

O only pure and sinless Lord, Who through the ineffable compassion of Thy love for men didst assume our whole nature through the pure and virgin blood of her who supernaturally conceived Thee by the coming of the Divine Spirit and by the will of the Eternal Father; O Christ Jesus, Wisdom and Peace and Power of God, Who in Thy assumption of our nature didst suffer Thy life-giving and saving Passion - the Cross, the Nails, the Spear, and Death - mortify all the deadly passions of my body. Thou Who in Thy burial didst spoil the dominions of hell, bury with good thoughts my evil schemes and scatter the spirits of wickedness. Thou Who by Thy life-giving Resurrection on the third day didst raise up our fallen first Parent, raise me up who am sunk in sin and suggest to me ways of repentance. Thou Who by Thy glorious Ascension didst deify our nature which Thou hadst assumed and didst honor it by Thy session at the right hand of the Father, make me worthy by partaking of Thy holy Mysteries of a place at Thy right hand among those who are saved. Thou Who by the descent of the Spirit, the Paraclete, didst make Thy holy Disciples worthy vessels, make me also a recipient of His coming. Thou Who art to come again to judge the World with justice, grant me also to meet Thee on the clouds, my Maker and Creator, with all Thy Saints, that I may unendingly glorify and praise Thee with Thy Eternal Father and Thy all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

First Prayer
of St. John Damascene

O Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ our God, Who alone hast authority to forgive men their sins, overlook in Thy goodness and love for men all my offences whether committed with knowledge or in ignorance, and make me worthy to receive without condemnation Thy divine, glorious, spotless, and life-giving Mysteries, not for punishment, nor for an increase of sins, but for purification and sanctification and as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come, as a protection and help, and for the destruction of enemies, and for the blotting out of my many transgressions. For Thou art a God of mercy and compassion and love for men, and to Thee we send up the glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Second Prayer
of St. Basil the Great

I know, O Lord, that I partake of Thy immaculate Body and precious Blood unworthily, and that I am guilty, and eat and drink judgment to myself by not discerning the Body and Blood of Thee my Christ and God. But taking courage from Thy compassion I approach Thee, for Thou hast said: "He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him." Therefore have compassion, O Lord, and do not make an example of me, a sinner, but deal with me according to Thy mercy; and let these Holy Things be for my healing and purification and enlightenment and protection and salvation and sanctification of body and soul, for the turning away of every phantasy and all evil practice and diabolical activity working subconsciously in my members, for confidence and love towards Thee, for reformation of life and security, for an increase of virtue and perfection, for fulfillment of the commandments, for communion with the Holy Spirit, as a provision for eternal life, and as an acceptable defense at Thy dread Tribunal, not for judgment or for condemnation.

Prayer
of St. Symeon the New Theologian

From sullied lips,
From an abominable heart,
From an unclean tongue,
Out of a polluted soul,
Receive my prayer, O my Christ.
Reject me not,
Nor my words, nor my ways,
Nor even my shamelessness,
But give me courage to say
What I desire, my Christ.
And even more, teach me
What to do and say.
I have sinned more than the harlot
Who, on learning where Thou wast lodging,
Bought myrrh,
And dared to come and anoint
Thy feet, my Christ,
My Lord and my God.
As Thou didst not repulse her
When she drew near from her heart,
Neither, O Word, abominate me,
But grant me Thy feet
To clasp and kiss,
And with a flood of tears
As with most precious myrrh
Dare to anoint them.
Wash me with my tears
And purify me with them, O Word.
Forgive my sins
And grant me pardon.
Thou knowest the multitude of my evil-doings,
Thou knowest also my wounds,
And Thou seest my bruises.
But also Thou knowest my faith,
And Thou beholdest my willingness,
And Thou hearest my sighs.
Nothing escapes Thee, my God,
My Maker, my Redeemer,
Not even a tear-drop,
Nor part of a drop.
Thine eyes know
What I have not achieved,
And in Thy book
Things not yet done
Are written by Thee.
See my depression,
See how great is my trouble,
And all my sins
Take from me, O God of all,
That with a clean heart,
Trembling mind
And contrite spirit
I may partake of Thy pure
And all-holy Mysteries
By which all who eat and drink Thee
With sincerity of heart
Are quickened and deified.
For Thou, my Lord, hast said:
"Whoever eats My Flesh
And drinks My Blood
Abides in Me
And I in Him."
Wholly true is the word
Of my Lord and God.
For whoever partakes of Thy divine
And deifying Gifts
Certainly is not alone,
But is with Thee, my Christ,
Light of the Triune Sun
Which illumines the world.
And that I may not remain alone
Without Thee, the Giver of Life,
My Breath, my Life,
My Joy,
The Salvation of the world,
Therefore I have drawn near to Thee
As Thou seest, with tears
And with a contrite spirit.
Ransom of my offences,
I beseech Thee to receive me,
And that I may partake without condemnation
Of Thy life-giving and perfect Mysteries,
That Thou mayest remain as Thou hast said
With me, thrice-wretched as I am,
Lest the tempter may find me
Without Thy grace
And craftily seize me,
And having deceived me, may seduce me,
From Thy deifying words.
Therefore I fall at Thy feet
And fervently cry to Thee:
As Thou receivedst the Prodigal
And the Harlot who drew near to Thee,
So have compassion and receive me,
The profligate and the prodigal,
As with contrite spirit
I now draw near to Thee.
I know, O Saviour, that no other
Has sinned against Thee as I,
Nor has done the deeds
That I have committed.
But this again I know
That not the greatness of my offences
Nor the multitude of my sins
Surpasses the great patience
Of my God,
And His extreme love for men.
But with the oil of compassion
Those who fervently repent
Thou dost purify and enlighten
And makest them children of the light,
Sharers of Thy Divine Nature.
And Thou dost act most generously,
For what is strange to Angels
And to the minds of men
Often Thou tellest to them
As to Thy true friends.
These things make me bold, my Christ,
These things give me wings,
And I take courage from the wealth
Of Thy goodness to us.
And rejoicing and trembling at once,
I who am straw partake of fire,
And, strange wonder!
I am ineffably bedewed,
Like the bush of old
Which burnt without being consumed.
Therefore with thankful mind,
And with thankful heart,
And with thankfulness in all the members
Of my soul and body,
I worship and magnify
And glorify Thee, my God,
For Thou art blessed,
Now and throughout the ages.

Second Prayer
of St. John Chrysostom

I am not worthy, O Lord and Master, that Thou shouldest enter under the roof of my soul; but since Thou in Thy love for men dost will to dwell in me, I take courage and approach. Thou commandest: I will open wide the doors which Thou alone didst create, that Thou mayest enter with love as is Thy nature, enter and enlighten my darkened thought. I believe that Thou wilt do this, for Thou didst not banish the Harlot who approached Thee with tears, nor didst Thou reject the Publican who repented, nor didst Thou drive away the Thief who acknowledged Thy Kingdom, nor didst Thou leave the repentant persecutor (Paul) to himself; but all who had been brought to Thee by repentance Thou didst set in the company of Thy friends, O Thou Who alone art blessed always, now and to endless ages. Amen.

Third Prayer
of St. John Chrysostom

Lord Jesus Christ my God, remit, forgive, absolve and pardon the sins, offences and transgressions which I, Thy sinful, useless and unworthy servant have committed from my youth, up to the present day and hour, whether with knowledge or in ignorance, whether by words or deeds or intentions or thoughts, and whether by habit or through any of my senses. And through the intercession of her who conceived Thee without seed, the immaculate and ever-virgin Mary Thy Mother, my only sure hope and protection and salvation, make me worthy without condemnation to receive Thy pure, immortal, life-giving and dread Mysteries, for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life, for sanctification and enlightenment and strength and healing and health of soul and body, and for the blotting out and complete destruction of my evil reasonings and intentions and prejudices and nocturnal fantasies of dark evil spirits. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory and the honour and the worship, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Second Prayer
of St. John Damascene

I stand before the doors of Thy sanctuary, yet I do not put away my terrible thoughts. But O Christ our God, Who didst justify the Publican, and have mercy on the Canaanite woman, and didst open the gates of Paradise to the Thief, open to me the depths of Thy love for men, and as I approach and touch Thee, receive me like the Harlot and the woman with an issue of blood. For the one received healing easily by touching the hem of Thy garment, and the other by clasping Thy sacred feet obtained release from her sins. And I, in my pitiableness, dare to receive Thy whole Body. Let me not be burnt, but receive me even as these; enlighten the senses of my soul, and burn the stains of my sins: through the intercessions of her who bore Thee without seed, and of the Heavenly Powers, for Thou art blessed to the ages of ages. Amen.

Fourth Prayer
of St. John Chrysostom

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief. And I believe that this is Thy pure Body and Thy own precious Blood. Therefore, I pray Thee, have mercy on me and forgive my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, known and unknown. And grant that I may partake of Thy Holy Mysteries without condemnation, for the remission of sins and for life eternal. Amen.

Lines of St. Symeon the Translator

Behold I approach for Divine Communion.
O Creator, let me not be burnt by communicating,
For Thou art Fire which burns the unworthy.
But purify me from every stain.

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of the Mystery to Thy enemies; I will not give Thee a kiss like Judas; but like the Thief do I confess Thee. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.

And again these lines:

Tremble, O man, when you see the deifying Blood,
For it is a coal that burns the unworthy.
The Body of God both deifies and nourishes;
It deifies the spirit and wondrously nourishes the mind.

Thou hast ravished me with longing, O Christ, and with Thy divine love Thou hast changed me. But burn up with spiritual fire my sins and make me worthy to be filled with delight in Thee, that I may leap for joy, O gracious Lord, and magnify Thy two comings.

Into the splendor of Thy Saints how shall I who am unworthy enter? For if I dare to enter the bridechamber, my vesture betrays me, for it is not a wedding garment, and as a prisoner I shall be cast out by the Angels. Cleanse my soul from pollution and save me, O Lord, in Thy love for men.

Sovereign Lover of men, Lord Jesus my God, let not these Holy Things be to me for judgment through my being unworthy, but for the purification and sanctification of my soul and body, and as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come. For it is good for me to cling to God and to place in the Lord my hope of salvation.
 

LBK

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Some of the Prayers After Communion:

THANKSGIVING
AFTER HOLY COMMUNION

Glory to Thee, O God;
Glory to Thee, O God;
Glory to Thee, O God.

Anonymous

I thank Thee, O Lord my God, that Thou hast not rejected me, a sinner, but hast granted me to be a communicant of Thy holy Things. I thank Thee that Thou hast granted me, unworthy as I am, to partake of Thy pure and heavenly Gifts. But, O Lord, Lover of men, Who didst die for us and rise again and bestow upon us these Thy dread and life-giving Mysteries for the wellbeing and sanctification of our souls and bodies, grant that these may be even to me for the healing of my soul and body, for the averting of everything hostile, for the enlightenment of the eyes of my heart, for the peace of the powers of my soul, for unashamed faith, for sincere love, for the fullness of wisdom, for the keeping of Thy commandments, for an increase of Thy divine grace, and for familiarity with Thy Kingdom; that being kept by Them in Thy holiness I may ever remember Thy grace, and never live for myself but for Thee our Lord and Benefactor. And so when I have passed from existence here in the hope of eternal life, may I attain to everlasting rest, where the song is unceasing of those who keep festival and the joy is boundless of those who behold the ineffable beauty of Thy face. For Thou art the true desire and the unutterable gladness of those who love Thee, O Christ our God, and all creation sings of Thee throughout the ages.

Prayer of St. Basil the Great

Lord Christ our God, King of the ages and Creator of all, I thank Thee for all the blessings Thou hast granted me and for the communion of Thy pure and life-giving Mysteries. I pray Thee, therefore, good Lord and Lover of men, guard me under Thy protection and within the shadow of Thy wings; and grant me with a clear conscience till my last breath worthily to partake of Thy holy Things for forgiveness of sins and for life eternal. For Thou art the Bread of Life, the Source of Holiness, the Giver of all that is good, and to Thee we send up the glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer of St. Symeon the Translator

O Thou Who givest me willingly Thy Flesh for food,
Thou Who art fire, and burnest the unworthy,
Scorch me not, O my Maker,
But rather pass through me for the integration of my members,
Into all my joints, my affections, and my heart.
Burn up the thorns of all my sins.
Purify my soul, sanctify my mind;
Strengthen my knees and bones;
Enlighten the simplicity of my five senses.
Nail down the whole of me with Thy fear.
Ever protect, guard, and keep me
From every soul-destroying word and act.
Sanctify, purify, attune, and rule me.
Adorn me, give me understanding, and enlighten me.
Make me the habitation of Thy Spirit alone,
And no longer a habitation of sin,
That as Thy house from the entry of communion
Every evil spirit and passion may flee from me like fire.
I offer Thee as intercessors all the sanctified,
The Commanders of the Bodiless Hosts,
Thy Forerunner, the wise Apostles,
And Thy pure and immaculate Mother.
Receive their prayers, my compassionate Christ.
And make Thy slave a child of light.
For Thou alone art our sanctification, O Good One,
And the radiance of our souls,
And to Thee as our Lord and God as is right
We all give glory day and night.

Anonymous

May Thy Holy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, be to me for eternal life, and Thy Precious Blood for forgiveness of sins. And may this Eucharist be to me for joy, health, and gladness. And in Thy awful second coming, make me, a sinner, worthy to stand on the right hand of Thy glory, through the intercessions of Thy holy and most pure Mother and of all Thy Saints. Amen.
 
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FountainPen said:
What other biblical echoes are there that would suggest the bread and wine to be more than a symbolic memorial?

As far as the fathers of the church go, has any one of them written extensively on this that i would find useful to read?
A couple of things.

First, you may want to check out the following threads, "The Eucharist, representative or literally Christ?" and "This Food We Call the Eucharist", as we've gone round and round that mulberry bush a few times. :)

In regards to Biblical evidence that the Eucharist is literally the Body and Blood of Christ, and that we are to partake of it to receive healing of soul and body, I point to the following verses:

"He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him" (John 6:55-57)

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread." (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)

"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body." (1 Corinthians 11:23-29)

Here are quotes from Early Church Fathers:

"Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us. They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead."

-St. Ignatius of Antioch "Letter to the Smyrnaeans", paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.

"This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."

St. Justin Martyr "First Apology", Ch. 66, inter A.D. 148-155.

"[Christ] has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own Body, from which he gives increase to our bodies."

Source: St. Irenaeus of Lyons,

"So then, if the mixed cup and the manufactured bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, that is to say, the Blood and Body of Christ, which fortify and build up the substance of our flesh, how can these people claim that the flesh is incapable of receiving God's gift of eternal life, when it is nourished by Christ's Blood and Body and is His member? As the blessed apostle says in his letter to the Ephesians, 'For we are members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones' (Eph. 5:30). He is not talking about some kind of 'spiritual' and 'invisible' man, 'for a spirit does not have flesh an bones' (Lk. 24:39). No, he is talking of the organism possessed by a real human being, composed of flesh and nerves and bones. It is this which is nourished by the cup which is His Blood, and is fortified by the bread which is His Body. The stem of the vine takes root in the earth and eventually bears fruit, and 'the grain of wheat falls into the earth' (Jn. 12:24), dissolves, rises again, multiplied by the all-containing Spirit of God, and finally after skilled processing, is put to human use. These two then receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, which is the Body and Blood of Christ."

-ST. IRENAEUS OF LYONS, Against Heresies, 180 A.D.

"For just as the bread which comes from the earth, having received the invocation of God, is no longer ordinary bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly, so our bodies, having received the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, because they have the hope of the resurrection."

-ST. IRENAEUS OF LYONS "Five Books on the Unmasking and Refutation of the Falsely named Gnosis". Book 4:18 4-5, circa 180 A.D.

"Therefore with fullest assurance let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to thee His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that thou by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, mightest be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us, because His Body and Blood are diffused through our members; thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, (we become partaker of the divine nature.) [2 Peter 1:4]"

-ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM, 348-378 A.D. -"Catechetical Lectures [22 (Mystagogic 4), 1]

"When we speak of the reality of Christ's nature being in us, we would be speaking foolishly and impiously - had we not learned it from Him. For He Himself says: 'My Flesh is truly Food, and My Blood is truly Drink. He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood will remain in Me and I in him.' As to the reality of His Flesh and Blood, there is no room left for doubt, because now, both by the declaration of the Lord Himself and by our own faith, it is truly the Flesh and it is truly Blood. And These Elements bring it about, when taken and consumed, that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Is this not true? Let those who deny that Jesus Christ is true God be free to find these things untrue. But He Himself is in us through the flesh and we are in Him, while that which we are with Him is in God."

-ST. HILARY OF POITERS -"The Trinity" [8,14] inter 356-359 A.D.

"When the word says, 'This is My Body,' be convinced of it and believe it, and look at it with the eyes of the mind. For Christ did not give us something tangible, but even in His tangible things all is intellectual. So too with Baptism: the gift is bestowed through what is a tangible thing, water; but what is accomplished is intellectually perceived: the birth and the renewal. If you were incorporeal He would have given you those incorporeal gifts naked; but since the soul is intertwined with the body, He hands over to you in tangible things that which is perceived intellectually. How many now say, 'I wish I could see His shape, His appearance, His garments, His sandals.' Only look! You see Him! You touch Him! You eat Him!"

-ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM -"Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew" [82,4] 370 A.D.
 

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Well, here's a big problem: the concept of 'symbolic' or 'symbolically' is a modern translation (when appearing in modern English translation of Scripture) of the Greek work for 'spiritually' (c.f. various translations of Re 11:7-9).  There really isn't such a category: 'symbol' as we now understand it as 'other' is not a Christian concept: we are made in the Image and Likeness of God, which is 'symbolic' in the strictest sense of the concept and yet we do not think of it that way.  Rather, a symbol is a means of connecting with the subject of the symbol.

In the case of the Eucharist, remember what Jesus Christ says:

Then Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." (John 6:53-58)

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:26-28)

And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, "Take, eat: this is my body."  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.  And he said unto them, "This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many." (Mark 14:22-24)

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me."  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:19-20)


Notice all of these quotes use the term 'this is...'  We take that seriously.

Here is St. Paul...

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (1 Corinthians 11:23-30)

Do you think the Corinthians were dying and getting sick from a 'symbol' as you understand it?

I will have to do a little research to find an accessible reading list for you.

Anyway, I hope you see where we are coming from on this.


FountainPen said:
FatherGiryus said:
Oh, dear!  Not in 'some ways,' but as its primary!

This is what Orthodoxy is about: the spiritual experience of Christ within our neighbor and ourselves.  Everywhere there is the Image and Likeness of God there is an opportunity to encounter God through this Image and Likeness, just as we encounter the Father through the Son.

When we live according to love for others, we discover the love of God, which in turn provides us with love for others.  Yes, it is circular, but it is also hopeful!  God gives us the love to love others, which in turn allows us to experience His love.


FountainPen said:
I've never quite looked at this like that before -- a mystical encounter with Christ. I suppose this is how you all see the Eucharist as well in some ways.
What other biblical echoes are there that would suggest the bread and wine to be more than a symbolic memorial?

As far as the fathers of the church go, has any one of them written extensively on this that i would find useful to read?
 

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FountainPen said:
HandmaidenofGod said:
Fountain Pen,

Thank you for responding to my post and for clarifying your position on a number of issues. I apologize if my tone was curt.

While I understand getting to an Orthodox parish may be difficult, I would highly recommend ordering Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church." It is available on http://www.amazon.co.uk/ in both paperback and kindle format.

Timothy Ware (now +Metropolitan Kallistos Ware) does an excellent job explaining the history of the Orthodox Church, what we believe, and why. Admittedly, it can be a little dry at times. (He is after all, an Oxford scholar.) However, it has become a standard in most Orthodox catechism, and is a tried and true resource for information on the Church.

I am not trying to dismiss your questions or to stop you from asking them on the forum, but I think this will help you dive deeper into your inquiry of Orthodoxy and be able to ask more focused questions.

On a seperate note, I'd like to address one item you listed in your post to me:

FountainPen said:
If i can explain -- when people feed the poor and it isn't a mission headed up with a preacher making a big fuss about saving the lost and telling them about Jesus, unless there is activity of people preaching and teaching the gospel, such as there is when our church has sent a group out to do a homeless soup run, then i am thinking it's purely (and rightly) humanitarian. We do all need to care for those less fortunate than ourselves and sometimes we are the less fortunate and need others to help.

I should have asked a clear question, I'm sorry.

I'm not saying the way our church did it was correct, i don't think it was and it doesn't matter anyway. I was simply trying to establish what happened in these activities and whether any preaching or witnessing happened.
Obviously, I cannot address how every humanitarian action carried out by the Orthodox Church worldwide is done, but I would like to say this: sometimes, what seems like a humanitarian action on the outside is exactly what is needed to save souls. Let me give you a personal example:

A friend of mine has a mother who is a Russian Jew and a father who is an Egyptian Muslim. As a child, she attended Catholic school and had been exposed to Protestant Christianity through friends. Although she believed in a god, she didn't follow any particular faith tradition.

Two years ago, she started to date a man who happened to be Russian Orthodox. He brought her to Church with him and introduced her to some of his friends and the priest at coffee hour.

Now, my friend is a very open individual and will basically tell you her life story the first time you meet her.

During introductions, she mentioned she was going to be having surgery, and would be laid up for a few weeks, but would have no one to take care of her.

The people she had just met for the first time at Church set about making a schedule so that each of them would take turns bringing her meals, taking care of her animals, and making sure she was okay. Even the priest volunteered!

They did so without obligation that she ever return to the Church.

My friend was so impressed by the hospitality demonstrated by these individuals over the coming weeks that she did return. She began meeting with the priest and asking questions. Ultimately, a little over a year later, she was baptized and chrismated into the Church.

So what started out as a humanitarian mission turned out to be just what she needed to come to know Christ.

Hope this helps,

HofG
That is an incredibly impressive account and a wonderful testimony of their faithfulness and love which resulted in salvation. That, to me, is a far more effective way of 'evangelising' than the leaflet distributing, event driven, hard sell, that i've experienced.

I'm glad we've come to an understanding as i really appreciate your posts and always try not to miss any.

And -- i'll get the book  ::)  ;D
You can read it online:

http://www.intratext.com/x/eng0804.htm

http://www.synaxis.org/catechist/Orthodox_Church.html
 
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