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Ethiopian Orthodox using Holy Water for AIDS

ROCORthodox

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http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30200-1258762,00.html?f=rss

Thousands of Aids and HIV patients are risking their lives by refusing medication in favour of holy water, Sky News can reveal.

The controversial treatment is offered by a church in Ethiopia which claims to have cured hundreds of believers.

 

TinaG

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Truly funky!  Like a mass exorcism, but yeah, what's with the chains?.  It'd be easy to get thousands of people all worked up and emotional - very cathartic.  Ethiopia must have tons of people with HIV/AIDS to support this kind of repeated mass whatever it is.
 

Thanatos

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I think its fine if these patients are volunteering to do this, submitting to the conditions which the priests are putting it at: a stop in the intake of medications. That is their own "health risk." But see, I said volunteering. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with people being forced into this, especially seeing how some were chained up.
 

TinaG

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Thanatos said:
I think its fine if these patients are volunteering to do this, submitting to the conditions which the priests are putting it at: a stop in the intake of medications. That is their own "health risk."
Thanatos - can you clarify your post please?  Are you suggesting that it's a good thing for people with AIDS/HIV to stop taking their meds or just that it's fine if it's their choice.  It's disturbing if all these people are seeking a strictly spiritual cure and not changing their lifestyle and keeping their disease under control with proven medications.  That is, if they can afford the drug regimen or have access to a clinic.  I can't quote Church Fathers or give a theological response, but I do not believe the OO churches have any different beliefs as far as the physical healing or treatment of disease by medicine as a complement to spiritual healing.  Kind of an appropriate topic for Holy Wednesday unction services.
 

Asteriktos

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God can use this situation to miraculously heal multitudes, just like he did in the Bible and in hagiographical literature! Eh, probably not.

Some cried out for the demons to leave their body, while priests hit them with wooden crosses.
Well there's the problem. Everybody who is anybody knows that you have to use a gold cross which has been left on an altar for 40 days if you are going to expel demons. God only does miracles when it's gold in the case of demons.  ;)
 

Thanatos

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TinaG said:
Thanatos - can you clarify your post please?  Are you suggesting that it's a good thing for people with AIDS/HIV to stop taking their meds or just that it's fine if it's their choice.  It's disturbing if all these people are seeking a strictly spiritual cure and not changing their lifestyle and keeping their disease under control with proven medications.  That is, if they can afford the drug regimen or have access to a clinic.  I can't quote Church Fathers or give a theological response, but I do not believe the OO churches have any different beliefs as far as the physical healing or treatment of disease by medicine as a complement to spiritual healing.  Kind of an appropriate topic for Holy Wednesday unction services.
Yes, I mean that it's fine if it's their choice.
 

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As Christians we believe in Miracles.  AS Man has not  reversed the plague of HIV, perhaps it will be God who will intervene with the cure. Anyone  who keeps up with the HIV plague knows that it is devastating all of Africa and that men, women, and children are being infected, living , and dying from it. May God provide the solution.

Thomas
 

greekischristian

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Asteriktos said:
God can use this situation to miraculously heal multitudes, just like he did in the Bible and in hagiographical literature! Eh, probably not.
Eh, survival of the fittest...perhaps we can chalk this up to Natural Selection and the genetic improvement of the human race.

Well there's the problem. Everybody who is anybody knows that you have to use a gold cross which has been left on an altar for 40 days if you are going to expel demons. God only does miracles when it's gold in the case of demons.  ;)
I think you missed the point, they make everyone get naked before they start 'hitting them with wooden crosses.' ;)

Thomas said:
As Christians we believe in Miracles.  AS Man has not  reversed the plague of HIV, perhaps it will be God who will intervene with the cure. Anyone  who keeps up with the HIV plague knows that it is devestating all of Africa and that men, women, and children are being infected, living , and dying from it. May God provide the solution.
If the Church was truly concerned and really wanted to help they'd be handing out condomns rather than making large groups of people sit around naked together.
 

Thomas

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GIC----I don't think nudity is a point of concern as I believe that in Ethopia, they baptize in the nude as did the early church.  This may be similar to that practice, and perhaps is more cultural than lewd.

Thomas
 

minasoliman

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As an OO, this sits quite uneasy with me.  Since when do we act like Christian Scientists?
 

Salpy

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greekischristian said:
I think you missed the point, they make everyone get naked before they start 'hitting them with wooden crosses.' ;)
A while back I saw a picture of an Ethiopian woman being doused with holy water by a priest.  She, like the people in the article, had no clothes on, but I realized that should not be surprising as Western sensibilities are not necessarily shared by the entire world.  As Thomas pointed out, the early Church baptized people in the nude.  Read Hippolytus' On the Apostolic Tradition.  Prior to the fourth century, women who were being baptized couldn't even wear hair pins, much less the panties that the women in the article were wearing.  The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has preserved many early Christian practices which were eventually discarded by other Churches, so it should not be surprising that they have preserved the practice of being nude during baptism and other rituals where one is doused with consecrated water.

Generally, I tend to be skeptical of the accuracy of newspaper articles.  I would say every newspaper article I have ever read about the Armenian Church was filled with inaccuracies and sometimes really severe mistakes.  It seems reporters are more interested in meeting deadlines and coming up with sensational headlines, than with really researching the subjects on which they are writing. 

Note how this Ian Woods (clearly not an Ethiopian) buries toward the end of the article a statement from a Church clergyman who says both faith and medicine have a role to play in treating AIDS.  And look how he phrases the denial of the Church leaders who say people are not told to discontinue their meds.  He made it seem like they are lying:  They "tried to deny" that patients were told to stop taking drugs.  What does that mean?  Either you are denying it or not.  Whether the denial is accurate is another matter. 

I'm not saying there isn't a church in Ethiopia where this is going on.  I'm just saying that I get the feeling this is not the complete story, and that even the reporting on this particular church is probably not entirely accurate.  It is too fashionable in the press to depict Christians as ignorant, or superstitious, or violent, or crazy, or whatever.  I recall how the local papers depicted the Serbian Orthodox Church during the bombing of Kosovo eight years ago.  Basically, the Serbian Church was made out be run by genocidal maniacs who were somehow behind or complicit with whatever Milosevic was alleged to be doing.  There was no mention of how Patriarch Pavle did not like Milosevic, or how monks in monasteries were hiding local Albanian villagers to keep them safe.  Again, newspapers seem to be interested in sensationalism, which is often depicted in black and white, but never shades of gray, as the old saying goes.  It is easier to report that way.  Nuance is too hard to fit in.   

In any event, I would be interested in what our Ethiopian brothers on this forum have to say about this.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Thank you Salpy, as always, for bringing reason and objectivity to this sensational discussion. A healthy skepticism towards media accounts of religious activities is always in order. Especialy when you combine Christianity and Africa. Nothing causes the media to salivate more than an opportunity to simultaneously perpetuate negative stereotypes about Africa and Christianity! I am more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to my Church rather than to the secular media.

But let us all pray for and end to the practices and behaviors which cause AIDS.

"Lord have mercy!"

Selam
 

ozgeorge

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Thank you Salpy, as always, for bringing reason and objectivity to this sensational discussion.
Why has it taken over two years for Salpy to be thanked for this?

Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
But let us all pray for and end to the practices and behaviors which cause AIDS.
What behaviours cause AIDS? I thought AIDS was the result of a blood-borne virus attacking the immune system. Do you mean the mode of transmission? Well perhaps we can pray that God puts a stop to blood transfusions in countries which can't afford to test blood for viruses and that God closes hospitals in countries which cannot afford disposable needles.
 

Simayan

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Ozgeorge said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
But let us all pray for and end to the practices and behaviors which cause AIDS.
What behaviours cause AIDS? I thought AIDS was the result of a blood-borne virus attacking the immune system. Do you mean the mode of transmission? Well perhaps we can pray that God puts a stop to blood transfusions in countries which can't afford to test blood for viruses and that God closes hospitals in countries which cannot afford disposable needles.
Ba-zing.
 
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ozgeorge said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Thank you Salpy, as always, for bringing reason and objectivity to this sensational discussion.
Why has it taken over two years for Salpy to be thanked for this?

Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
But let us all pray for and end to the practices and behaviors which cause AIDS.
What behaviours cause AIDS? I thought AIDS was the result of a blood-borne virus attacking the immune system. Do you mean the mode of transmission? Well perhaps we can pray that God puts a stop to blood transfusions in countries which can't afford to test blood for viruses and that God closes hospitals in countries which cannot afford disposable needles.
Let us all read into someone's statements implications that may not even apply. There are behavioral factors often related to AIDS and must be appropriately screened like in blood donation  (yes, I give & do not judge AIDS sufferes before I probably get indicted for atrocities to humanity) http://www.redcross.org/en/eligibility#hiv 
 

stashko

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God Bless and Grant them the Healing their seeking,,, Thur the Holy Orthodox Church From their illnesses...Lord Have Mercy Lord Hear Our Prayers...Amen Amen
 
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