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Examine my Orthodoxy

Alpha60

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I have a great desire to make sure I can articulate the Orthodox faith, and am thus in posession of it, that I might rest easy knowing my understanding of key dogmatic issues involving Christology, Soteriology, Triadology. Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology and other areas are within the pale of Orthodox doctrinal standards.

So, please feel free to ask me any questions you want, about any aspects of the faith, and be prepared to accept or reject my responses either on your own personal pastoral authority if you are one of our members who is of the ordained Clergy, or on the authority of Scriptural, Patristic, canonical, liturgical or other generally accepted dogmatically definitive texts that comprise our Holy Tradition, preferrably, two or more texts, so that in correcting any errors in my faith, I do not inadvertantly read one text and then eisegetically interpret from that text another belief just as erroneous as my prior error.

Let the grilling begin!
 

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Alpha60 said:
I have a great desire to make sure I can articulate the Orthodox faith, and am thus in posession of it, that I might rest easy knowing my understanding of key dogmatic issues involving Christology, Soteriology, Triadology. Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology and other areas are within the pale of Orthodox doctrinal standards.

So, please feel free to ask me any questions you want, about any aspects of the faith, and be prepared to accept or reject my responses either on your own personal pastoral authority if you are one of our members who is of the ordained Clergy, or on the authority of Scriptural, Patristic, canonical, liturgical or other generally accepted dogmatically definitive texts that comprise our Holy Tradition, preferrably, two or more texts, so that in correcting any errors in my faith, I do not inadvertantly read one text and then eisegetically interpret from that text another belief just as erroneous as my prior error.

Let the grilling begin!
I'm an inquirer into the Orthodox Faith eager to submit to the teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  I live in a large metropolitan area in the United States, let's say, Seattle, who is my rightful bishop?
 

Alpha60

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Hinterlander said:
Alpha60 said:
I have a great desire to make sure I can articulate the Orthodox faith, and am thus in posession of it, that I might rest easy knowing my understanding of key dogmatic issues involving Christology, Soteriology, Triadology. Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology and other areas are within the pale of Orthodox doctrinal standards.

So, please feel free to ask me any questions you want, about any aspects of the faith, and be prepared to accept or reject my responses either on your own personal pastoral authority if you are one of our members who is of the ordained Clergy, or on the authority of Scriptural, Patristic, canonical, liturgical or other generally accepted dogmatically definitive texts that comprise our Holy Tradition, preferrably, two or more texts, so that in correcting any errors in my faith, I do not inadvertantly read one text and then eisegetically interpret from that text another belief just as erroneous as my prior error.

Let the grilling begin!
I'm an inquirer into the Orthodox Faith eager to submit to the teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  I live in a large metropolitan area in the United States, let's say, Seattle, who is my rightful bishop?
Unfortunately, there exists no pan-Orthodox consensus within either Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy regarding the diaspora.

In the Oriental Orthodox Communion, there have always been de facto and in some cases de jure overlapping jurisdictions, with an Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, a Syriac Orthodox Archbishop, and I believe Coptic and Ethiopian Bishops.  There have also been Armenian and Syriac Orthodox jurisdictions overlapping throughout the "Old Country" as the Syriacs and Armenians were essentially separate ethnic groups or millets (although I believe only the Armenians and Greek Orthodox and the Copts of Egypt were formally millets; the Syriac Orthodox, Assyrians and Yazidis were ethnarchies who had an inferior status or were protected by a larger ethnicity or who had to resort to more oppressive relationships with the Sublime Porte).

Eastern Orthodoxy on the other hand has historically stressed to a much greater degree the apostolic principle of one bishop per city, with article 28 of Chalcedon allocating the different lands as they were then known to the different churches.

In North America, however, a confused situation exists: the Ecumenical Patriarchate contends that the US including Seattle is properly its jurisdiction, under the Lands of the Barbarians, the Russian Orthodox, who were the first here via Alaska, contend they have the right to be here, the OCA contends it has autocephaly by virtue of a Tomos granted to it by the Moscow Patriarchate around 1970, the exact year escapes me, but not all Orthodox churches accept this Tomos of Autocephaly as legitimately conferring autocephaly or recognize the OCA as autocephalous, and it was not invited to the Great and Holy Council of 2016, in contrast to all other canonical Eastern Orthodox churches whose autocephaly is universally recognized.

All of the Eastern Orthodox churches in North America have at one time or another expressed a desire to rectify the problem of overlapping jurisdictions, but there is no consensus on how to do it.  Thus, if you posed the question you just asked to someone under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, including the canonical UOC or ACROD jurisdictions, they would probably answer that Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco is the canonical bishop of Seattle, because the Seattle is part of the Lands of the Barbarians canonically granted to the Bishop of Rome, or New Rome, by Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon, and Seattle is located within the Metropolis (Metropolitan Diocese or Province) of San Francisco, which also includes Alaska.

Because that Metropolis of San Francisco contains not only Seattle but Alaska, ROCOR might disagree vehemently; ROCOR or the Moscow Patriarchate of which it is now an autonomous part might say that Alaska has always been canonically Russian Orthodox, having been the westernmost extent of the Russian Empire and thus being a part of "All Russia" which falls under the Omophorion of the Moscow Patriarch.  They might point to the very large number of Russian Orthodox churches in Alaska and in the Pacific Northwest, to argue that the regions immediately beyond Alaska such as the Yukon, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Alberta and Idaho are a legitimate mission field or extension of the canonical Russian presence in Alaska.  They might point to the large number of (in many cases, dereelict) Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches built by immigrant communities in the prairies of the Northern US and across the border in Canada.  They might cite the status of St. Rafael of Brooklyn, the founding bishop of the Antiochian community in the United States, who subordinated himself to, and worked closely with, St. Tikhon of Moscow and speculate that the Syrian Christians under the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch would have remained an autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church in America had it not been for the crisis of the Russian Revolution, which led to the imprisonment of St. Tikhon, the horrible persecutions in Russia, and the schism between ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate, and many communities which would otherwise have been a part of the Moscow Patriarchate, such as the Metropolis of Sourozh in Great Britain or the famed Russian emigre community in Paris, or the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United States, falling under the control of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and that in such a situation, the Syrian and Lebanese immigrants forming what ultimately became the AOCNA under the Patriarch of their native lands, in whose territory the first generation immigrants had been baptized, was inevitable.

A ROCOR member, on that basis, might answer your question by saying that His Grace Theodosius, Bishop of Seattle and the Vicar Bishop of the Diocese of the Western United States, subordinate to His Grace Kyrill of San Francisco, heir to the see of St. John Maximovitch, is the rightful bishop, canonically, since the Diocese of the Western United States includes Alaska.  However, a ROCOR member might go on to say that even if another bishop was present in Seattle and if Alaska was not canonically a part of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is of course disputed by Constantinople, ROCOR would still have the right to be there and to have a bishop to minister to the local Russians.  A similoar position was taken in a recent publication by ROCOR a few years back that was interpreted as ROCOR either equivocating upon, deprecating or rejecting the goal of "canonical regularization" and having "one bishop in each city" in North America, which has historically been pursued by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, of which ROCOR is a member (ROCOR was not a member of SCOBA, the predecessor entity).

The Moscow Patriarchate for its part might say the OCA, as the valid holder of the Tomos of Autocephaly, and which includes most of the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska under the Omophorion of its Metropolitan, is the official Orthodox Church and successor to the MP in the United States, and that Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco is the main bishop in Seattle and the Western United States, but that the presence of ROCOR and Bishop Theodosius is also completely legitimate, under the terms of the reconciliation between the MP and ROCOR, and that HG Theodosius is the local bishop in Seattle, in full communion with both the autocephalous Archbishop Benjamin and Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco, of OCA and ROCOR respectively, and that the MP is most directly represented in Seattle by Bishop Theodosius, but that throughout the US, the OCA is autocephalous, but other jurisdictions including the Moscow Patriarch itself, which has a cathedral in San Francisco, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and Antioch, are here and are all legitimate Orthodox bishops.  The MP might be slightly more inclined to see a solution to the overlapping jurisdictions in the US, but only one that protects its interests including those of ROCOR, and at a minimum the MP wants to appear to be not promoting the indefinite perpetuation of the status quo ante, hence the presence of ROCOR in the Episcopal Assembly, as this would further worsen relations with Constantinople and those churches such as Jerusalem which are aligned with it.

The remaining autocephalous churches present in Seattle (the OCA, Antioch, Serbia, I think, and perhaps Bulgaria, Romania or Georgia) would doubtless express regret at the lack of unity in North America and lament what is widely considered to be the uncanonical situation of overlapping dioceses and episcopal jurisdictions, which makes answering your question so difficult.

Everyone would I believe agree to and pray for the resolution of the problem in time via the Episcopal Assembly, and I suspect that everyone would silently lament, and not burden a prospective inquirer, with the realistic asesment that the current insistence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that any unified church be under their omophorion because the Americas is theirs under Article 28, and the claims of autocephaly on the part of the OCA, and the related Russian Orthodox claim to legitimate jurisdiction in North America due to the Alaskan mission and later Russian settlement elsewhere, and lastly, the view expressed by ROCOR and probably silently shared by at least one or two of the other churches, perhaps Serbia, Georgia or Antioch, that they have not only the right but the responsibility to be present wherever their faithful are as an ethnic group, to minister to the diaspora, through the canonical Metochion or through the irregular situation in North America, or even through uncanonical intrusion in the canonical territory of another church, with a unified American church trusted only as a church to minister to their people in those cities where their are too few of them, or none of them, or no church of their own, and with their presence further required even if such a church exists, in order to ensure the ministry of that church to their people is adequete.  To this end, consider the Romanian and Bulgarian presence in the US, where they have their own parishes but also have dioceses for their people within the OCA, or indeed the continued existence of the Patriarchal churches of the MP after the Tomos or Autocephaly with the OCA and the reunion with ROCOR; these being parishes that in the 1930s were given a choice to join the Metropolia, which became the OCA, ROCOR, or seek to remain under the MP, who chose the last option, and who apparently continue to prefer it as a community.

Can a unified American church with one bishop per city be created in a manner that pleases the Ecumenical Patriarch, satisfies all of the churches as being canonical, and accomodates, perhaps through the use of very large numbers of exarchates or metochions or auxilliary bishops, the desires of ROCOR and other ethnic jurisdictions to cater to their people, and allows communities like the Patriarchal parishes of the MP or ACROD or the Western Rite Orthodox of ROCOR and Antioch to remain intact?  The answer depends on the bishops; one can easily imagine any number of solutions to the problem, and one feels a burning sense of regret that His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, who is a bishop worthy of esteem and admiration, and could possibly be under Article 28 the legitimate Patriarch in North America (a question I cannot answer) did not only fail to secure the participation of all of the invitees at the Council of Crete, or invite the OCA as a full member, and perhaps also ROCOR and the other autonomous churches such as Ukraine, Japan, Finland or Sinai as non-voting delegates or observers, but that he did not keep the council in session and work ceaselessly until this issue was firmly settled.  This is something we have to pray for.

The ideal of one bishop per city has further been impeded I think by the overlapping jurisdictions in Estonia and Finland; I believe for some time the Russian Orthodox or ROCOR had a presence in Finland, and in Estonia, I think 45% or so of the parishes left the Moscow Patriarchate and were received into the Ecumenical Patriarchate, creating two rival Estonian Orthodox Churches and spreading the problem of overlapping jurisdictions into a new area. 

However, there are more pressing issues in my opinion, such as the need to end the schisms in the Ukraine and Macedonia, which, like the aforementioned incident in Estonia, are driven largely by geopolitics; Macedonia being especially distressing in that nearly every Orthodox church in the country is not a part of the canonical Eastern Orthodox communion.  Other more pressing issues include the need to restore communion between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, the need for further dialogue with the Assyrian and the Ancient Church of the East, and the Roman Catholic Church, with a view to possible reunion, and in the case of the latter, an end to the schisms flowing from the creation of the Sui Juris Eastern Catholic churches, the need for rebuilding of the persecuted Church in the Middle East, especially Syria, and for emergency measures to improve security for the autonomous Church of Sinai, whose Monastery of St. Catharine is one of the crown jewells, spiritually, historically, in terms of its icons and its library, culturally and intellectually, of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is critically endangered by Islamist terrorists and dependent largely on friendly Bedouin tribes for protection.

Lastly, via the Episcopal Assembly, and also in part theough some agreed upon dialogues on mission which were among the few useful products of the 2016 council, albeit not worth the expense, in my opinion, the process of evangelization must continue.  The Orthodox Church has seen amazing growth in the Americas despite the chaos of overlapping jurisdictions for the last several centuries; it is a miracle, and I believe this miraculous growth should be continued.

So, what would I tell the inquirer in question?  I would say that because the Orthodox Church is atill in the process of establishing itslef in the United States, and is much smaller than the Catholic or Peotestant churches here, most of her members living in Russia, Romania, Greece and the Middle East and Eastern Europe, in almost all cases either recovering from severe communist or socialist persecution, or actively suffering persecution from Islamic terrorist and Islamist governments, or secularist governments in Greece and Eastern Europe, there are multiple bishops in the US who come from the different nationalities of the Orthodox Church, but all of these bishops are in communion with each other, and are working to organize the church so that in the near future each city will have one specific bishop, but until then, your bishop will be the bishop of which ever local parish you decide to attend.  So for instance, should you decide to attend the Cathedral of St. Spyridon, your bishop will be Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco.  I would tell the inquirer to visit the Orthodox churches near him, and talk to the priests about converting, and commit to a parish that is close to him, so that he can easily attend as many services as possible, where he feels welcome, understands the liturgy and is able to have a supportive relationship with the priest and his fellow parishioners which will help him learn the Orthodox faith and be catechized, so that he might be well prepared to be received through baltism or chrismation in a timely manner, and then benefit from the fruits of the Eucharist and the relief of Confession, amd the blessings of the other mysteries such as Unction, as frequently as possible.
 

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So, anyone else want to have a go?

I would prefer questions that relate less to current controversial issues, and more to settled questions of doctrine.  The former question did have some doctrinal importance via ecclesiology, but it is a disputed question, since the Ecumenical Patriarch will give one answer, ROCOR another, and other churches still other answers.  It is also a recent controversy, and one which touches upon the heresy of ethnophyletism; some people might even argue crypto-ethnophyletism lurks between the waters upon which the overlapping jurisdictions float precariously.  The loathesome figure of Matthew Heimbach, unaware of the EO anathema of ethnophyletism as heresy, even came to the absurd conclusion that ethnic segregation was integral to the Orthodox faith, and caused us great embarassment.

I would prefer to be tested on questions relating to the dogmatic theology of the Orthodox Church, to our historic beliefs and practices, as opposed to the present vagaries created by the ugly realities of ecclesiastical and international politics.  For example, a question on the Holy Spirit, or on prayer, or on baptism, or on something where we are of one accord and there is no doubt the Church continues to adhere to the Patristic tradition.
 

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In suffering for our sins on the Cross, was Christ ever separated from the Father to any extent?
 

RaphaCam

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Are laymen, priests and hierarchs ontologically different from each other as the Roman Catholics believe, or basically just formal functions ke Protestants? Or middle term?
 

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"Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit." (Mark 3:28-30)

What exactly is this blasphemy? In what ways does it show itself in our words, conduct or beliefs?

 

Alpha60

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Brilliant, this is what I am looking for, and these are hard questions.  One of them may be doctrinally disputed, specifically that said by Volnutt (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware dared to say as much in the Orthodox Way and was severely criticized and accused falsely I think of Nestorianism, whereas the Coptic liturgy, specifically the confession of the Priest, which has proven vital in establishing the compatibility of the Oriental and Chalcedonian Christology, the prayer "Amen, amen, amen, I confess until the last breath that his is truly the body and blood of our Lord, whose humanity parted not from his divinity for neither for the twinkingly an eye, nor (some other metaphor I cannot recall)" appears  to say in a strong way the opposite.  So Volnutt's question may take us into the controversial realm of EO vs. OO and also of theologoumemna, particularly since Metropolitan Kallistos Ware did answer in the affirmative and made a point of stressing this separation of Christ from the Trinity, I think he actually took it to that extent, was the most supreme suffering and was what was implied by Eloi, eloi, lama sabacthani.  And he did take some huge flak.

I can quote the relevant section of the Orthodox Way word for word and the relevant section of the Coptic Liturgy.

My gut instinct is to answer to the question "only to some extent, because he Father is everywhere present and fillest all things," and there is no place where God is not, and the exact degree to which this voluntary separation occurred is a mystery, the analysis of which remains a quaestione disputae, a bone of theological contention, in that one has to reconcile the words of our Lord in the Gospels with the equally Scriptural principle of the immutability of the Divine Nature.

I would go on to propose the question itself is heresiogenic and should be avoided, and propose that Arianism, Nestorianism and Adoptionism, the fires of those three dreaded blasphemeies against the deity of Christ, were all fueled by people trying unwisely to wrestle with that question and in so doing departing from the apostolic faith.  That said, whereas the question is heresiogenic, that does not mean it should not be asked, because it does lie at the center of the mystery of the Incarnation and the economy of salvation.  However, I am not sure that human language is adequete to answer it, and while I know our Lord was quoting the Psalms when he said Eloi, eloi, lama sabacthani, I don't know exactly what he meant, and his cry from the cross is one of those moments that I reflect on with pure horror on Great and Holy Friday before swiftly moving on to celebrte Christ's certain victory over death and his resurrection into Glory.

There is also a soteriological element related ro our personal eschatology, a memento mori in that we face the temporary, thanks to our Lord, separation from our mortal bodies, before they rise in immortality and unto the resurrection of glory for the elect or damnation for the unfaithful.  It is quite terrifying.

Guide me, brethren, if you will, into broadening and sharpening my understanding of this mystery, or perhaps I should discuss this with some of the monks at St. Anthony's.
 

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Asteriktos said:
"Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit." (Mark 3:28-30)

What exactly is this blasphemy? In what ways does it show itself in our words, conduct or beliefs?
My understanding is this blasphemy is a final rejection of our Lord, of the grace offered by the Holy Spirit, thus one condeming oneself by, with a sane mind, rationally and incontrovertibly rejecting Christ and His Church before death.  I have read from a Protestant source, but I think this is correct, that aomeone who has blasphemed in that manner no longer feels any fear of this sin or any desire to repent.  This is what I told a young teenaged Baptist girl on CF.com who was terrified she had inadvertantly blasphemed the Holy Spirit while dabbling in Taoism a year earlier in the sort of unwise dabbling teenagers are wont to engage in.  I told her the fact she was still able to worry meant she could not possibly have rendered herself inextricably damned, and stressed the infinite love and mercy.  She was having the severe sort of neurotic terror a teenager can have, and so I organized a group of old, wise and traditional Christian members to fellowship with her and three other members who were having similiar issues, as that was the most I could do for these people on the Internet, unknown to me personally, other than pray.
 

Alpha60

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RaphaCam said:
Are laymen, priests and hierarchs ontologically different from each other as the Roman Catholics believe, or basically just formal functions ke Protestants? Or middle term?
The mystery of ordination makes me reticent to posit an ontological disparity particularly in light of the ability of even bishops to be laicized.

However, I will say that the priests, bishops and others in Holy Orders including deacons have received ontologically distinct charisms, via apostolic succession, from Orthodox bishops, and only Orthodox Bishops can confer these charisms, Bishops who are in a canonical state of legitimacy and who truly hold the faith in apostolic succession, via the writings of St. Cyprian of Carthage, or perhaps the possibly divergent view of St. Augustine concerning this succession, which we in the Orthodox Church shun in favor of St. Cyprian while being careful to avoid the Donatist error by interjecting any concept of personal worthiness into the idea of the qualifications of the consecrating bishops at the moment of consecrating, beyond the assumption that they remain worthy as they were acclaimed to be via "Axios" at their own consecration.*

*I have heard of cases where presbyters and archpriests have received a blessing to tonsured readers or psaltis due to the unavailability or remoteness of a bishop, representing the bishop vicariously, but such a scenario seems an emergency act of oikonomia, much like the emegency situations that qualify those rare occasions when a bishop may consecrate another bishop by himself, without two co-consecrators as required by the ancient canons.
 

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Alpha60 said:
Asteriktos said:
"Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit." (Mark 3:28-30)

What exactly is this blasphemy? In what ways does it show itself in our words, conduct or beliefs?
My understanding is this blasphemy is a final rejection of our Lord, of the grace offered by the Holy Spirit, thus one condeming oneself by, with a sane mind, rationally and incontrovertibly rejecting Christ and His Church before death.  I have read from a Protestant source, but I think this is correct, that aomeone who has blasphemed in that manner no longer feels any fear of this sin or any desire to repent.  This is what I told a young teenaged Baptist girl on CF.com who was terrified she had inadvertantly blasphemed the Holy Spirit while dabbling in Taoism a year earlier in the sort of unwise dabbling teenagers are wont to engage in.  I told her the fact she was still able to worry meant she could not possibly have rendered herself inextricably damned, and stressed the infinite love and mercy.  She was having the severe sort of neurotic terror a teenager can have, and so I organized a group of old, wise and traditional Christian members to fellowship with her and three other members who were having similiar issues, as that was the most I could do for these people on the Internet, unknown to me personally, other than pray.
I think you handled that very well :)

Thanks for the answer to my question as well. Lots of food for thought.
 

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Volnutt said:
Alpha60 said:
Asteriktos said:
"Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit." (Mark 3:28-30)

What exactly is this blasphemy? In what ways does it show itself in our words, conduct or beliefs?
My understanding is this blasphemy is a final rejection of our Lord, of the grace offered by the Holy Spirit, thus one condeming oneself by, with a sane mind, rationally and incontrovertibly rejecting Christ and His Church before death.  I have read from a Protestant source, but I think this is correct, that aomeone who has blasphemed in that manner no longer feels any fear of this sin or any desire to repent.  This is what I told a young teenaged Baptist girl on CF.com who was terrified she had inadvertantly blasphemed the Holy Spirit while dabbling in Taoism a year earlier in the sort of unwise dabbling teenagers are wont to engage in.  I told her the fact she was still able to worry meant she could not possibly have rendered herself inextricably damned, and stressed the infinite love and mercy.  She was having the severe sort of neurotic terror a teenager can have, and so I organized a group of old, wise and traditional Christian members to fellowship with her and three other members who were having similiar issues, as that was the most I could do for these people on the Internet, unknown to me personally, other than pray.
I think you handled that very well :)
+1
 
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Alpha60 said:
I have a great desire to make sure I can articulate the Orthodox faith, and am thus in posession of it, that I might rest easy knowing my understanding of key dogmatic issues involving Christology, Soteriology, Triadology. Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology and other areas are within the pale of Orthodox doctrinal standards.

So, please feel free to ask me any questions you want, about any aspects of the faith, and be prepared to accept or reject my responses either on your own personal pastoral authority if you are one of our members who is of the ordained Clergy, or on the authority of Scriptural, Patristic, canonical, liturgical or other generally accepted dogmatically definitive texts that comprise our Holy Tradition, preferrably, two or more texts, so that in correcting any errors in my faith, I do not inadvertantly read one text and then eisegetically interpret from that text another belief just as erroneous as my prior error.

Let the grilling begin!


Why?
 

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The Misplaced Book said:
Alpha60 said:
I have a great desire to make sure I can articulate the Orthodox faith, and am thus in posession of it, that I might rest easy knowing my understanding of key dogmatic issues involving Christology, Soteriology, Triadology. Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology and other areas are within the pale of Orthodox doctrinal standards.

So, please feel free to ask me any questions you want, about any aspects of the faith, and be prepared to accept or reject my responses either on your own personal pastoral authority if you are one of our members who is of the ordained Clergy, or on the authority of Scriptural, Patristic, canonical, liturgical or other generally accepted dogmatically definitive texts that comprise our Holy Tradition, preferrably, two or more texts, so that in correcting any errors in my faith, I do not inadvertantly read one text and then eisegetically interpret from that text another belief just as erroneous as my prior error.

Let the grilling begin!


Why?
I do not understand the faith as purely intellectual and that a correct understanding of the key teachings of it is itself salvific apart from the receiption of the mysteries; indeed, it is not even needed.  Rather what gives me pause is that I have in my approach to the Orthodox faith, in my decision to convert, and in my commitment to remain, been unusually blessed with access to doctrinal books, works, liturgical texts, et cetera.  Our Lord said, "To him much is given, much will be required."  If I am the victim of a mind-devastating traumatic brain injury tomorrow, this would be less of a concern, but if I die in my sleep as a result of my aorta suddenly ripping an apart, an event given my doagnosis of Marfan's disease of the connective tissue is not utterly beyond the realms of possibility, I fear I would have some explanation to offer if my understanding of the doctrine of the Church is in error, on any point where I have been able to reach a conclusive understanding.  Much is imexorably beyond human comprehension, for example, the unfathomable beauty of the incomprehensible and transcendent divine nature, which can only be approached through a thick fog using the torturous path of the Via Negativa.

But where the Church has dared to dogmatize, or even reached a general didactic consensus, I desire to validate my understanding at this moment.  In particular, if I believe a clear error, or am in dire prelesr, on an uncontroversial matter, I want to root it out now.
 

Rohzek

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Some Orthodox converts from Catholicism continue to pray the Rosary minus the Luminous mysteries. While many of their Orthodox brethren condemn them for it without qualification, some say that it is only okay if they don't use their imagination when contemplating the Holy Mysteries. This nuanced position perplexes the convert in light of the imagination employed in the creation and usage of icons. Who is right in this case and why: the Orthodox convert, the hardliner Orthodox, or the nuanced Orthodox?

Answers along the lines of asking one's spiritual father will be considered a cop out for this test.
 

RobS

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Rohzek said:
Some Orthodox converts from Catholicism continue to pray the Rosary minus the Luminous mysteries. While many of their Orthodox brethren condemn them for it without qualification, some say that it is only okay if they don't use their imagination when contemplating the Holy Mysteries. This nuanced position perplexes the convert in light of the imagination employed in the creation and usage of icons. Who is right in this case and why: the Orthodox convert, the hardliner Orthodox, or the nuanced Orthodox?

Answers along the lines of asking one's spiritual father will be considered a cop out for this test.
Aren't there Old Believers that use a Lestovka as a Rosary and say the Hail Mary? Its one of the Western influences, like the icons of the extreme humility and softener of hearts
 
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Alpha60 said:
The Misplaced Book said:
Alpha60 said:
I have a great desire to make sure I can articulate the Orthodox faith, and am thus in posession of it, that I might rest easy knowing my understanding of key dogmatic issues involving Christology, Soteriology, Triadology. Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology and other areas are within the pale of Orthodox doctrinal standards.

So, please feel free to ask me any questions you want, about any aspects of the faith, and be prepared to accept or reject my responses either on your own personal pastoral authority if you are one of our members who is of the ordained Clergy, or on the authority of Scriptural, Patristic, canonical, liturgical or other generally accepted dogmatically definitive texts that comprise our Holy Tradition, preferrably, two or more texts, so that in correcting any errors in my faith, I do not inadvertantly read one text and then eisegetically interpret from that text another belief just as erroneous as my prior error.

Let the grilling begin!


Why?
I do not understand the faith as purely intellectual and that a correct understanding of the key teachings of it is itself salvific apart from the receiption of the mysteries; indeed, it is not even needed.  Rather what gives me pause is that I have in my approach to the Orthodox faith, in my decision to convert, and in my commitment to remain, been unusually blessed with access to doctrinal books, works, liturgical texts, et cetera.  Our Lord said, "To him much is given, much will be required."  If I am the victim of a mind-devastating traumatic brain injury tomorrow, this would be less of a concern, but if I die in my sleep as a result of my aorta suddenly ripping an apart, an event given my doagnosis of Marfan's disease of the connective tissue is not utterly beyond the realms of possibility, I fear I would have some explanation to offer if my understanding of the doctrine of the Church is in error, on any point where I have been able to reach a conclusive understanding.  Much is imexorably beyond human comprehension, for example, the unfathomable beauty of the incomprehensible and transcendent divine nature, which can only be approached through a thick fog using the torturous path of the Via Negativa.

But where the Church has dared to dogmatize, or even reached a general didactic consensus, I desire to validate my understanding at this moment.  In particular, if I believe a clear error, or am in dire prelesr, on an uncontroversial matter, I want to root it out now.
This fear is unfounded.  I asked why not to be a smarty but to gently suggest that this line of thinking is not spiritually healthy.    It can tempt you to pride, or lead you down a rabbit hole of  "angels dancing on a pin" type speculations.

Even the Saints weren't "right" about everything, but that didn't matter.  It doesn't matter.    As the years go by, I find books to be less important (note I didn't say useless).
 
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Rohzek said:
Some Orthodox converts from Catholicism continue to pray the Rosary minus the Luminous mysteries. While many of their Orthodox brethren condemn them for it without qualification, some say that it is only okay if they don't use their imagination when contemplating the Holy Mysteries. This nuanced position perplexes the convert in light of the imagination employed in the creation and usage of icons. Who is right in this case and why: the Orthodox convert, the hardliner Orthodox, or the nuanced Orthodox?

Answers along the lines of asking one's spiritual father will be considered a cop out for this test.
Why ask such a question at all?  Comparing yourself to other people is a temptation to sin.  Why play with matches?  "Ask your Spiritual Father" is not a "cop out."  It is the key to grow in the spiritual life,  free from the at times nonsensical flights of fancy the mind takes a person.  How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  If I taste my infant son's milk in the morning to make sure it is ok before heading to Divine Liturgy, can I still commune?

Such questions.   
 

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The Misplaced Book said:
Rohzek said:
Some Orthodox converts from Catholicism continue to pray the Rosary minus the Luminous mysteries. While many of their Orthodox brethren condemn them for it without qualification, some say that it is only okay if they don't use their imagination when contemplating the Holy Mysteries. This nuanced position perplexes the convert in light of the imagination employed in the creation and usage of icons. Who is right in this case and why: the Orthodox convert, the hardliner Orthodox, or the nuanced Orthodox?

Answers along the lines of asking one's spiritual father will be considered a cop out for this test.
Why ask such a question at all?  Comparing yourself to other people is a temptation to sin.  Why play with matches?  "Ask your Spiritual Father" is not a "cop out."  It is the key to grow in the spiritual life,  free from the at times nonsensical flights of fancy the mind takes a person.  How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  If I taste my infant son's milk in the morning to make sure it is ok before heading to Divine Liturgy, can I still commune?

Such questions. 
It's a hypothetical question. No need to be so worried about it. I already know my answer regardless of what anyone else says. I'm just genuinely curious as to what others say. And yes, I would say that the parameters of this thread do make, "Asking your Spiritual Father" equivalent to "I don't know due to ignorance." This results in test failure.
 
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Rohzek said:
The Misplaced Book said:
Rohzek said:
Some Orthodox converts from Catholicism continue to pray the Rosary minus the Luminous mysteries. While many of their Orthodox brethren condemn them for it without qualification, some say that it is only okay if they don't use their imagination when contemplating the Holy Mysteries. This nuanced position perplexes the convert in light of the imagination employed in the creation and usage of icons. Who is right in this case and why: the Orthodox convert, the hardliner Orthodox, or the nuanced Orthodox?

Answers along the lines of asking one's spiritual father will be considered a cop out for this test.
Why ask such a question at all?  Comparing yourself to other people is a temptation to sin.  Why play with matches?  "Ask your Spiritual Father" is not a "cop out."  It is the key to grow in the spiritual life,  free from the at times nonsensical flights of fancy the mind takes a person.  How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  If I taste my infant son's milk in the morning to make sure it is ok before heading to Divine Liturgy, can I still commune?

Such questions. 
It's a hypothetical question. No need to be so worried about it. I already know my answer regardless of what anyone else says. I'm just genuinely curious as to what others say. And yes, I would say that the parameters of this thread do make, "Asking your Spiritual Father" equivalent to "I don't know due to ignorance." This results in test failure.
It isn't a question of "worry."  In the interest of full disclosure, I don't like "hypothetical questions," abstractions or "thought experiments."  I find them to, AT BEST muddy the waters and contribute to unnecessary Spiritual anxiety. 

But, I'll answer your question.

It isn't about who is "right."  In some instances, holding on to practices from the Latin Church could be ok (with limits),  for other people it could be a temptation to revert or be a stumbling block to growing in the Orthodox Faith.

For different people,  BOTH can be "right," depending on the person.




 

Luke

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Alpha60 said:
I have a great desire to make sure I can articulate the Orthodox faith, and am thus in posession of it, that I might rest easy knowing my understanding of key dogmatic issues involving Christology, Soteriology, Triadology. Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology and other areas are within the pale of Orthodox doctrinal standards.

So, please feel free to ask me any questions you want, about any aspects of the faith, and be prepared to accept or reject my responses either on your own personal pastoral authority if you are one of our members who is of the ordained Clergy, or on the authority of Scriptural, Patristic, canonical, liturgical or other generally accepted dogmatically definitive texts that comprise our Holy Tradition, preferrably, two or more texts, so that in correcting any errors in my faith, I do not inadvertantly read one text and then eisegetically interpret from that text another belief just as erroneous as my prior error.

Let the grilling begin!
Why is there air? :p
 

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How much novus could a Pope ordo, if a Pope could ordo novus?
 

Alpha60

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Agabus said:
How much novus could a Pope ordo, if a Pope could ordo novus?
That really depends on the skill of the liturgical book printer salesmen, and also their capacity to accomodate his caprices, and his ability to pay for them. However, any Orthodox Patriarchate, or indeed I suspect despite the extreme power of the Papal office, Roman Pontiff, who issued a new missal every month of his papacy, or rather tried to, would be presumed by his synod or his cardinal to have gone mad; we would depose or "retire" the poor fool, whereas the Catholics would probably stuff such a Pope away in a reliable Capuchin convent somewhere, or perhaps poison his tea in the manner implied by the final Godfather film.
 

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The Misplaced Book said:
Alpha60 said:
The Misplaced Book said:
Alpha60 said:
I have a great desire to make sure I can articulate the Orthodox faith, and am thus in posession of it, that I might rest easy knowing my understanding of key dogmatic issues involving Christology, Soteriology, Triadology. Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology and other areas are within the pale of Orthodox doctrinal standards.

So, please feel free to ask me any questions you want, about any aspects of the faith, and be prepared to accept or reject my responses either on your own personal pastoral authority if you are one of our members who is of the ordained Clergy, or on the authority of Scriptural, Patristic, canonical, liturgical or other generally accepted dogmatically definitive texts that comprise our Holy Tradition, preferrably, two or more texts, so that in correcting any errors in my faith, I do not inadvertantly read one text and then eisegetically interpret from that text another belief just as erroneous as my prior error.

Let the grilling begin!


Why?
I do not understand the faith as purely intellectual and that a correct understanding of the key teachings of it is itself salvific apart from the receiption of the mysteries; indeed, it is not even needed.  Rather what gives me pause is that I have in my approach to the Orthodox faith, in my decision to convert, and in my commitment to remain, been unusually blessed with access to doctrinal books, works, liturgical texts, et cetera.  Our Lord said, "To him much is given, much will be required."  If I am the victim of a mind-devastating traumatic brain injury tomorrow, this would be less of a concern, but if I die in my sleep as a result of my aorta suddenly ripping an apart, an event given my doagnosis of Marfan's disease of the connective tissue is not utterly beyond the realms of possibility, I fear I would have some explanation to offer if my understanding of the doctrine of the Church is in error, on any point where I have been able to reach a conclusive understanding.  Much is imexorably beyond human comprehension, for example, the unfathomable beauty of the incomprehensible and transcendent divine nature, which can only be approached through a thick fog using the torturous path of the Via Negativa.

But where the Church has dared to dogmatize, or even reached a general didactic consensus, I desire to validate my understanding at this moment.  In particular, if I believe a clear error, or am in dire prelesr, on an uncontroversial matter, I want to root it out now.
This fear is unfounded.  I asked why not to be a smarty but to gently suggest that this line of thinking is not spiritually healthy.    It can tempt you to pride, or lead you down a rabbit hole of  "angels dancing on a pin" type speculations.

Even the Saints weren't "right" about everything, but that didn't matter.  It doesn't matter.    As the years go by, I find books to be less important (note I didn't say useless).
It was of course evident that this was your point, and I believe my prior response adequetely addresses your concerns.
 
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