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Historical geographical confinement and lack of mission

Daniel2:47

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When I have periods of doubt in my exploration of Orthodoxy, I find myself coming back to the fact that Orthodoxy has historically been very geographically confined (from my perspective as an Englishman) to parts of the Mediterranean and later Eastern Europe and Russia. For the most part this remains the case today, although of course there are notable missions in parts of Africa, Alaska, Japan and South America.

My issue is that from a historical perspective, Catholicism seems to have a much stronger argument for being truly Catholic - its presence throughout Europe after the Schism and then missions to Africa, the Americas, throughout Asia and Australasia mean that today it is a truly universal faith not a church limited by geography.

Of course I recognise there is a certain Northern Eurocentric bias here as Christians in Britain have historically been under the Pope and any pre-Schism "Orthodox Church" in these isles is a faint memory which both Orthodox and Catholics claim as their own. Nevertheless, I do find this historical argument troubling - it seems that the Orthodox Church is still grappling with the issue of ethnicity and even in the 21st century remains mostly geographically confined to Eastern Europe whereas the Roman Catholics have pioneered mission throughout history. For Catholics, they can see how throughout history they have answered Christ's call to "go into all the world and make disciples" (not necessarily defending their actions in this regard) but can the Orthodox say that? It claims to be the "One True Church" and I accept that the Orthodox seem to have held closest to the doctrine and praxis of early Christianity, but in terms of mission the Catholics have far outpaced the Orthodox.

Why would God allow a church that was in Schism from the true Church to bring billions of people to a faith that is at best incomplete? If the Orthodox are the One True Church why are they so small in comparison, still strongly ethnically and geographically limited and why is conversion so difficult for many people (I know not all)?
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
If the Orthodox are the One True Church why are they so small in comparison, still strongly ethnically and geographically limited and why is conversion so difficult for many people (I know not all)?
Because of the Turks and Mongols, mainly. It sounds simplistic but really does go a long way to explaining the isolation and insularity of the Orthodox churches. Western Christendom remained relatively undisturbed because the East was bearing the brunt of these onslaughts. For similar reasons the Church of the East- which once had missions going all the way to China- is now a tiny shadow of its former self after they were decimated by Tamerlane, grumpy Chinese emperors, etc.
 

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^
+1

I would add

a. The Roman Catholic Church did not expand by its lonesome, but through military conquest in the New World and elsewhere.

b. The most notable 'mission' of the Orthodox Church is in North America, a logical extension to Moscow's missionary work in Siberia and Alaska. The missionary wotk of the Church of Russia was complemented (and in the case of the Greeks expanded) by the establishment of ethnic churches in North America.
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
When I have periods of doubt in my exploration of Orthodoxy, I find myself coming back to the fact that Orthodoxy has historically been very geographically confined (from my perspective as an Englishman) to parts of the Mediterranean and later Eastern Europe and Russia. For the most part this remains the case today, although of course there are notable missions in parts of Africa, Alaska, Japan and South America.

My issue is that from a historical perspective, Catholicism seems to have a much stronger argument for being truly Catholic - its presence throughout Europe after the Schism and then missions to Africa, the Americas, throughout Asia and Australasia mean that today it is a truly universal faith not a church limited by geography.
I think it's important to remember that "Catholic" has nothing to do with geography.  The Church was Catholic when it was limited to the Upper Room in Jerusalem, it was Catholic when it was just a few thousand people in Jerusalem who were baptised on the first Pentecost after Christ's death and resurrection, it was Catholic for the fifteen hundred years during which no one knew the Americas existed, etc. 

Nevertheless, I do find this historical argument troubling - it seems that the Orthodox Church is still grappling with the issue of ethnicity and even in the 21st century remains mostly geographically confined to Eastern Europe whereas the Roman Catholics have pioneered mission throughout history. For Catholics, they can see how throughout history they have answered Christ's call to "go into all the world and make disciples" (not necessarily defending their actions in this regard) but can the Orthodox say that? It claims to be the "One True Church" and I accept that the Orthodox seem to have held closest to the doctrine and praxis of early Christianity, but in terms of mission the Catholics have far outpaced the Orthodox.
Roman Catholic missionary work in the Americas, Asia, and Africa in the second millennium was largely tied to colonialism, military conquests, etc., with all that entails (e.g., violence, cultural destruction).  And it wasn't just converting human sacrificing Aztecs in the New World, it was also destroying native Christian communities existing from the apostolic era and numerous other atrocities.  It wasn't all "evangelisation". 

Why would God allow a church that was in Schism from the true Church to bring billions of people to a faith that is at best incomplete?
We can raise a lot of questions about what God allows and why, I'm not sure how helpful that is in the end. 

If the Orthodox are the One True Church why are they so small in comparison, still strongly ethnically and geographically limited and why is conversion so difficult for many people (I know not all)?
This is a broad generalisation which may seem accurate in, say, America, but there's a lot to unpack.
 

Daniel2:47

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Iconodule said:
Daniel2:47 said:
If the Orthodox are the One True Church why are they so small in comparison, still strongly ethnically and geographically limited and why is conversion so difficult for many people (I know not all)?
Because of the Turks and Mongols, mainly. It sounds simplistic but really does go a long way to explaining the isolation and insularity of the Orthodox churches. Western Christendom remained relatively undisturbed because the East was bearing the brunt of these onslaughts. For similar reasons the Church of the East- which once had missions going all the way to China- is now a tiny shadow of its former self after they were decimated by Tamerlane, grumpy Chinese emperors, etc.
I realise that historically this is the case - my question is if the Orthodox Church is the One True Church (contra the Roman Catholic Church), why did God let the Church be so horribly attacked for hundreds of years by the Turks and eventually subdued for 400-500 years, the impact of which is still felt today in its general approach to mission and evangelism. When the Catholics fought the Muslims, be it in Spain or Malta or at Lepanto they were victorious and were able to stay free and this allowed the Church to continue its missionary work in the Americas and later Africa and Asia.

Whilst catholicity isn't geographical reach as you say about the Church in the Upper Room, it has been virtually universally present wherever there have been Christians in some way whereas the same cannot be said for the Orthodox Church.

I appreciate that what I am asking about us difficult to answer as it is really something we can never know fully, at least in this life here on earth, but it is something I keep coming back to. The Orthodox Church seems quite exotic and ethnic - I know if I had been born in Greece or Russia I would probably not even think twice about this question, so there is an element of my own perspective being British that certainly colours how I see this.
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
why did God let the Church be so horribly attacked for hundreds of years by the Turks and eventually subdued for 400-500 years
For the same reason that God let the Church be so horribly attacked for three centuries by the Roman emperors. Namely, John 15:18-25. Roman, barbarian, heterodox, atheist - what matters is not that they have persecuted the Church, but that, despite everything, they have failed to snuff it out.

It will go on, too. The Church will triumph in the end, but we are nowhere near the end.
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
Iconodule said:
Daniel2:47 said:
If the Orthodox are the One True Church why are they so small in comparison, still strongly ethnically and geographically limited and why is conversion so difficult for many people (I know not all)?
Because of the Turks and Mongols, mainly. It sounds simplistic but really does go a long way to explaining the isolation and insularity of the Orthodox churches. Western Christendom remained relatively undisturbed because the East was bearing the brunt of these onslaughts. For similar reasons the Church of the East- which once had missions going all the way to China- is now a tiny shadow of its former self after they were decimated by Tamerlane, grumpy Chinese emperors, etc.
I realise that historically this is the case - my question is if the Orthodox Church is the One True Church (contra the Roman Catholic Church), why did God let the Church be so horribly attacked for hundreds of years by the Turks and eventually subdued for 400-500 years, the impact of which is still felt today in its general approach to mission and evangelism. When the Catholics fought the Muslims, be it in Spain or Malta or at Lepanto they were victorious and were able to stay free and this allowed the Church to continue its missionary work in the Americas and later Africa and Asia.

Whilst catholicity isn't geographical reach as you say about the Church in the Upper Room, it has been virtually universally present wherever there have been Christians in some way whereas the same cannot be said for the Orthodox Church.

I appreciate that what I am asking about us difficult to answer as it is really something we can never know fully, at least in this life here on earth, but it is something I keep coming back to. The Orthodox Church seems quite exotic and ethnic - I know if I had been born in Greece or Russia I would probably not even think twice about this question, so there is an element of my own perspective being British that certainly colours how I see this.
Just a tiny input from me: we should be aware that the way we perceive time is probably not the same as God does. Why were we under Turks for 500 years? Why did God allow that Christians be tortured in most severe ways for first 300 years? Why did it take 1000 years for one of the largest people (Russians) to receive Christianity?



 

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Arachne said:
Daniel2:47 said:
why did God let the Church be so horribly attacked for hundreds of years by the Turks and eventually subdued for 400-500 years
For the same reason that God let the Church be so horribly attacked for three centuries by the Roman emperors. Namely, John 15:18-25. Roman, barbarian, heterodox, atheist - what matters is not that they have persecuted the Church, but that, despite everything, they have failed to snuff it out.

It will go on, too. The Church will triumph in the end, but we are nowhere near the end.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10

Personal opinion here:

I think that spiritual strength, knowledge, patience and wisdom comes with toil, pain, suffering and misery. What would have they learned and what wisdom would have they shared if they would have been at peace?

God is constantly testing our faith exactly like He did with Israel. We are all still, and to an extent the EO with all what she went through, part of Israel. Israel in Hebrew means "struggle with God". We have to struggle daily and remain faithful to Him to deserve and be worthy to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
 

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benjohn146 said:
Arachne said:
Daniel2:47 said:
why did God let the Church be so horribly attacked for hundreds of years by the Turks and eventually subdued for 400-500 years
For the same reason that God let the Church be so horribly attacked for three centuries by the Roman emperors. Namely, John 15:18-25. Roman, barbarian, heterodox, atheist - what matters is not that they have persecuted the Church, but that, despite everything, they have failed to snuff it out.

It will go on, too. The Church will triumph in the end, but we are nowhere near the end.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10

Personal opinion here:

I think that spiritual strength, knowledge, patience and wisdom comes with toil, pain, suffering and misery. What would have they learned and what wisdom would have they shared if they would have been at peace?

God is constantly testing our faith exactly like He did with Israel. We are all still, and to an extent the EO with all what she went through, part of Israel. Israel in Hebrew means "struggle with God". We have to struggle daily and remain faithful to Him to deserve and be worthy to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
I was thinking of how those Syrian Christians had the strength
To endure the struggle and sacrafice for their Faith. Witnessing beheadings of their children .
Amazing how in the modern age .tv internet .and all the creature comforts . that people are still suffering for their faith As our ancestors did hundreds, and even thousands of years ago.

 

Daniel2:47

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I've been thinking about this question again today after reading an online post that whilst not very academic and potentially with some oversimplifications gets to the heart of what I am struggling with:

Both Eastern Orthodox and Catholics say the Nicene Creed’s affirmation that the Church of Christ is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic,” but which has the better claim to those notes? I couldn’t say one was holier than the other. Both have great holiness and great wickedness in their histories, and making a judgment based on the variable tides of history would be unwise. Both are apostolic in the sense that they both have apostolic succession.

But the Orthodox communion has an issue when it comes to being “one.” I’m not referring to the dissent and division that has been part of every Christian community since the beginning. I’m referring to the fact that not all Orthodox churches are in full communion with each other. There are situations in which church A is in communion with church B, and church B is in communion with church C, but A is not in communion with C. For example, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is in communion with some Orthodox churches but not others (notably the Russian Orthodox church).

The Eastern Orthodox also have an issue in the degree to which they display catholicity. Compared to the Catholic Church, the Orthodox tend to be confined to a few ethnicities (Russian, Greek, etc.). The Catholic Church, by contrast, embraces far more ethnicities.

This is not an argument by itself, as catholicity is not simply measured by how many cultures a church embraces. Originally, it embraced only one. But Christ gave the Church a mandate to preach the gospel to all peoples (cf. Matt. 28:19–20Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), and it is worth noting that the Catholic Church has fulfilled this mandate more effectively than the Orthodox church has.

It was also worth noting the size difference between the two. A little over half of all Christians are Catholic, while a little under a quarter are Orthodox. Again, this is not an argument by itself, but it contributed to an overall impression that raises the question: Which of the following is easier to accept?

1. Church A is the true Church of Christ despite being a small, ethnically limited, and internally fractured communion that does not possess the admittedly divine institution of the papacy, while church B is a schismatic church despite it being far larger, having evangelized far more cultures, not having internal full communion problems, and having the institution of the papacy.

2. Church B is the true Church of Christ, and its just-mentioned characteristics are signs of God’s providential guidance, while church A is the body in schism.

It seemed to me that it was easier to explain matters if one accepted the second possibility: The Catholic Church is the Bride of Christ and the Orthodox are, regrettably, in schism at present. It would be much harder to maintain that the Catholic Church is a false superchurch that dwarfs the true Church. Protestants might be able to argue that case by labeling it the Whore of Babylon and attributing all kinds of evil doctrine to it, but that argument would not work for the Orthodox, who are in near-total agreement with Catholic doctrine.
http://jimmyakin.com/why-i-am-not-eastern-orthodox

Especially the last couple of paragraphs. How does one reconcile the sheer size and geographical presence and fulfilment of the mission to go to "all nations" and create disciples with the fact that Orthodoxy has struggled to expand beyond the Middle East and centuries later Eastern Europe so that even in the 21st century it is still for the greatest part 95%+ Eastern European/Middle Eastern whilst the "schismatic" Papists have circumnavigated the globe, have discipled over half of the worlds Christians and are a truly global Church with a visible presence in every nation on earth and in every place where the name of Christ is known? I am not discounting the truly heroic testimony of the Orthodox in various countries where they face persecution but it remains hard to see how if there is only one visible true Church in the world that despite 20 centuries it has remained confined to a relatively small area - how does one reconcile this with Matthew 28 and the Great Commission? Even in the contemporary global world, Orthodox mission is still the exception globally - by far the norm is national churches of cradle believers with little mission outside of their ethnicities. I do not say this because I want to berate the Orthodox - in my personal circumstances it would be most comforting for my heart to be at peace with Orthodoxy but I have these nagging doubts. In the Protestantantism that I am used to, there is an invisible church which resolves these sorts of problems as true believers can be everywhere or anywhere, but in traditional Christianity there is a visible Church so the question is which one is it - the Orthodox Church or the Roman Church? Despite the depth of spirituality in Orthodoxy, the universal presence and mission of the Catholics seems to make their claim to be the visible Church in history stronger.
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
I've been thinking about this question again today after reading an online post that whilst not very academic and potentially with some oversimplifications gets to the heart of what I am struggling with:

Both Eastern Orthodox and Catholics say the Nicene Creed’s affirmation that the Church of Christ is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic,” but which has the better claim to those notes? I couldn’t say one was holier than the other. Both have great holiness and great wickedness in their histories, and making a judgment based on the variable tides of history would be unwise. Both are apostolic in the sense that they both have apostolic succession.

But the Orthodox communion has an issue when it comes to being “one.” I’m not referring to the dissent and division that has been part of every Christian community since the beginning. I’m referring to the fact that not all Orthodox churches are in full communion with each other. There are situations in which church A is in communion with church B, and church B is in communion with church C, but A is not in communion with C. For example, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is in communion with some Orthodox churches but not others (notably the Russian Orthodox church).

The Eastern Orthodox also have an issue in the degree to which they display catholicity. Compared to the Catholic Church, the Orthodox tend to be confined to a few ethnicities (Russian, Greek, etc.). The Catholic Church, by contrast, embraces far more ethnicities.

This is not an argument by itself, as catholicity is not simply measured by how many cultures a church embraces. Originally, it embraced only one. But Christ gave the Church a mandate to preach the gospel to all peoples (cf. Matt. 28:19–20Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), and it is worth noting that the Catholic Church has fulfilled this mandate more effectively than the Orthodox church has.

It was also worth noting the size difference between the two. A little over half of all Christians are Catholic, while a little under a quarter are Orthodox. Again, this is not an argument by itself, but it contributed to an overall impression that raises the question: Which of the following is easier to accept?

1. Church A is the true Church of Christ despite being a small, ethnically limited, and internally fractured communion that does not possess the admittedly divine institution of the papacy, while church B is a schismatic church despite it being far larger, having evangelized far more cultures, not having internal full communion problems, and having the institution of the papacy.

2. Church B is the true Church of Christ, and its just-mentioned characteristics are signs of God’s providential guidance, while church A is the body in schism.

It seemed to me that it was easier to explain matters if one accepted the second possibility: The Catholic Church is the Bride of Christ and the Orthodox are, regrettably, in schism at present. It would be much harder to maintain that the Catholic Church is a false superchurch that dwarfs the true Church. Protestants might be able to argue that case by labeling it the Whore of Babylon and attributing all kinds of evil doctrine to it, but that argument would not work for the Orthodox, who are in near-total agreement with Catholic doctrine.
http://jimmyakin.com/why-i-am-not-eastern-orthodox

Especially the last couple of paragraphs. How does one reconcile the sheer size and geographical presence and fulfilment of the mission to go to "all nations" and create disciples with the fact that Orthodoxy has struggled to expand beyond the Middle East and centuries later Eastern Europe so that even in the 21st century it is still for the greatest part 95%+ Eastern European/Middle Eastern whilst the "schismatic" Papists have circumnavigated the globe, have discipled over half of the worlds Christians and are a truly global Church with a visible presence in every nation on earth and in every place where the name of Christ is known? I am not discounting the truly heroic testimony of the Orthodox in various countries where they face persecution but it remains hard to see how if there is only one visible true Church in the world that despite 20 centuries it has remained confined to a relatively small area - how does one reconcile this with Matthew 28 and the Great Commission? Even in the contemporary global world, Orthodox mission is still the exception globally - by far the norm is national churches of cradle believers with little mission outside of their ethnicities. I do not say this because I want to berate the Orthodox - in my personal circumstances it would be most comforting for my heart to be at peace with Orthodoxy but I have these nagging doubts. In the Protestantantism that I am used to, there is an invisible church which resolves these sorts of problems as true believers can be everywhere or anywhere, but in traditional Christianity there is a visible Church so the question is which one is it - the Orthodox Church or the Roman Church? Despite the depth of spirituality in Orthodoxy, the universal presence and mission of the Catholics seems to make their claim to be the visible Church in history stronger.
I remember in my childhood, and even my parents when they were young too, we were saying that car will fly in the year 2000... are they flying now? Not even close. 20 centuries of existence is not a reason to condemned the great commission as a failure. Christ didn't set a time limit to accomplish that. The mission is still in progress! Also, early Christians were convinced that the Second Coming of Christ was coming, yet we are still awaiting.

Mr. Akin's views on the papacy is the fruit of the RCC. I don't how and why if a church A is having the office of the papacy makes it the One True Church of Christ. It like saying that I know how and have the tools to do an oil change on my car and that is making me a fully certified mechanic.

Please, define "Visible Church". Because if a visible church is an organization that is overseeing a limited area defined by physical and/or political boundaries, then yes, I would say the RCC is universal in that sense. But if we want to use these specifications to define a visible church, we are containing and limiting the Body of Christ who at His head is Him the One True God who is limitless, uncontainable and who always had dominion over the entire universe... not only a country or a geographical area.

So if Mr. Akin arguments are enough for you, so be it!

Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit
Mat 15:14

For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them. “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
Mat 13: 15-16
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
When I have periods of doubt in my exploration of Orthodoxy, I find myself coming back to the fact that Orthodoxy has historically been very geographically confined (from my perspective as an Englishman) to parts of the Mediterranean and later Eastern Europe and Russia. For the most part this remains the case today, although of course there are notable missions in parts of Africa, Alaska, Japan and South America.

My issue is that from a historical perspective, Catholicism seems to have a much stronger argument for being truly Catholic - its presence throughout Europe after the Schism and then missions to Africa, the Americas, throughout Asia and Australasia mean that today it is a truly universal faith not a church limited by geography.

Of course I recognise there is a certain Northern Eurocentric bias here as Christians in Britain have historically been under the Pope and any pre-Schism "Orthodox Church" in these isles is a faint memory which both Orthodox and Catholics claim as their own. Nevertheless, I do find this historical argument troubling - it seems that the Orthodox Church is still grappling with the issue of ethnicity and even in the 21st century remains mostly geographically confined to Eastern Europe whereas the Roman Catholics have pioneered mission throughout history. For Catholics, they can see how throughout history they have answered Christ's call to "go into all the world and make disciples" (not necessarily defending their actions in this regard) but can the Orthodox say that? It claims to be the "One True Church" and I accept that the Orthodox seem to have held closest to the doctrine and praxis of early Christianity, but in terms of mission the Catholics have far outpaced the Orthodox.

Why would God allow a church that was in Schism from the true Church to bring billions of people to a faith that is at best incomplete? If the Orthodox are the One True Church why are they so small in comparison, still strongly ethnically and geographically limited and why is conversion so difficult for many people (I know not all)?
If we are to judge a religion by its worldly success, then you should make no delay to pronounce the Shahadah.
 

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I think it's important to remember that "Catholic" has nothing to do with geography.  The Church was Catholic when it was limited to the Upper Room in Jerusalem, it was Catholic when it was just a few thousand people in Jerusalem who were baptised on the first Pentecost after Christ's death and resurrection, it was Catholic for the fifteen hundred years during which no one knew the Americas existed, etc. 


This is correct, it's not a numbers game.  It's tempting to look at these things, but that is one of the worst way to ultimately look at things.  The "success" of Orthodoxy is icing on the cake and/or a blessing that is a fruit of labor at best.  But so is one man hanging out in the dessert with the world persecuting him for his belief. To judge things solely on the criteria of that kind of "success" is the opposite of anything God is about.  To have one small community in nearly every country is no different than having tens of millions concentrated.  And as has been showed, those tens of millions can disappear rather quickly either through massive persecution, or switching spiritual disposition due to the convenience of the times due to lack of conviction, lack of concern and pastoral from the Church and community, and/or being weak willed. 
 

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I don't see how size of mission is of itself a suitable test of which is the true church.

The test Christ gave is fruit. Does the tree reproduce in kind?  Look at the best fruit of the Catholic Church and of the Orthodox Church side by side since the time of the great schism, and especially since the final rupture at the sack of Constantinople. Where are the Seraphims, the Sergiuses, the Gregory Palamas, the Xenias, the Porphyrios, the innumerable miracle working holy fools, the Cleopas, the Paisias? Where are their shining ones, their glorious holy fools, their myrrh dripping Saints? What I see looks more like the life cycle of a fallen limb from a great tree. It tries to live puts forth green shoots for a while, maybe drops a ready formed but unripened acorn, puts forth a fragrant blossom or two...and then have exhausted its reserves and having no root, it whithers and dies. Orthodoxy has been battered by cruel winds over the centuries, but it has it's root and in it's seasons brings forth new life age to age. When I look at the best saints we see in the NT and Apostolic age, we find the same sorts in Orthodoxy century after century after century. You don't get figs off thorns, and you don't get saints from what is not the Church. Saints are the proof of the Church, not missions, as wonderful and necessary as missions are.
 

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Seraphim98 said:
I don't see how size of mission is of itself a suitable test of which is the true church.

The test Christ gave is fruit. Does the tree reproduce in kind?  Look at the best fruit of the Catholic Church and of the Orthodox Church side by side since the time of the great schism, and especially since the final rupture at the sack of Constantinople. Where are the Seraphims, the Sergiuses, the Gregory Palamas, the Xenias, the Porphyrios, the innumerable miracle working holy fools, the Cleopas, the Paisias? Where are their shining ones, their glorious holy fools, their myrrh dripping Saints? What I see looks more like the life cycle of a fallen limb from a great tree. It tries to live puts forth green shoots for a while, maybe drops a ready formed but unripened acorn, puts forth a fragrant blossom or two...and then have exhausted its reserves and having no root, it whithers and dies. Orthodoxy has been battered by cruel winds over the centuries, but it has it's root and in it's seasons brings forth new life age to age. When I look at the best saints we see in the NT and Apostolic age, we find the same sorts in Orthodoxy century after century after century. You don't get figs off thorns, and you don't get saints from what is not the Church. Saints are the proof of the Church, not missions, as wonderful and necessary as missions are.
This is a good way of looking at things. I'm interested if anyone has a timeline of post-Schism Orthodox saints? I have an idea of some recent saints of the last two centuries, but not a great deal of knowledge about between 1054 and 1800. If there is such a timeline available online or someone could list some of the major saints that would be very interesting
 

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Catholics also claim to have saints, martyrs, miracle-workers so idk what that argument is supposed to prove.

And what are saints necessary for exactly?
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
I'm interested if anyone has a timeline of post-Schism Orthodox saints? I have an idea of some recent saints of the last two centuries, but not a great deal of knowledge about between 1054 and 1800. If there is such a timeline available online or someone could list some of the major saints that would be very interesting
Search for '[date] (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)' on Wikipedia. This is today's page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_1_(Eastern_Orthodox_liturgics)
 

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Arachne said:
Daniel2:47 said:
I'm interested if anyone has a timeline of post-Schism Orthodox saints? I have an idea of some recent saints of the last two centuries, but not a great deal of knowledge about between 1054 and 1800. If there is such a timeline available online or someone could list some of the major saints that would be very interesting
Search for '[date] (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)' on Wikipedia. This is today's page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_1_(Eastern_Orthodox_liturgics)
Thanks Arachne - that's useful. However, I was hoping that there might be a timeline of 1000 (or before) through to 1800 (or after) with the major Orthodox saints marked out in each century, so I can familiarise myself with the most widely known post-schism saints in Orthodoxy. I have a large gap in knowledge about this period, with the notable exception of St Gregory Palamas in the 1300s. The next saint I know much about is St Seraphim of Sarov in the late 1700s and early 1800s!
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
Arachne said:
Daniel2:47 said:
I'm interested if anyone has a timeline of post-Schism Orthodox saints? I have an idea of some recent saints of the last two centuries, but not a great deal of knowledge about between 1054 and 1800. If there is such a timeline available online or someone could list some of the major saints that would be very interesting
Search for '[date] (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)' on Wikipedia. This is today's page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_1_(Eastern_Orthodox_liturgics)
Thanks Arachne - that's useful. However, I was hoping that there might be a timeline of 1000 (or before) through to 1800 (or after) with the major Orthodox saints marked out in each century, so I can familiarise myself with the most widely known post-schism saints in Orthodoxy. I have a large gap in knowledge about this period, with the notable exception of St Gregory Palamas in the 1300s. The next saint I know much about is St Seraphim of Sarov in the late 1700s and early 1800s!
That would be a huge venture for anyone to compile. Plus, logistics aside, who are the 'major' saints depends on who you ask. Most Orthodox saints are, actually, quite local in their cult. Going along day by day and researching who you find would be, in the long run, a lot more rewarding.
 

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Comparing saints, to me at least, is actually not very helpful. There have been wonderworkers and heroic ascetics and incorrupt relics in both communions; the differences between Orthodox and Catholic saints are often cultural. And they generally aren't venerated by members of other communions; some saints, like St. Isaac of Nineveh, manage to rise above sectarian lines, but most do not.

We might also ask how Rome's claims to be the true Church could be taken seriously when a staggering percentage of Catholics ignore the moral teachings of their own Church; how the liturgical act of worship can be done in such a *ahem* casual way; how apparitions to peasant children seem to so often become more important than the dogmatic teachings of the Church; etc. We might also say that while there are Roman Catholics almost everywhere, what percentage of the "billion and a half" we read about were just baptized and have never entered a church again, and how many actually practice their religion in a meaningful way, much less are weekly Mass attendees and regular communicants? My last parish counted 13,000 Catholics within its parochial boundaries; less than 2000 attended on any given Sunday. I'm sure Orthodoxy, and indeed most Christian confessions, probably don't want to examine their own demographic data in this respect too closely. :p
 

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MalpanaGiwargis said:
Comparing saints, to me at least, is actually not very helpful. There have been wonderworkers and heroic ascetics and incorrupt relics in both communions; the differences between Orthodox and Catholic saints are often cultural. And they generally aren't venerated by members of other communions; some saints, like St. Isaac of Nineveh, manage to rise above sectarian lines, but most do not.

We might also ask how Rome's claims to be the true Church could be taken seriously when a staggering percentage of Catholics ignore the moral teachings of their own Church; how the liturgical act of worship can be done in such a *ahem* casual way; how apparitions to peasant children seem to so often become more important than the dogmatic teachings of the Church; etc. We might also say that while there are Roman Catholics almost everywhere, what percentage of the "billion and a half" we read about were just baptized and have never entered a church again, and how many actually practice their religion in a meaningful way, much less are weekly Mass attendees and regular communicants? My last parish counted 13,000 Catholics within its parochial boundaries; less than 2000 attended on any given Sunday. I'm sure Orthodoxy, and indeed most Christian confessions, probably don't want to examine their own demographic data in this respect too closely. :p
The problem with this - and what you have alluded to in your last sentence - is that nearly all the points you mention, except the issue of liturgy, could be raised against the Orthodox in the same way you have raised them with the Catholics. Lay practice in some Orthodox countries is now very low (I heard 1% in Greece although that might have been pessimistic). Nominalism is a clear problem in both communions and I don't really see the Orthodox markedly different from the Catholics, all things being equal.
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
MalpanaGiwargis said:
Comparing saints, to me at least, is actually not very helpful. There have been wonderworkers and heroic ascetics and incorrupt relics in both communions; the differences between Orthodox and Catholic saints are often cultural. And they generally aren't venerated by members of other communions; some saints, like St. Isaac of Nineveh, manage to rise above sectarian lines, but most do not.

We might also ask how Rome's claims to be the true Church could be taken seriously when a staggering percentage of Catholics ignore the moral teachings of their own Church; how the liturgical act of worship can be done in such a *ahem* casual way; how apparitions to peasant children seem to so often become more important than the dogmatic teachings of the Church; etc. We might also say that while there are Roman Catholics almost everywhere, what percentage of the "billion and a half" we read about were just baptized and have never entered a church again, and how many actually practice their religion in a meaningful way, much less are weekly Mass attendees and regular communicants? My last parish counted 13,000 Catholics within its parochial boundaries; less than 2000 attended on any given Sunday. I'm sure Orthodoxy, and indeed most Christian confessions, probably don't want to examine their own demographic data in this respect too closely. :p
The problem with this - and what you have alluded to in your last sentence - is that nearly all the points you mention, except the issue of liturgy, could be raised against the Orthodox in the same way you have raised them with the Catholics. Lay practice in some Orthodox countries is now very low (I heard 1% in Greece although that might have been pessimistic). Nominalism is a clear problem in both communions and I don't really see the Orthodox markedly different from the Catholics, all things being equal.
I'm pretty sure that was the point.
 

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mike said:
Daniel2:47 said:
MalpanaGiwargis said:
Comparing saints, to me at least, is actually not very helpful. There have been wonderworkers and heroic ascetics and incorrupt relics in both communions; the differences between Orthodox and Catholic saints are often cultural. And they generally aren't venerated by members of other communions; some saints, like St. Isaac of Nineveh, manage to rise above sectarian lines, but most do not.

We might also ask how Rome's claims to be the true Church could be taken seriously when a staggering percentage of Catholics ignore the moral teachings of their own Church; how the liturgical act of worship can be done in such a *ahem* casual way; how apparitions to peasant children seem to so often become more important than the dogmatic teachings of the Church; etc. We might also say that while there are Roman Catholics almost everywhere, what percentage of the "billion and a half" we read about were just baptized and have never entered a church again, and how many actually practice their religion in a meaningful way, much less are weekly Mass attendees and regular communicants? My last parish counted 13,000 Catholics within its parochial boundaries; less than 2000 attended on any given Sunday. I'm sure Orthodoxy, and indeed most Christian confessions, probably don't want to examine their own demographic data in this respect too closely. :p
The problem with this - and what you have alluded to in your last sentence - is that nearly all the points you mention, except the issue of liturgy, could be raised against the Orthodox in the same way you have raised them with the Catholics. Lay practice in some Orthodox countries is now very low (I heard 1% in Greece although that might have been pessimistic). Nominalism is a clear problem in both communions and I don't really see the Orthodox markedly different from the Catholics, all things being equal.
I'm pretty sure that was the point.
Then we are basically going round in circles and my first argument still stands: Orthodoxy is very geographically limited and has done little mission outside of its traditional territories whereas Catholicism has done a great deal of mission, despite its many flaws. Writing this mission off as nominalism fails because Orthodoxy has the same problem in this regard. Evaluating based on the fruit is subjective because there are saints East & West. The West currently has a liturgical mess but this is pretty recent historically - Orthodoxy is not without its own troubles (calendar, jurisdictional overlapping, very strong ethnic ties etc).
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
The West currently has a liturgical mess but this is pretty recent historically - Orthodoxy is not without its own troubles (calendar, jurisdictional overlapping, very strong ethnic ties etc).
The West had a liturgical differences (and sometimes it may be connected with a mess) long before Vaticanum II; I can notice it in many special rules for Poland. You should also remember that for a long time RCs had doubts if e.g Indians are fully people and if they can be Christians. And mixing of races was treated as a big sin (surely, many Times it was a sin, but because of the adultery or using prostitutes, but, surely, it's a completely different thing), while Orthodoxy had never such doubts. So, that's why we have so many ancient Orthodox communities (I include OOs ofc) coming from completely different cultural and etchnical backgrounds.
 

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Dominika said:
And mixing of races was treated as a big sin (surely, many Times it was a sin, but because of the adultery or using prostitutes, but, surely, it's a completely different thing), while Orthodoxy had never such doubts.
lol
 

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Dominika said:
You should also remember that for a long time RCs had doubts if e.g Indians are fully people and if they can be Christians.
Some OCNetters, too!  ;)
 

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Papism is not Catholic because it's not taught or believed in any single document, writer, father, saint, council or source anywhere in history. That's why it's heresy, and not Catholic. This is what Vatican I, and by extension what the "Catholic" Church claims,

First Vatican Council said:
That apostolic primacy which the Roman Pontiff possesses as successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, includes also the supreme power of teaching. This Holy See has always maintained this, the constant custom of the Church demonstrates it, and the ecumenical councils, particularly those in which East and West met in the union of faith and charity, have declared it.... Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.
This is false. There is not a single person who claims this in the primitive Church, let alone it being the case in all ages. This is something YOU MUST BELIEVE in order to be a faithful Roman "Catholic", or else you are 'anathema' according to this council's definition.

I encourage you to look for yourself. Do meticulous research, like I did, fact check quotes, read the primary sources, debate the issue on forums, and look for alternative interpretations of these quotes and you'll realize that there is not a single shred of evidence for Papism. Study the history of the primitive, early and pre-schism Church in the East, as well as the West, the history of the Papacy, and I think you'll realize that what Vatican I says here is blatantly false and ridiculous. The Popes themselves didn't believe themselves to be infallible, supreme and unilateral authorities over the whole world, let alone did the Eastern Patriarchs and faithful believe this of the Pope of Rome.
 

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NicholasMyra said:
Why not prefer Islam?
It's just as legitimate. I would rather convert to Shi'a Islam than convert to Papism.
 

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xOrthodox4Christx said:
NicholasMyra said:
Why not prefer Islam?
It's just as legitimate. I would rather convert to Shi'a Islam than convert to Papism.
I see no benefit to oneself as a seeker to reduce most Christianity by technicalities to no greater legitimacy than Islam. Is this good for the soul? How did this post feed your soul?
 

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Porter ODoran said:
xOrthodox4Christx said:
NicholasMyra said:
Why not prefer Islam?
It's just as legitimate. I would rather convert to Shi'a Islam than convert to Papism.
I see no benefit to oneself as a seeker to reduce most Christianity by technicalities to no greater legitimacy than Islam. Is this good for the soul? How did this post feed your soul?
Islam began as a Christian heresy, the historical Muhammad was probably a Nestorian heretic who founded his own cult. Protestantism and Papism also began as Christian heresies. These are all heresies woven from the same cloth.
 

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I am reading a very interesting book about life in Stalin's time (The Whisperers - Private Life under Stalin , Orlando Figes, 2007), and it is quite amazing how the forced colectivization techniques crushed the peasantry and almost destroyed the deep russian farming culture, that was a culture based in private property, religion, natural hierarchy, hard work and autonomy. Collectivization caused millions of deaths, starvation, mass deportation, executions...I understand the confinement of orthodoxy in some areas due to that, the comunist regimes in Russia, eastern europe and China (where also existed some russian orthodox) were completely brutal and changed the fabric of society.

I really recommend reading that book to understand better.
 

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juliogb said:
I am reading a very interesting book about life in Stalin's time (The Whisperers - Private Life under Stalin , Orlando Figes, 2007), and it is quite amazing how the forced colectivization techniques crushed the peasantry and almost destroyed the deep russian farming culture, that was a culture based in private property, religion, natural hierarchy, hard work and autonomy. Collectivization caused millions of deaths, starvation, mass deportation, executions...I understand the confinement of orthodoxy in some areas due to that, the comunist regimes in Russia, eastern europe and China (where also existed some russian orthodox) were completely brutal and changed the fabric of society.

I really recommend reading that book to understand better.
Private property an autonomy in rural Russia lasted like 50 years so it wasn't really a deep culture.
 

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mike said:
juliogb said:
I am reading a very interesting book about life in Stalin's time (The Whisperers - Private Life under Stalin , Orlando Figes, 2007), and it is quite amazing how the forced colectivization techniques crushed the peasantry and almost destroyed the deep russian farming culture, that was a culture based in private property, religion, natural hierarchy, hard work and autonomy. Collectivization caused millions of deaths, starvation, mass deportation, executions...I understand the confinement of orthodoxy in some areas due to that, the comunist regimes in Russia, eastern europe and China (where also existed some russian orthodox) were completely brutal and changed the fabric of society.

I really recommend reading that book to understand better.
Private property an autonomy in rural Russia lasted like 50 years so it wasn't really a deep culture.
+1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obshchina
 

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And as I recall it was forcibly implemented amid violent peasant objections.
 

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xOrthodox4Christx said:
Porter ODoran said:
xOrthodox4Christx said:
NicholasMyra said:
Why not prefer Islam?
It's just as legitimate. I would rather convert to Shi'a Islam than convert to Papism.
I see no benefit to oneself as a seeker to reduce most Christianity by technicalities to no greater legitimacy than Islam. Is this good for the soul? How did this post feed your soul?
Islam began as a Christian heresy, the historical Muhammad was probably a Nestorian heretic who founded his own cult. Protestantism and Papism also began as Christian heresies. These are all heresies woven from the same cloth.
I read that Islam began as a Papist plot...but it might have been a Chick tract.
 
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