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Is this HERESY?

TomS

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I know that this has been referenced on this site before, but can we have a discussion on why the facts as presented on the ROAC site are WRONG?

http://www.russianorthodoxautonomouschurchinamerica.com/heresies.html

1) Is this all a fabrication?

2) And if it is not, then doesn't it MEET the definition of HERESY under the Church?

3) Does Orthodoxy change? And if it does, then does that mean that the Church Fathers were WRONG when they condemned these actions as HERESY?

Serious Questions -- not trying to hold up the ROAC viewpoint.

 

Pedro

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Mmm. This is a tough one.

On the one hand...groups like this are known to take certain patristic quotes and run with them, so as to paint the fathers with colors that NEVER allowed for any economia (two tones: black and white...)

On the other hand...statements like these from Patriarchs...well, we can only hope there's a broader context involved here that we weren't allowed to read. Otherwise...yeah, to say that we're on the same level spiritually as a Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or even Catholic or Protestant...yeah, that's heresy, in my book.

We are the Church, period. Here's hoping there's something else we're missing from these sites.
 

Linus7

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I believe there is a type of ecumenism prevalent today that is, in fact, heretical.

It is the type that papers over differences in the name of a false or at least premature unity, the type that contradicts what the Church Fathers and councils had to say in order to rehabilitate and "churchify" groups they declared heretical and anathema.

In that regard I think the ROAC web site serves a vaild and courageous purpose: exposing this sort of sappy, sentimental ecumenism.

On the other hand, some of what is presented on the web site, as I said before elsewhere, is a bit unfair.

There are photos and quotes there that make it appear as if the Church of Georgia and the Jerusalem Patriarchate have some sort of illicit detente going with Non-Chalcedonians.

That is not the case. Both Churches have broken off dialogue with the Non-Chalcedonians because of the intransigence of the latter on the ecumenical councils and other issues.

The fact that the ROAC web site omits such information causes one to wonder what else it has omitted.

Note: My comments on the relationship between the Georgian Church and the Non-Chalcedonians and that of the Jerusalem Patriarchate and the Non-Chalcedonians were not intended to begin a discussion of Non-Chalcedonian issues. I was merely pointing out an example of a failure of the ROAC web site to present a balanced report.

Just the same, I think the ROAC web site performs a valuable service, especially since so much of the rest of the Orthodox world seems to be asleep at the patristic wheel.

 

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I prefer Elder Paisios' "attitude" on these things:

A group of monks from Mount Athos, who were somewhat sensitive, were thinking of stopping commemorating the name of the Patriarch Dimitrios during services, because they claimed he had publicly expressed a positive attitude towards the Vatican. They went to Father Paisios to express their unbending opinion on the matter, and were bombarding him with various arguments to support their decision to stop commemoration of the Patriarch. When they asked him for his opinion, he replied:

- What can I say? I am also very disappointed with our prime minister. He has destroyed Greece by passing so many anti-church laws, even though the Greek constitution is written in the name of the Holy Trinity. I cannot bear this situation any more, and for this reason, I decided to leave Greece and Mount Athos and go to Sinai.

The monks replied:

- For God’s sake, Father, don’t do such a thing. Don’t leave because of the prime minister, for any day now he will fall and we will find our peace of mind.

The Elder told them smiling:

- You do the same thing you just advised me to do. Be patient because it is not right to be detached from the Church of Christ. We must pray to God to enlighten the officials of our Church to teach rightly the word of truth.

One of the bishops told the Elder:

- Father, the recent developments of the relationships between the Patriarchate and the Vatican makes me want to stop the commemoration of the Patriarch. What do you suggest?
- I want to ask you something myself. Does the Patriarch believe in what he is doing, or is he acting out of necessity because he is being pressured by certain situations?
- Father, I don’t really know that.
- Well, Reverent, this is very crucial to the whole issue.

During the times of Patriarch Athenagora, some people went to the Elder and told him:

- Father, the actions of the Patriarch have made us very angry and we pray that he dies, so we may have our peace of mind.

The Elder replied:

- This is not right. I also pray for him; I ask God to take days off my own life and give them to our Patriarch, so that he may have plenty of time to repent.

(Taken from the book: "Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain")
 
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I would be very interested in any information which shows that the ROAC's Kiss of Judas webpage is substantially incorrect in what it reports, or is really leaving out something that should change one's opinion on the subject of ecumenism (that it is a heresy) and that as a heresy, it has deeply penetrated what most understand to be the communion of "canonical Orthodox Churches."

Seraphim
 

TomS

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Seraphim Reeves said:
I would be very interested in any information which shows that the ROAC's Kiss of Judas webpage is substantially incorrect...
Exactly why I posted this.

I don't mean to be disrespectful to people on this board, and are asking these questions because something is just not right here.

1) If it is CORRECT, then why the condemnation of the ROAC and other "ultra-traditional" Churches?.

2) And if they are "strictly applying" the canons of the Church then is that WRONG? Don't the teachings of St. Paul say to hold "Strict" to the teachings?

3) And would not this mean that the ROAC (and other similar Churches) did not separate itself from the Church, but the other way around. And that Bishop Gregory and the people in Colorado are RIGHT and the rest of Orthodoxy is wrong?

4) Maybe there are different ways to "interpret" Church teachings in Orthodoxy? How can THAT be right?

5) And if we are, then will Orthodoxy just become a form of "ultra- traditional" Protestantism? Or a form of "Protestant Catholicism"?

Lord Have Mercy!

Anastasios -- How are major questions like this dealt with at St. Vlads?

 
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Tom,

Exactly why I posted this.
I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for a response. The best you will get, is someone pointing to some supposed precedent for these activities in times past (such as St.Tikhon's gestures toward the High Church Anglicans in America just prior to the revolution, or things like this.) Of course, such finger pointing to the past is problematic for two simple reasons...

a) what is rare that the examples pointed to represent exactly what those bringing them up want them to; certainly their spin on such instances are not self evident conclusions (however much they might want to make it seem that this is the case.)

b) even if those examples they point to should be interpreted as such conneseurs of red herring say they ought to be, they would represent lapses or past wrong doings, hardly representative of the "ideal" let alone harmoneous to the canons and dogmas of the Church.

This is the best you'll get. Obviously, that's not saying much. What is incredibly unlikely (since anyone reasonably informed about this subject knows better, even if they want to defend the ecumenist churches), is an actual justification being offered on doctrinal or canonical grounds.

Besides pointing to supposed "ecumenical precedents", the other trick the type of person I am speaking of will employ, is an appeal to charity. In other words, their position is "charitable" and "loving", and the supposed fatal flaw of the "fanatics" is that they are not. Besides being an incredibly a-doctrinal and subjective apologia for ecumenism, it is hardly defendable. Do we doubt the love of those great Saints who did things far more "severe" than anything I've known an Old Calendarist to be involved in...was St.Boniface unloving in chopping down the "sacred oak" that the Germanic pagans worshipped? Our blessed Lord, when He chased men out of the Temple with a scourge, for comprimising the sanctity of a Holy Place by turning it into a market place? Think of it - He was laying down some beatings!

According to St.Seraphim of Sarov, love of our neighbour ceases to be genuine and becomes false, when it matches, let alone supercedes that which should be our first love, the love of God. I'm not pretending that I have the true love of God - I'm an utter failure in almost everything I lay my hands to, particularly in spiritual matters. But this is what a great Saint taught, and it is harmoneous to the Holy Scriptures. While ecumenism pretends a certain "love" for other men, does it love God? Are not the sacred canons and teachings of the Orthodox Church ultimatly the work of God, the Holy Spirit? Is not the true-doctrine/true-glory, "Orthodoxy", the pearl of great price given graciously by a loving God...what could be more contemptuous than comprimising this?

Indeed, even if we wish to dwell on the love of our fellow, how loving is it really to give even the appearance of equivelency of heresies and schisms to the Body of Christ, let alone start saying as much explicitly? As the Saviour taught, even bad men will not give stones in the place of bread to their children.

Seraphim
 

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The best you will get, is someone pointing to some supposed precedent for these activities in times past (such as St.Tikhon's gestures toward the High Church Anglicans in America just prior to the revolution, or things like this.)
But the worldview of ROAC damns people who do that, with High Church or any other kind of Anglicans, as part of evil 'world Orthodoxy', so according to its logic 19th-century Russian Orthodoxy was such - where does that leave ROAC?

b) even if those examples they point to should be interpreted as such conneseurs of red herring say they ought to be, they would represent lapses or past wrong doings, hardly representative of the "ideal" let alone harmoneous to the canons and dogmas of the Church.
Rather like the concession to the Soviet Union literally beaten out of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1927 was a 'lapse' - it didn't make it cease to be the Church in the view of the commonly understood Orthodox and so isn't an excuse against reunion with the Russian Church Abroad now that the USSR is gone.

The slanderers can eat their words - Metropolitan Valentin (ROAC) exhonerated (sic) in Russian courtroom!
What a shining example of the beauty and warmth of Russian spirituality this sig is - I dare say droves of disaffected boys will jam the highways to Colorado with their U-Hauls after reading it.
 

Thomas

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Just a question about ecumenism. Is it wrong for the Orthodox to enter into discussion with the Heterodox in order to present them with the truth and offer the Apologetics of Orthodoxy?
This is what I understand the role of ecumenism in Orthodoxy to be.

Your brother in Christ,
Thomas
 

TomS

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Thomas said:
Is it wrong for the Orthodox to enter into discussion with the Heterodox in order to present them with the truth and offer the Apologetics of Orthodoxy?
No, it is not wrong to do that. In fact, there is an example of St. Paul doing just that with the pagans in the book of Acts (IIRC).
 

Schultz

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And note that St. Paul didn't belittle those pagans, who had an altar to the "Unknown God", and call them heterodox or damned or excommuicado or whatever passes as "evangelism" by ultra-Orthodox (and ultra-RC) but preached the Good News to them in terms they would understand, in this case, Socratic philosophy.

 

Keble

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Thomas said:
Just a question about ecumenism. Is it wrong for the Orthodox to enter into discussion with the Heterodox in order to present them with the truth and offer the Apologetics of Orthodoxy?
"Dialogue." That's the word. That's pretty clearly what the Orthodox are doing. There have been countless complaints from the Anglican side about Anglican-Orthodox dialogue that the Orthodox side essentially talks but doesn't listen.
 

Brendan03

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It can be problematic, however. I think that Fr. Alexander Schmemann, who clearly worked in the ecumenical conversation, expressed some of the difficulties in an article he authored entitled "The Ecumenical Agony". Clearly not someone against ecumenical discussion, he participated in it, but his article expresses some of the angst and contradictions that this can pose for even an ecumenically minded Orthodox like Fr. Schmemann was.
 
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Serge,

But the worldview of ROAC damns people who do that
Does it? Somehow I was unable to find fault with your excerpt from Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow. In context, it was correct. But then again, I'm not trying to read un-Orthodox ideas into his words.

But the worldview of ROAC damns people who do that, with High Church or any other kind of Anglicans, as part of evil 'world Orthodoxy', so according to its logic 19th-century Russian Orthodoxy was such - where does that leave ROAC?
Attempts to actually bring about a corporate integration of a schismatic/heterodox body into Orthodoxy are not only not to be condemned, but laudable. This was certainly the intention of St.Tikhon, who took the High Churchmen as "representative" of Anglicanism (as did other Orthodox who had dealings with them back then) and made decisive moves to facilitate their entrance into the Church - including the submission of a copy of Anglican liturgical texts (and a list of suggested corrections) to the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. This hardly smacks of the ecclessiastical equivocations endemic to modern "Orthodox Ecumenism", and it's various agreed statements, decrees, etc.

Rather like the concession to the Soviet Union literally beaten out of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1927 was a 'lapse' - it didn't make it cease to be the Church in the view of the commonly understood Orthodox and so isn't an excuse against reunion with the Russian Church Abroad now that the USSR is gone.
While there is debate as to whether or not Sergianism represented an ecclessiological heresy as well as an evil policy, what is clear is that adherance to it was undoubtedly apostacy. Sergianism was a participation in the demolition of the Holy Church, not simply a policy of silence in the face of great wickedness (which would have been terrible enough.)

While it is undoubtedly true that adherance to Sergianism was an act of cowardess (it's hard to imagine, save for the KGB agents perhaps, that early on anyone would have gone along with this evil policy were it not for the use of threats), it's also worth keeping in mind that as far as the Church was concerned in past ages, cooperating with the Church's destroyers has always been apostacy, and could only be remedied with repentence to the faithful.

For example, those Bishops, clergy and faithful who turned over holy books (services, Holy Scripture, epistles, etc.) to the pagans to save their lives, or who grudgingly offered a pinch of incence to the Roman idols, were still regarded as apostates. That may seem hard to accept knowing our own softness (and a cultural bias that would see such inflexibility as being unreasonable and even "fanatical"), but this is the reality.

This is why I find your accusations of Donatism to be so galling - they imply (if the term were being used correctly) that the "fanatics/extremists" have categorically refused the repentence of the Sergianists. This is utterly impossible, if only for the simple reason that no repentence has been offered in the first place. Of course this is beside the fact that it is well known that were there some miraculous, corporate move on the part of false heirarchs to repent of their association with Sergianism, they would be absolved and restored to the Church.

The Donatists were not those who regarded the collaberators with paganism as apostates (that was the Orthodox position) - the Donatists were those who denied such collaborators any possibility of repentence, under the belief such repentence is impossible. That is Donatism and that ROAC and all of the "extremists" I know of categorically reject.

What a shining example of the beauty and warmth of Russian spirituality this sig is - I dare say droves of disaffected boys will jam the highways to Colorado with their U-Hauls after reading it.
This is very rich. Without naming names, there was quite a contingent of people on this site practically giddy over the accusations made against Metropolitan Valentin, and who could have cared less about the context they occured in: ignoring the well documented persecution of ROAC Churches and Monasteries by Russian civil authorities (often former communist bosses) at the encouragement of the MP, which included physical assaults against clergy, women and the elderly, not to mention vandalism and arson... ignoring the simple fact that the initial court ruling had no status in ecclessiastical terms (there were even complete fabrications, to the point of saying that Metropolitan Valentin was "kicked out" of the ROCOR for being a child molestor - which by any stretch of the imagination was not the case)...ignoring that the charges themselves and the force behind their prosecution had the hand of MP clergy in it..., etc, etc.

Simply put, none of it mattered. The amount of joy taken by said persons (and the amount of metaphorical cotton they had stuffed in their ears to avoid hearing anything resembling a qualification) in these unfortunate developments in the suffering Russian Orthodox Church was frankly, disgusting.

That said, such persons can eat their words. Indeed, if they have a shred of decency, they will.

Seraphim
 

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Some thoughts from Fr. Seraphim Rose:

"Some would-be zealots of Orthodoxy use the term 'ecumenism' in entirely too imprecise a fashion, as though the very use of the term or contact with an 'ecumenical' organization is itself a 'heresy.' Such views are clearly exaggerations. 'Ecumenism' is a heresy only if it actually involves the denial that Orthodoxy is the true Church of Christ. A few of the Orthodox leaders of the ecumenical movement have gone this far, but most Orthodox participants in the ecumenical movement have not said this much; and a few (such as the late Fr. Georges Florovsky) have only irritated the Protestants in the ecumenical movement by frequently stating at ecumenical gatherings that Orthodoxy is the Church of Christ. One must certainly criticize the participation of even these latter persons in the ecumenical movement, which at its best is misleading and vague about the nature of Christ's Church; but one cannot call such people 'heretics', nor can one affirm that any but a few Orthodox representatives have actually taught ecumenism as a heresy. The battle for true Orthodoxy in our times is not aided by such exaggerations."
In another place Fr. Seraphim said: "The excessive reaction against the ecumenical movement has the same worldly spirit that is present in the ecumenical movement itself."
 
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Schultz,

And note that St. Paul didn't belittle those pagans, who had an altar to the "Unknown God", and call them heterodox or damned or excommuicado or whatever passes as "evangelism" by ultra-Orthodox (and ultra-RC) but preached the Good News to them in terms they would understand, in this case, Socratic philosophy.
This is an extremely one sided understanding of the Church's encounters with both paganism and the heterodox.

On one hand, yes St.Paul pointed to what was true and good in the life and ideas of the pagans - on the other hand he taught they worshipped demons, that they were typically lewd, and that idolatry was hardly blameless.

On one hand, St.Justin Martyr wrote that the great pagan philosophers when grasping at "the truth" were really grasping at the Logos. OTOH, the Holy Fathers commonly referred to the "madness of the Greeks" and often spoke contemptuously of "the Gentiles" (the Fathers speaking spiritually, not racially - as far as they were concerned, the Church was "Israel").

Both have a part in the witness of the Church, and both are appropriate in a particular context. You'll notice that the Church uses a gentler medicine when approaching those who are at least open to what She has to say, or even well desposed to Her. OTOH, She will be much more severe if those outside of Her have an antagnostic posture toward Her, or if She is attempting to defend Her flock from the predation of outsiders. The shepherd can gently pick up a stray sheep and bring it into the fold - or he can pull out his sling and hurl stones at a prowling wolf. Both are two sides of the same coin.

Seraphim
 

Schultz

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I'm not trying to oversimplify anything, Seraphim. I'm merely pointing out that ultra-montanes and anti-"world Orthodox" types, respectively, are doing nothing but drive people away from the Church of Christ by only discussing the negative about what people believe and not starting with the positive. While St. Paul did condemn those who worshipped demons, he knew rightly enough to say, "Okay, they worship this 'Unknown God'...I can use this to show them the Way."

Ubertraditionalists almost never think this way, but prefer to say, "I worship the One True God. You don't. You're just wrong. You have to think like me in order to worship the One True God. OTherwise, you're damned."

What do you think about the way Fr. Seraphim Rose's teacher (whose name slips my mind at present) tried to use the Tao Te Ching in order to explain Christianity to those who would be familiar with it? He tried to take what someone familiar with the Tao already knew and use it to guide them to the Light that is Christ. It might take years to do so, but the bullying I see ultra-orthodox churches using to "convert" people is not and cannot be the way to guide people. It's akin to scaring people into submission ala Evangelical Fundamentalism. St. Paul never scared anyone into the Way, but showed the that Christ was the Way, the Truth and the Light via love.

I'm sure you may have different experiences and tell me that there's all kinds of love in this church or that one, but people on the outside don't see it, and that's what is important. We need to show those outside of the Church love in order to bring them into the Church.

You'll notice that the Church uses a gentler medicine when approaching those who are at least open to what She has to say, or even well desposed to Her. OTOH, She will be much more severe if those outside of Her have an antagnostic posture toward Her, or if She is attempting to defend Her flock from the predation of outsiders.
I think it should be the other way around. A number of Fathers in the Philokalia exhibit quite the opposite of what you are suggesting. I'll try to dig some quotes up tonight.
 

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The c.u. Orthodox - historically including the Russian Church Abroad - don't agree that the Church of Russia apostasized. Practically unreliable for administration, sure, but still among their number.

Donatism also includes judging sacraments to lack grace because of the unworthiness of the minister.
 
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Schultz,

I'm not trying to oversimplify anything, Seraphim. I'm merely pointing out that ultra-montanes and anti-"world Orthodox" types, respectively, are doing nothing but drive people away from the Church of Christ by only discussing the negative about what people believe and not starting with the positive.
I can understand this being your impression, but I have to say it's an impression based upon the inherently polemical nature of contacts between genuine Orthodox and "canonical Orthodox" folks (particularly on the Internet.)

However, it's not representative of the experience of many coming into the Church from an unambiguously non-Orthodox background.

That's unfortunately going to be the "nature of the beast", since this is the nature of the divide which exists between Orthodox Christians and the erring local churches/heirarchies. Speaking simply about the beauty of the Divine Services and the truthfulness of the faith is not sufficient in dealings with ecumenists/new-calendarists/sergianists, particularly not online where these folks (and their tacit supporters) tend to be better informed about the fundamental teachings of Orthodoxy than people generally are in the "real world." What divides the Orthodox from the Ecumenists is not generally "the good", but the alterations and leaven of the Ecumenists.

However, a more "positive" approach towards those in communion with Ecumenism does tend to work better with people in the "real world", since such persons typically do not have the wherewith all or knowledge to supplement the impoverished services and doctrinal corruption of their local parish experience with other things (including hopping around to different parishes for different things), and really are quite ignorant about the basic teachings of the Church.

While St. Paul did condemn those who worshipped demons, he knew rightly enough to say, "Okay, they worship this 'Unknown God'...I can use this to show them the Way."
Fair enough. However, he would never have left them with anything resembling "I'm ok, you're ok." Sadly, that does characterize heretical Ecumenism.

What do you think about the way Fr. Seraphim Rose's teacher (whose name slips my mind at present) tried to use the Tao Te Ching in order to explain Christianity to those who would be familiar with it? He tried to take what someone familiar with the Tao already knew and use it to guide them to the Light that is Christ. It might take years to do so, but the bullying I see ultra-orthodox churches using to "convert" people is not and cannot be the way to guide people. It's akin to scaring people into submission ala Evangelical Fundamentalism. St. Paul never scared anyone into the Way, but showed the that Christ was the Way, the Truth and the Light via love.
I think you're referring to the writings of Damascene Christenson (sp?), who was a student of Fr.Seraphim. The book is Christ the Eternal Tao.

I have no problem with works like this, since they are true. Using what is true as a stepping stone is generally a good thing to do.

Once again, I think your view of the "ultra-Orthodox" is being filtered through your primary encounter with such people - namely online, in polemics between them and those who not only defend falsehood, but will in turn accuse the "ultra-Orthodox" of themselves being "schismatics." Obviously such a context is not going to give a complete picture.

I'm sure you may have different experiences and tell me that there's all kinds of love in this church or that one, but people on the outside don't see it, and that's what is important.
Mmm...no, I'd say those stubborn in their refusal to recognize there is a very serious problem in what passes for "Orthodoxy" now days, are not "feeling the luv", precisely because their encounters with the Orthodox cannot help but become antagonistic. I don't see how anyone is going to "feel the luv", when the basic divide between the two parties is an accusation of heresy/schism on one hand, and an accusation of schism on the other.

The problem is made all the worse, since the mission of the genuine Orthodox is severely comprimised by the presence of those claiming to represent the canonical, confessing Orthodox Church, but do not. This unfortunately makes clear demonstrations of just why the claims of the EP, MP, OCA, Antiochians, etc. (and those who remain in communion with them) are not legitimate necessary. Heresy and schism have always posed this kind of scandal, and harmed the missionary work of the Church toward the gentiles - the presence of two churches claiming to be Orthodox in the same vicinity, yet being diameterically opposed to one another cannot but create scandal, and the need for an explanation.

Seraphim
 
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Serge,

The c.u. Orthodox - historically including the Russian Church Abroad - don't agree that the Church of Russia apostasized. Practically unreliable for administration, sure, but still among their number.
Putting aside for a moment arguments over just what ROCOR "officially" thought of the Sergianist heirarchs and clergy for the time being (since this quickly degenerates into an unresolved argument based upon personalities and subjective readings of their words and acts), I'm asking you as an intelligent human being how those heirarchs who cooperated with communist authorities, and accepted the decree of then Metropolitan Sergius, were not apostates?

What substantially differs between what these Sergianist bishops did, and the fallen bishops of previous times, who allowed holy books, consecrated items, etc. be confiscated by pagan authorities to save their lives, or who paid lip service to the cult of the "gods"? How can doing the work of a regime hell bent (literally!) on the destruction of the Church, and gushingly claiming that it's "joys and sorrows" were those of the Church of Christ, not be a Judas kiss?

Seraphim
 

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Once again, I think your view of the "ultra-Orthodox" is being filtered through your primary encounter with such people - namely online, in polemics between them and those who not only defend falsehood, but will in turn accuse the "ultra-Orthodox" of themselves being "schismatics." Obviously such a context is not going to give a complete picture.
Dude, unlike you, I live most of my life off the internet. Almost all of my contacts with Orthodox people are face to face, be they "world" Orthodox or "traditional" Orthodox. Funnily enough, even the "traditional" Orthodox types are nowhere near as polemical as the those masquerading as "Orthodox" on the internet are. Indeed, we rarely talk about religion and who's God has a bigger...oops, excuse me, I won't go there.

When was the last time you were actually in a church where the Eucharist was celebrated?
 

Serge

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I'm asking you as an intelligent human being how those heirarchs who cooperated with communist authorities, and accepted the decree of then Metropolitan Sergius, were not apostates?
Because they held the Christian faith as received by the Eastern Orthodox communion - they didn't say 'Lenin is God' or something stupid like that, they didn't deny the Trinity or any other doctrine taught in the early church councils, nor did they change the services nor the administration of the sacraments.

What substantially differs between what these Sergianist bishops did, and the fallen bishops of previous times, who allowed holy books, consecrated items, etc. be confiscated by pagan authorities to save their lives, or who paid lip service to the cult of the "gods"? How can doing the work of a regime hell bent (literally!) on the destruction of the Church, and gushingly claiming that it's "joys and sorrows" were those of the Church of Christ, not be a Judas kiss?
The declaration beaten out of the -¦-¦-¦-+-ï-¦ -+-+-é-Ç-+-+-+-+-+-é in 1927 could be construed as nationalism gone too far, an overidentification with the Russian -Ç-+-¦-+-+-¦ - obviously he didn't mean he wanted to destroy the church!

As for your amateurish reading of and judgement about Eastern Orthodox canons, that's for the c.u. Orthodox to decide for themselves, not you. Those canons have all kinds of obscure things one can take out of context - for example, would you refuse the help of a Jewish doctor?

Dude, unlike you, I live most of my life off the internet. Almost all of my contacts with Orthodox people are face to face, be they "world" Orthodox or "traditional" Orthodox. Funnily enough, even the "traditional" Orthodox types are nowhere near as polemical as the those masquerading as "Orthodox" on the internet are. Indeed, we rarely talk about religion and who's God has a bigger...oops, excuse me, I won't go there.

When was the last time you were actually in a church where the Eucharist was celebrated?
A punto, signore. Grazie.
 

Brendan03

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I never understood how it was very different from what happened under the Ottomans. Wasn't the Church's cooperation with government dominated by (what at the time were surely considered) Godless apostate Muslims, who had the practice of culling Christian children for elite military service and forcibly converting them to Islam, at least approaching the situation in Russia after the Revolution? Who was running around calling the EP and the entirety of the Orthodox Church living under the Ottoman system graceless apostates at the time? It seems like a picking and choosing. The Church did what it could to survive under very bad circumstances in each case.
 

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Seraphim Reeves said:
I'm asking you as an intelligent human being how those heirarchs who cooperated with communist authorities, and accepted the decree of then Metropolitan Sergius, were not apostates?
You throw that word "apostate" around all too freely. Did they say there is no God? Did they deny that Jesus existed, that he died and was ressurected? No? Then they weren't apostates. Maybe heretics, but not apostates.
 

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Seraphim Reeves said:
Serge,Putting aside for a moment arguments over just what ROCOR "officially" thought of the Sergianist heirarchs and clergy for the time being (since this quickly degenerates into an unresolved argument based upon personalities and subjective readings of their words and acts),
Seraphim,

I'm sidetracking... but this 1990 official Synodal statement makes the position of the Church Abroad known. Here, ROCOR states that the MP is not deprived of grace. How then can ROAC claim that a 1994 acceptance of Grace in the mysteries of "heretics" led to ROAC's formation? Was Metropolitan Valentin unaware of this position?

Now, when the carefully erected Iron Curtain is beginning to crumble, we have the possibility to meet with and have direct fellowship with our brethren and sisters in the homeland and to rejoice in their steadfastness and firmness in the Faith and in love for Christ. The grace of God strengthens them and puts the ungodly to shame. We believe and confess that in those churches of the Patriarchate of Moscow where the priest fervently believes and sincerely prays, showing himself to be not only a "minister of the cult", but also a good shepherd who loves his sheep, to those who approach him with faith, the grace of salvation is accessible in the mysteries.
 
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Peter,

I think we're talking past each other. You say the excerpt you quoted says the MP is not "without grace." But where exactly do you see the "MP" spoken of in this way? Let me repeat the most relevent part of your excerpt, with emphasis...

We believe and confess that in those churches of the Patriarchate of Moscow where the priest fervently believes and sincerely prays, showing himself to be not only a "minister of the cult", but also a good shepherd who loves his sheep, to those who approach him with faith, the grace of salvation is accessible in the mysteries.
Where is the heirarchy of the MP legitimized in this? Clearly what is being said is that for those labouring under the rule of communist puppets, and who have a clean conscience, they are being sustained by God. I find it very telling that the heirarchy of the MP is totally being left out of the equation, yet you and others try to "slip them in" to such statements.

As for the propriety of the statement itself, I'd say as a speculation it is not totally out to lunch - all heresies and schisms ultimatly have to filter from the "top down". This is to say, even in bodies whose leaders have cut themselves off from the Trunk of the Church and turned their communions into severed branches, it takes an indeterminate amount of time for that limb to be totally drained of it's sap and dry out. This branch analogy is symbolic of the assimilation of heresy on the part of the simple faithful, or the entrance of schism into it's consciousness.

But let us add some context to all of this. Besides the heirarchy of the MP, and the MP as an "institution" being left out of this generous appraisal, we should ask ourselves just what ROCOR was doing in Russia both at this time, before, and after. It is well known that both before and after the official "fall of communism", ROCOR was attempting to restore a heirarchy to the Russian people (which is where ROCOR's support and help in establishing FROC comes into play), and freely received (without "canonical releases" which would be required if they were coming from genuine Churches) both clergy and flocks from the MP, typically via very liberal economy (as converts from Papism were once received by the Russian Orthodox Church, except obviously without the formal renunciation of papist teachings.)

How different this is, from new ROCOR (and from your twisting of ROCOR's own history).

Seraphim
 

Bogoliubtsy

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Seraphim Reeves said:
Peter,

I think we're talking past each other. You say the excerpt you quoted says the MP is not "without grace." But where exactly do you see the "MP" spoken of in this way? Let me repeat the most relevent part of your excerpt, with emphasis...Where is the heirarchy of the MP legitimized in this? Clearly what is being said is that for those labouring under the rule of communist puppets, and who have a clean conscience, they are being sustained by God. I find it very telling that the heirarchy of the MP is totally being left out of the equation, yet you and others try to "slip them in" to such statements.


How different this is, from new ROCOR (and from your twisting of ROCOR's own history).

Seraphim
Seraphim, my dear sophist,

How can a priest provide grace filled sacraments if that priest is not under an Orthodox bishop?

As for twisting ROCOR's history. I've gotten my history from the example and writings of the older clergy, as well as from Synodal decrees. Funny how in all of this the MP was never declared graceless. ROCOR was emphatic in its statements that the Evlogians had lost grace, but not those who followed Sergius. Now, why would ROCOR make such a stink about Evlogy, but not about those under Sergius? Did they just forget to mention that those under Sergius are graceless? Did it slip their minds?
 

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Seraphim, my dear sophist,
Dude, unlike you, I live most of my life off the internet. Almost all of my contacts with Orthodox people are face to face, be they "world" Orthodox or "traditional" Orthodox. Funnily enough, even the "traditional" Orthodox types are nowhere near as polemical as the those masquerading as "Orthodox" on the internet are. Indeed, we rarely talk about religion and who's God has a bigger...oops, excuse me, I won't go there. When was the last time you were actually in a church where the Eucharist was celebrated?
Etc.

Ahh... again we see manifested this supposedly loving and moderate attitude, which is so many times contrasted with the "extremists," "loons," "schismatics," etc.
 

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Justin,

While I agree with you that "World Orthodoxy types" can be dreadfully polemical and nasty, I don't think traditionalists can play the game of innocent victim. When someone insinuates X, Y, and Z about the New Calendar Church, that hurts people's feelings and gets them riled up.

anastasios
 

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This "Faith" board needs to be split into two boards: "Faith" and "Church Politics" (and that one under un-moderated). Then let the flailings commence :- there; but not here.

Demetri
 

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That's actually a good idea, Demetri. We'll take it under consideration.

anastasios
 

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+æ-ü+¦-â-ä+++¦+++«-é said:
This "Faith" board needs to be split into two boards: "Faith" and "Church Politics" (and that one under un-moderated). Then let the flailings commence :- there; but not here.

Demetri
Demetri,

I agree that "church politics" plays too large of a role on all Orthodox forums, this one being no exception. I count myself amongst the culprits. However, defending and/or discussing a question of the faith, however heated that discussion may become, seems to me a part of our Orthodox faith. When some declare 100 million of the world's Orthodox Christians and the hierarchs they are under to be without Grace, it seems to become a question of our faith worth discussing, defending, or refuting. This question, in my opinion, is directly related to questions of what Orthodox Christians believe. Perhaps I'm wrong. Forgive me if my opinion seems too strong.
 

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Nothing to forgive, Peter/Josh/Bogo.
I have a hard time even thinking of another Orthodox layman as something less than "genuine" no matter what I may think of their bishop/synod/jurisdiction's claims or their status among other sister churches.

Demetri
 

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+æ-ü+¦-â-ä+++¦+++«-é said:
Nothing to forgive, Peter/Josh/Bogo.
I have a hard time even thinking of another Orthodox layman as something less than "genuine" no matter what I may think of their bishop/synod/jurisdiction's claims or their status among other sister churches.

Demetri
Yep. That's part of the reason why I started the thread. It seems pretty apparent to me that NO Orthodox Church keeps the Canons to the letter.

So to me, that makes the criticisms being thrown around about who is the TRUE CHURCH a little suspect.
 

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TomΣ said:
Yep. That's part of the reason why I started the thread. It seems pretty apparent to me that NO Orthodox Church keeps the Canons to the letter.

So to me, that makes the criticisms being thrown around about who is the TRUE CHURCH a little suspect.
I think you are right, TomΣ.
I know there are some here who will shutter when they read this, but the Canons are not rigid law (law in our secular sense), but guidelines, important ones to be sure and not to be easily ignored or tampered with, but rules nevertheless, not laws. Interpretation of them within the Church is still a given.

Demetri
 

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THANK you, Demetri! Was rolling that one around in my head for several days; glad you had more courage than I and just said it.
 

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I remember reading about a priest in Greece who was concerned that the sacraments in the church in Greece would be without grace because it was believed the Archbishop they were under had fallen into heresy. At one particular time he put a piece of antidoron in the drawer along with a piece of ordinary bread and subsequently forgot about them. When he opened the drawer several days later and found the bread, the ordinary bread had become mouldy while the antidoron, though it had dried out somewhat, was otherwise untouched and in this manner God put his fears to rest.

John.
 

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Ahh... again we see manifested this supposedly loving and moderate attitude, which is so many times contrasted with the "extremists," "loons," "schismatics," etc.
Sometimes, the truth hurts, doesn't it?

I know I can get riled up and be slightly more annoying. It even says so above my avatar. I'm not the one playing Mr. Perfect, hiding underneath some false humility.
 

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I just looked at the site (http://www.russianorthodoxautonomouschurchinamerica.com/heresies.html) mentioned earlier. There are so many " . . ." and discussions without any context whatsoever, I cannot possibly make a judgment on what they are trying to say. I don't have time to go review the original documents. Perhaps they could do us all a favor and provide links to the full texts and a summary describing how, when, where and why the pictures were taken.

When in college, I went to a synagogue a few times with a Jewish friend. Some pictures may have been taken. I guess I'd better find them before it gets posted on the net and I get excommunicated for denying Christ!!!! Dang, I even remember some conversations with Muslims I didn't start with, "You know you're going to hell." I hope those don't find there way out here either.
 

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Of course I'm an ex-Uniate, so there are lots of pictures and quotes that can be used to condemn me. Now I'm in the Serbian Orthodox Church - old calendar, traditional, Church Slavonic - OOPS, they're on the no-no list. I guess I just can't win.

So, if I then joined the ROAC church and everything fell into place and I somehow became some sort of ROAC hierarch, could these old quotes and pictures be used against ROAC??????
 
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