• For users new and old: the forum rules were streamlined when we transitioned to the new software. Please ensure that you are familiar with them. Continued use of the forum means that you (a) know the rules, and (b) pledge that you'll abide by them. For more information, check out the OrthodoxChristianity.Net Rules section. (There are only 2 threads there - Rules, and Administrative Structure.)

Mor Ephrem wants to know...

Asteriktos

Strategos
Joined
Oct 4, 2002
Messages
39,563
Reaction score
316
Points
83
It's, like, deep man. 8) And wide--that's important too.* Beautiful, flawed, much more human than most other versions of Christianity. Continuity, more or less, and kinda old as well. Preaches humility, but often enough makes extravagant claims about itself. It's exotic and foreign, but at the same time has enough sense to have pierogies and a desert named 'kissel.' There are monks living on pillars, zombie bishops, Empresses, and nobodies. There are brilliant but flawed theologians (Origen), flawed but brilliant theologians (Augustine), and Gregory the Great (not the diagolist guy). There is Byzantium, that place where God was worshipped correctly and orthodoxically; and Russia, the only place that could have produced Dostoevsky.


*I should say "depth and breadth," that sounds nerd-cooler
 

Volnutt

Hoplitarches
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
15,089
Reaction score
3
Points
0
Age
35
Justin Kissel said:
It's, like, deep man. 8) And wide--that's important too.* Beautiful, flawed, much more human than most other versions of Christianity. Continuity, more or less, and kinda old as well. Preaches humility, but often enough makes extravagant claims about itself. It's exotic and foreign, but at the same time has enough sense to have pierogies and a desert named 'kissel.' There are monks living on pillars, zombie bishops, Empresses, and nobodies. There are brilliant but flawed theologians (Origen), flawed but brilliant theologians (Augustine), and Gregory the Great (not the diagolist guy). There is Byzantium, that place where God was worshipped correctly and orthodoxically; and Russia, the only place that could have produced Dostoevsky.


*I should say "depth and breadth," that sounds nerd-cooler
Wow, that was poetic.
 

NanaDeborah

Elder
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
420
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Florida
A lot of what Justin said.  Depth and breadth.  I feel like I have lived in the kiddie pool all my life and just jumped in the ocean. 

Reverence, especially for the Eucharist.  Beauty. Humility (well, at least it's taught as a priority, whether we all get it or not)

Tradition. A capella choirs. Candles. Incense. Wisdom from the Fathers. A way to deal with sin, for a change.

Prayer ... it's so great to not have to try to figure it out for myself - having a framework that is defined, not vague.

Ask again in another year or two. I'm less than a year in, and hoping for chrismation very soon.

For now, I still feel like, "Where have you been all my life?"  I hope it stays this way.  I am enthralled.  I get butterflies in my stomach every time as I am driving to church.
 

Luke

Taxiarches
Joined
Dec 5, 2008
Messages
7,284
Reaction score
101
Points
63
I remember the first time I visited a Liturgy.  I was blown away by the first line when the priest called out, "Blessed is the kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
 

Seth84

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Nov 28, 2008
Messages
1,077
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
36
I love Orthodoxy because I love truth.  It is through Orthodoxy that man may ascend to the heights of glory like the Divine Moses when he ascended the spiritual mountain and contemplated the Holy Trinity.  I love the Divine and Illustrious Fathers, especially the great Fathers of the Desert such as Athanasius, Evagrios, Macarios, Isaiah the Solitary, and Mark the Monk.  Also, the mystical theology of Gregory Palamas, Maximos the Confessor, and Nikodemos the Hagiorite.  The Divine Images that decorate our churches, the sanctification of matter.  The Mystery of Confession that releases us from guilt and the Holy Eucharist whereby we partake of the very body and blood of God Himself.  Without the Church we would be lost in toil and the psychic hells we create for ourselves. 
 

Volnutt

Hoplitarches
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
15,089
Reaction score
3
Points
0
Age
35
Eruvande said:
Because it's so not about me.
I know what you mean. One thing I do agree with Katherine Jefferts Schori on, individual salvation is in a sense the current great Western heresy.
 

eddybear

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
1,097
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
49
Location
South-west England
Being able to trust the Church for the answers to the important questions, instead of having to rely on my own (in-)ability. The sense of following a 2000 year old path. Silence and prayer. Beautiful chant. Icons. Saints, and a sense of being part of a heavenly family. Services that are God-centred... will that do for now?
 

Asteriktos

Strategos
Joined
Oct 4, 2002
Messages
39,563
Reaction score
316
Points
83
For all that responded thus far, I'm curious: did the things you mention draw you towards the conclusion that 'God is here,' or did they place a peripheral role, or not at all? For example, if all the things you mention were absent, would you still be Orthodox? Is it the things that make you believe God is there, or are they mostly confirmations or beautiful/helpful add-ons to something you already have/believe/do?
 

Volnutt

Hoplitarches
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
15,089
Reaction score
3
Points
0
Age
35
Justin Kissel said:
For all that responded thus far, I'm curious: did the things you mention draw you towards the conclusion that 'God is here,' or did they place a peripheral role, or not at all? For example, if all the things you mention were absent, would you still be Orthodox? Is it the things that make you believe God is there, or are they mostly confirmations or beautiful/helpful add-ons to something you already have/believe/do?
The Fathers (especially St. Ignatius due to his clear arguments and early date) convinced me that God's Church is a sacerdotal and episcopal church. The reason I'm not going to go Catholic or Anglican (besides the Lutherans outside Scandinavia not having bishops) is because I think the Orthodox Church has the best arguments for having preserved as pure a faith as possible.

Everything else that makes me personally like Orthodox spirituality and praxis more than others is just icing on the cake but not essential for me.

If that's not what you're looking for then I'm not sure how else to answer your question, sorry.
 

WPM

Taxiarches
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
7,775
Reaction score
10
Points
0
Age
38
Its taking helluva long time to get there.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

Merarches
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
10,800
Reaction score
9
Points
0
Age
52
Location
Jackson, MS
Website
www.facebook.com
The emphasis on mystery and the acceptance of holy paradox. It's so refreshing not to have to explain everything or tie up every loose end. I love the fact that Orthodoxy is not illogical, it simply recognizes that God transcends logical syllogisms and that He is not bound by rational scrutiny. It may seem like a cop out to some, but I have found great peace in simply answering: it's a mystery.

(And +1 to all that Justin said.)

Selam
 

eddybear

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
1,097
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
49
Location
South-west England
Justin Kissel said:
For all that responded thus far, I'm curious: did the things you mention draw you towards the conclusion that 'God is here,' or did they place a peripheral role, or not at all? For example, if all the things you mention were absent, would you still be Orthodox? Is it the things that make you believe God is there, or are they mostly confirmations or beautiful/helpful add-ons to something you already have/believe/do?
For me, I'm searching for the truth, and in Orthodoxy I'm finding that the true Christian Faith has been preserved over 2000 years, in a way that I haven't found anywhere else. The presence of God in services, prayer and silence, are all essentials, though I can find these in other Christian traditions, especially Catholic monasticism. Similarly I can find Saints and a heavenly family in Catholicism, albeit many different ones of course. Other things in my list are things I like, such as chant and icons, and they make Orthodoxy even more attractive, but it would not stop me heading towards Orthodoxy if they were absent.
 

wgw

Taxiarches
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
5,816
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Cast adrift in a lifeboat of the SS Aurora
Three things:

The essence/energies distinction, more specifically, St. Gregory the Theologian saying that contemplating the uncreated essence of God leads to madness.  I used to be terrified trying to contemplate eternity in my youth, starting at 7 or 8.  If I thought about it perchance I would lie awake in pure terror until I could divert my mind by thinking about other things.  Because the idea of either existing forever or dying terrified me, and so I was a Christian but scared of Heaven as much as Hell and as much as death and annihilation itself.  While I was at Disneyland I had nightmarish thoughts while waiting in line for Pirates of the Carribean, about what could have created God.  But the cheery organ music from Swiss Family Robinsons Treehouse distracted me.  But that night on the two hour drive home I reclined in the family car in silent terror.  So when I read St. Gregory on this point, it was like the weight of a thousand elephants had been lifted from my shoulders.

Secondly, apophatic theology.  Contemplating God by means of the via negativa, in conjunction with the Jesus Prayer, reliably produces a certain euphoria.  I avoid this as a matter of course however and focus on the Jesus Prayer itself because I feel I am unworthy to gaze upon the Throne of God through the vista apophatic theology affords while I am still so much a slave to my passions, and could easily fall into prelest.  But if I am able to be a better Orthodox Christian then I might dare to pursue this further, under the watchful eye or my father/confessor, who right now is too busy with people in the parish distressed about the situation in the Middle East to be my mystical babysitter.  But there is a good monk at St. Anthonys who I have a rapport with and I think when conditions permit I will spend time with him on this.

Thirdly, and most pressingly, the Liturgy.  The Divine Liturgy, and the Divine Office and Sacramental services of all Eastern and Oriental Prthodox churches and our close cousins the Assyrians, the Romans and the Anglicans.  But most especially the Orthodox, who take the liturgy to the extreme.  Its beauty maddens my soul like wine.  I love most of all the Syriac, Coptic, Armenian and Church Slavonic approaches.  Individual parts from each.  The layout of a typical ROCOR parish, and the music.  The heart stopping intensity of the Coptic confession.  The conceptual elegance of the Armenian services, and the wonderful mystical style they imparted to churches in the Holy Land.  And the exquisite way Syriac priests sing the liturgy, not just chanting it but really singing it.  The Copts also do this but the Syrian Syriacs, the Suroye, sing it in a mournful quality as opposed to the more cheerful Coptic style and make extensive controlled use of half Romes and quarter tones.  But all the liturgies, and not just these four pets of mine, that are Orthodox, contain an intersection of Heaven and Earth and thus even in those which I find stylistically lacking, like my local OCA parish which has a most loving and tender priest and congregation, I find myself able to encounter this reality in some way.  So my love for the liturgy is twofold; a love for the superficial aspects which constitute liturgical beauty, and a love for the inner reality that is present even when the luxurious surroundings of a beautiful cathedral church with ornate decor and a splendid choir are absent.  I would love to join Fr. Lazarus in celebrating the liturgy in the Cave of St. Anthony, which would be aesthetically unimpressive compared to other services but which would have just as much inner beauty.

I particularly love church services at night, or on Sunday morning.  But nighttime services have a special allure.  The beauty of Sunday morning is like the major key and the beauty of vespers is like the minor key, or a nighttime Eucharist.
 

Jonathan Gress

Taxiarches
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
5,541
Reaction score
1
Points
0
The services of Holy Week, especially Great Saturday. The hymns at the first liturgy on Great Saturday turn me inside out with all the paradoxes.
 

Saxon

High Elder
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
543
Reaction score
104
Points
43
Age
31
Location
Canada
Reverence, tradition, salvation as a process of moving ever closer to God as opposed to a rigid formula à la Western Christianity, beautiful and inspiring aesthetics in the services and icons, a treasure of saints.
 

JTLoganville

High Elder
Joined
Jan 19, 2015
Messages
713
Reaction score
67
Points
28
Location
Pennsylvania
The honest assessment that Theosis is hard work; that it is a lifetime work; and that we encounter many setbacks along the journey.

No "happy-clappy" "name it/claim it" once-and-done simplicity.

The good news is that our hard, lifetime work is not accomplished in isolation but in the community of believers in Heaven and on earth and assisted by the ministration of countless angels and saints.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
2,678
Reaction score
60
Points
48
Age
57
Location
USA
I think the basic daily living of the Gospel of alms giving. prayer, & fasting ( Matthew 6:1-18) has remained in focus. I believe the creed alongside this has kept the faith so it can be understood & lived out in the hope of salvation.
 

Ainnir

Taxiarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
6,370
Reaction score
338
Points
83
Age
37
Curious what led to the creation of this thread so many moons ago. 🧐

The depth, the theology, the interconnection of the physical and spiritual, the paradox, candles, simplicity, hymns. ❤
 

Pravoslavbob

Protokentarchos
Staff member
Moderator
Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
3,703
Reaction score
10
Points
38
Location
Canada
Fr. Lev Gillet sums it up best for me:

"O strange Orthodox Church, so poor and so weak...maintained as if by a miracle through so many vicissitudes and struggles; Church of contrasts, so traditional and yet at the same time so free, so archaic and yet so alive, so ritualistic and yet so personally mystical; Church where the Evangelical pearl of great price is preciously safeguarded–––yet often beneath a layer of dust...Church which has so frequently proved incapable of action–––yet which knows, as does no other, how to sing the joy of Pascha!"

(Quoted from page 24 of The Inner Kingdom by Bishop Kallistos Ware.)
 

Stinky

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
712
Reaction score
237
Points
43
Location
America
Fr. Lev Gillet sums it up best for me:

"O strange Orthodox Church, so poor and so weak...maintained as if by a miracle through so many vicissitudes and struggles; Church of contrasts, so traditional and yet at the same time so free, so archaic and yet so alive, so ritualistic and yet so personally mystical; Church where the Evangelical pearl of great price is preciously safeguarded–––yet often beneath a layer of dust...Church which has so frequently proved incapable of action–––yet which knows, as does no other, how to sing the joy of Pascha!"

(Quoted from page 24 of The Inner Kingdom by Bishop Kallistos Ware.)
I read this in this same book while I was a Catechumen still seeking. This little passage somehow gave me that final peace I needed in making the plunge with all confidence to join. I love this!
 

EmperorConstantine

Jr. Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2008
Messages
73
Reaction score
1
Points
6
Age
31
Location
California (blegh)
I love the Divine Liturgy. It isn't an emotional roller coaster, it's riddled with theology, and it is the same no matter where you are in the world or what language it is in.
 

TheTrisagion

Hoplitarches
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
17,837
Reaction score
17
Points
38
Age
41
Location
PA, USA
I like that there is room for doubt and struggle and its not threatened by questions.
 
Top