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"Orthodox" vs. "orthodox"

nstanosheck

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Many people at OrthodoxChristianity.net will often say, someone's faith or religion is orthodox but not Orthodox. Now since various people use this terminology, I am wondering, what does one mean by this?

Can one be orthodox without being Orthodox? Can one be Orthodox without being orthodox?

I'd just like to see a clearer vision of how each person interprets this, even those who may not agree. Thanks in advance and God Bless!
 

Serge

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Nik,

Good question!

I think I'm the one who's been using this distinction and can't think of any others here who have.

By Orthodox (note the big O) I always mean the Eastern Orthodox communion.

Can one be orthodox without being Orthodox?

I think there are Eastern Orthodox who will say no. But I also think even those who say only Orthodoxy is the Church will concede that there are those outside it who agree with many of its teachings and perhaps could be described as small-o orthodox.

I admit my view, that one can be orthodox but not Orthodox, reflects a more Catholic and even high-church Anglican view, a kind of 'mere orthodoxy', 'mere catholicism' or 'mere apostolicity' shared by Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrians and Catholics.

(Certainly I don't think co-administrator Mor Ephrem, a member of the Malankara Church, is not orthodox!)

And what is this orthodoxy? Fidelity to the teachings in the Bible. The Nicene and Athanasian Creeds (the last isn't used liturgically by Orthodox but I've seen it printed at the beginning of the Russian book of hours, in Slavonic), and the content of the western baptismal creed known as the Apostles': the Trinity, and the divinity of Christ, who is true God and true man. The special place of Our Lady as Mother of God, her intercession and that of the rest of the communion of saints. The all-male apostolic ministry of bishops and their ordained deputies, priests and deacons. And the truth about the Eucharist: that it is the Sacrifice of Christ and is literally the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

Basic credal orthodoxy as summarized above is what I mean by orthodox, catholic and apostolic.

Can one be Orthodox without being orthodox?

As nonsensical as it sounds, yes - there are born Eastern Orthodox who deny some of this basic orthodoxy. (For example, people who vote for or work for proabortion Presidents. Those who are not prolife but still think they're Orthodox because of their Eastern European heritage.)

Sometimes I use orthodox to describe those classical Protestants who are still thoroughly Christian, reserving catholic and apostolic only for those bodies that have maintained all the points I have summed up above.
 
E

emmaus

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Nik said:
Many people at OrthodoxChristianity.net will often say, someone's faith or religion is orthodox but not Orthodox. Now since various people use this terminology, I am wondering, what does one mean by this?

Can one be orthodox without being Orthodox? Can one be Orthodox without being orthodox?

I'd just like to see a clearer vision of how each person interprets this, even those who may not agree. Thanks in advance and God Bless!
Nik,

Can one be 'Orthodox' while adhering to--publicly--the Roman Catholic dogma of papal infallibility, universal jurisdiction, etc? What would your pastor say?

rtss
 

nstanosheck

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emmaus said:
Can one be 'Orthodox' while adhering to--publicly--the Roman Catholic dogma of papal infallibility, universal jurisdiction, etc? What would your pastor say?
Of course those are not Orthodox beliefs.

I ask this to get clarification of how these terms are used by others, as I have seen anumber of people, and not just Serge, use them and I wanted to get a clearer idea of what people mean by then and see what others thing of these terms being used in the way they are as well. God Bless!
 

Serge

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More thoughts on mere orthodoxy/mere catholicism/mere apostolicity.

The essentials are as outlined. Perhaps objective, Godward liturgical worship and the use of images (icons) as ratified by the seventh ecumenical council (Nicaea II) can be added.

But mere orthodoxy can take many forms of rite.

As important as rite is, any one rite is not of the esse of the Church. It is accidental.

The reason there are different rites at all is simply because of the lack of communication between different peoples in the ancient world. Truth has nothing to do with it.

An example of this ancient insularity, which continued into medieval times: I reckon England is about the size of Pennsylvania, but for hundreds of years, going back to Chaucer and before, its English-speakers have had dozens of very different-sounding accents.

Mere catholicism likewise speaks with different accents - different rites, different theological schools of thought - none better or holier or more true than the other than Mancunian English is to Geordie English.

Russian Orthodoxy - 'mere Christianity' with icons, the Byzantine Rite and the Slavonic language.
 

Anastasios

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To all forum participants:

Since Nik brought up this point, we'd like to take the opportunity to reiterate this board's "official position" that "big-O" Orthodox refers to both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. We are of the view that God willing, the two Churches will end the schism between them, in our lifetime perhaps!

Anyone who holds to the other opinions exisiting in Orthodoxy (such as the Copts who might view Chalcedonians as Nestorians, or the Chalcdeonians who might view the Oriental Orthodox as "monophysites") are welcome to post their opinions/debates in the "Non-Chalcedonian Discussion" Folder in a constructive manner.

The term "small-o" orthodox are much more ambiguous and we don't take an opinion on this issue.

In Christ,

anastasios
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