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Prayer with Non-Orthodox

qawe

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If we can pray with non-Orthodox groups which self-identify as Christians using 'lowest common denominator' ecumenical prayer services, then why can't we pray with non-Christian groups (eg Jews, Muslims) using similarly reductionist services? In both cases, these groups are potentially outside the One, Only, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, or at least not part of it in the fullest sense.

I'm interested in both EO and OO perspectives.
 

Anna.T

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qawe said:
If we can pray with non-Orthodox groups which self-identify as Christians using 'lowest common denominator' ecumenical prayer services, then why can't we pray with non-Christian groups (eg Jews, Muslims) using similarly reductionist services? In both cases, these groups are potentially outside the One, Only, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, or at least not part of it in the fullest sense.

I'm interested in both EO and OO perspectives.
I think you need to check your initial premise to be sure.

I have been told we are not to pray with those we are not in communion with. I generally bow my head respectfully, but say my own prayers or "Lord have mercy"s under my breath.
 

mctaviix

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People are on different ends of the spectrum.  My family is nominally Catholic but my mother still attends mass.  Since nobody goes with her, I will go on certain holidays if my church already had Liturgy or whatever the case may be.  My priest told me that I could say the Our Father but not participate in any other way.  I think that's quite reasonable.  

Other people feel it's ok to wholly participate with the exception of communion (and even then...we've had people at my church genuinely not understand this) but participating indicates affirmation.  I think bowing your head respectfully is quite right.  Why make a scene when another Christian, even if not in communion, is praying to Jesus?  You're not being asked to deny your faith or convert or even affirm in what that religion is saying.  I think the same comes to non-Christians.  Don't do anything other than be respectful, but don't actively participate.  

I remember seeing Patriarch Bartholomew I at a Papal mass years ago.  During the consecration he simply removed his headgear (forget it's proper name) and stood.  I realize this causes controversy among some Orthodox but I think this is an issue that needs more common sense than academic dissertation.  No, we don't accept as truth that all churches or religions are equal but we are commanded to love our fellow man.  

Ecumenical events do make me nervous, however.  These meetings have clergy all saying the same prayers and usually dressed in their respective vestments.  It looks like a sideshow to me because we are all different and that's a reality.  There's no need to say "hey, we're all alike".  My opinion is that the better road is to acknowledge what our differences are and say flatly this is what needs to be done for communion to be restored.  We know where we are alike and where were not.  I think it's been very, very well covered.  

Why not simply gather and have a short prayer. then discuss matters that are important to all Christians?  How about instead of saying prayers for reunion over and again we use that time to talk about the massacre of Christians across the world?  It will better serve all of us if we are aware of what needs the other has.  It's my opinion that we are in a current state where we all need to forget our theological differences and present a united front against the main threats to us in this world.  I'd go on but that's for another thread.
 

Anna.T

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Hamartolos said:
People are on different ends of the spectrum.  My family is nominally Catholic but my mother still attends mass.  Since nobody goes with her, I will go on certain holidays if my church already had Liturgy or whatever the case may be.  My priest told me that I could say the Our Father but not participate in any other way.  I think that's quite reasonable.  

Other people feel it's ok to wholly participate with the exception of communion (and even then...we've had people at my church genuinely not understand this) but participating indicates affirmation.  I think bowing your head respectfully is quite right.  Why make a scene when another Christian, even if not in communion, is praying to Jesus?  You're not being asked to deny your faith or convert or even affirm in what that religion is saying.  I think the same comes to non-Christians.  Don't do anything other than be respectful, but don't actively participate.  

I remember seeing Patriarch Bartholomew I at a Papal mass years ago.  During the consecration he simply removed his headgear (forget it's proper name) and stood.  I realize this causes controversy among some Orthodox but I think this is an issue that needs more common sense than academic dissertation.  No, we don't accept as truth that all churches or religions are equal but we are commanded to love our fellow man.  

Ecumenical events do make me nervous, however.  These meetings have clergy all saying the same prayers and usually dressed in their respective vestments.  It looks like a sideshow to me because we are all different and that's a reality.  There's no need to say "hey, we're all alike".  My opinion is that the better road is to acknowledge what our differences are and say flatly this is what needs to be done for communion to be restored.  We know where we are alike and where were not.  I think it's been very, very well covered.  

Why not simply gather and have a short prayer. then discuss matters that are important to all Christians?  How about instead of saying prayers for reunion over and again we use that time to talk about the massacre of Christians across the world?  It will better serve all of us if we are aware of what needs the other has.  It's my opinion that we are in a current state where we all need to forget our theological differences and present a united front against the main threats to us in this world.  I'd go on but that's for another thread.
That does make sense too to allow the Our Father. Of course, I'll stay with what I've been told, but I was also told it was because the prayers could be heretical and it keeps from putting us on the spot of having to analyze them and know if we should "amen" or not (or possibly be wrong). But if it's the Our Father, then that isn't a problem. So I can see where if that is my priest's reason, then your priest's advice makes sense too. :)

As far as the ecumenical stuff ... I'm still working on what to think about that. What I do know is that I do NOT want to see this Church I have just found, but already love and admire so much - dissolve into something else for the sake of peace, ecumenism, inclusiveness, or anything else. If she has guarded the true and full deposit of the faith all these many centuries, why should it be watered down or co-mingled with something else or partially discarded now?

But I do have a great desire to see "one holy catholic and apostolic Church" as I believe Christ prayed for - and I desire to see everyone who follows Him be included. But that may just be my own way of thinking about it.

I guess that is another thread though. Sorry.  ;D
 

qawe

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Anna.T said:
But I do have a great desire to see "one holy catholic and apostolic Church" as I believe Christ prayed for
Isn't that already a present reality? And one that can't be destroyed? "The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it"
 

Anna.T

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qawe said:
Anna.T said:
But I do have a great desire to see "one holy catholic and apostolic Church" as I believe Christ prayed for
Isn't that already a present reality? And one that can't be destroyed? "The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it"
It depends on how you look at it.

If you consider only the Orthodox Church, then we are a reality. But what about those outside?

And if you consider the entire group of those who believe in Christ, then it is a reality, but we are not really one. In fact, there is terrible in-fighting at times.

I can be wrong in the way I'm looking at it. But I don't think the current state of Christendom is the ideal.
 

Minnesotan

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Anna.T said:
qawe said:
Anna.T said:
But I do have a great desire to see "one holy catholic and apostolic Church" as I believe Christ prayed for
Isn't that already a present reality? And one that can't be destroyed? "The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it"
It depends on how you look at it.

If you consider only the Orthodox Church, then we are a reality. But what about those outside?

And if you consider the entire group of those who believe in Christ, then it is a reality, but we are not really one. In fact, there is terrible in-fighting at times.

I can be wrong in the way I'm looking at it. But I don't think the current state of Christendom is the ideal.
Even within Orthodoxy there are, if not outright splits, at least tensions that result in less-than-perfect unity; for example the Ukrainian situation, or the MP vs. EP tensions, or (until recently) the MP vs. ROCOR split. That's considering just the EO, too; if you consider the EO-OO divide and the various intra-OO spats that pop up from time to time, the list grows longer.
 

Anna.T

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Minnesotan said:
Anna.T said:
qawe said:
Anna.T said:
But I do have a great desire to see "one holy catholic and apostolic Church" as I believe Christ prayed for
Isn't that already a present reality? And one that can't be destroyed? "The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it"
It depends on how you look at it.

If you consider only the Orthodox Church, then we are a reality. But what about those outside?

And if you consider the entire group of those who believe in Christ, then it is a reality, but we are not really one. In fact, there is terrible in-fighting at times.

I can be wrong in the way I'm looking at it. But I don't think the current state of Christendom is the ideal.
Even within Orthodoxy there are, if not outright splits, at least tensions that result in less-than-perfect unity; for example the Ukrainian situation, or the MP vs. EP tensions, or (until recently) the MP vs. ROCOR split. That's considering just the EO, too; if you consider the EO-OO divide and the various intra-OO spats that pop up from time to time, the list grows longer.
You are right of course.

And it's obviously nothing new. There were disagreements recorded in Scripture between the Apostles.

I just heard today of something I hadn't before been aware of regarding the ROA. And as time goes by, I hear this little thing or that. I have had a reception turn cool by some people of other jurisdictions when they learn mine, though that is an exception rather than the rule.

But you're right. We do not have perfect unity. We are not "one as Christ and the Father are one" ... at least I don't think so. Maybe we won't be until the eschaton. I really don't know.
 

Georgii

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qawe said:
If we can pray with non-Orthodox groups which self-identify as Christians using 'lowest common denominator' ecumenical prayer services, then why can't we pray with non-Christian groups (eg Jews, Muslims) using similarly reductionist services? In both cases, these groups are potentially outside the One, Only, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, or at least not part of it in the fullest sense.

I'm interested in both EO and OO perspectives.
Tough question. I personally don't like the "lowest common denominator" approach, or ecumenism in general, but in our city we EO do pray often with Roman Catholics, and they with us, with the blessings of our respective clergy, who, I think, are striking a very good balance given the circumstances.

My son has been a member of the local RC cathedral boys' choir for about five years now, singing the Credo with Filioque and all. Our Archpriest was quite enthusiastic about this, knowing that our son would get a solid musical education that could serve well later in life: "Oh, yes, we need more singers for our choirs!"

There is a senior nun of the Congregatio Jesu (basically a female Jesuit) who sings the Liturgy with us in our church. I assume she does this with the blessing of her (and our) bishop and/or her abbess. For all I know, she could be the abbess. She wears ordinary clothes, which as I understand it Jesuits are authorized to do. She says she has been singing Byzantine Rite RC services for years, and I suspect that she would convert to Orthodoxy in a flash were she not so invested in the RC Church.

Every year we serve a moleben to Saint Afra (her tomb, which is in the crypt of an RC basilica, is pictured here to the left) every year, and last time an RC priest participated, not co-celebrating with our priest so to speak, but he was standing and as far as I could tell praying with us.

When I visit St. Afra, if there is a Mass being celebrated I will pray and sing along, but I do leave out the Filioque and prayers to St. Ulrich, who is not an Orthodox saint.

Sharing the Eucharist is right out, except in a dire emergency. Other than that, none of these services are watered down or lowest common denominator in any way.

As I understand it, the main issues here are the "purity" of our practice, and how solid the particular person's grounding in Orthodoxy (or Roman Catholicsm) is, to avoid what the RCs call indifferentism.

The former doesn't particularly bother me, and I am happy to leave it to our clergy. As to indifferentism, I don't think any of the people I've mentioned here are in much danger of that, or at least I hope not.
'
As to the particular circumstances here, among other things the scars of the 30 Years' War and World War II are literally still visible in some of the buildings and terrain, so maybe we have even more reason to get along with each other.

There's a lot more I could say about this topic, but it's past time to peel some potatoes.

 

DCBmoreOCF

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This isn't really as complicated as some make it out to be.

If you're at a place where non Orthodox are praying or worshipping, then be respectful, but do not participate or sing along with what they are doing.

Unless your spiritual father tells you something different or gives you a blessing for something, don't do anything beyond being respectful and courteous.

Sometimes at work, one of our managers may say grace over food if we are having some kind of celebratory event (retirement, holiday party etc). I stand respectfully when they say their prayer, I say my own prayer of gratitude, and we go on and eat and no one is offended nor does anyone really notice. I do notice two of my co-workers who are Jewish, also not participating. Good for them and good for us when we do the same as we are called to.
 

Paisius

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DCBmoreOCF said:
This isn't really as complicated as some make it out to be.

If you're at a place where non Orthodox are praying or worshipping, then be respectful, but do not participate or sing along with what they are doing.

Unless your spiritual father tells you something different or gives you a blessing for something, don't do anything beyond being respectful and courteous.

Sometimes at work, one of our managers may say grace over food if we are having some kind of celebratory event (retirement, holiday party etc). I stand respectfully when they say their prayer, I say my own prayer of gratitude, and we go on and eat and no one is offended nor does anyone really notice. I do notice two of my co-workers who are Jewish, also not participating. Good for them and good for us when we do the same as we are called to.


I think a better solution would be to put your fingers in your ears and go "LA, LA, LA, LA" very loudly until they are finished and then cross yourself dramatically and say your own prayers. I appreciate your attempts to be respectful but it could give these dirty heretics the impression that you did in fact pray with them and then by extension approve of every single belief they have ever had. Better safe than sorry.
 

LenInSebastopol

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Paisius said:
DCBmoreOCF said:
This isn't really as complicated as some make it out to be.

If you're at a place where non Orthodox are praying or worshipping, then be respectful, but do not participate or sing along with what they are doing.

Unless your spiritual father tells you something different or gives you a blessing for something, don't do anything beyond being respectful and courteous.

Sometimes at work, one of our managers may say grace over food if we are having some kind of celebratory event (retirement, holiday party etc). I stand respectfully when they say their prayer, I say my own prayer of gratitude, and we go on and eat and no one is offended nor does anyone really notice. I do notice two of my co-workers who are Jewish, also not participating. Good for them and good for us when we do the same as we are called to.
I think a better solution would be to put your fingers in your ears and go "LA, LA, LA, LA" very loudly until they are finished and then cross yourself dramatically and say your own prayers. I appreciate your attempts to be respectful but it could give these dirty heretics the impression that you did in fact pray with them and then by extension approve of every single belief they have ever had. Better safe than sorry.
So, are you running for public office soon?
I'd vote for that since when I scream, "Heathens, blasphemers" I get tossed out! Geesh folks can be SO uptight!

Seriously, we are to pray for those that oppose us, so if you find yourself in a temple with Jewish folks or Muslims, pray for them, and decorum would not have you do the two examples above.
Praying to God is never a thing to be ashamed of nor ever a wrong.
 
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