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Theological hot takes that can get you in trouble with your fellow brethren

TheTrisagion

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Third or fourth generation [insert ethnicity here] rarely have a place they actually call home in the Old CountryTM.
I hear ya. I'm third generation and I'm not sure my my Old Country is Prussia or Poland, Serbia or Croatia. Those lines sure did move around quite a bit since Grandpa and Grandma hopped off the boat.
 

Saxon

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I found The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church to be the most “useful” of Fr. Seraphim’s works.

I also think Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future has held up well given the recent explosion of interest in yoga, eastern mysticism, and other New Age fads ironically embraced by the secular generation.

The Soul After Death is edifying if you’re at least highly open to toll houses.

I haven’t been able to get my hands on Genesis, Creation and Early Man; my old parish had a copy for sale for $40 and I didn’t buy it. Long gone, and now impossible to find for an affordable price.

Hieromonk Damascene’s biography is essential reading. Maybe even the basis for approaching Fr. Seraphim’s writings, as it gives vital background and context. My issue with it is that it sanitizes Gleb Podmoshensky’s life and actions.
 

hecma925

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I hear ya. I'm third generation and I'm not sure my my Old Country is Prussia or Poland, Serbia or Croatia. Those lines sure did move around quite a bit since Grandpa and Grandma hopped off the boat.
I'm four generations from Spain and there is no home for me. There is one generation from Puerto Rico and, even with lots of relatives still there, there is no home for me.
 

Asteriktos

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Will I get all hyperdox if I read these titles? :unsure:
I doubt it. You kinda have to be susceptible to it to begin with. If you have the mindset/temperament for it, you're just as likely to be "radicalized" by Scripture or the Sayings of the Desert Fathers.
 

Serge

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I wish we started [services] at 9 or 8. I don't like starving.
I hear you, brother.

Or go old-school, old-country: a string of services starting at 8 or 9am Sundays and lasting several hours, but the people don't starve themselves every Sunday morning, nor stay for all the services. Mill in and out of church at will, staying for about 30 minutes, maybe, ideally, just for the whole Liturgy. Confess everything and go to Communion only a couple of times a year. I'm not saying this is ideal, just an option and Orthodoxy as she's really spoke "back home."

I dare say Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) is most Westerners' book gateway to studying Orthodoxy. He was for me, 35 years ago: that standby, The Orthodox Church. Fr. Seraphim (Rose) is up there, in the top 10 with Frs. Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff (I really should read more of them). I know; very different people! I have and have read the original huge overview/bio by Damascene Christiansen, Not of This World, later Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, as well as Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future and The Soul After Death.
 

Mor Ephrem

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I hear you, brother.

Or go old-school, old-country: a string of services starting at 8 or 9am Sundays and lasting several hours, but the people don't starve themselves every Sunday morning, nor stay for all the services. Mill in and out of church at will, staying for about 30 minutes, maybe, ideally, just for the whole Liturgy. Confess everything and go to Communion only a couple of times a year. I'm not saying this is ideal, just an option and Orthodoxy as she's really spoke "back home."
When’s the last time you went “back home”?
 

Alpo2

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Or go old-school, old-country
I live in old-school old-country. Sorry to disappoint but our services start at 10am, there's no exotic yiayias/babas and people generally stay for the whole service.
 

hecma925

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I have met only one legit babushka and that's only because she was old enough to have been a young woman when WWII happened and came from a village.
 

Serge

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When’s the last time you went “back home”?
Never - I should - but I've met a lot of people from there.

Alpo2, you're in Finland, right? Minority Orthodoxy in a Western country; Westernized customs like many Orthodox in North America.

Anyway, the point is it would be easier to have frequent Communion if the Liturgy starts early; with a later service, infrequent Communion, an old-school Orthodox folkway, makes sense.
 

melkite

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5. I don't believe the book of Genesis (up until the story of Abraham) is to be taken literally.
I don't believe the story of Abraham, or much of Genesis after it, is to be taken literally, either.

Two more points of my own:

Circumcision is dangerously unChristian.

Lazar Puhalo may come across sometimes as the Orthodox John Shelby Spong, but he really hits the nail on the head, often.
 

Kmon23

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Ooof, interesting thread topic.

1. Origen is a saint, whose writings (from what I've read) are incredible.

2. Am a nigh-universalist. I think it's the more likely true than eternal conscious torment, but I don't discount the latter as being possible.

3. Cremation being such a big deal in Asian cultures. It's the method of respect in an asian culture, so not sure why some Orthodox get so upset about this. Sure it's not as preferable as a burial, but you shouldn't get excommunicated over something like that. After all, we even burn the body and blood of Christ if dropped and soaked into a rug for example.

4. High-petrine view of primacy. I think there are canonical perogatives that should be attributed to whoever has primacy, such as being a court of appeals and being able to mitigate conflicts within other churches if it's not solved at the synodal level. Still can learn more about canon law and how it's applied to primacy, but for the minimum, I at least disagree with Orthodox that say primacy is only one of honor and that they can't do squat outside the primacy primate's immediate church.

5. Suicides not getting Orthodox burials. We should be merciful towards the sick. Sure, you can argue mental illness wasn't a thing in the medieval world, but it seems cruel to deny this.

6. There doesn't seem to be a fixed way of recognizing Ecumenical Councils. If anything, it seems more like a title just to enumerate the councils of highest authority that proclaims dogmas of the Orthodox faith which can be discerned over time and not via some synodal "mechanism". Some Orthodox seem to get into a Catholic mindset that only accepts Ecumenical Councils but disregards every other local council as being unimportant. I don't think there's such a strict binary distinction of councils, and is instead a sliding scale of more versus less important councils, with more important councils being recognized as such over time. Also since "Ecumenical" councils are tied with Byzantine oikumene, and it seems weird to talk about "infallible" ecumenical councils during the time of the apostles. Instead they took council, and proclaimed that which seemed "good to them and the Spirit." It would seem alien to say "this council is Ecumenical because it was ratified by the pope, accepted by pentarchy, was ratified by later council, etc." Instead Ecumenical Councils are those we enumerate as councils of highest authority that are non-negotiable because we recognize they proclaim the true faith.

7. We should set aside just the wine/blood with celiac disease. To hear stories of people having reactions to communion, yet bishops re-inforcing that you can't get a reaction from gluten in communion. Just why.

8. Genesis "happened" but not literally per say. It's not a history book. Instead, I take Genesis as true, but in what manner it is true (in a "historical" sense) I do not say. There was indeed some kind of primordial fall (original sin), and indeed there is someone named Adam and Eve who played a role in it. There was indeed a real person (Noah) who survived a cataclysmic environmental incident because of God's intervention. So I read the texts as having happened, and the figures are real people we can venerate, but I don't see the texts as historical documents that detailed exactly what happened, the when and the how.

9. The divine "council" being a gathering of multiple gods. Not sure the academic interpretation is such a problematic one. The economy of salvation in the Old Testament was literally about the movement of a group of people from false worship to the worship of the One True God to bring about the Messiah. So why is it so bad that early jews were polytheists, or for our earlier prophets to have a mistaken view of the divine. After all, divine revelation in the Old Testament was a slow revealing of God to the Israelite people which culminates only much later with Christ.
 
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rakovsky

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Didn’t Martin Luther say something nearly identical to this about the Protestant movement he started?
Martin Luther, from Bible to Babel
...Luther's claim was revolutionary. He said that no one needed the Pope's indulgence in order to receive the forgiveness of sins. Redemption could be obtained by each man at his prayers in the privacy of his own bedchamber - for "Every man is his own priest".

... No doubt Luther's cry against a corrupt collectivism was justified, but it begins to appear that we now inhabit an equal and opposite tyranny: a multiplicity of omniscient egos who are all in competition. We have been here before as well, only last time round it was called Babel.

Luther: The Rest of the Story, Part V: The Road to Chaos

The logic of sola Scriptura began to work its way out such that, beginning with Luther, Christians within the various Protestant traditions came to think of themselves as possessing the right to decide for themselves what they believed the Bible to be teaching and to live in accordance with that teaching — without being bound by any authority on earth.
...
Luther, who always had a way with words, put the principle even more succinctly: “In these matters of faith, to be sure, each Christian is for himself pope and church” (Werke, Weimar: 1898, 5:407, 35).
...

Luther himself foresaw what would come of his teaching and example.

There will be the greatest confusion. Nobody will allow himself to be led by another man’s doctrine or authority. Everybody will be his own rabbi; hence the greatest scandals (quoted in O’Hare, The Facts About Luther, p. 209).
As the Protestant movements began instantly to splinter and division and chaos ensued, Luther complained:

There are as many sects and beliefs as there are heads. This fellow will have nothing to do with baptism; another denies the Sacrament; a third believes that there is another world between this and the Last Day. Some teach that Christ is not God; some say this, some say that. There is no rustic so rude but that, if he dreams or fancies anything, it must be the whisper of the Holy Spirit, and he himself a prophet (Ibid, p. 208).
Luther lived to see those he had personally instructed in the faith reject his teaching and run off to preach their own doctrine.

How many doctors have I made through preaching and writing! Now they say, “Be off with you! Go off with you! Go to the devil!” Thus it must be. When we preach they laugh …. When we get angry and threaten them, they mock us, snap their fingers at us and laugh in their sleeves (Ibid, p. 207).
Luther even admitted that the chaos was directly related to the rejection of the Catholic Church’s authority.

Since the downfall of Popery and the cessation of excommunications and spiritual penalties, the people have learned to despise the word of God. They no longer care for churches; they have ceased to fear and honor God … After throwing off the yoke of the Pope, everyone wishes to live as he pleases (Sungenis, Not by Scripture Alone, p. 365).
 

Addai Gaspar

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i wish Lithurgy was always during the night.

i'm not a fan of the Patriarchates in general, highest authority should be the Metropolitan.

rejection of modern scientific discoveries, Biblical Literalism and dogmatic opposition to marijuana are all things many Orthodox take for granted but seem to be just infiltration of American fundamentalist ideas.
 

rakovsky

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dogmatic opposition to marijuana are all things many Orthodox take for granted but seem to be just infiltration of American fundamentalist ideas.
This store has an EO dome in the middle and a big green leaf on the side of the building. I don't know if you will be able to see it below. You have to click and drag around.
 

Menas17

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Theological Hot Take that seems to be unpopular: The Greek Archdiocese, and the entirety of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is on its way to full blown apostasy from Orthodoxy. No one seems to want to face this ever-growing fact.

Saw this quote from another blog that pretty much sums up what I was thinking:

"(Speaking of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) - They have tipped their hand. Everything from "first without equal" to female deacons to climate crisis to giving humanitarian awards to abortion advocates to ordaining schismatics in Ukraine...has revealed them to be on the short road to apostasy."


Doesn't really take a rocket scientist to see the route they are taking, just look at the Methodists and the Episcopalians 40-50 years ago, started with the same crap. GOARCH (and the EP) seems to have more in common with modern Roman Catholicism than Orthodoxy at this point.

Eventually people/parishes, etc., in the Greek Archdiocese are going to have to decide if they are going to go the way of the dodo, or, if they are going to stay with Orthodoxy.
 
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Saxon

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If I get re-married, it won't be a church ceremony. I'm currently with someone who I'm just starting to think about a permanent future with - still a long way off from even thinking about a ring and such, but thinking nonetheless. I'm not going through any process of seeking hierarchical permission to re-marry in the Orthodox Church as a divorced person (I don't know how that works anyway). My first marriage was to someone who didn't want to marry me (told in those words, after the fact of course), performed by a drunken nutcase who had no business being a priest, and whose conduct directly contributed to the end of the marriage. As far as I'm concerned, it wasn't a valid marriage. To the church, though, it was, and I'd have to go through some process of annulment or whatever else it is the church demands (including, I'm assuming, explanations and money). Nope, not happening. And if I re-marry outside of the church and get attitude from the church about receiving the mysteries - if I ever want to participate in that again, that is - then I'll be out for good.
 

Stinky

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If I get re-married, it won't be a church ceremony. I'm currently with someone who I'm just starting to think about a permanent future with - still a long way off from even thinking about a ring and such, but thinking nonetheless. I'm not going through any process of seeking hierarchical permission to re-marry in the Orthodox Church as a divorced person (I don't know how that works anyway). My first marriage was to someone who didn't want to marry me (told in those words, after the fact of course), performed by a drunken nutcase who had no business being a priest, and whose conduct directly contributed to the end of the marriage. As far as I'm concerned, it wasn't a valid marriage. To the church, though, it was, and I'd have to go through some process of annulment or whatever else it is the church demands (including, I'm assuming, explanations and money). Nope, not happening. And if I re-marry outside of the church and get attitude from the church about receiving the mysteries - if I ever want to participate in that again, that is - then I'll be out for good.
Sounds like you have made up your mind already and have it all planned out.
 

Saxon

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Sounds like you have made up your mind already and have it all planned out.
On how I would get re-married? Oh yes, that's settled for me. I have a few friends from church here in town who are fed up with things after one incident after another with weird clergy and parishioners, parish drama, etcetera, and have been discussing how we'll proceed after church officially reopens. Ironically, the person I'm dating, who isn't Orthodox and not a church person, really likes the OCA mission parish we've been attending. And they are are lovely, friendly bunch, but I'm just finding it impossible to become invested.

As regards this thread, here are some more dicey opinions:

-Orthodoxy attracts some really weird people as converts. Especially in the OCA and ROCOR (really the only jurisdictions that get converts here, besides the Antiochians, but I've never been to one of their parishes), the number of people who are Byzantine/Holy Russia LARPers, wannabe Death to the World writers, spectrum cases, and other people who you don't want to get bogged down in conversation with is just mind-boggling.

-North American hierarchs aren't interested in doing their jobs. Besides my own incident, I'm aware of a couple of other priests in multiple jurisdictions whose behaviour is abominable and who have had complaints issued, but with no actions taken across the board. The Archbishops here are mostly retirees looking for an easy paycheck and have a vested interest in not disrupting the status quo. Apparently people leaving Orthodoxy is a small price to pay.
 

Katechon

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wannabe Death to the World writers,
That's oddly specific. Can you explain that further? I am really interested in what kind of people you mean. It seems to be a lot different in Germany. Although you propably always end up having problems with somebody in your parish.

-North American hierarchs aren't interested in doing their jobs.
That's propably the most common accusation leveled against any bishop anywhere. :ROFLMAO:
 

Saxon

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That's oddly specific. Can you explain that further? I am really interested in what kind of people you mean. It seems to be a lot different in Germany. Although you propably always end up having problems with somebody in your parish.
Exactly that, really. People who get attached to this crypto-nihilism (ironic, right?) where they fixate on death, the meaninglessness of the material and temporal, and the aesthetics that go with it all. To be sure, that has brought some people to Orthodoxy, but it has pushed others away. It tends to go hand-in-hand with Fr. Seraphim Rose fetishists.

Do you mean sinners?
We get those crazy sickos at the Antiochian parish too: Myself. Crazy, half-baked weirdos that need Jesus. Me. My friends.
No, I mean Brother Nathanael-watching Tsar-worshippers, "it's Constantinople, not Istanbul", "Hi, I'm Barsanuphius Chrysostomos, but my parents call me Ryan.", etc. Essentially the equivalent of your average midwestern 14-year old who listens to Amon Amarth and Dimmu Borgir and finds it a natural progression to Asatru and Mjölnir necklaces of various shapes and sizes.
 

Katechon

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Exactly that, really. People who get attached to this crypto-nihilism (ironic, right?) where they fixate on death, the meaninglessness of the material and temporal, and the aesthetics that go with it all. To be sure, that has brought some people to Orthodoxy, but it has pushed others away. It tends to go hand-in-hand with Fr. Seraphim Rose fetishists.
That's honestly nothing I personally took away from any of the articles written there. It's a well-made magazine trying to get Orthodoxy across uncompromised while building on an aesthetic that is comprehensible for people with a certain subcultural affiliation searching for meaning. And it is I dare say very successful in that.

No, I mean Brother Nathanael-watching Tsar-worshippers, "it's Constantinople, not Istanbul", "Hi, I'm Barsanuphius Chrysostomos, but my parents call me Ryan.", etc. Essentially the equivalent of your average midwestern 14-year old who listens to Amon Amarth and Dimmu Borgir and finds it a natural progression to Asatru and Mjölnir necklaces of various shapes and sizes.
Oh yeah, that indeed seems very American. I think it has a lot to do with the Balkanization of the United States and the loss of it's propositional cultural idea, leading to a considerable desintegration not only along racial lines, but intra-racial ethnic lines too. Making up a new identity is I guess part of that. It's honestly a bit funny to me also seeing your average Joe running around in Lederhosen and refering to himself as "German American". I think that's a tendency that really became more intense in the past ten years or so.

Even though with regards to Orthodox inculturation there seems to be something underway in America that isn't just a pretentious brainchild (you can't inculturate on a drawing board after all). The way Orthodoxy harmonizes with Southern Gothic and the fact that English became the lingua franca in American Orthodoxy will for sure bring a unique culture about.
 

PorphyriosK

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Exactly that, really. People who get attached to this crypto-nihilism (ironic, right?) where they fixate on death, the meaninglessness of the material and temporal, and the aesthetics that go with it all. To be sure, that has brought some people to Orthodoxy, but it has pushed others away. It tends to go hand-in-hand with Fr. Seraphim Rose fetishists.



No, I mean Brother Nathanael-watching Tsar-worshippers, "it's Constantinople, not Istanbul", "Hi, I'm Barsanuphius Chrysostomos, but my parents call me Ryan.", etc. Essentially the equivalent of your average midwestern 14-year old who listens to Amon Amarth and Dimmu Borgir and finds it a natural progression to Asatru and Mjölnir necklaces of various shapes and sizes.
Dude, where on earth do you live?? :ROFLMAO:
I have been privileged to hold membership at two different ROCOR parishes, both filled with nothing but ordinary (albeit pious) families living very normal American lives.
 

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That's honestly nothing I personally took away from any of the articles written there. It's a well-made magazine trying to get Orthodoxy across uncompromised while building on an aesthetic that is comprehensible for people with a certain subcultural affiliation searching for meaning. And it is I dare say very successful in that.
Oh I love DTTW and have their new March edition pre-ordered. The problem is people who don't have much of a base knowledge of Orthodoxy/philosophy and think that it's something that it isn't. The whole message there is one against nihilism, but Orthotrad youth flip it on its head. I've seen a couple guys completely burn out as a result.

Dude, where on earth do you live?? :ROFLMAO:
I have been privileged to hold membership at two different ROCOR parishes, both filled with nothing but ordinary (albeit pious) families living very normal American lives.
Check through my post history. ROCOR and the OCA, at least locally, are a train wreck.
 

Katechon

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Oh I love DTTW and have their new March edition pre-ordered. The problem is people who don't have much of a base knowledge of Orthodoxy/philosophy and think that it's something that it isn't. The whole message there is one against nihilism, but Orthotrad youth flip it on its head. I've seen a couple guys completely burn out as a result.
That's honestly very very weird to me. Did they actually read the articles or did they only order the schemamonk hoodie?
 

Saxon

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That's honestly very very weird to me. Did they actually read the articles or did they only order the schemamonk hoodie?
I actually saw the schemamonk hoodie worn back in my ROCOR days, but the priest chastised the guy for wearing it.
 

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If I get re-married, it won't be a church ceremony. I'm currently with someone who I'm just starting to think about a permanent future with -
I can understand your hesitancy in seeking permission to re marry from your abusers or from those who turned their heads away who were responsible for protecting you. I can also understand your hesitancy in bringing a bride into the church-a church that had a priest "seduce" your first wife, turned her against you, and along with his two-faced followers- mocked you, abused you, and gas lit you.
But from what you shared a while back, the OCA did not treat you poorly and went out of their way to hear your story and offer support. If I remember correctly, they were starting to congregate at your old parish in afternoons to use their space? Was this the conflict with OCA or are you really just tired and angry and bitter and unable to trust Orthodox leadership in your life on a real and practical way especially in a vulnerable area like a bride? Do you want to give your bride to God or are you planning on keeping her all to yourself? Can you trust again? Will you get all freaky if she starts hanging out with church people? Do you get triggered if she's with friends or others?
 

Saxon

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I can understand your hesitancy in seeking permission to re marry from your abusers or from those who turned their heads away who were responsible for protecting you. I can also understand your hesitancy in bringing a bride into the church-a church that had a priest "seduce" your first wife, turned her against you, and along with his two-faced followers- mocked you, abused you, and gas lit you.
But from what you shared a while back, the OCA did not treat you poorly and went out of their way to hear your story and offer support. If I remember correctly, they were starting to congregate at your old parish in afternoons to use their space? Was this the conflict with OCA or are you really just tired and angry and bitter and unable to trust Orthodox leadership in your life on a real and practical way especially in a vulnerable area like a bride? Do you want to give your bride to God or are you planning on keeping her all to yourself? Can you trust again? Will you get all freaky if she starts hanging out with church people? Do you get triggered if she's with friends or others?
The OCA parish I started attending after ROCOR has largely fallen apart, with most of the members leaving (including the entire executive) over issues with the priest. Complaints have been filed, but nothing has come of it. Some of those departed started up their own mission parish here in town that uses a Romanian church building. I've been going there. Very nice people, no issues, but as I said, no amount of prayer or force has been able to get me interested in church again. There is a second mission parish that started up recently run by a priest who was released from the Greeks, but who then joined ROCOR and uses their church here in town, and for obvious reasons I won't be under them or enter that particular building again, even though I had spoken to him before and agreed to join the parish (unaware he was transferring to ROCOR).

I'll probably keep going to the OCA mission because, as I said, they're lovely people and it's the first truly healthy and stable parish I've been part of. But, I know the priest cannot perform a wedding for me without satisfying the diocesan processes of remarrying a divorced person, and I'm not willing to go through that process. Plain and simple. Given the role the church played in destroying my first marriage (and I know it was a different jurisdiction), I don't owe them a thing. And that doesn't bother me in the least. As for my current partner, she was a self-declared atheist, although more in the passive direction of having come from an irreligious family than an active repudiation of God, and does enjoy coming to this parish on a personal level, but she has also made it clear that any formal baptism or conversion is also out of the question for the for foreseeable future. So I'm not "keeping" her from anything.

Anyway, we're digressing massively from the topic, so enough said. The point stands. I will not be remarrying within the church, and if that poses a problem for me with my standing there afterward, then tough nuts.
 

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I'm not sure who my brethren would be at this point, but to answer the original question again: some things I can't forget and I can't forgive
 

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The OCA parish I started attending after ROCOR has largely fallen apart, with most of the members leaving (including the entire executive) over issues with the priest. Complaints have been filed, but nothing has come of it. Some of those departed started up their own mission parish here in town that uses a Romanian church building. I've been going there. Very nice people, no issues, but as I said, no amount of prayer or force has been able to get me interested in church again. There is a second mission parish that started up recently run by a priest who was released from the Greeks, but who then joined ROCOR and uses their church here in town, and for obvious reasons I won't be under them or enter that particular building again, even though I had spoken to him before and agreed to join the parish (unaware he was transferring to ROCOR).

I'll probably keep going to the OCA mission because, as I said, they're lovely people and it's the first truly healthy and stable parish I've been part of. But, I know the priest cannot perform a wedding for me without satisfying the diocesan processes of remarrying a divorced person, and I'm not willing to go through that process. Plain and simple. Given the role the church played in destroying my first marriage (and I know it was a different jurisdiction), I don't owe them a thing. And that doesn't bother me in the least. As for my current partner, she was a self-declared atheist, although more in the passive direction of having come from an irreligious family than an active repudiation of God, and does enjoy coming to this parish on a personal level, but she has also made it clear that any formal baptism or conversion is also out of the question for the for foreseeable future. So I'm not "keeping" her from anything.

Anyway, we're digressing massively from the topic, so enough said. The point stands. I will not be remarrying within the church, and if that poses a problem for me with my standing there afterward, then tough nuts.
Our lives are messy. Sounds like your church tapestry is very complicated. I of course will be single the rest of my life from my own faults and my own sins, not anyone else's. I am older though and have a litter of kids so for me it is easier to accept than people in other situations. Loneliness hurts. May God's will be done in each of us.
 
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