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Faith & Theology
05/25/19 05:35 AM
Dear Doc T and Irish_Ruthenian,

Thank you for your response. I am so grateful to have known this forum. (Thank you, administrators!) Here, for the first time, I've come to realize that there are some brothers and sisters out there who are passing through the same kind of agony, struggles and inner-battles. Through reading your writings and sharing, I understood why I am here at this moment of my spiritual journey. There are so many things I should learn from your experiences and learnings. Living 20 years as a committed believer in the Byzantine Catholic Church is really something, Irish_Ruthenian! Whether you remain in BCC or depart for EO eventually, I think your ecclesial experiences including your current struggles and agonies are going to be used by God in a wonderful way in order to help wandering souls (like me) who are searching for truth. For example, I cannot really consult with EO believers who came straight out of Protestantism (not via BCC.) They usually don't see there is actually a coherent, strong inner logic/perspective within Catholicism. When we look it from within, it is found. And I confess that I love it and wish that it could stand!

However, as Doc T said; "The church of Rome is already on very shaky ground with the doctrinal innovations since Vatican I and 2. Add to that the homosexual priesthood which leads to all the abuse and honestly, I'm looking for any good reason to jump ship and convert to Orthodoxy....right now." Yes...this is what is going on in my tormenting mind, too. I had thought that the Magisterium was a sure fortress against modernist attacks...but...oh, this Pontificate is a counter-evidence of all these powerful arguments and I find it very difficult to reconcile them.

One Catholic priest who converted to EO told me that after he became a Roman Catholic, he eventually realized that; "I had made a terrible blunder. I realized that I simply could not live a lifetime as a Catholic (largely because of, as you term it, its Protestantized Mass). All the ecclesiological and theoretical arguments flew right out the window for me. I needed a liturgical and spiritual home in which I could faithfully dwell. We do not live in our heads. We do not live in theory. Life is too short."

I don't idealize the Eastern Orthodoxy, either. I've seen enough problems here in Greece. However, with all the messes and divisions and (seemingly) lacking of universality in EO, I am beginning to think that perhaps EO is going to be the last fortress for us. Have you read "LGBT Fight Comes To Orthodoxy" by Rod Dreher? He is a convert from Roman Catholicism. Here is what he says;

I had a number of conversations at the conference with Orthodox converts who came to Orthodoxy out of churches that had surrendered orthodox Christian teaching on sexuality, and which had since begun sliding into moral and theological disarray. As a former Catholic, I talked about how Catholicism is rapidly following Mainline Protestantism down this path, especially under Pope Francis. Talking last week to a Catholic friend about this, I told her that this fight has now come to Orthodoxy. She said, “Please don’t give in; you guys are the last place left.”

The last place left...umm...I will close this letter with a ending remark of Rod Dreher.

[after mentioning the challenges from Orthodox liberals, such as "Orthodoxy in Dialogue" or "Public Orthodoxy"] ....Orthodox bishops hate conflict, and would rather avoid it, but they have to draw a firm, clear line in the sand here. If they don’t, there is no doubt where this is going to take the Orthodox churches in the United States. Look at the Mainline Protestant churches. Look at what’s happening to many Catholic parishes and institutions, especially under this papacy.To enter into this phony “dialogue” is to prepare to surrender. There can be no surrender. There must not be surrender. But listen: if you’re a priest or a deacon, and think you can avoid taking a stand, you had better wise up. As the pro-gay Protestant theologian David Gushee wrote in 2016:
"It turns out that you are either for full and unequivocal social and legal equality for LGBT people, or you are against it, and your answer will at some point be revealed. This is true both for individuals and for institutions.Neutrality is not an option. Neither is polite half-acceptance. Nor is avoiding the subject. Hide as you might, the issue will come and find you."
He’s right. He’s on the other side of the issue from me, but he’s right. The Orthodox bishops must step up and defend Christian orthodoxy within Orthodoxy. They have to hold the line. Neutrality and avoidance — peace at any price — is surrender.
Rod Dreher, LGBT Fight Comes To Orthodoxy, Oct. 2018

p.s. excuse me for my grammar mistakes! English is not my first language.
22 1,644 Read More
The Christian East & West
05/25/19 12:25 AM
Originally Posted by silk
Dear Theophan and others,

Can you help me to understand the Holy Relics? Hieromonk Gregorios writes as follows;

"The veneration accorded to holy relics by the Orthodox Church is not to be found in the heretical confessions of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. For their part, Protestants mostly reject any form of honour paid to the saint, while Catholics, since they believe that the divine grace is created, they do not experience the divine grace that abides in holy relics and is communicated to those who venerate them with reverence, and for this reason, although they revere them they do not venerate them. "
Hieromonk Gregorios, The Orthodox Faith, Worship, and Life, p.111.

Is his explanation on Catholic understanding of Holy Relics true? Is it accurate? Or is it somehow misinformed?

While the veneration of holy relics among Catholics of the Latin rite may lack some of the Byzantine grandeur and solemnity of the veneration of the same by those of the Orthodox churches, I, for one, can assure Hieromonk Gregorios that they do, indeed, venerate these relics and that the veneration is just as orthodox and pure in its intention as theirs. What else could explain the miracles that occur from time to time when they are so venerated in the western churches in union with Rome. I can even tell the good Hieromonk about me grandmother, if he'd care to listen. She'd put a knuckle or two to his nonsense if her holy bones were still with us.
17 425 Read More
Faith & Theology
05/23/19 06:21 AM
[Linked Image]

One person gave me a book entitled; The One and the Three: Nature, Person and Triadic Monarchy in the Greek and Irish Patristic Tradition. It is written by Chrysostom Koutloumousianos, who is a senior elder at the Koutloumous monastery, Mount Athos. (Forwarded by Andrew Louth). I've been reading it.

One thing I realized was that the author assumes that the readers are already familiar with the main thesis and arguments of John Zizioulas on Trinity, the Monarchy of the Father, Personhood etc...and because, unfortunately, I have never read any of his books nor been familiar with his thoughts, it is difficult for me to understand what the author is trying to argue against John Zizioulas.

John Behr, Dean and Professor of Patristics at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary says; "calling into question the claim that 'person transcends nature', and the authoritarian approach to ecclesiology this has fostered, the author opens up a much more expansive and balanced understanding of the 'monarchy' within the Trinity, and correspondingly, the relation between person, nature, and communion, with all the implications this has for ecclesial structure and functioning and the spiritual life."

Along the way, I was struck by the discovery that there seems to be a correlation between Monarchy of the Father and Filioque clause;

"If Zizioulas is correct in his analysis, perhaps we can better understand now why Orthodoxy is so emphatic on the decisive significance of the divine monarchy: it guarantees the freedom of God over the necessities of nature and establishes his trinitarian unity in infinite and eternal love. Hence Orthodoxy’s firm refusal to compromise on the filioque. There can only be one cause of the Godhead—God the Father. It is insufficient to simply affirm that the Father is the source of the Son and Spirit. It is also necessary to declare that he is the one and only initiating cause: “The term cause, when applied to the Father, indicates a free, willing and personal agent, whereas the language of source or principle can convey a more natural and thus impersonal imagery” (Zizioulas, “One Single Source“). In whatever ways we might want to develop the Church’s formulation of the Trinity, we cannot abandon, compromise, or slight the monarchy of the Father."
--Fr. Aidan Kimel, The Importance of the Monarchy of the Father according to John Zizioulas

*If you are familiar with these issues;
--Would you please explain to me the main points of objection which the author (=Chrysostom Koutloumousianos) raises against Zizioulas?
--Do you think Zizioulas is reading back into the Fathers, and into the Church’s doctrine of the Trinity, a modern existentialist understanding of personhood?
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Parish Life & Evangelization
05/22/19 02:56 PM
Hello, SouthernTransplant. I have been listening to Dr. Taylor Marshall's youtube videos, too! Last year, he invited Byzantine Catholic deacon Daniel Dozier on his show;

"What does it mean to be Eastern Catholic and what are the Eastern distinctions in ecclesiology, theology, liturgy, and piety? Also what does the traditional icon of the Dormition of Mary symbolize? Dr Taylor Marshall interviews Byzantine Catholic Deacon Daniel Dozier on Eastern Spirituality."

What are Eastern Catholics? +Plus Did Mary Die? (Dr Taylor Marshall #149)
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Scripture and Patristic Writings
05/22/19 01:07 PM
Not errors but it looks like translations are following different editions of the LXX. The NAB, RSV, NRSV and others appear to follow along the lines of Rahlfs' LXX, for instance; Brenton's LXX, the DR and, the Vulgates old to new, are other redactions.

Your verse follows (an LXX through) the Vulgate: Sirach 24:24 Ego mater pulchrae dilectionis et timoris et agnitionis et sanctae spei. 25 In me gratia omnis viae et veritatis, in me omnis spes vitae et virtutis.

Brenton (translation) has: Sirach 24:18 I am the mother of fair love, and fear, and knowledge, and holy hope: I therefore, being eternal, am given to all my children which are named of him.

Rahlfs edition does not have an equivalent verse here.
1 66 Read More
Parish Life & Evangelization
05/21/19 06:54 PM
For a fuller context see the source post here.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Irish Ruthenian: "There are a few hardy souls trying to be Orthodox,"

AJK "But this is a perfect example of "they have NO IDEA who they are." We are Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholics not Orthodox."

My spiritual father would highly disagree with you.
You and your spiritual father (if he's not Orthodox) should go to your typical Orthodox church, explain this to the priest, and ask him if he will give you Communion.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
History also would highly disagree with you.
Can you be more specific?

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
When I read the Canons of Brest, I see Rome telling the Orthodox that they can stay Orthodox.
Then there need not have been a union.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Ruthenianism in America is a Latinized cross-breed.
It was but that was its via from which it is emerging with successes and failures. I choose to honor the the path of our ancestors, a path that I did not walk and that I do not despise, while confident that it needed to change course, and confident that their faith was genuine. Actually, as I have written here before (as I recall) Latinization stood out in need of correction and that may be a happy fault. What should define "Ruthenianism" if not, at the core, our liturgical expression. We have a Recension and don't follow it in such a way that we embrace it as proclaiming our proper and historical uniqueness. In embracing Orthodoxy, Ruthenians who followed Toth are now and were made to become Russified. Johnstown has fared better under Constantinople but, as I observed and predict, they will become more and more Hellenized. So we, the BCC, are the co-heirs and custodians of a unique liturgical Recension and we squander it piecemeal as exemplified in the 2007 liturgical revisions.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Which is why, I think, that Pope Francis has stated that Uniatism is outdated and needs to be scrapped.

It didn't work.
Well, we're still here, and the Ukrainians and the Melkites and... Uniatism is the present bogyman that is not ecclesiastically correct. It's an historical transient while the real substance is Communion: the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the ONE Body of Christ.

What exactly was it that Pope Francis stated?
32 8,562 Read More
The Christian East & West
05/20/19 06:40 AM
I was impressed by your confession.
18 4,681 Read More
The Other Sacramental Mysteries
05/19/19 06:51 PM
Christ is Risen!!

Following the situation in Ukraine where a group that has been labeled "self ordained" (and not wishing by any means to enter that argument), I believe that if one can self baptize, then one can certainly self ordain. And we all know what arguments that raises.

10 2,875 Read More
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