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Who we are #341916 01/23/10 07:00 PM
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theophan Offline OP
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Brothers and Sisters:

Christ is Born!! Christ is in our midst!!

Neil has posted the statements below so eloquently on a number of occasions and just posted it again in East and West. I thought I'd bring it to Town Hall and make it sticky since it seems to me it needs to be read and reread.

BOB

Quote
Originally Posted By: Irish Melkite
This Forum is about constructive dialogue among and between its members. (Another) ... web-based Eastern Catholic forum ... was on the verge of self-disintegration, due in large measure to the virulent, venomous, and triumphalistic postings that routinely grace(d) its board. When a member there, frustrated with the lack of charity among the Eastern Catholic members to one another's views - let alone those of Orthodox members, asked if there was an alternative, I unhesitatingly recommended this Forum:

Quote
I said:
Try The Byzantine Forum. We aren't perfect, but I think that, overall, we're less contentious. Be prepared, we are a very diverse group - our membership is no longer accurately described by the board's name. There is a free exchange of ideas and disagreement, but the basic rule is one of charity and respect for each other and each other's Churches; the tolerance level for bashing - whether it be of Catholics or Orthodox - is low to non-existent. Still, we do have some highly opinionated posters.

Our membership is a mix. Byzantine Catholics are the largest group overall, with Ruthenians and Ukrainians predominating, but we also have Croats, Hungarians, Italo-Greeks, Melkites, Romanians, Russians, and Slovaks. Non-Byzantine Catholics include Armenians, Chaldeans, and Maronites. There's a fairly sizeable active Eastern Orthodox membership - including Albanians, Antiochians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Carpatho-Rusyns, Romanians, Russians, Serbs, and Ukrainians. Our Oriental Orthodox members include Armenians, Copts, Ethiopians, and Syriacs.

We also have a contingent of Latin Catholics, whose views range across the spectrum. There are several active Protestant posters ...

Geographically, we're pretty diverse. Besides all of North America, there are folks posting routinely from Scotland, the Philippines, Poland, Maylasia, Brazil, England, and Spain, with other places represented on a less-regular basis.



The beauty of this Forum is who we are and what we bring to it. Pedantic, argumentative posts that seek to overwhelm the reader and aggressively impugn the sincerity of our Eastern Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters who have the temerity to believe and hope that, by communing intellectually here, they may somehow be contributing to the day when we can all stand together and worship in the fullness of communion that today is denied us, are an unwelcome intrusion into what is truly its own community of faith.

We know we have differences of belief between and among us and that the baggage of history comes with a heavy price. But, I for one, and I suspect many others here - if not most, cherish the faith, the sincerity, the forthrightness, and the honesty of our brothers and sisters, and the opportunity to dialogue with them, even when we disagree. One must not allow oneself to see only black and white and have no appreciation for the fact that gray is within the spectrum.

The Churches that I referenced in describing this Forum's membership are, in fact, persons - an Episcopalian who offers his prayers, during his Maundy Thursday vigil, for our intentions; a Ruthenian who is geographically separated from her Church and worships with Melkites; a Russian Catholic who chants Holy Week services in an Orthodox Church in Malaysia; a Greek Orthodox who fervantly prays to see union between our Churches; a Latin who crafts beautifully written prayers on subjects of import to all of us and posts them for our edification; an Orthodox Archimandrite who does likewise; an Albanian Orthodox who spoke on behalf of the Italo-Greek-Albanians, when they had no member here; a Latin whom we watched as he converted from Protestantism and decided whether to go to the East or West; and, I could go on.

My point: we are people here and, for most of us, that is as or more important than rabid ideology - (which is not the same as faith). To disagree or post an opposing view is one thing; to deluge the Forum with massive amounts of material and to harangue is another. We aren't a venue for (rhetoric) - Catholic or Orthodox; there are plenty of those.

Re: Who we are [Re: theophan] #342022 01/25/10 02:25 PM
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Kathleen Elsie Offline
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Thank you well said.

Re: Who we are [Re: Kathleen Elsie] #347424 04/30/10 09:10 PM
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Thank you for posting this Bob .... it's good information for me to have.
abby

Re: Who we are [Re: theophan] #355976 11/16/10 06:42 AM
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Irish Melkite Offline
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Bumping this to the top, as there appears to be frequent need to point to/consult it of late.


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
Re: Who we are [Re: Irish Melkite] #357700 12/30/10 02:21 PM
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theophan Offline OP
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Christ is Born!! Glorify Him!!

Just a reminder. We have committed to have a positive atmosphere here where we can learn from each other. There are lots of fora on the internet where you can wallow in polemics. I know that there are lots of obstacles to full communion among all of the Churches of Apostolic origin. But, as I've stated many times, there are polite ways of disagreeing and stating disagreements.

Lately we seem to have slipped in a direction this forum is dedicated to avoiding. Let's remember our brethren who suffered together in the Soviet gulag. When you're facing the firing squad in the morning, somehow all of the things that divide us don't seem to have the monumental importance that we sometimes attach to them.

In Christ,

Bob

Re: Who we are [Re: theophan] #376787 03/04/12 02:48 PM
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Anathema Sit Offline
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Greetings Theophan,

I am very heartned to read that this is a forum that is striving to be peaceful and a place where charitable dialogue is taking place.

I feel better about being here already knowing that this is what is expected of ALL the members. I am very glad to see a wide reprsentation of the Apostolic Churches and ecclessial communities. I am also heartned by the fact that I am not the only Latin here, hee hee glad to see more Latins open to the riches of the Eastern Catholic Churchs and the Orthodox Churches. [Is there some term I can write other than having to type out "Eastern Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches which is not offensive?]

I am looking forward to dialouging with my brothers and sisters of the East. So from the West, I send a hearty hello and greetings.

God Bless,
Anathema Sit

Re: Who we are [Re: theophan] #376797 03/04/12 04:29 PM
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Irish Melkite Offline
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Welcome A.S.,

In answer to your question about an acceptable term that minimizes the need to constantly retype "Eastern ..." I often use EC/EO (Eastern Catholic/Eastern Orthodox) and OC/OO (Oriental Catholic/Oriental Orthodox), when speaking of Churches belonging to the
Oriental Communions (and EC/EO/OC/OO, when talking about the lot of them).

Unless there is a need to distinguish between Orthodox and Catholic - Eastern Churches, Eastern Christianity, and Eastern Christians, are other common usages.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
Re: Who we are [Re: theophan] #396008 06/25/13 05:45 PM
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Theophan,

I am new to the website and the Forum, so to see these postings about being positive, and yet having constructive dialog is so encouraging! I thank God for it.

I was born and raised Protestant and yet I appreciate much of Catholicism. If anyone has any advice for someone new please let me know. God has shown me things recently that have been eye opening. This includes the messages of Pope Francis. I am amazed and blessed, by his sermons.

God bless you,

David

Re: Who we are [Re: David-MD] #396015 06/25/13 07:15 PM
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theophan Offline OP
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David-MD:

Christ is in our midst!!

Welcome to the forum.

We are all blessed by His Holiness, Pope Francis. The Holy Spirit is alive and well. We are also blessed by the presence of many other religious leaders from the Apostolic Churches at this time.

As far as advice about this forum, please feel welcome to post and dialogue as you are comfortable. This is an Eastern Christian forum and you will be engaged by Eastern Christians who are not Catholic. We also have a number of Latin members and some Protestant members. We welcome and treasure them all--each and every one. We are all on a learning curve, so don't feel intimidated.

Be assured that we feel blessed to have you.

Bob
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The greeting above is one very familiar to Eastern Christians. The usual response is "He is and always will be!!"

Re: Who we are [Re: theophan] #396112 06/28/13 04:50 PM
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Theophan,

Yes! "He is and always will be!"

Greetings to you. Thank you for the warm welcome.

To borrow from the Doxology -- "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow" "Praise Him all creatures here below..."

I have a question, but first some background about it: I really appreciate the Eastern Christian icons. Is that the right way to identify them? I've been calling them Byzantine icons. That's not my question though.

One of the things I struggle with is the icons in the Roman Catholic churches. I have shared this with some friends at work that are Roman Catholic. I ask them questions about a variety of topics and really appreciate these friends. They have been very helpful.

I've noticed though the the icons from the East are wonderful or seem wonderful. It's more than just the artwork (I hope that's ok to say) but there is something that draws me to them. There is an appeal there. This includes the icons of Jesus and the Saints.

One friend said yes -- and they are more one dimensional which also probably helps you as well. When they said that - I realized it was true.

So my question is are all Eastern icons one dimensional, or most of them? I don't remember seeing any three dimensional but maybe there are some. Is there a reason for this? Please let me know.

Yes I can read the internet and books on different topics, including about icons, and I can go to churches, and I have (Roman at this point) but I sure do appreciate being able ask questions like this in the Forum.

On a personal note I have been reading St. Teresa of Avila, and I can understand some of the struggle she had with her experiences. At different points she was asking the Lord if these experiences were from Him. So anyway, I pray for Him to show me and lead me as well.

Many thanks, and God bless you,

David

Re: Who we are [Re: David-MD] #396113 06/28/13 05:15 PM
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theophan Offline OP
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David MD:

Christ is in our midst!!

I'm not an expert on Byzantine or Eastern icons. There is a traditional way of "writing" an icon that seeks to covey the spiritual rather than representational. Western icons tend not to be done in this same way, though they tend to imitate the concept.

An icon is a "window onto eternity" that puts the believer in the presence of the one depicted.

You might try a search of the topic on this forum. There have been some past threads about this topic. There are also many better versed members here who may be able to help you.

You might look for The Theology of Icons in an Orthodox bookstore like St. Vladimir's Seminary Bookstore that you can access online.

Bob

Re: Who we are [Re: theophan] #396182 07/01/13 03:30 PM
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Theophan,

He is and always will be!

Thanks for the info - yes I will be searching the forum. There is quite a bit to look at.

God bless,

David

Re: Who we are [Re: theophan] #402071 12/10/13 12:11 AM
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zarastra Offline
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Originally Posted by theophan
Brothers and Sisters:

Christ is Born!! Christ is in our midst!!



AS you suggested I found this thread. I find that you seem to exclude God and Christ in Who you are. I have a background of over 60 years in Christianity and yet this tells me Nothing but which organizers seem to align with you. Question : Are you a part of the government both now and before? Do you believe in the Trinity? Can a parishioner pray directly to God and / or Christ? Do you have freewill? How does one gain everlasting. Can one's friends baptize / marry you? Is your Pope in the Vatican? Do you believe inn the invalid story of Peter being the Rock when it is Jesus, Did your denominations have an Army? ... These are tough questions but you invited me here.

z

Re: Who we are [Re: theophan] #402074 12/10/13 05:01 AM
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Irish Melkite Offline
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zarastra,

The thread is not intended to be a statement of beliefs. In fact, it does not specifically address those, since our membership includes persons from a host of different faiths - the vast majority of whom (but not all of whom) are Eastern or Oriental Christians - Catholic or Orthodox.

The point of my original post, which Bob quoted, was to make clear that this forum is open to, welcoming of, and inclusive of, those who wish to learn about, explore, discuss, and even debate, matters related to Eastern and Oriental Christianity, regardless of their own particular religious affiliation, in an environment that is non-polemic and non-judgmental. We're very aware that, in our mortal failings, we don't always succeed in achieving those goals but, hopefully, it is not for lack of trying.

As to your comment that the post tells you nothing other than who 'aligns' with us - I've never thought of my fellow forum members in those terms and I doubt that many others here have done so. My point, which you seem to have misunderstood, is that this forum community - this forum family - is a diverse one. There is no litmus test applied - of those who participate here, we ask only that they be contributory to civil discourse on matters of common interest so as to educate one another and be educated about one another. We see our diversity as a strength in that it exposes us to a wealth of understanding about our individual faiths, their commonality and their differences. We learn from one another - not only about the history, beliefs, and practices of others, but often about aspects of our own faiths as those are understood and practiced elsewhere by our own co-religionists.

To the questions you posit: Yes, the overwhelming majority here are Trinitarian in their belief (but we have had members who were of non-trinitarian faiths as well). Yes, again, the over-whelming majority pray directly to God and/or to Christ, as well as to the Holy Spirit, as well as to those in Heaven, such as the Theotokos and the Saints, whom we ask to intercede for us before the Throne. And, yes, the overwhelming majority believe that we have freewill. As to your question about baptism and marriage, I haven't a clue what you're asking.

As regards the Pope - there are those among us who are members of Churches which are in communion with the Latin Church, the visible head of which is the Pope of Rome; there are others among us who are members of Churches which are not. The question as to the role exercised by Peter and his successors is one to which you could expect a variety of answers, even from among those whose Churches are in communion with the Latin Church.

In conclusion, I find myself puzzled as to your point in participating here. I find very little to support the claim you made on another thread that you are interested in learning about (as I think you phrased it) "the phenomenal Byzantines." The majority of us are Byzantines in our historical religious origins and ritual praxis - but I've seen nothing suggesting that you have any interest in those aspects, which are the defining characteristics of us as Byzantines, whether Catholic or Orthodox.

I looked back to your first post here:

Originally Posted by zarastra
I have been interested in Byzantine History for a long time. I am also interested in Solidus coins with Christ on the face.


and am the more convinced that you have stumbled into the wrong pew. Perhaps a better choice for you might be any of several secular fora which focus on Byzantine history, such as Historium and/or one of the numismatic fora, where you can pursue your interest in solidus coins. I don't see your future here as particularly productive for you or us.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
Re: Who we are [Re: theophan] #416299 09/24/16 01:47 PM
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Glory to Jesus Christ!
This is my first post and this is the first thread that I have read and I am feeling excited and very blessed to have found this forum! I don't know that I will have many lofty thoughts to share and I expect I will spend much of my time here reading rather than talking but it gives me hope to grow in faith.
Although I was baptized Catholic it was Novus Ordo and the dearth of belief in the real Eucharistic presence among their clergy led me to the Ukrainian Catholic church where, from the first holy mass, made me feel like I had "come home". Since the richness of the Eastern spirituality is so deep I always feel as though I am only scratching the surface, so am always looking for new avenues to learn. My life-long heroes are the Desert Fathers (St Anthony, St Paul, St Pachomius) and I have since discovered the Siberian "desert" Fathers and find their lives also resound in my heart.
Greetings to you all and God's blessings!

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