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Re: Orthodox Divorce #43028 10/18/03 02:55 PM
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Logos - Alexis Offline
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Alex said: This is also my experience, especially when I worked for a Catholic school board where more than 50 per cent of the people were divorced and living in sin in a second secular marriage.

And they all went to Communion at the board's Masses.

And one priest who knew several told them that "whatever is fine with you, it is O.K. with me."

Strictness of Catholic doctrine is wonderful.

The strict application of it by Catholics would be even more wonderful.

Alex
However widespread, this isn't the case in every situation. One of my good friend's aunt married a non-Catholic man (who has since converted) when she was divorced from her first husband. She has not been able to get an decree of nullity from her first marriage, which ended in 1985. Because of this, neither she nor her current husband take Communion. About two weeks ago the priest gave a stirring homily on the gravity of divorce, annulments, and reception of Communion. He stated emphatically and unequivocally that if one is divorced but doesn't have a decree of nullity, he is not to receive. My friend's aunt and uncle have always followed this. His aunt hasn't received in years. I believe his uncle has never received despite the fact that he converted to Catholicism over two years ago.

Of course, this isn't the ideal situation. Ideally, she wouldn't have gotten maried until/if she received a decree of nullity. But there ARE those Catholics who KNOW they are living in sin and deal with the consequences.

Logos Teen

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43029 10/18/03 09:03 PM
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William wrote:

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I still think I should refrain from dialoguing with those I'm prone to butt heads with in a very uncharitable way. My apologies if I can not make replies to some.
I respect this, of course. But I hope you won't mind if I continue to comment on your posts. I feel I must--because frankly, with all due respect smile --really!--I think you are seriously misconstruing the patristic testimony and misrepresenting the mind of the early Eastern Church.

In reviewing the patristic citations you provide, I am continually struck by the fact that they do not say exactly what you are claiming they say. They may allow for separation from bed and board in cases of porneia (as Catholic Teaching also does!), but most of these passages say nothing about the licitness of subsequent remarriage. That is the crux of the question, after all.

Moreover, you have not engaged the patristic evidence I provided--including passages from early Eastern Fathers--indicating that these ECFs most certainly believed in the indissolubility of sacramental marriages. Some of the Eastern Fathers I cited sound every bit as strict on the subject as Latins like Jerome and Augustine!

Surely you cannot expect me to accept an interpretation of the historical record based on what I feel is a serious misreading of the primary evidence? Surely you cannot expect me to buy your argument "on faith," as it were, if you keep producing the same ambiguous-at-best patristic passages whilst ignoring those I've provided as counter-evidence?

I hope I am not being offensive in asking these questions...but ISTM there is a genuine disagreement here, both on the historical record and on the theological implications thereof, and I don't see how we can get around that fact: We disagree. Disagreement shouldn't breed anger, but neither should it be wished away or glossed over.

Blessings,

ZT

P.S. Thanks so much for the very gracious apology. In truth, you have not offended me...it is I who have offended you. I hope I have not continued to do so.

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43030 10/18/03 11:00 PM
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My sincere observation about RC methodology:

1) Claim that something is wrong.
2) Claim that said wrong has always been wrong.
3) Claim that all evidence supports said assertion.
4) Claim that there is no evidence to the contrary.
5) Ignore difficult and opposed evidence.
6) Claim that things that another Church has always practiced (such as divorce and remarriage in the East) has in fact NOT been practiced, and lack of evidence supporting Eastern assertion proves RC point. (ignoring that certain things that were commonly practiced were not always addressed because everyone was already doing them!).

anastasios

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43031 10/18/03 11:06 PM
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Brian Offline
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to be fair, Anastasios, I have seen some Orthodox polemicists use the same method at times and it makes me cringe (Frank Schaeffer et al)

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43032 10/19/03 01:44 AM
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Yeah, FS is really bad with Catholics. I went to a talk he gave on Orthodoxy once where he spent half of his time talking about Muslims, too. It was quite annoying; I just wanted to hear what I went to hear! :rolleyes:

anastasios

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43033 10/19/03 03:42 AM
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Originally posted by anastasios:
My sincere observation about RC methodology:

1) Claim that something is wrong.
2) Claim that said wrong has always been wrong.
3) Claim that all evidence supports said assertion.
4) Claim that there is no evidence to the contrary.
5) Ignore difficult and opposed evidence.
6) Claim that things that another Church has always practiced (such as divorce and remarriage in the East) has in fact NOT been practiced, and lack of evidence supporting Eastern assertion proves RC point. (ignoring that certain things that were commonly practiced were not always addressed because everyone was already doing them!).

anastasios
Dear A:

This unfair caricature does not exactly make a compelling case for your position. Au contraire, it raises the question: If you've got a compelling case...then why must you resort to bogus caricatures like this?

The preponderance of the patristic and historical evidence supports the Catholic position. The burden of proof is on you to show that it doesn't. LT and I have produced patristic passages (including some from Eastern Fathers) clearly and unequivocally affirming the absolute indissolubility of valid sacramental marriages. Practically all your side can produce in response is a few patristic passages saying it's OK to separate under some circumstances--which the Catholic Church also says, BTW--but NOT asserting that subsequent remarriages are acceptable.

We are asking for historical evidence. Y'all are not producing it. Facile, inaccurate caricatures of our methodology do not substitute adequately for sound reasoning. Sorry.

Furthermore...what is wrong with this picture?? Y'all are arguing in favor of allowing divorce/remarriage. Think of it. Divorce is one of the most destructive, evil, satanic things on this earth. It is horrible for children. It impoverishes women. In short, divorce stinks. It stinks whether it's amicable or not. It stinks whether the second marriage is "penitential" or not. (As if that self-serving parental nonsense would even matter to the children torn apart by divorce!) And above all, as I've already noted, divorce is almost invariably horrible beyond belief for children, with far-reaching harmful effects psychologists are just beginning to appreciate.

The statistics are devastating--divorce breeds poverty, crime, misery, alienation. Its destructive effects are all around us. And this is what you're arguing in favor of? This is what you think we should be more lax in allowing? The Book of Malachi says God hates divorce. What part of "hates" are we not getting here? frown

ZT, a child of divorced parents who knows exactly what she is talking about

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43034 10/19/03 12:52 PM
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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ's Light,

Most believing Latin-Roman Catholics believe as Mr. Likoudis has put it:

"The assertion that there was a twofold tradition in the first 5 centuries regarding divorce, and that Our Lord's words concerning
indisssolubility were viewed with less strictness in the East than in the West--- receives no support in any major Christian teacher or a decree
of any council during that period. No proof can be provided that the Church in the first 5 centuries allowed the marriage-tie under certain
circumstances to be severed."

My purpose on this thread was to produce some of the evidence which contradicts this claim. I am certainly convinced by the evidence available that the Eastern Tradition on marriage is supportable. If no one else is convinced, persuaded or would even like to comment on this evidence (besides sweeping generalizations), this is fine. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. There is no "burden of proof" on my shoulders. If people ask me what proof there is for our position, I can show them this info. They, in turn can take it or leave it. Getting people to "believe things" is an enterprise I'm not interested in. Even the faith itself, I do not want to "get people to believe in." Rather, I am only interested in bearing witness and giving an account of what I believe. I think this is our call: bearing witness not "converting."

For all I know, I might be biased to the Eastern side because I'm of Eastern descent. On the other hand, someone else might be biased against it because they aren't Eastern or because they are children of divorce (as I also am) and are so against it they can't even stomach the idea that in limited circumstances it was allowed by Christ. Or maybe they are being unbiased and just don't see any real proof in the evidence I've provided. The point is, I don't know what makes people decide for or against anything (not even myself, sometimes). Therefore, if someone writes me and tells me how unconvinced they are, this is no skin off of my nose. smile I'm not offended or even challenged by this. This is just fine by me becuase this was never my goal in writing.

But, untill someone actually responds to my last post, I see no reason for those who support the Eastern position to respond to evidence which appears to support the Latin Church's position. I think I have provided significant evidence for the Eastern position which deserves a just reply not a sweeping generalization which pushes this evidence under the "under the rug." Oriental Christians can equally make sweeping generalizations to brush the opposing evidence away. Yet, the question is about the historic Eastern practice and evidence for it. I have already seen much evidence to support the fact that at least some in the early Church had this precise understanding that marriages could be broken or dissolved -only if done by the Church- and re-marriage was sometimes allowed. This evidence has not been ambiguous, nor has it been engaged by the Latins Catholics on this thread.

Trusting in Christ's Light,
Wm. DerGhazarian
Looys Kreesdosee
www.geocities.com/derghazar

p.s. Does anyone know if it is true that Mr. Likoudis is really so anti-Eastern that when he entered the Catholic communion he did not obey Canon Law and enter it as an Eastern Catholic but rather entered as a member of the Latin Catholic Church? If so, this seems to really put him at odds with his own religious heritage. I know some are more familiar with him than others and could probably comment on this question better than I.

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43035 10/20/03 01:01 AM
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p.s. Does anyone know if it is true that Mr. Likoudis is really so anti-Eastern that when he entered the Catholic communion he did not obey Canon Law and enter it as an Eastern Catholic but rather entered as a member of the Latin Catholic Church? If so, this seems to really put him at odds with his own religious heritage. I know some are more familiar with him than others and could probably comment on this question better than I.
Gee whiz. I went out of my way to beg, plead, and implore that we look NOT at Mr. Likoudis himself but at WHAT he is saying--i.e., at the evidence he has marshaled. I asked that we engage the message rather than simply dismissing the messenger.

My pleas were to no avail, it seems. frown frown

William, you have also suggested that my own experience as a "child of divorce" clouds my judgment. That, too, is an attempt to divert us down the bunny trail, IMHO. You don't have to take my word for it, after all. Look at any sociological or psychological study of the impact of divorce, especially on children. The devastating effects of divorce have been exhaustively chronicled. ISTM you have an uphill battle in justifying divorce! Again, I ask, what part of "God hates divorce" are we not getting here??

For the record--not that it matters--I am half-Sicilian, which means I probably have some Eastern blood in there somewhere (along with Moorish blood, Norman blood, Angevin blood, and you-name-it blood).

Blessings,

ZT

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43036 10/20/03 04:30 AM
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ZT,

We seem to be getting off track a bit. First when we speak of ecclesial divorce we are talking about clearly defined instances involving an abandoned or abused or otherwise wronged spouse, not the divorces of convenience that are rampant in our society. Divorce is terrible and everything you state is true. But it is also true of abandonement where a spouse left to raise a family by themselves. It is these the Eastern Church seeks to provise a solution for through its exercise of its God given authority.

If you bother to read Archbishop Elias' article he answers all of your questions and objections.

Also, Anastasios' claim is valid concerning some Latin apologists. I see Latin apologists do it with the issue of married priests all the time. Just the other week I had the displeasure of listening to a Latin priest on EWTN call married Eastern priests bigamists.

We have provide some, but certainly not an exhaustive list of, citations. I am preparing for ordination so I don't have the time to research the matter further for you. But given your attitutde I am not inclined to do so even when I do.

Also, you forget where you are. This is a Byzantine forum. Not a Catholic forum, not a Byzantine Catholic forum, but a forum for Byzantines (and other Eastern Christians), Catholic and Orthodox even though hosted by a Byzantine Catholic. As such, the practices of the Eastern Churches are to be respected. We do not have to defend or justify anything to you or anyone else. Please keep this in mind next time you wish to deride Eastern practice.

In Christ,
Subdeacon Lance


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: Orthodox Divorce #43037 10/20/03 12:09 PM
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Originally posted by Lance:
Also, you forget where you are. This is a Byzantine forum. Not a Catholic forum, not a Byzantine Catholic forum, but a forum for Byzantines (and other Eastern Christians), Catholic and Orthodox even though hosted by a Byzantine Catholic. As such, the practices of the Eastern Churches are to be respected. We do not have to defend or justify anything to you or anyone else. Please keep this in mind next time you wish to deride Eastern practice.

In Christ,
Subdeacon Lance
I apologize. All this time I thought this was a Byzantine Catholic forum. I think my confusion must have arisen from the fact that the name of the site is byzcath.org, and there's currently a big picture of JPII plastered on the home page. Silly me. wink

Apparently, I'm even sillier for expecting Byzantine Catholicism to have anything to do with Catholic Teaching. Although such an expectation would seem to be only common sense, I now learn that it's simply Latin Prejudice.

Several questions, if you will kindly indulge me:

** Do you think there are any Eastern Catholics who agree with me (and the Vatican) that divorce/remarriage is invariably wrong in cases of valid sacramental marriages? If so, would you say that those Eastern Catholics aren't truly Eastern? If you'd say this, then "by what authority" would you say it? How do you, as an individual, have the authority to judge what's authentically Eastern Catholic and what isn't?

** Does the fact that Abp. Zoghby's proposals have been rejected by Rome carry any weight with you? (Sincere question.)

** Do you think that all Eastern Catholics agree with Abp. Zoghby? Would you characterize those who do not as "not sufficiently Eastern"? And if so, then again, who gives you the right or authority to make such a determination re your fellow ECs?

These are sincere questions. I am honestly baffled here.

God bless,

ZT

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43038 10/20/03 12:39 PM
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ZT,

If you doubt the veracity of my statement please feel free to ask the administrator about the status of this forum. Yes it is hosted by a Byzantine Catholic, no it is not a Catholic forum.

Again, I am done indulging your questions. As a Byzantine Catholic cleric I am bound to respect both the current and historic practices of both my Church and the Latin Church. I have judged no one but simply presented the facts of Eastern historic practice as I know them and agree with Archbishop Elias' view. I will comment on your second statement. Archbishop's Elias' view has not been rejected by Rome. In fact the last time Rome reviewed this matter, at the Council of Trent, it specifically worded its pronouncement so as not to indicate condemnation or disapproval of the Eastern practice.

In Christ,
Subdeacon Lance


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: Orthodox Divorce #43039 10/20/03 01:52 PM
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Dear Friends,

I think we need to walk away from this right now.

We've all made our respective points, agree or disagree, and trying to convince each other etc. will only serve to promote anger where there should be love and good-will, especially since this is a special week for Lance.

No one wishes the evil of divorce on anyone. But it is there, called different things in different contexts.

It is true that the Eastern Catholic Churches follow the theology and practice of the Roman Church in this respect. Lance did not suggest otherwise.

Even the soon-to-be Cardinal Ouellet of Quebec City has two sisters in his own family who are divorced - there is precious little he could do about that and he is always asked about that by journalists - as if he had some control over his sisters' lives!

And whatever Patristic texts we can cite here, the fact is that the current practice of the Latin Church in North America isn't that much different from that of the Orthodox Churches in allowing for annulments, thousands of them in fact on a yearly basis.

And those thousands of annulments are granted by the Church, for better or for worse. And so even the Latin Church exercises its power of binding and loosing in this matter.

I think our only point here is that we are simply acknowledging this fact of ecclesial life in the Latin Church, citations from Scripture or the Fathers notwithstanding.

Truce?

Alex

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43040 10/20/03 06:16 PM
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Alex, I agree that we've reached an impasse, and it may perhaps be best if we drop it. But with all due respect and charity--really!--I am unsatisfied with leaving the issue hanging in the form in which you have recapped it. In essence, my dear, you have given yourself the last word smile ...and said last word is somewhat debatable, IMHO.

Re annulments: As both LT and I have pointed out several times, annulments are an abuse of praxis, not of theology. The theology is sound. The practice isn't. Abuses are rampant (although not as widespread or numerous as critics claim...still, there's scandal enough and to spare). This situation is Very Bad and must be rectified. But far from invalidating the Catholic theology of marriage, it reaffirms and even reinforces it.

The answer to the annulment scandal is NOT to "revise" Catholic teaching--to bring our doxy into line with our praxis. The answer to the annulment crisis is to reform our praxis--to bring our praxis back into line with our doxy.

The trouble with the Orthodox situation is that there both doxy and praxis are at odds with the teaching of Christ. This is problematical. There is no way around it.

BTW, this a.m. before work, I flipped open the Navarre Bible Gospel of Matthew. By pure "Godincidence," I happened to open to one of the two places in Matthew where Jesus clearly and ringingly asserts the absolute indissolubility of valid sacramental marriages. The notes at the bottom pointed out that the famous "Matthean exception" comes right after Jesus has declared--in no uncertain terms--that marriage is indissoluble until death. He takes pains to sharply contrast His strict commandment with the laxity allowed by Moses. As the notes point out, it's inconceivable that Jesus would make such a strong statement one moment and then flat-out contradict it the next. Therefore, modern scholars now agree with the ECFs that "except for porneia" applies to radically invalid marriages such as those 1st-century pagans routinely contracted--e.g., incestuous unions allowing close consanguinity. First-century Jews (and early Christians) alike saw such "marriages" as not truly valid marriages at all...so civil divorce in such cases was OK, since the parties were never married in the first place. This is the classic Catholic view, the whole rationale for annulments, and it comes straight from the NT. (As Scott Hahn points out, there's a different Greek word for "adultery," and Matthew doesn't use it. Instead, he uses "porneia," literally "uncleanness" (IIRC)--which has a much broader range of meaning, and which almost certainly means (in context) circumstances that would render the marriage invalid to begin with.)

One further note--and please forgive me for jumping around here. At various times in this thread, people have represented laxity re divorce/remarriage as "the Eastern Way," which we Latins can't possibly understand. But is it truly the Eastern Way...a Mysterious Eastern Thing inaccesible to Legalistic Latins? I respectfully suggest that it's nothing of the sort. Those most quintessentially Western Christians, the Protestants, use arguments virtually identical to those of the Orthodox to justify divorce/remarriage.

Recently, for instance, I ran across a conservative Presbyterian website that claimed it's possible to be "biblically divorced and remarried"--as opposed to "unbiblically." All Jesus forbade was "unbiblical divorce," apparently. He said "biblical divorce" was just fine and dandy, according to this site.

Well, ya coulda fooled me. I don't see where the Scripture (that famous Presbyterian Sola Scriptura) says Word One about any alleged distinction between "biblical" and "unbiblical" divorce. But hey, details, details. biggrin

The point is, though, that you can't get much more Western than strict, conservative Calvinists. Calvinism is Western through and through. And yet here was this thoroughly Western Calvinist website employing arguments very, very similar to the allegedly Eastern arguments I've encountered on this board. That being the case, I have a hard time swallowing the claim that the all-too-human desire to allow divorce is a Mysterious Eastern Thing. Rather, I think it's a Sinful Human Thing. Like the abuse of annulments, it's a sellout to the Zeitgeist.

Bottom line: If tolerance of divorce is an Inscrutably Eastern Thing which we benighted Latins can't understand because we're so hopelessly Western, then someone's gonna hafta explain to me how those thoroughly Western Protestants have managed to preach precisely the same tolerance of divorce. Are Calvinists Eastern now? wink

The Catholic Church is the only Church on earth that upholds the absolute indissolubility of valid sacramental marriage as Jesus Himself taught it. In our praxis, we have tragically compromised this (and I trust our praxis will change soon; it is already changing). But in our "doxy" we alone have remained 100% faithful to Our Lord's command. Moreover, notwithstanding a bajillion Abp. Zoghbys, that ain't gonna change. Read what the Councils of Florence and Trent have said on the subject if you don't believe me.

Blessings,

ZT

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43041 10/20/03 06:38 PM
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Dear ZoeTheodora,

I'm not suggesting that Catholic doctrine should be revised on marriage.

I've never said that.

Catholic doctrine about marriage is simply NOT ONLY what councils, Scriptures and Fathers have said it is, collectively.

It is ALSO how the Church, locally and universally, interprets it - that also goes into the doctrinal and practical mix.

You say what the Catholic Church in North America does with respect to annulments is an abuse of praxis.

My question is simply, "By what authority do you say this?"

Who are you, dear, to question what your Church and its bishops do in this respect?

What you are doing is, in effect, calling the Latin Church of the U.S., and anywhere else that does what it does with respect to the granting of thousands of annual annulments - in error.

As a Catholic, I would say that any Catholic who holds that is in error himself or herself.

I will not accept that what the Church's bishops are doing, and have been doing, is in error.

To say that is to say that the Church is in error and is not under the guidance of the Spirit.

In addition, quoting en masse will never resolve the issue that you seem unwilling to accept that the Church must still interpret all that and that it has the authority from Christ to do so.

Your position is not, therefore, in keeping with the fullness of Catholic doctrine in this respect.

You have sixty days to recant or . . . wink

(Having the last word is something I never had as a child, and even less so now that I'm married. Can't you indulge me a little?)

Alex

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43042 10/20/03 07:15 PM
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Diane,

I am not in favor of divorce. My mother left me when I was 11.

My poor father was left alone. I was and am in favor of him getting remarried and being allowed to live a sacramental life (he's not Catholic but the point remains in case he ever wanted to covert). And I certainly wouldn't want him to have to get an "annullment". Those are useful in cases where there really was a defect but it's sick to try and apply the limited number of cases where there is a defect to marriages which were entered into with full consent but which fell apart because of clear sin on the part of one of the members.

You claim that I make charicteratures but then you insert lots of things into my mouth that I am not arguing for.

anastasios

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