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You are right on Agnes. The Church is guided by the Hol Spirit.
And anything addapted has to be neuteral in character.
Stephanos I

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Father Stephanos:

Father bless!!

I don't know what the particulars are, but the altar had a fireproof container full of charcoal placed on it and incense was placed in that container full of hot charcoal for the introductory rites of the blessing of the new church building. It was later removed when the altar was anointed with chrism. As to what the significance of this was, I'm told it mirrors the new fire of the Paschal Vigil. The censer was lit from this container.

In Christ,

BOB

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C. I. X.

ALICE,
"...NEVER chose anything which is remotely connected to putting faith in demons, and magic..."[quote]

LOOK BEHIND THE ORIGINS OF OUR DOMESTIC CHURCH CUSTOMS ABOUT PYSANKY AKA EASTER EGGS.

A SOMBRA,
"...many of these people returning to the Church of their Fathers..." [quote]

WHAT SPECIFICALLY DID THEY RETURN TO THEY DIDN'T HAVE? WHOSE FATHERS? SPECIFICS PLEASE, NOT PLATITUDES.


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A Sombra, please post with more charity about that whole conversion situation. You have personally insulted me, my ancestors and my archbishop; furthermore, I am not the only living person who has ties to all three sides of this equation.

Archbishop John Ireland did many good things for my state, including build a wonderful Cathedral and start a Catholic college (now University). While going with Americanism didn't work well for the Greek Catholics, you have to understand the big picture, which is that the Archbishop was working with diverse ethnicities, many of which were in small towns, such as the one in which my mother grew up, which lacked the population base to support multiple Catholic churches. Archbishop Ireland did what he thought was best, which is all any of us can do on earth.

At the same time, you're insulting my grandfather, who was a member of the Greek Catholic/Byzantine church here, whose name is still inscribed on a window as he, his mother and sister donated money to pay for same. He came here after older siblings did but stayed with the church he had grown up with, since things had changed since St. Mary's was founded.

I don't know your background, but here, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, founded by saints who had no other recourse but to affiliate with the Russians, is mere blocks from the Byzantine church and I doubt my family is the only one which split between the two based on date of individuals migration to Minnesota.

It is an iconographer belonging to the Orthodox Cathedral who restored the iconostasis at Greek Catholic/Byzantine church and who is beginning to work on replacements for the Royal Doors. Iconographers here are few and far between, so unless the Byzantines have a competent iconographer of their own, if everyone shared your negativity, that church would no longer be as beautiful.

Mykhayl, A Sombra refers to Archbishop John Ireland's [en.wikipedia.org] refusal to recognize St. Alexis Toth as a priest, which resulted in the parish of what is now St. Mary's Russian Orthodox Cathedral affiliating with the Russians, as well as the continuing evangelization of Greek Catholics in the US during the late 1800's and early 1900's which resulted in great increase in the number of Orthodox.


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Christ is Risen!

Perhaps the most important idea is the realization that there is a �family church�, a �parish church�, a �diocese church� and a �geographical church�. Each of these brings its own customs, practices and even verbiage to the practice of the faith. As an example, my Nana absolutely forbade any use of piercing elements - nails, pins, etc., on Good Friday. She brought this from our village in the Pelopennese. Years after her going home to God, our kitchen curtains fell over the sink because the rod became dislodged. I, foolish child that I was, grabbed the hammer and after discovering the miscreat nail on the floor, was ready to hammer the bracket back into the window frame. My mother (God rest her!) raced into the kitchen and grabbed the hammer from my hand. "This is FORBIDDEN on Good Friday". The curtain was put back into place - temporarily - with scotch tape. A true example of the "family church", and in this case the "village church", even though the village was 2,500 miles away!! To this day, no nails, pins, or even staples on Good Friday.)

I think that the inclusion of Native American elements to the consecration of a U.S. bishop is a wonderful thing. The use of an eagle feather and drums is without a doubt a part of the Native American community�s experience and practices. To bring a bishop to the community that includes Native American people would be remiss in NOT including these elements. St. Paul is more than clear that we need to go in peoples� doors to bring them out ours. Going in is into the culture, the going out is not bringing them into the missionaries� culture, but rather the Gospel�s. And so Christians are going to do many different things depending on the culture and geography of the newly baptized. And this makes some people nervous. (Probably because �control� is harder to exercise when someone has no clue as to what is going on.)

Western Christians get real nervous when Eastern Christians communicate infants. They get more nervous when the priest has a wife and children.

Eastern Christians scratch their heads when �The Bread of Life� is not consumed as the Passover Meal Sacrifice, but is rather carried about through the church and the streets. (Even St. Thomas Aquinas called the eucharist in his hymn: the �esca viatorum� (= the sustenance of the pilgrim [church]). Or the very public penitential �whips and chains� of the western church.

It�s all cultural.

A real question exists when there is an encounter with those who feel that �past practices� constitute the legitimate and orthodox lifestyle for contemporary Christians. There are clearly those who believe that the practices and beliefs of 1870 Novgorod, Constantinople or Rome represent the epitome of the faith. And any deviation from these represents a type of apostasy. And they dress, pray, and organize their lives as if anything post-1870 is suspect. That may be fine for them, but in reality anachronism is not inherently holy. The church is not the Smithsonian Institution.

Contemporary people (wherever they may be) may be used to electric light, heating or air-conditioning, contemporary electronic communications (including cell-phones and Internet), food inspections, antibiotics, surgery, and dental and medical advances. To suggest that the people must eschew these elements of contemporary life is NOT going to bring these folks to a vision of Christianity.

I am recalled of a situation where a bishop was visiting an Alaskan parish community of �subsistence� people who survived (literally) on whale and walrus hunting. When the bishop was visiting the community a meal of duck was provided on a Friday during a fast period, and the bishop was incensed at this breach of ecclesiastical rules. The people and the elders were both mortified and hurt.

His predecessor had experienced a similar situation, and when that bishop�s assistant leaned over to make a comment, that bishop replied: �give thanks that we have something to eat.� And the bishop thanked the people for the meal and the honor that was shown to him by providing him with a meal. Sounds Christ-like to me.

Unfortunately, regarding Arch. Ireland and Fr. Toth, there was a clash of cultures. The Bishop should have had at least one course or even minimally a one hour lecture about the Eastern Churches in general and the Eastern Catholic Churches in particular in his training. If he didn�t, this is a failing of the Roman Church. If he did, and he ignored it, then shame on him. Fr. Toth should have made sure that he had a �tomos� from his bishop authorizing him to be in a Romaniak diocese to minister to the Greek-Catholics, as well as a �celebret� card that showed him to be a priest duly authorized to celebrate the Liturgy and the sacraments. If he didn�t, then either he wasn�t very smart or his diocese failed him utterly.

The main point is this: The human condition is perpetually in flux. Thus, to adhere to the practices of the �status quo� of a particular time and place is irrational because the universe � and its people - changes.

Christians MUST rely upon prayer and study to determine what will spread the Gospel. (If one is NOT doing that, then why the heck are you here? This ain�t the Smithsonian.)

Christians must look for the �good�, and than make use of it to spread the Gospel. We Christians have to acknowledge all the evil that sometimes arises in the Church (and the world) and adamently reject it as inconsistent with our Gospel beliefs. No matter whom it injures.

It�s the ministry to God�s people (ALL of them!!) that we need to accomplish. Less than this is just �tinkling of cymbals� and noise-making.

CHRIST IS RISEN!!

(Go get �em!!!)

Blessings to All!

Dr John

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Fr. Toth should have made sure that he had a �tomos� from his bishop authorizing him to be in a Romaniak diocese to minister to the Greek-Catholics, as well as a �celebret� card that showed him to be a priest duly authorized to celebrate the Liturgy and the sacraments.

Dr. JOHN:

Christ is Risen!! Indeed He is Risen!!!

I read the account of Father Toth's meeting with Archbishop Ireland in an OCA publication thta detailed the history of the spread of Orthodoxy in North America. In that account, Father Toth recounts that he presented his credentials to Abp Ireland who refused to recognize them and told him that he did not recognize Father Toth's bishop as a Catholic either. Father Toth spoke to him in Latin, according to the account, as was the custom of the day in the Latin Church, but he still was treated badly.

In Christ,

BOB

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There was indeed a culture clash that terrible day in Minneapolis - but for Archbishop Ireland it had precious little to do with "Catholic culture". Ireland was one of America's leading "Americanists" - a heresy which Rome eventually condemned; John Ireland eventually did some fancy footwork and managed to save his own skin. His problem was that he had a quite specific "model American Catholic" in mind, and while it is perfectly true that Father Alexis and his flock did not fit the model, neither did the Irish. When a group of Irish-speakers from Connemara turned up in Minneapolis "His Lordship" put them on a north-bound train and had them dumped in a snowy field in a Minnesota winter to freeze at their own convenience. One might say that John Ireland was an equal opportunity mass abuser.

Fr. Serge

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Father Serge:

Christ is Risen!! Indeed He is Risen!!

I have a book published in 1910 that contains a picture of Abp Ireland. If I could just figure out how to scan it with my computer, I think I'd post it here for the "edification" of all.

Quote
. . . managed to save his own skin

Without presuming to judge, it is this sort of behavior that makes me tremble. Of course the man "saved his own skin" in this life, but what makes me tremble is what happened when he faced the Lord. I'd rather have someone "skin me" in this life and take my lumps so I could at least be open to the grace of repentance rather than save my own bacon here and have it fry for eternity. What's that quote about "the least of my brethren"?

BOB

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
There was indeed a culture clash that terrible day in Minneapolis - but for Archbishop Ireland it had precious little to do with "Catholic culture". Ireland was one of America's leading "Americanists" - a heresy which Rome eventually condemned; John Ireland eventually did some fancy footwork and managed to save his own skin. His problem was that he had a quite specific "model American Catholic" in mind, and while it is perfectly true that Father Alexis and his flock did not fit the model, neither did the Irish. When a group of Irish-speakers from Connemara turned up in Minneapolis "His Lordship" put them on a north-bound train and had them dumped in a snowy field in a Minnesota winter to freeze at their own convenience. One might say that John Ireland was an equal opportunity mass abuser.

Fr. Serge

I have to agree with this. +Ireland seemed to be as equally uninterested in one group of "dirty unwashed immigrants from _____" as the next group of "dirty unwashed immigrants from _____".

It frequently plays out that this deplorable episode is pointed to as proof positive that Latins revile Eastern Catholics. Truthfully, the widow status added insult to injury in +Ireland's book I am sure... but I have often suspected it an expedience...

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Originally Posted by theophan
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That reminds me of a church blessing I went to, a "big 'ol bowl" of incense was used on the altar

Dandelion:

This was done when our new parish church was consecrated. I don't remember the explanation, but it had nothing to do with any other group than being part of the prescribed ritual.

In Christ,

BOB

"big ol' bowls" are somewhat ancient in concept - examples of the use of incense being burned in bowls by simply dropping grains of incense on the coals lit therein is found in ancient Christian and non-Christian praxis...

It isn't my big ol' cup of tea, but fluid Catholic concepts of liturgy (we do reform, change and adapt it at times) being what they are, it isn't fair to try to make it sound as though that is an example of adopting something pagan or problematic.

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Read the actual rubrics for the immediate preparation towards the procession that begins Paschal Orthros. The rubrics call for two larger-than-usual braziers to be set, one in the Altar and one in the nave, burning incense before and during the Procession. It's rarely done in practice, but those who follow these rubrics are rewarded by the beauty of the temple as we return inside from the procession, singing our joy in the Resurrection.

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Us Greek-ies go to the local store and purchase an incense burner (levani-sterion) (incense=burner) that we keep in our cars in case we are near the cemetery and wish to honor our ancestors. Yeah, we purchase little charcoals and incense to go with it. You do the incense in the burner with the cover and the cross and then - upon leaving - put the charcoal and the incense on a shard of a ceramic potshard from a broken flowerpot, and say the final prayers. In my little 'strip mall' down the street, there are multiple Ethiopian stores which carry these "incense burners" (NOT in the Mohammedan stores!) along with icons of St. Michael and the major feast days, and 'honey wine' (got to try that!).

It's just a "thing" that we Easterns do. To be honest, what happens in the liturgikon or in the Typikon is just "formal" stuff; what our peoples do is the reality. God preserve his people!!

Blessings to all!

Dr John

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Read Exodus, Ch. 30... "You shall also make an altar to burn incense...."

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"Western Christians get real nervous when Eastern Christians communicate infants. They get more nervous when the priest has a wife and children."

As a "Western Christian" I disagree with such an absolute statement. I think most would react with no more than, "hmm, that's different." It's been my experience that only a relatively small minority get "nervous" when things are different, and even then it's only when the things <they> are used to are changed. With the Latin Mass, everything was absolutely the same everywhere. With the liturgical changes starting in the 60's allowing so many options, practically every parish does things a little bit differently. By and large the people in the pew have gotten used to that.

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