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Dear Friends,

I know I left the forums months ago, but have come across a topic that, I believe, the participants of the byzcath.org forums can help me with.

I am intrigued in learning about the relationship that Eastern Christians have had (or still have) with marginal groups such as alchemists, gnostics, and sophiologists with contemporary examples being of utmost important.

Thank you for your answers in advance and any guidance or referals to sources where I can learn more.

Peace!
Ed

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Dear Ed,

Your inquiry leaves me with the eerie feeling that perhaps you partook of a bit too much zapivka after receiving Holy Communion this morning. smile

With the possible exception of the last, what have any of these things to do with authentic Christianity, let alone Eastern Christianity? And as regards Sophiology, as a memorable SNL personality was wont to say: "Don't get me started..." grin

Fr David Straut

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Hello Father,

Let me clarify further; I don't mean what mainline Eastern Christianity has to do with such groups movements. I remember reading here about a gnositc Orthodox monastery that was or is responsible for many icons found in Eastern Christian homes and churches. One famous Orthodox Father t heologian - Bulgakov - has written a great deal on sophiology. I met an Eastrn Catholic priest who wrote papers about Wisdom/Sophiology theology and was really into the alternatives to standard. What about Solyviev?

Several Western Christians has various movements in their communities where they adopted holistic diets. Some were tied to the theosophical societies of the late 19th century. Their anthropoligical treatises was intimately tied to Eastern Christianity and the dogma of Theosis/deification.

I can go on, but I guess what I am looking for is information on the 'marginal' groups with Eastern Christianity as its background, not necessarily established and canonical churches.

What is it about Sophiology?

Ed

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I strongly suggest - and I'll be surprised if Father David doesn't agree with me - abandoning any interest in alchemy, gnosticism, and probably sophiology. The first two are beyond question diabolic, and sophiology is questionable.

Vladimir Soloviov is an interesting man, but for much better reasons. His thinking is often worth-while (I have a soft spot in my heart for people who published defences of the Old-Ritualists). His book on Russia and the Universal Church is published in English translation, and is still a valuable read after all this time. His nephew, Father Serge Soloviov, was the last Greek-Catholic priest in Moscow, until he was killed by the Reds. Memory Eternal!

For the good of your own spiritual equilibrium, not to mention the salvation of your soul, avoid marginal Christian movements like the plague (which is precisely what they are in a spiritual sense). As for theosophical societies and the like, don't even think of them.

What is it about Sophiology? I haven't the time, Father David does not want even to start on the topic, and why do you think you need to know?

Fr. Serge

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Dear Father Serge,

Thank you for your reply and concern. You don't have to worry about me joining any marginal groups such as I spoke. My interest is purely of academic curiosity, not spiritual direction. I side with Athanasius and the Nicene Creed, not Arius and company.

The Roman Catholics have many nut cases (as well as the Orthodox) who set up their own churches. I am not really interested in these either. I am interested in whether alchemy, gnosticism and sophiology has been snagged into some Eastern Christian sphere like gnosticism once did centuries ago. My family claims to have icons (holy images) made by Eastern Christians who are gnostic. I met a priest in my aunt's church who was really into sophiology and feminism. I take it that the above subjects are still influential in various pockets of Eastern Christianity, but not necessarily as official churches.

My aunt came across a copy of a book written in the late 19th century that several family members had stored in their attic. No one knows who originally owned or purchased it. It was written by a lady who was of Eastern Christian background. Blavatsky? Does that ring a bell? A number of Eastern churches (Idont know if they were of the Catholic or Orthodox jurisdiction) back years ago fell under the influence of such movements. One community strayedfrom the fold and founded an independent movement tied into alchemy and some sort of gnostico-religious rites. I have n't located or determined what this group was about or what their history was. My aunt has several spiritual writing 'heirlooms' from ancestors who came here over a hundred years ago. They speek of Sloyviev, Blavatsky, theosophical societies.

Please don't misinterpret my intention in inquiring into this subject. I have always been a student of religion. My faith is of the Nicene religion, Athanasius, the canonical scriptures.

Thank you,
Ed

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Ed,

There is a gnostic monastery in Nebraska that produces icons. These icons are uncanonical. Before I realized this, I had bought several. Once I found out, I promptly burned them. If you know anyone with these icons inform them that they are not accepted by Orthodox Christians who are "in the know" about this monastery.

Sophiology is certainly questionable as Fr. Serge has said. At the very least it is borderline heretical. One claim found in this literature is that the Virgin Mary is an incarnation of the Holy Spirit. Clearly this is heresy and blasphemy.

Madam Blavatsky was a theosophist and not, by any stretch, an Orthodox Christian. Theosophy (an early version of the New Age Movement) was popular all over 19th century Europe and America.

Joe

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Originally Posted by EdHash
Dear Father Serge,

Thank you for your reply and concern. You don't have to worry about me joining any marginal groups such as I spoke. My interest is purely of academic curiosity, not spiritual direction. I side with Athanasius and the Nicene Creed, not Arius and company.

The Roman Catholics have many nut cases (as well as the Orthodox) who set up their own churches. I am not really interested in these either. I am interested in whether alchemy, gnosticism and sophiology has been snagged into some Eastern Christian sphere like gnosticism once did centuries ago. My family claims to have icons (holy images) made by Eastern Christians who are gnostic. I met a priest in my aunt's church who was really into sophiology and feminism. I take it that the above subjects are still influential in various pockets of Eastern Christianity, but not necessarily as official churches.

My aunt came across a copy of a book written in the late 19th century that several family members had stored in their attic. No one knows who originally owned or purchased it. It was written by a lady who was of Eastern Christian background. Blavatsky? Does that ring a bell? A number of Eastern churches (Idont know if they were of the Catholic or Orthodox jurisdiction) back years ago fell under the influence of such movements. One community strayedfrom the fold and founded an independent movement tied into alchemy and some sort of gnostico-religious rites. I have n't located or determined what this group was about or what their history was. My aunt has several spiritual writing 'heirlooms' from ancestors who came here over a hundred years ago. They speek of Sloyviev, Blavatsky, theosophical societies.

Please don't misinterpret my intention in inquiring into this subject. I have always been a student of religion. My faith is of the Nicene religion, Athanasius, the canonical scriptures.

Thank you,
Ed


Be very careful. Some theosophical groups influenced by Benjamin Creme are into promoting Maitreya saying that he is the messiah. These groups have held recent meetings here in Southern California and advertised quite heavily over the radio and TV.

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Dear Ed,

I must repeat my warning - these matters are seriously dangerous and no good comes of them.

"Madame" Blavatska was involved with more than one nut cult, including theosophy, the worship of the "Lord Maitreya" (a young man who later had the courage to announce that he was not the "Lord Maitreya"; there was no such person, and he wanted no further connection with any of the people who had been controlling him.

At the same time the Madame was somehow connected to the so-called "Liberal Catholic Church", whose stated objective was (and presumably is) "to bring the comfort of the Catholic Sacraments to those who do not believe the Catholic Faith." That must be one of the most absurd assertions pronounced by any form of religion - why would anyone who does not believe the Catholic Faith find the Catholic Sacraments "comforting"? Sacraments are not a form of magic!

Stay away from all of it. There is nothing good to be had in these poisoned wells.

Fr. Serge

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Dear Fr. Serge,

Thank you for being so concerned. You are not replying to a gnostic wannabee. I am a student of religion, history, yada yada...

My interest or inquiry into the relationship between alchemy, gnosticism and sophiology with the Byzantine Catholic Church is no different than a pro-lifer who reads up on abortion, euthenasia, and infanticide (thank you, Obama). My interest doesn't imply my willingness to join such groups. I already stated where I stand in my faith - Athanasius, the Nicene Creed, and the Bible. I hope you weren't inferring that I don't know my history or theology about the heretic Arius.

We can't look away from such groups. In fact, your worship is chock full of reminders of the past - everything from the prayers, the icons, the rites, ... Always keeping mindful of those who challenged the faith. One morning, we woke up to a church that was Arian; the next morning, we woke up to a Bible with a canon. The Church Fathers kept their eyes and ears on the challengers to the faith no matter how diabolic they were or from what well they drank.

With that being said, why do you say that sophiology is "questinable"? Is there a silver lining in it? Is it tied to the current diabolic, anti-theology of the body feminism that has a strangle-hold on the churches today? What benefit, if any, is in it? Why did you not classify it as diabolical as you did alchemy and gnosticism?

In addition, my question goes further as they relate to the Byzantine Catholic Church.

Your comments much appreciated,
Ed

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Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Ed,

Sophiology is certainly questionable as Fr. Serge has said. At the very least it is borderline heretical. One claim found in this literature is that the Virgin Mary is an incarnation of the Holy Spirit. Clearly this is heresy and blasphemy.

At the First Vatican Council, one of the theologies being promoted about the Pope of Rome was that HE was in similar vein. Yves Congar writes how ancient hymns to the Holy Spirit had words altered for the Virgin Mary or the Pope. This theology was not accepted, but papal infallibility was.

Ed

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Originally Posted by EdHash
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Ed,

Sophiology is certainly questionable as Fr. Serge has said. At the very least it is borderline heretical. One claim found in this literature is that the Virgin Mary is an incarnation of the Holy Spirit. Clearly this is heresy and blasphemy.

At the First Vatican Council, one of the theologies being promoted about the Pope of Rome was that HE was in similar vein. Yves Congar writes how ancient hymns to the Holy Spirit had words altered for the Virgin Mary or the Pope. This theology was not accepted, but papal infallibility was.

Ed

Well, Ed, I'm Orthodox. So you aren't going to get from me much sympathy for Vatican I or papal infallibility. I do think, though, that this could be a fascinating study, to see how liturgical language and theological language has been applied to the Theotokos and the Pope.

Joe

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Ed,

There were Gnostic movements in Russia that sought to gain some alignment with the Old Ritualists by appealing to the idea that both were persecuted and/or that they had a measure of commonality in the mysticism that was prevalent in some Old Ritualist communities. The Old Ritualists were not at all impressed with the efforts to ensnare them. You can find some discussion of those bodies (the Gnostic ones) on a thread in the Old Ritualist subforum - titled something like "Unrelated Contemporaneous Movements".

As to the "Gnostic Orthodox" monastery - now a pseudo-Hindu ashram or somesuch - if you run a search here on the name "Burke", you'll likely find one or more of the threads in which the group is discussed at length. Gnostic they were; Orthodox they never were.

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."

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