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I wonder if we should embrace our "inconvenience" as a strength. I've heard some converts say, and I agree with them, that one of the attractive parts about our church is its inconvenience. We encourage standing. We sing. We have complex liturgies. We have incense when many say they don't like it. Still they come. I think we ought to advertize our inconvenient Church. I also think we need to do door to door to ask what a church in our area can do for people...for them...and all the while announce that Christ has already saved them. Now come and enjoy it.

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I wonder if we should embrace our "inconvenience" as a strength.

Of course we should. Almost ever study of different religious communities shows that those which challenge their members tend not only to be more cohesive, but also attract more converts; whereas those which are more lax and accommodating tend to have weak adherence, bleed members and do not attract new members.

People are looking for the numinous, something that is not of this world, that takes them outside of themselves and shows them a new and better way of being human. We can do that--but our bishops are afraid.

StuartK #363697 04/27/11 01:15 AM
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I agree with you Stuart, but it is too easy for people seeking this authenticity to find greener pastures in Orthodox parishes. That is, of course, you have an Eastern minded priest who supports such a life for the parish. Even so, such priests and parishes stand in isolation with their respective bishops and dioceses. Case in point, St. Elias in Brampton. It is the only parish of its kind in Canada and perhaps in this whole continent.

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Carson,

Please accept my apologies, I didn't want to make you look dumb, but regardless I don't think looking to distant historical reasons will help us address our problems. (besides, I'd argue one of the leading causes of dynamic renewal throughout Christianity last century comes from Eastern Christianity in the influence of the "Paris school" of theologians).

I'm not necessarily convinced that all our churches are shrinking - I believe some are growing, while others are shrinking. If this were the case, the only real reason for poor church figures is that God does not deign to increase the size of our churches. Some of this may be our "fault" (i.e. our unwillingness to repent and truly live the Gospel), but some of this may simply be God's will. IMO, all we can do is to seek the Kingdom of God.

At the same time, explainable sociological phenomenon may play into this. Some that might factor in are:

- demographic change: people are moving out of where "Greek Catholic" churches were circa 1940 or so to different areas. This has accelerated due to recent economic events. In these new areas it may be that people haven't started parishes there. Losers: inner cities, PA and the Rust Belt. Winners: suburban parishes near growing southeastern and western cities.

- leadership: if the people in positions of power do not right divide the word of truth, if they are not faithful and zealous in the ministries they are called to, there's no way the church won't shrink.

- loss of the children: my impression is that in most parishes, the children move off and go to the Latin Church, if they remain Catholic or Christian at all. Sometimes this is because they by choice, sometimes this is due to poor socialization by the parents. Regardless, this would be a damning figure for our religious education and childrens' pastoral programs, were it not for the fact that I believe this problem the Latin church, Orthodox Churches, Mainline Protestant, and even Evangelical churches face (on that note, an article I believe in this month's First Things decries the end of Evangelical Christianty in the US due to its association with conservative politics).

[as an aside, some say that China will soon become the second largest Protestant nation in the world in terms of membership. What I hear from this scene is fascinating; I'd love to see some of this, warts and all, firsthand]

- "nash-ionalism" (as one of my Ukranian friends puts it): emphasis on the fact that we're a unique ethnic or spiritual group and being unwelcome to visitors. It's true that 90% of visitors will probably never regularly come back regardless of how hard you try, but still you've got to welcome them. Language is one but by no means the only factor in this (and it also cuts both ways).

[I also don't think we have a monopoly on this: a buddy of mine is a "deacon" at an independent Asian nondenom-type Protestant church and many of the problems he complains about would be eerily familiar to Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics]

- lack of parochial dynamism. I'm not talking about the fact that we use plainchant instead of guitars, I'm talking about an active interest in leading a Christian life. We're talking about dynamic homilies, attentive worship, good music (possibly involving the whole congregation at various points), extra liturgical activities (to include local missions and helping the poor). I think this is something most parishes can and must work on, and that being true to their tradition on this front is the best medicine. As St. Francis allegedly said: "preach the gospel; use words if you must".

(besides, as a cantor, I believe that what's available in the "Byzantine" tradition is far more dynamic than any of American church music composed in the last 50 years. wink Especially since much of this church music is IMO pretty vapid and the "dynamism" is forced).

Markos

Last edited by MarkosC; 04/27/11 02:29 AM.
IAlmisry #363922 05/03/11 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by IAlmisry
Originally Posted by mardukm
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Finally, it is important to remember that communism itself was another Western European idea imported into Russia, which was harshly grafted on to Russian civil society by the Bolsheviks, and of course one of its primary goals was the eradication of Orthodoxy.
And Catholicism. Moreso Catholicism, in fact (if the forcible liquidation of Byzantine Catholic Churches, and forcible "conversion" to Eastern Orthodoxy, during the Communist period is any indication), because while Eastern Orthodoxy was amenable to caeseropapism, Catholicism was not.

Blessings,
Marduk
It was the Germanic Emperor who ordered the filioque's insertion at Rome,

The way I've heard it, it was more of a request than an order.

Peter J #363967 05/03/11 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mardukm
Moreso Catholicism, in fact (if the forcible liquidation of Byzantine Catholic Churches, and forcible "conversion" to Eastern Orthodoxy, during the Communist period is any indication), because while Eastern Orthodoxy was amenable to caeseropapism, Catholicism was not.

Christ is Risen!

A strange kind of understanding of caesaropapism!

Nearly all of our bishops and priests were shot or sent to concentration camps, 90% of them.

Of our parish churches, 29,584 were closed and many destroyed Around 400 limped on.

Between 1917 and 1935, 130,000 Orthodox priests were arrested. Of these, 95,000 were put to death.

During and after WWII, thanks to Stalin's new wartime policy, the number of parish churches grew to 22,000.

But Khrushchev renewed the persecution of the Church and he closed 12,000 churches.

In 1985 the number of churches was around 6,000. Bishops and priests were again in jail.

This certainly does not paint a picture of the Russian Church "flourishing" under a form of caesaropapism.

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Truth be told, I don't think any Church can spiritually flourish if it is dominated by, or even 'ruled' through,the secular government - be it monarchical, republican or whatever.

And it is absurd to assert that Orthodoxy 'flourished' under the Soviets. Sort of like the way Catholicism 'flourished' under the Tudors?


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And it is absurd to assert that Orthodoxy 'flourished' under the Soviets. Sort of like the way Catholicism 'flourished' under the Tudors?

I would not say that Orthodoxy flourished under the Tsars, either--and Metropolitan Hilarion pretty much agrees with that. Under the Soviets, there is no doubt the Church underwent great persecution, but from the Brezhnev era onward, there is no doubt it had a symbiotic relationship with the Soviet state, a relationship which gives every indication of carrying forward under Putinism. That is why it is so important that the Russian Church follow the lead of Metropolitan Hilarion and attempt to break free from the silken shackles that bind it.

StuartK #364074 05/05/11 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
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And it is absurd to assert that Orthodoxy 'flourished' under the Soviets. Sort of like the way Catholicism 'flourished' under the Tudors?

I would not say that Orthodoxy flourished under the Tsars, either--and Metropolitan Hilarion pretty much agrees with that. Under the Soviets, there is no doubt the Church underwent great persecution, but from the Brezhnev era onward, there is no doubt it had a symbiotic relationship with the Soviet state, a relationship which gives every indication of carrying forward under Putinism. That is why it is so important that the Russian Church follow the lead of Metropolitan Hilarion and attempt to break free from the silken shackles that bind it.

Agreed and probably one of the major obstacles to some regularization of the status of the various Orthodox jurisdictions in the Americas.

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The Latin West had to develop a way for the Church to play a pivitol role in defending Christendom and in advancing the faith. The East tended to give much of that authority by choice or necessity to the Emperor. A a result the West was able to successfully evangelize their attackers or to resist them. The East, not so much.

I want people to remember that if they think the West was any better at converting the islamic conquerors they are mistaken.

Northwest africa had been a stronghold of Latin Catholicism, and to this day there is almost no christian presence there, where formerly it had been tremendous. It survived until the 1100's or somewhat later when the population dwindled down gradually to be insignificant, much as has happened in certain eastern nations in recent centuries.

[u][/u]

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Carson,
Some more reasons for our (and other) shrinking Churches:

Roman Catholic schools commandeering our youth
The gods of higher education, money, and convenience
Emigration away from our parishes
Relationships with friends and peers have replaced family relationships
Broken families....if a family can't stay together, this is poor example of Faith.

mardukm #387620 10/27/12 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mardukm
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Finally, it is important to remember that communism itself was another Western European idea imported into Russia, which was harshly grafted on to Russian civil society by the Bolsheviks, and of course one of its primary goals was the eradication of Orthodoxy.
And Catholicism. Moreso Catholicism, in fact (if the forcible liquidation of Byzantine Catholic Churches, and forcible "conversion" to Eastern Orthodoxy, during the Communist period is any indication), because while Eastern Orthodoxy was amenable to caeseropapism, Catholicism was not.

Blessings,
Marduk
LOL. Besides Archb. Stanisław Wojciech, never heard of Josephism I see.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08508b.htm
whose most notable expression was vetoing of the conclave of 1903's choice for your supreme pontiff. It is interesting that "the Catholic Encyclopedia" vehemently denied this right in 1909
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05677b.htm
during the pontificate of a supreme pontiff who owed his pontificate to the exercise of the right by Emperor Josef's successor.

Such examples can be multiplied, not the least the filioque, inserted by King Reccared, promoted by Charlemagne (over Pope Leo III of Rome's opposition) and imposed by the Germanic Emperor Henry II on Rome.

I have said it more than once, and I'll say it again: if Orthodoxy was so amenable to "caesaropapism", we'd be in submission to the Vatican-not to mention be Arians, Macedonians, Nestorians, Eutychians, Monothelites and Iconoclasts-like the Emperors of the Romans wanted.

Caesaropapism remains the silly invention of Western patronizing polemics against the Church, out of which polemics
"caesaropapism" has no independent existence in reality.

Btw, the UGCC and its (and your) brethren were quite legal in communist Romania and communist Bulgaria, its (and your) brethren were given their freedom in communist Czechoslovakia decades before its fall, and in communist Poland your Latin brethren proved quite amenable to the liquidation, as they were to the Vatican-Warsaw concordant restraints on the UGCC before communism taking over Poland.

I don't know of any Soviet efforts of "the eradication of Catholicism moreso than Orthodoxy" (to quote your distinction) in Lithuania, let alone in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Albania.

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Caesaropapism never existed in the Byzantine period, as Dvornik and numerous other historians, Catholic, Orthodox and secular have documented. If it ever did exist anywhere, the answer would probably be Russia from Peter the Great down to the present day.

Peter J #387635 10/28/12 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by IAlmisry
Originally Posted by mardukm
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Finally, it is important to remember that communism itself was another Western European idea imported into Russia, which was harshly grafted on to Russian civil society by the Bolsheviks, and of course one of its primary goals was the eradication of Orthodoxy.
And Catholicism. Moreso Catholicism, in fact (if the forcible liquidation of Byzantine Catholic Churches, and forcible "conversion" to Eastern Orthodoxy, during the Communist period is any indication), because while Eastern Orthodoxy was amenable to caeseropapism, Catholicism was not.

Blessings,
Marduk
It was the Germanic Emperor who ordered the filioque's insertion at Rome,

The way I've heard it, it was more of a request than an order.
Then you heard it wrong. Pope Leo III, in opposition to Charlemagne's insertion of it at the Council of Frankfurt, erected silver plagues of the unadulterated Creed in Greek and Latin on the doors of St. Peter's and St. Paul-beyond-the-Walls, with the inscription "I, Leo, put these here for love and protection of the Orthodox Faith." So it stood until Henry II insisted on its insertion and Pope Benedict VIII, who owed his position to Henry deposing Pope Gregory VI and installing Benedict as pope in his stead, was "amenable" to that supreme example of Caesaropapism-the filioque.

StuartK #387636 10/28/12 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
Caesaropapism never existed in the Byzantine period, as Dvornik and numerous other historians, Catholic, Orthodox and secular have documented. If it ever did exist anywhere, the answer would probably be Russia from Peter the Great down to the present day.
Yes, the only period resembling "Caesaropapism" is the "Holy Governing Synod" period-and that was based on Western models.

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