Church Crisis Of Faith In The Orthodox Church

MichaelWitcoff

Hummingbird
Orthodox
^The irony is that the Renaissance resulted from the Latins sacking Constantinople and bringing classical art, music, and Greek philosophy back with them.

The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and hopefully someday will be again. It’s not “the West” that’s the problem per se, it’s the spirit of individualism and lack of ancient Christianity that degraded what it once was.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Moderator
Orthodox
The pagan may have had legitimate points.

Also in your example it is a pagan staying pagan and thus affirming his cultural relativism, whereas in my case I have already said Orthodoxy is the answer and said we must bend to the Truth.

I was merely pleading against the absolute gleefulness with which many of the Orthobros shit on their Western identity, history, legacy. This is a poor representation for the faith. Do you not see how this can turn people away?
I didn't see that you were Orthodox (you don't currently claim to be Orthodox on your profile). Forgive me but you, especially as a pigeon with all the trolls we've gotten recently on the forum, don't get to lecture to us with such vitriol, accusing us of "self-hatred, cuckery, larping and fawning over foreign cultures." Orthodoxy is above the cultures of man, and the culture of the West is clearly demonic. The cultures of the Eastern Orthodox nations are irrelevant to me. If you're Orthodox you shouldn't be listening to secular zealots of Western culture who may be practicing a form of idolatry. You should listen to or read Fr. Seraphim Rose's Orthodox Survival Course.

Some criticisms of the West may turn people away, especially from some Orthodox e-celebs and catechumens - and it is wrong to share such lewd pictures in an attempt to attack the West as in your example - but I will not apologize for the actions of a tiny minority of Orthodox online and pretend it's a major problem, nor can I blame people who throw out the baby with the bathwater in criticizing the West as it does appear the entire tub is full of poison.

^The irony is that the Renaissance resulted from the Latins sacking Constantinople and bringing classical art, music, and Greek philosophy back with them.

The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and hopefully someday will be again. It’s not “the West” that’s the problem per se, it’s the spirit of individualism and lack of ancient Christianity that degraded what it once was.
The priest at the ROCOR parish I'm visiting on travel went into detail about how the West went overboard with Greek philosophy and scholasticism today. Fr. John Meyendorff's Byzantine Theology touches on this.
 

bucky

Hummingbird
Other Christian
@Enea once upon a time there was a Pagan somewhere in the Roman Empire who had a rant that went something like this:

The so-called ‘Christians’ could open up an avenue to Christianity for their fellow Romans however the utter contempt, condescension, and triumphalism often on display in their rhetoric towards the ‘Pagans’, Roman history etc. only serves the cause of alienation.

It’s as if upon conversion to Christianity they fall under the impression that they themselves have become Jews. That they have de-Romanized themselves. That Roman history is not theirs and that it was all bad and that our Roman and Greek ancestors do not deserve consideration but dismissal. It takes them a great deal of effort to say something positive about Rome.

These are the vibes I perceive from the ‘Christians’. A sad display of self-hatred, cuckery, larping and fawning over foreign cultures. And this at a time when our people’s very existence is under attack by the barbarians!

If you have found the pearl of great price and you want others to find it, the way not to make that happen is to strut around victoriously and triumphantly.


I'm not writing this to be a jerk, it's just that I frequently see this appeal to tradition or blood which is strange when our ancestors once gave up their pagan/Catholic/Orthodox/other cultural roots to become what they are now.
I've often thought that if the USA were to somehow become Orthodox, it would be almost as huge a change as the Roman Empire becoming Christian.
 

davidjones

 
Banned
Let us address the elephant in the room.

Unfortunately this aggression against Catholics from Orthobros stems directly from Jay Dyer who is leading the charge in terms of online animosity from Orthodox Christians towards Catholics. A-lot of people on this forum and in the online Orthodox community kiss his butt a bit too much. Jay Dyer is a incredibly bright man, well read, well articulate and worked hard to get to where he is today and I commend him for it. I will always give credit to where credit is due. However this does not change the fact that he is the worst representation of Orthodox Christianity Online, given the context. His attitude and conduct is horrible and not a good representation of Christianity period. From blocking people who dare criticize him on small ridiculous things, unnecessary condescension, immeasurable pride, wise-ass remarks constantly, starting beef over petty nonsense with people and sheer nastiness and hostility towards Catholics (it's obvious his hatred for Catholics has stemmed from a personal experience). Jay Dyer is more nasty, hostile and aggressive towards his Catholic brothers than he is Jews and Muslims and secular infidels, those who are actively trying to destroy us. He has initiated feuds with Catholics over nothing and has called good Catholic men, who are great representations of the faith hurtful and nasty things for quite literally nothing other than being Catholic, I will never stand for this, not even if these men were Protestants. I have no respect for him as a man he is weak and pathetic in this regard, but I will acknowledge his content is valuable in many different ways. It is well thought out and well researched and well delivered.

The failure to call out this nonsense by online so called Orthobros however, says a-lot because a good lot of them follow the leader and partake in the same slander and blasphemy against their own Christian brothers in such a time where unity in spirit is imperative, thus rendering the image of the online Orthodox Community as nothing more than a bunch of toxic holy rollers, following the can do no wrong King Dyer and dare not question him and take his every word as dogma. Jay needs to accept his duty because whether he likes it or not, whether he chose it or not he is a representation of Orthodox Christianity and The Christian Faith in general Online, due to the content he has put out and the image he has carved for himself online and the following he has gained. He ought to start acting like a Christian Man instead of a butthurt baby. Roosh, Brother Augustine, Church Of The Eternal Logos, Fr Josiah and many more are all pillars and great representations of Orthodox Christianity online and treat their fellow Catholic brethren with respect and disagree on the differences between the two churches with respect and in a virtuous way. I salute these men. Just look at how easy it is for Catholic and Orthodox Christians to feel comfortable and united on their platforms. This is what we need.

The Last comment I will make on the matter is that a-lot of the Orthobros who are toxic and hostile towards Catholics are former Protestants. And acknowledge the myriad of problems within Protestantism but due to their intense hatred of Rome and The West (so it would appear) they jump from Protestant to Orthodox while being able to maintain their hatred for Catholics, and in by doing so they find an ally in Mr.Dyer, which is nothing more than listening to 90s grunge while your depressed and loathing. They don't have the intellectual tools to really grasp the depth of the debate between Catholic and Orthodox, they don't have the will to engage properly and do the research, prayer and discernment to pick between the two. They just simply internalize and rehash Mr.Dyer's disdainful rhetoric, tone, and pride and act accordingly. A-lot (as the gentleman above mentioned) cultivate this hate until it develops into a complete anti western hate. We are in this dreadful situation in the West because of the West. And of course this is because the West was built on the Catholic Faith. They go neglect their heritage and become a life long Russian or Romanian or Serb etc. This is a huge LARP and these people ought to get a life and grow up. They might as well be classified as Jews masquerading as Christians due to their Anti Western position and sharing that same revolutionary spirit just a different flavor. The Western Culture has soul, depth and meaning gifted to us by the grace of God. Get out of here with this Anti-Western nonsense. I will not let recently converted brethren Orthodox Converts and their invigorated sense of being Holier Than Thou walk all over Western Culture proclaiming nonsense that it is demonic this culture was built by men far greater than you all will ever be and far more devout and holy than you all will ever be, myself of course included. It was the Catholic Church who spread the Cross and made the most converts so that entire nations may partake in Christ's eternal glory and save their eternal souls. Chill out and do not become the enemy here because a couple of goofballs online are smart and spew out anti western and anti catholic rhetoric under the guise of some holy act.

I'm no saint, and am deeply flawed but someone had to call it the way it is.

Edit: These Fantasies Of Byzantium are also a bit tiresome. Open up a History book it wasn't so holy as you'd all like it to be and was quite the cesspool at many different periods.
 
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MichaelWitcoff

Hummingbird
Orthodox
I didn't see that you were Orthodox (you don't currently claim to be Orthodox on your profile). Forgive me but you, especially as a pigeon with all the trolls we've gotten recently on the forum, don't get to lecture to us with such vitriol, accusing us of "self-hatred, cuckery, larping and fawning over foreign cultures." Orthodoxy is above the cultures of man, and the culture of the West is clearly demonic. The cultures of the Eastern Orthodox nations are irrelevant to me. If you're Orthodox you shouldn't be listening to secular zealots of Western culture who may be practicing a form of idolatry. You should listen to or read Fr. Seraphim Rose's Orthodox Survival Course.

Some criticisms of the West may turn people away, especially from some Orthodox e-celebs and catechumens - and it is wrong to share such lewd pictures in an attempt to attack the West as in your example - but I will not apologize for the actions of a tiny minority of Orthodox online and pretend it's a major problem, nor can I blame people who throw out the baby with the bathwater in criticizing the West as it does appear the entire tub is full of poison.


The priest at the ROCOR parish I'm visiting on travel went into detail about how the West went overboard with Greek philosophy and scholasticism today. Fr. John Meyendorff's Byzantine Theology touches on this.
Nice, I ordered that book a few days ago (after watching Jay Dyer's chat with Gospel Simplicity) and am greatly looking forward to reading it.
 

ilostabet

Pelican
Orthodox Inquirer
The pagan may have had legitimate points.

Also in your example it is a pagan staying pagan and thus affirming his cultural relativism, whereas in my case I have already said Orthodoxy is the answer and said we must bend to the Truth.

I was merely pleading against the absolute gleefulness with which many of the Orthobros shit on their Western identity, history, legacy. This is a poor representation for the faith. Do you not see how this can turn people away?





I completely agree with the sentiment about online hatred between Orthodox and Catholics: it shows a conversion only in the superficial, not of the heart. I even agree that the angle used above to attack the Renaissance is the wrong one, and itself purely modern.

But westerners must realize that modernity is not the West and that it started precisely with the Renaissance and it's particularly visible in its imagery because it transformed art into mere aesthetics (that is, sensational - of the senses), instead of a sacred knowledge which it always was and must be in traditional societies.

This is only one example in one area, of course, since the corruption affected all areas of life and disintegrated them all eventually.

Modernity is a monstrosity which the West, to be really West, needs to overcome - precisely to return to what it really is, which is what it was, not what it became. It is precisely to the extent that the West embraced modernity that it ceased being West.
 

Hermetic Seal

Pelican
Orthodox
Gold Member
I know I've said this a bunch of times here (and on Twitter) but since inquiring into Orthodoxy I've actually become far more empathetic toward my Catholic friends than I was before, largely because of the common ground we share. (As a protestant I hardly ever gave Rome a thought at all.) I think Orthodoxy is right and agree with most of Dyer's criticisms of Rome and Latin theology, but somehow this doesn't lead to me thinking Roman Catholics are a bunch of delusional fools. Rather, I feel bad for them about the state of Rome and wish they had a Church that lived up to the piety they often express.

Practically any movement is going to have a very conspicuous noisy front guard, but I don't think Dyer and those in his periphery are anywhere near as representative of Orthodoxy as, say, fedora-tippers are representative of atheism, or Antifa is representative of neo-bolshevik SJWism. There are plenty of caustic weirdo tradcaths and sedevacantists, too, who you could use to make this exact same argument about Rome, but I just ignore them and don't particularly care what they have to say.

Ilostabet is right, Orthodox converts may be quick to criticize aspects of the West, but these criticisms are not really of Rome but of humanist and individualist philosophy culminating in the Enlightenment. While these may have had some root in Latin Christianity, they had already spun off into their own movement by the Renaissance, and really came into full force after the protestant reformation.

If anything Rome often acted as a counterbalance toward these forces, at least for a while, and that the association between Rome and classical music and great art is to a large extent cultural syncretism by Evropa fetishists, who indiscriminately combine the achievements of Catholic and protestant cultures into one imaginary whole. This Enlightenment philosophy deserves criticism, but that's not synonymous with attacking Rome, even if some people on the internet conflate them.

This is puzzling to me because it's the reformation, which elevated individual human reasoning above any institution of the Church, that is most to blame for this, and our most baleful modern ideologies are far more rooted in the "semper reformanda" DNA of protestantism morphing into the spirit of the age for at least the past 100-150 years than in anything Rome ever came up with. While you can to some extent blame Rome for being the origin of the reformation, it's still obvious that Rome has been far slower to liberalize than protestantism.

I don't fetishize Russia or other Eastern cultures, but I'm also not going to let sentimentality cloud my vision of the problems facing the West that are largely rooted in humanism, modernism, and Enlightenment-era philosophy. The good historically in American culture isn't the product of the deists and freemasons who founded the country, but the embers of the Anglo-Saxon Christian civilization of the first millennium. That's what we need to return to.
 

SevenUp

Chicken
In Orthodoxy, one could say that tradition is the heartbeat of the Church. Traditions are generally received and accepted uncritically and without hesitation. This has allowed the Orthodox Churches to remain more "traditional", in the sense that they without doubt more closely resemble the Church of the middle-ages. But this does not in any sense mean that they adhere more closely to the Gospel message. It would be a grave error to see the faith as merely a series of customs and traditions to be handed down, rather than a as a ferment with transformative power. This false view of Christianity as a static construct explains so much about the history of the Orthodox Churches. It explains their rejection of new Church Councils. It explains the backwardness of their views of marriage and procreation. It explains the divide between the institution of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Old Believers, who simply observed the hypocritical contradiction between a Church that on the one hand idolises tradition merely because it is tradition and on the other hand is perfectly willing to discard those traditions for the sake of political expediency. The Old Believers are more Orthodox than the Orthodox themselves, and their very existence invalidates Orthodox claims.

The Catholic Church is different. In Catholicism, faith is the heartbeat of the Church, and the dictates of the faith supersede the importance of any received traditions. The Catholic Church puts the dictates of the faith above culture, custom, and tradition. It has continually reformed itself. It is self-critical. It has been willing to position itself in opposition to human culture, secular society, and temporal power. But this is a double edged sword, because in untethering itself from human tradition, the western Church opens the door to attacks upon it's own authority and legitimacy. These attacks come from both those who believe that the Church itself is merely another tradition of men to be discarded (enlightenment), and those who hold that it has strayed from the traditions of men which they hold to be more important than the message of the gospel itself (Orthodoxy).

The Catholic Church's willingness to rise above human traditions explains so much about the history of the western Church and western society. It explains the momentous Church councils, each one more transformative than the last. It explains the rise of rational Scholastic philosophy, leading in turn to the development of modern science. It explains the conflicts between the Papacy and the secular powers, which were ultimately a conflict between faith and ethics and the traditions of men, in which the spiritual exerted it's supremacy over the temporal, and ethics triumphed over temporal power and human tradition. It explains the development of ethics, rights, and all of the other distinctive features of western civilization which could never have arose in the Orthodox east with its emperor-worship.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feliks_Koneczny

"... Koneczny claimed that in Latin civilization, ethics is the source of law. If some laws are not ethical, then they are changed. Church is autonomous, independent and separated from the state. Individuality, self-rule and decentralization are highly valued. Government is judged on the basis of adherence to ethics. The law is of dual nature, divided into public and private spheres. In Byzantine civilization, church is dependent on the state. In that type of civilization, in politics all means are justified to achieve the goal. Politicians follow ethics in private life, but in public they are judged by their skills, not by ethics. The legal government has absolute authority and its orders are not doubted. "
I don't deny that secular powers have attempted to exert their power over the Papacy. They have tried, and at times succeeded. However, in Catholic Christendom, the Church had always proclaimed that it's spiritual and moral authority superseded that of any temporal power. This is what led the Catholic Church into conflict with secular authorities, the same secular authorities which the Orthodox Churches in practice worshiped. These facts by and large explain the "traditionalism" of the Orthodox Churches relative to the post-Vatican II Catholic Church. In allowing themselves to be an extension of the temporal authorities, the Orthodox Churches became useful political tools in the hands of their governments. We see this in Putin's Russia in our own day. In contrast, the Catholic Church, in claiming superiority over the temporal authorities, makes of them enemies. An Independent Church, with authority above and beyond human culture, the traditions of men, and the powers of the world, cannot be used as a political tool to buttress a tyrannical regime. In fact, it tends to undermine the political aspirations of the power-hungry, in the process becoming expendable, an obstacle which must not only be overcome but utterly destroyed. It is the Catholic Church's willingness to put Christ above human respect that, ironically, has brought about it's own near-destruction at the hands of it's enemies, within and without. But it makes sense, doesn't it? Christ was rejected by the world around him, and by his own followers. The hatred of the Catholic Church, the rejection of it's authority and it's tenets, the mass apostasy... are in some sense a vindication of it's message. The world despises the Church as it despised Christ. It seeks to make a murderous sacrifice of the Church as it murdered Christ. The Church has been abandoned and rejected not because it is not Christian enough, but because it is too Christian. "The nail that sticks out gets hammered down." The irony is that Orthodoxy has been allowed to stand, allowed to hold onto it's traditions precisely because it has always been willing to grovel at the feet of worldly power.

Catholics too often misrepresent the defections to Orthodoxy as some manifestation of great holiness. They assume nothing but good will on the part of those who abandon the faith, because they are going somewhere ostensibly more "traditional". I'm simply calling this common attitude into question through demonstrating that Orthodoxy's apparent traditionalism is more illusion than reality, that it's traditionalism is more cultural than Christian, and that defections to Orthodoxy are often motivated by something other than sincere faith.

Islam (and, later, Communism) gained strength in the Orthodox lands not because of it's military might alone, but also because of theological and ideological problems in the Orthodox Church that made the Orthodox countries practically incapable of resisting Islamic ideology. The ceasaropapism of the Orthodox Church, and it's servile attitude towards temporal authorities, results in an excessive respect for worldly power amongst the people. Strength, ruthlessness, and the ability to impose one's will at any cost become more important than ethics, or even profession of the Christian faith. The victory of Islam or another equally ruthless ideology is virtually inevitable when such ideas have taken hold of the mind's of the people.

http://www.christendom.edu/news/2012/koneczny.pdf

"In the Turanian Russian system of government the will of the ruler is completely arbitrary and supreme. The entire state is treated like the personal property of the Tsar, who is not bound by any moral rules, who does not recognize any natural or acquired rights or any laws, and who can in one day make a peasant into a prince, and a prince into a Siberian prisoner. As a result, fear replaces the individual conscience. The more brutal are the leaders the more they are cherished and those who try to be humane are despised as being weak. People brought up in such a system are excessively servile towards those who are above and are abusive towards those who are below. The economic strength of such states is based not upon the private enterprise of individuals but on the state with the production of arms being the most important economic sector. Such a system generates expansive imperialism and strictly speaking has no place for nationhood in the Western sense. Revolutions often turn against the historical heritage, changing even the name of cities, something unthinkable in the West. Various ethnic and religious groups may coexist in a state that is governed in a Turanian way, but they have no influence on public affairs. The Orthodox Church of Russia always accepted total dependency upon the state and so it never developed a social ethics. It teaches about private and family spiritual life, but does not dare to view economics and politics from an ethical stance. Its Orthodoxy is therefore basically a ‘Tsarodoxy.’”

Catholic Christendom proved capable of resisting Islam only because of the Catholic Church's insistence that Christian faith and Christian ethics were superior to worldly power in all places, in every circumstance. The ruthlessness and brutality of Islam could not be countenanced by a people with a moralistic world-view, nourished by the Catholic Church and it's absolutely unique emphasis on the suffering of Christ as divine Victim. This emphasis gave precedence to goodness over strength, empathy for the victims of unjust suffering and disgust for those who willingly inflict it. Islam didn't stand a chance in the long term, and the reconquista is a testament to that. Western Christendom could only fall from within.

But from whence does Orthodoxy's excessive respect for worldly power and temporal authorities come from? It seems clear to me that it derives from the distinct Arian strain present in Orthodox theology, which was the underlying cause of the disagreement over the Filioque. Orthodox theology dissolves Christ, and risks transforming our conception of the Christian God into a distant abyss only scarcely distinguishable from the Allah of Islam. In such a system, ethics inevitably become meaningless before power. Below is an extended version of a quote from an article that highlights some of the consequences of Eastern theology:
http://coalitionforthomism.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/and-never-twain-should-meet-orthodox.html

Quote

To Dissolve Christ:
The Real Effect of the Denial of the Filioque


Denying a knowable Essence in God, it seems inevitable that Eastern Orthodox theology and philosophy would be corrosive to human nature. If such concepts as truth, love, goodness are not applicable to God's Essence, then it only makes sense that their eternal verity and applicability to the human condition should also be eroded. As the Essence of God must disappear behind an apophatic (negative) theology, so the being of man becomes engulfed in an eschatological anthropology which is the negation of all that we associate with being human.

Vladimir Losskey writes:

"This is the perfecting of prayer, and is called spiritual prayer or contemplation….It is the 'spiritual silence' which is above prayer. It is that state which belongs to the kingdom of Heaven. 'As the saints in the world to come no longer pray, their minds having been engulfed in the Divine Spirit, but dwell in ecstasy in that excellent glory; so the mind, when it has been made worthy of perceiving the blessedness of the age to come, will forget itself and all that is here, and will no longer be moved by the thought of anything." (Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 208)​

Such a description of human fulfillment sounds more like the state of Nirvana, or the Vedantic state of self-realization, than it does union with a Personal God. Even more explicitly "Eastern" is the description of beatitude offered us by Dionysisus the Pseudo-Areopagite who, next to Gregory Palamas, is the most important writer in this Eastern Tradition:

“But these things are not to be disclosed to the uninitiated, by whom I mean those attached to the objects of human thought, and who believe there is no superessential Reality beyond, and who imagine that by their own understanding they know Him who has made Darkness His secret place. And if the principles of the divine Mysteries are beyond the understanding of these, what is to be said of others still more incapable thereof, who describe the transcendental First Cause of all by characteristics drawn from the lowest order of beings, while they deny that He is any way above the images which they fashion after various designs; whereas they should affirm that, while He possesses all the positive attributes of the universe (being the Universal Cause) yet, in a more strict sense, he does not possess them, since He transcends them all; wherefore there is no contradiction between the affirmations and the negations, inasmuch as He infinitely precedes all conceptions of deprivation, being beyond all positive and negative distinctions….He is super-essentially exalted above created things, and reveals Himself in His naked Truth to those alone who pass beyond all that is pure or impure, and ascend above the topmost altitudes of holy things, and who, leaving behind them all divine light and sound and heavenly utterances, plunge into the Darkness where truly dwells, as the Oracles declare, that ONE who is beyond all.” (Dionysisus the Areopagite, Mystical Theology)​

Such a view of God and the ultimate destiny of man destroys the foundations of all that we consider solid and of absolute value in this life. It undermines the very basis of all human thought. If God is beyond the law of contradiction, beyond all positive and negative distinctions, beyond purity , and if He dwells in a Darkness beyond all, then all of our beliefs and efforts on the way to this Divine Nihilism are deprived of ultimate legitimacy and meaning.

Considering this devaluation of all that is human which is integral to Eastern Orthodox spirituality, it is not at all surprising that Christ's humanity is also devalued.

Vladimir Losskey writes:

"The cult of the humanity of Christ is foreign to Eastern tradition….The way of the imitation of Christ is never practiced in the spiritual life of the Eastern Church." (Ibid, p. 243).

Eastern Orthodoxy does not deny the importance of the humanity of Christ in the salvific sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. In other words, Christ's Humanity is integral to their view of the act of Redemption. It does, on the other hand, profoundly devalue the centrality of Christ's Sacred Humanity in the process of our sanctification and deification. This "bypassing" of Christ's Humanity is intimately related to the denial of the Filioque – the Catholic doctrine that the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son (Latin: Filioque).

In the Catholic view the Holy Spirit is sent by both Father and Son in order to enable us to imitate Christ in His birth, life, passion, death, and resurrection. The Way of our humanity is the Way of Christ's Humanity, working out our salvation in imitation of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is thus in a spiritual sense truly "incarnate": sent by the God-Man Jesus Christ in order to form us into the likeness of the Man-God Jesus Christ. The Filioque is therefore absolutely integral to this incarnational work of the Holy Spirit.

It is otherwise with the Eastern Orthodox. Their denial of the Filioque enables the Holy Spirit to be "liberated" from this connection to the Sacred Humanity of Christ in order to that He might become what some Orthodox writers have been so bold as to call the "Soul of the World." The Holy Spirit, having been liberated from the necessity of working through the Humanity of Christ, thus becomes the source of those Divine Energies which are in creation from the beginning, and are the object and source of our Divine communication, sanctification, and deification.

Eastern Orthodox writers are therefore right in claiming that the rejection of the Filioque is the axis around which revolve all the significant differences between Eastern and Latin Rite theology and spirituality. Ultimately, while accepting the salvific fact of the Incarnation, it rejects or bypasses its meaning in regard to our salvation and deification. The Holy Spirit, sent by Christ in order to form us into His likeness, is deflected by Dionysian-Palamite theology into a type of Gnostic-Pantheistic Esotericism. And at the end of this road of ascending gnosis, we also find that our own humanity has also been bypassed. There, in this Heaven of Orthodoxy, we find no personhood as we know it, no love, no thought, no truth, no purity, and no prayer, but only a Divine Darkness beyond all being, essence, and naming. In other words: the negation of all that we now consider human. With a Heaven like this, who needs a Hell?

Of course the popes have become entangled in wordly affairs. Such was inevitable when the Church asserted its independence from temporal authority, it superiority to any any human institution and it's supremacy over culture and tradition, but yet those claims had to be made in order for Christendom to be built upon the ruins of a pagan Europe. The Orthodox Church, never truly asserting the supremacy of Christ over the world, and limiting itself to the private sphere, was largely able to avoid the terrible conflicts in which the Catholic Church became embroiled. But do not confuse Orthodox indifference and apathy for greater holiness. It is simply a result of their erroneous theology which values detachment above action, an idea that proceeds quite naturally from their conception of God ("beyond all positive and negative distinctions"), and salvation (a state in which we "will no longer be moved by the thought of anything.")

These kind of theological issues illuminate not only Orthodoxy's near-powerlessness in the face of Islam, but many other perplexing details about the history of the Orthodox Churches. Their curious lack of interest in evangelizing non-Christian peoples, for example. Russia is teeming with Muslims and pagans who, it would appear, the Russian Orthodox Church has made almost no effort to convert. It seems that the Russian Church and it's Orthodox Tsars were much more concerned with persecuting Catholics than evangelizing non-Christians within the boundaries of their own empire.

All of this may sound very harsh, but I don't think I'm wrong. I don't intend a blanket condemnation of Orthodox believers. I'm sure many are sincerely faithful and truly holy. But that is in spite of the dominant theology of the Orthodox Church which blatantly devalues the pursuit of holiness.
 

NickK

 
Banned
Orthodox
I have been Orthodox for nearly a year, attending an OCA church. Previously I was a Catholic, born and raised Catholic. I am Italian, Spanish and Irish, so Catholicism is deep in my blood and in my ancestral heritage. I am very well briefed on the Theology of The Orthodox Church and Of The Catholic Church and am familiar with the debate. I am convinced that Orthodox Theology is correct but in all honesty I truly don't care.

The OCA church that I go to has bent the knee completely, the OCA in general from what I've heard has completely bent the knee. But it isn't so much about that. It's more about when I attend the OCA church I go to I feel like these are not my people, I feel very much like an outsider, as opposed to the Catholic Church which I feel at home. The Orthodox Church has not been resonating with me for the past month or two. It's beginning to feel more and more synthetic and fake as I attend. It's not apart of me nor of my Identity. I feel like I'm only attending because I read some books and watched some online debates and lectures and feel that this is intellectually true. I don't want to attend a Russian Orthodox Church or Greek Orthodox Church, the ones around me conduct the Liturgies in those languages only anyway. I feel a strong impulse to return to the Catholic Church and attend an SSPX church instead. Yet I am convinced Orthodox Theology is correct. What does this make of me?

Not to mention the conduct of a-lot of these so called orthobros online is absolutely repulsive and the way they attack Catholics with such animosity is a bit ridiculous and seems to me like a big LARP. A good majority of them just seem like a rude, condescending bunch, I haven't seen that with Catholics online at all. And as of recent I've found myself coming to the defense of the Catholics. Christianity in general is being attacked by the mob and orthobros are out here acting like children attacking Catholics for ridiculous reasons. Don't get me wrong Doctrine and Debate is important but these nerds are taking it to a whole new level. But I digress. I would never let childish online banter steer me away from The Church as I don't even spend that much time online to be honest, nevertheless influence my opinion. I'm just saying I don't even feel welcome by the online Orthodox community.

I'll admit I hesitated to even comment on this matter as I feel like a fool, a hypocrite and a idiot bunched up in one but I recently spoke to a person who converted from Catholicism to Orthodoxy (he was a trad cat before) and is going through the same situation so I figured it would be worth sharing.
Well,

Clearly I was vindicated in what I said. All above is Orthodox spewing out cuckhold Christianity and effeminate Jewish persecution complex rhetoric. And resorting to bashing Rome.

Read up on Christendom and see how many people would laugh in your face for being this weak back then. Oh wait no Christendom was Catholic and has the spirit of the antichrist, I forgot sorry. Not like we spread the Cross across the globe, Evangelizing whole continents, while Orthodox were confined to Russia, Greece, Serbia and Romania.

Well then on your knees gentlemen.
 

Joe316

 
Banned
I had that issue in Germany, with it being in Russian, and attended one once where I couldn't work out what language it was and after about half an hour I asked someone in the congregation and it was Arabic. Not sure if it is practical to be Orthodox in many regions. Be flexible when you need to go, any church is better than no church.

Some countries have laws that enforce the native languages of the country for religious preaching (regardless if it's true or false religion). Germany is not one of them, so you get all kinds of immigrant temples (largely mosques), where no native is able to tell if they worship their deity or prepare for a civil war.

(The paragraphs below is not specifically addressed to to you, but to the entire readership.)

Choosing a church because you encountered some edgy guys online is dangerous, because they could be part of a psyop to sow division and lead you away from Christ. If I myself had ended up inside an Arabic church due to this, I would consider myself being successfully trolled.

As a secular Westerner you have a history and at some point your ancestors were probably Christian one way or the other. These are the roots you should look for instead of some foreign country import, which hasn't been there even 40 years ago. Even in the most degenerate areas there is still a remnant of faithful Christians to connect to and their denomination depends on where you live. They speak your native language and share your culture, so despite all their flaws with God's help they are actually able to help and correct you on your journey with Christ.

If you obey online personas trying to discourage you from native Christian fellowship, then you're probably not in His will.
 

Hermetic Seal

Pelican
Orthodox
Gold Member
In Orthodoxy blah blah blah

What a bunch of baloney. You sound like you watched some YouTube video of a Catholic apologist complaining about Orthodoxy (which seems to be a common trend these days given the massive interest in Orthodoxy) without having actually learned anything yourself.

Your total misapprehension of what Holy Tradition means in Orthodoxy is an immediate sign that you're opining on stuff you don't actually know anything about. Your definition of "tradition" is utterly laughable and pure spin marshalled to justify Rome's millennium of innovation. Comparing that to "faith" is fallacious, false dichotomy nonsense. Anyone interested in learning what Orthodox Holy Tradition actually is should read p. 35-40 in Pomazansky's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology for a good introduction, or read some of these articles.

Your whining about Church-state relations is a textbook example of making a mountain out of a molehill. The Church and State have had troubled relations from the very beginning of Christianity. Your points "prove" absolutely nothing. I'd take a Church that sometimes gets pushed around by the state but preserves the faith over one that acts like a political entity with temporal power and wields its own military, bank, and other trappings of a state.

"Strength, ruthlessness, and the ability to impose one's will at any cost become more important than ethics, or even profession of the Christian faith." That sounds far more descriptive of Rome and especially medieval Rome's lust for temporal power as mentioned above. If anything, the Orthodox Church in the Eastern world faced struggles because it was primarily preoccupied with the spiritual, rather than consolidating and asserting temporal power, and struggled to effectively respond to such a temporal threat. Even the most cursory thought on this subject suggests the exact opposite of the point you tried to make, which really exposes what a dumb argument that is.

And of course despite the persecutions of Islam, Bolshevism, and other struggles in the East the Church did not fail, it wasn't wiped out, and the Faith was maintained and even now is expanding and growing. You also didn't bother to address the elephant in the room, which was that the Eastern Church was directly in the middle of Islam's warpath, which Latin Christianity had the benefit of geography in avoiding the brunt of it.

Your blabbering about the filioque is likewise a hurricane of mendacious nonsense and sophistry. If you actually bothered to read Lossky p.243, as you deceptively quote-mined above, reading the rest of the page makes it extremely obvious that when Lossky says "The way of the imitation of Christ is never practiced in the spiritual life of the Eastern Church," he isn't saying, as you dishonestly imply, that Orthodox don't care about living in a Christlike way or imitating his behavior; rather Lossky is referring to Latin post-schism innovations like stigmata, the sacred heart, and so on.

Likewise, the complaining about apophatic theology is completely overblown. Apophaticism is one aspect of Orthodox thought about God, not the whole. Robert Arakaki at the Orthodox Reformed Bridge blog has a good refutation of this complaint here.

But that is in spite of the dominant theology of the Orthodox Church which blatantly devalues the pursuit of holiness.

That is nothing but an egregious lie and betrays your total lack of any actual experience with Orthodoxy whatsoever.
 

MichaelWitcoff

Hummingbird
Orthodox
What a bunch of baloney. You sound like you watched some YouTube video of a Catholic apologist complaining about Orthodoxy (which seems to be a common trend these days given the massive interest in Orthodoxy) without having actually learned anything yourself.

Your total misapprehension of what Holy Tradition means in Orthodoxy is an immediate sign that you're opining on stuff you don't actually know anything about. Your definition of "tradition" is utterly laughable and pure spin marshalled to justify Rome's millennium of innovation. Comparing that to "faith" is fallacious, false dichotomy nonsense. Anyone interested in learning what Orthodox Holy Tradition actually is should read p. 35-40 in Pomazansky's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology for a good introduction, or read some of these articles.

Your whining about Church-state relations is a textbook example of making a mountain out of a molehill. The Church and State have had troubled relations from the very beginning of Christianity. Your points "prove" absolutely nothing. I'd take a Church that sometimes gets pushed around by the state but preserves the faith over one that acts like a political entity with temporal power and wields its own military, bank, and other trappings of a state.

"Strength, ruthlessness, and the ability to impose one's will at any cost become more important than ethics, or even profession of the Christian faith." That sounds far more descriptive of Rome and especially medieval Rome's lust for temporal power as mentioned above. If anything, the Orthodox Church in the Eastern world faced struggles because it was primarily preoccupied with the spiritual, rather than consolidating and asserting temporal power, and struggled to effectively respond to such a temporal threat. Even the most cursory thought on this subject suggests the exact opposite of the point you tried to make, which really exposes what a dumb argument that is.

And of course despite the persecutions of Islam, Bolshevism, and other struggles in the East the Church did not fail, it wasn't wiped out, and the Faith was maintained and even now is expanding and growing. You also didn't bother to address the elephant in the room, which was that the Eastern Church was directly in the middle of Islam's warpath, which Latin Christianity had the benefit of geography in avoiding the brunt of it.

Your blabbering about the filioque is likewise a hurricane of mendacious nonsense and sophistry. If you actually bothered to read Lossky p.243, as you deceptively quote-mined above, reading the rest of the page makes it extremely obvious that when Lossky says "The way of the imitation of Christ is never practiced in the spiritual life of the Eastern Church," he isn't saying, as you dishonestly imply, that Orthodox don't care about living in a Christlike way or imitating his behavior; rather Lossky is referring to Latin post-schism innovations like stigmata, the sacred heart, and so on.

Likewise, the complaining about apophatic theology is completely overblown. Apophaticism is one aspect of Orthodox thought about God, not the whole. Robert Arakaki at the Orthodox Reformed Bridge blog has a good refutation of this complaint here.



That is nothing but an egregious lie and betrays your total lack of any actual experience with Orthodoxy whatsoever.

I’m assuming his misinformation and vitriol come from the endless stream of anti-Orthodox videos by the Dimond brothers, two men LARPing as monks and dishonestly calling their house a “monastery.”
 

Blade Runner

Hummingbird
Orthodox
It seems to me that people are getting a bit sensitive from the selection bias of the internet - Orthodox are bothered by innovators and have strong opinions because they are in the region of the original christians and have faith and practice that hasn't changed. It's a fact that this is the case, and quite evident that others innovated. But they have no hatred or disdain for anyone else. They probably just like to argue, like most of us and especially the protestant turned "ortho-bro" who has regularly practiced biblical argumentation his whole life.
 
The Renaissance wasn't all bad, and Snek has a little housecleaning to do if he wants to claim having paintings of naked people are unacceptable in churches.

It is true that joining the Orthodox Church means giving up a lot of your Western heritage. And for many of us that's something painful. If the Eucharist were never celebrated again in a Gothic Cathedral, if people stopped venerating St. Joan of Arc or King Charles the Martyr, if plainsong was forgotten, or nobody observed Ash Wednesday, that would be tragic. And that's unfortunately the direction things are heading.

A small but vocal contingent of Orthodox people in the West deal with the tragedy by teaching themselves to hate the West so that they don't have to miss it. Their anti-West rhetoric generally relies on attributing heresy to a bunch of canonized saints, casually ignoring our intercommunion with the Anglicans (starting all the way back with Phillip Ludwell III and continuing into the 20th century), and blatant historical revisionism involving the Council of Florence.

The continued work of the Holy Ghost in the Western Churches, post-schism, is obvious. And I respect people who remain in the church of their birth and try to restore the Western Christianity to what it once was. I also don't envy the position they're in.

I wish Western Orthodoxy was a readily available option, but that's not the position God has seen fit to put us in.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Moderator
Orthodox
The Renaissance wasn't all bad, and Snek has a little housecleaning to do if he wants to claim having paintings of naked people are unacceptable in churches.
What were some of the good things about the Renaissance? The printing press making more bibles available? Why should there be naked people in church? What does that bring to the table? What is even the point of that? At best it's distracting.
A small but vocal contingent of Orthodox people in the West deal with the tragedy by teaching themselves to hate the West so that they don't have to miss it. Their anti-West rhetoric generally relies on attributing heresy to a bunch of canonized saints, casually ignoring our intercommunion with the Anglicans (starting all the way back with Phillip Ludwell III and continuing into the 20th century),
Source needed for intercommunion. Even if true, the Anglicans differentiate between intercommunion and full communion. They may have permitted their members to commune in Orthodox churches, but I highly doubt that was reciprocated. In the case of Phillip Ludwell, he was granted special permission to attend Anglican Churches as anything besides Protestantism was not permitted in the colonies, except for Pennsylvania. I can find evidence of him receiving communion in London after his conversion to Orthodoxy, but assuming that was Anglican, I don't see a source for that being allowed anywhere.
and blatant historical revisionism involving the Council of Florence.
A minority of bishops in one patriarchate agreed to submit to Rome, and that decision was later revoked in that patriarchate after never being accepted by the Orthodox Church as a whole. What is there to revise?
The continued work of the Holy Ghost in the Western Churches, post-schism, is obvious. And I respect people who remain in the church of their birth and try to restore the Western Christianity to what it once was. I also don't envy the position they're in.
We're allowed to proselytize people. Orthodoxy is the true Church. Everyone should become Orthodox. As far as I'm concerned we can bless western traditions once they're in the Church, just as with every culture that converted to Orthodoxy.
 
What were some of the good things about the Renaissance? The printing press making more bibles available?
The printing press, increased understanding of the Greek language, numerous scientific advances, a lot of really phenomenal art.

Why should there be naked people in church? What does that bring to the table? What is even the point of that? At best it's distracting.
I'm not certain. Why do we have people's private parts on display in our icons?

Source needed for intercommunion. Even if true, the Anglicans differentiate between intercommunion and full communion. They may have permitted their members to commune in Orthodox churches, but I highly doubt that was reciprocated. In the case of Phillip Ludwell, he was granted special permission to attend Anglican Churches as anything besides Protestantism was not permitted in the colonies, except for Pennsylvania. I can find evidence of him receiving communion in London after his conversion to Orthodoxy, but assuming that was Anglican, I don't see a source for that being allowed anywhere.
Source: old people at church. Before women's ordination in the Episcopal Church, displaced Orthodox got permission from their bishops to receive the sacraments at from Episcopalian priests. On the internet you could look up the epistles of St. Raphael of Brooklyn on the subject, or the numerous statements from Eastern Patriarchs acknowledging the legitimacy of Anglican holy orders. But anyone over 80 at your church will probably remember.

As far as I know Anglicans and Episcopalians were never allowed to commune in our churches; it only worked in the opposite direction. So not as much intercommunion as we've have with the non-Chalcedonians, but still significant.

A minority of bishops in one patriarchate agreed to submit to Rome, and that decision was later revoked in that patriarchate after never being accepted by the Orthodox Church as a whole. What is there to revise?
There is a shockingly large number of Orthodox people who think the Byzantines accepted heresy at Florence, and that they did so in order to get help from the Latins against the Muslims.
In reality, the Orthodox would not have approached the pope at all if their primary concern was military aid, no heresy was agreed to, and the union was foiled by the godless heathen Mohammedans who took over Constantinople and installed traitors as bishops. Dr. Lina Murr Nehme (Antiochian Orthodox), has an excellent book on the subject called 1453.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Moderator
Orthodox
Source: old people at church. Before women's ordination in the Episcopal Church, displaced Orthodox got permission from their bishops to receive the sacraments at from Episcopalian priests. On the internet you could look up the epistles of St. Raphael of Brooklyn on the subject, or the numerous statements from Eastern Patriarchs acknowledging the legitimacy of Anglican holy orders. But anyone over 80 at your church will probably remember.

As far as I know Anglicans and Episcopalians were never allowed to commune in our churches; it only worked in the opposite direction. So not as much intercommunion as we've have with the non-Chalcedonians, but still significant.
St. Raphael repented:
On hearing and in reading that my letter, perhaps unintentionally, was misconstrued by some of the Episcopalian (Anglican) Clergy, I wrote a second letter in which I pointed out that my instructions and exceptions had been either overlooked or ignored by many, to wit:

(a) They (the Episcopalians) informed the Orthodox people that I recognized the Anglican Communion (Protestant Episcopal Church) as being united with the Holy Orthodox Church and their ministry, that is holy orders, as valid.

(b) The Episcopal (Anglican) Clergy offered their ministrations even when my Orthodox clergy were residing in the same towns and parishes, as pastors. And,

(c) Protestant Episcopal clergy said there was no need of Orthodox people seeking the ministrations of their own Orthodox priests, for their (the Anglican) ministrations were all that were necessary.
I am convinced that the doctrinal teaching and practices as well as the discipline of the whole Anglican Church are unacceptable to the Holy Orthodox Church. I make this apology for the Anglicans whom as Christian gentlemen I greatly revere, that the loose teaching of a great many of the prominent Anglican theologians are so hazy in their definition of truths, and so inclined toward pet heresies that it is hard to tell what they believe. The Anglican Church as a whole has not spoken authoritatively on her doctrine. Her Catholic minded members can call out her doctrines from many views, but so nebulistic is her pathway in the doctrinal world that those who would extend a hand of both Christian and ecclesiastical fellowship dare not, without distrust, grasp the hand of her theologians, for while many are orthodox on some points, they are quite heterodox on others. I speak, of course, from the Holy Orthodox Eastern Catholic point of view. The Holy Orthodox Church has never perceptibly changed from Apostolic times, and, therefore, no one can go astray in finding out what she teaches. Like her Lord and Master, though at times surrounded with human malaria — which He in mercy pardons — she is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 8:8) … the mother and safe deposit of “the truth as it is in Jesus” (Eph.4:21).
You're incorrect if you view the temporary mistaken intercommunion as a good thing, as the saint who is largely the author of that practice with the Anglicans regrets it.
There is a shockingly large number of Orthodox people who think the Byzantines accepted heresy at Florence, and that they did so in order to get help from the Latins against the Muslims.
In reality, the Orthodox would not have approached the pope at all if their primary concern was military aid, no heresy was agreed to, and the union was foiled by the godless heathen Mohammedans who took over Constantinople and installed traitors as bishops. Dr. Lina Murr Nehme (Antiochian Orthodox), has an excellent book on the subject called 1453.

Dr. Lina Murr Nehme, who wrote an article against Antisemitism in France, had the following to say regarding the Council of Florence:

In the Council of Florence, the Orthodox refused to add the Filioque to the Creed, refused to modify saint Basil’s liturgy, refused to use unleavened bread for the liturgy, refused to authorize the Pope to appoint the Patriarch of Constantinople, refused even to allow the Patriarch’s election to be held outside of Constantinople. Moreover, they did not make one single dogmatic renunciation: they united themselves with the Latins only after the Latins had conceded that the Holy spirit has a single principle, the Father. However they did abandon pride in Florence, by accepting the Pope’s primacy. But they were far from doing that because they were subjected to pressure. they were, in fact, subjected to an opposite pressure, since the Pope was at the time in a position of extreme weakness. Italian armies were waging war on him in the field, and a Republic had been proclaimed in Rome. He was a refugee in Florence, and the rich Italian merchants despised him. At the same time, the King of France was waging a theological war against him through the Council of Basel. the aim of this war was the final destruction of Papal power.
The delegates and those who sent them didn't have the internet and instant communications, so the extent of their knowledge to the weak position of the Pope is limited, while the knowledge of their weak position was painfully obvious. Also I would say submitting to the Pope is the heresy we identify with that council. Otherwise her statement is a good one. I recommend you read what saints and Orthodox clergy have to say instead of butch foreign academics with dubious Orthodox credentials.
I'm not certain. Why do we have people's private parts on display in our icons?
What? I'm not aware of nudity in our icons.
 
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