Orthodox response to coronavirus

When I was learning game, I remember listening to a Roman Catholic friend try to defend his Church against a feminist who thought they should ordain women. She called his Church sexist for not ordaining ladies, and he tried to say his Church wasn’t sexist because of chivalry, and venerating Mary, etc.

I remember realizing that he would never convince her, because he was playing right into her frame. Instead of judging feminism by Christianity, he was standing next to her judging Christianity by feminism.

It’s the same thing happening in the Orthodox Church right now. The godless authorities determined that going to Divine Liturgy is bad, and we’ve played right into their frame. Instead of saying, “we will continue to celebrate the Eucharist for the healing of soul and body,” we’ve said, “okay, we’ll keep everybody safe by excommunicating the faithful.”

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. No one will come to Christ because they’re so impressed by how we’re good boys who obey Big Brother and don’t go to Church. But if we stand fast in the face of persecution, and celebrate Divine Liturgy publicly anyway, those with eyes to see will know that we stand for something. The Romans failed to stamp us out because we refused to submit, and like the hydra, for every Christian they murdered two more rose in his place.

And I doubt it would come to martyrdom here: the godless authorities of the US today don’t have the balls that the Caesars did. If we keep congregating to celebrate the holy mysteries, and we are willing to be arrested for it, our government will probably back down and change the rules.

But as long as we sit quietly and let it happen, we have no one to blame but ourselves. It’s not the government’s fault that we stopped having church services; we didn’t have to cooperate. God never told us to render unto Caesar what belonged to God; we decided to.

When EMJ or Fr. Josiah get upset about the government response, I’m sympathetic. But who is to blame for the fact that we’re not doing our job: a godless government that acts godless? Or we, know better but cooperate anyway?
 

Roosh

Cardinal
The Orthodox are also quick to say they are the "pure faith", but they cucked as fast as other denominations! The heaviest resistance I see is actually from American Protestants.

Here's another good article from an Orthodox priest:
At current, even within Orthodox circles, the idea is being put forth that if I, as a person, truly cared about others I would stay at home. This staying at home includes forgoing attending church.

Some are saying things like “don’t try to be a hero.” Others are proposing that staying at home is a true reflection of Christian concern and love for others."

In this post, I will be addressing this issue and I will be giving an opposing view to those reflected above.

Of late, I have pointed out that in the past Christians risked everything to attend Church. Throughout the ages there have been times when attending Church could mean imprisonment, torture, or death. To this, I have received the retort, “Yes but that is not an infectious disease!
 

An0dyne

Robin
A number of parishes in my communion have been doing 10-or-less celebrations of the Divine Service. I have found this to be a reasonable way to obey the letter of the law without foregoing the charge of Word and Sacrament Ministry. Not all parishes in our communion are doing this, but I know of a few that are. Others are doing "drive-in" Divine Service, where the whole congregation can attend and the Pastor will bring the Holy Sacrament to the people in their cars. This is another good option.

I think at first these options were reasonable, perhaps, but in light of the current data, the most sensible thing to do is simply resume full Divine Service in the sanctuary.
 

Aboulia

Robin
A number of parishes in my communion have been doing 10-or-less celebrations of the Divine Service. I have found this to be a reasonable way to obey the letter of the law without foregoing the charge of Word and Sacrament Ministry. Not all parishes in our communion are doing this, but I know of a few that are. Others are doing "drive-in" Divine Service, where the whole congregation can attend and the Pastor will bring the Holy Sacrament to the people in their cars. This is another good option.


I think at first these options were reasonable, perhaps, but in light of the current data, the most sensible thing to do is simply resume full Divine Service in the sanctuary.
Taking communion in your car is unthinkable, bordering on blasphemy. During liturgy after the Gospel reading, the deacon calls for catachumens to depart. The closest all non-Orthodox are to be is the narthex (which some churches loosen for the sake of teaching). The priest doesn't minister communion in the narthex for a reason, let alone the parking lot. Being scared of a virus/death is not a reason to not partake in the nave of the church.

But I do wholeheartedly agree with the small celebrations of the Divine Liturgy. Our parish has done the same.
 

Rob Banks

Pelican
Taking communion in your car is unthinkable, bordering on blasphemy...
At my Trad Catholic church, we have been having drive-in Masses where the priest will bring communion to people but you have to get out of the car and kneel (with the exception of one very old lady who had trouble moving and they let her stay in the car and receive communion). Is this blasphemy?
 
The Orthodox are also quick to say they are the "pure faith", but they cucked as fast as other denominations! The heaviest resistance I see is actually from American Protestants.
There’s an old fable about St. John Cassian and St. Nicholas. St. John walks up to God one December day, clears his throat, and says, “Father, there’s something I’d like to talk to you about. People are trying to get ready for your birthday, and they keep getting distracted by St. Nicholas.”
“Does that bother you?” asks God.
“Well,” says St. John, “I get that we celebrate his feast on December 6th, because that’s the day of his repose. But we also celebrate his birth in May, the translation of his relics in July, and his commemoration every Thursday! Meanwhile, my feast on February 29th only comes once every four years.”
“And?” God asks.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” said St. John Cassian. “I keep my garments clean, and turn aside from worldly things to focus on the heavenly. Meanwhile, St. Nicholas is always running off to help anyone on earth who asks, and coming back to heaven all covered in mud and filth.”
“Let’s see what Nick thinks about this,” says God. “Nicholas! Come here!”
After a while, God calls again. “Nicholas!”
St. Nick stumbles through the door, dripping from head to toe. A puddle begins to form beneath him on the floor of God’s throne room.
“What were you doing?” asks God.
“Sorry it took me so long, Father. A drowning sailor asked for my help so I had to swim him to safety before I could get here,” says St. Nicholas.
God turns to John Cassian. “St. John, do you go down to earth when the Church militant asks for your help?”
“Of course not, Father,” says St. John, “I have laid aside all earthly cares.”
“Well,” says God, “That’s why they remember of St. Nicholas so often, and you so rarely.”

In the late 19th century, Vladimir Solovyov interpreted it like this: the Russian Orthodox Church was St. John Cassian, spotless with doctrinal purity. And the heterodox Christians of Western Europe were St. Nicholas. Though their garments were soiled with incorrect doctrine, were doing much to help people and make earth more like heaven, even while the Russian Church was turning a blind eye to the cruelty of the Tsars and Russia’s system of serfdom. He saw a pressing need for reunion between East and West, for Orthodox to show the Western world the unchanging teaching of Christ, while the West could share with the Orthodox their drive to apply Christ’s commands to society.

For us to merely know what's true is never enough. Like St. James put it, “even the demons believe, and shudder.”
 
At my Trad Catholic church, we have been having drive-in Masses where the priest will bring communion to people but you have to get out of the car and kneel (with the exception of one very old lady who had trouble moving and they let her stay in the car and receive communion). Is this blasphemy?
It seems to me that's a much better solution than just not giving people the Eucharist. St. Brendan the Navigator celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the back of a whale, so I think there's room for doing things a little differently when necessary.
 

Aboulia

Robin
At my Trad Catholic church, we have been having drive-in Masses where the priest will bring communion to people but you have to get out of the car and kneel (with the exception of one very old lady who had trouble moving and they let her stay in the car and receive communion). Is this blasphemy?
RC Theology is different from Orthodox Theology, so I'm not too sure on what's important in a RC mass. My comment was strictly from an Orthodox perspective.

Orthodox Divine Liturgy is something like a human attempt to play out heaven on earth, everything has a place where it's either supposed to be, or not supposed to be, with grey areas inbetween. For example of a stark contrast, in Catholic Mass, you have the collection plate/basket in the same area where the faithful participate in the Mass. In the Orthodox world, money has no place in the important part of life, it's something only collected at the very entrance of the church, in something like a large ballot box, and since Orthodox services are so long, people rarely come at the same time, so no one knows if/how much you donate (unless you put your name on the donations for tax writeoffs)
 
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Rob Banks

Pelican
...In the Orthodox world, money has no place in the important part of life, it's something only collected at the very entrance of the church, in something like a large ballot box, and since Orthodox services are so long, people rarely come at the same time, so no one knows if/how much you donate (unless you put your name on the donations for tax writeoffs)
This is something that always bothered me about my Catholic church. The donation collections are done in front of everyone, so everyone is pressured to donate, and those collecting the donations know exactly how much everyone donates.

Last Sunday, I was pressured into buying a Mother's Day card. I was not planning to buy one, but the man who is in charge of organizing church events approached me and pressured me to buy one. I then had to write down the name of someone I wanted them to pray for on a list. This prayer list was only available to those who bought the cards.
 

An0dyne

Robin
Taking communion in your car is unthinkable, bordering on blasphemy. During liturgy after the Gospel reading, the deacon calls for catachumens to depart. The closest all non-Orthodox are to be is the narthex (which some churches loosen for the sake of teaching). The priest doesn't minister communion in the narthex for a reason, let alone the parking lot. Being scared of a virus/death is not a reason to not partake in the nave of the church.

But I do wholeheartedly agree with the small celebrations of the Divine Liturgy. Our parish has done the same.
I prefer smaller celebrations in the Sanctuary as well, though I can also see the advantage to having everyone gathered together at outdoor Liturgy. These types of Services are not without precedent in pandemics where forced quarantines are in order. Obviously the automobile factor is novel, but reception of the Eucharist can be done reverently even in that context.

Obviously, the traditions are different here between East and West though, and I respect this may not be acceptable in an Eastern context.
 

Blade Runner

Kingfisher
I have been more than understanding and patient about the leadership of the many dioceses of the Orthodox churches in the United States of America, but frankly most have been extremely lacking or disappointing at this point (including the one I currently attend). I will refrain at this time from criticizing what I consider to be weak and largely fearful messaging. As in our society, it seems that the leadership is worldly in their consideration of the importance and essential nature of worship and concern for living "with risk" = religious liberty and worship is not critical and any risk in life is shunned. I find this approach largely contradictory to the gospel. All I can say is that if it doesn't change sooner than later, I will be as outspoken as any in holding our leadership to a higher standard. There is an important place for obedience in the Christian life, but our greatest Saints and Bishops were also "excommunicated" from time to time, and in the end, nothing passes if the people do not accept it.
 
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Samseau

Owl
Gold Member
I think many here are overreacting. Even back in the days of Roman persecution, Christians were banned from practice and did so in secret. Jesus told us to give unto Cesar what is Cesar's, which means do not break the law. When the law stands in the way of The Law, then we should find ways to be as innocent as doves and wise as serphants to get around it.

For example, something like this:

At my Trad Catholic church, we have been having drive-in Masses where the priest will bring communion to people but you have to get out of the car and kneel (with the exception of one very old lady who had trouble moving and they let her stay in the car and receive communion). Is this blasphemy?
Drive-thru mass is a perfect solution following Christian principles. No laws are broken, and God is honored. God does not care how sacrament is served (these are things honored by men), as long as sacrament is served.

I suggested drive-thru mass to my Priest, but sadly he refused.
 

Blade Runner

Kingfisher
Samseau, there is something called The Constitution. There is also some place for calling us to be wise, no doubt, but there is also a calling for some to sacrifice and not back down when the laws of the corrupted land go against all virtue, truth, and what has been revealed to us.

As for your drive thru idea, you may be on to something regarding skirting the issue, but not like that. There is something called liturgics and right worship, which is the foundation of Orthodoxy.
 

Samseau

Owl
Gold Member
Samseau, there is something called The Constitution. There is also some place for calling us to be wise, no doubt, but there is also a calling for some to sacrifice and not back down when the laws of the corrupted land go against all virtue, truth, and what has been revealed to us.

As for your drive thru idea, you may be on to something regarding skirting the issue, but not like that. There is something called liturgics and right worship, which is the foundation of Orthodoxy.
Right worship involves obeying the laws, because of the aforementioned reasons I posted. All Orthodox clergy take a vow of pacifism to avoid any involvement in politics.

Jesus never broke a single law, something Pontius Pilate pointed out numerous times, because the Christ knew that the laws of this world are ultimately pointless. Stuff like "freedom" and "individual rights," do nothing to bring about spiritual salvation. Christianity has worked just fine under a brutal dictatorship as much as it does a democracy. God is above politics entirely.

Church is entirely doable in these times, we simply need to be creative.

That said, Church is banned while Tinder and Grindr are open for business - tells us all we need to know about the "essentialness" of things are classified today. It's all bullshit and just a way to silence Christians, but we can easily work around these nonsense laws. Christianity has endured far worse persecution than this.
 

Athanasius

Kingfisher
3,000 (protestant) churches in California are set to defy Newsom and reopen May 31.

Our church (not in Cali) reopened. Others here are going to a drive-through style service.

One factor to consider is that this is an unprecedented situation that caught a lot of people off guard. The US hasn't had a pandemic in 100 years and the church has probably never been shut down like this by the civil authorities. As such, many of us have never really contemplated when a church complies and when it disregards the civil magistrate in a matter like this. I think you'll likely see more developed thought on this in coming years.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
3,000 (protestant) churches in California are set to defy Newsom and reopen May 31.

Our church (not in Cali) reopened. Others here are going to a drive-through style service.

One factor to consider is that this is an unprecedented situation that caught a lot of people off guard. The US hasn't had a pandemic in 100 years and the church has probably never been shut down like this by the civil authorities. As such, many of us have never really contemplated when a church complies and when it disregards the civil magistrate in a matter like this. I think you'll likely see more developed thought on this in coming years.
The Orthodox are most experienced with this because of communism, but it was well over a generation ago.
 

Blade Runner

Kingfisher
Yes, I agree, Bury.

Samseau, I understand what you are saying. But right worship doesn't always involve obeying the law. Any number of thought experiments will instantly show you that. Also, of course Christ didn't break the law of God, but similarly, he could have been accused of, claimed to have broken whatever BS laws were present at the time too.

In the end, I agree that western concepts of freedom and "rights" don't necessarily lead to spiritual advancement or salvation. My main message is that of the hypocritical state - don't tell us we are free or have rights if in reality it more closely resembles Soviet Russia. That's why my posts challenging the efficacy of leadership of most orthodox bishops I've come across deal in this subject. Discernment and craftiness, or creativity are key in those societies that have such challenges like present in communist countries. But we don't have that here, and it's not like people are coming with guns either to stop you from doing anything, in that vein.
 
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