The Orthodox Church

DanielH

Pelican
Can someone explain to me the iconography issue between Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism in a simple way. I have a general understanding of the schism etc. but would there be other reasons why Catholics are so offended by Icons. I have Catholic friends and I can see them feeling uncomfortable that I have Christ Panocrator on my wall. I cannot imagine walking into a empty Church with no images, I mean, what is the issue here? Let me know if there is a better place to post this question.
Your Catholic friends are wrong then and are being negatively influenced by a protestant and secular society. There's nothing I'm aware of in Catholicism against icons, they just tend to have different styles of icons (statues are common, life-like depictions are more common).

Unrelated - can anyone recommend me an akathist book? Preferably to Christ, the Theotokos, and a collection of saints. Thanks
 
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Can someone explain to me the iconography issue between Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism in a simple way. I have a general understanding of the schism etc. but would there be other reasons why Catholics are so offended by Icons. I have Catholic friends and I can see them feeling uncomfortable that I have Christ Panocrator on my wall. I cannot imagine walking into a empty Church with no images, I mean, what is the issue here? Let me know if there is a better place to post this question.

I haven’t read it, but I’m told that “Greek East And Latin West,” by Fr. Louth, is a great book that deals in part with this topic. Louth is a greater writer and it could be worth looking into.
 

Liviu

Chicken
There's a couple other local churches here (Syriac, Coptic, Romanian)...but I'm not sure if I would "fit it" to these as well as the OCA (any input here would be appreciated).
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Hello, I am a Romanian Christian Orthodox from Bucharest. I have a Bachelor`s in Christian Orthodox Theology. You should avoid the Oriental Orthodox Churches (such as Syriac , Copt etc.) because they are not completely reintegrated in Christian Orthodox Church from an official point of view despite a document was signed by representatives of all main Christian Orthodox Churches who recognized formaly the orthodoxy of their faith.OCA is a good choice being one the three Orthodox Churches from US recommanded bt the initiator of this forum. Romanians are friendly and maybe you would feel faster integrated on one side but on the other, I suppose the service is not in English.
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Kept forgetting to mention this but last Sunday I officially became a catechumen at the ROCOR parish I've been visiting. I'm really excited to make things "official" after spending months of acting like a catechumen. I've been very impressed with the parish and Orthodoxy in general and feel like this is one of the best things going on in my life right now.

My only regret is that I didn't apply this level of thought and scrutiny to my faith years earlier, when I'd long had issues at the back of my mind regarding my nondenominational experience.
 

DanielH

Pelican
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew wrote a congratulatory letter to Biden and it's as disappointing as you would expect:

https://orthodoxtimes.com/ecumenica...-the-whole-free-world-welcome-your-supremacy/
I'd like to ask his Eminence exactly what we would have to look forward to in potentially inaugurating an illegitimate abortionist warmonger who is excommunicated from his own church. This doesn't even make sense from a geopolitical standpoint since he is an enemy of Russia, which will therefore aid Turkey (the country oppressing him).
 
I'd like to ask his Eminence exactly what we would have to look forward to in potentially inaugurating an illegitimate abortionist warmonger who is excommunicated from his own church. This doesn't even make sense from a geopolitical standpoint since he is an enemy of Russia, which will therefore aid Turkey (the country oppressing him).

The EP is recently acting as a weapon against Russia, and has no apparent interest in throwing off the Turkish yoke. Tens of millions of dollars “went missing” from the GOARCH coffers, and I’ve seen the theory floated that the State Department agreed to look the other way if Bartholomew would help break the Russian Church’s power in Ukraine. There’s no hard evidence of it, but it makes sense as a bigger picture of things if the EP is under Deep State control.
 

Aboulia

Woodpecker
Kept forgetting to mention this but last Sunday I officially became a catechumen at the ROCOR parish I've been visiting. I'm really excited to make things "official" after spending months of acting like a catechumen. I've been very impressed with the parish and Orthodoxy in general and feel like this is one of the best things going on in my life right now.

My only regret is that I didn't apply this level of thought and scrutiny to my faith years earlier, when I'd long had issues at the back of my mind regarding my nondenominational experience.
Make sure you take your time, I feel I was too hastily baptized, I regret not reading more lives of the saints for a specific patron saint before I was baptized, as I've found some now that I really love, like St Varus
and also St Justin the Philosopher (his life is in fragments all over the web, unfortunately I can't find a complete one I can link to)
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Gold Member
I spent a lot of time looking into first-millennium English saints and had Saint Edwin in mind. When I talked to my priest about becoming a catechumen I asked for his suggestions among English saints. Amazingly he suggested the same one. That was pretty cool.

I'm not in any rush and I'm completely deferring to my priest's wisdom on the timeline.
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Gold Member
One of the more surprising aspects of my journey toward Orthodoxy is how much I love the saints and learning from their lives. In particular, the saints of the British Isles speak to me, being a fellow of Anglo-Saxon descent myself.

Growing up in a Protestant tradition, I had no notion of the saints at all. My understanding was that those Christians who had died before were in some ethereal state floating around in Heaven, but essentially cut off from any connection to the temporal church. I would always be filled with a vague sense of sadness if I pondered that I had essentially no continuity with the churches described in the New Testament: those of Thessalonica, Ephesus, Galatia, Philippi, and others. Or if I thought about how the work of the Holy Spirit had essentially ceased after Revelation was written, or else was re-discovered by the manic weirdness of Pentecostalism.

It often felt as though the faith I held was a sort of archaeology - almost indistinguishable from Zwingli and the other reformers excavating the long-lost Bible from ancient ruins, and set about trying to figure out how to reconstruct the Christian faith from scratch. Of course, as you probably expect from how I'm becoming Orthodox, now I know that the Church never disappeared.

The saints are important because they show the continuity of the work of the Holy Spirit from the first century to the present. The Spirit has never stopped working through the lives of godly men and women, and the lives of the saints are a testament to the Spirit's work, and a source of inspiration. When I read about Saint Edwin, Saint Columba, Alfred the Great, Saint Edward, Saint Oswald, Saint Augustine of Canterbury, and numerous others, first I give thanks to God for using their lives as a testament to His working and power; and second that their work isn't done and that they still contend for us through their prayers, and still love their descendants and their land and its diaspora, despite its many problems. It is a bit depressing to think about how my civilization hit its spiritual peak over a thousand years ago, but we also see how God might be working all of these things together for the growth of His Church:

"Alfred has slept, and for many reasons of history his veneration has not been widespread. However, it is now growing, and perhaps God’s holy will has allowed him to sleep until now, when we in the English-speaking world need him most of all. The traditions of freedom and the rule of law which we cherish, and which allowed ROCOR to find a land amenable to our peace and safety, were begun under Alfred’s rule."

It reminds me a bit about how Father Andrew Philips has suggested that the great sorrow of the Russian Revolution and Communist tyranny spread the witness of the Russian Church across the world and to Western lands that desperately needed Orthodoxy.

Once I understood what was going on with the saints, it was clear what I was missing. Mankind was made to worship God, and in lieu of God will worship almost anything; this is well understood in these parts. But what often escapes attention is that we are also made to venerate. We need heroes and figures who inspire us to greatness. And that is exactly the void that the Saints fill, in a God-ordained way, so that in venerating them we don't "worship" them like false idols, but worship the God who worked in and through them. We are awed by their lives, and in turn stirred in our own pursuit of God to battle against the passions and strive for holiness. We are reminded that we are not left to run the race alone, but are cheered on and prayed for by the "great cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12.1.) The problem with Protestant presuppositions like Soli Deo Gloria, however justified they may be in reaction to 16th-century Popery, is that it's an implicit denial of the notion that God can be glorified through his working in people. It is to reduce the work of the Spirit to an intellectual abstraction disconnected from the life of the Church. (This is, in many ways, the great shortcoming of western Christian traditions in general.)

The average evangelical views the idea of saints with contempt (I think in large part because they feel threatened by the idea of actually becoming holy being a possibility and goal of the Christian life, rather than the defeatist Reformed notion of imputed righteousness which lowers the bar considerably.) Yet he has no problem venerating all sorts of other figures far less deserving of our affections - sports stars, actors, musicians, politicians, and even worse, fictional characters like superheroes which especially embody this tendency of secular veneration in our culture. How much more might we benefit if we showed this same love and attention toward the saints who, unlike sports stars, offer up mighty prayers and intercession on our behalf?

Special attention also goes to the female saints. You've probably heard the famous feminist canard "Well-behaved women rarely make history." The female saints of the Church obliterate such bogus notions, as well as the idea that women are second-class Christians just because they aren't allowed to serve as clergy. The lives of contemporary feminist secular pseudo-saints pale in comparison to the great women of Christianity. Like Saint Nina, who brought the Gospel to the people of Georgia; Saint Tatiana, who stood firm in her faith despite horrific torture at the hands of the Romans; Saint Photini, the Samaritan women who Jesus encountered in the Gospels, who believed and became an evangelist; and of course the Theotokos Mary, through whose obedience God shattered sin and death and overthrew Satan's grip on this world.

This is just one example of an aspect of Orthodoxy which upon encountering, made me aware of a theretofore-unnoticed hole in my spiritual life.

"How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints!"

- CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
 

nagareboshi

Sparrow
The EP is recently acting as a weapon against Russia, and has no apparent interest in throwing off the Turkish yoke. Tens of millions of dollars “went missing” from the GOARCH coffers, and I’ve seen the theory floated that the State Department agreed to look the other way if Bartholomew would help break the Russian Church’s power in Ukraine. There’s no hard evidence of it, but it makes sense as a bigger picture of things if the EP is under Deep State control.

Yes, this totally sounds correct. I was thinking the same thing during this year's Ukraine-Russian Orthodox church controversy. It seems that they are just bankrolling EP to bludgeon against Russia. End result will obviously be that Ukraine (which is probably already filled with philo-globalist idolizers now) becomes a new vassal state.
 

Lou212

Chicken
I know most of us (including myself) believe COVID is a hoax or at least massively overblown, but how do you respond to things like this:

Patriarch of Moscow: About 100 priests/monks of the Russian Church have lost their lives to COVID-19​

The Russian Patriarch warned the hierarchs about the coronavirus deniers, who believe that the pandemic was made to drive people away from the Church.

“And when someone tells us – among them priests as well – that there is no pandemic, that all this is a lie and that it has been deliberately created to limit the number of people visiting the temples and to limit the movement of people, the answer to these lies is the passing away of our fathers and brothers who have lost their battle against COVID-19”, said the Patriarch of Moscow.
 

DanielH

Pelican
I know most of us (including myself) believe COVID is a hoax or at least massively overblown, but how do you respond to things like this:

Patriarch of Moscow: About 100 priests/monks of the Russian Church have lost their lives to COVID-19​

The Russian Patriarch warned the hierarchs about the coronavirus deniers, who believe that the pandemic was made to drive people away from the Church.

“And when someone tells us – among them priests as well – that there is no pandemic, that all this is a lie and that it has been deliberately created to limit the number of people visiting the temples and to limit the movement of people, the answer to these lies is the passing away of our fathers and brothers who have lost their battle against COVID-19”, said the Patriarch of Moscow.
I have great respect for his eminence Patriarch Kirill, that said, 100 priests/monks in Russia is less than a quarter of 1 percent of the clergy, and that's not counting monastics who aren't priests. I would be curious to see the ages and health backgrounds of those who have died, I assume similar to everywhere else where the average age is about 80 or more with one or more other conditions. Really baffling. Churches near me have cleared out. A priest I know well just had a sermon criticizing those who watch the liturgy online (the diocese went from hundreds watching online to a fraction of that, meanwhile in person attendance has remained the same). How many sacraments are being performed? Probably the least in over a decade for Russia, I'd guess they've missed out on over 100 baptisms, chrismations, and untold other sacraments including Holy Unction which is specifically for healing.
 
We can’t live our lives fearing death - when it’s your time it’s your time, so may as well go to as many services as you can without worrying about what might happen, especially if you’re below the age range that the overwhelming majority of deaths occur in. God already knows when your time is up, you can’t extend or change that by trying to be hyper-cautious about everything.

Case in point, a friend’s father has spent his life training in fitness and nutrition. He’s getting up there in age, but was perfectly healthy until this week - when a collision with a semi put him on life support that, in all likelihood, he will not survive on for long. Tons of broken bones and both lungs collapsed; his being in shape did not stop the Reaper from finding him.

We don’t know how long any of us has and there is nothing in life worth doing more than Communion with God and our brothers and sisters in Christ. So we all have to decide whether to enjoy whatever time has been allotted us, or try to live forever by depriving ourselves of joy - only to fail in the end regardless.
 
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