Why I Left The Armenian Church For ROCOR

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
It is a disgrace to me that so many Eastern Orthodox will refuse to recognize Copts and Armenians over hair splitting issues that more and more I think they do not even understand besides being able to regurgitate by rote the supposedly correct verbiage.
I find it hard to believe a supposedly Orthodox person would consider 4 Ecumenical Councils a "hair-splitting issue." The onus should be on the Orientals to agree to those councils and rejoin the Church.
 

Eremias

Chicken
Why? Can you honestly say what the difference is in Christology between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox without resorting to recitation? If you read, say the prayer book of St. Gregory of Narek or the Agbeya, do you suppose you would find anything you could honestly take issue with?
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
Orthodoxy is all about theological unity. You cannot be 90% Orthodox, rejecting an Ecumenical Council. It's like pregnancy, you either are or you aren't. This is basic stuff. Catholics have different Churches with different theologies all united under the Pope, basically they have theological differences but political unity (in theory). Orthodox have political differences but theological unity. The Greeks and Russians all agree on the same Ecumenical Councils & Creed. The Orientals do not agree with us on most of the Ecumenical Councils. They may say they do, but if they do, they should formally do so and rejoin the Church. Maybe then they would regain grace and the ability to canonize saints.
 

Eremias

Chicken
Roosh was a Christian, but he was unbaptised.
Baptism is valid only when done in the Church.
The Copts, Armenians etc are monophysites. They are heretics. They don't have baptism.
That's what the Church says, that's what our Ecumenical Councils say, that's what the Church Fathers say. And they are not "fan boy apologists that proliferate on YouTube".
So when they say they aren't in fact monophysites, you think they're lying? Or will you dig around on Wikipedia and quote back someone from the 5th century when the living, breathing person in front of you says that he is not a mobphysite? That is the absurdity of it. Can you even say what the difference is between a "mobolhysite" and the Chalcedonianism view, without resorting to a script? If you read some Oriental Orthodox prayer books like that of St. Gregory of Narek or the Agbeya or the Holy Psalmody, do you suppose you would find anything in there to quibble about? The Copts who have faced persecution for centuries and died as martyrs weren't even baptized? You're certain of that? Because why? Their bishops or their patriarchs didn't accept the right formula so, as if by magic, all grace just departed from the whole group and God just deserted them because their verbiage wasn't correct?
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
So when they say they aren't in fact monophysites, you think they're lying? Or will you dig around on Wikipedia and quote back someone from the 5th century when the living, breathing person in front of you says that he is not a mobphysite? That is the absurdity of it. Can you even say what the difference is between a "mobolhysite" and the Chalcedonianism view, without resorting to a script? If you read some Oriental Orthodox prayer books like that of St. Gregory of Narek or the Agbeya or the Holy Psalmody, do you suppose you would find anything in there to quibble about? The Copts who have faced persecution for centuries and died as martyrs weren't even baptized? You're certain of that? Because why? Their bishops or their patriarchs didn't accept the right formula so, as if by magic, all grace just departed from the whole group and God just deserted them because their verbiage wasn't correct?
If they pronounce they aren't any different from the Eastern Orthodox, and they say the same things as us, they could just sign on to the Ecumenical Councils that say those things they say they believe that they missed while in schism and simply rejoin the Church. But they won't, because they are the ones stubbornly in schism. I believe people who were Oriental Christians truly believed in Christ, died for Him, and are in Heaven, but that doesn't mean their schismatic Church is valid.
 
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I'm not even Armenian, and this thread has been bothering me. My observation is that the most outspoken group that essentially treats the Church (Orthodox or Catholic) in the same manner as a political party, appears to be in the English-speaking world, predominantly in the Americas.

I've had the pleasure of spending a tremendous amount of time in Eastern Europe, and in Rome. Rarely have I come across devout Orthodox or Catholic individuals who speak of other Churches with such contempt, or from positions of perceived power or correctness.

Brother @Roosh , you may not like this and certainly have a right in banning me from the forum (it is, after all, your forum). But from one Christian to another, I ask that you please pray for forgiveness for the hatred that is being incited here due to this article.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
I'm not even Armenian, and this thread has been bothering me. My observation is that the most outspoken group that essentially treats the Church (Orthodox or Catholic) in the same manner as a political party, appears to be in the English-speaking world, predominantly in the Americas.

I've had the pleasure of spending a tremendous amount of time in Eastern Europe, and in Rome. Rarely have I come across devout Orthodox or Catholic individuals who speak of other Churches with such contempt, or from positions of perceived power or correctness.

Brother @Roosh , you may not like this and certainly have a right in banning me from the forum (it is, after all, your forum). But from one Christian to another, I ask that you please pray for forgiveness for the hatred that is being incited here due to this article.
I assume you're partially referring to me. My closest friends are Catholic (x2), Baptist, and Episcopalian. They all have lots of the Truth, but they lack the fullness of it, which the Orthodox Church retains. It would not be love to hide that and pretend everything they believe, from the nature of Christ, to how one is saved, to the structure and history of the Church, are not important issues.
The Orthodox Church is the one Church founded by Jesus Christ and his apostles, begun at the day of Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit in the year 33 A.D. It is also known (especially in the contemporary West) as the Eastern Orthodox Church or the Greek Orthodox Church. It may also be called the Orthodox Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian Church, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, or simply the Church.

The bishops of the Orthodox Churches trace unbroken succession to the very apostles themselves, therefore ultimately receiving their consecrations from our Lord Jesus Christ. All the bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, no matter their titles, are equal in their sacramental office. The various titles given to bishops are simply administrative or honorific in their essence. At an ecumenical council, each bishop may cast only one vote, whether he is the Ecumenical Patriarch or simply an auxiliary bishop without a diocese. Thus, there is no equivalent to the Roman Catholic papacy within the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

As with its Apostolic succession, the faith held by the Church is that which was handed by Christ to the apostles. Nothing is added to or subtracted from that deposit of faith which was "handed once for all to the saints" (Jude 3). Throughout history, various heresies have afflicted the Church, and at those times the Church makes dogmatic pronouncements (especially at ecumenical councils) delineating in new language what has always been believed by the Church, thus preventing the spread of heresy and calling to repentance those who rend asunder the Body of Christ. Its primary statement of faith is the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
https://orthodoxwiki.org/Orthodox_Church ^

Why would I act as if this isn't an important thing?
 

NickK

Woodpecker
Orthodox
So when they say they aren't in fact monophysites, you think they're lying?
Yes.
Or will you dig around on Wikipedia and quote back someone from the 5th century when the living, breathing person in front of you says that he is not a mobphysite?
No need for a quote. The fact that they are NOT in communion with the Orthodox Church means they are NOT part of the Orthodox Church. It's very simple and I don't know why you can't see that. If they claim they are not monophysites, why do they refuse to come back?
Can you even say what the difference is between a "mobolhysite" and the Chalcedonianism view, without resorting to a script?
Yes.
If you read some Oriental Orthodox prayer books like that of St. Gregory of Narek or the Agbeya or the Holy Psalmody, do you suppose you would find anything in there to quibble about?
A prayer book vs 4 Ecumenical councils plus all the saints. Hmmm.....
The Copts who have faced persecution for centuries and died as martyrs weren't even baptized?
They were baptized by blood.
Their bishops or their patriarchs didn't accept the right formula so, as if by magic, all grace just departed from the whole group and God just deserted them because their verbiage wasn't correct?
If "the right formula" is not important and merely "verbiage" why do they insist remaining in schism?

Edit: This video was uploded 10 minutes ago:
 
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Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
You were baptized at birth, it seems a disgrace to me that you were rebaptised as if all that time you were not even a Christian, despite what the last 2 years have wrought in your life.

First, you should try actually reading the article before emoting over it. Roosh wasn't baptized at birth but when he was about 8-9, and for what sounds like cultural tradition more than particular religious piety. (Pardon me, Roosh, I don't want to sound like I'm throwing your mom under the bus here.) And "all that time" he wasn't a Christian, as evidenced by his hedonistic lifestyle until about 2.5 years ago.

The fact that the Armenian church will just baptize someone's kid on request is a significant red flag and another indication of what that church has lost. The fact is that it is irresponsible and even dangerous to baptize a child into the Church if the parents are not fully committed to raising them in an Orthodox manner because both the child and their parents are now held to a higher degree of responsibility by God. This document is a good general guideline of the expectations associated with baptizing your infant into the Church. At my parish, the priests have mentioned turning down requests from Russians who walk in the door asking to have their baby baptized, but who don't actually attend services or live an Orthodox life at all. This is exactly correct and as it should be.

As you read Eastern Orthodox sources, my guess is you felt bullied by the fan boy apologists that proliferate on YouTube who oftentimes sound like they have aspergers as they rail against the "monophysites".

Again, if you actually read the article, Roosh made his reasons perfectly clear, and digging into the theological specifics is actually down the list. There's no reason to speculate.

If the Oriental church actually believes the same thing as the Orthodox, then it should be no problem for its constituents to accept the Ecumenical Councils and come back into communion with them. The door is open - if they want to go through it. Hopefully it happens sooner or later.

I've had the pleasure of spending a tremendous amount of time in Eastern Europe, and in Rome. Rarely have I come across devout Orthodox or Catholic individuals who speak of other Churches with such contempt, or from positions of perceived power or correctness.

Where is anyone showing "contempt"? Criticism or disagreement != contempt. This discussion has been quite civil and respectful; you are engaging in pure emotional projection. I have no ill will toward the Armenian church, the Latin church, or even Independent Fundamentalist Baptists. I hope and pray every single day along with anyone else using the Jordanville Prayer Book that as many as possible amongst those groups will be saved. And yes, the Orthodox Church makes the audacious claim in our relativistic age that it is in fact the Church that Christ founded. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be Orthodox.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
So when they say they aren't in fact monophysites, you think they're lying?
Most Armenians have no idea what this word means, but that doesn't mean the heresy is not incorporated in their faith through Church practice over the centuries. If you were ignorant of the truth because it was never shown to you, I don't think you will be judged harshly by God, but if you were given the truth, as I believe I was, then you must act accordingly. If I were to remain in the Armenian Church upon knowing that monophysitism is false, I could be rightly called a heretic.
 

Oogddyi

Chicken
Not to be a party pooper, but take it from someone who grew up speaking Russian and is intimately familiar with the culture: with time you'll find that the Russian Orthodox Church at the highest hierarchical level also has its vaccine pushers, ecumenists, Russian political interest agents, globalists, etc. Man is sinful and corruptible everywhere. Always put your trust in the Lord first.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
Not to be a party pooper, but take it from someone who grew up speaking Russian and is intimately familiar with the culture: with time you'll find that the Russian Orthodox Church at the highest hierarchical level also has its vaccine pushers, ecumenists, Russian political interest agents, globalists, etc. Man is sinful and corruptible everywhere. Always put your trust in the Lord first.
I wish I had a nickel for every time someone on this forum said something to the effect of "Be careful about those Russians, they're not perfect!" or "You know, there's Orthodox bishops that aren't very good right?"

We know.
 

Penitent

Robin
Orthodox
I'm not even Armenian, and this thread has been bothering me.
I'm Armenian. The thread doesn't bother me a bit. It just looks like some good old fashioned debate to me.
*note I am Armenian by blood, not faith. I like Roosh was baptized into the Church, by which I mean the Orthodox Church.*
 
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MichaelWitcoff

Ostrich
Orthodox
I'll admit that when I first became Orthodox, I thought a lot of the schism stuff was trivial theological nit-picking. But the truth is that the longer you live an Orthodox life, the more God enlightens and expands your mind to understand the importance of concepts that, earlier in your walk, may not have made any sense or mattered to you at all. Monophysite-Dyophysite is not a meaningless distinction or simple error in translation, as some people unfortunately say. If it was a translation error, the Orientals would simply rejoin the Church upon the discovery that they shared our beliefs. That is obviously not happening and there is not even a dialogue in motion that might potentially allow it to happen.

I am not a theologian and I am unworthy of even talking about this, but I will do my best to explain why it matters to the best of my current ability and understanding. The Orthodox, Chalcedonian definition of Christology is, at least in part, that Christ has two natures: one fully human, the other fully divine. The human nature that the divine Logos took on at the Incarnation was deified by His divine nature, which is why it was incorrupt. His human nature was tempted from outside, by the Devil, but there was never any inward movement or inclination towards the sin the Devil was tempting Him with. Christ never sat there and calculated whether a sin was worth it, excused it by saying He could just confess later, or mentally engaged in any of the other justifications that fallen humanity uses for its sinful actions (myself included). His human nature was fully deified by His divine nature, requiring them to be distinct (though in perfect union in the person of Jesus Christ). It is His deified human flesh that we partake of during the Holy Eucharist, and if this topic interests you I suggest "The Deification Of Man" by Georgios Mantzarides.

Monophysites believe that Christ only has one nature, composed of both humanity and divinity. This sounds like a meaningless distinction but it is not. If Christ only has one nature, then the divine Logos must have contained humanity - before the Incarnation, and before creation in general. Obviously this makes no sense. The Logos contained the logos, or blueprint for humanity, of course, as the Logos contained the logoi (plural for logos) or blueprints/patterns for every created thing in the cosmos (as per St. Maximos the Confessor). But the nature of the Logos, uncreated and begotten by the Father, did not contain human flesh, human DNA, a human mind, or anything else that resulted from creation. The Logos is divine. That divine Logos "took flesh" - ie, a human nature - "and dwelt among us" according to the Gospel of St. John. Why would the Logos need to "take flesh" if He already contained humanity? What would have been the point of the Virgin Mary, or His being born of her flesh and genetic line (from King David)? His being born of Mary, taking His human nature from her, was necessary for the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies regarding where (or from whom) the Messiah would come. The Messiah had to come from King David's line, "the root of Jesse." The Messiah had to be a human.

The divine Logos entered creation through the line of David, connecting His divinity to the deepest part of collective human nature - the part that we all share in common. All human beings share one over-arching human nature, which is how we are all subject to sin and corruption due to the Fall of Adam. It is that same common nature which became joined to God via the Incarnation, thereby reopening the gates of Paradise and theosis to every man, woman, and child. Each of His two natures is important - divine, in order for humanity to "connect" to something that would allow us to overcome sin and death, and human - in order to fulfill the Messianic prophecies and heal every aspect of our being. As St. Gregory of Nyssa said "what is not assumed is not healed" - so the divine Logos assumed a human nature along with everything it entails (but His human will was in perfect alignment with His divine will, and this is another issue that the monophysite-dyophysite issue necessarily impacts).

Hopefully I did not butcher Christology so badly that what I've typed becomes useless to those who read it. May God bless and open the minds of those He seeks to reach, showing them the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
 

lskdfjldsf

Pelican
Orthodox Catechumen
Gold Member
The monophysite/dyophysite debate seems almost trivial in comparison to what's facing us Catholics -- just look at the VCII and sedevacantist discussions here. I envy Orthodox Christians in a way and hope you never take for granted the (relative) unity among your churches.

Enlightening posts, thank you all!
 
Hello Roosh,



I am happy that you have found a home in a Russian Church. But have some questions about your personal conclusions regarding your conversion. I see that you mention Christology –

“I did not understand the Christological disagreement that caused them to be labeled as “monophysite” schismatics or heretics, and wrote it off as a misunderstanding concerning semantics, but as my faith and knowledge of theology grew, I came to suspect that this was more than a misunderstanding because I saw firsthand that the Armenian Church has lost aspects of the faith still possessed by the Eastern Orthodox, which from this point I will simply refer to as Orthodox. I eventually concluded that damage to the Armenian Church occurred because they made a mistake in their theology which resulted in a decrease of grace, and that the Orthodox Church contains the pure teachings of Jesus Christ.

Could you care to elaborate what expanded your knowledge of theology? Being half Armenian what Armenian works have you read that would qualify the Armenian Church being monophysite? The reason why I ask is most, if not all, of all the Armenian theological works and doctrine are in classical/ancient. I have conducted multiple discussions with Eastern Orthodox individuals regarding the Armenian Church and Her doctrine and theology specifically asking for citations in classical/ancient Armenian. But nothing has ever come to fruition. If you are going to discuss the Council of Chalcedon please note the Armenia were not present. They were at the battle of Vartanantz fighting against the Persians who wanted to convert Armenia back to paganism. Protecting the eastern frontier of the Byzantine Empire. Secondly to address your comment on “decrease of grace” you realize that the center of Eastern Orthodoxy was Constantinople and the Hagia Sophia which now are in Turkey and the Hagia Sophia is now a Mosque. By the state of the Hagia Sophia is not based on my personal opinion but rather than a fact. Not to mention the perpetual heterodoxy and schisms that exist in Eastern Orthodoxy, the latest between Moscow and Constantinople.

The second question that came up is your personal understanding of confession in the Armenian Church –

“The first deterioration to the Armenian Church is confession, which used to be private. They no longer have private confession like in the Orthodox Church. Instead, the faithful read a prepared script aloud from the pews before receiving communion.”



In regards to public and private confession there is nothing defined in the Sacrament of Penance that specifically makes it a requirement for a private confession. I would also recommend reading early Church Fathers and Saints.

Here is quote from the Didache –

“Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . . On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure” (Didache 4:14, 14:1 [A.D. 70]).”



My emphasis added.

In regards to -


I can attest that you can read this statement and receive communion without having to think of your sins or feel remorseful. You have the option to privately talk to your priest to confess your sins, but it is done informally and not something actively promoted by the Church (I don’t know any Armenian who does it). As a result, there are a lot of secrets in an Armenian parish where severe sins are occurring among the faithful that the priest knows nothing about. This leads to profuse award-winning acting where a parishioner acts pious in front of the priest but then immediately changes demeanor in his absence, an issue I have not noticed in Orthodox parishes.”



This can be applied to any Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant churches. Just because you have yet to see it doesn’t me it doesn’t happen. Also can you clarify what have mentioned about taking communion? So you took communion without truly confessing your sins? Or you are judging people during confession?



Regarding Saints and Canonization from your statement –



“Second, the Armenians have not been able to canonize individual saints for several centuries. While the victims of the Armenian genocide were recently canonized as a group, the last individual Armenian saint I learned to be canonized was St. Gregory of Tatev in the early 15th century, meaning there is no one in modern times who the Church has recognized as someone we must learn from and emulate in order to be saved.”

First and foremost there is a book, or a compilation of Armenians saint and martyrs whose lives have been documented from the 16th to the 19th century which are considered saints but not yet formally canonized. This books is only available in Armenian which I have. It also seems that you haven’t spent time reading Armenian history during those times what the Armenian went through up until the time of the Genocide and after.

So I must ask have you read any works by Saint Gregory of Tatev? By the way in the Armenian Church and the Russian Church saints are timeless examples of how we should live our lives. You want to be saved? Emulate Christ. And if you are looking for modern saints why didn’t you join the Roman Catholic Church, they have quite a few, over 350 just in the 20th century. :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronological_list_of_saints_and_blesseds_in_the_20th_century



Regarding your concerns and speaking to “Church Authority”



“When I expressed this concern to a Church authority, I was told that the Church has lost the ability to canonize individuals due to governing and organizational obstacles. This answer did not satisfy me, because how could God’s Church lose the ability to glorify His most faithful servants before the end times? I believe that guidance from recent saints is essential to navigating a modern world that is far more evil and complex than several centuries ago, but I did not have that guidance in the Armenian Church and so began to look upon Orthodox saints.”

It seems that you spoke to the wrong person. I have a friend that is a Director of Christian Education in the Armenian Church who is well qualified to provide you with the correct answer. Additionally the Church doesn’t lose Her ability to canonize saints but She continues to bear example by the blood of Her martyrs during trials and tribulations like the Genocide. Did you look to see how many saints were canonized inside the Soviet Union during the Soviet Union in the Orthodox Church? Did you know the ROCOR started as a schismatic organization?



About you concerns about monasticism –



“Third, the Armenians seem to be in the process of losing monasticism. Most ancient monasteries in Armenia are medieval tourist destinations that do not perform the liturgical cycle of daily services or receive pilgrims like the innumerable Orthodox monasteries. If you visit an Armenian monastery, you would be lucky to encounter an Armenian priest from whom to receive a blessing. In the United States, there are no Armenian monasteries or sketes. Armenians will reasonably claim that the genocide and period of communism have devastated their monasteries (and Church in general), and that parish life is where priority should be given, but Russia was able to get their monasteries back open relatively quickly, and they are flourishing within Russia and the United States.”



The short answer is in a very short period of time the between being massacred by the Turks in the 19th century, the Genocide and Soviet oppression during the 20th century a large number of the clergy were martyred and monasteries and Church lands confiscated. Do be so cavalier. If the Armenia and Armenians has the same size army to take back land mass and have the capital as did the Russians did and did not go suffer through the Genocide the landscape of the Armenian monasteries and monks would be significantly different. Also what contributions did you make to support the growth of monasticism in the Armenian Church?



You comment regarding icons and miracles –

“The last problem is icons: Armenians never developed iconography like the Orthodox or the tradition of venerating icons. They have icon-like paintings in their churches, but no framed icons that can be venerated. Being able to venerate an icon may seem like a minor detail, but there are endless examples of Orthodox icons performing miracles for the faithful. The Armenian Church has a beautiful cross design, but as far as I know, miracles do not come forth from them in modern times, unlike the numerous miracle-working and myrrh-streaming icons in the Orthodox Church that are currently active. I like to venerate icons because it is a way for me to show more humility before God and therefore add power to my prayers. While I was in the Armenian Church, I constructed my prayer corner in the Orthodox style with icons that I venerate.”



To keep it short, the last problem is just your problem. Read through the 7 Sacraments of the Church whether Armenian or Russian. Icons can be viewed as “windows to Heaven” but they are just a means to grow and strengthen a person faith. I actually have an Eastern Orthodox of the Armenian Saint Gregory the Illuminator, done the Byzantine/Greek tradition. It’s a great means to strengthen a persons or a churches faith but it is the intention that the Icon is being used in is what matters. If you are going to get into the wood and the paint and a monk that makes it an icon then you have truly missed the purpose and the intentions of what an icon is. By the way one of the greatest icon that exists in the Armenian Church is the Cross.

About miracles in the Armenian Church they are not limited Icons, I personally have experience at least 3, which were in Armenia, and heard stories by numerous conversations with Armenian clergy first hand.



Your paragraph containing “close enough” -



“In spite of these four points, theology was not enough for me to leave. I rationalized that the Armenian theology was “close enough,” for which Church was closer? The Catholics seemed further away on dogma thanks to modern innovations and the Protestants even further. Besides, just about all the sermons I listened to and books I read came from an Orthodox source. I believed that I covered my bases, so to speak, but inevitably a new problem arose: I began to feel divided. I received the sacraments on Sunday from one Church and then for the remaining six days of the week I poured over the works of another Church. It was like courting two women at the same time. Of course you will develop a favorite, and my favorite was Orthodoxy. The Orthodox faith spoke to me more powerfully and was giving me the tools to follow God’s commandments and resist temptations at this late stage of human history. The Armenian Church was not able to support my zeal with enough materials and resources that made me confident my soul would be guided into Paradise. This year I arrived at the point where I was so convinced that Orthodoxy was the truth that even if the Armenian Church did start publishing books and sermons in English, I would not have consumed them.”



First, go learn proper Armenian and ancient/classical Armenian, I did, even though I am not an expert it contribute tremendously toward my faith immensely. If you find it essential to your identity and faith. Armenians and Armenia is are small group of people with a small piece of land and a small Church so you do have to dedicate time and energy to grow in the Armenian Church. But that being said, I understand some people are looking for the easy way out.

On the flipside I have a friend who was a raised Irish Catholic went to the Roman Catholic Church most of his life and later converted to Armenian Church. He basically had an epiphany while visiting an Armenian Church in Jerusalem. And when I asked him what played a factor to his conversion, he said that everything his grandparents told him about how a church should be he saw only in the Armenian Church. He is also one of the most zealous people in the Armenian Church I have and serves on the Alter.



The paragraph of you being half Armenian –



“The determining factor that could have prolonged my stay in the Armenian Church was ethnic identity. I am 50% Armenian by blood through my mother (my father is Iranian). This Church was made for me and “my people,” was it not? The problem is that I was not raised with an Armenian identity. My mother was born in Istanbul and is much closer to Turkish culture than Armenian. Her relatives and friends all prefer to speak Turkish. While she stayed in the Church, and decided for me to be baptized as a child, she taught me nothing culturally or spiritually Armenian, so it wasn’t until I was 39 years old that I heard the Armenian language for the first time at length. I tried to learn Classical Armenian to understand the Liturgy without a service book but gave up quickly, even though I had learned several other languages in the past with far more determination, perhaps because I subconsciously knew I would not remain in the Church.”

I truly identify and understand you sentiment about being half Armenian. I myself am half Armenian and half Slavic and I am also a polyglot. The difference is both my parents sent me to Armenian Church, when I was a kid, even though I may have been reluctant. Also both my parents spoke, or tried to speak, Armenian in the house. Though I was half Armenian the Armenians in the Armenians Church treated me like family. Through the Armenian Church I was sponsored and sent to an Armenian School. By the way I agree learning classical Armenian is very difficult, but for me when I study and read classical Armenian I am reading and speaking the exact same language of the Saints of the Armenian Church. There is a clear and distinct connection that is being made with a particular Saint when reading there writings. I would recommend reading the Book of Narek, or better known as The Book of Laminations by Saint Gregory of Narek which is available in English.



About the paragraph you willing to abandon your Armenian Identity –

“I also do not identify with the Armenian historical struggle or pain from their genocide. When last year the war in Artsakh was raging, to me it was a war like any other, and I felt no more sadness than if the war had been in Mongolia. Other than learning how to make tasty Armenian food dishes, I never felt “Armenian” even though I did see that some of my personality traits, particularly when it comes to my passions, were shared by other Armenians. The Armenians in my church repeatedly asked me when I would visit Armenia for the first time and the instinctual response in my mind that I dared not speak aloud was “never.” Maybe I am too burned out from travel, but I am simply not interested in visiting what I’m sure is a beautiful country even though it is supposed to be my ancestral home.”



Base on this paragraph this was the underlying and deciding factor to abandon the Armenian Church. Not the theology, the sacrament, the traditions it was that do really didn’t see yourself as an Armenian or half Armenian. It is also disheartening that you state – “in Artsakh was raging, to me it was a war like any other, and I felt no more sadness than if the war had been in Mongolia.” If you had a sliver of respect for your so called “personality traits” you would understand that Armenian Christians were being persecuted. Did you miss the Azeri’s bombing an Armenian Church? Did you somehow miss Armenian civilian locations being bomb by the Azeri’s? Did you miss the number of Armenian clergy that went to the front lines to take care of soldier’s? If you don’t want to visit Armenia don’t be hypocrite plain and simple, don’t go lying to Armenians so you can somehow feel better about yourself. I have spoken to some Armenians about visiting Armenia and they have straight out stated that they are not interest. At least they were being host with themselves and me.



About feeling like tourist in the Armenian Church –

“On Easter Sunday of this year in my Armenian parish (April 4), I looked upon the crowd of Armenians and couldn’t help but see myself as a tourist who was enjoying a very pleasant service with an exotic people who vaguely looked like me. It didn’t feel like my Church and the Armenians present didn’t feel like my people. I was born and raised in America as an American, for better or worse, and while I can value my ancestral past through food and shared personality traits, I didn’t desire to be enveloped in a foreign culture that I would never have picked out of personal interest or a Church I would not have chosen based on its theological merits. The Armenian Church is an ethnic and nationalistic Church for Armenians, of which I never identified as one, and even if I did, I’m certain its theological problem would gnaw on me enough to only postpone my inevitable conversion to Orthodoxy by a couple of years.”



The fact of the matter is that you chose not to belong, not the other way around. By the way I know Armenians who are been born and raised in America continue to be a part of the Armenian Church and at least one who has become a priest. So about your “theological problems” with the Armenian Church it’s rather obvious, by your comments, you never really studied the doctrine, theology and history of the Armenian Church but rather found the ROCOR rather attractive to your belief system than the Armenian Church.

I am not going to further comment on your conversion to the Russian Church. I have read about the Russian Church, I have read and own several books by Russian Saints. I find them truly enlightening and their writings have help contribute to my faith. Two Russian saints I recall is Saint Theophan the Recluse, which I read and own several books and a book about Saint Seraphim of Sarov who I believed basically prophesized about the fall of Russian to the Communists. One of my favorite books is Everyday Saint and Other Stories and a book about Father Arseny who was sent to a gulag.

The reason why I am being critical about your conversion story is that it appears to be taking faith and conversion lightly or possibly based on your personal spiritual taste. I understand that you converted recently, but maybe in the near future you may decide that ROCOR is “too Russian” and “Not Orthodox” enough for you. I also went through some of your list of books that may have possibly converted you, but the lack of any Armenian Church books are rather revealing.
 

NickK

Woodpecker
Orthodox
The short answer is that Roosh was/is experiencing a strong dose of Grace in the Orthodox Church and he wasn't experiencing Grace (or his experience was greatly diminished) in the Armenian gatherings.

Here's a short story:

The recent Saint Ephraim of Katounakia (Mount Athos) was able to SEE Grace during his liturgies.
He started as an Old Calendarist when he was young (along with his Elder Joseph the Hesychast, a great Saint).
The Old/New Calendar issue begun to greatly disturb them so they decided to pray intensly for many days to get an answer from God.
The answer was "The Church is in Constantinople".
So they abandoned the Old Calendar and joined the Church.

What Saint Ephraim said was that he was experiencing Grace during his liturgies in the Old Calendar, but it was as if "it" was hindered by something, "it" wasn't clear, "it" was distant.
From the day they joined the Church, there was no hinderance during liturgies and he was able to experience Grace in full.

Now, bear in mind there is no theological dispute between the Old Calendarists and the Church, it's just them refusing to be part of the Orthodox Church.
 

iop890

Peacock
Gold Member
The monophysite/dyophysite debate seems almost trivial in comparison to what's facing us Catholics -- just look at the VCII and sedevacantist discussions here. I envy Orthodox Christians in a way and hope you never take for granted the (relative) unity among your churches.

Enlightening posts, thank you all!

Despite having "Orthodox" in their name(which is apparently a recent adoption) the Monophysite churches split off long before the Great Schism, while the Orthodox and Catholics were still one church, so it's not really an Orthodox split.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
An Armenian:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts in a calm manner. Your response, however, does more to reinforce why I left than making me doubt my decision, because the gestalt of your response is to put Armenia and its people above the Church, which while understandable for someone who takes pride in their identity, is not acceptable to me when it comes to matters of the faith. I will address some of your points, but in the end, if you're happy with the Armenian Church, then stay in the Church. I'm not trying to pull Armenians out of it.
Could you care to elaborate what expanded your knowledge of theology? Being half Armenian what Armenian works have you read that would qualify the Armenian Church being monophysite? The reason why I ask is most, if not all, of all the Armenian theological works and doctrine are in classical/ancient.
Is the Armenian Church gnostic? Is there secret knowledge in ancient languages that a layman of today cannot access? If I am unable to understand the language of where this knowledge is present, isn't that reason alone for me to leave the Church? The problem with Armenians is that, generally speaking, they don't know what they believe. They know the rituals, but not the theology. If you ask ten Armenian priests about the Chalcedon issue, you will get ten answers that are not uniform. It's even worse when you talk to Armenian laymen, because they don't even know the definitions that are needed to discuss the theology. Ultimately, there is too much confusion. In the Orthodox Church, even 20-year-olds know about theology. But in the Armenian Church, it's only for the priestly class, I suppose.
If you are going to discuss the Council of Chalcedon please note the Armenia were not present. They were at the battle of Vartanantz fighting against the Persians who wanted to convert Armenia back to paganism
Yes, I'm familiar with this excuse and many others, but it is not acceptable because an olive branch was given for them to accept Chalcedonian language in the 5th Ecumenical Council, which they denied.

Instead of relying on ancient excuses, we must ask if the 4th Council was true. If it was true, then the Armenians should accept it, which they have not. It is not sufficient for them to devise their own language and say they believe the same thing, or play the "semantics" game. No, the Church is the Body of Christ, one Body, not two. The Armenians have chosen to separate from that body.
In regards to public and private confession there is nothing defined in the Sacrament of Penance that specifically makes it a requirement for a private confession.
The Armenians had private confession. You can find writings that guide Armenians pastors on how to do it. It's not that the Armenians never had it. They lost it. Why did they lose it? Did they randomly decide it was wrong? No, it's because it was too difficult or challenging for them to handle, so they just gave it up and never attempted to bring it back.
Also can you clarify what have mentioned about taking communion? So you took communion without truly confessing your sins? Or you are judging people during confession?
I mean the private, individual confessing of sins. I could murder someone today, and then come Sunday in the Armenian Church, I would just have to read a prepared script. Do you think that script will remit my sin of murder? According to the Armenian Church, the answer would have to be yes, because there is no private confession.
First and foremost there is a book, or a compilation of Armenians saint and martyrs whose lives have been documented from the 16th to the 19th century which are considered saints but not yet formally canonized.
This is because the Church does not have the ability (or grace) to canonize saints. Like with private confession, they lost it.
Additionally the Church doesn’t lose Her ability to canonize saints but She continues to bear example by the blood of Her martyrs during trials and tribulations like the Genocide. Did you look to see how many saints were canonized inside the Soviet Union during the Soviet Union in the Orthodox Church? Did you know the ROCOR started as a schismatic organization?
You're confusing martyrdom with canonization. The problem is that the Armenian Church authority is, for a lack of better phrasing, partially broken if they can't canonize saints. How else can I look at it? Russia did not canonize an individual saint for a period of less than 100 years during intense persecution. Armenian has not done the same in over 500 years, and they were not persecuted that entire time. ROCOR is currently in communion with the Church, so they are not schismatic. Armenian Church is not in communion with the Church. They are outside the Church.

Your response to lack of monasticism:
The short answer is in a very short period of time the between being massacred by the Turks in the 19th century, the Genocide and Soviet oppression during the 20th century a large number of the clergy were martyred and monasteries and Church lands confiscated.
Again more excuses. The Armenians have excuses for everything, I've noticed, and it's so tiring. For you these excuses are sufficient, but for me they are not.
If you are going to get into the wood and the paint and a monk that makes it an icon then you have truly missed the purpose and the intentions of what an icon is. By the way one of the greatest icon that exists in the Armenian Church is the Cross.

About miracles in the Armenian Church they are not limited Icons, I personally have experience at least 3, which were in Armenia, and heard stories by numerous conversations with Armenian clergy first hand.
Are you saying I'm committing the sin of idolatry because I prefer to venerate icons? I know what the purpose of icons are because the Orthodox Church taught me, and God approves of how the Church uses icons because of the many miracles He pours forth from them. As for miracles in Armenian Church, they certainly occur. They also occur to Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, etc. God loves all his children, but in His church, there will be more miracles.
First, go learn proper Armenian and ancient/classical Armenian
Why would I spend that time to learn a language when the Armenian Church is not a part of the Orthodox Church? In English I was not convinced of the Armenian theological position, which like you've displayed, is mostly excuses anyway. Do you know how absurd it is to say you are not part of the Church because 1500 years ago you were fighting a battle? It's not like the doors were forever closed to the Armenians to re-establish communion. They refuse to open them.
About the paragraph you willing to abandon your Armenian Identity
I had no identity to start with, so there was nothing to abandon.
If you had a sliver of respect for your so called “personality traits” you would understand that Armenian Christians were being persecuted. Did you miss the Azeri’s bombing an Armenian Church? Did you somehow miss Armenian civilian locations being bomb by the Azeri’s? Did you miss the number of Armenian clergy that went to the front lines to take care of soldier’s?
It is unfortunate what has happened to them, and I have prayed for them, but here you are using emotional manipulation to force me to accept your theology. It's not going to work on me. I don't have extra love for Armenians more than Iranians, or Poles, or Russians. You remind me of the media taking photos of migrant kids who drowned and using that as an excuse to push an immigration agenda.
So about your “theological problems” with the Armenian Church it’s rather obvious, by your comments, you never really studied the doctrine, theology and history of the Armenian Church but rather found the ROCOR rather attractive to your belief system than the Armenian Church.
This looks like projection to me. I don't see you with a firm grasp of the Armenian theology either, and you are attached to the Armenian identity, which is your right, and are trying to shame me for changing to a Church that is the "Orthodox" Church and has the right doctrine as given to us by God. You also make a lot of wrong assumptions about how I take faith, that it's a matter of "personal" taste or based on emotional moods. I took two years to understanding both Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy. I had access to resources from both and I asked a thousand questions, and I came to the lucid decision that ROCOR has the purest form of faith. But may God bless the Armenians. They are a pious people and I hope God helps them with their struggle.
 
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