Feeling drawn towards Orthodoxy


#21

#22

Yes. I would first encourage you to make a good confession before delving into any of this further.


#23

One would be mistaken to assume there is unity in Orthodoxy. Orthodox patriarchates are independent from each other, with no central authority to govern the whole. Each is “territorial” and “ethnic”. So, one might find, e.g., an Eastern Orthodox parish somewhere, but it will be nearly all Eastern European of one nationality or another. Outside Eastern Europe, it would be Oriental Orthodox, who differ from Eastern Orthodox, and the latter parishes would be made up almost entirely of people from the Middle EAst or North AFrica…

There are also differences between the Russian patriarchy (the great majority) and that of Constantinople. Within that is a “source of authority” of a sort; being the monks of Mount Athos. A few years ago, there was a conflict between the Greek government and the monks, which was largely a religious dispute. Again, one has to remember that the Orthodox churches are very much “married” to a particular nationality, and there are varying degrees of church influence on the state, and vice versa.

Nationalism is a very important aspect of Orthodoxy, and it can be problematic. So, for example, there is a Ukrainian Orthodox church that claims, by reason of being in Ukraine, to be independent of Moscow. But Moscow stoutly denies the legitimacy of that church, claiming that Ukraine should be under the authority of the patriarch of Moscow alone, not that of Kiev. Kiev considers the Moscow Patriarchate a “tool” of Putin and Russian imperialism. Needless to say, that dispute is not likely to be resolved.


#24

Good post.

Because of their structure, it’s devilishly hard for the Orthodox to address a question in an authoritative way. For example, many Orthodox claim that they can never be in union with Rome for a set of reasons, but I’ve also never seen a post-schism council that unambiguously declares that 1. Rome has fallen from the “true” Church and 2. meets their own standards as genuinely ecumenical (and thus authoritatively binding on the whole of Orthodoxy).

They also have their own power struggles within the Church. The Patriarch of Constantinople currently sits in the seat of primacy, but more Orthodox are under the Patriarch of Moscow than all other Orthodox combined. This makes situations where the two patriarchs disagree on something extremely uncomfortable, to say the least. The one that controls the power de jure is not the same as the one that controls the power de facto. Reminds me of the Japanese Emperor and the more-powerful Japanese Shogun.

Then we have the “American Problem”. In order for Orthodoxy to bloom in America, there would need to be an American Orthodox Church (OC) in the same way there is a Greek OC, Russian OC or any other. And the Russians, to their credit, even tried to get this going a few decades back.
Why did it fail?
Money. Those Antiochians (and virtually all others) are very concerned that the much-needed financial patronage that makes its way to the “old world” from their American satellites would dry up if the American OC ever became a reality. As such, the reputation of Orthodoxy in America always being an “immigrant church” rather than a native church is going to continue, unfortunately.

Perhaps you like it because you think it’s a little new and exotic to you? Like how we all felt about a new love-interest when we were young?
If you stick with that love-interest, you’ll eventually discover they fart in their sleep just like real people do. Similarly, you’ll discover Orthodoxy has issues of its own if you stick with it long enough.


#25

Hi Ridgerunner,

You’re right about Orthodoxy. While I’m leaning on the Orthodox side, I experienced the nationalism and also a vague answers of stuff.

I have always studied at a Catholic school. I was raised to pray in Catholic way at school, but in a Protestant way at home (I was a kid, didn’t know the difference other than crossing or not crossing myself).

While I love Orthodox liturgy, sometime I think that I don’t fit in.


#26

My understanding is that it’s more faceted than that. The Moscow Patriarchate claims jurisdiction over all of the Americas due to Russian orthodox having set up missions long ago in Alaska. Never mind that Columbus’ missionaries were here before that. The same is true of the Philippines because of Russian missionaries who went into continental Asia at some point in history. To Catholics that doesn’t matter too much except that the hard core R.O. claim that the Catholic Church shouldn’t be in Asia or the Americas at all.

But that same claim would bar the Constantinople E.O., Antiochan, O.O., etc, etc. I would not expect the R.O. to endorse an American Patriarchate any more than I would expect it to accept the Ukrainian Patriarchate, to which it is vehemently opposed.


#27

Of perhaps passing interest, the E.O. consider Protestantism nothing more than a branch of the Latin Church. In some ways, then, your impression as a kid would have been correct. And in truth, there isn’t a whole lot in Protestantism that wasn’t borrowed from the Catholic Church.


#28

Easily disputed though.

Newfoundland was founded by John Cabot, a time before Columbus. Americans forget that; Cabot was a Catholic - since he was Italian, on voyage on behalf of England.


#29

I myself dont consider Protestantism a branch of Roman Catholicism. As a kid I didn’t know what’s the difference. I didn’t know anything about Protestantism other than my parents told me to pray and read a bible. And because my mom was a Calvinist, she told me that God only loves his chosen ones; I still didn’t understand what she meant until a few years ago when I began to questioning my Protestant faith. As a kid, my parents allowed me to pray the rosary and to make sign of cross, so this is one of the reasons why I didn’t know anything about Protestantism.

there are wide branches of Protestantism today that I don’t even want to know about. Although I attend an Orthodox Church, I am actually very Roman Catholic.


#30

You should become Orthodox because it preserves the faith of the Church, which has been lost in the Roman Catholic Church. I tell people that in the various Orthodox parishes you find, you may or may not have a great environment for spirituality, but you have living saints and recently reposed saints that you can read and listen to from writings and talks. Only in these Orthodox sources will you see the same faith that is found in the Fathers of the Church. In the Roman Catholic Church, homilies are just like Protestant homilies, the priest simply reads the passage and draws from his own opinion what is to be learned, completely disregarding the Church Fathers. There are no living saints or recently reposed saints that continue the faith of the Fathers of the Church. They may be pretty conservative compared to the crazy liberals that seem to have taken over the Roman Catholic Church, but they still do not teach what the Fathers taught. I challenge Roman Catholics to read St. Gregory of Nyssa’s work on virginity as an example of how far the Catholic Church has gone from the Church’s teachings.

The other huge problem is the knowingly misuse of all of the Sacraments of the Church. Knowingly separating the Sacraments of initiation with no justification. Communing only the consecrated bread without any justification. Not baptizing by triple immersion. Forcing celibacy on all priests.


#31

He claims all the “Orthodox”. If you are not Orthodox, you are nothing.


#32

@pacloc

The other huge problem is the knowingly misuse of all of the Sacraments of the Church. Knowingly separating the Sacraments of initiation with no justification. Communing only the consecrated bread without any justification. Not baptizing by triple immersion. Forcing celibacy on all priests.

Laypeople who attend the Ordinary Form Mass of the Catholic Church can certainly receive Communion in both kinds. Also, while the vast majority of Roman Catholic priests are celibate, there are some formerly Anglican clergymen who are married, have converted to Catholicism and have been allowed to be ordained as Catholic priests. I personally prefer baptism by triple immersion, but pouring is acceptable.

Also, remember that Eastern Catholics combine the Sacraments of Initiation, have Communion in both kinds, baptize by triple immersion and allow married men to be ordained to the priesthood.

Thank you for recommending St. Gregory of Nyssa’s On Virginity. I have just found it online and will read it ASAP.


#33

The Latin Rite Baptizes with water over the head three times.

From what I understand this also acceptable according to the Didache.

Only in the Latin Rite are priest celibate you forget we have 27 Eastern rites.

My priest is married with three children.

Gregory Nyssa is read he’s in the Roman Catholic Canon Of Saints.

Many of us are resisting the homosexuals and liberals and sticking to our Catholic faith.

I go to both the Latin Mass and the Divine Liturgy.

You would be surprised at the growing number of Catholics in the traditional movement.

My wife is going from being a lapsed Nazarene Protestant to a Ukrainian Rite Catholic.

My children and I are all Latin Rite but we attend a Ukrainian Rite mission.

The only time we go to the Novus Ordum Mass is on Holy day’s of obligation.

If our priest is out of town we go to the Latin Mass.

Recently the Latin Mass got a full time FSSP Priest with daily Mass and I have been going to that as much as I am able to.


#34

We could probably assume the same for most anything we read on an internet forum.

I find that most of the friction concerning the Ukrainian Patriarchate stems from the notion of pan-Slavism on the part of the more conservative Russians (which also tend to be practicing Orthodox). “One people, one Church”, and so on.

One of the things I studied as an Orthodox catechumen was the Orthodox Church in America and the debate over autocephaly. It’s recognized by the Russian OC, interestingly. Just not Constantinople. :roll_eyes:

A lot of “behind the scenes” writing about the issue lends support to the notion that a lot of national OCs in America just don’t want to lose American patronage. But the Russians are one of the proponents for an American OC, you might be interested to know.


#35

There is a lot I like about Orhtodoxy. I like how the Divine Liturgy is conducted. I really love icons. I appreciate some of their spirituality. When I was a Protestant I realized I needed to join the ‘ancient Church’. I concluded this was either Catholicism or Orthodoxy.

I tried to learn what I could about each. I tried to understand the differences. One thing that helped make the decision easier was I realized I was a Western Christian. My family was Protestant, but if you went back five hundred years they would have been Catholic. Even today I live in the US which rightfully would be in the Latin Church.

So by right I should be a Catholic. One thing about the ancient Church is you follow your bishop. You don’t get to make up your own brand of Christianity. That is Protestantism. This can be hard. You may not like your bishop. He may not make good decisions. He may do foolish things. But part of being Christian is humility and submission to authority.

So by this reasoning I should be Catholic. That is true even if I wish our Masses maintained some of the heavenly qualities of the Divine Liturgy. And anyway the Divine Liturgy wasn’t ordained by Jesus. The Orthodox and Catholic Liturgy may be ancient, but they aren’t what was done on day one of Christianity. They were developed over time. I may wish parts were different but it isn’t about me. And the Church has the authority to determine the Liturgy.


#36

I can relate to you on this, as I too at times have been drawn to Orthodoxy. However, as the nearest Orthodox parish is about 2 hours away, it has never gotten past the point of curiosity for me. That being said, Orthodoxy seems to have become one of if not the choice destination for those leaving Lutheranism, especially those that leave the Missouri Synod.

There is a video of a Lutheran conference, Steadfast Lutherans, in which a LCMS pastor talks about this issue. He actually raised many good points that I think may be applicable to your situation as well. He said that folks in the LCMS sometimes become disillusioned by the reality of the LCMS or their own parish. The reality is that the LCMS is and can be messy at times, however, this is true of every church body in the world. Many of us wish we were in the “golden age” of the past, but the “golden age” was often messier than what we have today. People become disillusioned by the reality in their own church, but become drawn to the idea of the Orthodoxy (or any church body) that exists in their head. What exists in their head is simply not reality though and that reality comes crashing down on those who join another church body based on the perfect ideas of what the church is in their head and by what they have built up in their head. To be clear, this isn’t to bash Orthodoxy at all, this is true of every church body that exists.

Anyway, that was the main point of this LCMS pastor and I certainly think it could be applicable to your situation as well. I would just advise to use caution when it comes to being disillusioned with the reality you know and thinking that the pastures are greener elsewhere. All churches are messy and have a reality of their own. The idea we build up in our head usually isn’t reality. I hope that helps and I will try to find the video if you are interested.


#37

I’ve noticed that too. I also know of a hardcore Baptist friend of a friend who became Orthodox. Not that I doubt their sincerity but I always wondered if that was easier in that you didn’t have the Pope and as many dogmas to deal with. What I mean is if you’ve set yourself against certain objective things in Catholicism it is harder to give them up. The fasting certainly isn’t easier and God Bless them given that!

This is true. Luckily for me I was well aware of the ‘warts’ of the Catholic Church. What Protestant isn’t? I have always had the idea that the Catholic Church is heavenly but also, in many ways, not hellish but anything but heavenly. That is the reality of people, me included.


#38

The last two posts are really great and I fully understand what you mean. The only thing I think you are missing is the fact that the ancient faith is preserved and revered by a lot of Orthodox people. We only can compare to the Great and Holy Fathers of the Church all that we try to do now. The greatest Orthodox people alive today will never go against anything that the Church has taught for 2000 years. Yet you have the greatest in Roman Catholicism contradicting the faith of the Fathers from Bishops to the Pope. If you are Conservative in the Roman Catholic Church you are an outsider. Fasting that was the norm since the time of the Apostles, has become non-apparent, while the Orthodox fast more than half the year. Preparation for Communion by prayers, morning and evening prayers, and other pious things are not laid out for Catholics, but can be done if one so feels inclined. In most places these things are never even suggested. In Orthodox practice, it is understood that all of these things should be done. How many do these things is not the question, but it is clear that these are Church’s ways.


#39

The Church still teaches fasting. The Church still teaches prayers in preparation for communion. It seems to me you are comparing the best in Orthodox to the worst in Catholicism. It is true the fasting rules are much easier today for Catholics. It seems to be in general the approach to the Catholic Faith is less rigorous.

But as you say what is the actual practice even among Orthodox? My Orthodox friend told me about his experience with how fasting is kept. Yes, it is more rigorous but he wasn’t fully keeping it. He was trying to improve.

Regardless the authority of the Church isn’t dependent on how close it keeps to ancient practice. We aren’t talking about doctrine here but practices. If the modern Catholic Church wants to have a less rigorous approach to the Faith that doesn’t deprive her of her authority, even if I and others lament this.


#40

Can you show me some examples of where Roman Catholic Churches teach fasting and prayers for preparation for communion. I was also talking about how there are no services before the Mass to prepare. It seems that they have either done away with the “Vigil” service that is done in Orthodox Churches or never had this custom which I highly doubt. And I am not comparing the best in Orthodox to the worst in Catholicism. I went to the best Catholicism had to offer in my City and heard all kinds of heresy, unintentional heresy, but it clearly shows the allowance for individual interpretation to be taught. I unfortunately only have one option for an Orthodox Church in a 100 mile radius, and is not what anyone would call the best in options. Even here, the priest gives you a prayer book that has morning and evening prayers, and in the bulletin, it clearly states that the Eucharist is for Orthodox Christians who have prepared themselves with prayer and fasting. And it is understood that we as Orthodox must read daily the lives of the Saints and Holy Scripture, and the Holy Fathers. But like you said, your friend is not keeping to the Church’s discipline, but at least he knows what it is. There is a bar that has been set by the Holy Fathers. The Roman Catholic Church not only don’t expect their people to meet the bar, they have got rid of the bar altogether. And finally, if you say that the Roman Catholic Church does not need to keep close to the ancient practice to be authoritative, you clearly are at odds with how we as Orthodox believe. To not keep the ancient practices is to cease to be part of the Church. A Theologian is one who prays, and one who prays is a Theologian.


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