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Chrawnus
02-23-2015, 10:57 PM
What the title says. I need something to do in order not to squander my free time away and I thought learning about Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy would be as good an endeavor as any. So if anyone has any good primers (before I go on to more indepth stuff) on either that they could recommend I'd be grateful. Both books (preferably kindle versions) and internet articles are fine by me.

One Bad Pig
02-24-2015, 07:10 AM
The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware (excerpts available here (http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/history_timothy_ware_2.htm)) is a good place to start; it's easily the most popular introduction.

Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective by Daniel B. Clendenin

Introducing the Orthodox Church by Fr. Anthony Coniaris was the book used in my catechism class, and is good.

Introducing Orthodox Theology by Andrew Louth is good, though I wouldn't start with this one.

You might want to check out what the Finnish Orthodox Church (http://www.ort.fi/en) has to say. :shrug:

From the Roman Catholic side, Scott Hahn seems to be a popular author. I haven't read any of his stuff, however.

Zymologist
02-24-2015, 07:16 AM
What the title says. I need something to do in order not to squander my free time away and I thought learning about Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy would be as good an endeavor as any. So if anyone has any good primers (before I go on to more indepth stuff) on either that they could recommend I'd be grateful. Both books (preferably kindle versions) and internet articles are fine by me.

I've actually been meaning to start this exact topic for a while now, I just...haven't yet. So count me as inquisitive also.

Zymologist
02-24-2015, 07:34 AM
The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware (excerpts available here (http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/history_timothy_ware_2.htm)) is a good place to start; it's easily the most popular introduction.

Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective by Daniel B. Clendenin

Introducing the Orthodox Church by Fr. Anthony Coniaris was the book used in my catechism class, and is good.

Introducing Orthodox Theology by Andrew Louth is good, though I wouldn't start with this one.

You might want to check out what the Finnish Orthodox Church (http://www.ort.fi/en) has to say. :shrug:

From the Roman Catholic side, Scott Hahn seems to be a popular author. I haven't read any of his stuff, however.

I added a couple to my Amazon wishlist.

Cow Poke
02-24-2015, 08:30 AM
What the title says. I need something to do in order not to squander my free time away and I thought learning about Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy would be as good an endeavor as any. So if anyone has any good primers (before I go on to more indepth stuff) on either that they could recommend I'd be grateful. Both books (preferably kindle versions) and internet articles are fine by me.

I should send my Russian Orthodox friends to visit you, complete with wine and bagels. :yes:

Chrawnus
02-24-2015, 08:36 AM
The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware (excerpts available here (http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/history_timothy_ware_2.htm)) is a good place to start; it's easily the most popular introduction.

Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective by Daniel B. Clendenin

Introducing the Orthodox Church by Fr. Anthony Coniaris was the book used in my catechism class, and is good.

Introducing Orthodox Theology by Andrew Louth is good, though I wouldn't start with this one.

You might want to check out what the Finnish Orthodox Church (http://www.ort.fi/en) has to say. :shrug:

From the Roman Catholic side, Scott Hahn seems to be a popular author. I haven't read any of his stuff, however.

Thank you for the recommendations. I went ahead and purchased all of the books you listed for my kindle. Any recommendations in which particular order I should read them, or is any order as good as any? I'm thinking of going through them in the order you listed them, but if you have a better idea I'm all ears (or maybe it's eyes in this case :lol:).

Chaotic Void
02-24-2015, 08:53 AM
The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware (excerpts available here (http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/history_timothy_ware_2.htm)) is a good place to start; it's easily the most popular introduction.

I second this book. We read a chunk of it for a VERY brief dive into Church History back when I was in college (the prof had a fascination with Orthodoxy, despite being a dyed-in-the-wool Pentecostal), and I remember finding it to be enlightening (I just need to remember to order a copy for my own uses :doh:).

One Bad Pig
02-24-2015, 09:30 AM
Thank you for the recommendations. I went ahead and purchased all of the books you listed for my kindle. Any recommendations in which particular order I should read them, or is any order as good as any? I'm thinking of going through them in the order you listed them, but if you have a better idea I'm all ears (or maybe it's eyes in this case :lol:).
IIRC that's the order in which I read them, and I managed to survive the experience.

Chrawnus
02-24-2015, 09:41 AM
IIRC that's the order in which I read them, and I managed to survive the experience.

Right.

I have work in ~2 hours, but maybe I'll be able to atleast get started with Ware's book before I have to get ready.

Thanks again for the recommendations. :thumb:

Chrawnus
02-26-2015, 08:52 PM
The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware (excerpts available here (http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/history_timothy_ware_2.htm)) is a good place to start; it's easily the most popular introduction.

Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective by Daniel B. Clendenin

Introducing the Orthodox Church by Fr. Anthony Coniaris was the book used in my catechism class, and is good.

Introducing Orthodox Theology by Andrew Louth is good, though I wouldn't start with this one.

You might want to check out what the Finnish Orthodox Church (http://www.ort.fi/en) has to say. :shrug:

From the Roman Catholic side, Scott Hahn seems to be a popular author. I haven't read any of his stuff, however.

So, I just finished The Orthodox Church by Ware. It was an interesting read to say the least. I have some minor questions that I would be grateful if you, (or any other Orthodox member) of the forum could answer.

Regarding the Real Presence, how similar (or dissimilar) is the Orthodox view compared to the Lutheran view that the Body and Blood of Christ is truly present in the bread and wine, but that the bread and wine never ceases to be bread and wine, i.e the bread is both bread AND the body of Christ at the same time and the wine is both wine AND the blood of Christ at the same time? I guess what I'm asking is, can an Orthodox person hold a view of the Real Presence that is identical to that of a Lutheran and still be considered Orthodox?

This next question is one I don't expect you to be able to answer unless you've read up on the roots of the Word of Faith movement* (I.e Copeland, Hagin etc.) but regarding the doctrine of theosis/deification, what would the differences be between the early teaching** of the WoF movement (that Adam started out as a god in paradise but lost that distinction when he fell for the temptation of satan and that we are able to obtain that same sort of godhood for ourselves) and the Orthodox teaching of deification? Reading what Ware has to say about deification doesn't make me nearly as uncomfortable as I am when I read about the teaching of the founders of the WoF movement, but that could merely be because I simply haven't read up on the Orthodox teaching nearly enough (although I guess the opposite is entirely possible too, i.e that further reading about the Orthodox doctrine of theosis will make my suspicions disappear completely :shrug:)

*In other words, feel free to ignore this question if you don't have the necessary knowledge to answer it, or don't feel like researching the issue to such an extent that you would feel comfortable in answering it. I fully expect to have this question answered for me in the course of reading more about Orthodoxy, I just felt like it would be convenient if I could get an answer a bit earlier.

**I say early teaching, but I'm not sure if they've ever rescinded this doctrine.

Spartacus
02-26-2015, 09:23 PM
Books by Joseph Ratzinger, say, Introduction to Christianity, tend to come highly recommended, though I can't say I've read it myself. Otherwise, I could recommend G.K. Chesterton and even C.S. Lewis (high-church anglicans like Lewis can give you a sense of both Catholicism and Orthodoxy given that there was a time when there were anglicans who cared about some sort of communion with Rome and Byzantium).

In other news, I find the concept of theosis fascinating and look forward to seeing more discussion about it in this thread. I have my own answer to the question, but I'll leave it to the EOs to explain.

The defense of Catholicism is a bit of a cottage industry these days-- there are lots of blogs and books about Catholicism from various perspectives and with various agendas. I could recommend a few of those that I've read over the years... or I could point you to Fr. Robert Barron, who has a website (wordonfire.org) and a number of youtube videos on various topics in which he elucidates Catholic perspectives on any number of things-- he's also produced a documentary series on Catholicism which you could check out. Or you could go back further to Bishop Fulton Sheen, who had a major television program back in the day: you can find a lot of old episodes of his show on youtube.

Catholics are so hip and media-savvy compared to those old-fashioned Orthodox :tongue:

Chrawnus
02-26-2015, 09:25 PM
Books by Joseph Ratzinger, say, Introduction to Christianity, tend to come highly recommended, though I can't say I've read it myself. Otherwise, I could recommend G.K. Chesterton and even C.S. Lewis (high-church anglicans like Lewis can give you a sense of both Catholicism and Orthodoxy given that there was a time when there were anglicans who cared about some sort of communion with Rome and Byzantium).

In other news, I find the concept of theosis fascinating and look forward to seeing more discussion about it in this thread. I have my own answer to the question, but I'll leave it to the EOs to explain.

The defense of Catholicism is a bit of a cottage industry these days-- there are lots of blogs and books about Catholicism from various perspectives and with various agendas. I could recommend a few of those that I've read over the years... or I could point you to Fr. Robert Barron, who has a website (wordonfire.org) and a number of youtube videos on various topics in which he elucidates Catholic perspectives on any number of things-- he's also produced a documentary series on Catholicism which you could check out. Or you could go back further to Bishop Fulton Sheen, who had a major television program back in the day: you can find a lot of old episodes of his show on youtube.

Catholics are so hip and media-savvy compared to those old-fashioned Orthodox :tongue:

Thanks for the answer. I'll get back to this post after I've read up on and digested the books OBP recommended on the Orthodox faith. :yes:

Chrawnus
02-26-2015, 10:28 PM
Catholics are so hip and media-savvy compared to those old-fashioned Orthodox :tongue:

To be fair to the the Orthodox the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America does have it's own YT channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/GreekOrthodoxChurch) (and they even have a playlist called "Discovering Orthodox Christianity (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWopa4I5g3xCpebu63uiMabsL7qBv35Cj)" which I'm intending to watch after reading OBP's books recommendations) so they're not completely out of touch with the possibilities of the interwebz. :tongue:

One Bad Pig
02-27-2015, 06:42 AM
So, I just finished The Orthodox Church by Ware. It was an interesting read to say the least. I have some minor questions that I would be grateful if you, (or any other Orthodox member) of the forum could answer.

Regarding the Real Presence, how similar (or dissimilar) is the Orthodox view compared to the Lutheran view that the Body and Blood of Christ is truly present in the bread and wine, but that the bread and wine never ceases to be bread and wine, i.e the bread is both bread AND the body of Christ at the same time and the wine is both wine AND the blood of Christ at the same time? I guess what I'm asking is, can an Orthodox person hold a view of the Real Presence that is identical to that of a Lutheran and still be considered Orthodox?
As far as I can tell, yes.


This next question is one I don't expect you to be able to answer unless you've read up on the roots of the Word of Faith movement* (I.e Copeland, Hagin etc.) but regarding the doctrine of theosis/deification, what would the differences be between the early teaching** of the WoF movement (that Adam started out as a god in paradise but lost that distinction when he fell for the temptation of satan and that we are able to obtain that same sort of godhood for ourselves) and the Orthodox teaching of deification? Reading what Ware has to say about deification doesn't make me nearly as uncomfortable as I am when I read about the teaching of the founders of the WoF movement, but that could merely be because I simply haven't read up on the Orthodox teaching nearly enough (although I guess the opposite is entirely possible too, i.e that further reading about the Orthodox doctrine of theosis will make my suspicions disappear completely :shrug:)

*In other words, feel free to ignore this question if you don't have the necessary knowledge to answer it, or don't feel like researching the issue to such an extent that you would feel comfortable in answering it. I fully expect to have this question answered for me in the course of reading more about Orthodoxy, I just felt like it would be convenient if I could get an answer a bit earlier.

**I say early teaching, but I'm not sure if they've ever rescinded this doctrine.
I'm not familiar with the early WoF doctrine. In Orthodox belief, Adam was created without flaw, with the free will to choose to be filled with the grace of God or reject it. Theosis is the process of becoming like God, as we are made in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-7); it is synonymous with sanctification. There is a distinction between God's essence, which is fundamental to His being uncreated and we cannot therefore acquire, and His energy, which emanates from Him. As we become like God, and our will aligns more closely we His, we are divinized, or filled with His energy (also known as His grace). This is the energy that emanated from Christ in the Transfiguration. Many Orthodox people, especially monastics, have been so rapt in prayer that they have seen this light, and even glow with it themselves from within (this takes extreme humility - the merest thought of pride extinguishes it immediately).

One Bad Pig
02-27-2015, 06:47 AM
To be fair to the the Orthodox the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America does have it's own YT channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/GreekOrthodoxChurch) (and they even have a playlist called "Discovering Orthodox Christianity (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWopa4I5g3xCpebu63uiMabsL7qBv35Cj)" which I'm intending to watch after reading OBP's books recommendations) so they're not completely out of touch with the possibilities of the interwebz. :tongue:
You could also check out the Orthodox Studies here (https://www.youtube.com/user/StJohnDC) (a church I go to sometimes when they have services my church doesn't).

Chrawnus
02-27-2015, 09:24 PM
I'm not familiar with the early WoF doctrine. In Orthodox belief, Adam was created without flaw, with the free will to choose to be filled with the grace of God or reject it. Theosis is the process of becoming like God, as we are made in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-7); it is synonymous with sanctification. There is a distinction between God's essence, which is fundamental to His being uncreated and we cannot therefore acquire, and His energy, which emanates from Him. As we become like God, and our will aligns more closely we His, we are divinized, or filled with His energy (also known as His grace). This is the energy that emanated from Christ in the Transfiguration. Many Orthodox people, especially monastics, have been so rapt in prayer that they have seen this light, and even glow with it themselves from within (this takes extreme humility - the merest thought of pride extinguishes it immediately).

Thank you. I have to say that I don't see anything here that strikes me as particularly objectionable. :shrug:



On another note, I just finished Clendenin's book. Time to engage with Coniaris. :yes:

Chrawnus
02-28-2015, 12:14 PM
I've put my reading of the books OBP recommended to me on pause for a while , to focus my studies on what the early church fathers taught about the eucharist. I have to say that I find it extremely intriguing that Ignatius, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr all seemed to hold to the view that the bread and wine really became the body and blood of Christ (and did not merely symbolize it), especially considering that Ignatius was a disciple of John the Evangelist, while Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who himself was another disciple of John alongside Ignatius. Assuming that these portions of the texts (which I will link to below) are genuine (and I have no reason to believe anything else at this point in time) I find it this a pretty cogent argument for the doctrine of real presence, on the grounds that I find it very implausible that a disciple of John himself (Ignatius) and someone removed from John by only one link (Irenaeus) would have made such an egregious mistake regarding such an important practice of the Christian Church.

Ignatius' Epistle to the SmyrnŠans chapter VII (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.vii.vii.html)

Irenaeus Against Heresies Book IV, chapter XVIII, verse IV-V (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vi.xix.html)

Irenaeus Against Heresies Book V, chapter II (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.iii.html)

Justin Martyr, The First Apology, chapter LXVI (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.ii.lxvi.html)

Spartacus
02-28-2015, 09:46 PM
I've put my reading of the books OBP recommended to me on pause for a while , to focus my studies on what the early church fathers taught about the eucharist. I have to say that I find it extremely intriguing that Ignatius, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr all seemed to hold to the view that the bread and wine really became the body and blood of Christ (and did not merely symbolize it), especially considering that Ignatius was a disciple of John the Evangelist, while Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who himself was another disciple of John alongside Ignatius. Assuming that these portions of the texts (which I will link to below) are genuine (and I have no reason to believe anything else at this point in time) I find it this a pretty cogent argument for the doctrine of real presence, on the grounds that I find it very implausible that a disciple of John himself (Ignatius) and someone removed from John by only one link (Irenaeus) would have made such an egregious mistake regarding such an important practice of the Christian Church.

Ignatius' Epistle to the SmyrnŠans chapter VII (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.vii.vii.html)

Irenaeus Against Heresies Book IV, chapter XVIII, verse IV-V (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vi.xix.html)

Irenaeus Against Heresies Book V, chapter II (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.iii.html)

Justin Martyr, The First Apology, chapter LXVI (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.ii.lxvi.html)

:grin: John Henry Newman famously said that "to be steeped in history is to cease to be Protestant." Methinks you're beginning to discover what he meant.

Chrawnus
02-28-2015, 09:48 PM
:grin: John Henry Newman famously said that "to be steeped in history is to cease to be Protestant." Methinks you're beginning to discover what he meant.


I do have Lutheran roots, so I'm not entirely foreign to the doctrine of real presence. :eh:

Spartacus
03-01-2015, 12:58 PM
I do have Lutheran roots, so I'm not entirely foreign to the doctrine of real presence. :eh:

Like I said, this is only the beginning :grin:

Chrawnus
03-01-2015, 01:00 PM
Like I said, this is only the beginning :grin:

:lol:

We'll see. I'm not ruling anything out at this point in time.

Chrawnus
03-02-2015, 10:39 AM
Yesterday I finished reading all the books OBP recommended to me. Very interesting read, although it feels like I might have rushed through them a bit too quickly, which is why I'm going to go through all of them again, this time giving each paragraph and chapter a little more deliberation before I scurry of to the next. :yes:

ETA: On another note, any Orthodox Christian here who can give me their opinion on the site orthodoxinfo.com (http://orthodoxinfo.com/)? Would you recommend it to people interested about learning about Orthodoxy, and if not, why not?

One Bad Pig
03-02-2015, 05:10 PM
Yesterday I finished reading all the books OBP recommended to me. Very interesting read, although it feels like I might have rushed through them a bit too quickly, which is why I'm going to go through all of them again, this time giving each paragraph and chapter a little more deliberation before I scurry of to the next. :yes:

ETA: On another note, any Orthodox Christian here who can give me their opinion on the site orthodoxinfo.com (http://orthodoxinfo.com/)? Would you recommend it to people interested about learning about Orthodoxy, and if not, why not?
The orthodoxinfo.com site is a bit ...rigorist. It is good on most issues, but I profoundly disagree with it on issues like the church calendar and ecumenism. I would recommend it with caution.

Chrawnus
03-03-2015, 12:23 AM
I'm currently going through the hub that orthodoxinfo.com has on Western Christianity and I'm currently at this article:

http://www.stjohndc.org/Russian/orthhtrdx/OrthhtrdxE/e_P12.htm (Which incidentally seems to be the located at the website of the same church/diocese [ By the way, what's the difference between a church and a diocese, if any? :huh:] that upholds the YT channel that OBP recommended.)

While it's an interesting read I must say that it seems like the Lutheran teaching of the eucharist/last supper seem to be a bit misunderstood. If we are to believe the article, Lutherans explain the nature of the change such that the divinity of the Word would "enter" into the bread offered for the Eucharist or that Christ "is present not in the sense only of "penetration", as the Lutherans teach (recognizing the co-presence of Christ "with the bread, under the bread, in the bread"). From my understanding of Lutheran theology it is not the case that Christ is only spiritually present in the bread and wine (which was something the Zwinglians teached, and Lutherans rejected (http://bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#part7.3)) rather Christ's Body and Blood are truly 'present' in the blood and wine and I would be cautious about interpreting the word 'present' to mean that the bread is not the Body of Christ but rather that they share the same locality, which seems like an unwarranted understanding of what the writers of the Augsburg Confession wanted to convey.

But other than that I find the article fascinating, especially the part about how in Western Christianity the change in the nature of the bread and wine is understood to happen at the invocation of the words of institution, while the Orthodox understanding seem to be that this happens because of the prayer of the church, blessing and the invocation of the Holy Spirit. (I'm not sure how exactly these three relate to eachother, i.e is the blessing and invocation the same thing, or distinct from each other) On a purely instinctive level the Orthodox understanding seems a bit more attractive to me, because the notion that the action of Jesus blessing and giving thanks for the constituents of the Lord's Supper having no effect seems a bit strange to me. And it seems to me to make much more sense of Jesus words "This is My Body", and "This is My Blood" that the change had already taken place prior to His words, rather than that His words mystically changed reality so it would concord with what He was saying. I'm not denying the possibility, but I don't see it as plausible.

Chrawnus
03-03-2015, 01:06 AM
The orthodoxinfo.com site is a bit ...rigorist. It is good on most issues, but I profoundly disagree with it on issues like the church calendar and ecumenism. I would recommend it with caution.

Without taking any sides of the issue, which would be presumptous of me seeing as I'm not a member of the Orthodox Church, it seems to me that while the site might be wrong on the issue of ecumenism (they could be right too, for all I know) that atleast their motives for why they take the stand they do on the issue seem to be praiseworthy to me i.e safeguarding the truth and protecting the integrity of the Orthodox Church. If the Orthodox Church really is the Church that Jesus promised would not be defeated then the stance they take on ecumenism seems to me to be understandable, at the very least.

One Bad Pig
03-03-2015, 06:48 AM
I'm currently going through the hub that orthodoxinfo.com has on Western Christianity and I'm currently at this article:

http://www.stjohndc.org/Russian/orthhtrdx/OrthhtrdxE/e_P12.htm (Which incidentally seems to be the located at the website of the same church/diocese [ By the way, what's the difference between a church and a diocese, if any? :huh:] that upholds the YT channel that OBP recommended.)
:hrm: This is a little tricky, because "church" can have two different meanings. It can refer to a building (and the people that gather therein), also sometimes called a 'temple.' Alternatively it can refer to an organization headed by a patriarch or metropolitan which is divided administratively into a number of dioceses, each headed by a bishop.


While it's an interesting read I must say that it seems like the Lutheran teaching of the eucharist/last supper seem to be a bit misunderstood. If we are to believe the article, Lutherans explain the nature of the change such that the divinity of the Word would "enter" into the bread offered for the Eucharist or that Christ "is present not in the sense only of "penetration", as the Lutherans teach (recognizing the co-presence of Christ "with the bread, under the bread, in the bread"). From my understanding of Lutheran theology it is not the case that Christ is only spiritually present in the bread and wine (which was something the Zwinglians teached, and Lutherans rejected (http://bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#part7.3)) rather Christ's Body and Blood are truly 'present' in the blood and wine and I would be cautious about interpreting the word 'present' to mean that the bread is not the Body of Christ but rather that they share the same locality, which seems like an unwarranted understanding of what the writers of the Augsburg Confession wanted to convey.
Okay.


But other than that I find the article fascinating, especially the part about how in Western Christianity the change in the nature of the bread and wine is understood to happen at the invocation of the words of institution, while the Orthodox understanding seem to be that this happens because of the prayer of the church, blessing and the invocation of the Holy Spirit. (I'm not sure how exactly these three relate to eachother, i.e is the blessing and invocation the same thing, or distinct from each other) On a purely instinctive level the Orthodox understanding seems a bit more attractive to me, because the notion that the action of Jesus blessing and giving thanks for the constituents of the Lord's Supper having no effect seems a bit strange to me. And it seems to me to make much more sense of Jesus words "This is My Body", and "This is My Blood" that the change had already taken place prior to His words, rather than that His words mystically changed reality so it would concord with what He was saying. I'm not denying the possibility, but I don't see it as plausible.
The recitation of Jesus' words comes before the invocation of the Holy Spirit (see here (http://www.acrod.org/prayercorner/textsresources/divineliturgy) at the Anaphora). It is viewed as a remembrance/recounting of Jesus' institution of the Eucharist; it seems a little odd to me to expect that recounting something would cause it to happen again. The Holy Spirit is then invoked to make the actual change. There are people who have been gifted the ability to see the Holy Spirit descend on the gifts when it is invoked. (In Orthodox practice, by the way, the laity receive the bread and wine mingled together for historical reasons. In the fourth century, with the favor shown by Constantine and his successors to the church, the influx of many people with limited understanding caused problems, among them the abuse of the Eucharistic cup. To circumvent this, priests began to add the bread to the cup and distribute the mixture by spoon so everyone got the same amount. The only liturgy in which the laity receive the bread and wine separately is the Liturgy of St. James, which is very rarely celebrated.)

One Bad Pig
03-03-2015, 06:55 AM
Without taking any sides of the issue, which would be presumptous of me seeing as I'm not a member of the Orthodox Church, it seems to me that while the site might be wrong on the issue of ecumenism (they could be right too, for all I know) that atleast their motives for why they take the stand they do on the issue seem to be praiseworthy to me i.e safeguarding the truth and protecting the integrity of the Orthodox Church. If the Orthodox Church really is the Church that Jesus promised would not be defeated then the stance they take on ecumenism seems to me to be understandable, at the very least.
Yes, their motives are not wrong; the integrity of the church does need to be protected. However, the desire is for the church to be one, and there cannot be any reunification without dialogue. While dialogue must be done circumspectly, and there is the danger of compromise, dialogue also helps to clarify the differences between sides and show what would be necessary for reunification.

Chrawnus
03-03-2015, 11:41 AM
:hrm: This is a little tricky, because "church" can have two different meanings. It can refer to a building (and the people that gather therein), also sometimes called a 'temple.' Alternatively it can refer to an organization headed by a patriarch or metropolitan which is divided administratively into a number of dioceses, each headed by a bishop.

Thanks for the explanation. I actually suspected it was something along the lines of your explanation, but I wasn't completely sure.



Okay.


:smile:



The recitation of Jesus' words comes before the invocation of the Holy Spirit (see here (http://www.acrod.org/prayercorner/textsresources/divineliturgy) at the Anaphora). It is viewed as a remembrance/recounting of Jesus' institution of the Eucharist; it seems a little odd to me to expect that recounting something would cause it to happen again. The Holy Spirit is then invoked to make the actual change. There are people who have been gifted the ability to see the Holy Spirit descend on the gifts when it is invoked. (In Orthodox practice, by the way, the laity receive the bread and wine mingled together for historical reasons. In the fourth century, with the favor shown by Constantine and his successors to the church, the influx of many people with limited understanding caused problems, among them the abuse of the Eucharistic cup. To circumvent this, priests began to add the bread to the cup and distribute the mixture by spoon so everyone got the same amount. The only liturgy in which the laity receive the bread and wine separately is the Liturgy of St. James, which is very rarely celebrated.)

Thanks for the explanation. I was actually under the impression that the recitation of Jesus' words happened after the blessing and invocation of the Holy Spirit, because this is the order in the Gospel (i.e Jesus blessed and gave thanks, and only thereafter did he say the words of institution) but it seems that was an unwarranted assumption on my part. I'll be more careful with assuming in the future. :yes:

Truthseeker
03-03-2015, 04:53 PM
Yes, their motives are not wrong; the integrity of the church does need to be protected.I do not think that there is such a thing as a perfect church or denomination.

One Bad Pig
03-03-2015, 06:02 PM
I do not think that there is such a thing as a perfect church or denomination.
I agree! Even the best of churches are comprised of broken humans in need of a Savior.

Truthseeker
03-03-2015, 07:50 PM
I agree! Even the best of churches are comprised of broken humans in need of a Savior.If there is a church nearby that seems to be among the best nearby churches, why not go there even if it is not Eastern Orthodox?

One Bad Pig
03-03-2015, 08:24 PM
If there is a church nearby that seems to be among the best nearby churches, why not go there even if it is not Eastern Orthodox?

I've never been concerned with going to the 'best' church. My criterion before I converted was 'closest to that of the apostles in faith and practice.' When I became convinced that that was the Orthodox Church, I converted. There are several Orthodox churches in my area; I happen to go to the closest one, because I felt most comfortable there (that criterion suggested by the first Orthodox priest I talked with).

Chrawnus
03-07-2015, 10:14 PM
So, in order to to delve a bit deeper into my study of Orthodoxy I decided to purchase the kindle version of the Orthodox Study Bible. I haven't actually begun reading the text and study notes in earnest yet, but it's interesting to see that the Orthodox hold to some viewpoints that I myself have arrived at (with the help of others) regarding the bible, such the legitimacy of typology in interpreting the Old Testament and the appearance to Abraham of the three men at Mamre and the appearances of the Angel of the LORD as being theophanies of the pre-incarnate Son.


But I especially consider the article on deification to be especially interesting. OPB or any other Orthodox Christian can correct me on this if I am wrong, but the way I've understood the doctrine of deification is that the process culminates at the return of Christ whereby believers will be infused with the grace or divine energies of God to such an extent that we become sinless and our bodies become immortal and incorruptible (i.e it's not that the resurrection bodies themselves have these qualities, but they aquire them through the infusal of God's energies). Am I correct to understand deification in this way, or am I misunderstanding it in someway?

One Bad Pig
03-08-2015, 01:12 PM
:hrm: I don't think I've ever seen it described that way before, but I admittedly haven't read up on deification much (I have a couple books on the topic in my to-read stack). We will be sinless, with immortal and incorruptible bodies, in the Resurrection, but there is at least a strand of Orthodox thought that the process of deification is never-ending.

Chrawnus
03-08-2015, 01:18 PM
:hrm: I don't think I've ever seen it described that way before, but I admittedly haven't read up on deification much (I have a couple books on the topic in my to-read stack). We will be sinless, with immortal and incorruptible bodies, in the Resurrection, but there is at least a strand of Orthodox thought that the process of deification is never-ending.

It does seem to logically follow from what I've read of deification so far, atleast the part when it comes to sinlessness, provided that I've understood what I've read so far correctly. Would it be correct to state that the process of deification is what gives us power to resist the temptation of sin in this life?

ETA: I noticed that my sentence structure was hopelessly garbled. Hopefully it didn't introduce too much confusion. :blush:

Chrawnus
03-08-2015, 01:33 PM
Just to clarify where I got the idea of deification also involves the body and culminates (or perhaps takes on fuller form would be a more correct way of phrasing it) at the Last Day from:


Deification is something that involves the body. Since the human person is a unity of body and soul, and since the Incarnate Christ has saved and redeemed the whole person, it follows that ‘our body is deified at the same time as our soul’. 3 In that divine likeness which we humans are called to realize in ourselves, the body has its place. ‘Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,’ wrote St Paul (1 Corinthians vi, 19). ‘Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I beseech you by God's mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice to God' (Romans xii, 1). The full deification of the body must wait, however, until the Last Day, for in this present life the glory of the saints is as a rule an inward splendour, a splendour of the soul alone; but when the righteous rise from the dead and are clothed with a spiritual body, then their sanctity will be outwardly manifest.

One Bad Pig
03-08-2015, 01:36 PM
It does seem to logically follow from what I've read of deification so far, atleast the part when it comes to sinlessness, provided that I've understood what I've read so far correctly. Would it be correct to state that the understanding that the process of deification is what gives us power to resist the temptation of sin in this life?

I don't think I agree with that; the process of deification allows us to see our sins more clearly, but even those who have been granted a vision of the uncreated light still struggle with temptation - albeit of a different sort; St. Siluoan said that one who had seen the uncreated light could lie beside a maiden without temptation, because re-attaining that vision was far more desirable than sex. Few people attain that in this life, however.

Chrawnus
03-08-2015, 01:37 PM
but there is at least a strand of Orthodox thought that the process of deification is never-ending.

I think my use of the word 'culminates' was a bad one, because it was not my intent to imply that the process ends at the Last Day, but rather that it takes on a new intensity, perhaps even quality.

Chrawnus
03-08-2015, 01:46 PM
I don't think I agree with that; the process of deification allows us to see our sins more clearly, but even those who have been granted a vision of the uncreated light still struggle with temptation - albeit of a different sort; St. Siluoan said that one who had seen the uncreated light could lie beside a maiden without temptation, because re-attaining that vision was far more desirable than sex. Few people attain that in this life, however.

I will have to reread the passages about deification in the books you recommended to me to see what it is that I've misunderstood.

One Bad Pig
03-08-2015, 01:53 PM
I think my use of the word 'culminates' was a bad one, because it was not my intent to imply that the process ends at the Last Day, but rather that it takes on a new intensity, perhaps even quality.

Ok. Thanks for clarifying.

One Bad Pig
03-09-2015, 12:01 PM
I will have to reread the passages about deification in the books you recommended to me to see what it is that I've misunderstood.
Picked up Norman Russell's The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition, which led to Vladimir Lossky's The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, which led me to the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, so it'll be a bit before I can get back to you on this.

Sparrow
03-12-2015, 05:56 PM
Chrawnus Goes on an Adventure to Learn about Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy
:thumb:

Flagrantly late to the thread, but I'm doing the same thing as you are, sort of. In my case, I've been going to an Orthodox church for a while with the intention of finding out whether it's something I could ever convert to, after a while started to feel that I had unfairly dismissed Catholicism without really giving it a hearing, and have sort of doubled back and am taking RCIA and occasionally going to Catholic services . . . the result being that I can now justifiably decline Catholicism after having given it due time and consideration.

For Catholicism, I would specifically NOT recommend the book my RCIA class is using, Open Wide the Doors to Christ by Lucas R. Pollice. It is at a pretty low reading level and has occasional mistakes, so although it would be a decent basic introduction for people who want an easy read, based on the things you've mentioned reading in this thread alone, I doubt it would satisfy you intellectually. Personally, I felt my time would probably have been better spent just reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church cover-to-cover (something I have yet to do). The Catechism itself is probably your best bet; it's very thorough and is specifically designed to cover everything a person needs to know about Catholic beliefs. There are also tons of excellent web resources. Catholic Answers, (http://www.catholic.com/) which you may have already run across, is good; many of their articles are specifically checked and endorsed by the Catholic hierarchy as being free from error.

For Orthodoxy, by now you might be ready to move past introductory works, but if not, there is a five-volume catechism series by Fr. Thomas Hopko, The Orthodox Faith, (http://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith) that can be read online in its entirety.

About Lossky, I've only read his Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, but it was fantastic. Don't be deceived by the word "introduction"; although it is a short book, its philosophical and spiritual depth is mind-blowing.

I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned Ancient Faith Radio (http://www.ancientfaith.com/) as an online resource for Orthodoxy, but here it is. Based on the small amount I have sampled, the quality of the podcasts varies. The ones I listened to by Fr. Hopko were good.

For me, also, deification is a bit of a snaggy issue; I ran across this scholarly article (http://www.academia.edu/867543/Deification_and_the_Early_Church_Fathers) about where the topic of deification appears in the Early Church Fathers and what they say about it, so I thought I would toss that out in case it is helpful to you. It is not an in-depth treatment on the topic, but the way that the author identifies all the passages where the ECF talk about deification is helpful if you want to pursue ECF writings on the topic (that probably will be my next step on this issue).

Most importantly, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to go to the services. Reading books is good, and a lot of people have come to Orthodoxy that by reading about it first, and I don't want to criticize that. But Orthodoxy is something that absolutely must be experienced, and there is no way to put that in words.

Right now is a great time to experience the services, too. The presanctified liturgies (Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent) are wonderful and have a distinct atmosphere (quietness and stillness, though that's not all there is to it) that is unique to them. The Akathist to the Mother of God is beautiful if you're favorably inclined towards veneration of Mary. And of course the regular Sunday Divine Liturgy, the central worship experience of the Orthodox Church, is amazing no when you choose to go.

TL;DR As a fellow seeker, the absolute best advice I can possibly give you is simply "Go to the Orthodox Divine Services."

One Bad Pig
03-12-2015, 06:31 PM
Lossky is definitely NOT introductory reading! :egad:

I agree that you should go to an Orthodox service, if you can. I have no idea if there are any in your area that use your vernacular or not; I'd guess that most Orthodox churches in Finland would either use Finn or Slavonic. My diocesan cathedral streams its services live, but that wouldn't be the same.

Chrawnus
03-12-2015, 08:39 PM
Lossky is definitely NOT introductory reading! :egad:

I agree that you should go to an Orthodox service, if you can. I have no idea if there are any in your area that use your vernacular or not; I'd guess that most Orthodox churches in Finland would either use Finn or Slavonic. My diocesan cathedral streams its services live, but that wouldn't be the same.

Yeah, there's a wooden chapel (or tsasouna, which I think comes from a Russian word) here in Pietarsaari which I could possibly check out. I'm not sure how often they hold services though. I guess I could just call them and ask.





Someday. :uhoh:

Pentecost
03-13-2015, 07:29 PM
I just want to chime in that I am quietly enjoying this thread very much, and I think that perhaps after I've gone through John Wesley's work (which I'm enjoying starting at with his Journal), perhaps I will find some English translations of the Eastern Church Fathers instead of finishing Against Heresies by Irenaeus immediately.

One Bad Pig
03-14-2015, 04:42 PM
Yeah, there's a wooden chapel (or tsasouna, which I think comes from a Russian word) here in Pietarsaari which I could possibly check out. I'm not sure how often they hold services though. I guess I could just call them and ask.





Someday. :uhoh:
Heh. My first step wasn't exactly bold. I had George Blaisdell call the local priest for me. :uneasy:

One Bad Pig
05-11-2015, 08:45 PM
Picked up Norman Russell's The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition, which led to Vladimir Lossky's The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, which led me to the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, so it'll be a bit before I can get back to you on this.

Having finished these, I didn't find anything that addressed your question. :sigh: Vladimir Lossky was the most helpful, though the middle part of his book made my brain hurt.

Chrawnus
05-11-2015, 09:03 PM
Having finished these, I didn't find anything that addressed your question. :sigh: Vladimir Lossky was the most helpful, though the middle part of his book made my brain hurt.

Thanks anyways. I've on sort of a break from reading now, but I think I'll start my exploration of the Orthodox Church anew after a few weeks. :yes:

T-Shirt Ninja
05-21-2015, 03:54 PM
Hey Chrawnus. I think everyone has recommended some great books for you. Have you read an Orthodox prayer book? I think it would present the spiritual side of Orthodoxy which is essential to our faith.

Also, I will chime in with the rest of my Orthodox brothers in the thread: go to a service! Come and see the life of the Church for yourself.

Rushing Jaws
07-07-2015, 09:01 PM
What the title says. I need something to do in order not to squander my free time away and I thought learning about Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy would be as good an endeavor as any. So if anyone has any good primers (before I go on to more indepth stuff) on either that they could recommend I'd be grateful. Both books (preferably kindle versions) and internet articles are fine by me.

Strongly recommended: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IzqDiPALzKEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+teaching+of+christ+a+catholic&hl=en&sa=X&ei=OaGcVd-PJ8mU7Qbw-r3ABg&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=the%20teaching%20of%20christ%20a%20catholic&f=false