Author Topic: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion  (Read 107679 times)

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rskkiya

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2004, 03:09:16 PM »
I am looking for suggestions-- any simple but good books on Russian Orthodoxy for people interested in converting, or for people who want more information about the faith... and when I say basic I really mean basic!

love
R

Offline ptitchka

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2004, 10:00:29 PM »
Dear rskkiya:

My God-father recommended to me  The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way, both by Timothy Ware (now Fr. Kallistos), and The Law of God, by Fr. Seraphim Slobodsky.

God bless you!  I hope this helps.

Elizabeth

Offline AnBhanfhaidh

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2004, 04:49:17 AM »
I second Pravoslavnaya's recommendation of The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way.

They seems to be standard issue for Cathecumans.

I've been wondering how your search has been going, Rsskiya. Good luck...Tanya
CMTH  (Tanya)

Offline RealAnastasia

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2005, 08:53:09 PM »
I'm a Catholic, but I'm (of course) very interested in Orthodox Faith. May you tell me the differences between Catholics and Orthodox, and some little differences between Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox? I'm I great stupid in this subjetc !  ;D

RealAnastasia.

Offline Dasha

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2005, 09:07:06 PM »
Quote
I'm a Catholic, but I'm (of course) very interested in Orthodox Faith. May you tell me the differences between Catholics and Orthodox, and some little differences between Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox? I'm I great stupid in this subjetc !  ;D

RealAnastasia.


Hello RealAnastasia,
I may only be able to answer a part of your inquiry, but I will give it a go nontheless.  Orthodoxy allows priests to get married, however, that has to be done before they get ordained.  Russian and Greek Orthodoxy is basically the same, safe for the language of the Liturgy.  Armenians are not Orthodox.  I was told in my history classes that they are Gregorians, which is most likely a different sect of Christianity.  In Orthodoxy one is able to recieve Holy Communion after his/her Baptis, and the act of Confirmation occurs in the form of Chrismation, which is the anoiting the newly Baptized with special Holy Oil.  We also use a different calendar, and our Easter comes later then that of Catholics or Protestants.

I'm sorry that I'm not able to give you more information, but I'm new to Orthodoxy myself, having been Baptized into the faith at the end of February of this year.  I do hope I helped you at least a little bit.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by JaneEyre5381 »
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PssMarieAmelie

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2005, 04:46:11 AM »
I am a Roman Catholic but I am very interested in the Greek and Russian Orthodox religions. I even live right near an greek orthodox church!! I am especially intersted in the Greek and Russian Orthodox saints..:)

Offline Elizabeth

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2005, 01:16:12 PM »
I had to "jump in" here, since I'm Orthodox, and thought I'd join the discussion.  (I've already visited the other thread on Orthodoxy, but I think RealAnastasia wants to know the "basic" differences, not a major theological discussion -- am I right?).

I converted to Orthodoxy over 10 years ago, having been a Roman Catholic for all of my life (25+ years).  I think studying the IF helped me know that there was such a thing as the "Orthodox Church," but it was through a series of fortunate events that I became a member of the faith (too long of a story to tell here!).

Anyway, the first thing to remember when introducing yourself in an Orthodox Church, is to say that you are an "Orthodox Christian."  If you say you're "Russian Orthodox," "Greek Orthodox," etc., those who are "cradle Orthodox" (born into the Church) will look at you like you have TWO heads!  Basically, it's ALL the same church -- the only difference is the LANGUAGE.  (My church is the "Antiochian Orthodox Church" -- originally from Antioch, Syria where St. Peter was their first Bishop).  I've been to RUSSIAN and GREEK churches when I travel, and the Liturgy is IDENTICAL to mine, except for the language (Greek or Russian, but mostly English).

Dasha gave a LOT of great information!  We just finished celebrating Easter on May 1 - the week before was Holy Week (with services each evening -- more beautiful than the one before!).  Orthodox Christians greet each other at Easter (and after!) with "Christ Is Risen!  Indeed He Is Risen!"  (I could say this in Russian, but don't have the Russian alphabet on my computer -- let me know if anyone wants it phonetically).

Yes, Orthodox priests can marry (before their ordination), and those who don't usually go on to either serve in monastic communities or take leadership positions (Archanmandrite, Bishop, Archbishop, etc.) in the Church.  My priest is married and has two lovely teenage children.

The Divine Liturgy is held every Sunday morning (no Saturday evening masses like the Catholics or others, although we do have Vespers on Saturday, which is actually the "start" of the liturgical cycle).  We only have ONE Sunday service (so everyone can celebrate together).

The Divine Liturgy was written by St. John Chrysostom (Bishop of Constantiople), so it's ENTIRELY different than the Roman Catholic mass.  99% of the prayers are sung (either by the Priest, Deacon or Choir, along with congregation), and there is no piano or organ (some Orthodox churches DO have an organ - our's does not -- all acapella).

Um, what else . . .?  
We celebrate X-mas at the same time as everyone else.  Our greeting at X-mas is "Christ is Born! Glorify Him!"

We have all the same sacraments as in the Roman Catholic Church -- baptism, communion, confession, confirmation (called "Chrismation"), marriage, holy unction ("Last Rites" in the Catholic Church) -- I think I left something out.  

When a child is baptised, he also receives his First Communion and Confirmation ("Chrismation").  Unlike Catholics whose children don't get to have their First Communion until they are 7-8 years old, Orthodox babies can receive Communion beginning at their Baptism.

I would urge anyone who lives near an Orthodox Church to go and visit.  All of the Orthodox web sites in the US have search engines that allow you to type in your city, state or zip code and are able to tell you the closest church.  THEN, it would be great if you "report back" and tell us your thoughts, impressions, etc.

Here are some web sites in the US.  The majority of these churches have services in English AND the native language.

Greek Archdiocese: www.goarch.org

Orthodox Church of America (Mainly Russian): www.oca.org

Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese: www.antiochian.org

P.S.  I invited a friend of mine to attend Divine Liturgy a few months ago.  Later, he thought it was "nice, but long" (about 1 1/2 hours, but that's with over 500 people going to communion!).  Don't let that scare you off!


Offline Elizabeth

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2005, 01:50:36 PM »
Greetings, Dasha!
Voistinu Voskresii!  Hope you had a beautiful and blessed Pascha (is it your FIRST?).  

Don't worry about "remembering" everything - my Fr. Confessor has told me that I will "keep learning" things about Orthodoxy for the rest of my life!   :)

Oh, some other things I forgot to say earlier (for the rest of you . . .) ;D

Orthodox make the sign of the cross from right to left (unlike Roman Catholics, who make it left to right) -- so you touch your forehead, touch your chest, touch your right shoulder, touch your left.

There's no holy water font when you enter an Orthodox church (again, unlike Roman Catholics -- do they still have those)?  There's an icon on a stand when you enter, you make the sign of the cross, and venerate (or kiss) the icon (if you don't feel comfortable doing this, just bow from the waist before the icon).  The icon in our church usually shows the feast we are celebrating (right now, it's the Resurrection!).

Also, when you enter an Orthodox Church and sit down, you don't genuflect (again, like Roman Catholics) -- go down on one knee.  Just go to a seat and do what everyone else does (that's the BEST way!).

Also, during this past Lent (the season leading up to Easter), we FASTED every day -- no meat, no dairy -- until Easter.

MAJOR difference between Orthodox and Roman Catholics -- Orthodox do not believe in the infallibility of the Pope (meaning, that we think he's a good man, but NOT that he's perfect when it comes to his teachings -- the CHURCH is perfect, not a human being).  

Also, there are some other issues that are REALLY deep, theological arguments.

I'll keep thinking of things (STOP me if you anyone gets bored!).  

E--

Offline Dasha

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2005, 01:57:49 PM »
Hello Elizabeth,
Thank you for your Paschal greetings, and yes it was my first one.  There are no words to describe what I felt, but it was absolutely beautiful.  You have made some good points again, and I believe that Orthodox use three fingers of their right hand to cross themselves.  Also, each country has its' own Patriarch (head of the church), unlike in Roman Catholicism where there is one Head of the Church, the Pople.  I will leave the rest up to people who have a little more knowlege then me, but if I think of any more information I will definitely come back here and post it.

Thank you again, Elizabeth.
~Dasha~

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Sail unrestrained'.

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Offline matushka

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2005, 04:02:23 PM »
Thank you Elizabeth. I have more time now, I can add something too. Of course, there is only ONE orthodox Church, the tittle indicate location, local tradition and languages. About the differences with Catholic faith, RealAnastasia, I can add some elements:
The first difference, the difference who made that we are separated, is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The Orthodox Church teach that Holy Spirit procede from the Father, the Catholic Church add "filioque", "from the Son too". It touch the heart of the faith, and I would disagree with those who say that it is not so important. It was important in the past, it is still.
Second, of course, as Elisabeth said, the doctrine of Church, the place of the Roman Pope.
Third, some "new" dogmes as the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. The Orthodox Church teach that the Holy Mother of God was born as every human being, with the original sin. If not, there is no sense in the Cross. The Assumption (the Mother of God is not dead, she was elevated with body and soul in the Heaven) is a consequence of the first dogmat, and is not accepted. For the orthodox tradition, the Mother of God died very quite in God, gave his soul to the Father, as she fall asleep. But then her body was elevated.
That are the great and important differences. All the rest, married priest (I am myself wife of priest), genuflexion, is local tradition. There were a lot of difference before the separation, but all were unite. There is a lot of differences betwenn Antiochian and Russian (for example) but we are unite, orthodox. These differences are not so important. ANd I think they could stay, even if the 2 Churches unify one very far of us day (unfortunetly very far).
Elisabeth, I do not think the catholic mass and our liturgy are different in there roots. Remember, the shema is the same, the origin is the same. No, the difference is really in the theology, indeed. And in the spiritual life.
But I must go. Good night!

bluetoria

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2005, 10:51:04 AM »
Elizabeth, what do you think are the possibilities of Orthodoxy & Catholicism ever being reunited (which was, I believe, one of John Paul II's dearest wishes)?

I heard, but do not know the whole story, that when the Pope (J-P) wished to visit Russia, he was refused by the Patriarch of Moscow (I think) who was greatly put out by the number of Catholic churches opening in Russia & claimed that the Catholics were 'pinching' the Orthodox congregations??

It was good to see Orthodoxy so well represented at the Pope's funeral & the inauguration of his successor, & to know that the last Pope apologised to the Orthodox Church for the injustices of Catholicism towards it in the past.

It seems such a terrible shame to me that the two - with many similar beliefs & a common foundation - cannot achieve a full reconciliation, even if this allows for the variations in rites & some beliefs.

Offline Elizabeth

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2005, 11:21:08 AM »
Hi, bluetoria -
Glad you joined this thread, and thanks for the question (are you the same "bluetoria" who wrote the recent book on GD Elisabeth?).

I've thought about this question a LOT esp. since the death of Pope John Paul II (lots of tears were shed by my family and me at his death -- esp. when we watched the documentaries on his life that were being shown when he was younger and SO energetic!).  What a magnificent human being!  He's in a far BETTER place now, and the sufferings he went through over the past few years make it a blessing.

Honestly, I don't hold out much hope for unification of the two churches, at least in my lifetime (I'm in my 40's, so there's -- God willing -- still some time to go!).  While there are a GREAT amount of similarities, there are some major issues that I don't think the Orthodox - or the Catholics - are ready to "give in" on:  

The infallibility of the Pope; the filioque clause (see Matushka's post above); the issue of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) being born "without sin"; married priests.  Speaking for myself, I'm not ready - as an Orthodox Christian - to deny the teachings of Orthodoxy (since they were the ORIGINAL teachings of the Church -- and all of these "dogmas" in the Roman Church came in over the past few centuries).

On the issues of the Russian Orthodox Church not permitting Pope John Paul II to come to Moscow, there are some MAJOR issues there as well (Matuska can help me out here).  Here are just a couple that come to mind:

1.  The issue of the Roman church converting Orthodox to the Roman Catholic faith.  There have been some "aggressive" tactics employed by the Roman Catholics to convert Orthodox, esp. in the Ukraine.  As you might have seen at JP II's funeral, the priests who were invited up to the coffin (singing "Christ Has Risen" in Greek) were NOT Orthodox BUT Eastern Rite Catholics -- they have the same services as Orthodox, but "are in communion with Rome" (i.e., teachings of the Pope, etc.).  The "real" Orthodox (Patriarch Bartholomew, who sits in Constantiople) were seated in the front row, but did not participate in the service.

Several books that I've read had the Roman church coming into the Ukraine (and other areas of Russia) and "converting" the Orthodox -- basically saying, "You can keep your liturgy and married priests, but . . ."

2.  This next thing is a VERY BAD issue.  You may want to read "Hitler's Pope" (I don't subscribe to the overall premise of this book, but on the Orthodox issue, there are some publications out there that support this).  These events happened in Serbia during World War II against Orthodox Christians by the Nazis (who were supported by the Croats - who were Roman Catholic).  It's too brutal to go into here -- it makes my stomach turn - but someone (maybe me!) needs to write a book about it.  Just one of the horrors - Orthodox priests and their families were made to dig their own graves while Roman Catholic leaders in the community stood cheering next to the Nazis (who of course machine gunned the Orthodox to death)!  There were MANY Orthodox Christians who were killed in the Holocaust too, so when Pope John Paul II made his apologies a few years ago to a number of groups who were persecuted over the centuries by the Roman church, I was hurt when I realized that he didn't mention these atrocities!

3.  Oh, and then there's a LOT of chalices, liturgical items, Orthodox art, etc., that's in a MUSEUM in Venice (my dad visited it a few years ago) that was taken from Constantiople, Jerusalem and other Orthodox churches during the Crusades.  However, it WAS nice that JP II gave back the relics of St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory Palamus (I think) to Patriarch Bartholomew -- it's a start, um?

Sorry to blabber on - as you can tell, I'm passionate on this subject.   :)

E--

bluetoria

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2005, 11:43:42 AM »
Thanks for you reply, Elizabeth.

These divisions are really heart breaking. I know that the R.C. Church has much to answer for, though I was unaware of the atrocities you have just described.
I studied theology/divinity for my degree & recall thinking at the time that so many finer points of doctrine were really quibbles over words. Though I know it is important that the creed of a Church is clear and unequivocal, I cannot help but wonder how many Catholics or Orthodox people have a clue about or any real interest in such matters as the filioque clause. It seems to drift so far from the Christianity that Christ intended....but it was ever thus, I guess.

It has always seemed to me, too, that many of our 'differences' are primarily rooted in culture & that many of these obstacles could be overcome. Of course, though, as you write, the Papacy isn't going to yield its power, nor would Orthodoxy accept it. That's a pretty major obstacle!

If we cannot be totally united, then I sincerely hope that we can become closer to one another & recognize & respect each other's value. In the past 50 years or so the divisions between Catholicism & the Protestant Churches have vanished to the point where we celebrate many services together. In my local area there is a 'Council of Churches' in which several denominations unite to do good for the community & to participate in joint services. We can retain our separate beliefs & practices, while respecting those of people of other denominations.  I truly sincerely hope that this will come about too between Orthodoxy & Catholicism. I do think that that was what Pope John Paul's hope was.

(yes, I am the same bluetoria. I 'borrow' one of your saints, too!  ;) Would that she were one of ours!!)

Offline RealAnastasia

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2005, 09:26:49 PM »
Matushka and Elizabeth:

                                            I'm grateful to your kind and caring mesaages to me and Laura Mabee. I agree with you, Church is perfect, but Her members are not. I apologize to be so dissapointed. I promiss you to keep going to my church.  ;D

                                            As for bluetoria stands about an eventual reunion of all Christian Churchs, I don't think it's time to do so. It's nothing bad to be separate faiths. Difference is not bad, and be different to other churches doesn't mean that we hate each other. It's like patriotism. I love my country deeply...but that doesn't mean that I hate other countries! As a believer myself, I love other believers in wathever Faith in the world, even if it is not mine. As a patriot, I like people from other countries would be patriots too. I love people who understand other people, even if they aren't like us.

                            A little question to orthodox believers here: Do you have Holy Water in Orthodox churchs? Elizabeth wrote that there isn't any in the entry of Orthodox Churchs. How do you christen a baby, then? There is some Holy Water there, or you christen people with Holy Oils?  ???

RealAnastasia.

Offline matushka

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Re: Romanovs and Faith/Orthodox Religion
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2005, 08:50:08 AM »
Dear RealANastasia, yes, of course, there is holy watter in the Orthodox Church, as in the Catholic Church. It is used in every day life, for example when you wake up in the morning, you pray, eat a "prosphora" and trink holy watter. Or for all the blessings, as in the Catholic church, to sanctify a place, an icon, a medal an so on. The fact there is water in the entry of a catholic church is a beautiful tradition, I like it.  In fact, there is something similar in orthodox churches (in Russia, I do not know how it is in other place). You can take Holy Watter, but not to make the sign of cross, just for trinking.
For baptism, we use simple water, and in the time of the service, the priest blesses it with cross and little special rite. Then, whole the baby or the whole adult is 3 times... how to say that in english, well, the entire body go in water 3 times (of course, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit).
Elizabeth, you gave a very good answer about unity, I would support all your words, from the beggining to the end!
Bluetoria, I add 2 or 3 things, just from myself. I think often about this shame, that the tunique of Christ is still not repaired. It was, it is one of the greatest pain of my life. But when I see the situation with open eyes, I am afraid, that we are more far and far. All these centuries of "separated life" make our spiritualities quite different. And you know, some questions as filioque stay very important even for simple people in Russia. And I think it is good. When you see the history of Church, you can notice, that in those first centuries, people was ready to death, but not to let an heresy live in the Church. They could not stand it. And it is a good example for us. Frankly speeking, and I am sorry if it sound not very kind, I am not so happy when I see common services betwenn catholics and protestant. I would say, I am sad. I am happy that we stay friends, that we can speak about our faith, but I can not understand how we can forget, just a minut, those big differences, and, forgoting the canons of Church, pray together, or having the same communion. And last of all, the fact that simple people do not care about dogmas is not a reason> the bishops exist to be the defensors of faith, of her integrity, even if the people forgot about it (the contrary can be also right, as it was sometimes in the history).
Something else. I have a great admiration and love to Pope John Paul II, I hope he will proclamed saint for your Church. He was a so great man and christian, a real temoin of the Christ. But I stay a little bit sceptic about his efforts for the Unity with Orthodoxy. In the same time he wrote his beautiful "Ut unum sint" (I read it), the efforts to convert the orthodox to catholicism in Ukraine became stronger... I believed not in these facts, I thougt all these stories came from silly people, or that these efforts are some isolated facts... before I saw the tactic from my own eyes. And I was very shoked. I think that John Paul II defended very good the Catholic Church and admire him actually for that, not for his meatings with other religions. Yes, Patriarch Alexis did not say "yes" to a visit of the Roman Pope in Russia, and I think his arguments are good. As he said, such a visit, such a meeting is something too great, to important, to be only a protocol. We sould not shake our hand before camera and as the same time carry on the same politic as it was. Such a meeting must be the result of a big ecclesiastical and theological work.
I must go! I hope I made noone sad, and hope too that I can come back today evening!