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Why I never became Eastern Orthodox

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After I became convinced by the historic claims of Christianity concerning the person of Jesus, I started looking for a church to call my own and as I did, I quickly became confused by the disorienting variety of teachings and practices among different denominations and this forced me to confront questions about the divisions that exist within Christianity. I started studying Church history and I quickly narrowed my focus to the division between Catholicism and Protestantism. Eastern Orthodoxy didn’t, at that time, register as a contender for one very simple reason. I’m an English speaking white dude in a British commonwealth country. There is a universality to Catholicism that doesn’t exist in the Eastern Orthodox churches. For me to become Eastern Orthodox, I’d have to join a Church with a very specifically ethnic or national identity. When people ask me why I’m not Eastern Orthodox, I’m tempted to get into a theological throw down, but the easiest way to answer that is by pointing out that I’m not Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, or any other ethnicity that the Eastern churches in the city I live in serve. A point of contention at all the major divisions in Christianity has been the focus on authority. So, the East West split focused on the authority of the Pope vs. other bishops and patriarchs. The protestant reformation was about the authority of the Church and the Pope vs. the exclusive authority of scripture, and the English reformation was about the authority of the Pope vs. the authority of the King. So, as you might guess, authority, how it’s defined, and where it resides, seems like a pretty essential component of the faith. So in the case of the East West schism, there were a number of controversies that they were stuck on, but arguably, the most significant one was the disagreement over the authority of the bishop of Rome vs. that of the other patriarchs and bishops. Rome insisted that the bishop of Rome had a unique and universal authority over the entire Church, without which there would be no universal Church, as inherited from the authority of Peter. The Eastern Orthodox side was arguing that the bishop of Rome was a first among equals but only in an honorific way which meant that he had the same authority as the other patriarchs. So that was their position going into the controversy. OK, how true were they to their positions after the controversy had led to an actual division and schism? Well, the West still maintained the conviction that the bishop of Rome had a universal authority over the whole Church. But the East, did not continue to treat the Bishop of Rome as a first among equals. In fact, they excommunicated him which seems like a clear violation of their own claim that no autocephalous patriarch has authority over another. The honor of first among equals has since been designated to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Jesus wanted his followers to be one as a sign of his divinity to the world. Between East and West, from what little I know of it’s history, I only have ever seen major attempts from the West to realize that unity. Through the councils of Lyon and Florence, the East’s bishops conceded Rome’s position on Papal Supremacy, the Filioque, and purgatory, but the unity that was struck fell apart when the Eastern delegates went home and succumbed to political pressure there. Rome has always been the initiator of ecumenical dialogue, from what I’ve seen. It was at the first Vatican Council that the mutual excommunications of 1054 were lifted. It was the second Vatican council that made ecumenism a high priority for the Church moving forward which paved the way for the joint theological commission of East and West. It was Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI who recited the Nicene Creed with Eastern patriarchs without the filioque. It was the bishop of Rome who first visited the East. It wasn’t until 1995 when the Patriarch of Constantinople finally visited Rome.

 

Last week I made a video about why I never became Eastern Orthodox and it got a lot of reaction, which is great, but that reaction was quite polarized and there seemed to be a lot of misunderstanding about what I was trying to say in that video, so I wanted to take some more time to address some of the feedback as well as the misunderstandings from the previous commentary. The first thing I’d want to point out and re-emphasize is that the perspective I’m trying to share on this topic is more personal than anything else. Some people complained that my presentation of the history and theology of the great schism was too one sided. And that’s completely true. It’s the same criticism or disclaimer I made about it at the beginning of the video by saying that it wasn’t supposed to be an apologetic about why Catholicism is right and Eastern Orthodoxy wrong. It was about my reasons for not being Catholic as opposed to Eastern Orthodox which is going to be inherently one sided. Ultimately, I’d hate for people to think that I’m positioning myself in an adversarial way towards Eastern Orthodoxy because the honest fact is, I do find the peculiarities in Eastern Christianity extremely attractive. I like a lot of the simplicity of it, I like icons, I absolutely LOVE eastern architecture. I love how you’ve been so steadfast against the aberrant currents of modernism, and I could go on. So let me try to dispel what I think is the biggest misunderstanding from the last video which is that some people thought I was criticizing ethnic or national churches which is definitely not what I was trying to say. I think it’s great that there are particular churches that express the theology, liturgy, and spirituality of a particular heritage. The point I was trying to make about the universality of the Church, is that there needs to be a way for those national churches to express their communion and universality with one another. So in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, from what I understand, they would say that their universality is expressed in their common theology… their orthodoxy. But the question for me has always been, how is that common theology defined? How do you make sure that as new difficulties and controversies arise the entire Church responds to address them? Well, if there’s no one final authority, like we have with the Pope, then you’d need an ecumenical council where all the patriarchs and bishops gather to define doctrines and settle controversies. But for the Eastern Orthodox, as they are known today, there hasn’t been an ecumenical council in over 1000 years. And meanwhile, Rome never stopped calling and hosting ecumenical councils through the centuries. So there seems to be something, to me, about the Eastern Orthodox Churches that keeps them frozen and unable to reaffirm the universal aspect of our faith because there isn’t one unifying voice to bring them together in an ecumenical way. In evaluating the East West schism, I tried to find a similar easy to identify and understand argument. Something that made one of the positions self refuting and I felt like I found it in the Eastern position and that’s what I was trying to emphasize in my last video. I was interested in trying to discover which Church stayed true to the very thing they were contending in the division itself. The Eastern bishops maintained that the Bishop of Rome was the first among equals but not supreme in authority. But after the schism, they excommunicated him and haven’t once shown him that kind of honor since, so they’ve betrayed their own position. Now some people responded to that by saying, the Pope excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople too, which is true. But in so doing, he was acting in accord with the argument that the West was making which is that he had universal authority. The East was saying that the authority of those ancient sees ended there. Constantinople couldn’t tell Rome what to do and vice versa. But in, excommunicating the Pope, they were contradicting themselves and their own arguments. So, I hope that provides some more clarity for what I was trying to say in my last video and again, don’t take my word as some kind of authority because I’m not. Based on my comprehension level, these are the points I found persuasive. You should go do your own research because it matters, and it’s pretty interesting. The Wikipedia article on the East West schism is actually a great resource so, I’ll link it in the description.

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Ovom mladom Hriscaninu treba objasniti da je glava Crkve - Hristos I On je nas Jedini Autoritet , a ne papa , ni kao vicar Hristov ni kao Petrov naslednik... Divno je to sto kao mlad covek zudi za Istinom, istrazuje, meri I odmerava ali ipak racionalnim, juridickim putem, tako da put ka autenticnom Pravoslavnom Hriscanstvu nije lak, samorazumljiv ili ocigledan, koji se bazira samo na crkvenoj istoriji, vec vodjen Duhom Svetim u narucje Avramovog gostoprimstva medju svoje I kao svoj na svome. Modernom Kanadjaninu ne moze biti jasno zasto je nacionalnost deo crkvenog etosa I ne moze da "vidi" ili oseti univerzalnost Pravoslavne Crkve koja je svagda prisutna I posvedocena mucenickom zrtvom ljubavi kroz vekove.

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пре 5 минута, "Tamo daleko" рече

Ovom mladom Hriscaninu treba objasniti da je glava Crkve - Hristos I On je nas Jedini Autoritet , a ne papa , ni kao vicar Hristov ni kao Petrov naslednik... Divno je to sto kao mlad covek zudi za Istinom, istrazuje, meri I odmerava ali ipak racionalnim, juridickim putem, tako da put ka autenticnom Pravoslavnom Hriscanstvu nije lak, samorazumljiv ili ocigledan, koji se bazira samo na crkvenoj istoriji, vec vodjen Duhom Svetim u narucje Avramovog gostoprimstva medju svoje I kao svoj na svome. Modernom Kanadjaninu ne moze biti jasno zasto je nacionalnost deo crkvenog etosa I ne moze da "vidi" ili oseti univerzalnost Pravoslavne Crkve koja je svagda prisutna I posvedocena mucenickom zrtvom ljubavi kroz vekove.

Evo meni kao srbinu nije jasna ta nacionalnost Crkve, a koja je istovremeno univerzalna navodno. Toliko je univerzalana da malo pomalo pomesne Crkve bacaju anateme i prijetnje jedna na drugu zbog jurisdikcije nad nekom teritorijom. Takve probleme nemaju katolici.

Mladi gospodin je pohvalio taj etnički element kod pravoslavca koji daje vjeri jednu osobenost, ali istovremeno ukazuje da to jeste i problem jer se vidi da pomesne pravoslavne Crkve često ne mogu da riješe nesuglasice sa sobom, i poslednji kritski Sabor je pokazao to. 

 

 

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пре 31 минута, Justin Waters рече

Evo meni kao srbinu nije jasna ta nacionalnost Crkve, a koja je istovremeno univerzalna navodno. Toliko je univerzalana da malo pomalo pomesne Crkve bacaju anateme i prijetnje jedna na drugu zbog jurisdikcije nad nekom teritorijom. Takve probleme nemaju katolici.

Mladi gospodin je pohvalio taj etnički element kod pravoslavca koji daje vjeri jednu osobenost, ali istovremeno ukazuje da to jeste i problem jer se vidi da pomesne pravoslavne Crkve često ne mogu da riješe nesuglasice sa sobom, i poslednji kritski Sabor je pokazao to. 

 

 

:-)

Kada gledamo Crkvu iz administrativne perspective naravno da je to tako kao sto opisujes, medjutim Crkva kao zivi organizam jeste u svetu (sa svima nama gresnicima , sa slabostima koje se preobrazavaju Bozijom blagodacu), ali nije od ovoga sveta! Pojam katolicanska (univerzalna) potice jos od Aristotela, nije izmisljena od strane hriscana. Crkva je organska Celina, organizam koja poseduje svu punocu, a ta punoca je prisutna u svim njenim krstenim clanovima. I kao sto kaze o. Staniloje, Crkva ima svecelog Hrista sa svim njegovim spasiteljskim I obozujucim darovima I svaka lokalna zajednica (parohija, episkopija, mitropolija), pa cak I svaki vernik ima Hrista u celosti, ipak ukoliko ostane u celini Tela.

Crkva je svecela I u odnosu na jeresi I raskole koji su joj suprostavljeni. Ona je potpuna I u pogledu otpadnistva pojedinih njenih delova. Ukoliko neki deo otpadne od Crkve, to uopste ne umanjuje njenu celovitost (katolicanskost).

Preko zapovesti ljubavi svakom hriscaninu je data zapovest da bude "katolik", tj. saboran. Tako da mera njegove duhovne zrelosti u ljubavi predstavlja u stvari meru njegove sabornosti.

Dakle ni jedna pomesna pravoslavna Crkva, tj. bolje receno njeni clanovi nisu oslobodjeni od greha (citaj "problem medjusobnih nesuglasica" I sl.), automatski svojim clanstvom u bilo da je srpsku pravoslanvu, rusku, gruzijsku, antiohijsku crkvu, vec se nase isceljenje ogleda u meri rasta u Hristu!

Svi znamo da je Etnofiletizam osudjena jeres, a koliko je svaka od pomesnih crkava obolela ili neizlecena od toga, varira od slucaja do slucaja.

Tacno je da Katolici nemaju takvih problema, ali ne smemo se zanositi da je Papa nosilac njihove univerzalnosti! :-)

 

 

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Skoro sam slusao od jednog naseg svestenika iz Kanade da upravo Americka Pravoslavna Crkva OCA radi pravu stvar i mnogi ljudi joj prilaze,

posto je tamo kod njih raznog pravoslavnog sveta rusa, srba grka, gruzijaca, pravoslavnih arapa i naravno amerikanaca, kanadjana navodno i neki svestenici su Srbi,

Rusi, Amerikanci itd. sluzi se valjda na engleskom a i neki svoj nacin pojanja pokusavaju da oforme.

Ovo sve ostalo je nazalost vezalo svoj Crkveno parohijski zivot strogo za nacionalno opredeljenje itd.

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пре 3 часа, "Tamo daleko" рече

Svi znamo da je Etnofiletizam osudjena jeres, a koliko je svaka od pomesnih crkava obolela ili neizlecena od toga, varira od slucaja do slucaja.

De iure је јерес. А фактички није необично видјети међунационалне сукобе или креирање црквених политика сходно етничко-националнима. Нпр., зашто је проблематично натезање са МПЦ? Управо јер се ту јавља етнофилетизам, па не чуди што се ономад обратише БПЦ да их представља у међуцрквеним односима. И сама СПЦ пати од тога. Заправо, свака хришћанска црква ( па и католичка ) пати од тога ( колико се само РКЦ користи у националистичким надгорњавањима у Пољској и Хрватској, што од "мрсних људи", што од свештенства, то је милина видјети. Него то је опет проблем са источним Европљанима, док Западњаци, како изгледа, ипак јесу јединствени у овом смислу. Макар ми тако изгледа ).

Организациона етничка подијељеност православних цркава није нужно у сукобу са католичанством православне цркве, све док као главни остаје осјећај заједничке православне припадности и љубави. Али колико се често то прекрши у стварности? Превише.

Оно што је мени било најчудније у видеима јесте његова прича о томе како су се Украјинци чудили зашто неукрајинац жели да се моли у украјинској цркви. Први пут у животу сам чуо да се неко православан тако односи према инороднима. Сво вријеме сам мислио да уопште није проблем да Рус уђе у бугарску цркву, или Македонац у украјинску, или било ко. Не знам сад да ли су се Украјинци можда чудили зашто неко неправославан жели да дође у православну цркву, мада нисам био тамо па му морам вјеровати на ријеч.

 

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1 hour ago, Ћириличар рече

Нпр., зашто је проблематично натезање са МПЦ? Управо јер се ту јавља етнофилетизам, па не чуди што се ономад обратише БПЦ да их представља у међуцрквеним односима. И сама СПЦ пати од тога.

Ovo je vrlo los primer koji si naveo povodom "kreiranja crkvenih politika shodno etnicko-nacionalnima". U svim debatama I ovde na forumu, kao I na mnogim izlaganjima povodom MPC problema, nisam razumevala da natezanje sa MPC koje pominjes je posledica etnofiletizma u Srba! Po tvom komentaru, ispasce da je opravdano to sto su se braca Makedonci obratili BPC da ih predstavlja (sic!) Besmisleno.

Sto se tice drugog dela tvojeg posta, nemoj da te cudi nepoverenje koje izrazavaju Ukrajinci kada neko "stran" udje u crkvu; svaka crkva ima nekog "dezurnog" ko ce da pravi red, iako mu niko to nije ni poverio da radi. :-)  ; a drugo u danasnja vremena, kada se napadaju I hramovi od strane terorista, sta ces , nikom ne pise na celu ko je I sta je kada udje u crkvu, premda takvo podozrenje nema opravdanja ako zelimo misionariti na podrucju Amerike, Kanade itd.

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пре 4 часа, "Tamo daleko" рече

Tacno je da Katolici nemaju takvih problema, ali ne smemo se zanositi da je Papa nosilac njihove univerzalnosti! :-)

Papa svakako nije nosilac njihove univerzalnosti, ali u njihovoj praksi se dosta dobro vidi koliko je korisno što nisu podjeljeni na pomesne crkve i što imaju jednu vidljivu glavu koja predstavlja kohezivno tkivo u ostaloj hijerarhiji. 

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пре 16 часа, Ћириличар рече

I’m an English speaking white dude in a British commonwealth country. There is a universality to Catholicism that doesn’t exist in the Eastern Orthodox churches. For me to become Eastern Orthodox, I’d have to join a Church with a very specifically ethnic or national identity. When people ask me why I’m not Eastern Orthodox, I’m tempted to get into a theological throw down, but the easiest way to answer that is by pointing out that I’m not Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, or any other ethnicity that the Eastern churches in the city I live in serve.

Сигурно има већи број национално (превише) оријентисаних парохија и заједница итд. и то није еклисиолошки добро али није свуда исто. Ипак мислим да је генерализовао своје искуство, на шта има право, његова ствар, осим када тај став проповеда на јутјубу :)

Ево у САД-у енглески, арапски и грчки. Свака част. И у тој заједници он не би постао ни Американац ни Сиријац ни Грк. А ни Србин :) 

 

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пре 4 часа, "Tamo daleko" рече

nisam razumevala da natezanje sa MPC koje pominjes je posledica etnofiletizma u Srba!

Нисам нигдје конкретно споменуо етнофилетизам у Срба, него генерално присутност етнофилетизма у читавој проблематици са МПЦ ( и онда сам спомињао обраћање МПЦ ка БПЦ ). Одакле извуче Србе као етнофилетисте у томе није ми јасно. Но када нас већ спомену, свакако је СПЦ етнофилетистичка на неким другим мјестима - била и јесте. У Македонији је свакако била таква прије 100 и више година, док су се Србија и Бугарска превирале око тога чија ће бити долина Вардара - мада се данас не би могло то рећи више. Не знам да ли се може и за БПЦ, пошто су се, како испратих, понијели дипломатски поводом обраћања МПЦ.

Посљедња реченица је била само генерална опаска на стање СПЦ уопште, а не конкретно у случају МПЦ. Тј. - "И СПЦ пати од етнофилетизма, као што се јавио у МПЦ", па може бити да се нисам најсрећније изразио.

пре 4 часа, "Tamo daleko" рече

Po tvom komentaru, ispasce da je opravdano to sto su se braca Makedonci obratili BPC da ih predstavlja (sic!) Besmisleno.

Не испада ништа мимо онога што је написано. Потпуно је неоснована ова дефанзивност.

пре 4 часа, "Tamo daleko" рече

Sto se tice drugog dela tvojeg posta, nemoj da te cudi nepoverenje koje izrazavaju Ukrajinci kada neko "stran" udje u crkvu; svaka crkva ima nekog "dezurnog" ko ce da pravi red, iako mu niko to nije ni poverio da radi. :-)  ; a drugo u danasnja vremena, kada se napadaju I hramovi od strane terorista, sta ces , nikom ne pise na celu ko je I sta je kada udje u crkvu, premda takvo podozrenje nema opravdanja ako zelimo misionariti na podrucju Amerike, Kanade itd.

А оно, ко ће му га знати. Можда је баш био тај неки локалац, као што кажеш, а момак изгенерализовао. Додуше, не стоји ти аргумент око терориста. Лик је бијељи од снијега. Тешко би га ико узео за терористу тамо :smeh1:

Но, оно што ми је занимљиво јесте чињеница како је лако прескочио преко филиокве и читаве дебате о примату папе рекавши:"Па хеј, нисам видје оникога осим Рима да се натеже ка екуменизму". Оно, прави је напор натезати се ка екуменизму у којем претендујеш 1000 година да будеш главни баја. Чудна ли чуда што ова друга страна није исто толико вољна на разговор и појачава опрез :0212_rolleyes: Има и пар других ствари но да не цјепидлачим.

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пре 18 часа, Ћириличар рече

Оно што је мени било најчудније у видеима јесте његова прича о томе како су се Украјинци чудили зашто неукрајинац жели да се моли у украјинској цркви. Први пут у животу сам чуо да се неко православан тако односи према инороднима. Сво вријеме сам мислио да уопште није проблем да Рус уђе у бугарску цркву, или Македонац у украјинску, или било ко. Не знам сад да ли су се Украјинци можда чудили зашто неко неправославан жели да дође у православну цркву, мада нисам био тамо па му морам вјеровати на ријеч.

Čemu se čudit, nedavno sam imao spor sa bivšim članom jedne od naših slovenskih FB grupa (ne)pravoslavnim sektašom sa ovog sajta, Kad on nije u kanonskom jedinstvu sa svojom oficijalno priznatom pravoslavnom pomjesnom  Crkvom ne može se onda ni nazivati "pravoslavnim". Ustvari on si to o sebi misli da je "pravoslavan" ili tačnije "pravi pravoslavan" (vistinska crkva itd.) iako je članom te grčke starokalendarske i raskolničke paracrkve slične toj "eparhiji u bijegu, na utěku" (u egzilu u Ljuljacima):

nijedna od ovih crkvi nisu hramovi zvanične PC Češke, Moravske i Slovačke:

https://orthodoxiachristiana.cz/recka-pravoslavna-starostylni-br-cirkev-c1/

"Katakombe" češke, moravske, slovačke i poljske

https://orthodoxiachristiana.cz/mezirici/

http://www.hsir.org/index-el.html

http://www.ecclesiagoc.gr/

O ekumenismu

Taj češki/moravski "artemita" (zilot), inače otpao od oficijalne PC Češke, Moravske i Slovačke takodjer misli da ni češki/moravski/slovački, ukrajinski itd. pravoslavci nastanjeni na teritoriji pod kanonskom jurisdikcijom PC Češke, Morave/Slezska i Slovačke, dakle"ekumenisti" nemaju pravo ulaziti u "njegovu pravu" pravoslavnu crkvu a kamo li nekakvi drugi inovjerci. Objasnio sam mu da svrha naših slovenskih grupa nije rješavati kalendare ni pashalije, aleksandrijsku ni gregorijansku a ni teološke, dogmatske i vjeronaučne razlike izmedju Slovena pravoslavaca, Slovena katolika i Slovena luterana/evangelika, husita i ostalih protestanata, Slovena rodnovjermih ili neopagana ili Slovena muslimana, budista ili misionariti medju Slovenima agnosticima, ateistima i neopaganima. Kad je konačno shvatio da kod nas nema protežiranja, favoriziranja ni vjeroispovijesti ni nacija ni svjetonazora, pogotovu ne jednih na uštrb drugih i svi su kod nas ravnopravni - sam se valjda u znak neslaganja i protesta isčlanio iz grupe. 

Inače mi pratimo sve šta se dešava i u SPC i u Ukrajini, Rusiji i Češkoj i  svuda drugdje.  

VÍRA NA UKRAJINĚ MEZI MOSKVOU A KYJEVEM

https://tinyurl.com/yazzw7rj

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Taj članak o Ukrajini i tamnošnjoj situaciji sa kanonskim i nekanonskim pravoslavnim crkvama imamo i mi na nekim od naših FB grupa:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/slavlit/permalink/2188576361167404/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/slavlit/

Članak je dakle aktualan i nov, od 11.4. 2018. a komentar na jednoj od tih grupa je ovakav: 

Jasný príklad, keď nacionalizmus je pre niektorých viac ako viera!

Jasan primjer, kad nacionalizam je za neke (ljude, vjernike) više nego vjera (više im znači od vjere, važniji i preči im je od vjere)!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/826637467372650/permalink/1633610003342055/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/826637467372650/

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      Shumylo concludes that initial ordinations of the UAOC hierarchy were, unfortunately, conducted by an imposter without the Apostolic succession.

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