How autocratic should a minister of religion be?

Discussion in 'Questions?' started by Tiffy, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Numbers of conservative traditionalists seem to find security only in immutability, and life in the Spirit frightens them witless. They are where they have always wanted to be, in a perfect church, with perfect regulation, never on the move, never getting anywhere and just loving the feeling of it.
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  2. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    Once again you can't find a specific doctrine that Constantine changed, so this "power + doctrine = massive doctrinal shift" thesis is bunk (Also it ignores that heresy charges predate Constantine's time altogether. It also ignores how, before Constantine, Church influence on state power happened outside the Roman orbit as in Armenia or Ethiopia)

    Your own explanation refutes your own point. The one problem with it is that the pænula or a poncho-type garment was never banned from the non-senatorial class by any late Roman sumptuary laws. So, again, some mythical Constantinian influence had nothing to do with it.

    In reality Christianity adapted to local circumstances both in and out of the Roman Empire, and in each case, applied Old Testament norms to how the Church would relate to secular power.
     
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  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    I have not said that Constantine had changed church doctrine. What I suggested was that the church 'unified' and 'codified' its doctrine under the reign of Constantine and very much upon his insistence as a matter of State. This was no mere coincidence though. Constantine had real reasons for 'encouraging' this process and not entirely for the spiritual benefit of the church.

    You should, of course, had noticed that I never suggested the paenula was 'banned'. What I said was, it became fashionable among the Roman aristocracy, (who were also involved in affairs of state), in the 3rd century. You need to understand the difference between the meanings of the words 'Prescribed' and 'Proscribed'. Prescribe: to lay down a rule or directive. Proscribe: to prohibit, denounce.

    What I said was the paenula was 'Prescribed' in 382, under Roman sumptuary law. i.e. it was officially adopted as the garb of Roman Legal Officials. It later became the chasuble we see worn by the priest at communion. Constantine's connection to that though is only incidental and tenuous.

    Constantine decreed in 321 that Sundays should become public hollidays. As a resultof Constantine's influence on the empire, constructive theological debate became a public affair. Apart from a brief period of uncertainty during the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-3), the church could now count upon the support of the state. Theology thus emerged from the hidden world of secret church meetings, to become a matter of public interest and concern throughout the Roman Empire. Increasingly, doctrinal debates became a matter of both political and theological importance. Constantine wished to have a united church throughout his empire and was thus concerned that doctrinal differences should be debated and settled as a matter of priority.

    Though the Christian faith was adopted by National Monarch's before Constatine, it was the Roman Empire that represented the most signifacant and influential power base in the post resurrection world. The reign of Constantine brought key changes in the way the church related to the world of power and politics. Some of those key changes were detrimental to the mission and purpose of the church, some were advantageous but to deny that there were no key changes to the church, is to fly in the face of historical truth.
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    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    1. Sunday, may have reflected the practice of Helena - Constantine's mother - who may be more important to this story than has been allowed. It is in fact more likely that it reflected to Roman God of the Sun, and Constantine's real purpose was to recognize that human beings needed a day off. Whilst the rest of the empire was pretty much 24/7 the Jews set the practice of a day off to 'not work' and that made sense.
    2. The Edict of Milan provided for religious pluralism, and indeed asked for restoration to the Christians of what had been taken from them.
    3. Constantine called the council of Nicaea following representation for the Synod of Cordoba, so it is clear that the Church wanted to sort this out as well.
    4. The Palace in Constantinople attached itself to Hagia Irene so it is clear that by 330 Constantine was moving in a very much more pro Christian direction, and the new capital was dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God.
    I accept outright that there was a cost to the Church in becoming respectable and that in some sense the level of commitment of new Christians did not include a real prospect of persecution, suffering and death. The reign of Constantine wrought a changing of the guard, the old religions diminished and the new religion (freed from attachment to place) to centre stage in this massive and unmanageable empire.

    I do not paint Constantine as a model of piety and service, but neither is he the arch villain with no faith and simply using the Church. Constantine is a complex and fascinating character. He is important to Church History, and indeed to the History of the World.
     
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  5. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    A few thoughts as it seems this conversation has run aground;

    1) The answer to the OP's title is obvious: Not at all autocratic, if by autocratic behavior we mean imperious attitudes and abusive behavior. This should be natural.
    2) However the conversation shifted to hierarchy in general and who is apparently "culpable" for an ostensible shift.
    3) While it could be argued that during Constantine's time there is a process of consolidation (natural given that the Church was finally able to stand up on its own two feet after years of persecution), there is not a single change that was due to Constantine's influence or that was naturally due to some kind of state-church power meld. This was my main point here:

    A) The organization of church offices as bishop, priest and deacon predates this period by 300 years. In the Scriptures we have Apostles (and those set up by them like Titus, Timothy or Matthias), priests and deacons. In the OT we have kings, priests and Levites.
    B) Constantine did not invent a more symbiotic relationship between God's people and secular power. This happened after him, happened outside the Roman empire entirely (it does not follow that Rome dictated what happened in Armenia and Ethiopia or India) and took its inspiration from the Old Testament rather than Machiavellian machinations.
    C) The doctrinal developments in the late antiquity period are not due to Constantine or some insidious autocratic enforcement but rather due to earlier developments in doctrine (heresy charges, councils & etc...all predate Constantine).
    D) Additionally the vestments were simply taken from clothes worn at the time, similar to how St Thomas Christians did so with merchant clothing in India, or Irish Christians did with Druidic robes or Protestants created vestments from academic dress. Nothing insidious here either.

    Had Constantine never existed and someone else did the Church would look remarkably like it does today with a hierarchy, doctrinal unity and etc... This was my main point.
     
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  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    I don't disagree with your main point then. Where the issue lies , as far as I am concerned, is the attitude that a few male priests, deacons and bishops, (and many laity) seem to have, concerning the necessarily 'masculine' attributes which the Gentile world admires in its leaders. People want 'Strong Leaders'. Is that admiration of principles of 'exclusievely male headship and forceful, confident demeanour', a contradiction of Christ's examples of ledership, as 'servant of all' and epitomising 'lowliness', as of women and children? As quoted in the thread starter.
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  7. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    Our masters should be our servants and account themselves the least among us, as per the instruction and example of our Lord. It is only in light of this virtue that a bishop or priest earns the honorific of Father or Reverend or Your Grace or Mor/Mar (My Lord, in Syriac), or Despotin or Vladyka (Master in Greek and Church Slavonic), or Abun, Abouna, or Abune (Father in Arabic, Aramaic and Ge’ez).

    And it is still further that those who posess the dignity of Presiding Bishop, Archbishop, Metropolitan, Patriarch or Pope (there are two good Popes presently reigning Pope Theodore II of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Pope Tawadros II (Theodore II) of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, neither of which claims universal jurisdiction; one might also note that the predeccessors of His Beatitude Theodore II and His Holiness Theodore II were called Pope by their clergy starting in the second century, whereas the Roman archbishops, not content with reviving the pagan title Pontifex Maximus under Archbishop Leo I, decided in the sixth century that they also should be styled Pope.

    I will revert to the Alexandrian Popes once more as an example for how leaders in the church should behave. In the Orthodox church, like in many Anglican provinces, the diocesan bishop is supreme in his diocese, and nothing can be done without his approval; in particular, other bishops, including those of higher rank, cannot usurp the privileges of the diocesan bishop, intrude in someone else’s diocese, or conduct episcopal business in a diocese other than their own.

    Centuries ago, a Coptic Pope and the local diocesan Bishop were to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy (the Holy Communion service). The Bishop was unavoidably detained, and the Pope dared to start without him. When the bishop arrived, he removed the Pope’s mitre and stomped it into oblivion in response to the autocratic abuse of the Pope, and the Pope accepted this rebuke as right and proper, and to this day this story is popularly recounted in the Coptic church as an example of how leaders, from deacons and youth leaders, through priests, hegumens, abbots, bishops, metropolitans, and the Pope himself ought to behave.

    Now can you imagine what fate would have awaited that bishop if he had the misfortune to be in the Roman Church? He would have to be insane to trample a papal mitre; the Pontifical Swiss Guard would probably shoot him. And Roman cardinals, archbishops and their Pope routinely violate the dioceses and usurp the prerogatives of lesser bishops. An example that boils my blood is Cardinal Schonburn of Vienna daring to visit Medjugorje knowing full well the Diocese of Mostar has always rejected the apparitions and the cult surrounding them, and for this the old bishop who has since reposed was demonized in a Martin Sheen movie in favor of the apparitions. His successor holds fast to the policy, but the Fransiscan Province in Herzegovina, which was supposed to be disbanded and replaced by diocesan clergy in the 1880s after Herzegovina was conquered by Austria-Hungary from the Ottomans and ceased to be a missionary region, has sought to use every lever they can reach to perpetuate their uncanonical existence, rather than actually doing what Fransiscans should do according to St. Francis and obeying the bishop, and meekly going to serve in another missionary region, like Islamic Bosnia, and Medjugorje has helped them enormously at the expense of the diocesan bishop, who is not autocratic, but merely desires that people not venerate apparitions which are obviously false, nor pay money to people who can “see” the Virgin Mary on demand, and also that Fransiscan Friars ought to obey the rule of their order, the Friars Minor, and serve where they are needed, and not occupy and refuse to relinquish ordinary parish churches which they were not instituted to run to begin with.

    So even people who appear superficially meek, like friars, can in fact be autocrats who care more about retaining and even increasing their temporal power than about following in the example of the illustrious founders of their order.
     
  8. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    What parts of the teaching of our Lord do you consider mutable?

    The very definition of an ecclesiastical autocrat is a bishop or pastor who seeks to impose his novel interpretation of the Gospel on the people, and in so doing rejects humility and exercises mastery rather than offering service. Nestorius, Patriarch Nikon of Moscow, Pope Honorius I, Pope Leo X, Pope Paul VI, Pope Francis, and Bishops James Pike and John Shelby Spong are classic examples of this.

    And the Church as a whole is perfect, at least the Church Triumphant, as the Church is the Body of Christ. The local churches such as Rome, Constantinople, and the Episcopal Church USA have problems, but when I look at the entire history of the church as a whole since Pentecost, I see perfection, the presence of God the Holy Spirit uniting men to Christ Jesus in fear and worship of our merciful and loving Heavenly Father.
     
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  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The difficulty with a position that argues for the final arbiter of truth to reside in a single person is the problem that happens when that person is off track or off balance. To argue for the infallibility of the Pope is clearly an ahistorical position, and the Saeculum obscurum is witness to that. Indeed so much so that any serious RCC will surround Papal infallibility with a whole lot of conditions.

    Go where thou wilt, seek whatsoever thou wilt, and thou shalt find no higher way above nor safer way below, than the way of the Holy Cross.
    Thomas a Kempis

    There is no doubt that two of the hallmarks of christian leadership are humility and service.
     
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  10. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    Only men can serve in the priesthood and episcopate, and as deacons per se rather than as deaconesses, because of the injunctions of St. Paul on the teaching authority of the office. As an aside, I should not like to meet a woman eager to serve the exceedingly sanguinary Preparatory Rites for Holy Communion in the Eastern churches, which recall with vivid detail the sacrificial aspects of the passion of our Lord and feature implements such as special knives and the liturgical spear. The Western Rite’s preparatory rites are more introspective than the dramatic catharsis of the Eastern Prothesis or Malka.

    This does not preclude women from serving in leadership roles in the church. In Eastern churches, where most parish priests are married, their wives serve as Presbyteras, and are the mothers of the parish just as their husbands are the fathers. The contribution presbyteras make to the life of the parish is enormous, which is one reason why only small, impoverished and mission parishes as well as those temporarily without a permanent married priest will use a hieromonk or archimandrite (monastic priest or archpriest). And indeed, in the case of the Archpriest or Protopresbyter, the influence of the Archpresbytera or Protopresbytera is sweeping.

    Furthermore, abesses in the Orthodox Church wield power equivalent to abbots (Hegumens), and the Coptic Church and the Armenian Church have deaconesses. The historic role of the deaconess is obsolete; originally, deaconesses were celibate women or widows, of at least forty years of age, later sixty, whose role was to go down into the water with women while priests looked away, baptisms in the early church being performed by triple full immersion in the nude. These women made an enormous contribution both before and after St. Constantine’s legalization of Christianity and St. Theodosius making it the official religion of the Roman Empire. Prior to that time, conversion to Christianity became by all accounts extremely popular in the Empire in the second century, especially among women because of the fact that Christianity forbade polygamy and infanticide (a husband in the Empire historically had the right to expose or otherwise kill children deemed defective, at his prerogative, and this was naturally popular as people in that era were enthusiasts of Spartan culture, where the rejection and killing by exposure of babies with any deformity was compelled by law, Greek and Roman men of the Empire often loved all things Laconic). Christianity was also tolerated outside the Empire in Mesopotamia and India, and all of these baptisms were performed by deaconesses.

    Later, the city-state of Edessa became the first to embrace Christianity as its state religion, having had contact with it since the legendary communication between our Lord and King Agbar. Soon thereafter, in 305, St. Gregory the Illuminator converted the Armenians following a miraculous appearance of our Lord where he was preaching; the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin was built on the spot, Etchmiadzin meaning “God descended”, and this cathedral has survived an amazing length of time, being completed in roughly its present form in the fifth century, before Hagia Sophia. And thus Armenia was the first country with Christianity as the state religion, and once again, the deaconesses baptized the women. Armenia was followed by the Roman Empire in 314 causing a massive increase in the number of Christians to be baptized following a catechumenate, to the point that dedicated baptistries were required, separate from the parish churches, some of which still stand, in Ravenna, and one of which (in Florence I believe, or possibly Sienna) is still in use. Rome was in short order followed by Ethiopia; the early church always venerated and provided for widows, and in Ethiopia this remains the case even today, with widows receiving free food and other assistance from the Church.

    Georgia was next on the list, and the Georgians were evangelized by an Armenian woman, St. Nino, who in the Orthodox church is venerated as Equal to the Apostles, along with Sts. Mary Magdalene (who in the West is confused and conflated with St. Martha’s sister St. Mary of Bethany, who washed the feet of our Lord and had lived a sinful life, but they were in fact different women), and St. Paul’s missionary partner St. Thecla. And one can read the lives of these saints. There is also a book that was for a time considered for inclusion in the New Testament, but its late date precluded it, like the Protoevangelion of St. James (a second century work which does accurately reflect the beliefs of the early church regarding Our Lady the Virgin Mary, as expressed in the liturgies of the Orthodox, Assyrian, and Anglo Catholic Churches, and to a lesser extent the Roman church*, but which was excluded from the canon both due to the late date and for being pseudepigrapha).

    The original role of the Deaconess is now obsolete, because baptismal robes are worn in the East and in Western baptisms entailing full immersion, and owing to the popularity of pouring and sprinkling in the Roman church and by extension, other Western churches (except for the Baptists and a few others, which have dogmatised full immersion, but which also deny the sacramental character of baptism and do not baptize infants, violating the commandment of our Lord to “suffer the little children to come to me”). So modern Coptic deaconesses instead manage and operate various charitable works, including the large number of Christian orphanages in Egypt, required by the cruel Sharia law forbidding adoption, even among Christians.

    This takes us to St. Mary, a perpetual virgin by the consensus of the Reformers including Luther, Calvin and the great scholar of doctrine and liturgy, an Anglican priest, an Orthodox bishop and the founder of the Methodist Episcopal church, John Wesley. So her perpetual virginity is incontrovertible given that Luther, Calvin, Wesley and other reformers agree with the Orthodox, Assyrians and Roman Catholics, making this doctrine a part of Holy Tradition for all of Christendom. The ecumenical council of Ephesus, which is nominally upheld by all of the magisterial Protestant churches**, as well as the Council of Chalcedon, condemned Nestorianism and deposed the abusive and autocratic Nestorius as Patriarch of Constantinople, for attempting to force the people of the Church of Constantinople to refer to Our Lady as the Christokos, the birthgiver of Christ, rather than Theotokos, the birthgiver of God.

    This is a serious Christological error, because it denies that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Son of God, is in fact God Incarnate, the eternal logos by whom all things are made, as we confess in the Creed. It does this by separating the human hypostasis of Jesus Christ from the divine hypostasis of The Word of God, and Nestorianism takes two flavors: moderate Nestorianism asserts the two hypostases (beings, essentially) are united in one person, and extreme Nestorianism follows a severe error of Mar Theodore of Mopsuestia*** and proposes that the person of Christ and the person of the Word are in a union of will, essentially using the Monothelite heresy to hold together an untenable Christology.

    So those who protest about alleged disrespect of women by those who advocate a male only priesthood and episcopate might have a point in the case of Nestorian churches (and a large number of Non-Conformist churches are at least crypto-Nestorian), ignore that God in becoming incarnate did not simply manifest himself like a Hindu deity, which is in His power, being omnipotent, but rather was born of a woman, in common with humanity, and thus it was a woman who was physically closer and more intimate with God during her life, as his human Mother in the Incarnation, than any other person in history. Moses, Elijah, and the Twelve scarcely knew him in comparison, because mothers know their own sons more than most people. Indeed the extreme veneration (doulia) of the Theotokos, who is not worshipped by the Orthodox, as worship (latria) is offered only to God, but who is venerated more than any other saint (hyperdoulia) and whose feasts are second only to the Dominical feasts in importance, and who has one of the four fasting seasons dedicated to her (the Dormition Fast, from August 1st to August 14th, inclusive of the Dominical Feast of the Transfiguration, just as the Great Lent dedicated to preparation for Holy Week and Easter features a Marian feast on March 25th)****.

    This, combined with female apostles like St. Theclas, St. Mary Magdalene and St. Nino, and the importance of the modern deaconess, the privilege of the abess, the vital role in parish life of Presbyteras, and the work done by female iconographers, hymnographers (such as Fanny Crosby), liturgical translators*****, and parish, diocesan and patriarchal secretaries and treasurers, combined with the specifically sanguinary aspects of the Priesthood and Episcopate which would be difficult for women of traditional values to perform (the sacrificial prothesis, as mentioned above), should be enough to convince any reasonable person that, based on scripture, tradition, reason and the experience of the Church (the Anglican tripod and the Wesleyan Quadrilateral), women are not discriminated against in traditional churches or treated as lesser persons.

    Indeed, since our Lord wrote the First shall be Last, and anyone who wishes to be your Master must be your Servant, makes the priesthood and episcopate the lowliest position in Christendom; men with a vocation make an enormous sacrifice and risk their salvation and work insanely hard, for little pay (or no pay in the case of Orthodox bishops, who being monks, are merely provided for, but who own no property), people who think we dishonor women with a male Priesthood and Episcopate have not read the Gospels; they are eisegetically reading St. Paul as a misogynist despite his co-missionary St. Theclas being a woman, and ignoring what our Lord and the Apostles teach about Christian leadership. People who treat the priesthood or episcopate, or the worst offenders, the Roman cardinals and the Pope, as a great honor to be craved, fail to understand it completely. It is not an honor; it is a sacrifice. Garbage collectors and construction workers have better jobs than a truly devout priest who understands the true nature of his vocation. Thus women seeking the priesthood do not know what they are asking for: they would do better to seek a job in menial labor, which at least pays well and does not burden them with the cure of souls. And for women wanting to serve the church, aside from the Deaconess, they can work as organists (my mother, my aunt and my cousin Susan were all organists), choir directors, singers, Readers, Cantors, and I see no impediment to them serving as Sub-Deacons. These jobs are superior to that of the priest, both in terms of the work and in terms of the money in many cases (a good Protestant or Catholic organist or paid musical director will earn a wage far in excess, on an hourly basis, of the average pay of Orthodox, Catholic, and many Traditional Anglican priests).

    * The Roman traditions regarding the nativity of the Theotokos are of course corrupted by doctrinal innovations such as the immaculate conception, the Marian apparitions such as Fatima, and the absurd devotion to the Immaculate Heart. Thus the Protoevangelion of St. James, not to be confused with the blasphemous Gnostic Protoevangelion of Thomas, is a better guide to what the early church believed about the early life of Mary, than anything Rome has said since the 1600s. Better yet, read the liturgies for the Marian feasts in the Eastern church; the most accessible and comprehensive repository of information concerning the Consensus Patrum regarding Our Lady is to be found in the Eastern Orthodox services of Vespers, Compline, and most especially, Matins, for the relevant days. When the Syriac Orthodox fanqitho (festal divine office) is translated fully into English, and the relevant Ethiopian liturgical manuscripts, these could prove more thorough and reliable; the Coptic services, although accurately reflecting the beliefs of the early Church concerning St. Mary, are poorly organized on a topical basis, although one should definitely read or listen to the beautiful Khiak Psalmody sung in Advent, which is dedicated to the Theotokos.

    ** Several non-Conformist and Presbyterian churches influenced by Puritans and far removed from Anglican Reformed theology, have become increasingly crypto-Nestorian, especially in the 20th century, and many Evangelicals cannot comprehend the idea of Mary being the mother of God because they think it means she gave birth to the Trinity, which is absurd; rather, since Christ is Truly God (John 1:1-17), who for our sakes became incarnate of the Virgin Mary (the revised Nicene Creed of 381, confessed by Anglicans at every service of Holy Communion), the Theotokos gave birth to God in His incarnation, according to His humanity, but the scriptural principle of communicatio idiomatum, of Patristic origin and based on man being made in the image of God, and particularly stressed by Lutherans, requires that all actions proper to the Divinity of our Lord apply to His Humanity and vice-versa, so we can say God died for us (in His incarnation, the Divine essence being immutable) and the uncreated Word of God was born of a woman and thus became God Incarnate.

    *** This one serious error of Theodore led to his being anathematized post-mortem by Emperor Justinian, along with Origen, an event associated with the Fifth Ecumenical Council, leading to a 30 year schism in the Roman church, especially in Spain and North Africa, owing to the immense popularity of Theodore, who died in the peace of the church. Likewise Origen was anathematized primarily for his belief in Apokatastasis, but St. Gregory of Nyssa believed the same thing and is still venerated. I think excommunications of people who died in the peace of the Church and who were venerated as saints by many, for nearly 300 years in the case of Origen and about a century in the case of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the closest friend of St. John Chrysostom, is patently unfair and the decision of St. Justinian to anathematize these pious men I regard as an example of autocratic church leadership.

    **** The other fasts are those of the Apostles, starting after the Feast of All Saints, which is celebrated on the same day as Trinity Sunday in the Western Church, the Nativity Fast, or Advent, which lasts for six weeks, like in the Ambrosian Rite of Milan, rather than four, and the Great Lent, which begins on the Clean Monday, which follows Forgiveness Sunday (Quinquagesima) rather than Ash Wednesday in the same week, but is otherwise of the same length, but with no relief of the fast except on the Annunciation and on Palm Sunday, there not being an equivalent to Laetare Sunday.

    ***** Mother Mary, an Orthodox nun, has assisted Metropolitan Kallistos Ware in all his translations from Byzantine Greek, including the epic treasury of monastic wisdom known as the Philokalia, a word roughly meaning “Anthology” (literally, “Love of Beauty”), not to be confused with the Philocalia with a C, a compendium of the best writings of Origen compiled by the Cappadocians in the fourth century; she also assisted in the translation of three vital service books, the Triodion, containing the Propers for Lent, and its Supplement, and the Festal Menaion, containing the propers for the most important feasts of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Isabel Florence Hapgood in the late 19th century translated the fixed forms of the entire Orthodox sacramental service and offices into English, even the service for the Coronation of the Czar, from Church Slavonic (sans the propers, which take up most of the 20 service books of the Orthodox Church, of which Matins amounts to at least half, it being the longest, most complex and most variable part of the Divine Office).
     
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  11. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    I agree. In Orthodoxy bishops are accountable to the people. See the popular revolt against the coerced submission to Rome agreed at the Council of Florence. Only Sacred Tradition, which includes the Scriptures at its heart, and their proper translation, certain very importan canons and the roles of the clergy, and some basic principles of liturgy and sacramental theology, is infallible. (other outer layers of tradition, such as liturgical music and the arrangement of the services, is subject to change). Some Orthodox including myself even admit the possibility of error in Ecumenical Councils.
     
  12. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    Actually the city state of Edessa became Christian a few years before Armenia, and tradition suggests a flourishing community before that, starting with King Agbar I in the first century. There is also Pontius Pilate who may have, according to some Patristic accounts, converted to Christianity in response to what he saw, and several high ranking Roman officials converted, a process we see even in Acts, and also in St. Paul’s ministry to Caesar’s vast royal household of courtiers attested to by his Epistles.
     

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