April 24, 2014

Reception of 30 converts from the Episcopalian Church into the Orthodox Church

30 former Charismatic Episcopal Church members and others are received into the Orthodox Church on Holy Saturday (2008).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4_yEagBxGw[/youtube]

In addition you can see the new building and renovations that took place during Lent to accommodate the new members.  St. John the Theologian Orthodox Church, San Juan Capistrano, California.

Comments

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    Scott Pennington says:

    I didn’t know Antiochians “rebaptized” converts from the Episcopal Church. At first I thought this must have been a ROCOR parish. Well, I suppose given the state of the Episcopal Church they figured it’s better to be safe.

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    Andrew says:

    This video brings back the memory of the GOA slamming the door on the many converts from the Evangelical Orthodox Church (Fr. Gilguist etc) when they came as seekers. Today, it would be a rarity to see such a mass conversion in the GOA if at all.

    Its just too threatening to the omogenia before Orthodoxy crowd.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    As a Greek-American, it shocked me to hear the details of how these evangelicals went all the way to Istanbul and to be so rudely received.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    Well, though it is unlike me to defend Constantinople, I sympathize with those who take a very cautious approach to bringing evangelicals in en masse in the way they were brought into the Antiochian Church.

    I’m not sure whether mass chrismations are canonically sound. But the deeper problem lies in the desire of an already functioning community to be admitted corporately rather than individually. All of these people could have gone to the nearest Orthodox church and asked to go through catechesis and be chrismated. What that would have failed to accomplish (from their perspective) is retention of their own clergy and quasi-evangelical habits and outlook.

    Some of the converts that I have met from the Evangelical Orthodox Church are quite faithful Orthodox Christians, although they do retain a certain evangelical attitude toward Christianity in general. Some are really an unfortunate mix of evangelical beliefs and Orthodox beliefs. Enough said about that.

    I guess I’m all for evangelism on the part of the Orthodox so I agree that Constantinople screwed up an opportunity. Nonetheless, I have heard the above concerns expressed sincerely by clergy.

    As an ex-Anglo-Catholic, I didn’t find the trip to Orthodoxy to require a radical change in outlook. More extensive though than meets the untrained eye. However, evangelical Protestantism and Orthodoxy are almost two different religions.

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    Andrew says:

    Mass Chrismations like say the Baptism of Ukraine in 988 AD seem pretty canonical and historically Orthodox to me. Today the GOA turns it back on seekers because its ethnic identity is the guiding principle of its existence.

    Strange that the Greeks who could at one time could spread the Gospel throughout the known world are today turning there backs on evangelism and spreading the Gospel in America.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    Andrew,
    Regarding the mass chrismations, I was just repeating what I had heard Orthodox clergy say. I’d have to research it to know for sure. That’s why I said, “I’m not sure”. I meant that literally.

    As to the rest of your comments about the Greeks, I will be glad to stipulate that evangelism is their weak suit. They are by far the most “cosmopolitan” of the jurisdictions. In fact, in a sense they actually do constitute an “American Orthodox Church” if you judge that by being the most western and modern. That was not a compliment.

    Nonetheless, it does strike me as utterly arrogant to expect the Church to simply admit previously constituted parishes into communion, with their clergy, when there are already Orthodox churches in the same immediate geographical area. I mean, take my area for instance. What possible objection could you raise to the uncanonical situation of multiple overlapping jurisdictions if you support an Evangelical Orthodox parish becoming an OCA parish in the same area where there is already a Greek Orthodox church and an Antiochian Orthodox church? It’s actually ridiculous. Nonetheless, the newer OCA, ex-Evangelical parish wanted to retain their own priest and own “unique perspective”. If you can’t find an existent Orthodox Church that “fits” you, perhaps you should lose some more of your protestantism. I mean, if you’re more conservative than the Greeks, go to the Antiochians, or ROCOR (if there’s a church in your area).

    I guess I feel the same way about this stuff as I do about the ecumenical dialogue with Rome: Every Roman Catholic, including the Pope, knows where to find the nearest Orthodox priest or bishop if he wants to convert. If evangelicals want to convert, the way to do it is the way it was done in the story above, find an Orthodox priest who will admit you or your group to his church. Leave the mass reconciliations to the (formerly) two parts of the Russian Church or, if it ever happens, the Oriental Orthodox. Some little sect shouldn’t expect to be received as an already constituted apostolic community. They’re not.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    “If someone does not come to the river tomorrow, be they poor or rich, of lowly or high birth, they will be my enemies.”

    Andrew, these were the words of “invitation” of St. Vladimir of Kiev to his subjects ordering them to be baptized. I’m not sure that’s the best example to use in defense of mass chrismations. How many of the Kievan’s do you think converted sincerely or with any substantial knowledge of Orthodoxy?

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    Fr. Francis DesMarais says:

    To Scott, et. al;

    I may be joining this thread a bit late but please accept these comments which hopefully will add some information and constructive thought.

    First, Scott’s question regarding the “re-baptizing” of Episcopalians needs some clarification. The Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC) is not a part of ECUSA or the Anglican Communion. Therefore there may have been legitimate reason for requiring these candidates to be Baptized, the first “baptism” being considered non-existent. Orthodox don’t “re-baptize.”

    I am also very much in-line with the questioning of the practice of accepting “groups” into the Orthodox Church, and even more-so allowing them to continue to remain together in order to satisfy their particular bent on Orthodox witness and practice. This is a very delicate issue as one can justify the variations of ritual practice,as in the Western Rite of the AOCC, a case which I support. But the formation of parishes around the carried-over traditions and sentiments of Evangelical Protestantism is another issue. There have been, and continue to be, examples where these groups have developed parishes wherein “mainstream” Orthodox faithful have felt quite “outside” the fold. This is a very delicate pastoral issue which needs careful attention. I have visited parishes of the Christ the Savior Brotherhood which are now in “canonical” Orthodoxy. Many of them have been quite successful in this endeavor. But there is still a hint of “sectarianism” in some of the thinking and practice. Their success has not always been duplicated in the “group migration” from the CEC.

    I look forward to opinions which will assist me in clarifying these matters for myself.

    Fratenally in Christ,
    Fr. Francis DesMarais

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    Michael Bauman says:

    The other side of the question of receiving groups–they sometimes are able to minister to folks the more traditional Orthodox parishes won’t touch or can’t reach.

    Certainly, the bishops need to address the very real concerns raised here, but if the alternative is not to receive folks at all; or when existing parishes are so closed that they actively reject folks whom Jesus has called to the Church?

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    Scott Pennington says:

    Fr. Francis wrote: “Orthodox don’t ‘re-baptize.’”

    Father,

    Your point is well taken. I put “re-baptize” in quotations marks to indicate that it’s not really a second baptism because the first one was not valid.

    Michael,

    You raise a very good point. It happens that sometimes churches which are heavily ethnocentric aren’t welcoming of newcomers who don’t share their background. I would prefer that the bishop lay down the law to such parishes, but what can you do? My parish’s priest is very good about being as open as possible to those who are not Greek. He stresses English in the services and making everyone feel at home. One of the previous priests at our church was not so open. He wanted all the parish children – - whether they were Greek, Anglo, Arab, Romanian, etc. to go to Greek school. This caused the formation of the Antiochian Orthodox parish I referred to above.

    Bad clergy are walking disaster factories. Rarely, there may not be any better answer, given the personalities involved, than to form another parish.

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    Kevin says:

    I am definitely coming to this thread late! I think the facts are clear: since the Evangelical Orthodox Church came into Orthodoxy en masse in 1987, the doors of the Orthodox Church were opened to converts and inquirers in a way they never were before in the U.S. Met. Philip took heat for his “innovation” of allowing such en masse entry; but the fact is that with the exception of the one incident in Ben Lomand, the entry of the EOC has proved – to most observers – to be a very positive occurrence for the Antiochians and Orthodoxy at large. Conciliar Press; Ancient Faith Radio; the Orthodox Study Bible; have all been the fruit of such en masse entry. What would Orthodoxy in America look like today were it not for “accepting groups”? I can only speculate of course but I would venture a guess and say that were it not for this “innovation”, Orthodoxy in America would not look any different today from the way it looked for the previous century – a closed, ethnic ghetto.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    Kevin,

    Of course, these same groups of “Evangelical Orthodox” could have joined the nearest Orthodox Church in their area and thus supplied some leaven to the “ethnic ghettos” you speak of without exacerbating the problem of multiple jurisdictions which others on this blog lament so often. You also apparently discount the efforts of those who are ethnic Orthodox “reverts”; i.e., who have rediscovered the truth and seriousness of Orthodoxy after having been brought up to see it as an ethnic thing.

    I won’t dispute that fact that much of American Orthodoxy needs internal conversion. Better to do it from within an “ethnic” parish though, don’t you think? I mean, if that’s where the problem is, that’s where the solution begins. Don’t look for a mislaid item in the light, just because it’s easier to see there, if you lost it in a dark place.

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    Kevin Allen says:

    Scott,

    This was what the Greeks wanted – for the “Evangelical Orthodox” to simply join local parishes. The result I believe would have been either: (1) a revolving door through which many would leave; or (2) a “greekification” where the lines between being an ethnic Greek and an Orthodox Christian would continue to be blurred (as they often are within the GOA today).

    I think the “genius” of Met. Philip in this matter (and of course not everyone agrees) was that he saw the need for a new Orthodox paradigm in America and that this could not and would not be achieved by individuals being subsumed within “Arabic” or “Greek” cultural enclaves. This new paradigm would be more “evangelical” and less “ethnic”; it would be an Orthodoxy that was at once robust, self-confident and welcoming to non-ethnics. How this would be shaped is still being worked out, but as I said in my last post, the fruit of this approach is there for all to see. Would it have happened otherwise? We will never know. But this is the way it happened – it began with an external impetus of 2,000 Evangelicals who brought with them some baggage, lots of enthusiasm, and new ideas. I have heard coutless Greeks say “we wish the EOC had come in through the GOA”. I have heard this from laity and clergy.

    I am not being “triumphalistic” about the entry into the Orthodox world by the “Evangelical Orthodox” (of which I am not one) but frankly I get a bit tired of the veiled critique of “group conversions” by the Antiochian jurisdiction. It is not the only way new comers come to the Antiochian archdiocese. But it has been a very useful way to bring people into the Church; and, it has gone a long way to make our culture aware of the Orthodox Church. Personally I have not seen or experienced the “down sides”. Maybe you are seeing something I have missed.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    Kevin,

    One of the down sides is that some of the clergy who came in were poorly trained in Orthodoxy, some not having gone to any Orthodox seminary and still relying on the texts and teachings of the Evangelical Orthodox Church, or Evangelicalism in general, as dogmatically sound and normative. For example, I spoke with an “ex-Evangelical” Orthodox priest about the Real Presence. His approach to bring other Evangelcals and low church Protestants in was to soft sell it, saying repeatedly that it wasn’t “magic”. He left you with the impression that there was not a true divine presence in the Gifts different from God’s presence anywhere else. Moreover, his teaching on the headship of the husband in the family was pure modern Evangelical and not Orthodox at all.

    You are right that there was a blow up in Ben Lomand. But it is the subtle subversion of the faith which is actually a greater danger – - an Evangelical Orthodox subculture.

    Don’t think for a minute I’m being critical of the ex-Evangelicals’ moral conservatism. I admire that to no end. However, there is simply no excuse for starting another Orthodox church in an area where there is already one present, not near capacity, and relatively open. Yes, some people in an ethnic parish will, at first, look with suspicion on the new arrivals. The new arrivals should also be humble and not try to change everything they see that they don’t like. If there’s a real problem with practices in the ethnic parish, that should be addressed by the bishop, not the newly illumined.

    Now, all that being said, there are some enclaves of ethnocentric mentality so strong that starting another parish may be the only answer, given the intransigence of the existing priest and the incompetence of the bishop.

  15. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    “This was what the Greeks wanted – for the ‘Evangelical Orthodox’ to simply join local parishes. The result I believe would have been either: (1) a revolving door through which many would leave; or (2) a ‘greekification’ where the lines between being an ethnic Greek and an Orthodox Christian would continue to be blurred (as they often are within the GOA today).”

    Well, regardless of the composition of the parish, hanging on to converts is a serious challenge. Many leave after a few years. This is also a problem in the Evangelical churches.

    As to “greekification”, someone who is not Greek can’t be greekified. If ex-Evangelicals join a predominantly Greek parish, some Greeks may still forever think of it as the “Greek church”. However, some will see the an-ethnic nature of the converts’ Orthodoxy and perhaps rethink their approach.

    The boogey man that no one seems to want to directly address is this: “Evangelical Orthodox” might not feel “comfortable” in a parish based on ethnic affinity where piety and practice are at a very low level. As an answer to this problem, they create their own ideal version of Orthodoxy amongst themselves, with outside Episcopal direction.

    But really, if you look at this situation honestly, a couple of problems should be apparent: 1) many bishops have been inexcusably lax and awol when it comes to overseeing good canonical, normative, traditional order within the Church, and 2) the answer to overlapping jurisdictions is not more overlapping jurisdictions.

    If you fix the first problem, you avoid adopting a second wrong in order to make everything right. Remember, the streets of hell are paved with the skulls of bishops.

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    Daniel says:

    Scott,

    I’ve not read through the entire thread, but this caught my eye:

    “As to “greekification”, someone who is not Greek can’t be greekified. If ex-Evangelicals join a predominantly Greek parish, some Greeks may still forever think of it as the “Greek church”. However, some will see the an-ethnic nature of the converts’ Orthodoxy and perhaps rethink their approach.”

    I am a former Protestant, of Scandanavian heritage, chrismated to the Orthodox Church in 2000, who has been a part of Greek Orthodox parishes in both CA & WA. In CA I can tell you that I was often referred to by the Greeks in the parish, as the guy “who wanted to be Greek”. This was done with tongues slightly in cheek, but there was an edge to it. That being, it reminded me that I would forever remain on the outside of the church’s inner circle. There would always be a corp of well-healed Greeks who had the priest’s & bishop’s ear, which I, the “stranger” could never penetrate.

    I would very much like to hope that ethnic Greeks would rethink their approach and stop seeing their church in purely ethnic terms. Among the laity the GOA has a long, long way to go before that happens.

    I will say that the parish of which I’m a part, in WA, does not have this problem to the extent the church in CA did. This is due to the simple fact that this is a much smaller parish and is very well mixed, ethnically speaking.

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    Kevin Allen says:

    Scott,

    With respect – how and where are you getting your information? Are you in the Antiochian Archdiocese? Do you really know any ex-EOC priests well? Your statements are filled with generalizations, and, unfortunately, misinformation.

    First – I am in an ex-E.O.C. parish. I know all of the ex-E.O.C. priests. I know of NOT ONE priest that still relies on “texts and teachings” of the E.O.C. If you do – name names; otherwise stop spreading misinformation, please.

    Second – regardless of whether there may have been some under-educated priests 20+ years ago, the fact is our priests today (ex-E.O.C. and not) are very well trained and equipped. No one in our jurisdiction is complaining. Frankly most of the complaints come from folks outside the AOCANA, whose own jurisdictions, frankly, have issues at least as great or greater (no offense) than the issue of AOCANA clerical education. Just listen to my interview with Met. Jonah on AFR if you need your memory refreshed. His jurisdiction had seminary-trained priests and yet his jurisdiction lived in episcopal and clerical dysfunction for two administrations [by his own admission]. Going to seminary is laudable, even necessary; but it doesn’t make clergy or bishops honorable, holy or ethical.

    Third – with regard to “the subtle subversion of the faith which is actually a greater danger – - an Evangelical Orthodox subculture.” Again – I know of no such “subculture”. The E.O.C. no longer exists as a separate entity within the AOCANA. To most observers I speak to – and I guarantee I speak to more of them than you do, as I do a weekly interview program – the integration has largely been “seamless”. Frankly this sort of statement is judgmental without basis and elitist.

    Fourth – The example you offer of the priest and the Real Presence. I see this another way. Perhaps his reference to the Real Presence not being “magic” has more to do with dispelling any notions an Evangelical may have that we adhere to some sort of “magical” notion of transubstantiation in the holy mysteries. One of the tasks we face is making distinctions between what we believe and what both Roman Catholics and Evangelicals believe. No ex-E.O.C. priest downplays or disregards the Real Presence, I can assure you.

    Fifth – the premise that there is no reason to start another church in another area where there is already one existing, is to pretend there is administrative unity in a country where there is not. In a country where overlapping jurisdictions and bishops are a reality, why hold one jurisdiction to some “higher canonical standard”? The issue of overlapping jurisdictions needs to be addressed but until it is, if one jurisdiction has the critical mass to start a parish in a given area, why shouldn’t they? We have a local sister parish in San Juan Capistrano and the GOA opened a new parish across the street and all the Greeks left and joined it. The GOA recently formed a “vicariate” for Palestinian and Jordanians when the AOCANA has its historic roots in the middle east. To what purpose?? No the situation is not ideal; but until the bigger issue is resolved this is the current ecclesial reality.

    Sixth – I recently spoke with a well-known GOA seminary professor. He coined the term “greekification” and said this was the # 1 problem the GOA faces today. He said it was similar to the days of the judaizers where converts were expected to become Jews first and then Christian. He made the analogy. I simply quote it.

    Seven – you mention “outside Episcopal direction”. What are you referring to? Any parish that is catechized and comes in as a group, comes in under the AOCANA bishop – with his blessing and under his oversight. I have no idea what you mean by this statement of “outside Episcopal direction”.

    Eight – I disagree with your statement about “laxity” of oversight etc. with regard to our hard-working, capable bishops. If you want to name names, be my guest. I can’t defend a hypothetical.

    Nine – The issue of bringing in “groups” has nothing so far as I can see to do with the issue (again) of overlapping jurisdictions. I fail to see the connection.

    I hope we can have this disagreement in brotherly love, Scot, but I would ask that you be fair to the facts and not continue to make such generalizations that are either “old news” or “old wives” tales.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    Kevin,

    “Perhaps his reference to the Real Presence not being “magic” has more to do with dispelling any notions an Evangelical may have that we adhere to some sort of “magical” notion of transubstantiation in the holy mysteries. One of the tasks we face is making distinctions between what we believe and what both Roman Catholics and Evangelicals believe. No ex-E.O.C. priest downplays or disregards the Real Presence, I can assure you.”

    No. I was there in the catechism class and I heard it with my own two ears. When you use the word “magic” and downplay the Real Presence by emphasizing that it’s not “superstitious” and that “God is everywhere”, and you do not state that the Gifts become, quite literally divine, the effect you create – - an intended effect – - is to rob it of its miraculous supernatural nature. It is, however, what many Protestants would want to hear.

    “We have a local sister parish in San Juan Capistrano and the GOA opened a new parish across the street and all the Greeks left and joined it. The GOA recently formed a “vicariate” for Palestinian and Jordanians when the AOCANA has its historic roots in the middle east. To what purpose?? No the situation is not ideal; but until the bigger issue is resolved this is the current ecclesial reality.”

    Look, it’s not that it’s less than ideal. It’s that it is senseless. I’m not defending the GOA in all of this and I’m sure they do their fair share of exacerbating this problem. If you think it’s peachy keen to have three parishes in close proximity which have a total population that would be just fine in one parish, then have it your way. That’s what the different jurisdictions are quite good at in America, “having it their own way”.

    “I recently spoke with a well-known GOA seminary professor. He coined the term “greekification” and said this was the # 1 problem the GOA faces today. He said it was similar to the days of the judaizers where converts were expected to become Jews first and then Christian. He made the analogy. I simply quote it.”

    You implied that this “greekification” would somehow be the fate of EOC converts. My parish is GOA. Believe me, there is no danger of a rush by our converts, through marriage or otherwise, to “become Greek”. We do make Greek pastries, etc. Now, if greekification means to fall (or rise) to the level of practice of the ethnic Greeks in the parish, then that’s something else. Unless you’re saying that laxity is an ethnic characteristic?

    Daniel’s example above I think is probably, sadly, the case in some parishes. But this is not “greekification”. It’s the opposite. Even if he had wanted to be Greek and worked at language, culture, etc., he seems to be saying that it wouldn’t have mattered.

    “I have no idea what you mean by this statement of ‘outside Episcopal direction’.”

    What I mean, precisely, is this: When a parish of converts with their clergy come into the Orthodox Church as a parish under a bishop who, physically, resides far away, there is no one minding the store.

    “The issue of bringing in ‘groups’ has nothing so far as I can see to do with the issue (again) of overlapping jurisdictions. I fail to see the connection.”

    Well . . . twenty five years ago, in my area, there was only one jurisdiction present. Now there are three. If there is eventually to be a united Orthodox Church in America, it seems to me to complicate the unification of dioceses.

    Personally, I do not see that the jurisdiction problem is particularly pressing. However, I think it is makes no sense to lament the jurisdictional situation (as some on this site do), while saying it is fine to multiply churches of different jurisdictions in the same area, for no good reason.

    “I disagree with your statement about “laxity” of oversight etc. with regard to our hard-working, capable bishops. If you want to name names, be my guest. I can’t defend a hypothetical.”

    What I was referring to is a situation where bishops and priests tolerate some of the exclusionary practices mentioned in this thread. I was not referring to any particular jurisdiction or to the bishops of ex-EOC parishes in that regard. My point was that the answer to priests or parishoners making potential converts feel unwelcome is that the bishops should come down hard on such misbehavior. The answer is not to multiply jurisdictions in an area for no good reason.

    Now, I do have a bone to pick with many bishops concerning what they allow or insist that their priests tolerate. But that’s a discussion for a different day.

    “Scot, but I would ask that you be fair to the facts and not continue to make such generalizations that are either “old news” or “old wives” tales.”

    Kevin, I do not think I have mistated any fact so far. You may consider some of this old news. There were no wives tales included.

    In brotherly love,
    Scott

    Daniel,

    I understand the problem that you are speaking of. We had a similar problem in our parish a couple of priests ago. Our current priest has made a wonderful effort to make everyone feel included, regardless of their ethnicity. In fact, today I spent part of the day talking to some of our Romanian and Arab parishioners about expanding the amount of Romanian and Arabic used in certain services. Our priest is very supportive of the project.

  19. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    One more thing,

    If any of the parishioners in the other two churches in this area are reading this thread, I did not intend for any of my remarks to reflect badly on anyone in either of these parishes.

    I understand that in an imperfect world sometimes we all choose imperfect solutions. I admit that sometimes it may be necessary, because of a failure of leadership in an existing parish, to start another parish of a different jurisdiction in the same area, even though there’s room in the existing church. I’m just saying it is probably not the best way to proceed in general. That was my entire point with regard to receiving an entire denomination of parishes into the AOC (or the OCA). I realize there are faithful, pious Christians in each of our churches and have absolutely no wish to upset or cause any ill will by my comments above.

    If I have offended anyone, I apologize.

  20. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    That was my entire point with regard to receiving an entire denomination of parishes into the AOC (or the OCA).

    Is the AOC (or OCA) in process of receiving an entire denominations of parishes? Are they coming in good faith, willing to obey the Canons of the Orthodox Church or they will ask for changes in the AOC (or OCA) to fit them? That would be Ecumenism at work already!!!

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    Scott Pennington says:

    Kevin,

    The post that I submitted last night, in its first paragraph, contained the name of the priest in question. Fr. Jacobse sent me an e-mail saying that he edited the first paragraph out because he thought it might put the priest in an unpleasant position. Just want to make sure that you know that I was willing to name the name so that you would know that I was not writing fiction.

    Scott

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    My request was made not because it put the priest in an “unpleasant position,” only that we won’t attribute words to people in a public forum that they have not put in writing.

  23. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    Fr, Jacobse,

    “. . . I don’t want to put the man in the position of having to answer something that may or may not be accurate.”

    From your e-mail to me.

  24. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Right. Not knowing the context in which statements by others are made, I can’t judge either the veracity or the interpretation of the statement. It’s an editorial policy that makes no judgment about the person who made the statement, or the person reporting it.

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    Eliot Ryan says:

    Scott Pennington:

    You seem to be well informed and having a
    lot to say here.

    I have a multiple choice test for you:

    Is Christianity an ideology?

    1. yes
    2. No
    3. Maybe
    4. I do not know

  26. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    Eliot,

    I’ve had this discussion before. If forced to make the choice from those you gave, I would choose 3.

    If ideology is, “a systemtic body of concepts, especially about human life and culture” then Christianity certainly is that, although it is more than that. If it is, “the integrated assertions theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program” then I would say that it can be that if Christians want it to be and they want to actually gain ground in redeeming the culture. Nonetheless, it is more than that too. I think Christianity and “Christianism” could walk hand in hand. Unfortunately, I do not see the Church as being very serious about organizing in an ideological manner (in the second sense of the word). Too much Americanism and Western tolerance and laxity. But, that’s we have today. In a different time where Christians had (and may again have) less “enlightened” sensibilities, things could be quite different. The bishops have apostolic succession and at least teach the traditional faith, by and large, even though there are problems with orthopraxis.

    By the way, I’m sure I opine too often and will try to work on that. Also, as far as being well informed, I don’t claim to be and I’m sure that there are some on this site who are dramatically more well informed than I am. Nonetheless, I appreciate the compliment.

  27. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    Glad you took it as a compliment. I was mean and I repent.
    The correct answer is 2.

    You see some cracks in the Church and you think that the Church will fall without you … The Church does not need you, you need the Church. It stood up for 2,000 years and if it will be in danger Christ himself will come down and keep it from falling (Elder Paisios)

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    Scott Pennington says:

    Eliot,

    As to the correct answer to your multiple choice, I stand by my answer above. You’re welcome to your opinion.

    As to your quote, it is quite true and I do not think the Church will fall without me in particular, or in any case, since Christ Himself promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

    The question is: What do we do? I think if the Church acted with the focus of purpose and discipline that followers of ideologies sometimes practice, that would be a good thing. Others disagree.

    We are a culture utterly terrified of discipline and accountability.

    I thought you were probably not offering a sincere compliment but I like to assume the best of people if possible. No harm done.

    Oh, one other thing, Christ, during his temptation, was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Devil told Him to cast Himself off and the Father would send angels to catch Him. “For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee . . .”

    Christ’s words in response ought to be remembered together with your quote from Elder Paisos so that we should not lull ourselves into the dangerous notion that we need not act because God will handle everything, “It is said, thou shalt not tempt the Lord, thy God.”

  29. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    All your quotes in note 28 are from the Scripture which is by no means an ideological book.

    What other institution lasted for so long as the Church did? Which “followers of ideologies” do you have in mind when you say “focus of purpose and discipline that followers of ideologies sometimes practice”. Can you give some names and point out what they accomplished?

    In an other comment you name some of the “cracks” : “but part of it had to do with women covering their heads (as St. Paul commanded), laxity regarding fasting and confession”. Given what our culture promotes today we should be gratfull that we see a young women/girl in church even if she is wearing a short skirt. Admonishing her would be ptretty much the same as admonishing a saved from drowning that he/she is wearing wet clothes. In the same tine you consider the critique of the troublemakers ( But the incomers had a different mentality. To many, it was just a place to meet fellow Russians. They would come in halfway through service, talking loudly at the back, and started making lunch there) as “Moskvaphobe”. You say “It appears that the MP will get to keep the property”. Is this what they are after, the properties?

    The battle should be not necessarily in the Church but in our education system. The Darwinism is the root of many evils, the “plagues” of the 20th century: the holocaust and the communism. Lenin was a seminar student when he heard about Darwin and his theory. We know what he became …
    Why do we insist that this theory should be taught in schools?

    It seems to me that you promote some kind of a strong hand to discipline the Church. It does not work that way! This is a very worldly point of view. Even the “ethnic ghettoes” have their role in the Church. Perhaps the Catholics used the same sort of arguments when they split apart. They kept splitting and changing and selling indulgences, etc.
    I find fascinating the fact that our Church is still preaching that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into the kingdom of God.” Preaching the TRUTH no matter the cost! Great is the reward in Haven for those who keep the Truth and will be persecuted for it!

  30. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    Eliot,

    I commended the “focus of purpose and discipline that followers of ideologies sometimes practice”. I’m not going to give any example of a particular ideology because your next comment would be to denigrate whatever that movement accomplished. The ends sought are not my point. Christianity seeks different ends than other movements. That does not mean we couldn’t benefit from the organization, focus and discipline that ideologies sometimes exhibit.

    “Given what our culture promotes today we should be grateful that we see a young women/girl in church even if she is wearing a short skirt. Admonishing her would be pretty much the same as admonishing a saved from drowning that he/she is wearing wet clothes.”

    Except that you haven’t saved her from anything. Sitting in a garage will not make you a car.

    Also, in practice, we should avoid directly criticising anyone if at all possible. You give a general talk about change in policy and do things as gently and pleasantly as possible, but firmly.

    “In the same time you consider the critique of the troublemakers ( But the incomers had a different mentality. To many, it was just a place to meet fellow Russians. They would come in halfway through service, talking loudly at the back, and started making lunch there) as ‘Moskvaphobe’.”

    No, I said that disrupting church services and coming in late should be discouraged by the priest or bishop. If church were JUST a place for them to meet fellow Russians, they could do that at the local bar. I doubt that that is accurate and I don’t take their criticisms at face value.

    I meant that the writer of that article was a Moskvaphobe for buying, hook line and sinker, the Anglo-Orthodox comparison of the MP to the Soviets – - which is absurd.

    “The battle should be not necessarily in the Church but in our education system.”

    If you don’t have the Church united in and practicing the faith, nothing external really matters.

    “Why do we insist that this theory [evolution] should be taught in schools?” I couldn’t care less about the evolutionist/creationist controversy. So long as it is made clear in church that God created the heavens and the earth, by whatever means, in His own good time, the details aren’t particularly relevant. Read Slobodskoy’s The Law of God on the subject. Hardly a modernist.

    “It seems to me that you promote some kind of a strong hand to discipline the Church. It does not work that way!”

    Unfortunately it does not work that way now. It’s a serious problem that most want to turn a blind eye to.

    1. Weekly or monthly confession, mandatory before communion.

    2. A dress code for the church where women cover their heads, don’t wear short skirts or show cleavage, and all persons don’t wear tight, form fitting clothing.

    3. Those who openly, publicly support abortion rights would not be welcome at the chalice.

    4. The patriarchal role of the father is reinforced in sermons and church school and feminism is denounced as anti-Christian.

    5. Be much more reluctant to grant divorces. Again, if someone remarried absent an ecclesiastical divorce, refuse the chalice.

    Those things would be a good start. None of them would have been controversial, in the least, before the 20th century. It is a good measure of how far we have fallen.

    And here’s why there’s little chance that these things will actually be implimented beyond the traditionalist Orthodox churches:

    a. Many Orthodox, including some clergy, have acquiesced to the overwhelming spirit of this age that can’t stomach the above measures, considering them Neanderthal (so the Church has been Neanderthal for most of its history?)

    b. fear of losing congregants and their wallets

    c. lack of faith that a renewed effort at evangelism would replace any loses with pious Orthodox

    How’s that for truth?

    Now, I’m going to take a break from this discussion since it could go on forever fruitlessly.

  31. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    Scott Pennington:

    You made some good points but still did not get to the root of the problems. You are trying to treat the symptoms of an illness and not the cause of the illness. The feminist movement did not appear in the Church. The Church never said is OK to divorce (except for some particular reasons). We know very well that abortion is murder. You say “I couldn’t care less about the evolutionist/creationist controversy”. That is the illness that causes all the symptoms that we see: abortion, divorce, feminism, etc. If there is no God there is no accountability for sin.

    Many saints were “great” sinners before they became saints. The church is a place where people of all “spiritual levels” come. You cannot impose a dressing code because you drive away good people who are not comfortable (yet) with that code. Piety is something that is learned gradually. The way that works is by staying around pious people. Our Lord Jesus Christ came for the “sick” not for the “healthy”.
    Who are you to close the door of the church for a person who is not dressed properly?

    If there are particular parishes where the priests turn a blind eye to serious problems just for the fear that some people might withhold a few bucks … well, we should pray for them for it is said “If any of you scandalize one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.” The Abp or Bp should certainly take action against them. If they don’t … woe to them!

    Enjoy the break!

  32. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    Eliot,

    I couldn’t resist briefly addressing some of what you said above.

    A dress code does not “drive away good people”. It might drive away people who do not want to be modest (aka good), much like the Creed might drive away people who don’t want to believe in anything. People respect the Church more when it makes some demands of them.

    You can affect people from the inside out or from the outside in, both methods are good. If that were not true, we would not do metanoia’s or have incense and icons. If you dress the part of modesty and piety, you are much more likely to act the part. If the only minimum standard for dress in church is what is acceptable in the outside world, then we are lost.

    The Church, officially, says it is only permissible to divorce for adultery and abandonment. In practice it is much looser. That should stop. The feminist movement has a profound effect on the Church. Before feminism, the divorce rate was quite low among all the Christian churches.

    The problem is not evolution. One can accept the basic idea of natural selection without rejecting God. As I suggested above, read Fr. Seraphim Sobodskoy’s book, The Law of God. He was a ROCOR priest who wrote the book as a catechism text. His section on the Creation is very good. The book is advertized in ROCOR publications. It is not modernist at all.

    You and I know that abortion is murder, but many cafeteria Orthodox do not believe that. If they go to church, they should hear the truth.

    Modernist Orthodoxy is like Evangelical Christianity. It’s a weak halfway measure that’s not strong enough to combat the evil forces at work.

  33. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and intemperance. Blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup in order that its outside may come to be clean. (Matt 23: 25-26)

    No, the example you give:

    …much like the Creed might drive away people who don’t want to believe in anything. People respect the Church more when it makes some demands of them.

    is not appropiate. You drive them away before they hear the Creed.

    As for Fr. Seraphim Sobodskoy’s book, I am grateful that my priest is not an evolutionist … Even the priests can get lost …

  34. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    Eliot, you are incorrigible. If someone visiting for the first time doesn’t cover their head, it’s not a big deal. Gradually they should get in the habit. Those who are cradle Orthodox or have been there a while should know better from the example of the pious women in the congregation and from the general policy of the Church.

    Essentially, you’re saying St. Paul and all the bishops and priests of generations past who required head covering are Pharisees. Then you strain on the knat of evolution.

    You’re just setting up straw dummies to knock down because you don’t believe in traditional Orthodox modesty.

    Good luck and God Bless

  35. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    Who is going to keep track of how long everyone has been in Church? From what St Paul said we should understand at least that women should not be ordained. Some other denominations went way off the tradition. You want to impose very tight rules on the practicing Orthodox such that they cannot keep them. This is what the Pharisees were blamed for.

    Hopefully, if there will be an all-Orthodox Council the dressing code will not be on its agenda!!! The Ecumenist heresy won’t be either since some very high hierarchs are ecumenists …

    I am more traditional than you think but I believe that sensitive problems (like a dressing code) can be harmful for the Church. It would be very much “undermining the Church for inside”.

    If you are still around I would like to ask you this question: what set of idea/beliefs are there in the world that you do not consider to be ideology.

  36. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    Who is going to keep track of how long everyone has been in Church? From what St Paul said we should understand at least that women should not be ordained. Some other denominations went way off the tradition. You want to impose very tight rules on the practicing Orthodox such that they cannot keep them. This is what the Pharisees were blamed for.

    Hopefully, if there will be an all-Orthodox Council the dressing code will not be on its agenda!!! The Ecumenist heresy won’t be either since some very high hierarchs are ecumenists …

    I am more traditional than you think but I believe that sensitive problems (like a dressing code) can be harmful for the Church. It would be very much “undermining the Church for inside”.

    If you are still around I would like to ask you this question: what set of ideas/beliefs are there in the world that you do not consider to be an ideology.

  37. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Michael Bauman says:

    Scott, philosophical naturalism which is at the root of the scientistic dogma of evolution (way beyond simple adaptation through natural selection). Just as one cannot be a communist and a Christian one cannot be a philosphical naturalist and be a Christian.

    There are many, many examples of key evolutionist spokesmen who have specifically said that they desire to replace Christian morality so they can be free to practice whatever sexual perversion they desire. Stephen Gould is one of the most recent. He also acknowledged the religous quality of evolutionary dogma, a dogma that excludes God, denies any need for salavation or any possibility for Resurrection. Abortion is one of its fruits as is the misogyny masquerading as feminism.

    Philosphical naturalism denies all of the higher human faculties and revels in our most base attributes. Unfortunately, the Protestant heresy that is most vocal in opposition to it, is one of its progenitors

    Why should women cover their heads? Why should we behave with modesty? Why should we honor marriage and it fruits, our children?

    If we are nothing but an evolved piece of protoplasm sucked from the primordial ooze by chance, there are no answers to those questions, they become supersitious legalisms of no value or merit.

    I, for one, would much rather have as a parishoner a reforming whore who has no modest clothes, but is seeking union with Christ, than all the legalistic pretenders in the world.

  38. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    Michael Bauman:
    Kind of rough but well said:

    I, for one, would much rather have as a parishoner a reforming whore who has no modest clothes, but is seeking union with Christ, than all the legalistic pretenders in the world.

    Kind of rough but well said.

    Seeking union with Christ is the most important thing. False piety or imposed piety is something useless. As you grow in faith you appreciate modesty, patience and all that in Christianity is called virtue.

    Abortion is one of its fruits as is the misogyny masquerading as feminism.

    Atheists are by definition godless, but there is a subtle distinction between atheism and godlessness. Atheism is the absence of belief in gods; godlessness is the absence of gods. The evolution theory brought godlessness in the world. This is an illness that causes all the symptoms that we see around: abortion, feminism, immorality , etc.

  39. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ. Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man.” – 1 Corinthians 11:2-9

    “For this reason the woman should have authority on her head, because of the angels.” – 1 Corinthians 11:10

    What part of this do you all not understand or believe?

    “You want to impose very tight rules on the practicing Orthodox such that they cannot keep them. This is what the Pharisees were blamed for.”

    Women covering their heads is not a “very tight rule” except when viewed from a progressive perspective in a progressive society. It is utterly easy to cover ones head. Much easier than fasting. The only thing stopping a person is feminist pride. If that is your view, so be it.

    “If we are nothing but an evolved piece of protoplasm sucked from the primordial ooze by chance, there are no answers to those questions, they become supersitious legalisms of no value or merit.”

    Agreed. The key words there are “nothing but” and “by chance”.

    “I, for one, would much rather have as a parishoner a reforming whore who has no modest clothes, but is seeking union with Christ, than all the legalistic pretenders in the world.”

    a. But you would eventually want the “reforming whore” to actually reform her dress habits, even donating appropriate clothing for her, I assume.

    b. If you have degenerated to the point that you think head covering is legalistic pretension, then there’s nothing I can say to persuade you otherwise. 1900 hundred years of legalistic pretension in the Church and a recent “enlightenment” that it’s all pharisaical, including St. Paul (and during his post-Pharisee period no less. I’m sure he would be amused.)

    It is amazing to me the defenses that you all put up against women covering their heads. First, Eliot raises the specter of a young woman visiting the church for the first time met at the door and assaulted by someone making her cover her head before she even has a chance to hear the Creed. Then he suggests that it is some intolerable burden. Then you, Michael, pull out the situation of a recovering prostitute who has no appropriate clothing. Does any of this have any application whatsoever to a general policy of women covering their heads?

    You are scared that you will be perceived as misogynistic and that you will scare off those whose sensibilities have been deranged by feminism. That is what is at work here and that is all that is at work here, rationalizations aside.

  40. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    “If you are still around I would like to ask you this question: what set of ideas/beliefs are there in the world that you do not consider to be an ideology.”

    As I wrote above, it depends on how technical you want to be in defining “ideology”. Islam probably wasn’t an ideology for most of its history. Islamism, the political application of Islam, could be considered an ideology. The early years of a religion, and serious revivals of it, do have a distinct ideological character to them. They begin to think of their beliefs as a system to be applied to change the world, take organized, focused concerted actions to make it happen, and initiate (or revive) some sense of internal accountability toward this end. That was certainly the case in early Islam and the Islam of the Islamic Revival. It is also true of the early Church and would be true of any real Christian revival. Of course, a Christianism would apply different methods to achieve a different goal than Islamism, but if you need a very rough example to help you understand my point, that will have to do.

    The early Church was much more disciplined about excommunicating wrongdoers, restricting divorce, witnessing against a pagan culture (even to the point of martyrdom), modesty, tithing, etc.

  41. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    In my post 38 above, it should read “1900 years” not “1900 hundred years”.

  42. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    Scott Pennington:
    This is becoming quite interesting! You are full of “surprises “…

    Islam probably wasn’t an ideology for most of its history.

    What could this mean? I know that Islam appeared about 600 years after Christianity and they copied a quite lot from our tradition. You seem to place it above Christianity (in a way).

    Does not say somewhere that the Apostles would dress according to the custom of the region when they went to teach all nations? I do not have anything against “head covering”. I do not like it to be imposed because it is harmful for the church. Yes, even the clothing we wear is a spiritual act but it has to come from inside, not to be imposed.

    Many people are going to hell holding their Bibles in their hands. All the denominations that are out there are focusing on different passages of the Scriptures and interpreting them without seeing the connection with similar paragraphs. We are the Apostles of our time and we may dress according to the custom of the “region”. What contemporary saint that you know of was so strict regarding a dress code? St John Maximovitch severely admonished his flock when they went to a Halloween party instead of coming to church but I did not hear that he imposed a dress code. Looks like you want to copy from Islam. We do not need anything from them.

  43. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    “I know that Islam appeared about 600 years after Christianity and they copied a quite lot from our tradition.”

    True, maybe even the Christian tradition of women covering their heads.

    “You seem to place it above Christianity (in a way).”

    No, not in any way.

    “Does not say somewhere that the Apostles would dress according to the custom of the region when they went to teach all nations?”

    And which Apostles, pray tell, were women?

    “I do not have anything against ‘head covering’. I do not like it to be imposed because it is harmful for the church.”

    Yes, you do have something against it. And if it were harmful the Church would not have had a policy of headcovering for women in place from its earliest days.

    “All the denominations that are out there are focusing on different passages of the Scriptures and interpreting them without seeing the connection with similar paragraphs.”

    Which is why the Church reserves the right to interpret Scripture to itself. The same Church that called women to cover their heads for over 1900 years.

    There is nothing “strict” about women covering their heads or not dressing suggestively.

    “Woman and man are to go to church decently attired, with natural step, embracing silence. . .. Let the woman observe this, further: Let her be entirely covered, unless she happens to be at home. For that style of dress is serious and protects from being gazed at. And she will never fall, who puts before her eyes modesty and her veil. Nor will she invite another to fall into sin by uncovering her face. For this is the wish of the Word, since it is becoming for her to pray veiled. Clement of Alexandria (circa 195 AD), 2.290.”

    In his twenty-sixth Homily on I Corinthians (Patrologia Graeca, Vol. LXI, Cols. 219-220), St. John Chrysostomos, citing St. Paul’s declaration, “[I]f a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering” (I Corinthians 11:15), pointedly notes that this understanding is “not unknown even to Barbarians.” He further observes that “it is a shame for a woman to have cut hair or a shaved head.” With regard to controversy arising from St. Paul’s prescription that woman cover their heads in Church, he writes: “‘And if…[her hair]…be given her for a covering,’ say you, ‘wherefore need she add another covering?’ That not only nature, but also her own will may take part in her acknowledgment of subjection.” In short, the Divine Chrysostomos, one of the greatest of the Church Fathers, supports St. Paul’s desire that a Christian woman should not cut and shave her hair, while pointing out that the obedience of covering her head in prayer is an act of subjection to God and the Church. He further warns that to ignore these things is to “subvert the very laws of nature” and demonstrates a spirit of “most insolent rashness.” – from Orthodoxinfo

    On these subjects the canonical witness of the Church is also not silent. The Ninety-Sixth Canon of the Synod in Trullo ["Penthekte"] reads: “Those who are by baptism clothed in Christ have professed that they will imitate His way of life in the flesh. Those, therefore, who style and trim the hairs of their head, to the ruin of onlookers, with inventive intertwinings, and thereby provide enticement for unstable souls, we paternally proffer an appropriate penance, so as to cure them, instructing and teaching them to live prudently, setting aside the deceit and vanity of materialism, that they might ever give over their minds to a blessed life without havoc, being fearful in their pure intercourse, thus approaching God to the extent possible through their purity of life; embellishing the inner man instead of the outer, so that, adorned with virtues and sweet and blameless ways, there might not be in them the remains of the coarseness of the adversary. But if any should act in opposition to the present Canon, let him be kept from communing.” (See Pedalion, or The Rudder, Thessaloniki: B. Regopoulos, 1982, p. 305).

    Commenting in his “Interpretation” of this Canon, St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite punctuates the fact that it provides excommunication (suspension from Holy Communion for a period of time, as specified by one’s Confessor) for “those Christians who style the hair of their head, and comb it and wave it, and flaunt it as enticement to those souls who are of weak faith and easily led astray,” pointing out that this admonition falls on both men and women. He emphasizes that Christians must conduct themselves in an innocent and pure manner, avoiding all vanity and falseness, adorning the soul with virtue and eschewing the marks of the Devil that the stylish adorning of the body entails. (Ibid., pp. 304-306.) – Orthodoxinfo.

  44. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    The yoke of Christ seems difficult for immature minds/ and His commandments burdensome. They think that it is not really necessary to keep that which God and His Holy Church command us. To them it seems possible to serve God and the world at the same time. They say, “We are already strong enough to withstand destructive temptations and seductions. We can hold on to the truth and sound teachings by ourselves. Slow us to perfect our minds through acquiring many kinds of knowledge. Let us strengthen our wills ourselves amid temptations and seductions. Through experience our senses will become convinced of the vileness of vice!” Are such desires any better than the ill-considered request of the younger son to his father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me” ?

    And so, a light-minded youth ceases to heed the commandments and admonitions of the Holy Church. He ceases to study the Word of God and the teachings of the Holy Fathers, and listens intently to the sophistries of those who are falsely called teachers, and in these pursuits he kills the best hours of his life. He goes to church less frequently or stands there inattentively, distracted. He does not find the opportunity to devote himself to piety and to exercise himself in the virtues, because he spends so much time attending shows, public entertainments, etc. In a word, with each day he gives himself up more and more to the world, and, finally, he goes off to “a far country.” – St. John Maximovitch, A Word to the Youth

    What do you think this Russian Orthodox hierarch, whom you refer to above, would have said about women covering their heads?

  45. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Fr. Francis DesMarais says:

    Greetings, from a Priest who shaves and is getting a haircut next week!

    It appears to me that this thread has moved quite a distance away from the initial topic of the 30 Episcopalians received into the Church. And if this conversation between Scott & Eliot continues in the direction it’s going, they may be having second thoughts. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to return to the topic, or just say – “to the ages of ages. AMEN!”

    Fr. Francis

  46. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    Scott Pennington:

    And which Apostles, pray tell, were women?

    St Photini, Great Martyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles. St. Mary of Egypt was certainly not praying with her head covered.

    So I say again:

    Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and intemperance. Blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup in order that its outside may come to be clean. (Matt 23: 25-26)

    I will assume the best of you, I’ll assume that you are an Orthodox and I’ll pray for you.

    I will end the discussion since you could not do that.

  47. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eliot Ryan says:

    Good morning Fr. Francis DesMarais!
    You can shave and have haircuts. It does not matter as long as you keep Christ in your heart!

  48. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    Fr. Francis,

    Sorry to hear that you shave.

    Amen.

  49. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Fr. Francis DesMarais says:

    My Dear Brother in Christ Scott,

    Yes, I’m a real backslider. and I even pray without using archaic Elizabethan English. I suppose now we’ll hear cries of ANATHEMA! Well, man looks on the outside, but God looks into the heart – and even understands modern English! So maybe he can welcome more than one into the fold at the same time.

    From Glory to Glory advancing….

    Fr. Francis – shorn but not lost!

  50. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    Fr. Francis,

    Forgive me if I’ve been too cold to you. My parish uses modern English too. Don’t have a problem with it at all. I do like bearded clergy though, won’t elaborate on why, but it’s not the end of the world if a priest shaves.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Scott

  51. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Fr. Francis DesMarais says:

    Hello Scott,

    Thank you for the assurance of warm brotherly expressions. I never doubted their presence in our exchange of thoughts. And just to ease the shock of shorn clergy, let me say that I usually sprout the beard during fasting seasons. So the razor takes a break soon. Oh yes, please allow me one more thought – even further afar from the 30 Converts – do you think that all men should go unshaven? We are all “priests” and called to holiness thanks to our Baptism. If that’s the case then Gillette should pull out of Orthodox countries.

    A joyous and fulfilling Meatfare Lord’s Day to you and all.

    Fr. Francis

  52. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Scott Pennington says:

    Fr. Francis,

    I assume your question was not rhetorical: Hair grows on the faces of most men, although there are certain races where facial hair is much more scarce. There are a few reasons I can think of for all men to wear beards, but with priests there’s the iconic role. Man is naturally bearded, Christ was bearded, it’s also a masculine trait that is characteristic of fatherhood. If further distinguishes the genders in a world where androgyny is the contemporary fad.

    That said, being a layman I only grow a beard from time to time, like you.

    All the best and a joyful Maslenitsa,
    Scott

  53. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    DKG says:

    The Antiochians do not rebaptise, or at least the real ones. This is simply the actions of one of those flaky Evangelical convert groups (who were themselves not rebaptised when they became Byzantine). What is even more interesting is that in the same Antiochian Archdiocese several more Charismatic Episcopal groups have been received via chrismation, so much of theological unity. One can only say that it seems to be every priest for himself.

Care to comment?

*