Eastern Orthodox Q&A

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Eleventh Doctor
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Eastern Orthodox Q&A

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So I noticed you all have Q&A threads for different denominations so I thought I'd throw my fez in the ring too and start one of my own. To start off a little about my journey. I was raised a Plymouth Brethren, and have attended Presbyterian and non-denominational reformed churches over the years. When I went to college I stopped going to church and didn't go for about two years. When I started looking again I found Eastern Orthodoxy.

This is a quote many Eastern Orthodox churches use to briefly explain who we are: We are Orthodox , but not Jewish. We are Catholic, but not Roman. We are evangelical--rooted in the Scriptures and preaching the good news of Jesus Christ-- but are not Protestant. We are not non-denominational we are pre-denominational. We believe that we are the ancient Church, worshiping and believing in the faith given to us by the Apostles once and for always and handed down over the past 2,000 years.

This is a slightly more expanded version of what I said: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7052#

And this is the website of the parish I attend now: http://www.stmaryorthodox.org/

Fire away with any question.
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Mara
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How does Eastern Orthodox differ from Roman Catholicism?
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Eleventh Doctor
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Well the first and biggest would be the Pope. Eastern Orthodox does have a hierarchy but no one person is the supreme ruler of the Church. Most countries that have Orthodox populations have what's called a synod of bishops, essentially all of the bishops in a country. This synod deals with ecclesiastical issues and guides the Orthodox Church in that country. We share the same faith and beliefs but the flavor, for lack of a better term, varies from country to country; most often in style of music and hymnography.

We also have a different canon of Scripture having 78 books in the Bible versus the Catholics 71 and the Protestants 66.

On the doctrines of original sin and substitutionary atonement we would disagree with both the Catholic and Protestant view on both of those. Orthodox place the emphasis not on a change in legal status before God but in a renewing of our human nature which allows us to enter into a right relationship with Christ. We believe that our human nature is inherently good and that we are not guilty of Adam's original sin but our own sins.

On a specifically Catholic doctrine we do not believe in the immaculate conception of Mary.

Our priests unlike Catholic ones can be married.

The reason most often given as the direct cause of the Schism between the East and West is the Filioque. The part of the Nicean Creed that says "And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father." Was changed by the West to say "And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son." The Protestants left the change in during the Reformation. The Eastern Church kept the original.

There are many other differences that I won't go into now, if you have a specific practice or belief you're curious about fire away.
King of The Lands of Rhetoric, Lord Ruler of the Debate Vampires, and Duke of Quebec

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About the Filioque. Why do you believe that the Spirit does not also proceed from the Son? Jesus specifically said both that His Father would send the Spirit and that He Himself would send the Spirit.
Formerly Christian A. :)
Jeremiah 13:23
Ezekiel 36:26-27
Ephesians 2:4-10

God has done the impossible! He has, in effect, changed a leopard's spots into stripes! He turned me, one who was accustomed to do evil, into one who can walk in good works! He brought me to life from the dead and gave me His Spirit, in order to cause me to walk in His statutes! He has totally changed me, and it is all for His glory!
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Eleventh Doctor
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The use of proceed here doesn't refer to being sent anywhere but is instead referring to the fact that the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father, i.e. the Father is the source of the Holy Spirits continual existence. The problem with the Filioque is that it distorts the balance of the Trinity. Orthodoxy Triadology consists in the notion that for any given trait, it must be either common to all Persons of the Trinity or unique to one of them. Thus, Fatherhood is unique to the Father, while begottenness is unique to the Son, and procession unique to the Spirit. Godhood, however, is common to all, as is eternality, uncreatedness, and so forth. Positing that something can be shared by two Persons (i.e., being the source of the Spirit's procession) but not the other is to elevate those two Persons at the expense of the other. Thus, the balance of unity and diversity is destroyed.
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But if God, by definition is self-sufficient and self-existent, wouldn't that make each member self-existent and not dependent on the others for existence? I'm not totally clear on this myself, but I was always taught that procession was a description of how the Spirit is sent by Father and Son, not that the Spirit receives His life and existence from the Father. That makes Him seem lesser, wouldn't you say?
Formerly Christian A. :)
Jeremiah 13:23
Ezekiel 36:26-27
Ephesians 2:4-10

God has done the impossible! He has, in effect, changed a leopard's spots into stripes! He turned me, one who was accustomed to do evil, into one who can walk in good works! He brought me to life from the dead and gave me His Spirit, in order to cause me to walk in His statutes! He has totally changed me, and it is all for His glory!
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Eleventh Doctor
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It only makes the Holy Spirit lesser if the Son is also responsible for the continual existence. And likewise the Son is eternally begotten by the Father but not by the Holy Spirit. To maintain balance any given trait, must be either common to all Persons of the Trinity or unique to one of them so even if you don't agree with my definition of procession the Father and Son sending the Holy Spirit still creates unbalance.
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I don't think I hold to this idea of the "Triad" that you're talking about. I think a trait can belong to two members of the Trinity and not the others. The Holy Spirit and the Father both function to give glory to Christ. The Holy Spirit submits to Christ and Christ submits to the Father. Those are both examples where two members do something and the other doesn't. Is the "Triad" idea something you get from the Bible, or is it mainly from tradition?
Formerly Christian A. :)
Jeremiah 13:23
Ezekiel 36:26-27
Ephesians 2:4-10

God has done the impossible! He has, in effect, changed a leopard's spots into stripes! He turned me, one who was accustomed to do evil, into one who can walk in good works! He brought me to life from the dead and gave me His Spirit, in order to cause me to walk in His statutes! He has totally changed me, and it is all for His glory!
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Eleventh Doctor
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What is an example of the Holy Spirit and the Father giving glory to Christ? And I'm not talking about a one time event, this idea of balance in the Trinity is about attributes that members of the Trinity have. Also with the Holy Spirit submitting to Christ who submits to the Fathers that sounds as though you've established a hierarchy in the Trinity.

This concept comes from a Traditional interpretation of Scripture.
King of The Lands of Rhetoric, Lord Ruler of the Debate Vampires, and Duke of Quebec

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Eleventh Doctor wrote:What is an example of the Holy Spirit and the Father giving glory to Christ? And I'm not talking about a one time event, this idea of balance in the Trinity is about attributes that members of the Trinity have.
John 16:14="He [the Holy Spirit] shall glorify Me [Jesus]: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you."

John 17:5="And now, O Father, glorify Me in Your presence, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."
Eleventh Doctor wrote:Also with the Holy Spirit submitting to Christ who submits to the Fathers that sounds as though you've established a hierarchy in the Trinity.
Is this not the case...?
This concept comes from a Traditional interpretation of Scripture.
Aha. Clever. Fair enough, I guess. I could probably say the same thing about my view of the Trinity.
Formerly Christian A. :)
Jeremiah 13:23
Ezekiel 36:26-27
Ephesians 2:4-10

God has done the impossible! He has, in effect, changed a leopard's spots into stripes! He turned me, one who was accustomed to do evil, into one who can walk in good works! He brought me to life from the dead and gave me His Spirit, in order to cause me to walk in His statutes! He has totally changed me, and it is all for His glory!
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Eleventh Doctor
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Well like I said I am more talking about an attribute of the Trinity rather than a one time event. That is a good argument though it just doesn't quite convince me.

I don't believe there is a hierarchy within the Trinity, to me that would make them three gods instead of three persons. It's a fine distinction but one that I think is important.

I'm sure you would say that :P

But in any case let me ask you this, why do you think the reformers kept the Filoque? It's a Roman Catholic innovation, it seems to me that's just the thing the reformers would have gotten rid of.
King of The Lands of Rhetoric, Lord Ruler of the Debate Vampires, and Duke of Quebec

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*is happy that Ayn said he had a good arguement for once* :D

I don't think it makes three gods. Jesus chose to submit to His Father, the Spirit chose to submit to them both. Jesus and the Spirit do the Father's will; the Father doesn't do Jesus' or the Spirit's will. Their submission does not make them any less than one another. It's just a function that they have chosen to have within their relationships.

The Reformers weren't consumed with getting rid of absolutely anything that smelled of Catholicism. Only the things that were extra-Biblical. Some of them even kept infant baptism, which Reformed Baptists would disagree with today.
Formerly Christian A. :)
Jeremiah 13:23
Ezekiel 36:26-27
Ephesians 2:4-10

God has done the impossible! He has, in effect, changed a leopard's spots into stripes! He turned me, one who was accustomed to do evil, into one who can walk in good works! He brought me to life from the dead and gave me His Spirit, in order to cause me to walk in His statutes! He has totally changed me, and it is all for His glory!
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gabbygirl17
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How come you have 78 books of the Bible?
"Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts." - Jeremiah 15:16
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Eleventh Doctor
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@CA I can see your side that it doesn't create three gods but to me it still creates a hierarchy and that goes against my understanding of the Trinity.

What are your thoughts on infant baptism?

@gabbygirl We have 78 books of the Bible because that is how many books you have when you use the Old Testament Septuagint, which is what Christ and the Apostles used. The Early Church at the Council of Hippo in 393 and 397 decided that 78, with the addition of the New Testament books we all agree on, would be the number of books in the Bible.
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Infant baptism... is a tricky subject for me. I can totally see the reasoning behind why the Presbyterians do it: that it is the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament shadow of circumcision. But I think that just as only those who were born into the Old Covenant (the Jewish nation) were circumcised, so only those who have been born into the New Covenant (the Church) should be baptized.

And I definitely don't agree with the Catholic view that it cleanses from original sin. Obviously you wouldn't hold to that either. But what do you believe about it? I don't think I've ever really asked you about your views on baptism.
Formerly Christian A. :)
Jeremiah 13:23
Ezekiel 36:26-27
Ephesians 2:4-10

God has done the impossible! He has, in effect, changed a leopard's spots into stripes! He turned me, one who was accustomed to do evil, into one who can walk in good works! He brought me to life from the dead and gave me His Spirit, in order to cause me to walk in His statutes! He has totally changed me, and it is all for His glory!
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Eleventh Doctor
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While we don't believe in original sin we do confirm what the Nicene Creed says "We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins." So in a very real, non-symbolic, sense it does cleanse of us sin, transform our nature, and unite us with Christ in His death, burial, and Resurrection. We do baptize infants since we see no reason not to unite a child with Christ and secure them against the power of Satan. In fact the Orthodox baptism service includes an exorcism at the beginning. Also as part of the baptism service those being baptized are Chrismated or anointed with holy oil to grant us the gift and seal of the Holy Spirit.
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Eleventh Doctor wrote:@CA I can see your side that it doesn't create three gods but to me it still creates a hierarchy and that goes against my understanding of the Trinity.

What are your thoughts on infant baptism?

@gabbygirl We have 78 books of the Bible because that is how many books you have when you use the Old Testament Septuagint, which is what Christ and the Apostles used. The Early Church at the Council of Hippo in 393 and 397 decided that 78, with the addition of the New Testament books we all agree on, would be the number of books in the Bible.

Oh okay....hmm..how come the protestant Bible only has 66??
"Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts." - Jeremiah 15:16
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Eleventh Doctor wrote:While we don't believe in original sin we do confirm what the Nicene Creed says "We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins." So in a very real, non-symbolic, sense it does cleanse of us sin, transform our nature, and unite us with Christ in His death, burial, and Resurrection. We do baptize infants since we see no reason not to unite a child with Christ and secure them against the power of Satan. In fact the Orthodox baptism service includes an exorcism at the beginning. Also as part of the baptism service those being baptized are Chrismated or anointed with holy oil to grant us the gift and seal of the Holy Spirit.
Interesting... So, whether or not they are willing, anyone can receive all of these blessings merely because they have been anointed and/or baptized? What if you gave an atheist an anesthetic and then put him through all of these exercises? Would he wake up a child of God, united with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection? Or is there some sort of "age of accountability" where people have to start giving consent before they are baptized and anointed?
Formerly Christian A. :)
Jeremiah 13:23
Ezekiel 36:26-27
Ephesians 2:4-10

God has done the impossible! He has, in effect, changed a leopard's spots into stripes! He turned me, one who was accustomed to do evil, into one who can walk in good works! He brought me to life from the dead and gave me His Spirit, in order to cause me to walk in His statutes! He has totally changed me, and it is all for His glory!
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Eleventh Doctor
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@gabbygirl Protestants use the Masoretic text which is an Old Testament text put together by a group of Rabbi in the 2nd century AD and finalized and generally accepted by the Jewish community around the 7th century AD. I'm not sure why the switch was made from the Catholic Vulgate texts to the Masoretic text.

@CA No people cannot unwillingly receive all of these blessings. When we baptize infants it is done so with the consent of the child's parents and godparents. But we couldn't knock someone out and force them to become a Christian. And in any case the baptism itself is not salvation, the person or infant baptized has united with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection and united to the Church but they must continue to grow closer to God.
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Okay... I'm confused then. Baptism is not actually salvation, but it does unite them with Christ. Can they be un-united with Christ? They can be crucified with Christ, and raised together with Him, but then if they don't follow through in how they live, their baptism is negated and they are no longer children of God?
Formerly Christian A. :)
Jeremiah 13:23
Ezekiel 36:26-27
Ephesians 2:4-10

God has done the impossible! He has, in effect, changed a leopard's spots into stripes! He turned me, one who was accustomed to do evil, into one who can walk in good works! He brought me to life from the dead and gave me His Spirit, in order to cause me to walk in His statutes! He has totally changed me, and it is all for His glory!
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