Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Is The Orthodox Church Divided?

"People in our time speak of the 'divided Church' and the urgent need of 'reuniting it.'  Father Florovsky remarks that "the Church is not divided, has not been divided, did not divide ... and is not divisible."  What is divided is the Christian world.  This "is in a state of descent, conflict and ¯ is it not time to admit it? ¯ in collapse. ..."  We should not speak of "disunion in the Church, but of disassociation from the Church." (Dr. Constantine Carvanos speaking on the blessed Fr. Georges Florovsky's teaching on Ecumenism.)


  1. These are indeed difficult days.

  2. Darlene,

    Where evil abounds, grace does much more abound!

  3. Nathan,

    I just read your article, "Do Orthodox and Baptists Have a Similarity of Beliefs"? It has disturbed me from the beginning that I was only chrismated and not baptized into the Church. I've tried to get answers but to no avail. The answers only compound the problem because they contradict each other.

    The defense for chrismation is that the Russian Orthodox Church didn't always baptize converts. There were times when the Church received Catholics by chrismation alone. But baptism isn't the only issue.

    There is the issue of women being allowed to preach in the Antiochian jurisdiction if they get a "blessing" from the bishop to do so. I spoke out against this practice on the monachos forum and said that if I was attending a service and a woman began to preach the sermon, I would walk out. I had enough liberalism in Protestantism - I didn't become an Orthodox Christian to have more of the same. The admonishment was how dare I or anyone criticize or disobey his bishop.

    So obeying a bishop, regardless of whether that bishop has strayed from the faith, has become the standard for being an Orthodox Christian. So this boils down to looking the other way. For example, I was given permission to be annointed with oil and prayed over for healing by Evangelical Christians AFTER my acceptance into the OCA by the bishop. Not long afterward I questioned such an allowance. If it's wrong to partake of the Lord's Supper in a non-Orthodox community, then why isn't it wrong to be annointed with oil and prayed over for healing among the heterodox? Where does one draw the line?

    So as you can see, I have many questions.

  4. Darlene,
    It is God's grace that is giving you the unction to question. I have always said that God is not afraid of our questions. If you run across anyone, be they priest or bishop, that is afraid of questions, it is a good indication that they do not have the heart of God.

    Unfortunately, the reason most try to shut down questions is because they have no answer or the answer is an idictment to them. One of the most common ways that questions are thwarted is to distract by questioning the questioner. Shooting the messeger is an age old ploy. I have had my share of that on this blog. I particulary dealt with it in the comment section of "Why We Left, Where We Went." Some of those Antiochians got all riled up, but did not answer one question I raised!

    Be of good cheer. Many have come this way and many are coming this way. We have a young family in our parish who have left the OCA after 10 years. His final straw was the priest's response to a question. The priest chuckled and just walked away. The young family is now pursuing baptism...what a novel thought!

    Please let me know how I may be of help. And e-mail me when you are comfortable enough. I may be able to refer you to a community in your area where you may ask questions of people who will answer with joy!

  5. I also read that Father Seraphim Rose of blessed memory was received into the Church by chrismation only. Do you know if this is true?

  6. Darlene, I have heard the same but don't know the circumstances. What we do know is that the canons and the faith teach that a person is to be baptized for the remission of sins. Baptism is the entry into the church. Examples of economy throughout the history of the chruch are being used today to diminish the purpsoe and need of baptism. Through ecumenism it has become the norm. Everyone's water is now fine..."come on in". There is one faith and one baptism- that is the gospel. There is one way to heaven- through Jesus Christ. The World Orthodox, including the OCA, through the Eucumenical Movement and the World Council of Churches, now even accept Islam as a valid path.
    Even Christ was baptized and we expect economy through chrismation?

  7. Nathan,
    Have you actually heard Orthodox clergy say or teach that Islam is a valid path to God? I know that since Vatican II the Roman Catholic Church has taught this. But I've never heard or read anywhere of an Orthodox cleryman teaching this. If this is so, can you point me to a reliable source where I am able to read it in context? I don't doubt what you're saying, but I am one who needs to learn from orginal sources and primary texts.

  8. Darlene, here is an answer I gave recently to a similar question:

    Orthodox, Here are some resources to get you started.

    Fr John said: “[Metropolitan PHILIP] instructs his priest to only allow Orthodox to receive the Eucharist.” Again, this is true, at least on the official level. However, I have been informed by multiple participants (from many different jurisdictions) in the Antiochian House of Studies program that they were instructed at the House of Studies by Fr George Shalhoub (one of the four priests to sign the Detroit letter and an approved teacher at the House of Studies) to allow certain Muslims to commune. Apparently, these seminarians and other participants in the House of Studies were told (and obviously scandalized!!!) that Muslim women who marry Orthodox men should be given communion without being catechized, baptized or chrismated. If Metropolitan PHILIP’s stance is that only the Orthodox should be communed, why has an Archdiocesan-approved teacher of all Antiochian seminarians and St Stephen’s program participants been allowed to openly and publicly teach to the contrary?

    Remember, if Phillip is in communion with the heretic Bartholomew, then he is also complicit in his heresy. All of World Orthodoxy is complicit.


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