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Switch to Forum Live View Catholic + Protestant + Jewish = Orthodox?
9 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2008 - 6:19PM #1
Posts: 44
In externals, Orthodox Christians in North America most closely resemble Roman Catholics. They share a similar sacramental view of life; a threefold ordained ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons; liturgical forms of corporate worship; traditional forms of piety such as fasting, prayer, monasticism, etc.; highly developed forms of religious art (iconography) and sacred music (chants); and generally "conservative" positions on contemporary moral issues.

In administration the Orthodox in North America most closely resemble Protestants. Like American Lutherans of fifty years ago, the Orthodox in North America are at present splintered into 32 distinct administrative "jurisdictions," divisions based largely on ethnic origin and politics, both secular and ecclesiastical. In self-identity, however, Orthodox Christians in North America are most like Orthodox Jews; a people apart, unable, and at times unwilling, to separate the claims of race, religion, and politics: people for whom the Greek term "diaspora" (literally, "dispersion") has been an expression of enduring meaning.

~ Mark Stokoe and the Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky.

Orthodox Christians in North America 1794 - 1994

Is this a valid statement? 

Is it a critique, or a positive observation?  How so?   

To me this indicates that, whatever gains are made,  the Orthodox Church in the United States will have a difficult time making an impact in the U.S.  I, for one, am confused by the OC and - while up to now I never thought about it in the above categories - they do make sense to me as a way to express my confusion. 

What do you think are the implications of this statement?

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9 years ago  ::  Nov 24, 2008 - 11:43AM #2
Posts: 144

Is this a valid statement?

Is it a critique, or a positive observation? How so?

  I would say it is an observation, not positive or negative, but the remark talks about external resembles.  What may confuse outside observers is that Orthodox Christianity is not trying to be the kind of “religion” that America likes.  It does not try to fit in to the American way or to the times.
  It does not even comfortably call itself a “religion”; it sees itself more as a way of life in Christ and in His community.    It is the way of life that Christ taught his disciples.   Followers of Christ were sent out to teach others. But they were not sent out on their own. They were given the gift of the Holy Spirit to help them remember all that they were taught. They were also given the Church, the Body of Christ, to be as one.
  This way of life has been passed down for about 2000 years without losing anything. Besides acquiring the benefits of this way of life, Orthodox Christians strongly try to preserve and protect what has been past down from Apostolic times, and to pass it on unchanged. 
  So what keeps the Orthodox Church in check, is its 2000-year history.  If dogmatic questions arise, the answer as to what Orthodoxy believes, can be found by asking if the belief was taught always and everywhere.  False teachings spring up from time to time and in some places, but if one looks at the Orthodox Church in its completeness, everywhere and from all times, the true teachings can be found.   
  Remember, to Orthodox Christians, the Church is not an earthly organization, it is participation in a community that includes the mystical presence of God.  It is a mater of faith, a way to open ourselves to divine grace and purify ourselves from all evils, so we can interpret the scriptures properly, and come to a living communion with the living God who has revealed Himself and continues to reveal Himself to those who love Him. The only way to really learn about Orthodox Christianity is to come see, learn, and participate. It can not be understood from outside the Church, and from inside the Church it is not explainable in words, but in Spirit.

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