Are there any Orthodox Christians here?

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Greetings to any Orthodox Christians who are on this board. I'm curious to know:

Catholics and Protestants each tend to point fingers at the other as "the other kind" of Christianity; effectively "ignoring" you guys just because you haven't historically occupied western Europe.

1) What do Orthodox Christians think of the Catholic church's claim to be THE universal church? Are they equal or lesser authority than the Orthodox church?
2) What do Orthodox Christians think of Protestants who claim to have greater authority than the church through our adherence to the scriptures?

Pardon my ignorance in advance if these are dumb questions.

Thanks!
 

ZoneChaos

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BY "Orthodox" are you referring to the "Eastern Orthodox Church", or just the defiintion of orthodox in general?

Generally, "orthodox" is just adhering to a traditional set of views, however, there is also a denomination called the "Eastern Orthodox Church", and it is also correct to use the term "Orthodox" to refer to a member of that organization.
 
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ZiSunka

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I'm of anabaptist affliation, spiritually speaking, so I'm not catholic, protestant or othrodox. Sometimes I'm really odd man out.

I'd rather refrain from saying what I think about either church system, except to say that when one elects to follow a man-made system, one can be so focused on that system that he/she might lose sight of the real goal.

I can find nothing in scripture that recommends one church system over another. I can find scripture that recommends not dividing up into denominations, but to keep the focus on our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, I hope that answers what you asked.
 
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Originally posted by ZoneChaos
BY "Orthodox" are you referring to the "Eastern Orthodox Church", or just the defiintion of orthodox in general?

Generally, "orthodox" is just adhering to a traditional set of views, however, there is also a denomination called the "Eastern Orthodox Church", and it is also correct to use the term "Orthodox" to refer to a member of that organization.

I mean the Eastern (Greek, Russian, etc) Orthodox church.
 
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Navigator

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I have run across two (or more) people of the Orthodox (big-O) tradition on-line.

one is Working On It, who is a moderator at The Parlor, he is from the Antiochian strain.

The other is Justin, who posts at Theology Online.

Hope that helps in your search.

(Personally, I've found the Orthodox tradition very rich, and logical when explained, and far from the mystical label that is usually attached. Seeing some real ICONS in a museum in Juneau, Alaska was very fascinating.)

Peace.
 
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I've known several Greek Orthodox members over the years, in fact there's an Orthodox church just down the street from me. The way I've understood it is that alot of their practices and traditions are similar to Roman Catholics, but there's enough difference to warrant a separate church. Orthodox churches generally baptize by immersion, do not permit graven images ("icons" are permitted), all clergy (except bishops) can marry, theres more but I dont remember all the differences.

As for the first question, they do not regard the Bishop of Rome (the pope) as the head of the Church. In fact, the schism of the two churches was primarily over this issue. I took this quote from the official Greek Orthodox website: www.goarch.org

"The Development Of The Pope's Claims To Supremacy. The roots of the claim of supremacy of the Bishop of Rome over the political and ecclesiastical leaders are to be found in the traditions of pagan Rome here the Emperor was the supreme Pontiff.

Millions of early Christians were persecuted and slaughtered because they refused to worship the Emperor as God. Their precious sacrifice did not destroy the super-throne; it was used merely to replace the pagan Emperor with the Christian Pope.

Thus, with that background, some of the bishops of Rome invented and manufactured fictitious theories of the pope's "divine right" to govern the affairs of State as well as of the Church. The claims thereby divided the Church, which by nature and principle was meant to be One; the bishops waged wars, created inquisitions, forced on the West the Great Protest, and finally, developed theories as to infallibility, and all of these in the name of God!

These fictitious theories, which were destined to be accepted as true for some centuries, though later recognized distinctly as the most cleverly manufactured falsehoods are three: The Pseudo-Clementines, the Pseudo-Isidorian Decrees, and the Pseudo-Constantine Donation..."

As for the second question, all the Orthodox Christians I've known regard protestants and baptists as fellow Christians, but as "separated brethren" much like RCs do today. I don't know if they regard it as a salvation issue though...
 
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brewmama

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The 3 main branches of Orthodoxy in America (Greek, Russian. Antiochian)are "separated" only by jurisdiction, not doctrine. They are all in communion with each other. There are also smaller ones, such as the Serbian and Romanian Churches. There is a process going on that hopefully will lead to a unity of jurisdiction in America, but it will take awhile.

The Orthodox Church views the Catholic Church as equal in authority (the Bishop of Rome being equal in authority to the other Bishops) but out of communion and having fallen into some error since their separation. The bit from the Greek site seems overly harsh however. There are some hard feelings in some areas of the Orthodox world toward the Roman Church.

The Orthodox Church vehemently disagrees with sola scriptura. Luther was in conversation with one of the Patriarchs, and was chided by him for his willful ways. Too bad, if Luther had gone over to the Orthodox Church instead of just starting his own, we would be spared so much of the separation that exists in Christianity today. Despite the claim by some that churches are "man made" and therefore not to be held up as an authority, it seems that the lack of authority at all has encouraged many Christians to become their own infallible Pope. I can't see that this is in any way superior to the historic Church. We believe that Christ started the Church, it's not man made. After all, in the Bible Christ left us the Church, not a book.
 
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dignitized

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lambslove: um . . . anabaptist is protestant. :) Any church which has sprung from the RCC - through the reformation - that rejects the sacraments and the authority of the pope is protestant. Churches on the otherhand which have retained the Historic Sacramental faith but are not in fellowship with say the RCC is said to be in Schism or Schismatic.

The Orthodox churchs and the RCC church are in Schism. The Anabaptists as reformationists - are Protestant.
 
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In response to question two. 2) What do Orthodox Christians think of Protestants who claim to have greater authority than the church through our adherence to the scriptures?

I think it is interesting that many Protestants finish the Lord's Prayer with "for Thine is the power and the glory for ever..". This is from the Didache, an early Christian manual based on the teachings of the Apostles....In other words, the historical Church not sola Scriptura. Unless the Protestants list the Didache as part of sola Scriptura. I could be wrong.
 
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On the first question of Orthodox thoughts regarding the Catholic Church (and any other ecclesiastical organization for that matter), I would refer the reader to this post

With regard to the second, it would be a mistake to try and put the two, Scripture and the Church, in opposition to each other when instead they are deeply interconnected.  Basically, the Scriptures can only be understood within the Church, and to take them out of such a context is to invite misunderstanding and heresy, while the Scriptures are the primary and preeminent means by which the Holy Spirit communicates to the Church.  The Scriptures are the standard by which the Church is judged, but the Scriptures must be understood within and under the guidance of the Church.  What prevents this from become circular and creating an all powerful interpeting magisterium of the moment is that to speak of the Church is not merely to speak of the institution in the present, but of a continuity of faith hearkening back to Christ as the Word of God, a continuity that involves not only the episcopacy, but all believers.
 
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CopticOrthodox

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In the beginning of Christianity there was only one Church.  It proceeded like this until 451 A.D. When what is now known as the Oriental Orthodox Church was cast out for a heresy we do not and did not hold.  It was strictly about poletics, and the result of human sin, there were no real doctrinal issues.

In 1054 (and around thereabouts) the Church further fissured into the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church, leaving 3 Communions, or bodies, all tracing their roots to the Apostles.  The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox are so similar that there is no point in differentiating between them for the purposes of this discussion.  So we have Catholics, who beleive doctrine progresses, and Orthodox, who believe that we must hold on to the faith taught by Christ to the Apostles, and passed from generation to generation without change.

In the 16th century, the Catholic Church was very corrupt (politically), and the Protestants broke off from them.  Protestants could not stand the Catholic Church, but they had no where else to look, so what they did was take the Bible alone, and try to build the Church from that.  The theory was that the Holy Spirit would lead each believer to the correct interpretation.  With 44 000 Protestant denominations, I'll leave you to draw conclusions about whether or not that has worked.

So from the Orthodox point of view, we have kept the original faith unchanged.  The Catholics have the original faith, but they have obscured it somewhat with "progress".  We are still deeply united by the 7 Sacraments that we share in common.  We are essentially one Church divided rather than 2 (or 3) Churches.  And the Protestants (from the Orthodox point of view), threw out some bad with the Reformation, but unfortuatly threw out much good with the bad, and have lost much of the Apostolic faith, since the Bible is not a catechism that answers all questions, but the history of salvation, much of which is written assuming an existing background knowledge of those already in the Church.

That Protestants have more authority since they have the Bible doesn't make much sense, since we have the Bible too, incluing several books Protestants have thrown out.  When I was a Protestant I had to work to make the faith I was taught fit what the Bible says, but now as an Orthodox Christian, the Bible and the faith I'm taught fit together so well, there is no effort in reconsiling them, they are completely complementary.
 
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Talmid HaYarok

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Questions to CopticOrthodox,

How do you view the divisions of the Ethiopian and Coptic churches?

Also, how do you view Constantine's expulsion of the Nazarenes from the churches and the church councils in 325? (Though its known that historically this wasn't generally enforced in the churches, it did take effect in the councils)

Also, if you have any Coptic church references for official views on these matters I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
 
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Gideon4God

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Today at 10:08 PM Talmid HaYarok said this in Post #14

Questions to CopticOrthodox,

How do you view the divisions of the Ethiopian and Coptic churches?

Also, how do you view Constantine's expulsion of the Nazarenes from the churches and the church councils in 325? (Though its known that historically this wasn't generally enforced in the churches, it did take effect in the councils)

Also, if you have any Coptic church references for official views on these matters I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

I didn't know of any divisions...I always thought that the Ethiopians had their own Patriarch and were in communion with each other?  CopticOrthodox, help? :scratch:
 
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CopticOrthodox

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The Ethiopians were part of the Coptic Orthodox Church until very receintly. They petitioned to become independent, and our Patriarch consecrated a Patriarch for them. So we're now two separate Churches, but only in juristiction, not in Communion, we're both still Oriental Orthodox. The relations between the two Churches are good, and we have several Ethiopian Orthodox Christians attending our Church. They get their kids baptised, they get ordained to the minor orders by our bishops, the have Communion with us, there's no separation. The Eritrian Orthodox Church split off from the Ethiopian Church, and became independent because there was a war between the Ethiopians and the Eritrians and there's hard feelings there, but again, Communion was not broken, we also have Eritrians at our Church and everyone gets along, it's just organization, not division.

I've never heard of the second issue you mention, sorry, I don't really know all that much in general.
 
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Talmid HaYarok

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Some background sources on the Ethiopian church.

Ethiopian links

Some links and beliefs of the Ethiopian church

Some more background on the Ethiopian church

Finally, Some background on the Anti-Semitism, the Council of Nicea, and Constantine. Based on the Constantine's calling of the Nicean council of 325.

My experience in Jerusaelm was that the Copts were very hostile to the Ethiopians. Indeed when the division of the two Patriarchates occurred the Ethiopian members were expelled from the Coptic churches in Jerusalem and founded or bought their own. I spent quite a fair amount of time at the Ethiopian patriarchate there and at the Ethiopian Monastery at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the Copts and Ethiopian Monks have watchers stationed outside there areas and don't let each other past).

I didn't get involved with any of the many religious divisions in Jerusalem though and I must say that Jerusalem is more religiously divisive than any place on earth. Still I had a great time with my Ethiopian brothers and enjoyed the wonderful fellowship and learned a fair amount of the fascinating Ethiopian church history.

Maybe you can stop by my thread at the bottom of the page about Messianic and Orthodox relations as well. I'd be glad to hear more from you on that subject.
 
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CopticOrthodox

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Ah, right, the issue at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre... that's very sad, I don't know much about it, but as far as I know that's an isolated situation, and not a reflection of the normal relations between the two Churches in other regions. I've heard lots of rumors about stuff that's happened in the past, but it's just things between individuals, and it seems to be largely better now. At my church Copts, Ethiopians, Eritrians, and Armenians all have Communion together, and a meal together afterwards without clash. A recently built church nearby is dedicated to an Ethiopian saint, complete with relics. We've definitely had our shameful moments, but as far as I know the situation as a whole is not bad now.

The article about anti-Semitism seems awefully biased... Constantine wasn't a very nice guy, we all know that... The reason for the switch from Saturday to Sunday was not to spite the Jews, it was because of the Ressurection... the coplaint about using Easter instead of Passover doesn't apply to us, we don't call it Easter, we call it the feast of the Ressurection, which is the most appropriate name for it. There have been lots of political issues over calenders, it really seems like the least of our problems now. The state persecuted Christians at times, and was on the side of Christians at times, but in eithe case the actions of the State are the responsibility of the State, not the Church. I don't know about other places, but in Alexandria, the Church was never the puppet of the state, and it was the Alexandrians that dominated Nicea. The site is also quiet about the Jewish persecutions of Christianity that have occured, including Jews speaking into political ears... There have been wrongs on both sides.
 
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Talmid HaYarok

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I don't want to start a debate here, though maybe we could discuss church history in the interdenominational debate forum.

I also wanted to say that any division between Copts and Ethiopians in Israel is probably aggravated by the political situation. Most of the Ethiopian members are Falashamura or Messianic Jews who are Israeli citizens. Most of the Copts seem to be from the Gaza strip and most that I heard of (which I heard because of the situation) were very anti-Israel. Whatever the relations outside Israel, I'm sure that doesn't help within.

I'm glad to hear that Copts and Ethiopians are not as divided as I thought they were. Thanks.
 
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Ruhama

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Yes, in Israel that is true. The Christians that I saw in the university setting were also a very divided community based on national lines. The Palestinian (and even Israeli Arab) Christians had a great deal of difficulty welcoming the Jewish Israeli (or European) Christians and in fact the groups met separately. Both sides wanted to make inroads for reconciliation but didn't see how many biases they had or wrongs to address. Both sides were neck deep in politics without even knowing it.
 
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