Engaging with the Eastern Orthodox liturgy

Started by DuxLux, April 19, 2024, 08:32:14 AM

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EastWest7

#15
Quote from: LausTibiChriste on April 23, 2024, 10:42:41 AM
Quote from: EastWest7 on April 23, 2024, 10:17:52 AMFr Meyendorff was my spiritual director and professor during my time at St Vladimir's, 1975-1983.


Wow..what a blessing


Amen, and thanks. I started in St Vladimir's undergraduate program as a freshman with nearby Iona College. I was 20 in 1975 and had gone there directly after playing in a bar band in NE Ohio. I had been raised in the Episcopal Church but left it at 17, 1972. Essentially, St Vladimir's (and my local Orthodox parish) made a Christian out of me. While there I studied under some brilliant, outstanding men who walked their talk - Frs. Meyendorff, Alexander Schmemann, Thomas Hopko, Paul Tarazi. Also John Erickson (later ordained to the priesthood), and Sergius Verhovsky, Veselen Kesich. Also many of my classmates were solid brothers to have during early adulthood. Daily services were frequent and could be LONG, but I wouldn't trade those years of formation for anything. I'm still very grateful for what St. Vladimir's gave me.   
Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

LausTibiChriste

Quote from: EastWest7 on April 23, 2024, 10:55:07 AM
Quote from: LausTibiChriste on April 23, 2024, 10:42:41 AM
Quote from: EastWest7 on April 23, 2024, 10:17:52 AMFr Meyendorff was my spiritual director and professor during my time at St Vladimir's, 1975-1983.


Wow..what a blessing


Amen, and thanks. I started in St Vladimir's undergraduate program as a freshman with nearby Iona College. I was 20 in 1975 and had gone there directly after playing in a bar band in NE Ohio. I had been raised in the Episcopal Church but left it at 17, 1972. Essentially, St Vladimir's (and my local Orthodox parish) made a Christian out of me. While there I studied under some brilliant, outstanding men who walked their talk - Frs. Meyendorff, Alexander Schmemann, Thomas Hopko, Paul Tarazi. Also John Erickson (later ordained to the priesthood), and Sergius Verhovsky, Veselen Kesich. Also many of my classmates were solid brothers to have during early adulthood. Daily services were frequent and could be LONG, but I wouldn't trade those years of formation for anything. I'm still very grateful for what St. Vladimir's gave me.   

Fr Hopko too? Wow.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son Of God, Have Mercy On Me A Sinner

Bonaventure

Quote from: ChairmanJoeAintMyPrez on April 22, 2024, 07:43:47 AM
Quote from: queen.saints on April 21, 2024, 07:54:33 PMYes, they are.

https://erickybarra.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/some-orthodox-voices-on-contraception/

IMO, this is a smoking gun.

No true religion was ever wrong on bedroom issues.

Even worse is the universalism.

It makes Bergoglio and "Infinite Dignity" look tame.

EastWest7

Quote from: LausTibiChriste on April 23, 2024, 11:25:20 AM
Quote from: EastWest7 on April 23, 2024, 10:55:07 AM
Quote from: LausTibiChriste on April 23, 2024, 10:42:41 AM
Quote from: EastWest7 on April 23, 2024, 10:17:52 AMFr Meyendorff was my spiritual director and professor during my time at St Vladimir's, 1975-1983.


Wow..what a blessing


Amen, and thanks. I started in St Vladimir's undergraduate program as a freshman with nearby Iona College. I was 20 in 1975 and had gone there directly after playing in a bar band in NE Ohio. I had been raised in the Episcopal Church but left it at 17, 1972. Essentially, St Vladimir's (and my local Orthodox parish) made a Christian out of me. While there I studied under some brilliant, outstanding men who walked their talk - Frs. Meyendorff, Alexander Schmemann, Thomas Hopko, Paul Tarazi. Also John Erickson (later ordained to the priesthood), and Sergius Verhovsky, Veselen Kesich. Also many of my classmates were solid brothers to have during early adulthood. Daily services were frequent and could be LONG, but I wouldn't trade those years of formation for anything. I'm still very grateful for what St. Vladimir's gave me. 

Fr Hopko too? Wow.




Yes, when I was a seminarian there in the undergraduate program he was our director of undergraduate studies program with Iona. And our undergrad philosophy, dogmatic theology and spirituality prof. In the MDiv program, our professor of dogmatic theology. A great, very personable and honest guy. Great sense of humor and compassionate. I took a leave halfway through the MDiv program to marry my Roman Catholic wife. I later took classes at the local RC seminary (St Mary's Cleveland) to get transfer credits for an MA from St Vlad's in May 1988. After the graduation Fr Hopko came up to me and said he wanted to meet the woman "Who would marry you...!"  ;D I introduced him to her and we three had a wonderful conversation.
When Fr Tom became seminary dean, I sent him congratulations and a card with photo of a statue of the Virgin Mary on it, from the high Episcopal parish I attended as a kid. I wrote that I would pay him $20 to put it on the stand of the respective day's veneration icon in the seminary chapel. He wrote back with a very funny, nice note. Another great priest who helped make me a Christian following several years playing bars in NE Ohio. May his memory be eternal.   
Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

EastWest7

Quote from: Bonaventure on April 23, 2024, 01:37:58 PM
Quote from: ChairmanJoeAintMyPrez on April 22, 2024, 07:43:47 AM
Quote from: queen.saints on April 21, 2024, 07:54:33 PMYes, they are.

https://erickybarra.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/some-orthodox-voices-on-contraception/

IMO, this is a smoking gun.

No true religion was ever wrong on bedroom issues.

Even worse is the universalism.

It makes Bergoglio and "Infinite Dignity" look tame.


For what it's worth. I was Orthodox for over 12 years before I came into the Catholic Church. I never heard universalism taught or preached. My dogmatic theology prof at St Vladimir's Seminary said several times in my years there that Origin was never accepted as a Church Father in Eastern patristics for one reason - his universalism. It was that heresy that hindered him. 
Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Michael Wilson

East-West,
thank you for your polite correction, but I have to disagree,
wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essence%E2%80%93energies_distinction
QuoteEastern Orthodox theologians generally regard this distinction as a real distinction, and not just a conceptual distinction......According to Fr. John Romanides, Palamas considers the distinction between God's essence and his energies to be a "real distinction", as distinguished from the Thomistic "virtual distinction" and the Scotist "formal distinction". Romanides suspects that Barlaam accepted a "formal distinction" between God's essence and his energies.[11] Other writers agree that Palamas views the distinction between the divine essence and the divine energies as "real".[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]


According to Vladimir Lossky of the neopatristic school, if we deny the real distinction between essence and energy, we cannot fix any clear borderline between the procession of the divine persons (as existences and/or realities of God) and the creation of the world: both the one and the other will be equally acts of the divine nature (strictly uncreated from uncreated). The being and the action(s) of God then would appear identical, leading to the teaching of pantheism.[20]
According to Anna N. Williams's study of Palamas, which is more recent than the assessments of Hart and Philips, in only two passages does Palamas state explicitly that God's energies are "as constitutively and ontologically distinct from the essence as are the three Hypostases," and in one place he makes explicit his view, repeatedly implied elsewhere, that the essence and the energies are not the same; but Williams contends that not even in these passages did Palamas intend to argue for an "ontological or fully real distinction," and that the interpretation of his teaching by certain polemical modern disciples of his is false.[22]
If God's hypostases and energies are distinct from His essence, then there is a real difference between the three divine persons and God's essence, instead of identity.
Farther on in the same article, we have the Orthodox criticism of the Catholic view of God as "pure-act"
as confusing the distinction between His essence and energies:
QuoteEastern Orthodox theologians have criticized Western theology, especially the traditional scholastic claim that God is actus purus, for its alleged incompatibility with the essence–energies distinction. Christos Yannaras writes, "The West confuses God's essence with his energy, regarding the energy as a property of the divine essence and interpreting the latter as "pure energy" (actus purus)"[23] According to George C. Papademetriou, the essence–energies distinction "is contrary to the Western confusion of the uncreated essence with the uncreated energies and this is by the claim that God is Actus Purus".[24]

While in Catholic theology it is a dogma that God's essence and His attributes are identical.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers

EastWest7

#21
Quote from: Michael Wilson on April 23, 2024, 03:37:20 PMEast-West,
thank you for your polite correction, but I have to disagree,
wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essence%E2%80%93energies_distinction
QuoteEastern Orthodox theologians generally regard this distinction as a real distinction, and not just a conceptual distinction......According to Fr. John Romanides, Palamas considers the distinction between God's essence and his energies to be a "real distinction", as distinguished from the Thomistic "virtual distinction" and the Scotist "formal distinction". Romanides suspects that Barlaam accepted a "formal distinction" between God's essence and his energies.[11] Other writers agree that Palamas views the distinction between the divine essence and the divine energies as "real".[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]


According to Vladimir Lossky of the neopatristic school, if we deny the real distinction between essence and energy, we cannot fix any clear borderline between the procession of the divine persons (as existences and/or realities of God) and the creation of the world: both the one and the other will be equally acts of the divine nature (strictly uncreated from uncreated). The being and the action(s) of God then would appear identical, leading to the teaching of pantheism.[20]
According to Anna N. Williams's study of Palamas, which is more recent than the assessments of Hart and Philips, in only two passages does Palamas state explicitly that God's energies are "as constitutively and ontologically distinct from the essence as are the three Hypostases," and in one place he makes explicit his view, repeatedly implied elsewhere, that the essence and the energies are not the same; but Williams contends that not even in these passages did Palamas intend to argue for an "ontological or fully real distinction," and that the interpretation of his teaching by certain polemical modern disciples of his is false.[22]
If God's hypostases and energies are distinct from His essence, then there is a real difference between the three divine persons and God's essence, instead of identity.
Farther on in the same article, we have the Orthodox criticism of the Catholic view of God as "pure-act"
as confusing the distinction between His essence and energies:
QuoteEastern Orthodox theologians have criticized Western theology, especially the traditional scholastic claim that God is actus purus, for its alleged incompatibility with the essence–energies distinction. Christos Yannaras writes, "The West confuses God's essence with his energy, regarding the energy as a property of the divine essence and interpreting the latter as "pure energy" (actus purus)"[23] According to George C. Papademetriou, the essence–energies distinction "is contrary to the Western confusion of the uncreated essence with the uncreated energies and this is by the claim that God is Actus Purus".[24]

While in Catholic theology it is a dogma that God's essence and His attributes are identical.


Well, brother Michael, I stand corrected. I could understand the difference in the essence/energies definition coming from a Fr John Romanides...but the Vladimir Lossky (and Chris Yannaras and Fr George Papademetriou) analysis comes as a shock to me. Following these posts today I happened to be talking to a good friend and a priest and fellow SVS seminarian (who has a PhD) regarding these essence/energies discussions in our casual conversation and he seemed to readily agree with me. The trajectory of Lossky (pantheism) as described above is indeed disturbing.
 
Well, just another case where the teaching of the Orthodox Church on certain subjects is not monolithic. I still am quite surprised with the Lossky (etc.) quote!  :o Thank you.
Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

EastWest7

#22
I've been thinking about this discussion of Eastern Orthodoxy and its view of God (whether it truly teaches that God has one, undivided nature). I am coming to think that this minor "debate" may be a case (not uncommon in Christian East vs Christian West) of semantics.

I got out a few of my theology books and think (relative to the single nature of God) that we need to look at the works of theologians such as Lossky in a bit of a broader context than what was in the Wikipedia article. That's back to my perspective that the Orthodox Church does view God as entirely one in nature, undivided.

This, from Lossky's Mystical Theology of The Eastern Church, chapter 4, "Uncreated Energies" p.75:

 "...thus the unity within the Holy Trinity shines forth imperishable in its essential glory. God the Father is the Father of glory (Ephesians 1:17), the Son is the brightness of His glory (Hebrews 1:30), and He Himself has that glory which He had with the Father before the world was (John 17:5); likewise, the Holy Spirit of God is the Spirit of glory (1 Peter 4:14). In this glory, uniquely proper to Himself, God dwells in perfect felicity above all glory without having need of any witness, without admitting of any division." Italics mine.

I also have a statement that may be helpful from the highly regarded theologian Dumitru Staniloae in his book The Experience of God (Holy Cross Press, 1994, chapter 7, The Being of God and His Uncreated Operations, p. 125),

"The Eastern Fathers have made a distinction between the being and operations of God. St Gregory Palamas did nothing more than hold fast to this distinction between the being of God and the uncreated operations flowing from it. Nevertheless, when speaking of the variety of the divine works, we can sometimes forget to observe that, through each of these operations, it is the God, who is one in being, who is at work. Italics mine.



 

       
Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Michael Wilson

E.W.&,
Thanks for both of your responses, I will concentrate on the second for now:
Quote"The Eastern Fathers have made a distinction between the being and operations of God. St Gregory Palamas did nothing more than hold fast to this distinction between the being of God and the uncreated operations flowing from it. Nevertheless, when speaking of the variety of the divine works, we can sometimes forget to observe that, through each of these operations, it is the God, who is one in being, who is at work. Italics mine.
If I understood this correctly, the above quote appears to be saying that there are "uncreated operations" that flow outside of God i.e. "ad extra" or is He saying that the "ad-intra" processions of the Blessed Trinity (Father begets the Son, both beget the Holy Ghost) are the 'uncreated energies'?
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers

Michael Wilson

#24
Also, would you mind watching this video  by Holy Family Monastery on Palamism; they quote several E.O. Authorities supporting the view of the distinction between God's essence and His uncreated energies; also that the Blessed Trinity is not part of the essence of God, but is in the uncreated energies.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers

EastWest7

Quote from: Michael Wilson on April 24, 2024, 04:30:17 PME.W.&,
Thanks for both of your responses, I will concentrate on the second for now:
Quote"The Eastern Fathers have made a distinction between the being and operations of God. St Gregory Palamas did nothing more than hold fast to this distinction between the being of God and the uncreated operations flowing from it. Nevertheless, when speaking of the variety of the divine works, we can sometimes forget to observe that, through each of these operations, it is the God, who is one in being, who is at work. Italics mine.
If I understood this correctly, the above quote appears to be saying that there are "uncreated operations" that flow outside of God i.e. "ad extra" or is He saying that the "ad-intra" processions of the Blessed Trinity (Father begets the Son, both beget the Holy Ghost) are the 'uncreated energies'?


Well, Michael, I've read your question on the sentence you highlighted several times, and I must return to the issue of human participation. The "uncreated energies" (ie, the light of Tabor in Matthew 17:3, the burning bush in Exodus 3:2, the blinding light on St Paul's trip to Damascus in Acts 9:3-4, etc.) would, I believe, be understood by the Eastern Orthodox as originating in God's essence (which the Orthodox consider unknowable by humans). The aforementioned energies are seen as that which originates from God's essence yet can be seen, participated in, by human persons.
See, here is where I think the Western vs. Eastern means of communications can occasionally be problematic. As per your "ad intra" expression, the East of course would not use such language, ie., the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son; because of the Eastern Church's never having adopted the Filioque ("and from the Son") based on its understanding of John 15:26 ("When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father - the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father - He will testify about Me."). Perhaps Kipling's "East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet" is appropriate here. 

Relative to this difficulty in language, I often recall what is considered to be the apophatic (negative) expressive nature of Eastern Orthodox theology. This is based on concerns regarding the fallible (and fallen) human mind and its inability to communicate adequately regarding God's essence. I assume the Scholastics would dismiss this.

LOL, or, perhaps your question is simply over my head.  :)
       
Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

EastWest7

Quote from: Michael Wilson on April 24, 2024, 04:46:05 PMAlso, would you mind watching this video  by Holy Family Monastery on Palamism; they quote several E.O. Authorities supporting the view of the distinction between God's essence and His uncreated energies; also that the Blessed Trinity is not part of the essence of God, but is in the uncreated energies.


I watched perhaps a third of the Dimond brothers' video very early this morning. I will attempt to watch more of it later and may respond if I find something particularly striking.

I would strongly disagree with their assertion that that the Holy Trinity "is not part of the essence of God". Rather, the EO, a per the first council of Nicea, believes God is three Persons (hypostases) sharing once essence (ousia). Does Palamas' essence and energies theology contradict Nicea? We can debate this all day but I would say it does not.

I understand the polemical nature of the Dimond brothers' videos as I have read/seen some of their work in years past but their discussion of hesychasm differs significantly from my perspective. Also, I would rather they would have not juxtaposed videos of the essentially Hindu denomination Self Realization Fellowship with those points made by Fr Lysack and Bishop Ware, but that's just me.

Relative to the discussion of hesychasm, in the summer of 1972 I read parts of the 19th century bishop, theologian Orthodox saint, Ignatius Brianchaninov's On The Prayer of Jesus. To the best of my recollection, Brianchaninov very ominously warned against attempting such hesychastic practices without having a seasoned, theologically grounded and pious spiritual director.
His warning included the risk of prelest and mental health problems. I had been praying the Jesus prayer since reading The Way of A Pilgrim earlier that year. Brianchaninov's statements shook me up so much that I quit saying the prayer for several months! Another recollection is that while at St Vladimir's Seminary, I remember sobriety of spiritual practice (especially in talks given by Fr Alexander Schmemann and from my own spiritual director, Fr John Meyendorff) was considered so important that I would say the institution was in alignment with Brianchaninov's perspective.

OK, that's where I am on the video so far, thanks Michael. Right now this ersatz theologian needs to go for my daily walk and then watch the Cleveland Guardians - Boston Red Sox game at 1:10 pm dst. Retirement is good.     
Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Michael Wilson

#27
E.W.
I appreciate your taking the time to respond and trying to clear up some of the difficulties in the above issue; also watching the video and giving me your assessment.
You may be an ersatz theologian (not really), but you have a better grasp of this than I do.
B.T.W. We are exactly the same age. There is a saying in Spanish applicable to us: "El Diablo sabe mas por viejo, que por diablo";
Roughly: The devil knows more because he is old than because he is a devil. 
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers

EastWest7

Quote from: Michael Wilson on April 25, 2024, 04:40:33 PME.W.
I appreciate your taking the time to respond and trying to clear up some of the difficulties in the above issue; also watching the video and giving me your assessment.
You may be an ersatz theologian (not really), but you have a better grasp of this than I do.
B.T.W. We are exactly the same age. There is a saying in Spanish applicable to us: "El Diablo sabe mas por viejo, que por diablo";
Roughly: The devil knows more because he is old than because he is a devil. 

Michael, that Spanish saying is new to me...but, oh yeah, I can certainly relate!
I appreciate your irenic comments as navigating these East-West theological waters can be difficult. Speaking of age, I sometimes wonder where I got the energy to do so back in the 1970s and 1980s when I was a student.

If you don't mind, given all the comments I've seen of yours on SD over the years, may I ask what is your educational background? Seminary? Your erudition appears to be extensive.

I see you live in St Mary's, KS. I assume you've visited or attend the Immaculata parish. That church must be incredible.

Hey, if you're ever going to be in the Akron-Cleveland, Ohio area; let me know and I'll buy you an adult beverage at one of our local eating/drinking establishments.   
God be with you.

 
Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Michael Wilson

E.W.
Thank you once again for your kind words. I would love to get together with you some day; probably wont happen. Yes, I am open to adult beverages, as I love a good whisky, whether Bourbon or Scotch & Spanish brandy, beer etc.
I am mostly self educated on religious matters, as my formal catechism classed abruptly came to a close in the 5th grade; our Catholic school decided one day to stop teaching it???? Better than what came behind it, when they resumed teaching about it.
I love Catechisms, dogmatic manuals, and even just Church history.
On the Filioque topic, I just stumbled accross this video which sites an unbelievable number of both Western and Eastern Fathers on their views. Just the quote from St. Augustine on John 16. 13-15 will knock your socks off (3min 35 secs) "He will take what is mine": If he receives knowledge from the Son, He receives His essence also. Great stuff!
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers