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SO, I am moving to a new blog.

You have served me well my dear Livejournal but it is time to move on.

Here is a link to my new place:

http://orthodoxbrit.blogspot.co.uk/

I will be moving blogs from here on to there ASAP.
In Christ,

Daniel

Icons – Depicting the visible


The word Icon comes from the Greek word ‘eikon’ meaning an image. In the Orthodox tradition Icons have a great spiritual significance and role in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church.

The practice of writing Icons in the Christian tradition was founded with Saint Luke, who is believed to have written images of the Virgin Mary. Some of these Icons still exist, such as the Theotokos of Tikvin. From then, this tradition has been passed down in the Orthodox Church, as it was in the Western Church until around the 1600’s. Icons are still used today in Orthodox liturgical life and venerated as they represent the saints and Martyrs in their heavenly bodies.

Icons serve many uses in the Church and have done since the first centuries. One clearly important role of Icons is education. Met Ware said that “He who lacks learning or leisure to study works of theology has only to enter a church to see unfolded before him on the walls all the mysteries of the Christian religion.” This was a key part of Early Christianity since when few could read the Homilies of a speaker and Icons of a Church were the greatest source of Education.

Their second function is in the Liturgical Worship of the Church. Icons play prominent roles such as in procession and the sacraments. This is not in a worship based role but in representation.  When a liturgy happens it is not just a liturgy on Earth but one in Heaven, making the representation of the saints important since they are in attendance n the Divine Liturgy to receive the portion of Christ as we do on Earth. We also see this with the use of the icon of Christ in the sacrament of Confession, with our confessions addressed to Christ through his Icon, as he receives out confession alone through the priest as an Icon of Christ in himself.

Many call this Idolatry but this definition and viewpoint simply show a lack of understanding of icons and their theological importance rather than any wrongdoing on the part of Orthodoxy.

There is in fact no condemnation of iconography in its Orthodox form in the bible. They is indeed condemnation of imagery of a human interpretation of the nature of God, which is the reason I abhor some of those abominable works in Catholic Cathedrals which Show the trinity or God with a big beard, but no condemnation of Showing Christ in his earthly form as his apostles saw him. I will explain the difference in the representation of God the Father and God in the incarnation now.

The 10 commandments say that “You shall not make unto the any Graven image…” explaining that God is a “Jealous God” and therefore to make something and worship it is to take away from the worship of one God. This is completely understandable in context since there is no way in which people could understand what God looked like, making an image of God an image of a human interpretation of God. Yet Iconography after the Incarnation is acceptable for this very reason.

Before the incarnation of God in Christ, there was no image of God and no knowledge of his form and the idea of looking upon God struck fear into the people.  We know of this through the Old Testament when those who glimpsed on God knew of this radiance, as with Aaron fearing Moses due to this. They even veiled his face so that they could not witness it, showing the humility and fear of the people.

When Christ arrived, he gave God a form, so God became matter in order to appear to us, becoming God in an earthly form. He also told us not to fear his presence and welcomed people to him, a stark distinction from the veiling and fear of the face of God. Christ became matter so that we could see him and talk to him without having to fear and with this we received an image of God which is not man made but from God himself.   Paul himself referred to the veil of separation between humanity and the witness of God when he said “We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.” (2 Corinthians 13:3) So Moses was told not to make Idols since they will always be of a God we cannot see, and thus false but with the Incarnation we witnessed God in his very form and thus have knowledge of this, to make an image of what we have seen is not an Idol but a witness.

John of Damascus, in verbally annihilating the arguments of the iconoclasts in the 7th Council, explains this perfectly. He says that “In times past, God, without body and form, could in no way be represented. But now, since God has appeared in the flesh and lived among men, I can depict that which is visible of God.” In portraying what God has revealed of himself to us we are not sculpting Idols but showing the people what God has shown us. If God did not want us to see this he would not have become something we can see through his revelation in Christ and would not have

 With the incarnation we have God in matter and no longer have to rely on a human interpretation of God. This in itself means that Iconography can show a true image of God without it becoming a human version and thus Idolatry. God even made an image of himself In Christ, as Saint Paul explains when he calls Christ "the image of the invisible God.” for Christ is "the image of the invisible God. To hate God being represented through a physical form is, in a way, to hate Christ. As Met. Kallistos says of Iconoclasm, to refer to icons as Idolatry “is to betray the Incarnation, by allowing no place to Christ’s humanity, to His body; it is to forget that our body as well as our soul must be saved and transfigured.”

There is also a large difference between apparent worship and veneration. John of Damascus reminds us that "under the Old Covenant God commanded images to be made: first the tabernacle, and then everything in it." Indeed God orders Moses to build the Ark and detail it with “two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover.” Even detailing greatly as to the direction in which these should face. We know that the Ark was venerated for its contents but God had ordered Moses to have craftsmen design icons of heavenly beings.

The reason given in tradition that Moses was accepted in this task, apart from it being directly from God, is simply since it was not worshipped in the place of God. This is the same with Icons. John of Damascus also explains this, he says “I do not venerate the matter but I venerate the Creator of matter, Who became matter for me, Who condescended to live in matter, and Who, through matter accomplished my salvation; I do not cease to respect the matter through which my salvation is accomplished.”

To venerate an icon for what it represents is not Idolatry, unlike worshipping an item for what it is. Through icons we see the heavenly forms of Christ as well as our saints and Martyrs. Through asking the saints to pray to God for us we are not worshipping them but praising the holiness which God has bestowed upon them in the same way in which one might show respect to a priest or even kiss the Cross or Gospel book.

Through this veneration we are also inspired to holiness and to emulate those that came before us and to wish to live up to the example of another or ask them for assistance is not Idolatry.  As Saint Polycarp said to the centurion before his Martyrdom “For Him, being the Son of God, we adore, but the martyrs as disciples and imitators of the Lord we cherish as they deserve for their matchless affection towards their own King and Teacher.” There is a great difference between worship and veneration.

Female Ordination and Orthodox - Revamped.



In Orthodoxy, following the traditions of the Early Church fathers is just as important as following Scriptural teachings, after all, if you want to get to the spirit of an idea, the earliest understanding of it is most likely to be the least corrupted. So in knowing that the Early Church was willing to ordain people of all races (Christs apostles were not all israelites, yet he Ordained them to lead the Church after his ascendence, and they, through the holy spirit's guidence, did the same after this.) we also know to accept all ethic backgrounds into the clergy as Christ himself, and his apostles did. This was not the case with women, as there are no records of women in the early Church being ordained. therefore following the traditions of the Early church means not ordaining women.

Where does the idea of a male only clergy come from? The idea originated from the bible, and to be precise; Christ himself. The concept of female ordination is an extremely modern one, and is not down to “the male dominated society of the time,” not a sexist idea, and not designed to keep women down.  It is simple down to common sense.
One commonly mentioned factor in this is what the clergy are. The clergy are, in the Orthodox tradition, the image of Christ to the congregation.  This is why the ordination of Clergy is such an important sacrament in tradition. Going by this we need to look at what the image of Christ entails: By accounts of all Old Testament prophecy and the very revelation as recorded in the Gospels, the Christ was male. This means that the image of Christ is also a male image. To many this may also bring up the Question of race, since in the west Christ is a white male. What does this say about the Ethnicity of the "Icon of Christ"?

To answer the question, fortunately the Orthodox Church has not had to deal with this issue due to the large spread of the Church at its founding (Turkey, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Syria, Rome and Greece all being preached to at the time) and there have for the last 1700 years at least been known and universally venerated icons depicting Christ as being from all these places. An Icon of the Theotokos (St. Mary) I have in my house depicts her as Egyptian and is placed next to a Greek Christ Icon. As well as this, an Icon in our Bournemouth Church has Christ as an Ethiopian, as it was written by an Ethiopian Icon writer.

The race of Christ, at least in the Orthodox Church, has never been an issue. This is quite simple as the bible states this, as well as his gender and many details about him in the Gospels and writings of Early Christians (and Greek historians). We know was an israelite (a semite in scientific terms. His apostles themselves were of, and made priests of many from places such as Egypt, Ethiopia and Antioch (Syria), and even St paul is described as being of Egyptian Heritage( Acts 21:38 "Art not thou that Egyptian?") So race is not something to be made a big deal of, as the tradition has not come down through a specific race as a medium.

Race has sometimes been an issue in Western Churches, I have seen too many Americans with "God Loves America" "God Hates Arabs" etc... on their shirts, cars and everywhere else they can fit them to ever disagree with that. But as a white, British Born member of the Orthodox Church of Egypt (The Coptic Church) I cannot see how this could ever touch Orthodoxy, being that I have "Brothers" and "sisters" in Ethiopia, Russia, Egypt, India and most of the Mediterranean since the first centuries of the Church's existance.

This, compared to the female ordination debate is again a simple matter of Tradition. As God chose in Christ a male body to preach to mankind in, then chose male apostles from amongst his male and female followers and then they, the founders of the Church, (the apostles) ordained priests from all over. According to Tradition and Scripture this was all led by the Holy Spirit, (which they were blessed by) yet they were never led to Ordain women as priests, even when preaching in nations where other faiths did (such as the greek islands), so this is what is traditionally the way.

A second reason why in Orthodoxy a female clergy is seen as an impossibility is the very nature of the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church is by all accounts a Church which prides itself on the (As Bishop Kallistos Ware calls it) “unvarying practice of the Church over the past two millennia.” With this in mind, why would a Church which practices the Christianity of the Earliest Christians decide to adopt a modernist, somewhat secular outlook? We have seen the Catholics start this with Vatican II, and the protestant Churches have done this since their creation (The very name “protestant” gives off an image of someone pushing away). The fact remains that in Christianity, modernisation and secularisation are everywhere, but Orthodoxy refuses to be drawn in.

According to Fr Seraphim Rose, a Heiromonk and writer of the Serbian Orthodox Church in America, “Even Heresy has its own ‘spirituality,’ its own characteristic approach to the practical religious life.” In other words, even someone wrong may have answers; this does not mean they are right. In his book Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future” he quotes the philosopher Ivan Kireyevsky, saying “An Orthodoxy Mind stands at the point where all roads cross. He carefully looks down each road and, from his unique vantage point, observes the conditions, dangers, uses, and ultimate destination of each road from a patristic viewpoint.” So in order to obtain a truly Orthodox mind one must take a road which will lead to God, and not to a peace with anything else. Not even comfort within the modern secular world is worth losing that peace with God for. We have seen monastics give up the comforts of the secular world for God, and as Christians are asked to do the same.

This concept has a great influence on the Orthodox mindset, as we are not called to change for the world around us, but to stay strong in God alone.  This is why tradition is so important to the Orthodox Church, for as so many have swayed into heresy and changed to “go with the flow” the Orthodox Church has, without apology, stuck to its guns and refused to fall into the world and all its passions. This also goes for the concept of female Ordination. We see in the Gospels how Christ picked his disciples, the 12 Apostles. Christ, actively chose men as his closest followers, though he did have female followers. These 12 were given the power to trample underfoot the power of the enemy, and understood Christ’s message, spreading it across the world, no other was given the strength to do this. From this tradition we see that Christ could have chosen women to lead his church, but instead chose men, though we do see women the deaconate in the early church.  To the non Orthodox mind this may come as placing women in an inferior, servant position, yet to  Orthodox Church it I simply the way in which God chose to organise his church.

Again to the non-orthodox mind this idea of women as the servants of the Church and men as its head would seen a bit out of touch with “modern feminist thought” but many forget the great female saints and Martyrs such as St Faith, Saint Maria and St Bebaia or even the great desert mothers and famous nuns of the Orthodox tradition whose writings and love of God have been recorded throughout time as great wisdom. Even above these is Gods greatest Human Creation, the Mother of our lord, Saint Mary, the Theotokos, the Mother of God. Many Orthodox prayers are said in her name, she is prayed for in the hours, and revered above all.

In conclusion, the place of women in the Orthodox Church is not a matter of sexism; it is a simple matter of God over man, or tradition over change. There is no “anti women” agenda in the Church as so many seem to think, as Stanley Harakas stated in his The Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers book “it is not accurate to label this tradition as “anti-woman” and to charge the Church’s teaching with anti-feminist. To say this is an unfortunate misunderstanding of the purpose of the church and its primary interests.”  He goes on to explain how though many in the church have spoken out about such things as temptation and targeted women, other women have been praised for their chastity and wisdom, so to say the church is anti women because it is against certain types of behaviour from women is to call it anti-food because of fasting. These concepts are both preposterous and again miss the point. The same goes for  the idea of Sexism due to an all male clergy. If you associate following a tradition without female clergy with being ”anti female” you miss the point of that tradition.

Taken from the book “St Seraphim of Sarov” by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore and posted for the interest of a dear friend on here.

In the early 1920’s, sometime after St. Seraphim’s repose, a noble family of Protestants in Alsace began to take great interest in venerating the Saints and the Sacraments. Their small town was divided in two, half Protestant and half Roman Catholic, and all shared a church in which they took turns having services. It was the finding of Sabatier’s book on Francis of Assisi that caused this renewed interest in the Protestants, and although the family remained Protestant they became increasingly dissatisfied with it and longed for more —spellbound by the book, as it were.

One afternoon, a wife in this family was reading the book in her garden, stricken with sickness in some fashion. On account of the lovely day, the full bloom of the garden and her general tiredness from being ill, she fell into a light sleep where she had a vision. St. Francis of Assisi (Roman Catholic) himself appeared to her with a little old man who was bent over but radiant. Upon coming quite close, St. Francis said to this wife, ‘My daughter, you seek the true Church. It is there, where he is. It supports everyone, but does not require support from anyone.’ The old man to whom Francis was pointing remained silent, only smiling.

Some weeks later this wife had hired a Russian workman to tend her garden. Visiting his room to ensure he was comfortably settled, she noticed a small icon in his corner with a picture of the man who was with St. Francis in her dream. ‘Who is that old man?!’ she asked, quite astonished and alarmed. “‘Saint Seraphim, our Orthodox Saint’ answered the workman. Then she understood the meaning of the words of St. Francis about the Truth being in the Orthodox Church.”


So, I was reading an Article on BadWolfComplex's Tumblr (Original is here: http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/how-do-we-counter-the-charge-that-the-addition-of-filioque-was-an-illicit-alteration) the other day on the catholic response to the accusation of Filioque as Heresy. It blew me away, not because it was profound, intellectually stimulating or even correct but the pure fact that it lacked historical foundation, any concept the Church History and also goes completely against the commandment "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" since it is quite simply full of innacuracies designed to make an unjustifiable point.
The question asked is asking how Roman Christians should reply to accusations of heresy over the Filioque, and answer should of course be "Ignore it, we are not part of their Church" since Rome was part of the Mutual excommunication of 1054. The person answering the question instead decides to lie, which I see as quite shocking and somewhat inappropriate.

He quotes Ephesus and the condemnation of all that change the Creed and the acceptence of the post-Nicean changes through the discussions at The Council of Chalcedon in 451 (Seen by Oriental Orthodox as the Last Ecumenical Council.) This is all fine in my books, they have explained that at an Ecumenical Council the Creed can be changed, since the Council works in the Spirit and if God wishes the Creed Changed, we do not argue. With this in mind, the writer tries to justify Filioque by saying "it was formed at  an Ecumenical Council... in florence, 400 years after the Schism!" Then, BOOM! All forms of issue emerge.

Quote "The Council of Florence could add "filioque" legitimately as a clarification of the manner of the Spirit's procession."

Point 1)
Filioque did not enter the Creed through Florence, it was entered into the Latin version of the Creed, since they had decided to change it for themselves only, at the Council of Toledo in 589. This is when when the Western Churches had a Non-Ecumenical Council to discuss not Ecumenical matters rather than big deals LIKE CREEDS. They decided at this point to add 'Filioque' without any discussion with the other Apostolic Patriarchs. Such a thing was seen at the time as completely unacceptable as Rome Demonstrated by labelling the Second council of Ephesus, to which the Bishop of Rome was not invited, as "A council of Robbers". 100 Years  before the Council of Toledo, during the Rule of Leo I of Rome, he denounced the filioque and conmemned anyone using this heretical Christology in the Creed. Even at that point Rome saw changing the Creed without proper Ecumenical discussion as heresy.

400 years after Rome had added this to the Creed in the West, Leo III, Pope of Rome showed a great stance against it. He condenmed the Franks from reciting this addition to the Creed and Ordered the Orthodox Creed to be written on silver tablets in their Churches so that they could not change it after his rule, saying "I, Leo, put here for love and protection of orthodox faith." This demonstraction shows that even 400 years after Toledo, Rome condemned anyone from adding this due to it not being seen as 'Orthodox' (In this context meaning 'Correct belief') Church practice.

Well before the Council in Florence there was upheaval against the use of Filioque in the West, it was not discussed Ecumenically at a council and was only adopted in the West amongst some groups. This change was never given to anywhere outside of the Roman See since it was not seen as valid, since this new heretical claim (The Spirit coming from the Son as well as the father) had not been cleared with the rest of the Church outside of Barbarian Spain and France. This is the reason for the controversy above all, since Rome had shocked the Church and claimed it could make changes to the Theological views of the Church without debating this with Eastern Bishops who, at the time, were renowned for their Theological knowledge far more than any 6th Century Western Scholar. They had effectively claimed supremacy and the right to change doctrine, which to a Modern Roman Christian is not something strange but was a shocking thing to suggest in the Pre-Schism Church.

Point 2) Was Florence an Ecumenical Council?

This is an interesting point, argued that Filioque was OK since it was accepted 1000 years later and under heavy pressure by Rome. The article fails to mention the reason for the Eastrn Bishops attending. They had made a deal with Rome for Military assistance in exchance for accepting Roman Rule. Yes, that is right.. Blackmail. Rome had long decided to let Constantinople fall if they did not come under Rome's rule and because of their eventual decision not to cave in, it did fall to the Muslims.
Under various bleeding messages and political threats by the Byzantine Emperor, many of the Greeks accepted to give Rome rule over their Churches. it was only Only St. Mark of Ephesus that rejected the union for the Greek party. The Russians, after discovering that the Byzantine Emperor and Rome were seeking this for purely political reasons, angrily rejected the union and removed any Bishops in their See that accepted it.

Florence is not seen in the East as an Ecumenical Council since it was purely political. The only reason for Orthodox Bishops attending was to kneel to Rome so that they would give the Emperor enough Soldiers to save the City. The article says that "The Eastern Orthodox originally accepted the authority of the Council of Florence, but later rejected it." This is a very simplistic analysis, the reality of it is that  Rome arrogantly told them to accept heretical Changes (As mentioned in point 1, these were not Ecumenical) in exchange for their survival much as the Arabs told Christians in the middle ages to convert to Islam or die. I am sorry for that bluntness but that is the extent and historical matter of it.  Political threats and blackmail under pain of Death do not equate to an Ecumenical Council in my books and should not in the mind of any Christian.

Conclusion.

In Conclusion, the Filioque has never been accepted as a Church teaching in the East and, as I have shown, was not added in the same manner as any Credal or Doctrinal point accepted by the Church before the 1054 schism. The Orthodox Church sees it as heretical since it was added without the authority of the Whole Church and made unheard of changes the doctine of the trinity without any prior discussion in an Ecumenical setting. To lie and simplify the history of this in order to claim that it was not a point of issue in the west or seen as scandal in the Early Church then deny any pressure during florence, is extremely offensive to anyone with basil knowledge of history.

Could you imagine if a Muslim scholar wrote that "Many Christian knights freely converted to Islam in the Crusades, then changed their mind"? Roman Catholics would be up in arms and pointing out the warping of History. Please think about the implications of the lies spread by articles such as these, since historical knowledge is the key to understanding historical issues. Lying to justify something considered questionable for 1500 years does not show anything but lack of knowledge and will to decieve.
Following the repeated killing of innocent Christians in Egypt and burning of churches
   
 
and the barbaric attack on the peacefully demonstrating Copts with the loss of over 25 lives and 200 injured,
   
 
Following the scenes of armoured vehicles running over singing demonstrators carrying wooden crosses,
    
the Coptic organisations for Human Rights in UK are organising a peaceful protest
      
 
opposite the House of Lords (The Old Palace Yard, Westminster, London SW1P 3JY)
    
on Sunday 16th October 2011
    
 
from 2.30PM TO 4.30PM.
    
Please come and be voice for the voiceless.
   
    Bishop Antony will attend the protest



The Sublime life of Monasticism – HG Mishop Mettaous.

‘The Sublime Life of Monasticism’ is, put simply, a glimpse into modern Monasticism. The book opens up by looking into one of the biggest misunderstandings about Monasticism, asking “s Monasticism a Vocation or a duty?” discussing how someone knows whether they are called, and why some fail to fulfil this calling. The book then goes into great depth on everything from why someone would become a monk, to the importance of monasticism and even gives a detailed description of the daily life of a monk.

The book is split into section detailing what the chapter will cover. The first half of the book is dedicated to the more practical side of monasticism, covering a vast number of issues which someone may encounter on their path to the monastic life. It looks at how one becomes a monk, the difficulties they may face, how one must prepare for the monastic life and a number of other topics related to this. Every question one could have on the practical side of preparation for a monastic life is covered and everything is backed by both Scriptural detail and quotes from the desert fathers explaining the importance of it.

Once he has given us an image of the preparation and build up to a life us monastic, Bishop Mettaous moves on to look at life inside a monastery. HG Bishop Mettaous began writing this book in memorial of his 25th year as a monk in El-Souriani Monastery, so he has plenty of days to choose from. He looks at life as a notice in this section, explaining that the novice monks generally receive the hardest tasks to prepare them for the tough years of spiritual warfare ahead of them. He also uses this section to emphasise the importance of obedience to your abbot and father of confession, since obedience and humility are key virtues of the monastic life. He again provides us with a wealth of wisdom from the desert Fathers and examples of the importance of monasticism in Scripture to allow us to connect with the point of a deeper level.

In the Third section of the book we are introduced to a immensely vibrant collection of areas defining what monasticism is, all beginning with “Monasticism is a life of...” and connecting it to such concepts as prayer, contemplation and pilgrimage. As someone with only a basic academic knowledge and no experience of monasticism on a personal level, this enlightened me to no end. The pure depth of the monastic life is shown through this part of the book. We are introduced to what seems to be the single most fulfilling spiritual life that one can imagine but reminded that with this life of solitude and spiritual hunger comes a life of spiritual warfare and constant vigilance against the evil one and his tricks.

All in all ‘The sublime life of monasticism’ is a book for anyone who wants to know the depth of the monastic life and wants to read about it through the medium of one Bishop’s personal and spiritual journey rather than a flat out, objective academic text. In this book you will not learn the history of monasticism but you will learn of the life of it from those who give their lives as living Martyrs in order to continue their Spiritual warfare. You will see how Monks trace their practices to those of the Israelites in the desert and be reminded as to why the monks are seen as the Angels and guides to all men under God.

Understanding miaphysitism

This is mainly for the benefit of heyschia but I hope others find it interesting also.

Miaphysitism is the word commonly used to describe the Christological stance of the Oriental Orthodox churches of Egypt, Armenia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Syria and India.

Commonly mistakenly called the 'Monophysite churches' by some elements of the Byzantine Orthodox community, the churches of the Oriental Orthodox family share an Orthodox Christological view with the Byzantine view of Hypostasis but using different terminology, taking the name of miaphysitism.

Miaphysitism comes from the words 'Mia' meaning 'singular united' (as opposed to mono, which means purely singular) and 'physis' meaning 'nature' or 'will'. The term was used through the fourth and fifth century as a symonym for hypostatis, the Greek term meaning 'underpinning.'

Both terms represent the person Christ who has more than one nature but these natures are so combined that they are indistinguishable, as the creed says "being consubstantial with the father, by whom all things were made."

So the two Christological approaches we have here are hypostatic union in the Eastern Orthodox, which says that "Jesus Christ, who is identical with the Son, is one person and one hypostas in two natures: a human and a divine."

Then there is Miaphysis in the Oriental Orthodox, stating that "in the one person of Jesus Christ, Divinity and Humanity are united in one "nature" ("physis"), the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration".

The only real difference is the use of the term 'physis' to define 'nature'. In the hypostatic union there are two natures in one person and in Miaphysitism there is one nature which is made of to parts.

This comes into trouble when confused for Monophysitism, the heresy which caused the Chalcedon schism on 451 which states that only one nature existed in Christ (thus mono-physis). Mia and mono both meaning singular ('mia' meaning 'joined as one' as opposed to the numerical 1) can understandably be confused and until recently thru were, if you check out Early editions of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware's book you will see he refers to the OO churches as 'Monophysite Churches' rather than the common 'Non-Chalcedon Churches' which he changed it to in later editions. The difference is taken into account more often in recent years, thank God.

I call this difference of hypostatis and miaphysis simple semantics, since both approaches accept Christ as being both divine and human but explain it in different wording but it has always been a point called into question when the Orthodox families meet. It was in recent years that the joint statement between the coptic and ecumenical patriarchs agreed that miaphysitism is orthodox, and that is ge key. If both are the 'Ortho-doxia' then both are acceptable Christological definitions.

In Christ, Daniel.

The Armenian genocide




April 24, 1915, The Red Sunday, was the night which the leaders of Armenians of the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, and later extending to other Ottoman centers were arrested and moved to two holding centers near Ankara by then minister of interior Mehmed Talaat Bey with his order on April 24, 1915. These Armenians later deported with the passage of Tehcir Law on 29 May 1915.
By 1918 between 1,500,000 and 3,000,000 Armenians had been killed across the Ottoman Empire in a systematic killing of a Religious and Ethnic community.


10 FACTS MOST PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW AND MANY OTHERS LIKE TO FORGET:


1 - Article Two of the UN Convention on Genocide of December 1948 describes genocide as carrying out acts intended "to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group".

2 - The overwhelming majority of historians as well as academic institutions on Holocaust and Genocide Studies recognise the Armenian genocide as Genocide.


3 - Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and Uruguay are among more than 20 countries which have formally recognised genocide against the Armenians. The European Parliament and the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities have also done so.


4 - The USA was the first country to recognize the Armenian killings as "the murder of a nation," that was before the word genocide was invented, and continued to recognize it until misguided officials sought favor with the Republic of Turkey by joining in an ugly, and quite unnecessary, distortion of history.


5 - 43 States of the USA recognise the Armenian genocide. (As of May 2011 this includes every state in the Union with the exception of Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, Indiana, Iowa, Wyoming, and South Dakota.) 


6 - In 2008 President Obama stated "As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognise the Armenian Genocide." Since then he has backed down from this promise and as of today (31 July 2011) has still not brought the issue to the Government regardless of speaking at the 2011 Armenian genocide rememberence service.


7 - Within the UK, the Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh national assemblies recognise the Armenian Genocide but the UK Parlament based in London does not.


8 - In Turkey, Article 301 of the penal code, on "insulting Turkishness", has been used to prosecute prominent writers who highlight the mass killings of Armenians. Among them were Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and Hrant Dink, who was later shot dead in January 2007. A teenage nationalist is on trial for his murder.


9 - The Nation of Israel doe snot accept the Armenian Genocide to have been systematic, though this year, by a unanimous vote of 20-0, Israel's Parliament approved referring the subject to the Education Committee for more extensive deliberation on the matter.


10 - Many scholars believe the Armenian genocide inspired Adolph Hitler, who noted in 1939 that the world seemed to have forgotten the fate of the Armenians. Silence, in other words, became complicity -- and helped set the stage for the Holocaust.

A short piece on Salvation.

In the new Testament St. James states that "Faith without works is dead.”(James 2:20) and even that we are “justified by works, and not by faith alone." (James 2:24). With the Church in support, this stuck in the East and Oriental Orthodox Churches because they did not experience the reformation like in the west.

There was a famous Greek Saint John Climacus, he wrote a treatise in the 7th Century called "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" comparing salvation to a ladder. He spoke of all the different steps we must go up, each of them conquering a lust for something in the world. He listed 30 steps including such worldly concepts as'lying' and 'the love of money.' In his view, the last few steps are the most difficult and cover understanding the nature of the Trinity and of Heaven. This was easy enough for St John to say, as a hermit in the wilderness but he accepts that for many of us, especially those not living a monastic life, it would be extremely difficult. The bottom line being that a spiritual father (God) should be there as a guiding hand with this work.

In Orthodox Christianity, Savation comes through many things rather than it just being a yes/no answer.
Firstly there is the cross. We would not deny Christ on the Cross, and the salvation it brought. But faith in this alone is not enough for an Orthodox Christian, as

Through the Sacraments such as Baptism and communion we are being saved. So the first thing we would look to is our Baptism. We have been saved by partaking in this and recieving the Holy Spirit.

From here, the sacramental life is an ongoing process,as we do not see communion as Bread and water, but as transformed into the Body and Blood, we are actively recieving a portion of God. Along with this we have confession. To recieve this and actively take part in your soul's battle with the temptations that the world brings is to be closer to God. There is no magic button to make you perfect, since the world is imperfect, so this is ongoing.

It is through this that we become closer to God, a goal of all Orthodox Christians.  This is also a sign of the new Covenant which God made through Christ, as it was with the Jews of the Old Testament. So we would see ourselves as being continuously saved through partaking in the sacramental life of the Church. I suppose you could say that Through the Crucifixion we see ourselves as saved. Through the sacramental life we are being saved and by God in the end we will be saved.

in XP,
Daniel

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