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Re: Valid Apostolic Succession

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September 09, 2002 02:58PM
Hello again Jake!

Sorry it has taken so long to respond but I have not had much free time lately. To comment on you latest post I will address them in the order in which you listed them:

1. I would like to direct you to a website that is contains traditional Orthodox information and comment regarding the relatively recent visit of the Patriarch of Constantinople to the Vatican. (www.orthodoxinfo.com) Click on the topic Ecumenism Awareness and look under the topics of False Union with Rome and also Balamand Agreement. I should have said that a number of the Patriarchs (such as Russia) and Bishops would disagree with the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch during the Mass celebration at the Vatican a few years ago. I believe a substantial portion of our regular Priests and Laity would be opposed to what took place. I believe Joseph in his recent post is correct, the visit did not entail a concelebration. Sometimes our hierarchs are all too eager to try and appease Rome and it is the laity, primarily in the form of our Monks, which always rise to the task of keeping Orthodoxy pure and distinct from the remainder of the heterodox branches of Christianity.

2. Regarding our Blessed Lady the Theotokos and ever virgin Mary, the Roman Catholic Cathechism copyrighted 1994 section 969 refers to the Blessed Virgin under the titles of "Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix". In addition, section 411 states "she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life". These statements along with the heresy of the Immaculate Conception lay the groundwork of what will be her eventual elevation to the status of a Co-Redeemer and or member of the Godhead. Since she did not commit sin (a heresy) she has no need of a Savior herself. It is just a matter of time I think before this belief comes to the forefront of Roman Catholic doctrine. Certainly, there are a number of Roman Catholics in Central and South American countries that are virtually practicing this heresy now.......what's worse is the Vatican does not seem to try to discourage this behavior.

3. The differences you speak of on the surface appear to be minor from the "western" frame of reference. In actuality though, if you read some of the writings of the Greek Fathers instead of the Latin, you will soon see that the Orthodox take an entirely different approach to the issue of salvation and the work of our Lord. Orthodox do not see man's relationship with God as simply forensic or legal. We look at our relationship to God as a parent who loves all mankind and is in the process of saving those souls who not only believe in Christ as Savior, but also practice his commandments of Love for both God and the Neighbor. God does not send anyone to hell, it is a willful choice by each individual who chooses not to Love God and his Neighbor.

4. In reference to Purgatory, you should read the writings of St. Mark of Ephesus. He is highly esteemed by the Orthodox Faithful as the only Theologian who refused to sign the false Union of Florence because of the heresies of Purgatory and the western teaching of "material hell fire". Orthodox in general do not see the fires of hell as literal fire, but rather the Love of God. The Holy Scriptures speak of our God as a consuming fire and this Love of God towards His creatures will either purify us or be to our judgement if we choose not to have communion and love for Him. Furthermore, this torment cannot be removed from those in Hell because it is internal rather than external. Apparently there are creatures who can resist the Love of God for eternity. As far as an intermediate state of existence, I don't believe there is any concensus among the Orthodox. I have recently read a great deal regarding the "Toll House" controversy and believe it is plainly clear that the "journey through the toll houses" is allegory to show that the conscience judges itself when confronted with the perfect Love of God. The imagery used in the accounting of the Toll Houses is definitely of gnostic origin and I believe it can be demostrated by scholars that the Orthodox borrowed from this imagery to help explain what occurs after death.

In closing I would suggest that you read some of the writings of Bishop Kallistos Ware and the apologist Clark Carlton. Another book I would suggest is published I believe by Concilliar Press entitled "Upon this Rock" which was authored by an ex-episcopalian clergy whose name I cannot recall.

I hope I have not confused you with my ramblings, and remember I do not speak for the Church. I am a lay person simply giving you my humble opinions on the topics you ask about.

Thomas
Subject Author Posted

Valid Apostolic Succession

Jake September 02, 2002 08:42PM

Re: Valid Apostolic Succession

Thomas September 04, 2002 01:09PM

Re: Valid Apostolic Succession

Jake September 04, 2002 07:26PM

Re: Valid Apostolic Succession

G. Scharoubim January 01, 2003 12:56AM

Re: Valid Apostolic Succession

Aristibule January 21, 2003 02:33AM

Re: Valid Apostolic Succession

Joseph September 08, 2002 07:18PM

Re: Valid Apostolic Succession

Thomas September 09, 2002 02:58PM

Re: Valid Apostolic Succession

Ron September 16, 2002 05:24PM

Re: Valid Apostolic Succession

Edward September 16, 2002 06:00PM

Re: Valid Apostolic Succession

Patrick April 19, 2004 02:48AM