'Little t' and ecumenism

  • It is fashionable among many new calendar Orthodox Chriustinas to speak of little 't' and big 'T", that is, unimportant traditoins and customs and unalterable Christina dogma and practice. There is a great danger when we speak about the calendar, or unshaven, unshorn clergy, or monastic bishops, or eschewing western clerical garb, or other things, and label them as mere customs or little traditions. This labeling does not end with external appearences. The typicon is changed, and services, such as the "weekday vesperal divine liturgy", or the "rite of christmation during divine liturgy" are invented, and fasting is minimized, changed or ignored, on the pretext that it is not part "Big T".
  • Do not place artificial barriers where none should exist. We are not only supposed to believe as Orthodox, we are to act as Orthodox too. We learn what to believe from the scriptures (properly interpreted), the Fathers, the services of the church, and the preaching and teaching of her apostles, as well as from the witness of the Holy Spirit, which declares the things concerning Christ to all Orthodox christians. We learn how to act, not only from Theology, but also from obedience to the discipline of the church, and her canons and rules, which are none other than the Law of God.
  • A faithful son of the church (that is a son of God, called by Jesus "friend"), endeavors to learn what the church teaches, and does it. The church tells him he should fast, therefore, he keeps this rule as coming from God Himself, which it did. He is told not to participate in the prayer rites of heretics, therefore these things are truly anathema to him. The canons prescribe a certain calendar and paschalia, therefore he does not consider any other way of reckoning the church year. He is free as a bird, and light, because he simply obeys the church. When changes in church discipline occur, he accepts them only if they are in keeping with the spirit of the tradition of the church. In some cases, this may mean that a Hierarch has "rightly divided", and applied economy to a given situation. The sheep can tell when such a one oversteps his bounds. Sometimes, our reason helps us to interpret the teaching of the church. Other times, a local council imposes new rules or changes existing ones. Again, the rational sheep can tell when such changes are made lawfully.
  • It is possible that we all could be on the "New" Calendar. I cannot join myself to it however, because those who changed to it did so without the consensus of the church (there are more "Old" Calendar Orthodox than "New"), and because the change was done in a brutal, unOrthodox manner.
  • The fruit of this calendar change has been sour indeed. Some Orthodox really do NOT know that Roman Catholics and Protestants are _not_ in the Church! They pray with them, and believe like them. Their clergy look like them, and know only one service, the liturgy. Fasting is ignored, and even ridiculed as "too rigourous" or "fanatical". The mystical-ascetical teaching of Orthodoxy is being lost among these poor unfortunates.
  • Some Orthodox hierarchs look like Protestant bishops, leading a public life that does not inspire their faithful to be a "peculiar people". They are busy having "dialogue" with "brethren" who will be embarrassed or inconvienced by long hair, unclipped beards, monastic attire, and ascetical fasting. As the hierarchs toss these critical aspects of church practice out the window, the faithful become even more uninspired.
  • There is no significant dividing line between "Theology" and "practice". The Lord said "If you love me, you will keep My commandments". I do not argue that church discipline and rules cannot change, but rather that they cannot be changed arbitrarily. The calendar change, western clerical garb, ignoring fasting - these changes have been made ARBITRARILY.
  • The same arguments we have heard about the calendar (it's just a tool, it's not accurate, it has been changed before, etc, etc) one can also hear about fasting. There are those who say fasting is "outmoded", just as the calendar is! Look at what has happened to the Roman Catholics. They have ignored fasting, and the litugical cycle. There are now many catholics who feel justified in having an abortion now. when we allow our Holy
  • Tradition to be arbitrarily changed, we are on a slippery slope indeed.
  • >I agree with your statements regarding rigorists or old calendarists. Jesus
  • >the Christ did not institute, nor is there extant evidence that he cared one
  • >whit about calendars, any specific calendar or way of reckoning time for all
  • >his followers to use henceforth and forever more. Believe me when I say I
  • >love and believe in Orthodoxy, but, in the spirit of speaking the truth in
  • >love, it must be said that some exhibit a new brand of Phariseeism in their
  • >efforts to convert such theologoumena into dogma.
  • The calendar is NOT a theologoumena. It is the tradition of the church. It
  • cannot be changed arbitrarily. It is unwarranted (and common) to label those
  • who refuse to accept this innovation as pharisees. We have also (incredibly)
  • been called "schismatics".
  • There is plenty of extant evidence that Christ gave the church the authority
  • to make rules concerning the christian life, and that He expects His children
  • to follow these rules.
  • >But to make pronouncements verging on
  • >anathema about those who use the modern calendar, well... it's just not in
  • >their scope of authority.
  • I completely agree. Rational Old Calendar Orthodox consider New Calendar
  • Orthodox to be fellow Orthodox christians. I also hold this view (yes, I think
  • I am rational).
  • >I am no robber, am no mason, but I am an ecumenist. I am not one of those who
  • These are frightening words, because of the connotation Eucuminism has for many
  • Orthodox christians. It is important that you define what an "Eucuminist" is. I
  • have heard the word used benignly, and also heard it used to describe some
  • great spiritual criminals. Since you have so labeled yourself, may I suggest
  • that you would make your position more clear.

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