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Source: (consider it) Thread: Holy Fire
stonespring
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Not sure if this belongs in purg or eccles, but here goes: A question for our Orthodox shipmates: do you believe that the annual miracle of the Holy Fire in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is real? Here is a description for those who do not know what this is:

http://religionnews.com/2017/04/12/thousands-of-christians-expected-for-rapturous-holy-fire-ceremony/

I am open to the possibility of any and all miracles, but the disprovability of this one worries me (I am not Orthodox, but still), and makes me wonder how secure my faith would have been if I had been alive in the times of Jesus or the Apostles.

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Gramps49
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Pope Gregory in 1238 labeled it a fraud.

However, fire has long been a part of the Easter Vigil ceremonies since the earliest part of the church. Even in Europe the custom was on Saturday everyone would dose their lamps and then go to the Cathedral to have get a new flame from for the new year.

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Golden Key
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Re getting a new flame:

There's a short film called "Phos". (Greek for light.) IIRC, it's about this in a small village. Young people were gathered in a church. There was evidently some blessing, luck, or status associated with being the first one to get the flame home.

Saw this long ago. Don't remember anything else, except I really liked the photography.

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Martin60
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I'm not open to the possibility of any miracle since Jesus, but I was nicely spooked tonight by my stirring my tea a prime number of seconds as usual (it has to be 13 for breakfast tea, 3 for my wife's and 5 for my mother's, or 17 for Earl Grey) and checking up on Mersenne primes which led to perfect numbers an hour in to watching a re-run of the first Lewis, a key of which in the last half hour is perfect numbers.

At least I didn't get intense deja vu about it all. That really does spook me unnicely.

Rationality notwithstanding.

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Love wins

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stonespring
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The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem knows from experience whether the Holy Fire is real or not, but do you think other Orthodox Hierarchs believe in it? The Patriarch of Russia? The Ecumenical Patriarch? Is it something that Orthodox faithful have to believe to be true or is it something that they can choose to believe in or not?
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Pope Gregory in 1238 labeled it a fraud.

He is also looked at by the Orthodox as the beginning of papal overreach. Coincidence?

I'm agnostic. I don't think it matters.

ETA: It's not dogma.

[ 14. April 2017, 01:53: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
He is also looked at by the Orthodox as the beginning of papal overreach.

Given that his predecessors included Leo I, Gregory I, Gregory VII, Innocent III, and particularly in this context Leo IX, I'm impressed with the disinclination of the Orthodox to rush into hasty judgements.
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Palimpsest
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If it is a technical trick and not a miracle, what would you call it? Greek Fire?
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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
If it is a technical trick and not a miracle, what would you call it? Greek Fire?

My recollection is that the recipe for Greek fire was lost in the Byzantine period, and in any case was rather nastier stuff than that alleged to be used to produce the "holy fire".

I'm going with "probably fake" on this one, but I'd like to think it was true.

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Martin60
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There is no sane, educated reason to believe that it isn't fake.

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Golden Key
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Martin--

Ah, but does that mean it isn't real? [Biased]

I don't know whether or not this fire is a real miracle, a trick, or who knows what. But reality is pretty darn strange.

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Garden Hermit
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'Miracles' are events that can't be explained by current standards of Education and Learning. Just because we don't understand why something happens doesn't mean it doesn't. Einstein reckoned Human Beings knew less than 2% of all there is to know in the Universe. I think he's still right.
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Martin60
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As I said ...

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
He is also looked at by the Orthodox as the beginning of papal overreach.

Given that his predecessors included Leo I, Gregory I, Gregory VII, Innocent III, and particularly in this context Leo IX, I'm impressed with the disinclination of the Orthodox to rush into hasty judgements.
Nice one. Like it.

Mind you, are you are probably aware, the pivotal word that Mousethief used wasn't 'papal' but 'overreach.'

My understanding of it is that the Orthodox aren't against the Papacy per se - but they are against Papal 'overreach.'

The issue then, of course, is what constitutes 'overreach' and when did it start to happen?

I've heard some Orthodox say it was around the 9th century. Charlemagne gets blamed a lot too.

I suppose the mileage varies.

Mousethief will correct me if I'm wrong but my impression is that the Orthodox are comfortable with the idea of the Pope as the 'Western Patriarch' - a title the Papacy ditched in favour of a claim for universal jurisdiction - and some would even be comfortable with the idea of the Pope as 'primus inter pares' - although that's not a popular idea on Mount Athos from what I can gather ...

So the issue isn't the Papacy as such but how it behaves.

Or something like that.

As for the Holy Fire in Jerusalem ... I've come across Orthodox who are sceptical or indifferent to it, others who seem to think it 'proves' that they've got the right date for Easter or that it shows that God favours them more than he does anyone else ...

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Mind you, are you are probably aware, the pivotal word that Mousethief used wasn't 'papal' but 'overreach.'

Given the implicit and explicit claims of some on the list, "overreach' verges on the euphemistic...
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Gamaliel
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Sure, I got that, Kaplan, hence my musings about when the 'over-reach' may have occurred or begun to occur.

I was intrigued by the 13th century reference as I'd have thought most Orthodox would see 1054 and all that as a pivotal point in Papal over-reach.

Perhaps all post and some pre-Schism Pope's over-reached but some over-reached more than others?

I know the Orthodox do see things as having got worse in the West in the immediate centuries after the Schism.

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stonespring
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Pope Gregory in 1238 labeled it a fraud.

He is also looked at by the Orthodox as the beginning of papal overreach. Coincidence?

I'm agnostic. I don't think it matters.

ETA: It's not dogma.

What concerns me is that, if it is fabricated, then one of the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church is complicit in it and his predecessors have been for centuries. I know that corruption in any denomination is nothing new, and that many of the relics in RC cathedrals are arguably fake, but to have a scam pulled off year after year, if it is a scam, by such a senior figure is worrying.
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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
What concerns me is that, if it is fabricated, then one of the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church is complicit in it and his predecessors have been for centuries. I know that corruption in any denomination is nothing new, and that many of the relics in RC cathedrals are arguably fake, but to have a scam pulled off year after year, if it is a scam, by such a senior figure is worrying.

If that worries you, wouldn't you be equally concerned about St Januarius's blood.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Pope Gregory in 1238 labeled it a fraud.

He is also looked at by the Orthodox as the beginning of papal overreach. Coincidence?

I'm agnostic. I don't think it matters.

ETA: It's not dogma.

What concerns me is that, if it is fabricated, then one of the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church is complicit in it and his predecessors have been for centuries. I know that corruption in any denomination is nothing new, and that many of the relics in RC cathedrals are arguably fake, but to have a scam pulled off year after year, if it is a scam, by such a senior figure is worrying.
If?????

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mousethief

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Sorry, I got the wrong Gregory.

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Gamaliel
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Aha!

Then which Gregory are we talking about?

Meanwhile, the point Stonespring makes worries me too. If it is deception then we are talking about institutional deception for many centuries with complicity at the highest level among the Patriarchs.

That's no small issue.

However, many RC's seem to get by without signing up to some of the stories that circulate there.

Is there a Protestant equivalent?

I've heard of Pentecostal pastors who have remained in post despite having come to the conclusion that the 'tongues' their congregations speak in are anything but spiritual gifts but simply learned-behaviour - and that their church's teaching on divine healing is over-reached.

That's partly why the crash and burn rate among Pentecostal ministers is higher than that of any other Protestant denomination.

Have the Orthodox painted themselves into a corner with the Holy Fire? It might not be dogma but if a Patriarch came out and said, 'Well, hang on a minute ...' would it send shock-waves and seismic crashes around the Orthodox world?

Orthodoxy intrigues, fascinates and infuriates me in equal measure. I see so much wisdom there and a depth of spirituality - but at the same time hear of stuff that curdles my brain ... weeping icons, myrrh-streaming icons, the bodies of mummified Saints who apparently get up and walk around at night to the extent that they have to be given new sandals every few years ...

All that and lots of other things besides. It's certainly intriguing that all that can coexist with genuine scholarship and a general scepticism about extravagant claims and sensationalism.

The same applies with Catholicism. Everything from folk Catholicism out in the sticks through to refined Scholastic theologising in the seminaries.

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stonespring
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
What concerns me is that, if it is fabricated, then one of the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church is complicit in it and his predecessors have been for centuries. I know that corruption in any denomination is nothing new, and that many of the relics in RC cathedrals are arguably fake, but to have a scam pulled off year after year, if it is a scam, by such a senior figure is worrying.

If that worries you, wouldn't you be equally concerned about St Januarius's blood.
It does seem that with St. Januarius's blood, if that is a scam too, the Archbishop of Naples would be complicit in it, and that is equally worrying to me. Despite proclamations about when the blood has liquefied or not during papal visits, I do not think the RCC considers it dogma that the blood ever liquifies, just as with the Orthodox and the Holy Fire. The Holy Fire, its occurrence at the site considered to be where Jesus was crucified, was buried, and resurrected, and the bringing of the Holy Fire to Orthodox around the world where other Patriarchs (at least the Russian one) treat it as genuine every year gives it much more prominence at least to me than the miracle of St. Januarius' blood, even if neither are considered dogma. But it does appear that there are potentially fraudulent modern-day miracles in the RCC, and, I would imagine, in any religious group that is very ancient - and a few more recently founded ones (the LDS Golden Plates and Book of Abraham, etc.).
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Gamaliel
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I think there's a range of things going on in any church - however ancient or modern - which has some kind of belief in here-and-now supernatural intervention - which range from the possibly genuine to the probably mistaken to the downright fraudalent.

People see what they want to see. It's called confirmation-bias.

I don't lie awake at night worrying about the Holy Fire, but it'd be an issue I'd have to resolve if I were to cross the Bosphorus. Just as some of the odd RC 'miracles' and so on would be if I crossed the Tiber.

The only way to avoid stuff like this, I'd have thought, would be to remain in some staid Protestant outfit where nothing happens to scare the horses ...

Or to reject the supernatural - or supranatural dimension - altogether and become some kind of materialist, or else an atheist or agnostic ...

If you are going to be in any way Pentecostal or charismatic then you are going to open up the possibility of chicanery and fraud.

If you are going to believe in some kind of Real Presence in a more 'developed' sense with the elements consecrated and 'changed' in some way then that too is simply a hop, skip and a jump from apparent smoke and mirror 'miracles' ...

And yet, some of the miracle stories in the scriptures are pretty whacky ... people coming back to life after contact with a prophet's bones ... handkerchiefs apparently impregnated with healing powers ...

I'm sure there'll be some natural explanation for the Holy Fire - phosphorous or something - and it's pretty suspicious that only one or two people can apparently go into the space where it is 'generated'.

What is more worrying is the 'political' aspect.

Mousethief considers that it might not be coincidental that the Papacy became all sniffy and sceptical about it at the same time as it began to over-reach itself ...

By the same token, one could, of course, argue that the Eastern Patriarchs, conversely, began to make a bigger deal out of it for that very reason.

Besides, as far as I can gather, the Armenian Patriarch is allowed a piece of the action, a piece of the Flame if you like - or at least invited to watch - as if the Orthodox Patriarch is saying, 'Nurh nah nurh nah nah ... you can't do what we can do ...'

The Armenians, like the Copts, being regarded as not quite kosher at best from the Orthodox perspective.

Don't get me wrong. I've not got a downer on the Orthodox. I've spent some time with them earlier today at their Vespers ... although I'm puzzled why they were chanting about beholding the light of evening when it was around 11.30am ...

But it is somewhat disturbing.

Not that they're going to be bothered by that, of course.

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Galilit
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Wasn't there a thread on this a few years ago ... involving a very long wire and the flick of a switch and an electric spark and very dry tinder?

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L'organist
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This is a hoax, pure and simple: not my verdict alone but that of a friend which is an Archimandrite of the Greek Orthodox Church. To quote him "this sort of thing gives us a bad name"; in his view it is on a par with the splinters of the true cross, etc, that were manufactured for the gullible in the middle ages.

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Anglican_Brat
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I once joked to a friend about the story of St Helena finding the actual cross of Jesus Christ, and that friend, raised pious Catholic, seriously and solemnly told me that he believed, seriously and literally that Empress Helena actually found the cross of Jesus 300 years later.

One person's superstition is another person's pious belief.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Don't get me wrong. I've not got a downer on the Orthodox. I've spent some time with them earlier today at their Vespers ... although I'm puzzled why they were chanting about beholding the light of evening when it was around 11.30am ...

This is because you don't understand the kairos of Holy Week. You've been hanging with us HOW long?

quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
One person's superstition is another person's pious belief.

I hope this revelation didn't come as a big surprise.

[ 15. April 2017, 18:23: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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Forthview
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In the RC church 'pious beliefs' are treated simply as 'pious beliefs'.There is very little apart from that which is in the historic creeds which one is required to believe.

The miracles of Lourdes for example are a 'pious belief' which no Catholic is required to subscribe to. There is no way that we can say definitively that the Empress Helena did not find the 'True' Cross nor that the thousands of slivers do not come from that 'true' Cross.They can all be used as objects of devotion.

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Martin60
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The RCC is vastly wise in these matters, as in much else. I must assume the same wisdom by the OCC.

But this is Purgatory. Such claims are complete and utter bollocks. Shameful in this case. Complicit. Lourdes is forgivable desperate delusion. But this lying bullshit ...

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Moo

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quote:
Originally posted by Forthview
There is no way that we can say definitively that the Empress Helena did not find the 'True' Cross nor that the thousands of slivers do not come from that 'true' Cross.They can all be used as objects of devotion.

AIUI there are enough slivers to make quite a few crosses.

Moo

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
What concerns me is that, if it is fabricated, then one of the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church is complicit in it and his predecessors have been for centuries. I know that corruption in any denomination is nothing new, and that many of the relics in RC cathedrals are arguably fake, but to have a scam pulled off year after year, if it is a scam, by such a senior figure is worrying.

If that worries you, wouldn't you be equally concerned about St Januarius's blood.
It does seem that with St. Januarius's blood, if that is a scam too, the Archbishop of Naples would be complicit in it, and that is equally worrying to me. Despite proclamations about when the blood has liquefied or not during papal visits, I do not think the RCC considers it dogma that the blood ever liquifies, just as with the Orthodox and the Holy Fire. The Holy Fire, its occurrence at the site considered to be where Jesus was crucified, was buried, and resurrected, and the bringing of the Holy Fire to Orthodox around the world where other Patriarchs (at least the Russian one) treat it as genuine every year gives it much more prominence at least to me than the miracle of St. Januarius' blood, even if neither are considered dogma. But it does appear that there are potentially fraudulent modern-day miracles in the RCC, and, I would imagine, in any religious group that is very ancient - and a few more recently founded ones (the LDS Golden Plates and Book of Abraham, etc.).
IF?!?!?!

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Love wins

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Gamaliel
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More visiting than hanging, Mousethief. The Orthodox have been very good at explaining their theology but not their praxis.

For instance, I asked two people this afternoon why the priest threw bay leaves all over the floor and all over us. They had absolutely no idea.

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Pancho
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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by Forthview
There is no way that we can say definitively that the Empress Helena did not find the 'True' Cross nor that the thousands of slivers do not come from that 'true' Cross.They can all be used as objects of devotion.

AIUI there are enough slivers to make quite a few crosses.

Moo

Back in the 19th century there was a Frenchman who tried to figure this out.
quote:
Once he had estimated the weight of the cross, de Fleury calculated the size, or more accurately, volume, of the cross, which came to 10,900 cubic inches. But the total volume of all the fragments he had measured came to only 240 cubic inches. The number surprised him, so he made a generous allowance for fragments that were in private hands or otherwise had not come to his attention, as well as fragments that had been lost over the centuries or destroyed in war or during the vandalism of the Reformation. He multiplied his original number by 10 and arrived at a new figure: 2,400 cubic inches, not even a fifth of the estimated size of the cross upon which Christ was crucified.

In 1870, de Fleury published his findings in a book, Mémoire sur les Instruments de la Passion. De Fleury concluded that if all the surviving relics of the True Cross were somehow reassembled, there would not be enough lumber to crucify a man, let alone build Noah’s Ark. The 20th-century English Catholic author Evelyn Waugh, referring to de Fleury’s conclusions, said, “As far as volume goes, therefore, there is no strain on the credulity of the faithful.”

Note that he believed that Jesus carried the entire cross whereas modern scholars believe criminals condemned to crucifixion only carried the cross beam on the way. The quotation is taken from this article: Taking the Measure of Relics of the True Cross.

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“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’"

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Forthview
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As far as Lourdes is concerned most Catholics will say that to those who believe no explanation is necessary and to those who do not believe no explanation is possible.

Lourdes in a sense is the whole Church in miniature. It is a place where Faith, Hope and Love are shown openly, where the Sick are treated with immense care, where the Sacraments are duly celebrated.
The Faith of the Church and the care for the Sick are shown most movingly in the Masses celebrated in a multitude of languages as is the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

At the same time it is a reminder that the Church is not just religious services - it is the community of faith, a 'thin' pace where those with great faith and those with little faith meet together in hope and trust.

You are just as likely to hear many unspiritual conversations and to see people pushing and jostling just as the crowds would have done around Jesus two thousand years ago.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
More visiting than hanging, Mousethief. The Orthodox have been very good at explaining their theology but not their praxis.

For instance, I asked two people this afternoon why the priest threw bay leaves all over the floor and all over us. They had absolutely no idea.

Of course you're going to find that in every church. You ask some bench-warmer what some bit of praxis means, or for instance who the fuck John Calvin was (of a Presbyterian), you're likely to get a lot of blank stares. This is a lack of good catechesis; it doesn't mean there aren't answers, at least unofficial but widely accepted ones.

quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
AIUI there are enough slivers to make quite a few crosses.

No doubt. But that is still compatible with some of the splinters being the real deal. Doesn't mean any are, of course, but the sheer volume of splinters doesn't prove that none are. There are many phony autographed editions of famous books. From this it does not follow that there are no genuine ones.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Anglican_Brat
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I was in the Holy Land for a few months a few years ago, and what I learned is when it comes to holy sites and miracles, you have to be willing to put reason aside, the exception being the Garden Tomb*, when a very kind tour guide suggested to me that this could be the place where Golgotha occurred because "one of the cliffs looks like a skull."

I was polite enough to refrain from telling him, that several cliffs can look like a skull.

I think these days, only disgruntled Protestants annoyed with not having a permanent place at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are the ones who believe that the Garden Tomb is where Jesus "really" rose from the dead. [Razz]

[ 15. April 2017, 23:08: Message edited by: Anglican_Brat ]

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It's Reformation Day! Do your part to promote Christian unity and brotherly love and hug a schismatic.

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Ian Climacus

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As has been said above, the fact clergy are complicit in this makes its fakery a terrible thing to me.

And on time turning upside down in Holy Week, I've heard none less than Fr Hopko say this should be sorted out as saying the sun is setting in the morning is nought but a lie.

But then I don't darken the door of any church anymore, so who am I to speak...

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
And on time turning upside down in Holy Week, I've heard none less than Fr Hopko say this should be sorted out as saying the sun is setting in the morning is nought but a lie.

I'll bet he was a joy at parties.

Wait, no, wait. That pisses me off. 50% of our hymnody is blatantly fictional discussions between biblical characters. Did he decry that? Did he say the church needed to "sort out" the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple, which is clearly a pious fiction that has been made into one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church? How about the blessed Virgin's hymen remaining intact through Jesus' birth? I'm going to go out on a limb and say he was probably fairly choosy about what "lies" he choose to complain about.

[ 16. April 2017, 04:53: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
What concerns me is that, if it is fabricated, then one of the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church is complicit in it and his predecessors have been for centuries. I know that corruption in any denomination is nothing new, and that many of the relics in RC cathedrals are arguably fake, but to have a scam pulled off year after year, if it is a scam, by such a senior figure is worrying.

If that worries you, wouldn't you be equally concerned about St Januarius's blood.
It does seem that with St. Januarius's blood, if that is a scam too, the Archbishop of Naples would be complicit in it, and that is equally worrying to me.
AIUI, there is little doubt that the 'blood of St Januarius' liquefies, the only question is whether it is actually blood and not some other substance that reacts to the presence of light. In the latter case the fraud is Medieval and the current Archbishop is not contributing anything to it (it is even possible that it's fraudulent but the Archbishop believe it) - it's not as though the Archbishop has a phial of red plant dye hidden up the sleeve of his cassock.

By contrast if the Holy Fire is a fraud, it is a fraud that requires active participation by the monks (e.g. by dipping the candles beforehand into a phosphorus solution, which is the fairly convincing explanation proposed on Wikipedia).

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Golden Key
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mt (and anyone else who wants to chime in)--

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
How about the blessed Virgin's hymen remaining intact through Jesus' birth? I'm going to go out on a limb and say he was probably fairly choosy about what "lies" he choose to complain about.

Er...no offense, but *what*?

I thought that "ever virgin" simply meant Mary didn't have sex. Unless the poor thing had a Caesarean [Eek!] , birthing Jesus was more of a miracle than I thought!

What parts of the Christian spectrum teach this, if I may ask?

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
What concerns me is that, if it is fabricated, then one of the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church is complicit in it and his predecessors have been for centuries. I know that corruption in any denomination is nothing new, and that many of the relics in RC cathedrals are arguably fake, but to have a scam pulled off year after year, if it is a scam, by such a senior figure is worrying.

If that worries you, wouldn't you be equally concerned about St Januarius's blood.
It does seem that with St. Januarius's blood, if that is a scam too, the Archbishop of Naples would be complicit in it, and that is equally worrying to me.
AIUI, there is little doubt that the 'blood of St Januarius' liquefies, the only question is whether it is actually blood and not some other substance that reacts to the presence of light. In the latter case the fraud is Medieval and the current Archbishop is not contributing anything to it (it is even possible that it's fraudulent but the Archbishop believe it) - it's not as though the Archbishop has a phial of red plant dye hidden up the sleeve of his cassock.

By contrast if the Holy Fire is a fraud, it is a fraud that requires active participation by the monks (e.g. by dipping the candles beforehand into a phosphorus solution, which is the fairly convincing explanation proposed on Wikipedia).

If ... ?

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Love wins

Posts: 15529 | From: More Corieltauvi than Dobunni now. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
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Golden Key, it is a pious belief among some Catholics, I understand and the Orthodox believe it too - although I don't think it's dogma.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Gamaliel
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@Mousethief, yes, of course there's a reason for the bay leaves and I'm sure the priest would have explained, but he wasn't n the mood to chat as he had to scuttle off with the Holy Gifts and various Romanian cakes and what not that people had given him to take to the evening Vigil.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's rather quirky and attractive that neither the Cantor nor the iconographer guy who assists at the altar had the first idea why the priest chucks bay leaves at everybody, chuckling as he goes ...

'Does he need a reason?' the iconographer asked. 'It may symbolise new life. I don't know ... We don't know why we are alive. Do we need a reason for that?'

Well, fair enough ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
@Mousethief, yes, of course there's a reason for the bay leaves and I'm sure the priest would have explained

Then I struggle to see why you brought it up, unless to show that the man in the pew (or lack thereof) doesn't always know everything about his own church's practices. Which is rather unremarkable.

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Golden Key, it is a pious belief among some Catholics, I understand and the Orthodox believe it too - although I don't think it's dogma.

Please do not say "the Orthodox believe it" as if we are a monolith.

GK, if you are really curious and have time to waste, find an online copy of the Protoevangelium of James. A "pious fiction" from some early century, the P-E is the repository of all sorts of bizarre, sorry, interesting early beliefs concerning Jesus, Mary, Joseph, et al. Or their source. Who knows? I think 99.9% of it is hooey. Sadly it is taken far too seriously in Orthodoxy.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Gamaliel
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I only bought it up, Mousethief, because you'd had a bit of a 'dig' at me for hanging with the Orthodox for some time and yet not picking up in the Kairos of Holy Week to the extent that I could have done given that I've attended several services in the Orthodox Easter cycle over the last 20 years.

My point was that if I, as an occasional visitor was expected to pick up on things like that then why would it not be expected of the cantor and the altar-server who are there week after week, year after year?

After all, it might just me be, but I wouldn't have thought I was unusual in wondering why the heck the priest threw bay leaves over everybody. If I'd been the altar server for the last 20-odd years or the cantor for the past 10 I think it might have occurred to me to ask it to look it up online ...

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not criticising, I think it's part of Orthodoxy's exotic charm if I can say that without sounding patronising.

Let's face it. Orthodoxy is odd.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Martin60
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@Forthview. Nice. And I'm invincibly ignorant of claims.

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Love wins

Posts: 15529 | From: More Corieltauvi than Dobunni now. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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I ended up watching a part of some egregious Netflix production or other featuring popes and dukes where they presented the Holy Prepuce. I was already only partly tuned in because of the absence of fleas, perfect teeth, and obviously dyed hair. Made me wonder what othet artefacts may have circulated. Holy crap!

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Let's face it. Orthodoxy is odd.

Not, reportedly, to the cradle O's. Fish don't realize they're drinking water, it is said.

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Made me wonder what other artifacts may have circulated. Holy crap!

Now that one, I haven't heard of.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Gamaliel
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Sure, oddness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

I've come across cradle Orthodox Greeks who think the Orthodox Church is odd too, although they tend to have grown up here rather than in Greece.

They can't understand why westerners are interested in them rather than Anglicanism or Roman Catholicism.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 14674 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I'll bet he was a joy at parties.

I always found he had a wry sense of humour. I just presented it as someone, known in Orthodox circles, who did not necessarily think the flipped time in Holy Week was a good thing (TM) given it was brought up here.

And I probably misrepresented him by omission. When he suggested current liturgical actions be changed, it was often due to the rubrics or practice having departed from the original for no good reason...or for a bad reason. I can't recall the detail behind his commenting on this, just he suggesting it may be something we may want to look at. I got the impression the "time turned upside down" explanation came after the move happened for convenience of worship/attendance reasons.

Does that mean he was right? Not necessarily. As he always said, these are but his musings. I'd say informed musings, but as I liked him and his talks I would. On the other matters you raised I cannot comment..he liked, nay loved, the poetry and flowery language of the liturgies -- that came through in his talks I heard. He may have been picky about what he chose...wouldn't bother me. Though I certainly was a very poor Orthodox example; on your bringing up of the the Presentation Feast I always considered it a great lie in the Church of the Truth and struggled with it -- I get its theological reasons but I could never understand celebrating something as fact that was clearly a lie. But I took it 2,000 years of wise people knew better than I and clearly coped with it, and I kept this to myself.

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