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And this is where, based on my early comment, I realized something. If we do live in one storey, this means that those people who love the Lord, whether living here in their first bodies or living elsewhere in their glorified bodies are all equally alive. I say all that to say, I thought of Mary as more of an aberration, and not the divine Mother of God. I have abstracted Him. He has been a set of ideas that give me comfort. As I am slowly escaping the bonds of modernism, I am returning to being human and leaving dis-integration. Jesus is making me alive because he is alive, not because he had a great plan, or is the ultimate idea of the human being.

Jesus is here. Jesus introduces me to His Mother. We shake hands…and then we hug. The most sobering revelation is that I have treated Jesus as a talisman just as much as I have Mary or any of the other saints. Thank you for loving me…for being my life, my motion, my very being; for in you I live, and move, and have my being.

Thank you Father Stephen. This was wonderful. Also all the comments — thank you to everyone. I have come to appreciate Mary, and love the Dormition. However I feel alienated a bit from it all, just due to the fanciful nature of the story of the apostles being called miraculously to her side. Some of the very fanciful stories of Mary and the saints are frustrating to me. Does anyone have any advice on these things? Maria, I sympathize and feel the same way. However, it is my experience that Orthodoxy isnt interested in mere intellectual acquiescence. If you accept them on the terms in which the Church presents these stories, that is fine.

But I also think there is a sense in which the apostles became present and we are also present at the Dormition upon the creation and veneration of the icon. From Scott; Father and to all who have commented today, I am not Orthodox, but am beginning this journey. There are days when I seem to be overwhelmed. Then a time like this when I know I am on my way home. I have been Lutheran for 53 years.

Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ

In some way I think I could thank Luther for this nudge to Orthodoxy. I have one request that you pray for me and all who are on this new journey to home. Scott, May God grant you grace and strength! It helped you get to where you are. Hi Fr. Stephen, Thank you so much for both of your replies to my comments.

Reflections of the Greek Orthodox Faith

I appreciate you taking the time to read through my lengthy! You wrote that sin and death are pretty much synonymous for Orthodox. Because in the Catholic view, sin also means death. The words are closely linked, but it appears that one follows from the other; death follows from sin. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in His goodness. Is this in-line with the Orthodox view of the first sin and all subsequent sin, or is the Orthodox view different?

You wrote that I am making the mistake of thinking that Ancestral Sin means ancestral guilt. However, I understand that the concept of guilt is essential to the reformed Protestant doctrine which is also called Original Sin. The Catholic teaching on Original Sin is clearly articulated in the Catechism. This is the struggle of conversion directed toward holiness and eternal life to which the Lord never ceases to call us.

Concerning Mary, Catholics believe she was born without Original Sin, as holy and unblemished as if she were Baptized in St. Note: The Catholic Church has never formally defined whether she died or not, but the almost universal consensus is that she did die. Catholics believe that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven, like Enoch and Elijah.

Readings & Reflections: Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15,2017

Bernard argued against it based on their mistaken understanding of concupiscence. Bernard reasoned that since concupiscence was present in the conjugal act, it was impossible for Mary to be conceived without sin. There is no contradiction between concupiscence in the parents in the marital act i. I was surprised by your fourth paragraph, Father.

Besides St. Catholics do not discriminate between Church Fathers based on their geography, and I confess, it is a strange and rather off-putting concept to me. So, the idea that St. I agree wholeheartedly with your last statement: Death is the failure to live in communion with God who alone is the source of life. Thank you for your excellent posts and for your patience with people like me. May God continue to bless your good work here, Fr. Adding on to Fr. Freeman, and maybe just repeating what he said: Mary was born with Ancestral Sin — the uncleanness of death — but the uncleanness of death is not the same thing as moral sin.

There was a way to be clean in the sacrificial system which Mary would have taken part in. The uncleanness could be dealt with — moral crime was punished. Purity of heart always supersedes ritual purity. I was priveledged to be in attendance at the celebration of a Marian Feast about nine years ago at which His Grace Bishop Basil gave an unexpected extemporaneus homily on Mary that had everyone in tears of joy by the end. It was on the real, present and unmistakable fact that she is, was and will always be a human mother. A person and lover of God.

Theotokos to be sure but the foundation of that is her human motherhood. I wish there were a recording. Amongst all the theological and spiritual statements, it is easy to loose track of her human motherhood. Her Son fulfills the Commandment of God to honor father and mother. Maria, Like Simon, I sympathize.

On the one hand, all of the feasts of Mary have huge theological content — something that triumphs over historical questions in some cases. Certain matters concerning material outside of the Scriptures has been questioned or debated in the early Church. But, it was not a culture that primarily thought of history as being the primary locus of meaning. There are places I go a number of them in the Scriptures when that is what I need. But I need more than that. Orthodoxy does not demand that kind of approach to everything.

I always tell people to take it slowly. I want to share a story, but I am very hesitant to do so only because stories like these are easily misunderstood. During vespers last night, I had my son in the foyer of the church because he was being fussy. So, at one point it occurred to me to see what he would do with the icons of Jesus and Mary that are set up for the little people. We venerate the icons in the sanctuary in front of the iconostasis, but usually I shoo him away from the ones in the foyer mainly because he can be unpredictable.

So, when I stood him in front of the little people icons I was going to do what I usually do, but he beat me to it. He walked right up to the icon of Mary and bent over and kissed it. Not once. Not twice. He hugged the icon of Mary. He laid his little head on the icon and hugged the icon of Mary. He then gave her more kisses and then another full on hug. He looked at the icon a little bit and then I am pretty sure he licked it.

But, this was unusual even for him. I would say that, to a certain extent, the entire way of thinking about these things between Orthodox and RC are two very different languages. RC still has a strong flavor of scholasticism particularly in the Catechism with a very strong tendency to sound rather mechanical in its explanations to my ear. Sin and death: They are not precisely synonymous in Orthodoxy, but are so intertwined that they are hard to separate. Sin could be described as the severing of communion with God, or a deviation in the direction of a soul moving towards non-existence rather than towards union with God.

Both terms have other shades of meaning such that they are not, strictly speaking, interchangeable — or least not without creating some confusion. As to East and West — All of the Fathers, when studied properly, have to be read in a critical manner. None of them are without error, or the potential for error. Augustine, Ambrose, etc.

God could and does use every language and culture — but the definitive teachings and understandings of the Church were worked out in their greatest depth in a Greek Hellenistic context. I would say that today, for example, no one can understand the Scriptures in the manner of a teacher if they do not read and understand Greek. Hebrew is useful as well — indeed, the more languages the better. All of the Fathers have to be read together, critically, with some knowledge of the setting, the background issues, and as much of the subtleties as possible. We live in very troubled times.

Simon, One of my sons is adopted from an orphanage and he is a very troubled child. I can count the number of genuine kisses he has given me on one hand. Maybe on one finger. Glory to God. Again…I see it as what Christ and His Mother does to us…the children are easier recipients because they are just raw! Totally themselves… Great story!

And the human heart despairs still. It disgusts me. Your stories, to me, are evidence of that. My special needs daughter was baptized in my Orthodox parish on August 5. Thanks to all who were praying for her—it was a beautiful service. She is 18, but her heart and mind are incapable of the sophistication of adulthood.

I worried how she would manage all the rites because of her social awkwardness and the anxieties that accompany that. She did really well, reading the last bit of her vows all by herself and saying the Creed confidently with the rest of us. She has been insuppressibly full of joy from the moment her baptism was scheduled. She wrote the most beautiful thank you note to our Priest afterwards. Since that day, she has been praying and reading her Bible daily putting her mother to shame , praying for her recently deceased great aunt and other departed members of the family as well as her living relatives and friends and generally throwing herself wholeheartedly into the expression of her faith.

She was complaining of soreness in her chest and woke me up earlier this week with the horrible hacking of her cough. She insisted on attending Dormition vespers with me anyway and wanted to go to her first Confession that evening. Then, still complaining of her symptoms, she also insisted on attending the Feast Liturgy with me and taking Communion her second time yesterday.

She spontaneously informed me earlier today that she had, had no symptoms of cough or chest pain since taking Communion…. That Grace given to the newly illumined certainly seems evident in her case. I believe this is because in her simplicity she simply receives with joy what I struggle to embrace and so often reject in my blindness and distraction with things of this world. May the Lord have mercy on me and continue to glorify Himself in my daughter! Simon, I have another daughter from the same orphanage as my son. She is severely delayed in every area of development and requires total care.

The absolute bliss that she exhibits during the cherubic hymn every week definitely makes me wonder what she sees. It was enough to make me wonder. I went in to get another parishioner to see it because I had never seen anything like that before. I commented here because I wanted to know the difference between Ancestral Sin Orthodox and Original Sin Catholic because the teachings seem identical to me. Although you and other commenters say there is a difference, so far no one has been able to articulate it to me.

Some commenters both to this post and to other posts on this site have made statements about the Catholic Church that are incorrect. I attempted to share the truth about what the Catholic Church teaches from Catholic Church sources. All of the sources I shared, I referenced. I agree with everything you wrote in the fifth and sixth paragraphs of your last comment about East and West and how to understand Sacred Scripture. To my knowledge, this is also what the Catholic Church teaches, and it is what I believe. In all of my comments here, I have been respectful to the Orthodox Faith.

I have not made any erroneous statements about it, nor questioned the validity of Her teachings, nor cast aspersions on Her by pointing out specific areas of abuse. I deeply appreciate everything you and the other commenters have shared about the Orthodox faith. I have read many very beautiful things on this site. As I noted in a reply to another commenter, it is a bit of a neo-logism, popularized by Fr. John Romanides, whom I think overdid his use of it.

For example, though we Baptize infants, we do not believe that the unbaptized are therefore marked by sin. They, in fact, are born innocent. They are, however, born mortal. It is in our mortality and all that goes with it that we are corrupted. Orthodoxy does not generally speak of a fallen nature, or of our nature somehow being distorted.

A major difference in East and West has very much been the way of speaking or thinking about certain things. Not so much the conclusions — but the actual train of thought itself. When I say we are in troubled times — I mean to say that it is difficult to speak with clarity about some things. There is, in his book, Ancestral Sin, an account of what he understood the West to mean by Original Sin. On hearing this, she went up with haste to the Mount of Olives, where she prayed continuously. Giving thanks to God, she returned to her house and prepared whatever was necessary for her burial.

While these things were taking place, clouds caught up the Apostles from the ends of the earth, where each one happened to be preaching, and brought them at once to the house of the Mother of God, who informed them of the cause of their sudden gathering.

A protestant friend of mine tried to tell me Mary was just a vessel, and not worthy of veneration, and that Catholics and Orthodox as well worship her, which is false. What is passed on is the condition of death, since that is the result of turning away from that is, not trusting the Source of Life. One way to think about the intertwining of sin and death is expressed in Hebrews 2. Our inclination is to do anything to survive by means of our own resources, no matter what the cost to others around us — or even our own selves.

Fr Stephen has some good articles on this in the archives. Along with the other comments about the children, it just stirs my heart! I had a little laugh where you said her diligence is putting you to shame! God bless her…and you! I can only imagine the joy a parent receives in witnessing these things!

The love and grace of God….! Sue — I think one of the interesting differences between the Roman and the Eastern church is the almost complete absence of apologetics in the Eastern church. God is a given in the Eastern church. There is nothing to be proved. That is but one example of the radically different paradigms of the East and the West. It is not really a difference in ideas. It is a difference in world views. Romans are anxious to understand and prove something.

The Orthodox are anxious to live and experience something. Just my personal view as a former Catholic trying to live an Orthodox life. Father, I have two things to say about the importance of the Theotokos from my own limited reflections on the Gospel stories in which she has a part. I have been most taken by the beginning of the Gospel of Saint Luke, where a contrast it seems to me occurs between the soon to be father of Saint John the forerunner being addressed by the angel Gabriel, and the story very similarly presented, of the Annunciation.

To me, there is great dignity along with humility in her acceptance which gives promise to the whole human race of the path to intimacy with God. Secondly, I do see a challenge being given by her Son in the marriage feast situation. Something similar to, if greater than, the challenge He gives the Canaanite woman, and also the Samaritan woman.

Dostoievski has Alyosha thinking at his critical time listening to the reading about the first miracle, that the people at the wedding must have been poor to have run out of wine. I just know I was very moved by the suggestion and have always remembered it. I had some Catholic schooling though not a Catholic myself, and always consider that to have been an important part of my path to Orthodoxy. An aspect that Father Freeman brought forward in his last comment to you helped me clarify my own thoughts when he spoke of the innocence of the child in Orthodox tradition.

To my mind, this attitude as I would call it would make , would it not, every conception — I hesitate to say immaculate, but at the very most a great mystery in the advent of a new person coming into the world. That, I think, helps us to consider the Theotokos as most purely from childhood retaining that state into which we all were born. She is without doubt the best one of us. Thanks to all, and happy feast! You have my forgiveness and also my gratitude for everything you expressed in your last comment.

I cannot tell you how much I have learned from you and the readers of this blog. Dana, Thank you for taking the time to think about my question and for your thoughtful reply. In my research on Ancestral Sin, I did read the article you linked. I wonder if this is true in the Orthodox Church, as well? Orthodoxy does not hold that Councils have authority simply because they took place and said something — they have to actually be received into the common life and practice of the Church. The article also made use of the work of St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain.

Much of his work is extremely derivative of later Roman Catholicism and frequently comes under criticism on a number of points. He should not be cited as an exemplar of Orthodox thought. The reply concerning the Council of Carthage, Pelagianism, was very helpful to me. I thank you for faithfully presenting what Orthodoxy does NOT teach. Scripture Liturgy Did miracles cease after the first century church?

Paula, I read your comment this morning with the sound of my daughter reading Psalms in the background. She was reading in the living room while I was preparing our breakfast. It is your blog, so of course you have the right to edit comments at your discretion, which I fully respect. Some readers may get the impression that I linked some sketchy article from the dark web!

I now must wonder: were the decrees of the Council of Carthage added to the 6th ecumenical Council? Did one of the Canons of that council affirm the Council of Carthage, which affirmed not only a Canon of Scripture but also the Doctrine of Original Sin? Do ecumenical Councils have universal, infallible significance for the Orthodox Church? Sue, The article is very problematic. I understand that the author not Damick is no longer Orthodox. There is discussion about removing it from the blog.

There is much within it that creates a misunderstanding and would require a very long and careful, detailed response. Canon Law is far more complicated, in terms of its place and use within the life of the Church than most people know. The article gives the impression that a few quotes covers the whole deal and this is not the case. But, my summary remains: Orthodoxy does not teach that unbaptized infants go to hell or limbo. There are problems with the topic of Original Sin vs Ancestral Sin that are easily misunderstood.

Generally, my rule on the blog is not to argue with or criticize priests the author was not a priest — indeed, he is now a Roman Catholic. I will leave the topic as it is. Councils certainly have universal significance for the Orthodox — and can generally be described as authoritative. The truth is not and cannot be legislated. Councils teach. But, historically, it is the case that a Council is often expanded or somewhat amended by later Councils, and the Council has to be read and understood in the light of the writings that surround it.

Some Conciliar expressions can be seen as problematic — limited by their circumstances. There has been a tendency in the debates and discussions surrounding the nature of authority and doctrine to fall into a kind of simplified, legislative, definitive treatment of teaching that winds up creating false understandings. The faith of the Church is living and organic. If doctrine is not lived — then it is not doctrine — just a dry set of words. The truth is also embodied.

Canon Law and doctrinal statements are of use — but have a lot more to them than something like Constitutional Law. When Carthage, for example, is ratified by the 5th-6th Council the Council in Trullo — what importance did it hold? In hindsight, more attention should have been given to it than was the case — particularly in that many things associated with it later proved to be problematic in conversations between East and West.

Note in the article you referenced there were two versions of Carthage one Greek and one Latin. The author treated it as an insignificant thing — but that was not entirely accurate. It simplified and ignored the larger discussion and debate that has surrounded its position — something that creates misunderstanding.

This is an honest answer to a difficult question and I hope it is of use. If it seems vague at points — it is because of the nature of the problem. Thanks for offering further context for Sue to the article and author in question. I will offer my observation that though the initiation rites for Orthodox and Catholics have identical roots, the way they are executed and spoken about in the modern period is quite different.

Only with already-baptized converts coming into the Orthodox Church who are received by Chrismation do we find the rites of Baptism, Chrismation and first Eucharist temporally separated from a one another in the Orthodox Church. Normally, they are of one piece together forming the whole of the incorporation if the new member into the Body of Christ.

Our cleansing from sin and resurrection from death in Christ, both symbolized by our white baptismal garb are hardly distinguishable—a distinction can perhaps be made between these aspects, but normative Orthodox practice makes clear no actual division between them can be made without introducing a distortion in our understanding of what it means to be united to Christ in His Church. We are not cleansed from sin apart from the life of Christ flowing into our being, any more than we can be raised from death apart from the life of Christ flowing through us. Sue — I can tell that you are good Roman Catholic because of your concern with the teachings of the Councils and the Catechism.

I was similarly concerned, for many years. Now, as an Orthodox Christian, I no longer see the Councils as givers of the law. There is no Orthodox equivalent to the Catechism of which I am aware. I now see the Councils as teaching authorities. I read somewhere that the difference between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy is the difference between juridical obedience and organic participation.

John Meyendorff, St. So read any individual the Council as a trusted authorities on how best to understand and live a Christian life, not as the proclaimers of doctrines and rules that I must believe on obey. But the Catholic Church includes not only the Roman Catholic church but also the Eastern Catholic churches sometimes called the Byzantine churches which are also in full communion with the Pope of Rome.

The theology you have sometimes described as Catholic is consistently Roman Catholic, but not necessarily Eastern Catholic. For example, the soteriology of most of the Eastern Catholic churches is much closer to the soteriology Father describes in this blog than it is to the Roman Catholic soteriology you describe. Please forgive the foregoing, but for the last 8 years or so of my Catholic life I was a Ruthenian Rite Catholic, so I am a little more aware than most to the distinctions between Roman and Eastern Catholicism.

And please forgive my other comments as well. I do not mean to criticize you in any way. To the contrary, I find your comments to be most insightful and helpful. I am merely trying to be a little helpful to you, in return. My comment also contains other errors that are, frankly, more numerous than I have time to correct. My apologies to all. I hope my sense comes through, despite my poor writing and editing skills.

William, Orthodoxyis replete with miracles. Miracles by most in the West are either not believed, or if granted, go against what commonly is observed in nature. Of course, those who disbelieve live in a 2 storey universe. He would have a hard time believing anything miraculous. The Synaxarion is a collection of the lives of saints. Miracles are commonplace. I think you can download at least some as a PDF file. The warp and woof is one. No bifurcation into two stories. Just 2 days ago, on Dormition, we had the annual visit of the Iveron myrrh streaming icon, now in Hawaii.

As normal for Her, the icon of the Theotokos was streaming myrrh inside the glass. The oil is collected in cotton as it flows down and small saturated pieces given to the faithful. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with me. I have learned a LOT from this conversation. Since they are in full communion with the Pope, a distinction does not truly exist concerning the Faith. I agree with Fr. Stephen that matters of Church teaching are not always as cut and dried as Catholics or Orthodox present them. As he pointed out, the Faith of the Church is not a document, it is living and organic, the Body of Christ.

I do NOT wish to discuss the theory of limbo. However, I do want to set the record straight to avoid any misconceptions on this matter: It did not appear to me that the author of the article I linked was saying that Orthodoxy teaches unbaptized infants go to hell or limbo. I think his point was that the theory was first conceived by Greek Fathers.

It should be noted that limbo is not and never has been dogma in the Catholic Church. The teachings of the Orthodox Church are indeed organic, living because they are infused with the Grace of the Holy Spirit but let us not fall into the modern trap that they are therefore changable to be in accord with the current spirit of the age. The spirit of our age is nihilism which demands the destruction of virtue, truth and morality to create the Transvaluation of All Values Orwellian Newspeak and what we see and hear every day all around us. Michael, I very much agree.

Michael, Reiterating the thought in your last comment: it seems common to these times that words are appropriated, redefined, and pass into common usage without much reflection on this form of translation. It seems that when this is done, it is either completely unconsciously done perhaps because of the ubiquitousness of the new meaning , or purposely done to manipulate understandings.

Your comment is helpful to me. Dee, IMO the misappropriation of language is both conscious and malevolent among many. It spreads out of laziness, ignorance and getting worn down by the multitudes. The examples are legion over my life. Not even seemingly unassailable words such as male and female are under attack. Luke of the Crimea and the many more folks who simply did not go.

With all due respect, there certainly are significant differences between Eastern Catholics, including the Ukrainians, and Roman Catholics, despite their common union with the Pope. The most commonly discussed difference is the absence of the filioque from the creed used in the Eastern Catholic Churches. This is no small thing. It reflects a profound difference in the understanding of the Trinity. Secondly, I would never, ever say that Roman Catholics do not possess an active living faith in Christ! I cannot even imagine saying such a thing! I just edited out most of this comment, because I found that I was going overboard in defending my love for and my appreciation of the deep and abiding faith of my many Catholic friends, not to mention people like Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Fr.

Thomas Keating, Fr. If that is what you got out of my comments, I best quit commenting. It does as good a job as can be done in 45 minutes in explaining the differences between the Western and Eastern understanding of Christianity. David, Regarding your third point, specifically, and the general point re differences between east and west, Brad S.

You may have noticed me citing it elsewhere. I have been reading it per Fr. Sue, one thing reading this blog has done for me is raised my appreciation of the faithfulness of lay Roman Catholics. William, Sorry to have been slow to respond.


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Infant Baptism: It is clear in the service of Holy Baptism that it envisions the Baptism of adult converts. However, that pattern has to do with the treatment of converts, per se. It seems clear from all of the evidence in the early centuries that the practice of infant baptism for the children of believers was quite normative. We can, for example, think of its parallel with circumcision in the life of a Jewish child.

If God is able to make a covenant the Old Covenant with an 8-day old baby, and commanded that it be so, then He is surely able to have a covenant with an infant Christian — and it would be normative. What is normative, sacramentally, is that a Christian child should grow up and be nurtured in the faith. Orthodoxy has no concept of being nurtured in the faith without the sacraments. Infants begin to receive the Body and Blood of Christ from there forward.

Carmelite Spirituality

In a more hierarchical, structured society, the notion of being initiated into the faith as an infant and nurtured and raised within it would seem obvious. Our modern minds, however, are utterly captivated with the notion of choice and decision-making. Spiritual formation begins best in infancy. Mary as intercessor. That Mary prays for us is what all of the saints do for us cf. The notion of mediation regarding Mary has a different meaning — and simply describes a role she always has with regard to Christ.

It is eternal. A consistency with what has gone before is a mark of faithfulness.

A departure from what has gone before is a sign of breaking faith — perhaps even heresy or apostasy. What was interesting to me years ago when I began studying Orthodoxy was to see that what was being said, taught and believed, was, in fact, of a piece with what the Fathers taught. To imagine that we can ignore the faithful pattern of belief and practice and leap over all the history in between and arrive at a Scripture that we now can interpret for ourselves is foolishness.

Christ appointed Apostles on purpose. They appointed Bishops, priests and deacons, on purpose. The Orthodox priesthood can, with great ease, trace is line of succession — both in terms of actual persons as well as in terms of actual teaching. This is the faith of the Apostles. Liturgy: One of the Traditions given to us is the Divine Liturgy. The earliest description of a Church service with any detail, dates to the first half of the second century.

What is described is a liturgy, one that follows the same pattern and outline that is used to this day. Jews were liturgical — everywhere. Pagans probably were as well. Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, all retained a liturgy. Miracles: they never ceased and continue to this day. They are, gratefully, thought of as commonplace in the life of the Church. Every kind of miracle. It was born of a bibliolatry — the notion that once the Bible was completed miracles were no longer necessary.

That is actually a heresy. Not one of the early heresies — but a modern heresy.


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  • It has no warrant in Scripture other than a misinterpretation of 1 Cor. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. This has always been interpreted as speaking of Christ and the fullness of the Kingdom — His Second Coming. It was filled with miracles, remains so today. I know a good number of former Church of Christ Restoration Movement converts to Orthodoxy — particularly here in Tennessee.

    These are familiar questions. Jeff — The Unintended Reformation is on my buy list. I only need to get through about a dozen books on my read list until I get to buy books on my buy list and I already have over a dozen books on my buy list, but I suspect this book may leapfrog quite a few of the others. Father, Thank you for your answers to William. Your answers make complete sense. David, I know what you mean! Whether I actually get that done is another question entirely. Thank you for your comments here. They have been quite helpful.

    Oh, and happy reading! Lisa, I should have labeled this. It is by Viktor Vasnetsov and is in St. I appreciate your reply to my questions, I have been returning back to see if they were forthcoming. I understand how it was possible that I might not receive a reply as I had asked quite a few, and they required a somewhat detailed answer. I trust that my sincerity has been able to be discerned by you. I have so many wonderful new things to examine and consider. One of the beautiful hallmarks of earnest truth-seeking is the readiness to accept the truth when you have found it.

    Where oh where has my Episcopal Church fallen to? I had previously struggled with all of the aforementioned issues and now I am seeking an informed perhaps member of the clergy? I hope that I will be able to attend services within the next two weeks and I will be sure to share my experiences with you all. The thought of my blessed children growing up outside of the practice of the faith breaks my heart. Too much inconsistency — If he is born innocent we got that right , then why not full participation? If we deny the real presence, what is the harm in letting the child have a cracker?

    I would rather than delay his run towards Christ. It required a bishop who consecrated the chalice and the paten by use of the most sacred of the holy oils, chrism — the same oil that is used in confirmation. Nowadays people think much more of the use to which the chalice and paten are put: they contain the Body and Blood of the Lord. Once they have been used for Mass, they are sacred vessels. The body and blood of the Lord consecrates far more profoundly than chrism, even with a bishop.

    If the sacred vessels are thus made irrevocably holy by their sacred use, what can be the holiness of the body of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who bore the Second Person of the Trinity for nine months? She is surely as perfectly holy as a creature can be through being Mother of God. It is this thought of the holiness of Mary that helps us to grasp something of the mystery of the Assumption.

    This doctrine has been held by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of the East and West for some years. As always we should seek the meaning of a feast of season in the preface of the Mass. Here we read:. You would not allow decay to touch her body. For she had given birth to your Son. The Lord of all life in the glory of the Incarnation. A reason for the Assumption is then that it was inappropriate for one who was mother of the Lord to suffer the corruption of death.

    The Assumption of Mary

    But there is another reason:. Today the Virgin Mother of God was taken up into heaven. To be the beginning and pattern of the Church in its perfection. And a sign of hope and comfort for your people on their pilgrim way. He did not add to the faith of the Church; he merely expressed with utter clarity and certainty what was this faith all along. If her Son died, why not the Mother also? But there has been an idea around for centuries that Mary did not die.

    We can say that whatever final glorification means, Mary already posses this gift. Life is hard for many people. All the followers of Jesus at one time or another meet the Cross. The feasts of Mary are a holiday, when we can lift up our hearts; they are a time of repose when we can contemplate her beauty; they are a time of consolation when we look to the reward that Mary enjoys and that we hope for ourselves. Hence we can celebrate the feast and feel restored.