Saturday, July 5, 2008

Eastern Orthodoxy

Eastern Orthdoxy seems like the near perfect version of Christianity. I think they have an amazing balance of Tradition and Scripture. Scripture is still allowed to critique traditions and it is held in high esteem (even if the communion as a whole can't agree on the canon of it).

I love the fact that they allow for mystery, and that they seem so ancient in how they do things. At the Catholic Church I occassionally attend they use modern Christian music. But I remember listening in History class to the Liturgy of St. Anthony, and the beauty of the churches. I love the Icons which constantly remind me of the Great Cloud of Witnesses. I think if I ever went into one of those churches it would feel like that line in the Apostles' Creed "The communion of the saints", the one covenent body on Earth and in Heaven. It's a great image.

As well the Filioque issue to me is in favor of the East Orthodox (for those unfamiliar with it, the Orthodox belive the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, whereas the Catholics add, or the Orthodox remove - depending on your position of course - the Filioque, which is latin for 'and the Son', thus Catholics believe the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.) In my reading of scripture I believe it is the Father. (but of course, I haven't read intensively on it).

I think their position on Tradition is what I like the most. The fact that they ordain married priests, and that they seem to have an amazing reverence for God. I also really like a few of their saints. I enjoy the Eastern Mysticism, and frequently pray the Jesus prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner) as they do, and find it beneficial.

Of course the closest Orthodox church is a 45-50 minute drive away, and I hear they're even less welcoming than the Catholics (which would mean probably not letting me in the door). And the Church is split up into about 19 churches all claiming episcopal authority over the same diocese, and they are ridiculously nationalistic (quite like Catholics as well except substitute Irish and Italian, for Greek and Russian).

I remember my grandmother telling me a story about how in the Ukraine in my great grandmother's time, the Mennonites and the Ukranian Orthodox used to come after church and bake together and that's how alot of Mennonite recipes came to be. I like that kind of ecumenism. Two totally different theological viewpoints, both heretics in the eyes of each other's dogma, but they can come together as one body on the Sabbath and bake. We need more ecumenical baking, and I wish there was an Orthodox church in town...

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