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educational support for newcomer - John Francis - 06-02-2008 11:56 AM

Allow me to introduce myself.I am a 62 retired doctor and a Roman Catholic
My theological knowledge is minimal and did not even realize that there was a British Orthodox Church.
It therefore gave me great pleasure to find your site and the existence of the Orthodox Church in the UK.
The posts show a great deal of theological knowledge,depth of belief and a desire to share,help and inform.
Reading about the differences between the Catholic and Orthodox beliefs I find that the Orthodox views are often more aligned to what "feels right" .
The simple substitute of "through" instead of "and" answered the FILOQUE problem" from the Father and the Son" Which I could not understand previously.

"Our Daily Life" is excellent-congratulations on its publications.
As I become older the prayer of silence is becoming increasingly attractive and needed.
The closer to Christs' true unadulterated historical message we can get the better.

A few Questions-Which is the "best bible" easily available in English to read.There appears to be divided opinion.The one which is true to the Orthodox tradition and accurate translation. King James appears to be popular-there does seem to be a poetry there missing in some translations.
Has there been any further development of the modules?

Is there a study web site?Which covers the basic essentials for a newcomer."Orthodox for beginners"
In particular the differences between the RC and OO .Thank you

The Roman Catholic Church has individual guided silent retreats- of 6-8 days duration Is there similar within the British Orthodox Movement?
The object being to be guided about orthodox beliefs,the opportunity to discuss ,think and pray in silence.

Living in Devon the nearest Orthodox Church appears to at Glastonbury-nearly 120 miles away . A retreat therefore is an ideal way of gaining knowledge and experience.
A few of my many Questions as I embark on my journey of trying to understand.

Thank you for this site a great source of joy and knowledge. John Francis


- John Charmley - 08-02-2008 02:30 PM

Dear John Francis,

Welcome to the forum - and the kind words are much appreciated. I, too, find that the Orthodox position on things seems somehow simpler and more obvious; but then I also feel that sometimes we don't understand the Catholic position on some things in a way that would make the meaning clearer.

There is, you'll be quite unsurprised to hear, not a consensus on which Bible. There is an Orthodox Study Bible which is the New King James version of the NT, which has helpful notes, but the problems we know about with the NJKV; there is an Orthodox version of the OT just launched.

On the study site you touch a point which we know we need to do more about, and we are hoping to do more with the retreats. At the moment we manage day schools, but it would be good to do more.

Do feel free to ask questions here, and we shall do our best to answer. We like to think that one of the things that distinguishes us is the eirenic spirit of Oriental Orthodoxy.

Good to have you here,

In Christ,

John


- John Francis - 08-02-2008 11:32 PM

Thank you for your warm reply.
Just been reading about Orthodox view on original sin-again seems more logical/reasonable that a baby is born innocent and becomes sinful as opposed to being born sinful because of "original sin". The later would imply an unforgiving God/Christ which is not my understanding of Christs' teaching

The more reading /thinking /praying the more drawn towards the Orthodox point of view.It is obviously causing inner conflict.

I hope that retreats can be arranged.There must be others who also are in "isolation" because of few churches and distances involved.
A British Orthodox Church must surely grow. John Francis


- John Charmley - 10-02-2008 10:24 AM

Dear John Francis,

Well, we hope that if it be His will, we shall grow, but we know the process will be as slow and uneven as we are ourselves; we all wish we were more worthy of the challenge we have!

Do read through some of the threads here; there is much here to tell you more about the nature of British Orthodoxy. On the Original Sin point I am with you; the same is true on vexed questions such as transubstantiation. We hold that His blessed words are true: 'This is my body, take, eat this in remembrance of me'; how it is His body we do not know; all we need to know is that it is, that He keep His promise, and that it is in the encounter with Him at the Eucharistic feast that the great void in us is filled.

We shall talk over the idea of a retreat and see what we can do.

In Christ,

John


- Robin Westwood - 10-02-2008 10:09 PM

Dear John Francis,

Good to have you on here and I must agree with John that perhaps God willing a retreat could be organised in the future.

I am quite new to Orthodoxy to and was baptised and chrismated last December into the BOC and will be ordained a reader at our church in Babingley, North Norfolk next Sunday 17th February.

Please watch this space as I am starting an Orthodox Prayer/Interest Group in Cheltenham (where I live) and we are hoping to have an Orthodox Liturgy in May and October this year, and it would be good to see you at one of them if you can make it.

God Bless,

Kind Regards,

Antony Robin,
Cheltenham,
Gloucestershire


- John Francis - 10-02-2008 10:33 PM

Dear John and Antony Robin
Thank you for your replies and support. I have started to read through the postings to broaden my theological knowledge.
As it has already been stated in the Educational forum it is a matter of taking Faith(which is a gift)and adding the theological building bricks. The theology can be acquired through academic study but the Faith cannot.

I have a lot of reading to do!

With you in Christ
John Francis


- John Charmley - 11-02-2008 05:49 PM

Dear John Francis,

It is, indeed, as you say - Faith comes as it does. But it is good to have the theological back up which allows us to be sure that it is His Gospel we receive and not 'another'.

I suspect what you'll find as you read through the threads is that the overall mood here is an eirenic one. Those of us in the BOC may be sure that the Spirit is with us, but we do not presume to comment on the situation elsewhere. We can see, as we all can, where the Spirit is not; but we cannot confine Him and more than we can define the Infinite.

One of the many wonderful things about the BOC is that, as the ancient Church did, it sees the Creeds as barriers against heresy - not definitions of the Lord. So much western theology can seem noisy, busy and over concerned with precise definitions; the BOC recognises that we encounter Him at the Eucharist, in the silence and the doxologies. Of course, sinful men have made it necessary to state what is orthodox, even if only by stating what is not; but doxologies are, for us, the real expression of orthodoxy - and that is why people say you have to experience one of our services.

Those of us who may have an experience of Russian or Greek services can say that however sonorous they are, there is something very special about the Liturgy of St. James. I hope that perhaps at the pilgrimage to Glastonbury later in the year, you will have the chance to experience it.

People sometimes wonder what we mean by 'orthodoxy with a British ethos'; well, one of our services will show you.

I guess that those of us who post frequently here do have theological interests, but some of us are what might be called enthusiastic amateurs - which is why it is great having those like Peter Farrington and the invaluable Fr. Gregory to put us right when we err.

We are also blessed in our bishop. The only Church leader to say anything really sensible about the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent address was our own Abba Seraphim; many years, many years.

In Christ,

John


- Simon - 12-02-2008 08:36 PM

Dear John Francis,

I have available 6 DVDs each containing 2 lectures comprising a total of 2 introductory lectures and then 10 lectures on the Creed by an Orthodox priest. I can also email suggested further reading if of interest. You might find all this helpful in your exploration of Orthodox Christianity. If you would like copies then please email me an address and I shall be happy to send them to you. I also have a DVD with highlights of British Orthodox worship, if of interest.

I can also include you in my occasional British Orthodox South Coast Newsletters - either by post or else on line if you send me an email address. I am the priest at the British Orthodox Church of Christ the Saviour in Bournemouth and am also involved in our various missions across the South Coast area. I know we have had other interest from the Devon area and we will be pleased to keep you informed of any developments.

Simon


- Louis - 20-05-2008 05:25 PM

Hello Simon,

Do you have any of these lectures in an audio form that I could receive by email? I would greatly appretiate it if you do.

God bless,

Louis


- Simon - 21-05-2008 09:50 PM

Dear Louis,

I'm sorry but I only have the lectures on DVD. If you feel able to advise an address to which I could post them then hopefully you could view/listen to them on computer.

Apologies but best I can do.

Simon