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"Spiritual differences " within the Orthodox Churc
25-02-2008, 07:56 AM,
"Spiritual differences " within the Orthodox Churc
Dear All
Are there "spiritual differences" within the Orthodox Church? e.g.Greek and Russian Orthodox-and British Orthodox or are they the same apart from language?
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m --> Is a site that is the Catechism of the Russian Orthodox in English,which is excellent.I have noticed several previous postings regarding the need for an Orthodox Catechism in English.

In Gods' love
John Francis
25-02-2008, 05:17 PM,
Dear John Francis,

You ask an interesting and important question.

Reading what +Hilarion write in his on-line catechism I find nothing with which I would wish to disagree.

I don not think that the real differences between us are great - by that I mean the spiritual approach; but the pragmatics are a different matter.

In Christ,

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
25-02-2008, 06:19 PM,
Dear John Francis,

Yes, let me agree with John that there are no substantial doctrinal differences between Orthodox Churches, but there are differences of culture. Indeed this is why the British Orthodox Church exists as part of the ancient Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, rather than our communities simply being part of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

We have been given the mission of helping people to live out the fullness of the Orthodox Faith in our own British culture, not that we exalt being British above being Egyptian, or Greek, or Russian, but that the Orthodox Faith is for all peoples in all places.

So where there are differences they are generally cultural rather than doctrinal.

Take the issue of language for instance. There are often controversies in the Orthodox Churches when they find themselves in an Anglo-phone context and need to grapple with the choice of language in worship. in my own home town there is a Greek community, but it worships almost entirely in Greek, and though I could probably learn enough Greek to participate in time, it would be very hard for my family, and even harder for any non-Christians who might want to discover Orthodoxy for themselves.

But the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, which also has to deal with the issue of language, has wisely understood that as British people who are Orthodox it is natural, and appropriate, for us to use English in our worship.

It is also natural and proper for us to venerate the saints of the British Isles, together with those of our Mother Church. We also keep the Western calendar, apart from the Paschal cycle, because in the UK Christmas is kept on the 25th December, and we are British.

These are the sort of things where there are differences between the British Orthodox and other Orthodox.

There are also a variety of cultural and social customs and taboos which have meaning in rural Greece, Russia or Egypt but which are not part of the Orthodox Faith and therefore do not need to be reproduced by British Orthodox. These include some attitudes towards women, but also minority groups like Jews.

I hope this is a little helpful

25-02-2008, 10:57 PM,
"Spiritual differences"
Dear John and Peter
Thank you for your replies.
Having worship in the language of the indigenous country enables the lay person to participate, understand and learn more easily which must be positive.
It is nice to know that there are no substantial doctrinal differences as it would only make my study of the differences between R.C. and Orthodoxy harder.
The only negative that I can see is that when there is a "common" language such as Latin before the changes in the R.C Church was that it enabled understanding of the Mass in any Catholic country.
Many Catholics of my acquaintance still miss the "Old Style" and travel considerable distances for the mass in Latin.
I never knew the mass in Latin so cannot speak from personal experience.
However for the lay person(that includes me) understanding is paramount
In Gods'Love John Francis
26-02-2008, 03:19 PM,
Dear John Francis,

Sometimes some Orthodox write as though 'understanding' was not essential; here a linguistic confusion enters into things.

If by that word one means full comprehension of the mystery of the Incarnation and our salvation, then I would agree that we are never going to get there; nor is it needful. But if one means a comprehension of the Scriptures, their import and the language of the Liturgy, then I would argue that we do need to 'understand'.

On another forum an ex-episcopalian who became EO many moons ago asked why, since he had been expected to learn old Church Slavonic, I felt able to become Orthodox without it. My answer was that Acts 15 makes it plain that the yoke should be fixed lightly on the newcomers. If Sts. Cyril and Methodius had taken that point of view then there would have been no service in Old Church Slavonic; and I wonder how many Slavs would have been prepared to learn old Greek?

This is all to confuse the package with its wrapping. Christ spoke in Aramaic and Greek, but His message is universal. Even Latin did not work as a unifier - the Greeks didn't care for it, after all.

One of the many wonderful things about the BOC is that one can worship the Lord in the beauty of the Liturgy of St. James - and understand what one is saying. Having listened, on line, to services in Syriac Churches, the words carry a powerful charge, but I do not understand them. The Coptic Church wisely spotted that Christ came to make Christians, not Copts or Russians - and to adapt a saying of St. Paul, in Him there is neither Old Church Slavonic nor Koine Greek.

In Christ,

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
28-02-2008, 09:55 AM,
"spiritual differences" within the Orthodox Church
Just to add that,although I attend the Syriac Orthodox Church, where services are in both Syriac and Arabic (inevitably, because 90% of the congregation are from Iraq and most of the rest are from Arab-speaking countries) I have never felt isolated or without understanding. One of the important reasons is that the Church provides two texts for the Liturgy, one in which the Syriac is transliterated into Latin script with an accompanying English translation, the other in which the text is in Syriac,
Garshuni (Syriac transliterated into the Arabic script) and an Arabic translation. The importance of preserving Syriac is immense, it being the everyday language spoken by Christ and His disciples.
Anyone reading the English version of the Liturgy is immediately captivated by the beauty and the piety of the words, and all those who have heard the Syriac intoned and chanted by the choirs and the congregation will immediately sense a spiritual uplify which cannot be described.
Kirk Yacoub
29-02-2008, 12:17 PM,
Dear Kirk,

When you write:
Quote: all those who have heard the Syriac intoned and chanted by the choirs and the congregation will immediately sense a spiritual uplify which cannot be described
I can only say: 'Amen!'

Hearing the Lord's prayer in Syriac is a deeply moving experience.

There is a beautiful (sung) example here:
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... re=related</a><!-- m -->
which has links to others.

In Christ,

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

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