Thursday, February 28, 2008

Believing: Religions. The Orthodox Christian

Ostrog, Montenegro, Orthodox Monastery

History of the Orthodox Christian Church: Since AD 29, Pentecost. Hear some chants, the Russian Orthodox, at :// Find Ukrainian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, many more.

See a timeline - always an efficient way to get started. See the timeline at the site for St. Ignatius of Antioch Orthodox Christian Church in Madison, WI: at :// But first, here is the home page (with bells at://

Site information from that timeline is summarized here, with other information as we find it separately listed.

For the first millenium: There was basically one church in claiming the direct line of the apostles since Pentecost, and five centers or patriarchates - Jerusalem, Alexandria, Constantinople, Antioch and Rome. There have always been other groups that the "one church" called heretic or schismatic - Arians, Bogomils, look up "heretic" - although they saw their interpretations as having as much validity as anyone else's, or better. Most eventually were killed.

954- Orthodox Church in Russia

Meteora, Greece, Orthodox Monastery

In 1051, the Great Schism. By 1054, the Roman Church Patriarch had pulled away in order to pursue his view of the Roman Church as the sole and universal leadership of the Christian faith. The other four patriarchates have remained in full communion with each other. The Roman church also had by then added the "filioque" clause in the Nicene Creed, not only the Father, but the Father "and the Son," with the later phrase not having been part of the first 1000 years' theology.

Rome vs. Orthodox:
Roman Crusades: 1095-1291- with the "sack of Constantinople," obviously a Christian city, in 1204.
Rome omitting to act when Orthodox put to death in Nazi puppet states, Fascist Concentration Camps, WWII, Balkans (elsewhere?)

1453- Turks overran Constantinople, signaling end of the Byzantine Empire. Note the defensive positions of the monasteries on clifftops. A combination, I recall, of inspiration, signs; and necessity.

Rome dividing into other groupings:
1517, Martin Luther's 95 Theses; Protestant Reformation
1529, Church of England; Episcopal. The Anglican Communion.

1538 - Ottomans overrun Moldavia, Romania

1683 - Ottoman Empire was finally stopped at Vienna, see ://

1794- Orthodox missionaries arrive in Alaska

Rome's theology differing from Orthodox: (see 1054, "filioque" clause also)
1854 - Dogma, Immaculate Conception
1870 - Dogma, Papal Infallibility
See also the progression of terms in creeds, what is added, which groups disagree.

Customs, entering: See:// This site is by a technical writer, and easy to navigate. Go to the clothing and conduct section, at ://
Nin, Croatia, Early Christian Church (neither Roman nor Orthodox - All one Church then (9th Century?).

The church at Nin predates the schism between Roman and Orthodox, when the Christian Church was one church, and before Rome pulled away from the other four Orthodox patriarchates. This is said to be the smallest Christian Bishopric in the world.

Learn basic manners: Respect, respect. This takes forms that are not familiar to many of us, so read carefully and follow. Regardless of your own views, do as they. Do not cross your legs, that is too informal;. Skirts, are a must in some areas for women, and below the knee (the monasteries in Greece will give you a large square scarf to wrap around on top of your short skirt, or shorts, or jeans); long pants for men, no beach or athletic gear (defined?), no logos on T-shirts (how to get around these - are the scarves offered? I do not recall). Men, remove caps. Women may cover heads, not required. No smoking, including on entry steps, no gum;. When altar doors open, hands at sides or hands folded in front, no folding of arms, or hands in pockets, out of respect. Communion only for Orthodox;. Close doors softly.

Painted Orthodox church, Bucovina, Moldavia, Romania

The paintings are on fresco, see :// The churches date from the 16th Century, and the paintings are educative, didactic, a way to teach even outside the church. Armies also were mustered there, and walls surround many church complexes - teach the soldiers as well.

Wooden bars pounding, or beating wooden tablets, signal calls to prayer in many places, the Turks having forbidden the use of bells, and also having melted them down for arms. See geocities site.

Similarities in the hierarchical churches: Use of term, but differing meanings.

The "Metropolitan" is the term for the diocesan or "arch" bishop overseeing other, lower-ranked bishops in an area. See :// to get started. Info there:

Roman Church: "Metropolitan Bishop." In the Roman church, the lesser bishops are known as "suffragan" bishops. Metropolis used to mean the chief Roman city in an area, like a province or "ecclesiastical province."

Greek Orthodox: the "Archbishop" is above "Metropolitan."

Slavic Orthodox: the Metropolitan is above the Archbishop.

Those with distaff side repro apparatus need not apply, because repro apparatus is placed higher than head or heart, and those with other repro apparatus have so ordained, even though the Founder did nothing of the kind. See theological meander at

The Orthodox and the Roman branches offer a verbal ok to thinking on your own, but not to coming to conclusions on your own that differ from the established line. This was not always true - look to the earliest years when Croatians began doing mass in their own language, 900 AD or so.

Gregory, Bishop of Nin, Croatia, 9th Century

Gregory here started doing the services at Nin, Croatia, in the local language, educating the people. This was soon barred by Rome. The Church in Croatia did become Roman Catholic; the Church in neighboring Serbia, Montenegro and much of Bosnia became Orthodox; with Serbia and Bosnia then being overcome by the Ottomans, the Muslims, in many areas.

Facts arriving after the belief has etched are either a threat, so to be suppressed, as in the case of Gregory of Nin; or become unlikely to change anything thereafter, so get 'em believing early, keep facts out (or make up your own) and keep 'em iggerunt. Is that right? See Joy of Equivocating, Emoticon Dominance Theory.

Rub the toe of the Saint for luck. See :// And why the tall hats?

For a meander on theology and hierarchy in the hierarchical churches, do visit Martin Luther's Stove - Theology Anomaliesy