Re: Proof of Common Prayer at Assisi
- Fr. Peter Jackson wrote:
> Everyone's wondering if there is any evidence that the MoscowThis web site contains a program rather than a description of what
> Patriarch joined in common prayer with the heterodox at Assisi. All
> you have to do is look up the Vatican's official website:
actually occurred, but it certainly is evidence that would strongly
suggest that that the MP representatives did more than merely stand
back and watch.
It should be noted, however, that what appears to have actually
occurred in Assisi is not as bad as had been suggested. Yes, it is
bad enough to pray with the heterodox in violation of tha canons, but
it is on another level entirely to pray with Pagans.
This is one more issue that will need to be addressed and resolved
when we talk to the MP.
While we should criticize such behavior, we should also recognize
that worse things have happened in the history of the Church without
such incidents proving the Church in question was apostate.
Also, it will be interesting to see the reaction of the Moscow
Patriarchate as a whole.
> Finally, to the question posed about praying for our country at thehold
> behest of our President, I would maintain that this too is joint
> prayer with those outside the faith. Every year the Protestants
> a "national day of prayer". We Orthodox do not participate. We donot
> need heterodox clergy to tell us to pray for our nation. We do soat
> every divine service. When I was growing up Protestant, we prayedfor
> our nation maybe at the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. After theservices,
> terrorist attacks in Sept., we had no need to convoke extra
> since we already had mid-week services scheduled. (Providentially,I recall that about 10 years ago a priest (who was an American) at
> the hymns for the Indiction on Sept. 1/14 had to do with asking for
> protection from attacks of "Hagarenes".)
Jordanville mentioned to me that Vladika Laurus came to him on
American Thanksgiving and said "You must pray for your country", and
had him do a special moleben.
Also, St. John always had special services on Chinese New Year when
he was in China. It is hard to imagine that he would think one was
praying with heretics if they conducted a thanksgiving moleben on
> I was saddened to read that the Churches of Serbia and Jerusalemhad
> representatives at Assisi. The only Orthodox Churches who did notthe
> send a delegation were the Churches of Sinai, Japan (which is under
> Moscow, anyway) and ... Georgia. God bless the Church of Georgia!
> Instead of everyone in ROCOR scrambling about, wondering whether
> MP was at Assisi and why, it should also be asked why Georgiawasn't
> there, and what our relationship should be with *them*.Based on the program you referenced, the Serbs did not actively
participate in the service in question. And indeed, the Georgians
should be commended for not having gone at all.
-Fr. John Whiteford
- Dear Nikolai,
You have greatly misunderstood me.
--- In orthodox-rocor@y..., Robert Kearney <niconar20@y...> wrote:
> So according to the reverend Father, it is even un
> permissable to pray for the same things as the
> heterodox do? Then why do we pray for our country and
> its civil authorities when most are not Orthodox?
> Wouldn't we then be praying for people whom God could
> possibly have no concern for anyone outside the faith?
I never said that one should not pray for the same things the
heterodox do. I never said that we should not pray for our country
and authorities. On the contrary, I pointed out how we do so at every
Divine Service. My point was that we do not need to wait for an
invitation from those outside of the Church in order to pray for our
nation or to pray for world peace. Of course we should pray *for*
those outside of the Church. The problem is praying *with* them. If a
non-Orthodox person asks me to pray for them or to pray for world
peace, I do so gladly. But it would be very different if I were to
ask *them* to pray. Does this mean I despise that person? No, it
simply means I question the efficacy of their prayer. It simply
another way of affirming that no one comes to the Father except
through Christ, and that outside of the Church there is no salvation.
I guess this also means that I should be careful for
> what I pray for and where I am when I pray least they
> be joined with those of a heterodox who happens to be
> praying for the same thing? So much for saying grace
> in a public restaurant least someone else should also
> be? And so on, and so on.
Nikolai, I find it hard to believe that you think this is what I
meant. The problem is not one of geography, but of purpose. It has
nothing to do w/whether I am physically present in the same room w/a
non-Orth. person. The problem at Assisi was not one of Orth. praying
in the same room w/non-Orth., but of communicating to the non-Orth.
that prayers outside of the Church [not *building*, of course] are as
valid as those w/in. This is not to witness for Orthodoxy, but to
vaccinate them against it. It is to tell people that they lack
nothing in their relationship to God. This is the opposite of love.
There is certainly no problem with praying in a restaurant! The
problem is going out of my way to tell the folks at the next table
that they need not be Orthodox. This is what happened at Assisi.
> Is some priest wonder why they are serving in
> storefront establishments while their colleagues in
> other jurisdictions do so in actual churches, perhaps
> this is why? The Church must be realistic of what she
> wants out of people in this day and age. While it is
> important to try and follow the canons correctly, such
> mindless legalism will only cause our Church to loose
> more and more members who may feel themselves more in
> a JW "Kingdom Hall" then an Orthodox parish!
If a non-Orth. person comes to our parish and I tell them that their
prayers are equally effective as ours, that they lack nothing, that
their faith is equally valid, how would this bring them into the
> respect Father Peters strict interpretation of the
> canons, in all reality I must state that what he
> proposes is impossible to follow for many in this day
> and age.
What I have stated has nothing to do with the "canons". Whether the
canons say we can or cannot pray with heretics has little to do with
it. Even if there were no such canon, we should not pray with
heretics. "What does Christ have to do with Belial?" St. Paul asks in
I Corinthians. To say amen to a heretic's prayer is not just to agree
with the content of the prayer but to agree in faith with the one
praying. But if we agree in faith with them, then in what sense is
Orthodoxy unique? This is not a "strict interpretation of the
canons", it is simply an acknowledgement that there is a distinction
between Truth and error, between the inside of the Church and the
outside. To share in prayer or worship with those outside is to
erase, or at least blur, that line. To maintain this distinction is
neither impossible nor difficult.
I hope you better understand what I was trying to say.
God bless you.
- Father bless! Thank you for your response.
It still seems unclear to me, however, that asking for
someone prayers who is not Orthodox is wrong? Are you
saying that God does not hear the prayers of a non
Orthodox person? Pointing out to the heterodox that
ours is the true faith may be correct, but still I
doubt that they will automatically convert to ours
simply because we tell them to. I think that we ought
to be careful in dealing with such issues so as not to
appear prideful and arrogant to those not with us.
I still don't see what the harm in asking for another
persons prayers would be even if they are heterodox?
Simply because God takes pity on someone and listens
to their pleas does not automatically make everything
they believe to be true. Nikolai
> What I have stated has nothing to do with the
> "canons". Whether the
> canons say we can or cannot pray with heretics has
> little to do with
> it. Even if there were no such canon, we should not
> pray with
> heretics. "What does Christ have to do with Belial?"
> St. Paul asks in
> I Corinthians. To say amen to a heretic's prayer is
> not just to agree
> with the content of the prayer but to agree in faith
> with the one
> praying. But if we agree in faith with them, then in
> what sense is
> Orthodoxy unique? This is not a "strict
> interpretation of the
> canons", it is simply an acknowledgment that there
> is a distinction
> between Truth and error, between the inside of the
> Church and the
> outside. To share in prayer or worship with those
> outside is to
> erase, or at least blur, that line. To maintain this
> distinction is
> neither impossible nor difficult.
> I hope you better understand what I was trying to
> God bless you.
> Fr. Peter
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- --- In orthodox-rocor@y..., Robert Kearney <niconar20@y...> wrote:
> Father bless! Thank you for your response.God blesses.
> It still seems unclear to me, however, that asking for
> someone prayers who is not Orthodox is wrong? Are you
> saying that God does not hear the prayers of a non
> Orthodox person? Pointing out to the heterodox that
> ours is the true faith may be correct, but still I
> doubt that they will automatically convert to ours
> simply because we tell them to. I think that we ought
> to be careful in dealing with such issues so as not to
> appear prideful and arrogant to those not with us.
> I still don't see what the harm in asking for another
> persons prayers would be even if they are heterodox?
> Simply because God takes pity on someone and listens
> to their pleas does not automatically make everything
> they believe to be true. Nikolai
I'm not sure where to begin, Nikolai. Does God hear the prayers of
the non-Orthodox? God is merciful to all, and I believe that God
heard my prayers before I was Orthodox. However, God answered my most
heartfelt prayer -- my request that He show me His Truth -- by
leading me to Orthodoxy. St. James says that "the effectual fervent
prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (5:16) and used the Holy
Prophet Elijah as an example. If I lived in Elijah's day I would have
sought his prayers. I would not have sought the prayers of those who
did not share Elijah's faith in the God of Israel. This righteousness
which produces effective prayer is the fruit of true faith,
Orthodoxy. So why would we seek the prayers of those who do not
follow our Faith? It is wrong to do so for at least two reasons: 1)
It won't work, because their faith is misdirected, being aimed at a
false god or at best a faulty understanding of God. 2) It
communicates to the non-Orth. person that their faith is as valid and
effective as ours.