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Re: Proof of Common Prayer at Assisi

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  • frjohnwhiteford
    ... This web site contains a program rather than a description of what actually occurred, but it certainly is evidence that would strongly suggest that that
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 8, 2002
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      Fr. Peter Jackson wrote:
      > Everyone's wondering if there is any evidence that the Moscow
      > Patriarch joined in common prayer with the heterodox at Assisi. All
      > you have to do is look up the Vatican's official website:

      This web site contains a program rather than a description of what
      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 the
      > behest of our President, I would maintain that this too is joint
      > prayer with those outside the faith. Every year the Protestants
      hold
      > a "national day of prayer". We Orthodox do not participate. We do
      not
      > need heterodox clergy to tell us to pray for our nation. We do so
      at
      > every divine service. When I was growing up Protestant, we prayed
      for
      > our nation maybe at the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. After the
      > terrorist attacks in Sept., we had no need to convoke extra
      services,
      > since we already had mid-week services scheduled. (Providentially,
      > the hymns for the Indiction on Sept. 1/14 had to do with asking for
      > protection from attacks of "Hagarenes".)

      I recall that about 10 years ago a priest (who was an American) at
      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
      that day.

      > I was saddened to read that the Churches of Serbia and Jerusalem
      had
      > representatives at Assisi. The only Orthodox Churches who did not
      > 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
      the
      > MP was at Assisi and why, it should also be asked why Georgia
      wasn'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
    • frpeterjackson
      Dear Nikolai, You have greatly misunderstood me. ... I never said that one should not pray for the same things the heterodox do. I never said that we should
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 9, 2002
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        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
        Church?

        While I
        > 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.

        Fr. Peter
      • Robert Kearney
        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
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 9, 2002
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          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
          > say.
          >
          > God bless you.
          >
          > Fr. Peter
          >
          >
          >


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        • frpeterjackson
          ... God blesses. 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
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 11, 2002
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            --- In orthodox-rocor@y..., Robert Kearney <niconar20@y...> wrote:
            > 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

            God blesses.

            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.

            Fr. Peter
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