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Sv: [orthodox-synod] Re: [paradosis] Isolation

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  • Nikolaj
    Then what do you do in a country with 1 church building owned by a juristiction who does not want to concelebrate with anybody else? Nikolaj ... From: Rev Mark
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3, 2001
      Then what do you do in a country
      with 1 church building owned by a juristiction
      who does not want to concelebrate with anybody else?

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Rev Mark Gilstrap <fr.mark@...>
      To: <orthodox-tradition@yahoogroups.com>
      Cc: <orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com>; <Orthodox@...>
      Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2001 11:14 PM
      Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: [paradosis] Isolation

      > At 01:51 PM 4/3/01 -0700, you wrote:
      > >I must admit that I have a very different view of isolation with regards to
      > >being far away from Orthodox Communities and Churches where one can
      > >regularly receive the Holy Gifts.
      > >
      > >I believe that in almost all cases, it comes to a matter of personal
      > >choice--not circumstances beyond our control.
      > >
      > >This is a free society and we can choose where we wish to live. And an
      > >Orthodox Christian should choose to live where there is an Orthodox Church
      > >of his chosen jurisdiction.
      > >
      > >An Orthodox Christian should always be willing to sacrifice for the Holy
      > >Faith. If that means relocating oneself to a different area, taking a less
      > >highly paying job, or being far from one's family or friends, then so be it.
      > I agree completely with Fr ALexander's sentiments.
      > Earlier I wrote about the "deceptive ease" of
      > isolation. Do not let it persist!
      > From: msg <fr.mark@s...>
      > Date: Sat Oct 21, 2000 3:54am
      > Subject: Isolation (was: Come on Lurkers!)
      > At 05:45 PM 10/20/00 -0700, you wrote:
      > >If I see something I wish to comment on that is
      > >positive, don't worry, Il'l jump right in.
      > >
      > >BTW, I belong to the Russian Church Abroad. It is 250
      > >miles to church, so I don't make it too often.
      > I see the possibility of a good thread in this.
      > Last July at the Orthodox Russian Pathfinders Camp
      > at Vladimirova (Lost Lake) Illinois, Fr Lubomir
      > from Houston and I spoke for a long while. He was
      > really quite intrigued at the lengths to which some
      > (esp converts) will go to attend Church.
      > We commuted 560 miles (round trip) for over seven
      > years, and upon being transfered to Cincinnati, 260
      > miles for another 2+ years. One year, while I was
      > learning many things for the future, we exceptionally
      > travelled to St Louis (House Springs) Mo, for more
      > than 40 liturgies. However most of the time we
      > travelled only every other week or every third week.
      > I can speak from experience of the real hardships, but
      > more importantly about the more critical imagined
      > impediments put before us by our enemies - our sinful
      > selves and demons alike. Travelling is a blessing of sorts
      > since if you overcome the spiritual hinderances, there is
      > a real victory. Nothing vanishes so quickly as the
      > uncertainty that travelling is worth it - vanishes
      > the moment you cross the threshold of the church.
      > I have a parishioner now who also commutes as far as we
      > once did. The temptations are similar. I have spoken with
      > others too. I think there is a shared experience in overcoming
      > the temptations to not go to church. It may seem more
      > intense for those who commute long distances, but I believe
      > that once identified (perhaps by commuting) one can see
      > the same temptations working on people who have only a
      > short walk or drive to church.
      > Only a few times in ten years did we go 4 weeks between
      > attending Liturgy. Such was sometimes necessary, but
      > usually it was out of weakness. I can't definitively say
      > that the cause of the weakness and temptations wasn't also
      > the cause of the dissipation that arises in those month
      > long absences, but by trial and error we concluded that
      > we could not remain on any effective path towards the
      > One Thing Needful if we didn't commute/commune at least
      > every three weeks. Others have confirmed this period.
      > I think that even the canons speak to this same period
      > in a way.
      > Not attending a parish Liturgy regularly is a doubly
      > risky business. Not only do you miss out on the Grace
      > of the Mysteries, but you avoid the necessity to interact
      > with others, and [you also] risk becoming self-willed, self-directed,
      > self-serving, etc... Mutual sacrifice within a family
      > or marriage may substitute for some of what is lost by not
      > being a part of a parish community, but it is in no way
      > sufficient. Christ promised He is present "wherever two or
      > three..." as may be gathered at a local Reader's service,
      > but who will argue that this is the same as partaking of the
      > Mysteries of Repentance and His Body and Blood on a regular
      > basis together with brethren?
      > I have a real problem with spiritual fathers who allow
      > individuals or families to persist in isolation from a
      > parish community life. I know of people who have gone
      > literally years without communing after joining a TOC
      > group. Few there are, even among monastics, who are
      > blessed to live in isolation from other brethren. E-mail
      > and phone calls don't substitute. Little "missions without
      > mysteries" can easily become havens for cultlike behaviour
      > or at least overly zealous stridency.
      > I often wonder if the short patience displayed on this
      > list isn't in part an artifact of the lack of practice in
      > suffering one another - a result of living in isolation
      > from fellow fallen orthodox strugglers.
      > My spiritual father required us to figure out how to move
      > closer to a church - at first - but when he saw that our
      > frequent travel was making us closer to Church and in fact
      > putting us in Church more frequently than some of those who
      > lived in the neighborhood (and that it was an ascesis which
      > was helpful), we were allowed to live where we were in
      > obedience to our circumstances until circumstances made it
      > impossible to ignore the impact of distance.
      > We were blessed: I had a cush university job with 7+ weeks
      > of vacation, plus holidays on top of that. Or maybe we
      > were victims: Think of all that might have been accomplished
      > if we had moved immediately into a parish environment and
      > not wasted resources for so many years.
      > I am not suggesting that anyone should be swayed by what we
      > did, or expect that it is even possible for others to travel
      > as we did (looking back, it now seems impossible) but God
      > provides. I think the more prudent cure for isolation is
      > to move immediately rather than to travel. But I have boldly
      > said for years and years, it must be one or the other - 1) move
      > or 2) travel so frequently that you are not isolated. Do not
      > remain in the deceptive ease of isolation, even if you must
      > remain far apart.
      > I just wanted to open the subject for discussion and offer
      > support and understanding to all those of you who are
      > vexed by isolation and the necessity to travel. If I can
      > encourage you as my spirtual father encouraged me to
      > eventually give up my will and move to where there is a
      > viable community, then, well... at least think about that,
      > or redouble yuor efforts to build a viable community where
      > you find yourself. Pray to St Xenia of Petersburg for help
      > in finding a parish home, to St Nicholas for safekeeping
      > while you travel, and to St John of San Francisco who
      > understands this wierd 20th century life.
      > In Christ,
      > priest Mark Gilstrap
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