I'm interested in orthodox Christianity.
Most of my life I've been agnostic, tending toward atheism. I grew up in a Baptist / Pentecostal household, but rejected those teachings as bereft of true spiritual communion.
I embraced a scholarly lifestyle and have since studied many different ideologies, religions, philosophies and faiths - however orthodox Christianity was not one of them.
At this point in my life, for very personal reasons, I am seeking a spiritual rebirth. For some reason, orthodox Christianity seems to be an incongruously recurring theme despite my neglect of it's mysteries.
I was hoping any of you might be able to recommend...anything. Books, teachers, prophets, apologetics and even your own personal experiences.
I'm also open to opinions which would have me not embrace Christianity again. I'm thoroughly acquainted with the historical hypocrisies and sins of all religion, so perhaps you have a more nuanced view.
I need to leave in about 15 minutes to visit my grandmother, so please just post what you will and I can participate more upon my return.
I'm not orthodox and there doesn't seem to actually be a lot of orthodox writings.
From the ones mentioned you have Philokalia, Way of the Pilgrim and everything Dostoevsky wrote. Timothy Wheare or something like that was being mentioned.
Constantine smells the mention of word orthodox like sharks do blood and will probably have more.
You may want to read some Tolstoy -- he was excommunicated for being an anarcho-pacifist, but you should still read him.
'What I Believe'
'The Kingdom of God is in You'
'Letter to a Hindu' (letter he sent to Gandhi, which heavily influenced the latter)
You don't read the philokalia without the guidance of a spiritual father, you won't understand without a previous spiritual discipline.
Look at the works of Seraphim rose and Anthony Bloom,. For fiction, Brothers Karamazov is beautiful. Kropotkin's political theory is also very influential in modern Orthodox political spheres.
The prologue of Ohrid will expose you to the general folk stories of the saints, and it will give you a daily litany. Fr. Thomas Hopko has a wonderful lecture series, it's up as a podcast on YouTube and on iTunes I think. Start with Fr. Thomas Hopko actually
His views weren't orthodox.
"In the late 1870s, after completing the two novels, Tolstoy underwent a profound spiritual crisis and began a search for the meaning of life. He found little solace in the writings of philosophers, theologians and scientists, but, as he declares inA Confession, published in 1884, he found insights in the daily life of Russian peasants who told him that everyone must serve God rather than living for themselves.
He emerged from his spiritual crisis as what some have described as a Christian anarchist, attached to the Gospel, but without any belief in immortality and seeing Christ as simply a man. At the same time, Tolstoy rejected the authority of the church and the government.
Tolstoy then gathered a big following as he dedicated most of the second part of his life to writing essays, pamphlets, didactic short stories and plays. His novel Resurrection, published in 1899, includes strong criticism of church ritual. Apparently this was one of the reasons for his excommunication. Tolstoy's views influenced European humanists and India's champion of peace, Mahatma Gandhi."
Layman here! Anyone know how I can get into heaven? I really want to - preferably with the least amount of work required. Thanks in advance!
>how do I get into heaven
Love your neighbor as yourself, do good to those who hate you. Feed the poor. Shelter the homeless. Comfort the afflicted. Clothe the naked. Do as Christ has done, and be ready to lay down your life for your friends.
No matter what you read or what you believe, all is worthless unless you do good in your short time here.
The Orthodox Church, by Timothy (not Kallistos due to his vows) Ware is on the reading list, and the first half is a history.
I'd strongly recommend Saint Isaac the Syrian, he was Dostoevsky's favorite and is just an incredible Church Father and perfect beacon of Orthodox theology.
Saint Athanasius of Alexandria
Saint Gregory the Theologian
Saint John of the Ladder
Saint Clement of Alexandria
Saint Gregory of Nyssa
Saint Basil the Great
Absolutely. Most people can't accept that though so the best and easiest way is that of the upright man. Even God says he will forgive ignorance, but without works faith is dead. Christianity is built around the concepts of mercy and charity, so if one is good his entire life but neglects to say "Lord, Lord", then he will most likely be more recognized for his deeds than his apostacy.
But you're right though. Loving the God that created you will lead you to good works.
No problem, brother. God bless.
I think they have mostly correct doctrine, but are quite in error on some key points. I also think their worship, which an expression of doctrine, is extremely impaired. Tridentine Mass is okay (so long as it's not "Low Mass"), if both the Blood and Body of Christ are partaken of--it's still significantly impaired, but it at least maintains some continuity with the religion (which extends even further back than Christ, from an Orthodox perspective). The newer stuff is--dangerously close to Protestant worship.
The usual belief among the Orthodox is that they deviated from Christ. The perspective on the gravity of that deviation varies considerably, though.
On the topic of Orthodox literature, has anyone read this? Recently translated and it's received mostly good reviews from I can tell.
Thanks for the help. I asked because im a non baptized person recently very interested in the Catholic church. Do you happen to be from the east? Here in America the Orthodox church seems very foreign and ethnic, so it's strange as an outsider. Do you mind going into some detail about how the Tridentine Mass is impaired? Only seen videos of Latin Catholic masses and of Orthodox masses, but since im inexperienced I cant make out much of a difference, with both of them seeming to have solid looking liturgies. I agree on the newer stuff, too far from it's origin it seems (Tridentine, is what i mean). The thing about the body and blood of christ seems to be that the Catholic Church believes it to be the actual substance of body and blood (just like the Orthodox), coming from Christ in the present, and since Christ has risen they are no longer separated, where one would be the other would be also. What is the Orthodox refutation of this?
Where is the line drawn, though? In regard to deeds. This is what I don't understand about Christian ethics. Should we donate a few bucks to the church and to charity here and there and be friendly with our neighbors, or should we all adopt a bunch of Ethiopian kids, live in a low income area, and give all disposable income to whatever trustworthy charity we can find?
Nope, but it's now on my reading list. That looks very good.
No, I'm from the West, and a covert. We actually have a lot of converts. We have a lot of appeal to serious Christians who are disillusioned with their denomination as true Christianity. 1/3 of the Antiochian Church's clergy, in America, are converts, and their lay numbers are even higher. The only reason we aren't a sensation yet is because we're still tiny, but at this growth rate, in twenty or thirty years a lot more people will come in contact with the Church.
Tridentine Mass is impaired, not so much as the guide to Mass itself, as how it is celebrated: there are hardly any icons, the icons are in modernist style, and the music used to celebrate mass is often in modernist style (mind you, when I say "modernist", I mean post-modernity).
Christ didn't say, "Take, eat, this is my Body and Blood," and to impose that idea on it, is as bad as all the ideas Protestants impose on Communion. The Orthodox see the Body and Blood as distinct (which is very important, since the distinction of blood and body has been a major thing since the OT, it's crucial). So does the Catholic Church, they just see them both as contained in the Bread. But we don't think you can consecrate the Bread as Blood anymore than you could consecrate a can of Coca-Cola as the Blood.
i think we as humans following God's word can usually discern this. Meaning, you expect everybody to adopt an Ethiopian kid? I dont think that is what makes you a good person. Of course, like many things, theres no real solid answer, but theres a basic shape it forms, if you know what i mean.
If you have dependents, you concern yourself with them first (1 Timothy 5:8). As for what you have disposable, the guideline is this: buying things for yourself is not spiritual beneficial at all, but putting the money to use for others is (but not if you are a show off--not if you take pride in not being a show off either, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing). Asking how much we should give is like asking how much we should pray. Give everything away, prayer every second of wakefulness and sleep. You will not go to hell for not doing this, but the more you follow these, the more to your spiritual benefit it will be, and the less you follow them, the more to your spiritual detriment it will be.
how many years have you been in the church?
any advice on choosing a church to attend? i dont mean as in catholic vs orthodox, but of lets say orthodox churches in your area, how do you know which one is "the right one"?
is there a book on dostoevsky's relation with orthodoxy you can recommend?
Im going to have to disagree on a couple of points. Tridentine mass is in Latin, and everything ive seen of it seems to use traditional music, not modern music. The more modern music used in catholic devotion tends to be cultural, like i saw a video of some Spanish speakers (maybe bolivian) catholics using a guitar in their mass, which does bother me. So far i haven't heard much about Catholics using post-modern music in their liturgy, only hearing of protestants doing that. For the icons, im going to have to say that i do think you have a point. Ive seen many newer churches with not as much imagery as id like, making it resemble some kind of protestant church. It's not a good thing and i believe the Catholics need to try to do something about it. Thankfully, they still are not nearly as bad as protestant's emptiness, i think.
I dont understand the last part. The part about "Take, eat, this is my Body and Blood". As for the bread part, its just that if you eat of the body youll have the blood, but i do know that they allow you to have both if you want to, or sometimes they simply just give both, so that the symbol is stronger and its easier to imagine, i think.
sorry i forgot some things.
I know you probably already know about all this, but here is an example of it in latin, usually using an organ like in this case, and voices.
Also, what do you consider "modern" when it comes to icons? would you consider pic related too modern?
Just one year.
Attend which every Church you like, Coptic, Ethiopian, Russian, Greek, it's all the same Church. I'm Greek Orthodox.
I'd recommend just reading Dostoevsky himself.
These are both right
Furthermore, look at the icons in your picture: in classic iconography, to facing sideways means someone is wicked, facing toward the viewer means they are righteous (this is still evident in all your depictions of Judas kissing Christ). Your dimensional style here fugged things up, it's wrong.
how did you get so much knowledge/get so much reading done in such a short time; you seem very very knowledgeable
i have read dostoevsky, which is why im interested in getting a more "intimate" understanding of him, maybe reading his letters/journal/biography i dunno
Well then they are wrong. What i meant, is that maybe they take both because it helps them in their inner meditations, or whatever you want to call it. Just like you look at a crucifix or at an icon instead of just thinking about it. It has nothing to do with replacing a scrament for a thing that is done because its good to think about.
Totally different levels, and, with no intent at offense, that sounds horribly paranoiac and exaggerated.
I agree, looking at the pictures of my local parishes/churches again, i wish there were more high church aspects in them. Its the point where ill go out of my way for the higher churches, if i go. Quite disheartening.
This is orthodox
Are all the personages in the upper left bad?
People who convert to Orthodox Christianity are going to know a lot more than those born into it, because they have to learn a lot to convert. I also read quite a bit on Orthodox Christianity before even attending Liturgy.
I've read many of his letters and journal entries online. They're very useful for getting an understanding of him, but I'd say the best resource is reading What Is To Be Done? to understand what he was reacting to, and to read The Ascetic Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, which were probably more influential on Dostoevsky than anything except the Gospels. He was also influenced by the Philokalia, but Saint Isaac the Syrian shaped him like Aquinas shaped Dante.
Their facing to the side in position, but if you looked close, you'd see both their entire face, including both their, eyes are fully visible (pic related, Coptic style icon). This conveys a lack of trying to hide one's face.
OP here. Thanks to everyone for their contributions. I will read as much as I can, but if I'm understanding it correctly there is not much difference between Orthodox and Roman - which is the opposite of what I'm looking for. I have no love for the church of Rome.
Anyhow, I'm grateful for the participation and delighted by the almost utter lack of trolling.
Well, we have fundamentally different conceptions of hell and sin. Hell is the same thing as heaven in Orthodox Christianity, it is being filled with the fire (or light) of God's love. If you love God, it is bliss, if you hate him, it is agony. We don't see Original Sin as inherited, but a state of creation, and we don't see Christ's death as juridical (if Christ died in place of you for punishment, then it wouldn't really be forgiveness, would it?)