Could someone remember me why we can't take catholic communion?

Hi, Could someone remember me why we can't take catholic communion?
I know that the motivation have something to do with the council of Chalcedony, but i don't remember why.
And i also know that you can take communion in a catholic church if you don't have a coptic church nearby, but only with a permission, please explain that too.

Thanks and sorry for my english (i'm from italy)


  • Without getting into many details, the simple answer is that we must not take communion in a church that is not united with our church. So you can take communion in any of our sister oriental orthodox churches, but not eastern orthodox churches, or the Catholic church (with all of the churches in her jurisdiction), or any other church for that matter.

    There is no reason to speak about the EXCEPTION in which a bishop will allow a person to take communion in a catholic church. It normally follows the concept of "better than nothing"...but again, it's the exception and not the rule, and we should never try to opt out in things as serious as taking communion. 
  • Ok thanks, but i want to know the reason of the first question, it has something to do with the council of chalcedony?
    and could make me a list of "our sister oriental orthodox churches"?
  • edited January 2017
    Council of Chalcedon is one reason, but specifically for the Catholic Church, there are many reasons (heresies), most importantly, the mandatory belief in the papal primacy of Rome.

    Our sister churches are:
    +Syriac Orthodox Church (including the Malankara and Knanaya dioceses under the Syriac Church) under Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II
    +Armenian Apostolic Church under Catholicos Karekin II
    +Ethiopian Orthodox Tawehedo Church under Abune Mathias
    +Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church under Catholicos Basilious Mar Thoma Paulose II
    +Eritrean Orthodox Tawehedo Church under Abune Antonios
  • You are aware the Syrian Orthodox Church allows Catholics to recieve holy communion right?
  • edited February 2017
    Technically, only if there's no Catholic Church around for them, and that does not ignore the theological differences between the Catholic and the Syriac churches. The Coptic Church is much stricter on this regard, as I believe it should be.

    I don't mind for a Catholic to receive communion if he/she is willing to join the Orthodox Church and renounce the papalist heresy.
  • Honestly, I understand the canons that are currently in place, but there is a large part of me that can't help but believe that we will never achieve our desired unity and oneness of the churches unless we first have unity in receiving the Holy Body and Precious Blood of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. I can't help but believe that it is only in this that we will be able to have the strength and wisdom to come together in united fellowship with our Lord. But there's also a part of me that firmly believes in unity over minor tradition. Like I believe tradition is a good thing until it gets in the way of a relationship wth God. Many of our traditions point in this direction, but others are more minor, and some even more cultural than spiritual. I feel that if there came a point where sacrifice of these minor or cultural traditions was necessary to bring unity, then unity should be given the priority. As our Lord never declared that a house without tradition cannot stand, but He did declare that a house divided cannot stand. I don't know too much though. This is just a personal perspective on things. In the end, our church leaders have ultimate authority.
  • edited February 2017
    If it was up to me, I would make open communion with the Eastern Orthodox, but I cannot in good conscience say the same for Roman Catholics.  While I have an immense respect for their Apostolic tradition, the fact that their dogma and doctrines include the necessity to be submitted to one Pope in the world, which happens to be in Rome, is an enforced dogma that leads to many problems.  At present, the Roman Catholic Church seems to be in a crisis trying to define the limits of "papal infallibility".  You have a range from absolute infallibility to infallibility only when the Pope is right (which sounds so convenient).

    We have to be clear.  The Eucharist is not open to anyone.  It is a misunderstanding to see the Eucharist as open to be given to others.  No.  The Eucharist is an expression of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  This expression and prayer was never open to anyone so easily.  You know all these youtube videos of the liturgy?  Technically, we shouldn't openly show them to the world.  There was a time when the priest would finish the sermon, and the deacon would yell "The Doors! The Doors!"  The Subdeacon would then go around and escort the non-believers, those who are suspended from the Eucharist for a time, and the catechumens outside the Church, and lock the doors.  It was a very intimate moment because the Eucharist is likened to a marriage bed.  It is only between the Church and Her husband Christ in closed doors.  No one else is allowed to watch.

    We seemed to have lost that understanding, and we turn the Eucharist into a mere social obligation.  It's not that at all.  It is a rejuvenation of the believer and a strengthening and mingling unity between the believer and Christ.  The ancient catechumen only knew about the Eucharist THE DAY BEFORE his/her baptism.  That's how secretive the Eucharist was.

    I would take the Eucharist a lot more seriously and consider the faith of the parish you are thinking of going to partake of the Eucharist.  I would make sure that the faith is Orthodox.
  • I understand your perspective on this, but the way I see it, a Catholic and even an Anglican, Lutheran, or Episcopalian all believe in the Holy Eucharist, and they all believe that they are partaking of the TRUE Body and Blood of our Lord. It is no secret to them. You agreed that the Eucharist is strengthening and unifying, especially between a believer and Christ. If we want unity among the churches, how will we achieve this without first being united when we all receive the Holy Body and Precious Blood of our Lord? Honestly there is not one church that is perfect and blameless. Every one has in some fashion been corrupted by men. In my heart I believe that unity will help mend these corruptions. We always speak ill of divorce citing the verse "What God has joined together let no man put asunder" yet what have we done when there are hundreds, even thousands of denominations (sub-denominations) of Christianity? We speak of respecting the Body of Christ while we have dismembered it. How can we bring the Church, the Body of Christ, together without first having unity in receiving the Body of Christ? I truly believe that in doimg this, the uniting power of Christ in us would lead us to solving the problems that exist in our individual denominations, and actually bring us together as ONE Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
  • Let me ask you a very simple question:  Does the Orthodox Church suffer from or officially teach heresy?
  • Finally found an article I was looking for.  While you think about the questions I ask you, also consider this failed experiment of Christian unity, as witnessed by Fr. Peter Farrington, a convert from Protestantism into the Orthodox Church:

    While you think about whether the Orthodox Church teaches heresy, do you believe other churches teach doctrines that are against Orthodoxy?  What is the solution to treating the problem of Christian groups that teach a different faith than the Orthodox Church?
  • Honestly, I am not knowledgeable enough to really give an answer. I am not familiar with the writings and sayings of the Church Fathers (which is something I would love to work on), nor do I even know every single doctrine or canon of the Orthodox Church. But I also do not have the authority to decide what is heretical and what is not. I will be honest and admit I do get confused at times when I see different denominations of Christianity interpreting the same passage of Scripture in different ways. Sometimes I struggle with knowing truth when different churches will each provide scriptural support for their opposing doctrines. For example, the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory. They will cite the verse that says that we are "purified with fire" as well as the parable in which the Master locks up the Servant who is in dept to Him "until he has paid the last penny" and some others to support this doctrine. On the other hand, neither the Orthodox nor the Protestant churches accept the doctrine of purgatory. And we most commonly cite the words of Christ to the thief on His right hand side, "TODAY you will be with me in Paradise." (I'm sorry I don't remember references). Like in situations like this, sometimes I find myself confused as to how I know which interpretation of scripture is correct. But while I may be confused about this, the one thing I am confident in is that although we may have some opposing doctrines one major thing we have in common with Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Episcopalians is our burning desire to be close to our Lord, and to have an intimate physical and spiritual oneness with Him through the power of the Holy Eucharist. I am also confident that our Lord will not turn away anyone who has this desire, and that He longs for His body and his bride, the Holy Church, to be one with one another.

    For your last question, I believe that the solution is to never cease praying, never cease asking for answers, seeking truth, and knocking on Heaven's gate. Further, it is to listen. Listen to our Lord and pay attention to how He molds our lives, directs us, and teaches us. Finally, if our Lord reveals that there is something we have not been getting right, we must be willing to accept that and conform ourselves to His will and His truth.
  • " the one thing I am confident in is that although we may have some opposing doctrines one major thing we have in common with Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Episcopalians is our burning desire to be close to our Lord"

    True however our religious leaders have different convictions! I had been restraining myself from responding but I will eventually have to do it. The history of Christendom and the church is rather enlightening and disheartening at the same time! I believe that God is God of truth and not comfort and we have to hear the truth no matter how painful this is!! More to follow .....
  • Something that needs to be considered is this. Yes, pray for all, love all. Be sad at the divisions among Christians. But also remember Christ's words to Peter: "Blessed are you Simon bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. Therefore I will call you Petros, and on this rock, you will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."

    Christ's promise is solid! There is one Church and one faith. The gates of Hades shall not prevail against this Church. What is see is many Christian churches of different faiths. It does not matter what the intentions are. Bad decisions often times begin by good intentions to love Christ. But apparently, there are different ways to love Him. Some "love Him" by denying the sacraments. Some "love Him" by believing in sola Scriptura and sola fide. Some "love Him" by rejecting the priesthood. Some "love Him" by allowing female priesthood and homosexuality.

    You have one of two choices: either the gates of Hades indeed has prevailed against the Church, and Christ is shown to be false OR there is one Church which truly preserved the will of Christ through His Apostles, who truly not only love Him, but kept His tradition INTACT, whose intentions are guided righteously and faithfully. This tradition is a result of a true relationship and love of Christ. If we truly believe Christ is the Truth, then we must reject the falsehood of different churches and seek out the "pearl of great price" hidden in the Orthodox Church.

    One final note: I do not mention "purgatory" of the Catholics. The MAJOR issue is not purgatory, but the status of the Pope. That's what truly divides us. For Protestants, what divides us from them is the rejection of the Apostolic institution of the bishops and priests who succeed from the Apostles. Anglicans is one giant disorganized mess, which seems to turn immorality into morality. Those who left Lutheranism and became Orthodox would show you the most clearly dividing issue with Lutheranism is pride and self-seeking behavior in defining the faith. In their book of Concord, they would repeatedly say "the Church Father erred when..."

    The Orthodox Church seeks to keep the faith passed down from the Apostles and through the Church fathers. That should be a cause for unity, not division.
  • I personally worked out all the difficult "intellectual objections to faith" including pain and suffering in the world, atrocities of the Old Testament God, pseudo-science and "scientism" vs. faith, allegorical vs. literal interpretations of the Bible, the alleged scriptural contradictions, the fate of Non-"Christian" souls (mind you we can't even agree on what does "Christian" actually means?) and reached answers that satisfy me!!

    The one thing that pulling my soul into chaotic waters is "Christian sectarianism" and what I call the "failed edification of Church Fathers". I mean they could have "sinned" that is fine but "offending people in Christ" through using the depiction of "heresy" lightly is another thing! 

    Mina defends the Eastern Orthodox (and I currently worship in a EO Church). They were distributing pictures of "Saint Paisios of Mount Athos" at my church. St Paisios opinion on the Oriental Orthodox (Copts among others): "He considered the Anti-Chalcedonians (that is, the Monophysites)—along with the other heretics and those of other religions—to be creatures of God and our brothers according to the flesh, in terms of our common descent from Adam; but he did not consider them children of God and our brothers according to the spirit, characterizations he believed applied only to Orthodox Christians.Regarding the Monophysites’ sympathizers and their fervent supporters among the Orthodox, he observed, “They don’t say that the Monophysites didn’t understand the holy fathers—they say that the holy fathers didn’t understand them. In other words, they talk as if they’re right, and the fathers misunderstood them.” He considered proposals to erase from the liturgical books statements identifying Dioscorus and Severus as heretics to be a blasphemy against the holy fathers. He said, “So many divinely enlightened holy fathers who were there at the time didn’t understand them, took them the wrong way, and now we come along after so many centuries to correct the holy fathers? And they don’t take the miracle of Saint Euphemia into account? Did she misunderstand the heretics’ tome too?” Without trying to seem like a confessor of the faith, the elder, in his own way, expressed his opposition regarding various matters, speaking to and writing ecclesiastical figures. “The Church,” he would say, “isn’t the ship of each bishop to do with as he pleases.” These reactions of his were accompanied by much prayer and love, not only for the Church, but also for those who were deviating from the faith; and all was the fruit of dispassion, discernment, and enlightenment from above. 

    Read more here: 

    Now, I do find that disturbing and I can't reconcile that with Theology or Orthodox Spirituality! 

  • edited February 2017

    I hesitated about posting this for a while!

    I think we need to read the history of Christendom with an open mind. The realty is the Church Fathers of the first 4 centuries were largely "Universalists" (means they believe of Salvation for ALL humanity and restoration of all creation through the atoning sacrifice of Christ who will redeem ALL to himself eventually). I know this is different from the whole point discussed here (Eucharist) but bear with me and we will get there! Now the most detrimental event in the history of Christianity was the creation of the "Christian State" aka the former "Roman Empire" (that actually has crucified Christ himself - no irony there). Religion was used as an instrument of sin and oppression and The Cross (the sign of "Life Giving Power") was turned into a weapon to kill innocent people! We are fast at criticizing Muhammad and Islamic State but ignorant (may be not willingly) of our own sacrilegious history!! I don't claim that I have the "The Mind of Christ" but I would take a risk and make an audacious claim that Christ would find that Flag (or Coat of Arms) of the former Byzantine Empire (post-Constantine) sacrilegious. It is now the Flag of Mount Athos (and sign of "Orthodoxy" ® Limited All Rights Reserved TM" the ugly monster bird with 2 heads and one arm carries the Cross and the other carries a sword! Showing the UNHOLY marriage (or fornication) of State and Religion. 

    Mina talks about the intimacy of the soul with God as he uses the analogy of the "marriage bed" (which is a beautiful romantic and very much Biblical/scriptural as illustrated in the Song of Solomon) and I wholeheartedly agree with him! However, he fails to see how the State (an institution of this world aka Satan's world (as in Scriptures) should NOT have been in that "bed". I don't know (me the vile sinner drenched in my filth, etc) how the pious ascetics of Mount Athos (the "spiritual heart of Eastern Orthodox Church") fail to see that sign of double-headed eagle as sacrilegious!! How they failed to see the Byzantine State use the other "weapon" (Religion) to ensure its UNHOLY dominion over the world through threatening “Eternal Fires of Hell” monetizing on the convenient views of Augustine that resonated well with Imperial Aspirations (and became the foundation of “Western Christianity”)! Eternal hell, torment. Anathema to all who disagree with the "The Church" (and State) lead by its Emperor Saints!! One illustration comes to mind about the UNHOLINESS of the Ecumenical Counsels (that EO view as infallible works of the Holy Spirit) comes from the condemnation of Origen as heretic at the Second Synod of Constantinople (543) more than 2 centuries after his death (254) by "Saint" Justinian (The Byzantine Emperor "Saint") for 2 reasons: (1) Totally discredit Alexandrian School of Theology after Dioscorus resisted his authority (an eye opener to all Christians: Council of Chalcedon wasn't about Theology and Heresy but about "Politics"; (2) Clearly label "Universalism" as "unorthdox" to ensure that salvation is controlled by the State/Church UNHOLY marriage. Now why are we so offended by "Papal infallibility" doctrine of the Roman Catholic - as if they invented this out of thin air? I mean it is indeed offensive, and heretical, to the discerning spirit but is the natural evolution of the “Emperor Saints". Didn’t Jesus after all hand the “keys” to Peter? How convenient is that for Imperial authority? Control this life and “eternity”? What “imperialism” can dream more of?? The cry for "The Doors, The Doors!!" in Eastern liturgies (pre-Eucharistic prayers) was, ironically, a practical cry for the frightened early Christians (before the "Edict of Milan") for their lives so the Roman soldiers won't capture them and kill them (historically, Ancient Christians were accused of "human sacrifice" because the Romans didn't understand what partaking of the "Body and Blood" of Christ means!!). 

    Now the Roman and Byzantine Empires are long gone but the Grand Sin of Adam remains much alive for 1500 years and longer! Adam (fooled by Satan) wanted to know "Good and Evil" and then partake from the "Tree of Life" to become an "Evil Immortal Being" like Satan (how little did he and we know!!). But the Good Lord "drove him out of paradise and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, as some dare assert, but because He pitied him and desired that he should not be immortal and the evil interminable and irremediable" (as Iraneaus of Lyons elegantly put it in the second century). That sin of pride (the only fatal sin) lives so much alive in the very being (and fabric) of the Church - the control of flow of God's Grace, the control of access to the gates of heaven, the control of Salvation, the "Noah's Ark", and so forth!

    Now I thank the Lord that the "Good News" is still preserved in Scete Desert by writing of spiritual Giants like Fr Matthew the Poor who viewed all Christians of "orthodox doctrine" (generic "orthodoxy" that doesn't carry a limited trade mark like Byzantine bird mascots or Coptic Crosses) as partakers in God's Grace and "Communion of Love". The "Coptic Brotherhood" have called him a "heretic" but so was called Christ himself! The alarming position of Mount Athos that halted to unity of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches is a, contemporary, classic illustration of paternalism (so different from the patristic outlook itself) with which Christendom has sought repeatedly to secure a bulwark to protect the flock of Christ from multiplicity of possibilities, from drowning in a sea of open-ended questions. That paternalistic position proves eventually to shut out the work of the Holy Spirit whose action occurs precisely upon these chaotic waters and not where there has been no venturing out into them with “the risk of faith.” 

    Dear Mina: the marriage bed of the Church and Her Groom (Christ the Lord) has been ALREADY defiled by bringing the "State" into the bed. It won't be defiled by bringing faithful Christians professing Christ as Lord and God. Many are bearing "FRUITS" of Divine Grace (outside the presumed Noah's Ark). Origen, for instance, deemed “heretical” retrospectively (how ironic?) was indeed devoid of “FRUIT”; did he profess Christ in face of torture that left him grossly disabled, was he ready for martyrdom after his father (and his mother hid his clothes so he won’t go), did he dedicate his life to scriptural study, did he lead a life of ascetism and contemplation, he castrated himself even? No of course he didn’t do such things, and even if he did, only the ONLY “HOLY” CATHOLIC AND APOTSOLIC CHURCH has the ultimate authority to determine the “authenticity” of “spiritual fruit”. The unfortunate truth is The Church became an IDOL to be worshipped away from God!!! The earlier the leaders of ALL CHURCHES profess the fallibility of human nature (including the fallibility of our most revered Church Fathers - in all sincerity no sarcasm intended), the true recognition of paternalism throughout church history as "pious egotism", and the detrimental role of fornication between the State and Church on the sanctity and Holiness of the Church, the more hope into unity of the Body of Christ becomes realistic. God Bless! 

  • edited February 2017
    Okay Bassem,

    You seem to be tortured by certain details of history.  So let me share with you my perspective.

    First of all, you are prideful when you say "you worked out all the difficult intellectual issues of faith...and reached answers that satisfy you."  What makes you think other people are you?  Do you think other people think like you?  Do you think other people are satisfied with why there was violence in the Old Testament, why there is evil and suffering in the world, why there is disagreement on science, and all you have trouble with is what Elder Paisios says?  Give me a break!

    I can care less what Elder Paisios thought of Coptic people.  Frankly, the fact that this bothers you shows how weak you are in the faith, not strong.  It does not bother me one bit that Elder Paisios was ignorant of what Coptic people believed, and I'm sure in heaven, he's surprised now, and perhaps pleasantly surprised he is wrong.

    I can still reconcile with this.  You can't, and that's a problem you have to deal with.  But in time, Christ will lead His Church in a true path and will reveal all things in good time.  If the Eastern Orthodox Church really bothers you, leave her and come to the Oriental Orthodox.  But if you are level-headed and understand the weakness of some saints who can make mistakes based on misunderstanding, then stop whining and have some hope in your heart.

    Universalism has absolutely NOTHING to do with this discussion.  Whether or not they were universalists is a moot point.  They still spoke against heresy and warned people for the effects of heresy in their lives.  For you to bring up universalism is actually pretty silly and you should have known better rather than bring up the discussion here when people do not even understand the basic elements of faith in the Orthodox Church!  How dare you?  Do you teach your children everything in life, or do you gradually build them up?

    You don't think I am just as read and struggled with the similar questions of history as you?  You seem to fail in understanding who I am and where I come from and what I believe, and you in your pride assume that I fail to know many of the things you mention.

    Okay...let's begin:  The issue of the state:  When St. Constantine decided to remove the persecution of Christians, he was praised for that.  He was also praised for sending his mother, St Helen, in finding the Holy Cross and in rebuilding Jerusalem and building a grand cathedral system around the Holy Sepulcher and Golgotha.  The Feast of the Cross in September which all Apostolic Christians celebrate come from this moment in history when St. Helena built the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

    Now, was St. Constantine perfect.  God no!  Of course, this was a man who was a pagan, turned Christian, and struggled with his own evil pagan habits.  Furthermore, he continued to try to reign over the Church in a caesaro-papist manner and tried to kill St. Athanasius.  Caesaro-papism has been fought against by the Church who do not blindly follow imperial rules.  Yes, the two-headed eagle, I have openly said it in the fora that I would take the two headed eagle, and cut one head off.

    You know what's even more prideful?  When after all of this, people will say "why is Constantine a saint?"  Ah, Constantine should not be a saint, but you deserve to go to the highest heavens?  You think I didn't struggle with such a question?  And yet all I kept thinking about is "what about my sins?"  Abba Basem!  If you are truly the holiest man here, go ahead and cast your stone on Constantine.

    You claim fidelity to Abouna Matta al Maskeen?  Abouna Matta is rolling in his grave that you should associate with him.  Abouna Matta also spoke against heresy and did not shy away from the fact that there is still One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.  Your misrepresentation of Abouna Matta is very sad.  It is people like you that make ignorant Copts condemn Abouna Matta.  The other day, Brother Sameh of the Tahrir Protestant Church also claimed to be associated with Abouna Matta.  Abouna Matta seems to be everyone's own side-piece these days, which means they don't know Abouna Matta.

    Get a grip of yourself.  Your silly accusations of "idol worship" is completely exaggerated, and you are all over the place, unorganized in your thoughts.  You do not even know the ancient meaning of "worship" is.  If you want to truly understand how I understand these historical problems, you could have simply asked.  But if you want to take the gloves off, I'm more than willing to stand against you for your misguided posts here.
  • No need - feel free to delete! I am not claiming Sainthood or misrepresenting anybody. I speak the truth (in my limited view). I have no ill intentions towards the Coptic or EO churches! If one can't talk freely about issues of faith (without risk of anathematization for fear of leading the flock of Christ astray), then we need to question what we actually believe. I am not judging the sanctity of Saints, Fathers, or even brethren here - I am discussing questions of faith and I ended up with receiving condemnation! Peace!!
  • edited February 2017
    You know why?  Because you came off as condemning.  That wasn't a discussion.  You also accused me of "failing" to see certain things.  You didn't come here discussing questions of faith.  You came condemning.  You reap what you sow Basem.  Thank you for giving us your "alternative truth".

  • The undisputed truth, unfortunately, that there is no venue where one can converse about issues of faith without receiving condemnation! I better off stop trying. When I say "you failed to see" that is not a condemnation (if Elder Paisios have "failed to see" some Theological truths (then you, and me, are not immune!)

    Anyway, I don't desire to continue arguing or defend my position (and I am certainly not asking for absolution!). I sincerely apologize if I offended you or anyone in here by my "unorthodox views". 

    As far as risk of "anathematization" which is a typical sequel of any serious examination of faith issues, and according to "conservative views" from both Eastern and Oriental Clergy, if I receive sacraments at one church, I am automatically anathematized from the other which means I am already in a spiritual "black hole" and I might better off abandoning faith altogether since I have, willingly, excluded myself from BOTH Noah's Arks and hence have already lost all hope of salvation!! 
  • edited February 2017

    You have a lot more to learn yourself.  There is always a venue to discuss issues of faith without receiving condemnation.  But what you did was not discussing issues of faith.  You came barging in an accusatory fashion.  If you fail to see this, there is no point in further teaching what how to have a proper etiquette of discussion.  There are atheists who have much more respect in disagreement than you.

    Don't hide behind this internet martyrdom or victimization facade.  It's sad that you can't even see what you did wrong.  I didn't excommunicate you.  I didn't send you to an imperial jail or exile.  You have my email.  I'm not shunning you.  But I will call you out for your mishandling of this question, and I'm not afraid to do so.
  • If you had to deal with my same issues, you would understand! I am "living" the schism and not working on a Masters Thesis in Theology!

    One good analogy. I am a hematologist who actually have the leukemia and is not just treating it (if that makes sense?)

    My apologies; whatever that is worth!

  • edited February 2017
    Ya habibi, may God preserve your life and keep it strong a thousand times better than mine, and to continue to give you success in your work and your family.  I graduated from medical school two years ago, and I have yet to get into residency, and I am trying to find a backup job.  I'm doing research, ultrasound, and masters in public health if residency does not work out for me, all either on a volunteer basis or I pay.  I am currently unemployed and volunteering my life to try to be employed.  Everyday, I fight the temptation to complain, to remind myself to search for the joy in the struggles of this world.  I had to talk to an unemployed person into not losing his faith, thinking that all his years of praying, God has failed him for not giving him a job.

    Go and partake of the Eucharist.  Do you not know how amazing that is?  The infinite God in a small morsel of bread and wine, and He allows you to partake of Him.  Read this prayer:

    I find nothing more satisfying than Christ coming down to our humility, to our struggles, and teaching us that when we have Him in ourselves, then like St. Paul, "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)

    You know what history teaches?  Life is not easy, but life in Christ makes all these historical problems moot.
  • Wow! I missed a lot while at work. Haha I'm not going to get too much into what I missed, but Mina, you talked about the 2 options regarding the gates of Hades prevailing over the church. If I may, I'd like to ask whether the gates of hell "prevail" over us each time we sin. I may be wrong, but I have always thought of this "prevail" to be more of a permanent thing. Like "there's no coming back from it". And for that reason I have believed that a church can have issues whether minor or major, but if we work in union to resolve these then the gates of Hades have not prevailed. Also, I only mentioned purgatory as an example of doctrinal differences supported by scripture on either side. That was just the main example that came to mind. My intent was not as much to discuss the doctrine, but more to explain how I sometimes feel confused when two people both use the Holy Bible to support opposing doctrines. I still believe, however that the only way we will have the strength to realize where we may be wrong and really come together as One True Church is if those who truly believe in the inutterable power and glory of the Holy Eucharist partook in unison, and in unison experienced our Lord's strength, glory, and grace.
  • Mina is good guy with zeal for the Church! He is also an advocate for Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Unity. He wrote a great apologetic defense against Dr Nicholas Marinides (an EO Theologian/Scholar endorser of "Mount Athos Fundamentalism") attack on Oriental Orthodoxy or "Heterodoxy" as he calls it! 

    I am naturally a fan on my cradle Coptic Church and I am happy to see many intellectual voices (like Mina) defend its "orthodoxy". No question the Coptic church had a glorious past and nice to see signs that She has a glorious future. 

     You can read it here: 

    I agree with Mina that the faith of both EO and OO is identical and I can't understand the "Athonite Brotherhood" position. There are equally fundamentalist views in the Coptic church no doubt as well. What I, respectfully, disagree with is that I see "orthodoxy" being a reflection of doctrine (major doctrine rather than "Apostolic tradition" which I understand the value of). I see that any Christian professing the Nicene creed as an accurate representation of faith as "orthodox". I see "The Church" as an invisible spiritual bond that unites all believers in Christ (of "orthodox doctrine") despite their mutual condemnations but also I am a self-professed "heretic" so anything I say shouldn't be taken too seriously!!  

  • Does Hades prevail over each one of us in our sins? Not if we immediately realize our need to repent. Repentance is a very important process. St. Peter even after confessing the faith of Christ, sinned, but repented from His sin. Hades only prevails when we stop repenting, from our sins and our heresies.

    The problem is when discussing divisions between churches, sometimes it's difficult to realize who's wrong.  That's understandable.  That's why St. Peter writes that Scripture is not of private opinion (2 Peter 1:20).  But we must all come to the "unity of faith" (Ephesians 4, read the whole chapter), and this is not without the spiritual fatherhood that we all must follow:

    "I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me. For this reason I sent you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, as I teach them everywhere in every church." (1 Corinthians 4:14-17)

    We have been given an Apostolic succession of fatherhood.  St. Irenaeus taught this when there was confusion of correct beliefs, and confusion of correct books in the New Testament!  He said, "I am the disciple of Polycarp, who is the disciple of John."  He challenged any other person to show that what he taught does not come from himself, but from the Apostles and their successors.

    After you are brought up in the faith by the fathers in the Church, then you can evaluate the situation of whether you think the Eucharist should be openly shared or not.  But you need to be mature in the faith before one can make such decisions.

    Yes, the Eucharist is powerful.  It is powerful enough to give life (John 6) and powerful enough to condemn those who do not live in repentance. (1 Corinthians 11:27-32)

    Yes, my dear brother Basem and I respectfully disagree with each other.
  • I recommend reading "Orthodox and Heterodoxy" by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick:

    And if you are stuck on time, and you prefer to listen to talks in your car, here are his very informative podcasts:

    He also wrote this useful article I agree with generally:

    Finally, a quote from Abouna Matta al Maskeen from his book "Communion of Love":

    "The lack of integrity with respect to the catholicity and
    unity of the Church, until now, among the Churches of the
    world does demand of us—not reconsidering our theology,
    for our theology is true and faithful
    to reconsider ourselves
    in view of our correct theology
    so that we might correct our
    vision of God the only Father of all humankind and correct
    our view of Christ as the only Savior and the only Redeemer
    of all who call on His name, through whom is indiscriminately
    adopted the whole of humanity by God, thus correcting our
    love toward man—every person—as being inevitably a brother
    to us, even if he stood against us in hostility and set forth for
    us snares of death.
    " (p. 221)

    I didn't find anything written by Abouna Matta that says he advocates giving the Eucharist to those outside the Orthodox Church.  That chapter on ecclesiology has been sorely misunderstood.  It calls us as men and women of the true Church to feel a sense of compunction for how much we are not able to change the vision of the world by our true faith, how we treat the doctrines of Christ as a mere list, and not be immersed into the presence of Christ, making light of the theology we live and believe in.  Only then can you understand the theology of Abouna Matta.  He advocates the humbling approach of Christian unity, but NOT at the expense of abandoning Orthodoxy.  In other words, we should not act triumphant or holier than others, but approach others through meekness, knowing our weakness.  He furthermore calls upon us to raise our conception of the Church, as more infinite in Her nature, as well as the conception of unity to be like that of the Tri-unity of God, that unity is an attribute of God's nature that we must strive to partake of.

    One desert father described unity like the spokes of the wheel, with the center of the wheel as God.  As we, the spokes, get closer to God, we also get closer to each other.  But this does not mean only Christians.  We even feel a close connection and brotherhood with all humanity, and our lives must be enlightened in such a manner as to draw them closer to God with us.  Discussion of theology is not the ONLY prerequisite, but living our theology is the real prerequisite.  EVERYONE Christian and non-Christian is a brother to us.  This contemplation by Abouna Matta DOES NOT MEAN we engage in open communion with those who do not have the same theology.  Even Abouna Matta al Maskeen recognizes that it is not feasible to fuse churches together that do not agree on dogma and faith (source:  "Overall Perspectives on the Works of Fr. Matthew the Poor" by Fayek Matta Ishak).
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