Friday, May 22, 2020

Questions and Answers 149 - 154

Sainthood of Constantine the Great

Question 149: Do you think we should reevaluate the sainthood of Constantine the Great?

Answer: People that tend to question the sainthood of Constantine the Great seem to be ignorant of his historical contribution, ignorant of the facts regarding his life, ignorant of what sainthood is, ignorant of what he has meant to the Church throughout the ages, and/or ignorant of the power of repentance. All of these are addressed at my Saint Constantine the Great Resource Page, and there is still much more to say, so look for updates there. With that said, there are certainly saints in the calendar that should be reevaluated, and I've addressed those on various occasions, but Constantine is not one of them.

Capital Punishment

Question 150: Can you be an Orthodox Christian and accept the validity of capital punishment?

Answer: I don't believe the Church has the authority to issue capital punishment, nor should it ever have that authority, however today the issue is, as it should be, at least in most countries, a judicial and political issue. You can accept the validity of capital punishment and be an Orthodox Christian, as many historical examples show, I just think an Orthodox Christian would be more mindful of the concept of justice and fairness if it ever needs to be decided upon, especially if an Orthodox Christian has jury duty for such a case or is a judge or lawyer in such a case where capital punishment is part of the law of the land.

Which English Bible Translation?

Question 151: What Bible translation do you recommend?

Answer: I have issues with every Bible translation, so it is hard for me to recommend any of them. I read both the Old and New Testaments in Greek, and cross reference with different English translations. The English translations that I find most useful are the NIV and the NKJV, though there are some major issues I have with both. But if an English version is your only option, I would alternate between the two.

Western Paintings in Orthodox Churches

Question 152: There is an icon of Michelangelo's "Last Supper" on the iconostasis of my parish and it bothers me. Is it o.k. for it to be there?

Answer: Despite how Dan Brown interprets the image, it is not outright heretical, so I would say it is at least o.k., however, only images that are part of the Orthodox tradition should be in Orthodox churches, especially near the sanctuary. I would recommend you approach your priest and request a replacement with an alternative, though be prepared to fund such a project.

Churches and Post-Covid-19

Question 153: My parish is opening this Sunday with restrictions, which I am fine with for the most part but some things I find troubling, such as using multiple spoons for Holy Communion and not being able to kiss icons. This seems to be starting a bad precedent for the future, since viruses have always been a part of our lives and will always be a part of our lives. I find it difficult to see when all this will end.

Answer: I have no answers for you to alleviate your concerns. So far, it does all seem to be confusing and many of these changes I think are unnecessary, though I am also fine with them if they are given a short timeline. The Church would do well to put a timeline on everything, to assure people that these are temporary measures, because people are very confused. Personally, I don't like the restrictions. I can understand the social distancing part for at least a few more months, and the extra cleaning, but the churches I know are requiring people to wear a mask during services, which is something I cannot do, mainly due to my allergies and nasal issues. I can maybe wear a mask for about five minutes before I have issues, probably less in hot weather, and definitely not at all when a priest is censing, which sometimes bothers me even without a mask. This means I cannot attend church until I am allowed to attend without a mask, nor will I. With that said, be assured that all these things are temporary and everything will go back to normal soon, but as someone who has no say in the matter, I can't promise anything. Though I personally don't share in it, many people are afraid right now, and some who are most vulnerable should be somewhat afraid, but with some sensible restrictions that are temporary, churches can accommodate as best they can. People like me, however, will need to wait to go to church till the fears subside more. Personally, I don't plan on going back to church until everything is back to normal, just like I refuse to go to places like a grocery store until everything is back to normal.

Communion Spoons

Question 154: Do you think there will be an alternate method of receiving Holy Communion after this, to replace the common spoon?

Answer: I would hate to think the Church these days would lower itself to such an irrational fear, so I will say no. If it does, it better have some strong scientific evidence to back up such a decision, because all the evidence I have seen would suggest using a common spoon is perfectly safe. Irrational fear should never be the source of any change.

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