Monday, January 3, 2022

Questions and Answers 191 - 197

Question 191: How do I know I am reading the Bible, the Holy Fathers and the Lives of the Saints the correct Orthodox way?

Answer: If you are often wiping your eyes from the tears streaming down your face and your heart is moved with joy while reading, that is a sign you are on the right path.

Question 192: What do I say if a Muslim says to me that we both believe in the same God?

Answer: Just tell the Muslim how wonderful it is that they believe Jesus Christ is God, because Islam typically does not acknowledge the divinity of Christ.

Question 193:  Why is there no official Orthodox position on the issue of evolution?

Answer: Because it is a scientific issue, not a theological one.

Question 194: I was in a village in Greece about 25 years ago and attended church for the Divine Liturgy on a Sunday, but the priest canceled the service because he had no chanter. Was this the right thing to do?

Answer: No, the priest should have done the liturgy by himself, as long as there is at least one other person in attendance. Many village priests, especially back then, were not properly trained how to address these situations, so he probably didn't know what to do and decided to cancel. If a priest has to liturgize by himself, then he will either shorten the Matins service or read it if he doesn't know how to chant it, then during the Divine Liturgy he would do the prayers, the hymns and the responses. During the silent prayers when the people are typically distracted with the hymns of the chanter, the priest can read the silent prayers slightly louder than normal then read even louder or do a quick version of the hymn.

Question 195: (from the same person who asked Question 194) In this village there was maybe a population of 15 or 20 people. I was told that one winter, as a snowstorm approached, the priest came to do the liturgy and made the proper preparations for it, he even did the proskomide, but no one attended, so he didn't do the liturgy. What happens with the offering bread in that case?

Answer: If a priest was expecting people and goes so far as to do the proskomide by himself and no one is in attendance for the start of the Divine Liturgy, then by oikonomia he should do the liturgy by himself, even if no one else is in attendance. I'm not saying this as a personal opinion, but this is what priests are advised to do traditionally in these situations. Once a part of the liturgy begins, it should not end until it is completed.

Question 196: Someone in the Russian Church told me that Patriarch Bartholomew is responsible for the schism between the Russians and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Is this true or is it the other way around, or maybe they are both responsible?

Answer: If you were to ask this question to Patriarch Bartholomew, he would say there is no schism with the Russian Church, because he commemorates the Russian Primate in every Divine Liturgy. If you asked Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kiev the same question, he would tell you there is no schism, because he commemorates the Russian Primate in every Divine Liturgy. If you asked the question of any Bishop around the world in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, they would answer in a similar way. However, if you asked Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, he would say that Patriarch Bartholomew is responsible for the schism, which is why he does not commemorate him in the Divine Liturgy as well as the Hierarchs of at least four Autocephalous Churches that are in disagreement with the Primate of Russia (all four of which continue to commemorate the Primate of Russia). Therefore, if a schism only exists when you view it from the Russian perspective, and no schism exists from the perspective of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, then the conclusion should logically be that the Primate of Russia is responsible for the schism.

Question 197: Can I drink Holy Water after I have had a drink of regular water?

Answer: It is not necessary to drink Holy Water on an empty stomach, though if you can avoid it, do so in order to honor its sacred properties.

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