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Question 90

I was told that going to other churches to pray in is against our orthodox church. Personally I disagree as I believe a church is a church and if a that time I was in need to go and sit quiet and pray in a church surely this shouldn't matter if the church wasn't an Christian orthodox church?  

 

Answer to Question 90.

 

If as you say a church is a church then why aren’t all the so called Christian churches in communion with each other? Why aren’t we one church? The simple answer is that we do not all teach and preach the same God and if you knew the differences we have you would agree that we worship different Gods.

The Orthodox Church claims to be the only Catholic and Apostolic Church. If this claim is true then the other churches are not true churches because there can only be one church.  Christ the High-priest established the church and gave spiritual authority to his Apostles. This authority was then conferred by the Apostles to others who were chosen to be ordained with the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority. This authority is known as the Priesthood and consist of a hierarchical order of first Bishops, then Priests and then Deacons. No one can enter this priesthood by himself, a bishop must be ordained by other bishops within the same body of the Church that Christ established. This is because there is only one Christ, therefore only one church of which he is the head. If a bishop breaks away from this church he automatically forfeits the priesthood, because the Body of Christ cannot be divided. One either remains within this Body or leaves and loses the sacramental authority.

Up until 1054 the Church in the East, now known as the Orthodox Church and the Church in the West, now known as the Roman Catholic Church were in complete union because they were one Church with the same Church Fathers, the same Saints, the same doctrines, the same Sacraments, but more especially the same priesthood.  When The Roman Catholic Church chose to separate themselves from this union in 1054 they placed themselves outside of the Body of Christ. This means that they automatically lost the grace of the priesthood because they broke the chain of Apostolic Succession. Without the Apostolic Succession of the Priesthood, they were now in fact just ordinary laymen and had no authority either to baptize or to ordain anyone. 

There is no need to mention whether the Anglican and Protestant Churches have Apostolic Succession because if the Roman Catholic Church has lost the Priesthood, then by logical reasoning these churches which broke away from Rome definitely cannot have it.

This is not an attack on other churches: it is basic historical facts and logical reasoning concerning the body of Christ which cannot be divided and which is verified by the Canons of the Church.  Christ cannot be divided therefore the Church cannot be divided and cut into 1000s of small pieces each presenting itself as the Church of Christ. St. Paul said “There is One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God.” Eph 4:4-6) You can enter a non Orthodox Church and sit down and pray but be aware they do not pray to the same God as you. If you believe that there is only one God and that we all have the same God then you might as well enter a mosque and pray because Muslims also pray to a Monotheistic God.

 

Same member

 

No pater, not to go to the service but to go light a candle and pray . Is this wrong?

 

Answer

 

  I didn't mention any service, you said you like to sit quietly and pray. All I have answered is that we have so many differences that we cannot have the same God. We teach that God is love, forgiving and compassionate, but the Catholic church and many other denominations preach a God who gets angry and punishes people for their sins. This is a God that is completely alien to the Orthodox Church.

 

 Let’s see differences on how the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church understand Adam’s original sin and Christ’s death on the Cross. The Orthodox believe that when Adam sinned against God, he introduced death to the world. Death was the consequence of the original sin. We are not liable for Adam’s sin but since we are all born of the same human stock as Adam, we inherit the consequences of his sin which is death. Death means that man’s body is no longer immortal as God created him, it has become mortal and the life of every human being, with respect to the body, comes to an end, but also that death generates in us the passions (anger, hate, lust, greed, etc.), and brings disease and aging. The Roman Catholic church differs on what we inherit from Adam. Following Augustine of Hippo, the Latins teach that Adam and Eve sinned against God. The guilt of their sin has been inherited by every man, woman and child after them. All humanity is liable for their “original sin” whereas the Orthodox believe that we only inherit the consequences of the original sin. These two different approaches to the understanding of original sin determine how we understand Christ’s death on the Cross. Following the holy Fathers, Orthodoxy teaches that Christ, on the Cross, gave “His life a ransom for many” as we are told by Matthew (Matt. 20:28) and “For even the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” according to Mark (Mark 10:45). The “ransom” is paid to the grave. As the Lord revealed to the Prophet Hosea, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death.” (Hosea 13:14) The man Christ voluntarily gave Himself on the Cross. He died for all “a ransom for many”. But He rose from the dead in His crucified body. Death had no power to hold Him. It has no power over anyone. The human race is redeemed from the grave, from the devil. Free of the devil is to be free of death and sin. To be free of these, we become like God and may live with Him forever. Now according to Roman Catholic theology, God became man in order to satisfy the divine Justice which was offended by the sin of Adam. In other words, by his sin Adam offended the infinite God and God demands that justice is paid for. Since we are all guilty of original sin we are all liable to pay this debt of honour to God, but we did not have the power to make amends, for the “original sin” of Adam which passed to us, Only Christ, Who was God and man, could pay this “debt of honour.” He pays the debt by dying on the Cross. His death makes up for what Adam had done; the offence is removed. God is no longer angry with man. Thus, the Crucifixion has been understood by the Latins as Christ suffering punishment for the human race when, in truth, Christ suffered and died on the Cross to conquer the devil and destroy his power, to destroy death.

 

Same member

 

My daughter goes to Catholic school in which they teach about god and by know means do they teach about god punushing. They teach about love , about god loving everyone. They teach to be thankful and think of god, they teach to be kind and good to eachother and to make good choices. Now I don't know enough about our religion and I know I wouldn't call myself a really practising christian . In fact my daughter going to the Catholic school has made me realise that we don't think enough about god and talk of god. But I have faith and believe and just hope that god guide me right direction in my life.

 

Answer

 

I understand what you are saying and I am not saying that all they do is preach an angry God, of course they preach about love as well, but their theology does teach an angry God like the example I gave about Christ being Crucified.

 

Same member

 

Like I said I don't know enough about our religion but I can't imagine any church teaching of an angry God. For me i pray to God in a church, whether this is English church or Greek. Where I live there is no Greek orthodox church , and in my times of need going to pray in a church had got me through any anxieties that I was feeling. Whether this is right or wrong in our religion for me being in a holy place God's home if you like felt right to me.

 

Answer

 

Well you may have a point for as the saying goes: if your drowning you get on the first boat available even it this is a pirate ship.

 

Same member

 

To believe and have faith is better than denying god because it's not the church one should be going to. Surely this is the devil putting these thoughts in one's head to try and stop them to pray in a church. This is to me would be the pirate ship

 

Answer

 

No you didn't understand the saying. When we are drowning we don't wait around for the Coastguards to find us because by then it would be too late and we would have drowned. We reach out for the first hand available even if this hand is not the official body that saves people from drowning. Thus in your case the Coastguards is the Orthodox Church which as you say you don't have in your area and cannot come to your aid, and the Pirate ship is the Catholic Church which although is not your church, saves you from drowning.