Saturday, February 16, 2008

Explaining the difference ...

In various discussions, I've been challenged to explain the difference between various church bodies and Orthodoxy. It seems so easy to get caught up in words and more words, in quotes and counter-quotes and the like. How does one "explain" the fullness of the Faith?

Father Gregory Hogg helped me along a bit with this quote:

"One hears that, in foreign lands, people are now learning to swim, lying on the floor, with the aid of equipment. In the same way, one can become a Catholic or Protestant without experiencing life at all--by reading books in one's study. But to become Orthodox, it is necessary to immerse oneself all at once in the very element of Orthodoxy, to begin living in an Orthodox way. There is no other way."--Fr. Pavel Florensky
That last sentence is a bit of understatement, isn't it?

By the way, Father Gregory has begun his own blog, "Pillar and Ground of Truth" -- and his "On using the Fathers" gives sage advice for all of us.

When it comes right down to it, the best witness is most often "Come and see," isn't it?



Dixie said...

Ezekiel, how true. There is no other way.

I don't know about you but I find it so interesting how natural it seems to those who have grown up Orthodox. I want to be like them but it will take time!

Thanks for the heads up re: Father Gregory's blog.

123 said...

It's also Saint Pavel Florensky. He was martyred by the Bolsheviks before any question had arisen regarding his sophiology.

Ezekiel said...

Indeed, he is St. Pavel Florensky! I knew that, in part because on Saturday past, I met Mother Nektaria, who lives in Moscow when not traveling, and she mentioned just that. Father Gregory gleaned the quote from "Pillar and Ground of Truth." I've not read that work yet, and I don't know if the sophiology in question is found in that work.

Thanks for the comment!

123 said...

Mother Nektaria's Road to Emmaus is wonderful. I've never had a chance to meet her though. Not sure if there is any or much sophiology in Pillar. I've never read it, so you'll have to give us a review when you do.

DebD said...

I have heard over and again that one cannot learn about Orthodoxy from a book. Although, I believe it can be a good starting point.

While I think that "come and see" is a very good option, we must be careful about it. Some people are just not at a point of being ready to receive the richness of Orthodoxy (for whatever reason). I would not want to be responsible for hardening their hearts further by inviting someone before they are open and ready. Does that make sense?

Ezekiel said...


Indeed, some caution should be exercised, although I think inviting someone, then listening to their questions is helpful. I know we've had some folks come with us and they have had questions. We just take them one at a time! :)

Orthodoxy also includes the home ... and that gives time to explain icons, prayer, and the like.

However, in the long run, one experiences Orthodoxy -- that doesnt' rule out reading and discussion ... but actually visiting give "flesh" to the words!

By invite I mean invite -- not pressure or order! :)

Good thoughts and wise!