Saturday, December 22, 2007

275 Pretty Darn Good Reasons On Why Any Sane Person Should NOT Be(come) Orthodox ... Ever!

And here they are, Ladies and Gentlemen [pun intended], in all their nakedness [pun intended]:

According to the divinely-inspired words of our Holy Prophet and God-Seer Moses, as recorded in his Second Book, that of Exodus, -in the fifteenth verse of the nineteenth chapter-, as well as following the saintly advice of the Glorious and divinely-appointed Apostle Paul, as written in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, -in the fifth verse of the seventh chapter-, the Holy Fathers unanimously decree that husband and wife should abstain from the rightful pleasures that are, by the very nature of things, normally tied to married life, for the entire duration of such holy time-periods as those dedicated to feasting and fasting ... Until now, nothing of spectacular: I mean, it sounds reasonable enough, ... right?

Well, then: let's just take a closer look at what that actually means ... shall we?

During Spring-time, we have a contiguous two month long time interval, comprising Meat-Fare Week, the six weeks of Great Lent, Great and Holy Week, and -last, but not least- Bright Week, in which the performance of weddings [and other such wedding-related things, which this author will leave to the imagination of the reader] is, by Canon Law, strictly forbidden.

In the summer time, when the weather is fine, for a contiguous time period of approximatively a month (more or less), ranging from the next Sunday following Pentecost, and all the way up to the 29th of June, when we end our month-long fast by celebrating the Feast of the Holy, Most-Glorious Chief-Apostles Peter and Paul, the same things are required of us, as have been described above.

The exact same goes then for the two contiguous weeks of the Fast of the Falling-Asleep of the Holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, celebrated in the Fall, prior to the 15th of August, ... as well as for the contiguous two month long time span, consisting of the Christmas-Fast, which is celebrated in Winter, and the two weeks between the Lord's Birth and His Baptism, which immediately follow the Feast.

... Which would amount, according to my calculations, to about five months of marital abstinence each year: BUT, WAIT! THERE'S MORE! WE'RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET!

The remaining time, amounting to about seven months, is, obviously, comprised of such insignificant little time-units we call weeks ... which weeks consist, obviously, of seven days, out of which two are Fast-Days: Wednesdays and Fridays; and two are Feast-Days: Saturdays and Sundays ... which leads to more than half of this remaining time-frame being forbidden to the two spouses for fulfilling each their respective duties towards each-other.

So, in conclusion, a little math: 12-5 = 7; 3/7 * 7 = 3; 3*30 = 90; 365-90 = 275. Hence, also, the name of this article.

Now, I beg of ye, please do not misunderstand me, my dear Gentlemen and my fair Ladies: but isn't this cross a bit too hard to bear, ... even for normal, every-day people, who maybe do not wish, or feel the desire, to often or frequently express their passionate feelings for one another ?

Why do some Orthodox even want to become monks anyway? ...


Rob said...

-Why do some Orthodox even want to become monks anyway?-

LOL! I was thinking the same thing after you described just the requirements for Little Lent. I believe that the RC has become too lax in the last forty years, but God forbid we ever get that stringent!

Still, all humor aside, I believe more strongly every day that there is not such a fine line dividing laity from monastics. We should all be striving for the personal sanctity that is expected in Orthodoxy.

Elizabeth said...

Ah, but the abstinence from marital relations has to be with the willing consent of **both** partners and specifically undertaken in order to devote more time to prayer. One partner cannot impose it upon the other.

It is all part of spiritual growth, not a derogation of the value of sexual intimacy within a marriage. Those who speak slightingly of marital relations are also strongly condemned by the fathers of the Church......

It is a standard to aim for, not a "if you don't follow this you are in heap big trouble" canon law issue.

Lucian said...

The problem is thus: when God declared a time for fasting, He didn't ask our consensus, but just our simple submission to His command. (See the episode with Moses and the Seventy elders).

And it's the same today: the only difference lieing in the fact that today's divinely-ordained fast is declared by God NOT directly through revelation, but rather through two millennia of Holy Church Tradition.

On the other hand, when two spouses do decide to fast freely, they should indeed seek consensus from each-other: but, needless to say, that's not the case anymore with the Four Fasts -- unlike in St. Paul's days, when there were no already-determined Fasts, and Christians determined each their own fasting-and-prayer schedule more freely --> and since it was so, were it for the wife not to submit to the husband's choice, she would be merely negotiating something un-fixed, un-settled, and very much subjected to the choice and option of the two of them: it was a >family-business<, and it wouldn't be as if she's rebelling against God Himself, since it was only her husband's private desire that she was tempering with.

But now, with the Four Fasts already fixed by the bimillennial Tradition, all negotiation and reasoning is over: were one of the spouses to not submit, it would be rebellion against God directly, since the Church is asking of her to follow its commandments. So, now it's a matter of submisive consciousness of each of them towards God Himself, and all bargaining's over (So it's not a >family-business< or a private undergoing or affair or the two of them anymore).

Were it that my words would not be true, I'ld be the first one to rejoice over it. :-) [In case You haven't noticed, it's not my imaginary wife's spiritual weakness that I'm worrying over here, ... but rather my very own].

And I'm not talking about "you people" here: I'm just taking a good, hard look at what Orthodoxy has in store for "Me, Myself, and I[rene]". :D

As for the fact that neither eating, nor drinking, nor loving, (nor breathing, for that matter) are "bad", that's true: but precisely because they're NOT bad, do we abstain from these beautiful, lawful pleasures, so that we might bring our bodies into submission, and be able to master truly bad passions in the future: gluttony, drunkness and whoredom among many.

From BAD things we're supposed to fast and sabbathize all year long! ... but to rest from lucrative labor: only on Sundays; and to fast even from foods and love-making: only during Fasts.

I hope I've managed to make myself pretty clear on this subject.

P.S.: do You, by any chance, know of an on-line translation of the Akathist of the Holy and Life-Giving Trinity? Thaks.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Lucian
the Akathist to the Trinity can be found here:-

let me know if it doesn't work as I have the full URL saved.
Blessed Nativity to you.

Lucian said...

Thank You very, very, VERY much! And a Merry little Christmas to You, and Your entire family.

The Akathist of the Most Holy and Life-Giving Trinity.

Fearsome Comrade said...

Few if any of the fasts you mentioned are actually two thousand years old. Let's not say "two millennia of Church Tradition" when often we mean "three hundred years of Russian Tradition," or "nine hundred years of Greek Tradition."

Here's the thing that gets me...and it's always gotten me. It's not enough to have your fasts; you have to threaten people with hell if they don't observe them. You can't say, "The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him," not without the caveat, "Unless we're talking about church law. Then I'm going to condemn the crap out of you."

"It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery," unless that yoke of slavery is imposed on you by bishops claiming to speak for God, rather than men claiming to speak for St James, i.e. only until the Church develops a strict code of canon law that makes the Torah look mild in comparison, the same Torah that Peter called "a load that neither we nor our fathers could bear."

The Pharisees believed that God spoke through their centuries of tradition as well. It seems to me that Jesus did not think too highly of people adding tradition to God's commands and making it into a barrier between the Lord and his people.

You're free to fast--or not fast--because Christ himself has set you free. Why can the Orthodox not fast unless they condemn those who do not do so? (It's a rhetorical question--I know it's because you believe God himself guides your church to develop its canon law.)

Lucian said...

Actually, that's why I've mentioned 2,000 yrs of Tradition, because it was a historical developement during all those years. :-)

As for the rest, I'm affraid I can't help You there. :-)

The very reason why I've posted this in the first place was twofold: primarily because a couple who converted did not actually know that (!!!) and secondly because a Priest who converted from Lutheranism I think has written an article entitled `Why not Orthodox?`, and which in itself was supposed to be a response or something to the post of another priest who converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism and who wrote an aritcle entitled `Why not Catholic?`.

Well, anyway: the reason for writting this was to make people understand that before anything, our faith is -unfortunately!- a Way of Life (John 14:6; Acts 9:2, 16:17, 18:25-26, 19:9, 19:23, 22:4, 24:14, 24:22).

I mean: people should know what they're getting theirselves into, right? :-\ It's only honest, and it's common-sense and fair-play.

Tommy said...

the six moths of Great Lent

Are they like really giant moths like Mothra from the Godzilla movies? Or are they small and tasty?


Lucian said...

Thanks, Tommy, I've missed that typo due to the fact that it wasn't a typo in the first place, and Word didn't underline it with red. :-)

Well, I guess they are like REALLY HUGE weeks, 7 days each, 24 hours a day, 3600 seconds an hour, wondering-WHEN-is-this-ALL-going-to-FINALLY-end-kind-of weeks. >:) -- Was this response scary `nough for Ya? Or do You want more? >:) `Cause there's plenty more where this came from, baby! >:) ... :-)

james said...

Why is an unmarried man so concerned with how much sex married couples are having? Mind your own business!

Lucian said...

Because unmarried men don't stay this way forever. (Don't let Luther's picture I use as a logo fool You: I don't plan becoming a monk anytime soon).

And because this particular unmarried man is Orthodox, and the people who convert to his evil little religion, the majority of which come from a Sola Scriptura background, have (seemingly) never read their Scriptura in the first place (here in Romania Protestants and Neo-Protestants are very respected for their knowledge and memory of the Scriptures, which the average nominal Orthodox doesn't have -- and yet the American sort seem to be complete analphabets or illiterates when it comes even to the most basic tenets of Holy Writ).

But, more importantly, this was a response to an Orthodox priest's response to a Catholic priest's article. (The later was entitled Why Not Catholic?, and the former Why Not Orthodox?). The former was a convert from Lutheranism, while the later was a convert from Anglicanism. The gist of my post is practically this: Orthodoxy is a way of life (Acts 9:2; 22:4).

james said...

Christianity in general is a way of life. I promise that your perspective will change once you're no longer single.

I'd bet you're a recent convert too. There is a lot going on in your post, but this format isn't conducive to real discussion. Just try to realize that there is a variety of perspectives and opinions about Tradition/tradition within Orthodoxy.

Lucian said...

Almost every single sentence in Your former comment is wrong.

james said...

Let's just agree to disagree. I shall leave you to your feelings of religious "rightness." Enjoy.

Lucian said...

Well, James, I just think that people should be taught the truth about a religion (especially if it's a religion they're actually serious about joining) -just like it's the case with a school manual that treats a certain specific subject- they should be presented with the facts: just like it's the case with any other thing ... not with crap about Why Not Orthodox, and other stupid stuff like that.

But -that again- what do *I* know, right? I mean, I'm not a Shepherd, so my livelihood and/or income doesn't depend on the size of my flock, and my GOD-given ability to milk them and shear them after luring them into the fold with GOD-knows-what marketing-stratagem.

Lucian said...

Seriously now, I mean: what's next?

"Why Not a Monk?

We offer free accommodation, vegan meals, a complete lack of nagging housewives and mother-in-laws, a lot of [spiritual] fun with "the boys", a fulfilling night-life*, and a promise that You're gonna maintain Your silhouette the WHOLE time! You're gonna feel just like in Paradise**!

Join now!"

* Midnight-service starts at zero hundred hours sharp: be there, or be sqare!
** (Genesis 2:25; 3:7-11).

Ben M said...

Hi Lucian,

Just thought you might find this interesting ... on the celibate Moses.


ψευδἸωάννης said...

Why do some Orthodox even want to become monks anyway?

It might have something to do with those other two thousand one hundred and sixty hours of the year that are free…