Friday, March 10, 2006

Orthodox piety

A number of Protestants have left the evangelical faith for the Orthodox Church.

And there’s no doubt that the Orthodox faith has a rather different set of spiritual priorities than does the evangelical faith.



Patriarch of Moscow (1652-1658; d. 1681).

The chief event of Nikon's reign was the reform of the service books. The Bible and books used in church in Russia are translated from Greek into old Slavonic. But gradually many mistranslations and corruptions of the text had crept in. There were also details of ritual in which the Russian Church had forsaken the custom of Constantinople. Nikon's work was to restore all these points to exact conformity with the Greek original.

In Nikon's time there was more intercourse with Greeks than ever before, and in this way he conceived the necessity of restoring purer forms. While Metropolitan of Novgorod he caused a committee of scholars to discuss the question, in spite of the patriarch Joseph. In 1650 a Russian theologian was sent to Constantinople to inquire about various doubtful points.

One detail that made much trouble was that the Russians had learned to make the sign of the cross with two fingers instead of three, as the Greeks did. As soon as he became patriarch, Nikon published an order introducing some of these reforms, which immediately called forth angry opposition. In 1654 and 1655 he summoned Synods which continued the work. Makarios, Patriarch of Antioch, who came to Russia at that time was able to help, and there was continual correspondence with the Patriarch of Constantinople.

At last, with the approval of the Greek patriarchs, Nikon published the reformed service books and made laws insisting on conformity with Greek custom in all points of ritual (1655-1658). A new Synod in 1656 confirmed this, excommunicated every one who made the sign of the cross except with three fingers.


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