Questions & Answers

Post 222 of 434

Question No 1.

Suppose a believer is traveling in a car in a time that is supposed to be devoted for evening prayer or morning prayer. Then is it right if he (be it a clergyman or layman) stops the vehicle and move to a place nearby (like trees that can shield us from other traveler’s sight) and pray the Kaumas? I heard that the Saintly Metropolitan Kyriakos Gregorios of Pampady used to do that.

Gejoe Coimbatore

Answer

Strictly speaking, there is no restriction of space and time when it comes to prayer. Prayer is the food and drink of the soul. The soul can enjoy it whenever it is in need of it. However, the proper and customary place for prayer is one’s temple or home. There are exceptions to this commonly accepted norm. If a person is on a long journey and has not found a worship place of his choice, he may conduct his prayer in his own car, or can stop at a convenient location on the way, either on the side of the road without creating inconvenience to other travelers, or under the shadow of a tree or at another place, if it is the time of prayer.

KCT

Question No 2.

Can a believer attend more than one Holy Qurbono (Divine Liturgy) a day, may be in two different parishes that have different timings of worship? Suppose he partook in the Sacred Body and Blood in onechurch. Can he receive communion in the worship held in another church on the same day? Can the priest, who presided over the worship in the first Church, preside over the worship in another church on the same day? Similarly can an altar servant of one parish assist in the Holy Sanctuary of another parish?

In short these are my doubts:

Are there any problems in attending a second worship? Is there any problem for a priest to concelebrate the second Divine Liturgy? Is there any problem in partaking in the Sacred Body and Blood of our Lord in the second parish (be it a believer or priest)? Is there any problem for altar boys/acolytes in assisting at the altar in the second parish after assisting the Holy Liturgy fully in first parish? Is any Church father specific in this regard?

Gejoe Coimbatore

Answer

To clear your doubts:

  1. No ONE priest can offer two sacrifices a day, nor can he concelebrate a second Liturgy with other priests. However, a priest can attend more than one Liturgy a day, but cannot receive communion more than once a day.
  2. No second Holy Qurbono/ Liturgy could be offered on the same altar on the same day.
  3. Any person or priest can attend or assist at a second Liturgy on the same day.  It is a blessing; but he cannot receive communion in the second Liturgy.
  4. A priest or altar servant can get into another sanctuary and assist at a second Liturgy. But he cannot receive communion from a second liturgy.

KCT

Question No 3.

Which is correct according to Orthodoxy – Predestination of a man or free will (to live) for a man? Augustine had advocated the former one while Pelagius supported the latter. Which is right and who among these fathers are accepted by Oriental Orthodoxy? How much regard is given to St.Augustine in Orthodox Church?

Gejoe Coimbatore

Answer

The Orthodox Church recognizes predestination, but does not consider it unconditional, that is, independent of man’s free will. The Orthodox Church does not believe that the divine will ever make a groundless decision. Saint Augustine teaches predestination in order to emphasize the supreme will of God, but does not rule out the role of human free will. My latest study of Augustine does not show that he is totally out of the range of orthodoxy. However during the time of western reformation Calvin stretched Augustine’s position to mean that Augustine was totally for predestination. This writer believes that Augustine still stayed within Orthodoxy when it comes to human free will and the will of God. But it is possible that one can accuse him as an ectreme defender of “sola voluntas divina” (only the Divine Will) due to his defense of the Supremacy of the Divine Will.

According to the teachings of the Orthodox Church, God, as omniscient (all-knowing), knows and foresees the moral state of man and preordains and predetermines for men certain fate. This does not mean that God overlooks the human volition to be the master of his own destiny. Every Orthodox Christian has to pray that God’s will take precedence. By our prayer we seek the harmony between our free will and God’s will.

The position of Pelagius was that he totally denied God’s role in our redemption. He taught that man can achieve it by himself without Christ’s suffering on the Cross or His merits. Strictly speaking, one cannot assume that Pelagius was defending the true nature of human will.

Ultimately, human free will does not have any relevance without reference to the will of God. Strictly speaking, the human will and divine will should stay intertwined. Human will is a created faculty, and its ultimate source is the divine will. However, the human will is granted autonomy so that it can function as a spiritual faculty of the human person which is itself ultimately the image or similitude of God. Our will should become identified with God’s will; this is intended in the Lord’s Prayer.

God does not inflict punishment on anyone without his own deliberate responsibility in committing a punishable offense. Responsibility or accountability can never be explained without a free will, without which reward and punishment are not defined.

Augustine still remains a father of the undivided Church, although not a great inspiration in the eastern Church because of his many slippery positions on grace, sin, redemption, human sexuality, etc. As a result, he is not mentioned in the hagiology of the Orthodox Church, particularly the Oriental section of it. Having said this, one should understand that he is regarded as a towering mind among the brilliant scholars of Christendom.

Pelagius is not considered a father of the Church.

The basic principles to be remembered:

  1. We are free as God is free.
  2. God has a purpose for each of us, which is never the perdition of human soul, but regeneration and redemption.  God is never for degeneration.
  3. We are never lost by God’s decision, but by our own choice.
  4. No innocent human being is punished to eternal hell.

KCT

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