Talk:Eastern Orthodox Church

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Orthodox is not Catholic in any sense[edit]

Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches in no sense consider themselves catholic. The Introduction must be changed completely. (talk) 14:39, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

The authoritative Catholic Encyclopedia makes no mention anywhere of Greek or Russian Orthodox Churches being called catholic in any sense. (talk) 15:09, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
The name is well referenced and it is the product of long discussions and consensus. Read the Discussion page. --Coquidragon (talk) 16:49, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Nowhere in Greek or Russian official doctrine is it stated, nowhere, that they are catholic, nowhere. (talk) 16:58, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
I would suggest you read the documents of Orthodoxy again. This statement is well supported by references, has long been discussed, and it was agreed by consensus of many editors. Please stop your changes.--Coquidragon (talk) 17:07, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Quote for me just one passage, just one, where Greek or Russian churches today call themselves catholic and I will desist. You have not one single passage to cite. (talk) 17:11, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
The only reason I don't undo your edit is because of WP 3RR rule. Please take your time to read this discussion page. Plenty of references to official documents of Orthodoxy are cited here. I am not going to do your job. If you continue to delete wording approved by consensus of editors, WP has strict rules about this type of editing. Please, refrain from continuing to do so. If you want it change the wording, wait until a consensus is reach to change it. I'll be back in 24 hours and undo your edit. Please, read, read, read.--Coquidragon (talk) 17:30, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
When you come back, bring me one passage, just one, where Greek or Russian official doctrine of today states that they are catholic. Bring me just one. (talk) 17:40, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
The passage reads:

...officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church,[4][5][6][7][8][9][note 1]

The things in the brackets ([4][5][6][7][8][9][note 1]) are called references and they are all from reliable sources and they are all verifiable so they satisfy Wikipedia's criteria of inclusion. Please stop your unsupported changes to the article by edit-warring. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 18:57, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The term catholic (originally meaning "universal") has a wider historical usage, not necessarily referring exclusively to the Roman Catholic Church. See History of the term "Catholic", as well as Catholicism#Divergent interpretations. As Dr.K. has pointed out, we have numerous reliable sources supporting the assertion that the Eastern Orthodox Church has, in certain cases, used the term catholic to refer to itself. It is not by any means surprising that the Catholic Encyclopedia (a publication geared toward Roman Catholics) would not agree to call the Eastern Orthodox Church "catholic", but the point here is not what others call the Eastern Orthodox Church, but what the Eastern Orthodox Church calls itself. For what little it may be worth, I too was skeptical when I first saw this claim that the Eastern Orthodox Church officially called itself "Catholic", but I conceded the point after examining the cited sources which show that some Eastern Orthodox theologians and scholars have in fact used this terminology. — Richwales (no relation to Jimbo) 22:18, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Tell me please, do you ever recite the Nicene Creed during liturgy? What does the Church call herself in that Creed? Elizium23 (talk) 22:25, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
"In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." -- (talk) 00:02, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Wow... a mountain out of molehill. "catholic" in the Nicene Creed simply is another word for universal. It does not specifically mean Roman Catholic. Orthodox Christians aren't Roman Catholics, but we are catholic, i.e. universal, open to everyone, and we happen to share some theological common ground with the Roman Catholics. Tpkatsa (talk) 21:43, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Hey OP, you shouldn't try to talk about a topic when you have no idea what you are talking about. -- (talk) 00:02, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

See the new article section Eastern Orthodox Church#Catholicity of the Orthodox Church where all those 33 refs to reliable sources have been moved, and where the whole topic is addressed in more detail. Most of the refs are from Orthodox sources, and many of those are not only reliable but official. I get it: some people don't like the word because it sounds like it's connected to the Roman Catholic Church (which it is), but it is just as firmly (and oppositionally) connected to the Orthodox faith. Here's something else that is deprecated in the Orthodox faith: idle talk. Evensteven (talk) 21:18, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

In response to user's recent editing: you mistake lack of centralization for lack of authority. Authority does not operate within the Orthodox Church in the same manner as the Roman Catholic Church (for example), nor as in most western institutions. The fact that the Patriarchates are autocephalous does not imply that nothing "official" can exist within Orthodoxy as a whole. There is universal agreement (in Orthodoxy) that the Orthodox Church is catholic, and the term is used repeatedly to describe the Church in official documents and pronouncements throughout, as evidenced by the RS supplied. You are not at liberty to define what is officially Orthodox by means of common usage as it may exist elsewhere. "Catholic" is official Orthodox usage, as evidenced by the highest Orthodox Church bodies and administrators: the Patriarchs, and even Ecumenical Councils (see the Nicene creed). Evensteven (talk) 15:12, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

"The fact that the Patriarchates are autocephalous does not imply that nothing "official" can exist within Orthodoxy as a whole." Yes, it does. Look up the definition of 'official'. There is no authority of any kind that can claim to be able to determine what the 'official' name of the church is. It is not copyrighted, it is not registered with any political authority. "There is universal agreement (in Orthodoxy) that the Orthodox Church is catholic..." That does not matter in the least. It's not an official name. You need to cite what official authority named the church. You need to cite a legally competent authority that has adopted that as a name. You cannot do that, because there is no such official authority. (talk) 01:47, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

No. You are demanding that a definition of "official" be applied that is not itself accepted within Orthodoxy. And as for catholicity, it is not merely a matter of officialdom. Within Orthodoxy, it is a matter of doctrine, which is an expression of the faith, which is held in common, which is not only expressed, but is believed, and not only believed but is prayed and lived as a part of Holy Tradition. Looked at from within Orthodoxy, the "authority" you are demanding is thin, fragile, temporary, artificial, and legalistic compared to the authority of the Church which upholds "Catholic" as a definitive pillar of its structure. The actual authority here is far beyond anything you have imagined. Evensteven (talk) 07:15, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
This : "You are demanding that a definition of "official" be applied that is not itself accepted within Orthodoxy. And as for catholicity, it is not merely a matter of officialdom. Within Orthodoxy, it is a matter of doctrine, which is an expression of the faith, which is held in common, which is not only expressed, but is believed, and not only believed but is prayed and lived as a part of Holy Tradition." is utter myth.
There is nothing in the world named the 'Orthodox Catholic Church'. There is no organization. There is no entity. There is no institution. The Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople heads no such organization. If you claim that there is such a thing, you are lying. ---All you have to do is cite a valid reference to anything to back up your claim. You've been challenged by me previously to do so, and you cannot. And there is no consensus that there is such a thing. You have simply been more aggressive in attacking every critic of your position that comes along. Why do you insist on lying about the Orthodox Church? (talk) 03:22, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
For daring to make an obvious correction, I have been sent threatening messages by more than one person. Because people cannot provide support for their positions, they attack me personally and threaten to have me blocked. This kind of behavior is hostile and an abuse of the Wikipedia guidelines. I think Evensteven is being ridiculous, but I did not try to bully him out of Wikipedia. (talk) 03:46, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
"You are lying"? I refer you to WP:CIVIL and WP:IDHT. You know the policies. You know how enforcement works. What's left to say? Evensteven (talk) 03:50, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Yawn. Please read WP:V. Thoroughly! And then come back when you're willing to work collegially to build an encyclopedia. Elizium23 (talk) 04:13, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
I must say this seems to be one of the more pointless arguments on Wikipedia. The reality is quite clear: 1) The Eastern Orthodox Church in various official and church-approved documents applies the word Catholic to itself, and 2) in common usage, the use of the word Catholic to refer to a religion is understood to refer to the Roman Catholic church. The current article reflects this reality perfectly well. Incidentally, a pretty precisely parallel situation obtains in regard to The Church of England and the Episcopal Church, both of which call themselves Catholic, as is stated on their Wikipedia pages, and no one seems to be arguing about this on the associated Talk pages. Littlewindow (talk) 18:08, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Agreed, Littlewindow. The only point is that there is continual irrational assault upon this very point, with people edit-warring to change the article inappropriately. It has even had to be admin-protected from such activity in the past. Evensteven (talk) 19:39, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Order of precedence[edit]

According to the order at, the Church of Georgia is ranked after Bulgarian, Serbian and Romanian Church. I think this article should follow the same order of seniority. --N Jordan (talk) 03:57, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

The ordering on the website page is not titled or described, but it does otherwise appear to be in order of precedence. However, I think only the ancient patriarchates have official standing regarding that order, because I think it takes an Ecumenical Council to establish it, and we haven't had one of those for a while. So I can't guarantee how official the ordering really is. But I did make the requested change in the article. Evensteven (talk) 05:17, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
No, I have reconsidered and reverted myself. Georgia has a very long Christian history, much longer I think than Russia. I just don't claim sufficient knowledge, and this may end up being controversial. Evensteven (talk) 05:26, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
The Orthodoxy in Georgia is indeed older than in Russia or at the Balkans. However, the order of seniority is based on date restoration of modern church, not on history. Otherwise, the church in Bulgaria and Serbia is older than the church of Russia. Also, Jerusalem is for sure older than Constantinople. I am aware that Russian Church internally rank the Church of Georgia above the Church of Serbia, but at pan-orthodox events, the order of seniority is based on δίπτυχο of the ecumenical patriarch. --N Jordan (talk) 06:41, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
P.S. There is an entire short paragraph after the listing that describe the difference in ranking: Note, that the Russian Church recognized a different order of seniority, in which the Georgian church comes after the Church of Russia and the Albanian Church – after the Church of Greece. The Church of Cyprus also has a different list featuring herself immediately after the ancient Patriarchates and before that of Moscow. This is the reason I changed ranking to match the diptych of Church of Constantinople. If anybody wants to move Georgia to #6, please replace quoted paragraph with a new one that would explain difference in ranking. BTW, the diptych of Constantinople is also followed by other 3 historical churches. --N Jordan (talk) 07:27, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Order of precedence cannot be based on seniority, a word whose presence in the article I had missed earlier. If it were, Jerusalem would have to come first, with Antioch a likely second. I am taking "precedence" to mean the hierarchy of honor observed among the patriarchates, of which Rome was the first from the time there was any thought of precedence of honor or of patriarchates themselves. Alexandria came second until the founding of Constantinople, whose place as capital of the eastern empire was considered reason enough to give it precedence, without consideration of "seniority". Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that it is an ecumenical council that set the early order and technically it requires another for an official reset. In the mean time, I believe that pan-Orthodox synods with the involvement of the Ecumenical Patriarch have provided the current working list since the last ecumenical council, and continue to maintain it for the purpose of the smooth running of such synods until the next ecumenical council. So the list from Constantinople would appear to be the most authoritative current thing that exists for all the many patriarchates that have been created in the last 1000 years or more, including Russia. Georgia is indeed quite ancient, but less so than Jerusalem or Antioch, so seniority simply cannot be the measure. Evensteven (talk) 15:41, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
The order of precedence for all other churches except old patriarchates is based on seniority. The modern Church of Bulgaria received tomos of autocephaly after Church of Romania. It was restored in 1953. so the order doesn't consider a historic Church of Bulgaria established in 987. Since we didn't have an ecumenical council to discuss order of precedence, that is the only possible logical way at this moment. --N Jordan (talk) 18:01, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
I'll accept that, though I have seen no official confirmation that seniority is the way that's been done. But I would agree that the Ecumenical Patriarchate would have to be the best possible official source for whatever list we report here. Evensteven (talk) 19:36, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── As far as I remember the Georgian church is negotiating with the Patriarchate of Constantinople about this issue and the Georgian church asks Constantinople 5th or 6th place in the list of precedence due to its ancient position. Jaqeli 20:26, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Where is Satan?[edit]

There is no mention of the devil here. I got a very positive impression of Eastern Orthodox Christianity from reading the article, but I wonder how many other potentially unflattering bits of theology might have been omitted in order to give it such a lovely aura of sophistication.

For what it's worth (being American), the Orthodox Church in America has this to say on its website: "The devil is a fallen bodiless spirit, an angel created by God for His service and praise. Together with the devil are his hosts of wicked angelic powers who have rebelled against the goodness of God and seek to pervert and destroy God’s good creation. ... Christ has destroyed the power of the devil. He came into the world precisely for this reason. If one is 'in Christ' he is led out of temptation and delivered from the evil one. ... To be victorious over the alluring and deceiving temptations of the devil is the goal of spiritual life." — Preceding unsigned comment added by DesertRat262 (talkcontribs) 02:46, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

I would say that the OCA website quote provides a broad basic summary of the Orthodox doctrine of the demons. I don't think the Orthodox would find that unflattering in any way, if that is your question. We recognize demonic influence in temptation, and do indeed call the constant spiritual struggle against evil in all its forms a "spiritual warfare", about which continuous vigilance is required in the spiritual life. But we also do not focus specifically on Satan or the demons themselves, being warned that that is a path that distracts from our divine help in Christ and can lead to deception and destruction. It is very clear that the devil has no part in Orthodox Christianity itself; Satan is sometimes described as the "great adversary". So it is not surprising that little mention is made in this article, which is about the Church. The focus is on spiritual struggle and the Christian life, and the demons are peripheral (until the end of the age), and cast out and destroyed at the final judgment, forever to be forgotten. Evensteven (talk) 03:17, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
That's an interesting distinction you made between Church and religion-- practice as distinct from theology, I take it. I was about to suggest that if Satan is important enough to be called 'the great adversary', perhaps he should be described in some detail somewhere, whether or not he is doomed to be destroyed. I was going to ask if perhaps Eastern Orthodox Christian theology is the right place for it, given that there is likewise no mention of him there (not even in the Hell section, unless you count footnotes). But... alas, now I see that the winds of consensus are blowing hard against me, as there is also no mention of 'Satan' or 'devil' in Christianity (which has a section specific to the Middle Ages) or even Protestantism, which I thought had a history of fairly obsessive interest in the devil. The Christian theology article has a bit, and of course there is the Satan article itself, but if someone comes to Wikipedia to learn about Christianity from scratch they aren't likely to think that the devil ever figured into it at all. Times be changing, I guess. DesertRat262 (talk) 05:18, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
There's no need to draw such distinctions, and none made by me. I'm not saying that description of this teaching is inappropriate for the article, just that the article would need to reflect the nature of the focus I described. There is a definite matter of balance and weight also. It would be inaccurate for there to be an overemphasis, because while the Orthodox teaching is definite and explicit, it does not dwell there. This article has a very considerable substance to try to cover, especially as so many points are unfamiliar to so many readers of English, so this is not the place for full detail, nor is it in Eastern Orthodox Christian theology. My point is that Satan does not figure large in Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy makes a point of not attending to him; he is outcast, unworthy of consideration. "Great adversary" he is, but there is no greatness about him - only a reminder that he is beyond human power to overcome - for that we need Christ. Notice Matthew 4:1-11. Every one of Christ's own replies to temptation focusses on God, not on Satan, and not even on the temptation itself. There is the wellspring of Orthodox theology on this topic. Where indeed is Satan? Rejected, unconsidered, forgotten. Evensteven (talk) 06:47, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
Aren't those remarks about Old You Know Who pretty much just standard traditional Christian theology rather than being particularly characteristic of Orthodoxy? If so, there's not much point in highlighting them in this article. Littlewindow (talk) 18:55, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
I'd say that on this topic Orthodoxy shares a large amount in common with other branches of Christianity. But imo, its very active disregard for Satan and the demons, overt refusal to confront or argue externally, purposeful shunting-aside of temptation as a rejection of engagement or focus on it, insistence on prayerful inward focus on God and His ever-present help as opposed to outward defiance of evil, all these as a matter of spiritual discipline emphasized repeatedly over the centuries in its spiritual writings and advice and traditions and teachings, these things I find to be particularly explicit, direct, stressed in teaching and example, and held up as signposts for the faithful within Orthodoxy in a way that I don't find it elsewhere. Nevertheless, I know that many of those things would be (are found to be) equally helpful among many varieties of Christians who come upon them, not having experienced them in such concentrated doses before. It's a good example of Orthodox theology: spiritual direction coupled with the Christian life, expressed in action rather than words, in attitude rather than concepts. It is not a dry scholastic theology, simply an activity of the mind, but rather of each whole person, and the Church in communion. It can't truly be expressed in words, but only in the living. This is a characteristically Orthodox way of teaching it, and is perhaps more explicit and complete in its expression than you might get elsewhere. But the context always goes far beyond Old You Know Who himself. Cheers. Evensteven (talk) 08:45, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Byzantine naming processes[edit]

Come on now -- Byzantine Empire is the standard and universal name for it in common usage, and even in scholarly usage Eastern Roman Empire tends to be used only when the focus is on the process of the separation. (A pominent scholarly jounalis called Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies.) Why not just say Byzantine? In fact, I would suuggest, "In the Byzantine Empire Greek was the most prevalent shared language, and ethnic Greeks were widely dispersed geographically throughout. For this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as "Greek" (in contrast to "Roman"), even before the great schism. ' — Preceding unsigned comment added by Littlewindow (talkcontribs) 16:14, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, I tend not to like user's recent edit myself: I don't think it fixes anything, even what it tried to address, but just makes the wording more clumsy. Not that it wasn't already a bit clumsy. But the intent here is a focus on continuation over time, that the Church existed in the time of the Roman Empire, and continued through the time of the Byzantine Empire. Contrary to, the ERE did basically "turn into" the BE, not just in name, but in becoming independent of Rome, which had been conquered. And the Church continued throughout all of it, but undivided (unlike the empires). This has been a point of contention in some discussions on WP related to Orthodoxy, which illustrates how there is (in real life) a mistaken notion about the early church that often needs to be corrected, something an encyclopedia article does well to address. How that is to be addressed here is one thing, and maybe we can find a better way (I intend to give it a shot momentarily). But it is that point about the Church that is the issue, not how the development (and naming) of the empires occurred. Evensteven (talk) 17:59, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

British, Saxon, and Celtic peoples?[edit]

The article currently states (emphasis added):

In non-doctrinal, non-liturgical matters the church has always shared in local cultures, adopting or adapting (conventional) traditions from among practices it found to be compatible with the Christian life, and in turn shaping the cultural development of the nations around it, including Greek, Slavic, Romanian, Middle Eastern, North African, British, Saxon, and Celtic peoples. (For an example, see Yule log).

That northern European connection intrigued me and I was curious what influence the Eastern Orthodox Church had on the tradition of the Yule Log. But the Yule Log article doesn't describe any connection. It mentions a Balkan version of the Yule Log, but ties it to pre-Christian religion rather than Orthodox Christianity. The word “Orthodox” doesn't even appear in the article.

If the Eastern Orthodox Church has really had a notable influence on the British, Saxon, and Celtic peoples, it would be interesting to see it accurately described. As the article stands now, I'm doubting there's really much there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this kind of comment simply an artefact of regarding the entirety of the undivided Church of the first millenium as "Orthodox" within this article (in keeping with its self-understanding) just as the article on the Catholic Church similarly regards eastern Christianity in the first millenium as part of the Catholic Church. I think this is perfectly appropriate, though perhaps it indicates a need for clarification about the self-understanding of the EO Church. Gabrielthursday (talk) 21:49, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
The understanding of the EO Church is that Christianity was not divided east-west until 1054. Yes, there were smaller breaks earlier, especially with the non-Chalcedoneans following the fourth council. But the primary matter is that Rome and Constantinople were in communion with each other until 1054, and so were all levels of dioceses, archdioceses, and patriarchates who were in communion with them. It was all one church. The EO church thus claims Christian kinship with Rome and all its subsidiaries until that time, and its view is that it is entirely appropriate for Rome to claim Christian kinship with Orthodoxy until then. Obviously, there were differences which led (over several centuries) to the east-west schism, but for Orthodoxy (and I think also for Roman Catholicism), it was communion which kept them joined despite differences until then, and when they no longer had that, the difference then became a separation between churches, no longer an internal matter. For all that, both Rome and Constantinople sought reconciliation for more than 150 years after 1054 upon multiple occasions, even through war and mutual enmity occurring throughout the same period. The separation took quite some time to become "final". Even now, both churches seem to desire and pursue reconciliation, though settling the matters that divide, now grown wider, presents real difficulty.
So, to say historically that the EOC had influence on British, Saxon, and Celtic peoples is not untrue, it's simply something of a misnomer. At the time, there was no EOC (as such), and there was no Roman Catholic Church (as such); what there was, was simply the Christian Church. It was the Christian Church which had influence, and a great deal of the influence at that time lay in the conversion of many of those peoples to Christianity. But both RC and EOC share this part of their joint history, and hence that Christianizing influence. Jurisdictionally, the northern islands fell broadly under the umbrella of Rome, where they stayed after the schism. But a vast array of saints involved in the Christianizing, and others born, raised, and active in those regions, are all recognized and celebrated as saints within both the EOC and Roman churches, as they always have been. These saints include Pope Gregory I, Augustine, Patrick, Bede, Alban, Columba, King Oswy, and Brendan, to name a very few.
As for the Yule log, I haven't yet found time to edit that article, though I have my eye on it. That whole topic is rather a footnote to the much larger scale I outlined above. But it is a representative example of how a tradition originating outside of Christianity, in a culture of people who were converted to Christianity in large numbers, and whose culture thus was widely influenced by it, also found Christian adoption of the tradition, in whatsoever manner separated it from the practice of pagan religion, but found a meaningful acceptance within a new Christian context. Such cross-influences have always been recognized and accepted in Orthodoxy (including Rome at the time), although they have receded from memory among many westerners as the schism separated east from west over time. One thing the EOC has done is to preserve the tradition (including its memory). Evensteven (talk) 23:11, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
Aren't they just saying that some EO people use Yule logs? The influence is the other way round, no (as the first part of the sentence describes)? Johnbod (talk) 23:21, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
The influence can go both ways, insofar as the culture or cultural practice is not in direct conflict with Christianity. So, EO people who use Yule logs use them in remembrance of Christmas, another joyful thing to help celebrate with. But they don't use them to remember pagan rituals. The point is also partly to describe how a people or nation that is largely Orthodox Christian creates a culture that is prominently Christian, and a flavor of Christianity that is culturally specific. The cultural aspect is not really (technically) part of the religion, but the religion celebrates its part in the culture and participates in it. The more prominent Orthodoxy is within the culture, the more deeply they share. Evensteven (talk) 00:31, 27 August 2014 (UTC)