Father Luke is currently serving on the Youth and Young Adults Committees of the Archdiocesan Council and the Direct Archdiocesan District Council as an adviser on Young Adult ministries. He also is currently assisting with Young Adult Ministries such as Orthodoxy on Tap and various Young Adult retreats for the New York Area.
The ball is rolling! We have gotten several questions, more than I ever anticipated, and I will try to tackle them all. I selected a few to start us off on the right foot. I ask for forgiveness if I offend anyone in the depth or content of my answers.
Our first question is from a recent college graduate in Thessaloniki, Stellina:
I’d like to ask how we should feel and think when a close-to-us person that has left this world comes to our dreams and talks to us. Thank you!
Stellina, thank you for your question. This is one that priests get many times! Dreams are a big part of how we process our thoughts and emotions gathered through our waking hours. That being said, the Holy Fathers of our Church repeatedly warn against putting any kind of stock in dreams. Besides the possibility of them being just remnants of our thought processes, there is also a demonic potential because we may have our spiritual “guard” down (this is referred to as Nepsis or vigilance). While it feels good to think of having contact with a loved one who has fallen asleep, we need to be careful. If this is something that is recurring, I would strongly recommend consulting your spiritual father. Another suggestion is to have a Trisagion (Memorial Service) prayed for the loved one. May your loved one’s memory be eternal!
Our next question is one that I never considered before. It comes from Celeste in California:
Why does the Creed specifically mention Pontius Pilate? Is he more responsible than Judas for Christ’s crucifixion?
This is an excellent question, Celeste! On thinking of this (again, I am no expert), I really believe that the Church placed the information of Christ being crucified under Pontius Pilate more as a historical marker than an indication of culpability. I think that Judas, Pontius Pilate, the crowd calling for His Crucifixion, and certainly each one of us shares an equal part in Christ’s Death on the Cross. Every time we turn our back on Christ, we take a share in that responsibility and essentially place Him back on the Cross. It is also interesting to note that Pontius Pilate’s wife, St. Prokla, is a saint in our Holy Orthodox Church! So, let’s focus on coming before Him in repentance through the healing sacrament of Holy Confession and participating in the Joy of His Resurrection through the beautiful sacramental life of His Holy Church.
This month’s last question comes from Kyle, a high school student in Brentwood, California:
Can an Orthodox Christian receive Communion in an Oriental church? Can you get married to a person in an Oriental church?
Another good question. Thank you for asking a tough question, Kyle. The answer to this question saddens me because I know and love so many brothers and sisters who are considered “Oriental Orthodox.” Unfortunately, at this time, the Canonical Orthodox Churches are not in communion with “Oriental Orthodox.” There are issues with the backbone of our Theologies, especially the recognition of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. That being said, the short answer is no. An Orthodox Christian should only receive Sacraments in a Canonical Orthodox Church. So, an Orthodox Christian could marry an “Oriental Orthodox” Christian, but it would have to take place in a Canonical Orthodox Christian Church. We are all praying for our brothers and sisters in the “Oriental Orthodox” Churches to be with us again one day. We also offer prayers for all Christians who are suffering in areas of persecution throughout the Middle East and other parts of the world.
Don’t hesitate to submit more questions and I will do my best to answer them! Looking forward to hearing from you! You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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