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Posted June 18, 2012 | comments 16 Comments

New Western Rite Orthodox parish comes to valley

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

The Holy Family Orthodox Church will bring something new to the area as it is the only Western Rite Orthodox church in the northern Shenandoah Valley.

The Rev. Richard Reed was recently ordained in New York, and is in the process of establishing the parish. He is holding liturgies at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings in a temporary chapel in his Woodstock home.

"Establishing a parish is just like establishing a church in that it takes time, effort and funds," Reed said. He and his wife have been searching the area for a facility to house anywhere from 50 to 100 people, he added.

"It just depends on where the people are and what's available," he said.

The parish is part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. "Western Rite" refers to ancient Orthodox rites that are pre-schism and could be found in western lands including Ireland, Britain and Rome, according to the church website.

Reed was raised Roman Catholic and served as a protestant minister before converting to Western Orthodox. He was a chaplain in Ohio, Florida and Virginia and served as one at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock.

"There are a lot of people who were Orthodox at one time or maybe left the Roman Catholic church," he said. "I'm hoping they find that it's time to come back to the church and see if this is different ... I believe it is."

Reed said the liturgies will be given in English, and his sermons will only last 15 to 20 minutes. He said emphasis will be placed on traditional values. The current chapel has no pews, but instead two benches "for those who must sit."

Women will be expected to wear head coverings, and anyone attending should be dressed modestly, he said. He said the parish believes in "the traditional family."

"We follow what the Bible says," Reed added.

Reed said the liturgies will be formal and will include homemade phosphora bread.

"I won't speak against any other churches," he said. "We'll all stand before God someday, and He knows who is right with Him."

For more information on the Holy Family Orthodox Church, go to holyfamilyorthodoxchurch.com or call 459-9069.

16 Comments | Leave a comment

    The faithful go to church for a mixture of reasons, from social to charitable to ethnic. The faithful take their beliefs ala carte or cafeteria-style, choosing the bits they like and discarding the rest, sometimes forming a new church by repackaging the bits best liked.

    The central paradox at the core of all religions and most certainly the three great monotheisms competing for the minds and purses of the 21st century faithful, teach people to think abjectly of themselves, as miserable and guilty sinners, prostrate before an angry and jealous god, while also teaching people to be extremely self-centered and conceited by assuring them that god cares for them individually and that the cosmos was created with them specifically in mind.

    There still remain four irreducible objections to religious faith:
    · That it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos.
    · That because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism.
    · That it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression.
    · That it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking.

    Religions faithful must ask themselves why did heaven leave the human race to suffer and die alone for the first one hundred thousand years of its existence, and only decide to intervene during a narrow window a few thousand years ago, making a one-time appearance, and then only in illiterate, superstitious, and barbaric regions of the Middle East?

    The attitude of religion to medicine, like the attitude of religion to science, is always necessarily problematic and very often necessarily hostile. A modern believer can say and even believe that his faith is quite compatible with science and medicine, but the awkward fact will always be that medicine and science have a tendency to break religion's monopoly, and have often been fiercely resisted for that reason. What happens to the faith healer and the shaman when any poor citizen can see the full effect of drugs and surgeries, administered without ceremonies or mystifications? Roughly the same thing happens to the rainmaker when the climatologist turns up, or to the diviner from the heavens when schoolteachers get hold of elementary telescopes. Plagues of antiquity were held to be punishment from the gods, which did much to strengthen the hold of the priesthood and much to encourage the burning of infidels and heretics who were thought, in an alternative explanation, to be spreading disease by witchcraft or else poisoning the wells.

    Religion poisons everything.

      If you see a man who has sinned and you do not pity him, the grace of God will leave you.

      Whoever curses bad people, and does not pray for them, will never come to know the grace of God.

      (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, VII.4, VIII.6)

        If throw-away one liners are your best counter argument, then you have already lost. I normally ignore such piffle, but this one time I will chose to make an exception.

        I have a thought or two to share with you shortly about the grace of god revealed in another set of scripture verses that appear close after the Exodus fable of the ten commandments.

        Another way in which religion betrays itself, and attempts to escape mere reliance on faith and instead offer "evidence" in the sense normally understood, is by the argument from revelation, and using scripture as the end-all rebuttal to every contrarian argument. On certain very special occasions, it is asserted, the divine will was made known by direct contact with randomly selected human beings, who were supposedly vouchsafed unalterable laws that could then be passed on to those less favored.

        There are some very obvious objections to be made to this. In the first place, several such disclosures have been claimed to occur, at different times and places, to hugely discrepant prophets or mediums. In some cases - most notably the Christian - one revelation is apparently not sufficient, and needs to be reinforced by successive apparitions, with the promise of a further but ultimate one to come. In other cases, the opposite difficulty occurs and the divine instruction is delivered, only once, and for the final time, to an obscure personage whose lightest word then becomes law. Since all of these revelations, many of them hopelessly inconsistent, cannot by definition be simultaneously true, it must follow that some of them are false and illusory. It could also follow that only one of them is authentic, but in the first place this seems dubious and in the second place it appears to necessitate religious war in order to decide whose revelation is the true one. A further difficulty is the apparent tendency of the Almighty to reveal himself only to unlettered and quasi-historical individuals, in regions of Middle Eastern wasteland that were long the home of idol worship and superstition, and in many instances already littered with existing prophecies.

        The syncretic tendencies of monotheism, and the common ancestry of the tales, mean in effect that a rebuttal to one is a rebuttal to all. Horribly and hatefully though they may have fought with one another, the three monotheisms claim to share a descent at least from the Pentateuch of Moses, and the Koran certifies Jews as "people of the book," Jesus as a prophet, and a virgin as his mother.

        Interestingly, the Koran does not blame the Jews for the murder of Jesus, as one book of the Christian New Testament does, but this is only because it makes the bizarre claim that someone else was crucified by the Jews in his place.

        The foundation story of all three faiths concerns the purported meeting between Moses and god, at the summit of Mount Sinai. This in turn led to the handing down of the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments. The tale is told in the second book of Moses, known as the book of Exodus, in chapters 20-40. Most attention has been concentrated on chapter 20 itself, where the actual commandments are given. It should not perhaps be necessary to summarize and expose these, but the effort is actually worthwhile.

        Then there is the very salient question of what the commandments do not say. Is it too modern to notice that there is nothing about the protection of children from cruelty, nothing about rape, nothing about slavery, and nothing about genocide? Or is it too exactingly "in context" to notice that some of these very offenses are about to be positively recommended? In verse 2 of the immediately following chapter, god tells Moses to instruct his followers about the conditions under which they may buy or sell slaves (or bore their ears through with an awl) and the rules governing the sale of their daughters. This is succeeded by the insanely detailed regulations governing oxen that gore and are gored, and including the notorious verses forfeiting "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth." Micromanagement of agricultural disputes breaks off for a moment, with the abrupt verse (22: 18) "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." This was, for centuries, the warrant for the Christian torture and burning of women who did not conform. Occasionally, there are injunctions that are moral, and also (at least in the lovely King James version) memorably phrased: "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" was taught to Bertrand Russell by his grandmother, and stayed with the old heretic all his life.

        However, one mutters a few sympathetic words for the forgotten and obliterated Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites, also presumably part of the Lord's original creation, who are to be pitilessly driven out of their homes to make room for the ungrateful and mutinous children of Israel. This supposed "covenant" is the basis for a nineteenth-century irredentist claim to Palestine that has brought us endless trouble up to the present day.

        Religion poisons everything.

      you thank God for making you an atheist? so you pray?

        Reply to comment by "pay attention":

        First, I conclude your understanding of irony is somewhat incomplete, causing confusion about what is the meaning of my screen name.

        Second, many writers use the concept of irony to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning.

        Third, no doubt if you are a religious person, depending upon your faith, you may understand a creation myth/story of some sort that describes the world and everything it contains (including me) was created due to the handiwork of a maker, a deity (a god) who possesses magical powers unknown to science or mere thinking mortals such as yourself.

        Fourth, an atheist person (me) denies or disbelieves the existence of a deity, a supreme being or a god. Therefore, an atheist does not have a religious belief; I also do not have a belief in magic, the tooth fairy, the easter bunny, a soul, santa clause, reincarnation, big foot, satan, the devil, hell, fairy dust, life after death, and many other things that can exist only within an imagination.

        So, if you can combine the above 4 explanations into one single concept, then generate a phrase that is appropriate to accommodating irony instantly recognizable to a religious person and an atheist person, you can easily understand why my choice became the screen name I use.

        The irony is, of course, if an atheist does not believe in a god how is it then possible for an atheist to thank something that does not exist?

          An old friend of mine (who was Catholic) use to say, "There are no atheist in the fox holes".

          Just like everything, religion has its place but is also subject to the wacko's and the CON ARTIST (most especially). Regardless of any belief or religion if we could merely follow the Golden Rule:

          "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

          I think that would cover it. . . : ]

    So predictable. Every time there's a story remotely related to religion, a church, a pastor, a church function, the weather, the sun, the moon, the stars or the sea, the same self important wall of text appears below it. So much time devoted to something you proclaim to not care about.

      Thanks - we appreciate your comments!!!


      LOL. Yes. It seems they have to fill their empty lives with ranting on how vacuous they find religion. As for Hume, he is long dead and hence has already been confronted by his foolishness. Stalin and Enver Hoxha tried to build a society on "facts" without religion. That worked so well, and decades later their people are still paying for their foolishness. And the "scientific" belief in Global Warming in the face of the climategate scandal-now that's faith!

    That is just what the Valley needs ...another church. I really did know that there was so much Russian Orthadox heritage in the area ( enough to support a full time Rev. and 50 to 100 seat hall.) I truely believe to each his own but if you look today churches are opening up like franchises, all looking to get paid so their parishners can have a feeling of some place to go after death.
    As a nation we pretend to strive for education and knowledge so long as it does not get in the way of myth called christianity.
    Fact Not Fiction!

    Let us imagine 4 people in a foxhole, a Jew, a Muslim, a Catholic, and an atheist. Let us also imagine each man is aware his death is imminent. What is the outcome? Suppose we eliminate the foxhole, and place each man on his deathbed, fully aware of the unavoidable finality of death. What would you say?

    (Because the NV Daily limits internet links to one per posting, I will give you my answer in two parts.)

    If the atheist were David Hume, we have an eyewitness chronicle of his deathbed confession, his final atheistic view and decision. I will leave it up to you, dear reader, to learn more about David Hume, over and above his influence on the religious views of the framers of our Constitution, and Thomas Jefferson in particular. This work by Mr. Hume was published 7 times during his lifetime and still stands relevant today.

    After Hume's work was published, it was no longer possible to discuss miracles or the argument from so-called "design" with quite the same confidence as before. In the first passage here, Hume shows the man-made origins of faith and its reliance upon superstition. In the second, he subjects miraculous claims to a commonsense interrogation that reveals their spurious nature.

    Google "The Natural History of Religion, David Hume" and one of the first links will be this:


    It was an axiom among the faithful (and still is in some quarters) that atheists on their deathbeds or in a foxhole would recant and call for a priest. Many false and cynical rumors of this kind were spread by the godly, about Thomas Paine in particular. We are extremely fortunate in having a firsthand account by the greatest of English biographers of David Hume's last hours.

    An Account of my last interview with David Hume, Esq.
    Partly recorded in my Journal, partly enlarged from my memory,
    3 March 1777

    From The Private Papers of James Boswell, edited by Geoffrey Scott and Frederick A. Pottle, volume xii (1931), pp. 227-32


    God loves this man, in spite of himself

    I see the apologists for the pro-religion side of this debate can't seem to come up with one single counter argument to those made by 'thankgodformakingmeanatheist", leaving them sputtering like jive-talking dumb-struck fools.

    Perhaps the explanation must have something to do with things that exist only in ones imagination, like the tooth fairy, cannot be considered real? Lets ask the imaginary bearded man who lives in the sky and grants wishes to speak into the minds of every person on the planet at the exact same time and tell the world once and for all what is the real answer? Forget you speaking to only one special person, usually illiterate and/or ignorant, who has knowledge and communication skills nobody else in the world possesses. Plus, all these keyboard wielding false prophets have a difficult time trying to walk on water or strike a match on a wet bar of soap.

    I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box and I have absolutely no chance of eloquent writing and reasoning equal to "atheist", but I am more than equal to the opposite sides' tactic of ridiculing and demeaning their adversary, so I'll just say what's on my mind the way us red necked country bumpkins talk --

    It appears the loosing side of this debate have been reduced to holding onto their naughty bits and scratching their warm smelly parts.

    Back to the foxhole thing, I would not be praying. I would be calculating a quick end if a valiant effort was doomed. To those who want to throw faint little jabs at TGFMMAA, if you really believe that stuff that the next life is better, stick your head up out of the foxhole and I bet you if your promised land exist, you will find out pretty quick. Or don't wear your seatbelt. Or don't take your medicine. Why such measures to keep living? Because deep down you are not confident? The instinct to survive? I am fairly certain that it will be complete nothingness. I am also certain I am in no hurry to get there but I don't want it to take too long to get there either.

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