My Struggle with the Eastern Orthodox Church

Look, you're going to have to deal with the fact that in the hagiography of the Church there are things in the stories that technically didn't happen, at least not exactly as told, but that doesn't negate the reality that the saint worked wonders. Hagiography is not primarily biography, it's meant to be spiritually instructional through the telling of the life of a person. Sometimes, like with St George and the dragon, things are added in to make a point. You will have to deal with that issue, the very issue you're so upset about right now. Poetic and hyperbolic expression are key elements of Orthodox language and understanding.

I'm sorry no one just demanded you believe it all. The hope is that even if you have a hard time with miracles you'll still come and worship and be a part of the life of the Church anyways, and come to an organic understanding that way. No one would dare force you to just accept everything, and heaven forbid someone is forthcoming with you about the reality of how the lives of the Saints have been communicated when you bring up such skepticism.

Knowing that legend makes it's way into hagiography is not a problem, and if it's a great feast the miracles are absolutely taken at face value. In fact, spending time in the church and getting familiar with the lives of the saints bolsters the belief in miracles, and makes it apparent that there is really very little we doubt is "technically" true in the lives of the Saints. No body explains miracles away. We accept miracles, even of the strangest kind, but we would be wrong to just lie to you and say that everything is exactly as it is written in every case ever. Thats just not true. But, as Alethia mentioned in another post here, how the lives of the saints are written comes from an entirely different intellectual and spiritual tradition than we are usually familiar with, and we would do well to just take the story in and call miracles miracles, leaving the textual criticism aside, but not demanding that people just learning the faith just blindly accept everything without being honest regarding their concerns.

Come back to Church. Get out of your head a little. But, understand that no one is going to require you do believe every detail about a saint's life, but if the Church Celebrates it, it's been confirmed by the Spirit that truth and life is found in it and in the telling of it and thats what is believed over and beyond anything else. Miracles do happen and we all obviously believe that. We can't make you do that though.

/r/OrthodoxChristianity Thread Parent