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Author Topic: Eastern Orthodox Christianity  (Read 13319 times)

Chatelaine

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #75 on: April 10, 2017, 06:21:18 pm »
Quote from: Demophon;204801
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, as I think it's obvious from the New Testament, and even texts like the Didache, that the Eucharist, and even the role and nature of the bishops, were something very different before Christianity became the religion of the Empire.


No, not really.

Quote from: Demophon;204801
Bishops were overseers, not high priests,


They still are not high priests. I don't know how RC bishops roll, but the Orthodox bishop's job is almost exclusively administrative - running the diocese, representing it in the synod, that kind of thing. The only liturgical function reserved exclusively for bishops is ordination to lesser orders.

Quote from: Demophon;204801
and there was no concept of apostolic succession


There was, as early as St Ignatius of Antioch, which was well within the apostolic era. And that's only if you don't count St Paul's appeal to his apostolic authority.


Quote from: Demophon;204801
and they laying on of hands to pass on the apostolic magical powers.


What the laying on of hands passes on is legitimacy, official approval, and the responsibilities and accountability of the ordainee's new position. What magical powers did the dean of studies pass on when they handed you your degree?

Quote from: Demophon;204801
The Eucharist was an actual meal of thanksgiving, not consecrated wafers or holy mush in a scoop which a priest has turned into the body of Christ through a magic spell.


The agape meal was an actual meal of thanksgiving and fellowship, but it was not the Eucharist. In the very early days, when the faithful were still few, many laypeople were actually allowed to keep the Eucharist in their homes, in reliquaries that later evolved into the tabernacles of modern churches, and the form was indeed little lumps of consecrated wine-soaked bread called margaritai (pearls).

Quote from: Demophon;204801
The extent to which these things changed suggests a pretty radical shift when Roman emperors started getting involved.


Or some degree of growth in a living religion. Centuries-old trees don't look remotely like the saplings they started as.

Quote from: Demophon;204801
I don't think focusing on the values of the Gospels rather than cultural traditions really constitutes reimagining Christ in one's own image.


Jettisoning Holy Tradition leaves one with only their own understanding to base their interpretation of Scripture on.
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Castus

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #76 on: April 10, 2017, 07:31:39 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;204805
What the laying on of hands passes on is legitimacy, official approval, and the responsibilities and accountability of the ordainee's new position. What magical powers did the dean of studies pass on when they handed you your degree?


Well, that is not the case in Roman Catholic theology; which is probably what Demophon is referring to. Sacramental theology in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are two very different kettles of fish but it isn't unreasonable for someone new to EO to assume that the same principles apply. The Catechism, appropriately enough, explains the Catholic POV:

Today the word "ordination" is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishops, presbyters, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation, delegation, or institution by the community, for it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a "sacred power" (sacra potestas) which can come only from Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is also called consecratio, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. The laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of this ordination.  (CCC 1538)

The principle of "sacred power(s)", and of the rite of ordination making an indelible mark upon the soul similar to that of baptism, is IIRC derived from St Augustine and is a fairly fundamental building block in regards to the Church's understanding of priestly orders. Once you have been ordained a priest, you're always a priest. Even laicisation technically doesn't make you not-a-priest, it just forbids you to validly exercise the powers of the priestly ministry. As far as I am aware this is radically different from the Orthodox understanding of the priesthood; which doesn't have such an... ontological bent to it.
“Castus, meanwhile, goes straight for the bad theology like one of those creepy fish that swims up streams of pee.” — Darkhawk

Demophon

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #77 on: April 10, 2017, 10:39:58 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;204805
They still are not high priests. I don't know how RC bishops roll, but the Orthodox bishop's job is almost exclusively administrative - running the diocese, representing it in the synod, that kind of thing. The only liturgical function reserved exclusively for bishops is ordination to lesser orders.

There was, as early as St Ignatius of Antioch, which was well within the apostolic era. And that's only if you don't count St Paul's appeal to his apostolic authority.

What the laying on of hands passes on is legitimacy, official approval, and the responsibilities and accountability of the ordainee's new position. What magical powers did the dean of studies pass on when they handed you your degree?

The agape meal was an actual meal of thanksgiving and fellowship, but it was not the Eucharist. In the very early days, when the faithful were still few, many laypeople were actually allowed to keep the Eucharist in their homes, in reliquaries that later evolved into the tabernacles of modern churches, and the form was indeed little lumps of consecrated wine-soaked bread called margaritai (pearls).

Or some degree of growth in a living religion. Centuries-old trees don't look remotely like the saplings they started as.

Jettisoning Holy Tradition leaves one with only their own understanding to base their interpretation of Scripture on.


You make some valid points, and on some issues we probably won't ever agree. I still think Eastern Orthodox Christianity is an extremely beautiful and deeply spiritual tradition, but I don't think it's compatible with me, at least not at this time. I'm open for that to change if I'm led in that direction, but for now I'm the most comfortable in post Vatican II Roman Catholicism, even if the liturgy is the pits. I'm super jealous of the ancient beauty of Orthodox liturgy, as well as the icons, incense, and chant.

Quote from: Castus;204809
Well, that is not the case in Roman Catholic theology; which is probably what Demophon is referring to. Sacramental theology in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are two very different kettles of fish but it isn't unreasonable for someone new to EO to assume that the same principles apply.

 
Thanks, you really know your Catholicism. I guess since the Catholic Church views the Eastern Orthodox Church as sharing the same sacraments, I assumed there was more common ground in their sacramental theology than there actually is.

Chatelaine

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #78 on: April 12, 2017, 10:29:03 am »
Quote from: Demophon;204812
You make some valid points, and on some issues we probably won't ever agree. I still think Eastern Orthodox Christianity is an extremely beautiful and deeply spiritual tradition, but I don't think it's compatible with me, at least not at this time. I'm open for that to change if I'm led in that direction, but for now I'm the most comfortable in post Vatican II Roman Catholicism, even if the liturgy is the pits. I'm super jealous of the ancient beauty of Orthodox liturgy, as well as the icons, incense, and chant.


No worries. Orthodoxy is a challenge, and not everyone is ready to take it on. Aesthetics are a big lure, but those who can't connect with the levels beneath the aesthetics won't stay long.

Quote from: Demophon;204812
Thanks, you really know your Catholicism. I guess since the Catholic Church views the Eastern Orthodox Church as sharing the same sacraments, I assumed there was more common ground in their sacramental theology than there actually is.


Welcome to the frustration of hearing Orthodoxy summed up as 'basically, like Catholicism without a pope' and having no concise way of explaining to people why that phrase falls so very far from the mark.
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Demophon

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #79 on: April 12, 2017, 04:04:54 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;204864
No worries. Orthodoxy is a challenge, and not everyone is ready to take it on. Aesthetics are a big lure, but those who can't connect with the levels beneath the aesthetics won't stay long.


There's an authenticity to it that's hard to find even (or, especially) in Rome. This was my first Lent as a Roman Catholic, and I found the Lenten disciplines in my Catholic communities to be lacking. Giving up something silly like chocolate or Facebook while still living normally otherwise doesn't really make a big difference. The only thing the Catholic Church really pushes (but not that strictly) is fasting from meat on Fridays during Lent, which people are supposed to do all year round anyway. It's good that Orthodox Christians basically go vegan during Lent, rather than just eating fish on Fridays and giving up chocolate. Maybe I'll try that next year. Even the Anglicans I know are better at keeping a holy Lent, though I shouldn't say "even" Anglicans, as the high church variety are much more serious about tradition than run of the mill Roman Catholics.

Quote from: Chatelaine;204864
Welcome to the frustration of hearing Orthodoxy summed up as 'basically, like Catholicism without a pope' and having no concise way of explaining to people why that phrase falls so very far from the mark.


Yeah, I'm sure that gets annoying, especially in a culture that is predominantly Protestant, and automatically views things like incense and veneration of saints as "Catholic." Maybe over the summer I'll read a bit more deeply about Orthodoxy, as I've mostly just read very general introductory material, and watched Youtube videos that don't explain anything that advanced. From what little I know about Orthodox theology, it makes a lot more sense than western theology. There's no concept of Original Sin, and salvation is more of a process of working towards holiness, etc.

I am biased against traditions that don't really include homosexuality as part of their worldview, at least, not in a positive way. As priest I know says, the Christian Church likes to talk about a lot of things it doesn't know much about, and sex is one of those things. However, I realize that's a personal bias. I'm not keen when some denominations go too far to the other extreme, such as how the Anglican diocese here has just consecrated three new bishops, two of which are women, and one is a partnered homosexual man. All that is fine, but I've seen posts on Facebook about the new gay bishop wearing rainbow vestments and flamboyant purple shoes, and I think it's in bad taste. As another queer person, I respect that the LGBT community wants to celebrate when one of our own reaches a position like that in an institution where we have traditionally been marginalized, but the all of the holy orders are ministries of service, and it's not supposed to be all about the priest or bishop and their identity. I still think Anglicanism is a beautiful tradition when it's done well, but the broad nature of it makes it so susceptible to being co-opted into whatever people want it to be.

Chatelaine

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #80 on: April 12, 2017, 06:15:30 pm »
Quote from: Demophon;204870
Yeah, I'm sure that gets annoying, especially in a culture that is predominantly Protestant, and automatically views things like incense and veneration of saints as "Catholic."


Honestly, it gets 'Do pagans worship the devil?' annoying, and the debunking isn't nearly as short. There's no way to summarise a millennium of going separate ways in a couple of sentences.

Quote from: Demophon;204870
Maybe over the summer I'll read a bit more deeply about Orthodoxy, as I've mostly just read very general introductory material, and watched Youtube videos that don't explain anything that advanced. From what little I know about Orthodox theology, it makes a lot more sense than western theology. There's no concept of Original Sin, and salvation is more of a process of working towards holiness, etc.


Fr. Thomas Hopko's The Orthodox Church is the closest we've ever had to an official catechism through sheer popularity, and you can read it all here: https://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith

If you work well with short videos, I recommend Theoria. All of Fr. Damick's work is excellent, but the particular series is especially good at cutting big issues down to bite-size chunks.
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Demophon

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #81 on: April 17, 2017, 10:11:29 am »
Quote from: Chatelaine;204875
Honestly, it gets 'Do pagans worship the devil?' annoying, and the debunking isn't nearly as short. There's no way to summarise a millennium of going separate ways in a couple of sentences.


Yeah, and the Uniate churches probably don't help much, as they're still very Orthodox except they're in communion with the Pope. They give the impression that the sole source of division is where they view authority.

It also seems like it's very different on the western/Catholic side, as Catholics allow Orthhodox Christians to receive communion in Catholic churches, and view Orthodox sacraments as valid, while I get the sense that Orthodoxy views the Latin Church the same way Catholics would view Anglicans or Protestants, as being defective.

Chatelaine

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #82 on: April 17, 2017, 01:53:02 pm »
Quote from: Demophon;205004
It also seems like it's very different on the western/Catholic side, as Catholics allow Orthhodox Christians to receive communion in Catholic churches, and view Orthodox sacraments as valid, while I get the sense that Orthodoxy views the Latin Church the same way Catholics would view Anglicans or Protestants, as being defective.

The barrier is not equally permeable from both sides, or regarding all sacraments. Since the attitude of the Orthodox Church towards its issues is pastoral, rather than dogmatic (no Magisterium to set things down in black and white once and for all), it operates according to the principles of akriveia (strictness) and ekonomia (indulgence), as necessary. So, by ekonomia, baptism and chrismation are considered valid; Catholics, whether Latin or Byzantine, are generally received through confession of faith, unless they come from vagante sects. Marriage to Catholics is also allowed, but if it takes place in the Catholic rite, the Orthodox spouse is no longer in good standing; I assume something similar applies on the other side. Confession and Communion, however, are under akriveia, open only to members of Churches in full communion with Eastern Orthodoxy - which means the Orientals are out as well. There have been occasional relaxations of the rule, in extraordinary circumstances and by explicit permission, but 99% of the time, a priest who knowingly communes the heterodox will be defrocked and a layperson who receives communion in a heterodox church will be considered in apostasy.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 01:53:42 pm by Chatelaine »
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Demophon

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #83 on: April 19, 2017, 10:47:19 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;205014
The barrier is not equally permeable from both sides, or regarding all sacraments. Since the attitude of the Orthodox Church towards its issues is pastoral, rather than dogmatic (no Magisterium to set things down in black and white once and for all), it operates according to the principles of akriveia (strictness) and ekonomia (indulgence), as necessary. So, by ekonomia, baptism and chrismation are considered valid; Catholics, whether Latin or Byzantine, are generally received through confession of faith, unless they come from vagante sects. Marriage to Catholics is also allowed, but if it takes place in the Catholic rite, the Orthodox spouse is no longer in good standing; I assume something similar applies on the other side. Confession and Communion, however, are under akriveia, open only to members of Churches in full communion with Eastern Orthodoxy - which means the Orientals are out as well. There have been occasional relaxations of the rule, in extraordinary circumstances and by explicit permission, but 99% of the time, a priest who knowingly communes the heterodox will be defrocked and a layperson who receives communion in a heterodox church will be considered in apostasy.


Oh okay, I guess there are some similarities. I figured the Orthodox Church would accept baptism according to the Trinitarian formula as valid, but it's good to know they view Catholic chrismation/confirmation as valid, also. My parish received a few Orthodox-initiated people this past weekend at the Easter Vigil, and their reception was the same, they made a profession of faith and then the priest verbally received them into the Catholic Church (although I think they are automatically received into their equivalent Eastern Catholic rite rather than the Latin rite, even if they were received through a Latin rite parish).

In theory I like the concept of being more pastoral rather than focused on the teaching of the Magisterium. I think Vatican II oriented the Roman Catholic Church to have a more pastoral focus, and even the 1983 Code of Canon Law has a more pastoral approach, even if Canon Law in itself is pretty litigious. I don't personally have a lot of experience with Orthodox communities, so I can't comment specifically on their pastoral practice. I think I've mentioned before that I've met quite a few ex-Orthodox homosexuals who are now Catholic through a Catholic LGBT group at a Jesuit parish. I also came across an Orthodox podcast where they interview an ex-feminist convert to Orthodoxy on all the evils of feminism and the threat it poses to our culture, so there are definitely occasions when Orthodoxy still seems rather rigid despite what they say about being pastoral.

This discussion has renewed my interest in visiting an Orthodox parish for a liturgy, so hopefully I'll be able to investigate and get some first-hand experience of how Orthodox communities work. I just have to find a liturgy at a convenient time, which is the trickiest part.

Chatelaine

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #84 on: April 20, 2017, 05:46:46 am »
Quote from: Demophon;205197
I don't personally have a lot of experience with Orthodox communities, so I can't comment specifically on their pastoral practice. I think I've mentioned before that I've met quite a few ex-Orthodox homosexuals who are now Catholic through a Catholic LGBT group at a Jesuit parish. I also came across an Orthodox podcast where they interview an ex-feminist convert to Orthodoxy on all the evils of feminism and the threat it poses to our culture, so there are definitely occasions when Orthodoxy still seems rather rigid despite what they say about being pastoral.


I'm given to understand that the problem is a lot more pronounced in the Americas than in the Old World. The prevalent demographic of American Orthodox communities, for a century now, has been immigrants fleeing an exceedingly repressive society and landing into an exceedingly permissive one. Small wonder they would cling to the values they brought with them and refuse to assimilate. Even smaller wonder that subsequent generations, who don't deal with such culture shock, would clash with the strict traditionalists and, as often as not, leave the Church.

It is true that the Orthodox Church rejects elements that seem to be key to the feminist movement, like abortion and homosexuality, so it appears excessively rigid because those are the elements that get the most press these days. It's all in the media. It's not helping that Russia still has so much communist baggage to get rid of. For 70 years, the Church was the antidote to the Party, and now it is being co-opted by the new rising totalitarianism. No wonder the people are getting polarised and can be led to think that it's either the Church or feminism, and never the twain shall meet.

Quote from: Demophon;205197
This discussion has renewed my interest in visiting an Orthodox parish for a liturgy, so hopefully I'll be able to investigate and get some first-hand experience of how Orthodox communities work. I just have to find a liturgy at a convenient time, which is the trickiest part.


The Agape Vespers on Easter Sunday would have been ideal. Since you missed that, any Sunday will do. Until Ascension, DL is going to be particularly festive in character. If there's a St George nearby, see if you can make it this weekend and hopefully catch a procession or akathist into the bargain.
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Demophon

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #85 on: April 20, 2017, 09:38:27 am »
Quote from: Chatelaine;205209
I'm given to understand that the problem is a lot more pronounced in the Americas than in the Old World.


That's probably true.

Quote from: Chatelaine;205209
The Agape Vespers on Easter Sunday would have been ideal. Since you missed that, any Sunday will do. Until Ascension, DL is going to be particularly festive in character. If there's a St George nearby, see if you can make it this weekend and hopefully catch a procession or akathist into the bargain.

 
Oh yeah, liturgies in my own parish and family obligations got in the way of that. The Greek Orthodox cathedral in town does liturgies throughout the week, they're just at 9am which is early for me on a day off lol. Tonight there's a "Great Vespers of the Life-Giving Font of the Theotokos", which I would love to go to, but I have a meeting with the RCIA group I help with to reflect on the Triduum with this year's crop of the newly received. Maybe I'll pull myself together Friday morning for Matins & Divine Liturgy for the actual Feast of the Life-Giving Font.

There is a St George nearby, which I follow on Facebook and saw a post about their patronal feast day this weekend. That would be fun to go to, although it's hard to escape the clutches of my own parish on a Sunday morning, since I'm a sacristan and it's a busy time of year. We'll see how it goes.

Chatelaine

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #86 on: April 20, 2017, 11:47:33 am »
Quote from: Demophon;205224
That's probably true.
There is a St George nearby, which I follow on Facebook and saw a post about their patronal feast day this weekend. That would be fun to go to, although it's hard to escape the clutches of my own parish on a Sunday morning, since I'm a sacristan and it's a busy time of year. We'll see how it goes.


They should have Great Vespers the night before. All Vespers are peacefully enjoyable, ideal for new inquirers who might not know how to handle a bigger ceremony, but festal Vespers are much bigger affairs, both festive and well attended. There may or may not be a procession, but it can be more fun than DL on the feast day itself.

Fun visitor primer: http://www.antiochian.org/content/first-visit-orthodox-church-twelve-things-i-wish-id-known
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Demophon

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #87 on: April 20, 2017, 11:55:23 am »
Quote from: Chatelaine;205236
They should have Great Vespers the night before. All Vespers are peacefully enjoyable, ideal for new inquirers who might not know how to handle a bigger ceremony, but festal Vespers are much bigger affairs, both festive and well attended. There may or may not be a procession, but it can be more fun than DL on the feast day itself.

Fun visitor primer: http://www.antiochian.org/content/first-visit-orthodox-church-twelve-things-i-wish-id-known

 
I work Saturday nights, sadly. Starting in May I won't work weekends anymore, but I'll miss out on Saturday Vespers until then.

Thanks for the primer!

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #88 on: April 23, 2017, 11:05:49 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;205236
...

Question: are there any Orthodox prayer books you would recommend? I find I learn a lot about a religion by learning what hey pray, and I like to collect these kids of things. My grandmother gave me my grandfather's old Anglo-Catholic prayer book when I was starting to become interested in church, and I swear I learned more from that prayer book than any other book, or even from going to church itself.

I was surfing Amazon, and the "Jordanville" Prayer Book seems like highly recommended bestseller, but one of the perks of working in a theological library is that I can snoop through these kinds of books before committing to buying them, and that one didn't really appeal to me. There was one called "A Prayer Book For Orthodox Christians" which I was looking through, and I thought it was wonderful and comprehensive. There was another one with prayers in both English and Greek side by side, which is also something I love, but it was only available used and rather expensive.

I like prayer books that also contain basic rules and instructions on Church teaching and devotional practice, which was a plus for the "Jordanville" Prayer Book, but not so much for the Prayer Book For Orthodox Christians, though the latter had a more complete selection of prayers and services like Matins, Vespers, Compline, and the Divine Liturgy. Any others you have in mind?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 11:07:08 pm by Demophon »

Chatelaine

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Re: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
« Reply #89 on: April 24, 2017, 05:10:33 am »
Quote from: Demophon;205436
Question: are there any Orthodox prayer books you would recommend?


The Jordanville and the Holy Transfiguration books are pretty much the flagships. They follow Slavonic and Greek usage, respectively, which influences buyers. I wouldn't really recommend either for you. They're both considerable investments, both in money and commitment, that had better wait until there is an actual commitment to the prayer rule.

You can find comparisons and reviews of what's currently on the market here. It's not a new page, so some of the books mentioned have revised editions available. I've heard good stuff about the Publican's PB and the St Tikhon, and also about the Old Orthodox Prayer Book, which is not included on the list. There is also this, for something basic. I'm a fan of the Little Red Book, myself, as the translations jive with the ones used in church.
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* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall