I ask you to forgive me in advance for the length of this reply - it is a response to several of your posts on this thread. Rather than replying to each one individually, I decided to answer them in a single post. I've quoted from your previous messages, to make some sense of my reply.
I thought that the emperor was the head of your church? well not anymore since there is no more emperor.
This is true neither in theory, nor according to any canon; Christ is the head of the Orthodox Church, for the Church is His Body.
so what was the role of the emperor in your church? am I allowed to ask this question without being called names?
Besides seeking his own salvation (which is common to everyone), the Emperors were called to be defenders of the Faith, and took an interest in the Church the same way good governments take an interest in the practice of physical (as opposed to spiritual) medicine - work to support good doctors and sound practice, while putting the kibosh on quackery.
His both head of state of Vatican city and as pope temporal head of the church. Buit, Jesus is the Head of the Church
This is true, but there is another part of this, one which is most problematic for Orthodox - according to Catholicism, the Pope and Christ constitute "one head" of the Church. This has the consequence of making his authority not simply a matter of "firstness" or contingent upon his Orthodoxy, but an intrinsic part of the Divine constitution of the Church. This leads to further musings (or in the case of Catholicism, dogmas) such as the supposed "infallibility" of the Pope. In Orthodoxy, there is no such arrogation of authority - this type of authority and "headship" is understood to reside in no man (no matter how senior or respected) save Christ.
Wel,l in the west the emperor and the pope were always battling each other over the emperor meddling in church affairs. guess who won?
While this is popular RC apologetics, this is simply not the case. The history of "caesaro-papism" in the west is one paid precious little attention to by either Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, but it is not a totally unexplored topic. The late Fr.John Romanides wrote a great deal on the influence of the Frankish Emperors upon the Papacy, and Latin Christendom in general. He'd argue (and I'd agree) that the super aggrandized papacy of the middle ages is in large part the product of meddling by Frankish rulers - first as an attempt to assert (at the cost of exageration) the independence of the Popes from the (Frankish) state, later as a tool of imposing the new "Frankish Christianity" both upon westerners, and upon that large part of Christendom ("the East") which lay beyond the political control of the Franks.FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINEDO FORCED REPLACEMENTS OF THEIR ORTHODOX PREDECESSORS HAVE APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION?
Just to be clear (in case your knowledge in this area is minimal), I'm speaking of the germanic "Frankish" Emperors of the west who claimed to rule a "Holy Roman Empire" in the centuries after the collapse of the western portion of the Roman Empire (which many western historians falsely refer to as the "fall of the Roman Empire" - the truth is the Roman Empire existed right up until the 1400's when it's capital was finally conquered by the Turks), not the genuinely Roman Emperors in the succession of Caesar who had long moved their capital to Constantinople.
Well, it was not the emperor Demetri. The filioque started in Spain and there is nothing wrong with the filioque.
Like the error of Papism, filioquism has many sources (and like Papism, some are more innocent/benign than others.) The early source of filioquism (a western phenomenon which works right away against any claim of this teaching being genuinely ecumenical and catholic) is found in a few western Fathers (in particular St.Hillary of Potiers), though it is unclear if they meant by it what later Catholicism would enshrine - in St.Hilary, while an eternal manifestation of the Holy Spirit from the Son is taught, in other places he still differentiates this procession from that which occurs from the Father. Arguably early western filioquism had to do with the less explicit triadology (teaching on the Holy Trinity) of the west, in particular it's lack of specifity in making distinctions between the temporal mission of the Holy Spirit and His eternal procession (one which is very clearly made by the Eastern Fathers who treat this subject.)
The first teacher of full blown filioquism was Augustine of Hippo - his argument for it being one which remains the common apologetic of Catholicism to this day. The problem however with his teaching in this area (and others) is it's uniqueness, both in content and methodology. Augustine reasoned that the Holy Spirit is the mutual love of the Father and the Son, and desired to define just precisely what "procession" was as opposed to "begotteness." This line of thinking would be furthered by the western scholastics, who figured that if the filioque was not true, then there would be nothing to distinguish the Father from the Son.
This rational may seem convincing, but it was implicitly refuted by the Fathers, who basically taught that just what being "begotten" or "proceeding" in the Holy Trinity is something incomprehensable to the human mind - thus we insist they differ, not because we know what each is, but because we've been told as much.
Unfortunately, because Augustine was one of the few Fathers to write exclusively in Latin (and because of the voluminous nature of his work), he eventually became the only Father most western Christians were familiar with (earlier western fathers, and most of the eastern fathers, writing in Greek.) That was a situation created both by trends beyond anyone's control, but also by the new Frankish rulers of the west, who in their desire to be "true Romans" did not take "Romanism" as it was, but as they imagined it to be. Thus, though Greek had always been the common tongue of the Roman Empire (Latin generally being only the language of state and the upper classes - and even this wained in the east) and certainly the language used by the Fathers (as it was also the language of the Scriptures of the Church - both the Septuagint and the New Testament), it was not what the new, self-style Romans of the west were interested in.
Thus, Augustine, and everything Augustinian, was insisted upon in what really ought to be called "Frankish (rather than "Roman") Catholicism." If you read later Latin works, Augustine gets cited in an incredibly disproportionate manner - in the Summa Theologica
the only person cited as often as Augustine is the pagan philosopher Aristotle - other Fathers, including western ones, receive short shrift.
These are the contributing factors which had the most to do with "filioquism" becoming a "dogma" in the minds of Latin Christians. The Spanish angle is another factor, which had to do with shoddy reasoning - the rationale being that filioquism was a way of shoring up the divinity of God the Son against lingering Arianism in the west (to insist that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, was seen as a way of guaranteeing that the Son would be recognized as being very God, of the same nature and essence as His Father.) While it undoubtedly makes it's point, it can only do so at the expense of truth.
why do you think that their is something wrong with it when there are some circles in orthodoxy that no longer see it as a problem. I believe even Bishop Kalisto.
Bp.Kallistos is a scholar and a gentleman, but this wouldn't be the only time he's expressed an opinion (though he tends to do this very cautiously) which has caused a few eyebrows to raise (he apparently regards the issue of female ordination as a subject at least open to discussion.) However, having read some of his thoughts on this topic, I do not think he could be described as someone who subscribes to filioquism - rather he is among those who seems to believe that the subject can be buried under enough qualification so as to make it an admissable opinion
to be held in some hypothetical future re-union of the Papacy to the Orthodox Church. I highly doubt he would subscribe to the filioquism of the Council of Florence, nor would even admit the permissability of this clause being inserted into the Creed should the Latins return to the Orthodox Church.
It also needs to be said that while there are definately men like Bp.Kallistos who are optimistic about the possibility of RC filioquism being essentially buried through a lot of straining and careful qualification, there are others (many!) who are far less optimistic, for the simple reason that even if the "optimists" are onto something that is workable, what those optimists are describing is a gutted, re-worked, "filioquism"; in effect, not what the RCC was dogmatically insisting upon back in it's more triumphalistic days...in which case, you have to ask why such a speculation (which in all likelihood is wrong to begin with, since it goes well beyond what human beings can actually know or what has in truth been revealed to mankind) should be humoured at all? The only reason I can find is to allow the Latins to save face as much as they can in any future re-union. While that's not a completely invalid reason, they would argue (and I'd agree) that the price of such face-saving is far too high and prone to incredible misunderstanding by all parties involved.
there is nothing wrong with the filioque. you guys just don't understand it. read the church fathers.
I understand it just fine - though one really should be speaking of filioques
, since there is a marked difference between what St.Hillary of Potiers taught, what Augustine of Hippo taught, and what the Council of Florence taught. It's arguably a spectrum, but one with important developments nonetheless.
However, always being one willing to be proven wrong, I'm curious which Church Fathers you recommend I should be reading to gain this better, more accurate knowledge you believe you're in possession of.
the history church has been adding from the very beginning. There where things that the 4th and 5th century church believed that the 3rd had no idea of. This has been the nature of the church. I am very sure that you wouldn't call what the church believed in the 5th and 4th century innovations compare to that which was believed in the 3rd and 2nd century. Because if this is the case, then we have all left it behind a long time ago.
This is one of the basic areas (perhaps more basic than any particular, divisive teaching, like Papal infallibility, or the filioque) where Orthodoxy fundamentally differs with Roman Catholicism. While you will probably not agree with what I'm about to say, it's important for you (as someone seeking to understand Orthodox Christianity) to at least know about this difference and appreciate it's consequences.
In Roman Catholicism, theology (words/ideas about God) is treated
as a species of philosophy - what God has revealed about Himself and His will for mankind is treated as a collection of authoratative data, which can be subjected to human genius - resulting in presumably true conclusions...further truths. This is why in Catholicism, you have entire doctrines which have no direct basis in the revelation of God, but are syllogistically drawn from the Christian revelation. Good examples of this would be the particulars of the Papacy, the filioque, indulgences, or limbo (yes, I know this is not a dogma of the RCC, but up until recently it was treated as such - to the point it was a part of all catechesis, whether it was that of children or adult converts). This all points to a conceptual development, an evolution of the Christian faith as a whole...allegedly never betraying the foundations, but certainly growing well beyond them. Thus you have a situation where Catholics believe you can be morally compelled to hold a teaching that not only the early Fathers would have been absolutely unaware of, but may have even said was utter heresy. This also has the consequence of saying, in truth, that Thomas Aquinas or Anslem of Canterbury know and understand the revelation of God better than the Holy Apostles.
In Orthodoxy, doctrinal definitions are viewed as fences (raised out of necessity) to protect the age old understanding - an understanding and way of believing which is apostolic.
While it is true that the Church employed language which doubless would not have rolled readily off the lips of the Holy Apostles (at least not in every case), the conceptual understanding
remains in tact.
For example St.Peter, St.John, and the other Holy Apostles, knew and experienced Christ as being true God, and true man. They knew (both intellectually and experientially) that the glory of the Son is the same as that of the Father and the Holy Spirit. They also knew He was truly a man, tasted our lowliness, felt as we feel, hungered as we hungered, etc.
The Oecumenical Councils defend those integral truths - they add nothing conceptually to the faith of the Apostles, but rather defend it
against the curiosity and vain philosophy of later, and lesser men, who do not
know God as they (the Apostles) did. As should be obvious, there is a link between sanctification/divinization and theologizing (talking about God) - this is why all of the truly great theologians/Fathers, were also (without exception) men of incredible sanctity - they spoke not simply of what they were told, but also of what they experienced first hand.
They wresteled with demons, put sword to the passions, and directly encountered the glory of the Holy Trinity.
This is also why to some extent, all Orthodox Christians (those who are on the path to salvation) are both theologians and mystics - thus the greatness of a theologian (to be remembered as a "Father") is tied to his sanctity.
another reason why I am not orthodox is because it is to foreign for me. I was born a roman catholic and I will die a roman catholic. from what I have seen, the orthodox churches are along national line. being in a greek, russian, romanian church is not for me.
While part of this does point to the real human failings of Orthodox Christians themselves (Orthodox in the west seeing the Church not simply in a spiritual life, but as a repository of ethnic identity...not an entirely bad thing, but certainly not good when it in any way alienates the host culture
in which that Church is actually residing!), a part of this also has to do with the smallness of the Orthodox presence in the west. Churches will become "less Greek" when there are, frankly, less Greeks (percentage wise) in the pews. That is something that will take time.
Of course, Catholicism has not always been free of the "ethnic factor", particularly in America. There was a time when, in most places, Roman Catholicism was heavily identified with immigrant populations - mainly the Irish, Italians, and Hispanics. Most of white, anglo America (which was, and still is the majority) was historically Protestant, thus there was a time that conversion for purely ideological/conviction reasons to Catholicism would have definately involved immersing oneself not only in a very alien religion, but also some amount of immersion (if not conversion to!) in a different culture. This process was in large part aided by the integration of those cultures into the anglo American "mainstream." The passing of generations didn't hurt either (with second and third generation Italian children no longer being fluent in the mother tongue and more familiar with American culture - hence little point in giving sermons only in Italian.)
Given the state of things in western Orthodoxy (given that in most Churches there is still a heavy ethnic element), I think a great deal of humility is called for by prospective converts. The fact is, those peoples (Greeks, Serbs, Russians, etc.) have the truth
- if you believe Orthodox Christianity to be the authentic Christian faith, then that means these weird people, with their funny alphabets and strange accents, have the pearl of great price, where as my own native culture (at best) only has knock offs and counterfeits. That means that me, smug english speaking westerner (who was raised in a civilization that materially has the best of everything, and politically influences and exploits the rest of the world) has something to learn from olive skinned clerics (or big burly Russkies
) speaking broken english and who like to tell stories about the mother country.
Without teaching that one has to "become Russian" or "become Greek" to be really Orthodox
, I would also add that the influence of those cultures upon our own is also a good thing - north American culture (and western culture in general) has not been formed by an Orthodox outlook. To varying degrees, it has been affected by centuries of heresy...some truth, varying amounts of falsehood, and a lot that is just missing
. For all of their faults, the Greeks, Serbs, etc. hail from cultures deeply
affected by the Orthodox faith... to the point that you cannot speak of Hellas, Serbia, or Russia without speaking of Orthodoxy. Just as those first gentile Christians were undoubtedly touched by the semiticism of the Apostles and Hebrew Christian missionaries and built upon this in a natural, organic way, I think the same is going to turn out being the case here, in the Orthodox mission to the heterodox west.