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Author Topic: Papal Infallibility vs Ecumenical Councils  (Read 21321 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: January 18, 2007, 11:55:23 AM »

Here we see no denial or attack on the Pope's authority either to confirm the acts, which contrarily Anatolius seems to recognize entirely, but instead are faced with what seems an apology about the entire canon itself.  He also seems to describe that canon as a bid for power by the local clergy, which sounds a lot like how some people actually want to see Rome's attitude.  But, in any case, it is clear that Constantinople herself had no qualms with the methods of "Old Rome" and so why should we? 

Not that I really want to enter the debate, but one quote from one appeaser in a time when the canonical reordering was fresh in the Church doesn't amount to much.  ISTM that he's just hedging his bets, placing himself in the good graces of Old Rome in case a reversal happened (which was possible if the Emperor decided to shift his influence.)
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« Reply #91 on: January 18, 2007, 12:56:15 PM »

Not that I really want to enter the debate, but one quote from one appeaser in a time when the canonical reordering was fresh in the Church doesn't amount to much.  ISTM that he's just hedging his bets, placing himself in the good graces of Old Rome in case a reversal happened (which was possible if the Emperor decided to shift his influence.)

Yes, I can actually accept that this may be possible, though it is certainly very speculative.  I also think it doesn't fairly consider all the facts.  Looking at some of what was posted above what is ultimately being suggested is that the senior Patriarch of the universal Church, with the very Empire at his back, is attempting to appease the bishop in a 'provincial backwater.'  Is that really very likely?

I think it is worth noticing that when the Pope says he has this or that authority he is just grabbing power.  And when others recognize his authority they are either exceptions who are in error, or they are appeasing him.  But, when the Emperor, who ruled the entire world and basically held many lives in his hand said he had an authority it is because he had it.  And when the bishops, all of whom he could exile or have executed if he so desired, seem to recognize his authority it is because they are expressing the 'sensum fidelium.'  Why is that?

In my opinion, and it is opinion I will readily admit, a much more likely interpretation in the opposite.  It is not at all surprising that at times the Emperor pretended to more authority in religious matters than he really had, and it is equally unsurprising that often those subject to that power were unwilling to disagree.  It is certainly much less likely that these people would have shown such deference to the bishop in Rome, who was so remote and so powerless by comparison.

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« Reply #92 on: January 18, 2007, 06:53:30 PM »

Justinian also referred to Rome as the "Apostolic See," as seen in a letter he wrote to Pope John II included in his Corpus Juris Civilis.

And Chrysostom refers to Constantinople as 'the city of the Apostles' as well...so what's your point? (PG LVI, 246...if you need a reference)
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« Reply #93 on: January 18, 2007, 08:17:35 PM »

Even the rejected Chalcedonian Canon did not "offer the Old Capital equality with the New Capital".

Yes it did, didn't you read the interpretation of Balsamon? Oh, and before you scoff at Balsamon again, do understand that in the Orthodox Church his interpretations are held in a reverence equal to the canons of the Oecumenical Synods themselves...to attempt to simply dismiss the opinions of Balsamon in a discussion about Orthodox Canon Law is to invite ridicule of your position and a dismissed as ridiculous, no matter how sound your position. If you wish to debate the east in matters of canon law I recommend you learn more about the discipline...even a learning about the latin discipline of Canon Law in the 19th Century would probably suffice...though the significance of Roman Law in ours makes it a bit more complex (mind you, many elements of Roman Law are in Latin canon law as well...though you all are generally unwilling to admit as much).

Also to present the opinions of Zonaras, which are held in equal esteem to those of Balsamon, 'THe hundred and fifty Fathers of the Council of Constantinople have awarded to the Bishop of New Rome preogatives equal to those of the Bishop of Old Rome.'

Likewise, the Nomocanons of Photius states, 'The canonical disputes arising throughout Illyricum must not be cut off from the judgement of th eArchbishop of Constantinople and his synod, which has the perogative of Old Rome.'

And also the fathers of the Sixth Oecumenical Synod proclaimed, 'The Bishop of Constantionple enjoys perogatives equal to those of the Bishop of Old Rome.'

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No, I should really like to see them.

Fine, have it your way, I shall let this argument degrade into pointless proof texting...here's to the end of what minimal valid academic work has been thus far presented Roll Eyes

'You, the great city, the first after the first [Rome], immediately after, or maybe it is not even necessary to make this restriction.' -- St. Gregory of Nazianzus, 380

'Is it the city of the Apostles which does these things, the city which received so great an expounder of the faith' -- St. John Chrysostom, in reference to the Imperial City of New Rome

Theodoret refering to the Patriarch of Constantinople says, 'He was entrusted with the presidency of the Catholic Curch of the Orthodox who are in Constantinople, and no less of the whole oecumene.'

'If any Clergyman has a dispute with another, let him not leave his own Bishop and resort to secular courts, but let him first submit his case to his own Bishop, or let it be tried by referees chosen by both parties and approved by the Bishop. Let anyone who acts contrary hereto be liable to Canonical penalties. If, on the other hand, a Clergyman has a dispute with his own Bishop, or with some other Bishop, let it be tried by the Synod of the province. But if any Bishop or Clergyman has a dispute with the Metropolitan of the same province, let him apply either to the Exarch of the diocese or to the throne of the imperial capital Constantinople, and let it be tried before him.' -- 9th Canon of Chalcedon (establishing Constantinople as the ultimate see of appeal)

'As touching rural parishes, or country parishes, in any province, they shall remain in the undisputed possession of the bishops now holding them, and especially if they have held them in their possession and have managed them without coercion for thirty years or more. But if during a period of thirty years there has arisen or should arise some dispute concerning them, those claiming to have been unjustly treated shall be permitted to complain to the Synod of the province. But if anyone has been unjustly treated by his own Metropolitan, let him complain to the Exarch of the diocese, or let him have his case tried before the throne of Constantinople, according as he may choose. If, on the other hand, any city has been rebuilt by imperial authority, or has been built anew again, pursuant to civil and public formalities, let the order of the ecclesiastical parishes be followed.' -- 17th Canon of Chalcedon (reinforcing Constantinople's posistion as the ultimate see of appeal)

'The throne of Constantinople, honoured by the imperial office, was designated first by conciliar decisions; the divine laws which succeeded these decisions decree that disputes occuring in the jurisdictional areas of other thrones should be referred to the judgement and verdict of that throne.' Third titulus of the Epanagoge of the Law

'Go to Byzantium and you will see the new Jerusalem, Constantinople.' -- Life of St. Daniel the Stylite, 10

'New Jerusalem was built at the very Testimony to the Saviour, facing the famous Jerusalem of old, which after the bloody murder of the Lord had been overthrown in utter devastation, and paid the penalty of its wicked inhabitants. Opposite this then the Emperor erected the victory of the Saviour over death with rich and abundant munificence, this being perhaps that fresh new Jerusalem proclaimed in prophetic oracles, about which long speeches recite innumerable praises as they utter words of divine inspiration.' -- Eusebius

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Rome's commemoration of the accession of Constantinopolitan Patriarchs is in no way equivalent to an endorsement of all those Patriarchs' subsequent abuses of power.  I would think that obvious, especially given what I have cited of Popes Ss. Leo & Gregory Dialogist.

The statements were obviously mere rhetoric and propaganda, as I said before no substantial action was taken by Rome...communion was not broken. If Rome didn't take their rhetoric seriously enough to back it up with substantial actions, why should I take their propaganda seriously?

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Are you familiar with the Arian crisis?  Constantinople 55 years out of Communion.
Acacian schism?  35 years.
Monotheletism. 41 years.
Iconoclasm.  61 years.

Ummm, I know Rome didn't break communion with Constantinople for 55 years during the Arian controversy; so considering the blatant falsehood of your first statistic, I am bound to dismiss the numbering of the rest. Yes, there were some patriarchs of Constantinople who were heretics, there were also some Emperors who were heretics, as there were popes of Rome who were heretics. Of course it is Rome who, for half the existance of the Church, has remained outside the Same.
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« Reply #94 on: January 19, 2007, 12:55:14 AM »

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Even the rejected Chalcedonian Canon did not "offer the Old Capital equality with the New Capital".

Yes it did, didn't you read the interpretation of Balsamon? Oh, and before you scoff at Balsamon again, do understand that in the Orthodox Church his interpretations are held in a reverence equal to the canons of the Oecumenical Synods themselves...to attempt to simply dismiss the opinions of Balsamon in a discussion about Orthodox Canon Law is to invite ridicule of your position and a dismissed as ridiculous, no matter how sound your position.


One ought not to argue by assuming contested premises as you here have done.  The degree to which the Orthodox revere Balsamon is irrelevant in this polemical context which context consists in a discussion of the writings of the Holy Fathers of the early centuries. 

My 'attempt to simply dismiss the opinions of Balsamon in a discussion about Orthodox Canon Law" at least ought not "invite ridicule" given the aforementioned parameters.  This debate concerns the form in which Orthodox Canon law consisted in the first centuries and in the minds of the Holy Fathers whom we both revere (or at least whom I revere - given your condescending statements towards sainted pontiffs I am unsure whether I can make the same affirmation in your regard).  It does not concern the form it took in the mind & writings of a controversial 12th Century Canonist.

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And also the fathers of the Sixth Oecumenical Synod proclaimed, 'The Bishop of Constantionple enjoys perogatives equal to those of the Bishop of Old Rome.'

Where?

You are aware that the Quinisext council was never accepted as Oecumenical in the West, and therefore falls outside the established parameters of this debate?

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Fine, have it your way, I shall let this argument degrade into pointless proof texting...here's to the end of what minimal valid academic work has been thus far presented

This is what you had said earlier:

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The Empire, ever concerned with it's history and tradition (for example, until the fall of the Empire, and even afterwards in the Court of the Oecumenical Throne, it was not uncommon to see arguments based on the Twelve Tables) offered her Old Capital equality with the New Capital, yet Old Rome, ever greedy for power resisted;

Ironically, the St. Gregory Theologian quote explicitly contradicts your thesis, in that he calls Constantinople "the first after the first".

St. John Chrysostom nowhere mentions the Imperial See's equality with Rome.

As for the Theodoret, I would be interested in knowing its source.  I admit to having never come across that saying of his. However, given statements of his such as these:

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"I therefore beseech your holiness to persuade the most holy and blessed bishop (Pope Leo) to use his Apostolic power, and to order me to hasten to your Council. For that most holy throne (Rome) has the sovereignty over the churches throughout the universe on many grounds."
(Tom. iv. Epist. cxvi. Renato, p. 1197).

"If Paul, the herald of the truth, the trumpet of the Holy Spirit, hastened to the great Peter, to convey from him the solution to those in Antioch, who were at issue about living under the law, how much more do we, poor and humble, run to the Apostolic Throne (Rome) to receive from you (Pope Leo) healing for wounds of the the Churches. For it pertains to you to have primacy in all things; for your throne is adorned with many prerogatives. ... Your city has the fullest abundance of good things from the giver of all good. ... But her chief decoration is her faith, to which the divine apostle is a sure witness when he exclaims "Your faith is proclaimed in all the world"; and if, immediately after receiving the seeds of the saving gospel, she bore such a weight of wondrous fruit, what words are sufficient to express the piety which is now found in her? She has, too, the tombs of our common fathers and teachers of the truth, Peter and Paul, to enlighten the souls of the faithful. And this blessed and divine pair arose indeed in the East, and shed its rays in all directions, but voluntarily underwent the sunset of life in the West, from whence now they light up the whole world. These have rendered your see so glorious: this the height of your good things. For their God has made their see bright, since he has settled your holiness in it to send forth the rays of the true faith."
(Ibid, Epistle Leoni)

"...Twenty-six years I have been a bishop; I have undergone countless labours; I have struggled hard for the truth; I have freed tens of thousands of heretics and brought them to the Saviour, and now they have stripped me of my priesthood, and are exiling me from the city. ... Wherefore I beseech your sanctity to persuade the very sacred and holy Archbishop Leo to bid me hasten to your council. For that holy see has precedence of all churches in the world, for many reasons; and above all for this, that it is free from all taint of heresy, and that no bishop of false opinions has ever sat upon its throne, but it has kept the grace of the apostles undefiled."
(Ep. 116, to Renatus the presbyter. A.D. 449. [P.G. 83. 1324; P.N.F. 3. 295B.])

"For as I", he says [quoting Luke 22. 31,32 -- EBB], "did not despise thee when tossed, so be thou a support to thy brethren in trouble, and the help by which thou wast saved do thou thyself impart to others, and exhort them not while they are tottering, but raise them up in their peril. For this reason I suffer thee also to slip, but do not permit thee to fail, [thus] through thee gaining steadfastness for those who are tossed." So this great pillar supported the tossing and sinking world, and permitted it not to fall entirely and gave it back stability, having been ordered to feed God's sheep."
(Oratio de Caritate. [P.G. 82. 1509.])
The Life of St. Daniel Stylite does not accord Constantinople ecclesiastical equality with Old Rome.

Neither does Eusebius.

Even the Byzantines at Chalcedon never attempted to accord Constantinople equality with Rome, as evinced by its 28th Canon which says New Rome "should be second after her [Old Rome]"  "Second after" does not equal the "equality" which you claim the Empire offered.

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I am bound to dismiss the numbering of the rest.

Are you really denying that Constantinople was cut off from Roman Communion for 35 years during the Acacian schism?
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« Reply #95 on: January 19, 2007, 01:07:17 AM »

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If you had done any research on the Orthodox position, you would know that the East has never accepted the so-called Decretium Gelasianum regarding primacy.  GIC is basically correct in his assessment of the Eastern position.
 

Of what relevance here is the Decretium Gelasianum?

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Literally hundreds of sees in the East can legitimately argue that they are of apostolic foundation.  It's nice that Rome can claim to have been founded by an apostle,


This is obviously not the sense in which the Popes of Rome and Fathers of the East have referred to Rome as "the Apostolic See".

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but we have several of our own "Apostolic Sees" here in the East, thank you, while the West has one.

I was aware of that.  Thank you. 

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You should really learn more about Orthodox approaches to ecclesiology before making posts like the ones you have made.

I am spending time on this forum for the very purpose of "learning more about Orthodox approaches to ecclesiology," and so far it has proved an enlightening experience.  It has, for instance, revealed to me the extent to which Caesaropapism still holds sway amongst defenders of at least one of the "Orthodox approaches to ecclesiology" you mention.   

This all said, it has been my attempt to bring to bear the witness of the ancient Bishops of the See of St. Peter.  If that voice is inconsistent with "Orthodox approaches to ecclesiology," then I think that is something which should reasonably be discussed. 

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I tell you these things not to shame or insult you, but to remind you of where you are posting, and for you to remember that the whole world does not share Rome's points of reference. 


Believe me, I understand this.  I am simply trying to show from the ground we hold in common, namely (and not limited to) the sainted Pontiffs of Old Rome, what it is I hold as evidence for the patristic vindication of my ecclesial perspective.   

Goodnight all.
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« Reply #96 on: January 19, 2007, 09:24:22 AM »

One ought not to argue by assuming contested premises as you here have done.  The degree to which the Orthodox revere Balsamon is irrelevant in this polemical context which context consists in a discussion of the writings of the Holy Fathers of the early centuries. 

Of what relevance is their opinions? They are private opinions not binding legal documents. You may not accept my sources as relevant, but I have a similar view of yours. Many people said many things, none of which amounts to binding dogma or discipline. I have thus far presented relevent legal documents from Synods and Imperial Legislation and relevant interpretations by well respected and well qualified canonists and lawyers...and what have you responded with? Private opinion...

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My 'attempt to simply dismiss the opinions of Balsamon in a discussion about Orthodox Canon Law" at least ought not "invite ridicule" given the aforementioned parameters.

Ah, but it does invite ridicule as they amount to nothing more than ad hominem attacks, for the opinions of Balsamon are not innovations of the 12th century, rather are commentary on ancient law. Rather than address those laws you prefer to try to proof text by quoting private opinions of various individuals, none of which have any canonically or legally binding authority.

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This debate concerns the form in which Orthodox Canon law consisted in the first centuries and in the minds of the Holy Fathers whom we both revere.

Private opinion is irrelevant, especially considering most of it was given for political reasons, and that actions rarely lined up with words. Of greater significance than what individuals said is what they actually did, this demonstrates the true significance and leadership of Constantinople in the life of the Church from the time of Nicea and especially following Chalcedon. Of course, even these historical actions are of limited value in debate, for the legal system of the Church is based on civil, not common, law...precedent cannot establish legality. Ultimately, the only things of relevance are codified laws of either synodal or imperial promulgation, and as secondary sources, legal commentaries on said laws.

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You are aware that the Quinisext council was never accepted as Oecumenical in the West, and therefore falls outside the established parameters of this debate?

It was summoned by an Emperor and ratified as part of the sixth oecumenical synod by Nicea II...the synod is Oecumenical and a rejection of it by the west simply places the west outside the communion of the Church which accepted the synod as such at the Seventh Oecumenical Synod.

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Ironically, the St. Gregory Theologian quote explicitly contradicts your thesis, in that he calls Constantinople "the first after the first".

As a formality, the dismisses the necessity for that qualification in the next breath.

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St. John Chrysostom nowhere mentions the Imperial See's equality with Rome.

That wasn't the point, the point was to say that Chrysostom refered to Constantinople as the Apostolic See.

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As for the Theodoret, I would be interested in knowing its source.  I admit to having never come across that saying of his.

I'll look it up when I get home, I'm at work right now.

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The Life of St. Daniel Stylite does not accord Constantinople ecclesiastical equality with Old Rome.

Neither does Eusebius.

Again, not the point, the point was that Constantinople was equated with the Heavenly Jerusalem, placing it above all cities of this world.

As I said before, proof texting is pointless, we can argue about the details indefinitely, but in the end they're all private opinion. And you didn't even address the relevant quotes posted, the ones relating to canon and imperial law.

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Even the Byzantines at Chalcedon never attempted to accord Constantinople equality with Rome, as evinced by its 28th Canon which says New Rome "should be second after her [Old Rome]"  "Second after" does not equal the "equality" which you claim the Empire offered.

Refering to ordering in the dyptics, the canons also gave the perogatives of Old Rome to New Rome. So Rome was listed first in the dyptics, as was ancient custom, and would also be the first to sign any synodal documents. Of course, Constantinople with the blessings of the Emperor became the Oecumenical Patriarch, giving her the right to, along with the Emperor, preside over any Synod at which she was present and to set the agenda for the same. The two Churches had different roles in these contexts for various historical reasons.
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« Reply #97 on: January 19, 2007, 09:23:53 PM »

Of what relevance is their opinions? They are private opinions not binding legal documents. You may not accept my sources as relevant, but I have a similar view of yours.

They are more than opinions.  The Fathers constantly and in the most forceful language attest to the Primacy of the Roman See and its divine prerogatives based on Petrine succession.

You say I do not accept your sources as relevant.  And, indeed, as far as 12th Century Canon law goes, and for the purposes & within the parameters (or rather what should be the parameters) of this discussion, I don't.  But you say you have a similar view of mine.  Friend, are you not cognizant of the fact that I have been relying upon 4th through 6th Century Saints?  These sources are irrelevant to you? 

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Many people said many things, none of which amounts to binding dogma or discipline. I have thus far presented relevent legal documents from Synods and Imperial Legislation and relevant interpretations by well respected and well qualified canonists and lawyers...and what have you responded with? Private opinion...

"Many [Holy Fathers of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Faith] said many things" concerning the See of Rome, and they are all unanimous in according to it the first place based upon its position as the See of St. Peter Prince of Apostles.  And whatever you might think, the doctrine of the Fathers is binding, inasmuch as it is a sure witness to the Apostolic Faith.  If you don't believe me, please take that up with the rest of your venerable Orthodox friends - for indeed, most of the Orthodox that fall within the sphere of my friendship tend to carry themselves with significantly more reverence in respect to the Holy Fathers than I have seen borne out in your comments here.

You "have thus far presented relevant legal documents from Synods" which I have in the first place shown not to corroborate your novel understanding of Constantinople's position (i.e. equality to Rome), and second to have not been of Oecumenical authority.  As for "Imperial Legislation," we have established that from my perspective it holds no divine authority.  So its citation within this argument is irrelevant.  Why, might I ask, do you insist on reiterating this argument given your knowledge of its inevitable inefficacy in my case? 

But as far the understanding of Emperors goes, what do you make of such statements as these?:

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+ The Emperor Theodosius and Valentinian to Aetius, Master of the Military and Patrician:

"It is certain that for us the only defence lies in the favour of the God of heaven; and to deserve it our first care is to support the Christian faith and its venerable religion. Inasmuch then as the primacy of the apostolic see is assured, by the merit of S. Peter, who is chief of the episcopal order, by the rank of the city of Rome, and also by the authority of a sacred synod, let no one presume to attempt any illicit act contrary to the authority of that see. For then at length will the peace of the churches be maintained everywhere, if the whole body acknowledges its ruler.

"Hitherto these customs have been observed without fail; but Hilary of Arles, as we are informed by the trustworthy report of that venerable man Leo, Pope of Rome, has with contumacious daring ventured upon certain unlawful proceedings.... For Hilary who is called bishop of Arles, without consulting the pontiff of the church of the city of Rome, has in solitary rashness usurped his jurisdiction by the ordination of bishops ... and after investigation they have been dispersed by the order of that pious man the Pope of the city. The sentence applies to Hilary and to those whom he has wickedly ordained. This same sentence would have been valid through the Gauls without imperial sanction; for what is not allowed in the Church to the authority of so great a pontiff? Hilary is allowed still to be called a bishop, only by the kindness of the gentle president; and our just command is, that it is not lawful either for him or for anyone else to mix church affairs with arms or to obstruct the orders of the Roman overseer. ... in order that not even the least disturbance may arise amongst the churches, nor the discipline of religion appear in any instance to be weakened, we decree by this eternal law that it shall not be lawful for bishops ... contrary to ancient custom, to do aught without the authority of the venerable Pope of the eternal city. And whatever the authority of the apostolic see has sanctioned, or may sanction, shall be the law for all; so that if any bishop summoned to trial before the pontiff of Rome shall neglect to come, he shall be compelled to appear by the governor of that province. Those things which our divine parents conferred on the Roman church are to be upheld in every way."
(Valentinian III, Certum est. 8 July 445. In Leo, Ep. II. [P.L. 54. 637; Kidd, Docs. 2. 282.])

Theodosian Code (XVI.1.2)

"It is our desire that all the various nation which are subject to our clemency and moderation, should continue to the profession of that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter..."

+ Emperor Justinian (520-533):

 to Pope St. Agapetus (ca. A.D. 535):

"...the source of the priesthood...the venerable See of the most high Apostle Peter...No one doubts that the height of the Supreme Pontificate is at Rome."

>> Writing to Pope John I...

"Yielding honor to the Apostolic See and to Your Holiness, and honoring your Holiness, as one ought to honor a father, we have hastened to subject all the priests of the whole Eastern district, and to unite them to the See of your Holiness, for we do not allow of any point, however manifest and indisputable it be, which relates to the state of the Churches, not being brought to the cognizance of your Holiness, since you are the Head of all the holy Churches."
(Justinian Epist. ad. Pap. Joan. ii. Cod. Justin. lib. I. tit. 1).

>> Writing to Pope Hormisdas...

"Let your Apostleship show that you have worthily succeeded to the Apostle Peter, since the Lord will work through you, as Surpreme Pastor, the salvation of all.
(Coll. Avell. Ep. 196, July 9th, 520, Justinian to Pope Hormisdas).

I digress.

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Ah, but it does invite ridicule as they amount to nothing more than ad hominem attacks, for the opinions of Balsamon are not innovations of the 12th century, rather are commentary on ancient law. Rather than address those laws you prefer to try to proof text by quoting private opinions of various individuals, none of which have any canonically or legally binding authority.

Ad hominem attack?  My rejection of Balsamon's place in this discussion is no different in principle than would be your rejection of the 1917 Code of Canon Law as ratified by Pope Benedict XV.  Balsamon was writing from an anti-papal perspective, and is not a source we both hold in common.  I am beginning to think we hold little in common, given the contempt you manifest for the "private opinions" of the Holy Fathers. 

The "various individuals" of which you speak are sainted Popes of Elder Rome. 

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It was summoned by an Emperor and ratified as part of the sixth oecumenical synod by Nicea II...the synod is Oecumenical and a rejection of it by the west simply places the west outside the communion of the Church which accepted the synod as such at the Seventh Oecumenical Synod.

The Acts of the 7th Oecumenical Council contain a unilateral statement of the Oecumenical Patriarch in which he makes a case for the acceptance of the Trullan Canons as Oecumenical, but so far as I can tell, this statement not explicitly affirmed by the Synod. 

As for Rome's non-acceptance of the Trullan Canons "plac[ing] the west outside the communion of the Church", are you asserting that a perpetual state of schism existed between the Western & Eastern Churches from the 7th Century?  Revisionist certainly, but I would be more than interested in seeing you try defending such a thesis.   

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As a formality, the dismisses the necessity for that qualification in the next breath.

I am not understanding you.
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That wasn't the point, the point was to say that Chrysostom refered to Constantinople as the Apostolic See.

No he didn't. 

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As I said before, proof texting is pointless, we can argue about the details indefinitely, but in the end they're all private opinion.

"Proof-texting" is not in the least pointless, given that the source of our faith is Holy Tradition as witnessed by the Holy Fathers.  To know what our Holy Fathers teach, it is necessary to examine their 'texts'.  I am more than happy to do this. 

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And you didn't even address the relevant quotes posted, the ones relating to canon and imperial law.

I have already stated why imperial law is irrelevant given the boundaries of this debate, and I have already shown Canon law (as defined by Oecumenical Synods & ratified by the Pope & Church Catholic) not to support your claim that New Rome was given equal status with Rome.  Rather, I have challenged you to prove how anything even in the 2nd & 4th General Synods conferred upon New Rome equality with the Old, and you have failed to manifest how they are supposed to have done so, irrespective of your last paragraph which dodged the Canon's explicit statement that Constantinople "should be second after [Rome]".  The facts you cite concerning the Emperor's blessing, the Patriarch's title "Oecumenical", and his authority over local synods is immaterial to the fact that Constantinople was never by any Oecumenical Council accorded equality with Rome, as you claim.

Goodnight, all.
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« Reply #98 on: January 20, 2007, 03:19:50 AM »

onerror goto errorchecker:
errorchecker:
if error.msg = "Constantinople" or error.msg = "New Rome" then
response = "I do not recognise your evidence"
interest level = interest level - 1
end if
resume next
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« Reply #99 on: January 20, 2007, 11:59:27 AM »

They are more than opinions.  The Fathers constantly and in the most forceful language attest to the Primacy of the Roman See and its divine prerogatives based on Petrine succession.

LOL, the fathers consistantly said nothing of th sort, rather you have found a hand full of examples where that is said and you take it as the universal opinion, choosing to ignore the political realities of the day. I've known people like you before, usually quite uneducated and naive, though sometimes just thick skulled...they seem to be under the impression that anything written by a Christian before the seventh century was well intentioned and nothing more than pure theology...do you have any grasp of the politics of the era? Read the homilies of almost any famous, influential, and sainted bishop...they are dripping with politics and propaganda. Not that this takes away from my view of them, heck I think more of them, makes them alot more like me Grin

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You say I do not accept your sources as relevant.  And, indeed, as far as 12th Century Canon law goes, and for the purposes & within the parameters (or rather what should be the parameters) of this discussion, I don't.

They wern't merely canonists, they were commentators on Roman Law in general. Imperial law of the 12th century was not a new innovation, but a continuance of the law as it had been practiced by the Romans for 18+ centuries; so yes, on legal matters, which this most certainly is, their commentaries are most relevant.

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But you say you have a similar view of mine.  Friend, are you not cognizant of the fact that I have been relying upon 4th through 6th Century Saints?  These sources are irrelevant to you? 

That was perhaps the most political time in the history of the Church. I have learned to take NOTHING they say without the proper political scrutiny...then I consider my own political persuasion, and use their statements accordingly. Unfortunately, I can't be such a hypocrite as to insist that my guy's motives were pure and the other guy's were politically motivated and greedy. Which kinda hurts my position when I argue with people who such hypocrites.

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"Many [Holy Fathers of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Faith] said many things" concerning the See of Rome, and they are all unanimous in according to it the first place based upon its position as the See of St. Peter Prince of Apostles.  And whatever you might think, the doctrine of the Fathers is binding, inasmuch as it is a sure witness to the Apostolic Faith.  If you don't believe me, please take that up with the rest of your venerable Orthodox friends - for indeed, most of the Orthodox that fall within the sphere of my friendship tend to carry themselves with significantly more reverence in respect to the Holy Fathers than I have seen borne out in your comments here.

Are you still in high school? Maybe a college freshman? All this time I've been saying a few thing tongue in cheek assuming you are familiar with primitive Christian Ecclesiology...though I'm starting to think that I may be mistaken in that assumption. I assume you've read the Apostolic Canons and the Didache of the Apostles? Just so we're on the same page, you do realize that in the Early Church the Church was local in nature, initially Bishops wern't even chosen by other Bishops, but rather by the Presbyters, then in time as connections grew with other Christian Churches the Bishops in a local area started getting together and only then did the role of Metropolitans develop, as those who presided over the Synod, usually from the most significant city. The development of Patriarchal roles (including that of Rome) was not seen until the Imperial Era. Even Rome's authority over provinces directly under her wasn't fully established and enforced until Sardica. From there it was a political fight for authority and domination, which lasted until borders were generally drawn up in the sixth to seventh century, though there were still some border skirmishes and annexations after that. Then there was that fight for the big one, being the 'Ultimate See of Appeal,' Alexandria threw her dice in a couple times, but for the most part it was a fight between Old and New Rome; however, it was strongly resisted in some Churches, most notably Carthage, whose synod excommunicates anyone who appeals over seas for any reason, even if they are justified and their case is upheld.

I'm really hoping that you understand the development of Christian Ecclesiology in this political context and are just hiding it for apologetic reasons. And this is why I hold the Empire in such high regard, because the Empire did define our modern Ecclesiology, it would be hypocritical to be supportive of the Church and not equally supportive of the Empire which was essential in Her structural, dogmatic, and philosophical formation.

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You "have thus far presented relevant legal documents from Synods" which I have in the first place shown not to corroborate your novel understanding of Constantinople's position (i.e. equality to Rome), and second to have not been of Oecumenical authority.  As for "Imperial Legislation," we have established that from my perspective it holds no divine authority.  So its citation within this argument is irrelevant.  Why, might I ask, do you insist on reiterating this argument given your knowledge of its inevitable inefficacy in my case? 

Roll Eyes See what I wrote above

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But as far the understanding of Emperors goes, what do you make of such statements as these?:

I make what I've said several times before, Old Rome was the first Capital. As such she recieved honour and respect amongst the Romans, but when this respect was not returned to the Emperor and the Senate, her insolence was not further rewarded.

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I digress.

You've been doing that throughout the case of the entire discussion...why stop now?

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Ad hominem attack?  My rejection of Balsamon's place in this discussion is no different in principle than would be your rejection of the 1917 Code of Canon Law as ratified by Pope Benedict XV.  Balsamon was writing from an anti-papal perspective, and is not a source we both hold in common.  I am beginning to think we hold little in common, given the contempt you manifest for the "private opinions" of the Holy Fathers. 

Fathers were humans just like bishops today, they had their politial motivations, it's human nature. Nothing wrong with it, it must simply be understood. That's the problem with proof texting, every statement has a context...literary, cultural, political, econonmic, theological, etc., etc., and your proof texts dont even deal with the literary context, to say nothing of the cultural, political, economic, theological, etc. context. Ascribing a protestant style inerrancy to the fathers is hardly good history or good patristics. I have been trying to get you to think in the greater historical context, though I have thus far failed. Though you'll have to learn it at some point if you ever go into graduate level work in the liberal arts.

I've already addressed the rest of your post above. I do hope you understand from what I wrote above why your defence of proof-texting essentially undermined your arguments...you admitted to failing to take into account the context, especially political. This discussion is degenerating fast, and I am not confident that you can learn how to engage the discipline of history quickly enough for it to be saved.
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« Reply #100 on: January 21, 2007, 05:35:32 PM »

I'll try again when this site is not experiencing technical difficulties.

For so, from my perspective, it seems to be doing.
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« Reply #101 on: January 22, 2007, 01:08:25 PM »

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I've known people like you before, usually quite uneducated and naive, though sometimes just thick skulled...

At least the thickness of my skull is matched with an equivalent thickness of skin capable of deflecting such pointless and invective ad hominem.  Friend, let's not let this discussion degenerate to the level I see you are having it head.

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the fathers consistantly said nothing of th sort, rather you have found a hand full of examples where that is said and you take it as the universal opinion,

I have found much more than a "handful of examples" of patristic affirmation of Roman Apostolic Supremacy.  Granted I have not cited every Father who had anything forceful to say about the Roman Primacy and the divine origin thereof, you have no basis for saying that the number of Fathers I have found to support my position amounts to a mere "hand full".  What I take for universal opinion I do so on account simply of seeing that 'opinion' actually as universal so far as can be determined by what documentary evidence we possess.  Do you wish me to substantiate this claim?  I fear to do so without your permission and be accused thereby of 'proof-texting'.

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Read the homilies of almost any famous, influential, and sainted bishop...they are dripping with politics and propaganda.

I don't see it.  At least not to the extent you do.  Availing myself of the "hermeneutic of charity" (as I have heard it happily expressed) I see in homilies of the sainted bishops of the era Ceasar's due being given him, and the same with respect to God. 

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just so we're on the same page, you do realize that in the Early Church the Church was local in nature, initially Bishops wern't even chosen by other Bishops, but rather by the Presbyters, then in time as connections grew with other Christian Churches the Bishops in a local area started getting together and only then did the role of Metropolitans develop, as those who presided over the Synod, usually from the most significant city. The development of Patriarchal roles (including that of Rome) was not seen until the Imperial Era. Even Rome's authority over provinces directly under her wasn't fully established and enforced until Sardica.

The statement that "the Early Church was local in nature" is loaded and ambiguous.  I can say that the Roman Catholic Church is local in nature, i.e. that it is expressed locally, and compounded of local units, that there exist ontologically separate and self-subsistent 'local churches', &c. In that sense, I can affirm that the "Early Church", as the Catholic Church now, was "local in nature".  But what you are obvious getting at is that the early church was disorganized on an Oecumenical level & without recourse to any universally recognised locus of authority and arbiter of conflict, & with this assessment I could not more strongly disagree.  To be brief, I see this vision belied by the action of Pope St. Clement I with regard to the Corinthian Church, by St. Irenaeus in the IIIrd book of his Against the Heresies, by the action taken by Pope St. Victor I with regard to the Churches of Asia, by the appeals made to Rome during the initial stages of the Montanist heresy, by statements of anti-Pope St. Hippolytus, by the correspondances of St. Cyprian to Roman bishops (especially Pope St. Cornelius), and the prerogatives unquestioningly assumed by the Novation anti-Popes.  Should you desire, and should I have time (and it is becoming doubtful that I will) we can cast ourselves into the investigation of these matters.

I am aware that the institution of Metropolitans was a gradual development.  That is immaterial to the point I am making.

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Then there was that fight for the big one, being the 'Ultimate See of Appeal,' Alexandria threw her dice in a couple times

Please provide me with documentation for such a 'fight.'

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Carthage, whose synod excommunicates anyone who appeals over seas for any reason, even if they are justified and their case is upheld.

What specifically are you referring to?

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I'm really hoping that you understand the development of Christian Ecclesiology in this political context and are just hiding it for apologetic reasons.

While I have an eye to the political context in which Christian Ecclesiology developed, I do not look upon that development in exclusively political terms, because the Fathers did not.  The Church is of divine origin & is possessed of a divine constitution.  It is my contention that this constitution includes the See of the Prince of the Apostles as the source &  center of its unity, in line with the solemn assertions of St. Maximos the Confessor:

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"How much more in the case of the clergy and Church of the Romans, which from old until now presides over all the churches which are under the sun? Having surely received this canonically, as well as from councils and the apostles, as from the princes of the latter [Peter & Paul], and being numbered in their company, she is subject to no writings or issues in synodical documents, on account of the eminence of her pontificate... even as in all these things all are equally subject to her [the Church of Rome] according to sacerodotal law. And so when, without fear, but with all holy and becoming confidence, those ministers [the popes] are of the truly firm and immovable rock, that is of the most great and Apostolic Church of Rome."

(Maximus, in J.B. Mansi, ed. Amplissima Collectio Conciliorum, vol. 10)

the blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of the Romans, that is, the Apostolic See, which is from the incarnate of the Son of God Himself, and also [from] all the holy synods, according to the holy canons and definitions, has received universal and surpreme dominion, authority, and power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world

(Letter to the Patrician Peter, ca. AD 642, in Mansi x, 692)

St. Maximos, practically martyred by a heretic Byzantine Emperor for his opposition to a heretic Patriarch of Constantinople, did not share the political lens through which you seem to view the constitution of the Holy Catholic & Apostolic Church.

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See what I wrote above

Forgive my denseness, what specifically?

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Ascribing a protestant style inerrancy to the fathers is hardly good history or good patristics. I have been trying to get you to think in the greater historical context, though I have thus far failed.

I do not ascribe "protestant style inerrancy" to individual statements of every Father.  But I do pay attention when what virtually all of them have to say upon a single given matter exactly coincides.  I contest this is the case with the Roman Primacy, and the Divine origin thereof.  When I see Fathers, separated in space, time, culture & political context all concurring upon this point, I hold myself bound to abide by their wisdom.  This is the "greater historical context" in which I think, not one bound to a single socio-political framework & Imperial ideology.

Now let me take this occasion to address the fact that, inasmuch as I have on another thread observed you deny the existence of the patristic consensus, the reality of which I see as essential for Orthodox let alone Catholic theological discussion & formulation, I see the potential for this debate being very limited.  It seems that given your disregard for what the Fathers have to say on the prerogative of Rome, we are left without mutual recourse to a common authority. 

***

In fine, here's where this debate stands: you, having made the claim that Constantinople, first attaining a state of ecclesiastical equality with Rome, ultimately eclipsed it as the fountain of Church unity and ultimate arbiter within the sphere of episcopal jurisdiction, have failed to show the presence of this understanding among the voices of Sacred Tradition.  The Canons you cite, besides not being representative of the universal understanding of the Church, do not even make claims equivalent to yours, though some aspects thereof admittedly coincide respectively. The fathers and hagiography you bring up to witness Constantinople's greatness do so justly, for Constantinople was, and is, a great Church; but none go so far as you in attributing to it jurisdictional primacy.  I, on the other hand, have shown from conciliar decree, from the documentary evidence available to us of the correspondence of various sainted Pontiffs, and from the eloquent and ultimately accepted jurisdictional actions & decisions of the Roman See from the 4th to the 8th Centuries that your location of the ecclesiastical center in the first 8 centuries, and understanding of the justification therefor, is misguided.  In response, you have failed to interact with the specific historical instances I have cited by simply accusing me of naivety, thick-skulledness, historical myopia, and lack of liberal education. You have failed seriously to consider the strongly held & pointedly expressed 'opinions' of the Fathers with regard to the Roman Primacy, by simply (dare I say flippantly) minimizing them, and summarily accusing me of 'proof-texting'.  Above all, you have failed to show how any canon of universally accepted Oecumenical authority recognized in Constantinople universal primacy of jurisdiction, let alone to bring to light a saying of any saint to that effect.

It is not my desire rudely and openly to question your education & intelligence as you have mine.  I desire simply to see you honestly interact with the sources I have brought to attention, and once and for all to lend substance to your claim, by means of pre-schism and mutually accepted authority, that Constantinople eclipsed Rome as the center of Catholic unity and the Guardian of Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #102 on: January 24, 2007, 11:56:23 PM »

At least the thickness of my skull is matched with an equivalent thickness of skin capable of deflecting such pointless and invective ad hominem.  Friend, let's not let this discussion degenerate to the level I see you are having it head.

I didn't say anything about you...I just was speaking about my personal experience with people so radically devoted to their beliefs that they are unable to step back and look at them objectively, adding that even those very educated can fall into this trap. Then there are a few, those who I respect the most as they are usually quite competent and at least honest to themselves if to no one else, who simply pretend to be as ignorant because it is advantageous in the situation at hand (think about a good presidential press secretary). So while I do believe you are at least displaying willful ignorance, depending on your disposition to the matter, I may be paying you a compliment. Though, if that is the case, your response would have been better had you used some sarcasm. Wink

It's generally more advantageous to twist an apparent ad hominem to your rhetorical advantage than to protest formally...though not always of course.

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I have found much more than a "handful of examples" of patristic affirmation of Roman Apostolic Supremacy.  Granted I have not cited every Father who had anything forceful to say about the Roman Primacy and the divine origin thereof, you have no basis for saying that the number of Fathers I have found to support my position amounts to a mere "hand full".  What I take for universal opinion I do so on account simply of seeing that 'opinion' actually as universal so far as can be determined by what documentary evidence we possess.  Do you wish me to substantiate this claim?  I fear to do so without your permission and be accused thereby of 'proof-texting'.

I don't know how clear I can make this, so I'll try it again...I couldn't care less if the entire host of angels was, with one voice, proclaiming the supremacy of Rome. Until you have the support of a synod of universal authoirty, you don't have a case. That's how the Church works, it's not up to everyone to interpret tradition as they wish, it's not up to any one person to interpret tradition as they wish, it's up to Synod to make rulings on matters...just like in any legal system, until a law is formally promulgated it is not binding. There are many things I disagree with many fathers about, heck there are some things that there was probably near universal agreement on amongst the fathers (consider the ordination of women, generally opposed for cultural reasons), but since they never codified this opinion in a Synod, it's of nominal relevance. The private teachings may be spiritually benificial, you may agree with them, they may even give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, but until they're codified by a synod of recognized authoirty, they're not binding...they're theologoumena. To put it another way, I agree with what many politicians say on many issues, some of them I will even send money to support their agendas...but until congress passes their bill, it's just a matter of private opinion. Same way in the Church...no promulgation by a Synod, no legal authority behind the statement.

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I don't see it.  At least not to the extent you do.  Availing myself of the "hermeneutic of charity" (as I have heard it happily expressed) I see in homilies of the sainted bishops of the era Ceasar's due being given him, and the same with respect to God. 

You dont? I dont know what to say then as to me it is quite apparent that nearly every significant ecclesiastical decision from the fourth to the eighth century was strongly politically motivated, with theology playing a subservient role...of course, I see no need to make this case as several authors have already done so over the last century.

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The statement that "the Early Church was local in nature" is loaded and ambiguous.

Perhaps independent is a bit more precise. There was a small amount of communication amongst different communities, but in the end, each bishop ruled his local Church along with the council of presbyters. Of course, I was unaware that there was any serious and objective scholarly objection to this understanding of the development of the Early Church. Of course, there was a time when our patriarchates would write Church history to place themselves in a better historical position, but modern western scholarship prohibits such an approach from being taken seriously in this day and age. Ultimately it's the atheists who are keeping us honest. Wink

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Please provide me with documentation for such a 'fight.'

I'd recommend just about any secular history of the period. As for specific authors, I'd probably recommend Norwich and Treadgold and their respective histories of the Empire.

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What specifically are you referring to?

Canon 36 of the African (aka Carthaginian) code.

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While I have an eye to the political context in which Christian Ecclesiology developed, I do not look upon that development in exclusively political terms, because the Fathers did not.  The Church is of divine origin & is possessed of a divine constitution.  It is my contention that this constitution includes the See of the Prince of the Apostles as the source &  center of its unity, in line with the solemn assertions of St. Maximos the Confessor:

So basically you fail to see the political context because you choose not to? As for Maximos, what did you expect? He was in a political battle with Constantinople, he got mutilated over it, I couldn't think of a more blatantly political situation.

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Now let me take this occasion to address the fact that, inasmuch as I have on another thread observed you deny the existence of the patristic consensus, the reality of which I see as essential for Orthodox let alone Catholic theological discussion & formulation, I see the potential for this debate being very limited.  It seems that given your disregard for what the Fathers have to say on the prerogative of Rome, we are left without mutual recourse to a common authority. 

I dont think my rejection of patristic consensus does any such thing, we have well defined means to establish dogma in both our churches, and it is through Synods (though in the last couple hundred years you invented this papal infallibility thing, though previously you had required synods) not through private opinion. As far as doing theology, how did the fathers manage to do that if they didn't have a patristic consensus to quote? Ultimately theology is not determining what people 1500 years ago thought, it's taking the abstract principles about the divine, which we have inherited from the Greek Philosophers, and applying them to specific cases. This is what the fathers did, and I submit that if one is doing theology today they will do the same. The greatest thing we can learn from the fathers is not their opinions, their theologoumena, their piety, or even the conclusions they reached. The greatest thing we can learn from the fathers is their methodology.
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« Reply #103 on: January 25, 2007, 12:15:43 AM »

Perhaps independent is a bit more precise. There was a small amount of communication amongst different communities, but in the end, each bishop ruled his local Church along with the council of presbyters. Of course, I was unaware that there was any serious and objective scholarly objection to this understanding of the development of the Early Church. Of course, there was a time when our patriarchates would write Church history to place themselves in a better historical position, but modern western scholarship prohibits such an approach from being taken seriously in this day and age. Ultimately it's the atheists who are keeping us honest. Wink

I'd recommend just about any secular history of the period. As for specific authors, I'd probably recommend Norwich and Treadgold and their respective histories of the Empire.

Actually in my opinion one of the more interesting pieces on the period was written by Eamon Duffy.  In an article called  "The Popes: Theory and Fact" he said:

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At least since the high Middle Ages the papacy has been understood as an institution directly created by Jesus Christ in his own lifetime: he willed that his Church should be ruled by the Apostles and their successors, and he gave to Peter, as leader of the apostles, the fullness of spiritual power, the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Peter came to Rome, and there appointed his own successors, whose names are recited to this day in the canon of the Mass – Linus, Cletus, Clement, and so on down to John Paul II. All that the modern Church claims for the pope, his authority in doctrine and his power over institutions, is on this account a simple unfolding of the dominical bestowal of the keys, and the post-resurrection command to Peter to feed Christ’s sheep.

We have known for more than a century that the historical underpinning of this account is unfortunately not quite so simple. The Church of Rome during its first two centuries based its claims to precedence not on the Lord’s words to Peter, but on the preaching and death in Rome of two apostles, Peter and Paul. The commission in Matthew 16:18, "Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church, and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven", is quoted in no Roman source before the time of the Decian persecution, in the middle of the third century, and even then the claims which the Pope of the time tried to base on that quotation were indignantly rejected by the Churches of Africa to whom he was addressing himself.

And indeed, the very roots of what may be called the foundation myth of the papacy are themselves uncomfortably complicated. The Church established itself in Rome some time in the AD 40s: we now know that for the best part of the century that followed, there was nothing and nobody in Rome who could recognisably be called a pope. Christianity in Rome evolved out of the Roman synagogues, and to begin with it was not so much a single Church as a constellation of independent churches, meeting in the houses of wealthy converts or in hired halls and public baths, without any central ruler or bishop. The Roman synagogues – there were 14 of them in the first century – unlike the synagogues in other great Mediterranean cities like Antioch . . . were all independent, with no central organisation or single president, and to begin with at least, the churches of Rome also functioned independently. Many of them were in any case ethnic or regional churches, groups of Syrian, Greek, Asian residents in Rome, using their own languages, following the customs of the Christian communities back in their home regions.

Elsewhere in the first century, episcopacy emerged as the dominant form of church order – the rule of each church by a single senior presbyter who took the lead in ordinations and the celebration of the Eucharist, and who was the focus of unity for all the Christians of a city or region. But Rome, probably because of the complexity and ethnic and cultural diversity of the Christian communities of the capital of the world, was very slow to adopt this system.

In the conventional accounts of the history of the papacy, the letter of Clement, written from Rome to the Church at Corinth around the year AD 95, is often thought of as the first papal encyclical, attributed to Pope Clement, Peter’s third successor and the last pope personally known to the Prince of the Apostles. In fact, the letter is written on behalf of the whole Roman Church, it is unsigned, and the author speaks unequivocally of "the elders who rule the Church", in the plural.

EVERYTHING we know about the Church at Rome in its first century or so points in the same direction, to a community which certainly thought of itself as one Church, but which was in practice a loose and often divided federation of widely different communities, each with its own pastors and its own distinctive and often conflicting liturgies, calendars and customs. It was in fact the threat of heresy within this seething diversity, and the Roman need to impose some sort of unity and coherence on the Church in the city, that led to the emergence of the Roman episcopate, and the firming up of the Roman community’s pride in the life and death among them of the two greatest apostles, into a succession narrative. By the 160s the graves of Peter and Paul had shrines built over them and were being shown to Christian visitors to Rome: by the early third century the bishops of Rome were being buried in a single crypt in what is now the catacomb of San Callisto, as a sort of visible family tree stretching back, it was believed, to the apostolic age. But all this was a construct, tidying the mess and confusion of real history into a neat and orderly relay race, with the baton of apostolic authority being handed from one bishop to another.

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/articles/6636/

What's interesting to me is that it was not written by someone with an ingrained hostility to Rome or in an effort to refute its claims, but by a Catholic historian (who has written a book on the history of the Papacy) and published in a Catholic journal.
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« Reply #104 on: January 25, 2007, 02:15:13 AM »

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Actually in my opinion one of the more interesting pieces on the period was written by Eamon Duffy.  In an article called  "The Popes: Theory and Fact" he said: [&c.]

Interesting though it may be to read the perspective of a nominally Catholic historian on the supposed nature of the first century Roman Church, the controversial claims made in the citation you have brought forth are not in the same citation substantiated.  Most prominent among such unsubstantiated claims (at least unsubstantiated within the scope of what you have quoted) is that the Roman Church was slow to adopt an Episcopalian hierarchy.  This disregarded, the paucity of knowledge we possess of 1st Century Popes is in no way owing to the lack of jurisdiction exercised or absence of recognition of their pontifical authority - it is due to the fact that we know next to nothing at all, and possess virtually no documentary evidence from that nascent period of the Christian Church.  That I Clement is written in the name of the Church of Rome does nothing to minimize its importance as an exercise of Pope St. Clement's power.  The bishop being the ikon of his local Church, Clement's Church directing another is Clement, as head of his diocese, directing another diocese, and this falls within the Catholic understanding of the Roman Church possessing jurisdiction over all the Churches of God, including ones, such as Corinth was, which were in close proximity to a living apostle.  That we see no Roman popes citing Matthew xvi. in their support is likewise immaterial given our dearth of documentary evidence from the first two centuries.  As soon as we see serious controversies arise, we see Rome strongly asserting itself, and early amidst this controversy we see this Scripture called forth by Rome in its own defense.  I find this telling.

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I couldn't care less if the entire host of angels was, with one voice, proclaiming the supremacy of Rome. Until you have the support of a synod of universal authoirty, you don't have a case. That's how the Church works,

The Church operated three centuries without "a synod of universal authority."  It operated, best as we can tell with Rome acting as the ultimate court of appeals.  This is in keeping with what St. Maximos Confessor said, together with all the sainted pontiffs who are called to defend the legitimacy of their juridical decisions: that Rome is first among sees not only because she "received this canonically, as well as from councils" -from "all the holy synods, according to the holy canons and definitions," but also "from the Incarnate God Himself."  The Church defines dogma when & as She finds it fitting.  That for the first centuries of the Christian era there is no explicit Oecumenical canon defining Roman Primacy in the terms of Vatican I no more speaks against the obligation laid upon the Christians of those times to hold to that position than the presence of a 300 year interval from the Nativity of Our Lord to the Oecumenical definition of His Divinity did for those same Christians.  Your conception of the Church's Holy Tradition is, I venture to say, somewhat legalistic, and would have been unserviceable for the first 300 years of Christian history.

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You dont? I dont know what to say then as to me it is quite apparent that nearly every significant ecclesiastical decision from the fourth to the eighth century was strongly politically motivated, with theology playing a subservient role...of course, I see no need to make this case as several authors have already done so over the last century.

No, I don't.  Neither do most Orthodox.  Grace is stronger than corrupted Nature, and the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Faith more powerful than all the potentates of the City of Man.  Indeed, we see things very differently.

 
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Perhaps independent is a bit more precise. There was a small amount of communication amongst different communities, but in the end, each bishop ruled his local Church along with the council of presbyters. Of course, I was unaware that there was any serious and objective scholarly objection to this understanding of the development of the Early Church. Of course, there was a time when our patriarchates would write Church history to place themselves in a better historical position, but modern western scholarship prohibits such an approach from being taken seriously in this day and age. Ultimately it's the atheists who are keeping us honest.

"Independent" does not explain I Clement.  Indeed, it does not explain the Apostolic ministry.  It does not explain book III of Irenaeus' Against the Heresies.  Was there less communication and canonical fluidity between local Churches then as now?  I think no one denies this, but that isn't the issue at stake. 

This is what bothers me about much of what you write, GiC.  You submit for our consideration this monolithic body of modern scholarship that cannot be questioned, other than which "cannot be taken seriously," without providing specific reasons why the scholarship of "atheists," - who, according to the Royal Psalmist & St. Paul the Apostle, are "fools", & darkened in their hearts, and given over by God to their shamelessness - should, after all, be taken so seriously.  Atheists might keep us honest about the veracity of Scripture's claims concerning their depravity, but they do little to make me question the understanding of Ecclesiastical development as held by the Holy Fathers and presented to me in my research of what evidence is available.

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I'd recommend just about any secular history of the period. As for specific authors, I'd probably recommend Norwich and Treadgold and their respective histories of the Empire.

Specifics, please.  Give me an incident where this supposed war became manifest.

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Canon 36 of the African (aka Carthaginian) code

Do you mean the Code of 419?  The thirthy-sixth canon of that Council deals with the necessity of clergymen to convert their families prior to ordination.  If this is the Code and the Canon you meant to specify, I fail to see its relevance.

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So basically you fail to see the political context because you choose not to? As for Maximos, what did you expect? He was in a political battle with Constantinople, he got mutilated over it, I couldn't think of a more blatantly political situation.

I am not sure how you deduce from what I said that I "fail to see the political context because (I) choose not to".  What I said is directly the contrary, and until you are able to substantiate such an inference, I will not even attempt to defend my historical understanding and socio-political sensitivity.

The very fact that St. Maximos was in a battle with a heretical Constantinople, ruled by a heretic Emperor & heretic Patriarch, and that he was armed with no Oecumenical definition concerning the Two Wills of Christ, seems more clearly than anything to evince the epistemological necessity of a non-Imperial source & standard for Orthodoxy, such as St. Maximos found in Rome.  The situation speaks for itself, even without his inspired, unfaltering, and unmistakeable testimony to the Divine origin of Roman Primacy.

GiC, I must reiterate my fear that this dialogue is going nowhere.  At present, and as you have yourself expressly stated, we do not share the same prerequisite degree of respect for the "conclusions" of the Holy Fathers.  Historically, the definition of dogma has come about through an evaluation of the teaching of the Fathers, from Nicea till now.  Inasmuch as you are not willing to take seriously into account the "opinions" of the Fathers wherein they are not supported by explicit canonical decree, we have no means by which to enter into this dialogue as carried out throughout the centuries of the Christian era.   
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« Reply #105 on: January 25, 2007, 10:23:05 AM »

Interesting though it may be to read the perspective of a nominally Catholic historian on the supposed nature of the first century Roman Church, the controversial claims made in the citation you have brought forth are not in the same citation substantiated.

BLF, I'm not sure what status Mr. Duffy is in regards to his faith.  He certainly to my knowledge is a communicating member of the Roman Catholic Church; and it is in my experience a not too uncommon occurrence that among those born in to that church, a less rigorous view of the Papacy is held than say those who from a Protestant background convert to Catholicism (for reasons other than marriage).  Mr. Duffy is in my understanding a fairly respected scholar and I would assume has some basis for his assertions, even if in that article they are not annotated.  I would also assume that he and the publication his article was printed in additionally have some scholarly standards that they adhere to.

My goal in posting the article was not to enter in to this debate, but to highlight something brought up by GreekChristian, namely that it is not those outside the RCC that are “keeping it honest” through critical scholarship, but very much those within as well.
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« Reply #106 on: January 25, 2007, 11:53:37 AM »

BLF, I'm not sure what status Mr. Duffy is in regards to his faith.  He certainly to my knowledge is a communicating member of the Roman Catholic Church; and it is in my experience a not too uncommon occurrence that among those born in to that church, a less rigorous view of the Papacy is held than say those who from a Protestant background convert to Catholicism (for reasons other than marriage).  Mr. Duffy is in my understanding a fairly respected scholar and I would assume has some basis for his assertions, even if in that article they are not annotated.  I would also assume that he and the publication his article was printed in additionally have some scholarly standards that they adhere to.

My goal in posting the article was not to enter in to this debate, but to highlight something brought up by GreekChristian, namely that it is not those outside the RCC that are “keeping it honest” through critical scholarship, but very much those within as well.

To be fair to BLF, the Tablet is a fairly "liberal" Catholic publication (think the National Catholic Reporter or Commonweal, though I don't think---thank God---it is as bad as those) and Duffy is a respected scholar though a tad "progressive" as a Catholic.

I wouldn't agree with all his characterizations (though he does, later on in the article, point out that what he writes in no way discounts the divine origin of the papacy), he is right to some extent that the first 200 years of Christianity were the primordial ooze out of which our divinely instituted offices, sacraments, and teachings were providentially shaped. Though I would add a caveat that BLF has a point, that precious little documentary evidence survives from this period, so much remains only educated guessing.
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« Reply #107 on: January 25, 2007, 12:26:15 PM »

I have never been very comfortable with the kinds of views which Mr. Duffy would seem to suggest in regard to the Roman church in the early post-apostolic period.  Not because they question some widely accepted concepts or views of the modern papacy, but because they just don't seem to be likely.  Sure, the papacy developed in the early Church, as did almost everything.  I would think any honest glance at the early evidence would produce that conclusion.  However, Mr. Duffy's conclusions would seem to suggest that there was no episcopacy at all in Rome during the early period, and that I cannot accept.

Rome was a significant church in even the Apostolic period as we know from St. Paul.  Being a very large city at the time there may certainly have been more than one bishop, but there were certainly bishops.  And if there were several they had organization and a relationship amongst themselves, as the signature of "the elders" would indicate.  The principles of the papacy would have been present in a synodal gathering of local bishops operating together just as it would be in a senior bishop among those in the city, and I think it most likely that even in a conciliar situation somebody would be senior as almost always is the case.  Regardless though there was an episcopal presence, with its natural consequent leadership, which would have been necessary to have produced such a letter as 1 Clement in the first place.

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« Reply #108 on: February 03, 2007, 05:49:23 AM »

Rome was a significant church in even the Apostolic period as we know from St. Paul.  Being a very large city at the time there may certainly have been more than one bishop, but there were certainly bishops.  And if there were several they had organization and a relationship amongst themselves, as the signature of "the elders" would indicate.  The principles of the papacy would have been present in a synodal gathering of local bishops operating together just as it would be in a senior bishop among those in the city, and I think it most likely that even in a conciliar situation somebody would be senior as almost always is the case.  Regardless though there was an episcopal presence, with its natural consequent leadership, which would have been necessary to have produced such a letter as 1 Clement in the first place.

Patrick
I thought it was against church law for there to be two bishops over the same area
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« Reply #109 on: February 04, 2007, 06:19:46 PM »

I thought it was against church law for there to be two bishops over the same area

Yes, I think that is true, though was that always the case?  Wouldn't exceptions to that have given rise to the ruling in the first place?  I will leave such to more knowledgeable people here.  However, what I am really getting at is that it just doesn't seem very likely that there was no episocpacy at work in Rome at that time, but rather that perhaps what was there may have been something a little different than what arose later, i.e. a 'synod' of bishops with a president, the city divided in smaller sections, etc.  Of course, what we have now in Rome is still multiple bishops, the Pope over many others serving in different congregations.  I doubt that would be seen as 'orthodox' by many though. Wink

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« Reply #110 on: February 05, 2007, 12:42:28 PM »

The early "papacy" (kind of an anachronism, but I'll go with it for the sake of convenience) is a very muddled thing whose schismatic future is understandable, but was hardly a necessary outcome.

Early on, it appears (as has been mentioned in this thread already) that Rome and a growing region surrounding her in Italy constituted a sort of primitive "mega Church", possibly the first example of a formal "holy synod" as we now see in Orthodoxy.  Further, it needs to be remembered that while the Priesthood (and it's fullness, the Episcopacy) are of divine origin, the exact organization of flocks into territories/diocese is something that underwent development and standardization.  You still see the remnants of this in Orthodoxy in things like "auxillary Bishops".  Before the division of the Empire (and beyond) into canonical parcels, the more primitive idea was "presider and flock" (and you see this language in the early patristic literature, like that of St.Justin Martyr.)
Perhaps a hint of it as well is found in the interchangeable way "presbyter" and "bishop" are used in some parts of the New Testament.  It's actually quite likely that Rome itself (putting aside the question of the outlying areas) was ruled by a council of Bishops, with one of them presiding.  A similar case of centralization occurred in Alexandria, which also has it's own "Pope", and at least in the Coptic manifestation of this polity, his rights are quite extensive.

Rome was important for the early Christians for very obvious reasons, the Apostles included.  It was, for their purposes, the center of the civilized world.  It's interesting that the book of Acts ends with St.Paul in Rome - it's almost like "making it to Rome" was the end of the story, the proof that the mission of the Church really was a universal one.

With that said, things were to change.  Rome would not remain the center of the civilized world - the new friend of the Church on the Imperial Throne (St.Constantine) would change that, by moving the seat of Augustus to the Greek city of Byzantium, re-naming it "Constantinople" and (more significantly) "New Rome."  Overnight it's Bishop began to (naturally) accrue honours and privileges similar to those Rome had previously enjoyed for the last couple of centuries.  Worse still, politically not only had Rome become second fiddle, but culturally as well - the western empire was on the decline, and Rome was losing it's relevence outside of western Europe (where it remained the only "Apostolic See", quite unlike the East which not only had "Patriarchal See's" going back to the Apostles, but a whole myriad of lesser Churches which could claim this every bit as Rome could - just go to Greece, where to this day you can cross over into bumpkin diocese' which have near or direct Apostolic roots.)

And so began the bickering and suspicion.  It wasn't until after the rise of Constantinople, in the latter half of the fourth century, that Rome began to theorize as to just why it was (and more importantly, should remain) "numero uno."  It was at this time that mention of the blood of the martyrs (brought from all parts of Christendom to be tried and executed in Rome) and the foundational significance of St.Paul began to be radically de-emphasized when Rome sang of her own glories.  This is when the Bishops of Rome began to fancy themselves the unique/special successors of St.Peter alone, and there began also a process of speaking less often as "the Roman Church" (ala. "the holy synod" as the pre-Nicene writings, like those of St.Clement, so often mention) and now in terms of the personality of the ruling Bishop of Rome, "the Pope."

Though people often see the ferocious spirit of Orthodox confessors (both ancient and modern) as being a tad "intolerant", the truth is that the Church broadly speaking really did try to be tolerant.  If anything, Her members (pastors in particular) would often err too far on the side of such tolerance.  Indeed, if you look at the history of heresies and schisms, very often splits were outright forced by the heterodox side (ex. Arian and semi-Arian rulers and their episcopal boosters were very fond of forcing the issue.)  In the case of the seperation of Rome (and it's followers) from the Orthodox Church, the same is true - even though it's obvious the problem was well in place before 1054, it wasn't until the Latins made this an unavoidable problem that any finality to the estrangement came about.

Now to be fair (with regard to the ecclessiastical politics and influence jockeying) it went both ways, but the west was manifestly on the worse end of the stick.  While it's true the academies and catechical schools of the East saw a great many heresies (which is natural in centres of learning - a fact often forgotten by Rome's apologists; the west was often theologically conservative in the way ignorant bumpkins are "conservative" - via habit, and a lack of any other influences, not some special "divine charism", or even unique virtue), they also saw the depths of Orthodox theological development.  If the great enemies of faith came from the East, so to did (moreoften than not) it's greatest champions - if Alexandria can be blamed for Arius, she can be even more rightfully credited for St.Athanasios, who if anyone (and certainly not some Papal fiat) delivered the nails to Arianism's "coffin."  Indeed, early on, it's not quite clear all of the westerners (who by now were increasingly non-conversant in Greek, unlike their forefathers) even fully understood the problem of Arianism - hence the willingness of the likes of Pope Liberius to sign intentionally ambiguous theological formulas to "keep the peace" (all the while betraying the truth.)

Sadly, the simplicity of the western Christians (especially those directly under the influence of Rome, which is a project that wasn't effectively completed until centuries after the "great schism" - and even then it was short lived, as it was followed on it's heels by the Protestant Reformation and then "the Enlightenment") was on it's way to ruin when "authority" completely took the place of "truth".  It was then only a matter of time before the wrong men got into power, and began mutilating both the praxis and the faith of the Roman Christians (and beyond.)  That they were essentially intolerant souls bearing something new is manifest in the fact that within Western Europe there were several waves of entire hierarchies being replaced with more "pliable" subjects - that is to say, the replacement of integrally Orthodox Hierarchs with Frankish pets (one of the most notorious examples of this being just a few years after the "great schism", with the Norman Conquest, and later still, Papal blessing for the now Normanized Anglo-Saxons to go in and spread their new faith to the Celts who lay further west with the sword.)

Everything about the Papacy has the hand writing of fallen human motives all over it.  It is utterly unreconcialable to the Orthodox confession, and more than anything else is what has kept westerners alienated from the Orthodox faith.  Were the hyped up claims of the Papacy removed, the obvious anti-ecumenicity/catholicity of Latin Christianity as it has developed for centuries would be obvious and without defence - the problematic theological formulations which have increasingly divided it from the Orthodox Church would be more readily open to revision and correction.  So long as the fantasy of the "infallible Pope" remains in tact however, such a process would be counter-intuitive for the "faithful" westerner.
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« Reply #111 on: February 10, 2007, 11:30:15 AM »

Hey I have a question.

Is it true that Orthodox Christians are bound, on pain of anathema, to reject the papal claims?
And is it true that, on pain of anathema, they are bound to accept St Gregory Palamas' distinction between essence and energy?

Thanks for your input.
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« Reply #112 on: February 10, 2007, 12:27:24 PM »

Here is a good link about Councils in the Orthodox Church relating to Papal Primacy: http://ecclesiagoc.org/index.cfm?ID=2
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« Reply #113 on: May 14, 2008, 09:49:58 PM »

@drewmeister2:

Thanks, I like your avatar by the way. I feel like everyday I lean more and more towards the Orthodox point of view.
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« Reply #114 on: May 15, 2008, 10:00:46 AM »

I feel like everyday I lean more and more towards the Orthodox point of view.
I know what you mean. Once the truth gets a hold on you--it won't let go.  Smiley
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« Reply #115 on: May 15, 2008, 11:21:16 AM »

I know what you mean. Once the truth gets a hold on you--it won't let go.  Smiley


This is quite true. Doubt will always pervade my mind, but I trust the Holy Ghost to guide me.  Smiley
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« Reply #116 on: May 16, 2008, 01:13:29 PM »

holdencaulfield,

I hope you don't mind; our "Infallibility" conversation in that other thread was getting all tangled up with unrelated things (especially Papist's idea that "Rome has never been in heresy", which I have no interest in). So I'm instead going to quote you on this thread.

Edit: On second thought, that would probably make things even more confusing. So I guess I'll move this post back over there, and just take comfort from the parable of the wheat and the tares. Wink
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« Reply #117 on: June 28, 2008, 10:30:04 PM »

When I was taking RCIA class before I decided on joining the Orthodox Church, we received a handout titled Church Levels of Teaching Authority. There were three listed as infallible: Ex Cathedra statements by the Pope, Ecumenical Councils, and Universal Ordinary Magisterium. Only the first two are listed in the category of Extraordinary Magisterium however, with the third listed as Ordinary Magisterium.

My question is about the first two. If papal infallibity has always existed, what is the purpose of having ecumenical councils? If the pope is infallible, why did it take a council (Vatican I) to declare this as such? The council would be infallible, so wouldn't that make it above papal infallibility if the council was the one to bestow that power?

Can any Catholics here help me to understand this better? Or any Orthodox for that matter. I'm not trying to start any arguments, just trying to understand a viewpoint better.

Thanks for any input.


I think the short answer is that the church evolved to what it is today. God has used humans to help run His church, and as such, there is a lot of confusion, which ironically, are oppotunities for what is valued most: mercy and charity.
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