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Author Topic: Apostolic Succession must be through Constantinople?  (Read 2910 times) Average Rating: 0
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ROCORthodox
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« on: December 02, 2006, 10:23:31 AM »

In researching various jurisdictions I have run across a claim - made by http://celticchristianity.org/- that

"'Canonical' means: that a Church follows the Teachings of Jesus Christ and the Doctrinal statements of the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Orthodox Church; that a Church is in Communion only with Churches which have remained faithful to those Teachings (i.e. are really Orthodox and not just in name); and the Bishops of the Church have a valid succession of laying on of hands back to the Apostles (Orthodox Apostolic Succession). This is the definition of canonical which came down to us through St. Irenaeus of Lyons, and was, until this century, the standard definition for all Orthodox churches. . . Saint Irenaeus of Lyons wrote in the Second Century that only the combination of fidelity to the Christian Faith and the succession of Grace in the Apostolic succession of Bishops is sufficient for a church to be a member of the Body of Christ. That is the view of the Undivided Church. The Church is a community of common belief and Grace. Neither unity of administration nor mutual recognition can bestow Grace where it is not present, nor make false beliefs true. . . However, modern revisionists use "canonical" to mean that a Church is "recognized and in Communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople." Doctrine or the actual adherence to the Canons and Orthodox Tradition is not mentioned anywhere. This use of the word canonical makes one fallible man the arbiter of God's Grace and also denies the Church's understanding that all Bishops are equal.  That is not canonical under the definition of the Undivided Church.  In fact, it is the heresy of the montanists. . . "

This Church claims their apostolic succession is traceable through the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Gregory IV and states "We are canonical under this definition (from St. Irenaeus of Lyons) of the Undivided Church."

I am trying to rightly understand this topic and was hoping I could get some comments on the above.

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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2006, 11:01:40 AM »

Nah, do a search for the term neo-papal patriarchalism Wink
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2006, 11:08:15 AM »

Thanks! I'll do it.
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2006, 11:55:48 AM »

In researching various jurisdictions I have run across a claim - made by http://celticchristianity.org/- that

"'Canonical' means: that a Church follows the Teachings of Jesus Christ and the Doctrinal statements of the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Orthodox Church; that a Church is in Communion only with Churches which have remained faithful to those Teachings (i.e. are really Orthodox and not just in name); and the Bishops of the Church have a valid succession of laying on of hands back to the Apostles (Orthodox Apostolic Succession). This is the definition of canonical which came down to us through St. Irenaeus of Lyons, and was, until this century, the standard definition for all Orthodox churches. . . Saint Irenaeus of Lyons wrote in the Second Century that only the combination of fidelity to the Christian Faith and the succession of Grace in the Apostolic succession of Bishops is sufficient for a church to be a member of the Body of Christ. That is the view of the Undivided Church. The Church is a community of common belief and Grace.

Well, heck, under such a vague definition, you could probably even argue that this guy is a canonical bishop LINK REMOVED BECAUSE OF LITIGIOUS NATURE OF MAN WHO HAS THAT WEBSITE though I dont know much about his theology (if any), most those problems can be fixed with a little rhetoric Wink

But if you want to go and join the Celtic Orthodox Christian Church or the Orthodox Native American Catholic Archdiocese, dont let me stop you (good luck finding a parish).

Quote
Neither unity of administration nor mutual recognition can bestow Grace where it is not present, nor make false beliefs true. . . However, modern revisionists use "canonical" to mean that a Church is "recognized and in Communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople." Doctrine or the actual adherence to the Canons and Orthodox Tradition is not mentioned anywhere. This use of the word canonical makes one fallible man the arbiter of God's Grace and also denies the Church's understanding that all Bishops are equal.  That is not canonical under the definition of the Undivided Church.  In fact, it is the heresy of the montanists. . . "

Constantinople, as the Imperial See, has long been, along with Rome, the unifying agent in the Christian Church, being, for one thing, the ultimate canonical See of appeal. While there is a spiritual equality amongst the Bishops, there has long been an administrative difference in Rank and Authority. Perhaps this relationship is best described in the Synod of Constantinople 1593, which ultimately gave Moscow autonomy, the synod decreed that Moscow 'is to be numbered with the other patriarchs, and is to rank and be commemorated after the Patriarch of Jerusalem; he is to be obliged to commemorate the name of the Oecumenical Patriarch and the other patriarchs and to hold and regard as his head and primus the Apostolic throne of Constantinople, as do the other patriarchs.' (W. Regle, Analecta Byzantino-Russica, St. Petersburg 1891, p. 87)
« Last Edit: December 02, 2006, 01:39:24 PM by Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2006, 12:12:50 PM »

Nah, do a search for the term neo-papal patriarchalism Wink

You say that as thought it's a bad thing Wink
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2006, 12:22:21 PM »

These chaps are obviously vagantes pretending to be Orthodox, building their specious claim on a partial truth (isn't that the way of it?).

C'ople is obviously not the Orthodox Pope. Membership in Orthodoxy is not defined by communion with him like being under Rome defines being RC! No, it's defined by being in the Orthodox communion somehow, a communion that happens to include that patriarch. Very different.

These people are trying to use this to smoke-screen the fact that they are not recognised by any real Orthodox church.

In fact they are falling back on the Western Catholic view of 'valid orders' outside that communion, a classic vagante pose. (Vagantes also like to pretend they're Celtic.)

These men aren't in schism from the Orthodox communion but still in the Orthodox family somehow like the Kyiv Patriarchate or the Old Believer Church in Russia under its own metropolitan, separate from the Russian and other Orthodox for centuries.

Seem like more do-it-yourselfers, or 'we're so spiritual and wanna be priests but no real church would have us'.
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2006, 01:40:27 PM »

I had to remove the link to the guy on that website because he has threatened us in the past with legal action. No one actually thinks he has a case but none of us admins has time to go to court right now so I am sure you will understand Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2006, 04:21:38 PM »

These chaps are obviously vagantes pretending to be Orthodox, building their specious claim on a partial truth (isn't that the way of it?).

C'ople is obviously not the Orthodox Pope. Membership in Orthodoxy is not defined by communion with him like being under Rome defines being RC! No, it's defined by being in the Orthodox communion somehow, a communion that happens to include that patriarch. Very different.

Thanks for that.  Is it possible to not be in communion with Constantinople and still be canonical?  It if is possible  - and not too much of a bother - could you please give me an example where this has occured?

« Last Edit: December 02, 2006, 04:25:06 PM by ROCORthodox » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2006, 04:46:43 PM »

The Russian and Bulgarian churches in the 1500s (?) and 1800s respectively declared themselves independent of C'ople with their own patriarchs and C'ople refused to recognise that, even declaring the Bulgarians schismatic until 1946. But AFAIK both were recognised by other churches in the Orthodox communion so it didn't really mean anything.

A fairly good recent example would be ROCOR. I understand that in the beginning, the 1920s, they were in communion with everybody in the Orthodox communion including C'ople. Despite hard feelings when ROCOR moved to America after World War II, coming into conflict with the existing Russian dioceses that are now the OCA (ROCOR claimed jurisdiction over them but the dioceses said no and told their people not to go to the new churches ROCOR was starting by and for the WWII Russian exiles), when SCOBA formed in America ROCOR was invited to join (it declined). But later starting around the 1970s ROCOR isolated itself from the other Orthodox but remained in communion, at least in practice, with two churches in the communion, Serbia and Jerusalem. (Meaning the clergy concelebrated.) Everybody still recognised ROCOR as Orthodox. (Even though they didn't concelebrate with each other.) So... not in communion with C'ople but in the Orthodox communion.

Also, briefly in the 1990s when there was a row over which patriarchate, Moscow or C'ople, claimed the Orthodox in Estonia (I think there was/is an exile church from Soviet times that was under the latter and they claimed jurisdiction over the mother country) the two patriarchates weren't in communion with each other, again very briefly, yet both remained in the larger communion and thus officially Orthodox.
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2006, 04:51:21 PM »

Wow, your definition of what is 'canonical' seems pretty broad...of course, I would argue that each of the examples you gave were examples of schisms, with the churches you claim as canonical being quite uncanonical.
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2006, 05:01:43 PM »

Thanks for that.  Is it possible to not be in communion with Constantinople and still be canonical?  It if is possible  - and not too much of a bother - could you please give me an example where this has occured?



Yes.  The only canonical Churches are Churches that teach the true Orthodox Faith.  If a bishop fails to do this, he is no longer canonical, as those who don't preach the Truth are outside of the Church. 
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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2006, 07:21:46 PM »

Yes.  The only canonical Churches are Churches that teach the true Orthodox Faith.  If a bishop fails to do this, he is no longer canonical, as those who don't preach the Truth are outside of the Church. 

But what authority determines whether a bishop is outside the Church?
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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2006, 07:24:22 PM »

But what authority determines whether a bishop is outside the Church?

The traditional answer would be the Holy and Oecumenical Throne of Constantinople...but since this latest wave of nationalism in the 19th Century, many are no longer content with the way the Church has been structured since Chalcedon.
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2006, 07:31:40 PM »

Yes.  The only canonical Churches are Churches that teach the true Orthodox Faith.  If a bishop fails to do this, he is no longer canonical, as those who don't preach the Truth are outside of the Church. 

Your assertion leads us back to the opening statement made in the first post.  That Celtic group claims apostolic succession through Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Gregory IV.  It also brings to mind the 'Holy Synod of Milan' who claim apostolic succession through being granted autonomy by the Old Calendar Church of Greece (Auxentian Synod).  

If communion with Constanople is not manditory for apostolic succession then these - and many other - examples could be considered canonical according to St. Irenaeus of Lyons, no?

Is the issue settled with St. Irenaeus or did his understanding get officially ammended by others later on?  
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2006, 08:04:15 PM »

There is no set criterion as if we can apply a formula and figure things out.

Communion with Constantinople if it is not in heresy is a good first step in figuring things out.

Communion with other local Orthodox Churches is another good cue.

A local Church that has maintained the canons of Orthodoxy and is operating in resistance to some heresy may also be a "canonical" Orthodox Church if certain conditions are met.

Many times it is not clear until after the fact who was right.

ROCOR has not been in communion with Constantinople for some time but it is recognized as an Orthodox Church by most other Orthodox Churches.

The Greek Old Calenadrist Church is recognized by ROCOR although the two are sadly no longer in communion.  After all, ROCOR gave it its bishops.

The Kiev Patriarchate is recongized by no one even though it looks Orthodox because it has succomed to the heresies of philetism, ecumenism (to the extreme), and several canonical infractions.

Things like the Milan Synod quickly spin out of control once they separate from the Church.  For instance, a cursory look at their site shows they have fallen away from Orthodoxy.

So no, there is no criteria. But there are guideposts, and context can usually give someone an answer.

Anastasios
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2006, 08:43:43 PM »

The Kiev Patriarchate is recongized by no one even though it looks Orthodox because it has succomed to the heresies of philetism, ecumenism (to the extreme), and several canonical infractions.

Could you give some examples of the Kyiv Patriarchate's ecumenism?

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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2006, 09:34:59 PM »

Could you give some examples of the Kyiv Patriarchate's ecumenism?



Certainly.  The Kiev Patriarchate's Patriarch, Filaret, has concelebrated many types of non-Eucharistic services with the Ukrainian Catholic patriarch, Cardinal Husar, and has, according to anecdotal evidence gathered from Eastern Catholics I have known who went to Ukraine, allowed Catholics to commune in his parishes openly.  My impression, gained from reading news stories and speaking with Ukrainians, is that this Church believes that Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox are basically the same thing, which, to me, seems somewhat more extreme than the ecumenism going on in other local Churches.  For instance, when Pope John Paul II went to Ukraine, Filaret was quick to meet him and cooperate with him, while the MP bishops refused.

When the UGCC moved its headquarters to Kyiv, Patriarch Filaret complained to the Pope, but this seems to be based on power rather than any actual idealogical complaint.  Admittedly, I have not been following the situation closely for some time, though, and would be open to correction should I have overstated my case or evidence.

Anastasios
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