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cothrige
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« on: December 19, 2006, 03:47:04 AM »

Something occurred to me the other day, and perhaps it can be cleared up for me here.  In reading posts in different places concerning arguments about the Papacy I have come across several comments about the Eastern way of seeing the ranking of Patriarchs, if that is the right term.  It seems that most have suggested that Rome was first in honor due to the importance of that city in the Empire.  Constantinople became number two because she was the new Rome, and so on.  But, I can't understand why the secular importance of a city should be translated to spiritual importance, and how that can mean anything over any real stretch of time?

For instance, Rome was important as the imperial city.  But, the empire moved and so Constantinople became more important, but only second.  Why only second, since the Emperor was there?  What significance did old Rome still have, in terms of that kind of influence?  And then the empire collapsed, and yet Constantinople still seems to be listed as first in the Orthodox world, and I gather that at least in theory most Orthodox still accede to some sort of Roman primacy.  Why is that?  Turkey is certainly not the center of anything at all, having to beg to be allowed into the EU, and the Vatican City is certainly not a world power.  Moscow argues that it is the Third Rome, or some such, and yet who looks to Russia as a power?  It would seem the closest thing to an empire these days is the U.S., and so wouldn't Washington D.C. be the real Third Rome?  Why is that not the highest ranking bishop in Orthodoxy?  Or maybe New York, or the "capital" of the EU (Geneva?)?

I certainly hope this is not read as some sort of attack, but when I thought about this recently I found myself rather confused by the Eastern approach on it.  It just didn't make much sense to me.  I can see why the East doesn't see eye to eye with Rome on the Papacy, but I just can't see why this would be preferred.  I would appreciate any correction of my certain errors in understanding the true position or reasons in this.

Many thanks,

Patrick
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2006, 06:55:06 PM »

Well, to be considered a "Rome", it must have an Emperor. When the Emperors went to Constantinople, that became Rome. When they became Czars and went to Moscow, that became Rome. Currently, there is no real 2nd or 3rd Rome left, except when the Ecumenical Patriarch lists his full fancy title.
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2006, 07:16:33 PM »

Well, to be considered a "Rome", it must have an Emperor. When the Emperors went to Constantinople, that became Rome. When they became Czars and went to Moscow, that became Rome. Currently, there is no real 2nd or 3rd Rome left, except when the Ecumenical Patriarch lists his full fancy title. 

Haha.... Except they didn't go to Moscow and become Czars.  Even the Czars, before the fall of Constantinople, acknowledged the Roman Emperor in Constantinople.  When Constantinople fell, there was no more Emperor of the Romans.  The Ecumenical Patriarch reserves the right (I don't remember where I read this, sorry) to crown the Emperor of the Romans (of course, so does the Pope) - which he did not do with the Czar (even though he could have).
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2006, 07:48:00 PM »

Well, I hardly think the Ottomans would have let the EP go on a trip to the frozen tundra and risk him bringing an army south.

There were no Czars before the fall of Constantinople, from what I read in a book I just finished. Before that, they held the title of Grand Prince.
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2006, 08:41:12 PM »

But, why do the ancient Sees have any authority today?  I have gathered from what I have read that the Orthodox do still accept some sort of "first among equals" status for Constantinople, which is so far removed from any secular authority that it is not even Constantinople anymore.  The same seems true for the other major Sees, i.e. Antioch, Moscow, etc., and yet none of these are associated with any real secular authority anymore.  Why do the Orthodox still look at these rather meaningless and insignificant Sees as somehow having authority?  Is it foreseen that this will change and that bishops of other cities, such as New York or Washington, will be elevated to Ecumenical Patriarch?

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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2006, 09:37:00 PM »

Haha.... Except they didn't go to Moscow and become Czars.  Even the Czars, before the fall of Constantinople, acknowledged the Roman Emperor in Constantinople.  When Constantinople fell, there was no more Emperor of the Romans.  The Ecumenical Patriarch reserves the right (I don't remember where I read this, sorry) to crown the Emperor of the Romans (of course, so does the Pope) - which he did not do with the Czar (even though he could have).

You are right. Charlemagne has a better claim to Roman emperor than the the Czars, though I still don't buy it.
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2006, 10:51:29 PM »

Well, Cothrige, it's really just that we love to be stuck in the past  Cheesy

I suppose it would make more sense to have Washington D.C. be a Patriarchal City...if it had any Orthodox in it. You see, a City, though secular, must be hand in hand with the religion. Though Antioch and Constantinople may not be Orthodox hubs anymore, they once were. And because we love our history (sometimes a bit too much), I suppose they don't feel like moving to Chicago or L.A.
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2006, 11:01:30 PM »

It seems that most have suggested that Rome was first in honor due to the importance of that city in the Empire.  Constantinople became number two because she was the new Rome, and so on.  But, I can't understand why the secular importance of a city should be translated to spiritual importance, and how that can mean anything over any real stretch of time?


Patrick,

You hit the nail on the head. The secular importance of a city does not translate to spiritual importance. None of the bishops are more spiritually important than another, no matter what the status of "secular" material honorarium paid to said bishops. To assign spiritual importance to the bishops is to bring your background and experience into the Orthodox realm. No wonder it lead to confusion:)
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2006, 11:12:45 PM »

According to Catholic historian Eamon Duffy, the original significance of Rome was its association with the two apostles marytred there, Peter and Paul.  Constantinople is important for its assocation with the Apostle Andrew, and it's proximity to other highly important Christian sites in Asia Minor.  It later grew in importance for the Orthodox world because it was in the city that the whole liturgical framework of the church developed.    The fact that these cities were seats of the empire was certainly important, but both outlived the empire.
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2006, 11:36:05 PM »

First of all, the Archbishop of New Rome is the ONLY Bishop ever to have the authority to ordain (or Coronate, if you prefer) Emperors. Of course, Old Rome later claimed this right when she Coronated Charlemagne...but this is the first time in her history that this was done and this authority was claimed...a bit late seeing how there already was a Roman Emperor in the East.

As for you idealists who don't believe the secular (or, more accurate, Imperial) significance to Ecclesiastical significance, that is just naivete. It should be manifest to all that objectively look at history that Christianity would not exist today in any significant form if not for the support of the Empire. It was the Emperors and the politics of the Empire that shaped the development of the Church and defined the boundaries of the Church. The modern notion of separation of Church and State would have been foreign to the Empire and is foreign to the Imperial Church...The Church is the Empire and the Empire is the Church, any division is inherently artificial.
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2006, 11:49:25 PM »

Ah, and since I'm sure not a few here will accuse me of some confusion of Empire and Church I submit the opinion of the Great Balsamon, Patriarch of Antioch:

'The service of the emperors includes the enlightening and strengthening of both the soul and the body; the dignity of the patriarchs is limited to the benefit of souls and to that only.'
Balsamon, PG138, 1014-34.

And again also from an encyclical of Patriarch Anthony of Constantinople, a document which I have posted before:

'The holy emperor has a great place in the church, for he is not like other rulers or governors of other regions. This ts so because from the beginning the emperors established and confirmed the faith in all the inhabited world. They convoked the ecumenical councils and confirmed and decreed the acceptance of the pronouncements of the divine and holy canons regarding the correct doctrines and the government of Christians. They struggled boldly against heresies, and imperial decrees together with councils established the metropolitan sees of the archpriests and the divisions of their provinces and the delineation of their districts. For this reason the emperors enjoy great honor and position in the Church, for even if, by God's permission, the nations have constricted the authority and domain of the emperor, still to this day the emperor possesses the same charge from the church and the same rank and the same prayers. The basileus is anointed with the great myrrh and is appointed basileus and autokrator of the Romans, and indeed of all Christians. Everywhere the name of the emperor is commemorated by all patriarchs and metropolitans and bishops wherever men are called Christians, which no other ruler or governor ever received. Indeed he enjoys such great authority over all that even the Latins themselves, who are not in communion with our church, render him the same honor and submission which they did in the old days when they were united with us. So much more do Orthodox Christians owe such recognition to him....

'Therefore, my son, you are wrong to affirm that we have the church without an Emperors for it is impossible for Christians to have a church and no empire. The Baslleia and the church have a great unity and community - indeed they cannot be separated. Christians can repudiate only emperors who are heretics who attack the church, or who introduce doctrines irreconcilable with the teachings of the Apostles and the Fathers. But our very great and holy autokrator, by the grace of God, is most orthodox and faithful, a champion of' the church, its defender and avenger, so that it is impossible for bishops not to mention his name in the liturgy. Of whom, then, do the Fathers, councils, and canons speak? Always and everywhere they speak loudly of' the one rightful basileus, whose laws, decrees, and charters are in force throughout the world and who alone, only he, is mentioned in all places by Christians in the liturgy.'

F. Miklosich and I. Mueller, eds., Acta et Diplomata Graeca I, Vienna, 1862, vol. 2, pp. 190-91.
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2006, 09:50:45 AM »

First of all, the Archbishop of New Rome is the ONLY Bishop ever to have the authority to ordain (or Coronate, if you prefer) Emperors. Of course, Old Rome later claimed this right when she Coronated Charlemagne...but this is the first time in her history that this was done and this authority was claimed...a bit late seeing how there already was a Roman Emperor in the East.

As for you idealists who don't believe the secular (or, more accurate, Imperial) significance to Ecclesiastical significance, that is just naivete. It should be manifest to all that objectively look at history that Christianity would not exist today in any significant form if not for the support of the Empire. It was the Emperors and the politics of the Empire that shaped the development of the Church and defined the boundaries of the Church. The modern notion of separation of Church and State would have been foreign to the Empire and is foreign to the Imperial Church...The Church is the Empire and the Empire is the Church, any division is inherently artificial.
I prefer the view that the Church is above the state, and that the state must submit to the decisions of the state since the "flesh availeth not".
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2006, 03:11:12 PM »

I prefer the view that the Church is above the state, and that the state must submit to the decisions of the state since the "flesh availeth not".

You too are creating a false dichotomy between Church and Empire...just talking the other extreme of the position. Of course, this is somewhat understandable considering the strained relations that long existed between Church and State in the west.
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2006, 03:46:38 PM »

You too are creating a false dichotomy between Church and Empire...just talking the other extreme of the position. Of course, this is somewhat understandable considering the strained relations that long existed between Church and State in the west.
Not necessarily. I agree that the state should be Christian. The government should be run by Christians. In fact, I believe that the state should make laws in accord with Christian principles and officially foster and support the Catholic faith to the exclusion of others. The state should also follow the commands of the Church, for the Church IS the kingdom of God on earth. However, although I do not support the separation of Church and state, I do not necessarily believe that they need to be one and the same.
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2006, 03:49:58 PM »

GIS,

Of course an Encyclical of a Patirarch is not the same as a Canon of an Ecumenical Council.  And of course history has proven the Patriarch wrong, the Church can, has, and does function without an emperor, rulers other than the emperor are now commemorated in the services.

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« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2006, 04:18:42 PM »

If we were to toss out the rankings according to the old Empire or even modern political considerations, wouldn't that put Jerusalem as the First among equals?  After all, it represents the only place where the Apostles assembled a Council.
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« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2006, 05:57:27 PM »

Of course an Encyclical of a Patirarch is not the same as a Canon of an Ecumenical Council.  And of course history has proven the Patriarch wrong, the Church can, has, and does function without an emperor, rulers other than the emperor are now commemorated in the services.

No, a Patriarchal Encyclical is not the same as a Canon of an Oecumenical Synod; however, the opinions of Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenos are comparable to the ancient canons because of, amongst other things, their codifications in Roman Law. Of course, absent any ruling to the contrary by an Oecumenical Synod, the Patriarchal Encyclical should be held in high regard.
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« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2006, 06:03:28 PM »

Not necessarily. I agree that the state should be Christian. The government should be run by Christians. In fact, I believe that the state should make laws in accord with Christian principles and officially foster and support the Catholic faith to the exclusion of others.

But here you are aruging a dichotomy exists, while you are arguing that there should be no separation you are also arguing distinction...a distinction foreign to the relationship between Church and State in the Empire.

As a member of a Church that once coronated their Popes as Monarchs, surely you should be able to understand this level of integration, even if it is absent in the ancient traditions of your Church.

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The state should also follow the commands of the Church, for the Church IS the kingdom of God on earth. However, although I do not support the separation of Church and state, I do not necessarily believe that they need to be one and the same.

It does not sound that you would have the Church render unto Caesar that which is due to him. Our Emperors, Most August, had the right to rule their Empire, and the Church the duty to submit to this temporal rule. For the Church to take over rule on earth would have been a usurping of Imperial Authority, in direct violation of the Gospels. To state again the wisdom of Balsamon:

'The service of the emperors includes the enlightening and strengthening of both the soul and the body; the dignity of the patriarchs is limited to the benefit of souls and to that only.'
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« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2006, 07:55:58 PM »

But here you are aruging a dichotomy exists, while you are arguing that there should be no separation you are also arguing distinction...a distinction foreign to the relationship between Church and State in the Empire.

As a member of a Church that once coronated their Popes as Monarchs, surely you should be able to understand this level of integration, even if it is absent in the ancient traditions of your Church.

It does not sound that you would have the Church render unto Caesar that which is due to him. Our Emperors, Most August, had the right to rule their Empire, and the Church the duty to submit to this temporal rule. For the Church to take over rule on earth would have been a usurping of Imperial Authority, in direct violation of the Gospels. To state again the wisdom of Balsamon:

'The service of the emperors includes the enlightening and strengthening of both the soul and the body; the dignity of the patriarchs is limited to the benefit of souls and to that only.'
When were our Popes crowned monarchs of earthly government? If you are refering to the Papal States, these only existed to protect the vatican from the influence of secular rulers.
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« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2006, 12:47:01 AM »

'The service of the emperors includes the enlightening and strengthening of both the soul and the body; the dignity of the patriarchs is limited to the benefit of souls and to that only.'

That is an interesting quote.  That would mean that the Emperor is superior and of greater honor than a patriarch.  The patriarch can bestow the Holy Spirit, offer the sacraments and handles the Precious Body and Blood of Christ.  How can any temporal authority compare with that?  I can accept that the Emperor is the temporal ruler by the will of God and therefore we should submit in those matters, within reason of course.  But, to suggest that he has authority over matters spiritual, as "strengthening of both the soul and the body" would indicate, is entirely unacceptable to me.

You said to Papist "It does not sound that you would have the Church render unto Caesar that which is due to him" and yet you would go further in the other direction.  When the Lord told us to render unto Caesar he also said to render unto God what is His, and each was exclusive of the other.  You cannot render unto Caesar what is both his and God's.  This is the beginning of caesaropapism.

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« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2006, 08:03:26 AM »

That is an interesting quote.  That would mean that the Emperor is superior and of greater honor than a patriarch.  The patriarch can bestow the Holy Spirit, offer the sacraments and handles the Precious Body and Blood of Christ.  How can any temporal authority compare with that?  I can accept that the Emperor is the temporal ruler by the will of God and therefore we should submit in those matters, within reason of course.  But, to suggest that he has authority over matters spiritual, as "strengthening of both the soul and the body" would indicate, is entirely unacceptable to me.

You're confusing issues, we are talking about authority and pastoral guidance, not a sacramental role. No, the Emperor does not have the same Sacramental role as a Bishop, but that says nothing about his authority. First of all, he still has the spiritual responsibility to rule the Church and guide the faithful under his authority; or would you recommend a complete divorce between body and soul? How can the former be ruled without affecting the latter? Secondly, the Imperial office was a priestly one, the Emperor was annointed with Holy Myrrh, there was a distinctly spiritual nature to the coronation. Finally, the Church has traditionally recognized the authority of the Emperor within it; Oecumenical Synods were summoned by the Emperor, who presided (or in his absence his deputy presided) over them, canons were promulgated by Imperial authority, and only by said authority, the role of the Emperor was manifest in all these spiritual matters essential to creating and maintain Orthodox Dogma and discipline.

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This is the beginning of caesaropapism.

You say that as though it's a bad thing.
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« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2006, 12:11:44 PM »

First of all, he still has the spiritual responsibility to rule the Church and guide the faithful under his authority; or would you recommend a complete divorce between body and soul?  How can the former be ruled without affecting the latter?

No, I would not suggest a complete divorce, but you claimed recourse to Christ's direction to render unto Caesar, and that directive does in fact separate the two ideas of Caesar and God and does not intermingle them.  Actually, it appears to set them in opposition.  So, while the Emperor may have the authority to command temporally, i.e. the body, he would have no authority in matters spiritual, i.e. the soul.

As for how you can rule the former without the latter I think that is obvious.  Does your local government rule your soul?  Do you take commands from the state as to which Church you attend, which faith you hold, and what you believe?  Or do you follow its laws on traffic, business and so on?

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Secondly, the Imperial office was a priestly one, the Emperor was annointed with Holy Myrrh, there was a distinctly spiritual nature to the coronation.

Priestly?  In what way?  You above rejected a sacramental role, and that surely would negate any priestly authority.  And my marriage involved blessings and was very spiritual but it doesn't mean that I can rule the Church in some way.  I have no doubt that there were sacramental aspects to the ordination of an Emperor, and considering the time period involved we should not be surprised by that.  But, that certainly cannot imply some episcopal or priestly authority having been conveyed.

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Finally, the Church has traditionally recognized the authority of the Emperor within it; Oecumenical Synods were summoned by the Emperor, who presided (or in his absence his deputy presided) over them, canons were promulgated by Imperial authority, and only by said authority, the role of the Emperor was manifest in all these spiritual matters essential to creating and maintain Orthodox Dogma and discipline.

The areas in which an Emperor could claim authority were all temporal in nature.  He could call the Bishops together and they would act.  Their decisions however were not from the emperor.  When emperors fell into Arianism or were entirely apostate they could not overrule or dictate that the Church accept these ideas as its own.  The emperor ruled the "body" of the Bishops, but not the spirit of the Church.  When the Emperor convened a council the Bishops rendered unto Caesar what was his by their physical submission and so they did as he asked, but then they rendered unto God what was His by being obedient to His revelation and will in their decisions.  No Emperor can overrule or change that.

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You say that as though it's a bad thing.

As I see it, if Peter is not accepted as the rock Christ referred to then why would the Emperor be more suited?  He surely gave no such universal primacy and jurisdiction to some Emperor.

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« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2006, 06:07:40 PM »

Priestly?  In what way?  You above rejected a sacramental role, and that surely would negate any priestly authority.  And my marriage involved blessings and was very spiritual but it doesn't mean that I can rule the Church in some way.  I have no doubt that there were sacramental aspects to the ordination of an Emperor, and considering the time period involved we should not be surprised by that.  But, that certainly cannot imply some episcopal or priestly authority having been conveyed.

Except, of course, numerous patriarchs and canonists have declared that such an authority is conveyed. The fathers taught that the Emperor is the Representative of Christ on Earth. While the Bishops represented the priestly office of Christ, the Kingly office was manifested in the person of the Emperor. Of course, there were actual liturgical roles for the Emperor as well during an Imperial Liturgy, but his liturgical function is secondary to his spiritual authority.

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The areas in which an Emperor could claim authority were all temporal in nature.  He could call the Bishops together and they would act.  Their decisions however were not from the emperor.  When emperors fell into Arianism or were entirely apostate they could not overrule or dictate that the Church accept these ideas as its own.  The emperor ruled the "body" of the Bishops, but not the spirit of the Church.  When the Emperor convened a council the Bishops rendered unto Caesar what was his by their physical submission and so they did as he asked, but then they rendered unto God what was His by being obedient to His revelation and will in their decisions.  No Emperor can overrule or change that.

The authority went beyond that, promulgation was required for the decrees of a synod to be authoritative, if a synod ruled and the Emperor objective, the decisions of the bishops were nullified. A canon that is not promulgated and codified by an Emperor carries no spiritual authority; of course, an Emperor also had the right to disolve a synod if the discussion was not going the way he deemed most appropriate and it was an Imperial Right to control attendance to the Synod. Furthermore, consider the Arian controversy, the Synods that condemned Arianism were promulgated by the Imperial Authority; the decisions of anti-Arian synods that were convened contrary to Imperial authority were moot, and still are to this very day 1600 years after the defeat of Arianism.

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As I see it, if Peter is not accepted as the rock Christ referred to then why would the Emperor be more suited?  He surely gave no such universal primacy and jurisdiction to some Emperor.

Ah, but the Emperor did have universal jurisdiction, as Patriarch Anthony decreed, he was the Emperor of ALL Christians, regardless of where they lived.
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« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2006, 08:06:57 PM »

Except, of course, numerous patriarchs and canonists have declared that such an authority is conveyed. The fathers taught that the Emperor is the Representative of Christ on Earth.

"Representative of Christ?"  That sounds very familiar.  Another word for representative is vicar, so you could also just as easily have said Vicar of Christ.  That may get some resistance though, as I seem to recall reading some objections by Orthodox that this was theologically impossible.

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The authority went beyond that, promulgation was required for the decrees of a synod to be authoritative, if a synod ruled and the Emperor objective, the decisions of the bishops were nullified. A canon that is not promulgated and codified by an Emperor carries no spiritual authority;

I see what you mean, but it sure is sad news for the Church before Constantine, since any conciliar decrees would have no spiritual authority.  For instance, the Council of Jerusalem would have been a powerful dogmatic voice, if the decrees could only have been promulgated and had spiritual authority.  But, as you say, a council has "no spiritual authority" unless confirmed by the Vicar of Christ.  And the Vicar of Christ at that time was too busy making human torches from Christians to light his parties to actually promulgate such canons. 

And, of course, who can argue with an Emperor anyway, since he is the personal Representative of Christ?  Actually, we can be so bold as to say that the only spiritual authority at all is the Emperor, since his promulgated dogma is of an ecumenical spiritual authority, and without him the same declaration has "no spiritual authority."   After looking closely at this we now know we have a Vicar of Christ, with complete spiritual authority, and whose declarations on doctrine are binding on all the universal Church.  I will admit, you may be close to convincing me.

Patrick
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« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2006, 08:26:00 PM »

"Representative of Christ?"  That sounds very familiar.  Another word for representative is vicar, so you could also just as easily have said Vicar of Christ.  That may get some resistance though, as I seem to recall reading some objections by Orthodox that this was theologically impossible.

Ah, but there is a difference between your 'Vicar' and our 'Representative,' this role speaks only to the Authority of the Emperor, we wouldn't extend it to imply that everything every Emperor said was Orthodox or that he had some special Grace that prevented him from falling into heresy, for many did. Because we had a person who exercised Christ's authority, that does not mean he always had access to Christ's wisdom. And this made things messy at times, heresies would prevail for a short time and we would be unable to control them until a new Orthodox Emperor came to power.

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I see what you mean, but it sure is sad news for the Church before Constantine, since any conciliar decrees would have no spiritual authority.

Well, it is telling that the only pre-Nicene canons that, today, have binding authority are those promulgated by the Sixth Oecumenical Synod.

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And, of course, who can argue with an Emperor anyway, since he is the personal Representative of Christ?  Actually, we can be so bold as to say that the only spiritual authority at all is the Emperor, since his promulgated dogma is of an ecumenical spiritual authority, and without him the same declaration has "no spiritual authority."   After looking closely at this we now know we have a Vicar of Christ, with complete spiritual authority, and whose declarations on doctrine are binding on all the universal Church.  I will admit, you may be close to convincing me.

The Emperor had veto power, if you will, but he could not promulgate dogma on his own (he could promulgate ecclesiastical laws that had the same force as the canons, but only relating to non-dogmatic matters; one example I can think of off the top of my head is when the Church of Constantinople was making quite a mess out of their financial situation in the sixth century and because of this we see rather extensive restrictions placed on them by St. Justinian in the code that today bears his name as to how many priests they are allowed to ordain and how many they are allowe to maintain, and special restrictions for the ordaining of priests). To promulgate dogma it must be first passed by a Synod. I fear you are confusing our theological tradition and your own Wink
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« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2006, 08:57:36 PM »

Ah, but there is a difference between your 'Vicar' and our 'Representative,' this role speaks only to the Authority of the Emperor, we wouldn't extend it to imply that everything every Emperor said was Orthodox or that he had some special Grace that prevented him from falling into heresy, for many did.

This does not accurately characterize the dogma of papal infallibility.
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« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2006, 08:58:51 PM »

I fear you are confusing our theological tradition and your own Wink

I may have been drawing some slight comparisons.  Smiley

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Ah, but there is a difference between your 'Vicar' and our 'Representative,' this role speaks only to the Authority of the Emperor, we wouldn't extend it to imply that everything every Emperor said was Orthodox or that he had some special Grace that prevented him from falling into heresy, for many did.

I might say that technically the same is true of the Roman Pontiff.  He is not guaranteed in any way that "everything every [Pope] said was Orthodox" or so on.

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Because we had a person who exercised Christ's authority, that does not mean he always had access to Christ's wisdom. And this made things messy at times, heresies would prevail for a short time and we would be unable to control them until a new Orthodox Emperor came to power.

What strikes me is that you could be comfortable with such power in the hands of a secular authority, but uncomfortable with it in the hands of an ecclesiastical authority.  That you cannot control heresies within the Church by the teaching office and apostolic institutions of the Episcopacy is somewhat strange.  Instead you have to wait for a new Emperor, and this shows just how much authority and power you are accrediting him with.  Beyond my own exaggerations, the effect you describe here is one of total subjugation of all things spiritual to one man, and he not even a Bishop.  I don't think that is a satisfactory position.

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Well, it is telling that the only pre-Nicene canons that, today, have binding authority are those promulgated by the Sixth Oecumenical Synod.

Surely you are not suggesting that the Council of Jerusalem had no authority?   It really does sound like you are agreeing that a council composed entirely of Apostles selected directly by Christ and ordained into their office by Him, would lack full authority without the agreement of the Emperor?

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The Emperor had veto power, if you will, but he could not promulgate dogma on his own (he could promulgate ecclesiastical laws that had the same force as the canons, but only relating to non-dogmatic matters; one example I can think of off the top of my head is when the Church of Constantinople was making quite a mess out of their financial situation in the sixth century and because of this we see rather extensive restrictions placed on them by St. Justinian in the code that today bears his name as to how many priests they are allowed to ordain and how many they are allowe to maintain, and special restrictions for the ordaining of priests). To promulgate dogma it must be first passed by a Synod.

But, a Synod without the Emperor is without authority, and therefore its authority is still bestowed upon it from above, i.e. the Emperor.   You would give us a Representative of Christ, which is the same meaning as Vicar of Christ, who was the sole origin of all spiritual authority in the Church.  I am still given cause to wonder if this is the widespread position of the Eastern Church?  If so, the Orthodox surely do keep it a secret, especially when arguing about the impossibility of a single head of the Church and all that.

Patrick
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« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2006, 09:35:51 PM »

What strikes me is that you could be comfortable with such power in the hands of a secular authority, but uncomfortable with it in the hands of an ecclesiastical authority.  That you cannot control heresies within the Church by the teaching office and apostolic institutions of the Episcopacy is somewhat strange.  Instead you have to wait for a new Emperor, and this shows just how much authority and power you are accrediting him with.  Beyond my own exaggerations, the effect you describe here is one of total subjugation of all things spiritual to one man, and he not even a Bishop.  I don't think that is a satisfactory position.

It's essentially a separation of powers, the Emperor is the ecclesiastical equivalent of a President, in the spiritual realm relatively weak without a Synod, but with a synod he gains a fair amount of influence, though still requiring their support to do anything major. Also, what I believe you fail to understand is that in the Empire, Emperor was an ecclesiastical position, just as surely as a Bishop is. It's a different position but equally central to the life of the Church. The ecclesiastical ceremonies and associated prayers at the coronation of an Emperor conferred upon him both secular and ecclesiastical authority. In the day to day liturgical life of the Empire this is seen by the Ancient right of the Emperor to enter the altar through the royal doors in a manner comprable to the Bishop.

Today this position is maintained by a Bishop, the Patriarch of Constantinople, following Chalcedon he was the perpetual representative of the Emperor to the Synod (hence the title 'Oecumenical') and conducted himself in accordance with the Imperial Authority (unless the Imperial Authority was actual present); after the fall of the Empire, as the last Imperial Institution this authority permanently became the right of the Oecumenical Throne. This is, of course, not the ideal which is recognized in the Oecumenical Throne's extreme reluctance to ever summon an Oecumenical Synod; these authorities are de facto his, but de jure they still belong to an Emperor.

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Surely you are not suggesting that the Council of Jerusalem had no authority?   It really does sound like you are agreeing that a council composed entirely of Apostles selected directly by Christ and ordained into their office by Him, would lack full authority without the agreement of the Emperor?

I'm suggesting that traditionally it's authority is due to its apostolic nature, not consular nature, and promulgation through scripture. This custom of refering to this apostolic meeting as though it were an Oecumenical Synod is a modern innovation; traditionally the teachings are received in an entirely different manner.

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But, a Synod without the Emperor is without authority, and therefore its authority is still bestowed upon it from above, i.e. the Emperor.   You would give us a Representative of Christ, which is the same meaning as Vicar of Christ, who was the sole origin of all spiritual authority in the Church.

And an Emperor without a Synod is without Authority. Hence the synergy between Church and state. By the 10th Century this principle not only applied to canon law, but to nearly all elements of Imperial law. First one would have to propose the law and the other approve it, though by the 12th century a true synergy was achieved and the approval was essentially automatic and anything the Standing Synod promulgated was entered into civil law and anything the Emperor promulgated was entered into ecclesiastical/canon law.

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I am still given cause to wonder if this is the widespread position of the Eastern Church?  If so, the Orthodox surely do keep it a secret, especially when arguing about the impossibility of a single head of the Church and all that.

If you believe the role I am describing is that of the head of the Church, you are in error, the Emperor was the unifying force in matters of discipline, law, and dogma...though his pastoral and liturgical role was more muted (though by no means absent) there the Patriarch was much closer to the 'head' if you will.

As to how wide spread this position is? 600 years ago it was universally accepted, 200 years ago it was accepted fairly universally though Russia had begun to have aspirations of greatness, upsetting things a bit, but not substantially. It's really only in the last 100 years that serious opposition to the Imperial institutions has arisen, though amongst the ancient patriarchates this tradition is still strongly maintained.
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« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2006, 10:21:04 PM »

It's a different position but equally central to the life of the Church.

I cannot see this as possible.  If it were, then the Church would be able to carry on if every Bishop disappeared tomorrow, but an Emperor were back on the throne.  The Church existed for hundreds of years without an Emperor, at least not one with any authority in the Church, and has existed for hundreds of years after the last Emperor.  The same could not be true in reverse.

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Today this position is maintained by a Bishop, the Patriarch of Constantinople, following Chalcedon he was the perpetual representative of the Emperor to the Synod (hence the title 'Oecumenical') and conducted himself in accordance with the Imperial Authority (unless the Imperial Authority was actual present); after the fall of the Empire, as the last Imperial Institution this authority permanently became the right of the Oecumenical Throne. This is, of course, not the ideal which is recognized in the Oecumenical Throne's extreme reluctance to ever summon an Oecumenical Synod; these authorities are de facto his, but de jure they still belong to an Emperor.

Who gave him these powers?  Were they conferred upon him by an Emperor, or by a Council?  And was this very clearly and unarguably put forth?  I fear that it would be reading between the lines and saying that his role as Ecumenical Patriarch means this or that.  If it is not very clearly put forth, and by the authority of an Emperor, and if it is true that the Emperor is an equally important and necessary office to the Church as a Bishop then the Church has been in a serious condition for many years.  Actually, it would have to be argued that it is wounded almost beyond use until somebody can reestablish the Roman Empire.  Personally, making the Church by all intents and purposes an extension of the Roman Empire is both extremely dangerous and dubious.

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I'm suggesting that traditionally it's authority is due to its apostolic nature, not consular nature, and promulgation through scripture. This custom of refering to this apostolic meeting as though it were an Oecumenical Synod is a modern innovation; traditionally the teachings are received in an entirely different manner.

Okay, I think I follow what you are saying in this.

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And an Emperor without a Synod is without Authority. Hence the synergy between Church and state.

But, what you describe as synergy played absolutely no role in the Church for more than three hundred years when the very office you laud was working as hard as possible to destroy Christianity.  Or at least often did.  I could only accept the model you describe if it were shown to have a consistent nature, and it doesn't nor did it.   An Emperor was of immense power and undeniably managed to gain much in the way of influence, but to suggest that it is intrinsic or integral to the operation of the Church is to greatly reduce the truth of that institution.  I, for one, would find it very hard to ever accept such a model as you suggest.

Patrick
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