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Author Topic: Announcement by the Sacred Community of the Holy Mountain Athos  (Read 29334 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 09, 2007, 07:36:30 PM »

Since this deals with both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox, I thought this was the best place to put this.  However, moderators, feel free to move it if you feel it goes elsewhere.

Scamandrius

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SACRED COMMUNITY OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN ATHOS

About the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical
Patriarchate on the occasion of the feast-day of Saint Andrew (30th
November 2006)


http://www.oodegr.com/english/oikoumenismos/athos1.htm

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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2007, 08:38:19 PM »

A bit paranoid IMHO, but still, if what they say is true about the level of concelebration that took place, they really have a point. 

I didn't notice this level of concelebration going on myself, but I'm sure the monks wouldn't knowingly misrepresent that, would they?

So far, I really like Benedict, much more even than I liked John Paul II, in a way.  I'm not sure that I agree with what the monks say about his attitude towards the East at all.  It seems to me that he has a genuine respect for the Orthodox. 
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2007, 11:38:36 PM »

The Athonites would never, ever admit good intentions or motivations on the part of any Pope. Like the Lutherans a long time ago, their identity seems somewhat wrapped up in being anti-Roman. The Pope makes a convenient bogey man.

All that aside, this statement is definitely less hysterical than others I've seen coming out of Athos.
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2007, 11:53:06 PM »

In nomine Iesu, I wish you all peace,

Patience cannot be proved in any other way than suffering, and patience is united in love. - St. Catherine of Siena

May we suffer greatly for the trust and love of those Holy Ones in Mt. Athos. Amen.

Pax Vobiscum
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2007, 12:54:05 AM »

What a loving sentiment to put forward, Francis-Christopher.  Thank you.   Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2007, 01:09:06 AM »

The Athonites would never, ever admit good intentions or motivations on the part of any Pope. Like the Lutherans a long time ago, their identity seems somewhat wrapped up in being anti-Roman. The Pope makes a convenient bogey man.

It's certainly a widely held belief in the Roman communion that the monks of Athos hold far too much influence in the Orthodox Church.  However, there is a strong tradition in Eastern monasticism of monks being guardians of Orthodoxy.  Doubtless Athos sometimes interprets things incorrectly, but sometimes they point out things that need to be remembered.  And there are still elders of great holiness and humility there.

Unfortunately, there is a rather strong xenophobia in Greece about all things non-Greek in general, and Roman Catholicism in particular.  But, hey, if younger people in Greece can begin to see the foolishness in regarding all Turks as hideous enemies to be eradicated at all cost (which I have heard is actually happening in some circles!) then there is hope.   Smiley  I'm not by any means an expert on this kind of thing, so someone else should certainly feel free to supplement what I have written about this.
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2007, 01:39:52 AM »

I understand you. I actually love Mount Athos and what it represents. I remember being entralled by my professor's stories about it in my Byzantine history class. I'm sure the monks there are in general very holy, and I have always dreamed of visiting ever since I first read about Mount Athos during my childhood obsession with all things Byzantine (sparked by reading John Bellairs's novel The Trolley to Yesterday). But I do think they can be extreme sometimes. But hey, I love 'em, just like the SSPX members in my family (including my cousin Tom, who has 12 children!).
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2007, 11:55:47 AM »

I suppose that it is good to have their voice to force the Church to stay centered... Even if they vocally/publicly don't agree with one another, the words/statements force both the EP and Athos to be more moderate instead of existing on one extreme or another.
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2007, 04:43:03 PM »

I was actually glad to see in writing what their concerns were.  I was surprised to see how literal they see each action of diplomacy as being problematic.  Are there really people in the world who believe that historic diplomatic traditions with all their layers of protocol have any reqal bearing on the true relationship?  One only has to see the diplomatic protocol and formal toasts between Western political   Leaders and the old soviet Union leaders to know that it is only protocol and has no real substance.

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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2007, 05:12:15 PM »

Well, I tend to agree with the monks on this. Without any changes, all the RCC is doing is lip service and reaffirming their stance on their doctrines, especially if all we do is service them to their whims, IMHO.

Seriously, should we alter our truths for their union with us? I think the monks of Mt. Athos have a valid point which should not be overlooked and taken as paranoia. Until we live our spiritual lives as they do in their ascetic practices we should heed their connection with our Lord to provide us their wisdom. Again, just my opinion.

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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2007, 05:15:46 PM »

I think the Monks need to realize that the reunion will never happen if we glare at the Pope and say "Either join us unconditionally, or clear off."

Certain concessions need to be made on both sides. Now, as I've stated in previous Catholic-Orthodox topics, I do not think we should compromise our theology and dogma for a reunion. But to bring both sides back together, a certain level of lip-service is needed, if simply so the two sides CAN begin to discuss things in depth and detail.

Rage and stubborn attitudes have never fixed much, and love must be given to the Pope and to all Roman Catholics.

Francis Christopher- Thank you for your reply. I always enjoy reading your posts. They have the air of a true Christian around them.  Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2007, 05:28:47 PM »

We must be careful.  One thing that I don't think some realize is that what the EP is doing is not practicing love but rather practicing acceptance, and the two do not equal each other.  As a bishop, he must first love the Truth, which is the Church, and all of her teachings, which he is failing to do.  True love means sometimes telling someone they are wrong, even when they may not want to hear it.  However, we can tell someone they are wrong in a loving way as well, which doesn't necessarily require harshness, and this we should all practice as Orthodox Christians. 
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2007, 09:37:29 PM »

We must be careful.  One thing that I don't think some realize is that what the EP is doing is not practicing love but rather practicing acceptance, and the two do not equal each other.  As a bishop, he must first love the Truth, which is the Church, and all of her teachings, which he is failing to do.  True love means sometimes telling someone they are wrong, even when they may not want to hear it.  However, we can tell someone they are wrong in a loving way as well, which doesn't necessarily require harshness, and this we should all practice as Orthodox Christians. 


I think this is a warning to the EP who is not actually practicing acceptance, but imitation. There's been quite some campaign over the last few decades of the EP promoting itself as guarantor of Orthodox unity - the same phrase the monasteries have used in ostensibly a description of the papacy in Benedict's "...within the society, with the Successors of the Apostles, whose visible unity is guaranteed by the Successor of the Apostle Peter."

This is an example of how far from orthodox ecclesiology the EP has travelled:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/qaneopa.pdf

For those that don't know that this is un-orthodox, the 1848 Enclyclical from the Eastern Patriarchs to Pius IX spells it out - to claim that authority comes from the throne is a heresy, it's the other way around, authority comes from holding true doctrine.

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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2007, 09:53:27 PM »

I understand you. I actually love Mount Athos and what it represents. I remember being entralled by my professor's stories about it in my Byzantine history class. I'm sure the monks there are in general very holy, and I have always dreamed of visiting ever since I first read about Mount Athos during my childhood obsession with all things Byzantine (sparked by reading John Bellairs's novel The Trolley to Yesterday). But I do think they can be extreme sometimes.

Or perhaps the tragedy of that the Byzantines period collapsing made way for the European Renaissance to replace Christian Tradition for Paganistic Hellenism in the West which pioneered the Enlightenment or in a more offsetting position of Secularism. In any which way the monks see the Christian west with resentment for having their Roman history closed into isolation and fending for themselves as it were. It doesn't seem inappropriate to say that the Pope's future successors' can ever recover the West for re-evangelization. If anything thing countries like Sweden, Denmark and Holland's societal rejection of religion puts the faith in more diverse unenlightened regions (Third World and globalized Developing Countries).

Also if America future of the Christian faith identifies the Orthodox as minorities it would not be the same in Europe. However the term (Polish, Celtic, English, Finnish) Orthodox would be a good precedence in the future of Orthodoxy in Western Europe compromising Catholicism.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2007, 11:53:51 PM »

Also if America future of the Christian faith identifies the Orthodox as minorities it would not be the same in Europe. However the term (Polish, Celtic, English, Finnish) Orthodox would be a good precedence in the future of Orthodoxy in Western Europe compromising Catholicism.  Roll Eyes

I have no idea what you are trying to say here. Could you clean up the grammar a little bit?
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2007, 02:23:25 AM »

OK I seemed to have offended Catholics on this issue when the Orthodox acceptance to the Roman Catholic Churches agreements seems to benefit Europe. The quick and irreversible part of Secularism advancement in Europe that rejects religion to be a imaginary and the Christian Dialogues that try to combat this are unfortunately here to stay which the Orthodox would have to tolerate.

 But Catholics need not be worried for Orthodoxy's encroachment to the English, Germans, Swedish and so on (maybe not Poland). This is where Orthodoxy comes in through its Christian disciplines, cultural norms on nationalism and certain proper preservation of Hellenism. Whats to say that national Catholics will reap the rewards of its "Reunion" aftermath. Technically the Ecumenical Patriarch agreeing to Common Declaration between O and C will essentially "re-evangelize" the West. Though the consequences are improperly placing the ecclesiological grounds by Branch theory which is another serious concern.
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2007, 11:10:53 PM »

I feel that the monks were 100% right on the issues of liturgical practices.  I mean...the Pope did do exactly as they described. 

I felt that they went off on the deep end when they said that the RC church has done NOTHING to improve their theological standpoints...

In that line of thought, they OBVIOUSLY didn't take the Filioque out of the Creed in the Catechesis...right? Wink    Roll Eyes

The monks can say that they want more movement.  I don't think that its right for them to say that the RC's are doing NOTHING. 
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2007, 11:33:30 PM »

But hey, I love 'em, just like the SSPX members in my family (including my cousin Tom, who has 12 children!).

Wow.  Nowadays, that's quite the large family!
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« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2007, 05:36:05 PM »

Quote
authority comes from holding true doctrine.

So then what remains as an objectively verifiable standard of true doctrine by which we might judge the legitimacy of any given episcopal claimant?
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2007, 05:53:20 PM »

All systems of authority are circular, don't try to say that Rome has escaped this problem.  Cool For example, for Catholics the Pope's word is law... unless of course he is an antipope, in which case he was not a pope to begin with, with the rub being that people must judge the pope before he can be found to be holy or unholy. So the pope is the authority, but the people must accept that he is a valid authority before he starts ruling over the people, and if at any time he falls into heresy, it would prove that he was never head the true authority to begin with. Thus the reason that some traditional Christians have come to see the idea of infallibility as a misstep, because no matter how you slice it you still have fallible humans trying to judge, understand, verify, and obey a supposedly infallible authority. It's humanly impossible. And no, it's not theanthropically possible either, unless God somehow overpowers the free will of those in his Church.
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« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2007, 06:35:42 PM »

So then what remains as an objectively verifiable standard of true doctrine by which we might judge the legitimacy of any given episcopal claimant?

Holy Tradition, (the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church), conciliarity (sobornost), and when it is not in error, agreement with the see of Constantinople.  Certainly not via a magesterium, which it would seem that you are just itching to suggest.  Wink
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« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2007, 10:49:25 PM »

Holy Tradition, (the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church), conciliarity (sobornost), and when it is not in error, agreement with the see of Constantinople.  Certainly not via a magesterium, which it would seem that you are just itching to suggest.  Wink

That's what we call the magisterium:)
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« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2007, 11:34:33 PM »

I'm sure you're quite well aware that the way the Catholic Church defines the magisterium is not the same as the Orthodox position.
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« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2007, 12:43:32 PM »

Quote
For example, for Catholics the Pope's word is law... unless of course he is an antipope, in which case he was not a pope to begin with, with the rub being that people must judge the pope before he can be found to be holy or unholy.


There are objectively verifiable criteria for discerning the validity of a papal election, and, I might add simply for the sake of clarification, judgments concerning the legitimacy of such an election in no way concern themselves with the sanctity of the papal claimant. 

Quote
So the pope is the authority, but the people must accept that he is a valid authority before he starts ruling over the people, and if at any time he falls into heresy, it would prove that he was never head the true authority to begin with.


Your first assertion I find somewhat confusing.  I would say this; upon elevation to the Petrine See, the Pope ipso facto 'starts ruling over the people', irrespective of their acceptance of his reign. 

As for the second assertion, it is not true.  If a pope were to fall into heresy (& it is highly debatable from a Catholic point of view whether a pope has actually fallen into formal heresy) it would not mean that he were never "the true authority to begin with".  That is simply not Catholic teaching.  There has never been an historical instance where a 'pope' is judged not to be such a posteriori on the basis of his promulgation of heretical doctrine.

Quote
Thus the reason that some traditional Christians have come to see the idea of infallibility as a misstep, because no matter how you slice it you still have fallible humans trying to judge, understand, verify, and obey a supposedly infallible authority. It's humanly impossible. And no, it's not theanthropically possible either, unless God somehow overpowers the free will of those in his Church.

Do you not as an Orthodox believe in ecclesial infallibility?  I would argue you should, given the presence of this phrase in the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895: "we are fully persuaded that... every bishop is head and president of his own particular Church, subject only to the synodical ordinances and decisions of the Church universal as being alone infallible".  So in any event you have infallibility exercised through the agency of in se fallible creatures.  This is not a matter of God suppressing or overpowering man's freewill; it is an ecclesiological analogy to the Two Wills of Christ wherein the human & Divine Wills remained distinct, yet in perfect harmony.  So it is with the Church, Who, whether (in the Catholic view) speaking through Peter (S. Matthew xvi. 19) or through the synod of the apostles (S. Matthew xviii. 18) binds on earth what has been bound in Heaven.
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« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2007, 12:52:55 PM »

Quote
and when it is not in error, agreement with the see of Constantinople.

If the Constantinopolitan See is itself liable to error, then it would be fruitless to look to it as an objective verifier of Orthodox Tradition.  It becomes a vestigial step in the quest for the purity of Christian doctrine.  Saying that the Seven (or however many any given Orthodox believer thinks there are) Oecumenical Councils are the only infallible rule is fine for the discussion now (although I argue that criterion faces much the same problems as the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura in that there must exist an outside source of verification for what is percieved to be the sole dogmatic authority).  But to add this last step is superfluous.  It's somewhat akin to a Protestant, of the 'Reformed' variety, say, who says, 'yes, the councils are authorititive insofar as they align with the Bible'.

And why, might I ask, Constantinople?
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« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2007, 01:00:09 PM »

If the Constantinopolitan See is itself liable to error, then it would be fruitless to look to it as an objective verifier of Orthodox Tradition.  It becomes a vestigial step in the quest for the purity of Christian doctrine.  Saying that the Seven (or however many any given Orthodox believer thinks there are) Oecumenical Councils are the only infallible rule is fine for the discussion now (although I argue that criterion faces much the same problems as the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scripture in that there must exist an outside source of verification for what is percieved to be the sole dogmatic authority).  But to add this last step is superfluous.  It's somewhat akin to a Protestant, of the 'Reformed' variety, say, who says, 'yes, the councils are authorititive insofar as they align with the Bible'.

The Oecumenical Synods are not infallible by any means, they are authoritive...infact many would argue that they made several major mistakes, but they still have authority. Of course, the scripture is also in error...when it comes down to it, we have no infallible sources we have no absolute sources, we only work through things the best we can; but those who claim to have absolute and infallible knowledge are liars or heretics or both. The Orthodox Church does not live in the ecclesiastical disneyland Rome has created, we dont have infallibility, we dont have absolute knowledge, we do not pretend to be Gods, only God knows all things and man, including the Church, will only fully understand all things in the life to come. And I have a sneaking suspicion that on that day we'll find out that about 90% of our beliefs and theologies were just plain wrong and we'll all get a good laugh out of it.

Quote
And why, might I ask, Constantinople?

She is both the New Rome and the New Jerusalem, she was the throne of the Christian Emperors, and she is the Oecumenical Patriarch.
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« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2007, 01:17:42 PM »

Wow, GiC. I'm curious; is there, or has there ever been, even one EO theologian/clergyman who advocates/has advocated an ecclesiology that admits to the notion that, potentially, "about 90% of [your] theology and beliefs were just plain wrong"?
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« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2007, 01:29:17 PM »

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The Oecumenical Synods are not infallible by any means

Quote
the scripture is also in error

Quote
when it comes down to it, we have no infallible sources we have no absolute sources, we only work through things the best we can

I admit surprise at the fact that an Orthodox would be willing to say this.  I am intrigued to hear this coming from you individually, but until proven wrong by more witnesses, I shall assume that this is in no wise a majority Orthodox view. 

Ultimately your views are inconsistent with the whole Orthodox ethos which is just as dogmatic as the Catholic.  To believe as you do is to despise the authority of the Church, which sees herself as the unerring defender of the plenitude of truth, this being true of Catholic & Orthodox Churches both.  To believe as you do is to see your Church's authoritative statements - including those of the past 1/2 millenium, notably the Acts of the Synod of Jerusalem, the Confession of S. Peter Mohila, & the two XIXth Century Patriarchal Encyclicals, which all clearly affirm Scriptural & Conciliar infallibility - as by their inflated claims over-stepping their rightful epistemological bounds.   
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« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2007, 02:12:12 PM »

Wow, GiC. I'm curious; is there, or has there ever been, even one EO theologian/clergyman who advocates/has advocated an ecclesiology that admits to the notion that, potentially, "about 90% of [your] theology and beliefs were just plain wrong"?

I dont think anyone's tried to quantify it before, so I thought I'd take that groundbreaking first step Wink
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« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2007, 02:15:42 PM »

I admit surprise at the fact that an Orthodox would be willing to say this.  I am intrigued to hear this coming from you individually, but until proven wrong by more witnesses, I shall assume that this is in no wise a majority Orthodox view. 

Ultimately your views are inconsistent with the whole Orthodox ethos which is just as dogmatic as the Catholic.  To believe as you do is to despise the authority of the Church, which sees herself as the unerring defender of the plenitude of truth, this being true of Catholic & Orthodox Churches both.  To believe as you do is to see your Church's authoritative statements - including those of the past 1/2 millenium, notably the Acts of the Synod of Jerusalem, the Confession of S. Peter Mohila, & the two XIXth Century Patriarchal Encyclicals, which all clearly affirm Scriptural & Conciliar infallibility - as by their inflated claims over-stepping their rightful epistemological bounds.   

Ask around, I'm sure you'll find many who insist on the authority of synods, scripture, the church, etc...but few who insist on the infallibility of the same. A common orthodox description is also sufficiency: the church, the scriptures, the synods, the bishops, etc. are not infallible or inerrant, but they are sufficient for our salvation or for our needs on earth...there will be no soteriological implications of their short commings.
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« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2007, 03:20:56 PM »

Ask around, I'm sure you'll find many who insist on the authority of synods, scripture, the church, etc...but few who insist on the infallibility of the same. A common orthodox description is also sufficiency: the church, the scriptures, the synods, the bishops, etc. are not infallible or inerrant, but they are sufficient for our salvation or for our needs on earth...there will be no soteriological implications of their short commings.

I don't know, I've met Orthodox and read Orthodox who most certainly do characterize Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (chiefly, the ecumenical synods), and thus the Church, as infallible on matters of faith.

A suitable example can be found here, in The Fundamental Teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church, by Rev. George Mastrantonis: http://goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7063.asp

The Holy Spirit is the Supreme Author and Guardian under' Whose direction and protection the Scriptures become the inspired and infallible Source of faith and salvation.

The Ecumenical Synod is considered infallible on matters of faith, however, not in matters of administration and discipline.

In doing so, the synods of the Fathers, as a whole and as individuals, believe that their decisions are infallible.

-

Like in the Catholic Church, infallibility seems to be carefully defined.

OrthoDisney, perhaps? Wink
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« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2007, 03:50:21 PM »

A flawed private opinion...heck, I've never even heard of the guy before, hardly an esteemed theoloigan of our Church (not that our theologians ever agree on anything). The modern mainstream orthodox theology with which I am familiar would be very uncomfortable with terminology such as infallible since most would agree that there are places where scripture or synods did error.
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« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2007, 04:36:32 PM »

Here's more from the GOA site:

Tradition in the Orthodox Church by George S. Bebis PH.D.
http://www.goarch.org/print/en/ourfaith/article7116.asp

Thus, the Ecumenical Councils and also some local councils, which later received universal acceptance, express the infallible teaching of the Church, a teaching which is irrevocable.

-

Papal Primacy by Emmanuel Clapsis
http://www.goarch.org/print/en/ourfaith/article8523.asp

By the grace of the Holy Spirit the Church is infallible when it meets in synods to clarify the Church's understanding of the central truths of salvation once these synods have been recognized by the people of God as true and catholic expressions of the apostolic faith.


-

The Greek (Eastern) Orthodox Church and The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Of America Rev. Robert G. Stephanopoulos, Ph.D. (George's father?)

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7061.asp

The Nicene Creed contains the standards of the Christian faith, and is considered a guide for understanding the Bible. This Creed is the authoritative and official statement of faith and the infallible criterion of true Orthodoxy.

-

A Dictionary of Orthodox Terminology - Part 1 by Fotios K. Litsas, Ph.D.

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8049.asp

The Canons generally provide for all administrative or disciplinary questions that might arise in the Church, and, consequently, are not infallible but can be changed or re-interpreted by an Ecumenical Council.

-

-------------

This seems a common opinion. The ecumenical synods are infallible on matters of faith because the whole Church accepted them as such.
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« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2007, 05:12:30 PM »

LMAO...do you really think Bebis and Clapsis have any clue what they're arguing or of the nuances of debate? It's just poor word choice on their part...LOL Cheesy

I guess you dont know much about these guys' scholarship, so I guess you think this is a good source...lol

But rather than finding instances where the word infallible is used...because they generally dont mean it in the same way you would, find instances where infallibility is specifically discussed. (In fact, one of the people you quoted specifically ranted against infallibility as a western innovation in one of his classes).

Stephanopoulos did a bit better job, the creed is, by definition, 'the infallible criterion of true Orthodoxy,' our religion is based on the creed, but more carefully he stated it is merely an 'authoritive and official statement of faith'...he did not go so far as to claim infallible and absolute truth, only that it is the basis of the Christian faith.

Word of advice, if you're looking to an appeal to authority (which doesn't work that well in the Orthodox Church anyway), avoid works written in English.
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« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2007, 05:48:17 PM »

GiC, if you believe your Church can get it wrong with regard to expressing dogma through a particular Synod that is upheld as Ecumenical, then surely it follows that your Church can also get it wrong with regard to upholding a particular Synod as authoritative in the first place. Or is she infallible in this regard?
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« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2007, 05:52:24 PM »

Of course, the scripture is also in error...when it comes down to it, we have no infallible sources we have no absolute sources, we only work through things the best we can;
I cant think of one church father who would agree with that statement.  Every single one I know of regards the bible as infallible.  Just yesterday I was reading The Homilies by Saint Nikolai and he stated that not one single verse in the bible was an exaggeration.  It would be amazing that the Church is based on a love of the truth, and belief that men are called on to recieve the Holy Spirit, but that 90% of what we believe is not the truth and therefore could not have been inspired by God.  What kind of a church is that?
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« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2007, 06:10:23 PM »

GiC, if you believe your Church can get it wrong with regard to expressing dogma through a particular Synod that is upheld as Ecumenical, then surely it follows that your Church can also get it wrong with regard to upholding a particular Synod as authoritative in the first place. Or is she infallible in this regard?
Here's a catch 22:
No Oecumenical Council has ever decreed that Oecumenical Councils are infallible. The "Infallability" of Councils is a relatively recent concept upheld by certain individual Bishops (including mine who wrote his doctrinal thesis on the subject). But since the only authority recognised as infallable by the advocates of Synodal Infallability, has never promulgated the doctrine of Synodal Infallability, it remains a fallable doctrine.
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« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2007, 06:19:55 PM »

Quote
Just yesterday I was reading The Homilies by Saint Nikolai and he stated that not one single verse in the bible was an exaggeration.

And you believe that?  Shocked
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« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2007, 06:41:54 PM »

Here's a catch 22:
No Oecumenical Council has ever decreed that Oecumenical Councils are infallible. The "Infallability" of Councils is a relatively recent concept upheld by certain individual Bishops (including mine who wrote his doctrinal thesis on the subject). But since the only authority recognised as infallable by the advocates of Synodal Infallability, has never promulgated the doctrine of Synodal Infallability, it remains a fallable doctrine.

I'm not discussing the integrity, or lack thereof, of the doctrine of Conciliar infallibility, but rather the implications of the argument that Councils can get it wrong, even in matters of faith, to the consistency of the overall position of GiC. If Council X quite probably stuffed up--doctrinally, politically, administratively etc.--then there is no basis upon which to uncompromisingly uphold that Council as authority, since the very recognition of that Council's authority is itself fallible as well. So when GiC implies that we cannot regard a certain Ecumenical Council X as infallible, but we can at least be certain of its authority, he's not being consistent. An Ecumenical Council's authority cannot be compromised precisely because it is the infallible arbiter of Truth.
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« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2007, 06:51:38 PM »

LMAO...do you really think Bebis and Clapsis have any clue what they're arguing or of the nuances of debate? It's just poor word choice on their part...LOL Cheesy

I guess you dont know much about these guys' scholarship, so I guess you think this is a good source...lol

But rather than finding instances where the word infallible is used...because they generally dont mean it in the same way you would, find instances where infallibility is specifically discussed. (In fact, one of the people you quoted specifically ranted against infallibility as a western innovation in one of his classes).

Stephanopoulos did a bit better job, the creed is, by definition, 'the infallible criterion of true Orthodoxy,' our religion is based on the creed, but more carefully he stated it is merely an 'authoritive and official statement of faith'...he did not go so far as to claim infallible and absolute truth, only that it is the basis of the Christian faith.

Word of advice, if you're looking to an appeal to authority (which doesn't work that well in the Orthodox Church anyway), avoid works written in English.



I'm just showing that belief in the infallibility of the Church and of Holy Tradition in matters of faith is quite common among Orthodox.

Some may avoid the word "infallible" because it is a "Western" term. But I don't see the Fathers at Nicaea saying, "We could be wrong, of course, but. . ."

Yet many other Orthodox use this word, even in discussions of Orthodoxy vs. Catholicism, meaning the same thing as Catholics do: unquestionable, irrevocable actions of the Holy Spirit. Witness the late Bishop Athenagoras Kokkinakis of Australia:

http://www.greekorthodox.net.au/pages/main.htm

The decisions of the Church at the General Councils were infallible, because they were made under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, with Holy Scripture and Christian Tradition as the basis for discussion and debate.

This clerical body represents the Church and is the instrument through which the infallible teaching of the Church is expressed by the Ecumenical Councils as defined by Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

At these Ecumenical Councils the Bishops of the entire Church convened and discussed, decided, defined and presented the teaching of the Church. These teachings, after having been found to be in accord with Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition, were infallible and were so pronounced. From the beginning, therefore, the body which determined and defined Christian Doctrine was the Ecumenical Council, which was guided by the Holy Spirit.

One of these was the proclamation of the Infallibility of the Pope by decision of the Synod of Bishops of the Roman Church in 1870. The Church, as a whole, always recognised the General Councils as infallible. Now the Bishop of Rome was placed above the Councils, proclaimed infallible when speaking ex cathedra as the Shepherd in matters of faith and morals.



To bring the point home, read what His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos of the GOA of Australia says:

Similarly, one could say that the infallibility of the Church has been sufficiently articulated, at least as far as the major aspects of the related theological issues are concerned. There have been, however, - and there probably still are - individual Orthodox theologians who, while otherwise well meaning, have the strange belief that the term "infallibility" reeks of western influence and expresses a so-called institutionalised legalism(12)

12. Thus, for example, the ever-memorable and benevolent D. Moraitis. Dean of the School of Theology at the University of Athens, when examining the author's doctoral dissertation on "The Infallibility of the Church in Orthodox Theology", did not hesitate to state in all sincerity that he was totally unaware that "infallibility was an article of faith in our Church"! Other close friends and colleagues, namely Archimandrite Athan Jevcic (now Metropolitan of Bosnia) and Prof. Christos Yannaras, immediately criticised this study, but of course without convincing arguments.

Taking into account the concluding verification that one who is ordained a Bishop shall keep all these things "until his last breath", it is obvious that he submits and even identifies his own conscience for a lifetime with the voice and conscience of the Church, infallibly spoken through the Ecumenical Councils.

http://www.greekorthodox.net.au/pages/main.htm

________________________________________________________

I'm not saying what these guys are saying is infallible, only pointing out that it is common among Orthodox Christians to consider the ecumenical synods as "infallible" (as Catholics understand it---irrevocable and without error) in matters of faith.

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« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2007, 06:54:16 PM »

So when GiC implies that we cannot regard a certain Ecumenical Council X as infallible, but we can at least be certain of its authority, he's not being consistent.
Well, actually, I disagree. Infallability is not necessarily a criterion of authority.
It is the Holy Spirit Who is infallible, and the Holy Spirit descends when we are "all with one accord in one place" (Acts 2:1), that is, only an assembly in unity of mind and heart creates the necessary conditions for the Holy Spirit to descend. That the Holy Spirit guides these assemblies is true, but it cannot be inferred from that that the assembly in all cases expresses absolutely and completely the Truth of the Holy Spirit. There are several reasons for this, but foremost is the fact that the Transcendant God cannot be caged withing human words.
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« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2007, 07:00:10 PM »

read what His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos of the GOA of Australia says:[/size]
I have read it before (he is my bishop). This is an excerpt from his doctrinal thesis I referred to above.
There are many Orthodox theologians and scholars who have disagreed with this thesis, (e.g:http://www.theandros.com/infallib.html).
And I also happen to disagree with Archbishop Stylianos.
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« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2007, 07:04:26 PM »

That the Holy Spirit guides these assemblies is true, but it cannot be inferred from that that the assembly in all cases expresses absolutely and completely the Truth of the Holy Spirit.

I don't think that is disputed. Not every decree or decision in an ecumenical council need be considered infallible---only ones on faith.
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« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2007, 07:07:32 PM »

Quote
No Oecumenical Council has ever decreed that Oecumenical Councils are infallible. The "Infallability" of Councils is a relatively recent concept upheld by certain individual Bishops (including mine who wrote his doctrinal thesis on the subject). But since the only authority recognised as infallable by the advocates of Synodal Infallability, has never promulgated the doctrine of Synodal Infallability, it remains a fallable doctrine.

That none of the first seven Oecumenical Councils openly & explicitly declares itself to be teaching infallibly is irrelevant.  To make a case by way of Scriptural infallibility, the fact that the Pentateuch contains no explicit statement to the effect that the entirety of the Pentateuch is infallible does not mean that the first generation of Jews living with those books were under no obligation to recognize their divine inspiration, consequent infallibility.  The fact that on Pentecost S. Peter did not explicitly declare that every word he uttered would be infallible did not mean his words were not so.  In any of these cases, it is clear from the authority of the writer or speaker himself (whose authority can ultimately be verified empirically, i.e., by the accompanying presence of validating miracles), that the words are to be taken as God's, or at least as an unimpeachable representative of God's.  This applies also to the Oecumenical Councils.  When our Holy Fathers, in synod gathered, firmly believing themselves assembled in the Holy Spirit, solemnly anathematize heretics, can there be any doubt - given that the Holy Church, Guardian of Orthodoxy is the "Pillar & Ground of the Truth" (I S. Timothy iii. 15) - that their word is not susceptible to error?

Much of the argument I have made here rests on the assumption of Scriptural infallibility.  If this is contested, I should be happy to see by whom.
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« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2007, 07:15:48 PM »

Quote
That the Holy Spirit guides these assemblies is true, but it cannot be inferred from that that the assembly in all cases expresses absolutely and completely the Truth of the Holy Spirit.


Wherewithal, then, are we to discern wherein the Holy Spirit is guiding the assembly as opposed to the assembly coming to human & fallible conclusions on its own?  Is this not troubling?  It is one thing to say, as I believe & as lubeltri has expressed, that the Holy Spirit infallibly affirms only dogmatic decisions of the Council, leaving the disciplinary matters outside the scope of His inerrant & perpetual approval.  It is altogether another to hold that a Council can err wherever, inasmuch as being only generally guided by the Holy Spirit & not strictly infallible, we have no sure standard by which to sift the orthodox wheat from the possibly heterodox tares. 

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