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Author Topic: What I believe  (Read 14616 times) Average Rating: 0
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The young fogey
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« on: April 28, 2003, 10:55:29 AM »

XB!

From another forum, answering someone's question. Nothing new for people who really know me and/or have been reading me on boards for years. I know it's 'not Orthodox enough' for some people but I don't care - I know it's not beyond the pale, like, for example, a malefactor on some boards who promotes homosexual activism and claims to be Eastern Orthodox in good standing at the same time. (And, to their credit, the moderators on one board have rebuked this person for playing this game and for misrepresenting Eastern Orthodoxy.) AFAIK nowhere here do I misrepresent Eastern Orthodox dogma, even though a lot of EO people may not agree with my opinions.

I have been a member for nearly seven years of a traditional Russian Orthodox church.

Here goes:

Re: what is your take on Catholic orders?

My personal take on Catholic orders or Eastern Orthodoxy's take on them? I see them as real. Eastern Orthodoxy has no dogmatic view on the matter. It teaches that Eastern Orthodoxy has grace and everything else is a big unknown - the extreme view that the Pope is no different from a witch doctor is an allowable Orthodox opinion.

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How do EOs view Catholicism, traditional or progressive?

There is no dogmatic position, just a range of opinions. The only dogmatic position is that 'we know EOxy is the Church'. Some hardliners see all Catholicism, traditional or liberal, as heretical, others are like me and see the trads as closer to EOxy than the liberals who are more like Protestants. (Much like some, including here, see the Non-Chalcedonians as orthodox and somehow in the Church, and others don't.) I think most EOs would say the postschism papal claims and the simple fact that the Catholic Church is not in the present Orthodox communion put it beyond the pale, making it a big question mark, and one Eastern Orthodoxy isn't really interested in trying to answer.

Personally, I think that born Orthodox/ethnics see the similarities between the churches and see them as a good thing. Views among them range from a kind of benign indifference at worst - they don't care about somebody else's church and don't see any need to care - to 'oh, that's beautiful - you're so close to us'.

Really rabid, uncharitable anti-Catholic views and statements tend to come from converts - a microscopic number of ex-Catholics but more often ex-Evangelical Protestants who've brought their no-popery prejudices with them, a stand Catholics see as contradictory and hurtful. As Archimandrite Serge (Keleher), himself a Russian Catholic steeped in Russian Orthodox traditions, puts it, 'that ancient and large tradition is entirely Catholic' - pretty much summing up the positive view Catholicism has of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Let me elaborate on that a little more - all the doctrinal positives of Eastern Orthodoxy (for example,the teachings of the seven church councils and the contents of the liturgy) are true in the Catholic POV. All of them. In other words, in Catholic eyes, Eastern Orthodoxy IS Catholicism in 11th-century Greek theological language.

The differences are matters of postschism Catholic polity (the Pope issue) and western Catholic theological language (the Immaculate Conception, for example) that postschism Catholicism has made dogma but 'the jury's still out' on in Orthodoxy.

Personally, I think the only real issue is the Pope thing because the way it has worked it's been unfair to non-Roman groups - witness the history of the Eastern Catholic churches, who've been compromised and latinized nearly to death.

Page with more on these questions
« Last Edit: April 30, 2003, 10:50:21 AM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2003, 12:15:27 PM »

I tend to agree with you, Serge.

I have difficulty knowing what to think of the Roman Catholic Church and of Roman Catholics.

How are we to view them?

We have so much in common, yet there are important differences.

Quote
From Serge: Really rabid, uncharitable anti-Catholic views and statements tend to come from converts - a microscopic number of ex-Catholics but more often ex-Evangelical Protestants who've brought their no-popery prejudices with them, a stand Catholics see as contradictory and hurtful.

I think that statement is generally true. Although I am an ex-Evangelical Protestant, I do not have an anti-Roman Catholic animus, in part because my grandmother and my aunts (Father's side) were all Roman Catholics, and I have many RC friends. I must confess that conversion to Roman Catholicism was an option I seriously considered and more than once.

It will be interesting to see the responses to this topic, as I would like to see some other well-reasoned answers on this issue.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2003, 12:18:27 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2003, 12:23:01 PM »

I've said what I'm going to say on this subject here. I get the feeling that posting anything more here would only get me the label "anti-Catholic," so I'll let what I've said elsewhere stand as my only response. Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2003, 12:38:46 PM »

I've said what I'm going to say on this subject here. I get the feeling that posting anything more here would only get me the label "anti-Catholic," so I'll let what I've said elsewhere stand as my only response. Smiley

Paradosis -

I would seriously like to see you expand on what you said in your other post. I don't have a problem with what you wrote, but I would like to see more specifics.

Don't worry about being labelled "anti-Catholic." That should not be an issue in a forum like this where our purpose is to learn from one another.

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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2003, 12:51:09 PM »

Serge,

I agree with most of what you say, Serge, but wonder why, when you reference the views of others, you say "some view non-Chalcedonians as orthodox..."

Why not say "some view non-Chalcedonians as Orthodox..." because I think most people view non-Chalcedonians as either 1) Orthodox or 2) not, and you are purporting to report what some say.  I've only seen you express the view that non-Chalcedonians are small-o orthodox, which seems to be your way of expressing a middle-of-the-road position.  I'm not saying you're wrong or that you don't have a right to express your view your way, but merely suggesting that if you are going to report what "others" think, you should report that others think the non-Chalcedonians are "O"rthodox.

To all,

For what it is worth, from the administrators' point of view (for what it is worth), Bobby, Mor Ephrem  and I view non-Chalcedonians as big-O Orthodox and think that reunion is coming.  I do not know the opinions of David and Nicholas, so they will have to answer for themselves if they wish.

That being said, positions such as Justin's (who has said that Non-Chalcedonians are heretics) are acceptable on this board as long as they are expressed politely, as anyone's posts should be.

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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2003, 01:01:19 PM »

anastasios,

Because, like capital-C Catholic means the church with the Pope in Rome, Orthodox with a big O means the Eastern Orthodox communion, and as the Non-Chalcedonians are neither Byzantine Rite nor merged with the Eastern Orthodox communion, I use a small o when describing the present understanding of them.
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2003, 01:03:21 PM »

anastasios,

Because, like capital-C Catholic means the church with the Pope in Rome, Orthodox with a big O means the Eastern Orthodox communion, and as the Non-Chalcedonians are neither Byzantine Rite nor merged with the Eastern Orthodox communion, I use a small o when describing the present understanding of them.

No, Serge, for many of us, big-O Orthodox means Non-Chalcedonians as well as Eastern Orthodox, and you can't really argue that in common parlance Non-Chalcedonians are not considered Orthodox since the average Joe on the street would view Non-Chalcedonian Churches as Orthodox Churches, and since they are referred as such in a majority of religious publications such as "Bulletin of American Churches", etc.

You are thereby incorrectly describing our beliefs when you write that "others view Non-chalcedonians as orthodox."  Like I said, if you wish to refer to them as orthodox, that is fine, but you can't refer to others' beliefs that way if they do not believe that way.

Another point is that we should refer to others as they refer to themselves.  The Coptic Orthodox Church refers to herself as such so we should refer to her as that.

Also, at St. Vladimir's Seminary Oriental Orthodox are referred to as such, not "Non-Chalcedonian orthodox."  Again, that doesn't have to impact your personal view but you cannot say that calling Oriental Orthodox small-o orthodox is *the* Orthodox position.
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2003, 01:06:41 PM »

Christ is Risen!

It is indeed a difficult question to answer, the Eastern Orthodox position on Roman Catholicism.  At the point when (from our point of view) the west severed its ties to the Orthodox Church, it has gone beyond our authority to comment on past the point that for all of the Christ-bearing holy men and women within it, it is not the Church, which is one.  

I think that most Eastern Orthodox including most converts view Rome as the prodigal son and look forward to the West's return from the aberrances that have plagued it for the past thousand years.  In many ways Roman Catholicism has broken down, not only the Protestant Reformation but while under constant attacks of matters of orthodox belief they have gone past the boundries of elucidation and have changed the focus of some dogmas, mostly in dogmaticizing that which Eastern Orthodoxy would not.  While contrasting Eastern Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy certainly has had its low points in history through the fallibility of its very human membership, Orthodoxy did not produce the Crusades, the Inquisition, and does not suffer from the current molestation scandal  

Within this "hard saying" however, there is an incredible amount of love and hope by many Orthodox for reconciliation and respect for the many laudable things in the post-schism west.  I am currently reading a Thomas Merton book, and though I cannot say assuredly that he shares in the same communion with I, I do believe that God is fully at work in the hearts of such people and I personally do not doubt their personal life in Christ.  

As far as the questions raised on Non-Chalcedonians, I personally hold that they are Orthodox.  I do not know enough about that schism to have a fully developed intelligent opinion, but I make that personal decision by looking at the fruits they have borne throughout history.  While there are still important differences that restrict global communion, I am happy to see permission on both sides to exercise local ekonomia for the communion of faithful Eastern and Oriental(redundant term I know, but is less insulting and more brief than Non-Chalcedonian) and I hope I will see official communion reestablished within my lifetime.  Unfortunately, I do not have the same reasonable hope for the reconciliation of Catholicism and Orthodoxy within my lifetime, but I pray that by the grace of God that I be proven wrong.  

I hope I have caused no offense to any on these positions.  If they are in conflict with what my bishop decrees then I must officially revise those opinions, but I will still have all of the love and hope of reconciliation that I now do.  I think the Prodigal Son is a good analogy of the position we Orthodox find ourselves in regarding Roman Catholicism, and I hope that our Catholic members do not take it as an insult, for that was never my intent.  Let us remember that as Christians our one enemy is that which would keep us from communion with God.  Whenever a person or an organization prevents this, it is not our task to punish the offender but to pray for reconciliation and the forgiveness of all, ourselves first.  I hope everyone is having a blessed Bright Week.
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2003, 01:12:00 PM »

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No, Serge, for many of us, big-O Orthodox means Non-Chalcedonians as well as Eastern Orthodox, and you can't really argue that in common parlance Non-Chalcedonians are not considered Orthodox since the average Joe on the street would view Non-Chalcedonian Churches as Orthodox Churches, and since they are referred as such in a majority of religious publications such as "Bulletin of American Churches", etc.

You're using Orthodox to mean 'in the Church'. I understand that. I'm using it to mean both the patrimony and the communion of Eastern Orthodoxy.

I actually was trying to be fair and courteous to the Non-Chalcedonians, acknowledging that their rites and traditions are different to Eastern Orthodoxy's.

Such bulletins (I can't say anything about the one you named) sometimes list vagantes as Orthodox too and they're wrong there too.

Quote
since the average Joe on the street would view Non-Chalcedonian Churches as Orthodox Churches

The average Joe on the street, if he's heard of Eastern Rite churches (not likely), probably thinks the ROCOR church and the Ukrainian Catholic church in town are the same thing.

He also probably thinks, as Fr Serge Keleher, a Russian Catholic, found on an Irish radio program in which he was identified as a Maronite, that all 'Oriental Grease Balls' (Fr Serge's joke - no slur intended!) are alike, be they Coptic or Russian.

I simply was trying to disabuse people of such notions by making this distinction - no slur against Non-Chalcedonians was intended at all.
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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2003, 01:16:46 PM »

Serge,

I know that you would not ever slur against Non-Chalcedonians and I know that you personally hold their traditions highly.  Perhaps I am being nitpicky, but it;s just that I know the distinctions of small-o and big-o Orthodox, and found it strange that non-Chalcedonians would be lumped in a category you have previously used to describe high-Church Anglicans, classical Trinitarian Protestants, etc.  Perhaps I am drawing conclusions you would not--but I still needed to address that personally.  Your last post explains your position well and that's fine with me.

Sorry if I got ruffled for no reason!

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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2003, 01:23:22 PM »

No problem, anastasios.

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At the point when (from our point of view) the west severed its ties to the Orthodox Church

But it was a gradual estrangement, not a known date. No one really agrees when it happened, 1054 being a red herring.

Well written, David.

Quote
I think that most Eastern Orthodox including most converts view Rome as the prodigal son and look forward to the West's return from the aberrances that have plagued it for the past thousand years.

I and just about everybody here knows what you mean, but I think an outsider, vaguely aware that Catholics outsize the Orthodox in numbers and geographically, might find such a belief and statement absurd, like Taiwan trying to order Red China around.
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2003, 03:19:59 PM »

Dear Friends:

From a Catholic POV, Serge's analogy could be considered an appropriate reflection of the current Orthodox/Catholic "mating" dance:

Quote
I and just about everybody here knows what you mean, but I think an outsider, vaguely aware that Catholics outsize the Orthodox in numbers and geographically, might find such a belief and statement absurd, like Taiwan trying to order Red China around.
[/b]

Thus, with "Ut Unum Sint" as a backdrop, Catholicism refrains, rightly, from applying the "Prodigal Son" analogy and advances the "mutual estrangement" theory between "sister Churches," or the "Two-lung" theory as it is also known.

AmdG
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2003, 03:27:47 PM »

What I'd like to know is, who here supports the 1993 Balamand Agreement? The Pope of Rome and Patriarch of Constantinople, among others, accepted it. On the other hand, some Orthodox Churches (Serbia, Jerusalem, Bulgaria, Georgia, etc.) did not sign, and a number of prominent documents (like the one from Athos) came out against Balamand. I know both conservative Orthodox and Catholics who view the document/agreement as worthless. Is this (ie. agreements like Balamand) the path to unity, or must we take another path?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2003, 03:28:57 PM by Paradosis » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2003, 04:03:42 PM »

What I'd like to know is, who here supports the 1993 Balamand Agreement? The Pope of Rome and Patriarch of Constantinople, among others, accepted it.

XB!

Dear Paradosis,

I have tried to research this and have come to a dead end.  Who says the Pope of Rome accepted it?  I have questioned pro-Rome in-communion-with-Rome Catholic clergy and was told that the Balamand document has no official position in the Roman Catholic Church.  

I think that several good points were clearly enunciated in that document.  It does not however seem to have any binding force in any jurisdiction Catholic or Orthodox.  

Tony
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2003, 04:15:05 PM »

Balamand may have no dogmatic standing on either side (I think that's the case) but I see it as a gentleman's agreement on the part of the Catholic Church to live up to its positive view of the Eastern Orthodox and concentrate instead on corporate reunion with it as a whole, rather than poach people and churches in Orthodox countries. (Similar Orthodox activity in Catholic countries is negligible and, we can admit, not really a threat to the CC, while past Catholic proselytism did hurt local Orthodox churches. Again, the Taiwan vs. Red China analogy.)
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« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2003, 04:33:43 PM »

Christ is risen!

It is true that the document has not domatic/authoritative standing in either Church, but I do remember reading somewhere (perhaps on Orthodoxinfo.com) that both the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople had given their approval of the document and signed it. I didn't mean to say that this made it an official or authoritative document for either side, but just that obviously people from both sides had agreed with the principles within it.

Perhaps a better way to go about things would have been simply to have asked whether people agreed with the principles articulated at Balamand, or whether they disagreed (rather than bringing names and Churches into it).

Indeed He is risen!
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« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2003, 04:39:56 PM »

First, the text in its entirety, from http://www.cin.org/east/balamand.html

INTRODUCTION

1. At the request of the Orthodox Churches, the normal progression of the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church has been set aside so that immediate attention might be given the question which is called "uniatism."

2. With regard to the method which has been called "uniatism," it was stated at Freising (June 1990) that "we reject it as a method for the search for unity because it is opposed to the common tradition of our Churches."

3. Concerning the Oriental Catholic Churches, it is clear that they, as part of the Catholic Communion, have the right to exist and to act in answer to the spiritual needs of their faithful.

4. The document prepared at Ariccia by the joint coordinating committee (June 1991) and finished at Balamand (June 1993) states what is our method in the present search for full communion, thus giving the reason for excluding "uniatism" as a method.

5. This document is composed of two parts:

                   - Ecclesiological principles and

                   - Practical rules.

ECCLESIOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES

6. The division between the Churches of the East and of the West has never quelled the desire for unity wished by Christ. Rather this situation, which is contrary to the nature of the Church, has often been for many the occasion to become more deeply conscious of the need to achieve this unity, so as to be faithful to the Lord's commandment.

7. In the course of the centuries various attempts were made to re-establish unity. They sought to achieve this end through different ways, at times conciliar, according to the political, historical, theological and spiritual situation of each period. Unfortunately, none of these efforts succeeded in re-establishing full communion between the Church of the West and the Church of the East, and at times even made oppositions more acute.

8. In the course of the last four centuries, in various parts of the East, initiatives were taken within certain Churches and impelled by outside elements, to restore communion between the Church of the East and the Church of the West. These initiatives led to the union of certain communities with the See of Rome and brought with them, as a consequence, the breaking of communion with their Mother Churches of the East. This took place not without the interference of extra-ecclesial interests. In this way Oriental Catholic Churches came into being. And so a situation was created which has become a source of conflicts and of suffering, in the first instance for the Orthodox but also for Catholics.

9. Whatever may have been the intention and the authenticity of the desire to be faithful to the commandment of Christ : "that all may be one" expressed in these partial unions with the See of Rome, it must be recognized that the reestablishment of unity between the Church of the East and the Church of the West was not achieved and that the division remains, embittered by these attempts.

10. The situation thus created resulted in fact in tensions and oppositions. Progressively, in the decades which followed these unions, missionary activity tended to include among its priorities the effort to convert other Christians, individually or in groups, so as "to bring them back" to one's own Church. In order to legitimize this tendency, a source of proselytism, the Catholic Church developed the theological vision according to which she presented herself as the only one to whom salvation was entrusted. As a reaction, the Orthodox Church, in turn, came to accept the same vision according to which only in her could salvation be found. To assure the salvation of "the separated brethren" it even happened that Christians were re-baptized and that certain requirements of the religious freedom of persons and of their act of faith were forgotten. This perspective was one to which that period showed little sensitivity.

11. On the other hand, certain civil authorities made attempts to bring back Oriental Catholics to the Church of their Fathers. To achieve this end they did not hesitate, when the occasion was given, to use unacceptable means.

12. Because of the way in which Catholics and Orthodox once again consider each other in their relationship to the mystery of the Church and discover each other once again as sister Churches, this form of "missionary apostolate" described above, and which has been called "uniatism," can no longer be accepted either as a method to be followed nor as a model of the unity our Churches are seeking.

13. In fact, especially since the pan-Orthodox conferences (*b) and the Second Vatican Council, the rediscovery and the giving again of proper value to the Church as communion, both on the part of Orthodox and of Catholics, has radically altered perspectives and thus attitudes. On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church--profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacrament, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops--cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches.

14. It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavor of the sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, 27).

15. While the inviolable freedom of persons and their obligation to follow the requirements of their conscience remain secure, in the search for re-establishing unit there is no question of conversion of people from one Church to the other in order to ensure their salvation. There is a question of achieving together the will of Christ for his own and the design of God for his Church by means of a common quest by the Churches for a full accord on the content of the faith and its implications. This effort is being carried on in the current theological dialogue. The present document is a necessary stage in this dialogue.

16. The Oriental Catholic Churches who have desired to re-establish full communion with the See of Rome and have remained faithful to it, have the rights and obligations which are connected with this communion. The principles determining their attitude towards Orthodox Churches are those which have been put into practice by the Popes who have clarified the practical consequences flowing from these principles in various documents published since then. These Churches, then, should be inserted, on both local and universal levels, into the dialogue of love, in mutual respect and reciprocal trust found once again, and enter into the theological dialogue, with all its practical implications.

17. In this atmosphere, the considerations already presented and the practical guidelines which follow, insofar as they will be effectively received and faithfully observed, are such as to lead to a just and definitive solution to the difficulties which these Oriental Catholic Churches present to the Orthodox Church.

18. Towards this end, Pope Paul VI affirmed in his address at the Phanar In July 1967: "It is on the heads of the Churches, of their hierarchy, that the obligation rests to guide the Churches along the way that leads to finding full communion again. They ought to do this by recognizing and respecting each other as pastors of that part of the flock of Christ entrusted to them, by taking care for the cohesion and growth of the people of God, and avoiding everything that could scatter it or cause confusion in its ranks" (Tomos Agapis, 172).

In this spirit, Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I together stated clearly: "We reject every form of proselytism, every attitude which would be or could be perceived to be a lack of respect" (7 Dec 1987) (ec).

PRACTICAL RULES

19. Mutual respect between the Churches which find themselves in difficult situations will increase appreciably in the measure that they will observe the following practical rules.

20. These rules will not resolve the problems which are worrying us unless each of the parties concerned has a will to pardon, based on the Gospel and, within the context of a constant effort for renewal, accompanied by the unceasing desire to seek the full communion which existed for more than a thousand years between our Churches. It is here that the dialogue of love must be present with a continually renewed intensity and perseverance which alone can overcome reciprocal lack of understanding and which is the necessary climate for deepening the theological dialogue that will permit arriving at full communion.

21. The first step to take is to put an end to everything that can foment division, contempt and hatred between the Churches. For this the authorities of the Catholic Church will assist the Oriental Catholic Churches and their communities so that they themselves may prepare full communion between Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The authorities of the Orthodox Church will act in a similar manner towards their faithful. In this way it will be possible to take care of the extremely complex situation that has been created in Eastern Europe, at the same time in charity and in justice, both as regards Catholics and Orthodox.

22. Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Oriental, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox. It aims at answering the spiritual needs of its own faithful and it has no desire for expansion at the expense of the Orthodox Church. Within these perspectives, so that there will be no longer place for mistrust and suspicion, it is necessary that there be reciprocal exchanges of information about various pastoral projects and that thus cooperation between bishops and all those with responsibilities in our Churches, can be set in motion and develop

23. The history of the relations between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Catholic Churches has been marked by persecutions and sufferings. Whatever may have been these sufferings and their causes, they do not justify any triumphalism; no one can glorify in them or draw an argument from them to accuse or disparage the other Church, God alone knows his own witnesses. Whatever may have been the past, it must be left to the mercy of God, and all the energies of the Churches should be directed towards obtaining that the present and the future conform better to the will of Christ for his own.

24. It will also be necessary--and this on the part of both Churches--that the bishops and all those with pastoral responsibilities in them scrupulously respect the religious liberty of the faithful. These, in turn, must be able to express freely their opinion by being consulted and by organizing themselves to this end.

In fact, religious liberty requires that, particularly in situations of conflict, the faithful are able to express their opinion and to decide without pressure from outside if they wish to be in communion either with the Orthodox Church or with the Catholic Church. Religious freedom would be violated when, under the cover of financial assistance, the faithful of one Church would be attracted to the other, by promises, for example, of education and material benefits that may be lacking in their own Church. In this context, it will be necessary that social assistance, as well as every form of philanthropic activity, be organized with common agreement so as to avoid creating new suspicions.

25. Furthermore, the necessary respect for Christian freedom - one of the most precious gifts received from Christ - should not become an occasion for undertaking a pastoral project which way also involve the faithful of other Churches, without previous consultation with the pastors of these Churches. Not only should every form of pressure, of any kind whatsoever, be excluded, but respect for consciences, motivated by an authentic exigency of faith, is one of the principles guiding the pastoral concern of those responsible in the two Churches and should be the object of their common reflection (cf. Gal 5:13).

26. That is why it is necessary to seek and to engage in an open dialogue, which in the first place should be between those who have responsibilities for the Churches. Those in charge of the communities concerned should create joint local commissions or make effective those which already exist, for finding solutions to concrete problems and seeing that these solutions are applied in truth and love, in justice and peace. If agreement cannot be reached on the local level, the question should be brought to mixed commissions established by higher authorities.

27. Suspicion would disappear more easily if the two parties were to condemn violence wherever communities of one Church use it against communities of a sister Church. As requested by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in his letter of 31 May 1991 (*d), it is necessary that all violence and every kind of pressure be absolutely avoided in order that freedom of conscience be respected. It is the task of those in charge of communities to assist their faithful to deepen their loyalty towards its traditions and to teach them to avoid not only violence, be that physical or verbal, but also all that could lead to contempt for other Christians and to counter-witness, completely ignoring the work of salvation which is reconciliation in Christ.

28. Faith in sacramental reality implies a respect for the liturgical celebrations of the other Church. The use of violence to occupy a place of worship contradicts this conviction, On the contrary, this conviction sometimes requires that the celebration of other Churches should be made easier by putting at their disposal, by common agreement, one's own church for alternate celebration at different times in the same building. Still more, the evangelical ethos requires that statements or manifestations which are likely to perpetuate a state of conflict and hinder the dialogue be avoided. Does not Saint Paul exhort us to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us, for the glory of God  (Rom 15:7)?

29. Bishops and priests have the duty before God to respect the authority which the Holy Spirit has given to the bishops and priests of the other Church and for that reason to avoid interfering in the spiritual life of the faithful of that Church. When cooperation becomes necessary for the good of the faithful, it is then required that those responsible to an agreement among themselves, establish for this mutual assistance clear principles which are known to all, and act subsequently with frankness, clarity, and with respect for the sacramental discipline of the other Church.

In this context, to avoid all misunderstanding and to develop confidence between the two Churches, it is necessary that Catholic and Orthodox bishops of the same territory consult with each other before establishing pastoral Catholic projects which imply the creation of new structures in regions which traditionally form part of the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church, in view to avoid parallel pastoral activities which would risk rapidly degenerating into rivalry and even conflicts.

30. To pave the way for future relations between the two Churches, passing beyond the out-dated ecclesiology of return to the Catholic Church connected with the problem which is the object of this document, special attention will be given to the preparation of future priests and of all those who, in any way, are involved in an apostolic activity carried on in a place where the other Church traditionally has its roots. Their education should be objectively positive with respect of the other Church.

First of all, everyone should be informed of the apostolic succession of the other Church and the authenticity of its sacramental life. One should also offer all correct and comprehensive knowledge of history aiming at a historiography of the two Churches which is in agreement and even may be in common. In this way, the dissipation of prejudices will be helped, and the use of history in a polemical manner will be avoided. This presentation will lead to an awareness that faults leading to separation belong to both sides, leaving deep wounds on each side.

31. The admonition of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians (I Cor 6:1-7) will be recalled. It recommends that Christians resolve their differences through fraternal dialogue, thus avoiding recourse to the intervention of the civil authorities for a practical solution to the problems which arise between Churches or local communities. This applies particularly to the possession or return of ecclesiastical property. These solutions should not be based only on past situations or rely solely on general juridical principles, but they must also take into account the complexity of present realities and local circumstances.

32. It is in this spirit that it will be possible to meet in common the task of re-evangelization of our secularized world. Efforts will also be made to give objective news to the mass media, especially to the religious press, in order to avoid tendentious and misleading information.

33. It is necessary that the Churches come together in order to express gratitude and respect towards all, known and unknown - bishops, priests or faithful, Orthodox, Catholic whether Oriental or Latin - who suffered, confessed their faith, witnessed their fidelity to the Church, and, in general, towards all Christians, without discrimination, who underwent persecution. Their sufferings call us to unity and, on our part, to give common witness in response to the prayer of Christ "that all may be one, so that the world may believe" (Jn 17:21).

34. The International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, at the plenary meeting in Balamand, strongly recommends that these practical rules be put into practice by our Churches, including the Oriental Catholic Churches who are called to take part in this dialogue which should be carried on in the serene atmosphere necessary for its progress, towards the re-establishment of full communion.

35. By excluding for the future all proselytism and all desire for expansion by Catholics at the expense of the Orthodox Church, the commission hopes that it has overcome the obstacles which impelled certain autocephalous Churches to suspend their participation in the theological dialogue and that the Orthodox Church will be able to find itself altogether again for continuing the theological work already happily begun.

June 24, 1993

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« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2003, 04:52:58 PM »

Quote
2. With regard to the method which has been called "uniatism," it was stated at Freising (June 1990) that "we reject it as a method for the search for unity because it is opposed to the common tradition of our Churches."

Good.

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3. Concerning the Oriental Catholic Churches, it is clear that they, as part of the Catholic Communion, have the right to exist and to act in answer to the spiritual needs of their faithful.

A fact, whether one likes it or not.  The minority of Orthodox who claim otherwise are not respecting human rights.  Of course the hope is that the Eastern Catholics will return to Orthodoxy.

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8. In the course of the last four centuries, in various parts of the East, initiatives were taken within certain Churches and impelled by outside elements, to restore communion between the Church of the East and the Church of the West. These initiatives led to the union of certain communities with the See of Rome and brought with them, as a consequence, the breaking of communion with their Mother Churches of the East. This took place not without the interference of extra-ecclesial interests. In this way Oriental Catholic Churches came into being. And so a situation was created which has become a source of conflicts and of suffering, in the first instance for the Orthodox but also for Catholics.

Bold part is a big understatement--no Polish control of Ukraine? No Unia in 1596 and 1646.

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9. Whatever may have been the intention and the authenticity of the desire to be faithful to the commandment of Christ : "that all may be one" expressed in these partial unions with the See of Rome, it must be recognized that the reestablishment of unity between the Church of the East and the Church of the West was not achieved and that the division remains, embittered by these attempts.

A fair acknowledgment by Rome that it goofed.

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11. On the other hand, certain civil authorities made attempts to bring back Oriental Catholics to the Church of their Fathers. To achieve this end they did not hesitate, when the occasion was given, to use unacceptable means.

Such as the evil Stalin's forced, murderous, illegal liquidation of the Greek Catholic Church in 1946.

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12. Because of the way in which Catholics and Orthodox once again consider each other in their relationship to the mystery of the Church and discover each other once again as sister Churches, this form of "missionary apostolate" described above, and which has been called "uniatism," can no longer be accepted either as a method to be followed nor as a model of the unity our Churches are seeking.

Practically speaking, makes sense: both Churches are real (which does not say they are the same or both true, or in union, but rather acknowledges the ontological existence of both and their closeness).

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13. In fact, especially since the pan-Orthodox conferences (*b) and the Second Vatican Council, the rediscovery and the giving again of proper value to the Church as communion, both on the part of Orthodox and of Catholics, has radically altered perspectives and thus attitudes. On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church--profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacrament, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops--cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches.


An Orthodox can accept this without necessarily becoming indifferent--for instance, he could say that Rome has apostolic sucession but still call for its reintegration with Orthodoxy by renouncing false accretions.

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15. While the inviolable freedom of persons and their obligation to follow the requirements of their conscience remain secure, in the search for re-establishing unit there is no question of conversion of people from one Church to the other in order to ensure their salvation. There is a question of achieving together the will of Christ for his own and the design of God for his Church by means of a common quest by the Churches for a full accord on the content of the faith and its implications. This effort is being carried on in the current theological dialogue. The present document is a necessary stage in this dialogue.


Could be problematic but then again Orthodoxy believes in God's grace acting in all, and the evidence from the Fathers and lives of saints indicates that non-Orthodox have the chance at heaven.  Of course, that does not negate Orthodoxy's possessing the fullness of the truth.

Quote
16. The Oriental Catholic Churches who have desired to re-establish full communion with the See of Rome and have remained faithful to it, have the rights and obligations which are connected with this communion. The principles determining their attitude towards Orthodox Churches are those which have been put into practice by the Popes who have clarified the practical consequences flowing from these principles in various documents published since then. These Churches, then, should be inserted, on both local and universal levels, into the dialogue of love, in mutual respect and reciprocal trust found once again, and enter into the theological dialogue, with all its practical implications.


Which means that Eastern Catholic hiearchs need to get it together and stop pretending the Orthodox don't exist.

Quote
22. Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Oriental, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox. It aims at answering the spiritual needs of its own faithful and it has no desire for expansion at the expense of the Orthodox Church. Within these perspectives, so that there will be no longer place for mistrust and suspicion, it is necessary that there be reciprocal exchanges of information about various pastoral projects and that thus cooperation between bishops and all those with responsibilities in our Churches, can be set in motion and develop.


So we (Catholics) are not going to try and steal Orthodox or make Eastern Catholics into Latins and we will try and tell you guys what we're up to concerning our own priests.  Ooops, forgot to mention we were setting up dioceses in Russia (I personally was not opposed to that since there are several hundred thousand born-RC's in Russia, but they could have talked about it first!)

More later!

anastasios



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« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2003, 05:08:30 PM »

The present Eastern Catholics' right to exist as such doesn't faze me - it makes perfect sense from the Catholic POV that says although it sees itself in toto (in 11th-century Greek form) in the Orthodox Church (a tip of the hat to the good faith of born Orthodox, who aren't personally blamed for being out of communion with Rome), the teaching that there is only one true church precludes the CC from pushing out the ECs since the ECs aren't heretical in the Catholic POV, thus in this POV there is no reason to push them out.
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« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2003, 11:03:43 PM »

I remember nearly falling off my chair when I found out Serge was a member of ROCOR.  He has always seemed more friendly than most of the rest of his jurisdiction.

As regards Balamand, it's just the opinion of some academians.  It really has no more standing than wishful thinking.
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« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2003, 12:27:46 AM »

Serge is a member of ROCOR? He does not seem like the type based on the comments he posts on the board.
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« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2003, 05:34:00 AM »

deleted for reasons of politness.
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« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2003, 05:57:03 AM »

If I'm not mistaken, Serge hails from the ROC, not ROCOR.

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« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2003, 06:10:58 AM »

deleted for reasons of politness.
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« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2003, 09:27:54 AM »

It seems Serge has made it clear in the past that he wishes not to release that kind of information about himself.  I personally don't understand why, but I respect his choice, and cannot understand why Serge's jurisdiction seems to be a burning question among some.  

As far as ROCOR goes, it's interesting...all of my impressions about it have come from my experiences online with some of its members, and so ROCOR frightened me somewhat.  It was only when I actually got to know some of the people and started visiting a local parish that I realised it was not the strange beast it seemed like judging from some of the online folks, but instead was a relatively normal Church.  I'm growing fond of it; it reminds me of my own Church in some ways.
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« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2003, 10:18:26 AM »

I thought this might happen but took a chance and posted explaining my beliefs anyway. Thanks, Mor Ephrem.

Joe, with all due respect you look foolish posing as an expert on ROCA/ROCOR, and as some kind of inquisitor on behalf of that church, as you are not a member and, AFAIK before this weekend, have never even been to any kind of Eastern church, let alone a ROCOR one.

As for being a reader, etc., I never wanted to publicly disclose any info on that. A troublemaker on another board took news from an e-mail (contents of e-mail may not be posted w/o permission, according to netiquette) and blasted it on the Web - only God and he know why. I never, never claim to speak on the Web or e-mail fora as a clerical representative of any jurisdiction, only as myself. As for the BCP, Joe - and again, your pretence of being a ROCOR authority after at most one extended visit to a church strikes me as offensive, as well as ridiculous - I read the psalms and Gospel canticles, practices as 19th-century Russian as a brass samovar, in my native language; you make it sound like I'm furtively celebrating the Tudor communion service!

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I personally don't understand why

Here's why, Mor Ephrem: to make it clear I never, never claim to speak on the Web or e-mail fora as a clerical representative of any jurisdiction, only as myself. Considering I am not making outrageous statements and innuendo like a malefactor on another forum who wrongly claims the gay lifestyle is acceptable to Eastern Orthodoxy, I think I am within bounds.

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I could have sworn, no offense intended y'all, that you were OCA given that you mention the local OCA several times in the description of your Icon Corner and that you seem to have, well, the outlook of an OCA person regarding Ecumenism, etc.

I do like the OCA. Like ROCOR, it is a real Orthodox church and worthy of all respect as such.

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But he does like Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina.
 

I'm not in any kind of guru following of the man but yes, he had a lot of good things to say.

Quote
And there are several ROCA affiliated links on his site (of course this doesn't mean anything since there's a lot of EC, TradLat, OO, etc links on his site too).

It means ROCOR has my respect as an (but not THE ONLY) Orthodox church.

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So the question is Serge, what juris are you?

With all due courtesy, young Joe, none of your business. You are being rude.

Quote
As far as ROCOR goes, it's interesting...all of my impressions about it have come from my experiences online with some of its members, and so ROCOR frightened me somewhat.  It was only when I actually got to know some of the people and started visiting a local parish that I realised it was not the strange beast it seemed like judging from some of the online folks, but instead was a relatively normal Church.  I'm growing fond of it; it reminds me of my own Church in some ways.

Exactly my experience. Hateful convert types dominate online; real-life ROCOR is mainly Russians. Very different.

Certain opinions may be commoner there than others, but AFAIK ROCOR holds no dogmatic positions other than those held by Eastern Orthodoxy, and I believe I have fairly described those here.

Let's get back to anastasios' discussion of Balamand.
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« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2003, 11:58:14 AM »

Friends,

Here is the moderatorial pov.

1) Serge is right that posting email information about a person on a board is rude and bad netiquette.  Serge never wished anyone to know of his status so that he could continue to function as "one of the guys" and not take on some sort of aire of clerical loftiness, not because he has something to "hide".

2) It is technically not germaine to bring facts from other forums over to another--for instance, if Billy Bob posts that his wife smacked him with a hot iron on maritaldisputes.com/board or something, and then Billy Bob comes to oc.net, it wouldn't be okay for Billy Bob's archnemesis Guillermo to post, "oh yeah, well BB's wife beats him so don't take his posts seriously!!"  However, that being said, our board is a bit unique as many of us used to post semi-personal things on another board but left that board and came here, so this board is in a way a "continuation" of our conversations there--and so it is to be expected among the "old timers" that we might mention off the top of our head stuff we know, like, "wow Serge, it always amazes me you are ROCOR" which of course was meant as a compliment to Serge's openess, friendliness, and ecumenical views.  No one accused the original poster of any malice.

3) Another participant jumped on the bandwagon with some,
in my opinion as a fellow poster inappropriate remarks that could be translated, "Does your bishop know about you? Watch out--someone might tell him!" which is absurd.  Serge's bishop knew enough about him to want to tonsure him a reader so leave it alone.

4) That being said, no more discussion of Serge's status or anyone else's status unless it really is germaine to the conversation. Example: Jim Smith posts: "I know for a fact that the OCA does x, y, and z in its closed door meetings."  Someone would have the right to ask, "how, were you there as a priest or deacon observer?", etc.

Let us now, as Serge suggested, return to discussing Balamand.

Sincerely,

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« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2003, 12:02:06 PM »

Thank you for posting the contents of the agreement, Anastasios, will have to go read it over!
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« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2003, 12:41:29 PM »

I'd like to make some comments on the Balamand Agreement (as found above), but will keep my comments to the non-practical paragraphs (ie. the first half of the document). These first theological ones are the ones I'm most interested in since I believe that it is theological differences that seperate us (it's not a matter of coming to an agreement on the practical "how" regarding various issues).

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10. ...the Catholic Church developed the theological vision according to which she presented herself as the only one to whom salvation was entrusted. As a reaction, the Orthodox Church, in turn, came to accept the same vision according to which only in her could salvation be found.

This is untrue. The Church has always seen herself in the exact same way: she has always spoke of salvation for those outside of the Church and within paradoxically. The Church has always been "the only ark of salvation," and simultaneously, the Church has never said that it is impossible for God to grant salvation to those outside the Church. That Salvation comes through the Orthodox Church (as Salvation came only through Israel) is certainly not a new theological belief thought up in reaction to the fairly recent problem in question!

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To assure the salvation of "the separated brethren" it even happened that Christians were re-baptized and that certain requirements of the religious freedom of persons and of their act of faith were forgotten. This perspective was one to which that period showed little sensitivity.

Whether something like "re-baptism" is insensitive depends on one's perspective. If you hold to the view that Rome had fallen deeply into numerous heresies by the time in question, "re-baptism" is not only not insensitive, but it a false accusation. If Rome had fallen into terrible error, there could not have been a legit baptism to begin with. Anything that the Orthodox would do (whether baptize or chrismate) would not "make up for what the Roman baptism lacked" (as some say today), but would have "filled in what had not previously been there before (ie. grace)".

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13. ...On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church--profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacrament, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops--cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches.

Again, if the Roman Church is viewed as having fallen into grave error, and been in heresy for near a thousand years--if we admit that our differences amount to more than political and historical factos--then the Catholic Church most certainly does not have valid apostolic succession, sacraments, etc. Grace is not the "exclusive property" of one Church, it is the exclusive gift to the body of Christ, and if one leaves the body of Christ, then they leave the sacraments, apostolic succession, etc.

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14. It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as sister Churches,

The Orthodox Church does not recognize the Catholic Church as a sister Church, nor does she recognize her sacraments. Some would question whether the Catholic church should be called a pseudo-church, but I'll leave that discussion for those better able to discuss it even-handedly (as you all know, I tend to put my foot in my mouth).

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...responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavor of the sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, 27).

In other words, the Catholics are saying "we won't repent," which is the only method for unity. Those who are in error must repent of their error and rejoin the body of Christ. Surely dialogue and prayer play major parts along the way, but in the end, at the last moment, there is no other method for reunion than repentance and humility.

This document is a good example of why some Orthodox are so afraid of ecumenical dialogue. If this type of "agreement" is where we are headed, then I cannot see how anyone could question that ecumenism is destructive and is harming people. That an Orthodox Christian could sign this document is difficult to comprehend.

An interesting document to read is the Letter from the monks of Mount Athos to the Ecumenical Patriarch. Other than this, I'm not sure what to say. I'll probably regret saying anything, but time will tell I suppose.
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« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2003, 01:39:07 PM »

I'll say one thing for the Balamand document: it works well in the Middle East, acting more as a confirmation of already existing attitudes.  It does not work well with the people of Eastern Europe (always the viewpoint from which the document is analyzed; the Balkans context strongly monopolizes the subjects of uniatism and E.C./Orthodox relations, and the MidEast tends to provide a sharp contrast to that) and where the E.C.'s and Orthodox "hate each other's guts", and where the former are small and weak (Ukranians excepted) compared to the patriarchal Melkite Church.

Nationalist rivalries and historical political alliances are also involved in the history of those two sides, dwelling on which tending to dominate the discussions.  There are no "Poles" in the Melkite/Orthodox theatre, and heavy intermarriage brings the two sides close in a way unworkable and unimaginable in Europe.

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« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2003, 02:18:22 PM »

Dear Paradosis:

Assuming that you have not gone into it, a very useful complement to your study of the proceedings of the International Commission, which produced the "Balamand Agreement," would be a review of the sessions of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, which is more active in these ecumenical talks.

The 62nd meeting of the group was held at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology last June 3-5, 2002, for their spring session, the topic of which was, you guessed it, a continuation of their respective theological study on the "filioque!"

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« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2003, 03:08:45 PM »

Christ is risen!

Greetings Amadeus,

Do you know where I could find more in-depth coverage of what is going on at these meetings? I've read about them before (I think on Orthodox News), but I'm unsure where to find more info at.
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« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2003, 03:46:01 PM »

Dear Paradosis:

I get tidbits of the proceedings of the Consultation Group via the USCCB website, but this might be "anathema" to you. Grin

However, I am quite sure anastasios, Mor Ephrem, or Serge might be able to direct you to an Orthodox website for the details.  OrthodoxInfo.com readily comes to mind.

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« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2003, 05:06:42 PM »

Paradosis,  avoid the USCCB like the black death.  These are the same people who forbid evangelizing the Jews and are having serious talks with episcopaleans (I mean the ultraliberal bradchurch variety) about reunion.  

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« Reply #34 on: April 29, 2003, 05:18:03 PM »

Joe Zollars:

Are you really this RUDE?


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« Reply #35 on: April 29, 2003, 05:21:05 PM »

Christianity is a balance between zeal in upholding what's right and true, and being loving and humble. We all sometimes say things in a way that comes off wrong, I think Smiley Wink
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« Reply #36 on: April 29, 2003, 05:39:25 PM »

AmdG, the USCCB has said several blatantly heretical statements (at least in the eyes of the RCC) such as RC's shouldn't evangelize Jews and let us not forget their blatant ignoring of Liturgicam Authenticam, The Need for Latin Still Remains by Paul VI, not to mention Mortalium Animos by Pius X (and don't forget Dominie Gregis by the same or the Sylabus of Errors by Pius IX), and the laundry list really could go on and on.  

To add to this, the USCCB is little more than a gentleman's coffee club where all the patrons just happen to be Catholic Bishops.  The individual Bishop can decide whether or not to abide by the USCCB's decisions (like the Arch-Hersiarch Mahoney-Balony does) or to file them away in file 13 like Bishop Bruskowitz does.  The individual Bishop has the authority, not the USCCB.

And don't forget they force EC Bishops to concelebrate the NO (Nervous [dis-] Order) "Mass" and if a personal prelature for tradlats was set up in America you can bet your bottom dollar they'd force him to concelebrate the New "Mass" as well.  This is evidenced by the fact that Bishop Rifan down in Campos doesn't attend their confrence because of the simple reason he cannot say the New "Liturgy", its written into the bylaws of the SSJV.  

When I was tradlat there were several of us who would gather in the Church during the meetings praying God to hold them back from completely destroying the Catholic Faith, but Vatican II did this 35 years ago.  

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« Reply #37 on: April 29, 2003, 06:01:12 PM »

JoeZZZ:

Your unending tirades against the Catholic Church will carry you no further than an iota of doubt of your commitment.

Ingratiating yourself to all Orthodox and sundry transforms your otherwise noble intentions into chicanery. Rely on the strength of your conviction to become an Orthodox and not on the perceived weaknesses or failings of the Catholic Church, which nurtured your faith for a least 2 years, you now intend to abandon in haste.

Heed the advice of Paradosis and, if you care, mine.

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« Reply #38 on: April 29, 2003, 07:26:25 PM »

Well put, Amadeus - though of course it's nice that it seems Joe really enjoyed his experience of Russian Orthodox worship this Easter weekend. (However, of course it would resonate with small-o orthodox Catholics, including traditionalists, not just with someone interested in changing churches.)

Which leads back to something I wrote a while back: if you're really into Eastern Orthodoxy, 'accentuate the positive': write about the good things in it that 'grab' you more than/instead of running down some other church (such as your present or former church).
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« Reply #39 on: April 29, 2003, 08:04:55 PM »

In reading Balamand, I noticed that the underlying premise of that document seems to be the notion that the Orthodox and Roman Catholic communions are "sister churches" (they are even referred to as such in the document itself).

Now, anyone who has read my posts here knows that I am very open to and friendly with Roman Catholics.

Just the same, is there not but one, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church?

How is it possible for there to be more than one?

The Church cannot be divided (1 Cor. 1:13), just as Christ Himself cannot be divided.

I am not trying to be polemical here; I am trying to understand.

How can there be such a thing as "sister churches" not in communion with one another and holding different, mutually exclusive doctrines?

No one would like to see the reunion of the churches that are of apostolic foundation more than I. But I would like to see a real reunion in the Spirit of Christ, and not a mere proclamation of unity where it does not exist.
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« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2003, 11:28:02 PM »

Linus7<<How can there be such a thing as "sister churches" not in communion with one another and holding different, mutually exclusive doctrines?>>

There can't, Linus.  It's totally illogical.  Each Orthodox Church is in communion with other Orthodox Churches, not with the Roman Church.  IOW, all the ORTHODOX Churches together are "sister Churches."  Balamand is not held as dogma by any Orthodox (except by some *professional* ecumenists who would like to elevate its statements as such).  To me, and these are my thoughts, even though some may find them offensive, Balamand is a betrayal of Orthodoxy.

I find myself in Paradosis-Justin's camp on this one.

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« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2003, 06:10:02 AM »

AmdG, I have not once said anything contradictory to the Catholic Church or Catholic Faith, at least in the two posts in question.  The NO never once fed my faith.  How can Masonry and Protestantism feed faith?  Of course, at least in my opinion, the NO is about as far from Catholicism, if not further, than the Dalai Lamma.  What fed my faith? the Latin Mass, traditional Catholic prayers and devotions and it is because of what is good in these that I feel that I need to fill in the missing spots, to supplant the bad by the ultimate good.  

I choose not to discuss my experiences at Pascha openly on this or any other board.   I just don't see the point in opening up yet another useless can of worms.  But Serge, it was much more than just a nice experience and much more than just aesthetically pleasing.  

Now, AmdG, you will never hear me criticize the Traditional (that is Gregorian--an entirely preschism Liturgy) Latin Mass as I feel it is what it is, a stepping stone for many to the true faith.

"Eternal Father, you alone are God" (Eucharistic Prayer 4).  Hmm sounds like rank heresy to me.  AmdG, I was never a NO "Catholic" for one reason, I can't stand the thought of being a Protestant and a Heretic. I sent my tithes most often  to the FSSP, but sometimes to the SSPX and even at one point tried to organize a group here to get an SSPX Mission.  Such never bore fruit as every one here is more concerned about their little social club than about the Truth (boy isn't that just a picture of Mainstream Protestantism).  I have from nearly day 1 entertained strong doupts, on a theological level, as to whether or not the "Missal" of Paul VI was a Mass.  In my opinion Transubstantiation, from a trad RC POV, does not take place at a NO "mass" using ICEL translations.  The Council of Florence absolutely requires the words For Many (Pro Multis) in the Consecration of the Chalice whereas ICEL has For All (Pro Omnes).  The theological implications of this are immense.  Of course one cannot fail to remember that Pope Pius V anathamatized ANYONE, who being a LR cleric, used ANY Missal other than the Missal of St. Gregory, excepting those which had been in existance for at least 2 centuries with the approval of Rome.  And there is a long list of Popes who have issued anathamas against various elemements openly embraced by the NO communion Service (I dare not call it Mass--or even capatalize communion).  From the RC canonical point of view, the Church excommunicated itself at Vatican II.

However, I doupt very highly that in the eyes of God I was EVER a Roman Catholic.  I was never Babtized when I joined the RCC.  I never made a confession (old Priest never asked for a symbol of Contrition.  therefore he had no hope of forming the right intention), which I couldn't do since I was never babtized anyway (IMO my prot babtism was unquestionably invalid).  The Priest said the NO formula of confirmation when he gave me confirmation.  And y'all already know my opinions on NO Communions.

Anyway the jist is, I have not attacked my former Church, just the charlatan pretending to be my former Church.  And sometimes, a wolf in sheeps clothing has to be pointed out.   Almost all my friends are Roman Catholics and I even have some Novus Ordites for Friends (my dad is a EM at the local NO Parish), but truth is truth and it is for the sake of truth that all should be Orthodox.  It is the only logical conclusion one can arrive at when examining theology and or history.

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« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2003, 09:15:13 AM »


"Eternal Father, you alone are God" (Eucharistic Prayer 4).  Hmm sounds like rank heresy to me.  AmdG, I was never a NO "Catholic" for one reason, I can't stand the thought of being a Protestant and a Heretic.

Joe, what's heretical about that?  Only God the Father is addressed as "o theos" in Greek. Jesus is always addressed as simply "theos" (with one exception where Thomas calls Jesus "o theos" in the Gospel of John). The difference is that "o" is a definitive article that makes the noun "GOD" as opposed to "divinity."

Reading the Church Fathers, you realize that God the Father is the only being of the Trinity that can *intrinsically* be called God because He is unoriginate. The Son and the Holy Spirit are divine and God in a secondary sense through the Father.  Why do you think that in the letters of Paul he says things like "Glory to God THROUGH Jesus Christ", "God AND Jesus", etc?

For a good summary of the above from an Orthodox perspective, read, the Spirit of God by Fr. Tom Hopko.


Quote
In my opinion Transubstantiation, from a trad RC POV, does not take place at a NO "mass" using ICEL translations.  The Council of Florence absolutely requires the words For Many (Pro Multis) in the Consecration of the Chalice whereas ICEL has For All (Pro Omnes).  The theological implications of this are immense.

Too bad in the original Greek they mean the same thing!

Quote
Of course one cannot fail to remember that Pope Pius V anathamatized ANYONE, who being a LR cleric, used ANY Missal other than the Missal of St. Gregory, excepting those which had been in existance for at least 2 centuries with the approval of Rome.

Of course a Pope cannot bind his successors to anything disciplanary--basic Papal Theory 101.

Another problem is this theory of valid, invalid, etc., right words, right intent, right formulas, etc...I would suggest you read: Introduction to Liturgical Theology by Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann and Beyond East and West: Problems in Liturgical Understanding by Archimandrite Robert Taft (recognized by Orthodox and Catholics as the premier scholar of the Byzantine Rite).

Sincerely,

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« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2003, 10:53:29 AM »

Joe Zollars <<Anyway the jist is, I have not attacked my former Church, just the charlatan pretending to be my former Church.>>

Huh Why are you becoming Orthodox?

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« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2003, 11:35:44 AM »

The sister-churches notion is uniquely Catholic, dogmatically - as an opinion it's not unknown to EOs but dogmatically it is. And it's not hypocritical. As I said, Catholicism sees itself in toto in EOxy, not some erroneous mutation, which is what Protestantism is. But, one might object, EOs aren't under the Pope. So how does one square that with teaching on being the one true Church? 'Sister churches', where EO Churches are seen as sacramentally the same ('valid' in RCspeak) as the Roman Rite Church or (another meaning of 'Church') the RC Diocese of Wherever. But the Church as a whole of course has no sisters. As for the EOs having less than full Churchness because they're not under the Pope, as I said, Catholicism doesn't blame born or never-Catholic EOs personally for not so being and so can say such are fully the Church. (Kind of condescending from the EO POV but whatever.) So Balamand, dogmatically, for Catholics isn't hypocritical.

Some EOs' opinion mirrors Catholic dogma here, but dogmatically the only sister churches to EOs are other Orthodox churches - fellow members of the EO communion.
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« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2003, 07:12:57 PM »

The sister-churches notion is uniquely Catholic, dogmatically - as an opinion it's not unknown to EOs but dogmatically it is. And it's not hypocritical. As I said, Catholicism sees itself in toto in EOxy, not some erroneous mutation, which is what Protestantism is. But, one might object, EOs aren't under the Pope. So how does one square that with teaching on being the one true Church? 'Sister churches', where EO Churches are seen as sacramentally the same ('valid' in RCspeak) as the Roman Rite Church or (another meaning of 'Church') the RC Diocese of Wherever. But the Church as a whole of course has no sisters. As for the EOs having less than full Churchness because they're not under the Pope, as I said, Catholicism doesn't blame born or never-Catholic EOs personally for not so being and so can say such are fully the Church. (Kind of condescending from the EO POV but whatever.) So Balamand, dogmatically, for Catholics isn't hypocritical.

Some EOs' opinion mirrors Catholic dogma here, but dogmatically the only sister churches to EOs are other Orthodox churches - fellow members of the EO communion.

Good answer, Serge. Thanks.

I know the RCs seem to take a broader view of the Church than we do; they even take a more inclusive view of Protestants than we do.

However, given the Orthodox position, from our perspective, how can Balamand be anything except a sham?
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« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2003, 07:49:19 PM »

Thanks, Linus7.

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However, given the Orthodox position, from our perspective, how can Balamand be anything except a sham?

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth - would you rather that the Catholic Church were using the Eastern Catholic churches now to aggressively solicit people in religiously weak post-Communist Orthodox countries to convert? Balamand swears that off.
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« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2003, 08:02:35 PM »

Thanks, Linus7.

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However, given the Orthodox position, from our perspective, how can Balamand be anything except a sham?

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth - would you rather that the Catholic Church were using the Eastern Catholic churches now to aggressively solicit people in religiously weak post-Communist Orthodox countries to convert? Balamand swears that off.

Hmmm . . . good point! Wink

I really had not thought of it from that perspective!
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« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2003, 09:17:38 PM »

Indeed.

"Those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that  Christ's Church is divided into so-called "branches" which differ in doctrine  and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed  in the future when all "branches" or sects or denominations, and even religions  will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and  mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and  eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who  knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate,  disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of  brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians,  Anathema!"

-The Russian Church Abroad's Anathema on Ecumenism.
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« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2003, 09:41:47 PM »

Indeed.

"Those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that  Christ's Church is divided into so-called "branches" which differ in doctrine  and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed  in the future when all "branches" or sects or denominations, and even religions  will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and  mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and  eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who  knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate,  disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of  brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians,  Anathema!"

-The Russian Church Abroad's Anathema on Ecumenism.

Well, I agree with that. I certainly do not believe in any "Branch Theory" of the Church.

That is why I questioned the reference in Balamand to "sister churches."

But I think Serge's point is that Balamand is useful to the Orthodox Church in halting aggressive RC proselytizing in traditionally Orthodox lands, not that Balamand is correct dogma.
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« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2003, 10:12:40 PM »

Indeed. I agree with Serge.  Cheesy
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« Reply #51 on: May 01, 2003, 09:24:26 AM »

Linus7<<But I think Serge's point is that Balamand is useful to the Orthodox Church in halting aggressive RC proselytizing in traditionally Orthodox lands, not that Balamand is correct dogma. >>

How can we be so sure about that?  Have we not learned from the broken promises made in the creation of the Unia in Slavic lands?  What one Pope of Rome says or does, another can undo just as easily.

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« Reply #52 on: May 01, 2003, 09:51:08 AM »

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"Those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that  Christ's Church is divided into so-called "branches" which differ in doctrine  and way of life

Not what Eastern Orthodoxy teaches - agreed.

To be fair to the Anglo-Catholic Anglicans who believed this, they didn't think groups with fundamentally contradictory beliefs were 'branches' of the apostolic Church, but rather that all the episcopal, sacramental, liturgical churches that shared a modicum of basic orthodoxy were, with the insight that these groups, however much they may have fought in the past, shared the same basic beliefs. (They were wrong when it came to Anglicanism's place in this theory.)

The view being attacked here is really that of Protestantism.

The Catholic Church doesn't really believe in the branch theory either, which I'll explain more below.

Quote
or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed  in the future when all "branches" or sects or denominations, and even religions  will be united into one body

A false gospel of liberal Protestantism: the relativism of the World Council of Churches and the Consultation on Church Union (which sought to merge Anglicans with Presbyterians and other Protestants).

Quote
and who do not distinguish the priesthood and  mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics

Ah, but when the Catholic Church looks at the Eastern Orthodox, it doesn't see heretics, but itself. EOs never have dogmatically declared postschism Catholics heretics. So this condemnation can't apply to an opinion that recognizes the other side.

Quote
but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation

Saying such are absolutely graceless is allowable hardline EO opinion but not EO dogma - I'm pretty sure ROCOR doesn't arrogate to itself a claim to dogmatize for all of EOxy. Dogmatically, all of EOxy treats all non-Orthodox sacraments as a question mark. If this condemnation is against dogmatizing that non-EO sacraments are the same as EO ones, I see the point.

IMO, there is no way the Protestant sacrament of communion can be the same as the EO or Catholic Sacrament - they deny it's wholly Him and God won't go where He's not wanted. (Sincere Anglo-Catholics do believe it's wholly Him, and in spite of their illogical position ecclesiastically I wouldn't be at all surprised if God touches down on their altars.)

A middle-way EO opinion I've learnt here and elsewhere is the belief that God does give sincere seekers some kind of grace, including through their sacraments, but that's not the same as the grace from EO sacraments.

Quote
therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics

I can't name one real Eastern Orthodox church that officially intercommunes with anyone else, let alone with Protestants.

Quote
or who advocate,  disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians,  Anathema!"

True, but neither the Eastern Orthodox communion nor the Catholic Church formally holds to this heresy!

Quote
How can we be so sure about that?  Have we not learned from the broken promises made in the creation of the Unia in Slavic lands?  What one Pope of Rome says or does, another can undo just as easily.

'The creation of the Unia in Slavic lands' was 400 years ago. Since Balamand, AFAIK no new proselytism via the Eastern Catholic churches has happened.
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« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2003, 07:31:57 PM »

The problem I see is that among Eastern Orthodox, through the history there's been this view that only Eastern practices are the only ones which are authentically Christian, such as in the Council of Trullo, or the 1848 Encyclical (which has a lot of truth in its content but also some inexact ideas about rhe Latin Church). These views have somehow influenced the way Orthodoxy understands the Sacraments of the Roman Church. As an example, the Greeks who at that time believed that the Eucharist without the Chalice for the faithful as it was done in the West was invalid, or the use of unleavened bread, or the tradition in which communion is not given to babies, or baptism by pouring, etc. Those were the reasons some Orthodox objected the "validity" of their sacraments and not that they were outside the Church. A similar attitude has existed and exists among some traditionalist latins who believe that only their rite and traditions are authentically catholic (praestintia ritus latini).

But what I find hard to understand is that even when the main opinion is that Catholic sacraments, as they're outside the Orthodox Communion do not fully confer grace, the problem is found when we have to define where is the Orthodox Communion. If Catholic sacraments lack grace because of this, the sacraments of Old Caldendarists, KP Filaret's Church would also have the same problem, but few canonical Orthodox would re-chrismate them as they do with Roman or even with Byzantine Catholics. Given these facts we would say that they're seen differently because even when they are schismatics, unlike the Romans, they share the Orthodox faith in its fulness.  Huh

Regarding orders and apostolic Succession, the West enphasizes the importance of the individual Apostolic Succession in a way that a "very" schismatic Bishop would still be a true Bishop with episcopal powers and the priestly orders confered by him valid (Old Catholics, for example). The Western "schismatics" often abuse the value of an apostolic succession. Vagante groups often justify their "seriousness" through long lists of "Bishops" consacrating Bishops (Patriarch Tykhon and Bishop Aftimios often in the list).  In the East on the other side, there's not a clear opinion about orders outside Orthodoxy, some would say that it doesnt matter if someone was consacrated by a true Bishop, if he's not Orthodox he's nothing. However, individual succession must have some importance since the way clergy are received from Catholicism to Orthodoxy is far different from the way they're received from Lutheranism or Anglicanism, sects that lack Apostolic roots.

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« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2003, 07:50:13 PM »

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The problem I see is that among Eastern Orthodox, through the history there's been this view that only Eastern practices are the only ones which are authentically Christian

Which is why in Catholic eyes, which see grace in several different traditional rites and practices, the EOs can come across as kind of arrogant.

Quote
But what I find hard to understand is that even when the main opinion is that Catholic sacraments, as they're outside the Orthodox Communion do not fully confer grace, the problem is found when we have to define where is the Orthodox Communion.

No, it's not a problem. Who is Orthodox?

Quote
If Catholic sacraments lack grace because of this, the sacraments of Old Caldendarists, KP Filaret's Church would also have the same problem

Yes, they do.

Quote
but few canonical Orthodox would re-chrismate them as they do with Roman or even with Byzantine Catholics. Given these facts we would say that they're seen differently because even when they are schismatics, unlike the Romans, they share the Orthodox faith in its fulness.  

Something like that. With any non-Orthodox person or group, economy can come into play. If something that was Orthodox temporarily is knocked offline but comes back, it might been seen as easier and more pastorally prudent to receive them back economically.

Quote
Regarding orders and apostolic Succession, the West enphasizes the importance of the individual Apostolic Succession in a way that a "very" schismatic Bishop would still be a true Bishop with episcopal powers and the priestly orders confered by him valid (Old Catholics, for example). The Western "schismatics" often abuse the value of an apostolic succession. Vagante groups often justify their "seriousness" through long lists of "Bishops" consacrating Bishops (Patriarch Tykhon and Bishop Aftimios often in the list).

Which is a feather in the cap of EOxy, because its overarching, strong theology of the Church precludes such foolish games. Of course Patriarch Tikhon and Bishop Aftimios were real Orthodox bishops but some of the men A. ordained priests or consecrated bishops later left the Orthodox Church, so functionally their 'line of succession' (to use a western Catholic term much abused by vagantes) is meaningless to the EOs.

Quote
In the East on the other side, there's not a clear opinion about orders outside Orthodoxy

Right. It's a speculation the EOs aren't interested in, either.

Quote
some would say that it doesnt matter if someone was consacrated by a true Bishop, if he's not Orthodox he's nothing.


There is a range of opinion on if that's objectively so; functionally, all Orthodox agree that's so.

Quote
However, individual succession must have some importance since the way clergy are received from Catholicism to Orthodoxy is far different from the way they're received from Lutheranism or Anglicanism, sects that lack Apostolic roots.

That's right - functionally there's what appears to be a mutual recognition but Orthodoxy wouldn't see it that way. In theory all such can be received outright by all the sacraments of initiation plus ordination, and some hardliners do that. But far commoner is an economic reception of ex-Catholic priests (not that that happens very often, or vice versa) because, like ex-Orthodox, there's (to use a westernism) 'valid form' - the Church 'fills in' whatever grace might have been lacking.
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« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2003, 09:00:22 PM »

Dear in Christ,

Both Snoopy and Serge are on to something...

Serge is right that strictly speaking, only those in the Orthodox communion are Orthodox.

However, groups like ROCOR which are hanging on by a thread (communion with Serbia) are clearly Orthodox, and would clearly still be Orthodox even if Serbia cut ties with them.  The whole issue of ROCOR for me shows one weakness of current Orthodox ecclesiological thought.  A side issue is raised, how can a group like ROCOR be in communion with one Orthodox Church but not another?

And another issue is raised by the 1996 severing of communion between Moscow and Constantinople: for three weeks they weren't in union. Now they issued statments saying the other side was Orthodox but that doesn't change the fact that there was a disruption of normal Church life.

Then you have issues like ROCOR is in union with Metropolitan Cyprian, and it is also in union with Serbia, which is in communion with the Church of Greece, which considers Metropolitan Cyprian to be a schismatic since he was raised in the state Church.  So how can such a blatant canonical irregularity be sanctioned?

Another issue is Patriarch Filaret's Church: it's clearly an Orthodox Church, I mean you can't argue it's anything else such as Catholic, for instance. It's certainly not vagante as it existed before him and he is the third Patriarch of that group, not the originator of the schism (even though he personally joined the schism). Serge is right, Orthodoxy could consider his Church graceless but then again a graceless Church's bishop (such as Arch. Lazar Puhalo) could not be received by concelebration as the OCA just did...

Another factor with the KP is that it was in union with the Synod of Milan.  Now the Synod of Milan consecrated Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna who is now a member of the True Orthodox Church of Greece and is in union with ROCOR.

Or put in the fact that the ROCOR still communicates members of the HOCTA Old Calendarist sect, and before the 1994 union with the TOC, it communed all Old Calendarist Greeks.  ROCOR wouldn't communicate non-Orthodox (at least after the 1993 decree against ecumenism).

All this points to my point: Serge's understanding, which is pretty much the general Orthodox opinion at this time, is correct and useful as a rule or as a measuring-stick, but it can't be dogmatically enforced.  In other words, you can't exactly say, "you're not on the list of 15 so you're not Orthodox" but you can't say "oh well you look Orthodox so you must be."  Basically we have degrees of irregularity.  From my opinion these would be:

1) 100% Canonical and Regular Orthodox Churches (the 14 or 15 on the "list" the EP has).

2) Canonical but irregular Churches (ROCOR and TOC)

3) Uncanonical but still Orthodox churches, which may be schismatic (KP, Macedonian Church, HOCTA, Matthewites, Synod of Milan, Russian "Catacomb Church"), etc.

4) UNorthodox Churches (Bp Elias's Independent Greek Diocese, Pangratios's now almost defunct show, Aftimios's Church, etc.)

5) Totally vagante Churches that use Orthodox in their names but are otherwise Old Catholic, fake, Anglican, Latin, etc. (American Orthodox Catholic Patriarchal Synod of High Point, North Carolina--Patriarch Jimmy Smith Synod [a fictitious example])

My personal opinion is that #s 1-3 are entitled to the name Orthodox and have grace while #s 4 and 5 are fake.

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« Reply #56 on: May 01, 2003, 09:05:47 PM »

Very interesting thoughts, Anastasios. Smiley
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« Reply #57 on: May 01, 2003, 09:24:49 PM »

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The whole issue of ROCOR for me shows one weakness of current Orthodox ecclesiological thought.

That weakness is the lack of centralized authority, is it not?

It seems that way to me.

On the one hand the (very) loose confederacy that is global Orthodox polity is a great strength: it is impossible for any one whacky hierarch to take the whole Church down the wrong road.

On the other hand, however, it seems that things can get pretty confusing before an ecumenical council of the Church is convened.

Who can order such a council?

Where is there universal authority in the Orthodox Church outside of an ecumenical council? It doesn't exist.

Who or what else can impose order and unity on the various Orthodox jurisdictions, especially in the USA?
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« Reply #58 on: May 02, 2003, 01:11:33 AM »

I think you hit the nail Anastasios.

A ROCOR priest from Argentina told me that, even if the Church of Serbia is quite Ecumenical, has a lot of contacts with Rome, and some of its bishops have liberal possitions, the ROCOR would never sever communion with that Church as they refused communion with the rest of the Churches because it is their only "official" link with "World Orthodoxy".

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Who or what else can impose order and unity on the various Orthodox jurisdictions, especially in the USA?


An new Ecumenical Council, meant to be added to the Seven Councils is of course unthinkable and impossible. However, there's a huge needing of a Pan-orthodox Synod such as other important Councils that have taken part in Orthodoxy and which are not listed among the 7 Councils. It is myy underatanding that at that time, when the Orthodox Community was made up of the 5 Patriarchates it was less difficult but now, with the several ethnic Patriarchates and the particular problems they have, the Pan-Orthodox Synod would need to be divided in many previous meetings meant to discuss those particular jurisdictional problems (the issue of the Macedonian Church between the Serbian, Bulgarian and Greek churches, the issue of Ukraine between Moscow and the several non-canonical jurisdictions, the issue of Moldova between Moscow and Bucharest, and the USA situation). A mediation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate  is desirable but since many of the ethnic nationalist Churches no longer respect his primacy, a solution is hard to find.

The situation of jurisdictions in the USA is complex as there are groups who wish to install a new American Patriarchate with global English liturgies and without any relationship with European Churches. The important thing here, even when a lot of American (USA) Orthodox Christians would support the idea of an American Patriarchate, people who live from the south of the border to Argentina have not been asked about this (and, if I am not mistaken the canonical territory whose future is discused would also include All the Americas, wouldn't it?). People in Latin America would certainly not support the idea of an Angloamerican Patriarchate in Washington or Pittsburg as Patriarch of all Orthodox Chtistians of the Americas.

It is probable that the way to please both sides would be to establish a Church similar to the OCA with a Primate, with separated Dioceses in communion with their Patriarchates, but united as a Church in the USA.
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« Reply #59 on: May 02, 2003, 06:54:05 AM »

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An new Ecumenical Council, meant to be added to the Seven Councils is of course unthinkable and impossible.

Why is that?

Is the Church not still the Church? Does she not still have the Holy Spirit and the authority given her by our Lord?

If the government of the Church is conciliar, then why the reluctance to summon a council of the whole Church?

And why would all the Americas have to be lumped together under one Patriarch? It would seem to me that national autocephalous churches and patriarchates could be established in the Western Hemisphere just as they have been in the East.
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« Reply #60 on: May 02, 2003, 07:59:33 AM »

A ROCOR priest from Argentina told me that, even if the Church of Serbia is quite Ecumenical, has a lot of contacts with Rome, and some of its bishops have liberal possitions, the ROCOR would never sever communion with that Church as they refused communion with the rest of the Churches because it is their only "official" link with "World Orthodoxy".

Interesting as that is totally NOT what I have heard from most. Especially since communion wityh the JP is another official link with World Orthodoxy.

The reson I have heard most often, and the one I am most likely to go along with, is that Serbia has always been a friend to the Synod, and just like with individuals & friendship, one favors a friend. The Synod does let Serbia know when it has done wrong, but out of ekonomia and friendship is more likely to allow these things to not sever the relationship. But when we speak of synods that are hostile to it or even hate it, it is a different story.
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« Reply #61 on: May 02, 2003, 10:01:39 AM »

Linus7<<Why is that?

Is the Church not still the Church? Does she not still have the Holy Spirit and the authority given her by our Lord?

If the government of the Church is conciliar, then why the reluctance to summon a council of the whole Church?>>

A conversation another parishioner and I had with our parish priest on this very issue just two days ago, Linus--what a coincidence!

I brought up the fact, when Father mentioned the need for a new Ecumenical Council, that the Seven Councils all addressed heresies besetting the Church, and there were no new heresies to be addressed now, so probably a Pan-Orthodox Synod might address the problems of the so-called "Diaspora," the calendar issue, etc.

Father said there were new issues and an Ecumenical Council and not merely a Pan-Orthodox Synod was necessary in his opinion: the problem of those outside Holy Orthodoxy seeing us *always* as 15+ Churches and not as *The Church,* the growing-apart in some ways of the national Orthodox Churches, the need for the restoration of deaconesses in the Church in many places, conditions for the restoration of communion between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches, for example, as well as the uncanonical multi-jurisdictional problem we have in the USA and in many other places as well.

There was general agreement that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which has talked about convoking a new "Great and Holy Synod" for several years now and has had several pre-conciliar commissions preparing for such, is actually stonewalling the opening of such a Synod, which might eventually be ranked as the Eighth Ecumenical Council by the Orthodox, but does have the authority to convoke such a council.  The downside is that the EP could stack the deck in voting power in its favor by continuing to name bishops to defunct bishoprics to its Holy Synod as it has been doing for some time.

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« Reply #62 on: May 02, 2003, 10:17:21 AM »

Linus, you are correct in claiming that, if the Orthodox "Church is really the Church", it has the competence to summon a council on a global scale.  In this regard, I think that you and Snoopy, who agreed that a pan-Orthodox council is necessary, are really in agreement.  The confusion comes when the adjective "ecumenical" is thrown in to describe the gathering.

We should not be talking about an ecumenical council, in the literal sense of the term; meaning one "convoked by the emperor in response to an immediate heresy about Jesus Christ that threatens the salvation of souls."  Use of the term “ecumenical” for a prospective council only muddies the discussion and provokes fears that are unnecessary.  A pan-Orthodox synod would consider and make decisions under the protection of the Holy Spirit primarily about pastoral and canonical issues; and only about doctrine insofar as it is implicated in those pastoral and canonical questions.  If, subsequently, the decisions of such a council are received, then, after the fact, we might speak of it being an “ecumenical” council in a broadly colloquial sense.  Again, as Linus said, if we believe that Orthodoxy is the present day “body of Christ”, we can trust that God will guide his shepherds in taking decisions, without the burden of whether the gathering is or will be regarded as “ecumenical”.  Only time can answer that question.
 
Second, we should not be talking about a wide-ranging council that is convoked to “address the adjustment or problems of Orthodoxy in the modern world.”  It goes without saying that it would not be the poorly-done Orthodox imitation of Vatican II.  The fallout from the Second Vatican Council serves as an example that all Orthodox can take to heart about how not to do a council.  Instead, a coming council would address, at each convocation, a limited agenda of very discrete and very concrete issues, and not issue prolix broadsides saddled with sociological jargon that can be put to perverted applications.

Each physical convocation of Orthodox bishops on a global scale could be spaced by intervals of at least a couple of years.  With modern communications, there is no reason why much of the conciliar preparation in between sessions could not be done before the actual gathering, or even on distinctively regional questions, as Snoopy suggested; but the gathering itself is indispensable.  Patriarchs and bishops must meet each other, and pray and deliberate together.  The model would be more akin to the regular, regional African councils of the third century.

For such a council to be successful, an indispensable part will be earning the trust and acceptance of Orthodox beforehand; and this means putting people at ease about  what will not be on the agenda.  At a minimum, this would exclude “reform” of liturgies, fasting and ascetical practices, further calendar changes, who is qualified for holy orders, etc.  The Great and Holy Council that many thought would be convened in the 60s and early 70s was going to take up precisely these issues, in the surreal atmosphere of glib experimentation that reflected the climate of those times and Vatican II.  In retrospect, because this gathering did not “come off”, we can see that God was protecting His Orthodox Catholic Church.  However, it is becoming more evident that several canonical and pastoral issues demand the attention of the Orthodox Church, for the sake of the spiritual well-being of the flock.  
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« Reply #63 on: May 02, 2003, 10:33:36 AM »

My take, as a former RC, is that I don't know about Catholicism.  I certainly believe there are errors there (eg, of particular importance to me are the Vatican I "dogmas" which I don't believe are such), but I'm not sure about the impact of this on the nature of Catholicism, in terms of whether it has grace (at least to the same degree) as Orthodoxy does. There is certainly much positive about Catholicism in the context of Western Christianity, but there is also much troubling about Catholicism as well, and when I look at it I see a group that is obviously wounded by its separation from the Orthodox Church.  I suppose Catholics would look at our jurisdictional chaos and say that we Orthodox, too, bear the wounds of our separation from Rome, but I guess I see the "organizational issues" as being less important than the faith/liturgy issues (but that could be simply my own Orthodox bias).  I became Orthodox because there were things that Catholicism teaches as dogma that I do not accept as such, and therefore it was spiritually dishonest for me to remain Catholic (from my own perspective ... I acknowledge that others facing similar challenges have reached different conclusions).  I have not regretted the decision, but, if anything, my views relating to Roman Catholicism have probably softened since I have become Orthodox.

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« Reply #64 on: May 02, 2003, 11:27:58 AM »

As was stated, ROCOR is also in communion with Jerusalem.
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« Reply #65 on: May 02, 2003, 11:28:55 AM »

That's a pretty good breakdown of different groups' relative positions to Orthodoxy.

Quote
However, groups like ROCOR which are hanging on by a thread (communion with Serbia) are clearly Orthodox, and would clearly still be Orthodox even if Serbia cut ties with them. [I add: or Jerusalem.]

But the irony of that position is it falls back on a western Catholic notion of 'validity' to justify such a hypothetical position of ROCOR if it were cut off from Orthodox communion. A tack I don't think ROCOR itself would try to use. There's no question from the Catholic POV that Mikhail Denisenko (Filaret) and co. of Kiev are 'valid'. But they're not Orthodox right now.
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« Reply #66 on: May 02, 2003, 11:56:19 AM »

That's a pretty good breakdown of different groups' relative positions to Orthodoxy.

Quote
However, groups like ROCOR which are hanging on by a thread (communion with Serbia) are clearly Orthodox, and would clearly still be Orthodox even if Serbia cut ties with them. [I add: or Jerusalem.]

But the irony of that position is it falls back on a western Catholic notion of 'validity' to justify such a hypothetical position of ROCOR if it were cut off from Orthodox communion. A tack I don't think ROCOR itself would try to use. There's no question from the Catholic POV that Mikhail Denisenko (Filaret) and co. of Kiev are 'valid'. But they're not Orthodox right now.

But Serge, what is Patriarch Filaret's Church? It's not Catholic, it's not Protestant, it's not vagante...it can only be Orthodox.  He personally is schismatic since he was condemned by his Synod but a large part of his Church is now in its third generation of existence.  Of course I think he's uncanonical, but I don't think you can call him "not Orthodox" given the other circumstances.

Another point: part of the Church that is now the KP was under Patriarch Mystyslav.  Now part of that group in 1995 reconciled with the EP in the USA.  So the question becomes: if the decree of union was signed at 1 pm on Tuesday March 3 (hypothetical) but someone was communed/ordained/given unction/chrismated at 12:59, was that action graceless, not Orthodox, etc?  Does the status of a priest, born into the KP, change because it aquires a schismatic hierarch (the original hierarchs of the KP were ordained by the Polish Orthodox Church)?

Communism threw a wrench in the situation which is why I am more willing to call KP and some schismatic Russian groups in Russia Orthodox.  They don't fit vagante labels since they have real, born members and do real, churchly things, but they aren't canonical...that's why I created my five tiered system.

Sincerely,

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« Reply #67 on: May 02, 2003, 12:00:30 PM »

Friends,

I purposely left off ROCOR's link to Jerusalem because, upon reading the archives of the Indiana List and Orthodox Forum (on yahoo groups) it became apparent that there is considerable debate that ROCOR is in union with Jerusalem.  One ROCOR priest admitted being refused concelebration there, for instance.
I tried to sort this out by emailing both JP hierarchs and Serbian hierarchs. A Serb secretary for his bishop wrote back and told me that "why yes we are in communion with ROCOR because they are a great Orthodox Church!" while the JP guys never wrote me back.  Not that THAT proves anything but just rather I honestly don't know so I don't post info about it :-)

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« Reply #68 on: May 02, 2003, 12:05:20 PM »

Anastasios,

Thank you / I will try to look for something that might confirm it. I think the problem is that (if there is indeed a formal communion between the two Churches), like that between ROCOR and Serbia, it is very touchy. I think the main thing that has allowed ROCOR to remain in communion with Serbia has not been worrying about a connection with "world Orthodoxy," but because many spiritual children of Saints Nikolai and Justin are still in the Church (even some bishops), and so there is great hope that with a new (less ecumenical) leader of the Serbian Church, things (and therefore relations) will improve. Just my 2 cents.
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« Reply #69 on: May 02, 2003, 12:06:21 PM »

While the churches are in communion with one another there are Serbian & Jerusalem priests that do not like ROCOR. But the JP is in charge of ordainations at the ROCOR missions in Jerusalem from what I understand.
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« Reply #70 on: May 02, 2003, 12:38:50 PM »

Dunno, but I think that the KP's situation is a bit more grave than "uncanonical status".  OCA has an "uncanonical status" per most Orthodox jurisdictions, but this does not impede communion with OCA.  It's the act of communion that is the external sign of one's Orthodoxy.  AFAIK, noone else in the Orthodox world has entered communion with the KP -- something that would likely happen if the issue were viewed, as OCA is viewed by many, as simply a matter of "canonical status", and therefore not an impediment to sacramental communion.  I think that the fact that Filaret's group has not been offered communion with any other Orthodox jurisdiction, even after some time, is quite telling.  Folks say it's like Moscow originally was when it declared itself a Patriarchate, but it really isn't the same because at that time noone else broke communion with Moscow over the issue, while the situation with the KP is rather different.

Perhaps at some point the EP will enter into communion with the KP, but despite overtures and discussions, that move has not been taken with respect to the KP (even though the EP has done similar things elsewhere).  Another problem for Filaret is that the more he plays to the Ukranian Catholics (presumably under a "blood is thicker than water and/or dogma" theory) the less likely it is that his group will ever enter into communion with another Orthodox jurisdiction.

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« Reply #71 on: May 02, 2003, 12:40:12 PM »

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The Great and Holy Council that many thought would be convened in the 60s and early 70s was going to take up precisely these issues, in the surreal atmosphere of glib experimentation that reflected the climate of those times and Vatican II.  In retrospect, because this gathering did not “come off”, we can see that God was protecting His Orthodox Catholic Church.  However, it is becoming more evident that several canonical and pastoral issues demand the attention of the Orthodox Church, for the sake of the spiritual well-being of the flock.

Evidently the Great and Holy Council that did not come off in the 1960s and '70s is still in the works.

The Interorthodox Preparatory Commission still exists, or at least still existed as late as 1993, when it adopted a text on the diaspora and autocephaly to be submitted to a Fourth Pan-Orthodox Pre-Conciliar Conference for consideration (see John Erickson's introduction to the 2001 revised edition of Alexander Bogolepov's book, Toward an American Orthodox Church, xvi).

As I understand it, the "Great and Holy Council" that is planned would be an ecumenical council of the entire Orthodox Church, in other words, a global or universal council regarded as of the same authoritative type as the first Seven Ecumenical Councils.



 
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« Reply #72 on: May 02, 2003, 01:02:30 PM »

The KP is now 'other' - not Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Orthodox. I see what you mean, though, anastasios, that socially it's inaccurate to call it vagante, since it is made up of real churches with generational members. Plus, AFAIK its teachings are the same as EOxy's. Because it obviously still has 'valid form', my guess is from the EO POV it's easy to regraft people and groups from it economically back into EO communion.

Councils in the dogmatic sense historically were called only to define teaching for the whole Church in reaction to some heresy. In theory as I understand it (from Kallistos [Ware]) the EOs can call a dogmatic council today. Perhaps a good reason for one is to react against today's errors under the catchall of secular humanism - something that instead of being a repeat/copy of Vatican II could/should be what that should have been. Realistically that would have a good effect on the EO churches internally but the effect on the larger world would be negligible, simply because, while it is the second largest church in the world AFAIK, it is smaller than the Catholic Church.
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« Reply #73 on: May 02, 2003, 01:54:30 PM »

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As I understand it, the "Great and Holy Council" that is planned would be an ecumenical council of the entire Orthodox Church, in other words, a global or universal council regarded as of the same authoritative type as the first Seven Ecumenical Councils.

I think that's what the rhetoric says, but I don't think anything like that could possibly happen. Does anyone believe that the EP would allow ROCOR, or the OCA for that matter, to have a say in such a Council? My patron saint wrote a text about this issue back in 1977, and I don't think things have gotten any better since then.

On the other issue (we're all over the place on this thread... sorry, I was the one who originally took us off topic), I completely agree with what Serge said:

Quote
But the irony of that position is it falls back on a western Catholic notion of 'validity' to justify such a hypothetical position of ROCOR if it were cut off from Orthodox communion. A tack I don't think ROCOR itself would try to use.
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« Reply #74 on: May 02, 2003, 02:36:22 PM »

Brendan states:
"Dunno, but I think that the KP's situation is a bit more grave than "uncanonical status".  OCA has an "uncanonical status" per most Orthodox jurisdictions, but this does not impede communion with OCA.  It's the act of communion that is the external sign of one's Orthodoxy. "

Just a very small correction here as was recently explained to me by a priest. OCA is definitely "canonical" and in full communion, but its "autocephaly" is not recognized. Hence, Metropolitan Herman is viewed by the EP has being still under the MP.
Give the convoluted state of the various jurisdictions in the USA, it's little wonder that the EO is moving so slowly in this recognition. (At least I hope that's his reasoning.)

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« Reply #75 on: May 02, 2003, 11:55:44 PM »

I have been reading this thread and some other threads at Euphrosynos Cafe and this is what I have been thinking.

There is so much confusion here in this world. Everyone is claiming that the hold the truth and Apostolic tradition and unstained by the world. This bishop claims to be true Orthodox, while this church claims that the sacraments in world Orthodoxy are graceless, what is one to do? Is not Christ concerned for his church? Will God do anything about this or will He let us play this game as to who holds the truth? All of these schisms in Orthodoxy lead one to confusion. Does not God care in all of this? Will He do anything about it or will we be left with our own devices which have only brought more division and confusion?

I am sorry if I am muddying the waters here.
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« Reply #76 on: May 03, 2003, 02:20:53 AM »

Here are some comments regarding the relationship between Jerusalem and ROCOR (Click here for other information that is not directly relevant).
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« Reply #77 on: May 03, 2003, 02:30:14 AM »

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That weakness is the lack of centralized authority, is it not?

There is definately a visible, centralized authority. They made it known, for instance, that we couldn't use the word "ROCOR" in "ROCORcafe". They're there, even if you don't often see them. Smiley
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« Reply #78 on: May 03, 2003, 10:34:20 AM »

I have been reading this thread and some other threads at Euphrosynos Cafe and this is what I have been thinking.

There is so much confusion here in this world. Everyone is claiming that the hold the truth and Apostolic tradition and unstained by the world. This bishop claims to be true Orthodox, while this church claims that the sacraments in world Orthodoxy are graceless, what is one to do? Is not Christ concerned for his church? Will God do anything about this or will He let us play this game as to who holds the truth? All of these schisms in Orthodoxy lead one to confusion. Does not God care in all of this? Will He do anything about it or will we be left with our own devices which have only brought more division and confusion?

Christ is Risen!

Dear Sinjin,

     I have answered you at the Euphrosynos Cafe.
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« Reply #79 on: May 03, 2003, 09:00:06 PM »

Quote
That weakness is the lack of centralized authority, is it not?

There is definately a visible, centralized authority. They made it known, for instance, that we couldn't use the word "ROCOR" in "ROCORcafe". They're there, even if you don't often see them. Smiley


Of course, when I made that comment about the lack of centralized authority I was responding to Anastasios' remark about the inherent weakness in Orthodox polity.

That weakness is the lack of a centralized authority.

ROCOR's very existence is testimony to the lack of a single, centralized authority in world Orthodoxy.

The fact that a nation as populous as America, with so many Orthodox Christians in it, does not have its own single, universally-recognized, autocephalous Church is further testimony.

Don't get me wrong. I am not knocking ROCOR or the OCA.
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« Reply #80 on: May 03, 2003, 09:25:19 PM »

Wait, I missed something. Where did it say that we had to have an earthly central figure/see/patriarch to hold us together?  Smiley

And I think the chaos in America would have happened even with a Pope in charge of Orthodoxy. After all, Catholic history in America isn't exactly spotless, and Rome has had major problems with everyone from the Eastern Catholic settlers to the post V2 traditionalists. If Italy had been in the same chaos that Orthodox countries had this century (and Vatican City had been essentially cut off), I think they'd have had just as many problems (though perhaps problems of a different kind). Wink Heck, they had normal communications and they still lost tens of thousands of Eastern Catholics (many to Orthodoxy), tens of thousands during the post-V2 days (making Ex-Catholics the 2nd biggest grouping in America, I've heard), and so forth. Imagine if there had been a "communications breakdown"!
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« Reply #81 on: May 03, 2003, 09:50:46 PM »

Of course, my point was not to compare the Church unfavorably with RCism.

The point was that a true centralized authority could have resolved the jurisdictional mess in the USA by now.

That is not to say there would be no difficulties or schismatics; there would be. But everyone would know clearly who was canonical Orthodox and who was not.
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« Reply #82 on: May 03, 2003, 10:05:56 PM »

Come on linus, you don't really believe that do you? The Catholics have about as authoritarian (as opposed to authoritative) a figure as one could think of creating, and they certainly have all their ducks lined up administratively, and they still have numerous problems. My point is that there is this talk about there being a "leadership vacuum" in Orthodoxy, and talk about needing a centralized authority, but even those groups which do have a centralized authority who rules and can make judgments for his whole Church, there are still problems.

You seem to think that a pope-like figure would be able to resolve things, but I think a pope-like figure, if he tried to "solve" the problem in America (or even had he tried to stop it from developing), would have gotten the response that the Roman Pope got numerous times in the past when he tried to put his say in where it wasn't asked for: he would have been ignored. (Heck, even when his say IS asked for it was sometimes ignored). And ignored not just by schismatics or heretics or people out for their own earthly desires, but even Saints would have ignored him, if the solution had been unacceptable. Sure it's possible that a pope-like figure could resolve things. A unified Orthodoxy on one calendar, with one stand against modernism and ecumenism, and now free from a Communist yoke also could resolve things. But I think it's unrealistic to expect it to happen quickly, or that everyone will just fall in line.

I'm also not sure that I understand your last line, it sounds very neo-papal-patriarchalistic to me... or maybe just papalistic? I don't mean that to be offensive, that's just how it sounds to me. Smiley You seem to be saying that with a pope-like figure, we could easily determine who was and wasn't Orthodox because he would/could tell us. Is that what you're getting at? Smiley
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« Reply #83 on: May 04, 2003, 02:47:57 AM »

Come on linus, you don't really believe that do you?

Why would it be so unbelievable?  Everyone in the diaspora was under the Russian Exarch Bishop (or whatever the proper term is) before the communist revolution.  Remember, we're talking hypothetical.  Since the EP has so much political power, I don't see why things wouldn't fall into line easier if they recognized (the OCA for example) as Autocephalous.
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« Reply #84 on: May 04, 2003, 07:48:53 AM »

Elisha,
I don't think the EP's recognition of OCA autocephaly will clear the boards at this point. With (I've read) as many as 9 Orthodox jurisdictions in North America, this recogition would merely put the EP's Greek Orthodox canonically under the OCA (via Canon 34), but not FORCE the other Mother Churches to follow the lead. There may be more involved here; things we haven't even considered; such as, this situation is very similar to that in Australia - so precedents are being set.
Recall that it took seemingly forever for the EP to recognize Moscow's autocephaly - this action finally healed a serious schism over this same issue. Hope it doesn't come to that again.
I've a feeling that "church time" runs on a different clock than our normal time. Smiley
I do wonder at the St Photios shrine in St Augustine, Fl. While there I wondered as to WHY it was there?  The colonists of New Smryna did include many Greeks, but no priests and most ended up worshipping in a RC church. I wonder if it is in reality an attempt by the "Greeks" to establish precedence over the Russians in North America? 1768 for New Smyrna vs. 1794 for St Herman. Comments, anyone?
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« Reply #85 on: May 04, 2003, 01:44:41 PM »

Recognizing the OCA wouldn't solve anything, it would perhaps even cause more division (if the EP tried to force something with the Greeks -- not that they'd do that as they would never let the Greeks in America out of their dying grasp). Let's say for the sake of argument that they did try something though: would all the Greeks just willingly bow their heads and do what they're told? I doubt it, they seem to have quite a strong self-will--and they've been played with by the EP to the point that they're pretty fed up. The Antiochians? Again, they're pretty self-willed, and Met. Philip might even attempt to join such a united Greek-OCA, but it would never happen. Ignatius IV and Antioch aren't ready to let go (don't let the bestowing of autonomy fool you, they have no intention of letting go any time soon). I believe from things I've seen Met. Philip say that he'd declare the Antiochians here free from the rule of Ignatius IV and Antioch if he thought there could be a unified Church here, but Constantinople, the OCA, and so forth would never allow this to happen. ROCOR and other Old Calendarists most certainly would not consent to being part of such a Church. I'm not sure how the MP's parishes here would fit in, or those of Jerusalem, Serbia, etc., but I doubt everyone would have the same "gee ain't this great" attitude that most OCA'ers would have. Smiley
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« Reply #86 on: May 04, 2003, 01:57:20 PM »

Another thing I want to add to the conversation is that the GOA has a lot of money. Greeks are one of richest immigrant groups in the US, and as a result the GOA has tons of money. I don't think they would want to share their wealth with the OCA, which is a diocese that pays its priests the lowest. Also, there is an ethnic thing.  Many Greeks I think would not being a part of a united American church because that would mean things becoming Americanized.  Many Greeks like to retain their heritage, and since being Greek and Orthodoxy are so intertwined, I don't many Greek parishoners would go for it.
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« Reply #87 on: May 04, 2003, 07:37:00 PM »

In my earlier posts I was not talking about a pope or the Pope.

A central authority for the Orthodox Church could consist of regular meetings of the various Patriarchs.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Church, but it seems rather empty to refer to Church government as conciliar if those at the highest level refuse to meet in councils to straighten out messes that desperately need straightening out.

The current jurisdictional mess in the USA and elsewhere is simply not right. It presents the wrong picture of Orthodoxy to the world and even keeps people from finding Jesus Christ.

The notion of "ethnic" churches is NOT canonical. Autocephalous local churches have, throughout history, been territorial, not ethnic.

". . . a Church district of canonical origin having no less than three duly appointed ruling bishops may receive autocephalous status if it be situated in a politically independent state" (Alexander Bogolepov, Toward an American Orthodox Church, p. 16).

The notion that Orthodox Christians will refuse to participate in a canonically created American Orthodox Church because they treasure their ethnic enclaves or because they have too much money, or for whatever reason, is disturbing.

If an autocephalous Church is created in the proper, canonical manner, then all Orthodox Christians living in its jurisdiction will automatically be subject to it. To refuse participation would be to cut oneself off from Christ.

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« Reply #88 on: May 04, 2003, 07:51:31 PM »



it seems rather empty to refer to Church government as conciliar if those at the highest level refuse to meet in councils to straighten out messes that desperately need straightening out.



Well Said.

As long as we understand, as Paradosis cautioned, that administrative efficiency is not a panacea,especially as an automatic guarantee that everyone "will behave."
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« Reply #89 on: May 04, 2003, 07:59:09 PM »



it seems rather empty to refer to Church government as conciliar if those at the highest level refuse to meet in councils to straighten out messes that desperately need straightening out.



Well Said.

As long as we understand, as Paradosis cautioned, that administrative efficiency is not a panacea,especially as an automatic guarantee that everyone "will behave."

There is behaving as an Orthodox Christian, which leaves room for certain differences in rite, language, etc., then there is misbehaving that puts one outside the Orthodox communion.

If an autocephalous American Orthodox Church is canonically created, which includes recognition by her sister autocephalous Churches, then that is "all she wrote" - all Orthodox Christians within her jurisdiction who wish to remain Orthodox Christians will be subject to that Church.
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« Reply #90 on: May 04, 2003, 09:41:17 PM »

Quote
The current jurisdictional mess in the USA and elsewhere is simply not right. It presents the wrong picture of Orthodoxy to the world and even keeps people from finding Jesus Christ.

I think everyone agrees that what we have here in America is a big problem, and needs to be solved... the question is how and when.

Quote
The notion that Orthodox Christians will refuse to participate in a canonically created American Orthodox Church because they treasure their ethnic enclaves or because they have too much money, or for whatever reason, is disturbing.

Of course it's not ok, totally agreed. There is more complicating this issue than politics and money though.

Quote
If an autocephalous Church is created in the proper, canonical manner, then all Orthodox Christians living in its jurisdiction will automatically be subject to it. To refuse participation would be to cut oneself off from Christ.

You aren't saying that with a straight face, are you? Smiley I certainly hope not! It's not that the idea that you express is wrong, it's just not practical. Things just don't work out in such a black and white way in reality, where there are multitudes of factors and situations cannot be reduced to a "choose A or B" scenario. For a historical example, consider the see of Antioch in the fourth century. SAINT Basil and the Cappadocians favored one patriarch; SAINT Athanasius and the west favored a different one; there were two additional "patriarchs" beyond these two also fighting for the peopl eo Antioch. If Saints can disagree (and we see in the exile of Saint John Chrysostom saints again disagreeing as a Saint participated in getting St. John exiled!), why would we think that we sinners can just get everything right and make everything black and white? Life is filled with a lot of grey, and this issue has a lot of grey. (Am I spelling grey right? Grin )  Anyway, I think you overestimate how simple and proper things would be, my friend!
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« Reply #91 on: May 04, 2003, 09:51:11 PM »

I don't think the 4th-century situation you cited is analogous to the one I presented, in which an autocephalous American Orthodox Church is canonically created and recognized by all her sister Churches.

That is not the same thing as a dispute over who should be patriarch. The saints you mentioned were not off starting their own schismatic churches or refusing to participate in the Orthodox Church.

To refuse to participate in the Church for reasons that are not morally or theologically justifiable is to cut oneself off from Christ.
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« Reply #92 on: May 04, 2003, 09:56:43 PM »

I brought it up because it shows that things aren't always black and white. Do you believe they are today? Smiley I think they're much muddier now than they were in that situation!
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« Reply #93 on: May 04, 2003, 10:08:45 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Dear Lucien,

If you believe this so, which jurisdiction should ACROD meld into to get the ball rolling? OCA? GOA? UOC-EP?

Would the EP allow ACROD to meld into OCA even?
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« Reply #94 on: May 04, 2003, 10:09:10 PM »

No, I do not believe things are black and white. The jurisdictional mess in America is just that - a mess.

I think it will take a genuine ecumenical council and real unanimity among the Patriarchs and bishops councils to fix it.

My point was that the creation of an autocephalous American Orthodox Church will fix the jurisdictional problem; it cannot help but do that.

Once a truly canonical, universally-recognized, autocephalous American Orthodox Church is created, that automatically eliminates all competing Orthodox jurisdictions here:  because any group outside the Orthodox Church is outside the Orthodox Church, regardless of what they call themselves.
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« Reply #95 on: May 04, 2003, 10:19:09 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Dear Lucien,

If you believe this so, which jurisdiction should ACROD meld into to get the ball rolling? OCA? GOA? UOC-EP?

Would the EP allow ACROD to meld into OCA even?

Good question. However, as you well know, ACROD has no authority on its own to "get the ball rolling."

I don't know what the EP would allow. For now, apparently no changes.

I think all Orthodox Christians should be willing to surrender narrow jurisdictional and ethnic loyalties for the sake of Orthodox unity and mission, however.

When a holy council of the Church fixes the problem and creates a single, universally-recognized autocephalous Church for the USA, I will be more than happy to be a part of it and thrilled to put all those divisive acronyms (ACROD, ROCOR, OCA, ABCXYZ, etc) behind me.
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« Reply #96 on: May 04, 2003, 10:40:43 PM »

Linus, I disagree with you. Many Greeks(and I am sure there are other ethnics) are not going to surrender their heritage just to make one united American church. Greeks worship and have different traditions from the Russians.  Neither one is right or wrong, that is just the way Orthodoxy has evolved. There are many Orthodox immigrants who come to this country who do not speak English well and would feel lost in an English speaking only Orthodox church. Also, there are many older people who have been raised in the Greek Orthodox church who would feel lost in an American church. What traditions would a soley American Orthodox church have? I hate to break this to you but the OCA branches off the MP and follows the Russian style of worship. My point is this, Americans have no real culture, we borrow things from other cultures to make one big soup. Americans lack pride for their culture. Many Americans are proud of their country, yet how Americans are proud of their culture? Again to be blunt, many ethnics are proud of their culture and don't see anything wrong with it, and as such, they probably would not be willing to be lumped into an American Orthodox church.
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« Reply #97 on: May 05, 2003, 01:24:48 AM »

Sinjin, I understand your point of view. I know the Arab Orthodox and Arab Christians in general to put Arab "churchiness" above any notion of or allegiance to World Orthodoxy.  In one case once mentioned here before, some Arab Orthodox went over to the Maronites (a seriously rare situation) when they clashed with the English-speaking members of the parish.

Putting aside the matter of Mother Sees looking to their U.S. extensions as providers of revenue, the layout is this: America suffers from a serious case of social engineering and hence features social dynamics of a kind that isn't found in Old World countries.  There are three currents within each jurisdiction that continue to produce a segmentation and rival factions.  The first is the influx of converts, the second is the assimilation of nth generation immigrants, and the third is the fresh unloading of new immigrant cargo.  These exist in different proportions at different times in different jurisdictions.  These three forces compete against each other and prevent the finalization of an assignment of cultural/religious identity to each jurisdiction.  The problem is the situation is constantly in flux, especially with the immigration policy that operates in the U.S.  As soon as one generation assimilates, another comes in from across the shores to counter that force, and, along with WASP converts, a balkanization of sorts can ensue.  This applies to Orthodox and Eastern Catholic jurisdictions.

Until this constant tug of war between different societal groups within a jurisdiction comes to a halt, and a full assimilation of some kind ensues, without any counterforce (such as new immigrants) following afterwards to reverse this, a jurisdiction will not form an American identity, however one may define this, and multiple jurisdictions will certainly not be able to merge into one uniform American jurisdiction, though that is the proper canonical norm.  Ireland and those of like persuasion attempted such to no avail.

The problem is this: America itself as a society is not set as one culture (except for pop culture), and hence lacks a proper identity and binding force aside from allegiance to the Federal Government or the political legacy and ideological cement of the Constitution and Bill of Rights (one can also say English, except that Spanish is increasingly on the rise these days).  In fact, genuine culture only exists at most on the level of the state (as in one of the 50 states) or probably even on a more localist level.  What all this means is that the absence of an American culture results in the absence of an American Church.  I wonder if the concept of several autocephalous Churches in North America is at all viable.

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N.B. One point on the Arab Orthodox.  It should be pointed out that St. Raphael Hawaweeny--according to my understanding--was keen on seeing the Arab flock under the shepherd's care of an Arab Patriarch of Antioch (and the Arabs have traditionally pushed for the "nativization" of their Sees which have long been held by Greeks).  This may in fact factour in as a sort of legacy of the hierarch, and therefore operate as a counterforce to the ideological trend of one American jurisdiction.  I am only making my own assumptions here.
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« Reply #98 on: May 05, 2003, 01:44:41 AM »

The problem is this: America itself as a society is not set as one culture (except for pop culture), and hence lacks a proper identity and binding force aside from allegiance to the Federal Government or the political legacy and ideological cement of the Constitution and Bill of Rights (one can also say English, except that Spanish is increasingly on the rise these days).  In fact, genuine culture only exists at most on the level of the state (as in one of the 50 states) or probably even on a more localist level.  What all this means is that the absence of an American culture results in the absence of an American Church.  I wonder if the concept of several autocephalous Churches in North America is at all viable.

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Samer, thank you for making the point that I tried to make in my previous post. I agree with you that culture is not set as one and  probably exists on a state or local level. Take Texas for instance, or many states in the south.
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« Reply #99 on: May 05, 2003, 02:00:59 AM »

Paradosis (and others),
Yes, I believe everything me (and Linus to some extent) are saying with a straight face.  But, I'm not saying that everything will be miraculously solved.  Just as Linus, was saying, it would be an administrative unity.  The status quo (for practical purposes of pratice) within each "former" jurisdiction would stay the same - time would heal this (as they saying goes, it heals all wounds).  If you will, liken it to how the OCA currently has a Bulgarian Diocese, etc.
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« Reply #100 on: May 05, 2003, 02:07:46 AM »

Just to let you guys know that you are not alone in this juristictional mess, yesterday I met a priest from France and had a lovely chat about how the church is fairing there. Apparently the Orthodox church is growing steadily while the Catholic and Protestant churches are both in decline (we didn't discuss Islam), but while the Greek churches have the strongest presence, the Russians are a close second followed by the Armenians (I think?) and the Serbs.

In any case I was greatly encouraged to hear that the French people are rediscovering the pillar of truth.

John.
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« Reply #101 on: May 05, 2003, 10:06:45 AM »

Both rites (including church calendars) and ethnic cultures ultimately are man-made, not of the essence of the Church. (Yes, I realize the hurtfulness and even possible unorthodoxy this approach has been used for - the Roman Catholics in America squeezing out the Byzantine Catholic churches.) The obvious, logical thing for real Eastern Orthodox in America to do is merge into one jurisdiction - the OCA because the Russians were the first Orthodox here. Ethnic congregations? Including Anglo-American, English-only ones (which are of course ethnic)? Absolutely. Let a thousand flowers bloom. Have ethnic vicar bishops for different groups if needed.  And Russian, other Slavic, Greek, Romanian, Arabic, Albanian-Greek, Slavic-American and Anglo-American homegrown (children of the present convert boomlet) churches. Perhaps in time the last could morph into a new recension of the Byzantine Rite or even a new rite. Possible. The faith ultimately isn't about ethnicity, let alone subsidizing dying Levantine sees, which also are not of the esse of the Church.

We've had this conversation before about rite. The reason different ones exist today is because of the lack of communication in the ancient world.  So the evolution of an American Rite seems unlikely today IMO in our smaller world with instant communication such as the Internet. But American culture is unique so an American recension certainly is possible... again IMO if EOs ever reach the critical mass populationwise to do it. But that might not (probably will not) happen.
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« Reply #102 on: May 05, 2003, 12:50:41 PM »

I agree with Serge. I do not see why we cannot have one autocephalous American Orthodox Church and yet allow individual congregations to maintain their ethnic flavor, traditions, and language.

As long as the Orthodox Church is perceived as something foreign, a sort of ethnic social club for immigrants, she will have little impact on Americans, and she will lose her hold on the children and grandchildren of the immigrants themselves.

I think the current jurisdictional mess and the division into ethnic enclaves are dangerous trends. The Church is universal. She is for everyone. She is not the property of the tribe.

When Sts. Cyril and Methodius went north to the Slavs, did they try to impose Greek on them? Nope. They put the Gospel into Slavonic, and St. Cyril even invented an alphabet for the purpose.

When I went to Russia I became subject to the Russian Orthodox Church. I attended her Divine Liturgy, made my confession to a Russian priest, and received the Holy Eucharist from him. I did not seek out a bunch of my fellow "ethnics" (in this case, Americans) and try to transplant a version of my particular jurisdiction onto Russian soil.

My point is that, canonically speaking, the autocephaly of a local Church has to do with being located in an independent political territory and not with ethnicity.
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« Reply #103 on: May 05, 2003, 12:59:00 PM »

Thanks, Linus.

Quote
As long as the Orthodox Church is perceived as something foreign, a sort of ethnic social club for immigrants, she will have little impact on Americans, and she will lose her hold on the children and grandchildren of the immigrants themselves.

I think the current jurisdictional mess and the division into ethnic enclaves are dangerous trends.

Which is exactly what's happening now.
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« Reply #104 on: May 05, 2003, 01:04:10 PM »

Serge<<Which is exactly what's happening now. >>

Agreed!

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« Reply #105 on: May 05, 2003, 01:48:17 PM »

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I think the current jurisdictional mess and the division into ethnic enclaves are dangerous trends.

Which is exactly what's happening now.

And I believe will continue to happen as long as the counterforce of immigration exists.  Unfailing sociological forces being what they are, one can be sure that within the span of a few generations, assimilation takes over at a strong rate.

Therefore, in order for these divisions to weaken considerably, it is required that a period of time, perhaps a good century, pass without new immigrants being injected into the flocks, while allowing for the forces of assimilation to take over.

Now Serge consistently points out the proper canonical model to be followed and is correct in his calling attention to the Russian mission's primacy (and therefore that of the O.C.A.)  in the creation of an American Church.  The problem I have with his idea of ethnic congregations is that a new solid jurisdiction must be founded on some sense of uniform homogenous identity; perhaps a concession can be made to create a foundation characterized as an umbrella of different ethnicities, but it wouldn't work out at present given the status quo.  Why?  Because the forces of assimilation and counter-assimilation I described remain in action and will continue to tug sections of the jurisdiction back and forth.  This kind of a volatile situation is not condusive to any sort of unity that an autocephalous jurisdiction requires.  Furthermore, friction and power struggles can ensue.  Now were there no forces of assimilation to consider, meaning we lived in a U.S. where, without the support of new immigrants, the ethnic communities successfully maintained their cultures and a strong cohesive element generation after generation  (and were converts not affecting demographics in some way), then Serge's multi-ethnic jurisdiction would make sense.  Also, if immigration were to cease and assimilation allowed to work its way into all the communities along with the catalyst influxes of converts provide, over a period of a hundred years or so, then the stability an American jurisdiction needs would be provided, but as long all the opposing forces I mentioned continue to exist, no finalization of identity (whether solidly multi-ethnic or uniformly American) will exist, and civil wars will continue to shape and mold an American Church in some manner at one time, and another manner the next.  The situation will become too unstable and the Church's identity even less clear.  There has to be a stabilization within a united American Church, in either the direction of assimilation or that of a strong, solid maintanance of the ethnic communities.  A constant flux that keeps changing a jurisdiction's orientation and leaning from one direction to the other will not create a success story.

Now I disagree with Linus, that ethnicity can be reduced simply to a pesky "ethnic club".  Ethnicity, or rather a sphere of commonly related ethnicites is an essential component of a Church's identity and forms a good part of its fabric.  And I believe two extremes exist and should be avoided.  Most certainly "ethnics"--the assimilated kind particularly--can reduce their Churches into social clubs and meeting grounds for their boys and girls at the expense of the substance of the religion itself, and important issues like abortion.  Such folks annoy both me and many others.  At the same time--and equally annoying--is the opposite extreme: reducing ethnic and cultural identity into a dangerously insignificant factour, and turning a Church into a "religious club" (we're "going to church" suburban mentality) that has no grounding in history, culture, or the traditions that form the customs and practices of Church ritual.  Orthodoxy becomes like the Constitution today, a Platonic abstract divorced from the material and substantial casing of culture and history it requires to flourish.  The "community" becomes an artificial and crude Hillary-ish "it takes a village" assembly.  A balance must be struck between the two extremes.

But Linus is correct in that traditionally jurisdiction is ultimately defined by geographical territory (not politically defined territory however), and not by phyletic nationalism.  This has been the case with the Apostolic Sees in the Middle East (Eastern Orthodox).  However, I have lately begun to consider a point of view I hadn't before, and will ask Serge for his opinions.  Since a new jurisdiction is to be based on territory, rather than national identity, isn't a whole swath of geography like the U.S. enormous for one Orthodox Church?  Wouldn't it be more logical to produce a small number of autocephalous Churches in U.S. territory instead (not based on ethnicity)?  I ask that while answering you assume that the total number of Orthodox in the U.S. is significantly higher than the aggregate sum today (as the currently small value of this measure is the only reason I see that can permit a Church to have jurisdiction over such a large territory, the same reason why the Melkite Patriarch is responsible for the jurisdiction of three Apostolic Sees, and why his Church is technically one rather than three that stand alongside their three Orthodox counterparts).

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« Reply #106 on: May 05, 2003, 02:26:51 PM »

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The problem I have with his idea of ethnic congregations is that a new solid jurisdiction must be founded on some sense of uniform homogenous identity

Aren't basic orthodoxy, the Byzantine Rite and Byzantine theology enough to accomplish that, even with the ebb and flow of immigration?
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« Reply #107 on: May 05, 2003, 02:45:11 PM »

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The problem I have with his idea of ethnic congregations is that a new solid jurisdiction must be founded on some sense of uniform homogenous identity

Aren't basic orthodoxy, the Byzantine Rite and Byzantine theology enough to accomplish that, even with the ebb and flow of immigration?

As I stand now Serge, I can't reply in the affirmative.  These are my own assumptions, but I can always further explore the current state of affairs to get a more accurate picture.  At present, these are the impressions that stick to my mind.  Maybe they will change with time, but right now I think the ground is still shaky for one jurisdiction.

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« Reply #108 on: May 05, 2003, 04:12:14 PM »

One of the problems I see with all this emphasis on ethnicity is that it defeats one of the chief purposes of the Church, the mission assigned to her by our Lord and Savior Himself: to go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The USA is a huge mission field for the Church, but she is failing to reach most of the people here.

Why?

Could it be in part because Orthodoxy is being kept hostage as a tribal secret?

I don't buy all that stuff about the importance of ethnic culture and customs. We're talking about the Church of Jesus Christ here. If all that was so important, the Church would have never made it out of Palestine, the New Testament would have been written in Aramaic or Hebrew rather than Greek, and we would all have to be circumcised and keep the Mosaic Law.

The one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church transcends racial, ethnic, and linguistic boundaries - or at least she is supposed to.
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« Reply #109 on: May 05, 2003, 05:44:26 PM »

When the RC's in America originally agitated for separate jurisdictions a battle had to be fought and one jurisdiction for the Latin Rite was enforced from the top down.  Perhaps we need this in Orthodoxy: one jurisdiction for the Eastern Orthodox (Byzantine Rite of course), to be enforced by the American bishops.  They need to just get the courage and DO IT.

Each parish could keep its ethnic flavor, style of chant, and what not. Heck, they can even have vicar bishops for majority-ethnic parishes. But one set of territorial bishops, please!

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« Reply #110 on: May 05, 2003, 06:13:04 PM »

Since a new jurisdiction is to be based on territory, rather than national identity, isn't a whole swath of geography like the U.S. enormous for one Orthodox Church?  Wouldn't it be more logical to produce a small number of autocephalous Churches in U.S. territory instead (not based on ethnicity)?

Uh...no and no.  See Church of Russia.  Very big.
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« Reply #111 on: May 05, 2003, 07:42:57 PM »

Elisha: huh?  And what does Russia have to do with the Church in the USA?  IF, and that's a very long way off IMHO, we eventually do get *one* (and ONLY one) canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church in the USA and it does grow to the size of that in Russia, well, it can be geographically divided into territorial autonomous Churches, but still remain part of one basic autocephalous national Church.  But that's such a long way off--let's wait and see.  Right now it would be nice to see just one--and only ONE--canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church embracing all ethnicities and cultures on the territory of the USA (grant Canada autonomy right up front).

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« Reply #112 on: May 05, 2003, 07:51:07 PM »

Since a new jurisdiction is to be based on territory, rather than national identity, isn't a whole swath of geography like the U.S. enormous for one Orthodox Church?  Wouldn't it be more logical to produce a small number of autocephalous Churches in U.S. territory instead (not based on ethnicity)?

Uh...no and no.  See Church of Russia.  Very big.

Sorry, Elisha, I think I misunderstood your post, but I was well intentioned and agreeing with you!   :disco:  

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« Reply #113 on: May 05, 2003, 07:53:40 PM »

And I agree with both of you! Grin

I think we should have an autocephalous American Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #114 on: May 05, 2003, 08:04:31 PM »

And I agree with both of you! Grin

I think we should have an autocephalous American Orthodox Church.

The gift of autocephaly is already in the USA in the OCA.  From what I know of the OCA, they'd be willing to surrender any claims to primacy for the achievement of canonical unity in one Church.  IOW, the Prmate need not come from the OCA--he could be Antiochian, Serbian, Greek, whatever.

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« Reply #115 on: May 05, 2003, 08:07:34 PM »

Isn't the MP unhappy with some of the things that are going on within the OCA?
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« Reply #116 on: May 05, 2003, 08:12:50 PM »

Isn't the MP unhappy with some of the things that are going on within the OCA?

No.  The MP has requested that the OCA create a specifically ethnic Russian Diocese to handle the large number of new immigrants coming from Russia.  However, relations between the MP and the OCA are excellent.

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« Reply #117 on: May 05, 2003, 08:28:43 PM »

And I agree with both of you! Grin

I think we should have an autocephalous American Orthodox Church.

The gift of autocephaly is already in the USA in the OCA.  From what I know of the OCA, they'd be willing to surrender any claims to primacy for the achievement of canonical unity in one Church.  IOW, the Prmate need not come from the OCA--he could be Antiochian, Serbian, Greek, whatever.

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The problem with that is that it has not been recognized by the other autocephalous Churches. As much as I want an autocephalous American Orthodox Church, I don't think what Moscow did in 1970 was canonically sufficient to make the OCA truly the autocephalous Church so many of us are looking for.

The problem is that the canons do not really make it clear how a local Church attains autocephalous status. The various autocephalous Churches achieved their present status in different ways, none of which has ever been codified or standardized in the canons of the Church.

In 1993 the Interorthodox Preparatory Commission adopted the following recommendation concerning the proclamation of autocephaly:

3. Complete agreement was established concerning the canonical conditions which the proclamation of the autocephaly of a local church requires, namely the consent and action of the mother church, the obtaining of a pan-Orthodox consensus, and the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the other autocephalous churches in the procedure of the proclamation of autocephaly. According to the agreement:

a.  The mother church which receives a request for autocephaly from an ecclesiastical region which depends on it evaluates whether the ecclesiological, canonical and pastoral conditions are satisfied for the granting of autocephaly. In the case where the local synod of the mother church, as its supreme ecclesiastical organ, gives its consent to the request, it submits the proposal on this subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate so that pan-Orthodox consensus may be sought. The mother church then informs the other local autocephalous churches of this.

b.  According to pan-Orthodox practice, the Ecumenical Patriarchate communicates by patriarchal letter all the details concerning said request and seeks expression of pan-Orthodox consensus. Pan-Orthodox consensus is expressed by the unanimous decision of the synods of the autocephalous churches. (Quoted by John Erickson in his forward to Alexander Bogolepov's book, Toward an American Orthodox Church, xvii - xviii).


Of course, the recommendations of the Interorthodox Preparatory Commission are not binding on anyone, but they are probably a pretty good indication of how autocephaly for Orthodox in the USA will come, if it ever comes at all.

Let's face it: it's probably going to require an ecumenical council.
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