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Linus7
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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 :-)

anastasios
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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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I only edited this post to take it out of quotes--anastasios
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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 »

Quote
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?

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     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.

« Last Edit: May 04, 2003, 07:37:52 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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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.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2003, 08:00:34 PM by Linus7 » Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
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