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Author Topic: Communion of Different Religions  (Read 4023 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: May 09, 2003, 01:08:39 PM »

Someone said on another thread:

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Your issue about "how do we know we are the true Church" is answerable in the same way -- we just do.  The Armenians, Copts and Syrians are Orthodox in faith, too, by the way, and it appears now based on the work of the joint theological commission that the disagreements in theological formulation between these communions and the Orthodox Catholic Church of the East is largely one of semantics, so again, that doesn't really bother me.  We will be in full communion with all of these relatively soon (in Orthodox terms ... which means as a practical matter it might take a while).  Our differences with Rome, on the other hand, are not semantical, but real -- no less than what does it mean to be "Church", and what one believes about that.  I have reflected on this for years, both as a Catholic and as an Orthodox, and I am firmly convinced that the Orthodox view of this -- which admittedly has pragmatic issues -- nevertheless is closer to the truth than the Catholic view.  It's just an interior matter, however, and each believer has to reflect deeply on what they believe and why. (emphasis mine)

If they do go into "full communion," they will cut themselves off from the Church.

And btw, the practical side is already taken care of. The reason that I was unable to attend an Orthodox Church for many months is exactly because they have taken care of the practical side: they were communing heretics at the local Antiochian parishes that were close enough for me to attend.
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2003, 01:26:36 PM »

If they entire Orthodox Church together decides to enter full communion with the Oriental Orthodox, then the Church will have decided that Oriental Orthodox are Orthodox and one in faith, hence you will be outside of the Church for disagreeing with the Church.

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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2003, 01:30:06 PM »

I'm glad we see eye to eye on this Anastasios: if (and I pray it's only an "if" and not a "when") communion happens, we will absolutely be cut off from each other. I'm NOT glad, of course, that we have to speak in such a way or take such a stance, but I'm at least glad that things are clear, and the waters have not been muddied to the extent that you are unsure of where you or I would stand.
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2003, 01:32:37 PM »

So does that mean that since the reigning decision that has been standing since Chalcedon is that we are not of one Faith, does that mean anyone saying that we are of one Faith is out of the Church for disagreeing with the Church? Tongue

Just seeing how far this disagreeing with the church thing goes. Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2003, 01:50:39 PM »

if communion happens, we will absolutely be cut off from each other.

Just to clarify, you mean communion without acceptance of the 4th - 7th Ecumenical councils, right?

IOW If the Non-Chalcedoneans accepted those councils would you then be for communion?
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2003, 02:31:14 PM »

Perhaps the non-Chalcedonians should accept 4-7, use the St. John Chrysostom liturgy, anathemize all post-Chalcedonian saints, and adopt Ancient Greek or Old Slavonic.

Then maybe, maybe they can be part of the Byzantine Church.  But of course, they would have to get rid of their silly vestments and use the Greek ones.   Wink
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2003, 02:37:03 PM »

if communion happens, we will absolutely be cut off from each other.

Just to clarify, you mean communion without acceptance of the 4th - 7th Ecumenical councils, right?

IOW If the Non-Chalcedoneans accepted those councils would you then be for communion?

As the EP has already stated that communion will require acceptance of all 7 Ecumenical Councils, this is moot from the "Eastern" perspective. It will be up to the Orientals to figure how to word their acceptance in a palpable manner to their sensitivities. The 4th Council acceptance would be tacitly accepted by the Orientals if the working agreement is truly an agreement. I can understand why they would question 5-7 when they weren't involved in those issues to start with; but then that would also mean acceptance of those is a formality.
On the other side, as another poster noted, PRIDE is involved from both sides and I'm sure the Easterns will have to swallow their share (especially those in Syria and Alexandria). IF this works out, are we looking at "Eastern Rite" and "Oriental Rite" Orthodox? TWO Orthodox popes still in Alexandria? I hope not. I hope the Easterns (my communion) will be reasonable.
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2003, 04:23:30 PM »

Someone said on another thread:

If they do go into "full communion," they will cut themselves off from the Church.

And btw, the practical side is already taken care of. The reason that I was unable to attend an Orthodox Church for many months is exactly because they have taken care of the practical side: they were communing heretics at the local Antiochian parishes that were close enough for me to attend.

Sorry, I'm dense.  I've read this a few times, and I don't understand what's going on.  who's they, and who are they going into full communion with, and who's communion who that they shouldn't??
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2003, 05:41:22 PM »

Aristocles,

You raised a couple of interesting points!

Could you please cite for me where His All Holiness said that we would have to accept Chalcedon and the subsequent councils?  I do not doubt that it is true, I would just like the reference.  Why would this be necessary if we already accept the Faith of the  post-Chalcedonian councils and never had to address these issues in our Churches?

As you said:

"I can understand why they would question 5-7 when they weren't involved in those issues to start with; but then that would also mean acceptance of those is a formality."

If the Faith is the same, why would such a formality be necessary?

Another interesting point:

"On the other side, as another poster noted, PRIDE is involved from both sides and I'm sure the Easterns will have to swallow their share (especially those in Syria and Alexandria). IF this works out, are we looking at "Eastern Rite" and "Oriental Rite" Orthodox? TWO Orthodox popes still in Alexandria? I hope not. I hope the Easterns (my communion) will be reasonable."

Are you suggesting that the Byzantine Patriarchates in these cities should gradually be phased out in favor of the Patriarchates of the indigenous traditions?  This does make sense to me on the one hand, because the Coptic and Syriac-rite sees are older and indigenous, but on the other hand, would it be right to force the Greeks in these lands to attend only Coptic and Syriac rite liturgies?  Surely they could maintain churches of their own rite, even if they placed themselves under the indigenous Patriarchs.  I know for a fact that in Syria at least a de facto state of Communion already exists between the Antiochians (EO), Syriac Church (OO), and Armenian Church (OO), and I'm not talking about "economia" either.  I think this is the kind of thing that was bothering another poster earlier.

Do you think that the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople should also be phased out after any possible reunification?  Jerusalem could also be a little problematic if we decided to phase out parallel patriarchates, since a few different Orthodox Churches maintain bishops with the title of patriarch there.

Forgive me if I've misunderstood your position.  I'm not trying to put any words in your mouth.  Just trying to understand these interesting ideas and where you are coming from.  

P.S. - Anastasios, I truly admire your candor and desire to see this reunification take place.
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2003, 05:55:11 PM »

The reason that I was unable to attend an Orthodox Church for many months is exactly because they have taken care of the practical side: they were communing heretics at the local Antiochian parishes that were close enough for me to attend.

Who do they communicate? Non-Chalcedoneans? Romans perhaps? I think it's a matter of discipline. Does the Bishop agree with that?

Here I know several Armenians who attend Roman churches and receive communion there. I would say that they would do better if they attended Orthodox parishes but the attitude of the orthodox toward them is not so open. Although some would receive them for communion, who knows.
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2003, 06:29:34 PM »

Justin:

Let me be blunt.

You are not the Orthodox Church. You are not in the position to judge it.  I don't think union with the Oriental Orthodox is imminent (even though *I* wish it were).  These discussions have been going on for so long, and ever nuance is being discussed.

I didn't understand your point above--so if you cut yourself off from the Orthodox Church if union is achieved, you are ok with being a schismatic?  You are so opposed to the Non-Chalcedonians?

I just don't understand your animosity to the Non-Chalcedonians. Please tell me: have you ever met one?  Please tell me, have you attended a Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, or Ethiopian Liturgy? Please tell me: what stake do YOU personally have with Chalcedon? Do you understand what the Non-Chalcedonians are saying? Do you understand that their Christology is NOT monophysite but is only a firm adherence to St. Cyril's?

How would communion with them hurt the Eastern Orthodox?

I just want to know "why" you are so upset about this.

I also think it was totally sinful for you to skip Church for months because Non-Chalcedonians were communed in your parish. You could have at least attended and not gone to the chalice.  Ultimately it is the priest who will be judged, not you, in that case.

Sincerely,

anastasios
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2003, 07:39:13 PM »

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Please tell me: what stake do YOU personally have with Chalcedon?

I am not trying to answer for Paradosis, but for myself.

The stake I have as an Orthodox Christian in Chalcedon is foundational. Am I wrong?

We as a Church have maintained that the Seven Ecumenical Councils were Holy Spirit-inspired decisions of the Church in her capacity as "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).

Are we to change our minds about them now?

If we look back at one and say, "Well, gee, maybe we goofed there," what is to become of the rest of them as theological fashions change?

Such a practice with Chalcedon seems a slippery slope to me.

If we truly share the same Orthodox faith, I would love to see a reunion of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox.

But I don't see how that can happen unless some way is found for the Seven Councils to be accepted by the whole Church.

Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2003, 08:09:44 PM »

Anastasios

I never claimed to be the Church. I'm just putting a realistic face on all this "can't we all just get along"? rhetoric. Constantly there is talk about unity unity unity. Well, such a union would cause A LOT of division, and that's what I'm pointing out. CERTAINLY I don't have a right to judge what the Church should believe, I am only saying how many Churches would react, and how I would react. I think many are getting the false impression that it's just a bunch of fringe people who would have a problem with such a communion. I can assure you that multiple autocephalous Churches will have a major problem with such a union, and might even break away. I hold no animosity towards the Chalcedonians, though I am very saddened that fellow Orthodox are (perhaps unknowingly) distorting what would happen if union with the monophysites ever took place. I've actually been reading some material FOR the proposed union of late: I hold no personal grudge or hatred towards the monophysites. I love them, that's why I pray that they return to the Church. But if THIS communion effort goes through, they won't be returning, many Orthodox will be departing.

And yes, I've met monophysites. As I said, I had to (because of conscience) stop attending two Antiochian Churches because they were communing at them (odd that they, as non-Orthodox, were allowed to commune...  since it prevented me, an Orthodox, from doing so). I also have many Antiochian friends, and I know people whom I look up to in that Church and others. My confessor for a long while was Antiochian, and I still respect him as a Priest (in spite of his communing monophysites). Do you think I am rushing towards breaking of communion, so that, when they ask why I don't come to their Church for even vespers anymore, I have to tell them that they don't have valid sacraments? Do you think that I WANT to tell anyone that they don't have grace!? Sheesh anastasios, there's no animosity here, just sadness. I was depressed all day, exactly because it finally dawned on me this morning that communion is not only being walked towards, but this false communion is actually being sought out! Sad I guess I should have known that all along.


Nicholas,

The Church would accept communion that was legit. Recognition of the Councils (not a watering down of the interpretation of the Councils) would be a good step towards communion (but is not the end all of communion).
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2003, 08:20:47 PM »

They communed monophysites (aka non-chalcedonians). Met. Philip knows, as does Patriarch Ignatius IV. They were the one who insisted that this practice go on. It's the local parish priests that are most innocent in this whole thing.
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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2003, 08:51:20 PM »

Anastasios:
But do SVS, John Erickson, Frs. Meyendoff and Schmemann and all the
ecumenical meetings speak for Orthodoxy? I have a feeling the only way communion will be achieved will be when the Chalcedonians water down Chalcedon, (like getting rid of the Tome) in order to appease the Chalcedonians. What's wrong, if you're Chalcedonian, in waiting for the Non-C's to change their beliefs? Its nice that they accept us as Orthodox, but when it comes to the hard issues (i.e. everything surrounding Chalcedon) they aren't willing to negotiate anything.

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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2003, 09:24:45 PM »

They communed monophysites (aka non-chalcedonians). Met. Philip knows, as does Patriarch Ignatius IV. They were the one who insisted that this practice go on. It's the local parish priests that are most innocent in this whole thing.

What is the purpose of being a catechumen then? I mean follow this logic. Someone who wants to join the church as a catechumen cannot partake in communion, however if they are a monophysite they can. Does this make sense?
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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2003, 09:47:16 PM »

Dear Boswell,

I am curious, if Frs. Schmemann, Meyendorff, St. Vlad's, et al can't speak for Orthodoxy who can?  The monks of Esphigmenou?  I was under the impression that Schmemann, Meyendorf, Erickson, and the deans of St. Vlads were eminent theologians in good standing.  I'm not saying that they have the authority to speak for the entire Eastern Orthodox Church, but I don't think that they are the only ones who feel that way in your Communion or that their learned opinions can be summarily discounted.

I am glad that you don't wish to water down your beliefs or compromise them.  Such a unity would be a false unity.  We have to come to a true understanding of where we each stand on these issues and educate the laity on both sides so they can make an informed decision as the mind of the Church.  Obviously, there are still misconceptions when some Chalcedonians continue to use the lable "monophysite" when it has already been established numerous times that we never subscribed to this heresy at any point in our history.  If such statements are not made from ignorance, one can only assume that they are made from a spirit of rancor.  

And what of the Antiochians?  Have they now excommunicated themselves from Eastern Orthodoxy because they allow us freely at their altars?  I thought this was the case only is the Middle East, but according to Paradosis, this is going on in his locale too.  Presumably these Antiochian priests have conferred with their bishops as to whether or not this is acceptable.  I have read statements of Patriarch Igntatius IV of Antioch and Metropolitan Phillip Saliba stating that this practice was okay.  I have been invited to the altar by OCA priests.  I also know a Greek Orthodox man married to a Coptic Orthodox woman who freely communes at both Churches.  I'm not saying that this means all of Eastern Orthodoxy has accepted us, this is only my experience, but surely all of these God-fearing men whose names have been mentioned above must believe that they are still acting as Orthodox Christians and have some justification.  World Orthodoxy has not condemned them.

I join my prayers to yours in praying for an honest reunification or none at all.  I don't want you to compromise your Faith to appease me, and I know I won't compromise my Faith to appease you.  May God be merciful to us all and guide out bishops in wisdom and discenrment.  Please pray for me as I will pray for you.

In XC,

Nick
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« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2003, 09:57:18 PM »

Christ is Risen!

I have read statements of Patriarch Igntatius IV of Antioch and Metropolitan Phillip Saliba stating that this practice was okay.

Dear Antonious Nikolas,

Could you procure those documents for us please? I would like to see them before I make any comment.

On a totally off-topic side note Its interesting that I am a Nicholas but my nickname in Nik w/o a c and your name is Nikolas w/o a c and your nickname is Nick with a c. Fuuny, that.
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« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2003, 10:29:55 PM »

Truly He is Risen!

Dear Nik,

May the prayers of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker be with you!  I'm not sure how I could get those documents up on-line as I saw them in hard copy and do not have a scanner (to tell the truth, I don't even have the internet, I use my terminal at work and the college computer lab!  Roll Eyes) .

I believe that you could obtain them by ordering certain publications from syndesmos.org about the possible reunification.  I will also check with the Antiochian website to see if I can obtain any on-line copies I can cut 'n paste here.  I believe one of the documents is also referenced online in Fr. Pulcini's article at http://www.orthodoxunity.com/article09.html .

Also, the fact that the practice is so widespread must mean that the Antiochian episcopacy has knowledge of it, or else they are asleep at the switch (which I highly doubt they would be).  I personally can state unequivocally that I know Ethiopians, Armenians, and Syriac Orthodox who have communed freely at the Antiochian Chalice.  Although he doesn't approve, Paradosis seems to be reporting the same practice.

In XC,

Nick

P.S. - Since I last posted here, Anastasios has posted a link to H.B. Patriarch Ignatius' IV's document.  Here it is:

www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism...ntioch_mono.htm
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« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2003, 03:11:35 AM »

I personally can state unequivocally that I know Ethiopians, Armenians, and Syriac Orthodox who have communed freely at the Antiochian Chalice.  Although he doesn't approve, Paradosis seems to be reporting the same practice.

Not unusual.  In Beirut where I once lived, the Antiochian Orthodox parish had many Ethiopian Orthodox attendees as these women came to the country in order to be employed in the task of performing housework, and were lucky to find themselves within an Orthodox Lebanese household.

And of course Melkite/Orthodox communion is not unusual, with so many mixed families (I hail from one) and very strong historical, familial, and social bonds between the two.

We had a Greek native of Palestine frequenting this list, involved with both the Greek and Coptic Churches.  I wonder where Demitrius is; he could add much to these discussions.

In IC XC
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« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2003, 12:53:42 PM »


And of course Melkite/Orthodox communion is not unusual, with so many mixed families (I hail from one) and very strong historical, familial, and social bonds between the two.


Not to be a wise guy or anything, but let's clear this up so we're all using the same language:

Melkite = Roum Orthodox a.k.a  Antiochian Orthodox
Melkite Catholic = Roman Uniate of Roum/Antiochian Orthodox

Melkite is Syriac for, "Follower of the King," referring to emperor Justinian I.

fush bshlomo
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« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2003, 02:08:15 PM »

In North American English, Melkite refers specifically to Melkite Catholic, though; no Antiochian Orthodox refer to themselves as Melkites any longer.

anastasios
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