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Author Topic: How do I answer this?  (Read 5459 times) Average Rating: 0
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Carole
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« on: June 08, 2007, 09:40:51 AM »

After "coming clean" on my Catholic message boards about our intentions I received a message from a friend asking me the following question,

Quote
Do you mind if I ask a couple questions? I'm not overly up on Orthodoxy...but don't they deny our Sacraments?

I am not certain how to answer this because I have found differing opinions on the topic.  One very interesting answer seemed to indicate that there is no legalistic definition of Sacraments as "valid" or "licit" in the Orthodox tradition.  So while the Catholic Church can define the Orthodox Sacraments as "valid but illicit" there is no such splitting of hairs within Orthodoxy so the Sacraments are either Orthodox or they are not.  Which makes sense to me.

But is there an answer I can give to my friend that will be both factual and not offensive?

Is there a difference in viewpoints on this topic between Orthodox jurisdictions?

I'm sure this is but the first of many such questions that I will be faced with. I'm thankful that she is not being hostile and insisting on enumerating the reasons why I'm making a "huge mistake" (as someone else told me) but I wish I didn't feel compelled to provide an answer as I am still working through these things myself.
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2007, 10:00:36 AM »

Carol, I'm not Orthodox either, but from what I've read:  some Orthodox regard Catholic Sacraments as valid, and some don't.  My personal impression is that most in the U.S. do; but, again, I'm not Orthodox and I might be wrong.


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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2007, 10:04:49 AM »

Try this answer:
We can only know where the Church is. We cannot know where the Church is not.
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2007, 10:08:42 AM »

Try this answer:
We can only know where the Church is. We cannot know where the Church is not.

 Huh
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2007, 10:17:06 AM »

That quote means that the EO know that they have real Sacraments, but can't say re others such as RC, I think.

Otoh, I have read other EO who say clearly that there are no Sacraments except in the EO (and some of them even define EO rather umm narrowly, excluding some jurisdictions of what they term "World Orthodoxy".)

 Sad

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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2007, 10:19:38 AM »

Try this answer:
We can only know where the Church is. We cannot know where the Church is not.

Carole,

ozgeorge has given a typical Orthodox response...I understand your confusion. First, I am a layman, not an expert. Second, the "Holy Orthodox Catholic Church of the East" (yes, you will still be Catholic, just not Roman Catholic - I know...confusing because some of us Hellenes still call ourselves Romans) doesn't work this way.
We know the sacraments are grace filled within the Church - we do not know about those outside the Church - which is where Rome is right now. Clearer?

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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2007, 10:26:26 AM »

Carole,

ozgeorge has given a typical Orthodox response...I understand your confusion. First, I am a layman, not an expert. Second, the "Holy Orthodox Catholic Church of the East" (yes, you will still be Catholic, just not Roman Catholic - I know...confusing because some of us Hellenes still call ourselves Romans) doesn't work this way.
We know the sacraments are grace filled within the Church - we do not know about those outside the Church - which is where Rome is right now. Clearer?

Αριστοκλής

Okay.  I see what you're saying.  It is very reminiscent of the "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" argument amongst Roman Catholics. Some RCs will argue that there is no salvation outside of full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while others will say that the statement is true but that we cannot hope to know nor are we able to say with certainty who exactly is "outside the Church."

I'm understanding this to mean that there are no true Sacraments outside of Orthodoxy but we, in our limited human capacity, do not know what God deems to be outside of Orthodoxy?  We know where He is, but not with any certainty where He isn't.

Right?
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Carole
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2007, 10:38:15 AM »

Very good, Carole!
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2007, 10:41:18 AM »

Thanks!

The good news is that I'm pretty sure that my Catholic friends will understand that as they have had a lot of experience with debating the "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" issue with so-called "traditionalists" who claim that anyone not in explicit full communion with the Roman See is "outside the Church" and they often use the "we cannot know with certainty" argument to combat that mindset.  So this should be a no-brainer for them.
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2007, 11:22:23 AM »

Glad to hear things are going well!   Grin
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2007, 12:12:38 PM »

I know that the Endimousa Synod of Constantinople in the 1920's formally declared Anglican sacraments to be valid, and I believe a similar statement was made in regard to Latin sacraments, though I'd have to look it up to be certain...but certainly the Oecumenical Throne has long regarded the Sacraments of the West to be valid. It's only a small minority within the more fringe elements of Orthodoxy who would object to this norm.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2007, 12:32:06 PM »

Thanks everyone.  Honestly that was one question I haven't yet asked on my own so I had no clue as to how to begin to answer.  It never even crossed my mind and I really don't want to give anyone bad information or a wrong answer.
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2007, 12:41:39 PM »

I know that the Endimousa Synod of Constantinople in the 1920's formally declared Anglican sacraments to be valid, and I believe a similar statement was made in regard to Latin sacraments, though I'd have to look it up to be certain...but certainly the Oecumenical Throne has long regarded the Sacraments of the West to be valid. It's only a small minority within the more fringe elements of Orthodoxy who would object to this norm.

One can only wonder at what today's synod would think. I hate to say it, but the 1920s were not exactly sterling times ecumenically speaking - at least from my reactionary viewpoint. I realize GiC loves our patriarchate and I'm still in it, but...it's a moot point. This is no "inter"-communion.
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2007, 12:47:46 PM »

Does anyone know the MP's stance on this issue?
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2007, 01:05:28 PM »

Does anyone know the MP's stance on this issue?

I can't think of any formal statements off the top of my head but I believe they still are a member of the WCC and party to the Balamand Agreement...so that would imply at least a somewhat favourable view of the Latins.
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2007, 02:08:16 PM »

I can't think of any formal statements off the top of my head but I believe they still are a member of the WCC and party to the Balamand Agreement...so that would imply at least a somewhat favourable view of the Latins.

Most EO hierarchs shy away from the Balamand agreement claiming it is not worth the paper it is written upon. Bishop Antoun (Antiochian Archdiocese) told this writer, in outraged tones, that this Agreement "is of no effect," that it is "nothing," that it has in fact been given "no authority," and should be viewed as if it had never happened. This, in spite of the fact the Agreement was signed by official representatives or delegates of nine Orthodox Churches, including the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Moscow, and Romania!  For other criticisms:
http://www.roca.org/OA/132/132m.htm

The document (Balamand) throws out a bunch of terms like "sister churches" without any attempt to clarify what that might mean as far as validity of sacraments, priesthoods, orders, etc.  The MP, despite its ecumenical involvements, to my mind, has not even come close to taking any steps towards unity at the risk of undermining the faith.  And I hope that the ROCOR, now in full communion with the MP, will continue to press the MP to really hold true to Orthodoxy without compromise.  However, the GOA, has given ringing endorsement still to the BAlamand agreement.  It is summed up here: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_explained_GOA.aspx

I know that the Endimousa Synod of Constantinople in the 1920's formally declared Anglican sacraments to be valid, and I believe a similar statement was made in regard to Latin sacraments, though I'd have to look it up to be certain...but certainly the Oecumenical Throne has long regarded the Sacraments of the West to be valid. It's only a small minority within the more fringe elements of Orthodoxy who would object to this norm.

Yes, I'd like confirmation of this statement as well.  And the 1920s were a radically different time.  Even here in the U.S., St. Raphael (Haweeney), Bishop of Brooklyn, even permitted those Antiochian Christians who did not live close to an Orthodox parish to receive the mysteries at Episcopal parishes because he felt that they were but one small step from becoming Orthodox. But he, before he reposed, sent out a pastoral letter and directive that such Orthodox receiving the mysteries from any order outside of Orthodoxy was not permissible.

Being Vice-President of the Eastern Orthodox side of the Anglican and Orthodox Churches Union and having issued on Episcopal solicitation such a permission to his people, Bishop Raphael set himself to observe closely the reaction following his permissory letter and to study more carefully the Episcopal Church and Anglican teaching in the hope that the Anglicans might really be capable of becoming actually Orthodox. But, the more closely he observed the general practice and the more deeply he studied the teaching and faith of the Episcopal Church, the more painfully shocked, disappointed, and disillusioned Bishop Raphael became. Furthermore, the very fact of his own position in the Anglican and Orthodox Union made the confusion and deception of Orthodox people the more certain and serious. The existence and cultivation of even friendship and mutual courtesy was pointed out as supporting the Episcopal claim to Orthodox sacramental recognition and intercommunion. Bishop Raphael found that his association with Episcopalians became the basis for a most insidious, injurious, and unwarranted propaganda in favor of the Episcopal Church among his parishes and faithful. Finally, after more than a year of constant and careful study and observation, Bishop Raphael felt that it was his duty to resign from the association of which he was Vice-President. In doing this he hoped that the end of his connection with the Union would end also the Episcopal interferences and uncalled-for intrusions in the affairs and religious harmony of his people. His letter of resignation from the Anglican and Orthodox Churches Union, published in the Russian Orthodox Messenger, February 18, 1912, stated his convictions in the following way:

Very many of the bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church at the present time—and especially myself have observed that the Anglican Communion is associated with numerous Protestant bodies, many of whose doctrines and teachings, as well as practices, are condemned by the Holy Orthodox Church. I view union as only a pleasing dream. Indeed, it is impossible for the Holy Orthodox Church to receive—as She has a thousand times proclaimed, and as even the Papal See of Rome has declaimed to the Holy Orthodox Church' s credit—anyone into Her Fold or into union with Her who does not accept Her Faith in full without any qualifications—the Faith which She claims is most surely Apostolic. I cannot see how She can unite, or the latter expect in the near future to unite with Her while the Anglican Communion holds so many Protestant tenets and doctrines, and also is so closely associated with the non-Catholic religions about her.

You can read the some other portions of the letter and also some editorial comments here: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/hawaweeny.aspx

GiC, I think it is more than a "fringe" of Orthodoxy that deems the mysteries of non-Orthodox to be valid.  If they were, then "union" would be a stark possibility.  But that is not the case.

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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2007, 08:31:04 PM »

I am not certain how to answer this because I have found differing opinions on the topic.  One very interesting answer seemed to indicate that there is no legalistic definition of Sacraments as "valid" or "licit" in the Orthodox tradition.  So while the Catholic Church can define the Orthodox Sacraments as "valid but illicit" there is no such splitting of hairs within Orthodoxy so the Sacraments are either Orthodox or they are not.  Which makes sense to me.


Hi Carole, I found this explanation that a ROCOR priest wrote when asked to answer a similar question posed by someone new to the church.
I hope this helps. Tamara

The use of the word "valid" is quite misleading in that it has a "technical" meaning in Roman Catholicism that it does not have in Orthodoxy. In the Roman Church, validity is somehow contained in the rite itself apart from the Church, thus a sacrament can be "valid" (that is it can have a spiritual reality) but not "licit" (that is it can be "illegal" or not approved by the Church). Thus it is possible to have a "valid" ordination outside the Church. In Orthodoxy this is not possible - sacraments only exist within the Church, thus any embrace of the external form of a sacrament (that is of the ritual or its result) is a matter of the Church reaching out to embrace something and to give it reality where there was no reality before. Fr Alexander Schmemman (I believe) develops this arguement as it relates to heterodox baptism and the practice of receiving converts who received a form of baptism outside the Church. Our "acceptance" of these rites do not imply that there is "validity" outside the Church, but rather that the Church has the ability to reach out and embrace something that comes from outside her and make it her own.

Because sacraments (including holy orders) cannot exist outside the Church, it is not possible, within Orthodoxy, for there to be "valid" or "real" holy orders outside the Church. However, it is possible for the Church to reach out and embrace those actions or persons that have a consistent external form with those of the Church. This is a very subtle and complex issue so determining what is "accepted" by the Church should be left to the hierarchs who have the responsiblity and grace from God to rule the Church.
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2007, 09:17:22 PM »

Most EO hierarchs shy away from the Balamand agreement claiming it is not worth the paper it is written upon. Bishop Antoun (Antiochian Archdiocese) told this writer, in outraged tones, that this Agreement "is of no effect," that it is "nothing," that it has in fact been given "no authority," and should be viewed as if it had never happened. This, in spite of the fact the Agreement was signed by official representatives or delegates of nine Orthodox Churches, including the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Moscow, and Romania!  For other criticisms:
http://www.roca.org/OA/132/132m.htm

He is welcome to is opinion, but as he is not my Bishop and as his opinion stands contrary to the positions that have been expressed by my Church, I am free to dismiss it.

Quote
The document (Balamand) throws out a bunch of terms like "sister churches" without any attempt to clarify what that might mean as far as validity of sacraments, priesthoods, orders, etc.  The MP, despite its ecumenical involvements, to my mind, has not even come close to taking any steps towards unity at the risk of undermining the faith.  And I hope that the ROCOR, now in full communion with the MP, will continue to press the MP to really hold true to Orthodoxy without compromise.  However, the GOA, has given ringing endorsement still to the BAlamand agreement.  It is summed up here: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_explained_GOA.aspx

A recognition of similarities and of the validity of the other Church does not mandate we immediately pursue unity, while we may be able to find agreement on lesser issues such as doctrine, on more important issues such as Culture and Ecclesiology we have yet to reconcile.

Quote
Yes, I'd like confirmation of this statement as well.  And the 1920s were a radically different time.  Even here in the U.S., St. Raphael (Haweeney), Bishop of Brooklyn, even permitted those Antiochian Christians who did not live close to an Orthodox parish to receive the mysteries at Episcopal parishes because he felt that they were but one small step from becoming Orthodox. But he, before he reposed, sent out a pastoral letter and directive that such Orthodox receiving the mysteries from any order outside of Orthodoxy was not permissible.

Well, his opinion stands in opposition to an Endimousa Synod, and an Endimousa Synod which his Patriarch was party to at that. Quite frankly, his pastoral letter is merely that, as it was not a synodal document (and certainly not a synodal document from Constantinople) and stands in contradiction to the Endimousa Synod of Constantinople it cannot be regarded as canonically binding in any way.

Quote
You can read the some other portions of the letter and also some editorial comments here: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/hawaweeny.aspx

Don't you think the source is just slightly biased?

Quote
GiC, I think it is more than a "fringe" of Orthodoxy that deems the mysteries of non-Orthodox to be valid.  If they were, then "union" would be a stark possibility.  But that is not the case.

As we can see with various jurisdictions in the United States, full sacramental communion is hardly sufficient to bring about 'union', yet you suspect a mere statement on validity of sacraments could effect this?
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« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2007, 10:44:09 PM »

Well, his opinion stands in opposition to an Endimousa Synod, and an Endimousa Synod which his Patriarch was party to at that. Quite frankly, his pastoral letter is merely that, as it was not a synodal document (and certainly not a synodal document from Constantinople) and stands in contradiction to the Endimousa Synod of Constantinople it cannot be regarded as canonically binding in any way.

As a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia, Bishop St. Raphael was never beholden to follow any of the EP's decisions, which have no real canonical authority outside of those churches under the Phanar's direct oversight.
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2007, 10:49:54 PM »

Very good point.
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« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2007, 10:59:28 PM »

As a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia, Bishop St. Raphael was never beholden to follow any of the EP's decisions, which have no real canonical authority outside of those churches under the Phanar's direct oversight.

Besides that, as ruler of his own diocese, St. Raphael's pastoral letter WAS canonically binding on those Orthodox faithful in his diocese, and no synod to whom St. Raphael was never required to answer could overrule his decision.
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« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2007, 11:03:27 PM »

As a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia, Bishop St. Raphael was never beholden to follow any of the EP's decisions, which have no real canonical authority outside of those churches under the Phanar's direct oversight.

The decisions of an Endimousa Synod have authority over the Orthodox Church...the only way he wasn't subject to them is if he was outside of the Orthodox Church.

Besides that, as ruler of his own diocese, St. Raphael's pastoral letter WAS canonically binding on those Orthodox faithful in his diocese, and no synod to whom St. Raphael was never required to answer could overrule his decision.

Bishops do not act in a vacuum, it was not canonically binding insofar as it could not be maintained in event of an appeal to Constantinople, an appeal to which every accused has a right.
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« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2007, 11:05:40 PM »

Just for clarity, an Endimousa Synod is a Resident Synod. It is a Synod of Bishops in a particular Patriarchate whether they are Bishops of that Patriarchate or visiting it. Basically, it's a Pan-Orthodox Synod, not simply a Synod of the Bishops of one Patriarchate alone.
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« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2007, 11:13:40 PM »

Just for clarity, an Endimousa Synod is a Resident Synod. It is a Synod of Bishops in a particular Patriarchate whether they are Bishops of that Patriarchate or visiting it. Basically, it's a Pan-Orthodox Synod, not simply a Synod of the Bishops of one Patriarchate alone.

I'll grant that this definition is most likely true, but I don't see any canonical basis for this Synod to command the obedience of every Orthodox bishop throughout the world.  Fundamentally, the local bishop is still totally in charge of his diocese.

In the aforementioned case of the pastoral letter of Bishop St. Raphael, I'm not sure canonical jurisdiction is really even an issue.  Maybe the letter is binding only upon those faithful in his charge so that we who are outside his diocese are not constrained to obey.  But can we not at least recognize as instructive the Orthodox wisdom of such a saintly man and wise shepherd as St. Raphael?
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« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2007, 11:21:11 PM »

The decisions of an Endimousa Synod have authority over the Orthodox Church...the only way he wasn't subject to them is if he was outside of the Orthodox Church.

Bishops do not act in a vacuum, it was not canonically binding insofar as it could not be maintained in event of an appeal to Constantinople, an appeal to which every accused has a right.

Do tell us more, GiC. How many of these so-called pan-Orthodox councils have there been and specifically who was represented in this 1920s 'pave-the way-for-union-with-the-Anglicans' council which purportedly spoke for the entire church?

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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2007, 11:22:55 PM »

I'll grant that this definition is most likely true, but I don't see any canonical basis for this Synod to command the obedience of every Orthodox bishop throughout the world.  Fundamentally, the local bishop is still totally in charge of his diocese.

Except that any attempt to impose a canonical penalty can be appealed to his synod, and even that decision can be appealed to the Oecumenical Throne. And if the bishop goes too far he can likewise be deposed for his actions...so much for being 'totally in charge'.
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« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2007, 11:25:54 PM »

I don't see any canonical basis for this Synod to command the obedience of every Orthodox bishop throughout the world. 

It doesn't! And this is the flaw in GiC's argument. An Endimousa Synod does not have the authority of an Oecumenical Synod, it still has only the authority of a local Synod. During the Arian contraversy, both Alexandria and Antioch held Endimousa Synods, but it took an Oecumenical Synod to resolve the issue. If GiC considers the decrees of Endimousa Synods binding on all Orthodox Christians, then I hope  he realises that the Great Synod of Moscow was an Endimousa Synod, and this Synod anathemised Icons of the Holy Trinity....by what yardstick you measure you shall be measured.... Wink
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« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2007, 12:07:09 AM »


It doesn't! And this is the flaw in GiC's argument. An Endimousa Synod does not have the authority of an Oecumenical Synod, it still has only the authority of a local Synod. During the Arian contraversy, both Alexandria and Antioch held Endimousa Synods, but it took an Oecumenical Synod to resolve the issue. If GiC considers the decrees of Endimousa Synods binding on all Orthodox Christians, then I hope  he realises that the Great Synod of Moscow was an Endimousa Synod, and this Synod anathemised Icons of the Holy Trinity....by what yardstick you measure you shall be measured.... Wink

The endimousa synods of Constantinople were long regarded as continuations of the Imperial Synods, which did carry universal authority, though were generally summoned to discussed issues not deemed as important as those addressed by Synods called 'Oecumenical'. The city where the synod is held is most important in this regard. Wink
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« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2007, 12:08:51 AM »

The endimousa synods of Constantinople were long regarded as continuations of the Imperial Synods, which did carry universal authority, though were generally summoned to discussed issues not deemed as important as those addressed by Synods called 'Oecumenical'. The city where the synod is held is most important in this regard. Wink

Ho hum... (yawning smiley)  Same old useless arguments...  Same old Constantinopapist agenda... (another yawning smiley)  When are we going to let the OP have her thread back?
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« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2007, 12:25:47 AM »

Ho hum... (yawning smiley)  Same old useless arguments...  Same old Constantinopapist agenda... (another yawning smiley)  When are we going to let the OP have her thread back?

I simply stated a fairly well established position supported by a major synod, several ecumenical dialogues involving our hierarchy, and numerous theological writings of the 20th century...which several people sought to assault. I fear it was others who took the thread off topic by trying to push fringe views and play down the view that has been the norm in the Orthodox Church over the last century. Not everyone is Orthodox because they want to be part of some eccentric isolationist cult.
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« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2007, 01:12:25 AM »

I can't think of any formal statements off the top of my head but I believe they still are a member of the WCC and party to the Balamand Agreement...so that would imply at least a somewhat favourable view of the Latins.

As much as the ROCOR continues to oppose WCC-style ecumenism, I doubt very much that she would have regularized canonical relations with the MP if the MP didn't seriously curtail his engagement with the WCC and disconnect totally from the Balamand Agreement.  It appears as if the MP has been pushed by the ROCOR toward a more traditional alignment against Latinism


I simply stated a fairly well established position supported by a major synod, several ecumenical dialogues involving our hierarchy, and numerous theological writings of the 20th century...which several people sought to assault. I fear it was others who took the thread off topic by trying to push fringe views and play down the view that has been the norm in the Orthodox Church over the last century.

I fear quite often that what has become "the norm in the Orthodox Church (as you define her) over the last century" is itself naught but a fringe view and an assault on the traditional Orthodox pov regarding heterodox sacraments, a pov based not on modern ecumenist reasoning but on the ecclesiology of St. Cyprian of Carthage and the tradition represented by the Apostolic Canons.

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Not everyone is Orthodox because they want to be part of some eccentric isolationist cult.

No, many people are Orthodox because they want to live according to Truth, a Truth Who has often isolated His followers from the mainstream of society.
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« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2007, 02:07:39 AM »

As much as the ROCOR continues to oppose WCC-style ecumenism, I doubt very much that she would have regularized canonical relations with the MP if the MP didn't seriously curtail his engagement with the WCC and disconnect totally from the Balamand Agreement.  It appears as if the MP has been pushed by the ROCOR toward a more traditional alignment against Latinism

I am unaware of any thing that has come out of Moscow to this extent, and last I checked Moscow is still a member of the WCC. If I recall, ROCOR made an active decision not to consider these issues in their attempt at reunion, and it was this decision that made reunion possible. What would seem more likely is that ROCOR, or at least the hierarchy, is seeng the light, so to speak, on these issues and at least moving in the right direction albeit slowly.

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I fear quite often that what has become "the norm in the Orthodox Church (as you define her) over the last century" is itself naught but a fringe view and an assault on the traditional Orthodox pov regarding heterodox sacraments, a pov based not on modern ecumenist reasoning but on the ecclesiology of St. Cyprian of Carthage and the tradition represented by the Apostolic Canons.

Cyprian's ecclesiology, being only a stone's throw from donatism, was hardly mainstream in its own day and its popularity has increased and decreased according to the Church's level to isolationism in any given century. Fortunately we are comming out of that unfortunate era of Orthodoxy into a new era of openness and ecumenism that may, at least in some small way, reflect the glory of Orthodoxy under the Empire. The sooner we can forget the 500 years before the 20th Century, the better.

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No, many people are Orthodox because they want to live according to Truth, a Truth Who has often isolated His followers from the mainstream of society.

But far more people are Orthodox because they were born into it...because Orthodoxy is mainline society to them.
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« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2007, 02:38:25 AM »

I am unaware of any thing that has come out of Moscow to this extent, and last I checked Moscow is still a member of the WCC. If I recall, ROCOR made an active decision not to consider these issues in their attempt at reunion, and it was this decision that made reunion possible. What would seem more likely is that ROCOR, or at least the hierarchy, is seeng the light, so to speak, on these issues and at least moving in the right direction albeit slowly.
You are correct in saying that Moscow is still a member of the WCC, but what you don't say is that the MP has drawn back from her previously active role and become much more of an observing member.  Also, the ROCOR did not actively choose to ignore this issue of the MP's membership in the WCC as you allege; the MP's decision to reassess his role in the WCC and to honor the ROCOR's continued desire to stay out of the WCC and speak out against its activities is one of the changes that made reconciliation possible.  For more information on what's REALLY gone on between the MP and the ROCOR, I refer you to this post from a week ago:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11800.msg159725.html#msg159725

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Cyprian's ecclesiology, being only a stone's throw from donatism, was hardly mainstream in its own day and its popularity has increased and decreased according to the Church's level to isolationism in any given century.
Note that I didn't limit myself to St. Cyprian's ecclesiology, for I also made reference to the Apostolic Canons, some of which also state that a heretic baptism is no baptism (to connect this post to the OP of this thread).  Regardless of what one may think of St. Cyprian's thoughts on the Church, I don't know that you can deny that the Church has embraced the Apostolic Canons as part of her very foundation.

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Fortunately we are comming out of that unfortunate era of Orthodoxy into a new era of openness and ecumenism that may, at least in some small way, reflect the glory of Orthodoxy under the Empire. The sooner we can forget the 500 years before the 20th Century, the better.
So, GiC, you know more than St. Cyprian?  You have more of a portion of the Holy Spirit than did the Holy Fathers?  God blessed you and you alone with the special charism of being able to judge rightly the Apostolic Canons?  Please spare us the arrogance! Roll Eyes

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But far more people are Orthodox because they were born into it...because Orthodoxy is mainline society to them.
Yet for the first 280 years of the Christian Era and the 75 years of the Soviet Era, vast numbers of Orthodox Christians chose death over union with mainstream society.
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« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2007, 04:06:36 AM »

Fortunately we are comming out of that unfortunate era of Orthodoxy into a new era of openness and ecumenism that may, at least in some small way, reflect the glory of Orthodoxy under the Empire.

The true glory of Orthodoxy is a man hanging naked on a cross.
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« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2007, 06:58:04 AM »

The true glory of Orthodoxy is a man hanging naked on a cross.

Really?  I thought it was the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise for salvation that therein betides.

Look, back to the OP, it seems that there is a difference of opinion on this issue among the Orthodox.  One point of view holds that sacraments are a product of the grace which holds together the Church.  Thus, from that point of view, there is uncertainty, or doubt, or denial, about the validity of sacraments outside of the Orthodox Church.  A second point of view holds that sacraments are a product of valid apostolic succession.  Thus, from that point of view, there is the possibility that the sacraments outside of the Orthodox Church are valid.  Either way, but especially from the second perspective, "I know where the Church is, but I don't know where it is not." 

At least, that is my understanding of the situation.

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« Reply #35 on: June 09, 2007, 02:15:53 PM »

Really?  I thought it was the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise for salvation that therein betides.
Excellent response.  The Cross and Resurrection are so closely tied to many Orthodox that you just can't speak of one without implicitly speaking of the other.  It's as if the two events are in fact one.

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Look, back to the OP, it seems that there is a difference of opinion on this issue among the Orthodox.  One point of view holds that sacraments are a product of the grace which holds together the Church.  Thus, from that point of view, there is uncertainty, or doubt, or denial, about the validity of sacraments outside of the Orthodox Church.  A second point of view holds that sacraments are a product of valid apostolic succession.  Thus, from that point of view, there is the possibility that the sacraments outside of the Orthodox Church are valid.  Either way, but especially from the second perspective, "I know where the Church is, but I don't know where it is not." 
Maybe.  Maybe not.  I don't know.  Don't draw too much from what you read on this thread or on this forum, especially if it comes from GiC.  Quite often one can get the impression that GiC doesn't represent one Orthodox view or another, that he merely represents--and quite outspokenly at that--his own agenda.

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At least, that is my understanding of the situation.
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