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Author Topic: Orthodox: the true Catholics  (Read 2364 times) Average Rating: 0
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Bono Vox
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« on: August 11, 2007, 03:19:27 PM »

Since the Orthodox are the true Catholics, wouldn't it sound better to call ourselves Catholics? Or mabey even Orthodox Catholics?? Personally I think Orthodox Catholic sounds better than Russian Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, etc..  I think this would require less explaining and remove the ethnic stereotype initially ascribed to us from outsiders.

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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2007, 04:32:50 PM »

Our thoughts? Well, it's about time we talked about this, again.
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2007, 04:48:08 PM »

I'd be interested in hearing why the change was originally made (e.g., why yuns guys used to call yourselves Catholic, but dropped usage of the name in most situations). I always assumed that it was to avoid being confused with those other Catholics, though I don't remember reading/hearing an answer anywhere. I guess I missed the other conversations on this board... guess I'll do some searching...
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2007, 04:54:20 PM »

IIRC, that discussion was on my first or second day of posting here - a long time ago. Doubtful this limping search engine will find it. That's why I didn't link to it.
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2007, 06:27:13 PM »

IIRC, that discussion was on my first or second day of posting here - a long time ago. Doubtful this limping search engine will find it. That's why I didn't link to it. 

I was looking back in the early pages of the Orth-Cath and FFA and couldn't find it, but maybe the title of the thread is different than the subject matter...
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2007, 09:11:04 PM »

I was looking back in the early pages of the Orth-Cath and FFA and couldn't find it, but maybe the title of the thread is different than the subject matter...

Probably was. Back then the Orth-Cath board seemed much busier. Or maybe I was more opinionated back then. I do recall that Serge and I were in it for a bit until we proved ourselves both right. I'll look in a bit.
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2007, 09:13:19 PM »

From about 100 years ago until the 1970s Slavic Orthodox in America did call themselves Orthodox Catholics. This was probably for three reasons:

1. Former ties to the Roman Catholic Church: most were former Byzantine Catholics (they doxed in America because the local RCs treated them badly), so it could have been for sentimental or continuity reasons. (Most were from Austrian/Polish Galicia — the home of Ukrainian nationalism — and Ruthenia. Few were Russian.)

2. Related to that was a cold hard legal reason: many of their churches, started as Byzantine Catholic churches, had 'Greek Catholic' in their charters so they had to keep those words in their name to keep the buildings. (Before the 1950s in America, and still in Europe, Byzantine Catholics were Greek Catholics because of the 'Greek Rite'.)

3. The meaning talked about here: 'We are the Catholic Church.'

The old Russian metropolia's official name (before it became the OCA in 1970) was the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in the U.S.A. or America. The 1930s split (from Rome) ACROD is the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Diocese, which may still be its official name but they use 'Greek Catholic' less.

The ACROD church in Binghamton, NY is still St Michael's Greek Catholic Church.


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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2007, 09:54:40 PM »

I heard recently  (maybe here even) that the Binghamton parish kept the name for local legal reasons.

However, in typical Aristoklesian style I think that we should own "Greek Catholic" as well.  Let the eastern rite Roman Catholics find another name.
I also remember reading some acts of the local councils in the last millennium in which our bishops used "the Catholic Church" in reference to us in the official pronouncements - not Orthodox Church.
And I do use "Orthodox Catholic" quite often and have seen it on an increasing number of our churches in PA.
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2007, 11:28:31 PM »

As many here know the Byzantines never called themselves that or 'Greeks' (Hellenes, which meant pagan Greece) for that matter; they were 'Romans' (Rhomaioi, singular Rhomaios, carrying the specific meaning of Christian Greek) so I think in Turkish and maybe Arabic the Orthodox are still Rum, 'Roman people'; the Roman Catholics are 'Latins' (which is also used in Orthodox literature to name them).

(Either 19th-century British or French historians - I think British - renamed them 'Byzantines' trying to dismiss the history of the Eastern Roman Empire, whose official name may have been the Roman Empire. And it was: like Taiwan is the Nationalist government of China. Certainly so by the end, by 1453.)

I know it's been said many times before online, both seriously and in jest: that makes the Orthodox 'Roman Catholics'.
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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2007, 12:02:11 AM »

As many here know the Byzantines never called themselves that or 'Greeks' (Hellenes, which meant pagan Greece) for that matter; they were 'Romans' (Rhomaioi, singular Rhomaios, carrying the specific meaning of Christian Greek) so I think in Turkish and maybe Arabic the Orthodox are still Rum, 'Roman people'; the Roman Catholics are 'Latins' (which is also used in Orthodox literature to name them).

(Either 19th-century British or French historians - I think British - renamed them 'Byzantines' trying to dismiss the history of the Eastern Roman Empire, whose official name may have been the Roman Empire. And it was: like Taiwan is the Nationalist government of China. Certainly so by the end, by 1453.)

I know it's been said many times before online, both seriously and in jest: that makes the Orthodox 'Roman Catholics'. 

A good and related question to the OP might be when and why did the westerners start using "Catholic?"

As for us easterners, it was the Roman Empire (self-identified).  Charlemagne's claim as Roman Emperor was a direct affront to the Roman Emperor in New Rome, Constantinople.  From that point on you have the discussion in the West about the title.
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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2007, 12:21:10 AM »

Since the Orthodox are the true Catholics, wouldn't it sound better to call ourselves Catholics? Or mabey even Orthodox Catholics?? Personally I think Orthodox Catholic sounds better than Russian Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, etc..  I think this would require less explaining and remove the ethnic stereotype initially ascribed to us from outsiders.

What are your thoughts?HuhHuh
I personally think it's a great idea to call ourselves Orthodox Catholics or maybe Eastern Orthodox Catholics. I think the OCA used to call themselves something like the Greek Orthodox Catholic Christians or something like that.
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« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2007, 06:52:36 AM »

I personally think it's a great idea to call ourselves Orthodox Catholics or maybe Eastern Orthodox Catholics. I think the OCA used to call themselves something like the Greek Orthodox Catholic Christians or something like that.

Jibrail,

What do you think of the question I pose above?

Here's my concern - the Western/Latin Church uses the term Catholic, but actually means catholic in a slightly different way than we do, in reference to the entire worldwide Church; while, technically, the Orthodox Church sees catholicity in the local Eucharistic community (the idea of interconnected communion is big - each community that has believers, priests, and a bishop represents the fullness of the Church; and when they are in communion with the other communities, the larger group also represents the fullness of the church; and so on).

So my question is why do we want to adopt the name Catholic?  Why did the Latins begin using the name Catholic (what was the time/what were the circumstances)?
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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2007, 07:42:23 AM »

Friendly suggestion: read a thread through before posting.

You can find both sides using both words early on - the Roman Canon prays for 'all the orthodox' for example. I don't know when each word was identified with a side.

I don't see common English usage changing - to these people Catholic will always mean 'the Pope' and 'St Patrick's Church down the block' no matter how much Orthodox, some Anglicans and even a few Lutherans claim the word. The Orthodox will be stuck for ever with 'What?' or 'So, you're Jewish?' and the Anglicans and Lutherans seen as Protestants like Presbyterians and Baptists.

People can be amazingly clueless: one can wear a Russian cross and have pictures of Jesus and Mary on a wall and still be wished a happy Hanukkah because one has dark hair and a beard.

(The funny and sexy in her day Joy Behar, Italian with a Noo Yawk accent: 'I got a phone call - 'Happy Hanukkah!' - and I said 'Ma! I'm not Jewish!')

Maybe one or two people think they know what non-Jewish Orthodox is from watching television: 'Ibi da?' ('Taxi') and 'Kevorka!' ('Seinfeld'). Har har har.

In RC circles orthodox Catholic means conservative, believes in all RC teachings and obeys the Pope.

The rest of the world: 'Huh?'
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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2007, 08:23:49 AM »

Friendly suggestion: read a thread through before posting. 

Thanks!  You know, 4600+ posts later and I hadn't figured it out Wink .

I don't know when each word was identified with a side. 

The only direct answer to my question.

My intention in asking the questions "when/why did they start using the phrase Catholic as an identifier" and "why do we really want to be called Catholic" goes to delving into: 1) Why are we unhappy with the moniker "Orthodox" - if we hate being confused with the Jews, then adding Catholic will only make things worse; if we wish to express the universality of our faith, then Ecumenical would actually be a better word (more precedent in Greek usage, methinks) but would create even more problems; 2) ISTM that the useage of the monikers comes relatively late in Christian history, which makes me wonder if worrying about this is even worth it.

If we really want to end confusion but express catholicity, then just using the name "Orthodox Christian Church" would probably be more effective.  Somehow we seem to leave out the word "Christian" in our descriptors, assuming that people will assume we're Christian; instead, it should be plastered on every sign, reinforcing that we are indeed followers of Christ (and thus have a universal scope), while carrying on the use of a descriptor that we can at least prove has been used to identify our Church since its earliest days.
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« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2007, 08:36:58 AM »

"However, in typical Aristoklesian style I think that we should own "Greek Catholic" as well."

Why?  The term was invented by Catholics in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire to distinguish Greek Catholics from Latin Catholics.  The use of the term by the OCA and ACROD  was residual from their days as Greek Catholics.

For the record I have no problem with use of the term Orthodox Catholic, Orthodox Greek Catholic or whatever combo one desires  but I think, like Serge, we are stuck with what is common usage.  You guys got Orthodox and we got Catholic.  Although herre in the Pittsburgh region belt most people actually now that an Orthodox is a Christian.

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« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2007, 03:39:15 PM »

And in American Orthodox circles you do see 'Orthodox Christian' a lot now - of course it comes right from the liturgy.
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« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2007, 04:08:05 PM »

And in American Orthodox circles you do see 'Orthodox Christian' a lot now - of course it comes right from the liturgy.
Indeed it does. But one sees this phrase in Protestantism as well nowadays.
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« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2007, 04:42:40 PM »

And in American Orthodox circles you do see 'Orthodox Christian' a lot now - of course it comes right from the liturgy.

But how widespread?  If its plastered on all our churches, letterheads, publications, websites, and the like, then people will get it.  If we only use it occasionally in conversation then the process will take light-years.
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