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Author Topic: Can a Tomos of Autocephaly be Rescinded by a Mother Church?  (Read 14555 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 20, 2008, 04:56:58 AM »

Dear Orthodox experts,

Since there is much contraversy about my jurisdiction as of late, this has brought up many questions of faith for me.  But the main question I am having is because of the problems in the OCA could Patriarch Alexei II rescind the Tomos of Autocephaly given in 1970 or is it perpetual?  And would Patriarch Alexei make it an autonomous part of the Patriarchal Russian Church or remove its canonicity if the situation was too grave in Syosset?  What would the procedure be to remove Autocephaly?  I am sure, as many have stated, the eyes of the Patriarchate may not pleased with the situation in the Orthodox Church in America and may have to intervene. 

Alexis, Greatest Sinner
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2008, 06:48:31 AM »

Dear Orthodox experts,

Since there is much contraversy about my jurisdiction as of late, this has brought up many questions of faith for me.  But the main question I am having is because of the problems in the OCA could Patriarch Alexei II rescind the Tomos of Autocephaly given in 1970 or is it perpetual?  And would Patriarch Alexei make it an autonomous part of the Patriarchal Russian Church or remove its canonicity if the situation was too grave in Syosset?  What would the procedure be to remove Autocephaly?  I am sure, as many have stated, the eyes of the Patriarchate may not pleased with the situation in the Orthodox Church in America and may have to intervene. 

Alexis, Greatest Sinner


Bro, I'm not an expert, but for what I know, it can't "rescind" it without some action, or state, of OCA.

Once you were granted autocephalous, you are born as a sister Church. The birth can't be undone.

Historically, "rescindement" of autoecphalias was always conducted either by the force of arms, thus making functioning of autocephalia impossible and non-existing, or by some inability of an autocephalous sister Church to function due to external causes (again: arms).

In my opinion, one of the worst mistakes of Russians was "rescindement" of Georgian Patriarchate, and it was only temporary. It's always only temporary. I don't think Russians would ever repeat such an error - look how they act in Japan.

In case of difficulties of a sister Church, such "rescindement" should be only in a situation alike that of locum tenans of a throne of Bishop. Yet, OCA's autocephalia hasn't been recognized Orthodoxy-wide, I think only MP recognizes it.

I'll pray for you. You just stay courageous.
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2008, 10:20:42 AM »

Dear Orthodox experts,

Since there is much contraversy about my jurisdiction as of late, this has brought up many questions of faith for me.  But the main question I am having is because of the problems in the OCA could Patriarch Alexei II rescind the Tomos of Autocephaly given in 1970 or is it perpetual?  And would Patriarch Alexei make it an autonomous part of the Patriarchal Russian Church or remove its canonicity if the situation was too grave in Syosset?  What would the procedure be to remove Autocephaly?  I am sure, as many have stated, the eyes of the Patriarchate may not pleased with the situation in the Orthodox Church in America and may have to intervene. 

Alexis, Greatest Sinner 

I don't know if anyone here qualifies as an "Orthodox Expert" - maybe only the Saints are qualified for that title.  I don't think any of us can become "experts" until we've run the course of our lives.  But thank you for the compliment!

As Orthodoxlurker stated, rescinding Autocephaly has been done in the past; considering that, it is possible for it to be done in the future.  It is not always a pleasant experience, as sometimes it was done for politically expedient reasons.  However, I think saying that the reunification of Churches was done "by the force of arms" is a bit overstated - it's not like the Ottomans sent armies to conquer Serbia in order to bring their church back into the fold.  It just happened that because they had conquered Serbia and wanted all Orthodox peoples under 1 patriarch they rescinded the previous autocephaly.

Keeping that all in mind, the situation of the OCA is difficult because most of the Orthodox Churches do not see her as autocephalous.  Indeed it can be argued that if they don't see her as autocephalous then she isn't autocephalous.  So if Moscow rescinded their Tomos of autocephaly, there wouldn't be an argument from the other Orthodox Churches.  However, autocephaly has become too integral to the core identity of the OCA, and if the Tomos was rescinded, I think you would see a mass exodus of parishes - either to the canonical wasteland of schism, or to other jurisdictions already present (i.e. Antiochian, Greek, etc.).

If I were you, I would not worry about such hypothetical situations and possibilities, nor would I look to Moscow to fix the problem.  Instead I would focus on prayer and fasting in this Lenten period - I don't want you to give up hope, but there are lots of things that are swirling that at least have a partial purpose to distract us from our prayer and fasting and charity and hope, all the things that are so crucial for the Lenten journey.  Pray for your hierarchs, clergy, and people; pray for the state leaders and government; pray for resolution and justice; pray for mercy and peace; and pray that the Lord will continue to watch over His Church, His Body, just as He has for all time.
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2008, 12:54:34 PM »

An interesting news item was just posted on Goarch.org about Archbishop Demetrios being invited to Moscow as the guest of the Patriarch. While I am sure the whole mess that occurred in Revena will be on the agenda, I can't help to think that it is not a coincidence with everything happening in the OCA and with the recent passing of First Hierarch of ROCOR that Archbishop Demetrios is being called to Moscow this spring. As the saying goes, timing is everything.   
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2008, 01:18:51 PM »

Quote
Archbishop Demetrios Welcomes Representation of Moscow Patriarchate, Accepts Official Invitation of Patriarch Alexei to Visit Russia

March 19, 2008

New York, NY – On Tuesday March 18th, Archbishop Demetrios of America welcomed to the Archdiocese headquarters His Grace Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, the Administrator of the Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in the United States, who was accompanied by the Very Rev. Fr. Alexander Abramov of the Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate. Bishop Mercurius had come to finalize the invitation of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Alexei II, to Archbishop Demetrios to visit Russia as the official guest of the Moscow Patriarchate.

His Eminence opened the meeting by expressing to Bishop Mercurius his personal condolences, those of the Holy Eparchial Synod, and those of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America as a whole, on the repose of Metropolitan Laurus, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Metropolitan Laurus was the Hierarch who led ROCOR through a process of unification with the Moscow Patriarchate that concluded in May of 2007.

The official visit of Archbishop Demetrios to Russia will occur this Spring. In addition to the above visit, Archbishop Demetrios and Bishop Mercurius discussed issues of current and common Orthodox concerns.

This is most heartening to read.
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2008, 02:37:10 PM »

...could Patriarch Alexei II rescind the Tomos of Autocephaly given in 1970 or is it perpetual?

Sure. He COULD. Seriously doubt he would, though.

Autocephaly is not part of the essence of the Faith. Such things can (and have!) changed many times in the course of Church history. Aside from the many, many nationalist examples of recent centuries, there's always the famous example of Caesarea and Jersusalem.
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2008, 05:25:45 PM »

Sure. He COULD. Seriously doubt he would, though.

Autocephaly is not part of the essence of the Faith. Such things can (and have!) changed many times in the course of Church history. Aside from the many, many nationalist examples of recent centuries, there's always the famous example of Caesarea and Jersusalem.

With all due respect, I'm not aware Caesarea was autocephalia. There wasn't autocaphalia in Church before the Second Council. It was metropolitan period before that. Once Jerusalem became autocephalous from his Mother Church Antioch his autocephalia was rescinded (along with autocephalia of Antioch) by Ottoman Turkish Sultan. As we know, it was only temporary and it didn't affect validity of the particular Church - just a form of her organization.
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2008, 05:40:50 PM »

Thank all of you for your insightful posts!  It appears that once autocephaly is given in the context of our modern era--that it cannot, or most likely will not, be removed.  I really have faith that God will work all of these Jurisdictional problems out eventually.  I am grateful to be Orthodox and no one can take that away angel

Feel free to continue this, since it is Lent I will spend more time in prayer and will not be posting.

In Christ,


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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2008, 05:41:47 PM »

With all due respect, I'm not aware Caesarea was autocephalia. There wasn't autocaphalia in Church before the Second Council. It was metropolitan period before that. Once Jerusalem became autocephalous from his Mother Church Antioch his autocephalia was rescinded (along with autocephalia of Antioch) by Ottoman Turkish Sultan. As we know, it was only temporary and it didn't affect validity of the particular Church - just a form of her organization.

And this is why we're not getting anywhere in the other thread - your history is foggy/hazy.  Jerusalem was under the Church of Caesarea early on; de facto Autocephaly existed in the early Church, even if it wasn't called such; Antioch has been autocephalous ever since the Ecumenical Councils - the Turks never "revoked it," because they couldn't "revoke" anyone's autocephaly, it was granted by Ecumenical Council.
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2008, 05:50:58 PM »

And this is why we're not getting anywhere in the other thread - your history is foggy/hazy.
There was a puzzle about "animocity" - read my response there.
de facto Autocephaly existed in the early Church, even if it wasn't called such;
During the early Church there wasn't autocephalia at all. It was metropolitan period. Structure of autocephalia was established by Ecumenical Council.

I'm not an expert in Church history at all, neither I claimed it - but I rely, among other things, on what Isa Almisry wrote in some of these boards about reestablishment of Autocephalia of Antioch as a succes of Arab nationalism.
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2008, 06:04:25 PM »

I'm not an expert in Church history at all, neither I claimed it - but I rely, among other things, on what Isa Almisry wrote in some of these boards about reestablishment of Autocephalia of Antioch as a succes of Arab nationalism.

This was the reinstatement of an ethnically Arab (as opposed to Greek) Patriarch. It was not a re-establishment of Antioch's autocephaly.
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2008, 06:15:53 PM »

This was the reinstatement of an ethnically Arab (as opposed to Greek) Patriarch. It was not a re-establishment of Antioch's autocephaly.

Thanks for correcting my error.
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2008, 06:27:55 PM »

During the early Church there wasn't autocephalia at all. It was metropolitan period. Structure of autocephalia was established by Ecumenical Council.

Despite the fact that there was no thing called "Autocephaly" there was indeed a de facto form: various churches founded by Apostles were operating independently of one another, meeting only in council.  Their bishops would write to one another in support, but that was it.  The other smaller churches that were founded as a result of missionary efforts from the Apostolic Churches looked up to their parent Church for guidance and support when needed.

I'm not an expert in Church history at all, neither I claimed it - but I rely, among other things, on what Isa Almisry wrote in some of these boards about reestablishment of Autocephalia of Antioch as a succes of Arab nationalism.

And I don't want to make you feel that you need to be an expert.  We just have to be careful of how we state things.  As Orthodox 11 and I pointed out, Antioch's Autocephaly wasn't revoked - it can't be without voluntary action by the Patriarchal Synod of Antioch, or the convening of a new Ecumenical Synod.  Those Churches who have their Autocephaly by Ecumenical Synod (Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Cyprus) are "untouchable."  I'd have to look up the Greek, but I don't think the Ecumenical Councils use the word Autocephaly - the idea of autocephalia only began with the formation of the first daughter churches after the conversion of the Slavs.  Before then no one would have codified it as such.  Since then, it has only been used to further nationalism in the Church, and no more.
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2008, 06:58:11 PM »

Despite the fact that there was no thing called "Autocephaly" there was indeed a de facto form: various churches founded by Apostles were operating independently of one another, meeting only in council.  Their bishops would write to one another in support, but that was it.

I'd say you offer a broad interpetation. Concept of autocephalia was started at First and finally defined, in the fashion we have it now, at Sixith Council. There was no structure of it in the sense we know it as it is now before the First Ecumenical Council.

The other smaller churches that were founded as a result of missionary efforts from the Apostolic Churches looked up to their parent Church for guidance and support when needed.

That is the same today, and should be, whenever one needs help, regardless the taxis of primacy.

We just have to be careful of how we state things.  As Orthodox 11 and I pointed out, Antioch's Autocephaly wasn't revoked - it can't be without voluntary action by the Patriarchal Synod of Antioch, or the convening of a new Ecumenical Synod.  Those Churches who have their Autocephaly by Ecumenical Synod (Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Cyprus) are "untouchable."  I'd have to look up the Greek, but I don't think the Ecumenical Councils use the word Autocephaly -

My bad, I misread Isa Almisry.

the idea of autocephalia only began with the formation of the first daughter churches after the conversion of the Slavs.  Before then no one would have codified it as such.

Churches of Armenia (while she was with us) and Georgia don't fit the definition you offered. The same could be said for Malabar Church of India, while she was with us.
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2008, 07:14:25 PM »

I'd say you offer a broad interpetation. Concept of autocephalia was started at First and finally defined, in the fashion we have it now, at Sixith Council. There was no structure of it in the sense we know it as it is now before the First Ecumenical Council. 

There was no "concept of autocephalia" in the Early Church - there were regional powerhouse Churches.  They were Autocephalous without thinking themselves so.  And to insinuate that the Ecumenical Councils somehow defined Autocephaly I think is a bit off.

Churches of Armenia (while she was with us) and Georgia don't fit the definition you offered. The same could be said for Malabar Church of India, while she was with us. 

Well, they were their own churches well before "autocephaly" became a buzzword, and they were separated from the Church (except Georgia) before it became important.  As I said, they were de facto autocephalous, but without thinking of it that way.
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« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2008, 07:42:17 PM »

They were Autocephalous without thinking themselves so.  And to insinuate that the Ecumenical Councils somehow defined Autocephaly I think is a bit off.

This is too broad.

It is Ecumenical Councils that finally laid down the relations that are known today as autocephalia. In those "self-thinking" early churches there were many cases of transfer from one into another Church, calling of support for a Bishop from a distant jurisdiction, etc. The boundaries and competencies were not clear. The story about taxis of ancient five Patriarchates, and its changes support that it was the Ecumenical Councils that laid down present structure.

Before that, it was that's historically called "metropolitan era", and, unlike my previous disinformation, this one is accurate.
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2008, 11:54:24 PM »

It is a fundamental principle of Canon Law that any authority that grants something has the authority to take it away or alter it. Yes, Moscow could withdraw the autonomy (not that it was even valid in the first place, but that's another issue entirely); the autonomy of the Five Churches could even be withdrawn by an authority equal to the one that granted them their independence, by an Oecumenical Synod. Ecclesiastical jurisdictions are matters of discipline, not dogma...they are hardly immutable and have oft changed throughout the history of the Church.
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« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2008, 12:01:25 AM »

With all the speculation on the goings on in the OCA (which seems to have gotten better, btw), I've yet to see what solution to anything the PoM taking over the OCA would profer.  No offense to the PoM (and anyone who has seen my posts can question my zeal for the PoM), but she has problems of her own, overwhelming problems, and I doubt getting involved in the OCA mess is going to help anyone.

Btw, Caesarea lost her autocelphalacy long before the Turk, during the elevation of the See of Jerusalem to a patriarchate at Chalcedon.

And yes, the Arab Patriarchate was really the assertion of an autocephalacy already had, like the former soviet satellites now asserting their previously nominal independence.
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« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2008, 12:04:14 AM »

It is a fundamental principle of Canon Law that any authority that grants something has the authority to take it away or alter it. Yes, Moscow could withdraw the autonomy (not that it was even valid in the first place, but that's another issue entirely); the autonomy of the Five Churches could even be withdrawn by an authority equal to the one that granted them their independence, by an Oecumenical Synod. Ecclesiastical jurisdictions are matters of discipline, not dogma...they are hardly immutable and have oft changed throughout the history of the Church.
your last line has some truth in it, the rest is nonsense.

No, once autocephalacy is granted it means self heading, which is how it is different from autonomy, which could be revoked.

I would compare it to conceiving a child obligating one to have it and recognizing him as an individual, but I'm afraid the comparison would be lost on you Greeki.
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« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2008, 12:27:43 AM »

your last line has some truth in it, the rest is nonsense.

No, once autocephalacy is granted it means self heading, which is how it is different from autonomy, which could be revoked.

I would compare it to conceiving a child obligating one to have it and recognizing him as an individual, but I'm afraid the comparison would be lost on you Greeki.

The concept of an independent self-ruling jurisdiction is a myth...every authority is derived from a source and the authority can never exceed that of its source. Constantinople is not inherently independent, there is no natural right for it to be independent of, say, Alexandria...the independence (and authority) of Constantinople is derived from and dependent on the Oecumenical Synods; a synod of equal authority could, at a whim, withdraw the independence, strip the bishops of their titles, disband the synod of Constantinople, and subject them to the rule of another see. To deny this would undermine the authority of the Oecumenical Synod and, therefore, legally declare that the Church had never had the right to exist.

Likewise, the indepence of the Metropolia is dependent on the synod of Moscow having such authority over them. To deny the right to withdraw this independence is to essentially deny this authority, the authority which is the source of their independence. To do so would essentially deny that they had ever had any right to exist.
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« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2008, 02:11:54 AM »

The concept of an independent self-ruling jurisdiction is a myth...every authority is derived from a source and the authority can never exceed that of its source. Constantinople is not inherently independent, there is no natural right for it to be independent of, say, Alexandria...the independence (and authority) of Constantinople is derived from and dependent on the Oecumenical Synods; a synod of equal authority could, at a whim, withdraw the independence, strip the bishops of their titles, disband the synod of Constantinople, and subject them to the rule of another see. To deny this would undermine the authority of the Oecumenical Synod and, therefore, legally declare that the Church had never had the right to exist.

Likewise, the indepence of the Metropolia is dependent on the synod of Moscow having such authority over them. To deny the right to withdraw this independence is to essentially deny this authority, the authority which is the source of their independence. To do so would essentially deny that they had ever had any right to exist.
Well said, this is by far one of the best statements on the understanding of Orthodoxy councilarity that I have seen on this board. Perhaps this should be sent to the Bishop of Alaska so he can meditate on this concept. "Every authority is derived from a source and the authority can never exceed that of its source." Perfect!
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« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2008, 06:56:44 AM »

The concept of an independent self-ruling jurisdiction is a myth...every authority is derived from a source and the authority can never exceed that of its source. Constantinople is not inherently independent, there is no natural right for it to be independent of, say, Alexandria...the independence (and authority) of Constantinople is derived from and dependent on the Oecumenical Synods; a synod of equal authority could, at a whim, withdraw the independence, strip the bishops of their titles, disband the synod of Constantinople, and subject them to the rule of another see. To deny this would undermine the authority of the Oecumenical Synod and, therefore, legally declare that the Church had never had the right to exist.

Likewise, the indepence of the Metropolia is dependent on the synod of Moscow having such authority over them. To deny the right to withdraw this independence is to essentially deny this authority, the authority which is the source of their independence. To do so would essentially deny that they had ever had any right to exist.

Ah, history strikes again:
Nicea, c. VI
Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also.  Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges.  And this is to be universally understood, that if any one be made bishop without the consent of the Metropolitan, the great Synod has declared that such a man ought not to be a bishop.  If, however, two or three bishops shall from natural love of contradiction, oppose the common suffrage of the rest, it being reasonable and in accordance with the ecclesiastical law, then let the choice of the majority prevail.

c. VII
Since custom and ancient tradition have prevailed that the Bishop of Ælia [i.e., Jerusalem] should be honoured, let him, saving its due dignity to the Metropolis, have the next place of honour.

Ephesus c. VIII
Our brother bishop Rheginus, the beloved of God, and his fellow beloved of God bishops, Zeno and Evagrius, of the Province of Cyprus, have reported to us an innovation which has been introduced contrary to the ecclesiastical constitutions and the Canons of the Holy Apostles, and which touches the liberties of all.   Wherefore, since injuries affecting all require the more attention, as they cause the greater damage, and particularly when they are transgressions of an ancient custom; and since those excellent men, who have petitioned the Synod, have told us in writing and by word of mouth that the Bishop of Antioch has in this way held ordinations in Cyprus; therefore the Rulers of the holy churches in Cyprus shall enjoy, without dispute or injury, according to the Canons of the blessed Fathers and ancient custom, the right of performing for themselves the ordination of their excellent Bishops.  The same rule shall be observed in the other dioceses and provinces everywhere, so that none of the God beloved Bishops shall assume control of any province which has not heretofore, from the very beginning, been under his own hand or that of his predecessors.  But if any one has violently taken and subjected [a Province], he shall give it up; lest the Canons of the Fathers be transgressed; or the vanities of worldly honour be brought in under pretext of sacred office; or we lose, without knowing it, little by little, the liberty which Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Deliverer of all men, hath given us by his own Blood.
Wherefore, this holy and ecumenical Synod has decreed that in every province the rights which heretofore, from the beginning, have belonged to it, shall be preserved to it, according to the old prevailing custom, unchanged and uninjured:  every Metropolitan having permission to take, for his own security, a copy of these acts.  And if any one shall bring forward a rule contrary to what is here determined, this holy and ecumenical Synod unanimously decrees that it shall be of no effect.

Constrast this to Constantinople I c. III
The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome.

Chalcedon c. XXVIII
Following in all things the decisions of the holy Fathers, and acknowledging the canon, which has been just read, of the One Hundred and Fifty Bishops beloved-of-God (who assembled in the imperial city of Constantinople, which is New Rome, in the time of the Emperor Theodosius of happy memory), we also do enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome.  For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city.  And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her; so that, in the Pontic, the Asian, and the Thracian dioceses, the metropolitans only and such bishops also of the Dioceses aforesaid as are among the barbarians, should be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople; every metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the bishops of his province, ordaining his own provincial bishops, as has been declared by the divine canons; but that, as has been above said, the metropolitans of the aforesaid Dioceses should be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, after the proper elections have been held according to custom and have been reported to him.


http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.toc.html

Not all Churches are created equal. The positions of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch (and Cyprus) predate the Councils, which just recognized their established rights.  Constantinople's postion was totally created by the Councils, which had the power to do so.  Jerusalem's position is in between.

So in a sense, yes, Alexandria has a natural right to be independent, and no, it would be subject to the whim of an Ecumenical Council, as her rights were not so derived.  Constantinople is a different story.

This doesn't undermine the authority of the Ecumenical Synod, as the Church existed before them, and she had the inherent authority to hold the Synods.

You are correct to state that the situation of the OCA (its not the metropolia anymore, btw) is akin to Constantinople.  I would of course hasten to add a detail I am sure is in the back of your mind but did not state: Moscow's situation is akin to the OCA vis-a-via Constantinople.  Given your previous statements, I am concluding that you believe then of course, following logical progression, that nonsense about Constanipole's right over the US, canon XXVIII, blah, blah, blah.

Sorry, I have no authority over my sons to dictate how many grandchildren I'll have (some time off, God willing, my oldest is still grammar school), nor how they will raise them, beyond raising my sons right now.  As we say in Egypt, when your son has grown, treat him like a brother.  Few things are more pathetic than parents who refuse to recognize their children have grown.

Or do you think that the US government has to fear that Her Majesty ER II will withdraw their independence?
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« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2008, 07:20:58 AM »

Just to add two missing points to the excellent post above of my Almisry brother:

...a synod of equal authority could, at a whim, withdraw the independence, strip the bishops of their titles, disband the synod of Constantinople, and subject them to the rule of another see. To deny this would undermine the authority of the Oecumenical Synod and, therefore, legally declare that the Church had never had the right to exist.

1) Any council is subject to acceptance by the Church; though what's said above could theoretically (and hypotheticaly) be correct, it would yet to be seen if any such an imaginary council would be the Ecumenical One, or a robber one.

2) Stripping bishops of their titles for merely belonging to a certain Church would deny their Apostolic Successsion and Grace gained through it. Any council who would do that would hardly gain acceptance of the Church.
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« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2008, 09:20:58 AM »

2) Stripping bishops of their titles for merely belonging to a certain Church would deny their Apostolic Successsion and Grace gained through it. Any council who would do that would hardly gain acceptance of the Church.
Under this argument the Third Ecumenical Council held in Ephesus would not gain acceptance since it removed Nestorius of his office of Bishop. There is a process that has been established of investigation, council, invitation of repentance, and only then if repentance and obedience to the other Bishops does not occur does deposing occur.

An example... if the Church in Serbia started ordaining women to the Presbytery, which is not a matter of Dogma, a council would be called to discuss the matter. When all is said and done and the council says that we should not ordain women to the Presbytery and a group of Bishops tell the Bishop of Serbia to stop doing this and they refuse then they would be removed from their office.
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« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2008, 09:21:20 AM »

Not all Churches are created equal. The positions of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch (and Cyprus) predate the Councils, which just recognized their established rights.  Constantinople's postion was totally created by the Councils, which had the power to do so.  Jerusalem's position is in between.

So in a sense, yes, Alexandria has a natural right to be independent, and no, it would be subject to the whim of an Ecumenical Council, as her rights were not so derived.  Constantinople is a different story.

This doesn't undermine the authority of the Ecumenical Synod, as the Church existed before them, and she had the inherent authority to hold the Synods.

No, an Ecumenical Council can indeed revoke the rights even of the ancient sees, as it has indeed done in the past (viz a viz the multiple schisms with Rome and the granting of higher authority to Constantinople).  The Ecumenical Council is the highest authority in the Orthodox Church short of Christ Himself - it is the gathering of her hierarchs with the presence of the Spirit with the authority to define and clarify dogma and re-define (or change) matters of discipline and order.  Just because they acknowledge the ancient customs of independence of certain sees doesn't mean they can't revoke them - Caesarea had its own ancient perogatives, and the Ecumenical Synods trumped them for Jerusalem (once St. Helen had built the Churches and people began flocking back to worship in the city); there was no ancient perogative for Jerusalem since the early Church was expelled from there.

You are correct to state that the situation of the OCA (its not the metropolia anymore, btw) is akin to Constantinople.  I would of course hasten to add a detail I am sure is in the back of your mind but did not state: Moscow's situation is akin to the OCA vis-a-via Constantinople.  Given your previous statements, I am concluding that you believe then of course, following logical progression, that nonsense about Constanipole's right over the US, canon XXVIII, blah, blah, blah.

The situation of the OCA is not synonymous to that of Constantinople, as Constantinople's independence and rank were determined by Ecumenical Council, and the OCA's by Moscow.  I'll elaborate more below.

Sorry, I have no authority over my sons to dictate how many grandchildren I'll have (some time off, God willing, my oldest is still grammar school), nor how they will raise them, beyond raising my sons right now.  As we say in Egypt, when your son has grown, treat him like a brother.  Few things are more pathetic than parents who refuse to recognize their children have grown.

Or do you think that the US government has to fear that Her Majesty ER II will withdraw their independence?

Not even close my friend.  The actions of synods (which the granting of autocephaly is, by the way) are not "once done always done never revoked" but are instead like... like classifying documents in the United States.

Information can be classified in the US only by officers and men of a particular rank.  Once they've been classified, only the authority which classified it or a higher authority can declassify it.

So too with Synodal acts.  Only synods can make decisions affecting another bishop's diocese or multiple diocese; specifically, only the synods with direct authority over those diocese in question.  Once a Synodal decision has been made, only that Synod or a Synod of higher authority can revoke the decision - but rest assured, the decision can be revoked, as long as it is not a reflection of dogma (which the independence of certain Sees is most certainly not a matter of dogma).  History has shown that autocephaly can and will be revoked, sometimes with cooperation, sometimes without.  But in the end it is only a principle of discipline and order, not faith and dogma.  Just as other crucial matters of discipline and order can and will be changed (e.g. married bishops -> no married bishops), so too administrative decisions of a synod (like autocephaly) can be changed or revoked.

Now, as it has been pointed out by Orthodoxlurker, yes, even the decisions of ecumenical synods must be adopted by the synod of bishops of each territory.  But normally that is a moot point, as those bishops have already participated in the synod itself.

So the autocephaly of any Church is subject to the consent of the Church, manifest through her Synods and Ecumenical Synods.

BTW: if you want the line-up, is looks like this:

Local Synod -> Metropolitan Synod -> Patriarchal/Archdiocesan Synod -> Synod of Constantinople (as the Seat of Appeals) -> Ecumenical Synod
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« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2008, 09:45:22 AM »

Not all Churches are created equal. The positions of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch (and Cyprus) predate the Councils, which just recognized their established rights.  Constantinople's postion was totally created by the Councils, which had the power to do so.  Jerusalem's position is in between.
Sounds like you have been listening to Fr. Patrick Viscuso. While you are correct that the positions of Rome and Alexandria authority predates the councils that does not grant them immunity to do whatever they want. Under your argument we would still be in communion with the Coptic Church because of their ancient position.

You must also be careful in your wording, there is only one Church and this Church has locations in Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow and so on. What the canons and the councils do is affirm the ancient establishment of the sees and in some cases elevate other sees to greater importance. The councils do not create Churches since there is only one Church and that Church in turn creates Councils. So all authority is ultimately the Church's authority and all is sees are subject to the Church. This is why we have a problem with the Roman understanding of the Pope, they believe that the Church is under his authority while we Orthodox see the Church to be under Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit and therefore must meet in council with one another.
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« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2008, 09:53:09 AM »

Under this argument the Third Ecumenical Council held in Ephesus would not gain acceptance since it removed Nestorius of his office of Bishop.

Nestorius was neither removed for he was a Bishop of a particular Church (of Constantinopolis) nor other Bishops were removed for they were part of Constantinopolean See, but for dogmatic error he persisted into herecy. So you missed the point.

Quote
An example... if the Church in Serbia started ordaining women to the Presbytery, which is not a matter of Dogma, a council would be called to discuss the matter.

You and me obviosly don't share the same understanding of dogma. Women can't be ordained to priesthood, that's dogma, and it is been believed always, everywhere and by all (acc. to St. Vincent of Lerins). So it would amount to severe dogmatic breach and such a Church could be termed heretical. So your example missed the point again.
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« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2008, 10:01:39 AM »

You and me obviosly don't share the same understanding of dogma. Women can't be ordained to priesthood, that's dogma, and it is been believed always, everywhere and by all (acc. to St. Vincent of Lerins). So it would amount to severe dogmatic breach and such a Church could be termed heretical. So your example missed the point again.
You are right, we don't share the same view of Dogma. Dogmatic issues are only related to Christ and what God has revealed about himself to us. Even our statements about the Theotokos that are Dogmatic are said to confirm the divinity of Christ. Everything else falls into tradition, which the sex of the Presbytery would fall into.
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« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2008, 10:16:20 AM »

Nestorius was neither removed for he was a Bishop of a particular Church (of Constantinopolis) nor other Bishops were removed for they were part of Constantinopolean See, but for dogmatic error he persisted into herecy. So you missed the point.
Your point is flawed. If a council comes to a decision that a Bishop or Bishops need to be removed from their position for the good order of the Church then they should be removed. The recent actions of the previous Patriarch of Jerusalem prove my point, he was removed from his office because the Synod felt he needed to go. He did not preach heresy but his Synod felt he needed to go and when he appealed the actions of the Synod were confirmed.
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« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2008, 10:25:51 AM »

...Dogmatic issues are only related to Christ and what God has revealed about himself to us. ... Everything else falls into tradition, which the sex of the Presbytery would fall into.

If Christ is Head of the Church, while Church being His body, and bishops and preists (presbyters) and deacons are instituted after the Apostoles, than female priest is dogmatic issue according to your own definition.

Quote
Your point is flawed. If a council comes to a decision that a Bishop or Bishops need to be removed from their position for the good order of the Church then they should be removed.

Not at all. We were speaking about "stripping" bishops just for that the Church of those bishops lost her autocephalia.

Quote
The recent actions of the previous Patriarch of Jerusalem prove my point, he was removed from his office because the Synod felt he needed to go. He did not preach heresy but his Synod felt he needed to go and when he appealed the actions of the Synod were confirmed.

I'd be careful in taking that council as a backup of any claim.
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« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2008, 10:41:25 AM »

If Christ is Head of the Church, while Church being His body, and bishops and preists (presbyters) and deacons are instituted after the Apostoles, than female priest is dogmatic issue according to your own definition.   

While your position may ultimately be vindicated, it is one that has not been adopted by any of the Ecumenical Synods, nor the Endemousa Synods, so it's an opinion and not a dogma.

Not at all. We were speaking about "stripping" bishops just for that the Church of those bishops lost her autocephalia.

No, we weren't.  GiC merely pointed out that an Ecumenical Council has within its power the ability to strip bishops for any reason; the example was not "stripping" bishops because their Church lost its Autocephaly, it was stripping them for no reason at all.

I'd be careful in taking that council as a backup of any claim. 

The council consisting of the heads of the Autocephalous Churches called to depose the bishop of Cyprus at the request of the Church of Cyprus is a good example; he was not deposed for heresy or schism, just for Alzheimer's.
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« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2008, 10:46:46 AM »

You and me obviosly don't share the same understanding of dogma. Women can't be ordained to priesthood, that's dogma, and it is been believed always, everywhere and by all (acc. to St. Vincent of Lerins). So it would amount to severe dogmatic breach and such a Church could be termed heretical. So your example missed the point again. 

It isn't dogma according to the Church.  So if a bishop started ordaining women to the priesthood (say it's a Patriarch, as in arimethea's example), a Synod would be called to debate the matter.  They would hear from all sides, and then make a decision.  If their decision was to not allow womens' ordination, then the bishop in question (patriarch) would be given the chance to recant and repent.  If he doesn't, then the synod will decide on punishment - be it deposition, excommunication, anathema, whatever.

So, once again, your position may be the correct one (that not ordaining women is a dogmatic stance of the Church), but it hasn't been shown to be yet, so we must wait for a Synod to declare such.
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« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2008, 11:06:06 AM »

...nor the Endemousa Synods,...

I'm quite unfamiliar with some kind of special status of Endemousa Synods regarding dogma.
Quote
No, we weren't.  GiC merely pointed out that

I wouldn't know about you, but I did explicitly said about that, and arimethea disputed it. See:

...
2) Stripping bishops of their titles for merely belonging to a certain Church would deny their Apostolic Successsion and Grace gained through it. Any council who would do that would hardly gain acceptance of the Church.

Under this argument the Third Ecumenical Council held in Ephesus would not gain acceptance since it removed Nestorius of his office of Bishop.


The council consisting of the heads of the Autocephalous Churches called to depose the bishop of Cyprus at the request of the Church of Cyprus is a good example; he was not deposed for heresy or schism, just for Alzheimer's.
No argue about it. An excellent example, indeed.
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« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2008, 11:08:45 AM »

It isn't dogma according to the Church.  So if a bishop started ordaining women to the priesthood (say it's a Patriarch, as in arimethea's example), a Synod would be called to debate the matter.  ...

No argue about that either.

But there is also yet another custom, though I admit it is a tradition with a small t.

That one about babushkas and pales.
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« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2008, 11:54:50 AM »

I wouldn't know about you, but I did explicitly said about that, and arimethea disputed it. See:

Ah.  I hadn't noticed that nuance.  Thanks.
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« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2008, 01:06:41 PM »

Orthodoxlurker, your argument is placing limits on a council of the Church that have never been placed on them. When the Bishops gather together they can remove a Bishop from his office for whatever they deem fit. If they think he combs his hair funny, they can remove him. Depending on what level removes him he has avenues of appeals and can win those appeals but he can also loose those appeals and the council can uphold his removal. The canons serve as guideline in these matters but they are not codified law that regulate the matter. Attend a Synod meeting overseas and you will see that there is no rhyme or reason to what happens and what is discussed. Roberts Rules of Order does not exist amongst Orthodox synodal meetings. The fact that we are ale to exist as a Church and are still unified in faith and practice across the world can mean only one thing, that the Holy Spirit is truly with us.
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« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2008, 02:54:26 PM »

Orthodoxlurker, your argument is placing limits on a council of the Church that have never been placed on them. When the Bishops gather together they can remove a Bishop from his office for whatever they deem fit. ...

Hypothetically and theoretically, yes they can (provided they are competent for the particular Bishop), but, among various requirements for it (respective Bishop being dully summoned, etc.), they need the Holy Spirit and the Church to accept such a decision.

I claim "removing", "defrocking" or "stripping" a Bishop for his color of hair, or for he belongs to a particular Church (in latter case the entire issue of competencies of such a council to judge such a Bishop should be examined) would be a clear sign such a gathering was a robber council and the Church wouldn't accept it.

Anyway, I found something interesting for subject of the thread
http://www.westsrbdio.org/history/index.html
Quote
The consecration of St. Sava as autocephalous Archbishop of Serbia in 1219, even more strengthened various Serbian principalities in their ecclesia- stical allegiance to Constantinople and Christian East. Later, as the medieval kingdom of Serbia grew in size and prestige and Stefan Dusan, king of Serbia from 1331, assumed the imperial title of tsar in 1346 to 1355, the Archbishopric of Pec was correspondingly raised to the rank of Patriarchate. The period before the arrival of the Turks was the time of the greatest flourishing of the Serbian Church. After the final Turkish conquest of the most influental Serbian principality in 1459, the greater portion of Serbian lands became a Turkish pasalik (province). After the death of Patriarch Arsenios II in 1463 a successor was not elected. The Patriarchate was thus de facto abolished, and the Serbian Church passed under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Serbian Patriarchate was restored in 1557 by the Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Macarios, brother of the famous Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic was elected Patriarch in Pec.

This, I believe, was the first case in history about "rescind" of a Patriarchate and a clear cut case - the respective Church hasn't elected its leader, thus implicitly accepting "rescind" of autocephalia.

I hope this will encourage my worried OCA brothers.
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ialmisry
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« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2008, 05:34:09 PM »

Sounds like you have been listening to Fr. Patrick Viscuso.
Huh Huh Huh

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While you are correct that the positions of Rome and Alexandria authority predates the councils that does not grant them immunity to do whatever they want.
Didn't say it did, nor implied it.  Just that the abolition of their autocephalacy would be so without precedent, and a definitive break from the ancient Church.

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Under your argument we would still be in communion with the Coptic Church because of their ancient position.

We, i.e. the Eastern Orthodox, do have a Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria.

I'm all for communion with the Copts, as many would see from my posts, and working towards it, but not on this reasoning.

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You must also be careful in your wording, there is only one Church and this Church has locations in Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow and so on. What the canons and the councils do is affirm the ancient establishment of the sees and in some cases elevate other sees to greater importance. The councils do not create Churches since there is only one Church and that Church in turn creates Councils. So all authority is ultimately the Church's authority and all is sees are subject to the Church. This is why we have a problem with the Roman understanding of the Pope, they believe that the Church is under his authority while we Orthodox see the Church to be under Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit and therefore must meet in council with one another.
Rome hasn't evidently lost its position, but is unable to exercise it since breaking communion with the Church.  All authority, as you are getting at, is exercised in, not over, the Church.

Abolitioning the autocephalacy and position of Alexandria would be a radical and fundamental break with how the Church has always exercised her authority through that See.  For Constantinople, it would be a radical change, but not a break with how the Church has always functioned.

No, an Ecumenical Council can indeed revoke the rights even of the ancient sees, as it has indeed done in the past (viz a viz the multiple schisms with Rome and the granting of higher authority to Constantinople).
No Ecumenical Council cast Rome out.  She fell on her own sword, going back on her understanding at Constantinople IV on the composition of a new faith as forbidden by Constantinople I and Ephesus.

As for the higher authority of New Rome, it is in origin based on Old Rome's position.

 
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The Ecumenical Council is the highest authority in the Orthodox Church short of Christ Himself - it is the gathering of her hierarchs with the presence of the Spirit with the authority to define and clarify dogma and re-define (or change) matters of discipline and order.  Just because they acknowledge the ancient customs of independence of certain sees doesn't mean they can't revoke them - Caesarea had its own ancient perogatives, and the Ecumenical Synods trumped them for Jerusalem (once St. Helen had built the Churches and people began flocking back to worship in the city); there was no ancient perogative for Jerusalem since the early Church was expelled from there.

Hence my point on Jerusalem being in between.

Caesarea did not have, it seems, autocephalacy, and the process of delineating Jerusalem from Antioch was much like delineating New Rome from Old Rome, just with more justification.

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The situation of the OCA is not synonymous to that of Constantinople, as Constantinople's independence and rank were determined by Ecumenical Council, and the OCA's by Moscow.  I'll elaborate more below.

It is similar, as Constantinople was granted by synod, admittedly a higher synod, as was the OCA's.

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Not even close my friend.  The actions of synods (which the granting of autocephaly is, by the way) are not "once done always done never revoked" but are instead like... like classifying documents in the United States.

Information can be classified in the US only by officers and men of a particular rank.  Once they've been classified, only the authority which classified it or a higher authority can declassify it.

Moscow has NO authority over the OCA, just as the EP has NO authority over Moscow, Serbia, etc., eccept that which is expressed in an Ecumenical or Pan Orthodox Council, which is a different matter altogether from the local synod or a patriarchal synod.

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So too with Synodal acts.  Only synods can make decisions affecting another bishop's diocese or multiple diocese; specifically, only the synods with direct authority over those diocese in question.  Once a Synodal decision has been made, only that Synod or a Synod of higher authority can revoke the decision - but rest assured, the decision can be revoked, as long as it is not a reflection of dogma (which the independence of certain Sees is most certainly not a matter of dogma).  History has shown that autocephaly can and will be revoked, sometimes with cooperation, sometimes without.  But in the end it is only a principle of discipline and order, not faith and dogma.  Just as other crucial matters of discipline and order can and will be changed (e.g. married bishops -> no married bishops), so too administrative decisions of a synod (like autocephaly) can be changed or revoked.
Again, the Synod of Moscow has no say in the affairs of the OCA, hence the term A-U-T-O-C-E-P-H-A-L-Y.

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Now, as it has been pointed out by Orthodoxlurker, yes, even the decisions of ecumenical synods must be adopted by the synod of bishops of each territory.  But normally that is a moot point, as those bishops have already participated in the synod itself.
Point agreed.

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So the autocephaly of any Church is subject to the consent of the Church, manifest through her Synods and Ecumenical Synods.

BTW: if you want the line-up, is looks like this:

Local Synod -> Metropolitan Synod -> Patriarchal/Archdiocesan Synod -> Synod of Constantinople (as the Seat of Appeals) -> Ecumenical Synod
On the autocephaly of the OCA, only the Ecumenical Synod would be in play, as no one has standing to bring the topic of abolishing it to the seat of appeals.  And even the Ecumenical Synod is bound by the precedence laid down by the Fathers.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2008, 05:54:15 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: March 21, 2008, 05:51:17 PM »

Abolitioning the autocephalacy and position of Alexandria would be a radical and fundamental break with how the Church has always exercised her authority through that See.  For Constantinople, it would be a radical change, but not a break with how the Church has always functioned. 

Again (I think it's been mentioned before), the Church had "always" exercised authority through Caesarea over the Church of Jerusalem... That is, until Jerusalem was given authority over Caesarea (after the radical transformation of the Church in Jerusalem following the beginning of the pilgrimage trips, and the building of Churches by St. Helen).  It would be a "drastic" change to alter the status of Alexandria or Antioch, but it wouldn't be "unprecedented."

Sometimes sees shifted instead of going extinct (there was a time when the Archdiocese of Cyprus was moved in toto to Asia Minor, but was allowed to remain Autocephalous; the move of Antioch to Damascus); sometimes sees are shifted because of power changes (Kiev - Moscow) - none of these were done with consultation by Ecumenical Synod, and each one was unprecedented... and all were upheld by the Church.  Radical changes in polity come when they are needed.

In the end we are all called to be obedient to the will of the Church - the Body of Christ.  If an Ecumenical Synod comes and revokes the Autocephaly of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople, then we'd have to deal.  If one came along and elevated Paris, New York, and Johannesburg as Patriarchates, then we'd have to deal.  Just pray that our leaders always push to do God's will, and not their own.
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« Reply #39 on: March 21, 2008, 06:14:33 PM »

... If an Ecumenical Synod comes and revokes the Autocephaly of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople, then we'd have to deal.  If one came along and elevated Paris, New York, and Johannesburg as Patriarchates, then we'd have to deal.  Just pray that our leaders always push to do God's will, and not their own.

Yep.

Only what would take is to have all Bishops (including those ones of the Churches whose autocephalia is rescinded) agree with it.

In case two Bishops immediately don't accept it, on the grounds that such an unprecedented move hasn't been believed everywhere, in all times and by all, we'd yet have to determine who is in schism and who is a heretic.

BTW, your claim that Cesarea was autocephalous in the times where Church was organized in metropolitan system would be just an opinion, unless you can support it with a decision of an Ecumenical Council - and you can't.
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« Reply #40 on: March 21, 2008, 06:29:24 PM »

...
Now, as it has been pointed out by Orthodoxlurker, yes, even the decisions of ecumenical synods must be adopted by the synod of bishops of each territory.  ...

I never said that.

Ecumenical Councils need not be ratified by any other body.

The other issue is whether a council is an Ecumenical one, or just a robber one. And that's the question for the entire Church and not limited to Bishops only.

Theoretically, MP could try to rescind autocephaly of OCA, but if two Bishops oppose the decision and continue to excercise autocephally, with priests and, most importantly, flock, nobody would be able to successfully deny their canonical status.
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« Reply #41 on: March 21, 2008, 06:33:16 PM »

Theoretically, MP could try to rescind autocephaly of OCA, but if two Bishops oppose the decision and continue to excercise autocephally, with priests and, most importantly, flock, nobody would be able to successfully deny their canonical status. 

Of course they could - Moscow could depose those bishops, or appeal to Constantinople (per Canonical direction), and those bishops could be deposed.  Done deal.  It's been done before, and can be done again.
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« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2008, 06:55:18 PM »

Of course they could - Moscow could depose those bishops, or appeal to Constantinople (per Canonical direction), and those bishops could be deposed.  Done deal.  It's been done before, and can be done again.

Of course they could try it.

But if that would be done without a reason, it would mean that those who supported such a decision are heretics, so it would yet to be seen where would the flock go.

Of course, provided there are those two bishops willing to oppose it. Done deal.
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« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2008, 08:42:06 PM »

But if that would be done without a reason, it would mean that those who supported such a decision are heretics, so it would yet to be seen where would the flock go. 

No, it wouldn't be heresy - it would be a break of canonical good order and possibly considered schism (which is worse than heresy in the eyes of many Fathers): but that judgment could and would only come from a synod of higher authority.  So if Moscow deposes the two bishops who oppose, then they can appeal to Constantinople, who would gather the heads of the Autocephalous Churches and together in Synod vote on the appeal.

As for the flock - they can choose to not follow the directives of Moscow, but their recourse would be to go to the GOA, Antiochian Church, etc. - not to set up their own diocese and elect their own bishops; if they stay with bishops who have been deposed willingly, then they'll fall under excommunication from the Church at large, which would probably be upheld by the other American Churches in the above case (i.e. the people willingly stay with duly deposed bishops).

I'll repeat what I said earlier, though:

If I were you, I would not worry about such hypothetical situations and possibilities, nor would I look to Moscow to fix the problem.  Instead I would focus on prayer and fasting in this Lenten period - I don't want you to give up hope, but there are lots of things that are swirling that at least have a partial purpose to distract us from our prayer and fasting and charity and hope, all the things that are so crucial for the Lenten journey.  Pray for your hierarchs, clergy, and people; pray for the state leaders and government; pray for resolution and justice; pray for mercy and peace; and pray that the Lord will continue to watch over His Church, His Body, just as He has for all time. 
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ialmisry
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« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2008, 09:32:09 PM »

No, it wouldn't be heresy - it would be a break of canonical good order and possibly considered schism (which is worse than heresy in the eyes of many Fathers): but that judgment could and would only come from a synod of higher authority.  So if Moscow deposes the two bishops who oppose, then they can appeal to Constantinople, who would gather the heads of the Autocephalous Churches and together in Synod vote on the appeal.

I'm assuming Tongue that the bishops you are talking about would be the OCA bishops, which Moscow has no business nor power to depose, and therefore no standing to appeal to Constantinople.  The gathering of a Pan-Orthodox council would be a different matter: btw, gathering the head of the Autocephalous Churches would include the OCA metropolitan.  That due process thing.

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As for the flock - they can choose to not follow the directives of Moscow, but their recourse would be to go to the GOA, Antiochian Church, etc. - not to set up their own diocese and elect their own bishops; if they stay with bishops who have been deposed willingly, then they'll fall under excommunication from the Church at large, which would probably be upheld by the other American Churches in the above case (i.e. the people willingly stay with duly deposed bishops).

I'll repeat what I said earlier, though:


Yes, the scenario you outline worked so well in the 1800s and thereafter in the Balkans. Tongue
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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