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Offline Irenaeus07

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Branch Theory
« on: March 17, 2008, 08:26:20 PM »
I'm sure this question has been asked before, but what is this difference between Coptic Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox? I know the Eastern and Coptic Orthodox churches have been out of communion for a few years (actually 1700 years), but what exactly separates us? I know the Eastern Orthodox church teaches Jesus was both God and man and I've heard the Coptic Church teaches that He was just God. Then I talked to a Coptic Christian and he said they did believe that Christ was both God and man. He said the only thing that separates us is agreement on the ecumenical councils. Could someone clarify this?

Bishop Kallistos Ware briefy spoke on this issue, and he said, sometime in the 1940's or so perhaps earlier or later, can't remember the exact date, but that the OO and OE actually sat together, and he said, what came out of this get together is that fundamentally there is not differences, that where there appears to be a differences it is merely semantic.  Kallistos did mention the 3 and 7 council difference, and said that this does not relate to the fundamental beliefs of the church, and that he hoped that the EO and OO could get together and work these small differences out.

To be honest, I don't see why there needs to be an absolute unity between the EO and OO.  I think these subtle differences reflect the different cultures of the worlds, and the disciples were sent to different parts of the world by our Lord with a wisdom.  Eventhough the churches differ on minor issues, let the difference exist.  It is amazing to me, that the churches could be separate for so many years, and still have the same fundamental beliefs.  That is amazing.  We should just accept each others as one church, with different rooms.  There is not one race, there are many races.  The Lord has created the world with a varity of differences, different trees, insects, spiders, cats, dogs and many other things.  Perhaps our Lord wanted the same thing for the Church.  Perhaps we can be one Orthodox Church with many different flavors, M&Ms.  Perhaps we can learn from the differences between the EO and OO, is not the judge.  And to embrace each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Why Not???

Why can't we just have a council where all the different OO and EO met together once a years to discuss things, and still remain the same as they were before, just with meetings?

Perhaps the Roman Catholics could join the group as well, but I guess the Catholics will have to let the pope to be equal to our OE and OO bishops. 

Anyway.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2008, 12:13:11 PM by Salpy »

Offline ialmisry

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Branch theory
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008, 10:18:29 AM »
Bishop Kallistos Ware briefy spoke on this issue, and he said, sometime in the 1940's or so perhaps earlier or later, can't remember the exact date, but that the OO and OE actually sat together, and he said, what came out of this get together is that fundamentally there is not differences, that where there appears to be a differences it is merely semantic.  Kallistos did mention the 3 and 7 council difference, and said that this does not relate to the fundamental beliefs of the church, and that he hoped that the EO and OO could get together and work these small differences out.

To be honest, I don't see why there needs to be an absolute unity between the EO and OO.  I think these subtle differences reflect the different cultures of the worlds, and the disciples were sent to different parts of the world by our Lord with a wisdom.  Eventhough the churches differ on minor issues, let the difference exist.  It is amazing to me, that the churches could be separate for so many years, and still have the same fundamental beliefs.  That is amazing.  We should just accept each others as one church, with different rooms.  There is not one race, there are many races.  The Lord has created the world with a varity of differences, different trees, insects, spiders, cats, dogs and many other things.  Perhaps our Lord wanted the same thing for the Church.  Perhaps we can be one Orthodox Church with many different flavors, M&Ms.  Perhaps we can learn from the differences between the EO and OO, is not the judge.  And to embrace each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Why Not???

Because the branch theory is an invention of the Episcopalians, not Orthodox (EO or OO) dogma.

It is the nature of the Church to be ONE, and in communion.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2008, 12:10:07 PM by Salpy »
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Offline Irenaeus07

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Branch Theory
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2008, 07:45:50 PM »
Because the branch theory is an invention of the Episcopalians, not Orthodox (EO or OO) dogma.

It is the nature of the Church to be ONE, and in communion.

Yeah but what does that one mean.  Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Three different person yet one God.  Why can't we be EO, OO yet one church.  Two different persons yet one Church. Working together.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2008, 12:10:35 PM by Salpy »

Offline ialmisry

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Branch Theory
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2008, 10:03:00 PM »
Yeah but what does that one mean.  Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Three different person yet one God.  Why can't we be EO, OO yet one church.  Two different persons yet one Church. Working together.
The Trinity, One in essence and UNDIVIDED.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2008, 12:10:59 PM by Salpy »
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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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Salpy

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Branch Theory
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008, 03:08:08 AM »
Everyone:

With regard to the branch theory discussion, I can see that becoming a tangent that I will have to split off if it goes much further.  It is an interesting subject though.  I'd like to ask that if anyone feels like discussing it further, please start a separate thread on it. 

Thank you.   :)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2008, 12:11:20 PM by Salpy »

Offline minasoliman

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Branch Theory
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2008, 09:40:57 PM »
Everyone:

With regard to the branch theory discussion, I can see that becoming a tangent that I will have to split off if it goes much further.  It is an interesting subject though.  I'd like to ask that if anyone feels like discussing it further, please start a separate thread on it. 

Thank you.   :)

It's been partially discussed in this thread, although it did evolve into another subject later on:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11938.0.html

God bless.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2008, 12:11:42 PM by Salpy »
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Offline Irenaeus07

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Branch Theory
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2008, 07:24:25 AM »
Two different persons yet one church(Body) is a form of neo-nestorianism, neither side would ever accept this
"China" formula (reminds me of taiwan- 2 governments, one country formula).


You know what, I don't see why. What you illustrated below is a minor difference, who is right and who is wrong could never be reached in an absolute sense in this life.  It is not something God will judge you by on the last day?  It is not something in which you will be questioned as to whehter you believed in one thing or another on the last day?  It is not something, in which one is damned to hell for believing or disbelieving?  So why divide the church on such an issue??? 

This is the kind of thing that turns my heart.

I hope the Lord does NOT make me a Christian who divides the church based on such petty issues. Please Lord protect me from such foolishness.





Quote
Unity is based on the  partaking of the Communion Of the Holy EUCHARIST. Prerequiste is a common faith , one heart and one mind.

To best understand the subtle differences between the Chalcedonian definition with that of the OO and the Assyrian Church, best is to read the agreed upon statements made by the RC church with the Copts and the other agreed upon statements the RC have made with the Assyrians. Both statements can be said to be Orthodox (for the EO) but probably will raise objections amongst the OO and the Assyrians when these same agreements are compared to each other.

There is a different emphasis stressed. The OO insist on emphasizing the inseperability of the two natures, making no mention of two natures after the union, instead they accept the distinction but this is downplayed.

 The Assyrians on the other hand insist on emphasizing the distinction of the two natures while downplaying there inseperability. They believe in the inseperability but dont stress its importance.

Orthodoxy is a compromise - the Chalcedonian definition which places both these elements: "without seperation" and "the distinction of natures beng in no way annulled" on equal footing.

Once again to see these differences, examine agreed statements by Chalcedonians made with Both Assyrians and OO and how these statements differ with each other when compared side by side.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2008, 12:12:14 PM by Salpy »

Offline Salpy

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2008, 12:18:44 PM »

Offline Peter J

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Re: Branch theory
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2008, 04:42:41 PM »
Because the branch theory is an invention of the Episcopalians, not Orthodox (EO or OO) dogma.

It is the nature of the Church to be ONE, and in communion.

Here's what I'm wondering: In your idea of reconciliation/reunion between the EO and OO Churches, would one side need to admit to previously having been in schism?

Or could the two sides 'agree to disagree' about that? In other words, the EO side basically saying "the OOs used to be in schism from the Church, but now they're back", and the OO side saying "the EOs used to be in schism from the Church, but now they're back"?

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Offline John of the North

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2008, 04:53:12 PM »
How about this: "We overreacted. Sorry." from both sides??
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Offline Veniamin

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2008, 04:56:39 PM »
How about this: "We overreacted. Sorry." from both sides??

Or in other words, "Yeah, those venerable fathers guided by the Holy Spirit at Chalcedon?  Not so much."

 ::)  I'm a little skeptical of this whole "We're smarter than the fathers at the time were and we understand what really happened" line of thinking.
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Offline John of the North

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2008, 05:01:02 PM »
I think anyone who claims to truly comprehend the Nature of Christ, has fallen off their rocker.
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Offline Peter J

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2008, 05:43:38 PM »
Or in other words, "Yeah, those venerable fathers guided by the Holy Spirit at Chalcedon?  Not so much."

 ::)  I'm a little skeptical of this whole "We're smarter than the fathers at the time were and we understand what really happened" line of thinking.

Yes, there is the danger of assuming we're smarter than the fathers, but that's not the only danger. There's also the danger of reading the council the way Protestants read the bible -- in other words, the danger of forgetting that the Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church.

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Offline Salpy

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2008, 05:57:04 PM »
O.K. This is supposed to be about the branch theory, not about what it would take for the EO and OO to reconcile.  There have already been threads about that.  When I have the time I'll try to find one and link to it.  In the mean time, let's keep this particular thread on topic.  I would hate to have to split off another tangent.

Thank you.   :)

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Branch theory
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2008, 06:07:44 PM »
Here's what I'm wondering: In your idea of reconciliation/reunion between the EO and OO Churches, would one side need to admit to previously having been in schism?

Or could the two sides 'agree to disagree' about that? In other words, the EO side basically saying "the OOs used to be in schism from the Church, but now they're back", and the OO side saying "the EOs used to be in schism from the Church, but now they're back"?

No, that would be the Episcopalian model of failure.

I'm thinking more that the EO admit the OO were ahead of them game in condemning the Three Chapters, as we admited in the Fifth Ecumenical Council, and the OO's admit we were right in condemning Eutyches, as they already have.

In the end the OO will have to accept the definition of two natures.  There wording on this, however, is already in place, and it is questionable how much there was ever a real difference, i.e. Chalcedon in NOT Nestorian.

The only valid branch theory is one that grafts the branch back in where it belongs.  And that requires a tame, not wild, tree.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2008, 06:09:16 PM by ialmisry »
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2008, 06:12:42 PM »
My philosophy:  There are heretical schisms, there are selfish schisms, and then there are internal divisions that were followed by misunderstandings that may be associated with one or both of the above.  Many of these schisms have occurred in history, and many we witness today.  When uniting, the two parties felt it was necessary to reiterate the continuum as one Church whether they were split or not.  The split was considered a manly split, not an ecclesiologically valid split, or as the following article would nicely put it when describing one of the ancient internal divisions of the Church:

Quote
The Church considered both parties to the conflict to be her children.
http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2006/5endokladsavchenko.html

The idea is that we are a Church united by faith.  Faith is the "petra" Christ describes that Satan will not prevail against.  If we were a Church united by the ecumenist ways of Protestants in the WCC, then indeed we would endorse a unity of different faiths, and that is what we reject and it would seem that Satan indeed prevailed against those gates.  But when it comes to this, if one believes both factions have equally valid reasons for their split, and Orthodoxy was preserved by both, then I don't think one necessarily follows a branch theory theology on this regard.

The website I provided above makes an interesting case to help unity between ROCOR/MP and justifying the unity even when there were internal divisions.  The idea was that ROCOR and MP were still of one Church even when divided, and that this inner strife can be handled with care and love.

God bless.
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2008, 06:13:21 PM »
For those who want to discuss what it will take to reunite, here is a previous thread on that subject:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11782.0.html

You guys may want to read it and see if you have anything new to add to it.  

Offline Peter J

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Re: Branch theory
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2008, 06:25:18 PM »
No, that would be the Episcopalian model of failure.

...

The only valid branch theory is one that grafts the branch back in where it belongs.  And that requires a tame, not wild, tree.

So if I understand you correctly, you believe that one side would need to admit to having previously been in schism? (I'm not trying to be difficult, I just want to make sure I understand you.)

I'm thinking more that the EO admit the OO were ahead of them game in condemning the Three Chapters, as we admited in the Fifth Ecumenical Council, and the OO's admit we were right in condemning Eutyches, as they already have.

In the end the OO will have to accept the definition of two natures.  There wording on this, however, is already in place, and it is questionable how much there was ever a real difference, i.e. Chalcedon in NOT Nestorian.

I wasn't really asking about any of that. As Salpy said, this thread is about Branch Theory.

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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2008, 07:17:06 PM »
I've been accused of being a Branch Theorist in the past because of my belief that the Church may be larger than what we imagine it to be. We can truly say that Orthodoxy is the Church, one and undivided. Yet there are many Christians who seem to many Orthodox not to be part of the Church. Are they condemned? Certainly not. They rely on the mercy of Christ as we do. Anglicans and Catholics may very well be part of the Church when all is revealed on the Day of Judgment. How do we know this will not be so? Rather than pass judgment on our siblings, let us instead work out our salvation. I have a feeling the rest of Christianity will do the same.
"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

Offline John of the North

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2008, 08:47:01 PM »
But we don't define the Church as those who acheive salvation. Every person who is baptized Orthodox will not neccessarily receive Heaven as their reward. I'm not worthy of it for sure.

We know where the Church is, we don't know where it will be.
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2008, 08:51:50 PM »
But we don't define the Church as those who acheive salvation. Every person who is baptized Orthodox will not neccessarily receive Heaven as their reward. I'm not worthy of it for sure.

We know where the Church is, we don't know where it will be.
Absolutely. All we can do is repent and pray for a good defence on Judgment Day. The rest is out of our hands.
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Offline Peter J

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2008, 09:46:52 PM »
ytterbiumanalyst,

I have to agree with the meister on this point. We aren't talking about who will be saved and who won't, but about who's in the Church and who isn't.
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Offline Peter J

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2008, 09:49:59 PM »
ialmisry,

I think the following analogy might elucidate my question. (It's a Catholic example, so I hope you don't mind that.) Perhaps you're familiar with what Catholics call the Great Western Schism (1378 – 1417). During this time there were two (eventually three) claimants to the papacy, until the election of Pope Martin V ended the schism.

The point is that the schism was over in 1417 because both sides recognized Martin as the valid pope, but there was as yet no agreement on the question of who had been pope during the Schism.

Similarly, we know that if we someday see a united EO-OO Church (which would presumably be known simply as "the Orthodox Church") everyone in it will have to agree that it is the Church; but I don't see that everyone in it will have to agree on who was in the Church during the 6th-21th centuries. (Does that make me a Branch Theorist?)

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Peter.
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2008, 07:32:26 AM »
ytterbiumanalyst,

I have to agree with the meister on this point. We aren't talking about who will be saved and who won't, but about who's in the Church and who isn't.
I apologize for not seeing the distinction. Twenty years as a Protestant makes it a little difficult.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2008, 07:54:29 AM »
My philosophy:  There are heretical schisms, there are selfish schisms, and then there are internal divisions that were followed by misunderstandings that may be associated with one or both of the above.  Many of these schisms have occurred in history, and many we witness today.  When uniting, the two parties felt it was necessary to reiterate the continuum as one Church whether they were split or not.  The split was considered a manly split, not an ecclesiologically valid split, or as the following article would nicely put it when describing one of the ancient internal divisions of the Church:
http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2006/5endokladsavchenko.html

The idea is that we are a Church united by faith.  Faith is the "petra" Christ describes that Satan will not prevail against.  If we were a Church united by the ecumenist ways of Protestants in the WCC, then indeed we would endorse a unity of different faiths, and that is what we reject and it would seem that Satan indeed prevailed against those gates.  But when it comes to this, if one believes both factions have equally valid reasons for their split, and Orthodoxy was preserved by both, then I don't think one necessarily follows a branch theory theology on this regard.

The website I provided above makes an interesting case to help unity between ROCOR/MP and justifying the unity even when there were internal divisions.  The idea was that ROCOR and MP were still of one Church even when divided, and that this inner strife can be handled with care and love.

God bless.

Excellent article.  Thanks for posting.

My stance of the OO, as regards the "Branch theory" that the EO and OO branch are bearing the same leaves, the same fruit, and can cross pollinate.  There is a unity there that is not being fully expressed, which is what we need to work towards.

The Branch theory of Anglo-Catholicism has one branch bearing oranges, another apples, and another kiwis.  Not the same tree.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Branch theory
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2008, 07:58:29 AM »
So if I understand you correctly, you believe that one side would need to admit to having previously been in schism? (I'm not trying to be difficult, I just want to make sure I understand you.)

There would have to be a formal acceptance of four councils by one side.  I say that because that side already accepts the theology (iconophilism, anti-Nestoriansim, duotheletism, and even two natures in one person) of those councils.

Quote
I wasn't really asking about any of that. As Salpy said, this thread is about Branch Theory.

-Peter.

Basically, I'm saying to refuse to recognize that one branch bears oranges and another apples is to refuse to recognize that they are not the same tree/Church.
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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if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Branch Theory
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2008, 08:04:40 AM »
ialmisry,

I think the following analogy might elucidate my question. (It's a Catholic example, so I hope you don't mind that.) Perhaps you're familiar with what Catholics call the Great Western Schism (1378 – 1417). During this time there were two (eventually three) claimants to the papacy, until the election of Pope Martin V ended the schism.

The point is that the schism was over in 1417 because both sides recognized Martin as the valid pope, but there was as yet no agreement on the question of who had been pope during the Schism.

Similarly, we know that if we someday see a united EO-OO Church (which would presumably be known simply as "the Orthodox Church") everyone in it will have to agree that it is the Church; but I don't see that everyone in it will have to agree on who was in the Church during the 6th-21th centuries. (Does that make me a Branch Theorist?)

Blessings,
Peter.

The analogy is apt. Yes, I'm familiar with the Schism (I often have used it to question Vatican I).  If I remember correctly, there were some canonized saints who bet on the wrong pope (sort of like St. Hippolytus, the antipope).

The hard part will be people like Disocoros, who OOs portray as having a halo, and EO as the devil whispering in his ear.  That would have to be resolved (personally I go with the halo).

No, I don't think that makes you a branch theorist, as you are talking about the histories of one reunited Church.  Branch theorists try to make one history of two separated Churches.
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,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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Offline Peter J

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Re: Branch theory
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2008, 12:20:12 PM »
There would have to be a formal acceptance of four councils by one side.

I think I can understand where you're coming from, but I don't entirely agree with you. Ideally, of course, full communion should entail full agreement on which councils were ecumenical, but I think there can be exceptions. In fact, as a Catholic, I'm even now living in a situation where some (Latins) say 21 ec. councils, while others (ECs, especially Melkites) say 7 ec. councils, yet are in full communion with each other.

Basically, I'm saying to refuse to recognize that one branch bears oranges and another apples is to refuse to recognize that they are not the same tree/Church.

Fair point.

-Peter.
- Peter Jericho (a CAF poster)

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Re: Branch theory
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2008, 09:26:39 PM »
In fact, as a Catholic, I'm even now living in a situation where some (Latins) say 21 ec. councils, while others (ECs, especially Melkites) say 7 ec. councils, yet are in full communion with each other.
This one always amazes me!
You are right. I apologize for having sacked Constantinople. I really need to stop doing that.