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Author Topic: Criteria for an ecumenical council?  (Read 10765 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2008, 02:42:15 PM »

yes, we probably could come up with a number of factors that all the councils have in common pertaining to their ecumenicity. We can also analyze other binding councils which were never ecumenical to see what those lacked such as the Council of Sardica and the local Council of Rome in 731a.d., the first to condemn iconoclasm.
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« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2008, 03:15:53 PM »

It's a two-pronged test:

1 -- Measurable elements all ecumenical councils have in common, AND

2 -- These elements NOT being present in councils the Church rejects.
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« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2008, 03:36:21 PM »

Exactly, which is why it's so imperative to have a rule by which to judge history. Hence why I'm flabbergasted that Orthodoxy hasn't developed anything consistent in this area.


You brought up the 8th council, but that's not accepted by all Jurisdictions as being the 8th.

So in regards to the 7, I would say "Christological". That is consistent.


The first 7 had to do with GOD in some sense. If you are looking for a one size fits all then I would stay with the Christological foundation.


IF you move on to the 8th council then you will have to also include the 9nth and 10nth as well.




PLus, I would look at it from a more synergistic perspective. I would change cleveland's answere of

Quote
"One that has been called and ratified by the Emperor, and never subsequently overturned by him or the Church."


To one of "one that was ratified by the Empire, and never subsequently overturned by him and the Church."




In looking at the first 7. These two things would be true.


But like I said. I gave up on this.







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« Reply #48 on: April 29, 2008, 03:48:43 PM »

The Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs in 1848 specifically references the "Eighth Ecumenical Council." The Patriarchs of Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandra, and Jerusalem signed off on it. According to the theory of the Pentarchy (or even the 'neo-Pentarchy' with Russia in fifth place), this should be enough to officially and normatively approve the reality of the Eighth Council (not to mention the Photian council claims ecumenicity for itself, as well, and was attended and ratified by the Pentarchy and received by the laity). I do grant that one can make an argument against its "ecumenicity..." but this only underscores the fact that we Orthodox have no even remotely definitive and consistent standard.

In addition, "Christology," while it arguably meets element (1) of the two-pronged test, miserably fails element (2). Ephesus II and Hieria were distinctively Christological in nature, and we don't accept them.
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« Reply #49 on: April 29, 2008, 03:58:39 PM »

Evlogitos,
I suspect you are also pursuing this 'issue' on other Orthodox forums from my meanderings around the Internet today.
Indeed the Council of 879 has ALL the hallmarks by which we declare a council to have been ecumenically received (at least in the days of the empire), save ONE - a subsequent council at which the Eighth is declared to have been so received as such by the Church (bishops, monks, priests, deacons, laity and emperor).

It's is a fascinating subject, to be sure, but one that will require, I think, some more study by you to allay your concerns.
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« Reply #50 on: April 29, 2008, 04:01:55 PM »

The Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs in 1848 specifically references the "Eighth Ecumenical Council." The Patriarchs of Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandra, and Jerusalem signed off on it. According to the theory of the Pentarchy (or even the 'neo-Pentarchy' with Russia in fifth place), this should be enough to officially and normatively approve the reality of the Eighth Council (not to mention the Photian council claims ecumenicity for itself, as well, and was attended and ratified by the Pentarchy and received by the laity). I do grant that one can make an argument against its "ecumenicity..." but this only underscores the fact that we Orthodox have no even remotely definitive and consistent standard.

In addition, "Christology," while it arguably meets element (1) of the two-pronged test, miserably fails element (2). Ephesus II and Hieria were distinctively Christological in nature, and we don't accept them.



So you are including the 8th?


I wish you well. I might come back to this issue, some time in the future. But I have to deal with a book right now.


One can always use the argument of Theological "consistency". Tertullian gave us the word Trinity, and plus the Pre-Nicene Christians were Triniterians. They were Subordinate Triniterians, but they all believed the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be Divine.

So we have historical consistency when Arianism was refuted.


Tertullian also used the term "two natures" in one of his writings. So Our ussage of it isn't one of "novelty". It is consistent with the Church. The idea was there for centuries before the council set it in stone.

I recall someone else saying that a Roman Bishop used the term "two natures". And this was way before the council set the language in stone.


The same might be true for the other councils. Maybe.





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« Reply #51 on: April 29, 2008, 04:29:02 PM »

You are correct in that I'm asking in more than one place, Apistokles. I've always believed in obtaining a wide variety of sources so I can sift through and perceive the items of consensus et al. Very conciliar of me, upon reflection... maybe that's part of why I'm Orthodox. Wink

However, I have to be frank with you and say that subsequent conciliar ratification, while tempting, is ultimately a ludicrous standard. It is historically clear that the ecumenical councils were intended to have universal and binding force from the moment their acts were published. At the time of Nicea I, nobody contemplated that in a few scanty decades they'd be revisiting the issue all over again via the same forum. And again, one runs into the question of what constitutes legitimate ratification or not; there was an Imperially-convoked council in Constantinople, ecumenical in scope, in 360, that rejected the Nicene creed in favour of one of the compromise formulae. If subsequent ratification or unratification counts for anything, why would we gloss over 360 and instead accept Constantinople I in 381 as the true proof and ratification and victory of Nicea? This cannot be the thread of distinction.

jnorm888:

Quote
The same might be true for the other councils. Maybe.

Alas, it is not. Nobody in past centuries had addressed Christology with the subtle and oft-bewildering nuance of, say, Ephesus II vs. Chalcedon. There's a good Traditional argument that the Arians/Pneumatomachians had no historical support, but, while perhaps very obliquely confessed by the earlier Fathers, the more obtuse Christological debates could be plausibly argued by both orthodox and heterodox. Hence the need to convoke a council with the Spiritual charism of inerrancy. Wink What remains, then, is to identify the markings of such a council.
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« Reply #52 on: April 29, 2008, 08:01:48 PM »

How interesting, Evlogitos.

I must ask, are you here to learn or argue?
Quote
However, I have to be frank with you and say that subsequent conciliar ratification, while tempting, is ultimately a ludicrous standard.

Perhaps the ludicrous issue here is to demand a standard, your own, apart from what was admitted/used.
The conciliar acceptance (your ratification - are you a PoliSci major or a lawyer?) is but one hallmark. You seek to impose a legal absolute in all (apparently) instances. In that era there was no separation of church and state. 'Ecumenical" (Imperial) councils were called to resolve issues in the Church and produce canons to be added to the Code of Roman Laws. Acceptance was a big factor, but not the only. A strict standard such as you seem to demand (no subsequent acceptance) would probably lead to your being Byzantine Catholic or Roman Catholic as the councils of 1270 and 1439 become "Ecumencial"?
Some councils were intended to be 'ecumenical' at their outset, and failed. Others (like the Seventh) were not at first intended to be, and resulted indeed in an ecumenical council (the 7th was 'ratified' by not being rejected (in East or West) and producing canons. Of course the last council is not closed by another or there would be no end to councils!
As I said, read more.
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« Reply #53 on: April 29, 2008, 08:44:08 PM »

Quote
I must ask, are you here to learn or argue?

Both. It is my sincere belief that the best way to acquire the Truth is to marshal the strongest argumentation possible on all sides. It is not my intention to be adversarial, or to convey an impression of holding a particular view. I have mine own thoughts on the matter, as suggested earlier in the thread, and obviously if I were hardline on all the arguments I'm making, I'd be Catholic. Wink I'm just trying to apply enough pressure to the various propositions that the essentials are tempered therefrom.

Quote
Perhaps the ludicrous issue here is to demand a standard, your own, apart from what was admitted/used.

My objection is twofold:

1. Having read the acts of several ecumenical councils, and a fairly good smattering of the Fathers, I have seen not a whit of evidence that subsequent conciliar ratification was intended pre facto or post facto to operate as the standard by which to determine a given council's ecumenical authority.

2. Additionally, the fact that non-Orthodox councils have been subsequently ratified, and Orthodox councils have been subsequently denied, I am doubtful as to the historical tenability of this proposition within the Orthodox milieu.

That said, I would be delighted to find out that I'm wrong. If you can cite the Fathers or the Councils to me to establish that this is indeed the principle of authority "admitted/used," or if you can refine the basic proposition such that it becomes historically consistent, I would give you a big sloppy kiss.  Kiss (Of peace, of course. Grin)

Quote
The conciliar acceptance (your ratification - are you a PoliSci major or a lawyer?) is but one hallmark.

(Guilty as charged. Pepperdine University School of Law. Tongue)

From the above statement, I deduce either one of two things:

1. Different ecumenical councils have different standards by which we are to verify their ecumenicity. I'm not sure I would buy this view, because it smacks of overly-convenient pick-and-choose apologetics. Pentarchy sign off on Florence? No problem! The standard for Florence was actually laity acceptance! Massive laity rebellion after Chalcedon? No problem! The standard for Chalcedon was having tons of bishops! And so forth. The only way this view could work is if the patristic literature made clear, pre facto which standards were most important for which councils.

2. Alternatively, perhaps you mean there are multiple simultaneous "hallmarks" of ecumenicity that check and balance one another on sort of a sliding scale multiple-factor test. This is the view I presently believe to be the only one reconcilable with an Orthodox view of history. This is ultimately a little bit unsatisfying, compared with bright-line rules like "papal sign-offage," but it ultimately works. I would feel a lot happier about this particular proposition if there were any patristic, synodal, or patriarchal texts that endorsed it.

Quote
You seek to impose a legal absolute in all (apparently) instances. In that era there was no separation of church and state. 'Ecumenical" (Imperial) councils were called to resolve issues in the Church and produce canons to be added to the Code of Roman Laws. Acceptance was a big factor, but not the only. A strict standard such as you seem to demand (no subsequent acceptance) would probably lead to your being Byzantine Catholic or Roman Catholic as the councils of 1270 and 1439 become "Ecumencial"?

Why should the standard not be a firm and consistent one? A loose standard produces relativity, and makes it look an awful lot like we Orthodox are simply trying to fudge history to justify schism with Rome, rather than honestly attempting to hold ourselves to "the Faith delivered once for all unto the saints."

Quote
Some councils were intended to be 'ecumenical' at their outset, and failed.

And are thus not considered ecumenical. But on what grounds did they fail, and what did they lack that the true ecumenical councils possess?

Quote
Others (like the Seventh) were not at first intended to be,

How do you mean? The Imperial Sacra of Constantine and Irene reads:

All our Christian people... earnestly entreated our peace-making and pious Sovereignty that an Ecumenical Council might be assembled. To this their request, we gave our hearty consent...

The Decree of the council also describes itself as:

The holy, great, and Ecumenical Synod which by the grace of God and the will of the pious and Christ-loving Emperors, Constantine and Irene, his mother, was gathered together for the second time at Nicea...

Note that the bishops call it "ecumenical," and specifically connect it with the First Ecumenical Council by saying they are gathered for the second time at Nicea.

In addition, the sessions of the council repeatedly report the various bishops saying they stand before the "holy ecumenical synod."

Quote
and resulted indeed in an ecumenical council (the 7th was 'ratified' by not being rejected (in East or West)

This seems problematic. How long must a council go unrejected before it counts as unchangeably binding and ecumenical?

Quote
and producing canons. Of course the last council is not closed by another or there would be no end to councils!

Indeed, the infinite causes problem so dear to Aquinas.
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« Reply #54 on: April 29, 2008, 09:38:55 PM »

Well, Mr "C"  Wink

Enjoy your study. I've no personal need to argue this 'issue'. Operating from your legal-only vantage you will never be satisfied. I cannot force myself to play the lawyer's game here (whit of evidence, etc.) Perhaps our several lawyers here and our Church canon specialist may engage you. Or maybe not.  Smiley

But be careful of the 'trying to fudge history to justify schism with Rome' - that's a crosscut saw that can cut both ways.

You posted a lot of bait, I'll credit you that.
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« Reply #55 on: April 29, 2008, 11:09:50 PM »

minasoliman,

Regarding knowledge and ignorance and their relation to the scope of Truth: God is, in some ways, a communist. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." The Gospel, at its core, truly is beautifully simple; it can be summed up in five words: "repent, love, and obey God." This is why the ascetics of the Thebaid, though unlearned and unlettered, often outshone even the likes of Abba Arsenios. Smiley It is we fallible humans who complicate things by trying to reduce or categorize God.

At the same time, on a certain level we must fight fire with fire. The complicated messes into which we get ourselves oftentimes require complicated men inspired by God to help get us out of them. Thus, according to the measure of the gifts given us by God, we should seek both simplicity and intricacy. I believe this is the meaning of the Lord's saying, "be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

You are right in that criteria do change over time. We must, therefore, seek to classify and clarify in order to avoid inaccuracy. For example, while the Council of Jerusalem was indeed the first catholic council of the Church, we inevitably call Nicea the First Ecumenical Council. The two were, in form and classification, very different beasts. However, while the mechanics may change, it is my belief that the essence stays the same. As such, our goal should be to identify the underlying essence behind the authority of the Church, and then attempt to perceive how it manifests itself under different circumstances.

As to the Assyrians, the work they did must never be forgotten. Although they did have an admittedly wonky Christology, their missionary zeal was nothing short of amazing, spreading the influence of the Nestorian church across Asia even as far as Japan. Very interesting folks, indeed...


Dear Seraphim,

I am reminded by St. Paul's epistle to the Corinthians when he says that God sent the foolish of the world to make the wise look like fools, and the weak of the world to make the strong look weak.  I think it's humbling that Christ chose fishermen, not philosophers, as His own most trusted to lead the Church.  I find that many who were not cut out to be theologians (although they know exactly what they believe in), but simply lovers of God and lovers of men, to lead the Church best.  I'm not sure, but I thought somewhere Christ also prays with thanks that His chosen were not cocky men of wisdom or aristocrats, but lowly fishermen.

When I think of the verse, "Be wise as serpents, humble as doves," I think it pertains more to being aware of the experience around you that there will be wolves in the clothing of sheep while being aware of the spiritual wolves that take advantage of your weaknesses.

So when I read history, I would think less of the legalism and more with humility of the authority we have now.  Consistency lies in the Truth, not in practices or criteria.  If there is one thing you find that the seven councils have in common, it's that it's under an emperor (I don't think they were all Christological; Nicea dealt also with the date of Easter, Constantinople I also dealt with Macedonianism and a new order of world Patriarchs, and Nicea II seemed to concentrate on iconography and the right to venerate them and affirm previously held councils).  All were invoked by emperors, all were enforced by emperors, and emperors overturned others.  Is that consistent?  No!  I seem to find the most consistent thing is to recognize primary councils and venerate others that seem to preach Orthodoxy, just as the Bible may be the primary source, but there are also other writings not canonized and the writings of Holy Tradition from the Holy Fathers that we add to our spiritual reading collections.  It all leads back to truth.  It just seems to me that the Church chose these councils, as much as it chose books to be added in the Bible.  You may even realize that within the OO Church, there is not a consistent canon of what books to be included in the Bible either.

God bless.
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« Reply #56 on: April 29, 2008, 11:19:14 PM »

By the way, Evlogitos, welcome to the forum!

Indeed!  Welcome!  Smiley

...and thank you for not being bashful about asking questions even if they don't have an easy answer.  Wink
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« Reply #57 on: April 30, 2008, 01:36:12 AM »

There has not been a Byzantine Empire since 1453.  Maybe one can be called if that Empire can somehow be recreated....
No Ecumenical Council has been called since the Great Schism of 1054.
1,221 years have passed since the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787 AD.
Perhaps the Orthodox church feels that 7 Ecumenical Councils are enough.  After all, an 8th one could create a Patriarchate of the Americas or elevate Russia to the primacy of honor (e.g. Ecumenical Patriarch Alexei II) and leave the "former" Ecumenical Patriarch all alone on his 1/2 acre remaining in Istanbul, Turkey.
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« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2008, 06:55:35 AM »

After all, an 8th one could create a Patriarchate of the Americas or elevate Russia to the primacy of honor (e.g. Ecumenical Patriarch Alexei II) and leave the "former" Ecumenical Patriarch all alone on his 1/2 acre remaining in Istanbul, Turkey.

Or maybe it can elevate the Archbishop of Finland to the Ecumenical Throne, or even pull Barney hte dinosaur out of retirement, so we can have our first Purple Patriarch.  There's already been an 8th Council (*PA Announcement* paging St. Photios); as for the Church not wanting another council - get real.
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« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2008, 04:37:42 PM »

Or maybe it can elevate the Archbishop of Finland to the Ecumenical Throne, or even pull Barney hte dinosaur out of retirement, so we can have our first Purple Patriarch.  There's already been an 8th Council (*PA Announcement* paging St. Photios); as for the Church not wanting another council - get real.

We have a Green Patriarch - Bartholomew I.

Justinian presided over the battles between the Blues and Greens - kinda like a forerunner to today's Bloods and Crips gang rivalry.

Any Patriarch or leader of an autocephalous church can call for an Ecumenical Council besides the Ecumenical Patriarch - he's not pope; he will never become anything resembling a pope and the Greek-American political lobby (aka AHEPA & AHI) will never allow such an event to take place.  Such a Synod would have to deal with nearly 13 centuries of festering and unresolved issues and the first one would be the status of the Americas because they were discovered 39 years after the last Byzantine Emperor fell into the Turkish horde and died.  The Russians were first to evangelize in the Americas; The Catholics established their first diocese and Archdiocese in Baltimore and the elite Greeks were in Wallachia "Enlightening" themselves and taking Waltz lessons on the Danube....
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« Reply #60 on: May 01, 2008, 05:04:36 PM »

Any Patriarch or leader of an autocephalous church can call for an Ecumenical Council besides the Ecumenical Patriarch - he's not pope; he will never become anything resembling a pope and the Greek-American political lobby (aka AHEPA & AHI) will never allow such an event to take place.

The first part of your statement is a stretch and completely unfounded: no one except an Emperor/Empress has called an Ecumenical Council.  Anyone other than an Emperor calling one would be unprecedented.  Your second statement, the rant, is (a) irrelevant, (b) inflammatory, (c) idiotic, or (d) All of the Above (I chose "d").  Don't take my criticism too hard - it's not a commentary on you as a person, just on what I believe is a statement that is beneath you (and certainly beneath the conversation).

Such a Synod would have to deal with nearly 13 centuries of festering and unresolved issues and the first one would be the status of the Americas because they were discovered 39 years after the last Byzantine Emperor fell into the Turkish horde and died.

Uh-huh.  So?  As I said, to suggest that the various Churches don't want an Ecumenical Council is ludicrous.

The Russians were first to evangelize in the Americas; The Catholics established their first diocese and Archdiocese in Baltimore and the elite Greeks were in Wallachia "Enlightening" themselves and taking Waltz lessons on the Danube.... 

Huh What's the point?  Is there one?
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« Reply #61 on: May 01, 2008, 05:21:57 PM »

The first part of your statement is a stretch and completely unfounded: no one except an Emperor/Empress has called an Ecumenical Council.

What happens if the Byzantine Empire no longer exists which has been true for 555 years?  The Holy Roman Empire no longer exists and Vatican II was called to order 2 decades after the end of WW II by the Pope.

Anyone other than an Emperor calling one would be unprecedented.  Your second statement, the rant, is (a) irrelevant, (b) inflammatory, (c) idiotic, or (d) All of the Above (I chose "d").

Part 1: What secular power can call an Ecumenical Council in today's world politics?  The only person close would be Putin or his successor Dmitri Medvedev.  The Americans are neutral.  Maybe the leader of Iraq but he's too secular.  Possibly the Greek PM because Greek Orthodoxy is still official religion.  Perhaps Prince Philip if he renounces Anglicanism and is rechrismated back into Orthodoxy or the exiled King Constantine.  These are all possibilities regardless if they are canonical or not.  I feel that all 15 autocephalous leaders meeting under one roof can constitute an Ecumenical Council - in 787 AD, there was the pentarchy plus Georgia and Cyprus for a total of 7 Autocephalous Churches.

Part 2: Idiotic is offensive.  Secular people have powerful agendas and do not wish to see the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America integrated with any other Orthodox denomination in order to maintain "Hellenism."  Yet, the Patriarch treats Pope Benedict XVI as a "brother in Christ" or perhaps as the Prodigal Son coming back home to his father for unconditional forgiveness.  Maybe cynical is a better adjective than idiotic....

The point was to answer the question to the best of my understanding and perhaps offer some insight as to why one hasn't taken place and why one will probably never take place due to the geopolitical and secular ramnifications involved.
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« Reply #62 on: May 01, 2008, 05:44:53 PM »

What happens if the Byzantine Empire no longer exists which has been true for 555 years?  The Holy Roman Empire no longer exists and Vatican II was called to order 2 decades after the end of WW II by the Pope.

Your statement "any Patriarch can call an Ecumenical Council" isn't true because it isn't tested, nor has it been true at any point yet in our Church's history.  And you can't compare it to the HRE and the Catholic Church because that was a different situation: the Pope has been calling Councils ever since the Schism, not the political leaders (and eventually he was the political leader).

Part 1: What secular power can call an Ecumenical Council in today's world politics?  The only person close would be Putin or his successor Dmitri Medvedev.  The Americans are neutral.  Maybe the leader of Iraq but he's too secular.  Possibly the Greek PM because Greek Orthodoxy is still official religion.  Perhaps Prince Philip if he renounces Anglicanism and is rechrismated back into Orthodoxy or the exiled King Constantine.  These are all possibilities regardless if they are canonical or not.  I feel that all 15 autocephalous leaders meeting under one roof can constitute an Ecumenical Council - in 787 AD, there was the pentarchy plus Georgia and Cyprus for a total of 7 Autocephalous Churches.

What Political leader can call such a council?  I dare say none.  That's why we're on shaky ground, and that's probably why no Ecumenical Council has been called since the Photian debate.

All the Autocephalous Leaders meeting under one roof may constitute an Authoritative meeting, or even a Universally Authoritative Meeting, but I don't know if it can or ever will be called "Ecumenical."  The Autocephalous leaders have met since the 8th Ecumenical Council - numerous times, in fact.  Look up the Endemousa Synods, why don't you?

Part 2: Idiotic is offensive.  Secular people have powerful agendas and do not wish to see the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America integrated with any other Orthodox denomination in order to maintain "Hellenism."  Yet, the Patriarch treats Pope Benedict XVI as a "brother in Christ" or perhaps as the Prodigal Son coming back home to his father for unconditional forgiveness.  Maybe cynical is a better adjective than idiotic....

The Patriarch doesn't want to be a "Pope" (despite people's claiming otherwise), so your comment wasn't relevant.  The tone was inflammatory, and the combination of the two led me to think it was idiotic.  As I say above, don't take it personally, because I don't intend it as a commentary on your person.

The point was to answer the question to the best of my understanding and perhaps offer some insight as to why one hasn't taken place and why one will probably never take place due to the geopolitical and secular ramnifications involved.

I appreciate the intent.  There are hundreds of variables involved in the equation, which is probably why it is taking so long to solve.  When there was 1 Emperor (who was called "Christ's co-ruler on Earth"), the variables could be eliminated by a single and most powerful man.  This is no longer the case, so the variables have to be solved individually.
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« Reply #63 on: May 01, 2008, 05:57:45 PM »

Your statement "any Patriarch can call an Ecumenical Council" isn't true because it isn't tested, nor has it been true at any point yet in our Church's history. 

Maybe the time has come for an Hierarch to test it without fear of repurcussions from Istanbul.  Smiley

And you can't compare it to the HRE and the Catholic Church because that was a different situation: the Pope has been calling Councils ever since the Schism, not the political leaders (and eventually he was the political leader).

Vatican I and II were binding on the entire Roman Catholic Church.  The Pope's Encyclicals are just as binding as well.  Any autocephalous' church encyclical isn't binding on the entire Orthodox church.

What Political leader can call such a council?  I dare say none.  That's why we're on shaky ground, and that's probably why no Ecumenical Council has been called since the Photian debate.

I agree with you.

All the Autocephalous Leaders meeting under one roof may constitute an Authoritative meeting, or even a Universally Authoritative Meeting, but I don't know if it can or ever will be called "Ecumenical."  The Autocephalous leaders have met since the 8th Ecumenical Council - numerous times, in fact.  Look up the Endemousa Synods, why don't you?

Thank you for that suggestion although I understand that there are still 7 canonical Ecumenical Councils as recognized by East and West.

The Patriarch doesn't want to be a "Pope" (despite people's claiming otherwise), so your comment wasn't relevant.  The tone was inflammatory, and the combination of the two led me to think it was idiotic.  As I say above, don't take it personally, because I don't intend it as a commentary on your person.

I didn't feel that I was called an idiot only that the comments were labeled as idiotic.  There are many defenders of the current Ecumenical Patriarch except that I had an opportunity to attend a Patriarchical Liturgy in 2004 and left that service disappointed.  The Pope has the Knights of Columbus and the Patriarch has only the Archons, AHEPA and AHI.  Moscow is stirring the pot to the dislike of the EP and hopefully there's no Schism in the East.

I appreciate the intent.  There are hundreds of variables involved in the equation, which is probably why it is taking so long to solve.  When there was 1 Emperor (who was called "Christ's co-ruler on Earth"), the variables could be eliminated by a single and most powerful man.  This is no longer the case, so the variables have to be solved individually.

Unfortunately, that person could be the antiChrist....
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« Reply #64 on: May 01, 2008, 06:07:38 PM »

Maybe the time has come for an Hierarch to test it without fear of repurcussions from Istanbul.  Smiley

Again, it's not been established that there would be repercussions from "Istambul" or anywhere else.  No one is calling the council because they don't know how it should be done - not because they're afraid of someone.

Vatican I and II were binding on the entire Roman Catholic Church.  The Pope's Encyclicals are just as binding as well.  Any autocephalous' church encyclical isn't binding on the entire Orthodox church.

*Sigh* The point I had made was that the Orthodox Church hasn't seen an Ecumenical Council again because there's been no Emperor to call it.  You said "The RC's had Vatican II since the fall of the HRE."  I said that the two situations are not analogous.  So I don't see what you're point is.  The Roman Catholic Church has called every major Synod since Nicea II an "Ecumenical Council," so by their standard a Pope can call them.  We have no such standard, and no such precedent.

Thank you for that suggestion although I understand that there are still 7 canonical Ecumenical Councils as recognized by East and West.

And?  I'm not worried about West in the context of our discussion.  The discussion was based on what I thought was a silly series of "what ifs" you stated beforehand (i.e. what could happen if there was another Ecumenical Council).  Since in the context of your comments above you were only talking about the Eastern Orthodox Church, then by many standards we have 8 or 9 Ecumenical Councils, and the statement "as recognized by East and West" is unnecessary (although true nonetheless).

I didn't feel that I was called an idiot only that the comments were labeled as idiotic.  There are many defenders of the current Ecumenical Patriarch except that I had an opportunity to attend a Patriarchical Liturgy in 2004 and left that service disappointed.  The Pope has the Knights of Columbus and the Patriarch has only the Archons, AHEPA and AHI.  Moscow is stirring the pot to the dislike of the EP and hopefully there's no Schism in the East.

Eh.  So?

Unfortunately, that person could be the antiChrist....

Probably not, though (remember, the antiChrist doesn't mean "against Christ" but rather "instead of Christ" - which means she/he will probably be trying to draw people away from Christ in a Christ-simulating manner).  Hasn't happened yet, at least.
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« Reply #65 on: May 01, 2008, 06:22:02 PM »

Again, it's not been established that there would be repercussions from "Istambul" or anywhere else.  No one is calling the council because they don't know how it should be done - not because they're afraid of someone.


I mean someone taught me to ride a bike; surely, there's enough history on how the Ecumenical Councils were called and how were they conducted.

*Sigh* The point I had made was that the Orthodox Church hasn't seen an Ecumenical Council again because there's been no Emperor to call it.  You said "The RC's had Vatican II since the fall of the HRE."  I said that the two situations are not analogous.  So I don't see what you're point is.  The Roman Catholic Church has called every major Synod since Nicea II an "Ecumenical Council," so by their standard a Pope can call them.  We have no such standard, and no such precedent.

Probably out of deference to the East, the Catholics have not called their gatherings Ecumenical Councils.  Otherwise, let's simply agree to disagree on this point.  Smiley

And?  I'm not worried about West in the context of our discussion.  The discussion was based on what I thought was a silly series of "what ifs" you stated beforehand (i.e. what could happen if there was another Ecumenical Council).  Since in the context of your comments above you were only talking about the Eastern Orthodox Church, then by many standards we have 8 or 9 Ecumenical Councils, and the statement "as recognized by East and West" is unnecessary (although true nonetheless).

Wasn't one of those 8th or 9th Ecumenical Councils a failed reunion with the West which was summarily rejected by the other autocephalous churches?

Probably not, though (remember, the antiChrist doesn't mean "against Christ" but rather "instead of Christ" - which means she/he will probably be trying to draw people away from Christ in a Christ-simulating manner).  Hasn't happened yet, at least.

I think about the icon of St. John Climacus which shows errant Hierarchs falling into the depths of Hades and how can the laity be assured that their respective Hierarch does not succumb to error.  I suspect that fear of Hades is the main fear behind why lay or religious leader will not call an Ecumenical Council because such a request is not likely to be seen as one from the Holy Spirit....
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« Reply #66 on: May 01, 2008, 06:37:55 PM »

I mean someone taught me to ride a bike; surely, there's enough history on how the Ecumenical Councils were called and how were they conducted.

They know how to conduct meetings - but who and how do you call a meeting that specifically was only called by an Emperor?  Every Council called after the Imperial period that has included all the Churches has had a name other than Ecumenical.  That's what's been driving me nuts about this entire discussion!  Call it something else, and it can still have the same power and authority behind it.

Probably out of deference to the East, the Catholics have not called their gatherings Ecumenical Councils.  Otherwise, let's simply agree to disagree on this point.  Smiley 

Hey man, I know they call them Ecumenical Councils - I still remember (a small part of) the list of 20+ that we had to learn in 10th Grade (or was it 9th?) in High School Theology class (yes, I went to Catholic HS).

Wasn't one of those 8th or 9th Ecumenical Councils a failed reunion with the West which was summarily rejected by the other autocephalous churches?

Nope.  Depending on who you ask, the 8th Synod was the Photian council.  I don't remember the debate about a 9th one, but we've hashed it out elsewhere on OC.net.

I think about the icon of St. John Climacus which shows errant Hierarchs falling into the depths of Hades and how can the laity be assured that their respective Hierarch does not succumb to error.  I suspect that fear of Hades is the main fear behind why lay or religious leader will not call an Ecumenical Council because such a request is not likely to be seen as one from the Holy Spirit.... 

Hey, if the request is of the Spirit, then they won't be afraid.  If its not from the Spirit, then they're not going to call it because they're not stirred to, not because they're afraid.
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« Reply #67 on: May 01, 2008, 06:51:33 PM »

Hey man, I know they call them Ecumenical Councils - I still remember (a small part of) the list of 20+ that we had to learn in 10th Grade (or was it 9th?) in High School Theology class (yes, I went to Catholic HS).

I'm impressed.  I'm already starting to forget some of them, and I have only been out of high school for a few years.   Tongue

Nope.  Depending on who you ask, the 8th Synod was the Photian council.  I don't remember the debate about a 9th one, but we've hashed it out elsewhere on OC.net.

I think some say the Hesychasm debate and condemnation of Barlaam of Calabria is the 9th.
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« Reply #68 on: May 01, 2008, 07:02:31 PM »

I think some say the Hesychasm debate and condemnation of Barlaam of Calabria is the 9th. 

Hey, that sounds familiar...
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« Reply #69 on: May 01, 2008, 07:19:16 PM »

Quote
I don't remember the debate about a 9th one, but we've hashed it out elsewhere on OC.net.

Council at Constantinople - Ninth Ecumenical (Imperial) Council, 1341, 1349, 1351 AD
    Convened regarding Barlaam the Calabrian and Acindynus. Condemned Barlaam the Calabrian and Acindynus. Condemned those who think the light of Christ's Transfiguration was an apparition, or the essence of God and those who do not believe the divine light is the uncreated grace and energy of God which proceeds from God's essence; those who do not recognise the undivided distinction between God's essence and his energy; those who deny the energy of God is uncreated; those who say the distinction between energy and essence implies that God is not simple and uncompounded; those claim the term 'Godhead' should only be applied to the essence of God, and not to the divine energy; and those who maintain the Divine Essence can be communicated.

As per: http://www.mb-soft.com/believe/txw/orthcoun.htm and thanks to TR Valentine.
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« Reply #70 on: May 01, 2008, 07:27:52 PM »

They know how to conduct meetings - but who and how do you call a meeting that specifically was only called by an Emperor?  Every Council called after the Imperial period that has included all the Churches has had a name other than Ecumenical.  That's what's been driving me nuts about this entire discussion!  Call it something else, and it can still have the same power and authority behind it.

Are there other councils other than the "eighth" and "ninth" that have similar power and authority?  If so what are they?
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« Reply #71 on: May 02, 2008, 07:34:38 AM »

Evlogitos,

Orthodoxy claims to follow the faith of the Fathers.

Your questions are analogous to objecting that (a) we don't have a list of the Fathers (b) we don't have an authoritative list of their writings and (c) we don't have specific criteria for how many Fathers must agree before we can regard something as the faith of the Fathers.

My suggestion is that your question is the thing which has a problem. The Church holds many councils, some of which are more highly regarded than others. Nobody can hope to read the canons of every council or grasp the writings of the entire body of the church fathers. But the more we can grasp of the more well accepted councils and the Fathers, the more we enter into the mind of the Church. Instead of worrying about making exact lists of ecumenical councils, worry about using the more well accepted councils to enter into the mind of the Church.

After all, Orthodoxy hasn't even quite finalised the canon of sacred scripture.  Exact lists have never been an issue, although rough lists can be useful.
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« Reply #72 on: May 04, 2008, 04:01:49 PM »

Are there other councils other than the "eighth" and "ninth" that have similar power and authority?  If so what are they?
The Council of Jerusalem in 1672 under Dositheus which was held to combat Calvinism, a response to Protestantsim against Rome and to a lesser extant against Rome itself.
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« Reply #73 on: May 04, 2008, 05:08:49 PM »

The Council of Jerusalem in 1672 under Dositheus which was held to combat Calvinism, a response to Protestantsim against Rome and to a lesser extant against Rome itself.

I heard about the confession of Dositheus.  However, does not many Orthodox consider his confessions not perfectly in line with Orthodoxy?  Case in point, he puts forward a juridical belief of the Fall.
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« Reply #74 on: May 05, 2008, 02:29:03 AM »

It used language the west could understand. For instance the document used the word 'transubstantiation' for the change of bread and wine. It censured Patriarch Cyril Lukaris for his calvinist leanings. Its definately not ecumenical, but i would say its pan-Orthodox as long as one realizes the historical circumstances behind it.
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« Reply #75 on: May 05, 2008, 05:12:34 AM »

Are there other councils other than the "eighth" and "ninth" that have similar power and authority?  If so what are they?

There's the Endemousa ("Resident") Synod of the 19th (I think) century in Constantinople that condemned Phyletism, which seems to have universal authority - the Endemousa Synods frequently include the heads of the other jurisdictions, who will either be in the city for an extended stay, or invited for the synodal meeting.
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