OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 27, 2014, 02:50:18 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Branch theory and Non-Chalcedonians  (Read 3732 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Anastasios
Webdespota
Administrator
Merarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Old Calendarist
Posts: 10,487


Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina

anastasios0513
WWW
« on: July 21, 2003, 12:12:44 PM »

Note: I posted this over at Nicholas's website so I figured I'd post it here.  It was written for an Eastern Orthodox audience at another forum, whose members for the most part still believe that Non-Chalcedonians are "monophysites" so keep that context in mind, especially the talk of "the need for a Council of EO to accept the Non-Chalcedonians" as I know the exact same thing would have to happen from the Non-Chalcedonian side towards the EO side as well.  I am basically defending the proposition that Non-Chalcedonians can be called Orthodox within the Eastern Orthodox framework of ecclesiology--Anastasios
---------------------------
NOTE: THIS IS A FIRST DRAFT. I AM WILLING TO RETHINK ANY POSITION BASED ON YOUR REACTION TO THIS ESSAY.
---------------------------
A user asked me to be expedient in explaining my thesis that one can believe the Non-Chalcedonians to be Orthodox and have grace without admitting the branch theory. In this essay, I do not seek to prove the Orthodoxy of the Non-Chalcedonians as I am not qualified at this time to offer such an assessment. Instead, I will focus on the issue of, “if at some point the Chalcedonian Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church in council decides that that Non-Chalcedonian terminology is Orthodox, can we admit that they have been so all along without delving into the Branch theory?”

To avoid previous misunderstandings in terminology, I will begin by defining the terms as I use them. If any of you think I am mistaken in my definition, then please offer your suggested corrections.

The Branch theory is the belief that the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches together constitute the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ. Each one of these Churches is a branch of this Catholic Church. All three are sacramental and have maintained apostolic succession, and the beliefs that separate them are not enough to render their Eucharist graceless as with the Protestants (of course Anglicans are Protestants but in this theory they do not see themselves as such). Implicit in this belief is the idea of the “invisible church”, in other words, that the Church of Christ in its spiritual form is either 1) wherever true believers are found or 2) where one of the “branches” of the visible Church are, depending on the extreme to which one takes this thought.

The Orthodox Church, together with St. Cyprian of Carthage, takes the view that the invisible Church and the visible Church coincide—in other words the Body of Christ is the Orthodox Church. This belief is central to the Orthodox faith.

Throughout history there have nevertheless been countless schisms. St. Basil divided the divisions into three ways: heretics, or those who used Christian vocabulary but had an entirely different cosmic and ontological understanding of what the terminology meant (he used the Gnostics as an example); schismatics, or those who maintained the appearance and function of the Church but who denied a major tenet of the faith such as the Divinity of Christ (he cited the Arians) and then finally “the unlawful assembly” or those who rejected the bishop’s authority and set up a separate episcopate.

St. Basil also admitted the different degrees into the Church in different ways: baptism for the Gnostics, chrismation for the Arians (since they continued to baptize in the formula “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” and with triple immersion), and repentance for unlawful assemblymen. Pope Stephen had argued with St. Cyprian a century earlier as to whether baptisms outside the Church were valid, with Pope Stephen saying yes and St. Cyprian saying no. In the end of the disputes, however, St. Cyprian finally agrees that each bishop must decide for his flock and will ultimately be responsible to God for his actions, so let the customs of each Church continue.

In today’s modern Orthodox Church the terms are slightly different: the Gnostics would be considered apostates, the Arians heretics, the “Macedonian Orthodox Church” schismatic, and a local Orthodox parish rejecting its bishop’s authority an “unlawful assembly”. The terminology is not what is important, however; what we can gleam from these divisions of St. Basil’s is the idea that there are differentiated degrees of separation from the Orthodox Church.

Now we must address the issue of Apostolic succession. Apostolic succession is the belief that the apostles passed on both the faith and the laying on of hands to their successors, which constituted in the Eucharist the Church of Christ on Earth throughout the ages. After the Donatist schism, (St.) Augustine was torn over what to do with ordinations done outside the Orthodox Catholic Church, much as St. Cyprian had been with baptisms. Augustine in attempting to answer this controversy ended up altering the perception of ordination, however, in ways that 1000 years later would have a curious impact on ecclesiology.

In the Fathers and the modern Orthodox Church, apostolic succession is mainly a guarantee of the true faith being passed on. It is passed on IN the Body of Christ, however—it is not something that can be done outside of it. The right faith, the right laying on of hands in the context of a Eucharist, and the ordination occurring FOR a local Church are all prerequisites for ordination to be “valid”. Augustine, however, turned the focus onto the ordaining bishop and the ordinand, and asked the questions: “was the right liturgical formula followed?” and “did the participants wish to do the will of the Church?” If both conditions were satisfied, then the oridination was effective—without reference to the assembly. The ordination was UNCANONICAL but uncanonical did not automatically mean INVALID, and such a schismatic bishop or priest could be received as is on the basis of this ordination. The curious result of this theology is the issue of so-called vagante bishops who are bishops ordained without flocks. According to modern Roman Catholic ecclesiology, these bishops are in fact real bishops (to a certain degree; if the faith is tampered with the RC usually rules the ordinations to be invalid).

Moving to another aspect of the discussion, we must address the current state of the Old Calendar movement in Orthodoxy. Since this essay is being written for a primarily Old Calendarist audience I will refrain from going into a deep discussion of the movement. For those unaware, between 1922-1968, in many Orthodox Churches the Calendar of feasts was changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. The change of calendar had been condemned on three previous instances. Still, a change in the calendar might have been conceivable if the entire Orthodox Church had approved it in council, but the reality was that it was changed by a questionable Churchman who was a sycretist. Therefore, the change was rejected by many. From that split arose the Old Calendar movement, Orthodox loyal the Old Calendar. After some time they disagreed on whether the State Church which was New Calendarist had grace. Today, there are two “basic” varieties of Old Calendarists: those who accept grace in the New Calendarist Churches, saying they are in error but that their error has not made them not-Orthodox, and those who say that the New Calendarists are schismatics and/or heretics and thus graceless.

What makes this germaine to our discussion of Non-Chalcedonians is that most New Calendarists accept the Old Calendarists—even those not in communion with them—as Orthodox, and some of the Old Calendarists view New Calendarists as Orthodox—even though they are not in communion with one another. Now the Orthodox Church has taught what Met. John Zizioulas calls “communion ecclesiology”: where the bishop is, there is the Church; where the Church is, there is the Eucharist. The Church, Christ, and the Eucharist are all one reality. Since Christ cannot be divided, then theoretically if one leaves the communion of the Orthodox Church, he is no longer Orthodox and his mysteries (sacraments) are nothing.

Yet what do we say when we have two groups who are separated but both claiming to be Orthodox, and even in some cases both recognizing each other to be Orthodox, while not being in union with each other? How can both be the Church? Yet they are both treated as such. Even some of the grace-denying Old Calendarists, while not accepting New Calendarists, will accept OTHER Old Calendarists as Orthodox even if they are not in union, expressing hope that there will be a union soon. The reality that is lived is that if one follows the Orthodox FAITH and has apostolic succession, he is Orthodox—yet that begins to sound Augustinian. Therefore, I would say that in modern Orthodox thought there is a tension between Eucharistic ecclesiology and apostolic-faith-and-succession theology (which I oppose to Augustianism in the need for the FAITH to be continued in a community). Only by admitting a tension can one accept the fact that there are divisions in the Orthodox Church which is not divided! As another example I posit the ROCOR. ROCOR is in union with the Serbian patriarchate via full communion and concelebration, and is in a de facto communion with the Jerusalem patriarchate (accounts vary at this time as to priestly and episcopal concelebration—the sign of full communion—so I will leave the status as a question). ROCOR is not, however, in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate or the Ecumenical Patriarchate, however, which raises the question: “how can one be in communion with one Orthodox Church and not the others?” Furthermore, the idea that ROCOR is in an “imperfect communion” with the Jerusalem Patriarchate admits of a level of divide in the Orthodox Church.

After all of this background information, I believe I can finally state my case for at least the POSSIBILITY of considering the Non-Chalcedonians Orthodox. At the time of Chalcedon, certain bishops were present who were excommunicated by the Council. Some theologian-archimandrites were also excommunicated, such as Eutyches. This led to a division in the episcopate of some Churches where the original patriarch was incumbent and an new imperial-backed patriarch loyal to Chalcedon was in place. At this time, it was impossible to say that the Non-Chalcedonians were in schism since a mere two years earlier, another imperial council with the eastern patriarchs present (the “Robber Synod” of Ephesus, 449) had issued a completely opposite decree. Since in Orthodoxy a council must be “received” by the whole Church (sometimes by ratification by a subsequent council, or by addition of the council into the festal calendar), at this time it was too uncertain as to the outcome for the status of Non-Chalcedonians to be sure. This would continue until the death of Acacius, who had presided over a Church that had broken communion with Rome (I am not arguing Roman primacy here) in order to enter communion with the Non-Chalcedonians via the document known as the Henotikon. At his death, Emperor Justin issued a reaffirmation of Chalcedon and severed communion with the Non-Chalcedonians in order to enter communion with Rome. At this time, one can make the argument that the Non-Chalcedonians are schismatic for not accepting the clear decree of the emperor and the Church.

Yet their Church rejected the idea that the emperor could issue such a decree, and they saw themselves as “THE CHURCH”; they also had the Council of Ephesus 449, dubbed “Robber Synod” by the Chalcedonians yet approved by the Emperor prior and to them an ecumenical council, and they passed on the Apostolic faith in their dioceses to their flock. How could one then decide where the Church was in such a situation, where at times there were parallel hierarchies and at times there was one hierarchy with each priest making up his mind and hoping for a bishop that agreed with him next time around? There was also the issue of canonicity; the Council of Chalcedon deposed Dioscorus en absentia for disobedience (not for monophysitism) and then the emperor replaced him with another patriarch not approved by the Synod of the Church of Alexandria. The answers to these questions may seem crystal-clear at this time, but what about at that time when they transpired?

Indeed, can one pinpoint a time when Chalcedon was “received” by the Church (not just the emperor) and afterwhich rejection of the Council made one a heretic? I do not doubt that at some time Chalcedon was received for I believe it to be an ecumenical Council, infallible, and speaking God’s truth. But it condemns propositions that even the Non-Chalcedonians condemned, such as the Eutychian heresy. The Non-Chalcedonians have always continued to use St. Cyril’s terminology; therefore I believe that there is a case for exploring the question of whether Non-Chalcedonian Christology as it is expressed at this time is Orthodox.

The crux of my argument thus becomes: if the Orthodox Church can admit that there are Orthodox who are not in communion with each other but who are still Orthodox, such as the New Calendarist vs. Old Calendarist schism, or the Bulgarian situation with two patriarchs, or the Kievan Patriarchate debacle, then it Non-Chaledonians COULD be admitted to be Orthodox IF it is decided BY THE ENTIRE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN COUNCIL that their terminology is Orthodox. If they passed on the Orthodox Faith, then they can be called Orthodox, even if they have not been in communion with the Chalcedonian Orthodox for 1500 years.

The Branch theory states that different groups with different beliefs can be the One Church which is divided. Calling the Non-Chalcedonians Orthodox on the assumption (which still needs to be proved in Church Council for it to be official) that their faith is Orthodox does not constitute this Branch theory. Instead, it states that the Church is present where the Orthodox faith is present and where the apostolic faith has been passed down via a community and the laying-on of hands.
Logged

Please Buy My Book!

Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.
Keble
All-Knowing Grand Wizard of Debunking
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,436



« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2003, 02:07:44 PM »

Seeing as how you brought up the Anglicans, does this mean I get a shot at it?
Logged
Anastasios
Webdespota
Administrator
Merarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Old Calendarist
Posts: 10,487


Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina

anastasios0513
WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2003, 02:20:20 PM »

Keble,

If I have misrepresented the Branch Theory as your church understands it, feel free to correct that aspect.  If you wish to offer constructive critiques about my argumentation, feel free.  Just make sure you don't launch into an extended defense of the Branch Theory if that is how you are inclined ;-)

anastasios

anastasios
Logged

Please Buy My Book!

Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.
Keble
All-Knowing Grand Wizard of Debunking
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,436



« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2003, 03:06:39 PM »

Not to defend it, but simply to explain some of the background behind it.
Logged
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Online Online

Posts: 30,226


that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2003, 03:11:03 PM »

Anastasios, you may have bitten off more than you can chew... now you'll be fighting a difficult war on multiple fronts! Hehe Smiley
Logged
Anastasios
Webdespota
Administrator
Merarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Old Calendarist
Posts: 10,487


Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina

anastasios0513
WWW
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2003, 03:12:22 PM »

Sure, Keble, go for it: I'd be very interested in knowing the history behind it and its context.

anastasios
Logged

Please Buy My Book!

Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.
Keble
All-Knowing Grand Wizard of Debunking
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,436



« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2003, 03:32:41 PM »

Well, it will take some time to put up a coherent response. But It is important to remember that "branch theory" is basically informal theology. A professional (Anglican) theologian would tend to express it in terms of the reasons behind saying such a thing and would tend to shy away from the word "branch".
Logged
The young fogey
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,798


I'm an alpaca, actually


WWW
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2003, 03:44:06 PM »

Am surfacing 1) so Dustin is satisfied now that my number of postings has hit the millennary mark and 2) to comment on a well-written essay with a couple of surprises.

Looks like an accurate description of the branch theory. Interestingly, I think it only includes Chalcedonian orthodox who can claim apostolic succession. Are the Oriental Orthodox and Assyrians beyond the pale as Monophysite and Nestorian heretics in the orthodox Anglican point of view or are they lumped together with the Eastern Orthodox?

Quote
The Orthodox Church, together with St. Cyprian of Carthage, takes the view that the invisible Church and the visible Church coincide—in other words the Body of Christ is the Orthodox Church. This belief is central to the Orthodox faith.

The part about the visible and visible churches being the same rings true, markedly in the Eastern Orthodox point of view, but re: Orthodox, that name became synonymous with the imperial church, the state church of the eastern Roman ('Byzantine') Empire, whose rite we now call 'Byzantine'. Might it be that 'you're not in the church' was seen as synonymous (even if that wasn't dogmatized) with 'you're not in our empire'? Meyendorff in Byzantium and the Rise of Russia noted that imperial people thought that way.

Quote
Throughout history there have nevertheless been countless schisms. St. Basil divided the divisions into three ways: heretics, or those who used Christian vocabulary but had an entirely different cosmic and ontological understanding of what the terminology meant (he used the Gnostics as an example); schismatics, or those who maintained the appearance and function of the Church but who denied a major tenet of the faith such as the Divinity of Christ (he cited the Arians) and then finally “the unlawful assembly” or those who rejected the bishop’s authority and set up a separate episcopate.


I didn't see that coming!

How confusing.

Mormons, according to St Basil's terminology, would merely be 'heretics', but they are far beyond that: like Islam, they're a non-Christian religion. (They use Christian lingo and misrepresent themselves as a Christian church but are really polytheists.) A Christian who converts to Mormonism is an apostate, as you rightly point out.

Arians are like Jehovah's Witnesses today (only I think the Arians claimed to have bishop and sacraments). Again, a non-Christian religion. For the Christian, apostasy, not merely schism (not that schism is a good thing).

Heresy = denial of one or more parts of the faith but holding a basic credal orthodoxy such that one is still Christian. Example: the classical Protestantisms, which are still trinitarian.

The 'unlawful assembly' - parasynagogue to use the fun, confusing (oy, vey) original Greek term = schism.

Quote
In today’s modern Orthodox Church the terms are slightly different: the Gnostics would be considered apostates, the Arians heretics, the “Macedonian Orthodox Church” schismatic, and a local Orthodox parish rejecting its bishop’s authority an “unlawful assembly”. The terminology is not what is important, however; what we can gleam from these divisions of St. Basil’s is the idea that there are differentiated degrees of separation from the Orthodox Church.

I don't see the distinction between the Gnostics and the Arians: both were non-Christian, just like Mormons and JWs = apostasy to a Christian. I also don't see a distinction between the 'Macedonian Orthodox Church' and the rebel congregation in your example. Both are schismatic.

Quote
Augustine in attempting to answer this controversy ended up altering the perception of ordination, however, in ways that 1000 years later would have a curious impact on ecclesiology.... According to modern Roman Catholic ecclesiology, these (vagante) bishops are in fact real bishops (to a certain degree; if the faith is tampered with the RC usually rules the ordinations to be invalid

Is it a matter of ecclesiology or of sacramentology, a word I've seen in my online travels? (Is that even a real word?) The rogue bishops aren't considered full-fledged members of the true church but are seen as 'valid'.

Quote
Today, there are two “basic” varieties of Old Calendarists: those who accept grace in the New Calendarist Churches, saying they are in error but that their error has not made them not-Orthodox

IOW, they're still Eastern Orthodox.

Quote
...and those who say that the New Calendarists are schismatics and/or heretics and thus graceless.

IOW, barmy like the separated Old Believers. Personally orthodox, but crazy and technically non-Orthodox. But unlike vagante game-players ('gay Orthodox churches', New Age 'Inclusive Orthodox' churches - such literally disgraceful little groups really exist), they're sincere and still deserve some respect because if you buy their premise they are internally completely logical and consistent. They think they are the Orthodox Church and nobody else is anymore.

Quote
What makes this germane to our discussion of Non-Chalcedonians is that most New Calendarists accept the Old Calendarists—even those not in communion with them—as Orthodox, and some of the Old Calendarists view New Calendarists as Orthodox—even though they are not in communion with one another. Now the Orthodox Church has taught what Met. John Zizioulas calls “communion ecclesiology”: where the bishop is, there is the Church; where the Church is, there is the Eucharist. The Church, Christ, and the Eucharist are all one reality. Since Christ cannot be divided, then theoretically if one leaves the communion of the Orthodox Church, he is no longer Orthodox and his mysteries (sacraments) are nothing.

Since EOxy teaches the second sentence I emphasized, how can the EOs you describe in the first sentence I emphasized hold that, unless they really hold a western Catholic theology of 'validity'?

Quote
The reality that is lived is that if one follows the Orthodox FAITH and has apostolic succession, he is Orthodox—yet that begins to sound Augustinian

Right. Every wacko 'independent Catholic' church (IOW, vagante) out there holds that. Surely EOxy can do better.

Quote
As another example I posit the ROCOR. ROCOR is in union with the Serbian patriarchate via full communion and concelebration, and is in a de facto communion with the Jerusalem patriarchate (accounts vary at this time as to priestly and episcopal concelebration—the sign of full communion—so I will leave the status as a question). ROCOR is not, however, in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate or the Ecumenical Patriarchate, however, which raises the question: “how can one be in communion with one Orthodox Church and not the others?” Furthermore, the idea that ROCOR is in an “imperfect communion” with the Jerusalem Patriarchate admits of a level of divide in the Orthodox Church.

Right. Not only are they small-o orthodox but they are in fact Orthodox - in the EO communion - even if only by a couple of threads.

But nobody in the EO communion is in communion with anybody in the Oriental Orthodox communion or the Assyrian Church (yet?).

Quote
After all of this background information, I believe I can finally state my case for at least the POSSIBILITY of considering the Non-Chalcedonians Orthodox. At the time of Chalcedon, certain bishops were present who were excommunicated by the Council. Some theologian-archimandrites were also excommunicated, such as Eutyches. This led to a division in the episcopate of some Churches where the original patriarch was incumbent and an new imperial-backed patriarch loyal to Chalcedon was in place. At this time, it was impossible to say that the Non-Chalcedonians were in schism since a mere two years earlier, another imperial council with the eastern patriarchs present (the “Robber Synod” of Ephesus, 449) had issued a completely opposite decree. Since in Orthodoxy a council must be “received” by the whole Church (sometimes by ratification by a subsequent council, or by addition of the council into the festal calendar), at this time it was too uncertain as to the outcome for the status of Non-Chalcedonians to be sure. This would continue until the death of Acacius, who had presided over a Church that had broken communion with Rome (I am not arguing Roman primacy here) in order to enter communion with the Non-Chalcedonians via the document known as the Henotikon. At his death, Emperor Justin issued a reaffirmation of Chalcedon and severed communion with the Non-Chalcedonians in order to enter communion with Rome. At this time, one can make the argument that the Non-Chalcedonians are schismatic for not accepting the clear decree of the emperor and the Church.

Interesting but writing off the magisterial teaching of the church for the past 1,500+ years sounds ill-advised. (Classical Protestants did the same thing.) My onetime acquaintance Archimandrite Serge (Keleher), a priest in the Russian Catholic Church, once remarked to me that he thinks the EOs periodically try to do away with the council of Chalcedon. As Arianism is the perennial theological temptation of western Catholicism, so Monophysitism is of the Eastern Churches. I think that's what he was getting at. Seems he might have a jaundiced view of rapprochement with the Oriental Orthodox Churches. 'What next?' he once remarked. 'Will Muslims be reclassed as "pre-Nicene Orthodox"?' (Non-Nicene Orthodox?)

Quote
Indeed, can one pinpoint a time when Chalcedon was “received” by the Church (not just the emperor) and afterwhich rejection of the Council made one a heretic?

Ah, yes, that murky part of how EOxy dogmatizes. I don't claim to have an answer and chances are neither does anybody else. It seems to 'just happen'.

Quote
The crux of my argument thus becomes: if the Orthodox Church can admit that there are Orthodox who are not in communion with each other but who are still Orthodox, such as the New Calendarist vs. Old Calendarist schism, or the Bulgarian situation with two patriarchs, or the Kievan Patriarchate debacle, then it Non-Chaledonians COULD be admitted to be Orthodox IF it is decided BY THE ENTIRE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN COUNCIL that their terminology is Orthodox. If they passed on the Orthodox Faith, then they can be called Orthodox, even if they have not been in communion with the Chalcedonian Orthodox for 1500 years.

OK, that would solve the problem for the EOs in future. But now the status of the OOs is still a big question mark from the EO POV, based on EO ecclesiology.

Quote
The Branch theory states that different groups with different beliefs can be the One Church which is divided. Calling the Non-Chalcedonians Orthodox on the assumption (which still needs to be proved in Church Council for it to be official) that their faith is Orthodox does not constitute this Branch theory. Instead, it states that the Church is present where the Orthodox faith is present and where the apostolic faith has been passed down via a community and the laying-on of hands.

ISTM if you assert they are Orthodox (meaning 'same as the EOs, from the EO POV') now, jumping the gun of an anticipated future council, that is a form of the branch theory, but not exactly the Anglican version you described so well (which neither Catholicism nor Orthodoxy accept in that form).

Outside the EO framework I think you're trying to employ, there is the view of western Catholicism, which as you point out is based on St Augustine and Pope St Stephen I. It balances an exclusive claim to be the one true church with acknowledging churchness outside itself. On that basis, as you and others here know, it accepts the 'validity' of the EOs! And the OOs and the Assyrians. Its criteria for churchness: 1) basic credal orthodoxy (trinitarian, divinity of Christ, etc.), 2) apostolic succession, 3) historically consistent orthodox teaching about the Eucharist.

Some EOs hold an opinion that mirrors this, but I think you are trying to figure out how the EOs can dogmatically accept the OOs as the same as them.

The conclusion I see, using the EO frame of reference, is that before the council you envision, it can't be done - yet.

Submerging again. (Turn off the diesels, close the main induction valve! Clear the bridge! Take her to 100 feet. Dive! Dive! Dive!)

Goodbye. (See you on the blog.)
« Last Edit: July 21, 2003, 03:58:47 PM by Serge » Logged

Hypo-Ortho
Guest
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2003, 07:26:28 PM »

Good, thoughtful post, Serge, and, btw, muchos congratulationes on your 1,000th post!!!! Smiley

Hypo-Ortho
Logged
Mor Ephrem
"Mor is right, you are wrong."
Section Moderator
Hoplitarches
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 18,378


"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee..."


WWW
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2003, 08:03:21 PM »

The crux of my argument thus becomes: if the Orthodox Church can admit that there are Orthodox who are not in communion with each other but who are still Orthodox, such as the New Calendarist vs. Old Calendarist schism, or the Bulgarian situation with two patriarchs, or the Kievan Patriarchate debacle, then it Non-Chaledonians COULD be admitted to be Orthodox IF it is decided BY THE ENTIRE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN COUNCIL that their terminology is Orthodox. If they passed on the Orthodox Faith, then they can be called Orthodox, even if they have not been in communion with the Chalcedonian Orthodox for 1500 years.

Why does the situation with the Oriental Orthodox require an ecumenical council of the entire Orthodox Church, while it is simply "assumed" by the Eastern Orthodox that the various Old Calendarist groups, whether they are in some sort of communion with "world Orthodoxy", or recognise its "validity" but also call it on its "errors", or deny it entirely and call only themselves and those in communion with them "THE CHURCH", are indeed fully Orthodox?  Wouldn't an ecumenical council of the entire Orthodox Church be needed to solve that situation, which in my eyes looks even worse?  After all, the Eastern Orthodox can easily write off the Oriental Orthodox as being outside the Church because they don't recognise Chalcedon.  But in the Eastern Orthodox situation, you've got a bunch of groups (counting even "world Orthodoxy") with varying claims, and all claim to be the Church, and theoretically those outside of those communions could (should?) be considered as outside of the Church.  Certainly "assumptions" are not what's called for to settle this matter, and I would think that only an ecumenical council could judge definitively whether these groups are indeed Orthodox; any judgement beforehand would be equivalent in my eyes to what Anastasios is saying about judgements re: the Oriental Orthodox before an ecumenical council of the entire Church decided on the matter.  

Regarding Ephesus 449, I don't think it has ever been considered an ecumenical council by the Oriental Orthodox.  We have and continue to confess three ecumenical synods.  I've heard people claim that 449 was ecumenical, but I've also heard people claim that about Addis Ababa 1965, and that is wrong as well.
Logged

The Mor has spoken. Let his word endure unto the ages of ages.
Anastasios
Webdespota
Administrator
Merarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Old Calendarist
Posts: 10,487


Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina

anastasios0513
WWW
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2003, 08:40:36 PM »

Because the Old Calendarists hold to 7 ecumenical councils just like the New Calendarists is the short answer.

anastasios
Logged

Please Buy My Book!

Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Online Online

Posts: 30,226


that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2003, 08:44:23 PM »

Yeah, but don't you believe that the OO have the same beliefs as you, even if they don't technically give all 7 councils Ecumenical status?
Logged
Jonathan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 810


WWW
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2003, 10:47:53 PM »

"Right. Not only are they small-o orthodox but they are in fact Orthodox - in the EO communion - even if only by a couple of threads.

But nobody in the EO communion is in communion with anybody in the Oriental Orthodox communion or the Assyrian Church (yet?)."

One EO Church offered to have full Communion with the Coptic Church, but Pope Shenouda refused for the sake of not straining relations with the Greek Orthodox Church.

So does that mean that from the EO point of view our Sacraments are graceless since we're not in Communion with the EO, but that if that intercommunion had been accepted, that suddenly our Sacraments would have grace again?  If our Church has continued without leaving the faith since Apostolic times, then how could we suddenly be graceless because of a mistaken split, and suddenly have grace again once an agreement is signed by men, without any change to our Church?  That doesn't make any sense to me.
Logged
Keble
All-Knowing Grand Wizard of Debunking
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,436



« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2003, 01:38:51 AM »

In a sense, the "branch theory" is just the Augustinian model taken a bit further. The statement that

Quote
The Orthodox Church, together with St. Cyprian of Carthage, takes the view that the invisible Church and the visible Church coincide—in other words the Body of Christ is the Orthodox Church.

cannot be true exactly as stated, for all hold that there is an invisible church as well as a visible church. A clearer way to state the Cyprianic view would be to say that the unity of the church as a whole must be reflected in a unity of polity within the visible church, and that outside that unity is thus outside the church. Succession in this view is subsumed within polity.

But it is succession itself that is at the root (so to speak) of "branch theory", because the pattern of consecrations creates something vaguely tree-like. And it comes up because succession, at times, does appear to escape polity. The Augustinian view is that polity is not everything, and therefore the consequence of this is that when sucession escapes from the polity, a certain limited legitimacy is retained. The unity is still visible, but it is no longer political (hough that is the ideal). That is one peculiarity of Apostolicae Curae: it attacks the Church of England not on the basis of theology, but on the form of one specific consecration. Clearly from a Cyprianic perspective this is totally beside the point.

But as Serge hints, I think this leads to a lot of not entirely consistent behavior. Accepting groups that don't accept the polity of the bulk of Orthodoxy sounds Augustinian to me. It also tends to imply that the issue of heresy plays a bigger role in this than is admitted at first.

Which brings us to Chalcedon. As I understand it, the biggest sticking point is whether there are actually any monophysites. The implication for the Cyprianic viewpoint is that, if Constantinople is mischaracterizing the OOs, then it could be claimed that it is Constantinople which is schizmatic and thus ouside the church. Conversely, if the Chalcedonian characterization of the OOs is correct, then I don't see how you can maintain a Cyprianic posiiton and still recognize any legitimacy of the OOs. Again, this seems to be twisting he "how much 'heresy' is tolerable?" knob. The more you turn it towards 'toleration', the more one gets a "branch theory"-like position.
Logged
Anastasios
Webdespota
Administrator
Merarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Old Calendarist
Posts: 10,487


Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina

anastasios0513
WWW
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2003, 01:49:36 PM »

Jonathan:

The short answer to your point is: the "hardcore" EO say that since there is only one Church, and since they know they are it, anyone outside has no sacraments since Christ is not divided.

The "non-hardcore" EO would say that there is only One Church and that Christ is not divided, but outside of the EO communion WE DON'T KNOW.

A growing number of EO would say that EO and OO are basically the same after having studied the issues, but notice the unfortunate 1500 year division, and say, "how could Christ's Church have existed for 1500 years divided."

The crux of the EO argument is that there is only grace in the communion of Churches that is the Orthodox communion.  To those EO who believe the OO to be in schism, that means that there is no grace because there is no Eucharistic union with the Church, which they conceive to ONLY be the EO Church (since again Christ is not divided).

Hope I am not confusing the issue.

anastasios
Logged

Please Buy My Book!

Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2003, 02:26:45 PM »

I've actually had to save this entire thread to my HDD for later digestion. It is a great dialogue.
But, in my very simplistic mind, am I  wrong in stating that the EO and the OO have each been cornered by their respective T/traditions regarding the other? That both are wrong or in error by failing to correct this issue?
I am moved by the "logic" of both sides.
Demetri
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
Jonathan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 810


WWW
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2003, 04:35:36 PM »

The position of the Coptic Church (OO), to the best of my understanding, is that we are Orthodox, we've kept the fullness of the Orthodox faith, practice & sacraments.  The Eastern Orthodox are also Orthodox, in that they hold the correct, true, Orthodox faith, have correct practice, and have succession back to the Apostles.  The two are divided by human sin, and there are anathamas between us, but we don't believe that is someone is anathamatized that God suddenly stops working there and their Sacraments become ineffective, it's just that we've separated ourselves from each other by our sins.  If we can overcome our politics, we can have unity again, and it's not that one side is Orthodox and the other not, so one side will suddenly have thier Sacraments start working again, without any change to their Orthodox faith or practices, just by virtue of allowing someone else to their Communion table.  As for Catholics & Anglicans, we don't speculate, God knows if thier Sacraments are valid or not (although in the case of female priests/bishops, etc, it's pretty clear to us.).

We're separate because we misunderstood each other, and because of human politics, not because one side left the Orthodox faith or practice.  Do you really think that if a human anathamatizes a group that they shouldn't have, because of a misunderstanding, that God will obey them and stop working there?  That's like saying that if a priest mistakenly holds back an absolution he should give, that the person goes to Hell and God can't save him.  God isn't bound by our petty arguments.
Logged
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2003, 04:44:34 PM »

Bless you, Brother Jonathan.
Demetri
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
Linus7
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,780



« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2003, 09:42:52 PM »

There is a pretty good treatment of the historical development of Christology, and especially of the controversy concerning the natures of Christ, in chapter 5 (pp. 226-277) of Jaroslav Pelikan's The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), which is of course volume 1 of his five-volume The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine.
Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Seafra
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: British Orthodox hopeful
Posts: 240


It's in the shelter of each other that people live

Mr.Dougherty
WWW
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2011, 04:20:35 AM »

The position of the Coptic Church (OO), to the best of my understanding, is that we are Orthodox, we've kept the fullness of the Orthodox faith, practice & sacraments.  The Eastern Orthodox are also Orthodox, in that they hold the correct, true, Orthodox faith, have correct practice, and have succession back to the Apostles.  The two are divided by human sin, and there are anathamas between us, but we don't believe that is someone is anathamatized that God suddenly stops working there and their Sacraments become ineffective, it's just that we've separated ourselves from each other by our sins.  If we can overcome our politics, we can have unity again, and it's not that one side is Orthodox and the other not, so one side will suddenly have thier Sacraments start working again, without any change to their Orthodox faith or practices, just by virtue of allowing someone else to their Communion table.  As for Catholics & Anglicans, we don't speculate, God knows if thier Sacraments are valid or not (although in the case of female priests/bishops, etc, it's pretty clear to us.).

We're separate because we misunderstood each other, and because of human politics, not because one side left the Orthodox faith or practice.  Do you really think that if a human anathamatizes a group that they shouldn't have, because of a misunderstanding, that God will obey them and stop working there?  That's like saying that if a priest mistakenly holds back an absolution he should give, that the person goes to Hell and God can't save him.  God isn't bound by our petty arguments.
i wish i could give thumbs up or kudos or something to that statement!
Logged
Tags: unity branch theory Oriental Orthodoxy 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.103 seconds with 46 queries.