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« Reply #45 on: August 16, 2003, 06:06:13 PM »

As one who struggles with basic fundamental questions like "Does God care" or "Does he exist" this whole thing as to who in Orthodoxy has grace or no grace  because they commune heretics, etc. is downright despairing and confusing. It makes finding the way to salvation into a cruel rat race.
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« Reply #46 on: August 16, 2003, 06:17:58 PM »


I agree 100%

What a huge sin of PRIDE we have when we render these judgements on our Orthodox brothers and sisters.

 Sad
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« Reply #47 on: August 16, 2003, 07:28:15 PM »

And, as you well know, hierarchs of the Serbian Patriarchate regularly serve with those of the ROCOR!  And here we have Serbian Patriarch PAVLE personally serving with the Primates of both the MP and the OCA.  Ironic, no? Wink Kiss

Dear Hypo-Ortho,

This is curious news to me.  I asked a school mate of mine if he knows for certain that the Serbian Patriarchate is in communion with ROCOR.  He said that is what he heard but made the qualification "you will not see any bishops concelebrate."  Of course he can be wrong, but I tend to think that since he is in the Serbian Church he is more informed of those things than those of us without.  

Can you offer any links or other sort of substantiation?

Tony

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« Reply #48 on: August 16, 2003, 09:32:02 PM »

anastasios,

Would you please post your definition of schism?

TonyS

Sorry, I drove 14 hours yesterday to NC and now I am on vacation.  I would say schism would be departing from one's lawful hierarch for any reason other than heresy, or breaking communion with ALL Orthodox Churches for some reason other than heresy.  ROCOR departed from the MP due to 1) exile and 2) due to the bad way Pat. Tikhon was being held and forced to issue contradictory ukaze"s", and broke with the GOA over perceived heresy so I would say hence they are not schismatics.

anastasios
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« Reply #49 on: August 16, 2003, 09:35:09 PM »

And, as you well know, hierarchs of the Serbian Patriarchate regularly serve with those of the ROCOR!  And here we have Serbian Patriarch PAVLE personally serving with the Primates of both the MP and the OCA.  Ironic, no? Wink Kiss

Dear Hypo-Ortho,

This is curious news to me.  I asked a school mate of mine if he knows for certain that the Serbian Patriarchate is in communion with ROCOR.  He said that is what he heard but made the qualification "you will not see any bishops concelebrate."  Of course he can be wrong, but I tend to think that since he is in the Serbian Church he is more informed of those things than those of us without.  

Can you offer any links or other sort of substantiation?

Tony



I wrote an email letter to the Western Serbian Diocese of the US and asked their chancellor if they are in communion with ROCOR and they said, "yes."

At Fr. Seraphim Rose's funeral, Serbian priests concelebrated with Fr. Hiermonk Ambrose (formerly Fr. Alexy Young).

In The Struggle Against Ecumenism one justification for the HOCNA schism was that Pat. Pavle was received at the ROCOR Cathedral in California to the chanting of "Eis Polla Eti, Despota."

On Cineast, the New Zealand priest on that list states that the Serbs gave him a release to join ROCOR.

I think these facts are enough to show that communion between ROCOR and Serbia exists.

anastasios
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« Reply #50 on: August 16, 2003, 09:36:49 PM »

anastasios,

Is this a book or an article: "The Struggle Against Ecumenism"

If an article, can you provide a link?

Thanks!
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« Reply #51 on: August 16, 2003, 09:37:54 PM »

Quote
ROCiE and ROAC departed from their canonical bishops, as did HOCNA, so they are schismatics and in my opinion probably graceless and unOrthodox (although I will not condemn individual faithful in these groups).

Would you be willing to make the same appraisal of the Nestorians, Monophysites, Roman Catholics, etc.?  (schismatic and graceless)

Seraphim


I probably did not make myself clear in previous posts.  I do not think that JUST BECAUSE one is schismatic that they are ipso facto graceless: I believe that the Kievan Patriarchate has grace (although I think it is sad they elected Pat. Filaret as their third patriarch when he was already deposed).

I do not think that any of the Old Calendar Greek Churches EXCEPT HOCNA are graceless.

I believe HOCNA and ROCiE to be graceless because of the evil way they separated from their hierarchs--not merely because they are out of communion with other Orthodox Churches.

anastasios
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« Reply #52 on: August 16, 2003, 09:39:08 PM »

As one who struggles with basic fundamental questions like "Does God care" or "Does he exist" this whole thing as to who in Orthodoxy has grace or no grace  because they commune heretics, etc. is downright despairing and confusing. It makes finding the way to salvation into a cruel rat race.

Very good points, Sinjin--a sad situation we find ourselves in.  Yet the Church has always had these problems; the Gnostics were around even at the apostolic age.

anastasios
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« Reply #53 on: August 16, 2003, 09:40:47 PM »

anastasios,

Is this a book or an article: "The Struggle Against Ecumenism"

If an article, can you provide a link?

Thanks!

It is a book published by the Holy Orthodox Church in North America (HOCNA) and is a history of the Old Calendar Movement.  I would only recommend it with reservation because it is inflammatory.  The Old Calendar Church of Greece by the Cyprianite Synod is a more fair history in my opinion.  I am using both books in my Old Calendarist Chart I am working on for this website.

anastasios
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« Reply #54 on: August 17, 2003, 12:55:47 AM »

As one who struggles with basic fundamental questions like "Does God care" or "Does he exist" this whole thing as to who in Orthodoxy has grace or no grace  because they commune heretics, etc. is downright despairing and confusing. It makes finding the way to salvation into a cruel rat race.

Amen.

And that is just what the Evil One likes about it.

When I read about all this stuff I just fall back on Jesus and say the Jesus Prayer.

He is all that matters.
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« Reply #55 on: August 17, 2003, 01:09:33 AM »

Linus,

Step back a moment and listen to yourself, man! Can you imagine Saint Maximos saying "well there's all these silly christological disputes... but I just sit back and pray... these discussions aren't that important anyway"? Sad Can you imagine any saint saying such things? If the lives of saints are "applied dogmatics," we stand condemned: every one of us. Its so very nice for us, isn't it? People were tied in sacks and thrown into the sea and drowned because they would not accept certain beliefs or practices... today we all (me included) mock them by our shallowness, and the light way we approach Christianity. But we can go say the Jesus prayer 10 minutes and then we'll fill like we're doing the right thing. Egads. This is a struggle of life and death. Do you not understand what I am saying? But perhaps I do not understand myself yet! "I belong to Christ's jurisdiction" can only be an answer to a certain extent; many who give such an answer on judgment day may hear Christ say "I do not know you". This is what I fear. For you. For me. For Mor Ephrem. For Anastasios. For Seraphim. For Mary-Cecilia.

I told Nik tonight that I was going to try and cut down posting here. As I said, I no doubt only support the notion many people have in their head, that ROCORites (the online ones anyway) are ignorant, obnoxious fools, who are divisive and sectarian. Well I am probably all those things, so in my case I guess I was wrong for having said it was a caricature since it is reality. If I'm going to be damned, though, it will be for sincerely seeking truth and obnoxiously saying things to others in that pursuit. If I'm going to be condemned for ignorance, I refuse to let it be because I wouldn't seek out answers (being contented saying my prayer rule). If I am to be condemned for being divisive, I will at least make sure that it is because I understood wrong, and not because apathy was the source of divisivness. Saint Justin Popovich said that those who are really hateful are the ones who preach a false love and seek false union; if I do not hate sin enough to be saved, at least I will make an effort of faith and stand by my hate fopr false love and false unions. If I am sectarian, if I am condemned for that, it will be because I am ingorant, not because I do not want to have communion with others.

I have every wordly reason (God father, Priest friends, Deacon friends, closeness of parishes, friendships, etc.) to say that world Orthodoxy is just fine, that there's nothing wrong. It will cause immense sorrow--for both my wife and I--if I take a position opposite that. Yet I find myself daily finding that I can't take any position except one contrary to world Orthodoxy. And then people wish to leave ROCOR... for what? For the world.
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« Reply #56 on: August 17, 2003, 01:19:59 AM »

Sorry. I'm evidently no St. Maximus, Paradosis.

Hard for me to get stirred up by arguments over the calendar, I guess.

I also have trouble seeing what's going on today as on the same level as the great Christological disputes of the past.

I know when I am in over my head.
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« Reply #57 on: August 17, 2003, 01:24:58 AM »

Quote
Hard for me to get stirred up by arguments over the calendar, I guess.

A perfect example of how most people in world Orthodoxy want to deal with the issues Sad As though communing monophysites, accepting the baptism and sacraments of heterodox (Catholics and Anglicans), etc. isn't enough to open your eyes. But you can always make a snide comment about the calendar or pews and dismiss things out of hand. Think hard on your words Linus, you will be judged by them.
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« Reply #58 on: August 17, 2003, 01:30:33 AM »

Who is seeking false love and a false union?

I don't desire any union with any non-Orthodox, nor do I support the Ecumenical Movement, which I suspect will be the precursor to the appearance of Antichrist.

I merely voiced my understanding of the sentiment expressed by sinjinsmythe.

And believe me, I do understand what he wrote.

All the squabbling among supposedly Orthodox Christians is depressing.
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« Reply #59 on: August 17, 2003, 01:33:28 AM »

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Think hard on your words Linus, you will be judged by them.

I will.

I must also beware of straining at gnats and swallowing camels.
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« Reply #60 on: August 17, 2003, 07:47:01 AM »

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I probably did not make myself clear in previous posts.  I do not think that JUST BECAUSE one is schismatic that they are ipso facto graceless: I believe that the Kievan Patriarchate has grace (although I think it is sad they elected Pat. Filaret as their third patriarch when he was already deposed).

I do not think that any of the Old Calendar Greek Churches EXCEPT HOCNA are graceless.

I believe HOCNA and ROCiE to be graceless because of the evil way they separated from their hierarchs--not merely because they are out of communion with other Orthodox Churches.

On what basis are you making these distinctions?  Btw., I'm still interested in hearing your opinion of the RCC, Nestorians, Non-Chalcedonians, etc.

Seraphim
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« Reply #61 on: August 17, 2003, 09:38:41 AM »

Linus,

Step back a moment and listen to yourself, man! Can you imagine Saint Maximos saying "well there's all these silly christological disputes... but I just sit back and pray... these discussions aren't that important anyway"? Sad Can you imagine any saint saying such things?

Well, I can think of saints who do say such things.  'Course, they're western saints so they don't count for you, but.......

Quote
I have every wordly reason (God father, Priest friends, Deacon friends, closeness of parishes, friendships, etc.) to say that world Orthodoxy is just fine, that there's nothing wrong.

And you also have plenty of worldly reasons to say that your little corner of Orthodoxy is just fine, and that every place that is any little bit different is not. Stubbornness isn't in itself a virtue; if doctrine is that critical, then plenty of people were thrown into the sea to their damnation. Truth has no monopoly on dogged dedication to its principles.
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« Reply #62 on: August 17, 2003, 09:51:09 PM »

Sorry, I drove 14 hours yesterday to NC and now I am on vacation.  I would say schism would be departing from one's lawful hierarch for any reason other than heresy, or breaking communion with ALL Orthodox Churches for some reason other than heresy.  ROCOR departed from the MP due to 1) exile and 2) due to the bad way Pat. Tikhon was being held and forced to issue contradictory ukaze"s", and broke with the GOA over perceived heresy so I would say hence they are not schismatics.

anastasios

anastasios,

What about the rest of the Orthodox World?  There is more to Orthodoxy than the MP, GOA, JP and Serbia isn't there?

TonyS
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« Reply #63 on: August 17, 2003, 09:56:20 PM »

And, as you well know, hierarchs of the Serbian Patriarchate regularly serve with those of the ROCOR!  And here we have Serbian Patriarch PAVLE personally serving with the Primates of both the MP and the OCA.  Ironic, no? Wink Kiss

Dear Hypo-Ortho,

This is curious news to me.  I asked a school mate of mine if he knows for certain that the Serbian Patriarchate is in communion with ROCOR.  He said that is what he heard but made the qualification "you will not see any bishops concelebrate."  Of course he can be wrong, but I tend to think that since he is in the Serbian Church he is more informed of those things than those of us without.  

Can you offer any links or other sort of substantiation?

Tony



I wrote an email letter to the Western Serbian Diocese of the US and asked their chancellor if they are in communion with ROCOR and they said, "yes."

At Fr. Seraphim Rose's funeral, Serbian priests concelebrated with Fr. Hiermonk Ambrose (formerly Fr. Alexy Young).

In The Struggle Against Ecumenism one justification for the HOCNA schism was that Pat. Pavle was received at the ROCOR Cathedral in California to the chanting of "Eis Polla Eti, Despota."

On Cineast, the New Zealand priest on that list states that the Serbs gave him a release to join ROCOR.

I think these facts are enough to show that communion between ROCOR and Serbia exists.

anastasios

What exactly are you addressing?  My posting regards concelebration by hierarchs, I don't see you addressing that.
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Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #64 on: August 17, 2003, 11:40:04 PM »

From what I've been reading concerning ROCOR and Serbian relations in another forum, Tony, it depends upon whom you ask.   Officially, the ROCOR Synod of Bishops states that the ROCOR is in communion with the Serbians.  But it would seem that individual ROCOR bishops depart from the policy of their Synod and do their own thing concerning the Serbians, sometimes allowing concelebration, sometimes not, even within the same ROCOR Diocese of San Francisco and the West.  IOW, individual ROCOR bishops are inconsistent in following their own jurisdictions's official policy. I cannot recall specific incidents where ROCOR hierarchs concelebrated with Serbian hierarchs *recently*, but they still allow their clergy to do so in most instances.   The ROCOR's Archbishop +MARK of Berlin and West Germany, as I recall though, has definitely concelebrated with hierarchs of the Serbian Patriarchate.

Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #65 on: August 18, 2003, 10:45:55 AM »


On what basis are you making these distinctions?  Btw., I'm still interested in hearing your opinion of the RCC, Nestorians, Non-Chalcedonians, etc.

Seraphim


First of all, I believe we have to look at Orthodox groups differently than Non-Orthodox groups.  The reason for this is that Orthodox/Non-Orthodox splits go back a lot farther and their context is different theological controversies, different ecclesiastical structures, political situations, linguistic and cultural situations--whereas the modern Orthodox splits have less of these factors (although for instance the Russian splits mostly have to do with the legacy of communism).

I don't have any pre-set criteria; I believe we have to look at each group seperately and assess them by a number of factors.  Hence for the Orthodox I would consider the following:

1) Do they maintain the Orthodox faith in its entirety?

2) Did they break off from their mother Church or were they isolated due to some other reason?

3) Do they maintain communion with any other Orthodox Churches?

4) During and after the split, what types of canonical infractions were committed by the Church (i.e. in the case of the Matthewites, we must consider their one-bishop consecrations, and in the case of the Acacians, we must consider that their bishops were ordained by two bishops of ROCOR in secret, one bishop being a New Calendarist Romananian ROCOR bishop).

5) Practically speaking, does the group behave like a Church or more like a secretive cult? (example of the later: the Pangratios church).

etc etc etc.

Even though I think that the ROCiE and HOCNA probably are not Orthodox Churches and even though I doubt what they are doing constitutes God's work and thus consititutes "grace" I also recognize that this is my opinion.  Basically, there is a cleavage in Orthodox thought at the moment:

1) According to the strictest patristic teaching, there is only ONE Orthodox Church.  You can't have "two" not-in-union Churches.

2) As I pointed out in my essay on Non-Chalcedonians in the other forum, historically speaking the Church has LIVED situations where there are "two" bodies that are both the Church that later reconciled.

---all of which leads us to a not-so-easy answer; one that must be weighed individually and in each case.

Now since you asked my opinions of several different groups I will give them.  It is my understanding that the Orthodox Church does not dogmatize on non-Orthodox sacraments but allows a range of opinions (c.f. Eustratios Argenti by Timothy (Kallistos) Ware for an example of Orthodox-Roman Catholic interaction, then rivalry, on the Greek islands).  Here are my OPINIONS:

1) Roman Catholics: seriously in error. Error is not defined in my terminology as just post-Vatican II; I disagree with the way the RC Church has developed since the split.  However, in my years as a Catholic, I have read about and experienced too many miracles, divine grace, etc. in this body for it to be an "empty, graceless, worthless body".  I believe that the partial truth I encountered in this body led me to Orthodoxy.

2) Non-Chalcedonians: I believe they have the Orthodox faith, but need to accept the extra 4 councils now that the Chalcedonians have explained their terminology to the Non-Chals. and vice-versa.  Then union could be achieved.

3) Nestorians: I believe they have grace BUT they are a very marginal group.  They recently renounced any Nestorianism in 1994 with a joint declaration with Pope John Paul II but they still need to clarify their belief re: Mary the Theotokos.  Read their documents at www.cired.org to see what I believe is a sincere but still confused attempt to reconcile their Church with mainstream "apostolic" Chrisitianity.  One of their bishop says they are weighing accepting Ephesus as a basis for Church union, so we shall see...

Again, my opinons only.  I am interested to hear yours.  Please also feel free to point out any logical errors in my posts.

anastasios
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« Reply #66 on: August 18, 2003, 05:28:24 PM »

As far as bad actions, the JP does the same thing to the Antiochians.  Metro. Philip disallowed concelebration this year between Antiochians and the JP in the USA.  I do not believe that makes any of them schismatic--because they are still in union with other Orthodox Churches.  And Metro. Philip never calls the JP faithful schismatic to my knowledge (correct me if I am wrong).
anastasios

anastasios,

A good point but I think it is not a good comparison all-in-all.  This is a local issue (and correct me if I am wrong) but the JP is still in communion with the Patriarchate of Antioch; even if concelebration is disallowed in the USA.  What seems to be the most imortant is the connection of churches at the head, after all that is the true communion, that is where the commemoration of the other heads of churches takes places by the heads of the other churches.  

Tony
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« Reply #67 on: August 18, 2003, 05:41:41 PM »

Tony,

Just as part of the argument, do you believe the OCA was schismatic prior to 1971?

anastasios

anastasios,

In talking to someone else about this something interesting was mentioned.  

A difference between the "Metropolia" in the USA together with Evlogii in Europe and the ROCOR Synod is that both the Metropolia and Evlogii had real dioceses that remained intact.  In other words there were local churches under those administrations their lives just continued, inasmuch as possible given the circumstances, uninterrupted.

On the other hand, the ROCOR Synod formed in Serbia and proceeded to set up parishes and administrations where, in most if not all cases, they already existed.  It was merely not the life of the church continuing so much as it was the establishment of a new administration.  

I am not as well-informed about the history of the ROCOR Synod as I would like to be but I would like to ask, did ROCOR not seek communion with the EP and, for instance, Antioch, etc immediately?  If not, why not?

(Evlogii, for those who don't know, switched his jurisdiction from MP to EP.)

If ROCOR is not schismatic (as in your understanding) then what is it?  

TonyS
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« Reply #68 on: August 18, 2003, 06:04:38 PM »

ROCOR was in communion with most of "world Orthodoxy" at some point or another. A president who I'll leave unnamed once said "I didn't leave the Democratic party, the Democratic party left me". ROCOR could say the same thing about most of the Orthodox bodies and their orthodoxy.
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« Reply #69 on: August 18, 2003, 08:06:31 PM »

sinjinsmythe

Quote
"If God were suddenly condemned to live the life which he has inflicted on men, he would kill himself- Alexander Dumas"

Um, God did live as a human being, and he died for you. He came and showed the greatest amount of humility and condescension that could ever be possible, just so sinful Justin and Sinjin could have a chance at getting their lives together. He died so you wouldn't have to do foolish things like kill yourself in despair.
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« Reply #70 on: August 18, 2003, 11:52:12 PM »

Here is a link I would like you all to look at and comment on. It was sent to me by someone who took a look at this thread and thought I needed the information.

Is the info there reliable?

What do you think?

It is rather disturbing (if true).
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« Reply #71 on: August 19, 2003, 03:41:14 AM »

Most of the references to concelebration are untrue, at least as regards Eucharistic concelebration (I'm not sure about the reference to concelebration in the case of Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Teoctist of Romania, however: in the photo provided, both are vested in the Eucharistic vestments of their respective confessions, so more precise information is needed as to what was going on).  

Joint prayer, however, yes, I'm afraid that part is true.  And we seem to see more and more of that.  Some parishioners at my rather conservative and traditionalist OCA church are very upset by what they see as increasing movements toward unity on the part of the Vatican and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as well as by the local Greek Orthodox Diocese of Boston (GOA) and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, especially in the issuance of "Joint" Pastoral Letters read in the churches of both dioceses on certain occasions (notably signed by Greek +Metropolitan METHODIOS and the now resigned and ill-famed Cardinal Bernard Law).

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« Reply #72 on: August 19, 2003, 12:03:49 PM »

Most of the references to concelebration are untrue, at least as regards Eucharistic concelebration (I'm not sure about the reference to concelebration in the case of Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Teoctist of Romania, however: in the photo provided, both are vested in the Eucharistic vestments of their respective confessions, so more precise information is needed as to what was going on).  

Hypo-Ortho

Hypo,
I, too, do not know fully about the 1999 "concelebration"; however, the recent 'concelebration' in Rome with Pope JPII and Patriarch Teoctist was not a FULL celebration. The Pope did recite the Creed without the Filioque, but the Patriarch pointedly refused to participate in the Consecration - reportedly for doctrinal reasons. Splitting ecumenical hairs? Perhaps, but I for one would not support anything further, if this even.
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« Reply #73 on: August 19, 2003, 01:38:21 PM »

Demetri has the right idea re: concelebrations.  The concelebrations, if they can be called that, are concelebrations of the first part of the Liturgy, the Liturgy of the Word (I am speaking here of instances where certain Orthodox prelates have "concelebrated" with the Pope in a Roman Mass...I am unaware of instances of this happening in the context of an Orthodox Liturgy).  After this, there is no "concelebration".  I am of the opinion that this is highly inappropriate and probably scandalous, although it could be worse.

As for Hypo's observation that in one of the pictures, the Pope and a Patriarch are wearing vestments they would wear in order to celebrate the Eucharist, I think this is inaccurate.  I saw that picture, and, if I'm not mistaken, the Pope is not wearing a chasuble, but a cope, which would only be worn during a Mass if NOT (con)celebrating.
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« Reply #74 on: August 19, 2003, 03:53:06 PM »

As for Hypo's observation that in one of the pictures, the Pope and a Patriarch are wearing vestments they would wear in order to celebrate the Eucharist, I think this is inaccurate.  I saw that picture, and, if I'm not mistaken, the Pope is not wearing a chasuble, but a cope, which would only be worn during a Mass if NOT (con)celebrating.    

One wears a miter and can wear a cope during certain parts of the eucharist but would take off the miter and cope (and possibly don a chasuble) before the Sursum Corda. I'm guessing that this picture was taken at the very beginning of the service(s).

I commented on the page elsewhere in the forum but I think some comments need elaboration here. This isn't really about doctrine; it's about a sort of ritual purity. The reality, in this century, is that the various Christian sects and denominations need each other and are not the separable things that a cranky Orthodoxy wants to make of them. We haven't been in the nice tidy Byzantine Empire where everyone is a Christian, not for a thousand years. Those outside of Christianity do not necessarily see even rather coarse distinctions among us, much less the kind of separation that ROAC is pushing. For instance, the Roman Catholics and the Anglicans observe the Martyrs of Nagasaki on the same date because the Martyrs were a mixed group of Catholics and Anglicans. The Japanese didn't care about their denominations or who the True Church was.

ROAC may be orthodox on the inside, but its central principle, judging from the website, is separation, and thus schism.
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« Reply #75 on: August 19, 2003, 10:05:38 PM »

Thanks, everyone, for your assessments.

When a web site seems to see masonic conspiracies everywhere, I get a little suspicious.

I was expecting at any time to see a picture of the EP on the Grassy Knoll.
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« Reply #76 on: August 20, 2003, 12:51:12 PM »

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If ROCOR is not schismatic (as in your understanding) then what is it?

Do you think demands from Moscow that the Churches of the Russian diaspora swear fealty to the Soviet government, and join with the MP in considering the "joys and sorrows" of the communist bosses to be those of the Russian Orthodox faithful to be reasonable requests?  Quite frankly, they may as well have asked the Russian Orthodox faithful to offer a pinch of incence at Lenin's feet.

Separation according to the Fathers is not only excusable, but in fact commendable when a faction has formed (irregardless of size or worldly prestige) that has betrayed the Church of Christ.  If ROCOR's reasons for cutting off communication with the MP was not justifiable (the same can be asked of the Catacomb Church as well), then what exactly were the provisions envisioned by the Fathers meant to address?  IOW, just how bad does it have to get?  Censing copies of the "Communist Manifesto" during the Divine Liturgy?

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« Reply #77 on: August 20, 2003, 12:57:46 PM »

Hypo,

Quote
Most of the references to concelebration are untrue, at least as regards Eucharistic concelebration (I'm not sure about the reference to concelebration in the case of Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Teoctist of Romania, however: in the photo provided, both are vested in the Eucharistic vestments of their respective confessions, so more precise information is needed as to what was going on).

This is a doctrinaire difference which makes no difference at all, since joint celebration of liturgical services is not limited to "the liturgy of the eucharist" - this is the error of understanding the Church's "liturgy" to mean only the Eucharistic Sacrifice, which is incorrect.  All public acts of worship, from the rites surrounding Baptism and Marriage, public offices like the various liturgical hours, to the various rites involved in the celebration of the Eucharist, are all "liturgy", and thus the ecumenists have most certainly co-liturgized with Roman Catholics and Monphysites - not to mention that many cases of outright concelebration of the Holy Sacrifice in the Altar have occured without any kind of censor (like in the U.S. with "Orthodox" clergy concelebrating entire liturgies with Byzantine Catholics.)

Quote
Joint prayer, however, yes, I'm afraid that part is true.  And we seem to see more and more of that.  Some parishioners at my rather conservative and traditionalist OCA church are very upset by what they see as increasing movements toward unity on the part of the Vatican and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as well as by the local Greek Orthodox Diocese of Boston (GOA) and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, especially in the issuance of "Joint" Pastoral Letters read in the churches of both dioceses on certain occasions (notably signed by Greek +Metropolitan METHODIOS and the now resigned and ill-famed Cardinal Bernard Law).

You concede this...but what of it?  Doesn't what you've just written here vindicate the "fanatics" (not that you've called them such, but many others do.)

Seraphim
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« Reply #78 on: August 20, 2003, 01:20:12 PM »

SeraphimReeves<<
You concede this...but what of it?  Doesn't what you've just written here vindicate the "fanatics" (not that you've called them such, but many others do.)>>

In the  face of the blatant "concelebrations" contrary to all the Holy Canons (and given the excellent and precise definition of "concelebration" that you give above, Sepaphim), the ones you refer to as "fanatics" are indeed vindicated, IMHO.  I too am personally aware of illicit "concelebrations" between Byzantine Catholic and Orthodox clergy, btw.  Thank God we now have a traditionalist priest in my OCA parish--the previous one had already adopted some BC liturgical practices in lieu of Orthodox ones!

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« Reply #79 on: August 20, 2003, 01:20:16 PM »

Keble,

Quote
I commented on the page elsewhere in the forum but I think some comments need elaboration here. This isn't really about doctrine; it's about a sort of ritual purity. The reality, in this century, is that the various Christian sects and denominations need each other and are not the separable things that a cranky Orthodoxy wants to make of them.

While I don't expect a branch-theorist to sympathize with Orthodox ecclessiological teachings, you could at least not persist in misrepresenting them.

This is not about a pharisaical party line, or delusional desire for the "good old days".  The Orthodox confessors of these latter days simply hold to the consistant position that....

- God is truth, thus His grace and truth go hand in hand.

- The Church is the body of Christ the God-Man, and as such is one.

- This one Church, cannot obviously be of two minds.

- When the Church prays in the Name of Christ (liturgy), She is praying as His members.  Thus, the inappropriatness of the members of Christ joining with non-members - particularly the crime against charity which occurs, since such acts heavily imply (and often state outright) that these persons are in fact members of Christ, which from an Orthodox position, they are not.

If you have problems with this consistant, reasonable "exclusivity" of the Catholic Church of our Lord, then fight not the "schismatic" (rich, coming from an Anglican) Orthodox confessors of our day, but take the battle up with history, in particular the patrimony which in some respects still remains (perhaps as a dead letter, but it's still there) in your own tradition.  Why did the early Christians forbid even catechumen from staying through the entire Divine Liturgy?  Why were even certain doctrines not even explained thoroughly until the very last moments before they received Holy Baptism?  Why the Apostolic Canons forbidding joint prayer, let alone co-liturgizing?  All of these ancient aspects of Christian praxis indicate a basic assumption about the Church of Christ, and Her exclusivity - welcoming all to Her ("Catholic" as in "the Church for everyone"), but clearly understanding Herself to be at the same time separate (which is the underlying idea behind the word "holiness" - separated apart from what is common and brought near unto God.)

Quote
We haven't been in the nice tidy Byzantine Empire where everyone is a Christian, not for a thousand years.

Exactly, which means that in a certain respect the more "open" practice of Orthodox rites and doctrinal explination may itself be what is a bit "out of time", since such an openess was due to the Christianization of Romania, and the latter existance of the Church in lands which had by in large (and even officially) converted to the true faith.

Thus, the spectacle of "Orthodox" heirarchs and clergy signing interconfessional statements and co-liturgizing with heretics (and even involving themselves in prayer services involving infidels and pagans) is even more out of place, given our times, not less so.

Quote
Those outside of Christianity do not necessarily see even rather coarse distinctions among us, much less the kind of separation that ROAC is pushing.

Those "outside" are indeed scandalized by the existance of schisms and heretical sects - but it is those who are separated from the Body of Christ and falsely act in His Name who are to blame for this sad situation.  One can also speculate (though it changes little) about why providence has allowed for such a situation.

Quote
For instance, the Roman Catholics and the Anglicans observe the Martyrs of Nagasaki on the same date because the Martyrs were a mixed group of Catholics and Anglicans. The Japanese didn't care about their denominations or who the True Church was.

Ok....

Quote
ROAC may be orthodox on the inside, but its central principle, judging from the website, is separation, and thus schism.

Though you probably did not mean it this way, being "separate", yet (paradoxically perhaps) still being in the world ("in the world but not of it") is at the heart of authentic Christianity - dying while still walking, so as to be alive in Christ.  The various practices of the early Church, and explicit canonical penalties imposed not only against heretics, but those who have communion with them, make it quite apparent that this sometimes uncomfortable "exclusiveness" is not new, the fantasy of puritanical fanatics.

What the "traditionalists" are doing is not, objectively (from a true, Orthodox paradigm at least) "fanatical" - rather it is the majority that is the problem, by becoming lukewarm and indifferent to questions of truth.  In short, it's not the "fanatics" who have changed.

Seraphim
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« Reply #80 on: August 20, 2003, 04:01:41 PM »

While I don't expect a branch-theorist to sympathize with Orthodox ecclessiological teachings, you could at least not persist in misrepresenting them.

I don't think you can accurately accuse me of misrepresentation simply because my analysis of the situation is not in line with yours. Since we seem to be persuing this argument on two separate threads, it seems unnecessary to repeat every last remark I make in the other line. However, it seems problematic at best for a separatist group to lay claim to "Orthodox ecclessiology", since the mainline Orthodox groups could just as well lay claim to it too. Who am I supposed to believe? I am left to my own resources to judge whose claim is more reasonable.

Quote
The Orthodox confessors of these latter days simply hold to the consistant position that....

- God is truth, thus His grace and truth go hand in hand.

- The Church is the body of Christ the God-Man, and as such is one.

- This one Church, cannot obviously be of two minds.

- When the Church prays in the Name of Christ (liturgy), She is praying as His members.  Thus, the inappropriatness of the members of Christ joining with non-members - particularly the crime against charity which occurs, since such acts heavily imply (and often state outright) that these persons are in fact members of Christ, which from an Orthodox position, they are not.

Leaving aside my personal differences with some of these points, it is the very length of the last paragraph which betrays you. This is not a principle; it is a line of reasoning.

If "where the bishop is, there is the church", then is the mind of the bishop the Mind of the Church? It certainly cannot be, and as I understand it Orthodoxy would specifically deny that this is so. The mind of the church has to be expressed some other way, and I am given to understand that it is expressed in a consensus across the ages.

Acts cannot "state outright". Maybe they "imply", but since I'm feeling a bit cranky about this I going to stick to the assertion that they are, in this case, merely the subject of your inferences. What's worse is that you are treating this as if it were as serious as denying the Creed. But it isn't. It's not a point of theology, but of discipline. And it may well be the mind of the church that ecumenical acts are acceptable within certain limits, in this age.

Which brings us back to the schism problem. One would expect that such a dispute would be settled the old-fashioned Orthodox way: get the bishops together and let them work it out. Instead a few bishops have passed judgement on the rest; the mind of these bishops have become the mind of the church, in their eyes. They have refused the discipline of having to convince the rest of the church.

Quote
If you have problems with this consistant, reasonable "exclusivity" of the Catholic Church of our Lord, then fight not the "schismatic" (rich, coming from an Anglican) Orthodox confessors of our day(...)

If I am going to look at "Orthodox confessors", I am going to look at all of Orthodoxy. That would be the Anglican way to do it.

Quote
(...) but take the battle up with history, in particular the patrimony which in some respects still remains (perhaps as a dead letter, but it's still there) in your own tradition.  Why did the early Christians forbid even catechumen from staying through the entire Divine Liturgy?  Why were even certain doctrines not even explained thoroughly until the very last moments before they received Holy Baptism?

Since these are dead issues, what does it matter? Actually, I'll take it a step further. Again, these are discipline issues, and since the practice has changed, the implication is right there that discipline is subject to such change. So the fact that these practices are no longer carried out is evidence against your thesis.

Quote
Why the Apostolic Canons forbidding joint prayer, let alone co-liturgizing?

Well, that's not precisely what they say, never mind that they are a disputed document anyway. They do not precisely cover the modern situation of division. This is an important point because they are plainly written to the situation of a post-Nicene but definitely Byzantine church, a church which enjoys the aegis of the state and which is still hurting from the Arian and Christological controversies (and maybe even iconoclasm).

The point is that these prohibitions don't arise out of nowhere, and they aren't first principles. They are laws written to the situation, and at the time thought to be of general application. Depicting them as timeless rules is exactly the kind of juridical thinking that the West is oft accused of!

That's precisely why I assert that some attempt at council has to be made.

Quote
Thus, the spectacle of "Orthodox" heirarchs and clergy signing interconfessional statements and co-liturgizing with heretics (and even involving themselves in prayer services involving infidels and pagans) is even more out of place, given our times, not less so.

And now we're even a step further away. This isn't the mind of the church. This is your mind. If the counsel of the whole church is required, then of what use is an argument from you? There's no possible way for you to find this argument in the fathers, after all, precisely because they are pre-modern. If it is invalid for me to argue with bishops, it is ever so more invalid for you.

Quote
Quote
Those outside of Christianity do not necessarily see even rather coarse distinctions among us, much less the kind of separation that ROAC is pushing.

Those "outside" are indeed scandalized by the existance of schisms and heretical sects - but it is those who are separated from the Body of Christ and falsely act in His Name who are to blame for this sad situation.

OK, now you've set Jesus against you. I can quote chapter and verse from Jesus himself about those using his name "falsely", and it isn't going to support this statement. Nobody should ever be declaring his side to be without sin.

Quote
Quote
For instance, the Roman Catholics and the Anglicans observe the Martyrs of Nagasaki on the same date because the Martyrs were a mixed group of Catholics and Anglicans. The Japanese didn't care about their denominations or who the True Church was.

Ok....

My wife has pointed out to me that I have the wrong martyrs-- I should have referred to the Martyrs of Uganda.
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« Reply #81 on: August 20, 2003, 04:13:48 PM »

What say you, kukla?
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« Reply #82 on: August 20, 2003, 04:35:30 PM »

What say you, kukla?

And let's not leave out fran and ollie!   Grin

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« Reply #83 on: August 21, 2003, 12:09:33 AM »

Quote
If ROCOR is not schismatic (as in your understanding) then what is it?

Do you think demands from Moscow that the Churches of the Russian diaspora swear fealty to the Soviet government, and join with the MP in considering the "joys and sorrows" of the communist bosses to be those of the Russian Orthodox faithful to be reasonable requests?  Quite frankly, they may as well have asked the Russian Orthodox faithful to offer a pinch of incence at Lenin's feet.

Separation according to the Fathers is not only excusable, but in fact commendable when a faction has formed (irregardless of size or worldly prestige) that has betrayed the Church of Christ.  If ROCOR's reasons for cutting off communication with the MP was not justifiable (the same can be asked of the Catacomb Church as well), then what exactly were the provisions envisioned by the Fathers meant to address?  IOW, just how bad does it have to get?  Censing copies of the "Communist Manifesto" during the Divine Liturgy?

Seraphim


"The Metropolia" and EVLOGII separated, I am not questioning that.  The separation from the Communist State is not the point.  What about the rest of the Orthodox world?
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« Reply #84 on: August 21, 2003, 10:47:05 AM »

Quote
I don't think you can accurately accuse me of misrepresentation simply because my analysis of the situation is not in line with yours. Since we seem to be persuing this argument on two separate threads, it seems unnecessary to repeat every last remark I make in the other line. However, it seems problematic at best for a separatist group to lay claim to "Orthodox ecclessiology", since the mainline Orthodox groups could just as well lay claim to it too. Who am I supposed to believe? I am left to my own resources to judge whose claim is more reasonable.

On that much, I can agree with you - two parties claiming to be "Orthodox" making contradictory claims.  That is a scandal.  It is, sadly, nothing new - just as scandalous (if not more so) is the sight of various radically differing parties all claiming to be "Orthodox" in their own divergent ways (various Protestant denominations, Roman Catholicism, Non-Chalcedonians, Mormons, etc.)  And of course, beyond this, the scandal of darkened mankind filled with even more radically divergent sects (Islam in it's various flavours, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.)

Not a new problem sadly, but perhaps more of a problem than ever before.  I suppose this brings up the whole question of "knowing" which has been at the crux of the western philosophical tradition for millenia.  And to that, I have no glib answers, save the conviction that God is the knower of men's hearts, and as St.Philaret pointed out, that the only sin which the Scriptures teach puts a man totally beyond the pale of redemption and into the hands of perdition is the "sin against the Holy Spirit." (St.Philaret, btw, was the reigning heirarch of ROCOR when it issued it's anathema against ecumenism.)

Quote
Leaving aside my personal differences with some of these points, it is the very length of the last paragraph which betrays you. This is not a principle; it is a line of reasoning.

Fair enough - a line of reasoning founded upon an underlying principle, which I obviously did not explain as simply and economically as I should have.

St.Paul states this principle much better (and simply) than I ever could...

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2nd Corinthians 6:14-18)

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If "where the bishop is, there is the church", then is the mind of the bishop the Mind of the Church? It certainly cannot be, and as I understand it Orthodoxy would specifically deny that this is so. The mind of the church has to be expressed some other way, and I am given to understand that it is expressed in a consensus across the ages.

Precisely - across the ages; the democracy of the Saints, and not the oligharchy of the living over the Saints of all ages (to borrow a sentiment from Chesterton regarding the value of tradition in all social institutions, including religion.)

It is precisely on this basis that the ecumenists are condemned.  There is no patristic or canonical argument for their antics.

Quote
What's worse is that you are treating this as if it were as serious as denying the Creed. But it isn't. It's not a point of theology, but of discipline. And it may well be the mind of the church that ecumenical acts are acceptable within certain limits, in this age.

a) even if it were simply a matter of "discipline", the canons which are being violated are still in force as far as the Orthodox Church is concerned.

b) more importantly, this is a point of theology, since the canons in this situation are addressing an ecclessiological issue (which, the last time I checked, was an aspect of theology) - the issue being the identity of the Church of Christ, and the inseperable relationship between Orthodox doctrine and "Churchness".  Recognition of heretical rites is tantamount to a recognition of the groups which perform them.  From an Orthodox ecclessiological p.o.v. this is the only conclusion one can arrive at, since Orthodoxy rejects the idea that the sacraments are magical rites that can be properly "performed" by those who are not in fact members of Christ.  The sacraments are salvific, precisely because they are acts of Christ (done in and by His body, the Church.)  For example, while in emergencies the Church recognizes that a layman can baptize someone, (unlike Catholicism, for example) She does not believe someone who is not Orthodox, who is not a member of Christ, can baptize.

This is why the canons prohibiting joint prayers with heretics or recognition of their sacraments exist at all - they're the practical outgrowth of ecclessiological doctrine, not just some clannish attempt at being exclusive for it's own sake.

Quote
Which brings us back to the schism problem. One would expect that such a dispute would be settled the old-fashioned Orthodox way: get the bishops together and let them work it out.

You're labouring under the false idea that this has not been tried.

Quote
Instead a few bishops have passed judgement on the rest; the mind of these bishops have become the mind of the church, in their eyes. They have refused the discipline of having to convince the rest of the church.

15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.  (St.Matthew 16:15-17)

Sadly, not only individual layman, but Bishops (even those with arch-episcopal titles like "Metropolitan" or "Patriarch") have put themselves in a position to be admonished by their non-erring brethren - and sadly in our modern context, have refused their admonition.

The current crisis is of course not without historical precident  - I don't think anyone here would doubt that it was the resisting Bishops and faithful who refused to be in communion with the official "Arian" churches who were in the wrong.  In the long run, this situation too will have to be worked out on a "large" scale.  For the time being however, it is not simply excusable, but necessary to refuse fellowship with those who have either imbibed heresy, or who attempt to legitimize it by remaining in communion with it.

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If I am going to look at "Orthodox confessors", I am going to look at all of Orthodoxy. That would be the Anglican way to do it.

In which case, you'll have to look to the Fathers and Saints - not simply those posing as confessors in our day, but those of past ages.  Catholicity is not determined by majority vote in the moment, but consensus from Pentecost onward.  It is on this basis that the modern Orthodox confessors take the position that they do, not some sort of willy nilly phariseeism or sectarianism (which is how their stand is typically characterized.)

Quote
Since these are dead issues, what does it matter? Actually, I'll take it a step further. Again, these are discipline issues, and since the practice has changed, the implication is right there that discipline is subject to such change. So the fact that these practices are no longer carried out is evidence against your thesis.

You seem to have misunderstood me.  They're a dead letter in your confession, though I'm sure Anglican scholars are well aware of them.

As for your conclusions here, I'm at a loss for words.  If you cannot see what the basis was for these older practices (and why they changed as they did), I have nothing else to say to you on that matter.

Quote
Well, that's not precisely what they say, never mind that they are a disputed document anyway.

Not as far as Orthodoxy is concerned, which is what is important here.  My issue here is not with Anglicans or Roman Catholics doing what they do, but those who identify themselves as being "Orthodox" and inheritors of the Church's holy patrimony doing things like this.

Quote
do not precisely cover the modern situation of division.

That is so often said, but rarely justified.  They precisely cover our situation, since specific heresies are not identified, but the notion of heretical sects in general - and as far as Orthodoxy is concerned, the heterodox subscribe to heresies.

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This is an important point because they are plainly written to the situation of a post-Nicene but definitely Byzantine church, a church which enjoys the aegis of the state and which is still hurting from the Arian and Christological controversies (and maybe even iconoclasm).

Is this the best you can do?  Try and divine the motives of overly-emotional Byzantines?  How about they say what they say, and taking them on that level is the obvious way of receiving them?

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The point is that these prohibitions don't arise out of nowhere, and they aren't first principles.

I agree, they did not arise from nowhere, and in fact have been the policy of the Church since the Apostolic period (thus "Apostolic Canons").  This is precisely what I've been trying to point out to you, particularly in this post - they are the practical expression of Orthodox ecclessiological doctrine.

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They are laws written to the situation, and at the time thought to be of general application. Depicting them as timeless rules is exactly the kind of juridical thinking that the West is oft accused of!

I've rarely seen the west accused by anyone of being doggedly attached to "forms" of praxis (since it is typically western heterodox apologists who fault Orthodoxy for being so attached to outward expressions of ecclessiastical tradition), but perhaps that's because I don't get out much.

Some canons exist as matters of common sense and are context appropriate.  However others (such as those dealing with heresy, or that have an intimate relationship with doctrinal matters) are not reformable.  In this case, there is a disciplinary element and a dogmatic element - they're intertwined.  The canons regarding interconfessional prayer and co-liturgizing (as well as the recognition of heretical sacraments) exist, because of dogmatic convictions about the Church.  Besides, the canons themselves are still in effect (afa Orthodoxy is concerned.)  The new calendarists themselves do not even pretend to argue they're not in effect - they simply ignore them, or argue around them (but never have I heard even them argue that they're somehow "not in effect.")

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OK, now you've set Jesus against you. I can quote chapter and verse from Jesus himself about those using his name "falsely", and it isn't going to support this statement. Nobody should ever be declaring his side to be without sin.

a) Nobody said anything about anyone being "without sin."

b) You could only quote "chapter and verse" by bastardizing it's meaning.  Do you think Christ's care for those who sincerely labour outside of the Church extends to the sacreligious use of His Name, or to a justification of error (which elsewhere the Scriptures attribute to the devil)?  Or do you believe that at least implicit to Christ's correction of the Apostles on this matter, was the notion of "innocently ignorant" men (who are favourably disposed to the Lord) was the notion that they should end up in the communion of the Church?  Surely He didn't mean that their invocation of His Name was an end in itself, do you, or a pardoning of the demonic evil of heresy and schism?

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« Reply #85 on: August 21, 2003, 10:51:35 AM »

Tony,

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"The Metropolia" and EVLOGII separated, I am not questioning that.  The separation from the Communist State is not the point.  What about the rest of the Orthodox world?

One could ask of course why "world Orthodoxy" threw it's lot in with the Sergianists, and not the Russian diaspora (and the suffering Catacomb Church!)?  As many have rightly pointed out, it was not ROCOR which moved away from "world Orthodoxy" (whether this be understood in terms of fraternal relations/communion, or in terms of doctrine), but "world Orthodoxy" that abandoned ROCOR (whether because of their recognition of the Sergianist MP, or it's pursuit of various canonical and ecclessiological errors.)

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« Reply #86 on: August 21, 2003, 05:20:39 PM »

St.Paul states this principle much better (and simply) than I ever could...

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

If you would call us "unbelievers" and "infidels", then you speak falsely.

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If "where the bishop is, there is the church", then is the mind of the bishop the Mind of the Church? It certainly cannot be, and as I understand it Orthodoxy would specifically deny that this is so. The mind of the church has to be expressed some other way, and I am given to understand that it is expressed in a consensus across the ages.

Precisely - across the ages; the democracy of the Saints, and not the oligharchy of the living over the Saints of all ages (to borrow a sentiment from Chesterton regarding the value of tradition in all social institutions, including religion.)

It is precisely on this basis that the ecumenists are condemned.  There is no patristic or canonical argument for their antics.

But now you aren't aren't referring to a democracy, but a tyranny. Chesterton's "democracy" remark is quintessentially Anglican, and the point of such a democracy is that neither the past nor the present should hold a dictatorship over the other.

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What's worse is that you are treating this as if it were as serious as denying the Creed. But it isn't. It's not a point of theology, but of discipline. And it may well be the mind of the church that ecumenical acts are acceptable within certain limits, in this age.

a) even if it were simply a matter of "discipline", the canons which are being violated are still in force as far as the Orthodox Church is concerned.

b) more importantly, this is a point of theology, since the canons in this situation are addressing an ecclessiological issue (which, the last time I checked, was an aspect of theology) - the issue being the identity of the Church of Christ, and the inseperable relationship between Orthodox doctrine and "Churchness".

That's why it isn't a theological issue. The issue isn't the identity of the church; that can be taken as a given, acknowledging that other Christians hold to different theories. The issue with "ecumenism" is how the Orthodox doctrine of that identity should be realized in the conduct of its clergy and laity, with relationship to these other bodies.

This is a practice issue, and discipline issue-- not a theological issue. One can hold to the same doctrine about the Church and come to different conclusions about how one deals with the other Christian bodies.

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This is why the canons prohibiting joint prayers with heretics or recognition of their sacraments exist at all - they're the practical outgrowth of ecclessiological doctrine, not just some clannish attempt at being exclusive for it's own sake.

Ah, but those are two separate issues. The matter of the sacraments is not the same as the matter of prayers. The first is an obvious consequence of the ecclesiology, but to equate the second to the first is to run afoul even of scripture. The church cannot invalidate prayer; only God can. Therefore the reason for not praying with heretics cannot be the same as that for not recognizing their sacraments.

The real reason, as you admitted earlier, is the matter of appearing to give sanction to heretics. But this is not the same issue that it was in 450 AD. Indeed, the shoe is now on the other foot. You keep making references that liken Baptists to Buddhists, but the world can see that this is a false taxonomy. So now this sanction essentially puts you in the position of spreading slanderous claims about other Christian bodies.

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Which brings us back to the schism problem. One would expect that such a dispute would be settled the old-fashioned Orthodox way: get the bishops together and let them work it out.

You're labouring under the false idea that this has not been tried.

I don't know about "false idea". It's very hard to get an accurate picture of what actually transpired because every source I can find is so blantantly biased. But the impression I get this that things happened, and that various groups of bishops stood off at a difference and condemned them. The one point that shines through al of this is that Orthodoxy was prepared to deal with a state that was indifferent to it, or a state that was intertwined with it (for good or ill), but that it was totally unprepared for a state that attempted to destroy it as an institution. If the Russian church had been entirely wiped out (at least as a visible institution), then the appearance of ROCOR in the USA would still have been a problem. The Arian situation is not a precedent; indeed, the biggest problem I see is that, demanding some precedent, the Arians are pressed into service as an analogy even though the situations are quite dissimilar.

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I agree, they did not arise from nowhere, and in fact have been the policy of the Church since the Apostolic period (thus "Apostolic Canons").

Everyone realistically admits that the so-called Apostolic Canons are Post-Nicene. The East and the West cannot even agree as to how many there are!

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Some canons exist as matters of common sense and are context appropriate.  However others (such as those dealing with heresy, or that have an intimate relationship with doctrinal matters) are not reformable.  In this case, there is a disciplinary element and a dogmatic element - they're intertwined.

That is your assertion, but the continuing problem in all of this is that you are trying to claim to speak the Mind of the Church in a situation in which the difficulty is that there is a dispute in Orthodoxy. It's plain to me that they are not intertwined. Moreover, plenty of Orthodoxy agrees with me and disagrees with you.

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OK, now you've set Jesus against you. I can quote chapter and verse from Jesus himself about those using his name "falsely", and it isn't going to support this statement. Nobody should ever be declaring his side to be without sin.

a) Nobody said anything about anyone being "without sin."

I would say that you have.

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b) You could only quote "chapter and verse" by bastardizing it's meaning.  Do you think Christ's care for those who sincerely labour outside of the Church extends to the sacreligious use of His Name, or to a justification of error (which elsewhere the Scriptures attribute to the devil)?

But that's begging the question! Who gets to say what is sacrilege anyway-- you or God? I'm betting on God, not on you.
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« Reply #87 on: August 22, 2003, 11:39:16 PM »

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If you would call us "unbelievers" and "infidels", then you speak falsely.

Adherance to heresy is divine faith?  What exactly is unbelief in your opinion?  Arianism?  Monphysitism?  By logical extension, if heresy does not render one an "unbeliever", then no amount of error does - up to outright infidelity (Judaism, Islam, etc.)

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But now you aren't aren't referring to a democracy, but a tyranny. Chesterton's "democracy" remark is quintessentially Anglican,

It could be argued that it is precisely because of his manner of thought that he ended up leaving the Anglican church...

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and the point of such a democracy is that neither the past nor the present should hold a dictatorship over the other.

Here you introduce a very clever (and I hope unintentional) falsification of his thought - by falsely creating a parity/equality between "past" and "present."  As far as Chesterton was concerned, alteration of traditions (whether social or religious) required an incredible amount of justification, including a true understanding of just why those traditions were instituted in the first place (and whether or not the situation creating them still exists.)

If we are to say Chesterton was correct in such an outlook, then your arguments thus far are undermined - you've repeatedly thrown out (as if it were self evident) that our modern situation is somehow totally different from that which motivated the Apostolic Canons...yet you've failed to justify this in the least.

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That's why it isn't a theological issue. The issue isn't the identity of the church; that can be taken as a given, acknowledging that other Christians hold to different theories.

So you propose a divorce between doctrinal positions and praxis?

Besides, your whole objection thus far has been confusing.  If you're objecting purely on the basis of a branch-theorist, Anglican ecclessiological perspective, that's fine.  I disagree with you, but that should be no surprise.  However, it seems you're trying to debate Orthodoxy with me - and if this is the case, then you cannot fault me for not holding to Anglican ideas about the Church.

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The issue with "ecumenism" is how the Orthodox doctrine of that identity should be realized in the conduct of its clergy and laity, with relationship to these other bodies.

But what if the truth is that those other bodies are not real churches at all?  Fraternal prayer in such a situation would then be an excercise of of falsehood, as would any conversation or "joint statement" giving the impression that these bodies are in fact members of Christ.

While you may disagree as an Anglican with that position (and that I would understand - disagree with, but understand), if you're going to insist on arguing from an Orthodox p.o.v. (arguing which is the "real Orthodoxy"), then you're going to have to demonstrate how such acts are possible when there are canons, and an underlying theological content, which forbid this.

An interesting aside - if you want evidence that what you're attempting to argue for is not an Orthodox position, just look to this forum itself; even the folks involved with "mainstream Orthodox" juristictions know full well that the activities of the EP and the various "Orthodox" ecumenists are wrong.  The only thing that differentiates them from the "Russian sectarians" or whatever one wants to call them, is that they believe they can still maintain a relationship with such people (how they can rationalize this is up to them to explain.)

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This is a practice issue, and discipline issue-- not a theological issue. One can hold to the same doctrine about the Church and come to different conclusions about how one deals with the other Christian bodies.

The divorce between praxis and belief you're proposing is simply not tenable.  It would only be possible if Orthodoxy could admit the "branch-theory" ecclessiology; and simply put, it cannot.  Joint prayer as far as Orthodoxy is concerned, is the activity of brothers, sharing the same faith, for it is the activity of Christ's body - this applies even more strongly to public, liturgical acts.  There is an intimate link here (as I've explained several times now) between praxis and doctrine - the canons have a theological basis in this matter.  Simply denying it, does not make it "not so."

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Ah, but those are two separate issues. The matter of the sacraments is not the same as the matter of prayers.

Perhaps from a Latin minded perspective they're not, but even then I somehow doubt this.  The Holy Mysteries are prayers - intercourse between the Bride of Christ and the Almighty.  This is not a very obvious idea in post-schism Latin thought, since the sacraments were made into mechanistic acts whose validity has little to do with who is celebrating them.

In fact, it's precisely on this basis that the Church cannot recognize "valid" mysteries existing outside of the Church - as if God could be forced to descend upon an Altar, or the Holy Spirit can be compelled to give new birth through Baptismal waters!  This sounds like "hocus pocus", not Christianity.

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The first is an obvious consequence of the ecclesiology, but to equate the second to the first is to run afoul even of scripture. The church cannot invalidate prayer; only God can. Therefore the reason for not praying with heretics cannot be the same as that for not recognizing their sacraments.

You're making it very clear that you not only do not accept Orthodox teaching on the sacraments (which I can understand), but you do not even understand it.

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The real reason, as you admitted earlier, is the matter of appearing to give sanction to heretics. But this is not the same issue that it was in 450 AD. Indeed, the shoe is now on the other foot. You keep making references that liken Baptists to Buddhists, but the world can see that this is a false taxonomy. So now this sanction essentially puts you in the position of spreading slanderous claims about other Christian bodies.

Slanderous in whose opinion?  As far as I can see, no one's opinion who in fact matters, being that they are opinions not based on either justice or truth.

I'm not the first one to realize that there are "false gospels" and "false christs", even if they all nominally refer to the same supposed "Gospel" and "Christ."  That the Romans of the early Christian period were unable to differentiate Jews from Christians does not mean we should confound the two - and that "the world" (plunged in ignorance and darkness) cannot see the difference between heresy and truth, does not mean we should give any parity to them either.

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don't know about "false idea". It's very hard to get an accurate picture of what actually transpired because every source I can find is so blantantly biased. But the impression I get this that things happened, and that various groups of bishops stood off at a difference and condemned them. The one point that shines through al of this is that Orthodoxy was prepared to deal with a state that was indifferent to it, or a state that was intertwined with it (for good or ill), but that it was totally unprepared for a state that attempted to destroy it as an institution. If the Russian church had been entirely wiped out (at least as a visible institution), then the appearance of ROCOR in the USA would still have been a problem. The Arian situation is not a precedent; indeed, the biggest problem I see is that, demanding some precedent, the Arians are pressed into service as an analogy even though the situations are quite dissimilar.

It's hard to understand how you can fail to see any similarity (particularly when one factors the Catacomb Church into this)...

a) Moscow Patriarchate as state sponsored (in fact state established) Soviet organization - the only acceptable "church" for those living under Soviet dominion to involve themselves in.  Back in the day, the Arian heirarchs were the only ones to have legitimacy as far as the Throne was concerned.

b) Both situations had their martyrs, who refused to be involved with these false churches, and confessors who gathered both in underground Churches (separated from the erring state churches in both situations), or fled to lands beyond the reach of he wicked ruler's influence.

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Everyone realistically admits that the so-called Apostolic Canons are Post-Nicene.

Everyone?  Well, now you've met one exception (btw., I mean apostolic in their import, as representing Apostolic prohibitions - not that I believe the Apostles codified their disciplines in this type of canonical format, which is something imported from Roman law).

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The East and the West cannot even agree as to how many there are!

And Church Fathers disagreed as to the exact contents of the Holy Scriptures (a matter which has never formally been resolved, nor will it likely ever be) - does this mean we throw it all out?  Hardly.

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But that's begging the question! Who gets to say what is sacrilege anyway-- you or God? I'm betting on God, not on you.

So St.Paul was wrong to tell believers to have nothing to do with heretics and schismatics?  By stretching the meaning of our Lord's words, you're simply creating an unneccessary contradiction.

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« Reply #88 on: August 24, 2003, 10:50:33 PM »

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If you would call us "unbelievers" and "infidels", then you speak falsely.

Adherance to heresy is divine faith?  What exactly is unbelief in your opinion?  Arianism?  Monphysitism?  By logical extension, if heresy does not render one an "unbeliever", then no amount of error does - up to outright infidelity (Judaism, Islam, etc.)

Intellectual/spiritual error doesn't come in quantity, but in quality. Or category, if you prefer. So this isn't a logical extension, but rather, a fallacy. There is a fundamental likeness between Presbyterians and ROCORians which simultaneously separates both from Moslems; if your taxonomy of religion disagrees, then it is trying to deny the truth that is there for everyone to see. There may be a subtlety of difference between Baptists and JWs, but even then there is a neat and simple dividing line.

Obviously in the greater world of Christianity there are lots of differences of opinion as to which differences are crucial, which are less significant, and which can be brushed over. For me, personally, the dividing line between Arianism and the various Nicene theologies is the most fundamental within Christianity. Arguing about the rest is entirely too big a battle to fight here.

By contrast, it seems to me that you are trying to equate everything from OCA (and maybe even ROCOR) to Hinduism. There are such obvious differences here that I doubt whether such an attitude can be reconciled with actual caring about knowledge of all that is so sweepingly condemned. If you are going to argue about what to me appears to be a fairly fine distinction between the OCA and ROCOR and ROAC, then it behooves you to acknowledge the great gulfs of difference that lie amidst these other groups.

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But now you aren't aren't referring to a democracy, but a tyranny. Chesterton's "democracy" remark is quintessentially Anglican,

It could be argued that it is precisely because of his manner of thought that he ended up leaving the Anglican church...

Maybe, maybe not. That's a side issue.

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and the point of such a democracy is that neither the past nor the present should hold a dictatorship over the other.

Here you introduce a very clever (and I hope unintentional) falsification of his thought - by falsely creating a parity/equality between "past" and "present."  As far as Chesterton was concerned, alteration of traditions (whether social or religious) required an incredible amount of justification, including a true understanding of just why those traditions were instituted in the first place (and whether or not the situation creating them still exists.)

Well, for an exegesis of Chesterton, I will defer to my wife.  I cannot find our copy of Orthodoxy at the moment. But it seems to me that this reads more as your opinion than as Chesterton's, and at any rate Lewis says much the same thing in The Abolition of Man from an inarguably Anglican viewpoint.

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If we are to say Chesterton was correct in such an outlook, then your arguments thus far are undermined - you've repeatedly thrown out (as if it were self evident) that our modern situation is somehow totally different from that which motivated the Apostolic Canons...yet you've failed to justify this in the least.

Well, it is not for me to justify it, after all-- that is the work of the Orthodox bishops. (Also, the word "totally" is excessive. "Sufficiently" would be the accurate word.)

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That's why it isn't a theological issue. The issue isn't the identity of the church; that can be taken as a given, acknowledging that other Christians hold to different theories.

So you propose a divorce between doctrinal positions and praxis?

No. I don't even propose a distinction. It is unnecessary to do so, because the distinction already exists-- even in Paul to whom you refer so often.

One can find, even in the canons, a certain casuistry of praxis. The whole Seeing Eye Dog Controversy balanced on a passage from the canons of Trullo that established a decidedly casuistrist principle. What inevitably struck me about the controversy was that the most dogged defenders of True Orthodoxy inevitably argued against the sense of the canon.

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The issue with "ecumenism" is how the Orthodox doctrine of that identity should be realized in the conduct of its clergy and laity, with relationship to these other bodies.

But what if the truth is that those other bodies are not real churches at all?

Well, they are churches, insofar as the English language is concerned. The question is rather whether they embody The Church-- and then the degree to which this is important.

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Fraternal prayer in such a situation would then be an excercise of of falsehood, as would any conversation or "joint statement" giving the impression that these bodies are in fact members of Christ.

This is where we keep coming back to this same problem. You impute a meaning to this; but the act need not intend this meaning. I am being led to the conclusion that you do so impute to justify the exclusion of the OCA and other less hardline Orthodox churches.

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if you're going to insist on arguing from an Orthodox p.o.v. (arguing which is the "real Orthodoxy"), then you're going to have to demonstrate how such acts are possible when there are canons, and an underlying theological content, which forbid this.

I think not. Given that the OCA and other Orthodox bodies express a difference with this opinion, it seems to me that it is up to you to demonstrate that they are wrong. For my part, it seems to me that they get an essential aspect of the Christian message right that those whom you push as their replacement have fundamentally wrong. It is not something that I can express in a sentence, or even a reasonably short paragraph.

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An interesting aside - if you want evidence that what you're attempting to argue for is not an Orthodox position, just look to this forum itself; even the folks involved with "mainstream Orthodox" juristictions know full well that the activities of the EP and the various "Orthodox" ecumenists are wrong.

I think you are misrepresenting them-- the fact that this argument is now being sustained largely by you and Paradosis (and that Linus is astonishingly lining up mostly on my side of this) is fair evidence. It seems to me that some of these activities are condemned and some are not, and that there is a great deal of confusion and allegation going around to confound the issue, to the point where one cannot even trust the evidence of a photograph at an event that surely did take place.

It comes down to this: ROCA and its various sister septs have become exactly as fractious as the Amish. To an outsider, the relationships of these groups are hugely confused, and the true differences are obscure. The one thing that stands out is the emphasis on doing this dividing, not to mention the moral machismo of belonging to a more demanding and purer sect than the rest. An outsider has to question whether these divisions ought to exist, even within the context of Orthodoxy alone.

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It would only be possible if Orthodoxy could admit the "branch-theory" ecclessiology; and simply put, it cannot.  Joint prayer as far as Orthodoxy is concerned, is the activity of brothers, sharing the same faith, for it is the activity of Christ's body - this applies even more strongly to public, liturgical acts.

And who is your neighbor, anyhow??

Again, your standing to explain what Orthodoxy holds is insufficient. If The OCA and GOA and Antiochian bishops (not to mention the EP himself) explain Orthodoxy different from you, then what?

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The Holy Mysteries are prayers - intercourse between the Bride of Christ and the Almighty.  This is not a very obvious idea in post-schism Latin thought, since the sacraments were made into mechanistic acts whose validity has little to do with who is celebrating them.

Oh, nonsense. It's bad enough to have you telling me that the Orthodox bishops have their own doctrine wrong, but this is so utterly off the mark about Western theology as to be laughable.

Skipping way ahead (his is getting rather repetitive):

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But that's begging the question! Who gets to say what is sacrilege anyway-- you or God? I'm betting on God, not on you.

So St.Paul was wrong to tell believers to have nothing to do with heretics and schismatics?  By stretching the meaning of our Lord's words, you're simply creating an unneccessary contradiction.

What it seems to me personally is that this is the kind of scripture reading that fundamentalists get criticised for making.
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« Reply #89 on: August 28, 2003, 11:10:47 AM »

Keble,

Sorry for the delay getting back to you.  The last few days have been quite busy/tiring (I only had time to take a peek here.)

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Intellectual/spiritual error doesn't come in quantity, but in quality. Or category, if you prefer. So this isn't a logical extension, but rather, a fallacy. There is a fundamental likeness between Presbyterians and ROCORians which simultaneously separates both from Moslems; if your taxonomy of religion disagrees, then it is trying to deny the truth that is there for everyone to see. There may be a subtlety of difference between Baptists and JWs, but even then there is a neat and simple dividing line.

Of course, this is according to you.  Fair enough, since the same can be said of my own take on this.

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Obviously in the greater world of Christianity there are lots of differences of opinion as to which differences are crucial, which are less significant, and which can be brushed over. For me, personally, the dividing line between Arianism and the various Nicene theologies is the most fundamental within Christianity. Arguing about the rest is entirely too big a battle to fight here.

I agree there is a question of "degrees".  However, I think more than the question of the Lord Jesus' Deity qualifies as "fundamental".  There are a whole host of other teachings which have a profound effect upon one's understanding of Christianity - I'd submit that they are so profound, that their presence or absense can radically alter what one even understands Christianity to basically be about.  In this regard, I'd say that Orthodoxy and say, American style "McChristianity", have about as much in common as Orthodoxy and Buddhism (actually, in alot of ways, the various Buddhist sects are closer to the truth - it's mostly  only the throwing around of Biblical factoids and the name of our Blessed Lord which cause Orthodoxy and various Protestant heresies to be thrown into the same section of comparative religious texts.)

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Well, for an exegesis of Chesterton, I will defer to my wife.  I cannot find our copy of Orthodoxy at the moment. But it seems to me that this reads more as your opinion than as Chesterton's, and at any rate Lewis says much the same thing in The Abolition of Man from an inarguably Anglican viewpoint.

I've heard some argue that Lewis could very well have gone down the road of Chesterton and other Anglicans of this vein, and have ended up a Roman Catholic.  Irregardless, Chesterton (and Lewis') sentiment here is true, for it is an echo of what the Church of Christ has always believed to be true of Tradition (it's catholicity.)  I just happen to think it's a very apt way of framing the question (and that, perhaps, can be said to be particularly "Anglican", or at least that "catholic tending" strain of Anglicanism that Chesterton and Lewis came from.)

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Well, they are churches, insofar as the English language is concerned. The question is rather whether they embody The Church-- and then the degree to which this is important.

This is precisely where the teaching of the Church (and it is reflected in the canons) is coming at odds with modern innovation.

It is true that sects and schisms can have "ecclessial" elements - Orthodox rituals to varying extents, and correct doctrines on various subjects.  But this is much different than the idea of them being "THE Church", in the sense of being Christ's Body.  If anything, the Fathers spoke quite negatively of those outside of the Church possessing those "ecclessial" elements (viewing it as a form of theft, possessing things which they had to right to.)

While the more "primitive" view is that heretical mysteries are "invalid" (are not grace bearing, for they are not acts of the Church, even if they are correct "forms" - they are forms without content), and this is most often associated with Orthodox Christianity (though nowdays, only with "Old Calendarist" or "traditionalist" Orthodoxy...which, in my humble opinion is the only true "form").  HOWEVER, what is very interesting is that this view is not some unique, Byzantine/Oriental peculiarity, since it was held by the Latins even after they had broken from the Orthodox Church, though in a modified form.

For example, in the Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas teachings a form of this patristic doctrine - the only thing that's changed is the introduction of the idea of some sacraments having permanent "characters", and being very specific as to what that means (though even this is not too much of a stretch beyond the Orthodox position - though I think it's quite clear that Orthodoxy would disagree on the issue of Chrismation, and also that heretics can even leave a "character" with their rites).  For example, while he believes that a schismatic mass is "valid" (un-Orthodox idea), he doesn't believe schismatics and heretics can benefit from such rites (do not receive grace from the oblation, nor grace from communion.)

Similarly, some traditionalist Roman Catholics to this day hold to the old Latin view that while a heretical baptism (say, a Lutheran one) may be "valid", for it to be salvific, repentence and confession of the Latin doctrine is necessary - otherwise, it is as an impenitently received baptism (character is imposed, but no infusion of grace.)

Thus, these ideas I'm expressing here regarding Orthodox ecclessiology and teaching of the sacraments is not some fringe, whacked out sectarian nonsense - it's simply that everyone else has perverted their doctrines on these matters, to facilitate their increasingly "inclusive" ideas about "the church."

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This is where we keep coming back to this same problem. You impute a meaning to this; but the act need not intend this meaning. I am being led to the conclusion that you do so impute to justify the exclusion of the OCA and other less hardline Orthodox churches.

Some relevent Canons (at least as far as Orthodoxy is concerned), from the Apostolic Canons

Canon XLV.

Let a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, who has only prayed with heretics, be excommunicated: but if he has permitted them to perform any clerical office, let him be deposed.

(Comment: Do the ecumenists do this?)

Canon XLVI.

We ordain that a bishop, or presbyter, who has admitted the baptism or sacrifice of heretics, be deposed. For what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what part hath a believer with an infidel?

(Comment: Do the ecumenists do this?  Btw., how do you not understand this canon to have doctrinal import?)

Canon XLVII.

Let a bishop or presbyter who shall baptize again one who has rightly received baptism, or who shall not baptize one who has been polluted by the ungodly, be deposed, as despising the cross and death of the Lord, and not making a distinction between the true priests and the false.

(Comment: Same as the above.)

These three canons have obvious doctrinal import; in fact, one even explicitly brings up the passage from St.Paul I cited earlier.  One can reject the doctrine underlying these canons, but one cannot pretend that such a rejection is an acceptable Orthodox opinion.

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I think not. Given that the OCA and other Orthodox bodies express a difference with this opinion, it seems to me that it is up to you to demonstrate that they are wrong.

I just have.

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For my part, it seems to me that they get an essential aspect of the Christian message right that those whom you push as their replacement have fundamentally wrong.

You're welcome to your opinin - it's just not an Orthodox one; and that's been my whole point all along.

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It comes down to this: ROCA and its various sister septs have become exactly as fractious as the Amish. To an outsider, the relationships of these groups are hugely confused, and the true differences are obscure.

I'll grant the "confusion" part.  It is a scandal.

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The one thing that stands out is the emphasis on doing this dividing, not to mention the moral machismo of belonging to a more demanding and purer sect than the rest. An outsider has to question whether these divisions ought to exist, even within the context of Orthodoxy alone.

Well, I am not entirely sure where you think the "line in the sand" is to be drawn.  My point is simply that as far as the canons and the Fathers who drafted them were concerned, that "line" borders a realm of thought which is far more exclusive than you'd perhaps like it to be... your attribution of moral failings to this position is for me, neither here nor there.

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Again, your standing to explain what Orthodoxy holds is insufficient. If The OCA and GOA and Antiochian bishops (not to mention the EP himself) explain Orthodoxy different from you, then what?

I'm sure more than one cynical (and understandbly confused/scandalized) pagan asked the same thing while witnessing any one of the various Christological heresies during the early Christian period - this unfortunate scandal which heretics create, of course didn't change the fact that it was the Orthodox party that was correct, no matter how powerful and influential the nominally "catholic" and "orthodox" heretics had become.

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Oh, nonsense. It's bad enough to have you telling me that the Orthodox bishops have their own doctrine wrong, but this is so utterly off the mark about Western theology as to be laughable.

Actually, that's the problem - these "Orthodox" bishops have their own doctrine quite correct; problem is, it's not Orthodox. Sad

As for my "laughable" take on latin sacramental teaching, I'd appreciate a corrective; either from you, or someone else.  It should be quite easy, if what I've said is so obviously foolish.

As of this time, I do not see how you can make this remark, not in the least, since the Latins themselves teach that so long as "valid apostolic succession" is in tact (understood to be the proper laying on of hands by the proper person, irregardless of his beliefs or ecclessial standing), the persons "ordained" by said "valid bishop" have the ability to transform bread and wine into the precious Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  How is that not teaching a mechanistic doctrine of the sacraments, as if they were hermetic rites that, if properly concocted with the right ingredients, will render a certain result?  As if anyone can make God do anything, or successfully kidnap His Holy Mysteries, by imitating the outward particulars of them in their schism?

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Skipping way ahead (his is getting rather repetitive)

Oh no, I'm being spoken of in the third person.  I feel so terribly dismissed. Smiley

Seraphim
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