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Author Topic: EO and OO Claims to Unbroken Succession to Antioch and Alexandria  (Read 3281 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: October 31, 2008, 03:22:53 AM »

I've been thinking more about this...

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How can the Orthodox claim to have unbroken succession in regards to the Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria? The original holders to them are the Syriac and Coptic Orthodox Churches, respectively.

Is it possible that both can claim unbroken succession? I don't know the history of the Patriarchates well enough to say for sure, but it's a possibility.

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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2008, 05:18:00 AM »

I've been thinking more about this...

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How can the Orthodox claim to have unbroken succession in regards to the Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria? The original holders to them are the Syriac and Coptic Orthodox Churches, respectively.


Is it possible that both can claim unbroken succession? I don't know the history of the Patriarchates well enough to say for sure, but it's a possibility.
Of course it is possible for both to claim unbroken succession and draw a pretty unbroken chain, but that still begs the "valid" issue vis-a-vis 'communion'.

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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2008, 08:42:32 PM »

"How can the Orthodox claim to have unbroken succession in regards to the Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria? The original holders to them are the Syriac and Coptic Orthodox Churches, respectively."

Actually what happened in those Patriarchates was the Alexandrian Patriarch was deposed by the rest of the Church, and replaced immediately. The same happened in Antioch. So in a sense, the Patriarchs are unbroken in both Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox. In other words, the deposed patriarch was in a new church, and therefore appointed someone after him, thus continuing the Oriental Orthodox line, while the replaced patriarch continued his own line.

Quote
Why are some jurisdictions allowed to not recognize another? For example, Estonia is in communion with Constantinople and Russia is in Communion with Constantinople, but Russia and Estonia are not in communion.

This is obviously a bad and awkward situation, but the Church has always had this problem. One famous example could be the Great Schism in 1054. What is little known is that in 1054, the Schism was just between Constantinople and Rome. So Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria all remained in communion with both Rome and Constantinople. It wasn't until the 4th crusade that the other 3 patriarchs started siding with Constantinople.

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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2008, 09:12:51 PM »

"How can the Orthodox claim to have unbroken succession in regards to the Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria? The original holders to them are the Syriac and Coptic Orthodox Churches, respectively."

Actually what happened in those Patriarchates was the Alexandrian Patriarch was deposed by the rest of the Church, and replaced immediately. The same happened in Antioch. So in a sense, the Patriarchs are unbroken in both Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox. In other words, the deposed patriarch was in a new church, and therefore appointed someone after him, thus continuing the Oriental Orthodox line, while the replaced patriarch continued his own line.

That's not how we OO's see it.  But I can see how the EO's would see it that way.

Do we really want to discuss this here?

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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2008, 09:22:10 PM »

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That's not how we OO's see it.  But I can see how the EO's would see it that way.

Do we really want to discuss this here?

Yes, I could understand that you would have a different view, but would it be fair to just say the patriarchal line split in half? In a way, both churches have an unbroken line.

I guess this getting a little off topic.

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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2008, 11:15:58 PM »

^^ I think that would be a little more fair to say, however, like the great schism, the split did not occur at a single moment in time, it took place over the course of almost a hundred years in which both sides could not reconcile their differences.  The Great Schism took place during a period of almost five hundred years, but unlike the "first schism" it had a climactic moment in 1054.

The reunion really depends on either the EO's rejection of Chalcedon or the OO's acceptance of it, otherwise, our theologians(not necessarily the clergy in general) rather agree on all matters of faith, save wording alone.  The RC's and EO's have limited intercommunion, which surprizes me, because their differences seem so much more vast than that between the EO's and the OO's.

May God reveal the truth to us all, and if it be His will, let Him unite us all once again, amen.

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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2008, 01:05:51 AM »

^^ I think that would be a little more fair to say, however, like the great schism, the split did not occur at a single moment in time, it took place over the course of almost a hundred years in which both sides could not reconcile their differences.  The Great Schism took place during a period of almost five hundred years, but unlike the "first schism" it had a climactic moment in 1054.
Agree to a point, but that "climactic moment" seemed more of a trigger, rather than an end which climax would imply.
Quote
The reunion really depends on either the EO's rejection of Chalcedon or the OO's acceptance of it, otherwise, our theologians(not necessarily the clergy in general) rather agree on all matters of faith, save wording alone.  The RC's and EO's have limited intercommunion, which surprizes me, because their differences seem so much more vast than that between the EO's and the OO's.
I rather think at this point some mutual face-saving path is needed. The treatment of anathemas on respective saints is likely to be the key here, to me.
However, I DO take exception to your RC/EO limited intercommunion view, seeing only a one sided stance in place; in other words, intercommunion is not quite correct. I DO see more local EO/OO pastoral intercommunion instead.


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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2008, 01:21:04 AM »

This topic was split off from the following thread in the Convert section:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18092.new.html#new
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2008, 02:24:02 AM »

Αριστοκλής,

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Of course it is possible for both to claim unbroken succession and draw a pretty unbroken chain, but that still begs the "valid" issue vis-a-vis 'communion'.

I meant to take things a step further and ask whether it was possible that they both had valid lines of succession. After all, that seems to be the implication of saying that they have both been orthodox throughout their history, and that neither is returning in repentance to the other. Of course, that also raises the question as to whether the Church was in some way divided for over 1,500 years. I should think not, but it does seem to create a potential difficulty, IMO.


Salpy,

Quote
That's not how we OO's see it.  But I can see how the EO's would see it that way. Do we really want to discuss this here?

Now that the thread has been split, perhaps you could expand on how exactly the OO's see things?
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2008, 02:43:59 AM »

Salpy,

Quote
That's not how we OO's see it.  But I can see how the EO's would see it that way. Do we really want to discuss this here?

Now that the thread has been split, perhaps you could expand on how exactly the OO's see things?

Referring back to what is now reply #3, I think we would say St. Dioscoros was deposed by a council that did not represent the Church and that he continued the true Church, not a new one.  Again, as was noted earlier in the original thread, it depends on what your point of view is.
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2008, 03:36:09 AM »

The RC's and EO's have limited intercommunion, which surprizes me, because their differences seem so much more vast than that between the EO's and the OO's.
I DO take exception to your RC/EO limited intercommunion view, seeing only a one sided stance in place; in other words, intercommunion is not quite correct. I DO see more local EO/OO pastoral intercommunion instead.

I'd agree with Aristokles on that point, but extend it a bit. The "availability of intercommunion" exists between the RCs and EOs, from the RC standpoint - but is not accepted by the EOs for the very valid reason that they hold it to be unacceptable in the face of a lack of union between the two Churches. 

I'm strictly commenting on the Latin Church's canonical provisions for same and not intending to address the occasional circumstances in which intercommunion is permitted - principally between the Antiochians and Melkites in the Middle East - for reasons of pastoral necessity. It may be the latter to which Marc had reference, as those circumstances have been discussed here and elsewhere previously. Likewise, it has not been unknown in the US - particularly the Northeast - for faithful of those 2 Churches in particular to intercommune because of families split between the two, although such is much less common than it was a couple of decades ago.  But, those are certainly exceptions and should not be viewed as normative - to say that it does not exist between RCs and EOs is definitely the truer statement.

As Aristokles notes, though, instances of pastoral care being provided across EO/OO lines are increasingly common. In contrast, actual intercommunion (but not concelebration) is probably most common between OO and OC Churches - principally among the Syriacs (under a formal agreement) and Armenians (an informal agreement) - and between the Assyrians and Chaldeans (a formal agreement).  It happens rarely between the two Coptic Churches, although there was an informal agreement reached some years back, it appears to be observed only in the most exceptional of circumstances. Such is unknown between the OO and OC Churches of the Ethiopians and Eritreans, and is uncommon, to the best of my knowledge, among the various Indian Churches of the OO and OC.

Sorry to have gotten a bit off the main topic.

Many years,

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« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2008, 08:01:35 AM »

"How can the Orthodox claim to have unbroken succession in regards to the Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria? The original holders to them are the Syriac and Coptic Orthodox Churches, respectively."

Actually what happened in those Patriarchates was the Alexandrian Patriarch was deposed by the rest of the Church, and replaced immediately. The same happened in Antioch. So in a sense, the Patriarchs are unbroken in both Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox. In other words, the deposed patriarch was in a new church, and therefore appointed someone after him, thus continuing the Oriental Orthodox line, while the replaced patriarch continued his own line.

Quote
Why are some jurisdictions allowed to not recognize another? For example, Estonia is in communion with Constantinople and Russia is in Communion with Constantinople, but Russia and Estonia are not in communion.

This is obviously a bad and awkward situation, but the Church has always had this problem. One famous example could be the Great Schism in 1054. What is little known is that in 1054, the Schism was just between Constantinople and Rome. So Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria all remained in communion with both Rome and Constantinople. It wasn't until the 4th crusade that the other 3 patriarchs started siding with Constantinople.

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Another thing is the presentation is wrong: both Russia and Constantinople are in communion with Estonia, they just do not recognize the other's jurisdiction in Estonia.  And, btw, Patriarch Alexei of Moscow is Estonian.

Again, not a good situation, but not the confused one the OP presented.

As for Antioch: the heretical patriarchs are still counted in the lists of Constantinople, and even Rome.  But even among the Orthodox bishops, overlapping jurisdictions have occured and of course are happening all over the world outside of Africa.  And there are  been lapses in intercommunion: the Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council were not in communion with Rome, and Constantinople would not be until Chrysostom, when Alexandria went out of communion with Constantinople because Pope Theophilos and Pope St. Cyril refused to commemorate St. John Chyrsostom.  Yet, in hindsight, they are all seen as in the One Church.  The latter two examples provide the model for EO/OO reunificiation, not the first.
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« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2008, 12:36:00 PM »

I've been thinking more about this...

Quote
How can the Orthodox claim to have unbroken succession in regards to the Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria? The original holders to them are the Syriac and Coptic Orthodox Churches, respectively.

Is it possible that both can claim unbroken succession? I don't know the history of the Patriarchates well enough to say for sure, but it's a possibility.

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In today's world, both patriarchates treat each other as if they were two bishops of different dioceses in the same geographical area, specifically in Alexandria and Antioch where inter-communion has now been encouraged.

Just a nice piece of trivia:  Our pope in history, Pope Cyril the fifth (I believe, not sure) was actually trusted to take care of the Greek Church in Alexandria while the Greek Pope of Alexandria was out to a council with other bishops and patriarchs.  There were times of warm friendly love.  It was also rumored a unity in Alexandria was going to happen at the time, but the Greek Pope was killed by the Muslims before that happened.  We also have maybe one or two Chalcedonian Alexandrian Popes revered as saints in the Coptic Church.

So there were times of division and hatred and times of love and unity.  The latter seems to dominate today.

Can both claim unbroken successorships?  Yes, and they actually have a list.  The real question probably is can both lines be valid?  It seems like the question is yes according to today's ecumenical practices, unless you happen to disagree. 

Also, to answer the reason of intercommunion, for the EO's and OO's, if intercommunion is encouraged, it is for the reason of being convinced of a united faith more than for pastoral reasons.  With Catholics, there isn't a united faith to establish such reasons, so if there is intercommunion, it's for whatever pastoral reason given.  We Copts generally frown on any communion with a Church that does not have the same faith.  That's why it's acceptable with EO's, but not with any other Church.  The Ethiopians, Eritreans, and I believe the Independant Indian Orthodox believe the same way too (in fact, I've heard many Indian Orthodox use Syrian intercommunion with Catholics as a polemic against them).
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« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2008, 07:40:03 PM »

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Can both claim unbroken successorships?  Yes, and they actually have a list.  The real question probably is can both lines be valid?  It seems like the question is yes according to today's ecumenical practices, unless you happen to disagree.

I don't disagree, I just worry about the ecclesiological implications. It seems to me that such a conclusion implies that the Church has been divided for over 1,500 years. How could such outward division persist for so long in God's Church, if we were united in faith? This would indeed be an extraordinary situation if it's so.

Quote
Also, to answer the reason of intercommunion, for the EO's and OO's, if intercommunion is encouraged, it is for the reason of being convinced of a united faith more than for pastoral reasons.  With Catholics, there isn't a united faith to establish such reasons, so if there is intercommunion, it's for whatever pastoral reason given.  We Copts generally frown on any communion with a Church that does not have the same faith.  That's why it's acceptable with EO's, but not with any other Church.

I guess I would ask, for the OO's, what is required before intercommunion should take place: oneness of faith, or full unity in all ways? I was under the impression that full and complete unity was to be sought before intercommunion, not just oneness of faith, but that doesn't seem to be the case in this particular situation. Again, perhaps it is an extraordinary situation and that changes things.
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2008, 01:36:53 AM »

I don't disagree, I just worry about the ecclesiological implications. It seems to me that such a conclusion implies that the Church has been divided for over 1,500 years. How could such outward division persist for so long in God's Church, if we were united in faith? This would indeed be an extraordinary situation if it's so.

Well, which part of ecclesiology?  Structure or the spirit behind it (i.e. just the worry about a split and reunion)?  If the former, we just have to endure until dioceses/patriarchates begin to unite.  If the latter, there are some examples in history of small splits (like the schism over the word "hypostasis" or the schism between Alexandria and St. John Chrysostom, or the schism between St. Cyril and John of Antioch) which put the Church at a split temporarily before reunion.  We have to ask ourselves, what makes these schisms any different than the Chalcedonian one other than time in light of what we know today?  To God, two years or 1500 years is worldly time, and our schisms are results of human weakness, not on the weakness of Orthodox faith.  It says a lot that both sides of the schism kept the same faith in all things, and not just Christology.

This leads to the question, what is the Church?  In the other thread, concerning Metropolitan Kallistos' quote, I think His Eminence actually does make a point in that carefully written quote.  If we define the boundaries of the Church in certain councils and fathers, while all of a sudden finding out that those OO's were actually not heretical, that does cause a problem with the Church, if that's what you believe what Christ promised the gates of Hades won't prevail against.  But I do remember a certain argument against Roman Papism that what Christ was talking about was not Peter, nor any patriarch or people in general, but FAITH.  Did Hades prevail against the Orthodox faith?  And when I define faith, I don't just mean dogma; I mean sacramental theology, the idea that there is a communion of the saints, Holy Tradition, a general ecclesiology, etc.  The WHOLENESS of faith and the continuity of the faith through Apostolic succession that we have, that is why there we Copts eventually accepted intercommunion.

Quote
I guess I would ask, for the OO's, what is required before intercommunion should take place: oneness of faith, or full unity in all ways? I was under the impression that full and complete unity was to be sought before intercommunion, not just oneness of faith, but that doesn't seem to be the case in this particular situation. Again, perhaps it is an extraordinary situation and that changes things.

What are "all ways?"  Is not the faith all ways?  What is the faith to you?

God bless.
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« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2008, 12:47:21 PM »

minasoliman

Quote
Well, which part of ecclesiology?  Structure or the spirit behind it (i.e. just the worry about a split and reunion)?  If the former, we just have to endure until dioceses/patriarchates begin to unite.  If the latter, there are some examples in history of small splits (like the schism over the word "hypostasis" or the schism between Alexandria and St. John Chrysostom, or the schism between St. Cyril and John of Antioch) which put the Church at a split temporarily before reunion.  We have to ask ourselves, what makes these schisms any different than the Chalcedonian one other than time in light of what we know today?  To God, two years or 1500 years is worldly time, and our schisms are results of human weakness, not on the weakness of Orthodox faith.  It says a lot that both sides of the schism kept the same faith in all things, and not just Christology.

This leads to the question, what is the Church?  In the other thread, concerning Metropolitan Kallistos' quote, I think His Eminence actually does make a point in that carefully written quote.  If we define the boundaries of the Church in certain councils and fathers, while all of a sudden finding out that those OO's were actually not heretical, that does cause a problem with the Church, if that's what you believe what Christ promised the gates of Hades won't prevail against.  But I do remember a certain argument against Roman Papism that what Christ was talking about was not Peter, nor any patriarch or people in general, but FAITH.  Did Hades prevail against the Orthodox faith?  And when I define faith, I don't just mean dogma; I mean sacramental theology, the idea that there is a communion of the saints, Holy Tradition, a general ecclesiology, etc.  The WHOLENESS of faith and the continuity of the faith through Apostolic succession that we have, that is why there we Copts eventually accepted intercommunion.

Good points, I'm gonna have to think about this a lot more Smiley

Quote
What are "all ways?"  Is not the faith all ways?  What is the faith to you?

Well, I guess by "all ways" I included in that--according to my understanding--coming out and saying "Hey, we've united" or "Guess what? We're now in communion". As it stands, it sort of seems like a rather nebulous situation. We're not formally in communion, at least as far as going the whole way, so to speak, yet we have intercommunion and are in communion in a sense. It's like we're halfway there, but because there are still difficulties we're not quite there yet. You're point about being one in faith is a good one, though I still wonder if we aren't putting the cart before the horse.
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« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2008, 10:21:53 PM »

Well, I guess by "all ways" I included in that--according to my understanding--coming out and saying "Hey, we've united" or "Guess what? We're now in communion". As it stands, it sort of seems like a rather nebulous situation. We're not formally in communion, at least as far as going the whole way, so to speak, yet we have intercommunion and are in communion in a sense. It's like we're halfway there, but because there are still difficulties we're not quite there yet. You're point about being one in faith is a good one, though I still wonder if we aren't putting the cart before the horse.

Yes, nebulous indeed.  Perhaps, it's by the belief that if you work in small areas, you end up making unity a much bigger reality than wait for the bishops to declare anything official.  It seems to me that the biggest reason for intercommunion in Egypt and Syria is because of intermarriage.  Intermarriage always occurred, but in the light of recent dialogues, intermarriage was first validated.  Then, after so much intermarriage, intercommunion began seeing that you can't just give the "double Church membership" to intermarried families.  This says a lot about the importance of laypeople in the unity of the Church (interestingly, I've heard intermarriage occurs frequently between Catholics and Eastern Orthodox).

I think if anything, everyone agrees on the unity of faith, and many even vocalized the idea that both are One Church.  But to make a public confirmation of unity is something that won't be officially celebrated I suppose until the laypeople actualize this, especially that it seems "jurisdictionally" (for lack of a better word in my mind) acceptable.

If anything, I think it's smarter to keep things unofficial and work from the bottom up, than make things official from on top and find yourself in a troubling situation at the bottom.  Remember what's said in the agreements?  Unity should be done on an individual diocese-by-diocese basis, not on a general basis.

God bless.
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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2008, 01:56:00 PM »

^^ I think that would be a little more fair to say, however, like the great schism, the split did not occur at a single moment in time, it took place over the course of almost a hundred years in which both sides could not reconcile their differences.  The Great Schism took place during a period of almost five hundred years, but unlike the "first schism" it had a climactic moment in 1054.
Yes, the schism between the Orthodox and the non-Chalcedonians took place over a long amount of time.
The reunion really depends on either the EO's rejection of Chalcedon or the OO's acceptance of it, otherwise, our theologians(not necessarily the clergy in general) rather agree on all matters of faith, save wording alone.  The RC's and EO's have limited intercommunion, which surprizes me, because their differences seem so much more vast than that between the EO's and the OO's.
Of course when this does happen, it's because of ecumenicism. This type of thing is condemned by the Orthodox Church.
Actually what happened in those Patriarchates was the Alexandrian Patriarch was deposed by the rest of the Church, and replaced immediately. The same happened in Antioch. So in a sense, the Patriarchs are unbroken in both Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox. In other words, the deposed patriarch was in a new church, and therefore appointed someone after him, thus continuing the Oriental Orthodox line, while the replaced patriarch continued his own line.
Yes, more or less I would say that both sides can claim to have Apostolic Succession, however that doesn't mean that we are obliged to recognize it of each other.
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Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
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Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2008, 06:31:26 PM »

Some posts from this topic have been split off and moved to the private forum:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=18837.msg277210#new

If you don't have access to the private forum, but would like to have access, please pm Fr. Chris.
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Tags: Coptic Orthodox Church Syriac Orthodox St. Dioscoros unity Apostolic succession Chalcedon 
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