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Author Topic: What makes a group canonical?  (Read 6186 times) Average Rating: 0
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Marc1152
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« on: November 09, 2008, 01:15:41 AM »

I have been corresponding with a Catholic Priest who is rather hostile to Orthodoxy. He repeats the party line that we are too disorganized to be taken seriously (and in need of the guiding hand of his Pontiff). He asked me what makes a group calling itself "Orthodox" canonical if there is no central authority to declare such things. He cites odd ball groups like the "Celtic Orthodox" . What we be the process of making a group like that "Canonical"

I think I know how to answer but I would like to hear others answer before I take a shot.

Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2008, 01:22:26 AM »

The litmus test of Orthodox Canonicity is Communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  If one is in Communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch, then one is in Communion with anyone else in Communion with the EP.

Another litmus test is Apostolic Succession although Communion usually defines canonicity better than Apostolic Succession.
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2008, 01:27:26 AM »

I would say following (and being established according to) the canons makes one "canonical" in the strictest sense. If by "canonical" we also mean to say "Orthodox," then I would add being in communion with other Orthodox Christians. I would say though that there are exceptions to every rule, such as the GOC of Fr. Anastasios, which is not in communion with world Orthodoxy (or the Ecumenical Patriarch), but is still IMO Orthodox. I also don't believe being in communion with the Ecumenical Patriach is a "litmus" test for Orthodox canonicity.
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2008, 01:28:18 AM »

When they can point a "canon" at you.
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2008, 01:39:49 AM »

I also don't believe being in communion with the Ecumenical Patriach is a "litmus" test for Orthodox canonicity.

I cited a simple test of canonicity: Communion with the EP.  Let's look at Russia who had 3 Jurisdictions at one point: The MP, The Metropolia (later OCA) and the entity which became ROCOR.  While the 3 may not have been in Communion with each other at differing points in history, they were still in Communion with everyone else based on the Apostolic Succession of each respective Hierarchy.

The founder of Father A.'s Jurisdiction, while canonically ordained, broke away from His Parent Jurisdiction to form His own.  Even if Father A.'s Church is one to one identical to the teachings of the canonical Orthodox Jurisdictions (I don't care about Calendars as long as I understand them), the Apostolic Succession to the Body of Christ ended when the founder left.
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2008, 01:47:12 AM »

ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2008, 01:49:02 AM »

^ Forgive me....   angel
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« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2008, 01:59:42 AM »

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I cited a simple test of canonicity: Communion with the EP.

While I have seen people say this, I just don't think it is so. I actually think it's closer to neo-papal patriarchalism.

Quote
Let's look at Russia who had 3 Jurisdictions at one point: The MP, The Metropolia (later OCA) and the entity which became ROCOR.  While the 3 may not have been in Communion with each other at differing points in history, they were still in Communion with everyone else based on the Apostolic Succession of each respective Hierarchy.

I don't really understanding your point, especially since ROCOR dropped communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate for decades and yet remained Orthodox?

Quote
The founder of Father A.'s Jurisdiction, while canonically ordained, broke away from His Parent Jurisdiction to form His own.  Even if Father A.'s Church is one to one identical to the teachings of the canonical Orthodox Jurisdictions (I don't care about Calendars as long as I understand them), the Apostolic Succession to the Body of Christ ended when the founder left.

It's been a few years since I looked into the whole Greek old calendarist stuff, so I hope I'm remembering correctly, but actually I think they would trace their apostolic succession through ROCOR, and it's perfectly valid (though I would rather let someone in the GOC defend their own canonicity, as they would know the details better than I).
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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2008, 02:15:45 AM »

The litmus test of Orthodox Canonicity is Communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  If one is in Communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch, then one is in Communion with anyone else in Communion with the EP.

What CANON says this, since we are speaking of CANONicity? As Justin said, this is simply neo-papal patriarchalism and has no founding in the canons or the teachings of the Church fathers. Canonicity is following the canons and not abandoning them for communion with worldliness or heresies.
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2008, 02:28:41 AM »

What CANON says this, since we are speaking of CANONicity? As Justin said, this is simply neo-papal patriarchalism and has no founding in the canons or the teachings of the Church fathers. Canonicity is following the canons and not abandoning them for communion with worldliness or heresies.

I guess the "Thumbs Down" is another way of saying "Love Your Enemies?"
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2008, 02:30:01 AM »

What CANON says this, since we are speaking of CANONicity? As Justin said, this is simply neo-papal patriarchalism and has no founding in the canons or the teachings of the Church fathers. Canonicity is following the canons and not abandoning them for communion with worldliness or heresies.

I guess the "Thumbs Down" is another way of saying "Love Your Enemies?"

No it is thumbs down to this becoming an argument.
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2008, 02:35:03 AM »

No it is thumbs down to this becoming an argument.

I provided my thoughts on the OP.  Forgive me if they don't mesh with your Orthodoxy.  I saw the thumbs down and deduced that I was being given a thumbs down for disagreeing with you.  I'm not interested in arguing with you or anyone else.   angel
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2008, 03:10:13 AM »

I just noticed how I think you can even make these - by the "Message Icon" while posting.  So, if I add a Thumbs Up or a Lamp or a Smiley or whatever, would it override the thumbs down?
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2008, 03:47:27 AM »

He asked me what makes a group calling itself "Orthodox" canonical

Being Oriental Orthodox.   Grin
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2008, 04:27:45 AM »

He asked me what makes a group calling itself "Orthodox" canonical

Being Oriental Orthodox.   Grin
Which, of course, raises another point:......Which Canons? Cheesy

I will say one thing in defense of SolEX01 though:
The Greek word for Canonical (kanokiko) does not necessarily carry the meaning of "according to the Canons". Things can be "Canonical" for which there are no "Canons". The word "Canonical" existed in Greek even before the Incarnation, so it cannot have had the meaning "according to the Canons", because the Canons didn't exist.
So there may be a difference in how the word is being used by each of you.



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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2008, 04:29:55 AM »

He asked me what makes a group calling itself "Orthodox" canonical if there is no central authority to declare such things.
I think there is a commonsensical answer - the ancient Patriarchates are crucial and determinative elements of the theandric entity which is the Church of Christ.  They are apostolic and they are canonical, and so are any other Churches with which they are in communion.

Eucharistic communion with the Church of Constantinople can be used as a convenient litmus test, but then I suppose so could the Church of Jerusalem or the Church of Antioch.

The various Old Calendarists, True Orthodox and Walled-off groups?   Obviously not canonical; they themselves, on the whole, reject the canonicity of the ancient Patriarchates and they deny any grace in their holy Mysteries/Sacraments.    The bottom line is that these church groups cannot have it both ways - it is unreasonable of them to declare that the "world" Orthodox are uncanonical and graceless and then get all upset by "world" Orthodoxy's rejection of them.

On the other hand, the Orthodox Churches are, when they choose, immensely flexible about some kinds of schism and they are prepared to leave a schismatic group's status and Mysteries undecided, hoping that with the passage of time the breach in communion will be repaired and the schismatic group will return to the unity of the Church. 

There are some parallels to this in the Roman Catholic world - their treatment of such groups as the Transalpine Redemptorists which has been schismatic for decades but has recently been received into Roman unity with acceptance of their priestly orders.  However it must be said that the number of these groups is far smaller than those which exist on the fringes of Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2008, 04:43:21 AM »

Ozgeorge,

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So there may be a difference in how the word is being used by each of you.

Definitely. I'm purposely trying to use it in a different fashion than how it is generally used these days, as I don't much care for the term "canonical" as applied to Orthodoxy as a whole. I'm specifically trying to limit the term "canonical" to having to do with the canons because I think traditionally that's what it would have meant.
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« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2008, 04:46:22 AM »

He asked me what makes a group calling itself "Orthodox" canonical if there is no central authority to declare such things.
When you think about it, the Catholics have no answer because *who* is going to vouch for their "central authority"?  They are trapped in circular reasoning - our central authority is right because our central authority says it is right and it is always right and nobody can question our central authority.

In many ways Orthodoxy has more security and more certitude in such determinations because we can canvass all the ancient Patriarchates and the major Orthodox Churches and get a consensus answer.  Consensus is always more reliable than relying on *one* central authority.
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« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2008, 05:30:46 AM »

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would say following (and being established according to) the canons makes one "canonical" in the strictest sense. If by "canonical" we also mean to say "Orthodox," then I would add being in communion with other Orthodox Christians.

Doh! I forgot the most important and obvious part of being Orthodox: having an orthodox faith and orthodox practices! As to putting your trust in any one Patriarchate or Church as some type of guarantee of Orthodoxy, I'd bring up the quote from another thread of St. Justin Popovich:

Quote
Moreover, is it correct, is it Orthodox to have such representations of the Orthodox Churches at various pan Orthodox gatherings on Rhodes or in Geneva? The representatives of Constantinople who began this system of representation of Orthodox Churches at the councils and those who accept this principle which, according to their theory, is in accord with the "system of autocephalous and autonomous" local Churches - they have forgotten that such a principle in fact contradicts the conciliar tradition of Orthodoxy. Unfortunately this principle of representation was accepted quickly and by all the other Orthodox: sometimes silently, sometimes with voted protests, but forgetting that the Orthodox Church, in its nature and its dogmatically unchanging constitution is episcopal and centred in the bishops. For the bishop and the faithful gathered around him are the expression and manifestation of the Church as the Body of Christ, especially in the Holy Liturgy: the Church is Apostolic and Catholic only by virtue of its bishops, insofar as they are the heads of true ecclesiastical units, the dioceses. At the same time, the other, historically later and variable forms of church organisation of the Orthodox Church: the metropolias, archdioceses, patriarchates, pentarchias, autocephalies, autonomies, etc., however many there may be or shall be, cannot have and do not have a determining and decisive significance in the conciliar system of the Orthodox Church. Furthermore, they may constitute an obstacle in the correct functioning of the conciliar principle if they obstruct and reject the episcopal character and structure of the Church and of the Churches. Here, undoubtedly, is to be found the primary difference between Orthodox and papal ecclesiology. - St. Justin Popovich, On a Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church
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« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2008, 05:33:16 AM »

Definitely. I'm purposely trying to use it in a different fashion than how it is generally used these days, as I don't much care for the term "canonical" as applied to Orthodoxy as a whole. I'm specifically trying to limit the term "canonical" to having to do with the canons because I think traditionally that's what it would have meant.
No matter in what sense we use the word, for me, there is one "Canon" regarding the Church which surpasses all others, and that is the Canon regarding the Church which Our Lord and God Jesus Christ Himself proclaimed: "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." (John 17:21)
As far as I can see, the Unity of the Church is paramount- which is why I choose to avoid these disputes.

He asked me what makes a group calling itself "Orthodox" canonical if there is no central authority to declare such things.
When you think about it, the Catholics have no answer because *who* is going to vouch for their "central authority"?  They are trapped in circular reasoning - our central authority is right because our central authority says it is right and it is always right and nobody can question our central authority.

In many ways Orthodoxy has more security and more certitude in such determinations because we can canvass all the ancient Patriarchates and the major Orthodox Churches and get a consensus answer.  Consensus is always more reliable than relying on *one* central authority.
Good point Father.
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« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2008, 08:50:13 AM »

I have been corresponding with a Catholic Priest who is rather hostile to Orthodoxy. He repeats the party line that we are too disorganized to be taken seriously (and in need of the guiding hand of his Pontiff). He asked me what makes a group calling itself "Orthodox" canonical if there is no central authority to declare such things. He cites odd ball groups like the "Celtic Orthodox" . What we be the process of making a group like that "Canonical"

I think I know how to answer but I would like to hear others answer before I take a shot.

Thanks

I'd first point out that his church has three patriarchs of Antioch (it used to be four) and two patriarchs (not popes: his church is not big enough for two popes) in Alexandria (used to be three).  Can't Rome make up its mind?

Then I'd point out history: although the Vatican's set up has run smoothly as of late, it was not always so.  The Great Western Schism is only the most extreme example: a whole lifetime with dual (and at one point three) supreme pontiffs, competing curias, etc. which makes our recent jurisdictional problems laughable in comparison.  In fact, a good portion of the "ecumenical" councils that the Vatican claims to have held had to deal with the question of who was the real pope, healing a schism caused by that "font of unity."

Which also brings up his characterization: if we were anywhere near as disorganized as they claim, we would be splintered into a myriad of mutually contradictory sects.  As it is, we and the OO are nearly the same, despite Chalcedon, while the West, under its patriarch (ooops! Forgot he isn't that anymore) is split among the dizzying array of the Protestants, Old Catholics, Sede Vacantists and then the various factions (e.g. "liberal" versus "conservatives," etc).

And he contradicts his own Vatican, who says we have valid Apostolic Succession: those odd ball groups would have to get that first, which they can get only from a canonical Church, which wouldn't lay hands hastily.

In other words, his argument has no merit.
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« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2008, 08:52:51 AM »

When they can point a "canon" at you.
LOL. So a Church with an army and a navy?
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« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2008, 09:07:18 AM »

He asked me what makes a group calling itself "Orthodox" canonical if there is no central authority to declare such things.
I think there is a commonsensical answer - the ancient Patriarchates are crucial and determinative elements of the theandric entity which is the Church of Christ.  They are apostolic and they are canonical, and so are any other Churches with which they are in communion.

Eucharistic communion with the Church of Constantinople can be used as a convenient litmus test, but then I suppose so could the Church of Jerusalem or the Church of Antioch.

The various Old Calendarists, True Orthodox and Walled-off groups?   Obviously not canonical; they themselves, on the whole, reject the canonicity of the ancient Patriarchates and they deny any grace in their holy Mysteries/Sacraments.    The bottom line is that these church groups cannot have it both ways - it is unreasonable of them to declare that the "world" Orthodox are uncanonical and graceless and then get all upset by "world" Orthodoxy's rejection of them.

On the other hand, the Orthodox Churches are, when they choose, immensely flexible about some kinds of schism and they are prepared to leave a schismatic group's status and Mysteries undecided, hoping that with the passage of time the breach in communion will be repaired and the schismatic group will return to the unity of the Church. 

There are some parallels to this in the Roman Catholic world - their treatment of such groups as the Transalpine Redemptorists which has been schismatic for decades but has recently been received into Roman unity with acceptance of their priestly orders.  However it must be said that the number of these groups is far smaller than those which exist on the fringes of Orthodoxy.


Good to see you again Fr. Ambros.

Another group would be the Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council, who were not in communion with Rome at the time, and wouldn't be for some time.  St. Meletios of Antioch, who opened the council, is also interesting in that Rome had sided with a rival line of bishops in Antioch (which the Vatican's present patriarchs of Antioch, claiming succession through St. Meletios, disavow), said rival ordaining St. Jerome btw, and his successor was chosen in defiance of Rome.  Yet Rome has no problem claiming the Second Ecumenical Council or its Creed, THE Creed.
Quote
would say following (and being established according to) the canons makes one "canonical" in the strictest sense. If by "canonical" we also mean to say "Orthodox," then I would add being in communion with other Orthodox Christians.

Doh! I forgot the most important and obvious part of being Orthodox: having an orthodox faith and orthodox practices! As to putting your trust in any one Patriarchate or Church as some type of guarantee of Orthodoxy, I'd bring up the quote from another thread of St. Justin Popovich:

Quote
Moreover, is it correct, is it Orthodox to have such representations of the Orthodox Churches at various pan Orthodox gatherings on Rhodes or in Geneva? The representatives of Constantinople who began this system of representation of Orthodox Churches at the councils and those who accept this principle which, according to their theory, is in accord with the "system of autocephalous and autonomous" local Churches - they have forgotten that such a principle in fact contradicts the conciliar tradition of Orthodoxy. Unfortunately this principle of representation was accepted quickly and by all the other Orthodox: sometimes silently, sometimes with voted protests, but forgetting that the Orthodox Church, in its nature and its dogmatically unchanging constitution is episcopal and centred in the bishops. For the bishop and the faithful gathered around him are the expression and manifestation of the Church as the Body of Christ, especially in the Holy Liturgy: the Church is Apostolic and Catholic only by virtue of its bishops, insofar as they are the heads of true ecclesiastical units, the dioceses. At the same time, the other, historically later and variable forms of church organisation of the Orthodox Church: the metropolias, archdioceses, patriarchates, pentarchias, autocephalies, autonomies, etc., however many there may be or shall be, cannot have and do not have a determining and decisive significance in the conciliar system of the Orthodox Church. Furthermore, they may constitute an obstacle in the correct functioning of the conciliar principle if they obstruct and reject the episcopal character and structure of the Church and of the Churches. Here, undoubtedly, is to be found the primary difference between Orthodox and papal ecclesiology. - St. Justin Popovich, On a Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church

I'm not sure if I am understanding correctly: is the saint objecting to councils having representatives from all the Churches, or from said representation being dictated by what jurisdictions exist, like the apportionment of senators by the number of states?
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« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2008, 11:09:00 AM »

I posted this on a site that gave Fr. Ambros and myself the boot:

Quote
If you go to any mass at a church under the Vatican, at mass they will commemorate the pope of Rome, and then the local bishop. This is also a change, an important one, that the Vatican has instituted in a practice called the diptychs, and the Orthodox practice is still as it was in the first millenium: when I go to Divine Liturgy, the priest has a cloth, called the antimens, with means (in Latin!, the term came about when both Old and New Rome used Latin officially) "instead of the table" i.e. the bishop's altar. It is signed by the bishop, given us permission to celebrate Divine Liturgy on it, because the bishop is the oridinary minister. As St. Ignatius writes:

Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid. — Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8,

Now at Divine Liturgy the priest commemorates our bishop (Mark, a former Pentacostal, btw) and our primate (Phillip) of the Autonomous Archdiocese of North America, to show our communion with our bishop and the head of the synod to which he belongs. Where Bishop Mark celebrates, he has no antimens (as bishop, he needs no permission) but he commemorates all the bishops of the archdiocese and and the synods head, Metropolitan Philip, to show their communion. When Metropolitan Philip celebrates DL, he commemorates the heads of all the heads of all the Archdioceses/synods of the Patriarchate of Antioch, and the Patriarch, Ignatius IV (the 163rd successor of St. Peter in his first See, Antioch). Patriarch Ignatius at DL commemorates all the other patriarchs of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Orthodox Church. This practice of diptychs is meant to show the unity of the Church throughout the world, and as a sign of who is Orthodox. When someone is struck from the diptychs, it means that bishop, and all who commemorte him, are not in communion. This happened recently with the patriarch of Jerusalem, who had been mismananging Church property amongst other problems. The synod of Jerusalem, met, struck him from the diptychs, the other patriarchs, investigating the situation in a synod of their own in Constantinople supported the synod and struck him from the diptychs, and he was deposed. It also happened in Moscow, where the argument with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople reached a point that the PoM struck the EP from the diptychs. The other patriarchs, however, told both of them that they, the remaining patriarchs, were striking neither from their diptychs. So they were going to keep them in one Church so they had better come up with a solution, which they did.

Now, in the diptychs as modified by the Vatican, the pope of Rome's name is mentioned at every mass in every church all over the world. In the Early Church, we don't see that: no Church in Egypt, for instance, commemorated the Pope of Rome except the Church where the Pope of Alexandria was celebrating Divine Liturgy. The Vatican sends out who is in the diptychs, and he alone decides the list. In the early Church, it was not so, and Popes of Rome on occasion were struck from the diptychs: for instance the date 1054 is really not the correct date for the schism, but has been promoted in the West. For the Orthodox, the split occured when Benedict VIII inserted the filioque (at the emperor Henry II's demand) into the Creed recited at the DL. When the EP received the notice of Benedict's ascension with the filioque in his confession, the pope was struck from the diptychs. (The Universal Ecumenical Councils had forbidden altering the Creed on the pain of deposition). One of the issues of the delegation from Rome in 1054 was to insist that the other Patriarchs put the pope of Rome back into the diptychs.

Another practice that the Vatican has done away with is the metochia/titular Churches. The metochion is an "embassy" Church: each patriarchate has a parish in each of the the other patriarchates. In that Church, the patriarch of the "foreign" patriarch is commemorated, not that of the patriarch. For instance, St. Rafael Hawaaweeny (1st Orthodox bishop ordained in the New World, and Arab ordained by Russians). was attached as deacon in the metochion of Antioch in Moscow. In that Church the Patriarch and Synod of Antioch, not Moscow, were commenorated. The metochian coordiantes relations between the patriarchs and their patriarchates. The way the Vatican has it now, they have instead titular Churches: each cardinal (the college itself being an innovation that doesn't date until after the Greast Schism) gets a titular Church in Rome, although he has no function in it, its just there to justify him as being a member of the curia electing the pope of Rome, although the bishop in question may never otherwise set foot in Rome, except for his mandatory ad limina visit (an innovation of only the last 5 or 6 centuries). The major basilicas are the metochia of the other patriarchates: since they are not in communion with the Vatican, they are defunct. Ironically the Vatican, St. Peter's is technically the metochion of Constantinople.

Now this all may sound unimportant, just symbolic. But it is not symbol over substance, but the substance of the symbol.

As SS Ignatius and Clement show, the Early Church saw the bishop as the font of Catholicism and unity. And when you look into how the Church of the first milleminium wove that into the life fo the Church, you see that the Orthodox continue the same, whereas the Vatican has changed them into "all roads lead to Rome," which was not the practice of the Church
I'll just add that Bishop Mark DOES have an antimens, just because the rules of the Archdiocese requires it (because of the relics in it?).
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« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2008, 11:41:09 AM »

According to dictionary definitions at http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3A+canonical&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a the following is how canonical is defined.

# canonic: of or relating to or required by canon law

# canonic: conforming to orthodox or recognized rules; "the drinking of cocktails was as canonical a rite as the mixing"- Sinclair Lewis

# Present in a canon of Scripture; In conformity with canon law; According to recognised or orthodox rules; Stated or used in the most basic and straightforwardly applicable manner; In the form of a canon; Of or pertaining to an ecclesiastical chapter; In canonical form

# Conforming to recognized rules or church dogma.
 
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« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2008, 12:00:42 PM »

we are too disorganized to be taken seriously

Amusing

ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

ROTFL

Consensus is always more reliable than relying on *one* central authority.

But not nearly as efficient

the 163rd successor of St. Peter in his first See, Antioch

Why wouldn't being in communion with the patriarch of Antioch satisfy, from a Catholic perspective, the need to be in communion with the successor of Peter?
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« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2008, 02:25:47 PM »

Quote
I'm not sure if I am understanding correctly: is the saint objecting to councils having representatives from all the Churches, or from said representation being dictated by what jurisdictions exist, like the apportionment of senators by the number of states?

If I remember correctly, St. Justin was reacting to how Constantinople was trying to organize the Pan/Ecumenical Council that they were planning. What I took from it was to remember that a bishop and his flock is a manifestation of the Church, and you don't need to be in communion with some type of governmental form that was adopted later (like part of the pentarchy) to be orthodox.
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« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2008, 02:27:13 PM »

I will say one thing in defense of SolEX01 though:

Thanks.   Smiley

The Greek word for Canonical (kanokiko) does not necessarily carry the meaning of "according to the Canons". Things can be "Canonical" for which there are no "Canons". The word "Canonical" existed in Greek even before the Incarnation, so it cannot have had the meaning "according to the Canons", because the Canons didn't exist.
So there may be a difference in how the word is being used by each of you.

I used the term canonical as: "Conforming to recognized rules or church dogma."  Another translation for kanoniko is regular where one definition is "constituted, conducted, scheduled, or done in conformity with established or prescribed usages, rules, or discipline."
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« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2008, 03:55:58 PM »

we are too disorganized to be taken seriously

Amusing

ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

ROTFL

Consensus is always more reliable than relying on *one* central authority.

But not nearly as efficient

the 163rd successor of St. Peter in his first See, Antioch

Why wouldn't being in communion with the patriarch of Antioch satisfy, from a Catholic perspective, the need to be in communion with the successor of Peter?
I've asked that repeatedly, as they have four (used to be five) who claimed Apostolic succession from him.
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« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2008, 05:20:05 PM »

Why wouldn't being in communion with the patriarch of Antioch satisfy, from a Catholic perspective, the need to be in communion with the successor of Peter?

Because Orthodox Bishops are not the successors of individual Apostles, but of all the Apostles.
This is underscored by the fact that our Bishops are Ordained by more than one Bishop.
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« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2008, 05:35:05 PM »

Why wouldn't being in communion with the patriarch of Antioch satisfy, from a Catholic perspective, the need to be in communion with the successor of Peter?

Because Orthodox Bishops are not the successors of individual Apostles, but of all the Apostles.
This is underscored by the fact that our Bishops are Ordained by more than one Bishop.

Right.  That's the Orthodox position.  But from the Catholic perspective, why must all be in communion with Peter's successor in Rome? Why is communion with Peter's successor in Antioch insufficient?  I'm hoping one of the Catholic members will clue me in.
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« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2008, 05:42:00 PM »

Why wouldn't being in communion with the patriarch of Antioch satisfy, from a Catholic perspective, the need to be in communion with the successor of Peter?

Because Orthodox Bishops are not the successors of individual Apostles, but of all the Apostles.
This is underscored by the fact that our Bishops are Ordained by more than one Bishop.
You are correct: the Episcopate is an ontological whole with the Apostles.
However, the OP was talking about the Vatican's take on things, which is obviously different.  You response is one part of why we must reject the innovation of the infallible supreme pontiff.
Which brings up another objection: since the pope of Rome claims a charism, where is the sacrament that confers it?  By the Vatican's own rules, when the pope is elected, as long as he is a bishop, he is pope as soon as he accepts the position.  If he is not, he has be ordained. But there is no one above the pope, so who can ordain him pope?  What charism in the church is conferred without a sacrament?  Where is the theology that supports this fourth (or fifth, if you count the royal priesthood) order of the priesthood?
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« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2008, 05:55:35 PM »

Why wouldn't being in communion with the patriarch of Antioch satisfy, from a Catholic perspective, the need to be in communion with the successor of Peter?

Because Orthodox Bishops are not the successors of individual Apostles, but of all the Apostles.
This is underscored by the fact that our Bishops are Ordained by more than one Bishop.

Right.  That's the Orthodox position.  But from the Catholic perspective, why must all be in communion with Peter's successor in Rome? Why is communion with Peter's successor in Antioch insufficient?  I'm hoping one of the Catholic members will clue me in.
The closest thing I got to a coherent answer was that St. Peter died in Rome, so that line, not Antioch, is the one with the supremacy.  A problem is brought up by the Apostolic Constitutions (referenced by the Ecumenical Councils): Linus is said to have been ordained by Paul, and succeeded by Clement ordained by Peter.  When was Linus Pope?
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« Reply #33 on: November 09, 2008, 10:43:25 PM »

Which brings up another objection: since the pope of Rome claims a charism, where is the sacrament that confers it?

The closest thing I got to a coherent answer was that St. Peter died in Rome, so that line, not Antioch, is the one with the supremacy.  A problem is brought up by the Apostolic Constitutions (referenced by the Ecumenical Councils): Linus is said to have been ordained by Paul, and succeeded by Clement ordained by Peter.  When was Linus Pope?

I don't want to take the thread any further off topic, but I will say that you make excellent points I had not considered.  Thank you.  St. Irenaeus, by the way, says that St. Linus was the first bishop of Rome, then Anacletus, then Clement.
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« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2008, 01:54:00 AM »

Ozgeorge,

Quote
No matter in what sense we use the word, for me, there is one "Canon" regarding the Church which surpasses all others, and that is the Canon regarding the Church which Our Lord and God Jesus Christ Himself proclaimed: "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." (John 17:21)
As far as I can see, the Unity of the Church is paramount- which is why I choose to avoid these disputes.

I would agree that unity is paramount--but not just any unity. We don't unite with Arians just for the sake of unity, for example. As St. Paul said, we are to "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27)  We are to have oneness of mind and spirit, which implies agreement on certain things. As St. Paul says elsewhere: "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." (1 Tim. 4:16) I think these disputes are profitable insofar as good doctrine is hammered out, iron sharpening iron (Prov. 27:17) as it were.
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« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2008, 08:52:32 AM »

He asked me what makes a group calling itself "Orthodox" canonical if there is no central authority to declare such things.
When you think about it, the Catholics have no answer because *who* is going to vouch for their "central authority"?  They are trapped in circular reasoning - our central authority is right because our central authority says it is right and it is always right and nobody can question our central authority.

In many ways Orthodoxy has more security and more certitude in such determinations because we can canvass all the ancient Patriarchates and the major Orthodox Churches and get a consensus answer.  Consensus is always more reliable than relying on *one* central authority.

Oh great answer ! Thanks. I think they are just trying to insulate their people from ever looking East. "Oh they are a mess, very disorganized"
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« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2008, 09:54:01 AM »

Here are some notes from my Ecclesiology class, where we discussed in detail the ecclesiology of the RC and the OC, etc.  The quote is a direct quotation from Fr. Emannuel Clapsis, our professor. 

"The bishop, in moments of crisis, when the communion is threatened by schism or other matters, the churches come into council not to verify the catholicity but to verify the presuppositions of their communion, to reaffirm them.  So, a decision of the council must be received by the multiple local churches to be abiding and authentic and normative for their lives.  For us the universal church is manifested in the local.  In the universal ecclesiology of RC, there is one church, the church of Rome and all the other local churches are parts of this local church.  Therefore none of them is the fullness of the church, but all of them together, under the Pope, constitutes the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. 

Because of the qualitative nature of the local church, every local church is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.  But these local churches have the right faith, are celebrating the Eucharist under the presidency of the bishop and therefore they are JC himself and are in communion with each other and their communion is of identity and not of administrative or juridical structures.  So for OC the local church is the manifestation of the one holy catholic and apostolic church.  Each local church is the manifestation of JC by virtue of its celebration of the eucharist and there is no eucharist w/o the bishop."

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« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2008, 07:29:16 PM »

Here are some notes from my Ecclesiology class, where we discussed in detail the ecclesiology of the RC and the OC, etc.  The quote is a direct quotation from Fr. Emannuel Clapsis, our professor. 

"The bishop, in moments of crisis, when the communion is threatened by schism or other matters, the churches come into council not to verify the catholicity but to verify the presuppositions of their communion, to reaffirm them.  So, a decision of the council must be received by the multiple local churches to be abiding and authentic and normative for their lives.  For us the universal church is manifested in the local.  In the universal ecclesiology of RC, there is one church, the church of Rome and all the other local churches are parts of this local church.  Therefore none of them is the fullness of the church, but all of them together, under the Pope, constitutes the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. 

Because of the qualitative nature of the local church, every local church is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.  But these local churches have the right faith, are celebrating the Eucharist under the presidency of the bishop and therefore they are JC himself and are in communion with each other and their communion is of identity and not of administrative or juridical structures.  So for OC the local church is the manifestation of the one holy catholic and apostolic church.  Each local church is the manifestation of JC by virtue of its celebration of the eucharist and there is no eucharist w/o the bishop."


Thanks, that goes to what I was just thinking of. It occurred to me that there is a central authority in each of the See's . So when the RCC Priest tells me that the EO have no central authority, I say we have the same authority they do, our Bishop ( Met. Patriarch).
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« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2008, 08:04:08 PM »

He cites odd ball groups like the "Celtic Orthodox" .

Plenty of odd ball groups to go around.  Google "independent Catholic" sometime.
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« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2008, 01:12:00 AM »

Here are some interesting canons on what makes a group canonical and even sometimes promotes separation from the majority.
Quote from: 尼古拉前执事
On Praying with Heretics

Canon XLV of the Holy Apostles:


"Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he had permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be deposed."

Canon LXV Of the Holy Apostles:


"If any clergymen, or laymen, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated."

Canon IX of Laodicia (Also approved by the Ecumenical Synods):


"Concerning the fact that those belonging to the Church must not be allowed to go visiting the cemeteries or the so called martyria of any heretics, for the purpose of prayer or of cure, but, on the contrary, those who do so, if they be among the faithful, shall be excluded from communion for a time until they repent and confess their having made a mistake, when they may be readmitted to communion."

Canon XXXIII of Laodicia:


"One must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics."

The Extraordinary Joint Conference of the Sacred Community on Mount Athos:

April 9/22, 1980 Full Text

3. Theological dialogue must not in any way be linked with prayer in common, or by joint participation in any liturgical or worship services whatsoever; or in other activities which might create the impression that our Orthodox Church accepts, on the one hand, Roman Catholics as part of the fulness of the Church, or, on the other hand, the Pope as the canonical bishop of Rome. Activities such as these mislead both the fulness of the Orthodox people and the Roman Catholics themselves, fostering among them a mistaken notion as to what Orthodoxy thinks of their teaching.

On the Date for Celebrating Pascha


Canon VII of the Holy Apostles:

If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed.

Canon I of Antioch:

As for all persons who dare to violate the definition of the holy and great Synod convened in Nicaea in the presence of Eusebeia, the consort of the most God-beloved Emperor Constantine, concerning the holy festival of the soterial Pascha, we decree that they be excluded from Communion and be outcasts from the Church if they persist more captiously in objecting to the decisions that have been made as most fitting in regard thereto; and let these things be said with reference to laymen. But if any of the person occupying prominent positions in the Church, such as a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, after the adoption of this definition, should dare to insist upon having his own way, to the perversion of the laity, and to the disturbance of the church, and upon celebrating Pascha along with the Jews, the holy Synod has hence judged that person to be an alien to the Church, on the ground that he has not only become guilty of sin by himself, but has also been the cause of corruption and perversion among the multitude. Accordingly, it not only deposes such persons from the liturgy, but also those who dare to commune with them after their deposition. Moreover, those who have been deposed are to be deprived of the external honor too of which the holy Canon and God's priesthood have partaken.

See also the Sigillon of 1583 which anathematized the Gregorian and Papal Calendar.

On Separating from Heretical Hierarchs

From St. Basil's first canon:

Schisms is the name applied to those who on account of ecclesiastical causes and remediable questions have developed a quarrel amongst themselves. Parasynagogues is the name applied to gatherings held by insubordinate presbyters or bishops, and those held by uneducated laities. As, for instance, when one has been arraigned for a misdemeanor held aloof from liturgy and refused to submit to the Canons, but laid claim to the presidency and liturgy for himself, and some other persons departed with him, leaving the catholic Church—that is a parasynagogue.

Apostolic Canon XXXI:


"If any Presbyter, condemning his own bishop, draw people aside and set up another altar, without finding anything wrong with the Bishop in point of piety and righteousness, let him be deposed, on the ground that he is an office-seeker. For he is a tyrant. Let the rest of clergymen be treated likewise, and all those who abet him. But let the laymen be excommunicated. Let these things be done after one, and a second, and a third request of the Bishop."

Interpretation (of Ss. Nikodemos and Agapios):

"Order sustains the coherence of both heavenly things and earthly things, according to St. Gregory the Theologian. So good order ought to be kept everywhere as helping coherence and preserving the established system, and especially among ecclesiastics, who need to know their own standards, and to avoid exceeding the limits and bounds of their own class. But as for Presbyters, and Deacons, and all clergymen they ought to submit to their own Bishop; the Bishops, in turn, to their own Metropolitan; the Metropolitans, to their own Patriarch. On this account the present Apostolical Canon ordains as follows: Any presbyter that scorns his own bishop, and without knowing that the latter is manifestly at fault either in point of piety or in point of righteousness—that is to say, without knowing him to be manifestly either heretical or unjust—proceeds to gather the Christians into a distinct group and to build another church, and should hold services seperately, without the permission and approval of his bishop in so doing, on the ground of his being an office-seeker he is to be deposed; since like a tyrant with violence and tyranny he is trying to wrest away the authority which belongs to his bishop. But also any other clergymen that agree with him in such apostasy must be deposed from office too just as he must; but as for those who are laymen, let them be excommunicated. These things, however, are to be done after the bishop three times gently and blandly urges those who have seperated from him to forgo such a movement, and they obstinately refuse to do so. As for those, however, who seperate from their bishop before a synodical investigation because he himself is preaching some misbelief and heresy publicly, not only are not subject to the above penances, but have a right to claim the honor due to Orthodox Christians according to c. XV of the 1st & 2nd.

Canon XV of the 1st & 2nd:

"The rules laid down with reference to Presbyters and Bishops and Metropolitans are still more applicable to Patriarchs. So that in case any Presbyter or Bishop or Metropolitan dares to secede or apostatize from the communion of his own Patriarch, and fails to mention the latter's name in accordance with custom duly fixed and ordained, in the divine Mystagogy, but, before a conciliar verdict has been pronounced and has passed judgement against him, creates a schism, the holy Synod has decreed that this person shall be held an alien to every priestly function if only he be convicted of having committed this transgression of the law. Accordingly, these rules have been sealed and ordained as respecting persons who under the pretext of charges against their own presidents stand aloof, and create a schism, and disrupt the union of the Church. But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Synods, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions."

Comments on the First-Second Synod found in the Life of St. Photios the Great by the eminent Serbian scholar and Saint, Hieromonk Justin (Popovich) of Chelije (From Saint Photios, On the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, trans. by Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Studion Publishers, 1983):

Maintaining his meekness, his love for order, and the canons of the Church, St. Photios called a second Council to convene in the Church of the Holy Apostles in the spring of 861* with the approval of Emperor Michael. This assembly later came to be known as the First-Second Council. Many bishops, including the representatives of Pope Nicholas, were in attendance. All confirmed the determinations of the holy Seventh Ecumenical Council, once more condemning the iconoclast heresy, and accepted Photios as the lawful and canonical patriarch. At this Council, seventeen holy canons were promulgated with the purpose of bringing disobedient monks and bishops into harmony with ecclesiastical order and tradition. The disobedient monks were expressly forbidden to desert their lawful bishop under the excuse of the bishop's supposed sinfulness, for such brings disorder and schism to the Church. The holy Council added that only by a conciliar decision could the clergy reject a bishop whom they thought to be sinful. This rule was adopted in direct response to those unreasonably strict monks who had separated themselves from their new Patriarch and his bishops. The holy Council, however, did distinguish between unreasonable rebellion and laudable resistance for the defense of the faith, which it encouraged. In regard to this matter it decreed that should a bishop publicly confess some heresy already condemned by the Holy Fathers and previous councils, one who ceases to commemorate such a bishop even before conciliar condemnation not only is not to be censured, but should be praised as condemning a false bishop. In so doing, moreover, he is not dividing the Church, but struggling for the unity of the Faith (Canon Fifteen).

* The footnote reads: "This Council together with that of 869 are considered the First-Second Council, whose canons are accepted by the Orthodox Church."

On Obedience to the Canons

Canon I of the Second Ecumenical Synod:

"Let not the Symbol of Faith be set aside…but let it remain unchanged: and let every heresy be given over to anathema…"

Canon VII of the Third Ecumenical Synod:


"Let no one be permitted to bring forward, or write or compose a different faith besides that defined by the holy Fathers who assembled with the Holy Spirit in the city of Nicaea. And whoever dares to compose a different faith, or present, or offer [one] to those wishing to turn to the knowledge of the truth…let such, if they be bishops or belong to the clergy, be alien-bishops from the episcopate, and clerics from the clergy—and if they be laymen, let them be given over to anathema."

Canon I of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod:

"We have acknowledged it as just to keep the canons of the holy Fathers set forth at each synod till now."

Excerpt from Divine Prayers and Services of the Catholic Orthodox Church of Christ, compiled and arranged by the Late Reverend Seraphim Nassar (Englewood, NJ: Antiochian Archdiocese of N. America, 1979), p. 1031.:

Now since the Church is one, and that oneness consists primarily and universally of perfect agreement in Orthodox doctrines, it necessarily follows that all those who do not conform to those Orthodox doctrines, whether by addition or omission, or by any innovation of their own, thus changing the truth, are outside this one Holy Church, as one may also ascertain from a review of the sixth and seventh canons of the Second Ecumenical Council, and the first canon of St. Basil the Great.

Canon I of the Sixth Ecumenical Synod, in Trullo:


"…we decree that the faith handed down to us by the eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, the divinely chosen Apostles, and, further, by the three hundred and eighteen holy and blessed Fathers…who assembled in Nicaea, be preserved inviolate from innovations and changes… Likewise, we also maintain the confession of faith proclaimed by the one hundred and fifty holy Fathers, who assembled in this reigning city under the great Theodosius, our emperor…Likewise, we also seal…the teaching set forth by the two hundred Godbearing Fathers, who assembled the first time in the city of Ephesus under Theodosius, our emperor, the son of Arcadius…

"Likewise, we also confirm in Orthodox manner the confession of faith inscribed by the six hundred and thirty divinely chosen Fathers in the provincial city of Chalcedon under Marcian, our emperor… And further, we also recognize as uttered by the Holy Spirit the pious utterances of the one hundred and sixty-five Godbearing Fathers, who assembled in this reigning city under Justinian, our emperor of blessed memory, and we teach them to our posterity… And we bind ourselves anew to preserve inviolably…the confession of faith of the Sixth Synod that came together recently under our emperor, Constantine of blessed memory, in this reigning city... Speaking briefly, we enact that the faith of all of the men who have been glorified in the Church of God...be kept steadfastly, and that it abide until the end of the age unshaken, together with their divinely handed down writings and dogmas... If anyone at all does not maintain and accept the aforementioned dogmas of piety, and does not think and preach so, but attempts to go against them: let him be anathema, according to the decree previously enacted by the aforementioned holy and blessed Fathers, and let him be excluded and expelled from the Christian estate as an alien."

Canon I of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod:


"For those who have received the priestly dignity, the inscribed canons and enactments serve as testimonies and directions, which we, gladly receiving, sing together with the divinely inspired David unto the Lord, saying: In the way of Thy testimonies have I found delight, as much as in all riches (Psalm 118:14). Likewise, Thou hast ordained as Thy testimonies... righteousness for ever; give me understanding and I shall live (Psalm 118:138, 144). And if the prophetic voice commands us to preserve the testimonies of God forever, and to live in them, then it is manifest that they abide indestructible and unshakeable. For Moses the Godseer also speaks thus: It is not fitting to add to them, nor is it fitting to take away from them (Deuteronomy 12:32). And the divine Apostle Peter, boasting in them, cries: which things the angels desire to look into (I Peter 1:12). Likewise the Apostle Paul also says: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed [literally, let him be anathema] (Galatians 1:8). Inasmuch as this is true, and attested unto us, rejoicing over this, as one that has found great spoil, we receive the divine canons with delight, and we maintain wholly and unshakably the enactment of these canons set forth by the allpraised Apostles, the holy trumpets of the Spirit, and by the six holy Ecumenical Synods, and those assembled locally to issue such commandments, and by our holy Fathers. For they all, being enlightened by one and the same Spirit, ordained what is beneficial. And whomever they give over to anathema, those we also anathematize; and whomever to expulsion, those we also expel, and whomever to excommunication, those we also excommunicate; and whomever they subject to penances, those we likewise subject."

Eighth Proceeding of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod:


Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio [1960], vol. 3, p. 416). Quoted by Dr. Constantine Cavarnos in Orthodox Tradition and Modernism, p. 37.

"If anyone breaks any ecclesiastical tradition, written or unwritten, let him be anathema"

From the Synodicon of the Holy Spirit:

Note: This is subtitled, "A confession and proclamation of the Orthodox piety of the Christians, in which all the impieties of the heretics are overthrown and the definitions of the Catholic Church of Christ are sustained. Through which the enemies of the Holy Spirit are severed from the Church of Christ." This Synodicon (a decision, statement, or tome either originating from a synod possessing conciliar authority) is attributed to Patriarch Germanos the New (1222-1240).

"To those who scorn the venerable and holy ecumenical Synods, and who despise even more their dogmatic and canonical traditions; and to those who say that all things were not perfectly defined and delivered by the synods, but that they left the greater part mysterious, unclear, and untaught, ANATHEMA."

"To those who hold in contempt the sacred and divine canons of our blessed fathers, which, by sustaining the holy Church of God and adorning the whole Christian Church, guide to divine reverence, ANATHEMA."

"To all things innovated and enacted contrary to the Church tradition, teaching, and institution of the holy and ever-memorable fathers, or to anything henceforth so enacted, ANATHEMA."

The Example of St. Maximus the Confessor


From The Life of Our Holy Father St. Maximus the Confessor:

The life of Saint Maximus is also instructive for us. Saint Maximus, though only a simple monk, resisted and cut off communion with every patriarch, metropolitan, archbishop and bishop in the East because of their having been infected with the heresy of Monothelitism. During the first imprisonment of the Saint, the messengers from the Ecumenical Patriarch asked him,

    "To which church do you belong? To that of Byzantium, of Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? For all these churches, together with the provinces in subjection to them, are in unity. Therefore, if you also belong to the Catholic Church, enter into communion with us at once, lest fashioning for yourself some new and strange pathway, you fall into that which you do not even expect!"

    To this the righteous man wisely replied, "Christ the Lord called that Church the Catholic Church which maintains the true and saving confession of the Faith. It was for this confession that He called Peter blessed, and He declared that He would found His Church upon this confession. However, I wish to know the contents of your confession, on the basis of which all churches, as you say, have entered into communion. If it is not opposed to the truth, then neither will I be separated from it."

The confession which they were proposing to the Saint was not Orthodox, of course, and so he refused to comply with their coercions. Furthermore, they were lying about the See of Rome which, in fact, had remained Orthodox. Some time later, at his last interrogation by the Byzantine authorities, the following dialogue took place:

    The Saint said, "They [the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria and all the other heretical bishops of the East] have been deposed and deprived of the priesthood at the local synod which took place recently in Rome. What Mysteries, then, can they perform? Or what spirit will descend upon those who are ordained by them?"

    "Then you alone will be saved, and all others will perish?" they objected.

    To this the Saint replied, "When all the people in Babylon were worshipping the golden idol, the Three Holy Children did not condemn anyone to perdition. They did not concern themselves with the doings of others, but took care only for themselves, lest they should fall away from true piety. In precisely the same way, when Daniel was cast into the lion's den, he did not condemn any of those who, fulfilling the law of Darius, did not wish to pray to God, but he kept in mind his own duty, and desired rather to die than to sin against his conscience by transgressing the Law of God. God forbid that I should condemn anyone or say that I alone am being saved! However, I shall sooner agree to die than to apostatize in any way from the true Faith and thereby suffer torments of conscience."

    "But what will you do," inquired the envoys, "when the Romans are united to the Byzantines? Yesterday, indeed, two delegates arrived from Rome and tomorrow, the Lord's day, they will communicate the Holy Mysteries with the Patriarch. "

    The Saint replied, "Even if the whole universe holds communion with the Patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching."

As history has demonstrated, Saint Maximus—who was only a simple monk and not even ordained—and his two disciples were the ones who were Orthodox, and all those illustrious, famous and influential Patriarchs and Metropolitans whom the Saint had written against were the ones who were in heresy. When the Sixth Ecumenical Synod was finally convened, among those condemned for heresy were four Patriarchs of Constantinople, one Pope of Rome, one Patriarch of Alexandria, two Patriarchs of Antioch and a multitude of other Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops. During all those years, that one simple monk was right, and all those notable bishops were wrong. (pp. 60-62)

Other quotes from The Life:


Those who first defended and dissmeninated the heresy of the Monothelites were Cyrus, Patriarch of Alexandria (630-643), and Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople (610-638), and even the Emperor Heraclius himself, who was drawn into this heresy by them. Summoning local synods—Cyrus in Alexandria and Sergius in Constantinople—they confirmed this heresy, distributed their decrees everywhere, and corrupted the entire East. Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, alone opposed this heresy and did not accept the false teaching. Saint Maximus, seeing that the heresy had penetrated even into the royal palace and had corrupted the Emperor himself, began to fear lest he also should be corrupted, following the example of the many... He set out for Rome, preferring to live with Orthodox men who firmly preserved the Faith. (p. 2, 4, emphases mine).

[At the urging of Saint Maximus the] Pope convened his bishops, one hundred and five in number, with Abba Maximus in their midst. This was the Lateran Council (A.D. 649): it reviewed the errors of Cyrus, Sergius, Pyrrhus, and Paul, and also the Emperor's heretical confession. The false teachings were anathematized, and the Pope wrote to the faithful in all places, confirming them in their Orthodoxy, explaining the errors of the heretics and warning them in every way to be on their guard against them. (p. 7)

Then Theodosius began to speak, "The Emperor and the Patriarch wish first of all to find out from you why you withdraw yourself from communion with the Throne of Constantinople."

Saint Maximus replied, "You know the innovations which were introduced twenty-one years ago in Alexandria, when Cyrus, the former Patriarch of that city, made public the ‘Nine Chapters’ which had been approved and confirmed by the Throne of Constantinople. There have also been other alterations and additions—the Ekthesis and the Typos—distorting the definitions of the Synods. These innovations were made by the foremost representatives of the Church of Byzantium, Sergius, Pyrrhus, and Paul, and they are known to all the churches. This is the reason why I, your servant, will not enter into communion with the Church of Constantinople. Let these offenses, introduced by the aforementioned men into the Church, be removed; let those who have introduced them be deposed; and then the path to salvation will be cleared of all barriers, and you will walk on the smooth path of the Gospel, cleansed of all heresy! When I see the Church of Constantinople as she was formerly, then I will enter into communion with her without any exhortation on the part of men. But while there are heretical temptations in her, and while heretics are her bishops, no word or deed will convince me ever to enter into communion with her." (19-20, emphases mine)

To this Abba Maximus replied, "To keep silence about a word means to deny it, as the Holy Spirit says through the Prophet, 'There are no tongues nor words in which their voices are not heard' (Ps. 18:3). Therefore, if some word is not said, then it is not a word at all4."

Then Troilus said, "Have whatever faith you please in your heart; nobody forbids you."

Saint Maximus objected: "But complete salvation depends not on the faith of the heart alone, but also upon confessing it, for the Lord said, 'Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven' (Matt. 10:33). Also, the divine Apostle teaches: 'For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation' (Rom. 10:10). If, then, God and the divine Prophets and Apostles command that they mystery of faith be confessed in words and with the tongue, and this mystery of faith brings salvation to the whole world, then people must not be forced to keep silence with regard to confession, lest the salvation of people be hindered." (p. 29)

The Example of St. Mark of Ephesus

He addressed the faithful on the day of his repose. This is an excerpt:

Concerning the Patriarch I shall say this, lest it should perhaps occur to him to show me a certain respect at the burial of this my humble body, or to send to my grave any of his hierarchs or clergy or in general any of those in communion with him in order to take part in prayer or to join the priests invited to it from amongst us, thinking that at some time, or perhaps secretly, I had allowed communion with him. And lest my silence give occasion to those who do not know my views well and fully to suspect some kind of conciliation, I hereby state and testify before the many worthy men here present that I do not desire, in any manner and absolutely, and do not accept communion with him or with those who are with him, not in this life nor after my death, just as (I accept) neither the Union nor Latin dogmas, which he and his adherents have accepted, and for the enforcement of which he has occupied this presiding place, with the aim of overturning the true dogmas of the Church. I am absolutely convinced that the farther I stand from him and those like him, the nearer I am to God and all the saints, and to the degree that I separate myself from them am in union with the Truth and with the Holy Fathers, the Theologians of the Church; and I am likewise convinced that those who count themselves with them stand far away from the Truth and from the blessed Teachers of the Church. And for this reason I say: just as in the course of my whole life I was separated from them, so at the time of my departure, yea and after my death, I turn away from intercourse and communion with them and vow and command that none (of them) shall approach either my burial or my grave, and likewise anyone else from our side, with the aim of attempting to join and concelebrate in our Divine services; for this would be to mix what cannot be mixed. But it befits them to be absolutely separated from us until such time as God shall grant correction and peace to His Church. [as quoted in The Orthodox Word, June-July, 1967, pp. 103ff.]
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« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2008, 02:48:39 PM »

And if we analyse the case of the Orthodox Churches in the West, things get even more complicated. I cite the example of the French Orthodox Church that uses a Gallican liturgy (the jurisdiction of Bishop Jean de Saint Dennis). For some time they were under the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate but then the ROC broke the relationship. The group remained in the Canonical limb but neverthless preserved the Orthodox faith.

Today some of the parishes (if I'm not mistaken) is part of the Coptic Patriarchate, despite the fact that their theology was never Myaphysite. I heard that other parishes were even negociating with the Roman Archdiocese of Paris toenter the Catholic communion.

Another case: the Church of Portugal, Spain and Brazil which was a "province" of the Polish Orthodox Church. Because of internal problems, some of the bishops broke with the POC and again remained in a canonical limbo, other parishes were received in the Serbian Patriarchate, but others remained independent.
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« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2008, 03:09:46 PM »

Well, Church of Poland have never had any parishes in Spain, it used to have archdiocese in Portugal (which mysteriously disappeared in about 2003) and it has archdiocese in Portugal.

Do You know more about that situation? I thought that Portuguese were moved to EP's Holy Metropolis of Spain and Portugal. I've been looking for an answer for a quite log time, but none was able to answer me. Does anybody know what really happened with them and why?

On this site I can notice a couple of Polish-like-named clergy under the EP, but they may be immigrants or something...

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« Reply #42 on: November 18, 2008, 03:28:28 PM »

https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0102D&L=ORTHODOX&P=R7097
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« Reply #43 on: November 18, 2008, 03:32:41 PM »

Thank You very much
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« Reply #44 on: November 18, 2008, 03:37:24 PM »

Here is the Church now: http://www.igrejaortodoxa.pt/
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Met. Demetrius's Enthronement

Disclaimer: Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching.

I served as an Orthodox priest from June 2008 to April 2013, before resigning for personal reasons
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