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Author Topic: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church  (Read 3323 times) Average Rating: 0
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theosis
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« on: December 09, 2008, 04:54:58 PM »

Greetings,

Hello. I am new to the forum and in a way, I am new to Orthodoxy as well. This is my first post on the forum, and I hope and pray that those of you who hold knowledge about the Orthodox Church may help this confused sinner. To give you a bit of a background on me, I am Catholic, born in the latin rite, discovered the Eastern Rites in the Catholic Church and naturally following, discovered the Orthodox Church. This progression has revealed many things to me and I find myself asking the question: Is the Orthodox Church, the true Church?

I have been considering conversion, though this is not something one should take lightly (I've heard of converts joining the Orthodox Church because they are upset or frustrated with the Church they left). While there are frustrations present when looking at the Catholic Church to which I belong, it is Truth that I seek, not satisfying my personal views. It is in regards to that, that I post here with the hope that some of you in the Orthodox church may help me understand the Four Marks of the Church.

Both Catholics and Orthodox accept and agree on the Marks of the Church. Mainly that she is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church. These marks reveal the Church that Christ has established and are part of the Creed. Yet I'm stumped in a way as to how the Orthodox Church identifies with these marks in total. It is clear that the Orthodox is Apostolic as the Church can trace her lineage to that of the Apostles. The Church is the Body of Christ, therefore Holy. Now come the 2 parts which I'm struggling with.  Undecided

Is the Orthodox Church, Catholic, ie universal? From what I understand the Orthodox Church does not have a significant presence outside the original Patriarchates (Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, etc.) and a few churches they established in neighboring areas (Albania, Cyprus, Czech-Slovakia, Estonia, etc.) if I'm not mistaken. They do have Archdioceses and Metropolis' in many areas around the world. However, according to the Ecumenical Patriarch himself, the Orthodox Church has failed "to constitute a single Orthodox Church in the so-called Diaspora in accor­dance with the ecclesiological and canoni­cal principles of our Church." In 2000 years, only a few new national churches. I find myself wondering about the Orthodox Church and its claim that it is "catholic". I do not mean to stirr emotions or anger, but perhaps one of you may help me to understand this better.

As for the mark of being One, this is also something that puzzles me. The Orthodox Church claims to share a common faith, yet where is the evidence for this? There is no Catechism approved by all the Patriarchates, so how does one truly know that the faith is shared between them all? I bring up the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the fact that within that Catechism, that is the Faith that all of the 22 Catholic Churches (east + west) hold. When those outside of the Catholic Church want to know the Faith held by the Catholic Churh (all of the Catholic rites/Churches) they can, with confidence look at the Catechism and know this. Now the downside to this is that is has caused latinization and many of the eastern churches to accept doctrines foreign to them but forced on them in a way by the Roman / Latin rite. Nonetheless, to stay on the topic. There is not a Catechism approved by all the leaders in the Orthodox Church. There is not even a Catechism approved by all the leaders of the canonical Orthodox leadership in the U.S. The Church has not held an Ecumenical Council in over 1200 years. Since about the 1920's the Church has been planning for the next "Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church," but it has yet to happen... Also, there is suppose to be only one Orthodox Church per country. The Church has been in the U.S. for over 200 years and still there are multiple jurisdictions here. In the U.S. the Orthodox Church have institutionalized this jurisdictionalism, ethnic nationalism of the old country churches, in the SCOBA. Can this be a form of Phyletism?

I am grateful for those of you who can help me understand this better. Please note: I am not out to offend anyone on this board and I approach all of you with love and kindness and also ignorance. I don't know many things about the Orthodox Church. But what I do know about Orthodoxy, leads me on a quest for more knowledge because what I am reading and learning about your Church, makes sense. I noted earlier, is it Truth that I seek... Perhaps some of you may be able to help me on my journey. Thank you my friends and may the love of God be with you all.
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2008, 05:07:27 PM »

These are some troubling quotes that I've found from Orthodox Christians that really confuse me. Can someone please help me to understand them. I have read much about the Orthodox, and as I posted above, Orthodoxy makes sense. What doesn't- is these comments. I am considering Orthodoxy, but these quotes make it seem as if the family is divided in a way...

"The Orthodox Church cannot claim to be the true, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church if she is actually divided into a plurality of mutually independent, competing, and overlapping jurisdictions. This division has long ago ceased to be justified by the peculiarities of Orthodox immigration in America, and has become an open scandal to the faithful, a source of demoralization and dissatisfaction in the laity, and an obstacle to any effort or progress."

Per SCOBA's Ad Hoc Commission on Unity. Meeting XI Minutes 1970. Cited in "Orthodox Reunion: Overcoming the Curse of Jurisdictionalism in America" by The Very Reverend Josiah Trenham, Ph.D. (2006) http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/TrenhamUnity.php

"In externals, Orthodox Christians in North America resemble Roman Catholics. They share a similar sacramental view of life; liturgical forms of corporate worship; traditional forms of piety such as fasting, prayer, monasticism; and generally "conservative" positions on contemporary moral issues. In administration the Orthodox in North America resemble Protestants and are splintered into distinct administrative "jurisdictions", divisions based on ethnic origin and politics, both secular and ecclesiastical. In self-identity, however, Orthodox Christians in North America are like Orthodox Jews; a people apart, unable and at time unwilling to separate the claims of race, religion, and politics: people for whom the Greek terms "diaspora" ("dispersion") has been an expression of enduring meaning"

Orthodox historian Mark Stokoe, http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/orthodoxpaper.html

"Despite administrational division, Orthodoxy remains united in faith, the Sacraments, etc. But is this sufficient? When before non-Orthodox we sometimes appear divided in theological dialogues and elsewhere; when we are unable to proceed to the realization of the long-heralded Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church; when we lack a unified voice on contemporary issues and, instead, convoke bilateral dialogues with non-Orthodox on these issues; when we fail to constitute a single Orthodox Church in the so-called Diaspora in accordance with the ecclesiological and canonical principles of our Church; how can we avoid the image of division in Orthodoxy, especially on the basis of non-theological, secular criteria?"

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the October 2008 Synaxis of the Heads of All Orthodox Churches http://www.goarch.org/news/observer/

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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2008, 05:16:28 PM »

These are some troubling quotes that I've found from Orthodox Christians that really confuse me. Can someone please help me to understand them. I have read much about the Orthodox, and as I posted above, Orthodoxy makes sense. What doesn't- is these comments. I am considering Orthodoxy, but these quotes make it seem as if the family is divided in a way...

"The Orthodox Church cannot claim to be the true, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church if she is actually divided into a plurality of mutually independent, competing, and overlapping jurisdictions. This division has long ago ceased to be justified by the peculiarities of Orthodox immigration in America, and has become an open scandal to the faithful, a source of demoralization and dissatisfaction in the laity, and an obstacle to any effort or progress."

Per SCOBA's Ad Hoc Commission on Unity. Meeting XI Minutes 1970. Cited in "Orthodox Reunion: Overcoming the Curse of Jurisdictionalism in America" by The Very Reverend Josiah Trenham, Ph.D. (2006) http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/TrenhamUnity.php

"In externals, Orthodox Christians in North America resemble Roman Catholics. They share a similar sacramental view of life; liturgical forms of corporate worship; traditional forms of piety such as fasting, prayer, monasticism; and generally "conservative" positions on contemporary moral issues. In administration the Orthodox in North America resemble Protestants and are splintered into distinct administrative "jurisdictions", divisions based on ethnic origin and politics, both secular and ecclesiastical. In self-identity, however, Orthodox Christians in North America are like Orthodox Jews; a people apart, unable and at time unwilling to separate the claims of race, religion, and politics: people for whom the Greek terms "diaspora" ("dispersion") has been an expression of enduring meaning"

Orthodox historian Mark Stokoe, http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/orthodoxpaper.html

"Despite administrational division, Orthodoxy remains united in faith, the Sacraments, etc. But is this sufficient? When before non-Orthodox we sometimes appear divided in theological dialogues and elsewhere; when we are unable to proceed to the realization of the long-heralded Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church; when we lack a unified voice on contemporary issues and, instead, convoke bilateral dialogues with non-Orthodox on these issues; when we fail to constitute a single Orthodox Church in the so-called Diaspora in accordance with the ecclesiological and canonical principles of our Church; how can we avoid the image of division in Orthodoxy, especially on the basis of non-theological, secular criteria?"

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the October 2008 Synaxis of the Heads of All Orthodox Churches http://www.goarch.org/news/observer/



Not divided, but not as united as we should be.  Sort of like a family split between Democrats and Republicans celebrating Thanksgiving after any one of the recent Presidential elections.
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2008, 05:17:57 PM »

theosis,

First, welcome to the forum.

I would say that most of your other questions have been answered before if you use the search function.

Second, per worldwide presence, there is a significant presence - just not AS significant as others (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church).  Keep in mind, that historically, while the west was rich and flourishing, colonizing Africa and South America, the east was diminishing economically and being fiercely persecuted by the Muslim world.  This makes evangelism a lot more difficult.

Third, where do you live?  The United States?  Unless you are out in the rural and mountainous west, there is probably at least a couple of Orthodox parishes near you.  Just go to www.orthodoxyinamerica.org and search.
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2008, 06:26:11 PM »

theosis,

welcome to the site!  Here are some notes from my ecclesiology class that may be helpful. 

Abbreviations: 

LG = Lumen Gentium (here is the whole document, from the Vatican web-site) http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html

OHCA = One, Holy Catholic (and) Apostolic (sometimes the "church" is implied, otherwise I am saying it as a sentence...sorry for the confusion...these are notes after all)

XC = christianity
JC = Jesus Christ
Z = (Met.) John Zizioulas

OC = Orthodox Church
RC = Roman Church (roman catholic church)

I think that's it.  Let me know if there are any questions.   
Quote
The LG affirms the notion of (subsist) that the RC church is the one, holy catholic apostolic church is the RC church in exclusive and unqualified church.  Florence says whoever is not united to the bishop of Rome is destined to burn in Hell, they are not in the salvific life of the church.  We move from that to an inclusive ecclesiology through the notion of the people of God, the pneumatology that has been injected in the document.  The OHCA church subsists in the church and aspects of the church can be found in different degrees in other Christians. 

Cyprian said outside the church there is no salvation.  Now they make a movement from that notion to the idea that the OHCA subsists in the RC church but there are elements of the OHCA church in the other Christian churches.  They say that even non-believers are somehow related to the OHCA church, like the Jews, etc.  This is important.  You can understand why the Pope called our church a wounded church.  They recognize the fullness of the church being in OC but we are wounded b/c one of their criterion of fullness is not present – communion with the bishop of Rome. 

How do we interpret the notion of “subsist” which means you can find the OHCA in the RC but the RC in its institutional context does not limit the presence of that catholicity in other churches.  This classic text (LG) is in paragraph 8.  We must not divide the heavenly and the earthly church.  What we can find in the spiritual realm can be found in the hierarchical and institutional church.  What other have, is not yours (as EO, or P) but rather elements of the catholic church that pulls you towards the fullness of catholicity as found in the RC church. 

There is an evolution from Cyprianic ecclesiology they moved to Augustinian.  That is the basis of RC ecumenism.  They will relate with respect and dialogical spirit with other XC churches and be ready to acknowledge and affirm whatever good can be found in our churches.  But after they have said everything about us they will maintain that we are missing something, that we are not yet in unity with the bishop of rome.  The primacy of the bishop of Rome, there was no evolution there.  The primacy has been put in a conciliar context, which is important. 

Z said the notion of the people of God, we all constitute it together, we constitute JC.  Within the body of Christ there is a differentiation b/w the ordained and the non-ordained but non of the ministries can be differentiated from the ministries of the other.  They are presenting the mystery of the church, the people of God, and then the hierarchical structures.  The hierarchy cannot be understood apart from the unity. 

The notion of ordination in RC is radically different than OC.  The ordained people are essentially different than the people.  Paragraph 10 in LG talks about this explicitly.  Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree.  What does he say here?  Ordination changes the ordained person, differentiating him from the rest of the people of God, although remaining related to the people of God.  Z would say that this is a remnant of Vatican I, and that is the basis of clericalism. 


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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2008, 06:35:01 PM »

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When the LG discusses the people of God, the RC is eager to confirm the dignity of the lay people.  The dignity and freedom that they have as sons of God and all the people have received the HS that dwells in their hearts.  What does it mean to be a baptized person, that you live the commandment of God to love as JC loves.  The ultimate vision we have of life Is the kingdom of God initiated to us through God Himself. 

The baptized faithful are with God and they have the HS with them and they live in the fullness of the church.  If they don’t live a life of love, although they are in church, they are not saved.  Some say that participation in church life will lead to salvation, but if we do not love, that is not true.  LG says that salvation comes from JC.  There is a possibility that people outside the OHCA church (RC) to be saved by Christ.  It does not limit the operation of Christ within the institutional church.  The HS (LG) is everywhere present and the salvific work of Christ is in the whole creation. 
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Our unity with God is constantly developing it is constantly moving, and constantly participating in new expressions of his love.  (Nyssa talks about this). 
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I experience and live the fullness of the OHCA in the OC church, without excluding the RC and other churches which exist beyond the canonical bounds of the catholic church.  The eucharist is the church, so the fullness of the church is in Eucharist.  If the church is Christ, you cannot limit JC in the canonical limits of the church.
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According to Ignatius, Cyprian, Irenaeus there is only 1 Christ, so only 1 church.  That is why it is inconceivable for the OC to have 2 churches in one city.  Formally the OC has accepted the suggestion of Augustine, the involvement of our church in the EC movement.  Also it is in Vatican II and the RC church.  But the Augustinian view does not compromise the catholicity of the local church.  The catholicity of the local church discloses itself, can be found, in the celebration of the Eucharist with the presidency of the bishop, wehre the fullness of OC is lived and celebrated.  So the catholicity of the one holy catholic and apostolic church subsists in OC and without them the catholicity of the church cannot be found apart from them.  Aspects of the catholicity can be found outside the church.  God is not constrained by the bounds of the church.  He intends to save all people and the grace of God is for all people. 
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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 #6 on: December 09, 2008, 09:19:24 PM »

theosis,

Welcome to the forum! I'm not sure how much help I can give, but I'll give the quotes that you provided a shot...

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"The Orthodox Church cannot claim to be the true, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church if she is actually divided into a plurality of mutually independent, competing, and overlapping jurisdictions. This division has long ago ceased to be justified by the peculiarities of Orthodox immigration in America, and has become an open scandal to the faithful, a source of demoralization and dissatisfaction in the laity, and an obstacle to any effort or progress."

I would disagree with the first sentence of this paragraph. I think the Orthodox Church is still one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, in spite of having an uncanonical situation in place. There is indeed a problem with the way the jurisdictions are set up in America, and it is indeed an "open scandal to the faithful," with that I would agree. However, I do not think that this irregular situation effects the very essence of the Church. It is just an abnormal situation that needs to be remedied, and this isn't the first time when there were competing groups in the same geographical region (e.g. in Antioch in the 4th century there were competing Patriarchs, with Rome/Alexandria supporting one Patriarch, and Cappadocia/the East supporting another Patriarch; both Antiochian communities were Orthodox, but the situation itself was uncanonical).

Quote
"In externals, Orthodox Christians in North America resemble Roman Catholics. They share a similar sacramental view of life; liturgical forms of corporate worship; traditional forms of piety such as fasting, prayer, monasticism; and generally "conservative" positions on contemporary moral issues. In administration the Orthodox in North America resemble Protestants and are splintered into distinct administrative "jurisdictions", divisions based on ethnic origin and politics, both secular and ecclesiastical. In self-identity, however, Orthodox Christians in North America are like Orthodox Jews; a people apart, unable and at time unwilling to separate the claims of race, religion, and politics: people for whom the Greek terms "diaspora" ("dispersion") has been an expression of enduring meaning"

While I wouldn't put it like this, there is some truth to what he is saying. I'm guessing that the part that trouble you is the part about the Orthodox being splintered like Protestants. All I can say is that this is only true if you are merely taking a glance at the situation. At the root, these "splintered" jurisdictions are in communion with each other and are all part of the same Church. The division is in administration, not in faith, and I think that that is an important distinction. We are only like Protestants in apperance at first glance, but if you take a deeper look into the matter I think the oneness of the faith among the Orthodox shines through, in spite of whatever extenal divisions might exist.

Quote
"Despite administrational division, Orthodoxy remains united in faith, the Sacraments, etc. But is this sufficient? When before non-Orthodox we sometimes appear divided in theological dialogues and elsewhere; when we are unable to proceed to the realization of the long-heralded Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church; when we lack a unified voice on contemporary issues and, instead, convoke bilateral dialogues with non-Orthodox on these issues; when we fail to constitute a single Orthodox Church in the so-called Diaspora in accordance with the ecclesiological and canonical principles of our Church; how can we avoid the image of division in Orthodoxy, especially on the basis of non-theological, secular criteria?"

I would mostly agree with Pat. Bartholomew here. It's not that Orthodoxy is divided, we only "appear divided". However, it is true that our mission as a Church is hurt because of the administrative divisions and conflicts that have arisen over the years.  There is currently a certain lack of unity, but again, this is not a lack of unity in faith, but only a lack of administrative unity. Nonetheless, I don't think that God's will is thwarted because of these divisions, but rather he just works through things for us, helping us as we try to resolve the problems that have arisen due to worldly issues.
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2008, 10:28:39 PM »

Regarding the Orthodox understanding of being one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, one text that might be worth reading is The Church is One by Khomiakov (an online version is available here).

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Is the Orthodox Church, Catholic, ie universal? ...

This is something that I've also struggled with. If you look at those maps that show where different religious groups are, it's plain how  geographically confined Orthodoxy has historically been. Christ said to go to all the world, yet Orthodoxy looks like it has only reached a  small sliver of the world. Well, to this I would first say that no Church is truly "universal," if by that you mean having a large presence in  every country. Even the largest Christian group, the Roman Catholic Church, has a minimal presense in some areas of the world. Even if you add  all the Christian groups together, Christianity is still very much a minority in some parts of the world. Obviously if either the Roman Catholic  or Eastern Orthodox Churches are what they claim to be, then being "universal" means something different than "having a large presence  everywhere".

It is true that to be catholic does, in a sense, mean to be spread out or to be throughout the world. Regarding the geographical aspect of it,  Khomiakov puts it this way: the Orthodox Church is catholic "because she belongs to the whole world, and not to any particular locality; because  by her all mankind and all the earth, and not any particular nation or country, are sanctified; because her very essence consists in the  agreement and unity of the spirit and life of all the members who acknowledge her, throughout the world". However, I would argue that being  "catholic" has also do with the faith being held, and cannot be limited to the geographical aspect. Being catholic also means holding to that  faith which is catholic: which is whole and complete and which has a fullness to it.

Now, as to the geographical aspect of it, and the lack of an Orthodox presence in many places, I think a couple things need to be kept in mind.  First, I think Orthodoxy has done missionary work, just not on the same scale, and in the same manner, as Roman Catholicism. But Orthodoxy has  done missionary work in the world. For example, Orthodoxy managed to missionize Russia, which is not exacty a small place (it makes up like  11.5% of the world's land). Second, much of the Orthodox world has been under Muslim oppression for most of it's existence. It's hard to send  out missionaries to other countries when you're fighting for your very survival in your own country. I don't think this excuses Orthodoxy from  doing missionary work, but I do think it puts a different slant on the volume of missionary work we should have expected from the Orthodox  Church through the centuries.

Quote
As for the mark of being One, this is also something that puzzles me. The Orthodox Church claims to share a common faith, yet where is  the evidence for this? There is no Catechism approved by all the Patriarchates, so how does one truly know that the faith is shared between them  all?

Think of it this way: for how many hundreds of years did the Church manage to keep the one faith together without an agreed-upon catechism? For  the matter, the Church managed to keep the same faith without even an agreed-upon Biblical canon for a few hundred years. I would say that the  only way you can be sure that we hold to the same faith is to research Orthodoxy and see if we do indeed all believe the same thing when it  comes to dogmatic issues (of course there will be disagreements and diversity when it comes to non-dogmatic issues). Also evidence for sharing  the same faith is simply that Churches have kept in communion with each other, considering that the various local Churches have shown a  propensity for cutting off communion over the smallest deviation from the true (dogmatic) faith.

The one thing about Orthodoxy is that there aren't really many ready-made and easy answers to be had. You have to dig and dig, and learn and  learn, when it comes to Orthodoxy. There is no one agreed-upon book to consult for matters of the faith, other than the Bible, so you have to  research things if you want to get answers. This can be both good and bad, but I think for the most part it is good, especially in our age when  we want all the answers right away and sometimes don't take the time needed to dwell on important decisions. I'm not saying that you are this  way, I just think our culture in general is impulsive.

Quote
I bring up the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the fact that within that Catechism, that is the Faith that all of the 22 Catholic  Churches (east + west) hold.

Interestingly, on another thread a day or two ago, a Catholic was arguing in the opposite direction: that you couldn't just take what the CCC  said as infallible truth, and had to look beyond it sometimes.

Quote
The Church has not held an Ecumenical Council in over 1200 years.

And even that is uncertain in Orthodoxy, as some modern theologians argue that there were 8th (Photian) and 9th (Palamite) Ecumenical Councils.  But why there have been no more Ecumenical Councils is a subject unto itself (and one that would be hotly debated, I think).

Quote
Since about the 1920's the Church has been planning for the next "Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church," but it has yet to  happen...

My first reaction is to say that things go slowly in Orthodoxy, but you're right, they've been planning this thing for quite a while! But maybe  it's God's will that it hasn't taken place yet. We don't want to make a mess of things and then need to have further councils to clean up the  mess.

Quote
Also, there is suppose to be only one Orthodox Church per country. The Church has been in the U.S. for over 200 years and still there are  multiple jurisdictions here. In the U.S. the Orthodox Church have institutionalized this jurisdictionalism, ethnic nationalism of the old  country churches, in the SCOBA. Can this be a form of Phyletism?

Well, I think the multi-jurisdictional problem is about a hundred years old, but it's still a scandal. I think it's one of those messes that will eventually get cleaned up, though. I personally wouldn't consider the situation akin to phyletism, though some individuals might fall into that error and give Orthodoxy as a whole a black eye.
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2008, 08:48:33 AM »

A quick remark, part of the reason that the great and holy council has not met since the 1920's is WWI and WWII, plus communism in most of world orthodoxy for the next 50-60 years after that.  Only since the 1990's has orthodoxy been relatively free to maneuver.  keeping that in mind, it's actually amazing that we are even still TALKING about having a council. 
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2008, 10:46:58 AM »

Welcome Theosis to the Convert Issues Forum.  We hope we may be able to provide answers to your questions.

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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2008, 02:31:00 PM »

A quick remark, part of the reason that the great and holy council has not met since the 1920's is WWI and WWII, plus communism in most of world orthodoxy for the next 50-60 years after that.  Only since the 1990's has orthodoxy been relatively free to maneuver.  keeping that in mind, it's actually amazing that we are even still TALKING about having a council. 

...And not only that, the Russian Orthodox Patriarchiate, a significant Patriachate, is now in administrative transition, due to the passing of Patriarch Alexei II.
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2008, 04:08:35 PM »

Just to lay a brief comment related to an Ecumenical Council:

There can be no ecumenical council until the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are united. This being due to the fact that out of the 5 patriarchs needed to conveine a council, only 4 are Orthodox. Without the Pope, we can not have a true council. All attempts at such a council would be akin to Vatican 1 or 2.

-Nick
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2008, 05:14:02 PM »

Just to lay a brief comment related to an Ecumenical Council:

There can be no ecumenical council until the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are united. This being due to the fact that out of the 5 patriarchs needed to conveine a council, only 4 are Orthodox. Without the Pope, we can not have a true council. All attempts at such a council would be akin to Vatican 1 or 2.

-Nick
Really?  On what authority? Huh
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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2008, 06:00:17 PM »

Just to lay a brief comment related to an Ecumenical Council:

There can be no ecumenical council until the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are united. This being due to the fact that out of the 5 patriarchs needed to conveine a council, only 4 are Orthodox. Without the Pope, we can not have a true council. All attempts at such a council would be akin to Vatican 1 or 2.

-Nick
Really?  On what authority? Huh

An ecumenical council is a council of the entire church, in greek: Οικουμένη which I've been told means the whole world. If we're missing 1/5th of the entire church, how could we have a truly ecumenical council? Whether they are in communion or not, Rome would still need to be part of the council for it to truly be ecumenical.

-Nick
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« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2008, 06:20:26 PM »

Just to lay a brief comment related to an Ecumenical Council:

There can be no ecumenical council until the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are united. This being due to the fact that out of the 5 patriarchs needed to conveine a council, only 4 are Orthodox. Without the Pope, we can not have a true council. All attempts at such a council would be akin to Vatican 1 or 2.

-Nick
Really?  On what authority? Huh
An ecumenical council is a council of the entire church, in greek: Οικουμένη which I've been told means the whole world. If we're missing 1/5th of the entire church, how could we have a truly ecumenical council? Whether they are in communion or not, Rome would still need to be part of the council for it to truly be ecumenical.

-Nick

Sorry Nick I think I agree with Peter, do you have any sources to back that up? I thought it was due to there being no Emperor to call it.
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« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2008, 06:25:22 PM »

Just to lay a brief comment related to an Ecumenical Council:

There can be no ecumenical council until the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are united. This being due to the fact that out of the 5 patriarchs needed to conveine a council, only 4 are Orthodox. Without the Pope, we can not have a true council. All attempts at such a council would be akin to Vatican 1 or 2.

-Nick
Really?  On what authority? Huh

An ecumenical council is a council of the entire church, in greek: Οικουμένη which I've been told means the whole world. If we're missing 1/5th of the entire church, how could we have a truly ecumenical council? Whether they are in communion or not, Rome would still need to be part of the council for it to truly be ecumenical.

-Nick
If Rome is outside the Church, then the entire Church excludes Rome and does not need to include Rome for a council of the entire Church to be ecumenical.
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« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2008, 06:43:37 PM »

Just to lay a brief comment related to an Ecumenical Council:

There can be no ecumenical council until the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are united. This being due to the fact that out of the 5 patriarchs needed to conveine a council, only 4 are Orthodox. Without the Pope, we can not have a true council. All attempts at such a council would be akin to Vatican 1 or 2.

-Nick
Really?  On what authority? Huh

An ecumenical council is a council of the entire church, in greek: Οικουμένη which I've been told means the whole world. If we're missing 1/5th of the entire church, how could we have a truly ecumenical council? Whether they are in communion or not, Rome would still need to be part of the council for it to truly be ecumenical.

-Nick
If Rome is outside the Church, then the entire Church excludes Rome and does not need to include Rome for a council of the entire Church to be ecumenical.

Being non-Orthodox but considering becoming a part of the Orthodox Church, I'm confused as to why a council couldn't be called without Rome. If Rome is needed for a council to take place, then Rome's departure in a way, has crippled the Orthodox Church... YET, the Orthodox Church is the Body of Christ, is it not? Therefore how could 1 bishop's disagreement, cripple the Body of Christ and the entire Church? I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense... there is so much I'm learning right now about your Church that I've been toiling away day and night trying to understand positions that seem pretty complex... I thank you for all your help. God be with you all.
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« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2008, 07:57:44 PM »

Just to lay a brief comment related to an Ecumenical Council:

There can be no ecumenical council until the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are united. This being due to the fact that out of the 5 patriarchs needed to conveine a council, only 4 are Orthodox. Without the Pope, we can not have a true council. All attempts at such a council would be akin to Vatican 1 or 2.

-Nick
Really?  On what authority? Huh

An ecumenical council is a council of the entire church, in greek: Οικουμένη which I've been told means the whole world. If we're missing 1/5th of the entire church, how could we have a truly ecumenical council? Whether they are in communion or not, Rome would still need to be part of the council for it to truly be ecumenical.

-Nick

Rome can approve it post facto like Constantinople I: for that Council, not only did Rome have no imput, but the Fathers were not in communion with Rome at the time they wrote the Creed.

Just to lay a brief comment related to an Ecumenical Council:

There can be no ecumenical council until the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are united. This being due to the fact that out of the 5 patriarchs needed to conveine a council, only 4 are Orthodox. Without the Pope, we can not have a true council. All attempts at such a council would be akin to Vatican 1 or 2.

-Nick
Really?  On what authority? Huh

An ecumenical council is a council of the entire church, in greek: Οικουμένη which I've been told means the whole world. If we're missing 1/5th of the entire church, how could we have a truly ecumenical council? Whether they are in communion or not, Rome would still need to be part of the council for it to truly be ecumenical.

-Nick
If Rome is outside the Church, then the entire Church excludes Rome and does not need to include Rome for a council of the entire Church to be ecumenical.

Being non-Orthodox but considering becoming a part of the Orthodox Church, I'm confused as to why a council couldn't be called without Rome. If Rome is needed for a council to take place, then Rome's departure in a way, has crippled the Orthodox Church... YET, the Orthodox Church is the Body of Christ, is it not? Therefore how could 1 bishop's disagreement, cripple the Body of Christ and the entire Church? I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense... there is so much I'm learning right now about your Church that I've been toiling away day and night trying to understand positions that seem pretty complex... I thank you for all your help. God be with you all.

Rome called none of the Councils, she had no part in the Second, the Fifth was held over her obejction.  No, Rome is not needed.
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« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2008, 08:20:14 PM »

So basically, what you're all telling me is that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as defined by the cannons no longer includes the Pope of Rome? So to turn this around, Vatican 1 and 2 should be accepted as Ecumenical Councils because the Orthodox Church is in schism (from the RC point of view)? In addition I will take this time to clarify my previous statement. While it isn't a legal requirement to have the Roman Catholic Church present, the original One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church includes them. How can you say that the council would be Ecumenical when it isn't carried on under the guise of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as the Councils knew of it?

-Nick
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« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2008, 08:54:26 PM »

Just to lay a brief comment related to an Ecumenical Council:

There can be no ecumenical council until the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are united. This being due to the fact that out of the 5 patriarchs needed to conveine a council, only 4 are Orthodox. Without the Pope, we can not have a true council. All attempts at such a council would be akin to Vatican 1 or 2.

-Nick
Really?  On what authority? Huh

An ecumenical council is a council of the entire church, in greek: Οικουμένη which I've been told means the whole world. If we're missing 1/5th of the entire church, how could we have a truly ecumenical council? Whether they are in communion or not, Rome would still need to be part of the council for it to truly be ecumenical.

-Nick

Rome can approve it post facto like Constantinople I: for that Council, not only did Rome have no imput, but the Fathers were not in communion with Rome at the time they wrote the Creed.

Just to lay a brief comment related to an Ecumenical Council:

There can be no ecumenical council until the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are united. This being due to the fact that out of the 5 patriarchs needed to conveine a council, only 4 are Orthodox. Without the Pope, we can not have a true council. All attempts at such a council would be akin to Vatican 1 or 2.

-Nick
Really?  On what authority? Huh

An ecumenical council is a council of the entire church, in greek: Οικουμένη which I've been told means the whole world. If we're missing 1/5th of the entire church, how could we have a truly ecumenical council? Whether they are in communion or not, Rome would still need to be part of the council for it to truly be ecumenical.

-Nick
If Rome is outside the Church, then the entire Church excludes Rome and does not need to include Rome for a council of the entire Church to be ecumenical.

Being non-Orthodox but considering becoming a part of the Orthodox Church, I'm confused as to why a council couldn't be called without Rome. If Rome is needed for a council to take place, then Rome's departure in a way, has crippled the Orthodox Church... YET, the Orthodox Church is the Body of Christ, is it not? Therefore how could 1 bishop's disagreement, cripple the Body of Christ and the entire Church? I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense... there is so much I'm learning right now about your Church that I've been toiling away day and night trying to understand positions that seem pretty complex... I thank you for all your help. God be with you all.

Rome called none of the Councils, she had no part in the Second, the Fifth was held over her obejction.  No, Rome is not needed.

Um...just because Rome never called a council means what exactly...?

In terms of Rome being there, here is Hefele's historical commentary on the council itself and how even though Rome was not there, the decisions were ecumenical:  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xii.ii.html

Here is a case by Hefele saying that the "fake" letters of Vigilius were considered anathema, and that REALLY the 6th ecumenical council was the one that affirmed the fifth, even though Vigilius did not attend. 
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xii.iii.html



The fifth was held over her her objection?  Yet afterwards in SEVERAL of the councils after Constantinople II, Rome agreed that the council was OK and that they agreed with the anathemas against Origen and etc.

Here is a reference to a letter Pope Vigilius wrote 6 MONTHS after the council, declaring his agreement with the condemnation of the "three chapters" and origen, and etc.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xii.xi.html

Here is the actual letter:  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xii.xii.html

Here is an excursus on the history after the council:  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xii.xiii.html

I can give you more references, I did one of my major works on Constantinople II.  PM me, I can e-mail it to you if you want. 
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« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2008, 09:00:15 PM »

So basically, what you're all telling me is that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as defined by the cannons no longer includes the Pope of Rome? So to turn this around, Vatican 1 and 2 should be accepted as Ecumenical Councils because the Orthodox Church is in schism (from the RC point of view)? In addition I will take this time to clarify my previous statement. While it isn't a legal requirement to have the Roman Catholic Church present, the original One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church includes them. How can you say that the council would be Ecumenical when it isn't carried on under the guise of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as the Councils knew of it?

-Nick

Part of this also has to do with something I alluded to above.  Ecumenicity (if that's a word), is declared in the council AFTER.  IN terms of the 7th, it is declared ecumenical by several other local councils, and also councils that took place later, under different historical circumstances.  Basically, the church in a sense declares it ecumenical, the church being the bishops who are there, who declare it in behalf of their flock, but ALSO the whole church itself as was seen in St. Mark Eugenikos (Ferarra-Florence).  So that is part of it. 

If you guys really want to brush up on this stuff I would be happy to e-mail you my Canon Law notes that go through this stuff IN DETAIL...all 120 pages of it.  PM me if interested.  I would post a good chunk of it online but i'm worried about copyright stuff...let me know...
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« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2008, 11:24:09 AM »

Asteriktos,

Thank you for your reply, this has been something challenging for me to find the answer to, so I appreciate you helping me out on this subject. I wanted to respond in regards to what you wrote here...

Quote
I would disagree with the first sentence of this paragraph. I think the Orthodox Church is still one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, in spite of having an uncanonical situation in place.

Some outside the "Orthodox Church" would be find it hard to understand what / who the Orthodox church is. Does it include Copts, for example? This was a question I myself asked when I first started reading up on Orthodoxy.

There is a unity among the Orthodox church, but sometimes it appears as a vague unity. It would seem that these particular churches have unity based on the fact they were once ruled by Byzantium. As Constantinople grew in eminence it's customs and ideas spread throughout the Eastern empire, for this reason I think there is similarity in regards to the Orthodox Church.

The West, on the other hand, was isolated from the East (and vice versa) so Christianity uniquely sprouted on it's own in that part of the world. In some ways it seems as the Latins had the edge in this situation.

For Catholics visible unity is based on 3 things:
1. Holding on to the same faith
2. Possessing the same channels of grace (sacraments)
3. Being under the same authority.

I welcome your comments. God be with you.
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« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2008, 02:08:23 PM »

An example of the Unit among the Orthodox Christians is the funeral and burial of Patriach Alexis II here is an excerpt from the list of Orthodox serving at his funeral:

The funeral service for the late Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church was celebrated by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the Patriarchal Locum Tenens of the Moscow Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad together with the Primates and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, members of the Holy Synod, and other archpastors of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Paying last respects to His Holiness Patriarch Alexy were delegations of all Local Orthodox Churches. The delegation of the Church of Constantinople was led by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew; the Church of Alexandria by metropolitan Peter of Aksum; the Church of Antioch by bishop Nifon of Philippopilis, representative of the Patriarch of Great Antioch and All the East in Moscow; the Church of Jerusalem by metropolitan Hesychios of Kapitolias; the Georgian Church by His Holiness and Beatitude Patriarch-Catholicos of All Georgia Iliya II; the Serbian Church by metropolitan Amfilohiy of Crna Gora and Primorje, chairman of the Holy Synod; the Romanian Church by His Beatitude Patriarch of Romania Daniel; the Bulgarian Church by metropolitan Dometian of Vidin; the Church of Cyprus by metropolitan Georgios of Paphos; the Church of Greece by His Beatitude Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece; the Church of Albania by His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania; the Church of Poland by archbishop Szymon of Lodz and Poznan; the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia by His Beatitude Metropolitan Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; the Orthodox Church in America by archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada.


These were the Orthodox Hierarchs in attendance and participating in the funeral, an outward sign of inward communion.

Thomas
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« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2008, 10:45:37 PM »

theosis,

Quote
Some outside the "Orthodox Church" would be find it hard to understand what / who the Orthodox church is.

I can definitely sympathise with this. In fact, when I first discovered Orthodoxy, after a few months of exploring it, I gave up on it as I thought it was a bunch of ethnic groups arguing amongst themselves, who were only very loosely tied together in some way or another. It was not until I decided to take a second look that my mind was changed about Orthodoxy. It is especially difficult in various countries in the west, where we have competing jurisdictions, and sometimes an unfortunate ethnocentrism at the parish level.

I actually can agree with the three things you mentioned regarding Catholics and visible unity, though of course the Orthodox would have a different perspective on certain parts. Certainly the Orthodox Churches believe that they share the same faith with other local Orthodox Churches. This faith might not be as visible or easily defined as it is in some Churches, but I believe that it's there. Then there are the sacraments, and surely Orthodoxy would agree that we are all bound together in the sacraments, especially as seen in reception of the eucharist, as this is a regular and continual profession of oneness of faith. And even regarding being under the same authority, I think the Orthodox could agree with. We'd say that our primary spiritual authority is God himself, as the Church is theanthropic, and that our secondary authorities are the bishops as successors of the Apostles. We'd look to verses like the following for our ecclesiology:

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." - Eph. 2:19-22

Of course, the vagueness of our unity of faith can be a hinderance at times, I would agree. I'm not sure that there's an easy answer for that problem, though, other than to pray and study and see where God guides.
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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2008, 11:46:16 PM »

For Catholics visible unity is based on 3 things:
1. Holding on to the same faith
2. Possessing the same channels of grace (sacraments)
3. Being under the same authority.

I welcome your comments.
There is a certain unity in R Catholicism, however, there do appear to be some problems which render the unity of Catholicism to be imperfect in some sense. For example:
1. There is disagreement on the doctrine of limbo. Some Catholics beleive in limbo, according which unbaptised infants will go to a place in hell, but experience natural enjoyment and no pain (?), whereas other Catholics believe that unbaptised infants will go to heaven. So there is no unity here.
2. There are a group of Catholics, the ultraTraditionalists, who do not accept Vatican II, or who accept only those parts of Vatican II which are in accord with what the Church taught before Vatican II. Also, some of them believe the New Mass to be defective. Also, they say that the profane music heard during many Catholic Masses is contrary to what was taught before on sacred music during liturgy.
3. It is estimated that a large majority of married CAtholics in the USA reject the teaching of the RCC on artificial birth control.
4. Catholics do not agree on whether or not the filioque should be in the creed. The Roman Catholics have it in their creed, but the Eastern Catholics do not have it in their creed. So there is no unity on whether or not the filioque should be in the creed.
5. There is disagreement on capital punishment. Some Catholics approve of it; while others do not.
6. There is disagreement on whether or not slavery is contrary to the natural law.
7. There is no unity on Purgatory and what it is. Some will say that the cleansing is instantaneous, and you will be brought into heaven quickly. Others will say that the pains and suffering of Purgatory are comparable to the suffering in hell. And that the soul will experience a horrible torture by fire for a considerable and extended period of time.
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« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2008, 11:31:10 AM »

Note: I don't want to sound as I'm trying to prove any of you wrong or debate. I've read other posts and have seen some of the arrogant comments made by Catholics trying to instigate others - I tell you right now, that is not my intention at all and that is not the case here my friends. I believe many of you are sincere good and practicing Orthodox Christians. Please understand that these comments / questions I present are simply questions that I have when understanding your faith... I invite discussion as it is a faith I am considering and hopefully with your help, may clarify things a bit more for me. Thank you. Now with that being said let me proceed to my post...
An example of the Unit among the Orthodox Christians is the funeral and burial of Patriach Alexis II here is an excerpt from the list of Orthodox serving at his funeral:

The funeral service for the late Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church was celebrated by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the Patriarchal Locum Tenens of the Moscow Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad together with the Primates and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, members of the Holy Synod, and other archpastors of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Paying last respects to His Holiness Patriarch Alexy were delegations of all Local Orthodox Churches. The delegation of the Church of Constantinople was led by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew; the Church of Alexandria by metropolitan Peter of Aksum; the Church of Antioch by bishop Nifon of Philippopilis, representative of the Patriarch of Great Antioch and All the East in Moscow; the Church of Jerusalem by metropolitan Hesychios of Kapitolias; the Georgian Church by His Holiness and Beatitude Patriarch-Catholicos of All Georgia Iliya II; the Serbian Church by metropolitan Amfilohiy of Crna Gora and Primorje, chairman of the Holy Synod; the Romanian Church by His Beatitude Patriarch of Romania Daniel; the Bulgarian Church by metropolitan Dometian of Vidin; the Church of Cyprus by metropolitan Georgios of Paphos; the Church of Greece by His Beatitude Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece; the Church of Albania by His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania; the Church of Poland by archbishop Szymon of Lodz and Poznan; the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia by His Beatitude Metropolitan Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; the Orthodox Church in America by archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada.


These were the Orthodox Hierarchs in attendance and participating in the funeral, an outward sign of inward communion.

Thomas


Thomas,

Perhaps, but not necessarily. Look at the others who were attending. The Russian President Medvedev, Russian Prime-Minister Putin, members of the Russian government, the State Duma deputies, members of the Russian Federation Council, and ambassadors from the U.S., Great Britain, France, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Greece and other countries.

Is the Orthodox Church in communion with these people and groups? I don't believe so.

There was also a Catholic delegation:
Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pontifical Council Cor Unum
Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Holy See's representative to the Russian Federation
Jesuit Father Milan Zust, an official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Monsignor Ante Jozif, secretary of the nunciature in Moscow

Is the Orthodox Church in communion with the Catholic Church? No.

Just because someone is willing to sit in the same room with another person does not necessarily mean that they are "in communion."
 
References : http://www.mospat.ru/index.php?page=43577; http://www.zenit.org/article-24496?l=english

Quote
Orthodox Church is catholic "because she belongs to the whole world, and not to any particular locality; because by her all mankind and all the earth, and not any particular nation or country, are sanctified; because her very essence consists in the agreement and unity of the spirit and life of all the members who acknowledge her, throughout the world".

This is not a comment Thomas posted, but nonetheless, It's correct to say that catholic/universal has more than one meaning. However, the thing with this statement is that it could also be said of the Roman Catholic Church as well.

I understand that the Orthodox Church has managed to keep the same faith without even an agreed-upon Biblical canon for a few hundred years. The Orthodox have Apostolic succession and when the early church recognized a threat from heretical sects also claiming to be Christian (Marcion being the first, I believe) it did two additional things: Developed a creed and established a biblical canon. Yet today, however, I don't believe the Orthodox Church agree's upon the canon. This is a major obstacle to cross when considering Orthodoxy. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2008, 12:35:38 PM »

Note: I don't want to sound as I'm trying to prove any of you wrong or debate. I've read other posts and have seen some of the arrogant comments made by Catholics trying to instigate others - I tell you right now, that is not my intention at all and that is not the case here my friends. I believe many of you are sincere good and practicing Orthodox Christians. Please understand that these comments / questions I present are simply questions that I have when understanding your faith... I invite discussion as it is a faith I am considering and hopefully with your help, may clarify things a bit more for me. Thank you. Now with that being said let me proceed to my post...
An example of the Unit among the Orthodox Christians is the funeral and burial of Patriach Alexis II here is an excerpt from the list of Orthodox serving at his funeral:

The funeral service for the late Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church was celebrated by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the Patriarchal Locum Tenens of the Moscow Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad together with the Primates and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, members of the Holy Synod, and other archpastors of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Paying last respects to His Holiness Patriarch Alexy were delegations of all Local Orthodox Churches. The delegation of the Church of Constantinople was led by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew; the Church of Alexandria by metropolitan Peter of Aksum; the Church of Antioch by bishop Nifon of Philippopilis, representative of the Patriarch of Great Antioch and All the East in Moscow; the Church of Jerusalem by metropolitan Hesychios of Kapitolias; the Georgian Church by His Holiness and Beatitude Patriarch-Catholicos of All Georgia Iliya II; the Serbian Church by metropolitan Amfilohiy of Crna Gora and Primorje, chairman of the Holy Synod; the Romanian Church by His Beatitude Patriarch of Romania Daniel; the Bulgarian Church by metropolitan Dometian of Vidin; the Church of Cyprus by metropolitan Georgios of Paphos; the Church of Greece by His Beatitude Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece; the Church of Albania by His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania; the Church of Poland by archbishop Szymon of Lodz and Poznan; the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia by His Beatitude Metropolitan Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; the Orthodox Church in America by archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada.


These were the Orthodox Hierarchs in attendance and participating in the funeral, an outward sign of inward communion.

Thomas


Thomas,

Perhaps, but not necessarily. Look at the others who were attending. The Russian President Medvedev, Russian Prime-Minister Putin, members of the Russian government, the State Duma deputies, members of the Russian Federation Council, and ambassadors from the U.S., Great Britain, France, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Greece and other countries.

Is the Orthodox Church in communion with these people and groups? I don't believe so.

There was also a Catholic delegation:
Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pontifical Council Cor Unum
Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Holy See's representative to the Russian Federation
Jesuit Father Milan Zust, an official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Monsignor Ante Jozif, secretary of the nunciature in Moscow

Is the Orthodox Church in communion with the Catholic Church? No.
The Orthodox representatives not only attended but also participated/con-celebrated.  There's the difference.

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Just because someone is willing to sit in the same room with another person does not necessarily mean that they are "in communion."
 
References : http://www.mospat.ru/index.php?page=43577; http://www.zenit.org/article-24496?l=english

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Orthodox Church is catholic "because she belongs to the whole world, and not to any particular locality; because by her all mankind and all the earth, and not any particular nation or country, are sanctified; because her very essence consists in the agreement and unity of the spirit and life of all the members who acknowledge her, throughout the world".

This is not a comment Thomas posted, but nonetheless, It's correct to say that catholic/universal has more than one meaning. However, the thing with this statement is that it could also be said of the Roman Catholic Church as well.

I understand that the Orthodox Church has managed to keep the same faith without even an agreed-upon Biblical canon for a few hundred years. The Orthodox have Apostolic succession and when the early church recognized a threat from heretical sects also claiming to be Christian (Marcion being the first, I believe) it did two additional things: Developed a creed and established a biblical canon. Yet today, however, I don't believe the Orthodox Church agree's upon the canon. This is a major obstacle to cross when considering Orthodoxy. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
The Creed didn't come until over a century after Marcion, the final form two centuries after him.

There is no difference on the NT canon among the Orthodox.  And the Apostolic Church did well without one for several centuries.

The disputed books do not prove or disprove any dogma not in the rest. The main dispute is with the Protestant on their inclusion, a point easily proven in that a) they are following not the Apostles but the rabbis in their canon.  The rabbis are confused because they kept Hannukkah on their calendar but removed (Maccabbees) the scriptural warrant for it.  Sirach also appears in their Talmud: it got there before they removed it from their canon. b) the Masoretic text that the Protestants use has a canon decided after the rise of the Church, and post dates the received text of the Church.

It was only with the Puritans and the rise of the Evangelical "Bible Societies," that think you can create a Church from the Bible without the context of the Church that produced the Bible, that the Deuterocanonicals dropped from the English Bible.  Most other language Bibles have them, even the Protestant ones.
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« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2008, 01:27:59 PM »

The Orthodox representatives not only attended but also participated/con-celebrated.  There's the difference.
What this means is that every Orthodox clergy present served in the altar, regardless of his jurisdiction, and all the Orthodox faithful present shared in the Eucharistic meal, regardless of parent jurisdiction.  This distinction was not offered to those Roman Catholic or other non-Orthodox delegates who were there.
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« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2008, 01:29:52 PM »

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Yet today, however, I don't believe the Orthodox Church agree's upon the canon.

In addition to what ialmisry said, I'd just add the following. The basic disagreement is over the readable books, whether they are "on a lower footing" than the rest of Scripture, fully canonical, etc. Regarding the disagreement, and why I don't think it's that important, I wrote elsewhere:

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First, the disagreements are generally around a small group of books, while the great majority of books are unanimously accepted as deserving a place in the biblical canon. In fact, if it were not for disputes over the handful of apocryphal/deuterocanonical/readable books, there would be hardly any problem here at all. Even a dispute over one book is a serious matter, of course, but it's important to keep a proper perspective of things.

Second, an agreed-upon canon does not bring an end to disputes. For example, much of Protestantism accepts the same Bible canon, yet this unanimity does not prevent divisions from occuring over biblical issues. So to are there non-dogmatic disputes over practical and doctrinal matters in Roman Catholicism, which also has an agreed-upon canon. And the early Christians seemed to get by just fine, for hundreds of years, without having an agreed-upon canon. Thus, I have to say that the real necessity of having a universally agreed-upon canon seems questionable to me.

Third, no doctrinal or moral point of any importance hinges solely on the books that are disputed. There is certainly no point of salvific importance at stake. There is much of value in various of the disputed books, but nothing that is essential to the Christian faith, such that we would be lost without the book(s). While the Bible as a whole is the foundational document on which Christianity is built, not every single book is necessarily a foundation stone.

Fourth, all of this doesn't mean that one group might not be right in their choice of books for the biblical canon. It's possible that this is a situation that fits under the following words of Paul: "I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." (1 Cor. 11:18-19) I'm not saying that one Church or group definitely has it correct, I'm merely pointing out that it's possible. I don't think it's good to be dogmatic on this particular issue.

And fifth, even though there are disputes between Orthodox Churches over the exact status of the readable books, unity still prevails within the Orthodox Church as a whole. As Met. Chrysostomos puts it: "It is not that two attitudes prevail in one Church, but that the two attitudes define and constitute the position of the one Church." [1] In fact, an Ecumenical Council seems to allow for and acknolwedge this situation, since the 2nd Canon of the 6th Ecumenical Council approves multiple biblical canons via it's endorsement of various disciplinary canons from the early Church.
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