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Author Topic: Reformers turning east  (Read 2976 times) Average Rating: 0
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truthstalker
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« on: April 12, 2009, 06:32:31 PM »

The Reformers rejected a lot of things the Orthodox also reject.  I understand Luther and Constantinople exchanged correspondence.  I suspect Luther rejected correction from Constantinople.  However, I am not Lutheran and don't particularly care for Luther.  The Swiss Reformation (Zwingli, Calvin, Beza, etc.) was independent.  I do not know of any effort the Swiss put forth to discuss reunification with the Orthodox.  Do you know of any? Do you know if the Orthodox sent anyone to Geneva to discuss matters with Calvin? Do you know if he sent anyone east? Do you know of Catholic congregations or lands or theologians who, in the time of the Reformation, rejected Rome and joined the Orthodox?
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2009, 07:16:33 PM »

The Reformers rejected a lot of things the Orthodox also reject.  I understand Luther and Constantinople exchanged correspondence.  I suspect Luther rejected correction from Constantinople.  However, I am not Lutheran and don't particularly care for Luther.  The Swiss Reformation (Zwingli, Calvin, Beza, etc.) was independent.  I do not know of any effort the Swiss put forth to discuss reunification with the Orthodox.  Do you know of any? Do you know if the Orthodox sent anyone to Geneva to discuss matters with Calvin? Do you know if he sent anyone east? Do you know of Catholic congregations or lands or theologians who, in the time of the Reformation, rejected Rome and joined the Orthodox?

I don't have time right now to get the links, but look up the Synod of Jerusalem and the Confession of Dositheos, they are directed precisely against Calvinism.
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2009, 07:36:36 PM »

I don't think it was Luther but some Lutherans at the University of Tübingen who corresponded with Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople in the late 1500s. Lutheranism retains enough in common with Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy to make that dialogue feasible; not so the full-on Calvinists (Puritans, Presbyterians and Reformed) who AFAIK never tried to have one. But the Lutherans were trying to start a relatively mild 'Reformation' among the Greeks rather like in the Scandinavian countries. It didn't work.

To see what the Lutherans might have wanted the Orthodox to become check out the Ukrainian Lutheran Church, IIRC a 1930s split from the Greek Catholics. Lutherans have no problem with vestments, icons (as teaching aids not for veneration) and three-bar crosses (Lutherans have always used the crucifix) so there you go.

There were no mass moves eastward during the 'Reformation'; that came later, in the 1900s, from a few little groups of ex-RCs who joined the Russians (vagantes, not from the Old Catholic Church, an 1870s schism from Rome now liberal).

(Also, in the 1800s some Portuguese ex-RCs in India joined the Syrian Church over internal fights not really to do with theology.)

And yes, the Synod of Jerusalem and Confession of Dositheus were against Calvinism after another patriarch of Constantinople, Cyril Lukaris, converted to Calvinist beliefs and tried to inflict them on Orthodoxy (rather like Jansenism in the Roman Church?).
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2009, 08:17:40 PM »

I don't think it was Luther but some Lutherans at the University of Tübingen who corresponded with Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople in the late 1500s. Lutheranism retains enough in common with Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy to make that dialogue feasible; not so the full-on Calvinists (Puritans, Presbyterians and Reformed) who AFAIK never tried to have one. But the Lutherans were trying to start a relatively mild 'Reformation' among the Greeks rather like in the Scandinavian countries. It didn't work.

To see what the Lutherans might have wanted the Orthodox to become check out the Ukrainian Lutheran Church, IIRC a 1930s split from the Greek Catholics. Lutherans have no problem with vestments, icons (as teaching aids not for veneration) and three-bar crosses (Lutherans have always used the crucifix) so there you go.

There were no mass moves eastward during the 'Reformation'; that came later, in the 1900s, from a few little groups of ex-RCs who joined the Russians (vagantes, not from the Old Catholic Church, an 1870s schism from Rome now liberal).

(Also, in the 1800s some Portuguese ex-RCs in India joined the Syrian Church over internal fights not really to do with theology.)

And yes, the Synod of Jerusalem and Confession of Dositheus were against Calvinism after another patriarch of Constantinople, Cyril Lukaris, converted to Calvinist beliefs and tried to inflict them on Orthodoxy (rather like Jansenism in the Roman Church?).

Thanks. You jogged my memory.  In its haziness, it is muttering that they were so against apostolic succession that they did not lay hands on ordinands for several generations, to break it entirely.  I think their iconoclastic tendencies and the anti-music statements of Calvin and others would indicate that they viewed the Orthodox, if they viewed them at all, as in need of reformation as Rome was, but for less reasons.  The sharp impression from memory that I am left with is there is no way they would have sought reconciliation.
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2009, 08:28:23 PM »

Yup. A different view to Rome's on the scope of the Pope as opposed to outright rejection of the historic episcopate. No reconciling that one, nor the differences on icons and the Real Presence no matter how much you agree with each other and against Rome on works of supererogation (say what now?).
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2009, 09:18:11 PM »

The Reformers rejected a lot of things the Orthodox also reject.  I understand Luther and Constantinople exchanged correspondence.  I suspect Luther rejected correction from Constantinople.  However, I am not Lutheran and don't particularly care for Luther.  The Swiss Reformation (Zwingli, Calvin, Beza, etc.) was independent.  I do not know of any effort the Swiss put forth to discuss reunification with the Orthodox.  Do you know of any? Do you know if the Orthodox sent anyone to Geneva to discuss matters with Calvin? Do you know if he sent anyone east? Do you know of Catholic congregations or lands or theologians who, in the time of the Reformation, rejected Rome and joined the Orthodox?

I don't have time right now to get the links, but look up the Synod of Jerusalem and the Confession of Dositheos, they are directed precisely against Calvinism.

Thanks.  I did not know anything about this.

This will take some time due to the complexity of the situation.  By that I mean they may have been addressing not a form of Calvinism that I am anywhere near endorsing, and they may not have accurately addressed it, but rather what they thought it was.  There is that problem in the Council of Trent, and that is that it is apparent that the said Council attacked things no reformers stood for, and missed things they did stand for, and so they complicated matters, as they did not understand what the reformers were saying.   If I can determine that at this Synod of Jerusalem they 1) accurately understood the form of Calvinism they were concerned about and 2) they plausibly refuted it then I need to see if that plausible refutation is in any way applicable to what I believe, which I maintain is not Calvinism.

Was this a local synod? How much weight does it carry?
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2009, 10:34:36 PM »

The Reformers rejected a lot of things the Orthodox also reject.  I understand Luther and Constantinople exchanged correspondence.  I suspect Luther rejected correction from Constantinople.  However, I am not Lutheran and don't particularly care for Luther.  The Swiss Reformation (Zwingli, Calvin, Beza, etc.) was independent.  I do not know of any effort the Swiss put forth to discuss reunification with the Orthodox.  Do you know of any? Do you know if the Orthodox sent anyone to Geneva to discuss matters with Calvin? Do you know if he sent anyone east? Do you know of Catholic congregations or lands or theologians who, in the time of the Reformation, rejected Rome and joined the Orthodox?

I don't have time right now to get the links, but look up the Synod of Jerusalem and the Confession of Dositheos, they are directed precisely against Calvinism.

Thanks.  I did not know anything about this.

This will take some time due to the complexity of the situation.  By that I mean they may have been addressing not a form of Calvinism that I am anywhere near endorsing, and they may not have accurately addressed it, but rather what they thought it was.  There is that problem in the Council of Trent, and that is that it is apparent that the said Council attacked things no reformers stood for, and missed things they did stand for, and so they complicated matters, as they did not understand what the reformers were saying.   If I can determine that at this Synod of Jerusalem they 1) accurately understood the form of Calvinism they were concerned about and 2) they plausibly refuted it then I need to see if that plausible refutation is in any way applicable to what I believe, which I maintain is not Calvinism.

Was this a local synod? How much weight does it carry?
It was (like Constantinople I) a local synod to start off with.  The Patriarch Dositheos simply invited prelates to the rededication of the Church of the Nativity (where it was actually held).  It ended up with bishops as far as Russia, and adopted the cathechism of the Council of Iasi in Romania (that of St. Peter Movila of Kiev, with the corrections of the Greek translator).  It is Pan-Orthodox, so it is not Ecumenical or Infallible, but is believed by all Orthodox  (EO that is) as authoritative.

Here's a start:
http://catholicity.elcore.net/ConfessionOfDositheus.html
http://books.google.com/books?id=G1h5ijh3YcwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Acts+and+Decrees+of+the+Synod+of+Jerusalem
http://esoptron.umd.edu/ugc/OCF.html
http://www.crivoice.org/creedcyril.html
http://www.ec-patr.org/list/index.php?lang=en&id=202

It doesn't address Calvinists: since they were not in the Church, the Orthodox Fathers had no need of addressing them.  What is addressed is adaptations of Calvinism, in particular those attributed to EP Cyril Lukratis.
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2009, 11:18:36 PM »

I thought this was interesting:
Quote
At the Leipzig Debate in 1519, Martin Luther, pressed to defend his view that the authority of the pope was not normative for Christian doctrine and life, cited the example of  "the Greek Christians during the past thousand years...who had not been under the authority of the Roman pontiff."[17]  The next year he declared that the Orthodox "...believe as we do, baptize as we do, preach as we do, live as we do."[18]  In 1521 Martin Luther wrote about Holy Communion: "Moreover, he [the Roman perverter] has against him the long continued practice of the whole church in all the world, the practice [the reception of both elements by the laity] that still continues among the Greeks, whom even Rome itself dare not call heretics or schismatics because of it...  I now say that on this point the Greeks and Bohemians are not heretics and schismatics but the most Christian people and the best followers of the Gospel on earth."

Here is the webpage I got this from:
http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/lutheran.htm
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2009, 03:37:59 AM »

I thought this was interesting:
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At the Leipzig Debate in 1519, Martin Luther, pressed to defend his view that the authority of the pope was not normative for Christian doctrine and life, cited the example of  "the Greek Christians during the past thousand years...who had not been under the authority of the Roman pontiff."[17]  The next year he declared that the Orthodox "...believe as we do, baptize as we do, preach as we do, live as we do."[18]  In 1521 Martin Luther wrote about Holy Communion: "Moreover, he [the Roman perverter] has against him the long continued practice of the whole church in all the world, the practice [the reception of both elements by the laity] that still continues among the Greeks, whom even Rome itself dare not call heretics or schismatics because of it...  I now say that on this point the Greeks and Bohemians are not heretics and schismatics but the most Christian people and the best followers of the Gospel on earth."

Here is the webpage I got this from:
http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/lutheran.htm


Is this the source of the anecdotal "Better half" quote of Martin Luther that one runs across on the Internet occasionally and without citation?
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2009, 05:03:50 AM »

I have a biography of Cyril Lucaris entitled, or subtitled, something like "Protestant Patriarch" which should shed light on these questions. I confess I have not read it all, as it is rather dully written, but for one seriously interested in the subject it would probably be of no small value. It is not here at home but at my office, so I can't now give you the author or ISB number.

In re Truthstalker's desire for an assessment of Calvinism, may I suggest John Wesley's "Predestination calmly considered"? Though not from an Orthodox standpoint, it is closely reasoned, clear and easy to follow, and of course it has often been said that of all brands of Protestantism, Wesleyan theology is the one that is nearest to Orthodoxy. My copy is one of many pieces of writing in Volume X of "The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M." (London 1856) but there must be many editions including up to the present - or perhaps on the Net. It runs to just over 50 pages.

Best wishes in your searching.

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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2009, 09:44:36 AM »


Is this the source of the anecdotal "Better half" quote of Martin Luther that one runs across on the Internet occasionally and without citation?

Actually, it is. Grin
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2009, 04:02:53 PM »

I have a biography of Cyril Lucaris entitled, or subtitled, something like "Protestant Patriarch" which should shed light on these questions. I confess I have not read it all, as it is rather dully written, but for one seriously interested in the subject it would probably be of no small value. It is not here at home but at my office, so I can't now give you the author or ISB number.

In re Truthstalker's desire for an assessment of Calvinism, may I suggest John Wesley's "Predestination calmly considered"? Though not from an Orthodox standpoint, it is closely reasoned, clear and easy to follow, and of course it has often been said that of all brands of Protestantism, Wesleyan theology is the one that is nearest to Orthodoxy. My copy is one of many pieces of writing in Volume X of "The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M." (London 1856) but there must be many editions including up to the present - or perhaps on the Net. It runs to just over 50 pages.

Best wishes in your searching.




I have found Wesley and Wesleyan Theology to be very fruitful for me. I'm saddened that modern Methodism has so decoupled itself from their founder....  Embarrassed
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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2009, 05:03:56 PM »

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Is this the source of the anecdotal "Better half" quote of Martin Luther that one runs across on the Internet occasionally and without citation?

What was wrong with the link? I'm assuming you think the article was false. Here are the citations which were provided in my link that was "without citation":

Martin Luther.  The Leipzig Debate, "Luther's Works: Career of the Reformer: I" Volume 31, eds. H.Grimm, H. Lehmann (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1957) p. 322.

Martin Luther. "Luther's Works: Career of the Reformer: II" Volume 32, eds. G. Forell, H. Lehmann (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1958) p. 58, 59.

Perhaps the quotes were ripped out of context, but I don't really see how putting them in context changes much.
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2009, 06:32:11 PM »

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It doesn't address Calvinists: since they were not in the Church, the Orthodox Fathers had no need of addressing them.  What is addressed is adaptations of Calvinism, in particular those attributed to EP Cyril Lukratis.

I did find an article here http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/ca4_loukaris.aspx on this subject at Orthodoxinfo.com.  I have no idea how accurate this article is but thought I'd toss it onto the pile here for consideration.
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2009, 08:04:34 AM »

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Is this the source of the anecdotal "Better half" quote of Martin Luther that one runs across on the Internet occasionally and without citation?

What was wrong with the link? I'm assuming you think the article was false. Here are the citations which were provided in my link that was "without citation":

Martin Luther.  The Leipzig Debate, "Luther's Works: Career of the Reformer: I" Volume 31, eds. H.Grimm, H. Lehmann (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1957) p. 322.

Martin Luther. "Luther's Works: Career of the Reformer: II" Volume 32, eds. G. Forell, H. Lehmann (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1958) p. 58, 59.

Perhaps the quotes were ripped out of context, but I don't really see how putting them in context changes much.

Sorry, but I just noticed this. If you are asking me if I thought the article false, certainly not. I just wanted a firm source for future use.
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2009, 08:14:52 AM »

Quote
Is this the source of the anecdotal "Better half" quote of Martin Luther that one runs across on the Internet occasionally and without citation?

What was wrong with the link? I'm assuming you think the article was false. Here are the citations which were provided in my link that was "without citation":

I think the implication was that usually people post the quote on the 'net without citation... He did not say that you specifically did so, only that others usually do.
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