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Author Topic: Discussion on Ecumenism  (Read 26960 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jonathan Gress
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« Reply #90 on: December 05, 2009, 02:15:39 AM »

Well this is where I have to say I don't recognize a distinction between official and unofficial heresy, and neither do the Fathers.

And yet:
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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.
- Canon 15 of the First-Second Council

So, in other words, if a bishop *officially* teaches a heresy publicly in the church, Christians are to be commended for removing themselves from him. On the other hand, if a bishop *unofficially* holds a heresy as a private opinion but *doesn't* publicly preach it, then those who separate from him are simply schismatics (and to be deposed).

Except that you haven't even gotten so far as demonstrating that a sitting hierarch privately or unofficially holds to a heresy. All you've got is that a consultative body which is not controlled by any particular bishop or synod allowed a mixed group of theologians to post their "recommendations" on a website.

Now, anyone with an ounce of logic, would realize that if Group A makes recommendation X, and Group B *ignores* recommendation X, that that means that Group B does not agree with X. This is not rocket science. If I recommend to you that you stop cutting off your nose to spite your face, and you keep sawing, then even if you don't publish a formal renouncement of my suggestions, you still obviously *do not accept* them.

Especially when, as I already posted for you, Group B (my bishops) on their actual official website have an official synodical epistle ('publicly preaching') which sets forth the clear Orthodox teaching on the nature of the Church that apparently even you can't find fault with.


No, if you ignore something that means you don't want to deal with it. The bishops of SCOBA don't want to address these heresies because that would mean taking a stance. Instead, it's more convenient to sit on the fence: show the traditionalist face to the traditionalists, and the ecumenist face to the ecumenists.

But all right, I'll start giving examples of the bishops themselves preaching heresy. I just gave one of the EP preaching heresy at SCOBA. There are also a couple of videos, one showing intercommunion, the other praying with heretics, which should make LBK happy.
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Jonathan Gress
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« Reply #91 on: December 05, 2009, 02:17:01 AM »

What do you think? I'm trying to persuade you that the official churches are infected with heresy and to save yourself you should sever communion with them and join the bishops who reject ecumenism completely.

I have no reason to believe you.   Angry

You mean you don't accept my arguments or you don't think that's my aim?

You are correct.  I don't accept your arguments as much as you haven't accepted what anyone else has said.

I feel your aim is to attract people to "Genuine Orthodox Church" (whatever that means) especially when you post alleged video of a Patriarch distributing the Eucharist to alleged Catholics (which is being discussed in another thread).

Last time I checked, proselytizing on this forum is not allowed for all Religious Denominations.

OH so that was an Orthodox man who just happened to dress up as a Catholic friar for the liturgy? Gimme a break.
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« Reply #92 on: December 05, 2009, 02:20:40 AM »

http://www.goarch.org/news/patriarchscoba9thprayerservice

According to the EP, theology does not divide the Orthodox from the 'non-Chalcedonians'.

So?  You don't like the relationship the EP and the Oriental Orthodox Hierarchs have with the Unitied Nations.  Should Joseph had rejected Pharaoh?  Should Daniel have rejected King Nebuchadnezzar?  Do you care only about Calendars and the WCC?
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« Reply #93 on: December 05, 2009, 02:22:32 AM »

What do you think? I'm trying to persuade you that the official churches are infected with heresy and to save yourself you should sever communion with them and join the bishops who reject ecumenism completely.

I have no reason to believe you.   Angry

You mean you don't accept my arguments or you don't think that's my aim?

You are correct.  I don't accept your arguments as much as you haven't accepted what anyone else has said.

I feel your aim is to attract people to "Genuine Orthodox Church" (whatever that means) especially when you post alleged video of a Patriarch distributing the Eucharist to alleged Catholics (which is being discussed in another thread).

Last time I checked, proselytizing on this forum is not allowed for all Religious Denominations.

OH so that was an Orthodox man who just happened to dress up as a Catholic friar for the liturgy? Gimme a break.

I never saw the video.  You're drawing the conclusions here, not me.  Why are you even mentioning this video?  How does it further your cause?
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« Reply #94 on: December 05, 2009, 02:25:20 AM »

http://www.goarch.org/news/patriarchscoba9thprayerservice

According to the EP, theology does not divide the Orthodox from the 'non-Chalcedonians'.

What is the theology that divides your Church, the GOC of Archbishop Chrysostomos (Kiousis) from the Russian True Orthodox Church of Archbishop Tikhon (Pasechnik.)

It makes no sense that 5 weeks ago you were all set to enter into communion with the Russian True Orthodox Church and then you reversed that decision.

What was the RTOC theology that made you decide they are heretical?   Why did you discover this only on the very eve of intercommunion?  Why do you still recognise the RTOC as a genuine Church? 

Do you see why we think you are mired in the ecumenist Invisible Church Syndrome and you fall under the 1983 condemnation of Old Calendarist Ecumenism.

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« Reply #95 on: December 05, 2009, 02:30:25 AM »

But all right, I'll start giving examples of the bishops themselves preaching heresy. I just gave one of the EP preaching heresy at SCOBA.

Aren't your bishops heretical?  Until a few weeks ago they were all set to sign a formal pact of intercommunion with the Russian True Orthodox Church, a Church they consider heretical.    Sad
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Jonathan Gress
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« Reply #96 on: December 05, 2009, 02:32:22 AM »

http://www.goarch.org/news/patriarchscoba9thprayerservice

According to the EP, theology does not divide the Orthodox from the 'non-Chalcedonians'.

What is the theology that divides your Church, the GOC of Archbishop Chrysostomos (Kiousis) from the Russian True Orthodox Church of Archbishop Tikhon (Pasechnik.)

It makes no sense that 5 weeks ago you were all set to enter into communion with the Russian True Orthodox Church and then you reversed that decision.

What was the RTOC theology that made you decide they are heretical?   Why did you discover this only on the very eve of intercommunion?  Why do you still recognise the RTOC as a genuine Church? 

Do you see why we think you are mired in the ecumenist Invisible Church Syndrome and you fall under the 1983 condemnation of Old Calendarist Ecumenism.



IH you're being deliberately obtuse. You know, or ought to know, we have no doctrinal divisions with the RTOC, or any other TOC jurisdiction apart from the Cyprianites. We are simply not yet sure about the canonical status of their bishops: they came out of the ROCA schism of 2001 and we weren't able to keep track of things after then.

Anyway, are you going to answer my question or pretend you didn't see it?
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Jonathan Gress
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« Reply #97 on: December 05, 2009, 02:33:19 AM »

What do you think? I'm trying to persuade you that the official churches are infected with heresy and to save yourself you should sever communion with them and join the bishops who reject ecumenism completely.

I have no reason to believe you.   Angry

You mean you don't accept my arguments or you don't think that's my aim?

You are correct.  I don't accept your arguments as much as you haven't accepted what anyone else has said.

I feel your aim is to attract people to "Genuine Orthodox Church" (whatever that means) especially when you post alleged video of a Patriarch distributing the Eucharist to alleged Catholics (which is being discussed in another thread).

Last time I checked, proselytizing on this forum is not allowed for all Religious Denominations.

OH so that was an Orthodox man who just happened to dress up as a Catholic friar for the liturgy? Gimme a break.

I never saw the video.  You're drawing the conclusions here, not me.  Why are you even mentioning this video?  How does it further your cause?

You didn't see the video and yet you presume to comment on it. Watch the video, then comment.
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« Reply #98 on: December 05, 2009, 02:38:11 AM »

You didn't see the video and yet you presume to comment on it. Watch the video, then comment.

Where did I comment on the video which I haven't seen?  You have provided your own commentary and as I already stated, I don't believe you.

Let's say that I believed you and non-Orthodox received Holy Communion from the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Ecumenical Patriarch or even your own Hierarchs.  How does that affect the price of tea in China?   Huh
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« Reply #99 on: December 05, 2009, 02:38:35 AM »

http://www.goarch.org/news/patriarchscoba9thprayerservice

According to the EP, theology does not divide the Orthodox from the 'non-Chalcedonians'.

So?  You don't like the relationship the EP and the Oriental Orthodox Hierarchs have with the Unitied Nations.  Should Joseph had rejected Pharaoh?  Should Daniel have rejected King Nebuchadnezzar?  Do you care only about Calendars and the WCC?

The problem is not the UN. The problem is that the EP publicly stated there is no theological division between the Orthodox and the non-Chalcedonians, which is not true since the latter continue to confess that Christ has one nature, while the Orthodox doctrine following the council of Chalcedon is that Christ has two natures in one hypostasis. So the EP is preaching heresy.

I'm interested to hear how witega explains this away.
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« Reply #100 on: December 05, 2009, 02:40:45 AM »

You didn't see the video and yet you presume to comment on it. Watch the video, then comment.

Where did I comment on the video which I haven't seen?  You have provided your own commentary and as I already stated, I don't believe you.

Let's say that I believed you and non-Orthodox received Holy Communion from the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Ecumenical Patriarch or even your own Hierarchs.  How does that affect the price of tea in China?   Huh

But you should be able to draw your own conclusions if you watch it yourself. Otherwise you have no reason to dispute the conclusions I draw from it.

Don't you know it is forbidden to give the mysteries to non-Orthodox? That's why IH and LBK are trying so hard to pretend the patriarchs are not giving communion to Catholics and others, since they know it is a grave sacrilege and represents partaking in the heresy of those who communed.
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« Reply #101 on: December 05, 2009, 02:43:00 AM »

http://www.goarch.org/news/patriarchscoba9thprayerservice

According to the EP, theology does not divide the Orthodox from the 'non-Chalcedonians'.

So?  You don't like the relationship the EP and the Oriental Orthodox Hierarchs have with the Unitied Nations.  Should Joseph had rejected Pharaoh?  Should Daniel have rejected King Nebuchadnezzar?  Do you care only about Calendars and the WCC?

The problem is not the UN.

So, the problem is not with the WCC?   Huh

The problem is that the EP publicly stated there is no theological division between the Orthodox and the non-Chalcedonians, which is not true since the latter continue to confess that Christ has one nature, while the Orthodox doctrine following the council of Chalcedon is that Christ has two natures in one hypostasis. So the EP is preaching heresy.

How do your Hierarchs feel about the Oriental Orthodox?  Are your Hierarchs in Communion with them?  Can an Armenian, Copt ot other Oriental Orthodox receive Holy Communion from your Hierarchs?
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« Reply #102 on: December 05, 2009, 02:45:12 AM »

What do you think? I'm trying to persuade you that the official churches are infected with heresy and to save yourself you should sever communion with them and join the bishops who reject ecumenism completely.

I have no reason to believe you.   Angry

You mean you don't accept my arguments or you don't think that's my aim?

You are correct.  I don't accept your arguments as much as you haven't accepted what anyone else has said.

I feel your aim is to attract people to "Genuine Orthodox Church" (whatever that means) especially when you post alleged video of a Patriarch distributing the Eucharist to alleged Catholics (which is being discussed in another thread).

Last time I checked, proselytizing on this forum is not allowed for all Religious Denominations.
That sounded to me like down right admitting it.
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« Reply #103 on: December 05, 2009, 02:46:13 AM »

You didn't see the video and yet you presume to comment on it. Watch the video, then comment.

Where did I comment on the video which I haven't seen?  You have provided your own commentary and as I already stated, I don't believe you.

Let's say that I believed you and non-Orthodox received Holy Communion from the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Ecumenical Patriarch or even your own Hierarchs.  How does that affect the price of tea in China?   Huh

But you should be able to draw your own conclusions if you watch it yourself. Otherwise you have no reason to dispute the conclusions I draw from it.

Are you trying to tell me how to think?   Huh

Don't you know it is forbidden to give the mysteries to non-Orthodox? That's why IH and LBK are trying so hard to pretend the patriarchs are not giving communion to Catholics and others, since they know it is a grave sacrilege and represents partaking in the heresy of those who communed.

If I went to your Church and said that I was an Orthodox Christian without listing my Jurisdiction, I bet your Clergy and Hierarchs would commune me.  Yet, I'm a heretic in your eyes; although since I don't believe you, I'm not offended at all.   Wink
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« Reply #104 on: December 05, 2009, 02:53:21 AM »

How do your Hierarchs feel about the Oriental Orthodox?  Are your Hierarchs in Communion with them?  Can an Armenian, Copt ot other Oriental Orthodox receive Holy Communion from your Hierarchs?

I think we would get stoned if we even set foot in their churches.

j/k...but I do remember that Coptic clergy were not allowed in the Mt. Athos monastery, but the laypeople were okay, which was strange to me.
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« Reply #105 on: December 05, 2009, 02:54:19 AM »

I think we'd be allowed in the narthex.   Smiley
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« Reply #106 on: December 05, 2009, 02:56:49 AM »

How do your Hierarchs feel about the Oriental Orthodox?  Are your Hierarchs in Communion with them?  Can an Armenian, Copt ot other Oriental Orthodox receive Holy Communion from your Hierarchs?

I think we would get stoned if we even set foot in their churches.

j/k...but I do remember that Coptic clergy were not allowed in the Mt. Athos monastery, but the laypeople were okay, which was strange to me.
That's because, as everbody knows, Coptic Priests are much stronger than Greek Monks. Grin I'm sure it's something in the lentils...
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« Reply #107 on: December 05, 2009, 03:01:37 AM »

OH so that was an Orthodox man who just happened to dress up as a Catholic friar for the liturgy? Gimme a break.

I never saw the video.  You're drawing the conclusions here, not me.  Why are you even mentioning this video?  How does it further your cause?

I think the video he is referring to is the Vassula one that was discussed earlier today:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24729.0.html#top

I think you commented in that thread, so I think you did see it.  At one point one does see a man who looks kind of like a Catholic friar, with a dark robe and a white belt around his waist.  The problem is, the patriarch may not have realized who he was.  I don't know.  Do EO monks ever dress like that?
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« Reply #108 on: December 05, 2009, 03:04:53 AM »

You didn't see the video and yet you presume to comment on it. Watch the video, then comment.

Where did I comment on the video which I haven't seen?  You have provided your own commentary and as I already stated, I don't believe you.

Let's say that I believed you and non-Orthodox received Holy Communion from the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Ecumenical Patriarch or even your own Hierarchs.  How does that affect the price of tea in China?   Huh

But you should be able to draw your own conclusions if you watch it yourself. Otherwise you have no reason to dispute the conclusions I draw from it.

Are you trying to tell me how to think?   Huh

Don't you know it is forbidden to give the mysteries to non-Orthodox? That's why IH and LBK are trying so hard to pretend the patriarchs are not giving communion to Catholics and others, since they know it is a grave sacrilege and represents partaking in the heresy of those who communed.

If I went to your Church and said that I was an Orthodox Christian without listing my Jurisdiction, I bet your Clergy and Hierarchs would commune me.  Yet, I'm a heretic in your eyes; although since I don't believe you, I'm not offended at all.   Wink

No no no. I'm not telling you how to think. I'm just asking how you know I'm wrong about the video when you haven't seen it yourself?

Actually we do ask if you are with our jurisdiction, since we do not commune new calendarists. And no we don't consider the Armenians or Copts to be Orthodox.
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« Reply #109 on: December 05, 2009, 03:05:55 AM »

OH so that was an Orthodox man who just happened to dress up as a Catholic friar for the liturgy? Gimme a break.

I never saw the video.  You're drawing the conclusions here, not me.  Why are you even mentioning this video?  How does it further your cause?

I think the video he is referring to is the Vassula one that was discussed earlier today:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24729.0.html#top

I think you commented in that thread, so I think you did see it. 

Salpy, I never saw the video.  My comments focused on suggesting that communication such as a bulletin or an announcement stating that only Orthodox Christians in "good standing" who have prepared by fasting and Confession can approach the Holy Chalice.  I see and hear such a statement frequently at my Church.
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« Reply #110 on: December 05, 2009, 03:06:31 AM »

That's because, as everbody knows, Coptic Priests are much stronger than Greek Monks. Grin I'm sure it's something in the lentils...

It's the "foul" (fava beans) that they eat during Lent.  Powerful stuff.   Smiley
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« Reply #111 on: December 05, 2009, 03:07:45 AM »

How do your Hierarchs feel about the Oriental Orthodox?  Are your Hierarchs in Communion with them?  Can an Armenian, Copt ot other Oriental Orthodox receive Holy Communion from your Hierarchs?

I think we would get stoned if we even set foot in their churches.

j/k...but I do remember that Coptic clergy were not allowed in the Mt. Athos monastery, but the laypeople were okay, which was strange to me.
That's because, as everbody knows, Coptic Priests are much stronger than Greek Monks. Grin I'm sure it's something in the lentils...

Well I don't know about stoning, but we wouldn't let you commune. Are you accustomed to communing in Orthodox churches where you are?

Fava beans are definitely how I survive Lent.
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« Reply #112 on: December 05, 2009, 03:09:17 AM »

How do your Hierarchs feel about the Oriental Orthodox?  Are your Hierarchs in Communion with them?  Can an Armenian, Copt ot other Oriental Orthodox receive Holy Communion from your Hierarchs?

I think we would get stoned if we even set foot in their churches.

j/k...but I do remember that Coptic clergy were not allowed in the Mt. Athos monastery, but the laypeople were okay, which was strange to me.
That's because, as everbody knows, Coptic Priests are much stronger than Greek Monks. Grin I'm sure it's something in the lentils...

literally LOL (in the library, i guess we'll call that ITL...LOLITL literally)

Good one!  Grin  And they also take Fava beans too.  Only the strong can handle a diet of lentils and fava beans.  Except people like my cousin, who pathologically prefers fava beans over eggs on non-fasting days.
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« Reply #113 on: December 05, 2009, 03:09:27 AM »

Sorry I meant to ask minasoliman about whether she could commune in Greek Orthodox churches in Egypt.
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« Reply #114 on: December 05, 2009, 03:11:06 AM »

No no no. I'm not telling you how to think. I'm just asking how you know I'm wrong about the video when you haven't seen it yourself?

You like to think that if I see the video for myself, my belief system will change and I will run for the nearest "Genuine Orthodox Church"; however, your belief system in calling everyone heretics remains intact.

Actually we do ask if you are with our jurisdiction, since we do not commune new calendarists. And no we don't consider the Armenians or Copts to be Orthodox.

Based on what (or whose) theology?
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« Reply #115 on: December 05, 2009, 03:12:35 AM »

Salpy, I never saw the video.  My comments focused on suggesting that communication such as a bulletin or an announcement stating that only Orthodox Christians in "good standing" who have prepared by fasting and Confession can approach the Holy Chalice.  I see and hear such a statement frequently at my Church.

You might as well watch the video.  The man in the dark robe with the white belt appears a little after 2 minutes.

Of course no one but God knows what His Beatitude was thinking as he was giving communion that day.  He probably didn't realize that a religiously mixed group of Vassula cultists were coming that day.  If he did recognize the man in the robe as being Catholic, he may have felt that he was being "put on the spot" and didn't want to be rude, or something.  I wouldn't take what happened in the video as evidence that His Beatitude has taken an official position that it's OK to commune Roman Catholics.
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« Reply #116 on: December 05, 2009, 03:12:46 AM »

Sorry I meant to ask minasoliman about whether she could commune in Greek Orthodox churches in Egypt.

Well, I don't know anymore. (I'm a he, btw, I think we should add a male/female indicator on the side of our screennames)  I heard a lecture that only the Greek Church of Alexandria such concession has been made, but the only written agreement I know of is one where there's intermarriage.

Nevertheless, we don't practice any other open communion, especially outside of Egypt, that I know of.
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« Reply #117 on: December 05, 2009, 03:14:35 AM »

Jonathan, what are you trying to accomplish?

What do you think? I'm trying to persuade you that the official churches are infected with heresy and to save yourself you should sever communion with them and join the bishops who reject ecumenism completely.

The only problem with your project is that my bishops (the recently retired Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the recently elected Metropolitan Jonah) *do* reject ecumenism completely (at least as you defined ecumenism at the beginning of this thread). And you can't convince me otherwise, because I've stood there Sunday after Sunday and listened to them preach about the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church which is the Orthodox Church and is only the Orthodox Church. I've seen them tell Roman Catholics and conservative Episcopalians and questing Evangelicals that the only way they can find the Fullness of the Christian Faith is to return to One True Church which has maintained the Apostolic doctrine through the Ages. I have seen them receive non-Orthodox according to the service books of the Russian Church handed down to them by their predecessors--and when they pastorally choose to bend the traditional practice it is to baptize. I've seen the sanctity of their personal lives. And I've never heard one word that could be construed as heretical. I don't deny that there are people (including priests and hierarchs) out there who make mistakes, say stupid things, could use a good remedial course in Ecclesiology 101. But under the text of the canons of the Holy Church, I have zero justification for separating myself from *my* bishop.
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« Reply #118 on: December 05, 2009, 03:28:52 AM »

http://www.goarch.org/news/patriarchscoba9thprayerservice

According to the EP, theology does not divide the Orthodox from the 'non-Chalcedonians'.

So?  You don't like the relationship the EP and the Oriental Orthodox Hierarchs have with the Unitied Nations.  Should Joseph had rejected Pharaoh?  Should Daniel have rejected King Nebuchadnezzar?  Do you care only about Calendars and the WCC?

The problem is not the UN. The problem is that the EP publicly stated there is no theological division between the Orthodox and the non-Chalcedonians, which is not true since the latter continue to confess that Christ has one nature, while the Orthodox doctrine following the council of Chalcedon is that Christ has two natures in one hypostasis. So the EP is preaching heresy.

I'm interested to hear how witega explains this away.

Explain what away? You do realize that St. Cyril and the Third Ecumenical Council are considered definitive Orthodox teaching? If the Non-Chalcedonians stick strictly to the terminology of St. Cyril and the Third Ecumenical Council *and* condemn the teachings of Eutyches (and the Three Chapters, and Monotheletism and Iconoclasm), I'm not sure there is any theological difference. And I've had multiple Non-Chalcedonians tell me that that is in fact what they believe. That doesn't mean they are not in schism, since they reject the authority of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, but in that case the EP is right that what divides us is not theology.

As far as I can tell, you and I don't have any actual theological differences either--but that doesn't change the fact that I consider you in schism and outside the Church just like the Non-Chalcedonians.
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« Reply #119 on: December 05, 2009, 04:02:56 AM »

http://www.goarch.org/news/patriarchscoba9thprayerservice

According to the EP, theology does not divide the Orthodox from the 'non-Chalcedonians'.

So?  You don't like the relationship the EP and the Oriental Orthodox Hierarchs have with the Unitied Nations.  Should Joseph had rejected Pharaoh?  Should Daniel have rejected King Nebuchadnezzar?  Do you care only about Calendars and the WCC?

The problem is not the UN. The problem is that the EP publicly stated there is no theological division between the Orthodox and the non-Chalcedonians, which is not true since the latter continue to confess that Christ has one nature, while the Orthodox doctrine following the council of Chalcedon is that Christ has two natures in one hypostasis. So the EP is preaching heresy.

I'm interested to hear how witega explains this away.

Explain what away? You do realize that St. Cyril and the Third Ecumenical Council are considered definitive Orthodox teaching? If the Non-Chalcedonians stick strictly to the terminology of St. Cyril and the Third Ecumenical Council *and* condemn the teachings of Eutyches (and the Three Chapters, and Monotheletism and Iconoclasm), I'm not sure there is any theological difference. And I've had multiple Non-Chalcedonians tell me that that is in fact what they believe. That doesn't mean they are not in schism, since they reject the authority of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, but in that case the EP is right that what divides us is not theology.

As far as I can tell, you and I don't have any actual theological differences either--but that doesn't change the fact that I consider you in schism and outside the Church just like the Non-Chalcedonians.

You can only argue that if you deny that the Chalcedonian definition has any dogmatic import. The Council said that if you believe the truth about Christ, you must confess Him to have two natures. You can't confess him to have one nature and then turn around and say 'well, by one nature I mean two natures'. I doesn't wash.

I'm attaching another article by Fr Zisis on this particular subject.
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« Reply #120 on: December 05, 2009, 04:10:35 AM »

Jonathan, what are you trying to accomplish?

What do you think? I'm trying to persuade you that the official churches are infected with heresy and to save yourself you should sever communion with them and join the bishops who reject ecumenism completely.

The only problem with your project is that my bishops (the recently retired Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the recently elected Metropolitan Jonah) *do* reject ecumenism completely (at least as you defined ecumenism at the beginning of this thread). And you can't convince me otherwise, because I've stood there Sunday after Sunday and listened to them preach about the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church which is the Orthodox Church and is only the Orthodox Church. I've seen them tell Roman Catholics and conservative Episcopalians and questing Evangelicals that the only way they can find the Fullness of the Christian Faith is to return to One True Church which has maintained the Apostolic doctrine through the Ages. I have seen them receive non-Orthodox according to the service books of the Russian Church handed down to them by their predecessors--and when they pastorally choose to bend the traditional practice it is to baptize. I've seen the sanctity of their personal lives. And I've never heard one word that could be construed as heretical. I don't deny that there are people (including priests and hierarchs) out there who make mistakes, say stupid things, could use a good remedial course in Ecclesiology 101. But under the text of the canons of the Holy Church, I have zero justification for separating myself from *my* bishop.

I know a priest in my church who was formerly in the OCA. He's from Texas and remembers Abp Dimitri fondly, since Dmitri was about the only traditionally minded member of the synod at that time (this priest was cruelly treated and eventually expelled from St Vladimir's seminary for objecting to the heresies being taught there in the 80s).

So I can believe that some Orthodox-minded bishops exist in the ecumenist jurisdictions. Another good example is Bp Artemije of Kosovo, one of my church's few open supporters in the official churches (and who has incurred the wrath of Patriarch Bartholomew for it). Or Met Hierotheos Vlachos. Met Jonah I'm not so sure about, what with his overtures to the conservative Anglicans. But even granting his Orthodoxy, you can't deny the heresy of other hierarchs that you are also in communion with, or the fact that even your 'Orthodox' OCA bishops are WCC members and therefore officially subscribe to the heresies of that organization.
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« Reply #121 on: December 05, 2009, 04:15:05 AM »

Suddenly I am possessed to feeling the need of an ecumenical Christian side-hug.
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« Reply #122 on: December 05, 2009, 04:54:40 AM »

You can only argue that if you deny that the Chalcedonian definition has any dogmatic import. The Council said that if you believe the truth about Christ, you must confess Him to have two natures. You can't confess him to have one nature and then turn around and say 'well, by one nature I mean two natures'. I doesn't wash.

Was St. Cyril a heretic?
If not, then anyone who believes exactly as St. Cyril did cannot be a heretic. And if Chalcedon contradicted Ephesus, then the non-Chalcedonians would be correct to reject it. We do not believe in development of dogma; the Holy Fathers of Chalcedon did not introduce any element of Faith which was not already present in the teaching of Ephesus. Chalcedon was correct to the extent and *only* to the extent that it was a clarification of the doctrine already held by St. Cyril and Fathers of Ephesus--who in turn were only correct to the extent and only to the extent that their doctrine was only a clarification of what was held by the Apostles.

If the non-Chalcedonians reject Chalcedon because they do not understand that it teaches the same faith as Ephesus, then they are incorrect--but they are incorrect because *they* believe there is a theological difference when there is in fact no such difference. If the non-Chalcedonians reject Chalcedon for non-doctrinal reasons, then they are schismatics but not heretics. And if they reject Chalcedon because they misunderstand Ephesus (as Eutyches certainly did), then they are heretics. But I don't read minds. I can only go by what people say, and so far every Non-Chalcedonian I have spoken too has fallen into the first or second groups.
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« Reply #123 on: December 05, 2009, 05:03:29 AM »

I came across this interesting bit in Bishop Eucharist Church. They were discussing the significance of Novatianist baptism. I've bolded an interesting sentence.

http://www.oodegr.com/english/biblia/episkopos1/kef2_2.htm

Quote
Fortunately, however, there is preserved a contemporary work by an anonymous African Bishop entitled De Rebaptismate, written probably around 256,305 which sets out in detail the arguments against Cyprian's views on baptism. This text expounds not so much the teaching on the Church as that on the sacraments, but it reveals the writer's ecclesiological principles. The writer accepts that there is only one Church outside which the Holy Spirit is not. But he maintains that baptism is performed by Christ at the invocation of His name. Starting from this premise, this writer holds that when the name of the Lord is invoked, even by those who are outside the Catholic Church, in the course of a baptism, the invocation operates in such a way that the baptism which thus takes place is authentic. Exactly what value such a baptism has is not defined by this author. It seems, however, that he too retains many doubts as to its efficacity, since he says that if someone thus baptized outside the Catholic Church dies a schismatic, in other words before he repents and returns to the Catholic Church, his baptism is of no significance for his salvation.306

These views can be taken as those of the Church of Rome and her Bishop Stephen because they come to the conclusion that the rebaptism of those returning to the Catholic Church is not required which is exactly as Stephen of Rome maintained.

Apparently this was the Latin Church view in the Cyprian era. Schismatic baptism is efficacious, but only if you return to the Catholic Church. If you update this by about 1700 years it translates to, "of course, we may recognize your non-Orthodox baptism... if you become Orthodox."


That's an interesting piece of evidence for what SOME Latin bishops taught at the time of Cyprian. Obviously, Cyprian represented another position, a position, moreover, that is actually in accord with the teaching of the universal Church.
But how do you know that it's Bishop St. Cyprian's position that's in accord with the teaching of the universal Church?  At the time of his argument with Pope St. Stephen, Rome was still very much orthodox and claimed as her authority the tradition handed them by the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

This discussion by Met Hierotheos ought to clarify the Church's teaching:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/methierotheos_baptism.aspx
You miss my point, though.  How did our current teaching on baptism and the sacraments become Church teaching, especially considering that it was not universal to the Church of St. Cyprian of Carthage and St. Stephen of Rome?  At that time, it appears that St. Cyprian and a Firmilian of Asia Minor preached an Eastern view of baptism that is now our [Eastern] Church teaching (a teaching later supported by the Apostolic Constitutions and Canons, a 4th century Eastern document we believe to represent the traditions of the Apostles).  Yet St. Stephen taught a different idea that he claimed was passed on to the Church of Rome by the Apostles Peter and Paul themselves.  Which side has faithfully preserved the traditions of the Apostles?  What evidence can you provide to support your argument?

Well if I believed the West had faithfully preserved the right teaching on baptism, with their doctrine of ex opere operato, then I would be a Catholic. As it is, I am Eastern Orthodox. I don't feel it's appropriate to debate the teaching on baptism with other Orthodox, since we should all be agreed on what the Orthodox teaching is. If you don't agree with the Orthodox teaching, then you should change churches.

That being said, here is another patristic witness for the Orthodox doctrine of baptism:

"There are many other heresies, too, which use the names only [of the Trinity], but not in the right sense, as I have said, nor with sound faith, and in consequence the water which they administer is unprofitable, as deficient in piety, so that he who is sprinkled by them is rather polluted by irreligion than redeemed." St Athanasius, Second Discourse against the Arians

St Paul also says there is 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism' in the epistle to the Ephesians. I understand this to mean that faith and the mystery of baptism are inseparable, and that by faith is meant Orthodox faith.
By continuing to argue from Fathers subsequent to the first three centuries of the Church's history, you  show that you still miss my point.  How did St. Cyprian of Carthage and St. Stephen of Rome derive opposite conclusions on baptism from what each claimed was the Tradition of the Apostles?
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« Reply #124 on: December 05, 2009, 05:57:40 AM »


Request

Can anyone supply the statement on ecumenism which was issued by the Inter-Orthodox Congress in Thessaloniki in 2004?
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« Reply #125 on: December 05, 2009, 06:29:37 AM »

Here is an important policy statement on ecumenism from the Eastern Orthodox Churches at their Inter-Orthodox Meeting in Thessaloniki in 1998.  This statement provides both an authoritative resource and a springboard for our discussion.

Read it on the web at
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/thessaloniki_roc.aspx#thessaloniki


Thessaloniki/Greece, 29 April - 2 May 1998 FINAL DOCUMENT

1. We, delegates of all the canonical Orthodox Churches, by the power of the Risen Christ, gathered at the historical city of Thessaloniki/Greece, from 29 April to 2 May 1998, after an invitation of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, responding to the initiative of the Russian and Serbian Churches and because of the withdrawal of the Georgian Church from the World Council of Churches. The meeting was hosted by the Organization of "Thessaloniki - Cultural Capital of Europe 97" and under the generous hospitality of the Metropolitanate of Thessaloniki.  

2. The meeting was presided over by Chrysostomos, the Senior Metropolitan of the See of Ephesus (Ecumenical Patriarchate) and the sessions were held in a spirit of Christian love, fraternal fellowship and common understanding. The delegates expressed and asked the prayers and blessings of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and all other Venerable Primates of the Orthodox Churches. The participants received telegrams of congratulations from all the Primates. They also expressed their best wishes to His Beatitude Chrystodoulos, the new Archbishop of Athens and of all Greece, for his election.

3. Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Ephesus presented an introductory paper on the theme of the meeting, followed by a presentation from all the delegates on the one hand describing their relations to the ecumenical movement and to the WCC in particular and on the other hand evaluating the critical problems they are facing. The discussions analyzed the participation of the Orthodox Churches in the decision-making bodies of the WCC.

4. The delegates unanimously denounced those groups of schismatics, as well as certain extremist groups within the local Orthodox Churches themselves, that are using the theme of ecumenism in order to criticize the Church leadership and undermine its authority, thus attempting to create divisions and schisms within the Church. They also use non-factual material and misinformation in order to support their unjust criticism.

5. The delegates also emphasized that the Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement has always been based on Orthodox tradition, on the decisions of the Holy Synods of the local Orthodox Churches, and on Pan-Orthodox meetings, such as the Third Pre-Conciliar Conference of 1986 and the meeting of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches in 1992.  

6.  The participants are unanimous in their understanding of the necessity for continuing their participation in various forms of inter-Orthodox activity.
  
7.  We have no right to withdraw from the mission laid upon us by our Lord Jesus Christ, the mission of witnessing the Truth before the non-Orthodox world. We must not interrupt relations with Christians of other confessions who are prepared to work together with us.
  
8.  Indeed the WCC has been a forum where the faith of the Orthodox Church, its mission and its views on a number of issues such as peace, justice, development, and ecology were made more widely known to the non-Orthodox world. A fruitful collaboration was established with the other members of the Council in response to the challenges of modern civilization. Proselytism has been denounced and help extended to Orthodox Churches in difficult situations to enable them to carry forward their mission. Orthodox interests were often defended, especially where the Orthodox as minorities were discriminated against. Orthodox views in the process of political, economic and cultural integration were expressed and Orthodox contributions were made in the relations with other faiths. Schismatic groups and so-called renewal groups within Protestantism were not admitted to membership of the Council at Orthodox request.

9.  However at the same time there are certain developments within some Protestant members of the Council that are reflected in the debates of the WCC and are regarded as unacceptable by the Orthodox. At many WCC meetings the Orthodox were obliged to be involved in the discussion of questions entirely alien to their tradition. At the VII Assembly of Canberra in 1991 and during the meetings of the Central Committee after the year 1992 the Orthodox delegates have taken a vigorous stand against intercommunion with non-Orthodox, against inclusive language, ordination of women, the rights of sexual minorities and certain tendencies relating to religious syncretism. Their statements on these subjects were always considered as minority statements and as such could not influence the procedures and ethos of the WCC.

10.  After a century of Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement, and fifty years in the WCC in particular, we do not perceive sufficient progress in the multilateral theological discussions between Christians. On the contrary, the gap between the Orthodox and the Protestants is becoming wider as the aforementioned tendencies within certain Protestant denominations are becoming stronger.
  
11.  During the Orthodox participation of many decades in the ecumenical movement, Orthodox has never been betrayed by any representative of a local Orthodox Church. On the contrary, these representatives have always been completely faithful and obedient to their respective Church authorities, acted in complete agreement with the canonical rules, the Teaching of the Ecumenical Councils, the Church Fathers and the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church.

12. We therefore come to the suggestion that the WCC must be radically restructures in order to allow more adequate orthodox participation. Many Orthodox Churches raise questions as to what are the final criteria of the inclusion of a Church in a wider organization such as the WCC. The same questions exist for the inclusion of the Orthodox Church in the Council. Nevertheless, the theme of the criteria for the inclusion is and will remain a fundamental request of Orthodoxy.

13.  All the Orthodox Churches are requested to send official delegates to the VIII Assembly of the WCC with the aim of expressing their concerns as follows:

a) Orthodox delegates participating in Harare will present in common this Statement of the Thessaloniki Inter-Orthodox Meeting.

b) Orthodox delegates will not participate in ecumenical services, common prayers, worship and other religious ceremonies at the Assembly.

c) Orthodox delegates will not take part in the voting procedure except in certain cases that concern the Orthodox and by unanimous agreement. If it is needed, in the plenary and group discussions they will present the Orthodox views and positions.

d) These mandates will be maintained until a radical restructuring of the WCC is accomplished to allow adequate Orthodox participation.

14. Thus we state that we are no longer satisfied with the present forms of Orthodox membership in the WCC. If the structures of the WCC are not radically changed, other Orthodox Churches will also withdraw from the WCC, as has the Georgian Orthodox. In addition the Orthodox delegates at the VIIIth General Assembly of WCC in Harare, December 1998, will be forced to protest if the representatives of sexual minorities are admitted to participation structurally in the Assembly.

15. Finally the delegates underline that major decisions concerning participation of the Orthodox Churches in the ecumenical movement must be in accordance with the Pan-Orthodox decisions and must be taken by each local Orthodox Church in consultation with all the other local Orthodox Churches.

16.  The delegates also strongly suggested that a Mixed Theological Commission be created with Orthodox members appointed by their own respective Churches and from WCC nominees. The Mixed Commission will begin its work after the Harare Assembly by discussing the acceptable forms of Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement and the radical restructuring of the WCC.  

17.  May the Risen Lord guide our steps towards the accomplishment of His will and the glory of His Divine name.

At Thessaloniki, 1st of May 1998
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« Reply #126 on: December 05, 2009, 07:54:52 AM »


Anyway, are you going to answer my question or pretend you didn't see it?

I ran back through your messages and these were the first questions I found:

JG:  Are you saying you would believe I am Orthodox if I believed you were Orthodox?

No.

JG: If a Catholic ecumenist claimed you as a brother, following his legalistic understanding of sacraments performed outside the Church, would you then be compelled to claim him as a brother in return?

No.

JG: My response of course is that my church is the true Eastern Orthodox church and it is your jurisdiction that has turned its back. So where does that leave us?

It leaves us with your belief that your Church is the true Eastern Orthodox Church and that my Church has "turned its back" as you phrase it.

Would you substantiate your statement about the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad which is my "jurisdiction" with an official statement of your Synod of bishops?
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« Reply #127 on: December 05, 2009, 08:25:01 AM »


Request

Can anyone supply the statement on ecumenism which was issued by the Inter-Orthodox Congress in Thessaloniki in 2004?


I'm not sure, but is this it (in Greek)?
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« Reply #128 on: December 05, 2009, 01:15:17 PM »

The topics of Chalcedon and Ephesus have been beaten to death on those relevant Oriental Orthodox fora.

Why Jonathan chooses to resurrect the cheval morte (dead horse) is beyond my comprehension.   Huh  Sad  Huh
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« Reply #129 on: December 05, 2009, 01:43:58 PM »

The topics of Chalcedon and Ephesus have been beaten to death on those relevant Oriental Orthodox fora.

Why Jonathan chooses to resurrect the cheval morte (dead horse) is beyond my comprehension.   Huh  Sad  Huh

He brought it up because the subject of "mainstream" EO hierarchs praying with OO's came up.  This is, after all, a thread on the evils of ecumenism.  I think in that context it's perfectly fair for him to point out that his Church, as well as a number of EO Church Fathers, have considered the people of my Church to be heretics.  However, a discussion on whether the OO's really are heretics, schismatics, or whatever, belongs in the private forum. 

I'm not writing this in green, or saying this in an official moderator capacity, because this is Peter's board.  I'll let him address this more fully.
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« Reply #130 on: December 05, 2009, 02:13:47 PM »

You can only argue that if you deny that the Chalcedonian definition has any dogmatic import. The Council said that if you believe the truth about Christ, you must confess Him to have two natures. You can't confess him to have one nature and then turn around and say 'well, by one nature I mean two natures'. I doesn't wash.

Was St. Cyril a heretic?
If not, then anyone who believes exactly as St. Cyril did cannot be a heretic. And if Chalcedon contradicted Ephesus, then the non-Chalcedonians would be correct to reject it. We do not believe in development of dogma; the Holy Fathers of Chalcedon did not introduce any element of Faith which was not already present in the teaching of Ephesus. Chalcedon was correct to the extent and *only* to the extent that it was a clarification of the doctrine already held by St. Cyril and Fathers of Ephesus--who in turn were only correct to the extent and only to the extent that their doctrine was only a clarification of what was held by the Apostles.

If the non-Chalcedonians reject Chalcedon because they do not understand that it teaches the same faith as Ephesus, then they are incorrect--but they are incorrect because *they* believe there is a theological difference when there is in fact no such difference. If the non-Chalcedonians reject Chalcedon for non-doctrinal reasons, then they are schismatics but not heretics. And if they reject Chalcedon because they misunderstand Ephesus (as Eutyches certainly did), then they are heretics. But I don't read minds. I can only go by what people say, and so far every Non-Chalcedonian I have spoken too has fallen into the first or second groups.

Your reasoning is very subtle but still doesn't wash. Think about it: if the council of Chalcedon, whose authority you can hardly dispute, had to clarify St Cyril's teaching, then any other interpretation of Cyril not based on Chalcedon is a false interpretation. You can't say 'I believe in St Cyril's teaching' while rejecting the Chalcedonian definition, because the Chalcedonian definition is the only correct way to express St Cyril's teaching.

The following is from St John of Damascus 'Concerning heresies'

83. The Egyptians, who are also called Schematics and Monophysites:
separated from the Orthodox Church on the pretext of the document approved at
Chalcedon and known as the Tome. They have been called Egyptians, because it was
the Egyptians who first started this form of heresy during the reigns of the Emperors
Marcian and Valentinian; in every other way they are Orthodox. Because they were attached to Dioscoros of Alexandria, who was deposed by the Synod in Chalcedon for
advocating the teachings of Eutyches, they opposed the Synod and fabricated countless
charges against it to the best of their ability. We have taken up these charges in this
book and sufficiently refuted them, showing them to be clumsy and stupid. Their
leaders were Theodosios of Alexandria, from whom derive the Theodosians, and James
[Baradaios] of Syria, from whom the Jacobites derive. Privy to them, and supporters and
champions, were Severos, the corrupter from Antioch, and John [Philoponos] the
Tritheite, who toiled on vain things; they denied the mystery of our common salvation.
They wrote many things against the God-inspired teaching of the 630 Fathers of
Chalcedon, and laid many snares, so to speak, and “stumbling blocks by the path”
(Psalm 139:6) for those who were perishing by their pernicious heresy. Nevertheless,
even though they teach that there are particular substances, they confound the mystery
of the Incarnation. We considered it necessary to discuss their impiety in brief, adding
short notes in refutation of their godless and abominable heresy. I shall set forth the
teachings, or rather, ravings, of their champion John, in which they take so much
pride.

Clearly St John does not agree with you or Patriarch Bartholomew on the Orthodoxy of the Copts and Armenians.
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« Reply #131 on: December 05, 2009, 02:20:25 PM »

The topics of Chalcedon and Ephesus have been beaten to death on those relevant Oriental Orthodox fora.

Why Jonathan chooses to resurrect the cheval morte (dead horse) is beyond my comprehension.   Huh  Sad  Huh

We're discussing this because I brought up Patriarch Bartholomew's remarks as an example of publicly preaching heresy, and then, of course, his supporters are trying to argue that it wasn't heresy at all, which means they have to argue that the non-Chalcedonians are not heretics, and now I am proving from St John's authority that the Church has always considered them to be heretics.
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« Reply #132 on: December 05, 2009, 02:28:20 PM »


Anyway, are you going to answer my question or pretend you didn't see it?

I ran back through your messages and these were the first questions I found:

JG:  Are you saying you would believe I am Orthodox if I believed you were Orthodox?

No.

JG: If a Catholic ecumenist claimed you as a brother, following his legalistic understanding of sacraments performed outside the Church, would you then be compelled to claim him as a brother in return?

No.

JG: My response of course is that my church is the true Eastern Orthodox church and it is your jurisdiction that has turned its back. So where does that leave us?

It leaves us with your belief that your Church is the true Eastern Orthodox Church and that my Church has "turned its back" as you phrase it.

Would you substantiate your statement about the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad which is my "jurisdiction" with an official statement of your Synod of bishops?

I forgot what statement you're referring to.
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« Reply #133 on: December 05, 2009, 02:34:42 PM »

Oh and the question I want you to answer is: how do you resolve the contradictions in your own church?

To help you answer this question, you might consider the following: Does Patriarch Bartholomew believe that the Orthodox Church is the Body of Christ in and of itself? If so, why does he speak of restoring the unity of the Church, if it was never lost? Why does he say theology does not divide us from the non-Chalcedonians, when they still teach that Christ has one nature, whereas the truth according to the Council of Chalcedon is that He has two natures? Why has the Ecumenical Patriarch lifted the anathemas against the Pope, when the Pope has not renounced the heresies for which he was anathematized? You don't need to answer all of them, but I do want to hear how your conscience allows you to remain in communion with such people.
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« Reply #134 on: December 05, 2009, 02:46:52 PM »

I came across this interesting bit in Bishop Eucharist Church. They were discussing the significance of Novatianist baptism. I've bolded an interesting sentence.

http://www.oodegr.com/english/biblia/episkopos1/kef2_2.htm

Quote
Fortunately, however, there is preserved a contemporary work by an anonymous African Bishop entitled De Rebaptismate, written probably around 256,305 which sets out in detail the arguments against Cyprian's views on baptism. This text expounds not so much the teaching on the Church as that on the sacraments, but it reveals the writer's ecclesiological principles. The writer accepts that there is only one Church outside which the Holy Spirit is not. But he maintains that baptism is performed by Christ at the invocation of His name. Starting from this premise, this writer holds that when the name of the Lord is invoked, even by those who are outside the Catholic Church, in the course of a baptism, the invocation operates in such a way that the baptism which thus takes place is authentic. Exactly what value such a baptism has is not defined by this author. It seems, however, that he too retains many doubts as to its efficacity, since he says that if someone thus baptized outside the Catholic Church dies a schismatic, in other words before he repents and returns to the Catholic Church, his baptism is of no significance for his salvation.306

These views can be taken as those of the Church of Rome and her Bishop Stephen because they come to the conclusion that the rebaptism of those returning to the Catholic Church is not required which is exactly as Stephen of Rome maintained.

Apparently this was the Latin Church view in the Cyprian era. Schismatic baptism is efficacious, but only if you return to the Catholic Church. If you update this by about 1700 years it translates to, "of course, we may recognize your non-Orthodox baptism... if you become Orthodox."


That's an interesting piece of evidence for what SOME Latin bishops taught at the time of Cyprian. Obviously, Cyprian represented another position, a position, moreover, that is actually in accord with the teaching of the universal Church.
But how do you know that it's Bishop St. Cyprian's position that's in accord with the teaching of the universal Church?  At the time of his argument with Pope St. Stephen, Rome was still very much orthodox and claimed as her authority the tradition handed them by the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

This discussion by Met Hierotheos ought to clarify the Church's teaching:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/methierotheos_baptism.aspx
You miss my point, though.  How did our current teaching on baptism and the sacraments become Church teaching, especially considering that it was not universal to the Church of St. Cyprian of Carthage and St. Stephen of Rome?  At that time, it appears that St. Cyprian and a Firmilian of Asia Minor preached an Eastern view of baptism that is now our [Eastern] Church teaching (a teaching later supported by the Apostolic Constitutions and Canons, a 4th century Eastern document we believe to represent the traditions of the Apostles).  Yet St. Stephen taught a different idea that he claimed was passed on to the Church of Rome by the Apostles Peter and Paul themselves.  Which side has faithfully preserved the traditions of the Apostles?  What evidence can you provide to support your argument?

Well if I believed the West had faithfully preserved the right teaching on baptism, with their doctrine of ex opere operato, then I would be a Catholic. As it is, I am Eastern Orthodox. I don't feel it's appropriate to debate the teaching on baptism with other Orthodox, since we should all be agreed on what the Orthodox teaching is. If you don't agree with the Orthodox teaching, then you should change churches.

That being said, here is another patristic witness for the Orthodox doctrine of baptism:

"There are many other heresies, too, which use the names only [of the Trinity], but not in the right sense, as I have said, nor with sound faith, and in consequence the water which they administer is unprofitable, as deficient in piety, so that he who is sprinkled by them is rather polluted by irreligion than redeemed." St Athanasius, Second Discourse against the Arians

St Paul also says there is 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism' in the epistle to the Ephesians. I understand this to mean that faith and the mystery of baptism are inseparable, and that by faith is meant Orthodox faith.
By continuing to argue from Fathers subsequent to the first three centuries of the Church's history, you  show that you still miss my point.  How did St. Cyprian of Carthage and St. Stephen of Rome derive opposite conclusions on baptism from what each claimed was the Tradition of the Apostles?

PtA, I don't know what St Stephen was thinking. I am prepared to believe he genuinely thought it was the apostolic tradition, while St Cyprian recognized it to be a misinterpretation of the custom of granting economy in certain situations. Aren't you Orthodox? Don't you believe in what your Church teaches about the unity between faith and baptism? You can often find errors here or there even in the writings of Saints: St Augustine is of course a textbook example. It doesn't mean you can pick and choose which writings suit your personal theological fancy; you have to accept what the Church as a whole has taught.
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