Someone hit me with some knowledge here. In sites about the talks between the nonjuring Anglicans and Orthodox, a particular bit has left me confused. It's claimed that the nonjurors said that, as one site has it, "Canons of ancient General Councils are not on a par with Scripture. They may be dispensed with by the governors of the Church where charity and necessity require." The Orthodox response to this is (partially) described in this way: "[the Orthodoxy say that] not only do prophets and apostles speak by the Holy Ghost, but also Councils and Fathers... [the Orthodox] re-state emphatically the infallibility of Oecumenical Councils; charity or necessity cannot set them aside." (Source
; Another Source
When I first read this I was wondering where the concept of economia had disappeared to, and the rights of bishops and local assemblies to apply canons. So I guess I'm wondering what is up with this here. Were they talking past each other to some extent, with the Anglicans thinking something like: "Do we really have to follow the canon that tells us that we can only eat chicken on Thursdays outside of lent after 6pm? Can't we relax some of these rules?" while the Orthodox were thinking "These canons reveal divine truths, which are applicable for all time, and thus they cannot be cast aside or even disregarded"? Or perhaps, were the Orthodox speaking of the dogmatic pronouncements/teachings from the Councils, and not necessarily the disciplinary canons (yes, yes, that is an artificial and misleading distinction, I know; stop giving me a hard time!), and the Anglicans were not getting that clearly (or at all) through the translations? Did the position of rejecting the 7th Ecumenical Council make the Orthodox overly-obstinate /cautious and unwilling to give an inch? Or is this really a case of the Orthodox saying that there could be no bending? Or... what?