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Author Topic: Is The Orthodox Church Roman?  (Read 22381 times) Average Rating: 0
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #90 on: May 11, 2009, 06:52:17 PM »

Here are my two cents' worth.

1. If Ozgeorge means to emphasize the catholic (ecumenical, worldwide) character of the church, he should understand that sometimes the messenger and the message get conflated. After all, he is a self-proclaimed grand champion of the "Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ."

Now, if he means that the current worldwide Orthodox Church should be organized in accordance with Mehmed the Conqueror's scheme and that the Patriarch of Constantinople should also be considered the head of all Orthodox in the world (the Rum Milliyet), he will have trouble convincing me.

If he means that we should all get along as in the good old days when we considered ourselves as members of the One Church of the One Christian Roman Empire, I would agree with his sentimental yearning but not his history. 

In any case, there are a number of Orthodox people who have learned from the Iliad and their own history, and are beware of Greeks bearing gifts. That said, I can sympathize with Ozgeorge because we don't seem to be giving him a break. Henceforth, I resolve to be more charitable toward him and his posts. Which brings me to Father Anthony.

2. I think Father Anthony is caught between a rock and a hard place. He seems to be a genuinely loving, peace making pastor, who is trying to figure things out. (I hope that I do not sound condescending here, and I am daring to say these things only because I think I am older than the Father). I love the way that he approves and encourages less emphasis on Greekness on the part of the hierarchs and bishops of the GOA. All leaders of all jurisdictions should do that.

However, I disagree with his assessment that the loss of the ecumenical character of the Church was a bad thing, when the Roman Empire went down the tubes. For starters, Pax Romana was good only for the Romans: it was ecumenical because the Romans made it so by force of arms.

After the Ottomans took over the eastern half, the sultans called themselves Caesar (Kayser-i Rûm, by right of conquest and because they were blood-related to the Byzantine Emperors), and tried to pattern their empire after the one they had vanquished (See Runciman's work). Sultan Mehmed made the Patriarch of Constantinople the Ethnarch for all Christians in the empire, except the Armenians, and actually personally vested and installed Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius. As with the Roman Empire, the "ecumenicity" of the Ottoman Empire, and by extension of the "Ecumenical" Patriarchate of Constantinople, was also maintained by the force of arms.

So, I think that Father Anthony must believe in some kind of a mythical version of history. I happen to think that the Orthodox Church survived not because of patronage and control by emperors, sultans, kings, tsars, etc., but in spite of them. This is the most important evidence that the Lord, through His Holy Spirit, has preserved His Church.

3. There is no reason to go into exhaustive arguments and research to help us figure out how we should be organized. In the Holy Scriptures, we have our mission, goals and objectives, and we find plenty of help in how we should organize--1 Timothy even contains job descriptions for our clergy. In Saint Ignatius of Antioch, we find the hierarchical ecclesiastical principle, and in the Canons and Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, we have specific organizational rules and policies.

So this means: national churches (from the great commission); use of the vernacular (Acts); bishops at each city (St. Ignatius); no super-bishops but collaborative relations between bishops (1 Timothy, Ignatius, Canon 34); conciliar governance (to include the laity--the royal priesthood); possibly no patriarchates or at least patriarch-for-life (I can explain but that would make this post too long); astronomical calendar (1st Ecumenical Council); and married bishops, along with single and monastic bishops (1 Timothy). I realize that this is quite a departure from current practice and that we cannot change but very slowly and deliberately.
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« Reply #91 on: May 11, 2009, 06:53:04 PM »

Father, what is the straw man of which you speak?  Romanity, or the subject of Roman? 

Neither, per se. I am less than impressed by the sourcing and argumentation of the Romanity website. The arguments may or may not be perfectly valid. The way in which they are presented is less than professional. Certain of his arguments (those with which I am familiar) often have valid points behind them, in my opinion, but (also in my opinion), are badly over-stated. It makes him easy to dismiss, when he is so easily refuted on details.
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Τῷ μεγάλῳ χρίεται μύρῳ καὶ χειρονεῖται βασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, πάντων δηλαδὴ τῶν χριστιανῶν...οὐδὲν οὖν ἔνι καλὸν, υἱέ μου, ἵνα λέγῃς, ὅτι ἐκκλησίαν ἔχομεν, οὐχὶ βασιλέα, οὐκ ἔνι δυνατὸν εἰς τοὺς χριστιανοὺς, ἔκκλησίαν ἔχειν καὶ βασιλέα οὐκ ἔχειν. – EP Anthony to Basil of Moscow c. 1395
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« Reply #92 on: May 11, 2009, 09:42:29 PM »

Quote
Also, in dialoguing with someone else, do you ignore altogether what they call themselves?  Do you say "you should not call yourselves that" or should you, rather, seek to convince them that, indeed, if they truly consider yourself Roman and Catholic, that their true home is in the Church of the first millenium, the Church of the Ecumenical Councils, the Orthodox Church of the Roman-Orthodox-Catholic Councils.   This is the "meat" of ozgeorge's point--the proper use of these terms--that we should not miss (especially now that we are eating meat).     
LOL.

The meat, however, is that a Hellenizing Hellenocentric Rome is no better than a Latinizing Latinocentric one.
That's your meat ialmisry. My meat is that the Roman Church is the Church of the Seven Oecumenical Councils. But let's look at your meat anyway: it is strange that a "Hellenizing Hellenocentric Rome" should have direct jurisdiction over  Ukrainian, Arabic, & Romanian Churches in the US and Russian & Estonian Churches in Europe without "Hellenizing" them. In the light of facts, your meat seems to be more like a vegetarian sausage trying to be meat. Smiley
« Last Edit: May 11, 2009, 09:45:20 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #93 on: May 11, 2009, 10:50:22 PM »

Which brings me to Father Anthony.

2. I think Father Anthony is caught between a rock and a hard place. He seems to be a genuinely loving, peace making pastor, who is trying to figure things out. (I hope that I do not sound condescending here, and I am daring to say these things only because I think I am older than the Father). I love the way that he approves and encourages less emphasis on Greekness on the part of the hierarchs and bishops of the GOA. All leaders of all jurisdictions should do that.

Thanks for the kind words. My point, however, was not that I encourage anything on the part of my bishops, but that their motivations are correct and proper, doing all they can in what is a difficult situation, seeking to care for the flock that they have in such a way as to not make said flock bolt as it is guided gently in a direction it doesn't want to go.

Quote
However, I disagree with his assessment that the loss of the ecumenical character of the Church was a bad thing, when the Roman Empire went down the tubes. For starters, Pax Romana was good only for the Romans: it was ecumenical because the Romans made it so by force of arms.

After the Ottomans took over the eastern half, the sultans called themselves Caesar (Kayser-i Rûm, by right of conquest and because they were blood-related to the Byzantine Emperors), and tried to pattern their empire after the one they had vanquished (See Runciman's work). Sultan Mehmed made the Patriarch of Constantinople the Ethnarch for all Christians in the empire, except the Armenians, and actually personally vested and installed Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius. As with the Roman Empire, the "ecumenicity" of the Ottoman Empire, and by extension of the "Ecumenical" Patriarchate of Constantinople, was also maintained by the force of arms.

So, I think that Father Anthony must believe in some kind of a mythical version of history. I happen to think that the Orthodox Church survived not because of patronage and control by emperors, sultans, kings, tsars, etc., but in spite of them. This is the most important evidence that the Lord, through His Holy Spirit, has preserved His Church.

Hum...my communication skills must be extremely rusty. I had not thought I was so unclear.

What I said:

Quote
Why we think this would be a good idea, I have no idea. Let me be clear: there is one legitimate reason, and only one theologically legitimate reason, that the idea of the Christian Roman Empire was ever anything other than very bad, and that is rooted in a geopolitical theory that, while second nature to the Fathers of the Church, particularly those of the 4th and 5th centuries, is deader than dead, and will never come back. I speak, of course, of the idea of the universality of Roman rule, that the Roman Emperor ruled, or ought to rule, directly or indirectly, over the entire inhabited world (ecumene/oikoumeni/οἰκουμένη). So if the Roman Emperor was a Christian, and said he was the Emperor of all Christians everywhere, and acted accordingly (as Constantine and Theodosios both did), it made perfect sense to the bishops of the Church to treat him accordingly and organize the Church along such lines, with an Ecumenical Patriarch in the capital city of the man who ruled the inhabited world. The Christian Roman Emperor provided one good thing to the Church over all the centuries--a unitive factor to counter the nationalism that not only threatened to divide, but all too often did divide the Church. Not, frankly, that it worked all that well. But the Church was able to accept it at all only because the Emperor thus became a force to maintain the ethnicity-transcending character of the Church.

Now, lest anyone start in on me, asking how I can possibly say that the Christian Byzantine Emperor was a "force to maintain the ethnicity-transcending character of the Church" in light of individuals like Basil II "Bulgar-Killer"...that's exactly my point. Precisely because the Church under this model always ends up being co-opted by the nation for secular and even anti-Christian ends (like Bulgar killing), this model is not just flawed, it's broken. I am simply attempting to explain why, if it is in fact a bad model, the Church accepted it for over a thousand years of Orthodox history. When the Emperor served the Church, things were good. When he used the Church to serve himself (which was often)...hoo boy.

When I say, "this model is not just flawed, it's broken," I am talking about the Byzantine Empire. I do not believe that the Church was maintained and preserved by the patronage and control of emperors, sultans, kings, or tsars. I do believe that, as a Church, we need to account for the fact that, for over a thousand years, the Church accepted the Emperor, lauded the emperor, and built significant elements of its ecclessiology around the emperor, to the point that we have no precedent for even calling an Ecumenical Council, since they were ALL called by the Emperor. In light of the obvious flaws of the system, from its very beginning up to its end (which by itself is a stunning blow against the very idea of the Christian Roman Empire, since, by its own self-understanding, said fall should have been prevented by God Himself), we are left to ask what made the system endurable for the Church of the Fathers and the Saints. You don't have to like my ideas on the subject--I'm less than pleased with my current articulation of them myself. But please don't misunderstand me to be praising the system, and certainly not to be asserting that it is necessary for the survival of the Church. I simply think it behooves us to come to terms with our history before we dispense with it and start re-inventing the wheel.

Quote
3. There is no reason to go into exhaustive arguments and research to help us figure out how we should be organized. In the Holy Scriptures, we have our mission, goals and objectives, and we find plenty of help in how we should organize--1 Timothy even contains job descriptions for our clergy. In Saint Ignatius of Antioch, we find the hierarchical ecclesiastical principle, and in the Canons and Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, we have specific organizational rules and policies.

So this means: national churches (from the great commission); use of the vernacular (Acts); bishops at each city (St. Ignatius); no super-bishops but collaborative relations between bishops (1 Timothy, Ignatius, Canon 34); conciliar governance (to include the laity--the royal priesthood); possibly no patriarchates or at least patriarch-for-life (I can explain but that would make this post too long); astronomical calendar (1st Ecumenical Council); and married bishops, along with single and monastic bishops (1 Timothy). I realize that this is quite a departure from current practice and that we cannot change but very slowly and deliberately.

I disagree with some of your specific proposals, agree with others, and have reservations about some. I see little reason to go into details about those disagreements, unless you are particularly interested. I would say this, however: we are Orthodox, and we believe that the Church has upheld the Faith inviolate from the beginning. Therefore, we have a deep and abiding responsibility to be very cautious in overturning longstanding changes. We do not depend solely on Scripture, nor recognize only the Apostles as saintly and guided by God. And we must be very careful in dispensing at a word with 1700 years of the Church's life and tradition. Perhaps things need to change--but we need to have a compelling reason to do so, and must still be very cautious.
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Τῷ μεγάλῳ χρίεται μύρῳ καὶ χειρονεῖται βασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, πάντων δηλαδὴ τῶν χριστιανῶν...οὐδὲν οὖν ἔνι καλὸν, υἱέ μου, ἵνα λέγῃς, ὅτι ἐκκλησίαν ἔχομεν, οὐχὶ βασιλέα, οὐκ ἔνι δυνατὸν εἰς τοὺς χριστιανοὺς, ἔκκλησίαν ἔχειν καὶ βασιλέα οὐκ ἔχειν. – EP Anthony to Basil of Moscow c. 1395
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« Reply #94 on: May 12, 2009, 07:40:39 AM »

Btw, I'm still waiting for my quote.
Contrary to popular thinking the Roman empire did not fall in the early centuries, only the western part fell.  The eastern part survived for almost a thousand years afterwards.  Technically the eastern catholic church (aka the Orthodox church ) was part of that empire.  If any church could be tagged Roman you cant ignore the eastern Christians.
Sorry, according to ialmisry, we have no right to be called "Roman", only the Roman Catholics can be called so.
Care to quote me on that, George?

Quote
Also, in dialoguing with someone else, do you ignore altogether what they call themselves?  Do you say "you should not call yourselves that" or should you, rather, seek to convince them that, indeed, if they truly consider yourself Roman and Catholic, that their true home is in the Church of the first millenium, the Church of the Ecumenical Councils, the Orthodox Church of the Roman-Orthodox-Catholic Councils.   This is the "meat" of ozgeorge's point--the proper use of these terms--that we should not miss (especially now that we are eating meat).
LOL.

The meat, however, is that a Hellenizing Hellenocentric Rome is no better than a Latinizing Latinocentric one.

That's your meat ialmisry. My meat is that the Roman Church is the Church of the Seven Oecumenical Councils.

I go to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  I thought you were the one against mixing politics with the Church.

Quote
But let's look at your meat anyway:

Yes. Let's.

Quote
it is strange that a "Hellenizing Hellenocentric Rome" should have direct jurisdiction over  Ukrainian, Arabic, & Romanian Churches in the US and Russian & Estonian Churches in Europe without "Hellenizing" them.

Is that so?

As for the Ukrainians, the self-consecrated dead-handers were just the latest in the interesting history of the GOA and the Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Russian politics, started by Hieromonk Ahapij, evidently assigned by the Episcopalians to the parish that the GOA traces its origin.  That is, until he ran off to harrass the Russian bishop in San Francisco: The hieromonk ended up buried there on his farm "Ukraina," next to his wife. You are familiar with the term "splitting," no?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19584.0.html

On the Romanians: the EP has Romanians here?  Odd, I thought they all were one happy family under Bucharest's exarchate.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,16108.0.html

But speaking of the Romanians, I was going to post next on their cousins, the Aromanians or as you problably call them "Vlachs."  I'll start at a funeral:
Quote
Here is one exmaple for many: "In 1904 a Vlach died in Monastir [Republic of Macedonia: then too it didn't have a majority Greek population] His relations wanted to bury him in Roumanian, the Greeks insisted in Greek.  The Bishop (a Greek) forbade a Roumanian funeral, the relations would not have a Greek one.  As usual both sides appealed to the judgee of ecclesiastical affaires, the Turkish Kaimakan.  The Kaimakan, as usual, could do nothing without instructions from Constantinople, and the Porte, as usual, could not make up its mind.  So there came a preliminary order to put off the funeral till the Governement had considered the caee.  Meanwhile, as it was becoming quite time to do something, the wretched man was embalmed.  Time passed and nothing was settled.  Then both sides began fighting over the body, the market-place was shut up, and two charges of cavalry could not disperse the mob.  The Wali, desperate and helpless, as last telegraphed direct to the Sultan imploring him to let the man be buried somehow before the mob had pulled the town down.  At last the decision came.  The Government could not afford to gratify either side, so the man was to be just put in the ground without any burial at all.  See the newspaper report in Bradford: Macedonia, pp. 189-190.  "Nothing," adds Mr. Bralisford, "could be more Turkish, and nothing could be more Greek."

Fortescue adds when "Greeks publish statistics of Macedonia, nearly all the people they brazenly write as "Hellenes" are really these half-Hellenized Vlachs"

Quote
The Phanar knows that if all the Vlachs go there will be, indeed, nothing but a slender remnant of the Roman nation left to work for the "Great Idea" in Macedonia.  So it has set its face desperately against the Roumanian movement, as it does against all national feeling among the Christians that it will pretend to think Greeks.  For years there has been a regular persecusion of these Vlachs; every priest who spoke Roumanian in church was promptly excommunicated; the Greek papers never ceased heaping abuse on Margaritis and his work, and there has been a long chain of nationalistic squabbles under pretense of ecclesiastical disputes between these two parties as ludicrous to the outsider as they are degrading to the Orthodox Church.

http://books.google.com/books?id=6JkIrx4rlbwC&pg=PA332&lpg=PA332&dq=Fortescue+Vlach&source=bl&ots=ldRGEfez9U&sig=0Lk6kBcTgX1B0dNOj1YjQkP2oL4&hl=en&ei=CfUISvrLKpTFtgeC4b3gCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#PPA334,M1

Quote
Sir Charles Eliot clearly states his work "Turkey in Europe" that "...The Bulgarians, Serbs and Vlachs have Millets of their own and do not cooperate in the Hellenic cause" and that "we hear of Vlach bands who are said to contend (fight against) Greeks in the region of Karaferia (Veria)"".[23] There was also pressure on Aromanians to become linguistically assimilated, which can be traced back to the 18th century, when assimilation efforts were encouraged by the Greek missionary Cosmas of Aetolia (1714-1779) who taught that Aromanians should speak Greek because as he said "it's the language of our Church" and established over 100 Greek schools in northern and western Greece. The offensive of the clergy against the use of Aromanian was by no means limited to religious issues but was a tool devised in order to convince the non-Greek speakers to abandon what they regarded as a "worthless" idiom and adopt the superior Greek speech: "There we are Metsovian brothers, together with those who are fooling themselves with this sordid and vile Aromanian language... forgive me for calling it a language", "repulsive speech with a disgusting diction".[24] [25]

The Vlachs, recognized as a separate nation by the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, were for the first time incorporated in Greece only in 1881, when Thessaly and a part of Epirus were offered to Greece by the Great Powers. Having been split into two by the new borders, the bulk of the Vlachs of these province petitioned[29] the Great Powers of the time to be let to stay within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire, but in vain. Greece followed a policy of creating a Greater Greece, according to the "Megali Idea". Most of the Aromanians became part of the Greek state in 1913 after the rest of Epirus and parts of Macedonia became part of Greece after the First Balkan War.

One of the greatest figures during the Aroumanian awakening was Apostol Margarit, a native of Avdela in southern Macedonia, on the slopes of the Pindus mountains. As early as 1862, Apostol Margarit introduced the vernacular in the school of the large prosperous town of Klissoura(Vlaho-Klisura), in the Kastoria region of Macedonia. Nicepheros, the Greek bishop of Kastoria tried for many years to close down the school, but without success. In December, 1879, the first unsuccessful attempt on the life of Apostol Margarit took place. Margarit was wounded during a second attempt on his life during December 1890. There were Vlach schools in Klissoura, Krushevo, Nizepole, Trnovo, Gopesh, Ohrid, old Avdela in the Pindus mountains and new Avdela near Veria. Later more schools were founded in Macedonia, and then a Vlach high school was established in Bitola(Monastir) in the 1880s. The Greeks were naturally alarmed by the national reawakening of the Vlachs. At their peak, just before the Balkan Wars,there were 6 secondary gymnasiums, and 113 primary schools, teaching in Vlach. Due to the ongoing pressures from the Greek Church in the Ottoman provinces of Rumelia, Vlachs and their schools were viewed with suspicion. In 1880 Greek guerrillas attacked some villages near Resen because the village priests had committed the unpardonable sin of using Vlach in the church services. In the same year the Greek bishop of Kastoria had the schoolmaster in Klissoura arrested because he taught in the Vlahs'native language. A momentous date in the history of the Vlachs was May 23, 1905, when the Sultan issued a decree officially recognizing the Vlachs and affirming their rights to maintain their schools and churches. Following the proclamation of the decree, the Greek bishops, and the armed terrorist bands they supported, unleashed a campaign of terror on the Aromanians to discourage them from taking advantage of their rights. In 1905, the Vlach abbot of the Holy Archangel monastery in the Meglen region was murdered by a Greek band. In the summer of 1905 some villages near Bitola were attacked. On October 27, 1905, Greek guerillas attacked the village of Avdela in the Pindus, birthplace of Apostol Margarit, and razed it to the ground. Then in 1906, in the town of Véria(Berea), the priest Papanace was murdered as he was on his way to church to serve the Divine Liturgy in Vlach. The Romanian Vlach school in the village of Avdhela in Pindus, which was one of the first Romanian sponsored Vlach schools, active as early as 1867, was burned and razed to the ground on 27 October 1905 by Greek guerrillas....George Padioti, an Aromanian author (born and living all his life in Greece) describes one of the last liturgy services in Vlach: “ February 1952, the Aromanian Church 'Biserica ramana Santu Dumitru', burned by German troops in spring 1944. The priest Costa Bacou officiated the last allowed liturgy in Aromanian language. Afterwards, he was not permitted anymore because he refused to forcibly officiate the divine service in Greek language."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromanians
http://www.bulgarmak.org/agras.htm

Isn't that Roman Church of yours in charge of the new lands?

As a sidenote, this all had a profound influence on Arab history: the Ottoman adminstrator in Macedonia, Sati Husri was deeply impressed by the politics of the schools in identity formation in Macedonia, and after WWI implemented them as minister of education etc. in several Arab states.  Though a Muslim (secular), he identified the Arab Patriarchate of Antioch as "the first victory of Arab nationalism."

Too bad that hadn't extended to Jerusalem: I've been to both patriarchates, and the contrast between the vibrant Antioch and the moribund Jerusalem is striking.  Is it those Arabs that the PoJ sold to Phanar that you are talking about in the US?  Last I heard, the were still refusing to be handled like merchandise between absentee landlords (all in a days work for Phanariots).  Would it be obedience to go, or codependence?  The other Arabs I know who went to the GOA had real identity issues, thinking of themselves as ruumiy but marginalized as not being Greek.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,16967.0.html

Quote
In the light of facts, your meat seems to be more like a vegetarian sausage trying to be meat. Smiley

I give you some more meat, but drink your milk first. Tongue
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 07:43:31 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #95 on: May 12, 2009, 08:03:26 AM »

Isn't that Roman Church of yours in charge of the new lands?
See, you are identifying the Roman Church with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
This obsession (and it is an obsession) is what is leading you astray.
The Church is One.
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« Reply #96 on: May 12, 2009, 09:50:00 AM »

Isn't that Roman Church of yours in charge of the new lands?
See, you are identifying the Roman Church with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
This obsession (and it is an obsession) is what is leading you astray.
The Church is One.
Ein Land, Ein Volk, Ein Fuher.

No, doesn't work for the Church.

Yes, I do identify the Roman Church with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but not with what the Phanar has made of it.

Btw, the story of the haplass Vlach reminded of the origin of the Albanian Orthodox Church, founded in the New World because the Ecumenical Patriarch wasn't universal enough to include Albanians:

Quote
At that time the Greek community controlled the church that the Albanians attended, and as time passed tensions grew. Then, in 1907 these tensions came to a head when the Greek Orthodox priest refused to officiate at the burial of an Albanian nationalist. The priest did so with the position that as a nationalist the deceased had excommunicated himself. At this time, Fan recognized his calling and convoked meeting of Albanian Orthodox throughout New England. At the meeting the delegates resolved to establish a separate, autonomous, Albanian Orthodox Church. Fan Noli was selected to be its first clergyman.
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Theophan_%28Noli%29_of_Durres

Btw, Fan Noli's spiritual children are in the OCA, only two parishes (one of which I have been to many times) went over to the EP.
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« Reply #97 on: May 12, 2009, 10:12:21 AM »


You imply that there is significant scholarship debunking this understanding. Would you mind expanding on this?


I am very much obliged.

For a start, take canons of 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Ecumenical Council (incl. 28th canon of 4th council) and read them. There are canons laying down borders and competences of each of the sees.

Now, if 6th canon of 1st Council settled the same system we call autocephalia today, why there is the need for additional canons during the next centuries?

I'll provide the list of further sources once you provide your list.
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« Reply #98 on: May 12, 2009, 10:53:58 AM »

Is this yet another example of the universality of the Phanar?

Fr Daniel is a very active priest. However as most archimandrites he had expectations and ambitions to become a bishop. When the EP founded the new Diocese of Hong Kong and placed there as a bishop a Greek-American, this was FR Daniel's first disapointment, having someone else over his head.

Do you have any proof of Fr. Daniel's "ambition?"  Being a former Muslim in a Muslim country, converting Muslims (a criminal offense, though technically not capital), I should think his greatest ambition is staying alive.

The choice of Bishop Niketas was rather odd, as although had experience with the rebirth of the Russian Church (and learned Russian), charity work etc, but had no experience that I remember in the Far East.  Fr. Daniel besides his native Indonesia, had come to Orthodoxy in Korea. I met Fr. Daniel briefly once, but I personally knew Fr. Niketas until his elevation and translation to Hong Kong.  Btw, not a Phanriot, but part of that comes from his family background.

Quote
Then Fr Daniel -though with rather only few years in the newlly etablished orthodoxy in Indonesia- no matter he had qualities, he was trying to introduce cultural elements into the Indonesian Church while the local bishop strongly disagreed for the church being too young to go many steps further.

Do you have details on what were these points of disagreement?

Quote
What is happening now in the Church of Finland is a good example why when a church cosnists almost EXCLUSIVELY of converts who hadn't had the time to absorb the essence of Orthodoxy, novelties are being introduced to it which are not always correct and which reflect the convert's ethnic or dogmatic background.

Do you know ANYTHING about the Church of Finland?

Christianity came to Finland first a thousand years ago from the Russians.  The earliest attested Finnish is in Cyrillic letters:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birch_bark_letter_no._292

After the Swedes came to impose Vatican rule, the Orthodox Finns fled to Karelia, where they preserved Finnish culture, which came to the fore under the Czar in the Fennoman movement. Not under the Swedish Lutheran king.  When the Soviets took over, the Orthodox fled back to Finland.

What ethnic baggage are you alleging the Finns have?

Is it this type of thinking that has removed Archb. Leo of All Finland from the EP's website?

Quote
So Fr Daniel, when in America, went under secret negotiations with the ROCOR who  -according to a missionary priest of the church of Greece

What's a missionary priest of the Church of Greece doing there?  Isn't the whole diaspora the Phanar's?  Or is the CoG close enough?

Quote
- promised him to make him a bishop sooner or later, and he left the EP to join the ROCOR, taking with him the Church buldings and other installations that were built also thanks to the money of the Greek Orthodox, and that was a scandal.

yes, all his funds were in drachmas.  What did he do with all that money that he received fron the NON-Greek Orthodox?

Quote
This has practically causes a "schism" since in the New Church of Indonesia we already have 2 jurisdictions causing confusion to Indonesians.

The local EP bishop apparently was not that good for his role and maybe this is the reason why he was replaced.

I don't know about that, I haven't seen Bishop Niketas since then.  But say that it is, maybe if, as you allege, Fr. Daniel wanted to be bishop, someone with his experience in the area would have been better?

Quote
However for this new situation with having 2 Orthodox jurisdictions in a 10-year old church I am affraim Fr Daniel is to be blamed.

Besides when he left the EP to ROCOR, ROCOR at that time wasn't even considered to be a canonical church.

This is sad. Let us at least hope that it won't have a negative effect on Indonesian mission by causing confusion.

Some addtition:

ivien Liturgies were held in the Embassy for the fear of fundamantalis muslims, since Indonesia is a Myslim country. Maybe some people rememebr that at the very same period fanatics were burning Churches, killing and prersectuig its faithfull.

According to Islam converts to Christianity are the worst kind of people there can be on earth. By presenting the Indonesian Church as "Greek" as possible, doing services in Greek even in the embassy the church was protected. Becasue the fanatics can easily burn down an Indonesian Church that has services in Indonesian but they most propably wouldn't touch a "Greek" church because this becomes automatically a diplomatic issue.

yeah, Hellenization is always the answer.  That's worked so well for the Phanar.  No one dared to touch the Greek population of Constantinople.

As you can see in my post above, the Aromanians begged to left inside the Ottoman Empire rather than be in independent Orthodox Greece.  To get an idea of how damning this is, when the border between the Turkish Republic and Syria were drawn, the Churches in Antioch and the area pulled their administration and relocated into the Syrian Republic, where the head of state is Muslim by law.

Quote
Fr Daniel thanks to his zeal could not understand that an Orthodox CHurch as "greek" as possible is being protected by muslim terrorists and fundamentalists.

Maybe he saw a greater danger than muslim terrorists and fundamentalists, a la St. Mark of Ephesus.  At least the Muslims offere you martyrdom.
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« Reply #99 on: May 13, 2009, 12:27:59 AM »


You imply that there is significant scholarship debunking this understanding. Would you mind expanding on this?


I am very much obliged.

For a start, take canons of 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Ecumenical Council (incl. 28th canon of 4th council) and read them. There are canons laying down borders and competences of each of the sees.

Now, if 6th canon of 1st Council settled the same system we call autocephalia today, why there is the need for additional canons during the next centuries?

I'll provide the list of further sources once you provide your list.

Thank you.

First, I must apologize. I have gone back to re-read the post to which you refer, and then to review my sources, and I did indeed speak in error. My error has been compounded by a failure to communicate clearly.

Quote
Let's touch briefly on Autocephaly, shall we? Canonically speaking, autocephaly is a very different beast than it has been made out to be in recent centuries. The First Council of Nicaea stipulated that every province of the Roman Empire was to be autocephalous (with certain exceptions allowing for the ancient primacy of the Churches of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch over nearby provinces). We should be clear that there were around 120 provinces in the Roman Empire at this time.

Over the next two centuries, the above-mentioned development of the theory of the Christian Roman Empire resulted, among other things, in a process of centralization, so that by the mid-fifth century, the provinces were no longer autocephalous, but some dioceses (a diocese was a civil and administrative entity denoting a group of provinces) still retained their ecclesiastical self-governance. Whatever else Canon 28 of Chalcedon did, it granted officially what had unofficially been claimed for the past 50 years to Constantinople: direct jurisdiction of some of the last remaining "autocephalous" dioceses in the Roman Empire: Pontus, Asia, and Thrace. From this point in time, roughly speaking, we have in place the fabled Pentarchy of Patriarchates...an innovation on and, to be frank, a violation of the Canons of the First Ecumenical Council, pushed through by the Imperial legates and objected to by most of the Church.

I said "canonically speaking, autocephaly is a very different beast than it has been made out to be in recent centuries," there implying, and later explicitly stating, that the development of the Patriarchal system violates the Canon Law of the Church. This, as you rightly point out, is not necessarily so. The eventual establishment of the Patriarchal System was certainly accomplished with the imprimatur of at least one Ecumenical Council, as I indicated when I mentioned Canon 28 of Chalcedon, and with the tacit approval/assumption based on long reality, as witnessed by Canon 36 of Penthekti. However, to move through the councils chronologically...

Canon 4 of Nicaea certainly established autocephaly for every province of the Roman Empire, with certain exceptions explicitly defined in the case of Alexandria and mentioned for reference purposes in passing in the case of Rome and Antioch.

The degree to which the rights of the provincial metropolitans were abrogated in favor of greater centralization, specifically benefiting the five centers of the newly defined dioceses of the Eastern Empire in Canons 2, 3 & 9 of Constantinople seems somewhat unclear, and is certainly an object of debate. I tend to agree with His Eminence Archbishop Peter L'Huillier in his analysis of Canon 2 (in The Church of the Ancient Councils, St. Vladimir's Press, 1979, 1996, 2000) when he points out that

"We cannot say that this canon brought about changes in the government of the Church, since it did not introduce or sanction a uniform hierarchical structure for the dioceses; on the contrary, it respected the status quo" (L'Huillier 116).

Later on in his analysis he observes: "If the fathers of the Council of Constantinople in 381 did not try to establish a pyramidal, hierarchical structure of the dioceses, neither did they conceive of them as simple geographical groupings; they saw in them coherent entities in which the bishops ought to assume common responsibilities" (L'Huillier 117).

And finally he concludes: "After having set out the ruling which forbade the bishops of one diocese to intervene in the church life of another, the fathers of Constantinople took very special care to recall the validity of the decisions of Nicaea on the competence of the provincial council. On this matter, Balsamon notes most properly that at this time each metropolitan district enjoyed autocephaly" (L'Huillier 118).

His notes on Canon 9 are in the same vein: "If we relate canons 2, 3, and 6 of the double council of 381-2, we see the tendency to consider the dioceses as wider church districts; the bishops of these areas were supposed to regulate their own affairs together and without any exterior intervention. These groupings--ornamented by the authority of certain sees, which first tacitly and then explicitly received a supra-metropolitan jurisdiction--were rather rapidly to develop into the constitutions of the patriarchates" (L'Huillier 130).

Thus, to sum up, Constantinople in no way canonically countenances the supercession of the rights of the Metropolitan Synod of the individual province, rather establishing that, for inter-provincial issues, the bishops of the diocese are fully competent to resolve these issues, and should not be interfered with from outside the diocese. It does not (and explicitly says that it does not) create an overarching hierarchical administration, concluding as it does, "The above-mentioned rule about the dioceses being observed, it is obvious that the council of the province will direct the affairs of each province according to what was decided at Nicaea" (L'Huillier's translation, page 115).

On the one hand, as His Eminence notes, the "ornamentation" of certain sees within the diocese quickly tends towards the exercise by those sees of a supra-metropolitan jurisdiction. But Canon 8 of Ephesus, the only canon of this council to deal with this issue, again explicitly refers to Nicaea in protection, not only of Cyprus's ancient rights against the claims of Antioch, but of the rights of ALL Metropolitan of the provinces, stating that "none of the bishops beloved of God shall take over another province that, in former times and from the beginning, has not been under his authority or that of his predecessors" allowing even that "each Metropolitan has the leisure to take a copy of the acts as a guarantee for himself" (L'Huillier's translation, pg. 164). So also here we do not see canonical permission given for the abrogation of Metropolitan/Provincial autocephaly. On the contrary--those rights here are strenuously protected.

It is only in Chalcedon's canons that we see this done--and only in the case of Constantinople with particular precision. Canon 9 establishes the Diocesan Exarch/See of Constantinople as the court of appeal for disputes at the provincial level--the Diocesan Exarch being the Bishops of Alexandria and Antioch in the case of Egypt and the East, with the Dioceses of Pontus, Asia, and Thrace, lacking a Diocesan Exarch, being directed to Constantinople for purposes of appeal. Canon 28, of course, directly subordinated the Metropolitans of those three dioceses to Constantinople.

As I said above, Canon 36 of Penthekti (what I assume you referred to when you mentioned the Fifth Council, since said council issued no canons), establishes the order of the sees, mentioning Jerusalem for the first time in an Ecumenical Council, but gives no details of their specific jurisdiction. This was known at the time and now, of course, but my point was that, to the best of my knowledge, the principles of Canon 4 of Nicaea were never "officially" superseded. After about a century of spirited defense, the imperial reality caught up with said canon, and it was replaced by the Patriarchal System.

So--my first error in my post quoted above was an error of memory, mistakenly recalling that the Dioceses of Pontus, Asia, and Thrace had, in the persons of their presiding bishops, gained supra-metropolitan control over the provinces contained in them by the time of the Council of Chalcedon. Some do argue this on the basis of Canons 2, 3, and 6 of Constantinople and Canon 9 of Chalcedon, but my review of the sources leads me to reject the argument. My other error was the statement that Chalcedon's decisions violated the Canons of Nicaea. They did, of course, but the Council of Chalcedon had the authority to do so. What I question, and evidently failed to articulate clearly enough, is the reason for that change, and its ongoing applicability to the modern situation.

My opinion is that this process of centralization was a direct result of the ongoing development of the theory and reality of the Christian Roman Empire. It seems clear from the history and trends of the time that the forces pushing the centralization of the Church were anything but universal, rather being specific to the times, the ongoing theological controversies, and the political reality. The ongoing desire of the Emperors for Orthodox Christianity to serve as the unitive Faith of the Empire, and specifically for Constantinople to surpass or at least equal Old Rome in honour as the Western Empire fell, made the acquisition by Constantinople in particular of supra-metropolitan, proto-Patriarchal jurisdiction over its immediate environs an issue of extreme importance. Hence the imperial legates at Chalcedon pushed at every turn, together with the Archbishop of the city, for the explicit grant of such jurisdiction over Pontus, Asia, and Thrace, eventually achieving it. At the Council, many of the bishops present objected to this, crying out, "Let the canons be observed: Let us hold to the canons!" (L'Huillier 201), referring specifically to Canon 4 of Nicaea. While the decisions of the Council with respect to Constantinople were, in the end, accepted and upheld, it is still a matter of significance that the decision was such a controversial one.

As for the expansion of the jurisdiction of the other Patriarchates--it seems to me that, in an age when the number of bishops you could muster in support of your cause had a direct effect on the likelihood of your success in opposing serious heresies, it was only natural that Antioch and Alexandria should have made such strenuous efforts to expand their jurisdiction. Similarly, Jerusalem's rise to supra-metropolitan authority over the provinces of Palestine certainly was, at the least, accelerated by the fact that for so many years in the middle of the 4th century, Caesarea Palestina was an Arian see, while Jerusalem was usually Orthodox, and thus Jerusalem was less than likely to cede the initiative to the Metropolitan See.

All this was driven, however, by the extreme political significance of Orthodox belief within the Empire at the time. I think it very likely that the development of the Church's hierarchical structure would have taken a very different route had the Emperors not made Orthodoxy an essential element of full citizenship in the Empire.

Surely no one would disagree with me that the Church suffered greatly as a result of this. Iconoclasm alone witnesses to the evil that could be wrought by the Emperor. I think it a very relevant and necessary thing, then, to carefully examine why the Church accepted it at all. I have suggested one theory, that is supported by the sources still extant from both the political and the ecclesiastical sides of the Byzantine Empire, namely that the Emperor's role was unitive, witnessing to the universality of the Christian Faith for as long as the aspirations of Rome to universal rule drew even the sickliest breath. My signature witnesses to the ongoing reality of that ideal, even in the twilight of the Empire. I'm sure other theories exist--I've not seen them. But we must account for why the Church accepted the role the Roman Emperors asked her to play.

In particular we must think carefully about the development of Church polity since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The autocephaly gained by the various national churches was certainly necessary, and has certainly maintained the Church in the face of many challenges and betrayals. The many posts of ialmisry witness to the fact that often those challenges and betrayals came at the hands of the Greeks, or of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. However, each of the national churches has, I suspect, similar stains on its history (unless we are to believe that in all cases, the Phanariot Greeks were the aggressors and villains against wholly innocent, purely Orthodox victims). But none of this changes the fact that each of these national Churches was set up in imitation of the relationship of the Patriarch of Constantinople with the Emperor. And I still submit that, with the one characteristic removed that made the Byzantine system remotely acceptable to the Church, we have a recipe for disunity and disaster.

I do not, however, advocate removing the autocephaly gained by Romania, Serbia, Greece, or Bulgaria, not to mention most of the other Churches. To do so would be incredibly destructive, with no viable principle of unity to replace the ethnic one. Please remember, I do serve a Greek parish. I do know how the people think, what they are like, and how they would respond if placed under a non-Greek bishop. I can well imagine the reaction of the people of Romania, Serbia, or Bulgaria if their ecclesiastical independence were revoked and they were placed under foreign bishops.

That reaction, however, is part of the problem. It speaks to the reality that, for most of the people in the Orthodox Churches around the world, ethnicity is all too often more important than Faith. It speaks to the reality that the battle I and my fellow priests in the Greek Churches fight is the same battle fought by clergy in every Orthodox country. I would not abolish the autocephalies already well-established, but it is essential that the mindset begin to change in those Churches. In Christ there is neither Jew, nor Greek, nor barbarian, and far too few of our people are willing to accept that.

The so-called Diaspora is different. Whatever the facts were before the Russian Revolution, whatever the evils committed by His All-Holiness Meletios, the situation we face in the Americas, in Europe, in Australia and non-Russian Asia is incredibly pastorally complicated. In this situation, I think it more likely that a reference to the old, idealized, Roman-Christian "ethnicity," an ethnicity sealed not by blood, but by baptism, an ethnicity no longer threatened by the political aims of an Emperor, might be productive, rather than destructive. At the same time, the reaction to that reference on this board and elsewhere indicates that, perhaps, this is not the case.

But in some fashion, particularly in the chaotic world of Orthodoxy in the Western world, it is essential that we find a way, as FrHLL said, to restore the Catholicity of the Orthodox Faith to the forefront of our identity. I personally believe that the Patriarch of Constantinople can and should play a central role in that process. I believe this see, by virtue of its present and its past, is uniquely suited to it. I am personally intrigued by the possibility of union under Constantinople as a stepping stone to a truly local autocephaly, on the lines of Canon 4 of Nicaea, defined, perhaps, along state lines in the United States, as an example, replacing national Churches with local Churches, centered on unity in Christ, not in blood or even, necessarily, in language. But this is mere speculation. Suffice to say that, if the decision of the Church in the coming years excludes the Patriarch of Constantinople from a role in the West, so long as Christ is preeminent, I will rejoice.

Please forgive my errors in my original post, and any contained in this one. I do not seek in any way to give offense. I pray that God may bless you all.

Χριστός Ἀνέστη! Christ is Risen!

+Fr. Anthony

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Τῷ μεγάλῳ χρίεται μύρῳ καὶ χειρονεῖται βασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, πάντων δηλαδὴ τῶν χριστιανῶν...οὐδὲν οὖν ἔνι καλὸν, υἱέ μου, ἵνα λέγῃς, ὅτι ἐκκλησίαν ἔχομεν, οὐχὶ βασιλέα, οὐκ ἔνι δυνατὸν εἰς τοὺς χριστιανοὺς, ἔκκλησίαν ἔχειν καὶ βασιλέα οὐκ ἔχειν. – EP Anthony to Basil of Moscow c. 1395
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« Reply #100 on: May 13, 2009, 01:30:29 AM »

Quote
But in some fashion, particularly in the chaotic world of Orthodoxy in the Western world, it is essential that we find a way, as FrHLL said, to restore the Catholicity of the Orthodox Faith to the forefront of our identity. I personally believe that the Patriarch of Constantinople can and should play a central role in that process. I believe this see, by virtue of its present and its past, is uniquely suited to it. I am personally intrigued by the possibility of union under Constantinople as a stepping stone to a truly local autocephaly, on the lines of Canon 4 of Nicaea, defined, perhaps, along state lines in the United States, as an example, replacing national Churches with local Churches, centered on unity in Christ, not in blood or even, necessarily, in language. But this is mere speculation. Suffice to say that, if the decision of the Church in the coming years excludes the Patriarch of Constantinople from a role in the West, so long as Christ is preeminent, I will rejoice.

I want to clarify that when I say, "replacing national Churches with local Churches" I mean, replace the model, the idea of national Churches with that of truly local Churches, and only in areas where disorder reigns and overlapping jurisdictions exist. I re-iterate, I do not advocate the abolition of the autocephalous national Churches of the Balkans or elsewhere. I speak of these areas of confusion and disorder, not of the well-established churches formerly under the jurisdiction of Constantinople (although all the Churches have issues with the confusion and conflation of ethnicity and Faith).
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Τῷ μεγάλῳ χρίεται μύρῳ καὶ χειρονεῖται βασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, πάντων δηλαδὴ τῶν χριστιανῶν...οὐδὲν οὖν ἔνι καλὸν, υἱέ μου, ἵνα λέγῃς, ὅτι ἐκκλησίαν ἔχομεν, οὐχὶ βασιλέα, οὐκ ἔνι δυνατὸν εἰς τοὺς χριστιανοὺς, ἔκκλησίαν ἔχειν καὶ βασιλέα οὐκ ἔχειν. – EP Anthony to Basil of Moscow c. 1395
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« Reply #101 on: May 13, 2009, 03:25:13 AM »

Ein Land, Ein Volk, Ein Fuher.

I knew it was bound to happen.   Roll Eyes

So how many of the other ones will come to fruition:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20341.msg303684.html#msg303684
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« Reply #102 on: May 13, 2009, 09:44:02 AM »

Father Anthony,

I have already responded to most of the topics in our debate by my three posts dated yesterday, but they haven't passed moderation. I simply have no will for writing them again. Perhaps you may get them into inbox if PP admin.

There is no need to apologize, I don't hold you infallable.

Re.: metropolitan viz autocephalia, issue (which was of tangential minor importance for my complaints):

...
Canon 4 of Nicaea certainly established autocephaly for every province of the Roman Empire, with certain exceptions ...

The degree ... seems somewhat unclear, and is certainly an object of debate. I tend to agree with His Eminence Archbishop Peter L'Huillier in his analysis of Canon 2 (in The Church of the Ancient Councils, St. Vladimir's Press, 1979, 1996, 2000) when he points out that

...

Thus, to sum up, Constantinople in no way  This was known at the time and now, of course, but my point was that, to the best of my knowledge, the principles of Canon 4 of Nicaea were never "officially" superseded. ...

Father, I don't know where to begin in pointing to contradictions and inaccuracies in presented interpretation. The point is that history and interpretation of legal norms are not matter of dogma.

a) Cyprus was always a province; if all the provinces were autocephalous in the meaning we know today, there would have been no need for granting autocephalia to the Church of Cyprus explicitly. Specifically, autocephalia was granted to Cyprus, (the same as status of Patriarch was granted to Constantinopolis and Jerusalem, unlike Alexandria, Rome and Antioch in case of which the Councils just sanctioned ancient custom) since Antioch was appointing bishops there for some time. (Isa Almisry would know more specifics about that). The rest of the quoted 8 canon of 3rd council could be interpreted in a number of ways, one of which is that it underlined the need for discipline in not overreaching the boundaries.

b) Ethiopia was never part of the Empire, therefore they wouldn't fit into definition of "autocephalous" metropolias that followed the borders of provinces. They were granted autocephalous recently, by OO Copt Patriarch of Alexandra, which wouldn't be the case if they follow presented interpretation of Nicea. Armenians, too, wouldn't fit into Nicea criterion for autocephalia, neither Georgia, whom was granted status of Patriarchate by Antioch after Chalcedon - they were not part of the Empire, except partly Armenia, and that was briefly.

c) Competences of Constantinopolis were not finally set by canon 28 of the 4th council, but by 2nd canon of 6th council, that elevated local council of Sardica to be universaly binding. On the grounds of the council of Sardica, that granted competence for hearing appeals to Rome, interpreted in connection with the canon of elevating Constantionpolis to the Second Rome (for she was likewise "a Royal City"), the Constantinopolis gained the competences she is exercising/overstepping today.

Briefly, an autocephalous - "self thinking" or "thinking for herself" - Church is a result of grouping of several dioceses/eparchias around one and formation of separate bodies of such groupings that communicate with other autocephalias on equal footing. That process has not been completed before decisions of 6th ecumenical council entered into force.

[qoote author=franthonyc link=topic=21155.msg320280#msg320280 date=1242188879]However, each of the national churches has, I suspect, similar stains on its history (unless we are to believe that in all cases, the Phanariot Greeks were the aggressors and villains ...[/quote]

This is the problem, you suspect and draw the conclusions on that.

Greeks are my older brothers.

[qoote author=franthonyc link=topic=21155.msg320280#msg320280 date=1242188879]Please remember, I do serve a Greek parish. I do know how the people think, what they are like, and how they would respond if placed under a non-Greek bishop. I can well imagine the reaction of the people of Romania, Serbia, or Bulgaria if their ecclesiastical independence were revoked and they were placed under foreign bishops.[/quote]

Your parishioners were mainly descendants of Greek refugees from what's know today as Turkey. That fact slightly differ their identity from the Greeks in Greece.

[qoote author=franthonyc link=topic=21155.msg320280#msg320280 date=1242188879]That reaction, however, is part of the problem. It speaks to the reality that, for most of the people in the Orthodox Churches around the world, ethnicity is all too often more important than Faith. [/quote]

Quite the contrary. Diaspora Greeks are known to be more ethnic than the others, to the extent it was difficult for me to believe about certain issues when I've heard about them for the first time. We don't mind it, because we understand the difficulties their ascendants undergone, and the need to shield their identity after the disaster they survived. They did the best they could, I'm sure.

The problem is, what you describe as over-emphasize on ethnicity is exactly process of their de-Christianization, namely, "Hellenization". They can't be too "Hellenic", but they can be less Christian than needed, as happens sometimes, by your own witness.

Therefore, no need for Hellenization. That's exactly what caused what you describe as a problem.

Regarding the ethnicity issue, I believe you would be interested in hearing the witness of Fr. Ambrose, posting here as Irish Hermit. He is of Irish origin, tonsured monk and priest in Serbia some thirty years ago, and has been transferred to ROCOR in New Zealand some fifteen years ago. Maybe either his ethnic background, or the fact that he was a convert from Roman Catholicism, was an impediment for him to become a bishop or patriarch already, but certainly not prevented us, online Orthodox (and several dozens converts he helped to attract) of various etnicities, to love and respect him very much.

Personally, I wouldn't have any problem of being of the flock of a bishop of a "foreign" (as if someone could be of a "foreign" ethnicity among the Orthodox Christian, as if we are not brothers and sisters) ethnicity, but I would have a problem in being of the flock of a bishop of doubtful Orthodoxy. Seeing the history of Phanar, particularly of the last eight decades, and the surprising fact that we've been encountering letters that emphasize on good examples of Athenagroras and Mekletios Metraksasis, I feel the need for the greatest possible distance from them not because of their ethnicity, but for other reasons.

Forgive me for everything.
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« Reply #103 on: May 13, 2009, 10:35:09 AM »

Ein Land, Ein Volk, Ein Fuher.

I knew it was bound to happen.   Roll Eyes

So how many of the other ones will come to fruition:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20341.msg303684.html#msg303684

I'm sorry I missed you writ:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20341.msg320388.html#msg320388
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 10:38:21 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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ialmisry
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« Reply #104 on: May 13, 2009, 01:15:54 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Sorry for the delay. I wanted to check through a few things before I responded.

Not all Greeks nor Greeks in general.  Just the adherents to Phanariotism.

Perhaps it would be helpful if you gave a concise definition of that term. Not that I don't have an idea of what you mean by it (I have read a number of the threads on this topic), but many of them are talking about the past, or are an interpretation of the words of specific individuals, who may or may not speak for the groups you understand them to speak for.

Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.

Met/Archb/EP/Pope Meletios epitomized what I am speaking of.  He may be a figure in the past, but we live with his present consequences: in fact, according to St. Justin Popovich this present "Great and Holy Synod" being planned in Cyprus next month can be traced back to the hiearch Meletios.   He did much in the name of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, including this novel interpretation, which as far as I can see started officially with his interpretation of the Tomos of 1908. At the same time, he acted in the name of the Greek nation (at the time, he was the Archbishop of Athens).  That he couldn't have taken it too seriously is shown that when Greece lost the Eastern Aegean and he lost the ecumenical throne, he consoled himself to Alexandria, making her (in imitation of the Copts, I believe) mistress of All Africa.  The Chief Secretary's muddled reference to this shows the contradiction with the 28 canon interpretation.  He kept Greek (not Roman) hegemony of the Church by denying recognition of autocephaly of the Church of Albania on the grounds that it was a minority faith in country (at 20% of the population, and an Orthodox minister, it was in a better position than the Phanar in Istanbul), while extending the Phanar's reach into the Church of Russia, setting things up for recognition of the minority Church of Poland: Greece had designs on Albania, there was no chance Greece had a say in Poland.  That the GOA, Phanar, Greece, etc. acting today on the basis of his actions and decrees makes him an ever present reality.


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I don't want to quibble right now about whether the past illumines the present, or whether or not those individuals do in fact represent the positions/goals of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. I'm sure you can sympathize with the possibility that, from the inside of the Greek Archdiocese, at least some of these facts admit of a different interpretation, at least at first glance.

Actually, the Chief Secretary and I agree on the origins of the GOA.  It is only on the nonexistence of the Russian mission and Archdiocese that we disagree.

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I am more than willing to consider your facts and interpretation, but would ask that you, concisely, define, in your own words, Phanariotism and the threat it poses to the Church.

Phanariotism: the de facto (with de jure disclaimers) exclusive identification of the Roman ideal with Greek Nationalism, deriving Catholicity and Apostolicity ex officio the EP, centralizing Orthodoxy into the Greek minority of Istanbul and its links.

Dangers: ultramontanism, philetism, unietism.

Then we have the Patriarch of Jerusalem: on a GOA documentary they ended with interviews with all the hiearchs.  All the rest talked about the Church, the vision of the future, etc.  Not the PoJ: he just prattled on about the Greek presence in the Holy Land, how if you dig you find Greek inscriptions, that the Greeks didn't come as conquerors, etc.  No acknowledgement that running the Patriachate for 500 (at most) ex-pat Greeks is driving the native born faithful out of the Chruch by the thousands (and into the Evangelicals, Epsicopalians and even the Latins: the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, a Crusader church, is FAR, FAR better to the faithful than our own Jerusalem Patriarchate).

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is not something about which I know a great deal. Certainly the situation in the territories occupied by the State of Israel and its military is ludicrously complex, to the point that none of the parties involved have any authentic claim to the moral upper hand any longer. My gut reaction is to assume that the same applies to this situation. At the same time, any situation which subordinates the spiritual well-being of the flock to the preservation of a dead ideal is unacceptable. Nonetheless, not having heard a defense (or even a detailed explication of both sides), I hesitate to pass judgment.

No, the situation predates Zionism:
http://www.frmichel.najim.net/brotherenglish.pdf

Basically, a group of ex pat Greek (in local parlance, "yuunann" as opposed to "ruum") control the patriarchate for furtherance of Greek interests, in utter disregard of the native, non-Greek flock.

Is that what y'all fill the heads of your young leaders with off there in MA?

Considering that I've never read most of what you cite, I would say the answer is no.

I wasn't speaking to you directly Father, in general.

This has become its own thread:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21224.0.html


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I've visited the Romanity site, certainly--found a number of the assertions intriguing, but the scholarship was clearly, shall we say, flawed to nonexistent, and I saw little use in carefully perusing the site.

I have, however, seen its viewpoint over and over and over again, including the Chief Secretary's.  The site is useful for the simple reason it comes out and says what it is evident, many think.

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My training before HCHC was in Classical Studies. I am more than competent with the Greek and Latin languages, fairly knowledgeable about my history,


By "my history," am I correct in thinking you are refering to Constantinople/Greece?  I so read the first time, but honestly can't say for sure.

The problem the Chief Secretary of Romanity, is that he obvious doesn't know Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian (to be clear, FYOM), Albanian and Arab (Orthodox) history, or ignores it.  Otherwise, he wouldn't make such statements.

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and, whatever my credentials or lack thereof, and have enough self-respect to pay a little more attention to what is and what is not propoganda than I think you give credit for.

Personally, I didn't find anything that questioned you personally. I don't know you, Father, nor have I much to go on to evaluate.  I write with the view that this is a public forum.

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As a priest,


Honestly, I wasn't aware.  Looking through your posts and replies I did, but I didn't do that until you wrote this.

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I would certainly think that a bit more respect might be given. If I am personally not deserving of it, then my office in the Church is,


I am not afraid, if need be, to take to task those who disgrace their office.  Such, however, is not the case in your case (I haven't seen you write of do anything unworthy of priest), I write this only in that the appeal to authority can be a fallacy in argumentation.  Such has not been the case in your posts, so I am a little perplexed by your present reference to your (unbenonced to me until now) priesthood.

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and you serve no one by the vitriol in your tone.

If my tone is harsh, it is because this is an issue that, unlike what some think, will go away, resolve itself, or can be put off much longer.  I have seen Churches (like Jerusalem) being destroyed by this.  Btw, I can't find this post you quote:

As a matter of curiousity, could you elaborate on what you mean when you say "take with a grain of salt alleged struggles against Hellenism"?

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So...can we talk, or not?

sure, anytime.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 01:20:30 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #105 on: May 13, 2009, 03:51:41 PM »

In particular we must think carefully about the development of Church polity since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The autocephaly gained by the various national churches was certainly necessary, and has certainly maintained the Church in the face of many challenges and betrayals. The many posts of ialmisry witness to the fact that often those challenges and betrayals came at the hands of the Greeks, or of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. However, each of the national churches has, I suspect, similar stains on its history (unless we are to believe that in all cases, the Phanariot Greeks were the aggressors and villains against wholly innocent, purely Orthodox victims).

I am in agreement in the main with your post up to this point (though I think autonomy is more applicable to the provinces than autocephaly), and am so here: I interject just to expand on your point.  The suppression of the Georgian Church is a serious blot on Moscow's record.  Serbia and Bulgaria's fighting over the Macedonians is less than exemplary.  I'll leave the CoG out of this for the moment.


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« Reply #106 on: May 13, 2009, 04:32:37 PM »

Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.

Met/Archb/EP/Pope Meletios epitomized what I am speaking of.  He may be a figure in the past, but we live with his present consequences: in fact, according to St. Justin Popovich this present "Great and Holy Synod" being planned in Cyprus next month can be traced back to the hiearch Meletios.   He did much in the name of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, including this novel interpretation, which as far as I can see started officially with his interpretation of the Tomos of 1908. At the same time, he acted in the name of the Greek nation (at the time, he was the Archbishop of Athens).  That he couldn't have taken it too seriously is shown that when Greece lost the Eastern Aegean and he lost the ecumenical throne, he consoled himself to Alexandria, making her (in imitation of the Copts, I believe) mistress of All Africa.  The Chief Secretary's muddled reference to this shows the contradiction with the 28 canon interpretation.  He kept Greek (not Roman) hegemony of the Church by denying recognition of autocephaly of the Church of Albania on the grounds that it was a minority faith in country (at 20% of the population, and an Orthodox minister, it was in a better position than the Phanar in Istanbul), while extending the Phanar's reach into the Church of Russia, setting things up for recognition of the minority Church of Poland: Greece had designs on Albania, there was no chance Greece had a say in Poland.  That the GOA, Phanar, Greece, etc. acting today on the basis of his actions and decrees makes him an ever present reality.

Thanks for responding. I am not equipped (or, frankly, inclined) to dispute what you say about +Meletios. It would not surprise me at all to find that his motivations were flawed, at best. I would point out, however, that his opinions and motivations do not represent the entirety of what now comprises the Patriarchate of Constantinople. As I said in my original post on this subject, "Suffice to say that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, despite the Greek-ness of its cultural history, has a deeply felt responsibility to be more than "merely" Greek," although it must be admitted that the See has in the past battled, and still battles, "Hellenizing tendencies in itself, both clergy and laity."

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I don't want to quibble right now about whether the past illumines the present, or whether or not those individuals do in fact represent the positions/goals of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. I'm sure you can sympathize with the possibility that, from the inside of the Greek Archdiocese, at least some of these facts admit of a different interpretation, at least at first glance.

Actually, the Chief Secretary and I agree on the origins of the GOA.  It is only on the nonexistence of the Russian mission and Archdiocese that we disagree.

In that disagreement with him, I agree with you. I do not know him personally, but I do know that his manner of constructing and presenting an argument often has the effect of making his allies wish he'd go help the other side out instead. Wink

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I am more than willing to consider your facts and interpretation, but would ask that you, concisely, define, in your own words, Phanariotism and the threat it poses to the Church.

Phanariotism: the de facto (with de jure disclaimers) exclusive identification of the Roman ideal with Greek Nationalism, deriving Catholicity and Apostolicity ex officio the EP, centralizing Orthodoxy into the Greek minority of Istanbul and its links.

Dangers: ultramontanism, philetism, unietism.

On the problems with such a position, and the dangers thereof, we are agreed. I cannot speak to the question of how much "Phanariotism" drives the policies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In my experience with the other priests and hierarchs of the GOA, as I have said in the past, identification with the Roman ideal is a tool for transcending Greek Nationalism and overcoming the traditional exclusivity of our parishes. As our hierarchs are in submission to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, it is natural that they understand themselves to derive Catholicity and Apostolicity from their submission to and communion with it, but that is not extended outward to the other Churches of the Orthodox world. To do so, as you aptly point out, is to fly in the face of history, tradition, and dogma.  I mention this not to necessarily refute your assertions, but only wish to point out that, even assuming "Phanariotism" to be a vigorous and threatening trend within the Patriarchate, there are opposing trends present as well, and these trends will only accelerate in the years to come, as a result of the fact that so many of its active parishes, clergy, and hierarchs, are now something more than merely Greeks. If the Phanar, God forbid, were firebombed tomorrow and all those eligible for the office of Patriarch under Turkish Law were killed, the Patriarchate of Constantinople would persist, located in a different place, but it would survive. The establishment of ruling Metropolises throughout the world in the territories now claimed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople is without question highly controversial in any number of ways, but I have difficulty seeing how it is consistent with a Hellenocentric, Phanariocentric self-understanding on the part of the Patriarchate, for precisely this reason.

I imagine, however, that I will soon be enlightened in that regard. Wink

Regarding Jerusalem, however, I have little to say on the subject. I can well imagine that what you say is true, nor do I dispute that there is indeed a strong proclivity towards Hellenocentrism that can all too easily tend towards a pastorally indefensible neglect of those outside the Greek Omogeneia. The situation you describe is absolutely unacceptable.

But there are, as I said, also strong trends against this, and it makes much more sense to me to support these trends within the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Unless it is irredeemably corrupt and inextricably beholden to ethnophyletic Hellenism (is this what you are saying?), it stands in need of allies in its own reclaiming of its proper place as a universalizing influence in the Orthodox world.

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Is that what y'all fill the heads of your young leaders with off there in MA?

Considering that I've never read most of what you cite, I would say the answer is no.

I wasn't speaking to you directly Father, in general.

This has become its own thread:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21224.0.html

*sigh* I've seen it, and read it. With the exception of the argumentation regarding Canon 28 of Chalcedon, I found it balanced and respectful, far more conciliatory than Fr. Elpidophorus' screed of a few months ago. The role that Constantinople is properly to play in world Orthodoxy is, frankly, precisely that which Rome played in the first millenium. It is not surprising, therefore, that any discussion of what that role is may well be reminiscent of papal claims. I find it very significant, however, that at every point, the actual points at which the claims of Rome exceed the tradition and canons of the Church (papal infallibility, universal administrative jurisdiction, etc) are unequivocally rejected, not just by the professors at Holy Cross in this particular publication, but by the Patriarch of Constantinople. If I missed something significant that smacks of actual papism, please call my attention to it. I'd like to know.

As for Canon 28...I remember vividly my class with Dr. Patsavos on precisely these issues. There was much discussion of this Canon, of Constantinople's and Moscow's divergent interpretations. The class at large (with one exception who is well-known to this forum in both his Christian and post-Christian versions) found both arguments lacking, at the least significantly over-stated. Dr. Patsavos was very helpful in illuminating the background of the Canon, in recommending balanced sources for further research, and generally very non-dogmatic about the entire affair.

For myself, I wish the Canon 28 argument would be abandoned by the Patriarchate. As far as my understanding goes, it does not in fact support what it is used to support. I support the end that is sought by means of said argument, but have difficulty accepting the argument. There are better ones out there that much more accurately reflect the reality of both fifth century history and 19th/20th century history. But those arguments severely weaken the respective cases of both Constantinople and Moscow, and it seems to be a core principle of politics, ecclesiastical or otherwise, to claim much more than you have a right to claim so that, once concessions have been made on all sides, what you have left is more or less what you should have.

Hence my *sigh* at the beginning. I don't care for the way these things are done.

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I've visited the Romanity site, certainly--found a number of the assertions intriguing, but the scholarship was clearly, shall we say, flawed to nonexistent, and I saw little use in carefully perusing the site.

I have, however, seen its viewpoint over and over and over again, including the Chief Secretary's.  The site is useful for the simple reason it comes out and says what it is evident, many think.

Fair enough, I suppose. Just know that, in general terms at least, you're preaching to the choir any time I'm involved.

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My training before HCHC was in Classical Studies. I am more than competent with the Greek and Latin languages, fairly knowledgeable about my history,


By "my history," am I correct in thinking you are refering to Constantinople/Greece?  I so read the first time, but honestly can't say for sure.

When I say, "my history," I mean it in an idiomatic sense. More accurately, I should say, "my historical understanding is fairly well-informed" speaking of history in general. I have a decent idea of what I know and what I don't know, one I hope is reflected in my approach to your assertions regarding Jerusalem, the Balkans, etc. My "specialty," if an amateur historian such as I has any right to the term, is the ancient and late-antique world. The history of the Orthodox Churches between the fall of Constantinople and the 20th century is, frankly, extremely depressing at large; whether one looks at Russia, Greece, the Balkans, or the so-called Levant, the integrity of the Church is again and again undermined by ethnic wars, political abuse, and subservience to the political ends of either the czars, the sultans, or the nascent nationalist governments and identities of the Balkans. I do not, frankly, have the stomach to dig deeply into it. But I have at least some awareness of what went on during the period, and how we got from the Apostles to Constantine and from Constantine to now.
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The problem the Chief Secretary of Romanity, is that he obvious doesn't know Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian (to be clear, FYOM), Albanian and Arab (Orthodox) history, or ignores it.  Otherwise, he wouldn't make such statements.

Agreed

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and, whatever my credentials or lack thereof, and have enough self-respect to pay a little more attention to what is and what is not propoganda than I think you give credit for.

Personally, I didn't find anything that questioned you personally. I don't know you, Father, nor have I much to go on to evaluate.  I write with the view that this is a public forum.

True enough. I took certain comments you made as directed to me, when evidently they were not. It's obvious that you're responding to many people at once, and I ought to have taken notice of that.

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As a priest,


Honestly, I wasn't aware.  Looking through your posts and replies I did, but I didn't do that until you wrote this.

*chuckles* I would have thought my username would have given it away. No matter, though.
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I would certainly think that a bit more respect might be given. If I am personally not deserving of it, then my office in the Church is,


I am not afraid, if need be, to take to task those who disgrace their office.  Such, however, is not the case in your case (I haven't seen you write of do anything unworthy of priest), I write this only in that the appeal to authority can be a fallacy in argumentation.  Such has not been the case in your posts, so I am a little perplexed by your present reference to your (unbenonced to me until now) priesthood.

Again, I was referring to the broad tone of your responses, which I took to be directed at me. As I said, I was frankly surprised by it, since I had thought myself to be very careful to be respectful and appropriate in my posts, to which you seemed to responding. And, again, I assumed that you had noticed my username. I'm sure, when one is following all the threads you clearly follow, it becomes difficult to keep track of peripheral information about every random new poster.

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and you serve no one by the vitriol in your tone.

If my tone is harsh, it is because this is an issue that, unlike what some think, will go away, resolve itself, or can be put off much longer.  I have seen Churches (like Jerusalem) being destroyed by this.

Point taken. Although I am of the opinion that, if current trends continue, any Hellenocentrism in the Patriarchate of Constantinople will, in fact, be naturally resolved, simply as a function of those who now comprise said Church, I am also in agreement with you that it is necessary to oppose it in every way possible. We may well differ as to the methods--perhaps simply because I am inside the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and you are not. I would humbly suggest that those who oppose "Phanariotism" and "Ultramontanism" in the EP from outside might do well to temper their rhetoric, because there are many inside the EP who equally oppose such anti-Orthodox trends, but they are often offended by the heightened rhetoric, which seems to indicate a hatred of all that is Greek about the EP. It may be a cliche to say that you'll catch more flies with honey, but in this case it may well be true.

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Btw, I can't find this post you quote:

As a matter of curiousity, could you elaborate on what you mean when you say "take with a grain of salt alleged struggles against Hellenism"?

It was said by Second Chance here, in response to my first post on this subject a few weeks ago, in the "How are Moscow and Constantinople so Different" thread. I hope I did not inaccurately attribute the quote to you.
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So...can we talk, or not?

sure, anytime.

Glad to hear it.
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Τῷ μεγάλῳ χρίεται μύρῳ καὶ χειρονεῖται βασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, πάντων δηλαδὴ τῶν χριστιανῶν...οὐδὲν οὖν ἔνι καλὸν, υἱέ μου, ἵνα λέγῃς, ὅτι ἐκκλησίαν ἔχομεν, οὐχὶ βασιλέα, οὐκ ἔνι δυνατὸν εἰς τοὺς χριστιανοὺς, ἔκκλησίαν ἔχειν καὶ βασιλέα οὐκ ἔχειν. – EP Anthony to Basil of Moscow c. 1395
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« Reply #107 on: May 13, 2009, 05:34:36 PM »

Father Anthony,

I have already responded to most of the topics in our debate by my three posts dated yesterday, but they haven't passed moderation. I simply have no will for writing them again. Perhaps you may get them into inbox if PP admin.

There is no need to apologize, I don't hold you infallable.

I should hope not. Nonetheless, I would not wish to lose credibility by making unfounded claims, and inasmuch as my faulty memory of a subject last studied in depth three years ago allowed me to do just that, I think it important to acknowledge the error.

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Father, I don't know where to begin in pointing to contradictions and inaccuracies in presented interpretation. The point is that history and interpretation of legal norms are not matter of dogma.

I have to confess I am uncertain what you mean by the second sentence above, and find myself at a loss to locate any demonstration of contradictions and inaccuracies in your response below. I must say, however, that since the Canons of the Church are the products of a specific time and place, and yet are supremely relevant to our current situation, the history and interpretation of legal norms which inform their interpretation are, while not "matters of dogma" supremely pertinent in regard to the application of those canons to the current reality of the Church.

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a) Cyprus was always a province; if all the provinces were autocephalous in the meaning we know today, there would have been no need for granting autocephalia to the Church of Cyprus explicitly. Specifically, autocephalia was granted to Cyprus, (the same as status of Patriarch was granted to Constantinopolis and Jerusalem, unlike Alexandria, Rome and Antioch in case of which the Councils just sanctioned ancient custom) since Antioch was appointing bishops there for some time. (Isa Almisry would know more specifics about that). The rest of the quoted 8 canon of 3rd council could be interpreted in a number of ways, one of which is that it underlined the need for discipline in not overreaching the boundaries.

I'm sure that this interpretation is held by some, but it is not supported by history or the actual text of the canon. The autocephaly of Cyprus was upheld, not granted, by Canon 8. The Council examined carefully how the last three Metropolitans of Constantia had been elected and ordained--it was established to the satisfaction of the council that they had been locally elected and ordained, without any involvement from Antioch. The reason the issue was brought up was that +John of Antioch had persuaded a military leader to intervene in Cyprus to prevent the clergy there from electing a new metropolitan when the incumbent metropolitan reposed. The clergy, against the threats of this soldier (Dionysius, magister utriusque militiae), elected and ordained Rheginus, who then went to the Council to ask its support against further interference from Antioch.

The fact that +John was absent from the council meant that he was unable to give any proof (supposing he possessed any) that Cyprus had in more ancient times been dependent on Antioch, so it is historically possible that Cyprus here did, in fact, gain its autocephaly where none had existed before, gained it specifically in despite of the unspecified claims of Antioch to broader jurisdiction mentioned and upheld in Nicaea 6. But, from the perspective of the Council of Ephesus itself, Cyprus' autocephaly was maintained, not granted for the first time. Had it not existed from the beginning, it would not have been granted. This is made very clear in the text of the canon itself.

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b) Ethiopia was never part of the Empire, therefore they wouldn't fit into definition of "autocephalous" metropolias that followed the borders of provinces. They were granted autocephalous recently, by OO Copt Patriarch of Alexandra, which wouldn't be the case if they follow presented interpretation of Nicea. Armenians, too, wouldn't fit into Nicea criterion for autocephalia, neither Georgia, whom was granted status of Patriarchate by Antioch after Chalcedon - they were not part of the Empire, except partly Armenia, and that was briefly.

Ok...but what was the status of Ethiopia in the beginning, before the "monophysite" schism? Was it always under Alexandria? Or did Alexandria gain primacy over it in the process of expansion of supra-metropolitan authority after Nicaea?

I am not arguing that only Roman provinces are permitted autocephaly, by the way. Simply that autocephaly was of a much more local character in the early centuries of the Church, and that, by extension, the centralization of smaller, autocephalous, local churches into ethnic churches is one which ought to be examined, particularly since many of the forces which made that centralization necessary or expedient are no longer necessarily applicable today. But those forces were active both inside and outside the Roman Empire, often, in fact, as a result of conflict with the Roman Empire.

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c) Competences of Constantinopolis were not finally set by canon 28 of the 4th council, but by 2nd canon of 6th council, that elevated local council of Sardica to be universaly binding. On the grounds of the council of Sardica, that granted competence for hearing appeals to Rome, interpreted in connection with the canon of elevating Constantionpolis to the Second Rome (for she was likewise "a Royal City"), the Constantinopolis gained the competences she is exercising/overstepping today.

Thanks for the reminder of the importance of Sardica to the process. My point remains that the Patriarchal system was never (to the best of my knowledge) explicitly enshrined by the canons of the Church. Constantinople's jurisdiction is explicitly defined in Canon 28 of Chalcedon, with the universal right of appeal added in Penthekti as an extension of the rights of Rome. The final abrogation of the rights of the Metropolitans in favor of the Patriarchs of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem is never, as far as I know, enshrined in the canons. It is simply accepted by the Church. That does not make it any less valid for the time it held, nor necessarily for the present, but it does highlight the fact that, although reality caught up with the ideal set out at Nicaea, that ideal was never explicitly abandoned by the Church gathered in council.

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Briefly, an autocephalous - "self thinking" or "thinking for herself" - Church is a result of grouping of several dioceses/eparchias around one and formation of separate bodies of such groupings that communicate with other autocephalias on equal footing. That process has not been completed before decisions of 6th ecumenical council entered into force.

That's a definition of autocephalous that I've not heard before. My understanding of the technical definition of an Autocephalous Church is one that elects and ordains its own Primate, without any dependence on an outside see. In the Orthodox world today, there are 15 Churches that function in this way. In the Church of the Nicene Council, there were nearer to a hundred, at least by the letter of Canon 4 of Nicaea. In the Orthodox world today, those churches are, with some super-national exceptions, defined on the national level. In the Church of the Nicene Council, they were defined on more local lines.

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[qoote author=franthonyc link=topic=21155.msg320280#msg320280 date=1242188879]However, each of the national churches has, I suspect, similar stains on its history (unless we are to believe that in all cases, the Phanariot Greeks were the aggressors and villains ...

This is the problem, you suspect and draw the conclusions on that.

Greeks are my older brothers.[/quote]

I don't understand what you mean here. I certainly have no interest in researching and then outlining the faults on all sides in the course of the last three centuries. But I know they exist, and urge against a blanket condemnation of only the Phanariot Greeks when all have a share in the blame.

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[qoote author=franthonyc link=topic=21155.msg320280#msg320280 date=1242188879]Please remember, I do serve a Greek parish. I do know how the people think, what they are like, and how they would respond if placed under a non-Greek bishop. I can well imagine the reaction of the people of Romania, Serbia, or Bulgaria if their ecclesiastical independence were revoked and they were placed under foreign bishops.

Your parishioners were mainly descendants of Greek refugees from what's know today as Turkey. That fact slightly differ their identity from the Greeks in Greece.[/quote]

You assume this, and in my case falsely. Most of my parishioners are Greeks from Greece. That certainly is the mindset of the parish--those few who came from Asia Minor have largely been subsumed into the broader and shallower Hellenic identity of the parish at large.

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That reaction, however, is part of the problem. It speaks to the reality that, for most of the people in the Orthodox Churches around the world, ethnicity is all too often more important than Faith.

Quite the contrary. Diaspora Greeks are known to be more ethnic than the others, to the extent it was difficult for me to believe about certain issues when I've heard about them for the first time. We don't mind it, because we understand the difficulties their ascendants undergone, and the need to shield their identity after the disaster they survived. They did the best they could, I'm sure.

The problem is, what you describe as over-emphasize on ethnicity is exactly process of their de-Christianization, namely, "Hellenization". They can't be too "Hellenic", but they can be less Christian than needed, as happens sometimes, by your own witness.

Therefore, no need for Hellenization. That's exactly what caused what you describe as a problem.

I would be curious to know a little more about the mindset, worldview, and priorities in general of most Orthodox Christians in the mother countries. The impression I have gotten at every turn is that, while there are still many faithful Christians in each country, the preponderance of the population, whether in Russia, or Greece, or Serbia, have the same issues as the "Diaspora" (though perhaps to a lesser degree) with conflating their ethnicity and their Faith, often subordinating the latter to the former. If you contend that this is truly and significantly not the case, I am overjoyed to hear it. I must wonder, however, how it can be that the people of the Mother Countries are so pious and devout, yet the statistics of failed marriage, fornication, and abortion are so catastrophically high.

As for the fact that their over-emphasis on ethnicity contributes to their de-Christianization--that's exactly what I am trying to say.

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Regarding the ethnicity issue, I believe you would be interested in hearing the witness of Fr. Ambrose, posting here as Irish Hermit. He is of Irish origin, tonsured monk and priest in Serbia some thirty years ago, and has been transferred to ROCOR in New Zealand some fifteen years ago. Maybe either his ethnic background, or the fact that he was a convert from Roman Catholicism, was an impediment for him to become a bishop or patriarch already, but certainly not prevented us, online Orthodox (and several dozens converts he helped to attract) of various etnicities, to love and respect him very much.

I have been struck, of course, by Fr. Ambrose's presence on the site. It doesn't surprise me, however, that a group of Orthodox Christians who have gravitated to a forum dedicated to Orthodox Christianity would view their Faith as the center of their identity, above their ethnicity, and therefore welcome converts to that Faith, regardless of their ethnicity. That, unfortunately, tells me nothing about those who are not active on this forum, and nothing about the degree to which they do or do not subordinate their Faith to their nationalism.

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Personally, I wouldn't have any problem of being of the flock of a bishop of a "foreign" (as if someone could be of a "foreign" ethnicity among the Orthodox Christian, as if we are not brothers and sisters) ethnicity, but I would have a problem in being of the flock of a bishop of doubtful Orthodoxy. Seeing the history of Phanar, particularly of the last eight decades, and the surprising fact that we've been encountering letters that emphasize on good examples of Athenagroras and Mekletios Metraksasis, I feel the need for the greatest possible distance from them not because of their ethnicity, but for other reasons.

I'm glad to hear you have no necessary objection to a bishop of another ethnicity. The point about doubtful Orthodoxy is a worthy one--though I have not yet encountered a convincing argument outlining the specific violations of Orthodoxy attributed to the two you mention. Most mention the diologue with the Roman Catholics first of all, but I have yet to see the Faith violated. So far, it is Rome that has made the concessions, that has admitted to wrongs in the past, that has conceded our correctness on the Creed, etc. Believe me, if that ever changes, I'll be singing a different tune. But so far, they are coming to us, as far as I can tell.

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Forgive me for everything.

Nothing to forgive. I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness.
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Τῷ μεγάλῳ χρίεται μύρῳ καὶ χειρονεῖται βασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, πάντων δηλαδὴ τῶν χριστιανῶν...οὐδὲν οὖν ἔνι καλὸν, υἱέ μου, ἵνα λέγῃς, ὅτι ἐκκλησίαν ἔχομεν, οὐχὶ βασιλέα, οὐκ ἔνι δυνατὸν εἰς τοὺς χριστιανοὺς, ἔκκλησίαν ἔχειν καὶ βασιλέα οὐκ ἔχειν. – EP Anthony to Basil of Moscow c. 1395
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« Reply #108 on: June 29, 2009, 04:18:25 AM »

Hello to all/

Is the Church Roman?

I recently found some very interesting History facts about Byzantine History....all the Atheist of the History books written to destroy ORTHODOXY is not a coincidence,but a fact.
May the Lord Go Jesus Christ give us back Agia Sophia...
Please read about the History!
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  One of the great differences between the Byzantines and the Latins was that the former considered the emperor to be the representative of God on Earth and the most sacred personage of all, while the patriarch was reduced to representing the Church as such.  The Latins, on the other hand, saw the Pope as the representative of God, and rulers were subject to the will of the Church.  It is for this reason that the history of Byzantium is the story of the competition between the Byzantine emperors and the Roman Papacy, until the definitive break of 1054.

Later, the Byzantine Church saw its power grow while the emperors saw theirs shrink, so much so that after 1453 it was the Orthodox Church that kept alive the tradition of the Empire, its ideas and its culture, up to this very day.

I hope this website will help to share the truth about the Empire, its culture, its people and its life. I hope that those who read it will realize that the story of Byzantium is as interesting as that of Rome, and that Byzantine civilization was the most advanced of the Middle Ages, at a moment when the West was but a shadow lost in ignorance.
http://www.imperiobizantino.com/byzantium.htm
And please pass this on if any of you write in other forums!

ICXC NIKA
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« Reply #109 on: June 29, 2009, 04:22:12 AM »

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President Karolos Papoulias of Greece on Wednesday visited the Patriarchate of Roman Orthodox in Damascus.

The Greek President listened to an explanation by Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim of Antioch and all the East for Roman Orthodox on the Virgin Mary cathedral which is considered as one of the important Christian historic sites in Syria which dates back to the 2nd century A.C. President Papoulias was accompanied by State Minister for Presidential affairs Mansour Azzam.

source

I like Arabs writing 'bout Orthodoxy Wink
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« Reply #110 on: January 13, 2010, 12:03:11 PM »

Can Patriarch Ignatius speak Greek?
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« Reply #111 on: January 13, 2010, 01:42:55 PM »

Can Patriarch Ignatius speak Greek?

He's fluent in Arabic, English and French, but I would assume he would also have at least some knowledge of it since the Patriarchate of Antioch still makes use of plenty of Greek in its liturgies, and he would undoubtedly have studied Greek during his time at seminary in Paris.
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« Reply #112 on: February 10, 2010, 04:28:41 AM »

A Proto-Romanian (a Latin speaker from the Balkans).  What about him?
Uh huh.
So I guess it was the Romanian Empire....

Could be.  In the Latin of the time and area, it was the same word.  As a matter of fact, at the time the word "Romania" had gained currency as the name of the empire.  Emperor Theodosius (a Latin speaker, but being from Spain you would expect that) does refer to his "desire that all the various nations which are subject to our Clemency and Moderation, should continue to profess that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition, and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness..."  No mention of the bishop of New Rome, to whom the edict was addressed. Oh, well.

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Roll Eyes
Nice picture too.

Here are nicer ones.  Is that Greek?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/14/ConstantineCoin.jpg

http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/symbols/

http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/symbols/

Render unto Caesar.

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I'll make a note on ratemyprofessor.com

is there a ratemytherapist?
Wow man thanks for telling me, Teodosio el Sevillano basically made Christianity the imperial religion.
makes me proud to be a sevillano/hispalense.
all you orthodox Christians should thank the city of Seville for producing such a great saint that changed the world forever.
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« Reply #113 on: February 10, 2010, 05:09:45 AM »

if it weren't for Spanish emperors from Seville i.e. Theodosius the Great who made Christianity the imperial religion, the world wouldn't be Christian as we know it.
All the churches in the world trace their heritage back to Theodosius the great, Spanish emperor from Seville, all orthodoxy in the east, and catholicism in the americas,  and whatever protestant states out there came from Theodosius' imperial decree.
Spain (really Seville) made the Roman Empire Christian.
Theodosius two sons each became an emperor in both halves of the Roman Empire.
So The Greek Roman empire was ruled by a Spaniard, so too was the western one.
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Arcadius
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Theodosius_the_Great_(emperor)
Honorius western emperor
 Spain one of the Greatest Defenders and propagators of Christianity.
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« Reply #114 on: February 10, 2010, 05:15:14 AM »

so whenever you see Christianity in Government,Europe, or the Americas think of The Spanish Emperor Theodosius the great.
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« Reply #115 on: February 10, 2010, 05:19:17 AM »

Topic split from this thread:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20839.0.html
ozgeorge




even though some of us supposed barbarians are actually roum decedents. 

You can't have it both ways. Smiley
Either you are roum, or that term is meaningless.
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Yeah The Orthodox Church is Roman, you're even in it.
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« Reply #116 on: February 10, 2010, 10:24:24 AM »

Wow, this discussion is even more pointless than the Macedonia naming dispute.
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« Reply #117 on: February 10, 2010, 10:28:29 AM »

Wow, this discussion is even more pointless than the Macedonia naming dispute.
you make a better discussion, and tell the romans that orthodoxy never was roman, even in the first 1000 years of christianity, and that the roman culture is discriminated against in Orthodoxy. eh?
Life is vain, deal with it.
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« Reply #118 on: February 10, 2010, 10:32:40 AM »

Wow, this discussion is even more pointless than the Macedonia naming dispute.
you make a better discussion, and tell the romans that orthodoxy never was roman, even in the first 1000 years of christianity, and that the roman culture is discriminated against in Orthodoxy. eh?

Or maybe you can explain why this matters?
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« Reply #119 on: February 10, 2010, 10:36:55 AM »

Wow, this discussion is even more pointless than the Macedonia naming dispute.
you make a better discussion, and tell the romans that orthodoxy never was roman, even in the first 1000 years of christianity, and that the roman culture is discriminated against in Orthodoxy. eh?

Or maybe you can explain why this matters?
The orthodox church is not ethno centric right?
and that it tolerates all races.
And besides I don't want to be orthodox, if they discriminate against Spanish (roman) culture, which made Orthodoxy the state religion of Greece (the emperor Theodosius was Spanish), I'd rather be Roman Catholic.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 10:38:30 AM by Christianus » Logged
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« Reply #120 on: February 10, 2010, 10:53:58 AM »

Wow, this discussion is even more pointless than the Macedonia naming dispute.
you make a better discussion, and tell the romans that orthodoxy never was roman, even in the first 1000 years of christianity, and that the roman culture is discriminated against in Orthodoxy. eh?

Or maybe you can explain why this matters?
The orthodox church is not ethno centric right?
and that it tolerates all races.
And besides I don't want to be orthodox, if they discriminate against Spanish (roman) culture, which made Orthodoxy the state religion of Greece (the emperor Theodosius was Spanish), I'd rather be Roman Catholic.

So you don't want to be in the Church of Christ?? Good to know.
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« Reply #121 on: February 10, 2010, 12:01:01 PM »

Wow, this discussion is even more pointless than the Macedonia naming dispute.
you make a better discussion, and tell the romans that orthodoxy never was roman, even in the first 1000 years of christianity, and that the roman culture is discriminated against in Orthodoxy. eh?

Or maybe you can explain why this matters?
The orthodox church is not ethno centric right?
and that it tolerates all races.
And besides I don't want to be orthodox, if they discriminate against Spanish (roman) culture, which made Orthodoxy the state religion of Greece (the emperor Theodosius was Spanish), I'd rather be Roman Catholic.

So you don't want to be in the Church of Christ?? Good to know.
Who said I didn't?
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« Reply #122 on: February 10, 2010, 12:04:38 PM »

Wow, this discussion is even more pointless than the Macedonia naming dispute.
you make a better discussion, and tell the romans that orthodoxy never was roman, even in the first 1000 years of christianity, and that the roman culture is discriminated against in Orthodoxy. eh?

Or maybe you can explain why this matters?
The orthodox church is not ethno centric right?
and that it tolerates all races.
And besides I don't want to be orthodox, if they discriminate against Spanish (roman) culture, which made Orthodoxy the state religion of Greece (the emperor Theodosius was Spanish), I'd rather be Roman Catholic.
There have always been Neo-Latin/Romance speaking populations in the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #123 on: February 10, 2010, 01:50:11 PM »

Wow, this discussion is even more pointless than the Macedonia naming dispute.
you make a better discussion, and tell the romans that orthodoxy never was roman, even in the first 1000 years of christianity, and that the roman culture is discriminated against in Orthodoxy. eh?

Or maybe you can explain why this matters?
The orthodox church is not ethno centric right?
and that it tolerates all races.
And besides I don't want to be orthodox, if they discriminate against Spanish (roman) culture, which made Orthodoxy the state religion of Greece (the emperor Theodosius was Spanish), I'd rather be Roman Catholic.
Well then you have other problems: Rome supressed Spain's native rite, when there was a Spain (there was no Spain in Theodosius' day).
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« Reply #124 on: February 10, 2010, 02:22:24 PM »

Well then you have other problems: Rome suppressed Spain's native rite, when there was a Spain (there was no Spain in Theodosius' day).

Stop with all of the details!
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« Reply #125 on: February 10, 2010, 02:28:45 PM »

The Orthodox Church is the Orthodox Church. Nationality and ethnicity mean nothing in the Church. Thus the Orthodox Church cannot be Roman, nor can it be Greek, or Russian, or American, or Athenian, or Parisian, or New Yorker, etc...
However, a person can be a Roman and be Orthodox. For example, I'm American by nationality, and Irish/Scot/Brit/Cherokee/Dutch by blood, and I'm Orthodox.

Even during the days of Justinian, Constantine and other Emperors, the Orthodox Church was simply the Orthodox Church. A country, a city, a people can be Orthodox, but Orthodoxy cannot be of any earthly organization.

The Orthodox Church is of the Body of Christ. It is part of the Heavenly Kingdom, the Kingdom not of this world. To claim it is a part of any earthly kingdom, IMO would make it a mere man-created religion.
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« Reply #126 on: February 10, 2010, 02:31:21 PM »

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Even during the days of Justinian, Constantine and other Emperors, the Orthodox Church was simply the Orthodox Church. A country, a city, a people can be Orthodox, but Orthodoxy cannot be of any earthly organization.

 Every body knows that our church was the Imperial Church, thence the Roman Church, back in the day. And Rome shared into this, as well.
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« Reply #127 on: February 10, 2010, 02:39:21 PM »

Just because it was the Imperial Church doesn't mean it was of the Roman Empire. It's currently the state religion in nations like Greece & Russia, but that doesn't make it Greek or Russian. IMO to claim that the Orthodox Church is of a worldly nation is bordering on heresy/blasphemy. It's ethnocentrism and nationalism, both of which have NO place in the Church. You can be proud of your country and of your race, but being an Orthodox Christian comes first.

Just because I'm Orthodox doesn't make me Roman, nor does it make me Russian or Greek. Being Orthodox makes me Orthodox, it makes me a part of the Kingdom of God.
Because I'm Orthodox, means I am, by the blood of Christ, the brother of millions of Orthodox Christians. Through this, and by membership of the body of Christ, I can share in the culture of my brothers & sisters. However when it comes down to it, just because I'm Orthodox, that doesn't automatically make me a citizen of any earthly empire, and it certainly doesn't change my race.

"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." - John 18:36
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 02:44:01 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #128 on: February 10, 2010, 02:45:10 PM »

You make claims that ignore history: the church at that time saw itself both catholic and roman. Actually when they talked about the world "icumeni", they only meant the empire.
If being Roman hadn't had any importance in the church's own self-understanding, why was Constantinople called "Nea Romi" and then, why would even the Russians claim the title, later, for themselves?
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« Reply #129 on: February 10, 2010, 02:49:24 PM »

Are you claiming that our Church is earthly and that the Roman Empire was simply an extension of Gods kingdom?

What do the Saints & Church Fathers say about this? It doesn't matter to me what the everyday Christian thought, or even what the Emperors thought, if the Saints & Church Fathers disagree, then it's wrong.

Ethnocentrism & nationalism are disgusting blights and no Orthodox Christian should ever find themselves holding to either of those. (You could even argue they are heresies... at the least they are sins that need to be repented of)

You could certainly argue that the Roman Empire was Orthodox. But you cannot say the Orthodox Church was Roman. As I said before, the Orthodox Church belongs to the Kingdom of God, NOT to the Roman Empire or any other earthly kingdom.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 02:53:03 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #130 on: February 10, 2010, 02:55:38 PM »

A
Quote
re you claiming that our Church is earthly and that the Roman Empire was simply an extension of Gods kingdom?
I only claim that there was a time when it was commonly accepted in the church that the empire of the romans had vast spiritual signification, being an icon of the Kingdom of heaven.
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« Reply #131 on: February 10, 2010, 02:57:45 PM »

A
Quote
re you claiming that our Church is earthly and that the Roman Empire was simply an extension of Gods kingdom?
I only claim that there was a time when it was commonly accepted in the church that the empire of the romans had vast spiritual signification, being an icon of the Kingdom of heaven.

I don't disagree with that, I'm simply saying that you cannot claim that the Orthodox Church was Roman. As I said in my previous post, the Orthodox Church is of the Kingdom of Heaven, and not of any earthly kingdom. It's perfectly fine to say that the Roman Empire was Orthodox. But you cannot claim that the Orthodox Church was Roman.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 02:58:40 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #132 on: February 10, 2010, 02:58:37 PM »

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You could certainly argue that the Roman Empire was Orthodox. But you cannot say the Orthodox Church was Roman. As I said before, the Orthodox Church belongs to the Kingdom of God, NOT to the Roman Empire or any other earthly kingdom.
The OC was certainly Roman (Imperial). Maybe too much. That's why it lost the Egypt, Syria and their native churches.
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« Reply #133 on: February 10, 2010, 03:00:14 PM »

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You could certainly argue that the Roman Empire was Orthodox. But you cannot say the Orthodox Church was Roman. As I said before, the Orthodox Church belongs to the Kingdom of God, NOT to the Roman Empire or any other earthly kingdom.
The OC was certainly Roman (Imperial). Maybe too much. That's why it lost the Egypt, Syria and their native churches.
I'm sorry but that is certainly not correct. The leaders of the Orthodox Church may have made those mistakes, but the Orthodox Church itself was never Roman. You are treating the Orthodox Church like it's the same as the Roman Catholic Church, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and all other religions. We aren't the same as them.
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« Reply #134 on: February 10, 2010, 03:03:49 PM »

I make historical claims to which you always answer with dogmatic/theological claims.
Dialogue of the deaf.
Quote
you are treating the Orthodox Church like it's the same as the Roman Catholic Church, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and all other religions. We aren't the same as them.
I never quite thought that out, because it never troubled me.
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