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Author Topic: Consensus Patrum, Sources of Faith, etc.  (Read 4247 times) Average Rating: 0
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Anastasios
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« on: June 13, 2009, 10:21:40 AM »

LBK has frequently made an interesting thesis about the consensus patrum, in various posts, which I have linked below. Some have been edited down to highlight the point, so the original link is provided for accuracy so one can see the original posts made in context in their entirety.

Since this question has come up in several adversarial threads, it probably won't get the fair and neutral treatment it deserves. Since I am personally interested in hearing LBK's thesis, I have made this new thread to allow a discussion of the thesis outside of the context of any other thread or topic.

As I want to make sure I understand LBK's thesis, I will restate it and ask her to correct me if I am wrong.

Thesis: "The consensus patrum is expressed in the liturgical deposit and iconography."

What I am curious about, is how LBK has come to this thesis.  I agree completely that individual Fathers have at times disagreed, and their opinions cannot be considered dogma. But I was taught that the consensus patrum is found where many Fathers wrote the same thing, and in the decisions of the councils, in addition to iconography and liturgy.  My concern here is that the deposit of faith is being reduced in LBK's thesis, so I would like to open this up for discussion and perhaps LBK can clarify if I have misunderstood and we can flesh out the thesis better.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios


Relevant quotes




The Orthodox Church's deposit of the consensus patrum is found within its liturgical deposit. The post I have reproduced above should be self-explanatory from the Orthodox perspective. What does the liturgical deposit of your church say? In other words, if the RCC holds that its liturgical deposit reflects and proclaims the consensus patrum of the Roman Catholic church, what do the funeral and requiem services say about the fate of the soul(s) of the departed?

Stanley, time and again I have stated that the liturgical deposit of the Orthodox Church reflects and proclaims the consensus patrum. Individual Fathers may contradict each other (as they are not infallible), but the liturgical and iconographic deposit is what the whole Orthodox church espouses and teaches. What is present in the liturgical deposit cannot be regarded as a mere theologoumenon.

Quote
This icon is indeed a beautiful depiction of the event.

Stanley, iconography is nothing less than the pictorial equivalent of scripture and liturgical and doctrinal tradition. Aesthetic (from the conventional Renaissance perspective) considerations are useful, but are not a criterion in the canonical integrity of an icon's proclamation of the true faith.


PtA

OK, then. Dan-Romania's post contains quotes from various fathers and their seemingly virulent antipathy to women and marriage. In the same way that sola scriptura protestants use selected scripture passages to justify their interpretations which are, in many cases, contradictory, Orthodox Christians are also quite capable of using selected writings of the Fathers to justify their position on any number of matters.

On the other hand, as I have said perhaps ad nauseam on this forum, the most reliable and authoritative source of doctrine in the Orthodox Church is its iconographic and liturgical deposit. These, not individual statements from individual saints or fathers, represent the consensus patrum. If one were to look through the text of the wedding service, one would find that these quotes provided by Dan-Romania are completely at odds with what is expressed in the service. I can provide relevant sections from this service if you wish.





I would like you to show us one instance, just one, of heresy or "innovation of faith" being proclaimed through the liturgical deposit of the Russian Orthodox Church, be it of the Moscow Patriarchate, or ROCOR.


Would you mind clarifying what you mean by "liturgical deposit"?

Whatever is contained in the Menaion, Lenten Triodion, Pentecostarion, Horologion, Theotokarion, Book of Needs, and other books and documents of liturgical texts. In other words, what is read, said and sung in any Orthodox church service.

Pravoslav09 and Fr Anastasios

I'm still waiting for examples of heresy (i.e. false doctrine) preached by MP or ROCOR through their respective liturgical deposits. After all, lex orandi, lex credendi. Irregularities or anomalies of an administrative nature are not, in and of themselves, heresies.


Quite right, Father. And this is proven by the complete lack of heresy in the liturgical deposits of both the MP and ROCA arms of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 10:34:47 AM »

Seems to me that what she means to suggest is that the "liturgical deposit and iconography" are sufficient indicators of the consensus patrum rather than exclusive sources. I think the main point being stressed is that, one quote from the Liturgy, for example, suffices in demonstrating the consensus patrum, whereas one quote from the Fathers does not in that it could very well represent a patristic anomaly. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any real efficient way of discerning the consensus patrum from mere consideration of patristic texts. Ecumenical Councils are not addressed, as far as I can see, but I would imagine that she'd put them on the same level as the Liturgical and Inconographical tradition...

...but then again, no one is in a better position to clarify LBK's position than LBK herself.
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2009, 01:34:25 PM »

There may be two separate, but related, issues here: the sources of faith and consensus patrum. It seems to me that consensus patrum is a subset of the sources of faith because the Holy Scriptures, as the Word of God and the highest authority in our faith, are part of the latter. Consensus patrum is also rooted in history while the sources of faith, or at least the most authoritative ones, sit astride history.

As a historical record, however, consensus patrum may be best represented by the liturgical deposit and iconography. This does not ensure that the consensus patrum of the 22nd century will not be different then the one that we see and experience today. We already see variations in the past, most recently in iconography.
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2009, 03:04:17 PM »

I'm going to repost something long (yeah, I know, suprise) but may not have the time to comment more.  I originally argued this against Sola Scriptura for the only source of the Faith.  I'll adapt it to the OP.

An example of what happens when Sola Scriptura runs against Apostolic Tradition:
Joshua Joshua 22:10 And when they came to the region about the Jordan, that lies in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manas'seh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of great size. 11 And the people of Israel heard say, "Behold, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manas'seh have built an altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel." 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh, to make war against them. 13 Then the people of Israel sent to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manas'seh, in the land of Gilead, Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar the priest, 14 and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, every one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15 And they came to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manas'seh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 "Thus says the whole congregation of the LORD, 'What is this treachery which you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the LORD, by building yourselves an altar this day in rebellion against the LORD? 17 Have we not had enough of the sin at Pe'or from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the LORD, 18 that you must turn away this day from following the LORD? And if you rebel against the LORD today he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel tomorrow. 19 But now, if your land is unclean, pass over into the LORD's land where the LORD's tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us; only do not rebel against the LORD, or make us as rebels by building yourselves an altar other than the altar of the LORD our God. 20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity.'"

21 Then the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manas'seh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 "The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith toward the LORD, spare us not today 23 for building an altar to turn away from following the LORD; or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or cereal offerings or peace offerings on it, may the LORD himself take vengeance. 24 Nay, but we did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, 'What have you to do with the LORD, the God of Israel ? 25 For the LORD has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you Reubenites and Gadites; you have no portion in the LORD.' So your children might make our children cease to worship the LORD. 26 Therefore we said, 'Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, that we do perform the service of the LORD in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings; lest your children say to our children in time to come, "You have no portion in the LORD."' 28 And we thought, If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say, 'Behold the copy of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.' 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn away this day from following the LORD by building an altar for burnt offering, cereal offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle!"

30 When Phin'ehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manas'sites spoke, it pleased them well. 31 And Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar the priest said to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manas'sites, "Today we know that the LORD is in the midst of us, because you have not committed this treachery against the LORD; now you have saved the people of Israel from the hand of the LORD." 32 Then Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar the priest, and the chiefs, returned from the Reubenites and the Gadites in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the people of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 And the report pleased the people of Israel; and the people of Israel blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them, to destroy the land where the Reubenites and the Gadites were settled. 34 The Reubenites and the Gadites called the altar Witness; "For," said they, "it is a witness between us that the LORD is God."

Now, note the following:

The Sola Scriptura folks were quite correct: the Law given to Moses had restricted sacrifices to one altar before the one Tabernacle. Btw, the tribes living on the East of the Jordan was a deviation from what God had commanded, revealed in His Word, and to which the Prophet Moses objected (Numbers 32, especially verses 6-15). Sort of like the innovation of the monarchy (I Kingdoms/Samuel 8, esp. verses 6-7), but we go a Messiah out of that (I Chronicles 17). Yet it is those who add Tradition to the mix who save Israel that day, as the chiefs of the Assembly/Congregation (we would say "Church") of Israel admit.

However, the Sola Scriptura first accuse the Eastern tribes of rebelling against God's Word, setting something that they see in addition to, and hence in opposition to (in their mind) in order to supplant God's Word, and replacing the Word of God with the traditions of men. And their solution? Just stick to the text and cross over to us.

The Eastern tribes had the foresight to see that, people being people, and sin being sin, that the Books of Moses were not going to suffice to stop Israel from sin. Those on the West Bank would focus on the literal promises to Abraham (which said nothing of the East Bank) and would interpret it in a manner which suited their sense of sensibilities: the Promised Land should fit our idea of the Land of Canaan (sort of like the idea of eating Body and Blood). Acting on this, they would exclude the Easterners, leading them to sin.

So the solution? Set up an interpretation of the letter of the law that preserved an indisputable indication of its spirit. And this they did.

A Melkite priest gave the best one word definition of Chrsitianity: witness.

Now, the problem most Protestants have with Tradition is the idea that the Church which set it up has tried to suppliment, and hence oppose, in order to supplant, Scripture.

We do not believe in, say, the Real Presense because St. Ignatius of Antioch, whom the Aposles ordained themselves as successor of St. Peter in the place where the disciples were first called Christians, writes in c. 105:
Let no man deceive himself. Both the things which are in heaven, and the glorious angels, and rulers, both visible and invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, shall, in consequence, incur condemnation. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Let not [high] place puff any one up: for that which is worth all is faith and love, to which nothing is to be preferred. But consider those who are of a different opinion with respect to the grace of Christ which has come unto us, how opposed they are to the will of God. They have no regard for love; no care for the widow, or the orphan, or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from the prayer, because they will not confess that the Eucharist is the self same flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that you should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion [of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved. But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils. See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

we believe in the Real Presence because He said, "This is My Body," "This is My Blood." Rising, He appeared and was known to the Apostles in the breakding of the bread that first Pascha (Luke 24:13-36 NOT btw, in His opening of the scriptures, though that did make their heart burn). Those who continued steadfast in the Apostles' doctrines communed in the breaking of bread in the prayers of the DL every Sunday from the Resurrection until June 7, 2009 (Acts 2:42, 20:7), which we received, delievered to us by the Apostles from the Lord (I Cor. 11:23. btw. when these words were written, the Church had been gathering on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7) for over two decades).

Now, the Aposles weren't doing this because of the verses quoted. Rather the verses were written to record what the Apostles did, what they were doing, believing, teaching, whether by word or letter (I Thess. 2:15) so those who followed could stand fast and hold these traditions, and withdraw (I Thes. 3:6) from those who refused to walk according to the traditions which they delievered and which we received.

St. Ignatius stood fast and held that tradition, and did not neglect that gift that was given him by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the Apostles, guarding what was committed to him. (I Tim. 4:14, 6:20) St. Ignatius set in order bishops in every city as the Aposltes commanded, to hold fast the faithful word as it had been taught, by word or letter, to both exhort and convict by sound doctrine those of a different opinion (heresia) who contradicted, and refused to walk according to that tradition. (cf. Titus 1:5-9). As the letters show, strong in the grace of Christ Jesus, he was committing these traditions he heard by word from the Apostles to the Faithful to teach others. (2 Tim. 2:1-2), that the Catholic Church continue in breaking the bread, the communion of the self same Body of Christ (I Cor. 10:16).

We do not believe in the Real Presence because St. Ignatius says so: he received the same Faith we received, and he stands as a Witness that God has erected between the Apostles and us, as a sign post as to whether we walk according to the Tradition of the Apostles or not. "Lo! I am with you always (Greek: "all the days") even unto the end of the age." Those were His parting words. And so He has: rather than standing gazing, the Church has raised up witnessses to that same Faith, who stand as witnesses between us and the Apostles. We have not abandoned the Bible for the Fathers (and Mothers!). Rather surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we are able to point to the Witness, like the Eastern Tribes to the altar on the Jordan, to show that we are right in our interpretation of Scripture, including the Words of Institution (themselves written in the Gospels to reflect Church practice). Every generation, we can document, from the Apostles to this day, those who, if they lived in our day, would come to OUR Church and commune with us (of course, closed communion is part of that Apostolic Tradition). Their Faith is our Faith, and that is the value of their words, not that they replace the Bible. Rather they preserve the full import of the Bible.

Tradition is giving our ancestors, our Fathers, the ones who passed down the Faith and copied and preserved the Bible, a vote.

Catechesis means "echo," and Christ's Word has roared throughout the generations through Apostolic Tradition.

As our priest says, if you come up with an interpretation of Scripture that no one else has, be cautious and ask yourself if you are wrong. If it contradicts what has gone before, YOU ARE DEFINITELY WRONG.

How to interpret Acts 8:31? The believers of sola scriptura cannot tell us. They have no one to guide them.
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2009, 08:42:52 PM »

^

Apostolic Tradition is the vehicle through which the Holy Scriptures were elevated to be the highest authority of faith. There is a world of difference between holding the Holy Scriptures being "the highest" and "the only" authority.
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2009, 12:35:06 AM »

^

Apostolic Tradition is the vehicle through which the Holy Scriptures were elevated to be the highest authority of faith. There is a world of difference between holding the Holy Scriptures being "the highest" and "the only" authority.
I think, though, that, rather than get lost in ialmisry's statements regarding sola scriptura, we should instead focus on what he's trying to accomplish by posting this superficially irrelevant essay here.  I don't think he means for us to read it here as a statement against sola scriptura.  ISTM that he posted the essay here for us to read it as an argument against what I will call sola typikon:  the idea that LBK has argued that the whole deposit of what we believe can be reduced to the Church's liturgical and iconographical traditions apart from all other components of our Holy Tradition.
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2009, 02:40:03 AM »

ISTM that he posted the essay here for us to read it as an argument against what I will call sola typikon:  the idea that LBK has argued that the whole deposit of what we believe can be reduced to the Church's liturgical and iconographical traditions apart from all other components of our Holy Tradition.

I don't believe that he has promoted the idea that the "whole" deposit of faith (although I stand to be corrected since it is quite fulsome) can be found in the liturgical deposit but that whatever *is* there is  trustworthy.    It has obviously been accepted throughout all the various Orthodox Churches and had been used  -and scrutinised- for many centuries.  It has passed the test of the Vincentian Canon (to paraphrase) ~ what has been accepted by all, everywhere and at all times.  In other words the maxim of lex orandi lex credendi holds true.

I thought that EkhristosAnesti expresed it well in his message above..

Now a demurral:   what on earth do we make of the reference to the evil eye in the Prayers for a Mother After Childbirth.   I've heard all manner of explanations but I've never liked any of them.
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2009, 02:53:39 AM »

Now a demurral:   what on earth do we make of the reference to the evil eye in the Prayers for a Mother After Childbirth.   I've heard all manner of explanations but I've never liked any of them.
You might get more traction posting that as a separate question for a separate thread.
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2009, 02:56:56 AM »

ISTM that he posted the essay here for us to read it as an argument against what I will call sola typikon:  the idea that LBK has argued that the whole deposit of what we believe can be reduced to the Church's liturgical and iconographical traditions apart from all other components of our Holy Tradition.

I don't believe that he has promoted the idea that the "whole" deposit of faith (although I stand to be corrected since it is quite fulsome) can be found in the liturgical deposit but that whatever *is* there is  trustworthy.    It has obviously been accepted throughout all the various Orthodox Churches and had been used  -and scrutinised- for many centuries.  It has passed the test of the Vincentian Canon (to paraphrase) ~ what has been accepted by all, everywhere and at all times.  In other words the maxim of lex orandi lex credendi holds true.
But what do we make of LBK's apparent claim that if a church's liturgical deposit is sound, it doesn't matter how heretical everything else in the church is, the church has not fallen into heresy?
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2009, 03:07:33 AM »

But what do we make of LBK's apparent claim that if a church's liturgical deposit is sound, it doesn't matter how heretical everything else in the church is, the church has not fallen into heresy?

I am not sure that LBK has in fact claimed such.  You may be extrapolating incorrectly?

As a general rule of thumb people who start off in schism do eventually end up in heresy also.

Looking at a Church which has been on all our minds the last few days thanks to the Apostasy thread.... If we take the example of the Russian Zarist Church (which may or may not be led by Bishop Diomid) it is a church group which has been in existence for only a few months.  Presumably it has not changed anything of the Orthodox theology or the liiturgical material which the bishop learnt from his theology studies in a Russian Orthodox seminary.  But the name of the Church is troubling and gives cause for concern - the Russian Zarist Church.  There has never been any Orthodox Church named for any Tsar or Emperor.  That name in itself indicates some overemphasis on the monarchy in the life of the Church and that may eventualy lead into some kind of heresy.
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2009, 03:10:12 AM »

You might get more traction posting that as a separate question for a separate thread.
Thanks,  But it is not really an earthshaking matter and it's a phrase I've been using for donkeys' years at Baptisms.
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2009, 03:26:31 AM »

As a concrete illustration of what LBK means may I direct people to his post

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14723.msg230684.html#msg230684

The liturgical texts for the Vigil of Saint Peter and Saint Paul encapsulate the Orthodox teaching on the equality of importance of the two holy Apostles.
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« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2009, 04:28:22 AM »

As a concrete illustration of what LBK means ...
Are you sure this is what LBK means?  How do you know?
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« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2009, 04:36:55 AM »

As a concrete illustration of what LBK means ...
Are you sure this is what LBK means?  How do you know?

His concluding sentence is cononant with what I wrote.  But maybe LBK would like to confirm this himself?
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« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2009, 07:13:12 AM »

As a concrete illustration of what LBK means ...
Are you sure this is what LBK means?  How do you know?

His concluding sentence is cononant with what I wrote.  But maybe LBK would like to confirm this himself?

Yes, PtA, Irish Hermit is quite correct in his assessment of my position. I reproduce part of the post on the supremacy of Apostle Peter thread he referred to to illustrate my position:

There are two simple and very accessible sources of doctrine which are consistent across the whole Orthodox world: iconography, and liturgical texts. The Orthodox Church regards Apostles Peter and Paul as the pre-eminent apostles, not just Peter. This is abundantly clear in both iconography, and in the text for the vigil of Sts Peter and Paul. Both are held in equal regard, hence the joint feast-day. The joint commemoration has a purpose: to remove any notions of supremacy. Another example of this is the feast of the Three Hierarchs, instituted to show the Church's equal regard for Sts Basil the Great, John Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian.

The feast for Sts Peter and Paul dates back to no later than the mid-8thC, given that the canons at Matins were written by St John of Damascus, and other hymns by his contemporaries, including St Andrew of Crete.

Individual fathers may contradict each other, but the liturgical texts represent the distillation, the essence, the core, of the teachings of the Church for any feast. It is what the whole Orthodox Church espouses and proclaims, irrespective of geographic location or jurisdiction. It is the same with iconography. Individual icons of Apostle Peter exist in great numbers, but there is no indication at all that he is supreme over all the others. In icons of the assembly of the Twelve Apostles, Peter and Paul are in the foreground, often jointly holding a model of a church building, a motif also used in icons of saints regarded as "equals to the Apostles", such as the enlightener-saints e.g. Sts Vladimir and Olga of Kiev, Constantine and Helen, Nina of Georgia, Olaf of Norway, etc. Apostle Andrew is shown standing behind Peter and Paul, but still in a position of prominence, as he was the first to be chosen by Christ to be a disciple. All of this is completely consistent with Orthodox teaching.

Every single Orthodox church in the world uses the same text as this when celebrating this feast. Only the liturgical language used will vary. In the light of the liturgical and iconographic tradition, is it still possible for an Orthodox Christian to honestly and unreservedly conclude that Peter has the higher authority over all the other apostles, including Paul?
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« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2009, 03:04:11 PM »

I get the feeling that LBK's position was a very narrow one--that of the relative importance of the Apostles Peter and Paul. In other words, it does not seem that LBK is making a global claim here. Not having been part of the original thread, I wonder how many posters used the Holy Scriptures to make their point or as their starting point?
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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2009, 04:17:53 PM »

I get the feeling that LBK's position was a very narrow one--that of the relative importance of the Apostles Peter and Paul. In other words, it does not seem that LBK is making a global claim here. Not having been part of the original thread, I wonder how many posters used the Holy Scriptures to make their point or as their starting point?

SecondChance, you have missed the point. I used this particular example to illustrate that the Orthodox teaching on the supremacy or otherwise of Apostle Peter is quite clear through the Church's liturgical and iconographic deposit. It is a simple and concise proclamation of Orthodox doctrine, and a clear refutation of the Roman Catholic view, whereas quoting screeds of quotes from the Fathers, like quoting selected scripture passages, can get one nowhere fast. Look at the various theads on this forum on this topic - all have run into pages and pages, without coming to a satisfactory conclusion when scripture and patristic quotes which suit one's own position have been flung around. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

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« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2009, 04:36:47 PM »

But what do we make of LBK's apparent claim that if a church's liturgical deposit is sound, it doesn't matter how heretical everything else in the church is, the church has not fallen into heresy?

I am not sure that LBK has in fact claimed such.  You may be extrapolating incorrectly?

If so, then I don't think I'm the only one guilty of doing this.



What arrant, blinkered nonsense. Pravoslav09, I would like you to show us one instance, just one, of heresy or "innovation of faith" being proclaimed through the liturgical deposit of the Russian Orthodox Church, be it of the Moscow Patriarchate, or ROCOR.


Would you mind clarifying what you mean by "liturgical deposit"?

Whatever is contained in the Menaion, Lenten Triodion, Pentecostarion, Horologion, Theotokarion, Book of Needs, and other books and documents of liturgical texts. In other words, what is read, said and sung in any Orthodox church service.

Thank you for clarifying.

I have actually been meaning to ask you this for some time, not directly in relation to this thread, but now is as good enough a time as any.

You've said several times that the consensus of the Fathers is in the liturgy and iconography.  Here you have said that no heresy was preached in liturgy. I have to wonder though, you do accept the writings of the Fathers, decisions of councils, and official encyclical letters as expressing the Faith too, right?  So even if a Church did not change the liturgical texts, if its bishops preached a heresy, they would still be heretics, right?

When I was an Eastern Rite Roman Catholic, our parish did not alter the liturgical texts that we lifted from Orthodoxy when we schismed.  So I think we have to be real careful where we draw the line lest the Eastern Rite Roman Catholics turn your argument right back on you.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios

And, reading posts like the following, I can see pretty clearly how one can easily get the impression that what Fr. Anastasios and I have both surmised is what LBK meant for us to understand: that as long as the liturgical texts and icons used by a church remain unchanged and orthodox, the church has not deviated into heresy, regardless of whatever heresies the church may teach outside of her liturgical texts and icons.

Pravoslav09 and Fr Anastasios

I'm still waiting for examples of heresy (i.e. false doctrine) preached by MP or ROCOR through their respective liturgical deposits. After all, lex orandi, lex credendi. Irregularities or anomalies of an administrative nature are not, in and of themselves, heresies.

So far on this thread, nobody, nobody, has provided any shred of evidence, let alone proof, of heresy within the liturgical deposit of either the MP or ROCOR churches. I'm still waiting.

When one looks at the involvement of the Russian Orthodox Church we see that the principles of engagement evidenced by Saint Mark are adhered to by the Russian Church.  The Russian Church has not wavered on one iota of the Orthodox Faith.

Quite right, Father. And this is proven by the complete lack of heresy in the liturgical deposits of both the MP and ROCA arms of the Russian Orthodox Church.


Returning, therefore, to the question I highlighted in the above quote of Fr. Anastasios, how do you answer it, LBK?
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2009, 04:42:41 PM »

I get the feeling that LBK's position was a very narrow one--that of the relative importance of the Apostles Peter and Paul. In other words, it does not seem that LBK is making a global claim here. Not having been part of the original thread, I wonder how many posters used the Holy Scriptures to make their point or as their starting point?

SecondChance, you have missed the point. I used this particular example to illustrate that the Orthodox teaching on the supremacy or otherwise of Apostle Peter is quite clear through the Church's liturgical and iconographic deposit. It is a simple and concise proclamation of Orthodox doctrine, and a clear refutation of the Roman Catholic view, whereas quoting screeds of quotes from the Fathers, like quoting selected scripture passages, can get one nowhere fast. Look at the various theads on this forum on this topic - all have run into pages and pages, without coming to a satisfactory conclusion when scripture and patristic quotes which suit one's own position have been flung around. Lex orandi, lex credendi.



I agree with you in part, but please note that when I was an Eastern Rite Roman Catholic, it was taken for granted in those circles that the texts of the Feast of the Veneration of the Chains of St Peter on Jan 16 support papal claims of Peter being the first Apostle and they read in to these texts the seed of papal primacy.  It was necessary to cite examples from the Fathers (which flew back and forth) and Councils to show from the Fathers and Conciliar documents that their consensus was against Papal claims.

I would maintain that the liturgy and iconography do indeed show us a clear summary of the consensus, but they are not comprehensive.  The decisions of Councils and the consensus of the Fathers, along with the Vicentian Canon and the "Rule of Faith" as taught by people like St Ireneaus are what are needed to discern the Orthodox teaching on any given topic in its fullness.  Individual Fathers' quotes may be taken out of context, but it seems rather straightforward to discern the consensus of the Fathers based on a catholic reading of their works as a whole in context.

How does what I write differ, if at all, from your understanding, LBK?

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios
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« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2009, 06:29:44 PM »

Fr Anastasios, you wrote:

When I was an Eastern Rite Roman Catholic, our parish did not alter the liturgical texts that we lifted from Orthodoxy when we schismed.  So I think we have to be real careful where we draw the line lest the Eastern Rite Roman Catholics turn your argument right back on you.

That's easy to refute, Father. The definitive sign of an Eastern Rite Catholic is liturgical commemoration of the Pope of Rome as Supreme Pontiff. Last time I checked, this is heresy in the Orthodox Church.

You also wrote:

but please note that when I was an Eastern Rite Roman Catholic, it was taken for granted in those circles that the texts of the Feast of the Veneration of the Chains of St Peter on Jan 16 support papal claims of Peter being the first Apostle and they read in to these texts the seed of papal primacy. 

Please look at my post on the "Supremacy of Peter" thread, where I quote from the Orthodox Vigil for Apostle Andrew which refers to that apostle in identical terms to those which are used by those promoting papal supremacy (the emphases are mine):

The pillar of the faith, the seat of the true doctrines of Christ, Andrew, inspired by God, today calls all the ends of the earth to arrange a yearly feast; let us believers, therefore, come together.

When the spiritual Sun had set upon the Tree by the counsel of his own free will, the beacon of the sun, Andrew the great lamp of the Church, seeking to be dissolved with him and to set into Christ, was hanged upon the tree of a cross.

O disciple and friend of Christ, and fellow of his Apostles, when the Judge is seated upon his throne with you, the Twelve, to judge, as the promise says, then be for us a wall of compassion.

Eyewitnesses of ineffable mysteries and servants of the Word, mystagogues and contemplators of things unsearchable, intercede, O Apostles (note plural), that we too may become fellow heirs of Christ’s kingdom and sharers in his Godhead.

Having received from Christ authority to bind and loose, loose us all from the bonds of many offences, because Christ will come and all you Twelve will sit on as many thrones to judge all the tribes of Israel.


You also wrote:

Individual Fathers' quotes may be taken out of context, but it seems rather straightforward to discern the consensus of the Fathers based on a catholic reading of their works as a whole in context.

Straightforward? How does this square with the dozens of pages of debate on various topics on this forum (the supremacy of Peter being but one), where scripture and patristic quotes are flung around like missiles, leading to misunderstandings and discord? If people would only care to take the time to consider what the liturgical and iconographic deposit teaches us, which, after all, is the summation, the distillation of Apostolic teaching, correct and unambiguous, and universal among all Orthodox, irrespective of location, culture or language.
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« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2009, 06:33:41 PM »

Straightforward? How does this square with the dozens of pages of debate on various topics on this forum (the supremacy of Peter being but one), where scripture and patristic quotes are flung around like missiles, leading to misunderstandings and discord? If people would only care to take the time to consider what the liturgical and iconographic deposit teaches us, which, after all, is the summation, the distillation of Apostolic teaching, correct and unambiguous, and universal among all Orthodox, irrespective of location, culture or language.
But what of Fr. Anastasios's concern that even the liturgical and iconographic deposits need interpretation for us to understand from them what we are to understand?
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« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2009, 08:00:24 PM »

Straightforward? How does this square with the dozens of pages of debate on various topics on this forum (the supremacy of Peter being but one), where scripture and patristic quotes are flung around like missiles, leading to misunderstandings and discord? If people would only care to take the time to consider what the liturgical and iconographic deposit teaches us, which, after all, is the summation, the distillation of Apostolic teaching, correct and unambiguous, and universal among all Orthodox, irrespective of location, culture or language.
But what of Fr. Anastasios's concern that even the liturgical and iconographic deposits need interpretation for us to understand from them what we are to understand?

How long is a piece of string, PtA? As an Orthodox priest, surely Fr Anastasios is capable of discerning true Orthodox doctrine, most notably from the consensus patrum which exists in the liturgical and iconographic deposit, and then transmitting this true doctrine to his flock? If I, as a common layman, have been able to show doctrinal errors in the notion of the supremacy of Peter (to name but one topic) through the resources which are available to every Orthodox Christian ....
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« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2009, 08:44:18 PM »

Dear LBK,

Thank you for responding to my query. I find the topic to be very interesting.

Fr Anastasios, you wrote:

When I was an Eastern Rite Roman Catholic, our parish did not alter the liturgical texts that we lifted from Orthodoxy when we schismed.  So I think we have to be real careful where we draw the line lest the Eastern Rite Roman Catholics turn your argument right back on you.

That's easy to refute, Father. The definitive sign of an Eastern Rite Catholic is liturgical commemoration of the Pope of Rome as Supreme Pontiff. Last time I checked, this is heresy in the Orthodox Church.

While I would agree with you that such commemoration is heretical, I don't believe you can deduce that just from the liturgical deposit; the main reason we know that Roman Catholics are heretics is because they were condemned by several councils and the Fathers wrote against their false doctrines.


Quote
You also wrote:

but please note that when I was an Eastern Rite Roman Catholic, it was taken for granted in those circles that the texts of the Feast of the Veneration of the Chains of St Peter on Jan 16 support papal claims of Peter being the first Apostle and they read in to these texts the seed of papal primacy. 

Please look at my post on the "Supremacy of Peter" thread, where I quote from the Orthodox Vigil for Apostle Andrew which refers to that apostle in identical terms to those which are used by those promoting papal supremacy (the emphases are mine):

Thank you for providing the texts, but I don't think they speak of it in identical terms. The last time I read these texts for the feast of the chains (which I don't have access to from an Orthodox source, so I am reticent to post what I see online in case it is tainted in some way), they clearly speak of Peter as being the Prince of the Apostles, First of the Apostles, Chief Apostle, etc.  We only know how to interpret these phrases in an Orthodox manner based on the writings of the Fathers and decisions of the Ecumenical Councils.

Quote
You also wrote:

Individual Fathers' quotes may be taken out of context, but it seems rather straightforward to discern the consensus of the Fathers based on a catholic reading of their works as a whole in context.

Straightforward? How does this square with the dozens of pages of debate on various topics on this forum (the supremacy of Peter being but one), where scripture and patristic quotes are flung around like missiles, leading to misunderstandings and discord?

As you know, this forum has members who are not Orthodox, members who are Orthodox who are educated well, people who are Orthodox but are unsure about the specifics of various points; etc.  In other words, we have a rather diverse group of people with differing levels of knowledge (I do not limit knowledge to intellectual of course). And this forum has a lot of adversarial threads where people who like to be difficult go round and round. Some people also like to see "room for opinion" where the issue has already been addressed at length by the Fathers.
I am speaking more in terms of discussions involving people who are experienced in living an Orthodox life and is well read in the Fathers, especially those who are men and women of prayer who are also well educated.  Those approaching the issue with the requisite training and in the proper mindset can discern the consensus of the Fathers.  For instance, St Gregory of Nyssa taught universal restoration--he was mistaken.  St Augustine taught predestination, and he was mistaken.  We can look at the writings of the Fathers and see if a majority of them taught the same thing, and especially see if a Council picked up on it.  This is, as you know, how the canons of St Basil became ecumenical; despite being of an individual Father, the Fathers of later councils recognized the catholicity of the writings and accepted them.  This a posteriori reception is what determines and confirms the consensus in my understanding.


Quote
If people would only care to take the time to consider what the liturgical and iconographic deposit teaches us, which, after all, is the summation, the distillation of Apostolic teaching, correct and unambiguous, and universal among all Orthodox, irrespective of location, culture or language.


LBK, I fully agree with you here!  And I appreciate you reminding us to look at the liturgy and iconography first. You are doing us a service by this.  But my objection is to reduce it to this alone.  When you challenged Pravoslav09 and me to produce evidence of heresy in the liturgical deposit and ended it by saying "after all, lex orandi, lex credendi" it suggests that one could be perfectly Orthodox if he prays the right hymns, even if he is preaching heresy from the puplit, in his Encyclicals, etc.  That is what I am trying to understand from your thesis.

Fr Paul Tarazi was my professor of Scripture at St Vladimir's Seminary.  He felt that Orthodox people do not take Scripture seriously, so he deliberately spoke in a reductionist manner about Scripture being the ONLY source of our faith, etc. ad nauseum.  He would come out with rather hyperbolically extreme phrases and ideas based off this.  While most of us understood his point was to get people to take Scripture seriously as the foremost and primary thing instead of immediately running to modern Russian theologians of Paris school, etc., it had a rather jarring, divisive effect in my opinion. His overstatements caused confusion and surprise amongst many students and I am not sure in the end it led to his goal being met.  The reason I bring this up is that while I completely agree with you that liturgy and iconography has a primacy as a summary of our faith, I don't think we can say that they are all that is needed to prove any given point.

in Christ,

Fr Anastasios
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« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2009, 10:32:54 PM »

As I decided to take a week off from posting, I will return to this thread next Monday to see if any replies were directed my way. Hope everyone has a fruitful start to the Fast.
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« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2009, 02:01:18 AM »

But what do we make of LBK's apparent claim that if a church's liturgical deposit is sound, it doesn't matter how heretical everything else in the church is, the church has not fallen into heresy?

I am not sure that LBK has in fact claimed such.  You may be extrapolating incorrectly?

Irish Hermit is correct, PtA's extrapolation is indeed incorrect. At no stage have I ever restricted my view to only the liturgical and iconographic deposit. However, these are the most reliable, accessible and universal sources of correct doctrine.

As a general rule of thumb people who start off in schism do eventually end up in heresy also.

Looking at a Church which has been on all our minds the last few days thanks to the Apostasy thread.... If we take the example of the Russian Zarist Church (which may or may not be led by Bishop Diomid) it is a church group which has been in existence for only a few months.  Presumably it has not changed anything of the Orthodox theology or the liiturgical material which the bishop learnt from his theology studies in a Russian Orthodox seminary.  But the name of the Church is troubling and gives cause for concern - the Russian Zarist Church.  There has never been any Orthodox Church named for any Tsar or Emperor.  That name in itself indicates some overemphasis on the monarchy in the life of the Church and that may eventualy lead into some kind of heresy.

Irish Hermit touches on an often overlooked but very important point: A church in schism from canonical Orthodoxy has separated itself from its mother church, and by refusing to submit to the obedience of canonically-consecrated bishops, they are therefore "out of the loop", as it were. Deliberate separation such as this is indeed little different from the myriad protestant sects which base their existence on the notion of  "I don't agree with the decision of my church, so I'll set up one of my own."

An inviolable principle of the Orthodox Church is the responsibility of the episcopate, the shepherds and overseers of the Church, to "rightly divide the word of Your truth". If a priest proclaims heresy, or is disobedient to his bishop, then his bishop is obliged to correct him. If a bishop does the same, his fellow bishops likewise should move to correct him. It is a conciliar approach. If the errant cleric refuses to change his ways, then there may be cause for defrocking or other serious action. Schismatic groups, who are not part of the concilium of the mother Church from which they have broken away run the very real risk of not being able to properly maintaining the checks and balances required for preserving the integrity of the faith.

There are, in fact, examples of schismatic churches which have indeed proclaimed heresies, particularly as it relates to the new calendar. Adopting the new calendar is not an act of heresy. If it were, then no canonical communion between the canonical NC and OC churches would be possible. An irregularity, an anomaly, yes. Heresy, no, despite what they may try to say. Another notable example is that of the Matthewite old calendarist group, which proclaims that the image showing Christ, seated next to God the Father as an old man, with a dove hovering above them, is the proper and canonical icon of the Holy Trinity, and, moreover, proclaims that the icon generally attributed to St Andrei of Radonezh (Andrei Rublyev) is uncanonical. These infractions are but two examples of the result of lack of proper conciliar episcopal oversight which is an unfortunate result of schismatic behavior. A third example is the debasement of iconography to suit a particular ecclesiopolitical stance, such as the "icon" of the "Ark of Salvation" we have seen and discussed on the thread "Here's an Icon with Something for Everyone". As a learned friend once remarked: Such icons are classic examples of zealous enthusiasm for the sanctity of the Church, and a deep desire to proclaim its unique truth in the face of heresy, nonetheless completely ignoring the canonical traditions they mean to proclaim with such vigour.
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« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2009, 01:05:19 PM »

I'm going to repost something long (yeah, I know, suprise) but may not have the time to comment more.  I originally argued this against Sola Scriptura for the only source of the Faith.  I'll adapt it to the OP.....
Title of the thread confused the Consensus Patrum as a Source of Faith: the Consensus does not provide the Source of Faith, it reflects it.

There is only one soure of the Faith, Christ.  How that one source is transmitted, and how its transmition is verified, is what is at issue.

The Faith is transitted in the Holy Mysteries: as the Fathers say, Christ has passed into the Holy Mysteries, the signs of Christ's life within His Body, the Church.  When the Church acts as the Body of Christ, as a Body, in unity with her Head, then she speaks infallibly.  That is why the assent of the Faithful is needed, for instance, for the Ecumenicity of a Council.

There is, for no instance, no objective criteria on which to base the canon of the Bible.  Authorship by an Apostle does not determine the canon of the NT: St. Luke, strictly speaking, is not an Apostle-he does not include himself in the company of eyewitness and ministers of the Word from the beginning (Luke 1:2, cf. Acts 1:21-2). Yet there is no question of it being in the Orthodox canon.  St. Clement's first epistle (I'll leave aside the question of the second) which was reckoned as Scripture: after Clement received his doctrine directly from the Apostles, and not as an eyewitness of Christ, the same way  St. Luke received his doctrine.  Clement's epistles are approved by the Apostolic Canons (85), but yet St. Luke is canonized and St. Clement is not.  If an archaeologist dug up St. Paul's missing Epistles or when they dug up the Gospels that record Acts 20:35, or the Jesus seminar could prove that St. Thomas wrote the Gospel named after him, none were or would be accepted into the canon.  The Church has spoken.  Many Fathers and Churches deemed Reveltion spurious, but the Church accepted it into the canon, and even if textual criticism would able to prove that St. John did not write it, it would remain in the canon as the Church has received it as an expression of her Faith in the return of her Bridegroom.

And that is why the Bible is canonized: it is not that the Church collected documents that the Apostles wrote.  Rather, they looked at what the Faithful had produced in the bosom of the Church, recognized herself in it, and adopted it as her self revelation.  Sort of like when parents see themselves in their children, and leave them as their legacy.  The Bible is not like the America Constitution, which brought a new government into order which is derived from that constition: it is like the Canadian Constitution, which merely codifies the system of government in place.  When St. Paul refers to Christ's life, he is not teaching history. He is appealing to an audience who already knows His life. Case in point: St. Paul's account of the Mystical Supper predates all the Gospels' accounts of it.  But he is not telling the Corinthians nothing that they do not already know (I Corin. 11:23)  In fact the ongoing Great Canon of the DL helped shape the Gospels' account.

That is why Sola Scriptura doesn't work: it is like owning the manuel, but not owning the car.

St. Theophan deals with the issue of why we say prayers written by the saints.  It is not because they are a replacement for Scripture nor for our own words.  But as we do not know how to pray as we ought, we look to those who did.  The saints we know (because they have been glorified, and their words consecrated by the usage of the Church) had reached the stage where the Holy Spirit spoke within them at prayer.  In that state, they composed in human language their thoughts in that state.  Using these words as guideposts, we are trying to follow them into the state where the Holy Spirit gives utterance to our prayers.  As the lesson of the Samaritan woman shows: the Samaritans came because of what she told them, but they reached a point at which they believed from knowing Him for themselves (John 4:43).

So too the Liturgy: the Church gathered as the Body of Christ so that He made be in their midst have put that experience into words.  The Church as a whole has adopted the Liturgy as the public expression of that experience, hence the appeal of liturgical texts for dogma: lex credendi, lex orandi.  But in that order: we do not believe that Christ is in the Eucharist because the DL says so, rather because we believe so, and experience Him in the Eucharist, that the DL so says.

So too the Dogmatic Definitions of the Ecumenical Councils.  The Faith cannot be added too.  No development of doctrine, if it was not in the Apostles' preaching it cannot be in the Dogma of the Church.  When heresy infected the Body of Christ, the Body of Christ, as a Body, mustered its antibodies, the Fathers and developed an immunity, the Dogmatic Definitions, to the heresy.  They did not add to the Faith: as the body already has the antibody proteins but only puts them to work to form a defense against the foreign pathogen, so too the Fathers only erect from pre-existing materials a boundary marker which the Orthodox may not move.  The Fathers confessed the same Faith, but in different words to ensure it remained the same Faith.  The expression of Faith changes only so that the Faith can remain the same, something litrugists should keep in mind.

The iconography writes an icon only when he follows the canon the Church has laid down for the visual expression of her Faith. Otherwise he is a forger and a counterfeiter (like our deluded friend Lentz).  The icon is the expression of the Church, not personal agendas, and just like a counterfeiter tries to make his money look real but it has no value, so too the icongrapher who oversteps the Church's bounds.  That is why we appeal to the icons when we are asked about what we believe, because they are backed by the full Faith and Credit of the Church.

No Church Father is infallible: only Christ is infallible, and the Church's infallibility flows from her being His Body.  But that flows only when she acts as a Body, like in Ecumenical Council.  Any individual member cannot act infallibility, so why the claim of the alleged "visible head" to speak infallibly cannot be accepted.  So too, no one should expect every word of an individual Father to be infallible.  It is only in as much as they reflect the common Faith, between us and them and lived in the Church now, that they constitute the Consensus Patrum.  What they served, as I pointed out in my OP, as a witness between us and heretics, so when they claim that the Real Presence is an innovation, that we point to St. Ignatius etc.: they witenss to the Faith as we witness to the Faith.

Which is the point of my OP to the OP: merely extended Sola Scriptura to included Ecumenical Councils and certain Fathers misses the point.  These are not the source of Faith: they are witnesses, like the altar on the Jordan, to make sure we have kept the Faith.
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« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2009, 03:04:20 PM »

Dear LBK,

Thank you for responding to my query. I find the topic to be very interesting.

Fr Anastasios, you wrote:

When I was an Eastern Rite Roman Catholic, our parish did not alter the liturgical texts that we lifted from Orthodoxy when we schismed.  So I think we have to be real careful where we draw the line lest the Eastern Rite Roman Catholics turn your argument right back on you.

That's easy to refute, Father. The definitive sign of an Eastern Rite Catholic is liturgical commemoration of the Pope of Rome as Supreme Pontiff. Last time I checked, this is heresy in the Orthodox Church.

While I would agree with you that such commemoration is heretical, I don't believe you can deduce that just from the liturgical deposit; the main reason we know that Roman Catholics are heretics is because they were condemned by several councils and the Fathers wrote against their false doctrines.

No, actually it is heretical on the face of it.
Quote
First, Lord, remember our Father N. Pope of Rome, our Most Blessed Patriarch N., our Father and (Arch)bishop N.  Graciously bestow them to Your Holy Churches in peace, safty, honor, health, long life, rightly dispensing the word of Your truth.
http://www.melkite.org/PDF/LITURGY2009.pdf

Now, the (arch)bishop is there because the parish exists only antimens.  The Patriarch is there, because of the Church's canonical order, of the synod of the local Church having a primate.

But the mere mention of the pope of Rome, first of all, on the face of it is an intrusion of ultramontanism, the idea that someone is above the Local Church.  Both "Rome" and "Pope" point to that:if you are not in the Patriarchate of Rome, there is no reason to be commorating him over any other primate in the diptych.  And "Pope" breaks the Word "Call no one Father," the Orthodox not falling for the Protestant trap on denying to anyone (otherwise they could not Honor your father as the commandment says, and would have to condemn scripture 1 Cor. 4:15 where St. Paul claims to be their father), but neither the error of the Vatican in claiming the title the Father, arrogating the title "pope" "dad" only to himself. In fact, since I got this from the Melkite Web site, their is the problem that the Melkite patriarch claims, and is installed by Rome to be, the patriarch of Alexandria, upon whom was bestowed the title, long before Rome took it, of "Pope."  Yet the Vatican, because of the heresies of Vatican I, denies him this title, and it doesn't appear in their liturgy.

There is a dogmatic basis for the commemoration, and the liturgical commemoration of the Vatican breaks it, making it clear that it is heresy.


You also wrote:

but please note that when I was an Eastern Rite Roman Catholic, it was taken for granted in those circles that the texts of the Feast of the Veneration of the Chains of St Peter on Jan 16 support papal claims of Peter being the first Apostle and they read in to these texts the seed of papal primacy. 

Please look at my post on the "Supremacy of Peter" thread, where I quote from the Orthodox Vigil for Apostle Andrew which refers to that apostle in identical terms to those which are used by those promoting papal supremacy (the emphases are mine):

Thank you for providing the texts, but I don't think they speak of it in identical terms. The last time I read these texts for the feast of the chains (which I don't have access to from an Orthodox source, so I am reticent to post what I see online in case it is tainted in some way), they clearly speak of Peter as being the Prince of the Apostles, First of the Apostles, Chief Apostle, etc.  We only know how to interpret these phrases in an Orthodox manner based on the writings of the Fathers and decisions of the Ecumenical Councils.

Of course, the contrast between the WRO and the Vatican's "unions."  The WRO liturgics are made to correspond to the Orthodox Faith, explicitely so (so the epiclesis of Constantinople is inserted as the Vatican downplayed the epiclesis in favor of the words of institution: the insertion underlined the difference of the theology and assures the rest of the Orthodox that the WRO do not share such heretical notions).

Give you a case in point (it's political, but the point is not): It has been ordered that combatants in Afghanistan be read their Miranda rights.  The problem is, as was found out when that was done in Lebanon decades ago, although it may be translated into their language, being able to understand them ("Do you understand these rights?" is the final clause) presupposes some basic knowledge of American legal procedure very few in Afghanistan have (Islamic law really doesn't have a seperate category of a legal officer corresponding to attorney, everyone is more or less a jurist).  So too, the texts of the Chains of St. Peter: it can be in English, but if you don't have the Orthodox Faith, but the Ultramonanist Faith, you are going to get different things from exactly the same words.  You don't have the same context.

Protestants, the Vatican and the Orthodox say that they all believe in the Bible, but it is obvious that they all do not mean the same thing when they say that: for the Protestants it is the Constitution, for the Vatican is Civil Code, for the Orthodox it is Case Law.

You also wrote:

Individual Fathers' quotes may be taken out of context, but it seems rather straightforward to discern the consensus of the Fathers based on a catholic reading of their works as a whole in context.

Straightforward? How does this square with the dozens of pages of debate on various topics on this forum (the supremacy of Peter being but one), where scripture and patristic quotes are flung around like missiles, leading to misunderstandings and discord?

As you know, this forum has members who are not Orthodox, members who are Orthodox who are educated well, people who are Orthodox but are unsure about the specifics of various points; etc.  In other words, we have a rather diverse group of people with differing levels of knowledge (I do not limit knowledge to intellectual of course). And this forum has a lot of adversarial threads where people who like to be difficult go round and round. Some people also like to see "room for opinion" where the issue has already been addressed at length by the Fathers.
I am speaking more in terms of discussions involving people who are experienced in living an Orthodox life and is well read in the Fathers, especially those who are men and women of prayer who are also well educated.  Those approaching the issue with the requisite training and in the proper mindset can discern the consensus of the Fathers.  For instance, St Gregory of Nyssa taught universal restoration--he was mistaken.  St Augustine taught predestination, and he was mistaken.  We can look at the writings of the Fathers and see if a majority of them taught the same thing, and especially see if a Council picked up on it.  This is, as you know, how the canons of St Basil became ecumenical; despite being of an individual Father, the Fathers of later councils recognized the catholicity of the writings and accepted them.  This a posteriori reception is what determines and confirms the consensus in my understanding.

The question to these quotes: did the seed of the Father fall on the good soil of the Church and bear good fruit?  Or did it fall on stoney ground, and never put down roots in the Church? Or worse, did it put down roots and reveal itself when it bore its bad fruit to be a weed, that the Fathers had to uproot or otherwise prune?  By their fruits, you will know them.  Universal restoration never put down roots.  Predestination grew into the weed of Calvinism and other bad fruit.  Basil's canonical letter put down roots and bore good fruit which the Church fed the faithful.


If people would only care to take the time to consider what the liturgical and iconographic deposit teaches us, which, after all, is the summation, the distillation of Apostolic teaching, correct and unambiguous, and universal among all Orthodox, irrespective of location, culture or language.


LBK, I fully agree with you here!  And I appreciate you reminding us to look at the liturgy and iconography first. You are doing us a service by this.  But my objection is to reduce it to this alone.  When you challenged Pravoslav09 and me to produce evidence of heresy in the liturgical deposit and ended it by saying "after all, lex orandi, lex credendi" it suggests that one could be perfectly Orthodox if he prays the right hymns, even if he is preaching heresy from the puplit, in his Encyclicals, etc.  That is what I am trying to understand from your thesis.

Fr Paul Tarazi was my professor of Scripture at St Vladimir's Seminary.  He felt that Orthodox people do not take Scripture seriously, so he deliberately spoke in a reductionist manner about Scripture being the ONLY source of our faith, etc. ad nauseum.  He would come out with rather hyperbolically extreme phrases and ideas based off this.  While most of us understood his point was to get people to take Scripture seriously as the foremost and primary thing instead of immediately running to modern Russian theologians of Paris school, etc., it had a rather jarring, divisive effect in my opinion. His overstatements caused confusion and surprise amongst many students and I am not sure in the end it led to his goal being met.  The reason I bring this up is that while I completely agree with you that liturgy and iconography has a primacy as a summary of our faith, I don't think we can say that they are all that is needed to prove any given point.

in Christ,

Fr Anastasios

Yes, treating Tradition like Sola Scriptura doesn't solve the problem.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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