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Author Topic: "Thou Art Peter"  (Read 44092 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #180 on: December 02, 2003, 11:16:28 PM »

Justinianus -

What ad hominem attacks?

I certainly posted none, and I don't recall reading any either.

I agree with Seraphim Reeves on many things and disagree with him on others.

For example, I believe that the Rock of Matthew 16:18 is obviously and plainly St. Peter, but that the Rock is also St. Peter's confession of faith and - more fundamentally - the Rock is Christ.

I think one really has to stretch - really stretch - however, to try to make the Rock of Matthew 16:18 exclude St. Peter.

I also think one has to really wriggle and stretch to deny that the bishops of Rome were uniquely the successors to St. Peter's office and authority. Yes, the bishops of Antioch are also the successors of St. Peter, but not in the same way that the bishops of Rome were.

But I agree with Seraphim Reeves that the bishops of Rome were not infallible nor could they act unilaterally as kings. They were not superior to or aloof from ecumenical councils of the Church.

I am all for getting the Fathers and the whole tradition and history right and opposed to sacrificing them to the expediency of countering Roman Catholic arguments.

The early popes were the leaders of the Church. But they were not kings, nor were they infallible.
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« Reply #181 on: December 03, 2003, 05:42:18 AM »

What ad hominem attacks?

I certainly posted none, and I don't recall reading any either.

I do recall reading them (not by you BTW), but since Seraphim was doing such a good job of responding gracefully, I decided against saying anything myself as I seem to have a knack for making situations worse Roll Eyes Sad

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« Reply #182 on: December 03, 2003, 09:14:07 AM »

What ad hominem attacks?

I certainly posted none, and I don't recall reading any either.

I do recall reading them (not by you BTW), but since Seraphim was doing such a good job of responding gracefully, I decided against saying anything myself as I seem to have a knack for making situations worse Roll Eyes Sad

John.

John,

I agree.  Also, I do not want to make the situation worse or point out anyone specific.  Reading the posts in this thread for yourself can answer that question.  I just wanted to point out my observation.

Linus7, I did not single you out.  My apologies if you think I did.  

We all need to be careful in out postings.  Sometimes in an electronic media it is easy to slip.  I mean no ill will towards anyone.  I simply want us all to keep in mind that we are in a Christian forum and need to keep Christ centered in our hearts.  Even when we disagree.  

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« Reply #183 on: December 11, 2003, 12:58:33 AM »

Pope St. Gregory the Great (+604) on the authority of the Bishop of Rome:

"For the Byzacent primate(4) had been accused on some charge, and the most pious Emperor wished him to be judged by us according to canonical ordinance. But then, on the receipt of ten pounds of gold, Theodorus the magister militum opposed this being done. Yet the most pious Emperor admonished us to commission some one, and do whatever was canonical. But, seeing the contrarieties of men, we have been unwilling to decide this case. Now, moreover, this same primate says something about his own intention. And it is exceedingly doubtful whether he says such things to us sincerely, or in fact because he is being attacked by his fellow-bishops: for, as to his saying that he is subject to the Apostolic See, if any fault is found in bishops, I know not what bishop is not subject to it." (The Great Epistles, Epistle LIX: To John, Bishop of Syracuse).

"For as to what they say about the Church of Constantinople, who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See, as both the most pious lord the emperor and our brother the bishop of that city continually acknowledge? Yet, if this or any other Church has anything that is good, I am prepared in what is good to imitate even my inferiors, while prohibiting them from things unlawful. For he is foolish who thinks himself first in such a way as to scorn to learn whatever good things he may see." (Ibid; XII: To John, Bishop of Syracuse)

"We therefore exhort your Fraternity that, conforming to the custom of your churches, as well with respect to the announcement of Easter, as also if need should compel any of you to travel anywhere for business of your own, you should ask leave of your said metropolitan according to the rule imposed upon you; except that, if (as we hope will not be the case) you should happen to have a case against your said Metropolitan, then those who are in haste on this account to seek the judgment of the Apostolic See have licence to do so, as you know is allowed in the canons by the institution even of the ancient Fathers." (Ibid; VIII: To the Bishops of Sardinia).

EPISTLE LXVIII: TO EUSEBIUS OF THESSALONICA.
Gregory to Eusebius of Thessalonica, Urbicus of Dyrrachium, Andrew of Nicopolis, John of Corinth, John of Prima Justiniana, John of Crete, John of Larissa and Scodra, and many other bishops.
"We are constrained by the care of government which we have undertaken to extend vigilantly the solicitude of our office, and to instruct the minds of our brethren by addresses of admonition, that no wrongful presumption. may avail to deceive the ignorant, nor any dissimulation to excuse those who know. Be it known then to your Fraternity that John, formerly bishop of the city of Constantinople, against God, against the peace of the Church, to the contempt and injury of all priests, exceeded the bounds of modesty and of his own measure, and unlawfully usurped in synod the proud and pestiferous title of oecumenical, that is to say, universal. When our predecessor Pelagius of blessed memory became aware of this, he annulled by a fully valid censure all the proceedings of that same synod, except what had therein been done in the cause of Gregory, bishop of Antioch, of venerable memory; taking him to task with most severe rebuke, and warning him to abstain from that new and temerarious name of superstition; even so as to forbid his deacon to go in procession(2) with him, unless he should amend so great a wickedness. And we, adhering in all respects to the zeal of his rectitude, observe his ordinances, under the protection of God, irrefragably, since it is fitting that he should walk without stumbling along the straight way of his predecessor, whom the tribunal of the eternal Judge awaits for rendering an account of the same place of government. In which matter, lest we should seem to omit anything that pertains to the peace of the Church, we once and again addressed the same most holy John by letter, bidding him relinquish that name of pride, and incline the elation of his heart to the humility which our Master and Lord has taught us. And having found that he paid no regard, we have not desisted, in our desire of concord, from addressing the like admonitions to our most blessed brother and fellow-priest Cyriacus, his successor. But since it is the case, as we see, now that the end of this world is near at hand, that the enemy of the human race has already appeared in his harbingers, so as to have as his precursors, through this title of pride, the very priests who ought to have opposed him by living well and humbly, I exhort and entreat that not one of you ever accept this name,  that not one consent to it, that not one write it, that not one admit it wherever it may have been written, or add his subscription to it; but, as becomes ministers of Almighty God, that each keep himself from this kind of poisoned infection, and give no place to the cunning lier-in-wait, since this thing is being done to the injury and rendering asunder of the whole Church, and, as we have said, to the contemning of all of you. For if one, as he supposes, is universal bishop, it remains that you are not bishops.
Furthermore, it has come to our knowledge that your Fraternity has been convened to Constantinople. And although our most pious Emperor allows nothing unlawful to be done there, yet, lest perverse men, taking occasion of your assembly, should seek opportunity of cajoling you in favouring this name of superstition, or should think of holding a synod about some other matter, with the view of introducing it therein by cunning contrivances,--though without the authority and consent of the Apostolic See nothing that might be passed would have any force, nevertheless, before Almighty God I conjure and warn you, that the assent of none of you be obtained by any blandishments, any bribes, any threats whatever; but, having regard to the eternal judgment, acquit ye yourselves salubriously and unanimously in opposition to wrongful aims; and, supported by pastoral constancy and apostolical authority, keep out the robber and the wolf that would rush in, and give no way to him that rages for the tearing of the Church asunder; nor allow, through any cajolery, a synod to be held on this subject, which indeed would not be a legitimate one, nor to be called a synod. We also at the same time admonish you, that if haply nothing should be done with mention of this preposterous name, but a synod be by any chance assembled on another matter, ye be in all respects cautious, circumspect, watchful, and careful, lest anything should therein be decreed against any place or person prejudicially, or unlawfully, or in opposition to the canons. But, if any question arises to be treated with advantage, let the question in hand take such a form that it may not upset any ancient ordinances. Wherefore we once more admonish you before God and His Saints, that you observe all these things with the utmost attention, and with the entire bent of your minds. For if any one, as we do not believe will be the case, should disregard in any part this present writing, let him know that he is segregated from the peace of the blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. Let, then, your Fraternity so act that when the Shepherd of shepherds comes in judgment, you may not be found guilty with respect to the place of government which you have received." (Ibid; LXVIII: To Eusebius of Thessalonica).

Gregory to Constantius, Bishop of Mediolanum.
"My most beloved son, the deacon Boniface, has conveyed to me certain private information through thy Fraternity's letter; namely that three bishops, having sought out rather than found an occasion, have separated themselves from the pious communion of your Fraternity, saying that you have assented to the condemnation of the Three Chapters(1), and have given a security(2). And, indeed, whether there has been any mention made of the Three Chapters in any word or writing whatever thy Fraternity remembers well; although thy Fraternity's predecessor, Laurentius, did send forth a most strict security to the Apostolic See, to which most noble men in legitimate number subscribed; among whom I also, at that time holding the praetorship of the city, likewise subscribed; since after such a schism had taken place about nothing, it was right that the Apostolic See should take heed, with the view of guarding in all respects the unity of the Universal Church in the minds of priests." (Ibid; II: To Constantius, Bishop of Mediolanum).

EPISTLE XXX: TO JOHN, SUBDEACON.
Gregory to John, &c
"Inasmuch as it is manifest that the Apostolic See is, by the ordering of God, set over all Churches, there is, among our manifold cares, especial demand for our attention, when our decision is awaited with a view to the consecration of a bishop. Now on the death of Laurentius, bishop of the church of Mediolanum, the clergy reported to us that they had unanimously agreed in the election of our son Constantius, their deacon. But, their report not having been subscribed, it becomes necessary, that we may omit nothing in the way of caution, for thee to proceed to Genua (Genoa), supported by the authority of this order(2). And, inasmuch as there are many Milanese at present there under stress of barbarian ferocity, thou must call them together, and enquire into their wishes in common. And, if no diversity of opinion separates them from the unanimity of the election--that is to say, if thou ascertainest that the desire and consent of all continues in favour of our aforesaid son, Constantius,--then thou art to cause him to be consecrated by his own bishops, as ancient usage requires, with the assent of our authority, and the help of the Lord; to the end that through the observance of such custom both the Apostolic See may retain the power belonging to it, and at the same time may not diminish the rights which it has conceded to others." (Ibid; XXX: To John, Subdeacon).

"Furthermore, I inform you that I have received a letter from the most pious Lord desiring me to be pacific towards my brother and fellow-priest John. And indeed so it became the religious Lord to give injunctions to priests. But, when this my brother with new presumption and pride calls himself universal bishop, having caused himself in the time of our predecessor of holy memory to be designated in synod by this so proud a title, though all the acts of that synod were abrogated, being disallowed by the Apostolic See,--the most serene Lord gives me a somewhat distressing intimation, in that he has not rebuked him who is acting proudly, but endeavours to bend me from my purpose, who in this cause of defending the truth of the Gospels and Canons, of humility and rectitude; whereas my aforesaid brother and fellow-priest is acting against evangelical principles and also against the blessed Apostle Peter, and against all the churches, and against the ordinances of the Canons." (Ibid; XX: To Mauricius Augustus).

"Nay, but dost thou not thyself know that the case which arose on the part of the presbyter John against John of Constantinople, our brother and fellow-bishop, came before the Apostolic See, and was decided by our sentence?,(1) If, then, a cause was brought under our cognizance from that city where the prince is, how much more should an affair between you have the truth about it ascertained and be terminated here?" (Ibid; XXIV: To Marinianus, Bishop of Ravenna).


All underlining is mine.

Although it is true that St. Gregory eschewed the title "Universal" (Ecumenical), he did not deny the authority of his office as Bishop of Rome and successor of St. Peter.

That should be apparent from the passages above.
 

 

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« Reply #184 on: December 11, 2003, 03:38:07 AM »

When all the above is imported into our own time, interpreted in accordance with the spirit of the Gospel, instead of an authoritarian spirit, we have the Papacy of the future unified Church.
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« Reply #185 on: December 11, 2003, 07:38:45 AM »

When all the above is imported into our own time, interpreted in accordance with the spirit of the Gospel, instead of an authoritarian spirit, we have the Papacy of the future unified Church.

I'm not convinced. If the letters of Leo are read he seems to have already in the 5th century an imbalanced appreciation of his position in respect of all other bishops.

He even writes to Dioscorus of Alexandria, well before any Christological controversy and says:

"Again, that our usage may coincide at all points, we wish this thing also to be observed......."

and

"We admonish you, therefore, beloved, earnestly and affectionately that your carefulness also should not neglect what has become a part of our own usage on the pattern of our fathers' tradition, so that in all things we may agree together in our beliefs and in our performances. Consequently, we have given this letter to our son Possidonius, a presbyter, on his return, that he may bear it to you, brother; he has so often taken part in our ceremonials and ordinations, and has been sent to us so many times that he knows quite well what Apostolic authority we possess in all things."

Leo may well have considered that his own practice was the measure of Orthopraxis everywhere else. But frankly he was wrong. Indeed Gregory is the better model since at least he authorised St Augustine to use whatever liturgical practices he considered best suited as he travelled north through Europe to Britain.

I believe that the error of Papal Supremacy was rooted in Roman thought quite early on, especially in the papacy of Leo. The facts show that it was generally ignored as an aberation by the East and resisted as long as possible by the other churches in the West. He imposed what he considered his authority over the ancient Metropolitan Sees in Gaul and did not hesitate to try and discipline even as great figures as St Hilary of Arles if they disagreed with him. He says that the Metropolitan of Arles should not be allowed to call councils or have authority, but they had had this authority since the beginning. It was to a council at Arles under the Metropolitan of Arles that the first named British bishops travelled.

I am very wary, as a personal opinion, of papal supremacy. Leo did not seek to be first among equals with a primacy of honour, he insisted rather on having a primacy of authority and jurisdiction which is not Orthodox at all. If this were not so he would not have removed the Metropolitan dignity held by Hilary of Arles, or tried to force Roman liturgical practice on the Alexandrian Church.

I am also not convinced that after 1000 years of separation from Orthodoxy that there is some dormant Western Patriarchate that should suddenly pick up where it left off. Things have changed. Orthodoxy is not archaeology, otherwise we will have a primus inter pares of a bishop and a couple of priests as long as he is called Bishop or Rome and is in communion with the EP.

The future of Western European Orthodox-Catholicism may well take the path of several Metropolitical and autonomous churches. The Old-English Church was functionally autonomous and during the pre-9th century period ignored most of the commands given by Rome. Equally the Old-Irish Orthodox Church was autonomous, as was the Welsh.

If there is a primus-inter-pares then it is more likely to be the EP. But I think that there is no reason why the primus-inter-pares should not be a small council of patriarchs and metropolitans. In the OO communion there is a regular meeting of the heads of the Syrian/Armenian/Coptic Patriarchates, and in 1965 there was a council of all the Oriental Orthodox. There will be others.

PT
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« Reply #186 on: December 11, 2003, 08:22:20 AM »

Greetings Peter,

I'm not sure i would've have a problem with Leo's exhortations in the quotes you provided if he wasn't violating the autonomy of the local churches outside of his jurisdiction and "imposing" Roman practices on them. At first glance and in a different context it may very well have harmonized with Pope Clement's own paternal exhortations in his Epistle to the Corinthians. But i certainly agree with you that his actions clearly went beyond the limits of his authority and leaned towards the authoritarianism that would characterize the later medieval Papacy, at which point the Petrine primacy becomes abused. It would seem from the examples of the greatest of the Popes that the pre-requisites for fulfilling this ministry in all its glory, are love and gentleness, watching over the flock (entailing the allocation of certain previleges such as the ones he enjoyed when the church was one) but respecting the autonomy of each particular church.  Still...who knows what kind of model will be best suitable for today's climate.  I'd be interested in knowing how those OO Councils operated.

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« Reply #187 on: December 11, 2003, 08:39:31 AM »

Hi Byzantino

I didn't mean to sound anti-Roman in any sense. And the model of St Gregory the Great's dealings - and he deserves to be considered a saint - especially as I know them through his role in the mission to the Anglo-Saxons was altogether more allowing of the liturgical cultures and norms of different societies and cultures.

I'm still not convinced that the entirely good qualities which you describe and which should be the character of any bishop necessitate that there should be a bishop of Rome with any sort of jurisdictional primacy. As far as I can see in the early period the Pope of Rome had an arbitration role as court of last resort but even that was often/usually disputed, not least because a Pope in Rome normally had little real insight into the problems that were being reported to him from the East.

I can't really see the examples which show that the Pope of Rome ever exercised any universal jurisdiction of any sort. Do you have soe examples, I am more than willing to be eirenic about this. But I think of the various schisms and the imprisonment of Popes in Constantinople which seem to suggest that his opinion was never considered binding or of ultimate authority.

The OO seem to operate by each church being aware of its limitations and seeking to urge and encourage unity rather than requiring any legislative uniformity. Currently there are a variety of political problems between Indian Orthodox for instance. Such a dispute would never be settled by a diktat from some other Patriarchate but requires the slow and steadfast support of other churches to help a resolution be found. In Imperial times I am sure a 'solution' would have been imposed and a whole community of Christians would have suddenly found themselves un-churched, now it seems that a slower, less authoritarian but ultimately more lasting solutions to disagreements can and should be found.

Usually the Patriarch of Alexandria will be given a primacy of honour in inter-Church meetings since the church of Alexandria is second in honour to Rome. This normally works fine as it is entirely a primacy of honour and a means of easily choosing chairman for such events rather than a jurisdictional primacy. The Pope of Alexandria cannot TELL any church to do anything, but he can urge and pray and counsel and meet and communicate. But this is the way all bishops should work things out.

PT
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« Reply #188 on: December 11, 2003, 11:10:42 AM »

Pope St. Gregory the Great (+604) on the authority of the Bishop of Rome:

"For the Byzacent primate(4) had been accused on some charge, and the most pious Emperor wished him to be judged by us according to canonical ordinance. But then, on the receipt of ten pounds of gold, Theodorus the magister militum opposed this being done. Yet the most pious Emperor admonished us to commission some one, and do whatever was canonical. But, seeing the contrarieties of men, we have been unwilling to decide this case. Now, moreover, this same primate says something about his own intention. And it is exceedingly doubtful whether he says such things to us sincerely, or in fact because he is being attacked by his fellow-bishops: for, as to his saying that he is subject to the Apostolic See, if any fault is found in bishops, I know not what bishop is not subject to it." (The Great Epistles, Epistle LIX: To John, Bishop of Syracuse).

"For as to what they say about the Church of Constantinople, who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See, as both the most pious lord the emperor and our brother the bishop of that city continually acknowledge? Yet, if this or any other Church has anything that is good, I am prepared in what is good to imitate even my inferiors, while prohibiting them from things unlawful. For he is foolish who thinks himself first in such a way as to scorn to learn whatever good things he may see." (Ibid; XII: To John, Bishop of Syracuse)

What is the nature of this "subjection"?
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« Reply #189 on: December 11, 2003, 12:03:27 PM »

Quote
Byzantino:
When all the above is imported into our own time, interpreted in accordance with the spirit of the Gospel, instead of an authoritarian spirit, we have the Papacy of the future unified Church.

Quote
peterfarrington: I'm not convinced. If the letters of Leo are read he seems to have already in the 5th century an imbalanced appreciation of his position in respect of all other bishops.

He even writes to Dioscorus of Alexandria, well before any Christological controversy and says:

"Again, that our usage may coincide at all points, we wish this thing also to be observed......."

and

"We admonish you, therefore, beloved, earnestly and affectionately that your carefulness also should not neglect what has become a part of our own usage on the pattern of our fathers' tradition, so that in all things we may agree together in our beliefs and in our performances. Consequently, we have given this letter to our son Possidonius, a presbyter, on his return, that he may bear it to you, brother; he has so often taken part in our ceremonials and ordinations, and has been sent to us so many times that he knows quite well what Apostolic authority we possess in all things."

St. Leo's letters reflect "an imbalanced appreciation of his position" only if one assumes that he was wrong.

But what if he was not wrong?

What if the Lord did found His Church upon St. Peter (as well as St. Peter's confession), endowing him with a primacy not merely of honor but of actual authority, and what if the office of St. Peter and its authority did in fact pass to his successors, the bishops of Rome?

Was St. Leo the first or the only pre-Schism pope to assert that the bishops of Rome held the presidency within the College of Bishops?

What of the language of the following decree by Pope Damasus (382)?

". . . We have considered that it ought to be announced that although all the Catholic churches spread abroad through the world comprise but one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman church has been placed at the forefront not by conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior who says: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound upon earth will be bound in heaven' . . . The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it. The second see, however, is that of Alexandria, consecrated in behalf of blessed Peter, by Mark, his disciple and an evangelist, who was sent by the Apostle Peter, where he preached the word of truth and finished his glorious martyrdom. The third honorable see, indeed, is that at Antioch, which belonged to the most blessed Apostle Peter, where first he dwelt before he came to Rome, and where the name Christian was first applied, as to a new people" (quoted in William A. Jurgens', The Faith of the Early Fathers, pp. 406-407).

Or of Pope Boniface I (418-422)?

"Never was it lawful to discuss again any matter which had been decided by the Apostolic See" (Epistle 13).

"The institution of the universal nascent Church began from the honor bestowed on Blessed Peter, in whom its government and headship reside. For from him as its fountainhead did ecclesiastical discipline flow throughout all the churches, when now the culture of religion had begun to make progress. Nor the canons of Nicaea testify otherwise, inasmuch as they do not venture to make any regulations in his regard, seeing that nothing could be conferred that was superior to his own dignity, and knowing that all things had been given him by the words of Christ. It is certain, then, that this See stands, in relation to the churches spread over the whole world, as the Head to its own members; from which Church whoso has cut himself off becomes an outcast from the Christian religion, since he has ceased to be in the same bonds of fellowship" (Epistle 14: To the Bishops of Thessaly).


Quote
peterfarrington: Leo may well have considered that his own practice was the measure of Orthopraxis everywhere else. But frankly he was wrong. Indeed Gregory is the better model since at least he authorised St Augustine to use whatever liturgical practices he considered best suited as he travelled north through Europe to Britain.

Your prior quotes do not make it clear to what St. Leo's letter to Dioscorus referred.

The interesting thing is the tone of authority in it.

Did Dioscorus protest the interference of the Pope?

Why did St. Polycarp, the early second-century Bishop of Smyrna in Asia Minor, travel all the way to Rome to discuss the date of Pascha with Pope Anicetus, if that Pope held only a primacy of honor and his practice was no measure of the Orthopraxis elsewhere?

Why did St. Irenaeus ask Pope St. Victor not to excommunicate the bishops of Asia Minor for failing to conform to the Roman date for Pascha? Why did he not say instead, "You can't do that! You have no authority over the churches of Asia Minor!" ?

Quote
peterfarrington: I believe that the error of Papal Supremacy was rooted in Roman thought quite early on, especially in the papacy of Leo.

It seems that "error," if it is one, began well before St. Leo.

Quote
peterfarrington: The facts show that it was generally ignored as an aberation by the East and resisted as long as possible by the other churches in the West. He imposed what he considered his authority over the ancient Metropolitan Sees in Gaul and did not hesitate to try and discipline even as great figures as St Hilary of Arles if they disagreed with him. He says that the Metropolitan of Arles should not be allowed to call councils or have authority, but they had had this authority since the beginning. It was to a council at Arles under the Metropolitan of Arles that the first named British bishops travelled.

Is that what the facts show?

That papal authority was ignored in the East as an "aberration"?

Is that why, as I mentioned above, St. Polycarp made the long, difficult, and dangerous journey to Rome in the early second century to confer with Pope St. Anicetus?

Quote
peterfarrington: I am very wary, as a personal opinion, of papal supremacy. Leo did not seek to be first among equals with a primacy of honour, he insisted rather on having a primacy of authority and jurisdiction which is not Orthodox at all. If this were not so he would not have removed the Metropolitan dignity held by Hilary of Arles, or tried to force Roman liturgical practice on the Alexandrian Church.

Were there protests by the other bishops against St. Leo's actions?

Did any of them deny that he had the authority to do these things?

Perhaps St. Leo's actions reflect the actual Orthodox role of the Bishop of Rome and it is the idea that he held a mere "primacy of honor" that is heterodox.

Quote
peterfarrington: I am also not convinced that after 1000 years of separation from Orthodoxy that there is some dormant Western Patriarchate that should suddenly pick up where it left off. Things have changed. Orthodoxy is not archaeology, otherwise we will have a primus inter pares of a bishop and a couple of priests as long as he is called Bishop or Rome and is in communion with the EP.

But what if the office of Bishop of Rome as successor of St. Peter and leader of the Church was something that our Lord meant to be a perpetual?

What if the visible Church without that office is handicapped in some way the Lord never intended?

Consider this quote from Alexander Schmemann:

"We live in the poisoned atmosphere of anathemas and excommunications, court cases and litigations, dubious consecrations of dubious bishops, hatred, calumny, lies! But do we think about the irreparable moral damage all this inflicts on our people? How can they respect the Hierarchy and its decisions? What meaning can the very concept of canonicity have for them? Are we not encouraging them to consider all norms, all regulations, all rules as purely relative? One wonders sometimes whether our bishops realize the scandal of this situation, whether they ever think about the cynicism all this provokes and feeds in the hearts of Orthodox people? Three Russian jurisidictions, two Serbian, two Romanian, two Albanian, two Bulgarian . . . A split among the Syrians . . . the animosity between the Russians and the Carpatho-Russians . . . the Ukrainian problem! . . . We teach our children to be 'proud' of Orthodoxy, we constantly congratulate ourselves about all kinds of historic events and achievements, our church publications distill an almost unbearable triumphalism and optimism, yet, if we were true to the spirit of our faith we ought to repent in 'sackcloth and ashes,' we ought to cry day and night about the sad, tragical state of our Church . . . Nothing can justify the bare fact: Our Church is divided. To be sure, there have always been divisions and conflicts among Christians. But for the first time in history division belongs to the very structure of the Church" (St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 2; 1964; pp. 67-84).

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peterfarrington: The future of Western European Orthodox-Catholicism may well take the path of several Metropolitical and autonomous churches. The Old-English Church was functionally autonomous and during the pre-9th century period ignored most of the commands given by Rome. Equally the Old-Irish Orthodox Church was autonomous, as was the Welsh.

If there is a primus-inter-pares then it is more likely to be the EP. But I think that there is no reason why the primus-inter-pares should not be a small council of patriarchs and metropolitans. In the OO communion there is a regular meeting of the heads of the Syrian/Armenian/Coptic Patriarchates, and in 1965 there was a council of all the Oriental Orthodox. There will be others.

PT

It is interesting that each diocese is ruled by a bishop with actual authority and not merely a "primacy of honor."

Strange that the visible Church should function without a similar type of earthly leader.
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« Reply #190 on: December 11, 2003, 12:29:23 PM »

I don't doubt that there are references in the letters of the various Roman Popes which show them to be claiming a jurisdiction, but it was constantly rejected by everyone else.

Your example of St Polycarp surely shows that the two men were on good terms, which is a good thing, but St Polycarp was never convinced by Pope Anicetus and celebrated Pascha during his visit according to the Ephesine practice.

Likewise St Cyprian was excommunicated by Pope Stephen because he rejected the Pope's position on baptism and quite obviously did not consider that the Pope had any jurisdiction over him.

Likewise why was Pope Vigilius placed under arrest for failing to confess correctly with respect to the Three Chapters? How could this have occurred if he had any jurisdictional primacy?

Likewise why was Pope Honorius excommunicated for the monothelite heresy if in fact he was the rock of the faith?

Why were the Eastern churches out of communion with the West for so much of the 5th-7th centuries if in fact they all looked to Rome to define the faith?

Apart from the high point of Chalcedon can you indicate other occasions when the East acted in any sort of jurisdictional submission to Rome?

As for Pope Dioscorus, the matters concerning which  he was told to amend his practice were that the mass could be celebrated more than once on any altar on a day - which is not the Coptic Orthodox practice and has never been, so the Pope was ignored on that matter, and that Pope Dioscorus should consecrate priests and bishops on the same days as Pope Leo.

Neither of these matters where within the prerogative of the Pope of Rome and I cannot see that any Pope before him had tried to produce a uniformity of practice throughout the world based on Roman tradition.

As for the fact that each bishop is ruler of his See, that is true. But a Metropolitan and a Patriarch are also only bishops. In the Coptic Orthodox tradition at least the Patriarch does not act without his Synod. He is not a ruler over his fellow bishops but chief shepherd among shepherds.

This is the issue. Anything that makes a bishop qualitatively more than a bishop is not part of the Orthodox tradition. That is why the EP would be constantly resisted if he tried to become a Roman style Pope. The Coptic Orthodox Pope is a shepherd and pastor within his See and with the consent of his fellow bishops, he is not 'above' them.

That the Pope was often consulted is not the same as universal jurisdiction and primacy at all.

Even in England in the Anglo-Saxon period when the Church was definitely Roman the instructions of the Pope were ignored if they did not meet with the will of the Metropolitan Synod. The Pope kept telling Archbishop Theodore to re-instate Wilfrith as bishop of the North but Theodore never did and kept on with his own reform agenda. This was his right. A patriarch should never be absolute ruler.

PT
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« Reply #191 on: December 11, 2003, 12:58:30 PM »

 The Rock (Petra) made Peter true, for the Rock was Christ.  - ST Augustine of Hippo (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/160397.htm)

 Now this name of Peter was given him by the Lord, and that in a figure, that he should signify the Church. For seeing that Christ is the rock (Petra), Peter is the Christian people. For the rock (Petra) is the original name. Therefore Peter is so called from the rock; not the rock from Peter; as Christ is not called Christ from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. "Therefore," he saith, "Thou art Peter; and upon this Rock" which thou hast confessed, upon this Rock which thou hast acknowledged, saying, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, will I build My Church;" that is upon Myself, the Son of the living God, "will I build My Church." I will build thee upon Myself, not Myself upon thee.  ST Augustine of Hippo - (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/160326.htm)
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« Reply #192 on: December 11, 2003, 01:15:36 PM »

Brother Linus,

You appear to be supporting the Latin view regarding the Bishop of Rome, I thought LatinTrad was posting.

No insult intended my brother, just a observation.

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« Reply #193 on: December 11, 2003, 01:40:21 PM »

Brother Linus,

You appear to be supporting the Latin view regarding the Bishop of Rome, I thought LatinTrad was posting.

No insult intended my brother, just a observation.

james

Not exactly, Brother James.

I am simply contending for what I believe is the true and historic role of the bishops of Rome as leaders of the Church with more than a mere primacy of honor but less than the full autocratic power of the modern Latin idea.

"When the Latins say that the Bishop of Rome is first, there is no need to contradict them, since this can do no harm to the Church. If they will show us that he has continued in the faith of Peter and his successors and that he possesses all that came from Peter, then he will be the first, the chief and head of all, the Supreme Pontiff. All these qualities have been attributed to the patriarch of Rome in the past. His throne is apostolic and the Pontiff who sits there is called the successor of Peter as long as he professes the true faith. There is no right-thinking person who would dare deny this.

. . . We are in communion with Christ and we have no reason to separate ourselves from the Popes and Patriarchs such as Peter, Linus, Clement, Stephen, Hippolytus, Sylvester, Innocent, Leo, Agapitus, Martin, and Agatho. This is clear since we celebrate their memory by calling them Doctors and Fathers . . . If another should arise who would be like them by the faith that he possesses, by his life, and by the traditions of orthodoxy, he will be our common father. We will accept him as Peter and the bonds of union will continue for a long time and to the end of the world" (Archbishop Symeon of Thessalonica; +1429).


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« Reply #194 on: December 11, 2003, 01:48:08 PM »

peterfarrington -

I do not have the time to answer your last post at length right now, but I will try to do so later.

The mere fact that Popes of Rome have been ignored or opposed is not a sufficient argument against their rightful authority.

If measured by such a standard, would our Lord fare much better?

There is plenty of testimony in the Fathers and in the records of the councils to the authority of the bishops of Rome as the successors of St. Peter.
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« Reply #195 on: December 11, 2003, 01:51:52 PM »

Br. Max -

None of what you quoted contradicts the idea that St. Peter himself was also the rock upon which our Lord founded His Church or that St. Peter received the leadership of the Church from our Lord.

Look further into the writings of the very Father you quoted, St. Augustine, and you will find ample testimony that this is so.
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« Reply #196 on: December 11, 2003, 02:12:45 PM »

Dear James:

Perhaps, at first glance, Linus appears to be "defending" the Latin position.

But I think Linus' well-reasoned exposition points to the fact that Christ, Our Lord, appointed Peter as the earthly head of the Church.  You don't need to be Roman Catholic to espouse such a position; an Orthodox can hold such view and remains Orthodox.

At the crux of the matter then is whether such leadership was effectively, or was intended by Christ to be, perpetual, i.e., transferrable to the Bishop of Rome as successor to St. Peter.

Whether that leadership is of "primacy of honor" or "of primacy of jurisdiction" becomes a secondary, or subsequent, issue.

Linus is not the first Orthodox to hold such view.

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« Reply #197 on: December 11, 2003, 02:14:28 PM »


Not exactly, Brother James.

I am simply contending for what I believe is the true and historic role of the bishops of Rome as leaders of the Church with more than a mere primacy of honor but less than the full autocratic power of the modern Latin idea.


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Linus,

I can support the above quote, but I also support the freedom of the other Patriarchs / Bishops to shepherd their particular flocks. I'm a TRC beginning to adopt Orthodox thoughts and beliefs, oy.


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« Reply #198 on: December 11, 2003, 02:22:42 PM »

But I think Linus' well-reasoned exposition points to the fact that Christ, Our Lord, appointed Peter as the earthly head of the Church.  You don't need to be Roman Catholic to espouse such a position; an Orthodox can hold such view and remains Orthodox.

I don't know that one could say Peter was appointed the "earthly head" of the Church.  He certainly enjoyed the first place among the Apostles, but that does not necessarily make one the "earthly head" of the Church, does it?  

Quote
At the crux of the matter then is whether such leadership was effectively, or was intended by Christ to be, perpetual, i.e., transferrable to the Bishop of Rome as successor to St. Peter.

Which brings me to a question I asked earlier in this thread.  

I don't think one needs to deny that Peter and his successors in the See of Rome enjoyed more than simply a primacy of honour (although I suppose one could question why that primacy, whatever it is, devolves automatically to the Bishop of Rome and not the Bishop of Antioch, for example).  But what type of authority/jurisdiction was/is it?  And on what grounds?  Can "Peter" ever abandon the faith, or does he by definition always preserve it no matter what?  These issues, which our friend Amadeus regards as secondary or subsequent issues, I actually think are of primary concern.
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« Reply #199 on: December 11, 2003, 05:35:30 PM »

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Amadeus:
But I think Linus' well-reasoned exposition points to the fact that Christ, Our Lord, appointed Peter as the earthly head of the Church.  You don't need to be Roman Catholic to espouse such a position; an Orthodox can hold such view and remains Orthodox.

Quote
Mor Ephrem: I don't know that one could say Peter was appointed the "earthly head" of the Church.  He certainly enjoyed the first place among the Apostles, but that does not necessarily make one the "earthly head" of the Church, does it?

From what I have seen, it does.  

Quote
Amadeus: At the crux of the matter then is whether such leadership was effectively, or was intended by Christ to be, perpetual, i.e., transferrable to the Bishop of Rome as successor to St. Peter.

Quote
Mor Ephrem: Which brings me to a question I asked earlier in this thread.  

I don't think one needs to deny that Peter and his successors in the See of Rome enjoyed more than simply a primacy of honour (although I suppose one could question why that primacy, whatever it is, devolves automatically to the Bishop of Rome and not the Bishop of Antioch, for example).  But what type of authority/jurisdiction was/is it?  And on what grounds?  Can "Peter" ever abandon the faith, or does he by definition always preserve it no matter what?  These issues, which our friend Amadeus regards as secondary or subsequent issues, I actually think are of primary concern.

Those are all good questions.

One could question why the primacy devolved on the Bishop of Rome rather than the Bishop of Antioch, but the answer seems to be that it just did because Rome is where Sts. Peter and Paul wound up and were martyred. It seems also that the Church's tradition has always been that the bishops of Rome are the successors of St. Peter in a preeminent way that the bishops of Antioch - although also his successors - are not.

The question - "Can 'Peter' ever abandon the faith, or does he by definition always preserve it no matter what? - is, of course, the question of papal infallibility.

If we answered that one affirmatively we'd have to be Roman Catholic.

I am not really certain yet what the exact extent of the Pope's powers were in the early Church, although it seems they extended over the whole visible Church.

The "on what grounds" question seems a lot easier to answer: on Christ's having appointed St. Peter as the Rock and Head of the Church on earth, which office the Church itself apparently understood as extending to his successors, the bishops of Rome, in perpetuity ( or at least as long as the confession of Peter's Chair remained Orthodox).
 

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« Reply #200 on: December 11, 2003, 06:23:32 PM »

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Mor Ephrem: I don't know that one could say Peter was appointed the "earthly head" of the Church.  He certainly enjoyed the first place among the Apostles, but that does not necessarily make one the "earthly head" of the Church, does it?

From what I have seen, it does.  

How, then, would you define the term "earthly head" of the Church, which is the Body of Christ?  

Quote
One could question why the primacy devolved on the Bishop of Rome rather than the Bishop of Antioch, but the answer seems to be that it just did because Rome is where Sts. Peter and Paul wound up and were martyred. It seems also that the Church's tradition has always been that the bishops of Rome are the successors of St. Peter in a preeminent way that the bishops of Antioch - although also his successors - are not.

Surely it cannot be only a direct link to Peter that determines primacy.  The only Sees with such a link are Rome and Antioch, and in the "pentarchy" Rome is first and Antioch is fourth, after two Sees that are not directly Petrine.  

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I am not really certain yet what the exact extent of the Pope's powers were in the early Church, although it seems they extended over the whole visible Church.

What, then, were those powers?
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« Reply #201 on: December 11, 2003, 06:46:34 PM »

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Mor Ephrem: I don't know that one could say Peter was appointed the "earthly head" of the Church.  He certainly enjoyed the first place among the Apostles, but that does not necessarily make one the "earthly head" of the Church, does it?

Quote
Linus7: From what I have seen, it does.  

Quote
Mor Ephrem: How, then, would you define the term "earthly head" of the Church, which is the Body of Christ?

I think I see what you are driving at: to speak of a "head" of the Body of Christ would seem to imply a usurpation of the role of Christ, who alone is the true Head of His Body, the Church.

But not really, or to speak of us as members of Christ's Body would likewise seem to be a usurpation of the role of His own members.

Just as the bishop presides in the place of Christ in the local eucharistic assembly, so, it would seem, the Bishop of Rome presides in the universal Church.

Doesn't it seem odd that our Lord would provide for local executive leadership and yet neglect to provide such leadership for the universal Church as a whole?

Quote
Linus7: One could question why the primacy devolved on the Bishop of Rome rather than the Bishop of Antioch, but the answer seems to be that it just did because Rome is where Sts. Peter and Paul wound up and were martyred. It seems also that the Church's tradition has always been that the bishops of Rome are the successors of St. Peter in a preeminent way that the bishops of Antioch - although also his successors - are not.

Quote
Mor Ephrem: Surely it cannot be only a direct link to Peter that determines primacy.  The only Sees with such a link are Rome and Antioch, and in the "pentarchy" Rome is first and Antioch is fourth, after two Sees that are not directly Petrine.

Why not?

It was St. Peter whom our Lord named "Rock" and to whom He gave the place of leadership.

Even now it is a direct link to Christ through His Apostles and their successors that determines the leadership in our own churches.

Why should it seem strange that the primacy in the Church is connected to Christ through the man (St. Peter) to whom He first gave it?

Quote
Linus7: I am not really certain yet what the exact extent of the Pope's powers were in the early Church, although it seems they extended over the whole visible Church.

Quote
Mor Ephrem: What, then, were those powers?

I have not finished studying that yet, so I am not exactly sure.

Certainly it seems the popes exerted, through their legates, a powerful presence and influence at the Great Councils, and that they were empowered to hear appeals and arbitrate disputes from all over Christendom.
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« Reply #202 on: December 11, 2003, 07:05:35 PM »

peterfarrington -

I do not have the time to answer your last post at length right now, but I will try to do so later.

The mere fact that Popes of Rome have been ignored or opposed is not a sufficient argument against their rightful authority.

If measured by such a standard, would our Lord fare much better?

There is plenty of testimony in the Fathers and in the records of the councils to the authority of the bishops of Rome as the successors of St. Peter.

Linus7

I want to show respect for your integrity and sincerity so I will do my best to go through all the records I have at hand of the See of Alexandria and try to pull out all those references relating to a relationship with Rome whether they support my position or yours. It will take a wee while.

But in passing I must say that in all my study I have never ever got the sense that anyone outside of Rome in the theological record ever taught that Rome had any universal jurisdiction and was more than an honorary primus inter pares and court of final appeal.

I think we must also beware of the florid language in various documents, which even address Nestorius as if he were some highly honoured and respected Orthodox bishop even while they contain his condemnation, rather than the actual practice. If everyone ignores the universal jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome then there is no universal jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome.

But I'll try to honestly approach the Alexandrian context and documents

PT
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« Reply #203 on: December 11, 2003, 07:14:08 PM »

I am not really certain yet what the exact extent of the Pope's powers were in the early Church, although it seems they extended over the whole visible Church.

But based on what evidence? If the sainted Metropolitans of Arles and Canterbury rejected his attempts at universal jurisdiction, as did St Cyprian and St Polycarp then what is the evidence that anyone accepted his jurisdiction.

Advice and opinions are one thing, these were often requested of the Pope of Rome and of other Patriarchs, but advice and opinions is not universal jurisdiction.

If the 5th council was wrong to oppose a Pope and so was the 6th to excommunicate one then we have a situation where we must choose the authority of two ecumenical councils over and against that of two Popes. If the Popes were the head of the Church then why were they treated in such a way. Maybe some bishops could get doctrine wrong and fail to recognise the jurisdiction of the Pope but two councils? And when Pelagius II made his way back to the West after the 5th council why was he excommunicated by the North Africans and the Gauls and could only find two bishops and a priest who would consecrate him. Why? If he were the undisputed head of the Church.

But I will return to my consideration of the Alexandrian record.

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« Reply #204 on: December 11, 2003, 07:23:13 PM »

This might be a bit off topic, but why is it that the Mother Church of Jerusalem not recognized more ? Without it there would be no church in Antioch, Alexandria or Rome.


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« Reply #205 on: December 11, 2003, 07:29:40 PM »

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Peterfarrington: But in passing I must say that in all my study I have never ever got the sense that anyone outside of Rome in the theological record ever taught that Rome had any universal jurisdiction and was more than an honorary primus inter pares and court of final appeal.

You could be right, and I am still studying this and learning.

I have a lot of questions regarding ecclesiology, Church government, how one can tell an orthodox council from the other kind, etc.
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« Reply #206 on: December 11, 2003, 07:40:03 PM »

I think I see what you are driving at: to speak of a "head" of the Body of Christ would seem to imply a usurpation of the role of Christ, who alone is the true Head of His Body, the Church.

But not really, or to speak of us as members of Christ's Body would likewise seem to be a usurpation of the role of His own members.

I didn't intend on taking the analogy this far; I only wanted to use it to illustrate that Christ is the Head of the Church, and so far it is only RC's who I hear claiming such, albeit in an "earthly" capacity, for the Popes of Rome.  If you want to take it to this level, though, I suppose it could be said that since the Church is the "continuation" of Christ's presence in the world, we are to be His arms and legs, so to speak, doing His work in the world.  Can you conclude, from this angle, that the Pope of Rome is in some way to occupy the headship of the Church?  Or is not our head always Christ?      

Quote
Just as the bishop presides in the place of Christ in the local eucharistic assembly, so, it would seem, the Bishop of Rome presides in the universal Church.

Doesn't it seem odd that our Lord would provide for local executive leadership and yet neglect to provide such leadership for the universal Church as a whole?

If you are going to follow this analogy to its logical end, then you must admit that since the bishop has universal, immediate, ordinary jurisdiction in the local Church, then the Pope of Rome has such universal, immediate, ordinary jurisdiction in the universal Church.  

Right?

Quote
Quote
Mor Ephrem: Surely it cannot be only a direct link to Peter that determines primacy.  The only Sees with such a link are Rome and Antioch, and in the "pentarchy" Rome is first and Antioch is fourth, after two Sees that are not directly Petrine.

Why not?

It was St. Peter whom our Lord named "Rock" and to whom He gave the place of leadership.

Even now it is a direct link to Christ through His Apostles and their successors that determines the leadership in our own churches.

Why should it seem strange that the primacy in the Church is connected to Christ through the man (St. Peter) to whom He first gave it?

The point I was trying to make here regards only the Petrine connection.  Rome and Antioch both have that connection directly, so if that kind of connection was the primary reason for Rome's primacy, then it is only logical that the second place goes to Antioch.  The pentarchy should be Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Constantinople, if we are going strictly by Petrine links.  But that is not the order in which we see it canonised.  Clearly, I should think, the Petrine connection is not the primary reason for primacy, even if such came to be regarded as the primary reason for it by some in later centuries.  

Quote
Linus7: I am not really certain yet what the exact extent of the Pope's powers were in the early Church, although it seems they extended over the whole visible Church.

Quote
I have not finished studying that yet, so I am not exactly sure.

Certainly it seems the popes exerted, through their legates, a powerful presence and influence at the Great Councils, and that they were empowered to hear appeals and arbitrate disputes from all over Christendom.

If this is all there is to the power of the Roman Pontiffs in the undivided Church, then such, I think, is compatible with Orthodoxy and the position those same Roman Pontiffs enjoyed when in the Orthodox Catholic Church.  

I eagerly await the final results of your investigation when you are done.
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« Reply #207 on: December 11, 2003, 08:32:16 PM »

This might be a bit off topic, but why is it that the Mother Church of Jerusalem not recognized more ? Without it there would be no church in Antioch, Alexandria or Rome.


james

Now if I were going to impart primacy of authority in any one place that's where I would put it.  BUT since primacy is based not upon spiritual factors, but POLITICAL - primacy went to the capital of the known world - Rome - and later in honourary form to the new capital - Constantinople.  

Jerusalem is where God wrote his name.  Jerusalem is God's Holy City . . . .
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« Reply #208 on: December 11, 2003, 09:40:45 PM »

Br. Max,

The Jerusalem Church plays such a small role until Pascha.

Before I leave this world, I would love to visit the Churches in Jerusalem, I feel the Holy Spirit would be overwelming.

james

ps- this post was made after meds. Tongue
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« Reply #209 on: December 11, 2003, 11:22:59 PM »

Br. Max,

The Jerusalem Church plays such a small role until Pascha.

Before I leave this world, I would love to visit the Churches in Jerusalem, I feel the Holy Spirit would be overwelming.

james
 I'm sorry I know we're supposed to keep short posts to a minimum so as to save on bandwith - but - HUH???
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« Reply #210 on: December 11, 2003, 11:31:29 PM »

I don't think that when Linus says the Orthodox Pope of Rome had some authority over the Universal Church he concedes to the RC doctrine of universal jurisdiction. We would make much progress if we removed the ambiguity and vagueness attached to the idea of "authority over the Universal Church," because properly understood we're dealing with two concepts that couldn't be more mutually exclusive.

Peter's already given several instances of how the Popes' attempts at universal jurisdiction were received by the Church. I think the most lucid example we have of how firmly opposed the Church was to any jurisdictional abberation by the Bishop of Rome is the St. Photius and Pope Nicholas controversy. This serves as the best example of the background against which we should understand Universal Jurisdiction.

The pro-Frankish Pope Nicholas' correspondences with the Emperor and St. Photius reveal how extensively he relied on the pseudo-Isidorean decretals - his tone is alarmingly authoritarian, he claims the right to depose bishops and commit other blatant violations of the Canons, that the Bulgarians should be under no bishop save the Roman bishop, and that it is from only the Roman church that the same Bulgarians are to receive their doctrine.  This is universal jurisdiction, and i don't believe for a second that Linus advocates this model.

Now a clarification of "authority over the Universal Church" is needed. The term "authority" can be interpreted diversely, and from what Church history teaches us, we can be completely certain that a number of interpretations are necessarily precluded.  If the Apostle Peter was given a special role as the leader of the Church, and if the Bishop of Rome inherits that role by virtue of his succession and recognition by the entire Church, then we should expect to see the Popes exercise a certain kind of authority, consistent with the Gospel and appropriately circumscribed in accordance with the outlines established by the Councils. How i've come to understand that authority is by removing any overtones of despotism and authoritarianism and replacing it with benevolence, becoming an authority involving guiding, witnessing, ensuring things don't get out of hand, admonishing, and taking the initiative. Taking Pope St. Clement as a guide, these duties can be supported in his epistle to the Corinthians:

(v. 59) "But should any disobey what has been said by Him through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in transgression and no small danger....(v. 63) You certainly will give us the keenest pleasure if you prove obedient to what we have written through the Holy Spirit, and extirpate the lawless passion of your jealousy in accordance with the pleas we have made in this letter for peace and accord."

Thus the Pope is the peacemaker. But Peter correctly points out that the Popes did get things wrong, and sometimes very wrong. Pope Vigilius committed a serious doctrinal blunder, so did Pope Honorius albeit fatally. Leaving aside matters of doctrine and focussing on discipline, what if a Pope's counsel had been disputed? Far from having the last word and giving any pretense of universal jurisdiction, the ultimate tribunal was the Council - case in point, Pope Innocent's comforting words to the clergy of Constantinople regarding their bishop St. John Chrysostom:
 
"John, our brother and colleague, and your bishop, has been the first to suffer from this violence, without having been heard, and without our knowing of what he is accused....As regards the canons, we declare that only those made at the Council of Nicea should be recognized....Nevertheless, what remedy can be applied to so great an evil? There is no other than to convoke a Council....Until we are able to obtain the convocation of a council, we cannot do better than to await from the will of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ the remedy of these evils."  

I hope i've been able to distinguish between the two mutually exclusive understanding of the Petrine Primacy. If the Popes' decisions were not incontestable, then universal jurisdiction falls apart and dies a quick death. If on the other hand everybody gave unswerving support to the decisions of the Popes then we should all become Roman Catholics. To any amateur student of Church history, it's abundantly clear that the historical position is the former.
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« Reply #211 on: December 12, 2003, 05:10:05 AM »

I hope i've been able to distinguish between the two mutually exclusive understanding of the Petrine Primacy. If the Popes' decisions were not incontestable, then universal jurisdiction falls apart and dies a quick death. If on the other hand everybody gave unswerving support to the decisions of the Popes then we should all become Roman Catholics. To any amateur student of Church history, it's abundantly clear that the historical position is the former.

A good post Byzantino. Lots to think about. I'll continue looking through the letters and writings of the Alexandrian fathers to see how they understood their relationship with the Pope of Rome. I do note that St Severus writing in the 6th century quotes the 'Thou art Peter' passage as referring to the faith of Peter and not the establishment of Peter as head of the Church.

PT
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« Reply #212 on: December 12, 2003, 07:49:11 AM »

Thanks Peter, please do that i'd love to read the Alexandrian fathers,  though we both seem to be saying pretty much the same thing about the Pope's primacy.
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« Reply #213 on: December 12, 2003, 08:57:14 AM »

This might be a bit off topic, but why is it that the Mother Church of Jerusalem not recognized more ? Without it there would be no church in Antioch, Alexandria or Rome.


james

Now if I were going to impart primacy of authority in any one place that's where I would put it.  BUT since primacy is based not upon spiritual factors, but POLITICAL - primacy went to the capital of the known world - Rome - and later in honourary form to the new capital - Constantinople.  

Jerusalem is where God wrote his name.  Jerusalem is God's Holy City . . . .

I would put it in Orlando, but God didn't ask me.

Who says "primacy is based not upon spiritual factors, but POLITICAL"?

Our Lord gave the leadership of the Church to a man, his chief Apostle, St. Peter. St. Peter became Bishop of Rome and died as a martyr there. His office descended to his successor, Linus  Grin, and, subsequently, to his successors.

Earthly Jerusalem is NOT "God's Holy City." The true Jerusalem, Christ's Church, is God's Holy City.

Earthly Jerusalem is spiritually Sodom and Egypt.
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« Reply #214 on: December 12, 2003, 09:20:53 AM »

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Mor Ephrem: If you are going to follow this analogy to its logical end, then you must admit that since the bishop has universal, immediate, ordinary jurisdiction in the local Church, then the Pope of Rome has such universal, immediate, ordinary jurisdiction in the universal Church.  

Right?

It could be that that is the the proper role of the Pope.

I'm not saying it is, but it could be.

The Orthodox theologian Nicholas Lossky wrote that it is possible to "envisage primacy as an exercise of presidency in love and over love, as a service, a ministry" (in James F. Puglisi's, Petrine Ministry and the Unity of the Church).

That is how I am seeing the office of Pope: as that of a president in what is essentially a federal, parliamentary (i.e., conciliar) system.

Quote
Mor Ephrem: The point I was trying to make here regards only the Petrine connection.  Rome and Antioch both have that connection directly, so if that kind of connection was the primary reason for Rome's primacy, then it is only logical that the second place goes to Antioch.  The pentarchy should be Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Constantinople, if we are going strictly by Petrine links.  But that is not the order in which we see it canonised.  Clearly, I should think, the Petrine connection is not the primary reason for primacy, even if such came to be regarded as the primary reason for it by some in later centuries.

Why should we expect primacy to have some sort of descending effect on the pecking order of the churches?

Primacy has to do with the leadership of the Church as a whole. Our Lord made St. Peter the leader, and the tradition of the Church is that the bishops of Rome are his successors.

That's it, the extent of it.

There is no tradition that, since St. Peter was also Bishop of Antioch, Antioch holds the second place in the Church, etc.

In other words, St. Peter's office went to his successors, the bishops of Rome. It's not as if some of it also rubbed off in Antioch, and a bit less in Alexandria, etc. If that was the case all sorts of places would be popping up with signs that read "St. Peter slept here" and claiming varying degrees of "primacy."
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« Reply #215 on: December 12, 2003, 09:27:31 AM »

I watched this thread re-light yesterday just before I had to leave home to drive to VA to see my parents. Hence, I had about 8 hours, driving alone and without knowledge of further posts after 10AM, to ponder the issues at hand. I very much welcomed Subdeacon Farrington's perspectives.
I think I see now that our difficulty in defining the Roman popes' role is not our fault, but a result of these very issues NEVER having been resolved even in the "early" church fully or consistently - in all places and at all times.
I am settled in my mind as to St. Peter and his Christ's charge to him as well as the role the early church actually afforded his successors on the Roman throne which authority/role was not necessarily the same. I've read so much 'straight' history over the years and constantly come across the opinion that the pressing of papal authority began in earnest "as early as the fifth century". Every time I come across that "as early as" phrase I wonder, "What about before?" and "Why then?" Well, 'before' seems to mostly coincide with the pre-official period before Christianity became the State religion. "Caesaro-papism" probably affected this more than we realize with papal claims (or even opinions) being supported by the emperor when politically pragmatic for the emperor, and resisted in the same manner. (I still am working out the "Why then" but think it  related to the empire's administrative east/west, dual emperors situation and Justinian's re-merging of the two.)
Linus7's belief is that Christ meant to establish an administrative plan for His Church. While I am sympathic with Linus's sentiment (or wish), I am not certain of this beyond Peter. I do support Linus's position in great extent on the successors' role, but now see why "the other side" has a hard time with it. Christ defined Peter's role, the Church defined that of his successors. And it's this subsequent definition, this second separate definition which is so hard to grasp. In point of fact, we're still defining it. The fact that the west has since the Filioque in creed and St. Photios in administratiion taken steps off the Path (and the west's reformation progeny off the map) has yet further complicated the issue.
Linus7 states (paraphrasing as I write this off-line): "...just because the Pope was ignored does not make him wrong or his rightful authority less..." This is tempting, but, alas, begs the question itself. We assume that the acceptance of the role of Peter's throne in the early Church was the same in all places, at all times. I don't think this is true (sorry, Linus). Prior to Constantine, the Church was rife with heresies (many from the east) and, probably, not fully defined administratively. This prompted the emperor to call the Universal Councils in the first place. Shortly thereafter we find the arguments over the papacy primacy coming to the fore and these persist up to and since the Schism.
Ignore the Pope?! Well, IF the Church actually viewed the Papacy as we do our OEcumenical Patriarch today, well (sigh), yes, possibly.

Demetri :-";"xx
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« Reply #216 on: December 12, 2003, 10:11:55 AM »

I think I see now that our difficulty in defining the Roman popes' role is not our fault, but a result of these very issues NEVER having been resolved even in the "early" church fully or consistently - in all places and at all times.

Demetri, that is a brilliant insight and I agree entirely.

Is there a sense in which we could say that when the primus-inter-pares acts in accordance with the ministry if primus-inter-pares then his ministry is received but when he acts in an authoritarian spirit or seeks a juridical primacy then his actions have been, and are rightly, ignored.

I think I am trying to say that the very process of trying to define the 'rights' and 'authority' of a primus-inter-pares in the episcopate already takes the concept beyond what is appropriate and Orthodox-Catholic. He has NO rights and NO authority except the spiritual authority which comes from say the right words in the right way at the right time.

Look at the difference between Pope St Gregory advising St Augustine as to how he should act in his missionary endeavours in England,

"You know, my brother, the custom of the Roman church in which you remember you were bred up. But it pleases me, that if you have found anything, either in the Roman, or the Gallican, or any other church, which may be more acceptable to Almighty God, you carefully make choice of the same, and sedulously teach the church of the English, which as yet is new ln the faith, whatsoever you can gather from the several churches. For things are not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things. Choose, therefore, from every church those things that are pious, religious, and upright, and when you have, as it were, made them up into one body, let the minds of the English be accustomed thereto."

Pope Gregory certainly writes as one who is the senior of St Augustine but there seems little or none of the authoritarian approach. He tells St Augustine to use his own judgement in finding the best of all the liturgical practices he finds.

On the other hand Pope Leo, as I have already quoted, sends his first letter to the new Patriarch of Alexandria with a list of liturgical practices which should all be changed to conform to his own practice and opinion.

Is there a difference of approach here that shows in the first instance the ministry of primus-inter-pares, and it is slightly complicated in St Augustine's case because St Augustine was responsible to Pope St Gregory. Nevertheless that authority is not over-bearing otr insistent.

So I think that the primus-inter-pares just needs to exercise that vocation without seeking to define it closely. If he is 'The Servant of the Servants of God' then he does not need to ask for a strict definition of his service.

I do have another issue though. I have some difficulty in considering the Pope of Rome as primus-inter-pares because Roman Catholicism is not the same as Orthodoxy - I don't mean that polemically but just factually. Since the Pope of Rome is not in communion with my own Patriarchate he is not primus-inter-pares of the Oriental Orthodox communion. That position alls rather to Pope Shenouda III.

I think that is is a false ecclesiology which says that because Rome as the capital of the Empire had the chief See that means that it must forever be the seat of the primus-inter-pares even if there is no Orthodox bishop there. It may be necessary to have a primus-inter-pares but I don't see how or why some EO still insist that such a position is notionally held by a non-existent (from the Orthodox perspective) Orthodox bishop of Rome. It must at the very least have devolved to the EP, as it has devolved to the Patriarch of Alexandria.

These are questions and thoughts not polemics. I have no interest at all in even sounding like I am disparaging Roman Catholics.

PT
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« Reply #217 on: December 12, 2003, 01:11:18 PM »

I have to say, i created a very intresting topic didnt I? 15 pages thats alot, i thought this thread died along time ago.
Before i decided to convert to Orthodoxy.

In Christ
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« Reply #218 on: December 12, 2003, 01:46:20 PM »

Quote
peterfarrington: I do have another issue though. I have some difficulty in considering the Pope of Rome as primus-inter-pares because Roman Catholicism is not the same as Orthodoxy - I don't mean that polemically but just factually. Since the Pope of Rome is not in communion with my own Patriarchate he is not primus-inter-pares of the Oriental Orthodox communion. That position alls rather to Pope Shenouda III.

I think we were primarily discussing the authentic role of the popes of Rome and not the status of the current one.

Your remarks bring something interesting to mind, however.

For Non-Chalcedonians, the "Great Schism" occurred in 451 with the Council of Chalcedon.

Since Pope St. Leo the Great ( Is he regarded as a saint - or "great" - by Non-Chalcedonians?) played an important role in that council, through his famous Tome and his legates Paschasinus and Lucentius, it is fundamental that Non-Chalcedonians find fault with him and his view of the office of Pope.

For Eastern Orthodox, however, the "Great Schism" occurred much later. In fact, it is difficult to date it precisely.

For us, Pope St. Leo the Great was all of those things: Pope, saint, and great.

His pre-schism successors are also highly respected and, in many if not most cases, venerated. For us, what they had to say about the office of Pope should matter.

I don't think differences in the approaches of St. Leo and St. Gregory regarding liturgical practices demonstrate anything about the limitations of the papal office. They simply show that the two men had different views about latitude in liturgical practice.

Quote
peterfarrington: I think that is is a false ecclesiology which says that because Rome as the capital of the Empire had the chief See that means that it must forever be the seat of the primus-inter-pares even if there is no Orthodox bishop there. It may be necessary to have a primus-inter-pares but I don't see how or why some EO still insist that such a position is notionally held by a non-existent (from the Orthodox perspective) Orthodox bishop of Rome. It must at the very least have devolved to the EP, as it has devolved to the Patriarch of Alexandria.

I don't think the tradition has EVER been that Rome's position as capital of the Empire determined the primacy of the episcopal office there.

It was St. Peter who held the primacy, and it is the fact that the bishops of Rome are his successors that endows them with the primacy in the Church.

The fact that Rome was the old capital of the Empire is neither here nor there.

Christ did not say, "Rome is the rock and upon this rock (Rome) I will build my Church."

But He did change Simon Bar Jonah's name to Rock, and He did promise to build His Church upon that Rock and his confession of faith.

There is plenty of evidence in the patristic record and the record of the councils of the Church that the Bishop of Rome was regarded as the Head of the earthly Church.

I can see that clearly, although I am Orthodox and have no RC agenda to push.

I do agree with Aristokles, however, that the extent and limitations of that role are not clearly spelled out.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution describes the role of our president. But even that office has been largely shaped through tradition and subsequent development.

We don't have a written ecclesiastical constitution or Article II to help us figure this out.
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« Reply #219 on: December 12, 2003, 02:31:03 PM »

Since Pope St. Leo the Great ( Is he regarded as a saint - or "great" - by Non-Chalcedonians?) played an important role in that council, through his famous Tome and his legates Paschasinus and Lucentius, it is fundamental that Non-Chalcedonians find fault with him and his view of the office of Pope.

Not really. Just because I have some reservations about the Tome doesn't mean I am obliged to reject everything he said. In fact Pope St Gregory is much later and I am in sympathy with much he says and writes. If I object to certain aspects of Leo of Rome's ecclesiology it is because I think it is wrong and un-Orthodox.

Quote
His pre-schism successors are also highly respected and, in many if not most cases, venerated. For us, what they had to say about the office of Pope should matter.

But no more than what the fathers of the East thought, and they never accorded the Pope of Rome a jurisdictional authority.

Quote
I don't think the tradition has EVER been that Rome's position as capital of the Empire determined the primacy of the episcopal office there.

I think you are wrong here. The reason that the EP is the EP is entirely because Constantinople became the New Rome. Before the foundation of Constantinople it was a very minor episcopal seat. The Western papal opinion that Rome had authority seems to me to have developed AFTER the conversion of Constantine and seems to me to be inextricably linked to Rome being the capital of the empire. We have already had quotes from many early fathers who do not consider the scriptures to teach that the Pope of Rome was a successor in any jurisidictional sense to St Peter, or even that St Peter had authority over the other Apostles. It seems clear he did not.

Quote
The fact that Rome was the old capital of the Empire is neither here nor there.

Christ did not say, "Rome is the rock and upon this rock (Rome) I will build my Church."

I disagree. What Christ said is not relevant in this context. Christ did not mention Constantinople but her bishop took the name of EP because it was the Imperial capital.

If Peter had settled in Lyons I doubt very much that the bishop of Lyons would have remained superior to that of Rome, just as Antioch was after Rome in honour though it had as much claim to being St Peter's See.

Quote
There is plenty of evidence in the patristic record and the record of the councils of the Church that the Bishop of Rome was regarded as the Head of the earthly Church.

And this has been and continues to be constantly rejected as so. The Head of the Church is Christ.

Why, when the fathers of Ephesus I wrote to Pope Celestine did they not refer to him as head of the Church? Why did they merely inform him that they had assembled in council by the will of Christ and the Emperor?

Why does St Athanasius not describe the Pope of Rome as head of the Church? Or St Cyril? Or the Apostolic Constitutions? Or the Didache? or St Cyril of Jerusalem in his instructions to new converts? Surely it would have been very important? Why the silence?

The Photian ecumenical council explicitly rejected the authority of the Pope of Rome and is considered an 8th ecumenical council by some important Orthodox theologians, it certainly represented the EO position with respect to the Pope of Rome.

Why so much silence if the Pope of Rome was considered really the head of the Church?

These are questions not accusations.

PT
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« Reply #220 on: December 12, 2003, 02:33:46 PM »

About the 8th and 9th councils

http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/8-9synods.html

"The Eighth Ecumenical Council of 879-880 was affirmed by the patriarchs of Old Rome (Pope John VIII), New Rome [Constantinople] (Saint Photius), Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria and by the Emperor Basil I. This council condemned any 'additions' to the Creed of Nicaea-Constantinople, condemned anyone who denied the legitimacy of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and its decree on icons, and contained an agreement that patriarchates would not interfere in each others' internal affairs. This council was regarded by (Old) Rome (present-day Rome) as the Eighth Ecumenical Council until the eleventh century."

Note the agreement that Patriarchs, and this was directed towards Rome, would NOT interfere in each others affairs.

PT
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« Reply #221 on: December 12, 2003, 03:11:34 PM »

I think that this is an important and authoritative statement from the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs of 1848 (signed by the Greek Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem and many bishops)

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/encyc_1848.htm

"For, unless the Church of Christ was founded upon the immovable rock of St. Peter’s Confession, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God (which was the answer of the Apostles in common, when the question was put to them, Whom say ye that I am? (Matt. xvi. 15,) as the Fathers, both Eastern and Western, interpret the passage to us), the Church was built upon a slippery foundation, even on Cephas himself, not to say on the Pope, who, after monopolizing the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, has made such an administration of them as is plain from history. But our divine Fathers, with one accord, teach that the sense of the thrice-repeated command, Feed my sheep, implied no prerogative in St. Peter over the other Apostles, least of all in his successors. It was a simple restoration to his Apostleship, from which he had fallen by his thrice-repeated denial. St. Peter himself appears to have understood the intention of the thrice-repeated question of our Lord: Lovest thou Me, and more, and than these?. (John xxi. 16;) for, calling to mind the words, Thou all shall be offended because of Thee, yet will 1 never be offended (Matt. xxvi. 33), he was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? But his successors, from self-interest, understand the expression as indicative of St. Peter's more ready mind."

and

"For all this we have esteemed it our paternal and brotherly need, and a sacred duty, by our present admonition to confirm you in the Orthodoxy you hold from your forefathers, and at the same time point out the emptiness of the syllogisms of the Bishop of Rome, of which he is manifestly himself aware. For not from his Apostolic Confession does he glorify his Throne, but from his Apostolic Throne seeks to establish his dignity, and from his dignity, his Confession. The truth is the other way. The Throne of Rome is esteemed that of St. Peter by a single tradition, but not from Holy Scripture, where the claim is in favor of Antioch, whose Church is therefore witnessed by the great Basil (Ep. 48 Athan.) to be "the most venerable of all the Churches in the world." Still more, the second Ecumenical Council, writing to a Council of the West (to the most honorable and religious brethren and fellow-servants, Damasus, Ambrose, Britto, Valerian, and others), witnesseth, saying: "The oldest and truly Apostolic Church of Antioch, in Syria, where first the honored name of Christians was used."

There is more in this statement. It seems clear that the EO Patriarchs were united in rejecting any sense in which the scriptures about Peter and the Rock applied to St Peter himself as setting him apart from his fellow Apostles or in setting the Pope of Rome above the church in any way.

If these Patriarchs are all wrong about the primacy of Peter then they have led Eastern Orthodoxy into error. If they are correct then the concept of papal primacy let alone papal supremacy lacks any authority.

As the Patriarchs teach

But our divine Fathers, with one accord, teach that the sense of the thrice-repeated command, Feed my sheep, implied no prerogative in St. Peter over the other Apostles, least of all in his successors.

PT
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« Reply #222 on: December 12, 2003, 03:22:08 PM »

I don't think the tradition has EVER been that Rome's position as capital of the Empire determined the primacy of the episcopal office there.........The fact that Rome was the old capital of the Empire is neither here nor there.

The EO Patriarchs and bishops write in 1848

"Thus he who is cited by his Holiness as a witness of the primacy of the Roman Church, shows that its dignity is not that of a lordship, nor even appellate, to which St. Peter himself was never ordained, but is a brotherly privilege in the Catholic Church, and an honor assigned the Popes on account of the greatness and privilege of the City. Thus, also, the fourth Ecumenical Council, for the preservation of the gradation in rank of Churches canonically established by the third Ecumenical Council (Canon Cool,—following the second (Canon 3), as that again followed the first (Canon 6), which called the appellate jurisdiction of the Pope over the West a Custom,—thus uttered its determination: "On account of that City being the Imperial City, the Fathers have with reason given it prerogatives" (Canon 28). "

Chalcedon XXVIII says:

"For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges (isa presbeia) to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her."

There is no mention of St Peter, whereas that would be expected if it were considered material to the precedence of Rome.

PT
« Last Edit: December 12, 2003, 03:26:24 PM by peterfarrington » Logged

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« Reply #223 on: December 12, 2003, 06:44:12 PM »

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Pope Gregory certainly writes as one who is the senior of St Augustine but there seems little or none of the authoritarian approach. He tells St Augustine to use his own judgement in finding the best of all the liturgical practices he finds.

On the other hand Pope Leo, as I have already quoted, sends his first letter to the new Patriarch of Alexandria with a list of liturgical practices which should all be changed to conform to his own practice and opinion.
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Precisely my view. We're on the same wavelength. And well said about not needing to define the primacy in strict terms...if only the Vatican would lose its infatuation with having everything defined in strict categories and leave it up to the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #224 on: December 13, 2003, 01:23:05 AM »

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Linus7:
Since Pope St. Leo the Great ( Is he regarded as a saint - or "great" - by Non-Chalcedonians?) played an important role in that council, through his famous Tome and his legates Paschasinus and Lucentius, it is fundamental that Non-Chalcedonians find fault with him and his view of the office of Pope.

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peterfarrington: Not really. Just because I have some reservations about the Tome doesn't mean I am obliged to reject everything he said. In fact Pope St Gregory is much later and I am in sympathy with much he says and writes. If I object to certain aspects of Leo of Rome's ecclesiology it is because I think it is wrong and un-Orthodox.

You are more in sympathy with what St. Gregory wrote and yet I have provided passages from his writings in which he, too, asserts the primacy of his office.

You think St. Leo's ecclesiology is wrong and unorthodox, yet he is a saint and a Father and Doctor of the Church.

In what way was he wrong and unorthodox?

I don't mean to sound offensive, but pardon me if I go with St. Leo instead of you.

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Linus7:
His pre-schism successors are also highly respected and, in many if not most cases, venerated. For us, what they had to say about the office of Pope should matter.

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peterfarrington: But no more than what the fathers of the East thought, and they never accorded the Pope of Rome a jurisdictional authority.

"They never accorded the Pope of Rome a jurisdictional authority"?

Really? I don't see it that way.

What about this statement directed to Pope Hadrian I by Tarasius, Patriarch of Constantinople, at the conclusion of the Seventh Ecumenical Council?

"Your Holiness has inherited the See of the divine Apostle Peter, wherefore lawfully by the will of God you preside over all the hierarchy of the Church."

Which Eastern Fathers argued in their writings that the Pope of Rome was not the Head of the visible Church?

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Linus7:
I don't think the tradition has EVER been that Rome's position as capital of the Empire determined the primacy of the episcopal office there.

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peterfarrington: I think you are wrong here. The reason that the EP is the EP is entirely because Constantinople became the New Rome. Before the foundation of Constantinople it was a very minor episcopal seat. The Western papal opinion that Rome had authority seems to me to have developed AFTER the conversion of Constantine and seems to me to be inextricably linked to Rome being the capital of the empire. We have already had quotes from many early fathers who do not consider the scriptures to teach that the Pope of Rome was a successor in any jurisidictional sense to St Peter, or even that St Peter had authority over the other Apostles. It seems clear he did not.

The church at Constantinople is not of apostolic foundation. Its preeminence can truly be said to have arisen as a result of its position as the New Rome.

The church at Old Rome, on the other hand, is of apostolic foundation. The tradition of the Church is that the bishops of Rome are the successors of St. Peter.

What pre-Schism Fathers have been quoted who deny that the bishops of Rome were the successors of St. Peter? Please point them out because I have seen no such thing; in fact, quite the opposite.

It's easy to claim that the idea of papal primacy arose after the conversion of Constantine, since Christian writings from before that time are pretty sparse. In fact, that is the standard Protestant argument.

I disagree with you in the strongest terms regarding the authority of St. Peter among the Apostles. It is readily apparent that he was the first and chief of the Apostles. Plenty of Church Fathers said the same. Look back at this thread if you doubt that.

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Linus7:
The fact that Rome was the old capital of the Empire is neither here nor there.

Christ did not say, "Rome is the rock and upon this rock (Rome) I will build my Church."

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peterfarrington: I disagree. What Christ said is not relevant in this context. Christ did not mention Constantinople but her bishop took the name of EP because it was the Imperial capital.

If Peter had settled in Lyons I doubt very much that the bishop of Lyons would have remained superior to that of Rome, just as Antioch was after Rome in honour though it had as much claim to being St Peter's See.

I see. So you deny that our Lord made St. Peter the leader of the Apostles and that that authority passed to his successors, the bishops of Rome?

It seems to me you must ignore a lot of patristic literature to do so, and that you must call many of the early popes and other saints liars or at least say they were much mistaken.

The case of Constantinople and its prominence is not parallel to that of Old Rome. Sts. Peter and Paul were not martyred in Byzantium, nor was the church there founded by any apostle.

Its prominence was strictly of political origin.

Rome's, however, was of a different kind.

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peterfarrington:
There is plenty of evidence in the patristic record and the record of the councils of the Church that the Bishop of Rome was regarded as the Head of the earthly Church.

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peterfarrington: And this has been and continues to be constantly rejected as so. The Head of the Church is Christ.

Christ is the Head of the Church. That is true.

Yet, as St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote, each bishop presides in the place of Christ in the local eucharistic assembly.

If headship at the local church level is vested in a single executive, why should it be thought odd that Christ should invest the Headship of the visible universal Church in a single executive?

Appointing St. Peter as the leader of the Apostles was no threat to the Headship of Christ. Even calling St. Peter "the Rock" was no challenge to Christ's status as the Greater Rock.

The primacy of the bishops of Rome in the early Church "has been and continues to be constantly rejected" only in the minds and polemical writings of those who have some interest in denying it. As I said, the patristic record and the record of the Great Councils say otherwise.

Where is there evidence of a pre-Schism debate concerning the primacy of the bishops of Rome?

One can find cases in which a bishop debated a particular issue with one of the popes, but nowhere have I seen those bishops deny the Pope's authority.

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peterfarrington: Why, when the fathers of Ephesus I wrote to Pope Celestine did they not refer to him as head of the Church? Why did they merely inform him that they had assembled in council by the will of Christ and the Emperor?

If they did not believe he was the Head of the Church on earth, why did they not object when Celestine's legate, Philip, made the following speech?

"It is doubtful to no one, nay it has been known to all ages, that the holy and blessed Peter, the Prince and Head of all the Apostles, the Pillar of the Faith, and the Foundation of the Catholic Church, received the Keys of the Kingdom from Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, and that to him was given the power of binding and loosing sins, who, up to this time and always lives and exercises judgment in his successors. His Successor therefore and Representative, our holy and most blessed Pope, Bishop Celestine, has sent us to this Synod to supply his place." (Second Session of the Council of Ephesus, 431).

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peterfarrington: Why does St Athanasius not describe the Pope of Rome as head of the Church? Or St Cyril? Or the Apostolic Constitutions? Or the Didache? or St Cyril of Jerusalem in his instructions to new converts? Surely it would have been very important? Why the silence?

I think you know that arguments from silence are not very compelling.

There are plenty of Fathers who were not silent on this issue and did describe the bishops of Rome as heads of the visible Church.

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peterfarrington: The Photian ecumenical council explicitly rejected the authority of the Pope of Rome and is considered an 8th ecumenical council by some important Orthodox theologians, it certainly represented the EO position with respect to the Pope of Rome.

Why so much silence if the Pope of Rome was considered really the head of the Church?

These are questions not accusations.

PT


The whole Photian affair is too complex to discuss in an already-too-long post.

Suffice it to say that Photius was ultimately reconciled to Pope John VIII (Nicholas' successor) and that the earlier synod to which you refer is certainly not considered an ecumenical council by the Church.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2003, 01:34:40 AM by Linus7 » Logged

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