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Author Topic: Oriental Orthodox relations with the Catholic Church  (Read 2746 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 27, 2009, 04:39:46 AM »

Actually I have been wondering if there is not more scope for reunion between the OO and RC in the future.

Abouna,

When the second-ranking prelate of the Coptic Orthodox Church (and Secretary to the Sacred Synod?) His Excellency Mar Bishoy declares (in 2004 or 2005) in a public sermon in the cathedral that Roman Catholics are going to Hell one has to question whether your own very welcome and benevolent and irenic attitude is an accurate representation of that of the hierarchy of the Coptic Church vis-a-vis the Roman Catholics.

There was a major outcry from the Roman Catholic and Coptic Catholic hierarchy in Egyptian newspapers but it was very noticeable that neither Pope Shenouda nor Mar Bishoy offered any retraction or mitigating clarification.  Instead Mar Bishoy's sermon was widely distributed by the Coptic Church by way of an audio tape throughout the churches of Egypt and it was quite a bestselling item.



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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2009, 11:15:35 AM »

This was split off from the following thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,22014.0.html


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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2009, 04:31:33 PM »

Here is some documentation for what I wrote:
 
From Orthodoxwiki
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Bishoy_(Nicola)_of_Damietta
 
In March 2007, the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches in Egypt officially and publicly protested in the newsmedia against Metropolitan Bishoy's teachings that Catholics and Protestants will not be saved. The issue was widely covered in the mainstream secular newsmedia in Egypt, e.g., this Egyptian newspaper article [1] and this second one from the same newspaper [2] (both articles are in Arabic).
 
[1] http://www.almasry-alyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=51276
 
[2] http://www.almasry-alyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=51795
 
 
Also, from one of our Coptic periti on the Forum, Marduk,  who placed this message on CAF in December 2008 (no link provided as per OC.net policy about links to other Forums but a google.com search should find the thread.)
 
"I can pinpoint an approximate date for the cold relations between the Coptic Church and the Catholic Church - 1994. This was when talks between the two churches were broken off. Why? It was the same year that the Catholic Church signed a Christological agreement with the ACOE [Ancient Church of the East]. The COC and the ACOE are historic "enemies", I'm VERY saddened to say. HH Pope Shenoute was quite vocal at the time in expressing his concerns to HH JP2 [Pope John Paul II] of thrice-blessed memory. Of course, the media has not reported the obvious connection between the two events, for good reason, IMHO.

"This is the main source of all the more recent anti-Catholic sentiments within the COC (e.g. the statement by HE Bishoy in recent memory that Catholics are bound for hell along with the Protestants)."



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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2009, 12:57:22 AM »

Fr. Ambrose,

I am not sure about the EO position--maybe this is another difference between our communions that needs to be addressed--but we do not hold to a concept of papal, let alone episcopal, infallibility.

Assuming the validity of the allegations made against His Eminence for argument's sake, this says nothing about "Oriental Orthodox relations with the Catholic Church" let alone "Coptic Orthodox relations with the Catholic Church." The mind of the Coptic Church is not embodied in the thoughts of any single Bishop; it is embodied in the universal stream of Coptic thought flowing from the time of St Mark the Apostle to the current period of H.H. Pope Shenouda III (may God preserve his life for many years).

As to the validity of those accusations, I cannot say. I do not read or understand Arabic proficiently. My adequate grasp of the language is restricted to Liturgical prayers and praises. But given that you come across as quite certain of the Arabic sources you refer to in support of your claims, I assume you yourself have such an adequate grasp, so I would appreciate further comment from you in regard to what exactly has been reported, and the precise details of the relevant contexts.

Btw, it is common knowledge that Egyptian newspapers cannot be trusted in their account of anything to do with the Coptic Church, her doctrines, her relationship with other churches etc. There have been no less than a few instances where the Egyptian media has been exposed as having a callous disregard for the sensitivity of various issues relating to our Church in their blatantly false and at times defamatory reporting on certain matters. You may or may not be aware that it was not too long ago that an Egyptian newspaper misquoted your own Patriarch of Alexandria in a manner which had the potential to put a strain on otherwise warm Greek-Coptic ecumenical relations in Egypt.
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2009, 01:20:08 AM »

I am not sure about the EO position--maybe this is another difference between our communions that needs to be addressed--but we do not hold to a concept of papal, let alone episcopal, infallibility.

I can assure you of the Eastern Orthodox position - we do not hold to any notion of either papal or episcopal infallibility.

However it is intriguing that Pope Shenouda declares in January 2007 that the unbaptized cannot be saved and two months later his second top-ranking bishop Mar Bishoy declares that Catholics and Protestants cannot be saved. 

Quote
Assuming the validity of the allegations made against His Eminence for argument's sake,

No allegations have been made against either the Pope or the Metropolitan, but merely a reporting of their own words.  If the Coptic Church's major hierarchs wish to declare that the unbaptized and Catholics and Protestants cannot be saved, that is simply their teaching and their prerogative.  While we don't agree with it they have every right to adhere to that position if they choose.

Quote
As to the validity of those accusations, I cannot say. I do not read or understand Arabic proficiently. My adequate grasp of the language is restricted to Liturgical prayers and praises. But given that you come across as quite certain of the Arabic sources you refer to in support of your claims, I assume you yourself have such an adequate grasp, so I would appreciate further comment from you in regard to what exactly has been reported, and the precise details of the relevant contexts.

I do not read Arabic either but the now deleted messages on CAF went into this very thoroughly.   Do we have Arabic speakers on the Forum or can you take the articles to someone in your parish? Can you obtain a copy of the tape of Mar Bishoy's sermon?  Marduk may help us out if he sees this thread;  he was very much involved in the CAF discussion and I would assume he speaks Arabic.

Quote
Btw, it is common knowledge that Egyptian newspapers cannot be trusted in their account of anything to do with the Coptic Church, her doctrines, her relationship with other churches etc. There have been no less than a few instances where the Egyptian media has been exposed as having a callous disregard for the sensitivity of various issues relating to our Church in their blatantly false and at times defamatory reporting on certain matters. You may or may not be aware that it was not too long ago that an Egyptian newspaper misquoted your own Patriarch of Alexandria in a manner which had the potential to put a strain on otherwise warm Greek-Coptic ecumenical relations in Egypt.

Yet, in this case there has been no statement from either Pope Shenouda or Mar Bishoy denying the accuracy of what was reported.  You would think that they would have hastened to reassure the Catholics and Protestants of Egypt that they had been grossly misquoted and that it greatly harms the Coptic Church's ecumenical dialogue with Rome and Geneva.  Why has there been no denial from the Church?
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2009, 02:19:37 AM »

Quote
I can assure you of the Eastern Orthodox position - we do not hold to any notion of either papal or episcopal infallibility.

Well I remain to be convinced that such a sentiment reflects anymore than lip-service on your behalf since you continue to subtly insinuate that the assumed position of two Bishops is representative of the entire Church. Since we (the Copts) have evidenced nothing to suggest that such is reflective of our ecclesiology, I can only best assume that you're attempting to impose your own understanding of Orthodox ecclesiology onto us. If there is something I am missing, please feel free to fill me in.

Quote
However it is intriguing that Pope Shenouda declares in January 2007 that the unbaptized cannot be saved.

That’s about as intriguing as Jesus asserting that unless one is born of water and spirit (which the Church has always understood to be a reference to the mystery of baptism) one cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Maybe this is another difference that needs to be addressed between our Communions. Our Church has always taken the Sacrament of Baptism very seriously; it truly means what Christ said it means, and it truly effects that which Christ says it effects—the substantial, sacramental commencement of man’s realisation of the fruits of Christ’s redemptive work. It is not a redundant ritual.

Quote
No allegations have been made against either the Pope or the Metropolitan, but merely a reporting of their own words.

With all due respect, common sense dictates that so long as you are (and in your case you are not afraid to openly admit that you are) ignorant of what the sources have actually asserted, the context surrounding what has been allegedly asserted, and the legitimacy of their assertions, you are merely reporting hearsay.

Quote
If the Coptic Church's major hierarchs

Maybe this is another difference that needs to be addressed between our communions. We do not draw distinctions between “major” and “minor” Bishops. According to our ecclesiology, a bishop is a bishop. No one bishop is more inspired than another on account of their unique administrative position, nor are they any more representative of the Church than any other on account of such. The Pope may indeed be the only Pope, and the Secretary of the Holy Synod, the only Secretary of the Holy Synod, but they remain Bishops on par with the hundreds of practicing Coptic Bishops around the world, and the thousands upon thousands that have existed since the first century A.D.

Quote
Marduk may help us out if he sees this thread

I’m not inclined to take the views of an Orthodox apostate with any more than a grain of salt I’m afraid; particularly when the few posts I’ve read from this particular member demonstrate a clear agenda to justify his betrayal of the Orthodox faith.

Quote
Yet, in this case there has been no statement from either Pope Shenouda or Mar Bishoy denying the accuracy of what was reported.


One wonders, if the issue is as major and pressing and real as presented, such as to demand a response, why was it never raised in the most recent and continuing OO-RC ecumenical gatherings?

But assuming the alleged accuracy of what you claim (based, as is clear, from hearsay) is being reported, this is no more than an argument from silence.

Maybe the Patriarch has more worthwhile concerns than addressing what he believes to be not-so-surprising flimsy reporting of Egypt's secular media. The Coptic Patriarchs of Alexandria have always been very intimately involved with the congregation; both the current and late Patriarchs are known in particular to open the doors of their residence to the laity. God knows how and when they even have time to eat and sleep. Or, maybe the Pope has chosen, on account of the practical wisdom and prudence for which he is world-famous, to address the issue internally. Maybe a number of many more generous possible explanations. The world of possibility is a vast one; those who limit themselves to the less-generous possibilities usually have a personal agenda to push forward.
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2009, 02:59:49 AM »

Quote
I can assure you of the Eastern Orthodox position - we do not hold to any notion of either papal or episcopal infallibility.

Well I remain to be convinced that such a sentiment reflects anymore than lip-service on your behalf

I may have missed something in my theology training but there was nothing there about the infallibilty of Popes and bishops. 

Quote
since you continue to subtly insinuate that the assumed position of two Bishops is representative of the entire Church. Since we (the Copts) have evidenced nothing to suggest that such is reflective of our ecclesiology,

It's true that I would tend to think that the teachings expressed by the Coptic Pope and by his second-ranking bishop would be representative of the Church.  This assumption on my part is bolstered (maybe wrongly?) by Marduk's messages about the monarchical structure of the Coptic Church.

Quote
I can only best assume that you're attempting to impose your own understanding of Orthodox ecclesiology onto us.

Honestly, I am not.  I am assuming that what is declared by the Pope and Mar Bishoy is an accurate presentation of your ecclesiology.   Especially becasue I have seen nothing from other Coptic bishops which denies what the Pope and Mar Bishoy have said.

 If there is something I am missing, please feel free to fill me in.

Quote
However it is intriguing that Pope Shenouda declares in January 2007 that the unbaptized cannot be saved.

Quote
That’s about as intriguing as Jesus asserting that unless one is born of water and spirit (which the Church has always understood to be a reference to the mystery of baptism) one cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Maybe this is another difference that needs to be addressed between our Communions. Our Church has always taken the Sacrament of Baptism very seriously; it truly means what Christ said it means, and it truly effects that which Christ says it effects—the substantial, sacramental commencement of man’s realisation of the fruits of Christ’s redemptive work. It is not a redundant ritual.

If this means what it seems to - that the non-baptized cannot be saved - then we do indeed have a significant and disturbing difference in our theologies.

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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2009, 03:05:43 AM »

[
With all due respect, common sense dictates that so long as you are (and in your case you are not afraid to openly admit that you are) ignorant of what the sources have actually asserted, the context surrounding what has been allegedly asserted, and the legitimacy of their assertions, you are merely reporting hearsay..

At the time of the discussion on CAF we were fortunate to have English translations of the primary sources.  Sadly, because CAF has deleted that material it cannot be presented here. 

Hearsay?   I have given sources in Message #2.  They are listed in Orthodoxwiki.

Marduk was involved in the discussion and will be able to corroborate what is being said now.
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2009, 03:08:09 AM »

This assumption on my part is bolstered (maybe wrongly?) by Marduk's messages about the monarchical structure of the Coptic Church.


It's not my intention to enter this discussion, as I am not expert enough.  However, I am putting my head in here long enough to echo what EA said earlier about taking what Marduk has to say about the Coptic Church (or any OO Church, for that matter) with a grain of salt.   Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2009, 03:11:10 AM »


Maybe this is another difference that needs to be addressed between our communions. We do not draw distinctions between “major” and “minor” Bishops.

To my mind a statement from Bishop Diomid of the remote and icebound Diocese of Chukotka does not carry the same weight as that of Patriarch Kirill, and especially if Bishop Diomid declares that Catholics are going to Hell.   When it comes to major controversial statements, some bishops are more equal than others.   Grin
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2009, 04:10:46 AM »

Dear EA,

Articles substantiating that Pope Shenouda's belief that the unbaptized are damned is not a personal belief of his but one which is taught by the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Extracted from
http://www.suscopts.org/messages/lectures/soterlecture2.pdf

Holy Scripture also testifies that there is no salvation except through our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. In other words, unbelievers (non-Christians) will not be saved (will go to hell):

· “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already,
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Jn 3:18)
· “He who does not believe will be condemne d.” (Mk 16:16)
· “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see
life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn 3:36)
· “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (Jn 8:24)
· “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom 5:1)
· “Without (Christian) faith it is impossible to please Him.” (Heb 11:6)
· “He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1Jn 5:12)
· “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by
which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when
he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint his portion with the unbelievers.” (Lk 12:46)
· “The cowardly, unbelieving, … shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and
brimstone.” (Rev 21:8.)
n’t

Truth can be disturbing at times, therefore, truth as recorded in Holy Scripture and not
what makes us comfortable should be our quest. Some truths are disturbing like eternal, conscious
torment in fire and brimstone (Rev 20:10), but it is still true. Another disturbing truth is the fact that
only a few will escape that fire!

Q.2 St. Paul said, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained
in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves” (Rom 2:14).

Does this mean that non-believers would be saved?
A. No. Let us consider the words of St. Paul:


“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in
the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the
doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things
contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of
the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their
thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus
Christ, according to my gospel” (Rom 2:12-16).

The misinterpretation of these verses leads people to false views concerning the scope of
salvation. These verses do not speak of the salvation of the Gentiles if they live by their natural law; on
the contrary, they speak about their condemnation; “For as many as have sinned without the law will
also perish without law”. A Gentile - who is without a written law – will perish without the law.
Therefore, a Jew will be condemned according to the written law, and the Gentile will be condemned
according to the natural unwritten law. These verses are not about salvation; they are about judgment
and condemnation. St. Paul never said that a Jew would be saved by the law or a Gentile without law.
St. Paul’s argument in this chapter is that there is no salvation through the written law or the unwritten
one. Therefore he said in the next chapter, “We have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they
are all under sin” (Rom 3:9). (Adapted from, ‘Dogmatic Theology’ Part VI. By Dr. Morris Tawadros).
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2009, 05:38:17 AM »

Fr. Ambrose, this will be my last response for the time being, as per the notice in my signature which I think I would have inserted prior to your last post.

Quote
This assumption on my part is bolstered (maybe wrongly?) by Marduk's messages about the monarchical structure of the Coptic Church.

So long as you insist on having as the main source of your knowledge on the Coptic Orthodox Church, an apostate, I do not think there is very much room for progress in this discussion. I, a confirmed member of the OOC, am not going to sit here and be told what my ecclesiology is by an EO member going off what he has in turn been told by an RC apostate from OOxy. Surely you can empathise with me here.
 
Quote
Especially becasue I have seen nothing from other Coptic bishops which denies what the Pope and Mar Bishoy have said.

I have already addressed this argument of silence, even granting the yet to be adequately proven assumption upon which it bears any relevance in the first place. Yet you willingly choose to ignore this.

Quote
If this means what it seems to - that the non-baptized cannot be saved - then we do indeed have a significant and disturbing difference in our theologies.

You know, one of our Chief Justices here in Australia responded quite brilliantly in my opinion to a certain lawyer trying ever so strenuously to infer from a particular and general piece of legislation that which simply did not necessarily, as a matter of logic, follow; His Honour said something to the effect of: “this is a very simple matter; the statute means what it says, and it does not mean what it does not say.”

Jesus said that one who is not baptised cannot enter the Kingdom. This was His explicit message and emphasis on baptism. He did not make any qualifications, explicit or implicit, to suggest any exception. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III finds himself in exactly the same position. Both were operating in contexts where such an explicit, emphatic, hard-to-swallow message was warranted. And yet because you have a pre-conceived agenda here, it is inconvenient for you to apply an honest approach to this matter that would demand that if you have a problem with His Holiness, you must also have a problem with Christ, for the former is essentially parroting Christ. Both statements on their surface, would seem to be absolute; both are unqualified, suggesting the absence of a conscious recognition of any exception. But of course, His Holiness must be taken to mean something that you can use against him, and Christ taken to mean something more acceptable to you because this is convenient for you, right?

Maybe this is a difference between our communions that needs to be addressed, but our hierarchs insist on following the words and emphasis of Christ’s message and that of the Church as has been held since time immemorial. The Pope’s words cannot on their surface be made to suggest anything different—stricter or more exclusive—to the words of Christ. Christ did not qualify Himself. He did not make exceptions. The general principle that baptism is essential to salvation is a most appropriate one to assert and emphasise, particularly in this day and age on account of the ever-increasing pluralistic sentiment that all religions and spiritual ideologies are equally valid "ways" to some vague notion of "salvation" or "truth."

If the EO have departed from the general and appropriate emphasis of Christ and the Church regarding the integral role that the Sacramental life of the Church plays in the salvation of man, then this is indeed a huge problem for us. This kind of liberalism is simply not acceptable to us.

Quote
Hearsay?   I have given sources in Message #2.  They are listed in Orthodoxwiki.

So long as you are not able to discern for yourself what has actually been reported, or the context of what has been reported, or the accuracy of the report itself, but rather are relying on the testimony of an ex-Orthodox witness to the presentations of media sources which generally have a track record of misrepresenting the Church, then you are relying on nothing more than hearsay. Do you honestly wish to suggest that there is anything about this very basic and simple logic that is unreasonable?

Quote
Articles substantiating that Pope Shenouda's belief that the unbaptized are damned is not a personal belief of his but one which is taught by the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Again, there are two issues at play here: an issue of fact, and an issue of principle. To address the issue of principle: once again, the divide between the EO and OO widens if indeed, as your method suggests, EO ecclesiology is such that the opinion of a lay theologian (please note the underlying source of what has been quoted--a certain Dr Morris) in support of a couple of Bishops sufficiently constitutes the mind of the entire Church.

With that said, I see nothing wrong with what has been excerpted. To condemn the general principles introducing the verses so quoted (and which are expressed in such a way as to constitute mere recapitulations of the general and clear message of those verses so being introduced) is to condemn the verses so quoted which, to the honest observer, do not say anything more or less than the general principle so asserted by the author. Please tell me the difference between saying, as our author has stated that, "unbelievers will not be saved," and the verse he has quoted in support which asserts, "he who does not believe will be condemned." Of course, the only difference is that you want to impose some sort of context onto the latter which heavily qualifies it, whilst presuming an absolute face value interpretation of the former, because such is convenient to your agenda.

By the way, you may appeal to the fact that Dr. Morris' article is being published on His Grace Bishop Youssef’s website and is as such implicitly reflective of the Bishop’s position. In fact, raising such a point would be to the advantage of the general point I’ve been suggesting all along: that the suggestion of the essential necessity of baptism to man's salvation is indeed a very appropriate general principle to assert and emphasise, but that, inasmuch as it does not imply the kind of absolute and legalistic understanding that you are clearly not willing to impute upon the words of Christ suggesting the very same thing, so too it does not imply the same with respect to what is being suggested by our heirarchs. Case in point: whilst affirming the same general sentiment of His Holiness Pope Shenouda, His Grace Bishop Youssef, in the QnA segment of the same website, is nevertheless able to assert in response to the question, ‘Are only Coptic Orthodox Christians going to Heaven?’:

The fullness of the New Testament Faith…can be found ONLY in the New Testament Church. Indeed the Orthodox Church is the first Christian Church in history, founded by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.. Our mission is to take advantage of this fullness of faith we are blessed with, not to contemplate  judgment. We should not be concerned with the question of who will and who will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. This is not for us to decide.

Clearly, as much as the Church is able to affirm such a qualification, it does not think it fit that such should have any real emphasis or attention, for obvious reasons. The aim of the Church should be to convey to the non-Orthodox a sense of the urgency and necessity of the life which she alone can offer in fullness of Spirit and Truth, not to give them a sense of relief regarding their having the possibility of being saved irrespective of their relationship to the Church, which is, whether intended or not, the effect such an emphasis is likely to have on your average lay non-Orthodox.

As stated at the beginning, this is the last you will hear from me for the time being. With that said, even when I do return, I will likely discontinue engagement in this thread all together if it becomes clear, as it is starting to, that this exchange is destined to run in circles.
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2009, 06:09:33 AM »

Quote
This assumption on my part is bolstered (maybe wrongly?) by Marduk's messages about the monarchical structure of the Coptic Church.

So long as you insist on having as the main source of your knowledge on the Coptic Orthodox Church, an apostate, I do not think there is very much room for progress in this discussion.

Please be assured that Marduk is not my main source.  It should be clear that the main source of knowledge on this issue were the statements made by Pope Shenouda and Mar Bishoy early in 2007.    Marduk is not the source of their statements but he can certainly corroborate that they were made.

I wonder if anybody here has access to Salvation in The Orthodox Concept by His Holiness Pope Shenouda or can it be found on the Internet?


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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2009, 06:19:13 AM »

Extracted from
http://www.suscopts.org/messages/lectures/soterlecture2.pdf

Holy Scripture also testifies that there is no salvation except through our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. In other words, unbelievers (non-Christians) will not be saved (will go to hell):


... whilst affirming the same general sentiment of His Holiness Pope Shenouda, His Grace Bishop Youssef, in the QnA segment of the same website, is nevertheless able to assert in response to the question, ‘Are only Coptic Orthodox Christians going to Heaven?’:

We should not be concerned with the question of who will and who will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. This is not for us to decide.


...  With that said, even when I do return, I will likely discontinue engagement in this thread all together if it becomes clear, as it is starting to, that this exchange is destined to run in circles.

I have to agree with you, EA.   It seems destined to run in circles when we compare the two dissonant statements on the same site.

The wise course is probably to let this topic lie until you or I or someone else can provide in English either

1.  a translation of the newspaper articles

2.  a translation of the tape of the sermon of Mar Bishoy.  Given its popularity in Egypt it should be available.

Btw, I see the Orthodoxwiki site offers an audio in Arabic of Mar Bishoy's words
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Bishoy_%28Nicola%29_of_Damietta
« Last Edit: June 28, 2009, 06:35:42 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
Aidan
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2009, 02:43:36 PM »

This is not quite the right place to add this note but I wonder if St Varus (another spelling?) is venerated among the OO. He was a Roman soldier martyred in Egypt and is invoked by Orthodox faithful to pray for their loved ones who have died without being joined to the church.
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2009, 10:37:53 PM »

Fr. Ambrose,

Clearly it seemed convenient for you to skip over the substantial segments of my last post (re-posted below) which make very clear the fact that your response is a blatant cop-out; but please realise that ignoring those segments does not make them magically disappear. They remain on record no matter how much they irk you; all anyone has to do is read your response in light of the entirety of my last post to note the manner in which you blush at the words of Christ and His Apostles and lack the integrity and honesty and courage to face and address the obvious instability of your attempt to trivialise the Holy Sacrament of Baptism and to undermine the faithful commitment of our blessed hierarchs to Church Tradition.

By the way, that you are on a mission to be divisive rather than honest is exposed in the fact you are beginning to stumble in your ability to stay focused. I note that in response to my questioning your source of information on the heirarchical structure of the Church, you state:

Quote
It should be clear that the main source of knowledge on this issue were the statements made by Pope Shenouda and Mar Bishoy early in 2007.


It is easy to confuse yourself when you are not being honest with yourself, but since I have managed to stay focused and honest throughout this discussion let me remind you of your own position: you never appealed to the words of His Holiness and His Eminence on the matter of the heirarchical structure of the Church, but rather you falsely appealed to their words on the matter of the salvation of unbelievers (falsely, because as you admit, you have no genuine access to their words--again, please be honest with yourself regarding the fact that the most you have had access to is the interpretation/translation of an ex-Orthodox Roman Catholic of a secular-Muslim media report).


Jesus said that one who is not baptised cannot enter the Kingdom. This was His explicit message and emphasis on baptism. He did not make any qualifications, explicit or implicit, to suggest any exception. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III finds himself in exactly the same position. Both were operating in contexts where such an explicit, emphatic, hard-to-swallow message was warranted. And yet because you have a pre-conceived agenda here, it is inconvenient for you to apply an honest approach to this matter that would demand that if you have a problem with His Holiness, you must also have a problem with Christ, for the former is essentially parroting Christ. Both statements on their surface, would seem to be absolute; both are unqualified, suggesting the absence of a conscious recognition of any exception. But of course, His Holiness must be taken to mean something that you can use against him, and Christ taken to mean something more acceptable to you because this is convenient for you, right?

Maybe this is a difference between our communions that needs to be addressed, but our hierarchs insist on following the words and emphasis of Christ’s message and that of the Church as has been held since time immemorial. The Pope’s words cannot on their surface be made to suggest anything different—stricter or more exclusive—to the words of Christ. Christ did not qualify Himself. He did not make exceptions. The general principle that baptism is essential to salvation is a most appropriate one to assert and emphasise, particularly in this day and age on account of the ever-increasing pluralistic sentiment that all religions and spiritual ideologies are equally valid "ways" to some vague notion of "salvation" or "truth."

If the EO have departed from the general and appropriate emphasis of Christ and the Church regarding the integral role that the Sacramental life of the Church plays in the salvation of man, then this is indeed a huge problem for us. This kind of liberalism is simply not acceptable to us.

Quote
Hearsay?   I have given sources in Message #2.  They are listed in Orthodoxwiki.

So long as you are not able to discern for yourself what has actually been reported, or the context of what has been reported, or the accuracy of the report itself, but rather are relying on the testimony of an ex-Orthodox witness to the presentations of media sources which generally have a track record of misrepresenting the Church, then you are relying on nothing more than hearsay. Do you honestly wish to suggest that there is anything about this very basic and simple logic that is unreasonable?

Quote
Articles substantiating that Pope Shenouda's belief that the unbaptized are damned is not a personal belief of his but one which is taught by the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Again, there are two issues at play here: an issue of fact, and an issue of principle. To address the issue of principle: once again, the divide between the EO and OO widens if indeed, as your method suggests, EO ecclesiology is such that the opinion of a lay theologian (please note the underlying source of what has been quoted--a certain Dr Morris) in support of a couple of Bishops sufficiently constitutes the mind of the entire Church.

With that said, I see nothing wrong with what has been excerpted. To condemn the general principles introducing the verses so quoted (and which are expressed in such a way as to constitute mere recapitulations of the general and clear message of those verses so being introduced) is to condemn the verses so quoted which, to the honest observer, do not say anything more or less than the general principle so asserted by the author. Please tell me the difference between saying, as our author has stated that, "unbelievers will not be saved," and the verse he has quoted in support which asserts, "he who does not believe will be condemned." Of course, the only difference is that you want to impose some sort of context onto the latter which heavily qualifies it, whilst presuming an absolute face value interpretation of the former, because such is convenient to your agenda.

By the way, you may appeal to the fact that Dr. Morris' article is being published on His Grace Bishop Youssef’s website and is as such implicitly reflective of the Bishop’s position. In fact, raising such a point would be to the advantage of the general point I’ve been suggesting all along: that the suggestion of the essential necessity of baptism to man's salvation is indeed a very appropriate general principle to assert and emphasise, but that, inasmuch as it does not imply the kind of absolute and legalistic understanding that you are clearly not willing to impute upon the words of Christ suggesting the very same thing, so too it does not imply the same with respect to what is being suggested by our heirarchs. Case in point: whilst affirming the same general sentiment of His Holiness Pope Shenouda, His Grace Bishop Youssef, in the QnA segment of the same website, is nevertheless able to assert in response to the question, ‘Are only Coptic Orthodox Christians going to Heaven?’:

The fullness of the New Testament Faith…can be found ONLY in the New Testament Church. Indeed the Orthodox Church is the first Christian Church in history, founded by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.. Our mission is to take advantage of this fullness of faith we are blessed with, not to contemplate  judgment. We should not be concerned with the question of who will and who will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. This is not for us to decide.

Clearly, as much as the Church is able to affirm such a qualification, it does not think it fit that such should have any real emphasis or attention, for obvious reasons. The aim of the Church should be to convey to the non-Orthodox a sense of the urgency and necessity of the life which she alone can offer in fullness of Spirit and Truth, not to give them a sense of relief regarding their having the possibility of being saved irrespective of their relationship to the Church, which is, whether intended or not, the effect such an emphasis is likely to have on your average lay non-Orthodox.
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No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
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