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« on: May 21, 2009, 02:41:17 AM »

There seems to be a number of jurisdictions in the OO tradition whose status in the mainstream communion is ambiguous.

Not that the EO don't have their own share of jurisdictions not in visible communion, but it just seems more clear who is and who isn't in the EO tradition.

Here are some examples I am thinking of:

-The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia
-The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
-The "legitimate holy synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in exile"
-The Eritrean Diocese of North America

Does anyone else have a more clear understanding of the status of any of these groups?
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009, 03:00:35 AM »

With regard to the Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia, the Armenian Church has four patriarchs, and he is one of them.  He is in communion with all the other Armenian patriarchs (Catholicose of Etchmiadzin, Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Constantinople.)  They are all in communion with each other.  The fact that the Armenians have so many patriarchs confuses the heck out of people, but the situation is due to historical reasons:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8076.0.html

As far as I know, the Armenian Church is in communion with all the other jurisdictions you mentioned.

With regard to the Indian Orthodox, there is a tragic schism there which is so complicated I can't even begin to explain it.  It has, however, been discussed extensively here.  If you click on the Indian Orthodox tag below, you'll see some past threads on it.

With regard to the Ethiopian synod in exile, I think that was discussed here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,16879.0.html#top

I don't think the Eritreans have been discussed that extensively here.  However, if you click on the Eritrean tag below, you'll find a few threads.     
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 06:56:24 PM »

So it seems like there is a big mixture of answers.

1. It seems like the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia contests that it is not subject to the Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin, and they contest for power in the arena of Cilicia, but that on the level of intercommunion their relationship is still not at all impaired. Is this the understanding you have?

2. It seems that the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is excommunicated by the Syriac Orthodox Church, but that the rest of the Orientals commune both jurisdictions in a kind of "don't ask, don't tell" fashion.

3. It seems that the "Ethiopian synod in Exile" is generally not recognized as legitimate by the rest of the Oriental Orthodox churches, who recognize the Addis Ababa church under Abuna Paulos as the legitimate Ethiopian church, though there still may be some level of "don't ask, don't tell" intercommunion going on.

4. Finally it seems like the situation in the Eritrean church is the inverse of that of the Ethiopian church where the unofficial Eritrean patriarch Antonios is recognized as the legitimate patriarch of Eritrea and the official Asmara patriarch Dioskoros is not recognized by the other Orientals.

Is this the gist of what has been discussed here?
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2009, 07:27:05 PM »


1. It seems like the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia contests that it is not subject to the Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin, and they contest for power in the arena of Cilicia, but that on the level of intercommunion their relationship is still not at all impaired. Is this the understanding you have?

No.  I don't think that the Catholicos of Cilicia has ever been subject to the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin, in the sense that he could be ordered around by him or anything.  That has never been their relationship, so I don't see how there can be any dispute over that.  In fact, I don't even think that the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin can give orders to the Patriarchs of Jerusalem or Constantinople.  The Catholicos of Etchmiadzin doesn't appoint them or anything, and he's not their boss. 

He is, however, the "Universal Patriarch."  I am not an expert in these matters, but I think what that means is that the other three patriarchs (Cilicia, Jerusalem and Constantinople) have jurisdiction within certain areas, but Etchmiadzin has jurisdiction everywhere else.  He's sort of first among equals, but he would not have any authority in the areas traditionally given to the other three.  That is my understanding, although it may not be perfect.  The four patriarchs get along and are in communion with each other.

With regard to the other questions you had about the other Churches, I am really not qualified to say anything.
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 07:34:14 PM »

quote]
He is, however, the "Universal Patriarch."  I am not an expert in these matters, but I think what that means is that the other three patriarchs (Cilicia, Jerusalem and Constantinople) have jurisdiction within certain areas, but Etchmiadzin has jurisdiction everywhere else.  He's sort of first among equals, but he would not have any authority in the areas traditionally given to the other three.  That is my understanding, although it may not be perfect.  The four patriarchs get along and are in communion with each other.

With regard to the other questions you had about the other Churches, I am really not qualified to say anything.

Dear brother in Christ,

                                   First I have heard of an Oriental "Universal Patriarch". Nor even that this Patriarch is "first among equals" among the other OO Patriarechs.


Pray for me a weak servant.

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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 07:42:25 PM »

quote]
He is, however, the "Universal Patriarch."  I am not an expert in these matters, but I think what that means is that the other three patriarchs (Cilicia, Jerusalem and Constantinople) have jurisdiction within certain areas, but Etchmiadzin has jurisdiction everywhere else.  He's sort of first among equals, but he would not have any authority in the areas traditionally given to the other three.  That is my understanding, although it may not be perfect.  The four patriarchs get along and are in communion with each other.

With regard to the other questions you had about the other Churches, I am really not qualified to say anything.

Dear brother in Christ,

                                   First I have heard of an Oriental "Universal Patriarch". Nor even that this Patriarch is "first among equals" among the other OO Patriarechs.


Pray for me a weak servant.

James+

This is only within the context of the Armenian Church.  As I explained in the thread I linked to yesterday, the fact that the Armenians have four patriarchs to begin with is a bit unusual and is the product of the extremely tumultuous history of the Armenian people.  I think the titles and jurisdictions are by-products of that.  This, of course, has nothing to do with the Oriental Orthodox communion generally.  In other words, the Armenian Catholicos of Etchmiadzin would be first in honor among the other Armenian Patriarchs in the Armenian Church, but not among the other OO Patriarchs of the other OO Churches.  In fact, I have always been thankful that we don't have such an ordering among our OO patriarchs. 
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 07:47:13 PM »


Thank you dear brother for clarifying that. Forgive my sloth for not noticing the context of your words in the whole thread. Pray for me.

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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009, 08:25:41 PM »


No.  I don't think that the Catholicos of Cilicia has ever been subject to the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin, in the sense that he could be ordered around by him or anything.  That has never been their relationship, so I don't see how there can be any dispute over that.  In fact, I don't even think that the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin can give orders to the Patriarchs of Jerusalem or Constantinople.  The Catholicos of Etchmiadzin doesn't appoint them or anything, and he's not their boss.

In terms of the EO conception of particular churches, are these not then 4 distinct "autocephalous" churches within the Oriental Orthodox Communion?
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2009, 08:31:18 PM »

I have never heard it referred to that way.  I think we all consider the four Armenian patriarchs to basically be one Church and don't analyze it any further than that.  I really am not an expert, though.  I do know, however, that we tend not to analyze and label things as thoroughly as the Chalcedonians do.   Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2009, 11:33:49 PM »


Thank you dear brother for clarifying that. Forgive my sloth for not noticing the context of your words in the whole thread. Pray for me.

James+
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That's OK, Father.   Smiley  The situation in the Armenian Church is a bit unique and can be confusing.
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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2009, 11:53:44 PM »

Because I am not an expert and am really not sure if the terminology I used in reply 3 was accurate, I've been looking for something with the full title of the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin.  In my church calendar (  Smiley ) he is called "Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians."  I also found this in the heading of an encyclical dated April 16, 2009, by the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin:

http://www.etchmiadzin.com/

KAREKIN II, SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST,
BY THE MERCY OF GOD AND THE WILL OF THE NATION
CHIEF BISHOP AND CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS,
SUPREME PATRIARCH OF THE PAN-NATIONAL PREEMINENT ARARATIAN SEE
THE APOSTOLIC MOTHER CHURCH OF UNIVERSAL HOLY ETCHMIADZIN.

I guess that is what he is.   Smiley

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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2009, 02:09:57 AM »


I have never heard it referred to that way.  I think we all consider the four Armenian patriarchs to basically be one Church and don't analyze it any further than that.  I really am not an expert, though.  I do know, however, that we tend not to analyze and label things as thoroughly as the Chalcedonians do.   Smiley

Well of course on the level of having a shared history, being one in faith, and being of the same ethnic/national group the 4 are truly one church. When the EO use the term "autocephaly" they are referring to a church body that is independent to the point where it is able to nominate and consecrate its own primate. A church body whose coordination of affairs are independent but who still relies on another primate for the nomination/consecration of its primate is simply called "autonomous" in contrast. The Coptic church and Syriac church are thus OO examples of autocephalous churches, whereas the British Orthodox Church and the Indian Jacobite church are examples of autonomous churches. Does that make more sense now?
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2009, 02:19:33 AM »

Thank you dear brother for clarifying that.

Correction: Sister.  Salpy is all woman.
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2009, 02:49:36 AM »

Well of course on the level of having a shared history, being one in faith, and being of the same ethnic/national group the 4 are truly one church. When the EO use the term "autocephaly" they are referring to a church body that is independent to the point where it is able to nominate and consecrate its own primate. A church body whose coordination of affairs are independent but who still relies on another primate for the nomination/consecration of its primate is simply called "autonomous" in contrast. The Coptic church and Syriac church are thus OO examples of autocephalous churches, whereas the British Orthodox Church and the Indian Jacobite church are examples of autonomous churches. Does that make more sense now?

Thanks for the explanation.  I always kind of wondered what those terms meant exactly. 

I'm not sure that the four patriarchs are independent of each other enough to be called autocephalous.  That might be the case with Cilicia, but I'm not sure about Jerusalem and Constantinople.  Even though Etchmiadzin doesn't appoint the two patriarchs of Jerusalem and Constantinople, or tell them what to do, I think there is some sort of jurisdiction there.  For example, I'm pretty sure that Jerusalem and Constantinople get their muron (holy oil) from Etchmiadzin, even though Cilicia consecrates its own.  There may be some other ways in which the two patriarchs rely upon Etchmiadzin, but I'm not sure.  I'll look in some of my books and see. 
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2009, 07:03:53 PM »

Thank you dear brother for clarifying that.

Correction: Sister.  Salpy is all woman.

Forgive me dear sister in Christ Salpy, I did not realise you were a lady.

Pray for me.

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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2009, 07:08:02 PM »

Not a problem.   Smiley  It's a common mistake.  I don't put it in my profile and not too many people are familiar with Armenian names.
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2009, 09:07:27 PM »

For information about the Armenian patriarchates of Jerusalem and Constantinople, I'm looking right now in a book called Welcome to the Armenian Church, published by St. Vartan Press:

http://www.stvartanbookstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=PRODSEARCH&txtSearch=%22welcome+to+the+armenian+church%22&btnSearch=GO&Page=1

It's a good book.  The information about the two patriarchates starts on page 62.

I was right about the muron.  They both get their muron from Etchmiadzin.  Also, their bishops are sent to Etchmiadzin to be ordained by the Catholicos there.  The two patriarchs aren't picked by Etchmiadzin, however.  The Patriarch of Jerusalem is elected by the Brotherhood of St. James and the Patriarch of Constantinople is elected by an assembly in Constantinople.  Both patriarchs have their own jurisdictions, but both are "under the jurisdiction of the Catholicos of All Armenians." (page 68.)  (The book doesn't spell out exactly what that means, but personally, I've always understood that the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin doesn't tell them what to do.  I don't know.  Maybe he has the right to do so, but just doesn't?)  The book says that the Patriarch of Constantinople "is ranked after" the Patriarch of Jerusalem.  (page 68)
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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2009, 04:35:42 PM »

Got it. Thanks for the further info Salpy.  Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2009, 07:22:29 PM »

So I'm hoping to get an update on this topic.

Are those of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church loyal to Patriarch Didymos considered part of the Oriental Orthodox Church? Are they generally Communed by other Oriental Orthodox churches? If so, how is this not a blowing off of the Syriac Patriarchs' excommunication of this group? Wouldn't that violate the canons about individuals not being received in other provinces where they have not been received in their own?

What about those of "The Legitimate Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Exile" who are loyal to Abune Merkorios? Are they considered part of the Church? Are they generally Communed? If so, how is this reconciled with the recognized Patriarch's (Abune Paulos) anathematizing them? Would it not also be a violation of canon law?

And finally, what about those Eritreans under Abune Dioskoros? *all the same questions*
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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2009, 04:16:05 AM »

I don't think any of the situations you mention are straightforward.

If a bishop goes astray and is excommunicated by his synod and then goes somewhere else and is received as a bishop then that is problematic for the canons. But the canons are not simple laws. Should I reject St Athanasius in his exile because he had been excommunicated? At the level of large communities of Orthodox these canons are even more problematic in their application. The intent was surely to prevent interference in local Churches, but when local Churches are themselves in disorder it is not always best to make any sort of a bsolute judgement.

These issues you mention are challenges for the whole Church which prays for their resolution.

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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2009, 09:14:32 PM »

You might be a good person to ask: what Churches recognize the British Orthodox Church, other than the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria?
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« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2009, 12:05:34 AM »

As far as I know, they are in communion with all the OO Churches.
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« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2009, 01:49:35 AM »

"You might be a good person to ask: what Churches recognize the British Orthodox Church, other than the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria?"

I don't think the canonical status of the BOC is at all questioned as the jurisdictions I have been talking about are.
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« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2009, 04:54:49 AM »

The BOC is in full and active communion with all of the Oriental Orthodox Churches as part of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.

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« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2009, 07:43:51 AM »

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is in communion with the rest of the OO communion, although the relations with the Syrian Orthodox church and the autonomous Jacobite Syrian Church in India are impaired.

Fraternal ties exist between the Indian church and the others especially with the Ethiopians , Armenian See of Echtmiadzin and the Copts .

In fact I would say that there is "no don't ask, don't tell policy" adpoted regarding inter-communion.  Prelates have con-celebrated and intercommuned knowing very well which of two Indian factions they are interacting with.

It is also interesting that the SOC vicarate of Jerusalem itself allowed the MOSC to use the St Mark's Monastery in Jerusalem for a eucharistic celebartion some years ago.

Regarding the reasons for the excommunication and so on; well it would beyond the scope of this thread.  But I would say that any excommunication must follow the due process as elucidated in the canons and should be based on sufficiently serius grounds.
In the absence of which, you will have a situation where ordinary God fearing flock will just disregard the said excommunication.
I believe the history of the Church is replete with such examples.
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« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2009, 05:21:26 PM »

Surajiype, your reply which is #24 does seem to make sense to me.

I'm wondering now if others on here can confirm these assertions?

Also, I'm very interested to know about the status of those Ethiopians, as I do have a congregation but a few miles from me that seems that it might be part of the Synod in Exile.
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« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2009, 04:50:14 AM »

In the UK the Malankara and Jacobite Churches are both represented on the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches, as of course is the Syrian Church itself. All three Churches have also participated in pan-Orthodox liturgies in the UK.

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« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2009, 06:38:23 PM »

So then the excommunications issued by the two most recent Syriac Patriarchs are essentially viewed as illegitimate?
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« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2009, 04:39:51 AM »

I wouldn't say that. But I would say that all the energy of the wider Church should be directed towards bringing about union and reconciliation of those who believe alike.

It is the division and separation of those who believe alike which is illegitimate, though we know that it happens.
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« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2009, 11:45:05 PM »

Yes I agree with Fr Peter, there has been no formal comment made by any of the other Churches.

Essentially the Malankara Orthodox Church has taken the view that the excommunications were unjustified and not based on any legitimate grounds, hence the Synod has basically disregarded the excommunications. 
Generally excommunications result in counter-excommunications, but this has not hapenned in India.
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« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2009, 01:35:28 PM »


Essentially the Malankara Orthodox Church has taken the view that the excommunications were unjustified and not based on any legitimate grounds, hence the Synod has basically disregarded the excommunications. 
Generally excommunications result in counter-excommunications, but this has not hapenned in India.


Suraj,
Is this correct? I was under the impression that the Indian Orthodox Synod had done a couter-excommuniation and has established a parallel independent Syrian Orthodox Church, by ordaining a dissident Syrian monk from Europe as Bishop of an Independent Syrian Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2009, 02:00:10 PM »

The Malankara Orthodox Church is very large and has a great many bishops, priests and faithful. The particular controversy goes back many years and it is not a matter of a small group breaking away from a mother Church. It is much more complex. Indeed the history of Christianity in India is very complex.

Father Peter
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« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2009, 12:59:34 AM »

Mathew,

I think what I said is correct, the first excommunication was that of Mor Dionysius VI in 1912 , we can safely say that by the time of the visit of Mor Dionysius to Mardin or atleast at the time of the visit of Patriarch Elias III to Malabar,  the excommunication was lifted . In any case all this became irrelevant when the Patriarch and the Catholicos mutually accepted each other, resulting in 1) reestablishment of communion between the Syrian Orthodox and Malankara Orthodox 2) complete union of the 2 parties in India.

The second one was the excommunication of 1972 when the Patriarch excommunicated the Catholicos; while the Indian Synod suspended and deposed the bishops who were consecrated by the Patriarch without any reference to the Synod in India or the Catholicos, no counter excommunication of the Patriarch happened.

The most recent ones are the excommunications of the 3 Patriarchal faction bishops who joined the Malankara Orthodox Synod in the aftermath of Supreme court verdicts of 1995 and 2002.

In the incident you mentioned  Cor Episcopa Tarzi of Burbank , congregations in Rhode Island were received and Monk Severios was consecrated as Bishop by the Malankara Orthodox Church for parishes in Europe etc, but again no excommunication was imposed either on the Patriarch or any of his bishops.   

As Father Peter has said and as both of us are well aware, the reasons for all this are quite complex. The bitterness created by a century of fratricidal war keeps the pot boiling.

The majority of the Orthodox Christians in India today are in a state of impaired communion with the Syrian Patriarchate, it is tragedy and I think each one of us including the hierarchy on both sides has a duty to try and restore peace.

 
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