My hats off to you Fr. Anastasios and the staff here at OC. net for hosting - finally - a discussion on this item that can sensibly address this topic without going caustic. Amazing!
ROCORthodox: Church how it is possible to be "in communion" with one part of the Church and not with the other parts?
Answer: YOU CAN'T!
Ah, I get it, the thread only continues because we can't admit that we're wrong. Gotcha
Not wrong but perhaps not going deep enough. I'll explain.
I am not sure that your theory takes in to account such events as the dual hierarchies existing in Antioch in the 4th century, or other instances where the Church clearly existed in two parts that were not in full communion or relations temporarily (which is quite different than the Branch Theory where various Orthodox and heretics are still in the Church after hundreds of years of separation and divergent beliefs).
Full communion. Can we agree that full communion means all relations operating at 'optimum' capacity? By this I mean no constraints between laity and clergy participating in the local lives of each other's parishes, etc. Partial communion would be defined in various degrees even to the furthest point of not serving together (most likely in context to administrative hostility). These degrees are important PLUS we have help here from St. Basil in this context: "Heresies is the name applied to those who have broken entirely and have become alienated from the faith itself. Schisms is the name applied to those who on account of ecclesiastical causes and remediable questions have developed a quarrel amongst themselves … [Concerning heresies] the question is one involving a difference of faith in God itself. It therefore seemed best to those who dealt with the subject in the beginning to rule that the attitude of heretics should be set aside entirely; but as for those who have merely split apart as a schism, they were to be considered as still belonging to the Church."The Canonical Epistles, Or, More Expressly, The Ninety-Two Canons, Of Our Father Among The Saints, Basil The Great Interpreted, The Rudder, (1957), p 773
The point here is what it means to still remain "in the Church" amidst extreme differences. The GOC of today's standard should not be able to proclaim that ROCOR (back when she helped and was in communion with the GOC) was a part of the Church. This, I think, is the contradiction that presents a problem that tends to get avoided in these discussions.
Or with the split between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, where each patriarchate broke communion with Rome individually and gradually. The "communion ecclesiology" idea that floats about these days is appealing but it doesn't seem to hold up to me in light of Church history. But that is the subject of another thread.
Problem is, ROCOR is the one that in recent times employed the idea of breaking communion with one Church at a time.
Breaking full communion or is it nonconcelebreation/administrative schism where "those who have merely split apart as a schism, they were to be considered as still belonging to the Church
ROCOR clearly said the Metropolia was schismatic (I am thinking of the sources in the booklet "The Truth about the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad";
What kind of "schismatic"? We need to identify which kind.
ROCOR clearly taught that the patriarchs in Russia were illegitimate (I recall the Synodal resolution from 1990).
Yes. Higher Church Authority. However, this is nothing new in the Russian Church history,
Yet ROCOR was with Serbia and Jerusalem, and thus it was the one that created the awkward situation.
But not awkward enough to break communion or even to dictate nonconcelebration across the board.
We the GOC urged them to not celebrate with anyone in World Orthodoxy to be consistent, and we received the message on several times that they were not in communion with World Orthodoxy.
How could this be given our position in the Holy Land with the JP? Actions speak louder than personal opinions. The Holy Land and the JP are kinda like the "gateway" to world orthodoxy. Boots to the ground reality with pilgrams from all over the Orthodox world praying and communing.
The Matthewites would have never joined communion with ROCOR if someone in ROCOR were not telling them that they were not in communion with World Orthodoxy (and we can't blame it all on HTM!)
When is the authoritive voice of the Orthodox Church a "somebody"? History shows there is another "somebody" doing something to contradict another "somebody" but the conciliar, official voice of the Church is law. Plus actions!
Did the Matthewites and the other GOC's turn a blind eye to the part of ROCOR who was concelebrating "outside of the Church". Come on! Proper order is spelled out.
The whole issue is muddied by confusing "non-concelebration" with a break "in communion".
Actually, I agree. I think that the situations may need to be more carefully distinguished.
Honestly - and with great respect - I think this is more of an issue of finding people who are telling you what you want to hear for alterior motives in the moment. Forget the so-called openly "ecumenist bishops" in ROCOR and the fact that ROCOR is serving with "world orthodox" in the Holy Land. Our immediate needs require canonical ROCOR to help restore our episcopacy so let's ignore those we don't like and focus on those who we do. The problem is the justification and criticism comes later. Those who are rooted in those past decisions have to defend these contradictions retroactively.
It seems that as two Churches move apart, first the episcopal concelebrations stop, while lay communion tends to continue on. You can find examples of New Calendarists communing in our Churches throughout the tenure of Bp Petros. But did that mean we were "in communion with" the New Calendarists? No
I don't mean to sound harsh here. This is all good and well to claim now from the current GOC position but the GOC could not afford this luxury concerning ROCOR when in need back in the day. The fact that the essential help came from ROCOR (in communion with "World Orthodoxy") at the time one needed help but now to trash that same status is simply bad form.
It seems to me that refraining from concelebration episcopally is a "break in communion" if you are not commemorating the others in your dyptychs reguarly, while intercommunion might continue. Eventually, it would cease if the problems are not rectified. These measures are meant to be corrective and thus are not undertaken hastily.
A break of communion seems to me clear statements saying such, issued conciliarly by the governing espicopal body of the Church who's job it is do make such clear annoucements.
I'd like to see examples of ROCOR and Serbian episcopal concelebrations throughout the 1970's. Not Archbishop Mark visiting Serbia and serving with St/Fr Justin. Big liturgies with multiple bishops on both sides serving together would be good. I am not asking anyone to do my research for me, but just saying it's something I'd like to analyze myself to better understand the situation.
Speak to some of the ROCOR clerics who are regulars through out the last 40-30 years in Jerusalem.
Also, to claim "we didn't know ROCOR was in communion with the JP" is not believable given our monastic presence there.
Again, not as obvious as you think it is. I have read that the JP stopped allowing ROCOR bishops to celebrate in Jerusalem at some point, while the ROCOR priests in Jerusalem continued to commemorate the Jerusalem Patriarch due to the legal situation existing there. It's making some interesting investigation.
As you indicate, this issue needs more than hearsay and deserves quality research.
Far from being in a catch-22, however, I think it just shows that while the local Church of Greece (i.e. the Old Calendarists) moved to censure the New Calendarists immediately, ROCOR took a different approach, while not denying the seriousness of the issue.
But it is a "catch 22" seeing as ROCOR was in fact in communion with JP, the epicenter of boots to the ground pan-Orthodox pilgrimage.
It gradually moved away from relations at different levels with different Churches. Some bishops apparently had different policies, which is to be expected on some level (witness our Bp Petros concelebrating with ROCOR in 1996 while the bishops in Greece would not have approved).
Agreed. All about official statements vs. personal opinions. We can "proof text" anything we want to suit our various needs at the moment.
Establishing full communion and concelebration with the GOC of Greece in 1969 was certainly part of this, and was certainly had ecclesiological implications. It actually reminds me of how the split between Papism and Orthodoxy occurred, where each patriarchate broke communion with Rome gradually.
Well by that measure we have almost a 200 year leeway. Why argue when we are just getting warmed up?
So yes, either the topic is complex and admits to different approaches in history and different understandings now, or we GOC members are in a catch-22 and just can't admit it. I think you know where I stand.
The "catch 22" is the fact that ROCOR was in openly communion with world orthodoxy via the JP Holy Land epicenter when the GOC needed help and joined in communion with ROCOR but the doctrine the GOC holds now, this action would be unacceptable. Either this fact was not a big deal back then - or if it was - it could be over looked due to "necessity" or the GOC has changed its positon since then to a more Matthewite-ish stand. Speaking of which, why did the GOC not 'pursue' the Matthewites as suggested by the dying Archbishop Chrysostomos but instead utilized ROCOR? It seems to me the Matthewites were preaching then what the GOC asserts now.
In a word, IMO, the GOC should not denouce ROCOR for being in communion with world Orthodoxy now when it was ROCOR in communion with world Orthodoxy then that gave her the help she needed.