Author Topic: "Orthodoxy always breaks up and never unites": It's Not That Bad  (Read 1364 times)

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Offline ialmisry

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"Orthodoxy always breaks up and never unites": It's Not That Bad
« on: September 10, 2009, 07:54:25 PM »
Just came across this quote in The Orthodox Eastern Church By Adrian Fortescue, a well informed but horribly biased source:
When the inevitable happens and the present form of administration is changed for open annexation the obvious thing would seem to be to join these Orthodox Serbs to the Church of Carlovitz.  On the other hand Orthodoxy always breaks up and never unites, so probably Bosnia and Hercegovina will remain what they are now really-one more autocephalous Church.

This chorttling of that extreme Ultramontanist is interesting in seeing what has happened in the past century since he penned these smug words.  Of the 17 autocephalous Churchs that he lists, the Churches of Bosnia/Hercegovina, Czerenagora and Carlovitz have united with the Church of Serbia into one, the Churches of Hermanstadt and Czernovitz united into the Church of Romania.  The Bulgarian Exarchate has become the Bulgarian Patriarchate. Georgia is again free. Alexandria has all of Africa, with no jurisdictional problems.

Fortescue has another "predication" of interest:
This permanent synod then may be considered as a kind of predecessor of the modern Orthodox Holy Synods. It had accustomed people to the idea of such assemblies of bishops and made the acceptance of the new synods among so conservative a folk as the Orthodox possible. But the present Holy Synods are in no sense continuations of the Endemusa. In spite of a general likeness there is this fundamental difference between the old synods and the new ones: the Endemusa had no sort of jurisdiction; it was simply a consulting body, itself entirely subject to the monarchical patriarch. The modern Holy Synods, on the other hand, are the supreme lawgiving authorities over their Churches; they have absolute authority over every metropolitan and bishop. Laws in Churches that have such synods are made, not by the will of an autocrat, but by a majority of votes in synod. It is in short — what the older Church never dreamed of — government by Parliament.

Lastly, it may be noticed, the church government by synod is a principle destined to flourish among the Orthodox. The secular governments of Orthodox countries encourage it and approve of it, for obvious reasons. It makes all the complicated questions of church establishment and endowment in the new Balkan States comparatively easy to solve; it has a fine air of democracy, constitutionalism, parliamentary government, that appeals enormously to people just escaped from the Turk and full of such notions. It seems then that the old patriarchal idea will linger on at Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem (though even here, in its original homes, it is getting modified in a constitutional direction), but that all new movement in the Orthodox Church will be more and more towards the principles borrowed by Peter the Great from Lutheranism. The vital argument against Holy Directing Synods is their opposition to the old tradition, to the strictly monarchic system of the Church of the Fathers. Strange that this argument should be ignored by people who boast so confidently of their unswerving fidelity to antiquity. "Our Church knows no developments", they told Mr. Palmer triumphantly in Russia. One could easily make a considerable list of Orthodox developments in answer. And one of the most obvious examples would be the system of Holy Synods. What, one might ask, would their Fathers have said of national Churches governed by committees of bishops chosen by the State and controlled by Government officials?

In his day, only the ancient 4 had patriarchs.  Today, only the Church of Greece and the Church of Sinai seems to lack one.

So it would seem the night was darkest before the dawn.  And it would seem that our jurisdictional problems have improved over the past century.
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