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Author Topic: "Graceless heretics" a purely EO "extremist" position?  (Read 10120 times) Average Rating: 0
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Seraphim Reeves
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« on: December 07, 2003, 03:19:47 PM »

Very often the Orthodox position that the communication of the Holy Spirit only exists within the Church of Christ (understood to be the Orthodox Church) is not simply regarded with contempt, but dismissed as being inauthentic and not a part of the genuine Patristic consensus.

Given this charge, it is interesting that similar thoughts as these (Orthodox view of heterodox sacraments) persisted in the west for centuries after it's seperation from the Orthodox Church; indeed, I'd submit they're a carryover from Rome's own Orthodox past, joined with the (imho, false) view that they (the Pope and those subordinate to him) represented the "true Church" the Fathers and Scriptures had in mind.

Here are some interesting passages on this topic from a man who is considered by many in the RCC to be one of her principle theologians,  only second to Augustine of Hippo in his influence and foundational importance to Latin theology - Thomas Aquinas.  The following passages are from his monumental Summa Theologica, and show that the genuinely Orthodox view on this subject is not entirely foreign to the thinking of the heterodox west (who not existing in a vacuum, had to inherit this from somewhere.)

(A Note:  To be clear, Thomas Aquinas' view on this subject is not identical to that of the Orthodox Church.  While he did not believe the grace/reality of the sacrament can be benefited from outside of the Catholic Church, he did believe the operational "validity" of the sacrament remained in tact.  Thus, a "schismatical Mass" in his view, while in the strictest sense "affected transubtantiation" of the bread and wine, and strictly speaking the oblation was present, the "fruits"/"grace" of these things could not be benefited from outside of the Church - in other words, the "sacrament was present", but subjectively, not the "reality" or "fruits" - if anything, only sacrelige could be found.)

Quote
Reply to Objection 2. Some heretics in conferring sacraments do not observe the form prescribed by the Church: and these confer neither the sacrament nor the reality of the sacrament. But some do observe the form prescribed by the Church: and these confer indeed the sacrament but not the reality. I say this in the supposition that they are outwardly cut off from the Church; because from the very fact that anyone receives the sacraments from them, he sins; and consequently is hindered from receiving the effect of the sacrament. Wherefore Augustine (Fulgentius, De Fide ad Pet.) says: "Be well assured and have no doubt whatever that those who are baptized outside the Church, unless they come back to the Church, will reap disaster from their Baptism." In this sense Pope Leo says that "the light of the sacraments was extinguished in the Church of Alexandria"; viz. in regard to the reality of the sacrament, not as to the sacrament itself. (Summa Theological, third part, Question 64, Article 9)

Comment: the passage from St.Leo the Great which Thomas is refering to here (which is to be found at the end of this post), I believe, is getting something of a revisionistic treatment by Thomas.  St.Leo does not make the kind of distinction between "sacrament" and "conferred grace" or "reality" that Thomas does, though it is easy to see how for Thomas' purposes (and his assumptions) it is read through this "scholastic coloured lense."

Quote
I answer that, Some have contended that heretics, schismatics, and the excommunicate, who are outside the pale of the Church, cannot perform this sacrament. But herein they are deceived, because, as Augustine says (Contra Parmen. ii), "it is one thing to lack something utterly, and another to have it improperly"; and in like fashion, "it is one thing not to bestow, and quite another to bestow, but not rightly." Accordingly, such as, being within the Church, received the power of consecrating the Eucharist through being ordained to the priesthood, have such power rightly indeed; but they use it improperly if afterwards they be separated from the Church by heresy, schism, or excommunication. But such as are ordained while separated from the Church, have neither the power rightly, nor do they use it rightly. But that in both cases they have the power, is clear from what Augustine says (Contra Parmen. ii), that when they return to the unity of the Church, they are not re-ordained, but are received in their orders. And since the consecration of the Eucharist is an act which follows the power of order, such persons as are separated from the Church by heresy, schism, or excommunication, can indeed consecrate the Eucharist, which on being consecrated by them contains Christ's true body and blood; but they act wrongly, and sin by doing so; and in consequence they do not receive the fruit of the sacrifice, which is a spiritual sacrifice.

Reply to Objection 1. Such and similar authorities are to be understood in this sense, that the sacrifice is offered wrongly outside the Church. Hence outside the Church there can be no spiritual sacrifice that is a true sacrifice with the truth of its fruit, although it be a true sacrifice with the truth of the sacrament; thus it was stated above (80, 3), that the sinner receives Christ's body sacramentally, but not spiritually.

...

Reply to Objection 3. The priest, in reciting the prayers of the mass, speaks instead of the Church, in whose unity he remains; but in consecrating the sacrament he speaks as in the person of Christ, Whose place he holds by the power of his orders. Consequently, if a priest severed from the unity of the Church celebrates mass, not having lost the power of order, he consecrates Christ's true body and blood; but because he is severed from the unity of the Church, his prayers have no efficacy. (Summa Theologica Third Part, Question 82, Article 7)


Comment: Once again, we see that Thomas makes a distinction between the "reality of the sacrament" and/or it's "character" (in the case of those sacraments which he identifies as having "characters"), and the grace/fruits thereof.  While he believes (following Augustine it seems) the former can exist outside of the Church of Christ, he does not believe this to be so of the latter (grace/fruits.)

It's interesting that practically all of Thomas' support for the idea of "real" (but otherwise unfruitful) sacraments somehow existing outside of the Catholic Church, comes from Augustine - I did not see him invoke any other Father to support this idea (indeed, looking through other sections of the Summa, you'd almost be convinced Augustine was the "only father" as far as Thomas was concerned.)

This seems to be true of post-schism "western Christianity" in general, with both RC and Protestants gushing with praise for Augustine's teaching, lauding him with the quite unwarranted (both from a historically western and eastern perspective) title of "father of fathers" and "first of the fathers".  In truth, that which fundamentally differentiates Catholicism/Protestantism from Orthodoxy, is more often than not, that which is fundamentally Augustinian (and not so much "western" as some wrongly put it) about said confessions.

btw., I will be fair to the more ecumenical RC's here, and conceed this - it is easy to see how Thomas' affirmation of the "reality of the sacraments" minus the imposition of their "fruits" upon heretics and schismatics, could lend itself to the current, "softer" line of the RCC - since much of Thomas' Augustinian (which I think needs to be differentiated from the term "Patristic argument", since he cites no one else to defend these ideas, and from an Orthodox p.o.v., Augustine's status as a universal teacher is at best, ambiguous) argument hinges upon the idea that those who are in schism "do not benefit" from the sacraments they posses, because they sin in using them (by being seperated from the See of Rome.)  Of course, one could subjectively argue that if someone were not culpable of this sin, then this impediment would be removed and some sort of benefit could be gained from said sacraments (while the discussion of culpability is definately not foreign to Thomas, it doesn't seem to have affected his view of schismatics and heretics.)  Of course, to make blanket statements as the modern ecumenical RCC does on the "culpability" (or I should say, lack of it) of the Orthodox Church (and other groups not in communion with Rome), would seem less prudent (from and RC paradigm) and even presumptuous, that is something for RC's ultimatly to concern themselves with, not myself.  Suffice it to say, Thomas operates (as did the RCC for centuries) with the operative assumption (and this well before the age of multi-culturalism and rapid communication that we now enjoy) that this culpability can generally be assumed (on the part of heretics and schismatics), and argues elsewhere (on the subect of the economy of grace) that God's grace would not allow a truly "humble" or "honest" soul to end their days outside of the communion of the Pope (even if in some way that re-unification occured in a manner unseen to human eyes.)

I will say, in Thomas' favour...I think most of the Orthodox believers here know what the RCC basically teaches on this subject (in many cases better than many RC laymen), and decidedly and intentionally remain apart from "communion with the Holy See."

Addendum

Typically polemicists who work (in the end, in vain) against the confession of genuine Orthodoxy (both Latins and "Orthodox" Ecumenists), will attempt to marginalize the view that only the Orthodox Church has "grace bearing mysteries" by pretending that such an understanding is at best "uniquely eastern" and at worst "uniquely Cyprianic" (named after St.Cyprian of Carthage, who perhaps wrote the most on this topic of any of the Fathers).  Of course, both are untrue; however, I came across an interesting passage from Pope St.Leo the Great, which I think is valuable in that it gives an unambiguously "western" witness to the Orthodox teaching, that the grace of the Mysteries is only found in the Church of Christ.

Quote
Is it not clear which side you ought to support and which to oppose, if the Church of Alexandria, which has always been the "house of prayer," is not now to be "a den of robbers?" For surely it is manifest that through the cruellest and maddest savagery all the light of the heavenly mysteries is extinguished. The offering of the sacrifice is cut off, the hallowing of the chrism has failed, and from the murderous hands of wicked men all the mysteries have withdrawn themselves. (Letter CLVI, St.Leo to Emperor Leo Augustus)

The subject was the Emperor's desire that the Christological controversy settled by the (Ecumenical) Council of Chalcedon be somehow reconsidered.  The Pope's words are unambiguous (rejecting such an idea as coming from the anti-Christ!  Indeed, this should be of itself food for thought by "Orthodox ecumenists" who speak of "non-Chalcedonian Orthodoxy"), and he is speaking in the above of the "non-Chalcedonians"/Monophysites.  You're more than welcome to "read the whole letter" - I assure you the obvious meaning of the above passage will only be re-inforced, not diminished.

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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2003, 04:08:23 PM »

I find it interesting that in fact you take the letter of Leo of Rome out of context and apply it to a situation in which it has no bearing at all - i.e whether or not God chooses to be gracious among those who have no knowledge of Orthodoxy through no fault of their own but who desire to serve and homour God according to the grace and knowledge which they have received. One need not say that it is the same grace or the fulness of grace but it is of the essence of the extremist position to take phrases and sentences out of context and apply them where they do not belong.

The letter which Leo writes to the Emperor is not about whether or not the Christological debate should be re-opened. And it is disingenuous to say that Chalcedon had settled it since in fact Chalcedon is still an unsettled matter after 1500 years. It is only settled if anyone who disagrees is ignored.

The context is actually concerned with the murder of Proterius and the election by the Alexandrians of Timothy as successor to Dioscorus. The enforced Patriarchate of Proterius, possible only with the military support of Roman and mercenary troops, had been a disaster and the chronicles all record that he was murdered by one of his mercenaries who had grown fed up with the continuous orders to martyr Alexandrians who would not accept him.

It was reported to Leo, by the handful of clergy who supported Proterius, that Timothy was responsible for Proterius' death, and even that the Christians of Alexandria had cannibalised his body!!! This is the only source of such an outrageous comment. The historians all consider this completely far-fetched.

Evagrius reports the comments made by the Proterian clergy but then says that the historian Zacharias has different evidence that puts things in a different light:

"Zacharias, however, while treating at length of these events, is of opinion that the greater part of the circumstances thus detailed actually occurred, but through the fault of Proterius, by his instigation of serious disturbances in the city, and that these outrages were committed, not by the populace, but by some of the soldiery;"

Indeed Zacharias says:

"And when Timothy had returned to the great church from which he had been forcibly removed, and Proterius had taken for himself the church which is called Quirinian, and Easter |66 time came round, children without number were brought to Timothy to be baptized; so that because of their multitude those who were writing and reading out their names became weary; but only five were brought to Proterius. And the people were so devotedly attached to Timothy that they drove Proterius out of the church of Quirinus ; and slaughter ensued. [That is, the soldiers supporting Proterius slaughtered many Alexandrians].

And when Proterius continued to threaten the Romans, and to display his rage against them ; because they took his gold, but did not fill their hands with the blood of his enemies : then, indeed, a certain Roman was stirred to anger in his heart, and was boiling over with rage ; and he invited Proterius to look round and he would show him the corpses of the slain as they lay. And suddenly and secretly, he drew his sword and stabbed Proterius in the ribs along with his Roman comrades, and they despatched him, and dragged him to the Tetrapylum, calling out respecting him as they went along, "This is Proterius." And others suspected that it was some crafty plot. But the Romans left the body, and went away. Then the people, perceiving this, became also greatly excited, and they dragged off the corpse, and burnt it with fire in the Hippodrome. Thus the end of death overtook Proterius, who had done evil to the Alexandrians, iust as George the Arian, and he suffered at their hands in like manner, and so was it done to him."

This is the context in which Leo writes about the Alexandrians being without grace. He had chosen to believe a completely unbelievable account by exiled clergy, that Timothy had ordered the murder of Proterius and then cannibalised his flesh. Believing that it is no wonder that Leo writes so strongly about the Alexandrians.

In fact Proterius was murdered because he had himself ordered the martyrdom of tens of thousands of Alexandrians and his soldiers had grown tired of being steeped in blood.

Now whether or not the matters reported by the Proterians were correct, and having studied the writings of Timothy of Alexandria it is clear that he was a most eirenic bishop. Nevertheless the proper context shows that Leo's letter has absolutely nothing whatsoever to say about the situation of Protestants and Roman Catholics. Indeed before Proterius was murdered and his handful of clergy fled to Rome Leo had not said that the Alexandrians were graceless. But after hearing constant whispers in his ear that the Alexandrians had murdered a godly Proterius and then eaten him it is not surprising that he should write as he does.

The historians also say:

"But Timothy, when he appeared before them as the only chief priest of Alexandria, showed that he was really what a priest should be. For the silver and the gold that were given to the Romans in the days of Proterius, he expended upon the poor, and the widows, and the entertaining of strangers, and upon the needy in the city. So that, in a short time, the rich men, perceiving his honourable conduct, lovingly and devotedly supplied him with funds, both gold and silver. But the presbyters and all the clergy belonging to the Proterian party, since they knew all his virtues and his angelic mode of life, and the devotion of the citizens to him, joined themselves together and made libels in which they entreated him that they might be received. They also promised that they would go to Rome to Leo, and admonish him concerning the novelties which he had written in the Tome. Among these persons there were some who were ready and eloquent, and of great wealth and dignity, and of high birth also, who had been called to the clerical order by Cyril; and who were honoured in the eyes of the citizens of Rome; and they presented the petition on their behalf to Timothy. And Eustace of Berytus wrote, also recommending their reception.

But the jealousy and hatred of the citizens against these persons were great, on account of the events which had occurred in the days of Proterius, and the various sufferings which they had endured. So they would not consent to their reception, but they prepared the others to cry out, "Not one of them shall set his foot here, neither shall the transgressors be received."

This was the reason why matters were disturbed and thrown into confusion. For when these men were ignominiously refused, they betook themselves to Rome, and there they told about the contempt of the canons, and about the dreadful death of Proterius; and they said that he died for the sake of the Synod and for the honour of Leo; and that they themselves, also, had endured many indignities; and further, that Timothy had come forward in a lawless manner and taken the priesthood. So they rendered the latter odious, and made the whole business appear disgraceful in the eyes of Leo; and they stirred him up against Timothy."

It is the essence of extremism to fail to put things in context, to fail to try to find a balance of understanding, to take words and phrases and build whole arguments and systems out of them. The use of the letter of Leo is just such an imbalance, having nothing to do with the situation of people being brought up in Protestant and Roman Catholic families, knowing nothing of Orthodoxy, and seeking to serve God with all their hearts.

Seeking your prayers

the unworthy subdeacon

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2003, 04:19:24 PM »

Peter,

Thanks for the reply.  However...

Monophysitism was a brief aside in the post.  I can understand your interest in it (being one who professes Christ to be of "one nature"), but it wasn't the primary purpose of citing the passage from St.Leo.  I sincerely hope this thread is not de-railed into a discussion of monophysitism (which is not it's obvious intent), since it's clearly aimed at engaging a Roman Catholic (and also, though secondarily, "ecumenist Orthodox") audience.

Seraphim

P.S. - Thomas Aquinas understood the reference to the Monophysites in St.Leo's letter to be of a similar import to my own understanding (reflecting the darkness which heretics live in, which sadly nullifies the value of their sacraments.)
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2003, 04:36:59 PM »

since it's clearly aimed at engaging a Roman Catholic (and also, though secondarily, "ecumenist Orthodox") audience.

Seraphim

Can you please define "ecumenist Orthodox". It would be helpful to know if I fall into this category. It could give me  something on which to base a decision to respond or not. So as to be as precise as possible and leave no room for guessing , could you please list the ecumenist Orthodox Churches. Thanks.
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2003, 04:46:03 PM »

We should express our doctrine around reality, not express reality around our doctrine.

"By their fruits you will know them."  It's pretty obvious to the average, thinking Orthodox where grace is operative.  It's also pretty obvious that just as Trullo canon 95 delinietates different categories of those separated and how they are to be rececieved (the farther you are away from Orthodoxy, the more complete the recepetion, with those denying the Trinity being received by baptism), and from this we can extrapolate that while the Orthodox Church doesn't dogmatize on sacraments outside itself, it recognizes degrees of separation from the Church and it recognizes degress of action of the Holy Spirit outside the Church.

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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2003, 04:51:18 PM »

Let me clarify the post above.  I don't mean to suggest we should go around changing beliefs "with the times."  But on things that are ify-ify, I think the benefit of the doubt should be in order (for instance, if I ever joined the Old Calendarists, I would be a Florinite not a Matthewite).

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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2003, 05:03:34 PM »

Monophysitism was a brief aside in the post.  I can understand your interest in it (being one who professes Christ to be of "one nature"), but it wasn't the primary purpose of citing the passage from St.Leo.  I sincerely hope this thread is not de-railed into a discussion of monophysitism (which is not it's obvious intent), since it's clearly aimed at engaging a Roman Catholic (and also, though secondarily, "ecumenist Orthodox") audience.

I don't wish to derail your thread, but yet again you display the extremist position of setting me up with a straw man 'one nature' so that you can side line anything I say.

I do not confess 'one nature', nor have the anti-Chalcedonians ever confessed 'one nature', but 'one incarnate nature which means hypostasis of God the Word'. Do you not also confess 'one incarnate hypostasis of God the Word'?

If you cannot deal with me in reality then this is just further evidence that you are not dealing with Roman Catholics 'in reality'.

In the extremist mind Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are unremittingly filled with darkness and Coptic Orthodox confess 'one nature'. In reality things are completely different. This is why extremism generally falls off the edge of Orthodox thinking, it isn't rooted in reality.

It is easy to describe all non-EO as you do, but you can only manage this by ignoring reality. This is most evident with respect to the Oriental Orthodox since in this case we are not talking about the rather abstract and non-empirical presence of grace but whether the things that extremists base their understanding on are actually true or not. They are usually NOT true and if the extremists had any interest in the truth they would be obviously shown to be false. I am not hijacking the topic but since extremists are 180 degrees wrong about Oriental Orthodox I am most doubtful that they would be correct concerning Protestants and Roman Catholics. Since Orthodoxy is a matter of reality and truth the extremist position often becomes un-Orthodox, since it cannot be of the essence of Orthodoxy to base ones life on something that bears no relation to reality.

Your comment that I believe in 'one nature' since it is completely false on multiple levels shows that your opinions, though sincerely held, are not based on reality and therefore truth and are therefore not Orthodox.

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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2003, 05:04:04 PM »

Anastasios,

Quote
We should express our doctrine around reality, not express reality around our doctrine.

"We" - this sounds as if doctrine is something concocted by wise-old me and you, and not received.

Quote
"By their fruits you will know them."  It's pretty obvious to the average, thinking Orthodox where grace is operative.

How is it obvious, in your opinion?

Quote
It's also pretty obvious that just as Trullo canon 95 delinietates different categories of those separated and how they are to be rececieved (the farther you are away from Orthodoxy, the more complete the recepetion, with those denying the Trinity being received by baptism)

This smacks of Hopko-ism; confusing the degrees of baptismal economy, with the identification of a grace already present.

Quote
and from this we can extrapolate that while the Orthodox Church doesn't dogmatize on sacraments outside itself, it recognizes degrees of separation from the Church and it recognizes degress of action of the Holy Spirit outside the Church.

While I take no exception to the first part (degrees of doctrinal alienation is reflected in the manner of receiving converts - though I'd also submit, another factor is the degree of antagonism of their former heresy towards the Church of Christ at any given time), I'd like to see some evidence of your claim that the Church recognizes "degrees of action of the Holy Spirit outside of the Church", which I presume to mean (in the way you are using it) something similar to the indwelling that exists in the Orthodox Church.

Of course, strictly speaking, the grace of God is active everywhere, extending to all creation.  But this "extrinsic" grace is something different than the "communication of the Holy Spirit" detailed by St.Basil in his first canon.

Btw., I'd like your thoughts on Thomas Aquinas; where do you think he got the type of ideas he had on this topic?

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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2003, 05:13:19 PM »

Seraphim,

The issue of "confusing" as you put it sacramental grace with manner of reception is something that can be inferred from the canons themselves.  You quote Basil canon 1 one way but I read it another, and indeed the internet translation you use seems to be lacking compared to the critical edition that I have read from Rhalles and Potles.  Perhaps you are also using the Rudder translation, but the one you reference online is the one from CCEL, right?  At any rate, Hopko and ROCOR pre-1971 all agreed with the standard, pre-Revolutionary Russian understanding of grace being in different degrees outside the Orthodox Church and hence different manners of reception were employed.  There is an excellent article by Archm. Ambrosius Pagodin which documents this Russian approach very well.

What you espouse is the Greek theory, which was popularized by St Nicodemus the Hagiorite and the Kolyvades fathers.  It entered ROCOR due to the imfluence of the HTM monks and well I think we know the negative effect THAT had on ROCOR (of course you would probably say that minus their molesting boys they were right).  That's why you get this strange theory in ROCOR that there is no grace outside Orthodoxy BUT we can use economia sometimes even though nothing was there. Well can you receive a buddhist by confession via economia?! No! If someone is not baptised, they should be baptised, period. (Of course that does not mean I think those baptised outside the church are ipso facto "not baptised" but you already knew that).

I'm sorry to say that I never really got into Thomas Aquinas.  He's too western for me.  But Bobby studied him thorougly; maybe he would be happy to post his thoughts.  What I will say is recognizing that there is some degree of grace outside of Orthodoxy does not make one an ecumenist or suggest that there is no reason for such persons to enter Orthodoxy; on the contrary, we can all agree that "Orthodoxy is IT."

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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2003, 05:19:14 PM »

Peter,

Quote
I don't wish to derail your thread, but yet again you display the extremist position of setting me up with a straw man 'one nature' so that you can side line anything I say.

I do not confess 'one nature', nor have the anti-Chalcedonians ever confessed 'one nature', but 'one incarnate nature which means hypostasis of God the Word'. Do you not also confess 'one incarnate hypostasis of God the Word'?

The "non-Chalcedonians" have been many things, including the quasi-Orthodox position most of them now seem to hold.  While this is certainly more congenial to the Orthodox position, it still is formally prone to errors which the Chalcedonian definition prevents.

If you "materially" share the faith of the Orthodox Church, profess it without ambiguity.  Until the "non-Chalcedonians" stop playing games, and return to the Church of Christ without ambiguity, these ecumensitic antics will lead nowhere, save further schism and alienation from the House of God.

Quote
If you cannot deal with me in reality then this is just further evidence that you are not dealing with Roman Catholics 'in reality'.

The reality is you reject Chalcedon, and seem to have no intent on accepting this Ecumenical Council.  That's fine, I cannot stop this, and may God help you.  In fact my real problem is not with you; you're free to do as you wish, God gives us this liberty (for a time)...it is actually with the duplicitous who call themselves "Orthodox", claim to acknowledge the Ecumenical Councils and Her Canons, but carry on as if it can be truthfully said that the Church of Christ and your schism are in fact of "one accord."  It's insulting not only to the Orthodox Fathers who accepted Chalcedon, but also, I might add, to the people on your side of the equation, to pretend all of them were woefully ignorant of the real issues involved here.

Quote
In the extremist mind Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are unremittingly filled with darkness and Coptic Orthodox confess 'one nature'. In reality things are completely different. This is why extremism generally falls off the edge of Orthodox thinking, it isn't rooted in reality.

Of course, "extremism" and such appraisals are foreign to the discourse of the Fathers - the real issue is fidelity to the confession of the Church.  There is no "extremism" in this.

btw. "unremittingly filled with darkness" is your characterization, not my own.

Quote
Your comment that I believe in 'one nature' since it is completely false on multiple levels shows that your opinions, though sincerely held, are not based on reality and therefore truth and are therefore not Orthodox.

Great, show I'm wrong - confess that Christ is of two natures in one hypostasis, and that Chalcedon was correct (and that at best your communion's schism from the Church was based on provincialism; at worst, genuine Christological heresy), and then I will rejoice at seeing a fattened lamb slaughtered, and consider you a believer in the same truth (and eagerly await you, or perhaps your entire community's formal reception into the Orthodox Church, on this foundation of true confession.)

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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2003, 05:30:01 PM »

Anastasios

I'm not really sure I get the drift of these posts but perhaps this forum should be re-titled from the Orthodox-Catholic Discussion Forum to the Orthodox-Graceless Heretic Discussion Forum.

Thanks

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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2003, 05:43:11 PM »

Quote
Great, show I'm wrong - confess that Christ is of two natures in one hypostasis, and that Chalcedon was correct (and that at best your communion's schism from the Church was based on provincialism; at worst, genuine Christological heresy), and then I will rejoice at seeing a fattened lamb slaughtered, and consider you a believer in the same truth (and eagerly await you, or perhaps your entire community's formal reception into the Orthodox Church, on this foundation of true confession.)


This is again the witness of an extremist mind. You are not actually interested in the substance of my belief and would not welcome me as a brother whatever I confess. You will always find some reason to prove that your isolationism is correct.

For what its worth, to you, here is what I believe about Christ:

I believe that God the Word, eternal, invisible, consubstantial with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, took flesh of the Virgin Mary and became consubstantial with us in all things save sin. The humanity which he took from the Virgin Mary is complete and perfect in every way, with mind, soul, will and body. His humanity became His own so that we may rightly say that 'the Word became flesh'. But I do not believe that the divinity of Christ suffered any change or confusion or mixture in the union with the humanity which he took. Rather the nature or ousia of the divinity is completely other than the nature or ousia of the humanity. But Christ is 'one incarnate hypostasis of the Word', that is to say that the divine hypostasis of the Word has become incarnate and though Christ is truly divine and truly human, without confusion, change, mixture, separation or division, nonetheless it is the Word who has become incarnate and there is not a man together with the Word, for Christ is both human and divine without confusion Himself and has not united to Himself the hypostasis and person of a man, as Nestorius taught. And I believe that we see Christ walking as a man and raising the dead as God, yet not one moment God and another moment man, but rather the one Word of God incarnate acting humanly according to His perfect and complete humanity and divinely according to His perfect and unchanged Divinity. And one of the Holy Trinity, even God the Word, suffered on the cross, but according to the humanity which He made His own and not according to His Divinity which is beyond all suffering and change. And I believe that though the human will of Christ was in conformity to His Divine Will the human will was perfect and complete but as in the life of a saint so the will is brought into conformity with the will of God through great ascetic effort so it was proper that from the moment of the perfect and complete union of humanity and Divinity the human will should delight in being in union and agreement with the will of God, such that the will of Christ was one, not on in substance, for what is human is utterly different from what is Divine, but in purpose and desire.

Do please point out where I am not clear or where I am professing a heresy. If there is no substantial disagreement in the substance of what is confessed then I believe we are under the most severe and merited judgement of God if we fail to do all that is possible to be reconciled. As a matter of interest I have been a serious student of the Christology of the Oriental Orthodox for 10 years and this confession is the same as has always been confessed from the 5th century onwards.

If we believe the same about Christ but you merely produce obstacles and arguments then the judgement of God will be upon you. As for me I will do all I can in the years I have left to be reconciled with those who believe the same as me but are in the EO communion.

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2003, 05:55:05 PM »

Anastasios,

Quote
At any rate, Hopko and ROCOR pre-1971 all agreed with the standard, pre-Revolutionary Russian understanding of grace being in different degrees outside the Orthodox Church and hence different manners of reception were employed.  There is an excellent article by Archm. Ambrosius Pagodin which documents this Russian approach very well.

"Excellent"?  The article is a running mis-representation, and in fact undermines the very notion of "economy" (there is no "economy" in accepting a "valid, grace bearing" baptism.)  In fact, one of your fellow believers posted a link to this article at the Cafe.  I will post a copy of it here, after I submit this reply.  For now, I will say it is a cunning mis-representation to portray this as ever being the ROCOR view.  The article in question does demonstrate the long standing practice of sacramental economy; however it does not in the least effectively demonstrate the ecumenistic ecclessiology which has come to underlay this practice in modern times.

Quote
What you espouse is the Greek theory, which was popularized by St Nicodemus the Hagiorite and the Kolyvades fathers.

What you espouse is the ecumenist theory - the product of confused, latinized academics, without a single Father's testimony in it's favour.

Quote
It entered ROCOR due to the imfluence of the HTM monks and well I think we know the negative effect THAT had on ROCOR (of course you would probably say that minus their molesting boys they were right).

This is either ignorance, or deception - does the name of Bl. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) ring any bells?  That was...well, a few decades before HTM, yes?

As for HTM..."they"?  As far as I was made aware, only Archimandrite Panteleimon faced charges of this kind.

Quote
That's why you get this strange theory in ROCOR that there is no grace outside Orthodoxy BUT we can use economia sometimes even though nothing was there.

The waters of baptism were there.  That is something which historically, really occured.  Just as you cannot tell me when the exact moment is that a pagan brought to the baptismal font receives the remission of sins and re-birth in Christ, neither is there anything preventing the Church of Christ from completing that which the heterodox could never possibly complete.

Quote
Well can you receive a buddhist by confession via economia?! No! If someone is not baptised, they should be baptised, period. (Of course that does not mean I think those baptised outside the church are ipso facto "not baptised" but you already knew that).

Did the Buddhist receive the form of Baptism, a form which was acceptable to the Orthodox Church?

Of course, anyone can stick absurdities into the mouths of their opponents through ommission and misrepresentation...

Quote
What I will say is recognizing that there is some degree of grace outside of Orthodoxy does not make one an ecumenist or suggest that there is no reason for such persons to enter Orthodoxy; on the contrary, we can all agree that "Orthodoxy is IT."

This is very confused.  Of course in one sense, there is "grace outside of the Church" - otherwise no one would become Orthodox in the first place.  No one would ever come to God, if He was not leading them - and this is a work of grace.

Unlike the papists who reduce "grace" to a created relationship between God and men (which in part explains their peculiar doctrine of the sacraments, which is taken right out of Augustine, who himself disagreed with the Fathers on the issue of grace), Orthodoxy confesses that it's God's benevolence to the entire creation, and a true revelation of Himself - His real, Divine energies, which are an "outpouring" of His essence (which of Itself, is completly unknowable, and beyond our ability to comprehend in the least.)

Thus, God shows His grace to all creatures...the birds in the trees, the little stone on the path, or the new born child born to a Muslim family in some far off land.  If His grace were to utterly withdraw, the cosmos would cease to exist.

But this is not "grace" as we're talking about here - the grace of the remission of sins, integration into the Body of Christ (so as to be members of Christ), and the assimilation to said Christ and God, which is ongoing.  These things, "salvation", are (in this sense) proper only to the Orthodox Church - outside of which there is no salvation, neither remission of sins.  That is a Patristic formula Anastasios, I know you realize this.  Where does your waffling on this topic "fit" into that scheme of things?

When you say "Orthodoxy is it", what do you really mean?  It's obviously not the only "place" where the remission of sins can be found.  What, do you mean "most correct?"  This makes salvation, or degrees of salvation (so to speak) seem like a gnosis contest - in which the "most right" will "win" or "excel."  All dogmata, all gnosis, serve one end (and it is not themselves) - keeping one away from that which will alienate them from the true, and living God.

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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2003, 05:58:04 PM »

Anastasios: as I promised, here is the post from the Cafe regarding the article on "traditional Russian practice" you brought up

Quote
Nevski,

I followed the link you offered, and read the article by Archmandrite Ambrosius.

Quote
His Grace frequently refers to the following article, among other sources, as a means of explaining the practice and views of the OCA. The reference to St. Basil is most important in it. I expect few here will find the article satisfactory, but I think it nevertheless affords some needed clarity to this discussion, and with it, I am done with this particular exchange:

It is profoundly unsatisfactory, because it mixes a great deal of truth (discussion of long standing Russian practice, though with a great deal of ommission regarding Greek practice, and the practice of the early Church) with some very subtle, poisonous error.

From the article...

Quote
Each of the Orthodox Church’s mysteries has a dogmatic side. Forms may change and the canons may be amended, but their dogmatic aspects remains immutable, For example, the forms of the Divine Liturgy changed during the course of centuries, but the dogmatic essence of the Divine Liturgy remained and remains without change namely, that under the appearance of bread and wine we receive the True Body and Blood of Christ, which change takes place through the sacred action of the bishop or the priest.

Satisfactory explanation so far (though as will be seen, non-sequitor).

Quote
Thus, in the mystery of baptism its dogmatic foundation, its substance is that it is performed by triple immersion (or by its equivalent) pronouncing each of the Persons of the Divine Trinity, individually, and then — in the non-repetition of this mystery, since it was the spiritual birth of the Christian into eternal life in Christ. Just as our birth in the flesh occurs only once, so does our spiritual birth occurs only once in the mystery of baptism. This non-repetition of valid baptism, as a dogma, is sealed for all times in the Symbol of Faith: "I believe . . . in one Baptism." Even if the baptism was performed in a non-Orthodox church, but in the same form as it is performed among the Orthodox, it is accepted, according to the canons of the Ecumenical Councils. The Blessed Augustine wrote that the sacrament of baptism was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and even the perversion (perversitas) of the heretics does not deprive that sacrament of its veracity and validity. Thus it follows that re-baptism violates the dogmatic principle of the non-repetition of baptism.

(emphasis in the above is mine)

Some observations.

1) This manifestly contradicts what both you, and apparently (from your quotation) what bishop Tikhon said - it is a clear affirmation of the remission of sins/rebirth in grace being present in heterodox baptisms.  The good Archmandrite would be well advised to read St.Cyprian, re-read the Canons of St.Basil (which outright say in the first canon that the communication of the Holy Spirit does not exist in schisms), and the Apostolic Canons which teach exactly the opposite of what he's teaching on this subject.  For while they do teach that repeating a genuine Baptism is blasphey, they also teach...

Canon XLVI.

We ordain that a bishop, or presbyter, who has admitted the baptism or sacrifice of heretics, be deposed. For what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what part hath a believer with an infidel?


Even the canon reflecting the doctrine that repetition of a true baptism is sacreligious, is only half referenced, so to speak, in his form of thought.  For example, here would be the form of the canon if it was agreeable to the Archmandrite's way of thinking...

Canon XLVII.

Let a bishop or presbyter who shall baptize again one who has rightly received baptism, ... be deposed, as despising the cross and death of the Lord...


Now, if that's all it said, he might have a point (though the previous canon would also have to evaporate, as would any other testimony on this topic.)  However, this is the canon in full...

Canon XLVII.

Let a bishop or presbyter who shall baptize again one who has rightly received baptism, or who shall not baptize one who has been polluted by the ungodly, be deposed, as despising the cross and death of the Lord, and not making a distinction between the true priests and the false.


(btw., to be clear, I am not imply at all that the Archmandrite quoted this passage incompletly - rather, I am saying quite unequivocally, that his teaching that repeating a "true baptism" is sacreligious, while itself correct, cannot be applied to heterodox baptisms.)

2) It does precisely why I warned about previously - in supporting a false idea about sacramental economy (in reality, this is not economy at all!), it is in fact, round aboutly (and rather back-handedly) outright condemning the practice of receiving converts from heterodoxy via exactitude.

There is no "economy" in accepting a genuine Baptism.  This is an abuse of terminology, and confirms precisely what others (and myself) have been saying in this forum.

But of course, I'm sure you will inform us that the above is not an "official statement" of the OCA... Smiley  This reminds me of how Papists, to get around some of the more outrageous activities and teachings of some of their Popes, will say "well, it wasn't ex cathedra".  Organically, ontologically, but not "officially" (whatever this means), a heretic.

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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2003, 06:00:42 PM »

LOL, Seraphim--you didn't even read the whole article.

If you had, you would see that he shows that St Cyprian's teaching was never accepted by the church at large!

You amaze me!

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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2003, 06:00:59 PM »

LOL ---Carpo-Rusyn...

From one graceless heretic to another...I thought Jesus came to save us, not to condemn us. But that's just what the Bible says, oh well!  Grin

Here's a friendly reminder, just in case you're not into professional wrestling. (Wrestling fans know this!)

John 3, TMB

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2003, 06:01:12 PM »

Of course, anyone can stick absurdities into the mouths of their opponents through ommission and misrepresentation...

A truth indeed. And one that I constantly have to face. It is so much easier to misrepresent what others believe, and on occasion what ROCOR believes. Seraphim you should heed your own observation, taking time to learn what others really believe by talking to them, then you might find that others give your own communion the same opportunities.

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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2003, 06:03:23 PM »

what you missed, Seraphim:

- ONE -
How the question of the reception of the heterodox was resolved in the Ancient Church, during the time of the Ecumenical Councils and before the Fall of Constantinople. The Church’s view and legislation on this problem.
Inasmuch as we will be making references to Church canons, i.e., to her laws and decisions, it behooves to note that every canonist, upon perusing any canon, must take into account: when and under what circumstances was the canon written and to whom does it refer. Then: does the particular canon express a fundamental position as the very principle of the Church, or does it merely reflect a particular time and has it been amended by later legislation of the Church,[5] and how does the decisive legislation of the Church consider that, which was promulgated during the later Ecumenical Councils. The canons changed because the very circumstances of the Church’s life changed. The Church’s dogmatic teaching became more precise; old heresies fell by the wayside and new ones took their place. Even the external structure of the Church’s government changed and new conditions arose in the life of the Church. The Church’s canons are reflections of the Church’s living organism, and, therefore, in considering this or that canon, one must thoroughly investigate its spirit, taking into account those circumstances which we listed above.

Baptism is the Christian Church’s fundamental sacrament. It was commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ and was performed by the holy apostles,[6] the bishops and presbyters whom they appointed and by their successors. The ancient holy fathers and the Church’s canons speak about the sacrament of baptism.[7] The holy Church administered this baptism as its basic sacrament. Thus apostle Paul writes, " . . . One Lord, one faith, one baptism."[8] In view of the exceptional significance of this sacrament, the holy Church undertook every effort to make sure that none of her members, for whatever reason, was left without baptism, and, on the other hand, to make sure that no one would be baptized more than once, inasmuch as this sacrament, - by analogy with natural birth, as a person’s real birth in Christ for eternal life, - cannot be repeated, as it was impressed in the ancient symbols of faith and as found in our own Creed. These two elements: concern to make certain that no Church member remain without true baptism and the non-repetition of valid baptism, can be found expressed in later Church legislation as well.[9] We first see this in the Apostolic Canons 46 and 47: the first one strictly forbids the bishop or presbyter to recognize heretical baptism as valid;[10] in the second one, the bishop or presbyter is strictly forbidden to repeat a baptism over one who already had a valid baptism.[11]

Thus, Apostolic Canon 46 speaks about the inadmissibility of heretical baptism. Immediately following the text of that canon there is an explanation in the [Russian] Most-holy Governing Synod’s edition as follows:

"This Apostolic Canon refers to heretics in the times of the apostles, who offended against the chief dogmas about God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and about the incarnation of the Son of God. The following canons are directed against further kinds of heresies: 1 E.C. 19, Laodicea 7 and 8, and 6 E.C. 95, and Basil Gr. 47."[12]

Thus, this Apostolic Canon refers to the following heretics: whose heresies not only distorted the teachings of the Holy Church, but which could hardly be called "Christian." They consisted of a fantastic mixture either of Judaism and Christianity or of a pagan philosophy with a superficial coloration of Christianity, resembling Eastern mysteries mixed with fantasy. Prof. Posnov in describing these heresies concludes: "The Judeo- and Pagano-Christian distortions were not Christian heresies in a real sense."[13] Concerning the heresies that appeared at the end of the second and the third centuries on the Christian soil, they consisted of a complete absurd in the dogmatic sense. The "Circular Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs" of 1848 rightfully calls these heresies "monstrosities" and "pathetic imaginations and brainstorms of sad people."[14] Even such a heresy as Montanism, more closer in structure of the holy Church, was far removed from the authentic teaching of the Church, introducing a new revelation which supposedly was given to Montanus on the basis of which the sect’s world-view was built.[15] Although their baptism was performed in the name of the Holy Trinity, the addition of the formula "and in the name of the spirit of Montanus" invalidated all baptisms.

Thus, the Apostolic Canons have in view specific heretics and refer to those ancient times.[16] It is clear that the Church could not have accepted such heretics as Christians in any case. However, all these heresies had their own sacred ablution or "baptism." "Baptism" in one form or another is common to all religions. The so-called "Dead Sea Scrolls" show us that the Essenes in addition to, and ranking with circumcision, practiced a baptism.[17] These sacred ablutions or "baptisms" of the 2nd century heretics had nothing in common with the baptism performed in the Church. Church baptism consisted of two elements: a sensible teaching about the Holy Trinity and about the Incarnation of the Son of God. Heretical baptism had neither, and therefore, it could not be accepted as equivalent to the baptism performed in the holy Church. Canon 46 of the Apostolic Canons was written to dispel any misunderstanding. These people needed to be baptized in the Church since they, in the Church’s judgement, were not baptized. But, as we pointed out, the following canon, 47th, forbade the repetition of that baptism that was validly performed.

Christianity saw no small number of heresies during the 3rd and 4th centuries, and the originators of the heresies were bishops or prominent presbyters. How to treat those who came to Orthodoxy from those heresies? By what method should they be received? There was an immediate difference of views about this problem within the Orthodox Church. Some insisted that they be received only through baptism, i.e., not to recognize their previous baptism as valid even though it was correct in form (i.e., corresponding to the baptism performed in the Orthodox Church). Others maintained a more tolerant view, accepting as valid that baptism, which was performed by some heretics, since it was performed in the name of the Holy Trinity, and did not require that those coming into Orthodoxy from heresy be re-baptized. A stricter line was taken by Tertullian (himself a Montanist), St. Cyprian of Carthage, Firmilian of Caesarea, and Elanus of Tarsus. St. Cyprian, a proponent of the strict line, convoked two councils in this matter (255-256) and insisted that heretics be received by no other way than baptism. St. Stephen, Pope of Rome (253-257) could be considered to hold a more tolerant view, and his position, according to the famous Hefele, was supported by Eastern bishops. At the same time as St. Cyprian along with a council of 71 bishops insisted that heretics lack any grace and for this reason their sacred acts are invalid, Pope St. Stephen received penitent heretics with the laying of a bishop’s hand on their heads. He did this in accord with the tolerant practice, which was held by other Western bishops. We read an ancient decree of the Council in Arles (Canon Cool:

"If anyone shall come from heresy to the Church, they shall ask him to say the Creed; and if they shall perceive that he was baptized into the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost [in Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto esse baptizatum] he shall have hands laid upon him only so that he may receive the Holy Ghost. But if he was not baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, let him be baptized."[18]

Having learned about the decrees of the Council in Carthage under St. Cyprian’s chairmanship, which demanded the re-baptism of heretics coming into the Church, at first Pope St. Stephen demanded a repeal of these decrees, threatening excommunication and, since the repeals did not take place, he later excommunicated St. Cyprian.[19]

It is interesting to note that Eastern canonists treat the decisions of the Carthage councils critically. Thus, Zonaras commenting on Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council, which calls for the reception of certain kinds of heretics without re-baptism, notes the decree of St. Cyprian, about which he says:

"Thus, the opinions of the Fathers gathered at the council with the great Cyprian do not refer to all heretics and all schismatics. Because the Second Ecumenical Council, as we just pointed out, makes an exception for certain heretics and grants its sanction for their reception without repeating the baptism, demanding only their anointing with the Holy Chrism provided that they renounced their own heresies and all other heresies."

Balsamon calls the decrees of the Council at Carthage "not mandatory and as such ineffective."[20]

Given this evidence, our analysis shows that in the third and the first part of the fourth centuries there were two different practices for the reception of heretics and schismatics into the Orthodox Church: one through re-baptism and the other through repentance. However, the Orthodox Church, being always merciful, tended to lean towards the more lenient view.

Even though the First Ecumenical Council made no final ruling on this question, its three canons: 8th, 11th and 19th, breathe with mercy towards those who have fallen during the time of persecution or those who stepped away from Orthodoxy during the Novatian schism[21] or into Paul of Samosata’s heresy[22]. Novatian’s followers, who called themselves "pure and better," were to be received through repentance. Paulianists were to be received by Baptism since their dogmatic teaching was a distortion of Orthodox teaching, after which their clerics could be received [by ordination, trans.] into the clergy of the Orthodox Church.

We find a number of major Christological heresies in the 4th century such as Arianism, Apollinarianism and their offshoots, as well as heresies touching upon the dogma of the Holy Trinity and the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit (Macedonians). As to the reception of these and other heretics and schismatics into the Orthodox Church, we can see the holy Church has not as yet formulated decisive decrees and there were the two parallel practices noted above governing their reception. However, as we noted above, the Church followed the path of mercy and condescension. St. Basil is a witness to this in his 1st canon. He says that the Orthodox Church can accept only that baptism which in no way differs from that baptism which is performed in the Orthodox Church. A heresy is defined as "a clear difference in the very faith in God." Wherefore, those heretics who belong to heresies that completely distort Christian teaching should be looked upon as lacking that baptism which is performed in the Church, and they should be baptized upon coming into the Church. As for schismatics, i.e., those who split off from the Church on the basis of "ecclesiastical disputes," they can be received by way of repentance. Further St. Basil complains that sometimes Montanists were received into Orthodoxy without re-baptism, i.e., their baptism was accepted as valid. Since such a baptism is performed "in the Father and Son and Montanus or Priscilla," it does not correspond to the baptism performed in the name of the Trinity by the Orthodox. Further St. Basil advances St. Cyprian of Carthage’s point of view according to which all heretics and all schismatics must be re-baptized when coming into the Orthodox Church since the heretics and schismatics are completely lacking in Grace. As a result of all this he says, "But, as some in Asia have otherwise determined, for the edification of many, let their baptism be allowed." In this way St. Basil expressed his authority not in the direction of a rigorous resolution of the problem but in the direction of a merciful and condescending resolution, serving for the benefit of the Church.

The following interpretation of the words of St. Basil the Great was given by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, at its session on 15/28 September 1971:

"Thus, St. Basil the Great, and by his words the Ecumenical Council in confirming the principle that there is no genuine baptism outside the Holy Orthodox Church, allows, out of pastoral condescension, which is called economy, the acceptance of certain heretics and schismatics without a new baptism."

In the period between the First and Second Ecumenical Councils there was a Local Council in Laodicea (c. 363) that decreed, by its 7th Canon: "Persons converted from heresies, that is, of the Novatians, Photinians, and Quartodecimans: . . . shall be received by way of renouncing the heresy and through chrismation." Thus, we see here as well that the more tolerant view prevailed over the more rigid. However, St. Basil the Great’s canons or the Laodicean canons, as authoritative as they may have been, were not as yet laws for the whole universal Church. A decision of an Ecumenical Council[23] was needed. Later, the Sixth Ecumenical Council decreed (in Canon 2) to accept the canons of St. Basil the Great and the canons of Laodicea as laws for the whole Church. This took place more than three centuries later.[24]

It should be acknowledged that with the words of St. Basil the Great and of the Fathers of the Laodicean Council the Church determined a path for further ecumenical legislation, namely — that the decrees (or canons) of the Church be motivated by the spirit of toleration and with a view towards the common benefit of the Orthodox Church. But, in the noted decree of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (and prior to that in the canons of St. Basil the Great and the local council in Laodicea) the following is also evident: that the holy Church accepted as genuine that baptism which was done in the name of the Holy Trinity even though the baptism took place outside of the Orthodox Church, but in all respects corresponded to that baptism which was performed by the Orthodox. In such a case it is accepted as genuine and effective upon the reception of the convert into the Orthodox Church by way of repentance and chrismation. Then the words of St. Basil the Great become quite clear when he says: "The older authorities had judged that baptism acceptable which disregarded no point of the faith." [St. Basil, Canon 1] In the book of Church rites for the reception of the heterodox into Orthodoxy we read the following description in one of the rites:[25] "The office for receiving into the Orthodox faith such persons as have not previously been Orthodox, but have been reared from infancy outside the Orthodox Church, yet have received valid baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, however, rejected other mysteries and customs and who held views contrary to those of the Orthodox Church."[26] Had the holy Orthodox Church doubted the genuineness of such a baptism then there is no question that it would ever subject that person, who comes to her for the sake of the salvation of his soul, to the danger of remaining without baptism, the greatest of sacraments, being motivated by pastoral condescension towards heretics and schismatics, on the basis of economy (i.e., for the general welfare of the Church), i.e., undertaking a compromise at the price of the salvation of that person’s soul who entrusts the Church with the salvation of his soul! Baptism is the fundamental sacrament of the Church without which one cannot be saved. If one were to take note of later times and justifiably say that Protestant ministers lack apostolic succession and upon coming into the Orthodox Church are received as laymen, then we will counter this by noting that in the Orthodox Church baptism can be performed even by a layman if such is demanded by exigency.

But let us turn to the lengthy history of the problem of receiving the heterodox into the Orthodox Church.

The decisive legislation on this matter was promulgated at the Second Ecumenical Council (A.D. 381) in its 7th Canon:

"Those heretics who come over to Orthodoxy and to the society of those who are saved we receive according to the prescribed rite and custom: we receive Arians, Macedonians, Novatianists who call themselves ‘pure and better,’ Quatrodecimans, otherwise known as Tetradites, as well as Appolinarians on condition that they offer libelli (i.e., recantations in writing) and anathematize every heresy that does not hold the same beliefs as the holy, catholic and apostolic Church of God, and then they should be marked with the seal, that is, anointed with chrism on the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth and ears. And as they are marked with the seal, we say, ‘seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ As for Eunomians, however, who are baptized with a single immersion, Montanists, who are called Phrygians, and the Sabellians, who teach that Father and Son are the same person, and who commit other abominable things, and [those belonging to] any other heresies — for there are many of them here, especially among the people coming from the country of the Galatians, — all of them that want to adhere to Orthodoxy we are willing to accept as Greeks [i.e., pagans]. Accordingly, on the first day we make them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; then, on the third day, we exorcise them with the act of blowing thrice into their face and into their ears; and thus we do catechize them, and we make them tarry a while in the church and listen the Scriptures; and then we baptize them."[27]

In this way the Holy Church made the rules: by what order to receive those who come into Orthodoxy from heresy. Those who have a correct baptism are received without re-baptism. Those who do not have baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity — are received by way of Baptism. It must be noted that the Arians and Macedonians held to a wrong teaching about the Persons of the Holy Trinity, but the actual faith in the Holy Trinity, in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, was there, and this was sufficient, in the opinion of the holy Church for recognizing the validity (sufficiency) of their baptism.

With this canon the Second Ecumenical Council gave the direction of how to act in the future. Hefele notes that the Holy Fathers and the teachers of the Church, while accepting as valid the baptism of certain heretics, nonetheless felt it necessary to give them the gift of the Holy Spirit, inherent in the holy Orthodox Church, through chrismation.[28]

We have already shown the comparison of Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council with the canons passed by the council at Carthage under St. Cyprian, along with the opinion about this matter by Zonaras and Balsamon.

The Church in Carthage, in the 3rd century under St. Cyprian, maintained such a strict view that it decreed that all heretics and schismatics who came into Orthodoxy be re-baptized without any exceptions. But it changed its views by the 4th and the beginning of the 5th centuries and decreed to accept schismatics without re-baptism but by way of repentance and the repudiation of heresy. Former schismatic clerics were received without re-ordination.[29] With respect to such heretics as Arians, Macedonians and others, this issue was not raised at the council (more correctly — a number of councils) in Carthage.

According to the general direction of Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council we see that there developed three orders in the Church for the reception of heretics (and schismatics) into Orthodoxy. The Kormchaya Kniga [Rudder] contains the letter of Timothy, presbyter of Constantinople who lived in the 5th century wherein he writes the following:

"There are three rites for accepting those coming to the Holy Divine, Catholic and Apostolic Church: the first rite demands holy baptism, the second one — we do not baptize but anoint with the Holy Chrism and the third — we neither baptize nor anoint but demand the renunciation of their own and all other heresy."[30]

Thus, those who are to be baptized are heretics in the extreme sense, of which we noted above. Those who are to be anointed with the holy chrism (without performing a second baptism over them) are Arians, Macedonians and those similar to them. Those who are to be received by way of repentance and a repudiation of error, are schismatics as well as certain heretics.

The last word in the legislation of the Universal Church with respect to the reception into Orthodoxy of those coming from heresy or schism is Canon 95 of the 6th Ecumenical Council. Its first part is a verbatim repetition of Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council and merely adds a note about the need to re-baptize the followers of Paul of Samosata (in this case referring to Canon 19 of the First Ecumenical Council). The second part lists the heresies that arose after the Second Ecumenical Council: Manicheans, Marcionites, and other similar ones, in which almost nothing remained that could be called Christian, and they were to be received through baptism. Nestorians and Monophysites (followers of Eutychus, Dioscoros and Severus) were to be received through repentance and repudiation of their heresies, after which they were to be admitted to Holy Communion.

This final legislation of the Universal Church should have sufficed for all future years of existence of the Orthodox Church. Without a doubt many heresies have died out but new ones appeared. There was no Roman Catholic Church as such because this was still that blessed time when the Eastern and Western churches constituted One Church. Protestantism with its branches was something in the far future. New and barbaric distortions of the healthy and salvific teaching have not risen as yet. However, Canon 95 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council spells out the norms for the Church’s future relationship with emerging schisms and heresies, as well as by which rite to receive those who would desire to become members of the Orthodox Church. We will reiterate this.

Those who have the least degree of dogmatic error are to be received by way of repentance and a repudiation of heresy, under the condition that their church structure preserved apostolic succession. Others, whose dogmatic teaching has undergone a greater distortion or who have not preserved apostolic succession although they were baptized as in the Orthodox Church in the name of the Holy Trinity by triple immersion, are to be received by the second rite, namely, by way of a repudiation of heretical distortions and anointing with the holy Chrism. The third group, whose baptism is not performed in the name of the Holy Trinity with triple immersion, is to be received by way of baptism, which also applies to Jews, Muslims and pagans. The teachings of this group of heretics usually consist of a complete innovation or an admixture of Judaism or paganism with the basic principles of Christianity. But in no way is there any kind of a church structure or apostolic succession, as we understand it.

The ninth century witnessed the sorrowful division between the Eastern and Western Churches. The Great Schism of 1054 created a fissure between the Churches, which over a period of time became even deeper. The Western Church moved not only towards schism with the Orthodox Church but with time it adopted heretical views. The legislation of the Orthodox Church was required to formulate rules about how to treat the Roman Catholic Church - as schismatics or heretics, and to decide along with this, by what rite to receive those Latins who wanted to come to the Orthodox Church. There was no decision on this matter for the longest time. Only in the 15th century, in connection with the Florentine Council (1459) was there any legislation considered.

Prior to the Florentine Council the Greeks considered the Latins to be schismatics. The Latins likewise viewed and called the Greeks "schismatics." Under this understanding Latins coming to Orthodoxy were received by the third rite, i.e., by repudiation of their errors and repentance. St. Mark of Ephesus, that great confessor and pillar of the Orthodox Church, when speaking at the Florentine Council, called the Roman church "holy,"[31] addressing Pope Eugenius with the words "most holy Father,"[32] "blessed Father,"[33] "first among the servants of God,"[34] and he referred to Cardinal Cesarini as "eminent father."[35] He speaks with sadness about the split that took place between the churches and calls upon the Pope and his co-workers to do everything for the union of the Churches. Later, when he saw the total uncompromising position of the Latins with respect to the "Filioque" and became convinced that they are adhering to an error of a dogmatical character, specifically with respect to the procession of the Holy Spirit, he begins to speak about them as heretics. Here is the view of St. Mark of Ephesus that he expressed at an internal meeting of the Greeks in Florence on March 30, 1439:

"The Latins are not only schismatics but are heretics. However, our Church was silent about this because [the Latins] are so numerous; but was this not the reason why the Orthodox Church moved away from them, because they were heretics? We simply cannot unite with them unless they agree to remove the addition (made by them) into the Symbol [Creed], and confess the Symbol just as we confess it."[36]

The Unia that was signed between the Greeks and the Latins in Florence was a terrible humiliation for the Orthodox Church. The Greeks disavowed their traditions in the face of all the demands insisted upon by the Vatican. Upon his return from Florence St. Mark — the defender and leader in the struggle for Orthodoxy — appealed to all Orthodox people with an epistle, in which he called attention of the faithful to the betrayal of Orthodoxy in Florence. And now he refers to the Latins as heretics who, in the event that some of them would come into Orthodoxy, are to be chrismated. He writes as follows:

"The Latins, having no cause to condemn us for our dogmatic teachings, call us "schismatics" because we declined to humble ourselves before them, which they imagine is their due. But let this be scrutinized: would it be just for us to grant them that courtesy and not accuse them of anything with respect to the Faith? They initiated the cause for the split. They openly made an addition (Filioque to the Symbol of Faith), which before they were pronouncing secretly. We were the first to break away from them, but it is better to say that we separated them and cut them off from the common Body of the Church. Why? Do tell me! Because they have the right faith and made the right addition (to the Symbol of Faith)? Who would say such a thing unless his head became damaged! But (we broke away from them) because they demonstrate an impious and wrong-headed view and hurriedly and thoughtlessly made the addition. Thus, we turned away from them as from heretics and for this reason disassociate ourselves from them. The venerable canons say thus: ‘He is a heretic and is subject to the laws against heretics if he — even only in a little way — turns from the Orthodox faith.40]), the holy Orthodox Church, through the words of St. Mark of Ephesus and the Fathers of the 1484 Council in Constantinople, along with previous prominent canonists, acknowledged that to bring Latins (Roman Catholics) into the Orthodox Church, it is sufficient for them to renounce their heretical views, to confess the Orthodox Faith and to promise loyalty to her until the end of their lives. Their actual reception into Orthodoxy is performed through the rite of chrismation.

We have demonstrated that the Universal Orthodox Church instituted canons which were infused with tolerance towards those who, seeking the salvation of their souls, came into Orthodoxy, leaving behind and rejecting their error. The Holy Church received them. Where possible, the Church accepted their baptism and recognized it as valid, even though it was performed in environs outside the Orthodox Church. The Church taught the need to follow the rules that were built upon the wisdom and strength of Orthodoxy as expressed through the words of the fourth century Fathers (St. Basil the Great and the Fathers of the Laodicean Council)[41] and consistently through the end of the fifteenth century through the words of St. Mark of Ephesus and the four Eastern Patriarchs gathered at a Council in Constantinople in 1484, as well as the authority of the Second and the Sixth Ecumenical Councils.[42]



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Footnotes and Endnotes
Web Editor's note: the original publication had both footnotes and endnotes. For Internet publication all notes have been converted to endnotes.
[5] As an example we can point to the Apostolic Canon 5 which forbids the bishop to terminate his marriage with his wife. On the other hand Canon 6 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council forbids the bishop to have a wife. Apostolic Canon 37 prescribes that bishops-¦ councils take place twice a year. Later canons prescribe different schedules. Apostolic Canon 85 lists the canonical books of the Holy Scripture. Later canons decrease the number and others add the Revelation of St. John the Theologian. Canon 15 of Neocesarea prescribes that there shall be seven deacons in any city regardless of size and makes reference to the Acts of the Apostles (Ch. 6). Canon 16 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council repeals this canon which was decreed by the Fathers in Neocesarea. A number of canons in the ancient Church prescribe the age for candidates for the order of presbyter and deacon. Later Church legislation does not require this and adheres to its own understanding. Back to referring section.

[6] Matt 28:19; Acts 2:38ff; Acts 8:12, 38; Acts 19:1-7ff. According to ancient tradition preserved by St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Apostles, as commanded by the Savior, baptized each other and Apostles Peter and John baptized the Theotokos. P.G. n. 78/3 col. 3372. Back to referring section.

[7] Apostolic Canons 24, 47, 49, and 50. Back to referring section.

[8] Ephesians 4:5. Back to referring section.

[9] Ap. Canons 46, 47, 68; Laod. 8; Basil Gr. I; 2 E.C. 7; 6 E.C. 95; Carth. 59. Back to referring section.

[10] The text reads: "We ordain that a bishop, or presbyter, who has admitted the baptism or sacrifice of heretics be deposed. For what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what part hath a believer with an infidel?" Back to referring section.

[11] The text reads: "Let a bishop or presbyter who shall baptize again one who has rightly received baptism, or who shall not baptize one who has been polluted by the ungodly be deposed, as despising the cross and death of the Lord, and not making a distinction between the true priests and the false." Back to referring section.

[12] We refer to the 1901 Moscow Synodal edition, pg. 26. [There is a more detailed note in Milash who also refers to the Synodal text. Trans.]. Back to referring section.

[13] M .E. Posnov, History of the Christian Church [Istoriya Khristianskoy Tserkvi], Brussels, 1964, p. 146. See his description of these heresies on pp. 142-149. See also Manual for a Descriptive Study of Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism. Back to referring section.

[14] Circular Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs, 1848, -º-º 2 and 3. Cited in the Manual for Descriptive Study.. . . , p. 729. Back to referring section.

[15] Posnov, Op. Cit., pp. 147-148. Back to referring section.

[16] Canonists agree that the "Apostolic Canons" were compiled at the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd centuries. Some of the canons have even a later origin. See the discussion on this point in Posnov, op. cit., pp. 317-318. Back to referring section.

[17] See the word "Baptism" in the Encyclopedia Britannica as well as in Hastings in his Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. See the word "Bapteme" in the Dictionaire de Theologie Catholique. Back to referring section.

[18] The Seven Ecumenical Councils, Henry Percival, Oxford, 1900, p. 40.Back to referring section.

[19] See details in Puller, The Primitive Saints and the See of Rome. Back to referring section.

[20] Noted in Percival’s reference to the Councils at Carthage.Back to referring section.

[21] This is how the followers of Novatian were described in the Book of Canons published by the Sacred Ruling Synod which we cited: "They who called themselves ‘Puritans’ were followers of Novatus, a presbyter of the Roman Church, who taught that those who fell during persecution were not to be received through repentance nor were bigamists ever to be received in communion with the Church and who claimed purity for his society on the basis of pride and total lack of love for others." (p. 41) It should be noted here that the "Cathars" ("Puritans") as well as Montanists re-baptized those Orthodox who came into their schism. Back to referring section.

[22] Paul of Samosata’s (260 A.D.) heresy had a Jewish character: it introduced circumcision, did not recognize the Trinity, did not recognize Christ’s divinity in His essence but rather as a some kind of an elevation in rank. The heresy was condemned twice at the Antiochian local Council in 264 A.D. and in 269 A.D. See for more detail in J.H. Blunt’s Dictionary of Sects, Heresies, etc., 1874, p. 515ff. Back to referring section.

[23] Council in Trullo. Back to referring section.

[24] The Council in Trullo took place in 691-692 A.D. St. Basil the Great died in 379 A.D. The local council in Laodicea took place in 363 A.D. Back to referring section.

[25] This is found in the Great Trebnik, Kiev-Caves Lavra edition, 1895, p. 408. Back to referring section.

[26] See the special book published by direction of the Sacred Ruling Synod in 1895. We find the same designation in Part Three of the Trebnik published in Jordanville in 1960. Back to referring section.

[27] Web Editor's note: This canon can be found online as part of the Early Church Fathers collection. Reference: http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF2-14/Npnf2-14-61.htm#P4014_722138. Back to referring section.

[28] H. Percival, op. cit., pp. 405-406. Back to referring section.

[29] Canons 59 and 68. Back to referring section.

[30] Not having access to the Kormchaya Kniga, which today is a bibliographic rarity, I am citing the text from Bishop Nicodemus Milash’s Orthodox Church Law, Belgrade, 1926, p. 590. Back to referring section.

[31] See Archimandrite Ambrosius, St Mark of Ephesus and the Florentine Unia, Jordanville, 1963, p. 313. Back to referring section.

[32] Ibid, pp. 40 and 41. Back to referring section.

[33] Ibid, p. 41. Back to referring section.

[34] Ibid, p. 40. Back to referring section.

[35] Ibid, p. 171. Back to referring section.

[36] Ibid, p. 214. Back to referring section.

[37] Nomocanonis, tit. XII c. 2; Pitra, Juris ecclesiastici Graecorum, t. II, p. 600. Back to referring section.

[38] Theodori Balsamones, Responsa ad Interrogationes Marci, P.G. 138, col. 968. Back to referring section.

[39] Cited in Archimandrite Ambrosius, St Mark of Ephesus and the Florentine Unia, pp. 333-334. Circular Epistle of St. Mark of Ephesus -º 4. Greek text Patrologia Orientalis T. XVII, p. 460-464 and in Migne, P.G. t. 160. Back to referring section.

[40] Paterikon of Athos, v. II, pp. 230-250 and pp. 282-283. Back to referring section.

[41] The Blessed Augustine notes that baptism is a mystery, established by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and thus this mystery cannot lose its validity through the depravity or perversity (perversitas) of the heretics. De Baptismo, lib. V, cc. 2-3-4. P.L. 43. Back to referring section.

[42] The spirit of tolerance was always inherent in the Orthodox Church. As one of many examples we can point to the service of the first week of Great Lent, where it relates how the Great Martyr St. Theodore of Tyro came before the Bishop of Constantinople and warned him that the produce, set out in the marketplace on that day, were profaned by blood offered to idols by order of the emperor Julian the Apostate who wanted, by this act, to cause mischief to Christians (see the Synaxarion for the first Saturday in Great Lent). Throughout this service the local bishop is referred to as "hierarch," "chief pastor" who prays throughout the night for his flock, and "patriarch." However, at the time all this was taking place, the bishop of Constantinople was Eudoxius, a prominent Arian. Constantinople did not have an Orthodox bishop at that time. Back to referring section.




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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2003, 06:04:31 PM »

some of the text didn't carry over well, so here is the link to the whole series for all interested:

http://www.holy-trinity.org/ecclesiology/pogodin-reception/reception-ch0.html
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« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2003, 06:08:45 PM »

I have a question...

If no grace exsists outside of of Orthodoxy than why are Roman Catholics recieved into Orthodoxy by Chrismation alone, and not baptism?

The only priest I have ever found that said RCC communion is just simply bread and wine was apart of the ROAC. So I do not understand why this opinion of no grace outside of Orthodoxy seems to be very prevelent not only today but also in the past, yet not one Orthodox priest in my area, except ROAC, will say RCC sacraments are nothing and graceless. And not one will recieve me into Orthodoxy by Baptism. Why is this?

It is interesting how Orthodoxy is sooooooo divided, it makes me wonder if Orthodoxy needs some kind of Pope, the divisions seem to be out of control!
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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2003, 06:09:25 PM »

Dang you Dustin. How dare you clutter up this discussion with clear, documented facts!  Wink
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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2003, 06:12:57 PM »

Ben,

Please order "Reception of Converts" by Prof. John Erickson, a tape costing 5.95 from SVS press, to better understand why there is a conflation of practice in the Orthodox world as to receiving converts. Prof. Erickson explains it quite well.

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« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2003, 06:16:29 PM »

Caff

The Bible says Jesus came to save us???  Shocked You wouldn't know it from some of the posts in this thread.

Ben
My God what a good point!  I was brought into ACROD by chrismation alone.  Maybe some consider ACROD graceless heretics as well.  Somebody let me know so I can tell Met Nicholas.

Seraphim
I have notified the Pope that he is a graceless heretic as per you.  His response was "Seraphim who?" I don't think he's too worried.

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« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2003, 06:17:09 PM »

Anastasios,

Quote
LOL, Seraphim--you didn't even read the whole article.

If you had, you would see that he shows that St Cyprian's teaching was never accepted by the church at large!

I actually read the article quite thoroughly; the problem is you're confusing it's apologetic in favour the historical precedent of receiving converts by economia (which is for the most part sound), with a successful argument in favour of the ecumenistic interpretation of said practice (a recognition of the heretics possessing the grace of the holy mysteries.)  It is a real confusion on your part - since the Archmandrite only does the former, but not the latter (the latter is simply asserted by him, with no evidence.)

One critical error, was Ambrosius' leap that the Church's faith in "one baptism" automatically equals "recognition of the grace of heretical mysteries."  The precise reason why I cited the Apostolic Canons in the first place, was to show they demonstrate exactly the opposite of what he pretends (by simply asserting it - without a shred of evidence) to prove; that the Church's recognition of there being "one baptism" (and the sacreligious nature of re-baptizing a truly baptized person) does not exclude the bestowing of true, Orthodox baptism on heterodox converts; and you acknowledge that historically, this took place in many times and places (more so with the Greeks, but also with the Russians).

We know this happened in the early Church quite regularly - we know it happened in the Christian East quite regularly - we know it even happened amongst the Slavs.  And we have Fathers who address this issue, both directly and indirectly.

Yet, this is all dismissed.  So I wonder, where are the Fathers who teach that the grace of the mysteries is found in heterodoxy?  I would like an answer to this, as I've yet to see a single one, but several to the contrary!  And I will repeat - I do not want lists detailing economic receptions of certain "baptisms" from certain sects; but an affirmation that the grace of the Sacraments exists outside of the Bride of Christ, let alone in an identifiable, predictable fashion (but I'll settle with the former for now.)

Seraphim
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« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2003, 06:18:08 PM »

Thanks....I will do...I'm just confused...I mean most Orthodox priests just want to recieve me into the Church by Chrismation, but priests from extremist groups, such as ROAC, want to baptize me....oy you know I never knew Orthodoxy was this divided but I will but that tape ASAP...I can order it online right?
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« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2003, 06:24:33 PM »

Thanks....I will do...I'm just confused...I mean most Orthodox priests just want to recieve me into the Church by Chrismation, but priests from extremist groups, such as ROAC, want to baptize me....oy you know I never knew Orthodoxy was this divided but I will but that tape ASAP...I can order it online right?

Ben,

Orthodoxy is really NOT that divided. It's just that you have come into contact with the fring, vocal extremist groups. They make up a miniscule part of Orthodoxy.


Can anyone please post for Ben the stats on the number of Orthodox in Communion with the EP (i.e., that agree with each other on the FAITH) and those involved in extermists groups sucah as ROAC, GOC?
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« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2003, 06:25:07 PM »

Ben,

Try looking at www.svots.edu and checking out their bookstore. If you have trouble finding it, private message me.  Basically, you wouldn't discount Catholicism just becuase the SSPV says there is no pope, right?

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« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2003, 06:26:56 PM »

Lol@stats...numbers mean nothing.....Christ himself said when he returned those who held the true faith would be tiny in number. In the end everyone will stray from the truth and Christ will only find a tiny group of true believers.
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« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2003, 06:32:17 PM »

Lol@stats...numbers mean nothing.....Christ himself said when he returned those who held the true faith would be tiny in number.

So there is your answer. Find the smallest church in existence and you have guaranteed your salvation!  Roll Eyes

Words such as "tiny" are relative. The number of Orthodox Christians IS small in number compared to all other denominations and religions.

Stop taking everything literally!


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« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2003, 06:32:23 PM »



Quote
Try looking at www.svots.edu and checking out their bookstore.


Thanks, I'm on it right now Smiley

Quote
If you have trouble finding it, private message me.  

ok, thanks.

Quote
Basically, you wouldn't discount Catholicism just becuase the SSPV says there is no pope, right?

Right because sedevacantism makes no sense in regards to Roman Catholic dogma. However often times what groups like ROAC say have roots in Orthodox teaching.

For example if I joined the ROAC, I would be recieved into the Church by Baptism, this fits perfectly with numerous writtings of Church fathers and declarations of differen local councils. Yet I have not found any quote from a council or canon or Church father that says I only need to be Chrismated.

There is a difference here, one can see the teachings of the sedevacantists are false, but it is harder to dismiss ROAC.
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« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2003, 06:34:28 PM »

Anastasios,

Quote
Please order "Reception of Converts" by Prof. John Erickson, a tape costing 5.95 from SVS press, to better understand why there is a conflation of practice in the Orthodox world as to receiving converts. Prof. Erickson explains it quite well.

Erickson?   Roll Eyes

Better yet, advise Ben to order something from "Catholic Answers"...

Seraphim
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« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2003, 06:35:51 PM »

Seraphim,

If there were no degree of grace in a baptism outside of the church, it would be invalid and hence would need to be redone--economia cannot make something out of nothing.

Perhaps you are right that it is not clearly spelled out until these "ecumenistic times" (although I would argue that the venerable Peter Moghila spelled it out in the 17th century) that grace exists in some form outside of the Orthodox Church.  Yet some things take time to spell out--usually when they are challenged.  I would say that until this century it was a given that "something was going on" with non-Orthodox sacraments even if it wasn't spelled out, becuase otherwise there would for instance be no disctinction between receiving a Catholic priest by vesting while receiving Anglicans by reodination, if they did not consider there to be a qualitiative difference in the two!  Inferences from canons are what canonists do, and it is a valid approach.

I see the evidence from the canons that grace exists outside the Orthodox Church. I see this from reading the same canons you do.  So I give up, I will not convince you. You will not convince me, either though, because I see my beliefs backed up by real events in my spirtual life that confim both the "World Orthodoxy" teaching on the subject and my inferences from reading the canons.

anastasios

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« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2003, 06:41:27 PM »

Lol@stats...numbers mean nothing.....Christ himself said when he returned those who held the true faith would be tiny in number. In the end everyone will stray from the truth and Christ will only find a tiny group of true believers.

I don't think Tom was trying to impress you with numbers, or imply that "the more people doing it, the more likely it is to be true". I think he was just trying to show you that Orthodox belief on certain topics isn't nearly as divided as one might believe, especially when faced with very vocal Orthodox groups. There have, for quite a many years, been a number of accepted practices for receiving converts to Orthodoxy. Although some might argue that the "Greek way" is too strict, or that the "pre-revolutionary Russian way" is too lenient, both points of view have usually been accepted by the majority of Orthodox. You might want to chekc out  http://www.holy-trinity.org/liturgics/tikhon.lit10.html



Although the trend in the US does seem quite liberal in regards to "economy",
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« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2003, 06:43:44 PM »

Anastasios,

Quote
Please order "Reception of Converts" by Prof. John Erickson, a tape costing 5.95 from SVS press, to better understand why there is a conflation of practice in the Orthodox world as to receiving converts. Prof. Erickson explains it quite well.

Erickson?   Roll Eyes

Better yet, advise Ben to order something from "Catholic Answers"...

Seraphim


Hmmm. Someone who has studied the canons for 20 years (Erickson) and who knows them backwards and forewards, has written over 50 articles on canon law and church history, is the dean of St Vladimir's Seminary,

-OR-

Seraphim Reeves, mild-mannered Orthodox catechumen.

hmmm. you be the judge.

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« Reply #34 on: December 07, 2003, 06:46:36 PM »

Seraphim claimed that Erickson is a liberal who supports the WCC and believes the Orthodox Church should not call itself the one true Church. Seraphim paints a very liberal picture of him, any truth to it?
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« Reply #35 on: December 07, 2003, 06:49:53 PM »

I can tell you from my experience of seeing Erickson almost every day that he is a very pious, humble Orthodox Christian, and that his opinions are based on intensive reading of primary sources, not "ecumenistic influence."

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« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2003, 06:50:13 PM »

I'd say, listen to the tape and see what you think for yourself.

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« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2003, 06:54:11 PM »

[Hmmm. Someone who has studied the canons for 20 years (Erickson) and who knows them backwards and forewards, has written over 50 articles on canon law and church history, is the dean of St Vladimir's Seminary,

-OR-

Seraphim Reeves, mild-mannered Orthodox catechumen.

hmmm. you be the judge.]

LOL   Oh very good.

On a more serious note doesn't Seraphim's suggestion to order something from Catholic Answers count as proslytizing?  Hey Seraphim I'm sorry I had to give you up like this.

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« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2003, 06:58:14 PM »

Ben,

Quote
For example if I joined the ROAC, I would be recieved into the Church by Baptism, this fits perfectly with numerous writtings of Church fathers and declarations of differen local councils. Yet I have not found any quote from a council or canon or Church father that says I only need to be Chrismated.

As one of those nasty "ROACites", I'd like to point out that you still have some misunderstanding on the issue of sacramental economy.

The truth is the practice of itself is not outside of the pale of Orthodoxy.  The problem is the rationale given to it by the ecumenists.  They will say, that the reception of a convert by economy, means that the Orthodox Church recognizes a heterodox baptism not only as being outwardly "valid" (proper form, proper matter, to use Roman Catholic lingo), but also "inwardly valid" (that they bestow the remission of sins, integration into the Body of Christ, etc.)

Such an affirmation by the ecumenists is false.

On the other hand, the Orthodox Church teaches that while the form of true sacraments can exist outside of the Church, the grace of the sacraments can exist solely within the Church.  Let me illustrate this with a question...

Someone, if they were so malicious, could come up to you and, say, cut off your arm, right?  If they were a real sicko, they could run off, put gloves and rings on it, bounce the fingers off a piano, and do things which seem like the acts of your arm.

But could someone come along, and cut out your soul, and run off with that?  Or perhaps a "part" of your soul?  Of course not.

This is similar to the situation of heresies and schisms  - they can perhaps in space, and time, break off an identifiable group associated with the Church of Christ, indeed at one time a part of the very Body of Christ...but they cannot rob God of the indwelling grace which is His very divine energy!

In relation to the issue of economy (receiving converts by Chrismation), I will use the same analogy.  As you know, in our age of advanced medicine, if someone gets their arm chopped off, it can actually be re-attached!  Well, say a fiend chops your arm off, perhaps even uses it for some weird purpose...but then you get it back!  Well, it can be re-attached, and the same animating force which motivates the rest of your body will be returned to it.

The same can be said, in simultude, of those coming out of schisms to the Orthodox Church.  If the form of their baptism is one acceptable to the Orthodox Church (basically one stolen from her, since the heretics really have no right to use the Church's rites...but they do anyway), then it (along with the person being received into the Church) can be (like the arm that is being re-attached) attached to the Body of Christ (the Church), and receive the unique, indwelling, supernatural life which only those in the Church can enjoy.

However, such a "re-attachment" is completly impossible, if the "limb" is not in fact one proper to the body (say, it's actually a monkey's arm); this would be analogous to a heretical baptism which strayed from the form acceptable by the Orthodox Church (say, a single immersion in the name of someone other than Christ, like the Rastafarians do).  In which case, the application of economy would be impossible.

God indeed, is the true physician!

I know the analogy I gave is a bit weird, but I think it illustrates my point adequately.

Please keep in mind though, because ultimatly the "baptism" received by someone in a heretical group was not "spiritually valid" (though it may have been in an outward sense), if a pastor of souls (or an entire local Church) should decide that it is in the better interest of converts for them to be received according to the "exact" form for receiving anyone into the Church (water baptism), that this can (and in many, many cases, both in the ancient and modern Church) be done.  This is one of the problems with the ecumenistic explanation of how heretics should be received, and how they interpret sacramental economy - they deny (explicitly or implicitly) the possibility of simply baptizing a convert from heterodoxy (say, from the Roman Catholic church).  This opinion of theirs is manifestly an attack on the practice of the Church of Christ throughout the ages - where as that of the "extremists" as you mistakenly call them, does not stand in such contradiction (they simply do not see the prudence in our age of receiving converts in the "lenient" fashion.)

Seraphim
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« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2003, 07:08:56 PM »

So who does the ROAC recieve only by chrismation?

Because the ROAC is a cult that believes only they hold the Truth. And if they, for even an instance, accept that some other Orthodox MIGHT also have even a little bit of the truth, then their house of cards falls!
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« Reply #40 on: December 07, 2003, 07:08:59 PM »

Quote
As one of those nasty "ROACites", I'd like to point out that you still have some misunderstanding on the issue of sacramental economy.

The truth is the practice of itself is not outside of the pale of Orthodoxy.  The problem is the rationale given to it by the ecumenists.  They will say, that the reception of a convert by economy, means that the Orthodox Church recognizes a heterodox baptism not only as being outwardly "valid" (proper form, proper matter, to use Roman Catholic lingo), but also "inwardly valid" (that they bestow the remission of sins, integration into the Body of Christ, etc.)

Such an affirmation by the ecumenists is false.

On the other hand, the Orthodox Church teaches that while the form of true sacraments can exist outside of the Church, the grace of the sacraments can exist solely within the Church.  Let me illustrate this with a question...

Someone, if they were so malicious, could come up to you and, say, cut off your arm, right?  If they were a real sicko, they could run off, put gloves and rings on it, bounce the fingers off a piano, and do things which seem like the acts of your arm.

But could someone come along, and cut out your soul, and run off with that?  Or perhaps a "part" of your soul?  Of course not.

This is similar to the situation of heresies and schisms  - they can perhaps in space, and time, break off an identifiable group associated with the Church of Christ, indeed at one time a part of the very Body of Christ...but they cannot rob God of the indwelling grace which is His very divine energy!

In relation to the issue of economy (receiving converts by Chrismation), I will use the same analogy.  As you know, in our age of advanced medicine, if someone gets their arm chopped off, it can actually be re-attached!  Well, say a fiend chops your arm off, perhaps even uses it for some weird purpose...but then you get it back!  Well, it can be re-attached, and the same animating force which motivates the rest of your body will be returned to it.

The same can be said, in simultude, of those coming out of schisms to the Orthodox Church.  If the form of their baptism is one acceptable to the Orthodox Church (basically one stolen from her, since the heretics really have no right to use the Church's rites...but they do anyway), then it (along with the person being received into the Church) can be (like the arm that is being re-attached) attached to the Body of Christ (the Church), and receive the unique, indwelling, supernatural life which only those in the Church can enjoy.

However, such a "re-attachment" is completly impossible, if the "limb" is not in fact one proper to the body (say, it's actually a monkey's arm); this would be analogous to a heretical baptism which strayed from the form acceptable by the Orthodox Church (say, a single immersion in the name of someone other than Christ, like the Rastafarians do).  In which case, the application of economy would be impossible.

God indeed, is the true physician!

I know the analogy I gave is a bit weird, but I think it illustrates my point adequately.

Please keep in mind though, because ultimatly the "baptism" received by someone in a heretical group was not "spiritually valid" (though it may have been in an outward sense), if a pastor of souls (or an entire local Church) should decide that it is in the better interest of converts for them to be received according to the "exact" form for receiving anyone into the Church (water baptism), that this can (and in many, many cases, both in the ancient and modern Church) be done.  This is one of the problems with the ecumenistic explanation of how heretics should be received, and how they interpret sacramental economy - they deny (explicitly or implicitly) the possibility of simply baptizing a convert from heterodoxy (say, from the Roman Catholic church).  This opinion of theirs is manifestly an attack on the practice of the Church of Christ throughout the ages - where as that of the "extremists" as you mistakenly call them, does not stand in such contradiction (they simply do not see the prudence in our age of receiving converts in the "lenient" fashion.)

Wow that was a heck of a lot better explanation than Bishop Gregory's "Baptism outside of Orthodoxy is nothing, mean nothing to me, just a bath."
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« Reply #41 on: December 07, 2003, 07:22:26 PM »

TomS,

Quote
Because the ROAC is a cult that believes only they hold the Truth.

Well, Orthodoxy is a "cult", and does believe it alone has the truth which leads to salvation.  If you do not think that describes your sect, then you should scarcely bother with it (if you have any conventional notions of "revealed religion" left in your way of thinking, that is.)

Quote
And if they, for even an instance, accept that some other Orthodox MIGHT also have even a little bit of the truth, then their house of cards falls!

So long as the universe exists, every part of it has "some truth" - even if it is simply the very "truth" of existing.

That said, of course the pseudo-Orthodox have "truth"...so do the papists, so do the protestants, heck, so do the Jews, Muhammedans, Buddhists, whoever you want to list.

So right from here, your characterization is demonstrated to be false...I do not see any cards collapsing. Smiley  I don't even know why you resorted to such a rash, ill phrased line of attack to begin with.

The problem is, "mostly the truth" (let alone "party the truth") is ultimatly, all a lie.  What the devil told our first parents in Paradise (if you actually believe this happened), for example, was "mostly true".

Seraphim
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« Reply #42 on: December 07, 2003, 07:48:30 PM »

[so do the papists]

Oh so we're papists.   Roll Eyes  When ever anyone calls us "papists"  I get an image of them burning down an RC church.

[ mild-mannered Orthodox catechumen]

My God!  Shocked You're only a catechumen?  Tell me it's not so?  

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« Reply #43 on: December 07, 2003, 08:14:05 PM »

Ben,

Quote
Wow that was a heck of a lot better explanation than Bishop Gregory's "Baptism outside of Orthodoxy is nothing, mean nothing to me, just a bath."

It's very hard, when you only talk to someone briefly (or know of them relatively briefly) to guage what it is they need explained to them, what their personal issues/hang-ups are, etc.

What Vladyka told you, is actually 100% accurate.  All the heterodox bestow, ultimatly is empty form - materially, no different from any other bathing of the flesh, save it occurs in a form resembling the Baptism that the Orthodox Church imposes upon those who come to Her.

They give no remission of sins, no re-birth into Christ.  They cannot, for they are not members of Christ themselves.  It's all very sad.

When a Priest baptizes someone, he is not acting alone - he is acting as an extension of the Church, which is (according to the Scriptures) not simply Christ's "Bride", but indeed His very Body.  The Priest, being consecrated and authorized by his Bishop (who he is answerable to, and upon whom his ministry relies), then, is acting in the Person of Christ, as an extension of Christ...as His Priestly hands, so to speak.  That is what the Priest has been chosen, and set aside for...to deal with sacred things like this, as Christ so deals with them.

Thus, when the Priest baptizes, we can say it is the Church baptizing, and we can also say ultimatly, it is Christ Himself baptizing.  Quite awesome, when you think about it...all of that is going on, when a genuine Orthodox Priest gently pushes the catechuman's head below the surface of the hallowed waters, and prays over him the prayer of Baptism.

Well, heretics can do none of this, save the most superficial aspect... they can dress up like sacred ministers, they can get water, they can even use the form and prayers of the Church, or something very similar to it..

Strictly speaking, there is no way of entering the Church save through Baptism.  So if the Church chooses to receive converts from heretical groups ("churches"), this would be in the strictest sense how to receive them.

Yet if it is truly to the benefit of such converts, the Church can relax this rule, and heal what was lacking from the baptism they received beforehand (so long as the form is valid.)  This can be done; doesn't have to be, but can be, and very many times in history, has been.

It's precisely because in our day (when there has been so much confusion created about just what and where the Church "is") that this is usually not to the advantage of converts, that such a leniency is not shown...it's important when many people are telling the innocent that heretics can grant the life of grace, that converts understand plainly that salvation is of the Church alone, for She alone is the spouse of Christ.

Seraphim
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« Reply #44 on: December 07, 2003, 08:17:36 PM »

Carpo,

Quote
My God!   You're only a catechumen?  Tell me it's not so?

It's no secret, I'm surprised you didn't know...I'm as unwashed as you, and most of the users on this forum.

Though do not be too sad - from your (and the "Orthodox-ecumenists") thought paradigm, I am not only "baptized", but even "confirmed."  Hence, it's all non-sequitor.

Seraphim
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