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militantsparrow
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« on: November 07, 2009, 11:39:39 AM »

I am in the process of reading "Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy." First of all, it's a fantastic book. I find the author's gentleness and honesty (something that seems to be a hallmark of Orthodox authors) quite refreshing. But I am a little confused on the role of the Roman Pontiff in the ancient church.

Schmemann mentions a few times when easterners appealed to Rome for clarification and / or action. In those cases Rome would make declarations, send legates, and even excommunicate individuals. Some examples are St. Cyril and his "turn to Rome" regarding Nestorius, the Eusebians writing to Rome in regards to Athanasius, there are more as well.

Here's what I don't exactly understand--or maybe I do understand but need clarification. The east often seemed in turmoil. Some bishops were outright heretical and others quite orthodox and many in between. Rome seemed to remain unshaken--like a "rock." Rome was appealed to for clarification. When Rome finally engaged itself in the conflict, it seemed like the beginning of the end of that conflict. Why was this?

My ideas are...
  • Because Rome did not have any competing jurisdictions it was free of the "ingredients" which caused such conflict in the east. Yet, Rome seemed to develop orthodox understandings all on its own.
  • Maybe this is why the east appealed to Rome, because it was free of infighting. But Rome seemed to indicate, even this early, that they should have been written to first because of the Pope's Petrine lineage.

How did the ancient east regard the Pope? Is it simply the difference between dictating direction vs. seeking direction?
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 11:43:25 AM by militantsparrow » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2009, 12:07:23 PM »

Grace and Peace,

You have just opened the 'polemical bag of worms'.  Roll Eyes

There are two books which I have read which illuminates both positions on this matter. One is rather short and by far, in my humble opinion, illustrates the intradigence with both sides. Ultimately, this will be borne out in dialgoue between the two bodies and we should be careful not to cling to either extreme. Schism is always born by a lack of love. A lack of charity in whom lies correction and a lack of humility with whom lies the error. Polemics abound on both sides which only deepen the divisions amongst brothers.

You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Oliver Clement
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 12:10:06 PM by ignatius » Logged

St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2009, 12:20:15 PM »

Grace and Peace,

You have just opened the 'polemical bag of worms'.  Roll Eyes

There are two books which I have read which illuminates both positions on this matter. One is rather short and by far, in my humble opinion, illustrates the intradigence with both sides. Ultimately, this will be borne out in dialgoue between the two bodies and we should be careful not to cling to either extreme. Schism is always born by a lack of love. A lack of charity in whom lies correction and a lack of humility with whom lies the error. Polemics abound on both sides which only deepen the divisions amongst brothers.

You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Oliver Clement

 Smiley I agree with you, Ignatius. Love heals all things. And I realize it will be a touchy subject, but I am curious.

As one considering Orthodoxy I want to better understand the ancient church. Hopefully the questions can be discussed without too much polemics. I don't want to cling to an extreme but to cling to the Truth.
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2009, 12:34:24 PM »

Grace and Peace,

You have just opened the 'polemical bag of worms'.  Roll Eyes

There are two books which I have read which illuminates both positions on this matter. One is rather short and by far, in my humble opinion, illustrates the intradigence with both sides. Ultimately, this will be borne out in dialgoue between the two bodies and we should be careful not to cling to either extreme. Schism is always born by a lack of love. A lack of charity in whom lies correction and a lack of humility with whom lies the error. Polemics abound on both sides which only deepen the divisions amongst brothers.

You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Oliver Clement

 Smiley I agree with you, Ignatius. Love heals all things. And I realize it will be a touchy subject, but I am curious.

As one considering Orthodoxy I want to better understand the ancient church. Hopefully the questions can be discussed without too much polemics. I don't want to cling to an extreme but to cling to the Truth.

It was curiousity which killed the cat...  Shocked

Also know that we are what we eat. I caution you to dine sparingly on this subject. It is by far the most emotive of all topics between Catholics and Orthodox and hosts a wealth of bitter opponents throughout history on both sides. Personally, I have managed to not to take a side in this as neither seems to bear the fruits of the Spirit. 'Truth' becomes a 'cudgel' in which one stricks out at any opposition. It is most distasteful amongst those whom would call themselves 'servants'. I say be more fervent in your pursuit of holiness and let the Hierarchs bicker amongst themselves.

~most of this argument was taken from the text in The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac The Syrian.

"Flee anyone whom wishes to speak of dogma!" ~ St. Isaac The Syrian
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 12:42:16 PM by ignatius » Logged

St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2009, 12:54:35 PM »

It was curiousity which killed the cat... 

Also know that we are what we eat. I caution you to dine sparingly on this subject. It is by far the most emotive of all topics between Catholics and Orthodox and hosts a wealth of bitter opponents throughout history on both sides. Personally, I have managed to not to take a side in this as neither seems to bear the fruits of the Spirit. 'Truth' becomes a 'cudgel' in which one stricks out at any opposition. It is most distasteful amongst those whom would call themselves 'servants'. I say be more fervent in your pursuit of holiness and let the Hierarchs bicker amongst themselves.

~most of this argument was taken from the text in The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac The Syrian.

"Flee anyone whom wishes to speak of dogma!" ~ St. Isaac The Syrian

Good thing I'm not a cat.  Wink

I appreciate your cautionary advice, but I do not intend to stop being curious or to stop seeking the Truth. I try every day to grow in holiness. My pursuit of the ancient church is not a step away from that pursuit but is merely a supplement to it. I am spiritually drawn to the Eastern Orthodox Church, but I must overcome my intellectual obstacles before I can commit completely. It may be my weakness, but it is very human to think as well as feel.

Posting my questions on the convert board is my attempt to obtain some Christian support from my Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters--to enter into a dialog that will help me overcome my own obstacles. I believe, that is the purpose of this board and I am to realize that purpose.
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2009, 01:05:19 PM »

I just found this great post by Byzantino which I think goes a long way to answer many of my questions. But please, anyone who has more to add please do so. Thank you.

Great post Linus!!!!!! Grin

The one thing that disappoints me about some Orthodox apologetics is the rather unhistorical undermining of the importance of the Bishop of Rome and the Orthodox Roman Church, together with the over-emphasis of the confessional interpretation of Matt 16:18 to the detriment of the personal interpretation, the latter which, as John Meyendorff points out was "readily recognized by Byzantine ecclesiastical writers" and that "only late polemicists, especially anti-Latin, tended to diminish it but this was not the case among the most enlightened of the Byzantine theologians.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Bishops of Rome were considered the vicars (or successors) of Peter, more so around the time of Pope St. Leo the Great. Rome had a very special and well-acknowledged claim to both Peter and Paul as the custodian of the tombs (relics) of both Apostles. One also can't ignore the fact that the voice of the Pope, when in agreement with the Orthodox faith, was gloriously received as though it were the very voice of Peter. "Peter has spoken through Leo" exclaimed the Council of Chalcedon; "Peter has spoken through Celestine," shouted the Council of Ephesus.

Linus also correctly points out that the Bishop of Rome was regarded as possessing the authority of St. Peter by virtue of the primacy of the Orthodox Roman Church, a primacy clearly articulated by the 5th Century and exercised in the context of the collegial nature of the Church. Thus we find the Bishop of Rome extolled throughout the first millenium of the Church by his fellow shepherds grateful for his paternal love and guidance for the entire Church, expressed in particular at the Ecumenical Councils, such as Chalcedon, in its message to Pope Leo the Great: "You came to us; you have been for everyone the interpreter of the voice of blessed Peter....We were some 520 bishops whom you guided, as the head guides the members."  (Sorry Phil for bringing up Leo again, I couldn't help it)  Tongue

The 3rd Council of Constantinople (680-81) likewise thanked its head Pope Agatho: "We place ourselves in your hands, you who occupy the first see of the universal Church, you who rest on the firm rock of faith."

Yet not one of these Orthodox Popes of Rome ever claimed the universal jurisdiction and the supremacy over the Council that would later divide the Church, but rather adhered to the concept of the collegiality of all the Bishops gathered together at the Councils, to which the Pope's doctrinal letter, despite having the greatest authority, was subservient:

"All the fathers spoke one by one, and only after examination were the letters of St. Agatho and the whole Western Council approved....but nonetheless they examine the matter, they inquire into the decrees of the Roman Pontiffs and after inquiry held, approve Agatho's decrees, condemn those of Honorius."
Session 8: The Emperor said: Let George, the most holy Archbishop of this our God-preserved city, and let Macarius, the venerable Archbishop of Antioch, and let the synod subject to them (ie. their suffragans) say, if they submit to the force of the suggestions sent by the most holy Agatho Pope of Old Rome and by his synod.  [The answer of George, with which all his bishops, many of them, speaking one by one, agreed except Theodore of Metilene (who handed in his assent at the end of the Tenth Session).]

(Sessions of the Sixth Ecumenical Council).


"Now let us consider the case of Chalcedon. Pope Leo considered null and void the hijacking of Ephesus in 449, but he was aware that he could not annul this council on his own authority. This is why he proposed that the emperor convoke a new council (which he would have liked to have seen held in Italy, but failed to achieve). It is clear that Leo, despite his trenchant assertions, was not an autocrat. He took his decisions in agreement with the Roman synod. In his letter of confirmation of Chalcedon he called the members of the Council "his brothers and co-bishops." He always sought a consensus from the college of bishops and from the universal Church. His representatives certainly affirmed that the church of Rome "is the head of all the churches" and its bishop the "archbishop of all the churches" - in Latin: "Pope of the universal Church." But this title is easily misunderstood, for Leo never claimed the right to govern as bishop of the individual churches. Rather he understood his authority as bearing an essential witness to the truth, which, as he himself said, did not belong to him: it was the faith of the Church as the apostle Peter first proclaimed it. That is why he was pleased that his "Tome" was acknowledged by the council, "confirmed," he wrote, "by the undisputed accord of the entire assembly of brethren." Two conceptions, verbally at odds, had come together in the truth that embodies accord at a higher lever, an accord that is not juridical and cannot be objectified." (Olivier Clement, You Are Peter, pg 47.)

Is it therefore any wonder that, once Rome started interpreting her primacy more and more legalistically, she became so puffed up with a pride that would make Ceaser jealous, transforming that primacy from one of pastoral service to the entire Church to one of tyranny and authoritarianism, as witnessed in Gregory VII's Dictatus Papae:

2. That the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal.

3. That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops.

4. That, in a council, his legate, even if a lower grade, is above all bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them.

5. That the pope may depose the absent.

7. That for him alone is it lawful, according to the needs of the time, to make new laws, to assemble together new congregations, to make an abbey of a canonry; and, on the other hand, to divide a rich bishopric and unite the poor ones.

8. That he alone may use the imperial insignia.

9. That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet.

10. That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.

11. That this is the only name in the world.

12. That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors.

13. That he may be permitted to transfer bishops if need be.

16. That no synod shall be called a general one without his order.

17. That no chapter and no book shall be considered canonical without his authority.

18. That a sentence passed by him may be retracted by no one; and that he himself, alone of all, may retract it.

19. That he himself may be judged by no one.

20. That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the apostolic chair.

22. That the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness.

23. That the Roman pontiff, if he have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter; St. Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, bearing witness, and many holy fathers agreeing with him. As is contained in the decrees of St. Symmachus the pope.

25. That he may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a synod.

26. That he who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic.

 
One can't help but notice that in the very same century the pseudo-Isidorean decretals were disseminated, the Bishops of Rome suddenly realized they had the duty to depose whomever they wished and made the awesome discovery that Uncle Constantine had left them lots of land in his will! *wink wink* 

None of us are advocating Rome's present understanding of the Petrine primacy. But it won't be very conducive to our efforts at unity if one side or the other undermines the very historical facts that will actually foster unity rather than hinder it. Primacy exercised in light of the Gospel - a primacy of solicitous love, pastoral care and responsibility for the entire Church, exercised among the Church instead of outside it, is Orthodox. It might be worthwhile to jot down the sentiments of those Roman Catholics who seek to reform the papacy to make it fit in the context of the Gospel, the reformers whom Rome only seeks to silence:

"John XXIII...provided at least a sketch to prove that it is not illusory to think that the pope could be different. What then might the pope be like? Such a pope would have a genuinely evangelical and not a juridical-formalistic and staatic-bureaucratic view of the Church. He would see the mystery of the Church in the light of the Gospel, of the New Testament: not as a centralized administrative unit, in which the bishops are merely the pope's delegates and executive organs....not jealously to hold on to powers and prerogatives or to exercise authority in the spirit of the old order, but to make authority felt as service in the spirit of the New Testament and in response to the needs of the present time: fraternal partnership and co-operation, dialogue, consultation, and collaboration, especially with bishops and theologians of the whole Church, opportunity for those concerned to take part in the process of making decisions, and full scope for the exercise of co-responsibility. This pope would therefore regard his function as a function of the Church: a pope not above or outside the Church, but in the Church, with the Church, for the Church. No extrinsicism, isolationism or triumphalism....If he could and certainly should sometimes act "alone," this could never mean "apart" and "separated" from the Church and her episcopal college, but in spiritual communion and unbroken solidarity with the Church as a whole."

"This pope then would not be against justice, but against juridicism; not against law but against legalism; not against order, but against immobility; not against authority, but against authoritarianism; not against unity, but against uniformity....He would be inspiriter in the spirit of the gospel and a leader in the postconciliar renewal and Rome would become a place of encounter, of dialogue andof honest and friendly co-operation." (Hans Kung.)



May Rome come to her senses!
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2009, 01:25:55 PM »

Good thing I'm not a cat.  Wink

I appreciate your cautionary advice, but I do not intend to stop being curious or to stop seeking the Truth. I try every day to grow in holiness. My pursuit of the ancient church is not a step away from that pursuit but is merely a supplement to it. I am spiritually drawn to the Eastern Orthodox Church, but I must overcome my intellectual obstacles before I can commit completely. It may be my weakness, but it is very human to think as well as feel.

Posting my questions on the convert board is my attempt to obtain some Christian support from my Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters--to enter into a dialog that will help me overcome my own obstacles. I believe, that is the purpose of this board and I am to realize that purpose.

I would say that it is not intellectual 'obstacles' which bar your way to peace, but intellectual 'constructs'. Do not be so foolish as to replace one 'set of constructs' for another 'set of constructs' that you label 'truth'. Truth is not a 'something' it is a 'somebody', Jesus the Christ. We come to Him as children, not as historians nor scholars. If you learn anything while you are here, learn that and you will be very wise.

Actual Quote:

Flee from discussions of dogma as from an unruly lion; and never embark upon them yourself, either with those raised in the Church, or with strangers. ~ St. Isaac The Syrian pg. 95 The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac The Syrian

I will not interupt your intellectual pursuits any further.

Peace Brother.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 01:40:09 PM by ignatius » Logged

St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2009, 02:09:02 PM »

It's a myth that the Roman Church was free of turmoil  ("Like a Rock") or at least less turmoil than in the East. Our Brother poster Isa has written extensively on this and I hope he will post something in this thread.

Were there not splits within Rome with dueling Popes each contending for validity? Was not the Roman See host to the Mother of All schisms resulting in Protestantism which has ushered in the re rebirth of nearly every long defeated heresy from Iconoclasm to Gnosticism?

I think the steadiness of Rome is a myth...
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 02:15:43 PM by Marc1152 » Logged

Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2009, 02:21:18 PM »

It's a myth that the Roman Church was free of turmoil  ("Like a Rock") or at least less turmoil than in the East. Our Brother poster Isa has written extensively on this and I hope he will post something in this thread.

Were there not splits within Rome with dueling Popes each contending for validity? Was not the Roman See host to the Mother of All schisms resulting in Protestantism which has ushered in re rebirth on nearly every long defeated heresy from Iconoclasm to Gnosticism?

I think the steadiness of Rome is a myth...

Marc1152, thank you for your response. You are correct. Rome eventually suffered much turmoil. But in the book I am reading--I am still only on the Fourth Ecumenical Council--it is the Orthodox author's portrayal of that particular period which is making the west seem steady.

What I am gleaning from all of this is that it seems the perpetual steadiness of Rome is indeed a myth, but maybe there was something to it in the first few centuries. I would love to hear from Isa.
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2009, 02:22:11 PM »

I just found this great post by Byzantino which I think goes a long way to answer many of my questions. But please, anyone who has more to add please do so. Thank you.

Great post Linus!!!!!! Grin

The one thing that disappoints me about some Orthodox apologetics is the rather unhistorical undermining of the importance of the Bishop of Rome and the Orthodox Roman Church, together with the over-emphasis of the confessional interpretation of Matt 16:18 to the detriment of the personal interpretation, the latter which, as John Meyendorff points out was "readily recognized by Byzantine ecclesiastical writers" and that "only late polemicists, especially anti-Latin, tended to diminish it but this was not the case among the most enlightened of the Byzantine theologians.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Bishops of Rome were considered the vicars (or successors) of Peter, more so around the time of Pope St. Leo the Great. Rome had a very special and well-acknowledged claim to both Peter and Paul as the custodian of the tombs (relics) of both Apostles. One also can't ignore the fact that the voice of the Pope, when in agreement with the Orthodox faith, was gloriously received as though it were the very voice of Peter. "Peter has spoken through Leo" exclaimed the Council of Chalcedon; "Peter has spoken through Celestine," shouted the Council of Ephesus.



From the same thread:

I am a newbie here and keen to read this thread but,
phew, so many posts. Shocked Can I make a contribution all the same?

Here is a quick summary of the way that
the Church Fathers interpreted that verse -
"Thou are Peter and upon this rock...."

Archbishop Kenrick, who was one of America's
extraordinary bishops, was opposed to the doctrine of
papal infallibilty and at the First Vatican Council
in 1869 he voted against it. He wanted to deliver
a speech against the proposed doctrine at the Council
but instead he ceased to attend the Council meetings.
He published his speech in Naples the following year.

It is important because he lists the five different
patristic interpretations of Matthew 16:18.


Let's look at how the Church Fathers line up over this verse:


1...."That St. Peter is the Rock" is taught
by seventeen (17) Fathers


2....That the whole Apostolic College is the Rock,
represented by Peter as its chief,
is taught by eight (8 ) Church Fathers


3....That St. Peter's faith is the Rock,
is taught by forty-four (44) Church Fathers


4....That Christ is the Rock,
is taught by sixteen Fathers (16)

5....That the rock is the whole body of the faithful.
Archbp. Kenrick gives no figure.


Archbishop Kenrick summarises

"If we are bound to follow the greater number
of Fathers in this matter,** then we must hold
for certain that the word "Petra" means not Peter
professing the Faith, but the faith professed by Peter."

**This is an important point by Archbishop Kenrick and
it should be given its full weight. It is RC doctrine
that where there is something disputed the choice must
be made for the consensus of the Fathers, the
consensus patrum.

You can look this up and check that I have it
accurately in
Friedrich, Docum ad illust. Conc. Vat. 1, pp. 185-246

As to who Archbishop Kenrick was.
Please see the Catholic Encyclopedia
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08618a.htm

Now in light of the fact that the large majority
of the Church Fathers do NOT teach that the Rock
is Saint Peter, I say that it is not fair to say that the
Orthodox are dunderheads over this matter.
Are the Church Fathers also dunderheads?


And you should remember that 65 of the bishops gathered
at the First Vatican Council REFUSED to vote for the
proposed dogma of papal infallibility. Were they
also blockheads? Wouldn't one say that IF the doctrine
had been so normal and accepted in the Catholic Church
in the centuries prior to Vatican I that there would
never have been such a solid block of resisting bishops
who refused to vote for it in 1869.
This was only 133 years ago, quite recently.

You can check these facts in several major Catholic writings...

"How the Pope Became Infallible" by August Bernhard Hasler.
"Infallible? - An Unresolved Enquiry" by Hans Kung.

They say that at the opening of Vatican I only 50 bishops
were in favour of Pope Pius IX's desire to have the Popes
declared infallible. 130 of the bishops had declared
beforehand that they were against Papal Infallibility,
and the rest of the bishops, 620 were undecided.











« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 02:22:47 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2009, 02:28:43 PM »

ialmisry,
Thank you for this. It is an interesting point. I'm specifically intrigued with the idea that if papal infallibility was such a well known tradition, why did so few support it.
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2009, 02:40:02 PM »

The east often seemed in turmoil. Some bishops were outright heretical and others quite orthodox and many in between. Rome seemed to remain unshaken--like a "rock."

There were many doctrinal controversies in Rome, most of which dragged on for centuries. The Novationists had a large network of churches, with their own clergy and Pope, until the 5th century. In the second and third centuries, there easily could have been more heterodox than orthodox at several points, since there were also Luciferians, Donatists, Marcionites, Montanists, Sabellians and Valentinians. Some of these groups also had large networks of churches with clergy, bishops and Popes in Rome.

There were also substantial struggles among the orthodox as well. For example, in the very early third century, St. Hippolytus of Rome believed that the Pope was actually a christological heretic, and therefore became the Pope of a rival church. Later Roman lore glossed this over (e.g. Damasus I incorrectly said Hippolytus was a Novationist who reconciled with the church).

Regardless, St. Hippolytus is a harbinger of Rome's major problem through the centuries: "Antipopes" and the political/military battle to become Pope. After the third century, instead of fighting on explicitly doctrinal grounds, the Roman church was often divided into factions over who gets to be the Pope, and literally scores of schisms resulted. For example, after Damasus I took the see in 366, members of his party slaughtered a bunch of his opponents  (this after a series of street battles that secured the one party's victory over the other). As I'm sure you know, such was by no means a unique occurrence.

Because Rome did not have any competing jurisdictions it was free of the "ingredients" which caused such conflict in the east. Yet, Rome seemed to develop orthodox understandings all on its own.

Rome itself did not have a vicariate in Illyricum until the early fifth century, nor did it exercise jurisdiction over Spain until the mid-fifth century. It was only after that, in the mid-fifth century, that the Emperor Valentinian III granted the Pope of Rome jurisdiction over the western half of the empire. Hard to claim Rome had universal jurisdiction from the get go, when it didn't even have jurisdiction of the entire West until circa 445. In this period, it is anachronistic to think of Rome or Constantinople or Alexandria as like unto what they would become under the Pentarchy system (which didn't come about until Justinian I).

How did the ancient east regard the Pope? Is it simply the difference between dictating direction vs. seeking direction?

As you know, eastern Bishops wrote to Rome (as they also wrote to many other sees) whenever there was a need to gather supporters to their side.

I think a good example of how eastern Bishops viewed Rome can be seen in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (451). The Roman legates assumed that everyone would listen to the Tome of Leo and that would be that. But the majority of Bishops objected and demanded that the Tome be examined over several sessions to make sure that it was in full agreement with the writing of St. Cyril of Alexandria. In other words, Cyril was the criterion of orthodoxy in their minds -- not Leo. Once it was decided by most (not all) that the Tome was in agreement with Cyril, then the Bishops were quite happy to claim another supporter on their side.
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2009, 02:42:39 PM »

It's a myth that the Roman Church was free of turmoil  ("Like a Rock") or at least less turmoil than in the East. Our Brother poster Isa has written extensively on this and I hope he will post something in this thread.

Were there not splits within Rome with dueling Popes each contending for validity? Was not the Roman See host to the Mother of All schisms resulting in Protestantism which has ushered in re rebirth on nearly every long defeated heresy from Iconoclasm to Gnosticism?

I think the steadiness of Rome is a myth...

Marc1152, thank you for your response. You are correct. Rome eventually suffered much turmoil. But in the book I am reading--I am still only on the Fourth Ecumenical Council--it is the Orthodox author's portrayal of that particular period which is making the west seem steady.

What I am gleaning from all of this is that it seems the perpetual steadiness of Rome is indeed a myth, but maybe there was something to it in the first few centuries. I would love to hear from Isa.

I'm a little pressed for time right now, but briefly:

Clement is often quoted on this.  What is not dealt with is the fact that Corinthians, until about a half a millenium later, was in Rome's patriarchate.

Ignatius says the Church which presides in the land of the Romans.  At the time, that would mean Rome (in the 4th century it would mean the entire population of the empire).  And the letter to the Romans is the only one which does not mention his favorite topic in the others, the authority of the bishop.

Pope St. Victor (2nd cent.) was the first to try to flex his supremacy outside his patriarchate, and he (in the words of contemporary sources) was rebuked for it by the entire Church.

Marcion, Montanus, etc. were from the East, but they became a menace when they based themselves in Rome. Pope St. Victor's fellow Latin, Tertuullian the Montanist was in the West.  Btw, Victor was the one who introduced Latin at Rome: DL had been in Greek before, and wouldn't be fully Latin at Rome until Pope St. Damasus.

Even the old "Catholic Encyclopedia" admits that the Fathers did not interpret the office of the keys with any reference to Rome's alleged supremacy.

St. Iraaeus was writting in the West on heresies: it wasn't a heresy free zone by any means. e.g. St. Augustine the Manichaean.  Pelagianism was a fully Western heresy: the Patriarch of Jerusalem sent Pelagius back to the West to be dealt with, but Pope Zosimos dawdled on the issue.

Arianism died out in the East by 381.  It lived on in the West until the Emperor  Justinian from Constantinople came west and stamped it out.
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« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2009, 03:04:31 PM »

Regardless, St. Hippolytus is a harbinger of Rome's major problem through the centuries: "Antipopes" and the political/military battle to become Pope.

Yes, this is a very good indication, in my mind, that the papacy was very very flawed. By their fruit will they be judged.

Quote
Rome itself did not have a vicariate in Illyricum until the early fifth century, nor did it exercise jurisdiction over Spain until the mid-fifth century. It was only after that, in the mid-fifth century, that the Emperor Valentinian III granted the Pope of Rome jurisdiction over the western half of the empire. Hard to claim Rome had universal jurisdiction from the get go, when it didn't even have jurisdiction of the entire West until circa 445. In this period, it is anachronistic to think of Rome or Constantinople or Alexandria as like unto what they would become under the Pentarchy system (which didn't come about until Justinian I).

I did not know this. You are correct. I made my assumption based on the Pentarchy. I didn't realize the west was not always united.

Quote
As you know, eastern Bishops wrote to Rome (as they also wrote to many other sees) whenever there was a need to gather supporters to their side.

I think a good example of how eastern Bishops viewed Rome can be seen in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (451). The Roman legates assumed that everyone would listen to the Tome of Leo and that would be that. But the majority of Bishops objected and demanded that the Tome be examined over several sessions to make sure that it was in full agreement with the writing of St. Cyril of Alexandria. In other words, Cyril was the criterion of orthodoxy in their minds -- not Leo. Once it was decided by most (not all) that the Tome was in agreement with Cyril, then the Bishops were quite happy to claim another supporter on their side.

Excellent points. We see evidence of bishops writing for support to other churches all the time, but when they write to Rome we assume its because he's the pope.
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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2009, 03:12:01 PM »

I'm a little pressed for time right now, but briefly:

Thank you for taking the time to respond, Ialmisry.

Quote
Clement is often quoted on this.  What is not dealt with is the fact that Corinthians, until about a half a millenium later, was in Rome's patriarchate.

Ignatius says the Church which presides in the land of the Romans.  At the time, that would mean Rome (in the 4th century it would mean the entire population of the empire).  And the letter to the Romans is the only one which does not mention his favorite topic in the others, the authority of the bishop.

Wow. Great point. I had never considered this.

Quote
St. Iraaeus was writting in the West on heresies: it wasn't a heresy free zone by any means. e.g. St. Augustine the Manichaean.  Pelagianism was a fully Western heresy: the Patriarch of Jerusalem sent Pelagius back to the West to be dealt with, but Pope Zosimos dawdled on the issue.

Arianism died out in the East by 381.  It lived on in the West until the Emperor  Justinian from Constantinople came west and stamped it out.

Good points. I guess my Roman colored glasses keep obstructing my vision. I had sort of glossed over the western heresies.
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« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2009, 03:31:34 PM »

I am no expert, but for whatever reason I would generally agree that Rome was conservative and removed from many of the conflicts of the orient, such as iconoclasm.  But today it seems as is the roles have changed.  The east is conservative, and the west has been overrun by heresies.  Classic flip-flop.
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« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2009, 04:07:09 PM »

I am no expert, but for whatever reason I would generally agree that Rome was conservative and removed from many of the conflicts of the orient, such as iconoclasm.  But today it seems as is the roles have changed.  The east is conservative, and the west has been overrun by heresies.  Classic flip-flop.

This is very true. I believe the very same thing. In the early days of the Church, progressive thought and philosophy traveled with the Emperor to his new Capital and left the Roman See in a kind of conservative backwater which acted for a time as a preservative in similar fashion as the modern oppression over the Eastern Church in our day as acted. Modernity is a very corrosive element and one I am curious to see its reaction upon eastern conservative views. I have witnessed a few telling sign of it's effects on this forum and it is concerning but I guess we should rest in the hope of Christ's promise to Peter...


And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. ~ Matt. 16:18-19

I am curious though as it the 'subject' referred to "and on this rock". The subject throughout seem to clearly point to "Peter". Somewhat surprisingly, the consensus among even Protestant commentators today (including such eminent scholar such as R.T. France, D.A. Carson, William hendriksen, Gerhard Maier, and Craig L. Bloomberg), is that rock indeed refers to Peter himself, not his faith. Of course, they, not unlike others here, try to evade any further "Catholic" implication, though, by denying the notion of papal succession - that Peter as rock applies to Peter alone or the reverse interpretation not unlike that spoken by John Calvin comments, "nothing is here given to Peter that was not common to him and his colleagues" (Institutes, IV, 6,4).

Historically, the standard polemical response of Protestants to the phraseology of rock was to contend that it referred only to Peter's faith, not Peter himself. In that way, the institutional element of the charge from the Lord to St. Peter can be viewed as merely a representative of a general principle, rather than unique in the sense of institutional, concrete leadership and jurisdiction. I see a common thread here as well. To greater or lesser degrees, I see amongst both Protestant and Orthodox alike, variants of the ultimate primacy of the individual over that of an authoritative, hierarchical Church headed by a pope.

Yet Jesus did not tell anyone else that He would build His Church upon them. He renamed no one else "Rock," and only one person received the "keys of the kingdom of heaven." Peter was unique in all these respects.

Other common arguments include the claim that the Petrine headship indicated in this passage has nothing to do with universal jurisdiction, or Roman primacy, or papal infallibility. But that is moving far afield of the topic at hand.

Here we are concerned with St. Peter as the proclaimed leader of the Church of God. The finer points and particulars of such an office require another discussion entirely. In any event, papal succession is easily deduced from Matthew 16:18-19. St. Peter was the first leader of the Church. He died as the bishop of Rome (where St. Paul also died). That is how and why Roman primacy began: not because the church in Roman was 'founded' by Peter or Paul but because Peter's successor was the bishop in the location where he ended up and died.

This last part is quite critical to understand the Roman claim. Far too often I read straw men by posters on this forum which completely misses the point of the Roman Claim.

As usual these one sided "kick the strawman Catholic" topics have raised my passions to offer a defense. Not to 'apologize' my Eastern Orthodox Brothers and Sisters but to keep the discussion 'real'. Far too often here the whole point of your opposition is completely lost in the intemperate zeal of your argument.
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« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2009, 04:43:45 PM »

 Smiley oops. I wanted to fix some typos but the time limit ran out. Pardon.
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« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2009, 06:34:44 PM »

The reasoning given at the 4th Ecumenical Council for the prominence of Rome, and thereafter the prominence of Constantinople, is interesting...

"Following in all things the decisions of the holy Fathers, and acknowledging the canon, which has been just read, of the One Hundred and Fifty Bishops beloved-of-God (who assembled in the imperial city of Constantinople, which is New Rome, in the time of the Emperor Theodosius of happy memory), we also do enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her; so that, in the Pontic, the Asian, and the Thracian dioceses, the metropolitans only and such bishops also of the Dioceses aforesaid as are among the barbarians, should be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople; every metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the bishops of his province, ordaining his own provincial bishops, as has been declared by the divine canons; but that, as has been above said, the metropolitans of the aforesaid Dioceses should be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, after the proper elections have been held according to custom and have been reported to him." - Canon 28

The 4th Ecumenical Council also said that disputes in the east could be resolved by petitioning Constantinople (Canons 9 and 17)
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« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2009, 06:57:29 PM »

The reasoning given at the 4th Ecumenical Council for the prominence of Rome, and thereafter the prominence of Constantinople, is interesting...

It is interesting isn't it. It would seem that Rome's authority was one of administration due to it's location in the heart of the secular empire and had nothing to do with any sort of petrine supremecy. Similiar to today's Catholic concept of an archdiocese.

By the way, I've never heard of Panendeism. Could you explain what it is?

Thanks.
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« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2009, 07:06:23 PM »

I'll PM you, so as not to take the thread off track.
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« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2009, 09:24:33 PM »


Rome seemed to remain unshaken--like a "rock."

Maybe through the reign of Sixtus III. But after that, I see many more situations in which Rome was no longer an anchor of orthodoxy.
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« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2009, 09:53:23 PM »

Like some others I'm only on briefly at the moment but as others have pointed out, Rome was not free of controversy. It is probably true that for much of the first millenium Rome as more stable than the East--but that's a relative term. Rome got in a fight with Asia Minor about the date of Pascha (originally settled by a decision for everybody to do their own thing, then revisited at Nicea), there was a major controversy with Pope St. Stephen threatening to excommunicate St. Cyprian and most of Carthage over the issue of reception of converts from schism or heresy and St. Cyprian and the church of Carthage repudiating the Pope's postion in council, Pelagius was based in Rome, Donatism was largely a Western issue, etc. Part of the reason this might not be clear in the book you're reading (which I have not) is that for the most part, the issues in the West stayed in the West, they didn't spread to the East. So a book focusing on what was occurring in the East wouldn't mention many of them.

Also, this thread might be the place I can ask a question which I have wondered about--can anyone find any examples of *anyone*, saint or heretic, who, prior to the 8th century, ever found himself in conflict with Rome and changed his position *because* it was in conflict with Rome?

It's an honest question because I'm actually rather surprised that I have never been able to find *any* examples--the earliest example I have found is 664 at the Synod of Whitby which was called together to resolve conflicts between the Latin and Irish missionaries in Northern England. At that council, King Oswiu found for the Latin side specifically because of Rome's Petrine claims. (although even this case is weaker than I'm asking for as while Oswiu was convinced of a position because it was Rome's position, it's unclear that he had any strong personal opinion before the council. And he isn't remembered as either a saint or a heretic by the Church).
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« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2009, 10:12:00 PM »


Rome seemed to remain unshaken--like a "rock."

Maybe through the reign of Sixtus III. But after that, I see many more situations in which Rome was no longer an anchor of orthodoxy.

Yes. I think you are correct. Do you know how the east looked at Rome back then--prior to Sixtus? Was Rome considered the final answer or were they merely another church which, because it did not suffer from some of the issues in the east at that time, could be called on for support?
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« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2009, 10:13:42 PM »

So a book focusing on what was occurring in the East wouldn't mention many of them.

Great point. This is probably why it's reading the way it is.

Quote
Also, this thread might be the place I can ask a question which I have wondered about--can anyone find any examples of *anyone*, saint or heretic, who, prior to the 8th century, ever found himself in conflict with Rome and changed his position *because* it was in conflict with Rome?

It's an honest question because I'm actually rather surprised that I have never been able to find *any* examples--the earliest example I have found is 664 at the Synod of Whitby which was called together to resolve conflicts between the Latin and Irish missionaries in Northern England. At that council, King Oswiu found for the Latin side specifically because of Rome's Petrine claims. (although even this case is weaker than I'm asking for as while Oswiu was convinced of a position because it was Rome's position, it's unclear that he had any strong personal opinion before the council. And he isn't remembered as either a saint or a heretic by the Church).

I can't think of anyone.
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« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2009, 10:25:15 PM »


Rome seemed to remain unshaken--like a "rock."

Maybe through the reign of Sixtus III. But after that, I see many more situations in which Rome was no longer an anchor of orthodoxy.

Yes. I think you are correct. Do you know how the east looked at Rome back then--prior to Sixtus? Was Rome considered the final answer or were they merely another church which, because it did not suffer from some of the issues in the east at that time, could be called on for support?

I don't really think either. I think the answer is probably somewhere in between. Rome truly had a primacy of honor. And this even lent to Christians viewing him as of somewhat greater authority. Neither does this mean that he was viewed on level with the rest of the bishops in terms of his consultation, nor did it mean that he was regarded as supreme or as the final answer. His recommendation was taken with great weight, but not sufficiently to produce a final answer. Only the Church collectively had the authority to produce the final answer.
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« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2009, 10:44:09 PM »


Rome seemed to remain unshaken--like a "rock."

Maybe through the reign of Sixtus III. But after that, I see many more situations in which Rome was no longer an anchor of orthodoxy.

Yes. I think you are correct. Do you know how the east looked at Rome back then--prior to Sixtus? Was Rome considered the final answer or were they merely another church which, because it did not suffer from some of the issues in the east at that time, could be called on for support?

I don't really think either. I think the answer is probably somewhere in between. Rome truly had a primacy of honor. And this even lent to Christians viewing him as of somewhat greater authority. Neither does this mean that he was viewed on level with the rest of the bishops in terms of his consultation, nor did it mean that he was regarded as supreme or as the final answer. His recommendation was taken with great weight, but not sufficiently to produce a final answer. Only the Church collectively had the authority to produce the final answer.

Yeah, that seems to jive with what I have read. Rome held a place of primacy but not one of supremacy.
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« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2009, 02:47:36 PM »

I don't really think either. I think the answer is probably somewhere in between. Rome truly had a primacy of honor. And this even lent to Christians viewing him as of somewhat greater authority. Neither does this mean that he was viewed on level with the rest of the bishops in terms of his consultation, nor did it mean that he was regarded as supreme or as the final answer. His recommendation was taken with great weight, but not sufficiently to produce a final answer. Only the Church collectively had the authority to produce the final answer.

deusveritasest,
Do you see this "evolution" of papal primacy as something similar to the evolution of the church structure (i.e., Triumvirate to Pentarchy)?
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« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2009, 04:41:19 PM »

Some examples are St. Cyril and his "turn to Rome" regarding Nestorius

What is interesting is that clergy from both Rome and Alexandria had come to Constantinople to make appeals to Nestorios, so Rome was by no means the only See to which people turned for help.
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« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2009, 11:13:38 AM »

Perhaps someone can explain to me why the "Peter the Rock" verses are interpreted to mean Rome, when even the Catholic Encyclopedia says St. Peter was the first Bishop of Antioch. Why not Antiochian supremacy, then?
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« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2009, 11:39:38 AM »

Primacy initially was the first among equals and initially went to the Capitol of the empire, after the capitol was changed to Byzantium which was renamed Constantinople, Rome remained in the primacy of honor as the original capital of the empire but Constantinople was given the second  position of honor and the title of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. After the leaving of the Holy Orthodox Church by the Patriarch of Rome, the primacy of honor went to the next in line ---the Patriarch of Constantinople, where it currently abides.

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« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2009, 12:55:14 PM »

Primacy initially was the first among equals and initially went to the Capitol of the empire, after the capitol was changed to Byzantium which was renamed Constantinople, Rome remained in the primacy of honor as the original capital of the empire but Constantinople was given the second  position of honor and the title of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. After the leaving of the Holy Orthodox Church by the Patriarch of Rome, the primacy of honor went to the next in line ---the Patriarch of Constantinople, where it currently abides.

Thomas

Of course, but the "upon this rock" verses are always cited as proof for Rome's supremacy. Which, as I said, before, I've never understood, because St. Peter was also the first Bishop of Antioch.
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« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2009, 01:48:30 PM »


Deleted because this is the "Convert Issues" subforum.
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« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2009, 03:49:56 PM »

Link please. I couldnt find on Youtube.........


What  Huh  I'm curious....
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« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2009, 06:13:24 PM »

Deleted for the same reason papist deleted his post...

sorry
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« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2009, 10:44:33 AM »

I want to thank  Papist and NortherN Pines from self regulating themselves on the Convert Issues Forum. I would like to invite you all to continue reopen discussion more openly in the Orthodox-Catholic Discussion Forum. I am closing this topic in the Convert Issues To allow you to do so.

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