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« on: December 27, 2009, 12:19:27 PM »

I'm a Roman rite Catholic convert but I've always been and still am attracted to the spirituality and ancient character of the Orthodox. Probably the biggest difficulty I have taking any step further is overcoming the Papal claims... the only reason I tolerate the current weakness and lack of spirituality in the Catholic Church is because I see her as the Church built on Peter, promised by Christ to never be overcome, and so how could ever look to another Church?

If there are any converts from Roman Catholicism, was this an issue for you and how did you overcome it?

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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2009, 04:14:09 PM »

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I see her as the Church built on Peter, promised by Christ to never be overcome,

Though I was baptized Catholic as a baby, I was not raised as one. However, I did struggle with whether to become Catholic or Orthodox, so I'm not unfamiliar with some of the issues regarding Peter. What I'd like to focus on here, though, is the idea that the Church built on Peter cannot be overcome. Christ did indeed prophecy that the "gates of hades shall not prevail" against the Church. However, the understanding of this passage was varied, with the Fathers sometimes thinking that the Church was founded on Peter, sometimes Peter's faith, and sometimes just the faith. Also, what exactly these "gates of hades" are, and how they could or could not overcome the Church, and even what "the Church" means, has a variety of answers in the fathers. Sometimes "the Church" means the Church in totality, for example fighting heresy or worldly powers. In other cases, "the Church" signifies individual Christians who make up the Church, for example fighting sin and evil in their lives. For what they're worth, here are some quotes on this subject which I compiled years ago (I apologize ahead of time for the frequency of Origen quotes)...

"...in like manner each one of those who are the authors of any evil opinion has become the architect of a certain gate of Hades; but those who co-operate with the teaching of the architect of such things are servants and stewards, who are the bond-servants of the evil doctrine which goes to build up impiety." - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 12, 12

"the gates of hell are the belief or rather the misbelief of heretics." - St. John Cassian, The Seven Books on the Incarnation of the Lord (Against Nestorius), 3, 14

"the gates of hell, the mouths of heretics, the machines of demons-for they will attack-will not prevail. They will take up arms but they will not conquer" - St. John of Damascus, Homily on the Transfiguration

"all the sects are truly 'gates of hell,' but 'They will not prevail against the rock,' that is, the truth." - St. Epiphanius of Salamis

"I suppose the gates of hell to mean vice and sin, or at least the doctrines of heretics by which men are ensnared and drawn into hell." - St. Jerome

"He said that 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church,' even though persecuted, and that no one shall quench the preaching of the Gospel: and the experience of events bears witness to this prediction..." - St. John Chrysostom; Homily 21 on Hebrews

"The Church is unshaken, and ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,’ according to the voice of the Saviour, for it has Him for a foundation" - St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Zacharias

"For the Church cannot be moved because it is known to have been founded on that most solid rock, namely, Christ the Lord" - Cassiodorus, Expositions in the Psalms, Psalm 45

"neither against the rock on which Christ builds the church, nor against the church will the gates of Hades prevail [...] but the church, as a building of Christ who built His own house wisely upon the rock, is incapable of admitting the gates of Hades which prevail against every man who is outside the rock and the church, but have no power against it." - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 12, 11

"Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter's confession. What is Peter's confession? 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' There's the rock for you, there's the foundation, there's where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer" - St. Augustine

"Faith, then, is the foundation of the Church, for it was not said of Peter's flesh, but of his faith, that 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' But his confession of faith conquered hell." - St. Ambrose of Milan

"A belief that the Son of God is Son in name only, and not in nature, is not the faith of the Gospels and of the Apostles...whence I ask, was it that the blessed Simon Bar-Jona confessed to Him, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God?...And this is the rock of confession whereon the Church is built...that Christ must be not only named, but believed, the Son of God. This faith is that which is the foundation of the Church; through this faith the gates of hell cannot prevail against her." - St. Hilary of Poitiers

"How powerful is Peter's faith and his confession that Christ is the only-begotten God, the word, the true Son of God, and not merely a creature. Though he saw God on earth clothed in flesh and blood, Peter did not doubt, for he was willing to receive what 'flesh and blood have not revealed to you.' Moreover he recognized the consubstantial and coeternal branch of God, thereby glorifying that uncreated root, that root without beginning which had revealed the truth to him. Peter believedthat Christ was one and the same deity with the Father; and so he was called blessed by him who alone is the blessed Lord. Upon this rock the Church was built, the Church which the gates of hell-that is, the arguments of heretics-will not overcome." - St. Didymus the Blind

"The first of the Apostles, that firm rock upon which the church of God is built, so that the gates of hell, that is to say the heresies and heresiarchs, will not prevail against it." - St. Epiphanius

"These things therefore being settled with all accuracy, we, bearing in remembrance the promises made respecting the holy Church, and who it was that said that the gates of hell should not prevail against her, that is, the deadly tongues of heretics..." - Fourth Ecumenical Council

"the foundation of the Church should prevail against all heresies. The day will fail me sooner than the names of heretics and the different sects, yet against all is this general faith-that Christ is the Son of God, and eternal from the Father, and born of the Virgin Mary." - St. Ambrose of Milan

"I suppose the gates of hell to mean vice and sin..." - St. Jerome

"...flee from corruption, into which, as you know, many have fallen. Forsake the path which leads to the gates of hell." - Monk Jonas

"Thou hast shown us the way of resurrection, having broken the gates of hell, and brought to nought him who had the power of death-the devil." - St. Gregory of Nyssa

"Peter's key is Peter's faith, by which he opened heaven, by which, secure, he penetrated hades, by which, fearless, he walked on water. For so great is the power of apostolic faith, that all elements lie open to it: the angelic gates are not closed to it, nor do the gates of Hell prevail against it, nor do floods of water sink it. That key itself, which we call faith, let us see how firm and solid it is. I judge that it was produced by the work of 12 artisans; for the holy faith was comprehended in the creed of the 12 apostles, who, like skilled artisans working in concert, produced the key by their understanding. For I call the creed itself the key, which causes the shades of the devil to draw back, that the light of Christ may come. The hidden sins of conscience are brought into the open so that the clear works of justification may shine. Therefore this key must be shown to our brothers in order that they also as followers of Peter may learn to unlock hades and to open heaven." - Maximus of Turin, Sermon 28

"Notwithstanding, these gates have a certain power by which they gain the mastery over some who do not resist and strive against them; but they are overcome by others who, because they do not turn aside from Him who said, 'I am the door,' have rased from their soul all the gates of Hades. And this also we must know that as the gates of cities have each their own names, in the same way the gates of Hades might be named after the species of sins; so that one gate of Hades is called "fornication," through which fornicators go, and another "denial," through which the deniers of God go down into Hades." - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 12, 12

"Shall ye be illuminated with such eyes as are only with greediness cast on those things that lead headlong to vices (that is to say), to the gates of hell?"  - Gildas

"the church, as a building of Christ who built His own house wisely upon the rock, is incapable of admitting the gates of Hades which prevail against every man who is outside the rock and the church, but have no power against it." "Now, if you attend to the saying, 'Many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able,' you will understand that this refers to those who boast that they are of the church, but live weakly and contrary to the word. Of those, then, who seek to enter in, those who are not able to enter will not be able to do so, because the gates of Hades prevail against them; but in the case of those against whom the gates of Hades will not prevail, those seeking to enter in will be strong, being able to do all things, in Christ Jesus, who strengtheneth them." - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 12, 11-12

"Your rock is your deed, your rock is your mind. Upon this rock your house is built. Your rock is your faith, and faith is the foundation of the Church. If you are a rock, you will be in the Church, because the Church is on a rock. If you are in the Church the gates of hell will not prevail against you" - St. Ambrose of Milan

"the gates of Zion may be conceived as opposed to the gates of death [...]And let us take heed in regard to each sin, as if we were descending into some gate of death if we sin; but when we are lifted up from the gates of death let us declare all the praises of the Lord in the gates of the daughter of Zion; as, for example, in one gate of the daughter of Zion-that which is called self-control-we will declare by our self-control the praises of God; and in another which is called righteousness, by righteousness we will declare the praises of God; and, generally, in all things whatsoever of a praiseworthy character with which we are; occupied, in these we are at some gate of the daughter of Zion, declaring at each gate some praise of God" - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 12, 13

"In Thy saints, who in every age have been well pleasing to Thee, is truly Thy faith; for Thou hast founded the world on Thy faith, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." - St. Athanasius
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2009, 06:42:11 PM »

Asterikos,

What is it Orthodox Christians reject exactly, that the Pope's jurisdiction is universal?
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2009, 07:24:28 PM »

What is it Orthodox Christians reject exactly, that the Pope's jurisdiction is universal?

Papal universal jurisdiction and papal infallibility.
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2009, 07:30:21 PM »

Yes, the Orthodox do not believe that the Pope has universal jurisidiction (sometimes called papal supremacy). The Orthodox believe that, while we were all one Church, Rome had a primacy of honor, but not of power. So, for example, in the early Church Christians would go to Rome if they could not solve disputes on the local or regional level. However, this was eventually modified so that Eastern Christians went to Constantinople rather than Rome, as outlined in the 9th canon of the Fourth Ecumencial Council:

"If any Clergyman have a matter against another clergyman, he shall not forsake his bishop and run to secular courts; but let him first lay open the matter before his own Bishop, or let the matter be submitted to any person whom each of the parties may, with the Bishop's consent, select. And if any one shall contravene these decrees, let him be subjected to canonical penalties. And if a clergyman have a complaint against his own or any other bishop, let it be decided by the synod of the province. And if a bishop or clergyman should have a difference with the metropolitan of the province, let him have recourse to the Exarch of the Diocese, or to the throne of the Imperial City of Constantinople, and there let it be tried."

Generally people were very supportive of Rome's power... until they happened to disagree with Rome, in which case it is plain that they did not think that Rome had some type of universal jurisdiction. A famous example of this was the dispute between St. Cyprian of Carthage and Rome. One that I have great interest in, however, was the way that St. Jerome essentially ignored the Roman biblical canon (said to be) established by Pope Damasus and his Council at Rome in 382. Even the Pope's former secretary (St. Jerome) didn't care what the Pope or Rome thought about the matter when it clashed with his own opinion.
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2009, 03:20:12 PM »

Even if one could accept Peter as the first Pope and that Christ meant the papacy, why Rome? Wasn't Peter also the first Bishop of Alexandria? So why not Alexandria instead of Rome, if that's what Jesus meant?
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2009, 09:13:40 PM »

Even if one could accept Peter as the first Pope and that Christ meant the papacy, why Rome? Wasn't Peter also the first Bishop of Alexandria? So why not Alexandria instead of Rome, if that's what Jesus meant?

I think it was Antioch, wasn't it, where St Peter was first bishop?  I thought St Mark was credited with founding the See of Alexandria.

Anyway, although I'm not all that well-read on this subject, I get the impression from what I have read that the political agenda of the Franks had a lot to do with promoting the primacy of Rome. If that is the case, it's not surprising that the christian East never really got with the programme. IIRC, "The Eastern Schism", by Sir Steven Runciman, briefly explains the historical background of papal claims.
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2009, 09:39:44 PM »

I'm a Roman rite Catholic convert but I've always been and still am attracted to the spirituality and ancient character of the Orthodox. Probably the biggest difficulty I have taking any step further is overcoming the Papal claims... the only reason I tolerate the current weakness and lack of spirituality in the Catholic Church is because I see her as the Church built on Peter, promised by Christ to never be overcome, and so how could ever look to another Church?

If there are any converts from Roman Catholicism, was this an issue for you and how did you overcome it?



Grace and Peace,

I didn't overcome it. I still remain Roman Catholic.

It isn't the founding of a See by St. Peter that makes Rome unique as our Orthodox Brethren clear point out but they fail to recognize that it was not it's founding by St. Peter that makes Rome unique but the fact of his passing and the handing over of his Apostolic Office in Rome through his martyrdom that makes it unique. That and, of course, the martyrdom of St. Paul and the many other Saints whose blood made Rome Holy and uniquely Christian which no Emperor nor even Ecumenical Council could equal or lay claim. That is not to say that this unique Sacred Office prevents it's holders from error.

If you find nourishment in the Eastern Tradition I would embrace this 'standstill' and dialogue with your Parish Priest in deep reflection and prayer and don't over intellectualize your conversion.

Peace and God Bless.
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2009, 11:04:18 PM »

Quote
see her as the Church built on Peter, promised by Christ to never be overcome, and so how could ever look to another Church?
Ah, the fundamental "misunderstanding" of the catholique...  Smiley But I think it's enough to judge by the fruit. Where is the fruit (charismas of the Spirit, saints) in catholique community? When did it stop to function within it? These are most important questions, I' m afraid...
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2009, 11:56:25 PM »

I'm a Roman rite Catholic convert but I've always been and still am attracted to the spirituality and ancient character of the Orthodox. Probably the biggest difficulty I have taking any step further is overcoming the Papal claims... the only reason I tolerate the current weakness and lack of spirituality in the Catholic Church is because I see her as the Church built on Peter, promised by Christ to never be overcome, and so how could ever look to another Church?

If there are any converts from Roman Catholicism, was this an issue for you and how did you overcome it?



Grace and Peace,

I didn't overcome it. I still remain Roman Catholic.

It isn't the founding of a See by St. Peter that makes Rome unique as our Orthodox Brethren clear point out but they fail to recognize that it was not it's founding by St. Peter that makes Rome unique but the fact of his passing and the handing over of his Apostolic Office in Rome through his martyrdom that makes it unique. That and, of course, the martyrdom of St. Paul and the many other Saints whose blood made Rome Holy and uniquely Christian which no Emperor nor even Ecumenical Council could equal or lay claim. That is not to say that this unique Sacred Office prevents it's holders from error.

That's the problem: the holders of that "unique Sacred Office" claim it prevents it's holders from error.

St. Peter passed and handed over his Apostolic Office first in Antioch, so it is not unique in Rome. And though Rome may fancy herself unique in the number of martyrs in the West (she isn't, but the rest of the West doesn't correct her), in the East the various sees (e.g. Alexandria, home of the original Pope and another Petrine see according to Pope St. Gregory the Great) are more than a match.


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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2009, 12:23:53 AM »

I'm a Roman rite Catholic convert but I've always been and still am attracted to the spirituality and ancient character of the Orthodox. Probably the biggest difficulty I have taking any step further is overcoming the Papal claims... the only reason I tolerate the current weakness and lack of spirituality in the Catholic Church is because I see her as the Church built on Peter, promised by Christ to never be overcome, and so how could ever look to another Church?

If there are any converts from Roman Catholicism, was this an issue for you and how did you overcome it?



Grace and Peace,

I didn't overcome it. I still remain Roman Catholic.

It isn't the founding of a See by St. Peter that makes Rome unique as our Orthodox Brethren clear point out but they fail to recognize that it was not it's founding by St. Peter that makes Rome unique but the fact of his passing and the handing over of his Apostolic Office in Rome through his martyrdom that makes it unique. That and, of course, the martyrdom of St. Paul and the many other Saints whose blood made Rome Holy and uniquely Christian which no Emperor nor even Ecumenical Council could equal or lay claim. That is not to say that this unique Sacred Office prevents it's holders from error.

That's the problem: the holders of that "unique Sacred Office" claim it prevents it's holders from error.

St. Peter passed and handed over his Apostolic Office first in Antioch, so it is not unique in Rome. And though Rome may fancy herself unique in the number of martyrs in the West (she isn't, but the rest of the West doesn't correct her), in the East the various sees (e.g. Alexandria, home of the original Pope and another Petrine see according to Pope St. Gregory the Great) are more than a match.




I won't argue Catholic Dogma here in the Convert Forum. St. Peter didn't pass or hand over his unique office until his martyrdom. His unique personal office isn't divided between Antioch or any other See. This is where Orthodox differ from the West and it's not one I personally desire to correct. I am familiar with your position and your arguments. I simply don't agree with it whole clothe.
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2009, 01:35:39 AM »

It isn't the founding of a See by St. Peter that makes Rome unique as our Orthodox Brethren clear point out but they fail to recognize that it was not it's founding by St. Peter that makes Rome unique but the fact of his passing and the handing over of his Apostolic Office in Rome through his martyrdom that makes it unique. That and, of course, the martyrdom of St. Paul and the many other Saints whose blood made Rome Holy and uniquely Christian which no Emperor nor even Ecumenical Council could equal or lay claim. That is not to say that this unique Sacred Office prevents it's holders from error.

It's not that we fail to understand the claim, but that there's no point to discussing it. If the discussion is about the agreed upon fact that Rome was the 'First See' and what that meant and means, then we may disagree on the details but we are at least working from the same Patristic base and so there is at least some possibility of eventually coming to a shared understanding. However once the discussion turns to the idea that Rome was somehow ontologically unique then we are no longer discussing the shared Patristic witness.

The universal witness of the Fathers, starting with St. Paul and St. Peter themselves and running through at least the 8th century throughout the Church (and like other Apostolic, Catholic Tradition, preserved in the East down to the present) is quite clear. When anybody, saint or heretic, monk or emperor, though Rome was wrong, then they held to what they believed to be correct doctrine. And if Rome wanted to cut communion over it, no one thought, "Oh, I *need* to be in communion with Rome so I better reconsider my position." They let Rome go and clung to correct doctrine.
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2009, 07:52:42 AM »

But you also trust the Apocalypse, don't you? If the so-called Babylon symbolizes Rome, then her fall shouldn't surprise you.
Also, since the Orthodox see themselves as the True Church, an Orthodox bishop in Rome would mean that he is the successor of St. Peter.

P.S.: Constantinople is the New Rome. Wink
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2009, 08:54:29 AM »

It isn't the founding of a See by St. Peter that makes Rome unique as our Orthodox Brethren clear point out but they fail to recognize that it was not it's founding by St. Peter that makes Rome unique but the fact of his passing and the handing over of his Apostolic Office in Rome through his martyrdom that makes it unique. That and, of course, the martyrdom of St. Paul and the many other Saints whose blood made Rome Holy and uniquely Christian which no Emperor nor even Ecumenical Council could equal or lay claim. That is not to say that this unique Sacred Office prevents it's holders from error.

It's not that we fail to understand the claim, but that there's no point to discussing it. If the discussion is about the agreed upon fact that Rome was the 'First See' and what that meant and means, then we may disagree on the details but we are at least working from the same Patristic base and so there is at least some possibility of eventually coming to a shared understanding. However once the discussion turns to the idea that Rome was somehow ontologically unique then we are no longer discussing the shared Patristic witness.

The universal witness of the Fathers, starting with St. Paul and St. Peter themselves and running through at least the 8th century throughout the Church (and like other Apostolic, Catholic Tradition, preserved in the East down to the present) is quite clear. When anybody, saint or heretic, monk or emperor, though Rome was wrong, then they held to what they believed to be correct doctrine. And if Rome wanted to cut communion over it, no one thought, "Oh, I *need* to be in communion with Rome so I better reconsider my position." They let Rome go and clung to correct doctrine.

That certainly makes sense. But what about John 21:15-17? "Tend my sheep?" How do we respond to that?
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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2009, 10:15:03 AM »

It isn't the founding of a See by St. Peter that makes Rome unique as our Orthodox Brethren clear point out but they fail to recognize that it was not it's founding by St. Peter that makes Rome unique but the fact of his passing and the handing over of his Apostolic Office in Rome through his martyrdom that makes it unique. That and, of course, the martyrdom of St. Paul and the many other Saints whose blood made Rome Holy and uniquely Christian which no Emperor nor even Ecumenical Council could equal or lay claim. That is not to say that this unique Sacred Office prevents it's holders from error.

It's not that we fail to understand the claim, but that there's no point to discussing it. If the discussion is about the agreed upon fact that Rome was the 'First See' and what that meant and means, then we may disagree on the details but we are at least working from the same Patristic base and so there is at least some possibility of eventually coming to a shared understanding. However once the discussion turns to the idea that Rome was somehow ontologically unique then we are no longer discussing the shared Patristic witness.

The universal witness of the Fathers, starting with St. Paul and St. Peter themselves and running through at least the 8th century throughout the Church (and like other Apostolic, Catholic Tradition, preserved in the East down to the present) is quite clear. When anybody, saint or heretic, monk or emperor, though Rome was wrong, then they held to what they believed to be correct doctrine. And if Rome wanted to cut communion over it, no one thought, "Oh, I *need* to be in communion with Rome so I better reconsider my position." They let Rome go and clung to correct doctrine.

That certainly makes sense. But what about John 21:15-17? "Tend my sheep?" How do we respond to that?

As the Fathers did.

The Vatican makes much of the fact that St. Peter is mentioned more than any other Apostle.  What they do not deal with is that the story of his betrayal of Christ take up the bulk of the mention of his name.  IIRC, it is the only story on St. Peter that all Four Gospels record (funny how that "Thou Art Peter" wasn't that important).  St. John here records St. Peter's restoration.
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« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2009, 02:27:38 PM »

Quote
The universal witness of the Fathers, starting with St. Paul and St. Peter themselves and running through at least the 8th century throughout the Church (and like other Apostolic, Catholic Tradition, preserved in the East down to the present) is quite clear. When anybody, saint or heretic, monk or emperor, though Rome was wrong, then they held to what they believed to be correct doctrine. And if Rome wanted to cut communion over it, no one thought, "Oh, I *need* to be in communion with Rome so I better reconsider my position." They let Rome go and clung to correct doctrine.

That certainly makes sense. But what about John 21:15-17? "Tend my sheep?" How do we respond to that?

I don't see that we have to. Not every statement to St. Peter had anything to do with his successors. St. Peter was a living breathing human being who had a living relationship with our Savior during His earthly life. As ialmisry notes, the above words were Christ's personal message to St. Peter in the wake of St. Peter's betrayal, repeated 3 times to emphasize their relationship to his threefold denial. It is the Savior healing a broken shepherd and telling him to resume his duties. That this instance of Divine mercy and personal redemption should be turned into a political proof-text is outright shameful.

To the extent that it extends beyond St. Peter himself at all, it is a message to all shepherds--Christ sees their human frailties and failings but calls them to their duty anyway, 'feed my sheep.'
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« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2009, 03:17:24 PM »

^^Isa, Witega, - many thanks!
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« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2009, 03:31:22 PM »

^^Isa, Witega, - many thanks!

The best book I've read on the issue from an Orthodox Point-of-view is You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Olivier Clement.

I agree with his position completely but I don't see many here willing to admit what he plainly does in his book.
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« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2009, 12:09:39 AM »

^^Isa, Witega, - many thanks!

The best book I've read on the issue from an Orthodox Point-of-view is You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Olivier Clement.

I agree with his position completely but I don't see many here willing to admit what he plainly does in his book.

Which is?
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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2009, 12:30:43 PM »

^^Isa, Witega, - many thanks!

The best book I've read on the issue from an Orthodox Point-of-view is You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Olivier Clement.

I agree with his position completely but I don't see many here willing to admit what he plainly does in his book.

Which is?

Honestly, I don't think this is the place to debate these issues. This is the 'convert' forum. Most of the more vocal members here on the forum are very polemical and 'need' to be so for whatever reason. Offering clear argumentation on any of these issues is not going to be of any real value. For most here, lines have been drawn. This side is 'right' and that side is 'wrong' and this must be maintained at any cost. I don't think that there is really any room for objectivity or honestly for that matter. It's like arguing with anyone who has a personal interest in the outcome, it's just not in their best interest to yield to reason. We've had 2000 years, on both sides, to develop our arguments. Nothing I say or that anyone says is really going to change that fact. Personally, I would encourage you to 'read' the book yourself. There is room for both within it's pages. I'm Catholic and I agreed with him and I believe the modern Popes would have done the same.

No Catholic Historian/Scholar looks at the Office of the Roman Pontiff and denies it's development. At least, I don't know of any that do. What I think they attempt to point out is that such development was 'natural' and 'organic' and served the Western Church for the challenges present at the time. My guess is. by the Middle Ages a vast majority of the Western Church would have simply not known that there existed any remnant of the Eastern Church to any large extent. The last known existing Patriarch, the Roman Pontiff simply enjoyed a level of primacy and eventual elevation of authority that was left largely unchecked because of the lack of presence of any other Patriarchs. The West stood against the rest of the World as the last of Christendom or so it thought. I think the modern Popes and most Bishops in the West are comfortable with this acknowledgment and are doing what they can do commadate this truth with as much care as is necessary (i.e. Vatican II). Does that make the Western Church unfaithful to the deposit of faith given it by our Saviour? I don't believe so personally but I can recognize such a position being well received by the East and fostered just as it's been done by Protestants for 500 years. The Western Church is very much a lived tradition and had the luxury to develop unmolested were the Eastern Church did not until recently... Much of what I dislike about Orthodoxy in our time is it's dishonesty in the face of what is clearly an attempt to remodel Orthodoxy to appeal to modernist disliking of Doctrine, Dogma and certain pious practices of both the East and Western Churches. I don't know anyone who reads the Discourses of Saint Simeon the New Theologian and reaches the conclusion that there is a vast difference between the Doctrine of Original Sin in the Western Church and that of the Eastern Church, at least, not during the time of Saint Simeon. Most of what we read, in the west, regarding Orthodoxy has only been translated in the last 50 years and great care has been taken to discard what appears unseemly to modern eyes. This contrasted with a very 'healthy' disliking of the Roman Catholic Church has done well in fostering a following in the English speaking west, which is largely anti-Catholic anyways.

It is this which holds me from stepping through the doors to embrace Orthodoxy more fully and I simply don't see the same level of honesty within Orthodoxy that I find in Catholicism. At least not in works of it's chief proponents. It seems to 'use' anti-catholic undercurrents within American and English Culture with a healthy dose of modernist sentiment toward Doctrine, Dogma and Mortification to 'appeal' to those who seek 'more' in their faith journey.

I don't speak this to discourage entry into Orthodoxy by anyone, namely myself but to voice my own struggles and views which have played a role in my distrust of Orthodox proponents and their arguments. What I find truly encouraging about Orthodoxy is the desire of many within it's faithful who seriously strive to pursue holiness through the body of the Churches Practices. I think I first started thinking along these lines after listening to Fr. Hopko's discussion of the last 50 years of Orthodoxy. In it he revealed some of what I have voiced here and I would encourage others who are looking at Orthodoxy to listen to his piece on Ancient Faith Radio as it offers a glimpse of Orthodoxy before it's modeling over the last 50 years or so. It wasn't too different from Roman Catholicism at the time before Vatican II. Just as Vatican II was an attempt to brush the dust off of the Western Church efforts within Orthodoxy to translate it's works from Russian and Greek to English and to say the Liturgy in English were also on the way. This is all new even for Orthodoxy. Orthodox Seminaries taught in Greek and Russian in those days just as Catholic Seminaries taught in Latin. It's just the way it was back then. Now, in America, Orthodoxy has fared better within regard to faithfulness to their own Liturgical Rubrics than American Catholicism has and this is to their merit but 40 or 50 years ago these were all spoken in the Western world in Greek and Slavonic... English Translations and Hymns are 'novelties' and even many Western Orthodox Parishes are loosing the pieties we all know and love. I know at the Orthodox Parish I attend only a very few prostrate before the Icons at Vespers, Vigils and Great Vespers and most don't cross themselves when their Eastern counterparts do. I think it's just a matter of time before our American sentiment erodes these very pious traditions. So I ask myself, what's the point of conversion if the erosion has already set in?

I have spoken long enough and been as honest as I feel I can. Some will likely take great offense to my post but I will simply ask for patience and mercy. I welcome honest advice to my voiced concerns and issues and your prayers.
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« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2009, 01:05:23 PM »

ignatius

Quote
Much of what I dislike about Orthodoxy in our time is it's dishonesty in the face of what is clearly an attempt to remodel Orthodoxy to appeal to modernist disliking of Doctrine, Dogma and certain pious practices of both the East and Western Churches. I don't know anyone who reads the Discourses of Saint Simeon the New Theologian and reaches the conclusion that there is a vast difference between the Doctrine of Original Sin in the Western Church and that of the Eastern Church, at least, not during the time of Saint Simeon.

I've read a bit of St. Symeon the New Theologian, though I don't know him well enough to speak regarding his beliefs concerning original sin. However, I did want to remark that, even if St. Symeon did believe, let's grant, the exact same thing as Augustine (or you can choose a suitable westerner if you wish), that doesn't really mean anything. You could find a dozen prominent Church Fathers who teach something, but that doesn't make that something official Orthodox belief. For example, one could take certain passages of a dozen Eastern Church Fathers and build a case that the Orthodox Church should believe in purgatory. They could cap their argument off with the fact that St. Mark of Ephesus--perhaps the most famous anti-Catholic to ever defend Orthodoxy--seemed to believe in a form of purgatory, the only difference being that his was without fire. And it might be right to say that Orthodox shy away from talk of purgation too much, for fear of sounding too Catholic. You would have a point there. However, on the other hand, Orthodoxy does not officially teach that there can be a purgation, so implying that Orthodoxy is hiding it's real or authentic teachings because they are not to the liking of certain people would be misleading.

Back to original sin. I've seen passages in Eastern Fathers which seem to come down closer to western "original sin" than the eastern "ancestral sin". There are even Bible passages which seem to do so. That doesn't mean that Orthodoxy is hiding it's true beliefs. All it means is that certain Fathers disagreed with other Fathers, and that the meaning of certain Bible passages are up for debate. Nor do I think you can accurately judge an entire time period based on the writings of one or two writers.
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« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2009, 01:31:03 PM »

ignatius

Quote
Much of what I dislike about Orthodoxy in our time is it's dishonesty in the face of what is clearly an attempt to remodel Orthodoxy to appeal to modernist disliking of Doctrine, Dogma and certain pious practices of both the East and Western Churches. I don't know anyone who reads the Discourses of Saint Simeon the New Theologian and reaches the conclusion that there is a vast difference between the Doctrine of Original Sin in the Western Church and that of the Eastern Church, at least, not during the time of Saint Simeon.

I've read a bit of St. Symeon the New Theologian, though I don't know him well enough to speak regarding his beliefs concerning original sin. However, I did want to remark that, even if St. Symeon did believe, let's grant, the exact same thing as Augustine (or you can choose a suitable westerner if you wish), that doesn't really mean anything. You could find a dozen prominent Church Fathers who teach something, but that doesn't make that something official Orthodox belief. For example, one could take certain passages of a dozen Eastern Church Fathers and build a case that the Orthodox Church should believe in purgatory. They could cap their argument off with the fact that St. Mark of Ephesus--perhaps the most famous anti-Catholic to ever defend Orthodoxy--seemed to believe in a form of purgatory, the only difference being that his was without fire. And it might be right to say that Orthodox shy away from talk of purgation too much, for fear of sounding too Catholic. You would have a point there. However, on the other hand, Orthodoxy does not officially teach that there can be a purgation, so implying that Orthodoxy is hiding it's real or authentic teachings because they are not to the liking of certain people would be misleading.

Back to original sin. I've seen passages in Eastern Fathers which seem to come down closer to western "original sin" than the eastern "ancestral sin". There are even Bible passages which seem to do so. That doesn't mean that Orthodoxy is hiding it's true beliefs. All it means is that certain Fathers disagreed with other Fathers, and that the meaning of certain Bible passages are up for debate. Nor do I think you can accurately judge an entire time period based on the writings of one or two writers.

All very good points, I agree but when you see the vitriol of posters toward Original Sin and Purgatory it doesn't match the historical record. I pointed to St. Simeon because he's a Theologian in the Eastern Church and I know how much weight that carries in the East or it should in my humble opinion if one is going to call him a Theologian and he happens to be an Orthodox Theologian which whom I have a great deal of his works in English.

Also please note that I'm not suggesting some kind of conspiracy or anything of that sort just a very unhealthy anti-catholic bias which is being fostered by Orthodox Proponents.
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« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2009, 01:42:53 PM »

Quote
Much of what I dislike about Orthodoxy in our time is it's dishonesty in the face of what is clearly an attempt to remodel Orthodoxy to appeal to modernist disliking of Doctrine, Dogma and certain pious practices of both the East and Western Churches. I don't know anyone who reads the Discourses of Saint Simeon the New Theologian and reaches the conclusion that there is a vast difference between the Doctrine of Original Sin in the Western Church and that of the Eastern Church, at least, not during the time of Saint Simeon
.
Don't worry, it's not the same everywhere. You are more likely to encounter this phenomenon in the Western world, where Orthodoxy is often "marketed" as something really/truly/totally exotic/foreign/different/unlike others etc.
In places where these "evangelistic" (better yet proselytizing) concerns do not exist, you are more likely to encounter a faith exhibiting far less of these traits, less self-conscious, messier, with less questions, less answers but far more natural.

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« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2009, 02:08:20 PM »

I'm a Roman rite Catholic convert but I've always been and still am attracted to the spirituality and ancient character of the Orthodox. Probably the biggest difficulty I have taking any step further is overcoming the Papal claims... the only reason I tolerate the current weakness and lack of spirituality in the Catholic Church is because I see her as the Church built on Peter, promised by Christ to never be overcome, and so how could ever look to another Church?

If there are any converts from Roman Catholicism, was this an issue for you and how did you overcome it?



Sojourn, I "overcame" this (I'm not a Catholic convert, but in converting to Orthodoxy we had to consider the Catholic church too) by not seeing the "rock" as Peter the man, but rather as Peter's confession that he'd just made ("Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God"). Jesus being the Messiah, the anointed one ("Christ") as the incarnate Son of God is the rock that the Church is built upon. Elsewhere in the NT Jesus is called the chief cornerstone, not Peter. Just a few nights ago, I read this in Acts: "Be it know unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom your crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner." (ch. 4, vs 10-11).

I also look at the first council as recorded in Acts, the council of Jerusalem.  Peter was there, with some of the other apostles -- but when the final decision was made and announced, it was James -- not Peter -- who gave this final word.  If Peter had been the leader of all the apostles and the Church, wouldn't he have been the one to make this decision and proclaim it? 

Just some thoughts I had.
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« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2009, 03:33:08 PM »

Asteriktos, I'm pleased that you study a lot about (the most) important matters.  Smiley But, I must disagree a little.
1)On the matter of original sin: Fr. J Romanides has written his extremely controversial(because the theological establishment was somewhat pietistic at the time) diatribes about the "original sin". I had the eulogy to be able to read it once(but to the end) in an edition complete with a prologue which fixed a few points about which the author had changed his view through Patristic study. If you read it, you'll see the fundamental difference that the author sees between Augustine (who, as it was thought by Papists and several protestants, had seen sth on the teachings of st. Paul on the matter, that was original ever since the establishment of Church) and greek/cappadocian Fathers.
2)There is in Orthodox "doctrine" a teaching about a "intermediate situation of souls", but I don't think there is sth such as a purgatory. I 'm sorry to note that purgatory is based on papist legalistic views, while God's mercy and love are infinite and they are the ones on which we depend on, as st. Isaac clearly says(mercy, not "justice").  Nevertheless, there are a few Fathers who accept apokatastasis. such as st. Gregory of Nyssa etc. I think that Fr' Romanides said that the Orthodox theology seems based on "In Hades, there in no penance". And this has to do with the free will of the soul. St. Isaac said that hell is but an "infliction of love", which is suffered by the soul which wishes to hate rather than love, like God Himself. I think it's very-very different from the Papist view, because the latter includes some kind of  punishment of God. And God never punishes.   Wink Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2009, 03:42:23 PM »

Asteriktos, I'm pleased that you study a lot about (the most) important matters.  Smiley But, I must disagree a little.
1)On the matter of original sin: Fr. J Romanides has written his extremely controversial(because the theological establishment was somewhat pietistic at the time) diatribes about the "original sin". I had the eulogy to be able to read it once(but to the end) in an edition complete with a prologue which fixed a few points about which the author had changed his view through Patristic study. If you read it, you'll see the fundamental difference that the author sees between Augustine (who, as it was thought by Papists and several protestants, had seen sth on the teachings of st. Paul on the matter, that was original ever since the establishment of Church) and greek/cappadocian Fathers.
2)There is in Orthodox "doctrine" a teaching about a "intermediate situation of souls", but I don't think there is sth such as a purgatory. I 'm sorry to note that purgatory is based on papist legalistic views, while God's mercy and love are infinite and they are the ones on which we depend on, as st. Isaac clearly says(mercy, not "justice").  Nevertheless, there are a few Fathers who accept apokatastasis. such as st. Gregory of Nyssa etc. I think that Fr' Romanides said that the Orthodox theology seems based on "In Hades, there in no penance". And this has to do with the free will of the soul. St. Isaac said that hell is but an "infliction of love", which is suffered by the soul which wishes to hate rather than love, like God Himself. I think it's very-very different from the Papist view, because the latter includes some kind of  punishment of God. And God never punishes.   Wink Smiley

So my guess is that you and your modernist Romanides thinks St. Simeon the New Theologian was a Papist?  Grin

His teaching of Original Sin is so clearly 'Western' as to be rejected by the Modern Orthodox Church. This is the exact thing in which as I speaking. Baby and Bath Water... out the window.

PS: If you ever desire to reject Simeon at a Saint or a Theologian please let us have him... he truly was a Theologian and we need more of him.
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« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2009, 06:16:48 PM »

Ignatius, I don't think your comments are appropriate for this thread (or sub-forum, for that matter).
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« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2009, 08:11:38 PM »

Quote
Much of what I dislike about Orthodoxy in our time is it's dishonesty in the face of what is clearly an attempt to remodel Orthodoxy to appeal to modernist disliking of Doctrine, Dogma and certain pious practices of both the East and Western Churches. I don't know anyone who reads the Discourses of Saint Simeon the New Theologian and reaches the conclusion that there is a vast difference between the Doctrine of Original Sin in the Western Church and that of the Eastern Church, at least, not during the time of Saint Simeon
.
Don't worry, it's not the same everywhere. You are more likely to encounter this phenomenon in the Western world, where Orthodoxy is often "marketed" as something really/truly/totally exotic/foreign/different/unlike others etc.
In places where these "evangelistic" (better yet proselytizing) concerns do not exist, you are more likely to encounter a faith exhibiting far less of these traits, less self-conscious, messier, with less questions, less answers but far more natural.


I tend to agree and if we are receiving a modernist form of Orthodoxy which has been flossied up for the Western market, this makes me wonder if we can ever truly be Orthodox in the West, then. I don't think it means that we shouldn't try, but I do sense the unnaturalness you speak of in the "convert/catechumen parish" I attend and it is giving me great concern. One can understand why the Greeks are still insistant on ordaining only from their own, rather than recent converts, who could possibly carry Protestant or even fundamentalist baggage with them. The trend to ordain recent converts in other jurisdictions could be merely an opening to import more of what is unnatural to Western Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2009, 09:14:25 PM »

Ignatius, I don't think your comments are appropriate for this thread (or sub-forum, for that matter).

If my comments have disturbed you please accept my apology. I spoke candidly because if I don't move past these concerns I fear I will never move past them. It's time for me to get serious and to be as frank as I am able and have real discourse with those who can help me. If my struggle challenges you or causes doubt in your journey, please discard this thread and continue on your journey. I would not like to be a burden to anyone struggling with there own journey.

Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy!

With that said the OP seemed to be in a very similar situation as I am. Roman Catholic Family ties, frustration over the modern Catholic Church and a wife disinterested in Orthodoxy. All that said. My own doubts plague me. If others here can help I am open to it. If the moderators feel my post was too challenging or critical of Western Orthodoxy, I ask them to delete my posts to this thread and I will attempt to speak with those who can help me in more private quarters. Honestly I wish there was a 'private' forum for mature individuals to discuss this matters. All too often this topics are mired in caricatures of one another and nothing is really achieved.
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« Reply #29 on: December 30, 2009, 09:34:31 PM »

What I find truly encouraging about Orthodoxy is the desire of many within it's faithful who seriously strive to pursue holiness through the body of the Churches Practices.

Ignatius,
Firstly, thank you for your honest post, and let me say as an Orthodox Christian I personally did not find it offensive at all. Ultimately, this small portion of your post which I have quoted above is true for me also, and its because of the Saints I have met in the Church that I stay. Arguments about how Orthodoxy "resists modernity" are ridiculous for me, since many of our practices (but not our Dogma) have been developing and continue to do so, albeit slowly. What keeps me in the Church as a "cradle" Orthodox is the people I have met, cradle and converts, who strive to live as Christians in the Church, or those who St. Paul call the Saints. Arguments about the filioque, purgatory, the Papal Primacy, the Immaculate Conception etc is not going to call anyone into the Church, neither are claims that the Orthodox Church is "unchanged" because the only thing unchanged is the Dogma of the Church. The Church is an old tree, but it is a living tree, and living trees grow. I actually agree with augustin717, and I too am concerned about the Evangelical Protestant style of "marketing" of Orthodoxy in the West, which I think is doomed to failure, and indeed I think we are beginning to see the cracks develop with hastily established monastic communities in the US falling apart and dissolving, converts leaving, neophytes hastily being tonsured to the diaconate & priesthood etc. I really don't think it augurs well for Orthodoxy in the West. But where Orthodoxy has been established for many centuries,things are vastly different. And the claim that the Churches of the "Old World" are somehow "not missionary" is actually false. They just have a different way of missioning. They simply build a Church and start liturgizing, and the people come and huge parishes are established, without internet forum discussions, without tracts condemning the filioque etc. The Faith is simply spread the way the Holy Light is spread at Pascha- from person to person. So no, I don't blame anyone for not converting because of arguments, especially not arguments on an internet forum. And indeed, as I have often seen, anyone who is argued into the Church will inevitably leave unless they find another, more human, reason to stay.
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« Reply #30 on: December 30, 2009, 09:44:59 PM »

What I find truly encouraging about Orthodoxy is the desire of many within it's faithful who seriously strive to pursue holiness through the body of the Churches Practices.

Ignatius,
Firstly, thank you for your honest post, and let me say as an Orthodox Christian I personally did not find it offensive at all. Ultimately, this small portion of your post which I have quoted above is true for me also, and its because of the Saints I have met in the Church that I stay. Arguments about how Orthodoxy "resists modernity" are ridiculous for me, since many of our practices (but not our Dogma) have been developing and continue to do so, albeit slowly. What keeps me in the Church as a "cradle" Orthodox is the people I have met, cradle and converts, who strive to live as Christians in the Church, or those who St. Paul call the Saints. Arguments about the filioque, purgatory, the Papal Primacy, the Immaculate Conception etc is not going to call anyone into the Church, neither are claims that the Orthodox Church is "unchanged" because the only thing unchanged is the Dogma of the Church. The Church is an old tree, but it is a living tree, and living trees grow. I actually agree with augustin717, and I too am concerned about the Evangelical Protestant style of "marketing" of Orthodoxy in the West, which I think is doomed to failure, and indeed I think we are beginning to see the cracks develop with hastily established monastic communities in the US falling apart and dissolving, converts leaving, neophytes hastily being tonsured to the diaconate & priesthood etc. I really don't think it augurs well for Orthodoxy in the West. But where Orthodoxy has been established for many centuries,things are vastly different. And the claim that the Churches of the "Old World" are somehow "not missionary" is actually false. They just have a different way of missioning. They simply build a Church and start liturgizing, and the people come and huge parishes are established, without internet forum discussions, without tracts condemning the filioque etc. The Faith is simply spread the way the Holy Light is spread at Pascha- from person to person. So no, I don't blame anyone for not converting because of arguments, especially not arguments on an internet forum. And indeed, as I have often seen, anyone who is argued into the Church will inevitably leave unless they find another, more human, reason to stay.

Well said!

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« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2009, 09:50:30 PM »

Br. Ignatius, there is no Index Librorum Prohibitorum in Orthodoxy, so everything is(should be) welcome...  Smiley Not accepting other people's doubts and questions is not a christian behaviour; it's a secular one.

Now, how come you are so certain about St. Symeon's teachings on the "ancestral sin"?
Second, Fr. Romanides wasn't a modernist, he was perhaps the most important person in Academia to fight Scholasticism and pietism dressed as Orthodoxy, and reveal the Patristic view, that is the Orthodox one.
Third, the Church's views are determined by synodical agreement, that is the conscience of the whole Church agrees with something. If it doesn't, then even the Ecumenical Councils/Synods are invalid. Or if there is a Consensus Patrum.
Finally, it's utterly mistaken to say, that it's sth new to Orthodox Church to respect traditional language and customs. Don't know if you remember the story with St. Cyril and Methodios Apostles of Slavs, for example...

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Quote
The best book I've read on the issue from an Orthodox Point-of-view is You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Olivier Clement.
Olivier Clement, as great as he was on other issues, e.g. sociopolitical theology, such as N. Berdyaev, saw favourably the Ecumenical Movement of the time. So, I don't know if this is his strongest spot...

I'd like to say, that I understand and feel (ok, almost  Smiley ) the circumstances in which you're in. But, as N. Berdyaev'd said, there is not a task that is more noble than the pursuit of truth.  Wink Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: December 30, 2009, 11:16:29 PM »

It seems that much of this discussion belongs in the Orthodox-Catholic forum. I think we should refocus this thread to address the request of the OP. He is requesting advice from Orthodox converts (from Catholicism) who have had difficulty with the issue of papal claims and have been able to overcome such issues.
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« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2009, 12:17:04 AM »

Now, how come you are so certain about St. Symeon's teachings on the "ancestral sin"?

Grace and Peace,

St. Symeon is very clear on 'ancestral' Original Sin in his works and I was halfheartedly going to present an argument with his texts as an example but on second thought I'm not sure it would be so a great idea. Ortho_cat seems disturbed by this turn of events and perhaps he/she is correct. I would enjoy the 'freedom' of discussing this in the Catholic forum...

Quote
Second, Fr. Romanides wasn't a modernist, he was perhaps the most important person in Academia to fight Scholasticism and pietism dressed as Orthodoxy, and reveal the Patristic view, that is the Orthodox one.

What do you think scholasticism is? I have read some of Fr. Romanides and I can't say that I like what I've read.

Quote
Quote
The best book I've read on the issue from an Orthodox Point-of-view is You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Olivier Clement.
Olivier Clement, as great as he was on other issues, e.g. sociopolitical theology, such as N. Berdyaev, saw favourably the Ecumenical Movement of the time. So, I don't know if this is his strongest spot...

Have you read it? If so where do you find fault with it?
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« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2009, 01:22:07 AM »

Ignatius, I don't think your comments are appropriate for this thread (or sub-forum, for that matter).

I appreciate his comments because they help me dull the "romantic fuzz" that surrounds my image of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2009, 01:39:05 AM »

Sojourn, I "overcame" this (I'm not a Catholic convert, but in converting to Orthodoxy we had to consider the Catholic church too) by not seeing the "rock" as Peter the man, but rather as Peter's confession that he'd just made ("Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God").

If it was Simon's confession that the Church was built on, and not Simon the person, why was his name changed? Doesn't this fact, especially considering the biblical significance of a name change, clearly reveal that Simon is the Rock?

Quote
Jesus being the Messiah, the anointed one ("Christ") as the incarnate Son of God is the rock that the Church is built upon. Elsewhere in the NT Jesus is called the chief cornerstone, not Peter. Just a few nights ago, I read this in Acts: "Be it know unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom your crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner." (ch. 4, vs 10-11).

I never found these passages as mutually exclusive. Christ is the Head and Foundation of the Church but He exercises His power through His visible members, and this includes the visible head embodied as Peter and his successors... or so the explanation goes.

Quote
I also look at the first council as recorded in Acts, the council of Jerusalem.  Peter was there, with some of the other apostles -- but when the final decision was made and announced, it was James -- not Peter -- who gave this final word.  If Peter had been the leader of all the apostles and the Church, wouldn't he have been the one to make this decision and proclaim it?
That there is a Biblical example for conciliar decisions and not Peter waging His Papal Supremacy is a legitimate point.
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« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2009, 02:48:54 AM »

If it was Simon's confession that the Church was built on, and not Simon the person, why was his name changed? Doesn't this fact, especially considering the biblical significance of a name change, clearly reveal that Simon is the Rock?

I honestly don't know.  There are much more learned people here than I.  All I can think to say is that God seems to change people's names a lot, doing so with Simon/Peter is just "par for the course." There's certainly a purpose in it, as there always is, but is it really to lay the sole leadership of the church upon him? Another thought from this passage is that right after he tells Peter that he's going to build the Church on [this] rock, he seems to give just him the power of binding and loosing in the kingdom of heaven -- if you only read this section. But in Matt. 18:18 he uses the same words about binding/loosing but here he's speaking to all the apostles. Food for thought. 
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« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2009, 11:19:03 AM »

Quote
postles and the Church, wouldn't he have been the one to make this decision and proclaim it?
That there is a Biblical example for conciliar decisions and not Peter waging His Papal Supremacy is a legitimate point.

Grace and Peace Sojourn,

Papal 'Supremacy' in the likeness of a 'Sovereign' over the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth (which is His Church) is clearly a development of the Pontifical Office. Even Roman Catholic Scholars agree with this. The only Catholics who don't are Ultramotanists like the SSPX etc.

There really is no evidence of this kind of authority over the whole Church in the early Church. I think where most scholars wrestle with this topic is with the recognition of the Roman Patriarch's 'Primacy' and a few unique situations within the life of the early Church where the Church turned to the Roman Patriarch to 'restore' the Church, like after the Iconoclasm in the East.

You know even Roman Catholics 'recently' went through our own Iconoclasm in the last 50 years where the very Sacred Altars of God were torn out and thrown away by the Hierarchy.

One of the reasons that I am here is that I don't recognize Rome as a Rock... maybe a rolling stone  laugh because they are rolling all over the place since the 1960's but not a Rock in the sense our Lord spoke about in the Sacred Texts. My scrutiny of Orthodoxy is chiefly to determine if they are a Rock or a Rolling Stone like everybody else. If they aren't then I don't honestly know what I will do. Ultimately I don't think I can honestly 'be' Roman Catholic in the sense that 'being' Roman Catholic is thought of today. If Orthodoxy allows me to be more authentically Christian in the Classic Tradition of the Ancient Church then so be it but I'm not convinced of that quite yet but I dearly love Orthodox Piety and it's Liturgical Traditions. My experience with the local Orthodox Parish has been a positive one but I question if it actually can survive intact in America and the West. We have a very corrosive culture and I fear it's effects on even Orthodoxy.

That said I'll be a the Vigil tonight with my daughter and I have a Russian/Macedonia Ancestry so I owe to my blood to investigate this tradition and it's claims.
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« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2009, 08:20:55 PM »

Quote
St. Symeon is very clear on 'ancestral' Original Sin in his works and I was halfheartedly going to present an argument with his texts as an example but on second thought I'm not sure it would be so a great idea. Ortho_cat seems disturbed by this turn of events and perhaps he/she is correct. I would enjoy the 'freedom' of discussing this in the Catholic forum...
Οk, I'll try to learn about this issue shortly. But, I must say, that St. Symeon was considered as a danger for the westernised establishment of ours in Greece and there were no references at all... Perhaps because he was after the schism. Anyway, we'll have to come back another time. (You could send those excerpts to me, I'd be delighted...  Smiley )

Quote
Have you read it? If so where do you find fault with it?
Have read other essays etc. of his, but his views are, generally speaking, known on this subject.

Quote
I have a Russian/Macedonia Ancestry
You mean the province of Greece and not... the little state(north from Greece) of Skopje, right?  Cheesy It's nice to read this. Sometimes, our national tradition has treasure kept within it.

 Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2010, 01:36:54 AM »

Quote
St. Symeon is very clear on 'ancestral' Original Sin in his works and I was halfheartedly going to present an argument with his texts as an example but on second thought I'm not sure it would be so a great idea. Ortho_cat seems disturbed by this turn of events and perhaps he/she is correct. I would enjoy the 'freedom' of discussing this in the Catholic forum...
Οk, I'll try to learn about this issue shortly. But, I must say, that St. Symeon was considered as a danger for the westernised establishment of ours in Greece and there were no references at all... Perhaps because he was after the schism. Anyway, we'll have to come back another time. (You could send those excerpts to me, I'd be delighted...  Smiley )

Grace and Peace,

I will see what I can do. I really don't want to enter into a debate in 'this' forum. Maybe in the Catholic one?

Quote
Quote
Have you read it? If so where do you find fault with it?
Have read other essays etc. of his, but his views are, generally speaking, known on this subject.

Yes, I have several of his books. What do you mean by 'his views are, generally speaking, known on this subject'?

Quote
Quote
I have a Russian/Macedonia Ancestry
You mean the province of Greece and not... the little state(north from Greece) of Skopje, right?  Cheesy It's nice to read this. Sometimes, our national tradition has treasure kept within it.

 Smiley

Oh, I don't want to even go there. On my mother's side we have some Boznian/Macedonian Ancestry... i.e. that Little State.  Grin
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« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2010, 12:50:25 PM »

My experience with the local Orthodox Parish has been a positive one but I question if it actually can survive intact in America and the West. We have a very corrosive culture and I fear it's effects on even Orthodoxy.

Anything genuine will have difficulty surviving, maybe it's a good sign.
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« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2010, 12:57:59 PM »

Papal 'Supremacy' in the likeness of a 'Sovereign' over the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth (which is His Church) is clearly a development of the Pontifical Office.

Do you think this was a legitimate and even Spirit directed development?
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« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2010, 02:05:45 PM »

I'm a Roman rite Catholic convert but I've always been and still am attracted to the spirituality and ancient character of the Orthodox. Probably the biggest difficulty I have taking any step further is overcoming the Papal claims... the only reason I tolerate the current weakness and lack of spirituality in the Catholic Church is because I see her as the Church built on Peter, promised by Christ to never be overcome, and so how could ever look to another Church?

If there are any converts from Roman Catholicism, was this an issue for you and how did you overcome it?


I meant to reply to this a while ago, but for some reason forgot about it. I was born and raised Protestant, but became Roman Catholic 3 years ago after being so disillusioned with the lack of depth to Protestantism (I was Methodist). However, I did read about Orthodoxy a little before I became Catholic and moreso after I was Catholic. I believe that God brought be to Orthodoxy through the RCC because I would have immediately rejected it as a Protestant. As I studied history and the faith of the early Church, I saw that it was identical to that of the Orthodox: unchanged. St. Vinent of Lérins said it beautifully:

Quote
Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense "Catholic," which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.-The Commonitory of St. Vincent of Lérins, Chapter 2

I just could not buy into the idea of "development of doctrine." If the Pope had been "supreme over the Church" as the RCC would like us to believe, it is rather interesting that the Orthodox Church since the schism has maintained the same faith without a Pope and with RCC with a Pope has made additions to the Faith. There is also the depth of Orthodoxy that is really amazing, the emphasis on humility, fasting and prayer and a willingness to "not be of the world." The lack of need to define everything in the Christian faith was also relieving. In short, I believe with all my heart that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ. I will be baptized into the Orthodox Church tomorrow morning, God willing.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #43 on: January 02, 2010, 04:11:31 PM »

I will be baptized into the Orthodox Church tomorrow morning, God willing.

In Christ,
Andrew

Many years!  Congratulations!  Our family will also be baptized soon -- next Saturday, the 9th of January. 
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« Reply #44 on: January 02, 2010, 04:31:33 PM »

I just could not buy into the idea of "development of doctrine." If the Pope had been "supreme over the Church" as the RCC would like us to believe, it is rather interesting that the Orthodox Church since the schism has maintained the same faith without a Pope and with RCC with a Pope has made additions to the Faith.

Peace Andrew,

Thank you for your witness, let me ask a couple of questions if you don't mind.

Do Orthodox faithful reject the concept of development?

Do Orthodox believe in a visible unity in the Church? If so, how is it maintained?


God bless
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« Reply #45 on: January 02, 2010, 05:49:11 PM »

The concept of development in the afterlife presupposes that time exists in the afterlife much the same as it does here.  But time is dependent on motion, and motion on a material substance that moves (i.e. a body), and the soulds awaiting judgement do not have bodies, so...

As the sign at the end of the platform in a British railway station (oft quoted by Met. Kallistos of Diokleia) says, "Passengers are advised not to proceed beyond this point."
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« Reply #46 on: January 02, 2010, 06:58:45 PM »

Andrew: Glory to God! Many years.

Do Orthodox faithful reject the concept of development?

In the sense that Roman Catholics use the term, yes, Orthodox reject the idea of development of doctrine.

The classic expression of what Orthodox understand as valid 'development' is this passage from St. Vincent of Lerins:
http://www.voskrese.info/spl/lerins23.html

In essence, we believe that the fundamental dogma was 'delivered once for all' to the Apostles. Our understanding of that Apostolic doctrine can be expanded, its implications explored, but the dogma itself cannot be changed nor can things which were not part of the original revelation of Christ Jesus be made part of that binding dogma.

To put it another way, our understanding of development of dogma is that if one took the various dogmatic definitions of the Ecumenical Councils and went back in time to present them to St. Peter, his first response might be, 'wait a second, I'm a simple fisherman who only learned Greek later in life--what do these technical terms 'homoousious', 'hypostatic union,' etc mean?' But if the terms were explained, then St. Peter's response would be 'Yes, you may be using philosophical Greek, or Russian or English, but the underlying concepts, yes, that's exactly what was revealed to me by the Holy Spirit and in person by the Risen Lord and what I taught."

If something is *not* part of that fundamental deposit, if St. Peter or St. Paul wouldn't be able to say, "Yes, I may have used different terms, but that's what I taught." then it is not dogma or doctrine. It may be beneficial (as the Fathers of Nicea determined celebrating Pascha on one day through the Church would be, or in the specific fasting rules that the Church has developed over time) but it is not 'necessary to salvation' and its certainly cannot trump the original revelation.

Quote
Do Orthodox believe in a visible unity in the Church? If so, how is it maintained?

Yes we believe in visible unity. Our unity is in the Cup of Communion. Each local parish is unified to its bishop through participation in the mystery at which the bishop is commemorated. In turn, when the bishop participates in the mystery, he commemorates the presiding hierarch of his synod, so that the synod/local church is visibly one. And when the presiding hierarch participates in the mysteries, he commemorates the presiding hierarchs of all the other local churchs, who commemorate him in turn and thus the Church is unified throughout the world in the myster of Communion.
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