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Author Topic: Description of the conditions necessary for a council to be regarded as ecumenic  (Read 13840 times) Average Rating: 0
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militantsparrow
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« on: April 18, 2010, 02:14:59 PM »

I just discovered the document,
The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium.

I realize it is not official yet (or maybe ever), but there are a few things in the letter which strike me as problematic. The description of what is necessary for a council to be considered ecumenical seems to go against my previous understanding of either side.

Quote
27. The clearest description of the conditions necessary for a council to be regarded as ecumenical was given by the seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicaea II, 787), the final council to be recognised as ecumenical both in the East and in the West:
– it has to be accepted by the heads (proedroi) of the churches, and they have to be in agreement (symphonia) with it;
– the pope of Rome has to be a "co-operator" or "fellow worker" (synergos) with the council;
– the patriarchs of the East have to be "in agreement" (symphronountes);
– the teaching of the council must be in accord with that of previous ecumenical councils;
– the council must be given its own specific number, so as to be placed in the sequence of councils accepted by the Church as a whole...

I looked over the Ravenna document and the documents from Nicaea II, but neither seemed to express these points as succinctly. Does anyone know where I can find the cannons which support the two bolded points above--especially the necessity for the patriarchs of the East to be in agreement.

Thank you and God bless.
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2010, 03:27:06 PM »

Ecumenical actually means the whole body of or whole church.  When councils are held that are without whole representation, they are only local councils.  Regardless of what anyone's religious convictions are, once the Christian church split apart after the 7th (8th council seen as a "robber council") there could no longer be an "Ecumenical" council.  

There can never be an Ecumenical Council until the East and West are reunited (not sure if reunion with Protestants is an issue in regard to Church Councils; correct me if I'm wrong).  As I'm sure you know, Catholicism sees their 'councils' as 'Ecumenical' which depletes the whole meaning of Ecumenical.
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2010, 03:34:50 PM »

teh departure of Rome does not mean we cant have an Ecumenical Council! the Orthodox Church IS the entire Church therefore She can have an Ecumenical Council. Those outside of the Church are inconsequential to this matter.
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2010, 03:38:37 PM »

teh departure of Rome does not mean we cant have an Ecumenical Council! the Orthodox Church IS the entire Church therefore She can have an Ecumenical Council. Those outside of the Church are inconsequential to this matter.

Actually that's exactly what it means.  Note how the Orthodox Church has had councils, ex. 5th Council of Constantinople, Synod of Jerusalem, but did not call them Ecumenical.  The Orthodox Church is the undivided Church of Christ, but its brethren have separated themselves from it. 
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2010, 03:45:51 PM »

we had Ecumenical Councils even after the Nestorians and Orientals left though ....
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2010, 03:49:06 PM »

we had Ecumenical Councils even after the Nestorians and Orientals left though ....
Yes, but we EO and RC are also the only ones who call those councils ecumenical.
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2010, 04:02:20 PM »

Ecumenical actually means the whole body of or whole church.  When councils are held that are without whole representation, they are only local councils.  Regardless of what anyone's religious convictions are, once the Christian church split apart after the 7th (8th council seen as a "robber council") there could no longer be an "Ecumenical" council. 

There can never be an Ecumenical Council until the East and West are reunited (not sure if reunion with Protestants is an issue in regard to Church Councils; correct me if I'm wrong).  As I'm sure you know, Catholicism sees their 'councils' as 'Ecumenical' which depletes the whole meaning of Ecumenical.

I completely disagree.  First, "Ecumenical Councils" do not have formal criteria for their designation.  Some councils have been viewed as Ecumenical from the start, some are viewed as such only by a part of the Church, some decided to give themselves the title but they have subsequently been viewed not as "Ecumenical," and some have been called "Ecumenical" even though there have been no other subsequent "Ecumenical" councils to call them thusly (depending on your POV, either the 7th or the 9th falls into this category). 

Second, The Church is Whole, period - she can have an Ecumenical Council without those who have voluntarily left her, because she still is an ontological & ecclesiological whole.  It is none of our concern (as far as calling a council) that Rome has left; the Body of Christ is complete both with and without her, and as such she can have Ecumenical Councils with or without her.  To deny the Church's ability to call such a council is to deny both the Spirit's work within the Church and the very line from the 2nd Ecumenical Council that we repeat at least weekly, being: "(I believe) In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church."

IMO, we have already had two Ecumenical Councils without the approval or presence of Rome: the 8th (Photian) which Rome did not approve of until later, and the 9th (Palamite) which took place well after the schism had solidified itself.  If you want to make an argument from history, then we've never had an ecumenical council without any of the following: The Holy Spirit, the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, or Jerusalem, a Bishop of Constantinople, or the Emperor of the Romans and all the Ecumene.  But threads like this, while well-meaning, can only accomplish that: figure out what Ecumenical Councils have had in the past, rather than disseminating any real list of what a council needs to be Ecumenical.
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2010, 04:17:45 PM »

teh departure of Rome does not mean we cant have an Ecumenical Council! the Orthodox Church IS the entire Church therefore She can have an Ecumenical Council. Those outside of the Church are inconsequential to this matter.

Actually that's exactly what it means.  Note how the Orthodox Church has had councils, ex. 5th Council of Constantinople, Synod of Jerusalem, but did not call them Ecumenical.  The Orthodox Church is the undivided Church of Christ, but its brethren have separated themselves from it. 

The reason we've not had another ecumenical council, IMO, is because there is no empire and no emperor, not because the patriarchate of Rome wasn't invited (besides, we could just appoint an Orthodox bishop in Rome if we wanted to, but we don't play that kind of game, even though it was done to us in the past plenty of times).

We had what for all intents and purposes is an ecumenical council in the 14th century after Rome was removed from the Church of Christ, and this Council's teachings were included in the liturgical commemorations on the 2nd Sunday of Lent, although the Council itself was not given a commemoration.  This is probably out of a deference to the past Fathers; as time went on, each generation became more reticent to compare itself with the glory of the "Golden Age" of Councils 1-7, but that doesn't change their truth and the fact that the Church would have every right to add a commemoration of Councils 8 and 9 if it wished to.

We've had plenty of pan-Orthodox Councils since the fall of the empire, which are binding. It's just the label has changed, and they have not been as earth-shattering/watershed as previous ones, which may account for why they were not added into the Church's memory.

In the end, any theory that we can't have a council until the heretics come back implicitly contradicts our belief in the unicity of the Church of Christ.
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2010, 04:25:33 PM »

This document I linked to states that the 7th ecumenical council gave certain necessary conditions for a council to be considered ecumenical. I didn't see anything like that in my reading of the documents from the council. I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction.
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2010, 04:50:52 PM »

This document I linked to states that the 7th ecumenical council gave certain necessary conditions for a council to be considered ecumenical. I didn't see anything like that in my reading of the documents from the council. I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction.

I don't remember seeing it in there, either, but it has been awhile since I've read the documents/decisions of Nicea II.
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2010, 05:26:57 PM »

I just discovered the document,
The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium.

I realize it is not official yet (or maybe ever), but there are a few things in the letter which strike me as problematic. The description of what is necessary for a council to be considered ecumenical seems to go against my previous understanding of either side.

Quote
27. The clearest description of the conditions necessary for a council to be regarded as ecumenical was given by the seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicaea II, 787), the final council to be recognised as ecumenical both in the East and in the West:
– it has to be accepted by the heads (proedroi) of the churches, and they have to be in agreement (symphonia) with it;
– the pope of Rome has to be a "co-operator" or "fellow worker" (synergos) with the council;
– the patriarchs of the East have to be "in agreement" (symphronountes);
– the teaching of the council must be in accord with that of previous ecumenical councils;
– the council must be given its own specific number, so as to be placed in the sequence of councils accepted by the Church as a whole...

I looked over the Ravenna document and the documents from Nicaea II, but neither seemed to express these points as succinctly. Does anyone know where I can find the cannons which support the two bolded points above--especially the necessity for the patriarchs of the East to be in agreement.

Thank you and God bless.
No, because they do not exist.  The Second Ecumenical Council had no representative of Rome, and the Pope of Rome had no hand in writing the Creed there.  There is no such distinction as "Patriarchs of the East" in the canons or anything else for that matter.
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2010, 07:04:37 PM »

we had Ecumenical Councils even after the Nestorians and Orientals left though ....
Yes, but we EO and RC are also the only ones who call those councils ecumenical.

exactly, thats the point -- we can still have Ecumenical Councils even after signifcant bodies leave the Church.
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2010, 07:18:23 PM »

we had Ecumenical Councils even after the Nestorians and Orientals left though ....
Yes, but we EO and RC are also the only ones who call those councils ecumenical.

exactly, thats the point -- we can still have Ecumenical Councils even after signifcant bodies leave the Church.
But that's based on how you define the Church--who's in and who's out.
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2010, 07:26:51 PM »

we had Ecumenical Councils even after the Nestorians and Orientals left though ....
Yes, but we EO and RC are also the only ones who call those councils ecumenical.

exactly, thats the point -- we can still have Ecumenical Councils even after signifcant bodies leave the Church.
But that's based on how you define the Church--who's in and who's out.


i have no idea what youre talking about. the Church remains one and whole, no matter who chooses to leave. therefore, we can still have Ecumenical Councils, as history demonstrates.
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2010, 07:54:04 PM »

we had Ecumenical Councils even after the Nestorians and Orientals left though ....
Yes, but we EO and RC are also the only ones who call those councils ecumenical.

exactly, thats the point -- we can still have Ecumenical Councils even after signifcant bodies leave the Church.
Christ is Risen!

You will note that there has been for decades various mentions of the possibility of the upcoming Great and Holy Council becoming the 8th Ecumenical Council.  The Council will include every Orthodox Church. None will be excluded although the OCA will attend with a question mark over its autocephalic status (assuming that the contention over this is not resolved prior to the Council.)
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« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2010, 08:07:23 PM »

we had Ecumenical Councils even after the Nestorians and Orientals left though ....
Yes, but we EO and RC are also the only ones who call those councils ecumenical.

exactly, thats the point -- we can still have Ecumenical Councils even after signifcant bodies leave the Church.
But that's based on how you define the Church--who's in and who's out.


i have no idea what youre talking about. the Church remains one and whole, no matter who chooses to leave. therefore, we can still have Ecumenical Councils, as history demonstrates.
Not disagreeing with that.  Our disagreement is apparently over who is in the Church and who is outside it.  I'm just postulating, in opposition to your insinuation that the OO left the Church, that if the OO never separated from the Church, then only our first three Ecumenical Councils can be considered truly ecumenical, since the OO never accepted the next four.
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« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2010, 08:28:19 PM »

we had Ecumenical Councils even after the Nestorians and Orientals left though ....
Yes, but we EO and RC are also the only ones who call those councils ecumenical.

exactly, thats the point -- we can still have Ecumenical Councils even after signifcant bodies leave the Church.
But that's based on how you define the Church--who's in and who's out.


i have no idea what youre talking about. the Church remains one and whole, no matter who chooses to leave. therefore, we can still have Ecumenical Councils, as history demonstrates.
Not disagreeing with that.  Our disagreement is apparently over who is in the Church and who is outside it.  I'm just postulating, in opposition to your insinuation that the OO left the Church, that if the OO never separated from the Church, then only our first three Ecumenical Councils can be considered truly ecumenical, since the OO never accepted the next four.
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A confirmation of the Orthodox judgement of whom it sees as within the Church will come in the form of the list of participant Churches at the forthcoming Great and Holy Council.  In actual fact we are already aware of the participating Churches and so we may determinine who holds membership in the Church.  None will be excluded from the Council who should be there and none will be included who should not be there.  Churches such as the True Orthodox Church of Serbia, the Walled Off Synod in Protest of Phili, will not be participating.
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« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2010, 10:50:12 PM »

we had Ecumenical Councils even after the Nestorians and Orientals left though ....
Yes, but we EO and RC are also the only ones who call those councils ecumenical.

exactly, thats the point -- we can still have Ecumenical Councils even after signifcant bodies leave the Church.
Christ is Risen!

You will note that there has been for decades various mentions of the possibility of the upcoming Great and Holy Council becoming the 8th Ecumenical Council.  The Council will include every Orthodox Church. None will be excluded although the OCA will attend with a question mark over its autocephalic status (assuming that the contention over this is not resolved prior to the Council.)

I apologize if what I said was incorrect.  My conclusion was reached by what I've read and been told by several priests.  

Irish Hermit, could you give me any links or information on this possible Council you speak of?  I have not heard of this before.  Such a thing would be incredible to be alive to witness. 
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« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2010, 11:06:59 PM »

we had Ecumenical Councils even after the Nestorians and Orientals left though ....
Yes, but we EO and RC are also the only ones who call those councils ecumenical.

exactly, thats the point -- we can still have Ecumenical Councils even after signifcant bodies leave the Church.
Christ is Risen!

You will note that there has been for decades various mentions of the possibility of the upcoming Great and Holy Council becoming the 8th Ecumenical Council.  The Council will include every Orthodox Church. None will be excluded although the OCA will attend with a question mark over its autocephalic status (assuming that the contention over this is not resolved prior to the Council.)

I apologize if what I said was incorrect.  My conclusion was reached by what I've read and been told by several priests. 

What you said was quite correct and I was agreeing with you.

Quote
Irish Hermit, could you give me any links or information on this possible Council you speak of?  I have not heard of this before.  Such a thing would be incredible to be alive to witness. 

Busy right now.... try two web searches

1. chambesy council patriarchate

and

2. chambesy council popovic
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« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2010, 11:33:05 PM »

Thanks for the links...prayerfully we will see this soon.
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« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2010, 11:47:14 PM »



A confirmation of the Orthodox judgement of whom it sees as within the Church will come in the form of the list of participant Churches at the forthcoming Great and Holy Council.  In actual fact we are already aware of the participating Churches and so we may determinine who holds membership in the Church.  None will be excluded from the Council who should be there and none will be included who should not be there.  Churches such as the True Orthodox Church of Serbia, the Walled Off Synod in Protest of Phili, will not be participating.

Quite a large percentage of the clergy of your communion accept the Non-Chalcedonians as in the Church, yet I do not see them being invited to this would-be 10th ecumenical council. Perhaps the invitation list is not as comprehensive as you suggest, and PeterTheAleut raises a valid point; after all, if Non-Chalcedonians are still in the Church, but only accept 3 councils, then how are there 7 (or 9) already?

Maybe you do not personally believe in the "Two Families" theory of Orthodoxy, but it's certainly not a fringe view amongst clergy in your communion, so I am curious how you reconcile these quite divergent views? Or is the "Two Families" language just diplomacy that shouldn't really be taken seriously?
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« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2010, 12:55:58 AM »


A confirmation of the Orthodox judgement of whom it sees as within the Church will come in the form of the list of participant Churches at the forthcoming Great and Holy Council.  In actual fact we are already aware of the participating Churches and so we may determinine who holds membership in the Church.  None will be excluded from the Council who should be there and none will be included who should not be there.  Churches such as the True Orthodox Church of Serbia, the Walled Off Synod in Protest of Phili, will not be participating.

Quite a large percentage of the clergy of your communion accept the Non-Chalcedonians as in the Church, yet I do not see them being invited to this would-be 10th ecumenical council. Perhaps the invitation list is not as comprehensive as you suggest, and PeterTheAleut raises a valid point; after all, if Non-Chalcedonians are still in the Church, but only accept 3 councils, then how are there 7 (or 9) already?

Maybe you do not personally believe in the "Two Families" theory of Orthodoxy, but it's certainly not a fringe view amongst clergy in your communion, so I am curious how you reconcile these quite divergent views? Or is the "Two Families" language just diplomacy that shouldn't really be taken seriously?
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Dear Father,

Do you have any statements from the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church which substantiate the claim that a "Two Family" theory is advocated by my Church?  This is the first time I have heard of it.

Your refer to Peter's point but I am not sure really what point Peter wishes to make.   It would be a surprise to me if his Church accepted the non-Chalcedonian Churches as the Church.  Is there any statement from the OCA Synod on this matter?

I am sure that none of the Churches such as the Russian, the Greek, the Serbian, the Bulgarian, Jerusalem, the OCA would accept the non-Chalcedonian Christians as in the same Church as them.  One group demands 7 Ecumenical Councils and the other denies 4 of them.     We are frequently called the Church of the Seven Councils, not of the Three Councils.  

I see you are referring to our upcoming Council as the 10th.   I am not sure why.  Our bishops and theologians refer to it as the 8th (assuming it is even eventually accepted as an Ecumenical Council.)

Just as an aside  ~ is your Greek Orthodox Church acknowledging Nine Ecumenical Councils?  Has that been officially stated by your Synod?



Maybe you do not personally believe in the "Two Families" theory of Orthodoxy....

Of course not.  I really have no "personal" belief.   We must accept not our "personal" belief but the teaching of our Church.  If there is anybody holding a "Two  Families" theory of Orthodoxy it is they who are holding a"personal" belief.
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« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2010, 02:45:28 AM »


A confirmation of the Orthodox judgement of whom it sees as within the Church will come in the form of the list of participant Churches at the forthcoming Great and Holy Council.  In actual fact we are already aware of the participating Churches and so we may determinine who holds membership in the Church.  None will be excluded from the Council who should be there and none will be included who should not be there.  Churches such as the True Orthodox Church of Serbia, the Walled Off Synod in Protest of Phili, will not be participating.

Quite a large percentage of the clergy of your communion accept the Non-Chalcedonians as in the Church, yet I do not see them being invited to this would-be 10th ecumenical council. Perhaps the invitation list is not as comprehensive as you suggest, and PeterTheAleut raises a valid point; after all, if Non-Chalcedonians are still in the Church, but only accept 3 councils, then how are there 7 (or 9) already?

Maybe you do not personally believe in the "Two Families" theory of Orthodoxy, but it's certainly not a fringe view amongst clergy in your communion, so I am curious how you reconcile these quite divergent views? Or is the "Two Families" language just diplomacy that shouldn't really be taken seriously?
Christ is Risen!

Dear Father,

Do you have any statements from the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church which substantiate the claim that a "Two Family" theory is advocated by my Church?  This is the first time I have heard of it.

Your refer to Peter's point but I am not sure really what point Peter wishes to make.   It would be a surprise to me if his Church accepted the non-Chalcedonian Churches as the Church.  Is there any statement from the OCA Synod on this matter?
Fr. Ambrose, I think Fr. Anastasios actually understands my point pretty well.  I'm not arguing that my church accepts the OO as being in the Church, which appears to be what you see in my logic.  My point is that IF we consider the OO to be part of the Church, how do we also hold fast to seven Ecumenical Councils?  Why do we not believe that only the first three are truly ecumenical?  I'm not arguing that the OO are part of the Church and that there are only three councils we can call Ecumenical, nor am I arguing that there are seven Ecumenical Councils and that the OO put themselves outside the Church by rejecting the last four.  All I'm pointing out is that belief that the OO are in the Church and belief that there are seven Ecumenical Councils are, on the surface, contradictory beliefs.
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« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2010, 03:25:42 AM »

Fr. Ambrose, I think Fr. Anastasios actually understands my point pretty well.  I'm not arguing that my church accepts the OO as being in the Church, which appears to be what you see in my logic.  My point is that IF we consider the OO to be part of the Church, how do we also hold fast to seven Ecumenical Councils? 


But where is the substance for the IF?  That is the crux of this rather surreal logic.  Where are the synodal statements from our Churches?  Certainly the Russian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church have not issued such statements..

What Orthodox Churches have declared that the Oriental Churches, or the Church of the East, are a part of the Orthodox Church, sister Churches with Constantinople and Moscow, Athens and Jerusalem?  Is this your personal belief?

If any Churches have so declared, how have they dealt with the question of the Councils?  Have they stated that four of them are optional now for Orthodox believers?
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« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2010, 03:39:49 AM »


 nor am I arguing that there are seven Ecumenical Councils and that the OO put themselves outside the Church by rejecting the last four.  All I'm pointing out is that belief that the OO are in the Church and belief that there are seven Ecumenical Councils are, on the surface, contradictory beliefs.
Christ is Risen!

Are the Oriental Orthodox in the Church?  Would they want us in their Church?  One of their most eminent theologians has declared that we are in heresy, that our Christology is heretical.    How can heresy and truth exist side by side in one Church?

Let us look at a talk given at the third consultation between the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox theologians in Geneva in 1970 by Fr. Paul Verghese and printed in the Greek Orthodox Theological Review in 1971 and published by the WCC in 1981.

This talk is printed as Does Chalcedon Divide or Unite?, under the name of Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios, the name Fr. Paul Verghese took when he was consecrated a metropolitan. He was a theologian of the Syrian Orthodox Church of India and past President of the WCC and he states:

"Here, as earlier in the decree, the Tome of Leo is expressly affirmed. The decree actually calls the Tome "the pillar of the right faith." You can perhaps understand that all this is rather difficult for us to accept. For us Leo is still a heretic. It may be possible for us to refrain from condemning him by name, in the interests of restoring communion between us. But we cannot in good conscience accept the Tome of Leo as "the pillar of the right faith" or accept a council which made such a declaration.

"The council approves explicitly what I clearly regard as heresy in the Tome of Leo: "Each form does in communion with the other what pertains properly to it, the Word, namely doing that which pertains to the Word, and the flesh that which pertains to the flesh." If one rightly understands the hypostatic union, it is not possible to say that the flesh does something on its own, even if it is said to be in union with the Word. The flesh does not have its own hypostasis. It is the hypostasis of the Word which acts through the flesh. It is the same hypostasis of the Word which does the actions of the Word and of his own flesh. The argument of the horos [dogmatic definition] in this Sixth Council is basically unacceptable to us ."

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« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2010, 03:46:40 AM »

But where is the substance for the IF?
Does there need to be any substance for IF logic?

To summarize, you can go ahead and miss the point if you want, Fr. Ambrose.  Just remember that you don't have to make this so darned difficult. Wink
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« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2010, 03:49:46 AM »

Quote
Are the Oriental Orthodox in the Church?

Depends on what you mean by that. Oriental Orthodox Christians attend the local Antiochian parish here, and commune, confess, etc. Is that "in the Church"? You tell me. Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2010, 03:53:09 AM »

Quote
Are the Oriental Orthodox in the Church?

Depends on what you mean by that. Oriental Orthodox Christians attend the local Antiochian parish here, and commune, confess, etc. Is that "in the Church"? You tell me. Smiley

Was this not forbidden by Metropolitan Philip in an encyclical he issued a few years back.  Has he revoked it?

-oOo-

However, in this country Antiochian clergy routinely commune Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Melkite Catholics, Maronite Catholics, Church of the East, and on occasion Presbyterians.

Does this mean we have to accept the Roman Catholics and Anglicans, etc., as being "in our Church"?
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« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2010, 04:06:00 AM »

Quote
Are the Oriental Orthodox in the Church?

Depends on what you mean by that. Oriental Orthodox Christians attend the local Antiochian parish here, and commune, confess, etc. Is that "in the Church"? You tell me. Smiley

Was this not forbidden by Metropolitan Philip in an encyclical he issued a few years back.  Has he revoked it?

-oOo-

However, in this country Antiochian clergy routinely commune Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Melkite Catholics, Maronite Catholics, Church of the East, and on occasion Presbyterians.

Does this mean we have to accept the Roman Catholics and Anglicans, etc., as being "in our Church"?
Give it up, Fr. Ambrose.  Your little fishy has turned bright red already, or else it just stole the worm off your hook. Wink
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« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2010, 04:27:34 AM »

Quote
Are the Oriental Orthodox in the Church?

Depends on what you mean by that. Oriental Orthodox Christians attend the local Antiochian parish here, and commune, confess, etc. Is that "in the Church"? You tell me. Smiley

Was this not forbidden by Metropolitan Philip in an encyclical he issued a few years back.  Has he revoked it?

-oOo-

However, in this country Antiochian clergy routinely commune Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Melkite Catholics, Maronite Catholics, Church of the East, and on occasion Presbyterians.

Does this mean we have to accept the Roman Catholics and Anglicans, etc., as being "in our Church"?
Give it up, Fr. Ambrose.  Your little fishy has turned bright red already, or else it just stole the worm off your hook. Wink

Are not my questions as worthy as yours?   You write, if this and if that, and I write in the same vein.  I was also replying, and to the point, to Asteriktos' question as to whether the Antiochians' communing and confessing Oriental Christians places them "in the Church."   A rather odd situation in a way since if the reverse holds true and the Antiochians do not commune Oriental Christians does this put them "outside the Church"?  What do you think?
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« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2010, 04:30:42 AM »

Quote
Are the Oriental Orthodox in the Church?

Depends on what you mean by that. Oriental Orthodox Christians attend the local Antiochian parish here, and commune, confess, etc. Is that "in the Church"? You tell me. Smiley

Was this not forbidden by Metropolitan Philip in an encyclical he issued a few years back.  Has he revoked it?

-oOo-

However, in this country Antiochian clergy routinely commune Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Melkite Catholics, Maronite Catholics, Church of the East, and on occasion Presbyterians.

Does this mean we have to accept the Roman Catholics and Anglicans, etc., as being "in our Church"?

Well I don't rightly know about the encyclical of Met. Philip, I'll ask the priest at the parish I mentioned about this the next time I see him. Regarding communing all sorts, I think you make a good point, except wasn't it Pat. Ignatius IV who originally authorized communing Oriental Orthodox Christians if they were not able to attend one of their own parishes because of distance? If it was indeed the Patriarch who put his stamp of approval on the practice, I think that makes a difference. But I will have to ask the Antiochian priest about this encyclical of Met. Philip that you mentioned (and/or ask the bishop the next time he visits).
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« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2010, 09:02:02 AM »

The reason we've not had another ecumenical council, IMO, is because there is no empire and no emperor. . .

That makes a lot of sense because "Ecumenical" simply means "Imperial" and the Seven Councils were called by emperors to preserve the unity of their empire.
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« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2010, 09:44:20 AM »


However, in this country Antiochian clergy routinely commune Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Melkite Catholics, Maronite Catholics, Church of the East, and on occasion Presbyterians.

Ouch. Why do they commune these groups?
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« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2010, 09:47:23 AM »

I'm not arguing that the OO are part of the Church and that there are only three councils we can call Ecumenical, nor am I arguing that there are seven Ecumenical Councils and that the OO put themselves outside the Church by rejecting the last four. 

But obviously your belief is that there are seven--correct?
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« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2010, 10:02:54 AM »

The reason we've not had another ecumenical council, IMO, is because there is no empire and no emperor. . .

That makes a lot of sense because "Ecumenical" simply means "Imperial" and the Seven Councils were called by emperors to preserve the unity of their empire.

Your statement about the meaning of the word 'ecumenical' is not correct. While some academic and church treatises on the Councils  may  refer to the "Ecumenical (Imperial) Councils", neither the definition nor the derivation of the English word 'ecumenical' equates to or connotes the word 'imperial'. I don't think that is common usage in either the Church or academia.

The Oxford Dictionary online defines and derives the words 'ecumenical' and 'imperial' as follows: 

"ecumenical
/eekyoomennik’l, ek-/

  • adjective 1 representing a number of different Christian Churches. 2 promoting or relating to unity among the world’s Christian Churches.

  — DERIVATIVES ecumenically adverb.

  — ORIGIN Greek oikoumenikos, from oikoumene ‘the inhabited earth’."

http://www.askoxford.com/results/?view=dict&freesearch=ecumenical&branch=13842570&textsearchtype=exact

"imperial

  • adjective 1 relating to an empire or an emperor. 2 characteristic of an emperor; majestic or magnificent. 3 relating to or denoting the system of non-metric weights and measures formerly used for all measures in the UK, and still used for some.

  — DERIVATIVES imperially adverb.

  — ORIGIN Latin imperialis, from imperium ‘command, empire."
'

http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/imperial?view=uk

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary does likewise. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ecumenical
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« Reply #35 on: April 19, 2010, 10:17:11 AM »

It may not be the current usage in English, but I believe we should deliberately redefine it...the word is a translation of a Greek term which had a clear connotation to the Christian empire.  What gets "lost in translation" only benefits the Roman Catholics, and not us, because of this confusion about "having to have Rome to have a council."  We've had several pan-Orthodox councils since then, but in Greek they are not called ecumenical because (as I understand it) they were not called by the emperor).

I'm not always a partisan of redefining words, etc., as I think it can become an exercise in silliness (a la "we are the Real Roman Catholics" --> Well yes, we are, but who understands what that means?)  But with the term ecumenical council, we are discussing something that is a translation of a Greek term and we should have an understanding of what the word connotated in Greek.  Yes, ecumenical means the whole world, but to the Christians, that mean the empire, outside of which was just barbarianism....
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« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2010, 10:40:35 AM »

Christos anesti!
It may not be the current usage in English, but I believe we should deliberately redefine it...the word is a translation of a Greek term which had a clear connotation to the Christian empire.  What gets "lost in translation" only benefits the Roman Catholics, and not us, because of this confusion about "having to have Rome to have a council."  We've had several pan-Orthodox councils since then, but in Greek they are not called ecumenical because (as I understand it) they were not called by the emperor).

I'm not always a partisan of redefining words, etc., as I think it can become an exercise in silliness (a la "we are the Real Roman Catholics" --> Well yes, we are, but who understands what that means?)  But with the term ecumenical council, we are discussing something that is a translation of a Greek term and we should have an understanding of what the word connotated in Greek.  Yes, ecumenical means the whole world, but to the Christians, that mean the empire, outside of which was just barbarianism....
a-HEM! Armenia was outside the empire, and the first Christian kingdom.

retranslating "Ecumenical" as "Imperial" would give validation to the Caesaropapism nonsense.  Render unto God, that which is God's.  The emperor's only role as far as the Councils are concerned is making it possible for the whole of the Church to meet and disseminate Her teaching.
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« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2010, 10:55:58 AM »

Alithos Anesti!

Armenian, Syriac, and other bishops were invited and attended various of the three first councils, which were called by an emperor, held in the empire, and became imperial law after their promulgation by the emperor.  That does not mean their countries, nations, people, and Orthodox traditions were less, but simply that the Christian emperor played the central role in convoking all these councils.  A reason why the supporters of Chalcedon were called Melkites (king's men) (I am curious how the current Melkites won that title after the split in 1724?)

Recognizing that the term ecumenical council meant imperial has nothing to do with Ceaseropapism, which never existed.  I am not arguing that the Church would have been impotent had it had no emperor, nor am I arguing that the Church cannot have authoritative councils without an emperor now.  What I am arguing is that ecumenical councils meant imperial councils, which is why there were only 7 (9) of them.  There have been several Pan-Orthodox since.

The reason I think this limit is important is to argue against the Roman Catholic notion that we Orthodox are "unable" to call new ecumenical councils since we lack communion with "The" Successor of St Peter.  Restoring the original meaning of the word ecumenical in reference to councils will do that, while freeing us to have further councils be unrelated to any political system. It's actually a win-win situation.
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« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2010, 11:28:34 AM »

almasiiHu qaam!
Alithos Anesti!

Armenian, Syriac, and other bishops were invited and attended various of the three first councils, which were called by an emperor, held in the empire, and became imperial law after their promulgation by the emperor.  That does not mean their countries, nations, people, and Orthodox traditions were less, but simply that the Christian emperor played the central role in convoking all these councils.  A reason why the supporters of Chalcedon were called Melkites (king's men) (I am curious how the current Melkites won that title after the split in 1724?)

They went to the Vatican, who used the term (it has fallen into disuse for the most part in Arabic, perhaps in part because the colloquial pronunciations confuse it with "Maliki," a Muslim denomination).



Quote
Recognizing that the term ecumenical council meant imperial has nothing to do with Ceaseropapism, which never existed.  I am not arguing that the Church would have been impotent had it had no emperor, nor am I arguing that the Church cannot have authoritative councils without an emperor now.  What I am arguing is that ecumenical councils meant imperial councils, which is why there were only 7 (9) of them.  There have been several Pan-Orthodox since.

The reason I think this limit is important is to argue against the Roman Catholic notion that we Orthodox are "unable" to call new ecumenical councils since we lack communion with "The" Successor of St Peter.  Restoring the original meaning of the word ecumenical in reference to councils will do that, while freeing us to have further councils be unrelated to any political system.
I'm not sure how relinking "Ecumenical" with "Imperial" would do that. Then there's the long running problem with the Turk over Constantinople's title.
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« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2010, 12:09:21 PM »

ISTM, that to us modern English speakers, the term 'imperial' conjures up a negative image - not one consistent with a living Church that must operate in the times in which we live. Since I can not presume to foresee the future of humanity, I won't state that there will 'never' be a new Christian empire as there once was, but there is just 'something' about empires and imperial power that sticks in my 'craw' so to speak.  I  prefer the term 'ecumenical'.[/color]
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« Reply #40 on: April 19, 2010, 12:17:10 PM »

Disclaimer: My post is in response to the argument that a membership roster a certain deliminator as to who is "in" the Church, a proposition I doubt, given some ambiguity regarding the Non-Chalcedonians amongst the various would-be participants in said upcoming Great Council. My goal is not to incite a debate on the issue of Chalcedon itself, since that is proper to the private forum, but I am rather merely citing material from statements in order to demonstrate why I believe it is reasonable to doubt the proposition at hand.

I have no interest in fostering another EO vs OO debate, as there are plenty in the private forum.

Fr A.



Do you have any statements from the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church which substantiate the claim that a "Two Family" theory is advocated by my Church?  This is the first time I have heard of it.

Dear Father,

Christ is Risen!

I deliberately said "Your Communion" instead of "Your Church" for fear you would interpret my statement as a reference to your Synod instead of all of your communion (i.e. all of the patriarchates that are in communion with each other).  I want to be as specific and limited in my words as possible to avoid any misrepresentation.

Here are two joint agreements of the Commission, which included bishops, priests, and theologians from both communions (Eastern and Oriental):

http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state01.php
http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state02.php

Your Synod (the MP)  in particular in 1994 did not accept the Second Joint Agreement between Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches as "a definitive text."  It also says the issue should be taken up by the whole Church. I think that was good:
http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state11.php

But 3 years later, your Synod (the MP) used the two families language:

http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state12.php
Quote
"The Statement" should not be regarded as a final document sufficient for the restoration of full communion between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches as it contains ambiguities in some Christological formulations. To express hope in this regard that Christological formulations should be clarified in the course of studying the questions pertaining to the restoration of church communion between the two families of Churches of the Orthodox tradition of the Orthodox Churches.

I am happy they still are not saying it is definitive, but they use the two families language, which I think is problematic. By the way, I am not sure why paragraphs 2 and 3 are excised. Perhaps they contain language unfavorable to the dialogue and the editor of the site in question was concerned. Or perhaps that text was excised for some reason from the officially released document? At any rate, if you or anyone else has the original, that would be nice to have so we can be sure we are not missing anything critical.

Regardless of what your Synod has or has not approved, large numbers of clergy and patriarchs seem to have given recognition to them as being part of the Church somehow. This was explicitly taught at St Vladimir's Seminary (OCA) where I studied.  There was debate on how to reconcile the issue of councils and saints, which you can see unfold over the years in the St Vladimir's Theological journal (which is unfortunately difficult to obtain outside of large libraries). But it was taken for granted that they were Orthodox by most people there.

The patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch have approved 2 family language:
http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state07.php

A further two family language document from Alexandria:
http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state05.php

Basically my argument is that we have officially-approved commissions consisting of even bishops, meeting and signing documents that say the two Churches are both Orthodox, and the split is all due to a misunderstanding.  We have examples of patriarchs using the same language, even when it is expressed with reservation.  We have a de facto recognition of the Orthodoxy of these people by every New Calendar parish I've ever been in in the USA (Greek, Antiochian, OCA) where priests have told me they commune the Non Chalcedonians since they are Orthodox.  That is a bit different than say Antiochians communing Catholics in your country, which while wrong, they are not saying "we are communing them because they are Orthodox."  I am limiting myself to a specific point, a specific argument, so I don't want to go off tangent here.

I also can offer you my own personal witness that in September 2004 I was at the 40th anniversary liturgy of the priestly ordination of Metropolitan Herman, and there was a Non-Chalcedonian Armenian bishop there (along with an Eastern Rite Catholic and a Roman Catholic bishop) standing near the iconostasis on the right, on a raised area, which they had kind of cordoned off for important guests, and I witnessed priests of your communion coming to the Non-Chalcedonian bishop (some also went to the Catholic ones) and took blessings from them. Hand cupped, extended, bishop's hand put in priest's hand, priest kisses bishop's hand.  While their own bishop was 15 feet away in the altar. I found that problematic.

I have never seen a full liturgical concelebration between the two Churches (although there appear to be some Vespers services on youtube that show priests in Epitrachilia from both churches together), so I do not state there is a physical union yet, but I believe that this is kind of like the precursor to Monotheltism, where everything is excused as  "personal statements" until after the deal is done.  And even the official statements of the MP, while more cautious, are already giving some ground.  Some of the other patriarchs have already accepted it.



Quote
Your refer to Peter's point but I am not sure really what point Peter wishes to make.   It would be a surprise to me if his Church accepted the non-Chalcedonian Churches as the Church.  Is there any statement from the OCA Synod on this matter?

I am sure that none of the Churches such as the Russian, the Greek, the Serbian, the Bulgarian, Jerusalem, the OCA would accept the non-Chalcedonian Christians as in the same Church as them.  One group demands 7 Ecumenical Councils and the other denies 4 of them.     We are frequently called the Church of the Seven Councils, not of the Three Councils.  

I wouldn't be so sure.

Quote
I see you are referring to our upcoming Council as the 10th.   I am not sure why.  Our bishops and theologians refer to it as the 8th (assuming it is even eventually accepted as an Ecumenical Council.)

Just as an aside  ~ is your Greek Orthodox Church acknowledging Nine Ecumenical Councils?  Has that been officially stated by your Synod?

It would seemingly have to be at least the 9th, because in the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs of 1848, they referred to the St Sophia Council of 879-880 as the 8th Ecumenical:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1848orthodoxencyclical.html
Quote
xi. It was subjected to anathema, as a novelty and augmentation of the Creed, by the eighth Ecumenical Council, congregated at Constantinople for the pacification of the Eastern and Western Churches.

The 9th council would be the Hesychast Councils of the 14th century, which teachings were included in the liturgical tradition of the church (2nd Sunday of Lent).

Fr John Romanides, Fr George Metallinos, Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, among others, pushed in the last century to cease referring to only 7 and to refer to 9.  A fuller discussion is found here under the section 7 and 9:

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Ecumenical_Councils

In this article posted on our own website, by a Roman Catholic scholar, you can see some historical information about the numbering of councils in both east and west:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22:which-councils-are-ecumenical&catid=14:articles&Itemid=2

Of interest for historical reasons is this passage, even if I don't totally buy the reasons Dvornik gives subsequently:

Quote
The treatise on synods composed by Euthymius was reedited in the fourteenth century by Neilos Diasorenos, metropolitan of Rhodes (1357).2 Neilos was an ardent supporter of the Patriarch Philotheus and of Gregory Palamas, the protagonists of the hesychast movement.3 The monk Barlaam, the adversary of their doctrine on the living light of Mount Tabor which the mystics were supposed to see when reaching the highest degree of their ascetic practice, was condemned by a synod convoked by the Patriarch John XIV Aprenos in 1341. This synod marked the victory of the hesychasts and was regarded as an important milestone by all adherents of this movement. It is not surprising that they placed it alongside the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the basis of the orthodox faith.

Neilos therefore adapted the treatise of Euthymius to the needs of the fourteenth century by adding to the seven councils that of Photius (879-880) as the Eighth Ecumenical, and the synod of 1341 as the Ninth, giving also an extract from the Acts of this synod. He was not alone in this practice. In the Greek Manuscript 968 (fols. 392-395) in the National Library of Paris, I found an anonymous treatise on councils, also based on Euthymius’ tractate, in which the Photian Council is added to the seven ecumenicals as the Eighth, and that of 1341 as the Ninth. However, the author concedes ecumenical character only to the first seven synods. Another version of Euthymius’ treatise is preserved in the Manuscript Historicus Graecus 34 in the National Library of Vienna (fols. 359 ff.).4 These two treatises must have been composed soon after 1341 by anonymous zealots propagating the hesychast doctrine. I would be tempted to date them before the writings of Neilos, because they are not as emphatic concerning the ecumenicity of the two last councils as was the Archbishop of Rhodes who, because of his zeal for hesychasm, was promoted by the Patriarch Philotheos Kokkinos to an exarchos in 1366. He lost this distinction under the Patriarch Makarios (1376-1379) who was an adversary of the hesychasts.

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Of course not.  I really have no "personal" belief.   We must accept not our "personal" belief but the teaching of our Church.  If there is anybody holding a "Two  Families" theory of Orthodoxy it is they who are holding a"personal" belief.

That is the problem some people have though; what is the official (Eastern) Orthodox belief? There seems to be some contradiction even on the most official level. I think that is what PeterTheAleut was getting at. Maybe this upcoming Great Council can sort that out--but then, it still will not prove that the membership roster is coterminous with who is "in" the Church of Christ, given that clearly there are many bishops -- even patriarchs -- who believe the Non Chalcedonians are.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios
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« Reply #41 on: April 19, 2010, 12:19:22 PM »

ISTM, that to us modern English speakers, the term 'imperial' conjures up a negative image - not one consistent with a living Church that must operate in the times in which we live. Since I can not presume to foresee the future of humanity, I won't state that there will 'never' be a new Christian empire as there once was, but there is just 'something' about empires and imperial power that sticks in my 'craw' so to speak.  I  prefer the term 'ecumenical'.[/color]

Granted, but that term evokes images of the papal empire in my mind Smiley

My actual preference would be to speak of a Universal Council and specify that some of those were imperial and some "Pan-Orthodox." But I doubt that my idea will catch on.
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« Reply #42 on: April 19, 2010, 12:33:44 PM »

ISTM, that to us modern English speakers, the term 'imperial' conjures up a negative image - not one consistent with a living Church that must operate in the times in which we live. Since I can not presume to foresee the future of humanity, I won't state that there will 'never' be a new Christian empire as there once was, but there is just 'something' about empires and imperial power that sticks in my 'craw' so to speak.  I  prefer the term 'ecumenical'.[/color]

Granted, but that term evokes images of the papal empire in my mind Smiley

My actual preference would be to speak of a Universal Council and specify that some of those were imperial and some "Pan-Orthodox." But I doubt that my idea will catch on.

I like your idea for us English speakers. BTW the image in my mind with the empire is the Darth Vader theme as the opposing team is introduced at Yankee Stadium!  Smiley
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« Reply #43 on: April 19, 2010, 01:50:15 PM »

It was my understanding that the council's themselves referenced that the councils were called by the emperor and the Pope. I am at work and can't provide supporting documentation right now, but I will later.

Rome is often mentioned as the "supreme court" or "final appeal" for decisions on matters which cannot be settled by the bishops elsewhere.

I will accept the fact that the Pope was the protos. I will ignore discussion (for now) and why/how/etc. that changed, but the document I referenced indicates that a council must also have the approval of the Eastern churches. What I want to know is, is that true? Can it be supported by council documents?

If it can be proved, then Rome has never had an ecumenical council since the split.

That's all I'm asking.

Thanks.
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« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2010, 01:58:15 PM »

If it can be proved, then Rome has never had an ecumenical council since the split.

I don't think your conclusion follows, because you're missing a fundamental step:  Since the split, each side sees the other as having completely left the Church - and those outside the Church cannot prevent the Church from having an Ecumenical Council.  Rome will claim that she has had Ecumenical Councils, and will point out that she has Bishops/Archbishops/Cardinals/Patriarchs in each of the other Eastern Sees that have attended these councils.  The Orthodox will also claim that we have had Ecumenical Councils, and we can continue to do so, because Rome has left the Church but yet the Church is still whole, not dependent on one human personality or see.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 01:58:38 PM by Fr. George » Logged

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