Author Topic: Description of the conditions necessary for a council to be regarded as ecumenic  (Read 14774 times)

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Offline Fr. George

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Unless of course the Eastern Bishops ceased to be members of the Catholic Church, in which case they would not be necessary anymore. 

I don't even think this is an issue for you folks: you've got bishops in each of the Eastern Ancient cities that are in your communion.
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Offline Papist

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Unless of course the Eastern Bishops ceased to be members of the Catholic Church, in which case they would not be necessary anymore. 

I don't even think this is an issue for you folks: you've got bishops in each of the Eastern Ancient cities that are in your communion.
That are in our communion.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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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. :)

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. ;)

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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Offline PeterTheAleut

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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?
For the sake of my participation in this discussion, what does it matter?
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Offline Mickey

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For the sake of my participation in this discussion, what does it matter?

No need to get testy--just asking.  You do not have to answer.  ;)

Offline PeterTheAleut

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For the sake of my participation in this discussion, what does it matter?

No need to get testy--just asking.  You do not have to answer.  ;)
Not getting testy...  Just pointing out that whether or not I personally believe that there are seven ecumenical councils and not three is irrelevant to the logic I brought to this discussion.
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Offline Mickey

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Not getting testy...  Just pointing out that whether or not I personally believe that there are seven ecumenical councils and not three is irrelevant to the logic I brought to this discussion.

On the contrary...I think it is quite relevant.  When participating in discussion/debate forums, sides are usually taken and then defended.  And so you would believe that there are either seven great councils....or three....or maybe even 20 +  like the West....and then defend, explain and/or give your logic for that position.

But of course you can also choose to not reveal your stance and play some type of devil's advocate.

Great to live in America...eh?

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Not getting testy...  Just pointing out that whether or not I personally believe that there are seven ecumenical councils and not three is irrelevant to the logic I brought to this discussion.

On the contrary...I think it is quite relevant.  When participating in discussion/debate forums, sides are usually taken and then defended.  And so you would believe that there are either seven great councils....or three....or maybe even 20 +  like the West....and then defend, explain and/or give your logic for that position.
Would you be so kind as to do me a favor, please?  Let me decide why I bring a logical proposition to a discussion and whether someone else's questioning bears any relevance to the point I'm trying to make. ;)
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Offline militantsparrow

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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.

Thank you, Father. That is a good point.
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Offline militantsparrow

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Unless of course the Eastern Bishops ceased to be members of the Catholic Church, in which case they would not be necessary anymore. 

I don't even think this is an issue for you folks: you've got bishops in each of the Eastern Ancient cities that are in your communion.

Has this always been the case--at least since our (Rome's) 8th ecumenical council?
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline ialmisry

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Unless of course the Eastern Bishops ceased to be members of the Catholic Church, in which case they would not be necessary anymore.  

I don't even think this is an issue for you folks: you've got bishops in each of the Eastern Ancient cities that are in your communion.

Has this always been the case--at least since our (Rome's) 8th ecumenical council?
No. Lateran I-III had none.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 10:59:43 PM by ialmisry »
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Offline militantsparrow

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Is the council of Jerusalem depicted in Acts considered an ecumenical council by the Orthodox?
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Offline Fr. George

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Is the council of Jerusalem depicted in Acts considered an ecumenical council by the Orthodox?

No - we call it the Apostolic Council, which is a term that is IMO more reverent than Ecumenical.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline ialmisry

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Is the council of Jerusalem depicted in Acts considered an ecumenical council by the Orthodox?

No - we call it the Apostolic Council, which is a term that is IMO more reverent than Ecumenical.
Sort of the template of what the Apostles' successors did in Ecumenical Council.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline militantsparrow

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Is the council of Jerusalem depicted in Acts considered an ecumenical council by the Orthodox?

No - we call it the Apostolic Council, which is a term that is IMO more reverent than Ecumenical.
Sort of the template of what the Apostles' successors did in Ecumenical Council.

But obviously without the cooperation with the Emperor. I would think this implies that the emperor isn't needed for a council to be ecumenical/apostolic. All that's really necessary is acceptance by the apostolic churches and their bishops. But how many and which churches and bishops is obviously flexible or at least debatable.
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline Fr. George

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Is the council of Jerusalem depicted in Acts considered an ecumenical council by the Orthodox?
No - we call it the Apostolic Council, which is a term that is IMO more reverent than Ecumenical.
Sort of the template of what the Apostles' successors did in Ecumenical Council.
But obviously without the cooperation with the Emperor. I would think this implies that the emperor isn't needed for a council to be ecumenical/apostolic.

Well, yes, but then again it had what none of the Ecumenical Councils had: a discussion dominated by people who heard Christ's teachings from His lips, who held His hands, and who had their feet washed by Him in His humility.  Further councils followed their example of piety, humility, and organization, but certainly the charism of that council was different (not less or more, just different) than the subsequent Ecumenical Councils.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Papist

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Is the council of Jerusalem depicted in Acts considered an ecumenical council by the Orthodox?
No - we call it the Apostolic Council, which is a term that is IMO more reverent than Ecumenical.
Sort of the template of what the Apostles' successors did in Ecumenical Council.
But obviously without the cooperation with the Emperor. I would think this implies that the emperor isn't needed for a council to be ecumenical/apostolic.

Well, yes, but then again it had what none of the Ecumenical Councils had: a discussion dominated by people who heard Christ's teachings from His lips, who held His hands, and who had their feet washed by Him in His humility.  Further councils followed their example of piety, humility, and organization, but certainly the charism of that council was different (not less or more, just different) than the subsequent Ecumenical Councils.
No emperor, no councils?
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Offline militantsparrow

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How do Orthodox Christians know what is or is not an Ecumenical/Pan-Orthodox/Apostolic council? Are there certain criteria that must be in place? Is it just majority acceptance? Full acceptance?
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline Mickey

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Would you be so kind as to do me a favor, please?  Let me decide why I bring a logical proposition to a discussion and whether someone else's questioning bears any relevance to the point I'm trying to make. ;)
Favor granted.  ;)

Offline zoarthegleaner

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Is there some ecumenical council watch I don't know about searching for signs to forecast the future?

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Offline Fr. George

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But obviously without the cooperation with the Emperor. I would think this implies that the emperor isn't needed for a council to be ecumenical/apostolic.
Well, yes, but then again it had what none of the Ecumenical Councils had: a discussion dominated by people who heard Christ's teachings from His lips, who held His hands, and who had their feet washed by Him in His humility.  Further councils followed their example of piety, humility, and organization, but certainly the charism of that council was different (not less or more, just different) than the subsequent Ecumenical Councils.
No emperor, no councils?

We've had good and universally applicable councils without him - so yes, we can have councils and Ecumenical Councils without the Emperor, even if we haven't tried to yet.  I was only attempting to steer away from the assumption, "the Apostolic Council didn't have an emperor, so the Emperor wasn't a critical piece of the Ecumenical Councils" by showing that we cannot use the Apostolic Council as a 1:1 example for the Ecumenical Ones since there was certainly a unique charism to it.  All subsequent councils, Ecumenical or otherwise, used the model of the Apostolic Council and tried to emulate its spirit (some more successfully than others).
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Fr. George

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How do Orthodox Christians know what is or is not an Ecumenical/Pan-Orthodox/Apostolic council? Are there certain criteria that must be in place? Is it just majority acceptance? Full acceptance? 

There was only one "Apostolic Council."

Re: Ecumenical - Much of it has come from the Ecumenical Councils themselves.  Ecumenical Councils 2-7 ratified the acts and canons of the preceding councils.

Re: Pan-Orthodox - Well, this appellation is merely descriptive of the representation/attendance, not necessarily denoting any special charism of the council. As with any council, it is up to the synod of that particular autocephalous Church to ratify the decisions for its local Church.  In this context, a nice thing about the Ecumenical Councils is that, generally, all the bishops of the autocephalous synods were already in attendance.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline zoarthegleaner

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The Ecumenical Councils were called to establish peace both inside the Church and outside in the World, though in fact the Church is outside the world in the world bringing Peace unto the world so that Good Will towards all men might encourage some or many within the world to leave the world so as to enter outside of the world into the Church.

It was so with the Apostolic Council also,  The Apostles where concerned for the Peace within the Church which must exist to bring Peace into the world, and the Apostles were very attune to the need for Peace so that the Gospel could be carried and planted everywhere.  When the Jewish synogogue began persecuting the Church was during a time when there was no govenor over Jerusalem, if I recall my history lesson correctly.


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Offline militantsparrow

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Re: Pan-Orthodox - Well, this appellation is merely descriptive of the representation/attendance, not necessarily denoting any special charism of the council. As with any council, it is up to the synod of that particular autocephalous Church to ratify the decisions for its local Church.  In this context, a nice thing about the Ecumenical Councils is that, generally, all the bishops of the autocephalous synods were already in attendance.

So a pan-Orthodox council doesn't necessarily include all autocephalous Churches and doesn't necessarily have any universal authority or binding? So that would mean a pan-Orthodox council is nothing like an ecumenical council--am I correct?
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Offline militantsparrow

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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.

I found the answer. It is a reference to Apostolic Cannon #34.
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Offline Fr. George

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So a pan-Orthodox council doesn't necessarily include all autocephalous Churches

Yes, it generally indicates that all autocephalous Churches had representation present.

and doesn't necessarily have any universal authority or binding?

Technically, the only reasons why Ecumenical councils were binding were: a) the Emperor usually codified the decisions into the Civil Law Code, and b) most Bishops were generally there anyway, rendering any necessity for individual synodal votes moot.

So that would mean a pan-Orthodox council is nothing like an ecumenical council--am I correct?

The Pan-Orthodox synods have been a lot like the Ecumenical Councils, minus the extremely and popularly contentious heresies (generally), the sheer volume of hierarchs, and the support/legislation of an Emperor.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 09:13:22 PM by Fr. George »
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Offline ialmisry

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So a pan-Orthodox council doesn't necessarily include all autocephalous Churches

Yes, it generally indicates that all autocephalous Churches had representation present.

That wouldn't distinguish a pan-Orthodox council from an Ecumenical one.

and doesn't necessarily have any universal authority or binding?

Technically, the only reasons why Ecumenical councils were binding were: a) the Emperor usually codified the decisions into the Civil Law Code,

Not relevant at all as to their authority in the Church as whole Christian kingdoms (starting with Armenia, the first one) were not under the Emperor for the first 2 at least, and his authority didn't extend much beyond the patriarchate of Constantinople for the seventh.  The Pan-Orthodox Constantinople IV and V (if you don't see them as Ecumenical) similarly were supported by the Emperor in the rest of his realm.  Heretical Emperors also codified their heresy into the Civil Law.


Quote
and b) most Bishops were generally there anyway, rendering any necessity for individual synodal votes moot.

The largest Council was Chalcedon, around 350 at best 10% of all bishops.



So that would mean a pan-Orthodox council is nothing like an ecumenical council--am I correct?

The Pan-Orthodox synods have been a lot like the Ecumenical Councils, minus the extremely and popularly contentious heresies (generally), the sheer volume of hierarchs, and the support/legislation of an Emperor.
Constantinople IV had 383 bishops and was supported by the Emperor (who had caused the problems in the first place).  It's when filioque first came on the radar.

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Offline militantsparrow

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ialmisry and Fr. George,
I'm a little confused. Do you disagree on what makes a council binding and/or ecumenical?

How do you know who is right?
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline ialmisry

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ialmisry and Fr. George,
I'm a little confused. Do you disagree on what makes a council binding and/or ecumenical?

How do you know who is right?
Since both Father and I end up with the exact same Councils, it would seem both of us are right.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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Offline militantsparrow

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ialmisry and Fr. George,
I'm a little confused. Do you disagree on what makes a council binding and/or ecumenical?

How do you know who is right?
Since both Father and I end up with the exact same Councils, it would seem both of us are right.

Oddly enough, I find this to be one of the most convincing arguments for Orthodoxy. I've heard Catholic apologists use Catholicism's longevity as proof for its divine institution, but only God could make something as seemingly unorganized as Orthodoxy survive 2000 years of a not so easy history. The fact that you and Fr. George have two completely different ideas on what makes a council binding yet come up with the same list is actually kind of cool.

And I mean no disrespect by this. I truly appreciate this quality in Orthodoxy.
"Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house..." -Psalm 84:3

Offline Fr. George

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I don't know if we have "completely different" ideas... Just different at various points.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline militantsparrow

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I don't know if we have "completely different" ideas... Just different at various points.

My apologies Father. I tend to exaggerate when trying to make a point.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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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. :)

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

I finally asked my (Antiochian) priest about this tonight. He said that he wasn't aware of any encyclicals which took a more stringent approach issued by Met. Philip. However, he said that it's possible that there were abuses somewhere and Met. Philip said/did something about it and my priest is just not aware of it. He also clarified for me a point that I was mistaken on. I was under the impression that Oriental Orthodox could come and go and participate in the sacraments whenever they needed to. However, apparently if an Oriental Orthodox Christian wants to participate in the sacraments at an Antiochian parish, they essentially have to make that parish their home parish.
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Offline deusveritasest

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Ecumenical actually means the whole body of or whole church.

No, it doesn't. It means "of the (whole) inhabited world".
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Offline deusveritasest

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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.

You're essentially espousing branch theory here. The Christian church did not "split apart" it remained one. And the representation of the whole church would only require the whole representation of the one communion established by Christ, not of all Christendom. Therefore, the East and West being reunited should not be required.
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Offline deusveritasest

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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.

Such numeration would be based on the opinion that there has not been already an 8th, which is a disputed opinion.
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Offline deusveritasest

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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.

Unless you don't have the definition of "ecumenical" right. If it is more so a reference to the Roman Empire, which is really what had the historical identification with the concept of "the inhabited world" then a council is ecumenical based on its association with the Roman Empire, rather than some particular universal representation of the Church. As such, it's entirely possible that the OOC is the Church of Christ, yet Ecumenical Councils continued to be conducted in the Roman/Byzantine church. Chalcedon, Constantinople II, Cosntantinople III, etc. could thus be considered Ecumenical Councils, though not in the sense you were just speaking of.
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Offline Irish Hermit

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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.

Such numeration would be based on the opinion that there has not been already an 8th, which is a disputed opinion.

I don't see the dispute.  If there had been an 8th Ecumenical Council already, the Churches would know of it and honour it.  It would be included in our ecclesiastical calendar and celebrated liturgically as are the Seven Ecumenical Councils.  It would be included in the text books for seminaries and taught to our future priests.  It would be in catechisms.  There would be icons to honour it.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2010, 09:43:09 PM by Irish Hermit »

Offline deusveritasest

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after all, if Non-Chalcedonians are still in the Church, but only accept 3 councils, then how are there 7 (or 9) already?

Because the concept of "Ecumenical Council" could very well have been a reflection of connection with the Roman Empire, which was identified as the oecumene, rather than a universal acceptance in the Church.

(Not saying that I agree in the dual presence of both the Byzantines and the Orientals in the one Church, however.)
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Offline deusveritasest

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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.)

Because Constantinople IV in 879 and Constantinople V in 1341 are both often considered to have been Ecumenical Councils, the 8th and 9th respectively.
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Offline deusveritasest

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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.

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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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.

No, they are not. There were seven (or more) councils officially sanctioned as universal to the Roman Empire (the oecumene) and its church (which was not identical to the universal church, excluding Armenia, Ethiopia, Persia, etc.) regardless of whether the Orientals accepted them or not.
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The seven Councils that we honor as Ecumenical all dealt chiefly with Christological controversies.  I can't see nay more Councils being hailed as Ecumenical unless they deal with any new Christological controversies that arise, though I'm willing to extend the definition to any Council that upholds the Orthodox understanding of the Trinity and thus deals with, for instance, Pnevmatological heresies arising from within Orthodoxy.
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Offline deusveritasest

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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.

Yeah, but so were the Constantinopolitan synods in 879 and 1341.
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Offline deusveritasest

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The seven Councils that we honor as Ecumenical all dealt chiefly with Christological controversies.  I can't see nay more Councils being hailed as Ecumenical unless they deal with any new Christological controversies that arise, though I'm willing to extend the definition to any Council that upholds the Orthodox understanding of the Trinity and thus deals with, for instance, Pnevmatological heresies arising from within Orthodoxy.

Except an Ecumenical Council is simply one that was convoked and sanctioned by the Roman Empire.
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Offline deusveritasest

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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

You're missing the fact that connects the dots between your two definitions. The Roman Empire was commonly understood to represent the inhabited world at the time and was explicitly referred to as "the oecumene".
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