Christ is Risen!
The dominant Russian teaching is NOT that Roman Catholic sacraments are valourised by economy at the point of reception into Orthodoxy. They are valid per se. A baptized Catholic has received baptism. A Catholic feeds on the Body and Blood of Christ from a Catholic priest as does any Orthodox from an Orthodox priest. A Catholic bishop enjoys the same consecration and episcopal grace as any Orthodox bishop. The Pope of Rome is truly a bishop consecrated by the Holy Spirit. He is not a layman in expensive drag.
1. Well, there is the statement by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk, Head of the Department of External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, about 2 months ago, that the Russian Orthodox Church acknowledges the validity of the Roman Catholic priesthood and that is why they are accepted without ordination. Not by economy
but because they are already, prior to conversion to Orthodoxy, valid and authentic Christian priests. This caused a bit of a stir in some quarters in the West who were not aware that the Metropolitan is speaking out of centuries of Russian tradition. Some in the West even sought to bring him down by saying that he is a disciple of the arch-ecumenist and pro-Catholic Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad, who died literally at the feet of the Pope in Rome. The present Russian Patriarch is seen as a pupil of Metropolitan Nikodim and Metropolitan Hilarion is a pupil of the Patriarch.
A few weeks ago some extremist Russian faithful entered his church where he serves in Moscow ansd started screaming "heretic" at him. The reason for their actions was their understanding that his statement on the Catholic Priesthood means just what I have been saying above - namely, that RC Orders are valid from the get-go, and not by reason of economy if they should convert to Orthodooxy. I doubt if the protesters would have been yelling at him if they understood him to mean the second 'economy' option.
I am sure that this is all covered in a thread on the Forum somewhere. I'll hunt it out.
2. It was interesting that Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff, the External Relations Officer for the Russian Church Abroad, when challenged about this on a traditionalist list, defended Met Hilarion and wrote three or four copious responses with substantiating evidence, pointing out that Metropolitan Hilarion was merely holding fast to the Russian tradition which he had received. I shall look for those messages of his also, although it is a Yahoo Group and Yahoo's search engine has been a total misery for many months past.
3. Please have a look at this monograph on the OCA's Holy Trinity's website by the deceased Father Ambrose Pogodin. He was actually in the delegation sent to the Second Vatican Council by Metropolitan Philaret of the Russian Church Abroad and a very learned man...http://www.holy-trinity.org/ecclesiology/pogodin-reception/reception-ch2.htmlOn the Question of the Order of Reception of Persons into the Orthodox Church, Coming to Her from Other Christian Churches
By Archimandrite Ambrosius (Pogodin) Two - How the question of the reception of the heterodox was resolved in the Russian Orthodox Church.
Opinions and Church legislation on this question
I present these positions not because I necessarily hold them myself but because they are a part of the Church of Russia to which I belong.
A question if I may, to members of the Forum who are not members of the Russian Church - how do you and how do your hierarchs judge Pope Benedict of Rome? Do you and your hierarchs accept him as a bishop? Or do you judge him to be a bit of a charlatan and poseur in bishop's vestments? I notice that when he visited Constantinople he was seated in an episcopal cathedra as a bishop and invited to bless the Orthodox faithful as if he held some genuine ordination? Are there any corroborating statements, either way, from your bishops and synods? Or would we say that actions speak louder than words and statements and he is accepted as an authentic bishop and is certainly NOT judged to be a layman by the Ecumenical Throne.