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Author Topic: Patriarch Bartholomew: Convening the Great Council  (Read 19502 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #180 on: June 07, 2010, 04:38:59 PM »

Issa, didn't you mean this?


LOL. No, that cuts too close: I proposed to my ex-wife in Belgium.
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« Reply #181 on: June 07, 2010, 06:59:38 PM »


In the Serbian example above, God forgive me, but I see priests and monks and nuns breaking their oaths.

I was ordained a Serbian priest many moons ago.  At my ordination I placed one hand on the precious Cross and one hand on the Holy Gospels and swore to God that in the matter of the Services I would not change nor deviate from what was written in the Service books.

To follow changes in Services unilaterally introduced by a bishop would be breaking that oath.   

If the Synod produced new Service books then you may have a point about oath breaking, but even then one could argue for the supremacy of Tradition (in this case a thousand year old tradition) over the personal fad of a group of hierarchs.

Quote
: "The Church is hierarchal...All men, who put the Church, her Life and her Truth, above their own private and individual options, likes and dislikes, must...act accordingly."

The hierarchs too must conform to this and not change tradition and must not introduce changes based on their own private and individual opinions, likes and dislikes, scholarly fads.   
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« Reply #182 on: June 07, 2010, 07:12:42 PM »

^But why are 1000 year old traditions more worthy than 2000 year old traditions? 
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« Reply #183 on: June 07, 2010, 07:26:33 PM »

^But why are 1000 year old traditions more worthy than 2000 year old traditions?  

Many would argue this way.  It is this kind of "ressourcement" in the works of Frs Schmemman and Meyerdorff which had them banned from Russian seminaries in the 1990s.  The Russian Church did not wants its future priests affected by this attitude.  

Let's go back 2000 years.  Let us leave off our 7 week fast before Pascha and return to a 3 day or one week fast.  Take off the crowns and the sakkos and all other priestly vestments.  Abandon monasticism.  Bring back married bishops.  Bring back impromptu anaphoras.  

Father HLL, this is a superficial answer to your question but it brings out the direction in which the question takes us.
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« Reply #184 on: June 07, 2010, 07:39:31 PM »

The danger as I see it, and I don't claim any special vision or knowledge, is that this council will not do what past councils have.

Namely, convened to deal with specific heresy.

If this is the case, it will simply turn into an Orthodox version of "Vatican II" - 'renewal' of the Church will be the keyword, but like Vatican II, it will be used by every miscreant to deform and destroy what is actually firm and vital in the faith.

I've heard nothing about dealing with any particular heresy - though I can think of a few dozen which have struggled to creep in (toll houses, ecumenism (WCC/70s definition), hellenism as the light of Orthodoxy, etc.)

I will be happy to be corrected.
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« Reply #185 on: June 07, 2010, 09:43:04 PM »


In the Serbian example above, God forgive me, but I see priests and monks and nuns breaking their oaths.

I was ordained a Serbian priest many moons ago.  At my ordination I placed one hand on the precious Cross and one hand on the Holy Gospels and swore to God that in the matter of the Services I would not change nor deviate from what was written in the Service books.

To follow changes in Services unilaterally introduced by a bishop would be breaking that oath.   

If the Synod produced new Service books then you may have a point about oath breaking, but even then one could argue for the supremacy of Tradition (in this case a thousand year old tradition) over the personal fad of a group of hierarchs. 

I've never heard of other clergy having to take any similar oath upon their ordination.  In fact, I seem to remember something about not swearing oaths...
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« Reply #186 on: June 07, 2010, 09:44:50 PM »

^But why are 1000 year old traditions more worthy than 2000 year old traditions?   

Many would argue this way.  It is this kind of "ressourcement" in the works of Frs Schmemman and Meyerdorff which had them banned from Russian seminaries in the 1990s.  The Russian Church did not wants its future priests affected by this attitude.   

Let's go back 2000 years.  Let us leave off our 7 week fast before Pascha and return to a 3 day or one week fast.  Take off the crowns and the sakkos and all other priestly vestments.  Abandon monasticism.  Bring back married bishops.  Bring back impromptu anaphoras. 

Father HLL, this is a superficial answer to your question but it brings out the direction in which the question takes us.

Reductio ad absurdum isn't engaging the argument, Father, just dodging it.  There are better answers to Father HLL's question, ones that support your POV, and ones that do not.
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« Reply #187 on: June 07, 2010, 09:48:24 PM »

The danger as I see it, and I don't claim any special vision or knowledge, is that this council will not do what past councils have.

Namely, convened to deal with specific heresy.

This happens to be the one concern I have also.

If this is the case, it will simply turn into an Orthodox version of "Vatican II" - 'renewal' of the Church will be the keyword, but like Vatican II, it will be used by every miscreant to deform and destroy what is actually firm and vital in the faith.

I do not think this will happen - I think the Holy Spirit will guard us, as it has in the past.

I've heard nothing about dealing with any particular heresy - though I can think of a few dozen which have struggled to creep in (toll houses, ecumenism (WCC/70s definition), hellenism as the light of Orthodoxy, etc.) 

I think this should be the real impetus for having the council: there are enough issues that are almost big enough to make clear division (calendar, ecumenism, toll houses, hellenism, reunion with the OO, contraception, the confession to communion ratio, etc.) that should be dealt with in one way or another (either create one position that all must follow, or declare together that regional differences are permitted on one or more of the issues).
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« Reply #188 on: June 07, 2010, 10:03:13 PM »

^But why are 1000 year old traditions more worthy than 2000 year old traditions?   

Many would argue this way.  It is this kind of "ressourcement" in the works of Frs Schmemman and Meyerdorff which had them banned from Russian seminaries in the 1990s.  The Russian Church did not wants its future priests affected by this attitude.   

Let's go back 2000 years.  Let us leave off our 7 week fast before Pascha and return to a 3 day or one week fast.  Take off the crowns and the sakkos and all other priestly vestments.  Abandon monasticism.  Bring back married bishops.  Bring back impromptu anaphoras. 

Father HLL, this is a superficial answer to your question but it brings out the direction in which the question takes us.

Reductio ad absurdum isn't engaging the argument, Father, just dodging it.  There are better answers to Father HLL's question, ones that support your POV, and ones that do not.

Allow an old man to reply as best he can, and please note that I said myself that my answer was superficial.  And yes, I did want to dodge the Father's question.  Why?  I believe that the Holy Spirit has brought us to where we are today.  Let us respect that and let us respect that He may even have seen fit to bring about divergences in practices in various national Churches.  He is not a one-size-fits-all-branches MacDonald's God.  Now if another Orthodox does not believe that where we are is the Spirit's will for the Church, then I will indeed probably dodge the question since experience has generally shown that it is difficult to discuss with such people and discretion is the better part of valour.  A kind word, a small quip, and withdrawal from the discussion.
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« Reply #189 on: June 07, 2010, 10:28:29 PM »

Reductio ad absurdum isn't engaging the argument, Father, just dodging it.  There are better answers to Father HLL's question, ones that support your POV, and ones that do not.

Allow an old man to reply as best he can, and please note that I said myself that my answer was superficial.  And yes, I did want to dodge the Father's question.  Why?  I believe that the Holy Spirit has brought us to where we are today.  Let us respect that and let us respect that He may even have seen fit to bring about divergences in practices in various national Churches.  He is not a one-size-fits-all-branches MacDonald's God.  Now if another Orthodox does not believe that where we are is the Spirit's will for the Church, then I will indeed probably dodge the question since experience has generally shown that it is difficult to discuss with such people and discretion is the better part of valour.  A kind word, a small quip, and withdrawal from the discussion.

I agree with 99%, and I only disagree with any implication (which may not be present - and if it is not, then I apologize) that the Spirit may not be moving the Church once again.

My accusation of the "dodge" was really only directed at your declaration at the end of the post that:
it brings out the direction in which the question takes us.

It only "brings out the direction" that would be taken by those who are not serious in their engaging in the topic.  I do not think Father HLL would fall into that camp.  I think he, like you and I, is only looking for the direction that the Spirit is giving us, whether it be "stay," or "move forward," or "move backward," or any other iteration thereof.  In that sense, though, we must be prepared to not fight the Spirit if indeed the Spirit is pointing us in a direction other than "stay here."  We must also not be disappointed if the only message that comes out of the Council is "the Spirit wants us to stay put."
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« Reply #190 on: June 08, 2010, 04:06:43 PM »

Reductio ad absurdum isn't engaging the argument, Father, just dodging it.  There are better answers to Father HLL's question, ones that support your POV, and ones that do not.

Allow an old man to reply as best he can, and please note that I said myself that my answer was superficial.  And yes, I did want to dodge the Father's question.  Why?  I believe that the Holy Spirit has brought us to where we are today.  Let us respect that and let us respect that He may even have seen fit to bring about divergences in practices in various national Churches.  He is not a one-size-fits-all-branches MacDonald's God.  Now if another Orthodox does not believe that where we are is the Spirit's will for the Church, then I will indeed probably dodge the question since experience has generally shown that it is difficult to discuss with such people and discretion is the better part of valour.  A kind word, a small quip, and withdrawal from the discussion.

I agree with 99%, and I only disagree with any implication (which may not be present - and if it is not, then I apologize) that the Spirit may not be moving the Church once again.

My accusation of the "dodge" was really only directed at your declaration at the end of the post that:
it brings out the direction in which the question takes us.

It only "brings out the direction" that would be taken by those who are not serious in their engaging in the topic.  I do not think Father HLL would fall into that camp.  I think he, like you and I, is only looking for the direction that the Spirit is giving us, whether it be "stay," or "move forward," or "move backward," or any other iteration thereof.  In that sense, though, we must be prepared to not fight the Spirit if indeed the Spirit is pointing us in a direction other than "stay here."  We must also not be disappointed if the only message that comes out of the Council is "the Spirit wants us to stay put."

After Liturgy, I was talking to a friend of mine--a very learned and pious Orthodox Christian. He said something that I had never heard before: God gives us "x-ray vision" to see beyond the externals, to discern the deeper truth.

So, in addition to trying to being open to the Holy Spirit, to understand, and to be willing to change, we also need to do this the right way. It does us no good if some of us refuse to look beyond the externals. It is as if a miner comes out all covered in soot and he is deemed to always have been that way. It is as if we spend so much time reading the operation manual that we forget that the manual merely explains how to operate a device; it does not tell us why we use that device. So, in the matters related to the Body of Christ, it does pay to search for the Mind of the Church, not to objectify (and thus deify) externals, and to be patient with those folks who try to go beyond the externals.

BTW, the purported rejection of Fathers Schmemann and Meyendorff by the POM was a mistake that will hurt the development of Russian priests, even if it facilitates their formation as unquestioning and robotic servants of the national church. (Please note the conditional "purported" as I do not know this for myself. I am taking Father Ambrose's word that that is what happened).
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« Reply #191 on: June 08, 2010, 04:27:02 PM »

It is not true that all Orthodox Christians follow the same Typika for Fasting. The Greek and Antiochian Orthodox follow that the word "Oil" means only a fast from Olive Oil, whereas the  Slavic Churches state it means fasting from all oils. Some jurisdictions state that "wine" means all levels of alcohol (hard liquor, wine, and malt/beer beverages) while others state it only means wine and still others say that it means wine and hard liquor but not malt/beer beverages. We are aware of economia that is established for local churches (like Alaska) in order to accomodate the need for extra calories for warmth and to sustain life in those bitter environs.

Taking it a step further, there are some who now say that peanut butter and peanut oil are in the North American culture to the olive and olive oil of the middle east and by that similarity and broad usuage should so be included as a fasting item.

I do not think that the Great Council will stop fasting as a spiritual practice as much as  it may clarify on a world wide basis the limits of fasting to maintain its primary purpose of spiritual growth by eliminating the many variations that still plague one as they go  from one jurisdiction to another.

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« Reply #192 on: June 08, 2010, 04:38:21 PM »

I'm still wondering why people think the council will take the Church down the wrong road when the so-called conservative bishops (of the Slavic traditions - Russian, Ukranian, Serbian, etc.) will outnumber the others by 2:1 at least.
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« Reply #193 on: June 08, 2010, 05:06:37 PM »

I'm still wondering why people think the council will take the Church down the wrong road when the so-called conservative bishops (of the Slavic traditions - Russian, Ukranian, Serbian, etc.) will outnumber the others by 2:1 at least.

Father, in my opinion we are trying to make sense of it based solely on what has been said are the reasons.  This really has nothing to do with it in the end.   The people who oppose the council generally love their custom and tradition exactly as it is and they fear that a council will change this.  If no council is held, nothing will change, and they can remain comfortable where they are at.  As for the so-called 1000 year traditions, many of them are more like 500 year old ones.  In the end, it is about one thing, we can fight about whether we should love Orthodoxy as it was (pick a place and a century) vs. Orthodoxy as it is;  or we can love timeless Orthodoxy in time, that is, as it was in each generation, as it is, and as it will be being guided by the Holy Spirit.   I opt for the latter, as it is one Church, the Church of the Apostles, of the Fathers, of the Martyrs and Saints throughout all generations, but ultimately it is the Church of the Head, Jesus Christ--the Alpha and Omega; the inn on the way, and the end of our journey. 
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« Reply #194 on: June 08, 2010, 05:58:28 PM »

If our holy father Saint Justin Popovic was worried about this Council, then there is probably good reason for us to worry.

Saint Justin the New:
On a Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/stjustin_council.aspx

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« Reply #195 on: June 08, 2010, 06:26:01 PM »

If our holy father Saint Justin Popovic was worried about this Council, then there is probably good reason for us to worry.

Saint Justin the New:
On a Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/stjustin_council.aspx

Holy Father Justin, deliver us from the hands of the ikonostasoklasts.

Perhaps it is noteworthy that this was written in 1977, when most Slavic Bishops were under communist rule.  Thus the Saint's warning was valid- in its historical context.  But two comments earlier in this thread stick out for me.  The one arguing for the possibility of a Great and Holy Council by reminding us that today Slavic Bishops (no longer under the yoke of communism) outnumber all others.  The other more arguement against such a Council cited the lack of a specific heresy threatending the Church.  Both are germane points.
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« Reply #196 on: June 08, 2010, 06:40:45 PM »

If our holy father Saint Justin Popovic was worried about this Council, then there is probably good reason for us to worry.

Saint Justin the New:
On a Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/stjustin_council.aspx

Holy Father Justin, deliver us from the hands of the ikonostasoklasts.

Perhaps it is noteworthy that this was written in 1977, when most Slavic Bishops were under communist rule.  Thus the Saint's warning was valid- in its historical context.

While Saint Justin of course mentions the difficulties under which many of the Orthodox hierarchy worked in those years, yet this is far from the sole point of his letter.  He deals with several substantial points and the letter is as relevant today as it was 33 years ago.
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« Reply #197 on: June 08, 2010, 07:08:54 PM »

"While Saint Justin of course mentions the difficulties under which many of the Orthodox hierarchy worked in those years, yet this is far from the sole point of his letter.  He deals with several substantial points and the letter is as relevant today as it was 33 years ago."

I agree.
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« Reply #198 on: June 08, 2010, 07:16:03 PM »

If our holy father Saint Justin Popovic was worried about this Council, then there is probably good reason for us to worry.

Saint Justin the New:
On a Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/stjustin_council.aspx

Holy Father Justin, deliver us from the hands of the ikonostasoklasts.

And yet Christ wasn't worried about things prevailing against the Faith and the Church.  

What do you think of this?

I'm still wondering why people think the council will take the Church down the wrong road when the so-called conservative bishops (of the Slavic traditions - Russian, Ukranian, Serbian, etc.) will outnumber the others by 2:1 at least.
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« Reply #199 on: June 08, 2010, 07:52:39 PM »

[
And yet Christ wasn't worried about things prevailing against the Faith and the Church. 

What do you think of this?

I'm still wondering why people think the council will take the Church down the wrong road when the so-called conservative bishops (of the Slavic traditions - Russian, Ukranian, Serbian, etc.) will outnumber the others by 2:1 at least.

Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion (Patriarch-in-waiting?) accept the Roman Catholic Church's Sacraments as of full validity.

The Serbian Synod is split down the middle on the question of ecumenism.  There is a sharp and even vicious divergence between the pro-ecumenical bishops and the anti-ecumenical.

I think that we may certainly count on these Slav Churches to fight strongly against the developing teaching of "protology" as presented at Ravenna 2007 and Cyprus 2009 under the influence of Met Zizioulas and Cardinal Kasper.   The Slav Churches will also stand firm on most conservative issues.  The worry focuses on the field of ecumenism and the danger that they may corrupt the traditional ecclesiological understanding of the Church.

Has anybody done a head count of bishops?   How far do the Russian bishops outnumber the others?
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« Reply #200 on: June 08, 2010, 08:18:56 PM »

Quote
Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion (Patriarch-in-waiting?) accept the Roman Catholic Church's Sacraments as of full validity.
Proof?
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« Reply #201 on: June 08, 2010, 08:19:09 PM »

Hopefully Patriarch Kyrill and Metropolitan Hilarion will receive understanding on this issue from their brother bishops at the council. I do not see how one can separate valid sacraments from the True Church.
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« Reply #202 on: June 08, 2010, 08:27:35 PM »

Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion (Patriarch-in-waiting?) accept the Roman Catholic Church's Sacraments as of full validity.

We've had this debate before - unless they actually give communion to a Roman Catholic who does not enter the Orthodox Church, then they do not, IMO, accept Roman Catholic Sacraments as of full validity as is.  If this is the case, then your presentation of the information seems a bit sensational.

If, however, the opposite is true - that they do in fact accept RC sacraments as is and will give communion without any conversion, then your message must be repeated until they recant their position or leave their sees.

The Serbian Synod is split down the middle on the question of ecumenism.  There is a sharp and even vicious divergence between the pro-ecumenical bishops and the anti-ecumenical.

Amongst the "pro-ecumenical," how many are "dialogue only" and how many are "two lungs" folks?

I think that we may certainly count on these Slav Churches to fight strongly against the developing teaching of "protology" as presented at Ravenna 2007 and Cyprus 2009 under the influence of Met Zizioulas and Cardinal Kasper.   The Slav Churches will also stand firm on most conservative issues.  The worry focuses on the field of ecumenism and the danger that they may corrupt the traditional ecclesiological understanding of the Church.

Again - the Church will not falter or fail, the Truth will always prevail.

Has anybody done a head count of bishops?   How far do the Russian bishops outnumber the others?

I'm not sure.  Maybe there's a website out there with some reliable numbers.
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« Reply #203 on: June 08, 2010, 08:32:09 PM »


Has anybody done a head count of bishops?   How far do the Russian bishops outnumber the others?

Russians.............. 149 bishops (plus 48 auxiliaries))

Serbs..................  44 bishops

Russian Church
Abroad................. 6 bishops (plus 6 auxiliaries)

Greeks................. ?
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« Reply #204 on: June 08, 2010, 08:44:51 PM »

Quote
Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion (Patriarch-in-waiting?) accept the Roman Catholic Church's Sacraments as of full validity.
Proof?

I have just spent 20 minutes looking for the statistics on the number of Slav bishop and don't have the time right now to do a search on this matter.

So I withdraw at least provisionally my statement that they have stated that Roman Catholic Sacraments have full validity( although this *is* the Russian official teaching of the last 400 years) andd I can say that if anyone can show that they have departed from this teaching and issued statements denying RC sacraments I would welcome the chance to see such.

And now, in line with Cosmo's Post of the Month, I have to leave you and withdraw into prayer - the recital of the Akathist to the Pantanassa imploring Her for a cure from cancer.

But if nobody else turns up the info I hope to do so myself later in the day or maybe in the evening.

Fr Ambrose
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« Reply #205 on: June 08, 2010, 08:48:09 PM »

And now, in line with Cosmo's Post of the Month, I have to leave you and withdraw into prayer - the recital of the Akathist to the Pantanassa imploring Her for a cure from cancer.

May she hearken to your request!  Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #206 on: June 08, 2010, 09:37:34 PM »

Some have said that it bothers them that this council is not being called to address heresy.   Of course, there are many many heresies that the council might address.  However, one that it expressly is going to address is:
“overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology” (Synaxis of primates 2008).

Which heresies does this entail?  We know of at least one, the “heresy of ethno-phyletism”:  

9.- "This reminder is most especially compelling whenever autocephaly is connected to the national identity and peculiarity of peoples. The diversity of nations and cultures is beneficial and blessed by God. Our Holy Orthodox Church blesses and sanctifies it. Nevertheless, of its very nature the Church cannot constitute a vehicle for the facilitation or propagation of political, nationalistic, or racial interests. The condemnation by the Orthodox Church of the heresy of ethno-phyletism at Constantinople in the year 1872 forever remains of critical importance. Any interference in another canonical jurisdiction through the establishment therein of bishops not belonging to the local Church and its canonical shepherds endangers the unity of the Church and contradicts fundamental principles of Orthodox Ecclesiology.
10.- "Every fragmentation of the unity of the Church, on the pretext of preserving customs and traditions or supposedly defending authentic Orthodoxy, is equally unacceptable and must be considered condemnable. As the whole life of the Orthodox Church bears witness, diversity in customs in no way prevents eucharistic communion among Orthodox Churches, while the preservation of the authentic Orthodox Faith is guaranteed through the Synodical system which has always been the ultimate criterion on matters of faith in the Church."  (Message of the Orthodox Primates 2000)

Councils don’t need heresies to be called.  Trullo and the many many local councils ecumenically approved by the councils are witness to this.  Chalcedon gives a single reason by which councils from the level of the province on up may be and should be called: “many ecclesiastical matters which need reformation are neglected” (Canon 19).  Of course, given that Trullo is appended to the 6th, we could say that it is common among the 7 Ecumenical that they dealt both with heresy and canonical issues, yet is this necessarily so? Given that the upcoming council is going to deal with heresy, the answer would be irrelevant with regard to this council in either case.  
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« Reply #207 on: June 08, 2010, 11:04:38 PM »

Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion (Patriarch-in-waiting?) accept the Roman Catholic Church's Sacraments as of full validity.

We've had this debate before - unless they actually give communion to a Roman Catholic who does not enter the Orthodox Church, then they do not, IMO, accept Roman Catholic Sacraments as of full validity as is.  If this is the case, then your presentation of the information seems a bit sensational.


The logic does not hold up.... this same point which you are making was put to Metropolitan Hilarion in the interview with Der Spiegel, and he responded by pointing to several other factors which inhibit doing what you are saying, namely, sharing each other's Sacraments since there is mutual recognition.   The Catholics, from their side, think in a similar fashion - while acknowledging the validity of Orthodox Priesthood and Eucharist, their own priests and bishops are forbidden to serve Liturgy with an Orthodox priest or bishop.

Quote
...unless they actually give communion to a Roman Catholic who does not enter the Orthodox Church, then they do not, IMO, accept Roman Catholic Sacraments as of full validity...

How does this above apply to what I understand is the Constantinople recognition of Catholic Sacraments?  The logic would appear to oblige you to commune Catholics?

Fr Ambrose
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« Reply #208 on: June 08, 2010, 11:11:24 PM »

Some have said that it bothers them that this council is not being called to address heresy.   Of course, there are many many heresies that the council might address.  However, one that it expressly is going to address is:
“overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology” (Synaxis of primates 2008).

Which heresies does this entail?  We know of at least one, the “heresy of ethno-phyletism”: 

Is there a need to convene an Ecumenical Council to address this?  Was it not adequately addressed at the Council of Constantinople in 1872?  Is there something more that needs to be said?
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« Reply #209 on: June 08, 2010, 11:18:15 PM »

We've had this debate before - unless they actually give communion to a Roman Catholic who does not enter the Orthodox Church, then they do not, IMO, accept Roman Catholic Sacraments as of full validity as is.  If this is the case, then your presentation of the information seems a bit sensational.

The logic does not hold up.... this same point which you are making was put to Metropolitan Hilarion in the interview with Der Spiegel, and he responded by pointing to several other factors which inhibit doing what you are saying, namely, sharing each other's Sacraments since there is mutual recognition.   The Catholics, from their side, think in a similar fashion - while acknowledging the validity of Orthodox Priesthood and Eucharist, their own priests and bishops are forbidden to serve Liturgy with an Orthodox priest or bishop.

I don't buy it.  If they really see as valid the RC sacraments as they are (versus as they are entering the Orthodox Church), then they would be compelled to commune them.  If one thinks that a Roman Catholic has to perform even the most minor action to become Orthodox (i.e. submit a confession of faith renouncing old errors), then they do not acknowledge RC sacraments as valid as they are, and indeed they see them as only valid upon entry into the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.


Quote
...unless they actually give communion to a Roman Catholic who does not enter the Orthodox Church, then they do not, IMO, accept Roman Catholic Sacraments as of full validity...

How does this above apply to what I understand is the Constantinople recognition of Catholic Sacraments?  The logic would appear to oblige you to commune Catholics?

No, it would not, since the Patriarchate does not acknowledge RC sacraments as valid per se but rather only upon entry into the Church, and even then it is dependent on certain factors.  The position of the Patriarchate, thus, does not oblige me to commune Catholics under the above logic.
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« Reply #210 on: June 08, 2010, 11:29:44 PM »

....they have stated that Roman Catholic Sacraments have full validity( although this *is* the Russian official teaching of the last 400 years) andd I can say that if anyone can show that they have departed from this teaching and issued statements denying RC sacraments I would welcome the chance to see such.


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. 


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/orthodox-tradition/message/135729

Fr Ambrose wrote:
"On the other hand, you will find Orthodox who accept the "validity" of the
Roman Catholic episcopate and the Sacraments which flow from it. Saint
Philaret Metropolitan of Moscow is of this opinion."

Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff replied:
"As I mentioned before, it is far more than the opinion of
St. Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow.

"Every Handbook for Clergy, every textbook on Canon Law,
Comparative Theology, Liturgics, and Pastorral Theology
published in Russia before the Revolution states that the
Roman Catholics have valid Mysteries and true apostolic
succession, and that in no way should Baptism and
Chrismation, or ordination of them be performed again.


"One can like it or not, but that was the official position
of the Russian Church, without question or exception."

An aside to Fr Anastasios:  this begins to provide an answer to your enquiry (Message 112 http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25542.msg401465.html#msg401465 ) about what information Fr Lebedeff provided.  It is hard to look for information on orthodox-tradition because of the malfunctioning of the search engine but I'll start looking manually.

Source: "Russian vs Greek view of Validity of RC Mysteries"
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27317.msg429773/topicseen.html#msg429773

Many posts in that thread address the question under discussion here.
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« Reply #211 on: June 08, 2010, 11:39:24 PM »

If our holy father Saint Justin Popovic was worried about this Council, then there is probably good reason for us to worry.

Saint Justin the New:
On a Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/stjustin_council.aspx

Holy Father Justin, deliver us from the hands of the ikonostasoklasts.

Perhaps it is noteworthy that this was written in 1977, when most Slavic Bishops were under communist rule.  Thus the Saint's warning was valid- in its historical context.

While Saint Justin of course mentions the difficulties under which many of the Orthodox hierarchy worked in those years, yet this is far from the sole point of his letter.  He deals with several substantial points and the letter is as relevant today as it was 33 years ago.

I just came across something of St. Nikolai which maybe of import:
http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/04/orthodox-church-in-america-and-its.html
The Orthodox Church in America and Its Future
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

I feel greatly honored in being called to speak to you in this great city* on this day, the Sunday of Orthodoxy. For this day is indeed our pan-Orthodox Thanksgiving Day, because on this day for the last thousand years we have been giving thanks to Almighty God for the spiritual victories He granted to the holy Fathers of our Church and, through them, to us.

When I mention the Fathers of the Church, I am thinking first of all of the Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the first of which was held in A.D. 325 and the last in 787. These Seven Councils represent the seven greatest spiritual battles in the history of Christendom. Like seven pillars of light (the light being Christ), they have illumined the path of our Church through the ages. They remind us of the Biblical words, "Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars" (Prov. 9:1). They fought against all the apostasies, heresies, pagan teachings and practices, against nebulous oriental occultism and pretentious philosophic theories contrary to Christs revelations.

The seventh of these Councils, which we specially celebrate today, confirmed the canons and regulations of the preceding six and added new ones. Therefore, Orthodox churches the world over are today offering thanks to God for having granted to Christendom those spiritual giants in the first thousand years, when all Christendom was united in one Church.

Besides those Fathers of the Ecumenical Coun-cils, we remember today all the other luminaries of early Church history, which no storm of succeeding events could extinguish. Some of them were great theologians, teachers, and preachers; others were extraordinary ascetics; still others were wonder-working intercessors, or wise leaders and organizers of Christian communities, or successful missionaries, or glorious martyrs for Christ, both male and female. By their words and deeds, by their wisdom and life examples, they continue to edify and assist us in following Christ. All that they taught and wrote is part of what we call the Sacred Tradition of the Church. They represent a precious treasure in our Church, which is Gods family. And therefore we are lifting our hearts with thanks to God for this precious treasure. Yes, this is our pan-Orthodox Thanksgiving Day.

The examples and experiences of these holy men and women are like precious stones left to posterity as their loving legacy. What are these precious stones? They are as many as the number of Christian virtues, but I will discuss here just three of the most essential for our modern times. They are: spiritual vision, moral discipline, and competition in doing good.

Spiritual Vision

Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed to mankind an invisible world incomparably greater than the visible. The spiritual horizon which He opened to men was a much greater wonder than the physical horizon of distant galaxies discovered by modern telescopes. He spoke not like other teachers and philosophers—by hypotheses and theories and probabilities, but by authority of an eyewitness who descended from that great heavenly world in order to draw us to it. He called that world the Kingdom of Heaven. It was the most staggering and gladdening annunciation since the creation of the world. It wiped away the tears of mothers for their dead children, and the tears of children for their deceased parents. "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad,"He said to the mournful world. "Open your spiritual eyes and behold a glorious Kingdom beyond, in which the King is your real Father. And if you cannot easily open your inner sight, look through Me; I am your telescope. Believe me and follow me. Rejoice, and again I say, Rejoice!"

An English lady happened to be present at a Serbian funeral service and heard Orthodox priests chanting repeatedly: "Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia." She was shaken and asked, "Is it proper to sing a song of joy over a dead person?" "For us, death is not evil," I answered, "sin alone is evil."

Many times I asked holy monks on Mount Athos—Greeks, Serbs, Russians, Romanians: "What is the best means to keep a person from sinning?" Their usual answer was: "The constant vision of the heavenly world." A Greek elder on Karoulia said, "You must exercise in spiritual vision every day until the other world is clearly opened to you."

It is no wonder that many Protestants call our Orthodox Church transcendent. Through all centuries and generations we have been taught to strive toward the realization and visualization of the other world.

In many of our church hymns, saints and martyrs are glorified because they "gave up the cheap for the precious," or "the mortal for the immortal," or "the transitory for the eternal." Their motive for such a choice was the spiritual vision of the Kingdom of Heaven as our true fatherland, as the real goal of our travelling and toiling in this physical world of mere symbols and shadows.

Moral Discipline

Now, since we acquire that spiritual vision of the Kingdom of Heaven by hard spiritual training and exercises, the question arises: How can we make ourselves worthy of that Kingdom? For the end of our physical life is very near and we have to decide quickly, lest it be too late. The answer is: by moral discipline.

What is moral discipline? It is the "narrow path" that leads to eternal life and bliss. It is clearly described and prescribed in the Gospel, and more particularly in the apostolic epistles, and it is exemplified in the lives of holy men and women, some of whom are mentioned in our calendar, and myriads upon myriads of whom are written in Heavens Book of Life.

Moral discipline is the way to perfection. And nothing less than perfection is our ideal, according to Christs exhortation: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). To accomplish this tremendous task, our holy ancestors who loved the living Christ courageously climbed up the ladder of perfection, step by step. The steps were: incessant prayer, meditation, obedience, humility, meekness, self-restraint, weeping, watchfulness, forgiveness, repentance, sacrificing everything—even their own body. They trained themselves to abstain not only from every evil deed and word, but from every negative thought. They lived in this world as if they were not of this world. They used things of this world as if they were not using them. They considered themselves to be not citizens of this world but merely visitors.

They vigilantly controlled the inner circle of their soulsobserv[ing] every movement of their mind and heart. Thereby they became the greatest psychologists in the world. If you want to know the human soul, read the records of the great spiritual fathers such as Saints Macarius of Egypt, John Chrysostom, Isaac of Syria, and other ascetic fathers. And you will see how impoverished our modern psychology is by comparison. Externally they lived as the most destitute, yet in terms of spiritual wealth, in truth and virtue, they were the richest people. The whole world was not worthy of them. Truly are they called "barefoot aristocrats".

Today we are remembering these spiritual aristocrats, who by superhuman efforts and Gods grace reached perfection. And we are offering our thanks to Christ for presenting us with this brilliant gallery of beautiful and perfect souls in order that we and our children might emulate them. Therefore, we call this day our Orthodox Thanksgiving Day.

Competition in Doing Good

I come finally to the third point, the third jewel that adorned those of our ancestors whom we are celebrating today. That is the new competition or the competition in doing good. Whereas spiritual vision and moral disciplined have individual bearing, the competition in doing good concerns society. It is the highest social virtue.

Christ proclaims this virtue throughout His Gospel. In essence this teaching is: Give more than you are expected to give, and do more than you are expected to do. The world has been revolutionized by this marvelous doctrine. But the Author of this doctrine was crucified because the world was intoxicated by the old competition in doing evil. When a man was striving by every possible means to get rich, his neighbor tried to get richer. If a Roman patrician had a thousand slaves, another patrician tried to have two thousand. If a pharaoh became famous by some conquest, his successor desired greater fame by greater conquests. While Emperor Caligula was very cruel, Nero tried to be yet more cruel.

The new competition in doing good was as different from the old as traveling in darkness is from traveling in sunshine. Our holy ancestors understood the doctrine of the new competition as the highest social virtue, and they trained themselves in that virtue most strenuously all their life long.

Imagine how marvelously changed this awful world would be if you and I entered this competition of doing good. For instance, if every day we eagerly tried to be more pious than some other pious people, more forbearing, more merciful, more peaceful, more sympathetic, more constructive, more forgiving, more loving than others. And all this not for prides sake but for Christs sake. Verily it would solve all the crucial social, political, and economic problems in every Christian country, and it would mightily help Christian missions among non-Christian peoples and nations.

We are glorifying the Lord God because our Orthodox forefathers pointed out and exercised this social ideal of a new competition in doing good and because they showed us a glorious personal example to follow. Therefore, in all Orthodox countries and in the diaspora, this day is considered our common Thanksgiving Day.

Let us now turn our gaze from the East to the far West, i.e., to America.

About 150 years ago Orthodox people of every nationality began to come to this New World, first daring individuals, then small groups, until in our days they have reached, by immigration and by birth, a number equal at least to the number of Episcopalians in the United States.

The first settlers were very simple people, hard workers, farmers. They were just the kind of people who were authentic bearers of that threefold Christian ideal, i.e., of spiritual vision, of moral discipline and of competition in doing good. This was the backbone of their souls, inherited from their fathers in the old countries. They lived up to it as much as they could in this country under changed circumstances. And that was, and still is, their greatest contribution to building American civilization, along with their other contributions of sweat and blood—of sweat in mines and factories, and of blood on Americas battlefields.

They never got rich in this rich country, for they had to divide their modest earnings into three parts: one part for their subsistence and the education of their children, a second part they sent to their families in the old country, and the third they gave to church, school, insurance, and charities.

They built churches and called priests from the old country....They preserved their religious traditions. They cultivated the ancient virtues. They delighted in their national music and songs, in their national costumes and dramatic performances. Personally, I have a deep admiration for these old Orthodox generations in America, both for those who passed away in the Faith, and for those who are still living by their faith. They have been a spiritual and constructive component of the New Worlds humanity. I dare say that in their own way they have been heroic generations no less than other national groups, now blended into one great American nation. In their modesty these humble people never expected a poet to laud them or a historian to describe them.

Alas, the last of these old Orthodox generations is rapidly passing away. Their sons and grandsons, and their daughters and granddaughters are now coming to the field. And this new generation is American born. They speak good English but little or no Greek, Serbian, Russian, Rumanian, Syrian or Albanian. And no wonder: They attended American schools, many of them served in the US army, they have grown in conformity with the American standard of living, their hearts are not divided between two countries. They are naturally Americans, and they intend to remain American. Accordingly, they have some demands respecting the Church of their fathers.

They want English to replace national languages in church services. They desire to hear sermons in English. This is a legitimate desire. Our wise priests of every national Orthodox Church in this country are already preaching in both English and in their respective national tongue. They are in a difficult position at present, for they have on one hand to be considerate of the elderly (elderly generations of Moms and Pops) who do not understand English well, and on the other hand they are willing to respond to the desire and need of the younger generations. In this matter I think evolution is better than revolution, for the Church is the mother of both the old and the young.

The time may not be far off when there will be a united Orthodox Church in America, which will include all the present Eastern national Churches in this country, a Church with one central administrative authority. I see a tendency toward such an end in each of our now individual Churches. ... And when by Gods Providence the time is ripe for the accomplishment of such a unity, I dare not doubt that the venerable heads of all our Orthodox Churches in Europe, Asia, and Africa, always led by the Holy Spirit, will give their blessing for the organization of a new and autonomous sister Church in America.

And now let me make an appeal to all our American Orthodox youth.

America is your cradle and your earthly motherland. It is a wonderful Gods country, and you are expected to be wonderful Gods people in this country. Remember that our greatest contribution to America is of a spiritual and moral nature. And that is precisely what America needs today. That is what every Christian country today needs most of all—in boundless measure. For all nations, especially the Christians nowadays traveling as if in a wilderness of confusion created by senseless materialism and its blind daughter atheism. I offer this to what leading American men and women are saying: "The only hope for us and for the world is to return to religion." Again I say: "Our hope is in the Church." You ought to listen to these words, too, and to ponder them. We live in very tragic times, which are made more tragic by easy-going and self-indulgent people who have never read the story of Sodom, of Laish, or of Capernaum.

If I am correct in my observations, the greatest struggle of America these days is the struggle for the priority and superiority of spiritual and moral values over techniques and technological lordship: in other words, for predominance of the spiritual over the material, of goodness over cleverness. The Serbs often say of a clever man: "He is clever as the devil." They never say: "He is good as the devil."

America is constantly sounding the sympathetic watchwords: "dignity of man" and "liberty of men and nations." But the deepest meaning of these watchwords can be found in the sacred teaching of Him without Whom we can do nothing. That meaning is found most explicitly in the threefold program of our Orthodox Church: spiritual vision, moral discipline, and competition in doing good.

For the dignity of man—in other words, the superior value of man—has real and eternal meaning only if you know and acknowledge the Kingdom of Heaven as the true fatherland of all men, from which we originated and to which we are returning as children of one common Father, Who is in heaven. And freedom is most useful, joyful, and sacred if you exercise moral discipline over yourself and practice competition in doing good.

These are the fundamentals upon which you can build your individual and communal happiness. And you have received these fundamentals as a glorious heritage, never to part with. By practicing this spiritual heritage in your daily life, you will become an adornment to America. And through you all Americans will come to know and appreciate our ancient Church of the East and her spiritual heroes, whom we are praising today.

From Orthodox America, Vol. XIX (No 5 [169]).
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« Reply #212 on: June 08, 2010, 11:53:52 PM »


No, it would not, since the Patriarchate does not acknowledge RC sacraments as valid per se but rather only upon entry into the Church, and even then it is dependent on certain factors.  The position of the Patriarchate, thus, does not oblige me to commune Catholics under the above logic.

I must admit, Father, that I am dubious that what you are presenting as the Constantinople position is their position in reality, at least to my dim eyes.

When Patriarch Bartholomew attends papal Masses at Saint Peter's is he really of the opinion that he is embracing only an unordained layman and his Eucharist nothing but bread and wine?

If Pope Benedict is only a layman in Constantinople's eyes then was not a layman permitted to bless the Orthodox flock at services in the Phanar?  Was not a polychronion sung to this layman, entitling him a bishop?

I have to disagree, from empirical evidence,  that Benedict is seen by Constantinople as an unordained laymen whose Orders will be 'validated' only upon entry into the Orthodox Church.

Fr Ambrose
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« Reply #213 on: June 09, 2010, 09:32:48 AM »

^^Thank you Isa for the post. 
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« Reply #214 on: June 09, 2010, 09:35:44 AM »

Some have said that it bothers them that this council is not being called to address heresy.   Of course, there are many many heresies that the council might address.  However, one that it expressly is going to address is:
“overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology” (Synaxis of primates 2008).
Which heresies does this entail?  We know of at least one, the “heresy of ethno-phyletism”: 
Is there a need to convene an Ecumenical Council to address this?  Was it not adequately addressed at the Council of Constantinople in 1872?  Is there something more that needs to be said?

There were probably people who said that about Chalcedon and Ephesus:  "Do we really need to call a 5th council--wasn't this subject dealt with at the last one"?   
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« Reply #215 on: June 09, 2010, 10:37:20 AM »

Some have said that it bothers them that this council is not being called to address heresy.   Of course, there are many many heresies that the council might address.  However, one that it expressly is going to address is:
“overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology” (Synaxis of primates 2008).
Which heresies does this entail?  We know of at least one, the “heresy of ethno-phyletism”: 
Is there a need to convene an Ecumenical Council to address this?  Was it not adequately addressed at the Council of Constantinople in 1872?  Is there something more that needs to be said?

There were probably people who said that about Chalcedon and Ephesus:  "Do we really need to call a 5th council--wasn't this subject dealt with at the last one"?   

Dear Father,

You may well be right.  The idea of the Homogenia may be a new twist to phyletism and may need addressing by the universal Church in council.

There is a book I plan to borrow from the library...

A Church in Captivity: The Greek Orthodox Church of America
George Edmund Matsoukas

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles8/Petkas-Reflections-on-A-Church-in-Captivity.php

Has anybody read this?  Thoughts?
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« Reply #216 on: June 09, 2010, 10:45:28 AM »

^From your link, Fr. Ambrose, and the information there, I plan to order it for our bookstore.  I'll peruse it myself before I make it available to our parishioners, who, I believe, will probably not be very interested.  They're Antiochian after all! Grin  Thanks for the title; now my stack of reading just got even more insurmountable!
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« Reply #217 on: June 09, 2010, 11:17:05 AM »

A Church in Captivity: The Greek Orthodox Church of America
George Edmund Matsoukas

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles8/Petkas-Reflections-on-A-Church-in-Captivity.php

Has anybody read this?  Thoughts?

If you like George's rants on the AOI blog, you'll love the book. Both are so sophomoric they have to be self published.
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« Reply #218 on: June 09, 2010, 11:21:57 AM »

Some have said that it bothers them that this council is not being called to address heresy.   Of course, there are many many heresies that the council might address.  However, one that it expressly is going to address is:
“overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology” (Synaxis of primates 2008).

Which heresies does this entail?  We know of at least one, the “heresy of ethno-phyletism”:  

Is there a need to convene an Ecumenical Council to address this?  Was it not adequately addressed at the Council of Constantinople in 1872?  Is there something more that needs to be said?

I have a couple of problem with this Council. First, it was not in fact a Pan-Orthodox affair but strictly a Greek get together. Second, it condemned ethno-phyletism on the part of the Bulgarians (a small problem), while completely ignoring the ethno-phyletism on the part of the Greeks (a much larger problem).

On the other hand, ethno-phyletism has been and remains a problem when in the 21st Century:

- Serbs in Austin, Texas leave an Antiochian Church that is distinguished mainly by its pan-Orthodox character to form their own distinctly Serbian parish. BTW, the Greeks left that Church a few decades earlier to form their own distinctly Greek parish.

- The Church of Romania claims jurisdiction over all Romanians everywhere.

- The Church of Russia  follows suit by talking about Holy Rus and allowing the formation of a ROCOR parish carved out of existing OCA parish (in this case, the folks who leave are converts who are in love with all things Russian--a form pf phyletism I suppose).

- I do not need to say anything more about Greek phyletism that is disguised under clever arguments about Universal Hellenism or Canon 28.

It is clear, at least to me, that phyletism exists today and, if it was right to condemn in in 1872, it is ok to condemn it today. I would only hope that we are not hypocritical about it and we are mindful of Matthew 7:

"2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?

5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
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« Reply #219 on: June 09, 2010, 12:05:54 PM »

Dear S.C.,

I think the particular phyletism we are seeing right now is of a different type before.  Here's the reason:

Most of the Orthodox nations of which we speak are going through demographic crises that our media is simply not reporting on.  Greeks and Russians are aborting more children than are being born, and the populations are at risk of become 'unviable' within this century unless they find ways to either turn around the negative birth rate or find 'new people.'

In the case of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, this has been done by asking the Metropolitans to convert to Turkish citizens.  Why?  Not enough Greeks in Istambul.

Russia in America and Europe, Abkhazia and and the Middle East?  They are looking to keep Russian passports in the hands of potential 'resettlers.'  Let's not forget the Russians have always practiced enticements for people to recolonize, which is how they 'tamed' Siberia, etc. 

Expect to see Agitprop posters in parishes of various jurisdictions in the next 10 years enticing people to 'come home.'  And, they won't mean that in the Gilquist sense of giving your heart to Jesus in the comfort of your own living room, but literally packing up and moving.

These battles have little to do with the Gospel and less to do with evangelization as they do with the survival of nations, those nations being nominally Orthodox.  Now, to be honest, I'm very much in favor of turning around social policy in Greece, Russia, etc. so that they start having kids again, because the idea of a future without these nations is rather bleak when you think about the alternatives.

However, I disagree with the overall approach, which is trying to pack more people into a situation that encourages infertility.  IMHO, the problem is that the Churches have not effectively taken a stand against Socialism, which has denigrated the need for family building and thus destroyed the idea of the family and one's own personal responsibility for one's neighbors and even one's self.  The material dialectic has taken hold of the minds of too many people, and they see children as a burden on their material resources rather than a blessing from God.  Life becomes a burden, and managing lives become a burden, and what it breeds is sterility and death.  Look at China as a classic example.

Once states take hold of all aspects of human life, they become overwhelmed and, instead of trying to provide better lives for more and more people, they seek to limit the number of people that resources must be allocated across.  Policies make child-rearing difficult, and thus families get smaller and, eventually, disintegrate altogether as the state takes over the role of the family in providing for the needs of the people.  And, once income and sex can be had without forming marriages... well, you know the rest.

having a big mouth, it has been helpful for me to be a priest when I say certain things to Orthodox folks, like:  "Well, if what you are saying is true and being __________ (name of ethnicity withheld) is so great, how come you abort so many of your own kind?"

The new Nationalism is one simply of survival, and the bishops are trying to cling to their 'traditional' roles.  Sadly, the idea of evangelizing the world isn't coming up in any of these discussions, and so I think all of this is destined to fail.  God will not bless those who refuse His commandments:

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
(Mt28:18-20)



<snip>
I have a couple of problem with this Council. First, it was not in fact a Pan-Orthodox affair but strictly a Greek get together. Second, it condemned ethno-phyletism on the part of the Bulgarians (a small problem), while completely ignoring the ethno-phyletism on the part of the Greeks (a much larger problem).

On the other hand, ethno-phyletism has been and remains a problem when in the 21st Century:

- Serbs in Austin, Texas leave an Antiochian Church that is distinguished mainly by its pan-Orthodox character to form their own distinctly Serbian parish. BTW, the Greeks left that Church a few decades earlier to form their own distinctly Greek parish.

- The Church of Romania claims jurisdiction over all Romanians everywhere.

- The Church of Russia  follows suit by talking about Holy Rus and allowing the formation of a ROCOR parish carved out of existing OCA parish (in this case, the folks who leave are converts who are in love with all things Russian--a form pf phyletism I suppose).

- I do not need to say anything more about Greek phyletism that is disguised under clever arguments about Universal Hellenism or Canon 28.

It is clear, at least to me, that phyletism exists today and, if it was right to condemn in in 1872, it is ok to condemn it today. I would only hope that we are not hypocritical about it and we are mindful of Matthew 7:
<snip>
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« Reply #220 on: June 09, 2010, 01:42:55 PM »

SC
Quote
I have a couple of problem with this Council. First, it was not in fact a Pan-Orthodox affair but strictly a Greek get together. Second, it condemned ethno-phyletism on the part of the Bulgarians (a small problem), while completely ignoring the ethno-phyletism on the part of the Greeks (a much larger problem).


I will not get into an argument as to whether it was a pan-Orthodox or not.  However, on the second point, this is not true.  It was also addressing the Greek nationalism.  It was called, however, because this instance with the Bulgarians was the first instance in history in which an ethnically based parallel jurisdiction was established.  Nevertheless, the Council also condemned phyletistic hellenism, and in fact, first condemns Greek exclusiveness before it does Bulgarian:

"First of all, it introduces a Judaic exclusiveness, whereby the idea of the race is seen a sine qua non of a Christian, particularly in the hierarchical structure. Every non-Greek, for instance, will thus be legally excluded from what will be called the Greek Church and hierarchy, every non-Bulgarian from the Bulgarian Church, and so on. As a Jew, St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, could only have been a pastor in one nation, the Jewish. Similarly, S. Cyril and Methodius, being of Greek origin, would not have been accepted among the Slavs. What a loss this would have entailed for the Church!" (Synod of Constantinople 1872)
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« Reply #221 on: June 09, 2010, 01:46:55 PM »



The new Nationalism is one simply of survival, and the bishops are trying to cling to their 'traditional' roles.  Sadly, the idea of evangelizing the world isn't coming up in any of these discussions, and so I think all of this is destined to fail.  God will not bless those who refuse His commandments.


Dear Father Giryus--I am afraid that you are right. The sad thing is that the old country churches may be mired in the past, under the influence foreign governments, or myopic in not thinking that a truly united, non-ethnic American Church would help them much more than their exarchates ever could. In any case, the proof of the pudding is the fact that, at least in North America, we have a failed Orthodox Church--failed in the sense that its percentage of the total believers has remained the same for decades and thus she has not successful in pursuing the Great Commission.
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« Reply #222 on: June 09, 2010, 02:13:48 PM »

SC
Quote
I have a couple of problem with this Council. First, it was not in fact a Pan-Orthodox affair but strictly a Greek get together. Second, it condemned ethno-phyletism on the part of the Bulgarians (a small problem), while completely ignoring the ethno-phyletism on the part of the Greeks (a much larger problem).


I will not get into an argument as to whether it was a pan-Orthodox or not.  However, on the second point, this is not true.  It was also addressing the Greek nationalism.  It was called, however, because this instance with the Bulgarians was the first instance in history in which an ethnically based parallel jurisdiction was established.  Nevertheless, the Council also condemned phyletistic hellenism, and in fact, first condemns Greek exclusiveness before it does Bulgarian:

"First of all, it introduces a Judaic exclusiveness, whereby the idea of the race is seen a sine qua non of a Christian, particularly in the hierarchical structure. Every non-Greek, for instance, will thus be legally excluded from what will be called the Greek Church and hierarchy, every non-Bulgarian from the Bulgarian Church, and so on. As a Jew, St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, could only have been a pastor in one nation, the Jewish. Similarly, S. Cyril and Methodius, being of Greek origin, would not have been accepted among the Slavs. What a loss this would have entailed for the Church!" (Synod of Constantinople 1872)

Dear Father HLL--I stand corrected. However, if in our ecclesiology a council is valid if it is accepted by the Church as a whole, why do you think that Orthodox folks in general did not respect this Council's condemnation of ethno-phylatism, particularly regarding parallel jurisdictions in the so-called diaspora and the barbarian lands of France, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America?

Regarding the establishment of parallel jurisdictions in the Ottoman Empire, may I point out that it was not Orthodox ecclesiology but imperial motives that established and enlarged Constantinople even before similar reasons of state caused the Patriarch to be the Sultan's designated etnarch of all non-Armenian Christians in the Ottoman Empire. Had it not been for such action by the Turk, the Greeks would not have lorded over the Bulgarians who were outside the dioceses ruled by the Phanar. So, this parallelism was a problem indeed in Constantinople itself and the three dioceses that were under the Patriarchate. It would not have been a problem in Macedonia and Bulgaria proper--again if the Turks had not blessed Phanar with the etnarchy. So, what eventually happened was that the Turk gave and the Turk took it away. Nothing to do with Orthodox ecclesiology. may I also say that the existence of the Bulgarian Exarchate in the city of Constantinople may have been regrettable but not to such a degree that the Greeks did not eagerly emulate elsewhere. Actually, given the oppression of the Bulgarians by the Greeks over the centuries, it was somewhat of a poetic justice.

Finally, I do think that it is an established fact that the bishops and primates who participated in the Council of 1872 were of Greek ethnic background. Mind you please that I am not accusing them of being such rabid Greek nationalists that any of them kept a Bulgarian's head in his study as a trophy. What I am saying is that the Etnarch of the Rum Millet/Patriarch of Constantinople controlled the affairs of the three participating Churches to a great degree. Indeed, the Patriarch of Alexandria was a hierarch of Constantinople just the year before. Nonetheless, the Council is to be commended for highlighting the issue, for whatever reason. I am convinced however that its decisions are not applicable today as they were disregarded by the convening and controlling Church almost from the get go. If I may go further (and I will since I have already angered some folks), I think that this Council was a gambit, a Trojan Horse so to speak, and not a serious affair.
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« Reply #223 on: June 09, 2010, 03:08:27 PM »

Dear S.C.,

I would say the 'failure' of the American Orthodox Church has to do more with retention of the 'ethnic identities,' something which America has specialized at breaking down from the beginning.  After all, who thinks about the 'Dutch community of New York City?'   Wink

I recall Fr. Thomas Hopko lamenting about how all the seminarians were converts (me being one of them).  Parishes with growth have more converts than those that don't as a general rule. 

Parishes with a heavy 'ethnic flair' do more often than not produce a generation that knows nothing of Christ but lots about the ethnicity, and those who decide the ethnicity isn't all that great end up outside the Church.  This is what we have seen happen to lots of Orthodox ethnic communities.  More recently, I have seen many immigrants either forced or voluntarily engaging in work on Sundays, which unplugs their families from the church routine and eventually leads to an annual, jarring event where they drag their kids to church during one of the longest services of the year and force them into the communion line for their annual dose of the 'clan faith' which they know nothing of.

The problem of the this failure, however, stems not from a lack of effort to retain these people, but rather their poor formation before they came.  This is the other half of the equation not being addressed by the 'Mother Churches,' and that is instead of trying to run things here, why don't you all clean up your own messes?

The average Orthdox immigrant to America these days has virtually no theological formation.  Not total, but darn close.  I know priests from ROCOR, GOA, AOA, Romanians, Serbs.... they all say the same thing: the new generation of immigrants are unchurched.  They spend a great deal of time just trying to catechize the immigrants and get them living moral lives.  Strictness works with converts and very few ethnic communities (the strictest are the Copts by far!), but on the whole if you try holding the line with the average immigrant he will tell you to pound sand and will find a more 'accommodating' parish.

If you think I am joking, go into these communities and find out what their attitudes are on abortion, premarital sex, cohabitation, etc. are.

Again, I don't see many laudable efforts in this regard.  There are a few bright beacons: the Church of Alexandria is doing marvelous work in converting Africa, and the Romanian Orthodox Church is making progress in tackling social issues like alcoholism. 

However, these are exceptions rather than the usual.  I'm afraid the Great Council, if convened, will probably not address the major social issues that are devastating our populations.  I don't say this with any happiness, but rather great sorrow, because I do believe that all of us are part of the one Body of Christ.

I just wish the hierarchs would spend less time worrying about dyptiches and more time trying to convert people to Jesus Christ.


Dear Father Giryus--I am afraid that you are right. The sad thing is that the old country churches may be mired in the past, under the influence foreign governments, or myopic in not thinking that a truly united, non-ethnic American Church would help them much more than their exarchates ever could. In any case, the proof of the pudding is the fact that, at least in North America, we have a failed Orthodox Church--failed in the sense that its percentage of the total believers has remained the same for decades and thus she has not successful in pursuing the Great Commission.
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« Reply #224 on: June 09, 2010, 05:26:33 PM »

Dear S.C.,

I would say the 'failure' of the American Orthodox Church has to do more with retention of the 'ethnic identities,' something which America has specialized at breaking down from the beginning.  After all, who thinks about the 'Dutch community of New York City?'   Wink

I recall Fr. Thomas Hopko lamenting about how all the seminarians were converts (me being one of them).  Parishes with growth have more converts than those that don't as a general rule. 

Parishes with a heavy 'ethnic flair' do more often than not produce a generation that knows nothing of Christ but lots about the ethnicity, and those who decide the ethnicity isn't all that great end up outside the Church.  This is what we have seen happen to lots of Orthodox ethnic communities.  More recently, I have seen many immigrants either forced or voluntarily engaging in work on Sundays, which unplugs their families from the church routine and eventually leads to an annual, jarring event where they drag their kids to church during one of the longest services of the year and force them into the communion line for their annual dose of the 'clan faith' which they know nothing of.

The problem of the this failure, however, stems not from a lack of effort to retain these people, but rather their poor formation before they came.  This is the other half of the equation not being addressed by the 'Mother Churches,' and that is instead of trying to run things here, why don't you all clean up your own messes?

The average Orthdox immigrant to America these days has virtually no theological formation.  Not total, but darn close.  I know priests from ROCOR, GOA, AOA, Romanians, Serbs.... they all say the same thing: the new generation of immigrants are unchurched.  They spend a great deal of time just trying to catechize the immigrants and get them living moral lives.  Strictness works with converts and very few ethnic communities (the strictest are the Copts by far!), but on the whole if you try holding the line with the average immigrant he will tell you to pound sand and will find a more 'accommodating' parish.

If you think I am joking, go into these communities and find out what their attitudes are on abortion, premarital sex, cohabitation, etc. are.

Again, I don't see many laudable efforts in this regard.  There are a few bright beacons: the Church of Alexandria is doing marvelous work in converting Africa, and the Romanian Orthodox Church is making progress in tackling social issues like alcoholism. 

However, these are exceptions rather than the usual.  I'm afraid the Great Council, if convened, will probably not address the major social issues that are devastating our populations.  I don't say this with any happiness, but rather great sorrow, because I do believe that all of us are part of the one Body of Christ.

I just wish the hierarchs would spend less time worrying about dyptiches and more time trying to convert people to Jesus Christ.


Dear Father Giryus--I am afraid that you are right. The sad thing is that the old country churches may be mired in the past, under the influence foreign governments, or myopic in not thinking that a truly united, non-ethnic American Church would help them much more than their exarchates ever could. In any case, the proof of the pudding is the fact that, at least in North America, we have a failed Orthodox Church--failed in the sense that its percentage of the total believers has remained the same for decades and thus she has not successful in pursuing the Great Commission.

Bravo Father!  Couldn't have said it better myself!

Talk to any apostate from the Orthodox Church and you will find most were brought up in ethnic orientated parishes and know nothing about Orthodoxy but everything about etnic customs etc.  Nine out of ten will refer to their former parish by its ethnic identity rather than its Orthodox identity.  Exampes:  The Russian Church, the Greek Church, the Romanian Church, etc.  Most will also end with something like - "After all,, it's all the same and we all pray to the same God.  We all have them even within our own families.  My sister is the perfect example.

Most will be suppored by their Orthodox family members becauses after all they can bake the traditional Pascha bread, do Pysanky, make the Pascha foods, etc.  So they are still orthodox in a sense.  Jesus Christ is somewhere in the attic!

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