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Author Topic: What is so heretical about "ecumenism"?  (Read 6952 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: June 07, 2010, 06:57:19 PM »

What is so heretical about "ecumenism"?

Christ is in our midst!

Explanation:
I've been pondering this for several weeks now... We all know about the growing controversy about how many Orthodox (as well as former Orthodox in schism) condemn some hierarchs for "ecumenism" and say it's heresy. However, I have yet to read anything "heretical" from any of these "heretical" hierarchs.

Let me clarify something first of all... I believe that the so-called "branch theory" is outright heresy and IMO is what was condemned as "Ecumenism". However, I believe the modern "ecumenical movement" from the Orthodox POV is not heresy.

Examples:
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been repeatedly condemned by many for doing such things as meeting with the Pope, engaging in discussions with Roman Catholics, etc...

We even saw (or read) that Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev was shouted down in Church for being a heretic, but what did he ever say that was so "heretical"? (from what I read, he acknowledged that we aren't in communion w/ RCC and communion should never be administered except in very rare cases)

We know about the controversy of the Esphigmenou monastery, as well as other Old Calendarist Churches and "True Orthodox Churches". who are in schism because of the "ecumenical movement" as well as other controversies, esp. related to the EP.

Even the mere presence of Orthodox clergy/bishops in the WCC has called many to condemn them of heresy.

Soap Box:
So I would like to ask, what is so heretical about "ecumenism"? The heresy that was condemned as heresy was pretty much the modern view of the "branch theory". However, there is no Orthodox Christian that accepts this viewpoint, not His All-Holiness +Bartholomew, not Metropolitan Hilarion, not the Orthodox members of the WCC. So what exactly are they condemning?

In my opinion, the modern "ecumenical movement" is completely Orthodox. We are to seek communion with all Christians. We are the One Church, and it is our job to seek to bring the whole world under our wing. This cannot happen if we are an island unto ourselves.
The only way to bring people to Orthodoxy is through discussion. How can they know the way if we don't talk with them?
None of our Bishops believe that any other Church is also the true Church. None accept the "two lung theory" promoted by Pope John Paul II, and none accept the "branch theory". We recognize that the Roman Catholic Church must return to Orthodoxy and reject it's post-schism heresies and mistakes.

On the issue of ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholics... I read that the EP stated that we are looking for a return of communion between Roman Catholics and Orthodox. Yet he is surprisingly chastised for saying this. What is wrong with this?
We should be seeking the return of full communion between the RCC and our Church. Not for the mere sake of union or the ecumenical movement, but because of our call as the Church. The RCC are our brothers, but they are removed from the family. They have been in schism for over 1000 years, they have fallen into false teachings and heresies, they have lost their Apostolic Succession. So it is only right that us, as the Holy Orthodox Church, seek to lead them back home.
What is so wrong about this? I have yet to see any Orthodox bishop say that we are one in the same Church, and that we are completely equivalent and communion should be immediately restored.

As for relations with other faiths... Peace can only come about through dialogue. How can these other faiths understand us if we isolate ourselves from them? We know that every faith has a grain of the truth. However, we also recognize that we are the only ones with the fullness of the truth.

Question:
I'm sorry for dragging on, and I know I may be preaching to the choir. But I would like to know what is so wrong about all this, that leads many Orthodox, including monastics, to condemn others, and to even enter into schism with the Church that they are trying so hard to defend. Is it a simply misunderstanding, or do they truly believe that these things are heresy?

Forgive me.



Note: I'm not doing this as flamebait, and I'm not looking to start a fight. I honestly am confused about the whole situation. There is so much material out there, much that is bias to one side or the other that it is hard for me to get a good read on the situation.

Also, if this would be better off in the Politics section, please move it there. I put it here because I want the discussion to remain constructive.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 07:24:04 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2010, 07:26:51 PM »

POST OF THE MONTH!
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2010, 10:18:01 PM »

Patriarch Bartholomew has in fact used the phrase "two lungs," as well as "sister churches," which suggest the branch theory. Now, would he actually say "yes" if asked, point blank, if he subscribed to this theory? I'm sure he wouldn't. Nevertheless, it is sometimes suggested in his statements and actions, and he is not alone among the hierarchs in this.

In my opinion, not all ecumenism is heretical- some of it is merely counter-productive and confusing. Merely meeting and talking with high-level representatives of heretical churches is not inherently heretical- in some contexts, there may even be a good use for it- but ecumenism as it is manifested today is at best a banal and academic affair. Ecumenists often claim that they are engaged in missionary work, but I see little missionary possibility in meetings between official representatives whose purpose is merely to find "common ground" and hammer out bland compromise statements.

The average believer, whichever communion he belongs to, will hear little or nothing about these talks. Those who do will often get a distorted impression. I attended an inquirer's class run by a Greek Orthodox priest where someone brought up the filioque, and the priest stated that the whole controversy was resolved in recent meetings and that there was very little of substance that divided us from the Roman Catholics. There were actually Roman Catholics attending that class- I wonder how they felt about this! I realize this is a mere anecdote, but I wonder, if an Orthodox priest, educated at seminary, gets this impression, what is being communicated to the heterodox by these meetings? How are they being interpreted?

One might fairly respond that you can't entirely blame someone if ignorant people misinterpret him. But I have to ask if anyone on this forum knows or has heard of anyone who has converted to Orthodoxy on the basis of Orthodox involvement in the WCC, NCC, or similar ecumenical bodies.
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2010, 10:30:46 PM »

"St. Mark of Ephesus: A True Ecumenist" 

A nice little essay from Fr Alexey Young on what it means to engage in true ecumenism, neither withdrawing into isolation from the heterodox nor comprising our holy faith in our dialogue with them.

http://www.roca.org/OA/26/26f.htm
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2010, 12:09:12 AM »

"St. Mark of Ephesus: A True Ecumenist"  

A nice little essay from Fr Alexey Young on what it means to engage in true ecumenism, neither withdrawing into isolation from the heterodox nor comprising our holy faith in our dialogue with them.

http://www.roca.org/OA/26/26f.htm

Is Fr. Alexey Young in the canonical Church? I was looking around that ROCA website, and initially I figured it was a ROCOR website, but I don't think that is the case. From what I gather from looking at the website, it's from people that are still in schism with the Holy Orthodox Church.
I just read that Fr. Alexey Young became Hieromonk Ambrose, of whom corresponded w/ Fr. Seraphim Rose. He apparently is ROCOR, and therefore canonical. I also read he was diagnosed with AD, Lord Have Mercy!

It was an interesting article, and I would actually agree with it for the most part. But I don't think our bishops believe our Church only has a kernel of the truth, and I don't believe that they actually believe that we are equal with all other Churches as that article is claiming.

Is there any actual evidence of our Bishops entering into the heresy of Ecumenism (which means essentially, two-lung/branch-theory) other than speculation and accusations that are made by those in schism with the Church?

Today I watched a video by a Romanian Monk (which I have watched in the past), and while I do believe the Romanian Monks to be Holy Men, I'm cautious about how they are accusing the Bishops of being Ecumenists. (that is, even though the Bishops haven't seemed to actually DO anything heretical)

Wise Monastics like Elder Arsenie Papacioc and others are all condemning Ecumenism. Yet I never know if they are simply condemning the Ecumenism like the False Unions & Branch Theory/Two-Lung Theory, or if they are also condemning that "Ecumenical Dialogue" as well.
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2010, 12:30:47 AM »

Going along with what Iconodule said: I also think it is an issue of perspective, one which inherently does not hold to the Orthodox teaching that we ourselves are the one and only Church of Christ, in its fullness. There is no second church floating out there, disconnected from us and waiting for reconnection. There are other ecclesiastical bodies which call themselves the Church, but they are not, in our view. Ecumenism backs off from our traditional belief.

Rome, and all other Christians, are free to come into communion with us at any time: by conversion to Orthodoxy. Maybe this happens on a person-by-person basis, or maybe there are mass conversions. But it must be a conversion, not a mere declaration that we're friends again.

The problem is Ecumenism's apparent approach of saying we're all equal and our beliefs are equally legitimate (shown by the ongoing dialogue without preconditions, etc), and we're coming to the middle to perform horse-trading and osmosis until we're all happy with it. Instead, Catholic leaders should first declare this is all wrong, then ask us what teachings they need to change. Begin re-catechizing the clergy and laity in coordination with our bishops, and when their entire church have come back to Orthodox belief, then we can sign the piece of paper and shake hands. That kind of Ecumenism, I would rejoice in. If we actually begin re-catechizing the RCC, I'll be the first to sing Ecumenism's praises.

We cannot put the cart before the horse. Visible unity should be an outgrowth of common belief in all things. Performing joint prayers, participating in each other's functions, signing declarations, implying we are long-lost brothers, lungs, and branches is an exercise in fantasy.
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2010, 12:45:00 AM »

The problem is Ecumenism's apparent approach of saying we're all equal and our beliefs are equally legitimate (shown by the ongoing dialogue without preconditions, etc), and we're coming to the middle to perform horse-trading and osmosis until we're all happy with it. Instead, Catholic leaders should first declare this is all wrong, then ask us what teachings they need to change. Begin re-catechizing the clergy and laity in coordination with our bishops, and when their entire church have come back to Orthodox belief, then we can sign the piece of paper and shake hands. That kind of Ecumenism, I would rejoice in. If we actually begin re-catechizing the RCC, I'll be the first to sing Ecumenism's praises.

But what exactly have our leaders done that is the heresy of Ecumenism? Where is the evidence of it?
I don't think there has been an Orthodox leader that believes we can trade our beliefs to get on a level playing field with others.

There is nothing wrong with finding common ground when it comes to beliefs with other faiths/denominations. You don't start a discussion by telling someone that they are wrong. (and you don't really convert people that way either)
Our Bishops know we aren't "equivalent" with these other Churches. They know we aren't equivalent with the Roman Catholics. But it seems that people are possibly overreacting to the dialogue being about shared-beliefs rather than our differences.

I'm still a little confused about what is being discussed/argued about Ecumenism. What is exactly wrong with finding common ground for discussion? We aren't going to get anywhere with anyone by poking their chest, telling them they are wrong and we are the only True Church. That may be the truth, but doing that certainly wouldn't be right. For example: If I'm talking with a Protestant/Roman Catholic, I focus on what we have in common. The only time I strongly emphasize our differences and separation is when they try to make it sound like we are one in the same. Yet that is never where you want to start out at.

As that article points out, St. Mark of Ephesus was willing to go all the way to the Vatican to discuss Union with the Roman Catholics. However, when push came to shove, he stood up for Orthodoxy. I have yet to see our Bishops & Patriarchs abandon Orthodoxy for the sake of Union with other Churches. Some may be flirting with the edge, but they haven't stepped over, and haven't committed any heresy. So why accuse them of it as some do?

What would you define Ecumenism (the heresy) as being? Specifically?
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2010, 01:40:50 AM »

Where is the evidence of it?

The clear lack of admission of error on Rome's part betrays the whole thing. The Pope needs to come out and say, "Wow, did we ever screw up. We have 1000 years of stuff to sift through, can you send some bishops over to help?"

If our Church is not requiring them to admit that error exists on the dogmatic level, then why are we talking? Because everything is going perfectly and our bishops are bored to death? The silence is deafening.

I'm still a little confused about what is being discussed/argued about Ecumenism. What is exactly wrong with finding common ground for discussion? We aren't going to get anywhere with anyone by poking their chest, telling them they are wrong and we are the only True Church. That may be the truth, but doing that certainly wouldn't be right. For example: If I'm talking with a Protestant/Roman Catholic, I focus on what we have in common. The only time I strongly emphasize our differences and separation is when they try to make it sound like we are one in the same. Yet that is never where you want to start out at.

And that is good on an individual level. But the Catholic Church, the collective organization, knows what we believe, and we know what they believe. Neither is alien to the other. To make an analogy, this is a person who grew up Orthodox, who left and became Catholic, and now wants to become Orthodox again (so we are told). As our beliefs have not changed, all they must do is repent of their heresies and come back. Yet Rome does not do this. It's all talk.

If they were doing this for the purpose of reunion, it would be completely one-sided in that way. But the Pope has never declared the Catholic Church's errors in any clear and systematic way. We have never required the Catholic Church to make any changes to their dogma to continue dialogue. This lack of preconditions and clear changes certainly does not indicate we believe they are in error.

The fruitless discussion can only create familiarity, which may lead to an overlooking and explaining-away of our differences. Why take the chance? All our beliefs have been thoroughly explained in a million different ways. The only reason I can see for this kind of dialogue is to establish "understandings" about why our beliefs aren't so different after all.

As that article points out, St. Mark of Ephesus was willing to go all the way to the Vatican to discuss Union with the Roman Catholics. However, when push came to shove, he stood up for Orthodoxy. I have yet to see our Bishops & Patriarchs abandon Orthodoxy for the sake of Union with other Churches. Some may be flirting with the edge, but they haven't stepped over, and haven't committed any heresy. So why accuse them of it as some do?

Because all the bishops of the Church apostatized except for one. While the Holy Spirit will not let the Church fall into error as a whole, why even play with fire? A new Saint Mark would surely arise if needed to save the Church, but there is no need to be so rash as that. Let the Prodigal see the error of his own ways and return. There is no point rushing out to convince him; he will not listen. He must return on his own, in humility, and at that time, we must embrace him and return to him the honor he deserves.

But first he must say "Father, I have sinned."

What would you define Ecumenism (the heresy) as being? Specifically?

I cannot even pretend to be a canon lawyer. I don't know how I would define it precisely. But I would like a definition which includes an excessive familiarity in an official capacity with non-Orthodox religions, and official dialogues about dogma undertaken without the intent (or stated possibility) of conversion.

This is heresy because it implies that the non-Orthodox are on an equal footing as far as truthfulness of dogma. Why compare dogma if the other party is not willing to convert to ours? People can take a comparative religion course if they are interested in such things.

If the Catholic Church openly indicated that their church is—or even may be—in grave error, and are entering into dialogue with the Orthodox Church—which has kept the Faith wholly intact—with the goal of correcting Rome's errors and establishing communion, I would be fine with that. The lack of any admission of dogmatic error on Rome's part is my main problem with it all. If they did that, I would be much more at ease.
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2010, 07:59:45 AM »

Is there any actual evidence of our Bishops entering into the heresy of Ecumenism (which means essentially, two-lung/branch-theory) other than speculation and accusations that are made by those in schism with the Church?

Yes. For example, Metropolitan John Zizioulas, in this article, gives a speech to the Pope where he says: "As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breaths; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."

Patriarch Bartholomew also used the "two lungs" phrase and similar language ("sister churches") around the time of the Balamand Agreement, which, of course, he endorsed. There are many articles quoting him as saying, in a speech, that Orthodoxy and the RCC "constitute the two lungs of the body of Christ." Unfortunately the original speech isn't available online.

And there can be no question that the Balamand Agreement, signed by several Orthodox hierarchs, is heretical.
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2010, 10:49:55 AM »


The clear lack of admission of error on Rome's part betrays the whole thing. The Pope needs to come out and say, "Wow, did we ever screw up. We have 1000 years of stuff to sift through, can you send some bishops over to help?"


I think, though, that you are jumping from step A to step D, skipping steps B and C. The point Devin is trying to make (if I understand correctly) is that we have to start somewhere.  Of course the Pope is not going to come out and say that.  How could he?  He has over a billion faithful to shepherd, and coming out and saying, "okay, the RCC has been wrong for about the past 1000 years" could throw so many of their faithful into turmoil, how could they believe a word he (or we) says?  Remember that, whether their beliefs are heretical or not, Catholics are just as devout in their faith as Orthodox are.  How would you feel if the EP came out and said, "we're all wrong.  We've got to repent and go back."  Put aside that we are the True Church, and just react as a faithful Orthodox who believes we are the True Church (as they do).  You would be devastated, angry, and might declare him corrupt and heretical!  If that happens in the RCC to the Pope, what has been accomplished?  Nothing.

Quote
If our Church is not requiring them to admit that error exists on the dogmatic level, then why are we talking? Because everything is going perfectly and our bishops are bored to death? The silence is deafening.
Respectfully, I think this is an assumption on your part.  We cannot begin the process by outwardly demanding that they admit their errors just to have a conversation.  We have a conversation, and when the opportunity arises, we state what we believe and what is required for unity.  Just because the EP or any other bishops participating in the discussions haven't outwardly said, "They must admit their errors" right now doesn't mean that the Church doesn't require it.  It just means we haven't gotten to that step yet.


Quote
And that is good on an individual level. But the Catholic Church, the collective organization, knows what we believe, and we know what they believe. Neither is alien to the other. To make an analogy, this is a person who grew up Orthodox, who left and became Catholic, and now wants to become Orthodox again (so we are told). As our beliefs have not changed, all they must do is repent of their heresies and come back. Yet Rome does not do this. It's all talk.
Rome may understand, but the billion or so faithful probably don't.  The majority of them probably don't even know we exist.  One step at a time.  We become friends with and educate Rome.  Rome educates the faithful.  They come home.  If Rome just declares it (which is one of the things that we constantly complain about-- Rome just declaring things to be true), it's a conversion on their part in name only.  We have to guide Rome, Rome has to guide their faithful. 

Quote
If they were doing this for the purpose of reunion, it would be completely one-sided in that way. But the Pope has never declared the Catholic Church's errors in any clear and systematic way. We have never required the Catholic Church to make any changes to their dogma to continue dialogue. This lack of preconditions and clear changes certainly does not indicate we believe they are in error.
I would have to disagree with that.  The fact is that the Vatican has been releasing the Creed WITHOUT the filioque for a long time now.  And in 2002, thanks to the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue here in America, the official conclusion WITH the Catholics was that, when they translate the Creed from now on, it will be ONLY from the original Greek, omitting the Filioque.  That is, I think, a HUGE admission of error on their part, and is also a huge step toward them returning.  And it would NOT have happened without the Ecumenical dialogues.  How can anyone possibly say that that is not a huge step toward them returning, and that helping them to correct their error is heretical on our part?  But now they have to educate their billion faithful.  One issue at a time.  One step at a time.

Quote
The fruitless discussion can only create familiarity, which may lead to an overlooking and explaining-away of our differences. Why take the chance? All our beliefs have been thoroughly explained in a million different ways. The only reason I can see for this kind of dialogue is to establish "understandings" about why our beliefs aren't so different after all.
Again, I'm afraid I would have to disagree.  I think there is nothing whatsoever wrong with familiarity.  Familiarity breeds understanding.  We must be familiar for them to understand us.  And we must understand them in order to minister to and lead them.  As Fr. Chris says so often, we cannot logic people into the faith.  We can only love them into it.  How can we love someone into the faith that we aren't familiar with?

I also think that saying familiarity leads to overlooking and explaining-away is slippery slope logic.  My very best friend in the whole world and I are two totally different people.  We've been best friends for twenty-two years.  She is not Orthodox.  She's agnostic.  She is quite familiar with what I believe, and I am quite familiar with what she believes.  While I pray one day God might lead her home to Orthodoxy (that is up to Him to do, not me), I have never once compromised or sugar-coated my beliefs for the sake of peace or our friendship.  I have never explained-away or overlooked.  I've never had to, because we are friends.  True friends.


Quote
Because all the bishops of the Church apostatized except for one. While the Holy Spirit will not let the Church fall into error as a whole, why even play with fire? A new Saint Mark would surely arise if needed to save the Church, but there is no need to be so rash as that. Let the Prodigal see the error of his own ways and return. There is no point rushing out to convince him; he will not listen. He must return on his own, in humility, and at that time, we must embrace him and return to him the honor he deserves.

But first he must say "Father, I have sinned."

Ah yes, but when the Father saw him on the horizon (before he admitted his error), did he not show compassion and go out to meet him?  Isn't that what the Church is doing?  Showing compassion and going out to meet them?  Guiding them and helping them to find their way home?


Quote
I cannot even pretend to be a canon lawyer. I don't know how I would define it precisely. But I would like a definition which includes an excessive familiarity in an official capacity with non-Orthodox religions, and official dialogues about dogma undertaken without the intent (or stated possibility) of conversion.
Excessive familiarity is a heresy?  Again, this is an assumption that there is something inherently wrong with being familiar with their beliefs.

I think the assumption that these dialogues are undertaken without the intent of conversion is just that... an assumption.  I think the intent is obviously for the purposes of EVENTUAL conversion of the RCC.  But EVENTUAL is the key word.  It doesn't happen over night, and it has to take place one step at a time.

Quote
This is heresy because it implies that the non-Orthodox are on an equal footing as far as truthfulness of dogma. Why compare dogma if the other party is not willing to convert to ours? People can take a comparative religion course if they are interested in such things.
Again, assumptions.  I see no implication that the non-Orthodox are on equal footing.  I see only an attempt to find common ground as the starting point of a conversation about conversion.

Quote
If the Catholic Church openly indicated that their church is—or even may be—in grave error, and are entering into dialogue with the Orthodox Church—which has kept the Faith wholly intact—with the goal of correcting Rome's errors and establishing communion, I would be fine with that. The lack of any admission of dogmatic error on Rome's part is my main problem with it all. If they did that, I would be much more at ease.
I think, again, you are getting WAY ahead of yourself.  I think that admission is beginning, but it has to be slow and steady to win the race.  One foot in front of the other. 


Also, to comment on the whole "two lung" or "branch" theory... If it's true that the EP said what Iconodule states (I have never read or heard him say that, so I can't say that it's true-- if Iconodule could produce something for us to read, I would be appreciative), I would say that there are a couple of ways that this could be interpreted.  Again, I'd have to read it in context, but I would guess and say that what the EP meant was NOT that we are "two lungs" THEOLOGICALLY, but rather practically-- that we are the two largest "denominations" (for lack of a better word-- no, I don't believe we are a denomination, but outsiders DO) of Christianity on the planet, and that in the face of what's happening in our society (like the impending Islamic takeover of the planet), we have to work together, as partners, as brothers and sisters, as "two lungs."  That, I can see merit in, and I think is true. 

Just for the record, before I get attacked, I do NOT believe in the lung or branch theories THEOLOGICALLY.  I believe that we are the True Church and that they are in error.  But I make a distinction between the theology of the thing and the practicality that we are, indeed, the two largest forms of Christianity.  Hope that's clear.
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2010, 10:57:08 AM »

Is there any actual evidence of our Bishops entering into the heresy of Ecumenism (which means essentially, two-lung/branch-theory) other than speculation and accusations that are made by those in schism with the Church?

Yes. For example, Metropolitan John Zizioulas, in this article, gives a speech to the Pope where he says: "As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breaths; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."
Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't read this as an admission that we are somehow NOT the True Church, or that they are equal, or not heretical.  I read this as an admission of the practicality of the situation-- that we are the two largest forms of Christianity on the planet, that we used to be one Church, and that we must strive toward unity.  I don't read this as a heretical statement from the Metropolitan.  But maybe that's just me...

Quote
Patriarch Bartholomew also used the "two lungs" phrase and similar language ("sister churches") around the time of the Balamand Agreement, which, of course, he endorsed. There are many articles quoting him as saying, in a speech, that Orthodoxy and the RCC "constitute the two lungs of the body of Christ." Unfortunately the original speech isn't available online.

And there can be no question that the Balamand Agreement, signed by several Orthodox hierarchs, is heretical.
I'm not familiar with that Agreement.  Is there somewhere that I can read it that you could post?  Anywhere else that His All Holiness has said that that you could post?  

I still don't see the heresy inherent in saying we are "sister churches."  Do we honestly believe that they are not Christians?  Christians in error, yes, but still Christians.  Does that not make us brothers and sisters in Christ?  Does that not make our churches sisters?  I don't understand how that is some kind of statement that we are NOT the One True Church.  I think it's just being kind, finding common ground, fostering some good will, in an attempt to open a conversation that (God willing) will eventually lead to the conversion of the RCC.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2010, 11:15:39 AM »

Wow, did we ever screw up!

Latin translation, please.
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2010, 12:02:25 PM »

Is there any actual evidence of our Bishops entering into the heresy of Ecumenism (which means essentially, two-lung/branch-theory) other than speculation and accusations that are made by those in schism with the Church?

Yes. For example, Metropolitan John Zizioulas, in this article, gives a speech to the Pope where he says: "As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breaths; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."
Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't read this as an admission that we are somehow NOT the True Church, or that they are equal, or not heretical.  I read this as an admission of the practicality of the situation-- that we are the two largest forms of Christianity on the planet, that we used to be one Church, and that we must strive toward unity.

I think this is a strained interpretation. He does not say "two lungs by which Christianity breathed" but "the two lungs by which the Church breathes" (present tense). He then says, and I emphasize, "their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." This means that the Church breathes with "two lungs" (Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism) and that the disunity between these "two lungs" impedes the "healthy life" of the Church. The Orthodox Church cannot have a healthy life until it is united with Rome!  If this isn't a branch theory than mogzers slurm on bebbled zarks because words don't mean anything.

It should also be mentioned that Metropolitan John is the primary theorist of "baptismal theology," which operates on the premise that where there is baptism, there is the Church, and, since RC's have valid baptism, they are part of the Church.

Here is the text of the Balamand Agreement:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.aspx

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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2010, 12:06:57 PM »

On the ground I have seen some things that could reflect positive shifts in some Roman Catholic circles on the local level. Or maybe not.

The example I am thinking of is a local Roman Catholic hospital, which is consecrated to St. Joseph the Betrothed. My child's pediatrician is at this hospital, and one day when I was there I saw a sign for the chapel and went in to have a look. Outside of the chapel was a large "Byzantine" icon of the saint. When I went into the church, on either side of the altar were the very Icons of Christ and the Mother of God that one finds on any Orthodox iconostasis.

There were also some other typically Latin depictions around the place, but all in all I was very impressed and happy to see this Roman Catholic hospital having such Orthodox images present. On the positive side, it seems like a step toward Truth and toward Orthodoxy. One thing at a time. Also, many of their revised positions on some issues better reflect the Orthodox truth.

But here's the potential problem: confusion and distortion. Even if Roman Catholic churches began to unilaterally accept Orthodox iconography as their standard way of depicting religious art. the problem would still remain that our fundamental ecclesiastical principles differ greatly, as well as their added dogmas. In other words, many people might assume that if things basically look the same, then it is true that our faiths are basically the same. During this posited gradual transition process that Roman Catholicism might undergo, there would have to exist some kind of intermediate period where truth and falsehood intermingle. Again, to me the main danger in this is that people will lose whatever sense of contrast might exist between Holy Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, and be even more apt to accept the lazy notion that they are "basically the same."

My other concern surrounds the aforementioned revisionism making place with many Roman Catholics. An issue is brought up, the traditional Roman Catholic position is presented by citing relevant councils and canons, and then properly refuted by the Orthodox. The response is almost always a concession that the Orthodox position is the correct one, but that it is also what the Roman Catholics have always believed and taught, followed by some tortured explanation of the cited councils and their decrees which conforms to the new view. My fear is not that the revision taking place in Roman Catholicism which conforms to Orthodox views is a bad thing, but rather that a spin will be put on this that says that the Roman Catholics indeed always held such beliefs rather than that they were corrected. If this happens, then it would betray the fundamental truth that Orthodoxy preserved and maintained the undistorted gospel of Christ. Even if the glorious day came when we could look at the Roman Catholics and say with confidence: "This is the faith we received and have always known; let us share the Eucharist"; it would be unacceptable to support the idea that the Roman Catholics were somehow "already there." If they ever come around, it will be because of their encounters with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.

Is I can see potential good coming from these interactions and the adoption of Orthodox practices by them, but I also have reservations about the "gradual" model of conversion.
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2010, 12:15:50 PM »

Is there any actual evidence of our Bishops entering into the heresy of Ecumenism (which means essentially, two-lung/branch-theory) other than speculation and accusations that are made by those in schism with the Church?

Yes. For example, Metropolitan John Zizioulas, in this article, gives a speech to the Pope where he says: "As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breaths; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."
Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't read this as an admission that we are somehow NOT the True Church, or that they are equal, or not heretical.  I read this as an admission of the practicality of the situation-- that we are the two largest forms of Christianity on the planet, that we used to be one Church, and that we must strive toward unity.

I think this is a strained interpretation. He does not say "two lungs by which Christianity breathed" but "the two lungs by which the Church breathes" (present tense). He then says, and I emphasize, "their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." This means that the Church breathes with "two lungs" (Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism) and that the disunity between these "two lungs" impedes the "healthy life" of the Church. The Orthodox Church cannot have a healthy life until it is united with Rome!  If this isn't a branch theory than mogzers slurm on bebbled zarks because words don't mean anything.

Yep, you're right.  I concede.  And for the record, I don't agree with the Metropolitan on this one.  Smiley

Quote
It should also be mentioned that Metropolitan John is the primary theorist of "baptismal theology," which operates on the premise that where there is baptism, there is the Church, and, since RC's have valid baptism, they are part of the Church.

Ahhh... Didn't know that.  And I certainly don't agree with that theology, either. 


Quote
Here is the text of the Balamand Agreement:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.aspx
Many thanks!

[/quote]
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2010, 12:19:39 PM »

Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't read this as an admission that we are somehow NOT the True Church, or that they are equal, or not heretical.  I read this as an admission of the practicality of the situation-- that we are the two largest forms of Christianity on the planet, that we used to be one Church, and that we must strive toward unity.   

With all due respect, your reading is flawed.  But the "branch theory" is supposed to be read exactly as that the two churches are equal and that there is no heresy between us.  That's why the Balamand agreement was so adamantly endorsed by the Roman Catholics because it gives them exactly what they want--no condemnation for the heresy that they have embraced.

To read the Balamand Agreement or the "two lung" theory as simply stating the obvious fact that the Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church are the largest forms of Christianity is ludicrous.  Lungs are equal and take in oxygen together to supply the same body.  A different body metaphor would have to be used to promulgate the reading you suggest.  The lung metaphor was deliberately chosen.  The Balamand Agreement is not worth the paper it is written on and should be denounced by all Orthodox hierarchs!

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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2010, 12:22:22 PM »

Is there any actual evidence of our Bishops entering into the heresy of Ecumenism (which means essentially, two-lung/branch-theory) other than speculation and accusations that are made by those in schism with the Church?

Yes. For example, Metropolitan John Zizioulas, in this article, gives a speech to the Pope where he says: "As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breaths; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."
Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't read this as an admission that we are somehow NOT the True Church, or that they are equal, or not heretical.  I read this as an admission of the practicality of the situation-- that we are the two largest forms of Christianity on the planet, that we used to be one Church, and that we must strive toward unity.

I think this is a strained interpretation. He does not say "two lungs by which Christianity breathed" but "the two lungs by which the Church breathes" (present tense). He then says, and I emphasize, "their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." This means that the Church breathes with "two lungs" (Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism) and that the disunity between these "two lungs" impedes the "healthy life" of the Church. The Orthodox Church cannot have a healthy life until it is united with Rome!  If this isn't a branch theory than mogzers slurm on bebbled zarks because words don't mean anything.

It should also be mentioned that Metropolitan John is the primary theorist of "baptismal theology," which operates on the premise that where there is baptism, there is the Church, and, since RC's have valid baptism, they are part of the Church.

Here is the text of the Balamand Agreement:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.aspx
I think we have to recognize that it is most likely that the speeches weren't given in English. We would have to see the original text in the original languages. The term "Church" in the English languages has many different meanings and associations with it. But in other languages, he may have used a specific term that someone just translated into this generic English term.

Again, we can't judge their statements based on English translations of those statements. We have to be able to take their statements from their original language and judge whether they are heretical or not. English isn't a very specific language and I don't believe we should treat it as such.

Also, I just read the Balamand Agreement, and I only found a few points that could be considered to be in error... What exactly do you think is wrong with it? I didn't see a place in there that literally suggests we are the same Church. As I read it, it appears to be a call for mutual cooperation and tolerance. Not one of subjection, or abandonment of one Churches traditions in favor of the other. (Which, as pointed out, is NOT the way to start dialogue with the Roman Catholics, who would have the same reaction as us)
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2010, 12:33:52 PM »

Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't read this as an admission that we are somehow NOT the True Church, or that they are equal, or not heretical.  I read this as an admission of the practicality of the situation-- that we are the two largest forms of Christianity on the planet, that we used to be one Church, and that we must strive toward unity.   

With all due respect, your reading is flawed.  But the "branch theory" is supposed to be read exactly as that the two churches are equal and that there is no heresy between us.  That's why the Balamand agreement was so adamantly endorsed by the Roman Catholics because it gives them exactly what they want--no condemnation for the heresy that they have embraced.

To read the Balamand Agreement or the "two lung" theory as simply stating the obvious fact that the Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church are the largest forms of Christianity is ludicrous.  Lungs are equal and take in oxygen together to supply the same body.  A different body metaphor would have to be used to promulgate the reading you suggest.  The lung metaphor was deliberately chosen.  The Balamand Agreement is not worth the paper it is written on and should be denounced by all Orthodox hierarchs!

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Hmmm... I didn't realize that the "branch theory" or the "lung theory" was really that spelled out, that specific.  If that is the case, then I certainly agree with you, I stand corrected.

As I said, I'm not familiar with the Balamand Agreement.  I'll have to read it.

Really, my point was just that I don't think Ecumenism per se should be condemned as heretical.  If some bishops have gone too far, then we should lovingly correct them and bring them back.  But to throw the whole thing out altogether is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Wouldn't you agree?
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« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2010, 12:48:27 PM »

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Thanks, Father.  I was having problems with that for some reason!  Grin

Hmmm... I didn't realize that the "branch theory" or the "lung theory" was really that spelled out, that specific.  If that is the case, then I certainly agree with you, I stand corrected.

As I said, I'm not familiar with the Balamand Agreement.  I'll have to read it.

Really, my point was just that I don't think Ecumenism per se should be condemned as heretical.  If some bishops have gone too far, then we should lovingly correct them and bring them back.  But to throw the whole thing out altogether is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Wouldn't you agree?

I would strongly suggest you read the Balamand agreement. It is nothing more than a triumph of Vatican diplomacy which they seem to have become adept experts at, almost in the mold of the Byzantine Emperors!  I even remember that Bishop ANTOUN of the Antiochian Archdiocese said that this agreement was a horrible assault on Orthodox ecclesiology.  The ecclesiology represented in that document is Roman ecclesiology about how unity depends solely (though they couch it in a lot of jargon and double speak) on submission to the See of Peter.

Here is the crux of the issue as I see it.  No matter how many dialogues the Orthodox engage in with other Christian confessions, all that happens is just a regurgitation of where we agree and that since we agree on x%, the parts of disagreement should be thrown into the "it doesn't matter that much since unity is more important than anything" category.  Or, a document will be signed with the right wording which is only lip service.  I remember, a few years back, where the Antiochian Orthodox were having talks with ELCA Lutherans (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and the Lutherans agreed that the filioque needed to go because of its unilateral insertion into the creed and that the creed should always be recited without it.  Nevertheless, despite stipulating to that, the Lutheran "theologians" there continued to ardently defend the filioque as the correct understanding of the procession of the Holy Spirit.  We can sign as many documents as we want with the RCs or any other group, but most of the time, the document just pays lip service.  There should be no expectation of change on behalf of these other groups because they won't. 

Like political movements, I believe that for the hierarchs of the RC to come to our side, I believe that we have to start at the grass roots level and educate our fellow heterodox Christians in every day life.  The more they know about the Orthodox now, especially when they are younger and in college and if they should become persons of authority (e.g. bishops) in their own church, then we may have a greater chance of convincing them.  Right now, there is no chance of that as I see things.
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2010, 12:55:49 PM »

Should it be considered heresy when our Bishops/Hierarchs meet with Roman Catholic Bishops & Hierarchs? What is so heretical about things like the Popes visit to Istanbul, or his visit to Cyprus?

Is it heresy if we even attend a heterodox service if there is no con-celebration?

So if our Bishops are indeed in error, how do we deal with it?
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« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2010, 01:31:35 PM »

Yeah, I have to say, this causes me great concern:

Quote
14) It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavor of the Sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, n. 27).
From the Balamand Agreement.
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« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2010, 01:57:23 PM »

Yeah, I have to say, this causes me great concern:

Quote
14) It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavor of the Sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, n. 27).
From the Balamand Agreement.

Same here, that is one of the statements that does bother me in the Agreement.
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« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2010, 01:58:25 PM »

I think, though, that you are jumping from step A to step D, skipping steps B and C. The point Devin is trying to make (if I understand correctly) is that we have to start somewhere.  Of course the Pope is not going to come out and say that.  How could he?  He has over a billion faithful to shepherd, and coming out and saying, "okay, the RCC has been wrong for about the past 1000 years" could throw so many of their faithful into turmoil, how could they believe a word he (or we) says?  Remember that, whether their beliefs are heretical or not, Catholics are just as devout in their faith as Orthodox are.  How would you feel if the EP came out and said, "we're all wrong.  We've got to repent and go back."  Put aside that we are the True Church, and just react as a faithful Orthodox who believes we are the True Church (as they do).  You would be devastated, angry, and might declare him corrupt and heretical!  If that happens in the RCC to the Pope, what has been accomplished?  Nothing.

This is why we must practice what we preach and let the RCC reach an internal consensus that they are in error before we undertake any of this. And no dialogue with us is required for this to happen. When the RCC as a whole decides it is in error and wants to come home, we will be here with open arms. But no one should force it.

Rome may understand, but the billion or so faithful probably don't.  The majority of them probably don't even know we exist.  One step at a time.  We become friends with and educate Rome.  Rome educates the faithful.  They come home.  If Rome just declares it (which is one of the things that we constantly complain about-- Rome just declaring things to be true), it's a conversion on their part in name only.  We have to guide Rome, Rome has to guide their faithful.

But how do we know they are wanting to come home? How do we know things aren't being watered down? This is why transparency is needed. Perhaps it's the political junkie in me, but back-room dealings like this do not sit well with me. If the Orthodox hadn't holed up in Rome for the Council of Florence and came out proclaiming unity, but instead had been transparent about it all and worked things out in the open, perhaps it never would have gotten as close to disaster as it did.

That is my point—we should not become friends until it is abundantly clear that they are bringing their church into sync with ours. Because if that is not what they want, we should not be wasting our time with pointless dialogue.

And surely there are Catholics who would not want to unite with us, and they are similarly in the dark. I think there needs to be a debate within Catholicism first, and if they as a Church decide they are in error and we are not, then by all means let us begin teaching them. But we should heed King Solomon when he tells us to beware of those who grin and wink.

Again, I'm afraid I would have to disagree.  I think there is nothing whatsoever wrong with familiarity.  Familiarity breeds understanding.  We must be familiar for them to understand us.  And we must understand them in order to minister to and lead them.  As Fr. Chris says so often, we cannot logic people into the faith.  We can only love them into it.  How can we love someone into the faith that we aren't familiar with?

That is precisely the problem. We should not be reaching understandings with others, because when we get tied up into dissecting their flawed logic or misunderstandings, it is easier to excuse people's errors. For communion to happen, EO theology must be accepted, using EO words in the way EO understand them.

Understandings tend toward word games like "We say it differently but we mean the same thing." If we mean the same thing, then say the same thing! There is no other way to be certain.

I also think that saying familiarity leads to overlooking and explaining-away is slippery slope logic.  My very best friend in the whole world and I are two totally different people.  We've been best friends for twenty-two years.  She is not Orthodox.  She's agnostic.  She is quite familiar with what I believe, and I am quite familiar with what she believes.  While I pray one day God might lead her home to Orthodoxy (that is up to Him to do, not me), I have never once compromised or sugar-coated my beliefs for the sake of peace or our friendship.  I have never explained-away or overlooked.  I've never had to, because we are friends.  True friends.

But the difference is that the Church as an organization has compromised its beliefs in the past by not treating error with the level of seriousness it requires. Not completely, by Christ's promise, but far too close for comfort. We cannot be too cautious.

Ah yes, but when the Father saw him on the horizon (before he admitted his error), did he not show compassion and go out to meet him?  Isn't that what the Church is doing?  Showing compassion and going out to meet them?  Guiding them and helping them to find their way home?

His father did not go looking for him, however. In my view, he is just starting to realize he is sitting in a pigpen. But he has a long way to go before he gets to the horizon, and he must do that work on his own. I'd be all for rushing to greet him when the day comes of Rome's appearing off in the distance, but not a moment before.

Excessive familiarity is a heresy?  Again, this is an assumption that there is something inherently wrong with being familiar with their beliefs.

I mean familiarity in the negative, sinful sense. Familiarity that leads to comfort, and understanding and overlooking of error. The familiarity that leads to things like the Balamand Agreement.

I don't think this should happen overnight either. I think it will take a very, very long time: I think the RCC as a whole should openly be desiring Orthodoxy before we undertake any more of this dialogue. Maybe that's so conservative that it is unrealistic, I don't know.

I think, again, you are getting WAY ahead of yourself.  I think that admission is beginning, but it has to be slow and steady to win the race.  One foot in front of the other. 

The RCC as a whole should reach the point of admission. I agree that it would not be helpful for Pope Benedict to come out and say "We're wrong" tomorrow. That would indeed throw everyone into turmoil. But if the RCC as a collective comes to that, and the Pope as spokesman declares the consensus of their church (dogmatically and ex cathedra), then the official dialogue can begin. If that takes another 500 years, so be it.
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« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2010, 04:02:50 PM »

So if our Bishops are indeed in error, how do we deal with it?

We deal with it as the Orthodox faithful have in the past.  They rise up and demand the bishops recant.  If not, then the faithful lead the effort to depose and defrock the bishops and run them out of town (but at least pay for their bus fare).  That is what happened to the bishops who signed the decrees of the Council of Florence and Ferrara.  The laity are not powerless.
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« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2010, 05:43:16 PM »

"As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breaths; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."

Ack.  Angry
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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2010, 05:52:00 PM »

Is there any actual evidence of our Bishops entering into the heresy of Ecumenism (which means essentially, two-lung/branch-theory) other than speculation and accusations that are made by those in schism with the Church?

Yes. For example, Metropolitan John Zizioulas, in this article, gives a speech to the Pope where he says: "As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breaths; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."
Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't read this as an admission that we are somehow NOT the True Church, or that they are equal, or not heretical.  I read this as an admission of the practicality of the situation-- that we are the two largest forms of Christianity on the planet, that we used to be one Church, and that we must strive toward unity.  I don't read this as a heretical statement from the Metropolitan.  But maybe that's just me...

Well, let's think about it. What is the "West" that he is referring to? I think it's clear that it couldn't be anything within the EOC as WRO is quite a newly restored phenomenon. "West" is thus not in anyway inherently part of the Church, and "East" really only is by accident. So, my guess is by "West", he is referring to the Patriarchate of the West which has fallen away from the Church. However, he says that the "West" is one of two lungs by which the Church breathes. The logical implication of this statement is that Rome is part of the Church (some invisible Church that constitutes both the EOC and Rome). Finally, he says that the West is necessary for the Church to have a healthy life, implying that the Church cannot really live without Rome, and thus the EOC in and of itself is not the Church.

I still don't see the heresy inherent in saying we are "sister churches."

Ah, I don't know that it is necessarily heretical. It is problematic and potentially heretical. It seems to imply that they are a church in the same sense as the one Church. But they are not.

Do we honestly believe that they are not Christians?

Not in the same sense as the members of the One Church.

Does that not make us brothers and sisters in Christ?

They are not "in Christ" in the same sense that those of the One Church are, and they are thus not our brothers and sisters in the same sense that those of the One Church are.
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« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2010, 05:54:13 PM »

It should also be mentioned that Metropolitan John is the primary theorist of "baptismal theology," which operates on the premise that where there is baptism, there is the Church, and, since RC's have valid baptism, they are part of the Church.

Double ack!  Angry Angry
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« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2010, 05:57:17 PM »

In other words, many people might assume that if things basically look the same, then it is true that our faiths are basically the same. During this posited gradual transition process that Roman Catholicism might undergo, there would have to exist some kind of intermediate period where truth and falsehood intermingle. Again, to me the main danger in this is that people will lose whatever sense of contrast might exist between Holy Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, and be even more apt to accept the lazy notion that they are "basically the same."

My other concern surrounds the aforementioned revisionism making place with many Roman Catholics. An issue is brought up, the traditional Roman Catholic position is presented by citing relevant councils and canons, and then properly refuted by the Orthodox. The response is almost always a concession that the Orthodox position is the correct one, but that it is also what the Roman Catholics have always believed and taught, followed by some tortured explanation of the cited councils and their decrees which conforms to the new view. My fear is not that the revision taking place in Roman Catholicism which conforms to Orthodox views is a bad thing, but rather that a spin will be put on this that says that the Roman Catholics indeed always held such beliefs rather than that they were corrected. If this happens, then it would betray the fundamental truth that Orthodoxy preserved and maintained the undistorted gospel of Christ. Even if the glorious day came when we could look at the Roman Catholics and say with confidence: "This is the faith we received and have always known; let us share the Eucharist"; it would be unacceptable to support the idea that the Roman Catholics were somehow "already there." If they ever come around, it will be because of their encounters with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.

Totally agreed. Very well expressed, thank you.
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« Reply #28 on: June 08, 2010, 05:59:44 PM »

Really, my point was just that I don't think Ecumenism per se should be condemned as heretical.  If some bishops have gone too far, then we should lovingly correct them and bring them back.  But to throw the whole thing out altogether is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Wouldn't you agree?

I agree.

However, I think that abusive, false ecumenism may be more common than you are imagining.
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« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2010, 06:02:36 PM »

So if our Bishops are indeed in error, how do we deal with it?

We deal with it as the Orthodox faithful have in the past.  They rise up and demand the bishops recant.  If not, then the faithful lead the effort to depose and defrock the bishops and run them out of town (but at least pay for their bus fare).  That is what happened to the bishops who signed the decrees of the Council of Florence and Ferrara.  The laity are not powerless.

Would such bishops have to be re-initiated into to the Church because of their submission to heterodoxy?
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« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2010, 06:15:12 PM »


Yes. For example, Metropolitan John Zizioulas, in this article, gives a speech to the Pope where he says: "As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breaths; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."


Well, for those Orthodox who believe that there can be no healthy life in their Churches without union with Rome this may be true.  It is certainly disarmingly honest of Metropolitan John Zizioulas to be so candid about the lack of health of the Church of Constantinople.   Somewhere on the forum there is a statement from the Chief Canonist of the Throne, Metropolitan Rodopoulos (sp?) that because the Church of Constantinople is ailing and aberrant its chief hierarch is consequently ailing and aberrant.  In other words, a sick body brings about a sick head.   The statements from the two metropolitans corroborate one another in a way.
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« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2010, 07:05:04 PM »

Somewhere on the forum there is a statement from the Chief Canonist of the Throne, Metropolitan Rodopoulos (sp?) that because the Church of Constantinople is ailing and aberrant its chief hierarch is consequently ailing and aberrant.  In other words, a sick body brings about a sick head.   The statements from the two metropolitans corroborate one another in a way.

Your favorite dance must be the twist, since you seem to do that a lot with quotes and the like.  But no matter: the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church - not in Constantinople, Moscow, Antioch, New York, or anywhere else.
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« Reply #32 on: June 08, 2010, 07:26:42 PM »

Somewhere on the forum there is a statement from the Chief Canonist of the Throne, Metropolitan Rodopoulos (sp?) that because the Church of Constantinople is ailing and aberrant its chief hierarch is consequently ailing and aberrant.  In other words, a sick body brings about a sick head.   The statements from the two metropolitans corroborate one another in a way.

Your favorite dance must be the twist, since you seem to do that a lot with quotes and the like.

Are you familiar with what the Metropolitan Chief Canonist has said?  Are you justified in what to my feeble brain appears to be an instance of sacerdotal rudeness? 

I would be happy to entertain your interpretation of Met. Rodopoulos' words.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19437.msg289472/topicseen.html#msg289472
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« Reply #33 on: June 08, 2010, 07:42:27 PM »

Somewhere on the forum there is a statement from the Chief Canonist of the Throne, Metropolitan Rodopoulos (sp?) that because the Church of Constantinople is ailing and aberrant its chief hierarch is consequently ailing and aberrant.  In other words, a sick body brings about a sick head.   The statements from the two metropolitans corroborate one another in a way.

Your favorite dance must be the twist, since you seem to do that a lot with quotes and the like.

Are you familiar with what the Metropolitan Chief Canonist has said?  Are you justified in what to my feeble brain appears to be an instance of sacerdotal rudeness? 

I would be happy to entertain your interpretation of Met. Rodopoulos' words.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19437.msg289472/topicseen.html#msg289472
You fail to notice that Fr. George already commented on the Metropolitan's statement the last time you brought it up?
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« Reply #34 on: June 08, 2010, 07:45:56 PM »

But no matter: the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church - not in Constantinople, Moscow, Antioch, New York, or anywhere else.

The Church is the union of each of its particular churches; its indefectibility thus does not require the indefectibility of any one of its particular churches.
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« Reply #35 on: June 08, 2010, 07:58:48 PM »

Somewhere on the forum there is a statement from the Chief Canonist of the Throne, Metropolitan Rodopoulos (sp?) that because the Church of Constantinople is ailing and aberrant its chief hierarch is consequently ailing and aberrant.  In other words, a sick body brings about a sick head.   The statements from the two metropolitans corroborate one another in a way.

Your favorite dance must be the twist, since you seem to do that a lot with quotes and the like.

Are you familiar with what the Metropolitan Chief Canonist has said?  Are you justified in what to my feeble brain appears to be an instance of sacerdotal rudeness? 

I would be happy to entertain your interpretation of Met. Rodopoulos' words.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19437.msg289472/topicseen.html#msg289472
You fail to notice that Fr. George already commented on the Metropolitan's statement the last time you brought it up?

I would be happy to peruse his comments if you can please point to them.  Whether his comments justify saying that my favourite dance is the twist and I seem to twist a lot of quotes - that is moot.

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« Reply #36 on: June 08, 2010, 08:03:39 PM »

But no matter: the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church - not in Constantinople, Moscow, Antioch, New York, or anywhere else.

The Church is the union of each of its particular churches; its indefectibility thus does not require the indefectibility of any one of its particular churches.

The Church is also the church that you worship and pray in week in and week out.  The little "c" church has the fullness of the faith as the big "c" Church.  "Where the Bishop is, there is the church."--St. Ignatius.
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« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2010, 08:16:25 PM »

But no matter: the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church - not in Constantinople, Moscow, Antioch, New York, or anywhere else.

The Church is the union of each of its particular churches; its indefectibility thus does not require the indefectibility of any one of its particular churches.

The Church is also the church that you worship and pray in week in and week out.  The little "c" church has the fullness of the faith as the big "c" Church.  "Where the Bishop is, there is the church."--St. Ignatius.

I'm certainly aware of St. Ignatius work on this matter. Actually, that quote would designate that it is the diocese that has the fullness of the faith, rather than each parish within it. The difference is that back in his time the distinction is not so clear, as originally there was a bishop to every congregation.

However, my point still stands that any one parish, diocese, jurisdiction, metropolis, exarchate, patriarchate, etc. is subject to defection, whereas the Church abroad is not.
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« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2010, 08:20:54 PM »

Whether his comments justify saying that my favourite dance is the twist and I seem to twist a lot of quotes - that is moot. 

I apologize.  I assumed an ulterior motive where there likely was none.  Please accept my repentance and forgive me.

Somewhere on the forum there is a statement from the Chief Canonist of the Throne, Metropolitan Rodopoulos (sp?) that because the Church of Constantinople is ailing and aberrant its chief hierarch is consequently ailing and aberrant.  In other words, a sick body brings about a sick head.   

Here is the quote you provided earlier:
I see that Rodopoulos quotes Zonaras in his "Ecclesiological Review of the Thirty-Fourth Apostolic Canon" and the implication seems to be that at the present time the Ecumenical Patriarchate is ailing in some way and acting aberrantly:

""Just as bodies, if the head does not maintain its activity in good health, function faultily or are completely useless, so also the body of the Church, if its preeminent member, who occupies the position of head, is not maintained in his proper honor, functions in a disorderly and faulty manner." 

The statements from the two metropolitans corroborate one another in a way.

I do not believe so, and I fail to see the logic in your implication considering the text of the Metropolitan's comments above.

Your favorite dance must be the twist, since you seem to do that a lot with quotes and the like.

This was quite rude of me.

Are you familiar with what the Metropolitan Chief Canonist has said?  Are you justified in what to my feeble brain appears to be an instance of sacerdotal rudeness? 

I would be happy to entertain your interpretation of Met. Rodopoulos' words.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19437.msg289472/topicseen.html#msg289472

My comment from those days:
I don't really want to enter the debate, just a syntactical note about how the above quote from the Metropolitan should be interpreted, based on the sentence structure and comma usage:

""Just as bodies, if the head does not maintain its activity in good health, function faultily or are completely useless, so also the body of the Church, if its preeminent member, who occupies the position of head, is not maintained in his proper honor, functions in a disorderly and faulty manner."

EQUALS - "If the body does not maintain the position of the head, the body functions in a faulty or useless way; so too if the body of the Church does not maintain the proper honor of its preeminent member who occupies the position of head, then the Body of the Church will also function in a disorderly and faulty manner."

NOT - "If the body does not maintain the position of the head, the head functions in a faulty or useless way; so too if the body of the Church does not maintain the proper honor of its preeminent member who occupies the position of head, then the head will also function in a disorderly and faulty manner."

I would be happy to peruse his comments if you can please point to them. 

They are further down in the thread you have already linked.  I will not add more material to an already long post.
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« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2010, 08:26:47 PM »


I'm certainly aware of St. Ignatius work on this matter. Actually, that quote would designate that it is the diocese that has the fullness of the faith, rather than each parish within it. The difference is that back in his time the distinction is not so clear, as originally there was a bishop to every congregation.

Yeah, how dare St. Ignatius not write down an ecclesiology that takes into account modern trends.   He should have been omniscient, like every other church father!
 
Then you say that it is the diocese headed by a bishop that has the fullness of the faith rather than each parish, but then you reely admit that there was a bishop to every congregation.  Little bit of a non sequitur in your reasoning.

However, my point still stands that any one parish, diocese, jurisdiction, metropolis, exarchate, patriarchate, etc. is subject to defection, whereas the Church abroad is not.

What precisely do you mean by defection?  That needs some clarification as does "Church abroad."
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« Reply #40 on: June 08, 2010, 08:30:39 PM »

Somewhere on the forum there is a statement from the Chief Canonist of the Throne, Metropolitan Rodopoulos (sp?) that because the Church of Constantinople is ailing and aberrant its chief hierarch is consequently ailing and aberrant.  In other words, a sick body brings about a sick head.   The statements from the two metropolitans corroborate one another in a way.

Your favorite dance must be the twist, since you seem to do that a lot with quotes and the like.  But no matter: the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church - not in Constantinople, Moscow, Antioch, New York, or anywhere else.

No, it will not, Fr George. I have faith in that promise. But if we start going off on every tangential adventure that some of our bishops want, isn't that like putting the Lord to the test?

I am not afraid that the Church herself will fall; I am afraid that some of our leaders will shift the Church right out from under us. Christ never promised that would not happen. The Church can remain intact with one faithful bishop. But if the other 10,000 bishops and their flocks (unwittingly) are in schism, what is to become of those people who are being taught wrongly?

I know: The bishop will be responsible to God for his flock. But that is not comforting. I would rather just get it right and not test the Lord's mercy needlessly.
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« Reply #41 on: June 08, 2010, 08:46:06 PM »

But if we start going off on every tangential adventure that some of our bishops want, isn't that like putting the Lord to the test?

I don't believe so, not unless we want to admit that everything sinful that an Orthodox Christian does in the world is putting the Lord to the test, since He Himself tells us to "go, and sin no more."

I am not afraid that the Church herself will fall; I am afraid that some of our leaders will shift the Church right out from under us. Christ never promised that would not happen. The Church can remain intact with one faithful bishop. But if the other 10,000 bishops and their flocks (unwittingly) are in schism, what is to become of those people who are being taught wrongly?

I am a bit of a pessimist when it comes to the subject - council or no, if there are people who are susceptible to being tempted into schism by the Devil, he will tempt them.  The flocks may be unwitting, but the hierarchs will not be; however, either way, if they are weak in their adherence to the directions of the Spirit, the temptation will come, and they will be tested strongly.

I know: The bishop will be responsible to God for his flock. But that is not comforting. I would rather just get it right and not test the Lord's mercy needlessly.

We should test this process (the council) consistently & constantly - that we can agree upon.  If this council is from God, then it will happen regardless of our feelings.  And if it is not of God, then it will crumble under the weight of the faithful hierarchs, priests, deacons, and laity.
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« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2010, 08:54:35 PM »

Somewhere on the forum there is a statement from the Chief Canonist of the Throne, Metropolitan Rodopoulos (sp?) that because the Church of Constantinople is ailing and aberrant its chief hierarch is consequently ailing and aberrant.  In other words, a sick body brings about a sick head.   The statements from the two metropolitans corroborate one another in a way.

Your favorite dance must be the twist, since you seem to do that a lot with quotes and the like.

Are you familiar with what the Metropolitan Chief Canonist has said?  Are you justified in what to my feeble brain appears to be an instance of sacerdotal rudeness? 

I would be happy to entertain your interpretation of Met. Rodopoulos' words.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19437.msg289472/topicseen.html#msg289472
You fail to notice that Fr. George already commented on the Metropolitan's statement the last time you brought it up?

I would be happy to peruse his comments if you can please point to them.  Whether his comments justify saying that my favourite dance is the twist and I seem to twist a lot of quotes - that is moot.

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« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2010, 09:15:44 PM »

Yeah, how dare St. Ignatius not write down an ecclesiology that takes into account modern trends.   He should have been omniscient, like every other church father!

Huh? Where did I suggest that I had a problem with what St. Ignatius wrote? You're interpreting it such a way, but I don't see how.
 
Then you say that it is the diocese headed by a bishop that has the fullness of the faith rather than each parish, but then you reely admit that there was a bishop to every congregation.  Little bit of a non sequitur in your reasoning.

It was always the unit of organization of the bishop that had the fullness. Back in that time it was the parish, so the parish had the fullness. Now that it is the diocese, it is the diocese that has the fullness. It is simply whatever the basic episcopal unit is, as is supported by his statement that it is "wherever the bishop is". Not "wherever the priest is", but "wherever the bishop is".

What precisely do you mean by defection?  That needs some clarification as does "Church abroad."

Defection is when a thing violates its fundamental nature and thus becomes something else. If a congregation were to get rid of the Sacraments, it would be a defection and it would no longer be part of the Church. The "Church abroad" means the universal Church throughout the world. What I am saying, as such, is that any particular church is liable to somehow betraying the faith, but the universal Church is not.
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« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2010, 09:29:22 PM »

It was always the unit of organization of the bishop that had the fullness. Back in that time it was the parish, so the parish had the fullness. Now that it is the diocese, it is the diocese that has the fullness. It is simply whatever the basic episcopal unit is, as is supported by his statement that it is "wherever the bishop is". Not "wherever the priest is", but "wherever the bishop is".

Well, yes and no.  By virtue of the ordination & assignment of the priest, the permission to serve (on the antimitsion), and the commemoration of the hierarch in services, wherever the presbyter is, there is the bishop.  In the Communion of the Holy Gifts, all levels (the parish, diocese, eparchy, autocephaly, and world) are complete.
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