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Author Topic: Sacramental reception irregularities in the OO Tradition  (Read 5952 times) Average Rating: 0
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deusveritasest
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« on: June 12, 2010, 07:11:27 PM »

I am curious as to why it seems that in OO history sometimes, particularly in the case of hierarchs, heretics were received back into the Church by no other form of Sacramental initiation other than Communion. I am thinking particularly of John of Antioch, who appears to have synodically supported a Theodorean Christology, and Acacius of Constantinople, who appears to have been a supporter of Chalcedon. As far as I can tell they were not required to receive Baptism, Chrismation, Confession, or Holy Orders, but only Communion while somehow regarded as having all the rest. Is this understood to have been a mistake? Or is there some justification that is made for it?
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2010, 10:53:37 AM »

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that schism had not yet been clearly cemented. I'm afraid I don't recall the exact reference, but I know Severus of Antioch spoke out against the practice of receiving Chalcedonians by Chrismation, insisting that a confession of faith was sufficient.

A related question: Has there ever been the practice of any OO church to receive Chalcedonians by baptism? Even when baptism of Roman Catholics was the common practice among the EO, I don't think OO were ever received by anything more than annointing.

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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2010, 11:00:16 AM »

Even when baptism of Roman Catholics was the common practice among the EO, I don't think OO were ever received by anything more than annointing.

Huh? I thought that Serbians, Athonites and at least part of the ROCOR are still receiving all converts by baptism regardless of their background.
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2010, 11:03:40 AM »

I suppose Serbians and Athonites do not have many OO converts.
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2010, 11:13:06 AM »

I suppose Serbians and Athonites do not have many OO converts.

That's probably true but I suppose that their clergy has some kind of instructions just in case.
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2010, 12:37:49 PM »

It was always the practice to receive those coming from the Byzantine Church by confession and never by baptism. This was the instruction of St Timothy Aleurus and was followed by St Severus. It was a great scandal when the Byzantines forced hierarchs to be baptised and ordained a second time. Indeed it was such a scandal on both sides that the Emperor intervened to prevent extremist bishops on the Byzantine side doing such things.

Even until recent times, as far as I can see from the services of reception, Byzantines would not be baptised. I think the case of Roman Catholics has become rather different because of i. baptism by sprinkling rather than immersion; ii. the intrusion of the Catholic hierarchy into Egypt; iii. doctrinal innovation.

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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2010, 12:48:29 PM »

I should also add that until after the time of St Severus it was still considered that the controversy which was dividing Christians was one which was taking place WITHIN the Church, and the Byzantines, though considered in error, were not considered to be some other Church. Rather they were in error within the Imperial Church.

During 512-518 AD the anti-Chalcedonians had gained control of Alexandria, Constanintople and Antioch. The Empress St Theodora was a staunch supporter of the Orthodox and there was no necessary reason why the Imperial Church should not have remained holding to an Orthodox Christology, save that the Emperor decided that it was more important for political reasons to gain and retain the support of Rome in the West.

For decades afterwards the anti-Chalcedonians continued to hope that the Emperor might return to an Orthodox point of view. It was with a great deal of hesitancy that an Orthodox hierarchy in resistance was formed, and at the beginning this was only out of necessity, since there were so many faithful who needed Orthodox shepherds.

Since the Imperial Church was not considered a separate heterodox body until late, but was considered the place where all belonged and where the struggle for Christological Orthodoxy must take place, it is natural that those who came to the Orthodox communion after holding an heterodox position should still have been considered as Christian and as members of the Church, even though rejecting error.

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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2010, 03:36:09 PM »

A related question: Has there ever been the practice of any OO church to receive Chalcedonians by baptism?

The agreement between the Coptic and Rum patriarchates of Alexandria on recognizing each other's baptisms would seem to imply that the Copts did not recognize Chalcedonian baptisms beforehand, especially seeing as how, if I remember correctly, they still don't recognize the baptisms of any other group.
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2010, 03:38:19 PM »

It was always the practice to receive those coming from the Byzantine Church by confession and never by baptism. This was the instruction of St Timothy Aleurus and was followed by St Severus. It was a great scandal when the Byzantines forced hierarchs to be baptised and ordained a second time. Indeed it was such a scandal on both sides that the Emperor intervened to prevent extremist bishops on the Byzantine side doing such things.

Even until recent times, as far as I can see from the services of reception, Byzantines would not be baptised.

They were not even received by Chrismation?
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2010, 03:41:05 PM »

No, I don't think that's the case. Dr Youhanna Youssef has written an academic paper about the form of prayer used for reception of Byzantines in the 19th century and there was no rebaptism. Indeed it seems to me that it would be against our Orthodox tradition to rebaptise. The patristic position is clearly that the baptism of a great many heterodox groups was accepted as adequate. It required a very major defect for the baptism of such groups to be rejected.

In the time of St Severus those coming from the Byzantine communion were only received by confession. I have the prayer somewhere that St Timothy Aelurus composed to be used and will post it when I find it.

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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2010, 03:53:45 PM »

I should also add that until after the time of St Severus it was still considered that the controversy which was dividing Christians was one which was taking place WITHIN the Church, and the Byzantines, though considered in error, were not considered to be some other Church.

I don't understand how a group with a Christology that is condemned as heretical can be viewed as really being within the Church.

Rather they were in error within the Imperial Church.

The irregularity of the Encyclical of Basiliscus and the Henotikon aside, I don't see how it is reasonable to view the OO as having been part of the Imperial Church after 451, given that they had rejected the faith established by the Emperor as the official faith of the Empire.
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2010, 04:01:52 PM »

Deusveritasest, these are your opinions, and I don't mean that critically, but they are not the opinions of the Fathers of the Church.

Those who rejected Chalcedon were clearly still part of the Imperial Church after 451 because they did not consider that there was any other Church. And indeed on a number of occasions the Imperial position was that of either a rejection of Chalcedon, or a studied neutrality about it. It was not until the 560s that it became clear that the future of the Orthodox Church required a hierarchy in resistance. But it was still a hierarchy in resistance, and not a necessarily separate one, and still spoke and prayed as if all was required was an Orthodox emperor to put things right.

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« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2010, 04:05:37 PM »

No, I don't think that's the case. Dr Youhanna Youssef has written an academic paper about the form of prayer used for reception of Byzantines in the 19th century and there was no rebaptism. Indeed it seems to me that it would be against our Orthodox tradition to rebaptise. The patristic position is clearly that the baptism of a great many heterodox groups was accepted as adequate. It required a very major defect for the baptism of such groups to be rejected.

In the time of St Severus those coming from the Byzantine communion were only received by confession. I have the prayer somewhere that St Timothy Aelurus composed to be used and will post it when I find it.

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Yet there are a number of Patristic sources which indicate that the baptisms of those who corrupt the doctrine of the Incarnation must not be accepted. The Chalcedonians corrupted the doctrine of the Incarnation. What is going on here?
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« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2010, 04:06:42 PM »

Deusveritasest, these are your opinions, and I don't mean that critically, but they are not the opinions of the Fathers of the Church.

Those who rejected Chalcedon were clearly still part of the Imperial Church after 451 because they did not consider that there was any other Church. And indeed on a number of occasions the Imperial position was that of either a rejection of Chalcedon, or a studied neutrality about it. It was not until the 560s that it became clear that the future of the Orthodox Church required a hierarchy in resistance. But it was still a hierarchy in resistance, and not a necessarily separate one, and still spoke and prayed as if all was required was an Orthodox emperor to put things right.

Father Peter

You're saying that the OO were part of the Imperial Church from 451-475??
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« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2010, 04:07:59 PM »

I should also add that until after the time of St Severus it was still considered that the controversy which was dividing Christians was one which was taking place WITHIN the Church, and the Byzantines, though considered in error, were not considered to be some other Church.

I don't understand how a group with a Christology that is condemned as heretical can be viewed as really being within the Church.

Rather they were in error within the Imperial Church.

The irregularity of the Encyclical of Basiliscus and the Henotikon aside, I don't see how it is reasonable to view the OO as having been part of the Imperial Church after 451, given that they had rejected the faith established by the Emperor as the official faith of the Empire.

When seeking an analogy for the condition between the Chalcedonians and OO's in the centuries immediately following Chalcedon, I often point to the current situation between the Old Calendarist and World Orthodox EO's.  They're not really in communion with each other, but I think on a certain level they still think of themselves as the same Church.  In any event, they still consider each other Eastern Orthodox.  The events that divided them are recent enough in time that they don't think of each other as entirely different Churches.  

I think that is kind of how things were between the Chalcedonians and OO's in the first few centuries after Chalcedon.  You can see this in the relationship between Justinian and St. Theodora.  One was Chalcedonian and the other OO, but I think they went to church together on Sundays.  It just took a few centuries before the split was really final.  Up until that time, there were periods of temporary reconciliation, like the Henotikon.  

I remember my priest once saying that it wasn't until after the Arab conquests that the schism was solidified.  In fact, as late as the time of Heraclius, the Armenians were still willing to fight on behalf of the Byzantines, like when they helped them get the Holy Cross back from the Persians.  My priest said that up until that time, if an Armenian travelled to Constantinople he could take communion at St. Sophia's without a problem.  It just took a while before the schism became what it is today.
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« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2010, 04:13:51 PM »

When seeking an analogy for the condition between the Chalcedonians and OO's in the centuries immediately following Chalcedon, I often point to the current situation between the Old Calendarist and World Orthodox EO's.  They're not really in communion with each other, but I think on a certain level they still think of themselves as the same Church.  In any event, they still consider each other Eastern Orthodox.  The events that divided them are recent enough in time that they don't think of each other as entirely different Churches.  

I think that is kind of how things were between the Chalcedonians and OO's in the first few centuries after Chalcedon.  You can see this in the relationship between Justinian and St. Theodora.  One was Chalcedonian and the other OO, but I think they went to church together on Sundays.

The two seem very different in my mind. I don't see how the World EO and the Old Calendarists have really diverged from each other on any point that is fundamental to salvation. On that basis, it is reasonable to believe that they are still one in faith and on some level still one Church. The Chalcedonians and OO, on the other hand, had a clear divergence on the understanding of the Incarnation, a doctrine that is clearly fundamental to salvation, and thus I think it is clear that they were not one in faith, and thus logically not one Church.
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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2010, 04:19:14 PM »

I guess they just saw it differently from how you see it.  True, it's an important matter, but somehow it was seen as a disagreement within the Church, rather than two completely different Churches.

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« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2010, 04:22:01 PM »

This was discussed a couple of years ago in a thread about post-Chalcedon saints who are common between the EO's and OO's.  There are a handful of them, and all lived within a couple of centuries after Chalcedon.  Sts. Theodora and Simeon Stylites are two of them.  The fact that we have these saints in common points to a mindset at the time that we were still somehow the same Church then.
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2010, 04:23:00 PM »

But you are clearly wrong because that is not what the Fathers of the Church taught or how they acted.

With respect, you need to understand their position and submit to it, rather than always insist that your view is correct and others are inconsistent or illogical.

St Severus considered himself part of the Imperial Church. St Timothy Aelurus considered himself part of the Imperial Church.

I would suggest that it is an error to speak as though the Imperial Church was monolithic at any time during this period. There were plenty of bishops who signed any document that was put in front of them. They were hardly the same as Theodoret and Ibas. And at the various conferences held between the two sides the issue was not so much Christology, which was close enough by the 530s, but the position of Chalcedon.

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« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2010, 04:23:57 PM »

The two seem very different in my mind. I don't see how the World EO and the Old Calendarists have really diverged from each other on any point that is fundamental to salvation.

Some Old Calendarists believe that many World Orthodox theologians adopted a distinct, heretical soteriology (see: The New Soteriology by Vladimir Moss).
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« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2010, 04:52:41 PM »

I guess they just saw it differently from how you see it.  True, it's an important matter, but somehow it was seen as a disagreement within the Church, rather than two completely different Churches.

I wonder if there is not some misperception here. If Chalcedon was really anathematized, then one would imagine that those who anathematized it would not allow those who previously accepted it to Communion unless they likewise anathematized. If Communion is technically as such walled off, then how can you possibly think that they understood themselves to be one Church? The One Church is one communion.
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« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2010, 04:55:17 PM »

This was discussed a couple of years ago in a thread about post-Chalcedon saints who are common between the EO's and OO's.  There are a handful of them, and all lived within a couple of centuries after Chalcedon.  Sts. Theodora and Simeon Stylites are two of them.  The fact that we have these saints in common points to a mindset at the time that we were still somehow the same Church then.

I can perhaps understand the EO understanding them and the OO to be one Church, as they often confessed the orthodoxy of the OO. On the other hand, the OO had a much more clear teaching on the heterodox nature of the Chalcedonian tradition.

Also, neither of those saints were understood to be Chalcedonian. Simeon Stylites was accepted on the basis of a supposed document which rejected Chalcedon.
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« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2010, 04:59:46 PM »

But you are clearly wrong because that is not what the Fathers of the Church taught or how they acted.

With respect, you need to understand their position and submit to it, rather than always insist that your view is correct and others are inconsistent or illogical.

That is not what I am doing. I will start quoting pre-Chalcedonian Patristic sources which deny the legitimacy of heterodox baptisms if that is really necessary.

St Severus considered himself part of the Imperial Church. St Timothy Aelurus considered himself part of the Imperial Church.

Where do you get that idea?

I would suggest that it is an error to speak as though the Imperial Church was monolithic at any time during this period.

The nature of the Imperial Church is defined by the faith that the Emperor advocated. Anything deviating from that is logically a faith movement within the Empire that is resisting the official faith and church of the Empire and is trying to convert the Empire.

There were plenty of bishops who signed any document that was put in front of them.

That is clearly an abuse of their ordination vows and even baptismal vows.
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« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2010, 05:08:27 PM »

Also, neither of those saints were understood to be Chalcedonian. Simeon Stylites was accepted on the basis of a supposed document which rejected Chalcedon.

St. Symeon has been claimed by both the OO's and EO's to have advocated their position.  There are letters from both sides which are attributed to him.  I don't think, however, that scholars really give much credence to those.  It's my impression, though, that he was probably Chalcedonian, given his friendship with Theodoret.

I think St. John of the Ladder is a saint on both sides, and he was clearly with the Chalcedonians.  Also, St. Daniel the Stylite is a saint in the Armenian Church and he was very Chalcedonian, and very anti-OO.  I guess his asceticism was admired by the Armenians and they were able to overlook his Christological position.
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« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2010, 05:12:15 PM »

Also, neither of those saints were understood to be Chalcedonian. Simeon Stylites was accepted on the basis of a supposed document which rejected Chalcedon.

St. Symeon has been claimed by both the OO's and EO's to have advocated their position.  There are letters from both sides which are attributed to him.  I don't think, however, that scholars really give much credence to those.  It's my impression, though, that he was probably Chalcedonian, given his friendship with Theodoret.

I think St. John of the Ladder is a saint on both sides, and he was clearly with the Chalcedonians.  Also, St. Daniel the Stylite is a saint in the Armenian Church and he was very Chalcedonian, and very anti-OO.  I guess his asceticism was admired by the Armenians and they were able to overlook his Christological position.

But there is no assurance of salvation outside of the Church. I don't see how it could be reasonable to affirm the Sainthood of someone who did not take of the Sacred Mysteries of the Church, the only means through which we know salvation is occurring.
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« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2010, 05:13:43 PM »

I am afraid that all you are doing is making statements of your own opinion and then insisting that the Fathers were in error for not acting according to your opinion.

They did not act in such a way, therefore it must be your opinion which is in error.

There are a many conciliar documents which list which heterodox groups should not be rebaptised. And it is clear that the Fathers did not accept the view that those coming from the Byzantine communion should be baptised. Indeed St Timothy ran into problems with his own flock because he wished to accept the bishops of the Proterian party with leniency and his flock wanted them excommunicated. But he insisted that it was wrong to baptise them. And it was an international scandal when hard-line Byzantine bishops started forcing Orthodox to be rebaptised.

How can I say that St Timothy considered himself part of the Imperial Church? Well he addressed himself to the Emperor, sought to justify himself with the Emperor, used various contacts to enable him to influence Emperors, and worked hard to bring about the rejection of Chalcedon. At no point does he speak or act as if he was the leader of some other Church.

I know you have a particular view, but when this does not match what the Fathers said and did then it is time to change your view. You want to create a greater divide than was there in reality. There had been many breaches of communion in the Church by 451 and indeed afterwards and these did not require one party to be reconciled as if it had ceased to be the Church. It was the same with the fluctuating and very fluid nature of the controversy over Chalcedon. Breaches in communion are not the same as one party ceasing to be the Church.

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« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2010, 05:19:04 PM »

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But there is no assurance of salvation outside of the Church. I don't see how it could be reasonable to affirm the Sainthood of someone who did not take of the Sacred Mysteries of the Church, the only means through which we know salvation is occurring.

But clearly the Fathers of the Church did not believe that the Byzantines were entirely outside the Church since they accepted their baptism and accepted their ordinations. When a priest or bishop came over to the Orthodox he was not baptised, nor chrismated, nor ordained. He was received by confession of faith, and then required to spend a year of probation before exercising his priesthood or episcopate again.

This is what the Fathers said and did. Therefore it is necessary to accept what they did as being entirely and properly Orthodox, and to base our own opinions on what they said and did. If we disagree with them then it is we who must justify our positions.

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« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2010, 05:21:14 PM »

I will start quoting pre-Chalcedonian Patristic sources which deny the legitimacy of heterodox baptisms if that is really necessary.

Alright, since you don't believe me I will have to go out and collect the quotes I have in mind.
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« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2010, 05:28:50 PM »

I am not sure what printing some quotes will do?

We know what St Timothy and St Severus said and did. As far as I can see that is normative for our Orthodox Church.

You gave this thread the title 'Sacramental reception irregularities in the OO Tradition' which seems to suggest that you had already decided that the practice of the Fathers was irregular. I think I want to dispute your authority to make such a claim.

As far as I am concerned what St Timothy and St Severus said and did is entirely Orthodox and cannot be considered irregular.

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« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2010, 05:36:04 PM »

Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council says..

Those who from heresy turn to orthodoxy, and to the portion of those who are being saved, we receive according to the following method and custom:  Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, who call themselves Cathari or Aristori, and Quarto-decimans or Tetradites, and Apollinarians, we receive, upon their giving a written renunciation [of their errors] and anathematize every heresy which is not in accordance with the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of God.  Thereupon, they are first sealed or anointed with the holy oil upon the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth, and ears; and when we seal them, we say, “The Seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Even the Arians are recieved without requiring a rebaptism. So we should not be surprised that Byzantines are received only by confession. It has not been the practice of the Church to rebaptise people unless they are very gross heretics. Again, this is why the practice of some Byzantine bishops who forced the rebaptism of Orthodox was considered a scandal.

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« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2010, 05:50:39 PM »

Wait a second...

You just cited a source that explicitly says that those groups are received by Chrismation.

And yet all along you have been advocating that it is not appropriate to assume that the Chalcedonians should have been received by Chrismation.

What gives?  Huh
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« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2010, 05:52:56 PM »

No, I thought the issue was baptism.  I think the point Fr. Peter made is that the Second Council doesn't require re-baptism even for people whose heresy is greater than the sort of thing we sometimes accuse the Chalcedonians of.
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« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2010, 06:03:28 PM »

No, I thought the issue was baptism.  I think the point Fr. Peter made is that the Second Council doesn't require re-baptism even for people whose heresy is greater than the sort of thing we sometimes accuse the Chalcedonians of.

Fundamentally, Chrismation has traditionally been viewed as a dimension of Baptism itself, and thus to accept a group by Chrismation is to imply that they didn't really have the proper effect of Baptism but it was rather being "completed" by Chrismation.

The discussion started when Father said that the Chalcedonians were received only be Confession, and not Baptism, and I asked if they were not even received by Chrismation, and he said that they were not, and I found that approach to be problematic.
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« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2010, 06:10:33 PM »

I think it is important to point out that the Quarto-Decimans were most certainly not guilty of an error that was as grave as the Chalcedonians, and probably the same could be said about the Novatians. Also that the Apollinarians were guilty of an error that was essentially on par with the errors that Chalcedon was alleged to have taught.
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« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2010, 06:14:09 PM »

I think it is important to point out that the Quarto-Decimans were most certainly not guilty of an error that was as grave as the Chalcedonians, and probably the same could be said about the Novatians. Also that the Apollinarians were guilty of an error that was essentially on par with the errors that Chalcedon was alleged to have taught.
 

Yeah, but the heresy of the Arians was pretty horrific and the Second Council even let them back in without re-baptism.  Again, I wonder if this has to do with the recentness of the schism.  Back then it was pretty recent in time and there may still have been a feeling that it was an inner-Church dispute.  Now that centuries have passed, Jehovah's Witnesses require baptism, no matter what Church is taking them in.
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« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2010, 06:14:59 PM »

You have been talking about baptism.

Indeed you were about to go and find quotes that show that the heterodox were received by baptism.

I think the issue is still that you have a predetermined opinion about what is correct and therefore criticise the Fathers because they do not act as you believe they should. This is the wrong way round. St Severus and St Timothy are not to be judged by us.

Clearly the Fathers of the Second Council did not require the baptism of Arians. I rather think that your opinion is that this is wrong. But if you think it is wrong then it is surely your opinion which must change, since the Second Council IS Orthodox and disagrees with what I assume is your view.

It seems to me that it is also wrong to link chrismation absolutely with baptism. It has also always been a means of reconciliation. Clearly St Severus and St Timothy did not believe that the Byzantines even needed to be chrismated, though later on, many centuries later, it does seem that chrismation was used as a means of reconciliation. I am not sure which of the variety of holy oils the Coptic Church uses was prescribed for the reconcilation of Byzantines in later ages. It need not have been the chrism of baptism.

The main issue is that the sacraments of the Byzantines were accepted. Though not in a black and white manner. Things are often not black and white.

With respect, I don't think it is important to point out anything about the variety of heterodoxies which did not require rebaptism. What is important is what St Severus and St Timothy taught and did. That is what defines my Orthodoxy in any case.

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« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2010, 06:23:34 PM »

I think it is important to point out that the Quarto-Decimans were most certainly not guilty of an error that was as grave as the Chalcedonians, and probably the same could be said about the Novatians. Also that the Apollinarians were guilty of an error that was essentially on par with the errors that Chalcedon was alleged to have taught.
 

Yeah, but the heresy of the Arians was pretty horrific and the Second Council even let them back in without re-baptism.  Again, I wonder if this has to do with the recentness of the schism.  Back then it was pretty recent in time and there may still have been a feeling that it was an inner-Church dispute.  Now that centuries have passed, Jehovah's Witnesses require baptism, no matter what Church is taking them in.

I do not think so. I think that they were to be Chrismated is an indication that their Baptisms were not recognized as effective, though they could be completed with Chrismation if they had the proper Trinitarian form, and thus that they were not part of the Church.
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« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2010, 06:29:36 PM »

You have been talking about baptism.

Father, I did quite clearly mention Chrismation after we started talking.

Indeed you were about to go and find quotes that show that the heterodox were received by baptism.

No, I was going to find quotes that showed that the Baptism of the heterodox was not recognized as efficacious. Reception by Chrismation has historically been understood as an economic manner of receiving those who have valid but not efficacious baptisms.

Clearly the Fathers of the Second Council did not require the baptism of Arians. I rather think that your opinion is that this is wrong.

No, because, as I said, Chrismation is historically a part of the rite and event of Baptism, to the point that in some lists of the Sacraments it wasn't even mentioned independently of Baptism. Reception of Chrismation is thus implicitly and even explicitly established as an indication that their overall baptismal rite is understood as not efficacious.

It seems to me that it is also wrong to link chrismation absolutely with baptism.

How so, when sometimes the reality of Chrismation wasn't even mentioned independent from Baptism?

Clearly St Severus and St Timothy did not believe that the Byzantines even needed to be chrismated,

If that is even the case, I think it is a highly problematic approach and seemingly inconsistent with the very canon you just quoted.
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« Reply #38 on: June 15, 2010, 04:49:04 AM »

I'd like to reiterate Orthodox11's question: Have the OO ever received the EO by baptism? 

Chris, you seem to think this might have been the case in the Coptic Church, but Fr. Peter has indicated otherwise.  Could anybody bring some outside sources to the thread one way or the other?

Thanks!  And I'm enjoying this discussion Cheesy
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« Reply #39 on: June 15, 2010, 05:22:23 AM »

GregoryLA,

It would not be surprising to find that at some time and in some place some EO was accepted by baptism.

But the explicit instruction of St Timothy and St Severus is that this should not take place. And the texts of the reception prayer used in the 19th century do not allow for baptism.

The issue, it seems to me, is not whether or not any EO have ever been received by baptism. Generally (because I do not want to exclude any instances that may exist) they have not. The issue is whether our Orthodox Faith is determined by the explicit teaching of the most important Fathers, or whether they are to be judged according to our own opinions.

If St Timothy and St Severus, and all the many Fathers who followed their instructions, received EO by confession and did not consider them to be entirely outside the Church, then we may not say that their teaching was flawed if we want to be Oriental Orthodox. Rather this IS the Orthodox position which our own opinions must be formed by.

Here is a rough translation of the form of prayer which St Timothy composed to be used by those seeking to be received back into the Orthodox communion. The fact that this is all that was required must form our theology, not be the basis of our criticism.

Here is the anathema which was imposed in Egypt, at the beginning of the persecution relating to the council which gathered at Chalcedon, upon all those who desired to turn from any of the heresies: that is to say, those who spoke of two natures and of the Nestorians or the Phantasists, which are the Eutychians, or of any of the heresies, of which, here is an example:

Anastase, priest of Jerusalem. I anathematise the impious symbol which came from the impious council which gathered at Chalcedon  – because of the impious and alien teachings, opposed to the apostolic faith, which are found therein  – as well as their adherents or those who have signed them, or those who participated in them; and the letter of Leo the irreligious person, bishop of Rome, and the teaching that it also contains, which is, together with them, alien to the catholic faith; and Juvenal the renegade, because he has supported these (teachings) and signed them, and all those which are in communion with him and anyone who receives bishop Juvenal because of (his) sentiments about God. Without being under any constraint, I signed here with my hand.

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« Reply #40 on: June 15, 2010, 05:50:49 AM »

And if we turn to St Severus, when he discusses how we should relate to those who belong to the Chalcedonian party he says..

For, if we are about to require strictness like our strictness which we observed when we were living in seclusion in monasteries, we shall not suffer presbyters or archimandrites, or anyone else who took part in the synod of Chalcedon, to be named. But, if we have regard to the complete conjunction and unity of the holy churches, which extends to many countries and churches, it is not easy suddenly to observe or think of any such rule: and, if we do, we shall unwittingly fall into useless confusion, and upset everything, since such things are not of a kind to stand at all in the way of the general benefit of peace.

Clearly he does not believe that an absolute strictness is necessary or appropriate. Indeed he criticises such strictness as leading to 'useless confusion'. He 'has regard to the complete conjunction and unity of the holy churches' not their continuing division. he is not willing to allow less important matters to stand 'in the way of the general benefit of peace'. He also says...

And know this, that, where general unions were concerned, the fathers did not wish to inquire into the observance of the strict rule with regard to names. Many of the 318 who assembled at Nicaea, as ecclesiastical histories relate, were present at the synod at Ariminus [sic] and at Sardica; and still, though the doctrines there laid down were not approved, no one contended about names. And in the same way at Nicaea in Thrace also the synod of bishops which pronounced that the Father is like the Son, not co-essential, was rightly rejected; and yet there was no question about names at that time. It is a long matter to recount the other rejected synods, that at Sirmium, that at Lampsacus, that at Rome, that at Zelo, that at your Seleucia, all of which the synod of the 150 caused to be passed over in silence as if it had forgotten them, not introducing among us any vain talk or superfluous inquiry about names, but only asserting the divinity of the Holy Spirit together with the Father and the Son, and explaining the intention of the 318. And, when the holy Cyril with the holy synod at Ephesus accomplished the deprivation of the evil Nestorius, the bishops of the East, though they contended for his rejected tenets, afterwards agreed to the deprivation of that wolf and the rejections of the hateful tenets; and there was never any discussion about names, although how many do you think had died in the meanwhile, who contended for the wickedness of Nestorius? For these things, as I have said, general unions have no room; but they remained without examination; since many are in fact passed over at councils, although they have often been involved in impious opinions. Since then at the present time some common agreement among the churches is hoped for, do not lower your mind to untimely hair-splitting. As there is a time to speak and a time to be silent, so there is a time both to inquire into a matter of this kind and not to inquire. Bear these things in mind and be rightly disposed, and have no regard to men who cleave to division, and find fault with everything in the same way, whom the sacred Scripture calls backbiters and enemies of the common peace, and Christ the God of peace.

St Severus wrote these words even though he was well aware of the suffering and persecution which the Orthodox had suffered over many years. But he did not want anything unnecessary to stand in the way of reconciliation, saying, 'at the present time some common agreement among the churches is hoped for, do not lower your mind to untimely hair-splitting'.

There were certainly lines in the sand which were non-negotiable as far as St Severus was concerned, but he was not a fundamentalist, and neither was St Timothy before him. He had in mind always the hope that the Church might be brought to peace again on the firm foundation of an Orthodox Christology.

St Severus also refers to the teaching of St Timothy on this matte, saying..

But this you may keep firmly and fixedly in your mind, that no one shall be our fellow-communicant, nor will we consent to greet by letter any man who at the same time receives the wicked synod at Chalcedon contrary to the law, and does not anathematize the Tome of Leo. But, if any concession is necessary, I will stand within the ordinances of the holy Timothy, considering the general benefit of a union of the holy churches, and demanding an open anathema of the things done at Chalcedon against the orthodox faith, and of the wicked Tome of Leo, and of those who speak of two natures after the union, and the operations of these and their properties. But, if these things are upset, no argument nor inducement shall persuade me to assent to the wickedness. For I say like Paul, «It is better for me to die, than that anyone should make my boasting vain: for, if I so preach, I have no cause of boasting; for necessity is laid upon me, and woe to me unless I so preach, since so I have received»

Clearly St Severus has in mind the 'general benefit of a union of the holy churches' and therefore adopts the same position as St Timothy, no more and no less, that reconciliation is based on the minimum which was considered appropriate, the anathematising of Chalcedon and the Tome and of the two nature after the union language. Other than this nothing more was required. This IS the Orthodox position - which of course later bishops and synods may modify but may not ignore. And which we, as ordinary faithful, should not criticise, but should understand and embrace.

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« Reply #41 on: June 15, 2010, 01:08:16 PM »

I don't see how it could be reasonable to affirm the Sainthood of someone who did not take of the Sacred Mysteries of the Church, the only means through which we know salvation is occurring.

Perhaps you should cease your reliance upon your reasoning.

Also, what do you think distinguishes you from protestants who go looking in the scripture for proof texts?
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« Reply #42 on: June 15, 2010, 01:37:39 PM »

Forgive me if this has already been addressed in this thread or elsewhere, but how are EO's received into the Coptic Church at present?  Is it through Chrismation, or only confession?

Even though Armenian priests will commune EO's without any conversion process, I do know one former EO at another Armenian parish who wanted to make a formal conversion to the Armenian Church.  He was received through Chrismation.
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« Reply #43 on: June 15, 2010, 03:09:50 PM »

Chris, you seem to think this might have been the case in the Coptic Church,

It would seem to be the logical implication of the Copts receiving everyone else by Baptism and just recently establishing a statement with the Byzantines recognizing their Baptisms.
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« Reply #44 on: June 15, 2010, 03:14:28 PM »

Even though Armenian priests will commune EO's without any conversion process, I do know one former EO at another Armenian parish who wanted to make a formal conversion to the Armenian Church.  He was received through Chrismation.

Do you happen to know why he wanted to convert?
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« Reply #45 on: June 15, 2010, 03:23:38 PM »

The issue, it seems to me, is not whether or not any EO have ever been received by baptism. Generally (because I do not want to exclude any instances that may exist) they have not. The issue is whether our Orthodox Faith is determined by the explicit teaching of the most important Fathers, or whether they are to be judged according to our own opinions.

Father,

I hate to have to question your intentions, but I am beginning to wonder if you are trying to make me look overly Protestant for the sake of discrediting my arguments. If so, I do not think such an analysis is fair, and I think it has no place in real debate.

I am not seeking to challenge the teachings of the Fathers. If anything I am seeking to question your interpretation of them. Or, if it is true that there is an irregularity in the approach of Saint Timothy and Saint Severus, I am seeking to challenge it in the light of the teachings of the other Fathers. However, I doubt that this latter situation is the case.

You yourself quoted an instance where the Fathers have proscribed that heretics be received by Chrismation. Why should it be any different for the Chalcedonians?

Here is also a quotation from the first rule of Saint Basil the Great:

"Nevertheless, it seemed best to the ancient authorities — those, I mean, who form the party*of Cyprian and our own Firmilian — to class them all under one head, including Cathari and Encratites and Aquarians and Apotactites; because the beginning, true enough, of the separation resulted through a schism, but those who seceded from the Church had not the grace of the Holy Spirit upon them; for the impartation thereof ceased with the interruption of the service. For although the ones who were the first to depart had been ordained by the Fathers and with the imposition of their hands they had obtained the gracious gift of the Spirit, yet after breaking away they became laymen, and had no authority either to baptize or to ordain anyone, nor could they impart the grace of the Spirit to others, after they themselves had forfeited it. Wherefore they bade that those baptized by them should be regarded as baptized by laymen, and that when they came to join the Church they should have to be repurified by the true baptism as prescribed by the Church. Inasmuch, however, as it has seemed best to some of those in the regions of Asia, for the sake of extraordinary concession (or "economy") to the many, to accept their baptism, let it be accepted. As for the case of the Encratites, however, it behooves us to look upon it as a crime, since as though to make themselves unacceptable to the Church they have attempted to anticipate the situation by advocating a baptism of their own; hence they themselves have run counter to their own custom. I deem, therefore, that since there is nothing definitely prescribed as regards them, it was fitting that we should set their baptism aside, and if any of them appears to have left them, he shall be baptized upon joining the Church. If, however, this is to become an obstacle in the general economy (of the Church), we must again adopt the custom and follow the Fathers who economically regulated the affairs of our Church. For I am inclined to suspect that we may by the severity of the proposition actually prevent men from being saved because of their being too indolent in regard to baptism. But if they keep our baptism, let this not deter us. For we are not obliged to return thanks to them, but to serve the Canons with exactitude. But let it be formally stated with every reason that those who join on top of their baptism must at all events be anointed by the faithful, that is to say, and thus be admitted to the Mysteries."

Basil makes it very clear that the Baptism of heretics and schismatics is not recognized as efficacious, and is completed by annointing/laying on of hands. Recognition of their Baptisms can only be a matter of "oconomia". Again, why it should be any different with the Chalcedonians, I don't know.

Also, that St Timothy and St Severus received the Chalcedonians by a confession of faith would not seem necessarily inconsistent with the process described in canon 7 of Constantinople II. For it does say that a confession of faith be received before the converts are anointed with chrism. Whether or not St Timothy or St Severus were advocated just a confession of faith or a confession of faith and then anointing appears to be unknown yet far.
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« Reply #46 on: June 15, 2010, 03:31:44 PM »

Perhaps you should cease your reliance upon your reasoning.

Also, what do you think distinguishes you from protestants who go looking in the scripture for proof texts?

Because the reasoning is based off of the teachings on the Fathers, this in particular interpreting "extra ecclesium nulla salus". This teaching has more Patristic basis than recognizing heretics as Saints.
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« Reply #47 on: June 15, 2010, 03:33:34 PM »

Forgive me if this has already been addressed in this thread or elsewhere, but how are EO's received into the Coptic Church at present?  Is it through Chrismation, or only confession?

Even though Armenian priests will commune EO's without any conversion process, I do know one former EO at another Armenian parish who wanted to make a formal conversion to the Armenian Church.  He was received through Chrismation.

Salpy, it is through Chrismation. I know this for certain as I not long ago discussed potentially converting with a Coptic Orthodox priest and he told me it would be by Chrismation. On top of this, when discussing inter-denominational marriages, the Diocese of the Southern United States says that EO can only marry OO if they are first Chrismated.
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« Reply #48 on: June 15, 2010, 03:50:56 PM »

Even though Armenian priests will commune EO's without any conversion process, I do know one former EO at another Armenian parish who wanted to make a formal conversion to the Armenian Church.  He was received through Chrismation.

Do you happen to know why he wanted to convert?

I don't think it was Chalcedon.  In real life conversions are usually not over issues like that.  Well, except for Deusveritasest.   Smiley
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« Reply #49 on: June 15, 2010, 03:51:43 PM »

You know that in your case it would have been by chrismation, but we don't know why the priest you approached advised that.

I know of Byzantines who were not received by chrismation. I have also already said that a form of anointing was introduced centuries after St Timothy and St Severus. And as I have said before, it is wrong to associate chrismation only with baptism. It has also always been used as a means of reconciliation, even in the case of those who have been Orthodox, have wandered away and come back again. The anointing that was used to reconcile those coming from the Byzantines was a form of reconciling not a form of baptism. It is a modern heresy that any old baptism can be made OK simply by chrismation. If a baptism is not a baptism it cannot be made a baptism. If an ordination is not an ordination it cannot be made an ordination.

All of the sacraments of the Byzantine Church are accepted by the Coptic Orthodox Church. This is why a Coptic Orthodox member of a mixed marriage can recieve all of the sacraments in the Greek Church. Therefore when a Byzantine transfer is anointed it cannot be because their baptism is considered defective.

I am not at all sure why you are so insistent of trying to show that the most Orthodox of Fathers are in error simply because they disagree with your opinion. Why can you not simply submit to the teaching of the Church. If you don't agree with it then don't keep struggling, just stay EO.

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« Reply #50 on: June 15, 2010, 04:29:55 PM »

You know that in your case it would have been by chrismation, but we don't know why the priest you approached advised that.

I know of Byzantines who were not received by chrismation. I have also already said that a form of anointing was introduced centuries after St Timothy and St Severus. And as I have said before, it is wrong to associate chrismation only with baptism. It has also always been used as a means of reconciliation, even in the case of those who have been Orthodox, have wandered away and come back again. The anointing that was used to reconcile those coming from the Byzantines was a form of reconciling not a form of baptism. It is a modern heresy that any old baptism can be made OK simply by chrismation. If a baptism is not a baptism it cannot be made a baptism. If an ordination is not an ordination it cannot be made an ordination.

All of the sacraments of the Byzantine Church are accepted by the Coptic Orthodox Church. This is why a Coptic Orthodox member of a mixed marriage can recieve all of the sacraments in the Greek Church. Therefore when a Byzantine transfer is anointed it cannot be because their baptism is considered defective.

I am not at all sure why you are so insistent of trying to show that the most Orthodox of Fathers are in error simply because they disagree with your opinion. Why can you not simply submit to the teaching of the Church. If you don't agree with it then don't keep struggling, just stay EO.

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With respect Father Peter, I don't think that we are suitable for him.
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« Reply #51 on: June 15, 2010, 05:26:42 PM »

From the Coptic Orthodox tradition...

A text dated from 1854 prescribes a confession of faith and various prayers for a convert and then says that he is to have the Gospel and the Flask of Holy Chrism placed on his head, and then he is to be blessed with the Gospel and with the Flask of Holy Chrism which remains sealed, as confirmation of his promises - therefore in 1854 there is neither baptism nor chrismation. The Gospel and Chrism Flask are solemn witnesses to the promises made by the convert. The convert, in 1854, is not chrismated.

The Canons of Patriarch Christodulos (1047-1077AD) in Canon 26 says..

Whosoever has married a Melkite woman, it is not possible for them to be crowned with us, till after he has imposed on his wife the condition that she shall not communicate except with us, and that they shall not baptise their children except with us.

There is no mention of the Melkite woman being baptised or chrismated before marriage.

In the 13th century Book of Spiritual Medicine attributed to Bishop Michael of Atrib when speaking of the Byzantines says..

And about this, the Holy Spirit knows that their faith is straight or nearly straight, they separate themselves from us by their traditions, sayings that they are committed to either by ignorance; the fathers did not ordered us to baptise them. The reason of the baptism is to be performed in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; The Consubstantial Trinity and the eternity. It is also the faith in the Incarnation of the Son... Whosoever believes in this is an Orthodox faithful, nothing is less for his faith but he was separated in different customs, traditions, lack of knowledge of explanation, He opposed to some fasting days, or some statements or food. His faith is not lesser but he should be considered as a sinner faithful, whenever he will leave this sin separated him from us, he became one with us, he should not be baptised or curse him or curse his belief … according to what is ordered by the Canon 36 and 25 of the 318 fathers (of Nicaea).

This says that the faith of the Byzantines is 'nearly straight' and that they should be received as 'sinning faithful', that is, penitents, and that they should not be baptised because they are already 'Orthodox faithful'.

Another commentary of the same period..

The question number fourteen: “If a Melkite or Nestorian person wishes to enter to the Jacobite denomination, should he be baptised? And if he has any rank of the priesthood, should he be re-consecrated? And if he is married, should he be re-crowned or not?

The Answer: The Aconites, Melkites and Nestorians have in common ten fundamental issues of the faith among them the unique baptism. If someone, from the above two denominations, or their followers, wishes to leave his denomination to enter to the Jacobite denomination, his baptism will be accepted after renouncing the belief of the two substances, the two hypostases and the two will in the reality of Lord Christ – to Whom be the glory- and confess the oneness in all the abovementioned. The Jacobite priest will recite prayers established in the Coptic Church for each group for joining it (the Church). This all will take place in front of the holy altar  with the instruction of the priest.

As for the ranks of the priesthood, the (candidate) will be degraded one degree, and accepted and he will be consecrated by the hand of the Jacobite priest to the same rank that he left, in order to concelebrate with us. As for the other rank, it depends on his worthy. As for the marriage, it should be accepted after the renunciation to what was mentioned and the confession of what was listed.”


Again, the baptism is accepted on renouncing error and confessing the Orthodox Faith. There is no mention of chrismation, and certainly no baptism. These three groups have ten fundamentals of faith in common with the Orthodox. All that is required is a right confession and the prayers of reconciliation.

This seems to me to clearly show the practice of the Orthodox Church in Egypt from the 5th to the 19th century. There is no evidence that the official position has ever been to baptise converts from the Byzantine Church, nor even to chrismate until our own times. Even with the modern chrismation it is not clear to me that this has any connection with baptism. Dr Youhanna Youssef, from whose excellent paper on the reception of converts I have taken these extracts, has shown that the developing rite has some connection to the rite for praying for healing for the sick - which of course also includes an anointing that has nothing to do with regularising a baptism.

Father Peter
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« Reply #52 on: June 15, 2010, 07:13:58 PM »


I am not at all sure why you are so insistent of trying to show that the most Orthodox of Fathers are in error simply because they disagree with your opinion. Why can you not simply submit to the teaching of the Church. If you don't agree with it then don't keep struggling, just stay EO.

Father Peter

He's got pretty much the same problem with our Fathers.
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« Reply #53 on: June 16, 2010, 01:56:08 PM »

I don't see how his position is dramatically different from those OO who criticize St. Cyril for accepting the Formula of Reunion.
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« Reply #54 on: June 16, 2010, 02:16:06 PM »

I don't see how his position is dramatically different from those OO who criticize St. Cyril for accepting the Formula of Reunion.

Those who think the Formula of Reunion was an unwise move are criticizing one particular act of one particular saint.  We do that.  We don't hold to the belief that our saints are infallible.

What's going on with Chris here is that he is (if I understand correctly) criticizing a tradition (not re-baptizing EO's) which has been upheld by a number of Church Fathers, and the Church itself, over the centuries.
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« Reply #55 on: June 16, 2010, 03:40:44 PM »

It is a condition common to converts. Its correction requires doing just as Fr. Peter said, and submitting one's own will, understanding, and opinions to the teaching of the Church and her tradition. We ourselves are no standard of perfection, rather it is the other way around. The Church tells us that it is we who are wrong, we who need to change.

It seems to me that certain theological issues and Christological controversies can be a distraction from real spiritual work. Obsession with them masks passions like pride and egoism, covering them under a seemingly pious mantle of confessional purity and dogmatic righteousness. It is a dangerous spiritual situation, whether one is leaving a particular Church or coming to faith in the first place. A convert, who has not grown up under spiritual authority, must submit himself to it. This requires a recognition that his is not himself an authority--quite a struggle, especially for modern man.
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« Reply #56 on: June 16, 2010, 04:32:04 PM »

Father, I will need to take some time to prepare before making my next response.
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« Reply #57 on: June 16, 2010, 04:49:31 PM »


Another commentary of the same period..

The question number fourteen: “If a Melkite or Nestorian person wishes to enter to the Jacobite denomination, should he be baptised? And if he has any rank of the priesthood, should he be re-consecrated? And if he is married, should he be re-crowned or not?

The Answer: The Aconites, Melkites and Nestorians have in common ten fundamental issues of the faith among them the unique baptism. If someone, from the above two denominations, or their followers, wishes to leave his denomination to enter to the Jacobite denomination, his baptism will be accepted after renouncing the belief of the two substances, the two hypostases and the two will in the reality of Lord Christ – to Whom be the glory- and confess the oneness in all the abovementioned. The Jacobite priest will recite prayers established in the Coptic Church for each group for joining it (the Church). This all will take place in front of the holy altar  with the instruction of the priest.

As for the ranks of the priesthood, the (candidate) will be degraded one degree, and accepted and he will be consecrated by the hand of the Jacobite priest to the same rank that he left, in order to concelebrate with us. As for the other rank, it depends on his worthy. As for the marriage, it should be accepted after the renunciation to what was mentioned and the confession of what was listed.”


Fr. Peter- would you mind naming this source and also who translated it? Some questions about it:

Who were the Aconites?

Is "denominations" really the right translation of the word being used to describe the Jacobites along with the "Melkites" and Nestorians?

It says Eastern Orthodox baptism is accepted after renouncing belief not only in two hypostases (which of course we never professed) but two substances and two wills. Are these latter two conditions still in place?
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« Reply #58 on: June 16, 2010, 05:13:06 PM »

It's a rough English translation from an Arabic source. It was translated by Dr Youhanna Youssef.

I could find out what the Arabic word translated as denomination is. It clearly is not 'denomination' which is a latin word.

Our Orthodox understanding of the one will and one nature is not always understood by the Byzantines. It does not mean what you may think it to mean. I'd not want this thread to go off into a discussion of will. Indeed I think we have just finished that topic again not long ago.

As a priest I would want to understand what any Byzantine convert meant by two natures and two wills. It is the meaning that matters. Let me perhaps say, as a brief response, that what would be rejected would be a view of the natures and wills of Christ which introduced division into the Word incarnate. That would still be necessary for membership of the Orthodox Church. This does not mean that I would be shocked by your use of the phrases 'two wills' and 'two natures'. Nor even that I would consider them always and entirely heretical. I would certainly consider them less sound and less useful. Which is why I would not think that the Church would simply deal at the lexical level and reject words and phrases without seeking to understand what is meant by a particular person requesting membership of the Church.

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« Reply #59 on: June 17, 2010, 08:56:16 PM »

Huh? I thought that Serbians, Athonites and at least part of the ROCOR are still receiving all converts by baptism regardless of their background.

Are you sure that's also the case for OO? I know the Synod in Resistance bishop here has received OO by confession of faith alone, and that group tends to baptise all other converts.
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« Reply #60 on: July 12, 2010, 07:11:43 PM »

A related question: Has there ever been the practice of any OO church to receive Chalcedonians by baptism?

The agreement between the Coptic and Rum patriarchates of Alexandria on recognizing each other's baptisms would seem to imply that the Copts did not recognize Chalcedonian baptisms beforehand, especially seeing as how, if I remember correctly, they still don't recognize the baptisms of any other group.
No, the Copts recognized Ruumii baptisms. The opposite has not always been the case, however.
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« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2010, 03:54:48 PM »

In the history of the Armenian Church we find examples of rebaptizing of Chalcedonic Armenians. I can now recall two catholicoses of the 10th century, Anania and Khachik, who ordered to rebaptize the Chalcedonic Armenians before accepting them in our Church.

In both sides, EO and OO, at different times there were different practices of accepting each other. So "irregularities" occurred in both sides. Just as today. In one place the EO rebaptize the Armenians, in another place they only chrismate, while in some third place none of this is done, the Armenians are accepted through confession only.

For example, according to the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church from 1840.II.20 neither Nestorians, nor miaphysites are rebaptized or even chrismated when being accepted into the Russian Church. It is enough for them to renounce their old belief and accept the new faith. This is done according to the 95th rule of Trullo.
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« Reply #62 on: July 19, 2010, 06:34:24 PM »

 Also, St. Daniel the Stylite is a saint in the Armenian Church and he was very Chalcedonian, and very anti-OO.  I guess his asceticism was admired by the Armenians and they were able to overlook his Christological position.

I want to give a correction here.  I got this information from an Armenian calendar book that said the St. Daniel we venerate in early December is Daniel the Stylite.  This morning I was able to ask someone about this, and I was told that this is incorrect and that the St. Daniel we venerate in early December is one of the Desert Fathers.

That's a bit of a relief.  I mean it's nice having an open minded Church, but this was a little too open minded.   Grin
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« Reply #63 on: November 05, 2011, 07:44:54 PM »

I would like to resurrect this thread because I am curious of something...

Father, if the the Byzanto-Melkites (and even Nestorians, for that matter) were received into our/the Church only via confessing Orthodoxy and renouncing their previous beliefs, why is it modern practice in OOxy to re-chrismate the Melkites?

Also, how did our Coptic Church feel about the Syriacs receiving the Nestorians via confession?

Further, who are the "Aconites"?

Father bless,
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« Reply #64 on: November 05, 2011, 08:34:34 PM »

It is a modern heresy that any old baptism can be made OK simply by chrismation. If a baptism is not a baptism it cannot be made a baptism. If an ordination is not an ordination it cannot be made an ordination.

Father, bless,

I'm not sure what the OO do with Roman Catholics, but it's common in EO jurisdictions of Greek patrimony to Chrismate them. And yet a significant amount of the Orthodox (both Oriental and Eastern) seem pretty adamant about them not having sacramental grace. Every official explanation I've seen of this says that their RC Baptism is retroactively graced by the Chrismation. Are you sure that this is a heretical sacramentology? If so, that means that the EO Church has some majorly defective praxis in this area.
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« Reply #65 on: November 05, 2011, 08:36:59 PM »

^Do you two think that the economia "escape-hatch" applies in this case in point?
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« Reply #66 on: November 05, 2011, 08:43:18 PM »

Who are you asking?
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« Reply #67 on: November 05, 2011, 08:50:36 PM »

Who are you asking?
^Do you two think that the economia "escape-hatch" applies in this case in point?
Both of you.
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« Reply #68 on: November 05, 2011, 08:56:13 PM »

Who are you asking?
^Do you two think that the economia "escape-hatch" applies in this case in point?
Both of you.

 Sad

Father Peter said that economy cannot be applied in this case and it's "heretical" to claim that it can be. I'm waiting for him to reply and elucidate, but right now I have to disagree as pretty much everything I've seen on the topic disagrees with him (if I'm understanding him correctly).
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« Reply #69 on: November 06, 2011, 01:24:39 PM »

Any chrismation of Eastern Orthodox is non-canonical and is expressly forbidden by the Fathers.

Such anointings have only taken place very recently - in the last decades as far as I can see. Certainly in the 19th century there was still no anointing of those joining the Church from the EO. Even the manifest ecclesiology of the Synod at present shows that this is an error since it is accepted that some (and therefore all) EO may receive all the sacraments in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and that some (and therefore all) Coptic Orthodox may receive all the sacraments in the EO Church. How can Coptic Orthodox be allowed to receive the sacraments in the EO communion by economy? It is not possible if the EO lack sacramental grace. It is clear that the EO are being considered as being within the bounds of the Church even while there is still a division. This has always been the view of the Church, and is illustrated by all the instances of partial and termporary reunion which have taken place in the history of the Church.

This is clearly not a matter of economy. Even during the fiercest persecution of the Church by the Empire it was considered deeply wrong to baptise, chrismate or ordain anyone coming from the EO. At the same time our Fathers are also quite happy to say that the ordinations of other schismatic and heretical groups are not to be accepted at all. Therefore the Fathers were able to distinguish between those they wished to consider as completely outside the Church, and those somehow connected to the Church but in error.
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« Reply #70 on: November 06, 2011, 01:52:02 PM »

^That's interesting. I wonder why we have started to chrismate EOs, then. Huh Well, what are your thoughts on the Nestorians being received into the Jacobite Church only through renouncing a two-hypostasis Christology? Does this imply we believed the Nestorian baptism was grace-filled? Also, how did the Coptic Church feel about her sister Syrian Church receiving Nestorians through confession?

EDIT: Also Father, isn't the Coptic-Roman Orthodox intercommunion only applicable in Egypt? I know my Diocese does not commune Chalcedonians and I do not think my Priest would approve of me communing with the EO until we fully reunite, though he does believe they are Orthodox in faith.

It is also interesting to see that we have Saints and Holy Fathers like Bp. Michael of Atrib who was open to the idea that the Byzantine faith was 'straight'/Orthodox or 'nearly straight' long before the joint commissions.

Thank you again.
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« Reply #71 on: November 06, 2011, 02:15:35 PM »

Severian, it can't be theologically restricted to Egypt though.

If there is lay intercommunion in Egypt then there is lay intercommunion full stop. It may not be practiced commonly elsewhere for a variety of reasons but theologically there can be no reason for it not to be.

Personally, I know of plenty of Coptic priests who commune EO, and plenty of Copts who have communed among the EO.
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« Reply #72 on: November 06, 2011, 02:17:40 PM »

Severian, if you study our history you will see that the EO have ALWAYS been received as Orthodox when they have rejected those errors which caused division in the first place.
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« Reply #73 on: November 06, 2011, 02:18:42 PM »

Severian, it can't be theologically restricted to Egypt though.
That's what I was thinking too...

What about the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox receiving Nestorians simply after renouncing a belief in two hypostases? What are your thoughts on that?
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« Reply #74 on: November 06, 2011, 02:19:07 PM »

Severian, if you study our history you will see that the EO have ALWAYS been received as Orthodox when they have rejected those errors which caused division in the first place.
I see what you mean, and I am aware our Saints did receive them into our Church after renouncing their previous beliefs. I was simply making a general remark.
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« Reply #75 on: November 06, 2011, 02:50:39 PM »

Lol!

I just want it to be very clear that the modern 'hard-line' view which some Copts exhibit is a modern novelty.

To be strict about Christology has not required an exclusive attitude towards the Chalcedonians on the part of our Fathers, and it seems to me that it is problematic to begin chrismating EO now, after so much useful dialogue, when such anointings were anathema in the past even during periods of fierce persecution.

THIS BELOW IS NOT ADDRESSED AT YOU AT ALL!!!!!

To be radically Orthodox requires a rootedness in the teaching and example of the Fathers, not the narrow application of a subset of canons in accordance with personal opinion. I want to keep asking 'What does St Severus say and do?'.

The Fathers who suffered personal loss, exile and even martyrdom did not teach us to reject the baptism, chrismation and even ordination and consecration of those in the Chalcedonian communion. I truly hesitate to know what to think when considering the anointing of any person coming from the Chalcedonians, even though I know the current practice, because St Severus considers it 'an abominable tenet of a self-created observance, I mean that of the illegal re-anointing'.

Since we already accept those in Egypt without such anointing it is inconsistent at the least to demand it elsewhere. Indeed we can imagine a scenario where an EO has been communing for years at a Coptic Church, without any anointing, and then both this one and the Coptic priest emigrate to some island and the EO must now be anointed. It is not theologically consistent and therefore it is not clear to me what the ecclesiological intention of such instructions is? This is a very recent situation. I am sure that it will continue to be discussed and a more clearly patristic resolution will be established in due course.
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« Reply #76 on: November 06, 2011, 03:00:44 PM »

^Yes, it does seem inconsistent and it may be discontinued soon. But, I am quite surprised the Syriac Orthodox received Nestorians simply after renouncing a belief in a duality of hypostases, I would have thought the Coptic Church would have thrown a fit. Wink
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« Reply #77 on: November 06, 2011, 03:05:34 PM »

In regard to the reunion of Nestorians with the Syrian Church (I guess you mean the reconciliation of the Indian Church with the Syrian and the provision of bishops?) I would say that in the terms of St Severus the Chalcedonians were also essentially 'Nestorian', and that this was certainly the view at the earlier period of St Timothy who introduced the universal process for receiving Chalcedonians.

The fact that (from our point of view) the Chalcedonian communion excluded certain positions in the 6th century, and became clearly NOT 'Nestorian' or 'semi-Nestorian' is not the basis for our communion having received Chalcedonians by confession of Faith since the process was created and adopted at a time before the 6th century developments. Therefore the historic reconciliation of the 'Nestorians' by the Syrian Orthodox is entirely within the view of this historic and patristic process of reconciliation.
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« Reply #78 on: November 06, 2011, 03:15:11 PM »

^Thank you again, Fr. Peter. Smiley
« Last Edit: November 06, 2011, 03:15:21 PM by Severian » Logged


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« Reply #79 on: November 06, 2011, 03:29:48 PM »

In the Middle Ages the Coptic Orthodox Church had some relations with Rome that were generally positive. Francis of Assisi was in Egypt, and I am trying to find out if there are any Egyptian records of his visit, and the response to him.

There were various Catholic visitors to Egypt who were received fairly warmly. And there were Coptic visitors to Rome, and Coptic participants in the Roman reunion councils. The Coptic Orthodox Church appears to have been in a vague union with the Roman Church for some time, and I am trying to see to what extent this included inter-communion.

It seems to me that the reconciliation failed, as it did elsewhere, because the Romans were looking for a fairly dominating response, and the adoption of Roman practices and teachings, while the Coptic Orthodox were willing to consider some sort of relationship on the basis of not changing their Faith one iota.

It does appear that in this period of rapprochment there was no expectation on the part of the Copts that the Roman Catholics would be baptised, chrismated or ordained.

Of course there were other partial and temporary reconciliations with the Eastern Orthodox and none of those included baptisms, chrismations or ordinations. I am working on an extended paper which will consider the OO attitude and practice throughout history to the reception of Chalcedonians and then meaning of this history for present efforts at reconciliation.
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« Reply #80 on: November 06, 2011, 03:50:32 PM »

In the Middle Ages the Coptic Orthodox Church had some relations with Rome that were generally positive. Francis of Assisi was in Egypt, and I am trying to find out if there are any Egyptian records of his visit, and the response to him.

There were various Catholic visitors to Egypt who were received fairly warmly. And there were Coptic visitors to Rome, and Coptic participants in the Roman reunion councils. The Coptic Orthodox Church appears to have been in a vague union with the Roman Church for some time, and I am trying to see to what extent this included inter-communion.

It seems to me that the reconciliation failed, as it did elsewhere, because the Romans were looking for a fairly dominating response, and the adoption of Roman practices and teachings, while the Coptic Orthodox were willing to consider some sort of relationship on the basis of not changing their Faith one iota.

It does appear that in this period of rapprochment there was no expectation on the part of the Copts that the Roman Catholics would be baptised, chrismated or ordained.

Of course there were other partial and temporary reconciliations with the Eastern Orthodox and none of those included baptisms, chrismations or ordinations. I am working on an extended paper which will consider the OO attitude and practice throughout history to the reception of Chalcedonians and then meaning of this history for present efforts at reconciliation.

Actually, I read somewhere in Theodore Hall Patrick's book about the Coptic Church that one of the patriarchs contemplated uniting with Rome and accepting its dogmas, including purgatory, Fioloque, and Rome's primacy, but was this union was rejected because Rome wanted to Latinize Copts, and the Coptic synod considered such ideas as heresy and rebuked the patriarch for such considerations.  It seems it was during a time of desperation I believe when Coptic hierarchies were suffering from the Jizya laws of the Muslims.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2011, 03:51:44 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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