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Author Topic: Sacramental reception irregularities in the OO Tradition  (Read 6128 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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