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Author Topic: On Full Communion Between the Four Apostolic Churches  (Read 7049 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 15, 2010, 03:36:21 PM »

CONTEXT NOTE:  The following thread split off from here:  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11764.0.html  -PtA



I would like to see the conditions occur for shared communion, not only with Roman Catholics, but also non-Calcedonian Orthodox. My opinion is that there are three Apostolic Churches - the three just mentioned.

If you set doctrinal issues aside like that, there are at least 4 basic Apostolic faith traditions: the Roman (the "Catholic Church"), the Byzantine (the "Orthodox Church"), the Oriental (the "Oriental Orthodox Church"), and the East Assyrian (the "Assyrian Church of the East"). The "Old Catholic Church" (primarily within the Union of Utrecht) and the Anglican Communion would both be additional possibilities, however.
I got in trouble on Sunday at a wedding when I was discussing the four ancient churches with an Orthodox catechumen. I told him I would be ecstatic if he joined any apostolic church, but that the Anglicans did not count. I offended two nearby Anglicans inadvertently. There are various splinter sects, like the Old Catholics, the Polish National Church, and other ones that have received ordinations from vagante bishops, but typically, they die out rather quickly and begin to behave in a very unapostolic fashion.

The four churches you listed all share a belief in the seven sacraments, and they have a clear line of descent to the apostles. Now, while there are doctrinal differences between them, they have all retained a belief in a real priesthood, a real Eucharist, and a real, continuing, visible church. The Anglicans forsook the idea of a sacrificial priesthood, and that really separates them from apostolic Christianity. I personally consider Anglican ministers to have Holy Orders with a defect, because in some places the intent has been retained, and the line of succession is unbroken, although the intent of ordination was radically altered.

However, the four you listed are what I would consider the four churches most consistent with apostolic Christianity.
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2010, 03:59:40 PM »

I told him I would be ecstatic if he joined any apostolic church, but that the Anglicans did not count.

Why is that?

There are various splinter sects, like the Old Catholics, the Polish National Church, and other ones that have received ordinations from vagante bishops, but typically, they die out rather quickly and begin to behave in a very unapostolic fashion.

I do not think it fair to distinguish the Polish National Catholic Church from the Old Catholics if you wouldn't the two Ukrainian autocephalous churches from the Eastern Orthodox. The PNCC is fundamentally Old Catholic in its faith, it is merely schismatic from the Union of Utrecht.

Another thing is that I think you may be over generalizing the Old Catholics on the basis of their presence in the US. The Union of Utrecht, which is solidly one communion and comprised of a Dutch church, German, Polish, French, Croatian, etc. has existed since 1870 and is in no way vagante. This is very different from the US Old Catholics who are generally independent of any broad communion and are generally vagante. So I think it would be most appropriate to view the Union of Utrecht as the legitimate root of the Old Catholic tradition while the others are schismatics, just as it is with the EO, OO, and East Assyrians.

The four churches you listed all share a belief in the seven sacraments

Be careful with that. While some Eastern Christian churches profess seven sacraments, many more profess more than seven sacraments.

The Anglicans forsook the idea of a sacrificial priesthood, and that really separates them from apostolic Christianity. I personally consider Anglican ministers to have Holy Orders with a defect, because in some places the intent has been retained, and the line of succession is unbroken, although the intent of ordination was radically altered.

I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about here?

However, the four you listed are what I would consider the four churches most consistent with apostolic Christianity.

You would not place your church above the other three in that? Shouldn't union with Rome in your understanding of the papacy give an inherently greater apostolic nature to a church?
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2010, 04:37:06 PM »


Why is that?

Because Anglicans, centuries ago, rejected belief in the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist, which means that their Holy Mysteries cease to have the same intent as the Holy Mysteries in ancient Christianity.

I do not think it fair to distinguish the Polish National Catholic Church from the Old Catholics if you wouldn't the two Ukrainian autocephalous churches from the Eastern Orthodox. The PNCC is fundamentally Old Catholic in its faith, it is merely schismatic from the Union of Utrecht.

Another thing is that I think you may be over generalizing the Old Catholics on the basis of their presence in the US. The Union of Utrecht, which is solidly one communion and comprised of a Dutch church, German, Polish, French, Croatian, etc. has existed since 1870 and is in no way vagante. This is very different from the US Old Catholics who are generally independent of any broad communion and are generally vagante. So I think it would be most appropriate to view the Union of Utrecht as the legitimate root of the Old Catholic tradition while the others are schismatics, just as it is with the EO, OO, and East Assyrians.

My apologies for the confusion over the vagante bishop remark. There is a parish in Santa Fe, an hour north of where I live, that calls itself the "Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch". They trace their line of succession to the Old Catholics, and have various Liberal Catholic bishops in their line of succession (http://www.churchofantioch.org/coa/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=41. Churches like these retain a belief in the sacramental character of the priesthood, but this specific church ordains all of the laity who wish it, regardless of sexual orientation. I am only trying to say that they have a tenable claim to having retained the intention to have the Holy Mysteries throughout their existence. There are many of these various splinter groups, but they are so disorganized and small that they are difficult to account and categorize.

The Union of Utrecht, though, I would agree has more claim than these various small churches. I apologize for my ignorance; I do not know too much about the Old Catholics, except the nature of their founding and that fact that their lines of succession have worked their ways into many splinter sects.


Be careful with that. While some Eastern Christian churches profess seven sacraments, many more profess more than seven sacraments.


Really? I didn't know that. Anything I can read about that?

I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about here?

Articles 28 and 31 of the Anglican's Thirty-Nine articles explicitly deny the sacrificial character of the Holy Eucharist and they deny that Christ is to be adored in it. This indicates that the Anglicans, in ordaining priests, did not intend to ordain priests, but only clergy. Hence, if their bishops, who received the authority of the apostles, did not intend truly to give the same authority which they received (a sacrificial one), they would not give it. That is why the Catholic Church considers the Holy Orders of the Anglican Church to be invalid.

You would not place your church above the other three in that? Shouldn't union with Rome in your understanding of the papacy give an inherently greater apostolic nature to a church?

Yes, but those four churches are all united by a common Eucharist. I know that the more typical position among Orthodox is that whether or not I truly received the Body of Christ at my parish on Sunday is unknown, but if I am correct, then all who receive from the altar at an Orthodox Church, whether miaphysite or dyophysite, or from the Church of the East, are part of the Body of the one and the same Christ.
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2010, 02:09:18 PM »

but if I am correct, then all who receive from the altar at an Orthodox Church, whether miaphysite or dyophysite, or from the Church of the East, are part of the Body of the one and the same Christ.

Careful my friend. The Catholic Church does recoginze that those in other Apostolic bodies have partial communion with the Church, which is identified as the Body of Christ, but those not within the visible Catholic Church do not have full communion with the Church.
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2010, 05:39:38 PM »

but if I am correct, then all who receive from the altar at an Orthodox Church, whether miaphysite or dyophysite, or from the Church of the East, are part of the Body of the one and the same Christ.

Careful my friend. The Catholic Church does recoginze that those in other Apostolic bodies have partial communion with the Church, which is identified as the Body of Christ, but those not within the visible Catholic Church do not have full communion with the Church.

Regardless of the lack of full communion between the churches, because of the validity of the sacraments of all these churches, we are unwittingly united because of the Body and Blood, despite our human divisions. Our communion is more full with them than with the Protestants, some of whom we are united with by common baptism, although because of the lack of all other sacraments the union is much less complete than with the churches that retain valid sacraments.

However, I do not think that His Eminence Cardinal Humbert excommunicating His All-Holiness Michael Cærularius and the reciprocation can cause a humble parish priest in Bulgaria to cease to be part of the same Catholic Church that a humble parish priest in Spain is a part of. Hence, the issue of how deep our communion is gets much more complicated than, "They're in schism! Anathema!"
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2010, 05:46:39 PM »


However, I do not think that His Eminence Cardinal Humbert excommunicating His All-Holiness Michael Cærularius and the reciprocation can cause a humble parish priest in Bulgaria to cease to be part of the same Catholic Church

The excommunication was against the Patriarch and all those who agreed with him - which ultimately turned out to be the majority of the Church (in those days the Eastern part of the Church was larger than the Western part!)
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2010, 05:49:41 PM »


However, I do not think that His Eminence Cardinal Humbert excommunicating His All-Holiness Michael Cærularius and the reciprocation can cause a humble parish priest in Bulgaria to cease to be part of the same Catholic Church

The excommunication was against the Patriarch and all those who agreed with him - which ultimately turned out to be the majority of the Church (in those days the Eastern part of the Church was larger than the Western part!)

Are you talking about Eastern Christendom in general or just the Eastern (Chalcedonian) Orthodox?
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2010, 06:04:47 PM »


However, I do not think that His Eminence Cardinal Humbert excommunicating His All-Holiness Michael Cærularius and the reciprocation can cause a humble parish priest in Bulgaria to cease to be part of the same Catholic Church

The excommunication was against the Patriarch and all those who agreed with him - which ultimately turned out to be the majority of the Church (in those days the Eastern part of the Church was larger than the Western part!)

Are you talking about Eastern Christendom in general or just the Eastern (Chalcedonian) Orthodox?

At that time the Oriental Churches had already been in schism from Rome for the 600 years.

So, I am talking about Chalcedonian Orthodoxy as the Church.  I see from Fr Peter's post in another thread that Oriental Orthodox hold the reverse position, namely that they are *the* Orthodox and the Church and we are not.
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2010, 06:17:14 PM »


However, I do not think that His Eminence Cardinal Humbert excommunicating His All-Holiness Michael Cærularius and the reciprocation can cause a humble parish priest in Bulgaria to cease to be part of the same Catholic Church

The excommunication was against the Patriarch and all those who agreed with him - which ultimately turned out to be the majority of the Church (in those days the Eastern part of the Church was larger than the Western part!)

Are you talking about Eastern Christendom in general or just the Eastern (Chalcedonian) Orthodox?

At that time the Oriental Churches had already been in schism from Rome for the 600 years.

So, I am talking about Chalcedonian Orthodoxy as the Church.  I see from Fr Peter's post in another thread that Oriental Orthodox hold the reverse position, namely that they are *the* Orthodox and the Church and we are not.

So you're saying that the Eastern Chalcedonians alone were more populous than the West?
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2010, 06:23:16 PM »

but if I am correct, then all who receive from the altar at an Orthodox Church, whether miaphysite or dyophysite, or from the Church of the East, are part of the Body of the one and the same Christ.

Careful my friend. The Catholic Church does recoginze that those in other Apostolic bodies have partial communion with the Church, which is identified as the Body of Christ, but those not within the visible Catholic Church do not have full communion with the Church.

Regardless of the lack of full communion between the churches, because of the validity of the sacraments of all these churches, we are unwittingly united because of the Body and Blood, despite our human divisions. Our communion is more full with them than with the Protestants, some of whom we are united with by common baptism, although because of the lack of all other sacraments the union is much less complete than with the churches that retain valid sacraments.

However, I do not think that His Eminence Cardinal Humbert excommunicating His All-Holiness Michael Cærularius and the reciprocation can cause a humble parish priest in Bulgaria to cease to be part of the same Catholic Church that a humble parish priest in Spain is a part of. Hence, the issue of how deep our communion is gets much more complicated than, "They're in schism! Anathema!"

I'm sorry, but our two Churches are in no way shape or form, in communion. The Catholic sacraments are not valid, neither is your apostolic succession. It doesn't matter if the Catholic Church sees things differently. The only way reunion will happen is if Rome completely returns to Orthodoxy. Unless they do that, they have no apostolic succession, no valid sacraments etc...

(now keep in mind, I'm in full support of union if properly pursued, but I have to stand up for Orthodoxy when someone tries to claim our two Churches are the same &/or united...)
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2010, 08:10:33 PM »


However, I do not think that His Eminence Cardinal Humbert excommunicating His All-Holiness Michael Cærularius and the reciprocation can cause a humble parish priest in Bulgaria to cease to be part of the same Catholic Church

The excommunication was against the Patriarch and all those who agreed with him - which ultimately turned out to be the majority of the Church (in those days the Eastern part of the Church was larger than the Western part!)

Are you talking about Eastern Christendom in general or just the Eastern (Chalcedonian) Orthodox?

At that time the Oriental Churches had already been in schism from Rome for the 600 years.

So, I am talking about Chalcedonian Orthodoxy as the Church.  I see from Fr Peter's post in another thread that Oriental Orthodox hold the reverse position, namely that they are *the* Orthodox and the Church and we are not.

So you're saying that the Eastern Chalcedonians alone were more populous than the West?

I have not seen statistics for Eastern Chalcedonians, but an educated guess would say they were more numerous than Western Chalcedonians in the mid-fifth century.  If I remember rightly, about 7 out of 10 citizens of the Eastern Empire were Christian at that period while it was the opposite for the West, about 3 out of 10.
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2010, 09:43:55 PM »

but if I am correct, then all who receive from the altar at an Orthodox Church, whether miaphysite or dyophysite, or from the Church of the East, are part of the Body of the one and the same Christ.

Careful my friend. The Catholic Church does recoginze that those in other Apostolic bodies have partial communion with the Church, which is identified as the Body of Christ, but those not within the visible Catholic Church do not have full communion with the Church.

Regardless of the lack of full communion between the churches, because of the validity of the sacraments of all these churches, we are unwittingly united because of the Body and Blood, despite our human divisions. Our communion is more full with them than with the Protestants, some of whom we are united with by common baptism, although because of the lack of all other sacraments the union is much less complete than with the churches that retain valid sacraments.

However, I do not think that His Eminence Cardinal Humbert excommunicating His All-Holiness Michael Cærularius and the reciprocation can cause a humble parish priest in Bulgaria to cease to be part of the same Catholic Church that a humble parish priest in Spain is a part of. Hence, the issue of how deep our communion is gets much more complicated than, "They're in schism! Anathema!"

I'm sorry, but our two Churches are in no way shape or form, in communion. The Catholic sacraments are not valid, neither is your apostolic succession. It doesn't matter if the Catholic Church sees things differently. The only way reunion will happen is if Rome completely returns to Orthodoxy. Unless they do that, they have no apostolic succession, no valid sacraments etc...

(now keep in mind, I'm in full support of union if properly pursued, but I have to stand up for Orthodoxy when someone tries to claim our two Churches are the same &/or united...)
You are entitled to your opinion. In my post I was specifically engaging in dialogue with a fellow Latin Catholic regarding the Catholic Church's position concerning the Eastern Churches with whom she is not in communion. I spoke using our terms and our presuppositions. I understand that some Orthodox Christians believe Catholic sacraments to be invalid. Some are agnostic concerning the validity of Catholic sacraments. Others, still, accept them as valid. I have been unable to determine which of these is a consensus opinion. I do know, however, that the Orthodox Church in America receives Catholic clergy by vesting ( http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=200&SID=3 ). This would indicate the the validity is accepted. Of course, this does not speak to validity of our Eucharist, because even if the priest has been ordained, he does not have the explicit permission and calling of the Orthodox Church to perform the sacrament, and I don't know enough about Eastern theology to determine if that would render the Holy Mystery non-existent.

However, you are correct that there is no legal communion between our two churches. I never meant to imply that.
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2010, 09:48:13 PM »


However, I do not think that His Eminence Cardinal Humbert excommunicating His All-Holiness Michael Cærularius and the reciprocation can cause a humble parish priest in Bulgaria to cease to be part of the same Catholic Church

The excommunication was against the Patriarch and all those who agreed with him - which ultimately turned out to be the majority of the Church (in those days the Eastern part of the Church was larger than the Western part!)

That is very true. However, a humble parish priest in Bulgaria is going to follow his bishop, as he should. Likewise, the humble parish priest in Spain is going to follow his bishop, as he should. How was the priest in Spain supposed to know that his bishop was a heretic, when the Church Fathers he was educated in supported the Petrine primacy of the Bishop of Rome? And supported the procession of the Spirit from the Son? I posit likewise for the Bulgarian priest.

I do not see why the Holy Spirit would fail to answer their call in the Holy Eucharist, because both are faithful, both have been ordained by the successors to the apostles, and both desire to offer the Holy Eucharist each Sunday. Why should the dispute among bishops render either sides Holy Mysteries "invalid"?
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2010, 09:49:35 PM »

I do know, however, that the Orthodox Church in America receives Catholic clergy by vesting ( http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=200&SID=3 ). This would indicate the the validity is accepted.

Not per se, only because of his entry into the Orthodox Church - at that point we can say, "the ordination done by others needs not be replicated."  Without it (entry into Orthodoxy), he's just another guy outside of Christ's Church from our POV.

Of course, this does not speak to validity of our Eucharist, because even if the priest has been ordained, he does not have the explicit permission and calling of the Orthodox Church to perform the sacrament, and I don't know enough about Eastern theology to determine if that would render the Holy Mystery non-existent.  

The sign that your Eucharist is valid is if we tell our people that they can freely attend and receive the Eucharist from your Churches.  Anything less is no communion.
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2010, 09:52:35 PM »

The excommunication was against the Patriarch and all those who agreed with him - which ultimately turned out to be the majority of the Church (in those days the Eastern part of the Church was larger than the Western part!)
That is very true. However, a humble parish priest in Bulgaria is going to follow his bishop, as he should. Likewise, the humble parish priest in Spain is going to follow his bishop, as he should. How was the priest in Spain supposed to know that his bishop was a heretic, when the Church Fathers he was educated in supported the Petrine primacy of the Bishop of Rome? And supported the procession of the Spirit from the Son? I posit likewise for the Bulgarian priest.

I do not see why the Holy Spirit would fail to answer their call in the Holy Eucharist, because both are faithful, both have been ordained by the successors to the apostles, and both desire to offer the Holy Eucharist each Sunday. Why should the dispute among bishops render either sides Holy Mysteries "invalid"?

This is reducing the Eucharist to a product of intent with some dressing.  There is an underlying principle: the Eucharist is only of and within the Church, and it does not occur outside the Church.  At the schism, part remained the Church, and part did not; we believe that we are the former and you the latter, and you believe the contrary.  We are not positing that the Spirit does not or cannot work within the RC communion, but we do know that the sacraments are the work of the Church, and thus (with the exception of Baptism, which brings people into the Church) cannot be found outside of the Church.
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« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2010, 10:16:52 PM »

I agree with Fr George that one cannot find the Holy Mysteries (including Baptism) outside the Orthodox Church.

I do not accept that there can be a parallel and competing episcopate outside the Church which has valid Sacraments.  This is part of what I learnt form the Church of Serbia and from such as Fr Justin Popovic, an outstanding modern theologian.

However, it has to be said openly that the Orthodox do not agree on this.  

For the last 400 years the Russian Orthodox Church has accepted the validity of Roman Catholic Sacraments, not simply by an act of leniency at the time of entry into Orthodoxy, but in and of themselves.  So this means that the ordinations of a Catholic bishop create valid priests and that the Mass produces the Body and Blood of Christ and the Pope truly is a bishop and not just a layman

For a little more on this see message 210 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27981.msg443750.html#msg443750
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« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2010, 11:16:54 PM »

But wouldn't you agree that it is quite easy to write off the Sacraments of other churches as invalid when you live in a place like Russia or Serbia, where hardly any other kind of churches exist?  If one lived in Mexico or Nashville, TN, I imagine it would be a little harder.
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« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2010, 11:43:02 PM »

I do know, however, that the Orthodox Church in America receives Catholic clergy by vesting ( http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=200&SID=3 ). This would indicate the the validity is accepted.

Not per se, only because of his entry into the Orthodox Church - at that point we can say, "the ordination done by others needs not be replicated."  Without it (entry into Orthodoxy), he's just another guy outside of Christ's Church from our POV.

Of course, this does not speak to validity of our Eucharist, because even if the priest has been ordained, he does not have the explicit permission and calling of the Orthodox Church to perform the sacrament, and I don't know enough about Eastern theology to determine if that would render the Holy Mystery non-existent.  

The sign that your Eucharist is valid is if we tell our people that they can freely attend and receive the Eucharist from your Churches.  Anything less is no communion.

Father George, I am honored that you have responded to my post. Smiley

Why is it not necessary to repeat the ordination? It would seem to me that he is either a priest or not. Perhaps this is because of the juridical Latin in me who cannot deal with the organic and must see things as black and white.

Likewise, if he is not a priest, then I understand why the Holy Spirit would refuse to answer his call or consecrate the Holy Gifts. However, if he is a priest, then does the Holy Spirit refuse his call and bread and wine remain bread and wine because of his separation from the Orthodox Church?
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« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2010, 11:45:36 PM »

But wouldn't you agree that it is quite easy to write off the Sacraments of other churches as invalid when you live in a place like Russia or Serbia, where hardly any other kind of churches exist?  If one lived in Mexico or Nashville, TN, I imagine it would be a little harder.

No harder than it is for an RC to deny the Eucharist and Priestood of the Episcopalians in Mexico or Nashville!    Smiley

But the point is that Russia does NOT write off RC Sacraments.

See message 63
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11764.msg446298.html#msg446298

-oOo-

On the other hand Serbia, generally speaking, does write them off.

I believe the tradition which I received from my spiritual father in Serbia,
may his memory be eternal.

Once when the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Zagreb was visiting the holy
monastery of Zica, Serbia, together with a small party of bishops and
priests he shared lunch with us in the monastery's guest refectory.

I suppose it would help put you in the picture if I relate something of Fr
Dositej's place in the Serbian Church.

My spiritual father (and the person who tonsured me) was
Fr Archimandrite Dositej of the holy monastery of Zica.
He was tonsured and ordained by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic of Zica
and was his disciple. He was a spiritual friend of Saint Justin Popovic
and in the esteem of the Serbian faithful second only to him
as one of Serbia's spiritual fathers. In a country which has dozens
of excellent monasteries and many many excellent spiritual fathers,
this means quite a lot. He was the spiritual father of Zica monastery
with 27 monastics and he was the confessor of many other monks
and nuns from other monasteries and he had numerous spiritual children
throughout Serbia. This helps to make it clear why I trust and hold
to the tradition which I received from him.



Back to the anecdote....... At the meal Archbishop Kuharic asked
Fr Dositej what he saw as the difference between Catholic and
Orthodox sacraments.

Fr Dositej took two identical glasses and he filled one with water. He
pointed to that one and said: "This glass is the sacraments (tainstva) of
the Orthodox."  'Nuff said.

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« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2010, 11:52:11 PM »

The question boils down to - do bishops exist outside the Church and out of communion with the Church?.  I believe that the episcopate -the College of the Apostles- cannot exist outside the Church.  Without the episcopate there can be no Sacraments. 

Now, I know that this is a harsh saying for a Roman Catholic to hear (about as harsh as when the Anglicans are told much the same about the invalidity of their Orders by Catholics.) 

BUT, on the other hand, we have to be honest and tell you that you will find Orthodox who accept the "validity" of the Roman Catholic episcopate and the Sacraments which flow from it.   Saint Philaret Metropolitan of Moscow is of this opinion.  Here are his words http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13419.msg185558.html#msg185558

In fact for the last 400 years the Church of Russia has accepted the validity of Roman Catholic sacraments. 

BUT... ... on the other hand we find that in the 1980s at one of the Meetings of the Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Dialogue that the Orthodox bishops and theologians (including the Russian delegates) refused to recognise Catholic baptism per se.   A rejection of Catholic baptism obviously entails a radical rejection of all Catholic Sacraments.

How do we deal with this dichotomy? - some say Catholics have sacraments, some say they do not.   I suppose the best we can say it that the Orthodox do not know if Catholics have sacraments.  We could look at this little anecdote about Anglican baptism to get a handle on this Orthodox agnosticism......

There is an incident in the UK recorded by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself
(Lord Runcie if I remember) in an issue of "Eastern Churches Quarterly."

At a meeting in England of Anglican and Russian Orthodox bishops, the Anglicans
asked at supper: "Do you believe we are baptized?" The Orthodox asked to have
the night to think about it. At breakfast in the morning the Anglicans asked: "So,
what do you think? Are we baptized?" The Orthodox replied, "We do not know."

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« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2010, 11:52:25 PM »

The excommunication was against the Patriarch and all those who agreed with him - which ultimately turned out to be the majority of the Church (in those days the Eastern part of the Church was larger than the Western part!)
That is very true. However, a humble parish priest in Bulgaria is going to follow his bishop, as he should. Likewise, the humble parish priest in Spain is going to follow his bishop, as he should. How was the priest in Spain supposed to know that his bishop was a heretic, when the Church Fathers he was educated in supported the Petrine primacy of the Bishop of Rome? And supported the procession of the Spirit from the Son? I posit likewise for the Bulgarian priest.

I do not see why the Holy Spirit would fail to answer their call in the Holy Eucharist, because both are faithful, both have been ordained by the successors to the apostles, and both desire to offer the Holy Eucharist each Sunday. Why should the dispute among bishops render either sides Holy Mysteries "invalid"?

This is reducing the Eucharist to a product of intent with some dressing.  There is an underlying principle: the Eucharist is only of and within the Church, and it does not occur outside the Church.  At the schism, part remained the Church, and part did not; we believe that we are the former and you the latter, and you believe the contrary.  We are not positing that the Spirit does not or cannot work within the RC communion, but we do know that the sacraments are the work of the Church, and thus (with the exception of Baptism, which brings people into the Church) cannot be found outside of the Church.

This means to say, specifically, that when my priest calls down the Holy Spirit to consecrate the bread and wine, that instead of becoming the Holy Gifts, they remain bread and wine? I only wish to understand your meaning fully.

Now, another item which confuses me, and what I was trying to get at in the post which you have quoted, at which moment did the priests on either side of the Mediterranean cease being part of the Church? Was it when the bishops in Spain added the Filioque to the creed? At that point, did bread and wine in Spain remain bread and wine, but in Italy they transformed into the Body and Blood of the Savior? Or, was it at the point of the excommunications? Did the actions of His Eminence Cardinal Humbert result in the Holy Spirit refusing the call of a parish priest unrelated to the international politics?

The question of who is inside the church and who is outside seems to be very grey, especially from the 9th Century to the 15th Century.
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« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2010, 11:57:37 PM »

This is reducing the Eucharist to a product of intent with some dressing.  There is an underlying principle: the Eucharist is only of and within the Church, and it does not occur outside the Church.  At the schism, part remained the Church, and part did not; we believe that we are the former and you the latter, and you believe the contrary.  We are not positing that the Spirit does not or cannot work within the RC communion, but we do know that the sacraments are the work of the Church, and thus (with the exception of Baptism, which brings people into the Church) cannot be found outside of the Church.

If Ethiopian Orthodox are going to communion in the Pittsburgh metropolis as you said elsewhere- and perhaps Greeks are communing in Ethiopian Orthodox churches when away from home- doesn't this suggest their sacraments are valid?
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« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2010, 12:02:30 AM »

The thing is: I thought that the reason why the RC Church does not recognize validity in the Anglican Sacraments was for the very legitimate and non-Donatist reason that the ecclesiastically-accepted method of Apostolic Succession was not followed.  I.e. that at some point in the Anglicans' history, bishops started popping up who were not properly ordained as such by the laying on of hands, etc.  And that is precisely why the Anglicans do not have valid Sacraments.  Nothing more.

But the RC Church has stuck to the methods of Apostolic Succession.  So to deny validity to RC Sacraments is a much bolder sentiment.
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« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2010, 12:06:48 AM »

This is reducing the Eucharist to a product of intent with some dressing.  There is an underlying principle: the Eucharist is only of and within the Church, and it does not occur outside the Church.  At the schism, part remained the Church, and part did not; we believe that we are the former and you the latter, and you believe the contrary.  We are not positing that the Spirit does not or cannot work within the RC communion, but we do know that the sacraments are the work of the Church, and thus (with the exception of Baptism, which brings people into the Church) cannot be found outside of the Church.

If Ethiopian Orthodox are going to communion in the Pittsburgh metropolis as you said elsewhere- (snip)- doesn't this suggest their sacraments are valid?

The line between EO and OO is much finer than that between EO and anyone else; I'll let OO members provide their opinion on the matter (whether EO-OO is close than OO-anyone else), but I believe it is the same.  

That said, it is a classic case of economy - a deviation from the standard (either toward laxity or greater strictness) for the benefit of the person.  To wit: the Ethiopian Orthodox families go to an EO church for communion without the EO actually re-entering communion with the OO; the OO are allowed to commune because, from a pastoral POV, we understand that they would go without any communion for considerable stretches of time if they didn't come to our churches, so we relax our standard (no communing OOs) for them.  This does not constitute a change in the standard.  The same could likely be said from the OO POV (that is, that an EO without a Church communing in an OO community does not constitute a change in the OO's standard that they are not in communion with the EO).
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« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2010, 12:17:24 AM »

But the RC Church has stuck to the methods of Apostolic Succession.  So to deny validity to RC Sacraments is a much bolder sentiment.

That's a difference in our POV on Apostolic Succession, which we don't see present outside the boundaries of the Church.
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« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2010, 12:41:03 AM »

The Orthodox are not terribly fussed about what is seen as a mechanical hands-on-head succession or a pipeline succession.   But it can come into play as a positive factor when receiving a priest into the Church by economy.  I am not aware if such economy has ever been applied to a non-Orthodox bishop.  Father George, do you have any idea if we have received bishops in their rank as bishops?


Here is a patristic viewpoint -from Saint Basil the Great.

Notice the typical balance of the Church Fathers - while the principle
of no Sacraments and no Apostolic Succession outside the Church is
clearly enunciated, Saint Basil also states very clearly that for the sake
of the good of the Church "economy" may be used if it is thought necessary
in the case of Baptism.



Epistle to Amphilochius (of which the "First Canon" of Saint Basil is a
shorter version)

 
 
---- "It seemed best to the ancients-I refer to Cyprian and our own
Firmilian-to subject all of these-Cathari, and Encratites, and
Hydroparastatae-to one vote of condemnation, because the beginning of this
separation arose through schism, and those who had broken away from the
Church no longer had in them the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the imparting
of it failed because of the severance of continuity.

"For those who separated first had ordination from the Fathers, and
through the imposition of their hands possessed the spiritual gift; but
those who had been cut off, becoming laymen, possessed the power neither of
baptizing nor of ordaining, being able no longer to impart to others the
grace of the Holy Spirit from which they themselves had fallen away.
Therefore they commanded those who had been baptized by them, as baptized by
laymen, to come to the Church and be purified by the true baptism of the
Church.

"But since on the whole it has seemed best to some of those in Asia that,
by economy for the sake of the many, their baptism be accepted, let it be
accepted."



-oOo-

Note the word "economy" used here by Saint Basil with reference to
situations when baptism is not insisted upon. Saint Athanasius also uses the
word economy with reference to the reception of ther heterodox. I wanted to
point this out since there are modern theologians who mistakenly say that
the concept of "economy" was something created by Saint Nicodemus of the
Holy Mountain in the 19th century. Not so!

Now I think that all the Orthodox are doing is preserving the principles
which were enunciated by the Church Fathers and which were operative in the
early Church, principles which have faded from the mind of most Western
Churches. However, the East has had no Reformation or Counter-Reformation.
It has not had any codification of canon law such as the Roman Catholic Church
had after Trent; so all the Orthodox can turn to is the teaching and canons
of the first millennium to provide guidelines and insights with regard to
modern questions which crop up today, including the matter of Baptism
and other Sacraments outside the Church.
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« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2010, 12:50:15 PM »

This is reducing the Eucharist to a product of intent with some dressing.  There is an underlying principle: the Eucharist is only of and within the Church, and it does not occur outside the Church.  At the schism, part remained the Church, and part did not; we believe that we are the former and you the latter, and you believe the contrary.  We are not positing that the Spirit does not or cannot work within the RC communion, but we do know that the sacraments are the work of the Church, and thus (with the exception of Baptism, which brings people into the Church) cannot be found outside of the Church.

If Ethiopian Orthodox are going to communion in the Pittsburgh metropolis as you said elsewhere- (snip)- doesn't this suggest their sacraments are valid?

The line between EO and OO is much finer than that between EO and anyone else; I'll let OO members provide their opinion on the matter (whether EO-OO is close than OO-anyone else), but I believe it is the same.  

That said, it is a classic case of economy - a deviation from the standard (either toward laxity or greater strictness) for the benefit of the person.  To wit: the Ethiopian Orthodox families go to an EO church for communion without the EO actually re-entering communion with the OO; the OO are allowed to commune because, from a pastoral POV, we understand that they would go without any communion for considerable stretches of time if they didn't come to our churches, so we relax our standard (no communing OOs) for them.  This does not constitute a change in the standard.  The same could likely be said from the OO POV (that is, that an EO without a Church communing in an OO community does not constitute a change in the OO's standard that they are not in communion with the EO).


I am confused. Look at the Thread all the reasons for denying and personally avoiding regular communion at http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=12024.0 at Catholic, Oriental, and Old Calendarist churches when an Orthodox church is nearby. However "close" you draw the line between Orthodox and Orientals, these arguments all go against allowing Orientals to communion even when far away.

One of the biggest reasons is that you cannot give Eucharist to those outside the single, visible, administratively united institutionalized church- The Orthodox Church.

I ask: "Still, why not give it to them?"
The answer is "because they are outside the Church."
"OK, why not give to those outside the church?"
"Because the eucharist is the body, and the body is the church."
"OK, why can you not give them the body and unite them with the church?"
No one gave me an answer to this. Is it because "Yes you would unite them to the church, but being united to the church while being in faith a schismatic is worse than being a schismatic outside the church?"
If that is the reason, then we are putting those outside the church- therefore "schismatics"- in greater danger, and you wouldn't want to endanger them even if they are away from their home.

Maybe you can think of a good answer for this. But let's flip the problem around.

"Why can't I receive regularly at an Oriental parish when there's an Orthodox Church nearby?"
"Because the church is a united, visible institution and the Eucharist is the body and the church is the body. So the Eucharist doesn't exist outside this visible institution."
"OK, why can I receive the Eucharist outside this institution when away from home?"
"Ekonomia."
"So ekonomia allows the eucharist to be valid outside the church?"

"Well, we don't REALLY know if the Eucharist is valid outside the church or not."

That's the best explanation yet! But let's be clear in the future that we CANNOT say there is no valid Eucharist outside the visibly-administratively-united church.

Now what if it turns out that there is no valid communion outside the church, and you have taken an invalid communion? Is it unto condemnation? What good are all the invocations about Ekonomia then? Would it be better to take communion with a big risk of such or avoid it altogether?
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« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2010, 01:23:19 PM »

FR. AMBROSE and FR. GEORGE?

Can you enumerate the things that would be required of Catholics before we would be allowed into communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church? What would the Catholic Church have to change? What would we be allowed to maintain?
 
Thanks
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« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2010, 02:58:16 PM »

The main two stumbling blocks for me would be Purgatory and Papal Infallibility.  I really have no problem with the Immaculate Conception or the Filioque or even with Papal Supremacy.  But the idea of Purgatory and the sort of legalistic debit/credit system inherent therein is completely unacceptable to me.

I once read a book of Roman Catholic apologetics that tried to explain and justify Papal Infallibility.  The basic idea is that the Pope is infallible only when making statements ex cathedra AND when such statements do not contradict Patristic teaching.  If the Pope lays down a Bull that endorses a doctrine that clearly contradicts centuries of Church testimony, then the Pope, BY DEFINITION was not speaking ex cathedra.  But this is not really a satisfactory solution, because now the function of Papal Bulls are, at best, redundant.  And, at worst, wrong.
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« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2010, 07:34:59 PM »

But wouldn't you agree that it is quite easy to write off the Sacraments of other churches as invalid when you live in a place like Russia or Serbia, where hardly any other kind of churches exist?  If one lived in Mexico or Nashville, TN, I imagine it would be a little harder.

I don't feel that it is hard for me to recognize that likely all non-OO churches do not have sanctifying grace even though in this area they are an extreme minority compared to other religious groups.
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« Reply #30 on: July 02, 2010, 07:43:08 PM »

But the RC Church has stuck to the methods of Apostolic Succession.  So to deny validity to RC Sacraments is a much bolder sentiment.

One does not need to deny the valid form of the Roman ordinances to deny their efficacy.
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« Reply #31 on: July 02, 2010, 07:47:10 PM »

The line between EO and OO is much finer than that between EO and anyone else; I'll let OO members provide their opinion on the matter (whether EO-OO is close than OO-anyone else), but I believe it is the same.

Yes, the connection between OOy and EOy is extremely close. Their connection with the ACE is moderately close, as ACE's only error is Christological (and perhaps an over-emphasis on ecclesiastical independence [a la synod of seleucia 424). All other "Christian" communities have multitudes of errors and are highly removed from orthodoxy.
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« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2010, 07:50:05 PM »

FR. AMBROSE and FR. GEORGE?

Can you enumerate the things that would be required of Catholics before we would be allowed into communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church? What would the Catholic Church have to change? What would we be allowed to maintain?
 
Thanks

Are those the only 2 individuals you would like an answer from?
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« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2010, 08:41:53 PM »

The line between EO and OO is much finer than that between EO and anyone else; I'll let OO members provide their opinion on the matter (whether EO-OO is close than OO-anyone else), but I believe it is the same.

Yes, the connection between OOy and EOy is extremely close. Their connection with the ACE is moderately close, as ACE's only error is Christological (and perhaps an over-emphasis on ecclesiastical independence [a la synod of seleucia 424). All other "Christian" communities have multitudes of errors and are highly removed from orthodoxy.

The ACE also rejects icons which would be problematic, no?
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« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2010, 12:41:53 AM »

The line between EO and OO is much finer than that between EO and anyone else; I'll let OO members provide their opinion on the matter (whether EO-OO is close than OO-anyone else), but I believe it is the same.

Yes, the connection between OOy and EOy is extremely close. Their connection with the ACE is moderately close, as ACE's only error is Christological (and perhaps an over-emphasis on ecclesiastical independence [a la synod of seleucia 424). All other "Christian" communities have multitudes of errors and are highly removed from orthodoxy.

The ACE also rejects icons which would be problematic, no?

That is what Rafa said and seemingly he quoted one of his patriarchs supporting this. I don't know that that necessarily means that that is a lasting and authoritative doctrine of theirs. If it is true that they explicitly reject the use of icons as a form of idolatry, then I suppose it would be somewhat problematic in an attempt at reunion.

And, as much as I accept the use of icons and their veneration, I don't know that I view the issue as fundamental to the nature of the Church in the same way that it seems the EO tradition does.
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« Reply #35 on: July 03, 2010, 05:13:05 AM »

Quote
And, as much as I accept the use of icons and their veneration, I don't know that I view the issue as fundamental to the nature of the Church in the same way that it seems the EO tradition does.

To deny the veneration of icons as proper is tantamount to denying the Incarnation of Christ.
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« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2010, 06:53:05 PM »

Quote
And, as much as I accept the use of icons and their veneration, I don't know that I view the issue as fundamental to the nature of the Church in the same way that it seems the EO tradition does.

To deny the veneration of icons as proper is tantamount to denying the Incarnation of Christ.

So I've been told. I haven't really seen that proven to be the case. And I don't really believe it. I could imagine fairly easily how one could truly believe in the Incarnation and not the veneration of icons.
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« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2010, 07:22:23 PM »

I can't talk too much (very busy) but I wanted to stop by the forum and clear this up:

The ACOE does -not- ban icon veneration. It does not allow iconography in the sanctuary, at the area of consecration. Otherwise icons are perfectly allowed veneration and many faithful have them.

Will try to stop by more but very busy. Bye.
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« Reply #38 on: July 03, 2010, 07:55:35 PM »

That's what I understood:  that the ACE doesn't use icons in church, but it also doesn't ban them.

Good to see you posting again Rafa!  I hope you are feeling well!
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« Reply #39 on: July 03, 2010, 08:05:31 PM »

Quote
And, as much as I accept the use of icons and their veneration, I don't know that I view the issue as fundamental to the nature of the Church in the same way that it seems the EO tradition does.

To deny the veneration of icons as proper is tantamount to denying the Incarnation of Christ.

So I've been told. I haven't really seen that proven to be the case. And I don't really believe it. I could imagine fairly easily how one could truly believe in the Incarnation and not the veneration of icons.

Well, the question is, why would you reject the veneration of icons if you truly believe in the Incarnation? The arguments that were made by the iconoclasts (e.g., icons evince a confusion of Christ's two natures) revealed a faulty Christology.
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« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2010, 08:10:20 PM »

I can't talk too much (very busy) but I wanted to stop by the forum and clear this up:

The ACOE does -not- ban icon veneration. It does not allow iconography in the sanctuary, at the area of consecration. Otherwise icons are perfectly allowed veneration and many faithful have them.

Why are icons forbidden in the sanctuary?
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« Reply #41 on: July 03, 2010, 11:02:56 PM »

What is ACE? Aquarius Church of Enlightenment?
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« Reply #42 on: July 03, 2010, 11:04:47 PM »

What is ACE? Aquarius Church of Enlightenment?
Ancient Church of the East, i.e. the Assyrians/Nestorians.
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« Reply #43 on: July 03, 2010, 11:54:27 PM »

If Nestorianism is such a fundamental heresy, then in what sense are they apostolic? I mean, was it because there were Nestorian bishops who split off? That would make Anglicanism no less apsotolic.
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« Reply #44 on: July 04, 2010, 01:32:18 AM »

What is ACE? Aquarius Church of Enlightenment?
Ancient Church of the East, i.e. the Assyrians/Nestorians.

Good to see you Isa! Please enlighten ravovsky on who founded the ACOE and its Apostolic character, history, etc. (and how we look towards Edessa for our history too of course)

Herein lies the Christology of the ACOE as stated by Mar Babai the Great:

   One is Christ the Son of God,
    Worshiped by all in two natures;
    In His Godhead begotten of the Father,
    Without beginning before all time;
    In His humanity born of Mary,
    In the fullness of time, in a body united;
    Neither His Godhead is of the nature of the mother,
    Nor His humanity of the nature of the Father;
    The natures are preserved in their Qnumas (substance),
    In one person of one Sonship.
    And as the Godhead is three substances in one nature,
    Likewise the Sonship of the Son is in two natures, one person.
    So the Holy Church has taught.


Hymn of Praise, Mar Babai



Good to see you Salpy! I really must go. No time for talking, just clarifying something quickly.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 01:37:49 AM by Rafa999 » Logged

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