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Author Topic: another question about jurisdiction in OOy  (Read 1388 times) Average Rating: 0
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deusveritasest
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« on: July 29, 2010, 12:00:57 AM »

I'm wondering some more about how jurisdiction is understood in the OO tradition. It seems that a number of the concerns expressed in the Byzantine tradition are not in the OO tradition.

For one thing, explicit formulation and establishment of the Pentarchy came significantly after the split.

For another, there is the common "barbarian lands" issue where Constantinople is often regarded as having authority in the "barbarian lands" because of Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon. But Chalcedon wasn't accepted by the Orientals, so it would seem its canonical establishments would have no bearing.

Finally, there is the fact that before Chalcedon it was understood that the area of each Roman civil diocese had its own primate (Alexandria in Egypt, Antioch in The East, Ephesus in Asia, etc.), but Chalcedon gave Constantinople jurisdiction over not only its own diocese (Thrace) but also that of Asia and Pontus, overthrowing the total primacy of Ephesus and Caesarea in those areas. It would seem this establishment would also have no bearing in the Oriental tradition. But even more concretely in this situation, the Third Council of Ephesus repudiated this canon and returned the primacy of Asia back over to Ephesus.

It would seem that because of these points that the Orientals would have developed a slightly different understanding of jurisdiction from the Byzantines. Can someone explain the substance behind this?
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Father Peter
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2010, 04:09:45 PM »

I'm not really sure this is an issue?

It seems to me that the Oriental Orthodox have just had to get on with things as they are and not as they might be 'supposed' to be. The idea of a primacy of honour is fairly meaningless within the OO, it seems to me and only had meaning within an Imperial Church, which thank God the OO as long ceased to be.

When I meet with the bishops and priests at the regular gatherings of the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches there is no thought at all of primacy or jurisdiction. I embrace each bishop and priest as a member of the one Orthodox Church to which we all belong whatever local community they are clergy of.

When St Severus was in exile in Egypt he was the de facto patriarch of both the Alexandrian and Syrian churches. When the Armenian Church found itself facing a variety of new situations it developed new organisational responses. The Church in the Persian Empire had to deal with the issues that context presented.

The static idea that there are X churches and this is the order of seniority does not seem to me to be responsive to the Holy Spirit or to the reality of our circumstances. It is this static view which, in my opinion, leads to the insistence that the Roman Church remains the first in honour, if it returns to Orthodoxy, and that the Church of Constantinople remains the acting first in honour until the last Greek living in Turkey falls asleep. These do not seem to me to be examples of a truly Orthodox ecclesiology.

Of course there have been human tensions, but I think the creation in our own time of an autocephalous Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Church shows what the Oriental Orthodox think about jurisdiction. I think that the Constantinopolitan insistence on jurisdiction over the whole world on the basis of the 'barbarian lands' canon, is the opposite of this OO view. It seems to me that the union of two small Western communities with the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate as the British Orthodox Church and the French Coptic Orthodox Church, also shows the attitude of jurisdictional organisation for the sake of others and not for the sake of the power of the Mother Church.

This is how I see it anyhow.

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deusveritasest
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2010, 06:42:21 PM »

It seems as if there is a lot of consideration of jurisdiction with respect to the OO community in India (which I believe is the youngest among them to be established as clearly OO), no?
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2010, 07:27:01 PM »

Another question is if this sentiment essentially expresses the OO historical approach to jurisdictional extension?:

Ialmisry, is the thrust of your OP that extension of jurisdiction should be done on the basis of the closest neighboring church?
Beyond that, historically and canonically, has been. I think Australia and NZ may be the only major exceptions.

It seems to me like it does, but I might be wrong.
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2010, 01:43:18 AM »

There is very little sensible consideration about jurisdiction in the Indian context.  Much of it is mere polemic . In as much as the Apostolic faith is Orthodox and the Orthodox faith is the Oriental Orthodox faith, I don't think the church in India is  the youngest in any sense.

Even if we were under the jurisdiction of a church which at some point accepted Nestorianism , we understand ourselves to have returned to the Orthodox faith , simply because the faith of our Apostle was the Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2010, 05:06:52 AM »


The static idea that there are X churches and this is the order of seniority does not seem to me to be responsive to the Holy Spirit or to the reality of our circumstances. It is this static view which, in my opinion, leads to the insistence that the Roman Church remains the first in honour, if it returns to Orthodoxy...

Father,

I'd like to make a very brief comment on what you have written.  I doubt whether the (EO) faithful will accept such a role for the Church of Rome if it is integrated back into the Church and if they don't then no amount of theological dialogue and Agreed Catholic-Orthodox Statrements will be able to force it upon them.  Academic theologians may wish to believe we can return to a Church where Rome holds her ancient position of the first millennium; the pleroma of the Church may not accept that.

The venerable Church of Rome has been in schism from the (Eastern) Orthodox Church for 1000 years and has developed heretical doctrines in Trinitarian theology, Mariology and ecclesiology.  It will take generations and even centuries of solicitous guidance from the other Patriarchates for Rome to return to full health anmd balance.  In the meantime in its time of recuperation it is just not suitable to hold the position of "primus inter pares.'  I personally doubt if it ever will again. 

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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2010, 05:09:51 AM »

So do you think we will disavow the II Ecumenical Council?
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2010, 05:27:31 AM »

So do you think we will disavow the II Ecumenical Council?

The Ecumenical Councils have rearranged the order of the diptychs more than once - moving Alexandria down to third place and Antioch down to fourth, moving Constantinople into second, bringing Jerusalem in as fifth.

The diptychs may be changed again.  They may even be changed at this Council now said to be scheduled for 2013.    When/if Rome returns to the (EO) Church it will most likely be the occasion for convening an Ecumenical Council and the diptychs will be re-arranged to accommodate the new situation.

It would be interesting if Rome is not integrated back into E-Orthodoxy but into O-Orthodoxy.   What position would be given to it?  Will the O-Orthodox Churches follow the second Ecumenical Council?
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2010, 05:49:32 AM »

I think I am with Father Ambrose on this one. I don't think that the ordering of patriarchates is absolute, and certainly does not prevail over 1000 years of heterodoxy. If I formed a small Orthodox Church in Rome could I claim to be first in honour just because I was Orthodox and in Rome? I am not sure that primacy has any value any more. There are issues in the OO church and I think they will be solved by a conciliar and fraternal engagement not by recourse to some court of final appeal at one or other of the churches.

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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2010, 04:28:41 PM »

A tangent on whether there has been an OO Empire was split off and put here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29095.msg458607.html#new
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2010, 06:14:00 PM »

There is very little sensible consideration about jurisdiction in the Indian context.  Much of it is mere polemic . In as much as the Apostolic faith is Orthodox and the Orthodox faith is the Oriental Orthodox faith, I don't think the church in India is  the youngest in any sense.

That's somewhat circular logic. And it assumes that you held the Apostolic faith, therefore you must have held the Oriental Orthodox faith. Well why should we assume that you held the Apostolic faith? Shouldn't that be judged on the basis of your having held the Oriental Orthodox faith? Given that the Indian church didn't really participate in much of the formational definition of the OO faith and was for much of history you were under the jurisdiction of a Nestorian church, I don't really think there is any reason to believe that you were OO all along. You certainly were in the first few centuries. Whether you maintained the same faith afterward is really up in the air. But just the fact that you were in communion with a Nestorian church rather than an OO is reason enough to conclude that you were not Sacramentally OO until your union with the SOC in the 17th century.
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2010, 06:17:03 PM »

So do you think we will disavow the II Ecumenical Council?

If you're going to take that approach then you might as well say that Chalcedon disavowed Nicaea I.
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2010, 06:18:29 PM »

There is very little sensible consideration about jurisdiction in the Indian context.  Much of it is mere polemic . In as much as the Apostolic faith is Orthodox and the Orthodox faith is the Oriental Orthodox faith, I don't think the church in India is  the youngest in any sense.

That's somewhat circular logic. And it assumes that you held the Apostolic faith, therefore you must have held the Oriental Orthodox faith. Well why should we assume that you held the Apostolic faith? Shouldn't that be judged on the basis of your having held the Oriental Orthodox faith? Given that the Indian church didn't really participate in much of the formational definition of the OO faith and was for much of history you were under the jurisdiction of a Nestorian church, I don't really think there is any reason to believe that you were OO all along. You certainly were in the first few centuries. Whether you maintained the same faith afterward is really up in the air. But just the fact that you were in communion with a Nestorian church rather than an OO is reason enough to conclude that you were not Sacramentally OO until your union with the SOC in the 17th century.

Their roots go back to St. Thomas.  The fact that they were for a while under Nestorian influence doesn't mean their Church stopped existing.
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2010, 06:27:35 PM »

Their roots go back to St. Thomas.

So what? The roots of the Romans go back to Peter and Paul. That doesn't mean that they necessarily stay Apostolic forever. Only the church at large has that privilege, not every particular church founded by an Apostle.

The fact that they were for a while under Nestorian influence doesn't mean their Church stopped existing.

The fact that a Nestorian church was the only one that they were in communion with and even the one that they were jurisdictionally subject to does mean that they stopped being part of the Church.
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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2010, 07:24:57 PM »

It means they stopped being in communion with the rest of the Oriental Orthodox during that time.  It does not mean the Church established by St. Thomas ceased to exist and that the Indian Church today is only a few hundred years old. 
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« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2010, 07:39:08 PM »

It means they stopped being in communion with the rest of the Oriental Orthodox during that time.  It does not mean the Church established by St. Thomas ceased to exist and that the Indian Church today is only a few hundred years old. 


I never said that they did not exist. I said that they are the youngest to be established as OO.
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« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2010, 06:44:24 AM »

Cyril,

If Rome were to return to Orthodoxy, would it become the youngest Orthodox Church?  In one way , yes perhaps you could term it as such, and most Romans would only see it as a slight.  But to call it the youngest Orthodox Church would be at a deeper level be false, because even when Churches are in heresy, the Holy Spirit acts to return them to the Apostolic Faith.  And this action of the Holy Spirit is seen in the life of the people and the Church.

Even when Churches fall under the jurisdiction of Rome or Selucia as we did ( and to what extent the people accepted the Nestorian Christology as normative is not known) , or the entire body of the Church accepts heresy formally as the Nestorians did ; when they return to the faith it isnt as if the old was of no account.

I can go upto the Persian cross and even if the Pahlavi inscription is allegedly Nestorian and feel something to be proud of, it doesnt make me ashamed of our Nestorianism . It just does not work that way. 

Participating or not participating in the fomational definations of the OO faith mean nothing, the Fathers defended and updeld the Apostolic faith.  Where such questions were not raised, no formal defination was offered.

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« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2010, 06:49:53 AM »

Since this has come up;  this article may be of interest

http://paulosmargregorios.info/English%20Articles/stthomas.htm
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« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2010, 05:45:55 PM »

If Rome were to return to Orthodoxy, would it become the youngest Orthodox Church?

Yep.

But to call it the youngest Orthodox Church would be at a deeper level be false, because even when Churches are in heresy, the Holy Spirit acts to return them to the Apostolic Faith.  And this action of the Holy Spirit is seen in the life of the people and the Church.

But that doesn't mean that they are orthodox. Thus what you are saying here can be true while their becoming "the youngest church to be established as orthodox" would also become true once they actually return to the Church.

when they return to the faith it isnt as if the old was of no account.

I never suggested anything along the lines of what you are talking about here: "the old was of no account". That's a very different matter from a church becoming the youngest "to be established as orthodox" once they return to orthodoxy.

I can go upto the Persian cross and even if the Pahlavi inscription is allegedly Nestorian and feel something to be proud of, it doesnt make me ashamed of our Nestorianism.

I wouldn't expect you to have no appreciation for your Nestorian/Theodorean patrimony. I myself continue to have respect for my Byzantine-Chalcedonian patrimony. None the less I recognize that it was in error and do not regard it in the same light as orthodoxy.
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