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Author Topic: Where is the Orthodox Church?  (Read 961 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 19, 2011, 10:58:48 PM »

One of my confusions of Orthodoxy is it's understanding of universal ecclesiology. I know the "Church" is Eucharistic, and universal ecclesiology is functional (not Divinely appointed as in the Roman Church). So how do you know where "the Church" is? There are material schisms, and then theological schisms, in every case, both sides obviously believe the other wrong.
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 11:27:24 PM »

Just a question for clarification: what do you mean by "universal ecclesiology"?
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011, 11:38:23 PM »

Just a question for clarification: what do you mean by "universal ecclesiology"?

The 'ecumenical' or 'worldwide' institution of local churches headed by a single bishop in communion with one another.
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 11:44:56 PM »

One of my confusions of Orthodoxy is it's understanding of universal ecclesiology. I know the "Church" is Eucharistic, and universal ecclesiology is functional (not Divinely appointed as in the Roman Church). So how do you know where "the Church" is? There are material schisms, and then theological schisms, in every case, both sides obviously believe the other wrong.
LOL. Your question reveals your problem. Such Vatican jargon-"material schism," "theological schism," "universal ecclesiology" "Divinely appointed".....

The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is where she has always been since the days of St. Peter and his successor St. Ignatius "Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid."
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2011, 12:22:41 AM »

The Orthodox Church is a communion of churches. Therefore, any who are not in full communion with its constituent churches are not part of the Orthodox Church. Which communion is the Orthodox Church should be determined by which communion has maintained the faith, both in theological and ecclesiastical principle. Heresy, the violation of the former involves teaching a doctrine which deviates from that handed down from the Apostles. Heretics are rendered apart from the Orthodox Church once they are excommunicated by the Orthodox for their heresy. Schism is the violation of the latter, in which a group is excommunicated for violating proper ecclesiastical principle, for instance self-declaring autocephaly in rebellion to the will of one's synod.
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 12:41:06 AM »

Just a question for clarification: what do you mean by "universal ecclesiology"?

The 'ecumenical' or 'worldwide' institution of local churches headed by a single bishop in communion with one another.

And in what sense do you believe that the Orthodox Church teaches that universal ecclesiology is not divinely mandated?  The Lord Himself prayed to the Father that we may be one (John 17:21).  The Church Fathers time and again decry schism, some saying it's a worse sin than heresy.  Certainly there have been times when it has seemed as if the whole Church has fallen into error, so that St Athanasius might have appeared to be the only Orthodox bishop in Egypt, or St Maximus the only Orthodox monk in the world.  But these persevered in faith, and did not go off to found their own church, separate from the Orthodox Church.

And it is true that the local Church is headed by the bishop, but it took other bishops to ordain him.  In this sense the Church has always depended on inter-communion, and what three bishops could grant a synod could, in cases of heresy or misconduct, take away.  Each bishop is equal in authority, but over him is the local synod, and over the local synod a synod composed of bishops from several lands, up to the Ecumenical synods.

As for the question of schism, it's all a question of obedience.  Look at the saints of the Church during the times of robber synods.  When St John Chrystostom was deposed by such he did not start his own "Church" but instead was later called back to Constantinople.  I look to this example in my examination of the positions of schismatic groups.  I also note that schismatic groups lack cohesiveness, and schism begets schism.  

As to the larger schism, that between East and West, for me it all boiled down to research, starting with the Didache and going on throughout the history of the Church.  You'll have to make up your own mind as to whether or not the evidence goes one way or the other, as for me, well, I think my own conclusions rather obvious (hint: "Faith" above my avatar).
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 12:50:22 AM »

The Orthodox Church is a communion of churches. Therefore, any who are not in full communion with its constituent churches are not part of the Orthodox Church.

I agree, this is the starting point of my question.

Which communion is the Orthodox Church should be determined by which communion has maintained the faith, both in theological and ecclesiastical principle.

So which one has maintained the faith?

You'll say the OO. Someone else may say the EO. Others within said traditions may have schisms with the larger body. Each one claiming to be the maintainer of the faith.

Heresy, the violation of the former involves teaching a doctrine which deviates from that handed down from the Apostles. Heretics are rendered apart from the Orthodox Church once they are excommunicated by the Orthodox for their heresy. Schism is the violation of the latter, in which a group is excommunicated for violating proper ecclesiastical principle, for instance self-declaring autocephaly in rebellion to the will of one's synod.

Same as above. Either side will claim the other as a heretic.

For example, you often site the EO for being Chalcedonians. Where the OO are the holders of faith. Yet, the EO are fully convinced they hold the true apostolic faith, as well.
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 12:51:08 AM »

The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is where she has always been since the days of St. Peter and his successor St. Ignatius "Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid."

But which bishops?
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 01:08:39 AM »

The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is where she has always been since the days of St. Peter and his successor St. Ignatius "Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid."

But which bishops?
The Orthodox ones in the diptychs of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2011, 01:11:08 AM »

The Orthodox Church is a communion of churches. Therefore, any who are not in full communion with its constituent churches are not part of the Orthodox Church.

I agree, this is the starting point of my question.

Which communion is the Orthodox Church should be determined by which communion has maintained the faith, both in theological and ecclesiastical principle.

So which one has maintained the faith?

You'll say the OO. Someone else may say the EO. Others within said traditions may have schisms with the larger body. Each one claiming to be the maintainer of the faith.

Heresy, the violation of the former involves teaching a doctrine which deviates from that handed down from the Apostles. Heretics are rendered apart from the Orthodox Church once they are excommunicated by the Orthodox for their heresy. Schism is the violation of the latter, in which a group is excommunicated for violating proper ecclesiastical principle, for instance self-declaring autocephaly in rebellion to the will of one's synod.

Same as above. Either side will claim the other as a heretic.

For example, you often site the EO for being Chalcedonians. Where the OO are the holders of faith. Yet, the EO are fully convinced they hold the true apostolic faith, as well.

Yes. What's your point?
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2011, 01:13:03 AM »

The Orthodox Church is a communion of churches. Therefore, any who are not in full communion with its constituent churches are not part of the Orthodox Church.

I agree, this is the starting point of my question.

Which communion is the Orthodox Church should be determined by which communion has maintained the faith, both in theological and ecclesiastical principle.

So which one has maintained the faith?

You'll say the OO. Someone else may say the EO. Others within said traditions may have schisms with the larger body. Each one claiming to be the maintainer of the faith
including the Vatican, in making such claims. It comes down to who speaks the Truth.

Heresy, the violation of the former involves teaching a doctrine which deviates from that handed down from the Apostles. Heretics are rendered apart from the Orthodox Church once they are excommunicated by the Orthodox for their heresy. Schism is the violation of the latter, in which a group is excommunicated for violating proper ecclesiastical principle, for instance self-declaring autocephaly in rebellion to the will of one's synod.
Same as above. Either side will claim the other as a heretic.

For example, you often site the EO for being Chalcedonians. Where the OO are the holders of faith. Yet, the EO are fully convinced they hold the true apostolic faith, as well.
Then there are those EO who hold that the OO also hold the Faith, and vice versa.
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2011, 01:14:51 AM »

And in what sense do you believe that the Orthodox Church teaches that universal ecclesiology is not divinely mandated?  

For the Orthodox, universal primacy is a political reality, just as universal ecclesiology is a political reality. As a result, universal primacy is limited in scope according to the agreement of the bishops and patriarchs.

For Rome, the emphasis was on apostolicity, especially Petrine apostolicity: universal primacy was a divine and apostolic order. In this model, universal Catholic unify must necessarily flow from the one and only See of Peter: Rome, and its primacy must be one of absolute authority.

The Lord Himself prayed to the Father that we may be one (John 17:21).  The Church Fathers time and again decry schism, some saying it's a worse sin than heresy.  Certainly there have been times when it has seemed as if the whole Church has fallen into error, so that St Athanasius might have appeared to be the only Orthodox bishop in Egypt, or St Maximus the only Orthodox monk in the world.  But these persevered in faith, and did not go off to found their own church, separate from the Orthodox Church.

One in faith, as the Orthodox will often say. Not one by unity to a single head.

Orthodox ecclesiology is primarily "Eucharistic". To determine the Church, one must determine the Apostolic faith.

And it is true that the local Church is headed by the bishop, but it took other bishops to ordain him.  In this sense the Church has always depended on inter-communion, and what three bishops could grant a synod could, in cases of heresy or misconduct, take away.  Each bishop is equal in authority, but over him is the local synod, and over the local synod a synod composed of bishops from several lands, up to the Ecumenical synods.

Other bishops confirm the authority of another. However, in Eucharistic ecclesiology, the whole church may be found in union with a single bishop (not a part of the whole). Described like a hologram, where a hologram can be cut, but the pieces show the full holographic image.

Roman ecclesiology, the full Church is ultimately that found in communion with the Pope. That is their source of unity/identity.

As for the question of schism, it's all a question of obedience.  Look at the saints of the Church during the times of robber synods.  When St John Chrystostom was deposed by such he did not start his own "Church" but instead was later called back to Constantinople.  I look to this example in my examination of the positions of schismatic groups.  I also note that schismatic groups lack cohesiveness, and schism begets schism.  

So, obviously not all schism throws one out of the Church (hence 'material schism', Isa). However, some schisms do, if there is significant heresy. But who is on the winning side of the heresy is subjective, and only solved by ecumenical council... assuming you accept the council as ecumenical (under Orthodox 'acceptance' understanding).



As to the larger schism, that between East and West, for me it all boiled down to research, starting with the Didache and going on throughout the history of the Church.  You'll have to make up your own mind as to whether or not the evidence goes one way or the other, as for me, well, I think my own conclusions rather obvious (hint: "Faith" above my avatar).
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 01:15:59 AM »

The Orthodox Church is a communion of churches. Therefore, any who are not in full communion with its constituent churches are not part of the Orthodox Church.

I agree, this is the starting point of my question.

Which communion is the Orthodox Church should be determined by which communion has maintained the faith, both in theological and ecclesiastical principle.

So which one has maintained the faith?

You'll say the OO. Someone else may say the EO. Others within said traditions may have schisms with the larger body. Each one claiming to be the maintainer of the faith.

Heresy, the violation of the former involves teaching a doctrine which deviates from that handed down from the Apostles. Heretics are rendered apart from the Orthodox Church once they are excommunicated by the Orthodox for their heresy. Schism is the violation of the latter, in which a group is excommunicated for violating proper ecclesiastical principle, for instance self-declaring autocephaly in rebellion to the will of one's synod.

Same as above. Either side will claim the other as a heretic.

For example, you often site the EO for being Chalcedonians. Where the OO are the holders of faith. Yet, the EO are fully convinced they hold the true apostolic faith, as well.

Yes. What's your point?

?

The point is, how do you determine which is the True Church. What signifies that Church is True, beyond mere subjectivity?
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2011, 01:16:46 AM »

The Orthodox Church is a communion of churches. Therefore, any who are not in full communion with its constituent churches are not part of the Orthodox Church.

I agree, this is the starting point of my question.

Which communion is the Orthodox Church should be determined by which communion has maintained the faith, both in theological and ecclesiastical principle.

So which one has maintained the faith?

You'll say the OO. Someone else may say the EO. Others within said traditions may have schisms with the larger body. Each one claiming to be the maintainer of the faith
including the Vatican, in making such claims. It comes down to who speaks the Truth.

Heresy, the violation of the former involves teaching a doctrine which deviates from that handed down from the Apostles. Heretics are rendered apart from the Orthodox Church once they are excommunicated by the Orthodox for their heresy. Schism is the violation of the latter, in which a group is excommunicated for violating proper ecclesiastical principle, for instance self-declaring autocephaly in rebellion to the will of one's synod.
Same as above. Either side will claim the other as a heretic.

For example, you often site the EO for being Chalcedonians. Where the OO are the holders of faith. Yet, the EO are fully convinced they hold the true apostolic faith, as well.
Then there are those EO who hold that the OO also hold the Faith, and vice versa.

So the "True Church" is merely subjective?
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2011, 01:17:58 AM »

Then there are those EO who hold that the OO also hold the Faith, and vice versa.

But if we hold to the Orthodox Church being a communion then both cannot be part of the Orthodox Church, even if both have proper doctrine.
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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2011, 01:26:32 AM »

For the Orthodox, universal primacy is a political reality,

By this do you mean that the primus inter pares is selected on the basis of the political prestige of the See's city?

just as universal ecclesiology is a political reality.

What do you mean by this?

For Rome, the emphasis was on apostolicity, especially Petrine apostolicity: universal primacy was a divine and apostolic order. In this model, universal Catholic unify must necessarily flow from the one and only See of Peter: Rome, and its primacy must be one of absolute authority.

That's not what Pope Gregory I said.

Orthodox ecclesiology is primarily "Eucharistic". To determine the Church, one must determine the Apostolic faith.

True. And that can be determined by who kept to the faith as it was before the divisions.

So, obviously not all schism throws one out of the Church (hence 'material schism', Isa).

I don't really view that as a schism. The legitimacy of the Synod of the Oak is rather wanting. And if anyone is to be understood as a schismatic in that event, I think it should be Theophilus rather than Chrysostom.
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« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2011, 01:28:49 AM »

The Orthodox Church is a communion of churches. Therefore, any who are not in full communion with its constituent churches are not part of the Orthodox Church.

I agree, this is the starting point of my question.

Which communion is the Orthodox Church should be determined by which communion has maintained the faith, both in theological and ecclesiastical principle.

So which one has maintained the faith?

You'll say the OO. Someone else may say the EO. Others within said traditions may have schisms with the larger body. Each one claiming to be the maintainer of the faith.

Heresy, the violation of the former involves teaching a doctrine which deviates from that handed down from the Apostles. Heretics are rendered apart from the Orthodox Church once they are excommunicated by the Orthodox for their heresy. Schism is the violation of the latter, in which a group is excommunicated for violating proper ecclesiastical principle, for instance self-declaring autocephaly in rebellion to the will of one's synod.

Same as above. Either side will claim the other as a heretic.

For example, you often site the EO for being Chalcedonians. Where the OO are the holders of faith. Yet, the EO are fully convinced they hold the true apostolic faith, as well.

Yes. What's your point?

?

The point is, how do you determine which is the True Church. What signifies that Church is True, beyond mere subjectivity?

Do you mean beyond individual determination of which communion has maintained the doctrine of the Church before the divisions?
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2011, 01:43:55 AM »

For the Orthodox, universal primacy is a political reality,

By this do you mean that the primus inter pares is selected on the basis of the political prestige of the See's city?

No, I mean the ultimate order among the bishops (within a church and among regional churches) is by common consent, not a determined order ordained from Jesus. As opposed to Rome's ecclesiology, where Rome's bishop is always first.

just as universal ecclesiology is a political reality.

What do you mean by this?

Same thing. The Ecumenical Patriarch, for example, is first due to common consent of the churches, not due to a divine order.

For Rome, the emphasis was on apostolicity, especially Petrine apostolicity: universal primacy was a divine and apostolic order. In this model, universal Catholic unify must necessarily flow from the one and only See of Peter: Rome, and its primacy must be one of absolute authority.

That's not what Pope Gregory I said.

Do you have a source?

As a side, I'm also incorporating the totality of Rome's ecclesiology, past and modern. (there was certainly those within Rome's past that were "Rome centered" in their ecclesiology)

Orthodox ecclesiology is primarily "Eucharistic". To determine the Church, one must determine the Apostolic faith.

True. And that can be determined by who kept to the faith as it was before the divisions.

In the case of Chalcedon, who kept the faith? (as an example)

That determination is often subjective. In some cases, it is not (Montanists, Donatists, etc), in other cases it's not so clear.

Perhaps it's schism, not so much in faith, but in obedience to the 'correct' bishop (which happened, A LOT). Who then is in the Church?

So, obviously not all schism throws one out of the Church (hence 'material schism', Isa).

I don't really view that as a schism. The legitimacy of the Synod of the Oak is rather wanting. And if anyone is to be understood as a schismatic in that event, I think it should be Theophilus rather than Chrysostom.

It's schism, in that the 'correct' bishop is not adhered to, however, no theological heresy occurs. Obviously, there are different levels of schism.
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2011, 01:44:18 AM »

The Orthodox Church is a communion of churches. Therefore, any who are not in full communion with its constituent churches are not part of the Orthodox Church.

I agree, this is the starting point of my question.

Which communion is the Orthodox Church should be determined by which communion has maintained the faith, both in theological and ecclesiastical principle.

So which one has maintained the faith?

You'll say the OO. Someone else may say the EO. Others within said traditions may have schisms with the larger body. Each one claiming to be the maintainer of the faith.

Heresy, the violation of the former involves teaching a doctrine which deviates from that handed down from the Apostles. Heretics are rendered apart from the Orthodox Church once they are excommunicated by the Orthodox for their heresy. Schism is the violation of the latter, in which a group is excommunicated for violating proper ecclesiastical principle, for instance self-declaring autocephaly in rebellion to the will of one's synod.

Same as above. Either side will claim the other as a heretic.

For example, you often site the EO for being Chalcedonians. Where the OO are the holders of faith. Yet, the EO are fully convinced they hold the true apostolic faith, as well.

Yes. What's your point?

?

The point is, how do you determine which is the True Church. What signifies that Church is True, beyond mere subjectivity?

Do you mean beyond individual determination of which communion has maintained the doctrine of the Church before the divisions?

Yes.
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2011, 02:06:36 AM »

deusveritat answered most of my responses to your responses to my responses well, so:

In response to St John Chrysostom and the Synod of the Oak


It's schism, in that the 'correct' bishop is not adhered to, however, no theological heresy occurs. Obviously, there are different levels of schism.

Schism is when one removes oneself from the Church, for whatever reason.  The verdict against St John Chrysostom was wrong, but he didn't go and start the "True Apostolic Canonical Orthodox Church of Constantinople in Exile".  Thus there was no schism as such, because Chrysostom didn't allow one to happen.
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Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
Posts: 37,447



« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2011, 03:53:24 AM »

The Orthodox Church is a communion of churches. Therefore, any who are not in full communion with its constituent churches are not part of the Orthodox Church.

I agree, this is the starting point of my question.

Which communion is the Orthodox Church should be determined by which communion has maintained the faith, both in theological and ecclesiastical principle.

So which one has maintained the faith?

You'll say the OO. Someone else may say the EO. Others within said traditions may have schisms with the larger body. Each one claiming to be the maintainer of the faith
including the Vatican, in making such claims. It comes down to who speaks the Truth.

Heresy, the violation of the former involves teaching a doctrine which deviates from that handed down from the Apostles. Heretics are rendered apart from the Orthodox Church once they are excommunicated by the Orthodox for their heresy. Schism is the violation of the latter, in which a group is excommunicated for violating proper ecclesiastical principle, for instance self-declaring autocephaly in rebellion to the will of one's synod.
Same as above. Either side will claim the other as a heretic.

For example, you often site the EO for being Chalcedonians. Where the OO are the holders of faith. Yet, the EO are fully convinced they hold the true apostolic faith, as well.
Then there are those EO who hold that the OO also hold the Faith, and vice versa.

So the "True Church" is merely subjective?
Who said anything about it being merely subjective? One is right, all others are wrong.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
Tags: ecclesiology 
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