I think Byzantines are completely hung up on 'ecumenicity'. It means 'Imperial Council' or 'Council of the Empire'.
That's not what it means. It means a council representing the "whole world," i.e., the entire Christian Church.
If we "Byzantines" are "hung up on 'ecumenicity'," then you Non-Chalcedonians are hung up on its rejection.
peterfarrington: I am reading some of the essays by the Assyrian bishop Mar Bawai Soro and I actually agree with many of his conclusions. His community were outside the 'Oecumenos' <sp?> long before the issue of Nestorius. They were unaware of Nicaea for instance until some 80 years after it took place. And when the other councils took place, as far as the Assyrian church was concerned these were local synods of the Western Empire not councils at which they had any representation or participation.
I'll bet I can find some Pentecostals in some hollow of the Appalachians who have yet to hear of Nicea even now.
Does that render it a "local synod?"
peterfarrington: It is a great weakness in the Byzantine position that it is not clear how many ecumenical councils there are. I have already produced historic documents from the Byzantines and pointed to the EP website which all count more than 7 ecumenical councils. What is required is for Byzantines to admit that there is some need for reconsideration of what ecumenicity means rather than for converts to jump up and down demanding that everyone accepts 7 councils. If the EP accepts 8. If the united Patriarchs of the 19th century accept 8 (but a different eighth) then insisting on 7 must surely be flawed.
And it is an even greater weakness of the Non-Chalcedonians that their spiritual forefathers took their churches out of the
Church after Council #3 by rejecting Council #4. Thus you have really nothing to contribute to the discussion of whether there are 7 or 8 ecumenical councils.
The debate (if there really is one) over whether there are 7 or 8 ecumenical councils pales to insignificance next to the rejection of all
of the councils after the third.
peterfarrington: If the Byzantines work out what they actually mean by ecumenicity then there may be scope for them accepting another.
And if the Non-Chalcedonians repent and accept the ecumenical councils, perhaps they might no longer be called Non-Chalcedonians and could be present at the next council.
peterfarrington: As for the Oriental Orthodox,
I object to the term "Oriental Orthodox."
In fact, I believe it is a sin
for Eastern Orthodox Christians to refer to Non-Chalcedonians as Orthodox.One CANNOT be Orthodox and reject the Council of Chalcedon.
If we are to refer to Non-Chalcedonians as "Oriental Orthodox," then we should refer to Roman Catholics as Occidental Orthodox
, and to Protestants as Protestant Orthodox
If Non-Chalcedonians are "Orthodox," then Orthodox
is a cheap, watered-down word that has little meaning.
peterfarrington: I believe their position is much more pragmatic. It is the content of a council which has authority.
What is a council but its dogmatic content?
This argument appears to be a subterfuge that allows one to pick and choose what he or she likes or doesn't like about a particular council.
peterfarrington: It is not given authority because it is later called ecumenical. And I do not find the same demands all the time that councils be repudiated or accepted. Rather that the content and substance of councils be understood and accepted. If there were a council then I believe that the issue of 'ecumenicity' wouldn't come up for the OO. They would simply ask was it representative of the mind of the Church - which is the same thing. But I am sure the EO would be hung up on the issue for ever. Something has gone wrong somewhere in EO ecclesiology because the same hangups would not have occurred in the controversial period.
If we EO have so many problems, why the apparent obsession with being accepted by us?
BTW, ecumenicity and "representative of the mind of the Church" mean pretty much the same thing.
peterfarrington: There must be something wrong if, after both sides possibly come to an agreement that they have the same faith, everything falters because the EO cannot decide if a reconciliation council should be their 8th, 9th or 10th ecumenical council, while the OO accept it without such problems.
We do NOT have the same faith as the Non-Chalcedonians, Peter!
You wish to be "reconciled" if we agree to allow you to continue to reject Chalcedon (and the subsequent councils) and venerate the same set of heretics who caused the schism in the first place.
That is not the "same faith" nor is it at all acceptable.
Only the ignorant and the sentimental among the Orthodox desire "unity" under such conditions.
peterfarrington: If we look at Ephesus II 449.
Are sure you want to do that?
Actually examine the infamous Robber Synod, the synod at which the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Flavian, was shamefully beaten to death by order of "the Pharaoh," Dioscorus?
peterfarrington: It seems to me that the OO are able to accept it as authoritative without demanding its acceptance by the EO. This is partly because the EO eventually came to accept most of its conclusions 100 years later at Constantinople II, and we are dealing with each other 'where we are', not replaying centuries of controversy. At least this seems to me to be the more flexible position that the OO are adopting. I have the Acts of Ephesus II 449 here and I am sure that most of the Byzantines who repudiate that council have no idea at all what the Acts say.
As long as the Non-Chalcedonians accept the Robber Synod as authoritative and do not repudiate it, there can be no reunion with them for Orthodox Christians.
peterfarrington: So I think a council will be useful but I am not sure that the EO are able to handle a new one since they have some problems dealing with old ones.
Now that's entertainment! We
have trouble "dealing with the old ones?"
peterfarrington: As for accepting Chalcedon, that is a fair demand by the EO, but it requires more effort on their part than I have generally seen. The OO may also fairly demand that the EO explain what they mean by Chalcedon, and may fairly ask that the reasonable objections which we raise to that council be examined and positively dealt with. While the EO may doubt our Orthodoxy if we cannot deal with Chalcedon honestly, we may equally doubt the Orthodoxy of the EO if they are unable to deal honestly with our objections.
Perhaps until that honest and sincere desire to examine, explore and explain the past is more evident then the prospect of some new council remains unlikely.
Your "objections" have been dealt with over and over and over again by the Fathers and Saints of the Orthodox Church.
Your great strength is that so few Orthodox today are aware of what they had to say, or that they seem to think we moderns are so much more "civilized."
There are some of us, however, who don't think we today know better than the Fathers.
We will simply stick with them, regardless of what the rest of you do.