Author Topic: Shared Church Fathers between OO, EO, and Catholic (?)  (Read 1213 times)

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Offline Gisasargavak

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Shared Church Fathers between OO, EO, and Catholic (?)
« on: April 13, 2011, 12:10:44 AM »
Hello all,

As I've been delving into the Church Fathers more often recently (mainly Chrysostom), I had a few questions about who are considered Church Fathers/Saints per se and who we can take "advice" from on matters of faith and theology according to the Church. For example, I know that Eastern Orthodox would consider Maximus the Confessor would be considered a Church while Oriental Orthodox would not. Is there such a list that delineates who is teaching OO theology and who is not?

This is all very confusing to me, especially when you look on places like Wikipedia which list both Chrysostom and Augustine as Fathers for OO's but not Maximus or Tertullian etc. I've barely even heard priests talk about Chrysostom in church (which is kind of sad), nevermind someone so "overtly" Latin as Augustine. So who is and who is not considered a Church Father by the OO Church, and is this "list" universal among all the OO's?

Also, what about the saints that are usually associated with one branch of OO, like St. Mesrob or St. Gregory the Illuminator, would these be considered Saints in the other OO churches, with equal status to their respected saints? How does that work?

P.S. I think this has become an issue for me as I listen to some of the programs on Ancient Faith Radio on a regular basis (really only Search the Scriptures and Speaking the Truth in Love; I find the hosts of these two shows to have a real rooted knowledge in Orthodoxy). This site is really I would say geared more towards Eastern Orthodox and I would like to know if we are theologically "allowed" to take advice from priests or other knowledgeable people if they are EO. Thanks for your input.

« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 12:11:35 AM by Gisasargavak »

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Shared Church Fathers between OO, EO, and Catholic (?)
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 12:23:56 AM »
Just to begin, I've been spiritually edified by the writings of Pope Shenouda very much and believe he is a holy and pious man.

Tertullian is not considered a Church Father or Saint in the EO Church, and I believe the same goes in the OO. Also, there are some differences between certain OO Churches regarding who is and who is not a saint, as you have already stated (Pontius Pilate is a Saint in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, if I'm not mistaken).

I would suggest looking at a Coptic Church calendar of saints to get an idea of the universal overlap.
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Shared Church Fathers between OO, EO, and Catholic (?)
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 12:51:15 AM »
As a rule of thumb, I would say most major Church Fathers before 451 would be in common between all of us, especially the ones who lived in the East.  After 451, there are very few who are in common between the OO's and the Chalcedonians (EO and RC.)

I don't think that means we can't listen to EO sermons, or read some writings of post-451 EO saints.  I think we just have to exercise some discretion if we are reading something that has to do with the Ecumenical Councils, since they will have a different take on that subject.  On general spiritual matters that don't touch on the Councils or on Christological language, I don't see there being a problem.

Regarding St. Augustine, I've never heard him quoted or cited in the Armenian Church, but I've heard him quoted by Copts.  St. John Chrysostom is definitely a saint in our Church.  I hear him quoted by our priests, and some of the prayers in our liturgy are written by him.  In Armenian he's called VosgePeran (Ոսկեբերան).  You've probably heard him referred to by that title.

Regarding who is or is not on our calendars, there will be differences between the OO Churches, since we existed geographically isolated from each other for so long.  I don't see that as a problem.  I know the Copts will venerate St. Nerses Shnorhali, even if he is not on their calendar.  VasnTearn has voiced the opinion that we Armenians should not venerate anyone who is not on our calendar, but I don't know of anyone else who is of that opinion.  That's definitely not the view I see among Armenians in the diaspora.  Perhaps in Armenia they are more strict about these things.

You may just want to ask your priest about this.  If he is anything like my priest, he'll tell you to go ahead and read spiritually beneficial writings from the EO's.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 01:07:16 AM by Salpy »

Offline Salpy

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Offline Father Peter

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Re: Shared Church Fathers between OO, EO, and Catholic (?)
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2011, 10:26:04 AM »
For some reason, I think because of the Catholic influence, Augustine is popular among some OO, but he unknown in the East at all before the 14th century and his very modern popularity does not make him a Church Father. I don't object so much to the sense of a universal inclusivity - there are after all many Orthodox British saints - but it disturbs me a little that Augustine is often the preferred Father when much of his theology and spirituality is problematic. Indeed he is often preferred over the great Eastern Fathers. I do find this problematic.
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