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Author Topic: Help me understand bishop/patriarch hierarchy  (Read 1075 times) Average Rating: 0
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kodiak
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« on: July 05, 2011, 12:12:22 PM »

I have traditionally understood orthodox hierarchy in the following way:

-Priests report to their bishop/metropolitan, which in my case would be the Metropolis of Denver.
-The Denver metropolis reports to Archbishop Demetrios in NYC, representing GOA as a whole.
-Archbishop Demetrios reports to Patriarch Bartholomew.

This is the same case for other orthodox churches, such as OCA, Antiochian, etc.  I've been told that my understanding of the above listed hierarchy isn't quite correct in that Bartholomew for example is only head of his local following of a couple thousand people in Constantinople.  Demetrios is only head of his local area there in NYC and nothing else.  Which is correct, or are they both true but different because of religious and/or administrative matters?

Also, what are the exact reasons that define one person to be a Metropolitan (bishop) versus an Archbishop?  Or a Patriarch?
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2011, 12:23:33 PM »

I have traditionally understood orthodox hierarchy in the following way:

-Priests report to their bishop/metropolitan, which in my case would be the Metropolis of Denver.
-The Denver metropolis reports to Archbishop Demetrios in NYC, representing GOA as a whole.
-Archbishop Demetrios reports to Patriarch Bartholomew.

This is the same case for other orthodox churches, such as OCA, Antiochian, etc.  I've been told that my understanding of the above listed hierarchy isn't quite correct in that Bartholomew for example is only head of his local following of a couple thousand people in Constantinople.  Demetrios is only head of his local area there in NYC and nothing else.  Which is correct, or are they both true but different because of religious and/or administrative matters?

Also, what are the exact reasons that define one person to be a Metropolitan (bishop) versus an Archbishop?  Or a Patriarch?

All bishops are equal. From the bishop of only a small diocese to the Ecumenical Patriarch. Technically, the Ecumenical Patriarch can't even go into another bishop's diocese without permission. What the Ecumenical Patriarch does have is status as "first among equals" which is an honorary thing which gives him, for instance, a seat at the head of the table, etc.

The way the administrations are set up is they have synods which will have x number of bishops (and by bishops, I include bishops, metropolitan, archbishops, etc.). Those are the ones you can appeal to if, say, you have a problem with the bishop. The patriarch is the president of the synod (or Archbishop/Metropolitan for Churches without a patriarch, i.e. Greece, Cyprus).

Historically, the titles came for a reason. An archbishop was a bishop with a larger diocese (if I recall correctly) and a metropolitan was the bishop of a major city. Patriarch was the bishop of the capital city (for instance, the patriarch of Moscow is Metropolitan of Moscow, Patriarch of all Russia). The patriarch being the "first among equals" of the local Church (i.e. Russian, Serbian, Romanian, etc). The Russians have kept to this a little better, but with both Greeks and Russians, it's become a little more honorary, at times.

Now, what I have seen happen is let's say that the Metropolitan of Denver comes across something he's not really sure how to handle or something to that effect. He'll probably call Archbishop Demetrios for advice, but Archbishop Demetrios can't tell him what to do, that is, it's not binding, only advice. Unless someone knows something I don't about the way GOA is set up. I don't believe they went the way of the Antiochians (that's a whole different can of worms that I won't go into).

In short, all bishops are equal. Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 12:23:55 PM by John Ward » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2011, 12:34:41 PM »

I have traditionally understood orthodox hierarchy in the following way:

-Priests report to their bishop/metropolitan, which in my case would be the Metropolis of Denver.
-The Denver metropolis reports to Archbishop Demetrios in NYC, representing GOA as a whole.
-Archbishop Demetrios reports to Patriarch Bartholomew.

This is the same case for other orthodox churches, such as OCA, Antiochian, etc.  I've been told that my understanding of the above listed hierarchy isn't quite correct in that Bartholomew for example is only head of his local following of a couple thousand people in Constantinople.  Demetrios is only head of his local area there in NYC and nothing else.  Which is correct, or are they both true but different because of religious and/or administrative matters?

Also, what are the exact reasons that define one person to be a Metropolitan (bishop) versus an Archbishop?  Or a Patriarch?

This can be a little confusing, because metropolitans, archbishops and patriarchs are all bishops. They are titles of administration and honor, but they are sacramentally equal. Of course, to add to the confusion, these terms are used differently by different traditions (Greek, Slavic, Syriac (Antiochian), etc.) I'll try to explain this. If I err, someone please correct me!

All priests report to their local diocesean bishop, in your case the Metropolitan of Denver of the GOAA. Administratively, above the Metropolitan of Denver is the Archbishop of New York, His Emience Demetrios. Demetrios is the Archbishop of New York and All America because he is the first-among-equals for the GOAA. The first in honor. He speaks on behalf of the entire GOAA and chairs their assembly. However, he has his own diocese, as well. The Diocese of New York. That is his territory. Although he is in honor higher than the other GOAA bishops, they are still all other bishops. He cannot tell them what to do in every circumstance, and he cannot even enter their diocese to serve without permission.

And then, since the GOAA is not an autocephalous church (heading itself), but an arm of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, His All Holiness Bartholomew is "above", in honor, Archbishop Demetrios. Patriarch is a title that is higher in honor than Archbishop or Metropolitan, but he is still a bishop, just as they are. Usually, Patriarchs are heads of autocephalous churches, but not always. Some smaller churches in the EO communion are headed by an Archbishop or a Metropolitan.

Side note: In the OO tradition, the ancient title "Catholicos" is preserved as distinct from Patriarch, and is yet another higher title of honor. For example, there are two Patriarchs under the Catholicos of all Armenians.

So, all are bishops, but Metropolitans have higher honor than just Bishops. Archbishops over Metropolitans, and Patriarchs over Archbishops. In the Antiochian/Slavic tradition, there is a reversal. Archbishops in those traditions rank in honor below Metropolitans.

Even among the heads of autocephalous churches, there is a system of honor. The head of an autocephalous church is the first-among-equals for that autocelphalous churches, and an order of honor below him. The same is true among all of the autocephalous churches. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the first-among-equals of all bishops. He is the highest of honor. That said, he is not the universal bishop, as is the Roman Pope for the Latins. He cannot enter any other bishops territory without permission, and has no say in the internal affairs of other churches, unless he is appealed to by them. Below him is an ordering of the autocephalous primates (head bishops), each one of them holding a place of honor. When an autocephalous primate serves the Liturgy, these bishops are commemorated by him at the Great Entrance (where the priest serving would commemorate his bishop).

I hope this has been helpful!
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 12:37:46 PM by Benjamin the Red » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2011, 12:41:00 PM »

Thank you for the replies, that does help explain some things for me.  Let me follow up with another question.

Suppose all orthodox churches decided to convene another council at Nicea to discuss some religious question.  There must be, what, a few thousand orthodox bishops all over the world?  Since they are all equal, who would attend this council to decide the issue?  A few thousand bishops would be a nightmare in trying to organize things.  Who then would represent the churches?  Only the patriarchs as they were in past years "first among equals"?
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 12:44:46 PM »

-Priests report to their bishop/metropolitan, which in my case would be the Metropolis of Denver.
-The Denver metropolis reports to Archbishop Demetrios in NYC, representing GOA as a whole.
-Archbishop Demetrios reports to Patriarch Bartholomew.

It all depends on what you mean by "reports." The way a priest "reports" to his bishop/metropolitan is substantially different than the way a bishop "reports" to his archbishop or patriarch.

In the case of priests, they serve at the pleasure and under the direct supervision of their bishop. You could say the bishop is their earthly "boss," both spiritually and administratively.

Such is not the case with ruling bishops. They are all technically peers. But each one is accountable to the others collectively. So, Met. Isaiah's immediate "boss" is not the Archbishop, but the Holy Eparchial Synod, which is presided over by the Archbishop. And the Holy Eparchial Synod, just like all of its members, is ultimately accountable to the Holy and Sacred Synod of Constantinople, which is presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch.

So, while a priest "reports" to his bishop, a bishop is "accountable" to his fellow bishops, among whom there is an established sense of seniority and a formalized means of mutual accountability.
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2011, 12:46:51 PM »

Thank you for the replies, that does help explain some things for me.  Let me follow up with another question.

Suppose all orthodox churches decided to convene another council at Nicea to discuss some religious question.  There must be, what, a few thousand orthodox bishops all over the world?  Since they are all equal, who would attend this council to decide the issue?  A few thousand bishops would be a nightmare in trying to organize things.  Who then would represent the churches?  Only the patriarchs as they were in past years "first among equals"?

This is merely speculation, but I would venture that the patriarchs (or archbishops/metropolitan in Churches like the the Church of Greece, where there is no patriarch) would attend and perhaps the Synods of the Churches would appoint x amount of bishops to go. I also would guess that there would still be a lot of teleconferencing between the bishops that didn't go and the representatives from their Church.

But, I don't know. That's what makes sense to me but there may be a more practical way to do it.
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 12:54:25 PM »

Thank you for the replies, that does help explain some things for me.  Let me follow up with another question.

Suppose all orthodox churches decided to convene another council at Nicea to discuss some religious question.  There must be, what, a few thousand orthodox bishops all over the world?  Since they are all equal, who would attend this council to decide the issue?  A few thousand bishops would be a nightmare in trying to organize things.  Who then would represent the churches?  Only the patriarchs as they were in past years "first among equals"?

Some of the larger Ecumenical Councils probably had as many as 1,000 people in attendance, including up to ~400 bishops, a bevy of priests/deacons, and scores of dukes, counts, librarians, imperial scribes, guards, servants, bands of monks, etc.

The bishops would sit in groups, according to their place of origin (Cappadocians, Pontians, Egyptians, etc.). Some groups numbered in the hundreds. Sometimes, the bishops would sit on opposing sides of the church, depending on the matter at hand.

And these councils would sometimes go on for months. Think of something like the British House of Commons, with speeches and debates, interrupted with shouts from the Egyptians, or chants from the Pontians, or guffawing from all the bishops on the right-hand side of the church, etc. And, of course, the chair shouting for silence!

So, no, it would not only be the patriarchs. Given the advantages of modern travel, technology, and the hospitality industry, I think we could easily accommodate a gathering of 1,000 to 3,000 people. What will actually happen is another matter.
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 03:37:01 PM »

Back to the original topic, the way I like to think of it is less that, say, Metropolitan Isaiah is regional manager of the GOAA and Archbishop Demetrios is C.E.O. of GOAA and more like Metropolitan Isaiah is a member of the Board of Trustees of the GOAA and Archbishop Demetrios is the President of the Board of Trustees, if that helps anyone
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 03:50:59 PM »

John Ward said:
I don't believe they went the way of the Antiochians (that's a whole different can of worms that I won't go into).

What do the  antiochians do differently with Bishops?
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 04:03:56 PM »

John Ward said:
I don't believe they went the way of the Antiochians (that's a whole different can of worms that I won't go into).

What do the  antiochians do differently with Bishops?

There has been some activity in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdioese of North America concerning the way the bishops there relate to the Metropolitan. The Antiochian Patriarchate doesn't do anything different large-scale than anyone else, but within their Archdiocese in North America, the bishops in their dioceses have been styled as "auxilary bishops" to the Metropolitan, meaning that they are in truth "assistant bishops" and not diocesean bishops. They are still sacramentally equal, but they do not have a diocese of their own.

Many large sees will have assistant bishops, but this is odd for the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America because the bishops are assigned to different diocese and did enjoy authority as essentially diocesean bishops, then that was seemingly snatched away. It's definitely an oddity, and perhaps non-canonical, depending on who you asked about the way the entire situation has developed. Suffice it to say this is one of many anomalies that have come out of overlapping jurisdictions.
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2011, 04:43:10 PM »

John Ward said:
I don't believe they went the way of the Antiochians (that's a whole different can of worms that I won't go into).

What do the  antiochians do differently with Bishops?

There has been some activity in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdioese of North America concerning the way the bishops there relate to the Metropolitan. The Antiochian Patriarchate doesn't do anything different large-scale than anyone else, but within their Archdiocese in North America, the bishops in their dioceses have been styled as "auxilary bishops" to the Metropolitan, meaning that they are in truth "assistant bishops" and not diocesean bishops. They are still sacramentally equal, but they do not have a diocese of their own.

Many large sees will have assistant bishops, but this is odd for the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America because the bishops are assigned to different diocese and did enjoy authority as essentially diocesean bishops, then that was seemingly snatched away. It's definitely an oddity, and perhaps non-canonical, depending on who you asked about the way the entire situation has developed. Suffice it to say this is one of many anomalies that have come out of overlapping jurisdictions.

It doesn't just affect North America. From the way I read the text, any bishop within the Antiochian patriarchate is only an auxiliary. On the other hand, I believe North America is the only area that has dioceses. I believe, though I may be wrong, all other sees are archdioceses with Metropolitans and Archbishops.
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 05:01:36 PM »

John Ward said:
I don't believe they went the way of the Antiochians (that's a whole different can of worms that I won't go into).

What do the  antiochians do differently with Bishops?

There has been some activity in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdioese of North America concerning the way the bishops there relate to the Metropolitan. The Antiochian Patriarchate doesn't do anything different large-scale than anyone else, but within their Archdiocese in North America, the bishops in their dioceses have been styled as "auxilary bishops" to the Metropolitan, meaning that they are in truth "assistant bishops" and not diocesean bishops. They are still sacramentally equal, but they do not have a diocese of their own.

Many large sees will have assistant bishops, but this is odd for the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America because the bishops are assigned to different diocese and did enjoy authority as essentially diocesean bishops, then that was seemingly snatched away. It's definitely an oddity, and perhaps non-canonical, depending on who you asked about the way the entire situation has developed. Suffice it to say this is one of many anomalies that have come out of overlapping jurisdictions.

It doesn't just affect North America. From the way I read the text, any bishop within the Antiochian patriarchate is only an auxiliary. On the other hand, I believe North America is the only area that has dioceses. I believe, though I may be wrong, all other sees are archdioceses with Metropolitans and Archbishops.

Really? Interesting. You mean...all bishops in the Antiochian Patriarchate are considered auxillaries to the Patriarch? If true, that's...a lot sketchier than what I thought was happening...
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2011, 05:24:51 PM »

John Ward said:
I don't believe they went the way of the Antiochians (that's a whole different can of worms that I won't go into).

What do the  antiochians do differently with Bishops?

There has been some activity in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdioese of North America concerning the way the bishops there relate to the Metropolitan. The Antiochian Patriarchate doesn't do anything different large-scale than anyone else, but within their Archdiocese in North America, the bishops in their dioceses have been styled as "auxilary bishops" to the Metropolitan, meaning that they are in truth "assistant bishops" and not diocesean bishops. They are still sacramentally equal, but they do not have a diocese of their own.

Many large sees will have assistant bishops, but this is odd for the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America because the bishops are assigned to different diocese and did enjoy authority as essentially diocesean bishops, then that was seemingly snatched away. It's definitely an oddity, and perhaps non-canonical, depending on who you asked about the way the entire situation has developed. Suffice it to say this is one of many anomalies that have come out of overlapping jurisdictions.

It doesn't just affect North America. From the way I read the text, any bishop within the Antiochian patriarchate is only an auxiliary. On the other hand, I believe North America is the only area that has dioceses. I believe, though I may be wrong, all other sees are archdioceses with Metropolitans and Archbishops.

Really? Interesting. You mean...all bishops in the Antiochian Patriarchate are considered auxillaries to the Patriarch? If true, that's...a lot sketchier than what I thought was happening...

No, that all bishops that are "Bishop" are auxiliaries to whatever Metropolitan or Archbishop. There will not be any diocesan bishops in the Antiochian Church anymore.


What is sketchy, to me, however, is that an autonomous archdiocese now only has one ruling bishop. That bothers me.
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2011, 06:30:49 PM »

John Ward said:
I don't believe they went the way of the Antiochians (that's a whole different can of worms that I won't go into).

What do the  antiochians do differently with Bishops?

There has been some activity in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdioese of North America concerning the way the bishops there relate to the Metropolitan. The Antiochian Patriarchate doesn't do anything different large-scale than anyone else, but within their Archdiocese in North America, the bishops in their dioceses have been styled as "auxilary bishops" to the Metropolitan, meaning that they are in truth "assistant bishops" and not diocesean bishops. They are still sacramentally equal, but they do not have a diocese of their own.

Many large sees will have assistant bishops, but this is odd for the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America because the bishops are assigned to different diocese and did enjoy authority as essentially diocesean bishops, then that was seemingly snatched away. It's definitely an oddity, and perhaps non-canonical, depending on who you asked about the way the entire situation has developed. Suffice it to say this is one of many anomalies that have come out of overlapping jurisdictions.

It doesn't just affect North America. From the way I read the text, any bishop within the Antiochian patriarchate is only an auxiliary. On the other hand, I believe North America is the only area that has dioceses. I believe, though I may be wrong, all other sees are archdioceses with Metropolitans and Archbishops.

Really? Interesting. You mean...all bishops in the Antiochian Patriarchate are considered auxillaries to the Patriarch? If true, that's...a lot sketchier than what I thought was happening...

No, that all bishops that are "Bishop" are auxiliaries to whatever Metropolitan or Archbishop. There will not be any diocesan bishops in the Antiochian Church anymore.


What is sketchy, to me, however, is that an autonomous archdiocese now only has one ruling bishop. That bothers me.

Wow. Yeah. I thought that was only the Archdiocese in North America. That's...troubling.
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2011, 07:16:10 PM »

John Ward said:
I don't believe they went the way of the Antiochians (that's a whole different can of worms that I won't go into).

What do the  antiochians do differently with Bishops?

There has been some activity in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdioese of North America concerning the way the bishops there relate to the Metropolitan. The Antiochian Patriarchate doesn't do anything different large-scale than anyone else, but within their Archdiocese in North America, the bishops in their dioceses have been styled as "auxilary bishops" to the Metropolitan, meaning that they are in truth "assistant bishops" and not diocesean bishops. They are still sacramentally equal, but they do not have a diocese of their own.

Many large sees will have assistant bishops, but this is odd for the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America because the bishops are assigned to different diocese and did enjoy authority as essentially diocesean bishops, then that was seemingly snatched away. It's definitely an oddity, and perhaps non-canonical, depending on who you asked about the way the entire situation has developed. Suffice it to say this is one of many anomalies that have come out of overlapping jurisdictions.

It doesn't just affect North America. From the way I read the text, any bishop within the Antiochian patriarchate is only an auxiliary. On the other hand, I believe North America is the only area that has dioceses. I believe, though I may be wrong, all other sees are archdioceses with Metropolitans and Archbishops.

Really? Interesting. You mean...all bishops in the Antiochian Patriarchate are considered auxillaries to the Patriarch? If true, that's...a lot sketchier than what I thought was happening...

No, that all bishops that are "Bishop" are auxiliaries to whatever Metropolitan or Archbishop. There will not be any diocesan bishops in the Antiochian Church anymore.


What is sketchy, to me, however, is that an autonomous archdiocese now only has one ruling bishop. That bothers me.

Wow. Yeah. I thought that was only the Archdiocese in North America. That's...troubling.

One of the issues is terminology. In Antioch, as in some other jurisdictions, a ruling bishop is usually called a metropolitan. In the Church of Russia and OCA, among others, a ruling bishop is normally not called a metropolitan, reflecting adherence to Apostolic Canon 34 before the title inflation that happened in Constantinople and Antioch, among others. In the Patriarchate of Antioch, therefore, any ruling bishop (certainly of an archdiocese) is titled a metropolitan, while any non-ruling bishop, such as an auxiliary or abbot of a monastery, is called a bishop.

In the case of the North American Archdiocese, Antioch had for a time elevated auxiliary bishops who had helped Metropolitan Philip run "regions" to the status of ruling bishops of dioceses. Later, they were downgraded to auxiliaries again. In the GOA, auxiliary bishops who had been reporting directly to the only ruling bishop--the Archbishop, were elevated to ruling bishop status, retitled Metropolitan, and were made members of both the GOA Eparchical Synod and the Holy Synod of Constantinople (taking turns for membership in the latter). In the Church of Russia, not all bishops/archbishops/metropolitans are members of the Holy Synod. Indeed, some high ranking church leaders are primarily managers in the central administration. These include the Patriarch himself, a ruling bishop who has many auxiliaries to help him serve his diocese, as well as the head for external affairs Metropolitan Hilarion, who is also formally a ruling bishop but spends the vast majority of his time fulfilling his managerial job. 

I hope that this has not been as confusing as it can certainly be.
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« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2011, 07:20:58 PM »

The Metropolis idea doesn't bother me. As I said, the only thing that concerns me is there is only one ruling bishop in an autonomous archdiocese. That's what scares me about the situation. Also, if there's only going to be one ruling bishop, then this Archdiocese is way too large and the Antiochian Synod needs to start dividing it up.
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« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2011, 07:48:01 PM »

The truth is in between because the authority that Bishops are assigned over other Bishops is different and not as great as the authority that a Bishop is assigned to his particular diocese.
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« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2011, 07:53:35 PM »

The truth is in between because the authority that Bishops are assigned over other Bishops is different and not as great as the authority that a Bishop is assigned to his particular diocese.

But, in reality, one bishop cannot tell another what to do, with the exception of the Synod, but that's a group. The patriarch can tell the archbishop of New York what to do until he's blue in the face, but the archbishop doesn't have to listen, at all. Now, the synod, that's different. It was always historically used to deal with issues of bishops since the patriarch couldn't go telling bishops what to do or administer punishment alone.

Whereas, in a diocese, everyone needs to listen to the bishop. The bishop is the one that even gives permission for a priest or parish to have Liturgy (via antimensions).


Forgive me if I read your post wrong, though. I do that a lot.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 07:57:50 PM by John Ward » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2011, 08:02:24 PM »

The truth is in between because the authority that Bishops are assigned over other Bishops is different and not as great as the authority that a Bishop is assigned to his particular diocese.

But, in reality, one bishop cannot tell another what to do, with the exception of the Synod, but that's a group. The patriarch can tell the archbishop of New York what to do until he's blue in the face, but the archbishop doesn't have to listen, at all. Now, the synod, that's different. It was always historically used to deal with issues of bishops since the patriarch couldn't go telling bishops what to do or administer punishment alone.

Whereas, in a diocese, everyone needs to listen to the bishop. The bishop is the one that even gives permission for a priest or parish to have Liturgy (via antimensions).


Forgive me if I read your post wrong, though. I do that a lot.

Don't higher ranking Bishops provide directions for the Bishops they minister to as long as they are willing to co-operate, however?
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« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2011, 08:07:22 PM »

The truth is in between because the authority that Bishops are assigned over other Bishops is different and not as great as the authority that a Bishop is assigned to his particular diocese.

But, in reality, one bishop cannot tell another what to do, with the exception of the Synod, but that's a group. The patriarch can tell the archbishop of New York what to do until he's blue in the face, but the archbishop doesn't have to listen, at all. Now, the synod, that's different. It was always historically used to deal with issues of bishops since the patriarch couldn't go telling bishops what to do or administer punishment alone.

Whereas, in a diocese, everyone needs to listen to the bishop. The bishop is the one that even gives permission for a priest or parish to have Liturgy (via antimensions).


Forgive me if I read your post wrong, though. I do that a lot.

Don't higher ranking Bishops provide directions for the Bishops they minister to as long as they are willing to co-operate, however?

They can provide advice and counseling when the bishop has a question, but he can't order him to do anything (whereas, for example, a bishop can order a priest to do something).
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« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2011, 08:13:33 PM »

The truth is in between because the authority that Bishops are assigned over other Bishops is different and not as great as the authority that a Bishop is assigned to his particular diocese.

But, in reality, one bishop cannot tell another what to do, with the exception of the Synod, but that's a group. The patriarch can tell the archbishop of New York what to do until he's blue in the face, but the archbishop doesn't have to listen, at all. Now, the synod, that's different. It was always historically used to deal with issues of bishops since the patriarch couldn't go telling bishops what to do or administer punishment alone.

Whereas, in a diocese, everyone needs to listen to the bishop. The bishop is the one that even gives permission for a priest or parish to have Liturgy (via antimensions).


Forgive me if I read your post wrong, though. I do that a lot.

Don't higher ranking Bishops provide directions for the Bishops they minister to as long as they are willing to co-operate, however?

They can provide advice and counseling when the bishop has a question, but he can't order him to do anything (whereas, for example, a bishop can order a priest to do something).

What about in issues of concern greater than a single diocese? Will the Metropolitan/Archbishop/Patriarch ever make a decision with his constituent Bishops choosing to co-operate? Or would the Holy Synod always be convened to deal with the situation?
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« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2011, 08:20:49 PM »

The truth is in between because the authority that Bishops are assigned over other Bishops is different and not as great as the authority that a Bishop is assigned to his particular diocese.

But, in reality, one bishop cannot tell another what to do, with the exception of the Synod, but that's a group. The patriarch can tell the archbishop of New York what to do until he's blue in the face, but the archbishop doesn't have to listen, at all. Now, the synod, that's different. It was always historically used to deal with issues of bishops since the patriarch couldn't go telling bishops what to do or administer punishment alone.

Whereas, in a diocese, everyone needs to listen to the bishop. The bishop is the one that even gives permission for a priest or parish to have Liturgy (via antimensions).


Forgive me if I read your post wrong, though. I do that a lot.

Don't higher ranking Bishops provide directions for the Bishops they minister to as long as they are willing to co-operate, however?

They can provide advice and counseling when the bishop has a question, but he can't order him to do anything (whereas, for example, a bishop can order a priest to do something).

What about in issues of concern greater than a single diocese? Will the Metropolitan/Archbishop/Patriarch ever make a decision with his constituent Bishops choosing to co-operate? Or would the Holy Synod always be convened to deal with the situation?

The Synod of Bishops has authority, so a lot of times, issues with a bishop can be elevated to the Synod where the bishops can decide. The councils back in the day were pretty much synods, that's when all the bishops would come together to deal with many things, involving bishops who had gotten a little off-track. Today, we sort of have permanent councils in each Church.

I do now that one of the canons dictates that the Ecumenical Patriarch is meant to be a mediator between other patriarchates. For instance, the whole Jerusalem-Romanian issue really should go to Constantinople, per the canons. I don't know if this extends to bishops within a patriarchate/church. It would make sense to me. But, that's meant for when there's fighting.

If a decision, or an order, needs to be made to apply to the entire Church, the Synod would have to do it, as the Patriarch doesn't have the authority to tell the other bishops to do it. That's if they want it to be binding. If he just wants to advise it, he can, but the bishops don't have to do it.
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