Author Topic: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...  (Read 1446 times)

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Offline Severian

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This letter was written in the nineteenth century from the Russian Church seeking to reunite with the Coptic Orthodox Church:

I laid the foundations for an approximation effusions between the Coptic Church and ours only by confining the Coptic patriarch. On behalf of the truth, I would have said firmly that St. Synod of all the Russias had sent to His Holiness with the good news that the Synod and with him the entire Russian Church does not consider him and bishops and priests under his or her flock, as Monophysite heretics (sic), but recognizes them as brothers in faith and the ceremonies of divine service, despite a small difference in religious rites does not break the unity of faith and charity. Synod of all the Russias had sent to His Holiness with the good news that the Synod and with him the entire Russian Church does not consider him and bishops and priests under his or her flock, as Monophysite heretics (sic), but recognizes them as brothers in faith and the ceremonies of divine service, despite a small difference in religious rites does not break the unity of faith and charity. I would have said in my book on the dogmas and rituals of the Copts, the evening prayer, midnight, morning, every hour, that are common to both, I would have hired all their four liturgies that not differ from ours by their sense and their dogma, I'd have reminded them that are celebrated in the same sacraments and the same rules are observed SS. I would have said in my book on the dogmas and rituals of the Copts, the evening prayer, evening, morning, every hour, that are common to both, I would have hired all their four liturgies that not differ from ours by their sense and their dogma, I'd have reminded them that are celebrated in the Sacraments and the same rules are observed SS. Apostles and the Ecumenical Councils of Nicea and Constantinople, " the same veneration of icons approved by the 7th Ecumenical Council, I would have explained that, like them, we curse the heresy of Nestor and Eutychus, and the the 4th Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon's teaching contained St. Cyril of Alexandria on the personality of the Man-God and I speak in his own words to him [St. Cyril], I would have persuaded him to send a message to our St. Synod and to express that all the Egyptian Church and also profess since ancient times, for their heart and mouth, the Nicene Creed Constantinople and without any addition or alteration, they anathématisent heresy of Nestor and Eutychus and believe that Jesus Christ, the only son of the living God is perfect God and perfect man in which the nature of the Godhead and the nature of humanity Vees are conserved without being con-fused . indivisible, immutable - and finally [I would have advised him] to ask for strong prayers are addressed to God, and [he asked] the protection of the Church and the Russian Empire to Christianity in Egypt dwindling. This message would have crowned my work as a missionary in Egypt. As a messenger of good news, sent by our Synod, I would have requested that the crown of the Coptic Patriarch. As his friend, I would have advised him to come to Jeru salem all our rituals and our catechism [language] Arab and think about sending young Copts in Russia for the study of sacred architecture, the paint [icons] and all kinds of science. " Apostles and the Ecumenical Councils of Nicea and Constantinople, "the same veneration of icons approved by the 7th Ecumenical Council, I would have explained that, like them, we curse the heresy of Nestor and Eutychus, and the the 4th Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon's teaching contained St. Cyril of Alexandria on the personality of the Man-God and I speak in his own words to him [St. Cyril], I would have persuaded him to send a message to our St. Synod and to express that all the Egyptian Church and also profess since ancient times, for their heart and mouth, the Creed ited Constantinople and without any addition or alteration, they anathématisent heresy of Nestor and Eutychus and believe that Jesus Christ, the only son of the living God is perfect God and perfect man in which the nature of the Godhead and the nature of humanity vees are conserved without being con-fused. indivisible, immutable - and finally [I would have advised him] to ask for strong prayers are addressed to God, and [he asked] the protection of the Church and the Russian Empire to Christianity in Egypt dwindling. This message would have crowned my work as a missionary in Egypt. As a messenger of good news, sent by our Synod, I would have requested that the crown of the Coptic Patriarch. As his friend, I would have advised him to come to Jeru salem all our rituals and our catechism [language] Arab and think about sending young Copts in Russia for the study of sacred architecture, the paint [icons] and all kinds of Science. "
http://eocf.free.fr/copte_russe.htm http://eocf.free.fr/copte_russe.htm

The translation was from Google translate so it's not that great.

Discuss!
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 08:30:57 PM by Severian »
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

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Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2011, 09:33:45 PM »
Btw, according to your link, the Armenians were in on it too.
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Offline Severian

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2011, 09:43:19 PM »
Btw, according to your link, the Armenians were in on it too.
Interesting!

Maybe someone can provide us a better translation because this one really isn't that good.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 10:09:55 PM by Severian »
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline Severian

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2011, 12:19:32 PM »
--bump--
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline Severian

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2011, 11:00:54 AM »
--bump--
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline bishoy

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 11:50:11 PM »
-+Bump+-

Offline Severian

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"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2011, 09:19:47 PM »
It looks like a great opportunity that was missed. But what did the EO Alexandrians think about all this?

Offline Severian

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2011, 09:29:20 PM »
It looks like a great opportunity that was missed. But what did the EO Alexandrians think about all this?
I am not sure, however Fr. Peter has said that once when the Melkite Alexandrian Patriarch left Egypt to tend to certain business he left his community under the care of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch. So this hints at fraternal relations between Melkite and Coptic Orthodox Alexandrians prior to the modern dialogues.
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Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline William

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2011, 09:42:13 PM »
Melkites aren't EO, they're Roman. Right?
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Offline Severian

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2011, 09:54:29 PM »
Melkites aren't EO, they're Roman. Right?
Oh sorry, I should have clarified. Historically, the OO have called the Byzantines "Melkites" or "people of the king", deriving from the Syriac word "malko" which means "king". For whatever reason the Eastern Catholics of Syria also call themselves "Melkites".
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May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2011, 10:20:32 PM »
Melkites aren't EO, they're Roman. Right?
Oh sorry, I should have clarified. Historically, the OO have called the Byzantines "Melkites" or "people of the king", deriving from the Syriac word "malko" which means "king". For whatever reason the Eastern Catholics of Syria also call themselves "Melkites".

It's because they're from the imperial liturgical tradition.

Are you ethnically Coptic?

Offline Severian

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2011, 10:22:16 PM »
Are you ethnically Coptic?
Yes, I am ethnically Coptic. Why do you ask?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 10:22:47 PM by Severian »
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline Severian

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2011, 11:50:51 AM »
Yes, I am ethnically Coptic. Why do you ask?
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline Alpo

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2011, 01:10:26 PM »
So "Coptic" is also an ethnic concept? I've always though that Egyptians are just plain Arabs with an Egyptian culture.

Offline Severian

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2011, 01:11:44 PM »
So "Coptic" is also an ethnic concept? I've always though that Egyptians are just plain Arabs with an Egyptian culture.
We Copts do not consider ourselves Arabs, though we may sometimes, out of ignorance, be characterized as Arabs.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline Father Peter

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2011, 01:20:32 PM »
Copts are both the indigenous inhabitants of Egypt prior to the Arab invasion, and/or members of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

I am a Coptic Orthodox priest, but I am not of Coptic ethnicity.

This is surely the same for all Orthodox Churches? It would be possible to say I am a Russian priest without me being ethnically Russian, rather a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.
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Offline Alpo

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2011, 01:30:08 PM »
So "Coptic" is also an ethnic concept? I've always though that Egyptians are just plain Arabs with an Egyptian culture.
We Copts do not consider ourselves Arabs, though we may sometimes, out of ignorance, be characterized as Arabs.

Thank you for the correction. Being born into other corner of the World I'm surely ignorant of many non-Western issues. Do Egyptian muslims consider themselves as Copts?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 01:32:53 PM by Alpo »

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2011, 01:40:13 PM »
This is surely the same for all Orthodox Churches? It would be possible to say I am a Russian priest without me being ethnically Russian, rather a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Irish Hermit is one and Fr. Andrew Philips is even more Russian than the Russians are.

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2011, 01:48:17 PM »
So "Coptic" is also an ethnic concept? I've always though that Egyptians are just plain Arabs with an Egyptian culture.
We Copts do not consider ourselves Arabs, though we may sometimes, out of ignorance, be characterized as Arabs.

Thank you for the correction. Being born into other corner of the World I'm surely ignorant of many non-Western issues. Do Egyptian muslims consider themselves as Copts?
I actually do think that the Sheikh Al-Azhar once referred to himself once as "Quibty Moslem" (a Moslem Copt), meaning that he considers himself to be a descendant of the great Pharoahs. But what he said was more of a play-on of words than anything else. Egyptian Muslims do not refer to themselves as Copts, though they will claim to be descendants of the ancient Egyptians because (according to their version of the story) most Copts converted to Islam when the Arab invaders came in. I, of course, have a hard time believing this, but that's another story. ;)
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 01:58:32 PM by Severian »
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline jah777

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2011, 02:37:18 PM »
This is surely the same for all Orthodox Churches? It would be possible to say I am a Russian priest without me being ethnically Russian, rather a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Well, it is possible for a person to say anything, but I don't think one would find a non-Russian priest in the Russian Orthodox Church calling himself a "Russian priest", nor a non-Greek priest in the Greek Orthodox Church referring to himself as a "Greek priest."  They refer to themselves as a "Russian Orthodox priest" or "Greek Orthodox priest", an "Orthodox priest" or simply "a priest in the Orthodox Church".  This is what I have seen and heard, but if you see some examples that would counter what I am saying here, please do share these examples.

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2011, 02:43:47 PM »
This is surely the same for all Orthodox Churches? It would be possible to say I am a Russian priest without me being ethnically Russian, rather a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Well, it is possible for a person to say anything, but I don't think one would find a non-Russian priest in the Russian Orthodox Church calling himself a "Russian priest", nor a non-Greek priest in the Greek Orthodox Church referring to himself as a "Greek priest."  They refer to themselves as a "Russian Orthodox priest" or "Greek Orthodox priest", an "Orthodox priest" or simply "a priest in the Orthodox Church".  This is what I have seen and heard, but if you see some examples that would counter what I am saying here, please do share these examples.
What do you think of this letter from the Russian Church, Jah777?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 02:55:24 PM by Severian »
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

May the 21 new martyrs pray for us all.

Please, remember me in your prayers

Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline jah777

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2011, 04:22:59 PM »
What do you think of this letter from the Russian Church, Jah777?

I don't think anything in particular about it, to be honest.  I suppose it is an interesting account, but it begs a great deal more information.  The account you provided was preceded by:

"It was written that I will resume our relations with the Copts, says Ouspensky in his account, but it was not written that I will renew their relationship with our church.  However I think and hope that our St. Synod will continue this important work. "

 But it showed no willingness to resume negotiations, attitude greatly missed by Ouspensky, as he says, the moment was particularly favorable…


So, if the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church did not consider the Copts to be heretics, then why did they seemingly have no interest in further negotiations with the Copts?  Was this because the Church in Russia realized that it could not act on the matter unilaterally and without consultation with the other local Orthodox churches?  We aren’t told here. 

It seems from the lack of action and support from the Holy Synod that perhaps Ouspensky is basing his comments on the position of the Holy Synod in Russia solely on the fact that Ouspensky published a book stating that the Copts were not heretics, and the Holy Synod in Russia approved his book for publication.  Since he claimed that he was the first to publish a book in Russia in which it was stated that the Copts were not heretics, how was this publication, and this statement in particular, received in Russia?  Perhaps it was received poorly, and for this reason Ouspensky’s overtures towards the Copts lost the support of the Synod, but the account does not say and I have no other information.  If his work was published prior to the 1860s, what did St. Theophan the Recluse, St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov), the Optina Elders, or other Russian saints of that period think of this remark?  If the Holy Synod of the Church in Russia made such a decision regarding the Copts, was this decision recorded anywhere or officially proclaimed?  Again, I do not know, but I think these are important questions regarding the significance (or lack thereof) of Ouspensky’s account.  In general, however, the assertion that the Holy Synod of one local Orthodox Church has an opinion on a certain matter is no guarantee that their position is a correct one, which is why in the Orthodox Church the principle of conciliarity is of such importance.   

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2011, 05:49:39 PM »
I thought it was well known that the Russians planned to unite the Copts and other Middle Eastern Churches with their communion and become the protectors of Orthodoxy in the Middle East? I don't think this view is dependent on Ouspensky but that it is well documented.

This is certainly my IIRC. I'll take a look and see what I can find, but I am sure this was the Russian plan, with the aim of sidelining European influence of course.

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2011, 05:52:02 PM »
I thought it was well known that the Russians planned to unite the Copts and other Middle Eastern Churches with their communion and become the protectors of Orthodoxy in the Middle East? I don't think this view is dependent on Ouspensky but that it is well documented.

This is certainly my IIRC. I'll take a look and see what I can find, but I am sure this was the Russian plan, with the aim of sidelining European influence of course.

Father Peter
I also read a little bit about this in "Introduction to the Coptic Orthodox Church" and the Coptic Synaxarion. It is a shame the oppurtunity fell through, I suppose.
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Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2011, 07:15:10 PM »
I had the impression that the Coptic patriarch politely rejected union with the Russian Church, despite the Czar's promise to protect the Coptic Church from the majority Muslims.  It seems the Coptic patriarch saw mostly a political issue with this, worried of an Islamic retaliation against the Church.  The Synexarium records this incident as the Coptic pope proclaiming that we have the Heavenly King to protect us, rather than earthly kings.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 07:17:43 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2011, 07:25:06 PM »
I had the impression that the Coptic patriarch politely rejected union with the Russian Church, despite the Czar's promise to protect the Coptic Church from the majority Muslims.  It seems the Coptic patriarch saw mostly a political issue with this, worried of an Islamic retaliation against the Church.  The Synexarium records this incident as the Coptic pope proclaiming that we have the Heavenly King to protect us, rather than earthly kings.
Yes, this is what I also read.
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Lord, protect Egypt, Syria, Lebanon & Iraq.

Offline Severian

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Re: I Found this very interesting letter from the Russian Church...
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2011, 03:03:37 PM »
What do you think of this letter from the Russian Church, Jah777?

I don't think anything in particular about it, to be honest.  I suppose it is an interesting account, but it begs a great deal more information.  The account you provided was preceded by:

"It was written that I will resume our relations with the Copts, says Ouspensky in his account, but it was not written that I will renew their relationship with our church.  However I think and hope that our St. Synod will continue this important work. "

 But it showed no willingness to resume negotiations, attitude greatly missed by Ouspensky, as he says, the moment was particularly favorable…


So, if the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church did not consider the Copts to be heretics, then why did they seemingly have no interest in further negotiations with the Copts?  Was this because the Church in Russia realized that it could not act on the matter unilaterally and without consultation with the other local Orthodox churches?  We aren’t told here. 

It seems from the lack of action and support from the Holy Synod that perhaps Ouspensky is basing his comments on the position of the Holy Synod in Russia solely on the fact that Ouspensky published a book stating that the Copts were not heretics, and the Holy Synod in Russia approved his book for publication.  Since he claimed that he was the first to publish a book in Russia in which it was stated that the Copts were not heretics, how was this publication, and this statement in particular, received in Russia?  Perhaps it was received poorly, and for this reason Ouspensky’s overtures towards the Copts lost the support of the Synod, but the account does not say and I have no other information.  If his work was published prior to the 1860s, what did St. Theophan the Recluse, St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov), the Optina Elders, or other Russian saints of that period think of this remark?  If the Holy Synod of the Church in Russia made such a decision regarding the Copts, was this decision recorded anywhere or officially proclaimed?  Again, I do not know, but I think these are important questions regarding the significance (or lack thereof) of Ouspensky’s account.  In general, however, the assertion that the Holy Synod of one local Orthodox Church has an opinion on a certain matter is no guarantee that their position is a correct one, which is why in the Orthodox Church the principle of conciliarity is of such importance.   

Meh, I suppose you are correct. I was just curious to hear what you, as a Russian EO, had to say on this matter.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2011, 03:03:50 PM by Severian »
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