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Author Topic: Does the Orthodox Church Pre-Date the Roman Catholic Church?  (Read 2531 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 04, 2011, 04:49:56 PM »

I stumbled upon this article by a guy who runs a website purportedly in favor of unity between the EOC and RCC. I gather that this guy is Catholic (based on his testimony page). Anyways, I was reading this article and he tries to argue that the EOC does not predate the Catholics and how found his reasoning to be a bit flawed, but I wanted to solicit the collective wisdom/knowledge of the board. I've seen Catholics argue that the RCC is as old as the Orthodox Church but haven't really seen anyone argue that the EOC is centuries younger than the RCC, which is what he seems to be doing.

http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/orthodox/does_the_orthodox_church_predate_the_catholic_church.htm
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2011, 05:04:46 PM »

Well, it really depends on what one knows and how one interprets the history from the 8th to 13th century.

Some questions that can guide this study:

Did the Roman Empire as a whole fall or just the Western part?

Can we talk of continuity with cultural ruptures followed by reenactments of the "lost" culture by a second group/

The changes in the self-understanding of the role of the Pope are a legitimate development or that kind of development that is rupture?

What is the meaning of the insertion of the Filioque in the Creed? Did it break any canons? Did it change anything in the politics of the Church? Did it give rise to new theology?

The traditional human governance of the Church was an absolute monarchy(Rome), a federation(Orthodoxy), a confederation of "city-states" (Pre-Chalc.), a contratual anarchy (Protestants), or a full-fledged anarchy ("Jesus Movement" theory)?

What I found out about history led me to know - not believe, know - that the Orthodox Church *is* the Church that Jesus founded and was spread by the Apostles.
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2011, 05:28:35 PM »

No, same age Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2011, 05:50:41 PM »

One could say, on the basis of Jerusalem, that the EO is a few years older than RCC but that really is a difference without meaning. Ergo, the same age.
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2011, 05:59:37 PM »

Thanks guys. I think "same age" is probably the right answer. I suppose someone with an agenda could date the RCC as having a birthday of 1054 if we employ a "conclusion in search of a basis" type analysis like the author, but in fairness I think we should both just point to Pentecost and our respective claims to Apostolic Succession and not get into the muddiness that author does. I just found it puzzling since he seems on the surface like someone who wants unity, and even if he's Catholic stipulating as to the age question seems like a no brainer.

And Fabio- love the "contractual anarchy" assessment of Protestantism. Not sure if you coined it but it certainly captures and describes it well.
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2011, 06:02:04 PM »

During the 1st millenium, Christianity east and west was Orthodox and Catholic. We believe that the east retained its Orthodoxy and Catholicity since then, while the west did not; hence the schism.
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2011, 12:58:06 PM »

I would say that we are the same age since we both trace our roots back to Christ and the Apostles. Even though we view the Eastern Orthodox as in schism, we still believe that they belong somehow to the Catholic Church since they have Sacraments and Apostolic Succession.
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2012, 05:10:52 PM »

I would say that we are the same age since we both trace our roots back to Christ and the Apostles. Even though we view the Eastern Orthodox as in schism, we still believe that they belong somehow to the Catholic Church since they have Sacraments and Apostolic Succession.

Touche mon ami......
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2012, 05:25:41 PM »

Both officially started at the schism, but only one remained true.
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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2012, 05:27:52 PM »

Well, it really depends on what one knows and how one interprets the history from the 8th to 13th century.

Some questions that can guide this study:

Did the Roman Empire as a whole fall or just the Western part?

Can we talk of continuity with cultural ruptures followed by reenactments of the "lost" culture by a second group/

The changes in the self-understanding of the role of the Pope are a legitimate development or that kind of development that is rupture?

What is the meaning of the insertion of the Filioque in the Creed? Did it break any canons? Did it change anything in the politics of the Church? Did it give rise to new theology?

The traditional human governance of the Church was an absolute monarchy(Rome), a federation(Orthodoxy), a confederation of "city-states" (Pre-Chalc.), a contratual anarchy (Protestants), or a full-fledged anarchy ("Jesus Movement" theory)?

What I found out about history led me to know - not believe, know - that the Orthodox Church *is* the Church that Jesus founded and was spread by the Apostles.
A well put set of study questions! This will be helpful to me. Thanks.
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2012, 10:14:53 AM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2012, 11:14:23 AM »

No.
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2012, 12:33:08 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP
I think that's the most sensible interpretation.
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2012, 12:41:05 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP
I think that's the most sensible interpretation.
Except for my horrid keyboard skills on the word CHURCH Smiley

PP
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2012, 12:43:46 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP
I think that's the most sensible interpretation.

Well, that's one interpretation, and I won't fault you for thinking it's the most sensible.  The answer to the question of the OP, though, is still...."no".  Plain and simple.
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« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2012, 12:45:29 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP
I think that's the most sensible interpretation.

Well, that's one interpretation, and I won't fault you for thinking it's the most sensible.  The answer to the question of the OP, though, is still...."no".  Plain and simple.


PP
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« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2012, 12:47:37 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP
I think that's the most sensible interpretation.
Except for my horrid keyboard skills on the word CHURCH Smiley

PP
Orthodox Churh sounds like a hipster Mexican food stand lol.
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« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2012, 12:50:47 PM »

^^ Don't know why, but that pic made me laugh out loud loudly...
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« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2012, 01:06:10 PM »

^^ Don't know why, but that pic made me laugh out loud loudly...
I loled too!
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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2012, 02:11:42 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP
I think that's the most sensible interpretation.

Well, that's one interpretation, and I won't fault you for thinking it's the most sensible.  The answer to the question of the OP, though, is still...."no".  Plain and simple.


PP

LOL.  A little overly dramatic, though, don't you think?
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« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2012, 02:45:28 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP
I think that's the most sensible interpretation.

Well, that's one interpretation, and I won't fault you for thinking it's the most sensible.  The answer to the question of the OP, though, is still...."no".  Plain and simple.


PP

LOL.  A little overly dramatic, though, don't you think?
That was the point  laugh

PP
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« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2012, 03:32:32 PM »

Really depends on how you interpret it. The ultra-Orthodox can say that the Orthodox Church pre-dates the Roman Church by 1054 years since the Roman Catholic Church was built upon schism, whereas the Roman Catholic Church can say that they predate the Orthodox Church because the Orthodox refused to get with the program and thus committed schism. A more accurate, neutral view would probably be that they are equally old, shared the same history for 1054 years until the schism and are about equal in age.

EDIT: On second thought, you could also argue in favor of the Orthodox Church by stating that most of the eastern Churches like Jerusalem, Alexandria, Damascus and the Churches in Greece were established before the Roman Church since the Apostles began their ministry in these areas and then traveled to Rome. However, this does not change the fact that Rome was still founded by an Apostle, and one could reasonably argue that there were already Christians in Rome by the time the Apostles finally arrived.
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« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2012, 03:51:59 PM »

Really depends on how you interpret it. The ultra-Orthodox can say that the Orthodox Church pre-dates the Roman Church by 1054 years since the Roman Catholic Church was built upon schism, whereas the Roman Catholic Church can say that they predate the Orthodox Church because the Orthodox refused to get with the program and thus committed schism. A more accurate, neutral view would probably be that they are equally old, shared the same history for 1054 years until the schism and are about equal in age.

EDIT: On second thought, you could also argue in favor of the Orthodox Church by stating that most of the eastern Churches like Jerusalem, Alexandria, Damascus and the Churches in Greece were established before the Roman Church since the Apostles began their ministry in these areas and then traveled to Rome. However, this does not change the fact that Rome was still founded by an Apostle, and one could reasonably argue that there were already Christians in Rome by the time the Apostles finally arrived.
Both of these sound pretty good to me.

PP
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« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2012, 05:49:40 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP

Do you apply the same analysis to the so-called "Assyrian Church of the East"?
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« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2012, 06:07:30 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP

Do you apply the same analysis to the so-called "Assyrian Church of the East"?
Depends on numbers imo. Were the two sides roughly the same in size and influence? Otherwise it's a minority party leaving the main group, like with the Novatianists. Same goes for the OO.

I realize this question might be impossible to answer precisely.
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« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2012, 06:16:14 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

If you are ideologically biased then either yes or no.  If you look at the historical record, then the answer is no, we were all one Church until the Council of Chalcedon where the first splits occurred, and then again just before the Crusades when the formal split between East and West occurred, and the terms "Catholic" and "Orthodox" took on entirely different meanings.  One Church is not older than the other, because we shared a common unity, common saints, common councils, common canons, common dogmas.  We were divided logistically by geography, but never ontologically by ideology or theology.  It was ONE Church until folks came up with the idea of two, just as we were one human race until Cain decided that for some reason or another Abel was different.  Since then, its been a battle to keep the centrifugal forces of sin from breaking the human race apart.  The theme of the past several thousand years is human communities increasingly coming together only to further splinter apart.  The process of nationalization continually shrinks in range and scope, so that smaller and smaller groups become increasingly unified.  It is an interesting paradox, that the same exact threads of history which continually bring communities together in the longer scheme, are exactly the same threads which in actuality break us apart.  The desire to be one, also inherently increases the desire to define who isn't part of the oneness, and in time, seeking distinctions becomes more apparent then seeking harmony.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2012, 06:18:21 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP

Do you apply the same analysis to the so-called "Assyrian Church of the East"?
Depends on numbers imo. Were the two sides roughly the same in size and influence? Otherwise it's a minority party leaving the main group, like with the Novatianists. Same goes for the OO.

I realize this question might be impossible to answer precisely.

I don't know what their numbers were in the fifth century, but they once outnumbered Roman Christianity (by which I mean Christianity in the historical boundaries of the Roman Empire) altogether
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« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2012, 06:32:57 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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Here, one must also appreciate the fact that Byzantine Christianity is not the be-all-end-all of Eastern Christianity.   In the Eastern Orthodox Chuch, you have no representation of the Coptic tradition, or the Syrian tradition, or the Maronite (Lebanese) tradition, or the Ethiopian tradition, or the Malankar (Indian) tradition, or the Armenian tradition, or the Chaldean (Persian) tradition.The Catholic Church, however, includes all of these traditions,

With no disrespect intended to our Catholic brothers and sisters, this statement from the OP article is rubbish.  True, the Catholic Church has had missions into Ethiopia, indeed across over a thousand years of history, however, at several instances, these were attempts at subordination, colonialization, and exploitation.  The worst were the Jesuits who sent Anti-Popes feigning to be Coptic Egyptians to deceive the Ethiopians, and spent almost 200 years generally upsetting Christianity in Ethiopia by pursuing nefarious political and religious agendas.  Yes, Emperor Zara Yacob did in fact send a delegation to observe the Council of Florence, and the portrait of these Ethiopians also still hangs to this day in the Vatican, but we in the Ethiopian tradition suspect the motives of the Catholics for their invitation.  The Vatican was also the first in the Western world to collect and translate Ethiopic manuscripts, histories and Scriptures.  However, again, we are skeptical of their intentions, but forgiving all the same.  The Pope of Rome blessed the bombs that the Fascists dropped on the Ethiopians, which later HIM Haile Selassie visited the Vatican and shook hands with this same Pope who might have just as likely seen HIM dead and buried.  The Catholics have a long-standing history in Ethiopia, the Portuguese bravely helped the Ethiopian Crown defeat the Somali invaders under the Gragn in the 16th century, however, much like in the Americas, the priests brought with them some bad apples with less-than-good intentions.  Today, in Ethiopia the Catholic Church is fully allowed to openly practice their religion, including amongst indigenous Ethiopian Catholics, however, this is  a testimony of our tolerance and mutual respect, even for those of the Faith who have fought against us many times in the past.

That being said, it is a bit misleading for Catholics today to say that because they have a historical involvement with Ethiopia, that their history is friendlier or more concerned with Ethiopian Christianity than that of the Byzantines, though in truth, I am a bit as wary about the Byzantine Church in Alexandria as I am of the Catholics in Africa.  Africa is the rightful jurisdiction of Coptic Alexandria and Aksum, as it has been and as it should remain.

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« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2012, 10:07:02 PM »

IMHO I think we split from each other however the Orthodox Churh has stayed closer to the original, pre schism Church.

PP

Do you apply the same analysis to the so-called "Assyrian Church of the East"?
Depends on numbers imo. Were the two sides roughly the same in size and influence? Otherwise it's a minority party leaving the main group, like with the Novatianists. Same goes for the OO.

I realize this question might be impossible to answer precisely.

I assume you are not making an ecclesiological statement here?

Even if 90% of the church were to aspostasise, let's say, it would still be that 90% which had left the Church of Christ, not the other way around.
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« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2012, 10:22:07 PM »

Agreed. I was just trying to look at it in the sense of formal organizations.

The Church of Rome that fell into the heresy of Papal Supremacy was the same collective noun that was orthodox prior to that.
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« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2012, 10:23:22 PM »

However, this does not change the fact that Rome was still founded by an Apostle, and one could reasonably argue that there were already Christians in Rome by the time the Apostles finally arrived.

I wanted to post a pic of Saints Remus and Romulus, but I don't have one. Smiley So use your imagination.
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« Reply #31 on: July 11, 2012, 10:23:59 PM »

However, this does not change the fact that Rome was still founded by an Apostle, and one could reasonably argue that there were already Christians in Rome by the time the Apostles finally arrived.

I wanted to post a pic of Saints Remus and Romulus, but I don't have one. Smiley So use your imagination.
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« Reply #32 on: July 11, 2012, 10:24:40 PM »

OK, but seriously ...

Thanks guys. I think "same age" is probably the right answer. I suppose someone with an agenda could date the RCC as having a birthday of 1054 if we employ a "conclusion in search of a basis" type analysis like the author, but in fairness I think we should both just point to Pentecost and our respective claims to Apostolic Succession and not get into the muddiness that author does. I just found it puzzling since he seems on the surface like someone who wants unity, and even if he's Catholic stipulating as to the age question seems like a no brainer.

 Huh Have you reason to think that he doesn't in fact want unity?
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« Reply #33 on: July 12, 2012, 09:24:41 AM »

However, this does not change the fact that Rome was still founded by an Apostle, and one could reasonably argue that there were already Christians in Rome by the time the Apostles finally arrived.

I wanted to post a pic of Saints Remus and Romulus, but I don't have one. Smiley So use your imagination.
Wolf boobs are yucky.

You know this from personal experience  Grin??
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« Reply #34 on: July 12, 2012, 09:26:34 AM »

However, this does not change the fact that Rome was still founded by an Apostle, and one could reasonably argue that there were already Christians in Rome by the time the Apostles finally arrived.

I wanted to post a pic of Saints Remus and Romulus, but I don't have one. Smiley So use your imagination.
Wolf boobs are yucky.

You know this from personal experience  Grin??
I plead the Fifth.
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