Sorry I didn't get to this earlier. I thought I owed Gabriel/Venuleius a response first.
Thanks for a great response, but let me play devil's advocate.
Because that is what it is. Odd coming from an Ultramontanist, given that they need-and demand we need-a "visible head," while we have no problem with Christ ruling the Church as the "invisible Head."
I think he might see invisibility as a sign of 'disincarnation'. ISTM he's working off an incarnate=visible idea.
Stepping back a moment, before the age of photography and mass media-indeed, maybe even back to before the invention of mass printing, how much more visible was the Vatican's "visible head" than Christ? The present celebrity status of the sovereing of the Vatican, where perhaps even to the last hut in deepest, darkest Africa inhabited by a follower has a picture of his supreme pontiff-or at least knows what he looks like-does not reach back more than two centuries, if that. Such visibility did exist: the emperors, both pagan and Christian, had their image mass produced, and disfiguring one was capital offense (there is an amusing anecdote during the early Islamic conquests, where a Muslim inadvertedly shot a statue of the emperor on a border pillar, and the Muslims, to settle the matter, agreed to the Romans to carve a statue of the caliph-being Bedouin, the Muslims had no such things (not yet)-so that it could have a arrow shot in it to settle the score). Caesar's image was on the coin of the realm for a reason: it is said that the switch to profile from full face (the medieval practice, the idea being similar to the canon of iconography of having the image in full engagement with the viewer by showing both eyes) came after the War of the Rose: profiles identiy the person better, and King Henry, after the civil war, wanted it clear who was the boss (later, King Louis XVI would rue that: he was recognized from the currency when he tried to escape France). With the Gregorian Reform taking place during and after the Vatican's schism, the supreme pontiff pretty much settled down in Rome/Italy-when he was not in Avignon-so that nearly none of his followers would not recognize him if they looked him in the eye. And then, who was the visible head here?
In contrast, one had a better than even chance of seeing the local bishop. As Pope St. Leo observed "what was visible in our Savior has passed over into His Mysteries," St. Ignatius exhorted that "where the bishop is, let the people be, as where Christ is, there is the Catholic Church," and Christ Himself said "he who receives you receives Me." As such, Christ the one highpriest resides in "the episcopate," which, as St. Cyprian observed, "is one, each one holding it for the whole." This says it all:
(that's the real pope, btw).
Seems like another attempt to attack the Orthodox as somehow deficient in not having a "Vicar of Christ" "tanking the place of God on earth." Simple: He is ever present in the Orthodox Church,
He might say, as sacerdotium but not as regnum. His critique seems to be that the Orthodox Church acts a dispenser of sacraments, but does not image Christ's Kingship over creation. How do you address that? What is Christ's Kingship? How does it differ from earthly kingship? How is it similar? How does He exercise it? How does the Orthodox Church show it forth?
The Romans, taking their cue from Christ's own words "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's" had their answer:
"In God We Trust" (for the non-Americans, that is the slogan on all US coins/money). It seems that Gabriel/Venuleius has this in mind
for "Christ the King" (a rather odd point of attact on the Orthodox, given that the Vatican instituted it less than a century ago, by the same sovereign of the Vatican who signed the Lateran treaty with Mussolini). You will note that he wears a tiara, with a secular crown at His feet. Perhaps remembering the good ol' dayshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donation_of_Constantine
Christ Himself, however has ruled out theocracy, which is what Gabriel/Venuleius seems to be putting up as an ideal:"My Kingdom is not of this world
." It is for that reason that, although a monarchist, I cannot agree with those who argue that there must be a "God anointed sovereign." St. Paul wrote to the Romans "honor the emperor" when he was Nero. So too, I cannot agree with identifying political parties with the Church, nor forms of governance.
So, about Christ's kingship over creation, one needs only to go to the Great Blessing of water (unlike "Christ the King," a celebration of great antiquity) to find that:
Great are you, O Lord, and wonderful your works, and no word is adequate to sing the praise ofyour wonders. (Three times)
For by your own will you brought the universe from non-existence into being, you hold creationtogether by your might, and by your providence you direct the world. You composed creation from four elements; with four seasons you crowned the circle of the year. All the spiritual Powers tremble before you. The sun sings your praise, the moon glorifies you, the stars entreat you, thelight obeys you, the deeps tremble before you, the springs are your servants. You stretched out theheavens on the waters; you walled in the sea with sand; you poured out the air for breathing. Angelic Powers minister to you. The choirs of the Archangels worship you. The many-eyedCherubim and the six-winged Seraphim as they stand and fly around you hide their faces in fear ofyour unapproachable glory. For you, being God uncircumscribed, without beginning andinexpressible, came upon earth, taking the form of a servant, being found in the likeness of man. For you could not bear, O Master, in the compassion of your mercy to watch mankind beingtyrannised by the devil, but you came and saved us. We acknowledge your grace, we proclaim your mercy, we do not conceal your benevolence. You freed the generations of our race. Yousanctified a virgin womb by your birth. All creation sang your praise when you appeared. For youare our God, who appeared on earth and lived among men. You sanctified the streams of Jordan bysending down from heaven your All-holy Spirit and you crushed the heads of the dragons thatlurked there.
(And the Priest says this verse three times, blessing the water with his hand at each verse):Therefore, O King, lover of mankind, be present now too through the visitation of your Holy Spirit,and sanctify this water
There is more I can say on the subject of Christian kingship (e.g. the Legend of the Last Roman Emperor, who conquers the world and then goes to Jerusalem to lay his crown down on Calvary), which I'll have to leave now for later.
so He-and we-don't need a "Vicar."
And He is present physically-deincarnation would cause the whole very visible role of the Holy Icons to collapse in Orthodoxy. Since I haven't seen that, I have no idea where they are getting this "deincarnation" in the Orthodox Church from.
He mentions the idea that Orthodox icons are too 'ascetical' or 'mystical'. Again the idea that incarnate=visible (in this case in the sense of 'realistic').
The problem is that the sanctity of the saint, invisible to invisible eyes, is no less real. That is why a photo is not an icon: it doesn't capture that.
infrared photos are don't look like a photograph either
are they any less real or of this physical reality thereby?
Maybe he is upset that we do not share the Vatican's thirst for gore,
I think he might say what we see as a thirst for gore is a real, thoroughgoing commitment to the real, true, literal humanity of Christ.
The Christians of the first millenium, even in the West and Rome itself, were not slacking in commitment to the real, true, literal humanity of Christ, yet we see none of this obsession with body parts and "bleeding all over the place" as someone put it, until after Rome ran off the rails 1054 or thereabouts. There is an emphasis on the Eucharist being a bloodless sacrifice. We should all hold that thought, as it entails no denial of Christ's humanity. The gore seems a derivative of the mentality of the Tenebrae service, conducted as if we did not know how the story ends.
the fetish for displaying body parts or the obsession to put His mother on a par with Him. Oh, well. That's their problem, not ours.
There is also not a too thinly disguised swipe at Orthodoxy as "Caesaropapism." Of course, besides the transformation of the church into a Papal state-despite the clear words during that passion he refers to "My Kingdom is not of this world"
He seems to draw a distinction between "of this world", "in this world". He seems to think Orthodoxy, in stressing that Christ's Kingdom is not of this world, has pushed it altogether out of this world. For him, Christ's Kingdom is not of this world, but is in this world. I would tend to agree with that. But if not the Vatican, what does Christ's not-of-but-in-this-world Kingdom look like?
In our present world in the USA? Voting your conscience. Symphonia is a Christian concept to the core. The papal states is not, any more than the Holy Governing Synod is.
-the Vatican is always selective in its condemnation of "Caesaropapism." It of course defends to the death the act of the Germanic kings in overturning the Tradition of Orthodox Rome, reiterated by Popes and inscribed on the doors of St. Peter's itself, in the insertion of the filioque in the mass at Rome, praises the Emperors of the Romans who dragged the bishops from the Orthodox patriarchates to submit to the Vatican in return for armies to defend their kingdom of this world, and celebrates the imposition of "union" by the Polish King (at the time trying to overturn the reformation in his native Sweden, and promising Polish lords Russian lands to make up for those lost to Sweden). It isn't upset that we allegedly say "we have no king but Caesar," but that we refuse to recognize Caesar's successor as pontifex maximus as "Caesar" and "Supreme Pontiff."
I've been to many Orthodox Churches which had no Pantocrator in the dome. I've never been to one which did not have an Icon of the Theotokos and Child (how He came) flanking the altar (how He comes now).
"It’s almost as if Christ’s Kingship can’t be understand when he was “just” leading the Apostles around Galilee or “just” enduring questioning, mockery, physical assault, etc. He had to be positioned in the Heavens, with a choir of angels and Saints, to be a King." Nearly every large Orthodox Cross I've seen has, above the Crucifixed Christ the inscription "King of Glory."
The N word I was thinking was Nestorian. It seems there is a similar concern for defending the integrity of humanity in the Incarnation, and a similar result: the Word of God assuming not humanity but a man (as you said, a visible Vicar of Christ, "taking the place of God on earth").
Yes, btw the elaborate rituals that surrounded the sovereign of the Vatican until lately, are largely taken from the court of Caesar (like the office of "supreme pontiff") and of New Rome.