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Author Topic: Is theosis possible for those in communion with Rome?  (Read 14755 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #135 on: January 15, 2012, 06:08:36 PM »

Although, on a related note, have you read the Joint Declaration on Justification?

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« Reply #136 on: January 15, 2012, 06:21:32 PM »

Although, on a related note, have you read the Joint Declaration on Justification?



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« Reply #137 on: January 15, 2012, 06:52:46 PM »

Although, on a related note, have you read the Joint Declaration on Justification?

Never interested me much.  We have only 3 or 4 Lutheran churches in this country.

Actually, I was more wondering whether it's any help in understanding the Catholic position on salvation & theosis.

BTW, would that be England?
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« Reply #138 on: January 15, 2012, 07:09:13 PM »

Forgive me for the lengthy quote, but Fr. Cleenewert says this much better than I.  I also realize that he's not a "Church Father" so many might just dismiss him as another "modern theologian" whom we can ignore, but I believe it to be germane to the subject at hand, since this is ultimately an issue of ecclesiology.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi is a powerful and truthful maxim. We learn a lot about a community’s beliefs and consciousness by studying its prayer life. As we have seen, the Orthodox Churches consider liturgical tradition to be a basic and reliable manifestation of doctrine. With this principle in mind, what the liturgy of St. Basil has to say about the unity of the Church is quite relevant. The passage in question is part of a post-epiclesis prayer (therefore a very solem one):

Cause the schisms in the Church to cease...

If our question is “Can His Body be broken?” the answer given by St. Basil seems to be, yes. He himself experienced the consequences of the Arian heresy and was the sorrowful witness of many tragic splits. We may therefore say that the (local) Church can go through periods of apparent schism or even heresy when one wonders who the true bishop is and where the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church can be found. Sometimes, the confusion is temporary and does not lead to a lasting schism, both within the catholic Church and in the common union. But there are thresholds and circumstances when the schism becomes organic and permanent.

This discussion opens the door to a serious and vast topic...What is the nature of salvation? What are the means of salvation? Can one be saved outside the visible manifestation of the Church and without her sacraments? Can the pre-eternal Church be made manifest where there is heresy, schism, corruption and sin? Further, can the pre-eternal Church be made manifest in the same city by means of two competing bishops?

In the case of Cornelius and Novation (in the wake of persuctions in the late 3rd century, Rome found herself without a bishop. Cornelius was elected to the episcopacy by the Roman clergy, but a few days later the controversial presbyter Novation announced his own claims and managed to get himself consecrated by three distant Italian bishops) it was obvious who the “real” bishop of Rome was: the one who was recognized by all the other bishops, starting with those who represented the ancient and principal Churches. But what would happen if the episcopate was in fact divided on which bishop to be in communion with? (This happened in Antioch)

Where was the Church? How could one tell which one of the orthodox bishops was to be sided with? With the strict and pure (Novationists)? With those who went along with the governmental appointees (the Arians)? With those who were in communion with Rome (Paulinus)? Or with those who received support from neighboring bishops (Meletius)? In hindsight, it seems that Meletius can be recognized as the true orthodox and catholic bishop of the Church in Antioch, but does it mean that those who participated in the other Eucharists did not also participate in the invisible and transcendent communion of saints? (After all, St. Jerome was ordained by Paulinus). Is it personal holiness, orthodoxy of faith, legitimacy of election and consecration or communion with other Churches that determines the true manifestation of Christ’s body in a community?

If the Church is a divine organism fully revealed in the local catholic Church, what happened to the worldwide communion of Churches, however tragic, is only organizational - indeed a political - issue. In other words, the means of salvation are not at stake, but the faithfulness of our witness to Christ “the unifier” is compromised. We could also say that the holographic “whole-units,” instead of being organized in such a way as to create a beautiful icon of the Lord, have instead produced a distorted image.

The local Church is the whole Church. What we see (and need) beyond the local Church are structures of common union, communication and harmony. The main point is that these structures do not belong to the Eucharistic ontology of the catholic Church...In this context, every Church is the same catholic Church as every other, and their bishops have full ontological equality.

If the local Church (the “diocese”) is “the Catholic Church”, it contains in itself the fullness of means of grace, sanctification and salvation, whether or not “united” into a particular geopolitical superstructure. In other words, Cyprian of Carthage, Stephen of Rome and Firmilian of Caesarea can still be bishops of the catholic Church and saints in spite of their ruptures of communion. The Churches of St. Thomas in India, or those of Ethiopia were always one, holy, catholic and apostolic even when disconnected from Rome or Constantinople. It also means that the saints (of East and West, for instance St. Francis of Assisi and St. Sergius) do not drop in and out of the catholic Church because their patriarchs are quarreling over who knows what. Likewise, the idea that salvation is tied to a particular worldwide organism becomes obsolete.


- His Broken Body:  Understanding and Healing the Schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
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« Reply #139 on: January 15, 2012, 07:14:19 PM »

Although, on a related note, have you read the Joint Declaration on Justification?

Never interested me much.  We have only 3 or 4 Lutheran churches in this country.

Actually, I was more wondering whether it's any help in understanding the Catholic position on salvation & theosis.

BTW, would that be England?

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« Reply #140 on: January 15, 2012, 07:32:31 PM »

- His Broken Body:  Understanding and Healing the Schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

As a counterbalance to the book by Priest Cleenewerck...

 This brilliant defence of traditional Orthodox ecclesiology by the Holy New-Martyr
Archbishop Hilarion Troitsky — who received a martyr's crown on December 15th, 1929.

“Christianity or the Church?”
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/christchurchilarion.htm

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« Reply #141 on: January 15, 2012, 07:41:56 PM »


 ... the idea that salvation is tied to a particular worldwide organism becomes obsolete.

Are there bishops and synods who have signified their agreement with this?  or is it just a weird thought from Priest Cleenewerck?
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« Reply #142 on: January 15, 2012, 10:40:49 PM »

If "traditional Orthodox ecclesiology" differs from the obvious ecclesiology of the first 3 centuries, we've got problems.
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« Reply #143 on: January 16, 2012, 12:01:00 AM »

I'm currently reading a book by a traditional Catholic who had this to offer on the Athanasian period (Banished Heart pg 143):

Quote
Pope Liberius offended against justice and against the Faith itself, when, harassed by Arian heretics and by the Emperor Constantius, he excommunicated St. Athanasius and added his signature to the Arian creed drawn up at Sirmium. Though Liberius was personally orthodox and signed under coercion, this betrayal caused him to be excluded from the Roman Martyrology. When he entered into communion with the heretical Eastern bishops, St. Ambrose's dictum 'ubi Petris ibi Ecclesia' ('where Peter is, there is the Church') ceased temporarily to apply, and the true Church became the small band of Christians gathered around the persecuted and excommunicated Bishop of Alexandria.
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« Reply #144 on: January 16, 2012, 12:56:10 AM »

If "traditional Orthodox ecclesiology" differs from the obvious ecclesiology of the first 3 centuries, we've got problems.

Saint Justin Popovic hits the nail on the head.  As it was in the 3rd centurty, so it is in the 21st....


"...the Orthodox Church, in its nature and its dogmatically unchanging
constitution is episcopal and centered in the bishops. For the bishop and
the faithful gathered around him are the expression and
manifestation of the Church as the Body of Christ, especially in the Holy
Liturgy; the Church is Apostolic and Catholic only by virtue of its bishops,
insofar as they are the heads of true ecclesiastical
units, the dioceses.


"At the same time, the other, historically later and variable forms of
church organization of the Orthodox Church: the metropolias, archdioceses,
patriarchates, pentarchies, autocephalies, autonomies, etc., however many
there may be or shall be, cannot have and do not have a determining and
decisive significance in the conciliar system of the Orthodox Church.
Furthermore, they may constitute an obstacle in the correct functioning of
the conciliary principle if they obstruct and reject the episcopal character
and structure of the Church and of the Churches.


"Here, undoubtedly, is to be found the primary difference between Orthodox
and Papal ecclesiology."


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« Reply #145 on: January 16, 2012, 01:01:14 AM »

That's precisely what Fr. Cleenewert said, Irish Hermit. Why did you think his book needed a "counter balance"?
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« Reply #146 on: January 16, 2012, 01:11:34 AM »

Can I ask a general theosis question or should I just make a new thread? It's not really related to the thread topic...
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« Reply #147 on: January 16, 2012, 02:15:05 AM »

Forgive me for the lengthy quote, but Fr. Cleenewert says this much better than I.  I also realize that he's not a "Church Father" so many might just dismiss him as another "modern theologian" whom we can ignore, but I believe it to be germane to the subject at hand, since this is ultimately an issue of ecclesiology.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi is a powerful and truthful maxim. We learn a lot about a community’s beliefs and consciousness by studying its prayer life. As we have seen, the Orthodox Churches consider liturgical tradition to be a basic and reliable manifestation of doctrine. With this principle in mind, what the liturgy of St. Basil has to say about the unity of the Church is quite relevant. The passage in question is part of a post-epiclesis prayer (therefore a very solem one):

Cause the schisms in the Church to cease...

If our question is “Can His Body be broken?” the answer given by St. Basil seems to be, yes. He himself experienced the consequences of the Arian heresy and was the sorrowful witness of many tragic splits. We may therefore say that the (local) Church can go through periods of apparent schism or even heresy when one wonders who the true bishop is and where the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church can be found. Sometimes, the confusion is temporary and does not lead to a lasting schism, both within the catholic Church and in the common union. But there are thresholds and circumstances when the schism becomes organic and permanent.

This would be the same St. Basil who wrote the 'First Canonical Epistle of St. Basil', yes? So, if we wish to understand what St. Basil meant by his brief reference to schism in one place, the most obvious place to start would be to look at what he says about schism in other places (particularly if the 'other place' has been universally received by the Church via an Ecumenical council), yes?

And there we find that St. Basil starts off by clearly distinguishing heresies and schisms: "By heresies they [the ancient authorities] meant men who were altogether broken off and alienated in matters relating to the actual faith; by schisms men who had separated for some ecclesiastical reasons and questions capable of mutual solution." Therefore, I'm not sure how Fr. Cleenewert justifies tossing 'even heresy' into a discussion that is supposedly based on St. Basil's reference to schisms.

Then, after some words about the Fathers attitudes towards heretics (and converts therefrom), St. Basil continues on about schisms: "the origin of separation arose through schism, and those who had apostatized from the Church had no longer on them the grace of the Holy Spirit, for it ceased to be imparted when the continuity was broken. The first separatists had received their ordination from the Fathers, and possessed the spiritual gift by the laying on of their hands. But they who were broken off had become laymen, and, because they are no longer able to confer on others that grace of the Holy Spirit from which they themselves are fallen away, they had no authority either to baptize or to ordain. And therefore those who were from time to time baptized by them, were ordered, as though baptized by laymen, to come to the church to be purified by the Church's true baptism."

So St. Basil clearly states that heretics are 'altogether broken off and alienated', and schismatics have no true baptism and no ability to confer the Grace of the Holy Spirit. And yet Fr. Cleenewert thinks that St. Basil's prayer opens the door to the question 'Can the pre-eternal Church be made manifest where there is heresy, schism?' and that 'what happened to the worldwide communion of Churches, however tragic, is only organizational - indeed a political - issue.'

If I say, '1+1=2. And 1+2 does not equal 4,' and you come along and say '1+1=2, and therefore 1+2=4', then two thing are clearly true. One is that you cannot cite my support for the proposition that 1+1=2 as support for your conclusion that 1+2=4. And the other is that one of us clearly misunderstands what the relationship of 1, 2, and 3 is. In this case, my money is firmly on St. Basil, and the Ecumenical Council that made his letter an official document of the Universal Church, as correctly understanding the implications of his own prayer as opposed to Fr. Cleenewert.

In fact, most of the rest of Fr. Cleenewert's argument is a large bait-and-switch. (Prefigured by his lining up heresy, schism, corruption and sin in parallel when in fact the Patristic answer to the question is sharply different when asked of 'corruption and sin' as opposed to 'heresy and schism'). He cites St. Basil's prayer for 'schisms in the Church' and two examples of such from the early period and then tries to leap from there to the schism between East and West, ignoring the crucial distinction between 'in' and 'from'.

The Meletian schism is an example of the type of schism 'in the Church' of which examples can be found throughout history. Bishops A and B are out of communion. Bishop C is in communion with A, Bishop D is communion with B, and therefore bishops C and D are also out of communion. But bishops C and D are both still in communion with bishops E, F, and G. In other words, while there is a visible problem within the Body, there is still only One Body, not two clearly separate communions with no sacramental bond at all. Thus it can be clearly distinguished from the Novation schism (which St. Basil specifically cites as an example in his letter) where there were the Churches in communion with Pope Cornelius on the one side, and the schismatics in communion with Novatian on the other side--two visibly distinct and definable bodies.

Based on the Meletian schism (and others like it), many have pointed out that 1054 is at best a useful historical marker and not a true 'bright line' for when Rome left the Church. Bishops A and B (Rome and Constantinople) were out of communion but there were bishops/patriarchs C and D who tried to retain communion with both.  So Rome in 1064 or 1084 was no more completely outside the Church than Bishop Paulicius was. But the analogy eventually breaks down. The Meletian schism (and other schsims 'in' the Church) was healed within a generation or two. The Roman schism on the other hand was not healed, but continued to deepen until it reached the point where, as with the Novations, there were two visibly distinct and definable bodies marking a clear schism 'from' the Church. (And that's only if one takes the postion that the filioque and papal doctrines developed by Rome since the schism are not actually heretical, 'alienated in matters relating to the actual faith').

(And the Pope Stephen-St. Cyprian example is even less on point. I don't recall at the moment if Pope Stephen ever went through with his threat to break communion, but St. Cyprian and the Church of Carthage, in their synodal response to the controversy, specifically stated that they were *not* breaking communion with anyone. So in that case there was never even a mutual break in communion between Rome and Carthage much less a division into separate Stephenite and Cyprian communions).
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« Reply #148 on: January 16, 2012, 02:21:19 AM »

That's precisely what Fr. Cleenewert said, Irish Hermit. Why did you think his book needed a "counter balance"?

The Priest Cleeenewerk denies the traditional orthodox understanding of "Church" when he says "the idea that salvation is tied to a particular worldwide organism becomes obsolete."

He also denies that Orthodoxy is the Church when he claims that Francis of Assisi was a member of the Church.   Our Church denies this and so, by the Priest Cleenewerck's reasoning, that kind of exclusiveness would place us outside the Church as he conceives it or at the very least it places a question mark over Orthodox membership in the Church.




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« Reply #149 on: January 16, 2012, 02:25:27 AM »

That's precisely what Fr. Cleenewert said, Irish Hermit. Why did you think his book needed a "counter balance"?

Actually Fr. Cleenewert's reasoning completely abandons the conciliar model emphasized by St. Justin. For St. Justin (and the 3rd century Fathers), "the local Church contains in itself the fullness of means of grace, sanctification and salvation". But contra Fr. Cleenewert, this catholicity was fully bound up with the local Church's unity with all the other local Churches maintaining the same fullness (St. Justin's 'conciliarity'). Any break in the full communion was a serious problem, an injury to the Church, that needed to be addressed by the bishops working in council with one another--and if any group removed itself completely from that conciliarity, it removed itself from the Catholic Church. But according to Fr. Cleenewert's reasoning, such breaks in communion were 'merely' political with no relevance to salvation. A single local diocese could wander off completely on its own, break communion with everyone, completely remove itself from the conciliar model--and yet still be 'the Catholic Church' without possessing any conciliar aspect at all.
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« Reply #150 on: January 16, 2012, 02:25:39 AM »

Can I ask a general theosis question or should I just make a new thread? It's not really related to the thread topic...

One suggestion.... if you think it is not the right place here, then click on theosis in the tags at the page bottom and see if it fits into any of the other threads.
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« Reply #151 on: January 16, 2012, 02:35:44 AM »

Dear Sleeper,

How widely does Fr Cleenewerck interpret the word "Church"?  At the moment I would think that he includes:

1.  The Orthodox Church
2.  The Oriental Orthodox Church
3.  The Assyrian Church of the East
4.  The Roman Catholic Church
5.  The Anglican/Episcopalian Church
6.  The Lutheran Church
7.  The Old Catholic Church
8.  The Polish National Catholic Church
9.  All the many dissident Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Would it be fair to say that in his estimation all these Churches comprise the "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"?
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« Reply #152 on: January 16, 2012, 02:49:33 AM »

He defines it thus: 

"The Church of Christ is first and foremost an eternal, divine and human organism - the Body of Christ, a unity of many that transcends space and time. The Church of Christ, like the Eucharist (which is also the Body of Christ), is manifested by the Holy Spirit in space and time. It intersects with our reality and is revealed in the catholic Church. The catholic Church, the “whole Church,” is the local Eucharistic assembly, presided over by its bishop who is the icon of the Father, steward of Christ, and as St. Peter, primate of the assembly and symbol of unity. This simultaneous manifestation of the catholic Church in many places at the same time calls for a manifestation of identity and communion between all the catholic Churches. This so-called “universal Church” (or “Catholic Church” or “common union”), inasmuch as the political realities of our world permit its manifestation, should express the unity of the common union of Churches. This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

In other words, precisely what St. Justin Popovic said.

What do you and Witega say in regards to the churches founded by St. Thomas in India, since they were completely isolated geographically and politically from Rome and Constantinople? Were they not manifestations of the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church?
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« Reply #153 on: January 16, 2012, 02:58:39 AM »

Is it possible to have a fruitful spiritual life if one is in communion with Rome?



ah, i was hoping for this one:

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« Reply #154 on: January 16, 2012, 03:10:08 AM »

He defines it thus:  

"The Church of Christ is first and foremost an eternal, divine and human organism - the Body of Christ, a unity of many that transcends space and time. The Church of Christ, like the Eucharist (which is also the Body of Christ), is manifested by the Holy Spirit in space and time. It intersects with our reality and is revealed in the catholic Church. The catholic Church, the “whole Church,” is the local Eucharistic assembly, presided over by its bishop who is the icon of the Father, steward of Christ, and as St. Peter, primate of the assembly and symbol of unity. This simultaneous manifestation of the catholic Church in many places at the same time calls for a manifestation of identity and communion between all the catholic Churches. This so-called “universal Church” (or “Catholic Church” or “common union”), inasmuch as the political realities of our world permit its manifestation, should express the unity of the common union of Churches. This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

In other words, precisely what St. Justin Popovic said.

Saint Justin would be turning in his grave to hear that the Priest Cleenewerck asserts:  "This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

If there is no unity without a "worldwide primate" then The Priest Cleenewerck is saying that the Orthodox Church is excluded from the unity of the Church.  We have no such primate.  Never did have and never will.  

Some might be tempted to whisper the big-H word about such an assertion.  The ecclesiology of Fr Cleenewerck seems incompatible with orthodox ecclesiology.

Here are the words of Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) who is the doyen of Russian theologians and always heads our delegations to Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.   

Metropolitan  Hilarion, speaking to "Inside The Vatican", 15 November 2007:

"We do not have any theology of the Petrine office on the level of the
Universal Church. Our ecclesiology does not have room for such a concept.
This is why the Orthodox Church has for centuries opposed the idea of the
universal jurisdiction of any bishop, including the Bishop of Rome.

"We recognize that there is a certain order in which the primates of the
Local Churches should be mentioned. In this order the Bishop of Rome
occupied the first place until 1054, and then the primacy of order in the
Orthodox Church was shifted to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who until
the schism had been the second in order. But we believe that all primates of
the Local Churches are equal to one another, and none of them has
jurisdiction over any other."


From
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1925822/posts

And elsewhere he speaks even more strongly of the Russian Church NEVER accepting any concept of global primacy.
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« Reply #155 on: January 16, 2012, 03:17:16 AM »

More from Fr. Cleenewert's book (now that I'm back home Smiley):

If we search the New Testament for every occurrence of the word "Church" (or "Churches"), we an quickly get a picture of what it is that God established "by the price of the blood of his own Son." Essentially, the Church is an eschatological reality that transcends space and time. It could be said that God knows, foreknows and has a relationship with our eternal self. He knows his elect from "before the foundation of the world." The early Christian (and therefore orthodox) doctrine of the "pre-existence" of the Church is well established. For instance, the Shepherd of Hermas teaches that "She (the Church) was the first of all creation and the world was made for her." The early homily known as 2 Clement was even more explicit, "Moreover, the books and the Apostles declare that the Church belongs not to the present, but existed from the beginning."

In the perspective of our experience of time, of our eon or "age," the Church is the "body of Christ," the means by which temporal creatures can be united to the eternal God-Man, and become "partakers of the divine nature" now and in "the age to come." The purpose of the Church is that many creatures would be one with God the Father in Jesus Christ, so that "God may be all in all." The Church is the means by which human beings can enter in this new mode of existence not "born of the flesh" but "of the Spirit." This is what we can call "the eschatological, pre-eternal, fulfilled or supra-temporal Church."


Again, what I would like to emphasize here is the risk of equating (and confusing) the eschatological Church with the sum of all the local Churches in existence on earth at one particular point in time, i.e., the so-called "universal Church." The idea that all Christians alive on earth form a universal organism or society called "Church" seems to be at the heart of Roman Catholic ecclesiology. In this view, the Church, the "whole Church" is first and foremost "the faithful everywhere." The unity of the Church then depends on all the local Churches being joined to their ontological head, the Roman Church, to form a single body called "the Catholic Church."

The part in red, unless I'm misunderstanding the both of you (Irish Hermit and Witega), is how you are seeming to define the Church, since you disagree with Fr. Cleenewert. Do you reject the notion that the catholic Church is in and of itself a whole, complete unit, the very One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church confessed in the creed, in and of itself? Or do you view them as "parts of the whole" in which case separation from the "whole" would indeed cause one to be outside the Church?

I suppose I don't see how you reconcile the eucharistic ecclesiology held by the early Church with the notion that the catholic whole units aren't really whole unless part of the superstructure.
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« Reply #156 on: January 16, 2012, 03:30:58 AM »

He defines it thus:  

"The Church of Christ is first and foremost an eternal, divine and human organism - the Body of Christ, a unity of many that transcends space and time. The Church of Christ, like the Eucharist (which is also the Body of Christ), is manifested by the Holy Spirit in space and time. It intersects with our reality and is revealed in the catholic Church. The catholic Church, the “whole Church,” is the local Eucharistic assembly, presided over by its bishop who is the icon of the Father, steward of Christ, and as St. Peter, primate of the assembly and symbol of unity. This simultaneous manifestation of the catholic Church in many places at the same time calls for a manifestation of identity and communion between all the catholic Churches. This so-called “universal Church” (or “Catholic Church” or “common union”), inasmuch as the political realities of our world permit its manifestation, should express the unity of the common union of Churches. This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

In other words, precisely what St. Justin Popovic said.

Saint Justin would be turning in his grave to hear that the Priest Cleenewerck asserts:  "This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

If there is no unity without a "worldwide primate" then The Priest Cleenewerck is saying that the Orthodox Church is excluded from the unity of the Church.  We have no such primate.  Never did have and never will.  

Some might be tempted to whisper the big-H word about such an assertion.  The ecclesiology of Fr Cleenewerck seems incompatible with orthodox ecclesiology.

Here are the words of Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) who is the doyen of Russian theologians and always heads our delegations to Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.    

Metropolitan  Hilarion, speaking to "Inside The Vatican", 15 November 2007:

"We do not have any theology of the Petrine office on the level of the
Universal Church. Our ecclesiology does not have room for such a concept.
This is why the Orthodox Church has for centuries opposed the idea of the
universal jurisdiction of any bishop, including the Bishop of Rome.

"We recognize that there is a certain order in which the primates of the
Local Churches should be mentioned. In this order the Bishop of Rome
occupied the first place until 1054, and then the primacy of order in the
Orthodox Church was shifted to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who until
the schism had been the second in order. But we believe that all primates of
the Local Churches are equal to one another, and none of them has
jurisdiction over any other."


From
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1925822/posts

And elsewhere he speaks even more strongly of the Russian Church NEVER accepting any concept of global primacy.


I can see that my quoting of this book is only confusing people more, so I'll stop now. I encourage you to read the whole thing yourself, Priest Ambrose (is that what we're calling Orthodox priests now, instead of "Father"?)

Actually, I'll end with one more, to maybe clarify where FATHER Cleenewert is coming from.

I am quite certain that this title "Peter, head of the catholic Church" may cause jubilation among Roman Catholics and consternation among some of my fellow Orthodox Christians. How can an Orthodox theologian write such a thing? The reason is quite simple. If we have a correct understanding of what the catholic Church is, we shall be able to think with the mind of the Fathers on this issue, without being affected by the so-called "Peter syndrome" or "unreasonable dread."

We have already expressed primitive Orthodox ecclesiology with this formula:

INCARNATION > EUCHARIST <> CATHOLIC CHURCH > PETER > PRESIDENT-BISHOP = ESSENTIAL/ONTOLOGICAL/DIVINE ORDER

By comparison, it is significant that in Jesus, Peter and the Keys (a Roman Catholic book), the introduction by Kenneth Howell offers the universalist equivalent in which the bishop is unavoidably absorbed by the papacy: INCARNATION > CHURCH > PAPACY

The major difference, as we can see, resides in what we mean by Church. If the Church is in fact a universal, worldwide organism or society, then the Roman Catholic model makes sense. Orthodox scholar Alexander Schmemann was very lucid on this point:

"If the Church is a universal organism, she must have at her head a universal bishop as the focus of her unity and the organ of supreme power. The idea, popular in Orthodox apologetics, that the Church can have no visible head because Christ is her invisible head is theological nonsense. If applied consistently, it should also eliminate the necessity for the visible head of each local Church, i.e. the bishop."

Of course, saying that St. Peter is the "head" of the catholic Church or that the Patriarch of Moscow is the "head" of the Russian Orthodox Church requires some clarification. This headship is that of a representative or primate, according to the spirit of the 34th apostolic canon which reads:

"It is the duty of the bishops of every ethnic area to know who among them is the first, and to recognize him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything unnecessary without his advice and approval. Instead, each bishop should do only whatever is necessitated by his own district and by the territories under him. But let not [the primate] do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For only thus there can be concord, and will God be glorified through the Lord..."

It is beyond the scope of this study to present a full blown analyisis of the strength and weaknesses of both Eucharistic and universal ecclesiology. I have tried, however, briefly, to show that the New Testament and pre-Nicene use of "Church," "whole Church" and "catholic Church" assumes Eucharistic ecclesiology.


- His Broken Body, pg. 78-79 in the Kindle version
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« Reply #157 on: January 16, 2012, 03:32:57 AM »

Do you reject the notion that the catholic Church is in and of itself a whole, complete unit, the ver yconfessed in the creed, in and of itself? Or do you view them as "parts of the whole" in which case separation from the "whole" would indeed cause one to be outside the Church?

I suppose I don't see how you reconcile the eucharistic ecclesiology held by the early Church with the notion that the catholic whole units aren't really whole unless part of the superstructure.

When we recite “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church” in our parish I would swear that not one parishioner means “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church which is our diocese headed by Metropolitan Hilarion.”
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« Reply #158 on: January 16, 2012, 03:36:21 AM »

Do you reject the notion that the catholic Church is in and of itself a whole, complete unit, the ver yconfessed in the creed, in and of itself? Or do you view them as "parts of the whole" in which case separation from the "whole" would indeed cause one to be outside the Church?

I suppose I don't see how you reconcile the eucharistic ecclesiology held by the early Church with the notion that the catholic whole units aren't really whole unless part of the superstructure.

When we recite “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church” in our parish I would swear that not one parishioner means “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church which is our diocese headed by Metropolitan Hilarion.”


Hopefully some of them are at least having the pre-eternal, eschatological Church in mind, and not "the faithful everywhere on earth right now."

At any rate, is it safe to assume, then, that you define "Church" in the "universal" way, i.e, Roman Catholic ecclesiology? Because I'm still not quite understanding what your bone of contention is with FATHER Cleenewert.
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« Reply #159 on: January 16, 2012, 03:45:25 AM »


Priest Ambrose (is that what we're calling Orthodox priests now, instead of "Father"?

It is not really correct to write “Father” for a priest or monk unless you are addressing him directly or speaking of him as the “Father” of his community.

At other times he should be addressed by his identifying rank in the Church.

Bishop Tikhon (emeritus of San Francisco) is a great stickler for this.

My personal opinion is that priests who are known authors and academics can be identified simply by their surname as is the norm in academia.   But there are some Orthodox who are offended by that.
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« Reply #160 on: January 16, 2012, 03:49:57 AM »

At any rate, is it safe to assume, then, that you define "Church" in the "universal" way, i.e, Roman Catholic ecclesiology? Because I'm still not quite understanding what your bone of contention is with FATHER Cleenewert.

It is Father Cleenewerck who dips his toe into ecclesiological heresy with the Roman Catholic teaching that a universal primate is essential for the unity of the Church.  In effect he is excluding Orthodoxy from the Church since we have no global primate.
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« Reply #161 on: January 16, 2012, 03:53:24 AM »

At any rate, is it safe to assume, then, that you define "Church" in the "universal" way, i.e, Roman Catholic ecclesiology? Because I'm still not quite understanding what your bone of contention is with FATHER Cleenewert.

It is Father Cleenewerck who dips his toe into heresy with the Roman Catholic teaching that a universal primate is essential for the unity of the Church.  In effect he is excluding Orthodoxy from the Church since we have no global primate.

That's not what he's saying at all. Please, re-read, Father.
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« Reply #162 on: January 16, 2012, 04:01:04 AM »

At any rate, is it safe to assume, then, that you define "Church" in the "universal" way, i.e, Roman Catholic ecclesiology? Because I'm still not quite understanding what your bone of contention is with FATHER Cleenewert.

It is Father Cleenewerck who dips his toe into heresy with the Roman Catholic teaching that a universal primate is essential for the unity of the Church.  In effect he is excluding Orthodoxy from the Church since we have no global primate.

That's not what he's saying at all. Please, re-read, Father.

From message 152:

"This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity..."

Purely Papal Ecclesiology.
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« Reply #163 on: January 16, 2012, 08:55:14 AM »

Having read the book, I can state it's not an endorsement of the Roman concept of the papacy. In effect, Fr. Laurent's proposal of a universal primate is for New Rome to give way for Rome in terms of all the existing privileges it has today, and even a reduction of those privileges. Rome would resume its right as a see to which various parties would appeal, based as it was on pre-schism practice. Essentially a local-church ecclesiology with a visible symbol of unity. The problem of that (which Father recognizes) is that Rome views the papacy as a divinely ordained ministry separate from that of bishop/priest/deacon, with more than symbolic powers and privileges.

I went to Google to scan ahead a few pages and noticed a reference to Rome establishing Latin patriarchates of Jerusalem and Antioch. According to this book I'm reading now, this indirectly led to the destruction of the Anitochene (and Alexandrian?) liturgies. When the Orthodox bisohps of those sees went into exile (as the Romans attempted to impose the Latin liturgies against their local liturgies), they fled to the protection of Byzantium, and when they returned to those sees, they brought back with them the liturgy of Byzantium, and imposed it on their see. I see earlier in this thread discussion of the Syro-Malabars. Again, a sad history of the attempted destruction of the liturgy of the Thomas Catholics when they were brought into communion with Rome.
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« Reply #164 on: January 16, 2012, 10:43:45 AM »

Having read the book, I can state it's not an endorsement of the Roman concept of the papacy. In effect, Fr. Laurent's proposal of a universal primate is for New Rome to give way for Rome in terms of all the existing privileges it has today, and even a reduction of those privileges. Rome would resume its right as a see to which various parties would appeal, based as it was on pre-schism practice. Essentially a local-church ecclesiology with a visible symbol of unity.

Interesting discussion. When I read Father Cleenewerck's statement
"This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity..."
I thought of This Rock's grand claim that Patriarch Bartholomew is blazing a trail toward Rome and that most Orthodox are on said trail.

The problem of that (which Father recognizes) is that Rome views the papacy as a divinely ordained ministry separate from that of bishop/priest/deacon, with more than symbolic powers and privileges.

I'll just chime in that I think that many Orthodox would be bothered by the "is made possible" -- implying that unity wouldn't be possible without a "worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity".
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« Reply #165 on: January 16, 2012, 04:59:29 PM »

Interesting discussion. When I read Father Cleenewerck's statement
"This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity..."
I thought of This Rock's grand claim that Patriarch Bartholomew is blazing a trail toward Rome and that most Orthodox are on said trail.

The trail petered out two years ago because of precisely this point - a worldwide primate.  Patriarch Bartholomew and his man at the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue Metropolitan John Zizioulas were ambushed and severely wounded by the Church of Greece.

Before the meeting of the Joint International Commission
for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the
Orthodox Church on Cyprus in October 2009 the bishops of the Greek Church
studied the Ravenna document and also the "Cretan Unia" a document composed
a year earlier on Crete which was created to form the basis of the
discussion on Cyprus -- and they were horrified by the extent to which the
documents are receptive to unorthodox teaching and especially on
ecclesiology and the concept of a universal primacy.

So they clamped down on the Dialogue, and hard. At their Synod prior to Cyprus the
bishops ordered that Statements must not be issued by the International
Dialogue until they had been examined and approved by the bishops.

Metropolitan Zizioulas was thoroughly alarmed by this, and the word enraged
is not unfitting for his angry reaction. He wrote a nasty letter to the
Greek bishops accusing them of being obscurantist and of making themselves
look medieval in front of their flocks. His letter is on the web and I
shall find it. The bishops replied; they had the good sense to ignore
+Zizioulas' anger and crassness and simply rejected his accusations.

Since then you will notice that neither Cyprus 2009 nor Vienna 2010 have
released any Joint Statements. They cannot do so without explicit approval
from the Greek bishops.  The Meeting scheduled for 2011 did not take place.

The bishops, hardliners on matters doctrinal, are now the adjudicators of
the Dialogue. Glory to God!

Hierom.Ambrose


PS.  You can find that letter, and the response of the Greek Synod of Bishops and
quite a lot of other documentation here

http://www.impantokratoros.gr/root.en.aspx

and here

http://www.oodegr.com/english/index.htm
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« Reply #166 on: January 16, 2012, 05:15:59 PM »

Thank you, Father!  This is all good information to have.  I am pleased to know that the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece is remaining vigilant in these confusing times.  

Is this the statement you were referring to?

Announcement by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece regarding the Dialogues with the Latins:

http://www.oodegr.com/english/ekklisia/synodoi/Greece_Synod_Announcement_re_Dialogue.htm
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« Reply #167 on: January 16, 2012, 05:27:10 PM »

Interesting discussion. When I read Father Cleenewerck's statement
"This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity..."
I thought of This Rock's grand claim that Patriarch Bartholomew is blazing a trail toward Rome and that most Orthodox are on said trail.

The trail petered out two years ago because of precisely this point - a worldwide primate.

That's an interesting take. I would have expected Orthodox to deny that "blazing a trail toward Rome" happened at all.
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« Reply #168 on: January 16, 2012, 05:39:40 PM »

Thank you, Father!  This is all good information to have.  I am pleased to know that the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece is remaining vigilant in these confusing times. 

Is this the statement you were referring to?

Announcement by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece regarding the Dialogues with the Latins:

http://www.oodegr.com/english/ekklisia/synodoi/Greece_Synod_Announcement_re_Dialogue.htm

Yes, it is an excellent statement by the bishops of Greece (although the English translation could be improved.) 

It places the bishops in the driving seat with the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue and that is where they should always have been.  But I believe that they saw ecumenism as the hobby horse of an few enthusiastic theologians and bishops.   However when they realised, after Ravenna, that the dialogue was steering into dangerous waters with the discussion of a “worldwide primate” they felt they had to take control.

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« Reply #169 on: January 16, 2012, 05:42:08 PM »

Interesting discussion. When I read Father Cleenewerck's statement
"This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity..."
I thought of This Rock's grand claim that Patriarch Bartholomew is blazing a trail toward Rome and that most Orthodox are on said trail.

The trail petered out two years ago because of precisely this point - a worldwide primate.

That's an interesting take. I would have expected Orthodox to deny that "blazing a trail toward Rome" happened at all.
 
When one examines the evidence I agree that there was never any "blazing."   laugh
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« Reply #170 on: January 16, 2012, 06:08:06 PM »

The major difference, as we can see, resides in what we mean by Church. If the Church is in fact a universal, worldwide organism or society, then the Roman Catholic model makes sense. Orthodox scholar Alexander Schmemann was very lucid on this point:

"If the Church is a universal organism, she must have at her head a universal bishop as the focus of her unity and the organ of supreme power. The idea, popular in Orthodox apologetics, that the Church can have no visible head because Christ is her invisible head is theological nonsense. If applied consistently, it should also eliminate the necessity for the visible head of each local Church, i.e. the bishop."
This quotation, from Fr. Schmemann's The Primacy of Peter, p. 151, is lifted out of context; in the original work it is a description of a particular ecclesiology, "this ecclesiology," viz. stemming from "the Vatican dogma of 1870" (The Primacy of Peter, p. 150).[1]

Fr. Schmemann, however, plainly describes as a "DISTORTION" and an "ERROR":
"...the understanding and practice of primacy as “supreme power” and, therefore, to a universal bishop as source and foundation of jurisdiction in the whole ecclesiastical structure. The Orthodox Church has condemned this distortion in its pure and explicit Roman Catholic form."
(Schmemann, op cit, pp. 163)

Fr. Schmemann also relates that "The ecclesiastical error of Rome lies not in the affirmation of universal primacy [which Fr. Schmemann says is a quality of *Orthodox truth*]. Rather, the error lies in her identification of this primacy with 'supreme power,' which transforms Rome into the principium radix et origio of the unity of the Church and of the Church herself..." (Schmemann, op cit, pp. 165).

"Universal primacy" exists, says Fr. Schmemann, because it is a quality NOT of a particular bishop because he is in a particular office, and NOT of a particular city as a function of a "divine right" of the city, but because universal primacy is a quality of ***Orthodox truth*** It could be, and was, focused in certain cities at certain times. Rome we must remember didn't even have a monarchical bishop until the late second century! Fr. Schmemann doesn't forget.

What are the implications of Fr. Schmemann saying the Roman Catholic understanding is ERROR AND DISTORTION when it supposes primacy as power, and when it supposes a universal bishop as a source and foundation of jurisdiction in the whole ecclesiastical structure? What are the implications of the Roman Catholic understanding of primacy and infallibility being something which Fr. Schmemann does precisely REJECT?

These are the kinds of questions which should be addressed by those sympathetic to the claims of Rome rather than -as many internet apologists are doing with Fr. Schmemann's book- appearing to quote mine and proof text like a Protestant fundamentalist both from books like Schmemann's The Primacy of Peter and the early fathers in support of realities that the vast majority of contemporary church historians admit were unknown in the actual early post-apostolic Universal Church before the Great Schism.
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[1]The full context of Fr. Alexander Schmemann's original remarks can be reviewed here.
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« Reply #171 on: January 16, 2012, 06:10:32 PM »

He defines it thus: 
 This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity, not unlike to bishop of the (local) catholic Church, but functionally, not ontologically."

In other words, precisely what St. Justin Popovic said.

What do you and Witega say in regards to the churches founded by St. Thomas in India, since they were completely isolated geographically and politically from Rome and Constantinople? Were they not manifestations of the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church?

That the Indian Church was not in contact with Rome or Constantinople is irrelevant. They were in contact with the Christians in Persia and Modern Iraq, and as late as the 6th century received hierarchs from the non-Chalcedonian Patriarch of Alexandria. They were (and are) part of the Oriental Orthodox communion.

At this point, I think about all I can do is recommend getting hold of and reading the writings of St. Justin--a 'modern theologian' like Fr. Cleenewerck, but one whose glorification shows a general recognition by the Church that his works are in line with the Tradition, a recognition Fr. Cleenewerck lacks.

I generally don't like to take this tack in an internet discussion ("go spend your own time and money to back up my assertions"), but in this case I simply do not have the time to go through and post large extracts of St. Justin demonstrating as one of his major theses that 'conciliarity' is part of the Apostolic nature of the Church, but that *any* structure of primacy among the individual bishops of the Church, even Nicea's assignment of the permanent chairmanship of the local synod to the Metropolitan, much less higher-level developments like the Pentarchy or prerogatives of the 'first in honor', is a pragmatic addition (like Episcopal celibacy or the use of intinction to distribute communion) which is in no way *necessary* to the Church--and can be changed if/when the Church finds another pragmatic superstructure to be more useful. As Fr. Ambrose says, St. Justin would be rolling in his grave to hear "This unity is made possible by the existence of a worldwide primate as visible symbol of unity" being asserted as the 'same thing' as what he wrote.

In addition, even if I had the time, there doesn't seem much point when my most basic criticism has yet to be addressed. I see nothing in the additional quotes or in Sleeper's responses which addresses the fact that Fr. Cleenewerck's theorizing does not appear to have made any attempt to take St. Basil's actual teaching into account. I don't know that I have a personal opinion on the topic of this thread or some its related divergences. There does seem to be some ambiguity in the total corpus of the Fathers and existing synodical decisions--which is why I personally prefer St. Theophan's answer, and am open to instruction. But one thing I know for certain is that any answer that claims to be an Orthodox answer *has* to take such foundational documents as St. Basil's First Canonical Epistle into account and not simply toss out St. Basil's name while taking a position he clearly would not have supported.
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« Reply #172 on: January 16, 2012, 06:48:39 PM »

Apparently not everyone in Orthodoxy is agreed with the interpretation of Ecclesia and Ecumenism that is displayed in this thread:

http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/challenges%20of%20ecumenism.htm
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« Reply #173 on: January 16, 2012, 06:58:22 PM »

Thank you, Father!  This is all good information to have.  I am pleased to know that the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece is remaining vigilant in these confusing times. 

Is this the statement you were referring to?

Announcement by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece regarding the Dialogues with the Latins:

http://www.oodegr.com/english/ekklisia/synodoi/Greece_Synod_Announcement_re_Dialogue.htm

Yes, it is an excellent statement by the bishops of Greece (although the English translation could be improved.) 

It places the bishops in the driving seat with the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue and that is where they should always have been.  But I believe that they saw ecumenism as the hobby horse of an few enthusiastic theologians and bishops.   However when they realised, after Ravenna, that the dialogue was steering into dangerous waters with the discussion of a “worldwide primate” they felt they had to take control.

It's been a little while since I read the Ravenna document, and I don't feel like rereading the whole thing. Is this the relevant part:

Quote
42. Conciliarity at the universal level, exercised in the ecumenical councils, implies an active role of the bishop of Rome, as protos of the bishops of the major sees, in the consensus of the assembled bishops. Although the bishop of Rome did not convene the ecumenical councils of the early centuries and never personally presided over them, he nevertheless was closely involved in the process of decision-making by the councils.

43. Primacy and conciliarity are mutually interdependent. That is why primacy at the different levels of the life of the Church, local, regional and universal, must always be considered in the context of conciliarity, and conciliarity likewise in the context of primacy.

Concerning primacy at the different levels, we wish to affirm the following points:

1. Primacy at all levels is a practice firmly grounded in the canonical tradition of the Church.

2. While the fact of primacy at the universal level is accepted by both East and West, there are differences of understanding with regard to the manner in which it is to be exercised, and also with regard to its scriptural and theological foundations.

44. In the history of the East and of the West, at least until the ninth century, a series of prerogatives was recognised, always in the context of conciliarity, according to the conditions of the times, for the protos or kephale at each of the established ecclesiastical levels: locally, for the bishop as protos of his diocese with regard to his presbyters and people; regionally, for the protos of each metropolis with regard to the bishops of his province, and for the protos of each of the five patriarchates, with regard to the metropolitans of each circumscription; and universally, for the bishop of Rome as protos among the patriarchs. This distinction of levels does not diminish the sacramental equality of every bishop or the catholicity of each local Church.
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« Reply #174 on: January 16, 2012, 07:19:55 PM »

Apparently not everyone in Orthodoxy is agreed with the interpretation of Ecclesia and Ecumenism that is displayed in this thread:

http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/challenges%20of%20ecumenism.htm

With the exception of the Churches of Jerusalem (participates to a very limited extent) and Bulgaria I think that all Orthodox Churches participate in dialogue with Catholics and to a lesser extent with Protestants.


Let me recycle an older post dealing with our involvement with the various dialogues.


Orthodox Ecumenism:  The 50 Years from Oberlin 1957 to Ravenna 2007

To get some sense of balance and background knowledge into this conversation I
want to present a few official examples which show the consistency and
ultra-conservatism of the official Orthodox viewpoint throughout the years of
ecumenism... the unbending and inflexible insistence that Orthodoxy alone
constitutes the One Church. Yes, there were weird lapses at some events such as
the pagan smoke ceremony but on a deeper level the Orthodox have not strayed
from their own reality.




1. 1957.... The Statement of the Representatives of the Greek Orthodox
Church in the USA at the North American Faith and Order Study
Conference, Oberlin, Ohio, September 1957. This is quite unequivocal
about the uniqueness of Orthodoxy as the Church.

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/gocamerica_faith_order_sept_1957.htm



2. 1980s.... The contretemps in the 1980s at the International Roman
Catholic-Orthodox Theological Dialogue which saw a walk-out of the
Catholic participants when the Orthodox delegates declared that they
were unable to accept Catholic baptism per se. These were not fringy
palaeohiemerologhites but the most ecumenically minded bishops and
theologians of the canonical Orthodox Churches. This question has
never been revisited in the international dialogue but one day it will
need to be faced head on.


3. 1986.... Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar (WCC)
Conference, Chambesy, 1986:

"The Orthodox Church, however, faithful to her ecclesiology, to the
identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the
undivided Church, while participating in the WCC, does not accept the
idea of the "equality of confessions" and cannot consider Church
unity as an inter-confessional adjustment. In this spirit, the unity
which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of
theological agreements alone. God calls every Christian to the unity
of faith which is lived in the sacraments and the tradition, as
experienced in the Orthodox Church."

Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy,
1986

Section III, Paragraph 6
http://www.incommunion.org/articles/ecumenical-movement/chambesy-1986


4. 1997..... Even the most ecumenical Patriarch of Micklegarth His
Divine All-Holiness Bartholomew scandalised the Catholics with his
presentation at the Jesuit University of Georgetown in 1997 when he
declared:

"The manner in which we exist has become ontologically different.
Unless our ontological transfiguration and transformation toward one
common model of life is achieved, not only in form but also in
substance, unity and its accompanying realization become impossible."

Full text at
http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/bartholomew_phos.html


The Jesuits declared morosely that Patr. Bartholomew had set the
dialogue back 10 years.  Nobody else really understood what
the Patriarch had said,


5. 2000..... The important Statement on Orthodoxy and its ecumenical
relationships with non-Orthodox Churches issued by the 2000
Millennial Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church:

"Basic Principles of the Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Toward the
Other Christian Confessions"

It basically repeats what the Greeks said at Oberlin Ohio in 1957
and even more emphatically - the boundaries of the Church are
the Orthodox Church herself.

Concerning the Branch Theory...
2.5. "The so-called "branch theory", which is connected with the conception
referred to above and asserts the normal and even providential nature of
Christianity existing in the form of particular "branches", is also totally
unacceptable."

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/roc_other_christian_confessions.htm



6. 2007..... Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Meeting Ravenna
Sept 07

"Note [1] Orthodox participants felt it important to emphasize that
the use of the terms "the Church", "the universal Church", "the
indivisible Church" and "the Body of Christ" in this document and in
similar documents produced by the Joint Commission in no way
undermines the self-understanding of the Orthodox Church as the one,
holy, catholic and apostolic Church, of which the Nicene Creed
speaks."

http://www.orthodoxeurope.org/page/14/130.aspx#2

« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 07:23:31 PM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #175 on: January 16, 2012, 07:26:53 PM »

Apparently not everyone in Orthodoxy is agreed with the interpretation of Ecclesia and Ecumenism that is displayed in this thread:

http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/challenges%20of%20ecumenism.htm

Do not trust anyone who claims to be an academic and consistently writes "it's" for "its."
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« Reply #176 on: January 16, 2012, 07:37:47 PM »

If "traditional Orthodox ecclesiology" differs from the obvious ecclesiology of the first 3 centuries, we've got problems.
Rather it is modern Roman Catholic ecclesiology which differs from the "obvious ecclesiology" of the first 3 centuries, if by "obvious ecclesiology" we mean the picture related by the vast majority of contemporary historians. If "obvious ecclesiology" refers to something other than that, then how is it "obvious" or who are we to suppose it is obvious to?

Clearly/obviously the bishop of Rome in the first centuries of the United Church was in the judgment of the vast majority of contemporary scholars (internet and amateur apologists notwithstanding!) NOT head of the whole church on earth with immediate jurisdiction over local regions, but is simply one of several man-made ranks, like other monarchical bishops, diocesan bishops, metropolitans, and patriarchs. Such offices are, of course, pragmatically warranted, however the notion that the "office" of the pope as conceived by the Latin church e.g. in 1870 reflects the historical reality of the early Undivided Church is simply out of the question in the considered opinion of the vast majority of serious contemporary academic investigators.


Gradual historical progression from local Elder/Bishop to Diocesan Bishop to Metropolitan to Patriarch (381 AD)
1. Early NT Period: presbyters were at first identical to bishops (ἐπίσκοποι/episkopoi; compare Acts 20:17 and vs. 28; Titus 1:5 and vs. 7; 1 Pet 5:1 and vs. 2 (cf. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 2005, p. 211); compare Jewish synagogues governed by a council of elders (Greek: πρεσβύτεροι presbyteroi).
2. 49 AD: Jerusalem Council (Acts 15); leadership of James at Jerusalem; 62 AD: martyrdom of James; martyrdom of Paul (c. 67 AD); 70 AD: destruction of Jerusalem by then general (later emperor) Titus. The Jerusalem Council was, of course, paradigmatic for later Councils.
3. 57/58:  Book of Romans (composed winter AD 56 or 57 from Corinth): no apparent community order with episkopos.
4. Later NT Period: "Early Catholicism," viz. single ruling bishops (Pastoral Epistles/AD 65 and afterward; Timothy and Titus to are told by Paul to ordain presbyters/bishops and e.g. "exhort with all authority" -Titus 2:15) with respect to Ephesus and Crete respectively.
5. Early writings including 1 Clement (c. 90 AD; Clement was directly appointed by the apostles) and the Didache (Teaching of the Twelve, variously dated 60-100AD -cf. subsequent redactions) also speak of two *local* offices (viz. (1) presbyter/bishop and (2) deacon). The Didache speaks of prophets and teachers as celebrants of the Eucharist, and only after them bishops and deacons.  Ignatius c. 110 AD did not address a bishop of all or of all Rome any more than Paul did. Only later would the local presbyter -as a distinct category from the bishop- and deacon be understood as local *prests* (not a mis-spelling) and deacons. A monarchical episcopate -only possible when the bishopric and eldership became dstinct entities- can be demonstrated for Rome only from around the middle of the second century; the lack of the same previously -as has already been seen above- is multiply attested in all earlier extant sources.
6. 142 AD: One Diocesan Bishop (proper) over other Bishops. The first single bishop presiding over the diocese of Rome was Pius I (142 - 155). That later official lists of early "popes" (an alternate term for bishop not originally exclusive to the bishop of Rome) actually presided only over a council of elders is the unanimous verdict of all major academic historians (including Roman Catholic historians).
7. 325 AD Metropolitan Bishop over Diocesan Bishops. Metropolitan bishops are first mentioned in the canons of the Council of Nicea. Bishops in the great cities tended to have more education and prestige; country bishops (called chorespicopi) were described as lacking education and more vulnerable to heretical ideas. The colloquial Greek pappa (from which our rendering "pope" derived) was from the beginning of the third century used for Eastern metropolitans, diocesan bishops, regular bishops, abbots, and eventually parish priest. The title of "pope" early on was used by several Metropolitan Bishops at once. Later in the West, after Old Rome had been conquered and ceased to be bilingual, the Greek pappa became more obscure to the Latin speakers in the West and fell into disuse outside of the immediate environment of Old Rome in the West. The term then became increasingly reserved for the bishop of Rome until this was made an official demand by Gregory VII in the later eleventh century. The term papacy (papatus) -designed to sharply demarcate the office of the Roman bishop from  all bishops also originated at the end of the eleventh century.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 08:09:12 PM by xariskai » Logged

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« Reply #177 on: January 16, 2012, 08:44:15 PM »


It's been a little while since I read the Ravenna document, and I don't feel like rereading the whole thing. Is this the relevant part:

Concerning primacy at the different levels, we wish to affirm the following points:

1. Primacy at all levels is a practice firmly grounded in the canonical tradition of the Church.

2. While the fact of primacy at the universal level is accepted by both East and West
,

This is such an egregious lie that it takes the breath away.  They cannot produce one canon which speaks of primacy at the universal level.   It is really distressing to see the Orthodox present at this meeting promulgate such a gross lie.  God forgive them!  Is it any wonder the Greek bishops decided to put an end to this!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 09:07:33 PM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #178 on: January 16, 2012, 08:53:05 PM »

If "traditional Orthodox ecclesiology" differs from the obvious ecclesiology of the first 3 centuries, we've got problems.
Rather it is modern Roman Catholic ecclesiology which differs from the "obvious ecclesiology" of the first 3 centuries, if by "obvious ecclesiology" we mean the picture related by the vast majority of contemporary historians. If "obvious ecclesiology" refers to something other than that, then how is it "obvious" or who are we to suppose it is obvious to?

To be fair, with the additional quotes/explanations, it seems clear Fr. Cleenewerck is not arguing for 'modern Roman Catholic ecclesiology'. But one of the problems with his argument is that if one wants a 'worldwide primate' then Rome is the only actual game in town. They are the only ones who have ever instantiated such a concept. Fr. Cleenewerck seems to be implying that the EP has filled that role for Orthodox since the departure of Rome, but I don't think even the majority of Greeks would agree with that assessment much less the other Churches which make up our communion (and that's assuming I'm correctly understanding Fr. cleenewerck from the excerpts provided). So your options are Rome, a new ecclesiology no ones ever actually seen before, or abandoning talk of a 'worldwide primate' and getting back to the (unquestionably messy) actualities of Orthodox history.
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« Reply #179 on: January 16, 2012, 11:50:47 PM »

With the exception of the Churches of Jerusalem (participates to a very limited extent) and Bulgaria I think that all Orthodox Churches participate in dialogue with Catholics and to a lesser extent with Protestants.


Let me recycle an older post dealing with our involvement with the various dialogues.


Orthodox Ecumenism:  The 50 Years from Oberlin 1957 to Ravenna 2007

To get some sense of balance and background knowledge into this conversation I
want to present a few official examples which show the consistency and
ultra-conservatism of the official Orthodox viewpoint throughout the years of
ecumenism... the unbending and inflexible insistence that Orthodoxy alone
constitutes the One Church. Yes, there were weird lapses at some events such as
the pagan smoke ceremony but on a deeper level the Orthodox have not strayed
from their own reality.




1. 1957.... The Statement of the Representatives of the Greek Orthodox
Church in the USA at the North American Faith and Order Study
Conference, Oberlin, Ohio, September 1957. This is quite unequivocal
about the uniqueness of Orthodoxy as the Church.

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/gocamerica_faith_order_sept_1957.htm



2. 1980s.... The contretemps in the 1980s at the International Roman
Catholic-Orthodox Theological Dialogue which saw a walk-out of the
Catholic participants when the Orthodox delegates declared that they
were unable to accept Catholic baptism per se. These were not fringy
palaeohiemerologhites but the most ecumenically minded bishops and
theologians of the canonical Orthodox Churches. This question has
never been revisited in the international dialogue but one day it will
need to be faced head on.


3. 1986.... Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar (WCC)
Conference, Chambesy, 1986:

"The Orthodox Church, however, faithful to her ecclesiology, to the
identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the
undivided Church, while participating in the WCC, does not accept the
idea of the "equality of confessions" and cannot consider Church
unity as an inter-confessional adjustment. In this spirit, the unity
which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of
theological agreements alone. God calls every Christian to the unity
of faith which is lived in the sacraments and the tradition, as
experienced in the Orthodox Church."

Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy,
1986

Section III, Paragraph 6
http://www.incommunion.org/articles/ecumenical-movement/chambesy-1986


4. 1997..... Even the most ecumenical Patriarch of Micklegarth His
Divine All-Holiness Bartholomew scandalised the Catholics with his
presentation at the Jesuit University of Georgetown in 1997 when he
declared:

"The manner in which we exist has become ontologically different.
Unless our ontological transfiguration and transformation toward one
common model of life is achieved, not only in form but also in
substance, unity and its accompanying realization become impossible."

Full text at
http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/bartholomew_phos.html


The Jesuits declared morosely that Patr. Bartholomew had set the
dialogue back 10 years.  Nobody else really understood what
the Patriarch had said,


5. 2000..... The important Statement on Orthodoxy and its ecumenical
relationships with non-Orthodox Churches issued by the 2000
Millennial Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church:

"Basic Principles of the Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Toward the
Other Christian Confessions"

It basically repeats what the Greeks said at Oberlin Ohio in 1957
and even more emphatically - the boundaries of the Church are
the Orthodox Church herself.

Concerning the Branch Theory...
2.5. "The so-called "branch theory", which is connected with the conception
referred to above and asserts the normal and even providential nature of
Christianity existing in the form of particular "branches", is also totally
unacceptable."

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/roc_other_christian_confessions.htm



6. 2007..... Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Meeting Ravenna
Sept 07

"Note [1] Orthodox participants felt it important to emphasize that
the use of the terms "the Church", "the universal Church", "the
indivisible Church" and "the Body of Christ" in this document and in
similar documents produced by the Joint Commission in no way
undermines the self-understanding of the Orthodox Church as the one,
holy, catholic and apostolic Church, of which the Nicene Creed
speaks."

http://www.orthodoxeurope.org/page/14/130.aspx#2

Granted, that's an impressive list of quotes.

If I'm not mistaken, however, there's no agreement on whether the Oriental Orthodox are "outside of the Church". (Not that I've ever been Oriental Orthodox.)
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