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Author Topic: Syriac Orthodoxy and Ecumenism  (Read 4168 times) Average Rating: 0
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Severian
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« on: July 14, 2012, 01:08:34 AM »

I know this has been discussed before to a degree regarding the Armenian Church and communing non-OO. And I believe we came to the conclusion that inter-communion between Armenians and non-OO does happen at some local levels, but is not officially endorsed by the Armenian hierarchy. However, I have heard that the Syriac Orthodox have an open-communion policy with Syriac Catholics, and that Syriac Catholics are allowed to register at an Orthodox parish w/o having to renounce their Catholicism and vice-versa. I have also heard cases of Syriac Catholic and Orthodox clergy concelebrating on one another's altars. Is all this true? If so, then I think this is highly disturbing activity. I mean no offense to my Syriac Orthodox brethren. The Church of Antioch, like her sister Alexandrian Church, has always protected the historic Christian faith and has brought forth many bastions of Orthodoxy, such as the Holy Severus, Eustathius the Confessor, and the erudite Bar Hebraeus. But, openly communing and concelebrating with non-Orthodox is simply not consistent with our faith and the teachings of our Fathers. I do not mind Syriac-Antiochian Orthodox inter-communion as much, because we are working out our differences. Syriac Catholics, however, are individuals who have abandoned Orthodoxy and left the Church to follow Rome. I do hope what I have heard is wrong, any answers are appreciated.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2012, 01:11:47 AM by Severian » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2012, 01:12:20 AM »

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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 01:37:11 AM »

Catholicos Karekin I of Armenia said that his Church looks upon the later Councils as just being local Councils. So there is no reason why we should not receive the EOs.

The Armenians have had several historical connections with Rome and the Syrians share St Peter in common with Rome as their founder. Both are striving for Church unity. Even Alexandria of the Copts has signed a mutual statement regarding Christology with Rome.

Many of the Apostolic Churches are willing to share Church buildings where needed and even give Holy Communion in cases where the faithful of another jurisdiction are unable to attend their own Church.
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Severian
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2012, 01:46:33 AM »

^As a Copt, I can tell you for sure that open communion with non-OO is not allowed in our Church (on an official level, that is). There may be very rare occasions where Orthodox Priests in Egypt may commune Catholics who cannot access there own parish, but this is certainly not the norm and I have never heard of any specific examples of this occurring. We have also never made official statements regarding the mysteries of Catholics (AFAIK), and we certainly do not concelebrate. Making agreed statements on Christology and allowing other Christians to make use of our buildings in times of need is one thing, but open communion and concelebrating are entirely different. My own Priest told me that he would even not commune EO's because his Bishop has not given him permission to do this, so he would certainly not extend the same courtesy to Catholics.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2012, 01:50:09 AM by Severian » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2012, 02:35:30 AM »

Peace mate,

What is official applies generally but cases of economy occur in many cases.

I know a Copt who was granted permission to commune in a Greek Orthodox Church while residing in a place where there was no other Orthodox Church.

I have heard of a Copt being granted permission by a Coptic priest to commune in a Roman Catholic Church while living in a country with no Orthodox Churches around.

I have seen a Coptic priest commune a person from an Eastern Orthodox Church.

Have you spoken with Abouna Peter from the British Orthodox Church (which is under the Coptic Church) about this matter? He posts on these forums and has typed with me about EOs before. Haven't asked him about Roman Catholics though.
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2012, 02:47:14 AM »

I think the key here for those who would allow it is "when there is no church of the individual's confession available". This is why the OO (Habesha) are communed by the OCA and Bulgarian Orthodox back home in Northern California (there is no OO church there), and why Copts where I live now in New Mexico were apparently communed at the local Greek Orthodox Church before we were sent priests from neighboring Arizona to begin serving the Coptic Orthodox community here, about 16 years ago. Now that we have an established community here in NM, we do not commune with the EO and they do not commune with us (we also have regular Catholic visitors, from Jordan, who do not commune since there are plenty of Catholic churches here; they just prefer our liturgies). If the OO back home in N. California should ever be similarly blessed with their own priests or church, I don't doubt that they would celebrate according to their Tewahedo faith and no longer commune with the EOs, since the need would not exist anymore. I have a hard believing any OO church would council otherwise, though the situation in the homeland may be different due to the intense persecution suffered by all Christians in places like the new Syria, Egypt, etc. Given that reality, I would not condemn anyone for showing such mercy and compassion, at the discretion of their bishop.
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Severian
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2012, 03:12:20 AM »

Like I said, EO-OO intercommunion does not bother me that much as we share the same faith in essence, but have some issues to work out. I myself was actually communed by an Antiochian Priest a few years back (out of ignorance) even though he knew I was Coptic. I don't even mind occasional EO-OO intercommunion so long as it is merely out of economy with a Bishop's discretion, especially in the Middle East where oppression of Christians is becoming far too common. When it becomes the norm, however, I think it is problematic. And yes, I have had the honor of speaking to Father Peter on this forum on many occasions.

Does anyone know about the policy of Syriac Orthodox clergymen communing Catholics in the U.S., a country where the need for a Catholic to commune in an OO Church would be unnecessary?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2012, 03:21:02 AM by Severian » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2012, 03:32:01 AM »

Fwiw, here is a post from Aram regarding Occasional intercommunion between Catholics and Armenian Orthodox:

If Orthodox Priests commune a few Catholics here and there for pastoral reasons, then that could probably be tolerated. But far too many OO commune non-Orthodox as a matter of course.
And that's exactly what seems to be happening, but for some reason there are some that are insistent that there is some official blanket policy in the Armenian Church that we're cool with communing anyone.  That isn't the case. 

For instance, in my parish, the following is printed on the front cover of our Sunday bulletin, which everyone receives on their way in the front door:

Quote
...and invite all who are Baptized and Chrismated in, or are in communion with, the Armenian Church to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

That's pretty clear, isn't it?  OO are free.  EO are not.  Catholics are not.  "In communion with" means just that.

As for this statement Neil made:

Quote
Actually, there is a long-standing informal pastoral agreement between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church relative to allowing access to the Mysteries of either Church by faithful of the other.
I suspect this is either an urban legend, or some form of local economia that is assumed to be universal.  If you can provide documentation to prove this, please do.  This is not anything I have ever experienced anywhere in the Armenian Church.
IOW, it seems to happen at local levels, but it does not seem to be widespread practice.
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Severian
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2012, 12:47:59 PM »

I don't even mind occasional EO-OO intercommunion so long as it is merely out of economy with a Bishop's discretion, especially in the Middle East where oppression of Christians is becoming far too common.
By this I meant OO-Catholic intercommunion.
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2012, 11:36:59 PM »

Why does living far away from a church of one's own faith means that intercommunion is suddenly okay? I'm an Orthodox Christian and I've lived in places with no Orthodox church nearby (that I knew of anyways), and I never went to the Anglicans or Roman Catholics to take their communion (whether it is communion is another issue entirely I guess) because we do not share one faith. We have our services - we can pray them in their lay forms (as they are to be served when clergy are not present). Shouldn't that sustain us until we can travel to an Orthodox church to take communion?

Peace mate,

What is official applies generally but cases of economy occur in many cases.

I know a Copt who was granted permission to commune in a Greek Orthodox Church while residing in a place where there was no other Orthodox Church.

I have heard of a Copt being granted permission by a Coptic priest to commune in a Roman Catholic Church while living in a country with no Orthodox Churches around.

I have seen a Coptic priest commune a person from an Eastern Orthodox Church.

Have you spoken with Abouna Peter from the British Orthodox Church (which is under the Coptic Church) about this matter? He posts on these forums and has typed with me about EOs before. Haven't asked him about Roman Catholics though.
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2012, 11:39:06 PM »

Would you ever commune from an OO Parish if there no Parishes of your own tradition nearby?
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2012, 11:39:35 PM »

If we share much the same faith, then why should it only be out of economy? Why should we not go back and forth if we are all Orthodox? (And as so many Copts, Ethiopians, and others in the United States do anyways.)

My bishop (who was American Orthodox/"OCA") was of the same opinion though - he blessed me to commune in Ethiopian Orthodox churches (if they allowed it) when I visited my parents in Ethiopia, but didn't want me going back and forth between the Ethiopians' churches and the Greeks' church in Ethiopia.

Like I said, EO-OO intercommunion does not bother me that much as we share the same faith in essence, but have some issues to work out. I myself was actually communed by an Antiochian Priest a few years back (out of ignorance) even though he knew I was Coptic. I don't even mind occasional EO-OO intercommunion so long as it is merely out of economy with a Bishop's discretion, especially in the Middle East where oppression of Christians is becoming far too common. When it becomes the norm, however, I think it is problematic. And yes, I have had the honor of speaking to Father Peter on this forum on many occasions.

Does anyone know about the policy of Syriac Orthodox clergymen communing Catholics in the U.S., a country where the need for a Catholic to commune in an OO Church would be unnecessary?
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2012, 11:42:37 PM »

I personally would - I don't think we are different in faith. (I cringe when our hymns mention the 'errors of the Dioscorans and Severians,' as they did at Vespers tonight - how can Orthodox Fathers like Sts. Dioscorus and Severus be condemned as heretics?)

My experience of Orthodoxy in Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Russia, Ukraine, and the USA certainly hasn't left me thinking we're vastly different, whereas my experience of Catholicism in those countries leaves me more and more convinced that we have precious little on common with Rome.

Would you ever commune from an OO Parish if there no Parishes of your own tradition nearby?
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« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2012, 12:05:14 AM »

If we share much the same faith, then why should it only be out of economy? Why should we not go back and forth if we are all Orthodox? (And as so many Copts, Ethiopians, and others in the United States do anyways.)

My bishop (who was American Orthodox/"OCA") was of the same opinion though - he blessed me to commune in Ethiopian Orthodox churches (if they allowed it) when I visited my parents in Ethiopia, but didn't want me going back and forth between the Ethiopians' churches and the Greeks' church in Ethiopia.

Like I said, EO-OO intercommunion does not bother me that much as we share the same faith in essence, but have some issues to work out. I myself was actually communed by an Antiochian Priest a few years back (out of ignorance) even though he knew I was Coptic. I don't even mind occasional EO-OO intercommunion so long as it is merely out of economy with a Bishop's discretion, especially in the Middle East where oppression of Christians is becoming far too common. When it becomes the norm, however, I think it is problematic. And yes, I have had the honor of speaking to Father Peter on this forum on many occasions.

Does anyone know about the policy of Syriac Orthodox clergymen communing Catholics in the U.S., a country where the need for a Catholic to commune in an OO Church would be unnecessary?
I made a major typo in that post which I clarified in reply #8 on this thread. That was post was supposed to read "I don't even mind occasional OO-RC intercommunion so long as it is merely out of economy".

I personally would - I don't think we are different in faith. (I cringe when our hymns mention the 'errors of the Dioscorans and Severians,' as they did at Vespers tonight - how can Orthodox Fathers like Sts. Dioscorus and Severus be condemned as heretics?)

My experience of Orthodoxy in Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Russia, Ukraine, and the USA certainly hasn't left me thinking we're vastly different, whereas my experience of Catholicism in those countries leaves me more and more convinced that we have precious little on common with Rome.

Would you ever commune from an OO Parish if there no Parishes of your own tradition nearby?
Thank you for writing this deep and profound post.
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« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2012, 02:31:13 AM »

--bump--
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« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2012, 10:35:36 PM »

--bump--

I've heard of Copts being advised by their fathers in confession to go to a Protestant service in addition to the Liturgy in order to be spiritually fulfilled. No problem that these services sometimes involve a monthly communion. I've heard of Copts being told they must stay in Protestant evangelism and alpha classes even though they make them feel uncomfortable.

So I don't really put any weight at all in a Coptic priest advising their spiritual children to Commune in a Catholic Church.


If I were away from an OO Church, unavoidable, for a prolonged period of time, more than many months, and if I had permission from both sides, I would receive communion in an EO Church. While some of them believe we believe things we don't believe, there isn't much to fault with what they believe. I believe we are the same Church, though each tradition has weaknesses in expressing some things, or a great many people in a tradition might believe something wrong (some EO go too far with theosis, some Copts go too far with Western ideas of Atonement, or phyletism, or Protestantism)... But I really don't think either side is heterodox. I think we are the same Church, and we foolishly refuse to Commune with one another, and set up rival diocese in the same areas, because we don't recognize the truth, not because we are different Churches.

I would go the rest of my life without Communion before communing in a RC Church. To Commune in an RC Church is to say, this is the Body of Christ, and I unite myself to it, under the headship of the Pope of Rome. It is submit to the Pope as infallible, and to accept all they are required to believe. The Thomistic theological tradition is far indeed from the Patristic tradition. I would not want the last Communion of my life to be one that separates me from the Church established by Christ and unites me to a heretical group. If Christ does not provide me the means to Commune in an Orthodox Church, I will trust Him to provide for my salvation as He sees fit, without leaving the Communion of the Catholic Church for the Roman Catholic Church.

That said I do not mean this post to be negative towards Catholicism. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Catholics. I do not depare for the salvation of those who follow Catholicism sincerely, as best they know to do. But I do believe for me, having been given the gift of Orthodoxy, to reject that gift would be damnation.

Now, an Eastern Catholic Church, I just don't know. Some of them are essentially Roman Catholics. Some of them are essentially EO, who have chosen to have Communion with Rome instead of the EO Church, but maintain their theology... I would stay away out of fear of not knowing, but I can understand if some would come to a different decision here. Luckily, it is very unlikely I would ever be unable to reach an OO Church for many months by any means, so I should never have to worry about any of this.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 10:38:49 PM by Jonathan » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2012, 01:18:13 PM »

Fwiw, here is a post from Aram regarding Occasional intercommunion between Catholics and Armenian Orthodox:

IOW, it seems to happen at local levels, but it does not seem to be widespread practice.

Our priest is fairly liberal about communing Catholics (Roman and Eastern) though the number of Catholic non-Armenians who would commune in a single year is negligible at best. But I'm pretty sure that there at least a couple of Armenian Catholics every week. He has also told me that if I'm away on vacation or business that there would be no problem with communing at a Catholic church provided that it does not become a regular occurrence - you could say it's kind of analogous to the RC view of allowing their faithful to commune at Orthodox churches (i.e. avoiding the danger of becoming indifferent).

You have to remember that our history with the Latins is very different than those of our fellow Orthodox brethren. We don't have the Filoque and Papacy battles that the EO had with the Latins. Nor do we have the sack of Constantinople. Our disagreement goes back to Chalcedon and was basically resolved by the joint statement made by Pope John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin I back in 1996. There are also subsequent joint statements acknowledging that our other theological differences are "complimentary" and not "contradictory" (I'm leaving out Papal Infallibility and Supremacy as those are considered ecclesiastical issues rather than theological issues). I've had a senior deacon tell me that our theology (again leaving out the role of the Pope) is 98% the same as RC theology.

Furthermore the Armenian Church has been at the forefront of trying to resolve the various schisms for at least the last 900 years going back to St. Nerses Shnorhali. Heck the western (Cilicia) half of the Armenian Church united with Rome on more than one occasion in the Middle Ages only to be rebuffed by the eastern clergy and laity. Plus we have not really had the so-called "uniate" problem though there were some rocky times in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, the official view of the Armenian Church is that all of the ancient apostolic churches together constitute the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church". As such, the idea of communing Catholics does not strike us as being scandalous. Nor do we seek converts from the Catholic churches. In fact, we very rarely accept any converts from Catholic or Orthodox churches because we believe that they are all part of the Universal Church.

So to get back to the point at hand, intercommunion is not "official" policy and there is no written agreement that I am aware of. But it happens very often at the local level on an "unofficial" basis.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 01:18:37 PM by Shant » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2012, 03:32:07 PM »

I personally find it distressing that so many Armenians, including some of our clergy, have such a liberal attitude toward the Catholics.  True, we have much in common with them, just as we have much in common with some Protestants, but the differences we have are significant.  The Ecclesiology, as you mentioned, is one issue, and I think it is a bigger issue than some people realize.

I think most Armenians don't realize that being officially in communion with the Catholics would be an entirely different thing than being in communion with our sister Churches, like the Copts or the Syriac Orthodox.  Rome does not have "sister churches."  Rome has "daughter churches."  The only way we could officially come into communion with Rome is to become a daughter church, which would really change what our Church is.  People don't understand that, though.  They think that if we go into communion with Rome, it would be like being in communion with the Copts:  No big change.  They are wrong about that though, and it distresses me that our clergy do little if anything to properly educate people on that.

Aside from the ecclesiology, there are other theological issues.  Granted, these are obscure, but they are not insignificant.  We don't believe in the Filioque, and their Christology still bears some Nestorian influences.  From what I have observed, the EO's have done a much better job of reinterpreting Pope Leo's Tome and Chalcedon through the Christology of St. Cyril than the Catholics have done.  (Note:  I do not want to get into another debate with the Chalcedonians on Christology.  Any attempt to turn this into such a debate will be kicked into the private forum.)

There is a reason Cilicia's union with Rome fell apart.  St. Krikor Datevatsi and St. Hovhan Vorodnetsi knew what they were talking about.  They did not oppose union for the sake of being contentious.  They were among the best theologians the Armenians ever had, and they saw real differences between what the Catholics teach and what we believe.

That being said, I can fully see what attracts so many Armenians to the Catholics.  They have historically been much more friendly toward us than the Greeks and Russians.  Not being "next door neighbors" with any Catholic nations means that we have not had any wars with them, nor have we ever been militarily occupied by them.  Armenians look at the mistreatment we received at the hands of Byzantine emperors and that we received under the last czar, as well as the current hostility we get from the Greek monks at the Tomb of Christ, and the horrible things done by HH Ilya of Georgia, and they compare that to our relatively pleasant dealings with the Catholics.  Those are the things that laypersons look at, not the theology.  So I can see how so many Armenians think we are the same as the Catholics, but different from the Greeks and Russians.

Theologically and ecclesiologically speaking, though, we are much closer to the EO's than to the Catholics, and people do need to be educated about that.  If we are to ever heal any schism, it would make sense to heal the schism between us and the EO's before looking toward the Catholics.  

People don't see that, though, and the clergy are doing little to educate them.  When our clergy hold ecumenical prayer services and practice intercommunion, that gives people the false impression that there is no difference.  This leads people to fall away from our Church and join the local Catholic parish that is closer to them than the nearest Armenian parish.  After all, if we commune Catholics and we have joint prayer services with them, that means we are the same.  And if we are the same Church, why should a person have to drive forty minutes to the nearest Armenian parish, when there is a Catholic one five minutes away?  I've known people who have effectively dropped out of the Armenian Church for precisely this reason.  They have no intention of leaving the Armenian Church, but they stop going and join a Catholic (or even a Protestant one) because it is more convenient and they've been led to believe we are all the same.  

Whatever.  Sorry about the rant.  It's just that this is a frustrating issue, and I think our Church's leadership needs to do more to educate people about what separates us from other Churches, rather than give people the false impression that we are all the same.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 03:35:39 PM by Salpy » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2012, 04:15:03 PM »

Salpy, I pretty much agree with your rant. There are indeed real differences that need to be hashed out. I suspect most people don't give the Filoque a second thought because, unlike the Creed everyone else uses, as you know our version doesn't go into the procession of the Holy Spirit so the subject doesn't come up on a regular basis. And I do agree that there seems to be something just a bit off with the RC approach to Christ's humanity and divinity. 

I agree that the Cilicia reunion efforts were misguided. They were driven by political ends and too much of our theology would have been sacrificed so Sts. Krikor Datevatsi and Hovhan Vorodnetsi are to be lauded for their steadfast defense. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. But I do think you raise an excellent point that the softening and hardening of ecumenical relations is often closely tied to politics. Good political relations often leads to glossing over various real differences whereas bad relations means every little thing becomes a church dividing issue.

We do need to finally and formally get our house in order with the EO first. The fact that things have languished for almost 20 years is terrible given that most everyone agrees that any remaining theological issues are relatively minor. But since we can't even get our internal Diocese/Prelacy house in order (though thankfully the vitriol is now pretty much gone) does not give me great hope in the near future.

Where I don't necessarily agree is that the end result of entering communion would be as a "daughter" church. I think and hope that the work of the joint commission in trying to determine the proper role of the Pope in the time before Chalcedon is evidence that there is no interest in being subordinate to the RC church. Even a strong proponent of ecumenism (such as myself) could never agree to that type of arrangement.
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« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2012, 04:21:07 PM »

If the Catholics could go back to the ecclesiology that they held prior to Chalcedon, then I can see us having truly useful talks with them.  Who knows?  Maybe that can happen.  I guess we can always pray.   Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2012, 10:36:24 PM »

Where I don't necessarily agree is that the end result of entering communion would be as a "daughter" church. I think and hope that the work of the joint commission in trying to determine the proper role of the Pope in the time before Chalcedon is evidence that there is no interest in being subordinate to the RC church. Even a strong proponent of ecumenism (such as myself) could never agree to that type of arrangement.

What Eastern Catholic Church has this not happened with though? It's the only model they use.

I see where you are coming from with the believe that there is only one Church, and we shouldn't be setting ourselves up as rival Catholic Churches. Many of the Orthodox Churches seem to go too far that way, thinking we are wholly independent, with no need for each other. That we can just set up Churches around the world in parallel with them, and be the Catholic Church without them. There's a reason there's never been an Orthodox Bishop of Rome set up in parallel with the Catholic Pope there.

But, just sharing Communion while there are significant theological differences--and there are, the filioque being the least of them if one of them--isn't the answer. The early Church had schisms and heresies they dealt with, and broke Communion, without then going and not caring to reconcile with each other, for feeling that they could carry on alone.

It seems to me that the extremes that the different OO "Churches" fall into could be balanced out by each other if we dialogued with each other. That's how Orthodoxy is supposed to work, the living faith is meant to be shared back in forth with our neighbours, between the Churches, not carried on in isolation, not feeling we need each other. We spend so much time having dialogues with those we're not in Communion with. Maybe if we spent more time really being in Communion with those we do agree with, sharing our faith together, we could be more whole, more properly Catholic, in order to be fit to go out and dialogue with those we are separated from.
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« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2012, 05:23:23 AM »

Jonathan, if you were at the end I would try my hardest to get to you if no other priest could!

Salpy, I enjoy very much the official dialogue I am fortunate to participate in with some of the Catholic hierarchy here in the UK. I do enjoy spending time with them, but it seems to me that our relationship works because we are not afraid to speak about differences, and how much some of them are obstacles to reunion.

I do sense that Orthodox can be an encouragement to a more traditional Catholic faith and practice, as generally reconciliation does not require Catholics to adopt something new but to restore something that is ancient and has already been part of their Tradition. I think that perhaps the UK Catholic Church is not the same as the US one in some regards and has a different history and dynamic.

On the other hand I do not commune Catholics, however welcome they are at the liturgies I celebrate. And on the other hand, I do consider that there is a difference between the position of a theologically literate and educated Catholic person and a devout and simple Catholic soul who believes not much different to a devout and simple Orthodox soul. Not that this describes any particularly well considered differentation.

I have spoken to a senior EO Metropolitan who communed a Catholic regularly, but this was in the context of that person being essentially committed to his Orthodox parish and being to all intents an Orthodox though perhaps formally a Catholic.

Just before the fall of Constantinople the Catholics and Orthodox celebrated the Liturgy together, despite their differences. In such extremis (and of course that was before papal infallibility and the immaculate conception and lots of other things) I am just not sure how far Christian division extends. That is not to say that I would receive communion at the last from a Catholic priest, though I would be happy and grateful for his prayers.
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« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2012, 05:48:45 AM »

There's a reason there's never been an Orthodox Bishop of Rome set up in parallel with the Catholic Pope there.

Geopolitics.
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« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2012, 02:07:56 PM »

Nevermind.
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« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2012, 03:06:05 PM »

What Eastern Catholic Church has this not happened with though? It's the only model they use.

I agree that this has been their MO for the better part of the last 400 years though to be entirely fair to our Catholic friends, the situation has improved markedly in the past 50 years. Still a long way to go, but at least progress is being made.

In the meantime, the following remarks by Catholicos Aram I regarding reunion dialogue with the EO give me comfort than nothing will be sold out when dealing with he Catholic Church.

Quote
However, after the restoration of communion, it is important that the specificities, the particular characteristics of each family and each church be maintained. This is very important for us. We cannot become a part of the Byzantine tradition. We cannot go against the course of history, because these churches have been developed in different ways. We cannot change the historical, cultural, linguistic, liturgical, theological, patristic identities of these churches. So, we have to be faithful to our own traditions, to our own identities and particularities.

http://www.orthodoxunity.org/article04.html

Also of note from that same article:

Quote
Q: Do you see any possibility that a member church or some of the churches in the Oriental Orthodox family would unilaterally declare communion with the Eastern Orthodox family?

ARCHBISHOP ARAM: No, because we have raised this question amongst ourselves and have agreed that no member of the Oriental Orthodox family would - under any circumstance - unilaterally establish communion with the other churches. This is our understanding and it is very clear. In fact, the Coptic Orthodox Church in her response has raised that question. They said that we agree with these christological statements, provided that the other members of the Oriental Orthodox family agree with this as well. So, their agreement was very much conditioned by the agreement of the other churches. This is an important term. We sit, we talk, we act as one family.


So we're all in the same boat at least on the "official" level.
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« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2012, 03:07:45 PM »

Salpy, I enjoy very much the official dialogue I am fortunate to participate in with some of the Catholic hierarchy here in the UK. I do enjoy spending time with them, but it seems to me that our relationship works because we are not afraid to speak about differences, and how much some of them are obstacles to reunion.

Father, bless. When speaking of the differences, what have been the major topics other than the Papacy?
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« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2012, 05:03:56 PM »

That reason being political history (what pope would have allowed the Orthodox to set up a rival to him in the Papal States he ruled for so many centuries?) and the ethnic fragmentation of the Diaspora that has prevented Orthodox unity in Western Europe and elsewhere.

Where I don't necessarily agree is that the end result of entering communion would be as a "daughter" church. I think and hope that the work of the joint commission in trying to determine the proper role of the Pope in the time before Chalcedon is evidence that there is no interest in being subordinate to the RC church. Even a strong proponent of ecumenism (such as myself) could never agree to that type of arrangement.

What Eastern Catholic Church has this not happened with though? It's the only model they use.

I see where you are coming from with the believe that there is only one Church, and we shouldn't be setting ourselves up as rival Catholic Churches. Many of the Orthodox Churches seem to go too far that way, thinking we are wholly independent, with no need for each other. That we can just set up Churches around the world in parallel with them, and be the Catholic Church without them. There's a reason there's never been an Orthodox Bishop of Rome set up in parallel with the Catholic Pope there.

But, just sharing Communion while there are significant theological differences--and there are, the filioque being the least of them if one of them--isn't the answer. The early Church had schisms and heresies they dealt with, and broke Communion, without then going and not caring to reconcile with each other, for feeling that they could carry on alone.

It seems to me that the extremes that the different OO "Churches" fall into could be balanced out by each other if we dialogued with each other. That's how Orthodoxy is supposed to work, the living faith is meant to be shared back in forth with our neighbours, between the Churches, not carried on in isolation, not feeling we need each other. We spend so much time having dialogues with those we're not in Communion with. Maybe if we spent more time really being in Communion with those we do agree with, sharing our faith together, we could be more whole, more properly Catholic, in order to be fit to go out and dialogue with those we are separated from.
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« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2012, 05:14:10 PM »

We discuss something different each time we meet.

Last time we considered the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and how this appears to be rooted in a different understanding of the consequence of the Fall.
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« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2012, 03:19:06 PM »

So how are we supposed to respond to these downright unacceptable acts endorsed by many of the Syriac Orthodox?
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« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2012, 05:43:20 PM »

So how are we supposed to respond to these downright unacceptable acts endorsed by many of the Syriac Orthodox?
Do you think this hyper-ecumenist tendency in the Syriac Church will die out in a few decades?
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« Reply #30 on: July 23, 2012, 06:24:19 PM »

So how are we supposed to respond to these downright unacceptable acts endorsed by many of the Syriac Orthodox?
The same way people seem to respond to the Roman Catholic lite ecclesiology that the Patriarchate of Antioch has embraced of late. Mild indifference.
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« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2012, 06:41:43 PM »

So how are we supposed to respond to these downright unacceptable acts endorsed by many of the Syriac Orthodox?
The same way people seem to respond to the Roman Catholic lite ecclesiology that the Patriarchate of Antioch has embraced of late. Mild indifference.
How do you feel about Orthodox Christians of the Syriac tradition (whether they be Malankara, Syriac, Indian-Syriac) inter-communing freely with RC's?
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« Reply #32 on: July 24, 2012, 06:55:39 PM »

So how are we supposed to respond to these downright unacceptable acts endorsed by many of the Syriac Orthodox?
The same way people seem to respond to the Roman Catholic lite ecclesiology that the Patriarchate of Antioch has embraced of late. Mild indifference.
How do you feel about Orthodox Christians of the Syriac tradition (whether they be Malankara, Syriac, Indian-Syriac) inter-communing freely with RC's?
I'm fairly sure the Indian Orthodox Church does not allow this. When I went to Liturgy one of the biggest Orthodox pilgrimage centers in India, Parumala, there was an announcement made that only Orthodox Christians were allowed to commune. I really can't say anything about the Antiochians however.
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« Reply #33 on: July 24, 2012, 09:14:25 PM »

So how are we supposed to respond to these downright unacceptable acts endorsed by many of the Syriac Orthodox?
The same way people seem to respond to the Roman Catholic lite ecclesiology that the Patriarchate of Antioch has embraced of late. Mild indifference.
How do you feel about Orthodox Christians of the Syriac tradition (whether they be Malankara, Syriac, Indian-Syriac) inter-communing freely with RC's?
I'm fairly sure the Indian Orthodox Church does not allow this. When I went to Liturgy one of the biggest Orthodox pilgrimage centers in India, Parumala, there was an announcement made that only Orthodox Christians were allowed to commune. I really can't say anything about the Antiochians however.
Thank goodness. Thank you for sharing this somewhat relieving news. What is the view of the Indian Orthodox Church concerning marriage between Orthodox and heterodox Christians?
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« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2012, 07:32:28 AM »

The parish website of St. Gregorious' Indian Orthodox Church says:

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Q:Does your Church practice "Open Communion?"


A: In the strictest sense the Communion of the Orthodox Church is open to all repentant believers. That means we are glad to receive new members in the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox concept of "Communion" is totally holistic, and radically different from that of most other Christian groups. We do not separate the idea of "Holy Communion" from "Being in Communion," "Full Communion," "Inter-Communion" and total "Communion in the Faith."
In the Orthodox Church therefore, to receive Holy Communion, or any other Sacrament (Mystery), is taken to be a declaration of total commitment to the Orthodox Faith. While we warmly welcome visitors to our services, it is understood that only those communicant members of the Orthodox Church who are prepared by confession and fasting will approach the Holy Mysteries

http://www.indian-orthodox.co.uk/faith.htm

I am glad to hear this is the case.
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« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2012, 08:34:29 AM »

I don't know what the official stance is but if that's going on it's only with other Syriac language churches. That means the Maronite church, Syriac Catholic church, and possibly the Chaldean Catholic church (and maybe the Catholic Syrian churches of India?). I also believe that you have to take into account the situation in the homeland and that might be the reason why something like that started in the first place. If a person is forced to a place where there isn't a church or priest of their own, what should they do?

There is a EO/OO official agreement though: http://www.orthodox.org.ph/content/view/143/50/

But, again, I don't know the official stance though I'd like to now.
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« Reply #36 on: July 25, 2012, 07:38:13 PM »

Antiochian and Syriac Orthodox Christians communing in one another's churches is one thing, but the others aren't Orthodox Christians in any sense of the word - they're Catholics. Going the next step with your scenario, if I moved to a place where the only monotheistic place of worship was a mosque, does that mean I should join in the Friday prayers just so that I belong to a faith community?

I don't know what the official stance is but if that's going on it's only with other Syriac language churches. That means the Maronite church, Syriac Catholic church, and possibly the Chaldean Catholic church (and maybe the Catholic Syrian churches of India?). I also believe that you have to take into account the situation in the homeland and that might be the reason why something like that started in the first place. If a person is forced to a place where there isn't a church or priest of their own, what should they do?

There is a EO/OO official agreement though: http://www.orthodox.org.ph/content/view/143/50/

But, again, I don't know the official stance though I'd like to now.
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« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2012, 08:16:23 PM »

Antiochian and Syriac Orthodox Christians communing in one another's churches is one thing, but the others aren't Orthodox Christians in any sense of the word - they're Catholics. Going the next step with your scenario, if I moved to a place where the only monotheistic place of worship was a mosque, does that mean I should join in the Friday prayers just so that I belong to a faith community?

Sorry to burst your bubble but you being a Christian could not enter a Mosque for prayer. Only Jews and Moslem can share the same place of worship. 
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« Reply #38 on: July 25, 2012, 08:46:24 PM »

Antiochian and Syriac Orthodox Christians communing in one another's churches is one thing, but the others aren't Orthodox Christians in any sense of the word - they're Catholics. Going the next step with your scenario, if I moved to a place where the only monotheistic place of worship was a mosque, does that mean I should join in the Friday prayers just so that I belong to a faith community?

Sorry to burst your bubble but you being a Christian could not enter a Mosque for prayer. Only Jews and Moslem can share the same place of worship. 
That was a rhetorical question. He was saying that as Orthodox Christians we would never enter a Mosque for prayer, in like manner we should not attend and commune in a non-Orthodox parish. And there is no bubble to burst. We have no interest in praying at Mosques or Synagogues. We as Christians are secure in our faith in the Messiah-ship of the Lord Jesus and in our belief in the supreme Triune Godhead. We wish you all the best, but we do not need your houses of worship for spiritual fulfillment.

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First I wasn't making a faith statement only posted that a Christian could not if they even wanted to do so and was the last place of worship in town.
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« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2012, 08:50:01 PM »

^Forgive me if I misconstrued your intentions.
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« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2012, 11:29:22 PM »

A Christian can't say the shahada and join in Friday prayers?

Antiochian and Syriac Orthodox Christians communing in one another's churches is one thing, but the others aren't Orthodox Christians in any sense of the word - they're Catholics. Going the next step with your scenario, if I moved to a place where the only monotheistic place of worship was a mosque, does that mean I should join in the Friday prayers just so that I belong to a faith community?

Sorry to burst your bubble but you being a Christian could not enter a Mosque for prayer. Only Jews and Moslem can share the same place of worship. 
That was a rhetorical question. He was saying that as Orthodox Christians we would never enter a Mosque for prayer, in like manner we should not attend and commune in a non-Orthodox parish. And there is no bubble to burst. We have no interest in praying at Mosques or Synagogues. We as Christians are secure in our faith in the Messiah-ship of the Lord Jesus and in our belief in the supreme Triune Godhead. We wish you all the best, but we do not need your houses of worship for spiritual fulfillment.

+Peace
First I wasn't making a faith statement only posted that a Christian could not if they even wanted to do so and was the last place of worship in town.
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« Reply #41 on: July 25, 2012, 11:31:11 PM »

Irregardless, my point remains the same - Orthodoxy is no more Catholicism than it is Islam, so why would moving to a place without an Orthodox church making taking communion in a Catholic church okay? Our services can be prayed without clergy - meet with whoever's around to pray the services until a priest can be sent or you can get to an Orthodox church again...

Antiochian and Syriac Orthodox Christians communing in one another's churches is one thing, but the others aren't Orthodox Christians in any sense of the word - they're Catholics. Going the next step with your scenario, if I moved to a place where the only monotheistic place of worship was a mosque, does that mean I should join in the Friday prayers just so that I belong to a faith community?

Sorry to burst your bubble but you being a Christian could not enter a Mosque for prayer. Only Jews and Moslem can share the same place of worship. 
That was a rhetorical question. He was saying that as Orthodox Christians we would never enter a Mosque for prayer, in like manner we should not attend and commune in a non-Orthodox parish. And there is no bubble to burst. We have no interest in praying at Mosques or Synagogues. We as Christians are secure in our faith in the Messiah-ship of the Lord Jesus and in our belief in the supreme Triune Godhead. We wish you all the best, but we do not need your houses of worship for spiritual fulfillment.

+Peace
First I wasn't making a faith statement only posted that a Christian could not if they even wanted to do so and was the last place of worship in town.
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« Reply #42 on: July 25, 2012, 11:45:36 PM »

I have a problem with equating Catholicism with Islam.  Catholics believe in the Holy Trinity;  Muslims don't.  And although we may disagree on a number of things, Catholics are Christians, even if they are not within our Church.

Regarding the intercommunion we see among Middle Eastern Christians, the impression I've had is that being surrounded by Muslims, and often being threatened by them, has had the effect of giving the different Christians of that region a sense of unity with each other not felt elsewhere. 

I'm not saying the intercommunion is right.  I'm just saying that there is a reason for it.

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« Reply #43 on: July 25, 2012, 11:48:59 PM »

I have a problem with equating Catholicism with Islam.  Catholics believe in the Holy Trinity;  Muslims don't.  And although we may disagree on a number of things, Catholics are Christians, even if they are not within our Church.

Regarding the intercommunion we see among Middle Eastern Christians, the impression I've had is that being surrounded by Muslims, and often being threatened by them, has had the effect of giving the different Christians of that region a sense of unity with each other not felt elsewhere. 

I'm not saying the intercommunion is right.  I'm just saying that there is a reason for it.


I agree with this. I also agree with Kijabeboy03's opposition to false Ecumenism.
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« Reply #44 on: July 26, 2012, 07:13:57 AM »

If someone I was responsible for had to move to a place with no Orthodox Churches I would not consider it wrong for them to attend a Catholic Church for prayer and fellowship. I would not agree that they should take communion there.

I think I would also consider that the Catholic culture is different in different countries and that this might also colour my views.
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Lord have mercy upon me a sinner
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The poster formerly known as peterfarrington
Tags: ecumenism Syriac Orthodox 
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