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Alpo
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« on: July 14, 2012, 06:34:58 AM »

How is it possible to share Eucharist with people with differing faith and different hierarchs? It does happen even within the Orthodox context and I'd like to hear theological grounds for it.

EDIT: And I'm interested to hear both EO and OO perspectives.
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2012, 07:19:44 AM »

I actually just made a thread on the OO board discussing this very topic. As an OO Christian I do not think OO Clergy should commune non-Orthodox as a matter of course. If certain cases of local economy exercised by a Bishop's discretion calls for, let's say, OO-Catholic intercommunion, then that can probably be tolerated. However, I find that far too many OO Priests commune Catholics on a consistent level. Many Syriac Orthodox Bishops (from what I have been told) allow communing of Catholics on a regular basis and even allow for concelebration of OO and Catholic Clergymen. I have also heard of many cases where Armenian Orthodox Priests have communed Catholics (though this is not officially endorsed by the hierarchy AFAIK, as is the case with the Syriac Orthodox, and a poster on this site has said that his Armenian parish does not commune non-OO). I do not mind OO-EO intercommunion as much because we hold the same substantial faith with just some issues to work out. However, with Catholics there is a far greater theological chasm.
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Alpo
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 08:13:26 AM »

If certain cases of local economy exercised by a Bishop's discretion calls for, let's say, OO-Catholic intercommunion, then that can probably be tolerated.

Why? Doesn't communion demand common faith and common hierarchs?
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2012, 09:23:26 AM »

If certain cases of local economy exercised by a Bishop's discretion calls for, let's say, OO-Catholic intercommunion, then that can probably be tolerated.

Why? Doesn't communion demand common faith and common hierarchs?

That would certainly be my argument. I look forward to Severian's response. Smiley

However, in practice, my answer to the OP wouldn't be much different from his, except that I would be more strict on RCC intercommunion. I don't believe that's proper, and I even doubt if I'd receive Last Rites from a Catholic priest in an emergency situation. It just doesn't seem right to me...they hold a different faith. Please understand I don't mean to judge those Orthodox that would, it's a tough choice to make, but one I would really have trouble with on a personal level.

While I champion the OO-EO intercommunion that does occur (because I believe we hold the same faith), I would not personally commune with the OO given my jurisdiction. My bishops simply say no at this point, and I'm obligated to follow them. However, in an emergency situation as above, I would receive from an OO priest.

But, I can't in my own mind justify Catholic-Orthodox intercommunion under any cirsumstances. I love my Latin/Western cousins, but I simply don't believe it's an option yet. One day, I pray, it will be. But not yet.
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2012, 09:42:21 AM »

For the record, I'm not looking to start any kind of polemics on the issue nor any EO vs. OO vs. RC etc. debate. It's just that an idea of intercommunions seems illogical to me and I'm trying to understand the concept.
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2012, 09:57:31 AM »

For the record, I'm not looking to start any kind of polemics on the issue nor any EO vs. OO vs. RC etc. debate. It's just that an idea of intercommunions seems illogical to me and I'm trying to understand the concept.

Smiley I don't see anything polemical here. Intercommunion is a faith issue, and one that is handled differently in different places.
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2012, 11:15:51 AM »

For the record, I'm not looking to start any kind of polemics on the issue nor any EO vs. OO vs. RC etc. debate. It's just that an idea of intercommunions seems illogical to me and I'm trying to understand the concept.

Smiley I don't see anything polemical here.

Me neither. But this forum has a sort of tradition of turning non-polemical inquiries into heated ad hominems. Wink
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2012, 02:04:57 PM »

But this forum has a sort of tradition of turning non-polemical inquiries into heated ad hominems. Wink

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Back on topic: I think it would be interesting to hear any theological basis for intercommunion.  Seems to me that it's mainly priests and bishops being accommodating, weak, or negligent.  If we are the same faith, or rather, the same communion of faith, then declare it and work things out. 
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2012, 02:07:56 PM »

It goes against what I was told when I became Orthodox, as an explanation of why Orthodox shouldn't commune in Catholic churches, and why Catholics can't commune in Orthodox ones... yet with the Oriental Orthodox situation it seems to differ... for... some reason...

Closeness of beliefs or faith? Sameness some would argue I suppose. I don't know.
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2012, 02:20:21 PM »

My priest informed me (due to my traveling a lot) if I know I am going to be in an area for an extended period of time and there are no Orthodox Churches around, I can request from my Bishop permission to receive communion elsewhere, but it is usually only approved as a last resort and rarely.  I know some deployed soldiers are allowed to receive communion from a Catholic priest, and vice versa, under these conditions during deployments to combat, but I do not know the logistics.  He also warned me doing so without permission is an extremely massive no-no which could result in very unhappy days.
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2012, 02:29:57 PM »

If certain cases of local economy exercised by a Bishop's discretion calls for, let's say, OO-Catholic intercommunion, then that can probably be tolerated.

Why? Doesn't communion demand common faith and common hierarchs?
To be honest, I don't have a very sophisticated response to this question. I think that here have been times throughout history where Orthodox Bishops and Fathers have allowed heterodox to receive communion from an Orthodox Chalice in certain special cases, if I am not mistaken. And if this special economy has been the practice of the Church throughout history I see no reason for such a practice of economy not to be practiced today. I could be wrong, however.

The problem between Syriac Orthodox and Catholics is that intercommunion and recognition of each other's mysteries is endorsed by the hierarchy of both Churches. Maybe in a while, these practices will be abandoned by the Syriac Church.
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2012, 02:33:06 PM »

...I can request from my Bishop permission to receive communion elsewhere, but it is usually only approved as a last resort and rarely.


Elsewhere?  

And what would that communion be?

Are some of these alternatives more the body & blood of Christ than others?  Are we kind of the Church, or are there others with fairly valid sacraments as well?    
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2012, 03:51:35 PM »

...I can request from my Bishop permission to receive communion elsewhere, but it is usually only approved as a last resort and rarely.


Elsewhere?  

And what would that communion be?

Are some of these alternatives more the body & blood of Christ than others?  Are we kind of the Church, or are there others with fairly valid sacraments as well?    
I never had the need to ask, so I can only make an assumption.  I assume it would be OO, Catholic, or high protestant.
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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2012, 05:04:16 PM »

...I can request from my Bishop permission to receive communion elsewhere, but it is usually only approved as a last resort and rarely.


Elsewhere?  

And what would that communion be?

Are some of these alternatives more the body & blood of Christ than others?  Are we kind of the Church, or are there others with fairly valid sacraments as well?    
  I assume it would be OO, Catholic, or high protestant.

I would assume the same thing.  That's what is very troubling.  I'm not having a go at your priest or bishop, mind you, just pointing out how muddled this line of thinking is.

So if the replacement church makes it look as if it's doing something similar with communion, it could be good to go.

If communion at other churches is the Holy Gifts, then they should allow us to partake, regardless of bickering.  If it isn't... 

So arbitrary, ill-defined, and confused, if you ask me.
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2012, 06:02:01 PM »

...I can request from my Bishop permission to receive communion elsewhere, but it is usually only approved as a last resort and rarely.


Elsewhere?  

And what would that communion be?

Are some of these alternatives more the body & blood of Christ than others?  Are we kind of the Church, or are there others with fairly valid sacraments as well?    
 I assume it would be OO, Catholic, or high protestant.

I would assume the same thing.  That's what is very troubling.  I'm not having a go at your priest or bishop, mind you, just pointing out how muddled this line of thinking is.

So if the replacement church makes it look as if it's doing something similar with communion, it could be good to go.

If communion at other churches is the Holy Gifts, then they should allow us to partake, regardless of bickering.  If it isn't...  

So arbitrary, ill-defined, and confused, if you ask me.

It can be, but I suppose this is why it is the Bishops decision to make as he most likely will look at it from all views and say if it is acceptable or if it is not.  I get the feeling they say no more often than yes.  Not only that, but I believe it must be approved by Bishops from both churches, so they would have to speak directly to one another prior to letting the parishioner know anything.  Again, I am just guessing here.

Personally, the only church outside of an Orthodox church I would even consider asking about would be Catholic or Anglican, and only then if I were too far from an Orthodox church for an long period of time (months).
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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2012, 06:30:49 PM »


Personally, the only church outside of an Orthodox church I would even consider asking about would be Catholic or Anglican, and only then if I were too far from an Orthodox church for an long period of time (months).


Just wondering, did you omit the OO Churches because you consider them to be fully Orthodox or because you consider them less Orthodox than either Catholic or Anglican churches?
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« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2012, 06:48:26 PM »

@sheenj Fwiw, Kerdy said before that he supports the EO-OO joint commissions. But, what do you think of Indian and Syriac Orthodox Clergymen communing Catholics, have they ever communed Anglicans?
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2012, 07:13:56 PM »


Personally, the only church outside of an Orthodox church I would even consider asking about would be Catholic or Anglican, and only then if I were too far from an Orthodox church for an long period of time (months).


Just wondering, did you omit the OO Churches because you consider them to be fully Orthodox or because you consider them less Orthodox than either Catholic or Anglican churches?
I consider them fully Orthodox.
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2012, 06:14:49 PM »

If certain cases of local economy exercised by a Bishop's discretion calls for, let's say, OO-Catholic intercommunion, then that can probably be tolerated.

Why? Doesn't communion demand common faith and common hierarchs?
To be honest, I don't have a very sophisticated response to this question.

Anyone else?
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« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2012, 06:18:04 PM »

If certain cases of local economy exercised by a Bishop's discretion calls for, let's say, OO-Catholic intercommunion, then that can probably be tolerated.

Doesn't communion demand common faith...

Obviously   police
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« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2013, 01:52:23 AM »

It goes against what I was told when I became Orthodox, as an explanation of why Orthodox shouldn't commune in Catholic churches, and why Catholics can't commune in Orthodox ones... yet with the Oriental Orthodox situation it seems to differ... for... some reason...

Yep, and when you mention it on a forum you'll get passive-aggressive comments implying you're hyperdox or comments saying you don't understand the cultural context of the Middle East.

So Orthodoxy on blogs and pop-info sites: communion is very serious, strict and exclusive. IRL Orthodoxy: give communion to Catholics on the side, occasionally to Protestants if the priest is especially liberal, and even have official intercommunion with OO in some places.
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« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2013, 02:05:11 AM »


So Orthodoxy on blogs and pop-info sites: communion is very serious, strict and exclusive. IRL Orthodoxy: give communion to Catholics on the side, occasionally to Protestants if the priest is especially liberal, and even have official intercommunion with OO in some places.

My real-life experience of some 50 years of Orthodoxy, across several jurisdictions and ethnicities: No intercommunion under any circumstances with anyone who is not part of canonical Orthodoxy. Not to OO, not to RCs or BCs, not to Anglicans or any other non-Orthodox. And not to schismatic Orthodox, and, in some parishes, not even to those Orthodox not married in an Orthodox church, nor to couples who are cohabiting but not married.

And, in the case of the Russian churches, no communion without confession. And no priest of Russian tradition I know would confess anyone who is not Orthodox.
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« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2013, 02:10:22 AM »

I've been to two Antiochian parishes. They both gave communion to OOs. In real lifes.
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« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2013, 02:14:13 AM »

I've been to two Antiochian parishes. They both gave communion to OOs. In real lifes.

Things must be less rigorous in your neck of the woods. Here, the Antiochians don't commune OOs.
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« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2013, 03:10:04 AM »

Speaking from the other side than that of the numerical majority on this forum, I have been told in no uncertain terms by our clergy that reception of communion outside of the OO Church is absolutely not acceptable, and we will not commune Chalcedonians of any stripe, whether they call themselves Orthodox or not. In the face of that, my (or anyone's) personal opinion about who is or isn't closer or farther from us in this or that respect really doesn't matter. I've been told by some that this seems like a minority view within OO'xy itself, but I don't know what to say to that other than to point out that I don't want to receive at any other church anyway, and I don't want them to receive from our church, either. If I wanted to be a Byzantine, believe me, I could've done that much easier than what I eventually ended up doing. Likewise, I was already Roman Catholic, so it would've been even easier to just keep being one. But I made my decision, and am at peace with it. If we never commune with the Byzantines or the Romans, we are no worse for it. But if I had to guess, I would say that some who already see us as holding the same faith might think there's no reason not to have intercommunion. The problem with that, of course, is that popular sentiment is not a replacement for official, mutual recognition. I spent more than enough time in the RCC to become extremely suspicious of anyone who would claim that X and Y churches are really the same or have the same faith, when only X or only Y is claiming that. If I didn't like it when Catholics did it, I certainly don't like it when Orthodox do it.

We should be praying instead of looking for loopholes or taking what very little evidence we may have seen as evidence of a reality that I think most of us (whether pro-intercommunion or anti-) will agree has yet to materialize, despite rosy (or doomsday) predictions.
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« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2013, 09:57:40 AM »

I've been to two Antiochian parishes. They both gave communion to OOs. In real lifes.

Things must be less rigorous in your neck of the woods. Here, the Antiochians don't commune OOs.
My experience (admittedly limited) as well. In our parish we have a married couple, the wife is Antiochian, the husband Coptic. They have worked out some sort of system for getting to both churches regularly - they don't always attend their home parishes. In neither case does the spouse commune in the other's church. Even in speaking they refer to "my church" and "your church", yet both feel welcome in all these places.
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« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2013, 10:12:07 AM »


So Orthodoxy on blogs and pop-info sites: communion is very serious, strict and exclusive. IRL Orthodoxy: give communion to Catholics on the side, occasionally to Protestants if the priest is especially liberal, and even have official intercommunion with OO in some places.

My real-life experience of some 50 years of Orthodoxy, across several jurisdictions and ethnicities: No intercommunion under any circumstances with anyone who is not part of canonical Orthodoxy. Not to OO, not to RCs or BCs, not to Anglicans or any other non-Orthodox. And not to schismatic Orthodox, and, in some parishes, not even to those Orthodox not married in an Orthodox church, nor to couples who are cohabiting but not married.

And, in the case of the Russian churches, no communion without confession. And no priest of Russian tradition I know would confess anyone who is not Orthodox.

That is very encouraging. Thanks.
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« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2013, 10:48:40 AM »

Those darn academic ecumenists of the EA's Orthodox-Catholic North American Consultation, the Orthodox delegations led by that 'radical' Metropolitan Maximos at that time made it clear in a 2010 paper  that intercommunion was impossible between Orthodox and Catholics without a full unity of faith.

"Conscience holds us back from celebrating our unity as complete in sacramental terms, until it is complete in faith, Church structure, and common action; but conscience also calls us to move beyond complacency in our divisions, in the power of the Spirit and in a longing for the fullness of Christ’s life-giving presence in our midst. "
  http://www.scoba.us/articles/towards-a-unified-church.html
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« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2013, 11:08:37 AM »

For the record, I'm not looking to start any kind of polemics on the issue nor any EO vs. OO vs. RC etc. debate. It's just that an idea of intercommunions seems illogical to me and I'm trying to understand the concept.

Theologically, the idea of intercommunion flows from the belief that the unity of Christians already exists, at least eschatologically. Unity has already been accomplished in the redemptive acts of Christ in history. In other words, Christ's Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, etc. are facts of history. They do not depend on our human agreement in the faith, although it is certainly God's will that we should agree on their meaning.

So, disunity is not an ontological separation: we are already being made one in Christ, and there's nothing we can do to prevent that ultimate unity, since Christ is and will be revealed as Lord of all. Rather, Christian disunity today is simply human disobedience, a human failure to recognize the ultimate reality that has already been accomplished in Christ. This human failure will be corrected when our already-existing unity is perfected and becomes visible and obvious to all at the Second Coming.

Thus, to share communion now is an eschatological foretaste of the marriage supper of the Lamb in the Kingdom. It is a testimony to Christ's ultimate Lordship.

These issues were debated at length in the 1940s and 1950s. Fr. Georges Florovsky wrote several articles/speeches on the question from an Orthodox point of view.
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« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2013, 12:03:29 PM »

Those darn academic ecumenists of the EA's Orthodox-Catholic North American Consultation, the Orthodox delegations led by that 'radical' Metropolitan Maximos at that time made it clear in a 2010 paper  that intercommunion was impossible between Orthodox and Catholics without a full unity of faith.

"Conscience holds us back from celebrating our unity as complete in sacramental terms, until it is complete in faith, Church structure, and common action; but conscience also calls us to move beyond complacency in our divisions, in the power of the Spirit and in a longing for the fullness of Christ’s life-giving presence in our midst. "
  http://www.scoba.us/articles/towards-a-unified-church.html

How come we can't be complacent in our divisions? If I was orthodox I think I'd be pretty complacent not being in communion with papal infallibility and clown masses and such.
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« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2013, 12:08:40 PM »


So Orthodoxy on blogs and pop-info sites: communion is very serious, strict and exclusive. IRL Orthodoxy: give communion to Catholics on the side, occasionally to Protestants if the priest is especially liberal, and even have official intercommunion with OO in some places.

My real-life experience of some 50 years of Orthodoxy, across several jurisdictions and ethnicities: No intercommunion under any circumstances with anyone who is not part of canonical Orthodoxy. Not to OO, not to RCs or BCs, not to Anglicans or any other non-Orthodox. And not to schismatic Orthodox, and, in some parishes, not even to those Orthodox not married in an Orthodox church, nor to couples who are cohabiting but not married.

And, in the case of the Russian churches, no communion without confession. And no priest of Russian tradition I know would confess anyone who is not Orthodox.
Although I have less years to back me up, this is what I have experienced as well.
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« Reply #31 on: February 18, 2013, 12:26:20 PM »

Those darn academic ecumenists of the EA's Orthodox-Catholic North American Consultation, the Orthodox delegations led by that 'radical' Metropolitan Maximos at that time made it clear in a 2010 paper  that intercommunion was impossible between Orthodox and Catholics without a full unity of faith.

"Conscience holds us back from celebrating our unity as complete in sacramental terms, until it is complete in faith, Church structure, and common action; but conscience also calls us to move beyond complacency in our divisions, in the power of the Spirit and in a longing for the fullness of Christ’s life-giving presence in our midst. "
  http://www.scoba.us/articles/towards-a-unified-church.html

How come we can't be complacent in our divisions? If I was orthodox I think I'd be pretty complacent not being in communion with papal infallibility and clown masses and such.

I don't think that's what it means. We want them to abandon these things and become Orthodox. That is how divisions are overcome, through repentance.
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« Reply #32 on: February 18, 2013, 01:13:47 PM »

Theologically, the idea of intercommunion flows from the belief that the unity of Christians already exists, at least eschatologically. Unity has already been accomplished in the redemptive acts of Christ in history. In other words, Christ's Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, etc. are facts of history. They do not depend on our human agreement in the faith, although it is certainly God's will that we should agree on their meaning.

So, disunity is not an ontological separation: we are already being made one in Christ, and there's nothing we can do to prevent that ultimate unity, since Christ is and will be revealed as Lord of all. Rather, Christian disunity today is simply human disobedience, a human failure to recognize the ultimate reality that has already been accomplished in Christ. This human failure will be corrected when our already-existing unity is perfected and becomes visible and obvious to all at the Second Coming.

Thus, to share communion now is an eschatological foretaste of the marriage supper of the Lamb in the Kingdom. It is a testimony to Christ's ultimate Lordship.

These issues were debated at length in the 1940s and 1950s. Fr. Georges Florovsky wrote several articles/speeches on the question from an Orthodox point of view.

Do you know where I could access Fr George Florovsky's works on this?
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« Reply #33 on: February 18, 2013, 01:48:05 PM »

Do you know where I could access Fr George Florovsky's works on this?

There are dozens of relevant articles and speeches. The most important is probably "Confessional Loyalty in the Ecumenical Movement," which was published in The Student World in 1950. Others include his plenary address to the Amsterdam Assembly of the WCC in 1948 and "Une vue sur l'Assemblée d'Amsterdam," published in Irénikon in 1949.
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« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2013, 01:57:26 PM »

For the record, I'm not looking to start any kind of polemics on the issue nor any EO vs. OO vs. RC etc. debate. It's just that an idea of intercommunions seems illogical to me and I'm trying to understand the concept.

Theologically, the idea of intercommunion flows from the belief that the unity of Christians already exists, at least eschatologically. Unity has already been accomplished in the redemptive acts of Christ in history. In other words, Christ's Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, etc. are facts of history. They do not depend on our human agreement in the faith, although it is certainly God's will that we should agree on their meaning.

So, disunity is not an ontological separation: we are already being made one in Christ, and there's nothing we can do to prevent that ultimate unity, since Christ is and will be revealed as Lord of all. Rather, Christian disunity today is simply human disobedience, a human failure to recognize the ultimate reality that has already been accomplished in Christ. This human failure will be corrected when our already-existing unity is perfected and becomes visible and obvious to all at the Second Coming.

Thus, to share communion now is an eschatological foretaste of the marriage supper of the Lamb in the Kingdom. It is a testimony to Christ's ultimate Lordship.

These issues were debated at length in the 1940s and 1950s. Fr. Georges Florovsky wrote several articles/speeches on the question from an Orthodox point of view.

So intercommunion in Orthodoxy is not just about whims of some individual priests but carefully argued and historical theological concept?
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« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2013, 02:18:50 PM »

There are dozens of relevant articles and speeches. The most important is probably "Confessional Loyalty in the Ecumenical Movement," which was published in The Student World in 1950. Others include his plenary address to the Amsterdam Assembly of the WCC in 1948 and "Une vue sur l'Assemblée d'Amsterdam," published in Irénikon in 1949.

Thank you.
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« Reply #36 on: February 18, 2013, 03:32:10 PM »

I wonder how much intercommunion was actually happening in the past, even in the not so distant past prior to the internet where people start discussion the issue such as in this thread.  It may not be widespread, but at least on the local level.  Or have there been some animosity from both sides enough to prevent any intercommunion?
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« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2013, 07:40:01 PM »

So intercommunion in Orthodoxy is not just about whims of some individual priests but carefully argued and historical theological concept?

No. The argument I summarized is not Orthodox. It was put forward by Anglicans in the 40s and became widespread amongst Protestants of a more orthodox stripe. Fr. Florovsky disagreed with it, but also emphasized that Orthodoxy's typical response was wholly inadequate. Most Orthodox treat this and related questions as a merely canonical matter--leading to the ad hoc practices of the last 500+ years--when, in fact, only a theological analysis will suffice.

MK was here
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« Reply #38 on: February 19, 2013, 06:34:37 PM »

So intercommunion in Orthodoxy is not just about whims of some individual priests but carefully argued and historical theological concept?

No. The argument I summarized is not Orthodox.

That's good to hear. I was thinking something like "this is sheer nonsense" while reading that and I thought I was just being raving fundamentalist. Cheesy
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