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Anastasia1
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« on: August 15, 2012, 11:15:56 PM »

One of my Catholic friends was asking my why I don't agree with papal infallibility and was saying that even the Orthodox view him as first among equals.  Since this is Oriental Orthodox instead of Eastern, what is the Oriental take on the Roman Pope and just a short answer on why if you can?
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 01:18:53 AM »

I just read that the Coptic pope has a similar position. Is he viewed as Peter's successor? Is there anything like papal infallibility?
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 08:14:45 AM »

I just read that the Coptic pope has a similar position. Is he viewed as Peter's successor? Is there anything like papal infallibility?

The term Pope originally applied to the bishop of Alexandria, not Rome, but the modern meanings are quite different.

The bishop of Alexandria was the first to ordain other bishops to assist, thus the first father of fathers, or pappa abba, or Pope. Centuries later when a similar hierarchy developed in Rome, they began using the same title.

The Pope of Alexandria is not equivalent to today's understanding of the Pope of Rome though. It is a historic title related to the see of St. Mark in Alexandria, but it is completely equivalent to the title of the other Patriarchates. There were originally 4 great sees: Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Later Constantinople was added to make 5. Rome was given first honour, i.e. the first chair at meetings, as the capital of the empire. Alexandria second as the home of the school of Alexandria, and generally the center of Christian learning and theology in the earliest centuries. Later, Constantinople bumped Alexandria down to #3 as it was the second capital of the empire. All just administrative ordering. All the Patriarchs (bishops, the term patriarch came later) were equal.

The Pope of Alexandria and the Catholicos of Ethopia are brothers.

Furthermore, Pope is not an order in the Church, it is a title of a bishop particular to one see, the Archbishop of Alexandria, but that person is still a bishop, and a brother to the other bishops. A bishop is the head of his own church (diocese), and neither the Pope nor the synod has the authority to meddle in the internal affairs of another bishop's diocese. However, when the bishops of Egypt meet together as the Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Archbishop of Alexandria, i.e. the Coptic Pope, is the president of that council, and represents the Church of Egypt in meetings with other Patriarchates.

At one time, when the title Pope originated, there were only a few bishops under the Pope of Alexandria, and they were essentially auxiliary bishops, subject to him, so he was a father of fathers. Today, there are well over 100 bishops in the synod, many of whom are fully independent bishops or even metropolitans, so the Pope is a brother, and not a father to them. The honorific title endures though in recognition of the contribution of Alexandria to early Christianity, and the importance of the Apostolic see of St. Mark.
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 08:39:39 AM »

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At one time, when the title Pope originated, there were only a few bishops under the Pope of Alexandria, and they were essentially auxiliary bishops, subject to him, so he was a father of fathers.
This is very interesting. Perhaps the basis of the model now used in the west?
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 10:10:50 AM »

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At one time, when the title Pope originated, there were only a few bishops under the Pope of Alexandria, and they were essentially auxiliary bishops, subject to him, so he was a father of fathers.
This is very interesting. Perhaps the basis of the model now used in the west?

I don't think so. This was a time when it was the Church of Alexandria and the surrounding areas. When Christianity spread throughout the land, then it became the system we have today. The concept of a bishop having jurisdiction over other bishops outside their own city and its surrounding countryside is foreign to Orthodoxy. Each city has a bishop, or if it doesn't, it falls under the care of the nearest bishop. Having bishops over bishops i's only the case of a very large city that might have auxiliary bishops looking after districts or surrounding towns, but still under the care of the bishop, who is the bishop of the city.
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2012, 01:21:20 AM »

I just read that the Coptic pope has a similar position. Is he viewed as Peter's successor? Is there anything like papal infallibility?

The term Pope originally applied to the bishop of Alexandria, not Rome, but the modern meanings are quite different.

The bishop of Alexandria was the first to ordain other bishops to assist, thus the first father of fathers, or pappa abba, or Pope. Centuries later when a similar hierarchy developed in Rome, they began using the same title.

The Pope of Alexandria is not equivalent to today's understanding of the Pope of Rome though. It is a historic title related to the see of St. Mark in Alexandria, but it is completely equivalent to the title of the other Patriarchates. There were originally 4 great sees: Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Later Constantinople was added to make 5. Rome was given first honour, i.e. the first chair at meetings, as the capital of the empire. Alexandria second as the home of the school of Alexandria, and generally the center of Christian learning and theology in the earliest centuries. Later, Constantinople bumped Alexandria down to #3 as it was the second capital of the empire. All just administrative ordering. All the Patriarchs (bishops, the term patriarch came later) were equal.

The Pope of Alexandria and the Catholicos of Ethopia are brothers.

Furthermore, Pope is not an order in the Church, it is a title of a bishop particular to one see, the Archbishop of Alexandria, but that person is still a bishop, and a brother to the other bishops. A bishop is the head of his own church (diocese), and neither the Pope nor the synod has the authority to meddle in the internal affairs of another bishop's diocese. However, when the bishops of Egypt meet together as the Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Archbishop of Alexandria, i.e. the Coptic Pope, is the president of that council, and represents the Church of Egypt in meetings with other Patriarchates.

At one time, when the title Pope originated, there were only a few bishops under the Pope of Alexandria, and they were essentially auxiliary bishops, subject to him, so he was a father of fathers. Today, there are well over 100 bishops in the synod, many of whom are fully independent bishops or even metropolitans, so the Pope is a brother, and not a father to them. The honorific title endures though in recognition of the contribution of Alexandria to early Christianity, and the importance of the Apostolic see of St. Mark.
Ok, so if there is any first among equals, it is in reference to the early founding of this Bishop role?

What is an order of the church? I do not understand what you said Pope is not.
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2012, 11:21:55 AM »

Ok, so if there is any first among equals, it is in reference to the early founding of this Bishop role?

What is an order of the church? I do not understand what you said Pope is not.

The major orders are Bishop, Presbyter, and Deacon.
The minor orders are doorkeeper, chanter, reader, subdeacon, exorcist, monk, virgin (with variety from tradition to tradition since minor orders are those set by the Church, unlike the major orders that are universal).

There is no order of "Pope". There is just the order of Bishop, the Pope is a bishop. The bishop of a large city is called a Metropolitan Bishop, because they are the bishop of a metropolis. The bishop of the capital can have a title like Archbishop, Patriarch, Pope, Catholicos, or some combination depending on the tradition of that country. These are titles relating to the see of a bishop, but the bishop is still just a bishop. There is no sacramental difference between a regular bishop and a metropolitan or the Pope of Alexandria. They just have certain administrative duties realting to order with their neighbouring bishops, that go along with the bishopric of their city. Within their own diocese there is no difference between the Pope in Alexandria and any other bishop in his diocese. When the bishops meet together for the common order of the Church, the Pope is the president of the Synod, or council or bishops.

At great councils between more than one Patriarchate, like Nicea, it will be one of the Patriarchs who is president of that council. But not always Constantinople or always Alexandria. They often took turns. But all the bishops still participated equally. St. Nicolas figured prominently, despite being merely a bishop. When Rome tried to impose celibacy on the presbyters, it was a bishop of some city in Egypt, not even Alexandria, who stood up and refuted them, declaring that the marriage bed is chaste. Being president doesn't mean being the boss, it means being a leader among equals who facilitates and gives order, but who is a part of the council, not above it.

Of course, some Patriarchs throughout history have acted like Popes of Rome, bossing around other bishops as if they had authority over them. And some Synods have let them get away with it. So in effect the Patriarch became the boss. But this is dysfunctional behaviour, not the proper order of the Church.
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2012, 03:49:08 PM »

Ok, so this covers the succession and the role of popes. What about the claim of the Pope being Peter's successor based on things like Matt. 16: 18-19? How are we to understand that verse and reply? I know of several scriptures and points used to refute this, but they are from Protestant sources so I don't know how Orthodox that understanding is.

Matt. 16:18-19, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. 19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2012, 04:29:59 PM »

Ok, so this covers the succession and the role of popes. What about the claim of the Pope being Peter's successor based on things like Matt. 16: 18-19? How are we to understand that verse and reply? I know of several scriptures and points used to refute this, but they are from Protestant sources so I don't know how Orthodox that understanding is.

Matt. 16:18-19, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. 19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

This is a very interesting topic, and there are different views on it.

I have seen two approaches in Orthodoxy. One is to show that the Bishops of Rome are not properly called St. Peters successors, and that even if they were, there is no reason that any headship St. Peter had, if he had any, should transfer to them.

The other approach is to admit that St. Peter did have a leadership role, but to show that every bishop is the successor of St. Peter, with his presbyters around him representing the Apostles. The Bishops are not successors of Apostles in the sense that they hold the same office as the Apostles. They are successors in that they carry on the mission of the Apostles, but there are differences in the offices. An Apostles is a roving preacher, who sets up bishops in every city. A bishop is the head of the community in that city, and may not minister outside his diocese, or move. The Apostles established the Churches, but they were not bishops of those cities, they were Apostles who kept moving on and preaching in the next city, leaving a bishop behind.

For this view, I would say see this paper: http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/media/documents/ecclesiology.pdf

Now, I think these two approaches are complementary, and each have something to say on the issue.

For the first approach, there is much that can be said. St. Peter founded Antioch, why isn't the Patriarch of Antioch infallible, just Rome? St. Peter did not even found the Church in Rome, St. Paul did, and then asked St. Peter to come help out with the Jews there, since St. Paul ministered to Gentiles, and St .Peter to Jewish believers.

Finally, for a third approach, why should we proof text from scripture, and infer from st. Peter being given the keys that the Pope or Rome must have certain faculties and authorities. This is quite a leap. It is necessary to consider history, and how the early Church operated rather than to do what the Protestants do, read the Bible, and try to reconstruct what the early Church looked like and how we should worship from the Bible, which is not an instruction manual on how to structure a Church, rather than looking at the writings of the Fathers and the early Church's history and practise.

I'm convinced that anyone who reads the first have of the first volume of the ANF + Eusebius' Church history, honestly and attentively, cannot accept Papal infallibility. The Bishop of Rome gradually trying to impose his will and extend his authority, with the rest of the Church ignoring him and rebuking him, can be seen throughout the early history. When a Pope or Rome excommunicated Asia minoir for not obeying him in his decree on the date for Pascha, Rome was rebuked by the bishop of the backwater Gaul. The power grabs are obvious, but no one ever bought the argument in the early Church.
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2012, 04:41:02 PM »

Ok, so this covers the succession and the role of popes. What about the claim of the Pope being Peter's successor based on things like Matt. 16: 18-19? How are we to understand that verse and reply? I know of several scriptures and points used to refute this, but they are from Protestant sources so I don't know how Orthodox that understanding is.

Matt. 16:18-19, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. 19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

This is a very interesting topic, and there are different views on it.

I have seen two approaches in Orthodoxy. One is to show that the Bishops of Rome are not properly called St. Peters successors, and that even if they were, there is no reason that any headship St. Peter had, if he had any, should transfer to them.

The other approach is to admit that St. Peter did have a leadership role, but to show that every bishop is the successor of St. Peter, with his presbyters around him representing the Apostles. The Bishops are not successors of Apostles in the sense that they hold the same office as the Apostles. They are successors in that they carry on the mission of the Apostles, but there are differences in the offices. An Apostles is a roving preacher, who sets up bishops in every city. A bishop is the head of the community in that city, and may not minister outside his diocese, or move. The Apostles established the Churches, but they were not bishops of those cities, they were Apostles who kept moving on and preaching in the next city, leaving a bishop behind.

For this view, I would say see this paper: http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/media/documents/ecclesiology.pdf

Now, I think these two approaches are complementary, and each have something to say on the issue.

For the first approach, there is much that can be said. St. Peter founded Antioch, why isn't the Patriarch of Antioch infallible, just Rome? St. Peter did not even found the Church in Rome, St. Paul did, and then asked St. Peter to come help out with the Jews there, since St. Paul ministered to Gentiles, and St .Peter to Jewish believers.

Finally, for a third approach, why should we proof text from scripture, and infer from st. Peter being given the keys that the Pope or Rome must have certain faculties and authorities. This is quite a leap. It is necessary to consider history, and how the early Church operated rather than to do what the Protestants do, read the Bible, and try to reconstruct what the early Church looked like and how we should worship from the Bible, which is not an instruction manual on how to structure a Church, rather than looking at the writings of the Fathers and the early Church's history and practise.

I'm convinced that anyone who reads the first have of the first volume of the ANF + Eusebius' Church history, honestly and attentively, cannot accept Papal infallibility. The Bishop of Rome gradually trying to impose his will and extend his authority, with the rest of the Church ignoring him and rebuking him, can be seen throughout the early history. When a Pope or Rome excommunicated Asia minoir for not obeying him in his decree on the date for Pascha, Rome was rebuked by the bishop of the backwater Gaul. The power grabs are obvious, but no one ever bought the argument in the early Church.

As for theological explaination:  Smiley *drool*

Otherwise, what is ANF-other than the stock abbreviation for Abercrombie & Fitch Company?
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2012, 07:22:59 PM »


Otherwise, what is ANF-other than the stock abbreviation for Abercrombie & Fitch Company?

lol, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Collection.

http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html or http://www.amazon.com/The-Early-Church-Fathers-Vols/dp/1565630815/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1345245912&sr=8-14&keywords=ante+nicene+post+nicene+fathers

The English is a little archaic now, the scholarship out of date, the selection of Fathers and writing a little uneven, but still a very accessible (free online) and valuable resource for studying the fathers.
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2012, 07:41:18 PM »

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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2012, 04:41:37 AM »

One of my Catholic friends was asking my why I don't agree with papal infallibility and was saying that even the Orthodox view him as first among equals. 
Just to clarify the EO position: The Pope of Rome was considered first among equals (though not superior to other patriarchs and certainly not infallible) when we were in full communion with him.

Since the schism, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and New Rome is considered first among equals.
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2012, 07:48:37 PM »

Since the schism, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and New Rome is considered first among equals.
And what does this mean in the EO context?
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2012, 07:51:10 PM »

Since the schism, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and New Rome is considered first among equals.
And what does this mean in the EO context?
The Ecumenical Patriarch - it means that the Pope of Rome has no position in the EO Church. He is considered the leader of another Christian community.

first among equals - It is a position of honourable leadership, a coordinative role. It does not have anything to do with infallibility.
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2012, 07:54:39 PM »

What Jonathan said was pretty much right on the money. Sadly, many ignorant Copts think that the Coptic Pope is the supreme head of the universal Church. I actually got into quite an argument with one individual regarding this. It's sad really, how ignorant we are of our own history and ecclesiology.
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2012, 07:58:14 PM »


Truth:
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