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Author Topic: The Legacy of St. Mark of Ephesus  (Read 2369 times) Average Rating: 0
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Pravoslavbob
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« on: January 26, 2005, 06:44:52 PM »

I have been meaning to post this for some time, but the thread regarding St. Cyprian of Cathage has provided me with the impetus to finally do it....

Mark of Ephesus is often portrayed as having been someone who was so uncompromising at the council of Florence, that he said "no" to everything proposed by the Latins, and by this I don't just mean the major points of divergence of faith. Is this something of an unfair caricature? It's true that he was the only bishop, the only one(!) out of all those present to stand up for the Orthodox faith. What relevance does this have for us today? Since Mark supposedly said "no" to everything, do we have to do the same when it comes to (misguided or perhaps even good) ecumenical initiatives? What, if anything, is different about today's situation? (Excepting of course that Constantinople is not in imminent danger of falling to the Turks.)

I'm looking for a wide range of opinions here. I understand that polemicism is something that might be difficult to avoid when discussing St. Mark, but this is not really what I'm thinking of at core....I just think that his witness is important and something that we have to come to terms with as Orthodox believers.

Thank you.

Bob
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2005, 07:15:05 PM »

Bob,
I might have to sit this one out.
St. Mark of Ephesus is one of my biggest heroes.

I am not sure we can fit his actions to today's 'ecumenical initiatives'.
Perhaps you can define what those might be?

Demetri
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St. Sisoes the Great


« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2005, 07:38:22 PM »

Demetri,

Well, I'm just wondering what he would think of us today having dialogue with other Christians etc.  Would he see the situation as being perfectly okay?  Would it depend on which dialogues?  Or would he just say that discussing issues the way we do with other Christians is wrong?  I mean, we live in a pluralistic world today, and somehow, we have to deal with this. Either we reject dialogue with other Christiasn out of hand, or we embrace it completely, or we accept it only under certain conditions.  What would St. Mark have done?  He's a role model for so many of us.....what would he have to say if he were here today?  And we are right to see him as uncompromising......but I think he may have been labelled "inflexible" when really this wasn't true.  He did what had to be done under the circumstances.  Sorry if I am being too vague.  Does my blurb here help at all?  I am looking for precise thoughts on things and also general comments.

Bob
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2005, 07:49:08 PM »

I think we HAVE to dialogue with other Churches/groups.  But we can't compromise what is not compromisable.  Sometimes, we disagree on just what that means and that is one of the factors that leads to problems.

Anastasios
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2005, 08:22:17 PM »

Kind of what Anastasios said and...

One of the biggest problems here in "the west" is that no one simply knows that we exist.  We can be all steadfast in our faith, unwavering, etc. but if no one knows that we're even here to share the Truth, then what good are we doing? 
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2005, 08:25:43 PM »

St. Mark Eugenius of Ephesus along with St. Photios:    My brave heros

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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2005, 12:29:24 AM »

Interesting.....so what would St. Mark have to say to us today? 
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2005, 09:33:03 AM »

There are other ways of making the Orthodox presence in the Diaspora known besides involvment in the ecumenical movement.  Charitable organizations draw a fair amount of attention, so some soup kitchens (or something of that nature) that are Saint _____ Orthodox ______ would cause people to notice Orthodoxy.  At Greek festivals (which are very well attended by the general public) there could be more done in terms of Orthodox missionary work opposed to the normal limiting of the festival to simply secular parts of Greek culture.  Monasticism itself causes Orthodoxy to be noticed in the communities where monasteries are located... so American Orthodox that actually promote monasticism would be good.  And I think completely withdrawing from ecumenical dialouge would be the greatest witness we could send as our very participation in ecumenism (at least from my POV) makes the notion that Orthodoxy is just a quaint Roman Catholicism without a Pope more plausible.  And then there is the reality that Orthodoxy will most likely never be a big player in American Life/culture.

BTW, nice avatar Bob - I use to have an Oscar and other types of cichlids.   
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2005, 10:27:53 AM »

Interesting.....so what would St. Mark have to say to us today?

I don't know exactly what happened in Ephesus (I wasn't there that day Wink) but what kind of evidence is there that St. Mark was unwavering in his decision to not reunite because the conditions of reunion were a compromise of the Faith? Or was he just stubborn and didn't play well with others? We know that reunion ultimately is a good thing, which is why we even have ecumenical dialogues.  We just need to watch it that we don't change something that is unchangeable and slip into someone else's heresy, or create a new heresy.  That's my 2 pesos.

Anastasia
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2005, 06:51:28 PM »

There are other ways of making the Orthodox presence in the Diaspora known besides involvment in the ecumenical movement. Charitable organizations draw a fair amount of attention, so some soup kitchens (or something of that nature) that are Saint _____ Orthodox ______ would cause people to notice Orthodoxy. At Greek festivals (which are very well attended by the general public) there could be more done in terms of Orthodox missionary work opposed to the normal limiting of the festival to simply secular parts of Greek culture. Monasticism itself causes Orthodoxy to be noticed in the communities where monasteries are located... so American Orthodox that actually promote monasticism would be good. And I think completely withdrawing from ecumenical dialouge would be the greatest witness we could send as our very participation in ecumenism (at least from my POV) makes the notion that Orthodoxy is just a quaint Roman Catholicism without a Pope more plausible. And then there is the reality that Orthodoxy will most likely never be a big player in American Life/culture.

BTW, nice avatar Bob - I use to have an Oscar and other types of cichlids.

The soup kitchen thing:  absolutely.  And when it comes to monasticism, I think I am 110% with you.  We SO much need monasticism to be invigorated, especially in North America, for so many reasons.  I think someone should start a thread just on this topic!

I am not sure what I think about the whole ecumenism thing, and where one should draw the line.

You never know about the role that Orthodoxy might play on this side of the Atlantic pond.  I know it's very small potatoes right now, but it does keep growing at quite a pace.

I'm glad you like the oscar!  We'll have to talk fish some time.

Bob
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2005, 07:00:21 PM »

Why thank you, I thank you and my Patron saint thanks you

St. Mark Eugenius of Ephesus along with St. Photios: My brave heros

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St. Sisoes the Great


« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2005, 07:01:24 PM »



I don't know exactly what happened in Ephesus (I wasn't there that day Wink) but what kind of evidence is there that St. Mark was unwavering in his decision to not reunite because the conditions of reunion were a compromise of the Faith? Or was he just stubborn and didn't play well with others? We know that reunion ultimately is a good thing, which is why we even have ecumenical dialogues. We just need to watch it that we don't change something that is unchangeable and slip into someone else's heresy, or create a new heresy. That's my 2 pesos.

Anastasia Kim,

Well, that's just it. Some (a noted Jesuit scholar whose name I don't recall being among them) have insisted that St. Mark "didn't play well with others." I have to think that this is at least somewhat unfair. But to what degree is this so? And to what degree is St. Mark a great role model for us today? The Church has decided that he is a role model. But for which situations? (I know that you have tried to answer these questions here. My questions might be rhetorical to you. I'm just trying to get others to put in their 2 pesos worth.)

James Bob
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2005, 07:06:57 PM »

One of the biggest problems here in "the west" is that no one simply knows that we exist. We can be all steadfast in our faith, unwavering, etc. but if no one knows that we're even here to share the Truth, then what good are we doing?

Point taken.
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2005, 07:56:12 PM »

The Church has decided that he is a role model.  But for which situations?

To not use/compromise the Faith in order to achieve something in this world. To not use our Faith as a bargaining chip.

My understanding is that EP at the time, and most of the Bishops of the Eastern Church, wanted to reach an accomodation with the Pope in order to obtain assistance from him in staving off the downfall of Byzantium to the Islamics.

St. Mark (blessed be his memory) was the only Bishop who said that he would not go along with that.
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2005, 08:45:26 PM »

To bust out some philisophical terms that I probably am going to end up using wrong anyway, I think that even if our Church is small and unknown as Elisha suggests, the Church has an ontological importance since the Church exists and brings sanctification to our members regardless of what others know about it.

But on the other hand, in a practical sense, the Church exists to spread so if we are not spreading we are not "being" the Church in the correct way (how is that for an overused term Wink)

Ecumenism rightly understood--breaking down barriers and explaining Orthodoxy--is fine. But when you read statements by people like Nissiotis (a WCC guy in the 1960's) you wonder, "is this doing us any good?"  It's a debatable question. I personally have come down against most ecumenism as it is practiced today because I believe it conflicts with evangelism.

Anastasios
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2005, 09:02:59 AM »


My understanding is that EP at the time, and most of the Bishops of the Eastern Church, wanted to reach an accomodation with the Pope in order to obtain assistance from him in staving off the downfall of Byzantium to the Islamics.

St. Mark (blessed be his memory) was the only Bishop who said that he would not go along with that.
 
The EP died before the end of the council and purportedly left his decision to accept Rome's terms in a letter which many believe was a forgery. Keep in mind that the bishops were there at Rome's pleasure (Rome was footing the bill) and they did not have the means to return home unless Rome paid for it. They were kept there for years and eventually placed under house arrest and fed meagre rations until they "made the right decision". They were finally allowed to return, after all except for St Mark had signed the agreement, but they made no announcement as to what they had agreed to for some time and when they finally did, the church rejected their decision.

John.
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2005, 10:28:52 AM »

Hi,

I don't think that St. Mark would have a problem with us having discussions with other Christians (he did take part in the Council of Florence after all) but I do think that he'd have a major problem with us compromising our faith in the way some participants in the ecumenical movement have. I'm sure St. Mark would have supported talks that lead to reunification of all Christians within the Church, but the reunification proposed at Florence and the aims of the ecumenical movement seem more like an attempt at unification outside, and thereby the destruction of, the Church.

James
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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2005, 02:27:17 PM »

St. Mark: A voice crying in the wilderness!

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St. Sisoes the Great


« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2005, 11:01:21 PM »


They were kept there for years and eventually placed under house arrest and fed meagre rations until they "made the right decision". They were finally allowed to return, after all except for St Mark had signed the agreement.....


This may be one POV, but I believe that there are others that say that the Greeks were fed well and were not restricted at all in their movements.

Bob
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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2005, 11:06:39 PM »

To bust out some philisophical terms that I probably am going to end up using wrong anyway, I think that even if our Church is small and unknown as Elisha suggests, the Church has an ontological importance since the Church exists and brings sanctification to our members regardless of what others know about it.

But on the other hand, in a practical sense, the Church exists to spread so if we are not spreading we are not "being" the Church in the correct way (how is that for an overused term Wink

Both very good points.  Your first point makes me think of what St. Seraphim of Sarov said: "Save your own soul and the souls of thousands around you will also be saved."  I'm probably not quoting him correctly or verbatim, but this is how I remember it.   

Bob
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« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2005, 03:53:17 AM »


This may be one POV, but I believe that there are others that say that the Greeks were fed well and were not restricted at all in their movements.


(sigh) it is not a point of view.
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2005, 04:10:51 AM »

(sigh) it is not a point of view.

It is a point of view. It may be the right point of view, and all the others may be wrong, but it is a point of view, nonetheless. I posted in good faith, in the interest of trying to understand the background of what happened. Your condescending reaction is quite unwarranted. If you think the Church supports what you wrote, then share this with me, instead of dismissing me out of hand.
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