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Author Topic: Apostolic Succession  (Read 1872 times) Average Rating: 0
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #45 on: July 24, 2013, 07:25:59 PM »

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In some cases documents were lost, damaged or destroyed. However, in any case, there were witnesses to such ordinations and it is included in our Tradition.

Which we must accept on faith...
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« Reply #46 on: July 24, 2013, 07:37:22 PM »

^Not just on faith...that knowledge is passed on from our ancestors...

Another thing I forgot to mention is in places where the "enemy" tried to break that tradition as in the case of SOC during the rule of the Ottoman Empire, bishops from another autocephalous Orthodox patriarchate would help with ordination. Such example is Njegos (whom I mentioned here on few occassions). He was ordained by the Russians in St. Petersburg in 1833 and Russian Emperor was present during his ordination if I remember correctly...
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« Reply #47 on: July 24, 2013, 07:40:11 PM »

The Antiochian lists have holes and inconsistencies from the very beginning. So how is it not faith that is required to accept AS?
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« Reply #48 on: July 24, 2013, 07:43:45 PM »

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And a follow-up: since it's been asserted by others and myself in this thread that the Orthodox teaching on apostolic succession involves more than just the continuity of the physical laying on of hands at ordination, what are you referring to when you use "apostolic succession"--the comprehensive Orthodox understanding of that concept or simply one aspect of it?

If one aspect of the doctrine is not valid historically then doesn't the whole house of cards come tumbling down?

But you haven't demonstrated that this aspect of apostolic succession is historically invalid: you haven't done the research and neither have I (because I trust the Church's corporate memory...a Church which believes in these things so much will not mess up their transmission so carelessly).    

Based on my limited knowledge of history, the most I said was that it's quite possible we've lost consecration records along the way, and so you might not be able to trace all lines back before a certain point.  That doesn't "invalidate history", it just makes the documentation an issue.  For example, 1,500 years of documents regarding the history of the Church in India went up in the flames of the Portuguese colonists.  Does that mean that a whole chunk of human and ecclesiastical history was erased?  No.  It just means that the documentation was destroyed.  

If you want to try and discredit the physical continuity of apostolic succession, I think you should go for it.  But you've got your work cut out for you, because this is how it works.  Take the OCA's Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey.  He was consecrated bishop by at least nine other bishops: http://oca.org/news/archived/the-consecration-of-bishop-michael-of-new-york-and-new-jersey-an-outpouring.  In order to verify Bp Michael's lineage, you now have to verify the lineages of these nine bishops.  Let's assume each of them was only ordained by three bishops: now you have twenty-seven more lineages to verify.  Keep going like that.  And when you get to a speed bump, don't think you've accomplished your task: Bp Michael is just one bishop.  How many EO bishops are there on earth right now?

It's all very easy to assert errors.  It takes a great deal more effort to unpack the truth.  Don't mistake that for "It can't be done" or "See, I was right".  

Quote
And yes it is arrogant to belittle other Christian churches by appealing to AS when we can't even be sure if our lists are even accurate.

No one is belittling other Christian churches by appealing merely to the physical continuity of apostolic succession.  Again, if that's what you think this, you're not understanding it the way the Orthodox do.  That's your prerogative, but you haven't demonstrated that you are right.  
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« Reply #49 on: July 24, 2013, 07:49:25 PM »

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It's all very easy to assert errors.  It takes a great deal more effort to unpack the truth.  Don't mistake that for "It can't be done" or "See, I was right".

So you admit there are errors in our lists concerning AS?
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« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2013, 08:00:27 PM »

Another thing I should point out is that there weren't necesarily Orthodox Bishops residing in certain places at all times but does not question apostolicsuccessoon. For example. If let's say (I am just randomly picking a year) from 421AD until 472Ad there wasn't a bishop in the Antioch, there were Orthodx Bishops at that exact time (or better said during those "gap years") just in a different city-diocese. There wasn't a momen that there weren't Orthodox Bishops who kept on the Apostolic succession...and in historic places like Antioch new bishops were ordained by existing bishops when circumstances allowed it. As Michal mentioned, there is a need for 3 bishops in order for a new one to be ordained and in that time transportation was not easy especially when your country was ruled by nonChristians...
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« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2013, 08:15:08 PM »

Am in total agreement with what you are saying. It still requires faith in what the Church claims regarding AS.
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« Reply #52 on: July 24, 2013, 08:33:07 PM »

Am in total agreement with what you are saying. It still requires faith in what the Church claims regarding AS.
In that vein, I suppose it also requires faith that George Washington existed and that the writers in the 18th century didn't just made up an idealized figure to represent the founding of a new country.  Roll Eyes 

History is not science.  It isn't reproducible and testable. Could it be possible that there was an extra patriarch in there somewhere that has been lost to time?  I suppose, but that doesn't defeat apostolic succession.
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« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2013, 09:18:36 PM »

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It's all very easy to assert errors.  It takes a great deal more effort to unpack the truth.  Don't mistake that for "It can't be done" or "See, I was right".

So you admit there are errors in our lists concerning AS?

That wasn't my point at all.  Mine was a more general point: "It is easier to destroy than to (re)build" might be another way of saying it.  It's easy for you to just assert the possibility that apostolic succession is historically invalid.  In order for me to prove you're wrong, it's going to take a lot more than my telling you "You're wrong".  That doesn't mean it can't be done, but it requires a lot more effort than to dismiss it outright. 

And no, I don't admit that "there are errors in our lists concerning AS". 

First of all, for what you're interested in, I doubt very much that any Orthodox Church anywhere (or the RC's for that matter) keeps definitive lists just of the episcopal ancestry of their bishops.  There are records, which can probably be traced a good way back, but it would look something like this: Bishop Michael was ordained by bishops in America.  Most of those bishops, but not all, were ordained by bishops in America, so all the "paperwork" is here.  But eventually you're going to run into a bishop(s) who were ordained overseas (in this example, the Antiochian Bp Thomas is already one of those).  Now you will likely have to go to Russia, Damascus, and maybe a couple of other places for records.  And when you get to those records, where will you have to go next to find the next batch of records?  Jerusalem?  Romania?  Cyprus?  There's no database for these things.

Secondly, what happens when you run into a gap?  You want to play it off as an "error", but it need not be so.  For example, you most likely have a birth certificate.  If I want to trace your lineage back by referring to your parents' birth certificates, and their parents' certificates, and so on, eventually I will not be able to find a document that says a certain ancestor of yours existed.  Does that mean you're not here?

If you're looking for documentation that does not skip even one "generation" of bishop in a lineage, I freely admit you will most likely encounter gaps in the record or some other similar inconsistency at some point.  But a) that's all it is, and b) it doesn't invalidate apostolic succession the way you want it to because the succession doesn't work the way you imagine it works.   
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« Reply #54 on: July 24, 2013, 09:22:52 PM »

As in the Roman Catholic Church, all churches that have Apostolic Succession, will have gaps when no patriarch is present or as the catholic says the "seat is vacant" while bishops are notified of the death and an election is called for the synod of bishops which will elect new patriarch. In the mean time the church locally and partriarchally is governed by the bishops (who each hold apostolic succession).  There is no loss of Apostolic succession  but may be breaks in the lineage of patriarchs from year to year due to political, distance, and war issues that delay election.
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« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2013, 05:36:30 AM »

How many EO bishops are there on earth right now?


800?

gl hf
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« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2013, 10:07:47 AM »



gl hf

wthdtm?
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« Reply #57 on: July 25, 2013, 10:08:46 AM »

good luck, have fun.  Wink
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« Reply #58 on: July 25, 2013, 10:16:07 AM »

Haha!  PoorFoolNicholas has his work cut out for him.  Wink
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« Reply #59 on: July 25, 2013, 11:04:20 AM »

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If you're looking for documentation that does not skip even one "generation" of bishop in a lineage, I freely admit you will most likely encounter gaps in the record or some other similar inconsistency at some point.

There are literal kings in my ancestry. Can it be proven through our family tree records? Nope. So do i talk about it and gloat that my family is descended from kings? No it can't be proven. Yes there is more to the EO AS than just a list. But since none of us has the wherewithal to study or even be able to prove the lineage aspect, it must be accepted on faith that the Church is telling the truth.

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« Reply #60 on: July 25, 2013, 11:05:11 AM »

^How is this a problem for you folks?
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« Reply #61 on: July 25, 2013, 11:10:38 AM »

Excuse me as I go out and gloat.

MUWHAHAHAHA!!!! We have apostolic succession, all you schismatics bow down, nash your teeth and weep for your desolation is at hand!
.........
.....
...
.
Hmmm, I quite see your point.  Perhaps we should not do that.  It was not nearly as fulfilling as I had originally suspected.
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« Reply #62 on: July 25, 2013, 11:17:54 AM »

I hadn't really thought of it in terms of being able to gloat about having apostolic succession. More like a scenerio like this

person A: Our tradition has always taught xyz.
person B: How do you know that tradition was always taught?
person A: Apostolic succession ensures that our traditions were faithfully preserved
person B: How do you know apostolic succession was preserved?
person A: ...
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« Reply #63 on: July 25, 2013, 11:26:08 AM »

There are literal kings in my ancestry. Can it be proven through our family tree records? Nope.

So how do you know about it?  

Quote
So do i talk about it and gloat that my family is descended from kings? No it can't be proven.

But you just did.  There was no reason to say "literal kings", as if there was a danger I'd think you were descended from chess pieces, unless you were driving it home for me that you have royal blood flowing through your veins.  I get it: you're better than I.  

Quote
Yes there is more to the EO AS than just a list. But since none of us has the wherewithal to study or even be able to prove the lineage aspect, it must be accepted on faith that the Church is telling the truth.

I can't help but hear an ax grinding.  What is it?

If you're going to be that forensic about the physical continuity of apostolic succession, sure, take it on faith.  But, even if there's more to succession than this aspect, it's not like this aspect has been successfully called into question.  I've only proposed the possibility that the records might have gaps (I haven't proven it), and based on that (unproven claim) you think our claim is invalid.  

There's nothing in Orthodoxy requiring accurate record keeping, and yet it was done precisely because they took these things seriously.  But record-keeping is not the only way we prove we take something seriously.  There are a lot of things that aren't written down, but are done "in only this way and not in any other".  For instance, in another thread, I discussed how we prepare the Eucharistic bread in our tradition: we only use a portion of the leavened dough from last time, we don't add new yeast.  When I once suggested adding yeast to the dough (it looked like the yeast wasn't active enough, so perhaps the bread wouldn't rise), you should've heard the crazy argument that ensued about how I was suggesting a desecration of the leaven that went back to the apostles.  A Church whose people take yeast that seriously aren't going to mess up apostolic succession.  These things have meaning for them, there are vital points of continuity with the past and with the future in the here and now, points of continuity that assure the genuineness of what we do and what we believe.  It's not simply about boasting about how great we are and how ugly everyone else is.  If you can only see the Church's claims in a triumphalistic way, you're not alone, but I feel sorry for all such people.    

Edited for grammar.
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« Reply #64 on: July 25, 2013, 11:42:33 AM »

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A Church whose people take yeast that seriously aren't going to mess up apostolic succession.

Yes that would seem likely. However, it still doesn't explain away the gaps. What about this:

Quote
Furthermore, it should also be noted that Origen (early third century) and others do not list Euodius as coming after Peter, as they list the later Ignatius:

Origen calls Ignatius "the second bishop of Antioch after the blessed Peter". Chrysostom and Theodoret also fail to include Euodius. The chronological impossibility of this arrangement is obvious (Bauer W. Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity, 2nd ed. Edited by R. Krafy and G. Krodel. Sigler Press, Mifflintown (PA), 1996, p. 116).

http://www.cogwriter.com/apostolicsuccession.htm

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« Reply #65 on: July 25, 2013, 11:51:45 AM »

Quote
A Church whose people take yeast that seriously aren't going to mess up apostolic succession.

Yes that would seem likely. However, it still doesn't explain away the gaps. What about this:

Quote
Furthermore, it should also be noted that Origen (early third century) and others do not list Euodius as coming after Peter, as they list the later Ignatius:

Origen calls Ignatius "the second bishop of Antioch after the blessed Peter". Chrysostom and Theodoret also fail to include Euodius. The chronological impossibility of this arrangement is obvious (Bauer W. Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity, 2nd ed. Edited by R. Krafy and G. Krodel. Sigler Press, Mifflintown (PA), 1996, p. 116).

http://www.cogwriter.com/apostolicsuccession.htm



But how does that question the veracity of apostolic succession? Just because there may be a chronological issue doesn't mean that suddenly succession in general is in question, just the lineup is.  To use the sports analogy, we don't question if the Pittsburgh Steelers are truly the Pittsburgh Steelers just because the coach may forget to name one of the guys on the roster.
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« Reply #66 on: July 25, 2013, 12:02:18 PM »

This will, of course, be called into question, but if there is a mistake in the Antiochian lists, my money is on the high probability that there are more mistakes and errors in the other Orthodox Churches as well.

Now does this bother me as an Orthodox Christian? No. It is another dogmatic statement proclaimed by the Church that must be accepted on faith.
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« Reply #67 on: July 25, 2013, 12:06:20 PM »

To repeat, a mixup in the line up does not call into question apostolic succession.  It's veracity can only be question if there is evidence that the line stopped and then someone unrelated to the line restarted it. For example, if some guy decided to call himself the Patriarch of Carthage, that would be a questionable apostolic line because there would be no relation between him and the last archbishop of Carthage.  There is no evidence that any such thing has ever occurred in the lineages of our current bishops.
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« Reply #68 on: July 25, 2013, 12:10:52 PM »

Apostolic succession consists ie. of a line of ordinations, not a line of people being enthroned here or there.
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« Reply #69 on: July 25, 2013, 12:11:10 PM »

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There is no evidence that any such thing has ever occurred in the lineages of our current bishops.

There is no possible way for any of us to know this. Which is why we take what the Church says on faith...
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« Reply #70 on: July 25, 2013, 12:12:22 PM »

Apostolic succession consists ie. of a line of ordinations, not a line of people being enthroned here or there.

Yes which is why the Antiochian claims are a bit problematic. Because some claim that one that was ordained never existed at all. How isn't this a problem?
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« Reply #71 on: July 25, 2013, 01:10:59 PM »

Yes that would seem likely. However, it still doesn't explain away the gaps. What about this:

Quote
Furthermore, it should also be noted that Origen (early third century) and others do not list Euodius as coming after Peter, as they list the later Ignatius:

Origen calls Ignatius "the second bishop of Antioch after the blessed Peter". Chrysostom and Theodoret also fail to include Euodius. The chronological impossibility of this arrangement is obvious (Bauer W. Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity, 2nd ed. Edited by R. Krafy and G. Krodel. Sigler Press, Mifflintown (PA), 1996, p. 116).

http://www.cogwriter.com/apostolicsuccession.htm



You're confusing "apostolic succession" with "chronology in a particular see".  The OCA Bishop Michael is Bishop of New York and New Jersey.  Obviously, that see does not go back to apostolic times.  That does not mean that Bp Michael "lacks apostolic succession" or that there are "gaps" in his lineage.  

So, if some lists of the patriarchate of Antioch's succession state that the order from the top is Peter, Evodios, and Ignatius, but other lists say Peter and then Ignatius, without reference to Evodios, IT DOES NOT FOLLOW that Evodios lacked apostolic succession.  He would've been ordained by the apostles or by bishops ordained by them in order to be a bishop in the first place, so he would've had apostolic succession.  The only thing that's being called into question is whether that particular person was bishop of Antioch.

Anyway, I don't have any original texts to verify, but your source quotes Origen as referring to Ignatius as "the second bishop of Antioch after the blessed Peter" and takes it to mean that he, with Chrysostom and Theodoret, omitted Evodios.  If Ignatius was "the second bishop of Antioch after the blessed Peter", then who was "the first bishop of Antioch after the blessed Peter"?  Your source wants it to mean that Origen thought the order was Peter and then Ignatius, but that quote could also mean Peter and then X and then Ignatius.      

Did you read this article in full, or did you just pick a quote from it that you thought suited your purposes?  It's quite long, but already I see a number of errors other than the possible one you quoted.      

Edited: tags
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« Reply #72 on: July 25, 2013, 01:17:44 PM »

Quote
There is no evidence that any such thing has ever occurred in the lineages of our current bishops.

There is no possible way for any of us to know this. Which is why we take what the Church says on faith...
Yes, it is actually quite easy for us to know this.  If there is no evidence, there is no evidence.  If there is evidence, there is evidence. If you have some semblance of evidence that demonstrates the line was severed and restarted, then it can be examined for its validity.  To be a sceptic for no apparent reason is just foolish.  We don't accept that Christ existed just on faith.  There is actual evidence that he existed.  To get further details on Him, we must look to the Church, but if we were to say, "well there is no evidence that Christ existed, but I will accept that He did based on what the Church tells me" is patently wrong.  So it is with apostolic succession.

Among other things, it is because of apostolic succession that we can have faith in the Church, not the other way around.
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« Reply #73 on: July 25, 2013, 01:23:20 PM »

To be a sceptic for no apparent reason is just foolish. 

There is always a reason.  More often than not, though, it is self-serving and has little interest in or use for the supposedly elusive "truth". 
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« Reply #74 on: July 25, 2013, 01:46:41 PM »

Cognitive dissonance...
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« Reply #75 on: July 25, 2013, 03:22:12 PM »

Somewhere here I made an analogy between apostolic succession and the two houses of the US Congress. (I had more in a draft, but it seems with the latest edition of this site, the draft option was done away with, along with the drafts).  After each election, the House and Senate scrutinize the credentials of each new/re-elected member as to be a member.  Some might remember that Obama's replacement in the Senate was questioned, and for a while they would not swear him in.  In the House, when an old Congress adjorns, the members vest all their legislative authority as representatives in the Clerk of the House, who, with the new Congress, scrutinizes the credentials of the new members and swears them in, thereby vesting the legislative authority of the House of Representatives in the new members.

In the case of the episcopate, as St. Cyprian noted "the episcopate is one, each one holding the whole for the many."  The scrutiny is done by the two/three or more bishops in the surrounding dioceses, with the approval of the primate over all of them, consecrating the new bishop to succeed to the see, and primate remaining in the Orthodox diptychs of the Catholic Church.  It does not depend on a bishop consecrating the successor to his see.  In fact, his doing so is forbidden by canon and held null and void.

One could try to document the succession of the US Representatives and Senators, but there might be gaps (for instance for the period 1812-1812, burnt in British-Canadian invasion).  There are irregularities (the State of West Virginia and its representatives were first seated as for the "true" State government of Virginia at the outbreak of the War Between the States, and was not settled and regularized until after the War ended), but it is amply documented that the Houses have taken their job  seriously-indeed, the only real time there is a record to see is when an abnormality occurs and the record comes into being because they correct it.

There is  very few if any institutions surviving from Antiquity as well documented as the Orthodox episcopate of the Catholic Church.

We do not have to go back to hoary past to deal with a "gap": in 1700 Patriarch Adrian of Moscow and All the Russias fell asleep, and Abp. Stefan Yavorsky of Ryazan took over as locum tenens, the usual procedure of long, long standing.  Abp. Stefan had Apostolic Succession.  When the patriarchate itself was replaced by the Holy Governing Synod regime of Bp. Theophan of Pskov in 1721, Abp. Stefan presided over as president until his own departure, when he was replaced by Bp. Theophan.  The four remaining Patriarchates of the Pentarchy sent its approval of the Holy Governing Synod at the same time, and the former suffragans, the archbishop of Kolumna, the bishop of Vyatskiy and then the bishop of Tver served the old Patriarchal diocese of Moscow, until 1742, when the Metropolitanate of Moscow again received its own Metropolitan of Moscow with a permanent seat on the Holy Governing Synod, until Metropolitan Tikhon of Moscow was elected as Patriarch of Moscow to replace the Holy Governing Synod in 1917.  At his martyrdom, his vicar bishop of Kolumna took over as locum tenens, succeeded by the Metropolitan of Moscow as locum tenens in 1936, who became Patriarch of Moscow and All the Russias in 1943, and there has been regular succession since.

So one can call the years 1700-1917 a "gap," but as far as Apostolic Succession is concerned, they are all accounted for.
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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