Two subsequent events, one external, the other internal, reduced the patriarch of Constantinople’s status to nearly that of a figurehead.
Unfortunately, the corrupt politics of 19th and 20th century Patriarchs in Constantinople have revived it's power. That man Bartholomew is no exception to this power/prestige seeking. (now I didn't make claims about him being a free mason or any such thing! I only admit what I think is true, he has wordly ambitions that interfere with his ecclesiastical duties).
It's interesting that the author focuses on Constantinople in the article, though this is a typical--if perhaps subconciously executed--tactic of Latin Catholics. They ignore the fact that ALL the east turned from the Pope of Old Rome, not just Constantinople. It's much easier to make Rome look like the stout defender of the faith and Constantinople the poor, failing Patriarchate. I very rarely see, for instance, discussion by Latin Catholics about the relationship between Rome and North Africa. This is understandable as the North Africans have a number of times severed communion with the Pope, even issued an excommunication, and have had numerous theologians who attacked the Pope's theological position. Nah... they'll just stick with discussion of the see they think they can best paint in a bad light, rather than expressing the depth of the truth.
Another blow that weakened the patriarch’s authority came from Russia. Ivan the Great assumed the title of "Czar" (Russian for "Caesar"). Moscow was then called the "third Rome," and the Czar tried to assume the role of protector for Eastern Christianity.
And thank God for Russia!
With the collapse of the patriarchal system, the Eastern church lost its center and fragmented along national lines.
Which is misleading. There had ALWAYS been local Churches (the Church at Rome, the Church at Constantinople, the Church at Caesarea, etc.). Nothing about the SUBSTANCE of the Church changed, the only thing that changed was the outward manifestation of the hierarchy, which effected Church administration, and did not (if it was done properly) interfere with the Faith.
Russia claimed independence from the patriarch of Constantinople in 1589, the first nation to do this. Other ethnic and regional splintering quickly followed, and today there are eleven independent Orthodox churches. The Russian Orthodox church dominates contemporary Eastern Orthodoxy, representing seven-eighths of the total number of Orthodox Christians.
I'm not sure where he gets either number, both 11 and 7/8ths seem wrong to me.
Many today, both Orthodox and Catholics, believe this controversy [filioque] was a tempest in a teapot... Today there is every hope that the equivalence of the two formulas can be formally recognized by all parties and that the filioque controversy can be resolved.
Sure there is every hope. Their were similar hopes throughout the last 1,200 years. Yet, somehow I doubt the leaders of Today (on both sides) are the ones to resolve the problem.
The Eastern Orthodox communion bases its teachings on Scripture and "the seven ecumenical councils"
Huh? The Orthodox teach what the apostles taught (while actual members of the Church might, the Church herself--which is the theanthropic body of Christ--don't "base
our teachings" on something) Scripture, the Councils, and traditions are manifestations and wonderful springs of knowledge that emenate from this source of apostolic truth, but they are not infallible in themselves. Put another way, Ecumenical Councils, for instance, are only infallible if and when they express (not determine!) the apostolic witness. Traditions, to, are only correct insofar as they express the apostolic witness: tradition is not a seperate source of authority in Orthodoxy, but is rather a viewable manifestation of the original and only source of authority in Orthodoxy, the teachings of Jesus Christ which were taught by the Apostles and the Apostolic Church. What's more, the Orthodox accept as doctrinally binding numerous decisions after 787. The author of this article quotes from Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Church" serveral times, so he must be aware of this fact, for Bishop Kallistos goes over some of the more important documents since 787 in Orthodoxy which have doctrinal signficance.
Some Orthodox--particularly Constantinple--have also tried having another Ecumenical Council, but thus far without success. There have been multiple pre-council meetings to discuss what issues were important at the time, but the Ecumenical Council--thank God!--never materialized. (I thank God because Constantinople had everything weighed so that it had the largest representation, and it's opposition had no representation. Fr. Justin Popovich discusses this in a text he was asked to write, which is available on the internet)
One of the reasons the Eastern Orthodox do not claim to have had any ecumenical councils since II Nicaea is that they have been unable to agree on which councils are ecumenical. In Orthodox circles, the test for whether a council is ecumenical is whether it is "accepted by the church" as such. But that test is unworkable: Any disputants who are unhappy with a council’s result can point to their own disagreement with it as evidence that the church has not accepted it as ecumenical, and it therefore has no authority.
Lol! This is EXACTLY what Rome did with a number of the councils, sometimes not accepting them for CENTURIES!
Since the Eastern schism began, the Orthodox have generally claimed that the pope has only a primacy of honor among the bishops of the world, not a primacy of authority.
Um, that was an early ecumenical council that first said that (at least textually), it wasn't started at the time of the "schism".
But the concept of a primacy of honor without a corresponding authority cannot be derived from the Bible.
That's right. Our authority is Jesus Christ, who is the head of His church, the divine-human body of Christ.
At every juncture where Jesus speaks of Peter’s relation to the other apostles, he emphasizes Peter’s special mission to them and not simply his place of honor among them.
Again, a matter of perspective. I look at Peter in the NT and see a zealous man, sometimes without knowledge. A man that Jesus knew could lead the Church, even in the face of terrible suffering. I see nothing akin to a papal-like power, however.
In Matthew 16:19, Jesus gives Peter "the keys to the kingdom" and the power to bind and loose. While the latter is later given to the other apostles (Matt. 18:18), the former is not.
The church has the keys, not Peter. (Peter's FAITH is the rock, and the Church which holds to that faith has the power to bind and loose, has the keys, etc.). Jesus is seen in revelation as holding the keys: this is exactly what Orthodoxy teaches, that Jesus is the head of the Church, and so both he and the Church can simultaneously be holding the keys, simultaneously binding and loosing, etc. This is a far cry from the Latin Catholic representative on earth, vicar of Christ, theology. Ignatius is surely lamenting the way some of his words are being misused.
In John 21:15-17, with only the other disciples present (cf. John 21:2), Jesus asks Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"—in other words, is Peter more devoted to him than the other disciples?
I don't have time to deal with every Catholics proof text. Suffice to say, the Orthodox disagree with the Catholic position, and there's enough literature out there on the Orthodox position to keep you reading for years.
While Catholics and Eastern Orthodox are separate for the moment, what unites us is still far greater than what divides us,
Can darkness be yoked with light? Can humanism be combined with christocentrism? We have EXTERNAL similarities, nothing more. Someone asked on another thread whether it would be better to marry a Catholic (than, say, a Baptist). The answer is that it doesn't matter a whole lot. Truth be told, if you aren't going to marry Orthodox, you'd be better off marrying someone who is "spiritual" but hasn't fixed her soul on one spiritual path. The Fathers speak of the soul as being something that can be "imprinted" or "written on," and that once it is written on, it is hard to change the writing if it is wrong. It is much easier, the Fathers teach, to write correct belief and correct practice onto a soul that does not have that much wrong already inscribed.
and there are abundant reasons for optimism regarding reconciliation in the future.
I wish we could reunite, and I am willing to repent for Orthodoxy's errors (and we've had many). I'm just waiting for the Catholics to repent and cast off their theological innovations.
and in 1995, Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople concelebrated the Eucharist together.
The truthfulness of the statement is irrelevant. The fact that Orthodox altars are used for the heterodox "eucharist" (both Anglican and Catholic) is itself offensive.