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Author Topic: So how do you know if a council is ecumenical?  (Read 2230 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 04, 2013, 05:03:18 PM »

This is the thing that has always troubled me about Orthodoxy. Certainly one doesn't need a council for the vast majority of what church tradition teaches, but when one is called for, how does an Orthodox Christian know that the council has authority?

The closest thing to an answer I've ever heard from an Orthodox Christian (this is not a generalisation; I genuinely looked for an answer wherever I could) was one of two things:
1. Placed the responsibility on the individual Orthodox Christian to study Holy Tradition, including Scripture, to determine it. This is generally where references to "the Holy Spirit guiding the Church" come in (often with the silly statement that the Pope of Rome is seen as a substitute for the Holy Spirit). Frankly, this sounds like the Protestant "personal interpretation" heresy, but without sola scriptura, and arguments in its favour generally fall victim to the same problem: Tradition and Scripture are cited to justify a whole bunch of contradictory things.
2. Stated that councils are ecumenical when they are accepted by the whole church. Since lots of people didn't accept each of the councils, this essentially turns into a circular argument along the lines of "Our beliefs are true because Ecumenical Councils X through Z defined them, and Councils X through Z are ecumenical because they are recognised as such by people of true beliefs, which are true because Ecumenical Councils..."
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 05:11:20 PM »

There is no clearcut answer, it just happens.

This is one thing that irks me about Western converts (including myself). They are ALWAYS looking for some clearcut, exact, uniform, fail-safe final authority or source that can solve all of their problems if worse comes to worse. Protestants use the Bible for this, Roman Catholics the Pope.

But that's not how it works in Orthodoxy. We don't have a concept of infallibility/final authority. We believe that the truth can be revealed to us in a plethora of ways, and while things may be confusing and conradictory at times, in the end, the truth will always SOMEHOW end up prevailing in the end because Christ promised that the gates of Hades would never prevail.
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2013, 05:17:11 PM »

There is no clearcut answer, it just happens.

This is one thing that irks me about Western converts (including myself). They are ALWAYS looking for some clearcut, exact, uniform, fail-safe final authority or source that can solve all of their problems if worse comes to worse. Protestants use the Bible for this, Roman Catholics the Pope.

But that's not how it works in Orthodoxy. We don't have a concept of infallibility/final authority. We believe that the truth can be revealed to us in a plethora of ways, and while things may be confusing and conradictory at times, in the end, the truth will always SOMEHOW end up prevailing in the end because Christ promised that the gates of Hades would never prevail.

That is an excellent answer.....
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 05:20:13 PM »

Ecumenical councils, as opposed to local synods, are first declared ecumenical at the time. Then they are entered into imperial law. Beyond the empire, like in Britain or Persia, the local bishops met, sometimes well after the fact, and confirmed or rejected the council.

Where is the mystery?
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 05:23:41 PM »

Ecumenical councils, as opposed to local synods, are first declared ecumenical at the time. Then they are entered into imperial law. Beyond the empire, like in Britain or Persia, the local bishops met, sometimes well after the fact, and confirmed or rejected the council.

Where did you get this idea? Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 05:26:52 PM »

This is the thing that has always troubled me about Orthodoxy. Certainly one doesn't need a council for the vast majority of what church tradition teaches, but when one is called for, how does an Orthodox Christian know that the council has authority?

The closest thing to an answer I've ever heard from an Orthodox Christian (this is not a generalisation; I genuinely looked for an answer wherever I could) was one of two things:
1. Placed the responsibility on the individual Orthodox Christian to study Holy Tradition, including Scripture, to determine it. This is generally where references to "the Holy Spirit guiding the Church" come in (often with the silly statement that the Pope of Rome is seen as a substitute for the Holy Spirit). Frankly, this sounds like the Protestant "personal interpretation" heresy, but without sola scriptura, and arguments in its favour generally fall victim to the same problem: Tradition and Scripture are cited to justify a whole bunch of contradictory things.
2. Stated that councils are ecumenical when they are accepted by the whole church. Since lots of people didn't accept each of the councils, this essentially turns into a circular argument along the lines of "Our beliefs are true because Ecumenical Councils X through Z defined them, and Councils X through Z are ecumenical because they are recognised as such by people of true beliefs, which are true because Ecumenical Councils..."

This is the thing that has always troubled me about Vaticanism. Certainly one doesn't need a Pope for the vast majority of what church tradition teaches, but when there are many claimant and equally valid Popes, how does a Vaticanist Christian know wich Pope has authority?



And i will repost what i said some time ago:

1st:

The Council that elected Martin V was not called by the Pope and was invalid, without authority to depose or elect any pope.

The Council said:

"Next, that our most holy lord pope John XXIII"

So this Council thought him to be the Pope, i think they know better than you or me.

This council was summoned by John XXIII, the Pisan pope [1 ] , with the support of Emperor Sigismund....
 John XXIII and Benedict XIII were deposed by the council, Gregory XII voluntarily resigned. Then Martin V was elected pope on 11 November 1417 and he was regarded as the legitimate pontiff by the church as a whole.

http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum16.htm

So we have a council called by Pope john XXIII, a council that recognised John XXIII as the true Pope, and this same council deposed the true Pope. Fair enough.

But Vatican I says:

"Since the Roman pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole church, we likewise teach and declare that... nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon...they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman pontiff.
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum20.htm#Chapter%203.%20On%20the%20power%20and%20character%20of%20the%20primacy%20of%20the%20Roman%20pontiff


2nd:

The Patriarch and Emperor wrote conciliatory letters to Leo reminding him that Canon 28 "merely sanctioned a custom of 60-70 years in the dioceses of Pontus, Asia and Thrace".

I guess St Leo didn't have much authority with his veto.

Just like what the Emperor said in the times of the 5th oecumenical council: "If you have condemned the three chapters I have no need of this new document for I have from you many others of the same content. If however you have in this new document departed from your earlier declarations, you have condemned yourself". (~Mansi IX 349).

And about your earlier question on how do we know that the Pope has an orthodox faith or not, adding to what ialmisry already said:

"That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason: because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters...

     Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense "Catholic," which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

    What then will a Catholic Christian do, if a small portion of the Church have cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt member? What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty.

    But what, if in antiquity itself there be found error on the part of two or three men, or at any rate of a city or even of a province? Then it will be his care by all means, to prefer the decrees, if such there be, of an ancient General Council to the rashness and ignorance of a few. But what, if some error should spring up on which no such decree is found to bear? Then he must collate and consult and interrogate the opinions of the ancients, of those, namely, who, though living in divers times and places, yet continuing in the communion and faith of the one Catholic Church, stand forth acknowledged and approved authorities: and whatsoever he shall ascertain to have been held, written, taught, not by one or two of these only, but by all, equally, with one consent, openly, frequently, persistently, that he must understand that he himself also is to believe without any doubt or hesitation.
"

~St Vincent The Commonitory: For Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith Against the Profane Novelties of All Heresies, Ch. II-III
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf211.iii.iii.html

It is notewhorthy that St Vincent, in actual south of France, in Rome's jurisdiction, never mentions the Bishop of Rome. If he didn't need it, we don't need it either.

Now, you can argue with this saint, but History proves that the Bishop of Rome was not the criteria for Truth: St Meletius and 2nd Oecumenical Council, Vigilius case prior and during the 5th Oecumenical Council, Honorius case, The flip flop of Rome Popes about the 8th oecumenical Council.

So if this oecumenical council dissertations trouble you, this papist things should disturb you even more.
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 05:34:11 PM »

This is generally where references to "the Holy Spirit guiding the Church" come in...Frankly, this sounds like the Protestant "personal interpretation" heresy,

The first Church council in the Book of Acts began its resolution, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us." And so do the ecumenical councils. It is not "personal interpretation," unless you want to consider the same of a statement on faith or morals from the pope of Rome. It is the interpretation of bishops, successors to the Apostles. (Really, the infallibility of the pope and the infallibility of the councils rest on the same ground, apostolic authority. And the opposition to both is also on the same ground--the argument between Sts. Peter and Paul, in which St. Peter was wrong, and Paul was right--as confirmed by the Synod of Jerusalem in Acts.)

Tradition and Scripture are cited to justify a whole bunch of contradictory things.
I think you need to do more research. I suggest first trying to excise prejudices.

councils are ecumenical when they are accepted by the whole church. Since lots of people didn't accept each of the councils, this essentially turns into a circular argument along the lines of "Our beliefs are true because Ecumenical Councils X through Z defined them, and Councils X through Z are ecumenical because they are recognised as such by people of true beliefs, which are true because Ecumenical Councils..."

First, as I said above, an ecumenical council is a matter of imperial law, not simply popular vote.

Who are "lots of people?" By them you mean those who rejected the council, yes? And who rejected the council, but people who sided with the heretics against whom was the judgment of the council? Their opinion, then, does not count. They aren't part of the Church in that they do not hold the faith of the Church.

There were cases when a council was purported to be ecumenical (Ephesus II, Lyons, Florence, the Iconoclast councils), but this does not mean that nobody before or after the council knew which position was Orthodox and which was heretical.

Florence was claimed to be ecumenical, but then the bishops returned home and repudiated it. The faithful would not attend liturgies served by those who had gone with the union. In that sense, we see that Orthodoxy is not the concern solely of the clergy.

So, where does that leave us?
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2013, 05:38:41 PM »

Ecumenical councils, as opposed to local synods, are first declared ecumenical at the time. Then they are entered into imperial law. Beyond the empire, like in Britain or Persia, the local bishops met, sometimes well after the fact, and confirmed or rejected the council.

Where did you get this idea? Smiley

Is history such a novelty?

St. Constantine says, "I'm doing something new. I'm holding an ecumenical council."

Bishop asks, "What's that?"

St. Constantine replies, "Well, it's this really big council that involves bishops from all over the world, not just from a local church and makes decisions governing the whole Church."

Bishop: "Oh. We've never had one of those before. How will we know it's really ecumenical?"

St. Constantine: "Because I'm making it a matter of law."

Bishop: "Wow. That is new."

St. Constantine: "Yeah. And I'm going to personally pay for bishops from all over the world to come to it."
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2013, 06:03:28 PM »

There is no clearcut answer, it just happens.

This is one thing that irks me about Western converts (including myself). They are ALWAYS looking for some clearcut, exact, uniform, fail-safe final authority or source that can solve all of their problems if worse comes to worse. Protestants use the Bible for this, Roman Catholics the Pope.

But that's not how it works in Orthodoxy. We don't have a concept of infallibility/final authority. We believe that the truth can be revealed to us in a plethora of ways, and while things may be confusing and conradictory at times, in the end, the truth will always SOMEHOW end up prevailing in the end because Christ promised that the gates of Hades would never prevail.
I have no doubt that the truth will prevail in the end. But will I be on its side at that point? I don't see that it's a bad thing to want to know for certain whether or not I am a heretic.
This is the thing that has always troubled me about Vaticanism. Certainly one doesn't need a Pope for the vast majority of what church tradition teaches, but when there are many claimant and equally valid Popes, how does a Vaticanist Christian know wich Pope has authority?
Nice turnaround. Firstly, both popes espoused the same doctrine in matters of faith and morals, the only region where a pope can be infallible. Secondly, the only reason the Avignon pope got elected was because some of the College of Cardinals decided they didn't like the pope's personality, which is nothing like a valid reason to have a new conclave, and the schism was resolved by excommunicating Avignon anyway. There is no reason to consider Avignon "equally valid".
Regarding the particulars of the council, John XXIII was given recognition because the council that produced him was an attempt to heal the schism; that is the part where you actually have two popes. And both John XXIII and Gregory XII resigned; the only pope forced to step down was the Avignon one.
Regarding your St. Vincent quote, the question then becomes whether or not the Fathers taught the papacy. It is the Catholic contention that they did.
Regarding the barrage of other examples: you'll have to explain St. Meletius to me; Pope Vigillius was dealing with anathemas which aren't infallible, and also with a poor command of the language the Chapters were written in; Pope Honorius never used his authority to teach his heretical beliefs, which I consider evidence for, not against, papal infallibility; and I'm also not sure what "flip-flopping" you refer to.
The first Church council in the Book of Acts began its resolution, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us." And so do the ecumenical councils. It is not "personal interpretation," unless you want to consider the same of a statement on faith or morals from the pope of Rome. It is the interpretation of bishops, successors to the Apostles. (Really, the infallibility of the pope and the infallibility of the councils rest on the same ground, apostolic authority. And the opposition to both is also on the same ground--the argument between Sts. Peter and Paul, in which St. Peter was wrong, and Paul was right--as confirmed by the Synod of Jerusalem in Acts.)
I'm aware of that. My point is that without clear ground for considering a council ecumenical, the matter of which councils have apostolic authority is subject only to personal interpretation. To which argument between Ss. Peter and Paul do you refer? The one I recall was at Antioch, not Jerusalem, and Peter was wrong because he was failing to follow doctrine he knew to be orthodox, not because he was preaching heresy.
Quote
Who are "lots of people?" By them you mean those who rejected the council, yes? And who rejected the council, but people who sided with the heretics against whom was the judgment of the council? Their opinion, then, does not count. They aren't part of the Church in that they do not hold the faith of the Church.

There were cases when a council was purported to be ecumenical (Ephesus II, Lyons, Florence, the Iconoclast councils), but this does not mean that nobody before or after the council knew which position was Orthodox and which was heretical.

Florence was claimed to be ecumenical, but then the bishops returned home and repudiated it. The faithful would not attend liturgies served by those who had gone with the union. In that sense, we see that Orthodoxy is not the concern solely of the clergy.
The above largely proves my point. Your statement amounts to the reiteration that the council is ecumenical because people who agreed with it agreed with it. Everyone who goes to a council "knows" that their position is orthodox and the other is heretical, and they "know" it just as much afterward. Hence the Assyrian Church, hence the non-Chalcedonians, hence the East-West Schism.
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2013, 06:13:42 PM »

@Regnare

Quote
Nice turnaround. Firstly, both popes espoused the same doctrine in matters of faith and morals, the only region where a pope can be infallible.

Apostolic succession per vatican dogmas was broken there, and if one must by neccessity be in communion with Rome, there you have a problem.

Quote
Secondly, the only reason the Avignon pope got elected was because some of the College of Cardinals decided they didn't like the pope's personality, which is nothing like a valid reason to have a new conclave, and the schism was resolved by excommunicating Avignon anyway. There is no reason to consider Avignon "equally valid".

The Council said:

"Next, that our most holy lord pope John XXIII"

So this Council thought him to be the Pope, i think they know better than you or me.

Quote
And both John XXIII and Gregory XII resigned; the only pope forced to step down was the Avignon one.

This council was summoned by John XXIII, the Pisan pope [1 ] , with the support of Emperor Sigismund....
 John XXIII and Benedict XIII were deposed by the council,.
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum16.htm

Quote
Regarding your St. Vincent quote, the question then becomes whether or not the Fathers taught the papacy. It is the Catholic contention that they did.

And it is history's contention that they did not.

Quote
Regarding the barrage of other examples: you'll have to explain St. Meletius to me

Originally it was only a council of the Orient; the arguments of Baronius (ad an. 381, nos. 19, 20) to prove that it was called by Pope Damasus are invalid (Hefele-Leclercq, Hist. des Conciles, Paris, 1908, II, 4). It was attended by 150 Catholic and 36 heretical (Semi-Arian, Macedonian) bishops, and was presided over by Meletius of Antioch; after his death, by the successive Patriarchs of Constantinople, St. Gregory Nazianzen and Nectarius.

In 379 Meletius held a council of 150 bishops in order to assure the triumph of orthodoxy in the East, and published a profession of faith which was to meet the approval of the Council of Constantinople (382). The end of the schism was near at hand. Since the two factions which divided the Antiochene Church were orthodox there remained but to unite them actually, a difficult move, but easy when the death of either bishop made it possible for the survivor to exercise full authority without hurting pride or discipline. This solution Meletius recognized as early as 381, but his friendly and peace- making proposals were rejected by Paulinus who refused to come to any agreement or settlement.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10161b.htm

Quote
Pope Vigillius was dealing with anathemas which aren't infallible, and also with a poor command of the language the Chapters were written in

Does not matter, Papacy was denied:

Fifth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople II, Session VII (553): "But we bishops answered him (Pope Vigilius): "If your blessedness is willing to meet together with us and the holy Patriarchs, and the most religious bishops, and to treat of the Three Chapters and to give, in unison with us all, a suitable form of the orthodox faith, as the Holy Apostles and the holy Fathers and the four councils have done, we will hold thee as our head, as a father and primate."


As one can see, the primacy and honor is conditional upon the Orthodox Faith of the Bishop of Rome, not of divine right forever and ever.


Quote
Pope Honorius never used his authority to teach his heretical beliefs, which I consider evidence for, not against, papal infallibility

You are not able to tell me on wich instances the Popes spoke ex cathedra or not so it is irelevant. Oecumenical COuncil said he was a heretic, later Popes confirmed it, that's enough.

Quote
and I'm also not sure what "flip-flopping" you refer to.

Your popes first accepted 880 eight council as oecumenical, then retracted centuries later. Flip flop of the final authority makes it useless.

Try better next time.
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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2013, 06:14:49 PM »

Ecumenical councils, as opposed to local synods, are first declared ecumenical at the time. Then they are entered into imperial law. Beyond the empire, like in Britain or Persia, the local bishops met, sometimes well after the fact, and confirmed or rejected the council.

Where did you get this idea? Smiley

Is history such a novelty?

I just don't see how what you said lines up with what I've read and considered.
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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2013, 06:23:36 PM »

This is the thing that has always troubled me about Orthodoxy. Certainly one doesn't need a council for the vast majority of what church tradition teaches, but when one is called for, how does an Orthodox Christian know that the council has authority?

The closest thing to an answer I've ever heard from an Orthodox Christian (this is not a generalisation; I genuinely looked for an answer wherever I could) was one of two things:
1. Placed the responsibility on the individual Orthodox Christian to study Holy Tradition, including Scripture, to determine it. This is generally where references to "the Holy Spirit guiding the Church" come in (often with the silly statement that the Pope of Rome is seen as a substitute for the Holy Spirit). Frankly, this sounds like the Protestant "personal interpretation" heresy, but without sola scriptura, and arguments in its favour generally fall victim to the same problem: Tradition and Scripture are cited to justify a whole bunch of contradictory things.
2. Stated that councils are ecumenical when they are accepted by the whole church. Since lots of people didn't accept each of the councils, this essentially turns into a circular argument along the lines of "Our beliefs are true because Ecumenical Councils X through Z defined them, and Councils X through Z are ecumenical because they are recognised as such by people of true beliefs, which are true because Ecumenical Councils..."
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To Him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear His voice, and He calls His Own sheep by name and leads them out.  When He has brought out all His Own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers... I am the good shepherd; I know My Own and My Own know Me,  as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed My voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd."

That's how.

That Vatican just takes chooses its supreme pontiff for the Protestant "personal interpretation" heresy, and accepts the ones he picks, even if all the Church disagrees with him.
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2013, 06:27:05 PM »

There is no clearcut answer, it just happens.

This is one thing that irks me about Western converts (including myself). They are ALWAYS looking for some clearcut, exact, uniform, fail-safe final authority or source that can solve all of their problems if worse comes to worse. Protestants use the Bible for this, Roman Catholics the Pope.

But that's not how it works in Orthodoxy. We don't have a concept of infallibility/final authority. We believe that the truth can be revealed to us in a plethora of ways, and while things may be confusing and conradictory at times, in the end, the truth will always SOMEHOW end up prevailing in the end because Christ promised that the gates of Hades would never prevail.

That is an excellent answer.....
indeed!
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2013, 06:33:36 PM »

First, as I said above, an ecumenical council is a matter of imperial law
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's.

The imperial law only recognized an Ecumenical Council. It did not make it so.  Ephesus II and the Iconclast headless council were all imperial law, but they were never ecumenical.
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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2013, 06:43:16 PM »

Ecumenical councils, as opposed to local synods, are first declared ecumenical at the time. Then they are entered into imperial law. Beyond the empire, like in Britain or Persia, the local bishops met, sometimes well after the fact, and confirmed or rejected the council.

Where did you get this idea? Smiley

Is history such a novelty?

I just don't see how what you said lines up with what I've read and considered.

What, that an ecumenical council is a matter of imperial law?
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« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2013, 06:45:18 PM »

First, as I said above, an ecumenical council is a matter of imperial law
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's.

The imperial law only recognized an Ecumenical Council. It did not make it so.  Ephesus II and the Iconclast headless council were all imperial law, but they were never ecumenical.


Indeed, because they were excised by Orthodox emperors.
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« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2013, 06:49:13 PM »

There is no clearcut answer, it just happens.

This is one thing that irks me about Western converts (including myself). They are ALWAYS looking for some clearcut, exact, uniform, fail-safe final authority or source that can solve all of their problems if worse comes to worse. Protestants use the Bible for this, Roman Catholics the Pope.

But that's not how it works in Orthodoxy. We don't have a concept of infallibility/final authority. We believe that the truth can be revealed to us in a plethora of ways, and while things may be confusing and conradictory at times, in the end, the truth will always SOMEHOW end up prevailing in the end because Christ promised that the gates of Hades would never prevail.
I have no doubt that the truth will prevail in the end. But will I be on its side at that point? I don't see that it's a bad thing to want to know for certain whether or not I am a heretic.
This is the thing that has always troubled me about Vaticanism. Certainly one doesn't need a Pope for the vast majority of what church tradition teaches, but when there are many claimant and equally valid Popes, how does a Vaticanist Christian know wich Pope has authority?
Nice turnaround. Firstly, both popes espoused the same doctrine in matters of faith and morals, the only region where a pope can be infallible.

First, there were three supreme pontiffs involved. And no, they did not have the same doctrine in faith and morals-at least not the same ecclesiology of their council.
Secondly, the only reason the Avignon pope got elected was because some of the College of Cardinals decided they didn't like the pope's personality, which is nothing like a valid reason to have a new conclave, and the schism was resolved by excommunicating Avignon anyway. There is no reason to consider Avignon "equally valid".
Regarding the particulars of the council, John XXIII was given recognition because the council that produced him was an attempt to heal the schism; that is the part where you actually have two popes. And both John XXIII and Gregory XII resigned; the only pope forced to step down was the Avignon one.
No, Pope John XXIII (note the number) was deposed by his council of Constance.

But then who was this guy?


Regarding your St. Vincent quote, the question then becomes whether or not the Fathers taught the papacy. It is the Catholic contention that they did.
No, it is the Ultramontanist Vatican's contention that they did.  Their Orthodox Catholic coreligionists stick to their teaching which taught no such thing.

Regarding the barrage of other examples: you'll have to explain St. Meletius to me; Pope Vigillius was dealing with anathemas which aren't infallible, and also with a poor command of the language the Chapters were written in; Pope Honorius never used his authority to teach his heretical beliefs, which I consider evidence for, not against, papal infallibility;

IOW you will call black white.
and I'm also not sure what "flip-flopping" you refer to.
The Pope of Old Rome nullified-with the rest of the Church-the pseudo-council of 869, and then called it ecumenical three centuries later, because the Vatican wanted its canons in its Investiture contraversy.

The first Church council in the Book of Acts began its resolution, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us." And so do the ecumenical councils. It is not "personal interpretation," unless you want to consider the same of a statement on faith or morals from the pope of Rome. It is the interpretation of bishops, successors to the Apostles. (Really, the infallibility of the pope and the infallibility of the councils rest on the same ground, apostolic authority. And the opposition to both is also on the same ground--the argument between Sts. Peter and Paul, in which St. Peter was wrong, and Paul was right--as confirmed by the Synod of Jerusalem in Acts.)
I'm aware of that. My point is that without clear ground for considering a council ecumenical, the matter of which councils have apostolic authority is subject only to personal interpretation.
No: take for example your calling black white above. No matter how much you deny it, it remains

To which argument between Ss. Peter and Paul do you refer? The one I recall was at Antioch, not Jerusalem, and Peter was wrong because he was failing to follow doctrine he knew to be orthodox, not because he was preaching heresy.
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Who are "lots of people?" By them you mean those who rejected the council, yes? And who rejected the council, but people who sided with the heretics against whom was the judgment of the council? Their opinion, then, does not count. They aren't part of the Church in that they do not hold the faith of the Church.

There were cases when a council was purported to be ecumenical (Ephesus II, Lyons, Florence, the Iconoclast councils), but this does not mean that nobody before or after the council knew which position was Orthodox and which was heretical.

Florence was claimed to be ecumenical, but then the bishops returned home and repudiated it. The faithful would not attend liturgies served by those who had gone with the union. In that sense, we see that Orthodoxy is not the concern solely of the clergy.
The above largely proves my point. Your statement amounts to the reiteration that the council is ecumenical because people who agreed with it agreed with it. Everyone who goes to a council "knows" that their position is orthodox and the other is heretical, and they "know" it just as much afterward. Hence the Assyrian Church, hence the non-Chalcedonians, hence the East-West Schism.
hence heresy.  Yes.
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« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2013, 06:52:05 PM »

Apostolic succession per vatican dogmas was broken there, and if one must by neccessity be in communion with Rome, there you have a problem.
How is apostolic succession broken? The pope was chosen by conclave. That's how he's always chosen.
Quote
The Council said:

"Next, that our most holy lord pope John XXIII"

So this Council thought him to be the Pope, i think they know better than you or me.
John XXIII was Pisan, not Avignon.
Quote
This council was summoned by John XXIII, the Pisan pope [1 ] , with the support of Emperor Sigismund....
 John XXIII and Benedict XIII were deposed by the council,.
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum16.htm
That's the closest to disproving the papacy I've ever seen someone come; I'll have to do some research and some asking around regarding this, but my question to you remains, if there is no pope how do I know a council is ecumenical?
Quote
And it is history's contention that they did not.
That's hardly an argument. Five minutes on a decent Catholic apologetics page overturns any notion that the Fathers were unanimously against papal authority. Here's a couple just to show you that "history" contends no such thing:
http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-authority-of-the-pope-part-i
http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-authority-of-the-pope-part-ii
Quote
Originally it was only a council of the Orient; the arguments of Baronius (ad an. 381, nos. 19, 20) to prove that it was called by Pope Damasus are invalid (Hefele-Leclercq, Hist. des Conciles, Paris, 1908, II, 4). It was attended by 150 Catholic and 36 heretical (Semi-Arian, Macedonian) bishops, and was presided over by Meletius of Antioch; after his death, by the successive Patriarchs of Constantinople, St. Gregory Nazianzen and Nectarius.

In 379 Meletius held a council of 150 bishops in order to assure the triumph of orthodoxy in the East, and published a profession of faith which was to meet the approval of the Council of Constantinople (382). The end of the schism was near at hand. Since the two factions which divided the Antiochene Church were orthodox there remained but to unite them actually, a difficult move, but easy when the death of either bishop made it possible for the survivor to exercise full authority without hurting pride or discipline. This solution Meletius recognized as early as 381, but his friendly and peace- making proposals were rejected by Paulinus who refused to come to any agreement or settlement.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10161b.htm
I'm not sure what this has to do with the papacy. Because Pope Damasus supported a bad bishop?
Quote
Does not matter, Papacy was denied:

Fifth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople II, Session VII (553): "But we bishops answered him (Pope Vigilius): "If your blessedness is willing to meet together with us and the holy Patriarchs, and the most religious bishops, and to treat of the Three Chapters and to give, in unison with us all, a suitable form of the orthodox faith, as the Holy Apostles and the holy Fathers and the four councils have done, we will hold thee as our head, as a father and primate."


As one can see, the primacy and honor is conditional upon the Orthodox Faith of the Bishop of Rome, not of divine right forever and ever.
Valid point. I'll have to check on that. I still want an answer on how you determine a valid council, though.
Quote
You are not able to tell me on wich instances the Popes spoke ex cathedra or not so it is irelevant. Oecumenical COuncil said he was a heretic, later Popes confirmed it, that's enough.
Oh, he was definitely a heretic. But the reason he was anathematised is that because of his private beliefs he refused to take a stand against heresy, but instead "by profane treachery permitted its purity to be polluted". It's not him speaking ex cathedra, it's him largely refusing to speak. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07452b.htm
Quote
Your popes first accepted 880 eight council as oecumenical, then retracted centuries later. Flip flop of the final authority makes it useless.

Try better next time.
The pope accepted what he was told by his legates. When he found out the actual nature of the council, he sent a bishop to make his position on it clear.
"Try better next time"-- Really? This is not a matter of self-serving justification. I am a convert, not a cradle Catholic. I have nothing to gain here, and this is not a contest.
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« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2013, 06:56:13 PM »

Truth be told... From what I've read... They have no idea

The best they have is the circular reasoning that you pointed out.
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« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2013, 06:57:16 PM »

When the whole of the church uncontroversially accepts it. That doesn't mean it became authoritative when the last person or church recognised it, rather that authority is recognised over time in the church, same can be said of the bible. Thats how I see it at least.
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« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2013, 07:07:43 PM »

Truth be told... From what I've read... They have no idea

The best they have is the circular reasoning that you pointed out.
You mean: the Pope is infallible because he says so?

Odd that we have the Seven Ecumenical Councils, while your supreme pontiffs have gone back and forth on your Eighth, accepted and then rejected their council of Siena, have to pick and choose through your council of Constance, etc.
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2013, 07:09:28 PM »

Quote
How is apostolic succession broken? The pope was chosen by conclave. That's how he's always chosen.

A Council is not a conclave, Bishops are not cardinals. If this council, per Vatican I lacked authority to dismiss John XXIII, he lacked it to elect Martin V, and Apostolic Succession was ended here.

Quote
John XXIII was Pisan, not Avignon.

I didnt talk about that. Pisan Popes were considered the true ones by the Council.

Quote
but my question to you remains, if there is no pope how do I know a council is ecumenical?

There is no absolute answers, but if this is a problem for Orthodoxy, then it is the same for you to know wich Pope is the true one, and since Popes contradicted each other on the 8th oecumenical council, you have the same issue in RC.

Quote
That's hardly an argument. Five minutes on a decent Catholic apologetics page overturns any notion that the Fathers were unanimously against papal authority. Here's a couple just to show you that "history" contends no such thing:

Papal authority does not equal Vatican I Papacy. Those links dont prove ultramontanism.

Quote
I'm not sure what this has to do with the papacy. Because Pope Damasus supported a bad bishop?

Because the Oecumenical Council was not called by Rome, was runed by bishops not in communion with Rome and who died not in communion with Rome and because the Pope lacked any authority that Vatican I pretends he had.

Quote
But the reason he was anathematised is that because of his private beliefs he refused to take a stand against heresy, but instead "by profane treachery permitted its purity to be polluted". It's not him speaking ex cathedra, it's him largely refusing to speak.

Not only, the Council, confirmed by Rome, said he taugh Heresy. Don Chapman admited it and he is one of your greatest apologists:

"It is still more important that the formula for the oath taken by every new Pope from the 8th century till the 11th adds these words to the list of Monothelites condemned : “Together with Honorius, who added fuel to their wicked assertions”. Unquestionably no Catholic has the right to deny that Honorius was a heretic (though in the sense that Origen and Theodore of Mopsuestia were heretics), a heretic in words if not in intention

It has been sometimes said that St. Leo in these words interprets the decision of the Council about Honorius in a mild sense, or that he modifies it. It is supposed that by “permitted to be polluted” Leo II means no positive action, but a mere neglect of duty, grave enough in a Pope, but not amounting to the actual teaching of heresy. If Leo II had meant this, he would have been mistaken. Honorius did positively approve the letter of Sergius, as the Council pointed out. Further, the merely negative ruling of the typus had been condemned as heresy by the Lateran Council.."
http://www.cristoraul.com/ENGLISH/History-of-the-Popes/GalleryofHistory/Pope_Honorius/CONDEMNATION-OF-POPE-HONORIUS.html

THE CONDEMNATION OF POPE HONORIUS

By

DOM JOHN CHAPMAN

 
Quote
The pope accepted what he was told by his legates. When he found out the actual nature of the council, he sent a bishop to make his position on it clear.

Not true and Father Dvornik, Catholic scholar proved it in his book the Photian Schism wich can be read online for free:

http://books.google.fr/books?id=X_A8AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+Photian+Schism&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=ssAnUv7XCofL0AWFr4FI&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=the%20Photian%20Schism&f=false

Quote
Quote
Quote
Really? This is not a matter of self-serving justification. I am a convert, not a cradle Catholic. I have nothing to gain here, and this is not a contest.

You are right and i apologize for those bad words.
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« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2013, 07:14:14 PM »

Truth be told... From what I've read... They have no idea

The best they have is the circular reasoning that you pointed out.
You mean: the Pope is infallible because he says so?

Odd that we have the Seven Ecumenical Councils, while your supreme pontiffs have gone back and forth on your Eighth, accepted and then rejected their council of Siena, have to pick and choose through your council of Constance, etc.

This Pope is the true Pope because he says he is the true Pope and because the whole west recognized him as such. Oh except those poor guys in Basel and Constance, but they dont matter because the Pope they elected said they are wrong. This is not circular reasoning, this is natural logic, approved by Aristotle.
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« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2013, 07:36:38 PM »

Regnare-

To elaborate on the 2nd point of your 1st post...

A popular Orthodox theologian in America, Fr. Thomas Hopko, covered this question in one of his podcasts. Basically, his conclusion was that a council is accepted by the whole Church when it is integrated into the liturgical life of the Church. The liturgical life of every Orthodox church directly reflects the decisions and dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils.
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« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2013, 07:38:03 PM »


This is one thing that irks me about Western converts

Do a lot of things irk you? Wink
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« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2013, 07:40:38 PM »

Regnare-

To elaborate on the 2nd point of your 1st post...

A popular Orthodox theologian in America, Fr. Thomas Hopko, covered this question in one of his podcasts. Basically, his conclusion was that a council is accepted by the whole Church when it is integrated into the liturgical life of the Church. The liturgical life of every Orthodox church directly reflects the decisions and dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils.

The truth is essentialy that we do not have a kit for the oecumenical councils. Just like we do not have one to explain how Christ could at the same time grow in knowledge and be omnicient, that is how can he be God and Man at the same time. We dont know how, it just is. The same for Oecumenical Councils. And the rc are in the same position, despite their claims.
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« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2013, 07:40:58 PM »

Apostolic succession per vatican dogmas was broken there, and if one must by neccessity be in communion with Rome, there you have a problem.
How is apostolic succession broken? The pope was chosen by conclave. That's how he's always chosen.
Which has nothing to do with the Apostles-the conclave dates to after your finalizing your schism from the Catholic Church, created by those involved in that.

But then, your papacy has nothing to do with the Apostles either.

You were just saying that the conclave could not elect the Avignon line.  Make up your mind.
Quote
The Council said:

"Next, that our most holy lord pope John XXIII"

So this Council thought him to be the Pope, i think they know better than you or me.
John XXIII was Pisan, not Avignon.
He wasn't Roman, which is your problem in your denial of the problem of three supreme pontiffs.
Quote
This council was summoned by John XXIII, the Pisan pope [1 ] , with the support of Emperor Sigismund....
 John XXIII and Benedict XIII were deposed by the council,.
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum16.htm
That's the closest to disproving the papacy I've ever seen someone come; I'll have to do some research and some asking around regarding this, but my question to you remains, if there is no pope how do I know a council is ecumenical?
We know it is not ecumenical, the same way that Vatican I and II are not.

But if you are an Ultramontanist, and believe a pope has to make a council ecumenical, Pope John XXIII called it as an "ecumenical council," Pope Gregory XII submitted to it as an "ecumenical council," and as on its status as an "ecumenical council" created Martin V a pope.

Quote
And it is history's contention that they did not.
That's hardly an argument. Five minutes on a decent Catholic apologetics page overturns any notion that the Fathers were unanimously against papal authority. Here's a couple just to show you that "history" contends no such thing:
http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-authority-of-the-pope-part-i
http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-authority-of-the-pope-part-ii
unfortunately for your quote mine, most of them need only to be put back into the context out of which the Ultramontanists have wretched them, to undo Ultramontanist claims.  Or just an accurate translation. Case in point, your first one has
Quote
"Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans
Where it actually says "Ignatius...to the Church holding the presidency in the place of the lands of the Romans," i.e. Italy.  Even if one wanted to stretch that to the Roman Empire (which itself is a problem), it still stops short of universal jurisdiction.

One need only compare and contrast the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium with the practice of the Early Church to see that the Fathers did not govern the Church according to the Ultramontanist "apostolic constitions" of the supreme pontiffs of the Vatican.

Quote
Originally it was only a council of the Orient; the arguments of Baronius (ad an. 381, nos. 19, 20) to prove that it was called by Pope Damasus are invalid (Hefele-Leclercq, Hist. des Conciles, Paris, 1908, II, 4). It was attended by 150 Catholic and 36 heretical (Semi-Arian, Macedonian) bishops, and was presided over by Meletius of Antioch; after his death, by the successive Patriarchs of Constantinople, St. Gregory Nazianzen and Nectarius.

In 379 Meletius held a council of 150 bishops in order to assure the triumph of orthodoxy in the East, and published a profession of faith which was to meet the approval of the Council of Constantinople (382). The end of the schism was near at hand. Since the two factions which divided the Antiochene Church were orthodox there remained but to unite them actually, a difficult move, but easy when the death of either bishop made it possible for the survivor to exercise full authority without hurting pride or discipline. This solution Meletius recognized as early as 381, but his friendly and peace- making proposals were rejected by Paulinus who refused to come to any agreement or settlement.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10161b.htm
I'm not sure what this has to do with the papacy. Because Pope Damasus supported a bad bishop?
He insisted who was the Archbishop of Antioch. History-and the five lines of patriarchs his successors as pontifex maximus have tried to install there-proved him wrong.
Quote
Does not matter, Papacy was denied:

Fifth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople II, Session VII (553): "But we bishops answered him (Pope Vigilius): "If your blessedness is willing to meet together with us and the holy Patriarchs, and the most religious bishops, and to treat of the Three Chapters and to give, in unison with us all, a suitable form of the orthodox faith, as the Holy Apostles and the holy Fathers and the four councils have done, we will hold thee as our head, as a father and primate."


As one can see, the primacy and honor is conditional upon the Orthodox Faith of the Bishop of Rome, not of divine right forever and ever.
Valid point. I'll have to check on that. I still want an answer on how you determine a valid council, though.
You have been given the answer. That you do not like it does not change the fact.
Quote
You are not able to tell me on wich instances the Popes spoke ex cathedra or not so it is irelevant. Oecumenical COuncil said he was a heretic, later Popes confirmed it, that's enough.
Oh, he was definitely a heretic. But the reason he was anathematised is that because of his private beliefs he refused to take a stand against heresy, but instead "by profane treachery permitted its purity to be polluted". It's not him speaking ex cathedra, it's him largely refusing to speak. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07452b.htm

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Your popes first accepted 880 eight council as oecumenical, then retracted centuries later. Flip flop of the final authority makes it useless.

Try better next time.
The pope accepted what he was told by his legates. When he found out the actual nature of the council, he sent a bishop to make his position on it clear.
Not quite. Read Dvorak
"Try better next time"-- Really? This is not a matter of self-serving justification. I am a convert, not a cradle Catholic. I have nothing to gain here, and this is not a contest.
If there is nothing to gain, renounce Pastor Aeternus.

I'm not a cradle Orthodox either.
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« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2013, 07:42:07 PM »

Truth be told... From what I've read... They have no idea

The best they have is the circular reasoning that you pointed out.

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« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2013, 07:52:37 PM »

Regnare-

To elaborate on the 2nd point of your 1st post...

A popular Orthodox theologian in America, Fr. Thomas Hopko, covered this question in one of his podcasts. Basically, his conclusion was that a council is accepted by the whole Church when it is integrated into the liturgical life of the Church. The liturgical life of every Orthodox church directly reflects the decisions and dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils.

The truth is essentialy that we do not have a kit for the oecumenical councils. Just like we do not have one to explain how Christ could at the same time grow in knowledge and be omnicient, that is how can he be God and Man at the same time. We dont know how, it just is. The same for Oecumenical Councils. And the rc are in the same position, despite their claims.

I liked Fr. Tom's explanation myself Tongue. Here is the podcast for those interested:

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/doctrinal_development

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In other words, what developments of doctrinal formulation would we say are good, proper and true, and which ones are not, and how do you know that? And here, it seems to me, that the answer is pretty clear. They answer is, when you can demonstrate that all of the churches on earth who recognize each other as Orthodox, and who say that they are in continuity with the Bible, with the Prophets, with the Apostles, with the earliest Christianity, with the Holy Scriptures, and with the formulations through history, when they who recognize each other as being true and real Christians and recognize the churches as being the real, one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Christ, you can tell which explanations and formulations and definitions and defenses and witnesses – and they may not even be in writing, they may be in icons, for example, the defense of the holy icons.
But how can you tell when it is right or wrong? Or, even if you are more modest, how can you tell when the Orthodox would think that it is right or wrong? And the answer would be, when all of the churches who recognize each other accept it. When they all say, “Yes, this is what we believe is right. This is what we believe is true.”
Now, that is a process that takes place in history. For example, after the Council of Nicaea, there were many who said that Nicaea was wrong. The children of Saint Constantine the Great said that those emperors were wrong. They persecuted the saints that we believe are the Orthodox saints. They exiled Athanasius the Great five times.
Or take another example—the icons. Saint Theodore the Studite was persecuted, exiled also five times. John of Damascus was mutilated. Saint Maximus the Confessor was mutilated.
But sooner or later they are verified and affirmed as being true. And how do you know when that happens? That happens when all the churches who claim to be Orthodox say that they are true, when they say, “Yes. We recognize that this is the truth.”

But then that raises the next question. How do you know when that happens? Here, it seems to me, that the answer to that is also very simple and very clear—when it becomes part of liturgy. Whenever any conciliar decree, or any teaching of any saint, or any council, is affirmed liturgically by all of the Orthodox churches, then the Orthodox churches would say that this is the Orthodox faith, and it is according to the Gospel.
And what that faith is, is not new.  But this conciliar decree, or this creed, or this formula, is different. It is new, in the sense that it did not exist previously. But it exists now to defend the truth of what does exist, previously and eternally.
So, for example, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed—without the Filioque, the section that was added in the west—is used in all Orthodox churches. So all of the Orthodox churches would say that this is the truth and it is according to the Christian faith and Holy Scripture, and there is nothing new in there, it is just a defense. Even though it uses one word that is not found in the Bible—homoousion to patri—of one essence with the Father.
We would say the same thing about the Council of Chalcedon. We go to church—I am going to church pretty soon tonight. We are going to hear in church that Jesus Christ is one in person, but two-fold in nature, that He is truly divine and truly human. Well, that is a formulation of the Council of Chalcedon. But that becomes part of our church life.
And then you can even go to church some days and you will have a commemoration of the Fathers of Chalcedon. Or you will have a church commemoration of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. Or you will have a commemoration of the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787, which is another example. That council took place in 787. It was only finally, officially accepted throughout Christendom by the churches who recognize each other as Orthodox in 843, almost 70 years later.
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« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2013, 08:08:35 PM »

If you attatch a limb from someone else on someone, it turns black, gets gangerous and falls off.  If you are reattaching someone's limb, or doing something like a skin graft, it heals the damage and becomes a strong member of the body.  

So too Councils: if they are of the Church, they become part of her Tradition.  If not, they are rejected and fall off.

Of course, there are organ transplant, in which one has to take anti-rejection meds.  That is what ecumenists want to do, infuse the Body of Christ with anti-rejection that any heresy they fancy will not be rejected but grow onto the Body of Christ.  Christ, however, has passed into the Holy Mysteries, the signs of His life in her, and they will continue to act as antibodies to any heresy.

Does this mean that when Catholic doctrine reaches a satisfactory level of development and clarification it then starts to stagnate??!  Or is it imperative that Catholic doctrine never stops developing?  That's a curious idea!!!
I can see that I inadvertently stirred up hostility when I used the word "stagnant," which I would like to retract and apologize for because it carries a negative connotation that I did not intend when I said it. What would be better terminology perhaps would be dynamic versus static. Of course, just because the Catholic Church believes in development of doctrine doesn't mean that it just changes stuff willy-nilly.
Define willy-nilly.
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This is a misconception that most Protestants and, unfortunately, a fair number of Orthodox believe about the Catholic Church which just isn't true.
Its record says otherwise.
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I would assert that the Orthodox Church believes in development of doctrine as well or else it would reject all Ecumenical Councils and simply follow what the Early Church believed.
She does simply follow what the Early Church believed, which is why she held the Ecumenical councils. We have covered this ground before:
The Orthodox Church does not have the Roman Catholic concept of the development of doctrine.
So Nicaea wasn't a development? You believe that the understanding of the Trinity was as developed before Nicaea as it was after? If so, what was the purpose of Nicaea in the first place? I'm really having a difficult time understanding what the Orthodox think the purpose of an Ecumenical Council is if our understanding of teachings doesn't develop over time. After all, even the earliest Ecumenical Council took place around 300 years after Christ. Isn't that pretty late in the game for any teachings to be pronounced if you believe everything was taught once and for all by Christ and the Apostles?
Still haven't read the post?
I think you mean sewn up. Look at my post above, about the antibodies.

Op cit. Viz supra. The inability of the Vatican to see clearly on the issue is a very large part of its problem.
If you mean that the Church is a stagnant organization that has no use for the Holy Spirit because everything has already been revealed and needs no further clarification, of course the Vatican isn't going to "see" that because that notion is false.
Didn't read my post above, did you?

Now I look like my baby picture, despite I'm taller, weight more, right now have a 5 o'clock (actually more) shadow. That's development.

I also have a cross tattoo on my wrist which you will search in vain for on my baby pictures.  You call that developement but its not quite that: no matter how old I got, that tattoo wasn't going to appear until I had them apply it with the needle.

My best friend has four kidnies, from two kidney transplants. Not quite development there either.  He looks like his baby picture, though, too.

I have my doubts about those who have a "sex change," that they resemble their baby picture in specific ways, but I concede that their faces are probably the same.  You would have to get plastic surgery to change that, like Michael Jackosn.

I remember when he married Miss Presley, someone said they would believe it when she had a baby that looked like he used to look. Not like this:


But that's the problem: ya'll at the Vatican can't make a distinction between growing and radical plastic surgery, because it's all change=development.  So you appropriate it as a license to attribute the most outlandish things to the "deposit of Faith."

I'm going to repost something long (yeah, I know, suprise) but may not have the time to comment more.  I originally argued this against Sola Scriptura for the only source of the Faith.  I'll adapt it to the OP.

An example of what happens when Sola Scriptura runs against Apostolic Tradition:
Joshua Joshua 22:10 And when they came to the region about the Jordan, that lies in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manas'seh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of great size. 11 And the people of Israel heard say, "Behold, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manas'seh have built an altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel." 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh, to make war against them. 13 Then the people of Israel sent to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manas'seh, in the land of Gilead, Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar the priest, 14 and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, every one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15 And they came to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manas'seh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 "Thus says the whole congregation of the LORD, 'What is this treachery which you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the LORD, by building yourselves an altar this day in rebellion against the LORD? 17 Have we not had enough of the sin at Pe'or from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the LORD, 18 that you must turn away this day from following the LORD? And if you rebel against the LORD today he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel tomorrow. 19 But now, if your land is unclean, pass over into the LORD's land where the LORD's tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us; only do not rebel against the LORD, or make us as rebels by building yourselves an altar other than the altar of the LORD our God. 20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity.'"

21 Then the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manas'seh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 "The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith toward the LORD, spare us not today 23 for building an altar to turn away from following the LORD; or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or cereal offerings or peace offerings on it, may the LORD himself take vengeance. 24 Nay, but we did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, 'What have you to do with the LORD, the God of Israel ? 25 For the LORD has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you Reubenites and Gadites; you have no portion in the LORD.' So your children might make our children cease to worship the LORD. 26 Therefore we said, 'Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, that we do perform the service of the LORD in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings; lest your children say to our children in time to come, "You have no portion in the LORD."' 28 And we thought, If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say, 'Behold the copy of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.' 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn away this day from following the LORD by building an altar for burnt offering, cereal offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle!"

30 When Phin'ehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manas'sites spoke, it pleased them well. 31 And Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar the priest said to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manas'sites, "Today we know that the LORD is in the midst of us, because you have not committed this treachery against the LORD; now you have saved the people of Israel from the hand of the LORD." 32 Then Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar the priest, and the chiefs, returned from the Reubenites and the Gadites in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the people of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 And the report pleased the people of Israel; and the people of Israel blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them, to destroy the land where the Reubenites and the Gadites were settled. 34 The Reubenites and the Gadites called the altar Witness; "For," said they, "it is a witness between us that the LORD is God."

Now, note the following:

The Sola Scriptura folks were quite correct: the Law given to Moses had restricted sacrifices to one altar before the one Tabernacle. Btw, the tribes living on the East of the Jordan was a deviation from what God had commanded, revealed in His Word, and to which the Prophet Moses objected (Numbers 32, especially verses 6-15). Sort of like the innovation of the monarchy (I Kingdoms/Samuel 8, esp. verses 6-7), but we go a Messiah out of that (I Chronicles 17). Yet it is those who add Tradition to the mix who save Israel that day, as the chiefs of the Assembly/Congregation (we would say "Church") of Israel admit.

However, the Sola Scriptura first accuse the Eastern tribes of rebelling against God's Word, setting something that they see in addition to, and hence in opposition to (in their mind) in order to supplant God's Word, and replacing the Word of God with the traditions of men. And their solution? Just stick to the text and cross over to us.

The Eastern tribes had the foresight to see that, people being people, and sin being sin, that the Books of Moses were not going to suffice to stop Israel from sin. Those on the West Bank would focus on the literal promises to Abraham (which said nothing of the East Bank) and would interpret it in a manner which suited their sense of sensibilities: the Promised Land should fit our idea of the Land of Canaan (sort of like the idea of eating Body and Blood). Acting on this, they would exclude the Easterners, leading them to sin.

So the solution? Set up an interpretation of the letter of the law that preserved an indisputable indication of its spirit. And this they did.

A Melkite priest gave the best one word definition of Chrsitianity: witness.

Now, the problem most Protestants have with Tradition is the idea that the Church which set it up has tried to suppliment, and hence oppose, in order to supplant, Scripture.

We do not believe in, say, the Real Presense because St. Ignatius of Antioch, whom the Aposles ordained themselves as successor of St. Peter in the place where the disciples were first called Christians, writes in c. 105:
Let no man deceive himself. Both the things which are in heaven, and the glorious angels, and rulers, both visible and invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, shall, in consequence, incur condemnation. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Let not [high] place puff any one up: for that which is worth all is faith and love, to which nothing is to be preferred. But consider those who are of a different opinion with respect to the grace of Christ which has come unto us, how opposed they are to the will of God. They have no regard for love; no care for the widow, or the orphan, or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from the prayer, because they will not confess that the Eucharist is the self same flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that you should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion [of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved. But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils. See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

we believe in the Real Presence because He said, "This is My Body," "This is My Blood." Rising, He appeared and was known to the Apostles in the breakding of the bread that first Pascha (Luke 24:13-36 NOT btw, in His opening of the scriptures, though that did make their heart burn). Those who continued steadfast in the Apostles' doctrines communed in the breaking of bread in the prayers of the DL every Sunday from the Resurrection until June 7, 2009 (Acts 2:42, 20:7), which we received, delievered to us by the Apostles from the Lord (I Cor. 11:23. btw. when these words were written, the Church had been gathering on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7) for over two decades).

Now, the Aposles weren't doing this because of the verses quoted. Rather the verses were written to record what the Apostles did, what they were doing, believing, teaching, whether by word or letter (I Thess. 2:15) so those who followed could stand fast and hold these traditions, and withdraw (I Thes. 3:6) from those who refused to walk according to the traditions which they delievered and which we received.

St. Ignatius stood fast and held that tradition, and did not neglect that gift that was given him by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the Apostles, guarding what was committed to him. (I Tim. 4:14, 6:20) St. Ignatius set in order bishops in every city as the Aposltes commanded, to hold fast the faithful word as it had been taught, by word or letter, to both exhort and convict by sound doctrine those of a different opinion (heresia) who contradicted, and refused to walk according to that tradition. (cf. Titus 1:5-9). As the letters show, strong in the grace of Christ Jesus, he was committing these traditions he heard by word from the Apostles to the Faithful to teach others. (2 Tim. 2:1-2), that the Catholic Church continue in breaking the bread, the communion of the self same Body of Christ (I Cor. 10:16).

We do not believe in the Real Presence because St. Ignatius says so: he received the same Faith we received, and he stands as a Witness that God has erected between the Apostles and us, as a sign post as to whether we walk according to the Tradition of the Apostles or not. "Lo! I am with you always (Greek: "all the days") even unto the end of the age." Those were His parting words. And so He has: rather than standing gazing, the Church has raised up witnessses to that same Faith, who stand as witnesses between us and the Apostles. We have not abandoned the Bible for the Fathers (and Mothers!). Rather surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we are able to point to the Witness, like the Eastern Tribes to the altar on the Jordan, to show that we are right in our interpretation of Scripture, including the Words of Institution (themselves written in the Gospels to reflect Church practice). Every generation, we can document, from the Apostles to this day, those who, if they lived in our day, would come to OUR Church and commune with us (of course, closed communion is part of that Apostolic Tradition). Their Faith is our Faith, and that is the value of their words, not that they replace the Bible. Rather they preserve the full import of the Bible.

Tradition is giving our ancestors, our Fathers, the ones who passed down the Faith and copied and preserved the Bible, a vote.

Catechesis means "echo," and Christ's Word has roared throughout the generations through Apostolic Tradition.

As our priest says, if you come up with an interpretation of Scripture that no one else has, be cautious and ask yourself if you are wrong. If it contradicts what has gone before, YOU ARE DEFINITELY WRONG.

How to interpret Acts 8:31? The believers of sola scriptura cannot tell us. They have no one to guide them.
Title of the thread confused the Consensus Patrum as a Source of Faith: the Consensus does not provide the Source of Faith, it reflects it.

There is only one soure of the Faith, Christ.  How that one source is transmitted, and how its transmition is verified, is what is at issue.

The Faith is transitted in the Holy Mysteries: as the Fathers say, Christ has passed into the Holy Mysteries, the signs of Christ's life within His Body, the Church.  When the Church acts as the Body of Christ, as a Body, in unity with her Head, then she speaks infallibly.  That is why the assent of the Faithful is needed, for instance, for the Ecumenicity of a Council.

There is, for no instance, no objective criteria on which to base the canon of the Bible.  Authorship by an Apostle does not determine the canon of the NT: St. Luke, strictly speaking, is not an Apostle-he does not include himself in the company of eyewitness and ministers of the Word from the beginning (Luke 1:2, cf. Acts 1:21-2). Yet there is no question of it being in the Orthodox canon.  St. Clement's first epistle (I'll leave aside the question of the second) which was reckoned as Scripture: after Clement received his doctrine directly from the Apostles, and not as an eyewitness of Christ, the same way  St. Luke received his doctrine.  Clement's epistles are approved by the Apostolic Canons (85), but yet St. Luke is canonized and St. Clement is not.  If an archaeologist dug up St. Paul's missing Epistles or when they dug up the Gospels that record Acts 20:35, or the Jesus seminar could prove that St. Thomas wrote the Gospel named after him, none were or would be accepted into the canon.  The Church has spoken.  Many Fathers and Churches deemed Reveltion spurious, but the Church accepted it into the canon, and even if textual criticism would able to prove that St. John did not write it, it would remain in the canon as the Church has received it as an expression of her Faith in the return of her Bridegroom.

And that is why the Bible is canonized: it is not that the Church collected documents that the Apostles wrote.  Rather, they looked at what the Faithful had produced in the bosom of the Church, recognized herself in it, and adopted it as her self revelation.  Sort of like when parents see themselves in their children, and leave them as their legacy.  The Bible is not like the America Constitution, which brought a new government into order which is derived from that constition: it is like the Canadian Constitution, which merely codifies the system of government in place.  When St. Paul refers to Christ's life, he is not teaching history. He is appealing to an audience who already knows His life. Case in point: St. Paul's account of the Mystical Supper predates all the Gospels' accounts of it.  But he is not telling the Corinthians nothing that they do not already know (I Corin. 11:23)  In fact the ongoing Great Canon of the DL helped shape the Gospels' account.

That is why Sola Scriptura doesn't work: it is like owning the manuel, but not owning the car.

St. Theophan deals with the issue of why we say prayers written by the saints.  It is not because they are a replacement for Scripture nor for our own words.  But as we do not know how to pray as we ought, we look to those who did.  The saints we know (because they have been glorified, and their words consecrated by the usage of the Church) had reached the stage where the Holy Spirit spoke within them at prayer.  In that state, they composed in human language their thoughts in that state.  Using these words as guideposts, we are trying to follow them into the state where the Holy Spirit gives utterance to our prayers.  As the lesson of the Samaritan woman shows: the Samaritans came because of what she told them, but they reached a point at which they believed from knowing Him for themselves (John 4:43).

So too the Liturgy: the Church gathered as the Body of Christ so that He made be in their midst have put that experience into words.  The Church as a whole has adopted the Liturgy as the public expression of that experience, hence the appeal of liturgical texts for dogma: lex credendi, lex orandi.  But in that order: we do not believe that Christ is in the Eucharist because the DL says so, rather because we believe so, and experience Him in the Eucharist, that the DL so says.

So too the Dogmatic Definitions of the Ecumenical Councils.  The Faith cannot be added too.  No development of doctrine, if it was not in the Apostles' preaching it cannot be in the Dogma of the Church.  When heresy infected the Body of Christ, the Body of Christ, as a Body, mustered its antibodies, the Fathers and developed an immunity, the Dogmatic Definitions, to the heresy.  They did not add to the Faith: as the body already has the antibody proteins but only puts them to work to form a defense against the foreign pathogen, so too the Fathers only erect from pre-existing materials a boundary marker which the Orthodox may not move.  The Fathers confessed the same Faith, but in different words to ensure it remained the same Faith.  The expression of Faith changes only so that the Faith can remain the same, something litrugists should keep in mind.

The iconography writes an icon only when he follows the canon the Church has laid down for the visual expression of her Faith. Otherwise he is a forger and a counterfeiter (like our deluded friend Lentz).  The icon is the expression of the Church, not personal agendas, and just like a counterfeiter tries to make his money look real but it has no value, so too the icongrapher who oversteps the Church's bounds.  That is why we appeal to the icons when we are asked about what we believe, because they are backed by the full Faith and Credit of the Church.

No Church Father is infallible: only Christ is infallible, and the Church's infallibility flows from her being His Body.  But that flows only when she acts as a Body, like in Ecumenical Council.  Any individual member cannot act infallibility, so why the claim of the alleged "visible head" to speak infallibly cannot be accepted.  So too, no one should expect every word of an individual Father to be infallible.  It is only in as much as they reflect the common Faith, between us and them and lived in the Church now, that they constitute the Consensus Patrum.  What they served, as I pointed out in my OP, as a witness between us and heretics, so when they claim that the Real Presence is an innovation, that we point to St. Ignatius etc.: they witenss to the Faith as we witness to the Faith.

Which is the point of my OP to the OP: merely extended Sola Scriptura to included Ecumenical Councils and certain Fathers misses the point.  These are not the source of Faith: they are witnesses, like the altar on the Jordan, to make sure we have kept the Faith.


If we truly had the fullest understanding of the truth from the very beginning then Christ would not have sent the Holy Spirit to the Church. The Church would need no guidance if all truth was fully understood from the beginning.
It was delievered once and for all to the saints.  The Apostles taught us all we need to know. Prying into mysteries we, who have Faith, do not need to do isn't development.  It's asking for trouble, the kind that necessitate Ecumenical Councils.

As I have mentioned in the past, I would have a very hard time believing that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was exactly the same pre-Nicea as it was and is post-Nicea.

The Eternal and All Holy Trinity was exactly the same: if Arius had Faith in Him, Nicea would not have been necessary.

Indeed, groups like the Oneness Pentecostals reject the notion of God as a Trinity simply because it wasn't explicitly defined prior to 325 A.D.

And they weren't there to object. We were. So Arius, but his folllowing died out.  Some people refuse to learn from the mistakes of others.

They, too, believe that we "invented" a doctrine when in actuality all the Church did was clarify and develop the understanding of a truth that already exists.

No, just restated the Faith in affirming it in the face of novelties.

So, coming back to the Holy Spirit, what does the Orthodox Church believe the purpose of the Holy Spirit is since all truth, according to you, is already fully received and we cannot reach a deeper understand of truth?

He is Who is.  He doesn't need a purpose to justify His existence. And we do not need to dissect His working in us.

If the truth existed in full clarity from the beginning and need not develop, why hold Councils?

Because some people do not trust the Spirit, lack Faith, and start trying to fit God into their understanding, and have to be slapped up side their head.


I have heard people on here poke fun at Papal Infallibility because of the fact that they think 1870 is pretty late to define dogma, yet if we truly had the fullness of truth as well as the fullest understanding of truth from the beginning with Christ and the Apostles, there would be no necessity for the Holy Spirit or for Ecumenical Councils.

No, we would still have to depend on the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life.  The idlely curious make Ecumenical Councils necessary.

If ex cathedra had the fullness of truth, it would have made all the councils superfluous (which is now why the Vatican reinterprets Ecumenical council in the light, or rather darkness, of Pastor Aeternas.
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« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2013, 08:30:09 PM »

A Council is not a conclave, Bishops are not cardinals. If this council, per Vatican I lacked authority to dismiss John XXIII, he lacked it to elect Martin V, and Apostolic Succession was ended here.
I still don't think it's correct to say apostolic succession is broken. The pope is already a bishop when he's elected. He still has apostolic succession regardless. I recognise your point about the Western Schism, though, and if I ever work out an answer to it I'll let you know.
Quote
There is no absolute answers, but if this is a problem for Orthodoxy, then it is the same for you to know wich Pope is the true one, and since Popes contradicted each other on the 8th oecumenical council, you have the same issue in RC.
So Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy are on the same level, then. They both have severe logical flaws, so I might as well be in one as the other.
Quote
Papal authority does not equal Vatican I Papacy. Those links dont prove ultramontanism.
Several of them explicitly deny that it is possible for the bishop of Rome to promote heresy, and the rest imply it. I would certainly agree that not every exercise of papal authority falls under that, like the papal reservation of the authority to appoint bishops, but it certainly includes infallibility.
Quote
Because the Oecumenical Council was not called by Rome, was runed by bishops not in communion with Rome and who died not in communion with Rome and because the Pope lacked any authority that Vatican I pretends he had.
In what way were any of them not in communion with Rome?
The point of the Catholic dogma on councils is not that the pope needs to call them (after all, he certainly didn't call Nicea), but that he needs to approve them, which he did, as we count it ecumenical.
Quote
Not only, the Council, confirmed by Rome, said he taugh Heresy. Don Chapman admited it and he is one of your greatest apologists
Good point; I was wrong. Regardless, private writings are not infallible, nor are the broader letters known as encyclicals. It is required that he clearly be speaking to all and in his capacity as head of the church, and the fact that it was a private letter, as well as the uncertain tone of his whole letter to Sergius, indicates that he is not speaking as Pontifex Maximus, simply as a theologian.
Quote
Not true and Father Dvornik, Catholic scholar proved it in his book the Photian Schism wich can be read online for free:

http://books.google.fr/books?id=X_A8AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+Photian+Schism&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=ssAnUv7XCofL0AWFr4FI&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=the%20Photian%20Schism&f=false
Interestingly, I was referring to a non-Catholic historian, Philip Schaff, in countering your argument (http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/history/4_ch05.htm). Fr. Dvornik is not uncontested by Catholics either.
To elaborate on the 2nd point of your 1st post...

A popular Orthodox theologian in America, Fr. Thomas Hopko, covered this question in one of his podcasts. Basically, his conclusion was that a council is accepted by the whole Church when it is integrated into the liturgical life of the Church. The liturgical life of every Orthodox church directly reflects the decisions and dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils.

I liked Fr. Tom's explanation myself Tongue. Here is the podcast for those interested:

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/doctrinal_development
Thank you very much for that, NightOwl. It's the best explanation of that idea I've heard yet. But as I said, everyone's definition of "the Church" is dependent upon those with whom they are in communion. There are numerous doctrines which all the people who recognise each other as Roman Catholic, and who say that they are in continuity with the Bible, with the Prophets, with the Apostles, with the earliest Christianity, with the Holy Scriptures, have incorporated into the liturgy which you would consider heretical. Though I'm no expert, I would wager similar things have occurred in the non-Chalcedonian churches.

I've encountered several arguments here which have indeed shaken my faith in the papacy, but I still struggle (as you may have noticed  Smiley ) with an understanding of doctrine which seems so circular. If what you say is true, then despite my best attempts I was still led into heresy. How do I know that I won't be led there again by choosing (say) the New Calendarist Orthodox over the Old, or the Eastern over the Oriental?
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« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2013, 08:42:26 PM »

Okay, so say you become Orthodox because you "don't want to be a heretic." Well, other people are going to think you are one, based on their own reasonings. So, perhaps you need to dig deeper. What does your heart say to do? Don't answer that here, just think about it for yourself. Because if you convert to some faith because you felt their argument was solid or true, you might find yourself leaving and going elsewhere later, or dissatisfied, because your heart wasn't in the decision.

Ultimately "ecumenical" means squat compared to what is true. We believe the so-called ecumenical councils express the true faith. But they are not alone in that expression, of course. There is no book or set of councils or mere human being (singular or collective) who can articulate the fullness of Truth. Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ. The Church is His body and receives life and illumination from Him.

You really want to find the Truth? Leave the Internet and the endless arguments and go to church and find out for yourself.
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« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2013, 09:03:19 PM »

Regnare- Fr. Tom does address that later in the same podcast, so I recommend you listen to the whole thing or read the rest of the transcript. Here is part of it:

Quote
So there are no new doctrines. There are new doxologies. There are new teachings in the sense of formulations. There are new definitions. There are new hymns. There are icons that are new. But the faith is the same. And that would be the teaching of the Orthodox Christian church. And we believe that is ancient Christianity.
Ancient Christianity held very strongly to two things, it seems, very, very clearly. Number one is that it is all given in Jesus and there is nothing beyond it. The second thing would be that the Holy Spirit is given to the Christians to explain it, to defend it, to unfold it, to bring it to remembrance, to adorn it, to beautify it, and that the Holy Spirit continues to live among us. Not making new doctrines, but making new defenses, new witnesses, new embellishments, new adornments, new definitions, new formulations. And we believe that will go on until the end of the world.
Now how do you know which ones are of the Spirit and which are not? Our answer would be, those that have been universally received by the Orthodox churches as demonstrated in their liturgical prayer and their sacramental life, those are the ones that are dependable, and anything that is contrary to that is not true. It is in error. Perhaps it is a misunderstanding. But then that would have to be straightened out. But if it would be substantially different, then we would claim it is not the faith.
But the faith is given. There is one faith, one hope, one baptism, one Lord, one God and Father of us all. There is one church. There is one truth. And that is there from the beginning. But the teaching about it, the defense of it, the explanation, the testimony, the witnessing, the praying, the doxologizing, the hymning, in a sense, you might even dare to say that the expressions of that are virtually infinite, because as we move through history, and as new people come and as new questions arise, those explications and formulations and defenses will continue. But the truth is one and the same.

In addition, at the risk of sounding like an ecumenist, I would say that there is a large degree of truth in the RCC and OOC. Kallistos Ware, another leading Orthodox theologian in the West, wrote that God's grace radiates outwards from the Church, so that other denominations/faiths are certainly not without divine truth, incomplete or erring though they may be. Therefore perhaps reckless and wholesale condemnation of "heretical" believers is best avoided.
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« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2013, 09:34:11 PM »

@Regnare

Quote
I still don't think it's correct to say apostolic succession is broken.

It is since you do not have a valid Pope since the western schism.

Quote
So Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy are on the same level, then. They both have severe logical flaws, so I might as well be in one as the other.

Not really since we Orthodoxs are not in contradiction, but Vatican I is in contradiction with those facts.

Quote
Several of them explicitly deny that it is possible for the bishop of Rome to promote heresy, and the rest imply it. I would certainly agree that not every exercise of papal authority falls under that, like the papal reservation of the authority to appoint bishops, but it certainly includes infallibility.

I do not agree, and oecumenical councils neither.

Quote
In what way were any of them not in communion with Rome?

There was a schism in Antioch, Rome chose to commune with the wrong bishop. Wich could be called a partial communion, but wich is not possible in the Vatican I paradigm.

Quote
The point of the Catholic dogma on councils is not that the pope needs to call them (after all, he certainly didn't call Nicea)

So a Council made of bishops not in communion with Rome can be oecumenical? Weird since Vatican I says:

"Wherefore we teach and declare that,
Both clergy and faithful,
of whatever rite and dignity,
both singly and collectively,
are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this
not only in matters concerning faith and morals,
but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world."
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum20.htm#Chapter 3. On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman pontiff

St Meletius didnt seem to have known any of this.

Quote
It is required that he clearly be speaking to all and in his capacity as head of the church, and the fact that it was a private letter, as well as the uncertain tone of his whole letter to Sergius, indicates that he is not speaking as Pontifex Maximus, simply as a theologian.

Not very important since all your concepts of ex cathedra etc were not known at that time and you cant give us a list of ex cathedra statements. There are even debates about Vatican II documents, John Paul II statements etc.

Quote
Interestingly, I was referring to a non-Catholic historian, Philip Schaff, in countering your argument (http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/history/4_ch05.htm). Fr. Dvornik is not uncontested by Catholics either.

We can both agree that Schaff is outdated on this issue. As far as Dvornik is concerned, his arguments must be answered, and not with 19th century polemical litterature.

Quote
If what you say is true, then despite my best attempts I was still led into heresy. How do I know that I won't be led there again by choosing (say) the New Calendarist Orthodox over the Old, or the Eastern over the Oriental?

Well it is like choosing a wife, you can never be sure at 100%, but it is our Faith, from studies and prayers. Of course there is always a part of personnal opinion and judgment, but i'm confident in my choice(i'm a convert to Orthodoxy).  Wink

Add:

I want to show why i'm 100% confident that RC position is untenable:

Vatican I said:

That apostolic primacy which the Roman pontiff possesses as successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, includes also the supreme power of teaching.
This holy see has always maintained this,
the constant custom of the church demonstrates it, and
the ecumenical councils, particularly those in which East and West met in the union of faith and charity, have declared it
.

http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum20.htm#Chapter 4. On the infallible teaching authority of the Roman pontiff

But as posted earlier, Fathers of the 5th oecumenical council said:

"But we bishops answered him (Pope Vigilius): "If your blessedness is willing to meet together with us and the holy Patriarchs, and the most religious bishops, and to treat of the Three Chapters and to give, in unison with us all, a suitable form of the orthodox faith, as the Holy Apostles and the holy Fathers and the four councils have done, we will hold thee as our head, as a father and primate."

Either Vatican I is wrong, or the text of the 5th council is wrong, but they can not be both right. But, since Vatican I pretends to find its legitimacy partialy in this 5th Council, that means Vatican I is wrong. If Vatican I is wrong, then the RC can not be the true Church.

Now you only have to look for the OO, EO(not new vs old calendar since the Serb Church is old calendar, Romanian Church is new and both are in communion).
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« Reply #34 on: September 04, 2013, 10:26:05 PM »

A Council is not a conclave, Bishops are not cardinals. If this council, per Vatican I lacked authority to dismiss John XXIII, he lacked it to elect Martin V, and Apostolic Succession was ended here.
I still don't think it's correct to say apostolic succession is broken. The pope is already a bishop when he's elected. He still has apostolic succession regardless. I recognise your point about the Western Schism, though, and if I ever work out an answer to it I'll let you know.
Quote
There is no absolute answers, but if this is a problem for Orthodoxy, then it is the same for you to know wich Pope is the true one, and since Popes contradicted each other on the 8th oecumenical council, you have the same issue in RC.
So Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy are on the same level, then. They both have severe logical flaws, so I might as well be in one as the other.
No, the one appeals and depends on logic, and fails; and the other transcends logic, and logic vindicates.
Quote
Papal authority does not equal Vatican I Papacy. Those links dont prove ultramontanism.
Several of them explicitly deny that it is possible for the bishop of Rome to promote heresy, and the rest imply it.
Hardly, even wretched out of context as they are.

Why don't you point out which one(s) you think "prove" it?  Then we can be spared a lot of sifting.

I would certainly agree that not every exercise of papal authority falls under that, like the papal reservation of the authority to appoint bishops, but it certainly includes infallibility.
Actually, your quotes make a better (but still failed) case for papal supremacy over bishops, than papal "infallibility."
Quote
Because the Oecumenical Council was not called by Rome, was runed by bishops not in communion with Rome and who died not in communion with Rome and because the Pope lacked any authority that Vatican I pretends he had.
In what way were any of them not in communion with Rome?
Old Rome would not accept communion with them, and St. Meletius archbishop of Antioch would not commune with Old Rome, although the other bishops of the East were in communion with him at Constantinople.
The point of the Catholic dogma on councils is not that the pope needs to call them (after all, he certainly didn't call Nicea)
He didn't-but Pastor Aeternus, VI and VII claim otherwise.

but that he needs to approve them, which he did, as we count it ecumenical.
The Fifth and Sixth Councils were Ecumenical before Old Rome's approval/acceptance.
Quote
Not only, the Council, confirmed by Rome, said he taugh Heresy. Don Chapman admited it and he is one of your greatest apologists
Good point; I was wrong. Regardless, private writings are not infallible, nor are the broader letters known as encyclicals. It is required that he clearly be speaking to all and in his capacity as head of the church, and the fact that it was a private letter, as well as the uncertain tone of his whole letter to Sergius, indicates that he is not speaking as Pontifex Maximus, simply as a theologian.
Abp. Hefele found differently-until his supreme pontiff Pius forced him to find otherwise.
Quote
Not true and Father Dvornik, Catholic scholar proved it in his book the Photian Schism wich can be read online for free:

http://books.google.fr/books?id=X_A8AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+Photian+Schism&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=ssAnUv7XCofL0AWFr4FI&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=the%20Photian%20Schism&f=false
Interestingly, I was referring to a non-Catholic historian, Philip Schaff, in countering your argument (http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/history/4_ch05.htm).

something in particular we should look at?

Protestants are the other side of the Vatican's coin.

Fr. Dvornik is not uncontested by Catholics either.
And?

To elaborate on the 2nd point of your 1st post...

A popular Orthodox theologian in America, Fr. Thomas Hopko, covered this question in one of his podcasts. Basically, his conclusion was that a council is accepted by the whole Church when it is integrated into the liturgical life of the Church. The liturgical life of every Orthodox church directly reflects the decisions and dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils.

I liked Fr. Tom's explanation myself Tongue. Here is the podcast for those interested:

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/doctrinal_development
Thank you very much for that, NightOwl. It's the best explanation of that idea I've heard yet. But as I said, everyone's definition of "the Church" is dependent upon those with whom they are in communion.

Yeah. And?

There are numerous doctrines which all the people who recognise each other as Roman Catholic, and who say that they are in continuity with the Bible, with the Prophets, with the Apostles, with the earliest Christianity, with the Holy Scriptures, have incorporated into the liturgy which you would consider heretical. Though I'm no expert, I would wager similar things have occurred in the non-Chalcedonian churches.
Actually, no.  The non-Chalcedonians and Chalcedonians had the same Divine Liturgies in Alexandria and Antioch (and, as long as they lasted, in Constantinople and Jerusalem) for almost a thousand years after Chalcedon.

I've encountered several arguments here which have indeed shaken my faith in the papacy, but I still struggle (as you may have noticed  Smiley ) with an understanding of doctrine which seems so circular. If what you say is true, then despite my best attempts I was still led into heresy. How do I know that I won't be led there again by choosing (say) the New Calendarist Orthodox over the Old, or the Eastern over the Oriental?
All good choices.
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« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2013, 11:03:06 PM »

Thanks for the discussion, everybody. I've seen enough good arguments that I can't argue any further on my own, and though I don't necessarily concede, it's clear I need to do some more work. I think that, having obtained answers (or a lack thereof) to the questions this argument has raised, I'll stick to Shanghaiski's advice:
Leave the Internet and the endless arguments and go to church and find out for yourself.
though I think I'm going to stick around here anyway.

I will, however, answer ialmisry by choosing the quotes from that article which I think best indicate the Catholic conception of the papacy:
Quote
Irenaeus:
"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

Cyprian of Carthage: "The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). ... On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).
"Cyprian to Antonian, his brother. Greeting ... You wrote ... that I should forward a copy of the same letter to our colleague [Pope] Cornelius, so that, laying aside all anxiety, he might at once know that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church" (ibid., 55[52]:1).

Jerome: "I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).
"The church here is split into three parts, each eager to seize me for its own. . . . Meanwhile I keep crying, ‘He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!’ . . . Therefore, I implore your blessedness [Pope Damasus I] . . . tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria" (ibid., 16:2).

Council of Ephesus: "Philip, presbyter and legate of [Pope Celestine I] said: ‘We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you, the holy members, by our holy voices, you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessedness is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the apostles, is blessed Peter the apostle. And since now [we], after having been tempest-tossed and much vexed, [have] arrived, we ask that you order that there be laid before us what things were done in this holy synod before our arrival; in order that according to the opinion of our blessed pope and of this present holy assembly, we likewise may ratify their determination’" (Acts of the Council, session 2 [A.D. 431]).

Peter Chrysologus: "We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the most blessed pope of the city of Rome, for blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the truth of faith to those who seek it. For we, by reason of our pursuit of peace and faith, cannot try cases on the faith without the consent of the bishop of Rome" (Letters 25:2 [A.D. 449]).
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« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2013, 11:07:27 PM »

Best of luck. Personally I've found this forum and others like it to be very helpful, so I hope you do stick around. Just try to avoid getting caught up too much in polemics. Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: September 05, 2013, 12:11:44 AM »

Ecumenical councils, as opposed to local synods, are first declared ecumenical at the time. Then they are entered into imperial law. Beyond the empire, like in Britain or Persia, the local bishops met, sometimes well after the fact, and confirmed or rejected the council.

Where did you get this idea? Smiley

Is history such a novelty?

St. Constantine says, "I'm doing something new. I'm holding an ecumenical council."

Bishop asks, "What's that?"

St. Constantine replies, "Well, it's this really big council that involves bishops from all over the world, not just from a local church and makes decisions governing the whole Church."

Bishop: "Oh. We've never had one of those before. How will we know it's really ecumenical?"

St. Constantine: "Because I'm making it a matter of law."

Bishop: "Wow. That is new."

St. Constantine: "Yeah. And I'm going to personally pay for bishops from all over the world to come to it."


 I think your right

ecumenical councils seems to have in reality only been ecumenical if the emperor made it law, although there were ecumenical councils made into law by emperorrs before but they were later denouced by later ecumenical councils by being robber synods

perhaps this is why there have been no actual ecumenical councils since the fall of the roman empire, no one dared give themselves the pride to do so until recent ecumenical patriarchs of constantinople and their interpretation of having such huge authority, why not make up an authority to call ecumenical councils? after all, its in my title!

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« Reply #38 on: September 05, 2013, 12:19:01 AM »

First, as I said above, an ecumenical council is a matter of imperial law
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's.

The imperial law only recognized an Ecumenical Council. It did not make it so.  Ephesus II and the Iconclast headless council were all imperial law, but they were never ecumenical.


I have a question, to be a devils advocate (and since from the devil, obviously flawed ;p )

Would the first ecumenical council have happened if the emperor did not call them to come together for the council, if he did not propose a council?

Would the bishops have all gotten together in unison, paying their own transportation?

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« Reply #39 on: September 05, 2013, 12:23:59 AM »


How is apostolic succession broken? The pope was chosen by conclave. That's how he's always chosen.

I dont think this is true, there used to be no such thing as cardinals. In fact, popes used to also have as his elector the citizens of Rome and some of her nobility, but this was discontinued after a certain "antipope" who was elected without being properly ordained in the correct order (despite other bishops condemning him for it being ordained the same way), you know, like being ordained a monk one day, a sub deacon the next, a deacon the next, and a priest the next, and finally a bishop

but that pope did not do the sub deacon or something ordination

i cant remember his name, but it was before 1000 AD
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« Reply #40 on: September 05, 2013, 05:13:12 AM »

@Regnare

Quote
I still don't think it's correct to say apostolic succession is broken.

It is since you do not have a valid Pope since the western schism.

What?  Cheesy This is a bunch of nonsense LOL the line of roman popes was legitimate case closed as I showed in a previous thread here on OC.net
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« Reply #41 on: September 05, 2013, 07:44:24 AM »

The emperor should convoke the Council. All bishops should be invited. The Imperial Sacra should be read at the beginning. The decisions should become Imperial legislation. The teachings should be Orthodox, accepted by future generations and accepted by future (ecumenical) councils.

That's the way it went in the Church before the Great Schism.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 07:47:20 AM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: September 05, 2013, 08:02:09 AM »

The emperor should convoke the Council. All bishops should be invited. The Imperial Sacra should be read at the beginning. The decisions should become Imperial legislation. The teachings should be Orthodox, accepted by future generations and accepted by future (ecumenical) councils.

That's the way it went in the Church before the Great Schism.

Not sure if serious...  Undecided
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« Reply #43 on: September 05, 2013, 09:04:13 AM »

@Regnare

Quote
I still don't think it's correct to say apostolic succession is broken.

It is since you do not have a valid Pope since the western schism.

What?  Cheesy This is a bunch of nonsense LOL the line of roman popes was legitimate case closed as I showed in a previous thread here on OC.net

Really? Post your demonstration here please. We'll see  Smiley
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« Reply #44 on: September 05, 2013, 09:14:00 AM »

@Regnare

Quote
I still don't think it's correct to say apostolic succession is broken.

It is since you do not have a valid Pope since the western schism.

What?  Cheesy This is a bunch of nonsense LOL the line of roman popes was legitimate case closed as I showed in a previous thread here on OC.net
No, you asserted because your case depends on it, although that does not make it so.  Your "Roman Popes"-as I've showed in previous thread here on OC.net-recognized the Pisan popes, listing them in the PA (as official a list as the Vatican will issue). Roman Pope Alexander VI took the number in recognition of Pisan Alexander V.  Roman Pope John XXIII (the one who closed Vatican I and convened Vatican II) took the number to disavow Pisan Pope John XXIII-although the Roman's authority depends on the council of Constance that the Pisan convened.
Your Roman popes closed your case against you.
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