Regarding the importance of the laity:
Is it the case that the views of the laity play a major role in determining Church thinking?
Can you have a situation where the leadership of the church is in error and the laity is correct?
The best example I can think of is the case where a church council in the Middle Ages proposed iconoclasm, but the church as a body did not agree with this in unison.
Can you have a situation where an issue has come up that a few clergy have addressed, but the laity have more often spoken out on the issue (in agreement with the clergy)?
Is there a name for the role of the laity in developing the Church's thinking, or is there anything written on that?
Read this from the encyclical of 1848 by the Synods of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jersualem
Moreover, neither Patriarchs nor Councils could then have introduced novelties amongst us, because the protector of religion is the very body of the Church, even the people themselves, who desire their religious worship to be ever unchanged and of the same kind as that of their fathers: for as, after the Schism, many of the Popes and Latinizing Patriarchs made attempts that came to nothing even in the Western Church; and as, from time to time, either by fair means or foul, the Popes have commanded novelties for the sake of expediency (as they have explained to our f'athers, although they were thus dismembering the Body of Christ): so now again the Pope, for the sake of a truly divine and most just expediency, forsooth (not mending the nets, but himself rending the garment of the Savior), dare to oppose the venerable things of antiquity,—things well fitted to preserve religion, as his Holiness confesses (p. xi. l.16), and which he himself honors, as he says (lb. 1.16), together with his predecessors, for he repeats that memorable expression o one of those blessed predecessors (Celestine, writing to the third Ecumenical Council): "Let novelty cease to attack antiquity." And let the Catholic Church enjoy this benefit from this so far blameless declaration of the Popes.
And to quote, which is so popular, modern peoples: (sadly, I cannot find the quote in english, so take this terrible google translation translation)
"The whole body of the Church has the right to verify the order to be more precise, the right, and not only the right but the duty of "confirmation." With this meaning the Patriarchs of the Orient wrote in the famous Encyclical letter of 1848 that "the people he alone it existed the defender of religion"
Fr George Florovsky
Also, another thing:
«Επειδή λοιπόν εξήλθε με Σύνοδο εις το εμφανές η αιρετική ασέβεια, πρέπει και η ευλάβειά σου μαζί με όλους τους Ορθοδόξους να εκφράζεται με θάρρος, με το να μη κοινωνή με τους κακοδόξους, μήτε να μνημονεύη κανένα από αυτούς που παρευρέθησαν στη μοιχοσύνοδο ή ομοφρονούν με αυτήν. Και βεβαίως είναι δίκαιον, όσιε πάτερ, αφού είσαι σε όλα θεόφιλος, όπως δηλώνει και το όνομά σου, να αγαπάς τον Θεόν και σ' αυτό. Διότι ο Χρυσόστομος με έντονη και εκτενή φωνή εχαρακτήρισε ως εχθρούς του Θεού, όχι μόνον τους αιρετικούς, αλλά και όσους κοινωνούν μ' αυτούς. Και εάν η δική σου σταθερότης δεν διασφαλισθή, ποιός λοιπόν θα σωθή; Και αυτός που με τη δύναμι του Θεού ωμολόγησε με παρρησία σαν άγιος πλήν ολοκληρωθή η αίρεσι, εάν τώρα, μετά την αίρεσι υποχωρήση, πώς κάποιος άλλος θα τολμήσει να πη «γρύ»;
«Και εάν το μοναχικόν τάγμα δεν θα τα θεωρήση όλα σκύβαλα, εννοώ τα μοναστήρια και όλα τα γύρω από αυτά, πώς ο λαϊκός θα καταφρονήση την γυναίκα, τα τέκνα και τα λοιπά;»TERRIBLE
google translation to fit forum rules:
"Since exited with Summit in the apparent heretical impiety, and should reverence you with all the Orthodox to speak with courage, by not fellowship with the false believers, nor to mention any of those who attended the moichosynodo or with like-minded this. And certainly is fair, osie father since you all Theophilus as the name suggests, your loving God and therein. Because Chrysostom intense and extensive voice echaraktirise as enemies of God, not only heretics, but those in communion with them. And if yours does not ensure stability, then who will be saved? And he who by the power of God with boldness omologise like a saint except completed or heresy, if now, after the heresy retreat, how someone else would dare saying a "gry" ?
"And if the monastic order would not consider them all trash, I mean the monasteries and all around them, how folk will disregard it his wife, his children and so forth?"
this is letter from Abbot Theodore
It was during the time of Emperor Constantine VI and his divorce (because lack of male heir) and remarrying, against the canons. The Patriarch allowed it to happen, and two abbots of constantinople got angry about it. They said that not only was the marriage and divorce illegal, but also that the priest who conducted the false marriage, one by the name of Joseph, should be excommunicated, and also all those who communed with him, should be excommunicated. one abbot and then monks with him (This is St. Theodore the Studite) was flogged and exiled. Also, the other abbot was imprisoned.
So, with the Patriarch not doing anything, and the couple monasteries which voiced their opinion against it being persecuted, who was left to oppose the emperor on his breaking of canons?? The laity!!! And the laity sure did do their job in this instance
Instances like this, is quoted to show that the laity have a right and an obligation to defend the faith