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Author Topic: Apostle St. James, the Church in Jerusalem  (Read 1032 times) Average Rating: 0
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paul2004
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« on: June 28, 2005, 12:04:15 PM »

Following from the Gospel of Thomas (translation from Coptic)

"Verse 12: The disciples said to Jesus, "We know that You will depart from us. Who is to be our leader?"

Jesus said to them, "Wherever you are, you are to go to James the righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being."


Apostle St. James and Jerusalem in Orthodox tradition :

- In Acts 15, when there was a dispute in Antioch, the Apostles from Antioch went to Jerusalem Church.
- First archbishop of Jerusalem.
- Author of the liturgy used by the Church.
- St. James headed the first Synod of the Church (Acts 15)
- After Pentecost Theotokos remained in Jerusalem, strengthening the Church. When she departed all Apostles came back to Jerusalem. Apostle Thomas was miraculously brought to Jerusalem in clouds from India where the Apostle was establishing the Church. St. Mary handed over the girdle (soonoro) to Apostle Thomas in Jerusalem.
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Stavro
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2005, 01:10:24 PM »

I was not able to figure out the intention of the post or the topic, yet the reference to the gnostic gospel of Thomas requires a statement that it is not accepted as canonical.

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In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. (Isaiah 19:19)

" God forbid I should see the face of Judah or listen to his blasphemy" (Gerontius, Archmanidrite of the monastery of St. Melania)
paul2004
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2005, 02:02:16 PM »

Hi, Please refer to http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/thomas.html

In my understanding, some of these ancient texts are branded gnostic, but don't think it was in any ecumenical council such decisions were made. Church  fathers did not hesitate to use such works when it did not deviate from the true faith.   So, the Acts of Thomas was widely recognized by Church fathers and St. Clement of Alexandria also quotes from the Gospel of Thomas.  What I read is that if you remove one or two verses (believed to be added later), the Gospel of Thomas is an acceptable text.  The content is important and where the content does not deviate from traditional understanding it need not be rejected, but considered useful.  Everything is compared with the acceptable tradition.

When I was reading it,  I thought is it consistent with the traditional understanding.

-Paul
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Stavro
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2005, 04:11:58 PM »

- Words inspired by the Holy Spirit are absolute stamdard of faith and cannot be edited to be in line with the Church Faith. It is not a common book written by able theologians, but the words of God Himself without any need for change. To modify in order to accomodate cannot be applied to Gospels, even if the modifications did not exceed a couple of lines.
- The authorship of the gnostic book of interest is disputed, and it is quite possible that gnostics have inserted some quotes in some Fathers writings.
- This book was available since the books got canonized as part of the scripture, and it was not included in the list of accepted writings.
- This book , alleged to St.Thomas, is actually not recognized by all OO churches. The holy Synod in Alexandria has rejected it over the years.
- The discoveries in Nag Hamadi were done in the 1940's, and it is impossible for the words of God to be lost for so long. 
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In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. (Isaiah 19:19)

" God forbid I should see the face of Judah or listen to his blasphemy" (Gerontius, Archmanidrite of the monastery of St. Melania)
paul2004
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2005, 04:46:25 PM »

Dear Stavro,

I agree with you,  but do not quite understand what it means to be a Gnostic work. If you mean the teacher Mani and his likes, as well as some sects today mixing Christian teachings with that of other religions, then I agree that such an  understanding of the term 'gnostic' is not acceptable. Perhaps  because of these sects we developed such a bad thinking about the term 'gnostic'.  But there is also an Orthodox understanding of the term.

I am sure that St. Clement of Alexandria is an accepted Orthodox father.  According to St. Clement, a true Gnostic is one who enquires the truth deeply compared with an average believer.

http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/patrology/schoolofalex/IV-StClement/chapter2.html

"Book 7: The Christian Gnostic: It is a defense and glorification of the Gnostic Christian. He alone is the true worshipper and the real philosopher, who grows up to become in the likeness of God. The pagans made their gods in their likeness.. .He attacks the anthropomorphic gods of the Greeks and defends the true Gnostic against charges of atheism and impiety. He then passes to a positive evaluation of the true Gnostic, a laborer in god’s vineyard, who gives help to all in need. He attacks various heretics as foolish, and ends with an account of the Stromata."


When we know for what reason some work is not accepted, we know what to reject in it. We can find truth spread in different writings. But the Church may declare a work as non canonical to help all believers - both those who enquire deeply and the average believer who is not involved in any enquiry.

Why the Gospel of Thomas reached only the school of Alexandria? If my belief is correct, St. Pantaenus visited India (as a representative of the Alexandrian school) and brought to Alexandria the works from India. The Pachomian monks hid the works among the rocks.

It is understanding (unity in mind and thought as Apostle Paul puts it) that is important.  We find elements of truth in many works.  But the important thing is that we are not asked to follow any work, but only those according to the accepted teaching of the Church.

Right now I am interested in finding a specific truth in any work (canonical, or not canonical - because truth is truth whether it is in canonical work or non-canonical work.) - i.e. my belief that Apostles are equal and there does not exist a universal primacy based on successors of only one Apostle.  The canonical books in the Bible does not explicity describe such a supremacy, but there are at least two interpretations of certain verses in the Bible causing confusion (affecting the church in which I am member). 

Any help appreciated.


Peace

Paul
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