Continuing from this thread
So, using your definition (which I think is great, btw), do you think that any Orthodox bishop has gone into heresy? For example, has any Orthodox bishop stated that "all Christian religions are equally salvific," or that "all Christians regardless of confession are all members of the same Church"? I have seen others make the argument that some have, but what do you
think? And what is more problematic, when
did this or that bishop go off track? And, if you believe that some have gone astray, have you talked to your bishop about your concern?
Im using the criterion of the Holy Fathers and the Holy Canons of the Only True Church.
Well, you see the problem with that is that you aren't the one who gets to apply the canons, bishops are
Layman do not decide when canons will be applied strictly or less strictly (ie. economically), but bishops do. Thus, a bishop could disregard all of the canons you listed, and you as a lay person could not condemn him for that. You could of course talk to your bishop about your concerns, but you do not have the authority to actually do or say anything in public about it. As a matter of fact, some Churches have canons which punish people for publically making accusations instead of submitting them for usage in an ecclesiastical court... if you really
are concerned with following the canons, you might want to ask your bishop about this! All of this is not to say that bishops can do whatever they want--but if they are to be disciplined for unjustly
transgressing the canons or tradition, it is for a synod of bishops to reprimand (or take other actions against) them. That
is part of the same tradition that the canons are a part of. So, please don't disregard the part of tradition that you don't like (doing things in an orderly, patient manner, and going through the proper channels), and just rant about the part of tradition you do want enforced.
Now, according to the 15th canon of the 1st-2nd Council, lay people can indeed seperate from their bishop if they consider him to be in heresy:
“For those who separate from communion with their president because of some heresy condemned by the holy councils or fathers, when, that is, he preaches heresy to the whole people, and teaches it openly in the church, if such wall themselves off from communion with the above-mentioned bishop before conciliar examination not only are not subject to the penalty laid down by the canons, but are also worthy of the honour befitting the Orthodox. For they have condemned, not bishops, but false-bishops and false-teachers, and they have no sundered the unity of the Church by a schism, but have endeavoured to protect the Church from schisms and divisions.”
...However, this seperation is not an explicit condemnation in itself, but is merely something that is done while people wait
for "conciliar examination" to confirm the error of the bishop and the validity of seperation from him. In other words, even the proof text often cited by traditionalists for breaking away or walling off says that this is only something that is done until a Council can vindicate their position. It is important to remember the context of this canon, however, for it is a unique in that the other canons from this Council all point in the opposite direction: firming up the power and authority of the bishop.