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Author Topic: S. Maximos & the Papacy  (Read 3061 times) Average Rating: 0
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SeanMc
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« on: May 30, 2006, 07:23:02 PM »

Papal apologists keep bringing up these two quotes:

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The extremities of the earth, and everyone in every part of it who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the Most Holy Roman Church and her confession and faith, as to a sun of unfailing light awaiting from her the brilliant radiance of the sacred dogmas of our Fathers, according to that which the inspired and holy Councils have stainlessly and piously decreed. For, from the descent of the Incarnate Word amongst us, all the churches in every part of the world have held the greatest Church alone to be their base and foundation, seeing that, according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell will never prevail against her, that she has the keys of the orthodox confession and right faith in Him, that she opens the true and exclusive religion to such men as approach with piety, and she shuts up and locks every heretical mouth which speaks against the Most High. (Maximus, Opuscula theologica et polemica, Migne, Patr. Graec. vol. 90)

If the Roman See recognizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate but a heretic, it is certainly plain that everyone who anathematizes those who have rejected Pyrrhus also anathematizes the See of Rome, that is, he anathematizes the Catholic Church. I need hardly add that he excommunicates himself also, if indeed he is in communion with the Roman See and the Catholic Church of God ...Let him hasten before all things to satisfy the Roman See, for if it is satisfied, all will agree in calling him pious and orthodox. For he only speaks in vain who thinks he ought to pursuade or entrap persons like myself, and does not satisfy and implore the blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of the Romans, that is, the Apostolic See, which is from the incarnate of the Son of God Himself, and also all the holy synods, accodring to the holy canons and definitions has received universal and surpreme dominion, authority, and power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world. (Maximus, Letter to Peter, in Mansi x, 692)

What's the Orthodox view?
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Stavro
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2006, 03:35:58 PM »

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The extremities of the earth, and everyone in every part of it who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the Most Holy Roman Church and her confession and faith, as to a sun of unfailing light awaiting from her the brilliant radiance of the sacred dogmas of our Fathers, according to that which the inspired and holy Councils have stainlessly and piously decreed

Whenever I read this quote, and specially the line in bold, I admire the rhetorics of Maximos of Constantinople and his eloquent style that he used effectively to put beyond doubt the position of the Eastern Chalcedonians in their submission at the feet of the most holy and pious Pope of Rome, the Vicar of Christ and the shadow of God that connects heaven and earth.

Papists have all the right to use these quote, and it shuts up any opposition from the Eastern Chalcedonians who argue against Roman Supremacy. Clear quotes that don ot need twisting and further explanation or "what Maximos of Constantinople actually meant ....."kind of apology. He provided the Papists with a powerful argument, after all, Maximos of Constantinople is a common saint between the two branches of Chalcedon, and an authority for both, and it seems he understood the Roman authority as a Supremacy in clear words. I admire the fact that Maximos of Constantinople was loyal to Chalcedon in that respect and was intelligent to understand that Roman Supremacy became part of his tradition beginning of Chalcedon, something not every Eastern Chalcedonian is able to recognize. Now that the Eastern branch of Chalcedon is cut from communion with the Roman See for the past 1000 years, I wonder where they get the clarity of the sun of unfailing light awaiting from her the brilliant radiance of the sacred dogmas of their fathers.

If indeed Roman Supremacy or its new version "Primacy" in Eastern thought is a fundamental dogma in the Christian thought and is an Apostolic teaching, as far as Eastern Chalcedonians believe, where do they stand in the past 1000 years as they did not adhere to it contesting the same dogma that Maximos of Constantinople advocated and defended ?
« Last Edit: May 31, 2006, 03:38:18 PM by Stavro » Logged

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)
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2006, 04:03:40 PM »

Stavros,
Since you're Coptic (or should I say OO), I'm rather surprised you take this stance since AFAIK the OO Churches are not in Communion with Rome.  Still, you make the dangerous presupposition that all the other Churches throughout antiquity always thought of Rome having Supremacy.  A quote from Maximos
(St. Maximos the Confessor?) is not going to prove this one way or another.
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chrisb
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2006, 04:46:45 PM »

Wow, he's painting it on pretty thick isn't he...
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2006, 05:24:33 PM »

Elisha,
you are right, Supremacy of any kind and "Roman Primacy" has no place in the OO Tradition and is not contested because it does not exist to begin with. I wonder about the position of the EO though who believe in it, as evident from this quote and many other saying of those who you relate to. If you are in schism with the most holy See of Rome, according to your dogma, and if indeed it is necessary to commune with Rome to be part of the Church, how did you live for the past 1000 years ?
 
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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)
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2006, 09:13:50 AM »

In nomine Iesu I offer you all Peace,

This is a difficult topic to handle on an Orthodox Forum without ruffling some feathers. Truly the Roman Catholic Church holds the position that the one Church of Christ, as a society constituted and organized in the world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Holy Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him. Only through this Church can one obtain the fullness of the means of salvation since the Lord has entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone whose head is Peter. Or such is how it is written in the Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church.

So the question arises 'how did you live for the past 1000 years without this communion?'

I would say under great suffering and trial by the hands of a carnal world ill-suited to deal with citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Ultimately I would also have to add to this label 'carnal world' members of my own Roman Catholic Church who abused the measure of grace given them to navigate such a Holy Institution as that mystical body truly is though mared with the sin and error of it's wayward members.

The Blessed John Paul II was wise to offer apologies for the many failings of the Holy Catholic Church throughout the many years since it's inception but never has it ceased to pray and reach out to all those who seek unity as the People of God in His Church.

Truly I believe that the Holy Catholic Church has ever been in communion with the Successor of Peter 'in Rome' but that does not blind me to the continued grace which flows to 'all it's many members' through the Holy Spirit.

Truly within Rome the error of disunity has become more apparent over the last 100 years and reconciliation has been ever our chief concern and one of the primary motivators of Vatican II in love for all separated Brethren In Christ Abroad. The Body of Christ is ill-equipped to handle the demands of this age without the unity so necessary and so we are error it's servant.

Peace and God Bless.
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2006, 10:58:05 AM »

I wonder about the position of the EO though who believe in it, as evident from this quote and many other saying of those who you relate to. 

And I wonder where these "many other saying" are. (Or should I say, "is"?)
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2006, 11:07:55 AM »


This is a difficult topic to handle on an Orthodox Forum without ruffling some feathers.

Speaking of feathers:

A PEACOCK spreading its gorgeous tail mocked a Crane that passed by, ridiculing the ashen hue of its plumage and saying, "I am robed, like a king, in gold and purple and all the colors of the rainbow; while you have not a bit of color on your wings." "True," replied the Crane; "but I soar to the heights of heaven and lift up my voice to the stars, while you walk below, like a cock, among the birds of the dunghill."

Quote
What's the Orthodox view?

- Fine feathers don't make fine birds.   Grin

In other words read the life of St. Maximus again:

The life of Saint Maximus is also instructive for us. Saint Maximus, though only a simple monk, resisted and cut off communion with every patriarch, metropolitan, archbishop and bishop in the East because of their having been infected with the heresy of Monothelitism. During the first imprisonment of the Saint, the messengers from the Ecumenical Patriarch asked him,

"To which church do you belong? To that of Byzantium, of Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? For all these churches, together with the provinces in subjection to them, are in unity. Therefore, if you also belong to the Catholic Church, enter into communion with us at once, lest fashioning for yourself some new and strange pathway, you fall into that which you do not even expect!"

To this the righteous man wisely replied, "Christ the Lord called that Church the Catholic Church which maintains the true and saving confession of the Faith. It was for this confession that He called Peter blessed, and He declared that He would found His Church upon this confession. However, I wish to know the contents of your confession, on the basis of which all churches, as you say, have entered into communion. If it is not opposed to the truth, then neither will I be separated from it." The confession which they were proposing to the Saint was not Orthodox, of course, and so he refused to comply with their coercions. Furthermore, they were lying about the See of Rome which, in fact, had remained Orthodox. Some time later, at his last interrogation by the Byzantine authorities, the following dialogue took place:

The Saint said, "They [the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria and all the other heretical bishops of the East] have been deposed and deprived of the priesthood at the local synod which took place recently in Rome. What Mysteries, then, can they perform? Or what spirit will descend upon those who are ordained by them?"

"Then you alone will be saved, and all others will perish?" they objected.

To this the Saint replied, "When all the people in Babylon were worshipping the golden idol, the Three Holy Children did not condemn anyone to perdition. They did not concern themselves with the doings of others, but took care only for themselves, lest they should fall away from true piety. In precisely the same way, when Daniel was cast into the lion's den, he did not condemn any of those who, fulfilling the law of Darius, did not wish to pray to God, but he kept in mind his own duty, and desired rather to die than to sin against his conscience by transgressing the Law of God. God forbid that I should condemn anyone or say that I alone am being saved! However, I shall sooner agree to die than to apostatize in any way from the true Faith and thereby suffer torments of conscience."

"But what will you do," inquired the envoys, "when the Romans are united to the Byzantines? Yesterday, indeed, two delegates arrived from Rome and tomorrow, the Lord's day, they will communicate the Holy Mysteries with the Patriarch. "

The Saint replied, "Even if the whole universe holds communion with the Patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching."

As history has demonstrated, Saint Maximus—who was only a simple monk and not even ordained—and his two disciples were the ones who were Orthodox, and all those illustrious, famous and influential Patriarchs and Metropolitans whom the Saint had written against were the ones who were in heresy. When the Sixth Ecumenical Synod was finally convened, among those condemned for heresy were four Patriarchs of Constantinople, one Pope of Rome, one Patriarch of Alexandria, two Patriarchs of Antioch and a multitude of other Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops. During all those years, that one simple monk was right, and all those notable bishops were wrong. - From The Life of Our Holy Father St. Maximus the Confessor
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2006, 11:36:21 AM »

Papal apologists keep bringing up these two quotes:

What's the Orthodox view?

That primacy is not supremacy.

If you want the most pro-Roman take on the whole question, including these sections of Maximos, see Olivier Clement's work. Other Orthodox are not so lenient in their interpretation of the Eastern sources (I believe there are even some questions about the quotes under scrutiny). Clement tries to argue that the East and West gradually developed two different kinds of language in order to explain Roman primacy (NOT infallibility or supremacy, which are much later ideas). Pope Leo, for example, claimed he was the princeps of the entire Church, and his legates at Chalcedon demanded that the other Bishops simply accept his Tome as the final word on the matter simply because the Pope had written it (something the Bishops, of course, did not do...more on that later). However, according to Clement, the East viewed papal primacy in terms of honor, NOT in terms of jurisdiction, much less infallibility. Clement's assessment is based on many documents from both West and East, including St. Maximos.

However, some of Clement's interpretations are based on shaky ground. For example, recent scholarship has shown Leo's Tome had very little theological influence on Chalcedon, and whatever influence it did have did not come from the automatic acceptance of the Tome’s argument on the basis of Papal supremacy (or even a primacy of honor), but on the basis of the Tome's re-interpreted agreement with St. Cyril. See, among many, John McGuckin on this.

If one reads the entire Acta of Chalcedon (not just the one small section where the Bishops respond -- in the Latin version, we might add! -- so enthusiastically to Leo's Tome), it is clear that right after the acclamation even the Bishops from Thrace, who were still directly UNDER the Pope, raised rather vociferous objections and demanded that Leo's Tome be compared to the writings of the great Cyril. (The Papal legates, of course, were rather miffed by this failure to simply adopt the Tome, and were completely dissatisfied with the first draft of the Statement of Faith, which had basically no Leonine vocabulary in it...it appears that the Emperor had to insist that the committee put some in!). At any rate, even after the revision, the official Statement of Faith re-interpreted Leo's Tome in light of Cyril's letters after Ephesus. So, who is the mouthpiece of the Truth there?

While Clement glosses over stuff like this, his basic point is absolutely in agreement with such evidence. The East respected the primacy of honor of the Papacy within the assumed context of conciliarity, especially when such meant protection from the Imperial authority (after all, that's rather convenient, as in the case of St. John Chrysostom, whose actual view of the Papacy is rather not as neat and supportive as one might expect from a man who himself found support in Rome).
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francis-christopher
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2006, 01:10:10 PM »

In nomine Iesu I offer you all continued Peace,

When it's convenient, the Pope's honor is raised to supremacy by the Orthodox and when it's not convenient, the Pope's supremacy is lowered to honor? Just curious.
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Francisce-Christophorus

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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2006, 01:26:46 PM »

In nomine Iesu I offer you all continued Peace,

When it's convenient, the Pope's honor is raised to supremacy by the Orthodox and when it's not convenient, the Pope's supremacy is lowered to honor? Just curious.

Well, IF we want to take the cynical interpretation of Church history, that's not what the "Orthodox" do, but what the early Church did.

A better question: Anyone can claim their honor makes them supreme, but is the claim anything more than rhetoric if it isn't acknowledged as legitimate by anywhere close to the majority of Bishops?

Anyway, even Ut unum sint abandons the Medieval riffs about supremacy and emphasizes the necessity of conciliarity, so it should really be a non-issue from the Roman point of view.
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2006, 02:14:32 PM »

Well, IF we want to take the cynical interpretation of Church history, that's not what the "Orthodox" do, but what the early Church did.

A better question: Anyone can claim their honor makes them supreme, but is the claim anything more than rhetoric if it isn't acknowledged as legitimate by anywhere close to the majority of Bishops?

Anyway, even Ut unum sint abandons the Medieval riffs about supremacy and emphasizes the necessity of conciliarity, so it should really be a non-issue from the Roman point of view.

In nomine Iesu I offer you continued peace pensateomnia,

If I was to be so bold I would say that it is clear to the Roman Pontiff the necessity of reconciliation. Far too much is at stake both spirituality and culturally to allow disunity to continue. Trust me, I don't visit this forum for my health I am getting to know my neighbors In Christ.

Peace and God Bless.
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Francisce-Christophorus

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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2006, 02:19:56 PM »

Trust me, I don't visit this forum for my health I am getting to know my neighbors In Christ.

Are you implying this forum is bad for your health? Wink


(Stupid emoticons!)
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2006, 02:30:34 PM »

In nomine Iesu I offer you all continued Peace,

When it's convenient, the Pope's honor is raised to supremacy by the Orthodox and when it's not convenient, the Pope's supremacy is lowered to honor? Just curious.

Neither has this been the case...always one of Primacy.
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2006, 02:57:35 PM »

Are you implying this forum is bad for your health? Wink

In nomine Iesu I offer you continued peace pensateomnia,

Actually, I have been a nimble enough old man to avoid any topics that would force us to hash out any of our more touchy differences and frankly I will leave such trying work for our Theologians and Hierarch to deal with. I am simply looking for what we have in common.

Peace and God Bless.
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