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Author Topic: The Importance of Peter's Successor  (Read 14378 times) Average Rating: 0
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Linus7
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« on: April 09, 2003, 04:28:40 PM »

I could be wrong, but I think we can all agree that St. Peter was appointed by Jesus to be the leader of the early Church.

I also think it is pretty plain from the history of the Church that the Bishop of Rome has always been regarded as Peter's Successor and the "first among equals" among the bishops of the Church.

Since the "Great Schism" (what was so great about it?) that culminated in A.D. 1054, the Holy Orthodox Church has functioned apart from and without St. Peter's Successor.

Does not his absence create a huge leadership vacuum in the Church?

I am not sure how this discussion will go, or even what I myself am driving at, but it does strike me that we have suffered an enormous loss.

Any comments? Opinions?

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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2003, 04:34:33 PM »

First among equals as in he spoke first at councils or synod meetings. He still only had one vote. When the capital of the Roman Empire moved to Constantinople, the EP had the title. Then after the sack of Constantinople Moscow became the "Third Rome" and had that honor.

As for leading, remember in the Apostle's Council James spoke last and declared the decision that Paul was right and Peter was wrong.
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2003, 04:42:24 PM »

Linus7:


As a Catholic, I firmly believe in the necessity of the Petrine Office/Minitry and in its institution by Christ Himself.

For an Orthodox like you, who has the chutzpah or the cojones to express some sort of a longing for  a
"universal" leader such as "Peter's successor," could be an invitation for "swords and daggers" from your Orthodox brethren.

But I admire you for that!


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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2003, 04:54:01 PM »

It is also important to remember that Antioch and several other Sees in the region were founded by St. Peter.  

Also it is important to remember, as Nicholas pointed out, that the honor of being First Among Equals was transferred when Constantine moved the capital to Byzantium.   It was then transferred to Moscow when Constantinople fell.  

Of couse we must also remember, as Nicholas also pointed out, the Apostle's Council where it was St. James the Brother of God who made the final decision.  

Of couse another thing to keep in mind is that First Among Equals ABSOLUTELY NEVER means Infallible as the Roman Church claims.  

It is also best to keep in mind that Rome was not the only See established by St. Peter and that whether or not Rome denied the faith in 1054 (which of course it did) the Holy Orthodox Church will continue with or without Rome.

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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2003, 07:27:23 PM »

First among equals as in he spoke first at councils or synod meetings. He still only had one vote. When the capital of the Roman Empire moved to Constantinople, the EP had the title. Then after the sack of Constantinople Moscow became the "Third Rome" and had that honor.

As for leading, remember in the Apostle's Council James spoke last and declared the decision that Paul was right and Peter was wrong.

Whoa! Wait a minute! Where does it say anything in Acts 15 (the account of the Council of Jerusalem) about Peter being "wrong" and Paul being "right?"

No controversy is reported at all. Peter spoke first; James, as Bishop of Jerusalem, spoke last. But James did not contradict or overrule Peter, not in the least.

I think it is without dispute that Peter was the leader of the early Church. Look at the book of Acts at the number of times Peter serves as the spokesman for the Apostles and thus for the Church. Notice even in the Gospels how Jesus' disciples are often referred to as "Peter and those with him."

I think it is also pretty clear from Matthew 16:18-19 and John 21:15-17 that Jesus appointed Peter as the leader of the Church.

I also think it is an error to say that the title of "first among equals" was ever transferred to the EP; that is just not the case. That title was always the property of the Roman Bishop in the early Church.

Look at the Council of Constantinople in 381, for example. Only then was the Patriarch of Constantinople elevated in honor above the Patriarch of Alexandria, who had previously been second to Rome:

"The Bishop of Constantinople shall have the prerogatives of honor after the Bishop of Rome, because Constantinople is the New Rome" (Canon III, quoted in Ware's The Orthodox Church, p. 23. Underlining mine.).

Remember also that Peter ended his earthly sojourn as the Bishop of Rome, having appointed Linus  Grin as his successor.

That subsequent bishops of Rome were regarded as Peter's successors is pretty clear from the history of the Church. Remember the famous Tome of St. Leo to the Council of Chalcedon (451), in which Pope St. Leo the Great claimed to speak as Peter's successor.

Leo's Tome was accepted at the council, and, as far as I know, no one disputed that the Bishop of Rome was Peter's successor.

I realize that Moscow was the "Third Rome," but the Patriarch of Moscow was never regarded as Peter's Successor.

I am not arguing for papal dictatorship or infallibility, far from it.

I am not really sure if I am arguing for anything at all.

I am simply saying that the Great Schism has left a tremendous leadership void in the Church.

That is not the same thing as saying I believe we should embrace all the Roman innovations that have come into being since 1054.

But I think the fact of the Great Schism should make us all weep and moan and beg God for an end to it.

Just my thoughts.
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2003, 07:54:05 PM »

Whoa! Wait a minute! Where does it say anything in Acts 15 (the account of the Council of Jerusalem) about Peter being "wrong" and Paul being "right?"

No controversy is reported at all. Peter spoke first; James, as Bishop of Jerusalem, spoke last. But James did not contradict or overrule Peter, not in the least.

You have to read more than one chapter my friend. Cheesy Peter was arguing for the non-Jewish Christians to have to follow the dietary and circumcision rules of the old law. Paul was arguing against that case. Thus there was a council where it was decided that Peter's argument was wrong.

I think it is also pretty clear from Matthew 16:18-19 that Jesus appointed Peter as the leader of the Church.

You mean where Christ saind, "On this rock" in the feminine demonstrative pronoun and article? (from the Koine) Christ would would have used the masculine if he was referring to the person of Peter. If you refer to the loosening and binding, recall that the other bishops/apostles received these powers too.

On the Romes, I believe I misspoke, I meant that there was an order of honor and thus an order of speaking in council to keep order, but first among equals fell to Constantinople when Rome seceeded from the whole of the Church. Please forgive my error.
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2003, 08:11:36 PM »

Nicholas -

I do not want to disagree, but I am afraid I must. I have read Acts many many times, and I have yet to see where Peter argued that Gentile converts had to keep the Jewish ceremonial law and be circumcised.

Look at St. Peter's words, speaking of Gentile converts, at the Council of Jerusalem:

" So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they" (Acts 15:8-11).

It is readily apparent that Peter argued against the imposition of the Jewish ceremonial law on Gentile converts, not for it.

Regarding the use of the Greek masculine Petros for the name of Peter instead of the Greek feminine petra ("rock"): We must remember that Jesus and His disciples were native speakers of Aramaic, not Greek.

In Aramaic "rock" is kepha. That is also the actual name Jesus gave Peter: Kepha. In the original Aramaic speech of Jesus and His disciples there is no confusion:

"And I also say unto you that you are Kepha, and on this kepha I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).

In Greek it was necessary to render "rock" as a masculine name, since Peter is a man. The ordinary Greek word for rock is feminine and thus does not lend itself well to this task. Hence the confusion.

It is true that the rest of the Apostles were given the power of binding and loosing and forgiving sins. But the words Jesus spoke to Peter were not likewise spoken to them, and they never acted in the same capacity in which Peter acted.

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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2003, 08:34:08 PM »

Paul publicly rebuked Peter (Galatians 2:11-¡14). This controversy in Antioch led directly to the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-¡29).

As for the book of Matthew, let us turn to the Fathers...

Blessed Theophylact: "The Lord is saying, 'This confession which you have made shall be the foundation of those who believe.'" [P.G. 123:85B (col. 320).]

Saint Chrysostom: "'Upon this rock I will build'; that is, on the faith of the confession." [Hom. 54, P.G. 58:518 (col.534).]

Saint Leo: "Upon this firmness, He says, I shall raise my Temple, and it will rise upon the steadfastness of this faith, and the loftiness of My Church will mingle with the heavens. The gates of Hades shall not master this profession; nor the bonds of death bind it. For these words are the words of life, and as they raise those who confess them up to heaven, so they plunge those that deny them down to hell." [Sermon 83(2), P.L. 54 (col. 429), in FC, 93:357; Toal, III:267, 268.]
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2003, 08:56:04 PM »

Question. If Jesus was commisioning all the Apostles in Matthew 16, then why didn't he use the 2nd person plural instead of the singular? i.e. "I will give you (pl.) the keys to the kingdom of heaven..." I am currently taking Greek and have read this passage. But I am not a very reliable authority, so somebody with Greek knowledge please explain this. I mean, did not Jesus ask all his disciples who the Son of Man Is? Would he have not addressed them in the plural when giving them the "keys"?

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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2003, 09:02:23 PM »

Frobisher, in Matthew 16 he gives them to Peter alone, later he gives them to the others.
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2003, 09:15:56 PM »

I think I know what you're talking about, but where exactly? Orthodox writers always cite this passage and say that Jesus was then giving them the keys. I mean, he was establishing the Church here.

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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2003, 09:40:34 PM »

St. Bede has a great commentary on the bible and here is what he says on the Rock:

Quote
'Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock from which thou didst receive thy name, that is, upon Me Myself, I will build My Church. Upon this perfection of FAITH which thou didst confess I will build My Church, and if anyone turns aside from the society of this confession, even though it may seem to him that he does great things, he will not belong to the building which is My Church.' Homily I.16 After Epiphany, Homilies on the Gospels, Bk. One, 163.


Here is another one from St Bede on the Keys:

Quote
By the conferral upon him beyond the others of the keys of the heavenly kingdom, it was made obvious to all that without this confession and faith no one could enter into the kingdom of the heavens.  He names 'the keys of the kingdom of the heavens' that knowledge and power of discernment with which Peter was to receive the worthy into the kingdom, and to exclude the unworthy. Hom. I.20, op. cit., 202.

and here is another quote by St Bede on the loosing and binding:

Quote
"Although it may seem that this power of loosing and binding was given by the Lord only to Peter, we must nevertheless know without any doubt that it was also given to the other apostles, as Christ Himself testified when, after the triumph of His Passion and resurrection, He appeared to them and breathed upon them and said to them all:'Receive ye the Holy Spirit: if ye forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven to them; if ye retain the sins of any, they are retained.'(Jn. 20:22,23) Indeed, even now the same office is commited to the whole Church in her bishops and priests." Hom. I.20,op.cit.,202.

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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2003, 09:40:37 PM »

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From Nicholas: Paul publicly rebuked Peter (Galatians 2:11-¡14). This controversy in Antioch led directly to the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-¡29).

I believe you are in error here. What led to the Council of Jeruslem as recorded in Acts 15 was the preaching of the Judaizers (not Peter) that Gentile converts had to be circumcised and keep the Jewish ceremonial law (see Acts 15:1-5).

Paul rebuked Peter, as reported in Galatians 2:11-21, for withdrawing from the Gentiles and separating himself from them because he feared "those who were of the circumcision" when visitors from James came to see him (v. 12).

Peter's sins were cowardice and hypocrisy, not teaching that Gentile converts had to be circumcised and keep the Mosaic Law.

Regarding your quotes from the Fathers regarding Peter's confession as "the rock": the words of Jesus have great depth, and in one sense it is true that Peter's confession of faith in Jesus as the Christ is the rock of Christian faith. But it is also plain that Jesus founded His Church specifically upon Peter as the maker and rock of that confession and made him the leader.

I believe there are plenty of quotes from the Fathers to this effect, but I do not have my references with me where I am now. I will strive to supply some patristic statements to back up this belief.
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2003, 09:46:53 PM »

What led to the Council of Jeruslem as recorded in Acts 15 was the preaching of the Judaizers (not Peter) that Gentile converts had to be circumcised and keep the Jewish ceremonial law (see Acts 15:1-5).

Paul rebuked Peter, as reported in Galatians 2:11-21, for withdrawing from the Gentiles and separating himself from them because he feared "those who were of the circumcision" when visitors from James came to see him (v. 12).

You are right in the later, as he was withdrawing from the Gentiles at the urging of the Judaizers. Paul accused him of arguing the Judaizers belief out of fear of them, that is true. Still it caused need for a council and the position that Peter had taken was proved wrong and Paul's argument proven correct.

Of for Patristic quotes, St. Leo was a Pope. I think his opinion is especially important to note.

And laster St. Gregory, Pope of Rome rebuked the title of "Ecumenical patriarch" as he was against any bishop claiming to be over all the others.
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2003, 09:48:09 PM »

MaryCecilia,

       Thanks for those quotes! They were very good. I still think St. Matthew could have been more clear in Matthew 16 Wink.

Matt
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2003, 09:50:02 PM »

Here's an interesting article from an Antiochian Orthodox Church: http://www.htaoc.com/library/articles/primacy.html
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2003, 09:56:11 PM »

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From Nicholas: Paul accused him of arguing the Judaizers belief out of fear of them, that is true. Still it caused need for a council and the position that Peter had taken was proved wrong and Paul's argument proven correct.

Where do you find evidence that Peter ever argued for the position of the Judaizers?

I see no evidence of that whatsoever in the biblical account.

And, if Peter ever did advocate the position of the Judaizers, he certainly had abandoned it by the Council of Jerusalem.

Paul never accused Peter of holding the opinions of the Judaizers and did not rebuke him for that. Paul rebuked Peter for being afraid to associate with Gentile converts when Jewish Christians sent from James came to visit him. Implicit in this incident is that Peter normally did hang out with Gentile converts, which is what made his sudden distancing of himself from them such a glaring act of hypocrisy.

There is also no evidence that the emissaries sent from James to visit Peter were themselves Judaizers of the type described in Acts 15:1-5.

Peter never taught that Gentile converts had to keep the Jewish ceremonial law.

Besides that, it is pretty plain that he was the leader of the early Church.

 
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« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2003, 10:00:12 PM »

Frobisher,
  You're welcome Smiley I got those from the footnotes at the end of St Matthew in the Orthodox New Testament Volume 1 Smiley  

MaryCecilia

P.S. I agree with you, I wish all the Gospels were more clear on certain aspects as well...but that's what we have priests for right? to ask them questions when we're stumped...besides we're not supposed to be translating the Bible into our own words anyway Wink


MaryCecilia,

       Thanks for those quotes! They were very good. I still think St. Matthew could have been more clear in Matthew 16 Wink.

Matt
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2003, 10:39:06 PM »

Linus, I am honestly suprised this conversation was started by an Orthodox Christian. But as I need to get to sleep and say my evening prayers, I am done with it for today. But let me leave you with a final thought. You talk about how not to proof text when you are arguing Protestants, but then you use the same tactics as the Protestants in  saying you do not see it in the Bible. (This is why I love the Orthodox New testament as it gives us Patristic commentary on each verse.) I say this not as an attack, but just as something for you to think of if you are not too busy thinking of the message of the Canon from tonight's service. I know that I think of the Canon on nights it is done. What a powerful message it contains.
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2003, 11:21:27 PM »

We Catholics are taught to use such proof texts against protestants Wink. By no means do I wish to sound like a protestant, especially with the whole "the Koine says..." business. I was simply curious since a member of this forum once said that Jesus was giving the keys to all the Apostles, but he clearly addresses Peter alone.  Those are difficult to reconcile. I take the Fathers and the Church at their word. The whole question is, which Fathers, which Church  :-? So I'll give it time.

Matt

PS: It's a big night for smileys Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2003, 03:19:41 AM »

I think the proper understanding is that Jesus gives the keys of the kingdom to Peter as a "type" of all the Apostles, hence the singular. What ever was given to Peter was in effect given to all the Apostles.

Linus, I believe what Nicholas is saying is that Peter was guilty by association. By withdrawing from the Gentile believers, Peter was giving his tacit approval to the opinions of the circumcised, whether he actually agreed with them or not. His actions under these circumstances, especially as a leading figure in the church, were particularly damaging to church unity.

It is certainly true that a number of Fathers portray Peter as being leader of the other Apostles, but is that the consensus of all the Fathers? What do the church's liturgical works have to say regarding this (hymns, prayers, etc) as a very great deal of the understanding of the church is bound up in these works?

Also, if it was so clear from scripture that Peter was placed in such a position of leadership, why does the RC church go to such pains to twist the meaning of the thrice confession of Peter in John 21:15-19?

I seem to recall that at least one of the early bishops of Rome was ordained by Paul, but my memory is very sketchy on this. Rome was held in honour because it was the capital of the Roman empire and because Peter and Paul were martyred there. IIRC Antioch was also established by Peter and could just as rightly be called the Seat of Peter, but it was not held in the same honour since the Apostle did not have his blood shed there.

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« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2003, 05:48:22 AM »

In this we must remember certain things.  1.  Paul repuked Cephas/Peter.  IF Peter was the infallible head of the Church, how could a Bishop publically rebuke him?  What would happen if Bruskowitz publically rebuked JPII for taking part in ecumenical practices?  Excommunication that's what.  

2.  In Mathew 16 Jesus gave the Keys to Peter as a type of all the other apostles and their successors. Later in Scripture Our Lord gave the power of the keys (binding a loosing sins) to the other Apostles and by extension to their successors.  It is true that Peter filled a leadership role in the early Church, but it is also clear from a careful reading of acts that he did not act alone as is the current RC practice.  That is, when it came time to find a successor to Judas it was the community of Apostles that decided.  Peter just made the anouncement that a successor was needed.   The current RC Practice is for the Pope to make sole decisions in who can become a Bishop.  Nominations are sent in to Rome, but Rome makes the decisions.  Of course this is not as major an issue as the second instance that deserves particular attention.   When there was a major decision to be made regarding doctrine and practice, it was not Peter who wrote a letter to all the other Apostles clarifying the position of the Church. No it was all the Apostles who gathered together in Jerusalem in a Council that determined what the position of the Church was.  

yes one of the Early Bishops of Rome was Consecrated to the Episcopate by Paul but this has little to no effect on the actual issue at hand, the role of the Petrine office.  Actually, it would be necesary for the Bishop of Rome to have been consecrated by Paul since he was the Bishop at hand to Consecrate him.  The previous Bishop of Rome obviously being deceased.  

The Scriptures are clear.  Peter is First Among Equals, nothing more, nothing less.  There is a popular saying among Roman Catholics "Where Peter is there is the Church" but this is a false saying.  It should be said "Where the Holy Ghost is there is the Church" and of course the Holy Ghost acts in all the Bishops gathered for an Ecumenical Council or for a Synod.  

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« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2003, 07:19:48 AM »

Linus, I am honestly suprised this conversation was started by an Orthodox Christian. But as I need to get to sleep and say my evening prayers, I am done with it for today. But let me leave you with a final thought. You talk about how not to proof text when you are arguing Protestants, but then you use the same tactics as the Protestants in  saying you do not see it in the Bible. (This is why I love the Orthodox New testament as it gives us Patristic commentary on each verse.) I say this not as an attack, but just as something for you to think of if you are not too busy thinking of the message of the Canon from tonight's service. I know that I think of the Canon on nights it is done. What a powerful message it contains.

Pardon me for saying this, but I find your post above somewhat insulting and likewise your reference to my argument from Scripture being like those of the Protestants a "cheap shot."

Nicholas, you claimed the Bible showed that Peter taught the position of the Judaizers. I merely asked you for evidence of that, and you are not able to supply it. I did supply Peter's own speech from the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), in which he clearly argues against the Judaizers.

Surely we are not to avoid the Bible simply because Protestants misuse it?

Besides that, Nicholas, the argument that Peter's confession was the sole rock upon which the Church was built is exactly the same argument that many Protestants adduce.

It bothers me likewise that anyone would remark on the fact that an Orthodox Christian would begin a thread like this.

Have I argued for papal autocracy, universal jursidiction, or infallibility?

No.

I have simply stated the facts: Peter was made leader of the early Church and that the bishops of Rome were his successors.

Then I commented with sadness on the leadership vacuum left by the Great Schism.

I have not advocated ecumenism or Roman Catholicism, nor will I.

I think it is pretty clear that the Fathers found a depth to the sayings of Jesus that we sometimes miss today. Often there was more than one level of meaning to them. That the Fathers understood that not only Peter's confession but Peter himself was the rock to which Jesus referred in Matt. 16:18 is plain from such examples as these:

"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the Apostles: and from him as from the Head wishes His gifts to flow to all the body: so that any one who dares to secede from Peter's solid rock may understand that he has no part or lot in the divine mystery" (St. Leo the Great, The Great Letters, Letter X).

"He made answer: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build My Church, and I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.' Could He not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on His own authority, He gave the kingdom, whom He called the Rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church? (St. Ambrose of Milan, Expositions of the Catholic Faith, Book IV, Chap. V).

"But you say, the Church was founded upon Peter: yet one among the twelve is chosen so that when a head has been appointed, there may be no occasion for schism" (St. Jerome, Against Jovinianus, Book I).


I am an Orthodox Christian, but that does not mean I am blind to the fact that Peter was the leader of the early Church or that the bishops of Rome were regarded as His successors and held the first place of honor among the bishops of the Church until the Great Schism.

And that is NOT the same thing as believing in papal autocracy, universal jurisdiction, or infallibility.

So please do not accuse me of being either a Protestant or a Roman Catholic.
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« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2003, 07:29:50 AM »

Quote
I am an Orthodox Christian, but that does not mean I am blind to the fact that Peter was the leader of the early Church

As long as it is clearly understood that his position was one of honour and not of authority. The other Apostles did not answer to Peter.

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« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2003, 07:50:51 AM »

I think you all are arguing past each other and not answering each others' posts: for instance, Nicholas argued the (originally Protestant but nevertheless now debunked by serious scholars*) argument that petros and petra are different so that means Peter is not the Rock, and Linus answered with a good grammatical explanation of the issue, and Nicholas ignored it, unless I just didn't see his post.  Others did the same thing.

Even though I do not believe in Roman universal jurisdiction, such outright rejection of any kind of Petrine and later Papal role by some Orthodox is disturbing to me because it ignores hundreds of years of examples that contradict such assertions.  To say the Bp of Rome only had one other vote at a council is wrong for 2 reasons: 1) they didn't take votes at the early councils but agreed to things by concessions and consulations, and the Bp of Rome's opinions were weighty 2) Eastern emperors like St. Justinian went out of their way to get Roman Popes to agree with them. Of course, #2 can be partially explained by the fact that he wanted the west to stay in the oikoumene BUT we can't ignore the results of this constant consulation with Rome on how Rome viewed itself and acted (you can always argue it was wrong but you have to be honest about it and not pretend that it didn't happen).

In addition,  let me offer one concrete example: the Acacian schism. Here, Rome did not just have "one vote."  The emperor Justin (through his nephew St. Justinian, again) basically said: "look, you have to do xyz to come back into communion with us" knowing full well that xyz was a big time issue for the Church of Constantinople (it involved their local saints and who was on their calendar).  Rome said, "take them off the calendar" and... they did.  Clearly not just "one more vote."

An interesting book, Documents Illustrating Papal Aurthority by Giles (an Anglican) will provide useful material to anyone interested in a fair account.

Now to my *opinion*.  I think the Orthodox are right that Rome abused its position and that universal jurisdiction and infallibility are wrong.  However, I think the Orthodox can be a little revisionist when they claim that Rome was just "one of the guys" in the early Church.  And I also believe that part of the problems in the contemporary Church stem from not having a real primacy in the Orthodox Church.  That being said, I will not bow to Roman triumphalists who will then claim, "Aha! See, you need a Pope!" No, I will not say in the end that; on the contrary, I will say, "see what Rome's sin did to the Orthodox Church; the pride of men has resulted in a weakened Church.**)  Rome could return to its former position of primacy if it submitted its unilateral post-schism developments to an ecumenical council of east and west and renounced anything that was deemed to be contrary to the Church's faith (we can all argue what exactly that would be but that would be another interesting thread.)

Now, I know someone is going to misread my post (as usual) so let me just clarify that I am only speaking of weaknesses and lackings in a qualitative sense on the part of the Orthodox Church, because ontologically speaking it IS THE Church.  Please no one accuse me of returning to my "Uniate ways"  Tongue. I am getting some of my views from the book Primacy of Peter ed. by J. Meyendorff.  An excellent study.

anastasios


(*and of course to the Church Fathers, both Peter and his confession were "rock.")
(**comparatively, since of course the Orthodox Church is strong as the Body of Christ; what I am saying is it could be "better.")
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« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2003, 08:10:33 AM »

Anastasios, can you please give a bit more detail with regards to the Acacian schism. Links if possible.
Were they obeying Rome or were they obeying the Church (of which Rome happened to be the spokesperson in this case)?

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« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2003, 08:31:22 AM »

Amin, Anastasios.

The way I look at this is that there is a distinction to be made between "authority" and "power" -- in the pre-schism situation, Rome had a lot of authority, but little real power in a formal, jurisdictional sense.  That is, Rome was given much deference and its views were generally respected (but not unquestioningly ... I think here of the Council of Chalcedon where the gathered Bishops didn't simply accept Pope Leo's Tomos unquestioningly, but rather accepted it because it was in accord with Cyril's teaching).  I think the problem came along when the reforming Popes tried to institutionalize this "authority" in terms of juridical "power" -- and that's where the problem remains.

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« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2003, 08:57:59 AM »

I could be wrong, but I think we can all agree that St. Peter was appointed by Jesus to be the leader of the early Church.

I also think it is pretty plain from the history of the Church that the Bishop of Rome has always been regarded as Peter's Successor and the "first among equals" among the bishops of the Church.

Since the "Great Schism" (what was so great about it?) that culminated in A.D. 1054, the Holy Orthodox Church has functioned apart from and without St. Peter's Successor.

Does not his absence create a huge leadership vacuum in the Church?

I am not sure how this discussion will go, or even what I myself am driving at, but it does strike me that we have suffered an enormous loss.

http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b12.en.the_mind_of_the_orthodox_church.09.htm

The way for leadership on the Orthodox Church is Syods. This is how the whole church can be governed. Not only that, but on the early Church a lot of bishops were elected from the Christians. This exists today , only in cyprus (as much as I know anyway) . So it's understandable, that the Church is much more "Democratic" than much people think.

I disagree. Peter was not apointed leader. The Church of Rome had special importance , because:

1)It was the Capital of the entire Roman State
2)It had the most martyrs and persecutions..

But "special importance" only means that the head of that Church Was First among equals. Just like the president of a council. He did not have any special powers, but was the Spiritual Father. His role, after the schism, was taken by the Ecumenical Patriarch of New Rome (constantinople)
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« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2003, 09:25:51 AM »

Another little nitpick. Aren't ALL bishops considered to be Peter's successors?

John.
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« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2003, 09:27:01 AM »

So far, I think Anastasios has captured the nuances of the situation...very well said.

A Roman Catholic asked me about petrine succession in Orthodoxy, and I responded thus:

 
Orthodox agree with Catholics that Peter was the head of the Apostles. Peter is inseparable from his confession in Matthew 16:16; he is personally "rock". This is the affirmation of the Orthodox Church as manifested in its hymnody.  While the apostolic and episcopal ministries were not identical, Orthodox also fundamentally believe that the bishops are successors to the apostles, and with St. Cyprian of Carthage, can affirm that the right-believing episcopate in solidum constitutes the Chair of Peter.  In other words, "right belief" is a prerequisite to participation in the petrine ministry.  This is one of the reasons why contemporary Orthodox do not believe that administrative union or communion with the bishop of Rome, per se, is of the esse of the Church, or a precondition to receiving salvific grace.  
 
In the taxis of the pre-schism Roman oikoumene, all East Roman Christians would certainly agree that Rome’s primacy was based on the political structure of the empire, as defined by canon.  Moreover, while such testimonies are not as abundant as those found among western popes, especially commencing with Damasus and the statement of the Council of Rome in 382, it is evident that some Greek fathers (e.g., St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Theodore the Studite) also understood that there was a uniquely personal succession of the Chair of Peter in the Church of Rome.
 
Prior to the schism, the East was obviously more "papal". The bishop of Rome had more than a "primacy of honor". He was invited to intervene in doctrinal and canonical disputes, especially when the emperor was trying to drag the Church into heterodoxy. The entire West was legitimately represented at councils by the presence of papal legates.  The pope's doctrinal responsibility and "shepherdship" in this sense were greater than the other patriarchs.  The Pope had an appellate chairmanship of sorts, and was the "choir-leader--at the front of--but phalanxed by the other patriarchs," and was just as accountable to them as they were to him.  But the Bishop of Rome's original, plenary jurisdiction and his authority to interfere, sua sponte, were limited territorially to his patriarchate.  Both de jure and de facto, Greeks and Russians, etc., were never "under" the Pope.  It could have been, that in the absence of the filioque controversy, and the belligerence of Rome towards the East that characterized the period of the gregorian reform and the crusades, as manifested in such actions as a) repudiation of the accord reached in the Council of Constantinople of 879 and b) erecting competing Latin patriarchates, that the East Roman understanding of the papal office would have eventually corresponded to that in the West.
 
We’ll obviously never know, because of what subsequently happened.  Papal prerogatives were consolidated at the expense of fracturing Christendom.  The history of East/West relations in the 11th to 13th centuries are kind of the laboratory test case for a uniquely frankish- cum-latin understanding of the papacy.  The test failed miserably in the Levant; and so the subsequent growth of the papal role is the result of a development in which the East did not participate.  This is the "first verdict" on the uniquely western Catholic claims for the papacy. From then on, the irony for the East is that the problem of caesaro-papism changes guise:  it becomes the pressure for submission to Rome at any cost as fairly consistent imperial policy right up to the fall of Constantinople.  The West goes off on a different trajectory. The reform church peaks in the 1270s, then the internal "great schism", the challenge of western conciliarism which was suppressed at the Council of Florence, which in turn provokes the sectarian meteor shower of the following century when northern european princes voted with their feet.  This was the "second verdict" on the papacy.  Then the counter-reformation, the challenge of enlightenment humanism, and the apogee of papal power as defined in pastor aeturnus in 1871.  This is the "universe" of Catholics, and it's important for Orthodox to be familliar with this trajectory, but the development of the papacy through all of these vicissitudes is something that simply cannot be superimposed on the East; and when this framework is brought to bear on the Orthodox world, it is frankly parochial.  
 
Both Orthodox and Catholics agree that the role of the papacy is a matter of development. The difference lies in whether this development was legitimate, in terms of the correct inferences to be drawn from an undisputed historical, canonical, and liturgical record.  When the pope tried to interfere in the affairs of the East without invitation-epitomized by the actions which set off the Photian controversy-the East rejected this on canonical grounds.  The inchoate nature of such actions became explicit during the middle of the 11th century when Rome started to assume that what was good for Burgundy--under its jurisdiction--would also be good for Greece.  Orthodox rejection of the papacy boils down simply to the fact of "non-reception", complicated by formal heresy (the filioque).  In addition to a transgression of canonical prerogatives and adding to the ecumenical Creed, what the Reform Papacy represented to the East was not solicitude, but a vitiation of love, or to use Khomiakov's phrase, fratricide.  

There is more.
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« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2003, 09:52:50 AM »

 Other questions from Catholics:

1)  "Does the Faith depend upon Peter, or does Peter depend upon the Faith?"

If Peter is identified, with the promises given to him, exclusively with the Bishop of Rome; the Orthodox attitude is that "Peter depends upon the Faith."

On the other hand, if we identify Peter and his chair with the collective right-believing episcopate, each bishop then has a share in the cathedra petri, and we can affirm that the Faith depends upon Peter. Christ’s promise to His Church that the gates of hades shall not prevail is fulfilled in this understanding of the cathedra petri. Defections of individual bishops, who misuse or allow their charism of ordination to grow dormant, through heresy, internal apostacy, spiritual inattention, or immorality, do not subvert the cathedra petri. That individual bishop simply ceases to have a share in it.

Can one lone bishop, in the face of a heretical threat to the Church, fulfill Christ’s promise to Peter? Yes, if all other bishops have apostatized, then that particular bishop is the cathedra petri. This is not the same as saying that the cathedra petri is vested in one particular bishop irrevocably and in perpetuity, and that the catholicity of all other local churches and their bishops is dependent upon their communion with him.

Patristic commentary on Matt. 16:18 falls into the following broad approaches:
 
--The rock is Peter's confession of Christ's divine Sonship, and therefore is Christ

--By virtue of that confession, Peter becomes/is rock
 
 The point is, once Peter has made the confession, he is rock, he is inseparable from the confession and from the "Rock that is Christ".  It is very characteristic of the western mindset, Protestant and Catholic, to look at the above options and take the approach that it's "got to be one or the other".  The Orthodox approach is that "it's both", because Orthodox approach such affirmations in fundamentally iconographic terms that represent more a hierarchy than an either/or dilemma.  In the way that we become "little Christs" at Chrismation because we now share in His One Royal Priesthood, anyone who assimilates to the confession of Christ's sonship becomes "Peter".  The confession elicits the "keys" that open the door to eternal life.  This does not exclude a formal key-bearing petrine ministry of binding and loosing:  in the body of Christ all laity are priests, but there are also ordained Priests.  So bishops exercise a petrine ministry in a more specialized sense that the laos do not.  Likewise, it's entirely probable that God's design includes a particular bishop who exercises that ministry in an even more special way as a coordinator and facilitator, a bishop of a particular local church that in God's providence, "presides in love."

2) "What justifies the Orthodox in rejecting the Pope?"


In the first millenium, dogmas were decreed by the ecumenical councils. These were gatherings convened by the Roman emperor in response to some immediate and tangible threat of heresy towards the Catholic Church. The degree of representation varied widely at the seven recognized ecumenical councils, but each of them included at a minimum the represention of all five of the major patriarchates, or subsequent acceptance of the council’s decrees by all five.  The recognized method for hashing out differences was the ecumenical council. This has to be continually borne in mind when examining the estrangement between Orthodoxy and Rome.

In regards to the papal claims of supremacy (and subsequently infallibility), which ecumenical council did the Orthodox refuse to obey? The problem was that there were no such councils. Despite an earlier council held in Constantinople in 879-880 that circumscribed papal jurisdiction and prohibited tampering with the ecumenical creed, by the middle of the 11th century Rome was unilaterally demanding submission of the Eastern church on a range of matters that manifested an altered view of papal power and jurisdiction. To further complicate things, these papal claims were a tacit repudiation of that earlier council (879-880) and were mixed up in a belief that the East regarded as heretical, the theology justifying the filioque insertion into the Creed. It is crucial to understand that the popes refused to put themselves and their beliefs under scrutiny, via an ecumenical council, despite the repeated requests of emperors and patriarchs for such a forum.

Pope Innocent III(?) finally agreed to meet with representatives of the Eastern Church at Lyons in 1274, but under conditions that would ensure that the "developed" Latin beliefs would not undergo scrutiny: the emperor and the patriarch had to swear fealty to papal supremacy as a precondition for the meeting! It was only-arguably-in the 1430s that a pope finally agreed to meet with the Orthodox and consider the disputed matters in a conciliar forum remotely resembling the one the Church had employed during the first millenium. By this time, the separated halves of what had been the chalcedonian Catholic church had embarked on their separate trajectories, hampering the ability to communicate, and thus making a lasting accord impossible.
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« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2003, 10:06:54 AM »

Varangia --

An excellent summary of where we stand.  Of course, the next chapter is Florence, which is a very interesting one indeed because it often leads to a lot of needless polemic on both sides about what the "takeaway" is from Florence and its aftermath.

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« Reply #32 on: April 10, 2003, 10:46:17 AM »

Linus, I am sorry if I offended you, it was not my intent. It was late at night and perhaps I could have better worded it. Please forgive me, a sinner.

I agree with Anastasios on the point that we both seem to be talking past one another. Please reread all that I posted and I shall reread what you posted.

According to many fathers, Peter retreated to the Judaizers and refused to eat with the Gentile Christians Paul had to rebuke him for this because Peter feared the Judaizers. He may not have taken up the opinion because of being convinced, but out of fear, but he none the less retreated into this camp and had to be publicly rebuked. I cannot quote them from my books right now, as I am at work and have not access to them.

On your quote from St. Leo, he says, "Peter's solid rock" which appears to be his faith, as he does not say Peter the Rock, but Peter's rock or the rock of Peter.

As I said in previous posts, Leo and Gregory, both Popes seems dead set against any one bishop being the head or leader of the Church universal.

Anastasios, I think I will stay away from the arguments of so-called  "serious scholars" as "serious scholars" over the years have given us lots of wacked out theories over the years that later get rebuked by the Church. I'll stick with the long-standing Fathers and the Church*

*Not saying that you are not doing the later nor trying to insult you!
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« Reply #33 on: April 10, 2003, 11:01:21 AM »

I've tried like all get out to stay out of this conversation, but I just have to comment on the following...

Quote
Eastern emperors like St. Justinian went out of their way to get Roman Popes to agree with them.

Like ordering them to appear in Constantinople? Putting them under house arrest for years? By trying to force them to appear at certain places by military might? By making them sign secretive agreements, and then when the Pope later wouldn't concede, showing these secretive documents to all the bishops so that the Pope was made to look like a fool?

Someone who very much respects (and prays daily to, and will name his first son after) Saint Justinian, but thinks that this saint is very misunderstood,

Justin

PS. In case you weren't "in the know," Saint Justinian also "went out of his way" to be friendly with Monophysites as well, at times. Justinian tried different approaches at different times.

PSS. Justinian also thought that a formula was possible that would bring the monophysite heretics into communion, but wouldn't compromise the content of Chalcedon. By the end, he saw that this was impossible. I think he's a good model for attempts at reconciliation, though.
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« Reply #34 on: April 10, 2003, 12:27:32 PM »

Well, I sought to provide an interesting topic for discussion, and I think I succeeded!  Grin

It seems to me that any discussion of Peter's leadership role in the early Church pushes the "hot button" for a lot of my fellow Orthodox Christians, although I really do not understand why.

I thought I made it clear in my posts that I am not advocating the acceptance of universal papal jurisdiction, papal autocracy, or papal infallibility, nor am I advocating the acceptance of the filioque or any other innovations.

I simply remarked with sadness on the leadership vacuum created by the Great Schism.

I think Anastasios' post summed things up pretty well.

And I do not understand how anyone can read the New Testament and the history of the early Church and not see the key leadership role of Peter and of the bishops of Rome.

I do not have any reference materials with me right now (I am on my lunch break at work), but I think it is apparent that the bishops of Rome exercised a kind of executive authority within the early Church, loosely analogous to that of a president or prime minister.

The Pope was not an infallible autocrat whose mere word was law, but he was likewise not "just one of the boys" either.

I also see absolutely no evidence that Peter was ever counted among the Judaizers. His speech at the Council of Jerusalem, as recorded in Acts 15, makes it clear that he opposed the Judaizers.

Paul's rebuke of Peter (Galatians 2) occurred because Peter withdrew from the company of Gentile converts when visitors from James arrived. We are not told that those visitors (sent from James, the Bishop of Jerusalem) were themselves Judaizers. In fact, since they were sent from James, it is not very likely that they were Judaizers.

Paul never rebuked Peter for holding or teaching the opinions of the Judaizers, probably because Peter never did hold their opinions.

Besides that, to argue that Peter was the leader of the Apostles is not the same thing as arguing that he was either 1) impeccable or 2) infallible.

He was neither; but he was the man chosen by Jesus to lead the early Church and specifically given by Jesus the name Kepha, which means "rock."
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« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2003, 01:16:00 PM »

What exactly do we mean by "Judaizer" here?  It seems to me that we were taught in class that Peter was of the Jewish party and that that caused conflict between him and Paul (who kept trying to get a collection for the Jerusalem Church throughout Corinthians because he knew if he gave them money, and they accepted it, they would be accepting him and his mission to the Gentiles according to Hellenistic ideas of friendship).

So let's explain what we mean by Judaizer.

Thanks!

anastasios
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« Reply #36 on: April 10, 2003, 02:12:26 PM »

Linus, I am honestly suprised this conversation was started by an Orthodox Christian. But as I need to get to sleep and say my evening prayers, I am done with it for today. But let me leave you with a final thought. You talk about how not to proof text when you are arguing Protestants, but then you use the same tactics as the Protestants in  saying you do not see it in the Bible. (This is why I love the Orthodox New testament as it gives us Patristic commentary on each verse.) I say this not as an attack, but just as something for you to think of if you are not too busy thinking of the message of the Canon from tonight's service. I know that I think of the Canon on nights it is done. What a powerful message it contains.

Linus,
I may be joining this conversation late, but no need to feel insulted.  My impressions echo Nicholas'.
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« Reply #37 on: April 10, 2003, 02:35:50 PM »

First off, Anastasios that was the most profound and suscinct post on the subject that I think could have been written.

A Judaizer was one who believed the Gentile converts needed to observe the Mosaic Law.  That is they needed to be Circumcised (physically the spiritual circumscision having already taken place in Babtism) and observe the Kosher dietary law.  

It can be justifiebly believed that Peter kept to the Judaizer position from the vision he had on the hostop of all the unclean animals.  If he did not follow this positon what would be the point of the vision and why did he respond as he did.

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« Reply #38 on: April 10, 2003, 03:51:14 PM »

[It seems to me that any discussion of Peter's leadership role in the early Church pushes the "hot button" for a lot of my fellow Orthodox Christians, although I really do not understand why.]

I'll try to explain why this is so, at least in my own experience, without imputing any of these reasons to Nicholas or the others who may have reacted similarly.


[I simply remarked with sadness on the leadership vacuum created by the Great Schism.]

The Great Schism did not leave a leadership vacuum in the Orthodox Church.  As a practical matter, the ecumenical patriarch was the "first" bishop and initiated/coordinated the activities of the other patriarchates and emerging autocephalous churches.  A more or less functional "magisterium" existed, via the EP's local Synod in Constantinople, in which the other patriarchs participated.  This condition existed through the fall of Constantinople in 1453, up to the final collapse of the Ottoman empire.  It was implicitly acknowledged in the ecumenical Orthodox Church that the principle of concilliarity cannot be a reality without primacy.  I feel that today, we're going to have relearn this, due to the present vacuum in leadership in Orthodoxy and what are, IMHO, the wrong conclusions that are being drawn from it.

This vacuum exists due to the ailing condition of the Ecumenical patriarchate, a crisis that has been around for the past 80 years, and is not the result of any one factor.  Physically, the EPate exists in a state of isolation in a barely secularized Muslim nation.  Despite the EP's condemnation of "phyletism" in 1871, the EP has practiced a policy that looks more like "pan-hellenism" than "pan-Orthodoxy".  The foregoing problems are interrelated, because the North American jurisdictional crisis is due to the EP's failure to "let go" of the Greek Archdiocese, which in turn is related to revenue for the Phanar.  The result is that the EP is justifiably open to the charge that it does not have a vision for world Orthodoxy, understood as the church catholic.  This is further born out by a haphazard and unprincipled approach to ecumenism, the strain due to the calendar change, and a trivialization of patriarchal authority in such things as the present incumbent's riskless and unprophetic dabbling in popular environmentalism.  At the same time, the EP has damaged relations with the slavic world by unilateral meddling in Baltic and Eastern European affairs that are probably more under the purview of Moscow.  A good number of the negative threads that appear on this forum, most recently the one dealing with the cancellation of the SCOBA meeting, stem from some act or omission by the EP.

The point is, when someone like you innocently brings up the issue of Peter and the primacy, the "hot button" that is touched is an underlying attitude that primates and "first bishops" are a threat to the purity of Orthodoxy, its wholeness and its fidelity.  This is due to the overwhelmingly negative perception that the EPate has fostered of itself through its misfeasances and derelictions over the past several decades.  The popular sentiment is "we don't need or want an Eastern Pope!"  IOW, the first bishop will be a self-interested bumbler like the EP, and that's not what we need.  

IMHO, while this reaction is understandable, it is self-defeating.  For example, there are matters that  require the urgent attention of a pan-Orthodox council.  There cannot be conciliarity beyond the level of national churches without a local church whose bishop is universally recognized as having the canonical authority, and more importantly, the charismatic gravitas, for summoning such a gathering.  Another example is in the area of relations with Rome.  How much time does the present EP squander going to Rome or Assissi when he could be meeting with his brother patriarchs to formulate a principled approach to the very aggressive overtures of the present Pope?  The result of this kind of inattention is that the faithful become confused, local churches become divided into "super-correct" and "modernist" factions and jurisdictions, and this gives the opening to Rome to pursue the "divide and conquer" strategy that so many traditionalist Orthodox fear and lament.

These are interesting times.  We may be witnessing the passing of the mantle from Constantinople to Moscow, in terms of which will be the Church with Priority in Orthodoxy.  But such transitions take more than a generation to become apparent or to get worked out.  Sometimes I wish that Pat. Alexei and the other patriarchs would show up at the Phanar unannounced and do an "intervention" with Pat. Bartholomew, in the way one would get an ailing brother to go to AA, not with the motivation to humiliate, but to enable the EP to truly function again as the Throne of St. John Chrysostom.  Who can tell?  It's always best just to say our prayers, go to  confession, and take the long view.      




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« Reply #39 on: April 10, 2003, 04:09:56 PM »

Linus, I am honestly suprised this conversation was started by an Orthodox Christian. But as I need to get to sleep and say my evening prayers, I am done with it for today. But let me leave you with a final thought. You talk about how not to proof text when you are arguing Protestants, but then you use the same tactics as the Protestants in  saying you do not see it in the Bible. (This is why I love the Orthodox New testament as it gives us Patristic commentary on each verse.) I say this not as an attack, but just as something for you to think of if you are not too busy thinking of the message of the Canon from tonight's service. I know that I think of the Canon on nights it is done. What a powerful message it contains.

Linus,
I may be joining this conversation late, but no need to feel insulted.  My impressions echo Nicholas'.

That's okay, Elisha. I believe both of you are misinterpreting what I wrote or are reading into it things that are not there.

I do not believe I was "prooftexting" like a Protestant.

Nicholas had suggested that Acts 15 and Galatians 2 show that Peter took the position of the Judaizers that Gentile converts had to be circumcised and keep the Mosaic Law. I took a look at both portions of Scripture and asked for evidence from them that that was the case. I do not believe it is.

That is not the same thing as "prooftexting," since I offered no dogma bolstered with a concatenation of Bible verses, Protestant style.

As I remarked to Nicholas, the argument that Peter's confession was the ONLY "rock" to which Christ referred in Matt. 16:18 is a classical Protestant argument. So, if anyone is arguing like a Protestant, well . . . it isn't me.

I also think it is really no argument at all to accuse someone of arguing like a Protestant. That is not refuting an argument but is rather an attempt to discredit an argument by associating it with the methods of those with whom we all disagree.
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« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2003, 04:16:52 PM »

Quote
The Great Schism did not leave a leadership vacuum in the Orthodox Church.

I strongly disagree.

Recall that after the fall of Judas (no, I am not comparing the Pope to Judas!) it was necessary that his position be filled. The lot fell to Matthias.

If Peter was the leader of the early Church, which I believe he clearly was, and the bishops of Rome were Peter's successors, then the absence of the Bishop of Rome from the College of Bishops most certainly creates a leadership vacuum.

That is not to say that others cannot or have not stepped up to fill the vacuum.

But such a situation is clearly not the one intended by Christ.

Is it?
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« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2003, 04:20:15 PM »

Varangia --

I agree with much of what you wrote ... it is what I have thought about these matters for some time.  

Some comments...

"condition existed through the fall of Constantinople in 1453, up to the final collapse of the Ottoman empire."

I generally agree, although I think that the Ottoman Conquest, coupled with the Porte's incessant meddling in the affairs of the Patriarchate, significantly undermined its ability to function as the Primate already several centuries before the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.  And the collapse of the Ottoman Empire gave birth to "national" churches, a concept which, while understandable given the historical context of the age, nevertheless greatly disfigures Orthodox ecclesiology, but is today almost taken as a "given" in Orthodoxy.

"It was implicitly acknowledged in the ecumenical Orthodox Church that the principle of concilliarity cannot be a reality without primacy.  I feel that today, we're going to have relearn this, due to the present vacuum in leadership in Orthodoxy and what are, IMHO, the wrong conclusions that are being drawn from it."

Yes, we clearly need both, but we appear to be moving in, perhaps, the wrong direction.  

"This vacuum exists due to the ailing condition of the Ecumenical patriarchate, a crisis that has been around for the past 80 years, and is not the result of any one factor."

Yes, this is the critical structural problem facing world Orthodoxy at this time.  The current system with the Patriarch of Istanbul is dysfunctional, and we have to be brave enough to admit that.  Problem is:  will the EP ever leave Istanbul?  Probably not, because of the Greek sentimentality associated with that City (alas, it is gone, but the memories will never fade).  This is a pity, because when you look at the history of the Early Church, it was *pragmatism* that formed the basis of the Patriarchates, not past glories or history.  The leading See in Orthodoxy should simply not be located in a 98% Muslim city -- it doesn't make sense, and it is bad for Orthodoxy.  But as Fr. Schmemann pointed out in his prescient essay "A Meaningful Storm", the Greek/Hellenic view of the Orthodox Church is such that the Greeks must maintain their primacy in Orthodoxy, regardless of whether or not that makes sense.

"The result of this kind of inattention is that the faithful become confused, local churches become divided into "super-correct" and "modernist" factions and jurisdictions, and this gives the opening to Rome to pursue the "divide and conquer" strategy that so many traditionalist Orthodox fear and lament."

This is absolutely on the mark, in my view.  Clearly, Vatican policy has been, in part at least, to play "divide and conquer" by playing various Orthodox Churches against each other -- most notably by trying (and seemingly failing) to isolate the Moscow Patriarchate from much of the rest of Orthodoxy, trying to take advantage of the tensions between the MP and the EP in Eastern Europe and the Baltics.  We have to realize that the Vatican is nothing if not very clever politically.  By remaining vulnerable in this way or by allowing these vulnerabilities to become manifest by presenting ourselves in a less than fully unified way, we are simply playing into their hands.  We need a reformed Primate.  Not along the Roman model, for sure, but certainly not the current model, either.  And, as you point out, the real problem is that the longer the current model persists, the more it will become engrained into Orthodox psyches everywhere that the current model is simply "Orthodox", which is unfortunate.

"We may be witnessing the passing of the mantle from Constantinople to Moscow, in terms of which will be the Church with Priority in Orthodoxy.  But such transitions take more than a generation to become apparent or to get worked out."

I have often thought of this as well.  One significant issue here, however, is that the Soviet period of ROC history is pretty bleak, and it will take a generation at least until the ROC is able to raise up Bishops and teachers that can plausibly inspire the remainder of world Orthodoxy to accept that kind of a role for the MP.  And, to the extent that the EP is successful in wresting away from the MP all of the MP's jurisdiction outside the national boundaries of the Russian Federation, thereby reducing the MP's jurisdiction to that of any other "national Church", there will be further difficulties in assigning such a role to the MP -- hence the clever strategy of the EP in actively seeking to divest the MP of jurisdiction outside the Russian nation.  There's far more going on there than meets the eye, and it is high politics, Orthodox style, if you ask me.

Brendan
 


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« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2003, 04:20:20 PM »

Thanks Elisha, since you are a friend of Linus, I hope this calms the heat of our POV on this discussion then.

I also think it is really no argument at all to accuse someone of arguing like a Protestant. That is not refuting an argument but is rather an attempt to discredit an argument by associating it with the methods of those with whom we all disagree.

Again, I apologized if a spoke wrongly of you, I just found it interesting (I was not thinking of saying it to demean you in anyway) you were arguing that if one doesn't see it by reading a verse in the Bible, doesn't mean it did not happen - in another thread. As Anastasios said, it seems to be pretty much universally thought that Peter was associated with the Judaizers. The only people I had ever heard argue it in the past was Roman Catholics, while some still conceded that he was a Judaizer, including RC priests in homilies.

So again, I apologize again if my words were construed as a personal insulting attack, as I did not mean to make one. But I stand by my arguments. Cheesy Please accept my apology and let us  move on to the discussions fromt he fathers and scripture and not what tone one another said something.
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« Reply #43 on: April 10, 2003, 04:25:21 PM »

Nicholas -

Forgive me, but where is the evidence that St. Peter ever held the position of the Judaizers? I am not a Protestant. I will accept evidence from the Apostolic Tradition.

If Peter did hold Judaizing opinions, he certainly had abandoned them by the time of the Council of Jerusalem.

Look at the speech he made there as recorded in Acts 15. It is definitely anti-Judaizers.

I know you apologized. I am sorry, but since Elisha quoted you in responding to me, I felt the need to answer him according to what he had quoted.
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« Reply #44 on: April 10, 2003, 04:36:48 PM »

Power to bind and loose with all apostles: Jn. 20:23; Matt. 18:18

I have a quote of St. Isidore of Seville that gives the Orthodox interpretation rather well... that Peter was the leader, and that he was first given the powers, BUT then all the apostles were given the same powers, AND the apostles are all equal. I'll post some more Scripture and also some Patristics tonight. And maybe an additional argument or two. I'm not looking to get into this discussion though, just trying to provide some information for consideration.
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