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Author Topic: The Importance of Peter's Successor  (Read 14065 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!

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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 »

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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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« Reply #45 on: April 10, 2003, 04:55:26 PM »

Let me quote St. Chrysostom again.

"The apostles had permitted circumcision at Jerusalem, for a complete severance from the law was not practicable. But when they entered Antioch, they left off this observance, and lived indiscriminately with the believers among the Gentiles, which Peter also was doing at that time. But since some came from Jerusalem, who had heard the preaching he gave there, he no longer did so, fearing lest he should strike them with a blow. But he changed his course using economy, so as to both avoid scandalizing the Jews and to give Paul a reasonable pretext for rebuking him... Whereupon Paul criticizes, and Peter bears with patience, that when the teacher is blamed, yet keeps silence, the disciples may more easily make a transition." [Ch. II P.G. 61:687 (cols. 640, 641).]

"On account of their excessive adherence to the law, he calls that which took place a dissimulation, and severely criticizes, in order to effectively remove their prejudices. And Peter too, hearing this, joins in their feint, as if he sinned, in order that they might be corrected by means of the rebuke give to him. If Paul indeed made a criticism to these Jews, they would have been indignant and spit upon it, for he was not held in high esteem by them. But now, when they behold the teacher being criticized and keeping silent, they were unable to despise or stand against what Paul had said." [Ch. II P.G. 61:688 (cols. 641, 642).]

The saint appears to take a middle ground between our postitions Linus. Peter evidentally joined up with the Judaizers, but may not have been completely in agreement with them.
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« Reply #46 on: April 10, 2003, 07:09:08 PM »

Let me quote St. Chrysostom again.

"The apostles had permitted circumcision at Jerusalem, for a complete severance from the law was not practicable. But when they entered Antioch, they left off this observance, and lived indiscriminately with the believers among the Gentiles, which Peter also was doing at that time. But since some came from Jerusalem, who had heard the preaching he gave there, he no longer did so, fearing lest he should strike them with a blow. But he changed his course using economy, so as to both avoid scandalizing the Jews and to give Paul a reasonable pretext for rebuking him... Whereupon Paul criticizes, and Peter bears with patience, that when the teacher is blamed, yet keeps silence, the disciples may more easily make a transition." [Ch. II P.G. 61:687 (cols. 640, 641).]

"On account of their excessive adherence to the law, he calls that which took place a dissimulation, and severely criticizes, in order to effectively remove their prejudices. And Peter too, hearing this, joins in their feint, as if he sinned, in order that they might be corrected by means of the rebuke give to him. If Paul indeed made a criticism to these Jews, they would have been indignant and spit upon it, for he was not held in high esteem by them. But now, when they behold the teacher being criticized and keeping silent, they were unable to despise or stand against what Paul had said." [Ch. II P.G. 61:688 (cols. 641, 642).]

The saint appears to take a middle ground between our postitions Linus. Peter evidentally joined up with the Judaizers, but may not have been completely in agreement with them.

Ah! That quote from St. John Chrysostom explains a lot: both Peter's rebuke from St. Paul and his opposition to the Judaizers at the Council of Jerusalem.  Cool
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« Reply #47 on: April 10, 2003, 07:15:21 PM »

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From Joe Zollars: 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.

When St. Peter had his vision on the rooftop in Joppa, ALL Jewish Christians would have held to a "Judaizer position" because the Gospel had not yet been taken to the Gentiles.

Such a vision would have probably been necessary to convince any of them to associate with Gentiles.

St. Peter, as leader of the Church, was chosen by God to be the first to take the Gospel to the Gentiles.

See the account of this in Acts 10.
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« Reply #48 on: April 10, 2003, 07:33:02 PM »

What about Samaritans? Certainly Jews of the time didn't view them as "Jews," yet they were missionized.

And did the Apostles just not understand things like what Jesus said at the end of Matthew? "All nations" (Matt. 28) would have meant Gentiles to any Jewish listener; this is the thing that makes the statement so profound: it is no longer us (Jews) vs. them (the nations, the gentiles), but it is now us AND them. What is being said on this thread reminds me of a mid-acts dispensationalist teaching that the original Apostles just kept going to the Jews, and then somewhere in the middle of Acts the Apostles--who just couldn't figure it out--got hit upside the head with another dose of divine revelation and finally saw the truth. Just some questions, what is being said on this thread I've honestly never heard before (from Orthodox Christians).
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« Reply #49 on: April 10, 2003, 08:07:05 PM »

What about Samaritans? Certainly Jews of the time didn't view them as "Jews," yet they were missionized.

And did the Apostles just not understand things like what Jesus said at the end of Matthew? "All nations" (Matt. 28) would have meant Gentiles to any Jewish listener; this is the thing that makes the statement so profound: it is no longer us (Jews) vs. them (the nations, the gentiles), but it is now us AND them. What is being said on this thread reminds me of a mid-acts dispensationalist teaching that the original Apostles just kept going to the Jews, and then somewhere in the middle of Acts the Apostles--who just couldn't figure it out--got hit upside the head with another dose of divine revelation and finally saw the truth. Just some questions, what is being said on this thread I've honestly never heard before (from Orthodox Christians).

Well, the fact remains that Peter's trip to Caesarea and the home of Cornelius is regarded in Acts as the opening up of the Church's mission to the Gentiles (Acts 10). If St. Peter did not need "another dose of divine revelation" to know to go to the Gentiles, then please explain his rooftop vision in Joppa and the surprise of the Jewish Christians with him when the Holy Spirit descended on the household of Cornelius.

This is the second post that has remarked with amazement on the things posted by some Orthodox Christians (by which evidently I am meant).

I do not see that anything I have posted contradicts Orthodox teaching in the least, unless, of course, I am being misunderstood, or the best those who disagree with me can do is to cast doubt upon my orthodoxy.

I also dislike the comparison to "mid-Acts Dispensationalism," which I think is unwarranted. No one has presented anything even remotely resembling Dispensationalism.

I believe the Church is the True Israel and that all those who have faith in Christ are children of Abraham, whether Jew or Gentile. That is a far cry from the "two kingdoms" theory of Dispensationalism.

To assert that Peter was the leader of the early Church and that the bishops of Rome were his successors is Orthodox.

I would think one would be amazed that any Orthodox Christian would have a problem with that statement.

I also think that only a thoroughly partisan spirit could fail to recognize that the Great Schism was a terrible tragedy and that it left a leadership vacuum in the Church.

Note: I am not saying you are such a partisan spirit; I am simply making a generalized statement.
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« Reply #50 on: April 10, 2003, 08:57:11 PM »

I also think that only a thoroughly partisan spirit could fail to recognize that the Great Schism was a terrible tragedy and that it left a leadership vacuum in the Church.

I agree with the first part. The Great Schism was a great tragedy. But to asert that it left a leadership vaccuum is inaccurate IMO. And one does not have to be thoroughly partisan in spirit to agree with that. The Pope did not lead the Church Universal. Saint Gregory Pope of Rome said that if anyone claimed to do so he was a heretic. This is why he opposed the Patriarch of Constantinople taking on the title of Ecumenical Patriarch.
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« Reply #51 on: April 10, 2003, 09:08:00 PM »

Nicholas -

I think you misunderstood me.

I did not say the Pope had universal jurisdictional or was the absolute autocrat of the Church.

But the loss of any Patriarch creates a leadership vacuum.

Matthias was not chosen to be the leader of the early Church, but the Apostles considered it important that he fill the position Judas left vacant by his fall.

Besides that, I think it is incorrect to assert that the Pope was just another bishop and that he exercised no position of leadership. He was not an infallible autocrat, but he was a kind of president to whom appeals were addressed in cases of controversy.
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« Reply #52 on: April 10, 2003, 09:24:19 PM »

Quote
Well, the fact remains that Peter's trip to Caesarea and the home of Cornelius is regarded in Acts as the opening up of the Church's mission to the Gentiles (Acts 10).

Ok, but if Judaizer implied Judaism, or Jewishness, doesn't the Samaritan mission sort of muddy the waters? What do you think about it? Did the apostles think that "all nations" meant the samaritans on not the rest of the world?

Quote
This is the second post that has remarked with amazement on the things posted by some Orthodox Christians (by which evidently I am meant).

Well, comments on this forum in general amaze me.

Quote
I do not see that anything I have posted contradicts Orthodox teaching in the least, unless, of course, I am being misunderstood, or the best those who disagree with me can do is to cast doubt upon my orthodoxy.

I just said I'd never heard any Orthodox Christian assert what is being asserted before. But I learn about new (Orthodox) teachings each day, so who knows...

Quote
I also dislike the comparison to "mid-Acts Dispensationalism," which I think is unwarranted. No one has presented anything even remotely resembling Dispensationalism.

Well, there are about 101 different types of dispensationalism, perhaps you aren't familiar with the group I had in mind (ever hear of Bob Hill or Bob Enyart?). I certainly didn't mean to call you a dispensationalist, any more than I would call St. John Chrysostom a dispensationalist because of how he draws a sharp distinction between the old covenant and new covenant morality (especially in the morality expected, as can be seen in his wonderful homilies on the Sermon on the Mount). What I thought was similar was the idea that the Apostles kept going to the Jews through the middle of Acts, all the while apparently unaware that they were suppose to missionize the gentiles. Now certainly the apostles, before the Holy Spirit came, were pious but didn't always "get it" right away (Jesus even calls them dense a few times). Yet, you'd think that once the Holy Spirit came, and once Jesus equipped them and sent them, they'd have known that they were suppose to go to the Gentiles.  

Quote
To assert that Peter was the leader of the early Church and that the bishops of Rome were his successors is Orthodox.

I agree totally.

And the Fathers, at face value, say much more about him. Consider the words of St. Ambrose:

Quote
"It is that same Peter to whom He said, 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church.' Therefore, where Peter is, there the Church is, there death is not, but life eternal. And therefore did He add, 'and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,' (or him). Blessed Peter, against whom 'the gates of hell prevailed not,' the gate of heaven closed not; but who, on the contrary, destroyed the porches of hell, and opened the heavenly vestibules; wherefore, though placed on earth, he opened heaven and closed hell." Ambrose, Commentary on Psalm 40:30

Yet, what did St. Ambrose mean? The meaning is clear (or so they think) to a Roman Catholic: Peter really did do all those things and really is all those things. We Orthodox though, who are not trapped in unfortunate humanism, can see that Peter did not really destroy the gates of hell, but as Ambrose says elsewhere, his faith did:

Quote
"Faith, then, is the foundation of the Church, for it was not said of Peter's flesh, but of his faith, that 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' But his confession of faith conquered hell." - Ambrose; The Sacrament of the Incarnation

So even while a Father could bestow such great words on a person, it was always always always only insofar as they held and taught the true faith of Christ. Peter wasn't a guarantee of orthodoxy or salvation, as Roman Catholics would interpret the first passage, but Peter as seen in his faith was a manifestation of the truth, which could save. That is why we say such amazingly bold things about the Theotokos, not because she, as though a demi-god, could save us, but because we know the root and source of her abilities. If she were to ever falter (an absurdity, but grant it for the sake of argument), then we would no longer magnify her as we so rightly now do. So to, with the rock and chair of Peter, while his successors were Orthodox, they certainly were deserving of the great words showered on them. But once they were wrong, their "position" and "place of leadership" afforded them no leadership.

Where was this "leader" during the 2nd Ecumenical council? You see, I find your assertion on this impossible to accept because Church history itself does not allow it. Where was this necessity for Roman leadership, e.g., when the 2nd Ecumenical Council elevated the see of Constantinople to the 2nd place in power, against the explicit and vocal wishes of the Pope? Rome, in fact, refused to accept the canons of this council until centuries after, and in fact didn't accept the Constantinopilitan canon until nearly a millenium after. And what was the eastern response? Follow the leader? Did things collapse if the "leader" wasn't followed? Absolutely not, from the very acts at the council forward, the canons were submitted by those in the east, whether the Pope would accept them or not. Even when it was obvious (as they tried to reconcile the next year) that the Pope wasn't going to budge, they simply continued on as they had before, recognizing in practice what the Orthodox would later teach formally: that while Rome is the first among equals, it is first only so long as it is correct and orthodox. Should it's Orthodoxy falter (as Alexandria's did), another would take it's place and step up in leadership. We Orthodox are not dependent on Rome, as though we are lost sheep without our shepherd; staying with the same father, Ambrose boldly proclaims:

Quote
"Your rock is your deed, your rock is your mind. Upon this rock your house is built. Your rock is your faith, and faith is the foundation of the Church. If you are a rock, you will be in the Church, because the Church is on a rock. If you are in the Church the gates of hell will not prevail against you" - Ambrose,Commentary in Luke 6, 98

This brings to my mind the wonderful words of Saint Athanasius:

Quote
"In Thy saints, who in every age have been well pleasing to Thee, is truly Thy faith; for Thou hast founded the world on Thy faith, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." - Athanasius, Commentary on Psalm 11

When a see falls into heresy, the see falls entirely. Heresy is, as the Fathers teach universally, a gate of hell. When Rome fell into humanism, which like a dominoe caused all of her other woes, she fell from her high place down to the earth. But woe to them, who would defend this fallen see unduly, leading sincere but not-yet-knowledgable members of the theanthropic body of Christ astray. Fear, great fear is what such a person should have!

Quote
I would think one would be amazed that any Orthodox Christian would have a problem with that statement

there is no problem with the statement. The problem is the conclusions drawn from the statement (seen in the next quote), which are wholly unorthodox.

Quote
I also think that only a thoroughly partisan spirit could fail to recognize that the Great Schism was a terrible tragedy and that it left a leadership vacuum in the Church.

Certainly it was a terrible tragedy Sad Just as certainly, Orthodox did not falter when it happened. According to Orthodox ecclesiology, Christ is our head, and Christ is our leader. The unorthodox neo-papal doctrine (which is a guised form of the original humanistic papism, the first protestantism) that says that Rome was somehow the glue that held us together, and that we are "left in a leadership vacuum" because she fell, is so horrifying that I couldn't possibly conceive of words to describe it. Daily I realise how far we have all fallen as an Orthodox body, and how close we are to the end, when almost all will fall away because they don't even realise that they are falling.

Justin

PS. I'm sorry nicholas, I can't continue posting here on this thread.
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« Reply #53 on: April 10, 2003, 09:27:34 PM »

One last post before I leave the thread...

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He was not an infallible autocrat, but he was a kind of president to whom appeals were addressed in cases of controversy.

Were you aware that all the bishops brought their problems to Constantine at the time of the First Ecumenical Council? Were you aware that an Ecumenical Council gave Constantinople the right to hear all disputes in the east?

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« Reply #54 on: April 10, 2003, 09:44:06 PM »

Paradosis -

I do not understand why you cannot continue posting on this thread.

Have I asserted Roman Catholicism or even come close?

I think words have been placed in my mouth that I have not uttered.

To say that the Great Schism created a leadership vacuum is not the same thing as saying that Orthodoxy was or is entirely dependent upon Rome and its bishop, far from it.

If I have posted anything heretical, please enlighten and correct me.

You misunderstand me if you think I am asserting papal autocracy or universal jurisdiction (how many times must I repeat that?).

I am aware that Popes did not give commands to the other bishops that were always obeyed, and that the leadership of the Bishop of Rome was an honorary chairmanship. Early Popes led more by example than in any other way.

I am sorry I started this topic if it is going to produce reactions like, "Daily I realise how far we have all fallen as an Orthodox body, and how close we are to the end, when almost all will fall away because they don't even realise that they are falling."

And "But woe to them, who would defend this fallen see unduly, leading sincere but not-yet-knowledgable members of the theanthropic body of Christ astray. Fear, great fear is what such a person should have!"

Who is defending the "fallen See?"

Have I spoken anything in defense of the post-Schism Papacy?

I have spoken of Peter's leadership, of the fact that the early popes were Peter's successors.

I have repeated time and time again that I do not accept Roman Catholic innovations and am NOT arguing for them.

Paradosis, you should rather fear to offer offense without cause and to see heresy where there is none.

I think I too will quit posting to this thread, since those who find fault with it cannot do so without lapsing into apocalyptic paroxysms of ultimate doom or questioning my orthodoxy.

When I disputed with Protestants at CBBS and one of them wished to call me a name, he just came out and did it.

Some of you are more subtle, but the name-calling is there nonetheless.


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« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2003, 10:38:53 PM »

Justin,

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Well, comments on this forum in general amaze me.

I know, isn't our forum amazing!  Cool

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I'm sorry nicholas, I can't continue posting here on this thread.

How can you make accusations and then not stick around to answer them?

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« Reply #56 on: April 11, 2003, 12:22:48 PM »

I would like once again to assert that I have not nor am I defending the current Pope or any of the post-schism popes, neither am I defending any western doctrinal innovations which divide the present Roman Catholic Church from the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church.

I am not calling for doctrinal compromise in order to achieve a false "unity."

All that said, I would like to continue this thread because I think it is an interesting topic that needs to be discussed and one from which, I believe, we can all learn something.

I have learned much from it already, some of it rather unpleasant.

However, I have also learned (from Nicholas) that some of the Fathers evidently believed that Peter may have once (however briefly) held at least some of the opinions of the Judaizers. In fact, since starting this thread and reading Nicholas' posts, I have found a nifty passage from St. Cyprian of Carthage that supports Nicholas' position regarding Peter's early view that Gentile converts should be circumcised.

I have amassed a number of patristic passages that I would be interested to share in connection with this topic, but I am not sure I should continue with this thread.

It has aroused far too much venom, almost all of it directed my way and, to my thinking, absolutely unjustified.

I may return to this thread and post what I have learned if I see the discussion continuing and if it seems that it can continue in a more civil manner.

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« Reply #57 on: April 11, 2003, 02:30:30 PM »

I think that some reasons (as to why Linus would say 'leadership vacuum' per se) that many on this thread are just plain forgetting about are geo-political and socio-economic.  I'm talking about just plain number (size) and economic/political power. Remember everyone, the west had the economic and military power to expand, colonize, industrialize, etc. first and conquered "the known world".  Of course the Orthodox are "weird" and different to everyone else - their called Eastern Orthodox!  Different culture, theology, etc.  And...we've always (well, for at least the from the 2nd millenium to arbitrarily choose a not so accurate data  Smiley)been in the minority.  If we have this great history with the Roman Bishop and his See is so huge, then one could say there's a huge "leadership vacuum" in some sense (but maybe not the sense that Linus or anyone else here is thinking).  Weren't the Crusades partly about the Eastern Patriarchates needing help from the more powerful West since they (the East) were militarily and economically inferior while being opressed by the Muslims?  Just some thoughts that no one seems to be considering.
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« Reply #58 on: April 13, 2003, 12:19:32 AM »

Summary - St.Peter is so named (Peter = "rock"), because of his confession.  His confession is the foundation of the Church - for without belief in Christ, there is not Christianity, and if no Christianity, obviously no Church.

There is something unseemly, and even obscene about the modern Papal claim (that Peter is of himself "the rock", and his legit successors are also of themselves the "rock" and foundation of the Church) - it places institutional authoritarianism, over that very thing which is the lifeblood and real authenticity of Christianity (Christ, belief in Him, His doctrine...basically, orthodoxy.)

This is why in modern Catholicism, nothing matters quite as much as exoteric, organizational unity - outwardly submit to the Pope, and all manner of religious pluralism will be allowed (thus you have FSSP types on one hand, charismatics on the other, so called "Orthodox in communion with Rome" who think little of down playing or denying papal dogmas, etc...but apparently all are "Catholics in good standing").

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« Reply #59 on: April 13, 2003, 08:20:00 PM »

While I think it is vitally important to remember that Peter's confession is of primary importance and is one aspect of Jesus' use of the word rock in Matthew 16:18, it is also important to recall that it was Peter himself who made that confession, a man whose name was Simon up until that time.

I find it astounding that anyone could regard as a threat to the Holy Orthodox Church the assertion that Peter was the rock upon which Christ founded the Church.  

The truth of this teaching must be separated from the idea that it is an endorsement of post-schism Roman Catholicism. It is not.

Jesus Himself changed Simon's name to Kepha, the Aramaic word meaning rock, and said to him:

"And I tell you, you are Peter [Kepha], and on this rock[kepha] I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18, RSV).

Why did Jesus not say to him, "You are Simon, and on this rock I will build my church," if He wished to differentiate between Peter himself and his confession?

The fact is that the confession cannot be separated from the man who made it. They are both of them the rock upon which Jesus founded His Church, which is, from what I can tell, also the opinion held by the Fathers of the Church.

"There speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built . . ." (St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter to Florentius Pupianus, [66 (69), 8]; A.D. 254).

"For Peter, whom the Lord chose first and upon whom He built His Church . . ." (St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter to Quintus, A Bishop of Mauretania, [71, 1]; A.D. 254/255).

"And again He says to him [Peter] after His resurrection: 'Feed My sheep.' On him He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair" (St. Cyprian of Carthage, The Unity of the Catholic Church, [4]; A.D. 251).

"Simon, My follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for Me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which My teaching flows, you are the chief of My disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in My institution, and so that, as the heir, you may be executor of My treasures. I have given you the keys of My kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all My treasures!" (St. Ephraim the Syrian, Homilies, [4,1]; 4th century).

"He made answer: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock will I 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; 4th century).

"For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that from his being called the Rock, from his being pronounced the Foundation, from his being constituted the Doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his being set as the Umpire to bind and to loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven, from all these mystical titles we might know the nature of his association with Christ" (St. Leo the Great, The Great Sermons, Sermon III; 5th century).

I think it is pretty plain that the Fathers recognized the depth of what Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:18. Yes, they believed Peter's confession was the Rock upon which the Church is built; but it is also apparent that they realized that Peter and his confession are inseparable, and that Peter himself was uniquely the Rock upon which Jesus built His Church.

Please, read what I have actually written above. Do not read into it anything but what is actually there.

I am not advocating post-schism Roman Catholicism, universal papal jurisdiction, papal infallibility, papal autocracy, etc.

What I am advocating is the Orthodox position. To deny that Peter was the Rock upon which Jesus founded His Church, to deny that Peter was the leader of the Apostles, to assert that Peter's confession alone was the Rock, is to advocate what are, in fact, Protestant doctrines.

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« Reply #60 on: April 14, 2003, 12:02:36 AM »

Personally I find this thread very interesting, especially with Bro Linus's hard facts.

Keep it going, in fact I think the Roman Rite needs to look to its Orthodox brethern to stabilize and fix its liberal wobbling, at least in US and Canada.

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« Reply #61 on: April 14, 2003, 11:04:49 AM »

What I am advocating is the Orthodox position. To deny that Peter was the Rock upon which Jesus founded His Church, to deny that Peter was the leader of the Apostles, to assert that Peter's confession alone was the Rock, is to advocate what are, in fact, Protestant doctrines.
From the GOA:

The Pseudo-Clementine Writings - The Attempt To Elevate Peter And The Seat Of Rome To Supremacy.

The Pseudo-Clementine writings are false "Homilies" (discourses) falsely attributed to the Bishop of Rome Clement (93-101), which attempted to restate the life of Apostle Peter. The purpose was one: the elevation of Peter over the other Apostles, especially Apostle Paul, and the elevation of the Seat of Rome over any other Bishop's Seat "Peter", it was claimed, "who was the most able of all (the others)' was called to illuminate the West, the darkest place of the Universe."                      

The "Homilies" were written to fit the misleading interpretation of Matthew 16:18,19, that "You art Peter, and on this rock I will build my church... and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven ". It is misleading because the word "rock" does not refer to Peter, but to the faith that "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (v. 16). There is not one sign of the primacy of Peter over the other Apostles mentioned in the Bible, and if a primacy was intended, a decision of such importance and magnitude certainly would have been mentioned in the Bible in unambiguous language. In many cases the opposite is true; Paul wrote to Galatians, "I withstood him, (Peter) to the face, because he was to be blamed" (2:11); besides, it is well known that Peter thrice denied Christ. Peter did not found the Church of Rome; he actually remained in Antioch for many years before reaching Rome. To say that as Christ reigns in Heaven, Peter and his successors, the popes, govern the Earth, is a statement alien to the spirit of the Gospel and the understanding of the early Church. Christ was and is the cornerstone and the Head of the Church, consisting of all members of His Body. (cf. Col.1:24).
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« Reply #62 on: April 14, 2003, 11:16:00 AM »

And a few patristics of my own:

"This one (Peter) is called a rock in order that on his FAITH (Rock) he may receive the foundations of the Church." - St. Gregory Nazianzen, 26th Discourse

"The Rock on which Christ will build His Church means the faith of confession."- St. John Chrysostom, 53rd Homily on St. Matthew

"The Rock (petra) is the blessed and only rock of the faith confessed by the mouth of Peter. It is on this Rock of the confession of faith that the Church is built." - St. Hilary of Poitiers, 2nd book on the Trinity

Hilary wrote the first lengthy study of the doctrine of the Church in Latin. Proclaimed a "Doctor of the Church" by the Roman See in 1851, he is called the Athanasius of the Western Church.
     
'"The word "Rock" has only a denominative value-it signifies nothing but the steadfast and firm faith of the apostles."
- Cyril of Alexandria, Upon St.John, Book JJ, Chap. XII

In his Letter to Nestorius, St. Cyril says: "Peter and John were equal in dignity and honor. Christ is the foundation of all -the unshakeable Rock upon which we are all built as a spiritual edifice."

"Faith is the foundation of the Church, for it was not of the person but the faith of St. Peter of which it was said, 'the gates of hell shall not prevail'; certainly it is the confession of faith which has vanquished the powers of hell."

"Jesus Christ is the Rock. He did not deny the grace of His name... to Peter because he borrowed from the Rock the constancy and solidity of his faith- thy Rock is thy faith, and faith is the foundation of the Church. If thou art a Rock, thou shalt be in the Church, for the Church is built upon the Rock... (the profession of faith in Christ Jesus)." - St. Ambrose: The Incarnation
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« Reply #63 on: April 14, 2003, 01:01:24 PM »

Brother Nicholas,

I do agree with the Orthodox belief regarding the Bishop of Rome,as I see it, only being the Patriarch of the Western Church.When it comes to Church politics I fear the only people who suffer are the laity,the immense numbers of the Body of the Church. Instead of discussing and exploring the positives we have in common, the negatives pop up and dominate communication. A divided house will never be whole.

James
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« Reply #64 on: April 14, 2003, 01:34:14 PM »

Jacobus, I am glad that you see that power-wise the Pope is only the Patriarch of the Church of Rome. The reason we have to focus on what divides us, unfortunately, is those things have to be fixed and recanted of in order for reunion to take place.
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« Reply #65 on: April 14, 2003, 03:02:02 PM »

Goodness!

This reminds me of the "Ask the Bible Man" radio program that I heard the other night as I was driving to Great Compline. Hank was trying to "prove" the resurrection via archeological evidence for the existence of Jesus and arguments about how Christianity evolved.

What a waste of time -- the resurrection is a matter of faith and has nothing to do with "evidence" or anything of this world. I did find interesting his justification that Jesus' "brother" James believed. He said something like "If you were crucified, dead and buried, do you think your brother would stick around and die for you?"

The point is that you either believe on faith or you do not.
And that is the same with Papal supremecy and infallability. You either CHOOSE to believe that it is based in scripture or you do not.

But here is the real question: At a personal level, does it really matter? Will the Lord reject you at judgement day because you did not believe in Papal supremecy? Will God reject me because I really don't care if Mary was "virgin" or "EVER-virgin"?

Our salvation comes through believeing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God -- and that is all.





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« Reply #66 on: April 14, 2003, 03:37:59 PM »

Quote
This reminds me of the "Ask the Bible Man" radio program that I heard the other night as I was driving to Great Compline. Hank was trying to "prove" the resurrection via archeological evidence for the existence of Jesus and arguments about how Christianity evolved.

Just to continue with a short side-jack; The same sort of stuff was on the History Channel last night.  Parts of it about made me hurl  Lips Sealed  Of course, what does one expect when the 'scholars' and 'experts' were Dominic & Co. from the Jesus Seminar among others ...
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« Reply #67 on: April 14, 2003, 04:05:15 PM »

Brother Tom,

You are somewhat correct,however, my belief is based on that Jesus is the only Son of the Almighty Father,who has come in the Flesh, He is the only way & mediator between us and the Father,and we will be judged by the Son on our works/deeds resulting from our faith.

James

I modified my post after locating my bifocals and putting my grandaughter down for a nap.
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« Reply #68 on: April 14, 2003, 05:59:59 PM »

Our salvation comes through believeing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God -- and that is all.

The following is from a Coptic source, but 'H.H.' Pope Shenouda has compiled the facts together pretty well, so I copy-n-paste from them instead of being original with a response to the claim of Sola Fidei.

Salvation In the Orthodox Concept
By 'His Holiness' Pope Shenouda III
St. George Coptic Orthodox Church, Tampa, FL
College Meeting, November  9, 2001

-+ A great theological dispute rose in the 1960’s regarding the subject of salvation and 2 conferences were held in lower Egypt to discuss these issues and the book was published in 1967 as a result of the 2 conferences.

-+ St. Paul sates, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12

Introduction: The Danger of Using “One Single Verse!”

-+ The Holy Bible is not just as mere verses but rather as a certain Spirit is involved in ALL of its parts.

-+ St. Paul tells the Philippian jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31

-+ St. Paul states in his epistle to the Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2: 8,9).

-+ We need to not read this verse in isolation from the verse that follows, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in Him.” (Ephesians 2: 10)

-+ His Holiness emphasizes how we as Orthodox Christians need to be aquatinted with the right faith and the truth and that we always need to remind ourselves of St. Paul ‘s words.

“GǪnot of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” II Corinthians 3:6

v BEWARE of using a SINGLE VERSE ONLY!!!

Chapter 1- No salvation except through the blood of Christ alone

-+ No faith nor works without the blood of Christ can b e of any benefitGǪFaith means to believe in the blood of Christ, and works are those based in the deserts of the blood of Christ as St. Paul said, “...without shedding of blood, there is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22)

-+ “Not by works of righteousness which we have done.” Titus 3:5

-+ “Not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:9

-+ Therefore, the righteous people of the Old Testament who pleased God with their good works remained in Hades until the Lord Jesus Christ brought them out of Hades after His crucifixion.

v Why is there no salvation except through the blood of Christ?

Romans 3:23, Romans 3:12

Requirements for the Redeemer of our sins- Romans 3: 24-25

1) Unlimited
2) Perfect (sinless)
3) Man
4) Death

-+ “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God sent forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God has passed over the sins that were previously committed.” Romans 3:24-225

Conditions of Salvation through the blood of Christ:

The requirements can be explained in four categories:

1) Faith
2) Baptism
3) Church Sacraments
4) Good Works

1) Faith

-+ “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

-+ Our Lord Jesus Christ declared to the Jews that without faith there would be no salvation.”...if you do not believe I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24

-+ “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

-+ As mentioned in the Introduction, Saints Paul and Silas required faith from the Philippian jailer saying to him, ”Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31

-+ “For as the body without the spirit is dead, faith without works is dead.” James 2:20

-+ “Even the demons believe and tremble.” James 2:19

-+ “...and through I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” I Corinthians 13:2

-+ Love is the greatest of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as St. Paul states, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

2) Baptism

-+ Baptism is the gate through which one attains salvation, while faith paves the way to it.

-+ Our Lord Jesus Christ told Nicodemus, “Most assuredly I say to you unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:5 (It is not merely just being “born again.”)

-+ The Sacrament of Baptism originated from the early Church and is still practiced in our Coptic Orthodox Churches. This is clearly supported by the following verses: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20

-+ On the day of Pentecost, after hearing the words of St. Peter about baptism they, “gladly received his word, were baptized, and that day about 3,000 souls were added to them.” Acts 2:41 (If faith alone were sufficient, what was the need to baptize 3000 souls!!)

-+ Similarly, the Philippian jailer who accepted faith through St. Paul and St. Silas, ”immediately he and all his family were baptized.”

-+ “For as many of you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27

Theological view of Baptism

-+ The way to Salvation must begin with death...continue through death and the last stage in the process of salvation is to be attained through death. This is clearly explained in the following verse:

“For the wages of sins is death.” Romans 6:23

-+ One must die with Christ and rise with Him in order to be glorified with Him. We must always remember that if we want to resurrect with Him, we must die with Him. We must always remember that all suffering is coupled with glory and that it is the way of glory.

-+ The icons of Saints that we venerate in the Coptic Orthodox Church depict the many sufferings they endured but now these Saints who suffered and who were martyred are glorified and venerated in Churches all over the world. He went onto to mention that true and faithful Christians seek sufferings and that suffering produces purity and that it is the only way to attain glory in this earth and everlasting life.

-+ St. Paul also mentions that,”Or do you not know that as many of us were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death.” Romans 6:3-4

-+ We need to live and think as St. Paul did when he submitted everything to Christ and how Christ only resided in his life when he said the following famous words:

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20

-+ Salvation begins with the death in baptism, continues through death against the worldly lust to the end as St. John states “Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

3) Church Sacraments

A) Holy Communion

-+ This is a beautiful sacrament because we are joined with Our Lord Jesus Christ.

-+ Holy Communion also called the “Mysteries of Mysteries” or “Crown of Sacraments” as all the Sacraments are crowned by it.

v The person baptized must receive Communion directly after Baptism.

v The person who confesses and repents must receive Communion directly after Confession.

v The person who marries must receive Communion directly after the wedding, according to the original Rites of Matrimony which must be done in between the Matins and the Holy Liturgy.

-+ Our Lord Jesus Christ instituted this Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday, a few hours before His arrest and trial, in the Upper Room of Zion when He said,” And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to his disciples and said, ‘Take, eat this is My body. ‘ Then He took the cup, and gave thanks and gave it to them saying, Drink from, it all if you. For this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26: 26-28

The Benefits of Holy Communion

1) Salvation and remission of sins

-+ We continually commit new sins daily and we need to wash out our sins with the blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ continuously. This is also recited during the Divine Liturgy, we mention that the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ “given for us: salvation and the remission of sins and eternal life for whoever partakes of it.” “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” I John 1:18

2) Abiding in Christ according to His precious promise

-+ “Most assuredly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in Me and I in Him.” John 6:53-58

3) Eternal Life

“ Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day. He who eats this Bread will live forever.” John 6: 54, 58.

4) Growth in Spirit and spiritual perfection and life in Jesus Christ

“For my flesh is food indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. As the living Father sent me, and I live in because of the Father, so he feeds in Me will live because of Me.” John 6: 55,57

5) Gives healing to the soul, body and spirit as it is recited during the Divine Liturgy

“That they (Holy Body and Precious Blood) may become to us all for participation and healing and salvation for our souls, bodies, and spirits.”

v We need to take every opportunity in our lives to partake of the Holy Communion and we should never allow more than 40 days to pass without receiving it, Participating in this sacrament is vital for our salvation and we should never attend the Divine Liturgy and take the Blessed Body and Blood for granted or take it unworthily.

We need to be prepared and worthy before we partake of this Blessed Sacrament:

1) The person needs to posses Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and be an Orthodox Christian baptized in the Church and believing in the transubstantiation of the Bread to the Body and the Wine to the Blood of Christ.

2) The person needs to live a life of Repentance and have a spiritual Father that he/she confesses to on a regular basis. “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread and drink of that Cup.”

 I Corinthians 11:24

3) The person needs to be reconciled with others

“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5: 23,24

4) Attendance for the reading of the Holy Gospel. The reading of the Holy Gospel and the Prayer of the Mass are performed before Holy Communion to sanctify the soul and body of a person, and give him a spiritual and mental preparation for Communion.

B) Repentance

v We must understand that Faith and Baptism does not prevent us from sinning and does cleanse us from our sins. Confession is a very important Sacrament as Orthodox Christians and we need to have a Spiritual Father and that we cannot just confess our sins to God only. This sacrament gives us a new hope in life and a new chance because our sins are wiped away. This is supported by the following verses.

-+ “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9

-+ “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

-+ Our Lord Jesus Christ also told us that,”...unless you repent you all likewise will perish.” Luke 13:3

-+ The Holy  Church since the beginning practiced the sacrament of Confession and is still practiced in our Coptic Orthodox Church. This Sacrament is also supported by the Holy Bible. “Many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.” Acts 19:18

-+ Our Lord Jesus Christ after His Resurrection told his disciples that they were given the authority to forgive and to remit one’s sins. Our Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples, ”Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:22-23

C) Good Works

-+ Good works are necessary for salvation, and the absence of good works shows that faith is dead and fruitless. We as Orthodox Christians need to understand that a person needs the help and grace to be able to do good works as Our Lord Jesus Christ said,” GǪwithout Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

-+ “For as the body without the spirit is dead, faith without works is dead.” James 2:20

-+ God’s judgement on us will be according to our works.

-+ David the prophet said, "Also to you, O Lord, belongs mercy; for you render to each according to his work.” Psalm 62:12

-+ “For God brings every work into judgement, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14

-+ “For the son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his work.” Matthew 16:27

-+ His Holiness Pope Shenouda III emphasizes that God does not forget any small act or good deed that we do to anyone not even “a cup of cold water” that was given to one who thirsted. “Therefore be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58

Works are fruits required for faith

-+ “This is a faithful saying and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.” Titus 3:8,14

-+ “By works, faith is made perfect.” James 2:22

-+ Works are vital for an Orthodox Christian. The works that we show and display in our lives should be evidence that we are sons and daughters of God. St. James states, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good, and does not do it, to him, it is a sin.” James 4:17

When shall we attain salvation?

-+ Salvation is a life-long process and needs to be coupled with fasting, prayers, singing, and confession. His Holiness discusses that we are in a constant war and the results are unknown. A person may win the first battle but lose the 12th but one cannot be certain of the result until the end.

v St. Paul sates, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12

-+ St. Antony, the Father of All Monks, said, “This is a new day and let us start anew.”

-+ Even the Bishop needed to take heed of Himself when St. Paul stated to Timothy,

“Take heed of yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save yourself and those who hear you.” I Timothy 4:16

-+ St. Peter sates, ”If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” I Peter 4:18

-+ St. Paul advises us on how we should strive for salvation “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

-+ “For he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13
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« Reply #69 on: April 14, 2003, 06:08:04 PM »

Quote
Our salvation comes through believeing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God -- and that is all.

Do you not see how minimalistic this is? Sad Just to mention two passages which goes against what you said, we could look to 1 Tim. 4:16 and James 5:19-20. There are many more; the Scriptures speak of our salvation in myriad ways.
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« Reply #70 on: April 14, 2003, 07:24:40 PM »

Nicholas -

Since I did not quote from the Clementine Homilies, I do not see their relevance.

What of the quotes I did produce, from Fathers who very obviously asserted that Peter was the rock to which Jesus referred in Matthew 16:18?

I do not deny that Peter's confession was an aspect of the rock to which Jesus was also referring.

But it seems to me strange to try to separate the confession from the man and to make nothing of the fact that Jesus called Simon, who already had a perfectly good name, Kepha (rock), and then said, "and on this kepha [rock] I will build My Church."

Why change Simon's name to rock if Jesus wished to distinguish between Peter and his confession of faith?

This particular quote:

"This one (Peter) is called a rock in order that on his FAITH (Rock) he may receive the foundations of the Church."  - St. Gregory Nazianzen, 26th Discourse

asserts that Peter himself was the rock. It certainly does not contradict it. It indicates that Peter received "the foundations of the Church."

Of course Peter would not have been "the Rock" were it not for his confession of faith. So naturally he received his new name, rock, and his position of leadership based upon his faith.
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« Reply #71 on: April 14, 2003, 07:28:58 PM »

Linus,

You said that Peter being the Rock is THE Orthodox Position, I was just showing you that GOA is saying the opposite. That's why I quoted them.

My other quotes show Fathers of the Church clearly saying that it was not the man, but his confession fo faith that was the Rock and as the confessor of this Faith was named Peter.
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« Reply #72 on: April 14, 2003, 07:41:49 PM »

Linus,

You said that Peter being the Rock is THE Orthodox Position, I was just showing you that GOA is saying the opposite. That's why I quoted them.

My other quotes show Fathers of the Church clearly saying that it was not the man, but his confession fo faith that was the Rock and as the confessor of this Faith was named Peter.

Pardon my obvious ignorance, but what is the GOA?

Besides that, what of the Fathers who indicate that Peter was the rock Jesus referred to in Matthew 16:18, including St. Ambrose, whom you quoted above?

And the quote from St. Gregory Nazianzen indicates that Peter was the rock.

The plain sense of what Jesus said would indicate that Peter was, at least in some respect, the Rock.

None of this is the same thing as arguing for the post-schism RC concept of the authority of the papacy and need not be interpreted in that way.
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« Reply #73 on: April 14, 2003, 07:45:07 PM »

But Linus, *points to TomS's post* look at that Sola Fide, I know you like to take on Sola Fide! Don't you want to do that whole comicbook cliche of 2 guys fighting that stop to team up & take on the other guy thing? Wouldn't that be fun?  Grin
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« Reply #74 on: April 14, 2003, 07:50:38 PM »

But Linus, *points to TomS's post* look at that Sola Fide, I know you like to take on Sola Fide! Don't you want to do that whole comicbook cliche of 2 guys fighting that stop to team up & take on the other guy thing? Wouldn't that be fun?  Grin

LOL  Grin

It is tempting, but I don't think that is what Tom meant, despite the words he used.

I've seen some of his other posts.

I don't think he really believes in Sola Fide.
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« Reply #75 on: April 14, 2003, 08:17:20 PM »

Pardon my obvious ignorance, but what is the GOA?

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America (http://www.goarch.org) The SCOBA Greek Church.

Besides that, what of the Fathers who indicate that Peter was the rock Jesus referred to in Matthew 16:18, including St. Ambrose, whom you quoted above?

And the quote from St. Gregory Nazianzen indicates that Peter was the rock.

I honestly do not see it that way at all, he seemed to be explaining why Jesus named him rock yet the Faith was The Rock that the foundation was built on.

None of this is the same thing as arguing for the post-schism RC concept of the authority of the papacy and need not be interpreted in that way.

I know! I know! I know! You've repeated yourself on this point over and over again. I am completely clear on the matter Linus.
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« Reply #76 on: April 14, 2003, 08:38:25 PM »

 Grin Grin Grin

Nicholas -

Well, I keep repeating that because it seems necessary given the history of this topic.

I am glad you understand, however.

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« Reply #77 on: April 14, 2003, 10:27:52 PM »

Gee whiz, the server out here goes down for a hour or so and look what I missed.Nothing like them flash floods.

Of course there was more to reply to Tom, but I'm not Bro Nicholas who can lay it all out on 1 post. In fact I would be still chicken pecking it.

But it was nice.
Pokoj,

James

P.S. Tom's post sounded like a standard Protestant response to me.
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« Reply #78 on: April 14, 2003, 10:49:47 PM »

Quote
This reminds me of the "Ask the Bible Man" radio program that I heard the other night as I was driving to Great Compline. Hank was trying to "prove" the resurrection via archeological evidence for the existence of Jesus and arguments about how Christianity evolved.

Just to continue with a short side-jack; The same sort of stuff was on the History Channel last night.  Parts of it about made me hurl  Lips Sealed  Of course, what does one expect when the 'scholars' and 'experts' were Dominic & Co. from the Jesus Seminar among others ...

Ditto.  Bobby, can you get one of those puking emoticons for us?
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« Reply #79 on: April 14, 2003, 10:54:40 PM »

[tasteless]

You mean this one?

Bad emoticon removed by anastasios, sorry Nik, it had to go!

[/tasteless]
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« Reply #80 on: April 14, 2003, 11:18:51 PM »

"but I don't think that is what Tom meant, despite the words he used"

Thank you Linus7 -- You are correct; that is not what I meant. I did not think that anyone would read my final statement seperate from the prior ones.

What I meant to infer was that even if I were not to believe in the previous statements (re: Peter, Mary) that that would NOT exclude me from salvation. Because the most IMPORTANT would be that I believe that Jesus is the Son Of God.

Of course good works, etc are positives (Faith without works....), but as the Church teaches, if you HAVE heard the message of Christ and you reject it -- you ain't getting ANY points.

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« Reply #81 on: April 14, 2003, 11:28:30 PM »

Jacobus: "P.S. Tom's post sounded like a standard Protestant response to me. "

And I should know! I was a Southern Baptist, Holy Roller Assembly of God Protestant in my younger days!

I totally reject "Sola Scriptura".

One of the main reasons I was attracted to the Orthodox church was because of the Tradition element and the acceptance of the teachings of the Holy Fathers.
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« Reply #82 on: April 15, 2003, 12:54:18 AM »

I can get u a farting one too if u'd like.

bobby
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« Reply #83 on: April 15, 2003, 12:58:21 AM »

What is it with everyone and body functions today?

Let's try to get this conversation back on (serious) track!

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« Reply #84 on: April 15, 2003, 01:00:05 AM »

Tom,

Did'nt mean to offend you, I went to various Christian groups back in the late 60'S and then finally returned to my roots, and found it had changed.

James
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« Reply #85 on: April 15, 2003, 02:34:03 AM »

Linus, I honestly have some difficulty understanding where you are coming from on this. I think it is pretty clear from scripture and from the Fathers that Christ is the only rock and the rock in this passage is Peter's confession of Christ. Some Fathers identify Peter with his confession but I think only as a type of all who confess Christ. There are many people in scripture who are "types" and I don't see why Peter should be treated any differently to them.

It also seems as if you are focussing only on those Fathers who "seem" to agree with you and are ignoring the broad concensus.

John.
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« Reply #86 on: April 15, 2003, 11:24:18 AM »

[tasteless]

You mean this one?

Bad emoticon removed by anastasios, sorry Nik, it had to go!

[/tasteless]

I don't think it (I know which one it was from other boards even if I didn't see it here) was tasteless - conveyed a point.
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« Reply #87 on: April 15, 2003, 04:03:46 PM »

Linus, I honestly have some difficulty understanding where you are coming from on this. I think it is pretty clear from scripture and from the Fathers that Christ is the only rock and the rock in this passage is Peter's confession of Christ. Some Fathers identify Peter with his confession but I think only as a type of all who confess Christ. There are many people in scripture who are "types" and I don't see why Peter should be treated any differently to them.

It also seems as if you are focussing only on those Fathers who "seem" to agree with you and are ignoring the broad concensus.

John.

I respectfully disagree, John. I do not think the Fathers looked on Peter's confession as the only rock, although it was certainly of vital importance, and certainly Peter could not have been the rock without it.

The plain sense of the language used by Jesus would indicate that Peter himself was the rock (kepha).

Again, why would Jesus change Simon's name to Rock (Kepha) if He wished to differentiate between the man and his confession?

I think it is pretty apparent that Peter was the leader of the Apostles, though not a dictator and certainly not infallible.

I also think Peter was more than a mere type. He was given real authority and exercised it as the leader of the early Church. Look how often he acted as the spokesman for the Church in the Book of Acts. See how he was chosen to open the mission to the Gentiles, even though the chief responsibility for continuing it was later transferred to Paul. Note how often in the Gospels Jesus' disciples are referred to as "Peter and the others with him."

Peter ended his earthly life in Rome. The bishops of that city were regarded as his successors and first in honor among bishops of the Church. To them appeals were addressed from various parts of the early Church.

I have some patristic evidence to that effect but not with me right now. I can produce it later if anyone is interested.

It seems obvious to me that, although modern RC ideas concerning the primacy of popes are wrong, the Bishop of Rome was more than "just one of the boys."

Our problems with the papacy have nothing to do with Peter and the early popes. They arise from the innovations in doctrine and practice that were introduced later, and from the attempt to force those innovations on the rest of the Church through the exercise of an autocratic authority that Peter and his successors never possessed.

The government of the Church has always been conciliar. But the early Church had a president or chairman, and that person was Peter. His successors the bishops of Rome were supposed to fill that role, as well.

Here is an analogy:

If a U.S. president attempted to act as a dictator and was impeached and deposed by Congress, that would be proper. But it would not be proper for the Congress to then deny that there ever was a president or that there never should be.

I realize that it is not a perfect analogy, but then no analogy is perfect.
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« Reply #88 on: April 16, 2003, 09:46:19 AM »

Linus, I've snipped a bit of text regarding Irenaeus from here which you may or may not have read already. I think it is important to see how some prominent Fathers have been misused regarding the position of Rome's bishop.

Quote

The partisans of the Papal system attach much importance to the influence exercised by the Bishop of Rome in the question of Easter and some other matters: they transform that influence into authority. This is an untenable paralogism. It is not to be wondered at that the Bishop of Rome should have enjoyed from the first a high influence in religious questions; for he filled the first See of the West, and as Bishop of the Capital of the Empire, he was the natural link between East and West. It was then understood that the Catholic Church was not exclusively in any country; that the East possessed no more universal authority than the West. This is why certain heretics, born and condemned in the East, sought protection in the West, and above all at Rome, its representative. Thus it is, that even some saints—as Polycarp of Smyrna—went themselves to Rome to confer with the Bishop of that city upon religious questions.

But it is not possible conscientiously to study these facts from reliable documents without eliciting this truth: that the influence of the Bishop of Rome did not arise in an universal authority—that it did not even have its source in an authority recognized by all the Western Churches, but was simply derived from the importance of his See.

Rome was the centre of all communications between different parts of the Empire. The faithful crowded thither from all quarters—for political business or private interests—and thus her testimony as an Apostolic Church was strengthened by the faithful who came thither from all parts of the world, bringing the witness of all the Churches to which they severally belonged.

Such is the sense of a passage of St. Iren+ªus, of which the Roman theologians have made the strangest misuse.  This great theologian, attacking the heretics who sought to corrupt the faithful at Rome, establishes against them the Catholic rule of faith, preserved everywhere and always." But," he adds, "as it would be very tedious to enumerate in such a work the succession of all the Churches, we will trace that of the very great and very ancient Church and known of all, which was founded and established at Rome by the two very glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul; which possesses a tradition that comes from the Apostles as much as the Faith declared to men, and which has transmitted it to us through the succession of her Bishops; by that, we confound all those who in any manner whatsoever, either through blindness or bad intention, do not gather where they should; FOR every Church, that is to say, the faithful who are from all places, are obliged to go toward that Church, because of the most powerful principality. In this Church, the tradition of the Apostles has been preserved by those who are of all countries.

The Romish theologians choose a bad translation of this passage, in order to find in it an argument in favor of the papal sovereignty. Instead of saying that the faithful of the whole world were obliged to go to Rome, because it was the Capital of the Empire, the seat of government, and the centre of all business, civil and political, they translate convenire ad by the words, to agree with—which is a misinterpretation; they make potentiorem principalitatem refer to the Church of Rome, and they see in this its primacy, whereas these words are only used in a general manner, and nothing indicates that they do not solely designate the capital and principal city of the Empire. Again, they translate, maxim+ª, antiquissim+ª, by greatest and most ancient, without reflecting that they thus attribute to St. Iren+ªus an assertion manifestly false; for, granting that the Church of Rome was the greatest of her day, she could not certainly be called the most ancient—every one knew that a great number of churches had been founded in the East before that of Rome. Moreover, their translation does not make the author say in conclusion, that the Apostolic tradition has been preserved at Rome, by those who were of all countries—(ab his qui sunt undique,) as the text requires, but like Pius IX, in his Encyclical Letter to the Christians of the East, "In all that the faithful believe," not reflecting that this is a misconstruction, and that they are thus attributing nonsense to the good Father.

In the text as we render it all things hang together. St. Iren+ªus after having established that only the universal Faith should be received, points out to the heretics of that city the Church of Rome, as offering to them an evidence the more convincing that Apostolic tradition had been there preserved by the faithful of the whole world.

How then could St. Iren+ªus, whose purpose it is to give the universal Faith as the rule for private belief, and who enlarges precisely upon this point in the chapter from which the text is taken, logically say what is attributed to him by the Popes and their theologians? He would then have argued thus: It is necessaryto adopt as the rule the belief of all the churches; but it suffices to appeal to that of the Church of Rome, to which there must be uniformity and submission, because of her primacy. St. Iren+ªus never expressed so unreasonable an opinion. He lays down as a principle the universal Faith as a rule, and he points out the Faith of the Church of Rome as true—thanks to the concourse of the faithful who assembled there from all parts, and who thus preserved there the Apostolic tradition. How did they preserve it? Because they would have protested against any change in the traditions of their own churches, to which they were witnesses at Rome. St. Iren+ªus does not give the pretended Divine authority of the Bishop of Rome, as the principle of the preservation of tradition in the Church of that city—but logically, he attributes that preservation to the faithful of other Churches who controlled her traditions by those of their own Churches, and who thus formed an invincible obstacle to innovation.

It was natural that the Bishop of the Capital of the Empire, precisely because of the faithful who there gathered from all parts, should acquire a great influence in religious matters, and even occasionally take the lead. But all the monuments, as also the circumstances attending, those transactions in which he took part, show that he enjoyed no authority superior to that of the other Bishops.

It is clear that all discussion relative to this text of St. Iren+ªus turns upon the sense to be given to the word convenire. If this word signifies to agree with, we must conclude that the venerable writer thought it all must necessarily agree with the Church of Rome, and without that it is impossible to be in the unity. If the word means to go, all the Ultramontane scaffolding will fall of itself, for it can not reasonably be affirmed that all the faithful must of necessity go to Rome, even though the Church established in that city should be the first and principal Church, the centre of Unity. It follows that the sense of this word should be determined in so evident a manner that there remain no doubt in respect to it.

We have already remarked that the preposition ad determined the sense of it—we can add many others to this already conclusive proof.

If we possessed the Greek text of the passage in question, there is no doubt there would not be the uncertainty resulting from the Latin word. But Eusebius and Nicephorus have preserved for us other fragments of the primitive text. Now it happens that in these fragments the good Father uses expressions which the Latin translator has rendered by the word convenire, and which have no meaning, except just this one of going—whether together or separately.

He has a lot more examples if you have a couple of hours spare to read the rest of the book.


John.
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« Reply #89 on: April 16, 2003, 04:04:55 PM »

John -

I tried that link but got "page not found."

I am familiar with the passage from Irenaeus the author is speaking about. I have not quoted from it because it really has nothing to do with my argument but uses Rome as an illustration of the Apostolic Succession.

I am not arguing for papal monarchy/autocracy, universal jurisdiction, infallibility, etc.

There are plenty of good arguments against those things.

What I believe is that Peter was chosen by Jesus to be the Rock and the leader of the Apostles. The bishops of Rome were regarded as his successors and exercised a sort of loose (very loose) chairmanship among the bishops.

Church government was and is conciliar. But appeals were addressed to the bishops of Rome from throughout Christendom, and those bishops sometimes addressed problems in other churches, not with autocratic authority, but with fatherly counsel and advice.

I think many here are reacting adversely to what I have posted because they fear it is some sort of "slippery slope" into Romanism.

I don't think it is that at all. I think it is just an accurate picture of the pre-schism Church.
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« Reply #90 on: April 16, 2003, 04:17:59 PM »

THE PAPACY

An extra " at the end of the url.  I hate it when that happens !
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« Reply #91 on: April 16, 2003, 06:56:58 PM »

Thanks, Oblio.

I looked at that essay. A little daunting. I may read it when I get the extra time.

My impression of it is that it is an anti-Roman Catholic polemic. Since my position differs from the Roman position considerably, I doubt that it applies to what I have argued here.

Nevertheless, I have not read the whole thing, so I could be wrong.
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« Reply #92 on: April 17, 2003, 04:18:18 AM »

Aargh! Thanks Oblio. The thing is, I looked at my post in preview mode and the link looked fine. I don't know how that extra "quote" got tacked onto the end.

Linus, I wouldn't say that it is anti_Roman Catholic polemic. He takes the arguments given by Rome for their position and disects them and puts them in their proper context. When Guett+¬e began research on his history, he was a priest in the Roman Catholic church. He did not set out to discredit the Papal system but simply found that history did not support it.

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« Reply #93 on: April 17, 2003, 04:25:07 PM »

John -

I don't think history supports "the papal system" either.

But I do think it supports what I have talked about, which is nothing of the kind.

I simply said that St. Peter was made leader of the Apostles by Jesus and that the bishops of Rome were regarded as his successors. Thus the bishop of Rome was considered "first among equals" and a kind of chairman (or something loosely resembling a president) among the college of bishops.

That is something quite different from the papal monarchy (and the doctrinal innovations to support it) that evolved after the Great Schism.
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« Reply #94 on: April 18, 2003, 12:52:06 AM »

I would like your thoughts on this quote. It was posted in another thread and speaks to this point (sort of):

"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has not been placed at the forefront [of the churches] by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18-19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).

Pope Damasus is writing about himself and his office. It's pretty bold. Where are the denounciations? Are there any? Is this quote accurate?
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« Reply #95 on: April 18, 2003, 12:44:57 PM »

Good point, dad. I don't think there were any denunciations, just as there weren't any when St. Leo the Great claimed to speak with the voice of St. Peter in his famous Tome.

How about this?

"Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church that has found mercy in the greatness of the Most High Father and in Jesus Christ, His only Son; to the Church beloved and enlightened after the love of Jesus Christ, our God, by the will of Him that has willed everything which is; to the Church also which holds the presidency in the place of the country of the Romans . . ." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, Address).

There's more, by the way.
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« Reply #96 on: April 18, 2003, 01:03:44 PM »

Quote
I am getting some of my views from the book Primacy of Peter ed. by J. Meyendorff.  An excellent study.

Anastasios -

Perhaps you could share some material from that book?

What does the book say on these questions?

Also, can you direct me to a link where I can order a copy?
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« Reply #97 on: April 18, 2003, 01:38:30 PM »

Friends:


If you read "The Papacy" by Rene-Francois Guettee, you should also find time to consider this answer by a Catholic at:

http://www.petersnet.net/browse/3485.htm

Or, browse over the exchanges between a Protestant and a Catholic on the Papacy at:

http://www.cin.org/users/jgallegos/pv_papacy.htm

For a balanced treatment of the subject.

AmdG
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« Reply #98 on: April 18, 2003, 08:52:50 PM »

The way I interpet it is the Pope is the Patriarch of the Western Church and his primacy is there, as the Bishop of Rome amongst his fellow Bishops/Patriarchs his role should be of a chairman.If the conclave was held at a Eastern site,that Bishop/Patriarch would be the chaiman. The infalliable question is only when there is agreement amongst the Bishops/Patriarchs as a conclave, of course these are my humble opinions.

James
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« Reply #99 on: April 21, 2003, 01:39:15 AM »

Friends:


If you read "The Papacy" by Rene-Francois Guettee, you should also find time to consider this answer by a Catholic at:

http://www.petersnet.net/browse/3485.htm

Or, browse over the exchanges between a Protestant and a Catholic on the Papacy at:

http://www.cin.org/users/jgallegos/pv_papacy.htm

For a balanced treatment of the subject.

AmdG
Thankyou Amadeus, I will read them.

John.
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« Reply #100 on: April 21, 2003, 02:06:57 AM »

Quote
Good point, dad. I don't think there were any denunciations, just as there weren't any when St. Leo the Great claimed to speak with the voice of St. Peter in his famous Tome.

True enough...tempered by the fact, however, that St.Leo's Tome was not accepted from the get go (but only after serious examination and debate by the Council Fathers...even amongst those who approved of it, there were those who tought it sounded too "Nestorian-ish" and demanded clarification).  Thus showing, as you indicate, that Rome's "primacy" was not at all like the aggrandized version of Roman primacy from later centuries.

Quote
"Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church that has found mercy in the greatness of the Most High Father and in Jesus Christ, His only Son; to the Church beloved and enlightened after the love of Jesus Christ, our God, by the will of Him that has willed everything which is; to the Church also which holds the presidency in the place of the country of the Romans . . ." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, Address).

This excerpt, whether you realized it or not, demonstrates one of the problems of latter Roman teaching on Church authority - their thought had ceased to be ecclessial.

For example, St.Ignatios' praise is directed not at the Bishop of Rome (who it is doubtful had "Pope" as an official title at that point, though perhap's it's beginings... much like Bishops/Priests were called "Abba" or something similar), but at the Church of Rome.  The prestige of Rome's Bishop, is a reflection of his Church's prestige/heritage.

This is in fact quite similar to St.Irenaeus' comments on Rome; they are a meditation not on the "papacy", but upon the universality/representative nature of the Church of Rome.  Rome was the center of the known world at that time, the Imperial city, and a city consecrated with the blood of numerous martyrs (including Ss.Peter and Paul!).  Indeed, just as martyrs came from throughout the world to Rome to meet their end, there is a real sense in which the faith of the world resided in Rome as well.

A similar situation is to be found in St.Clement's letter to the Corinthians.  What few readers of this text keep in mind, is that St.Clement is writing in the name of the Roman Church, and not on his own.  Indeed, it is not at all clear he was in fact the Bishop of Rome at the time when he penned the letter, rather than simply a presbyter.  There are a few internal factors vindicating this view...

1) It speaks of the martyrdom of Ss.Peter and Paul as being something recent (which occured in aprox. 64 A.D. - not matching the period when St.Clement was in fact Rome's Bishop)

2) It speaks of the Jerusalem Temple and it's sacrifices as still being active - something not possible of the text was authored any later than 70 A.D. (when Jerusalem, and the Temple, were leveled by the Roman army due to the uprising of the Jewish zealots.)

3) The problems in Corinth (described in the letter) sound like they are in keeping with the antics they were pulling at the time St.Paul wrote his epistles to them.  While not strong proof, it would seem more likely that the authoring of 1st Clement would be closer to the time of St.Paul's epistle, rather than several decades later.

While the exact status of St.Clement is significant, more significant is that he writes as one speaking for the Roman Church.

All of this however (Rome as a Church being what was important, not so much the pastor of the Roman Church) is overlooked by people reading these texts in the typical, anachronistic fashion (reading later Roman aggrandizing into the texts.)

It is certainly true that by the end of the fourth century, the Bishops of Rome were beginning to emphasize their own importance more and more (primary evidence being the letter of Pope Damasus).  However, it's very hard to not notice the change that had occured in so doing this - by this point the emphasis is very much on the Pope as an individual (and not so much on the prestige of the Roman Church), and very intererstingly, an almost complete emphasis upon the "petrine" heritage of the Roman Church (with little mention at all of St.Paul, who most likely had as much to do with the Roman Church's formation as St.Peter did.)

Personally, the best explanation I have for this is that as the Church spent longer and longer as a "legit", "legal" entity, it began to theorize and give more consideration to the notion of the Church as a universal whole - it is in this climate that St.Cyprian's universal ecclessiology begins to be formed as well.  It is also true, that when you have a large body together, somebody has to be "the first" and step up to exercise some leadership.  I think it's in this climate that Rome developed a theory of it's own authority amongst other Bishops, based upon an older, widely held respect for the Roman Church and Her heritage.

While this older respect was certainly held throughout the Christian world, it's quite obvious that Rome's opinion of herself (particularly as this appraisal grew with time) was not universally held onto, at least not with the same kind of tenacity.  One need only compare the attitude of those Fathers who were within Rome's patriarchal juristiction with those who were not - a much different tone and level of emphasis.

In short, Rome's latter views of herself were more or less provincial in nature - they certainly were not oecumenical, but were a widely held to (in the west at least; though not without exception) model for Church polity.

I think where these views took a sharp turn for the worst, was when the political ambitions of the Franks got out of hand, the death blow being when Franks started actually sitting in the "Chair of St.Peter".  It is at this point that the modern papacy as we now know it begins (since actual Roman Popes, like St.Gregory the Great, had a big problem with ideas like "universal juristiction", as his letter to St.John the Faster made clear).

Seraphim
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« Reply #101 on: April 21, 2003, 02:41:49 AM »

So, Seraphim (and others), what do you think of the Fr. John Romanides articles on Franks, Romans and Feudalism.  Sounds almost conspiracy theory-like to me, but there probably is still a lot of truth in it.
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« Reply #102 on: April 21, 2003, 03:03:52 AM »

Some thoughts on Fr.Ryland's article at http://www.petersnet.net/browse/3485.htm

Due to my own laziness, it would be very difficult for me to give the detailed treatment of this article (as it arguably deserves.)

Thus, in place of a detailed treatment, I'll simply make some general observations.

- Taking for granted that Fr.Ryland's assessment of what St.Peter's standing is amongst the Apostles, he does nothing to demonstrate how this transfers to the Bishops of Rome (and them alone).  That may sound facetious to Roman Catholics, but it is something that I've yet to see addressed in a satisfactory manner by RC apologists.  I am not saying one cannot draw a link between St.Peter's ministry and that of Orthodox Roman Popes (who considered themselves neither infallible or to have "universal juristiction") - the Popes themselves certainly started doing this at the close of the fourth century (the earliest testimony to this being the letter of Pope Damasus from 382.)  However, that is something very different than what Fr.Ryland is attempting to prove.

- There is no doubt that St.Peter was the leader of the Apostles.  However, Fr.Ryland's attempt to portray St.Peter as a medieval Pope is very weak.  Irregardless of the semantical games he plays with the book of Acts (regarding the Council of Jerusalem), I fail to see how an unbiased person would see anything resembling the latter day Papacy in St.Peter's Apostolic ministry.  He didn't sit as a judge or chairman at the Council of Jerusalem, and his significance is always decidedly charismatic/prophetic in nature.  This does not take him out of the role Christ entrusted to him - indeed, it is precisely what the Saviour intended.  St.Peter's faith (a gift quite in spite of his own weaknesses), confirms the brethren, and he is a mouthpiece of God's will.  The only what that can in any way be reconciled with Fr.Ryland's papalism, is if he were to claim that the Popes were unfailingly all prophets, and that the office of Pope is that of an oracle (which RC apologists will always deny, since it is not what the RCC teaches.)

- By denying that the "rock" is St.Peter's confession, Fr.Ryland (and RC apologists in general) make St.Peter's name change (from Simon to Peter by our Lord) absolutely meaningless.  If the rock of the Church is not faith in Christ, why on earth would St.Peter be of any significance at all?  His dynamic personality?  Grooming?  Simon's name change goes hand in hand with his confession, a confession made possible by God's grace.  It would be as if Abram became "Abraham" (the father of multitudes) for some arbitrary reason, apart from his in fact being the the father of many.  There is something unseemly and incredibly arbitrary in the attempts by RC apologists to divorce "rock" from "faith" in St.Matthew 16.

- Theological/historical problem; it says in the Gospel that because of the "rock" the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.  Well, if the Church is only present where the true faith is professed, we can safely say the Church ceases to exist where faith in Christ has disappeared, correct?  Given the history of the Church, this is the pattern. On the other hand,  I've yet to see any evidence that the Church's existance hinges upon the existance of the Papacy - since the Papacy has been quite incapable of preventing anyone, including entire Churches, from falling away.  Of course, here we see the beginnings of an ecclessiological difference - where as the Orthodox and the Bible clearly envision the Church as primarily being a local reality (as outlined by St.Ignatios of Antioch), the Roman Catholics view the Church only as a giant whole, with Bishops and their flocks being simple divisions of that whole.  Indeed, this is the only interpretation of "Church" possible in a papally minded world view.

As I said earlier, the article really should be dissected - these are only some general thoughts.

Seraphim
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« Reply #103 on: April 21, 2003, 09:21:55 PM »

Quote
Quote:
"Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church that has found mercy in the greatness of the Most High Father and in Jesus Christ, His only Son; to the Church beloved and enlightened after the love of Jesus Christ, our God, by the will of Him that has willed everything which is; to the Church also which holds the presidency in the place of the country of the Romans . . ." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, Address).
 

This excerpt, whether you realized it or not, demonstrates one of the problems of latter Roman teaching on Church authority - their thought had ceased to be ecclessial.

For example, St.Ignatios' praise is directed not at the Bishop of Rome (who it is doubtful had "Pope" as an official title at that point, though perhap's it's beginings... much like Bishops/Priests were called "Abba" or something similar), but at the Church of Rome.  The prestige of Rome's Bishop, is a reflection of his Church's prestige/heritage.

I agree with you to a point, but it's somewhat difficult to imagine, given what St. Ignatius says elsewhere about the importance of bishops, that he would have made much of a distinction between praise for a church and praise for her bishop.

What was the source of the prestige/heritage of the Church at Rome?

Was it not that she was founded by Sts. Peter and Paul, and that her bishops were regarded as St. Peter's successors?

Or was it merely her location in the Roman capital?

I think the latter is doubtful, since Christians did not seem to care much for worldly capitals and even referred to Rome by the code name "Babylon" (see 1 Peter 5:13).

What did St. Ignatius mean when he used the word "presidency?"

And why was the Bishop of Rome regarded as the "first among equals," even after Constantinople had eclipsed Rome as the seat of imperial power?
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« Reply #104 on: April 23, 2003, 01:24:23 AM »

Seraphim,

Quote
It is certainly true that by the end of the fourth century, the Bishops of Rome were beginning to emphasize their own importance more and more (primary evidence being the letter of Pope Damasus).  However, it's very hard to not notice the change that had occured in so doing this - by this point the emphasis is very much on the Pope as an individual (and not so much on the prestige of the Roman Church), and very intererstingly, an almost complete emphasis upon the "petrine" heritage of the Roman Church (with little mention at all of St.Paul, who most likely had as much to do with the Roman Church's formation as St.Peter did.)

Why were there no denounciations? If the Patriarch of the Church at Constantinople were to claim for HIMSELF what Damasas did, would there be no outcry from the other Bishops? I did a (very) little research and found that the quote was part of a Decree sent to (presumably) the entire Catholic Church. The part I quoted is right after the list of inspired books, so I'm sure it was well read, considering the Canon was being debated and was set around this time.

There are many quotes from a debate on Papal primacy:

http://www.geocities.com/joeswaydyn2000/

The OC doesn't make a very good case IMO. The pro-papacy quotes aren't dealt with strongly enough, and there are MANY of them.

It seems there should be many rebuttals to these quotes if Papal primacy was not held by the Eastern Churches.

God Bless and have a blessed Easter season.

Mark
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« Reply #105 on: April 24, 2003, 01:49:46 PM »

Quote
I am getting some of my views from the book Primacy of Peter ed. by J. Meyendorff.  An excellent study.

Anastasios -

Perhaps you could share some material from that book?

What does the book say on these questions?

Also, can you direct me to a link where I can order a copy?

Linus7,

Hey, some other good books on this same issue I hear are:

Jesus, Peter and the Keys by Scott Butler (373 pgs)
Upon This Rock by Stephen K. Ray (297 pgs)

You can get them cheapest as alldirect.com before shipping but I usually get them from buy.com because I have done business with them in the past and recently have been cheaper because of the free shipping.  Peace
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« Reply #106 on: April 24, 2003, 02:01:42 PM »

What I found very interesting was the treatment of this subject in the 2nd Volume of Jaroslav Pelikan's work on the Catholic Tradition (The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700)). He comes about as close as I think you can come to affirming the Catholic position without actually becoming Catholic...

And then he converts to Orthodoxy!

Huh Strange.

Justin

PS. I think the above mentioned book is a good balancer if you're gonna read Whelton's Two Paths..., but other than that... well... let's just say that I'm always baffled when I hear Orthodox Christians praise Mr. Pelikan so highly.

PSS. The best info on the subject, IMO, is the Church Councils (not just ecumenical ones, and definately not just eastern ones), and the Church Fathers--particularly the fourth and fifth century Church Fathers.
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« Reply #107 on: April 24, 2003, 02:02:19 PM »

Quote
Jesus, Peter and the Keys by Scott Butler (373 pgs)
Upon This Rock by Stephen K. Ray (297 pgs)

I haven't read them but I know they're not well thought of by the Eastern Orthodox and their sympathizers here. Anastasios or somebody similarly well-read can explain.
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« Reply #108 on: April 24, 2003, 02:12:27 PM »

Well I guess it would not surprise me because the papacy is the one main thing that divides the Catholics and Orthodox and these aforementioned books are written by Catholics I believe, I know Stephen Ray is a Catholic, a convert from the Baptist church.
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« Reply #109 on: April 24, 2003, 02:18:26 PM »

The problem with those books is that they are largely exercises in proof-texting.  The issue with that is the Orthodox can also play at proof-texting (eg, the infamous book by Abbe Guetee entitled "The Papacy").  At the end of the day you have a war of quotes with no satisfying resolution.

To me, what it came down to when I was examining this issue several years ago was the actual way that the church worked during that period of the councils, what led to tha tbreaking down, and what happened in the West thereafter -- that was more convincing to me than the proof-texting on either the Catholic or the Orthodox side.

Brendan
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« Reply #110 on: April 24, 2003, 07:53:48 PM »

The problem with those books is that they are largely exercises in proof-texting.  The issue with that is the Orthodox can also play at proof-texting (eg, the infamous book by Abbe Guetee entitled "The Papacy").  At the end of the day you have a war of quotes with no satisfying resolution.

To me, what it came down to when I was examining this issue several years ago was the actual way that the church worked during that period of the councils, what led to tha tbreaking down, and what happened in the West thereafter -- that was more convincing to me than the proof-texting on either the Catholic or the Orthodox side.

Brendan

I think you hit the nail right on the head.

I have read Whelton's book, and I want to read the Meyendorff book and the books recommended by Catholicious.

I believe St. Peter was the leader of the Apostles, but he obviously was not regarded as either impeccable or infallible. I also believe the bishops of Rome were his successors and held a kind of loose presidency or chairmanship in the early Church. Owing to the circumstances of the time (slow rates of travel and communication being two) even this loose leadership role was not routinely exercised, nor was it always needed.

Yet appeals were addressed to the early Popes, and they seem to have regarded themselves as St. Peter's successors. I have not found any early Christian writers who dispute this or denounce the bishops of Rome for saying it.

Something went wrong later, however. Worldly politics and material considerations intruded on ecclesiology, and the later bishops of Rome began to make claims and changes that were unjustified, arrogating powers to themselves that their predecessors never had or even claimed to have. The office of chairman ("first among equals") was transmogrified to that of king.

And that is an office held only by Christ.
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« Reply #111 on: May 13, 2003, 10:42:11 AM »

Hi! I'm new to this web site and on the RCC side. A few of you participate with me in the Christianity.com forums.

I don't know if what I have to say has already been said, but I want to add some comments about what I've seen here.

Here is something interesting about the controversy in Galatians 2:11-14
Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 265-c. 340) in his church history writes in Book I, Chapter XII. The Disciples of Our Saviour.

"1 The names of the apostles of our Saviour are known to every one from the Gospels. But there exists no catalogue of the seventy disciples. Barnabas, indeed, is said to have been one of them, of whom the Acts of the apostles makes mention in various places, and especially Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians.

2 They say that Sosthenes also, who wrote to the Corinthians with Paul, was one of them. This is the account of Clement in the fifthbook of his Hypotyposes, in which he also says that Cephas was one of the seventy disciples, a man who bore the same name as the apostle Peter, and the one concerning whom Paul says, "When Cephas came to Antioch I withstood him to his face."

Consider this also:
In THE EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS by Clement of Rome (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04012c.htm) The Church of Corinth had been led by a few violent spirits into a sedition against its rulers. No appeal seems to have been made to Rome, but a letter was sent in the name of the Church of Rome by St. Clement to restore peace and unity. He begins by explaining that his delay in writing has been caused by the sudden calamities which, one after another, had just been falling upon the Roman Church.

Clement was the fourth pope. He settled a dispute while the apostle John was still alive and much closer to the Church of Corinth. I think this shows that the bishop of Rome had primacy.

Here are some good links on Orthodox and Catholic Churches differences:
http://praiseofglory.com/andtheson.htm/   A page dedicated to the "dialog of love" between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches  
http://praiseofglory.com/gilladdition.htm THE COUNCIL OF FLORENCE  8 October 1438.


God bless,
Betty G.

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« Reply #112 on: May 13, 2003, 10:48:48 AM »

Hey, betty!

Glad to see you here!

WELCOME!

You have always been a stalwart defender of the Apostolic Tradition over at Calvin'sGeneva.com (CBBS).

May God bless you, and may you post here often!
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« Reply #113 on: May 14, 2003, 02:42:20 AM »

Christos Anesti!  Christ is Risen!

I think this shows that the bishop of Rome had primacy.

Welcome Betty, its good to see you here.

I don't think anyone here is in disagreement regarding the "primacy" of the bishop of Rome (while in communion with the church). What we cannot accept is any claim to "supremacy" which is one of the primary issues leading up to the schism.

John
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« Reply #114 on: May 14, 2003, 09:40:58 AM »

I don't dispute that the Church of Rome helped solve cases for other communities in the early Church.... provided the later papal beliefs concerning supremacy aren't read into this Smiley
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« Reply #115 on: May 15, 2003, 03:27:15 AM »

I think Orthodox Christians have nothing to lose in dealing with this subject honestly.

In all honesty, it is quite clear that the early Roman Church understood itself to be first amongst other Churches.  Everyone agreed with this.  The early Romans also believed this primacy was not due to concilliar decrees, but preceeded them, and was based upon the Apostolic dignity of the Church of Rome (and to a lesser degree, this explains the dignity once held by Antioch and Alexandria).  In general, everyone agreed with this as well (it's clearly a part of later Byzantine polemics to try and deny this, as is also the brief toying with the idea that St.Peter was not in fact constituted as the leader of the Apostles.)

Where my opinion differs from modern Roman Catholics, is as follows.

i) I do not read the late medieval and 19th century extravagances of the Vatican into the experience of the pre-schism Church (Rome never pretended to be "infallible" back then, and no one believed this of Rome either.)

ii) Irregardless of Apostolic heritage and the place Rome had in God's designs, it has fallen into error and separated itself from the Church.  This is what Symeon the Theologian affirmed - he did not white wash Rome's special apostolic heritage, or a real primacy for Rome... simply that it no longer possessed this primacy, since it had defected from the true faith and from the Church.  As far as St.Symeon was concerned, if the Pope still professed the true faith, he would regard him not only as successor of St.Peter, but honour him as Christ Himself.

In case others here have not noticed, while the Church still marches on, things have been more or less in turmoil since the defection/perversion of the Papacy and the incursions of Islam.  Perhaps the last great flourish of the Church prior to the rise of the anti-Christ, will involve a resolution to both of these problems.   Obviously, these are things known only to God.

Seraphim
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« Reply #116 on: May 15, 2003, 12:40:17 PM »

Seraphim -

Good post. I think you summed things up rather well.
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« Reply #117 on: May 15, 2003, 02:29:56 PM »

I re discovered a verse of scripture that I used when thinking or conversing about the Pope or people of stature : ACTS 10:25-26 " When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped him. [26] But Peter lifted him up, saying, " Stand up; I too am a man ". I don't no why but this idea / verse has been with me for years, just forgot its location.

James
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