Skip to comments.Eastern Orthodox Ecclesiology: against false unions [my title]
Posted on 07/01/2005 2:22:18 AM PDT by kosta50
The commotion about union of the churches makes evident the ignorance existing as much among the circles of the simple faithful as among the theologians as to what the Church is.
They understand the catholicity of the Church as a legal cohesion, as an interdependence regulated by some code. For them the Church is an organization with laws and regulations like the organizations of nations. Bishops, like civil servants, are distinguished as superiors and subordinates: patriarchs, archbishops, metropolitans, bishops. For them, one diocese is not something complete, but a piece of a larger whole: the autocephalous church or the patriarchate. But the autocephalous church, also, feels the need to belong to a higher head. When external factors of politics, history, or geography prevent this, a vague feeling of weak unity and even separation circulates through the autocephalous churches.
Such a concept of the Church leads directly to the Papacy. If the catholicity of the Church has this kind of meaning, then Orthodoxy is worthy of tears, because up to now she has not been able to discipline herself under a Pope.
But this is not the truth of the matter. The catholic Church which we confess in the Symbol (Creed) of our Faith is not called catholic because it includes all the Christians of the earth, but because within her everyone of the faithful finds all the grace and gift of God. The meaning of catholicity has nothing to do with a universal organization the way the Papists and those who are influenced by the Papist mentality understand it.
Of course, the Church is intended for and extended to the whole world independent of lands, nations, races, and tongues; and it is not an error for one to name her catholic because of this also. But just as humanity becomes an abstract idea, there is a danger of the same thing happening to the Church when we see her as an abstract, universal idea. In order for one to understand humanity well, it is enough for him to know only one man, since the nature of that man is common to all men of the world.
Similarly, in order to understand what the catholic Church of Christ is, it suffices to know well only one local church. And as among men, it is not submission to a hierarchy which unites them but their common nature, so the local churches are not united by the Pope and the Papal hierarchy but by their common nature.
A local Orthodox church regardless of her size or the number of the faithful is by herself alone, independently of all the others, catholic. And this is so because she lacks nothing of the grace and gift of God. All the local churches of the whole world together do not contain anything more in divine grace than that small church with few members.
She has her presbyters and bishop; she has the Holy Mysteries; she has the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Within her any worthy soul can taste of the Holy Spirit's presence. She has all the grace and truth. What is she lacking therefore in order to be catholic? She is the one flock, and the bishop is her shepherd, the image of Christ, the one Shepherd. She is the prefiguring on earth of the one flock with the one Shepherd, of the new Jerusalem. Within her, even in this life, pure hearts taste of the Kingdom of God, the betrothal of the Holy Spirit. Within her they find peace which "passeth all understanding," the peace which has no relation with the peace of men: "My peace I give unto you."
"Paul, called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ ... to the Church of God which is at Corinth ...." Yes, it really was the Church of God, even if it was at Corinth, at one concrete and limited place.
This is the catholic Church, something concrete in space, time, and persons. This concrete entity can occur repeatedly in space and in time without ceasing to remain essentially the same.
Her relations with the other local churches are not relations of legal and jurisdictional interdependence, but relations of love and grace. One local church is united with all the other local Orthodox churches of the world by the bond of identity. Just as one is the Church of God, the other is the Church of God also, as well as all the others. They are not divided by boundaries of nations nor the political goals of the countries in which they live. They are not even divided by the fact that one might be ignorant of the other's existence. It is the same Body of Christ which is partaken of by the Greeks, the Negroes of Uganda, the Eskimos of Alaska, and the Russians of Siberia. The same Blood of Christ circulates in their veins. The Holy Spirit enlightens their minds and leads them to the knowledge of the same truth.
There exist, of course, relations of interdependence between the local churches, and there are canons which govern them. This interdependence, though, is not a relation of legal necessity, but a bond of respect and love in complete freedom, the freedom of grace. And the canons are not laws of a code, but wise guides of centuries of experience.
The Church has no need of external bonds in order to be one. It is not a pope, or a patriarch, or an archbishop which unites the Church. The local church is something complete; it is not a piece of a larger whole.
Besides, the relations of the churches are relations of churches, and not relations which belong exclusively to their bishops. A bishop cannot be conceived of without a flock or independent of his flock. The Church is the bride of Christ. The Church is the body of Christ, not the bishop alone.
A bishop is called a patriarch when the church of which he is the shepherd is a patriarchate, and an archbishop when the church is an archdiocese. In other words, the respect and honor belongs to the local church, and by extension it is rendered to its bishop. The Church of Athens is the largest and, today, most important local church of Greece. For this reason the greatest respect belongs to her, and she deserves more honor than any other church of Greece. Her opinion has a great bearing, and her role in the solution of common problems is the most significant. That is why she is justly called an archdiocese. Consequently, the bishop of that church, because he represents such an important church is a person equally important and justly called an archbishop. He himself is nothing more than an ordinary bishop. In the orders of priesthoodthe deacon, the presbyter, and the bishopthere is no degree higher than the office of the bishop. The titles metropolitan, archbishop, patriarch, or pope do not indicate a greater degree of ecclesiastical charism, because there is no greater sacramental grace than that which is given to the bishop. They only indicate a difference in prominence of the churches of which they are shepherds.
This prominence of one church in relation to the others is not something permanent. It depends upon internal and external circumstances. In studying the history of the Church, we see the primacy of prominence and respect passing from church to church in a natural succession. In Apostolic times, the Church of Jerusalem, without any dispute, had the primacy of authority and importance. She had known Christ; she had heard His words; she saw Him being crucified and arising; and upon her did the Holy Spirit first descend. All who were in a communion of faith and life with her were certain that they walked the road of Christ. This is why Paul, when charged that the Gospel which he taught was not the Gospel of Christ, hastened to explain it before the Church of Jerusalem, so that the agreement of that church might silence his enemies (Gal. 2:1-2).
Later, that primacy was taken by Rome, little by little. It was the capital of the Roman Empire. A multitude of tried Christians comprised that church. Two leading Apostles had lived and preached within its bounds. A multitude of Martyrs had dyed its soil with their blood. That is why her word was venerable, and her authority in the solution of common problems was prodigious. But it was the authority of the church and not of her bishop. When she was asked for her view in the solution of common problems, the bishop replied not in his own name as a Pope of today would do, but in the name of his church. In his epistle to the Corinthians, St. Clement of Rome begins this way: "The Church of God which is in Rome, to the Church of God which is in Corinth." He writes in an amicable and supplicatory manner in order to convey the witness and opinion of his church concerning whatever happened in the Church of Corinth. In his letter to the Church of Rome, St. Ignatius the God-bearer does not mention her bishop anywhere, although he writes as though he were addressing himself to the church which truly has primacy in the hierarchy of the churches of his time.
When St. Constantine transferred the capital of the Roman state to Byzantium, Rome began gradually to lose her old splendor. It became a provincial city. A new local church began to impose itself upon the consciousness of the Christian world: the Church of Constantinople. Rome tried jealously to preserve the splendor of the past, but because things were not conducive to it, it developed little by little its well-known Papal ecclesiology in order to secure theoretically that which circumstances would not offer. Thus it advanced from madness to madness, to the point where it declared that the Pope is infallible whenever he speaks on doctrine, even if because of sinfulness he does not have the enlightenment of sanctity the Fathers of the Church had.
The Church of Constantinople played the most significant role throughout the long period of great heresies and of the Ecumenical Councils, and in her turn she gave her share of blood with the martyrdom of thousands of her children during the period of the Iconoclasts.
Besides these churches which at different times had the primacy of authority, there were others which held the second or third place. They were the various patriarchates, old or new, and other important churches or metropolises. There exists, therefore, a hierarchy, but a hierarchy of churches and not of bishops. St. Irenaeus does not advise Christians to address themselves to important bishops in order to find the solution to their problem, but to the churches which have the oldest roots in the Apostles (Adv. Haer. III, 4, 1).
There are not, therefore, organizational, administrative, or legal bonds among the churches, but bonds of love and grace, the same bonds of love and grace which exist among the faithful of every church, clergy or lay. The relationship between presbyter and bishop is not a relationship of employee and employer, but a charismatic and sacramental relationship. The bishop is the one who gives the presbyter the grace of the priesthood. And the presbyter gives the layman the grace of the Holy Mysteries. The only thing which separates the bishop from the presbyter is the charism of ordination. The bishop excels in nothing else, even if he be the bishop of an important church and bears the title of patriarch or pope. "There is not much separating them [the presbyters] and the bishops. For they too are elevated for the teaching and protection of the Church .... They [the bishops] surpass them only in the power of ordination, and in this alone they exceed the presbyters" (Chrysostom, Hom. XI on I Tim.).
Bishops have no right to behave like rulers, not only towards the other churches but also towards the presbyters or laymen of the church of which they are bishop. They have a responsibility to Oversee in a paternal way, to counsel, to guide, to battle against falsehood, to adjure transgressors with love and strictness, to preside in love. But these responsibilities they share with the presbyters. And the presbyters in turn look upon the bishops as their fathers in the priesthood and render them the same love.
All things in the Church are governed by love. Any distinctions are charismatic distinctions. They are not distinctions of a legal nature but of a spiritual authority. And among the laymen there are charisms and charisms.
The unity of the Church, therefore, is not a matter of obedience to a higher authority. It is not a matter of submission of subordinates to superiors. External relations do not make unity, neither do the common decisions of councils, even of Ecumenical Councils. The unity of the Church is given by the communion in the Body and Blood of Christ, the communion with the Holy Trinity. It is a liturgical unity, a mystical unity.
The common decisions of an Ecumenical Council are not the foundation but the result of unity. Besides, the decisions of either an ecumenical or local council are valid only when they are accepted by the consciousness of the Church and are in accord with the Tradition.
The Papacy is the distortion par excellence of Church unity. It made that bond of love and freedom a bond of constraint and tyranny. The Papacy is unbelief in the power of God and confidence in the power of human systems.
But let no one think that the Papacy is something which exists only in the West. In recent times it has started to appear among the Orthodox too. A few novel titles are characteristic of this spirit, for example, "Archbishop of all Greece," "Archbishop of North and South America." Many times we hear people say of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the "leader of Orthodoxy," or we hear the Russians speaking of Moscow as the third Rome and its patriarch as holding the reins of the whole of Orthodoxy. In fact, many sharp rivalries have begun. All these are manifestations of the same worldly spirit, the same thirst for worldly power, and belong to the same tendencies which characterize the world today.
People cannot feel unity in multiplicity. Yet this is a deep mystery. Our weakness or inability to feel it originates from the condition of severance into which the, human race has fallen. People have changed from persons into separated and hostile individuals, and it is impossible for them now to understand the deep unity of their nature. Man, however, is one and many; one in his nature, many in persons. This is the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and the mystery of the Church.
It is imperative that Christians realize that the Church has sacramental and not administrative foundations; then they will not suffer that which has happened to the Westerners who followed the Pope in his errors because they thought that if they did not follow him, they would automatically be outside the Church.
Today the various patriarchates and archdioceses undergo great pressures from political powers which seek to direct the Orthodox according to their own interests. It is known that the Patriarchate of Moscow accepts the influence of Soviet politics. But the Patriarchate of Constantinople also accepts the influence of American politics. It was under this influence that the contact of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the similarly American-influenced, Protestant, World Council of Churches was brought about, and its servile disposition toward the Pope started to take on dangerous dimensions and even to exert over-bearing pressure upon the other Orthodox churches.
America thinks that it will strengthen the Western faction against communism if, with these artificial conciliations, it unifies its spiritual forces. But in this way the Church becomes a toy of the political powers of the world, with unforeseeable consequences for Orthodoxy.
Are the Orthodox people obliged to follow such a servile patriarchate forever? The fact that this patriarchate for centuries held the primacy of importance and honor in the Christian world cannot justify those who will follow it to a unifying capitulation with heresy. Rome also once had the primacy of importance and honor in the Christian world, but that did not oblige Christians to follow it on the road of heresy. The communion with and respect for one church on the part of the other churches remains and continues only as long as that church remains in the Church, that is, as long as it lives and proceeds in spirit and truth. When a patriarchate ceases to be a church, admitting communion with heretics, then its recognition on the part of the other churches ceases also.
The Orthodox people must become conscious of the fact that they owe no obedience to a bishop, no matter how high a title he holds, when that bishop ceases being Orthodox and openly follows heretics with pretenses of union "on equal terms." On the contrary, they are obliged to depart from him and confess their Faith, because a bishop, even if he be patriarch or pope, ceases from being a bishop the moment he ceases being Orthodox. The bishop is a consecrated person, and even if he is openly sinful, respect and honor is due him until synodically censured. But if he becomes openly heretical or is in communion with heretics, then the Christians should not await any synodical decision, but should draw away from him immediately.
Here is what the canons of the Church say on this: "... So that if any presbyter or bishop or metropolitan dares to secede from communion with his own patriarch and does not mention his name as is ordered and appointed in the divine mystagogy, but before a synodical arraignment and his [the patriarch's] full condemnation, he creates a schism, the Holy Synod has decreed that this person be alienated from every priestly function, if only he be proven to have transgressed in this. These rules, therefore, have been sealed and ordered concerning those who on the pretext of some accusations against their own presidents stand apart, creating a schism and severing the unity of the Church. But as for those who on account of some heresy condemned by Holy Synods or Fathers sever themselves from communion with their president, that is, because he publicly preaches heresy and with bared head teaches it in the Church, such persons as these not only are not subject to canonical penalty for walling themselves off from communion with the so-called bishop before synodical clarification, but they shall be deemed worthy of due honor among the Orthodox. For not bishops, but false bishops and false teachers have they condemned, and they have not fragmented the Church's unity with schism, but from schisms and divisions have they earnestly sought to deliver the Church" (Canon XV of the so-called First and Second Council).
What is tragic is that the Pope may be giving some what amounts to a wishful thinking, which is little if any different from similar overtures for reconciliation in the past. To understand why and also to understand the Orthodox Ecclesiology, I decided to post this excerpt.
Aside from the Orthodox 'mindset' so well explained by Dr. Kalimoros, we differ on the theological interpretation of the Scripture as well, as illustrated by this passage:
"With regard to the other verse which you cite, St. Theophylact of Ochrid points out that the words, "I will give unto thee,""...were spoken to Peter alone, yet they were given to all the apostles," since Christ also said, Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted." (The Explanation by Blessed Theophylact of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew [House Springs, MO: Chrysostom Press, 1994], p. 141.) The second verse to which St. Theophylact refers is St. John 20:23. As the translator rightly observes, the verb "remit" is in the second person plural, and thus refers not to St. Peter alone, but to all of the Apostles. As for the "controversial verse" (St. Matthew 16:18), St. Theophylact, following St. John Chrysostomos and the overwhelming consensus of both Greek and Latin Fathers, interprets the words "this rock" to denote St. Peter's confession of faith in the Divinity of Christ, and not the Apostles person. Any other interpretation would, of course, violate the Christocentric nature of the Church and the rather clear Scriptural affirmation that "Christ is the head of the Church" (Ephesians 5:23) and the "head of the Body" (Colossians 1:18).
Let us note, also, that the honor which the Orthodox Church has bestowed on both St. Peter and St. Paul, that is, the title of Protokoryphaioi, i.e., "leaders" or "chiefs" of the Apostles, gives us some insight into what the distinctions between the Disciples of Christ actually mean. They describe functions, responsibilities, cares, and rôles; they do not, however, refer to special privileges, prerogatives, or authority. For, in the final analysis, despite these distinctions, all of the Apostles were equal, just as all of the Bishops of the Orthodox Churchwho are their successors, whether they be simple Bishops or Patriarchs or cumenical Patriarchs, are absolute equals. This fact helps to explain both the passage which you cite from II Corinthians and the Gospel passages which Papists have wholly unjustifiably used to support the doctrine of Papal supremacy." [From Orthodox Tradition, Vol. XVII, No. 1 (2000), pp. 28-30] as posted on www.orthodoxinfo.com
Thank you for posting this.
I am neither Catholic nor Orthodox, but of a more independent mind for the role of the local Church and a larger organization of like-minded Church bodies.
Kalomiros has put into words what I have been unable to form.
I have no way of knowing if this is true, but "born" Orthodox friends have told me that the most ardent supporters of St. Nectarios Press - and the ecclesiological orientation it represents - are (around these parts) the monastery of "the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia" (where, in years past, some of the [convert] monks would not sell you incense if they found out you were either RC or even, sometimes, OCA, lest you be using it in "false worship"!) and converts to Orthodoxy from the Roman and Episcopal Churches and evangelical denominations, who would have good reason to espouse that theology.
I've noted on here before, to the great anger of some, that, in my experience, those most upset about the Fourth Crusade are those Orthodox who, until a few years ago, were Episcopalians, Roman Catholics or Southern Baptists.
Among Roman Catholics, too, there is no shortage of official theological documentation regarding our status as "the one true Church" whose Bishop of Rome is "Supreme (immediate, universal) Pontiff," and, in its strictest interpretation, this stance is most frequently cherished by converts to Roman Catholicism, especially from among Anglicans and evangelicals.
I believe Pope Benedict is inviting both sides to examine what we believe and to ask ourselves, in the words of Acts, what constitutes "those things that are necessary." Whilst the abandonment of the idea of "absorption and fusion" would be anathema, literally, to some Roman Catholics (not least among them, understandably, some converts) and rethinking of the Nectarios-press stance would be the same for some Orthodox (according to my friends, principally converts).
The Pope's incorporation of the Pauline admonitions and the approach of the Council of Jerusalem certainly gives one food for thought, unless, I suppose, one's thoughts are pretty much "carved in stone." In which case, we - on both sides - need to ask whether our thoughts only are stony or whether our hearts have become so as well (Psalm 94/95).
But that's exactly what this article is about: it tries to show that what makes a Church are not individuals; that our loyalty is not to a person or to a seat or throne of authorty, but to Christ. The Church administration is a necessity and has nothing to do with its theology.
If for one moment you realize that the fullness of God can be experienced in every church, no matter how big or how small, the whole concept of central authority and the juridical, corporate concept of the Church becomes meaningless. And with it, the whole idea of one bishop's supremacy over others, even a 'ruler' of the Church.
Since Vatican II, the 'imperial' Papacy has been redefined by one man whose style and personality defined the Papacy for the last 40 or so years, John Paul II. Most Catholics of today do not even remember the pre-Vatican II Mass, the three-step elevated altar against the wall, facing the East, and the priest symbolically leading the flock towards God, with his back turned to the congregation and facing the icons of the Lord and the blessed Saints. But, the Church did it in this manner for centuries, and the Popes were anything but JPII-like.
I mention this so that you would realize that no man's personality must dominate or define the Church, except that of Christ. Yet, unlike the Orthodox Church, the the Church of the West had been defined and redefined by some many different men on the throne of Saint Peter. The Church can remain timless only if it is defined by God and not by men.
The purpose of this article, and I hope this becomes clear, is that the Church does should not depend on the personality of the Pope or anyone else, nor should the Pope be the central personality in the Church. The Church is where we receive Sacraments, where we partake of the Gifts, in fullness whether we are in a small parish in Louisana or in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
I know there are Roman Catholics who can show "theological documentation regarding our status as "the one true Church" whose Bishop of Rome is "Supreme (immediate, universal) Pontiff," the point of the article was to demonstrate, and familiarize those who are not versed in this division, the different about our faith and the Church. And, let me tell you, as close as our Churches are, our cracks are unbridgeable. Any kind of union would consume one or both.
Because he, of all people knows this, the Pope's overtures are so much more perplexing, since they are not backed by any specific proposals, or better yet -- any badly needed new proposals.
Actually, a majority of the Fathers understand it as referring to St. Peter himself. So does St. John, who gives a double interpretation.
What then saith Christ? "Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas." "Thus since thou hast proclaimed my Father, I too name him that begat thee;" all but saying, "As thou art son of Jonas, even so am I of my Father." Else it were superfluous to say, "Thou art Son of Jonas;" but since he had said, "Son of God," to point out that He is so Son of God, as the other son of Jonas, of the same substance with Him that begat Him, therefore He added this, "And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;" that is, on the faith of his confession. Hereby He signifies that many were now on the point of believing, and raises his spirit, and makes him a shepherd. ... Seest thou how He, His own self, leads Peter on to high thoughts of Him, and reveals Himself, and implies that He is Son of God by these two promises? For those things which are peculiar to God alone, (both to absolve sins, and to make the church in- capable of overthrow in such assailing waves, and to exhibit a man that is a fisher more solid than any rock, while all the world is at war with him), these He promises Himself to give; as the Father, speaking to Jeremiah, said, He would make him as "a brazen pillar, and as a wall;" but him to one nation only, this man in every part of the world. (Hom. LIV in St. Matthew)
St. John Chrysostom on the Apostle Peter - great article here which surveys all his writings. "[W]hen I say Peter, I mean the unbroken Rock, the unshaken foundation, the great apostle, the first of the disciples, the first called, the first to obey".
PS: Isn't picking up this Protestant argument a little strange when the Byzantine liturgy openly calls St. Peter the Rock? Does your liturgy do violence to the Christocentric nature of the Church?
"Peter, the rock of faith,
the fervent intercessor,
again lifts us up together for a spiritual feast,
setting before us his precious chains
as provision for a costly banquet
that our infirmities may be healed and our sorrows consoled,
and the storm-tossed ships of our life brought to harbor.
Come, let us kiss them, and entreat Christ Who glorified him,
saying: By his prayers, O Christ, save our souls!"
January 16: Veneration of the chains of the holy Apostle Peter
First of all, just an historical time-check, you said "the 'imperial' Papacy has been redefined by one man whose style and personality defined the Papacy for the last 40 or so years, John Paul II" - while it may have SEEMED like 40 years to those less-than-pleased with his pontificate, John Paul was "only" (!) in the 27th year of his Pontificate at the time of his death.
I think your assertion that "the Church administration is a necessity and has nothing to do with its theology" misses the fact that ecclesiology, on both the Catholic and Orthodox sides, does function as part of the theological enterprise. Moreover, how do you explain "factions" (the word was so anathema to Saint Paul!) being "Orthodox in theology," as you put it, whilst denying one another "communio in sacris" (an OCA communicant being refused communion at the ROCOR monastery)? Does such a refusal not imply, or actualize, a judgement on the "fullness" of faith?
You make a very appropriate and important point on "one man's personality not dominating or defining the Church." Didn't the late lamented Father Schmemann have some extremely insightful thoughts on THAT in his Journal (entries at the time of the first papal visit of JP II to the USA)!? Pope Benedict seems VERY in tune with that concern. In fact, the AP carried a story that Pope Benedict had inquired about moving his installation Mass INSIDE Saint Peter's Basilica where, he is said to have remarked, it would be easier to keep the focus on Christ rather than on the Pope . . . the size of the crowds, however, etc.
Finally, you conclude, "our cracks are unbridgeable. Any kind of union would consume one or both." My personal interpretation (always dangerous with Scripture or papal speeches) is that this is precisely what the Pope was acknowledging when he talked about "the unity we seek involves neither absorption nor fusion".
Yes, it was my fault. Thank you. I was thinking of the Vatican II and writing about JPII.
how do you explain "factions" (the word was so anathema to Saint Paul!) being "Orthodox in theology," as you put it, whilst denying one another "communio in sacris
Apprently at that time they didn't think they were on the same sheet of music, or they allowed their personal grudges to dominate their lives. The OCA has incorporated some outwardly signs that appeared as "Protestant" to the Orthodox. To me (I am Serbian Orthodox), what I have seen of the Greek Orthodox in America, seems very "Protestant" and "unnatural" -- clean shaved priests, pews in the churches, paraffin candles, dog-collars, fun-raising in the middel of the Lirtugy, uniformed choir, electric organs (!), and so on, but in truth it's what the Church teaches that matters the most. So, part of it was my prejudice, and part of it has to do with the knowledge that letting changes in through the back door is not always progress.
Look at Maronites. They claim they were in an unbroken communion with Rome "from the beginning," yet Catholic Encyclopedia thinkgs otherwise, and Pope Pius II (1451) calles them heretics in one ofhis letter. You are missing the big picture.
Didn't the late lamented Father Schmemann have some extremely insightful thoughts on THAT in his Journal
Don't know much about him.
My personal interpretation (always dangerous with Scripture or papal speeches) is that this is precisely what the Pope was acknowledging when he talked about "the unity we seek involves neither absorption nor fusion"
That it's not a true re-union.
Well, that he was at the moment of revelation. And on that faith of his, and of other Apostles, the Church was built and still stands. The Church cannot be built on any man, but on faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and to imply that only Peter had that faith, or that his was stronger or purer than that of other Apostles, is not true.
Thanks for the ping!
A majority, really? Well that certainly would be interesting if you could prove it. Please compile a list of all of the Church Fathers and then cross-reference that to the exact words they used in this matter so that the rest of us can confirm your claimed majority, ok?
Because if you can't, then all you can really to is confirm that there is a division on this teaching.
Very well put.
Perhaps gbcdoj, FormerLib is not familiar with you and your posts. =D
Just remember, he's got to account for them ALL or the list is completely invalid.
Since I am familiar with his abilities, after reading many, many of his posts, I wouldn't be surprised if he could.
Nonsense. We have been up there a few times. Once many many years ago. Fr. Neketas would never, ever, ever, believe or say such things. He is a paragon of humility. A truly Christ-filled and loving man. My oldest daughter has a pin he gave her once from that first, long-ago trip.
Additionally some years ago we all participated in a pan-Orthodox collection for Serbia after we bombed the country. The parish which runs the press had no reservations about being part of it with the rest of us, be they OCA or otherwise.