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A Catholic View of Eastern Orthodoxy (1 of 4)
Orthodixie ^ | 07-22-05 | Aidan Nichols OP

Posted on 07/22/2005 6:58:08 PM PDT by jec1ny

A Catholic View of Eastern Orthodoxy (1 of 4) by Aidan Nichols OP

In this article I attempt an overview in four parts.

First, I shall discuss why Catholics should not only show some ecumenical concern for Orthodoxy but also treat the Orthodox as their privileged or primary ecumenical partner.

Secondly, I shall ask why the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches occurred, focussing as it finally did on four historic 'dividing issues'.

Thirdly, I shall evaluate the present state of Catholic-Orthodox relations, with particular reference to the problem of the 'Uniate' or Eastern Catholic churches.

Fourthly and finally, having been highly sympathetic and complimentary to the Orthodox throughout, I shall end by saying what, in my judgment, is wrong with the Orthodox Church and why it needs Catholicism for (humanly speaking) its own salvation.

Part 1 First, then, why should Catholics take the Orthodox as not only an ecumenical partner but the ecumenical partner par excellence? There are three kinds of reasons: historical, theological and practical - of which in most discussion only the historical and theological are mentioned since the third sort - what I term the 'practical' - takes us into areas of potential controversy among Western Catholics themselves.

The historical reasons for giving preference to Orthodoxy over all other separated communions turn on the fact that the schism between the Roman church and the ancient Chalcedonian churches of the East is the most tragic and burdensome of the splits in historic Christendom if we take up a universal rather than merely regional, perspective. Though segments of the Church of the Fathers were lost to the Great Church through the departure from Catholic unity of the Assyrian (Nestorian) and Oriental Orthodox (Monophysite) churches after the Councils of Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451) respectively, Christians representing the two principal cultures of the Mediterranean basin where the Gospel had its greatest flowering - the Greek and the Latin - lived in peace and unity with each other, despite occasional stirrings and some local difficulties right up until the end of the patristic epoch.

That epoch came to its climax with the Seventh Ecumenical Council, Nicaea II, in 787, the last Council Catholics and Orthodox have in common, and the Council which, in its teaching on the icon, and notably on the icon of Christ, brought to a triumphant close the series of conciliar clarifications of the Christological faith of the Church which had opened with Nicaea I in 325.

The iconography, liturgical life, Creeds and dogmatic believing of the ancient Church come down to us in forms at once Eastern and Western; and it was this rich unity of patristic culture, expressing as it did the faith of the apostolic community, which was shattered by the schism between Catholics and Orthodox, never (so far) to be repaired. And let me say at this point that Church history provides exceedingly few examples of historic schisms overcome, so if history is to be our teacher we have no grounds for confidence or optimism that this most catastrophic of all schisms will be undone. 'Catastrophic' because, historically, as the present pope has pointed out, taking up a metaphor suggested by a French ecclesiologist, the late Cardinal Yves Congar: each Church, West and East, henceforth could only breathe with one lung.

No Church could now lay claim to the total cultural patrimony of both Eastern and Western Chalcedonianism - that is, the christologically and therefore triadologically and soteriologically correct understanding of the Gospel. The result of the consequent rivalry and conflict was the creation of an invisible line down the middle of Europe. And what the historic consequences of that were we know well enough from the situation of the former Yugoslavia today.

After the historical, the theological. The second reason for giving priority to ecumenical relations with the Orthodox is theological. If the main point of ecumenism, or work for the restoration of the Church's full unity, were simply to redress historic wrongs and defuse historically generated causes of conflict, then we might suppose that we should be equally - or perhaps even more - nterested in addressing the Catholic-Protestant divide. After all, there have been no actual wars of religion - simply as such - between Catholics and Orthodox, unlike those between Catholics and Protestants in sixteenth century France or the seventeenth century Holy Roman Empire.

But theologically there cannot be any doubt that the Catholic Church must accord greater importance to dialogue with the Orthodox than to conversations with any Protestant body. For the Orthodox churches are churches in the apostolic succession; they are bearers of the apostolic Tradition, witnesses to apostolic faith, worship and order - even though they are also, and at the same time, unhappily undered from the prima sedes, the first see. Their Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers, their liturgical texts and practices, their iconographic tradition, these remain loci theologici - authoritative sources - to which the Catholic theologian can and must turn in his or her intellectual construal of Catholic Christianity. And that cannot possibly be said of the monuments of Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed or any other kind of Protestantism.

To put the same point in another way: the separated Western communities have Christian traditions - in the plural, with a small 't' - which may well be worthy of the Catholic theologian's interest and respect. But only the Orthodox are, along with the Catholic Church, bearers of Holy Tradition - in the singular, with a capital 'T', that is, of the Gospel in its plenary organic transmission through the entirety of the life - credal, doxological, ethical - of Christ's Church.

There is for Catholics, therefore, a theological imperative to restore unity with the Orthodox which is lacking in our attitude to Protestantism - though I should not be misinterpreted as saying that there is no theological basis for the impulse to Catholic-Protestant rapprochement for we have it in the prayer of our Lord himself at the Great Supper, 'that they all may be one'. I am emphasising the greater priority we should give to relations with the Orthodox because I do not believe the optimistic statement of many professional ecumenists to the effect that all bilateral dialogues - all negotiations with individual separated communions - feed into each other in a positive and unproblematic way.

It would be nice to think that a step towards one separated group of Christians never meant a step away from another one, but such a pious claim does not become more credible with the frequency of its repeating. The issue of the ordination of women, to take but one particularly clear example, is evidently a topic where to move closer to world Protestantism is to move further from global Orthodoxy - and vice versa.

This brings me to my third reason for advocating ecumenical rapport with Orthodoxy: its practical advantages. At the present time, the Catholic Church, in many parts of the world, is undergoing one of the most serious crises in its history, a crisis resulting from a disorienting encounter with secular culture and compounded by a failure of Christian discernment on the part of many people over the last quarter century - from the highest office holders - to the ordinary faithful. This crisis touches many aspects of Church life but notably theology and catechesis, liturgy and spirituality, Religious life and Christian ethics at large. Orthodoxy is well placed to stabilise Catholicism in most if not all of these areas.

Were we to ask in a simply empirical or phenomenological frame of mind just what the Orthodox Church is like, we could describe it as a dogmatic Church, a liturgical Church, a contemplative Church, and a monastic Church - and in all these respects it furnishes a helpful counter-balance to certain features of much western Catholicism today.

Firstly, then, Orthodoxy is a dogmatic Church. It lives from out of the fullness of the truth impressed by the Spirit on the minds of the apostles at the first Pentecost, a fullness which transformed their awareness and made possible that specifically Christian kind of thinking we call dogmatic thought.

The Holy Trinity, the God-man, the Mother of God and the saints, the Church as the mystery of the Kingdom expressed in a common life on earth, the sacraments as means to humanity's deification - our participation in the uncreated life of God himself: these are the truths among which the Orthodox live, move and have their being.

Orthodox theology in all its forms is a call to the renewal of our minds in Christ, something which finds its measure not in pure reason or secular culture but in the apostolic preaching attested to by the holy Fathers, in accord with the principal dogmata of faith as summed up in the Ecumenical Councils of the Church.

Secondly, Orthodoxy is a liturgical Church. It is a Church for which the Liturgy provides a total ambience expressed in poetry, music and iconography, text and gesture, and where the touchstone of the liturgical life is not the capacity of liturgy to express contemporary concerns legitimate though these may be in their own context), but, rather, the ability of the Liturgy to act as a vehicle of the Kingdom, our anticipated entry, even here and now, into the divine life.

Thirdly, Orthodoxy is a contemplative Church. Though certainly not ignoring the calls of missionary activity and practical charity, essential to the Gospel and the Gospel community as these are, the Orthodox lay their primary emphasis on the life of prayer as the absolutely necessary condition of all Christianity worth the name.

In the tradition of the desert fathers, and of such great theologian-mystics as the Cappadocian fathers, St Maximus and St Gregory Palamas, encapsulated as these contributions are in that anthology of Eastern Christian spirituality the Philokalia, Orthodoxy gives testimony to the primacy of what the Saviour himself called the first and greatest commandment, to love the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength, for it is in the light of this commandment with its appeal for a God-centred process of personal conversion and sanctification - that all our efforts to live out its companion commandment (to love our neighbour as ourself) must be guided.

And fourthly, Orthodoxy is a monastic Church, a Church with a monastic heart where the monasteries provide the spiritual fathers of the bishops, the counsellors of the laity and the example of a Christian maximalism. A Church without a flourishing monasticism, without the lived 'martyrdom' of an asceticism inspired by the Paschal Mystery of the Lord's Cross and Resurrection, could hardly be a Church according to the mind of the Christ of the Gospels, for monasticism, of all Christian life ways, is the one which most clearly and publicly leaves all things behind for the sake of the Kingdom.

Practically speaking, then, the re-entry into Catholic unity of this dogmatic, liturgical, contemplative and monastic Church could only have the effect of steadying and strengthening those aspects of Western Catholicism which today are most under threat by the corrosives of secularism and theological liberalism.

To be continued ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism; Mainline Protestant; Orthodox Christian; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship
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This looks like a very interesting work. I will attempt to post the other parts of this as they are put up or have Fr. Huneycutt put them up.
1 posted on 07/22/2005 6:58:08 PM PDT by jec1ny
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To: kosta50; Graves; Hermann the Cherusker; TaxachusettsMan; Agrarian; FormerLib; armydoc; gbcdoj; ...

Ping


2 posted on 07/22/2005 6:59:01 PM PDT by jec1ny (Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domine Qui fecit caelum et terram.)
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To: jec1ny
"Thirdly, I shall evaluate the present state of Catholic-Orthodox relations, with particular reference to the problem of the 'Uniate' or Eastern Catholic churches."

"Uniate" is a slur against Catholicism's Eastern Rite Churches and putting it in parenthesis, rather than the word 'problem' preceding it, more than reveals the author's bias.
3 posted on 07/22/2005 7:09:00 PM PDT by GMMAC (paraphrasing Parrish: "damned Liberals, I hate those bastards!")
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To: jec1ny

Thanks for the article. There isn't much to comment on this one, because it outlines all the positive aspects of Orthodoxy. I would imagine that his last part dealing with what is wrong with the Orthodox Church may be a better seed for a meaningful discussion.


4 posted on 07/22/2005 7:19:21 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: GMMAC; american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; ...
"Uniate" is a slur against Catholicism's Eastern Rite Churches and putting it in parenthesis, rather than the word 'problem' preceding it, more than reveals the author's bias.

Thank you! ..... for making this distinction.

EXPLANATION OF SELF-GOVERNING EASTERN CATHOLIC CHURCHES

I'm sure I've posted this before but, if not, here it is again. My resource for this information is Rev. Anthony J. Salim, author of Captivated By Your Teachings - a resource book for Maronite Catholics. He says:

In the 16th century, several Eastern Churches began a process of restoring communion with the Vatican in Rome, which by now had clearly become the center of the Catholic Church in the West. To some degree, these newly reunited Churches retained their Eastern traditions and became known as the "Eastern Catholic Churches", as distinct from their Orthodox counterparts. (exceptions: Maronite Catholic Church and the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church which never separated from Rome.)

The process of reunion adopted then was known as "Uniatism", implying union with Rome. Such union was one-sided in that it meant a union on Western (Latin) terms. Practically speaking, this meant the loss of some authentically Eastern liturgical customs and disciplines (ex: iconostasis of the Byzantine Tradition and use of unleavened bread in any Eastern Tradition). Ultimately, uniatism came to be perceived as a pejorative term in both Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Even for the Maronite Church, the pressure to conform to a Latin norm caused deep scars.

The Second Vatican Council recognized that a high price was paid by the Eastern Cathoic Churches in terms of latinization. Thus, the Council directed that the process of coming into communion of the Churches needs to be done differently and the terms "uniatism" and "uniate" must never again be used.

In its Decree ORIENTALIUM ECCLESIARUM , the Council clearly stated the equality of all the ancient Traditions of the Church, East and West. It acknowledged the need for these Eastern Churches to reform what was needed, so that thsese living Churches could be a more authentic witness to their ancient Eastern heritages.

Prior to the Second Vatican Council's "Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches", a common incorrect way of referring to Eastern Catholics was that they belonged to a "Rite," with no appreciation of them as self-governing (sui iuris) Churches. In the years after the Council a better understanding - because more ancient and authentic - of Eastern ecclesiology was revived. This seemingly newer understanding appreciates more the proper distinctions that need to be observed when we talk about Eastern Catholics. The Council, then, caused us to become more precise abut our individual designations by making the proper distinction between a "Rite," a 'Tradition" and a sui iuris "Particular Church."

While it is preferable to say that an Eastern Catholic individual is a member of a particular Eastern Catholic Church, it is also correct to say that she or he follows a liturgical Rite (or Tradition).

A Rite is a prayer ritual, or, by extension, a liturgical Tradition.

A Tradition has its own natural ways of expressing Catholicism according to proper language, native customs, discipline, theology, spirituality and liturgy. Tradition is broader than and includes rites, hence it is preferable to use the tern Tradition, as in Byzantine Tradition.

A sui iuris Church (sui iuris is Latin for "in" or "according to" "its own right") is a hierarchically-organized, self-governing Church within the Catholic Communion of Churches, derived from a particular Tradition. By "hierarchically-organized" is meant that the individual Church has some kind of governing leader (patriarch, metropolitan, major archbishop) and makes its own decidions for governing the ordinary life of the Church.

Of the one billion Catholics in the world, almost 20 million (2%) follow Eastern Traditions. They are grouped into Particular Churches deriving from 5 major Traditions:

1) Byzantine (Constantinopolitan) - the largest, with 13 Particular Churches;
2) West Syriac-Antiochene, with 3 Churches;
3) East Syriac/Assyrian "Church of the East," with 2 Churches;
4) Alxandrine, with 2 Churches; and
5) Armenian Church.

In the US, there are 16 Eastern Catholic jurisdictions representing 4 Traditions: 10 Byzantine jurisdictions; one Syrian (or Syriac) Catholic jurisdiction and 2 Maronite jurisdictions (both Syro-Antiochene); and one each from the Armenian Catholic, the Chaldean Catholic and Syro-Malabar Catholic. The total Eastern Catholic population in the US is nearly half a million.

5 posted on 07/22/2005 7:23:28 PM PDT by NYer ("Each person is meant to exist. Each person is God's own idea." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: GMMAC
Uniate" is a slur against Catholicism's Eastern Rite Churches

Ummm, Uniate is a Roman Catholic term. Personally, I think "pittiful" is a much better term for these churches, but that's just my private opinion.

6 posted on 07/22/2005 7:25:16 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: GMMAC

"Uniate" is a slur"

Don't hold it back GMMAC. Let it all out. Tell us all how you really feel.


7 posted on 07/22/2005 7:26:50 PM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: kosta50

"Personally, I think 'pittiful' is a much better term for these churches."
Just my personal opinion but how about, pitiful, pathetic & perfidious?


8 posted on 07/22/2005 7:32:13 PM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: Graves; kosta50; NYer
The basis for my characterization of the term "Uniate" as a slur is offered in NYer's post #5:
"The process of reunion adopted then was known as "Uniatism", implying union with Rome. Such union was one-sided in that it meant a union on Western (Latin) terms. Practically speaking, this meant the loss of some authentically Eastern liturgical customs and disciplines (ex: iconostasis of the Byzantine Tradition and use of unleavened bread in any Eastern Tradition). Ultimately, uniatism came to be perceived as a pejorative term in both Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches."

As this is how the expression is widely perceived, it's hardly surprising that apparent hostility in relation to my pointing out same immediately followed in posts #6 & 7.

So much for any hope of reasoned and/or fraternal discussion.

Eastern Catholicism's Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
9 posted on 07/22/2005 7:45:15 PM PDT by GMMAC (paraphrasing Parrish: "damned Liberals, I hate those bastards!")
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To: NYer; Agrarian; Kolokotronis; MarMema; Graves; GMMAC; american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; ...
I'm sure I've posted this before but, if not, here it is again

You sure have!

In the 16th century, several Eastern Churches began a process of restoring communion with the Vatican in Rome...(exceptions: Maronite Catholic Church and the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church which never separated from Rome.)

Catholic Encyclopedia:

It was not until after the Council of Florence (and I have provided you with the Vatican transcript in a previous post) that the last Maronite heretics following Macarius' teaching were brought into the union with Rome.

Even as late as 1451, Pope Pius II refers to the Maronites in a letter as "heretics."

It was not until the Council of Trent (16th century) that the Maronite Church for the first time in its history participated as a full member of the Church in Rome. Now, I know you disavow any authority of the Catholic Encyclopedia -- but I have news for you: your Catholic brothers and sisters use it as often as they can as an authoritative source. And, to the best of my knowledge, the Roman Catholic Church never distanced itself publicly from the contents of the Catholic Encyclopedia.

10 posted on 07/22/2005 7:45:15 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Graves

You give them too much credit in my opinion.


11 posted on 07/22/2005 7:52:27 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: NYer; GMMAC
I read the link you have there for the decree and I don't see where it was stated that the term "Uniate" may no longer be used. The term is defined in the Catholic Encyclopedia as:

Uniat Church, or Uniats, has a much wider signification than United Greek Church or United Greeks, and embraces all the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome, but following another than the Latin rite, whether it be Byzantine, Armenian, Syrian, Chaldean, Maronite, or Coptic. The Uniat Church is therefore really synonymous with Eastern Churches united to Rome, and Uniats is synonymous with Eastern Christians united with Rome.

12 posted on 07/22/2005 8:05:07 PM PDT by katnip
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To: Graves; kosta50
Great quotes from you two here, really quite edifying!

Personally, I think 'pittiful' (sic) is a much better term for these churches.

Just my personal opinion but how about, pitiful, pathetic & perfidious?

So tell me, as you dump all over the Eastern Catholic Churches, are you guys ex-Anglicans, ex-Romans, ex-Baptists?

Usually (but not always: witness His All-Miserableness, Alexy II), the nastiest Orthodox are people who are really deep-down semi-converts from something else.

13 posted on 07/22/2005 8:27:35 PM PDT by TaxachusettsMan
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To: kosta50; Graves

The great pretenders.


14 posted on 07/22/2005 8:58:00 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: TaxachusettsMan
At the present time, the Catholic Church, in many parts of the world, is undergoing one of the most serious crises in its history, a crisis resulting from a disorienting encounter with secular culture and compounded by a failure of Christian discernment on the part of many people over the last quarter century - from the highest office holders - to the ordinary faithful.

They say beggars cannot be too choosy.

15 posted on 07/22/2005 9:02:32 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: jec1ny; All

I have found the entire essay (all 4 parts) which can be found here. http://www.secondspring.co.uk/articles/nichols.htm

A Catholic View of Eastern Orthodoxy

Aidan Nichols OP

In this article I attempt an overview in four parts.

First, I shall discuss why Catholics should not only show some ecumenical concern for Orthodoxy but also treat the Orthodox as their privileged or primary ecumenical partner.

Secondly, I shall ask why the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches occurred, focussing as it finally did on four historic 'dividing issues'.

Thirdly, I shall evaluate the present state of Catholic-Orthodox relations, with particular reference to the problem of the 'Uniate' or Eastern Catholic churches.

Fourthly and finally, having been highly sympathetic and complimentary to the Orthodox throughout, I shall end by saying what, in my judgment, is wrong with the Orthodox Church and why it needs Catholicism for (humanly speaking) its own salvation.

Part 1

First, then, why should Catholics take the Orthodox as not only an ecumenical partner but the ecumenical partner par excellence? There are three kinds of reasons: historical, theological and practical – of which in most discussion only the historical and theological are mentioned since the third sort – what I term the 'practical' – takes us into areas of potential controversy among Western Catholics themselves.

The historical reasons for giving preference to Orthodoxy over all other separated communions turn on the fact that the schism between the Roman church and the ancient Chalcedonian churches of the East is the most tragic and burdensome of the splits in historic Christendom if we take up a universal rather than merely regional, perspective.

Though segments of the Church of the Fathers were lost to the Great Church through the departure from Catholic unity of the Assyrian (Nestorian) and Oriental Orthodox (Monophysite) churches after the Councils of Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451) respectively, Christians representing the two principal cultures of the Mediterranean basin where the Gospel had its greatest flowering – the Greek and the Latin – lived in peace and unity with each other, despite occasional stirrings and some local difficulties right up until the end of the patristic epoch.

That epoch came to its climax with the Seventh Ecumenical Council, Nicaea II, in 787, the last Council Catholics and Orthodox have in common, and the Council which, in its teaching on the icon, and notably on the icon of Christ, brought to a triumphant close the series of conciliar clarifications of the Christological faith of the Church which had opened with Nicaea I in 325.

The iconography, liturgical life, Creeds and dogmatic believing of the ancient Church come down to us in forms at once Eastern and Western; and it was this rich unity of patristic culture, expressing as it did the faith of the apostolic community, which was shattered by the schism between Catholics and Orthodox, never (so far) to be repaired.

And let me say at this point that Church history provides exceedingly few examples of historic schisms overcome, so if history is to be our teacher we have no grounds for confidence or optimism that this most catastrophic of all schisms will be undone. 'Catastrophic' because, historically, as the present pope has pointed out, taking up a metaphor suggested by a French ecclesiologist, the late Cardinal Yves Congar: each Church, West and East, henceforth could only breathe with one lung.

No Church could now lay claim to the total cultural patrimony of both Eastern and Western Chalcedonianism – that is, the christologically and therefore triadologically and soteriologically correct understanding of the Gospel. The result of the consequent rivalry and conflict was the creation of an invisible line down the middle of Europe. And what the historic consequences of that were we know well enough from the situation of the former Yugoslavia today.

After the historical, the theological. The second reason for giving priority to ecumenical relations with the Orthodox is theological. If the main point of ecumenism, or work for the restoration of the Church's full unity, were simply to redress historic wrongs and defuse historically generated causes of conflict, then we might suppose that we should be equally – or perhaps even more – interested in addressing the Catholic-Protestant divide.

After all, there have been no actual wars of religion – simply as such – between Catholics and Orthodox, unlike those between Catholics and Protestants in sixteenth century France or the seventeenth century Holy Roman Empire. But theologically there cannot be any doubt that the Catholic Church must accord greater importance to dialogue with the Orthodox than to conversations with any Protestant body.

For the Orthodox churches are churches in the apostolic succession; they are bearers of the apostolic Tradition, witnesses to apostolic faith, worship and order – even though they are also, and at the same time, unhappily sundered from the prima sedes, the first see. Their Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers, their liturgical texts and practices, their iconographic tradition, these remain loci theologici – authoritative sources – to which the Catholic theologian can and must turn in his or her intellectual construal of Catholic Christianity. And that cannot possibly be said of the monuments of Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed or any other kind of Protestantism.

To put the same point in another way: the separated Western communities have Christian traditions – in the plural, with a small 't' – which may well be worthy of the Catholic theologian's interest and respect. But only the Orthodox are, along with the Catholic Church, bearers of Holy Tradition – in the singular, with a capital 'T', that is, of the Gospel in its plenary organic transmission through the entirety of the life – credal, doxological, ethical – of Christ's Church.

There is for Catholics, therefore, a theological imperative to restore unity with the Orthodox which is lacking in our attitude to Protestantism – though I should not be misinterpreted as saying that there is no theological basis for the impulse to Catholic-Protestant rapprochement for we have it in the prayer of our Lord himself at the Great Supper, 'that they all may be one'.

I am emphasising the greater priority we should give to relations with the Orthodox because I do not believe the optimistic statement of many professional ecumenists to the effect that all bilateral dialogues – all negotiations with individual separated communions – feed into each other in a positive and unproblematic way.

It would be nice to think that a step towards one separated group of Christians never meant a step away from another one, but such a pious claim does not become more credible with the frequency of its repeating. The issue of the ordination of women, to take but one particularly clear example, is evidently a topic where to move closer to world Protestantism is to move further from global Orthodoxy – and vice versa.

This brings me to my third reason for advocating ecumenical rapport with Orthodoxy: its practical advantages. At the present time, the Catholic Church, in many parts of the world, is undergoing one of the most serious crises in its history, a crisis resulting from a disorienting encounter with secular culture and compounded by a failure of Christian discernment on the part of many people over the last quarter century – from the highest office holders – to the ordinary faithful.

This crisis touches many aspects of Church life but notably theology and catechesis, liturgy and spirituality, Religious life and Christian ethics at large. Orthodoxy is well placed to stabilise Catholicism in most if not all of these areas.

Were we to ask in a simply empirical or phenomenological frame of mind just what the Orthodox Church is like, we could describe it as a dogmatic Church, a liturgical Church, a contemplative Church, and a monastic Church – and in all these respects it furnishes a helpful counter-balance to certain features of much western Catholicism today.

Firstly, then, Orthodoxy is a dogmatic Church. It lives from out of the fullness of the truth impressed by the Spirit on the minds of the apostles at the first Pentecost, a fullness which transformed their awareness and made possible that specifically Christian kind of thinking we call dogmatic thought.

The Holy Trinity, the God-man, the Mother of God and the saints, the Church as the mystery of the Kingdom expressed in a common life on earth, the sacraments as means to humanity's deification – our participation in the uncreated life of God himself: these are the truths among which the Orthodox live, move and have their being.

Orthodox theology in all its forms is a call to the renewal of our minds in Christ, something which finds its measure not in pure reason or secular culture but in the apostolic preaching attested to by the holy Fathers, in accord with the principal dogmata of faith as summed up in the Ecumenical Councils of the Church.1

Secondly, Orthodoxy is a liturgical Church. It is a Church for which the Liturgy provides a total ambience expressed in poetry, music and iconography, text and gesture, and where the touchstone of the liturgical life is not the capacity of liturgy to express contemporary concerns (legitimate though these may be in their own context), but, rather, the ability of the Liturgy to act as a vehicle of the Kingdom, our anticipated entry, even here and now, into the divine life.

Thirdly, Orthodoxy is a contemplative Church. Though certainly not ignoring the calls of missionary activity and practical charity, essential to the Gospel and the Gospel community as these are, the Orthodox lay their primary emphasis on the life of prayer as the absolutely necessary condition of all Christianity worth the name.

In the tradition of the desert fathers, and of such great theologian-mystics as the Cappadocian fathers, St Maximus and St Gregory Palamas, encapsulated as these contributions are in that anthology of Eastern Christian spirituality the Philokalia, Orthodoxy gives testimony to the primacy of what the Saviour himself called the first and greatest commandment, to love the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength, for it is in the light of this commandment with its appeal for a God-centred process of personal conversion and sanctification – that all our efforts to live out its companion commandment (to love our neighbour as ourself) must be guided.

And fourthly, Orthodoxy is a monastic Church, a Church with a monastic heart where the monasteries provide the spiritual fathers of the bishops, the counsellors of the laity and the example of a Christian maximalism. A Church without a flourishing monasticism, without the lived 'martyrdom' of an asceticism inspired by the Paschal Mystery of the Lord's Cross and Resurrection, could hardly be a Church according to the mind of the Christ of the Gospels, for monasticism, of all Christian life ways, is the one which most clearly and publicly leaves all things behind for the sake of the Kingdom.

Practically speaking, then, the re-entry into Catholic unity of this dogmatic, liturgical, contemplative and monastic Church could only have the effect of steadying and strengthening those aspects of Western Catholicism which today are most under threat by the corrosives of secularism and theological liberalism.

Part 2

I turn now to the actual genesis of the schism from a Catholic standpoint, along with some account – necessarily summary and unadorned – of the four historic 'dividing issues': those disputed questions which historians can show to have most worried many Easterners when looking at developments in the Latin church, and which constituted the agenda of the reunion Councils, Lyons II in 1274 and Florence in 1439.

This is of course an enormous subject which would require an account of most of Church history in the first millennium to do it justice. Here I can only give a brief indication and refer those interested in more historical detail – and certainly there is no shortage of fascinating material available, to my Rome and the Eastern Churches: A Study in Schism.2

The development of the schism between Greek East and Latin West was owed essentially to three factors. The first of these is the increasing cultural distance, and so alienation, suspicion and eventually hostility, which counterposed, one against the other, the Byzantine and Latin halves of the Mediterranean basin, as also tracts of Europe further afield – especially Russia on the one hand, the Germanic world on the other, evangelised as these had been from, respectively, Greek and Roman mother-churches.

As a common language, a common political framework, a common social structure, and a common theological universe became, in the late patristic and early mediaeval periods, a thing of the past, Eastern and Western Christians ceased to feel themselves parts of one Commonwealth – something given especially brutal expression in the sack of Constantinople by the crusader host in 1204.

The second principal factor in the making of the schism was the rivalry between the Byzantine emperors and the Roman popes considered as officers of the Christian commonwealth responsible for its overall direction and for the adjustment of organisational problems or clashes within it. Constantine the Great not only inherited the imperial ideology of the supreme rulers of the Roman res publica, but also permitted – perhaps encouraged – the transformation of this ideology into a fully fledged imperial theology by such figures as Eusebius of Caesarea.3

The Christian emperor, though pretending to no power to determine doctrine, did claim an overall right of supervision for the public, external life of the churches. But this was exactly the position which those in the West who supported the developing theology of the unique 'Petrine' ministry of the Roman bishop wished to give the pope. In the first millennium there was no generally agreed ecclesiology of the Roman primacy. There are Latins who took a minimalist view of it, Greeks who took a maximalist.

But in general, of course, Westerners came to favour a high theology of the Roman church and bishop, Easterners to regard such a theological doctrine with foreboding as a departure from the ethos of the Pentarchy, the idea of the necessary concord of the five patriarchs Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem – which by the eighth century at least must count as the normal Byzantine picture of what specifically episcopal leadership entailed.

The third and last factor in the turning of tensions into an actual break was the emergence of the four disputed questions which served as lenses concentrating the heat given off in these chronic or structural tensions until it became explosive.

In order of their historic emergence, these questions or topics are: the Filioque, the nature of the Roman primacy, the use of azymes or unleavened bread in the Western Mass, and the doctrine of Purgatory, and especially the symbolisation of the intermediate state as a purifying fire.

On all these points, even that of azymes which might be thought an issue singularly unprofitable or at least peripheral to Christian thought, theological ideas of great interest were brought forward on both sides, though probably only the Filioque and the primacy question would be regarded as 'dividing' issues today.

As regards the Filioque – the procession of the Holy Spirit, according to the amended Latin version of the Creed of Nicaea-Constantinople, not only from the Father but from the Son as well, I believe that, could we count on a modicum of good will, we might well be able, without damage to the doctrinal integrity of our two communions, to resolve this technical issue in Trinitarian theology: technical, yet also crucial for how we see the Spirit in relation to the Son, and so their respective economies in their interaction in our lives. The matter of the Roman primacy is less easily disposed of, and I will return to it at the end of my presentation.

So much – very schematically, and inadequately, – on the historic genesis of the schism and its quartet of doctrinal conflagration points. The operation of the three factors – the mutual cultural estrangement, the conflicting expectations for the ro1es of emperor and pope, and the specifically theological issues, meant that by the 1450's the Byzantine church, in rejecting the Florentine union of 1439, had definitely broken communion with the Roman see, a situation gradually extended in a rather uneven way to the rest of the Orthodox world in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, there being some examples of communicatio in sacris – for instance of the use of Latin clergy, chiefly Jesuits, to preach and hear the confessions of the Greek Orthodox faithful – even as late as the first half of the eighteenth century in some places.

Part 3

I come now to the third part of my paper which concerns the present state of Catholic-Orthodox relations. After a preparatory phase of initial contacts known as the 'dialogue of charity', the Catholic-Orthodox theological dialogue was officially established in 1979, with the 'common declaration' made by the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios 1 and Pope John Paul II at the conclusion of the latter's visit to the Phanar, the patriarchal seat in Istanbul, in November of that year.

At that juncture the situation between Orthodox and Catholics was from one point of view more hopeful than at, say, the time of the Council of Florence, but from another viewpoint it was less hopeful. It was more hopeful in that the participation of the Orthodox in the Ecumenical Movement from the 1920's onwards had accustomed them to the idea of work for Christian unity – though a strong and vociferous minority have always expressed reservations about this policy as likely to confirm what Catholics would call 'indifferentism'.

If at its origins the Ecumenical Movement was largely a pan-Protestant conception, the entry of the Orthodox into its ranks pressed that Movement, nonetheless, in a direction which made it possible for the Catholic Church to join it, nearly forty years later, on the eve of the Second Vatican Council. The Orthodox had this salutary effect in that their voices – combined with those of neo-patristically minded Anglicans (a species more common then than now) – succeeded in dispelling the sense that ecumenism was basically a movement preparing a purely moral and sentimental – rather than doctrinal and sacramental – union of Christians.

Along these broad lines, then, the Orthodox churches had functioned highly constructively within the Ecumenical Movement up to the 1980's, though whether they can continue to do so in the context of the World Council of Churches in the future – given the capture of the latter by a largely secular agenda – remains to be seen.

To this glowing account of Orthodox ecumenism one important caveat must be appended. It is possible to overrate the theological component of the role of Orthodoxy in the twentieth century Ecumenical Movement by overlooking the fact that the desire of many Orthodox for greater contest with Western communions was in part a pragmatic and even political one.

With the collapse of the Russian Tsardom in 1917, that mighty protector of the Orthodox churches was no more, and Orthodox communities in hostile States like Bolshevik Russia or Kemalist Turkey, or in comparatively weak confessionally Orthodox States such as Bulgaria and Greece, needed the support of a still surviving Christian political conscience in such great Powers of the first half of this century as Britain and the United States.

This realistic caution about the motives of some Orthodox ecumenism brings me to the less hopeful features of the situation which surrounded the opening of official dialogue at the beginning of the 1980's.

In the more than five hundred years since the collapse of the Florentine Union, Orthodox and Catholics had had time to practise yet more polemics against each other, to coarsen their images of each other, and also to add (especially from the Orthodox side) new bones of doctrinal contention though in one case, the definition in 1870 of the universal jurisdiction and doctrinal infallibility of the Roman bishop, the dismay of the Orthodox was of course entirely predictable, as was pointed out by several Oriental Catholic bishops at the First Vatican Council.

We find for instance such influential Orthodox thinkers as the Greek lay theologian John Romanides attacking the Western doctrine of original sin as heretical, thus rendering the Latin Marian dogma of the Immaculate Conception – Mary's original righteousness – superfluous if not nonsensical. Or again, and this would be a point that exercised those responsible for the official dialogue of the last fifteen years, some Orthodox now wished to regard the pastoral practice whereby many local churches in the Latin West delay the confirmation (or chrismation) of children till after their first Holy Communion as based on a gravely erroneous misjudgment in sacramental doctrine.

None of this, however, prevented the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church – to give it its mouthful of a title – from producing several (three, to be precise) very useful documents on the shared understanding (in the Great Church of which Orthodoxy and Catholicism are the two expressions) of the mystery of the Church herself, in her sacramental and especially eucharistic structure, seen in relation to the mystery of the triune God, the foundational reality of our faith. These statements are known by their place and date of origin: Munich 1982, Bari 1987, and Valamo (Finland) 1988.4

The shadow cast more recently was in 1979 only a cloud on the horizon, a cloud, as in Elijah's dealings with Ahab in the First Book of Kings, no bigger than a man's hand. And this is the threat posed to the dialogue by the re-invigoration of hitherto communist-suppressed Uniate or Eastern Catholic churches, notably those of the Ukraine and Transylvania, in the course of the later 1980's and 1990's.

The existence of Byzantine-rite communities in union with the Holy See was already a major irritant to the Orthodox, even though some of these communities, for instance in Southern Italy and Sicily, had enjoyed an unbroken existence and were in no sense the result of prosyletism or political chicanery.

What the Orthodox quite naturally and rightly object to is Uniatism as a method of detaching Orthodox dioceses and parishes from their mother churches on a principle of divide et impera. Not all partial unions with the Byzantine Orthodox can be brought historically under this heading, for some, such as that with a portion of the Antiochene patriarchate which produced the present Melkite church, are principally the result of Eastern, not Western, initiative.

But that the pope (John Paul II) who presided over the beginnings of Catholic-Orthodox dialogue should also be a pope who played a major role in the destruction of Communism has certainly proved to be one of the ironies of Church history. The passing of Marxist-Leninist hegemony, the internal disintegration of the Soviet Union, the copycat rebellions against a Nationalist Communist nomenklatura in such countries as Rumania, made possible the re-emergence of Oriental Catholic churches once forcibly re-united with the Orthodox by Stalin's Comintern in the aftermath of World War II. The process has been sufficient to place in jeopardy the project of Catholic-Orthodox reunion which is the one goal of ecclesiastical as distinct from merely public policy most dear to the heart of this extraordinary Slav bishop of Rome.

Thus in June 1990 at the plenary meeting of the Commission at Freising in Bavaria, the Orthodox refused to continue with the official agenda in discussing 'Conciliarity and Authority: the Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Stricture of the Church' until a document could be agreed on the Byzantine-rite Catholic churches, a document actually produced at Balamand in the Lebanon in 1993 and which has, regrettably, failed to satisfy many Orthodox whilst angering many Oriental Catholics.5

Part 4

This brings me to the fourth and concluding section of my 'overview' where, as mentioned at the outset, I will single out for, I hope, charitable and eirenic comment one negative aspect of Orthodoxy where, in my opinion, the Orthodox need Catholic communion just as – for quite different reasons already outlined – Catholics need (at this time in history above all) the Orthodox Church.

The animosity, indeed the barely contained fury, with which many Orthodox react to the issue of Uniatism is hardly explicable except in terms of a widespread and not readily defensible Orthodox feeling about the relation between the nation and the Church.

There must be, after all, some factor of social psychology or corporate ideology which complicates this issue. Bear in mind that the Orthodox have felt no difficulty this century in creating forms of Western-rite Orthodoxy, for example in France under the aegis of the Rumanian patriarchate or more recently in the United States under the jurisdiction of an exarch of the patriarch of Antioch. And what are these entities if not Orthodox Uniatism – to which the Catholic Church has, however, made no objection.

Nor do such non-Chalcedonian churches as the Assyrians (in Iraq and Iran), the Jacobites (in Syria) or the Syro-Malabar Christians of South India react in this way to the notion that some of their communities may be in peace and communion with the elder Rome. A partial – and significant – exception among such non-Chalcedonian Orthodox churches is the Copts of Egypt – precisely because of the notion that the Coptic patriarch is father of the whole Coptic nation. In other words, what we may call a political factor – giving the word 'political' its broadest possible meaning – has entered in.

It is the close link between Church and national consciousness, patriotic consciousness, which renders Uniatism so totally unacceptable in such countries as Greece and Rumania, and it is this phenomenon of Orthodox nationalism which I find the least attractive feature of Orthodoxy today.

An extreme example is the widespread philosophy in the Church of Serbia which goes by the name of the mediaeval royal Serbian saint Sava – hence Svetosavlje, 'Saint-Sava-sm'. The creation of the influential bishop Nikolay Velimirovich, who died in 1956, it argues that the Serbian people are, by their history of martyrdom, an elect nation, even among the Orthodox, a unique bearer of salvific suffering, an incomparably holy people, and counterposes them in particular to their Western neighbours who are merely pseudo-Christians, believers in humanity without divinity.6

And if the origins of such Orthodox attitudes lie in the attempts of nineteenth century nationalists to mobilise the political potential of Orthodox peasantries against both Islamic and Catholic rulers, these forces, which I would not hesitate to call profoundly unChristian, can turn even against the interests of Orthodoxy itself – as we are seeing today in the embarrassing campaign on the Holy Mountain Athos, to dislodge non-Greek monks and discourage non-Greek pilgrims, quite against the genius of the Athonite monastic republic which, historically, is a living testimony to Orthodox interethnicity, Orthodox internationalism.

To a Catholic mind, the Church of Pentecost is a Church of all nations in the sense of ecclesia ex gentibus, a Church taken from all nations, gathering them – with, to be sure, their own human and spiritual gifts – into a universal community in the image of the divine Triunity where the difference between Father, Son and Spirit only subserves their relations of communion.

The Church of Pentecost is not an ecclesia in gentibus, a Church distributed among the nations in the sense of parcelled out among them, accommodating herself completely to their structures and leaving their sense of autonomous identity undisturbed.

Speaking as someone brought up in a national Church, the Church of England, though I am happy to consider myself perfectly English, I also regard it as a blessing of catholicity to be freed from particularism into the more spacious life of a Church raised up to be an ensign for all nations, a Church where those of every race, colour and culture can feel at home, in the Father's house.

It is in this final perspective that one should consider the role of the Roman bishop as a 'universal primate' in the service of the global communion of the churches. One of the most loved titles of the Western Middle Ages for the Roman bishop was universalis papa, and while one would nor wish to retrieve all aspects of Latin ecclesiology in the high mediaeval period, to a Catholic Christian the universal communion of the local churches in their multiple variety does need a father in the pope, just as much as the local church itself, with its varied congregations, ministries and activities, needs a father in the person of the bishop.

It is often said that such an ecclesiology of the papal office is irredeemably Western and Latin, and incapable of translation into Oriental terms. I believe this statement to be unjustified. Just as a patriarch, as regional primate, is responsible for the due functioning of the local churches of in his region under their episcopal heads, so a universal primate is responsible for the operation of the entire episcopal taxis or order, and so for all the churches on a world-wide scale.

Needless to say, this office is meant for the upbuilding, not the destruction, of that episcopal order, founded ultimately as the latter is on the will of the Redeemer in establishing the apostolic mission, and further refined by Tradition in the institution of patriarchal and other primacies in this or that portion of the ecclesial whole. But at the same time, if the ministry of a first bishop is truly to meet the needs of the universal Church it will sometimes have to take decisions that are hard on some local community and unpopular with it.

Were the Orthodox and Catholic Churches to become one, some reform of the structure of the Roman primacy would nonetheless be necessary, especially at the level of the curia romana. The congregation for the Oriental Churches would become a secretariat at the service of the permanent apocrisaries (envoys) of the patriarchs and other primates.

The great majority of the other dicastsries would be re-defined as organs of the Western patriarch, rather than the supreme Pontiff. And yet no universal primacy that merely rubber-stamped the decisions of local or regional churches would be worth having; it would be appearance without reality.

Thus the pope as universal primate would need to retain: first, a doctrinal organ for the coordination of Church teaching, and secondly, some kind of 'apostolic secretaryship', replacing the present ill-named 'Secretariat of State', for the harmonisation of principles of pastoral care. To these could be added, thirdly, whichever of the 'new curial' bodies dealing with those outside the household of faith might be deemed to have proved their usefulness, and finally, a continuing 'Council for the Public Affairs of the Church', for the defence of the freedom of the churches (and of human rights) vis-à-vis State power.

The utility of the fourth of these to the Orthodox is obvious. As to the rest (of which only the first two are crucial in importance) they should function only on the rarest occasions of 'crisis-management' as instruments of papal action in the Eastern churches. Normally, they should act, rather, as channels whereby impulses from the Eastern churches – impulses dogmatic, liturgical, contemplative, monastic in tenor – could reach via the pope the wider Church and world.

For this purpose the apocrisaries of the patriarchs, along with the prefects of the Western dicasteries, would need to constitute their governing committees, under papal presidency. It should go without saying that Oriental churches would naturally enjoy full parity with the Latin church throughout the world, and not simply in their homelands – the current Catholic practice.7

The Orthodox must ask themselves (as of course they do!) whether such instruments of universal communion (at once limiting and liberating) may not be worth the price. Or must the pleasures of particularity come first?

This paper is reproduced with a few typographic corrections from the Aidan Nichols section of the Christendom Awake website, where it was reproduced with permission from New Blackfriars Vol 77, No. 905, June 1996. It was originally delivered at a meeting of Pro Scandiae Populis, on the theme of Catholic-Orthodox relations, at Turku (Aabo), Finland, on 21st April 1995. The section outlining a possible reform of the Roman curia in this context has been added in 2003 by way of response to a tacit request for clarification from Bishop Ambrosius of Joensuu of the Orthodox Church of Finland.



Notes

1 - Cf. A. Nichols, OP., Light from the East. Authors and Themes in Orthodox Theology (London 1995). back

2 - Edinburgh 1992. back

3 - J-M. Sansterre, "Eusebe de Cèsarèe et la naissance de la thèorie 'cesaropapiste'", Byzantion 42 (1972), pp. 131-195; 532-594. back

4 - Conveniently gathered together in P. McPartlan (ed.), One in 2000? Towards Catholic-Orthodox Unity (Middlegreen, Slough, 1993). back

5 - A communique published in its English form in One in Christ XXX 1 (1994), pp. 74-82. back

6 - See T. Bremer, Ekklesiale Struktur and Ekklesiologie in der Serbischen Orthodoxen Kirche im 19. and 20. Jahrhundert (Wiirzburg 1992). back

7 - A justifiable cause of anger among Oriental Catholics today: see T. E. Bird, 'The Vatican Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches Thirty Years Later', Sophia 21, 4 (1994), pp. 23-29. back


16 posted on 07/22/2005 9:04:13 PM PDT by jec1ny (Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domine Qui fecit caelum et terram.)
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To: TaxachusettsMan; Graves
What are you? Some kind of a 3rd grade teacher? So I made a typo. Thanks for pointing out my spelling mistake -- and you know what, if I want to spell pittiful with two "t's" or "I" with a lower-case "i" -- I will do so. If I need grammatical advice I will ask for one.

As for your question: I am cradle Orthodox, "made in Serbia." What about you? An apostate?

Now, am I entitled to an opinion? Thank you.

For your information, it's a fact that the so-called Eastern Catholic churches are now trying to recapture and revive their Orthodox roots and shed latinization. Perhaps you may wish to ask yourself why.

17 posted on 07/22/2005 10:20:21 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: katnip

Good point katnip.


18 posted on 07/22/2005 10:23:27 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: GMMAC

"Uniate" is a slur against Catholicism's Eastern Rite Churches and putting it in parenthesis, rather than the word 'problem' preceding it, more than reveals the author's bias."

Interesting. I don't view the term "uniate" as all that big of a problem. It's like any term. Even if it's intended as a slur, it loses it's effect over time. Particularly if the people who are intended to be denigrated don't see it as all that big of a deal.

So I guess I'm an "uniate" as I attend an "uniate" church. And the point is? I happen to be very happy about it. Heck, maybe eastern Catholics should simply adopt the term as a point of pride and render the issue moot.

Actually, a new tagline comes to mind....


19 posted on 07/23/2005 4:55:46 AM PDT by RKBA Democrat (Eastern Catholics: the few, the proud, the Uniate!)
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To: kosta50; GMMAC

"And, to the best of my knowledge, the Roman Catholic Church never distanced itself publicly from the contents of the Catholic Encyclopedia."

Not only that, but it's a pretty good standard reference.


20 posted on 07/23/2005 4:56:36 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: TaxachusettsMan; kosta50; MarMema; FormerLib; Agrarian

"nastiest Orthodox " = most committed. Yep, the Holy Apostle St. Paul, for example. A convert to Orthodox Christianity from Pharisaism. Talk about nasty. They just didn't come any nastier than St. Paul.

My background? I'm an ex cigarette smoker. Nobody is more fierce on this subject than yours truly.

So tell me. Do you smoke?


21 posted on 07/23/2005 5:02:55 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: kosta50
For your information, it's a fact that the so-called Eastern Catholic churches are now trying to recapture and revive their Orthodox roots and shed latinization. Perhaps you may wish to ask yourself why.

I don't think it's any secret why. They felt it necessary or perhaps were compelled to Latinize, and that was a big pastoral mistake. This is now being corrected.

Up till the early 1900s were not the Orthodox in the patriarchal sees of Alexandria and Antioch using the Byzantine Rite exclusively and not their own?

22 posted on 07/23/2005 5:11:54 AM PDT by Claud
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To: NYer

Thanks for the explanation with regards to the semantic differences between rite, church, and tradition.

I must respectfully disagree with the comment about "...the terms "uniatism" and "uniate" must never again be used."

The terms uniate and uniatism are, to a certain extent, being used as mild insults by our Orthodox bretheren. Words do have power. But I think in this instance it's only because we as eastern Catholics give it that power. Perhaps a better approach is to simply adopt those terms as our own.

Some of the the Orthodox seem to have some problems with the existence of the eastern Catholic churches. And let's face it, we need only go back about 50-100 years in history to see some serious problems with the treatment of the eastern Catholic churches at the hands of the latin Catholic church. But the point is, in spite of it all, we're still here and we're not going to disappear any time in the forseeable future.


23 posted on 07/23/2005 5:16:19 AM PDT by RKBA Democrat (Eastern Catholicism: tonic for the lapsed Catholic)
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To: kosta50

Excursus. "If I need grammatical advice I will ask for one." Insert comma after "advice" and replace "one" with "it".

I am not an apostate. I am a cradle Roman Catholic with very good friends in several of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

You and Graves together provided us with these edifying words:

YOU: "Personally, I think 'pittiful' (sic) is a much better term for these churches."

GRAVES: "Just my personal opinion but how about, pitiful, pathetic & perfidious?"

You are certainly entitled to your opinion. Just as I am entitled to point out when I think that opinion is snide and uncharitable. It is certainly true that the Eastern Catholic Churches are trying to reverse centuries of latinization. You can make that point without succumbing to the temptation of being your own snide self by adding "so-called." To you, perhaps, they are "so-called," just as I might well consider the Serbian Church a "so-called" Orthodox Church. But it would be snide and uncharitable of me to refer to your Church that way.

The fact remains that both you and Graves were snide and uncharitable in your remarks. After reading Alexy II's nonsense about the Kazan icon, I'm beginning to wonder if that isn't a genetic component of "pure Orthodoxy."


24 posted on 07/23/2005 5:39:33 AM PDT by TaxachusettsMan
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To: Claud

"Up till the early 1900s were not the Orthodox in the patriarchal sees of Alexandria and Antioch using the Byzantine Rite exclusively and not their own?"

This is news to me. The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is obviously Antiochian because, before he became Archbishop of Constantinople, St. John's turf was Antioch. And, as you know, Canon 32 of the Council in Trullo establishes the ancestry of the liturgies of the Church.

I have looked at the Divine Liturgy of St. Mark, the one used by the Pope of Alexandria and also the Patriarch of Auxum. Neither looks to me to be all that different from the Byzantine Rite to which you refer. But maybe I'm missing something. What exactly is your point?


25 posted on 07/23/2005 5:40:12 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: Graves

"Just my personal opinion but how about, pitiful, pathetic & perfidious?"

Snide and uncharitable.

And my guess - the nastiest variety of "Orthodox" - an ex-Episcopalian.

That's alright, we've got a doozie of an ex-Anglican on our hands now, too. The SSPX bishop Williamson. Also, nasty as they come. And an anti-Semite to boot. What is it about ex-Anglicans that somehow even the Churches they "convert" to are never quite "extreme" enough for them? Oh well . . .

Meanwhile, Graves, I knew Saint Paul.

Saint Paul was a friend of mine.

And, Graves, you're no Saint Paul.


26 posted on 07/23/2005 5:47:48 AM PDT by TaxachusettsMan
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To: TaxachusettsMan; GMMAC; NYer

"Great quotes from you two here, really quite edifying!"

Free Republic is an open forum and is very egalitarian in that pretty much anyone can post whatever opinion they want. Sometimes you get insights that are stunning in their intelligence and beauty. Other times you get insights that are stunning in their ignorance and bigotry.

Unfortunately, we have a handful of "Orthodox" posters here on FR that seem to have made something of a cottage industry of spouting their bitterness and hatred toward any church or religious tradition that doesn't fit within the narrow confines of what they think is right. I would also hasten to add that FR has more than it's share of radical-traditionalist "Catholics" who do the same.

Members of both these angry factions would insist that they're Christians with a capital "C".

I would argue that they're completely missing the point, but then again, arguing with them at all is I believe a mistake. Why give sustenance to the anger and outrage that they seem so keen to nurture? Why put another layer of tarnish on my soul?

I find it all oddly reminiscent of dealing with the more primitive protestant sects who insist that they have found the ONE path to enlightenment and salvation.


27 posted on 07/23/2005 5:48:25 AM PDT by RKBA Democrat (Eastern Catholicism: tonic for the lapsed Catholic)
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To: TaxachusettsMan

"Meanwhile, Graves, I knew Saint Paul.
Saint Paul was a friend of mine.
And, Graves, you're no Saint Paul."

Spoken like a true son of the Bay State. :ROFLOL:


28 posted on 07/23/2005 6:03:05 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: jec1ny

Excellent and thought provoking article; thanks for posting it.

Unfortunately, this thread seems to have devolved into a chair-throwing match.


29 posted on 07/23/2005 6:10:07 AM PDT by RKBA Democrat (Eastern Catholicism: tonic for the lapsed Catholic)
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To: RKBA Democrat; Quix

quix.......ping


30 posted on 07/23/2005 6:22:45 AM PDT by maestro
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To: RKBA Democrat

"The terms uniate and uniatism are, to a certain extent, being used as mild insults by our Orthodox bretheren."

O fiddlesticks. If I want to insult the people of the Unia, I can do much better than to call them Uniates. The term is handy. The term is descriptive. If people of that persuasion find the term offensive, they really do need to get a grip.

The reality for the Uniates is simply this: They are a tiny minority within the Roman Catholic organization and they therefore get little respect from within it(as measured by clout). And they are viewed by the Orthodox as perfidious, pathetic, and pitiful at best. They have, however, contributed some important scholars. But so also have the Anglicans, for that matter.


31 posted on 07/23/2005 6:39:36 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: jec1ny; All
Although I am posting this to myself, I am addressing it to all in this thread. Differences of opinion and faith, even profound differences, can be expressed without recourse to pejoratives and attacks upon the character and the integrity of other Christians. I would respectfully ask all concerned to tone down the temperature of the rhetoric a notch or two. Civility and charity are far more effective in communicating a point then heated and intemperate language, which some might interpret as invective.
32 posted on 07/23/2005 6:48:12 AM PDT by jec1ny (Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domine Qui fecit caelum et terram.)
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To: jec1ny

I don't understand the anger displayed by a few posters when the term "Uniate" is used. Rome itself uses it and apparently the Ukrainian Uniate Church has no problem with the word.


33 posted on 07/23/2005 7:42:15 AM PDT by katnip
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To: jec1ny

Brief biography of Father Aidan Nichols OP
Father Aidan is a lecturer in the Cambridge University Divinity Faculty, Prior of Blackfriars Cambridge, and Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology in the Institute. During his time at Oxford he completed a BA in Modern History in 1970, a MA in 1974, and a Dip.Theol. in 1977. An STL was also conferred by the English Dominican Studium in 1977. In 1986 he was awarded his Doctorate in Philosophy at Edinburgh. An STL was conferred by the Pontifical university of St Thomas, Rome, in 1990. He has been Chaplain to Edinburgh University (1977-1983), lecturer in the History of Christian Doctrine and Ecumenics at the Angelicum (1983-1991), and Assistant Catholic Chaplain to Cambridge University (1991-95). Aidan is the most prolific writer of theology in the English language in the world today and has published on countless topics in theology including more than 25 major books and numerous articles in systematic, sacramental and ecumenical theology.

Father Aidan’s most recent books include: “From Newman to Congar: The Idea of Doctrinal Development” (1990), “Holy Order: The Apostolic Ministry” (1990), “The Shape of Catholic Theology” (1991), “A grammar of consent: The Existence of God in Christian Tradition” (1991), “Rome and the Eastern churches” (1992), “The Panther and the Hind: a Theological History of Anglicanism” (1993), “Byzantine Gospel: Maximus the Confessor in Modern Scholarship” (1993), “Scribe of the Kingdom: Essays on Theology and Culture” (1994), “The Splendour of Doctrine: The Catechism” (1995), “Light from the East: Authors and Themes in Orthodox Theology” (1995), “Looking at the Liturgy: A Critical View of its Contemporary Form” (1996), “Catholic Thought since the Enlightenment: A Survey” (1998), The Word has been abroad: A Guide through Balthasar’s Aesthetics” (1998), “Christendom awake: On Re-energising the Church in Culture” (1999), “No bloodless myth: A Guide through Balthasar’s Dramatics” (2000), “Come to the Father: An Invitation to Share the Catholic Faith” (2000), “Say it is Pentecost.: A Guide through Balthasar’s Logic” (2000), “Abortion and martyrdom” (2002) and “Beyond the blue glass: Catholic Essays on Faith and Culture” (2002). Father Aidan has taught at the Institute in Melbourne during 2004.


34 posted on 07/23/2005 8:02:17 AM PDT by sanormal
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To: jec1ny; Hermann the Cherusker

"Civility and charity are far more effective in communicating a point then heated and intemperate language, which some might interpret as invective." The word uniate is not invective and it is not heated, or intemperate.

To call pious monks "perverts". Now that's uncivil, uncharitable, heated, intemperate and.....quite frankly, unacceptable.

Just my personal opinion of course, but I say let the azymites and their allies in the East clean up their own house.


35 posted on 07/23/2005 8:04:26 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: TaxachusettsMan; Graves
You probably wanted to write "insert a comma..." but never mind.

Just as I am entitled to point out when I think that opinion is snide and uncharitable

Truth hurts. What is really an "Eastern Catholic" but a minority, and oddity in the Roman Catholic communion? They were useful at one time; they were latinized and they may become a bargaining chip -- once again. They are stuck between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. They are neither. Their theology is Orthodox. But their heart is not. In the RCC they are a low singe digit percentage figure. That is pitiful. Nothing uncharitable or snide about it; just sad.

36 posted on 07/23/2005 8:35:30 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

"In the RCC they are a low singe[sic] digit percentage figure."

Just 1% of the RC clergy in the U.S. to be exact.


37 posted on 07/23/2005 8:42:57 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: kosta50; Graves

It looks to me that Aidan Nichols OP is a Roman Catholic priest.

Those converts to the Uniate churches who despise the term should probably take Father up on his use of the word most vociferously.


38 posted on 07/23/2005 8:51:08 AM PDT by katnip
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To: TaxachusettsMan; jec1ny
You can make that point without succumbing to the temptation of being your own snide self by adding "so-called."

The "so-called" is not snide or uncharitable either. It is confusing. The Orthodox Church is Catholic and Apostolic, and it is Eastern. How can there be "another" Eastern Catholic church? The same goes for the so-called "Greek-Catholic" church in Ukraine. It is not Greek, for sure. And the Greek Orthodox Church is fully Catholic, so what is a "Greek-Catholic" church? The term "Uniate" leaves no ambiguity as to what churches wer are talking about.

Perhaps you need to work on your sensitivities and not read into things

I might well consider the Serbian Church a "so-called" Orthodox Church. But it would be snide and uncharitable of me to refer to your Church that way

You certainly may! But, I hope you realize that you will be laughed at by the Orthodox as well as the Roman Catholics.

39 posted on 07/23/2005 8:56:13 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: jec1ny
Thank you for posting the last part (4). As I suspected, the author's logic started to crumble in that last episode.

For one, nationalism is not an obstacle to Orthodox unity or cahtolicity. I can tell you that when I walk into an Orthodox Church in Japan I feel at home. I can't say that for any Roman Catholic Church.

Second, his representation of Svetosavlye as something "created" by St. Nikolai Velimirovich is a joke -- an ignorant joke at that. And, given the educational menu of this author, a real surprize. It is a gross caricature at best.

For one, Orthodoxy is not knocking on Vatican's doors. Most of the touchy-feely stuff coming from the Orthodox side is mainly from the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, and we all know that EPs were frequently out of line and even openly heretical, so this one -- and many of the churches under his jurisdiction -- are outwardly, and even inwardly, seriosuly tainted.

It is Roman Catholicism that, apparently at all costs, wants to convince the Orthodox to "return" to the Church. That is naive, at best, and -- for the sake of civility that you have appealed to -- I shall leave it at that. I can understand why Rome is reaching out, but you must also understand that we don't want the kind of Church you have. We do not share the same faith. We do not see things the same way. It's that simple. You are more than welcome to return to Orthodoxy. But we all know that will never happen.

40 posted on 07/23/2005 9:28:19 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

"The Orthodox Church is Catholic and Apostolic, and it is Eastern. How can there be "another" Eastern Catholic church? The same goes for the so-called "Greek-Catholic" church in Ukraine. It is not Greek, for sure. And the Greek Orthodox Church is fully Catholic, so what is a "Greek-Catholic" church?"

You know, I think it all started with the first Holy Roman Emperor at Aachen. There was already a Roman Emperor. And then Charlemagne came along and got the Pope of Rome to crown him Emperor of the Romans. What an absolute crock!


41 posted on 07/23/2005 9:51:47 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: katnip

"Those converts to the Uniate churches who despise the term should probably take Father up on his use of the word most vociferously."

Good luck with that. Who pays any attention to them? Nobody. I'm not trying be inflammatory or anything. It's just the truth. Nobody takes them seriously, except in Lebanon I guess.


42 posted on 07/23/2005 9:56:05 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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Comment #43 Removed by Moderator

Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: seamole

This writing boldly states what I said here many years ago.
The RC would like "union" with us to be more pure and stable,
as a direct result of acquisitioning the Orthodox church.


45 posted on 07/23/2005 10:26:58 AM PDT by MarMema
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To: kosta50
There are three Orthodox parishes in a town not 10 miles from where I'm typing this . . . . none of the parishioners of any of the three would step foot within or grant Holy Communion to the members of the others. Your Church looks great on paper, sounds great in theory. It's just nothing I recognize as "one, holy, catholic and apostolic." By the way, however, I think you're right that the overtures toward some kind of unity are coming from the Roman Catholic side, and I presume that is because Pope Benedict XVI sincerely believes what he said to the Cardinal Electors at Mass in the Sistine Chapel the morning after his election to the See of Peter:

"Nourished and sustained by the Eucharist, Catholics cannot but feel encouraged to strive for the full unity for which Christ expressed so ardent a hope in the Upper Room. The Successor of Peter knows that he must make himself especially responsible for his Divine Master's supreme aspiration. Indeed, he is entrusted with the task of strengthening his brethren (cf Luke 22:32). With full awareness, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome which Peter bathed in his blood, Peter's current Successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ's believers. This is his ambition, his impelling duty. He is aware that good intentions do not suffice for this. Concrete gestures that enter hearts and stir consciences are essential, inspiring in everyone that inner conversion that is the prerequisite for all ecumenical progress. Theological dialogue is necessary; the investigation for the historical reasons for the decisions made in the past is also indispensable. But what is most urgently needed is that 'purification of memory', so often recalled by John Paul II, which alone can dispose souls to accept the full truth of Christ. Each one of us must come before him, the supreme judge of every living person, and render an account to him of all we have done or have failed to do to further the great good of the full and visible unity of all his disciples. The current Successor Peter is allowing himself to be called in the first person by this requirement and is prepared to do everything in his power to promote the fundamental cause of ecumenism. Following the example of his Predecessors, he is fully determined to encourage every initiative that seems appropriate for promoting contacts and understanding with the representatives of the different Churches and Ecclesial Communities. Indeed, on this occasion he sends them his most cordial greetings in Christ, the one Lord of us all."

Nor is he speaking, as you claim, of "convincing the Orthodox to 'return' to the Church." Indeed, Pope Benedict said just the opposite to the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarch that had come to Rome for the celebration of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The message is worth quoting at length:

The unity that we seek is neither absorption nor fusion but respect for the multiform fullness of the Church, which must always be, in conformity with the desire of her Founder, Jesus Christ, one, holy, catholic and apostolic. This recommendation finds full resonance in the intangible profession of faith of all Christians, the Creed worked out by the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils of Nicea and Constantinople (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, n. 15).

The Vatican Council clearly recognized the treasure that the East possesses and from which the West "has taken many things"; it recalled that the fundamental dogmas of the Christian faith were defined by the Ecumenical Councils celebrated in the East; it urged the faithful not to forget all the suffering the East had to bear to preserve its faith. The Council's teaching has inspired love and respect for the Eastern Tradition, it has encouraged people to consider the East and the West as mosaic pieces that together make up the resplendent face of the Pantocrator, whose hand blessed the whole Oikoumene.

The Council went even further, saying: "It is hardly surprising, then, if sometimes one tradition has come nearer to a full appreciation of some aspects of a mystery of revelation than the other, or has expressed them better. In such cases, these various theological formulations are often to be considered complementary rather than conflicting" (Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 17). Dear Brothers, I ask you to convey my greetings to the Ecumenical Patriarch, telling him of my resolution to persevere with firm determination in the search for full unity among all Christians. Let us continue together on the path of communion and together take new steps and make new gestures that lead to overcoming the remaining misunderstandings and divisions, keeping in mind that "in order to restore communion and unity... one must "impose no burden beyond what is indispensable' (Acts 15: 28)" (ibid., n. 18).

Heartfelt thanks to each one of you for coming from the East to pay homage to Sts Peter and Paul, whom we venerate together. May their constant protection and above all the motherly intercession of the Theotokos always guide our steps. "Brothers, may the favour of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit" (Gal 6: 18).

All that having been said, I must sadly admit that, every time I come to Free Republic and read the Orthodox postings, I wonder why the Holy Father would even bother? We surely don't need the "numbers" or the money. And do we need the grief? I mean, from the simple crude and rude behavior and words of Alexy II towards Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Kasper (with whom he would not even deign to meet), to the Greek bishops who told John Paul that he needed to repent and do penance before visiting Greece, to the nasty crabby folks posting on here . . . would any of this be "enriching" Roman Catholicism? It's hard to see how. In fact, an Orthodox bishop once said to me, as we walked toward a parish he was visiting, and saw a group of women waving to him and calling out "Vladika!" - he said to me, "You're a liturgist, I know ... so you are familiar with our 'Office of the Myrrh-Bearing Women'?" When I said yes, he chuckled, "Well, those are ANOTHER one of our traditions, 'The Venom-Bearing Women'! That particular group is the source of endless gossip about their beloved Vladika. Do you need a few extra cooks at YOUR parish bazaar? You could take them!"

As I've said before on here, I once saw pictures of Pope Paul VI kneeling to kiss the feet of the Patriarch's delegation in Saint Peter's Basilica. Apparently we need to kiss even other things and even more frequently! But, seroiusly, whenever I read the postings here, I just don't see what for - unless . . . unless it is truly to try to undergo the "conversion of heart" the Holy Father speaks about as the "necessary pre-requisite" to disposing ourselves to work toward the fulfillment of Our Lord's prayer "that all may be one."

46 posted on 07/23/2005 10:50:40 AM PDT by TaxachusettsMan
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To: Graves
Neither looks to me to be all that different from the Byzantine Rite to which you refer. But maybe I'm missing something. What exactly is your point?

My point is that the native liturgies in Alexandria and Antioch were "Byzantinized" to a far greater extent than the Eastern Catholics were Latinized. For instance the Melchites. And then this little historical gem:

Theodore Balsamon says that at that time a certain Mark, Patriarch of Alexandria, came to Constantinople and there went on celebrating the Liturgy of his own Church. The Byzantines told him that the use of the most holy Ecumenical throne was different, and that the Emperor had already commanded all Orthodox Church throughout the world to follow that of the Imperial city. So Mark apologized for not having known about this law and conformed to the Byzantine use (P.G., CXXXVIII, 954)
That's from the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Alexandrine Liturgy. If you dispute their facts and if someone has the original text of Balsamon, by all means post it here for all to see.
47 posted on 07/23/2005 11:01:26 AM PDT by Claud
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To: Claud; kosta50; FormerLib; Agrarian; MarMema

Theodore Balsamon says that at that time a certain Mark, Patriarch of Alexandria, came to Constantinople and there went on celebrating the Liturgy of his own Church. The Byzantines told him that the use of the most holy Ecumenical throne was different, and that the Emperor had already commanded all Orthodox Church throughout the world to follow that of the Imperial city. So Mark apologized for not having known about this law and conformed to the Byzantine use (P.G., CXXXVIII, 954)

I see your point. Same exact thing happened in the West during the reign of Charlemagne, and with much more catastrophic effects. It really deserves a seperate string. The Synod of Milan has made a big issue out this. See http://www.odox.net/Liturgy-Western-Culture.htm

I am not saying Milan is right about everything because, personally, I find the Western Rite much too Augustinian for my taste. And I do believe the culprit for that is Alcuin of York. But at least Milan rightly points to the past Orthodoxy of the West.


48 posted on 07/23/2005 11:37:17 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: kosta50

"But we all know that [RC conversion to Orthodoxy on a large scale] will never happen."

Don't be so sure. Remember Fr. Toth, and also St. John Maximovitch in Gaul and the Netherlands. Who knows but that there may be a Marionite, Melkite, or Chaldean Fr. Toth out there.


49 posted on 07/23/2005 11:43:10 AM PDT by Graves (Remember Esphigmenou - Orthodoxy or Death!)
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To: Claud
After the defeat of Constantinople in 1453 and the Muslim elimination of the unionists and their supporters, the Ottomans enhanced the Ecumenical Patriarch's authority by making him the civil leader of the multi-ethnic Orthodox community within the Empire. This gave him certain authority over the Greek Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, which were also in Ottoman territory. When the Greeks rebelled against Islamic rule in 1821, the Sultan held Patriarch Gregory V personally responsible and had him hanged at the gates of the patriarchal compound. 2 metropolitans and 12 bishops followed him to the gallows.

In 1832 an independent Greek state was established, and a separate authocephalous Church of Greece the next year.

The Orthodox Patriarchs of Alexandria, lived mostly in Istanbul and were appointed by the Ecumenical Patriarch. Only in 1846, with the election of Patriarch Hierotheos I, did the Patriarchs consistently reside in Egypt. The EPat's involvement in Alexandria's affairs ended formally in 1858, however it wasn't until 1926 that Patriarch Melitios II compiled the Bylaws of the Patriarchate and submitted them to the new Egyptian government for approval. Former Anglican Reuben Spartas, was responsible in the 1930's of helping to bring indigenous Africans into the Patriarchate, which had been primarily Greek.

It wasn't until 1898 that the last Greek Patriarch was deposed in the Patriarchate of Antioch, which had been transfered to Damascus. In the 1940's the Patriarchate began to renew its Arab character and established a seminary, near Tripoli, Lebanon, in 1970.

The Patriarch of Jerusalem was Greek until he was deposed by the Arab Christian population, this year. The Ottomans organized the Patriarchate definitively in the mid-19th century, after many Christian struggles to exercise control over the sacred sites. Since 1534 all the Patriarchs of Jerusalem have been ethnic Greeks. Presently, Patriarch and bishops are drawn from the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher, a Jerusalem monastic community founded in the 16th century that has 90 Greek and 4 Arab members. The married clergy are entirely drawn from the local Arab population which explains why the Divine Liturgy is celebrated in Greek in the monasteries and Patriarchate and in Arabic in the parishes.

The Orthodox Church of Mt. Sinai has an agreement with the Greek and Egyptian governments that allow the community to receive a continuous number of Greek monks, which form the overwhelming portion of clergy.

All of the clergy of the Orthodox Church of Japan, however, are now of Japanese origin.
Taken from The Eastern Christian Churches, R. Roberson.
50 posted on 07/23/2005 12:12:26 PM PDT by sanormal
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