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What would the Orthodox have to do to have unity? (Catholic/Orthodox unity)
Diocese of Youngstown ^ | 07-14-06 | Fr. Thomas Hopko

Posted on 09/09/2006 3:04:19 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge

Question: What would the Orthodox have to do to have unity

Father Thomas Hopko, a prominent Orthodox theologian, addresses a controversial topic in a visit here

EDITOR’S NOTE: Father Thomas Hopko is an Orthodox theologian and the dean emeritus of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y. He is a retired professor of dogmatic theology who lives in Ellwood City, Pa. Recently, he spoke to the St. John Chrysostom Society at a meeting held at St. John Orthodox Church in Campbell on the topic of what the Orthodox would have to do, despite our shared common heritage, before there could be unity with Catholicism. The topic seems of such importance to ecumenism that we include here, edited for length, his remarks that evening. The St. John Chrysostom Society works to foster unity and understanding between Roman Catholics and members of eastern-rite churches.

My topic is not what I as Orthodox believe would be required of Rome and the Roman Catholic Church for us to have unity, but rather “what do I believe, being an Orthodox, that the Orthodox have to do? What is required of the Orthodox Church, particularly the bishops? What would they have to do in order to have the Eastern Orthodox churches and the Roman Catholic Church (Latin rite and Eastern churches) be in sacramental communion?” Which would simply mean, be one church.

Because, if you re in Eucharistic communion, you are one church. That’s what makes the Church one. It’s the unity in the body broken, the blood shed of Jesus before the face of God. That’s where the Church is actualized on earth in the celebration of the mysteries: baptism, chrism, Eucharist. That’s what makes us one. That is where the unity of our doctrine is shown, our unity of worship, our unity of morals, our ethics, the unity of spiritual life.

Now if a Roman Catholic were giving this talk and said, “What do we require of the Orthodox?” it would be a very different talk. Certainly one thing that is constantly required is that the Orthodox would recognize the bishop of Rome as the first bishop of Rome – which, as I said last time [I spoke here], according to us, Peter was not. The first bishop of Rome, according to us, was Linus.

But in any case, the Roman Catholics would make different requirements; they would require certain other things from the Orthodox for there to be unity. The main thing that would be required – these days, virtually the only thing – would be the acceptance of what is now known as the Vatican Dogma: namely that Peter was the first bishop of Rome; the present bishop of Rome is his successor; he has special rights and privileges juridically over the Church; these include, according even to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, that in certain conditions the bishop of Rome speaks from himself and not from the consensus of the Church, on matters of morals and doctrine, in certain cases infallibly. Everybody would have to agree to it. Also, every bishop on earth gets the legitimacy of his episcopacy in communion with the See of Rome… and that the bishops of Rome appoint all the bishops on earth. Well, this would all have to be recognized by the Orthodox for there to be sacramental communion. I believe that would be the Roman Catholic position.

But our topic tonight is “What would the Orthodox have to do in order to have communion [unity] with the Roman Catholic Church?” What follows is my opinion:

Unity in essentials

The first theological thing, the essential thing that we would have to do, would be to insist that in essence, in what is really substantially belonging to Christianity…. that we essentially held the same faith.

So the first thing theologically that the Orthodox would have to do would be to be very clear – very clear – about what belongs essentially in Christianity and what does not… What is secondary? What could be different? What can be local or provincial or something that people like, but doesn’t really affect the substantial unity of the faith and the confession of the Orthodox faith in the Catholic Church? Because in early Christian writings, the faith was always called Orthodox and the church was always called Catholic.

In the early Church, they spoke about the Catholic Church which holds the Orthodox faith, according to the Scriptures. So that’s the main thing. That’s no easy thing.

But having said that, a million things come up about making that happen. I think very strongly that the first thing the Orthodox have to do – especially the clergy, especially the bishops – before they even get to that issue of what is essential and what is not essential – the only thing that could be allowed to divide Christians is disagreement on essentials. That’s what we are all working on. What is essential? What is not essential?

The desire to be one

However, before we get to that, my opinion is that what is really required of the Orthodox most of all above everything, is a real desire for unity…to want to be one, to suffer over the division, to weep over it, to carry it around like a sword in your soul that we who claim Christ and praise God in Christ (especially in this world which is getting less and less Christian as the clock ticks), that Christians would be divided… A lot of Christians these days don’t even claim that and are not interested in that. But the members of the St. John Chrysostom Society … exist because of that. We claim to belong to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Christ, the church that teaches the gospel truly, fully, that prays properly, that acts and teaches the right way to behave according to Christ, according to God Almighty, according to the Holy Scriptures, the canons, the saints, the fathers, etc.

So the most important thing of all is the desire to be one, and to prove that desire, not only by praying – because we pray for unity at every single liturgy – but prayer without activity, without work, is just blasphemous. To be praying all these things and not to be working, not be ready to make any possible sacrifice you could make that doesn’t violate the essence of the faith. In other words, the Orthodox have to desire unity and be ready to sacrifice everything that they can without violating their convictions about the gospel in order to be one, particularly with Roman Catholics.

We have to be ready to do that. Now I have to say that in my opinion, the Orthodox are not ready to do that at all. They don’t even want unity. So I am extremely pessimistic about that point. Why? Because the Orthodox leaders don’t even want unity among the Orthodox, let alone with Roman Catholics or Protestants. It’s obvious. The record is clear. I’m not making this up. This is not my opinion. The Orthodox leadership, and most of the Orthodox people, don’t want unity with others, and they are not ready to give up anything… even the smallest little thing that is clearly not essential to the faith. I feel very strongly that this is true.

When people ask me, for example, why the Orthodox jurisdictions in America are not united, the answer is very clear: because our leaders don’t want it. If they wanted it, we would have had it yesterday. There is nothing stopping them… you may have to suffer a lot. You may have to give up some things: power, pre-eminence, prominence, property, possessions, prestige, positions, privilege and pleasure. We’re not ready to give up those things because of pride, passion and prejudice. Forget it. There’s not going to be any unity. That’s what divides people generally, and it is certainly what divides churches.

Now here I would allow myself one little “not my business” remark: I have a hunch those same things are operating in the Eastern Catholic Churches, too…

We will never be one unless we desire it with all our hearts, and are ready to put away everything that we can to have it…. Everything that doesn’t belong to the essence of the faith. Language doesn’t belong to the essence of the faith. Calendars don’t belong to the essence of the faith. Certain liturgical customs don’t belong to the essence of the faith. Even the Byzantine Rite Liturgy for us does not belong to the essence of the faith.

Not motivated for unity

There was a whole thousand years when the Church had multiple rites of praise to God. In fact, the irony is, the time when there were the most multiple rituals for the sacraments and the services was the time there was the greatest unity in doctrine and spiritual life, evangelism, etc. In any case, the ritual is not of the essence of the faith. Language isn’t, calendars are not… all those things are not part of the essence of the faith. But unless we have the desire for unity, which then would lead us to feel that we have an absolute obligation from God to distinguish between what is really essential and what is not, we are never going to be united.

And here, I would say, on the planet Earth right now, I think –in fact, I am sure – the Orthodox churches around the world are not motivated for unity. In some of the churches, they even think that ecumenism is a heresy. In some churches, there is a feeling that what we just did upstairs – pray together – is not Orthodox. These Orthodox feel we should not pray together with Catholics because they are heretics. Some Orthodox believe that…

So if there is a desire for unity, that will be proved not only by difficult, painful efforts to distinguish between what is essentially of the faith and what is not, but it will also require believers to do absolutely everything they can with others if only who by themselves are convinced would be contrary to the gospel if they did not – in other words – and this became a popular teaching of Pope John XXIII – who said “let us pledge to do together everything that we can, and do separately only the things that are still for us a matter of content and faith.” That’s exactly what John Paul II said in [his 1995 apostolic letter] “Orientale Lumen”… He called on Roman Catholics to affirm whatever is good, true, beautiful, holy, of God, wherever it is…” It’s absolute obligation for an Orthodox – and more than an obligation, a joy – to affirm any agreement anywhere among human beings that we can claim as really true, right and of God. Now, how much more would that be the case if we were talking about the Christian Faith? The gospel? Christ? His divinity? His humanity? If we share all those things in common, then we should affirm them, and stand before the world affirming them in common.

I honestly do not believe most Orthodox leaders are even conscious of that. There is another agenda going on, an agenda that belongs to this world…. That is why we Orthodox ourselves are so weak, miserable and divided, even though we claim a unity of faith (which we have) and a unity of worship (which we have), a unity in saints and tradition (which we have). But to actually do activities that would show this, witness to it, bring it to the world… I don’t think that is there.

There are several other things that the Orthodox would have to do. Besides desiring unity, and working really hard to say where the real disagreements are and why, and not to make issues of what are not essential – that would be a huge step forward if we were mobilized and motivated to do that – but there are several other things.

Be ready to forgive

Another thing that the Orthodox definitely have to do (the Catholics have to do it, too, but tonight we are talking about the Orthodox) is be totally ready to forgive everything in the past. Not to look back! Not to figure out who was wrong and who was right and who did what…but to be ready to admit our own sins. We shouldn’t lie. We should be ready to admit when our churches and our church leaders were wrong. I would say, if we were really Christians, that we should be ready to do that, not even saying “if they do it, too!”

We should say: “Whatever they do is their business; we’re going to look at ourselves. We’re going to admit our wrongs, our errors, our weaknesses, our sins. We’re going to forgive the sins of the others, whether or not they even admit them. We think they did wrong; we’re not going to make them admit it. But we’re going to forgive.” I believe that unless we are ready to do that, forget it. Let’s have coffee right now.

We cannot be looking back. We cannot be trying to figure things out. We cannot be saying who did what to whom when. It’s important to do that… but we Orthodox have to admit our own sins and forgive others even when we believe they have done horrible things. Among the Orthodox, probably the most violent against union with Rome would be the Serbs, because they cannot forget… the past. You say “Roman Catholic” among them, you might as well say “devil”. Unless they can get over that, and admit that they produced a few corpses too… it was not just a one-way street. But even if it were, the Orthodox have to forgive. They need to ask, “What can we do now?” That’s just an essential Christian principle in general, not only about Church unity… you know there are some people in their 80s who can’t die because they haven’t forgiven their own parents yet for what they did to them? If Christianity is about anything, it’s about forgiveness. Forgiveness means acknowledging that someone did wrong to you, but deciding that you are not going to break communion over that. My own feeling it that the best way to heal memories is just not to have them. But the problem is, you can’t help having them, especially if they have been pumped into you since you were born. So what do you do?

Well, the Holy Father would say, I believe, that you remember evil sins that you have committed and that others have committed against you. You remember them. But only for three reasons. One is to know how merciful God is, and that He forgives both of you. Secondly is to be motivated never to do it again. Third, because we are not to judge anybody or anything. As St. Paul says, “God came to save the sinners, of whom I am the first.” So we have to have that consciousness, or otherwise we are not going to get anywhere. So forgiveness is absolutely essential on the part of the Orthodox. And that even means forgiveness of Ukrainians or Russians and Carpathians or whatever. Without it, there is no unity. Forgiveness, by definition, is unity.

Another point for the Orthodox is that we not only have to desire unity, be ready to sacrifice everything essential to have it, to be able to distinguish what is essential from what is not, be able to forgive the past and admit our own sins and concentrate on ourselves, to do practical acts of charity and mercy – but also never, ever to say or do anything that would offend another person unnecessarily…There are so many ways we can charitably go out of our way to not hurt others… our churches speak about unity, and then every day attack each other in missionary work and so on. Even among the Orthodox, one of our jurisdictions starts a mission and three days later, another jurisdiction starts another mission on the same street. That’s just offensive.

… You all know the story of the Orthodox man who was shipwrecked on an island. When they came to rescue him, they found two churches there. The rescuer said, “Why are there two churches here? You’re all alone.” The Orthodox man said, “Yeah… that’s the one I go to and that’s the one I don’t.” That’s a deeply ingrained mentality among eastern Christians because of their history, their culture, their politics. But if that is not purged out somehow by the grace of God, forget about talking unity with Catholics. Orthodox need to first have unity among themselves, even culturally and nationally in regions where they live.

… So Orthodox need to be ready to go the extra mile. Jesus said, “If they ask for your coat, give them your shirt. If they ask you to go one mile, go two.” So our attitude has to be always toward bending over backwards, so to speak, to do the thing that will build up unity rather than give offense or cause hard feelings.

People always point out that they fear greater unity because it will cause greater schisms… some of our people won’t go along. But we have schisms anyway. Let’s have them for the right reason. Suppose we had unity and half the [Orthodox] people didn’t come along. I think we should be ready to say goodbye to them if the unity is in God. We have to be people of unity, not because we will have more power in society, or be more popular, or George Bush will invite us to the White House. We have to have unity because God wants it, but it has to be unity in God, not unity in Ukrainianism or whatever… If the unity is not in God, in Christ, in the Spirit, who wants it anyway?

But history shows that the people who worked for unity in the Faith were usually persecuted, while the masses just went about their business.

Tolerate Issues

One last thing: I believe also that the Orthodox, if we were serious about unity, would need not only to desire it, sacrifice for it, forgive everything, admit our own sins, distinguish between what is essential and what is not, but also would have to be ready to practice “economium” on certain issues. This would mean, in my opinion, that we would have to be ready not just to admit that there can be different ways of singing, and different styles of liturgy, and different uses of psalms…there are some issues, especially between Orthodox and Catholics, that Orthodox would have to be ready to tolerate for a while (even though they think the issues are bad) for the sake of unity.

What do I have in mind? Things like the “filioque” clause in the Creed [the clause in the Nicene Creed that says that the Holy Spirit proceeds, not only from the Father, but also, “filioque” – from the Son]... If Rome would say it was not there originally, that the way it was explained was not right, we now can agree on certain aspects – I think the Orthodox would have to say, “OK, let them keep it” rather than insist that every last church in Portugal drop the “filioque” before we can have unity.

In other words, the Orthodox may have to go along with something for a while, as long as it’s clear how we understand it.

Other things we disagree on? Unleavened bread…Communion in one kind. Communion from reserved Sacrament. Celibacy of the clergy. We don’t think that’s a good rule… I don’t. I have 15 grandchildren. Baptism by pouring water… we believe baptism involves immersion. Multiple Masses by the same priest. Confirmation as a separate ritual. Holy Communion for children. Issues about divorce and remarriage. There are plenty of issues that don’t fall into the category of “absolutely essential” or “absolutely non-essential.”


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Ecumenism; General Discusssion; Orthodox Christian
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First a quick hat tip to Fr. Stephen Freeman (OCA) who posted this over at Pontifications.

This was not what I had planned on posting today but when I stumbled on it I thought it was worth putting up.  I have also CCd this to the Catholic forum since they are part of the topic of this essay.  Fr. Hopko is a well known and respected theologian.  He is also somewhat controversial at times.  I do not agree with some of the things in this essay.  But I do think he makes a powerful point (if perhaps he belabors it a bit much), when he points out that we can hardly be expected to work towards unity with Rome when we can't get our own house in order.  I also think he tends to ignore the serious ecclesiological and theological issues that divide East from West.  He mentions a few in passing, but moves on rather quickly.  In fairness Fr. Hopko did publish in another essay his take on what an Orthodox Papacy might look like in the modern world.  It's worth admitting that while I often see essays that tell Rome what it must do for communion I think this is the first one (from our side) that has addressed what we might have to do.  In closing I will say that his points about forgiving past grievances are totally true IMO.

1 posted on 09/09/2006 3:04:21 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge
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To: Kolokotronis; kosta50

Ping


2 posted on 09/09/2006 3:25:41 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: Calvin Coollidge
Also, every bishop on earth gets the legitimacy of his episcopacy in communion with the See of Rome and that the bishops of Rome appoint all the bishops on earth. Well, this would all have to be recognized by the Orthodox for there to be sacramental communion. I believe that would be the Roman Catholic position.

Probably not, actually. The Eastern rite synods appoint their bishops, currently, and the Holy See just recognizes their election.

3 posted on 09/09/2006 3:38:54 PM PDT by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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To: Campion
This is true. But it is at the sufferance of Rome. Rome has infallibly proclaimed an absolute and particular jurisdiction over the entire universal church. It will last as long as the Pope of Rome and his successors choose to permit it.

"Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman
church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other church, and
that this jurisdictional power of the Roman pontiff is both episcopal and
immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly
and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical
subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith
and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the
church throughout the world.

In this way, by unity with the Roman pontiff in communion and in profession of
the same faith , the church of Christ becomes one flock under one supreme
shepherd50. This is the teaching of the catholic truth, and no one can depart
from it without endangering his faith and salvation. This power of the supreme
pontiff by no means detracts from that ordinary and immediate power of episcopal
jurisdiction, by which bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles
by appointment of the holy Spirit, tend and govern individually the particular
flocks which have been assigned to them. On the contrary, this power of theirs
is asserted, supported and defended by the supreme and universal pastor; for St
Gregory the Great says: "My honour is the honour of the whole church. My honour
is the steadfast strength of my brethren. Then do I receive true honour, when it
is denied to none of those to whom honour is due."51 Furthermore, it follows
from that supreme power which the Roman pontiff has in governing the whole
church, that he has the right, in the performance of this office of his, to
communicate freely with the pastors and flocks of the entire church, so that
they may be taught and guided by him in the way of salvation. And therefore we
condemn and reject the opinions of those who hold that this communication of the
supreme head with pastors and flocks may be lawfully obstructed; or that it
should be dependent on the civil power, which leads them to maintain that what
is determined by the apostolic see or by its authority concerning the government
of the church, has no force or effect unless it is confirmed by the agreement of
the civil authority.

Since the Roman pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs
the whole church, we likewise teach and declare that
he is the supreme judge of the faithful52, and that in all cases which fall
under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment53. The
sentence of the apostolic see (than which there is no higher authority) is not
subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment
thereupon54. And so they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that
it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical
council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman pontiff.

So, then, if anyone says that the Roman pontiff has merely an office of
supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction
over the whole church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but
also in those which concern the discipline and government of the church
dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part,
but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his
is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and over
all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema."

From the Canons and Decrees of the First Vatican Council

4 posted on 09/09/2006 3:48:26 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge (The last really great president.)
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To: Calvin Coollidge; american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; ...
Catholic Ping List
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5 posted on 09/09/2006 3:48:33 PM PDT by NYer ("That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Hillel)
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To: Calvin Coollidge
Other things we disagree on? Unleavened bread…Communion in one kind. Communion from reserved Sacrament. Celibacy of the clergy. We don’t think that’s a good rule… I don’t. I have 15 grandchildren. Baptism by pouring water… we believe baptism involves immersion. Multiple Masses by the same priest. Confirmation as a separate ritual. Holy Communion for children. Issues about divorce and remarriage. There are plenty of issues that don’t fall into the category of “absolutely essential” or “absolutely non-essential.”

This is a wonderful article; thank you for posting it!

As a Roman Catholic parishioner in an Eastern Catholic Church, there are some 'corrections' , or perhaps these are simply misunderstandings, in the above text.

First of all, the Holy Father is pope of the Catholic Church - west and east, which includes the Roman Catholic Church. There are 22 different Catholic Traditions, including Byzantine, Armenian, Coptic, Chaldean, Melkite, Maronite, Ukrainian, and Ruthenian.

Fr. Hopko gets bonus points for acknowledging 'attachment to liturgy' as a stumbling block. Correct me if I am wrong, but I get the impression from some of my Orthodox friends here at FR that their respective churches fear Vatican imposition. This has been a problem in the past, where well intentioned representatives from the Vatican burned the liturgical books of certain Eastern Churches (I speak here of my Maronite Catholic family which went along in order to remain faithful to the Magisterium). Much has changed since then. We now have the example of the Anglicans who re-united with the Vatican, on the stipulation they could retain their liturgy, derived from the Book of Common Prayer. The agreement was concluded with the understanding that certain aspects of their liturgy needed to be updated to bring it into conformity with the teachings of the Magisterium. This is also true of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church which reunited with Rome during the past century. Some of us were truly blessed to witness their liturgy, live on EWTN.

As for 'unleavened bread' and 'confirmation as a separate ritual', the majority (if not all) of the Eastern Catholic Churches have restored 'chrismation' along with the Sacrament of Baptism. There are also certain Eastern Catholic Churches that use unleavened bread - no problem whatsoever. Married clergy? All of the Eastern Catholic Churches allow for married priests, while some strongly encourage celibacy, for practical reasons.

My impression is that Father Hopko has not yet fully explored the Eastern Churches in full communion with Rome. Should he do so, he would gain great insight into how eastern theology blends perfectly into the Catholic Church. The Eastern Churches, like their Orthodox neighbors, fall under the leadership of a Patriarch.

I treasure this photograph of Mar Nasrallah Cardinal Peter Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, meeting with Pope John Paul II. He serves not only as Patriarch of the Maronite Church but also as Cardinal. Following the death of JPII, (then) Cardinal Ratzinger called upon Cardinal Sfeir to organize and lead the 'Novendiale Mass' for all the Eastern Catholic Churches. Naturally, the reunification of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches would open the door for a future pontiff, from the (former) Orthodox Churches. What a glorious celebration that would be!!

6 posted on 09/09/2006 4:42:32 PM PDT by NYer ("That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Hillel)
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To: Petrosius

"Can't say as I have ever been particularly enamored of Fr. Hopko. I always get the feeling that he can't accept the fact that the OCA never lived up to the dreams of its original tomos of autocephally, that all the other Orthodox jurisdictions in America would fade and we'd all become part of a Moscow oriented OCA."


7 posted on 09/09/2006 8:28:29 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NYer; kosta50; Agrarian; Kolokotronis
Hi. Thank you for your kind words. A few thoughts on your post...

First of all, the Holy Father is pope of the Catholic Church - west and east, which includes the Roman Catholic Church.

Well that's the Roman position.  It is not the opinion of the Orthodox.  We of course believe that we are the Catholic Church in its entirety.  In the first millennium it was customary in both the East and the West to refer to the Church as Catholic and the faith as Orthodox.  Hence correctly speaking we are Orthodox Catholics.

There are 22 different Catholic Traditions, including Byzantine, Armenian, Coptic, Chaldean, Melkite, Maronite, Ukrainian, and Ruthenian.

On a personal note I am aware of the Eastern Rites since it was a stop off for me on my road to Orthodoxy.

Fr. Hopko gets bonus points for acknowledging 'attachment to liturgy' as a stumbling block. Correct me if I am wrong, but I get the impression from some of my Orthodox friends here at FR that their respective churches fear Vatican imposition.

That would be accurate to a degree.

This has been a problem in the past, where well intentioned representatives from the Vatican burned the liturgical books of certain Eastern Churches...

This was not limited to the Maronites.  And even today efforts by Vatican bureaucrats to extend the blessings of the Vatican II liturgical reform to the Eastern Rite churches have not gone unnoticed though so far they have not enjoyed much success.

We now have the example of the Anglicans who re-united with the Vatican, on the stipulation they could retain their liturgy, derived from the Book of Common Prayer.

That's not entirely accurate.  The Anglican Use is not a rite and permission for its use is up to the local ordinary.  Its application thus far has been quite limited.  It is true that a handful of former Anglican clergy who entered into communion with Rome have been  re ordained with a dispensation for their being married.  Some of them have been allowed to use the so called Anglican Use liturgy.  But there is no provision for this being a permanent arrangement.  There are no Anglo-Catholic seminaries or bishops and there is no one training priests in the Anglican liturgical rites.

The agreement was concluded with the understanding that certain aspects of their liturgy needed to be updated to bring it into conformity with the teachings of the Magisterium. This is also true of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church which reunited with Rome during the past century.

What parts of our liturgy do you anticipate will need to be updated?  It has worked quite well for us I think.

As for 'unleavened bread' and 'confirmation as a separate ritual', the majority (if not all) of the Eastern Catholic Churches have restored 'chrismation' along with the Sacrament of Baptism. There are also certain Eastern Catholic Churches that use unleavened bread - no problem whatsoever. Married clergy? All of the Eastern Catholic Churches allow for married priests, while some strongly encourage celibacy, for practical reasons.

These are not minor issues, though they are not beyond resolution.  I think that it is in the matter of ecclesiology that you will find the problem.  That is where the rubber is going to hit the road.  Many of the claims of the papacy are simply not going to be accepted by Orthodoxy.  I would suggest reading Fr. Hopko's other essay on the papacy for some ideas about our concerns.  I don't agree with all of it.  But many of the points he raises are serious issues.  That article is linked in my #1 above.

My impression is that Father Hopko has not yet fully explored the Eastern Churches in full communion with Rome. Should he do so, he would gain great insight into how eastern theology blends perfectly into the Catholic Church. The Eastern Churches, like their Orthodox neighbors, fall under the leadership of a Patriarch.

I think Fr. Hopko is aware of the existence of the non Latin Rite churches in communion with the Pope of Rome.  In fact I will go out on a limb here and say he probably knows more about them and their history than either you or I.  That's just an educated guess based on his background though. The history of the Eastern Catholic Patriarchates is not a source of good feelings for Orthodox. since most of them were erected  by the papacy to draw off Orthodox Christians and to challenge the authority of the Orthodox Patriarchs.  It was a serious and very un-canonical intrusion upon the rights of the Eastern Churches (the real ones) which has been a source of ill feelings for a long time.  The so called Unia remains a stumbling block to the restoration of communion not an aid to that end.

Naturally, the reunification of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches would open the door for a future pontiff, from the (former) Orthodox Churches. What a glorious celebration that would be!!

I think that the word "former" in front of the word "Orthodox" is quite telling about where we are both coming from.  Orthodoxy is the faith of the undivided Church of the first millennium.  You see Orthodoxy as something to be abandoned or made to conform to the Roman Church's magesterium (the end result would be the same). We see the process as not one of reunification but of the restoration of communion based on the return of the Latin Church to Holy Orthodoxy.  In that future situation the Pope of Rome would again claim his place as primus inter pares among the Orthodox Catholic Hierarchs of the world. 

But it would be without most of the theological baggage of the last thousand years that has cropped up in the west.  The canons of the First Vatican Council especially are heresy to Orthodox Christians.  This doesn't mean we don't want to revive the undivided Church of the first thousand years AD.  Any Orthodox Christian who says he does not want that is in need of some serious spiritual counseling.  But we believe that we are the Church.  We don't see ourselves as a part of two halves.  Orthodox Christianity is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ whole and complete.  And you believe the same thing to be true of your church.  That creates a problem. 

Herein is the great tragedy of the present situation.  There are for the first time in a thousand years honest people in both churches who are looking at each other and saying "How did this happen?  This is not what God wanted."  But the reality I think is that it has gone beyond the point of no return.  Trent was a massive blow to any hope of reunification because of the theological innovations it codified.  But IMHO the final nail in the coffin was Vatican I.  That's a show stopper.  The language in those decrees (see #3 above for one example) is flatly heretical to us.  And it is so crystal clear that it just leaves no room for wiggling and parsing words.  In so many ways our churches have grown apart.  Your theology is now heavily based on the medieval scholasticism of Aquinas and Augustine, which is so inimical to Orthodoxy.  This is true of your Eastern Churches too.  They may have retained the outward forms of Eastern worship.  But they are Roman Catholic in faith.  In faith, ecclesiology, spirituality, and theology we have grown apart so far that we can't just put things back they way they were.  Patriarch Bartholomew probably said it best when he noted that our two churches have become ontologically different.

You quote the fathers in an effort to support the papal monarchy.  We quote the fathers to disprove it.  We will never agree.  If Rome agreed to anything even resembling Fr. Hopko's terms laid out in the other essay I linked it would cease to be the Roman Catholic Church.  For us to restore communion with heretics would be to cease to be Orthodox.  "Reunion" would mean that one or the other of our churches would wind up with the word "former" in front of its name.  That is why I believe that absent a miracle of God there will never be a restoration of communion.  And I weep with the angels because of it.

 

 

 

 

 

8 posted on 09/09/2006 9:25:39 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge (The last really great president.)
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To: NYer

Fr. Hopko saddens me. His heart seems to be in the right place, but his head seems to working over time to make up for it. Linus was the first bishop of Rome? Surely an Orthodox mind isn't so desperate for rationalizations for division that he's bought into the fundamentalist argument that Peter actually did go to the long abandonned ghost city of Babylon instead of Rome?

And then there's statements like this:

>> If Rome would say it was not there originally, that the way it was explained was not right, we now can agree on certain aspects – I think the Orthodox would have to say, “OK, let them keep it” rather than insist that every last church in Portugal drop the “filioque” before we can have unity. <<

I don't think Rome DOES say it was the Filioque was there originally; if it does it means the entire content of the argument that I've ever heard was 100% Orthodox-created straw man. But what does he mean that Rome would have to acknowledge it "isn't right," for the Orthodox to permit churches in Portugal to keep it? That churches in Portugal can profess it to be truth, as long as the Vatican professes it to be a lie?

And who in Rome ever said that the Eastern Orthodox would have to have unleavened bread, communion in one kind, a celibate clergy, or communion from a reserved sacrament? Other Catholic rites don't have these? Could the Orthodox priest possibly be that ignorant to not know that? Or does he make an issue out of the differing practices to suggest that Rome must become subordinate to Constantinople? "Last among equals," if you will.


9 posted on 09/09/2006 11:19:11 PM PDT by dangus
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To: Calvin Coollidge

>> Well that's the Roman position. It is not the opinion of the Orthodox. We of course believe that we are the Catholic Church in its entirety. In the first millennium it was customary in both the East and the West to refer to the Church as Catholic and the faith as Orthodox. Hence correctly speaking we are Orthodox Catholics. <<

I think you misunderstand. When it is declared that the Pope is pope of the entire Catholic Church, East and West, in this context, by East is meant the other patriarchies in union with Rome.

>> This has been a problem in the past, where well intentioned representatives from the Vatican burned the liturgical books of certain Eastern Churches... This was not limited to the Maronites. <<

To be fair, the Maronites' books were not burned by force from the Vatican, but, rather, out of Maronite zeal for unity. It's a subtle distinction when considering the righteousness (or, perhaps, more accurately, lack thereof?) of the representatives, but a major one when considering the effects of liturgical differences in the future. Far more relevant is that the general policy of the Vatican is to accept theologically valid liturgy.


10 posted on 09/09/2006 11:27:27 PM PDT by dangus
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To: NYer

Please, you well informed Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians, keep this thread going.
It has been a personal pain in my heart that we aren't one as our Lord would have it.
What a light to the world we would be if we were ONE.

As I read these responses, I am learning much about our Faith.

God bless all of you, with charity and love.


11 posted on 09/09/2006 11:51:07 PM PDT by mckenzie7 (Parenthood is a gift)
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To: crazykatz; JosephW; lambo; MoJoWork_n; newberger; The_Reader_David; jb6; wildandcrazyrussian; ...

Orthodox ping. Might be worth a look, gang.


12 posted on 09/10/2006 4:21:01 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Calvin Coollidge
When people ask me, for example, why the Orthodox jurisdictions in America are not united, the answer is very clear: because our leaders don’t want it. If they wanted it, we would have had it yesterday.

This is an excellent article, and he is right on target about trying to seek out the essentials (on which no compromise is possible) and put the other things to the side.

He also makes a good point about the fact that internal unity is something that the Orthodox Church has to achieve first. Much of Orthodox disunity is the result of historical political situations, since the Orthodox churches were often much more subject to local governments than was the Catholic Church, whose leader and "main office," so to speak, was not in the same country as its "branch offices" and hence were a little freer. This freedom had to be fought for constantly and there was often great friction between temporal rulers and Catholic authorities; Henry VIII was essentially the first Western European monarch who permanently drove out Rome and made the State the head of the Church for his own purposes. But for historical reasons, one being the fact that many Orthodox churches found themselves fighting for their existence in suddenly Muslim countries, the Orthodox Church was never really able to assert its independence from the State, with the result that a lot of simply national rivalries carried over into religious life and are particularly reflected in the US, where all these national groups have to coexist and have contact with each other.

Hence the Orthodox Church in the US has a golden opportunity to unite and become the model for Orthodox unity - for doing what Fr. Hopko said, that is, sorting out what is essential from the massive accumulation of historical (but destructive) inessentials.

13 posted on 09/10/2006 4:22:40 AM PDT by livius
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To: Calvin Coollidge
At a gut level, Rome still doesn't get it. Roman Catholics believe that the schism will not end until the Orthodox become more like Rome, ie until a command structure is imposed over all Orthodox Churches - one that can make binding decisions. The Orthodox world insists on the ecclesiastic primacy of the local bishop, which persists despite any primacy of honor given to any one particular bishop.

More importantly, the spread and strength of the Lord's church can be done more effectively at the local level not as outreach from the Vatican, a kingdom rooted in the world and man not in the Lord Jesus Christ.
14 posted on 09/10/2006 7:16:49 AM PDT by eleni121 (General Draza Mihailovich: We will never forget you - the hero of World War Two)
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To: eleni121
Roman Catholics believe that the schism will not end until the Orthodox become more like Rome, ie until a command structure is imposed over all Orthodox Churches - one that can make binding decisions.

You don't have to be Roman Catholic to believe that; it's pretty much tautological. How can the schism end if nobody on the Orthodox side has the authority to end it? (And by "nobody," I'm not necessarily talking about a single individual.)

And proposing that Rome simply surrender is completely unrealistic, and also illogical. (Is the Pope going to infallibly define for the whole church that he has no authority to infallibly define anything, and no authority outside the See of Rome? If we simply adopt the Orthodox model of authority, nobody on our side has the authority to end the schism either! You can hardly expect the Pope to exercise Papal authority in declaring that no Papal authority exists.)

Supposedly, y'all do have a "command structure" that can make "binding decisions" ... an ecumenical council. However, any attempt (by whom?) to call such a council to discuss reunion would no doubt split the Orthodox, and any reunion settlement arrived at would no doubt split you further.

And we haven't yet considered whether such a settlement would cause a schism on the Catholic side of the aisle. (It likely would.)

Perhaps the first step is to agree that neither the absolutist Orthodox position (the local bishop is the fullness of the church, and nobody has authority over him) nor the absolutist Catholic position (the Pope exercises full and immediate jurisdiction over the whole church, and has authority over every bishop everywhere) are tenable models for a post-schism church.

It's a mess. At least we're talking about the mess, but still: Come, Lord Jesus.

15 posted on 09/10/2006 7:36:07 AM PDT by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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To: Kolokotronis; All

hello people,

As some of you might kow, im holder of Balkan Ping list, I live in Serbia and from Serbian-hungarian origin.
I live in Vojvodina, northern province of Serbia, where, although predominantly papulated with Serbs, also some 200,000 catholic Hugarians live. so far, inspite of all wars, pretty good relations between Ortodox and Catholics exist. so, as a man basicaly torned towards politics I cant enter in some religion discussion, due to the fact that im no expert in field of religion. I would like just to comment on Ortodox-catholic life in Serbia and customes concerning that life.
There are many mixed marriages, basicaly they are not even called that that is how much they are common in Serbia. Yet, there is a custom that when Catholic-Ortodox couple get married, some of them go to both churches to be wedd, in Ortodox and catholic in same day, also they baptise their children in both churches also in same day. some belief is among peoplethat both rituals must be respected if your parents are Catholic and Ortodox or babtism would not be concidered "true" and "right". So, my father, laso was baptised in both churches and some of my friends were wedd in both churches. I never saw that a person is both Catholic and Ortodox in same time, but people that are "Double-baptised" are commonly celebrating both Catholic and Ortodox hollidays, and later, upon them is will they declare themselves as catholics or Ortodox, yet even then, they and their famillies respect both customs. Also, when Serbian girl marries to catholic, she usualy brings hers family Saint-protector Icon into husbands house, and that is very unusual that women celebrates saint-protector, so, catholic home, accept an Ortodox custom. Even if that is not a case, Catholic family accepts Ortodox feasts and hollidays even in most modest manner, and young wife is even expected to prepare special dinner for Ortodox hollidays. Same thing goes when Catholic girl marries into Ortodox family, she brings catholic feasts and hollidays and she is also sxpected to prepare dinners or feasts on those days.
Anyway, that is laics wiew on Ortodox-Catholic agenda, even in small part of the world like Serbia is.


16 posted on 09/10/2006 9:01:27 AM PDT by kronos77 (www.savekosovo.org say NO to Al-Qaeda new sanctuary (Go IDF!))
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To: kronos77

You've described just the way I was brought up with an Irish Catholic father and a Greek Orthodox mother.


17 posted on 09/10/2006 11:16:15 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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http://www.soufanieh.com/main.index.html


18 posted on 09/10/2006 11:38:13 AM PDT by Nihil Obstat
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To: Campion
Campion,

Thanks for your comments.  You have largely confirmed my own reservations.  A couple quick points...

You don't have to be Roman Catholic to believe that; it's pretty much tautological. How can the schism end if nobody on the Orthodox side has the authority to end it? (And by "nobody," I'm not necessarily talking about a single individual.)

Supposedly, y'all do have a "command structure" that can make "binding decisions" ... an ecumenical council. However, any attempt (by whom?) to call such a council to discuss reunion would no doubt split the Orthodox, and any reunion settlement arrived at would no doubt split you further.

Assuming the major issues were overcome and we reached a point where we could live with the other differences (it needs to be remembered that there were differences between east and west before the schism) I can see several ways the schism could be ended.  The two most likely would be either a Great Council of the Church or a gradual restoration of communion by some of the Orthodox Churches (they would have to be major ones to be taken seriously).  The Schism did not start in 1054 (contrary to common belief).  It was a slow motion divorce that took place over centuries.  The 1054 schism was a local one between two patriarchs that did not even extend to the faithful subject the other.  Hence Latins still communed in Constantinople and had their churches there.  And Greeks still communed in Rome.  Most Eastern Patriarchs remained in communion with Rome until the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204.  If there was a real breaking point that was probably it.  But even after that there were local synods that had communion with Rome off and on for another couple of centuries.

A Great Council has been in the planning for several decades and much speculation exists as to the reasons for its not being convened so far.  As for who can call it, in the absence of and Orthodox Emperor or the Patriarch of Rome the Ecumenical Patriarch is almost universally acknowledged to have that power.  All major decisions in Orthodoxy have caused minor schisms.  There are just some people for whom the word "new" is the same thing as "heresy."  But we will deal with that if and when we get there.  We generally all agree on the important things even if sometimes throw furniture at each other when we discuss calendars.  :-)

And proposing that Rome simply surrender is completely unrealistic, and also illogical. (Is the Pope going to infallibly define for the whole church that he has no authority to infallibly define anything, and no authority outside the See of Rome? If we simply adopt the Orthodox model of authority, nobody on our side has the authority to end the schism either! You can hardly expect the Pope to exercise Papal authority in declaring that no Papal authority exists.)

Yep.  That's pretty much what I think I covered in my last post.  I am less concerned with who can call a council than I am with getting to the point where the council will be able to do anything.

And we haven't yet considered whether such a settlement would cause a schism on the Catholic side of the aisle. (It likely would.)

Rome has had the same problem we have had.  Everything you have done in Council has been challenged by splinter groups.  The so called "Old Catholics" from Vatican I and the various uber Catholic Traditionalist schismatics you have running around since Vatican II are the evidence.  I never knew +John XXXIII was really a Jew and a Free Mason secretly bent on destroying your church until I was enlightened by one of the "True Catholic" web sites.  Lord Have Mercy!

Perhaps the first step is to agree that neither the absolutist Orthodox position (the local bishop is the fullness of the church, and nobody has authority over him) nor the absolutist Catholic position (the Pope exercises full and immediate jurisdiction over the whole church, and has authority over every bishop everywhere) are tenable models for a post-schism church.

That's probably a good suggestion.  I have often said that we Orthodox have been very good at pointing out what Primacy is not.  Possibly out of our often knee jerk hostility to all things papal.  For primacy clearly does mean more than just the right to sit at the head of the table or be the first one in a procession.  It was thus in the early Church.  The problem is that your Church has backed itself into a corner with the decrees of Vatican I.  Those decrees are so crystal clear in their wording that I don't see anyway to parse the language or pretend they mean something other than that the Pope of Rome holds an immediate and absolute jurisdiction over the ENTIRE CHURCH and every bishop is subject to him.  Add onto that the decree regarding the infallibility of the Pope independent of the Church and a council and we have what I have already characterized as a showstopper.  Hence my deep pessimism.

Lest I end this post on such a gloomy note, it should be mentioned that this month representatives from Rome will be meeting (in Serbia!) with high ranking representatives of many of the world's Orthodox Churches to discuss this very issue (the Primacy of Rome).  And in recent months we have seen a marked warming of relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and Pope of Rome to the point where +Alexei was actually saying very nice things about +Benedict XVI.  Who knows what may happen?  All things are possible with God.

19 posted on 09/10/2006 2:10:19 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge (The last really great president.)
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To: Calvin Coollidge

A very concise and realistic reply.
My thoughts exactly.


20 posted on 09/10/2006 2:13:35 PM PDT by TexConfederate1861 ("Having a picture of John Wayne doesn't make you a Texan :) ")
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To: Campion; Calvin Coollidge; livius; eleni121; NYer; Petrosius
"How can the schism end if nobody on the Orthodox side has the authority to end it? (And by "nobody," I'm not necessarily talking about a single individual.)"

You know, this subject has been discussed many times here on FR. Of late the theological dialogs between Orthodoxy and Rome have recommenced. Both the Pope and the EP and their theologians seem to have come to the conclusion that the real stumbling block is the way Rome has exercised the undoubted primacy of the Bishop of Rome. If that one issue can be resolved by a return on the part of Rome to a manner of presiding which is as similar to the way it presided for lets say the first 800-1000 years of the Church's existence, as +BXVI has suggested, as is possible in the 21st century, then that would be enough, perhaps, for a Great and Holy Council to be called, with the Pope presiding, which could work out all the other, frankly rather limited, areas of disagreement. The authority you are looking for, C, is a Great Council, but that can't exist or be binding on all of us without the whole Church attending. For that, Orthodoxy needs Rome and Rome needs Orthodoxy. Whether or not Orthodoxy here or worldwide is one united "jurisdiction" is hogwash, Fr. Hopko's OCA delusion. Orthodox unity as envisioned by this priest won't contribute one iota to a reunion of the various particular churches within The Church.

"Perhaps the first step is to agree that neither the absolutist Orthodox position (the local bishop is the fullness of the church, and nobody has authority over him) nor the absolutist Catholic position (the Pope exercises full and immediate jurisdiction over the whole church, and has authority over every bishop everywhere) are tenable models for a post-schism church."

C, I am unaware of any Orthodox position, absolutist or otherwise, which holds that nobody has any authority over a local bishop. It has always been the belief of The Church, at least since +Ignatius of Antioch, that the fullness of The Church is found in a local diocese, the bishop surrounded by his clergy, monastics and laity. But for at least the past 1800 years the various Synods have always been superior in authority to any individual bishop. There is always a Primus. Primacy implies some sort of authority and the concomitant power to exercise that authority.
21 posted on 09/10/2006 2:24:01 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Calvin Coollidge
The problem is that your Church has backed itself into a corner with the decrees of Vatican I. Those decrees are so crystal clear in their wording that I don't see anyway to parse the language or pretend they mean something other than that the Pope of Rome holds an immediate and absolute jurisdiction over the ENTIRE CHURCH and every bishop is subject to him. Add onto that the decree regarding the infallibility of the Pope independent of the Church and a council and we have what I have already characterized as a showstopper. Hence my deep pessimism.

It may not be such a showstopper if we go on to define that those powers are only to be used in the most extraordinary and unusual circumstances. Obviously, the Pope doesn't at every moment exercise an immediate and absolute jurisdiction over every diocese. (There are days when it's not clear that he exercises any jurisdiction at all, even over some dioceses in his own Latin church. >:-0)

The pendulum, even in the Latin church, has swung since Vatican II toward the diocesan ordinary exercising a substantial degree of independence and authority in his own diocese. (That's still an experiment in progress.) Whatever Vatican I claimed for the Pope, it's clear that it's not being used on a daily basis, or anything like it.

If we can come to an consensus about when those powers might be exercised (other than "never, under any circumstances"), Vatican I might not be such a showstopper.

22 posted on 09/10/2006 3:02:18 PM PDT by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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To: Kolokotronis

Your experience may be different from mine, but I think that what the Orthodox Church desperately needs is unity. It doesn't have to be under one jurisdiction, and I don't think that's what Hopko is saying.

I spent many years in San Francisco, where there is at least one representative of just about every Orthodox church in the world. We had three different "Russian" churches (one of which later became part of the OCA) and the people in them wouldn't even speak to each other. And converts were even worse: they did not become Orthodox, they became Greek, or Syrian, or ultra-Russian. I knew a convert who was a member of the so-called "Exile Church" who wouldn't have anything to do with the members of the Russian Orthodox church that eventually founded the OCA because they were all "Little Russians" and his church was all "Great Russians." He didn't even have one drop of Russian blood, but this is how he perceived Orthodoxy.

And I had another friend who was Serbian and, when one Serbian church collapsed because of internal infighting, she wouldn't go to the other because it had too many people from (I don't even remember the region), whom she did not consider truly Orthodox.

And then I lived in a place where the local Greek Orthodox church kicked out a pastor (American born of 100% Greek descent) because he wasn't Greek enough and was - gasp! - encouraging non-Greeks to come to the church.

So I think the Orthodox Church does have a serious problem here, and it's not at the formal administrative level alone. And I think that's what Fr. Hopko was trying to say.


23 posted on 09/10/2006 3:18:15 PM PDT by livius
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To: Calvin Coollidge; dangus; mckenzie7; Kolokotronis; Campion; livius; sionnsar
I am aware of the Eastern Rites since it was a stop off for me on my road to Orthodoxy.

Where did your journey begin?

... efforts by Vatican bureaucrats to extend the blessings of the Vatican II liturgical reform to the Eastern Rite churches have not gone unnoticed though so far they have not enjoyed much success.

? Can you be more specific?

Again, I am limited in my response to only the Maronite Church and then, with limited experience.

In the beginning of their stay in Lebanon, isolated by the mountains and worried about the political unrest in the Near East, the Maronites faithfully adhered to the creed of the Catholic Church. But here is a paradox. Because the tradition of Antioch always preferred biblical expressions over dogmatic formulations the creed they professed did not contain the "new" formulations of the councils regarding the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Hesitations to accept these formulations, belonged to the sphere of theological terminology; they did not lessen the unshakable attachment of the Maronites to the Catholic faith. They did, however, become harmful to the reputation of the Maronites. No council condemned them, but in many publications, for example the article "Maronites" in the first edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia (vol. 9, 683-688), the Maronites are accused of the heresy of monothelitism which taught that there is only one will in Christ. In our day, as we experience once again the difficulty of translating into human language the mystery of the Ineffable, we can better understand the complexity of the theological situation in which the Maronites had to find their way.

In the Lebanon of the 11th and 12th centuries, the Maronites found themselves once more between two worlds; the Latin Church of the West and the churches of the East. The Latin missionaries found warm welcome in the Maronite community. They did not, however, understand or appreciate the profound value and the riches of the oriental traditions, and tried to impose, often with success, the juridical and liturgical structures of the Latin Church as the "only true Catholic"' structures. The Maronites, in turn, with their traditional spirit of moderation and openness, enjoyed enriching their oriental patrimony with the richness of Christian dogmas as it had developed in the West. They also introduced into the Oriental churches such expressions of Western devotional life as the rosary and the stations of the cross.

It would be easy to assume the Maronites of being responsible for the "Latinization" of the Eastern churches. but such would be an unfair accusation. The Maronites always kept and jealously guarded their Oriental traditions. They were convinced, however, and still are, that their own traditions can grow only in the always challenging contact with the universal church.

This contact with the Latin Church enriched the intellectual world of Europe in the Middle Ages. Maronites taught Oriental languages and literature at the universities of Italy and France. Thanks to their position between East and West, and to their knowledge of the occidental theological tradition, they successfully started the dialogue with the Orthodox churches of the Near East. The history of the Melkites and Chaldeans, of Catholic Armenians and Syrians, shows the important role of the Maronites in the foundation of these communities.

Insofar as restoration of liturgy, the ongoing wars in Lebanon have severely impacted the Church. In 2003, Patriarch Sfeir convened a 2 year Synod to decide on what changes should be made and how these would be implemented. In a recent interview (July 2006) with Fr. Mitch Pacwa (telecast on EWTN), the Patriarch spoke of these changes. As Maronites have fled Lebaonon, they have brought their liturgy to all parts of the world. This has resulted in an explosive growth of the Maronite Church, especially in North America, Australia, South America, Mexico, Europe and Africa. As a result of this expansion, the liturgy has attracted peoples residing in those parts of the world, who are not Lebanese. The liturgy, once limited to Arabic, now required translation into other languages. Some of those translations were hastily written. The Synod members have now formed committees to study those translations to improve upon and establish standardized texts to be used throughout the world. Initially, liturgical texts will be limited to Arabic, English, Spanish and French. In ALL Maronite churches, certain aspects of the liturgy will retain the authentic Aramaic/Syriac texts.

There are no Anglo-Catholic seminaries or bishops and there is no one training priests in the Anglican liturgical rites.

This may be true for the Anglican Use Rite (I wouldn't know), but not for the Eastern Catholic Churches which all have seminaries for the formation of their priests.

What parts of our liturgy do you anticipate will need to be updated?  It has worked quite well for us I think.

All Catholics share three important things:

A Church is not the same as a rite. Within the Catholic Church there are 22 autonomous churches, each of which follows one of the 6 major rites. In these Churches, we recite a universal Creed and include the pope in our prayers. That is one area where a change would need to be made.

I think that the word "former" in front of the word "Orthodox" is quite telling about where we are both coming from.

The words "Orthodox Church" and "Catholic Church" are generally understood to represent our separate churches. When we eventually join together, some agreement will be made as to a proper terminology but until then, I could not come up with a better expression.

But we believe that we are the Church.  We don't see ourselves as a part of two halves.  Orthodox Christianity is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ whole and complete.  And you believe the same thing to be true of your church.  That creates a problem. 

"Where Peter is, there is the Church".

There are for the first time in a thousand years honest people in both churches who are looking at each other and saying "How did this happen?  This is not what God wanted."  But the reality I think is that it has gone beyond the point of no return.

We are all entitled to our own opinions but here is where Fr. Hopko gets it right when he says:

We will never be one unless we desire it with all our hearts, and are ready to put away everything that we can to have it…. Everything that doesn’t belong to the essence of the faith. Language doesn’t belong to the essence of the faith. Calendars don’t belong to the essence of the faith. Certain liturgical customs don’t belong to the essence of the faith. Even the Byzantine Rite Liturgy for us does not belong to the essence of the faith.

We must unite because that is the will of God!

It's really just that simple.

24 posted on 09/10/2006 3:40:28 PM PDT by NYer ("That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Hillel)
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To: NYer

I think you picked out the right quote from Hopko! The "essence of the faith" says it all.


25 posted on 09/10/2006 3:55:17 PM PDT by livius
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To: livius

I can't address the problems which arose in the Russian Church because of the Revolution and Moscow's creation of the OCA in the 70s (I think). I will say I get a kick out of the American converts to Russian type Orthodox Churches who promptly beginning looking like Russian peasants and speaking English with Slavic accents. But its a free country.

I can address your comments about parish splits or collapses because of internal feuding. I have observed this, from the outside, in Protestant churches around here and remember stories of such a split in the 20s in my own Greek Orthodox parish. That one was as a result of politics back in Greece. The break away parish folded back into the original one after the politician those people supported was voted out of office. As a general proposition, these internal feuds arise because in Orthodoxy here in the States and to an extent even back in the old countries, the running of the local parishes is the responsibility of the laity not the priest or the bishop. Inevitably this leads to disagreements but people get over them. Your Roman system is very different. The priest runs the show as the rep of the bishop who generally in this country owns all the assets of the parish. In the Roman system, people just leave. Around here most of the Roman parishes are closing or being grouped together because so many Catholics simply won't support the Church or attend Mass.

In the GOA, we do have the sort of Greek chauvinists you mention in your post. Just yesterday as a member of the parish council I threw a Greek American who never comes to Liturgy and has never been to Greece off the church grounds because he was going around to people offering to give the parish $100,000.00 if we would fire the priest. His bich? The priest is bringing "garbage" people into the parish...read anyone, anyone who isn't Greek. Being Orthodox and for example Lebanese or Ukrainian or heaven forbid, Ethiopian, qualifies one for the "garbage people" moniker. And converts are simply beyond the pale! Now our parish, once 100% Greek (except for a few convert spouses) is a veritable Orthodox melting pot with 12 different ethnicities represented. Greeks, of any degree, only make up about 40% of our parish. What was the reaction of the Greeks in the parish to this clown's actions? White heat rage! But his attitude and the attitude of the parish which ran its priest out of town on a Greek rail is no more a basis for forming opinions about Greek Orthodoxy in America than the fact that a few "pink" Roman Catholic bishops covering up sex scandals should for the basis of a RICO action against the USCCB

L, my parish, as our Metropolitan is fond of saying, is the face of Orthodoxy in America today. That sort of ethnic mix, by the way, is replicated across the country as most any Orthodox Freeper can tell you. And we got that way by God's will, not some phoney and completely unnecessary jurisdictional unity.

"So I think the Orthodox Church does have a serious problem here, and it's not at the formal administrative level alone. And I think that's what Fr. Hopko was trying to say."

Like I said, Fr. Hopko, while a fine man from all reports, is the captive of his own unrealized plans. Moscow in the 70s wanted to create a counter balance to ROCOR and cut off Orthodoxy here in the States from the dominance of the Greek and Antiochian Patriarchates; it set up the OCA. It didn;t work.


26 posted on 09/10/2006 4:04:10 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: Kolokotronis; Campion; Calvin Coollidge; livius; eleni121; Petrosius
"Perhaps the first step is to agree that neither the absolutist Orthodox position (the local bishop is the fullness of the church, and nobody has authority over him) nor the absolutist Catholic position (the Pope exercises full and immediate jurisdiction over the whole church, and has authority over every bishop everywhere) are tenable models for a post-schism church."

C, I am unaware of any Orthodox position, absolutist or otherwise, which holds that nobody has any authority over a local bishop. It has always been the belief of The Church, at least since +Ignatius of Antioch, that the fullness of The Church is found in a local diocese, the bishop surrounded by his clergy, monastics and laity.

It should come as no surprise you, K, that in the Latin Church, many bishops not only share this belief but would welcome this power. As a member of a diocese run by an ultra leftist bishop, such power would translate into rewriting the liturgical texts to render them gender neutral. And that is just for starters. Imagine according such power to this "bishop"!

That's enough to send shivers down my spine and I don't reside in his diocese.

ALL corporations, institutions and private industries are run by one person who serves as CEO. All countries function under the leadership of one President. These individuals are elected and/or chosen to be the final decision makers. Even our Lord, Jesus Christ, recognized the need to place one person in charge and He did so when He named Peter as His successor.

One compelling biblical fact that points clearly to Simon Peter’s primacy among the 12 Apostles and his importance and centrality to the drama of Christ’s earthly ministry, is that he is mentioned by name (e.g. Simon, Peter, Cephas, Kephas, etc.) 195 times in the course of the New Testament. The next most often-mentioned Apostle is St. John, who is mentioned a mere 29 times. After John, in descending order, the frequency of the other Apostles being mentioned by name trails off rapidly.

When the names of all the Apostles are listed, Peter is always first. Judas Iscariot, the Lord’s traitor, is always listed last (cf. Matt. 10:2-5; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-17; and Acts 1:13). Sometimes Scripture speaks simply of “Simon Peter and the rest of the Apostles” or “Peter and his companions” (cf. Luke 9:32; Mark 16:7; Acts 2:37), showing that he had a special role that represented the entire apostolic college. Often, Scripture shows Simon Peter as spokesman for the entire apostolic college, as if he were the voice of the Church (cf. Mat. 18:21; Mark 8:29; Luke 8:45; Luke 12:41; John 6:68-69).
source

No matter how much consensus one might find amongst bishops, there still needs to be one voice that corrects the misunderstandings of those who have erred and speaks on behalf of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And that person is the Pope, the Successor of St. Peter.

28 posted on 09/10/2006 4:13:15 PM PDT by NYer ("That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Hillel)
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To: NYer

"The Maronites, in turn, with their traditional spirit of moderation and openness...."

Oh, that's rich! The Maronites are just about the toughest bunch of cookies ever. Centuries of suspicious isolation in their mountains surrounded by Mohammadens and earlier Orthodox Christians who thought them heretics, made them the antithesis of of an open and moderate people. But that has served them well for rather more than 1000 years. Its only in our lifetimes that the Mohammaden wave has pretty much overwhelmed them and they have left Lebanon in droves. Just this weekend a Maronite buddy of mine came to our festival. He commented as he stood by the grills I was supervising that the Maronites, like the Orthodox and the Melkites in Lebanon are finished. They are quite simply being and have been outbred. As he put it, when Mustapha can have 4 wives and 20 kids, its not much of a contest. In the meantime when the Mohammadens get mad at the Israelis, the Christians get whacked, and when the Israelis get mad at the Mohammadens, the Christians get whacked. Not much of a future for people in that sort of situation.


29 posted on 09/10/2006 4:15:10 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NYer

"ALL corporations, institutions and private industries are run by one person who serves as CEO."

Not the best of illustrations when it comes to The Church, I trust you would agree. But if that's the example you like, remember that CEOs are regularly fired by stockholders and/or boards of directors, who are the ones who really run the company.

Now The Church is no democracy, representative or otherwise, but then again, its not a theocratic dictatorship either, at least in the East.


30 posted on 09/10/2006 4:21:36 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: MissAmericanPie
WWJD?

I don't think he'd go around slandering everyone in a group with the sins (and alleged sins, and imagined sins, and reputed sins) of a few, like you're doing.

31 posted on 09/10/2006 4:42:16 PM PDT by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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To: MissAmericanPie
"Shouldn't the first question be why anyone would want to join themselves to the Israel hating, altar boy boogering, Catholic Church with it's sorrid history and hellish political positions? WWJD?"

Your comment is so repulsive that I refuse to dignify it with any further reply.
32 posted on 09/10/2006 4:48:43 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge (The last really great president.)
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To: Kolokotronis; Patrick_k; GipperGal
Centuries of suspicious isolation in their mountains surrounded by Mohammadens and earlier Orthodox Christians who thought them heretics, made them the antithesis of of an open and moderate people.

To whom? The Orthodox Church? I must have hit a nerve.

And what do you mean by "suspicious"? There is nothing mysterious, much less suspicious, in the fact that the followers of St. Maron followed him into the mountainous regions of Lebanon where they practiced their faith.

Very little is known, though, about the Maronites in Lebanon between the time of their being established there in the seventh and eighth centuries and the coming of the Crusades in the eleventh century. During this period the Maronites and the region were dominated by the Abbasids, whose rule was often severe and who persecuted and decimated the Maronites. When the first Crusaders arrived in Lebanon in 1098, they were surprised and pleased to find fellow Christians who welcomed them with hospitality. We are told that the Maronites were of great assistance to the Crusaders both as guides and as a fighting force of 40,000 men known for their prowess in battle. The Franciscan F. Suriano, writing some time later, described them as "astute and prone to fighting and battling. They are good archers using the Italian style of cross-bowing". The Crusaders not only passed through Lebanon on the way to the Holy Places, but established themselves in the country and built fortresses in a number of areas, the ruins of which remain to this day. Close relations were also established between the Latin Hierarchy that accompanied the Crusaders and the Maronite Church. With the coming of the Crusaders, it would seem that the Maronites made a conscious decision to seek the support of the West. Prior to this time, the Maronites lived and thought on a provincial level. Their major concerns were to defend themselves against local heretics (a struggle based not only on a religious plane, but also on ethnic and cultural levels) and to attempt to establish a Modus Vivendi with Arab rulers. With the coming of the Crusaders they began to look to the West for assistance. Ties with the Holy See became closer, Western practices were adopted, and Latin influence and changes in the Maronite Liturgy took place. source

He commented as he stood by the grills I was supervising that the Maronites, like the Orthodox and the Melkites in Lebanon are finished. They are quite simply being and have been outbred. As he put it, when Mustapha can have 4 wives and 20 kids, its not much of a contest.

Your friend attends a Greek Orthodox festival - what do you expect he is going to say? And you believe him. K, that's truly surprising, coming from you.

33 posted on 09/10/2006 5:28:01 PM PDT by NYer ("That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Hillel)
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To: MissAmericanPie
Shouldn't the first question be why anyone would want to join themselves to the Israel hating, altar boy boogering, Catholic Church with it's sorrid history and hellish political positions? WWJD?

I don't know where you are coming from but the Catholic Church views Jews as our 'older brothers' in the faith.

As for your statement on 'altar boy boogering', I would refer you to this web site. It seems the Protestant Church ministers far outnumber the Catholic priests in this regard.

source

34 posted on 09/10/2006 5:37:03 PM PDT by NYer ("That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Hillel)
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To: livius
I think you picked out the right quote from Hopko! The "essence of the faith" says it all.

It's where he "gets it right". Check out the Orthodox response to my post. It simply justifies Fr. Hopko's assertion that the Orthodox can never overcome the past. Where there's a will, there's a way, especially if that will is from God. Too bad the Orthodox still don't get it.

35 posted on 09/10/2006 5:47:21 PM PDT by NYer ("That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Hillel)
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To: Kolokotronis; livius; Campion; Calvin Coolidge
Not the best of illustrations when it comes to The Church, I trust you would agree.

No, I don't agree. Name one successful organization that is run without some final authority.

remember that CEOs are regularly fired by stockholders and/or boards of directors, who are the ones who really run the company.

True. There have even been some popes whose personal lifestyles were more than questionable; yet, never once did anyone of them err when it came to doctrine.

Among the Christian churches, only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The Protestant churches were established during the Reformation, which began in 1517. (Most of today’s Protestant churches are actually offshoots of the original Protestant offshoots.)

Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history.

Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy, and the churches that send out door-to-door missionaries are young compared to the Catholic Church. Many of these churches began as recently as the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Some even began during your own lifetime. None of them can claim to be the Church Jesus established. The Catholic Church has existed for nearly 2,000 years, despite constant opposition from the world. This is testimony to the Church’s divine origin. It must be more than a merely human organization, especially considering that its human members— even some of its leaders—have been unwise, corrupt, or prone to heresy.

Any merely human organization with such members would have collapsed early on. The Catholic Church is today the most vigorous church in the world (and the largest, with a billion members: one sixth of the human race), and that is testimony not to the cleverness of the Church’s leaders, but to the protection of the Holy Spirit.

36 posted on 09/10/2006 6:00:11 PM PDT by NYer ("That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Hillel)
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To: NYer
If memory serves the Pope just issued a blistering edict to Israel during it's recent run in with Hezbolah. Isn't the new Pope from Germany? The Church should have saved it's recent apology to the Jews for it's actions during WW2, it really rings hollow. Given the Catholic Church's present obvious preference regarding Israels existence, which it flatly denies has anything to do with God's will or fulfillment of prophecy to say moral clarity is lacking here is an understatement.

As for the actions of other denominations regarding child abuse, they do not make it a common practice to hire priests with a certain sexual bent.
37 posted on 09/10/2006 6:28:13 PM PDT by MissAmericanPie
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To: MissAmericanPie
The Church should have saved it's recent apology to the Jews for it's actions during WW2

Why should we apologize for saving between 700,000 and 860,000 Jewish lives? (See the books by Pinchas Lapide, former Israeli ambassador to Italy, and Rabbi David Dalin for details. Note also that Pope Pius XII was eulogized for his actions during the war by none other than Golda Meir, at that time Israeli ambassador to the UN; later Prime Minister.)

You really shouldn't believe every lie you hear from the left about the Catholic Church. That really makes you no better than those who believe every lie they hear about the Jews. We call those people "anti-Semites". Do you think the same kind of bigotry against Catholics is cleaner or more wholesome?

Given the Catholic Church's present obvious preference regarding Israels existence, which it flatly denies has anything to do with God's will or fulfillment of prophecy

We aren't dispensationalists, which is to say that we take the same view of Scripture on the subject of the relationship of the Church with Israel that all of the reformers took, and all of Christendom took until the 1820's.

they do not make it a common practice to hire priests with a certain sexual bent.

It seems to me that the Vatican said flatly that homosexuals were not to be admitted to the seminary back in the early 1960's. That edict was not obeyed by the American bishops. Perhaps if they had been a little more Roman Catholic, and a little less American ... ???

38 posted on 09/10/2006 6:45:06 PM PDT by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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To: MissAmericanPie; NYer
"Given the Catholic Church's present obvious preference regarding Israels existence, which it flatly denies has anything to do with God's will or fulfillment of prophecy to say moral clarity is lacking here is an understatement."

I got news for ya sister: the Orthodox Church does not view Israel's existence as a "fulfillment of prophecy" either. That is a uniquely Protestant misconception, the byproduct of a recycled heresy.

Since you are neither Catholic nor Orthodox, this thread is of no concern to you. Do us a courtesy: butt out.

39 posted on 09/10/2006 7:28:40 PM PDT by monkfan
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To: Campion

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/675361.stm

Interesting read, might throw a little light on the subject for you.


40 posted on 09/10/2006 7:37:32 PM PDT by MissAmericanPie
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To: NYer

Nyer, I think you've entirely missed my point. As for your cracks in this post and your subsequent one about the Orthodox, well, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I can guarantee the Maronites you attend the Liturgy with as a Roman Catholic would be.

My point is that if you think the Maronites are a moderate people, ask the Lebanese about the Maronites. Ask the Maronites themselves They are tough, tough people who don't take any grief from anyone. And they aren't moderate sissies. Christian moderates don't last 1500 years in a place like the Middle East. The history of Lebanon is filled with examples of this, even into and through the Lebanese civil war. And they are in Lebanon and at least around here VERY close to the Orthodox, far closer than a Roman Catholic attending the Liturgy in the Maronite Church would recognize much less admit.

I respect and admire the Maronites for what they really are, NYer.


41 posted on 09/10/2006 7:52:13 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NYer

"The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054."

That's certainly the old company line. Four ancient Patriarchates and the one new one refuse to submit to Rome, they maintain the Faith as it was established by the One Church in fidelity to the councils, Rome goes on to institute innovation upon innovation without even a by your leave from the other Patriarchates and its them who left, not Rome!

It saddens me that such a simplistic view of Church history still prevails among so many of you Latins.


42 posted on 09/10/2006 8:05:13 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NYer; All; kosta50; Agrarian; TexConfederate1861
Where did your journey begin?

I was raised in the Roman Church.  I first came into contact with Orthodoxy when I was about 15.  I have known most of my adult life that I was Orthodox but it took me about a quarter century to take the plunge.

? Can you be more specific?

Again, I am limited in my response to only the Maronite Church and then, with limited experience.

Since the rejection of the Florentine Union, the Holy See has re-established communion with members of every Eastern Church. In so doing, the Holy See solemnly committed itself to respect the ancient Catholic heritage of those Churches, and it was hoped that these groups would be the seed and first fruits of a future general reunion of the East. This hope, unfortunately, has never been fulfilled, because the way in which these groups have developed since returning to the Catholic Church has provided the non-Catholic East with a pattern of reunion little to its liking. For it must be frankly stated that the Orientals did not always find a congenial home within ‘the Catholic Church. They were often viewed with reservation and suspicion by ill-informed Catholics in spite of the strenuous efforts of more magnanimous men to aid and protect them.

Finding themselves clearly subordinate to the Latin majority, the Orientals were defenseless against the invasion of Latin ways and customs, and gradually many of them lost touch with the spirit of their own heritage. Often this was their own doing. They wished above all to be Catholic, and in a world in which this was often taken to mean "Latin," they eagerly imitated Latin practices, many of which were not attuned to their own, religious culture, to prove that they too were real Catholics. Often it resulted from the misguided actions of Latins. Lastly, we must not underestimate the enormous influence of simply belonging to a Church, which had become so totally Western. Had there never been a schism, Rites would have continued to influence one another. Schism made the process a one-way street.

-Robert F. Taft  Eastern-Rite Catholicism Its Heritage and Vocation

This may be true for the Anglican Use Rite (I wouldn't know), but not for the Eastern Catholic Churches which all have seminaries for the formation of their priests.

I was addressing your comments on the Anglican Use specifically.

A Church is not the same as a rite. Within the Catholic Church there are 22 autonomous churches, each of which follows one of the 6 major rites. In these Churches, we recite a universal Creed and include the pope in our prayers. That is one area where a change would need to be made.

The primates of all Orthodox Churches that are in communion with each other are commemorated in the Diptychs and at certain times of the year in special liturgies.

"Where Peter is, there is the Church".

I am not going to go there or we will be writing tomes to each other and getting nowhere quickly.  Both Orthodox and Roman's can quote the fathers ad infinitum at each other (and have on FR and elsewhere).  So I will just say that I am familiar with the patristic arguments on both sides and I am Orthodox.

We must unite because that is the will of God!

It's really just that simple.

I admire your enthusiasm.  And I share your desire.  Just not at the expense of the essentials of the faith.  The false Union of Florence needs to be a warning to all against attempting to force reunification where the urgent issues which divide us have not been resolved.  For years Catholics have been saying to the Orthodox "All you need to do is say YES."  The problem remains that Orthodox are heretics under the canons of your ecumenical councils.  You have pronounced anathema against us.  And in fairness the reverse is true.  When I was received into Orthodoxy I was required to specifically abjure all heresies to which I had previously been attached. 

It should come as no surprise you, K, that in the Latin Church, many bishops not only share this belief but would welcome this power. As a member of a diocese run by an ultra leftist bishop, such power would translate into rewriting the liturgical texts to render them gender neutral. And that is just for starters. Imagine according such power to this "bishop"!

That is a source of grave concern to many Orthodox.  We see the Latin Church in its current crisis and are alarmed.  On the one hand we want Rome to embrace a more Orthodox ecclesiology but we also are not unaware that the western church has become used to the papal monarchy.  The problem now is that Rome is somewhat in the position of having mounted the tiger they may not be able to get off without being eaten.  The sensus fidei of the west has been badly eroded as a result of this form of government.  We all know that absent the strong arm of the Vatican chaos might well ensue in the Roman Church.  If the Pope embraced an Orthodox ecclesiology tomorrow by the end of the week I can name several RC bishops and at least one cardinal who would be ordaining women and marrying homosexuals.  We have nothing comparable to the papacy.  But for all of our administrative disunity, bishops like you have are inconceivable in Orthodoxy. 

That's because we have a sensus fidei which maintains the faith and church discipline without an absolute monarchy for a church structure.  It has done so with remarkable success for 2000 years.  Also though we do have our problems (trust me we do), we are not anarchists as some seem to think.  Bishops are answerable to their respective synods.  And corrupt or theologically suspect bishops don't usually last long.  In the Orthodox tradition it is not at all unusual for bishops to attack one another, sometimes quite publicly.  I was and remain astonished at some of the heated rhetoric our bishops direct at one another. We have (as you may be aware) some serious problems in the OCA right now.  The word scandal is appropriate (although it's about money thank God, and not something really important).  My point though is that even without a supreme pontiff the mess is getting cleaned up.  One mitered head has already rolled and more are almost certain to follow.  The Greeks just went through a similar situation with some problems in Greece proper and also with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.  Heads have rolled and the problems are being fixed.  When was the last time you heard a Roman Catholic Bishop call a fellow bishop a heretic?  Could you imagine it?  I  never heard it and if I went to my grave without ever hearing it I would not be surprised.

True. There have even been some popes whose personal lifestyles were more than questionable; yet, never once did anyone of them err when it came to doctrine.

That is a matter of opinion.  It is not one that is shared on our side of the fence.  I don't want a charitable discussion to turn into a battle of polemics so I will leave it at that.

Among the Christian churches, only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The Protestant churches were established during the Reformation, which began in 1517. (Most of today’s Protestant churches are actually offshoots of the original Protestant offshoots.)

Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history.

Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy, and the churches that send out door-to-door missionaries are young compared to the Catholic Church. Many of these churches began as recently as the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Some even began during your own lifetime. None of them can claim to be the Church Jesus established. The Catholic Church has existed for nearly 2,000 years, despite constant opposition from the world. This is testimony to the Church’s divine origin. It must be more than a merely human organization, especially considering that its human members— even some of its leaders—have been unwise, corrupt, or prone to heresy.

Any merely human organization with such members would have collapsed early on. The Catholic Church is today the most vigorous church in the world (and the largest, with a billion members: one sixth of the human race), and that is testimony not to the cleverness of the Church’s leaders, but to the protection of the Holy Spirit.

This sounds like something out of a religious tract.  The Roman Church from our point of view broke from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in the first part of the last millennium   As I noted previously the Catholic Faith founded by Jesus Christ subsists in the Orthodox Church which retains the faith of the first millennium unaltered.  Protestants and Catholics from our perspective are theologically just two sides of the same coin.  All Protestants are crypto-papists.  You both believe that one person can interpret the faith.  All the Protestants did was to replace the Pope with millions of little popes.  The results are there for everyone to see.  Only the Church as a whole can interpret scripture or pronounce dogma on matters of faith.  That's why despite our millions of petty arguments and fights over everything from calendars to fasting rules, we adhere to the same faith.  It all comes back to sensus fidei.

Apologies for typos.  Its late.

43 posted on 09/10/2006 9:03:24 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge (The last really great president.)
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To: kronos77; Kolokotronis; All
Yet, there is a custom [in Voyvodina, an ehtnically heterogenious province of Serbia bordeirng with Hungary] that when Catholic-Ortodox couple get married, some of them go to both churches to be wedd, in Ortodox and catholic in same day, also they baptise their children in both churches also in same day. some belief is among peoplethat both rituals must be respected if your parents are Catholic and Ortodox or babtism would not be concidered "true" and "right"

There are two parts to my comment: one is a historical perspective and the other concerns matters of faith.

One has to know the background of this abomination, for the lack of a better word. It's called: communism. It was a policy of communist authorities in the former Yugoslavia for approximately half a century to relativize and even ridicule anything that had to do with ethnic identity. The regime was not openly hostile towards religion, but religion was looked upon with scorn and even disdain as something reactionary (read: anticommunist), backward, superstitious, and so on.

Generations raised under such a regime have maintained but a skeleton of their religious identity, often retaining it on paper more than in praxis. Traditionally, religious observances were morphed into state-observed secular holidays (thus a New Year was a Christmas-like holiday without Chirst in it, while Christmas was a "private" observance).

Needless to say, liturgical life was not highly favored and was generally subdued. People who were very religious were usually considered as "zealots" or even "extremists." The Serbian Orthodox Church was in particular identified as the source of animosity towards the regime, a sanctuary for the "nationalists," and was, like the Church in Russia, heavily infiltrated by communist agents, so much so that even the Patriarch was at one time suspected of being one.

The Serbian community in Diaspora for that reason formed the so-called Free Serbian Eparchy in America, Australia and Canada, in full schism with the Patriarchy in Belgrade, the way the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) was created for the same reason several decades earlier, following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

Much more importantly, was the communist official policy known as the "Brotherhood and Unity." Intermarriages across ethnic lines and religious backgrounds were encouraged and lauded. Everyone was supposed to be a nondescript "Yugoslav" (even those who did not fit the bill because they were not ethnic Slavs [the name Yugoslav means Southern Slav]).

Unfortunately, the disease introduced by the communists still persists. This is why such abominations that you describe being practiced in Voyvodina are not surprising to me but they ought to be to the world.

For one, marriage is a sacrament a holy mystery, of union of a man and a woman by God. You can't be married in one church and then say God didn't do it "equitably" until He marries the couple in the other church!

Your lack of faith or upbringing in faith is perfectly clear which is why you probably do much better on political forums.

Secondly, being "double-baptized" is a heresy, always has been, for the last 2,000 years. I honestly do not believe that the priests know that the couple has already been married in one church or that the baby has already been baptized in the other.

If they do know, and still perform the sacraments, I would like you to tell us which churches in your sunny Voyvodina are doing that so that I can write to their bishops and ask them how is that possible. Much obliged.

44 posted on 09/10/2006 9:12:14 PM PDT by kosta50 (Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

Discuss the issues, do NOT make it personal.


45 posted on 09/10/2006 9:13:30 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Kolokotronis; Campion; Calvin Coollidge; livius; eleni121; NYer; kosta50
If that one issue can be resolved by a return on the part of Rome to a manner of presiding which is as similar to the way it presided for lets say the first 800-1000 years of the Church's existence ...

But here is the rub. Before the split there was a difference of opinion within the undivided Church about the role of the pope. We are all familiar with the statements from the early popes and and western bishops in this regard. When the Orthodox call for a return to the status of the pope to that as it was in the undivided Church are they not really saying that they want the Latins to agree with what the Greeks held at that time? Could the Orthodox agree to communion with a pope that spoke thus:

Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed Apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others. From this formality there arose also a distinction among bishops, and by a great arrangement it was provided that no one should arrogate everything to himself, but in individual provinces there should be individual bishops whose opinion among their brothers should be first; and again, certain others, established in larger cities, were to accept a greater responsibility. Through them the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head.
These words come from Pope Leo I around 446, well within the time of the undivided Church. I am not arguing that this was accepted by the Greeks (although I do think that the opinion in the East was a bit more complicated and fluid than is usually portrayed by the Orthodox), only that it was a strongly held opinion held by the early popes and the Western church. If the beliefs and practices of the undivided Church are to be the rule for unity, how can Rome's claims of universal jurisdiction be a justification for division?
46 posted on 09/10/2006 9:15:28 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: MissAmericanPie
Interesting read, might throw a little light on the subject for you.

Somehow I think professional historians (Sir Martin Gilbert; Rabbi Dalin) and persons who actually lived through that era (Ambassador Lapide and Prime Minister Meir -- note that every person I have mentioned is a Jew!) are better qualified than a variety of Jewish religious leaders, none of whom have any particular competence to comment on Pope Pius' leadership during WW2, and all of whom are spouting the recycled garbage hatched by dissident Catholics like Cornwell, which had its genesis in a play written by a German (Rolf Hochhuth) whose father was a member of the SS.

But I guess you'd rather trust leftist, pro-homosexual apostate Catholics and the son of an SS officer. Whatever.

47 posted on 09/10/2006 9:26:09 PM PDT by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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To: Kolokotronis; livius

"That sort of ethnic mix, by the way, is replicated across the country as most any Orthodox Freeper can tell you."

It certainly has been my experience. I have been a member of 7 parishes, in 7 different parts of North America, in 4 jurisdictions. In addition, I've visited at least a score of other parishes.

I can only think of a couple of parishes where I was not warmly welcomed, and both of them were parishes where I don't think very many people were able to speak English well. I suspect that even those parishes would have warmed up had I attended regularly.

Maybe I've just been lucky (or blessed), but I don't think that your parish and mine are anomalies in the least.

And as you know, I share your reservations about Hopko. The history of the OCA is one that cripples it, because they (or I should say "we" -- since I have spent longer in my current OCA parish than I have in any other single parish over the past couple of decades in the Orthodox Church), like the Roman church, have painted themselves into a bit of a corner.

There are lots of healthy and growing OCA parishes, but the OCA as a jurisdiction through its claim to "autocephaly" has only hurt the cause of Orthodox unity in the U.S.

But while it isn't as hard as figuring out how to have the Pope make himself un-infallible, it is still pretty hard to say, "whoops, maybe we really aren't the autocephalous Church in North America!"


48 posted on 09/10/2006 9:48:05 PM PDT by Agrarian
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To: Petrosius; Kolokotronis; Campion; Calvin Coollidge; livius; eleni121; NYer
I am not arguing that this was accepted by the Greeks (although I do think that the opinion in the East was a bit more complicated and fluid than is usually portrayed by the Orthodox), only that it was a strongly held opinion held by the early popes and the Western church

That is a fair assessment, and fully supported by documents and the Council of Chalcedon.

Could the Orthodox agree to communion with a pope that spoke thus:...

First of all, No. The reason is that it's not the extent of papal jurisdiction that is prejducitional to communion, but the lack of theological unity. Communion is, as we know, not a means towards a union, but an expression of such a union in faith. When one bishop recognizes the same faith in another bishop, they are then in communion.

As regards papal jurisdictional authority outined in he quote of +Leo the Great, please note that the quote says there arose also a distinction among bishops. Clearly +Leo Great here concedes that the greater authority arose among bishops, leading to different levels of authority, which clearly shows that it was not something given, but evaluational in nature.

Thus, the idea that the papacy is something that was rooted in scripture was not the opinion of the early Church. The Council of Chalcedon testifies to the effect, and reveals instead that the bishops, in the General Council, gave primacy of honor and privileges to those bishops who were in cities of imperial dignity, first the Old Rome and then the New Rome (Constantinople).

Thus the records of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (451 A.D.) leave no doubt or any ambiguity as to whence the honors and privileges were received by some bishops and why.

But notice that the bishops also state the throne of the new Rome should "in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after [the throne of Old Rome], which would give the impression that the +Peter's throne is "above" the one in Constantinople.

But that is immediately dispelled by a clear and unambiguous statement of juridical authority of the Bishops of Constantinople as being separate from Rome, and absolute to his area of jurisdiction:

As is well known, +Leo the Great refused to sign and approve this (in)famous (28th) canon, but the canon was put into effect even over his veto, his lamenting to the Emperor and the Empress separately, and ignored by his own Latin bishops in Illyria.

This was such an insult to the West that the Council of Trullo(692 A.D.) renewed canon 28, but found it necessary to make the following statement as well:

That being said, it remains unaltered that a bishop is the highest ecclesial authority in the church. The primacy of some bishops are of honor and privileges, and therefore dignity, not authority over other bishops.

For practical reasons, religious communities require larger bodies to be represented by one of their own (an archbishop) by the will and the decision of the Synod of bishops. This, these responsibilities are given by the bishops to the bishops for practical reasons, as one professional organization elects its officers who represent the whole professional community, but do not lord over them.

One must remember that although +Peter is distinctly selected in the NT (either for his weakness or his strength of faith), and given the keys, there is no evidence that the primitive Church considered him to be the "prince" of the Apostles, nor did the Apostles "report" to him or depend on his approval.

Likewise, the evolution of papacy can also be seen in the fact that the first Pope to use the title Papa was Siricisuc at the very end of the 4th century (384-399 A.D.). Until that time, +Peter's succsors in Rome were only referred to individually as Episcopus Romanus (i.e. Bishop of Rome).

49 posted on 09/10/2006 10:41:50 PM PDT by kosta50 (Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Petrosius; Kolokotronis; Campion; Calvin Coollidge; livius; eleni121; NYer
prejducitional =prejudicial

evaluational=evolutional

Apologies for typos; it's late.

PS I hate this spellchecker.

50 posted on 09/10/2006 10:49:17 PM PDT by kosta50 (Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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