Skip to comments.Is There a Breakthrough in Orthodox and Catholic Relations?
Posted on 06/20/2008 4:48:31 AM PDT by tcg
Reports are circulating, in circles which are intensely attuned to the continued warming of relations between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, of a statement and proposal allegedly made by Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
If they are confirmed, it may signal a major move toward communion between Eastern Catholics and their Orthodox Brethren.It may also open the path to dialogue on communion between the Churches even wider.
The Religious Information Service of the Ukraine, associated with the Ukranian Catholic University, was cited as one source for the articles. Another was a German Ecumenical Journal named after the great Bishops Cyril and Methodius.
Both of these sources allege that the Orthodox Patriarch made an unusual gesture toward Eastern Catholic Churches which are in union with Rome, proposing that the members of those Churches somehow return to Orthodoxy without breaking unity with Rome...
(Excerpt) Read more at catholic.org ...
It is the position of Eastern Catholics that they have already done that centuries ago.
Yes, but it is not the position of the Orthodox
I don’t think any of the Disciples, Apostles, or early Christians would know what to make of either.
Furthermore, some of the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome have a rather ambiguous relationship with Papacy, the best example being the Melikte Church.
Orthodox Churches traditionally accept Coptic Orthodox believers into communion after only a profession of faith (the original Nicene-Constantinopolean Creed). The Catholics must either be baptized or chrismated (confirmed), or both (depending on how one was baptized) in addition to the profession of faith, which is the same requirement for other groups such as Arians and the like!
But the problem with re-establishing communion with Eastern Churches in communion with Rome (whose baptism and chrismation is the same as in the Orthrodox Churches) is that they teach Purgatory, Immaculate Conception and the infallibility of the Pope, and that such teachings, while not part of the Creed, represent a dogmatic and not just doctrinal divide between the East and the West, and ultimately represent a different faith that cannot be ignored out of desire for intercommunion.
Patriarch Bartholomew I is probably the most zealous among Orthodox bishops for a renewed East-West communion . However, he by no means speaks on behalf of all of his apostolic brethren, nor does he have jurisdictional authority over them.
Perhaps he envisioned the inter-communion with Eastern Churches in communion with Rome based solely on the Creed as the normative requirement applied to Coptic or Ethiopian Orthodox believers, while leaving other doctrinal/dogmatic issues for a future Ecumenical Council.
If so, that is rather "unorthodox" (no pun intended), and I am not sure how much support he will find among other Orthodox Patriarchs on this.
The Catholic news have been treating Batholomew I as some kind of an "Eastern Pope." This is a monumental mistake that will create a false impression on the Catholic side because the Orthodox Church is a Synodal Church (as it always was) and the Ecumenical Patriarch is an honorary chairman (first among equals). For an all-Orthodox decision to be made, the Synod has to agree.
While, as the Ecumenical Patriarch, he reserves certain canonical privileges, Batholomew I cannot ignore or change the canon at will. And, more importantly, he must abide by the decision of the Synod of Patriarchs, where his vote counts as any other.
It would be much more responsible journalism if Catholic news services provided the opinions of other Patriarchs and, not a least bit of other bishops, lower clergy and the People of God. Let's not forget the faux-reunion of Florence, which was put together in an overzealous attempt by the Eastern hierarchs in order to save Constantinople, that was ultimately rejected by the lowest clergy and the laity.
“But the problem with re-establishing communion with Eastern Churches in communion with Rome (whose baptism and chrismation is the same as in the Orthrodox Churches) is that they teach Purgatory, Immaculate Conception and the infallibility of the Pope, and that such teachings, while not part of the Creed, represent a dogmatic and not just doctrinal divide between the East and the West, and ultimately represent a different faith that cannot be ignored out of desire for intercommunion.”
I was under the impression that the Melkites had not accepted Purgatory and the IC and all but rejected the convept of papal infallibility. Certainly the caveat added to the signiture of the Melkite patriarch on the Vatican I declaration all but expressly denies the innovative notion of papal infallibility. As for the other churches which accept those notions, well there certainly could be no communion as they do not dogmatically profess the same faith. To my understanding, Coptic and Armenian Christians do in fact actually express and hold the same faith we do.
Nothing Black Bart of Istanbul spouts off about surprises me or any other Greek. That said, even he knows that he is no Eastern Pope and if he happens to forget, we’ll remind him otherwise as we have had occasion in the past. As for the Latin press, well, I would have thought they’d have finally figured out that the EP is NOT any sort of Eastern Pope. If they haven’t, then what they write isn’t worth wrapping fish in; if they have, then this story is simply Roman propaganda.
Why a rebaptism for Catholics?
Synod of Patriarchs? What precedence is there from before 1054 for such a concept?
From the report this is just a proposal, not a decree. Perhaps, if the report is true, he is just raising a flag and seeing who will salute, east and west.
The Apostles would have said “ Thank the Lord they still believe in the Real Presence like we taught them.”
“For an all-Orthodox decision to be made, the Synod has to agree.”
Strictly asked as a point of curiousity. If the Synod is required for an “all-orthodox” decision on a matter...can you name the places/dates of such a synod or synods that have explicitly condemned the dogma of papal infallibilty, purgatory, the Immaculate Conception and the filioque.
And if there has been no such all-orthodox synod and decision on one or more of these questions, and as only hypothetical as it might sound, might an Orthodox individual hold to them as a pious opinion in the absence of such an “all-orthodox” decision in a given instance?
“Why a rebaptism for Catholics?”
Because some of the Orthodox no longer follow the Canons of the first 7 ecumenical councils with regards to this matter. ;) However, not all Eastern Orthodox follow this practice and some will even receive Catholic clerics in their orders!
However, the Oriental Orthodox are the worst anabaptists. For instance the Copts will rebaptize all Chalcedonian Christians - even the Eastern Orthodox! It is all quite scandalous really and certainly is proximate to heresy.
There is no need as the Church does not need a synod to reject that which is outside of the Church. As these new concepts are created and added to other faiths, it only serves to increase their distance from the Orthodox Christian faith.
Really? Which ones?
“As for the Latin press, well, I would have thought theyd have finally figured out that the EP is NOT any sort of Eastern Pope. If they havent, then what they write isnt worth wrapping fish in; if they have, then this story is simply Roman propaganda.”
I don’t think the “Catholic News Service” really qualifies for the designation “Latin Press”. It certainly doesn’t qualify for the designation “Catholic”! ;)
They are so ignorant about their own religion that it shouldn’t be a surprise if they are ignorant about yours too! Of course they think “Black Bart” is an Eastern Pope - they can’t stretch their minds to understand that there could be any other sort of Patriarch. (It doesn’t help that there is an Eastern Pope of course i.e. Shenouda III)
And by what authority can it be declared that papal infallibility, purgatory, the Immaculate Conception and the filioque are "outside of the Church"? Is this not begging the question? It is the position of the Latin church that they have always been taught and are not novelties. Indeed, we would hold that the Church without Peter (i.e., the pope) is the novelty.
I am nto very familiar with Melkite's postion on this. Perhpas if you have the document, it would shed light for all on this Forum, Kolo. Thanks for bringing it up. If true, that would be signifcant as it is unclear what makes Melkites "Catholic" in the Roman sense.
“Because some of the Orthodox no longer follow the Canons of the first 7 ecumenical councils with regards to this matter.
Really? Which ones?”
Canon 8 of the Council of Arles (not that this was an ecumenical council) stipulated that only those who had not received a Trinitarian baptism were to be rebaptized.
Canon 19 of the Council of Nicea assumes the practice of not rebaptizing those who have received Trinitarian baptism outside the Church, but specifies that the Paulianists, without exception, must be re-baptized (because they adhered to a non-Trinitarian heresy.)
If a Catholic seeking to covert to Orthoodxy was baptized by tripple sprinlking rather than tripple immersion/pouring, or of the Orthodox bishop has reason to believe that sprinkling was used instead of tripple immersion/pouring, the individual would be baptized, not re-baptized.
It's like someone whose marriage was annulled by the Church. That person was never married. In this case, as far as the Orthodox Church is concerned, that Catholic was never baptized.
Needless to say, baptims of Catholics is rare nowadays. Protestants who are usually baptized with a single immersion/pouring are routinely baptized into Orthodoxy.
But all converts to Orthodoxy, save for the Coptics, Ethiopians, Armenians, etc., would be chrismated (confirmed) with holy oil, regardless if they require baptism or not.
Please see my Post #19.
The pre 1054 Church was Synodal.
Catholic infant baptisms usually involve water being poured over the head three times, so I guess that would be valid.
A synod of all the bishops (i.e., an ecumenical council), yes. But when was it known to have a synod of only the patriarchs?
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No, all-Orthodox Synods dealt with issues regarding the Church, not things the Church never taught or believed. In other words, if someone began to teach Purgatory in the Orthodox Church, an all-Orthodox Synod would deal with that.
An all-Orthodox Synod was held in Jerusalem in the 17th century to combat a Calvinist mole in the rank of an Ecumenical Patriarch.
And if there has been no such all-orthodox synod and decision on one or more of these questions, and as only hypothetical as it might sound, might an Orthodox individual hold to them as a pious opinion in the absence of such an all-orthodox decision in a given instance?
No, unless he could show that this was what the Church believed everywhere and always.
Really? What evidence do you have that the entire Church taught them everywhere and always?
The Orthodox Church does not consider spirnkling to be baptism in the strict sense of the meaning of the word baptiso.
These were the common teachings in the West. What evidence do you have that the entire Church everywhere and always held them to be heretical? At best all you can do is show that these are open questions, not heresy.
Purgatory was taught throughout the West in the undivided church and no synod/council ever condemned it.
The Synod of each Church involves the Patriarch and all the bishops of that particular Church (i.e. Russian, Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, etc.); the Ecumenical Patriarch has his own Synod of bishops. An all-Orthodox Synod would consist of Patriarchs of all (14 or so) Orthodox Churches representing all the Synods through them, being that the Patriarchs are elected by the local Synods.
That would make it a theologoumenna, and not a doctrine of the (whole) Church. Just like the original sin, or the assumption of BEV Mary body and soul, it was never elevated to the level of dogma in the undivided Church, although the East professed it all along, the Church as a whole remained silent on these issues for a long time.
That may be the modern Orthodox practice but it was unknown in the Church before 1054. The undivided church knew only local synods or an ecumenical council to which all the bishops were invited. The patriarchs did not have any authority to meet separately as representing their respective patriarchates.
Thus to hold these opinions cannot be considered heretical nor reason to break communion.
I didn't say they were heresy. They are dogma of the Latin Church, but they were never dogma of the Church of the Seven Councils, i.e. the Orthodox Church. If we are going to speak of one Church, we can only do that up to that point, as it binding on both the East and the West.
They are elevated to the level of dogma in the West and yes, that is the reason for non-communion.
Correct. The same can be said of bishops and priests. Priests are an addition which became necessary when the Church grew. It would be impractical to send all the bishops to an all-Orthodox Synod. The point is that the ecclesial operating system remains unchanged in the East, with no bishop having jurisdiction of another bishop, and all decisions are made among apostolic successors through a synodal method, just as it was among the Holy Apostles.
I'm counting on some of the Orthodox to clarify the meaning of this.
“That would make it a theologoumenna, and not a doctrine of the (whole) Church. Just like the original sin, or the assumption of BEV Mary body and soul, it was never elevated to the level of dogma in the undivided Church, although the East professed it all along, the Church as a whole remained silent on these issues for a long time.”
I assume it would be correct to say that the difference between a theologoumenna and a dogma is significantly less than that between a heresy and a dogma?
Would it be correct to say from the EO p.o.v. that it is acceptable to believe in a theologoumenna as long as one does not hold it as a dogma?
“The Orthodox Church does not consider spirnkling to be baptism in the strict sense of the meaning of the word baptiso.”
I can understand that, although from a canonical point of view the water must “flow” over the person being baptized, so I have never heard or seen of Catholic baptisms which could be described as “sprinkling”. (We of course also baptise where there is any doubt as to validity in the form or matter of the sacrament.)
An interesting discussion.
As a son of an Irish Catholic father and Greek Orthodox mother I can relate to some of the differences in the two major Christian faiths. Since there was no Orthodox Church anywhere near my small hometown I was raised a Catholic. My Mother however retained her original faith even while encumbered by the lack of a place of worship nearby. I had a Greek uncle who lived in the same town who did convert to the Catholic faith eventually. In my younger years when I spent a summer with my grandmother in Florida I did on occasion attend Greek Orthodox services with her and her husband.
Theologoumenna is a religious opinion that is not considered heresy. Individual Fathers engaged in such but no one accepted them as the alpha and omega of Church doctrine. Take, for example, the teaching of St. Augustine of Hippo. When the East finally learned of his work in the 14th century, the Church rejected most of his teachings, but not all. In fact, he is also an Orthodox Saint, as are many Roman Popes.
Some Fathers at one point or another in their theological life strayed into heresy, but rejected their teaching before they were condemned. St. Gregory of Nyssa, one of the three Cappadocian giants for both the East and the West, taught for a time being universal salvation under the influence of his mentor Origen. Later, St. Gregory rejected this error.
Would it be correct to say from the EO p.o.v. that it is acceptable to believe in a theologoumenna as long as one does not hold it as a dogma?
Theologoumenna is not dogma. Dogma is something we all have to believe without exception. The Church dogma, for example is that God is Triune, that the Father is source of everything and all, including the divinity, that the Son is the only-begotten before all ages and that the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father, that all Three are one in essence (divine), one God; we profess the monarchy of the Father, and we profess three Hypostases in the economy of our salvation as three distinct persons of one and the same God. We profess that Mary was the Birthgiver of God, the Mother of God our Lord Jesus Christ; that Christ is eternal Word Incarnate, fully divine and fully human, with two natures and two wills in one Person, etc.
These are Church dogmas we must believe in order to be members of the one Holy Carholic and Apostolic Church. Anyone who does not profess that (and the rest) is not catholic, and his faith is not orthodox.
The Orthodox also believe in the intermediate state of the souls, between the particular and the final judgment (the nature of that judgment doesn't change). We hold memorials (panikhidas, parastas, pomens, etc.) for the souls of the departed. We believe our prayers and services help the state of the souls who died in less than full repentance. Obviously some cleansing is taking place and the sinful souls are shamed before God but can do nothing to ease their suffering, save for our memorials.
Where we differ with the Latins is the nature of that suffering. It is not God who is causing the suffering nor is there "real" fire involved in "roasting" the souls of the departed to God's content. These are theological issues we must discuss and find concordance in. We believe we can do that by looking at what the Church as a whole professed as an undivided Church.
We reject Purgatory because the East was never made aware of it, nor was it known to the Church in the East, and because it is contrary to the Orthodox teaching that God is not the cause of our suffering.
“(It doesnt help that there is an Eastern Pope of course i.e. Shenouda III)”
He’s A very nice and very holy man, too!
“As a son of an Irish Catholic father and Greek Orthodox mother....”
The PERFECT combo! :)
“I’m counting on some of the Orthodox to clarify the meaning of this.”
Don’t expect to hear we understand this, NYer. Its a bizarre statement to the extent that those churches, like yours, accept various of the modern Latin dogmas....Of course, we all know what goes on in Lebanon, theological niceties to the contrary notwithstanding!
Baptiso means to dunk (submerse) repeatedly resulting in a permanent change, as in pickling cucumbers. Contrast that with the word bapto which means to dunk.
The idea is to be "inside" the water and to accomplish this repeatedly, specifically three times (trinitarian formula ), resulting in a permanent change.
It is incorrect to say that the Church rejected most of St. Augustine's teachings when it was only the Eastern part of the Church that did so. His teaching, with exceptions, has always been held in the West. The Eastern bishops do not speak for the entire Church.
The ecclesial operating system remains unchanged in the West, with all the bishops recognizing the universal jurisdiction of the pope as the successor of St. Peter, just as it was among the Holy Apostles.
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