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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: the primacy of the Pope and the Papacy
El Greco
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# 9313

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Is there phyletism in the dioceses of Greece? Is there phyletism in the dioceses of Russia? I don't understand what you are saying...

[ 23. February 2006, 09:49: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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Are Old Calendarists in Greece Orthodox or not? What about ROCA in Russia? Now, I know these are schisms or pseudo-schisms and not phyletistic situations but my point about ecclesiological flaws is wider than phyletism in the west anyway. It concerns a certain over emphasis of Orthodoxy with national culture and identity and that certainly concerns Greece and Russia as well as the "west." Rome manages to respect local culture without becoming in bondage to it. We could indeed learn from that. (As I said, let's not derail the thread).

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Fr. Gregory
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El Greco
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Schismatics are not Orthodox. If they were, then we would be sinning for not being in communion with them. There is no church outside the communion of the faithful.

You are talking about Old Calendarists in Greece. Haven't you heard that there are groups that come from the Roman Church that do not acknowledge the Roman Pontiff and the Curia, because they don't agree e.g. with the new liturgy in use? Are these people Roman Catholics or not?

By what you are saying, the situation in the Roman Church would be different. It's not though.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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You have not answered my substantive point about ethnocentric isolation.

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Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
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El Greco
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I don't understand what you are saying. The Church of Greece is supposed to cater for the Orthodox people in Greece. The same applies for the Church of Russia.

The fact that there is no Church of England, does not mean that there is enthocentrism in Greece.

I don't understand what you are saying. Perhaps you could describe what you mean in greater detail.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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There is a tendency amongst the Orthodox to regard their own Orthodoxy (Greek, Russian etc.,) as the 5 star version. This is based not on Christianity more often than not but on national and cultural pride. It is what hinders inter-Orthodox coperation in the west and transnationally and I guess is the real reason we all shy away from that oh-so-necessary Ecumenical Council that we have been "preparing for" for generations.

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Fr. Gregory
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PaulTH*
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Dear andreus1984

So called Catholics who don't acknowledge the Pope or the Curia, the Sedevacantits can't possibly be Roman Catholics. They're in approximatey the same position as Henry VIII when he removed all vestiges of Roman authority from his kingdom. But some of those groups opposed to modern liturgy, the best known being the Society of St Pious X are in a bit of a grey area.

When Archbishop Lefebre ordianed a number of bishops in 1988 without the authority of the Church, Pope JPII threatened him and the entire SSPX with excommunication, but never formally proceded with it. Since Pope Benedict XVI has been in office he has met with leaders of the SSPX in an attempt to bring them back on board. He is, after all, a supporter of traditional liturgy himself. The result has been a full admission by Rome that the SSPX has never been in formal schism and that Catholics in good standing aren't barred from involvement with the Society.

Are you suggesting that ROCOR is in formal schism from Orthodoxy?

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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PaulTH*
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Typo alert!! I meant Sedevacantists.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
It is what hinders inter-Orthodox coperation in the west and transnationally

Again, you are talking about what happens in England. I do not know what the situation is like there, but judging from what I can see here, there is no such hindrance in co-operation.

What you describe is certainly wrong, and not Orthodox at all. But it can be resolved by applying the Orthodox practices, instead of adopting non-Orthodox (i.e. Roman) practices.

You could make a point by saying that the Byzantines viewed the entire world as if its centre were them.

"Ecumenical council": I have heard about no such thing. I have heard about a Pan-Orthodox meeting, but this is hindered because some put politics above theology.

It's like the cardinals leaking their journals from the papal election. They think that the vows they took do not apply to them. Putting themselves above Church order is something bad.

PaulTH*

I spoke mostly about the Old calendarists in Greece. They are not in communion with the rest of the church.

What's the situation with ROCOR? I don't know. (I have heard some theories by fr. Gregory and others here on the Ship that communion with one that is in communion with another makes the first in communion with the last etc, but this a) makes no sense at all, b) is not historically consistent, c) oversees the fact that the link between the rest of the Church and a group outside Her, may be doing so for political reasons, and not for theological ones).

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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John Holding

Coffee and Cognac
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Andreas --

Following on from that last post, perhaps you need to recognize that for most of the people you are talking to, the way the Orthodox church manifests itself in Greece is utterly unrelated to their experience of the church, the orthodox church or anything else.

For example, in North America generally, there are several different orthodox jurisdictions covering the same territory, not a single orthodox jurisdiction. "Battling bishops" is the best way of expressing the fact that the whole idea of geographic jurisdiction is dead in orthodoxy -- it only lives inside separate orthodox groupings (I won't call them denominations, though as that word is used in western theology, I could justiy it, I think). There is no witness to unity or common theology.

In the city in which I grew up, there were three (or four?) competing orthodox bishops, each representing a different racial grouping within Orthodoxy. Since then an Antiochene has arrived as well, but at least that version of Orthodoxy isn't racially denominated. (And comments that follow do not apply to it.)

When I say no witness to unity, and refer to racial grouping, what I mean is that the Greek Orthodox parishes were under the authority of a bishop seen as a delegate of the church in Greece, attended exclusively by those whose families came from Greece -- and Greek was the lnaugage of worship. Russians and Ukrainians worshipped each in their own parishes, subject to their own bishops who were seen as representative of the church in Russian and the Ukraine respectively. Never did anyone from one group worship in a church of one of the others. In one case, a Russian and a Greek cathedral sat on two corners of the same intersection, and did not speak to each other. Frankly, they were far more likely to speak to their Roman or Anglican or Presbyterian or Baptist brothers than to each other. In 2006, worship continues to be in the inherited language, which most no longer speak 3-4 generations along. From outside -- and with no attempt to assess the religious beliefs of those who attend services -- the parishes attract far fewer worshippers than they do people anxious to participate in social and education and other activities that will preserve cultural and ethnic heritage. (And I do recognize that to a lesser extent, the same is true in Canada for some presbyterians (Scottish) and some Anglicans (English).)

Now you can rightly say that those are aberrations and not what orthodoxy is in Greece. But it is what the experience of orthodoxy is for many in NOrth American and other places.

So basing your arguments on how you experience orthodoxy in Greece is not going to work in debate here, unless you recognise, acknowledge and take account of the fact that the way it is in Greece is not the way it is in other places. (I'd bet that the Greek experience of orthodoxy is not typical or normative of orthodoxy as a whole, just as the Antiochene version is not -- and as the Church of England (and my own Anglican church of Canada for that matter) is neither typical nor normative of Anglicanism.)

I'll go further. I think much of the reaction you have drawn on several threads over several months turns out to be because you argue exclusively from a base of knowledge and experience that almost no-one else knows or shares -- not "orthodoxy", but "orthodoxy as expressed and experienced in Greece." That's not a barrier to reasoned discussion, but it is a barrier to mutual understanding of what people are actually saying and meaning.

John

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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I'd go along with much of that John but not quite as strongly for here in the UK things are not quite as bad as that. We have flourishing inter-Orthodox societies and clergy and people often swap. We have a pan-Orthodox theological Institute in Cambridge and the hierarchs are on very good working terms with each other.

What frustrates me here though is the inability of some "cradle" Orthodox to see beyond the culture and mores of the mother country ... to which most of them never will return. The worst pathology of this is a certain kind of melancholic religion of regret.

Anyway this is about Rome and the papacy! [Hot and Hormonal]

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Fr. Gregory
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El Greco
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John, I see your point. What I was trying to say is that this is what happens now, after the Great Schism, and it's not a typical situation for Orthodoxy before the Schism. So, the Orthodox ecclesiology as expressed before the Schism (imo) has none of the problems fr. Gregory mentioned. This is why I told him that it's not the traditional ecclesiology per se, but the way we operate now in the West. But he seemed to disagree with that and said that it's about ecclesiology.

I don't know about him, but when I read that word I took it to mean one bishop per area, local councils every a specific period of time, and larger councils when necessary.

For example, and let me bring the discussion back to the primacy, I think it's reasonable for one Patriarchate of America, with the bishop of New York as the Patriarch and first among equals in a united church. Any thoughts?

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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PaulTH*
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I admire the way in which some Orthodox priests such as Fr Gregory and Fr Michael Harper in London are working so hard to introduce a local, in our case English, element into Orthodoxy. But they are both English converts to Orthodoxy. I think the Orthodox Church in general is still perceived in the West as being an expatriate church for its various communities, Greek, Russian etc. Not that anyone minds expat communities setting up their own churches, but they are hardly welcoming to outsiders.

There's a Greek Orthodox Church a couple of miles from where I live and once I was driving past and saw it open, so I stopped to look inside. The priest gave me a very starnge look and asked me what I wanted!! This doesn't happen in any other churches I go in and they are numerous. My own view is that Orthodoxy has so much to offer to the West, spiritually, theologically and litugically, and a time honoured consistency lacking in Western Christianity, that it will undoubtedly grow in the future.

While I don'y have any problem with people worshipping in Greek, Russian or Old Slavonic if that's what they want to do, what's the point when it isn't the first language of most of the worshippers? And this isn't comparble to the old use of Latin in the Catholic Church which had the benefit of offering consistence from Poland to Peru. I think Orthodoxy in the West will only begin to grow substantially when it manages to shake off that image.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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Ian Climacus

Liturgical Slattern
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
I think Orthodoxy in the West will only begin to grow substantially when it manages to shake off that image.

Indeed. We have a great number of people (and our Archbishop) pushing it in our Archdiocese, but old habits can die hard.

God help us.


Perhaps if the Pope told us to conduct services in English... [Biased] [Cool]

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Triple Tiara

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Fr Gregory, I am enjoying reading your stuff!

I have a great love and hunger for the insights provided by the "Eastern lung" of the One Church. These provide a profound challenge to us in the West. The problem we have is we have lost the means of listening to each other.

One of the features of Orthodoxy which frightens me is the ethno-centric national nature of Orthodoxy. Let's be honest: there is no Orthodox Church - there are a lot of national Churches.

This had its worst manifestation in my experience in Johannesburg in the 1980s. Fr (Gary) Chrysostom Frank was due to be ordained. He is not Greek. During the actual ordination service there was a near riot as large sections of the congregation erupted to signify their displeasure that the Archbishop should be ordaining a non-Greek. It was scandalous. Fr Frank is a fine scholar and there is an article by him here which beautifully outlines an Orthodox struggle over the question of unity. It is worth reading. But I ought to add that ultimately Fr Frank left the Orthodox Church of Greece to become a Byzantine Rite Catholic in 1996. (The article pre-dates his swimming the Tiber from the Bosphorous).

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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Yes, Triple Tiara ... I heard that scandalous story as well. I think if I was there I would have to have been restrained!

So, let's check this out ...

(1) We'll have the papacy but a bit more "arms length" in terms of jurisdiction please.
(2) You can have icons, theiosis, a bit of mystery back in the Mass etc. etc.
(3) We'll have your unity / identity as Catholics ... oh and a large dollop of your organisational skills please!
(4) You can have all that food we bring to the Eucharist and consume.

It's quite simple really. It just needs the will.

(Where there's a will ....

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

there's a row! [Big Grin]

[ 23. February 2006, 21:44: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]

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Fr. Gregory
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PaulTH*
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Dear Fr Gregory

I wish you were in charge!!!

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
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First, Fr Gregory - respect. It's refreshing to hear you talk so openly.

quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Anyway this is about Rome and the papacy! [Hot and Hormonal]

I think it is, actually. Many of the mentioned problems would disappear, not overnight but in due course, if Orthodoxy had a "transcendent center" in St Peter again. The real interesting question is for me whether the full benefits for Orthodoxy could indeed be realized with a really "loose" intepretation of Petrine primacy. It seems to me that the West is in somewhat better shape to cope with that, whereas the East could do with a serious helping of ecclesiastical "top-down" discipline for quite a while. Basically, you would have to drag the folks in Johannesburg, and for that matter andreas1984, kicking and screaming into the global village of mixed ethnicity that the world has become or is rapidly becoming. I'm wondering if you don't need Roman "centralist legalism" for at least a couple of decades to hold Orthodoxy together admitst the centrifugal forces of your re-union in a more modern setting.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
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For Fr Gregory:

(deep seductive voice .....) Hi Honey [Biased] Wanna come over to my place and preach sometime? [Biased]

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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Erm, well when I have to choose between you and Miss Whiplash in Oz it's a no brainer!

(Fr. Gregory, not relishing top-down 'discipine.')

[ 23. February 2006, 22:29: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]

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Fr. Gregory
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Ian Climacus

Liturgical Slattern
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All this agreement! So Lent will be running a week late this year, Romans? [Biased]

quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Erm, well when I have to choose between you and Miss Whiplash in Oz it's a no brainer!

You've received the invite from our Parish Ladies' Auxiliary then.
[Cool] [Biased]


Ian,
who has no doubt as to who runs our parish. [Smile]
[Thanks be to God though. They keep us going.]

[ 23. February 2006, 22:46: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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What the 'eck's a "Parish Ladies Auxiliary"?

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Fr. Gregory
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Ian Climacus

Liturgical Slattern
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Don't ask, Father.
[Biased]

The Ladies Group. Heaven knows where the term "auxiliary" came from. [Confused]

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El Greco
Shipmate
# 9313

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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
It wasn't accepted by the Eastern Church at large.

I have read the other Orthodox Shipmates here saying that a council is ratified by the people. If the people does not accept it, then it's not valid.

I, on the other hand, think that a council that has been performed properly (according to the order of the Church) is valid, no matter what others might say. This is what I have been taught.

Today, while reading the canons of the third ecumenical council, I found this: "If any layman shall resist the Synod, let him be excommunicated. But if it be a cleric let him be discharged." (epitome of canon 6)

I think that this supports the view I expressed. The council of Florence was not a council because the appropriate procedures were not followed.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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GreyFace
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Given that it involved a large number of Roman Catholics, would it have been an EC if the procedures had been followed, or is one of your procedures that Roman Catholics aren't involved?

I ask because I recall you said earlier that RCs and Protestants wouldn't be involved in a contemporary Ecumenical Council.

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El Greco
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Hold on. I think that it started as a meeting, and then, after an agreement was reached, they called it "ecumenical".

From the Orthodox point of view, an ecumenical council is one done by the Orthodox Church. So, an ecumenical council cannot have as members the Roman Catholics or Protestants.

My point was that during that council, the members were not called according to the order, they did not discuss things according to the order, the emperor took the place of the Patriarch despite the order of the Church, the members of the meeting were not sent to Italy for an ecumenical council etc etc

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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GreyFace
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So if all that had been done and the Roman Catholics still took part, would it have been an Ecumenical Council or not?
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El Greco
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If all have been done, and the Roman Catholics did not take any part whatsoever, and an agreement was reached, then, the council could make reunion and THEN extend the council so that Roman Catholics could take part in it. Unless someone is in union with the Orthodox Church, one cannot take part (as a member I mean) in an ecumenical council.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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GreyFace
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# 4682

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Thanks for the clarification. So the fact that the West took part in the Council is sufficient to make it lack authority in your eyes.
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El Greco
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No. Like I said, the West did not take part in that council before an agreement has been reached.

We didn't go there and discuss with the Romans on equal terms and then all (Orthodox + Romans) voted and a union was reached.

We went there, we discussed with ourselves, we heard the Romans, we discussed with ourselves, we agreed on union, then we extended the council and the RC took part in it as equals and the union was affirmed.

"we": a figure of speech. St. Mark was kept in prison in his own room, bishops were bribed, bishops were threatened that they would not live Italy alive, the Patriarch died and the Emperor took over, the bishops were not given authority when the left Greece to go to Italy for an ecumenical council, etc etc

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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GreyFace
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So hypothetically, if the other conditions had been met then the union would have been valid once it was affirmed?
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El Greco
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If all things were done properly, then it would have been a true union.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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The historical reality is that the people did resist when the union was brought back to Constantinople.

You have a very bureaucratic notion of the validity of an Ecumenical Council Andreas.

Oh dear, we haven't got an Emperor to convene one. What do we do now? [Eek!] [Killing me]

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Fr. Gregory
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Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

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An ecumenical council has no validity unless its decisions are ratified and sealed by the Bishop of Rome. That is another one of those ancient rules.

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El Greco
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# 9313

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TT, just like the Creed which was accepted in the West during the Fourth Ecumenical Council, and after a theology of filioque has been developed in the West?

Father Gregory, truth is not to be judged by majorities. Was monothelitism Orthodox just because the only opponents of that heresy were Maximos and a few friends of his?

You also spoke about the emperor. I do not like people laughing at what I said. This is why I am asking you this: are you saying that according to the canons an emperor is needed to call a council? Because I said that a council is valid irrespectively of what the laity think, and I showed you a canon that says so. Are you saying that the people at the third ecumenical council didn't know what you present as true?

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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I am saying that you are getting tied up in rules, some of which might not be remotely relevant now. What has happened in the past has happened and the Holy Spirit has spoken. I am talking about "what next?" I have no problem with the Bishop of Rome convening a future (genuinely) ecumenical council ... but that of course will be when he's fully Orthodox again and we're fully Catholic ... that is when we've kissed and made up.

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Fr. Gregory
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El Greco
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# 9313

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If we do not judge a council by whether the rules have been followed or not, then it seems to me that we are stuck with a "the winner takes it all" reading of the history. How can you know if a council is driven by the Holy Spirit or not? What would you do if you were in Maximos's times and the Patriarch (along with the rest of the church except for Maximos) told you that they made a council and monothelitism was the Orthodox teaching, while Maximos told you that the order of the Church has not been followed, so it was not a real council after all.

With whom would you be in communion? Maximos and a couple of his friends? Or the united church?

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Of course you need rules Andreas but I am talking about "NOW" not about then. The rule about being convened by the Emperor has to change. The rules have to evolve in the light of changed circumstances.

I do, nonetheless, feel that you overemphasise the rules sometimes as if God is sitting up there with his clipboard ticking a list ... "Oh dear. They forgot that rule. I can't inspire that one."

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Fr. Gregory
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El Greco
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# 9313

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There is no rule that a council has toi be convened by an emperor.

The rules for a council to be valid, they are actually common sense. We can't change common sense, can we?

re God sitting: On the contrary, I am saying that God is imparting His Grace to whoever He wants, be it the two Buddhists getting married you mentioned, or me having sex with my girlfriend.

And the opposite: God takes His grace from whoever He wants, be it either the eucharist Arios offered, or the absolution Pyrrhos gave.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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quote:
re God sitting: On the contrary, I am saying that God is imparting His Grace to whoever He wants, be it the two Buddhists getting married you mentioned, or me having sex with my girlfriend.
You are not being consistent. On the pre-marital sex thread you said of my distinction between marriage and sacramental Christian marriage ...


quote:
... I did find a joint declaration between the RCC and the OC, which read*: "For Christians of both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches marriage is a sacrament." I think that this is contrary to what fr. Gregory said about two kinds of marriage.
I am affirming CHRISTIAN marriage as a sacrament ... I am also affirming marriage more widely as truly marriage but not sacramental in the Christian context and sense.

If I am doing that (and you appear to be doing that in THIS thread) then there is a moral law applicable universally. Marriage (I submit) is a "good thing" and mandated by God whether Christian or not. We cannot then avoid thinking about how marriage compares, say, to polygamy, cohabitation or any other form of union. In this we do not judge, we explore, we assess, we seek to understand what God wants for ALL people WITHOUT laying down our moral code for them ... since they are not Christians.

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Fr. Gregory
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El Greco
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# 9313

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My point was that historically we have been egoistical in thinking that the centre of things is the Orthodox Church.

You make a leap, from SACRAMENTAL marriage, to marriage in general. On what grounds did you do that? Perhaps, on the same ground another leap could be made, from marriage to modern people having pre-marital relationships or same-sex people wanting to form relationships.

In the Old Testament, God makes a shocking declaration. He said "didn't I give you this? didn't I give you that? didn't I give you many wives? What more did you want? (words to that extent). Is God the author of sin (in your meaning of falling short) since he is appeared to be the cause for the king's having many wives? He appears not only to approve, but to be the One behind what happened.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Andreas

I am not making a leap and I am not a fundamentalist in relation to Scripture as you must know. The Church steers my thinking in relation to development within Scripture and the unfolding of revelation. It is a dynamic process.

Marriage as a creation ordinance is hardly a novel doctrine unknown to us. Jesus refers to this hiomself in his teaching about leaving one's father and mother and becoming one flesh. You cannot conclude from the NT evidence that when he speaks concerning ethics and lifestyle he is ONLY ever speaking to his disciples.

Anyway ... this thread is about the papacy and Rome. You crossed the threads over a little while ago, let's uncross them.

[ 24. February 2006, 13:18: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]

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Fr. Gregory
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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
andreas1984 wrote:
The rules for a council to be valid, they are actually common sense.

and

quote:

We can't change common sense, can we?

At least one of those two must be false.


If it were not so, everyone would agree on this issue.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

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I really am getting lost as to what discussion I am in and where, because they are all flowing into each other. You lot there in the East - can we codify and synthesise please? One topic one thread. No cross pollination.

(This is a Roman attempt to bring some order to Orthodoxy [Snigger] )


(ETA: cross-posted with Fr Gregory. Damn!)

[ 24. February 2006, 13:20: Message edited by: Triple Tiara ]

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

Posts: 5905 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
El Greco
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# 9313

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Before we uncross the threads, let me say that you are interpreting a passage of the scripture in a certain way, and that it is not wise to base one's understanding of the world from one sriptural passage.

You are an Orthodox priest. When a man or a woman that is gay comes to you, what do you do? Do you tell them that they were created heterosexual, and that God's plan is for man and woman to become one flesh? What's your understanding?

ken: the way councils get done, common sense is what prevails. For example, all sides must be heard. This is pretty common sense I reckon.

The bishops that are going to vote, have to be selected by a procedure. Not everybody can attend and vote in a council. Again, common sense.

The fact that there is a hierarchy in the Church, and that this hierarchy should be respected when a council is to get started, it's common sense.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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