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What was the unity with Rome like for the OO after the Council of Florence?


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#1 M. Markewich

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 02:48 AM

I was reading a post on another forum by a Catholic-leaning friend of mine who was reading the book The Council of Florence by Joseph Gill. My friend writes,

I want to list a few other things that I felt were interesting about the Council of Florence. Accord with the Armenian Church was reached as well - and it was a true union that did last for a few decades - until the Armenians were over-run by the Turk. That ended the accord essentially. But their union with the Papacy was much more cordial than the Greek Church. Also, the Copts and the Ethiopians both sent representatives to Florence, and both Churches did reach accord with Rome. Their union fell to the wayside much in the same way as the Armenian.

Since one of the reasons I accepted Orthodoxy as true is because the EO and OO are so similar in their beliefs despite their long separation, this paragraph bothers me. It makes it seem like the OO fell out of line with Rome only because of time, takeover and location. Do any OO here know why their Churches eventually rejected Florence? Also, what changed for the OO when their Churches united with Rome? eg, was military support promised or given?

#2 Athanasius Abdullah

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 06:37 AM

+irini nem ehmot

As far as I know, the small Coptic delegation sent to the Synod of Florence signed an agreement to unity, but this was rejected by our Heirarchs back home and hence true unity never actually materialised.

In IC XC
-Athanasius

#3 John Charmley

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 02:36 PM

Do any OO here know why their Churches eventually rejected Florence? Also, what changed for the OO when their Churches united with Rome? eg, was military support promised or given?


Dear Jawaman,

What changed for the OOs at Florence was exactly what changed for the EOs - nothing.

On 8 June 1439 an agreement was signed by Patriarch Joseph II of Constantinople and all the Eastern bishops but one, Mark of Ephesus, who held that Rome continued in both heresy and schism. The first of the decrees of union came on 6 July 1439, and signalled the union of the Greek Church with the Roman Church;the Greeks insisted that ratification by the Eastern Church could be achieved only by the agreement of an Eastern synod. This was never done, and so the Church never accepted the decision as binding - although the Emperors continued to press for it - right down to the fall of Constantinople. Pope Eugenius IV had promised financial and military help - which was one reason that John VIII Palaeologus pressed so hard for the union. I don't know whether the Eastern Orthodox Church has ever formally repudiated Florence, or whether it has felt no need to since the signature of its delegates was not binding until a synod had decided.

The act of union with the Copts, Cantante Domine came in 1442, so much later than the Greek decision. Again, the Coptic delegates made any decision binding on its acceptance back in Alexandria, and there was no such acceptance.

This was not the end of the story. There was another attempt at union on 15 Jan 1595 and 28 June 1597, but this also broke down over issues of autonomy and Papal supremacy. From the 1630s the Romans were active in Egypt trying to convert Copts, which, of course, did nothing for relations between the two Patriarchs. After 1741 there was a Catholic Vicar-General in Egypt, the first of whom was an apostate Copt, Athanasius, who later recanted and rejoined his original Church. In 1895 Pope Leo XIII established (he called it reestablishing) a Catholic Patriarchate in Alexandria, which had a chequered history over the next fifty years.

The effect of Florence on the Greek Church was actually very adverse, since it further weakened the Empire, and led to at least some Orthodox thinking that the Turban of the Turk was preferable to the Papal Tiara. The effect on the Copts was to make them even more wary of Rome's ambitions.

Hope that helps.


In Christ,

John

#4 M. Markewich

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 05:10 AM

Thanks for the replies. I'd like to read more on the topic. Do any of you know where I'd be able to read firsthand accounts of the situation?

#5 John Charmley

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 09:23 AM

Dear Matt,

Most of the original sources are in Latin, or in German collections from the last two centuries:

Joseph Gill, The council of Florence
The History of the Council of Florence, trans. from the Russian by Basil Popoff, ed. by J. M. Neale (London, 1861);
Monumenta Conciliorum generalium seculi xv., Scriptorum, vol. i., ii. and iii. (Vienna, 1857-1895)
J. C. L. Gieseler, Ecclesiastical History, vol. iv. p. 312ff (Eng. trans., Edinburgh, 1853).
Stefan Sudmann, Das Basler Konzil: Synodale Praxis zwischen Routine und Revolution (= Tradition - Reform - Innovation, Studien zur Modernit√§t des Mittelalters, Bd. 8), Peter-Lang-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2005 (Diss. M√ľnster/Westf. 2004)

The best modern account I know for putting this into its wider context is by Henry Chadwick, East and West: The Making of a Rift in the Church from Apostolic Times until the Council of Florence. Oxford: Oxford University Press 306 pp.

There must be a more recent Orthodox account than Popoff's, but this one stretches my limits

There is a text of the proceedings on the web at http://www.ewtn.com/...LS/FLORENCE.HTM.

It is an interesting, and rather sad story.


In Christ,

John

#6 Sameha

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 05:21 AM

+irini nem ehmot

As far as I know, the small Coptic delegation sent to the Synod of Florence signed an agreement to unity, but this was rejected by our Heirarchs back home and hence true unity never actually materialised.

In IC XC
-Athanasius


The Coptic delegation arrived after the synod was over, according to Abona Menasah Youhanna in his book "The History fo the Coptic Church".

There was another incident in which we came close to a unity with the Roman Catholics, and actually submitting to the Papal Supremacy, and it was a direct threat to unity of the Coptic Church. The bishops who disagreed with such unity threatened to cut communion with the Pope who backed the unity. The dispute was resolved "peacefully" by the death of the Coptic Pope during the dispute. It was seen as a sign from God by the Copts and as a murder by the Catholics. In any case, the Coptic Pope was not so much convinced with the claims of the Catholics which of course included Roman Supremacy as much with protection from the muslim persecution.




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