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Joint statement on Max Michel


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#1 Kris

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:04 PM

Hi,

I wanted to bring the following joint statement between H.B. Pope Theodoros II and Pope Shenouda III to everyones attention (apologies if there's another thread on the same topic, in which case please delete this thread).

http://www.copticpop...c-2-2006eng.pdf

I found the wording very interesting. The statement reads, regarding the self-proclaimed Pope Maximos, "We reject the false ordination of this person, because he wa sordained by bishops who are not recognized by any Orthodox Church."

From what I understand, Max Michel was ordained by some kind of schismatic old calendarist group in the USA, called here "some schismatic and non-canonical bishops who claim to be orthodox."

The wording of this statement seems to suggest that our Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria does not view the Coptic Patriarchate as "schismatic" in the same manner, and that the ordinations of the Coptic Church are valid (and vice versa).

Or am I simply reading too much into this?

In XC,
Kris

#2 Mina Soliman

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 12:32 AM

I've had the same sentiments. This is actually the first "official" documentation that makes the two "families" act as if they were One Church.

God bless.

Mina

#3 John Charmley

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 12:43 AM

The wording of this statement seems to suggest that our Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria does not view the Coptic Patriarchate as "schismatic" in the same manner, and that the ordinations of the Coptic Church are valid (and vice versa).

Or am I simply reading too much into this?

In XC,
Kris



Dear Kris,


Thank you for sharing this with us. Well, who knows about the answer to you last question - but I read it in a similar fashion, but, of course, read against the reality of the ancient schism, it can't be literally true.

However, if it is a bale of hay in the wind, that would be good - so long as we duck as it passes. Such Joint statements have to be a good sign - but I guess those of us who are eternal optimists shouldn't get too excited.

Still, H.H. Pope Shenouda is a most impressive figure; I've been reading a great deal of his work lately and it deserves a wider circulation - he's a great explicator of the Faith - and committed to what one might call 'real' ecumenism.

In Christ,

John

#4 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 02:41 PM

From what I understand, Max Michel was ordained by some kind of schismatic old calendarist group in the USA, called here "some schismatic and non-canonical bishops who claim to be orthodox."



So, could we consider this the official statement about Mad Max?

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#5 Dimitris

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 09:47 PM

The wording of this statement seems to suggest that our Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria does not view the Coptic Patriarchate as "schismatic" in the same manner, and that the ordinations of the Coptic Church are valid (and vice versa).

As far as I know, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church regard the ordinations of each other Church as valid.

Dimitris

#6 Father David Moser

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 05:44 PM

As far as I know, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church regard the ordinations of each other Church as valid.


The use of the word "valid" is quite misleading in that it has a "technical" meaning in Roman Catholicism that it does not have in Orthodoxy. In the Roman Church, validity is somehow contained in the rite itself apart from the Church, thus a sacrament can be "valid" (that is it can have a spiritual reality) but not "licit" (that is it can be "illegal" or not approved by the Church). Thus it is possible to have a "valid" ordination outside the Church. In Orthodoxy this is not possible - sacraments only exist within the Church, thus any embrace of the external form of a sacrament (that is of the ritual or its result) is a matter of the Church reaching out to embrace something and to give it reality where there was no reality before. Fr Alexander Schmemman (I believe) develops this arguement as it relates to heterodox baptism and the practice of receiving converts who received a form of baptism outside the Church. Our "acceptance" of these rites do not imply that there is "validity" outside the Church, but rather that the Church has the ability to reach out and embrace something that comes from outside her and make it her own.

Because sacraments (including holy orders) cannot exist outside the Church, it is not possible, within Orthodoxy, for there to be "valid" or "real" holy orders outside the Church. However, it is possible for the Church to reach out and embrace those actions or persons that have a consistent external form with those of the Church. This is a very subtle and complex issue so determining what is "accepted" by the Church should be left to the hierarchs who have the responsiblity and grace from God to rule the Church.

Fr David Moser

#7 Peter Farrington

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 06:11 PM

Dear Father

It is the case that the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria allows his own Greek flock to receive the eucharist in a Coptic Orthodox Church.

It is also the case that the Antochian Patriarch allows members of his own flock to receive the eucharist in a Syrian Orthodox Church.

This seems to me to go well beyond economically accepting 'partial' sacraments when someone comes to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

This can only be understood as proposing the view that the Coptic and Syrian Orthodox Churches are true Orthodox Churches from the Alexandrian and Antiochian point of view.

This is certainly, in reverse, the reason why the Oriental Orthdoox Churches will commune Russians, Greeks, ROCOR, Romanians, Bulgarians etc.

One can receive a 'baptism' economically and fulfill it in Orthodoxy, but one cannot go somewhere else and receive the true eucharist economically. It is either an Orthodox eucharist or not. And the Alexandrians and Antiochians say that the Oriental Orthodox eucharist is a true one, and vice versa in the Eastern Orthodox.

Peter

#8 Father David Moser

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:35 PM

I guess you'll just have to ask the Patriarch of Alexandra how that works then.

Fr David Moser

#9 Peter Farrington

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:44 PM

The Patriarch of Alexandria says that such communion is based on the fact that both the Greek and Coptic Orthodox Churches of Alexandria have maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith and an unbroken continuity of Apostolic Tradition. He says..

The Holy Synods of both the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa have already accepted the outcome of the official dialogue on Christology between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, including the two official agreements: the first on Christology signed in June 1989 in Egypt and the second also on Christology and on the lifting of anathemas and restoration of full communion signed in Geneva 1990, in which it is stated that "In the light of our agreed statement on Christology..., we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of Apostolic tradition". It was agreed to have mutual recognition of the sacrament of Baptism, based on what St Paul wrote, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph 4:5)



And the Patriarch of Antioch says that such communion is based on the fact that both communities belong to One Faith, and are sister Churches.

All the meetings, the fellowship, the oral and written declarations meant that we belong to One Faith even though history had manifested our division more than the aspects of our unity.

All this has called upon our Holy Synod of Antioch to bear witness to the progress of our Church in the See of Antioch towards unity that preserves for each Church its authentic Oriental heritage whereby the one Antiochean Church benefits from its sister Church and is enriched in its traditions, literature and holy rituals.

Every endeavour and pursuit in the direction of the coming together of the two Churches is based on the conviction that this orientation is from the Holy Spirit, and it will give the Eastern Orthodox image more light and radiance, that it has lacked for centuries before.



Peter

#10 Dimitris

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:50 PM

Thank you for your explanation, Father. I actually didn't know the term "valid" has such a different meaning in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church.

In my humble opinion it is a shame that full communion between the whole EO and the whole OO Church has not yet been restored. It should be the key objective of the two Churches to reunite to one.

Regards,
Dimitris

#11 John Charmley

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 07:32 PM

In my humble opinion it is a shame that full communion between the whole EO and the whole OO Church has not yet been restored. It should be the key objective of the two Churches to reunite to one.

Regards,
Dimitris


Dear Dimitris,

Indeed, and I would totally agree with you. This sort of joint statement is a good sign, and after more than a millenium and a half apart, I guess we can't expect anything to happen swiftly.

This site http://www.orthodoxunity.org/ is a good guide to the Joint dialogue which has been going on during the past half century.

Peter Farrington (who maintains that site) cheers me up with what he says above about the attitude of the Patriarch of Alexandria - good to see the dialogue bearing fruit; perhaps this is how it will happen - with those most closely involved taking the lead through their local synods, with others following later when it is clear that there are no results more terrible than Christians uniting in their common Faith; adsit omen.


In Christ,

John

#12 Gregorios

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 10:49 PM

Thank you for your explanation, Father. I actually didn't know the term "valid" has such a different meaning in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church.


The preferred term in our Canon Law class was authentic rather than valid at Saint Vladimir's. What Fr. Raphael has said about there being no sacraments outside the Orthodox Church is not entirely true. It is certainly true for him and his jurisdiction, but it is not necessarily the ecclesiology upon which World Orthodoxy operates. I know it is not the preferred ecclesiology at Seminary by most professors and students.

Correct me if I am wrong Fr. but it seems that you are thinking along the lines of the theory of oikonomia as it is advocated by St. Nikodemos the Haggiorite in his Pedalion (not the Rudder-translation by Apostolos Makrakis). The way theologians in World Orthodoxy often understand ecclesiology does allow for sacraments to exist outside the canonical limits of the Orthodox Church. This position is argued in

- Fr. Nicholas Afanasiev's "Una Sancta", in Fr. M. Plekon ed. Tradition Alive, (Rowman & Litlefield Publishers Inc., New York: 2003), 3-30.

- Fr. Sergius Bulgakov "By Jacob's Well" in Fr. M. Plekon ed. Tradition Alive, (Rowman & Litlefield Publishers Inc., New York: 2003), 55-65. click

- to a certain extent Fr. George Florovsky On the Limits of the Church at the World Council of Churches website click

- on the diverging pov's in the EO Church see Emmanuel Clapsis The Boundaries of the Church: An Orthodox Debate at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website click

Canon 95 of Trullo (authoritative for the EO Church) recognizes 3 ways of receiving people into the canonical bounds of the EO Church

- Baptism and Chrismation (Holy Communion)
- renunciation of heresy and chrismation (Holy Communion)
- renunciation of heresy and confession of Orthodoxy (Holy Communion)

suggesting 3 different kinds of separation or dis-union. No initiatory rituals are necessary for Oriental Orthodox because they have already received them (rebaptism is a deposable offence according to EO Canon Law. The last way of reception I mentioned seems to imply full recognition and ecclesiality of sacramental grace despite the absence of canonical unity. This is hotly disputed by other Orthodox theologians who hold an ecclesiology somehwat similar to that of the Holy Synod in Resistance (see their Ecclesiology Page here). The pattern we see emerging in the communion agreements between EO and OO as outlined by Peter Farrington seems to have historical warrant and is a tried way to unity and re-union. (Anton Kartashev, "The Paths toward of the Reunion of the Churches" in in Fr. M. Plekon ed. Tradition Alive, (Rowman & Litlefield Publishers Inc., New York: 2003), 205-211).

In my humble opinion it is a shame that full communion between the whole EO and the whole OO Church has not yet been restored. It should be the key objective of the two Churches to reunite to one.

Regards,
Dimitris


Indeed it should be, could be, if enough of us are open to the Holy Spirit softening our hardened hearts to reunite two families of Orthodox. Seperation as well as reunion occur in the heart first.

Gregorios

#13 John Charmley

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 11:19 PM

The pattern we see emerging in the communion agreements between EO and OO as outlined by Peter Farrington seems to have historical warrant and is a tried way to unity and re-union. (Anton Kartashev, "The Paths toward of the Reunion of the Churches" in in Fr. M. Plekon ed. Tradition Alive, (Rowman & Litlefield Publishers Inc., New York: 2003), 205-211).



Indeed it should be, could be, if enough of us are open to the Holy Spirit softening our hardened hearts to reunite two families of Orthodox. Seperation as well as reunion occur in the heart first.

Gregorios


Dear Gregorios,

A whole set of thanks are due to you for this very eirenic, wise and informative post.

First, thank you so much for the information and the further reading, which I shall look forward to getting to grips with; one of the great joys of this site is the information which my brothers and sisters in Christ bring with them.

Second, thank you for the tone of your comments. How often such topics are discussed with an attitude of suspicion and mistrust; here you bring the calmness of an informed mind which is grasping the biggest possible picture and the possible benefits for millions of people.

Third, thank you for this comment

Indeed it should be, could be, if enough of us are open to the Holy Spirit softening our hardened hearts to reunite two families of Orthodox. Seperation as well as reunion occur in the heart first.

which does, indeed point to the heart of the matter.

With such a frame of mind, and such examples as you cite, the Faith that moves mountains may yet find its way to heal one of its oldest rifts, without compromising the deposit of the One True Faith once delivered; that, surely, is, for once in this controversial topic, something we could find a consensus one?

Is there anyone here who, if s/he could be assured that there was no compromise on essentials, would not welcome reunion? The way forward does, as you say, seem to be there if we will it; we surely know what His will is?

So, my dear Gregorios, renewed thanks for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with us.

In Christ,

John

#14 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 06:13 PM

The preferred term in our Canon Law class was authentic rather than valid at Saint Vladimir's. What Fr. Raphael has said about there being no sacraments outside the Orthodox Church is not entirely true. It is certainly true for him and his jurisdiction, but it is not necessarily the ecclesiology upon which World Orthodoxy operates. I know it is not the preferred ecclesiology at Seminary by most professors and students.

Correct me if I am wrong Fr. but it seems that you are thinking along the lines of the theory of oikonomia as it is advocated by St. Nikodemos the Haggiorite in his Pedalion (not the Rudder-translation by Apostolos Makrakis). The way theologians in World Orthodoxy often understand ecclesiology does allow for sacraments to exist outside the canonical limits of the Orthodox Church.



First off it's helpful to keep in mind that the language we are using (even in seminaries) is only relative and indicative of the effort to try as best as possible to describe the difference between that reality we find within the Church and that outside of it. This language makes a crucial point about the Church. But yet if we strain this language too much we risk losing track of the point that what we are really talking about is how & what the Church witnesses to.

In any case, we have more than ample witness of there being One Church as One Body corresponding to One Christ. To this one Church corresponds in turn Her One life much as sunshine naturally emanates from the sun. The Church primarily witnesses to Her own life because this life is literally the Life which Christ offers the world for its salvation.

The Church knows there is that which is not yet within the Church & that there are those who try to find their life without the Church. But the witness of the Church in regards to that which is without the Church can only be in reference to Herself. This is because the Church knows that fullness of life is only found in reference to the Church & Christ through the Church.

Thus a fundamental aspect of the Church's witness is that She witnesses to One Truth, One Life, and One Christ. A so called 'church' witnessing to multiple 'truths' and 'churches' already is at the point of accepting inner death as the motivation of its witness.

It is in the above overall context of what the Church is and how it witnesses that we must understand Her sacramental life. To not repeat all of these themes over again we just need to keep in mind that since the Church is the One life of Christ from Her naturally proceeds the only truly sacramental life available to us.

The Church uses economia & can speak of 'validity' (I think though the latter concept is very recent in origin) but obviously only in terms of those who come to Her. Economia or 'validity' doesn't imply that without coming to the Church the life of the Church is to be found on some level. Rather these two must first work with the already expressed real desire of someone for the Church; and in turn this implies that this good desire can only be fulfilled within the Church.

The ironic thing is that even as such words as 'validity' are (probably correctly) questioned one gets the idea that we are trying to replace this with ideas which are very similar in content.

It could well be that 'validity' distorts our vision of the Church to something too black & white. But we scarcely have done any better if we substitute for this a mathematical understanding of the sacramental life of the Church which leads us to lose track of the reality of the Oneness of the Church.

The Church's understanding of its Oneness is inseparable from the Church's witness to Herself and what She seeks to offer the world. In these terms of course the Church does refer to what is outside of Herself. But mainly this in terms of Herself, ie always in terms of those who either desire or reject Her.

The Church however has always been strikingly reticent to define that which is outside of Herself. So it is patently unobjective to overlook this reticence and the fact that the Church in fact has been involved in a 2000 year discussion, with no set opinion, about how to relate to this outside reality. The varying opinions about this have not been set by jurisdiction but rather from within the Church as a whole & for as long as the Church has been here on this earth.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#15 Fr Seraphim (Black)

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 08:49 PM

First I would like to thank Fr. Raphael for his reply to Gregorios in the place of Fr. David.

For it was Fr. David who in this thread remarked on sacraments vis a vis the Orthodox Church. Fr. Raphael's post had something to do with a character in a movie I heard about quite sometime ago.

This is not the first time that I have found replies to either Fr. David or Fr. Raphael inappropriate.

Afterall are they not Priests of our Church? Would one find such temerity in a monastery? Would it be in the better interests of the monastic brotherhood that the younger would approach the elders in such fashion as we see here?

I have been grieved by this before and held my silence, but now I feel that I should speak.

First I ask forgiveness from Fr. David, Fr. Raphael and Gregorios. I have attempted to word my post with care, concern and charity. If my words offend, please find it in your heart to forgive.

Gregorios' statement regarding Fr. David's reply of there being no sacraments outside the Orthodox Church is in the realm of ambiguity, that is, Gregorios says: '[it] is not entirely true.' (italics - mine)

Gregorios' statement: 'It is certainly true for him and his jurisdiction...' prefaces Fr. Raphael's statement: '[this] already is at the point of accepting inner death as the motivation of its witness'. (italics - mine)

We are pained to learn that Fr. David's sacramental theology according to Gregorios' understanding 'is not the preferred ecclesiology at [St. Vladimar's] Seminary.'

That 'the way theologians in World Orthodoxy often understand ecclesiology does allow for sacraments to exist outside the canonical limits of the Orthodox Church.' (italics - mine)

Best not mention this on the Holy Mountain, for the ambiguity herein strains the limits of charity.

Could you clarify if the following statement is your opinion alone or in your opinion is the position of the Orthodox Church?:

'Rebaptism is a deposable offence according to EO canon law.'

Again descending into ambiguity Gregorios quotes Canon 95 of Trullo, and states that the third method of reception 'seems to imply full recognition and ecclesiality of sacramental grace despite the absence of canonical unity'.

Finally, I find your last point incomplete:

'Seperation as well as reunion occur in the heart first'.

Entrance into the Life in Christ is an ineffable synergy in which the Grace of the Holy Trinity and the humble, repentant supplication of a child of God is accomplished.

As Fr. Raphael makes clear this occurs mystically in the Holy Orthodox Church.

#16 John Charmley

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 11:09 PM

Dear Fr. Raphael,

Interesting reading, as ever. But I am now puzzled.

I grasp what you say about the slipperiness and contingency of words, but these words - 'restoration of full communion' - are not in line with what you are saying, or what the Joint statement quoted above says.

There is 'one Church', but is it speaking with 'one' voice?

(Can I stress, to avoid any misunderstanding, this is a genuine question).


In Christ,

John

#17 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 11:41 PM

Dear Fr. Raphael,

Interesting reading, as ever. But I am now puzzled.

I grasp what you say about the slipperiness and contingency of words, but these words - 'restoration of full communion' - are not in line with what you are saying, or what the Joint statement quoted above says.

There is 'one Church', but is it speaking with 'one' voice?

(Can I stress, to avoid any misunderstanding, this is a genuine question).


In Christ,

John


Dear John,

Sorry- I was posting in regards to what Grigorios wrote. Not about the joint statement between H.B. Pope Theodoros II and Pope Shenouda III referred to above. When I did a word search for 'restoration of full communion' it appears in Peter's post not mine.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#18 Father David Moser

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 11:58 PM

What Fr. Raphael (sic) has said about there being no sacraments outside the Orthodox Church is not entirely true. It is certainly true for him and his jurisdiction, but it is not necessarily the ecclesiology upon which World Orthodoxy operates. I know it is not the preferred ecclesiology at Seminary by most professors and students.


Well it is certainly the "preferred theology" of my Archbishop (Fr Raphael's Archbishop as well, btw), who is incidentally a graduate of St Vladimir's seminary. Also, I was under the impression (and prehaps the incorrect impression) that this was the basic presumption of Fr Alexander Schmemman, dean and professor of St Vladimir's. Apparently St Vladimir's has changed since the time of the Archbishop's study there. (entirely possible)

Fr David Moser

#19 Gregorios

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 12:57 AM

Fathers,

Well it is certainly the "preferred theology" of my Archbishop (Fr Raphael's Archbishop as well, btw), who is incidentally a graduate of St Vladimir's seminary. Also, I was under the impression (and prehaps the incorrect impression) that this was the basic presumption of Fr Alexander Schmemman, dean and professor of St Vladimir's. Apparently St Vladimir's has changed since the time of the Archbishop's study there. (entirely possible)

Fr David Moser


I realize it is likely to be your preferred ecclesiology. I have a very good friend (we consider him family) at seminary who is himself a member of ROCOR but with whom I have had many, many talks on ecclesiology. His is virtually identical to that of the Holy Synod in Resistance, mine is much more influenced by Fr. Nicholas Afanasiev, Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, and I find myself much closer to Metropolitan Damaskinos (of Switzerland ?) as represented in the Clapsis article I referred to above. Fr. Alexander Schmeman's views I do not know. He is usually brought up in regard to Liturgical theology and only once in Canon Law concerning the autocephaly of the OCA and its recognition in World Orthodoxy (or lack thereof).

What I wrote is a simple observation that a unified and uniform ecclesiology do not exist in World Orthodoxy. This is clearly brought forward in the Clapsis article above on the GOARCH website. The standard view that seems to be operative at SVS currently is that advocated by Fr. John Erickson. By no means as open as the views of Metr. Damaskinos, but also by no means as hardline as that of the Holy Synod in Resistance. As my ROCOR friend likes to say, 'SVS is a hotbed of ecumenism' with which he still strongly disagrees (ecumenism being branded as a pan-heresy). Whereas I would say the SVS involvement in ecumenism is just fine. Prof. Peter Bouteneff has several articles online on the Orthodox Peace Fellowship website (click) defending what i think is representative of SVS. I do not hold myself to be representative of SVS views. I am only a student and I do not speak for the seminary in any way.

But perhaps this takes us too far off-topic and we should discontinue this conversation here to (perhaps) pick it up elsewhere and at an another time? Thank you for your participation and insightful replies.

Gregorios

#20 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 02:37 AM

Fathers,



I realize it is likely to be your preferred ecclesiology. I have a very good friend (we consider him family) at seminary who is himself a member of ROCOR but with whom I have had many, many talks on ecclesiology. His is virtually identical to that of the Holy Synod in Resistance, mine is much more influenced by Fr. Nicholas Afanasiev, Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, and I find myself much closer to Metropolitan Damaskinos (of Switzerland ?) as represented in the Clapsis article I referred to above. Fr. Alexander Schmeman's views I do not know. He is usually brought up in regard to Liturgical theology and only once in Canon Law concerning the autocephaly of the OCA and its recognition in World Orthodoxy (or lack thereof).

What I wrote is a simple observation that a unified and uniform ecclesiology do not exist in World Orthodoxy. This is clearly brought forward in the Clapsis article above on the GOARCH website. The standard view that seems to be operative at SVS currently is that advocated by Fr. John Erickson. By no means as open as the views of Metr. Damaskinos, but also by no means as hardline as that of the Holy Synod in Resistance. As my ROCOR friend likes to say, 'SVS is a hotbed of ecumenism' with which he still strongly disagrees (ecumenism being branded as a pan-heresy). Whereas I would say the SVS involvement in ecumenism is just fine. Prof. Peter Bouteneff has several articles online on the Orthodox Peace Fellowship website (click) defending what i think is representative of SVS. I do not hold myself to be representative of SVS views. I am only a student and I do not speak for the seminary in any way.

But perhaps this takes us too far off-topic and we should discontinue this conversation here to (perhaps) pick it up elsewhere and at an another time? Thank you for your participation and insightful replies.

Gregorios




One of the main points of my post this morning was mainly to point out (along the lines of Fr David's post above) that these two views have co-existed within the One Church for many years. Agreeing with Fr David's post I was also trying to suggest that those who hold to one view or another are not restricted to one jurisdiction or seminary. There are those from pretty well all of our seminaries who support the strict view as well as the less strict view. In our church there is a very well respected senior priest who consistently defends the view that economia as it was previously practiced within our church is still a valid manner of receiving the heterodox.

Personally, I fully accept the wisdom of our rocor bishops in offering the more strict sacramental standard. Mainly this is because I believe that the more strict standard is more suitable to our times. Also, as I was trying to say this morning, I have come to strongly believe that economia as practiced by the Church never implied that the grace of the Church is found outside of the Church. Indeed I have come to think that the Church purposefully does not witness except to the grace which it offers through Her life & sacraments.

Economia then simply means that the Church is always free to offer its grace in the manner it finds suitable to the specific occasion. Chiefly it is our Orthodox hierarchy who are given the task of discerning and blessing this. The priests of the Church act consistently with this vision of its hierarchy.

But perhaps a presentation of the theology behind these two views would be interesting.

In Christ- Fr Raphael




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