Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

The distinction between schism and heresy


  • Please log in to reply
35 replies to this topic

#21 Yuri Zharikov

Yuri Zharikov

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 04 April 2008 - 02:56 AM

Andreas, wishing you a guardian Angel on your trip.
Fr. Raphael we are talking about the same book. It is called Высшие иереархи о преемстве власти в Русской Православной Церкви с 1920-х-1930-х годах or The Higher Hierarchs on the Succession of Power in the Russian Orthodox Church in 1920-1930s. The book is available from www.ozon.ru
Apart from Sts Kyrill, Agathangel and Peter it has much documentary material on St. Anthanasius (Sakharov) and many other martyrs and confessors who actively exchanged news and views on the events..., well to the extent circumstances permitted.
The synopsis of the position taken by Met. Kyrill. In a certain sense St. Kyrill became the head of the "right" opposition to Met. Sergius. The opposition however was not in creating a parallel structure but in witnessing and proclaiming that the Church has different means of fulfilling her role in the world than those opted for by Met. Sergius. Met. Sergius accepted the offer of Tuchkov (NKVD) to submit the internal life of the Church to the state apparatus in exchange for "legalisation" and keeping him in power. Met. Kyrill and the circle of his supporters (which included St. Athanasius) maintained that the main purpose of the Church is to manifest her faithfulness to the Truth revealed by the Lord. They believed that the Lord himself would save the Church should she remain faithful to Him. Their protest was almost exclusively moral and spiritual. They wrote letters to Met. Kyrill begging him to reconsider his position and explaining where he went astray and they refused to commemorate him after he initiated repressions against his opponents (simply by reporting on them to the NKVD). So far as I have read both Met. Kyrill and Agathangel bluntly refused any offers/attempts to organise any formal ecclesiastical structures based on their canonical authority. They saw that Met. Sergius was in the wrong but they did not see and did not say in literal terms that there were two Churches in Russia, one of which was "red" and the other Orthodox.

#22 Stephen

Stephen

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 19 posts

Posted 04 April 2008 - 12:39 PM

I think, Father, it's likely this is one and the same book, the one of which I gave details in the 'Patriarch Sergius and the New Martyrs of Russia' thread. Yuri will confirm. We're going to Russia next week so I won't have time to do as you ask, I'm sorry.


Greetings in Christ, Andreas. I pray your trip - and the remainder of your Lent - is fruitful.

But it should also be remembered that St Afanasii (Sakharov), who, as I think I mentioned at one point, spent 33 years in the camps, whilst refusing to acknowledge Sergius' administration (and he was administrator not Patriarch for nearly all the relevant years), did accept his successor, Alexey I.


All of this information shows there were saints on both sides of the issue. This information also sharpens the item of St. Basil's comment that schism merely based on "ecclesiastical causes and curable questions (which) have developed a quarrel amongst themselves" does not separate the opposing parties from the Church. He explains that the opposing parties are not fighting against the Church but, rather, amongst themselves. IMO, this is also key in understanding the issues between other "administrative schisms" that have not yet been resolved (RTOC, ROAC) - or - have just begun (Bishop Agafangel's group who left upon the ROCOR/MP union).

IMO, another key in understanding why these groups have a problem with the MP's higher church authority are past ROCOR Epistles and Sobor decisions through out the years , particularly the 1971 Sobor Resolution, which states, "The lawful succession of higher Church authority in the Russian Church has been broken since 1927, when the Acting Locum-Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, Metropolitan Sergius of Nizhny-Novgorod, went against the order of the Metropolitan of Krutitsa whom he was replacing and signed an agreement with the atheistic secular authorities, to which neither Metropolitan Peter nor the other elder hierarchs agreed.. . . In 1945, after the death of Patriarch Sergius, Metropolitan Alexis of Leningrad gathered a Council, to which representatives of the other autocephalous Churches were also invited. This Council, besides recently consecrated bishops, consisted of representatives of the clergy and laity, picked without elections and prepared for the election of a Patriarch, and, submissively following the directions of the atheistic authorities, unanimously elected as Patriarch Metropolitan Alexis of Leningrad. After his death, in the same illegal manner the so-called All-Russian Council was convoked this year for the election as Patriarch of Metropolitan Pimen . . . All of the elections of Patriarchs in Moscow, beginning in 1943, are invalid on the basis of the 30th Canon of the Holy Apostles and the 3rd Canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council ."

The above had been ROCOR's position on the MP's higher church authority until very recently. There are even similar statements concerning ROCOR not recognizing Pat. Alexi II. Those who could not go along with the union with the MP cite these points (and others).

Many feel these above mentioned points have not been resolved. They also feel that recent the "Act of Canonical Communion" did not truly resolve these past positions. It only stated, "Acts issued previously which preclude the fullness of canonical communion are hereby deemed invalid or obsolete. "

Are those who refuse to join MP seeking the perfect jurisdiction? They won't find it.



No doubt about that!

What they would find in the ROC is a great cloud of witnesses, and as soon as we arrive in Moscow we're going to Butovo to venerate those who gave their lives for Christ in that place.


Keep in mind that same cloud of witnesses also belongs to those groups who make up the other half of the current "administrative schisms" that have not yet been resolved!

ROCOR has historically recognized that there are three parts of the Russian Orthodox Church. Two have now been completely reconsiled. The last part (made up of various fragments) has not yet been reconsiled with the other parts.

This is what I have assertained from my studies of the topic.

Sincerely,
Stephen in Florida

Edited by Stephen, 04 April 2008 - 12:48 PM.
more punctuation repair


#23 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 04 April 2008 - 02:34 PM

Yuri Zharikov wrote:

Fr. Raphael we are talking about the same book. It is called Высшие иереархи о преемстве власти в Русской Православной Церкви с 1920-х-1930-х годах or The Higher Hierarchs on the Succession of Power in the Russian Orthodox Church in 1920-1930s. The book is available from www.ozon.ru
Apart from Sts Kyrill, Agathangel and Peter it has much documentary material on St. Anthanasius (Sakharov) and many other martyrs and confessors who actively exchanged news and views on the events..., well to the extent circumstances permitted.



I now realize this is the same book Andreas was kind enough to have made a partial copy of and mailed me a few months ago.

To follow the points made yesterday concerning ecclesiology. More than likely at the time, Metropolitan Sergius would have considered Met Kyril & Agathangel to have been schismatics.

The point made here though is that these two latter although considering the course taken by Met Sergius to have been very wrong would not have placed him (or those who followed him) in schism from the Church.

This is very important for we see that in the present circumstances we commemorate both those like Met Kyril and those within the established MP who suffered for the Faith.

In other words we see here that the sober assessment of Met Kyrill was the correct one that what was involved on neither side was actually schism from the Church.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#24 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,032 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 04 April 2008 - 11:47 PM

My wife has just finished her careful reading of this very important book. Putting on my lawyer's hat, I stressed to her that we needed to be absolutely precise in our understanding of what words were used by whom and what those involved understood their positions to be. She is clear that there was no schism and that there was only one Church in Russia during the relevant years. That some in the Church went along with Sergius and others didn't did not make a schism. It was a matter of policy. (My wife's personal view is that those who, at the time, lived in safety and security in the west have no right to criticise those who went through those appalling years which saw the most extreme, far-reaching and evil persecution ever known.) We were discussing today where to pass Pascha this year, and we have decided to attend the services in the cathedral at Butovo. What place could be more appropriate to contemplate martyrdom and resurrection?

#25 Rick H.

Rick H.

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,231 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 April 2008 - 11:17 AM

What place could be more appropriate to contemplate martyrdom and resurrection?


Possibly one's own backyard?

#26 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 05 April 2008 - 01:45 PM

We were discussing today where to pass Pascha this year, and we have decided to attend the services in the cathedral at Butovo. What place could be more appropriate to contemplate martyrdom and resurrection?


I was at Butovo about a year before the reconciliation of last year/2007. It was a quiet day and many workmen were working on the site.

As with any largish group of pilgrims who get to know each other over a period of two weeks, our group was always amiable and talkative with each other from the time we arose until we went to sleep that night.

But as soon as we entered the site on that day, silence overcame us all. It is hard to describe your impressions as you pass by the large, very long mounds under which are bodies of those executed & arranged two across (ie making thousands of victims in each mound). Our guide, who had been largely responsible for bringing the site to public knowledge, explained that besides martyrs for the Church, were children, poets, artists, Jews,- even Bolsheviks, all now buried together. One person in our group said that the feeling could only be described as similar to when she visited Auschwitz.

If one had doubts about the canonical status of such a church beforehand it is unlikely they would remain after such an experience.

In any case last year during the May reconciliation celebrations we also had an opportunity to visit the site. However it is evident that silence is necessary to properly take in this place.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

Edited by Fr Raphael Vereshack, 05 April 2008 - 01:49 PM.
added tie in with actual thread topic


#27 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,032 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 April 2008 - 10:23 PM

This information also sharpens the item of St. Basil's comment that schism merely based on "ecclesiastical causes and curable questions (which) have developed a quarrel amongst themselves" does not separate the opposing parties from the Church. He explains that the opposing parties are not fighting against the Church but, rather, amongst themselves.


In other words we see here that the sober assessment of Met Kyrill was the correct one that what was involved on neither side was actually schism from the Church.


I am grateful for these penetrating comments. The first provides a valuable historical and patristic perspective on this issue. The second mirrors my wife's view that Met. Kyrill's position is a sound assessment of the issue, and is usefully to be added to that of St Afanasii (Sakharov).

If one had doubts about the canonical status of such a church beforehand it is unlikely they would remain after such an experience.


I am grateful to Fr Raphael for sharing this experience which so closely reflects mine and that of my wife's family. As Orthodox, we trust experience beyond argument.

As to Rick and Paul's exchange, if we try to make the sufferings of others our own, including the sufferings of these martyrs, perhaps in a little way we can bring Butovo to our own backyard. I, and I daresay Fr Raphael, have brought our experience of Butovo home with us in our hearts, and if in the backyard of our hearts we can shed tears of sorrow for the suffering of the martyrs of Butovo and tears of gladness for the crowns they received from God, then we can say that a little bit of Butovo has been brought to England, Canada and America. Those who ordered the shootings at Butovo could never have imagined that. We are, if we are faithful to the martyrs of Butovo, heirs of the grace that they bestowed so amply on our Holy Orthodox Church.

#28 Stephen

Stephen

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 19 posts

Posted 07 April 2008 - 03:19 AM

I am grateful for these penetrating comments. The first provides a valuable historical and patristic perspective on this issue. The second mirrors my wife's view that Met. Kyrill's position is a sound assessment of the issue, and is usefully to be added to that of St Afanasii (Sakharov).



I am grateful to Fr Raphael for sharing this experience which so closely reflects mine and that of my wife's family. As Orthodox, we trust experience beyond argument.

As to Rick and Paul's exchange, if we try to make the sufferings of others our own, including the sufferings of these martyrs, perhaps in a little way we can bring Butovo to our own backyard. I, and I daresay Fr Raphael, have brought our experience of Butovo home with us in our hearts, and if in the backyard of our hearts we can shed tears of sorrow for the suffering of the martyrs of Butovo and tears of gladness for the crowns they received from God, then we can say that a little bit of Butovo has been brought to England, Canada and America. Those who ordered the shootings at Butovo could never have imagined that. We are, if we are faithful to the martyrs of Butovo, heirs of the grace that they bestowed so amply on our Holy Orthodox Church.


Greetings in Christ,

Can one part of the Church declare another to be "uncanonical" and that "uncanonical" part still be 'in the Church'?

In context to schism or being in an 'uncanonical state' I was wondering what comments I might read concerning the MP's view of ROCOR in light of this document:

(I have underlined the section in question)


--Official Document of the Russian Orthodox Church--


"To Metropolitan Eulogius, Administrator of the Russian Orthodox
Churches Outside of Russia"


With the blessing of His Holiness the Patriarch, the Holy Synod and
the Highest Ecclesiastical Council, in joint session, heard:


A proposal of His Holiness, the Patriarch, dated March 28/April 10
of this year, worded in the following way:


"I have received the periodical 'Novoe Vremia,' December 3 and 4,
1921 and March 1, 1922, with the text of encyclicals by the Synod of
Karlovtsy and their appeal to the Genoa Conference. These texts are
'political' and, therefore, in contradiction with my Encyclical of
September 25, 1919.

Consequently,


1. I consider that the Synod of Karlovtsy, organized by Russian
clergy and laymen abroad, is void of all canonical validity, and that its encyclical on the restoration of the Romanov dynasty and its appeal to the Genoa Conference do not represent the official view of the Russian Orthodox Church;


2. Since the Russian Church Adminiastration Abroad is engaging in
political demonstrations, and since the Russian Orthodox parishes
abroad are already placed under the responsibility of Your Eminence,
(Metropolitan Eulogius), the Highest Church Administration Abroad is
to be suppressed;


3. The Holy Synod must take a decision concerning the ecclesiastical
responsibility of certain clerics abroad, in relation with their
political pronouncements on behalf of the Church."........


Your Eminence is informed of these decisions, so that appropriate
measures may be taken for their implementation.


May 22/5, 1922, No. 349
+ Thaddeus, Archbishop of Astrakhan
Member of the Holy Synod
N. Numerov, Secretary

#29 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 07 April 2008 - 07:45 PM

Stephen wrote:

Can one part of the Church declare another to be "uncanonical" and that "uncanonical" part still be 'in the Church'?


The answer to this has to be yes.

Although the underlined part of the larger quote above is more clear as to what is meant, just to say 'uncanonical' does not say anything in reality.

Thus a church could have uncanonical icons, uncanonical piety, or uncanonical belief. Each of these mean that church is 'uncanonical' in some sense but not at all in the same way. Until we specify what it is that is uncanonical we have no means of knowing whether or how this affects the church we speak of.

Similarly in this specific case- at that time the MP claimed that Rocor had no legitimate basis for setting itself up as a distinct body. All legitimate church bodies out side of Russia should have been part of the MP. For this reason the MP at times related to ROCOR as a kind of schismatic group; but at other times only as a group whose official administration it would not recognize as legitimate. In fact there rarely was complete clarity about this.

As to whether this claim by the MP affected Rocor's canonical status. Well, in its own eyes of course it was legitimate & despite some disagreement what this implies about its past, reconciliation suggests that the MP accepts the past path & legitimacy of Rocor. Otherwise the MP demand would have been that Rocor 'fold up' into the MP as part of any reconciliation.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#30 Fabio Lins

Fabio Lins

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 139 posts

Posted 15 September 2008 - 04:57 AM

I would like to clarify yet another word.

If heretics are all together separated from the Church,what is the difference between heresy and apostasy? Can we say that both are out of the Church although heretics are closer and apostates are more distant? Or is it just a difference of open revolt in the case of apostasy and covert revolt in the case of heresy, both leading away from the Church?

In Christ,
Fabio L. Leite

#31 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 15 September 2008 - 01:48 PM

I would like to clarify yet another word.

If heretics are all together separated from the Church,what is the difference between heresy and apostasy? Can we say that both are out of the Church although heretics are closer and apostates are more distant? Or is it just a difference of open revolt in the case of apostasy and covert revolt in the case of heresy, both leading away from the Church?

In Christ,
Fabio L. Leite


My understanding from what I have read, for example in the canons, is that heresy is a distortion of the Faith while apostasy is an actual abandonment of the Faith.

Even if the overall Patristic witness to the use of these two words is not so clear cut, our present use of these words I think does serve a very good pastoral purpose.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#32 Mina Mounir

Mina Mounir

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 143 posts

Posted 02 November 2008 - 12:44 AM

My understanding from what I have read, for example in the canons, is that heresy is a distortion of the Faith while apostasy is an actual abandonment of the Faith.

Even if the overall Patristic witness to the use of these two words is not so clear cut, our present use of these words I think does serve a very good pastoral purpose.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

I believe too that this point is one of the unclear points in the patristic classics.
but the reason - i think - is that the divisions in the time of the early church fathers were more grave and unavoidable.that is , the Arian heresy or Nestorianism and orthodoxy at that time cannot be reconciled because the division here is in the view of God himself . while the schism of the eleventh century and later is not that grave and specially after the development of ecumenical fruitful theological studies. it's difficult to put the division between Orthodoxy and Arianism under the same classification of the schism between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. and consequently, there's a wide difference in the view between the schismatic and the Apostate. and I'm a fan of the Orthodox mystical ecclesiology which adopts the truth of an invisible and unknown unity between the people which God chooses to make them in his Body.

and I believe that the Orthodox ecclesiology should treat with contemporary developments because not everything can be found as it is in the patristic age.


thanks!

#33 Christopher Dombrowski

Christopher Dombrowski

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 133 posts

Posted 12 December 2008 - 12:18 AM

I think Basil's distinctions of the process of initiation were of a threefold nature. To my understanding the three categories were:

1. Non-Trinitarian heretics who did not Baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Initiates from these groups were to be initiated with the whole nine yards (Baptism, Chrismation, and Communion).

2. Trinitarians who Baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and yet had an imperfect faith in Christological matters or other dogmatic matters. Initiates from this group were to be initiated without a repetition of Baptism, but through a repeated Chrismation (probably also Confession) and then Communion.

3. Those who were essentially of the same faith as the Orthodox Church but were for some reason or another in schism from the Church. Initiates from this group were to be received by the Sacrament of Confession (mostly to confess the sin of schism) and then Communion.

Correct me if I'm off base here?

Given these categorizations, here's how this rule could be applied.

1. Former Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Jews, Unitarians, (so on and so forth) would be received through Baptism, Chrismation, and Communion.

2. Former Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Anglicans, Nestorians, (so on and so forth) would be received by Chrismation and Communion.

3. Former members of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, the Kiev Patriarchate, the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church in America, (and maybe the Orientals if the Agreed Statements are correct) would be received simply be Confession and Communion.

#34 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 12 December 2008 - 03:45 PM

There is a general understanding that the further from the Faith in terms of faith & practice then the more is needed according to the Church's sacramental order.

However the interpretation of this has varied greatly.

Basically how people are received then is according to a certain order as established by the bishops in the church one is part of. This also is affected by the ongoing discussion of the proper way to receive those outside of the Church.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#35 Jonathan Hayward

Jonathan Hayward

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 147 posts

Posted 26 June 2009 - 06:21 PM

it's difficult to put the division between Orthodoxy and Arianism under the same classification of the schism between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. and consequently, there's a wide difference in the view between the schismatic and the Apostate.

If by "Catholicism" you mean the more conservative side of Rome, this may be true, but I would remind you that there are some significant differences within Rome and a bigger genuine place for "dissident theologians" than in Orthodoxy.

I remember, in a course at a Catholic university, listening to my "Catholic" professor explain that she really does believe in Tradition... but that includes "Arius as well as Athanasius" as exponents of the same truth. (That was the class where we read gay theologian Walter Wink's The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of Man where all religious greats from all tradition, including Christ, are something like saints. Wink has the core of Christ's message being a rebellion against things liberals don't like, like "domination", and has Jesus offer to induct Nicodemus into "shamanic seeing.")

Monty Python has nothing on liberal Catholicism...

Christos Jonathan

#36 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,032 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 26 June 2009 - 07:01 PM

Please don't mention Walter Wink when I've got a mouth full of gin and tonic!




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users