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The Title His All Holiness

patriarch bartholomew all holiness titles clergy

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#21 Euthymios



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Posted 07 December 2014 - 01:51 AM

This will be my final response to this thread. I apprciate all the people who have contributed and tried to help.

Anna said: Whether it is All Holiness or Judge of the World,  the titles of the Patriarchs reflect what exists in the Church as the Body of Christ.

My Response: Who says? Neither Christ or the apostles ever made that claim. You are giving your own personal opinion, by first assuming the validity of the modern Ortrhodox paradigm. Byzantines have always loved grandiose and proud titles – which helped to make up for the loss of Empire and enslavement by the Turks and reduction since the Schism of their patriarchates in numbers and influence. I know of no evidence of the proud title "All Holiness" existing prior to the 10th century. So, I see no valid grounds for us to penalize Protestants for rejecting our non-biblical and non-Christian traditions. Protestants only care about maintaining the pure and simple Gospel of Grace, as found in the New Testament.

 Anna Said: It is not a personal title - ie not given to them in order to exalt them as persons, but rather given to them as being a type of Christ, as we are all called to be.

MY RESPONSE: Why then are we not all called "All Holiness"? Your comment assumes that the patriarch has attained this likeness to Christ, and that nobody else hasn't since we are not given this title. And why aren't deified saints called "All Holiness"--if what you say is true?  It's also contradictory. If it is not a personal title (I understand this is the claim), than they cannot be considered being a "type of Christ," since this is a personal attribute.  Many patriarches are not worthy of even being bishops, to say nothing of having such a proud title.

Anna Said: We venerate our patriarchs and bishops for the same reason we venerate the saints, not as some sort of honoring of personal holiness that an individual has somehow earned, but rather we give honor and glory to Christ IN his Church.

My Response: I understand the claim and reasoning. My point is that the apostles never authorized this title. You're giving the explanation (excuse) long after the fact.

Anna Said: This is a Protestant understanding of where truth comes from. The Orthodox church does not limit itself to what is authorized by the apostles and Scripture but accepts the councils, the writings of the saints and our lived tradition as valid sources for Church life.

My Response: Why doesn't this place them under the anathema of Gal. 1 for preaching "another gospel" not preached by the apostles? Jude 3 says the faith was once for all delivered to the saints. And the canons and councils do not warrant such a title as "All Holiness." Anyone can invent any tradition they want and claims it derives from the authority of the Church. Where do you draw the line?

With regard to your claims about Protestantism, you're doing what you accused them of doing, giving opinion. You need to set aside your prejudices against Protestants, and try to examine the issue with no pre-conceived filters (Orthodox biases) and look objectively at the topic. The assumption that they are wrong because of "many denominations" is fallacious, because it first assumes that something is true only if it is united or one. This is your Orthodox mentality. You're disparagment of the concept of questioning things is not a Christian understading. St. Paul told us to test all things (1Thess. 5:21). Only people who lack critical thinking would question the concept of questioning.  As a side note, training in critical thinking has been removed from the modern education system. And we are not questioning everything. We are only questiong Orthodox claims. And the idea that questiong eveyrthing leads to nihilism, is fallacious because non-Orhtodox Christians who question, are not Nihilists, but deeply devoted heterodox (often much more pious than the Orthodox). Did you get this idea from Father Seraphim Rose? It sounds very esoteric and spiritual, but it's not always true.

You need to humble yourself and try to look at this topic through an objective, honest, humble and analytical approach. I seriously question any system that has a low view of questioning and critical thinking.

The responses on this thread were attempts to shift the focus away from the main issue.  Again, my question has nothing to do with Protestantism. I am only concerned about what the earliest Christian sources have to say--not private opinions, customs, formalisms or subjective interpretations.

#22 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 05:20 AM

In that recent argument, there is emphasis on the earliest Christian sources that are extant.  We know we don't have them all in written format.  So the argument does not really hold up to scrutiny.  

  1. Party A claims that the Earliest sources claim that a practice is false.  
  2. Party B says the earliest sources are incomplete.  
  3. Party A says we should go with what we have in the earliest sources as they stand.
  4.  Party B says no.  

It is a stalemate because the underlying assumption is that the earliest sources are "better" even though they are incomplete, which is a Protestant approach, which is minimalistic.  Orthodox are not minimalistic because there was oral tradition as well as written tradition (check the Greek, tradition is paradises, "that which was handed down").  And the Apostles did use oral tradition... both from Christ (who did not write things down but rather taught via oral teachings) as well as from the Hebrew "fathers" like the Apostle Paul did with several examples (the example that comes to mind is in naming "Jannes and Jambres" which does not appear in the Old Testament scriptures).


The Earliest sources are not enough to encompass the Faith.  Otherwise, the Church would not have withstood the heresy of Arius.  In fact, Arius himself could be considered  one of the earliest sources, could he not?  Let alone later problems like iconoclasm.


Again, if you wish to have a discussion on the topic, I offer to do so via private messages.

#23 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 12:01 AM

I think there is a very basic issue here, specifically, what does "holy" mean? Maybe we can start with this?


If the ground beneath the feet of Moses can be "holy", can't a person be considered "holy"? Especially if we realize that "holy" really, essentially, means: "dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred".


Text without context is pretext.


Simple thoughts from a bear of little brain

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