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#1 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 11:18 PM

I the Creed, we all confess that we believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. In saying this, we believe that the Church is the only Church, the Body of Christ. Much has been said recently about the relationship of the Church with the various Christian communities from the Romans to the many Protestant communities; I am thinking of what has been said by critical commentators about the documents published by the Council held last year on Crete. As I understand it, we are bound to say that there is the Church and there is no other that can properly be so called. My question is this: is it heresy for an Orthodox Christian to say that there are other Churches besides the Orthodox Church? By 'other Churches', I do not mean calling them as they are commonly called, but calling them Churches as acknowledging their ecclesial nature? Some say plainly it would be heresy, and we have the statement of the Holy Synod the Bulgarian Orthodox Church: that besides the “Holy Orthodox Church there are no other churches, but only heresies and schisms, and to call these ‘churches’ is theologically, dogmatically and canonically completely wrong”.



#2 Kosta

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 03:35 AM

No other societies have ecclesial nature with sacraments of salvific grace. We call them churches because of how the word has come down to identify specific building's where the bible is read. In fact I know many foreigners who refer to synagogues and mosques as churches.

The only authentic documents (cretan papers are not of the church)of the church where Church is used is to identify the papists, it's wither papal church or Latin church or western church. Such as the patriarchal encyclical of the 19th century makes clear that this same Latin church spoken of is not a church at all but a heresy

#3 Lakis Papas

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 05:26 PM

It depends: how we address something is not identical to the meaning we imply by the word. 

 

It is heresy if we do not understand any difference between  "Church" as Christ's body and "Church" as a group of same religion.



#4 Antonios

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 07:41 PM

It is word play.  It depends on what one calls a 'church', or ekklesia.  An ekklesia means a gathering of like minded individuals.  In ancient Greece, the term was commonly used to denote many different types of communities gathered together.  For example, in the 'ekklesia' which would gather in Athens to deliberate and vote on a matter, which consisted of naturally born Athenite males.  Or in the ekklesias which would gather to worship the gods or partake in Games at Olympia or decide how much of the tax revenue should go to assist the poor and desolate.

 

Many Saints have used the term to call the groups of like-minded faithful believers, acting in the world, including those in schism and in heresy.  The Western ekklesia, or the Papal ekklesia or the Roman Catholic ekklesia.

 

A good understanding of the term demonstrates that their indeed is a specific definition of the term, as well as other definition of the term.

 

The Council in Rhodes clearly stated that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ is the 'Orthodox Church'.  That there is no other Church or Body which can claim this.

 

Unfortunately, they also used the term 'church' to describe other Christian communities.  I say unfortunately not because it is wrong to or that there is a contradiction or a necessary cause of stumbling, but rather because it can be taken as a contradiction and can be misunderstood and become a cause for some to stubble.  It seems to me (from the little I know) that it would have been better to call them 'communities', especial in light of the protestations which were being made with some of the Churches at the Council. 

 

Some of the Orthodox Church members fear that the wording at the Synod in Crete can give the impression that those non-Orthodox called "Ekklesia" or "Church" have a valid episcopate or threaten the unity and truth of the Church as One Body of Christ.

 

If understood in one way, it does not.  If understood in another, it does.

 

Hopefully if we ever see a greater synod in our lifetime, this will be addressed and clarified according to the Holy Spirit.



#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 08:51 AM

Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, a very vocal critic of Crete, said that none of the Holy Fathers who had to deal with heresy ever called any heretical group a 'Church'. Heretics were anathematized full stop: they were not placated in any way.



#6 Lakis Papas

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 06:28 PM

I think there is a difference in our times in comparison to the past. 

 

In the past heretical movements had close relations to political structure and the conflicts were both spiritual and political as well. Thus, the rejections took a holistic form because they were applied by political means. 

 

In our times heretical confrontations exclusively take place in the social (non political) fields. In some countries there are dividing issues like pro-against abortion but even then this division is mainly political and can not be described as  heretical. 

 

I think if any saint of the past was alive today he/she might use another language, appropriate for today's spiritual, social and political structure.



#7 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 12:21 AM

I'm not sure that there isn't political influence going on in the background of some movements which apparently are aimed at eroding Orthodoxy. This is implicit in the denunciation of the Council on Crete by Archimandrite Athansios, Proigoumenos of the Great Meteora. The schismatic 'Patriarchate' in Kiev has an obvious pokitical dimension.

 

The criticisms of Crete relate directly to the issue of this thread.



#8 Kosta

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 07:09 AM

The Church as the Body of Christ militant is only one and visible,  that is the Church of the Fathers the Orthodox Church.  In the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895 it makes clear what the Synod of Constantinople refers to as the 'Papal Church" is not in anyway the body of Christ but a heresy:

 

1.... From this source (Satan) indeed, even from the earliest times, there sprang up in the Church of God heretical tares, which have in many ways made havoc, and do still make havoc, of the salvation of mankind by Christ; which moreover, as bad seeds and corrupted members, are rightly cut off from the sound body of the orthodox catholic Church of Christ. But in these last times the evil one has rent from the orthodox Church of Christ even whole nations in the West, having inflated the bishops of Rome with thoughts of excessive arrogance, which has given birth to divers lawless and anti-evangelical innovations. And not only so, but furthermore the Popes of Rome from time to time, pursuing absolutely and without examination modes of union according to their own fancy, strive by every means to reduce to their own errors the catholic Church of Christ, which throughout the world walks unshaken in the orthodoxy of faith transmitted to her by the Fathers.

The Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895

 

 

I can go back to the pan-Orthodox Encyclical of 1848 to see that neither protestant sects nor the Latin Church was ever recognized as being in anyway the Body of Christ:Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, 1848

 

21...  The faith and confession we have received is not one to be ashamed of, being taught in the Gospel from the mouth of our LORD, witnessed by the holy Apostles, by the seven sacred Ecumenical Councils, preached throughout the world, witnessed to by its very enemies, who, before they apostatized from orthodoxy to heresies, themselves held this same faith, or at least their fathers and fathers' fathers thus held it. It is witnessed to by continuous history, as triumphing over all the heresies which have persecuted or now persecute it, as ye see even to this day. The succession of our holy divine fathers and predecessors beginning from the Apostles, and those whom the Apostles appointed their successors, to this day, forming one unbroken chain, and joining hand to hand, keep fast the sacred inclosure of which the door is Christ, in which all the orthodox Flock is fed in the fertile pastures of the mystical Eden, and not in the pathless and rugged wilderness, as his Holiness supposes (p. 7.1.12). Our Church holds the infallible and genuine deposit of the Holy Scriptures, of the Old Testament a true and perfect version, of the New the divine original itself. The rites of the sacred Mysteries, and especially those of the divine Liturgy, are the same glorious and heartquickening rites, handed down from the Apostles. No nation, no Christian communion, can boast of such Liturgies as those of James, Basil, Chrysostom. The august Ecumenical Councils, those seven pillars of the house of Wisdom, were organized in it and among us. This, our Church, holds the originals of their sacred definitions. The Chief Pastors in it, and the honorable Presbytery, and the monastic Order, preserve the primitive and pure dignity of the first ages of Christianity, in opinions, in polity, and even in the simplicity of their vestments. Yes! verily, "grievous wolves" have constantly attacked this holy fold, and are attacking it now, as we see for ourselves, according to the prediction of the Apostle, which shows that the true lambs of the great Shepherd are folded in it; but that Church has sung and shall sing forever: " They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them (Pscxviii. l1). Let us add one reflection, a painful one indeed, but useful in order to manifest and confirm the truth of our words:—All Christian nations whatsoever that are today seen calling upon the Name of Christ (not excepting either the West generally, or Rome herself, as we prove by the catalogue of her earliest Popes), were taught the true faith in Christ by our holy predecessors and fathers; and yet afterwards deceitful men, many of whom were shepherds, and chief shepherds too, of those nations, by wretched sophistries and heretical opinions dared to defile, alas! the orthodoxy of those nations, as veracious history informs us, and as St. Paul predicted.

 22. Therefore, brethren, and ye our spiritual children, we acknowledge how great the favor and grace which God has bestowed upon our Orthodox Faith, and on His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, 






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