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Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122243 06/11/02 07:17 PM
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The following address was given by His Eminence, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Nicholas, Titular Metropolitan of Amissos, to the Orientale Lumen VI Conference held at Catholic University, Washington, DC, on June 5, 2002. (Metropolitan Nicholas is the hierarch of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese ):

The View From the Window

You Eminences and Graces, Beloved Brothers in the Lord,
Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers,
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Christ,

Christos Voskrese! Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!
He is risen indeed! And I take this opportunity to salute this Conference in the knowledge and light of the miracle of our Lord's Three-Day Resurrection. It occurs to me that so much of what we have said to one another through the years of our dialogue, what we continue to say and whatever we shall say pale in significance, if we simply gaze upon the empty Tomb of our Savior.

I have chosen to call my presentation this morning, "The View From the Window." In doing so, I suppose I have already answered the question posed by the title of this conference. Indeed, I do believe that the Eastern Catholic Churches are an aperture of sorts between the Western and Eastern Christianity. From time to time this window opens, and there is movement between the two realities. We rarely discuss this openly, but the comings and goings through the window are manifest. Most of the parishes of my own God-protected Diocese were part of the Unia only a few short generations ago. I do not know how many Orthodox Christian clergy were born in the Eastern Rite, but there are more than two hierarchs currently serving in the United States who were baptized as Eastern Rite Catholics. This should not be a cause of scandal to anybody. Rather, it reflects the consanguinity of our communities. This is an issue to which I shall return, but for the moment, I should like to take a different kind of look at the "Window Between East and West."

Like any window, it is not always open, and when closed shut - like any window - it can become soiled and smudged with the exigencies of human history and human frailty. As such, the vision of the, if you will, "other side," becomes obscured, blurred and distorted. In fact, I believe that the window of the Eastern Rite accounts for the views that dominate the interaction of the Western and Eastern Churches. The "window" of the Eastern Rite has become the principle optic by which we behold each other.

From the Orthodox Christian perspective, this singular lens creates multiple problems. We hear the following words of the Second Vatican Council as a threat to our own integrity, rather than as the invitation to dialogue:

"The Eastern Churches in communion with the Apostolic See of Rome have a special duty of promoting the unity of all Christians, especially Eastern Christians...." (Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite, paragraph 24.)

You see, for Orthodox Christians, the Unia is seen as a means, a method for absorbing the Eastern Orthodox Church, not as a self-sustaining, ongoing ecclesial reality that stands on its own. Now, from a historical perspective, this is plainly true. But I think it is vital to remember that as we look back on the creation of the Unia - in all its manifestations - it is fair to say that the political, cultural, and social upheavals that caused the emergence of the Eastern Catholic churches no longer exist. Orthodox peoples are not being subsumed beneath Latin empires. Political systems are not creating religious identities; rather it is the other way around. It matters not how much the Second Vatican Council praises the East - to wit:

"The Catholic Church holds in high esteem the institutions, liturgical rites, ecclesiastical traditions and the established standards of the Christian life of the Eastern Churches, for in them, distinguished as they are for their venerable antiquity, there remains conspicuous the tradition that has been handed down from the Apostles through the Fathers and that forms part of the divinely revealed and undivided heritage of the universal Church." (Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite, Preamble.)

No Orthodox could agree more, but nevertheless, we are left with a contradiction between historical antecedents and current circumstances. And the contradiction masks what is too often perceived as an insidious purpose. Subsequently, instead of the Eastern Rite being a window that offers insight into the world of the "other," it is seen as an opening though which to draw the one into the other. And this is unfortunate indeed. It makes no difference if this is in fact the case or not. As long as it is perceived as the case, the Unia will be viewed with suspicion by the Orthodox.

Now, perhaps someone will protest that I would make an assessment of the view from the Catholic side of the window, but I would do so only in the same vein as I have for the Orthodox, by using the official statements of the Roman Church. One such statement shall suffice:

"These individual Churches, whether of the East or the West, although they differ somewhat among themselves in rite (to use the current phrase), that is, in liturgy, ecclesiastical discipline, and spiritual heritage, are, nevertheless, each as much as the others, entrusted to the pastoral government of the Roman Pontiff, the divinely appointed successor of St. Peter in primacy over the universal Church. They are consequently of equal dignity, so that none of them is superior to the others as regards rite and they enjoy the same rights and are under the same obligations, also in respect of preaching the Gospel, to the whole world (cf. Mark 16, 15) under the guidance of the Roman Pontiff." (Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite, paragraph 3.)

Now to whom does this refer? If only to Eastern Catholic Christians, then well and good, but if to all Eastern Christians - including the so-called "separated brethren" - then we see in what kind of focus Eastern Catholicism puts Eastern Orthodoxy in the eyes of the Roman Church. There is a blur that give the impression that the only thing missing from the Orthodox is a relationship with the primacy of Peter.

Well then, am I not saying that the Eastern and Western Churches are seeing the same thing through the window of Eastern Catholicism? In fact, we are looking at the same thing, but we are not seeing the same thing. And we are missing an even more interesting view.

Again and again in all our fraternal, ecumenical rapprochement, we always seem to end up at the same place, the place of Peter. Forgive me for repeating myself, but as I said last year at this same Conference:

"For too long Peter has been content to live without his brethren and his brethren have been content to live without Peter."

This is the crux, if you will, of all our dialogue. And it is the object that both West and East view through the prism of the Unia. On the one hand, why cannot the separated Eastern Brethren live in communion with Rome, as do the Eastern Catholics? And on the other hand, those same separated Brethren do not wish to be subsumed underneath Rome, as are the Uniate cousins. Through the Eastern Catholic window, both sides see the same object as a different reality.

So what can be done? Where do we go from this point forward? Do we merely agree to disagree about the meaning of the object in our line of sight? Do we argue about who has the clearer view, the cleaner side of the pane of glass that constitutes our window? Do we break the window, destroy the Unia, or simply open the window and pretend that it doesn't exist?

I suppose that there are as many answers to these questions as there are opinions in both our Churches. But I would propose another way.

I understand the chief problem of treating the Unia as a window as this: precisely the one-dimensionality that is guaranteed by such a view. If we continue to see in the Unia only a means to another end, then I believe we deny the intrinsic integrity of the ecclesial experience, and I fear we shall be missing the much greater lessons that God has for us.

I said before that the causes that created the Unia no longer exist. I do not think anyone would dispute that. So then, we are left trying to understand why it continues to exist. If it is only a window, a bridge, a fiber between East and West, we shall never escape the arguments that constitute the history. But if we accept its current reality - the genuine ecclesial body with a valid life of its own, we may learn more than we anticipated and less than we feared.

The Eastern Catholic communities are a spiritual part of the Western Church, and yet a temporal part of the Eastern Church. This may sound the opposite of what is usually claimed, but if one's spiritual center is to be found in one's spiritual community, then it is true. The communion of the Eastern Catholics is the Roman Catholic Church. As a spiritual reality, we Orthodox have no more of a right to deny Uniates their spiritual integrity than we have to deny Roman Catholics - or for that matter - anybody in the world. We are not your judge. And if there truly is "high esteem" in the West for the traditions of the East, then likewise, Eastern Catholics should never be viewed - as they have been in the past - as "second class" Catholics, a temporary aberration occasioned by the exigencies of history.

And as for the temporal reality of the Unia, the consanguinity that I mentioned before points - with an absolute certainty - to the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic ties between Eastern Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. In fact, the Orthodox are happy to share in the natural affinities that characterize our communities. Cultural and linguistic exchanges are commonplace cause scandal to no one. So it seems that no one minds if we dance together, as long as we do not worship together - at least not in the Divine Liturgy. Because "communion in sacris" the sharing of the Holy Mysteries - implies a deeper relationship than just cousins - then we are in the truest sense brothers. And even though I am proud to address the esteemed clergy and laity here assembled as 'Brothers and Sisters,' yet is there a blurring of distinctions. I feel for you as Christian Brothers and Sisters, yet I cannot share in the deepest mysteries of the Christian family with you.

Nowhere is this felt more painfully than in the lives of our parishioners, who, with our blessing and at our instruction, intermarry and retain two allegiances in one household. I often wonder whether it is possible for the celebate hierarchy of both Churches to understand how we have confused and blurred the home-church reality in the lives of real men and women, by the pastoral decisions that we reach - all in good faith and for the good of our respective flocks.

Take, for example, the situation of a couple - one Eastern Orthodox and the other Uniate - who want to baptize their first child in a joint ceremony. From a liturgical point of view, this is the easiest ecumenical problem in the world to solve. The rite is the same. But that is about as far as the rite can take us. As you all know, we do not concelebrate the Sacraments. At least officially.

We speak of valid ordinations and Sacraments and traditions and all the like, but when it comes to meeting the needs of our own parishioners, we are at a loss. I find this situation truly remarkable. We allow - we even encourage the people of our respective flocks to unite in a marriage, to create a family - but then deny them the ability to actualize the house-church that we encouraged them to create. No wonder our people cannot understand our position, because it does appear arcane and ultimately unimportant.

I ask you: What is greater, Christ into Whom we are baptized, or the respective Church authority that signs the baptismal document? I seem to recall a saying of our Lord:

"Indeed, which is greater? The gold or the Temple that sanctifies the gold...the offering, or the Altar that sanctifies the offering?" (Matthew 23:17, 19)

Do not be concerned. I am not proposing anarchy. But I am asking that we take a serious and considered look at how we interpret the Message of the Gospel that has been entrusted to us. As long as we place our own tightly held perspective of reality above the possibilities that we can imagine, when we admit that we do not enclose every understanding of the reality, the we shall continue to make limiting decisions for our flocks, limited by our own needs - not theirs.

This is precisely why the Eastern Catholic experience today can be instructive for all of us. Their reasons to exist no long exist. The purpose for which they were created no longer apply. But the needs of their people are just as real today as they were five centuries ago.

In meeting the needs of their own flocks, the Uniate communities are not serving as a window for the East and West to consider each other, but as a window into the things of God. As long as this is the case, neither East nor West should compromise the integrity of the Uniate experience.

What concerns the Orthodox is if the Eastern Catholic experience be used to try and superimpose Roman hegemony over an already committed Orthodox people. And one cannot say that this has never happened. If the Unia is to have its integrity, it must never be used as methodology - the very methodology that Orthodox Christians often fear that it is. In allowing Eastern Catholic experience to flourish, the Roman Church confirms that it stands by the integrity of the Eastern Christian experience. And this could have sanguine consequences for all.

First, it allows Eastern Catholics to be whom they are - without fear of being 'latinized' or denied the patrimony that they have inherited.

Second, it allows the natural affinities between he Orthodox and Eastern Catholics to develop in an atmosphere of trust, so that joint activities can be cultivated wherever possible.

Third, and at this moment in the American Catholic Church it may be more important than ever, it allows for the fullness of the universal Christian - the highest sense of Catholic - to be considered as to is applicability in the modern world. The mere possibility of married clergy in the American Catholic community though the precedent of the Eastern Catholic experience may prove to be extraordinarily helpful during the difficult days ahead.

In short, my friends - and I hope that I am safe in calling all of you my friends - the Unia can and must be more than a window. It is an edifice unto itself and must be accounted for as such. A "tertium quid" if you will, that fits neither the purposes that the Roman church proposes nor the Orthodox Church fears. As it seeks to minister to the needs of its people, let us pray that we shall find insights into how we are to understand the diversity that the Unia represents to both East and West. Perhaps we shall find ourselves more in agreement than disagreement with Saint Photios, Patriarch of Constantinople, who said:

"In cases where the thing disregarded is not the faith, and is not falling away from any general and catholic decree, different rites and customs being observed among different people, a man who knows how to judge rightly would decide that neither do those who observe them act wrongly, nor do those who have not received them break the law."

Saint Paul stated it with far greater simplicity:

"Now, there are distinctions of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Spirit. Likewise, there are distinctions of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are distinctions of energies, but it is the same God Who energizes all by all. Now, the manifestation of the Spirit is granted to each person to be beneficial." (I Corinthians 12:4-7)

Let us learn to recognize the manifestation of the Spirit. And let us pray that the differences between us always reflect the diversity of His precious gifts, and not the limitations and barriers that we would impose. Perhaps then, the view from the window will improve considerably.

Christ is Risen! Chirstos Anesti! Christos Voskrese!

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122244 06/11/02 07:47 PM
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Bless me a sinner, Fr. Joseph!

An excellent Orthodox assessment of the Eastern Catholics, their history and their contemporary situation!

What impresses me most about Orthodox reviews such as this one is the way in which Orthodox "stick up" for the rights of Eastern Catholics, their Particularity, canonical independence and so on.

These Orthodox rightly conclude that only when Eastern Catholics are allowed to be who they are and free to be so by Rome, then and only then will we achieve the realization of the vision for us as contained in Vatican II and other statements.

This article also addresses a point that is raised periodically by Orthodox posters here, that is, the "togetherness" experienced between Orthodox and Eastern Catholics along cultural/linguistic/national lines. This is not "nationalism" but "national culture" and the two are completely separate entities. To be attracted to mutual sharing on this level is not to "sell out" somehow one's religious heritage either.

The article affirms this is a natural thing through the clever use of the imagery of "dancing together" but not "worshipping together, the former appropriate for "cousins" but the latter only possible once true "brotherhood" in the faith is re-established.

This article reminds me of what one Patriarchal priest of the Russian Orthodox Church told me, that being, that the "Unia" was allowed by God and that, consequently, it will fulfill His purposes. He also told me not to be so "down" on it smile . Of course, I'll obey smile

Alex

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122245 06/11/02 08:16 PM
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How disappointing.

With due respect to Metropolitan Nicholas, his terminology at the very least is troubling.

What is this monolithic "Eastern Rite" he repeatedly refers to? Does he mean Uniates, in general? Does he mean all Eastern Christians, Catholic / Orthodox / Apostolic? Does he mean the Greek Catholics whence his own Diocese originates? Does he not know that there are numerous distinct "Eastern Rites" and over 20 Eastern Catholic Churches? (I think he does, but is there any value to reducing them to "the Eastern Rite"?)
Moreover, the statement
Quote
"These individual Churches, whether of the East or the West, although they differ somewhat among themselves in rite (to use the current phrase)

into which he inserts "(to use the current phrase)" not contained in the original document, is rather puzzling. It is neither the "current phrase" (i.e., terminology) nor is it contemporary to the document in question, a product of the Second Vatican Council which first indicated that Eastern Catholic ecclesiae are Churches and not "rites." For someone so involved in ecumenical endeavors, His Eminence sorely needs a basic course in Catholic ecclesiology.

Finally, the use of such imprecise terminology combined with its uselessness in reference to ecclesial communities renders statements such as this:

Quote
I do not know how many Orthodox Christian clergy were born in the Eastern Rite,


devoid of meaning. I am unable to parse this statement. I presume that he means that these clergy were "born Uniates", that is, born of Uniate parents. But it still sounds and reads like nonsense. Are the Orthodox churches not "Eastern Rite"??

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122246 06/11/02 10:56 PM
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Just another example of how much the Orthodox Church "loves" we Greek Catholics! How truly sad that this kind of rhetoric is still being spewed out by the likes of Metropolitan Nicholas whilst, in the meantime, our side is tip toeing through the tullips of the ecumenical garden trying to both appease and impress our "sister church".

I, for one, think that the argressive words and hostile actions of some Orthodox are in complete violation of the spirit of ecumenism and should be seen as an act of savage hostility towards Eastern Catholics. Why then, if we are confronted with such responses by these individuals, would we then want to embrace them as brothers? They certainly have a very strange way of showing brotherhood.

Personally, I would never join the Orthodox Church even if they did submit to the Supreme and infallible Pontiff. I would rather go back to the Latin rite. Why? Simply because, being a former Orthodox myself, I can verify that they are not very nice people at all and no amount of ecumenism or reunion will ever change their stubborn personalities.

Robert K.

from Philadelphia

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122247 06/11/02 11:29 PM
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Dear friends,

It seems that Metropolitan Nicholas agrees we my view that we Greek Catholics are indeed, a distinct Church, or Churches. We have 400 years of separation from the Orthodox and have "bloomed where we have been planted" by the Holy Spirit.

His point about not being able to share in sacramental celebration is primarily a problem of the Hierarchs, not the people. They can't agree on procedures, we have no trouble making families.

I don't share the negative view of the Orthodox. Most of them I've met have been kind and generous. Even if they are mean and rotten, we are called to love our enemies, and our neighbors, and the "least of God's people", aren't we?

Rather than a bridge, I think we are a rubber band, wrapped around the Church, East and West. We are here to bear witness that both are needed, both must be included in a true Christian faith. Division of the Body of Christ is scandalous, but unity cannot be imposed by dogma or ritual, but must allow for flexibility without compromising essentials of the faith.

Have a Blessed Day!

John
Pilgrim and Odd Duck

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122248 06/12/02 01:51 AM
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I am surpirsed at the reaction. I found it to be an acceptable statement, and unlike Alex, I didn't see him imposing or suggesting any internal administrative changes in the Catholic church.

Axios

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122249 06/12/02 01:08 PM
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Dear Axios,

You mean "Like Alex" right? smile

We agree - correct?

Alex

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122250 06/12/02 01:19 PM
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Dear Friends,

I have to say that I can understand some of the negative reaction to this article.

The whole discussion of "Rite" and "Church" is one that is truly sensitive with us.

But we've "gotten it" historically not only from the Orthodox, but, and primarily, from the RC's whose traditional wing continues to see us not as a Church ("there is only one true Church!") but as a rite of the otherwise undifferentiated RC Church.

What the Orthodox author has written here contains nothing that contemporary RC theologians would not agree with, or indeed have repeated on other occasions.

What is more to the point is that this author, like other Orthodox authors who share his vision, actually DOES understand our historical plight.

If we feel that Eastern Catholics have no plight, that all is well and was well with our relationship to Rome - then, yes, this author has nothing to say to us.

But I can't imagine anyone who would feel that way AND who isn't wearing blinkers.

What the Orthodox author has said about us doesn't denigrate us but, rather, is a supportive clarion call to further movement on the road to full Particularity as ecclesial realities.

The main point is that he accepts us as we are and shares our desire to be more in terms of what we should be.

To defend the Eastern Catholic status quo is, today, irrelevant.

Patriarch Josef Slipyj spent 18 years in Siberia to witness to his loyalty to the See of Peter.

But when he was released he dedicated the rest of his life not to maintaining the Eastern Catholic status quo, but to changing it.

I guess that was the impact of having all sorts of Siberian prisoners, Orthodox, Old Believer et al. think of you as their Bishop.

Alex

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122251 06/12/02 02:02 PM
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As a Roman Catholic my reaction would be…


He starts off very well…

“Again and again in all our fraternal, ecumenical rapprochement, we always seem to end up at the same place, the place of Peter.”

“So what can be done? Where do we go from this point forward? Do we merely agree to disagree about the meaning of the object in our line of sight? Do we argue about who has the clearer view, the cleaner side of the pane of glass that constitutes our window? Do we break the window, destroy the Unia, or simply open the window and pretend that it doesn't exist?”


But then ceases to deal with it and cements himself in the Orthodox view.

“I said before that the causes that created the Unia no longer exist. I do not think anyone would dispute that. So then, we are left trying to understand why it continues to exist.”

“What concerns the Orthodox is if the Eastern Catholic experience be used to try and superimpose Roman hegemony over an already committed Orthodox people. And one cannot say that this has never happened.”

“Their reasons to exist no long exist. The purpose for which they were created no longer apply.”


His answer for “So what can be done?” is “pretend that it does not exist.” even at the same time that he enumerates, by the Orthodox view, how Rome and Peter is the obstacle. Boil this paper down to: “Rome and its understanding of Peter is the problem but if we ignore Rome’s understanding of Peter and Rome does too - we can heal this division.” So his proposal is: Rome and those churches in communion with Peter should at least pretend to understand and operate the office of Peter - in the way the Orthodox would like that office to be.

The misunderstanding of the role of Peter is evident throughout this paper. As long as the hierarchy of the those Eastern churches who are in union with Rome, and Rome itself, have a common understanding of Peter’s office as regards the other churches - that role and that understanding in itself is the binding reason for the communion.

And as long as the Orthodox continue to hold an understanding of the role of Peter in a different manner than Rome and the Eastern churches in union with Rome do… Peter and any full communion with Peter - will always seem to be Latin-ization, hegemony, subsuming and ‘wrong worship’.

Any ‘re-alignment’ on the part of the Orthodox churches on the role of Peter faces the possibility of: “We have made a mistake and misunderstood the role of Peter.” And it is made all the more difficult in that some bishops who have occupied the office of Peter (or embassies for it) have not lived up to that office but have gone ahead to misuse it in just the way the Orthodox say it should not be used and fear it might be used.


Viewed as a mixed institution (human and divine) where the errors of human nature can gain the upper hand, and with each division believing they will betray God and salvation if they do not stick to thier guns and convince others of the truth (thier own particular understanding of revealed truth) - this division is insurmountable to human nature without someone like the office of Peter (as Rome and chuches in comminuon with Rome understand the limits and the authority of
that office to be).

The father of any family is not always right - and may not always be good - and may at times be misunderstood - but he is always the father and disregard for that fact divides the family much worse than a bad father himself does.

Hey - just my opinion.

-ray

[ 06-12-2002: Message edited by: -ray ]


-ray
Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122252 06/12/02 02:13 PM
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Dear -ray,

Actually, the Orthodox author here doesn't deal with the role of Peter so much as he does with the ecclesial issue of the Eastern Catholic Churches itself.

And the two are quite distinct, although I can see your point with respect to the recognition of the Pope et al.

To be in union with Rome is one thing. To follow a particular historical paradigm of such union is another. The author is dealing with the latter only.

And he is not alone in doing this. RC ecumenical theologians in talks with the Orthodox have said exactly the same things.

It is they more than any Orthodox commentator who have proclaimed that the model of union between the Churches in terms of the "Unia" is no longer valid. Period.

The Orthodox themselves are not against union with Rome. They are against the same sort of issues Eastern Catholics are against as well - direct jurisdiction over Eastern Church affairs by the Latin Church, control and denial of Eastern Church traditions such as the married clergy and Particular Church self-government et al.

This has nothing to do with Peter. Only with the way some of his successors see their role in these latter days.

Alex

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122253 06/12/02 04:26 PM
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I thought the Metropolitan's address was very honest and on target just as Bishop Kallistos' was at his recent lecture in Pittsburgh, as was Archimandrite Taft's the year before.

The reality is we are Eastern Churches in Communion with, as well as answering to, Rome. The "Orthodox in Communion with Rome" label is at best lacking. If one is in communion with Rome, then one accepts Rome's ecclesiology which is not that of the Orthodox. The role of the Papacy, as well as the doctrinal and ecclesiological implications it entails, remain the true obstacle to reunion. Both Bishop Kallistos and Metropolitan Nicholas state this and I believe many Orthodox bishops would agree. So I believe the Orthodox are right in saying we should not use the title Orthodox.

We are Eastern but we also have a uniqueness. We are Catholic but not Latin. We are Eastern but not Orthodox. I know that statement will upset some, but I find it the truest statement of where we are at. Does this mean we are, that most dreaded of titles, a "tertium quid" a third thing? After much reflection I must say yes. But I don't think that is the negative thing many have made it out to be: a bastard with no true identity. We share a common heritage with our Orthodox brothers, but we also have our own unique history that can not be denied. We are Eastern Catholics.

In Christ,
Lance


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122254 06/12/02 04:43 PM
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Dear Lance,

For the most part, I agree, you are right on target!

We can be as "Orthodox" as we like theologically in as many points of faith as we like.

But the fact of the matter is that theology is an integrated whole.

We take the train that says "Orthodoxy" but get off at the "Papal" station.

Some of us actually say that we accept the Pope as the Orthodox do - either as "First among Equals" "Collegiality" and other such, well, nonsense.

To say that means that we are already in separation from Rome as we reject the theological a prioris of the Papacy.

And in that case we should, to be honest with ourselves, remove the presumption of our bodily togetherness within Catholicism . . . I'm trying out a new phrase I heard at a lecture I attended recently smile .

On the other hand, if we accept the theology that underlines the contemporary Papacy, then how are we being faithful to the integrity of the rest of the Byzantine theological paradigms that we say we accept?

It's like taking two different statues, but pulling off the head of one and replacing it with the other's.

The use of the term "Orthodox" is controversial, to be sure.

We already use it throughout our liturgical prayers that we share with the guys who aren't in union with Rome smile .

My only point here with respect to this term is that I believe it implies more that just "right theology" or belief.

The way it has been used by our ancestors has given this term, within this particular context, a specific "cultural" flavour.

By this I mean "Eastern spiritual cultural identity."

As one Orthodox Metropolitan wrote, "They (Eastern Catholics) initially called themselves 'Orthodox in union with Rome' but later they dropped that term and became heavily Latinized. They forgot, you see, that in essence they were Orthodox and came from Orthodoxy."

So while the Orthodox see in our use of this term a source of offense and error in terms of our relationship to Orthodoxy, for us it has historically been the saviour of our identity and spiritual patrimony.

Also, the 19th century Eastern Catholic prayerbooks regularly use the title "Orthodox-Catholic" in the same way that the Confession of St Peter Mohyla did - "Pravoslavno-Kafolicheska."

I don't think there is any fear that our parishes will start calling themselves "Orthodox-Catholic." smile

But I prefer this term to "Orthodox in union with Rome."

This latter term suggests precisely what we want to avoid, that we are an Orthodox statue with a Papal head unnaturally stuck on top.

Alex

[ 06-12-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122255 06/12/02 05:53 PM
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While I disagree with the terminology used by Metropolitan Nicholas, I do think he makes a number of valid points.

The ecclesiology currently used by Rome and tolerated by Eastern Catholics does need to change to better serve the universal Church. Rome should begin treating us Eastern Catholics as it would treat the rest of Orthodoxy once full communion is re-established. Unless we can truly and authentically witness the fullness of Orthodoxy within communion with Rome then Orthodoxy is correct in its mistrust of Rome. Orthodoxy cannot be defined merely as those Eastern Churches not in communion with Rome. As Orthodox who are already in communion with Rome we need to work diligently to ensure that our witness is always fully Orthodox and reflects an ecclesiology that will work in a reunited Church. That we choose to keep communion with Rome and tolerate the negative aspects of this communion does not mean that we consider the current ecclesiology as perfect or even acceptable. We simply choose to live with it because it is the current price of communion with Peter.

I disagree that we are Eastern but not Orthodox. To say this is to deny that the primary catechesis of who we are comes from worship. The only way this statement could be acceptable is if all of Orthodoxy proclaims that the source of its theology is definitely not its liturgy. It is true that the main obstacle to full communion is the papal claims. These claims, however, relate more to the good order of the Church rather than to what we believe about the nature of the saving Trinity. The East without this communion with Rome is indeed lacking something. So, too, is the West without communion with the East.

How we came into being was wrong. Yet we are here and our experience is valid, though not un-Orthodox. This experience is definitely not a third way nor can it ever be a third way. It can only be a learning process for what does not work while at the same time fully respecting those who have died for it.


Quote
-ray wrote:
The father of any family is not always right - and may not always be good - and may at times be misunderstood - but he is always the father and disregard for that fact divides the family much worse than a bad father himself does.


This is a key point. Pope John Paul II is not the father of the family. He is the eldest brother. Understanding this distinction is vital to understanding the Eastern position.

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122256 06/13/02 03:33 AM
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Robert wrote:

"I can verify that they [the Orthodox] are not very nice people at all and no amount of ecumenism or reunion will ever change their stubborn personalities."

Robert!!! Honestly! Think before you speak!!!

Re: Text of Address given at Orientale Lumen by Metropolitan +Nicholas #122257 06/13/02 10:03 AM
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Keep in mind that Metropolitan Nicholas is "one of those Orthodox Hierarchs" who was born and baptized in the "Unia". He has witnessed what it was like to be "Orthodox Uniates" (i.e. Uniates who returned to Orthodoxy) when they had first left the "Unia" and struggled as much as Uniate's did in trying to maintain an Eastern Christian identity in America where Western Christians were always in the majority. I think he made a lot of good points in his paper. Things will have to change soon or otherwise such "sui juris" Eastern Catholic Particular Churches in America such as the Rusyn Byzantine Catholic Metropolia will
be extinct because of a lack active priests, a lack of prper education and a lack of what it really means to be an autonomous Eastern Christian Church in Communion with the Roman Catholic Church!

Christos Posredi nas! Jest i budet'!

Ung-Certez frown

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