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Re: On Roman Primacy #125316
09/08/02 06:01 PM
09/08/02 06:01 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 225
Emerald Terrace
traveler Offline
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Emerald Terrace
'The Primacy of Peter' is a wonderful text-- for Muslim converts to Christianity--to study as they await their reception into the Orthodox Church.

Abdur

[ 09-08-2002: Message edited by: traveler ]

Re: On Roman Primacy #125317
09/08/02 11:41 PM
09/08/02 11:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 7,461
Kansas/UGCC
Diak Offline
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The Primacy of Peter is a wonderful book. Afanasiev and Schmemann both strongly make the case for a primacy which they both agree is lacking in the Orthodox Church.

But what they advocate is primacy, not supremacy. There is a difference.

Re: On Roman Primacy #125318
09/09/02 01:26 AM
09/09/02 01:26 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,103
Metropolitan Detroit, MI
Sub-Deacon Ghazaros Offline OP
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Sub-Deacon Ghazaros  Offline OP
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Posts: 1,103
Metropolitan Detroit, MI
Quote
Originally posted by Diak:
The Primacy of Peter is a wonderful book. Afanasiev and Schmemann both strongly make the case for a primacy which they both agree is lacking in the Orthodox Church.

But what they advocate is primacy, not supremacy. There is a difference.


Diak,

I can live with this and I think Rome could too. I appreciate their work in "the Primacy of Peter" as a positive step in moving both Churches closer to a common, agreed-upon understanding of Roman Primacy.

Re: On Roman Primacy #125319
09/09/02 03:12 PM
09/09/02 03:12 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,172
Canada
Orthodox Catholic Offline
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Orthodox Catholic  Offline
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Posts: 26,172
Canada
Dear Diak and Der-Ghazarian,

Yes, I keep asking my bishop when he'll be more about primacy and less about supremacy . . .

He then follows up with, "Never mind, just do it - please."

As long as he says, "Please," I'll keep obeying him wink .

When it comes to authority, he is supreme in my heart!

Alex

Re: On Roman Primacy #125320
09/09/02 04:25 PM
09/09/02 04:25 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 75
Roslyn, WA
G
George Blaisdell Offline
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George Blaisdell  Offline
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Posts: 75
Roslyn, WA
Alex writes:
Dear Diak and Der-Ghazarian,

>>>Yes, I keep asking my bishop when he'll be more about primacy and less about supremacy . . .

He then follows up with, "Never mind, just do it - please."<<<

He is right - Obedience is NOT imposition of authority - It is the ongoing and voluntary submission of one's self-will to another - The intensive denial of one's SELF, in following Christ. Outside the Church, it can get ugly...

>>>When it comes to authority, he is supreme in my heart!<<<

I get to finally meet my Bishop next week! His word carries great authority in my heart too!

geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: On Roman Primacy #125321
09/10/02 12:30 AM
09/10/02 12:30 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,103
Metropolitan Detroit, MI
Sub-Deacon Ghazaros Offline OP
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Sub-Deacon Ghazaros  Offline OP
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Posts: 1,103
Metropolitan Detroit, MI
Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Diak and Der-Ghazarian,

Yes, I keep asking my bishop when he'll be more about primacy and less about supremacy . . .

He then follows up with, "Never mind, just do it - please."

As long as he says, "Please," I'll keep obeying him wink .

When it comes to authority, he is supreme in my heart!

Alex



Dear Alex,

What you say has a profound truth to it. A God-given authority if misused will most likely be spurned. I think a perfect example of this is the God-given authority given to the husband as head of his household. As long as he uses this headship in a Christ-like way, most likely, the wife will respect his role as head. But if he becomes domineering and misuses his God-given authority, in time, this authority will be rejected as unacceptable.

May God give wisdom to both sides to find that proper application of Roman Primacy which will reunite His Church.

Trusting in Christ's Light,

Der-Ghazarian

Re: On Roman Primacy #125322
09/10/02 01:35 PM
09/10/02 01:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,172
Canada
Orthodox Catholic Offline
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Orthodox Catholic  Offline
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Posts: 26,172
Canada
Dear Der-Ghazarian,

Yes, when it comes to our local Bishop or the Bishop of Rome, it is the way in which they portray the authority of Christ in their lives that we pay deference to.

Some say that John Paul II is charismatic - and of this I have no doubt.

But what the youth of WYD came to see was the way in which he has incarnated Christ in his life as another shepherd of Christ's Flock.

Authority without the heart-rending sacerdotal ministry that speaks of the Presence of Christ is empty and inspires no one.

Alex

Re: On Roman Primacy #125323
10/10/02 10:24 AM
10/10/02 10:24 AM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 204
manila, philippines
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elexeie Offline
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manila, philippines
I'd like to share a reflection on Fr. Chrysostom Frank, an Orthodox priest, regarding the issue of Roman Primacy. It is very enlightening. wink ***************
It is only in worship, with a keen sense of the transcendence of the
inexpressible mystery 'which surpasses knowledge' (Eph. 3:19), that we
will
be able to see our divergences in their proper setting and 'to lay. . .
no
greater burden than these necessary things' (Acts 15:28), so as to
reestablish communion. . . . It seems to me, in fact, that the question
we
must ask ourselves is not so much whether we can reestablish full
communion, but rather whether we still have the right to remain
separated.
We must ask ourselves this question in the very name of our
faithfulness to
Christ's will for his Church, for which constant prayer must make us
both
increasingly open and ready in the course of the Theological Dialogue.
(1)

These words were originally spoke by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in
the
patriarchal Church of St. George in the Phanar in Constantinople in
1979.
They were repeated thirteen years later in 1992 by Bishop Vsevolod,
Ruling
Hierarch of the Ukranian Orthodox Church in the United States and
Canada
(Ecumenical Patriarchate), to a gathering in St. George's Cathedral in
L'viv of the Holy Synod of the Ukranian Greek Catholic Church. (2) The
question these words pose is perhaps the singular most important issue
in
Orthodox-Catholic relations and perhaps the singular most important
question for all of Christianity in our age: do we Orthodox and
Catholics
still have the right to remain separated? It is the question with which
this reflection is concerned.

i. recapturing the hearts and minds
Dialogue and communion between two communities exists, I would argue,
on
two levels: firstly, on the official, theological and hierarchical one,
and
secondly, in the hearts and minds of the People of God. For restoration
of
eucharistic fellowship to occur, dialogue and communion must take place
on
both levels. The official, theological, hierarchical one is certainly
necessary since that is where the schism first took place, not in the
hearts and minds of the faithful but in the break of communion between
bishops and theologians. Consequently, it is on that level that
restoration
of communion must begin again even when the faithful are not entirely
ready
for it. Theological dialogue and the fostering of an attitude of
communion
among theologians, clergy and bishops is necessary in and of itself,
but it
is also necessary in preparing for the restoration of communion at the
second level, in the hearts and minds of the faithful.

The Council of Florence failed not only because of an inadequate
grappling
with the theological issues, but because the episcopate, agreeing among
themselves for the most part, failed to carry the people with them. The
restoration of communion had been achieved with paper and ink but not
in
the hearts and minds of the faithful. This is where a major front of
the
battle, then, must be fought.

In 1981, the French Catholic theologian, Father Louis Bouyer, recounted
how
when he was present at a celebration in one of the great cathedrals of
Russia at which Cardinal Willebrands had preached the Orthodox faithful
showed their enthusiasm in a very spontaneous way. A Russian Orthodox
bishop then said to Cardinal Willibrands,

"Now you see the situation has changed completely. Florence was a
total
failure because it was just a combination, moved to some extent by
political considerations, between the hierarchies and without the
people
really being interested. Now it is the opposite: it is the mass of
people
and the clergy who desire unity and believe it should be restored." (3)

Since 1981, certain develoments have occured in eastern Europe which
are
not conducive to Orthodox-Catholic reconiliation (I shall discuss these
more fully later). Nonetheless, in 1992 the Ukranian Orthodox Bishop
Vsevolod from the United States was still able to say to the Holy Synod
of
Greek Catholic Bishops in the Ukraine that "In these few days of my
stay in
Ukraine, the priests and faithful have frequently repeated how
sincerely
the desire and need to put an end to this division, how they want to
have
one Church in Kiev. Never in my life have I seen such popular
enthusiasm
for Christian unity." (4)

How true these claims still are in 1995 is perhaps a difficult question
to
answer. Nonetheless, they continue to point to a vital dimension in
Orthodox-Catholic relations, that is, the need to recapture the hearts
and
minds of the people for reunion. The pastors and theologians of the
Churches, I believe, have the spiritual responsibility for preparing
their
flocks for the restoration of union and communion. This is a pastoral
task,
and one that ought to be taken seriously. Whether the schism is healed
in
ten years or in a hundred years is irrelevant. We need to begin to
prepare
the hearts and minds of the faithful and to begin to break down the
prejudices, the outworn theological perceptions and the fears that
exist
and have been built up over centuries. Bishops, theologians and pastors
need to take seriously the words of Bishop Vsevolod:
The Lord has given us the possibility to accomplish this unity. Our
task is
to lead our flock on the right road according to the will of Jesus
Christ
in the path of Church unity, to walk in the Orthodox Faith with a truly
Catholic love which embraces everyone. We must find the ways to purify
our
motives and the motives of our faithful, to attain a Church unity which
is
authentically Orthodox and authentically Catholic, to teach the Truth
of
the Holy Gospel and the genuine Christian life, which alone can bring
us
peace and salvation. (5)

A good place to begin this process of leading our flocks "on the right
road
" has been suggested by the 1993 Balamand Statement, a tremendously
significant accord reached by Catholics and Orthodox. (6) The Statement
suggests that within our own communities 1) we make clear that Orthodox
and
Catholics mutually recognize each other's apostolic ministry and
sacramental life and that 2) we present the history of our Churches in
a
sympathetic and non-polemical way:

First of all, everyone should be informed of the apostolic succession
of
the other Church and the authenticity of its sacramental life. One
should
also offer [in the preparation of future priests] all a correct and
comprehensive knowledge of history aiming at a historiography of the
two
Churches which is in agreement and even may be common. In this way, the
dissipation of prejudices will be helped, and the use of history in a
polemical manner will be avoided. This presentation will lead to an
awareness that faults leading to separation belong to both sides,
leaving
deep wounds on each side. (7)

This reappropriation of our divided history has been poignantly
expressed
by Pope John Paul II in his recent book, Crossing the Threshold of
Hope. In
a simple yet powerful way, the Pope expressed his conviction that,
despite
the schism, Orthodox and Catholics belong to the one holy Church. In
the
discussion of mystical prayer, the Pope appealed not only to western
Saints, but also explicitly to St. Seraphim of Sarov, a post-schism
eastern
monk, and specifically called him a Saint. (8) That the Pope of Rome
has
ascribed sanctity and sainthood to Seraphim of Sarov, who lived and
died
outside of eucharistic communion with the See of Rome and within the
bosom
of Russian Orthodoxy, is very significant. It means a great deal. It
means
that the Pope takes seriously that Orthodoxy is Church, despite the
break
in sacramental communion with Rome. It is important that the Orthodox
faithful realize that the Bishop of Rome values and venerates the holy
ones
whom they also value and venerate. It is this kind of reaching out,
exemplified by Pope John Paul II, which can touch the hearts and minds
of
the faithful far more than theological statements on the filioque
clause.

Another dimension of the pastoral task in preparing for the restoration
of
communion is the necessity to inculcate in ourselves - bishops,
theologians, clergy, monastics and laity - an attitude of
responsibility
and accountability towards each other. This means accepting that the
problems and crises within our respective Churches concern all of us.
When
a brother or sister hurts or is struggling it ought to be my hurt and
struggle as well. The opposite of this, however, is what one often
hears in
Orthodox-Catholic relations. With a self-satisfied glee Orthodox can
speak
of the Roman Church "going down the tubes", while Catholics can be
heard
referring in a smug way to Orthodoxy as a backward-looking community
out of
touch with the twentieth century. Our separation from each other over
the
centuries has made it easy to lose a sense of any accountability
towards
each other. To restore this sense is an immense pastoral task, but one
which is necessary if we ever are to meet together at the eucharistic
chalice.
There have been, of course, various historical circumstances through
the
centuries which have impeded the process of reconciliation, e.g., the
Latin
Crusades, the Islamic occupation of Christian lands, the emergence of
nationalism, the creation of the Eastern-Rite (so-called Uniate)
Churches.
At the present time there are also developments which are not conducive
to
recapturing the hearts and minds of the faithful and preparing them for
the
restoration of full communion. I shall refer to two such developments.

One development concerns the specific situation of Orthodoxy in
America.
Here one finds relatively small, and often still ethnic, Orthodox
communities fighting to carve out a place for themselves and to sustain
their own identity alongside a very large americanized Catholic Church.
The
canonization of Father Alexis Toth by the the Orthodox Church in
America is
a prime example of how local Orthodox concerns take precedence over the
ecumenical task. Father Toth was a nineteenth-century Greek Catholic
priest
who had come to America from Austro-Hungary. After being rejected as a
legitimate Catholic priest (he was a widower) by the local Roman
Catholic
hierarchy, Toth eventually entered the Orthodox Church together with
three
hundred and sixty one members of St. Mary's Church in Minneapolis. This
paved the way for the entrance of over 30,000 Greek Catholic clergy and
laity into the Orthodox Church. (9)
I have heard it argued that Father Toth's canonization was not an
example
of anti-Catholicism. Nor was it simply because he brought Greek
Catholics
into the Orthodox Church; rather, it was because of his holiness and
pastoral work. This is a charitable interpretation of the event, but
one
which, it seems to me, is hard to defend. The official icon of St.
Alexis
of Wilkes-Barre, "Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy in America" has
him
holding a scroll on which are written the following words: "This is the
Teaching of the Christian Orthodox Church, This is the Teaching of Your
Forefathers, Your Fathers: This is Your Faith, Through Which All of Us
Will
Come to Salvation. Hold to it! Amen." The implication is obvious: Those
Greek Catholics who joined the Orthodox Church have now "returned
home",
returned to the faith of their ancestors and are now on the path of
salvation. The Kontakion hymn is even more explicit:
Let us the faithful praise the priest Alexis, a bright beacon of
Orthodoxy
in America,
A model of patience and humility. A worthy shepherd of the flock of
Christ,
He called back the sheep who had been led astray and brought them by
his
preaching to the heavenly Kingdom. [emphasis is mine] (10)

Here the Orthodox Church in America liturgically affirms that Greek
Catholics have been led astray. One can also infer from the hymn,
although
this is somewhat ambiguous, that the "heavenly Kingdom" itself was
somehow
out of their grasp. Father Toth's preaching, however, led them to it.
The
official canonization proclamation of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox
Church
in America, moreover, ominously asserts that Father Toth's "missionary
labors" offer "significant guidance and direction for the missionary
outreach of the Orthodox Church today"! (11) Does this mean that all
Greek
Catholics (and perhaps even Roman Catholics) are "fair game" for
Orthodox
evangelism? How much does this differ from what Orthodox accuse
Catholics
of in eastern Europe?

Father Toth's canonization clearly reflects, it would seem, an older
ecclesiology, one which has not yet come to terms with the
Sister-Church
ecclesiology espoused by the Balamand Statement. Moreover, the
canonization
is already being used to shore up the older ecclesiology. In an
anonymous
article which originally appeared in an American diocesan newspaper and
was
then reprinted in the British Orthodox journal, Sourozh. A Journal of
Orthodox Life and Thought, the author asserts that Father Toth's "chief
work on this earth was his role in the reuniting of countless thousands
of
Eastern-Rite Roman Catholics (Uniates) to the holy Orthodox Faith, to
the
Catholic Church of Christ - for the true Catholic Church. . . is the
Orthodox church. . . ."

The author then goes on to argue that the glorification of Father Toth
is
significant because it is an answer to the those who, like the
signatories
of the Balamand Statement, embrace the "branch" or "two lungs" theory.
Referring to the Balamand Statement's claim that ". . . . there is no
question of conversion of people from one Church to another in order to
ensure their salvation", the author asserts that "This statement, taken
at
face value, makes mockery of the action of Father Alexis Toth and all
his
flock, and of the action of anyone who converts from Roman Catholicism
to
Orthodoxy". (12) In a sense, the author is correct. The canonisation of
Father Toth seems to be light-years away from the international
Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, and its ecclesiological presuppositions are
certainly very different from those of the Balamand Statement. At the
very
least, the canonization is ecumenically insensitive and triumphalistic
in
tone.

Another negative feature in Orthodox-Catholic relations in America is
the
attraction of a number of Protestant evangelicals to Orthodoxy. One
need
only recount the reception in 1987 of the "Evangelical Orthodox"
(former
Campus Crusade for Christ) into the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese or
glance at the growing literature being produced by converted
evangelicals.
(13) This trend is, of course, very positive in various ways. The
former
evangelicals, for example, have a far keener sense than many Orthodox
of
the moral-cultural battle being waged in America. One of my fears,
however,
is that their influx also means a new injection of anti-Romanism into
American Orthodoxy. Perhaps some of the baggage which these converts
bring
with them (and all converts carry some) is that traditional evangelical
antipathy towards the See of Rome which now joins forces with bad
historiography and outdated theological perceptions. One can see this,
for
example in Peter Gillquist's book, Becoming Orthodox. A Journey to the
Ancient Christian Faith in which he asserts:

The ultimate consequence of the Pope's schemes was that the whole Roman
Church ended up dividing itself from the New Testament Church. And that
schism has never been healed.
As the centuries passed, conflict continued. All attempts at reunion
failed, and the Roman Church drifted farther and farther from its
historic
roots. There was inevitable consequences to deviation from the Church.
The
breaking away of the Roman Church from the historic Church would prove
no
exception. (14)
This kind of presentation of Roman Catholicism as a community separated
from the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, that is, from the
Orthodox Church, is by no means either novel within Orthodox circles or
an
evangelical invention. I have already referred to it above in
connection
with Father Toth's canonization and will deal with it again later in
this
article. Gillquist's way of presenting Orthodox-Catholic relations is
nothing other than a bad (and fortunately watered-down) Orthodox
version of
an originally bad Catholic theology that was developed in order to
legitimize the "bring them back" attitude of Catholic missionaries
among
Orthodox people. The Balamand Statement has rightly rejected this
out-dated
ecclesiology, both Orthodox and Catholic, out of which such ideas have
grown.(15)

There is a danger, however, that the new indigenous American Orthodox
will
be tempted to find security precisely in the kind of Orthodox
isolationism
and parochialism being presented by Gillquist and others, rather than
in a
continual quest "to purify our motives and the motives of our faithful,
to
attain a Church unity which is authentically Orthodox and authentically
Catholic". Because the restoration of communion between Orthodox and
Catholics must take place in the hearts and minds of the faithful, a
development such as this, if it is widespread, does not augur well for
Orthodox-Catholic relations in America.

A second and much more publicized recent development which has impeded
Catholic-Orthodox reconciliation has been the new situation created in
parts of central and eastern Europe by the collapse of Communism. (16)
This
collapse has enabled 1) the rebirth of the Eastern or Greek Catholic
Churches in areas where they were previously repressed by Marxist
governments, often with at least a tacit nod from the Orthodox
hierarchies,
and 2) the setting up in countries, such as the Russian Federation, of
Roman Catholic ecclesiastical structures judged by the Orthodox to
exceed
what is required to care for the local Catholic populations.

In other words, Orthodox have become fearful that their traditional
territories are now once again terra missionis, that is, fair game, for
Roman Catholic missionary activity. In response, the Orthodox Churches
refused to send delegates to a special Catholic Synod of Bishops of
Europe
convened in 1991 by Pope John Paul II, and to which they were invited.
In
1992 the Synod of Bishops of the Church of Greece, not known for its
ecumenical orientation, charged the Pope with being deceitful and
dishonest
in his relations with the Orthodox, and called on the Greek government
to
break off diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

The history of the Greek Catholic Churches, the so-called "Uniate"
Churches, in areas like the Ukraine and Romania, is a long and tortuous
one. Let it suffice to say that many Orthodox have and still do
consider
the existence of these Churches as a sign of Roman Catholic proselytism
at
its worst and a deceptive attempt to bring Orthodox Churches back into
communion with Rome. In the Balamand Statement, moreover, both Orthodox
and
Catholics have acknowledged that "uniatism" is not the road to travel:

Because of the way in which Catholics and Orthodox once again consider
each
other in relation to they [sic] mystery of the Church and discover each
other once again as Sister Churches, this form of 'missionary
apostolate'
described above, and which has been called 'uniatism', can no longer be
accepted either as a method to be followed nor as a model of the unity
our
Churches are seeking. (17)

One must also keep in mind that during the 1940s Greek Catholic
Churches in
the Ukraine, Romania and Slovakia were systematically suppressed by
Marxist
governments with, it would seem, little or no objection from Orthodox
hierarchies. Over 5 million Greek Catholics were deprived of their
religious freedom and compelled to join local Orthodox Churches. As
Ronald
Roberson has judiciously concluded on this topic, the precise extent to
which the Orthodox collaborated with the Communist regimes in the
violent
suppression of these Churches will probably never be known.

Whatever role the Orthodox actually played in these events, however,
many
if not most Greek Catholics became convinced that the Orthodox Church
willingly participated in the destruction of Greek Catholicism during
the
Communist era and so revealed itself as an all too willing collaborator
with the forces of atheism and totalitarianism. For Greek Catholics,
the
experience of suppression only confirmed and intensified their
conviction
that the Orthodox Church is essentially corrupt and open to abuse by
secular authorities. (18) Such attitudes have resurfaced in a powerful
way
in post-Communist central and eastern Europe.

When the Greek Catholic experience of Orthodox betrayal combines with
an
Orthodox antipathy towards "uniatism" the situation can, and has been,
explosive. The nastiness of this problem has been real and has posed a
serious stumbling block to Orthodox-Catholic relations. The dialogue,
in
fact, seemed to be on the verge of breaking down completely.
Nonetheless,
the very nastiness of the situation reveals how significant the
Balamand
Statement actually is in overcoming some of the problems. As already
indicated, the Balamand Statement, following the 1990 Freising
Statment,
rejects "uniatism" as a way towards reconciliation.

Nonetheless, it also affirms the right of the Greek Catholic Churches
to
exist: ". . . . religious liberty requires that the faithful should be
able
to express their opinion and to decide without pressure from outside if
they wish to be in communion either with the Orthodox Church or with
the
Catholic Church." (19) It affirms that Catholic authorities will
"assist
the Eastern Catholic Churches and their communities so that they
themselves
may prepare full communion between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches".
The
authorities of the Orthodox Church "will act in a similar way towards
their
faithful".(20)

The resurgence of the Eastern or Greek Catholic Churches has indeed
posed a
serious problem for Orthodox-Catholic relations. One must admit,
however,
that the history of these communities carries with it a black mark for
both
Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. The anger and bitterness
resulting
from both proselytism and betrayal will undoubtedly remain in the
ecclesial
psyche for some time to come. There is a tremendous pastoral
responsibility
on the part of both Catholics and Orthodox to heal the wounds and to
prepare the hearts and minds of their respective flocks for a
reconciliation that is "genuinely Orthodox and genuinely Catholic", so
that
together we an "walk in the Orthodox Faith with a truly Catholic love
which
embraces everyone".

ii. another vision
Both uniatism and the betrayal of one's brothers and sisters are
ecclesiastical failures. They have arisen out of a particular
ecclesiological vision in which the Orthodox and Catholic Churches have
identified themselves as the sole heirs of apostolic, catholic,
orthodox
Christianity. A new, and simultaneously older, ecclesiological vision
of
Orthodoxy and Catholicism as "Sister-Churches" has now, however, been
articulated by both Orthodox and Catholics in the Balamand Statement:

On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to His
Church
- profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments,
above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ,
the
apostolic succession of bishops - cannot be considered the exclusive
property of one of our Churches. In this context it is clear that
rebaptism
must be avoided.
(14) It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the
Orthodox
Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together
for
maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most
especially in which concerns unity. (21)

This affirmation by Catholics and Orthodox of each other as Sister
Churches
was given papal direction in 1967 when Pope Paul VI handed to Patriarch
Athenagoras the brief Anno Ineunte (25 July). The brief affirmed that
Orthodox and Catholics were already brothers "in very fact" by virtue
of
their common baptism, apostolic succession, priesthood, eucharist and
participation in the gifts of God to His Church, and acceptance of the
"
fundamental dogmas of the Christian faith on the Trinity, on the Word
of
God who took flesh of the Virgin Mary". The Pope explicitly espoused a
Sister-Church ecclesiology for our day:

For centuries we lived this life of "sister Churches," and together
held
the Ecumenical Councils which guarded the deposit of faith against all
corruption. And now, after a long period of division and mutual
misunderstanding, the Lord in enabling us to discover ourselves as
"sister
Churches" once more, in spite of the obstacles which were once raised
between us. In the light of Christ we see how urgent is the need of
surmounting these obstacles in order to succeed in bringing to its
fullness
and perfection the already very rich communion which exists between us.
(22)

In taking up this papal idea and in affirming that both Orthodox and
Catholics possess the same apostolic faith, sacraments, episcopate,
priesthood and eucharist, the Balamand Statement was affirming that
whatever may still separate Catholics and Orthodox from each other does
so
as a wall within the Church and not as a wall separating one side from
the
Church. Both are Churches in the proper, and not just polite, sense of
the
word.
This Sister-Church ecclesiology espoused by the Balamand Statement does
indeed represent a shift in ecclesiological thinking for many Catholics
and
Orthodox, although less so for Catholics, who since Vatican II, have
both
conciliar and papal confirmation that the priesthood and sacraments of
the
Orthodox Church are authentic. The Council's "Decree on the Eastern
Churches", for example, allows Orthodox Christians to receive from
Catholic
priests the sacraments of confession, eucharist and anointing of the
sick
if "they ask of their own accord and have the right dispositions", and
allows Catholic Christians to ask for these same sacraments from
Orthodox
clergy "as often as necessity or a genuine spiritual benefit recommends
such a course of action, and when access to a Catholic priest is
physically
or morally impossible". (23)

Orthodox Christians have not had from their own hierarchs such an
unambiguous and universally accepted assessment of the reality of
Catholic
Church life. Despite positive statements by individual bishops (e.g.,
the
1987 Joint Declaration between the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Pope),
and
even after the Balamand Statement, one can still find Orthodox
asserting
the following:

The branch theory contradicts our [Orthodox] belief that the Church is
one
and indivisible. A local church that succumbs to doctrinal errors can
no
longer be considered a branch of the Vine [emphasis is mine]; if it
corrects these errors it can be 'regrafted' in - in that event that
church's priesthood, sacraments, or apostolic succession can once again
be
considered to have life, since they have once again been rejoined to
the
Vine from which they receive life (Jesus Christ; cf. John 15). In the
interim, it belongs only to God, and is not given to the Orthodox
Church,
either to affirm or deny [emphasis is mine] the presence of priesthood,
sacraments, or apostolic succession in the separated church, though we
may
continue to discern some of the `fruits' of faith among its adherents.
. .
. All in all, the agreement [the "Balamand Statement"] is a powerful
endorsement of the 'branch theory'. (24)
The same anonymous author of the above quotation bemoans the fact that
Pope John Paul II and reports indicate, our own Ecumenical Patriarch,
His
All-Holiness Bartholomaios, have explicitly subscribed to this
thinking,
only swapping metaphors: instead of speaking of the two Churches, East
and
West, as two `branches', they speak of them as 'two lungs' of the
Church.
(25)

Those Orthodox who espouse such ideas and who reject the Sister-Church
ecclesiology of the Balamand Statement might well consider that their
position is not very far removed from the one upon which uniatism
rests. If
Orthodoxy and Catholicism are not, in fact, two lungs of the one, holy,
catholic and apostolic Church, then, it would seem morally and
theologically imperative for the one to call the other "back home".
This,
of course provides the very rationale for uniatism, that is, the
attempt to
"save" at least some of the "separated brethren" even if the majority
refuse the offer of salvation! Moreover, Orthodoxy knows her own form
of
Western-Rite uniatism. (26)
Although the historical origins of this movement are different from
those
of Eastern-Rite Catholicism and although because of much smaller
numbers it
has never had the same impact on either Church life or ecumenical
relations, nonetheless, it represents a phenomenon similar to the Greek
Catholic Churches. If Orthodox object to Catholics "masquerading" as
Orthodox clergy, then certainly Catholics can also object to Orthodox
"masquerading" as Catholics.

While many Orthodox are themselves unhappy with the Western-Rite,
nonetheless, it is an historical reality. Moreover, they often, perhaps
unwittingly, provide its theological rationale by putting an equal sign
between Orthodoxy, on the one hand, and the "true Church", the
"catholic
and apostolic Church", the "historic Church, the "New Testament
Church", on
the other hand. A "uniate mentality", a call for the "conversion" of
the
brethren and to come back to the "true Church", whether Orthodox or
Catholic, is built upon an ecclesiology in which there is an absolute
equation between one's own community, either Catholic or Orthodox, and
the
one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

Even an otherwise ecumenically sensitive Orthodox theologian such as
Father
Thomas Hopko has espoused this absolute identification of the Orthodox
Church as the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, the "true
Church of
Christ on earth", over against both "the Western churches of Rome and
the
Reformation". (Notice, that Hopko uses a lower case c in "churches"
when
referring to the Roman Catholic Church as well as to Protestant
communities.) Only in the Orthodox Church do Orthodox recognize the
absolute identity and completely unbroken continuity of the catholic
faith
and life of the one Church of Christ. In both the Roman Catholic and
Protestant communions "the catholic fulness of Chirst, the fulness of
grace
and truth, has been lost". Hopko is able to assert these claims because
of
a distinction he makes between "formal", "official" teaching and
practice
in the Church and the personal failings of individuals:

The loss of perfect fullness in the Church, its divine catholicity, is
exactly what the Orthodox Church does not admit about itself in its
claim
to be the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ. The
Orthodox
Church denies to itself any formal and official deviations,
diminuations [
sic] or distortions of any aspects of the 'fullness of life' to which
men
have have come in Christ (Col.2:10; Jn.1:3,16;Eph.1:23). It claims on
the
contrary, despite all of the weaknesses, deficiencies and sins of its
members, that the Orthodox Church alone, in all it formally and
officially
teaches and practices, remains perfectly faithful to the catholic
fullness
of God given to His Church, the fullness of the Most Holy Trinity. (27)

While one needs to make a distinction between the de Fide position of
the
Church and human failures and dissenting voices, there is more at issue
than this. The weakness in Father Hopko's assertion, it seems to me, is
that it is reductionist in character. Ultimately, it defines the
catholic
fullness of the Church in a very limited fashion, that is, in terms of
what
the Orthodox Church teaches and practices "formally" and "officially".
Surely "catholic fullness" has to do with more that this. One does not
need
to fall into the Donatist heresy to recognize that the existential
condition of the Church cannot be so easily separated from the ideal.
Between the weaknesses and failures of individuals and the formal,
official
teaching and practice of the Church there is another important
category,
what one might call the "existential condition of a community".

An example of this in Orthodoxy is our ecclesiastial nationalism and
the
loss of a catholic mind-set, which, in turn, is related to what Father
Aidan Nichols calls the loss of a pattern of koinonia in which there is
an
appropriate space for the Roman See, which embodies the universal
pastorateof Peter and the apostolate to the Gentiles of Paul. This loss is
something
less than "official", "formal" teaching and practice, but something
more
than the failure of certain individuals. It is something which now
permeates the way in which Orthodox both think and act. On this level,
there is a loss of catholicity within Orthodoxy.

Only when one takes seriously this level of Church life can one fully
appreciate the degree to which Orthodox need communion with the See of
Rome, and, I would argue, the degree to which the See of Rome needs the
Orthodox East. We need each other so that, as Bishop Vsevolod has said,
we
can "walk in the Orthodox Faith with a truly Catholic love which
embraces
everyone" and "attain a Church unity which is authentically Orthodox
and
authentically Catholic".

To reduce the ecumenical issue and the understanding of "catholic
fullness"
to a distinction between the official and formal dimensions of the
Church,
on the one hand, and the failures of individuals, on the other hand, is
a
dead-end and only impedes us from seeing our divergences and
differences in
a proper perspective and from seeing ourselves as we really are. There
is a
danger in some circles that "Orthodoxy" more and more becomes a
platonic
ideal disconnected from the concrete reality of Church life.

I would argue, moreover, that despite the efforts at different times by
both Catholic and Orthodox theologians and pastors to create the
perception
(and illusion) that our respective communities are self-sufficient and
do
not need each other, another more catholic, more embracing vision has
never
been completely obliterated. Bishop Kallistos Ware (Ecumenical
Patriarchate) has pointed out that the office of the "Synodikon of
Orthodoxy" used on the first Sunday in Great Lent contains more than
sixty
anathemas against different heresies and heresiarchs. More than a third
of
these anathemas date from between the eleventh and fourteenth
centuries, a
period in which doctrinal disagreements between East and West had
emerged
clearly into the open. There is one unexpected omission in the
anathemas:
there is no reference made to the "errors of the Latins", no allusion
to
the filioque controversy or to papal claims. This omission is an
indication
of the curious imprecision which has prevailed between Eastern
Orthodoxy
and the See of Rome. (28)

Moreover, communion between Orthodox and Catholics continued in some
places
up until the seventeenth century, that is, six hundred years after the
mutual bans of excommunication between Pope and Patriarch. Not even the
sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade rendered the schism
absolute and universal. At the Council of Florence in 1438-39, Greeks
and
Latins from the outset treated each other as members of the same
Christian
Church, albeit mutually alienated. Neither side required the other to
do
penance as schismatics or heretics; nor was a formal act of
reconciliation
to the Church required. Each side acted towards the other as if there a
schism within the Church, not a schism of one side from the Church. The
preamble to the decree of union stated: "For the wall, which divided
the
Western and the Eastern Church has been removed from our midst
[emphasis is
mine]." (29) As Bishop Ware has noted, the "wall" is inside the Church.
There is no "receiving back" of one side by the other, since both were
already within the catholic Church of Christ. The reunion council did
no
more than make explicit an underlying unity which had never been wholly
destroyed. (30)

The Council of Florence failed to achieve any permanent union,
polemical
literature on both sides continued to grow, and in 1484 the Synod of
Constantinople decided to receive western Christians into communion
through
anointing with holy chrism and an act of renunciation of the "shameful
and
alien dogmas of the Latins", the filioque clause and the Union of
Florence.
Nonetheless, in actual practice relations between Orthodox and
Catholics in
various parts of the Ottoman Empire, especially between 1600 and 1700,
often continued to be extraordinarily amicable. "Vast numbers of
Catholics
and Orthodox, educated clergy as well as simple believers, acted as
though
no schism existed between East and West." (31)

Latin missionaries often recognized the local Orthodox bishop as their
"ordinary", sought "faculties" from him, and formally asked for
permission
to work in his diocese. With the blessing of Greek Orthodox bishops,
Catholic priests preached in Orthodox Churches, catechized Orthodox
children, heard the confessions of the Orthodox faithful, and even,
albeit
less frequently, gave them Holy Communion. (The western missionaries
were
in demand especially as teachers, preachers and confessors.) At Corpus
Christi processions, the Orthodox behaved with marked reverence towards
the
Latin sacrament. On the island of Andros, the Orthodox bishop himself
took
part in the Catholic Corpus Christi procession, accompanied by his
clergy
in full vestments carrying candles and torches.

In 1628 a former abbot from Mount Athos requested Rome to open a school
on
the Holy Mountain for the monks. In 1644 the Greek Orthodox Patriarch
of
Antioch, Euthymios, asked the Jesuits to found a house in Damascus. In
1690
Metropolitan Damaskinos of Aegina wroted directly to Pope Innocent XI
requesting him for two Jesuits to undertake pastoral work in his
diocese.
Ironically, when the Jesuits in Smyrna encountered opposition, it was
not
from the "schismatic" Orthodox, but from their own fellow Catholics,
the
Capuchins. The Greek Metropolitan became involved in the conflict and
intervened vigorously with Louis XIII of France on behalf of the
Jesuits.
By 1750, however, all of this "ecumenical" activity had come to an end.
Both Orthodox and Catholics became less pragmatic, hardened their
positions, and employed a more rigorist approach to communicatio in
sacris.
Rome became less and less tolerant towards the eastern "schismatics"
and
the Orthodox became less and less tolerant towards the Catholic "trojan
horse" in their midst. By the nineteenth century acts of shared worship
had
become little more than a dim and distant memory for both Catholics and
Orthodox. (32)

While this history of continued communion between Catholics and
Orthodox
was indeed complex in terms of motives and goals and of the
relationship
between the "formal", "official" positions of the two Churches and what
people actually did, it, nonetheless, is important. It helps to show
that
the break between Orthodox and Catholics was not absolute. Both sides
were
able at times to recognize the same essential ecclesial reality in each
other, despite differences and what they preceived as errors. There
have
been numbers of both Catholics and Orthodox who continued to regard the
alienation and schism as a wall within the one, holy, catholic and
apostolic Church, a wall which has been high, but which has never
completely kept us apart. The present-day Orthodox-Catholic dialogue,
especially the recent Balamand Statement, is not, then, a new
"modernist",
"ecumenist" heresy, but a new appropriation of a part of our common
history
that was, unfortunately, largely forgotten or ignored. It is a
rediscovery
of a vision that has never entirely ceased to exist.

iii. the issue of the papacy
The ecclesiological vision underlying the Balamand Statement and which
I
have adopted in this paper cannot, however, ignore the difference(s)
which
remain(s) between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Of the ones which are
still
commonly cited - the filioque clause, the papacy, the doctrine of the
Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos, the teaching on purgatory,
etc.- I
would follow the lead of Father John Meyendorff and suggest that the
fundamental issue is that of authority, and so, of the papacy. (33) If
this
can be resolved, then, the resolution of other differences, whatever
remains of them (34), will undoubtedly follow.

If one takes seriously the patristic principle, lex orandi est lex
credendi
, which is emphasized in Orthodox theological circles, then perhaps a
good
place to begin an Orthodox discussion of the papacy is with the
liturgical
tradition. In the canon sung at Matins on the commemoration of "Our
Father
Among the Saints Leo, Pope of Rome", Leo is described as "heir to the
throne of Peter, the 'chief', having his character and godly-minded
zeal
for the faith" (Ode III) and "successor of the revered Peter, who has
enriched the presidency of this one [i.e., of Peter] and acquired his
fervent zeal" (Ode VI). (35)
These liturgical hymns describe Leo's connection with St. Peter in both
personal and "institutional" terms. On the one hand, Leo is hailed as
having Peter's character and zeal, something which not all of Peter's
successors may have. On the other hand, Leo is also described in
institutional categories as being successor and heir to the throne and
presidency of Peter, the one who was "chief". Liturgical texts such as
these simply assume that the Bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter,
the
one who is heir to the Petrine ministry and presidency.

The question, of course, is what this language means, both in terms of
the
past and for us today. This is the great ecumenical question, and one
which
still requires a great deal of prayerful and sympathetic dialogue
between
Orthodox and Catholics. It has become common among Orthodox theologians
to
stress on the basis of certain patristic texts that every bishop is the
successor of Peter, and not merely the Bishop of Rome. (36) It seems
entirely appropriate to assert, as does St. Cyprian of Carthage, that
the
Chair of Peter is in every local Church and that the episcopal
authority
throughout the Church derives from Peter, because episcopatus unus est.
(37)

This is not to deny, however, that there is an abiding contemporary
source
and locus Petri, and as the same St. Cyprian asserts, these are located
in
Rome. Priestly unity derives from the throne of Peter and the chief
Church,
that is, from Rome (cathedra Petri et ecclesia principalis unde unitas
sacerdotalis exorta est). (38) The Arab Byzantine Orthodox theologian
Theodore Abu Qurrah (c. 750- c.825), similiarly, asserted that St.
Peter
has perpetual successors in the Church and that these successors are
the
Bishops of Rome. They, moreover, continue to exercise the Petrine
ministry:

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, in every circumstance our
recourse is
simply to build ourselves on the foundation of St. Peter, who
administered the six holy councils which were convened by the
order of
the bishop of Rome, the capital of the world. Whoever is
established
on her throne is the one entrusted by Christ to turn to the people
of
the Church his ecumenical council, and to confirm them, as we have
established in a number of other places. (39)

This understanding of things seems to be perfectly in accord with the
Orthodox liturgical tradition.
Questions which Orthodox liturgiologists and theologians need to ask
are:
1) Does the Orthodox liturgical tradition ever refer to anyone other
than
the Bishops of Rome as the Successor of Peter and as exercising Peter's
presidency? 2) If not, why not? If it does, in what sense does it use
these
terms? 3) If the liturgical tradition does not, in fact, refer to
anyone
other than the Bishops of Rome as the Successor of Peter, what are the
implications of this for that theological understanding which would
interpret the Chair of Peter as existing in every episcopal see but
without
a contemporary source and locus in the Church of Rome?

Can we not overcome the dilemna between a single Successor of Peter in
Rome
and many successors in every episcopal see, as Paul McPartlan has
suggested, by understanding the Pope not as "Peter" and other bishops
as
"apostles", but by understanding the Pope as a definitive Peter in his
own
local Church, constituting and enabling the presence of Peter in the
various local Churches? The universal ministry of the Pope exists in
order
to serve each local Eucharist. To assert that the Chair of Peter is
found
in each episcopal see and that it has a particular locus and source in
the
Church of Rome is to affirm that the "one-many" configuration in God,
which
includes both the "monarchy" of the Father and the equality of the
three
divine persons, is the basis for the worldwide communion and
configuration
of local Churches. (40)

The Pope is no more above the bishops, who head their own local
Churches,
than the Father is above the Son and the Spirit. The uniqueness of
papal
primacy is to be located among the bishops, not above or apart from
them.
It can, however, be affirmed that the Pope is the source of the
episcopal
ministry in each local Church just as the Father is the source of the
Son
and the Spirit, as the "one" who simultaneously is one among the "many"
and
yet constitutes the "many". It seems that we must say this if we are to
affirm that the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church" refers to
both
the local Church and to the universal, worldwide communion of Churches
and
that every authentic, catholic local Church is a manifestation of the
universal Church in a particular place. To limit the one, holy,
catholic
and apostolic Church to either the local Church or to the worldwide
Church
would result in either an inappropriate localism or an inappropriate
universalism in ecclesiology.

Although the Pope is a bishop like all other bishops, exercising the
Petrine ministry in his own local Church of Rome, the worldwide
communion
of bishops depends existentially upon him as the "one" without whom the
"many" are inconceivable. As Bishop Zizioulas has asserted, "there can
be
no communion of local Churches without some form of universal
synodality,
and no universal synodality without some form of universal primacy".
(41)

This is the specific ministry of the Bishop of Rome, and as such he is
uniquely styled the Successor of Peter, without denying that every
bishop,
as head of a local Church, shares in this Petrine ministry. An
appropriate
Orthodox understanding of papal primacy must, I would argue, take into
account two factors: 1) the source of all episcopal ministry derives
from
the Chair of Peter (42) and this Chair is to be found in every catholic
episcopal see, and 2) there is a perpetual contemporary source and
locus
Petri, and these are found in Rome. Both the conciliarity of bishops
and
the primacy of Rome derive from the apostolic Tradition.

The idea that the papal presidency is entirely due to the
socio-political
status of the city of Old Rome within the structure of the ancient
Roman
Empire, the so-called "principle of accomodation", (43) is not a
sufficient
interpretation, either historically or theologically. Rome, no less
than
the rest of the Church, did indeed accept ecclesiastical accomodation
to
imperial structures, and as Francis Dvornik has argued, it is quite
possible that up until the fourth century the bishops of Rome drew
sufficient authority and prestige from the fact that their residence
was in
the imperial capital that it was unnecessary for them to invoke
continually
the Petrine origin of their see. Nonetheless, this origin was not
forgotten, and its significance gradually developed in Christian
thinking.
By the second half of the fourth century the "principle of
apostolicity"
was so widely accepted that the See of Rome simply was known as the See
of
Peter. (44) The principle of apostolicity means that the Roman Pope
exercises his ministry of presidency because he is the successor of
Peter,
and not simply because he is bishop of a city which at one time was the
capital of a large empire.

Nor is the Pope simply an ecclesiastically appointed head with a
"primacy
of honor" (a diplomatic, political category), such as Canon 3 of the
Council of Constantinople I (381) and Canon 28 of the Council of
Chalcedon
(451) might suggest, if read in isolation from the wider tradition. As
Bishop John Zizioulas has asserted, no patriarch has a mere primacy of
honor in relation to a synod. His presence is a sine qua non condition
for
all canonical deliberations. The synod, in fact, cannot function
without
its head; the "many" without the "one" are inconceivable. The primus,
therefore, gives its theological status to the synod, and not simply
honor.
(45) This claim, I would argue, must certainly apply to the universal
primate in relation to the worldwide communion of bishops, especially
when
they meet in synod, but not only on such occasions. The relationship
between bishops and their primates, both regional and universal, is an
ongoing one.

The problem with Canon 28 of Chalcedon is that it makes no mention of
the
apostolic and Petrine origin of the Roman presidency, but reflects only
the
principle of accomodation to imperial structures. The council fathers,
however, did not deny this origin, since in their deliberations and
correspondence they clearly acknowledged Rome as the "Apostolic See"
and
the Bishop of Rome as the successor of Peter. One need only recall the
acclamation by eastern bishops, "St. Peter has spoken through Leo",
after
the reading of Leo's famous tome. (46) The eastern bishops who signed
the
Libellus Hormisdae of 519, which ended the Schism of Acacius, moreover,
clearly acknowledged the Pope's Petrine ministry of ensuring doctrinal
orthodoxy and unity:

We cannot pass over in silence the affirmation of Our Lord Jesus
Christ,
who said: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. .
.
." These words are borne out by the facts: it is in the Apostolic See
that
the Catholic religion has always been preserved without stain. . . it
is
for this reason that I hope to achieve communion with the Apostolic See
in
which is found the entire, true, and perfect stability of the Christian
religion. (47)

One finds, then, eastern bishops relating to the Roman See in terms of
both
the principle of accomodation and the principle of apostolicity.
Depending
on their current needs and situation, they emphasized one or the other.
This produced an ambiguity which has tended to characterize eastern
Christian thought with regard to the Roman presidency. The most
balanced
position, it seems to me, is that of the eastern Father, St. Maximus
the
Confessor, who in 643/644 acknowledged both the synodically-determined
and
divinely-given origin of Roman See:

. . . the very holy Church of Rome, the apostolic see, which God the
Word
Himself and likewise all the holy Synods, according to the holy canons
and
the sacred definitions, have received, and which owns the power in all
things and for all, over all the saints who are there for the whole
inhabited earth, and likewise the power to unite and to dissolve...
(48)

One of the main problems with an understanding of primacy or presidency
based on the principle of accomodation (which still tends to dominate
Orthodox thinking on this issue) is that it is no longer applicable.
The
empire is gone. We have canons which speak of the old taxis of
patriarchal
sees and primacy but which no longer reflect the world in which we
live.
Constantinople and Alexandria, for example, are no longer even
Christian
centers. They are beleaguered sees, basically serving ethnic
communities.
If the origin of their status was socio-political, and that
socio-political
order is now gone, on what basis can they rank first and second in the
hierarchy of patriarchal Churches other than being simply a relic of
the
past?

The reluctance of Orthodox even to reconsider this ancient taxis is
perhaps
partly due to the fear that there is, in fact, no basis upon which to
rely
for establishing order and unity other than the ancient
socio-politically
determined one. Another principle, however, is needed in Church life,
and
that principle is the apostolic one. The Orthodox liturgical texts
cited
above direct us to this principle and provide us with a basic framework
for
a renewed understanding of the Roman presidency as one based on the
succession of Peter. It was this very principle which Patriarch
Athenagoras
once again evoked when in 1967 he greeted Pope Paul VI as "holy brother
and
successor of Peter". (49)

A renewed Orthodox understanding of Roman primacy must, it seems to me,
include the clear acknowledgment that as heir to the apostolic throne
of
Peter the Bishop of Rome is the visible, identifable "chief" and
"president" , who exercises the ministry of presiding within the
ecumenical
orthodox catholic Church. I would, therefore, seriously take issue with
the
position espoused by some Orthodox theologians such as the eminent
Vladimir
Lossky that "Orthodoxy recognizes no visible head of the Church", but
only
a "certain primacy of honour" because "The unity of the Church
expresses
itself through the communion of the heads of local churches among
themselves". (50) Here, it seems to me, Lossky has fallen into a
reductionist position in which he pits a visible head of the Church
over
against the Church's conciliarity, that is, he suggests that an
effective
universal presidency is contrary to the Church understood as the
communion
of local Churches.

Another Orthodox theologian, Nicholas Afanassieff has taken this idea
even
further. In the development of his well-known "eucharistic
ecclesiology",
which he contrasts with what he sees as Roman Catholic "universal
ecclesiology", Afanassieff asserts that "eucharistic ecclesiology
excludes
the idea of primacy by its very nature", since a universal primatial
"power" "cannot pass beyond the bounds enclosing a local church".
"Priority" can belong to one of the local Churches, but the "primacy"
of
any one bishop over the universal Church is not possible. A particular
local Church may come to occupy a special position within the communion
of
Churches. The basis of this priority is not that of either power or
rights,
but the authority of witness that flows from love and is made manifest
in
love. The priority of this Church is reflected in its bishop, but
Afanassieff considers this episcopal priority to be a "secondary
phenomenon", not an "essential phenomenon". His startling conclusion is
that "if you accept the idea of [episcopal] primacy you must ban
eucharistic ecclesiology; conversely, accept the notion of priority and
there is no room for universal ecclesiology". (51)

I would like to say two things about Afanassieff's argument. First,
Afanassieff would have the Bishop of Rome's priority dependent on the
historical witness of the Church of Rome beginning at the end of the
first
century. At that time, she took over the position of
"Church-in-priority"
from the Church of Jerusalem. (52) This is a common Orthodox argument
based
on historical contingency, one which dissociates a universal presidency
in
the catholic Church from the Petrine office.

Afanassieff was well aware of the problem this raises and ultimately
tried
to solve it by asserting that "Peter stood in a place apart from the
apostles, and that his ministry was unique in kind and had no later
parallels" [emphasis is mine]. (53) Consequently, he has no successors
as
far as his particular ministry is concerned. As I have argued, this is
not
true. The priority of the Roman Church within the communion of Churches
is
due, theologicially-speaking, not simply to historical contingencies
with
regard to the witness of the Roman Church, but to the fact that this
particular Church and her bishop became associated with the apostle
Peter.
(54) The locus Petri as the source of the Petrine ministry in every
catholic episcopal see is to be found in Rome.

Secondly, I would disagree with Afanassieff that a universal primacy or
presidency is incompatible with a eucharistic ecclesiology.
Afanassieff's
emphasis on the eucharistic character of the Church is, of course, a
much
needed recovery of a patristic ecclesiological vision. It is one which
has
been appropriated by both Catholics and Orthodox. The return by
Orthodox to
patristic ecclesiological foundations and to patristic theology in
general
must, moreover, be understood in its proper perspective. Bishop John
Zizioulas has rightly pointed out that Orthodoxy's escape from its
"Babylonian captivity" to scholasticism has been effected in this
century
through reestablishing a link with its patristic roots. This
reestablishment is largely indebted to the work of western theologians:

The first important factor responsible for new, positive and creative
developments in Orthodox theology in our century is, rather curiously,
the
work of "Western" theologians. . . . [The] return to the ancient
patristic
sources, which has characterized Western theology in our century, is
largely responsible for the Orthodox theological renaissance. (55)

The French Roman Catholic theologian, Henri de Lubac is undoubtedly one
of
the pioneers in the patristic revival in this century. His Corpus
Mysticum
was a seminal work on the relationship between Church and eucharist and
a
defense of the principle that the eucharist makes the Church. (56) One
must
keep this in mind so as not unwittingly to pit a supposedly "Orthodox"
eucharistic ecclesiology against a supposedly "Catholic" universal
ecclesiology and primacy as an unexamined a priori judgment. It is
precisely at this point that one should pay heed to the advise of
Bishop
Zizioulas when he urges that "the two theologies, Eastern and Western,
need
to meet in depth, to recover the authentic patristic synthesis" which
will
protect them from their own particular distortions. (57)

In their dialogue with each other, both Orthodox and Catholics have,
moreover, committed themselves to an ecclesiology understood
eucharistically and as a communion of local Churches in which the
universal
Church realizes itself in each local Church. One finds this, for
example,
in the 1982 agreed statement, The Mystery of the Church and of the
Eucharist in the Light of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity, which makes
the
following significant affirmations: (58)

1. There is only one Church of God and Body of Christ.
2. Each eucharistic assembly gathered around the bishop is not merely a
section of the Body of Christ; it is this holy Church of God and Body
of
Christ, and so is identical with every other eucharistic assembly
because
there is only one mystery celebrated.
3. In the Church the one and the many, the universal and the local, are
necessarily simultaneous; unity and multiplicity cannot exist without
each
other.
4. The one and only Church is a communion of communities, a koinonia of
the
Churches.
5. The one and only Church is realized in each local Church.
6. Attachment to apostolic communion binds all the bishops maintaining
episkope [oversight] of local Churches to the college of the apostles.
7. The care by a bishop for his local Church cannot be separated from
his
care for the universal Church.
8. The episkope of the universal Church is entrusted by the Spirit to
the
totality of local bishops in communion with each other.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in its 1992 Letter to
the
Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Chur

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