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Single Bishop consecration #379559 05/03/12 05:05 AM
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Nelson Chase Offline OP
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Christ is Risen!

I know that bishops, both in the east & the west, have to be ordained by at least two bishops but are usually ordained by three. I know that under sever circumstances single bishops can/have ordained other bishops.

My question is after the fall of communism and the underground Greek catholic churches came out where their episcopal orders received or was there some sort of correction? What is the procedure to correct or make valid such ordinations?

I know that many Blessed martyr bishops of the Rusyn, Ukrainian, and Romanian Greek Catholic Churches were ordained by single bishops.

Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Nelson Chase] #379565 05/03/12 11:10 AM
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Irish Melkite Offline
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Nelson,

Perhaps my friend, Charles Bransom, who is the premier expert on Catholic episcopal ordinations and occasionally posts here, will see this thread and offer a definitive answer. I'm unaware of any instance in the timeframe/circumstances that you reference in which the number of consecrators was the issue.

The most problematic set of circumstances in that era - the sole one which comes immediately to mind - involved - with one exception - individuals ordained to the Latin Church's Czech episcopacy by Bishop Felix Maria Davídek, of blessed memory. Bishop Felix, a prisoner of the Secret Police for 14 years and himself ordained to the episcopate clandestinely, ordained some 17 other bishops according to von Martin Walters, another noted chronographer of the Catholic episcopacy. Most were likely ordained by Bishop Felix only.

As some were married men (and Bishop Felix had also purported to 'ordain' women to the presbyterate), many of his presbyteral and all of his episcopal consecrations came under close scrutiny by Rome in the aftermath of the fall of the Communist bloc. Most of the priests were, as memory serves, required to be reordained sub conditione, some were laicized, others declined reordination. I'm not certain that any of the episcopal ordinations, with the exception of Kyr Ján Kociš, were accepted by Rome in the end (and Kyr Ján was, I believe, required to be reordained).

The issue, however, did not turn on the fact of a single bishop consecrating; rather, there were questions in regard to the mental status of Bishop Felix who had, without question, suffered very greatly in 15 years of incarceration.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Nelson Chase] #379578 05/03/12 05:41 PM
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When St. Augustineof Canterbury was sent to Britain to convert the English, he sent a list of questions back to Pope Gregory the Great. One of them concerned how to ordain additional bishops, given that he was the only ordained bishop in Britain at the time, and that it would be difficult and dangerous to have other bishops cross the Channel from Gaul. Gregory responded that, as a matter of economy, he could act as sole consecrator until such time as enough additional dioceses were erected in Britain to allow reversion to the normative practice. Note that Gregory did not insist that the bishops consecrated by Augustine alone needed to have their ordinations confirmed or regularized by additional laying on of hands or preordination at a later date: their ordinations, though irregular in form, were both valid and licit.

Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Nelson Chase] #379605 05/04/12 11:41 PM
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Paul B Offline
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Nelson,

After the fall of Communism Rome had to sort out ordinations of bishops AND priests, with some of the Roman priests being married. As I remember it, the need for investigation was public but the individual cases were private. Any which were deemed valid did not require any other action, except the admistrative actions by their bishops, such as assignment.

Regarding the Greek Catholic clergy, if the bishops were accustomed to normal administration with an intact staff there probably would have been no need for Rome to step in. However, the bishops were installed under extremely adverse conditions, they had absolutely no administrative experience, and generally their health was broken by years of duress, imprisonment and traitorous experiences.

There were reliable reports that even after the Soviet empire fell there were local authorities who were still tapping phones and were totally opposed to the Catholic Church. It is hard for us to imagine; hopefully we will not have to face such conditions.....but don't believe that it can't happen in our lifetime here in the USA. The seeds of anti-Catholic and anti-Christian bias are planted and well fertilized.

Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Paul B] #379609 05/05/12 02:26 AM
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Pavel Ivanovich Offline
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I suppose they had the same problems of bishops being able to get together to ordain new bishops in North Africa after the Arab invasion. It would have been a very sad moment in history as the last bishop died there.

cool

Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Nelson Chase] #380433 05/23/12 07:06 PM
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Can someone explain why the practice of 2 or 3 Bishops needed to ordain another Bishop became the normative practice? There must have been a reason(s).

Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Nelson Chase] #380440 05/23/12 09:06 PM
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The purpose was to assert the catholicity of the Church. A baptism by one bishop would signify only that the newly ordained bishop's faith was affirmed only by the ordaining bishop. But the laying on of hands by multiple bishops signified the faith of the new bishop was affirmed by the whole Church. Also note the precedent set by the Twelve, when Matthias was selected to replace Judas Iscariot: after choosing him by drawing lots, all of the remaining Disciples laid their hands upon him. Unanimity was very important in the early Church, a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Nelson Chase] #380445 05/23/12 09:53 PM
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It also helps with validity if one of them turns out later to be a kook and tries to ordain his cat or whatever. Nobody likes to doubt. The Holy Ghost is practical.

Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Nelson Chase] #380446 05/23/12 09:54 PM
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StuartK Offline
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Quote
The Holy Ghost is practical.


Even if He is the anarchist member of the Trinity.

Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Nelson Chase] #380476 05/24/12 02:40 PM
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Makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Nelson Chase] #380502 05/24/12 09:31 PM
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Deacon John Montalvo Offline
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Canon IV of Nicaea:
"It is by all means desirable that a bishop should be appointed by all the bishops of the province. But if this is difficult because of some pressing necessity or the length of the journey involved, let at least three come together and perform the ordination, but only after the absent bishops have taken part in the vote and given their written consent. But in each province the right of confirming the proceedings belongs to the metropolitan bishop."

Completely off topic, but something I find interesting is Canon III:
"This great synod absolutely forbids a bishop, presbyter, deacon or any of the clergy to keep a woman (lit, "subintroducta") who has been brought in to live with him, with the exception of course of his mother or sister or aunt, or of any person who is above suspicion."


Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: Nelson Chase] #380509 05/25/12 01:50 AM
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sielos ilgesys Offline
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Blessed Bishop-Martyr Vasyl Velychkovsky, C.Ss.R., whose relics are enshrined in Winnipeg, was ordained to the episcopacy in a Moscow hotel room by Patriarch Josyp (Slipyj), of blessed memory; alone and without the involvement of any other bishop.

Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: sielos ilgesys] #380518 05/25/12 06:12 AM
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DTBrown Offline
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Fr Deacon John,

I remembered I had read something on this once before. A good commentary on canon 3, I believe, can be read in this commentary by Archbishop Peter, of blessed memory.

Last edited by DTBrown; 05/25/12 06:13 AM.
Re: Single Bishop consecration [Re: DTBrown] #380530 05/25/12 11:49 AM
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Fr Mark Offline
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This is an interesting question from an Old Rite Orthodox perspective, given the single handed consecrations by St Ambrose of Belaya Krinitsa after the restoration of the hierarchy in Bukovina.

Patriarch Constantine V of Constantinople considered the consecrations and orders stemming from them as licit, though he coud not accept the Belaya Krinitsy as canonical given his communion with the Russian state church. I only wish I could remember which Patriarch of Jerusalem took the view that clergy of the Belaya Krinitsa concord could be accepted in their orders... though theoretically how and why and I don't know, unless they were in exile within his territory...? Perhaps, it was just a theoretical discussion.

Of course, the opposite view of the single-handed consecrations was taken by those who now constitue the Old Orthodox Church under Patriarch Alexander. After Archbishop Nicholas joined them in the wake of the Revolution, he waited for the addition of another bishop (Archbishop Stefan) before performing any consecrations.

Ironically, one of the current Belaya Krinitsa criticisms of the Novozybkovtsy is that during the Soviet period they lost canonical regularity, due to single handed consecrations... and I thought the Orthodox memory was a long one... whistle


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