www.byzcath.org
I wonder what he knows that the rest of us don't know? I just saw this article on NC Register today. The NC Register is pretty solid and avoids sensationalism. Your thoughts?

Here is the article:

Article by Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register


"The Catholic Archbishop of Moscow has given a remarkably upbeat assessment of relations with the Orthodox Church, saying unity between Catholics and Orthodox could be achieved “within a few months.”

In an interview today in Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Archbishop Paolo Pezzi said the miracle of reunification “is possible, indeed it has never been so close.” The archbishop added that Catholic-Orthodox reunification, the end of the historic schism that has divided them for a millennium, and spiritual communion between the two churches “could happen soon, within a few months.”

“Basically we were united for a thousand years,” Archbishop Pezzi said. “Then for another thousand we were divided. Now the path to rapprochement is at its peak, and the third millennium of the Church could begin as a sign of unity.” He said there were “no formal obstacles” but that “everything depends on a real desire for communion.”

On the part of the Catholic Church, he added, “the desire is very much alive.”

Archbishop Pezzi, 49, whose proper title is Metropolitan Archbishop of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow, said that now there are “no real obstacles” on the path towards full communion and reunification. On issues of modernity, Catholics and Orthodox Christians feel the same way, he said: “Nothing separates us on bioethics, the family, and the protection of life.”

Also on matters of doctrine, the two churches are essentially in agreement. “There remains the question of papal primacy,” Archbishop Pezzi acknowledged, “and this will be a concern at the next meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Commission. But to me, it doesn’t seem impossible to reach an agreement.”

Prospects for union with the Orthodox have increased markedly in recent years with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, whose work as a theologian in greatly admired in Orthodox circles. Benedict is also without the burden of the difficult political history between Poland and Russia, which hindered Polish Pope John Paul II from making as much progress as he would have liked regarding Catholic-Orthodox unity.

Relations have also been greatly helped by the election of Patriarch Kirill I earlier this year as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is by far the largest of the national churches in the Orthodox Church. As the former head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external relations, Kirill met Benedict on several occasions before and after he became Pope, and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch is well acquainted with the Roman Curia and with Catholicism."
As much as I'd love to see union between our Churches, I wouldn't start planning on any celebrations until we see such articles in Orthodox newspapers, too.
It will never happen because as much as some few Orthodox hierarchs (maybe even patriarchs) desire it they know union with Rome, without the latters renunciation of Papal Infallibility and Universal Jurisdiction as well as of the Filioque and Immaculate Conception, would cause immediate schism within the Orthodox Church itself.
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
It will never happen because as much as some few Orthodox hierarchs (maybe even patriarchs) desire it they know union with Rome, without the latters renunciation of Papal Infallibility and Universal Jurisdiction as well as of the Filioque and Immaculate Conception, would cause immediate schism within the Orthodox Church itself.


Are there Orthodox bishops who believe in "Papal Infallibility and Universal Jurisdiction as well as of the Filioque and Immaculate Conception"?
Christ is in our midst!!

As much as we would all love to see full communion restored, there are so many obstacles out there that these articles are really overly optimistic IMHO.

I consider some of the wild things that have been discussed on this forum--some of the liturgical foolishness that has gone on in Catholic circles in the English-speaking world in the last 40 years comes immediately to mind. Many of our Orthodox brethren were scandalized by it and were surprised to learn that there is no way to rein in a bishop who allows such things to go on in his own diocese short of having to have Rome intervene.

I have the greatest respect for my Orthodox brethren because they do not tolerate any shenanigans when it comes to the Liturgy and especially in relation to the Holy Gifts. Not so in the Latin Church in my own experience. The gay men in drag pretending to be nuns in San Francisco comes to mind. Allowing people to self intinct the Sacred Host and literally "shake off" the excess Precious Blood--pardon me while I shudder at the memory of witnessing this one.

So before we chill the champagne, let's take a strong cup of java, wake up, and pray for the day but with sobriety.

In Christ,

BOB
I believe there are some who are willing to accept a primacy for Rome that others are not. I believe some don't see the Filioque and Immaculate Conception as heresy. I think some would concelebrate as long as they were not asked to assent to these things.
Quote
I believe there are some who are willing to accept a primacy for Rome that others are not. I believe some don't see the Filioque and Immaculate Conception as heresy. I think some would concelebrate as long as they were not asked to assent to these things.


Father Deacon,

I think the Orthodox should look at us Eastern Catholics. We don't use the Filioque in the Divine Liturgy and really the Churches that did at one time were under extreme latinizations. The Union synods never forced the Eastern Churches to submit to the Filioque.
The first paragraph of the Union of Brest says this,

Quote
Since there is a quarrel between the Romans and Greeks about the procession of the Holy Spirit, which greatly impede unity really for no other reason than that we do not wish to understand one another—we ask that we should not be compelled to any other creed but that we should remain with that which was handed down to us in the Holy Scriptures, in the Gospel, and in the writings of the holy Greek Doctors, that is, that the Holy Spirit proceeds, not from two sources and not by a double procession, but from one origin, from the Father through the Son.


So that is a good sign for the Orthodox.

I think there is much work to be done but I think we are closer now than before to reunion. Still I don't share the Archbishops opinion that it will be very soon.
I think the important thing is for Liturgical reform within the Latin Church (and also a more authentic return to the Eastern Liturgy in some EC Churches). This to me is so important in the unity talks and one that the Catholic Communion of Churches needs.
With all due respect for the Archbishop, I cannot imagine from whence he draws his conclusions. As much as I would like to see this happen, I doubt that anyone older than my as yet unborn grandchildren will be able to celebrate it as a fiat accompli.

Many years,

Neil
Well said Neil smile

I was trying to think of a nice polite way to say that the Archbishop was being unduly optimistic , but you managed it very nicely for me .
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With all due respect for the Archbishop, I cannot imagine from whence he draws his conclusions. As much as I would like to see this happen, I doubt that anyone older than my as yet unborn grandchildren will be able to celebrate it as a fiat accompli.


In Church terms, that's "just around the corner".
My take.

Long story short: what?

Explanation, Your Grace?

Most agree that the filioque never meant what its Orthodox critics claim it meant; the question is did the West eventually overstep its bounds by adding to a creed put together by ecumenical councils? The Immaculate Conception can be said to answer a question Byzantine theology doesn't ask, to do with a certain framework for looking at original sin, but as Kallistos (Ware) has written that's not the same as saying it's heretical; an Orthodox can believe in it as he (an Orthodox bishop in good standing) says.

The scope of the Pope (divinely instituted channel of the church’s infallibility or a perfectly good man-made rank, for the good order of the infallible church, of that church’s divinely instituted episcopate?) is the only real difference (a central command vs a communion held together only by a shared faith, doctrinally as tight as Rome but organisationally looser than Anglicanism) but as I say parallel paths don’t meet: I see what most of the experts see, an insurmountable difference between two Catholic churches.
I don't see anything new here- Catholic leaders tend to enjoy downplaying or denying the real doctrinal differences and say that it's just a matter of a willingness for communion. If one accepts such premises, we could say that reunion has been imminent for 1000 years. I imagine the Orthodox at the meeting walked away with markedly different feelings.
Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
...Catholic leaders tend to enjoy downplaying or denying the real doctrinal differences...I imagine the Orthodox at the meeting walked away with markedly different feelings.
Half empty or half full? The issue that is the insurmountable obstacle, it seems to me, is not doctrine but power (autonomy).
Rome has in fact dogmatized her understanding of power, so the distinction doesn't count for much. Papal supremacy and infallibility are not just bad theological opinions that can be ignored by the faithful. And, as much as I respect Bishop Kallistos, SS. Photios, Mark of Ephesus, and the countless other saints who reject filioque have more credibility for me.
Originally Posted by The young fogey
The scope of the Pope (divinely instituted channel of the church’s infallibility or a perfectly good man-made rank, for the good order of the infallible church, of that church’s divinely instituted episcopate?) is the only real difference (a central command vs a communion held together only by a shared faith, doctrinally as tight as Rome but organisationally looser than Anglicanism)

YF,

As long as things have to be black and white, there can be no reunion.

That said, however, let me hasten to point out that it is precisely our mutual suspicion and reluctance to trust each other that drives us to insist on seeing things as black and white.

For example, I regard the Papacy (or Petrine Ministry) as a divine institution, but I don't think for a minute that every detail of the papal office as it is known today is of divine origin. There is a lot of room for discussion, if we really are willing to sit down and discuss this matter and others.

While ISTM that the good archbishop is indeed overly optimistic, there may very well be some reason behind his optimism. For example, he alludes to the next meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Commission, and would be in a position to know how the preparations for that meeting are going.

Originally Posted by The young fogey
... but as I say parallel paths don’t meet: I see what most of the experts see, an insurmountable difference between two Catholic churches.

As you are aware, the role of the Bishop of Rome in the undivided Church of the First Millennium is slated to be the topic for discussion at the next meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Commission. If the members of the commission are at all serious about what they're doing (and I suspect they are), their findings will undoubtedly be surprising to many on both sides.


Peace,
Deacon Richard
Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
I don't see anything new here- Catholic leaders tend to enjoy downplaying or denying the real doctrinal differences and say that it's just a matter of a willingness for communion ...

Seraphim,

Undoubtedly, there are doctrinal issues, as well as others, that need to be resolved. The "willingness factor," however, is what makes this resolution possible.

When both parties are sitting at the table as brothers in Christ, and praying for divine guidance to resolve these matters--not as they would have them but as the All-holy Lord God himself would have them--who is to say what can't be accomplished?


Peace,
Deacon Richard
Quote
Undoubtedly, there are doctrinal issues, as well as others, that need to be resolved. The "willingness factor," however, is what makes this resolution possible.


Fr. Deacon....

Thank you for being a member of the church in communion with Rome who will admit publically there ARE doctrinal issues...unfortunately too many people "gloss over this"...
There are perceived doctrinal issues. That does not mean they are real or substantive. Really, some people seem intent on creating stumbling blocks rather than removing them.
Interestingly, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokalamsk is currently making his first visit to the Vatican as the new president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow. This sounds like a positive development to me, though it is hardly a breakthrough in relations.

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First Visit To Rome of Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk

VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow, is due to visit Rome from 15 to 20 September at the invitation of Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, according to a communique released by the council.

This will be Archbishop Hilarion's first visit to Rome since he was appointed as president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow to substitute Metropolitan Kirill following the latter's election as Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

The archbishop will be received by the Holy Father and will meet, among others, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Cardinal Walter Kasper; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

"In the wake of the many meetings and conversations with the Patriarch in the past", says the communique, "this visit will confirm the ties of friendship between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, on the solid basis of mutual understanding and respect, with a view to closer collaboration and to favour the presence of the Church in the lives of the peoples of Europe and the world".


Source
First Visit To Rome of Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk
Originally Posted by StuartK
There are perceived doctrinal issues. That does not mean they are real or substantive.

Stuart,

Good point. A lot has to do with the words, concepts and categories used to express the doctrine, and human words always fall short of divine Truth. This is why God did not give us His Revelation as a series of propositions.


Originally Posted by StuartK
Really, some people seem intent on creating stumbling blocks rather than removing them.

I agree--at times our disputations seem to be not unlike those of the Pharisees and Sadducees.


Peace,
Deacon Richard
Don't hold your breath! This is the typical over-optimism of the Latin Church.

Dn. Robert
Originally Posted by Epiphanius
While ISTM that the good archbishop is indeed overly optimistic, there may very well be some reason behind his optimism. For example, he alludes to the next meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Commission, and would be in a position to know how the preparations for that meeting are going.


Russia is preparing for the next meeting.

http://www.interfax-religion.com/print.php?act=news&id=3744
2007-10-05 13:24:00


Russian Orthodox Church to formulate her position on universal primacy

Moscow, October 5, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church has launched a workgroup to formulate her position on universal primacy. This decision was made during a plenary meeting of the Doctrinal Commission held in the Department for External Church Relations.

The workgroup will be chaired by the DECR deputy head, Bishop Mark of Yegoryevsk, the Moscow Patriarchate's official website reports.

The group is charged with a task to draft a document that would reflect the Russian Orthodox Church's view of the universal primacy in the church. It is planned that this will be the main agenda point for the next plenary of the Doctrinal Commission in December 2007.

Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox do not have a universal primate or a supreme pontiff. They have a concept of a primus inter pares. Before 1054 such a position was ascribed to the bishop of Rome , and after the schism it was de facto held by the patriarch of Constantinople .

Yet many Orthodox Churches hold different views of Constantinople its primacy and role. Some believe that this primacy is purely honorable while others ascribe to Constantinople a number of coordinating functions or see it as an ultimate court of appeal.

The issue of primacy of Rome and Constantinople will be discussed during the second meeting of the Joint Orthodox-Catholic Theological Commission that will be held in Ravenna , Italy , on October 9.

Earlier, the Head of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria told Interfax that the Moscow Patriarchate will defend its own position in the dispute and there will be no compromise.
Originally Posted by Deacon Robert Behrens
Don't hold your breath! This is the typical over-optimism of the Latin Church.

Dn. Robert


Dear Father Deacon,

A contrast here between the optimism of Cardinal Kasper and the realism of Archbishop Hilarion...

Cardinal Kasper:

"But the real breakthrough [at Revenna 2997], he said, was that "the Orthodox agreed to speak
about the universal level -- because before there were some who denied that there could even be institutional structures on the universal level. The second point is that we agreed that at the universal level there is a primate. It was clear that there is only one candidate for this post, that is the Bishop of Rome, because according to the old order -- "taxis" in Greek -- of the Church of the first millennium the see of Rome is the first among them."


The response of the Orthodox Church of Russia:

Bishop Hilarion, speaking to "Inside The Vatican", 15 November 2007:

"We do not have any theology of the Petrine office on the level of the Universal Church. Our ecclesiology does not have room for such a concept. This is why the Orthodox Church has for centuries opposed the idea of the universal jurisdiction of any bishop, including the Bishop of Rome.

"We recognize that there is a certain order in which the primates of the Local Churches should be mentioned. In this order the Bishop of Rome occupied the first place until 1054, and then the primacy of order in the Orthodox Church was shifted to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who until the schism had been the second in order. But we believe that all primates of the Local Churches are equal to one another, and none of them has jurisdiction over any other."

From
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1925822/posts

Originally Posted by Epiphanius
A lot has to do with the words, concepts and categories used to express the doctrine, and human words always fall short of divine Truth. This is why God did not give us His Revelation as a series of propositions.


This is also why a bunch of "experts" meeting together at a joint consultation, manipulating and re-interpreting various phrases and concepts, is not necessarily a reliable gauge of what is true. When the "findings" of modern academics contradict Church Tradition and the lived theology of countless saints and martyrs, then it is clearly an attempt of poor human reasoning to surmount Revelation. When words fail, then the sanctity of SS. Mark of Ephesus, Maxim Sandovich, Peter the Aleut, etc. fills in the rest.
Greetings,
This is my first post on the forum. I have enjoyed reading some posts and hope to contribute to discussions in the future.

As reported at this link, it would appear that Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, who is in care of the Moscow Roman Catholic faithful, spoke to Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper with much optimism regarding union between Catholics and Orthodox, going so far as to say that union could be a "matter of months".

As a convert to Catholicism from Protestantism who is trying to live in accordance with Eastern Christian spirituality, it would be quite pleasing to me if this were to happen but I wonder why the Archbishop sounds so optimistic. Are there some developments in ecumenism (particularly in Russia) that most people are not aware of? Is this article accurate? I wonder.

At any rate, blessings to all, and the link+text to this article from the National Catholic Register are below.

http://www.ncregister.com/daily/catholic-orthodox_unity_in_sight/

Is Catholic-Orthodox Unity in Sight?
POSTED BY EDWARD PENTIN
Monday, September 14, 2009 11:10 AM


The Catholic Archbishop of Moscow has given a remarkably upbeat assessment of relations with the Orthodox Church, saying unity between Catholics and Orthodox could be achieved “within a few months.”

In an interview today in Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Archbishop Paolo Pezzi said the miracle of reunification “is possible, indeed it has never been so close.” The archbishop added that Catholic-Orthodox reunification, the end of the historic schism that has divided them for a millennium, and spiritual communion between the two churches “could happen soon, also within a few months.”

“Basically we were united for a thousand years,” Archbishop Pezzi said. “Then for another thousand we were divided. Now the path to rapprochement is at its peak, and the third millennium of the Church could begin as a sign of unity.” He said there were “no formal obstacles” but that “everything depends on a real desire for communion.”

On the part of the Catholic Church, he added, “the desire is very much alive.”

Archbishop Pezzi, 49, whose proper title is Metropolitan Archbishop of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow, said that now there are “no real obstacles” on the path towards full communion and reunification. On issues of modernity, Catholics and Orthodox Christians feel the same way, he said: “Nothing separates us on bioethics, the family, and the protection of life.”

Also on matters of doctrine, the two churches are essentially in agreement. “There remains the question of papal primacy,” Archbishop Pezzi acknowledged, “and this will be a concern at the next meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Commission. But to me, it doesn’t seem impossible to reach an agreement.”

Prospects for union with the Orthodox have increased markedly in recent years with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, whose work as a theologian in greatly admired in Orthodox circles. Benedict is also without the burden of the difficult political history between Poland and Russia, which hindered Polish Pope John Paul II from making as much progress as he would have liked regarding Catholic-Orthodox unity.

Relations have also been greatly helped by the election of Patriarch Kirill I earlier this year as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is by far the largest of the national churches in the Orthodox Church. As the former head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external relations, Kirill met Benedict on several occasions before and after he became Pope, and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch is well acquainted with the Roman Curia and with Catholicism.
Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
Originally Posted by Epiphanius
A lot has to do with the words, concepts and categories used to express the doctrine, and human words always fall short of divine Truth. This is why God did not give us His Revelation as a series of propositions.

This is also why a bunch of "experts" meeting together at a joint consultation, manipulating and re-interpreting various phrases and concepts, is not necessarily a reliable gauge of what is true.

Seraphim,

I certainly did not mean to imply that a solution could be found by mere human striving, without divine assistance. This is God's work, and it will only be accomplished by men who are willing to submit to Him in all things.


Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
When the "findings" of modern academics contradict Church Tradition and the lived theology of countless saints and martyrs, then it is clearly an attempt of poor human reasoning to surmount Revelation.

I certainly agree that it is the lived theology of countless saints and martyrs, more so than that of scholars, that manifests the true Faith in its proper context. However, it is the theology of the scholars that caused these problems and misunderstandings in the first place.


Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
When words fail, then the sanctity of SS. Mark of Ephesus, Maxim Sandovich, Peter the Aleut, etc. fills in the rest.

With regard to St. Mark of Ephesus, I have no problem stating that the Latins were in the wrong at Florence, insofar as they made no concessions nor saw any reason to do so. Who knows what they might have accomplished if they had allowed a real discussion ...


Peace,
Deacon Richard
Benedicite!

I wonder if the secular language of negotiations is appropriate here. Christ is our way, our truth and our life. We are not negotiating or making concessions, but we are seeking the truth. We need to understand each other and discover language to which we can all agree. This is what was done at the early ecumenical Councils of the Church, when the Council Fathers agreed on the language of the Nicene Creed, for instance. This, too, is what we need to do now: to agree on a common Creed that asserts the truth in which we all believe, Christ, our Lord and God and Saviour, to whom be glory forever!
Quote
This is also why a bunch of "experts" meeting together at a joint consultation, manipulating and re-interpreting various phrases and concepts, is not necessarily a reliable gauge of what is true.


You mean, like when a bunch of experts got together at places like Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon? So, when did what they decided become true? Was it not only after everybody concurred that it was true? So, in that case, when a bunch of "experts" from the Latin Church got together in places like the Rome, Florence, Lyons or Constance, there was no guarantee what they decided was true, either. In which case, why are you so insistent that people other than yourself have to act as though they were true?
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
This is also why a bunch of "experts" meeting together at a joint consultation, manipulating and re-interpreting various phrases and concepts, is not necessarily a reliable gauge of what is true.


You mean, like when a bunch of experts got together at places like Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon?


I think Embatl'd means things such as the 2007 meeting at Ravenna. The Agreed Statement which it issued has been sidelined by the Vatican with a cautionary note that some of its theology is unacceptable to Catholic ecclesiology. None of the Orthodox Churches have ratified it. It would be, I am guessing, these types of meetings and statements from "bunches of experts" which Embatl'd has in mind.
Originally Posted by StuartK
So, in that case, when a bunch of "experts" from the Latin Church got together in places like the Rome, Florence, Lyons or Constance, there was no guarantee what they decided was true, either. In which case, why are you so insistent that people other than yourself have to act as though they were true?


Your church accepts those latter councils as ecumenical and binding. If you don't agree, take it up with your bishops, not me. Of course I don't think they are true councils- that's why I am, quite sensibly, not in communion with Rome.
Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
I wonder if the secular language of negotiations is appropriate here. Christ is our way, our truth and our life. We are not negotiating or making concessions, but we are seeking the truth.

LC,

I certainly agree that what we are seeking is the truth and not some watered-down formula. Such a formula might be "acceptable to all" only because it is too nebulous to contradict, but it would not have any real value.

I use the terms negotiate and concession only because they correspond to the work being done, but I suppose it would be more precise to say that these terms are used by way of analogy.


Peace,
Deacon Richard
Your church accepts those latter councils as ecumenical and binding.

Actually, my Church does not. Sorry.
Quote
The Agreed Statement which it issued has been sidelined by the Vatican with a cautionary note that some of its theology is unacceptable to Catholic ecclesiology. None of the Orthodox Churches have ratified it.


1. If you have a link to any official Vatican objections, it would be good to see it.

2. What does it matter if no Orthodox Church has ratified Ravenna as yet? Truth being self-authenticating, it does not need anyone's affirmation to be true--and conversely, no amount of affirmation will make a false statement true. Insofar as Rome took half a century to accept the First Council of Constantinople, I would think it a little early in the day to say the Orthodox have "rejected" anything.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
The Agreed Statement which it issued has been sidelined by the Vatican with a cautionary note that some of its theology is unacceptable to Catholic ecclesiology. None of the Orthodox Churches have ratified it.


1. If you have a link to any official Vatican objections, it would be good to see it.
The small note with which the Vatican has prefaced the Ravenna statement speaks volumes
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/p...i_doc_20071013_documento-ravenna_en.html

ZENIT published the Vatican's objections at the time. I'll see if I can locate the article.

Quote
2. What does it matter if no Orthodox Church has ratified Ravenna as yet? Truth being self-authenticating, it does not need anyone's affirmation to be true--and conversely, no amount of affirmation will make a false statement true. Insofar as Rome took half a century to accept the First Council of Constantinople, I would think it a little early in the day to say the Orthodox have "rejected" anything.


The Synod of bishops of the Church of Serbia is, as far as I know, the only Orthodox Church to reject it formally. Obviously Russia does not accept it - it was not present at Ravenna and various statements have made it clear that Russia will accept no compromise on the question of a universal authority in the Church. The other Orthodox Churches have not responded to Ravenna.
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The small note with which the Vatican has prefaced the Ravenna statement speaks volumes http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/p...i_doc_20071013_documento-ravenna_en.html

The note does not indicate rejection or even qualification, but merely the status of the document. Given that the head of the Catholic delegation is the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Promoting Christian Unity, appointed by the Pope himself, and that the delegation undoubtedly cleared the statement with the Pope prior to its promulgation, it seems unlikely that there could be large, substantive disagreements between the Holy See and its own chief ecumenical officer.

Quote
The Synod of bishops of the Church of Serbia is, as far as I know, the only Orthodox Church to reject it formally. Obviously Russia does not accept it - it was not present at Ravenna and various statements have made it clear that Russia will accept no compromise on the question of a universal authority in the Church. The other Orthodox Churches have not responded to Ravenna.


None of which addresses the issue of ultimate reception. I have given numerous examples of situations in which a council or decree was initially rejected, then later received, and vice versa. These issues can only be resolved over the course of years, possibly decades.
[quote=StuartK]Insofar as Rome took half a century to accept the First Council of Constantinople, I would think it a little early in the day to say the Orthodox have "rejected" anything. [/quote]

Did Rome [i]reject[/i] First Constantinople, by taking so long to accept it? I have never heard of Rome finding anything particularly objectionable; moreover, Rome was not in schism from the Church over this period. It seems to me you are comparing apples and oranges here- Ravenna is an agreement between two separate parties, each making mutually exclusive claims about where the One Church is, and each out of communion with the other.

[quote=StuartK]Your church accepts those latter councils as ecumenical and binding.

Actually, [i]my[/i] Church does not. Sorry. [/quote]

1. Still no evidence for this. Communion with Rome argues otherwise;

2. To be in communion with a body that makes universal dogmatic claims, and simultaneously reject those claims, is nonsensical.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
The small note with which the Vatican has prefaced the Ravenna statement speaks volumes http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/p...i_doc_20071013_documento-ravenna_en.html


The note does not indicate rejection or even qualification, but merely the status of the document.


Indeed. Its status is that it is hanging in limbo. After two years of studying it Rome has not ratified it. The problem lies with some of its statements on ecclesiology and papal primacy.
I believe the Holy Father will play a crucial role in any reunion. He continually demonstrates his sensitivity to and understanding of Eastern traditions. The following is a news article from Catholic Culture which demonstrates what I am saying:

"Union with God requires a long "journey of inner purification," Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly audience on September 16. Speaking to a crowd in the Paul VI auditorium at the Vatican, the Holy Father offered his reflections on Symeon the Pious-- also known as Symeon the New Theologian-- a monk who lived in Asia Minor and died in Constantinople in 1022, and had "an important influence on theology and spirituality in the East." The writings of Symeon, the Pope said, concentrated on the drive to reach "intimate and personal communion with God." He taught that this process requires "profound penitence and sincere suffering for one's sins." The monk also emphasized the need to "respond to hatred with love and to offense with forgiveness."

Pope Benedict called particular attention to the fact that Symeon relied heavily on a spiritual director for whom he had great respect. The Pope recommended that all Christians "seek the counsel of a good spiritual father," noting that providing spiritual direction is an important aspect of "the ecclesial nature of the Church."
Originally Posted by Deacon Robert Behrens
Don't hold your breath! This is the typical over-optimism of the Latin Church.

Dn. Robert


I fully agree. It also shows that a lot of people in the Latin Church aren't listening.
Quote
Indeed. Its status is that it is hanging in limbo. After two years of studying it Rome has not ratified it. The problem lies with some of its statements on ecclesiology and papal primacy.


Perhaps. Meanwhile, Catholic theologians, including Walter Cardinal Kaspar are making increasing use of the Statement. Given that the Holy See has chosen not to correct them or to insist on modifications to the Statement, de facto ratification seems to have become a fait accompli. Unless, of course, you assume the Holy Father is asleep at the switch and the entire Curia Romana is either incompetent or clueless.
Originally Posted by The young fogey
but as I say parallel paths don’t meet: I see what most of the experts see, an insurmountable difference between two Catholic churches.


Well, we can see that you have never driven in Las Vegas smile

I'd been year for a couple of years before discovering that I was driving several miles between places a couple of miles apart.

Once you understand that parallel major streets (we're nominally on a 1-mile grid with half-mile streets, too) will eventually intersect, it's easy to get around.

Maybe there's a lesson here smile

hawk
Originally Posted by StuartK
Perhaps. Meanwhile, Catholic theologians, including Walter Cardinal Kaspar are making increasing use of the Statement.

It would seem premature and too optimistic to use Ravenna for anything concrete. The majority of the Orthodox world, Serbia and Russia, has rejected it and the other Churches have said nothing either way. The document seems to have only limited acceptance.

What will be telling is the next meeting of the Commission where the Russian Orthodox Church will participate. They have mentioned that they will bring 2 delegates from each of the 7 autonomous Churches under Moscow; it was the presence of delegates from an autonomous Constantinopolitan Church (Estonia) which caused the Russian refusal to participate in 2007. The International Commission is supposed to be only delegates from autocephalous Orthodox Churches, matched by a corresponding number of Catholic delegates.
Quote
It would seem premature and too optimistic to use Ravenna for anything concrete. The majority of the Orthodox world, Serbia and Russia, has rejected it and the other Churches have said nothing either way. The document seems to have only limited acceptance.


Of course, three years after the fact, we could have said the same about the First Council of Nicaea and the First Council of Constantinople, to say nothing of the Second Council of Nicaea, which was ignored by the very Church that promulgated it in 787 until the year 843. In short, if something is right, it's right, and it's never too early to start using it for something "concrete".
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
It would seem premature and too optimistic to use Ravenna for anything concrete. The majority of the Orthodox world, Serbia and Russia, has rejected it and the other Churches have said nothing either way. The document seems to have only limited acceptance.


Of course, three years after the fact, we could have said the same about the First Council of Nicaea and the First Council of Constantinople, to say nothing of the Second Council of Nicaea, which was ignored by the very Church

It seems a little odd to compare a meeting of about 60 Orthodox and Catholic theologians with the Ecumenical Councils.

Quote
In short, if something is right, it's right, and it's never too early to start using it for something "concrete".


Given that the Synods of the Orthodox partners in the dialogue at Ravenna have not said a peep about it (apart from rejections from Serbia and Russia, the majority of the Orthodox world), it seems odd for the other partner in dialogue to make much ado about it. The Orthodox have not, it seems, judged Ravenna as "right" for them.

I think that the whole matter is in abeyance and awaits the next International Commission meeting when the Orthodox will be able to bring an ongoing theological study and reflection to the table.
Getting back on topic and Archbp Pezzi's amazing statement.... is it possible that Rome has made sufficient concessions on papal primacy that Moscow and Constantinople, Jerusalem and Antioch, Serbia and Bulgaria, etc., have accepted them as sufficient to enter into union within a few months. Is this feasible?
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Getting back on topic and Archbp Pezzi's amazing statement.... is it possible that Rome has made sufficient concessions on papal primacy that Moscow and Constantinople, Jerusalem and Antioch, Serbia and Bulgaria, etc., have accepted them as sufficient to enter into union within a few months. Is this feasible?


Since no other statement or document corroborating his claims has appeared, from either side, I don't see how it can be. And the issue of papal primacy is just one of many problems. Aside from the usual dogmatic disagreements, the Vatican's novel ecclesiology of "subsistence," which allows heretics to possess apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, is nonsensical from an Orthodox standpoint.
I didn't see anywhere in Archbishop Pezzi's statement where he said full communion would be restored within months. Read more closely, and do not superimpose other meanings on his words.
Or perhaps it is the Orthodox patriarchs, acknowledge the unambiguous expressions of St Maximos the Confessor concerning unity with the church of Rome, who have made sufficient concessions. Or perhaps we need to end the polemics and get down to the business of unity.
Originally Posted by StuartK
I didn't see anywhere in Archbishop Pezzi's statement where he said full communion would be restored within months. Read more closely, and do not superimpose other meanings on his words.






"Here is the article:

Article by Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register


"The Catholic Archbishop of Moscow has given a remarkably upbeat assessment of relations with the Orthodox Church, saying unity between Catholics and Orthodox could be achieved “within a few months.”

[i]In an interview today in Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Archbishop Paolo Pezzi said the miracle of reunification “is possible, indeed it has never been so close.” The archbishop added that Catholic-Orthodox reunification, the end of the historic schism that has divided them for a millennium, and spiritual communion between the two churches “could happen soon, within a few months.”

“Basically we were united for a thousand years,” Archbishop Pezzi said. “Then for another thousand we were divided. Now the path to rapprochement is at its peak, and the third millennium of the Church could begin as a sign of unity.” He said there were “no formal obstacles” but that “everything depends on a real desire for communion.”
[/i]

Hello Stuart:

The word could and and would makes the difference, Frankly I think pink pigs will fly before we see this one happen but then that is my human reaction. I do hope and pray that it works out.

In Christ:
Einar




Originally Posted by Utroque
... the unambiguous expressions of St Maximos the Confessor concerning unity with the church of Rome ...

Utroque,

This is the kind of thing I hope to see explored in greater depth as part of the preparation for the next meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Commission. There is no need simply to re-iterate each side's current position, since each side already knows the other's position and rejects it.

However, there is a need to collect such statements as this--both from Church Fathers and from other First Millennium sources--and evaluate them carefully in terms of their context. This alone can produce the kind of historical framework necessary to rightly re-evaluate the positions of both Churches.

Without this, we've got nothing more than the all-too-familiar "... am too! ... are not! ... am too! ... are not! ..."


Originally Posted by Utroque
... perhaps we need to end the polemics and get down to the business of unity.


And let us pray that we can get to a point where it becomes clear that unity is indeed God's will.


Peace,
Deacon Richard
Quote
It seems a little odd to compare a meeting of about 60 Orthodox and Catholic theologians with the Ecumenical Councils.


How many bishops were present at Constantinople I? And of those, how many were from the Church of Rome? Of the early Councils, how many came right out and said, "This is an ecumenical council, and what we say is binding for all ages"? Reception, not any set of a priori criteria, determine ecumenicity.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Reception, not any set of a priori criteria, determine ecumenicity.

Isn't that what Ravenna said?
Quote
Isn't that what Ravenna said?


Yup. And it's true--the history of the Roman Church proves it. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but no one is entitled to his own facts--not even the Pope.
Originally Posted by StuartK
I didn't see anywhere in Archbishop Pezzi's statement where he said full communion would be restored within months. Read more closely, and do not superimpose other meanings on his words.


I cannot conceive that he means that we should be united but without enjoying full communion.

Orthodoxy knows of no unity without communion and it has no concept of partial communion. This would simply not chime with the teaching of the Eucharist as creating the unity of the Church.

"The Catholic Archbishop of Moscow has given a remarkably upbeat assessment of relations with the Orthodox Church, saying unity between Catholics and Orthodox could be achieved “within a few months.”"
Again, I say, he did not indicate that this would happen, only that it could happen. And he did not say that this unity would take the form of formal ecclesial communion. There could very well be intermediate steps, of which some sort of communicatio in sacris between the Orthodox and Greek Catholics in Ukraine seems the most likely (it's largely happening, anyway). The article does not quote Archbishop Pezzi, but summarizes his remarks. I have learned to be extremely cautious when journalists do this, especially when their interpretation has to be translated two or three times before reaching their audience.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Again, I say, he did not indicate that this would happen, only that it could happen. And he did not say that this unity would take the form of formal ecclesial communion. There could very well be intermediate steps, of which some sort of communicatio in sacris between the Orthodox and Greek Catholics in Ukraine seems the most likely (it's largely happening, anyway). The article does not quote Archbishop Pezzi, but summarizes his remarks. I have learned to be extremely cautious when journalists do this, especially when their interpretation has to be translated two or three times before reaching their audience.


I agree. Without assurance that these are the words which Archbp Pezzi used this thread is bad stewardship of our time.
The National Catholic Register has since posted a follow-up article, ancillary to the first. It is also very interesting:

"Archbishop Hilarion at Sant’Egidio"

Artilce by Edward Pentin

Thursday, September 17, 2009 6:19 PM


Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of Moscow may have gotten a little ahead of himself in his comments on Catholic-Orthodox unity, given in a recent interview which we reported on here. However, his hopeful tone, and his conviction that progress is being made towards unity, are well founded.

The Vatican is taking a more measured line than the Catholic archbishop of Moscow, and is stressing that, as well as resolving outstanding theological problems, plenty of trust still needs to be built up between the two Churches before unity can be considered. However, it concedes that clear progress is being made.

If proof were needed of this improvement, one need look no further than a speech given by Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, effectively the Russian Orthodox Church’s foreign minister, at this evening’s prayers at the Sant’Egidio community in Rome.

Archbishop Hilarion, 43, is on a five-day visit to Rome, and will be received by Pope Benedict XVI tomorrow in private audience. Like Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, he is new to his position, and also in common with the patriarch, he has many built up many friends in Rome thanks to his previous position (Archbishop Hilarion was formerly the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative to Europe and took over from Kirill the role of “foreign minister” following Kirill’s election this year as Patriarch).

Below is the speech Archbishop Hilarion gave this evening in flawless Italian. Note I didn’t have the official text, so this is a rough translation. I’ve highlighted the parts in bold which I thought were particularly poignant.

Dear brothers and sisters of the community of Sant’Egidio,

It is with great joy that I have come this evening to be among you.

I am happy to be close to you once again and especially to see you once again, my friends Professor Andrea Riccardi and Bishop Vincenzo Paglia. I greet with joy the bishops who are present and I greet with love all of you who have come tonight to this church. Through you I would like to greet the whole community of Sant’Egidio throughout the world.

I would like to transmit to you the blessings and greetings of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. In his name, and also from myself and all of us who are present with you, I would like to tell you of the esteem and love that we have for your community. We esteem your love towards the poor, we treasure your work towards them and also those in need; the actions that you do in this city and in other cities to give food to the homeless, and the care which all the community of Sant’Egidio has for those who are on the margins of society.

With this commitment of yours, with this Christian ministry towards the poor, you practice the Gospel. In life, man suffers, and it’s here you find the face of the Lord. Through serving all the poor, you serve Him who said that what you do to each of my little brothers, you do to me.

We have great admiration for your contribution to dialogue, especially that between Christians those of different religions. And we are especially pleased and happy with the relationship of understanding and mutual esteem that has been established between your community and our Russian Orthodox Church.

We live in a de-Christianized world, in a time that some define—mistakenly—as post-Christian. Contemporary society, with its practical materialism and moral relativism, is a challenge to us all. The future of humanity depends on our response, as Christians, to this challenge, and maybe even whether life continues on our planet. It is a common challenge and also our answer must be common. Only together can we put forward all the spiritual and moral value of the Christian faith; only together can we offer our Christian vision for the family, only together can we affirm our concept of social justice, of a more equal distribution of goods.

These moral values are traditional because they have been affirmed by Christians for 20 centuries and have formed our cultural and European civilization. They are, at the same time, very new and modern, because the Gospel of Jesus is eternally new and modern. With this common challenge, the contemporary world challenges us, and we Christians must be together. It’s time to pass from confrontation to solidarity, mutual respect, and esteem. I would say without hesitating that we must pass to mutual love, living out Jesus’s commandment to love one another. As Jesus said, all will know you are disciples of mine if you have love for the other. This is what our preaching demands and it can be effective, it can be convincing, also in our contemporary world, if we are able to live this mutual love among us as Christians.

With these sentiments, I thank you once again for having invited us and I repeat to you my joy of being here tonight. And in order to express concretely our fraternal love for all the community of Sant’Egidio, I would like to give you this Russian icon of Our Lady.

I pray to the Mother of God to bless you all, and to protect and support you always in your commitment to love the Lord, serving every neighbor, and especially the poor and the disadvantaged.

Coming from a representative of the Moscow Patriarchate, this is positively gushy.
This is not new. The same sentiments -collaboration in bringing relief to the needy and collaboration in preserving Christian values as the basis of European civilisation- have been presented in statements by the Russian Orthodox Church to the Church of Rome since only a few days after Pope Benedict's installation. What many of us are waiting to see, four years later, is in what practical ways this proposed collaboration will be expressed?
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
This is not new. The same sentiments -collaboration in bringing relief to the needy and collaboration in preserving Christian values as the basis of European civilisation- have been presented in statements by the Russian Orthodox Church to the Church of Rome since only a few days after Pope Benedict's installation. What many of us are waiting to see, four years later, is in what practical ways this proposed collaboration will be expressed?


This is true. There is talk of collaboration in the world, mostly to overcome secularism. There is no serious talk, on the part of Eastern Orthodox hierarchs, about an immediate re-establishing full communion.
With that being said, I'd like to see it happen soon. But, this will only happen in God's good time, when the Holy Spirit deems that it is "the fullness of time". As to the proposed collaboration, my sense is that it will have to be largely the work of committed laity.

Dn. Robert
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose

What will be telling is the next meeting of the Commission where the Russian Orthodox Church will participate. They have mentioned that they will bring 2 delegates from each of the 7 autonomous Churches under Moscow; it was the presence of delegates from an autonomous Constantinopolitan Church (Estonia) which caused the Russian refusal to participate in 2007. The International Commission is supposed to be only delegates from autocephalous Orthodox Churches, matched by a corresponding number of Catholic delegates.


Father, weren't the Estonians "observers," and not "delegates?" And wouldn't the same be true for any others that Moscow might bring in the future?

Originally Posted by Converted Viking

The word could and and would makes the difference, Frankly I think pink pigs will fly before we see this one happen but then that is my human reaction. I do hope and pray that it works out.


Getting a pig to fly isn't that hard--it's merely a matter of thrust. smile

More seriously, how likely did the implosion of the UFFR (Union of Fewer & Fewer Republics) look during the 1970's? (There were a handful that did conceive of it, and this was indeed part of the reason [and rarely spoken] for the Reagan arms buildup--causing the economic collapse).

hawk, hopefully
[quote=Hieromonk Ambrose]They have mentioned that they will bring 2 delegates from each of the 7 autonomous Churches under Moscow[/quote]

7 autonomous churches? Could someone enumerate for me which churches these are? All I know about are the Churches of Ukraine, Japan, and China... and I'm pretty sure the Chinese Orthodox Church is still not in a state to be sending delegates anywhere.
Originally Posted by dochawk

Father, weren't the Estonians "observers," and not "delegates?" And wouldn't the same be true for any others that Moscow might bring in the future?


It would make no difference either way since the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church is considered uncanonical by Moscow.

"Vladyki Hilarion laid emphasis on the fact that the MP cannot participate in a dialogue together with representatives of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, for to do so would deviate from a decision of the Bishops’ Council of 2000."

http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2008...rthodox-anglican-dialogue-is-impossible/


In a similar vein, the Patriarch of Constantinople has always blocked the presence of OCA delegates to such gatherings. Under Canon 28 of Chalcedon the Patriarch is considered Patriarch of the Barbarians and he does not recognise the OCA's autocephaly in what he claims as a barbarian land under his authority.
Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
Aside from the usual dogmatic disagreements, the Vatican's novel ecclesiology of "subsistence," which allows heretics to possess apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, is nonsensical from an Orthodox standpoint.


How is it nonsensical when the majority of Orthodox theologians now state that the Oriental Orthodox are just as Orthodox as the Eastern Orthodox? What of the Old Believers who were for decades deemed heretics, now it is stated that they were never outside Orthodoxy? What of the economia that allowed the Orthodox to receive Eucharist in Anglican Churches when there were no Orthodox Churches in the area - wasn't this some acknowledgment of some grace from Anglican Eucharist (at least at the time)?



Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose

I cannot conceive that he means that we should be united but without enjoying full communion.

Orthodoxy knows of no unity without communion and it has no concept of partial communion. This would simply not chime with the teaching of the Eucharist as creating the unity of the Church.



This is not so in practice - again the cases of the Oriental Orthodox come to mind, as do economia granted in troublesome areas like the MidEast.
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
What of the economia that allowed the Orthodox to receive Eucharist in Anglican Churches when there were no Orthodox Churches in the area - wasn't this some acknowledgment of some grace from Anglican Eucharist (at least at the time)?


I imagine that this was the most extraordinary use of "economia" in history. In England at a time when there were almost no Orthodox churches in the country it was permitted to resort to the Anglicans for communion. It was understood that what the Orthodox received was the Body and Blood of Christ, while the Anglican vicar and his flock (whether High or Low Church) received only bread and wine.

An old edition of Eastern Churches Quarterly has an article and I'll see if I can locate it.
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
We do not have any theology of the Petrine office on the level of the Universal Church. Our ecclesiology does not have room for such a concept. This is why the Orthodox Church has for centuries opposed the idea of the universal jurisdiction of any bishop, including the Bishop of Rome.

I think this is the crux of the problem. Was St. Peter the coryphaeus of the Apostles, as the very great majority of early Fathers testify? Was this role passed down in the Apostolic Succession? Does not Apostolic Succession have a theological basis?

I feel the best way to overcome this problem is to get rid of the idea and language of universal jurisdiction and replace it with the idea and language of universal solicitude or care. The idea of "jurisdiction" was invented by the Church in the 4th century anyway.

Blessings,
Marduk
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
Aside from the usual dogmatic disagreements, the Vatican's novel ecclesiology of "subsistence," which allows heretics to possess apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, is nonsensical from an Orthodox standpoint.


How is it nonsensical when the majority of Orthodox theologians now state that the Oriental Orthodox are just as Orthodox as the Eastern Orthodox?


First of all, "this can't be wrong, you do it too" is never a very sound argument.
Certain high-profile academic theologians believe that the non-Chalcedonians are orthodox, but this has never been a gauge of what the Church teaches- throughout the Church's history you will always find big names supporting erroneous ideas. There remain many more monastics who believe otherwise, not to mention the holy Fathers of the Church. If in fact the non-Chalcedonian theology (and it may not be possible to speak of a unified theology for them) is subject to an orthodox interpretation, they are at the very least schismatics and therefore cannot be "as Orthodox as the Eastern Orthodox".

Quote
What of the Old Believers who were for decades deemed heretics, now it is stated that they were never outside Orthodoxy?


Stated by whom? Yes, everyone agrees that their beliefs were Orthodox, at least those who ended up returning to the Church (some Old Believer sects have weird ideas), but they were in fact in schism from the Church. Of course, part of the blame lies with the Nikonian reformers and their unwillingness to compromise- nevertheless, the Old Believers chose to disobey the hierarchy over a non-essential, non-doctrinal issue.



Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose

I cannot conceive that he means that we should be united but without enjoying full communion.

Orthodoxy knows of no unity without communion and it has no concept of partial communion. This would simply not chime with the teaching of the Eucharist as creating the unity of the Church.



This is not so in practice - again the cases of the Oriental Orthodox come to mind, as do economia granted in troublesome areas like the MidEast. [/quote]

The practice of the Antiochian patriarchate is aberrant but they have not gone so far as to declare that they are in communion with the non-Chalcedonians. Acts of economia are by definition departures from the rule and in such cases all sacramental grace still comes from the Orthodox Church, as when, sometimes, Christians baptized in heterodox sects are received by chrismation.
Originally Posted by mardukm
I feel the best way to overcome this problem is to get rid of the idea and language of universal jurisdiction and replace it with the idea and language of universal solicitude or care.
I've had a similar appraisal for some time. Recently I had occasion to comment on the biblical sense of justice/righteousness. I wrote (by way of background):
Originally Posted by ajk
Just and righteous are the same concept. The sense of just comes through the Latin where iustus/justus translates the Greek dikaios and the Hebrew tsadik. See e.g. Psalm 91(92):13:

RSV Psalm 92:12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

NAB Psalm 92:13 The just shall flourish like the palm tree, shall grow like a cedar of Lebanon.

VUL Psalm 91:13 iustus ut palma florebit ut cedrus Libani multiplicabitur


The Protestant "Justification by faith" is St. Paul's very Hebrew sense of righteousness (tsadaka) distorted, especially in its forensic/legal interpretation. There's no righteousification so we always hear for that concept justification -- could say "Made-right by faith." Translations seem to uses either, as in the Psalm above, or what must fit in English, e.g. (where there's no righteous-type-word in English):

RSV Romans 3:28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.

NAB Romans 3:28 For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Here as in the Psalm verse, the analogous forms: Latin, iustificari; Greek, dikaiousthai.

The concept is based on the Hebrew sense of tsadaka. That is found in the very Semitic/Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, and only his version, at the baptism of Jesus,

RSV Matthew 3:15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented.

VUL Matthew 3:15 respondens autem Iesus dixit ei sine modo sic enim decet nos implere omnem iustitiam tunc dimisit eum

DRA Matthew 3:15 And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now. For so it becometh us to fulfill all justice. Then he suffered him

The Greek is dikaiosunēn.

And the beatitudes,

RSV Matthew 5:10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

VUL Matthew 5:10 beati qui persecutionem patiuntur propter iustitiam quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum

DRA Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Greek is dikaiosunēs.


DRA=The Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition.


And then (slightly edited) and getting closer to the point:
Originally Posted by ajk
I have come to believe that to read St. Paul correctly, one must read him as a Jew (1st c., Pharissee); and that as a Jew who did not reject Judaism but who saw and went beyond it (and in an analogous way, Jesus at His baptism to John in Matthew's Gospel.) The concept of righteousness (tsadaka) in Judaism was paramount and was achievable by following the law (Torah). It probably was to the Jew/Judaism what theosis is to us.

Justice and righteousness in colloquial English have some bad connotations that may influence us. Justice seems legalistic and is often suspect: it may be the law (justice) but that doesn't mean it is right. It can even convey trying to legitimize (another law/lex word) what is wrong as in he is always trying to justify himself. But, there are those who are self-righteous.

Maybe righteous/righteousness has less baggage and thereby better conveys a good and high status: We don't have a Department of Righteousness or a righteousness system as negative images.


I stopped short there but considered writing this conclusion in the infallibility thread. But since it came up here: Consider the current meaning of jurisdiction and its etymology:
Quote
* Etymology: Middle English jurisdiccioun, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French jurisdiction, from Latin jurisdiction-, jurisdictio, from juris + diction-, dictio act of saying — more at diction
* Date: 14th century

1 : the power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law
2 a : the authority of a sovereign power to govern or legislate b : the power or right to exercise authority : control
3 : the limits or territory within which authority may be exercised
synonyms see power
link

There's the baggage: power, authority, control, territory.

But the word juris-diction basically means saying/speaking the law; but also speaking righteousness, saying what is right.

Consider papal jurisdiction / infallibility in that light: the one who speaks, and is recognized as doing so universally for the Church, what is right; the univocal and unequivocal voice of the Truth (on faith and morals).
In any discussion of what Paul meant by "justification", it is absolutely essential to read the works of the Anglican theologian N.T. Wright, particularly his monumental New Testament and the People of God, as well as his various books on St. Paul. Needless to say, the Western and particularly Protestant understanding of the concept has strayed pretty far from what the Pharisee of Tarsus was trying to say.
Originally Posted by StuartK
In any discussion of what Paul meant by "justification", it is absolutely essential to read the works of the Anglican theologian N.T. Wright, particularly his monumental New Testament and the People of God, as well as his various books on St. Paul. Needless to say, the Western and particularly Protestant understanding of the concept has strayed pretty far from what the Pharisee of Tarsus was trying to say.
Indeed, Wright says they (Protestants) got it wrong. The Southern Baptists ( link ) recently took him to task about his defection from the foundational principle of Protestantism. I can't figure how a "sola scriptura" movement sold "justification by faith alone" when Paul says:

RSV Romans 3:28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.

There's that word, "law" (Torah?). And the only place where "alone" and "faith" occur together in scripture is:

RSV James 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

It's usually argued that Paul and James use the same words with different meanings, but I think they're complementary:

Paul: We are justified by faith
James: but not by faith alone.
James: We are justified by works,
Paul: but not by works of the Law

"Western" is pretty broad. In my opinion, the Catholic Church got it right, succinct, and beautifully said at Trent:
Quote
In which words is given a brief description of the justification of the sinner, as being a translation from that state in which man [homo] is born a son [filius] of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons [filiorum] of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior. This translation however cannot, since the promulgation of the Gospel, be effected except through the laver of regeneration or its desire, as it is written: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
(for references see previous post )


But we digress...
http://www.catholic.net/index.php?option=zenit&id=26932

The above article is an informative update to this thread.

Concerning the meeting between Archbishop Hilarion and Cardinal Kaspar... But there are numerous "signs" that the meeting was remarkably harmonious. Now, this is news! It would be funny if it weren't such a serious subject.

The article may suggest reunion, but a more realistic outcome (barring Divine intervention) is potential cooperation. The article suggests that the Church needs a powerful ally to help it to fend off attackers (hmmm...sounds like the Catholic Church's situation in the USA).

One key person Archbishop Hilarion met with was Cardinal Walter Kasper. On Sept. 17, the cardinal told Vatican Radio that he and Archbishop Hilarion had a "very calm conversation."

Cardinal Kasper also revealed something astonishing: that he had suggested to the archbishop that the Orthodox Churches form some kind of "bishops' conference at the European level" that would constitute a "direct partner of cooperation" in future meetings.

This would be a revolutionary step in the organization of the Orthodox Churches.

Papal-Patriarch encounter?

Cardinal Kasper said a Pope-Patriarch meeting was not on the immediate agenda, and would probably not take place in Moscow or Rome, but in some "neutral" place (Hungary, Austria and Belarus are possibilities).

Archbishop Hilarion himself revealed much about how his Rome visit was proceeding when he met on the evening of Sept. 17 (before his meeting with the Pope) with the Community of Sant'Egidio, an Italian Catholic group known for its work with the poor in Rome.

"We live in a de-Christianized world, in a time that some define -- mistakenly -- as post-Christian," Archbishop Hilarion said. "Contemporary society, with its practical materialism and moral relativism, is a challenge to us all. The future of humanity depends on our response… More than ever before, we Christians must stand together." (emphasis mine -pb)

A report from Interfax, the news service of the Moscow Patriarchate, on Sept. 18 revealed that Archbishop Hilarion spoke to the Pope about "cooperation between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches in the area of moral values and of culture" -- in particular during the "Days of Russian Spiritual Culture," a type of exhibit with lectures scheduled for spring 2010 in Rome. (One might imagine that the Pope himself could attend such an exhibition).


One of the many reasons for the Great Schism was the Failure of Rome to come to the rescue of Constantinople from the Turks. Could re-union come through long delayed aid to, not the "Second Rome" but to the "Third Rome"?

Only God knows.

Fr Deacon Paul
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
The small note with which the Vatican has prefaced the Ravenna statement speaks volumes http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/p...i_doc_20071013_documento-ravenna_en.html


The note does not indicate rejection or even qualification, but merely the status of the document.


Indeed. Its status is that it is hanging in limbo. After two years of studying it Rome has not ratified it. The problem lies with some of its statements on ecclesiology and papal primacy.


Why would you expect some kind of official ratification of the Ravenna document? That is not generally how Rome handles ecumenical documents of this kind. Has the CDF raised questions about it or advanced objections to it? If yes, what precisely were they?
Originally Posted by Fr_Kimel
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
The small note with which the Vatican has prefaced the Ravenna statement speaks volumes http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/p...i_doc_20071013_documento-ravenna_en.html


The note does not indicate rejection or even qualification, but merely the status of the document.


Indeed. Its status is that it is hanging in limbo. After two years of studying it Rome has not ratified it. The problem lies with some of its statements on ecclesiology and papal primacy.


Why would you expect some kind of official ratification of the Ravenna document? That is not generally how Rome handles ecumenical documents of this kind. Has the CDF raised questions about it or advanced objections to it? If yes, what precisely were they?

At the time of its publication there were demurrals from Rome that its ecclesiology was unacceptable. But I have not kept the news clippings.
Quote
At the time of its publication there were demurrals from Rome that its ecclesiology was unacceptable. But I have not kept the news clippings.


I've looked and looked, and can find nothing, not even in the archives of Osservatore Romano.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
At the time of its publication there were demurrals from Rome that its ecclesiology was unacceptable. But I have not kept the news clippings.


I've looked and looked, and can find nothing, not even in the archives of Osservatore Romano.

Stuart, many thanks for looking for it. I cannot press the point since I cannot locate evidence.

I see that the Vatican's website introduces the document with a mild caveat: "Thus, the document represents the outcome of the work of a Commission and should not be understood as an official declaration of the Church’s teaching."

Forum members unfamiliar with the document will find it on the Vatican website. It will be of major importance at the next Plenary Session of this International Commission which will open on Cyprus in less than three weeks. Let us pray that God's beneficent Will be done. Ut omnes unum sint.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/p...i_doc_20071013_documento-ravenna_en.html
I think the same caveat can and should be added to every document of every "Joint International Commission." Having read the Ravenna document, I can find nothing wrong with it, but until it has been accepted not just by the members of the commission, but by the Church, it is not "an official declaration of the Church's teaching."
So, what constitutes "acceptance"? In the case of the Balamond Statement, Pope John Paul II went out of his way to ensure that the Eastern Catholic Churches would accept it (particularly the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, which was very vocal in its opposition), and he also incorporated language from the Statement into his other Encyclicals. Is Balamond "accepted" by the Catholic Church, in your opinion?

If it is, would a similar demonstration of support by Pope Benedict be sufficient to have Ravenna accepted as official Catholic doctrine?

A report from CNEWA on how the Orthodox Churches reacted to Balamand.

http://www.cnewa.org/ecc-bodypg-us.aspx?eccpageID=82&IndexView=alpha
And yet the despised Uniates finally get to participate in the meetings of the Commission, albeit only as observers and not as delegates. So Balamand must have had some impact on the Orthodox.
Originally Posted by StuartK
And yet the despised Uniates finally get to participate in the meetings of the Commission, albeit only as observers and not as delegates. So Balamand must have had some impact on the Orthodox.


I have not been aware of the Eastern Catholics attending as observers. Could you say something more about this?
Only that several were present. Father Serge would know more, I think.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Only that several were present. Father Serge would know more, I think.

Apart from the glaringly obvious reasons for their exclusion (offence to the Orthodox and possibility of not supporting RC papal dogmas) the Eastern Catholics are excluded simply because the dialogue involves only autocephalous Churches. The Eastern Catholic Churches are not autocephalous but autonomous. Until the last revision of the Code of Canon Law their designation was “Autonomous Ritual Churches.”

The Orthodox have 15 autocephalous Churches (I include the OCA); the Catholics have one, the Roman Catholic Church.
Really, Sui Iuris is a status between autonomous and autocephalous, at least for patriarchal and major archepiscopal churches sui iuris.

The Metropolitan and Eparchial Churches Sui Iuris are about on par with autonomous.

The remainder are somewhay shy of autonomy.
While we are on the subject of offense (or offence, if we want to be all British about it), perhaps Father Ambrose should consider just how offensive his words are to those of us who belong to these apparently odious sui juris Churches?
Stuart, I have noticed over the past couple of months that your posts have become particularly "odious" and I would like to respectfully remind you that we posters are members because we are Christians first and foremost.
Originally Posted by StuartK
While we are on the subject of offense (or offence, if we want to be all British about it), perhaps Father Ambrose should consider just how offensive his words are to those of us who belong to these apparently odious sui juris Churches?


My sincerest apologies. I never for one moment had any concept in my mind of "these apparently odious sui juris Churches" - those are your words.

The reasons I gave for the exclusion of the Eastern Catholic Churches from the International Commission were simply factual:

1. Both Catholics and Orthodox agreed the Commission will be composed only of autocephalous Churches.

2. The presence of the Eastern Catholic Churches would very likely disturb the Orthodox Churches.

3. The presence of the Eastern Catholic Churches could embarrass Rome if their delegates evince a "Zoghby" view of things and express views about papal supremacy and infallibility which are not in line with the Church of Rome's.

That was ALL I said and I don't see anything "odious" about it at all.
Originally Posted by StuartK
While we are on the subject of offense (or offence, if we want to be all British about it),

Hey, my passport says "British Subject. Her Majesty the Queen...." So of course I write British English. smile grin I've been doing it all my life. grin
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
While we are on the subject of offense (or offence, if we want to be all British about it), perhaps Father Ambrose should consider just how offensive his words are to those of us who belong to these apparently odious sui juris Churches?


I imagine many Catholics find your eclectic approach to dogma rather "offensive" too.
If memory serves me correctly, the Church of Finland has been represented at this dialogue. The Church of Finland is autonomous, not autocephalous.

Fr. Serge
Originally Posted by aramis
Really, Sui Iuris is a status between autonomous and autocephalous, at least for patriarchal and major archepiscopal churches sui iuris.

The Metropolitan and Eparchial Churches Sui Iuris are about on par with autonomous.

The remainder are somewhay shy of autonomy.


aramis,

I think you much overstate the status of the EC Churches. While we of the Patriarchal and Major-Archepiscopal Churches would like to believe ourselves autocephalous, there are several reasons why we cannot allow ourselves to be convinced that we are or that Rome considers us to be such. The restrictions on the exercise of patriarchal authority outside our 'historical boundaries' is not the least of these.

The Metropolitan Churches do not even reach that level of autonomy, such that it is, exercised by the Patriarchal and Major Arch-Episcopal Churches. As far as the Eparchial Churches, they have absolutely no autonomy, being directly and immediately responsible to Rome in virtually all regards.

Many years,

Neil
Originally Posted by Fr Serge Keleher
If memory serves me correctly, the Church of Finland has been represented at this dialogue. The Church of Finland is autonomous, not autocephalous.

Fr. Serge

You are right. I had forgotten about Finland's presence. I wonder why it was there and why the other autonomous Churches were not represented.

Father, what is, to your thinking, the reason that there are no Eastern Catholic Churches represented?
Dearest Father Ambrose,

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The Orthodox have 15 autocephalous Churches (I include the OCA); the Catholics have one, the Roman Catholic Church.

The only Church that is considered autocephalous in the Catholic communion is the Catholic Church itself. The Latin Church is just as (merely) autonomous as any of the other sui juris Churches.

Humbly,
Marduk
In any case, just when did the term "autocephalous" cease to have its original meaning of a diocese that was directly under the jurisdiction of a patriarchate (bypassing any metropolitan province) and take on the connotation of a Church answerable only to itself?
Dear brother Neil,

Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
Originally Posted by aramis
Really, Sui Iuris is a status between autonomous and autocephalous, at least for patriarchal and major archepiscopal churches sui iuris.

The Metropolitan and Eparchial Churches Sui Iuris are about on par with autonomous.

The remainder are somewhay shy of autonomy.

I think you much overstate the status of the EC Churches. While we of the Patriarchal and Major-Archepiscopal Churches would like to believe ourselves autocephalous, there are several reasons why we cannot allow ourselves to be convinced that we are or that Rome considers us to be such.

I don't think brother Aramis claimed that the Patriarchal Churches and Major Archepiscopal Churches are autocephalous.

Quote
The restrictions on the exercise of patriarchal authority outside our 'historical boundaries' is not the least of these.

I thought this "restriction" was imposed by the Ecumenical Councils? We'll need a new Ecumenical Council to clear up the matter, perhaps.

I know that the Pope's giving up of the title "patriarch of the West" was merely informal, but do you think that could be a basis for a more active role of the Eastern or Oriental Churches outside their traditional boundaries?

Quote
The Metropolitan Churches do not even reach that level of autonomy, such that it is, exercised by the Patriarchal and Major Arch-Episcopal Churches. As far as the Eparchial Churches, they have absolutely no autonomy, being directly and immediately responsible to Rome in virtually all regards.

I agree with your comment on Metropolitan Churches, but I disagree on your comment on Eparchial Churches. Eparchial Churches indeed exercise a degree of autonomy. Our Canons contains contain several prerogatives of local bishops in his local See that are not possessed by any other episcopal rank (be it Metropolitan, Patriarch, or Pope). For example, only the local bishop has the prerogative of granting a priest the jurisdiction to regularly hear confession outside of his parish. There are others, though I would need to scour the Code, which I don't have the time to do.

Blessings
Originally Posted by StuartK
In any case, just when did the term "autocephalous" cease to have its original meaning of a diocese that was directly under the jurisdiction of a patriarchate (bypassing any metropolitan province) and take on the connotation of a Church answerable only to itself?

I've wondered that myself. I think this whole issue of "autocephaly" vs. "autonomy" is just another symptom of the jurisdiction mentality that I've complained about in other threads.

Blessings
Originally Posted by mardukm
Dear brother Neil,

Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
Originally Posted by aramis
Really, Sui Iuris is a status between autonomous and autocephalous, at least for patriarchal and major archepiscopal churches sui iuris.

The Metropolitan and Eparchial Churches Sui Iuris are about on par with autonomous.

The remainder are somewhay shy of autonomy.

I think you much overstate the status of the EC Churches. While we of the Patriarchal and Major-Archepiscopal Churches would like to believe ourselves autocephalous, there are several reasons why we cannot allow ourselves to be convinced that we are or that Rome considers us to be such.

I don't think brother Aramis claimed that the Patriarchal Churches and Major Archepiscopal Churches are autocephalous.


No, I didn't. Niel's projecting his desires for an autocephalous Melkite Church, something which seems a common enough Melkite desire, onto me.

But he's right that the Roman Church is not aucephalous; only the Catholic Communion as a whole is autocephalous.

Patriarchal Churches in the Catholic Communion are just shy of autocephaly as described on Orthodox Wiki

Major Archiepiscopal are just a hair shy of that as well (the difference being that Rome can reject the candidate for a MA primatial archbishop.)

Metropolitan Churches Sui Iuris are almost directly comparable to the practical function of Autonomous Orthodox Churches like the UOC-MP and ACROD. THeir primate is chosen by rome from 3 nominees of the synod. The synod moderates its on liturgy, tho' often based upon directives from the head of the communion.

Eparchial Churches Sui Iuris still elect their Eparch by diocesan council, again, nominating 3, and Rome choosing one. They moderate their own liturgy, again with input and approval from Rome.
Originally Posted by mardukm
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The restrictions on the exercise of patriarchal authority outside our 'historical boundaries' is not the least of these.

I thought this "restriction" was imposed by the Ecumenical Councils? We'll need a new Ecumenical Council to clear up the matter, perhaps.

The restriction set from the councils are
(1) "one city, one See,"
(2) The primate may not act apart from his synod, nor the synod without the primate
(3) The barbarians of the East belong to Byzantium's Patriarchate. (but that's been largely irrelevant since before it was declared, due to St Thomas... and the Antioch issue... and the schisms...)

The later general Roman councils, like Trent, add restrictions on canonical transfer. Until Pius X, transfer from West to East as forbidden.

The restriction on ECC activities in the US came not from Rome nor any general council. It came from 1st Plenary Council of Baltimore. The 3rd canon of which barred any use of any missal other than the Roman inside the US. HH Pius X overturned that canon, about 80 years later, specifically to permit Dominicans and Carmelites to use their distinct missals, but also specifically allowing the Melkites, Ukrainians and Ruthenians to have priests of their own Rite. Later popes expanded the rights of the Eastern Rites.
For some reason, the canon of Nicaea forbidding bishops to transfer from one see to another was studiously ignored almost from the moment of its promulgation. But the world would be a better place if bishops had to stay put.
Originally Posted by mardukm
Dearest Father Ambrose,

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The Orthodox have 15 autocephalous Churches (I include the OCA); the Catholics have one, the Roman Catholic Church.

The only Church that is considered autocephalous in the Catholic communion is the Catholic Church itself. The Latin Church is just as (merely) autonomous as any of the other sui juris Churches.

Humbly,
Marduk


I think you will find that I am correct. The only Catholic Church which is autocephalous is the Roman Catholic Church headed by the Pope of Rome. All other Catholic Churches are autonomous (or less) and ultimately answerable to the Pope of Rome.
Where is the canonical basis of autocephaly as presently understood in the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church?
Dearest Father Ambrose,

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by mardukm
Dearest Father Ambrose,

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The Orthodox have 15 autocephalous Churches (I include the OCA); the Catholics have one, the Roman Catholic Church.

The only Church that is considered autocephalous in the Catholic communion is the Catholic Church itself. The Latin Church is just as (merely) autonomous as any of the other sui juris Churches.


I think you will find that I am correct. The only Catholic Church which is autocephalous is the Roman Catholic Church headed by the Pope of Rome. All other Catholic Churches are autonomous (or less) and ultimately answerable to the Pope of Rome.

That would be based on the assumption that the Papacy is an office only of the Latin Church. I really don't think any Eastern or Oriental Catholic is willing to admit that. The office of the papacy belongs to the entire Catholic Church. He is as much my Pope as any Latin's. Like any other higher grades of the episcopate (i.e. Metropolitan, Patriarch), it has only an extraordinary role in the local Churches. I believe the more we (including the Pope) are able to distinguish between the bishop of Rome's role as Patriarch of the Latins from his role as the Pope, the better the Church will be for it.

Humbly,
Marduk
Shlomo Lkhoolkhoon,

Here is what I got from Zenit.

Fush BaShlomo Lkhoolkhoon,
Yuhannon

Will the "Third Rome" Reunite With the "First Rome"?

Recent Meeting Could Mark Turning Point


By Robert Moynihan

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 21, 2009 (Zenit.org)- Sometimes there are no fireworks. Turning points can pass in silence, almost unobserved.

It may be that way with the "Great Schism," the most serious division in the history of the Church. The end of the schism may come more quickly and more unexpectedly than most imagine.

On Sept. 18, inside Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer palace about 30 miles outside Rome, a Russian Orthodox Archbishop named Hilarion Alfeyev, 43 (a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy, composer and lover of music), met with Benedict XVI, 82 (also a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy and lover of music), for almost two hours, according to informed sources. (There are as yet no "official" sources about this meeting -- the Holy See has still not released an official communiqué about the meeting.)

The silence suggests that what transpired was important -- perhaps so important that the Holy See thinks it isn't yet prudent to reveal publicly what was discussed.

But there are numerous "signs" that the meeting was remarkably harmonious.

If so, this Sept. 18 meeting may have marked a turning point in relations between the "Third Rome" (Moscow) and the "First Rome" (Rome) -- divided since 1054.

Archbishop Hilarion was in Rome for five days last week as the representative of the new Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

One key person Archbishop Hilarion met with was Cardinal Walter Kasper. On Sept. 17, the cardinal told Vatican Radio that he and Archbishop Hilarion had a "very calm conversation."

Cardinal Kasper also revealed something astonishing: that he had suggested to the archbishop that the Orthodox Churches form some kind of "bishops' conference at the European level" that would constitute a "direct partner of cooperation" in future meetings.

This would be a revolutionary step in the organization of the Orthodox Churches.

Papal-Patriarch encounter?

Cardinal Kasper said a Pope-Patriarch meeting was not on the immediate agenda, and would probably not take place in Moscow or Rome, but in some "neutral" place (Hungary, Austria and Belarus are possibilities).

Archbishop Hilarion himself revealed much about how his Rome visit was proceeding when he met on the evening of Sept. 17 (before his meeting with the Pope) with the Community of Sant'Egidio, an Italian Catholic group known for its work with the poor in Rome.

"We live in a de-Christianized world, in a time that some define -- mistakenly -- as post-Christian," Archbishop Hilarion said. "Contemporary society, with its practical materialism and moral relativism, is a challenge to us all. The future of humanity depends on our response… More than ever before, we Christians must stand together."

A report from Interfax, the news service of the Moscow Patriarchate, on Sept. 18 revealed that Archbishop Hilarion spoke to the Pope about "cooperation between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches in the area of moral values and of culture" -- in particular during the "Days of Russian Spiritual Culture," a type of exhibit with lectures scheduled for spring 2010 in Rome. (One might imagine that the Pope himself could attend such an exhibition).

In memory of the visit, Archbishop Hilarion gave the Pope a pectoral cross, made in workshops of Russian Orthodox Church, the report said, Interfax reported.

Today, an Interfax report supplied details of Hilarion's remarks this morning in the catacombs of St. Callixtus.

"Denied by the world, far from human eyes, deep under ground in caves, the first Roman Christians performed the feat of prayer," Hilarion said. "Their life brought the fruit of holiness and martyr heroism. The Holy Church was built on their blood shed for Christ."

Then the Church came out of the catacombs, but Christian unity was lost, the archbishop said.

Archbishop Hilarion said that human sin is the cause of all divisions, while Christian unity can be restored only in the way of sanctity.

"Each of us, conscientiously fulfilling a task the Church has given him or her, is called to personally contribute to the treasury of Christian sanctity and work to achieve God-commanded Christian unity," the archbishop said.

A second Interfax report today added further information about the meeting with the Pope.

Growing influence

"During a talk with Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk pointed out the status of Orthodox believers in Western Ukraine where three Orthodox dioceses had been almost eliminated as a result of coercive actions of Greek Catholics in late 1980s and early 1990s," Interfax reported.

Archbishop Hilarion "stated the need to take practical steps to improve the situation in Western Ukraine," within the territories of Lvov, Ternopol and Invano-Frankovsk Dioceses, the report said.

Meanwhile, in Russia itself, the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, headed by Patriarch Kirill, seems to be growing, though not without opposition.

The rise in Russia of Kirill and his increasing influence in legislative matters seems to be arousing opposition from the "siloviki," forces connected with the old KGB.

In an article in the current issue of Argumenty Nedeli, Andrey Uglanov says that Kirill's extraordinary activity has attracted attention from some who do not like to have their positions questioned, let alone challenged. And that has become Kirill's "big problem."

These "siloviki," Uglanov says, have been offended by Kirill's "anti-Stalinist and anti-Bolshevik actions," including his appearance at the Solovetsky stone in Moscow's Lubyanka Square on the very Day of the Memory of the Victims of Political Repression.

In this context, Hilarion's visit to Rome takes on even more importance.

The Russian Orthodox Church is a power in Russia, but it faces opposition and needs allies.

What is occurring in Hilarion's visit to Rome, then, may have ramifications not only for the overcoming of the "Great Schism," but also for the cultural, religious and political future of Russia, and of Europe as a whole.

It is especially significant, in this context, that Hilarion, Kirill's "Foreign Minister," has some of the same deep interests as Benedict XVI: the liturgy, and music.

"As a 15-year-old boy I first entered the sanctuary of the Lord, the Holy of Holies of the Orthodox Church,” Hilarion once wrote about the Orthodox liturgy. “But it was only after my entrance into the altar that the 'theourgia,' the mystery, and 'feast of faith' began, which continues to this very day.

"After my ordination, I saw my destiny and main calling in serving the Divine Liturgy. Indeed, everything else, such as sermons, pastoral care and theological scholarship were centered around the main focal point of my life -- the liturgy."

Liturgy

These words seem to echo the feelings and experiences of Benedict XVI, who has written that the liturgies of Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday in Bavaria when he was a child were formative for his entire being, and that his writing on the liturgy (one of his books is entitled "Feast of Faith") is the most important to him of all his scholarly endeavors.

"Orthodox divine services are a priceless treasure that we must carefully guard," Hilarion has written. "I have had the opportunity to be present at both Protestant and Catholic services, which were, with rare exceptions, quite disappointing… Since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, services in some Catholic churches have become little different from Protestant ones."

Again, these words of Hilarion seem to echo Benedict XVI's own concerns. The Pope has made it clear that he wishes to reform the Catholic Church's liturgy, and preserve what was contained in the old liturgy and now risks being lost.

Hilarion has cited the Orthodox St. John of Kronstadt approvingly. St. John of Kronstadt wrote: "The Church and its divine services are an embodiment and realization of everything in Christianity... It is the divine wisdom, accessible to simple, loving hearts."

These words echo words written by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, who often said that the liturgy is a "school" for the simple Christian, imparting the deep truths of the faith even to the unlearned through its prayers, gestures and hymns.

Hilarion in recent years has become known for his musical compositions, especially for Christmas and for Good Friday, celebrating the birth and the Passion of Jesus Christ. These works have been performed in Moscow and in the West, in Rome in March 2007 and in Washington DC in December 2007.

Closer relations between Rome and Moscow, then, could have profound implications also for the cultural and liturgical life of the Church in the West. There could be a renewal of Christian art and culture, as well as of faith.

All of this was at stake in the quiet meeting between Archbishop Hilarion and Benedict XVI on Friday afternoon, in the castle overlooking Lake Albano.
Hmm. Third Rome plus First Rome? That averages out to Second Rome, doesn't it?
Originally Posted by StuartK
Hmm. Third Rome plus First Rome? That averages out to Second Rome, doesn't it?


Shlomo Stuart,

Yes it does. But in all seriousness, how goes Moscow is how goes Eastern Orthodoxy. Moscow is the lenchpin.

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon
Maybe, maybe not. Moscow is poised on a precipice today, and its moral authority will be determined on how it establishes and maintains its relationship with what is rapidly becoming a repressive, authoritarian regime in its home country. The rest of the Orthodox world will watch with interest to see whether the Church of Russia is an authentic Christian witness, or merely an extension of the Russian government and its nationalist aspirations.
Originally Posted by mardukm
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The only Catholic Church which is autocephalous is the Roman Catholic Church headed by the Pope of Rome. All other Catholic Churches are autonomous (or less) and ultimately answerable to the Pope of Rome.

That would be based on the assumption that the Papacy is an office only of the Latin Church. I really don't think any Eastern or Oriental Catholic is willing to admit that.

Marduk,

I don't think Fr. Ambrose's statement is based on that assumption at all. He is merely expressing an accurate Orthodox perspective on the role of the Pope of Rome. The link between the office of the Pope and the See of Rome is undeniable: the Pope cannot be the Pope without being first the Bishop of Rome, and the uniqueness of his office--however that may be understood--cannot be separated from it (as compared, for example, with the office of President of the USCCB). In other words, the Pope is the first bishop only because Rome is the first church.


Originally Posted by mardukm
The office of the papacy belongs to the entire Catholic Church. He is as much my Pope as any Latin's.

Then why do we always call him "the Pope of Rome," and never "our Pope?"


Peace,
Deacon Richard
Dear brother Epiphanius,

Originally Posted by Epiphanius
Originally Posted by mardukm
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The only Catholic Church which is autocephalous is the Roman Catholic Church headed by the Pope of Rome. All other Catholic Churches are autonomous (or less) and ultimately answerable to the Pope of Rome.

That would be based on the assumption that the Papacy is an office only of the Latin Church. I really don't think any Eastern or Oriental Catholic is willing to admit that.

Marduk,

I don't think Fr. Ambrose's statement is based on that assumption at all. He is merely expressing an accurate Orthodox perspective on the role of the Pope of Rome. The link between the office of the Pope and the See of Rome is undeniable: the Pope cannot be the Pope without being first the Bishop of Rome, and the uniqueness of his office--however that may be understood--cannot be separated from it (as compared, for example, with the office of President of the USCCB). In other words, the Pope is the first bishop only because Rome is the first church.

I know the person who is Pope is also the Patriarch of the Latins, but the two offices need to be distinguished, don't you think? If one does not dinstinguish the two offices, then that provides fodder for those who think Latinizations are acceptable in the Eastern and Oriental Churches. The Pope has very often been the lone defense of the Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches against Latinization, even before the 20th century. Obviously, the office of the papacy is different from the office of the Latin Patriarch (or the office of the Roman bishop, for that matter).

Quote
Originally Posted by mardukm
The office of the papacy belongs to the entire Catholic Church. He is as much my Pope as any Latin's.

Then why do we always call him "the Pope of Rome," and never "our Pope?"

Our Canons call him the Roman Pontiff. I don't know about anyone else, but in everyday language, I just call him the Pope. When the OO and CC reunite, I will, as a Copt, at that point be more distinguishing in my reference to the bishop of Rome, as "the Pope of Rome."

Humbly,
Marduk

P.S I didn't know you were a Deacon! Forgive me for any disrespect by presuming to be able to "bless" you in my previous posts.
Originally Posted by mardukm
I know the person who is Pope is also the Patriarch of the Latins, but the two offices need to be distinguished, don't you think? .

I am getting lost here. I understood that the Pope abolished his office as Patriarch of the Latins about 4 years ago? Has he re-established the office?
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by mardukm
I know the person who is Pope is also the Patriarch of the Latins, but the two offices need to be distinguished, don't you think? .

I am getting lost here. I understood that the Pope abolished his office as Patriarch of the Latins about 4 years ago? Has he re-established the office?


Bless, Father,

You are correct - although the role was styled Patriarch of the West, as I recollect - not completely sure about the timeframe, but your estimate sounds about right to me. I think that marduk, as many others, is still thinking in those terms and I suppose, in some respects, it's difficult not to do so.

Many years,

Neil
Deleted
Here's a great article from CNS on the matter: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0601225.htm

The removal of the title "Patriarch of the West" does not negate the fact that the Pope is still objectively the Patriarch of the Latin Church.

I especially like the last paragraph in the article:
Maintaining a distinction between the pope's role as head of the universal church and as a patriarch, Msgr. Magee said, could be seen as protecting and opening up "the rightful place of other particular churches within catholicity."

Originally Posted by mardukm
Here's a great article from CNS on the matter: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0601225.htm

The removal of the title "Patriarch of the West" does not negate the fact that the Pope is still objectively the Patriarch of the Latin Church.


So is it something like the situation with Cardinal Husar who is objectively Patriarch of the Ukraine but does not use the title so as not to offend the Orthodox?
Dearest Father Ambrose,

I don't think the comparison is appropriate. That HB Husar does not take the title seems to be purely out of ecclesiastical prudence. In the Pope's case, there is a potential relevance in praxis. The fact is, "the West" is no longer composed merely of Latins (though it is still by far the majority). So giving up the title will, as the article states, "protect and open up" the non-Latin Patriarchal prerogatives and perhaps even its boundaries.

Perhaps it will (hopefully) also have the effect of influencing both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches to move away from the idea of territorial jurisdiction. The article mentions that the West, after the schism, began to look at the episcopate in juridical terms, instead of sacramental terms. Actually, the EO are just as guilty of this juridical mentality. Hopefully, everyone will take the Pope's lead on the matter, and our hierarchs (both Catholic and Orthodox) will begin to look at the episcopate less in terms of "jurisdiction," and more in terms of "servanthood" or "solicitude."

Humbly,
Marduk
Gentlemen: as far as I know, Pope Benedict has never explained why he ordered the deletion of the patriarchal title. The only explanation that has been tendered is the communique from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Not too much should be made of this move, one way or the other.

I honestly do not know what you all are arguing about now. It appears to have become a debate between canon lawyers.
The Pope may have renounced the title, but I imagine there would be some annoyance if an Orthodox Patriarch of Rome were to be elevated. Interestingly, the EP's Russian exarchate in Western Europe has been claiming that the EP is "locum tenens" of the vacant See of Rome (and Western Europe) in their legal battles with the MP.
Dearest Father Kimel,

Don't worry. We are not arguing. We are only exchanging information.

Humbly,
Marduk
Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
The Pope may have renounced the title, but I imagine there would be some annoyance if an Orthodox Patriarch of Rome were to be elevated. Interestingly, the EP's Russian exarchate in Western Europe has been claiming that the EP is "locum tenens" of the vacant See of Rome (and Western Europe) in their legal battles with the MP.

Fascinatng. Any more info, Embatl'd?
[quote=Hieromonk Ambrose][quote=Embatl'dSeraphim]The Pope may have renounced the title, but I imagine there would be some annoyance if an Orthodox Patriarch of Rome were to be elevated. Interestingly, the EP's Russian exarchate in Western Europe has been claiming that the EP is "locum tenens" of the vacant See of Rome (and Western Europe) in their legal battles with the MP. [/quote]
Fascinatng. Any more info, Embatl'd? [/quote]

The relevant court decision is [url=http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2009/1250.html]here[/url]. I don't think the claim can really be taken seriously, since the EP has no intention of actually filling the See.
Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
The Pope may have renounced the title, but I imagine there would be some annoyance if an Orthodox Patriarch of Rome were to be elevated. Interestingly, the EP's Russian exarchate in Western Europe has been claiming that the EP is "locum tenens" of the vacant See of Rome (and Western Europe) in their legal battles with the MP.

Fascinatng. Any more info, Embatl'd?


The relevant court decision is http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2009/1250.html here.

I don't think the claim can really be taken seriously, since the EP has no intention of actually filling the See.


Blimey! It just gets more fascinating! The claims seems to be that the Diocese of Rome is vacant...
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
The Pope may have renounced the title, but I imagine there would be some annoyance if an Orthodox Patriarch of Rome were to be elevated. Interestingly, the EP's Russian exarchate in Western Europe has been claiming that the EP is "locum tenens" of the vacant See of Rome (and Western Europe) in their legal battles with the MP.

Fascinatng. Any more info, Embatl'd?


The relevant court decision is http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2009/1250.html here.

I don't think the claim can really be taken seriously, since the EP has no intention of actually filling the See.


Blimey! It just gets more fascinating! The claims seems to be that the Diocese of Rome is vacant...


So much for ecumenical relations! smile
Father,

Someone has pointed out that it could be interpreted to mean that the Ecumenial Patriarch is temporarily "holding" the Greek Orthodox in Western Europe until such time as he can hand them over to the Pope. I don't think I buy into that interpretation but I can see that it can be read into the words.
I haven't heard of the EP officially endorsing this assertion anywhere, so I suspect it is just an opportunistic ploy on the part of the Western Exarchate to win points at court. As much as they like to compromise the faith in the ecumenical circus, the EP seems to enjoy being rigorous and invoking canons against fellow Orthodox when it comes to territorial concerns.
Quote
I haven't heard of the EP officially endorsing this assertion anywhere, so I suspect it is just an opportunistic ploy on the part of the Western Exarchate to win points at court.

Correct. It is a "legal fiction" made necessary by the theory of the case.
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