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The Patriarch of Moscow

Posted By: Sean Forristal

The Patriarch of Moscow - 03/16/14 10:39 AM

To All:

I was wondering about the History and status of the Patriarchate of Moscow. It was not listed in the Council of Chalcedon and I do not understand how it became so influential in the Orthodox world. Please, help me understand this issue because it has always confused me. God bless us all!

Your unworthy brother in Christ;
Sean Forristal
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 03/16/14 12:28 PM

Sean,

The answer to the first half of question is pretty simple - Chalcedon was 5 centuries before St Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles accepted Christianity and the Baptism of Kievan Rus' occurred. Even then, about 6 centuries more would pass before the Metropolitinate of Moscow was elevated to a Patriarchate.

While I imagine someone will want to offer a more detailed analysis, the simple fact is that, by the time of St Job as Metropolitan (late 1500s), the numbers of Orthodox faithful in the Slavic nations was such that the elevation would have seemed a logical next step. That it would also serve to buffer 'Greek' influence/interference was almost certainly a consideration. Why Moscow versus some other population center? I'd say the sheer numbers of faithful and the presence and backing of a powerful civil authority, at a time when civil authority was as likely as not to flex its muscles for or against religious entities and their adherents.

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Sean Forristal

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 03/18/14 11:24 AM

Irish Melkite:

Thank you for your brief reply, but I am still a bit confused. When the Metro. of Moscow was raised to a Patriarchate, what does that mean in Eastern Christianity. Namely, is this elevation an elevation of honor, dignity, etc., or does this elevation indeed add a deeper theological character to Patriarchate of Moscow.

Would the Patriarchate of Moscow be a daughter to Constantinople, or does it raise it to "Equal to Constantinople?" Where would it fit in the hierarchy of Patriarchates? How serious do the other Patriarchs take that of Moscow? You can tell I am very confused about this issue, but I know that Calcedon took place before the Kiev-Rus acceptance of Christianity; I am confused about its rank, theological dimension, and gravitas of its magisterium.

God bless you and yours!

Your unworthy brother in Christ;
Sean Forristal
Posted By: DMD

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 03/19/14 07:28 AM

In Orthodoxy, we believe that all bishops are equal.

In reality, some bishops are more equal than others.

Posted By: Slavophile

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 03/19/14 09:43 AM

Even among Patriarchs, of course, there is rank. That Jerusalem is a patriarchate at all, for example, is due to her status as the mother city of the Christian religion, and essentially no other consideration.

You might say there is 'pseudo-theological' significance to the status of a patriarchate, derived from the traditions and status that grow up around it. So, Rome, as the site of Peter and Paul's martyrdom, is of prime significance. Then Constantinople, due to its historic position as New Rome. Next, we might count Antioch, for having been the first see founded by St Peter. After that, Moscow due to her size, Alexandria due to her historical significance, and finally Jerusalem - her historical significance offset by her numerical insignificance.

Moscow has made it clear in recent months that she sees primacy as something she has earned as belonging to the largest Orthodox Church, and so has been walking a fine line between communion with Constantinople and being outright dismissive of her.
Posted By: Fr. John Morris

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 03/22/14 10:59 PM

There is no debate on the status of the Ecumenical Patriarch as the senior Bishop of the Eastern Orthodox Church. All Orthodox, including Moscow recognize Constantinople as "first among equals." All Orthodox recognize the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch to call and preside over meetings of the Primates of the autocephalous (independent self-governing) Churches of Eastern Orthodoxy. All Orthodox also recognize his authority to try to resolve disputes between autocephalous Churches. The best way to describe his position as one of a primacy of honor not of jurisdiction. The debate is what exact authority does Constantinople have especially over those areas in the world such as the United States where there is no united autocephalous national Orthodox Church. The Ecumenical Patriarch makes no claim to interfere in the internal affairs of any other autocephalous Orthodox Church each of which administers their own affairs. He will preside over the coming Great and Holy Council, but since all decisions will be made by consensus will not be able to force his will on the council. Issues to be resolved include unity of Eastern Orthodox in countries like America where there is not a united autocephalous Orthodox Church, and how a local Church becomes autocephalous.

Archpriest John W. Morris
Posted By: Mark R

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 04/09/14 02:04 AM

One other nuance to take into account is that the East more or less followed political realities when establishing patriarchates. Apostolic origin is of less imporance in the East since there is an embarrasment of riches sees there of apostolic origin. I think in the West, only Rome is of apostolic origin which is one reason among others why the Roman Church makes a big deal out of the See of Rome. Way before Moscow, Serbia and Bulgaria had patriarchates because it followed from the political realities at the time.
Posted By: Epiphanius

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 04/09/14 01:30 PM

Originally Posted by Mark R
... in the West, only Rome is of apostolic origin which is one reason among others why the Roman Church makes a big deal out of the See of Rome.

This also explains why the See of Rome is sometimes referred to as "The Apostolic See" (as in "Acta Apostolicae Sedis"), as though there were no others.
Posted By: mardukm

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 04/12/14 05:51 AM

As an Oriental, this is the way I see it:
- The original Patriarchates were established for religious reasons (namely, Apostolic origin).
- Constantinople initially claimed its status for socio-political reasons (being the new capital of the empire), but this was never accepted by the other Patriarchates that were outside the sphere of influence of Constantinople.
- In the 5th-7th century, Constantinople started claiming apostolicity from St. Andrew.
- Constantinople's eventual recognition that apostolicity is the proper standard for patriarchal status is reflected in its renewal of Canon 3 of the the 381 Council, and Canon 28 of Chalcedon, but WITHOUT the portions that were offensive to Rome (and perhaps the other Eastern Patriarchates also) - i.e., the claim that Constantinople was second merely because it was the new capital of the empire.
- Though being the civic center of a region was sufficient to establish Metropolitan status, it was not sufficient to establish Patriarchal status.
- Autocephaly (i.e., ability to choose one's own head bishop) was not a sufficient criterion for patriarchal status, as evinced by the unique situation of Cyprus.
- No Ecum Council has recognized or established any Patriarchates other than the original 5.
- Other future Patriarchates were established in the East due to political pressure.

Does anyone have any comments or corrections with the above points?

What is the status among the Easterns of the Patriarchates that were not recognized or established by an Ecum Council? Should Patriarchates established by political pressure (which, according to a Canon of Trullo, would make such actions invalid) be considered as equal to the Patriarchates recognized or established by an Ecum Council? If so, on what grounds?

Fr. John Morris, since you are involved in the Catholic-Orthodox colloqies, what is your impression of the points I outlined above? And can you offer an answer to the question in the previous paragraph? I do understand that this is one of the very matters to be discussed at a future pan-Orthodox council, so there is obviously no set standard in EO'xy at this time. I am interested in your own opinion.
Posted By: Cavaradossi

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 04/12/14 04:49 PM

That is all rather nonsensical. What is the ontology of "Apostolicity"? It cannot be transmitted by ordination, as the successor to a see is not ordained by his predecessor. Indeed, if according to our most esteemed modern theologians, the teaching has been from the beginning that the very being of the Church is to be found in her holy mysteries, then for this concept of Apistolicity to have any true ecclesiastical significance, it must be attached to some sacrament. But if so, under what sign is "Apostolicity" passed on to the successor of an Apostolic see by his predecessor?

And then what are we to do with the Latins' own treatment of Patriarchates (or indeed, the existence of patriarchs outside of the Pentarchy)? What are we to do with the Patriarch of Lisbon (a see which like the See of Constantinople was not likely actually founded by an Apostle) or with the fact that the ancient Patriarchate of Aquileia was abolished in order to create the more modern Patriarch of Venice? Indeed, if your theory concerning "Apostolicity" being a part of the ontological constitution of the Church were true, these actions should have been impossible.
Posted By: Economos Roman V. Russo

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 04/13/14 07:07 AM

Ponitur absurdum, sequitur quodlibet!
Posted By: Talon

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 04/13/14 03:32 PM

Originally Posted by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'
Ponitur absurdum, sequitur quodlibet!


"Your claim does not hold up under careful examination"? Is that essentially what you're trying to say, Ot'ets? And if so, to what is the statement directed specifically?
Posted By: mardukm

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 04/14/14 03:54 AM

Dear Cavaradosssi

Originally Posted by Cavaradossi
That is all rather nonsensical. What is the ontology of "Apostolicity"? It cannot be transmitted by ordination, as the successor to a see is not ordained by his predecessor.

Interesting. According to Catholic (and OO) ecclesiology, along with fidelity to Sacred Tradition, ordination is a necessary condition for the apostolicity of an hierarchy. This is a point of divergence with Protestant ecclesiology. I hope you can provide a more detailed explanation of your proposition.

It also appears you have a concept of ordination that is foreign to me, coming from both an Oriental Orthodox background and a Catholic understanding. Ordination is an action of the Church, not of an individual person. It is the Church which transmits apostolicity, so I do not understand how you can say "it cannot be transmitted by ordination."

Quote
Indeed, if according to our most esteemed modern theologians, the teaching has been from the beginning that the very being of the Church is to be found in her holy mysteries, then for this concept of Apistolicity to have any true ecclesiastical significance, it must be attached to some sacrament. But if so, under what sign is "Apostolicity" passed on to the successor of an Apostolic see by his predecessor?

It is attached to the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which is transmitted by the Church. When bishops lay hands, they are not acting as individuals, but are representing the Church. If your statements truly reflect EO ecclesiology, then it's possible there is more divergence than I thought between the EOC, on the one hand, and the CC and OOC, on the other.

Quote
And then what are we to do with the Latins' own treatment of Patriarchates (or indeed, the existence of patriarchs outside of the Pentarchy)? What are we to do with the Patriarch of Lisbon (a see which like the See of Constantinople was not likely actually founded by an Apostle) or with the fact that the ancient Patriarchate of Aquileia was abolished in order to create the more modern Patriarch of Venice? Indeed, if your theory concerning "Apostolicity" being a part of the ontological constitution of the Church were true, these actions should have been impossible.

As far as the Latin patriarchates that are not one of the original Pentarchy, they were instituted with the express purpose of being merely honorific titles, and did not have the same jurisdictional prerogatives as that of the Patriarchs of the original Pentarchy. The Latin patriarchs only had the jurisdictional standing of Metropolitans (according to the ancient usage), but were still under the omophor of another head bishop in the Latin Church (i.e., the bishop of Rome).

It is similar (not exactly the same) as the standing of patriarchs in the Armenian Apostolic Church and (from what I have seen) in the Coptic Orthodox Church which are not of the originatl Pentarchy -- insofar as even the patriarchs who are not of ancient origin in those Churches recognize the Supreme Catholicos and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch (respectively) as having a precedence, and will defer to them on important matters. (Granted: the Malankara Orthodox are a --unique--situation).

Which brings us back to the original question. In the EOC, are patriarchs who were not recognized or established by the universal authority of an Ecum Council considered equal in every way to the patriarchs of the original Pentarchy?

Blessings
Posted By: Economos Roman V. Russo

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 04/14/14 08:10 AM

It had to do with Cavaradossi's 'ontological' issue.
Posted By: mardukm

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 04/14/14 01:04 PM

Originally Posted by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'
It had to do with Cavaradossi's 'ontological' issue.

It seemed to me the "ontology" to which he was referring was the idea of apostolicity being passed on by ordination. The fact is, it is passed on by ordination (i.e., the laying on hands), which is the sacramental manner by which apostolicity is perpetuated.

I hope he explains further what he means if that was not really the issue.

Blessings
Posted By: Talon

Re: The Patriarch of Moscow - 04/15/14 10:04 AM

Originally Posted by mardukm

It seemed to me the "ontology" to which he was referring was the idea of apostolicity being passed on by ordination. The fact is, it is passed on by ordination (i.e., the laying on hands), which is the sacramental manner by which apostolicity is perpetuated.


In contrast, I got the sense that what he was speaking of apostolicity in the literal and immediate sense, not of the episcopate in general, but of the establishment of a handful of sees by the apostles themselves. What I thought he might be asking was, for example, "Since there are no more apostles, obviously, and Moscow was not established by an apostle, how is it this see can now claim any sort of primacy?"

Originally Posted by mardukm

I hope he explains further what he means if that was not really the issue.


I do too, and hope that someone will speak to your post immediately above his as well, either correcting or verifying it. Curious about both.
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