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Shlomo Lkhoolkhoon,

I am starting this thread because my other thead is deviating from the subject.

Fush BaShlomo Lkhoolkhoon,
Yuhannon

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Shlomo Lkhoolkhoon,

Many members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches like to bring up the sibboleth of Canonical Territory. I find this arguement weak, and if they wish to apply this reasoning then they need to pull out of Africa, most of Asia, North and South America and Oceania based on their reasoning.

As to Africa, since they have signed agreements with the Oriental Orthodox Churches stating that the issues that divided them are now over; then Eastern Orthodoxy recognizes the legitimacy and canonical correctness of Oriental Orthodoxy; then is not an Eastern Orthodox Patriach of Alexandria and All Africa a violation of the idea of canonical territory? The same points hold true for the Patriarchate of Antioch.

As to Western Europe, for those that uphold the idea of canonical territory, why are not you all screaming about the fact your Churches are organized in this area? Or for the fact in any area not part of Eastern Europe, Turkey, former states of the Soviet Union, etc.?

To me canonical territory is both a lazy and poor arguement. It is lazy because it does not say why people should belong to a particular Church, it just argues that this area is ours and people here should be part of our Church because of it. It is a poor arguement because it does not give people a reason to believe. It wants the dead hand of history to force people to belong.

Futher, they use this arguement to persecute those Christians that wish to belong to other Chruches and communities. This arguement violates the rights of a person to believe as they wish. I would ask those Eastern Orthodox members of the board that believe in the idea of canonical territorial rights to please explain, who if one wishes to belong to the Catholic Church that the Catholic Church is therefore violating their territory? How is free will violation of the rights of the Eastern Orthodox Church? Further, if this arguement is legitimate then my do not any Eastern Orthodox Churches outside of Eastern Europe support it?

In the next few posts I will deal with Africa and Antioch and show how Eastern Orthodoxy is delegitmatizing itself with this arguement.

Fush BaShlomo Lkhoolkhoon,
Yuhannon

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Shlomo Lkhoolkhoon,

Africa. At the present time there are three Patriarchs of Alexandria and All Africa. They represent the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Catholic Churches. Now the arguementation under canonical territory is that only one "legitmate" Church should hold this see.

In 1989 the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox agreed that the Oriental Orthodox Christology was not heretical. To quote: "In the light of our agreed statement on Christology..., we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of Apostolic tradition".

Therefore, by this and other agreements are not now the Eatern Orthodox Church in Africa violating the canonical territory of the Coptic Church since they are the vast majority of Christians within that Patriarchate (if we exclude all Catholics on the continent)?

How then do you Eatern Orthodox members of this board that support the idea of the exclusivity of canonical territory legitimize having a Byzantine Patriarch of Alexandria when you have a legitimate Coptic one that represents far more faithful?

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

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Shlomo Lkhoolkhoon,

Antioch. The arguement for this is the same as for Africa. I will not give a long post here, but I wish to understand how any one within the Eastern Orthodox Church that supports the idea of the exclusivity of canonical territory supports the idea that a Byzantine Patriarch is more legitmate than one from the Syriac Churches in which the vast majority of the faithful belong?

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

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I agree with Yuhannon.

The idea of exclusive canonical territory absolutely contradicts the rights to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. The Eastern Orthodox Churches clearly have the right to provide pastoral care for their members in traditionally Catholic areas. Therefore, conversely, the Catholic Churches clearly have the same right in traditionally Orthodox areas. The same, of course, goes for the Oriental Orthodox.

Obviously, once we achieve full communion between the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, we can reexamine the question. Then, perhaps, all Latins in Russia can be placed under the pastoral care of the local Russian bishops, or under special Patriarchal Vicar Bishops for the Latins. Sadly, though, that day is still far off.

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Actually, the Eastern Catholic churches are not legitimate because they are heretical. That's the Orthodox position. Any consideration of canonical territory is secondary.

As for the "oriental Orthodox," the Orthodox Church has hardly recognized them as legitimate or canonical. Some vaguely-worded local agreements are not nearly enough to amount to such a judgment.

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In general I support competition between religions, as long as it's charitable and based on accurate information. I am also in favor of people freely being allowed to leave religions to which they no longer wish to adhere.
A chacun son gout.

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Originally Posted by Embatl'dSeraphim
Actually, the Eastern Catholic churches are not legitimate because they are heretical. That's the Orthodox position. Any consideration of canonical territory is secondary.

As for the "oriental Orthodox," the Orthodox Church has hardly recognized them as legitimate or canonical. Some vaguely-worded local agreements are not nearly enough to amount to such a judgment.

Shlomo Embatl'dSeraphim,

First I would point out that not all Eastern Catholic Church come from the Eastern Orthodox Church, and two (us Maronites and the Italo-Albanian Greek Catholic Church) have no counter parts in the Eastern, Oriental Churches or the Church of the East.

The inter-communion agreements between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches are not vaguely worded. They are quite clear.

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

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Originally Posted by Yuhannon
The inter-communion agreements between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches are not vaguely worded. They are quite clear.
How far does this intecommunion extend? Do the bishops of these Churches serve Liturgy together and practise intercommunion among themselves? That would be a concrete sign of intercommunion.

I see that Metropolitan Philip of the American Antiochian Church has categorically forbidden his priests to commune Maronites and Melkites. I would imagine that there are priests disobeying his instructions but nevertheless he has laid down the prohibition against intercommunion.

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Originally Posted by Yuhannon
Therefore, by this and other agreements are not now the Eatern Orthodox Church in Africa violating the canonical territory of the Coptic Church since they are the vast majority of Christians within that Patriarchate (if we exclude all Catholics on the continent)?

By the same token we could argue that a consequence of lifting the Anathemas in 1965 is that Roman Catholic bishops must now withdraw from the territories of other Patriarchates... they need to leave Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Lebanon, Syria, they need to leave Russia, Greece, Turkey, Egypt...

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I don't think, after a century of mass migration, that so-called "canonical territory" can exist any longer. Things are too complex. The R.O.C. still chafes against the presence of Roman Catholic dioceses in Russia but the fact is there are lots of Poles and Lithuanians now living on "canonical" R.O.C. territory and they need to have their Church. Lots of Russian emigres settled in western Europe after the revolution and the establishment of Russian dioceses for them makes sense too. The same with Greeks, etc.

Some of it makes sense but it has, inadvertently, created a big mess too. I don't know of any solution while churches remain separated except for maintaining the status quo.

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Shlomo Hieromonk Ambrose,

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
How far does this intecommunion extend? Do the bishops of these Churches serve Liturgy together and practise intercommunion among themselves? That would be a concrete sign of intercommunion.

Right now it includes building Churches together, joint catachumen classes, recognition of the validity of the sacrements preformed by any of the parties.

At present they do not serve Divine Liturgy together and inter-Communion among themselves because they do not wish to upset the "haters" that live outside of the Patriarchate but their Churches are in communion with.

Quote
I see that Metropolitan Philip of the American Antiochian Church has categorically forbidden his priests to commune Maronites and Melkites. I would imagine that there are priests disobeying his instructions but nevertheless he has laid down the prohibition against intercommunion.

I am not suprised. He has been in trouble for a while now with the Patriarch on other issues. This is a smoke screen. I would appreachiate a link to this so that I can pass it on to my co-religious.

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

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Shlomo Hieromonk Ambrose,

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
By the same token we could argue that a consequence of lifting the Anathemas in 1965 is that Roman Catholic bishops must now withdraw from the territories of other Patriarchates... they need to leave Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Lebanon, Syria, they need to leave Russia, Greece, Turkey, Egypt...

Your point would be valid if I agreed with the concept of canonical territory. I do not. With the modern age I believe that the faithful of each Church Tradition should be served by heirarchs and clergy of said Traditions.

In your post, the same can be said of the Eastern Orthodox in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, the Holy Land, Jerusalem etc.

I feel such actions goes against what Christ would want. These days with travel and more open boarders there is no such thing as a national Church per se.

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

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Originally Posted by Yuhannon
Shlomo Lkhoolkhoon,

Africa. At the present time there are three Patriarchs of Alexandria and All Africa. They represent the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Catholic Churches. Now the arguementation under canonical territory is that only one "legitmate" Church should hold this see.

In 1989 the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox agreed that the Oriental Orthodox Christology was not heretical. To quote: "In the light of our agreed statement on Christology..., we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of Apostolic tradition".

Therefore, by this and other agreements are not now the Eatern Orthodox Church in Africa violating the canonical territory of the Coptic Church since they are the vast majority of Christians within that Patriarchate (if we exclude all Catholics on the continent)?

How then do you Eatern Orthodox members of this board that support the idea of the exclusivity of canonical territory legitimize having a Byzantine Patriarch of Alexandria when you have a legitimate Coptic one that represents far more faithful?

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon


Do the OO Churches now accept the Council of Chalcedon? Are they willing to kiss the Cross on this? If not, then there is no agreement. If they do not accept all 7 Ecumenical Councils then in Orthodox eyes they are outside of the Church. Not to say that they can't work together. Recently, a fellow Forum member and I took a trip throughout Pittsburgh stopping at various Eastern Churches. He was amazed to find a Serbian Orthodox priest in the basement of a Byzantine Catholic Church, making pirohi. Does this mean that we are now all the same? No, it is just that we support each other as Christians should, and I guarantee you that the Byz Catholic priest was at St Sava's for their next fundraiser helping them.

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While it is legitimate for an Orthodox to say that the all those who are not in communion with Orthodoxy are outside the Church that is also too simplistic. Yuhannon is correct that Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV recognizes the historic claims of others (including the Melites) to the Patriarchate of Antioch. And his point here about canonical territory is a good one (Orthodoxy does not always keep it itself so can't really complain when others don't keep to it). Unless one considers all bishops and priests who are not in communion with Orthodoxy to be mere laymen then there is something more to consider (especially in light of EO statements that OO is not heretical - indicating something more then a close working relationship but less then full communion (see this link [orthodoxunity.org])). There is an underlying respect here. Orthodoxy does not appoint an Orthodox Bishop of Rome because it recognizes Benedict XVI as the Bishop of Rome. Likewise, at least today (while not always in the past) Rome does not name bishops of cities occupied by Orthodox bishops (usually it creates a titular bishop of an expired old city and names the bishop bishop of the "Diocese of the Suburb" or the "Diocese of St. Nicholas of Chicago" (etc.).

But even if one chose to consider all bishops and priests not in communion with Orthodoxy to be mere laymen the terms of the discussion were clearly stated to be what happens after full communion is restored (and which no Orthodox could consider them to be outside the Orthodox Church). The question then would be what to do with the extra Orthodox patriarchs of these places (Antioch, Alexandria, etc.) (to use terminology from the Orthodox perspective). One cannot simply claim Byzantine superiority since the others often have a better historical claim.

And as I just pointed out to someone, Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius IV does not treat Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Gregarious III as a mere laymen, but as an equal (though not in communion). Simple respect demands that.

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