Reply To: [Orthodoxy] Papal Authority

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SOGFPP and Uncertaindrummer,
Thank-you both for your replies. There are a few things I’d like to comment on, like the big blabber mouth that I am. Sorry <img loading=” title=”Smile” /> I think it’ll be easier if I just respond to you guys separately.

You say that the See of Rome did not recognize Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council. That’s fine, it still doesn’t change the fact that the Council, in Chalcedon, did elevate Constantinople to a Patriarchate…I don’t think the Holy Fathers would have done this if the “legend” as scholars have now rejected, didn’t have any bearing. Aside from that, there is no scholarly proof that St. Peter was ever in Rome for the 10+ years that Catholics suggest he was, but that doesn’t stop Roman Catholics from making the claim. The Church has always taught it, the bishops of Constantinople, and later Patriarchs, are enumerated from the Apostle Stachys, to the present day. Surely, a Roman Catholic who doesn’t like the idea of some supposed “usurpation” is going to reject this. Realistically, there was no USURPATION. New Rome never claimed to be taking over Rome, Constantinople never made a claim to the first honorary seat. Rome’s honorary primacy was never challenged by Constantinople’s elevation to a Patriarchate. This is something that Roman Catholics don’t seem to understand, for some strange reason.

You state, that “I seem to object to Roman primacy because it is not historical”. You obviously haven’t been reading my posts. I did not object to Roman primacy, I surely did not say it is not historical. I said, when Rome was Orthodox, she was the first among equals, and she had a primacy of honour and privilege because she was the imperial city, and because of the blessed memory of the Ss. Peter and Paul, who were martyred in Rome. I surely never said that Roman primacy was not historic, so please don’t misconstrue what I say, or put words in my mouth. Sorry if that sounds harsh, I don’t mean it in a perturbed sense. Tone can’t be typed into a post, sorry:).

You argue that Metrophanes was the lowest rank of a diocesan bishop. According to Christian teaching and the Holy Scriptures, there is no such thing as a greater and lesser bishop! The honourifics of Patriarch, Archbishop, Metropolitan, are placed on a bishop of a particular See, whether that be a Patriarchate, Archdiocese, etc. That doesn’t make one a greater bishop, for according to the Scriptures, all that is mentioned is a bishop, presbyter(priest) and a deacon. Yes, a Patriarch is a bishop. Yes, a pope is just a bishop. Yes, a bishop is a bishop.

As for Jerusalem being overrun with Muslims, I’ll be the first to agree that more should have definitely been done to keep Muslims out of the Holy Land, but it is not exactly honest to say that the Byzantine Roman Empire did nothing. Battles were being fought on buffer tranzition zones all the time. One need only look at the Battles between Byzantium at Syria, at Egypt, with Seljuk and then Ottoman Muslims to know that they didn’t just say “enter”. Nor can one really say that Orthodoxy did not service in Jerusalem even with the Ottoman Muslim presence. The same is true for Antioch, where the priesthood of believers often rose up and defended the Church even when heretical bishops had taken hold of the Church, until Orthodoxy could be formally restored. Because that’s what the Church is–it’s clergy and laity. The conscience of the Church was not defeated by the heresy that seeped into the Sees of the East.

Rome didn’t have heresy at this time? Certainly not, she was in the West. Realistically, Rome didn’t really contribute much to the theology of the Church either. Remember the heresies were coming out of the East, especially the intellectual center of Alexandria, but the rebuttals to the heresy was also coming out of the East. This isn’t because there was IMMUNITY in Rome, but because theology was coming out of the East. Even St. Clement, Pope of Rome, when he wrote to Corinth, he wrote in Greek, the language of Christian theology. It’s not a secret, and it surely doesn’t make the Eastern Patriarchates superior to the one in the West, it’s just the nature of things. To say therefore, that there weren’t faithful Christians still in the East, attacking and smashing heresy, is absolutely ridiculous. To say that heresy was victorious, is equally as ridiculous. Today, Arianism has found its way back into the light by Protestant pluralism, like Jehovah’s Witnesses, and such, and as you so aptly pointed out SOG, that was a protest against Rome, it didn’t happen in the East.

You say that 1453 was the end of Constantinople’s influence. No, Constantinople’s influence as a spiritual leader did not end in 1453, just as it did not end in 1203 when wearers of the Cross didn’t make it to Jerusalem, but had no qualms about ransacking the City, making off with hundreds of Holy Relics back to the West, defiling the Churches and massacring thousands! 1203 did not destroy Orthodoxy, and the Latin imposition was gone in less than a hundred years. 1453, Hagia Sofia might have been overwashed with white paint, but just as the paint would chip, and the mosaics of the Mother of God would return again and again, so too did Orthodoxy not fade in the East. For 400 years, Greece was under Ottoman Rule, but that didn’t change the fact that the Orthodoxy of 1453 Greece remained intact in the 1900s when the Ottomans were pushed out of the Balkans, because come hell or high water, the Church of the Faithful has not thrown its inheritance away. The successions of all the Patriarchates continued. Some other ancient sees in the East were ended, others were founded, on the same ecclesial grace and ordination that is always with the Church. Truly, what you wrote was a huge overstatement and quite selective.

That heresy threatened and crept into some of the Eastern Sees, I surely do not deny…it is history. Iconoclasts held the See of Constantinple for a hundred years, and they would smash the holy images. Why do you think the Orthodox comemorate the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the sRestoration of the Holy Images on the First Sunday of Great Lent, as the Sunday of Orthodoxy! How many faithful monks and lay believers witnessed for the Church and for the Truth in those hard times. But Orthodoxy prevailed! Surely I am not saying that the bishops infallibly alwys carried Orthodoxy, but Orthodox Christianity is something that is far bigger than the sum of its parts. If this does illustrate anything, it is that NO SEE or NO BISHOP can honestly think himself immune to heresy. That is being dangerously presumptous and haughty.

Rome has never accepted heresy? Interesting! I mentioned to you that Pope Honorius was condemned as a heretic. Many will argue, he is a heretic, not the Church. It’s funny they don’t argue the same thing with the heretical bishops of the East, that there were still faithful maintaining orthodoxy in those sees. Ah, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, no? But how about a heresy that sprouted in the West? How about FILIOQUE? Not a heresy? Interesting, I can name Popes of Rome who thought it was heresy and rejected it. They were being pressured by Charlemagne to add it, and they did not. They rejected it as heresy, and Rome, after Germanic Popes took the seat, had no qualms about accepting it. A heresy accepted and then attempts at justification. Regardless of the fact that the Lord says the Spirit proceeds from the Father (St. John 15:26), Rome has no problem about unilaterally adding to the Creed of the Faithful that was arrived at COLLEGIALLY. There were canons forbidding the adding or deleting to the Creed, but apparently Rome probably never formally accepted those Canons, either, right? This was all just the road to what is now being called DOCTRINAL DEVELOPMENT, which is basically an after-the-fact justification of Rome’s malleable theology, by saying the faith once delivered to all the saints is “GROWING”. If this is the growth, it is not a legitimate growth, but rather, like an apple tree that starts growing oranges. No heresy in Rome? Are you kidding me!!!!

You say John Paul II died and the world stood still. He was a good man, and the Lord give rest to his soul. He was also a high profile man, and a political leader, sovereign of the Vatican. The numbers of Roman Catholicism are far bigger than Orthodox numbers, so it’s not exactly a fair assessment to say that just because not so many know the Eastern Patriarchs, that they are not important. Realistically, Roman Catholicism is high profile, that in and of itself, does not make it right or correct. Christ never said large numbers and high profile will set you free, but He said the TRUTH will. The wide path is easily followed, it will have plenty of numbers, but it is the narrow path that is tread by fewer. If you think that profile of the Pope makes Catholics right about everything, or more relevant to the world, I think that’s about the most superficial argument I’ve heard thus far. You minimize the importance of Orthodoxy, without knowing that literally thousands of books are being translated into English and not fast enough, that the Orthodox Church is one of the quickest growing Christian Churches in North America, that they are encouraging Orthodox men to join the priesthood, because there is such great demand. Surely you don’t know this, SOG, you just make these negligent empty statements of “not being relevant” without looking into the subject.

I know that Orthodox today believe what Orthodox in the first century believed. I know that we don’t teach innovative philosophical, legalistic views like purgatory for residue of forgiven sin, or limbo for babies who have not been baptized, or a series of other “developments” that have made their way into your malleable theology over the centuries. We surely have not suggest that the Lord’s redemptive work needed the assistance of the Blessed Virgin, as some Catholics are pushing the Pope to recognize.

Of course, a Roman Catholic would never argue that there are heresies in his church. Since 1870, you have been taught that the bishop that guides Rome, and every Roman Catholic See, is infallible. Pastor Aeternus tells you a bishop is infallible, while the history of the Church, pre-schism, our common inheritance, tells you that patriarchs like Nestorius and popes like Vigilius and Honorius have been excommunicated, or in the case of Honorius, condemned as heretics! CAN YOU NOT SEE THIS? DO YOU HAVE BLINDERS ON? If the heresy that came from the Eastern heretical Patriarchs stigmatizes us, SOGFPP, as you do not hesitate to enumerate, and which I certainly do not deny, because the proof is all there…with the difference, than none of the Eastern Sees make vain claims that their bishops are infallible. Bishops are men, and as such, are fallible. But the Church IN COLLEGIALITY is guided by the Holy Spirit.

“ORTHODOXY IS A NON-FACTOR IN THE WORLD”, that’s what you said. That is obviously a biased opinion, you surely did not look into Orthodoxy to make that opinion, it’s growth or its movement in the world. You surely did not look and see that it has a thriving presence on ALL CONTINENTS. You haven’t looked at missionary work growing in Africa and South America, the Phillipines in Asia, Orthodox Churches in Japan and Korea, India…but we’re “A NON-FACTOR IN THE WORLD”. Hmmm, interesting. Maybe it’s because we are taught to be in the world, but not of the world. The high profile, doesn’t really suit us so well, but that’s okay. What you don’t see, SOG, is that your proud comments, devoid of any actual search into the Orthodox Church today, illustrates a pride that goes part and parcel with being Roman Catholic. This is what Luther rebelled against, and this is what effectually made every Protestant an “infallible pope” in themselves, deciding for themselves. They had the example thriving in the West.

SOG, one final comment before I address Uncertaindrummer. I don’t understand how you didn’t answer on absolutely anything I wrote about the principle of accomodation, papal condemnations of the filioque, Pope John VIII condemnation of universal jurisdiction, as well as St. Gregory, Pope of Rome’s condemnation of the conotations of one bishop leading the entire Church, making other Patriarchs non-entities (look at what the bishops of your Roman Catholic Church said after Vatican I, I have three of their responses quoted for you in the previous quote. That pope of blessed memory, St. Gregory, surely did see what would happen). The increasing changes are developments, certainly. Legitimate, no. The history speaks for itself. If a bishop, not even of Rome was not infallible at the 6th Ecumenical Council when he was dubbed a heretic, then it is surely not a legitimate “doctrinal development” to say he is today. Period. It’s heresy.

I’m not fixated on the “order” issue, I was merely trying to get you to understand the nature in which I wrote it. It’s the last time I’ll mention it, it’s not even important. Forget I brought it up.

You say biblical evidence shows Peter was the head of the Apostles. Biblical evidence shows Peter took a leading role in the Gospel, but never that he was something the other Apostles were not. Even St. Peter himself comments that all are witnesses to the Risen Christ. St. Peter was witnessing, didn’t mean that the other Apostles were not doing the same thing. The fact that St. Peter was rebuked illustrates that he was not infallible, and that his views and teachings were not the views of the Church. The fact that this matter was settled in COLLEGIALITY illustrates what the Holy Scripture teaches, and what the Councils supported…COLLEGIALITY. Neither you nor SOG addressed why St. Irenaeus of Lyons, writing in the 2nd Century, names St. Linus as the first bishop of Rome? He is a Western Father, too.

You say that noone who was Christian rebuked the See of Rome until Orthodoxy “came along” The Eastern Orthodox Church, we’re the ones who still recite the Creed without the unilateral alteration…the Original text. The innovator was Rome. We didn’t “come along” my friend, we had a common history. You are trying to argue that no one can deny Rome, that she is immune to heresy? Sheer arrogance. Rome had been spared from the controversial heresies that grew out of the East, granted, but they had no qualms in agreeing with the theology that was coming out of the East to refute and smash that same heresy, and return orthodox practice. What about when false teaching was birthed in the West? What about filioque, condemned by many Roman Popes, supposedly always infallible, but today, you vainly call it Catholic. EITHER THE POPES WERE WRONG TO CONDEMN IT, OR THE GERMANIC POPES WERE WRONG TO ACCEPT IT. EITHER WAY, INFALLIBLITY HISTORICALLY CRUMBLES. This is precisely why it needs to claim infallibility and “doctrinal development”…because it NEEDS IT, because it can’t rest on anything outside that. It was unilateral addition to the Creed, forbidden by all Ecumenical Councils, but I guess Rome didn’t accept those canons either, huh? If the Orthodox “WHO CAME ALONG” did anything, Uncertaindrummer, it was call Rome on her growing audacity. Surely this didn’t start in the eleventh century, and it is nonsense to say that there wasn’t an outlash to these claims earlier. Pope Vigilius who I mentioned earlier, wanted to give the decision unilaterally at the Council, and he was forbidden. Rome was getting bigger than her role allowed, and history is clear in showing it. Pope Nicholas I, and Patriarch St. Photius telling him that he was claiming too much to himself, this is clear proof that Rome could not make these claims. The West rushed to call this the “Photian Schism” why? Because a bishop was telling another bishop in the Church that he (Nicholas) did not have the authority to tell Photius (another bishop) that his flock was his (Nicholas’) flock. IT APPEARS GOOD TO “US” AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. THE “US” doesn’t exist in your church anymore. YOu say the Magesterium and the bishops….those bishops are only validated by that pope…their authority is not from God as ordained bishops, but by the BISHOP OF THE BISHOPS. The US, is I in Roman Catholicism since Pastor Aeternus. No more Holy Fathers, but ONE HOLY FATHER.

That’s all I’ll say. Like I said, I’m a blabbermouth, I forget to stop sometimes. God be with you all.