Discussion on Ecumenism

PeterTheAleut

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Jonathan Gress said:
Rereading PtA's last post, I see that he doesn't recognize the difference between member and observer.
Putting words in my mouth again, I see. ::)  Jonathan, you really need to stop doing that.

Jonathan Gress said:
Sure, representatives of an Orthodox church may just turn up to a WCC meeting. As long as they don't sign up for membership or take part in proceedings, I wouldn't say they have compromised their faith by joining a heretical organization (although it may still scandalize the faithful). This is what ROCA representatives did in the early years of the WCC, and also there were ROCA representatives observing the Second Vatican Council. They didn't join the Roman Church, of course, or take part; they were just sitting in as guests.

With the Orthodox members of the WCC, we're dealing with something totally different. These guys have 'signed on the dotted line'. They bought the right to participate in WCC meetings with a compromise of Orthodox ecclesiology. They aren't neutral observers; they are full members. That's why we can hold them to account. And especially when they start pointing to certain passages of the WCC Toronto statement taken out of context in order to prove they are not taking part in heresy, we are quite justified in pointing out the other, heretical parts of the statement.
As Isa already pointed out, merely repeating the same assertion often enough isn't going to prove it true.
 

minasoliman

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Perhaps other people than Jonathan should go ask their own bishop or priest who are involved or knows their own fellow bishops or priests who are involved to see if the WCC requires them to be part of their "superchurch" for membership.  When I get back to the US next week, that will be surely be one question I will ask my priest.

God bless.
 

Irish Hermit

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minasoliman said:
Perhaps other people than Jonathan should go ask their own bishop or priest who are involved or knows their own fellow bishops or priests who are involved to see if the WCC requires them to be part of their "superchurch" for membership.  When I get back to the US next week, that will be surely be one question I will ask my priest.
There is no SuperChurch.

From the 1950 Toronto Statement
http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/central-committee/toronto-1950/toronto-statement.html

III. What the World Council of Churches is not
1. The World Council of Churches is not and must never become a superchurch.

It is not a superchurch. It is not the world church. It is not the Una Sancta of which the Creeds speak. This misunderstanding arises again and again although it has been denied as clearly as possible in official pronouncements of the Council. It is based on complete ignorance of the real situation within the Council. For if the Council should in any way violate its own constitutional principle, that it cannot legislate or act for its member churches, it would cease to maintain the support of its membership.

In speaking of "member churches", we repeat a phrase from the Constitution of the World Council of Churches; but membership in the Council does not in any sense mean that the churches belong to a body which can take decisions for them. Each church retains the constitutional right to ratify or to reject utterances or actions of the Council. The "authority" of the Council consists only "in the weight which it carries with the churches by its own wisdom" (William Temple).

Please note that Jonathan is wrong about member Churches having to accept what the WWW says. The Statement is clear: "...membership in the Council does not in any sense mean that the churches belong to a body which can take decisions for them. Each church retains the constitutional right to ratify or to reject utterances or actions of the Council.'
 

Jonathan Gress

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I can't believe you people. You truly only accept the part of the statement that you can make to fit your beliefs about the WCC, and even when I do your work for you and copy out the heretical parts before your very eyes you pretend it's not there. I've never seen a more blatant case of denial. Be honest with yourselves: do you pretend it's not there because perhaps you just don't want it to be there? Why not? Are your consciences perhaps bothered by the revelations? Maybe if you close your eyes it will go away? Sure, that always worked when I was four years old.

I didn't say 'superchurch', PtA. You're putting words in my mouth this time. I'm saying nothing more than what the WCC says in its assumptions. Do you want me to copy it for you yet again? Didn't even Mina see that it was heretical? Didn't he admit he would expect there to be an enormous outcry if his people knew that his bishops had accepted such assumptions? So why hasn't there been an outcry? Is it because perhaps the participants have been successful in suppressing this information? Like with those Orthodox ecumenists I cited earlier, quoting the 'acceptable' parts of the Toronto statement while conveniently forgetting to mention the unacceptable parts? No, of course it can't be that! Surely the bishops would have noticed the heresy and condemned it openly and explicitly, right? And they would have demanded the removal of those assumptions before they would ever dream of joining the WCC, right? Right, of course. Let me just go looking to see where these condemnations and demands are. Hm, I can't seem to find them anywhere! Maybe they just forgot. Oh well, life's hard for the ecumenist these days. So many dialogs to participate in, so many conferences, so many agreements and statements. No wonder they forgot to read that part of the statement. After all, it's so recent! It's only been around almost since the beginning of the WCC. We can hardly expect the hierarchs to have familiarized themselves with everything, least of all the document that actually outlines all the presuppositions, goals and assumptions of the WCC!

Mina, ask your priest what he knows about these assumptions. Be specific about that. I wonder if his reaction will be the same as yours.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
I can't believe you people. You truly only accept the part of the statement that you can make to fit your beliefs about the WCC, and even when I do your work for you and copy out the heretical parts before your very eyes you pretend it's not there. I've never seen a more blatant case of denial. Be honest with yourselves: do you pretend it's not there because perhaps you just don't want it to be there? Why not? Are your consciences perhaps bothered by the revelations? Maybe if you close your eyes it will go away? Sure, that always worked when I was four years old.
Jonathan,

You don't seem to realise that we are quite aware that the Churches in the WCC are heretical, some more and some less.   Acting as if this is a new and surprising discovery is a bit odd.   Neither we nor our bishops are brain damaged enough to believe that the Protestant Churches do not contain large amounts of heresy.  Read, for example, the 2000 Russian Statement on relationships with heterodox Churches.

You are also overlooking the fact that the Toronto Statement says with absolute clarity that no Church which is a member of the WCC is bound by any statements or acts of the WCC.

You have a knack for setting up strawmen.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Jonathan Gress said:
I didn't say 'superchurch', PtA. You're putting words in my mouth this time.
Nah!  YOU were the one who compared membership in the WCC with membership in the Church.

Jonathan Gress said:
I'm saying nothing more than what the WCC says in its assumptions. Do you want me to copy it for you yet again? Didn't even Mina see that it was heretical? Didn't he admit he would expect there to be an enormous outcry if his people knew that his bishops had accepted such assumptions? So why hasn't there been an outcry? Is it because perhaps the participants have been successful in suppressing this information? Like with those Orthodox ecumenists I cited earlier, quoting the 'acceptable' parts of the Toronto statement while conveniently forgetting to mention the unacceptable parts? No, of course it can't be that! Surely the bishops would have noticed the heresy and condemned it openly and explicitly, right? And they would have demanded the removal of those assumptions before they would ever dream of joining the WCC, right? Right, of course. Let me just go looking to see where these condemnations and demands are. Hm, I can't seem to find them anywhere! Maybe they just forgot. Oh well, life's hard for the ecumenist these days. So many dialogs to participate in, so many conferences, so many agreements and statements. No wonder they forgot to read that part of the statement. After all, it's so recent! It's only been around almost since the beginning of the WCC. We can hardly expect the hierarchs to have familiarized themselves with everything, least of all the document that actually outlines all the presuppositions, goals and assumptions of the WCC!
What does it matter if the WCC is a heretical organization if you can't prove that membership in the WCC requires submission to the founding principles that make the organization heretical?  After all, that is the point YOU originally brought up.
 

ialmisry

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Jonathan Gress said:
I can't believe you people. You truly only accept the part of the statement that you can make to fit your beliefs about the WCC, and even when I do your work for you and copy out the heretical parts before your very eyes you pretend it's not there. I've never seen a more blatant case of denial.
You mean denial of this?:"....membership in the Council does not in any sense mean that the churches belong to a body which can take decisions for them. Each church retains the constitutional right to ratify or to reject utterances or actions of the Council."


Be honest with yourselves: do you pretend it's not there because perhaps you just don't want it to be there?
Each church retains the constitutional right to ratify or to reject utterances or actions of the Council
You don't want that to be there?

Why not? Are your consciences perhaps bothered by the revelations?
Is your proganda what motivates your selective editing?


Maybe if you close your eyes it will go away? Sure, that always worked when I was four years old.
If I may ask, how long ago was that?

I didn't say 'superchurch', PtA. You're putting words in my mouth this time. I'm saying nothing more than what the WCC says in its assumptions.
That the Orthodox Churches retain their constitutional right to reject utterances or actions of the WCC.

Do you want me to copy it for you yet again? Didn't even Mina see that it was heretical?
LOL.  Yes, even Mina, that arch-heretic. LOL.

Didn't he admit he would expect there to be an enormous outcry if his people knew that his bishops had accepted such assumptions?
I think he said IF his bishops had accepted such assumptions.

So why hasn't there been an outcry?
Because they didn't.

Is it because perhaps the participants have been successful in suppressing this information?
Yes, just like they have been successful in suppressing the names of your bishops.  Can you tell us who they are?


Like with those Orthodox ecumenists I cited earlier, quoting the 'acceptable' parts of the Toronto statement while conveniently forgetting to mention the unacceptable parts? No, of course it can't be that! Surely the bishops would have noticed the heresy and condemned it openly and explicitly, right? And they would have demanded the removal of those assumptions before they would ever dream of joining the WCC, right? Right, of course. Let me just go looking to see where these condemnations and demands are. Hm, I can't seem to find them anywhere!
Let me help you (AGAIN!) there:
http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/ecumenical-movement-in-the-21st-century/member-churches/special-commission-on-participation-of-orthodox-churches/sub-committee-ii-style-ethos-of-our-life-together/16-09-91-inter-orthodox-consultation-after-the-canberra-assembly.html
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,22406.msg342964.html#msg342964

Maybe they just forgot. Oh well, life's hard for the ecumenist these days.
Not as hard as a member of the sole solitary unique exclusive only true orthodox church....

So many dialogs to participate in, so many conferences, so many agreements and statements.
....so many windmills to fight....

No wonder they forgot to read that part of the statement.
No problem, here's a second chance:

Each church retains the constitutional right to ratify or to reject utterances or actions of the Council

After all, it's so recent! It's only been around almost since the beginning of the WCC.
Indeed it has.  But the Russian Orthodox Church's participation hasn't, and IIRC that participation is what set off this quixotic campaign.


We can hardly expect the hierarchs to have familiarized themselves with everything, least of all the document that actually outlines all the presuppositions, goals and assumptions of the WCC!
Including the constitutional right of each Church to ratify or to reject utterances or actions of the Council.

Mina, ask your priest what he knows about these assumptions. Be specific about that. I wonder if his reaction will be the same as yours.
Careful now Gress.  Cavourting with heretics....LOL.
 

Irish Hermit

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ialmisry said:
We can hardly expect the hierarchs to have familiarized themselves with everything, least of all the document that actually outlines all the presuppositions, goals and assumptions of the WCC!
Including the constitutional right of each Church to ratify or to reject utterances or actions of the Council.
Ialmisry,  don't you see it is worse than we thought.  :mad:  The WCC is forcing us to accept the "assumption" that we have a "constitutional right....to ratify or to reject utterances or actions of the Council."  What a nightmare!  They're giving us permision to disagree with them!
 

minasoliman

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Trust me when I say this.  The Coptic Church is one of the strictest Oriental churches in ecclesiological theology.  My own priest is very very traditionalist (Jonathan, you would love to have a discussion on Chalcedon with him; he is borderline untrustworthy of Eastern Orthodox, and I enjoy debating that with him).  The Pope would get very very angry if a priest in public did not wear his "imma" (priestly hat).  No one is allowed to change the priestly clothing (one priest tried to where the suit with the collar a long time ago, like the Catholics, and it caused outrage).  Very strict sacramental theology, as well.  It's only recently when they became comfortable enough to open up to the Orthodox, but other than that, baptism is not recognized at all.

If they are a member of the WCC, I can guarantee 100% that if they were forced to accept the WCC as a Church and membership would require to be part of that church, they would not only leave, but make sure they leave a scar in the WCC, and things would go on without any cordiality for a loooong time.  And then, I am well aware, at least the Genuine Orthodox Church and the Coptic Church has something to agree with; they will proclaim Ecumenism is a heresy.

Knowing that my Coptic Church is still a strong member of the WCC, what you believe can't be true.  It just can't.  But trust me, if it is, I personally wouldn't be quiet about it, and I know many who would join me for that matter.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Jonathan, I have to give you credit for one thing.  Irish Hermit, Ialmisry, and I are all on the same side of a debate for once.  That doesn't happen very often. ;D

Come to think of it, this month is a month with a blue moon. :laugh:
 

Jonathan Gress

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Well I guess I can't fathom how you can question whether membership of an organization requires acceptance of the membership principles of that organization. To me it's just one of those self-evident things. It's the reason I decided not to join a jurisdiction that was in the WCC. I mean, my conscience would not give me peace if I joined an organization whose principles were incompatible with Orthodoxy, like Freemasonry.  I wouldn't be able to convince myself that I could mentally 'opt out' of the 'un-Orthodox' principles, only accepting the 'Orthodox' ones, if I had openly declared I had accepted all of them. A Jesuit using the doctrine of 'reservatio mentalis' might be able to convince himself of this, but as far as I can tell, reservatio mentalis, meaning not accepting inwardly what you profess outwardly, is just hypocrisy and betrayal. Couldn't the martyrs have used this argument to avoid condemnation for refusal to offer incense to idols? Why did the Church condemn those who betrayed the faith, like the lone soldier in Sebaste who took up the offer of the hot bath rather than freeze to death on the lake? How do we know the soldier didn't secretly practice 'reservatio mentalis' when he left the other thirty-nine?

It's especially odd when you consider how IH and company are eagerly citing the 'acceptable' parts of the Toronto statement to prove that WCC membership is compatible with Orthodoxy. They rely on the text itself under the assumption that the Orthodox members have accepted this text and the principles contained therein; obviously if the Orthodox members had not accepted the Toronto statement, there wouldn't be any point in appealing to the statement to prove that membership was compatible with Orthodoxy. But when I point out that accepting the text also means accepting the heretical principles found elsewhere in the statement, you then try to claim that the members may possibly have opted out of them. But since there is no record of them having been granted the option to reject those principles in gaining membership, we have to assume they have accepted them along with rest of the statement. This forces you to appeal to this concept that the Orthodox members may have 'secretly' opted out. Well, I don't buy it. If they had opted out, we would have known about it, or we should have known about it.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Jonathan Gress said:
Well I guess I can't fathom how you can question whether membership of an organization requires acceptance of the membership principles of that organization.
You mean to say you're so entrenched in the way you see things that you can't see them from any perspective other than your own? It's as if you're saying, "My mind's made up; don't confuse me with the facts."

Jonathan Gress said:
To me it's just one of those self-evident things.
But WHY is it self-evident?

Jonathan Gress said:
It's the reason I decided not to join a jurisdiction that was in the WCC. I mean, my conscience would not give me peace if I joined an organization whose principles were incompatible with Orthodoxy, like Freemasonry.  I wouldn't be able to convince myself that I could mentally 'opt out' of the 'un-Orthodox' principles, only accepting the 'Orthodox' ones, if I had openly declared I had accepted all of them. A Jesuit using the doctrine of 'reservatio mentalis' might be able to convince himself of this, but as far as I can tell, reservatio mentalis, meaning not accepting inwardly what you profess outwardly, is just hypocrisy and betrayal. Couldn't the martyrs have used this argument to avoid condemnation for refusal to offer incense to idols? Why did the Church condemn those who betrayed the faith, like the lone soldier in Sebaste who took up the offer of the hot bath rather than freeze to death on the lake? How do we know the soldier didn't secretly practice 'reservatio mentalis' when he left the other thirty-nine?
But this idea still perpetuates the untested assumption that membership in an organization necessarily means submission to all of the organization's founding principles, the very assumption that we are now questioning.  Why is this self-evident to you yet not to us?

Jonathan Gress said:
It's especially odd when you consider how IH and company are eagerly citing the 'acceptable' parts of the Toronto statement to prove that WCC membership is compatible with Orthodoxy. They rely on the text itself under the assumption that the Orthodox members have accepted this text and the principles contained therein;
Have you asked Irish Hermit about his assumptions?  That might work a lot better than reading your own assumptions into his words and projecting them onto him.

Jonathan Gress said:
obviously if the Orthodox members had not accepted the Toronto statement, there wouldn't be any point in appealing to the statement to prove that membership was compatible with Orthodoxy.
The only thing that's obvious is that nothing in this discussion is obvious.

Jonathan Gress said:
But when I point out that accepting the text also means accepting the heretical principles found elsewhere in the statement, you then try to claim that the members may possibly have opted out of them.
Proof that maybe your paradigm isn't exactly faithful to the truth of what's really happening.

Jonathan Gress said:
But since there is no record of them having been granted the option to reject those principles in gaining membership, we have to assume they have accepted them along with rest of the statement. This forces you to appeal to this concept that the Orthodox members may have 'secretly' opted out. Well, I don't buy it. If they had opted out, we would have known about it, or we should have known about it.
Again, you're defining Orthodox membership in the WCC according to your paradigms and your terms and judging us against them.  But when your paradigms are questioned, you argue that they're self-evident and continue to use them to frame your verdict.  There has to be some foundation for your continued assertion that your premises are self-evident.  What is that foundation?  If you can't answer that question, then you're merely here to tout your own authority to define the terms of debate, an authority you need to establish before anyone will recognize it.
 

ialmisry

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Jonathan Gress said:
Well I guess I can't fathom how you can question whether membership of an organization requires acceptance of the membership principles of that organization. To me it's just one of those self-evident things.
Like it is self-evident that outsiders don't interpret the principles for insiders?

It's the reason I decided not to join a jurisdiction that was in the WCC. I mean, my conscience would not give me peace if I joined an organization whose principles were incompatible with Orthodoxy, like Freemasonry.  I wouldn't be able to convince myself that I could mentally 'opt out' of the 'un-Orthodox' principles, only accepting the 'Orthodox' ones, if I had openly declared I had accepted all of them. A Jesuit using the doctrine of 'reservatio mentalis' might be able to convince himself of this, but as far as I can tell, reservatio mentalis, meaning not accepting inwardly what you profess outwardly, is just hypocrisy and betrayal. Couldn't the martyrs have used this argument to avoid condemnation for refusal to offer incense to idols? Why did the Church condemn those who betrayed the faith, like the lone soldier in Sebaste who took up the offer of the hot bath rather than freeze to death on the lake? How do we know the soldier didn't secretly practice 'reservatio mentalis' when he left the other thirty-nine?
We know why St. Mark of Ephesus went to Florence, why Arius spoke a the First Ecumenical Council, why St. Meletius, previously seen as a semi-Arian, opened the Second Ecumenical Council, why Nestorius was seated at the Third, why Dioscoros and Theodoret spoke at the Fourth, etc.

t's especially odd when you consider how IH and company are eagerly citing the 'acceptable' parts of the Toronto statement to prove that WCC membership is compatible with Orthodoxy. They rely on the text itself under the assumption that the Orthodox members have accepted this text and the principles contained therein; obviously if the Orthodox members had not accepted the Toronto statement, there wouldn't be any point in appealing to the statement to prove that membership was compatible with Orthodoxy. But when I point out that accepting the text also means accepting the heretical principles found elsewhere in the statement, you then try to claim that the members may possibly have opted out of them. But since there is no record of them having been granted the option to reject those principles in gaining membership, we have to assume they have accepted them along with rest of the statement. This forces you to appeal to this concept that the Orthodox members may have 'secretly' opted out. Well, I don't buy it. If they had opted out, we would have known about it, or we should have known about it.
It's no secret: the Orthodox statements, EO and OO, have been linked, cited, etc.  Read them.

Well, I'm off to Church, in two hours "Christ is Born!"  I'll be shoving my face full of steak tommorrow, thinking of you.
 

ialmisry

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PeterTheAleut said:
Jonathan, I have to give you credit for one thing.  Irish Hermit, Ialmisry, and I are all on the same side of a debate for once.  
We must do this more often. ;D
 

ialmisry

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ialmisry said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Well I guess I can't fathom how you can question whether membership of an organization requires acceptance of the membership principles of that organization. To me it's just one of those self-evident things.
Like it is self-evident that outsiders don't interpret the principles for insiders?

It's the reason I decided not to join a jurisdiction that was in the WCC. I mean, my conscience would not give me peace if I joined an organization whose principles were incompatible with Orthodoxy, like Freemasonry.  I wouldn't be able to convince myself that I could mentally 'opt out' of the 'un-Orthodox' principles, only accepting the 'Orthodox' ones, if I had openly declared I had accepted all of them. A Jesuit using the doctrine of 'reservatio mentalis' might be able to convince himself of this, but as far as I can tell, reservatio mentalis, meaning not accepting inwardly what you profess outwardly, is just hypocrisy and betrayal. Couldn't the martyrs have used this argument to avoid condemnation for refusal to offer incense to idols? Why did the Church condemn those who betrayed the faith, like the lone soldier in Sebaste who took up the offer of the hot bath rather than freeze to death on the lake? How do we know the soldier didn't secretly practice 'reservatio mentalis' when he left the other thirty-nine?
We know why St. Mark of Ephesus went to Florence, why Arius spoke a the First Ecumenical Council, why St. Meletius, previously seen as a semi-Arian, opened the Second Ecumenical Council, why Nestorius was seated at the Third, why Dioscoros and Theodoret spoke at the Fourth, etc.

t's especially odd when you consider how IH and company are eagerly citing the 'acceptable' parts of the Toronto statement to prove that WCC membership is compatible with Orthodoxy. They rely on the text itself under the assumption that the Orthodox members have accepted this text and the principles contained therein; obviously if the Orthodox members had not accepted the Toronto statement, there wouldn't be any point in appealing to the statement to prove that membership was compatible with Orthodoxy. But when I point out that accepting the text also means accepting the heretical principles found elsewhere in the statement, you then try to claim that the members may possibly have opted out of them. But since there is no record of them having been granted the option to reject those principles in gaining membership, we have to assume they have accepted them along with rest of the statement. This forces you to appeal to this concept that the Orthodox members may have 'secretly' opted out. Well, I don't buy it. If they had opted out, we would have known about it, or we should have known about it.
It's no secret: the Orthodox statements, EO and OO, have been linked, cited, etc.  Read them.

Well, I'm off to Church, in two hours "Christ is Born!"  I'll be shoving my face full of steak tommorrow, thinking of you.
Christ is Born!  Glorify Him!

Merry Christmas to all!  Except Fr. Ambrose, Ozgeorge, Mark and Stashko et alia: for you I will hold the thought.
 

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The Savior is Born! Glory to the Messiah, may his enemies bite the dust!
 

minasoliman

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Jonathan, you say, "How convenient for others to quote acceptable parts of the Toronto statement and leave out the context" whereas we reply, "It's not convenient.  It clearly says in the statement and many others every WCC member is not required to accept these statements" in which you reply, "How convenient for others to quote..." in which we reply "Stop being annoyingly evasive."

You continue to believe Orthodox have accepted all these statements.  Fine!  If you feel much more secure about yourself with such a delusion then go right ahead.  I think it's very clear everyone here who has discussed with you the Toronto Statement that this would be unacceptable.  The center of the argument is whether Orthodox actually did accept it, in which you stubbornly continue to believe "Yes" while we say "No."  Fr. Ambrose and Isa showed you proof for the "No," that really just destroys your so-called "proof" for "Yes."  If you're not going to provide any rebuttal with new information and proof, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
 

Jonathan Gress

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No Mina. The Toronto statement does NOT say that members may be selective in which parts of the same statement may be accepted and which parts may be rejected. The whole statement taken together presents the presuppositions of WCC membership. I have shown that this statement contains heretical assumptions, and there is no 'get out' clause in the statement allowing Orthodox, or any other members to ignore those heretical assumptions. All you can point to is one part of the statement where, if taken alone and out of context, one might be fooled into thinking WCC membership did not involve compromise with Orthodox ecclesiology. But my argument rests on the principle that things can't be taken out of context. If you think it's permissible to do so, then I guess we do have to agree to disagree.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
No Mina. The Toronto statement does NOT say that members may be selective in which parts of the same statement may be accepted and which parts may be rejected. The whole statement taken together presents the presuppositions of WCC membership. I have shown that this statement contains heretical assumptions, and there is no 'get out' clause in the statement allowing Orthodox, or any other members to ignore those heretical assumptions. All you can point to is one part of the statement where, if taken alone and out of context, one might be fooled into thinking WCC membership did not involve compromise with Orthodox ecclesiology. But my argument rests on the principle that things can't be taken out of context. If you think it's permissible to do so, then I guess we do have to agree to disagree.
And this statement from you continues to present the same old unproven presupposition you keep preaching here as self-evident.  Until you can prove this "obvious" assumption that membership in the WCC means unwavering submission to her "heretical" principles, then I guess we'll just have to agree that you have no case to defend.

In fact, in the light of evidence others have provided that your fundamental premise may be just flat wrong, it makes no sense to keep saying, "No, YOU're wrong," and offer nothing more than the refuted premise as your argument.  You need to come at this problem from a different angle.
 

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Dear Jonathan,

You make serious but very vague charges against the Orthodox Church but you do not provide any specifics.

Could you be specific about the doctrinal and ecclesiological compromises which you believe have come upon the Russian Church because of involvement in ecumenism? Could you please list them?

I honestly have not the foggiest idea what they might be, and believe me, as a member of the Russian Church I am dead keen to know and have been paying close attention to what you have been writing.
 

Irish Hermit

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Jonathan Gress said:
This forces you to appeal to this concept that the Orthodox members may have 'secretly' opted out. Well, I don't buy it. If they had opted out, we would have known about it, or we should have known about it.
Dear Jonathon,

You speak of the Orthodox not opting out of the Toronto Statement.  Well, the WCC itself says that the Orthodox have never bought in!!

The WCC itself acknowledges that the Toronto Statement is something inconclusive and something unsettled for the Orthodox.   They have not embraced it at all.  It hangs in limbo for the Orthodox.

This is from "The importance of the Orthodox contribution to the WCC" by Konrad Raiser who at the time was the General Secretary of the WCC:

"The Special Commission which was established after the Harare assembly has given attention
to critical questions which have arisen regarding the theological and in particular ecclesiological
basis of Orthodox participation in the life of the WCC. The commission has tried to address once
again the basic "ecclesiological challenge" which is implied in Orthodox participation in the WCC.
This was articulated clearly at the time of the discussion of the Toronto Declaration by Fr Georges
Florovsky and we do not seem to have moved much beyond the point of stating an open question
for which an acceptable answer or solution has not yet been found."

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/ecumenical-movement-in-the-21st-century/member-churches/special-commission-on-participation-of-orthodox-churches/03-06-03-orthodox-contribution-to-the-wcc.html
 

Get_Behind_Me_Satan

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Against Ecumenism

This verse clearly and directly states that Christians must stay together, speaking, thinking and believing the same things. Orthodoxy, which has held the Christian faithful together in one divine body for two millennia, is the perfect fulfillment of these instructions. In the Orthodox Church, the faithful conform their minds and will to the sacred teachings of the faith, and this brings perfect spiritual unity.

A fatal heresy, increasing in prevalence today, directly counters these instructions that St. Paul commands us to follow. This heresy appears not to divide the church, but rather unite it; it appears to be loving, accepting and good. But this is not the case - what it really does is undermine the foundations of the Church and tear it apart internally, allowing for innovations and changes in traditions and practice, putting physical unity above truth, and preparing for the antichrist. It is the heresy of ecumenism, a terrible and false teaching as deceitful and destructive as a wolf in sheep's clothing. Rather than attacking the Church though the open teaching of heresy, as did Arianism, Monophysitism and Iconoclasm, ecumenism poses a different and even more terrible assault to the church; it gathers power and a following while still appearing to remain in the bounds of the Church and adhere to her traditional dogmas. In accepting all beliefs, ecumenism divides the church, as we cannot be perfectly of one mind with those who believe false heresies ad have false ways of life.

The above verse from Corinthians explicitly teaches against the heresy of ecumenism and is an unshakable defense against it. We are told here to be not only of one body, which the ecumenists strive for by trying to bring all religions into communion with one another, but also to "be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement." This means that we must think and believe the same way. Ecumenism attempts to join everyone together into one body, while their minds, their beliefs, and their practices remain dissimilar and contradictory. This is not unity! How can there be one body but different minds? This is impossible! Colossians 1:18 states, "And he is the head of the body, the church." In order to belong to this body of which Christ is the head, we must be of one body, believing the same things. For as a head cannot have multiple bodies, so we cannot differ in beliefs yet belong to the same head. Ecumenism tries to make one church, but yet it does not truly unite. It turns a blind eye to differences in fath, belief, doctrine, and practice, as if these things do not matter. On the contrary, these things are of the utmost importance! These things are the very basis and foundation of our lives; they are the Church. If we cast these things aside, what is left? All that is left is a shallow, hollow shell of what was formerly the fullness of the Church. If we cast these things aside, we are casting aside our own salvation.

It simply does not work to bring everything down to the lowest common denominator and say that the only criteria for being a Christian is that we all believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Or some will even go so far as to say that, if even this is not true of everyone, at least everyone believes in a god, and that's enough - it doesn't matter that some do not even believe in the Christian God. It is fine for Christians and Moslems and Jews and pagans all to join together; the important thing is simply that we all love each other. The differences do not matter; only the similarities. So the ecumenists argue. But this is not true! This is not the apostolic teaching. This is not the true faith. This is ecumenism! The apostles taught us to be of one mind and one body by believing, speaking, and doing all the same things that have been handed down to us ever since the first followers of Christ. We must be completely united in all our beliefs, being perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgement. To reduce the requirements for being a Christian to a mere statement of faith in a god, thus minimalizing Christianity, severs this unity that we are commanded to abide by.

There are, in essence, two levels of ecumenism. In the extreme case, the highest level of ecumenism even encompasses non-Christian faiths. Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, American Indians…they all unite in worship. These religions do not even claim to worship the same God, and yet they serve together. Venerate both Christ and Buddha as God in one service?! This is impossible! There are appalling videos showing all these different faiths performing their religious ceremonies as part of one big inter-communal service. Then there are those who attempt to join together all Christian religions into one faith. They would be horrified at the idea of a service with Hindus and Christians celebrating together, yet they do not bat an eyelash at the idea of Orthodox celebrating with Roman Catholics, who with no authority broke off from the Church close to a thousand years ago.

It is tragic that Orthodoxy has not remained completely free of ecumenism. The ecumenistic spirit has permeated almost all of society, and even some jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church have adopted it. There are Orthodox involved in the World Council of Churches. When some Orthodox joined the WCC, they said it was in an effort to convert those of other faiths to Orthodoxy; however, this has not happened, and the faith of these ecumenistic Orthodox has been watered down. The ecumenical patriarch and the pope have prayed and worshipped side by side in services. There are Orthodox who fully consider the Roman Catholics our brothers and sisters in Christ. With this disregard for the importance of theology, practice is diminished, fasting is often not observed, and the rigor of the Christian life is rarely taught, and the list goes on and on. Much of this is done in the name of brotherly love, on the pretext of acceptance of all people as brothers and sisters in Christ, excluding no one and offering the same love and acceptance to all without discrimination due to theological differences -- but this is not so. It does not work this way. By being involved with those of other religions, and accepting their beliefs as alright if not true, Orthodoxy is weakened and the line between it, the true faith, and other religions blurred. Of course true Orthodoxy will always remain pure and unaltered, but the faithful can be weakened by seeing ecumenism spread like wild fire, gathering momentum and appearing to be good in the midst of all the destruction it leaves. We cannot even appear to accept other doctrines and faiths that differ from our own divinely revealed Orthodoxy! The word Orthodox means "true belief" (and, according to its Greek roots, "correct opinion") - we must not corrupt this true belief or correct opinion by mixing it with false beliefs and personal, human opinion.

If there is to be true spiritual unity, it must be within the one holy, catholic and apostolic Church: the Orthodox Church. While other religions weaken from attempting to please everybody and pass off theology as unimportant, Orthodoxy alone remains firm and unshaken, a rampart unyielding to the turmoil of the world, illustrating the way of the straight and narrow path. In Orthodoxy, we strive to conform our sinful human nature to the teachings and lifestyle of the Church, as opposed to the "suit-yourself" attitude many other religions have, in which people create their own set of beliefs that accommodate their lifestyle. Orthodoxy is that rock upon which Christ has built His Church. Let us cling to that holy rock and not allow for innovations to come into the Orthodox Church. We have been given so much in the Faith, and we must preserve it uncorrupted by modern practices and ways of thinking, such as minimalism and compromising our faith to the world. We must be in the world but not of the world, and this is done by remaining in the embrace of the Orthodox Church.

The saints and holy fathers of the ages past died rather than surrender their faith. Countless martyrs chose death over renouncing Christ in even the smallest way. We hear of martyrs who were told to sacrifice to idols and had burning coals placed in their hands - yet they held these hot coals until their hands burned off rather than throw them before the idols, thus sacrificing to them. Men, women, and even young children were tortured in diverse, cruel and unimaginable ways because they refused to renounce our Lord and Savior. Their stories fill us with awe for their supreme love and unwavering zeal for the faith. The holy fathers are shinning examples of how we ought to protect the faith. They fought and refuted the heresies of Arius, the Iconoclasts, Monophysites, and many others. At the First Council, St. Nicholas of Myra, filled with holy anger, struck the heretic Arius. St. John Chrysostom was exiled for teaching the truth. Many other saints and their heroic deeds for the sake of the church could be mntioned. How precious the faith was to these holy men and women! Let us imitate them as fully as we are able as we strive to hold fast to the Church, the same church for which they willingly gave their lives and sacrificed themselves, and not give way to the ecumenistic spirit that fills the world today.

If we are not of one mind, we are in direct disobedience to the Gospel, to the Church, and to Christ. To be of one mind, we must follow the teachings of and conform ourselves to the ancient Christian Church, the true Church of Christ, the Orthodox Church.

O Holy Lord Jesus Christ, help us to remain steadfast in the holy teachings of Thy church and disallow false ways of believing, thinking and living to corrupt and scatter Thy flock! Grant that we may preserve unsullied the pearl of great price given unto us, keeping it inviolate for all generations to come, through the prayers of Thy most pure Mother and of all the saints. Amen.

By Christina Holland.

This article appears in the Winter 1999 Issue of "Children of the Church", a Traditional Orthodox Youth's Newsletter. Yearly subscriptions are only $6.00 US, $8.00 Canadian. E-mail ChildrenOfTheChurch@rocor.org , or call 972 529-2754 and ask for Christina.
 

Alveus Lacuna

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Speaking of all of the lovely ecumenical ravings that have come up in other threads, I just wanted to throw this in the hat as well, as it seems to echo some of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's statements distinguishing "proselytism" and "evangelism."

In the book Eastern Orthodox Compared: Her Main Teachings and Significant Differences with Roman Catholicism and the Major Protestant Denominations by Protopresbyter Constantine Mathews, there is a page which explains the Orthodox view of missionary work:

p. 98 - Missions and Evangelism

Many Protestant Churches have organized foreign missionary programs in many parts of the world, often trying to gain converts out of Christians who are active members of another church. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes that this method of gaining members, called "proselytism," runs contrary to Christ's teachings and is of grave concern. A real missionary is one who goes where the gospel has not yet been preached or is not being truly lived.
Every day I get more and more uncomfortable with the agenda that these sorts of ecumenists are pushing. How can we say that the gospel is "truly being lived" by those who reject the most foundational teachings about His Holy Body and Blood? If our whole Christian life is indeed Sacramental/Mysterious, then how can a non-Sacramental and anti-materialist understanding be another reflection of the same gospel? If there is no bishopric, then where is the Catholic Church?

This book is endorsed by Archbishop Demetrios of the GOA, and is clearly in line with the EP teachings on the matter. But what do such teachings have to do with the faith of the apostles? I can't but suspect that these sorts of statements are aimed at keeping the Protestants out of the "Orthodox Lands", basically so that they can say, "Hey, we're not trying to convert your flock, so leave ours alone." It's a statement from a position of weakness, which assumes that Truth cannot withstand the tide of the sectarians. But rather than engaging in apologetics and training the faithful to know their own faith to be able to resist the heretics, it's far easier to pretend that you're playing the good guy by ignoring the necessity of those heterodox to be reunited to the True Church.

These things might look good to some on paper, but to me they reek of betray of the faith once delivered. Can't such people see that they betray the one thing that Orthodoxy retains, which is the purity of Truth? If we give that up, then the liturgy is just a nice show with pretty antiques; some kind of museum piece of rituals and customs. It's relegated to culture rather than the Truth itself. We must oppose these betrayals, or we will lose the very savor of Orthodoxy.
 

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What safe harbor exists? Should we world Orthodox stay and work for reform from within? What Church should we work through--Serbian, Antiochian, OCA, etc.? Or should we join old calendarist groups--either the more moderate ones like the group headed by Met. Cyprian, or the less moderate ones like that headed by Archbp. Chrysostomos II?
 

Iconodule

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Asteriktos said:
What safe harbor exists? Should we world Orthodox stay and work for reform from within? What Church should we work through--Serbian, Antiochian, OCA, etc.? Or should we join old calendarist groups--either the more moderate ones like the group headed by Met. Cyprian, or the less moderate ones like that headed by Archbp. Chrysostomos II?
As curious as I am to visit the Agafangelite parish near me, I really don't think it's reached that point. I try to give many hierarchs the benefit of the doubt- I oftentimes think muddled thinking, misguided politeness, or just poor word choice is to blame for many ecumenist gaffes, rather than genuine heresy. I also don't see these opinions being proclaimed as official Orthodox teaching and imposed on the faithful. Above all, I think a glance at the Church's history shows that the Church has weathered much worse without all the Orthodox needing to break away into supposedly pure groups. 
 

Alveus Lacuna

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But where does this notion come from that we do not proactively try to convert the sectarians? After all, we canonize those individuals which helped to bring back the Eastern Catholics through "proselytism."

St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre, anyone?




Use of forbidden word replaced with acceptable alternative  -PtA
 You've been warned repeatedly before that the use of the "U" word is, with few exceptions, forbidden on this forum and that you need to exercise greater care in your selection of words in general.  For your continued apparent carelessness in this matter, you are receiving this formal warning to last for the next week.  If you think I'm giving you this warning wrongly, please appeal my decision via PM to [blue]Fr. George[/blue].

- PeterTheAleut
 

Iconodule

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Alveus Lacuna said:
But where does this notion come from that we do not proactively try to convert the sectarians?
It's certainly heretical in its full implications, but I don't think it's being enforced anywhere. It's just the misguided opinion of a few ecumenists, some of whom admittedly are very influential but none of whom have been able to make this official policy. We continue to receive converts from protestantism and Papism, and to proselytize in areas where these traditions are predominant.
 

Severian

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And therefore we hold that there has been a union of two perfect natures, one divine and one human; not with disorder or confusion, or intermixture, or commingling, as is said by the God-accursed Dioscorus and by Eutyches and Severus
Now, I am not going to insult people's Saints, but, it shows that John Damascene certainly never read the writings of either Saints Severus or Dioscorus.

Did Dioscorus teach a commingling of the substances in Christ?
...They have banished [and anathemized] from the hope of Christians those who do not confess God the Word to be consubstantial with the Father, because He became consubstantial with man, taking flesh, although He remained unchangeably what He was before...
~Letter to the Monks of the Hennaton

Did Severus teach a commingling of the substances in Christ?
...[Christ] became incarnate of [the Virgin] without variation, in flesh which is of our nature, endowed with a living, rational, intelligent soul, and became perfectly man, while he remained what he is, God; in order to do away the offence of our father Adam, and deliver and restore the lost one, according to the riches of his great mercy.
~Hymn to the Theotokos

I have feeling no one is going to respond to my post  :(
 

deusveritasest

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Severian said:
And therefore we hold that there has been a union of two perfect natures, one divine and one human; not with disorder or confusion, or intermixture, or commingling, as is said by the God-accursed Dioscorus and by Eutyches and Severus
Now, I am not going to insult people's Saints, but, it shows that John Damascene certainly never read the writings of either Saints Severus or Dioscorus.

Did Dioscorus teach a commingling of the substances in Christ?
...They have banished [and anathemized] from the hope of Christians those who do not confess God the Word to be consubstantial with the Father, because He became consubstantial with man, taking flesh, although He remained unchangeably what He was before...
~Letter to the Monks of the Hennaton

Did Severus teach a commingling of the substances in Christ?
...[Christ] became incarnate of [the Virgin] without variation, in flesh which is of our nature, endowed with a living, rational, intelligent soul, and became perfectly man, while he remained what he is, God; in order to do away the offence of our father Adam, and deliver and restore the lost one, according to the riches of his great mercy.
~Hymn to the Theotokos

I have feeling no one is going to respond to my post  :(
*thumbs up*
 

ialmisry

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Severian said:
And therefore we hold that there has been a union of two perfect natures, one divine and one human; not with disorder or confusion, or intermixture, or commingling, as is said by the God-accursed Dioscorus and by Eutyches and Severus
Now, I am not going to insult people's Saints, but, it shows that John Damascene certainly never read the writings of either Saints Severus or Dioscorus.

Did Dioscorus teach a commingling of the substances in Christ?
...They have banished [and anathemized] from the hope of Christians those who do not confess God the Word to be consubstantial with the Father, because He became consubstantial with man, taking flesh, although He remained unchangeably what He was before...
~Letter to the Monks of the Hennaton

Did Severus teach a commingling of the substances in Christ?
...[Christ] became incarnate of [the Virgin] without variation, in flesh which is of our nature, endowed with a living, rational, intelligent soul, and became perfectly man, while he remained what he is, God; in order to do away the offence of our father Adam, and deliver and restore the lost one, according to the riches of his great mercy.
~Hymn to the Theotokos

I have feeling no one is going to respond to my post  :(
Perhaps not here.

As for St. John of Damascus, he seems to have depended too much, perhaps in retrospect, on John the Grammarian for the views of the non-Chalcedonians
http://books.google.com/books?id=H9wlrya9lXYC&pg=PA140&dq=%22John+the+Grammarian+and+Tritheite%22&hl=en&ei=VScfTrqzD7D9sQLzibGTAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22John%20the%20Grammarian%20and%20Tritheite%22&f=false
as I don't know how much, if at all, the OO follow John the Grammarian, who was more of a philosopher (which is how he got in trouble) than a theologian (for which he was condemned as a Thriheite). But he was popular in St. John's day in his native Syria

John Philoponus and the controversies over Chalcedon in the sixth century: a study and translation of the Arbiter By Uwe Michael Lang, John Philoponus
http://books.google.com/books?id=342CNwaH8vsC&pg=PA20&dq=John+of+Damascus+Severus&hl=en&ei=iSkfTsGwBuuqsALXrJ2sAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=John%20of%20Damascus%20Severus&f=false
 

Severian

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I think I remember St Severus of Antioch condemning John the Grammarian, so we don't follow him. But, one of my posts was moved to the private forum and the moderator of this board, Micha Kalina, was nice enough to warn me without actually placing a green warning label on my account. With that considered, Isa, if you would like to contine this discussion with me let's do it via PMs. I want to respect the moderator's decision.
 

ialmisry

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Severian said:
I think I remember St Severus of Antioch condemning John the Grammarian, so we don't follow him. But, one of my posts was moved to the private forum and the moderator of this board, Micha Kalina, was nice enough to warn me without actually placing a green warning label on my account. With that considered, Isa, if you would like to contine this discussion with me let's do it via PMs. I want to respect the moderator's decision.
You don't have access to the private fora?
 

Severian

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ialmisry said:
Severian said:
I think I remember St Severus of Antioch condemning John the Grammarian, so we don't follow him. But, one of my posts was moved to the private forum and the moderator of this board, Micha Kalina, was nice enough to warn me without actually placing a green warning label on my account. With that considered, Isa, if you would like to contine this discussion with me let's do it via PMs. I want to respect the moderator's decision.
You don't have access to the private fora?
I was told I have to be here a month. I haven't asked FrChris yet. Do you think I should ask him permission despite the fact I have only been here 10 days?
 

Severian

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Severian said:
I think I remember St Severus of Antioch condemning John the Grammarian, so we don't follow him. But, one of my posts was moved to the private forum and the moderator of this board, Micha Kalina, was nice enough to warn me without actually placing a green warning label on my account. With that considered, Isa, if you would like to contine this discussion with me let's do it via PMs. I want to respect the moderator's decision.
St Severus condemns someone whom he calls "the wicked grammarian", and thus I assume he's reffering to John the Grammarian.
 

peterfarrington

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St Severus writes against the Grammarian in one of his major works - Severi Antiocheni liber contra impium Grammaticum

If John of Damascus used him as his source for information about the non-Chalcedonians then he was in error in doing so.
 

Severian

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Does anyone think I should just ask FrChris permission to access the private fora even though I haven't even been here for two weeks? I guess it couldn't hurt to try.
 
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