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Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church

minasoliman

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Carpatho Russian said:
I quess, I should have phrased my question differently. Is the "Memory Eternal" a command to us, or, is it a prayer to God? If it is a prayer to God, then, we are asking God to keep the departed ever (eternally) in His presence. God doesn't need to re-enact the person's life. The person's life is eternally present to God.
Mina,
Sorry, but I'm not going to let up until you let go of re-enact. Say "Uncle" and I'll stop!
CR
I would go on in this whole re-enactment issue, and I still didn't change my mind, but I'll say it:

"UNCLE!!!"

Only because I don't think we're going anywhere. You do make a good point on your own side that you have little liturgies that don't say these same words Christ said, but in the Coptic Church, no such liturgy exists. So not only are we not going anywhere, but both you and I come from different worlds in this issue.

God bless.

Mina
 

minasoliman

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pensateomnia said:
What you just described is almost exactly the theological position and canonical practice of the EO Chalcedonian Church, but that position and canonical tradition did not come about until the time (and in the controversy) that GiC described. When the Copts and the Greeks were united (and following the ancient canons) no such second and third marriage were actually blessed in the Church. Thus, how did the Copts develop the SAME tradition that the Greeks did in the 8th and 9th century? Very interesting (seriously, I'm not being sarcastic!). For that matter, what exactly is the rite of Coptic marriage? Are there crowns and a "Dance of Isaiah"? Because all of these things -- indeed, the entire rite of ecclesiastical marriage -- did not develop until a very late date. Was the rite itself borrowed from the Imperial Church centuries after Chalcedon? For that matter, are the Holy Week services similar, because these too date from the Middle Ages — some even from later?

These are fascinating questions, especially b/c my thesis is on the textual reception and memory of Chalcedon. Despite the polemics on both sides at various times, there seems to have been many, many points of contact and influence.
I don't know or think there's a "Dance of Isaiah." There's a procession at the beginning, and then in the middle of prayers, there's a crowning, and only the husband receives a robe, the same robe a priest wears as a sign of the man being the priest of the family.

Interesting questions though, to which I honestly haven't given much thought or study.

God bless.

Mina
 

minasoliman

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Dear GiC,

It is essentially a pastoral text that makes some (very poor) theological references as support, but is most dangerous if used as a theological basis, implying either Arian or Ebionite thought.
Well, we tend to forget the dual nature of Christ, humanity and divinity. In humanity, He is equal to us, and "His Father is greater than Him" so to speak. In divinity, "He and the Father are one," and thus "equal with Him" and "greater than us."

So, this text, taken in correct Christological interpretation, cannot be poor. Christ became the mediator by taking humanity as Himself, and made the two into one. While we can't become gods in essence, He gave us the Divine Grace to become Gods, and by this, He elevates us, we who are worthless. That's why you see some sort of heirarchy, from woman to man to Christ to God. Woman is equal to man who is equal to Christ in humanity who is equal to God in divinity. Let's also not forget Christ willingly submitted Himself to the Father even though He was equal. Arius misinterpreted this and said Christ must have not been consubstantial with the Father. Ebionites must have taken this further to say Christ is above all mankind, but nowhere near like the Father. But proper Christology disproves both and makes this verse, to me, neither merely pastorial, nor weak in a theological sense. One only needs Christological clarification to understand what St. Paul meant (not to mention he still did write "neither male or female").

Which tells me nothing about why the priest must be male, as I said state that a male is 'more in the image of Christ' or 'in the image of Christ in a way that a female is not' is to deny the Image of Christ that is equally present in Male and Female, it is blasphemy against the Creative Energies of God.
And as I said, it does not deny the female the Image of God in her as much as man does. What I am saying is that this verse in Revelations makes all people, including laity, "priests and kings." Protestants misinterpret this verse, which is why they don't have the Melchizedek priesthood heirarchy of the Church. We do, and this does not deny the laity of their role as "priests and kings." It only gives the "special calling" to men.

So, when we say that men only can be the icon of Christ via priesthood, that does not exclude women from being icons of Christ in the same fashion that "special callings" excluded from the laity do not deny the laity's role as "kings and priests."

Unless, there's a new argument to the table, I'll have to say "UNCLE!"

God bless.

Mina
 

minasoliman

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Dear Pensateomnia,

I found something for you :)

http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/thecopticchurch/sacraments/6_matrimony.html

God bless.

Mina
 

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Montalban

Some have trouble separating Holy Tradition from traditions
Speaking of which, have you dug up any actual quotes from Church Fathers that articulate this? I mean, if it's such an obvious and necessary distinction, then surely someone in Church history must have mentioned it! Someone? Anyone? ;D


GIC,

Hey, I would know if I was ignorant! :p I've been reading a book on the history of paradoxes through the centuries, that one would be an enjoyable one to read about...
 

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ozgeorge said:
Neither was the depiction of Icons until the Seventh Oecumenical Council- was that evidence which should have led to a triumph of Iconoclasm?
Jesus Himself is an Icon. Even in the OT, God commanded the Israelities to make images of angels. What other evidence do you need?
 

ozgeorge

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Bizzlebin said:
What other evidence do you need?
An Oecumenical Council to clarify that this is indeed the Church's teaching and does not contradict the Second Commandment of the Decalogue. Fortunately, there was one. You may have not needed one, but apparently the Church felt she needed one.
Bizzlebin said:
Jesus Himself is an Icon.
Yes, He said that He was the image of the Father, but where in the "Gospels or related documents" did He add: "Therefore make images of Me and venerate them"? What Icons did Our Lord instruct His disciples paint and venerate?
Bizzlebin said:
Even in the OT, God commanded the Israelities to make images of angels.
And to venerate them? I think you are being a bit anachronistic here and contradicting the teachings of the Seventh Oecumenical Council. The Council decreed that since Christ had been Incarnated and had Sanctified and Redeemed created matter, it was therefore possible to depict Him and the Saints in Icons and venerate them. This was not possible before the Incarnation.
The Iconoclasts were not so much opposed to the making of Images, but to their veneration. Hence the Imperial order to place them high and out of reach in Churches.

 

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ozgeorge said:
An Oecumenical Council to clarify that this is indeed the Church's teaching and does not contradict the Second Commandment of the Decalogue. Fortunately, there was one. You may have not needed one, but apparently the Church felt she needed one.

Yes, He said that He was the image of the Father, but where in the "Gospels or related documents" did He add: "Therefore make images of Me and venerate them"? What Icons did Our Lord instruct His disciples paint and venerate?

And to venerate them? I think you are being a bit anachronistic here and contradicting the teachings of the Seventh Oecumenical Council. The Council decreed that since Christ had been Incarnated and had Sanctified and Redeemed created matter, it was therefore possible to depict Him and the Saints in Icons and venerate them. This was not possible before the Incarnation.
If the Ecumenical Council is the highest authority, then who established the Ecumenical Council, or set them up as that authority? Whoever/whatever is behind that is the real authority.

Jesus was venerated Himself. Also, seeing that we are commanded to honor our elders, and that anyone who follows God is a mother or brother or sister, etc, then what is the logical conclusion if not "honor the saints?" And what is veneration if not that?

I don't think I mentioned the veneration of icons before the Incarnation before, but no, it doesn't contradict the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Honor was to be given, even under the Old Covenant. Surely those commands from God were not sinful.
 

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Bizzlebin said:
If the Ecumenical Council is the highest authority, then who established the Ecumenical Council, or set them up as that authority? Whoever/whatever is behind that is the real authority.
True, but that's not the point. An Oecumenical Council's role is to define what is and isn't dogma. Until an Oecumenical Council decrees one way or another, we may be able to have an opinion of what we think is a dogma, and even back it up with what we understand of Holy Tradition, but we cannot absolutely state that our opinion is the opinion of the Church on the matter. Even the Iconoclasts claimed they could back up their teaching with what they believed was Holy Tradition (eg, the Second Commandment of the Decalogue, the writings of St. Eusebius of Caesarea and Epiphanius of Cyprus).
The Church, and the Church alone, discerns what is and isn't the Teaching of Christ and the Apostles.
 

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ozgeorge said:
True, but that's not the point. An Oecumenical Council's role is to define what is and isn't dogma. Until an Oecumenical Council decrees one way or another, we may be able to have an opinion of what we think is a dogma, and even back it up with what we understand of Holy Tradition, but we cannot absolutely state that our opinion is the opinion of the Church on the matter. Even the Iconoclasts claimed they could back up their teaching with what they believed was Holy Tradition (eg, the Second Commandment of the Decalogue, the writings of St. Eusebius of Caesarea and Epiphanius of Cyprus).

The Church, and the Church alone, discerns what is and isn't the Teaching of Christ and the Apostles.
Again, what set the Ecumenical Council so high? That is the real authority. It is indeed the Church, because the Church gives authority to Councils, not vice versa. Because of this, we already have a definitive answer, one that has not changed in the history of the Church. Let us accept that, and not reject the very Body of Christ.
 

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Bizzlebin said:
Jesus Himself is an Icon. Even in the OT, God commanded the Israelities to make images of angels. What other evidence do you need?
The seraphim were depicted on the ark of the covenant
 

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ozgeorge said:
If you follow the discussion between Bizzelbin and myself, you will note that the sequence of thought is as follows:
1) I agreed with Bizzelbin's position that the Church has never changed it's stance on the ordination of women to the priesthood, but said that this does not constitute evidence that a male only priesthood is a dogma. I said "No evidence of women's ordination is not evidence against women's ordination."
I've already noted that you seem to believe that raising this 'question' seems to be a cause for you, to strengthen the church. Perhaps you feel it's something the church should make a formal statement on in order to clarify it's position. You're raising an issue that is only an 'issue' because you're raising it.
ozgeorge said:
2) Bizzelbin said that there are no records in the Gospels or related documents of women's ordination to the priesthood.
There doesn't need to be. The very fact that all the evidence is that men were ordained as priests is enough. There's no prohibitions (as far as I'm aware) against children being priests, either. We don't need to have an exacting list of those who are prohibited. Perhaps I've mistaken your argument, because it now seems your championing a legalistic mode for the Orthodox church.
ozgeorge said:
3) I replied that there is no evidence in the Gospels or related documents in favour of depicting Icons.
There doesn't need to be. Jesus Himself is the icon depicted. The whole Bible is to put the 'essentially unknowable God' into an expressible form, a word-picture if you will. The very fact God depicted Himself is enough.
ozgeorge said:
So the "point" is that the dogmas about Icons were clarified despite the silence in "the Gospels and related documents" about the use of Holy Images; so therefore, a silence in "the Gospels and related documents" about the ordination of women to the priesthood cannot be construed as being clear evidence against it.
We are not a sola-scriptura church. Not everything was written down.
John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

The evidence rests in a) Jesus only picked men for the priesthood. b) the church has only picked men for the priesthood. That is enough for most.

 

ozgeorge

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montalban said:
The evidence rests in a) Jesus only picked men for the priesthood. b) the church has only picked men for the priesthood. That is enough for most.
And the fact that the people Christ first chose to preach the Resurrection were the myrrhbearing women......oh wait....
 

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Asteriktos said:
Montalban

Speaking of which, have you dug up any actual quotes from Church Fathers that articulate this? I mean, if it's such an obvious and necessary distinction, then surely someone in Church history must have mentioned it! Someone? Anyone? ;D
In Vol. 2 of What the Church Fathers Say About . . ., in the "Bishops, Priests, Deacons" chapter, there are 5 quotes:

"A woman does not become a priest (or priestess)." Canon Law of St. Photius (9th century)

"The Church has never appointed women presbyters or priests." "Panarion" by St. Epiphanius (4th century)

"The appointment of women priests to stand before goddesses is a delusion of Hellenic godlessness, and not a decree of Christ." Apostolic Constitutions (c. 375 A.D.)

"It is not permitted for a woman to speak in the Church. Neither may she teach, baptize, offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice, nor claim for herself any function proper to a man, least of all the sacerdotal (priestly) office." Tertullian

"Deaconesses are forbidden to cense before the All-Pure Mysteries, or to take in their hands the sacramental fans, which is strictly the deacon's function." "Alphabetical Syntagma" (14th century)

 

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Sarah said:
"A woman does not become a priest (or priestess)." Canon Law of St. Photius (9th century)
Thanks for that wonderful post! I am definately getting that book.

But about the quote I quoted above, do you know if that is one of the canons from the Eighth Ecumenical Council? That would settle it once and for all, if so.
 

ozgeorge

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Bizzlebin said:
And yet even they were not ordained priests. Interesting...
And yet Our Lord commissioned them to teach and evangelise men...Strange, since St. Paul, (I'm told), "clearly" forbids this.....even more interesting... ;)
 

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ozgeorge said:
And yet Our Lord commissioned them to teach and evangelise men...Strange, since St. Paul, (I'm told), "clearly" forbids this.....even more interesting... ;)
It wasn't in Church, and it wasn't preaching, so no connection.
 

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No, the Lord didn't tell them to teach, just to announce that He is Risen; proclamation and instruction are different. Yes, they were to tell the men that He rose, but they weren't part of His inner circle, they didn't receive the straight-talk that He gave the 12 ("ahh, now you speak plainly" and etc.), and according to the accounts of Pentecost they weren't part of the original group to receive the spirit.

Does this make them inferior? Of course not. But their mission was different without being lower.
 

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Bizzlebin, I don't know. So sorry. I quoted from the book exactly, and that's all that was printed.

ozgeorge, women can certainly talk to men, but the restriction on evangelizing/teaching/etc. is in the venue, i.e., not the temple.
 

ozgeorge

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Sarah said:
"A woman does not become a priest (or priestess)."
We knew that. Ive said the same thing on this thread. Isn't that what the discussion is about?

Sarah said:
"The Church has never appointed women presbyters or priests."
We knew that. Ive said the same thing on this thread. Isn't that what the discussion is about?

Sarah said:
"The appointment of women priests to stand before goddesses is a delusion of Hellenic godlessness, and not a decree of Christ." Apostolic Constitutions (c. 375 A.D.)
Unfortunately we don't worship godesses or godlessly, so this Canon doesn't clarify things much either.

Sarah said:
"It is not permitted for a woman to speak in the Church. Neither may she teach, baptize, offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice, nor claim for herself any function proper to a man, least of all the sacerdotal (priestly) office." Tertullian
You're quoting someone whose teachings were denounced as heresy.

Sarah said:
"Deaconesses are forbidden to cense before the All-Pure Mysteries, or to take in their hands the sacramental fans, which is strictly the deacon's function."
The practices of Deaconesses changed. We've said this before on this thread- including me.
Nevertheless, at Vespers in Orthodox convents, when no Priest is present, who censes the Holy Table?
 

ozgeorge

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Sarah said:
"The appointment of women priests to stand before goddesses is a delusion of Hellenic godlessness, and not a decree of Christ." Apostolic Constitutions (c. 375 A.D.)
And doesn't this decree also seem to indicate what was suggested on this thread before that the exclusion of women from the Christian priesthood was a cultural reaction to pagan worship?
 

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Look, ozgeorge, Asteriktos was asking for quotes. I simply gave them to him. If you had read my post, as you have accused others of not doing to yours, you would have realized that.
 

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Sarah said:
Look, ozgeorge, Asteriktos was asking for quotes. I simply gave them to him. If you had read my post, as you have accused others of not doing to yours, you would have realized that.
I do realise that. I'm sorry, I wasn't attacking you- I should have removed your name from the quote fuction.
 

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Sarah,

Look, ozgeorge, Asteriktos was asking for quotes.  I simply gave them to him.  If you had read my post, as you have accused others of not doing to yours, you would have realized that.
Actually.... what I was asking Montalban to provide evidence for was the idea that a distinction can be made between "Tradition" and "traditions". I don't deny the need for the type of clarification that such a distinction provides, I am merely asking an Orthodox Christian what patristic support he has for his position. That seems like the standard he would hold others to. I'm just being fair and balanced. :) If it is such an obvious and important position, I would think that he would be able to come up with a quote like:

"And now you all know, of course, that a tradition like apostolic succession is different from a tradition like sitting while the Psalms are read at the service..." - Some Father, Some Work, 5, 43, 21
 

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But about the quote I quoted above, do you know if that is one of the canons from the Eighth Ecumenical Council? That would settle it once and for all, if so.
How so? Canons from Ecumenical Councils have been discarded and ignored for 1,681 years (give or take a few months), why would a canon from a Council that the overwhelming majority of Orthodox don't consider Ecumenical "settle it once and for all"? Did Nicea settle once and for all the common practice of a bishop committing spiritual and pastoral adultery--ie. moving from city to city? No, the canon was disregarded almost as soon as the ink was dried.
 

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Asteriktos said:
How so? Canons from Ecumenical Councils have been discarded and ignored for 1,681 years (give or take a few months), why would a canon from a Council that the overwhelming majority of Orthodox don't consider Ecumenical "settle it once and for all"? Did Nicea settle once and for all the common practice of a bishop committing spiritual and pastoral adultery--ie. moving from city to city? No, the canon was disregarded almost as soon as the ink was dried.
By some, not by all. Remember that every parish and church doesn't treat the canons like dirt. I tend to think those kind of things are the exception, too; all the Orthodox I know outside of OC.net are very interested in the canons and keeping them.
 

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Asteriktos said:
How so? Canons from Ecumenical Councils have been discarded and ignored for 1,681 years (give or take a few months), why would a canon from a Council that the overwhelming majority of Orthodox don't consider Ecumenical "settle it once and for all"? Did Nicea settle once and for all the common practice of a bishop committing spiritual and pastoral adultery--ie. moving from city to city? No, the canon was disregarded almost as soon as the ink was dried.
Actually, the Photian Synod is considered to have the weight of ecumenicity by most of hte Orthodox, but we don't call it "Ecumenical" because of our dialogues with the Catholics. BUt if you see, the canons hold force within the church as if it were, and the decrees as well.
 

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Bizzlebin said:
Again, what set the Ecumenical Council so high? That is the real authority. It is indeed the Church, because the Church gives authority to Councils, not vice versa.
That's not how I read Church History...the Oecumenical Synods' authority is derived from the Imperial Authority.

Bizzlebin said:
But about the quote I quoted above, do you know if that is one of the canons from the Eighth Ecumenical Council? That would settle it once and for all, if so.
OK, First of all there are only Seven (7) Oecumenical Synods, none of the subsequent Imperial Synods have been received by the Church as Oecumenical, though the Frist-Second Synod under Photios is certainly held above most other non-Oecumenical Imperial Synods. Secondly, no, the canon was not promulgated by the First-Second Synod.

Furthermore, before summoning Photios to your defence perhaps a more precise reference could be given than 'Canon Law of St. Photius (9th century)'...I mean if you're referencing a quote in defence of your posistion surely you have access to the primary source so that you are aware of the context, right?...right?

Unfortunately, I lack the context (and am unwilling to do someone else's research for them) so an informed comment is impossible; however, a quick look at the translation seems to imply that the term 'does not,' rather than 'cannot,' is used; implying two things, the canon is part of a greater context and that it's not a prohibition against the ordination of women.

Bizzlebin said:
By some, not by all. Remember that every parish and church doesn't treat the canons like dirt. I tend to think those kind of things are the exception, too; all the Orthodox I know outside of OC.net are very interested in the canons and keeping them.
As tempted as I am to go into the proper interpretations and applications of canon law, being not absolute commandments but 'temporal manifestations of eternal truths;' unfortunately, I really don't have the time or energy right now...so I'll simply ask this, no inter-christian marriages at your parish? or anyone have a Jewish doctor? ::)
 

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Bizzlebin

Gregory the Theologian didn't seem too concerned with keeping that particular canon, otherwise he'd never have gone to Constantinople... his opponents, the semi-Arians, were the ones who were trying to "keep the canons" in that case. And Orthodox bishops violate that canon all the time. Just read the biographies of the Patriarchs of Constantinople in the 20th century... one of them wwa in almost every single Orthodox Patriarchate as bishop!


Cleveland,

To be honest, I very much doubt that most Orthodox have even heard of the Photian synod(s), but I was trying to not seem condescending, which I'm not trying to be, but it's the truth, most haven't. And I would agree that they are binding in Orthodox theology, at least as far as any other pan-Orthodox council is binding (ie. take what you like and call it settled doctrine/dogma, ignore what you don't like). However, I don't see what the Catholic part of the equation has to do with it... are the Catholics going to reject their Photian Council, ie. the one that condemned Photius a few years prior to the Orthdoox Photian Council? The Catholics call their Photian Council Ecumenical, even if an attempt has been made in recent years to "rehabilitate" the reputation of Photius in the Catholic Church. But as I already mentioned, it doesn't really matter, since the canons that are liked are applied, and the canons that aren't are ignored. This is especially helpful when the canons contradict each other (e.g., affirming different Old Testament canons), ya know? ;)
 

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Wouldn't many canonists argue that the First-Second and a few others have Ecumenical weight within the Church?
 

Bizzlebin

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greekischristian said:
That's not how I read Church History...the Oecumenical Synods' authority is derived from the Imperial Authority.

OK, First of all there are only Seven (7) Oecumenical Synods, none of the subsequent Imperial Synods have been received by the Church as Oecumenical, though the Frist-Second Synod under Photios is certainly held above most other non-Oecumenical Imperial Synods. Secondly, no, the canon was not promulgated by the First-Second Synod.
They called the Ecumenical Councils, yes, but they also called other councils which were not. So, it cannot be the deciding factor.

Actually there are 9 Ecumenical Councils, or so say the Patriarchates and their Synods.

Do you have a list of the canons from that Council we could all read?
 

greekischristian

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cleveland said:
Wouldn't many canonists argue that the First-Second and a few others have Ecumenical weight within the Church?
Technically the synod would probably be placed just below the Oecumenical Synods, along with the other Imperial Synods, but the Imperial Synods do hold a universal authority of sorts and the First-Synod is the highest of these Synods.

Of course, this isn't relevant to the conversation since statement presented isn't even in a canon from that Synod.
 

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Oh... all I saw was a mention of it... but obviously, proof still needs to be provided.
 

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Asteriktos said:
Gregory the Theologian didn't seem too concerned with keeping that particular canon, otherwise he'd never have gone to Constantinople... his opponents, the semi-Arians, were the ones who were trying to "keep the canons" in that case. And Orthodox bishops violate that canon all the time. Just read the biographies of the Patriarchs of Constantinople in the 20th century... one of them wwa in almost every single Orthodox Patriarchate as bishop!
Even saints aren't perfect, but that doesn't make his actions any more right. At the same time, we must consider the spirit of the canon, too (not saying this is the case here, but in general). And I will have to refrain from comment on the canonicity of recent Patriarchs of Constantinople :p
 

greekischristian

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Bizzlebin said:
Do you have a list of the canons from that Council we could all read?
The canons of the synod are listed in the Pedalion as well as in the Syntagma.
 
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