Tuesday, December 2, 2014


An Orthodox view of Pope and Patriarch's Turkish encounter

This interview is far from the polemical and ideological extremism of some Orthodox Christians:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ visit to Turkey, which concluded on Sunday, came exactly 35 years after the setting up of a joint international commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The principle purpose of the three day visit was to celebrate the feast of St Andrew together with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew 1st, spiritual leader of the Orthodox world.

Following the Pope’s latest encounter with the Patriarch in Istanbul, and the signing of a joint declaration, many observers are asking how much this successful papal visit can influence the painstaking work of the theological commission.

Archdeacon Dr John Chryssavgis is theological advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and served as media coordinator during the Pope’s visit to Turkey. On the final day of the trip Philippa Hitchen talked with him about the long term consequences of this important ecumenical encounter…

If the player doesn't work, go the the Vatican website and listen to it there by pressing this sentence.



Anonymous said...

And then there's this, from some Orthodox bishops and abbots:

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The link above which highlights the more extremist position in Orthodoxy confirms what I have been telling Marc all along. If you note the last sentence of the article, before the "read more" section, what the Orthodox want for a unified Church is for both the East and West to go back to the time before 1054's Great Schism.

Truly ridiculous and extremist, but so many schismatics or those tending toward it are this way.

Anonymous said...

I would like to invite everyone to this blog.No it's my personal site but it's informative and interesting.

Anonymous said...

Thank you posting blog link.Sorry meant to say It's not my blog.(darn typos)

Marc said...

Fr. McDonald, when you write, "...the more extremist position in Orthodoxy...[,]" it gives people the impression that you have some understanding of Orthodox doctrine, and that after some study of it, you have concluded that this position is one that is not the norm and is extreme.

And on that point, you would be wrong. The position may seem "extreme" to you, but it is the norm within Orthodoxy.

So, it would be more accurate for you to write, "...the extremist position of Orthodoxy."

Anonymous said...

How fragmented is the Orthodox Church? You write about Orthodox like it is one unified monolithic operation, but aren't there many of them? What divides them and if there is any hope for reunification with Rome isn't it first necessary to unify the Orthodox? Or maybe there are groups within the Orthodox that are more amiable to a union?

qwikness said...

Is it possible for some Orthodox Churches to end the schism while others stay separated? Or do they have to rejoin one and all? It seems the Russian Orthodox are the most stubborn.

Marc said...

Anonymous, those are good questions. There is one universal Church composed of local Churches. Where the bishop is, there is the Church. So, the communion of the unviersal Chuch is the communion of all the bishops professing the same Faith.

There is really an extraordinary universality within Orthodoxy in terms of doctrine and the liturgy. In America, however, due to immigration patterns, you see various nationalities before the Church's' names. All are part of the one Church. This is kind of similar to the old Polish, Italian, or German Catholiic parishes. If this is what leads you to comment that the Orthodox are not unified, I understand what you mean. But, this is an anomaly and really doesn't divide the faith since everyone is in communion with everyone else and believes the same doctrine.

Just last week, I attended both a Greek Orthodox Church and a Russian Orthodox Church. They are part of the same universal Church, profess the same faith, and celebrate the same liturgy with some very slight variations.

Some people think that certain patriarchs are more amiable to a reunion with a Rome than others. Patriarchs have made a false Union before. And that resulted in someone like St. Mark of Ephesus standing up against them... Only God knows.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc all you say is true of the True Church and the Orthodox Church partially holds this truth after the Great Schism. She is not in full communion with Saint Peter as she was prior to 1054. Thus, we pray for the day when she returns to the fold of Saint Peter to profess the same faith together, when she, who is a part of the Catholic Church but not completely because of her schism, returns tot eh full communion of the Church with Saint Peter which she left to the Lord's great sadness. For you specifically, Marc, now in a very serious state of mortal sin that of schism and thus automatic excommunication, all you need do is go to confession to have that excommunication lift. I mean this in all seriousness and with fear and trembling for your salvation. You are not in a state of ignorance about the true Church united to the Bishop of Rome and your departure is through your own fault and perhaps arrogance.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Quickness, not all of the East went into Schism in 1054, some maintained unity with the Bishop of Rome and suffered greatly at the schismatic hands of their brothers and sisters. Others having departed returned a many years, centuries later.

In fact to all of the national Churches of Orthodoxy there is a counterpart that acknowledges the Pope as they did prior to 1054.

We call them the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church, the eastern lung to the Western lung's counterpart.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Also Quickness, the liturgy of those who have maintained the first Millennium's nature of the true Church, unity with the Bishop of Rome, their liturgy is very much the liturgy of the East. You would find almost no or extremely little difference between those of the Eastern lung of the Church, the Eastern Rite maintaining the first millennium's union with the Bishop of Rome and those who are Schismatic and today called the Orthodox.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The spirituality of the older branch of the Church the East, is similar or exactly the same as the newer schismatic branch, the Orthodox who broke their historic unity with Rome in 1054.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a tendency among Catholic (and I am one here in Atlanta) to oversimplify the differences between Catholics and Orthodox---that it is basically a difference over the role of the Pope. That is an obvious difference, but there are more:
(1) the Orthodox do not acknowledge the Filioque in the Creed;
(2) The Orthodox do not accept the dogma of the Immaculate Conception;
(3) Ditto with indulgences
(4) The Orthodox do permit divorce and there is no prohibition against birth control (at least within marriage)
(5) The Orthodox, while accepting the Assumption, do not regard it as a Dogma (something essential to believe for salvation)
(6) the Orthodox practice baptism through immersion and discourage "sprinkling"
These differences are explained in a book written by an Orthodox Christian (last name Carlson)m titled "The Truth: What Every Catholic Needs to Know about the Orthodox Church."

Not realistic in my view that the Orthodox would drop these views (among others", come back to Rome and say "oh, we've been wrong for the last 960 years!"

Marc said...

Fr. McDonald, I sincerely appreciate your concern for my immortal soul.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Anonymous @ 9AM: The newer branch of the eastern Church, the schismatic one, does not accept what you highlight. However, the older branch, the historic one, that did not go into schism, what we now call the Eastern Rite, the historic eastern Church, do accept all the the Church teaches to be revealed by God.

Православный физик said...

mustAnon at 9 am, that is definitely a good book. I do feel as though for the 1st point, in hindsight, perhaps the filioque should not have been added to the creed...but then again in the East, there wasn't a heresy on the Trinity to deal with as in the West. Point two is to do with the Eastern Theology on grace (Most Eastern Liturgical calendars refer to Dec 8 as the Maternity of St Anne or Conception of the Theotokos in Joachim and Anna instead of the Immaculate Conception...Theological language seems to be the source of many of the problems.

Marc said...

The Conception of the Theotokos is celebrated on December 9th in the East. This is the day after the Immaculate Conception Feast in the West. There are three conceptions and births celebrated by the Church: St. John the Baptist , the Virgin Mary, and Christ.

The birth of St. John the Baptist is celebrated nine months plus one day after the celebration of his conception.

The birth of Virgin Mary is celebrated nine months minus one day after the celebration of her conception.

The birth of Christ is celebrated exactly nine months after the celebration of his conception.

In ordering the calendar in this way, the Church is telling us that when one is conceived and born in the normal human way, the date of delivery cannot be predicted. This illustrates, then, that Christ's conception and birth are extraordinary.

Anonymous said...

Follow-up from this morning (Anonymous from Georgia's capital city), the Orthodox also do not believe in purgatory.

Orthodox view as fundamental the equality of bishops---no one bishop is superior to another, any more than say, the bishop of Savannah has any authority over a parish across the Savannah River in the Diocese of Charleston. In their view, there is only one bishop a diocese, not one bishop looking over another bishop in a diocese. The Patriarch of Constantinople is first among equals. He is not, per se, a spokesman for all Orthodox, any more than the (Anglican) Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is the spokesman for all Anglicans.

Both Catholics and Orthodox say that the other split from the original Church in 1054. Given this standoff, it is hard to see any reasonable grounds for uniting of the two.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Very well written and true. (Do the Orthodox though pray for the dead, and if so why?)
It seems to me that Pope St.John Paul II was willing to consider ways to make the papacy more appealing or in line with the "equal among equals" and I think certainly Pope Francis is trying to actually do it as was evident with his visit to the Patriarch last week.

It seems that in ecumenical dialogue with not only the Orthodox, but Protestants, Catholics are more willing to accommodate but the others aren't. Am I misreading this?

Marc said...

Orthodox do pray for the dead because prayers for the dead are efficacious. Here's an explanation of the teaching, if you're interested:

There are many days throughout the year set aside for prayer for the dead in general, in addition there are prayers said for specific individuals at certain times dating from the date of the person's death.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Efficacious for what if they are in heaven (completely)? They don't need our prayers, we need theirs.

If there is no purification or purgation at the moment of judgment, or being made perfect by God's mercy, why pray for them?

And of course praying for someone in hell is useless.

Marc said...

If you read the excerpt I linked, it will answer your questions.

Anonymous said...

Fr. McDonnell: Regarding the issue of praying for those who may already be in heaven. I was just looking at Susan Tassone's website yesterday (she's one who promotes prayer for the Holy Souls) and here's something that addresses the issue:

1. Are my prayers wasted if the soul is already in heaven?

No prayer is ever wasted with God. If the soul is already in heaven it receives an increase in their intimacy of God’s love, and an increase in their own intercessory power. St. Thomas Aquinas calls this “accidental glory.” God is never outdone in generosity.

Anonymous said...

Help me out Bee. Are you saying that there are classes....castes, in heaven...discrimination against some, special treatment for others?

George said...

Anonymous @9:00 AM:
"2) The Orthodox do not accept the dogma of the Immaculate Conception:"

This is because of the Eastern view on Original Sin. From what I remember reading about it, they believe we inherit the effects of the Sin of Adam but not the sin itself.

This is dogma for Catholics as is the Assumption and both of these must be accepted and believed in for anyone faithful to the True Church.

The merits of prayers and sacrifices go to where they are needed. This would answer the situation of praying for those deceased who are either in Heaven or Hell. In both of these cases they are not needed and in the case of the person in Hell would be of no benefit whatsoever as they would be for those who are in Purgatory. The person in Heaven who receives accidental glory is adding to the merits of the Divine Treasury through intercessory prayer.The merits deriving from prayer and sacrifice are not wasted.True.

Anonymous said...

85 miles up the road from Macon, here in the Atlanta Archdiocese, Archbishop Gregory and the Greek Orthodox bishop of Atlanta meet twice a year in a joint "gathering" at which some scripture is read, hymns sung and a homily or two delivered. A somewhat subdued event though, as each prelate basically just wears choir dress---no miter, no cope (of course a chasuble would not be worn since this is not a Mass).

With regard to Fr. McDonald's point about the Orthodox not accepting our sacraments, the Orthodox position indeed is that they are not valid, except perhaps baptism. And this has to do with their view that the West, not the East, broke from the original Church. "the fact is...from the Orthodox Christian perspective...the unity of the Church already exists in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, that is, the Orthodox Church. Ecumenical unity will take place when the various churches...which make up the Christian world return to the teachings and practices of the Church before it was divided into so many groups and sects." (From book The Orthodox Church, 455 Questions and Answers,1987, by Stanley Harakas, former dean of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in the Boston area, page 111.)

George said...

Anonymous @ 5:10

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451(well before the schism), it was said "Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo [the then-reigning Pope Leo I].The matter is closed. Let him who will not listen to Leo be anathema."
In other words what the Pope decides or proclaims take precedence over any council.

The Council of Florence (1438-45), ruled that the words "and the Son" had been validly added to the Creed. The Eastern Orthodox originally accepted the authority of the Council of Florence, but later rejected it.

Marc said...

If the pope takes precedence over the councils, they could have saved a lot of time and effort by simply asking the pope instead of calling together all the bishops in council. And Chalcedon is a good example to show that no one believed in papal infallibility or supremacy since after that council a large portion of the church disagreed and left.

Peter speaks through every bishop who professes the Orthdoox Christian Faith.

For the Orthodox, the people have to accept a council for it to be ecumenical. The people rejected the false Union at Florence.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

With this terribly flawed logic when it is brought to its flawed logic conclusion, every priest then is a bishop and also Peter.

And Marc, really, you've become this democratic while rejecting so much of Vatican II as populace when you stilled were in full communion with the true Church?

Marc said...

I don't see how it follows that every priest is a bishop...

I disagree with you when you claim Vatican II was populist (I assume that's what you meant).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I don't claim Vatican II was populist but many who interpret it certainly do, which I believe you rejected at the time you were Catholic which was a good thing, and now as a Schismatic you accept it for your current Church.

I'm speaking of flawed logic brought to its conclusion. Bishops are not Peter except the Bishop of Rome, pure and simple. Priests are not bishops.

Marc said...

All bishops are the successors of the Apostles of whom St. Peter was chief. So, when a bishop professes the Orthodox Catholic Faith, he is speaking with the voice of St. Peter and the Apostles because he is professing the faith of the Apostles. Professing the faith of the Apostles doesn't make one a bishop, which is the logical problem you are suggesting.

Roman Catholic apologetics imposes the anachronistic idea of the modern papacy whenever there is a reference to St. Peter. From the idea that St. Peter was the chief of the Apostles, it does not follow that the current bishops of Rome are the "Supreme Pontiff" or infallible. But, the logic is collapsed so that any reference to St. Peter is seen as a justification for the second millennium papal claims.

As for your other point about populism, I don't really understand what you're getting at. I have always rejected clericalism, if that's what you're trying to say. I don't think that the opposite of clericalism is democracy, though. And the Church isn't democratic--it does, however, involve a more mystical understanding than a mere top-down imposition of doctrine and practice. I have always thought that should be the case, which is why as a Roman Catholic I attempted to do what I could at the local level to support fixes in the liturgy and doctrine. Unfortunately, the clericalism is so ingrained that I was always met with resistance.

Anyway, I don't think that has much to do with the idea that the people must accept a council for it to be ecumenical. After all, the people are part of the ecumene, aren't they?

Gene said...

I do not really have a dog in this fight, but it does seem to me that East and West each have a strong claim to Apostolic succession. I am not sure they are mutually exclusive Church history-wise and theology-wise. Certainly, let us pray that God recognizes both claims, remembering that God is bigger than either Church. I prefer Catholic theology and I believe the Papacy to be historically supportable and necessary (although current events are shaking that tree). Whatever dialogue there may be needs to be more than shaking our Crucifixes at each other and saying, "you're going to Hell…nananana-boo-boo."
Perhaps the first thing Eastern and Western Catholics will receive in Heaven is a stern lecture from Jesus on the Filioque….and pride.

Marc said...

Gene, will you please attempt to articulate why you think the papacy is "necessary"?

Gene said...

Marc, Perhaps "necessary" is the wrong word in the philosophical sense. It seems to me that Christ established a head of the Church in Peter and that this succession was intended by Christ. That the Pope is Christ's Vicar on earth is, in principle, an important
concept as a last word in faith and morals. Councils are not always such a good thing and there is ample historical evidence for that, some of which you have cited in past posts. After being protestant for all those years and seeing what a chaotic mess protestantism has become, the Papacy is a welcome structure.

Marc said...

Gene, setting aside the logical leap one has to take to get from the person of St. Peter to the bishops of Rome as "vicar of Christ," I'm curious how you can reconcile the reality of the papacy with the conception that you're discussing.

In other words, I agree with you that the idea of having one person as the last word on issues of faith and morals is solid. In reality, though, is the Catholic Church actually less of a "chaotic mess" as a result of the papacy? With the development of the papacy, the very idea of communion has changed to the point that, for the Catholic Church, to be in communion means nothing more and nothing less than being in communion with the Pope. In turn, little is required for one to be in communion with the Pope--one can be an SSPX attendee or a part of the Alleluia Community or a subscriber to the Neo-Catechumenal Way. This modern conception of communion is the very cause of theological pluralism and has led to a "big tent" Catholicism.

In theory, a pope could resolve that by actually proclaiming doctrine and requiring something more than "submission" to establish communion.

To avoid the chaotic mess, though, the answer is for the people to adhere to the doctrine. That is what Protestantism is lacking, right? It isn't that it lacks one person deciding: it lacks the very idea that there is something objective exterior to the believer that is true. You could resolve that problem by having people submit to a person's jurisdiction (as in the papacy), or you could have people submit to the doctrine itself (as preserved, taught, and handed down by the bishops).

I would agree that, when the Catholic Church is more healthy and has better leaders, this is what the papacy can accomplish. But it is far from necessary, as the very existence of Orthodox Churches (both Eastern and Oriental) demonstrates.

I might need to rework this later after thinking about it a little bit more, but I'm going to go ahead and submit this to further the discussion.

Gene said...

Marc, I really cannot disagree with you in general. I was, of course, speaking of an ideal situation in the Church. However, I do not see that submission to doctrine is any better because, as you know, doctrine can be interpreted and mis-interpreted in many ways.
Doctrine is also a very abstract concept to many of the flock who are not theologically trained. One might compare it to what the law has become in our more and more Dickensian legal system. One man, one Office, speaking infallibly on faith and morals seems to me to be (appealing to the Church at her best, understand) highly desirable.
You are absolutely correct in what you say about "being in communion with Rome." Come one, come all…except traditional Catholics, of course. To allow outrages like Pelosi and Biden receiving Communion while Priests everywhere fuss at devout Catholics for kneeling or receiving on the tongue is not only ludicrous, it is harmful to believers everywhere.

Gene said...

Marc, understand also that I take your arguments very seriously. After knowing you and discussing theology with you in person while you were here and then on email, your move East was very sobering for me. It has caused me to struggle with some issues of my own, which is not a bad thing. Many of your arguments are very compelling…I pity the poor bastards that have to face you in court.

George said...

Marc, from what I've read (can you comment on this?)there are some in the East who hold the view that Roman Catholic sacraments are valid and licit. There are others who hold that they are valid but defective. To the more conservative of the Orthodox they are invalid. Therein lies a crucial difference between the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox. Since we have someone at the head of our Church (The Holy Father) we as a Church can speak with one voice on doctrinal matters. While on many aspects of their doctrine there is a consensus,since the Eastern churches are conciliar, a confederation of ecclesial communities, there is no unified voice which communicates every teaching with conformity and consistency.As far as the filioque phrase which was the "straw that broke the camels back" so to speak, there is plenty of scriptural support for the Roman position.John 14:7 "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father". In John 11:30 Christ says, "The Father and I are one." Christ was begotten of the Father we hold to be true. This tells us thar Christ is one in being with the Father. We do not have dual Gods because that would not be compatible with Who God is, that is He for Whom there cannot be a co-existent separate other God who is also equal. God is God because He is above all and there is no other equal.So there is a Unity of Substance, Being and Essence, and a diversity- a Trinity of Persons. Now, if as Christ says "The Father and I are one", cannot we hold that the Spirit also proceeds from Him? Is it the Eastern Orthodox position that we deny that the Son's eternal participation is intrinsic to the Spirit's procession? I believe that the Son eternally participates with the Father in the procession of the Holy Spirit, that together each Person accounts for a procession of the Spirit This does not mean that there cannot exists differences in the matter of how this procession occurs.There are other texts that can support the Church's position on this such as John 20:22, Galatians 4:6, Philippians 1:19, and Roms 8:9. The Orthodox we know do not accept our interpretation on this but I don't see how they can conclude that the Catholic Chuch came to it's position without any substantial scriptural support or development from Sacred Tradition .The Eastern Orthodox communion and the Roman Catholic communion view binding Church authority quite differently and have a fundamentally different approach to theological insight and development.

George said...

Is there anyone in recent Orthodox history that compares to St (Padre) Pio (who passed away in 1968)? Even if he had not been canonized, he would be among the greatest mystics in the Church, East or West. The Catholic Church has it all - stigmatists,mystical theologians, councils, the papacy, the priesthood, consecrated religious, seven Sacraments, devotions and indulgences,Lourdes and Fatima, the Vatican library, great cathedrals and works of art and to top all that off, the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What more could one find elsewhere?

Marc said...

Gene, thank you for your compliments. Our discussions, as you know, are very important to me and have proven invaluably fruitful for many reasons.

I think that your point assumes that there could be misinterpretations of doctrine on a somewhat regular basis. I don't think this is necessarily true for a Church that doesn't engage in doctrinal development. The doctrines are all set and have been set now for over 1,000 years. There's nothing really to debate--it's just a matter of believing the doctrines as we have received them.

If, on the other hand, your church were to invent problems by, for example, holding a synod to discuss how to value homosexuals, you're going to end up opening up for doctrinal misinterpretation.

Of course, no group of people is perfect. I'm sure there are just as many lukewarm Orthodox as there are Roman Catholics. But, there is not a widespread neglect of the faith amongst the clergy in Orthodoxy. There are many reasons for that that become clear the more one experiences the Orthodox liturgical life.

Marc said...

George, I'm sure there are some Orthodox who hold that Roman Catholic sacraments are valid. This is not the accepted understanding for the ecclesiological reasons that I have written about elsewhere. However, it is common amongst Orthodox to hear that we know where the Church is, but we do not know where the Church is not. This is a recognition that God saves whomever he wills.

It is a mistake to think that the Orthodox do not speak with one voice on doctrinal matters.

As for the scriptural support for the filioque, the fact is that the Creed is quoting Christ, who said that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. The rejection of the filioque is multi-faceted, as we are discussing here.

Finally, there are many great saints of the 20th Century in the Orthodox Church. I am particularly fond of St. Nektarios the Wonderworker, who reposed in 1920. Also, we just celebrated on Tuesday a newly canonized saint--St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia, who reposed in 1991. There are also many hundreds or even thousands of saints who were martyred at the hands of the atheists in the 20th century during the communist revolutions.

So, there are many great saints, in addition to many of the saints with whom you'd be familiar--yesterday was St. John of Damascus, tomorrow is St. Nicholas and Sunday is St. Ambrose of Milan, for example.

George said...


Thanks for providing the names of some recent Orthodox saints. I'll have to read up on them. I know that the Orthodox have their saints. Our Churches do have saints in common and some of them are the ones you mentioned- St John of Damascus, St. Nicholas and St. Ambrose of Milan. What is the Orthodox view toward someone such as St (Padre) Pio? There are people still living today who met and knew him and could testify to his holiness.

Gene said...

Marc, Your pointer about doctrine being fixed is a good one. Doctrine should be fixed and not toyed with. I am always suspicious when someone begins talking about doctrinal development or doctrinal evolution. I mean, just what part of the Creed do they not understand?
When someone says "the Bible (or the US Constitution) is a living document," it is merely an attempt to lay the groundwork for re-interpretation in humanist/modernist terms.
So, I believe that doctrine should be fixed, as well, or certainly Christology, Doctrine of God, Doctrine of Reconciliation, Doctrine of Creation….the Creeds, basically. Theoretically, in the Roman Church, that is true. But, it was supposed to be true in Calvinist and Lutheran churches and look what happened to them.
I would appreciate your speculation as to why more Orthodox Priests are true believers? Is it because the East is less urban, less technological? Is it because they had no "Enlightenment," that accursed moment in Western history?

Marc said...

George, it's hard to say. Orthodox generally don't believe in stigmata since it goes against the a Orthodox conception of holiness. So, I think the answer is that God could save Padre Pio, but the matter of his "holiness" might be debatable from an Orthodox perspective. Note that I'm not doubting it and I don't think many would, I'm just using his name here since you mentioned him.

Gene, my guess is that the liturgical life keeps priests in line. Here's part of the prayers from today's Matins:

O Nicholas, manifestly you protected
the Church * of Christ with the utmost zeal, refuting godless beliefs * and doctrines of heresies, * censuring them with candor. * And for all you were clearly * Orthodoxy's rule of faith and great intercessor * for all who would follow your divine teachings and conferences.

The whole thing is here:

Keeping the doctrines is celebrated in Orthodoxy on a regular basis. Prayers regularly include a petition to be kept from evil heresies. One Sunday in Lent is the Sunday of Orthodoxy. On that day at Cathedrals and some parishes, a list of heresies is read and the people shout "Anathema!" after each one.

Gene said...

Marc, I don't know…that answer seems to simple…although, perhaps it is that simple. Praying the Rosary daily does it for me individually, but clearly not for others. I keep wanting to look for some cultural difference as the answer. Maybe I am reaching...

George said...

We know that the Catholic Church worldwide is much larger than the Orthodox communion. In large part this is because missionaries from countries in Western Europe over the last few hundred years traveled to Africa and Asia spreading the gospel. This according to the command of Christ to the apostles, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel". Much of this growth in the Catholic Church has occurred since the schism. Can it therefore be concluded (not without reason) that the Orthodox Church developed in such a way as to become self-referential? What are your thoughts on this?
Another thing. If the Orthodox Church at the time of the Schism considered the Roman Catholic Church to be schismatic (as they still do), why did they not retain Catholic in their name? For a thousand years after Christ there was only the Catholic Church. After 1054, there still existed The Catholic Church and its Apostolic seat was still in Rome. After 1054 there came into being a church with a different name: Eastern Orthodox. Also does that name not imply that there exists a Western Orthodox church?
I do think make an intersting point about the Divine liturgy helping to keep the Orthodox doctrinally in line.

A list of SOME well-known Catholic saints since the the schism with the Eastern Orthodox (Anselm lived during the Schism). All the saints below are amazing but go read a book one of the lesser known ones (such as Francis of Paolo). Talking about a great mystic- he raised both people and animals
from the dead. I just don't know how Orthodox could dimiss those in the list below as not being persons of great holiness.

Isidore the Farmer
Bernard of Clairvaux
Thomas Becket
Hildegard of Bingen

Francis of Assisi
Anthony of Padua
Elizabeth of Hungary
Rose of Viterbo
Clare of Assisi

Margaret of Hungary
Louis IX
Thomas Aquinas
Albert the Great

Margaret of Cortona
Vincent Ferrer
Joan of Arc
Bernard of Siena
Rita of Cascia
Catherine of Bologna
Casimir of Poland

Francis of Paola
Thomas More
Angela Merici
Francis Xavier
Ignatius of Loyola

Teresa of Avila
Margaret Clitherow
Catherine de Ricci
Aloysius Gonzaga
Philip Neri
Peter Canisius
Germaine Cousin

Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
Rose of Lima
John Berchmans
Robert Bellarmine
Francis de Sales

Martin de Porres
Peter of Alcantara
Stanislaus Kostka
Edmund Campion
Jane Frances de Chantal
Isaac Jogues
Peter Claver
Vincent de Paul
Joseph of Cupertino
John Eudes
Kateri Tekakwitha
Oliver Plunkett
Margaret Mary Alacoque

Louis Marie de Montfort,
Gerard Majella,
Alphonsus Liguori,
Elizabeth Ann Seton
Vincent Pallotti

John Mary Vianney
Peter Julian Eymard
Catherine Laboure
Bernadette Soubirous

Maria Goretti
Gemma Galgani
Frances Xavier Cabrini
Maximilian Kolbe

St (Padre)Pio of Pietrelcina
Faustina Kowalska

Marc said...

George, the Orthodox Church does refer to itself as the Catholic Church. And the One Church before the schism called itself both Catholic and Orthodox. Remember that St. John of Damascus wrote the first catechism, and it was called An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.

I don't think the Orthodox Church is self-referential in the way you're thinking. If you look around on the internet, you'll see tons of missionary activity is going on all over the world.

As for saints, there are many articles by Orthodox writers discussing various Roman Catholic saints. I'm just not going into that territory because it would be too polemical for this forum.

Gene said...

The bar for Sainthood in the Roman Church has been lowered considerably….

George said...

"The Orthodox Church does refer to itself as the Catholic Church." Interesting. In everything I've read about the Orthodox Church, I've seen the names of political subdivisions i.e. Russian, Greek etc., but nowhere have I seen the term Catholic . We have two of these churches in Macon: Holy Cross Greek Orthodox and St Innocent Orthodox Christian (yes that is its full name). I know that in the Eastern Rites in full communion with Rome you have among others the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church. I find it interesting that there is no Greek Orthodox Catholic Church. Oh well, that designation will come about one day when we are unified again.
Since the Catholic church holds that the Sacraments of the East are valid, then we can see from that how there could be saints in the history of the Orthodox Church since the schism. If the Eastern Orthodox holds that our sacraments are invalid, then the list of Catholic saints above who lived since the schism would seem to present a big problem. Which is why (a possible reason?) some of the Orthodox do consider our sacraments to be valid...

Gene: perhaps, but not in the enumeration above. By the way, just a listing of English saints and blesseds would comprise a much longer list,let alone the rest of Europe. In fact I left off many and at least two more that should be on the above list, Catherine of Siena and Therese of Lisieux.

George said...

I mentioned in my comment above that missionaries from countries in Western Europe over the last few hundred years traveled to Africa and Asia spreading the gospel. For some reason it had slipped my mind that the introduction and spread of the Catholic faith in North, South and Central America also came after the Schism. It is interesting to me that at that time there was not that much difference in the size of the churches as there is today.
In my research so far I came across the name Mikhail Posnov. He was a Russian historian and theologian. His study of the history of the early Church "The History of the Christian Church Until the Great Schism of 1054" led him to recognize the teaching authority of the Bishop of Rome. This sounds like a good one to read.

Corey Bruns said...

We had Deacon Dr. Chrysvaggis stay with us at our seminary when he gave a talk on campus earlier in the semester. One of the best talks I think the Theology department has sponsored in a long time and the discussions that occurred afterwards were amazing as well. I enjoyed spending some time with the Deacon, driving him around. He was a joy to talk to and a man who surely wants the church to be one again!

Unknown said...

There seems to be some confusion here regarding the unity of Orthodoxy.

The ethnic divisions mean little—they are all of the same faith.

The problem in the West, however (like in America) is that there is no native Orthodox church. Well, there is, in a way; the Russian Orthodox Church granted autocephaly to it's American parishes, which now form the Orthodox Church in America (of which Macon's St. Innocent is a member). The disunity in America regarding its ethnic parishes is (I believe) one of the issues to be discussed during the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Synod.

George, the Russians did spread the Gospel to Alaska (and a group of Greeks arrived in Florida in the 18th century; there's a shrine to St. Photios in St. Augustine). Whilst Spain was busy forcing Catholicism on the natives of North America during the 16th century, Russia had not yet been unified, and there was no other 'nations' with a 'living' Orthodox presence. It seems fallacious to declare Orthodoxy false on the basis of lack of missionary activity in an era when most of the Orthodox population in Europe lived under Ottoman domination. Russia herself only emerged as a serious European power during the reign of Peter I.

The Orthodox Church considers herself the 'One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church'. In fact, the Orthodox Church refers to herself as the Church, in the same manner 'the Church' was used by Rome prior to the Reformation. Due to the nearly ubiquitous presence of the Catholic Church in the West (excepting the Southern US), Orthodox parishes tend to avoid the term 'Catholic', so as to not cause confusion.

And yes, the Orthodox Church considers the pre-Schism Church of Rome to be the 'Western' Orthodox Church. In my experience, the qualifier 'Eastern' is generally used by non-Orthodox, not the Orthodox themselves.

mwoerl said...

Patriarch Bartholomew, and recently after the latest "extraordinary and unprecedented historical meeting" in Turkey, have named those who beg to differ with their unity agenda, as "fundamentalists."
Pope Francis stated, "we have our fundamentalists, too." The "too," relating to "Islamic fundamentalists" vs. "Islam, the Religion of Peace" remarks. Of course, the word "extremists" has been used also for those who won't jump on the bandwagon.
Today, in the public perception, after constant bombardment with the horrible outrages from 9/11, continuing ever since, culminating today in the insanity of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, is that "fundamentalists" and "extremists" are responsible for these sickening horrors.
The branding those who don't join in to praise the ecumenical nonsense is, indeed, a calculated effort to characterize those who do not raise the hurrah for ecumenism as "crazy," at the least, and at most, potentially violent.
This characterization is, of course, absolutely ridiculous. Which underscores the political basis for all the "unprecedented historical meetings" and the propaganda barrage for weeks before and after each "Big Event."
Many Orthodox know that the Orthodox Church is not "deficient" because it is not "in union with the Pope." And further, have no interest in union with the Pope. And, for holding this terribly politically incorrect belief, are condemned as "fundamentalists" and "extremists." Which only leads to the question: Where is all the "Love" now?

George said...


From what I've been able to find out there are far more Catholics in just Ukraine than Orthodox in the U.S. I didn't know that. Also, from what I've also been able to find out
(depending on which Orthodox count you believe)There are probably somewhere around an equivalent number of Catholics in Russia itself (and possibly more) than Orthodox in the U.S. (The population of the U.S. is twice that of Russia).