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Radio Replies Volume One: Greek Orthodox Church ^ | 1938 | Fathers Rumble & Carty

Posted on 05/25/2009 7:42:13 AM PDT by GonzoII

Greek Orthodox Church

306. Does the Catholic Church recognise the Greek Orthodox Church as part of itself?

No. As a matter of fact there is no one Greek Orthodox Church. There are many independent Greek Churches. They originated by rebellion against the Catholic Church in the ninth century, and have split up into many different allegiances. As long as they refuse to submit to the authority of the Catholic Church they are as much outside the Catholic Church as the Protestant variations.

307. How does the Greek Church differ from the Catholic Church?

The Greek Churches are both schismatical and heretical. They are separated from the obedience due to the authority of Christ in His true Church. They acknowledge no infallible head. They may retain valid orders and the Mass — things which Protestantism lost — but they have fallen into errors concerning the Holy Trinity, the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, and various other points of Christian doctrine.

Celledoor Bible cpdv-ebe v0.7.7 ©2009 Frederick Manligas Nacino. Some rights reserved.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
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From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist., "324

322 LG 15.
323 UR 3.
324 Paul VI, Discourse, December 14, 1975; cf. UR 1318.]

1 posted on 05/25/2009 7:42:13 AM PDT by GonzoII
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To: GonzoII

Catholicism and Orthodoxy: A Comparison

  1. An Appreciation of Orthodox Spirituality
  2. Oneness and Ecclesiology (Church Government)
  3. The Papacy
  4. The Pentarchy
  5. Caesaro-Papism
  6. Ecumenical Councils
  7. Doctrinal Development
  8. Reason and Philosophy
  9. Modernity
  10. Contraception
  11. Divorce
  12. The Sins Of Schism (The Sacking Of Constantinople, In 1204)




Orthodox Christianity possesses the seven sacraments; valid ordination, the Real Presence, a reverential understanding of Sacred Tradition, apostolic succession, a profound piety, a great history of contemplative monastic spirituality, a robust veneration of Mary and the saints, and many other truly Christian attributes. Catholics (including myself) widely admire, in particular, the sense of the sacred and the beauty and grandeur of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy (which - it should be noted - is also present in the many Byzantine or Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church), as Thomas Howard eloquently illustrates:

When I walk into an Orthodox Church ... one is immediately aware that one has stepped into the presence of what St. Paul would call the whole family in heaven and earth. You have stepped into the precincts of heaven! ... I love the Orthodox Church's spirit. I think the Orthodox Church many, many centuries ago, discovered a mode of music and worship which is timeless, which is quite apart from fashion, and which somehow answers to the mystery and the solemnity and the sacramental reality of the liturgy.

("A Conversation With Thomas Howard and Frank Schaeffer," The Christian Activist, Vol. 9, Fall/Winter 1996, p. 43)

In pointing out the differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, no disrespect is intended towards my Eastern brethren in Christ; this is simply a "comparison and contrast" for the purpose of educating inquirers who are interested in both Christian communions. My Catholic bias will be evident and should not come as a surprise to anyone. Nevertheless, I devoutly hope that I succeed in avoiding the shortcomings of triumphalism or lack of charity. And I certainly do not wish to misrepresent Orthodox views in any fashion. Catholics must believe that Orthodoxy is a part of the universal Church (commensurate with the Second Vatican Council and many recent papal encyclicals on ecumenism in general or Orthodoxy in particular). That fact alone precludes the justification of any condescension, animosity, or hostility, which is especially sinful amongst Christians (Galatians 6:10).


The Nicene Creed, adhered to by most Christians, contains the phrase, "One, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." From a Catholic ecclesiological perspective, Orthodoxy - strictly speaking - is not "one" Church, but a conglomerate of at least seventeen, each with separate governance. The Encyclopedia Britannica 11985, v.17, p. 867), states that, "Since the Russian Revolution there has been much turmoil and administrative conflict within the Orthodox Church." Although Orthodox theology is fairly homogeneous, nevertheless, a Catholic would respectfully reply that none of these "autocephalous" churches can speak with the doctrinal definitiveness which existed in the Church before 1054, and which indeed still resides in the papacy and magisterium of the Catholic Church.


Catholics assert that Orthodoxy's rejection of the papacy is inconsistent with the nature of the Church through the centuries. No one denies the existence of the papacy in some form in the early period. Orthodoxy, however, regards the authority exercised by popes historically (or which should have been exercised) as simply that of a primacy of honor, rather than a supremacy of jurisdiction over all other bishops and regional churches. To counter that claim, Catholics point to biblical Petrine evidences and the actual wielding of authority by renowned popes such as St. Leo the Great (440-61) and St. Gregory the Great (590-604), honored as saints even by the Orthodox. The papacy, according to Catholic Tradition, is a divinely-instituted office, not merely (as Orthodoxy considers the papacy and Roman supremacy) a political and historical happenstance. Rome was apostolic, and preeminent from the beginning of Christianity, whereas Constantinople (the seat of the Byzantine Empire) was not.


Orthodoxy holds to the doctrine of the pentarchy, whereby the government of the Church was to be maintained by means of the cooperation of five patriarchal sees: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem (roughly in order of importance, but Constantinople took first place in the East). This system of ecclesiology is not grounded in Scripture - as Catholics affirm with regard to the papacy. A brief examination of the history of each of these churches is instructive:

Jerusalem was overrun by the Arab Moslems in 637, and was ruled by the Moslem Turks until World War I (except for 1099-1187 under the Latins).

Antioch was notorious for heresy, succumbing successively to Docetism, Modalism, Arianism, Nestorianism, and Monophysitism. After 451, it became increasingly Monophysite. It fell to the Persians in 538 and to the Arab Moslems in 637. Many bishops and a third of the people submitted to Rome in 1724 (Metkites).

Alexandria essentially plunged into Monophysitism after the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Whatever little continuing impact it had on orthodox, Chalcedonian Christianity was pretty much swept away with the Moslem conquest of 642.

Constantinople (now Istanbul) fell prey to Arianism, Monophysitism, and Monothelitism, but later thrived as the center of the Byzantine Empire and Eastern Orthodoxy. Its claim as "New Rome" and its place as the seat of Greek Christian culture vanished with its complete overthrow by the Turkish Moslems in 1453.

Rome never succumbed to heresy. It experienced barbarian invasions, periodic moral decadence, a few weak or immoral popes, the Protestant Revolt, the "Enlightenment," Modernism, etc., but always survived and rejuvenated itself. The papacy continues unabated to this day, with venerable power and prestige.


Orthodoxy (and Eastern Catholic Christianity in the first millennium) has been plagued from the beginning with caesaro-papism , which, in effect (in terms of exercised power and jurisdiction), places the state above the church - somewhat similar to early Lutheranism and Anglicanism. In Catholicism, on the other hand, the Church is regarded as above all states, and their judge, as the carrier of God's Law, which transcends and forms the basis of man's law. Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware (Orthodox), speaks of the situation which ensued after the fall of Constantinople, and which has been a problem ever since in Orthodoxy:

"The things of Caesar now became more closely associated with the things of God than they had ever been before." He admits that there is "a sad confusion between Orthodoxy and nationalism ... the effects of this confusion continue to the present day."

(The Orthodox Church , NY: Penguin Books, rev. 1980, p. 98)

Patriarchs were put into power by the Emperors in the East according to their whim and fancy and were too often little more than puppets or yes-men. Noble exceptions, such as a St. John Chrysostom or a St. Flavian, more often than not had to appeal to Rome in order to save their patriarchates or necks or both. In Constantinople, under Turkish rule, this led to, according to Ware:

... the Church's higher administration being caught up in a degrading system of corruption and simony ... the bishops fell a prey to ambition and financial greed ... Patriarchs were removed and reinstated with kaleidoscopic rapidity ... The extreme insecurity of the Patriarch naturally gave rise to continual intrigues ... and the leaders of the Church were usually separated into bitterly hostile parties. (Ware, ibid ., pp. 98-99)

This is but one example. The great Russian Orthodox literary figure and dissident Alexander Solzbenitsyn rebuked Patriarch Pimen of Russia in his Lenten Letter of 1972, for his compromises with the atheist Communists:

A study of Russian history of the last centuries convinces one that it would have proceeded incomparably more humanely and harmoniously had the Church not renounced its independence and had the people heeded the Church's voice, as for example occurred in Poland [a Catholic country] ... A Church ruled dictatorially by atheists - this is a spectacle unseen in two thousand years. Given over to the atheists' control is also the entirety of the operational management of the Church and the allocation of Church funds ... Do not let us suppose, do not make us think, that for the bishops of the Russian Church temporal power is higher than the heavenly one, that earthly responsibility is more awesome than accountability before God ... It was not easier in the early days of Christianity, which nevertheless prevailed and flourished. It showed us the way: sacrifice.


Orthodoxy accepts the first seven Ecumenical Councils (up to the Second Council of Nicaea in 787), but no more. From a Catholic perspective, this appears incoherent and implausible. Why have an agreed-upon system in which Councils are central to the governance of the Church universal, and then all of a sudden they cease, and Orthodox Christians must do without them for 1200 years?


Likewise, Orthodoxy accepts the doctrinal development which occurred in the first eight centuries of the Church, but then allows little of any noteworthiness to take place thereafter. For instance, the filioque, i.e., the doctrine that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, rather than from the Father alone (which the West added to the Nicene Creed), was rejected by the East, and has been considered by the Orthodox a major reason for the enduring schism, yet Catholics would reply that it was a straightforward development of trinitarian theology (one of many accepted by both East and West). Aspects of doctrines such as the Blessed Virgin Mary and purgatory (not defined doctrine, although the Orthodox pray for the dead), which experienced a measure of development in the Middle Ages and after, are not recognized in Orthodoxy. For example, Orthodoxy doesn't define the Marian doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, but it should be noted that Orthodox individuals are free to believe these without being deemed "heretical. "Catholics feel that Orthodoxy is implicitly denying the notion of the Church (past the eighth century) as the living, developing Body of Christ, continuously led into deeper truth by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13-15).


Orthodoxy deliberately places less emphasis than Catholicism on the use of reason within Christianity. There is some room for difference of opinion on this (which exist within the Catholic Church as well). But beyond that, many Orthodox greatly err, for example, in their misdirected implicit condemnations of the Scholastic theology and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and other Catholic thinkers - who are viewed as manifestations of Catholic "overly- rationalistic" thought. St. Augustine also takes quite a beating in many Orthodox books, for being too analytical and logical (supposedly to the detriment of spirituality). Even a renowned Orthodox figure such as Bishop Ware falls into this unfortunate tendency:

Latin Scholastic theology, emphasizing as it does the essence at the expense of persons, comes near to turning God into an abstract idea. He becomes a remote and impersonal being,... a God of the philosophers, not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

(Ware, ibid., p. 222)

This is a crude caricature, which projects deistic and idealistic philosophical ideas of five or more centuries later back onto Scholasticism, which never held to such monstrous notions. Catholicism is accused by Orthodoxy of placing far too high of a premium on human reason in understanding God (Whom the Orthodox believe is essentially "beyond reason"). Catholicism replies that it is merely balancing the aspects of revelation and reason, which work together (the former being predominant), according to the Bible and the Fathers, and that Orthodoxy's relative neglect of reason has led to the East being prone to heresy again and again, while the West's more balanced view avoided this error.


Catholics would argue that Orthodoxy has not come to grips with modernity and the new challenges to Christianity that it brings, in terms of how to effectively communicate the gospel to modern man. The Catholic Church renewed itself along these lines in the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). One need not compromise doctrine in order to deal with the modern situation. Pope John Paul 11 does not do so in his stream of extremely relevant and cogent encyclicals on present-day issues such as moral theology, labor, the family, the role of women, the place of laypeople, etc. Although, as a result of this undertaking (i.e., due to a corruption of the nature of the Council by ambitious heterodox Catholics), the Catholic Church suffers from a modernist crisis within its own ranks, this too will pass. Signs of this are increasing, and the nonsense will fade away like all the other crises and heretical movements in the past. The long-term benefits of the strategy to confront the culture boldly and with fresh insight and innovation (within the bounds of traditional Catholic orthodoxy) will be evident in the years to come.


Orthodoxy, although praiseworthy in its generally traditional stand for Christian morality, differs from Catholicism over the question of the propriety and morality of contraception, which was universally condemned by all branches of Christianity until 1930. Thus, Catholics feel that they (almost alone today) are more in accord with apostolic Christian Tradition on this point, and that an acceptance of contraception is a giving in to humanistic sexual ethics. Catholics regard it as a mortal sin, whereas Orthodoxy has not even forbidden it.


Catholics also believe that Jesus and the Apostles, and ancient Christian Tradition, considered a valid sacramental marriage between two baptized Christians as absolutely indissoluble . An annulment is essentially different from a divorce in that it is the determination (based on a variety of reasons) that a valid sacramental marriage never existed. Orthodoxy accepts second and third marriages, with a measure of penitential sadness commensurate with a falling short of the Christian ideal, and feels that this is a tragic pastoral necessity, in light of the fallen human condition.


With reluctance, sadness, and regret, one final subject must be addressed: that of the sacking of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire (hence the center of Orthodoxy), in 1204 by the Latin Crusaders. Ideally, the numerous historical sins which members of both sides have committed - given the mutual acknowledgement of wrongdoing - should be left, for the sake of unity and good will, for the historians to mull over. Yet this incident was so tragic and has ever since been recalled with such pain and anger amongst Orthodox (and hence used as an "argument" against the Catholic Church) that it simply cannot be ignored even in the context of friendly ecumenical discussion. Bishop Kallistos Ware comments:

Eastern Christendom has never forgotten those three appalling days of pillage ... What shocked the Greeks more than anything was the wanton and systematic sacrilege of the Crusaders. How could men who had specially dedicated themselves to God's service treat the things of God in such a way? As the Byzantines watched the Crusaders tear to pieces the altar and icon screen in the Church of the Holy Wisdom, and set prostitutes on the Patriarch's throne, they must have felt that those who did such things were not Christians in the same sense as themselves ...

Can we wonder if the Greeks after 1204 also looked on the Latins as Profani? Christians in the west still do not realize how deep is the disgust and how lasting the horror with which Orthodox regard actions such as the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders.

(Ware, ibid, p. 69)

One would be hard-pressed to find a Catholic historian (or any Catholic who learns the details) who would defend what took place in this abominable, reprehensible catastrophe. Warren Carroll, one of the best orthodox Catholic historians of our time, candidly admits in his major series of volumes, A History of Christendom :

The sack that followed was one of the worst in all of history ... No man, woman or child was safe from the ravagers. Robbery and rape were almost universal, mindless destruction widespread. Westerners ... killed indiscriminately, without mercy or restraint ... For this to have been done by crusaders - men actually wearing the Cross of Christ - was an ineffaceable disgrace ... The Greeks never forgot the sack of Constantinople in 1204; its memory, more than anything else, has prevented the healing of the Greek schism from that day to this, despite several major efforts at reunion.

(The Glory of Christendom , Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1993, p. 157-158)

So the first thing to be noted is that this horrific event is morally indefensible , and that Catholics know and accept this. Secondly, and most importantly, the pope at the time, Pope Innocent 111, neither knew about nor sanctioned in the least this massacre and sacrilegious pillage. In fact, he had forbidden the Crusaders, on pain of excommunication , to attack Byzantium, instructing the leader, Boniface of Montferrat, that: "The crusade must not attack Christians, but should proceed as quickly as possible to the Holy Land." He only found out the full horror of what had happened more than eight months later, and wrote to Cardinal Peter Capuano, denouncing the sack in no uncertain terms:

These "soldiers of Christ" who should have turned their swords against the infidel have steeped them in Christian blood, sparing neither religion, nor age, nor sex ... They stripped the altars of silver, violated the sanctuaries, robbed icons and crosses and relies. . . The Latins have given example only of perversity and works of darkness. No wonder the Greeks call them dogs!"

(cited in Carroll, ibid., p. 158; from Mann, Popes of the Middle Ages , vol. 12, pp. 266-267)

Yet there had been several similar scandalous atrocities or unsavory, treacherous incidents which occurred before the sack, on the part of the Byzantines, which have not received their due attention. For the sake of fairness and historical objectivity (not polemics and controversy), we will review some of these. Warren Carroll notes:

Horrible and utterly indefensible as the sack was, it should in justice be remembered that it was not totally unprovoked; more than once (as in the massacre of 1182) the Greeks of Constantinople had treated the Latins there as they were now being treated ... Historians who wax eloquent and indignant - with considerable reason - about the sack of Constantinople ... rarely if ever mention the massacre of the Westerners in Constantinople in 1182 ... a nightmarish massacre of thousands [about 2000 Greeks were killed in Constantinople in 1204, according to secular historian Will Durant].... in which the slaughterers spared neither women nor children, neither old nor sick, neither priest nor monk. Cardinal John, the Pope's representative, was beheaded and his head was dragged through the streets at the tail of a dog; children were cut out of their mother's wombs; bodies of dead Westerners were exhumed and abused; some 4,000 who escaped death were sold into slavery to the Turks.

(Carroll, ibid ., pp. 157,131)

Bishop Ware also honorably writes about the Orthodox share of the blame in these massacres:

Each ... must look back at the past with sorrow and repentance. Both sides must in honesty acknowledge that they could and should have done more to prevent the schism. Both sides were guilty of mistakes on the human level. Orthodox, for example, must blame themselves for the pride and contempt with which during the Byzantine period they regarded the west; they must blame themselves for incidents such as the riot of 1182, when many Latin residents at Constantinople were massacred by the Byzantine populace.

(Ware, ibid. , p. 70)

Catholic historian Warren Carroll recalls two other lamentable Byzantine incidents:

In 1171, on the orders or at least with the tacit approval of the Byzantine government, thousands of Venetians in the Eastern empire had been killed, mutilated, or arrested and held for years in prison.

(Carroll, ibid. , p. 150)

[In 1188] Frederick Barbarossa ... requested permission of the Eastern Emperor, Isaac 11 Angelus, for passage of his army through Byzantine dominions on the way to the Holy Land, and for the right to purchase food for his troops within them. Isaac said he agreed . . . but in fact Isaac was resolved to oppose the passage of the crusaders, and made contact with Saladin [the Muslim commander] to concert plans "to delay and destroy the German army." About this "Byzantine treachery" there is no doubt; even the many modern Western historians sympathetic to Byzantium and hostile to the Crusades have to admit it [e.g., Emperor Isaac, in 1187, had written Saladin to congratulate him for his great achievement of re-taking Jerusalem from the Latin crusaders] ...

[Frederick's envoys, imprisoned for a time] returned to Frederick... with infuriating (and accurate) reports of the Byzantine alliance with Saladin, plans to destroy the crusading army as it crossed the Dardanelles, and the violent anti-Western attitude of Patriarch Dositheus of Constantinople, who had offered unconditional absolution to any Greek killing a Westerner. Frederick passed on this information to his son Henry.... to ask the Pope's approval for a crusade against the Eastern Empire because of its treachery and dealings with the enemy. No Papal approval was given and Frederick soon thought better of the idea ... Though a war against Christians was indubitably a perversion of the crusading ideal, Emperor Isaac's acts against the crusaders had clearly been acts of war ...

Everything that the Fourth Crusade later did to Christendom's discredit, Frederick Barbarossa refused to do, though he was directly provoked as the leaders of the Fourth Crusade never were. The extent of Byzantine provocation of the Third Crusade is obvious from the sequence of events. It would be a long time before anyone in the West would trust them again.

(Carroll, ibid. , pp. 130,132-133)

In conclusion, it is altogether to be expected that certain adherents (real or supposed) of both parties in any massive, long-running dispute such as that between Eastern and Western Christianity, will be guilty of serious sin. It has been established that the indefensible sacking of Constantinople was not without previous precipitating events on the part of the Byzantines, scarcely any less evil or immoral. Thus, the "sin" or "corruption" argument (as with Catholicism and Protestantism) cuts both ways (as is always the case). As such, it ought to be discarded, and ecumenical discussions profitably confined to matters of theology, liturgy, ecelesiology and moral theology.

In any event, the sacking of Constantinople in no wise disproves Catholic theological or ecelesiological claims, especially in light of the fact that the pope at the time, Innocent 111, forbade such military travesties against fellow Christians on pain of excommunication, and excoriated the perpetrators for their abominations. These renegade "crusaders" were simply not acting as Catholics , neither in the sense of Catholic moral teaching, nor in terms of any sanction of papal authority. To draw a modern analogy, if some nominally Orthodox Serbian soldiers had wantonly massacred or raped Bosnian Muslims (as indeed occurred), it would not be at all fair for Catholics to say that this reflects ill upon Orthodoxy per se.

Copyright 1997 by Dave Armstrong. All rights reserved.


2 posted on 05/25/2009 7:42:43 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII


What Do the Orthodox Concede?

From a post in FidoNet RCatholic in response to Jeff Doles, a thoughtful Protestant layman (both Presbyterian and Baptist backgrounds), musician/guitarist, and past participant in FidoNet discussion groups, someone who has seriously considered the Catholic Church (along with the Orthodox churches) and her claims --

The Primacy of Peter: Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church edited by John MeyendorffJD> The Protestant sees Roman Catholic Tradition, and there appears to be some manipulation that does not correspond to Scripture, nor even to Church tradition in the first millenium. Take papal authority and infallibility, for example. The RCC teaches that this has been the Tradition of the Church all along. But the Orthodox Church, which shared the same Tradition for the first thousand years that the RCC claims, knows nothing of papal authority or infalliblity.

It is wrong to say the Orthodox "know nothing" of papal authority, primacy, or infallibility. It is more proper to say that Protestants in general "know nothing of papal authority" and completely deny the Papacy since their very existence depends on justifying the split from the Catholic Church in the 16th century and exalting Sola Scriptura via private interpretation as the only real authority (which the Orthodox do not accept).

Let's take a look at what modern Orthodox scholars do concede to the Catholic understanding of papal primacy, authority, and infallibility.


Taken from THE PRIMACY OF PETER : Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church edited by John Meyendorff (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1992)

chapter 4 : "The Church Which Presides in Love" (pages 91-143) by Nicholas Afanassieff who (d. 1966) was a professor of canon law and church history at the Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris

chapter 5 : "The Idea of Primacy in Orthodox Ecclesiology" (pages 145-71) by Alexander Schmemann who (d. 1983) was dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary (1962-83) and taught church history and liturgical theology

I make three main points concerning the Orthodox and the Papacy, and provide excerpts from these two chapters (emphasis added) as documentation. For the full context of the words and what I may have left out or misunderstood, consult the book which is available a number of places, one being the AMAZON.COM LISTING FOR THE PRIMACY OF PETER


(1) There is no systematic doctrine of Church government in the Orthodox Church and therefore it is not enough to refute Universal Primacy

"As we study the problem of primacy in general, and especially the primacy of Rome, we must not be ruled by polemical motives: the problem is to be solved to satisfy ourselves and Orthodox theology. The solution of the problem is urgent, since Orthodox theology has not yet built up any systematic doctrine on Church government. And although we have a doctrine concerning Ecumenical Councils as organs of government in the Church, we shall see presently that our doctrine is not enough to refute the Catholic doctrine of primacy." (Afanassieff, page 92)


(2) The earliest Fathers recognized the primacy of Rome (or what might be called "priority") and Orthodox scholars generally concede this


"Let us turn to the facts. We know that the Church of Rome took over the position of 'church-with-priority' at the end of the first century. That was about the time at which her star ascended into the firmament of history in its brightest splendor...Even as early as the Epistle to the Romans, Rome seems to have stood out among all the churches as very important. Paul bears witness that the faith of the Romans was proclaimed throughout the whole world (Rom 1:8)....we have a document which gives us our earliest reliable evidence that the Church of Rome stood in an exceptional position of authority in this period. This is the epistle of Clement of Rome...We know that Clement was 'president' of the Roman Church...." (page 124)

"The epistle is couched in very measured terms, in the form of an exhortation; but at the same time it clearly shows that the Church of Rome was aware of the decisive weight, in the Church of Corinth's eyes, that must attach to its witness about the events in Corinth. So the Church of Rome, at the end of the first century, exhibits a marked sense of its own priority, in point of witness about events in other churches. Note also that the Roman Church did not feel obliged to make a case, however argued, to justify its authoritative pronouncements on what we should now call the internal concerns of other churches. There is nothing said about the grounds of this priority....Apparently Rome had no doubt that its priority would be accepted without argument." (page 125-126)


"We find the first direct evidence about the priority of the Roman Church in the writings of Ignatius of Antioch. Speaking of the Church of Rome, Ignatius uses the phrase 'which presides' in two passages.... The Roman Church 'presides' in love, that is, in the concord based on love between all the local churches. The term 'which presides' [Greek given] needs no discussion; used in the masculine it means the bishop, for he, as head of the local church, sits in the 'first place' at the eucharistic assembly, that is, in the central seat. He is truly the president of his church...[Ignatius] pictured the local churches grouped, as it were, in a eucharistic assembly, with every church in its special place, and the church of Rome in the chair, sitting in the 'first place.' So, says Ignatius, the Church of Rome indeed has the priority in the whole company of churches united by concord....In his period no other church laid claim to the role, which belonged to the Church of Rome." (page 126-127)

on ST. IRENAEUS (c. 180 AD)

"We shall find other evidence about the Roman position in Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons. His -Adversus Heareses- contains a famous passage, which has provoked a great many arguments. This is unquestionably the most important document of all with regard to the position of the Roman Chuch....Irenaeus calls on Apostolic Tradition to correct the mistaken heretics. This Tradition, he says, is guarded in every local church by the succession of bishops. It was not in his power to find proof of this in each local church, so he confines himself to one set of bishops only, and enumerates the bishops of Rome, a church in which Apostolic Tradition and the Faith proclaimed to mankind have been guarded up to his own times....Irenaeus believed he could confine himself to enumerating the succession in a single church, viz. the Roman Church, although he might have enumerated the successive bishops in every local church, as he says himself. He gives his own explanation for choosing the Church of Rome: he saw it as

'the very great and the very ancient church, known to all, which the two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul founded and constituted.'

"...Irenaeus insists that anyone looking for the truth can find it in the Tradition of the Apostles, which every local church has preserved. So we must suppose he thought that the Apostolic Tradition and the Faith proclaimed to mankind were preserved in the Roman Church more fully than in others, or, at least, in a more manifest way. Later, Irenaeus points to this Church -- Rome -- as the one to which all other churches must -convenire-....I think a likelier sense of -convenire- here is 'address oneself to,' 'turn to,' 'have recourse to.' The sense of the remark would then be: every local church should have recourse to the Church of Rome....This passage in Irenaeus [from Against Heresies 3:4:1] illuminates the meaning of his remarks about the Church of Rome: if there are disputes in a local church, that church should have recourse to the Roman Church, for there is contained the Tradition which is preserved by all the churches."

"Rome's vocation [in the "pre-Nicene period"] consisted in playing the part of arbiter, settling contentious issues by witnessing to the truth or falsity of whatever doctrine was put before them. Rome was truly the center where all converged if they wanted their doctrine to be accepted by the conscience of the Church. They could not count upon success except on one condition -- that the Church of Rome had received their doctrine -- and refusal from Rome predetermined the attitude the other churches would adopt. There are numerous cases of this recourse to Rome...." (page 128f, 133)


"...according to his doctrine there should have really been one single bishop at the head of the Universal Church....According to Cyprian, every bishop occupies Peter's throne (the Bishop of Rome among others) but the See of Peter is Peter's throne -par excellence-. The Bishop of Rome is the direct heir of Peter, whereas the others are heirs only indirectly, and sometimes only by the mediation of Rome. Hence Cyprian's insistence that the Church of Rome is the root and matrix of the Catholic Church [Ecclesiae catholicae matricem et radicem]. The subject is treated in so many of Cyprian's passages that there is no doubt: to him, the See of Rome was -ecclesia principalis unde unitas sacerdotalis exorta est- [the Principal Church from which the unity of the priesthood/episcopacy has its rise]." (page 98-99)


(3) There is no doubt that an objective study of the evidence yields the conclusion that the Catholic Church believed in Universal Primacy, had an Ecumenical center of unity and agreement in Rome, and the unanimous testimony of the Fathers and Councils demonstrates this -- and to deny this is based purely on "anti-Roman prejudice"

"Finally we come to the highest and ultimate form of primacy: universal primacy. An age-long anti-Roman prejudice has led some Orthodox canonists simply to deny the existence of such primacy in the past or the need for it in the present. But an objective study of the canonical tradition cannot fail to establish beyond any doubt that, along with local 'centers of agreement' or primacies, the Church has also known a universal primacy....

"It is impossible to deny that, even before the appearance of local primacies, the Church from the first days of her existence possessed an ecumenical center of unity and agreement. In the apostolic and the Judaeo-Christian period, it was the Church of Jerusalem, and later the Church of Rome -- 'presiding in agape,' according to St. Ignatius of Antioch. This formula and the definition of the universal primacy contained in it have been aptly analyzed by Fr. Afanassieff and we need not repeat his argument here. Neither can we quote here all the testimonies of the Fathers and the Councils unanimously acknowledging Rome as the senior church and the center of ecumenical agreement.

"It is only for the sake of biased polemics that one can ignore these testimonies, their consensus and significance. It has happened, however, that if Roman historians and theologians have always interpreted this evidence in juridical terms, thus falsifying its real meaning, their Orthodox opponents have systematically belittled the evidence itself. Orthodox theology is still awaiting a truly Orthodox evaluation of universal primacy in the first millennium of church history -- an evaluation free from polemical or apologetic exaggerations." (Schmemann, page 163-164)


RECOMMENDED READING (Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican sources)

John Meyendorff, ed. The Primacy of Peter : Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1992 [1963]) for the full context of the above quotations, and some Orthodox objections and explanations

John Chapman, Studies on the Early Papacy (Kennikat, 1971 [1928]) covers in depth St. Cyprian, St. Athanasius, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and the early Popes, detailed argumentation and answers to Anglican objections, also see Chapman Bishop Gore and the Catholic Claims (1905)

Luke Rivington, The Primitive Church and the See of Peter (1894) an older book that covers all the earliest evidence for Papal Primacy/Authority and answers to Anglican objections

B.C. Butler, The Church and Infallibility : A Reply to the Abridged "Salmon" (Sheed and Ward, 1954) answers an anti-Catholic Anglican divine George Salmon

Edward Giles, Documents Illustrating Papal Authority AD 96-454 (London: SPCK, 1952) Anglican author lays out all the evidence from the first to fifth centuries of the Church

James Likoudis, Ending the Byzantine-Greek Schism (1992) by a former Orthodox, response to Orthodox objections, much material from Eastern writers, appendix includes St. Thomas Aquinas on Errors of the Greeks

Scott Butler, et al. Jesus, Peter, and the Keys: A Scriptural Handbook on the Papacy (Queenship, 1996) excellent modern Biblical treatment with much patristic evidence

Stephen Ray, Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church (Ignatius, 1999) written in response to anti-Catholic Evangelicals like William Webster and James White, a thorough Biblical study on the primacy of St. Peter, answers to Protestant objections, much documentation for the primacy of Rome from the first five centuries of the Church

See also Studies on the Early Papacy by Dom John Chapman
And The Primitive Church and the See of Peter by Luke Rivington

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3 posted on 05/25/2009 7:43:19 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII
Popes, Councils, and Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy and Transubstantiation
The Filioque Controversy
History of the Iconoclastic (Image Breaking) Heresy
The Council of Chalcedon and the Papacy
The Sixth Nicene Canon and the Papacy

Church Fathers on the Papacy

St. Athanasius, Arianism, and the Holy See
St. Augustine, Pelagianism, and the Holy See
St. Cyprian on the Church and the Papacy
St. Jerome and Rome
St. John Chrysostom on the Apostle Peter
The Church Fathers and the Primacy of the Apostolic See by Joe Gallegos

4 posted on 05/25/2009 7:44:07 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

The Radio Replies Series: Volume One

Chapter One: God

Radio Replies Volume One: God’s Existence Known by Reason
Radio Replies Volume One: Nature of God
Radio Replies Volume One: Providence of God and Problem of Evil

Chapter Two: Man

Radio Replies Volume One: Nature of Man & Existence and Nature of the Soul
Radio Replies Volume One: Immortality of the Soul
Radio Replies Volume One: Destiny of the Soul & Freewill of Man

Chapter Three: Religion

Radio Replies Volume One: Nature of Religion & Necessity of Religion

Chapter Four: The Religion of the Bible

Radio Replies Volume One: Natural Religion & Revealed Religion
Radio Replies Volume One: Mysteries of Religion
Radio Replies Volume One: Miracles
Radio Replies Volume One: Value of the Gospels
Radio Replies Volume One: Inspiration of the Gospels
Radio Replies Volume One: Old Testament Difficulties [Part 1]
Radio Replies Volume One: Old Testament Difficulties [Part 2]
Radio Replies Volume One: Old Testament Difficulties [Part 3]
Radio Replies Volume One: New Testament Difficulties

Chapter Five: The Christian Faith

Radio Replies Volume One: The Religion of the Jews
Radio Replies Volume One: Truth of Christianity
Radio Replies Volume One: Nature and Necessity of Faith

Chapter Six: A Definite Christian Faith

Radio Replies Volume One: Conflicting Churches
Radio Replies Volume One: Are All One Church?
Radio Replies Volume One: Is One Religion As Good As Another?
Radio Replies Volume One: The Fallacy of Indifference

Chapter Seven: The Failure of Protestantism

Radio Replies Volume One: Protestantism Erroneous
Radio Replies Volume One: Luther
Radio Replies Volume One: Anglicanism
Radio Replies Volume One: Greek Orthodox Church

5 posted on 05/25/2009 7:45:27 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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6 posted on 05/25/2009 7:56:09 AM PDT by raygunfan
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To: GonzoII

The hubris of the Roman Catholic Church continues to amaze me!

7 posted on 05/25/2009 9:38:03 AM PDT by LiteKeeper (When do the impeachment proceedings begin?)
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To: GonzoII; kosta50

What a truly unfortunate post. Is this an example of the renewed attack of the Latin right wing here on FR against Orthodoxy? If so, we are certainly willing to deal with it, though I guarantee the Latins won’t like it. We can start with the latest from Ireland if you folks would like, or perhaps a rehash of the history of the blessed butcher Stepanic....

8 posted on 05/25/2009 1:39:51 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis

***Is this an example of the renewed attack of the Latin right wing here on FR against Orthodoxy?***

Truth is truth; this right winger doesn’t attack truth.

9 posted on 05/25/2009 4:50:51 PM PDT by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr

“Truth is truth; this right winger doesn’t attack truth.”

I know you don’t MB, but East/West relations have taken a definite turn for the worse hereabouts. It would be a shame if they get even worse before they get better.

10 posted on 05/25/2009 5:02:03 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: GonzoII

Orthodox Christians recognize one infallible head...His name is Jesus Christ.

11 posted on 05/25/2009 6:30:17 PM PDT by toothfairy86
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To: Kolokotronis; GonzoII
Oh boy! This is the Vatican's idea of "reunion?" I am going to send this to all Orthodox and Catholic diocese I can find, including Rome, to show them what a marvelous work is being done by Catholics in exposing the true nature of the reunion scam. I am sure the Pope will be pleased!

GonzoII, thank you so much for providing this box of ammo. I think this will settle things for the next millennium at least.

I would like to say some choice words, but I have letters to send.

12 posted on 05/25/2009 10:13:33 PM PDT by kosta50 (Don't look up, the truth is all around you)
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To: kosta50; Kolokotronis

Keep in mind that the entire “radio replies” series posted is from a radio show in the 1930s.

13 posted on 05/26/2009 7:47:41 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley; Kolokotronis; kosta50; GonzoII

And that GonzoII is posting the entire “radio replies,” not just against the Orthodox.

14 posted on 05/26/2009 7:51:34 AM PDT by Pyro7480 ("If you know how not to pray, take Joseph as your master, and you will not go astray." - St. Teresa)
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To: GonzoII

CCC ¶838 is an important one.

15 posted on 05/26/2009 7:53:10 AM PDT by Petronski (In Germany they came first for the Communists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist...)
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To: LiteKeeper; Kolokotronis
If I had a ruler (and I was a nun), I'd rap both of you on the knuckles for replying before even so much as scanning the entire post.
16 posted on 05/26/2009 8:00:35 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: All
BTW ... DON'T image search nuns with rulers ... AAaaaaaakkkkkk

Where's the eyewash station?

17 posted on 05/26/2009 8:03:41 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Pyro7480
Today the Methodists have their turn to be rightly p.o.'d, tomorrow the Baptists, the next day the Seventh Day Adventists, and the day after, the Salvation Army.

Soon all of the non-Catholic (and half of the Catholic) FReepers will be looking to join the American Protective Association.

Sure appreciate this stuff...

18 posted on 05/26/2009 8:09:29 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley; Kolokotronis
Keep in mind that the entire “radio replies” series posted is from a radio show in the 1930s

Why post outdated teachings, as if they had some current authority? Post them on a history forum.

And, in the future, a note of intent that accompanies an outdated article is a good idea.

Regardless, what's the point of these out-of-touch series that call Orthodox schizmatics and heretics if not to inflame? As Kolo said, we can reply in kind. But I think the Pope would rather hear what his flock is doing here while he is holding hands with and embracing "schizmatics and heretics."

They are seriously undemrining his work, that's what they are doing.

19 posted on 05/26/2009 8:23:46 AM PDT by kosta50 (Don't look up, the truth is all around you)
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To: kosta50


20 posted on 05/26/2009 8:26:07 AM PDT by RichInOC (HA HA HA HA....)
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