For the Feast of St. Josaphat

I had no intention to write so much on “things Eastern” at the start of this week; it just worked out that way. What I had wanted to do was write a few words on St. Josaphat, the great Ukrainian Catholic martyr whose feast day is celebrated this week by Eastern and Western Catholics who are on the Gregorian Calendar. That may be too inflammatory at the moment. While in years past I facetiously wished my Orthodox friends and readers a “Blessed feast of St. Josaphat,” the ongoing tensions in Ukraine lead me to conclude that such well-wishing would be in bad taste. After all, none of the Orthodox sent me a special greeting on August 6, the feast day of Maxim Sandovich. (If there is an objective, non-polemical, account of this Orthodox priest’s life, I’ve never seen it.)

A commenter on Fr. John Hunwicke’s web-log, who goes by the name “Ordo Antiquus,” takes umbrage with the view that the Moscow Patriarchate (MP) of the Russian Orthodox Church is the only ecclesial body with “dirty hands” right now. Why? Because a website run by the Ukrainian Catholic University of Lviv “is relentlessly anti-Russian Orthodox and openly supports the “Kyivan Patriarchate” that no canonical Orthodox Patriarchate recognizes.” Unfortunately, this commenter cites no article—in English or Ukrainian—which contains half-truths, if not outright lies and slander, concerning the MP. If such statements are emanating from official channels of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), then they are certainly worthy of condemnation. But where are they? Certain individuals (mainly Orthodox) fail to appreciate that one of the main reasons there has been so much outrage over the anti-UGCC statements emanating from Russia is because they have come from the mouths of the MP’s highest leadership. And as for the UGCC’s friendly relations with the free (albeit non-canonical (by Orthodox lights)) Ukrainian Orthodox churches, is anyone seriously surprised by this? Besides, the UGCC is under no obligation to follow intra-Orthodox canonical feuds when determining which religious bodies it wishes to maintain fraternal ties with.

The whole situation is tragic. As troubling as some of the MP and the Russian state’s behavior has been over the past year, it’s not accidental that both have their fair share of Western sympathizers, including Catholics. The MP remains steadfastly attached to the ancient liturgical rites of the Byzantine tradition while upholding a degree of doctrinal conservatism that no doubt triggers feelings of envy among faithful Roman Catholics. With respect to the persecuted Christians of the Middle East, the MP and the Russian state have proven themselves as friends on numerous occasions—something certainly no Western power can lay consistent claim to. And beyond the borders of the MP itself lies other manifestations of the Little and Great Russian Christian traditions that are worthy of admiration. Sadly, many of the adherents to Russian Orthodoxy see so little to admire in us, Catholics of the East and West.

There’s not enough space here to unpack the reasons why. As the situation in Ukraine proves, historical tensions, if not outright conflict, between Catholics and Orthodox continue to inform present attitudes in an undeniably powerful way. The antipathy toward Catholicism, including the “Unia,” found among Orthodox living in the West is far more difficult to understand, however. It’s unfathomable to me that any Orthodox adherent who was born and raised in Western Europe, the Americas, or the Antipodes could hold any disdain for Catholicism even if they, understandably, house serious disagreements with the Church of Rome and the sui iuris churches in communion with her. This foaming at the mouth enters a frightening realm when it comes to those Eastern Catholic churches, particularly the Slavic ones which, according to a rather twisted worldview, belong by right to the Orthodox for no other reason than that they happen to use the Byzantine Rite.

While I can understand that the Orthodox would prefer that the “Unia” never happened, is it not time to come to grips with the reality that it did happen and that it will never be undone? Neither the UGCC nor any of the other Eastern Catholic churches which practice the Byzantine Rite will ever be handed over to the Orthodox, or at least I would hope not. And if some crackpot plan was put into place to do that, every one of those churches would have the right to resist. The Byzantine-Rite sui iuris churches are Catholic, and they are Orthodox; they are a bridge between East and West which have, under oftentimes deplorable conditions, started to understand what that means in a fully realized sense. Rome has not always made that self-awareness come easy, but it is emerging all the same.

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  1. Anthony Ferrara
    November 14, 2014

    One of the most asinine comments I hear from some online Orthodox is that the Pope as a show of good faith should order the Eastern Catholic Churches to return to their Orthodox “mother” churches. Obviously they don’t realize the Pope can do no such thing. I don’t believe it is in even the Pope’s jurisdictional power to force Catholics into schism. If he did, that action would show he believes Catholicism is not the one true Church and that the papacy is not essential to the ecclesiology of the Church.

    Reply
    1. The young fogey
      November 14, 2014

      To give Orthodox ecumenism credit, it’s not indifferentism like squishy mainline Protestantism. It seems based partly on Catholic liberals’ misreading of Vatican II (“we no longer teach we’re the true church”) plus their rival true-church claim, on which they haven’t compromised. If that’s what one thinks we believe, then asking us to hand over the Eastern Catholics makes sense. Interesting unintended message too: “The true church isn’t universal; it’s Byzantine.” Every now and then they slip and let that out.

      The Ukrainian Catholics I knew 30 years ago chose exile over schism. I can imagine what they’d think of the quisling “Orthodox in communion with Rome” online now.

      Reply
  2. aka
    November 14, 2014

    The difficult is that Orthodox are stuck thinking of the Unia as a mix of those at the top and those who were tricked into the Unia by those at the top. Now, that is a possibly correct reading of the situation in 1596, but there has been 400+ years of history since then. Eastern Catholics now have an identity very much their own and do not simply see themselves as ‘the same’ as the Orthodox, so aren’t interested in being ‘saved’ from domination by Rome especially given the kind of pressure and persecution they will have experienced more recently at the hands of Russian governments in the name of the Orthodox. So, while Orthodox need to be more aware of the intervening history, Eastern Catholics and their apologists need not dismiss earlier history that is still felt as a betrayal and an attack – in the real world, who wouldn’t continue to fight for the return of a ‘kidnapped’ sibling, after all, even many, many years later (even those with Stockholm Syndrome)?

    Reply
    1. modestinus
      November 14, 2014

      The Union of Brest is not as simple as a few bishops getting duped into an agreement with Rome and everyone “falling into line.” While the situation of the original Greek Catholics in the region was made complicated by Latin prejudices within 50 years or so of the deal, the original terms of Brest reveal that the Eastern bishops knew what they were doing. Despite protests from some on the “Latin side,” the Eastern Catholics were allowed retain their identity in full. In fact, you can read the terms of the agreement here:

      http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/TREATBR.HTM

      Reply
      1. aka
        November 14, 2014

        Didn’t mean to imply the bishops were duped, but that the bishops duped the rest.

        Reply
  3. aka
    November 14, 2014

    The obsession Russia has with the Unia and Roman Catholic proselytism (= evangelism by churches we don’t like) is actually a tacit admission that Orthodoxy sees itself as Rome’s true sister church in the East. That is, it is akin to the pissing match between Jerusalem and Antioch in Qatar today or between Russia and Romania over Bessarabia. That’s not at the fore or perhaps even conscious, but it is there nonetheless.

    Reply
    1. modestinus
      November 14, 2014

      I think if the Orthodox actually pitched that claim openly and honestly, there may be a different story to ecumenical relations between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. However, let me add this — at least with respect to the situation in Eastern Europe:

      The “Unia,” and more specifically the resurgence of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church after 1989, is a blight on the Russian Orthodox narrative concerning its own persecution and resurrection under the Soviets. It is a blight because, according to pious legends, the Russian people (which includes the Ukrainians) were waiting for the day when the Orthodox Church would be free and once again they would flock to the Patriarch and work toward restoring “Holy Russia.” Well, it didn’t shake out that way. While Russian Orthodoxy has certainly enjoyed a resurgence over the past 20 years, the situation in Ukraine involving both he UGCC and the two non-MP Orthodox bodies testifies to the fact that not only was there rampant suspicion of Moscow after the fall of communism, but that the MP’s “leadership” was unnecessary. The MP has never come to terms with how much credibility it mortgaged during the Soviet period, and its behavior over the past two decades lends plenty of ammunition to the claim that it remains the handmade of the secular Russian state. This isn’t to say that every Russian Orthodox priest or bishops is groveling before Almighty Putin or more concerned with nationalism rather than the salvation of souls. However, the upper hierarchy of the MP has not behaved with rectitude.

      By all accounts the UGCC and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-KP are growing, vibrant ecclesial bodies that have retained the respect of the faithful, not just during this present crisis, but since the fall of Communism. But the current mindset of the MP can neither tolerate nor contemplate that. The UGCC are “wolves in sheep’s clothing”; they’re just their tricking the faithful and “pretending to be Orthodox.” Whenever I read these claims, I think to myself that the MP and its Orthodox supporters must have a pretty low view of the intelligence of the Ukrainian people. “Oh, this is a Catholic church? I saw icons and assumed Orthodox….”

      Reply
      1. Diane Marie Kamer
        November 14, 2014

        But the current mindset of the MP can neither tolerate nor contemplate that. The UGCC are “wolves in sheep’s clothing”; they’re just their tricking the faithful and “pretending to be Orthodox.”

        I thought they were brutal, murderous fascists, too. Well, I mean, according to Varvara. 😀

        Reply
      2. aka
        November 14, 2014

        I agree that “The MP has never come to terms with how much credibility it mortgaged during the Soviet period”, but I used to spend a lot of time at ROCOR before the reconciliation, so… I think this is especially true of Orthodox, minority groups within Russia, especially those Great Russians insist are simply Russian but who see themselves as Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Carpatho-Rusyn, or some variation. Whatever the reason those ‘sub-nationalities’ developed as distinct from ‘Russian’, the fact is many people self-identify in that way. It’s really no use saying they are all ‘really the same’. Like in a marriage, if one party has a problem, there is a problem. It’ can’t be ignored or dismissed out of hand.

        Reply
      3. aka
        November 14, 2014

        The “pretending to be Orthodox” bit is just the kind of holdover from earlier days of the Unia where most of the people didn’t know what had happened. They assumed they were still Orthodox. Now a lot of water has gone under the bridge since that was widely true, but the godfather of my oldest comes from a Carpatho-Rusyn parish that only converted back to Orthodoxy in the US and only stopped baptizing babies by pouring in the 60s; his family had always assumed they were Orthodox until they got to the US from Slovakia (Austria-Hungary then).

        Reply
        1. Evagrius
          November 15, 2014

          “The “pretending to be Orthodox” bit is just the kind of holdover from earlier days of the Unia where most of the people didn’t know what had happened.”

          Oh, well that’s all right, then.

          Reply
  4. Dale
    November 14, 2014

    Byzantine Orthodoxy and Catholicism have very differing world views. For the Catholic, the church exists outside of and beyond political, ethnic, and cultural boundaries (this is something that the Byzantine Orthodox cannot fathom). For the Byzantines, the church is very much not only a handmaiden of the political, ethnic, and cultural boundaries of Byzantium, the Church is also the preserver of these, for Catholics, very secondary concerns. Thus, for the Byzantine Orthodox to dismiss and remove from their embrace communities that are not one of their own, either ethnically or culturally, is quite possible; hence, they do not understand how Rome can work to preserve at all costs the rights of a non-Roman, non-Latin ethnic culture within her midst.

    As an example. Not too long ago (in the 1970s) there was a mass movement of traditionalist Italian Catholics into Moscow’s western rite, it numbered about 10,000 believers. The Orthodox were only using these simple believers for political and ethnic ends (unknown by the Italians who trusted the Russians, always a big mistake). When the movement had reached its zenith, Moscow dropped them and demanded that they return to the Roman Catholic Church. Since I was involved in much of this mess as a young seminarian, the actions on the part of the Russians was simply beyond belief, so I am not retelling this as second-hand information. The actions of the Russians, all along one suspects, was that if they were dumping their Italians with the Western rite in expectations that Rome would then drop the Ukrainians with their Eastern rite, and with a demand that they place themselves under Moscow.

    As mentioned earlier, the world view is simply too different. personally, I see very little that can come out of a continued discussion with the Russians; they dumped their Italians and Rome should now dump their Ukrainians this exactly how they think. End of story. If anything, Rome should perhaps only bother to deal with the Free Ukrainian jurisdictions, anything else is waste of time and will lead nowhere.

    Reply
    1. Philip Sokolov
      November 14, 2014

      Dale, please stop calling us “the Byzantine Orthodox.” You know full well we don’t call ourselves that, nor like it. It’s a petty insult that fans the flames of bad faith. It sets back the growth of mutual understanding. So I’m asking you.

      Reply
      1. The young fogey
        November 14, 2014

        Hey, if the kamilavka fits…

        Reply
      2. modestinus
        November 14, 2014

        Wait, did I miss something? Why is that term insulting?

        Reply
        1. Philip Sokolov
          November 14, 2014

          Why is “Uniate” insulting? Answer, because they don’t call themselves that. The people in the East never knew or used the term “Byzantine.”

          Reply
          1. modestinus
            November 14, 2014

            But it is common to refer to Orthodox using the Byzantine Rite, just as there are Catholics who do. No one kicks up fuss for “Byzantine Catholic” being used as shorthand to refer to those Eastern Catholic Churches which use the Byzantine Rite.

            Also, “Uniate” has a much more polemically charged history. Anyway, I have no dog in this fight; I don’t think I’ve ever used the expression “Byzantine Orthodox” in my life.

          2. Philip Sokolov
            November 14, 2014

            I have no problem with Byzantine Catholics calling themselves Byzantine Catholics, under the same principle. We, however, don’t call ourselves Byzantine Orthodox.

          3. Dale
            November 15, 2014

            The Oriental Orthodox routinely refer to the Byzantine Orthodox as just that; what would you prefer? Eastern Orthodox makes very little sense, since both Oriental and Eastern are the same term, and the Byzantines are not Oriental Orthodox; and since your church is indeed limited to a single Byzantine identity, I truly fail to see the problem. One could of course refer to the Byzantine Orthodox as Greek Orthodox, but that is ethnically limiting in a the sense that Byzantine is not.

          4. aka
            November 17, 2014

            I think the offense here is in the intent of using “Byzantine” to purposely limit the identity of Orthodoxy to being a “church [that] is indeed limited to a single Byzantine identity”. This is simply not true, most specifically because there never was a Byzantine anything except in descriptions from and by the West. This is similar to the way in which Uniate, while accurate, is/has been intentionally used by Orthodox as an insult, as a way to denigrate Eastern Catholics. So, if people are interested in playing nice in the sandbox…

            It is fair to say the Orthodox Church “is indeed limited to a single Byzantine” rite, in the main. A single rite is not the same as a single identity, and not even all traditionally Orthodox cultures could be traced back to being under the Eastern Roman (“Byzantine”) Empire, e.g., Russia, which is no more ‘Byzantine’ than the Irish, French, and Bavarians or Latin Americans are ‘Roman’. I don’t believe the Catholic church became less Catholic when so many non-Roman rites were suppressed, so not sure why the same assumption is so easily accepted when speaking of the East – especially given the dominance of the Roman church in the churches in communion with Rome today.

          5. The young fogey
            November 17, 2014

            I hear you. Like “Nestorian” or “Monophysite.” 19th-century British historians downplaying the importance of the Eastern Roman Empire (politically, Byzantium was Rome in the same sense Taiwan is the Republic of China) coined “Byzantine.” The original Byzantines never called themselves that. But it’s the word we’re stuck with, and 1) Orthodox have no problem calling the rite Byzantine and 2) in America, the Ruthenians, trying to americanize and maybe expand now beyond their ethnic borders, renamed themselves “Byzantine Catholic” in the ’50s. (“Greek Catholic,” still the old-country moniker, in America became associated with the Chornock schism to the Orthodox in the ’30s. Plus they’re not Greek!) So I’m not buying the argument that “Byzantine Orthodox” is an ecclesiastical n-word. Rather, objections to it are because it’s uncomfortable, un-ecumenically true. In Orthodoxy, the church = Byzantium. Dale’s point. Western Rite Orthodoxy is a dud because the Orthodox really don’t want. It’s not natural communities, real churches with ethnoi and nations and their own bishops like the Eastern Catholics. And it never will be. Just a few convert add-ons expected to die out or be absorbed into real Orthodoxy.

          6. modestinus
            November 17, 2014

            This is a dodge. As numerous Orthodox scholars have made clear, Russia — and the Eastern Slavic lands — received their cultural identity and culture from the Byzantine Empire. No one seriously contends that Russia, for instance, “home grew” its religious identity; it was brought in. Sure, native elements are layered onto it, but there is very little which is uniquely Russian about Orthodox Christianity.

            Also, what non-Roman Rite suppression are you speaking of? What happened after Trent? Trent suppressed various uses of the Roman Rite, which is different that suppressing other rites altogether. It is a convenient fiction that, for instance, the Sarum Use was not a use of the Roman Rite. We can judge in hindsight that the suppression of certain uses was imprudent, though in many cases it was needful.

          7. aka
            November 17, 2014

            Not sure a world religion should have much that is too uniquely any one culture. That shows it more as a cultural artifact rather than something received, something divine.

          8. Diane Marie Kamer
            November 17, 2014

            Irony abounds.

            After telling us that “Byzantine” is insulting because it’s limiting, you refer to Catholicism as “the Roman Church.”
            But this does not surprise me. In my experience, the Orthodox routinely refer to us Catholics as “Romans” — a usage drawn directly from British Protestantism, BTW, and associated historically with the most purblind “No Popery” bigotry.

            The Roman Church. Riiiiiight. Does this toga make my tush look fat?

          9. The young fogey
            November 17, 2014

            Ha ha; true. Except Orthodox rhetoric likes to call us “the Latins,” vs. “the church,” which they at least unconsciously think equals Byzantium. Heady stuff for a Slavic ex-Uniate: from second-class to being THE church. No wonder a few in America fell for it. In Ruthenia and the Ukraine they knew better.

          10. aka
            November 17, 2014

            The difference being the church you belong to believes in a necessary communion with the Bishop of Rome, regardless of the Rite or culture involved (whether sui iuris church or no). There is no requirement in the East that one be in any way connected with a city that hasn’t existed since before Constantine.

            I didn’t say I found the term inherently offensive and think it a nitpicky point, but I can see how it could be construed as such given the way it was being used. In this case, “Byzantine” was being used as code for – “so obviously not The Church because it is just one cultural expression, Byzantine”. That is simply not true on a variety of levels, though what the Orthodox churches share in common is what has come to be called the Byzantine rite and varying ties to churches and cultures that were at times under what has been called the Byzantine Empire by those in the West. “Uniate” has been used similarly to mean, “traitors to the Faith in favor of political favor, not to be trusted”. While both terms can as easily be used accurately and neutrally descriptive, it is the intent that can can be offensive.

            Western and northern Europe, not to mention Latin America, much of the Philippines, etc. are no more Latin or Roman for having received their cultures from the Roman Empire and the Church of Rome. Neither is Russia or Romania or Georgia or Bulgaria or even the modern states of Greece and Cyprus Byzantine from their past connection with the former Eastern Roman Empire or the Church of Constantinople. Remarking otherwise, one may as well simply say “they all look alike to me”, which says more about the observer than those observed.

          11. The young fogey
            November 17, 2014

            “The difference being the church you belong to believes in a necessary communion with the Bishop of Rome, regardless of the Rite or culture involved (whether sui iuris church or no).”

            Yes! Catholic.

            “In this case, ‘Byzantine’ was being used as code for – ‘so obviously not The Church because it is just one cultural expression, Byzantine.'”

            Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.

            “That is simply not true on a variety of levels.”

            Yes, it is. Observe the historic persecution of the Oriental Orthodox, and the byzantinization and bait-and-swich of Western Rite Orthodoxy as chronicled by Dale.

          12. Diane Marie Kamer
            November 17, 2014

            But…that’s not what we call ourselves. We say “Catholic” or “Roman Catholic” or “Eastern Catholic.” We never describe ourselves simply as “Romans” or as “the Roman Church,” unless we’re specifically talking about the Latin Rite Church as distinct from all the other churches in union with Peter’s successor.

            When was the last time you heard a Catholic say, “Hi, there! I’m a Roman!”?

            Yep, I’ve never heard it, either.

            Can’t youse guys respect what we call ourselves and what we prefer to be called?

            That stuff works both ways, you know. 😉

  5. The young fogey
    November 17, 2014

    “There is very little which is uniquely Russian about Orthodox Christianity.” Indeed. Greek-based (even the alphabet) with overlays imported from Western Catholicism, from baroque art and architecture to Bortniansky’s style of choral music (opera) to scholasticism, which the Russians used to promote Russianism rather than the universal church. ROCOR hates us because they wish they WERE us and tell themselves they really are.

    Reply
  6. William Tighe
    November 17, 2014

    Concerning the “suppression of rites,” the only two non-Roman rites in the Latin West were the Gallican Rite of Merovingian and early Carolingian France and the Mozarabic Rite of Iberia, and, in fact, the two were basically variants of the same liturgical shape and style (we don’t know much about North African eucharistic rites). The Gallican Rite was suppressed by Charlemagne, not Rome, in the 790s, and replaced with an adapted version of the Roman Rite prepared by Alcuin of York. In Spain, the Reconquista was accompanied by an enthusiasm for all things Roman, but the Roman See on several occasions beginning in the Eleventh Century gave its approbation to the Mozarabic Rite. By the late 1400s, however, the rite survived in only a half-dozen parishes in Toledo, and the rite survived only because Cardinal Cisneros had a Mozarabic Missal published in 1500 and arranged for its perpetual use in a chapel of Toledo Cathedral. By 1850 the rite survived, in a heavily Romanized form, in only two Toledo parishes, and by 1900 its used had ceased even in them. (It has been revived in a “reformed” Mozarabic Rite – in this case a very archaeological restoration of the ancient rite – which is used, once again, in those six Toledo parishes and in the monastery of Silos.) In fine, the attitude of Old Rome towards these, and other rites, has been far more favorable and encouraging than that of New Rome (cf. the dictum ofTheodore Balsamon [d.1199], Byzantine canonist and Patriarch of Antioch, that the use of all non-Byzantine rites in Orthodoxy wa suspect and ought to cease).

    Reply
    1. Dale
      November 17, 2014

      Thank you Dr Tighe.
      Also, even the reform of Trent openly allowed any tradition more than two hundred years old to remain. The Sarum rite was lost not because of Rome, but because the whole of the Sarum tradition followed King Henry VIII into schism. The Glagolithic rite continued until the novus ordo. The Byzantines, on the other hand, purposely suppressed any tradition, regardless of antiquity, that was not Byzantine. They just as happily suppressed the ancient rites of the east as joyfully as they closed all of the Latin rite parishes in their empire (well they also murdered about any Latin they could find as well); and now they are upset about being called Byzantine? Give me a break. Tell me, where are these non-Byzantine diocese of the Byzantine Orthodox? Oh yeah, there aren’t any.

      The Oriental Orthodox are indeed, like Rome, multi-liturgical and hence, we call them Oriental and not by a specific ethnic or cultural name.

      Personally, I do not at all mind being called a Roman! Only so long as that does not entailing destroying the traditions of others; too bad our Byzantine Orthodox brethren do not feel the same way.

      Reply
      1. aka
        November 19, 2014

        The Oriental Orthodox have typically remained separate from each other and have only had more regular intercommunion with each other in modern times. This is a good thing. They would refer to themselves primarily by their ethnic or cultural terms, e.g., Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Syrian Jacobite, etc. The (Nestorian) Church of the East is sometimes an exception, though it often goes by Assyrian.

        Reply
        1. The young fogey
          November 19, 2014

          The Oriental Orthodox have typically remained separate from each other and have only had more regular intercommunion with each other in modern times.

          Byzantine Orthodoxy² in that respect. Not so much a church like the Catholic Church but a loose communion little to do with each other.

          Reply
          1. aka
            November 19, 2014

            No, more like true national churches that happen to have similar ‘enemies’. Eastern Orthodoxy – what is it with insisting on using ‘byzantine’ as some sort of dismissive? odd – has maintained close ties among her separately constituted parts since the rise of modern autocephaly. Mount Athos is a good example, as are the Diptychs, the influence the EP still holds over all the ‘Greek’-influenced churches, in particular, including Antioch, Albania, Bulgaria, etc., and the fact that Russia has maintained involvement with and connections to all the other churches before and throughout the modern period. Like I said, that was far less a reality among the separate Oriental Orthodox churches until quite recently (excepting the connection between the Copts and the Ethiopians). The Church of the East was very much separate from the others as they are not only Non-Chalcedonian but Non-Ephesian.

            A decent analogy could be something like the United Nations or the OSCE (Oriental Orthodox) as compared to the European Union. The union of the Roman church with its junior sui iuris partners is probably a little more analogous to the United Kingdom where one constituent part dominates the others based on sheer size, Then again, from a more centralized structure as in the Roman church, i could see how one would think ‘they all look alike’. Similar views of democracy were had by the old monarchies and their Conservative heirs, and of ‘socialism’ by the average Republican in the US equating FDR and LBJ with European Social Democrats, Mao, and Stalin.

  7. Philip Sokolov
    November 17, 2014

    Dale, I thought my request was rather cordial and simple to understand. “Byzantine” is not a hideous or upsetting term, it’s just not our term for ourselves. In your posts, however, it is an undisguised polemical bludgeon. IMO, it lowers the level of discourse, here. Though not as much as complaining about how the Byzantine Empire “murdered about any Latin they could find” (really?).

    I agree with Diane’s statement that it “works both ways.” Hopefully that means we can be respectful both ways, rather than getting bogged down into unending retributive nastiness.

    Reply
    1. Dale
      November 18, 2014

      Philip, please see http://www.examiner.com/article/the-massacre-of-the-latins-1182

      I am truly amazed that you have not heard of this. Perhaps it is about time for the Byzantines to start apologising for their own historical crimes; you do not have to start with the Massacre of the Latins; but I do not think that your denomination has ever apologised for its persecution of the the Copts and Syrian Orthodox.

      Reply
      1. aka
        November 19, 2014

        An example that would be more directly pretinent to the way in which the Fourth Crusade is felt were to imagine the Roman Emperor of the East sacking Old Rome and setting up its own, Byzantine Rite Pope while replacing Latin Rite bishops in every city he conquored on the Italian peninsula.

        That said, it is important that Orthodox understand they are not automatically innocent and pure of all aggression simply by being Orthodox. This is a particular failing of the Serbian church whereby its self-identity is wrapped up in being an innocent martyr and confessor for Orthodoxy and Christendom. While not completely untrue, it is far from always true. It bears reminding that martyrs don’t complain about being martyrs, so they really have to choose one or the other.

        I am also want to remind my coreligionists, that remembrance of wrongs is a sin. This is the most prevalent, endemic sin among the Orthodox. It’s sort of the sinful flip side of a strong commitment to Holy Tradition.

        Reply
      2. Philip Sokolov
        November 19, 2014

        Um, okay, I hereby apologize for all historical crimes — massacres, persecutions, etc. — committed by Orthodox people, anywhere, ever, known or unknown.

        Although I still really don’t know why this has come up, or what it has to do with my request, which was simple and purely semantic.

        Reply
        1. Dale
          November 20, 2014

          Philip, when you become Metropolitan or Patriarch, I shall take your apologies seriously.

          Reply
  8. Dale
    November 18, 2014

    It was stated, “The difference being the church you belong to believes in a necessary communion with the Bishop of Rome.” It is no different in the Byzantine Orthodox church, one cannot be “canonical” without being in full Eucharist communion with the Ecumenical throne of Constantinople.

    Reply
    1. aka
      November 19, 2014

      This is factually not true.

      Reply
      1. The young fogey
        November 19, 2014

        I was going to say that doesn’t ring true. Sounds like the understandable Western misconception that the Patriarch of Constantinople is the Orthodox Pope, and perhaps C’ople itself thinks that way, being the New Rome historically and all. No, the Orthodox communion, such as it is, “maybe, maybe not,” happens to include C’ople. For example, with Ferrara-Florence, C’ople became Catholic again (until the Turks took them back into schism); the Russians broke with C’ople by going back into schism first, for Orthodoxy’s sake: the holy Third Rome (“a fourth there cannot be”: “God save the tsar”). Witness the battle royale between C’ople and Moscow now, on the verge of excommunicating each other.

        Reply
        1. aka
          November 19, 2014

          All but one of the EP hierarchy attending Florence became Catholic. The people back home in the eastern Mediterranean world protested immediately as did Mark of Ephesus at the time, so it wasn’t just the Turks choosing a schismatic Patriarch. And the Russians, of course, not sure about the response of the other Balkan churches or the Georgians.

          In addition to the Russian example, regarding ‘communion with New Rome’, the Church of Greece was also in ‘schism’ from the EP at its start, as have been various other since accepted ‘schims’ from the EP turned ‘autocephalies’.

          Reply
          1. Dale
            November 20, 2014

            Please site one example of a canonical Orthodox Church which is not in communion with Constantinople? Even during ROCORs interesting canonical period, they always maintained their canonical status with the Ecumenical Throne through the Serbian Church. The Free Ukrainian Orthodox are not even considered to have valid Sacraments because they are not in communion with Constantinople via Moscow.

          2. Dale
            November 20, 2014

            Aka, but when these various, now canonical Orthodox groups, such as the Bulgarians were not in communion with the Ecumenical Throne they were considered as non-canonical and no canonical priest could con-celebrate with them or canonical laity receive communion in such non-canonical parishes. When Greek Old Calendarist groups have submitted to the Ecumenical Throne, they have once again become canonical, but without this submission, they remain non-canonical.

            The issue of Constantinople becoming Catholic and Moscow being the only “Orthodox” was an aberration; and since they left Orthodoxy altogether, it would, in this instance be normal for Moscow to step in; the same would have happened if Constantinople became Protestant.

      2. Dale
        November 20, 2014

        But, yes, it is.

        Reply
        1. Philip Sokolov
          November 24, 2014

          Moscow removed Constantinople from the diptychs during a dispute in 1996-1997, FYI.

          Reply
          1. Dale
            November 25, 2014

            Removing form the dyptychs, over mostly political issues, and breaking communion are not the same things at all. And one may notice how long that lasted. There is a long list of “non-canonical” Byzantine churches who hold the same liturgy and theology of the canonical Byzantines, yet they are not considered Orthodox. Why? Because of issues that concern not being in submission to a “canonical authority”; very much like having to be in communion with the Pope. Only a more “byzantine” version.

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