Eastern Orthodoxy Questions

I’m on a board with some Eastern Orthodox, and I’m trying to learn more about Eastern Orthodoxy.

One of the claims the poster makes is that no Ecumenical Council ever gave the Pope supreme jurisdiction or right of settling appeals in the Church.

They claim

They also say Pope Leo was forced to accept Canon 28 of Chalcedon, which apparently made Constantinople equal to Rome and said that Rome’s privileges were due to her being the Imperial City.

Here is his claim:

“Leo had no choice but to accept it because it was roman law and the Emperess Pulcheria refused to rescind it after he wrote letters to her. In fact there was a period of time when all roman popes were greek byzantines appointed by the emperor (google byzantine papacy or greek papacy) meaning they had to accept it as a prerequisite to becoming pope. Its also verified in RC canon law. When the latins captured Constantinople in 1204 and installed a latin patriarch they held the IV Lateran council in Lyons. Canon 5 of Lyons said that they have always accepted the ANCIENT priveleges which placed Constantinople after Rome. And the other 3 others after Constantinople. In other words in this canon Rome rejects Leo’s claim. It makes clear that rome always held to the ancient custom (ie canon 28), the canon does not say they just “started to accept it” but that it was an ANCIENT privelege always held.”

Does anyone know about such issues? Why aren’t the Ecumenical Councils more explicit about the Pope’s authority?

catholic.com/tracts/eastern-orthodoxy
catholic.com/magazine/articles/peter-and-the-eastern-orthodox
catholic.com/encyclopedia/pope-leo-i-saint
catholic.com/magazine/articles/why-i-didn%E2%80%99t-convert-to-eastern-orthodoxy

Eastern Orthodox generally will not accept the infallibility of the Pope. Also, they generally will not agree to the claim of universal jurisdiction of the Pope.

Thanks, Johnnyt.

Apparently they say Leo and the Catholic Church accepted Canon 28 and we say they didn’t.

Also, the last article “Why I Didn’t Convert to Eastern ORthodoxy” by BRian Harrison was very clear.

They would be mistaken. That’s exactly what the Ecumenical First Vatican Council did.

But they have a problem of perception. A Council does not “give” the Pope anything. It merely teaches what Jesus “gave” Peter and his successors.

Their problem is that they don’t recognize Vatican-1. But they would be hard-pressed to explain exactly why they accept Nicea but not Vatican-1 (other than the fact that they didn’t get to vote in Vatican-1, because they left the unity of the Catholic Church, which they are free to do, but it does tend to exclude them from voting privileges in Ecumenical Councils).

The Orthodox claim that the Roman Catholic Church left them when the Roman Catholic Church decided to excommunicate the Patriarch of Constantinople. The other Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, aligned themselves with the Patriarch of Constantinople, not with Rome.

OK, so how many Ecumenical Councils have the Orthodox held since then?

All Orthodox recognize seven ecumenical councils:
I. First Council of Nicea, (325);
II. First Council of Constantinople, (381);
III. Council of Ephesus, (431);
IV. Council of Chalcedon, (451);
V. Second Council of Constantinople, (553);
VI. Third Council of Constantinople, (680-681);
Quinisext/Penthekte Council (= Fifth and Sixth) or Council in Trullo, (692);This council is accepted by the Orthodox Church as a part of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, but that is rejected by Roman Catholics.
VII. Second Council of Nicea, (787);
Many Orthodox recognize only these 7 as being ecumenical. However, the 1848 Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs (which refers explicitly to the “Eighth Ecumenical Council” and was signed by the patriarchs of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria as well as the Holy Synods of the first three), postulates an additional ecumenical council:
VIII. Fourth Council of Constantinople, (879-880); restored St. Photius the Great to his see in Constantinople and anathematized any who altered the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
and
IX. Fifth Council of Constantinople, (1341-1351)
Further, there are some encyclicals and letters of local councils held since then.
…information taken from:
orthodoxwiki.org/Ecumenical_Councils#List_of_the_Seven_Ecumenical_Councils

As many as we have needed to have.

Not actually. The Patriarch of Alexandria was Miaphysite. The Antiochan Patriarch was a byzantine satellite church by the time due to the installation of Byzantine bishops in Antioch after the Chalcedonian split and the other political conditions of the time. Hence, due to their relative weakness they had to follow Constantinople. However the Antiochan Patriarch actually reprimanded the Pope of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch and told them to make peace. Further Antioch always had friendly relations with Rome until eventually reestablished communion with Rome in the 18th century under the reign of Patriarch Cyril VI Tannas

Lastly Jerusalem was really only honorarily a patriarchate and had a very small flock and influence (Much like the Patriarch of Venice or Lisbon in the Catholic Church today). That is true until this day

The reality is it was a Byzantine vs Latin split with byzantine patriarchs installed by the byzantine court having to side with the Ecumenical Patriarch due to their situation, not really because they agreed with Constantinople

So at that time, the Pope of Rome did not have universal jurisdiction over the byzantine patriarchs?

He did but as evidenced today in the Catholic Church, that has never stopped people from splitting from the Church.

The governing powers that ruled these patriarchates through the Ecumenical patriarch helped ensure the support of the easterners. However in far away lands like Russia the schism did not eve materialize until the 12 century.

Yes, and those seven Councils all have something in common. They were all held before the Great Schism.

The Schism was unfortunate, but it did not affect how the Latin Church operates. It continued to hold Ecumenical Councils, as it had always done.

For example, the Latin Church was able to convoke an Ecumenical Council (Trent) to reform the Church and combat the errors of the new protestant faiths.

The Greek Orthodox Church has not convoked any Council since the Schism. If they wanted to do so, who has authority to call a Council? Who has authority to ratify it? Oh, sure, many Orthodox might have personal opinions about those questions, but no Orthodox can show where the Orthodox Church actually answers those questions. Because it doesn’t.

Ecumenical Councils are clearly defined in Latin Canon Law. That’s because we do them (just as we have always done them).

The only reason the Orthodox recognize the first seven Councils is because they got to vote. The reason the Orthodox Church has not held any subsequent Councils is because it has no authority to do so (and it doesn’t even pretend to have this authority).

:popcorn:

We have councils all the time at different levels of church government. We just don’t call them ecumenical.

They have held councils:
VIII. Fourth Council of Constantinople, (879-880); restored St. Photius the Great to his see in Constantinople and anathematized any who altered the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
and
IX. Fifth Council of Constantinople, (1341-1351).

Not all Orthodox accept 7, the Oriental Orthodox accept the first 3. Their arguments can be made in a similar fashion against both Rome and Constantinople. The Assyrians only accept the first 2.

Right. I meant to say Eastern Orthodox accept the first 7.

Not ecumenical, that was his point. The standard EO answer is that they only recognize the first 7 as ecumenical. Only smaller segments in Eastern Orthodoxy accept a few others as ecumenical.

Thanks everyone for your replies. But I still haven’t seen an answer to the statement that I posted in the opening post. It was made by a poster on another forum:

“Leo had no choice but to accept it because it was roman law and the Emperess Pulcheria refused to rescind it after he wrote letters to her. In fact there was a period of time when all roman popes were greek byzantines appointed by the emperor (google byzantine papacy or greek papacy) meaning they had to accept it as a prerequisite to becoming pope. Its also verified in RC canon law. When the latins captured Constantinople in 1204 and installed a latin patriarch they held the IV Lateran council in Lyons. Canon 5 of Lyons said that they have always accepted the ANCIENT priveleges which placed Constantinople after Rome. And the other 3 others after Constantinople. In other words in this canon Rome rejects Leo’s claim. It makes clear that rome always held to the ancient custom (ie canon 28), the canon does not say they just “started to accept it” but that it was an ANCIENT privelege always held.”

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