EC/EO Ecclesiology

[Moderator Note: The comment on the EC and EO ecclesiology generated enough off-topic posts to create this new thread from them. Please [URL=“http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=202722”]see here for the original discussion.]

Dear brother Neil,

Here are differences that I have percieved, and I would appreciate your comments:

  1. Catholic Patriarchs have actual jurisdiction in all the Sees within their patriarchate, howevermuch (or less) that jurisdictional prerogative is EXTRAordinarily used. EO Patriarchs have no actual jurisdiction outside of their own See.
  2. Catholic Patriarchs, in accordance with the Apostolic Canon 34, have a veto power within their Synods - i.e., nothing of great importance can be done without their consent. EO Patriarchs, on the other hand, do not have that kind of weight in their synods. At best, EO Patriarchs can break a tie vote.
    These are the two greatest differences I percieve (I think there are other minor differences), and I don’t think these differences are only of little import.

I admit I may be guilty of imposing my Oriental Orthodox ecclesiology on the Eastern/Oriental Catholic ecclesiology. Oriental Orthodox ecclesiology is “mid-way” between the Latin Catholic and Eastern Orthodox ecclesiologies - a mixture of the monarchical and synodal paradigms. I assume that Eastern and Oriental Catholic ecclesiology would also be reflective of that middle way.

I look forward to your comments.

Blessings,
Marduk

P.S. While I have you here :smiley: , I need some information please. In the early 20th century, there was a certain Eastern bishop who expressed some concerns to a certain Pope. The Pope responded (more or less), “Exercise your rights.” I believe it was you who provided the answer in the Byzcath forum a LONG time ago. If so,do you have the names of that Eastern bishop and the Pope at issue; also, exactly what was the question that the Eastern bishop asked the Pope?

Marduk,

A reading of Title 4 of the CCEO, Canons 55ff, will demonstrate that the jurisdiction of a Catholic Patriarch in the canonical jurisdictions of his patriarchate is significantly more restricted than your response #1 would suggest. In fact, on a cursory skim of it for purposes of refreshing my memory, I can’t find anything to support your assertion. In virtually every instance, acts by the patriarch require, at a minumum, the consent of the patriarchal synod.

As to your second comment, Apostolic Canon 34 is not in place;. the CCEO is. Patriarchs have no such veto.

P.S. While I have you here :smiley: , I need some information please. In the early 20th century, there was a certain Eastern bishop who expressed some concerns to a certain Pope. The Pope responded (more or less), “Exercise your rights.” I believe it was you who provided the answer in the Byzcath forum a LONG time ago. If so,do you have the names of that Eastern bishop and the Pope at issue; also, exactly what was the question that the Eastern bishop asked the Pope?

If I recollect correctly the matter of which you’re speaking, at issue was the authority of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytski, of blessed memory, of the Ukrainians to erect an exarchate for Russian Greek Catholics. I can’t remember the precise question. Pius X was the Pope involved and his response was similiar to as you’ve phrased it, but effectively accorded to the Metropolitan a rather extraordinary grant of authority - revoked in about 1940 I believe.

Many years,

Neil

Canons 78, 80, 82.1, 83.1, 86, 88 and 89, among others, seem to dictate otherwise.

[quote=]As to your second comment, Apostolic Canon 34 is not in place;. the CCEO is. Patriarchs have no such veto.
[/quote]

I haven’t looked over the entire Code yet. Please permit my doubt. I will naturally accede if I don’t find anything to support my position.

[quote=]If I recollect correctly the matter of which you’re speaking, at issue was the authority of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytski, of blessed memory, of the Ukrainians to erect an exarchate for Russian Greek Catholics. I can’t remember the precise question. Pius X was the Pope involved and his response was similiar to as you’ve phrased it, but effectively accorded to the Metropolitan a rather extraordinary grant of authority - revoked in about 1940 I believe.
[/quote]

Thank you. I wanted to do research on the matter, and I needed a starting point.

Abundant blessings,
Marduk

According the His Beatitude Gregorios III of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Patriarchal Synod is the highest authority.

Marduk,

Canon 78

  1. The power which, according to the norm of the canons and legitimate customs, the patriarch has over bishops and other Christian faithful of the Church over which he presides is ordinary and proper, but personal. Thus, the patriarch cannot constitute a vicar for the entire patriarchal Church nor can he delegate his power to someone for all cases.
  1. The power of the patriarch is exercised validly only inside the territorial boundaries of the patriarchal Church unless the nature of the matter or the common or particular law approved by the Roman Pontiff establishes otherwise.

Defines the personal nature of the patriarchal power and describes it as ordinary, but does not delineate it.

Canon 80

The patriarch is:

(1) to exercise the rights and to fulfill the obligations of a metropolitan in all places where provinces are not erected;

(2) to supply for the negligence of metropolitans according to the norm of law;

(3) to exercise the rights and to fulfill the obligations of a metropolitan in the entire province during the vacancy of a metropolitan see; (4) to warn a metropolitan who did not appoint a finance officer according to Canon 262, 1; if the warning is made in vain, he himself is to appoint a finance officer.

Effectively affords the prerogatives a metropolitan historically exercises for such eparchies (provided they are within the historic bounds of the patriarchate) and are not situated within a metropolia. The prerogatives are very limited. They include a right of canonical visitation (a duty that a patriarch has in his own capacity) and a duty to report as to problems involving an eparch or jurisdiction.

In one of the rare instances for which Newadvent is useful, see Metropolitans. And realize that the authority it describes is more far-reaching than presently afforded to metropolitans under reforms enacted by JP II.

Note that the sole actual authority accorded by the Canon is the right to appoint an economos, should a metropolitan fail to do so after being warned. This is a function required more by legal and practical necessity than a true exercise of any unique power.

Canon 82

  1. By his own right the patriarch can:

(1) within the scope of his competence, issue decrees which determine more precisely the methods to be observed in applying the law or urge the observance of a law;

(2) direct instructions to the Christian faithful of the entire Church over which he presides for the purpose of explaining sound doctrine, fostering piety, correcting abuses, and approving and recommending practices which foster the spiritual welfare of the Christian faithful;

(3) issue encyclical letters to the entire Church over which he presides concerning questions with respect to his own Church and rite.

The 2nd subsection is the historical authority accorded a patriarch as to matters liturgical and spiritual life - and the 3rd to publish encyclicals as to matters concerning his Church and Rite. Notably, these are among the very few instances in which his authority extends beyond the historical bounds of the patriarchal jurisdiction and into the diaspora, over which he is otherwise bereft of authority.

As to the 1st subsection, he has authority to delineate specifics of law and its interpretation - within the scope of his competence. Read that to be limited by the historical bounds, unless the matter at issue is related to spirituality or liturgical praxis which, in truth, are the matters with which the canon is concerned, from a realistic point of view.

Canon 83

  1. With due regard for the right and obligation of the eparchial bishop of canonically visiting his own eparchy, the patriarch has the right and obligation to conduct a pastoral visitation of the same eparchy at the time determined by particular law.

This is the most basic responsibility of any hierarch with respect to canonical jurisdictions within his omophor.

Canon 86 provides that he may enthrone hierarchs - including those appointed by Rome

Canon 88 requires honor and obedience be rendered to him by the bishops of his Church.

Canon 89 affords him authority to act against a cleric whose behavior merits action - after conferring with the eparch and only if the eparch fails to act. It also allows him to confer a dignity on a cleric of any eparchy - provided that the eparch consents.

All in all, I see nothing to support your premise, which was that the authority and prerogatives of an EC patriarch were greater than that of an EO patriarch. What I just looked through was comparable in most respects and more restrictive as regards the diaspora.

Many years,

Neil

Dear brother Neil,

Regardless of your mitigating explanations, these canons are in direct contradiction to EO ecclesiology as described by our EO brethren here in this forum. They have CONSISTENTLY and EXPLICITLY asserted that:

  1. An EO Patriarch has NO jurisdiction outside his own episcopal See.
  2. An EO Patriarch cannot discipline any priests outside his own immediate jurisdiction
  3. An EO Patriarch mostly has administrative functions in the Patriarchate
  4. A head bishop is NOT necessary for the governance of the Church.

Some have even gone so far as to claim there is no such thing as a head bishop.

These are not things an Eastern or Oriental Catholic would say - I could be wrong about Eastern Catholics, but I really don’t believe an Oriental Catholic would say these things.

Perhaps you weren’t around in the CAF during those days, but I assure you these were common statements coming from the pen of our EO brethren.

I am willing to admit that in their zeal to highlight the differences between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, they may have unwittingly gone too far in their descriptions of their ecclesiology. My impression of EO ecclesiology has been informed by these zealous EO posters.

Blessings,
Marduk

I would also like to add:
5) An EO Patriarch has no extraordinary prerogatives outside his own episcopal See, unlike the Pope of Rome.

Blessings,
Marduk

Dear brother Neil

Canon 78

ORDINARY POWER outside his own episcopal see is certainly a prerogative that goes beyond what EO are willing to admit (especially EO in this forum) for their patriarchs (though not OO patriarchs).

Canon 80

[quote=]Effectively affords the prerogatives a metropolitan historically exercises for such eparchies (provided they are within the historic bounds of the patriarchate) and are not situated within a metropolia. The prerogatives are very limited. They include a right of canonical visitation (a duty that a patriarch has in his own capacity) and a duty to report as to problems involving an eparch or jurisdiction.
[/quote]

I don’t see how this can be equated to the EO practice. The office of Metropolitan has all but disappeared, but for the title, in the EOC. And does not each See have an auxiliary or co-adjutor bishop? I think in the EOC, that bishop would take the reigns in a vacant see, not the EO patriarch. I could be wrong, but what I have stated seems more realistic judging from what our EO members have been stating about their ecclesiology than your own assessment that this Canon reflects the EO practice.

[quote=]Note that the sole actual authority accorded by the Canon is the right to appoint an economos, should a metropolitan fail to do so after being warned. This is a function required more by legal and practical necessity than a true exercise of any unique power.
[/quote]

Section 4 seems to stand on its own and does not apply to the other three sections.

Canon 82

[quote=]The 2nd subsection is the historical authority accorded a patriarch as to matters liturgical and spiritual life - and the 3rd to publish encyclicals as to matters concerning his Church and Rite. Notably, these are among the very few instances in which his authority extends beyond the historical bounds of the patriarchal jurisdiction and into the diaspora, over which he is otherwise bereft of authority.

As to the 1st subsection, he has authority to delineate specifics of law and its interpretation - within the scope of his competence. Read that to be limited by the historical bounds, unless the matter at issue is related to spirituality or liturgical praxis which, in truth, are the matters with which the canon is concerned, from a realistic point of view.
[/quote]

Nothing in Canon 82 aligns with what EO members have stated about their patriarchs, who have, unlike the EC/OC patriarchs of this canon, NO inherent rights except those given to him by his Synod. In contrast, this canon, on the four points it mentions, grants the EC/OC patriarch his own authority apart from the Synod, and the Synod only has advisory power.

***Canon 83 ***

[quote=]This is the most basic responsibility of any hierarch with respect to canonical jurisdictions within his omophor.
[/quote]

Except that this canon grants EC/OC patriarchs actual ordinary prerogatives during that visitation. Further, an EO patriarch does not have any right to cross the boundaries of his episcopal see without Synodal approval. This canon grants that right to the EC/OC patriarch for his pastoral visitation. In other visitations, the case is the same with the EO patriarch.

Canon 86

[quote=]provides that he may enthrone hierarchs - including those appointed by Rome
[/quote]

This canon provides more than that. Like the ancient canons, a practice/belief also present among the Oriental Orthodox, the EC/OC patriarch has in himself the prerogative to make a bishop a bishop through his confirmation. Judging from what our EO members have stated, this is not within the scope of the prerogatives of an EO bishop. To the EO, the confirmation of a Patriarch is an administrative formality, while the canonical provision for the bishop is given by the Synod.

Canon 88

[quote=]requires honor and obedience be rendered to him by the bishops of his Church.
[/quote]

I think pigs will fly before the EO would admitthat any bishop is to give obedience to any other bishop.

Canon 89

[quote=]affords him authority to act against a cleric whose behavior merits action - after conferring with the eparch and only if the eparch fails to act. It also allows him to confer a dignity on a cleric of any eparchy - provided that the eparch consents.
[/quote]

An authority which no EO patriarch possesses outside his immediate episcopal see.

[quote=]All in all, I see nothing to support your premise, which was that the authority and prerogatives of an EC patriarch were greater than that of an EO patriarch.
[/quote]

I believe a different conclusion is evident.

Abundant blessings,
Marduk

Dear brother LakaYaRabb,

True enough. But it is also simply true that a Catholic Patriarch
(aside from the titular ones) has more prerogatives in his Church than an EO Patriarch does in his Church.

Blessings,
Marduk

When I have time later in the week, I will post the ancient canons from the Ecumenical Councils which demonstrate how Catholic (and Oriental Orthodox) ecclesiology has remained faithful to the ***T***radition of the Church.

Blessings,
Marduk

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