How can the Orthodox Church have valid orders?


#1

I’m trying to explain to a protestant friend why the Orthodox Church has valid orders regarding the Eucharist but his church doesn’t. He is a Southern Baptist and while the baptism is, his communion isn’t. Now if I understand this correctly, the Orthodox church has valid orders in the sacraments. How can this be as I thought through apostolic succession was the only way you can have valid orders and the Orthodox church has a broken link. This is so confusing.

Thanks!!!

Peace
Tony


#2

[quote=tparsons]I’m trying to explain to a protestant friend why the Orthodox Church has valid orders regarding the Eucharist but his church doesn’t. He is a Southern Baptist and while the baptism is, his communion isn’t. Now if I understand this correctly, the Orthodox church has valid orders in the sacraments. How can this be as I thought through apostolic succession was the only way you can have valid orders and the Orthodox church has a broken link. This is so confusing.

Thanks!!!

Peace
Tony
[/quote]

Well the Orthodox do not have a broken link. There bishops are the successers of the apostles as well, but are not in communion with the bishop of Rome (the pope.) Baptisms by heretics, when done using the proper trinitarian formula, are valid and the Church has always taught this going all the way back to the dispute between St. Cyprian and Pope St. Stephen.


#3

[quote=tparsons]I’m trying to explain to a protestant friend why the Orthodox Church has valid orders regarding the Eucharist but his church doesn’t. He is a Southern Baptist and while the baptism is, his communion isn’t. Now if I understand this correctly, the Orthodox church has valid orders in the sacraments. How can this be as I thought through apostolic succession was the only way you can have valid orders and the Orthodox church has a broken link. This is so confusing.

Thanks!!!

Peace
Tony
[/quote]

You just explain to your friend about Apostolic Succession and that Baptism in times of grave necessity can be performed by anyone using the proper formula. When it comes to division due to heresy and someone is a cradle protestant, it does constitute grave necessity since that person does not fully know the trueth of the Catholic Church and the parents most likely don’t either. As for the Eucharist it has to be done by a priest that is validly ordained by a Bishop with Apostolic succession. The Church teaches that even if a priest is in heresy and possibly even apostacy can perform valid sacraments including the Eucharist. Schism is however different, it is a separation due to disputes with both hierarchies which confuses the faithful. Durring the Western Schism many Saints followed the Anti-popes and many scholars today say that it wasn’t really a schism since the faithful tried faithfully to obey the Pope (in which they were confused who was). The sacraments were valid in all sides at that time.


#4

Thats something that has always confused me as well. If Orthodox bishops have an unbroken line of succession and valid sacraments, why can’t the same be said of Anglicans? They were also validly ordained Catholic bishops who broke away.


#5

[quote=Roche42]Thats something that has always confused me as well. If Orthodox bishops have an unbroken line of succession and valid sacraments, why can’t the same be said of Anglicans? They were also validly ordained Catholic bishops who broke away.
[/quote]

Not all of them. Some may have been priests or lay faithful that were elevated by the Monarchy. Most of the bishops remained loyal to Rome and some were probably martyred for that. It can be that some priests today in the Anglican Communion might be performing valid Eucharists, but for the whole it is tough to figure out, so it is better not to bother with it.


#6

Very good point, I hadn’t thought of the fact that laypeople were elevated to the Episcopacy early on, makes sense. Although I would tend to disagree with the assertion that most bishops stayed loyal to Rome, I don’t think thats necessarily true.


#7

[quote=Roche42]Thats something that has always confused me as well. If Orthodox bishops have an unbroken line of succession and valid sacraments, why can’t the same be said of Anglicans? They were also validly ordained Catholic bishops who broke away.
[/quote]

Pope Leo XIII declared that Anglican Orders were null and void not due to a break in the Apostolic Succesion, but rather because the form of the rite they used was not a correct description of what hapens when the Sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred. I suppose it’s analogous to the invalidity of the Eucharist if the words of institution are altered.

  • Chrysogonus -

#8

Wow, that is fascinating, thank you for the information.


#9

Here’s a link to Pope Leo XIII’s decree On the Nullity of Anglican Orders (Apostolicae Curae) of September 15, 1896.


#10

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