Orthodox prelate sees agreement on pope coming soon

An “agreed statement” on the role of the Roman pontiff in the Universal Church could be issued in about three years, one of the key members of the Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue said during a visit to the Detroit area.

While cautioning about “not expecting rapid results,” Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia said Feb. 17 there is hope Orthodox and Catholic Christians would “grow together gradually into unity.”


I wish I had known that +Ware was speaking in my area, I would have gone down to the Seminary to hear him.

While this is one opinion from one Metropolitan theologian, it’s a strikingly refreshing bit of optimism for the Universal Church.

Even if the Eastern Church continued in their current format of leadership, it would re-unite them fully to their bishop’s right to be part of the largest element of apostolic succession–to become a pontiff if elected. Right now, they haven’t as much of a say, and they should. It’s now a smaller world and bishops from all over the world can communicate better. The problems of long-distance communication, in part, was what caused the Schism in the first place.

This is different, in my opinion, to ordinariates such as the Anglican-use welcome that Benedict XVI began, but because of the changes in some liturgical norms over 1,000 years, we’d likely have to accommodate a type of ordinariate for such a merge so as not to interrupt our Eastern brother’s rites.

As they say, I’m hopeful, even from this one voice and its opinion, that such a unifying event can happen in my lifetime. It’s a matter of details.

Even after the “bombshell” election of our first “New World” pontiff and his strikingly humble tone, my heart can handle one more bountiful bombshell.

I’m more interested in what Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew says on the subject.

An interesting statement from a well-respected bishop, but I’d like to see how many hierarchs in the Orthodox Church share his sentiments–we have 14 patriarchs that need to speak, and perhaps hundreds of other bishops.

Even then, I’d like to see if this prediction of +Metr. Ware’s comes true.

I can’t help but feel Pope Francis is almost ideally placed to oversee this transition, as Wikipedia states:

Bergoglio is recognized for his efforts “to further close the nearly 1,000-year estrangement with the Orthodox churches”.[90] Antoni Sevruk, rector of the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Catherine the Great Martyr in Rome, said that Bergoglio “often visited Orthodox services in the Russian Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral in Buenos Aires” and is known as an advocate on behalf the Orthodox Church in dealing with Argentina’s government.[91]
Bergoglio’s positive relationship with the Eastern Orthodox churches is reflected in the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople attended his installation.[92] According to George Demacopoulos, this is “quite likely the first time in history” that the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, a position considered first among equals in the Eastern Orthodox Church organization, has attended a papal installation.[92] Orthodox leaders state that Bartholomew’s decision to attend the ceremony shows that the relationship between the Orthodox and Catholic churches is a priority of his, but they also note that Francis’s “well-documented work for social justice and his insistence that globalization is detrimental to the poor” may have created a “renewed opportunity” for the two church communities to “work collectively on issues of mutual concern”.[92][e]

I am more interested in the perspective of the Russian Orthodox patriarch and synod. They are the majority of the EO church, and to talk about potential union or agreement on anything without considering them is naive to say the least, and deception to say the worst. It is great that the ecumenical patriarch or bishop Ware sees potential, but it doesn’t mean much if they don’t have support from the rest of the Orthodox Church.

Me too, especially since he attended Pope Francis’ instillation, which is a very promising move.

How would that work exactly? If an Eastern bishop were elected pope, would they simply have to learn to say the Latin Rite Mass, or would there be a change to the Latin Rite for them? I don’t imagine there’s a requirement for a Rite change, but they would the the bishop of Rome, after all.

Sorry if I would sound mean, but most Orthodox don’t care to have one of our bishops become bishop of Rome. If anything, the Orthodox Church would rather have what the early Church was, and not how the Catholic Church is now. No go for this, unless Rome is dreaming of having all of the Church under her, which was not how it was. Not interested would be the sum of what Orthodox actually feel about this issue.

I understand, and I think Francis wants reunion badly, but honestly, the biggest reason Eastern Orthodoxy isn’t bigger than it is, is because ecclesiologically it’s stuck in the 8th century. It needs to abandon autocephaly and unite itself. Otherwise it’s a competing group of ethnic churches.

I really don’t see how this happens unless the “role” they are talking about includes supremacy, not just primacy.

A few of the Early Popes were Greek
Is that what you mean by return to the early Church?

See, that’s an issue we don’t have :o I am not sure about how that would ultimately work (a council, maybe?) but I am certain that those who truly, sincerely long to restore a united, universal Church after a thousand years of mutual schism, will work closely with the Bishop of Rome and help him carry out the necessary steps.

I don’t know how orthodox of an idea that is :shrug: It reminds me of what a not-too-well-known Benedictine abbot once wrote in the XIX Century:

Thus, all the sectarians without exceptions begin with the vindication of the rights of antiquity. They want to cut Christianity off from all that the errors and passions of man have mixed in; from whatever is “false” and “unworthy of God”. All they want is the primitive, and they pretend to go back to the cradle of Christian institutions.

To this end, they prune, they efface, they cut away; everything falls under their blows, and while one is waiting to see the original purity of the divine cult reappear, one finds himself encumbered with new formulas dating only from the night before, and which are incontestably human, since the one who created them is still alive.

Every sect undergoes this necessity. We saw this with the Monophysites and the Nestorians; we find the same in every branch of Protestantism. Their preference for preaching antiquity led only to cutting them off from the entire past. Then they placed themselves before their seduced people and they swore to them that now all was fine, that the papist accretions had disappeared, that the divine cult was restored to its primitive form.

Obviously Dom Gueranger, O.S.B, was not referring to the Orthodox at all, but rather he spoke of the Protestant groups. Nevertheless, it is clear that the basic idea of the dialogue between the Eastern and Western Church is not about restoring the early Church, but about overcoming the differences that can and ought to be overcome, moving forward as a healthy Vine that grows with time, all the while producing the same fruit under the caring hand of the Divine Vine-grower :slight_smile:

You speak as a westerner, with a western mentality. There will never be union according to this model of constant growth of doctrine.

Why would Orthodoxy abandon something that’s been done in the early Church? I would actually say that Orthodoxy didn’t grow as much for so many centuries because of it being under Islam, and later under the Communists. Both of these imposed severe restrictions on the Church which, for the most part, the Orthodox Church still carries now. It has nothing to do with its ecclessiology.

Bear with me because I am really not well informed on this. How do you reconcile this supposed “Eastern” model of, I guess, no growth of doctrine, with quotes such as this:

There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.

Also, the constant growth of doctrine did seem to occur for about a thousand years, before the Great Schism…it’s not like all of a sudden, after the Schism, the western Church adopted it and the eastern didn’t…as far as I know.

Because times change and the Church grows? We no longer cast lots to chose presbyters, either :shrug:

The fathers didn’t see themselves as developing doctrine. The use of ousia by Athanasius, hypostasis by Basil and the Gregory’s, the hypostatic union are all instances of the preservation of doctrine, not of a growth of doctrine. The definitions are meant to safegaurd what is already the teaching of the Church, not to develop a new doctrine. There is growth in understanding through the use of language, but never anything new.

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