Question regarding Orthodox autocephalous churches


#1

In terms of governing and administering, what is the relationship between the respective autocephalous Orthodox churches?

For example, can one step in and intervene in the internal affairs of another, for doctrinal purposes etc…?

Thanks, Joe


#2

It's very difficult to deal with hypotheticals.

If I'm understanding what you're asking, no, no church can step in and interfere with another.(Heck, no bishop can step into another diocese and make that diocese stop doing something). The Patriarch of Constantinople cannot make the Russian Orthodox Church to stop doing something. He can write to them and tell them they're in grave error about something, but they're in no way obligated to listen.

If one Church began to teach, practice, and believe something heretical the other churches would first do as above and tell them they're straying from The Faith, and if they didn't heed them we would sever Communion with them until they returned to their senses.


#3

[quote="joe370, post:1, topic:308132"]
In terms of governing and administering, what is the relationship between the respective autocephalous Orthodox churches?

For example, can one step in and intervene in the internal affairs of another, for doctrinal purposes etc...?

Thanks, Joe

[/quote]

Another Church cannot step in out of their own initiative. If one Church feels the need of someone else coming in and giving them a hand, they would reach out to a sister Church and ask them to intervene. You will see this in Acts at the First Council of Jerusalem. You will see the result of meddling by those who claim to be from the Jerusalem Church who turned out not to be officially from them. And you will see that the Jerusalem Church didn't step in until Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, and this is only after they tried to resolve the issue by themselves and couldn't come to a conclusion.

You will see this during the Soviet era, when Ukrainians came to North America they didn't want to be under the Russian Orthodox Church because there were questions on the influence of the Soviets on the heirarchy back in Russia. So the UOC in Canada and the US are, until today, under the EP as they requested the EP to take them. The EP did not step in and took them out of her own initiative, it is by the request of the Ukrainian Church, at least those in North America.


#4

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:3, topic:308132"]
Another Church cannot step in out of their own initiative. If one Church feels the need of someone else coming in and giving them a hand, they would reach out to a sister Church and ask them to intervene. You will see this in Acts at the First Council of Jerusalem. You will see the result of meddling by those who claim to be from the Jerusalem Church who turned out not to be officially from them. And you will see that the Jerusalem Church didn't step in until Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, and this is only after they tried to resolve the issue by themselves and couldn't come to a conclusion.

You will see this during the Soviet era, when Ukrainians came to North America they didn't want to be under the Russian Orthodox Church because there were questions on the influence of the Soviets on the heirarchy back in Russia. So the UOC in Canada and the US are, until today, under the EP as they requested the EP to take them. The EP did not step in and took them out of her own initiative, it is by the request of the Ukrainian Church, at least those in North America.

[/quote]

Hey, ConstantineTG. Just curious: what happens if one of the autocephalous church's (hypothetically speaking of course) begins to embrace something that is not doctrinally sound? Is there some sort of overriding authority to step in and correct the matter? Just trying to learn a little more about the EOC.


#5

[quote="joe370, post:4, topic:308132"]
Hey, ConstantineTG. Just curious: what happens if one of the autocephalous church's (hypothetically speaking of course) begins to embrace something that is not doctrinally sound? Is there some sort of overriding authority to step in and correct the matter? Just trying to learn a little more about the EOC.

[/quote]

Rawb seemed to put in a nice answer to it (if I may quote him!):

If I'm understanding what you're asking, no, no church can step in and interfere with another.(Heck, no bishop can step into another diocese and make that diocese stop doing something). The Patriarch of Constantinople cannot make the Russian Orthodox Church to stop doing something. He can write to them and tell them they're in grave error about something, but they're in no way obligated to listen.
**
If one Church began to teach, practice, and believe something heretical the other churches would first do as above and tell them they're straying from The Faith, and
if they didn't heed them we would sever Communion with them until they returned to their senses.**

The Ecumenical Patriarch in Orthodoxy doesn't have the same kind of ecclesiastical power as the Pope of Rome does in Catholicism. So from what I understand from Rawb, because there is an equality in terms of bishops, no other patriarch can override the Romanian Orthodox Church if the latter (as simply an example) decided to embrace a heresy such as monophysitism. They could only "quarantine" them until they decided to return to.....orthodoxy.


#6

[quote="FabiusMaximus, post:5, topic:308132"]
Rawb seemed to put in a nice answer to it (if I may quote him!):

The Ecumenical Patriarch in Orthodoxy doesn't have the same kind of ecclesiastical power as the Pope of Rome does in Catholicism. So from what I understand from Rawb, because there is an equality in terms of bishops, no other patriarch can override the Romanian Orthodox Church if the latter (as simply an example) decided to embrace a heresy such as monophysitism. They could only "quarantine" them until they decided to return to.....orthodoxy.

[/quote]

Thanks FabiusMaximus:)


#7

[quote="Rawb, post:2, topic:308132"]
It's very difficult to deal with hypotheticals.

If I'm understanding what you're asking, no, no church can step in and interfere with another.(Heck, no bishop can step into another diocese and make that diocese stop doing something). The Patriarch of Constantinople cannot make the Russian Orthodox Church to stop doing something. He can write to them and tell them they're in grave error about something, but they're in no way obligated to listen.

If one Church began to teach, practice, and believe something heretical the other churches would first do as above and tell them they're straying from The Faith, and if they didn't heed them we would sever Communion with them until they returned to their senses.

[/quote]

Ok. Thanks Rawb. :)


#8

[quote="joe370, post:4, topic:308132"]
Hey, ConstantineTG. Just curious: what happens if one of the autocephalous church's (hypothetically speaking of course) begins to embrace something that is not doctrinally sound? Is there some sort of overriding authority to step in and correct the matter? Just trying to learn a little more about the EOC.

[/quote]

Everyone breaks communion with them. They can continue on their own but then given they are not in communion with anybody else then they have no credibility, and everyone else declares them a heretic. There can be a council to declare the bishops as heretics, and if the people will not schism with the bishops, the highest rank in honor among the Patriarch may assign Orthodox bishops to the people.

Not sure this is exactly how it will work today, but that is how it worked in the past.


#9

[quote="FabiusMaximus, post:5, topic:308132"]
Rawb seemed to put in a nice answer to it (if I may quote him!):

The Ecumenical Patriarch in Orthodoxy doesn't have the same kind of ecclesiastical power as the Pope of Rome does in Catholicism. So from what I understand from Rawb, because there is an equality in terms of bishops, no other patriarch can override the Romanian Orthodox Church if the latter (as simply an example) decided to embrace a heresy such as monophysitism. They could only "quarantine" them until they decided to return to.....orthodoxy.

[/quote]

If the bishops schism, the Orthodox bishops may appoint new bishops in the territories of those who schism if there are any faithful who wish to remain in the Orthodox communion of Churches. This is what happened with the schism between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, although how it played out was a bit of back-and-forth for a number of years. And with Rome, because all faithful in Rome backed the Pope, the Orthodox didn't appoint a new "Orthodox Patriarch of Rome". Also the fact that the schism with Rome was gradual and wasn't a full and total schism until basically when both sides realized that the schism was deep and total, it was too late. Remember that even by the Council of Florence they were still trying to resolve their issues.


#10

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:9, topic:308132"]
If the bishops schism, the Orthodox bishops may appoint new bishops in the territories of those who schism if there are any faithful who wish to remain in the Orthodox communion of Churches. This is what happened with the schism between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, although how it played out was a bit of back-and-forth for a number of years. And with Rome, because all faithful in Rome backed the Pope, the Orthodox didn't appoint a new "Orthodox Patriarch of Rome". Also the fact that the schism with Rome was gradual and wasn't a full and total schism until basically when both sides realized that the schism was deep and total, it was too late. Remember that even by the Council of Florence they were still trying to resolve their issues.

[/quote]

This is true. We do sometimes (often?) replace the bishops to ensure the people are provided for. Alexandria is a perfect example.

We haven't in Rome out of respect for the honor Rome once had, but honestly quite a few younger Orthodox I've spoken to have opined that it is time to elect a new Orthodox Bishop of Rome. It probably won't happen though.


#11

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:9, topic:308132"]
If the bishops schism, the Orthodox bishops may appoint new bishops in the territories of those who schism if there are any faithful who wish to remain in the Orthodox communion of Churches. This is what happened with the schism between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, although how it played out was a bit of back-and-forth for a number of years. And with Rome, because all faithful in Rome backed the Pope, the Orthodox didn't appoint a new "Orthodox Patriarch of Rome". Also the fact that the schism with Rome was gradual and wasn't a full and total schism until basically when both sides realized that the schism was deep and total, it was too late. Remember that even by the Council of Florence they were still trying to resolve their issues.

[/quote]

Makes sense.


#12

Curious though, since the Italo-Albanians are Byantine Rite Catholics, weren’t there other Orthodox Christians in and around Rome/Italy at that time? Or did all bishops in the area just had strongly supported their Patriarch?

If the Orthodox do elect an Orthodox Bishop of Rome, what Rite will he celebrate? Obviously even by the schism the Roman/Western Liturgy wasn’t St. John Chrysostom’s. Will the Orthodox Bishop of Rome use the Western Rite in this hypothetical scenario?


#13

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:12, topic:308132"]
Curious though, since the Italo-Albanians are Byantine Rite Catholics, weren't there other Orthodox Christians in and around Rome/Italy at that time? Or did all bishops in the area just had strongly supported their Patriarch?

If the Orthodox do elect an Orthodox Bishop of Rome, what Rite will he celebrate? Obviously even by the schism the Roman/Western Liturgy wasn't St. John Chrysostom's. Will the Orthodox Bishop of Rome use the Western Rite in this hypothetical scenario?

[/quote]

Yes, it would be great. But not as the Antiochians did, we would need to take the Western Rite to a whole new level :D


#14

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:12, topic:308132"]
Curious though, since the Italo-Albanians are Byantine Rite Catholics, weren't there other Orthodox Christians in and around Rome/Italy at that time? Or did all bishops in the area just had strongly supported their Patriarch?

If the Orthodox do elect an Orthodox Bishop of Rome, what Rite will he celebrate? Obviously even by the schism the Roman/Western Liturgy wasn't St. John Chrysostom's. Will the Orthodox Bishop of Rome use the Western Rite in this hypothetical scenario?

[/quote]

Eastern Catholics (rightfully) complain about Latinizations in the Catholic Communion... but it appears that, historically, Hellenization was the policy in the Eastern Orthodox Communion. Shouldn't the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, and his church, celebrate the Coptic Rite? And shouldn't the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch celebrate the Syriac Rite? But they don't... it's Byzantine across the board. Even the small pockets of Western Rite Orthodox parishes are, by all accounts, heavily Hellenized - it is not a reflection of any pure Latin liturgy/spirituality.


#15

[quote="twf, post:14, topic:308132"]
Eastern Catholics (rightfully) complain about Latinizations in the Catholic Communion... but it appears that, historically, Hellenization was the policy in the Eastern Orthodox Communion. Shouldn't the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, and his church, celebrate the Coptic Rite? And shouldn't the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch celebrate the Syriac Rite? But they don't... it's Byzantine across the board. Even the small pockets of Western Rite Orthodox parishes are, by all accounts, heavily Hellenized - it is not a reflection of any pure Latin liturgy/spirituality.

[/quote]

In the case of the Church at Antioch... the city itself and it's near surroundings always used greek in liturgy since the beginning. The syriac liturgy developed later, east of Antioch in the poor and rural zones.

Anyways... Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Cappadocia, and Sicily were Hellenized even before the Roman Empire so their "greekness" isn't an effect of the Byzantine Church.


#16

I always understood that the Syriac Rite was older than the Byzantine Rite (at least as we know it today). Yes, there was widespread Greek cultural influences throughout that entire region, but surely Christians in Egypt were celebrating the Coptic Rite long before they started worshipping according to the Byzantine Rite. Even if Antioch was using the Greek language, it wouldn’t have been the modern Byzantine Rite. Otherwise, the Coptic and Syriac Orthodox Churches wouldn’t have their distinct Rites - which date back to before the Chalcedonian schism. The Eastern Orthodox Churches of Antioch and Alexandria were erected to replace these churches which had fallen into schism.


#17

[quote="twf, post:16, topic:308132"]
I always understood that the Syriac Rite was older than the Byzantine Rite (at least as we know it today). Yes, there was widespread Greek cultural influences throughout that entire region, but surely Christians in Egypt were celebrating the Coptic Rite long before they started worshipping according to the Byzantine Rite. Even if Antioch was using the Greek language, it wouldn't have been the modern Byzantine Rite. Otherwise, the Coptic and Syriac Orthodox Churches wouldn't have their distinct Rites - which date back to before the Chalcedonian schism. The Eastern Orthodox Churches of Antioch and Alexandria were erected to replace these churches which had fallen into schism.

[/quote]

The Greek Rite is older as it is the language in which the Apostles mainly evangelized (remember it was the lingua franca of the ancient world & the NT and the LXX were greek at first). In the case of Antioch (again), I think it was the Byzantine Greek Rite... Why I think so? Because St. J. Chrysostom, an Antiochian, composed the liturgy that bears his name before the schism with the Syriacs. In the case of Alexandria I think you´re right, it was imposed.

Excuse me for my horrid english :D


#18

[quote="twf, post:14, topic:308132"]
Eastern Catholics (rightfully) complain about Latinizations in the Catholic Communion... but it appears that, historically, Hellenization was the policy in the Eastern Orthodox Communion. Shouldn't the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, and his church, celebrate the Coptic Rite? And shouldn't the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch celebrate the Syriac Rite? But they don't... it's Byzantine across the board. Even the small pockets of Western Rite Orthodox parishes are, by all accounts, heavily Hellenized - it is not a reflection of any pure Latin liturgy/spirituality.

[/quote]

It is far complicated than that. Remember at the time of the schisms with the Nestorians and the Oriental Orthodox, most of the Liturgy and the Rites were still in development. I'm not sure at which point were they celebrating what Liturgy. St. John Chrysostom introduced his version of the Divine Liturgy around 400AD, and the Oriental Orthodox broke away in about 50 years. And at this point remember that St. John Chrysostom's Liturgy isn't exactly what we see today. I'm not sure at what point did St. John Chrysostom's Liturgy got adopted there. Also note that those that remained in communion with Constantinople were Greeks anyway. It's really a complicated history to just say they were hellenized. The Slavs developed their own religious culture even though they adopted the same Liturgy as the Greeks.


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