I’m reading through the Rudder - just the actual Canons themselves: Canons of the Holy Apostles & the Canons of the Ecumencials Councils (not the interpretations added later). And it’s all really clear and really simple and I’m only a few hundred pages in and I’ve noticed that there are several that our “world” (as those in the non-ecumenical Orthodox Churches refer to us) Orthodox Churches do not keep…For Example:
- No Kneeling on Sundays, yet we, in the Greek Orthodox Church kneel every Sunday except during one season.
- Canon XLV “Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he has permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be desposed from office.” - yet our Greek Orthodox Patriarch has prayed with the Catholic Pope & my Priest prayed with Catholic Priests & a Catholic Bishop at a joint prayer service.
Catholics also don’t keep all the Canons either, in additional to the one mentioned above and they also don’t keep Canon VII “If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be desposed.” But I think the Catholic reason is that the Catholic Church believes the Pope is above the Canons and can override any Canon if he so chooses - which begs the question, what was the purpose of the Holy Spirit taking the time to inspire all the Canons if no one is required to keep them anyway or they can be overturned at anytime? It also seems that the common Catholic belief that St. Peter set aside his wife for the sake of the Papacy couldn’t be true as the Canons of the Apostles specifically condem a Bishop or Priest who would set aside his wife.
Okay, so back to my original question: What is the Orthodox Church excuse for Not keeping the Canons of our own Church?
(On a side note: it also appears in the Canons of the Apostles that plural marriage may not have been forbidden as Canon XIX reads “Whoever marries two sisters, or a niece, may not be a clergyman.” Poly-Mormons often marry two sisters - which according to the early Church Canons is forbidden. I haven’t come across a Canon that forbids marriage to more than one spouse, but I’ve not read them all yet - hope there is one in there somewhere.)