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 Post subject: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:27 am 
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Hey guys,

Recently in a discussion with an Eastern Orthodox person who is about to get a PHD in Patristics. So posted the following objections to the Papacy and Rome as an authority in the Early Church.

1. there were seven ecumenical councils. NOT ONE WAS CONTROLLED BY ROME OR CALLED BY ROME. how do you explain that?

2. the 5th ecumencial council, the council of chalcedon in 553 was not atteneded by the pope of rome or any papal legates. Actually hardly any ecumenical councils were attended by the pope at all. But the 5th ecumical council the pope openly refused to attend. What did the emperor do in response? He removed the pope's name from the list of people who could vote on the councils decision or the names of the fathers involved who the churhc as a whole would pray for as the fathers deliberated? Why was it that the pope was held in so low a regard if you believe that rome really ran the church in the first millenium?

3. at the 4th ecumenical council condemin Monophysitism the pope of Rome actually sent a letter , called the Tome of Leo, (it was actually very short and not that much like a tome) in which he also condemned the monophysitic heresy. How did the Greek fathers respond? did they obsequiously accept what the pope said? No, they carefully read what the pope said and after much deliberation, as is said in the sources, they supported his views. WHY WAS IT THAT THE POPE WAS TREATED THIS WAY if you really believe that the papacy exxisted in the church in the first millenium?

Can someone shed some light on these areas?

God Bless.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:51 am 
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These are his objections, not yours, correct?

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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:36 am 
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1. It was not even a bishop who call the first seven ecumenical councils. It was the emperors. So since when a human institution has power over divine institution? Does the PhD Orthodox want to cross the Thames (ie. becoming Anglican)?

Thus it stands to reason that who call a council is not sufficient ground to dismiss Roman authority.

Plus, what did he mean by "control?" Surely the papal legates presided the councils with eastern bishops and so did the emperors (as shown by the fact that the names of the legates were on the top). But if "control" means keeping order, well the emperors did that. Constantine, for example, make sure that the council proceed peacefully. He funded it as well.


2. What is this nonsense? Which Chalcedon is he talking about? There were, "Paschasinus, Bishop of Lilybaeum (Marsala) in Sicily, Lucentius, also a bishop, Julian, Bishop of Cos, and two priests, Boniface and Basil; Paschasinus was to preside over the coming council in the pope's place" (Catholic Encyclopedia: Council of Chalcedon). In fact check out what the legates, mere bishops and priests, said to Disocoros, the monophysite Patriarch of Alexandria:

    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/coun5.html

    It was the pope's senior legate, the bishop Paschasinus for whom Leo had demanded the actual presidency of the council, who opened the proceedings, explaining as he said, the instructions sent to the council by "him who is the head of all the churches." And, in the first place, Dioscoros was not to be given a place among the bishops. If he resists this ruling he must be expelled. Such are our instructions, and if Dioscoros is allowed to sit as a bishop, we leave. Dioscoros, said the second legate, is here only to be judged. To treat him as a father of the council would be to insult the rest. Dioscoros then left his seat and was given a place in the nave of the church.

And Pope Leo I was held in such a "low" regard that those forever schismatic easterners asked for his ratification of the controversial Canon 28 in which they want Constantinople to be second to Rome. Leo then quashed that worthless canon.


3. So if the eastern bishops read Leo's letters and tried to understand it, instead of immediately approved it, then it follows that Pope Leo is not the head of the Church? What a dumb conclusion.





PhD these days....


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:56 am 
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newjackswinger wrote:
Hey guys,

Recently in a discussion with an Eastern Orthodox person who is about to get a PHD in Patristics. So posted the following objections to the Papacy and Rome as an authority in the Early Church.

1. there were seven ecumenical councils. NOT ONE WAS CONTROLLED BY ROME OR CALLED BY ROME. how do you explain that?


If this guy is supposedly getting his PhD in patristics he should already know that the Catholic view is not that councils have to be called by Popes, nor that Popes need to attend, participate or govern the council, but only that their decrees have to be approved by the Pope.

Quote:
2. the 5th ecumencial council, the council of chalcedon in 553 was not atteneded by the pope of rome or any papal legates. Actually hardly any ecumenical councils were attended by the pope at all. But the 5th ecumical council the pope openly refused to attend. What did the emperor do in response? He removed the pope's name from the list of people who could vote on the councils decision or the names of the fathers involved who the churhc as a whole would pray for as the fathers deliberated? Why was it that the pope was held in so low a regard if you believe that rome really ran the church in the first millenium?


I pretty much already answered this one....but I feel the need to point out that the Pope did not attend Vatican II or Trent either....so I guess they aren't valid councils either by that logic, right?

Quote:
3. at the 4th ecumenical council condemin Monophysitism the pope of Rome actually sent a letter , called the Tome of Leo, (it was actually very short and not that much like a tome) in which he also condemned the monophysitic heresy. How did the Greek fathers respond? did they obsequiously accept what the pope said? No, they carefully read what the pope said and after much deliberation, as is said in the sources, they supported his views. WHY WAS IT THAT THE POPE WAS TREATED THIS WAY if you really believe that the papacy exxisted in the church in the first millenium?

Can someone shed some light on these areas?

God Bless.


A guy who is supposedly a PhD in patristics should really not be this dumb....


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:25 pm 
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newjackswinger wrote:
... 2. the 5th ecumencial council, the council of chalcedon in 553 was not atteneded by the pope of rome or any papal legates. Actually hardly any ecumenical councils were attended by the pope at all. But the 5th ecumical council the pope openly refused to attend. What did the emperor do in response? He removed the pope's name from the list of people who could vote on the councils decision or the names of the fathers involved who the churhc as a whole would pray for as the fathers deliberated? Why was it that the pope was held in so low a regard if you believe that rome really ran the church in the first millenium?


The harsh way the Pope was treated by the Emperor at the 5th Ecumenical Council, contrary to an indication that the Pope was held in "so low a regard," actually indicates the exact opposite. The Emperor knew he needed the Pope's concurrence and was willing to do anything to get it. It was political manuvering on the Emperor's part (to maintain the unity of the empire), but it is an indicator of the Pope's power and standing in the Christian world that the Emperor realized that the Pope had to agree or the Emperor's efforts would be for nothing.

Source: A History of the Councils of the Church by Hefele


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:52 pm 
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beng wrote:
Surely the papal legates presided the councils with eastern bishops and so did the emperors (as shown by the fact that the names of the legates were on the top).

The fact that the names of the legates were on the top doesn't show that they presided. For example, on the Seventh Council St. Tarasius presided, although the names of the legates were on the top.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:09 pm 
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First eight ecumenical councils were mostly attended by Eastern bishops. Five from the West attended the First Council (Nicaea I). Five papal legates attended the fourth council (Chalcedon), and ten came from the West to the Fifth Council (Constantinople II).


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:16 pm 
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Vadim wrote:
beng wrote:
Surely the papal legates presided the councils with eastern bishops and so did the emperors (as shown by the fact that the names of the legates were on the top).

The fact that the names of the legates were on the top doesn't show that they presided. For example, on the Seventh Council St. Tarasius presided, although the names of the legates were on the top.


Catholics do not claim that Papal legates presided over any of the first 7 councils, indeed there was not even a single western bishop in attendance at any of the first 7 councils. The Pope does not need to preside for a council to be ecumenical, we only claim that the decrees of the council have to be approved by the Pope. Basically a council is ecumenical if a Pope approves its decrees and declares it ecumenical.

The Pope does not need to invoke the council, nor to attend it, nor to preside over it, in order for a council to be ecumenical, he only needs to approve its decrees after the fact.


Last edited by Doom on Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:24 am 
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Doom wrote:
Vadim wrote:
beng wrote:
Surely the papal legates presided the councils with eastern bishops and so did the emperors (as shown by the fact that the names of the legates were on the top).

The fact that the names of the legates were on the top doesn't show that they presided. For example, on the Seventh Council St. Tarasius presided, although the names of the legates were on the top.


Catholics do not claim that Papal legates presided over any of the first 7 councils, indeed there was not even a single western bishop in attendance at any of the first 7 councils.


This is not true.

In the first Council of Nicaea Hosius (Osius) or Cordoba, Spain, a western Bishop, was said to presided the council along with two Roman priests Vito (or Vitus) and Vincentius. Their names, respectively, were on the top of the list of the council attendants (how is it that two Roman priests could get their name on top of eastern bishops should tell you something). According to Gelasius of Cyzicus, Hosius presided in the name of the pope.


In the first Council of Constantinople, there was definitely no westerners. In fact many easterners were missing too! Why? Because not only that it's an eastern only council, it's an Orient only councils:

    THE CHURCH IN CRISIS: A History of the General Councils, The First General Council of Constantinople, 381 - Msgr. Philip Hughes:

    The bishops who sat in the council were 150 in all. There were none from Egypt, only half of them from Thrace and Asia. Almost one half of the bishops came from the vast (civil) diocese called the East, Oriens, whose chief see was Antioch. And it was the bishop of Antioch, Meletius, who presided at the council.


    Catholic Encyclopedia: First Council of Constantinople

    Originally it was only a council of the Orient; the arguments of Baronius (ad an. 381, nos. 19, 20) to prove that it was called by Pope Damasus are invalid (Hefele-Leclercq, Hist. des Conciles, Paris, 1908, II, 4). It was attended by 150 Catholic and 36 heretical (Semi-Arian, Macedonian) bishops, and was presided over by Meletius of Antioch; after his death, by the successive Patriarchs of Constantinople, St. Gregory Nazianzen and Nectarius.

In fact, Fr. Brian H. Harrison (Papal Authority at the Earliest Council), citing Fr. Luke Rivington (Primitive Church and the See of Peter, p258 [PDF file]), said that the Council of Ephesus DENIED ecumenical status of Constantinople I.


With Ephesus ... this is what Catholic Encyclopedia has to say:

    Catholic Encyclopedia: Council of Ephesus

    The pope was pleased that the whole East should be united to condemn the new heresy. He sent two bishops, Arcadius and Projectus, to represent himself and his Roman council, and the Roman priest, Philip, as his personal representative. Philip, therefore, takes the first place, though, not being a bishop, he could not preside. It was probably a matter of course that the Patriarch of Alexandria should be president. The legates were directed not to take part in the discussions, but to give judgment on them. It seems that Chalcedon, twenty years later, set the precedent that the papal legates should always be technically presidents at an ecumenical council, and this was henceforth looked upon as a matter of course, and Greek historians assumed that it must have been the case at Nicaea.



With Chalcedon, "Paschasinus, Bishop of Lilybaeum (Marsala) in Sicily, Lucentius, also a bishop, Julian, Bishop of Cos, and two priests, Boniface and Basil; Paschasinus was to preside over the coming council in the pope's place. (Catholic Encyclopedia: Council of Chalcedon).

In fact:

    The council was convoked at Nicaea but later transferred to Chalcedon, so as to be close to Constantinople and the emperor. It began on 8 October 451. The legates Paschasinus, Bishop Lucentius and the priest Boniface presided, while Julian of Cos sat among the bishops. By their side were the imperial commissars and those serving on the Senate, whose responsibility was simply to keep order in the council's deliberations. - Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner




These suffice to correct Doom's mistakes.


Last edited by beng on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:27 am 
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Vadim wrote:
beng wrote:
Surely the papal legates presided the councils with eastern bishops and so did the emperors (as shown by the fact that the names of the legates were on the top).

The fact that the names of the legates were on the top doesn't show that they presided. For example, on the Seventh Council St. Tarasius presided, although the names of the legates were on the top.


You're right. My mistake. Having one's name on top of the list doesn't mean that one is presiding the council.


What could it mean, I wonder ... :)


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:28 am 
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beng wrote:
Doom wrote:
Vadim wrote:
beng wrote:
Surely the papal legates presided the councils with eastern bishops and so did the emperors (as shown by the fact that the names of the legates were on the top).

The fact that the names of the legates were on the top doesn't show that they presided. For example, on the Seventh Council St. Tarasius presided, although the names of the legates were on the top.


Catholics do not claim that Papal legates presided over any of the first 7 councils, indeed there was not even a single western bishop in attendance at any of the first 7 councils.


This is not true.



There are no surviving acts of the Council of Nicea, not only do we not know who attended the Council, we don't even know how many people were there and we aren't even completely sure what the decrees of the Council were. Every single detail of the council is disputed.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:00 am 
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Doom wrote:
There are no surviving acts of the Council of Nicea, not only do we not know who attended the Council, we don't even know how many people were there and we aren't even completely sure what the decrees of the Council were. Every single detail of the council is disputed.


First of all, you're talking about all seven, not just Nicaea I.

Second of all, the non existence of the original act doesn't mean there's nothing we can be sure of (even the original bible is lost). There are eye witness account. One Gelasius of Cyzicus, an eastern priest historian, wrote that Hosius "held the place of Sylvester of Rome, together with the Roman presbyters Vito and Vincentius." [Migne, Patrologia Graeca, 85: 1229]. The priest said that he based his assertion on the original act of the council.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:02 am 
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Let me point out.

These seven ecumenical councils are recognized by the Orthodox Church. They were presided by the Patriarch of Constantinople and were later approved by the Pope at Rome.

The Church was fighting against both Eastern and Western heresies. The first Ecumenical Council condemned Arianism, which an apostate priest Arius claimed that Jesus Christ is not divine, for example. Originally, the Emperor Constantine called for a council of all bishops to Ancyra. This was later moved to Nicaea, now an obscure and insignificant village named Isnik in Turkey. The emperor had consent from Pope Sylvester for the general council.

I think there is a good book in English to explain those seven ecumenical councils. It is titled The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787) - Their History and Theology, by Leo Donald Davis, printed by the Liturgical Press. It's worthwhile to learn all about the first seven councils.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:18 am 
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newjackswinger wrote:
... 3. at the 4th ecumenical council condemin Monophysitism the pope of Rome actually sent a letter , called the Tome of Leo, (it was actually very short and not that much like a tome) in which he also condemned the monophysitic heresy. How did the Greek fathers respond? did they obsequiously accept what the pope said? No, they carefully read what the pope said and after much deliberation, as is said in the sources, they supported his views. WHY WAS IT THAT THE POPE WAS TREATED THIS WAY if you really believe that the papacy exxisted in the church in the first millenium? ...


beng wrote:
... 3. So if the eastern bishops read Leo's letters and tried to understand it, instead of immediately approved it, then it follows that Pope Leo is not the head of the Church? ...


I rhetorically agree with beng.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:28 am 
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beng wrote:
Second of all, the non existence of the original act doesn't mean there's nothing we can be sure of (even the original bible is lost). There are eye witness account.


There are no surviving eyewitness accounts of the council, you are quite simply wrong. All the supposed 'eyewitness accounts' date from 100 years or more AFTER the council, and they reflect a very obvious tendency to try to make Pope Sylvester seem like a bigger deal at the council than he actually was, theologians in the west were concerned that the very obvious lack of Papal involvement in the council undermined claims to papal primacy (even though it does no such thing) and so they simply invented the facts they needed. Any claim that there were papal legates at the council date from well after the council was held and represent a very late tradition.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:04 pm 
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lbt wrote:
Let me point out.

These seven ecumenical councils are recognized by the Orthodox Church. They were presided by the Patriarch of Constantinople and were later approved by the Pope at Rome.


No. The pope's legates sometime were president. On Ephesus, the Patriarch of Alexandria was president.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:13 pm 
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Doom wrote:
beng wrote:
Second of all, the non existence of the original act doesn't mean there's nothing we can be sure of (even the original bible is lost). There are eye witness account.


There are no surviving eyewitness accounts of the council, you are quite simply wrong. All the supposed 'eyewitness accounts' date from 100 years or more AFTER the council, and they reflect a very obvious tendency to try to make Pope Sylvester seem like a bigger deal at the council than he actually was, theologians in the west were concerned that the very obvious lack of Papal involvement in the council undermined claims to papal primacy (even though it does no such thing) and so they simply invented the facts they needed. Any claim that there were papal legates at the council date from well after the council was held and represent a very late tradition.


I'm talking about eyewitness account of the original act of Nicaea I. His name is Gelasius of Cyzicus. He is an eastern priest, why would he make a big deal out of a western Pope?

So you got your history seriously wrong. There were papal legates on Nicea I, Ephesus and Chalcedon.


Name some credible historians who said that there were absolutely no papal legates at Nicea I, Ephesus, Chalcedon. Plus what is their explanation of Hosios of Cordoba, Vito/Vitus, Vincentius (Nicaea I); Philip, Arcadius, Projectus (Ephesus); Paschasinus, Lucentius, Julian, Boniface, Basil (Chalcedon). I want to read their argument and how it leads you in contradiction with many credible sources.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:42 am 
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beng wrote:
You're right. My mistake. Having one's name on top of the list doesn't mean that one is presiding the council.

Why do you think that it was mistake? Hefele also thought so, as you previously said. Customs observed in Œcumenical Councils with respect to Signatures, Precedence, Manner of Voting, etc.

    The order of the signatures evidently indicates also the order of precedence. This Council of Arles gives an exception to this rule, for the Pope's legates — the two priests Claudian and Vitus 1 — signed only after several bishops; whilst in all the other councils, and even in the Eastern, the legates always signed before all the other bishops and the patriarchs, even though they were but simple priests. 2

    1 Hard. i.266.
    2 See above, p. 27 f., on what we have said with regard to the president at the œcumenical councils.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:34 pm 
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Vadim wrote:
beng wrote:
You're right. My mistake. Having one's name on top of the list doesn't mean that one is presiding the council.

Why do you think that it was mistake? Hefele also thought so, as you previously said. Customs observed in Œcumenical Councils with respect to Signatures, Precedence, Manner of Voting, etc.

    The order of the signatures evidently indicates also the order of precedence. This Council of Arles gives an exception to this rule, for the Pope's legates — the two priests Claudian and Vitus 1 — signed only after several bishops; whilst in all the other councils, and even in the Eastern, the legates always signed before all the other bishops and the patriarchs, even though they were but simple priests. 2

    1 Hard. i.266.
    2 See above, p. 27 f., on what we have said with regard to the president at the œcumenical councils.


Which do you subscribe Vadim, that "the names on top of the attendant list were the presidents of the council" or "the names on top of the attendant list were not the presidents of the council?"


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 Post subject: Re: Orthodox questioning Papacy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:22 am 
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I've never understood the assumption, either from E-O or protestants, that either the papacy MUST be a one-man-show or the pope has no power and is a figment of our imagination.


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