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Re: [orthodox-synod] (unknown)

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  • George Edward Green III
    ... I saw something related to this in The Third Rome Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy, By Matthew Raphael Johnson
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 25, 2006
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      >Wow! Can you get any closer to protestant mentality than this ?


      I saw something related to this in "The Third Rome" Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy, By Matthew Raphael Johnson


      "Orthodoxy is not a "clericalized" Church in the sense that the Latin, western Church is. For Roman Catholicism, following the Dictatus Papae of pope Gregory VII and the first Vatican Council of Pope Pius IX, the Church is synonymous with the hierarchy, or more specifically, the papacy. Doctrine, tradition, liturgy, canon law and everything else that makes up the literature of any Church is deemed legitimate or illegitimate by a decree of the pope, a decree that cannot be resisted. For Orthodoxy and the eastern Church in general, such was never the case. The Church is the body of believers bound together in true doctrine and the sacraments. The role of the hierarchy, with the exception of a few gifted teachers, is merely as administrator, the guardian of the deposit of faith. Therefore, the structure of the hierarchy per se is of no interest to the individual Orthodox Christian. Certainly the monastic literature, with their condemnation of the meddling bishops, is proof enough of this. Therefore, the Church (considered in its real, and not its secular "historical" sense) is completely unaffected by Peter, or the Turks or the Communists, for that matter.

      Therefore, the creation of the synod is not a big deal for Orthodoxy. To claim that the "Church" was subordinated to the emperor is to use the word "Church" in a equivocal sense, or not to know what the "Church" is at all. It is simply another example of ignorant academics seeking to deal with what is outside their ideological and professional purview. Peter, unlike Charlemagne, never attempted to impose any sort of change in doctrine (he would have been quickly lynched like the ill-remembered Peter III), liturgy or practice. In addition, the ecclesial changes of Peter were ratified by Orthodoxy as a whole, not just by the Russian Church.

      It is a common myth that few, if any, clerics fought the nationalization of their Church, or, so to speak, "stood up" against Peter or his successors. Now, it is not the job of the Church to "stand up" to monarchs unless they publicly preach heresy, which Peter did not. However, the historical acts of St. Mitrophan of Voronezh are instructive and, curiously, universally left out of mainstream works of Russian history, and he appears nowhere in major biographies of Peter.

      St. Mitrophan was born in 1623, and, as he reached adulthood, was drawn to a life in the Church as a monastic. He was an extraordinary scholar, and excelled in debate with the Old Ritual in the diocese he was assigned, the newly created diocese of Voronezh, which happened to be dead in the middle of much Old Ritual agitation after the "dual crown" of Peter and Ivan. Once it was clear that Peter was Tsar, he invited the increasingly famous bishop to Petersburg. Upon seeing the palace on his way, the bishop noticed that it was adorned with pagan statues. St. Mitrophan ordered the boat to turn away, and the saint publicly rebuked the Tsar. Peter's response was not to imprison the great man, nor to humiliate him, but to remove the statues in deference to the Church, and in fact, admitting his embarrassment. St. Mitrophan died a natural death in 1703, and his incorrupt relics were unearthed in 1821. Simply, the reason this story is deliberately left out of all accounts of Peter's reign is that it flies in the face of the "scholarly consensus" on the Church, Peter and Russian royalism in general. "

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