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Heresy Alone?

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  • Athanasios Jayne
    It is not possible to teach the word of truth completely if one thinks that he has the right Faith, but is not guided by the divine Canons. (St. Theodore the
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 4, 2007
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      "It is not possible to teach the word of truth completely
      if one thinks that he has the right Faith, but is not
      guided by the divine Canons." (St. Theodore the Studite,
      Epistle I.30)

      Dear Fr. John (Whiteford) et al,

      On many past occasions, Father, you and others have
      forcefully asserted that the *only* legitimate and
      Canonical reason for leaving one's Bishop is *heresy*
      --period.

      However, it appears that you have overlooked the example
      of St. Theodore the Studite and St. Platon of Sakkoudion
      in this connection. St. Theodore and St. Platon (as you
      may recall), broke Communion with their Bishop (St. Tarasios
      of Constantinople, who presided over the Seventh Ecumenical
      Council), solely on the basis of St. Tarasios' Canonical
      *inaction,* and for no heresy whatsoever.

      This event was known as the "Moechian Controversy."
      In 795, Emperor Constantine VI, who wished to marry his
      mother Irene's lady-in-waiting, Theodota, divorced his
      wife Maria and forced her to enter a convent. St.
      Tarasios was opposed to this adulterous union, and refused
      to give it his blessing. However, he failed to take
      disciplinary action against Joseph, the Oikonomos (Steward)
      of Hagia Sophia and Abbot of the Kathara Monastery, who
      performed the wedding, which many churchmen, among them St.
      Theodore, considered uncanonical. St. Tarasios tried to
      have the marriage annulled, but was unable, for the Emperor
      threatened to restore the Iconoclast heresy if he forbade the
      marriage. St. Theodore and St. Platon of Sakkoudion, his
      spiritual Father and one of the Fathers of the Seventh
      Ecumenical Council, resisted the unlawful union and BROKE
      COMMUNION WITH PATRIARCH TARASIOS OVER HIS INACTION in the
      face of such disregard for Canonical order. They suffered
      exile and imprisonment for two years, until Empress Irene
      seized the throne in 797 and recalled them from banishment.

      The controversy stirred again in 806 when, at the request
      of Emperor Nicephoros I, the new Patriarch St. Nicephoros I
      rehabilitated the erring Abbot Joseph as a reward for his
      efforts in mediating a revolt some three years earlier.
      St. Theodore and his monks, together with his brother,
      Archbishop Joseph of Thessalonica, BROKE COMMUNION WITH
      THE PATRIARCH. For this act of resistance, they were
      condemned by a Synod in 809 and sent into exile again.
      Peace was restored when in 811, Emperor Michael I Rangabe
      brought St. Theodore and his disciples back from exile and
      had Joseph of Kathara deposed.

      Neither of these cases involved a matter of heresy. Rather,
      St. Theodore, St. Platon, and Archbishop Joseph, broke
      Communion with their lawful Bishop when their Bishop acted
      in a manner contrary to the holy Canons--period.

      Were they wrong to do so? It seems to me that either you are
      mistaken, Father, and one may indeed lawfully break Communion
      with one's Bishop on the basis of his uncanonical actions or
      inactions (in which case St. Theodore and St. Platon serve
      as an example of God-pleasing Orthodox resistance to
      uncanonical disorder), or you must hold that St. Theodore
      and St. Platon erred and were schismatics.

      It is worthy of consideration, I think, to ask: What would
      these Saints have done in our own day? What would they have
      done if their Bishop and Synod entered into Union with a
      Church whose Hierarchs are in full Communion with open
      confessors of heresy, and with those who unilaterally
      introduce uncanonical and divisive innovations into the
      Church? What would St. Theodore have done if his Bishop not
      only failed to oppose *one* uncanonical marriage, or allowed
      *one* deposed Clergyman to be reinstated, but even failed
      to act when Bishops of other Local Churches Synodally
      recognized divine Grace in heretical Baptism (such as
      the Hierarchs of Antioch and Alexandria have done)? What
      would these Saints have done if their Bishop failed to act
      when a Local Church, in direct violation of the Ecumenical
      Canons, abandoned the Orthodox Paschalion (as the Church
      of Finland has done), and instead adopted the Paschalion
      of heretics, thus rendering themselves liable to deposition?
      What would these Saints have done if their Bishop failed
      to act when a Patriarch unilaterally "lifted" Anathemas
      rightly decreed and received by the whole Church against
      unrepentant and ever-increasingly heretical schismatics
      (as the Patriarch of Constantinople has done)? I myself
      have no doubt that men like St. Theodore and St. Platon
      would have broken Communion with their Bishop if faced
      with such grave uncanonical disorder--such culpable
      inaction whose grievousness far exceeds that of one
      unlawful marriage, or one reinstatement of a deposed
      Clergyman.

      Apostolic Canon XXXI does *not* say that a Priest can only
      leave his Bishop for reasons of heresy alone. It says those
      who leave their Bishop are guilty if they leave "without
      finding anything wrong with the Bishop IN POINT OF PIETY
      AND RIGHTEOUSNESS." Apparently, St. Theodore and St. Platon
      believed Canonical *inaction* to be a matter "of piety and
      righteousness" fully worthy of breaking Communion with one's
      Bishop.

      Athanasios Jayne
    • frgregory@sjkp.org
      God bless you! Once again, you ve hit the nail on the head, Athanasios. This would make an interesting item for LO (minus any personal references; just the
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 5, 2007
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        God bless you! Once again, you've hit the nail on the head,
        Athanasios. This would make an interesting item for LO (minus any
        personal references; just the first paragraph would need to be
        reworded). Any objection?
      • (matushka) Ann Lardas
        ... What bishop will Living Orthodoxy be published under?
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 5, 2007
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          --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, frgregory@... wrote:
          >
          > God bless you! Once again, you've hit the nail on the head,
          > Athanasios. This would make an interesting item for LO (minus any
          > personal references; just the first paragraph would need to be
          > reworded). Any objection?
          >

          What bishop will "Living Orthodoxy" be published under?
        • Athanasios Jayne
          Dear Fr. Gregory, I quoted the historical info. nearly verbatim from one of the publications of the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, which is
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 5, 2007
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            Dear Fr. Gregory,

            I quoted the historical info. nearly verbatim from
            one of the publications of the Center for
            Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, which is
            copywritten, so unfortunately, Father, I don't
            think this would be possible.

            Athanasios.

            --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, frgregory@... wrote:
            >
            > God bless you! Once again, you've hit the nail on the head,
            > Athanasios. This would make an interesting item for LO (minus any
            > personal references; just the first paragraph would need to be
            > reworded). Any objection?
            >
          • antiquariu@aol.com
            In a message dated 6/5/2007 8:15:40 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, athanasiosj@juno.com writes: Dear Fr. Gregory, I quoted the historical info. nearly verbatim
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 6, 2007
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              In a message dated 6/5/2007 8:15:40 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
              athanasiosj@... writes:

              Dear Fr. Gregory,

              I quoted the historical info. nearly verbatim from
              one of the publications of the Center for
              Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, which is
              copywritten, so unfortunately, Father, I don't
              think this would be possible.

              Athanasios


              Dear Athanasios,

              I'm assumed you meant "copyrighted," because that would have nothing to do
              with writing, but rather "finding for right" as in law. Copywriting would be
              something akin to production of a fair copy, or perhaps production of a
              serial manuscript.

              In Christ,

              Vova H.



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