Friday, February 23, 2007

Visiting Monasteries & Appointing an Orthodox Pope

Ben of the Western Orthodox Blog has posted an interesting essay which links to an article by Fr. Jonah of the Monastery of St. John the Wonderworker. In the essay Fr. Jonah cautions the reader against the pitfalls that can result from making trips to monasteries a regular part of ones life, especially for those new to Orthodoxy. This is NOT saying one should not visit a monastery. But it is saying that one needs to be careful about where one goes and for what reasons. I strongly recommend both Ben's post and the linked article by Fr. Jonah.

Secondly, Ben posted a few days ago a short essay in which he opined that perhaps the time has come to appoint an Orthodox Bishop of Rome and thus take an important step towards restoring the West to Orthodoxy. I think this is the first time I can remember seriously disagreeing with anything I have seen posted over there. The other Ben (Anderson) also made some points in response to this idea. which can be read in the comments section of the original post. My own reply was much shorter and I thus copy it below.
The reason that we can not appoint a bishop of Rome is because we don't know if the See of Rome is in fact vacant. Until such time as a Great Council convenes and resolves this issue any and all opinions, however strongly held, about the nature or standing of the Roman Catholic Church in relationship to Orthodoxy (beyond their not being in communion which is fairly indisputable) are theologumen. And since the MP and the EP appear unable to agree on the time of day (or at least the correct date on the calendar) I am not holding my breath on that council.


Anonymous said...

I don't think an Orthodox bp. of Rome is on but as the Pope has renounced the title of Patriarch of the West, that is now vacant. As the senior patriarchs are situate in imperial capitals, I suggest an Orthodox patriarchate in London, the capital of the last empire. I declare an interest: I am British!

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. Personally I'd rather see the Patriarch and Archbishop of Constantanople translate(is that the proper term?) that See to the ancient See of Aquilea. After all Aquilea was suppressed as a Patriarchal See by Rome and is abandoned. Technically, Toledo and Venice are also Patriarchal Sees as well, but who knows or cares as these are just honorary titles.
Oh well,i still have fantasies that Canterbury and York never went protestant
and England was still Orthodox Catholic in Faith.
Matthew the Curmudgeon

William Tighe said...

On Aquileia:

In the 550s much of northern Italy, including Milan, rejected communion with Rome because of Pope Vigilius' "betrayal of the Faith" in accepting the Fifth Ecumenical Council, and his successor, Pope Pelagius's, confirmation of Vigilius's aceptance. The history of the schism is very obscure, as it coincided, roughly, with the Lombard invasion and conquest of much of interior Italy from north to south. It would appear, though, that within 50 years all of northern Italy had returned to communion with Rome and the rest of the Church, save for the extreme NE of Italy, the metropolitan province of Aquileia; and it may be that the Archbishop of Aquileia first got the title of "patriarch" from his own followers, as leader of the remnant of what came to be termed the "Istrian Schism."

In the early Seventh Century there was a disputed episcopal election in Aquileia, one candidate supporting an end to the schism, the other opposing it. The candidate who favored ending the schism eventually had to flee, and settled on the Byzantine-ruled Isle of Grado. Thus, there were two patriarchs. As Byzantine control of the NE Italian littoral waned, and Venice, a nominal dependency of the Eastern Empire, waxed in strength, at some point in the Ninth Century the Venetians forcibly and permanently relocated the Grado patriarchate to the Rialto, where it eventually became the "Patriarchate of Venice."


William Tighe said...

On Aquileia (cont'd)

Back on terra firma, the Istrian Schism ended around 693, with the Patriarch of Aquileia reconciling with Rome, and keeping the patriarchal title. For the next thousand years and more there was great rivalry between Venice and its patriarch, and the "mainlander" patriarch, who in the Middle Ages was often a German, and always a rival, political as well as ecclesiastical, of Venice. Even when, in the 15th century, the Venetians took over the site of Aquileia (long since depopulated, and marked only by a Medieval Romanesque cathedral built on the site of the grander basilica devastated by Attila and his horde in 451) and its environs, the "Patiarch of Aquileia" maintained himself at Udine, outside Venetian territory. On several occasions the Venetians tried to get the papacy to suppress the "rival patriarchate," but they only succeeded in 1797, two years before the demise of the ancient Venetian Commonwealth itself at the hands of Napoleon.

The only occasion on which an "outsider bishop" was sent to Rome as an alternative claimant to the local bishop was by the Donatists; and Optatus, in his attack on them, makes merciless mockery of their "Roman bishop" who can neither claim to be in any sense a successor of Peter & Paul, nor even celebrate the mysteries over any of the apostolic tombs.