Monday, May 15, 2017

Apostolic Succession

“Apostolic Succession is not merely a historical pedigree, but also requires Apostolic Faith. This is because Apostolic Succession is not the private possession of a bishop, but is the attribute of a local Church. A bishop who goes in schism or is cast out of office due to heresy does not take his Apostolic Succession with him as a private possession.”

-Fr. John Morris (AOANA)
From here. Via here.

8 comments:

Pseudo Bessarion said...

On a previous post YFE wrote, "(And Eastern Orthodox think they are; the two sides of the evil Western coin: that neither we nor the Protestants really have orders or other sacraments for that matter.):

Following comments accused him of misrepresenting Orthodoxy.

"YFE, there you go again, asserting things about the Orthodox that are not true, even if a few Orthodox assert them."

But I think it is fair to say that this post summarized the majority opinion within Orthodoxy on valid orders or apostolic succession outside of the Church, which is; there aren't any. How was YFE wrong?

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Well there are degrees of error and separation. Let us take two examples. There are no canonical Orthodox churches which accept Anglican orders in any way shape manner or form. Converting Anglican clergy who wish to serve as priests must be ordained from scratch. On the other hand there are a number of local Orthodox Churches who receive converting Roman Catholic clergy through confession- profession of faith- Holy Chrismation- and vesting, which clearly implies that something happened at their Roman Catholic ordination. If perhaps it did not include everything that occurs in the Orthodox Mystery, whatever was lacking was supplied by the Mystery of Chrismation. This is the position of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is not exactly a bastion of modernist liberalism.

maximus said...

According to the Saints, Apostolic Succession is much, much more than a set of teachings:

St. Justin Popovich:

Apostolic Succession, the apostolic heritage, is theanthropic from first to last. What is it that the holy apostles are transmitting to their successors as their heritage? The Lord Christ, the God-man Himself, with all the imperishable riches of His wondrous theanthropic Personality, Christ—the Head of the Church, her sole Head. If it does not transmit that, Apostolic Succession ceases to be apostolic, and the apostolic Tradition is lost, for there is no longer an apostolic hierarchy and an apostolic Church.

The Holy Tradition is the Gospel of the Lord Christ, and the Lord Christ Himself, Whom the Holy Spirit instills in each and every believing soul, in the entire Church. Whatever is Christ’s, by the power of the Holy Spirit becomes ours, human; but only within the Body of the Church.

Why is the case?

St. Philaret of Moscow

Holy Tradition…does not consist uniquely in visible and verbal transmission of teachings, rules, institutions and rites; it is at the same time an invisible and actual communication of grace and sanctification. (The Orthodox Church by Fr. John McGuckin pg. 93)

Pseudo Bessarion said...

Is the Roman Catholic Church or its bishops in schism and error? If so, do they have apostolic succession?

I think what YFE was getting at is that comments like this one from Fr. John Morris, when taken to their logical conclusion, suggest that nothing SHOULD be happening during a Roman Catholic ordination rite. The comment from Fr. Morris appears to be adopting a strict Cyprianic view of grace and sacraments.

It appears that there is a nuance somewhere in the Orthodox position which I'm not sure I've ever seen explained or articulated.

maximus said...

Archimandrite Placide Deseille:

I have been asked for my retrospective opinion on the sacraments that we had ourselves administered while still priests of the Roman Church. I would simply reply that the Orthodox Church speaks more willingly about the “authenticity” and “legitimacy” of sacraments than about their “validity”. Only sacraments administered and received in the Orthodox Church are “authentic” and “legitimate” and, according to the usual order of things, the validity, or effective communications of grace, depends on this legitimacy. But the Holy Spirit is free with His gifts, and He can distribute them without going through the usual channels of salvation wherever He finds hearts that are well-disposed. Saint Gregory the Theologian said once: “Just as many of our own people are not really with us, because their lives separate them from the common body, so on the other hand many belong to us who outwardly are not ours, those whose conduct is in advance of their faith, who lack only the name, although they possess the reality itself” (PG 35, 992). He goes on to cite the case of his own father who before his conversion was “a foreign bough, if you wish, but by his way of life, a part of us.” We can therefore only leave this matter, with complete confidence, to the mercy of God. (“Stages of a Pilgrimage”. The Living Witness of the Holy Mountain: Contemporary Voices from Mount Athos trans. By Hieromonk A. Golitzin, pp. 86-90)

maximus said...

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk:

The Augustinian understanding of the “efficacy” of the sacraments was never fully accepted in the Orthodox Church. Such an understanding of the sacraments is unacceptable for Orthodox tradition, for it is an understanding in which the grace inherent within them is considered autonomous, independent of the Church. The sacraments can be performed only within the Church, and it is the Church that bestows efficacy, reality, and salvation on them. (Orthodox Christianity Vol. II: Doctrine and Teaching of the Orthodox Church, p. 405)

Fr. John Romanides

More important than the validity of Mysteries is the question of who participates in them…It would seem that the Orthodox may legitimately and dutifully wish and hope out of love that Latin and Protestant mysteries are indeed valid and efficacious, but leave the matter in the hands of God. But to pronounce them valid, 1) when the Latins do not accept glorification (theosis) in this life as the central core of Apostolic Tradition and succession and 2) when they believe instead that happiness is one’s final end, is indeed strange. (Orthodox and Vatican Agreement)

Deacon Nicholas said...

My main problem with YFE is not the conclusions he so confidently jumps to, but his pontifical stance about them.

Paul Miles said...

I'm pretty sure that after 2000 years of schism and anathemas just within the Eastern Orthodox itself, we can all put this 'apostolic succession' hogwash to rest. Typical circular argument from the orthodox 1)'we are the true church because we say so' and 2)'we are the only true church because..... see rule number 1". 3) if anyone disagrees with anything we say or do, refer to rule number 1.

It simply doesn't fix anything. It's not the answer.