Are there a few Bishops, specifically Popes, that asserted Papal Supremacy or things that can be inferred as such? Of course. However, what we see is their claims were consistently, and often definitively, rejected. If more Orthodox knew this, we would be less intimidated by the claims of the Papacy.
2nd Century: Saint Pope Victor I excommunicated churches in Asia Minor over the date of Easter.
Eusebius recounts this was rejected by all and later the issue was decided in Nicea I, showing that the Church recognized the council was the final arbiter in these matters.
3rd Century: Saint Pope Stephen I excommunicated Saints Cyprian and Firmilian over their doctrine on Baptism.
North African council rejects Stephen, Saint Dionysus of Alexandria rejects Stephen, and Firmilian claims the “eastern churches” rejected Stephen. The next Pope (Saint Pope Sixtus II) lifted excommunications even in the face of open defiance, claiming (inexplicably) victory that everyone agreed with him.
4th Century: Saint Meletius was not recognized by the Pope of Rome and the Pope of Alexandria.
Second ecumenical council affirms Meletius and appoints his successor, explicitly rejects the authority of the Papacy over their decision, reconciles with Alexandria, and tells Rome they had the consent of everyone and they do not belong to her. (This is literally true, read the Synodical letter of the council).
5th Century: Saint Pope Celestine and Saint Cyril of Alexandria excommunicate Nestorius. Nestorius appeals the excommunication to an ecumenical council.
The council (tentatively) rules in favor of Cyril and is only fully received by Antioch two years later, after concessions are made by Cyril. The episode corroborates Saint Augustine’s claim that the Pope and western councils can be appealed and overturned by ecumenical councils. A letter exists between Celestine and his legates and another between himself and Cyril where he acknowledges that his excommunication of Nestorius is subject to conciliar review. (Celestine, Letters 16-17)
Two decades later Pope Saint Leo the Great demands no council be held over the heresy of Eutyches and asserts his Tome settles the Christological controversy. Leo is rejected on both points. A council is held, his Tome put under review, and then he is forced to reject Canon 28 even though immediately preceding the council he accepted Canon 3 of Constantinople I. This is verified by Roman allies, legates, and western saints affirming the existence of this canon and Leo’s acceptance, as well as corrboration in every copy of canon law in Latin having it–including one contemporary collection from the 5th century.
6th Century: Pope Vigilius refuses to attend fifth ecumenical council, emphatically writing that it is impossible for the Church to anathematize someone after death, but otherwise affirming every other doctrinal conclusion the council made.
Fifth ecumenical council deposes Pope Vigilius and declares itself ecumenical. Vigilius recants twice.
Conclusion. I can continue giving more examples, but I believe the preceding suffices. It is pretty clear that the RC “narrative” that the buck stopped with the Papacy and that the only time the rest of the Church “went their own way” was when they were heresy is false. There are obvious examples of the churches and councils rejecting Rome when she was asserting false doctrines and practices, and rebuffing broad assertions of Papal power.
When people actually look at the evidence instead of focusing on a few flowery words with no actions or consensus, one may surmise that the doctrine of the Papacy is literally a solid and impressive looking edifice on top a foundation of historical sand.
This is why the whole historical approach of RCism is counterfeit. They have a shifting approach to what is faith and morals in order to defend any attacks against Rome’s supposed infallibility. But isn’t this shooting the arrow and then painting the target after the fact? Isn’t the ability of the Church to condemn people after death an essential matter of ecclesiology on par with the “doctrine of the Papacy?” Wouldn’t Pope Vigilius be in error rejecting this emphatically? Isn’t what the Church can do an issue of faith? Hence, didn’t Vigilius commit an ex cathedra error, something that Vatican I teaches is impossible?
This is why everything with RCs becomes a shell game of technicalities and arguments over what terms mean, a useless wrangling over words that the Scriptures warn us against.
If anyone takes a deep breath and looks at history like a normal human being, one finds the “Rad Trad” Roman Catholic presentation of Church History to be senseless–which is why almost every single Roman Catholic scholar which is published via peer review rejects it and only online apologist hacks pretend that its true.
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There’s the shitposting historian who would crush your argument 15 years ago but will settle instead for a pithy response.
A good portion of church history is ex post facto rationalization for idiosyncratic developments (anathemizing Cyrilian Christology, the fifth council’s (alleged) denunciation of Origen – for things he never taught no less, etc etc ad nauseum). The central problem has always been temporal authority: of the Imperial church, of the Papacy, etc. A sensible Christian will accept the dogmas we have received as correct in their essentials, stop worrying about other Churches’ weird claims, and go about life with humility that recognizes we are our own mess. Or you can insist on a quasi fundamentalist kind of infallibility that is no less bizarre than the papal sort.
Great article. The idea of Papal Supremacy and Infallibility was only a try to control the entire Church. The bishops in the Netherlands never liked it and when the First Unecumenical Council of the Vatican attempted to instill this Supremacy on the Church, the Dutch Bishops were the first ones to declare such “doctrine” as invalid. The Orthodox Church had decided it many years before when the Pope was excommunicated by the Patriarchs and Bishops of the True Church.
The irony is history repeats itself. Patriarch of Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) severed ties with Patriarch of Constantinople because he did not accept the authority/primacy of the latter (who is the FIRST among EQUAL) when he made Ukranian Orthodox Church become autocephalous church. Within ROC itself, there is group of Old Believers, who separated from ROC because they did not accept changes authorized by the past Patriarch of ROC.
We cannot expect that all would accept primacy of the Pope, either in the present or in the past or in the future. Mr. Thulia cleverly picked statements of those who rejected but (pretends to) ignore those who accept it within the same five centuries AD. The primacy of Pope as successor of Peter is solidly grounded in Scripture when Christ gave keys of the kingdom of heaven only to Peter. Only one person can have keys while the authority to bid and to loose was extended to other apostles.
I don’t think anyone has ever denied the Primacy of Peter, as it has been called, and that the primacy passes to successors. But the Church has always been governed by Councils – the first one is well documented in Scripture as well and it was James, the presiding “Patriarch” of the Council who issues the decree and teaching of the Church, not Peter. Yes, it was Peter’s speech which convinced the others, but it was James’ decree. Supremacy is what Orthodox and other Churches, with Apostolic Succession, have a disagreement. Primacy is not Supremacy.
Then why did Patriarch of ROC severe ties with Bartholomew who is the First among Equal? James was then bishop of Jerusalem, not Peter. You cannot expect the first Christians would practise what they did later. The Church was still in infancy. In Acts 1:6 His disciples still thought that Christ would free them from the Romans.
Sixth ecumenical council does not allow people to violate jurisdictions after 30 years, so by not following the canon the penalty is excommunication.
Are you talking about Patriarch of ROC excommunicated Bartholomew or the other way around? Who has the authority to establish autocephalous church in Eastern Orthodoxy (or who did that in the past)? Can you answer this?
No, churches have the right to excommunicate those who violate canons. So, Russia would be in the right.
Autocephaly by right belongs to those who want it with the consent of the mother Church. The other churches must recognize the arrangement. It’s sort of like a marriage contingent upon the witnesses agreeing. This has not been written down as a canon (which may change soon), but this is how every local church has become autocephalys since the first millennium.
Who gives the consent of the Mother Church? Can you provide examples from the past? If the canon was not written down and officially recognized how can ROC Patriarch accuse Bartholomew of violating that canon and why the rest of autocephalous church do not follow him?
Here is an example: Cyrpus. Declared autocephaly from Antioch, this was under dispute during Ephesus and Chalcedon, Antioch and the whole Church consented.
We are not Roman Catholics. We follow precedents. We do not need canons for everything until a dispute becomes so sharp, the Church goes ahead and makes a canon from a precedent. If you read the canons, they frequently cite precedent.
If you want more information, here is an article on the topic: https://orthochristian.com/134642.html
Since Orthodox Church has no centralized authority then you end up with dispute of the status of particular church. They simply disagree with each other. According to Wikipedia, American Orthodox Church was granted autocephaly by ROC Patriarch but it was not recognized by Patriarch of Bartholomew. There is tug of war between these two to determine who is in charge. That is why Orthodox Church can never have ecumenical council anymore, but maximum only synods. The last one was 2016 in Cyprus, which was not attended by all and of which decision will not affect all. That explains why a Church can go ahead and makes a canon, instead of deciding the matter in ecumenical council.
Yes, this is similar to the early Church. Before the Roman Empire patronized the Church, the Church did have disputes–often no solving them. In the second century churches held to a different date for easter. In the third, they had different rebaptism practices. So, just because diversity persists that does not mean that 1. that there is a correct answer that should be canon and 2. that it won’t be fixed eventually, but not for now.
Otherwise, you’re arguing that the pre-Constantine Church was not the Church because they could not, without Roman Law, come up with a monolithic council to solve disputes.
For what it is worth, the Orthodox have had a few pan-Orthodox councils since the schism that have gained Church-wide acceptance. So, your critique really does not work historically either way.
The dispute about Easter and rebaptism were settled in Nicea ecumenical council. There were no council before Constantine legalized Christianity other than the one in Acts 15. This does not mean they did not have disputes in that period. Even after 1054 schism there were disputes both in the West and the East. The West can settle it through Councils which the East was unable to do.
You are not paying attention. We settled disputes in 1341, 1351, 1653, and 1672–major, dogmatic councils.
Are they binding to all Orthodox Churches? For example the canon of Scripture. It was declared in Jerusalem synod in 1672 but it is not mandatory for all Orthodox, isn’t it?
The point is you ridiculed Catholic position of primacy of the Pope without realizing once you side with Patriarch of ROC, you make him have primacy over Patriarch of Constantinople. Others may do in reverse. I am outsider, I don’t side with any – it is your internal affair.
By pointing out one bishop is in canonical violation and not the other, i am not placing anyone above anything.
As for those councils, they are binding. Do we have heretics that deny even the 7 ecumenical councils? Yes. But we don’t judge our religion by our heretics any more than you judge your church’s view of Gay marriage by your Pope’s recent comments.
Those who side with Patriarch of Constantinople will say the other way around. Again it is not my business to interfere.
I am NOT talking about seven ecumenical council that happened before 900 AD but about your synods that took place after schism.
The Pope did NOT mention gay marriage. Can you point out in the link you provided that same sex marriage can get married in the Church? You made false comparison. Remember we do not believe whatever a Pope says or write to be binding and this even includes his encyclicals, let alone his statement made in interviews.
Those on the side of gay marriage, like the Liberal Roman Catholics, will go the other way around. Neither is it my business to interfere.
You’re not going to believe me, but I by mistake clicked “Trash” on your last comment and I have no idea how to bring it back. You said I was changing the topic. However, you changed the topic to autocephaly in order to misdirect from the point of the article. So, I just found the comment ironic.
In your article you try to show that primacy of Pope was not recognized in the first five centuries AD by citing statement who wrote so, but ignoring those wrote otherwise. Catholics believe in primacy because through it we have unity. A pope can initiate ecumenical council. The East dropped primacy from the equation. IMHO (you don’t have to agree with me) it is the reason why (1) in the East there is power struggle and tug of war to determine who is in charge to determine autocephaly and (2) why the East can never have ecumenical council for almost one thousand years after schism. Maybe for you it is not serious issue and you are entitled to think that way. I do not change the topic – what I do is to point out to you what happened when the East rejected primacy. I hope you get it.
You and I both know-currently a RC inquiring into Orthodoxy- that the post Vatican II claimants to the papacy are 100% teaching doctrines directly contrary to former Catholic teaching, and therefore, what Rome says cannot be true… I see the issue you bring forth with regards to the ROC minuscule in comparison to what has happened in Rome…. Either we must come to the conclusion of false traditionalists, or accept the teachings of modernists: the modernists conform with what John Henry Newman believed that theres always a continual development of doctrine within RCism [condemned by Pope Pius X] . On the other hand the false traditionalists interpret papal teaching to fit whichever sect they belong to [sedevacantists, SSPX, SSPV, etc]. Papism relies upon numerous epistemological errors, hence why we see mental gymnastics and circular reasoning to uphold a See which has clearly apostatized from apostolic Christianity in replacement of modernism and clown masses.
What you wrote is your analysis. Nobody is under any obligation to believe in you. Conflicts also happened within Russian Orthodox Church. There are still followers of Old Believers in Russia who split because they disagreed with then their Patriarch decision.
Great read here.
Do you by chance know where I can find a copy of the Synodical letter of the second eccumenical council? I’d love to read that for myself.
Here is the letter: https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.ix.ix.html
I have treated the letter here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NocHkxOIbIc&t=125s
Be aware if was a diplomatic letter nicely saying “no” to Roman encroachments with more than a little sarcasm–which can easily not be appreciated due to fine-sounding late 19th century English used in the translation.
I don’t know if the assertions that the popes of Old Rome made in those centuries would be similar to the Vatican I claims. Certainly they were big, but I don’t think they had the notion that they could actually act in the manner described in Dictatus Papae, for example. Nevertheless, the fact that there was always opposition shows that the doctrine doesn’t match the Vincentian canon for Tradition, as it was not accepted always, at all places by everyone (the three requirements must be met).
The first period of Church History is 30 AD to 880 AD, I believe.
After Pope of Rome JOHN VIII 872-882, The Papacy of ROME gradually adopted FILIOQUE.
he primacy of Pope as successor of Peter is solidly grounded in Scripture when Christ gave keys of the kingdom of heaven only to Peter. Only one person can have keys while the authority to bid and to loose was extended to other apostles. THAT IS NOT TRUE BECASUE NO MAN IS THE HOLY SPIRIT. THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH IS CHRIST ALONE, NOT PETER OR ANY OF THE OTHER APOSTLES. AND CERTAINLY SAINT PETER WAS IN ANTIOCH NOT ONLY IN ROME AND SAINT PETER NEVER SAID FILIQUE, SPANISH INQUISITION, 4TH CRUSADE AGAINST CONSTANTINOPLE, AND SAINT PETER NEVER SLAUGHTERED 750,000 SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS LIKE THE PAPALIST NAZI FASCIST CROATIAN USTASHE DID, CIRCA 1940-1945. THIS WAS UNDER POPE PIUS XII AND THE POPE DID NOT GET THIS VATICAN HOLOCAUST FROM BLESSED SAINT PETER. AVRO MANHATTAN, THE VATICAN’S HOLOCAUST, DISPROVESE PETERINE PRIMACY AND PAPALIST INFALLIBILITY.
(standard reply for someone “shouting” in all caps…. comes across like Yosemite Sam on a tear…”dang wabbit!”).
Take a chill pill Mr. Harrington. Breathe….it’s gonna be OK… 🙂
Flawless argumentation brother, could not have done it better, however, why Cambodia? Shouldn’t we save ourselves first, so we can better save others? Aren’t the true church and its people besieged in their own countries? Cambodians are growing, we are shrinking and invaded. Think about it. God bless.
My wife is Cambodian and we should be trying to save everyone, everywhere. Perhaps converting Cambodian will move Europeans to jealousy and back to the Lord.
Would you be able to link sources for each of the examples you put in this article? I’m trying to comb through the early Papacy right now, and it would really help.
Would you be able to link sources for each of the examples you put in this article? I’m trying to comb through the early Papacy right now, and it would really help.
I’m not sure what I’d cite more specifically, as I am already pretty specific in the article–but if it helps:
2nd century: Easter Controversy, Chapters 23-25, CHURCH FATHERS: Church History, Book V (Eusebius) (newadvent.org); Synodal Letter of Nicea I CHURCH FATHERS: First Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) (newadvent.org)
3rd Century: Rebaptism controversy, https://orthodoxchristiantheology.com/2020/01/10/the-lost-letters-of-pope-saint-stephen-i/ , https://orthodoxchristiantheology.com/2020/01/27/was-eusebius-accurately-recounting-dionysius-of-alexandrias-letter/ ,
4th century: Meletian schism, Constantinople I Who Started the Great Schism? A Concise Answer – Orthodox Christian Theology
5th century: St Pope Celestine’s letters are cited, but they are not open source. The whole council was only recently translated in 2020, thankfully I own it.
6th century: Session 7 of Constantinople II–Orthodox Christian Theology2 months agoYes, I forgot thatv(or maybe have not come aross it, I think I heard it before). I do these unscripted. That was also a canonical violation. But it is an issue where lesser bishops depose a greater bishop when he has right of recourse. Even Vigilius was excommunciated, but it was through the council itself, which is the “supreme court” so to say.To cite Session 7:he made himself alien to the catholic church bydefending the impiety of the aforesaid chapters, separating himself fromyour communion.(3) Since therefore he has acted in this way, we have pronounced that hisname is alien to Christians and is not to be read out in the sacred diptychs. Pope Vigilius recants twice, in his second constitutim he literally says he was deceived by Satan.
I have a playlist of videos where I address
I hope this helps, God bless.