“The Arrogant Papal Brow”

There has been much talk of unity in church circles. Besides the recent Episcopal Assembly in New York a possible unification between the Western and Eastern churches has been in the works for some time now. But more than this, we speak of unity at every liturgy when we pray “…for the good estate of the holy churches of God, and for the union of all men…”.   What is it then that disrupts this unity? According to Mr. Dimitrios Tselengidis it is “egoism, vainglory and pride.” Furthermore he states that it is these very things which are the driving force behind the Papal primacy. Not only is it behind the Papal primacy but as he states:

“Multiform egoism is the primary cause of any heterodox teaching, according to the testimony of Holy Scripture (see 1 Tim. 6:3-6)….This same primary cause also tore Lucifer and his like-minded angels away from the primordial Church of the Triune God with His holy angels, just as it did with the first created couple….

Christ Himself, during His historic presence on earth, explicitly spurned every vainglorious desire for superiority among the Apostles (see Matt. 20: 20-28 and 23: 8-11; Mark 10: 35-45), saying to two of His chosen disciples: “Ye know not what ye ask” (Matt. 20:22). Still, it is particularly important that the Apostles, after receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and from then on having It in them experientially “in all judgement” and active to the greatest degree, asserted no primacy, nor administrative authority or service, as is attested to in the Acts of the Apostles. Thus, we see for example that in the Apostolic Council the preeminent Apostle Peter did not preside, but James the brother of our Lord. And the Apostle Peter’s position did not prevail, but that of the Apostle Paul (see Acts 15). There, for the first time it was proven in a real way that no institutional figure is infallible, but the whole Church, when it expresses itself institutionally through an Ecumenical Council.”

You know not what ye ask should perhaps be our own reaction to talks and rumors of unity between the two churches. I stumbled upon this talk via the Ad Orientem blog (see here for comments; here for the full talk) given by Mr. Tselengedis entitled The Function of the Unity of the Church and the Fallacious Theological Presuppositions of Papal Primacy. He makes the argument that due to Catholic theology, namely the Filioque and Papal primacy, there “cannot be – neither actual nor formal – union with them.” However –

“…the strange thing (dogmatically and ecclesiologically) is that the Statement of Ravenna, consistent with the previous Joint Statements of Munich, Bari, Valaam and Balamand, refers to a common apostolic faith, the common mysteries (sacraments) and the ecclesiastical character of the heterodox. Thus the false and blasphemous impression is given that with the joint Statement of Ravenna Christ is deceived, Who assured us that branches cut from the vine cannot bear fruit….”

Papal primacy and the Filioque, which the author points out are “dogmatic deviations [which] go together historically”  ultimately hinder any idea of true unity. If, in the end, unity is achieved it will only be so in appearance, while in reality it will prove to be nothing but an “imperfect union”.

It would have to be an imperfect union since the papal primacy will not be erased from Catholic teaching that easy since it’s a very long standing phenomena found already in the 4th century, says Tselengedis. He continues:

“Already in the Western Council of 371 it is supported that councils without the consent of the Pope are invalid. In the East, St. Basil the Great mentions the “arrogant papal brow,” while the records of the Ecumenical Councils inform us about the papal claims the papist representatives conveyed until the 8th Ecumenical Council (879/880) under Patriarch Photius. It is internationally confirmed by history that the Orthodox East never recognized the primacy of the bishop of Rome in administrative jurisdiction and authority, neither in theory nor in practice, but only in “position of honor”. This means that he was first among equals…. Finally, the Orthodox East’s refusal to submit to the claims of the West concerning a primacy of authority over the whole Church became the reason the papists broke away from the Church in 1054.”

With talks of unity coming along I would image that the question remains, Are we finally ready to submit?

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9 thoughts on ““The Arrogant Papal Brow”

  1. You defeat your enemies, not by pointing out their arrogance, but by being humbler than they are. If they are truly arrogant, you won’t need to point it out.

  2. I am a Protestant–an American Protestant and traditional. I wonder at times if the Eastern Orthodox are going to ‘hold their own’.

  3. No, I think we are a very long way indeed from being ready to submit.

    It’s not just papal primacy and the Filique that keep us apart, but a millennium of history. We differ in soteriology (Anselm’s theory of the atonement, which swept the west, never got much traction in Orthodoxy), ecclesiology (the Orthodox temple versus the Roman monolith and the Protestant heap of stones) and missiology (Roman missiologists believe that Orthodox missiology is derived from Origen).

    We haven’t really explored these things, and I suspect that once we begin to do so, we’ll discover that we are more different than we think we are. I’m all for getting together with the Romans and examining the differences, but I don’t see any Orthodox being willing to paper over the cracks, and I don’t see unity coming in our generation. We have to look a lot farther ahead than that, and there are far too many “ifs” and “buts”.

  4. Otche Blagoslovite!

    No Traditionalist Orthodox Christian has for the past thousand years or so (1500 if you consider Blessed Augustine’s radical divergence from Orthodox Patristic theology) been opposed to recognition of a Catholic See of Rome and a truly Catholic West.

    At first, these words might sound like a declaration of absurdity, even malicious ignorance, perhaps even demonia, but, no, they are accurate. But not in the way ecumenical dialogue and the papal agenda have framed this history.

    So then what does this statement mean? Well I will begin by stating the Patristic definition of what it means to be “Catholic,” ie to constitute the Catholic Church. Quoting the Western Catholic (and quite Orthodox) Father, St. Vincent of Lerins, we read that “the Catholic Faith is that Faith which has been held everywhere, at all times, by all.” This definition stresses the Orthodox understanding of the divine revelation of Pentecost where the fundamental Truth of the Church and her Kerygma have been fully revealed to the Church, yet are expressed in divergent idiom for different places, times and peoples. This definition not only excludes “doctrinal development” and innovations, but condemns them as ecclesiological heresies, lacking sanction in the authentic Catholic Church and gives them the cannotation of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, for the pneumatological presuppositions of those who advance innovations and doctrinal development becomes that the Church founded at Pentecost was incomplete and not fully graced by the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit somehow was imperfect in His revelation of the Church and has to continually update and develop Himself in order to establish the Church and her doctrine. Such teaching means, the Holy Spirit (and, hence, the Tradition) imperfectly reveals Divine Truths and has not yet founded the Church, for Pentecost has not fully being accomplished. It implicitly states that the Church was an inauthentic organism from the very beginning and tosses Holy Tradition and Holy Scripture on its head and imposes on the Church a relativist ecclesiological presuposition of being founded in the fallibility of the Holy Spirit and subject to perfection as the Holy Spirit “gets right in time.”

    Such heretical filth is not only absurd, it is demonically blasphemous in the extreme and must be warred against with all our prayers, fasts and resources. We must reject dialogue predicated on such demonized hate!

    One shakes ones head wondering how anyone could believe this. One is aghast finding out that Orthodox ecumenists quietly ratify this ecclesiologically heretical thought in their dialogue with Rome. Surely, people of good will wouldn’t intentionally mislead by advancing a union built on false and heretical premises?!

    That would be too much to ask and would merit the boorish denunciations from the Phanar and Volokolamsk of “Orthodox Taliban!”

    Incidentally, St. Vincent of Lerins expressed this definition of the Catholic Church at a Synod in Gaul, specifically tasked with examining and condemning the heretical innovations and kerygmatic abberations of Blessed Augustine. The Synod was suppressed by those who favored the innovations of Blessed Augustine and his departure from the kerygmatic Tradition of the Fathers. In that suppression, doctrinal development and the requisite need for innovation became the Golgotha down which Western Catholicism (or Orthodoxy if you will) was led. It enabled the later introduction of filioque, the Frankish schools of Alcuin with its iconoclasm and created grace (analogia entis originates with Blessed Augustine). It set the stage for the overthrow of the papacy by tempting it with ecclesiastical (and secular) power to not only rule the Church but continually redefine it in its image, infallibly even as of 1870.

    Western Catholicism begins dying with Blessed Augustine and is crucified in the schools of Alcuin to where it, aside from the survivals of Western Orthodox piety (and Holy Relics) which have mutated or been lost through the centuries, has undergone an ecclesiastical revolution where it has ceased being Catholic for over a millenium.

    So the issue is not one of union with the Catholic Church, which the Orthodox Church is, but of suppression of the Catholic Church in the East with papal, demoniac neo-Unia in its place.

    So, yes, Traditionalist Orthodox Christians have favored an authentically Catholic West (They are the Catholic Church in toto even existing “just” in the East) and a Catholic papacy, but the problem lies in the sad fact that these things have been overthrown by the very ecclesiastical claimant structures which dare to call themselves “Roman Catholic.”

    St. Photios the Great championed restoration of authentically Catholic pneumatology in the West–Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which the filioque embodies, is not in any way an acceptible theologoumenon nor is the Pneumatological teaching of the Catholic (Orthodox) Church.

    St. Gregory Palamas championed authentically Catholic soteriology, gnosiology, anthropology, defining in sovereign terms the radically anti-Incarnational and blasphemous theology of analogia entis. If creatures pass in and out of time to impart grace and deify, save, what role did Christ play in salvation and how is it these creatures then act in place of grace, of Christ!, to unite mankind with the Father? How would it be possible for creatures to save us for God?! Why would the very thought of a created salvation possibly reconciling humanity with the Uncreated even be contemplated?! Where was the thought of a creature who saves first heard?! In the rebellion of Lucifer in his prideful struggle and war against God.

    St. Mark of Ephesus championed authentically Catholic ecclesiology, where conciliarity in the place of papocaesarism was upheld in asserting that the phronema of the Church, ie its expression of the Holy Tradition, was not the office of one deputy in the place of Christ, but the speech of the illumined nous of the Holy Fathers speaking within Christ, and that illumination in the Holy Spirit is what determined Patristic muster and standing, not papal captivity and rationing of the Holy Spirit (only the pope can be deified in such a model, for he alone expresses the phronema /magisterium/ of the Church). Another pneumatological heresy and blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

    Constantinople fell because it betrayed the Catholic Faith in not only the East, but also in the West by ratifying these blasphemous errors. Dialogue betrayed Catholicism. That is the type of dialogue the Phanar and Volokolamsk are advancing in our names today.

    By now, it should be clear that by Catholicism, we mean Orthodoxy. We also implicitly state that Orthodoxy alone is the Catholic Church and voice of the pure expression of the Catholic ecclesiological Truth of Pentecost.

    Now, the Phanar and Volokolamsk will state that our ecclesiological view is “one view”, which is in no way superior to theirs. But theirs seems to endorse doctrinal development, innovations and the pneumatological heresies of the formerly Catholic West and papacy.

    For their ecclesiological view then to be “morally equivalent”to ours it would mean that Rome was correct in asserting its deviations from the Catholic Faith, for working to undo the kerygmatic revelation of Pentecost, that it was justified in departing from the Fathers and introducing a scheme of grace by creatures establishing the salvation of humanity and undoing Orthodox (Catholic) christology altogether.

    This means then that another religion, another christ, another faith is as salvific as that of the Faith established by the Holy Spirit and the Church He guides and succors in uncreated grace. Accepting their view then means rejecting Orthodoxy or at very least equating it with very blasphemous, demonic error.

    Huh?!

    Such a ploy for “moral equivalence” escapes even cursory rational muster. It is a lie, sustaining errors and betraying Truth. It is an evil. So there is no moral equivalence. These evil men engaged in these dialogues neither are Orthodox, nor do they present the authentic ecclesiology of Orthodoxy, nor do they in any way constitute even Orthodox voices which affirm authentically Catholic kerygma.

    Not one Father expresses the ecclesiology, mysteriology, dogmatic theology of the Phanar or Volokolamsk.

    So what antinomy is being defined here? The struggle FOR authentic Catholicism in the face of its suppression and overthrow of the Church Militant by the papacy and these neo-Uniates trying to abscond with the legitimacy of Holy Orthodoxy by contemptuously applying to themselves its taxonomy while openly defying and acting to repress it, the Catholic Faith, the Orthodox Church.

    Thus to accept their “moral equivalence” with a pseudo “church” means to reject the living kerygma of the Holy Fathers, the conciliar discipline of the Holy Canons and the phronema of the Church and put in its place relative truthes which overthrow christology, pneumatology, mariology, soteriology, eschatology, etc. and aim at totally revolutionary repression of the Catholic (Orthodox) Church.

    So, no, Metropolitans John of Pergamum & Hilarion of Volokolamsk are not as Orthodox as those who assert the ecclesiology of the Church, the kerygmatic teaching of the Holy Fathers and insist on the conciliarly ratified canonical discipline of the Church. Their sectarian views are implicity condemned by the Seventh Ecumenical Council in its condemnation of all innovations (and iconoclasm, for theirs is an iconoclasm of the Holy Tradition).

    To accept these sectarians in Orthodox robes teach the Catholic Faith is to deny the Fathers did and that the Church held it in its purity, that heresy has part with the Church and Christ makes prideful sins and demonized noetic faculties holy.

    To accept the premises, then, of this dialogue and to accord these men status in the ecclesiological renunciation of Orthodoxy and Catholicism they advance is to perpetrate an act of blasphemy.

    The Holy Apostle is clear in instructing us to reject even an angel if he would preach to us another christ, and this ecclesiological teaching is amplified in the 20th. article of the 1848 Reply of the Holy Eastern Patriarchs to papal overtures for submission of the Church.

    So Orthodox Traditionalists weep that the Western Catholic church is no more, that there is no Catholic papacy, that the Truth has been overthrown in the West. We are beside ourselves with the great evil the spiritual counterfeit the Latins have perpetrated in the place of the Church. We reject every notion of any type of dialogue which would ratify the blasphemies and innovations of the fallen papacy as heretical filth, unworthy of the Orthodox Church and a betrayal of the West.

    What Orthodox Traditionalists offer then in rejection of the sectarian evil of the Phanar and Volokolamsk is a STANDARD OF DIALOGUE. We predicate it on affirmation of the holiness and Truth of the Orthodox Faith, of which CAN BE NO COMPROMISE. We retain fidelity in the Holy Spirit and see that as an uncompromising, totalitarian imperative. Thus we cannot offer heresy pardon nor state these innovators represent the Orthodoxy of the Fathers and of the Church. Since they do not, they must not only be rejected, but condemned and denounced to the faithful as the heretics they are. There is no such thing as a “holy sin,” and Christ has no part with evil.

    No, Orthodox Traditionalists demand a dialogue with Rome predicated on affirmation of Catholicism. In that we call Rome and the West to repentance, to acceptance of Orthodoxy in humility, where we are prepared to weep with our brothers in the West and beg their forgiveness that we lacked the charity and will to reconcile, being fallen men, but that we offer them our beloved Mother Piety, Holy Orthodoxy, if they only repent and follow Christ and His Church, and we are prepared in the fulness of Love and Truth, led by the Holy Spirit to develop a framework with them where they can be reintegrated into the Catholic Church, where a Catholic Pope can be elected.

    For us Orthodox Traditionalists, this is the only dialogue which can take place with Rome.

    Sadly, this dialogue has not only been betrayed by the Orthodox ecumenists but condemned by them in quiet renunciation of Holy Orthodoxy.

    What then does their dialogue constitute, knowing what we know how the Latin heresy is a papocaesarist demoniac endeavour. What are they telling us when they poise us for their affirmations of papal primacy, acceptance of filioque and analogia entis, of papal magisterium?! They tell us that their dialogue is predicated on rejection of the Patristic Phronema while affirming submission to Rome in open apostasy. Their dialogue then is the framework for neo-Unia.

    Recently, Elder Raphael of Valaam began circulating a call for Russian Orthodox Christians to rise and defend the Russian Orthodox church from apostasy, to quietly coordinate a sobor to affirm Orthodoxy and to denounce and reject this Unia that Volokolamsk is orchestrating. He writes that the “fate of the Russian church rests on our fidelity and love of Orthodoxy and our Holy Saints.” He goes on to say, “It is not enough to say that Moscow stands behind us , for we may lose the Russian church.”

    Every local church is confronted with that diabolical advent in the neo-Uniate dialogue the Phanar and Volokolamsk are advancing.

    So what then must we do?

    We must reaffirm the Catholic Church as solely Orthodoxy and tell these Uniate, apostate heretics that we have no need for unity with the Catholic Church, for WE ARE IT, and Orthodoxy determines the fulness of the Church and establishes a true Catholic papacy, which sadly no longer exists, which their sectarian dialogue impedes the restoration of. So talk of Rome’s primacy is at best premature and at worst, heretical speculation which we must reject if we are true to the Holy Spirit. We want the West to be Catholic WITH US. So it is incumbent upon itself to come to terms with its lack of Catholicism (Catholicity) and seek union with the Church which is its embodiment. The Holy Spirit guides us in stating that that is the Orthodox Church alone and that these dialogues and their Orthodox ecumenist voices must not only be condemned and rejected but denounced to the world as agents of satan in an attempt to suppress the pneumatological reality of Orthodox ecclesiology.

    Ecumenism is the evil subverting Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and assering itself in its place with elevation of the person of an heretical pope.

    Their unia we spit upon as we rec0unt spitting in satan’s face at Holy Baptism.

    We Orthodox demand the Catholic Church alone, for that is our vocation and who we have been since Holy Pentecost, whom the Holy Spirit directs us as being.

    Unia will not suffice and we will neither accept it nor sit still for the renunciation of Orthodoxy being advanced by the Phanar and Volokolamsk!

    Anaxios to these evil deeds and this hateful apostasy and betrayal of Christ!

    We hope to be able to restore the Catholic Church in the West and the Catholic papacy one day.

    R M Malleev-Pokrovsky

  5. “With talks of unity coming along the I would image that the question remains, Are we finally ready to submit?”

    No…..

  6. All this smooching between hierarchs and popes is really quite comical, if not even tragic at a deeper level. I have long since personally given up hoping for as well as renouncing the kind of “unity” that this represents. For me, it is simply a non-issue. The unity which Christians share is above all a grace of Christ in the Holy Spirit, and we know that the Church has never been divided and never can be, but for those who battle it out on the external level. The canons of the Church are in place for good reason, and the lines have been drawn with good intentions, but all of these are temporal and fade away at the approach of Christ, for whose sake all who follow Him have given up all, and in whose presence all our righteousness, orthodoxy and orthopraxy, for all their “glory”, are still just filthy rags. Christ has saved us in spite of ourselves, so our best response is to love one another as He has loved us, without plucking each other’s eyebrows in the process.

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