Monday, 13 February 2012

Anglicans and Orthodoxy

File:San clemente fresco.jpg
SS Cyril & Methodius, 11th Century fresco, Basilica of S Clemente Rome

Here is some interesting ecumenical news for fans of unity between Churches:  

The Oriental Orthodox are the old "Monophysite"  (now referred to as "Miaphysite") Churches.  However, back in 1984 the Pope and the Patriarch noted that  the Chalcedonian schism was not seen as terribly relevant, and they issued this common statement:

"The confusions and schisms that occurred between their Churches in the later centuries, they realise today, in no way affect or touch the substance of their faith, since these arose only because of differences in terminology and culture and in the various formulae adopted by different theological schools to express the same matter. Accordingly, we find today no real basis for the sad divisions and schisms that subsequently arose between us concerning the doctrine of Incarnation. In words and life we confess the true doctrine concerning Christ our Lord, notwithstanding the differences in interpretation of such a doctrine which arose at the time of the Council of Chalcedon."

This Anglican /Oriental Orthodox agreement is particularly good news, given that tomorrow is the Feast of SS Cyril and Methodius, who were the great missioners of the Slavs, engaged in inter faith dialogue with Islam (albeit with a nasty anti-Jewish slant) or to quote Wikipedia: "Cyril's mastery of theology and command of both Arabic & Hebrew made him eligible for his first mission. He was sent to the Abbasid Caliph to discuss the principle of the Holy Trinity with Arab theologians, and to improve relations between the Caliphate and the Empire.
Cyril took an active role in relations with the other two monotheistic religions, Islam and Judaism. He penned fiercely anti-Jewish polemics, perhaps connected with his mission to the Khazar Khaganate, located near the Sea of Azov and  ruled by a Jewish king who allowed Jews, Muslims, and Christians to live peaceably side by side. He also undertook a mission to the Arabs with whom, according to the "Vita", he held discussions. He is said to have learnt the Hebrew, Samaritan, and Arabic languages during this period.

The second mission (860), requested by the Byzantine Emperor and the Patriarch Photius, was a missionary expedition to the Khazar Khaganate in order to prevent the expansion of Judaism there. This mission was unsuccessful, as later the Khagan imposed Judaism on his people as the national religion."  Cyril & Methodius are patron saints of Ecumenicism, especially between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church Churches and also of Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Europe. Europe.  Give thanks and pray for more unity between Christians.

Lord of all,
who gave to your servants Cyril and Methodius
the gift of tongues to proclaim the gospel to the Slavs:
make your whole Church one as you are one
that all Christians may honour one another,
and east and west acknowledge
 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
and you, the God and Father of all;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen


  1. So what are your chances of getting them to ordain women? Or allowing clergy to marry after ordination? Of married bishops? Of openly gay clergy?

  2. Probably zero - but any good Church historian will tell you to think in centuries, not years!