Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Russian Court Seizure of Independent Orthodox Churches

Paul Globle reports on a troubling development in Russia. I think that this story highlights the canonical complexities present in Eastern Orthodoxy in a way that is often filtered out before reaching Western audiences. The ironic thing is that even when we read about the Orthodox Church from Orthodox perspectives, we're often reading theologians from exile communities, whose spiritual history as it relates to the Moscow patriarchate isn't exactly straightforward. The common focus on canonical unity should not lull us into a utopian picture of any of the visible churches; problems certainly abound and we should be aware of them, in Eastern Orthodoxy and elsewhere.

The latest issue of Orthodox Tradition discusses similar issues, and as I understand it the Old Calendarists who run the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies have a related history to the Catacomb Churches that are the topic of Globle's piece. "What Canonicity Means in the True Patristic Traiditon of Orthodoxy" (xxvi.1, pp. 3-26) discusses some of Alexander Schmemann's work on the topic of canonicity,
"1) by examining the popular misunderstandin of canonicity and demonstrating the erroneousness of prevailing ideas about it.
2) by defining canonicity properly, in terms of Orthodox ecclesiology, and particularly vis-a-vis Apostolicity; and
3) by establishing that our particular jurisdiction, the Holy Synod in Resistance of the Orthodox Church of Greece, most firmly and scrupulously exemplifies the Orthodox requirements of canonicity."
Unfortunately, CTOS doesn't seem to provide an extensive online presence for their journal, so you may have to hunt around a bit for the article if you're interested.

1 comment:

  1. I was once listening in on a conversation with a few Orthodox, and by far the most memorable part was the discussion on jurisdiction and how messy that can be here in North America.

    Fascinating and sad development over in Russia.