Presentation on theme: "Creed 27b And in one, holy, universal (catholic), and apostolic church."— Presentation transcript:
Creed 27b And in one, holy, universal (catholic), and apostolic church
The definition of the universal church in the Orthodox Church The universal church as made of many local churches – as the Catholic church envision – is an intruding teaching on the inspired Word of God. What make up the local church is the ability of the group to completely celebrate the Eucharist and partake in it. As many partake of the one bread and they are united in it on the local level, we can think of the unity between the local churches among each other. The relationship between the local church and the universal church – according to the Orthodox view – is completely dependent on the communion of love and one faith and one goal according to Eph 4:3-6, 11-23. The unity of the church is unity in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we are united with humans from all generations, even with the Lord Himself who had established this mystery. Where the Eucharist is, there would be the one, catholic, apostolic church.
The definition of the universal church in the Orthodox Church The whole church is present in the smallest sanctuary, in the smallest lost village in the mountains, the village that has no name on any map, where a priest celebrates the Eucharist with his bishop. The church cannot be divided. The church is in its totality present in the local church, or the diocese, as well as in all the congregations where the Eucharist is celebrated. The local church is not just a district, nor a branch from the bigger church, nor a branch from a patriarchate, but owns the fullness of the church. Yet the local churches – although distinct – are one church, because every local church is the one church having the same Eucharist. The universal church is present in every local church.
The definition of the universal church in the Orthodox Church The local church is not part of the universal church, but fullness, so she is the one, holy, universal, apostolic church united through the Eucharist in the bishop, and presents the unbroken Body of Christ, and this is the foundation of the one universal church. All the local churches are in the body of Christ for each one appears equal to the other.
The definition of the universal church in the Orthodox Church The churches of the East were not parts of the Latin church, but sister churches. They are not indebted to the Christian West, not for their existence, nor for their spiritual, theological, ritual, hierarchical heritage, for they were established by the apostles and their direct successors. Therefore the Orthodox church would never accept the pre-eminence of Peter and his successors but accepts the universality and consider it essential for the church.
The definition of the universal church in the Orthodox Church When we speak of the Church, we mean the local church that is made by the group of believers with their bishop, that is what we saw in the writings of St Ignatius, “where the bishop is, there is the church.” The church then, in its fullness, is present wherever a people are gathered around their bishop to celebrate the divine liturgy. Christ acts and extends with all power through the Holy Spirit whenever those who are baptized in His name read His words and eat His Body and drink His Blood. The one diocese is the church in its fullness.
The definition of the universal church in the Orthodox Church The Orthodox churches would refuse using “inter- communion” as a way to work for Christian unity. The mysteries in the Orthodox understanding, in the liturgical life in general, especially the Eucharist, cannot be taken away apart from the church nature. The goal of the Eucharist is actually revealing the nature of the church. The mysteries are not symbols of psychological piety but it’s a revelation of the church nature as the Kingdom of God on earth. There would be no inter-communion or sharing in worship where there is no unity in faith in the one, undivided church of Christ. The church laws forbid sharing of priests or laity from denominations “not in communion” with one another, in one liturgical service. A service like that would create chaos and become a stumbling block for many and would help give wrong idea about Christian faith and the nature of unity that God has given to humans in His church.
The definition of the universal church in the Orthodox Church The difference between the understanding of unity in the Catholic church and its understanding in the Orthodox church is: while the Orthodoxy understand the fullness of Church in the Eucharist, the Catholic Church understand the likeness of the church to the Body in St Paul’s letters would make the meaning of the church go beyond the local level (which is represented in the Eucharist) and would go beyond the relationship of communion to the relationship of authority that fulfill the authority of God.
The definition of the universal church in the Orthodox Church In the Orthodox dialogue the Church is a Eucharistic church. The Eucharist is the jump-off point for the theological dialogue between churches. The union with Jesus Christ through the Eucharist is unity not just in His Body and Blood alone, but by His Body which is the church too. Therefore the Orthodox vision is more than anything else mystical, invisible. The jump-off point for the Catholic Church would start from the universal church, that gathers all churches, and this unity would appear and be accomplished through the servant of the church, which is Peter and his successors. Then the Catholic vision is visible.
“Is there any salvation outside the Church” in the Orthodox teaching? There is no other way for salvation except Christ. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). If the book of Acts says, “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:35). We notice here it is not said “in every nation whoever fears Him… will be saved,” but “accepted.” The mistake of the Catholic church is in confusing between “preparation for salvation” and salvation. The Catholic church confuses between the “conscience” or “natural law” or “law written in hearts” as a way to prepare human beings for salvation on one side, and the conscience or the law becoming another way of salvation other than Christ on the other side.
“Is there any salvation outside the Church” in the Orthodox teaching? If someone looked at Romans 2:12-16 might misunderstand the apostles’ writings as prescribing another way of salvation: “for as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law… For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them, in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
“Is there any salvation outside the Church” in the Orthodox teaching? These verses do not conclude the salvation of the Gentiles if they walked according to their natural law, to the opposite it talks of the judgment of the Gentiles, “for as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law.” The Gentile will perish when he sins. As for the Jew, he will be judged by the law. Especially when he cites Psalm 14:1-3: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside, they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Rom 3:10- 12). Hence the need “to bury” everyone with Christ in baptism so the judgment of the law on sin will be fulfilled.
“Is there any salvation outside the Church” in the Orthodox teaching? Then we conclude that according to St Paul the job of the law, either written on the conscience or tablets of stone or on paper, was to reveal man’s sinfulness. The written law was to bring to light the natural law, and the law would highlight our need for the Savior. St Paul goes from chapter 1 to chapter 5 in Romans to explain how Jews and Gentiles are under judgment. In chapter 6 he brings up baptism.
“Is there any salvation outside the Church” in the Orthodox teaching? The fathers of the church: St Athanasius, St Cyril of Jerusalem, St Ambrose, and St Basil all had emphasized the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. “How are we Christians? All answers we are Christians by faith. By what means are we saved? It’s very clear that through our birth by the grace of baptism we are saved.” – St Basil “No one enters the Kingdom of Heaven without water and Spirit. The catechumen believes in the cross of the Lord Jesus, by which he would be sealed, but if he is not to be baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, he would not receive forgiveness of sins nor be granted spiritual grace.” – St Ambrose “We believe that the road of salvation are opened only to the baptized.” – St Ganadious the bishop of Masalia
“Is there any salvation outside the Church” in the Orthodox teaching? “When you enter the water you do not find simple water afterwards, but you wait salvation by the Holy Spirit, for you cannot reach perfection without obstacle. And these words are not my words, but the words of the Lord Jesus Himself who has the perfect power in this mystery as also in every other mystery, and that is ‘Most assuredly, I say to you unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.’ Which means that baptism cannot be by water alone, for him who is baptized by water alone does not deserve the grace of God, nor he would receive it completely, also who did not receive the seal of the water – no matter how good his works are – cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven. These words are not mine for the Lord Jesus spoke thus. You have the proof in the Holy Bible. Cornelius was a righteous man, deserving to see the angel and his prayers and his gifts had ascended to heaven, even to the throne of the Most High. In the presence of Peter, the Holy Spirit was poured down on the faithful so they started to talk in strange tongues and prophecy. The Bible says that Peter (after all these spiritual graces) baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ so that the soul would be reborn by faith and the body also would receive grace through water.” – St Cyril of Jerusalem
“Is there any salvation outside the Church” in the Orthodox teaching? What happens to the newly born children if they are not baptized? Most of the church fathers had the opinion that they would be in a comfort state where they are not tormented with the sinners, nor are they rewarded with the righteous. Since they are not enlightened or sanctified by baptism, nor did they do personal sins, so they do not deserve honor nor punishment. “Whoever says that the newly born children don’t inherit anything from Adam’s sin, that they do not need rewashing of baptism should be excommunicated. For by one man death and sin entered the whole world.” - Church cannon
“Is there any salvation outside the Church” in the Orthodox teaching? Yet there is extraordinary baptisms that can be in the place of the usual baptism. That is the baptism of blood. “No one is ignorant that the catechumens after their martyrdom are no more ‘un- baptized,’ for they are baptized with the greatest baptism and the most honorable, which is the baptism of blood of which the Savior had spoken. The Lord also emphasized that those who were baptized in their own blood and those who were sanctified by tortures become perfect and they receive the grace of the divine promise.” – St Cyprian “Who does not accept the baptism would receive no salvation, except martyrs alone who without water receive salvation, for the Savior when He was redeeming the whole world by the Cross, He was pierced in His side and out of which came water and blood, for some to be baptized with water in the times of peace, and to accomplish that with their own blood in the times of persecution.” – St Cyril of Jerusalem
Views that belittle the importance of the salvation as accomplished by Christ 1.Pelagius the monk born in Britain in the beginning of the 5 th century: Adam’s sin was limited to Adam, there is no “original sin” and there is no need for newborn children to be baptized, except to be united to Christ but not to be forgiven, and there is no need for grace. Grace does not exist in his teaching except in visible ways, as Christ and His servants and His apostles, etc. He was excommunicated in the council of Carthage. 2.The immaculate conception: a teaching of the Catholic church since 1854 AD. St Mary was free from original sin. She owned the grace from the beginning of her life for God had considered her in His salvation plan, and chosen her personally in a unique way.