Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs

Last updated

The Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs was a letter issued in May, 1848 by the four eastern patriarchs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, who met at Council in Constantinople. It was addressed to all Eastern Orthodox Christians, as a response against pope Pius IX's Epistle to the Easterners , issued in January (1848). [1]

An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Roman Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop. The word comes from Late Latin encyclios.

Patriarch

The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs.

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 200–260 million members. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops.

Contents

The encyclical was solemnly addressed to "All the Bishops Everywhere, Beloved in the Holy Ghost, Our Venerable, Most Dear Brethren; and to their Most Pious Clergy; and to All the Genuine Orthodox Sons of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." The encyclical explicitly denounces the Filioque clause added by Rome to the Nicene Creed as a heresy, censures the papacy for missionizing among Eastern Orthodox Christians, and repudiates Ultramontanism (papal supremacy). It also describes the Roman Catholic Church as being in apostasy, heresy, and schism.

Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is a term found in English translations of the Bible that is understood differently among the Abrahamic religions. The term is also used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures.

Nicene Creed Statement of belief adopted at the First Ecumenical Council in 325

The Nicene Creed is a statement of belief widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because it was originally adopted in the city of Nicaea by the First Council of Nicaea in 325. In 381, it was amended at the First Council of Constantinople, and the amended form is referred to as the Nicene or the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

Ultramontanism

Ultramontanism is a clerical political conception within the Catholic Church that places strong emphasis on the prerogatives and powers of the Pope.

In the course of all this, it notably makes reference to the Eighth Ecumenical Council (879-880), in contrast with the opinion of many modern Eastern Orthodox Christians that there are only seven Ecumenical Councils accepted by the Orthodox Church.

Fourth Council of Constantinople (Eastern Orthodox) synod, convoked by Byzantine Emperor Basil I and held in 879–880, confirming the reinstatement of Photius as Patriarch of Constantinople; accepted by some Orthodox churches

The Fourth Council of Constantinople was held in 879–880. It confirmed the reinstatement of Photius as Patriarch of Constantinople.

Signatories

Methodius (1771–1850) was Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. Little is known of Patriarch Methodius' life. In May 1848, Methodius was a signatory, with the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, of an encyclical to the Church responding to the "Epistle to the Easterns" by Pope Pius IX. The encyclical denounced the Filioque added by Rome to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed as a heresy, censured the papacy for missionizing among Orthodox Christians, and repudiated Ultramontanism.

Holy Synod synod comprised of a group of bishops

In several of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, the patriarch or head bishop is elected by a group of bishops called the Holy Synod. For instance, the Holy Synod is a ruling body of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

See also

Related Research Articles

Council of Chalcedon Fourth Ecumenical Council held in 451; not accepted by Oriental Orthodoxy

The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451, at Chalcedon. Chalcedon was a city in Bithynia, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus; today the city is part of the Republic of Turkey and is known as Kadıköy. The Council was called by Emperor Marcian to set aside the 449 Second Council of Ephesus, which had reinstated Eutyches, archimandrite of Constantinople, deposed a number of bishops, and resulted in the death of Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople, shortly thereafter of injuries sustained in a beating. Its principal purpose was to assert the orthodox catholic doctrine against the heresy of Eutyches and the Monophysites, although ecclesiastical discipline and jurisdiction also occupied the council's attention.

Ecumenical council conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice

An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice in which those entitled to vote are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) and which secures the approbation of the whole Church.

Second Council of Constantinople Council of the Christian church held from held from 5 May to 2 June 553

The Second Council of Constantinople is the fifth of the first seven ecumenical councils recognized by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. It is also recognized by the Old Catholics and others. Protestant opinions and recognition of it are varied. Some Protestants, such as Calvinists and Lutherans, recognize the first four councils, whereas most Anglo-Catholics accept all seven. Constantinople II was convoked by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I under the presidency of Patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople. It was held from 5 May to 2 June 553. Participants were overwhelmingly Eastern bishops—only sixteen Western bishops were present, including nine from Illyricum and seven from Africa, but none from Italy—out of the 152 total.

Third Council of Constantinople synod

The Third Council of Constantinople, counted as the Sixth Ecumenical Council by the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches, as well by certain other Western Churches, met in 680/681 and condemned monoenergism and monothelitism as heretical and defined Jesus Christ as having two energies and two wills.

Bartholomew I of Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

Bartholomew I is the 270th and current Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, since 2 November 1991. In accordance with his title, he is regarded as the primus inter pares in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and as the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.

Patriarchate office or jurisdiction of a patriarch

Patriarchate is an ecclesiological term in Christianity, designating the office and jurisdiction of an ecclesiastical patriarch. Historically, there were several types of patriarchates in Christendom, spanning from ancient patriarchates of the Pentarchy, to titular or honorary patriarchates with no actual institutional jurisdiction.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem primate of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Jerusalem

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem or Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, officially Patriarch of Jerusalem, is the head bishop of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, ranking fourth of nine Patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since 2005, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem has been Theophilos III. The Patriarch is styled "Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Holy Land, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion." The Patriarch is the head of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, and the religious leader of about 130,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land, most of them Palestinians.

Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the Bishop of Antioch As the traditional "overseer" of the first gentile Christian community, the position has been of prime importance in the church from its earliest period. This diocese is one of the few for which the names of its bishops from the apostolic beginnings have been preserved. Today five churches use the title of Patriarch of Antioch: the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and the Maronite Church. Historically, there has also been a Latin Patriarch of Antioch.

Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria 5th-century Coptic/Orthodox pope

Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria, 25th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. He was deposed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 but was recognized as Patriarch by the Coptic Church until his death. He died on the Island of Gangra, Paphlagonia, in September 454. He is venerated as a saint by the Coptic and other Oriental Orthodox churches.

The East–West Schism, also called the Great Schism and the Schism of 1054, was the break of communion between what are now the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches, which had lasted until the 11th century. The Schism was the culmination of theological and political differences between the Christian East and West which had developed over the preceding centuries.

Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem

The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem ,(Hebrew: הפטריארכיה היוונית-אורתודוקסית של ירושלים‎) and officially called simply the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, is an autocephalous Church within the wider communion of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It is headed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the incumbent being Theophilos III since 2005. Christians believe that it was in Jerusalem that the Church was established on the day of Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus Christ and that the Gospel of Christ spread from Jerusalem. The Church celebrates its liturgy in the Byzantine Rite, whose original language is Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament, and follows its own calendar of feasts, preserving the Julian calendar. It is also often called "Σιωνίτις Εκκλησία".

Index of Eastern Christianity-related articles Wikimedia portal

Alphabetical list of Eastern Christianity-related articles on English Wikipedia

The iconoclast Council of Hieria was a Christian council of 754 which viewed itself as ecumenical, but was later rejected by the medieval Catholic Church. It was summoned by the Byzantine, Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine V in 754 in the palace of Hieria opposite Constantinople. The council supported the emperor's iconoclast position in the Byzantine iconoclasm controversy, condemning the spiritual and liturgical use of iconography as heretical.

History of the Eastern Orthodox Church

The history of the Eastern Orthodox Church is traced back to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The Apostles appointed successors, known as bishops, and they in turn appointed other bishops in a process known as Apostolic succession. Over time, five Patriarchates were established to organize the Christian world, and four of these ancient Patriarchates remain Orthodox today. Orthodox Christianity reached its present form in Late Antiquity, when the Ecumenical Councils were held, doctrinal disputes were resolved, the Fathers of the Church lived and wrote, and Orthodox worship practices settled into their permanent form.

First seven ecumenical councils

In the history of Christianity, the first seven ecumenical councils include the following: the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, the Third Council of Constantinople from 680–681 and finally, the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.

Fourth Council of Constantinople (Catholic Church) synod

The Fourth Council of Constantinople was the eighth Catholic Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople from October 5, 869, to February 28, 870. It included 102 bishops, three papal legates, and four patriarchs. The Council met in ten sessions from October 869 to February 870 and issued 27 canons.

Oriental Orthodoxy is the communion of Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the Council of Ephesus. They reject the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon. Hence, these Churches are also called Old Oriental Churches or Non-Chalcedonian Churches.

History of the East–West Schism refers to history of the East–West Schism that occurred in 1054, representing one of the most significant events in the history of Christianity. It includes various events and processes that led to the Schism, and also those events and processes that occurred as a result of the Schism. Eastern and Western Christians had a history of differences and disagreements, some dating back even to the period of Early Christianity. At the very root of what later became the Great Schism were several questions of pneumatology and ecclesiology. The most important theological difference occurred over various questions regarding the procession of the Holy Spirit, and the use of the Filioque clause in the Creed. One of the main ecclesiological issues was the question of Papal supremacy. Other points of difference were related o various liturgical, mainly ritual and disciplinary customs and practices. Some political and cultural processes also contributed to the breakout of the Schism.

Oriental Orthodoxy branch of Eastern Christianity

Oriental Orthodoxy is the fourth largest communion of Christian churches, with about 76 million members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and parts of the Middle East and India. An Eastern Christian communion of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, and its doctrines can be summarised in that the communion recognizes the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.

History of Eastern Orthodox theology

The history of Eastern Orthodox Christian theology begins with the life of Jesus and the forming of the Christian Church. Major events include the Chalcedonian schism with the Oriental Orthodox miaphysites, the Iconoclast controversy, the Photian schism, the Great Schism between East and West, and the Hesychast controversy. The period after the Second World War saw a re-engagement with the Greek, and more recently Syriac, Fathers that included a rediscovery of the theological works of St. Gregory Palamas, which has resulted in a renewal of Orthodox theology in the 20th and 21st centuries.

References

  1. Meyendorff 1996, p. 89-90.

Sources

John Meyendorff was a leading theologian of the Orthodox Church of America as well as a writer and teacher. He served as the dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States until June 30, 1992.