Why does interpreting the Fourth Crusade as a colonial encounter usefully recalibrate our understanding of the rapid escalation of Orthodox/Catholic animus that occurred during the thirteenth century and what are the ecumenical implications of this reorientation? Scholars have long since identified the Fourth Crusade as a pivotal moment in the history of Orthodox/Catholic estrangement so, why, one might ask, do we need to view the crusades as colonialism per se in order to chart the history of Orthodox/ Catholic estrangement? And why do we need the theoretical resources of postcolonial critique to explain something we already know?
This paper touches on some issues having virtually no place in official Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, including moral questions around marriage and divorce; historiographical and liturgical-hagiographical questions centred on the canonization and commemoration of saints in one communion who left and/or were used in conciliar debates and liturgical texts to condemn the sister communion; and questions of synodal organization and structures in both Catholicism and Orthodoxy in the face of centralizing tendencies. It proposes a model of ‘gradual’ and localized sacramental communion inspired in part by the work of several contemporary Orthodox scholars—Staniloae, Bordeianu, Plekon, Arjakovsky, inter alia.
The Church of England, which in origin is two separated provinces of the Western Latin Church, became formative of the Anglican Communion worldwide. However, it has never in those years of separation considered itself wholly separated in the sense that it has always asserted its connectedness and incompleteness as ‘part of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church’, independent in polity, interdependent with other Anglicans and other churches, especially those ordered in the historic episcopate. More recently, asserting its legitimate patrimony, it has sought ecclesial unity without simply being absorbed into the polity of those with a more exclusive claim to identity with the Una Sancta, causing Anglicans to wrestle with the legitimate terms of communion in the Una Sancta. This journey has been at its most complex and rewarding with the Roman Catholic Church, especially in relation to the terms of communion focused on the papal office.
Although there are doubtless some (mostly Orthodox) who would disagree, it seems safe to say that, so far as the doctrine of the Eucharist is concerned, there is agreement between both Orthodox and Catholic: that is, we both affirm that that in the Eucharist Christ becomes present, in his full humanity and full divinity, as the Body and Blood of Christ, the elements of bread and wine having been changed by the Eucharistic prayer. Furthermore, this presence is not fleeting; the Holy Gifts are reserved and given as the Body and Blood of Christ. In addition, both Orthodox and Catholic are agreed on the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist. But what about devotion to Christ present in the Eucharist? More specifically, what about devotion to Christ’s consecrated Body and Blood outside the Eucharist, which in the West is called ‘extra-liturgical’ devotion? There is a sense in which there is no extra-liturgical devotion to the consecrated Holy Gifts among the Orthodox; the sacrament is reserved in an artophorion kept on the holy table, but it receives no especial devotion separate from the Holy Table itself. This paper will concentrate on comparing the Western Rite of Benediction and, closely associated with this, the Exposition of the Host and Adoration, with the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts in the East. Despite accord on doctrine, the nature of Eucharistic devotion expressed in these two rites is in most ways strikingly different.
As an introduction to the current issue, this paper looks at certain details of the current state of the ecclesial dialogue between East and West, in light of Edward Siecienski’s two important contributions, The Papacy and the Orthodox: Sources and History of a Debate (Oxford University Press, 2017) and The Filioque: History of a Doctrinal Controversy (Oxford University Press, 2010) and of other sources. The core question of the paper is, which Church is the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” that we confess to during each liturgy and mass? Is it one of two divided Churches, or the one Church in schism?
The creed’s confession that we believe in ‘one holy catholic church’ should not simply be understood as a doctrinal datum, but as an understanding of the Spirit’s work based in the experience of the early churches. The churches did not exist as discrete groups with merely a common religious profession, but as nodes within a network. This network was established and maintained by constant contact and by those who saw it as part of their service/vocation to travel between the churches—and these human and physical links account for how the Christian Church as a whole developed; its common heritage in the writings it produced which became, in time, the canonical collection; and its awareness that, despite difficulties, such links were essential to its identity. This culture of links, of sharing and borrowing, could form a model for a practical way forward today towards a renewed sense of our oneness in the Christ.
In 1983 Karl Rahner, SJ and Heinrich Fries wrote Unity of the Churches: An Actual Possibility (Einigung der Kirchen—reale Möglichkeit) a small book proposing eight theses that they hoped could bring about the almost immediate reunion of Christendom. Although widely criticized for their ‘epistemological tolerance’, if ‘resurrected’ and properly adapted to issues currently under discussion in the Catholic- Orthodox dialogue (e.g., the filioque, the papacy, the Marian dogmas), these theses (particularly 1, 2, 4a, 4b) have the potential to build upon the progress already made and move East and West even closer toward full communion.
The nominalist contagion has become transversal in contemporary culture. Schmemann sees it as pervasive in Western Christianity, but it can be also found in the Eastern Church in the excessive ritualism and formalism associated with Byzantium: in sum, Orthodoxism and the issue of clericalism. Moreover, the transversality of nominalism is such that it practically defines secularism with its own universalist pretensions. The two great church bodies that see themselves as apostolic and catholic would do well to look back to Schmemann’s criteria for the right kind of consolidations, especially in regard to sacramental realism, to break the hold of nominalism. In exploring this theme, we shall note Paul Ricoeur’s critical hermeneutics to bring forth the peculiarities of Schmemann’s Orthodox positioning, and, we shall briefly allude to some facets of Donald Davidson’s theory of radical interpretation to suggest how the dialogue might proceed, as well as Bulgakov’s own take on Una Sancta and where it meets one of Schmemann’s crucial concerns.