Russian Orthodox-Roman Catholic Church Relations Enter New Phase - Sputnik International
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill chairs a meeting of the Russian the internal life of the Catholic community or ecumenical relations with other. By Philippa Hitchen. While Churches in the West prepare to celebrate the Epiphany this Sunday, Christians in much of the Eastern Orthodox. The head of foreign relations in the Russian Orthodox Church has said the Catholics and Orthodox must “join together what was divided.
Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified. Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominium et vivificantem: So to add the Filioque clause to the Latin version would cause the Nicene Creed to state that the Spirit proceeds [but not in the sense of coming from an ultimate cause or source] from both the Father and the Son.
The two versions of the Nicene Creed, Greek and Latin, say two different but equally true things about the procession of the Spirit. The idea that the Spirit proceeds as from an ultimate cause from both the Father and the Son has for a very long time been considered heresy by both the Eastern and Western Churches[ citation needed ], and so to add the Filioque clause to the Greek version of the Creed would be considered heresy by both sides.
The controversy surrounding the Filioque clause is a problem of language, not a problem of theology. Consequences[ edit ] Whether that term Filioque is included, as well as how it is translated and understood, can have important implications for how one understands the central Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity. For some, the term implies a serious underestimation of the Father 's role in the Trinity; for others, denial of what it expresses implies a serious underestimation of the role of the Son in the Trinity.
Over time, the term became a symbol of conflict between Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity, although there have been attempts at resolving the conflict. Among the early attempts at harmonization are the works of Maximus the Confessorwho notably was canonised independently by both Eastern and Western churches. History of Eastern Orthodox theology in the 20th century The 20th century saw the rise of neo-Palamism, c. According to this point of view, which arose in defense of the Palamite distinction between essence and energia, western theology is dominated by rational philosophy, while Orthodox theology is based on the experiential vision of God and the highest truth.
According to neo-Palamism, this is a main division between East and West. Neo-Palamism has its roots in the Hesychast controversy or Palamite controversy 14th century  in which Gregory Palamas provided a theological justification for the centuries-old Orthodox practice of hesychasm. The hesychast controversy lead to a further distinction between East and West, giving a prominent place to the contemplative practice and theology in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The publication in of the Philokaliawhich lead to a revival of hesychasm, accepted in particular by the Slav Orthodox churches. On the Latin side, people were being prepared in the East who would be able to agree to union, and they were given influential places and posts.
One of these people was a certain Isidore, a very talented and educated person, but one who from a moral point of view was not especially firm, and was capable of changing his convictions. It was he whom they hastened to appoint as metropolitan for Moscow before the arrival of Jonah in Constantinople.
Jonah was promised the metropolitanate after Isidore. Then he began to prepare for the journey. Great Prince Basil Vasilievich tried in every way to dissuade Isidore from taking part in the council. Finally he said to him: At the end of the council and after the reception of the unia, Isidore… returned to Moscow, and in his first service began to commemorate the pope instead of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
The great prince publicly called him a Latin seducer and heretic and ordered that he be placed under guard until a conciliar resolution of the matter. The Russian bishops gathered in Moscow [in ] and condemned Isidore. Together with his disciple Gregory he fled to Tver, then Lithuania, and finally to Rome, where he remained for good with the pope.
Jonah remained for seven more years a simple bishop… Finally, in … Basil Vasilievich summoned all the bishops of the Russian land to a council. The Fathers of the Council, on the basis of the Church canons, previous examples and the decision of the Constantinopolitan Patriarch that St. Jonah should be metropolitan after Isidore, appointed him to the see of the first-hierarch.
Progress in Catholic relations with Russian Orthodox world - Vatican News
But before his arrival there the emperor and patriarch consecrated Isidore as metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus', while to Jonah they said: If Isidore dies or something else happens to him, then be ready to be blessed for the metropolitan see of all Rus'. In view of this great need, we have assembled our Russian hierarchs, and, in accordance with the canons, we have consecrated the above-mentioned Jonah to the Russian metropolitanate of Kiev and all Rus'.
We have acted in this way because of great need, and not out of pride or boldness. We shall remain to the end of the age devoted to the Orthodoxy we have received; our Church will always seek the blessing of the Church of Tsargrad and obey her in everything according to the ancient piety. And our father Jonah also begs for blessing and union in that which does not concern the present new disagreements, and we beseech your holy kingdom to be kindly disposed to our father Metropolitan Jonah.
We wanted to write about all these church matters to the most holy Orthodox patriarch, too; and to ask his blessing and prayers. But we do not know whether there is a patriarch in your royal city or not. But if God grants that you will have a patriarch according to the ancient piety, then we shall inform him of all our circumstances and ask for his blessing.
Knowing that the emperor himself had betrayed the faith, that Patriarch Gregory had fled to Rome, as also Isidore who had been sent to Moscow, Basil II, instead of giving a well-merited rebuke to his teachers and instructors, himself apologised for the fact that circumstances had compelled the Russian bishops to consecrate a metropolitan for themselves, and comes near to begging him to receive Jonah with honour.
It is remarkable that the Great Prince at every point emphasizes that this consecration took place 'in accordance with the canons', while doubting whether there was a lawful patriarch in Byzantium itself or not.
The whole of this gramota is full of true Christian humility and brotherly compassion for the emperor who had fallen on hard times. And soon, after the fall of New Rome inthe Russian State, too, would be independent, not only in the sense of being de facto self-governing she had been that for centuriesbut also in the sense of owing no filial, de jure allegiance to any other State. Russia was becoming the leader of the Orthodox world and the main champion of the Orthodox Faith against the heresy of Roman Catholicism… 2.
The Unia of Brest-Litovsk On emerging from under the yoke of the Mongols in the late fifteenth century, the Russians did not forget the threat of Catholicism: For the re-emergence of Russia as an independent in fact, the only independent Orthodox state in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries coincided with the rise to power of one of the two great states of the Catholic Counter-Reformation — Poland.
At the same time that the other great Catholic State, the Hapsburg Empire, was slaughtering Protestants in the West, the Poles — with the active connivance of the Jews of whom there were millions on their territory — were persecuting the Orthodox over a vast swathe of what is now the Ukraine and Belorussia.
But Patriarch Hermogen of Moscow from his prison cell in the Kremlin issued appeals to the Russians to rise up against the heretical invaders. And although Hermogen did not live to see the outcome he was starved to death in his cellhis appeals were heeded, and in a great army of national liberation drove the Poles and the Swedes, if not out of Russia completely, at any rate out of her historical heartland.
From the late sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries the Orthodox peasants living in what is now Belorussia and Western Ukraine were severely persecuted by their Polish-Lithuanian landlords and the Jesuits.
The cause was the foundation of the Society of Jesus inwhich aimed to buttress the buttressing of the Counter-Reformation papacy throughout the world. The Jesuits were soon waging war, not only against Protestantism, but also against Orthodoxy, and their methods included both crude force and the subtler weapon of education.
Against the will of the initiators of the separation, the south-western metropolia was subjected to the power of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the patriarchs, in view of the dangers presented by the Latins, intensified their supervision over the separated dioceses. Until then they were persecuted by the Poles and the Jews. The fruits of this education were not slow to manifest themselves. The majority of the Russian boyars and princes went over to Latinism. To counter the influence of the Jesuits in many cities brotherhoods were founded.
These received important rights from the Eastern Patriarchs. Thus, for example, the Lvov brotherhood had the right to rebuke the bishops themselves for incorrect thinking, and even expel them from the Church.An Orthodox Perspective on Roman Catholicism
New difficulties appeared, which were skilfully exploited by the Jesuits. They armed the bishops against the brotherhoods and against the patriarchs the slaves of the Sultanspointed out the excellent situation of the Catholic bishops, many of whom had seats in the senate, and honours and wealth and power.
The Polish government helped the Jesuits in every way, and at their direction offered episcopal sees to such people as might later turn out to be their obedient instruments. Patriarch Jeremiah of Constantinople, during his journey through the south of Russia to Moscow to establish the patriarch, defrocked the Kievan Metropolitan Onesiphorus for bigamy, and appointed in his place Michael Ragoza, and commanded him to convene a council, by his return, to discuss another bigamist who had been accused of many crimes, Cyril Terletsky.
The Patriarch, summoned out of Russia by his own affairs, sent letters of attorney to Ragoza and Bishop Meletius of Vladimir in Volhynia for the trial of Teretsky. Both these letters were seized by Cyril, and the affair continued to be dragged out. Meanwhile, Meletius died, and Cyril Terletsky succeeded in presenting the Vladimir see to his friend, Hypatius Potsey.
Fearing the appointment of a new trial on himself from the patriarch, Cyril hastened to act in favour of the unia, and made an ally for himself in Hypatius, who was indebted to him. Differences in rites had been allowed by the decrees of the council of Florence in Therefore we must call it a diplomatic victory for the Orthodox supporters of the unia that they succeeded in convincing the Roman curia of the necessity of establishing in Poland-Lithuania a parallel Catholic hierarchy of the Greek rite, which would be independent of the local Latin bishops.
In the diplomatic efforts of the bishops were directed, on the one hand, to securing the future uniate organization at as high a degree of autonomy as possible, and one the other, to convincing the Orthodox aristocracy to accept the unia. Among the nobles the main opponent of the unia was Prince Constantine Ostrozhsky. By the summer of such a sharp conflict had been lit between the bishops and the laity that Patriarch Jeremiah Tranos of Constantinople turned directly to the laity, passing by the bishops.
The patriarch sent to Jassy Romania his exarch Nicephorus, who convened a council of six bishops, including the metropolitans of Moldavia-Wallachia Romania and Ugro-Wallachia Hungary. The bishops found themselves to be not only on the verge of being deprived of their rank, but also under threat of excommunication from the Church. It goes without saying that as private individuals they would not have been able to influence the decision of the question of the unia with Rome.
It was necessary to act without delay and agree now even to almost any conditions. And so two of the West Russian bishops set off for Rome as fully-empowered representatives of the whole of the episcopate of the Kievan metropolia.
The upshot of their stay in Rome from November, to March, was the acceptance of the conditions of the future unia without any guarantees of equality between the Catholic churches of different rites — the Latin and Greek. The unia was established by the will of the Roman Pope, and not at all as the result of negotiations of the two sides. The future uniate church had to accept not only the decrees of the council of Florence but also those of the council of Trent.
Moreover, it had to be ready for any changes, including changes in rites, that the Pope might introduce. The only right that the bishops succeeded in preserving was the right of a local council to elect the Metropolitan of Kiev. However, this had to be followed by the confirmation of the Roman Pope. A significant part of the Orthodox nobility took his side.
Progress in Catholic relations with Russian Orthodox world
Prince Ostrozhsky and his supporters succeeded in creating a schism in the pro-uniate party: Their renunciation of their former position is explained by the fact that they were in a state of significantly greater dependence on the local magnates than on the king. It is of note that Gedeon Balaban, Bishop of Lvov, who was the first to begin preparing his diocese for the unia, was one of these two bishops. One of them took place with the participation of five bishops and proclaimed the unia with Rome.
The other was presided over by Exarch Nicephorus. This council excommunicated the uniates, which became the beginning of the Orthodox resistance to the unia. He died in prison in or Thus, for example, they took the signatures of the two bishops on white blanks, supposedly in case there would be unforeseen petitions before the king on behalf of the Orthodox, and meanwhile on these blanks they wrote a petition for the unia. Potsej and Terletsky made such concessions to the Pope in Rome as they had not been authorised to make even by the bishops who thought like them.
The uniate bishops removed the Orthodox priests and put uniates in their place. The Orthodox brotherhoods were declared to be mutinous assemblies, and those faithful to Orthodoxy were deprived of posts and oppressed in trade and crafts. The peasants were subjected to all kinds of indignities by their Catholic landlords.
The [Orthodox] churches were forcibly turned into uniate ones or were leased out to Jews. The leaseholder had the keys to the church and extracted taxes for every service and need. But the Poles overcame them and Nalivaiki was burned to death in a brazen bull. His successor, Vladislav IV, gave the Orthodox Church privileges, with the help of which she strengthened herself for the coming struggle with the uniates and Catholics The Cossacks several times took up arms, and when they fell into captivity to the Poles, the latter subjected them to terrible tortures.
Some were stretched on the wheel, others had their arms and legs broken, others were pierced with spikes and placed on the rack. Children were burned on iron grills before the eyes of their fathers and mothers. Having given the Russian churches into the hands of the Jews who were close to them in spirit, the Polish aristocracy laughingly watched as the defilement of Christian holy things was carried out by the Jews.
The Catholic priests and uniates even incited the Jews to do this, calculating in this way to turn the Russians away from Orthodoxy. If it was necessary to carry out a Church need, then one had to go and trade with the Jew, for whom gold was an idol and the faith of Christ the object of spiteful mockery and profanation.
One had to pay up to five talers for each liturgy, and the same for baptism and burial. The uniate received paschal bread wherever and however he wanted it, while the Orthodox could not bake it himself or buy it in any other way than from a Jew at Jewish rates.
The Jews would make a mark with coal on the prosphoras bought for commemorating the living or the dead. Only then could it be accepted for the altar.
But when there is a need to suppress seditions caused by your excesses you want us to cover up for you… As to the dangers that threaten your life, one may say that everyone is the cause of his own misfortune. Stop making trouble, do not subject us to the general hatred of the people and you yourself to obvious danger and general criticism… Everywhere one hears people grumbling that you do not have any worthy priests, but only blind ones… Your ignorant priests are the bane of the people… But tell me, your Eminence, whom did you win over, whom did you attract through your severity?
You have turned sheep into goats, you have plunged the state into danger, and maybe all of us Catholics — into ruin… It has been rumoured that they the Orthodox would rather be under the infidel Turk than endure such violence… You yourself are the cause of their rebellion. Instead of joy, your notorious Unia has brought us only troubles and discords and has become so loathsome that we would rather be without it!
The Eighteenth Century Even after the union of the Eastern Ukraine with Russia invery extensive formerly Russian lands still remained under Polish control. However, inas a result of civil war between King Augustus II and his nobles, Poland fell under the effective control of Russia. The Polish nobility did everything they could to deny the non-Roman Catholic Christians the Orthodox, the Lutherans, and the Calvinists political rights until well into the eighteenth century.
As for the Orthodox, writes A. In the Sejm deprived them of their right to elect deputies to the sejms and forbade the construction of new and the repairing of old churches; in the Sejm removed them from all public posts. If that is how the government itself treated them, their enemies could boldly fall upon them with fanatical spite.
The Orthodox were deprived of all their dioceses and with great difficulty held on to one, the Belorussian; they were also deprived of the brotherhoods, which either disappeared or accepted the unia.
Orthodox monasteries were often subjected to attacks by peasants and schoolboys; the monks suffered beatings, mutilations and death. All the Belorussian bishops were subjected to insults, and some even to armed assault…. But the Polish government either replied with promises or was silent and dragged out the affair from one Sejm to another.
True, there were cases when the king issued orders for the cessation of persecutions… But such instructions were usually not listened to, and the persecution of the Orthodox continued. Meanwhile the Russian government insufficiently insisted on the carrying out of its demands. On arriving at her coronation in Moscow, George Konissky vividly described for her the wretched condition of the Orthodox in Poland and besought her intervention A year later all the Orthodox of Poland interceded with her about this.
The empress promised her protection and made the usual representation to the Polish court. At that time a new king, Stanislav Poniatovsky, had been established, with her assistance, on the Polish throne.
George Konissky personally appeared before him and described the sufferings of the Orthodox in such a lively manner that the king promised to do everything to restore the rights of the Orthodox and actually issued a decree on the confirmation of their religious rights, demanding that the uniate authorities cut short their violence. However, the uniate and Catholic authorities were not thinking of obeying the king. Their spite against the Orthodox found fresh food for itself.
Inamidst the Russian population of Poland, and mainly in Little Russia, a powerful mass movement against the unia had begun. Multitudes of the people went there and were there inspired to the task of returning from the unia to Orthodoxy. Crowds of people gathered everywhere in the villages; together they swore to uphold the Orthodox faith to the last drop of their blood, they restored Orthodox churches and restored Orthodox priests provided for them by Gervasius.
They persuaded uniate priests to return to Orthodoxy, and if they refused either drove them out of the parishes or locked the churches. Whole parishes returned to Orthodoxy. The uniate authorities decide to stop this movement. The uniate metropolitan sent a fanatical zealot for the unia, the official Mokritsky, to the Ukraine with a band of soldiers.
The Orthodox churches began to be sealed or confiscated; the people were forced by beatings to renounce Orthodoxy. Abbot Melchizedek was subjected to tortures and thrown into prison.
There were even cases of killings for the faith… This violence elicited a fresh representation from the Russian court. Moreover, the courts of Prussia, England, Sweden and Denmark demanded that the Poles reviewed the question of the dissidents Orthodox and Protestants at the Sejm and protected their rights. However, the Sejm that took place in still further restricted their religious liberty.
The Catholic bishops Soltyk and Krasinsky by their epistles stirred up the people against the dissidents; the Pope himself Clement XIII tried to persuade Stanislav not to make concessions. Then the dissidents began to act in a more friendly manner towards each other. In Torn and Slutsk conferences of noblemen were convened, and in other places up to similar unions appeared with the aim of obtaining rights for the non-Catholics of Poland.
In her turn Russia, in order to support these demands, moved her army into Poland.
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX -ROMAN CATHOLIC RELATIONS: A SHORT HISTORY
Relying on it, the Russian ambassador in Poland Repin demanded a review of the question of the dissidents at the new sejm in When at this Sejm the Catholic bishops Soltyk, Zalusky and some others continued to resist any concessions in favour of the dissidents, Repin arrested them and the Sejm agreed upon some important concessions: These decrees were confirmed by a treaty between Russia and Poland in It was then decided that the Belorussian see should remain forever in the power of the Orthodox together with all the monasteries, churches and church properties, while the monasteries and churches that had been incorretly taken from them were to be returned.
For this a special mixed commission of Catholics and dissidents — the latter led by George Konissky — was appointed. In these circumstances the movement among the uniates that had begun before was renewed with fresh force.
Most of them — sometimes in whole parishes — declared their desire to return to Orthodoxy; these declarations were addressed to George Konissky, presented to Repin and written down in official books; even the uniate bishops turned to the king with a request that they be allowed to enter into discussions concerning a reunion of the uniates with the Greco-Russian Church.
But the indecisiveness of the Polish and Russian governments hindered the realization of these desires. Comparatively few parishes succeeded in returning to Orthodoxy, and then the matter of their reunion was stopped for a time. Immediately the Russian army left the boundaries of Poland, the Polish fanatics again set about their customary way of behaving.
Bishop Krasinsky of Kamenets went round Poland in the clothes of a pilgrim and everywhere stirred up hatred against the dissidents; the papal nuncio fanned the flames of this hatred in appeals to the clergy, and sometimes also in instructions to the people.
Those who were discontented with the Sejm of convened the conference of Bar in order to deprive the dissidents of the rights that had been granted them. Again there arose a persecution of the Orthodox, who could not stand the violence. In Trans-Dnieper Ukraine, under the leadership of the zaporozhets Maxim Zhelezniak, a popular uprising known as the Koliivschina began.
The anger of the rebels was vented most of all on the landowners, the Jews, the Catholic priests and the uniate priests. They were all mercilessly beaten up, their homes were burned down, their property was looted; even the whole of the small town of Uman was ravaged. The rebellion enveloped the whole western region.
The Polish government was not able to cope with it. The Russian armies under Krechetnikov came to its aid. The revolt was put down.
Vladimir Moss – Orthodox Christianity Author
Gervasius and Melchizedek, being suspected of rebellion, were retired; the Orthodox people, being accused of stirring up the people, had to hide in order to avoid punishment. The uniate priests took possession of many Orthodox parishes; in many places the Orthodox were forced to appeal with requests to perform needs to parishless priests coming from Moldavia and Wallachia.
Fortunately, in there came the first division of Poland, in accordance with which Belorussia with its population of 1, was united with Russia. At this the Polish government was obliged to take measures to pacify the Orthodox who remained in their power, but in actual fact nothing was done. A new woe was then added to the already difficult position of the Orthodox: With the union of Belorussia with Russia not one Orthodox bishop was left within the confines of Poland, and for ordinations the Orthodox were forced to turn to Russia or Wallachia.
Only in did the Russian government, with the agreement of the Polish king, appoint a special bishop for them, Victor Sadkovsky, with the title of Bishop of Pereyaslavl and vicar of Kiev, with a salary and place of residence in Slutsk monastery. But when, with his arrival, another movement in favour of Orthodoxy arose among the Ukrainian uniates, the Poles were disturbed. Rumours spread that another Koliivschina was being prepared and that the clergy were inciting the people to rebel.
Whatever Victor did to quash these rumours, they continued to grow. They began to say that arms for a planned beating up of the Catholics and uniates were being stored in the hierarchical house and in the monasteries. In accordance with an order of the sejm, Victor was seized and taken in fetters to Warsaw, where he was thrown into an arms depot ; some Orthodox priests were subjected to the same treatment; many were forced to save themselves by fleeing to Russia.
The whole of the Orthodox clergy were rounded up to swear an oath of allegiance to the king. After this the thought was voiced in the Sejm of of freeing the Orthodox Church within the confines of Poland from Russian influence by making it independent of the Russian Synod and transferring it into the immediate jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
The Pinsk congregation, made up of representatives of the clergy and brotherhoods, did indeed work out a project for the conciliar administration of the Church. But it was not fated to be put into effect. Soon there followed, one after the other, the second and third divisions of Poland, in accordance with which Russia acquired all the ancient Russian lands with the exception of Galicia, and the Lithuanian region with a population of more than 4 million.
At the same time there came the right opportunity for the uniates to throw off the fetters of the unia that had been forcibly imposed upon them. The Belorussian Archbishop George Konissky received many declarations from uniate parishes wishing to return to Orthodoxy.
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Although the Russian government did not allow him to do anything about these declarations without special permission, and itself did not give permission for about 8 years, the striving of the uniates for Orthodoxy did not wane. When, finally, permission was given, up touniates went over to Orthodoxy.
In the south-western region an energetic assistant of George Konissky in the work of uniting the uniates was Victor Sadkovsky, who had been released from prison and raised to the see of Minsk With the permission of the government, he published an appeal to the uniates of his diocese urging them to return to Orthodoxy.