Monday, February 8. 2010
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Mr Williams in answer to a question made the statement, "And there is a habit of destructiveness, which we have got ingrained in us as a result of generations of original sin."
Mr Williams needs to take his concept of evil sin elsewhere, it isn't Orthodox, it comes from the heretical writings of Augustine, Acquinas and their Protestant followers.
#1 Yanni on 2010-02-08 20:51
It speaks volumes that the Archbishop could not, or would not, address at least some of the reasons his communion is being pulled apart. A leader he is not. Perhaps his true calling was to be a seminary professor.
(Editor's note: C'mon Ken. It would be as inappropriate for the Archbishop to use this ocassion to speak of his communion's difficulties as it would be for our Metropolitan to go to an Episcopal seminary to speak of ours. People are always going to ask - but as the Archbishop demonstrated he is far too good a leader to take the bait. )
#2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-02-09 11:01
I for one liked his presentation and the Q&A session was most thought provoking. I certainly agree with Mark about the absolutely correct response he gave to the question regarding internal problems. As for Yanni's (Comment #1), I believe that it is plainly rude and uncharitable for anyone to refer to the Archbishop as a "Mr." Also, there are obviously Western and Eastern Christian ways at looking at original sin, but this is not a dogmatic issue and should not divide us in such vehement terms.
We have less than a week to go until Forgiveness Sunday and I beg the forgiveness of anyone that I may have offended since I started posting on this site under the name "Carl."
#3 Carl Kraeff on 2010-02-09 11:37
Gosh Mark--we better not put you in charge of crisis management! Just about the worst thing one can say in a leadership position is "I don't want to talk about it."
No doubt you are right that our Metropolitan, and indeed most church officials, would have done the same thing. And that is precisely the problem. Not that it would have taken any great skill to make a few pertinent remarks on a situation that will likely result in the disestablishment of the Church of England in the not too distant future, and the disappearance of the Anglican Communion as presently constituted.
It's sad when even the staged managed questions can't be properly answered.
(Editor's note: LOL. I didn't say he shouldn't say anything, I said this was not the most appropriate venue to say anything. But I do agree it is a sad day when even staged managed questions can't be answered!)
#4 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-02-09 12:45
The next Schmemann Lecture will be delivered by 4 oz of Latex Paint applied to a board & left to dry. Written questions concerning Latex Paint's contributions to Orthodox scholarship must be submitted in writing in advance. Latex Paint has gratefully declined the offer of an honorary doctorate from the seminary.
#5 Ba'ab on 2010-02-09 23:38
The Archbishop sounds like a reasonable man, and it was a reasonable thing to give him the degree. One thing is certain, he has a brain. That is more than I can say for most OCA bishops.
#6 no name on 2010-02-10 05:56
At least he could have referred to the archbishop as Dr. Williams.
If I were Fr. Behr or Fr. Hatfield, I would probably be feeling pretty pleased right now with the decision to present Archbishop Williams with an honorary degree. If an academic institution exists in the first instance to foster the exchange of ideas in a spirit of inquiry, their decision seems to accord quite well with that mission. Maybe they didn't hit a home run with this year's event, but they certainly got a solid, stand-up double.
#7 Morton on 2010-02-10 09:27
In reply to No Name, To qoute a very holy and pious monk.."Since when does the Mind take precedent over the heart???
#8 Anon on 2010-02-10 14:05
What strikes me as "funny" in principal (as an Episcopalian for two and half decades before converting to Orthodoxy) is that the titular occupant of Cantuar would be invited to speak--a once and future Anglican academic to (it might be hoped) devoted practioners of Orthodox spiriutality--clergy and professors (from hierarchs to seminarians) on our Philokalia. The outsider/novice instructing the insiders not experientially, but as a speculative theoretician. I would not have the same feeling of discomfort had he been invited to speak to us from personal experience and stuidies on Anglican spirituality, ecclesiology or dogmatics; but it is odd that he would presume to teach the Orthodox about our faith and our fathers. If he had been speaking to Anglicans about the same subject it would not have seemed so odd; or if the Q&A had been points for common discussion and mutual edification with the the teacher also learning from his student; rather than an opportunity for the supposed expert to pontificate to those presumed to be less erudite.
The theologian is the one who prays, and he who prays is the true theologian. And may all our prayers be unto salvation and not based in thoughts of our own making andother vain imaginations.
Christ is in our midst.
#9 lexcaritas on 2010-02-10 14:40
That's Archimadrite Latex Paint
#10 no name on 2010-02-10 15:32
"Our philokalia," "our fathers," "our faith."
Not sure I share it. I haven't been taught to speak thus. Rather possesive.
Rather, these things are gifts to us, and if the prophet Balaam can be taught by the Lord through his donkey, may we be humble enough to be taught by the Lord through another Christian. Or otherwise.
"Though who art everywhere present and fillest all things" is statement of faith and requires humility of us all.
#11 Rdr. (John) Tracey on 2010-02-11 00:24
"If an academic institution exists in the first instance to foster the exchange of ideas in a spirit of inquiry, their decision seems to accord quite well with that mission."
Yes, there is a logical coherence between that hypothetical premise and the inference drawn from it. Morton's reasoning is flawless.
Is it also relevant?
I give you a perfectly parallel case: "If a restaurant exists in the first instance to foster the study of automobiles, its proprietor's decision to purchase combustion engines seems to accord quite well with that mission."
This perfectly logical construction, known as the modus ponens, is the form of Morton's argument.
Does anybody spot a problem?
Does an Orthodox seminary exist "in the first instance to foster the exchange of ideas in a spirit of inquiry"?
If, however, the purpose of a theological seminary is to prepare ministers and servants of the Gospel in the Orthodox Church, Morton's perfectly logical inference is . . . . let's say, a bit shaky.
Ever since I made my initial inquiries into the Orthodox Church, I have been told repeatedly that "Orthodox theology is not academic."
If one were to draw a another logical inference from Morton's premise---and in the absence of other information about him---what does his argument indicate with respect to Morton?
I pose this question in order to foster the exchange of ideas in a spirit of inquiry.
#12 Father Patrick Reardon on 2010-02-11 06:39
This is an important question that Fr. Patrick brings up: What is the ultimate purpose of St. Vladimir's? To raise up scholars or to train priests and layworkers for service to the Church?
I'm just beginning an M.A. program in Biblical Studies at Asbury Seminary, and I see that this is a question faced by non-Orthodox seminaries as well. Many of the students in my class are MDiv students, so when we talk about things like the synoptic problem, the historical Jesus, or questions of dating or authorship, I'm sure many of these MDiv students wonder about the relevance of this to their future vocations as church workers.
On the other hand, if the academic study of the Scriptures (or Church History or theology or whatever) is in any way valuable (and I think it is), what better place for this study to take place than in a seminary?
I do believe that there is an important place for sound theological scholarship in the Church, but I can at the same time see how many would question its relevance to training priests. One possible solution would be to distinguish between Seminaries which would exist for the purpose of training priests and Schools of Theology which would exist for the academic study of theology.
I don't pretend to have the answer to this question. Definitely something to ponder though.
#13 Jordan Henderson on 2010-02-11 13:42
"The idea expressed by Florovsky - which had been lingering in 20th century theological literature -has inspired many, not only among the Russian diaspora but also among Western scholars. I would like here to pay tribute to those theologians who, though themselves not belonging to the Eastern theological tradition, have nevertheless succeeded in uncovering the heritage of the great fathers of the Orthodox church, both for themselves and for the Western world. Among them Irenee Hausher, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Jean Danielou, Walther Volker, Werner Jaeger, Johannes Quasten, John Kelley, Gilles Prestige, Christoph Schonborn, Gabriel Bunge and Sebastian Brock should be mentioned. The "patristic renaissance" of the 20th century would have been impossible without these persons, true zealots of theological scholarship, who in their works were able to reach across the confessional barriers separating them from the Orthodox tradition." Bishop (now Metropolitan) Hilarion Alfeyev- The Patristic Heritage and Modernity.
#14 Rev. Gregory Nimijean on 2010-02-11 14:23
...... and he seems to be a man of great heart too. One of our seminary degrees is not a sacrament, nor does it confer holy orders.
In this context it is nothing more than recognition of a body of work.
#15 no name on 2010-02-11 14:57
Dear Rdr. John,
This manner of language: "Our philokalia," "our fathers," "our faith" that you have found troublesome and reeking of exclusivity or spiritual snobbery, was intended only as a sort of hyperbole to highlight what struck me as incongruous. I would not presume to study Victor Hugo and then go tell the French what it means, though I met well go discuss his literature with them; learn from them and share my own impressions.
If my remarks created the impression of pride or lack of humility or if they have been an occasion of scandal, please forgive.
How often was Christ mentioned in the colloquy under discussion, Iwonder? How often was He acknowledged with praise, gratitude and admiration, as our Saviour, our Lord and Master as opposed to our speculations about Him? Not having been there, I do not know; but having been an Anglican for many years, I fear it was not often enough. This has not been our way in the past two or three decades. I'm glad I spent the weekend with Elder Zacharias. I will now retire from this discussion and seek humility and pray that God will turn the disorder that we men make for good.
May God help us, save us and keep us by His grace.
Christ is in our midst. Charis & shalom,
#16 lexcaritas on 2010-02-11 15:06
You are right regarding the Dr. Should have . . but, Archbishop, no way.
#17 Yanni on 2010-02-11 18:49
You raise a good point, but, ultimately, the distinction is one that shouldn't exist in an Orthodox context.
Good priests need to be able to do academic work and be aware of the issues they might be faced with as they witness the Gospel. Good Orthodox scholars should firmly understand why--and believe--that Orthodox theology is /not/ an academic enterprise. The Academy is involved in some technical aspects, but, ultimately, we're talking about knowledge of God--as in the Song of Songs.
This is what kills me about Vlad's decision--they scandalized a good number of people with their choice when they could have done something incredible and edifying with the opportunity. Why not give an honorary degree to someone like Fr. Zecharias from Essex? That, more than anything, would be a witness to /how/ Orthodox Christians understand the task of theology.
#18 Alexis on 2010-02-11 18:58
Admittedly, the idea of a non-Orthodox person speaking about the Philokalia seemed odd at first glance. However, that collection of writings covers a span from the 5th to the 15th C. During a good part of that time, East and West were still united, so it can reasonably be termed a shared resource, for the Western Church, or even for a Church that took on its distinct identity towards the end of that period. Perhaps it was that "common ground" that the organizers of the event were attempting to highlight...?
#19 Alexander Patico on 2010-02-12 14:51
St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary is an institution of higher learning. It is a school which is accredited to offer advanced degrees in Orthodox Theology as well as related subjects i.e., music. Any person of any nationality or faith can attend SVS to work toward an advanced degree. There are many who are Orthodox Christians and many who are not. Many bishops, priests and laymen throughout the world have attended SVS.
#20 Anonymous on 2010-02-15 10:59
I'm still troubled by this proprietary attitude toward the Philokalia! "We" Orthodox don't own it! Most of us scarcely know what's in it, and those who do so often -- I think -- misapply it. At any rate, it is a collection of monastic sayings for monastics with a spiritual father/guide/elder -- am I wrong?
It's not a set of canons, and it is human literature. Why do we think that Archbp. Wms can't know anything about and speak about it? or if so, with the persistent proviso that's it's "not his" but "it's ours"?
I really don't understand this approach. We are so eager to announce darkness and so wary about seeing light, whereever it may shine. Caution and prudence are good, indeed, necessary. But this skepticism...
#21 Rdr. Tracey) John on 2010-02-17 13:19
I think it's important to note that the questions were screened by Rowan Williams's secretary. St Vladimir's was not involved in screening them.
Seminarians collected the cards from the audience, but the "staging" and "managing" was in the hands of Abp. Williams' own staff.
#22 pobrecita on 2010-02-19 21:24
Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos make clear that the Orthodox Church only deems Christians who have had their hearts purified, have been illuminated by the Spirit, and via asceticism and the Sacraments, have actually come to see God, are properly theologians. The intellectual theology of the west, including the archbishops, is of an entirely dissimilar order, and not theology in its proper. This is the path St. Vlad's has been on for a long time. Their pursuit of knowledge is totally backwards and just like the Roman Catholics. They attempt to intellectualize theology, teach it in a classroom or lecture hall instead of form the Christian in what Orthodoxy has always patristicly explicated as first and foremost - praxis.
(editor's note: You are flailing at a straw man. As to what is done at St. Vladimirs - at least in my day, we spent a great deal of time in praxis - both in corporate and private prayer - as well as intellectual study - as did the Fathers and Mothers of our Church. Anti-intellectualism is more of an American, rather than a Patristic, phenomena. )
#23 Fr. Deacon Daniel on 2010-02-21 22:12
You don't know what you're talking about! Have you ever been to St. Vladimir's? Have you ever spent a week there? I'm sure you haven't. You're comments are like many who love to create and disseminate misinformation yet, have no real clue. I suggest you go visit St. Vlad's. By the way, exactly where did you get your theological education from? None? i thought so!
#24 Anonymous on 2010-02-23 12:30
I've seen people accuse St Vladimir's of being overly intellectual at the expense of proper Orthodox theology. Funnily enough, I've never seen that charge leveled by anyone who has actually attended SVS.
SVS students participate in All-Night Vigil and Liturgy every weekend, and chapel services two or three times per day on weekdays. They have a very high proportion of married students and faculty, otherwise I imagine the service schedule would be even fuller.
#25 pobrecita on 2010-02-23 21:24
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