Ecclesiastical Synergy

“And to this end we brought to his remembrance the great examples left us by the Apostles, and the traditions of the Fathers. For although the grace of the Holy Spirit abounded in each one of the Apostles, so that no one of them needed the counsel of another in the execution of his work, yet they were not willing to define on the question then raised touching the circumcision of the Gentiles, until being gathered together they had confirmed their own several sayings by the testimony of the divine Scriptures.And thus they arrived unanimously at this sentence, which they wrote to the Gentiles: ‘It has seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no other burden than these necessary things, that ye abstain from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication.’

But also the Holy Fathers, who from time to time have met in the four holy councils, following the example of tile ancients, have by a common discussion, disposed of by a fixed decree the heresies and questions which had sprung up, as it was certainly known, that by common discussion when the matter in dispute was presented by each side, the light of truth expels the darkness of falsehood.

Nor is there any other way in which the truth can be made manifest when there are discussions concerning the faith, since each one needs the help of his neighbour, as we read in the Proverbs of Solomon: ‘A brother helping his brother shall be exalted like a walled city; and he shall be strong as a well-founded kingdom;” and again in Ecclesiastes he says: ‘Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.’

So also the Lord himself says: ‘Verily I say unto you that if two of you shall agree upon earth as touching anything they shall seek for, they shall have it from my Father which is in heaven. For wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.'”

Fifth Ecumenical Council, Sentence of the Council

2 Responses to Ecclesiastical Synergy

  1. Fr Patrick says:

    The quote posted I think fits well with Canon 34 of the Apostles in regard of organisation of the Bishops.

    34. It behoves the Bishops of every nation to know the one among them who is the premier or chief, and to recognise him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval: but, instead, each of them should do only whatever is necessitated by his own parish and by the territories under him. But let not even such a one do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    In terms of the Papacy, I think that Rome did play an important part in the unity of the Church and the concept is important in the Church for Unity. The Ecumenical Patriarch was set as the Roman See of the East in New Rome and carried/carries the same prerogatives as Old Rome. (I don’t think that Old Rome really managed to accept the idea of a single “universal” primacy of the Church manifested in two Sees modelling the Empire having two Capitals and two Emperors but remaining one Empire with in principal one imperial throne.) Nevertheless, this primacy is always to be acted with the unanimous consent of all. There is no forcing or judging issues single handed but in council with all Bishops, so that true concord will exist in the Church. This I believe is reflected in history when Old Rome believes she is exercising her authority as the Petrine See, which she has, but is rebuked when she failed to work with the consent of others, which she must, and tried imposing her own will without this concord.

  2. David Richards says:

    Sweet, you guys are posting regularly now!

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