Dr. Farrell on the state of Orthodoxy and the Anglican Continuum

These are some very good articles especially for converts both then and now:

Published in the Old Believer VI and VII

36 Responses to Dr. Farrell on the state of Orthodoxy and the Anglican Continuum

  1. Visibilium says:

    Death is correct that Antioch’s WR uses zymes, but pressed flat to appear as azymes. Such fakery has always struck me as being unwholesome.

  2. Some concerns with the “Western Rite” parishes.

    The first, I would argue, is that a rite should properly be that of the Bishop. Thus, if a rite is to be used it should be used first and foremost by the Bishop and be instituted as the rite of the diocese. It should not be something done individually by Priests, unless there is a situation such as in Constantinople where the Bishop permits a parish of another rite to accommodate a large group of visiting foreigners in the city who come from a Bishop of that rite. Ideally a rite should also be used regionally with the support of a Synod of Bishops so that the rite can be mutually maintained to avoid distortion of the rite by the personal whim of a Bishop or Priest. Even though there were a variety of rites historically, I have not seen evidence that such a variety existed within one region or within one diocese. Rather it would seem that the rites were regional and centred on the Bishop(s), not something reflecting the individual taste of a Presbyter, who, I would contend, should be serving the same rite as his Bishop.

    Secondly, there is a question of the fullness of conversion to Orthodoxy when one maintains a Western Rite. Not that the rite is itself not Orthodox but have the converts truly accepted the fullness of the Orthodox way of Life that is manifested strongly through the Liturgy. There is a concern that converts maintaining a Western Rite only convert by removing the filioque but thereafter maintain the form of spirituality they had previously not realising that this spirituality was formed outside the Church and insufficient for an Orthodox life.

    Perhaps a better way for instituting a Western Rite is for the people to petition the Synod of Bishops of their area to implement the rite as the rite of the region. First though for this to happen it would require that the Bishops sort out their territorial jurisdictions properly and undo the mess, which is contrary to the Tradition of the Church, that now exists in the “diaspora.” Then with a proper ecclesiastical structure in place then other issues can be properly addressed.

    Anyway, these are my belated thoughts on the matter.

  3. photios says:

    Fr. Maximus,
    No I do not have a copy, but a friend of mine does.
    Photios

  4. Fr. Maximus says:

    Photios,

    No offense at all taken. Do you have a copy of Dr. Farrell’s rescension of the Gregorian Liturgy?

  5. photios says:

    Fr. Maximus,
    A couple of your points:

    “Still, it does make me feel a little like Jurassic Park, resurrecting dinosaurs by filling in the gaps with frog DNA.”

    I don’t think that that would be a very good analogy, for the reason being that in resurrecting dinosaurs the genetical gaps would have to be synthetic based on a scientific and engineering ‘guess.’

    With the liturgics on the other hand, we have a canonical standard to fill in the gaps. Here, the Bishop would have to be the prime advocate in the act of said liturgy being ‘Orthodoxized,’ as its primary steward and theologian. It would have to come from a bishop who is deeply Orthodox in his faith, not involved in the ecumenical movement, and a traditionalist.

    “I have seen of WR so far screams that it is fake and not Orthodox – just people indulging in their private fantasies.”

    Though I largely agree with this, which is why I keep most of these movements at an arms length, I cannot say that any movement of it whatsoever would ipso facto be a fake however.

    For the very reason that the terms ‘Catholic’ and ‘Orthodox’ became schismatical in terminology after the 9th century, Sadly, it is the protocol of today’s evangelical standard that if one wishes to be ‘Orthodox’ theologically in the fullest sense one cannot be ‘Catholic’ in the liturgical sense. I firmly believe that that ‘dialectic of opposition’ needs to be healed. The recovery of the West must not be one that is a capitulation to Byzantium, even if Byzantium can and MUST be the canonical standard for the West.

    The movement would have to come from someone like a ‘Dr. Farrell’, and I have no doubts that he would wish to do anything that would be fake. I don’t think you would hold that opinion either.

    “It would probably strike the Greeks as totally odd”

    I have no doubt that it would, and it would largely be from long suspicions, rightly, of what the West has done subsequent to the schism. All things considered here as well, Greeks also have a tendency to have a triumphalist attitude over the west AS THE west. Just my experience, where we have the tendency to be second class citizens and don’t really feel at “home” in ‘eastern clothes.’

    “the converts are happy with the Byz. liturgy in English.”

    By all means, if that is what evangelical protestants and other converts feel the most comfortable with, then they should have it. But I believe the success there will be largely impotent against ‘traditional protestant’ bodies who are already quite liturgical. What they need more than anything is an understanding of the roots of the schism, which is exactly what GHD does.

    I hope I have not offended.

    Your friend,
    Photios

  6. Mark AC says:

    I’m no liturgist, and I have no idea what the best sources are, or what the best final form might be for a Western Rite Orthodox liturgy. The bishops whose authority I am under have authorized certain forms of WR liturgies, and I’m not inclined to question them.

    As a convert to Orthodoxy from Anglicanism, though, my experience has led me to embrace one principle: just submit to the liturgy you have and don’t tinker with it. Even if the liturgy is not the best that could exist, even if over time the Church should judge it to be unworthy of use, this exercise in faithfulness will do some good. What is Orthodoxy except faithfulness to Tradition as received? Even if what we receive is ultimately judged to be an inauthentic expression of Tradition, any damage received from that is likely to be less than the damage incurred by setting ourselves up, as individuals, as judges of what is true and holy.

  7. Fr. Maximus says:

    There is precedent for reviving a “dead” liturgy, and that is the Liturgy of St. James, which is served quite commonly now. I am not sure how the gaps were filled in when it was first revived at the end of the 19th century, but it probably was by extrapolation of logic from the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

    Still, it does make me feel a little like Jurassic Park, resurrecting dinosaurs by filling in the gaps with frog DNA.

    The question of the WR is something I still haven’t come a firm conclusion about. I confess I often read from the old Breviary and sing from the Liber Usualis in my private prayers. I love the old Latin services, and I love the ancient Orthodox West, especially the Celtic saints. But everything I have seen of WR so far screams that it is fake and not Orthodox – just people indulging in their private fantasies.

    In our Church the question has never even come up – there is simply no demand for it. It would probably strike the Greeks as totally odd, while the converts are happy with the Byz. liturgy in English. WR appeals mostly to High Church Anglicans and to a lesser extent old fashioned Catholics, whereas the largest group of converts is from evangelical Protestantism.

  8. photios says:

    Thomas,
    No need to even attempt guessing.
    That’s why I mentioned you’d have to use the Liturgy of Saint Johon Chrysostom as the canonical standard for any kind of faithful recovery.

    Why resurrect something that has died? Rather, why has Orthodoxy–historically–let something so precious and priceless of its own, as I stated early, to die?

    What you highlight is simply a matter of preference. I’m a Celt, so I have strong traditional ties to a faith community that was murdered, raped, and branded with filioquist theology by the Franks, Normans, and Papalists.

    Photios

  9. Thomas Valentine says:

    My concern is how legitimate is resurrecting a rite that has died? Written forms of liturgies don’t include everything (esp. movements) — how many times does a new deacon/new priest get ‘pushed around’ until he learns all those details. That is part of the living tradition. When there is no living tradition, what does one do — guess? invent?

    I used to be High Church Anglican and loved the BCP. I have fond memories of it, but I have no desire to return. The liturgy of St John Chrysostom is quite satisfying. (Though I prefer the anaphora of the liturgy of St Basil the Great.)

  10. Death Bredon says:

    1. The AWRV does NOT use azymes — at least not lawfully. Their canons are clear that only leavened bread is used for the Mass.

    2. Beginning with St. Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Celts and Anglo-Saxons in the British Isles merged into a single Church. Hence, for the most part, “Celtic Use” use and “English Use” have been very similar for centuries. In any case, as prior comments indicate, we now have decent restorations of both the Stowe Missal (Celtic) and the Old Sarum (Anglo-Saxon) from which to revive an edifying Orthodox Western Rite(s) in the New World.

    3. In sharp contrast, the Latin, Roman or Gregorian Rite, while popular on the Continent and for a time in Ireland (until the Novus Ordo), never had any play in Great Britain until Catholic Emancipation and the rise of Victorian Anglo-Catholics near the turn of the last century. And even then, the Gregorian Rite was very much a minority rite considered by the vast majority of English Speakers as foreign. So, for the majority of Americans that are part of broader English culture, the both AWRV’s Gregorian Rite and Victorian Anglo-Catholic based Liturgy of St. Tihkon (AWRV) are very odd and off-putting indeed.

    4. But, redeeming the Gregorian Rite in the New World with an eye toward those coming to Orthodoxy from either a Latin-American or Western European cultural background makes perfect sense. Hence, the AWRV recension of the Gregorian Rite definitely has a place in Western Rite Orthodox here.

    5. In sum, I would think that, at a minimum, Orthodoxy in the New World ought to revive and redeem (1) the Old Sarum for those of Anglo-Saxon patrimony; (2) the Gregorian Rite for those of Latin American or Western European patrimony; and possibly (3) the Stowe Missal, should the demand prove sufficient, for those of Celtic or Gaelic Patrimony.

    6. But, the one so-called Orthodox Western Rite we ought not waist much time with are those based on the various Anglican Missals of the Victorian Anglo-Catholics, as they are tailored to a very small minority of New World Anglicans. Indeed, most Orthodox-seeking Episcopalians/Anglicans, Presbytarians, Methodists, and even Lutherans, are going to find both the Gregorian Rite and Anglo-Catholic Missal very foreign and off-putting. Rather, a simplified, Orthodox recension of Old Sarum, or the Stowe Missal, is most likely to reach these folks.

  11. […] of the post, “Dr. Farrell on the state of Orthodoxy and the Anglican Continuum”, on Energetic Procession that the Western Rite Liturgy used by the Antiochian Archdiocese is based on St. Tikhon’s […]

  12. photios says:

    I would think that Latino’s being former Roman Catholics would want to be in the ‘Gregorian’ Rite.

  13. photios says:

    My opinion is that it’s going to be determined by the will of the Orthodox faithful over time. Orthodoxy should have a DUTY to guard and maintain those Priceless Liturgies actively BY the Bishop as the prime caretaker and custodian of the liturgy, even if in current times and places those liturgies aren’t used in service.

    To me the WR Antiochians and those other parishes that are active in the ecumenist process: or worse things like this:

    http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/2009/06/time-share-opportunity-for-those-who.html

    …aren’t even an option for someone that wishes to practice Orthodoxy.

    The last thing that traditionalists need to be doing is being in opposition to each other. If there is heresey, there is heresy, but we all know how to detect those things.

    Lastly, Your jurisdiction, the Genuine Greek Orthodox, since it wasn’t formed by “currents here in North America,” would have to be, by default, the canonical standard, since it has preserved inviolate the Eastern Liturgy which is the only sure basis to judge what is Orthodox for any kind of faithful recovery method.

    Those are my thoughts on the matter…

    Photios

  14. Fr. Maximus says:

    A very disturbing fact is that some WR parishes in both the Antiochians and ROCOR use azymes.

    And what do we do for the Celts? Half the population of this country is Celtic, and its not the same thing as Anglo. And do the Latinos get the Mozarabic rite? How many rites should there be?

  15. photios says:

    I would only add this, anytime that True Orthodoxy, Genuine Orthodoxy, Traditionalist Orthodoxy, what have you, is recovering, maintaining, and preserving its OWN PRECIOUS and PRICELESS Western liturgies would be a GOOD thing. Not as a means to reminisce, but if its cultivating our sanctification.

  16. Death Bredon says:

    Orient,

    Yes. And, IMHO, the ROCOR Sarum WRITE is the only Orthodox English-Use out there. I didn’t mention it because we are only talking about a coupe of altars (?), and I don’t see any signs of evangelism or growth with WRITE. Still, I suppose that should not DQ it as a template for future missions in all New-World Orthodox jurisdictions when “home seeking” Anglicans come knocking at the door.

    My one quibble is that the Sarum WRITE seems to follow what Percy Dearmer called in his Parsons Handbook, “maximal ceremonial,” which is impractical for most parishes. Indeed, Dearmer only ever meant the Handbook for Cathedral and very large parishes and as an example of a full-throttle English Use. I have seen a video of it in action, and, yes, I think it is TOO MUCH for parochial use — though not necessarily so for a monastic or Cathedral setting having more time and/or human resources.

    Yet, again, I suppose that does not DQ it as template for judicious pruning for parochial use, just as the Eastern typicons are “economically” pruned in actual parish life too. Dearmer himself wrote an oft overlooked volume entitled the Art of Public Worship, which imparts sound advice regarding the nuts and bolts of actually applying English Usage in a parochial setting. And, thoug a bit overly concerned about the canons of the C of E for complete guidance today, we also have Dean Vernon Staley’s “English Ceremonial.”

    In sum, with the later caveats in mind, I think the ROCOR Sarum WRITE could be a wonderful tool for attracting Anglicans who are now looking for home, but STILL do not want to ape Rome. And I hope and pray that the OCA and Antiochian Western Rite Vicarite give it a good long look!!!!

  17. Ad Orientem says:

    Follow up:
    Has anyone looked at the Western Rite liturgy used by the Church Abroad?

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070208083242/http://www.orthodoxresurgence.co.uk/Petroc/sarum.htm

    In ICXC
    John

  18. Ad Orientem says:

    Photios,
    Thanks for the fascinating read.

    Yours,
    John

  19. PseudoThomas says:

    “But that might be objectionable as “inorganic” whatever that means (every diversity of use was inorganic once!)”

    Indeed. What could possibly be ‘organic’ about the Nikonian reforms or Peter Moghila’s Trebnik?

  20. photios says:

    Give me a chance to go through it carefully. It looks quite extensive.

    Photios

  21. Death Bredon says:

    Thanks Photios. What do you think of this exposition of the Faith:

    http://www.holycatholicchurch-wr.org/page21.html

  22. photios says:

    Death,
    Just when we can’t get enough:

    I read this at least once a month as part of my devotion:

    http://celticchristianity.org/library/horosp.pdf

    One of the best confessions and expositions of the Creed that I have read.

    Photios

  23. Death Bredon says:

    P.S.S.,

    On finding Orthodoxy within Orthodoxy. Yes, of course it is there — the wheat amongst the chaff — as our Lord tells us will be the case until Kingdom Come. But, if one is not ready for the kind of chaff one is likely to experience in ‘conversion’ to Orthodoxy, one might miss the wheat altogether. I know whereof I speak. And yes, I do think there is an Orthodox remnant intermixed amongst the mess of Western Christianity, and should a layman be able to access true wheat there, amongst Western chaff, then ‘conversion’ just might be a perilous thing in from an oeconomic, not canonical, sense. And I believe that the later trumps the former — hard cases require hard choices and general canons often aren’t specific enough to cover these cases that we often seem to face in the contemporary New World.

  24. Death Bredon says:

    P.S.,

    This is the crucial language from the Stowe Missal that I believe that so desperately needs to be heard repeatedly in the West to redeem its theology:

    “Blessed is He Who cometh from heaven that He might enter the world, and
    didst become man unto the blotting out of the sins of the flesh, and became
    a Victim that through suffering He might give eternal life to those that
    believe.”

    This or something expressly to this effect — its in St. Basil’s Canon — is an absolute must, IMHO, for any Orthodox Western Rite Mass.

    I wold not positively that in the 1979 Common Book of Prayer (sic) of “The Episcopal Church (formerly the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States) ALLOWS the following proper preface:

    “Through Jesus Christ our Lord; who on the first day of the week overcame death and the grave, and by his glorious [R]esurrection opened to us the way of everlasting [L]ife.”

    Again, IHMO, this should be heard loudly and clearly in the Mass as oft as possible in the West to correct some very unfortunate soteriological developments in the Western Schism.

  25. Death Bredon says:

    Photois,

    Thanks. I am more “Orthodox minded” than you might think and have a favorable impression of Dr. Farrell through this blog. I need to read further. And I am glad someone else is interested in an ENGLISH Orthodox Rite and Ceremonial as opposed to just a generic Western Rite. I am aware that the British Orthodox Church (Coptic) uses the Rite of St. James (Byzantine) and believe that that might well play for Carolne-Divine Anglicans, especially were some of the repetitous litanies omitted and the historic practice of reception in both kinds is restored (as it is in the BOC).

    Personally, I think that the simply, austere Gregorian Ordinary, and the Canon (Anaphora) of St. Basil represent the very best of Christian Communion Ritual. And, I would love to just plug the later into the former. But that might be objectionable as “inorganic” whatever that means (every diversity of use was inorganic once!) That or St. James.

    Also, I do think Cranmer’s 1549 Daily Office is the best available FOR THE LAITY (the Psalter is sung through once a month, the New Testament twice a year, and the OT once a year — oh yes and the classic Canticles (Nunc Dimittis, Magnificant, Phos Hilaron, etc.) are kept!

    Just my two cents! But I’d bet I could draw in more Anglican converts to Orthodox in five years without active proselytizing with my modest liturgical ideas than the entire Western Rite movement has to date.

  26. photios says:

    Death,

    “In sum, because Orthodoxy has yet to offer a truly and authentically English Rite — which the Liturgy of St. Tihkon’s most certainly is NOT — many would be Orthodox remain trapped in ecclesial limbo in the Anglican, St.-Louis Continuum.”

    Dr. Farrell is very sensitive to your concern which is what he wants as well. When he was active in his very small traditionalist jurisdiction, he was given the task of “Orthodoxizing” the Gregorian Rite. He spent many years studying, praying, and in the end compiled a missal, pontifical, and the start of a breviary. His brother bishop MAEL RUAN did the same to the Celtic Rite (the Lowa-Stowe), which I think he has published: http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=2743624

    Dr. Farrell said that he used the liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom to judge and measure the liturgy. The liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is the canoncial standard handed down by the Eastern Bishops. Not the canonical standard to prohibit another liturgy, but the canonical standard to judge and measure what it is that is Orthodox.

    In short, if you do not have Dr. Farrell at least as an acquaintance. You should, being that you are an “Orthodox minded” Anglican.

    Photios

  27. photios says:

    Sea of Sin,
    I think Dr. Farrell’s analysis is far more subtle. Namely, that Resistence to modernist movements is an outward sign of an invisible grace, and that ‘Orthodoxy’ is most worthily embodied in those traditional bodies, and most notably in the two he mentioned which were not “formed in reaction to currents in North America.”

    The other thing worthy of noting is that there is a ‘pattern of apostacy’ that transcends all christian boundaries, and this is where Dr. Farrell sees the Continuum as being also a sign of God’s grace and to continue on in there confessional standards–which could bring them in the face of Orthodoxy if they stay down that path.

    Photios

  28. Fr. Maximus says:

    Sea of Sin,

    I think that Dr. Farrell is also hinting that there is another option for those looking to escape theological relativism and modernism; namely Traditionalist or True Orthodoxy, which utterly rejects those things.

  29. Death Bredon says:

    As I happen to have had significant experience within the “Continuing Anglican Movment,” which is purportedly grounded on the St. Louis Statement and the Seven Ecumenical Councils, I thought I would chime in:

    Though the trad-anglicans who gathered at St. Louis in 1977 were unified in opposition to female ordination, abortion on demand, and certain innovative litrugical practices comgin into vogue in liberal, First World Anglican sectors; internally, they were (and still are) very much divided along old, Anglican “party” lines. And, these historic party divisions are seem to created much greater incohession than the problematic issues in contemporary Orthodoxy (e.g., Old v. New Calendar; “Re”baptism debates, etc.)

    Generally and broadly speaking, the Continuing Anglican Movement contains three (3) broad parties. First, the Anglo-Catholics, usually Thomists, which are very much Roman-leaning, some to the extent of petitioning for admittance to the Roman Catholic Coummunion. Second, the English-Use, Prayer-Book Party, usually taking their theological lead form English Caroline-Divines. And third, an throughly Augustinian (but not Thomist) party, which is often (derisively) referred to as “low church.”

    The distribution of these parties among the total membership of the Continuum seems to favor the Anglo-Catholic party, though most of the AC laity have been aptly described as “Ritual-Notes and Water,” a sort of AC light — the clergy are the strongest Latinizers. The next largest, though minority, party is the English-Use or “Prayer Book” party, which feels no need to ape Latin liturgical practices or to reference Counter-Reformation RC theology to affirm its Catholicity — they have the erudite, English Caroline Divines (Lancelot Andrewes to William Law) to see them through. The smaller party, which hangs on at the fringes of the St. Louis Movement is the staunch Augustinian or Augustinian Synthesis party which is not friendly either to the Thomism or the overly “mystical” and “ethnic” aspects of the Christian East, but is perhaps more closely aligned with staid Magisterial Protestantism, as opposed to the quasi-Enthusiast, pan-Evanglicalism of “conservative” Protestantism today.

    This mix is further complicated by the fact that party division in Continuing Anglicanism DO NOT fall neatly along jurisdictional lines as well as the fact that some folks are fence-sitters or try to have feet two or more of the parties. Indeed, the Anglican Catholic Church, and the Anglican Province of Christ the King, and the Traditional Anglican Church (the big three) all have members representing each party. So, its not like Orthodoxy can easily pick out just one party to enter into dialog with, and talking to all three at once simply leads to chaos. The next complicating factor is that the hierarchy in each of the BIG THREE St. Louis jurisdictions tend to be much more Anglo-Catholic than its laity. For insance, the Traditional Anglican Communion (locally known as the Anglican Church of America is petitioning Rome for communion, which if granted, will probably cause a mass exodus from the TAC! In sum, the practicalities of Orthodox-Continuum dialog are quite difficult.

    Finally, a note on the Western Rite Vicariate (AWRV) in the American Antiochian Archdioces of America. Those trad-Anglicans who have swam the Bosporus happen to have been of the Anglo-Catholic Party (and therefore would surely have fit better with Rome). Hence, the AWRV Liturgy of St. Tihkon, which is what they use, is virtually identical with the American Missal, which is a very Tridenitized Version of the American Book of Common Prayer (1928). In fact, they also use Ritual Notes for ceremonail, which is the English equivalent to Fortesque on the Tirdentin Missal. Finally, these AWRV converts come from formations largely steeped in Tridentine / Counter-Reformation piety and spirituality — the Rosary, Marian Staturary, Benediction and Expostion, etc.

    And finally and unfortunately, as far as I know, the trad-Anglicans most sympathetic to Orthodoxy, the English-Use, Prayer-Book Catholics, who revere the virtually Orthodox Caroline Divines, see no appealing Orthodox “Western Rite” that might tempt them to leave the Canterbury Trail for the Constantinople Trail. In sum, because Orthodoxy has yet to offer a truly and authentically English Rite — which the Liturgy of St. Tihkon’s most certainly is NOT — many would be Orthodox remain trapped in ecclesial limbo in the Anglican, St.-Louis Continuum.

  30. JLB says:

    Sea of Sin,

    Perhaps I may take a stab at your questions, speaking as one who DOES see (I think) what Dr. Farrell sees, and still intends to convert:

    “If indeed his assessment of the state of Orthodoxy is correct, what then remains of this truth? Can we speak of the truth of Orthodox ecclesiology, given its disarray? What else is suspect? Does this not clearly undermine the Orthodox claim that it alone contains the fullness? That it alone has preserved the Apostolic tradition faithfully?”

    Dr. Farrell does not say that the truth does not remain in Orthodoxy, but that it is under attack, just as it is under attack elsewhere. If Dr. Farrell thought that Orthodoxy had been overcome, I doubt he would be Orthodox. He is not saying, “Orthodoxy is not the fullness,” but rather “Yes, Orthodoxy has the fullness of truth, but it is under attack just as the (not-so-whole) truth elsewhere is under attack. If you come to Orthodoxy to avoid fighting modernist trends of the devil, don’t bother. But here, at least, your salvation has a fighting chance of fulfillment.”

    You ask:

    “Does his assertion, the motivation for “truth”, does this not play into the hands of those who are all too eager to proclaim that no one Christian Church or Tradition can make exclusive claims about truth and itself (i.e. the Branch and the Invisible Church theories)?”

    I do not see how it follows that because the only good reason to convert to Orthodoxy is because it is (entirely) true, the Anti-Tradition (yes, that is what they are) Branch Theorists have somehow gained a footing.

    “What incontrovertible defense can one make for the Orthodox tradition against these popular Protestant approaches to the nature of the truth and the Church in light of his observations?”

    That truth is true, falsehood is false, absolute divine simplicity is Platonism, the filioque is Gnosticism, the “invisible church” is Nestorianism, the branch theory is relativism, gold is old, novelty is forgery, and that the Body of Christ is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic (and therefore Orthodox)?

    “Is the truth of Orthodoxy merely theoretical, an exercise in idealism, nowhere found lived out and practiced?”

    You sound as if you had read no Lives of Saints.

  31. Sea of Sin says:

    In reflecting on Dr. Farrell’s conclusion, I would like to hear your thoughts about the nature of the truth of Orthodoxy.

    Dr. Farrell states,

    “If one chooses to convert, therefore, do so, but do so with
    eyes wide open, and fully convinced of the fundamental
    truth of Orthodoxy, which will ultimately prevail by the
    grace of God. Be aware that one will eventually be
    struggling with the same types of issues even in
    Orthodoxy. The sole motivation for conversion to
    Orthodoxy should therefore be truth.”

    If indeed his assessment of the state of Orthodoxy is correct, what then remains of this truth? Can we speak of the truth of Orthodox ecclesiology, given its disarray? What else is suspect? Does this not clearly undermine the Orthodox claim that it alone contains the fullness? That it alone has preserved the Apostolic tradition faithfully? Does his assertion, the motivation for “truth”, does this not play into the hands of those who are all too eager to proclaim that no one Christian Church or Tradition can make exclusive claims about truth and itself (i.e. the Branch and the Invisible Church theories)? What incontrovertible defense can one make for the Orthodox tradition against these popular Protestant approaches to the nature of the truth and the Church in light of his observations?

    Is the truth of Orthodoxy merely theoretical, an exercise in idealism, nowhere found lived out and practiced?

  32. Sea of Sin says:

    Thank you for posting this insightful read. When did Dr. Farrell write this?

  33. Thomas Valentine says:

    I’ll have to admit to being much where Photius is on Augustine. Fr Michael’s books, questions about the accuracy of the documentation from the Fifth Imperial Synod, and the highly irregular way Augustine appeared on the church’s calendar at an extraordinaly late date.

    In fact, it is one issue I’d like to see if we Orthodox held the First International Synod. Personally, I’d go for ‘middle ground’ — declare him a saint for his piety and his pastoral work, but flat out condemn his theological writings as heretical.

  34. photios says:

    Yes and I must go on to confess that I really struggle with Augustine, more so than Dr. Farrell does or has despite the insurmountable influence he has on me. The reason I do struggle is for the many reason that Fr. Michael relates in his book (The Influence of Augustine of Hippo on the Orthodox Church, which seems to be very well documented) about the possible interpolations that have gone on in perhaps adding him to the litany of Saints to the 5th Council and the fact that Photius, Palamas, and Mark (the three pillars) never really read much of him except for very small amounts, though praising him greatly. Gregory Palamas seems the most familiar with him and does give an Orthodox reading of Augustine’s “filioque,” differently then the Carolingian one.

    I don’t know and the whole situation seems very obscure.

    Dr. Farrell admires Augustine very much for his piety and not so much for his theology. And perhaps that is the safest way to go with him. But like I said, I struggle.

  35. Fr. Maximus says:

    Very good indeed. I would only mention that among Old Calendarists, the antipathy towards St. Augustine is not quite as extreme as he makes it out to be, and that most of us recognize him as a saint of sorts. HOCNA is the most against him, but even their official line is to allow each person their own views on the matter, while not omitting to point out that he is the primary source of western errors. Because Fr. Michael Azkoul is a prominent theologian, and he is very much against the sanctity of Augustine, it creates the impression greater general antipathy than really exists.

    I would say that Fr. John Romanides, who is very popular among Old Calendarists, has been more influential in this respect than Fr. Michael.

  36. photios says:

    When you pull up the document, just search for ‘Farrell’ to find Dr. Farrell’s article.

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